Category Archives: Books

Pollyanna wishes you a Happy 2015

I can think of no better way to ring in the new year than to quote the new year wish of the always brilliant Neil Gaiman:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Pollyanna tries to keep up

Lyda here.

I’ve been having trouble keeping up, and now I see why:  being a nerd is harder than I thought.

Just keeping up with my favorite little pockets of nerd-dom is more than I can do.

For example:

Read all five of the “Songs of Fire and Ice” books published so far? Check. Watch seasons 1 & 2 of “Game of Thrones“? Check.

Wait, they finished season 3? But we can’t buy it until February.

Oh man. I’m behind again.

All this doesn’t even include mega-fan stuff like the fan websites or “Winter is Coming” t-shirts or the comics. And what? Now there’s a cookbook?

This is just an example of one tiny piece of my own nerdy, geeky interests. Urban dictionary definitions: nerd and geek. The Pollyannas often use these words interchangeably when speaking of themselves.

There is so much sci-fi and other stuff out there that I love. So many books. And movies. And TV. And blogs.

And of course, there are always the zombies.

It’s exhausting being Pollyanna, y’all.

Pollyanna reads on Discworld, part 3

Lyda here.

I finally completed the seemingly-endless Reading on Discworld Challenge which was inspired by the books of Terry Pratchett. I wanted to read new books for the challenge, which is why it took me so long. Oh yeah, plus getting my masters. And life. I already reported here on the books I read for item #s 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 15, and here on the books I read for item #s 6, 8, 12 & 14.

These are the remaining parts of the challenge that I completed:

3. ‘Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?” Mort thought for a moment. “No,” he said eventually, “what?” There was silence. Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ‘em right.”’  Mort

Read a book about something you’ve always wondered about. What is string theory, really? Who was Deep Throat? And, now that we’re thinking about such things (y’all know you are)… How have attitudes and morals about sex varied and changed by country and era? (That book was my sister’s college graduation present to me – my first graduate course, she said.) Terry Pratchett book suggestions:  “Pyramids” (mathematics, philosophers, why camels look smug, and what really happens to mummies), “Monstrous Regiment” (why military intelligence isn’t always an oxymoron).

I read “The Walking Dead  – Compendium One” by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, and Cliff Rathburn.

What? I’ve always wondered about graphic novels – I had never really read any before – and specifically, I wondered about these graphic novels.

I love “The Walking Dead” TV series, and I knew from watching “The Talking Dead” that the graphic novels (on which the show is based) were different. Some of the characters and their character development are different, important plot points are completely different, and reading the graphic novels is a totally different experience from watching the show. They are both excellent, too.

7. ‘The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.’  Guards! Guards!

Go to the library and wander into an aisle you do not usually frequent. Pick a book from the shelf  and read it. One way to do this is to look in the new books section, and pick something from a category you don’t usually read. Just don’t interfere with the nature of causality while you’re there. Terry Pratchett book suggestions:  “Good Omens”, “Nation”.

I read “The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size” by Julia Cameron. (I actually bought this book, so I can use it over and over like her other books.) Y’all, I never ever read diet books. But this one is different. For one thing, it is written by one of my favorite authors, who wrote “The Artist’s Way” and many other awesome books about which I

just (blog post link #1)

won’t (blog post link #2)

shut (blog post link #3)

up (blog post link #4).

This book is really about expanding one’s creativity and shrinking one’s use of food as a block to emotions and creativity. It does not contain a food plan or rules. Instead, it give tools to use to explore one’s relationship to food and get free of old patterns and unhealthy habits. Those familiar with Julia Cameron’s work will recognize some of the tools, like Morning Pages, and find new tools, like keeping a food journal.

I’ll let you know how it goes as I try out the program.

13. ‘It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author’s control. They might.’  Equal Rites

Read a book about sex, sexuality, and/or sexual politics. I think y’all can find one of these on your own. Terry Pratchett book suggestion:  “Equal Rites”, “Sourcery”.

I read “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide” by Maurine Dowd. I wasn’t crazy about this book. Some of the science is out of date, and I didn’t agree with a lot of her conclusions. For example, she quotes a survey that found that 86% of women would quit their jobs if they didn’t need the money. This supposedly shows that women are less invested in their jobs than men are. But I immediately wanted to know: what percentage of men in equivalent jobs would quit if they didn’t need the money? I’m guessing it would be neck-and-neck.

But agreeing with her is not the point. She made me think, and that is the point. Plus, she is a good and occasionally funny writer. While discussing the ‘war between the sexes’ she says, “Will there ever be peace? I doubt it. But there should always be laughter.” And I’ll drink to that.

16. ‘To Rincewind’s annoyance the Luggage barreled after her, cushioning its fall by dropping heavily onto a slaver, and adding to the sudden panic of the invaders because, while it was bad enough to be attacked with deadly and ferocious accuracy by a rather pretty girl in a white dress with flowers on it, it was even worse for the male ego to be tripped up and beaten by a travel accessory; it was pretty bad for all the rest of the male, too.’  Sourcery

Read a book with an inanimate object as a character and/or an important part of the plot. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “Sourcery”, or any of the books with the Luggage in them.

