'A good book should leave you...

by tosca on Monday, May 31, 2010

...slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.'
~ William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

Sometimes, though, you lose your book mojo and feel like you live several lives just opening the cover let alone trying to read a complete novel. I think that's what happened to me. I lost my romance novel mojo. For most of May I was picking books up, taking them home and reading them without really getting anything out of them. As a result I haven't posted a review to our library website all month. Ack. That's not an indictment on the authors, either, it's more about my headspace. Probably the whole birthday-ambivalence thing. For someone who produces 2 romance newsletters a month, losing your mojo is a big bucket of wtfery, right there. It hasn't quite come back, but I can feel a tingle. A possible resurge. A mojo-less Tosca has to be ignored, though, because books have to be read, reviews have to be written and newsletters have to be sent out. Were those moods just hot flashes? At 35 I'd hope not but who really knows. Let's not call them hot flashes. Let's call them 'intense, short, tropical vacations' instead. Makes me feel better. As Kalani tells me, 'To-may-to, po-tah-to.'

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'The family. We were a strange little band of characters...

by tosca on Wednesday, May 26, 2010

...trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.'

~ Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996, American humourist and columnist

In this post, the common thread is Doctor Who. Sometimes, though, you'd like to take that common thread and wrap it around their ears and string them up from the nearest street light, geez. This is a double up post because I was 1) too lazy and 2) too grumpy at siblings to write one up last night - you know how it is with siblings: can't kill 'em, can't bury the bodies deep enough!

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'The worth of a book is to be measured...

by tosca on Monday, May 24, 2010

...by what you can carry away from it'
~ James Bryce, 1838-1922, British historian and politician

The two books listed below are ones I am finishing (for the 2nd time) and beginning anew. It is the 1st title that I believe fits the quote most accurately. It's Monday which means this is my 'On the shelf' - what I'm reading - post.

Working in the back section of the reference library means that I don't get half the chance I used to for viewing new books. Everything used to come through Acquisitions, Processing and Cataloguing - which meant that I could mosey on down and have a looksee at all the pretty new books. I love the smell of new books. They signify new possibilities, new hope, new adventures and new life. Now that we outsource a lot of our buying and cataloguing I have to be three times as vigilant as branch staff about keeping up to date with new stock. It's not a hardship because I genuinely love reading. It sounds so...twee to admit that. It's almost (but not as dodgy sounding) as a teacher saying, 'I loooove kids.' Thanks to my beady eyes I'm kept very busy requesting anything and (almost) everything. I won't bore you with indepth reviews, I'll briefly list the book details (with a link to our catalogue), the synopsis and a couple of sentences about my thoughts.

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'A book is a gift you can open...

by tosca on Saturday, May 22, 2010

...again and again.'
~ Garrison Keillor

I don't know about anyone else but I always judge a book by its cover - adventure, suspense, kids, teens, romance, graphic novels, audiobooks, large print (although those are sometimes in a class of they're own because there's something truly awful about most of those covers). Whatever part of the collection they come from they have about 3 seconds to grab my attention. Having said that, I don't want them to be too obvious. Like...hmm...some Mills & Boon covers are too obvious. Not to mention that some of the poses look 1) sexually intimidating or 2) uncomfortable or 3) unnatural - what man looms over a pregnant woman against the railing of a yacht looking like he wants to hit her and hit on her at one and the same time, I mean, seriously. Really? No.

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'We're jammin' it...

by tosca on Thursday, May 20, 2010

...and we're skanky...'
~ Absolutely NOT a lyric by Sweet & Irie

Yesterday I misheard a Sweet & Irie lyric. Probably not life threatening as things go but slightly mortifying because what I heard (and was joyfully singing out loud) was 'We're jamming it and we're skanky' when, in fact, it is 'We're jamming it and we're skanking.' Big difference. Huge difference. One is a cheap, nasty woman of 'loose morals' (i.e. slutty) and the other is a rhythmic form of reggae dancing. Yeah. Those are two very different things. Dancing - tarty. Dance - tart. Dancing tart. Ooh.

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'Family is just accident...

by tosca on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

...They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are.'
~ Marsha Norman, 1947, American playwright, screenwriter & novelist

Sometimes, though, the things they say are a serious WTF moment. The kinda moments that make you wonder sometimes if you really are related. It's Tuesday which means this is a 'My family and other animals' post where I relate one conversation very kindly provided by nephews, niece, siblings or parents that beg to be shared. The subject of this particular post is my youngest sister (the baby of the family).

