Sunday, March 13, 2005

Not a Busy Weekend

Tomorrow is Pi Day (3/14), and being a math-based business, we celebrate. There are actually very few math geeks in my office--many more grammar geeks--but there's no dessert-based quasi-holiday centering around grammar, so we get behind Pi. I made strawberry pie.

I finished two books this weekend--my first Ursula LeGuin, Gifts. I've read a novella of hers, called Solitude, which was excellent, and I liked Gifts as well. She has a deft touch at worldbuilding--she captures the depth of reality without giving you more than you need to know; she creates a place where you know and believe that people live these lives even after you, the reader, stop paying attention. The story itself is fairly standard and low-key, and it's much more about the experience of a certain life and its implications.

And Baggage, which was somewhere between drama and chick lit. It doesn't quite come together the way you'd expect it to. She's on the run, she's about to get found out...mostly it's about dealing with a media hubbub, but the first half is so much lead-up that you expect the end to be a little more pointed. It was definitely a fun read, though, with a lot of funny moments, especially about pregnancy and in-laws, and a lot of interesting characterization. A woman who changed herself to someone else, personality-wise, to escape, but who finds weird bits of the old person lying around. But she's not crazy, or evil, or anything. She just does thing in the most complicated way possible.

Anyway, I'm diving into the tough stuff now--Gilead and Black Water. The latter is short but, being Joyce Carol Oates, requires brain-power. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Too Busy

Work is such hard work! This weekend was great, in that I did almost nothing, but I find it frustrating when, after running myself ragged, I get bored and restless with just sitting around on the weekends. I want to sit around--I ache to sit around more. I read most of a book on Saturday, which is great. But still, a little antsy.

Anyway, I finished Protecting the Gift, which is about turning fear into a tool for detecting and preventing danger to your children, instead of letting it turn into worry or panic, or trying to ignore it as irrational. It was a pretty good book, entertaining and interesting in its assumptions about how the human mind works. I think he's far too dismissive of people's tendencies to worry too much or about the wrong thing. He acknowledges this, but then he seems to think his book's going to solve it. Giving someone the right things to worry about doesn't necessary squelch their concerns about the wrong things.

I'm too anxious and busy to write anymore. Hopefully I'll remember to bring my book to read on the T tomorrow.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Sad Surrender

I have rarely been this busy or stressed. Last summer was a bad one, work-wise, and was pretty consistantly awful, but for most of the time, it was just a pervasive sense of grinding despair, and you slogged along through the mud, dragging your metaphorical pick-axe behind you. This is frenetic, rushing and jittering, working like a woman with a caffine addiction and possibly a cocaine addiction, when I never indulge in either. I am unable to concentrate on work because of other work that is distracting me.

And what this means is that I have a big sloggy pile of mush between my ears. And what that means is that I'm having terrible time concentrating on the beautiful, slow, thoughtful and spiritual book I'm trying to read. Gilead needs attention and thoughts. I just can't do it. I'm so sorry, Renegade folks. I'm sorry for myself, too, because I was so excited to read this book.

Instead I'm reading Baggage, which is definitely chick lit (picture of a woman's torso wearing jeans and a pink shirt that exposes her belly button on the cover. totally unrelated to the story, except possibly the focus on the belly relating to the fact that the main character is pregnant; seems like a stretch). That's on the T--at my bedside I'm reading Protecting the Gift, which is by the author of The Gift of Fear and is about raising children who trust their instincts and can protect themselves from danger. Really I just thought his first book was interesting, and this was the other one he wrote; I'm reading it to recapture the pleasure of the first one. He also wrote one about terrorism, but I'm skeptical about reading it.

Oh, and I just finished 84, Charing Cross Road, a charming little compilation of 20 years of letters between a funny lady in NewYork and the London bookshop where she orders all her books, starting right after WWII. It was just so funny and sweet and you wish you could meet all those people and be that clever. It is a perfect example of Lynne's whole person that she would know about this book, love it, and lend it to me.

And I borrowed Middlesex and Black Water (from Beth and Jo, respectively) last night. I'm excited to read both of those, too, though I hope work unwinds soon, because I could use more energy and attention for the things that are really important.