I read “Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind. There is a sword that is essential to the plot, and is practically alive. Plus, there is a talking magical doll in it. I realize as I’m typing this that “talking magical doll” sounds really creepy, but in this story it actually isn’t. No, really.

17. ‘ “It would seem you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,” he said.
“Have you thought about going into teaching?” ‘  Mort

Read a book that teaches you something. Something that will not come in handy in your everyday life. Learn something completely impractical.  Terry Pratchett book suggestion: “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents” (you will find out more about rats than you ever thought there was to know).

I read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! I feel as if I found my homeland – it is a land of truly weird stuff and wonderful off-kilter people, and Jenny is our leader. Also, I learned quite a lot of very bizarre and not-useful stuff, including things about taxidermy. See this post for my full review.

18. ‘… human beings, little bags of thinking water held up briefly by fragile accumulations of calcium…’  Pyramids

.

‘It’s not for nothing that advanced mathematics tends to be invented in hot countries. It’s because of the morphic resonance of all the camels, who have that disdainful expression and famous curled lip as a natural result of an ability to do quadratic equations.’  Pyramids

.

‘It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong… It is used. And one of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.

‘Because if this was not the case, then human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain remote tribesmen who occasionally get raided by the authorities and have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected.’  Small Gods

Read something spiritual, mystical, mathematical, or amazing. Something that will remind you of how magic and unbelievable the universe and everything in it really is. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “Small Gods”, “Good Omens”, “Wee Free Men”… really, any of his books.

I read “River Flow: New & Selected Poems” by David Whyte. I love his writing. It feeds my soul. I discovered his work at school, where several of his books are required reading. Which shows you how awesome my school is.

19. ‘He [Vimes] wasn’t strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (Did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)’  The Fifth Elephant

Read a detective novel, a crime story, a mystery, or a thriller. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “The Fifth Elephant”, “Thud!”.

I read “Warbreaker” by Brandon Sanderson. It’s not a traditional mystery, but it definitely fits the bill. The plot twists like a corkscrew, the characters are unique, the ending is surprising, and the world is fascinating.

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I post about this so I can keep it straight in my own head. Which is a rather chaotic place sometimes. Witness the digressions…

Pollyanna will try to play nice

Lyda here.

So, I logged on to do a new post. And instead I got a message that my blog had been shut down for “inappropriate content”.

What?! I haven’t even mentioned p0rn in weeks…

Apparently, my last blog of counting my blessings was annoyed someone.

Or maybe it was because I keep linking to Jenny Lawson’s book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” and they thought this was a commercial website.

I wrote the Powers That Be and told them I just link when I do reviews. And they restored our blog. What a relief!

But, just to be careful…

This is totally a review of Jenny’s book. It is awesome. Go buy it.

There.

I for one feel better about it all.

Pollyanna finds her people

Lyda here.

Last night I finished re-reading “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess.

I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! I feel as if I found my homeland. It is a land of truly weird stuff and truly wonderful off-kilter people, and Jenny is our leader.

Also, I learned quite a lot of very bizarre and not-useful stuff, including things about taxidermy that I could happily have lived my whole life without knowing. See this post for my first crazy gushing fan post  review of this book.

Now that I’ve read it through twice, and injured myself laughing, I can loan it to the Sith Master, so that he can understand his mom better.

He promised not to lock me in the padded room.

Pollyanna and the Laughter of Doom

Lyda here.

So, you know when you are reading a book in bed late at night and you worry that you are going to smother yourself with your pillow because you don’t want to wake up your roommates and have them call the men in white coats to drag you off because your constant hysterical laughter has convinced them that you have finally gone over the edge – which, let’s face it, you have been skirting for months – but you know it would be counter-productive, because wouldn’t it be better to end up in a nice padded room than dead from smothering yourself, plus you wouldn’t get to finish the book.

And then you are reading the book the next day at lunch time in your car and you laugh so hard that you are sure all your internal organs have been completely pulverized by the shaking, and also you have gotten a fabulous ab workout just by reading – take that, 24 Hour Fitness – but you know that if anyone from work sees you shaking so hard they will panic and call the paramedics and you won’t be able to talk to the cute paramedic because you will be so out of breath from laughing, so he will give you an oxygen mask, and then you won’t be able to flirt with him at all, because who looks appealing in an oxygen mask?

No?

Then you haven’t read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess.

Buy it. Read it. Share it.

This is a book so awesomely twisted and so funny that you’ll hurt yourself laughing, and also feel a bit guilty because you are laughing at terrible things that you know you shouldn’t laugh at. But you will laugh anyway.

Y’all are going to snort sweet tea up your noses. Or the drink of your choice. So make sure it’s not too hot, and eschew ice cubes. Trust me.