As kids we would all tease other unmercifully. There used to be a running joke in our family that our dad was the milkman and we would rag each other about it, giggling and making fun. My siblings used to tell me the reason I was fairer than them was because I was adopted. Some days I used to wish that were so. Even now, at 35, I wonder if some king & queen aren't still looking for their lost little Maori princess. I remember telling my sister one day that she was adopted. She said to me, 'I'm going to tell dad,' and I said, 'Which dad? 'Cause you know that's not your dad.' I distinctly remember thinking it hilarious at the time. Not even being grounded detracted from that.

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'Reading is a discount ticket...

by tosca on Monday, May 17, 2010

...to everywhere.'
~ Mary Schmich, 1953, columnist for the Chicago Tribune

If that's the case then, this week alone I have supped with werewolves, survived the walking dead, been a voyeur to all kinds of gay male romance goings on, travelled to alternate worlds on a spaceship, had high tea in Victorian England and celebrated a vampire mating. All of that in the last 7 days. As social calendars go...that isn't too shabby.

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'The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly...

by tosca on Sunday, May 16, 2010

...and lie about your age.'
~ Lucille Ball, August 1911 - April 1989), comedienne, film/tv/stage/radio actress

I don't have much of a problem lying about my age because ordinarily I don't remember it. It's not something I think about every day - it's a part of your identity, right. Why would you? I don't wake up every morning and think that I'm straight, even though I am (although I wouldn't turn down some 'quality time' with Captain Jack Harkness and Doctor Who at the same time). I don't sit around all day thinking that I'm a girl (even though I so obviously am). Nor do I wonder why my eyes are brown. These things just...are. My age is pretty much like that. I don't think about it, it's just there, and when people ask how old I am it takes me a few moments to count it all up. When I have to count, though, it always takes me aback and is usually accompanied by a sinking-feeling like, 'Whoa, where did the years go? Am I really a grown up, now? Can I not be a tan-Peter Pan forever?'

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'It sucks to be me, it sucks to be me...

by tosca on Thursday, May 13, 2010

...it sucks to be broken, unemployed and turning 33, it sucks to be me!'
- 'It sucks to be me' from the puppet musical 'Avenue Q'

Umm nope, it doesn't suck to be me. Most days it's pretty effing awesome. The post quote is a line from an
Avenue Q song but I'm getting ahead of myself. Today's video gem is thanks to two things:
  1. Getting old. Reluctantly.
  2. Sisters taking me to see Avenue Q - which is a puppet show for adults (the sex scene between Princeton and Kate Monster will psychologically scar me for life, for LIFE, I tell you).

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'You don't choose your family...

by tosca on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

...They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.'
~ Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu

But sometimes...sometimes you want to do the world a favour and mark their arse 'Return to sender.' And I'm pretty damn sure they want to do the same to me. And then there are the days when they impart words of great wisdom that will serve you well for life, young Grasshopper. It's Tuesday, which means this is a 'My family & other animals post' or 'Things my family say/do that just beg to be shared.' My parents aren't totally big on giving advice. They're of the opinion that life is to be lived and, so long as you don't purposely harm anyone, live it to the fullest. Having said that, there are two pieces of advice my mum and dad gave me and, if I live to be an old woman (considering I turn 35 on Monday 17th May that's just next week geez, 'old woman' status ain't that far away), I will remember them forever (much like you remember the first time you try to dye your hair black and instead it goes green - yes, I've done that).

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'The time to read is any time...

by tosca on Monday, May 10, 2010

...no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness.
~ Holbrook Jackson, 1874-1948, British journalist, publisher and writer

It's Monday so this is my 'On the shelf - what I'm reading' post. I've chosen a book out of our branch's 'smutty books bin.' This is my affectionate term for the racier books we have to put aside, i.e. out of reach of a particular customer (that we haven't yet been able to track) who likes to rip out the rudey parts. What possible joy they could get out of that I do not know - but it better be goddamned good, is all I can say. It better be life-threatening or life-healing to warrant such blatant destruction of a frickin' book. Yes, even the sexy ones!

So...here's just 1 title of the 20 or so that are currently taking up space on my desk/floor/table/counter/house/life/universe.

