Parade of books and nations

By July 29, 2012Reading

Where have I been? Reading.

Just getting back from a two-week vacation in which I did very little but read books, write (more on that another time), and watch Nora Ephron movies. Oh, and sit by a lake reading books and writing. And throwing a tennis ball for my dog. And throwing a tennis ball for my dog. And…you get the idea.
As I’m writing this, it’s the night before we head back home after two weeks of almost entire (self-imposed) media block out. I’m watching TV for the first time in two week. (If anybody tells me what happened on MasterChef before I catch up, I’ll dice a bitch.) What made me turn on the TV after two weeks? I’m watching the march into the Olympic stadium. God, I love the Olympics. I have no idea why. I’m hardly a sport-loving person. It’s the stories. I hate Bob Costas, but seriously, those set piece stories meant to make you cry? I cry.
I also cried watching Jeff, Who Lives at Home (not a Nora Ephron movie). Uh, I thought that was supposed to be a funny movie? Yes, OK, it was a little funny, but it ended up being a CRYING MOVIE. Warn a girl, OK?
OH, GOD, The Netherlands are wearing tulips on their lapels. How cute is that?
Why don’t we get to wear hats like the Nigerians, is all I want to know.
Norway, so blond.
Bob Costas just said “garb.”
Oh, thanks, Costas for reminding Pakistani athletes that their nation is being kept under a “wary” eye. Just the perfect timing for bringing that up.
So: reading. I read 14 books in less than 14 days off. I’ll do it quickly:
43. The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists- Andrew McAleer
A re-read (and that COUNTS. Ahem. My husband and I have an argument.) I skipped the author’s commentary this time and just read the writer quotes. I recognized a lot more of the writers this time around—mystery writers for the win!
44. Still Midnight- Denise Mina
The first book in the series that I accidentally read book two in already. Book two was far better, which means I’ll be waiting for book three when it comes.
45. The Kalahari Typing School for Men- Alexander McCall Smith
A re-read. Perfect vacation reading.
46. The Taken- Inger Ash Wolfe
A re-read. I love this protagonist. Can someone confirm who this
DUDE, the flag barer for Romania is super cute.
47. Still Life- Louise Penny
A re-read. Look, re-reading a book to see how it works is a writer’s job. Loved this book even more the second time, and that’s saying a lot, as I loved it the first time.
48. Blood Hollow- William Kent Krueger
Number five in the Minnesota lone-wolf series. Not usually a lone-wolf type. In fact, I found myself getting really annoyed by the protagonist at the beginning of this book, because, dude, why do you need to be involved every time a drop of blood falls in your woodsy area? I got over it. You have to. And he’s about to become sheriff again, so that should fix the lone-wolfness a bit.
49. The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax- Dorothy Gilman
Hilarious protagonist, first in a series.
50. Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
My expectations could not possibly have been higher for this book, which was a bad idea. The ending? I need everyone I know to read this book so we can discuss.
51. 500 Ways to Be a Better Writer- Chuck Wendig
E-book I got for pretty cheap, so wasn’t expecting much. Pleasantly surprised by how much good juicy advice I found. I figured out how to use my Nook highlighting feature for the first time to mark some of my favorite sections. Good stuff.
52. A Long Shadow- Charles Todd
I’ve lost count which book this is in the series, but my love for the Todds continues.
53. Bossypants- Tina Fey
A re-read. Just wanted something fast and funny, and this fit the bill. I made my husband read it afterward, and he also enjoyed it. So it’s not just a girl book. Although it might help.
Oh, Sweden. Were you dressed by IKEA?
54. Little House in the Big Woods- Laura Ingalls Wilder
A re-read, and a very fast read, of course. If you ever want to know how to make head cheese, this is your book.
55. Heft- Liz Morris
Recommended by Jennifer Weiner. Sweet, sad.
56. The Forgotten Garden- Kate Morton
A doorstop of a book, finished just in time. I should get two book credits for this one. Good vacation book: atmospheric, mysterious. Every time another point of view popped up, I thought of what my agent said when we first talked on the phone about my book. She said when she saw my book was told from two points of view, her heart dropped. I feel the same way, usually. That being said, this was a rich, layered book that I will confidently pass along to a friend of mine.
The Olympic march continues. We’re finally to Tonga. I like the skirts on the guys.
I love seeing the female athletes who look like athletes, not stick figures. The weightlifters, etc. Kick ass, ladies.
Enough with the U2 music, Olympics. Let’s see how bad the United State’s team hats are this year.
Coke commercial says if I’ve had a Coke in the last 80 years, I’ve made Olympic dreams possible. Well, glad to help.
Oh. Oh, the hats are bad. Why do we need hats? Uzbekistan isn’t wearing dumb hats.
Costas, stop bringing up international tensions. We’re smiling right now.
What the HELL is Great Britain wearing? OK, I’ve seen the queen, I’m out.
Yellow medals, America. 

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