2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 1 book toward her goal of 285 books.

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

A Random Homage to Greatness. Or a Great Homage to Randomness. Or Maybe Just Randomness.

So I’m trying to get back into writing these regularly, I really am – as a part of that, I’m making myself write even when I’m not sure what to write about. As I understand it, this is pretty much what writers do all the time (teehee), so I’m in good company. That’s comforting to say the very least. But while an author working on a book/story may not know what to write about in any given day, he has the luxury of never showing anyone the words he wrote on said given day. A blog, by definition, gets posted – which means when I don’t know what to say, you all (however small that number may be!) get to bear witness. Lucky me. And lucky you, teehee, since you’re stuck with whatever randomness happens to be in my head the same way I am as a result…

Today my headspace is full of a bunch of exceedingly random things – as usual. Featured headliners:

  • sick Step-Daughter (strep, eek),
  • a pending third-birthday party for Toddler Daughter and her myriad changing interests (at the moment she has no less than five FAVORITEST things, all of which she wants represented in copious and impossible quantities: a light up Barbie Mermaid, Play-Doh “cooker” things, Blaze and the Monster Machines, “fixer” tools, and Ben and Holly and the Wise Old Elf),
  • whether Crock-Pot will *ever* have my replacement stoneware pot in stock, [** see block quote at the end for something interesting]
  • why I routinely fall for Groupons – you know what I mean, the deal is great, la la la, UNTIL you go to redeem it and discover the previously unmentioned $25 minimum/$15 shipping/not redeemable on the day you want to go caveat,
  • the re-release of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods with TWELVE THOUSAND extra words (“hooray!!” and “how in the name of creation does he do it?!” simultaneously),
  • why in the name of all that is holy children’s television people announce a new episode TEN FREAKING DAYS before they air it (have they never MET a toddler?? “Mommy is it on yet?” is not exactly a soothing question when utter in a high-pitched child-whine on a perma-loop for over a week), and
  • why – DESPITE my presence on the DoNotCall list – I continue to receive an unconscionable number of calls asking for money.

And that’s just the top-of-list list.  There are a zillion more lurkers, trust me.  My headspace is like the bulletin board at the supermarket – full of layer upon layer of local business cards, lost dog flyers, and unredeemable coupons…

I’m going to focus on the Neil Gaiman bit today though. I know, I know – you were DYING to hear more about my gripes with Crock-Pot and Groupon, teehee, but you’ll have to wait until later to hear about those.  Just like The Husband.  Still, the amazing Mr. Gaiman wins out.

I got an email from GoodReads today announcing a new ebook deal on the re-release of American Gods.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love GoodReads??  Because I do. I have kept track of my own reading for years and years, using unwieldy (for me) Excel spreadsheets (I’m no computer wizard, teehee).  Then whiz-bang, GR comes along – they keep track for me, allow easy searches across years, let me keep track of what I’ve read and when… It’s amazing.  On top of that, it lets you link to other readers and their recommendations/thoughts on what you are reading/should read.  It’s like having an untold number of like-minded readers browsing with you.  And as if that wasn’t enough, they do giveaways and notifications when authors you like have new books or new deals.  I think it’s brilliant.  I even applied for a job there a while ago – they sent around an email that they were looking for people to join their company, for the express purpose of answering questions about books.  SERIOUSLY.  My dream job much?!  It was right after Toddler Daughter was born though, and I couldn’t commit to full-time, off-hours, from-home work with a one-month-old.  I know people do it every day, but it wouldn’t have worked for me at the time, trust me.  I wanted it to, but the fit wasn’t there, and unfortunately I’ve never seen the opening again… (Sidebar: If you’re from GoodReads, pleasepleaseplease feel free to call/write!)

Anyway, the email came.  (See what happened there?  I got sidetracked.  Happens on a scarily frequent basis.  Sorry…but don’t be surprised to see it time and again.)  I followed the link and read the new intro and note on the text from the author.  It was there that I saw that this edition has twelve thousand more words than the paperback I’ve been toting around for years, and that he considers this longer version the *true* version.  So of course I promptly ordered it. I can’t wait to read it, la la la.

My point isn’t that he’s great because I got a new, longer version of a book I love.  It’s that this man, this amazing and prolific and incredibly bizarrely uniquely talented writer (note the abundance of adverbs – perhaps THIS is why I’m not Gaimanesque…), has not only written an amazing story – he’s written two freaking versions that are thousands and thousands of words different and yet both fantastic.  How does he do that??  He comes out with new stuff all the time, writes a GREAT blog, travels and works on tie-ins and public/conference speaks…  I can’t manage BLOG POSTS a couple of times a week; he says so many widely disparate yet interesting things to say that he finds multiple ways to say them thousands of words apart!  I’ve got so much respect for that.  It’s like Jonathan Carroll, or Robert J. Sawyer – other major favorites.  Speaking of which – have you seen the newest RJS, Quantum Night??  Here’s a guy who makes quantum freaking physics accessible.  And not only accessible – exciting and interesting and terrifying and uplifting.  This new one has way  more violence than I’ve come to expect – although given the topic is psychopathy, I guess that’s de rigeur – but is still A-Mazing.  And Jonathan Carroll – like the others, he’s been writing for decade upon decade and the oldest books (like The Land of Laughs – holy incredible story telling with an unbelievable ending!) are some of the most relevant feeling…

How do these guys (and it’s not just guys, they just happen to be top of mind because I’m currently reading/have read them all recently).  I have stories in my head, but can’t seem to translate them without major effort – frequently of the “too much to deal with at the moment, let’s break for a House of Cards binge!” kind.  Yet these guys have staying power and longevity and write copious quantities of words without ever feeling like they’re repeating themselves.  It’s a gift, truly, and a sign of greatness.  Thank you to all of them , and to all the others who manage to take their crazy-ass headspace and translate (transcribe?) it for the rest of us – there are, after all, there are only so many episodes of House of Cards… 😉

**NB in December 2017 – I was just contacted by a delightful person at JenReviews who offers this helpful and informative piece on crock-pots vs. slow-cookers. Take a look – and then poke around. In the spirit in which my post was originally written, there’s some other random – and extremely interesting – stuff to read… 😉

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