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'Men are like pumpkins...

by tosca on Saturday, May 8, 2010

It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they've had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon.'
- Author unknown

Was reading an article on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books website called 'Team Chest vs. Team Back' and it made me think...when did romance novels stop featuring actual faces of men? Sure the Harlequin Mills & Boon titles still do but others not so much. Is it so we women can shove any man - the post man (he comes rain, sleet or snow - wait, is that too much?), the butcher, the headmaster (complete with robes and a cane) in his place? So I wandered out among the shelves this morning yanking random books off (yes, my self-worth is enough that I don't fear looking demented on a daily basis) and eyeballing the covers. Headless. Is this how we prefer our men? Big, buff and oiled up and ready for action (any kind of action) with his flaming sword but with the appeal of being any man in the universe (and outerverse)? Hence the post quote - maybe, when it comes to romance covers, we want pumpkins with their innards scraped out. So, here's my book cover of the week, in honour of Team Chest (good story, too, although this isn't my fav from the series, but it was the one that was available at the time).

'The more I see of men...

by tosca on Thursday, May 6, 2010

...the more I admire dogs.'
- Author unknown.

Warning: Today's post, unlike Sesame Street, is not brought to you by the letters A, S and Y. No, ma'am. It's brought to you by a half-naked mantastic commercial totally lacking in intellectual depth and full of much humour. Much like me, really :)

My post quote is a total front - I'm so not an animal person. Animals and babies *shrugs* I don't get them. They're like...curiosities. When I see a baby half-naked my instinct is to cover it up. But the more I see of men half-naked, well, quite the reverse is true. How does that work? It's a conundrum (ok, no, it's really not) that I shall ponder (no, not really) until the end of my days (I'm asleep already). Those of you who follow my romance newsletter (in particular the May issue) will remember my candid intro:

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'A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it...

by tosca on Wednesday, May 5, 2010

...or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.'
~ Edward P. Morgan (1910 - 1993) American journalist & writer

Ordinarily this would be my day to post an oddball/funny book title but instead I'm going to post a top 5 list (which I also posted to our library website today).

In a weird conversation, which is actually quite usual for our family, my mother and I were trying to list our top 5 list of books that we thought had changed our lives. It was hard. We quickly discovered that you get lots of different things out of every book - so how realistic is it to narrow that to five? Mum, however, had no problems picking what she saw as 5 books that were pivotal in my childhood. Mum reckons there were 2 more that made an impact as runners up and they were:

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'The love of a family...

by tosca on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

...is life's greatest blessing.'
~ Author unknown

However irritating they might be! It's Tuesday which means this is a 'My family & other animals post' which is, of course, my chance to share something my family (siblings, parents, nephews & niece - none of them are safe) did/said that is totally worth repeating :) Pic is of Kalani, taken 3 years ago today. Whoa. Lots of chicken and taro later, he's filled out a bit more.

I'm a Doctor Who fanatic and, because they're over a lot, so are my nephews: Mr. 6 (Kalani), Mr. 11 (Jaxin) and Mr. 12 (Markhiem). The following is a conversation Kalani and I had on Sunday when introducing him to the concept of a new Doctor Who.

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'Lists are anti-democratic, discriminatory, elitist...

by tosca on Monday, May 3, 2010

..., and sometimes the print is too small.'
~ David Ives, 1950 - , American playwright.

It's Monday, which means this is my 'On the Shelf' post and is nothing more than a peek at what I'm reading right this minute. Not a romance novel, weirdly enough.

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'Monday is a lame way...

by tosca on Sunday, May 2, 2010

...to spend 1/7 of your life.'
~ Author unknown.

In prepration for 'the impending superbeing whose name I dare not speak' I was putting my cv together. You know how it goes, updating this, adding to that, when it suddenly occurred to me...my ideal job would be as the good Doctor's companion. How would my cv serve me then? What qualities would I need? Something like these, I reckon:

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'A dirty book...

by tosca on Saturday, May 1, 2010

...is rarely dusty.'
~ Author unknown.

The quote accompanying this post is true, I would say. Casting my mind back to school friend's who'd managed to locate their parents' stash of Penthouse magazines and brought them along to show the rest of it, equally as true for parents and their kids ;) But what if the book has a funny or silly title or cover? Is it likely to stay dusty then? Or does it fall under the point and laugh category? Like some men I know.

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