Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rainy day ponderings

It's still technically winter here in kiwi land. So while all of you are enjoying days by the pool, beach holidays and magnificent tans, we here in NZ are enjoying some wild variations on the weather that would make Dorothy shake her head in wonderment. Just in the last week we have had wind that had me trying to work out the probability of it turning into a hurricane and carrying away my beautiful house. Once I allowed that thought into my head, I of course started to think of some wicked witches I could land it on and steal their ruby slippers. But I'm not that fond of shoes, so I let the thought go.

Although it was incredibly windy, the sky was still blue and the sun shone through like a beacon. Laundry was washed and hung out to dry. An hour later it was able to be folded and put away. There are some benefits to the weather extremes.

And of course, as in most places, it's different across (or is up and down?) the country. My younger sister thinks she's tormenting me with how warm it is in Auckland. Still other people think I should feel sorry for them because it's cold further south. Sorry folks, I really don't.

Today, it's raining here. (I know, I know, I sound like one of those people who can't think of anything to discuss at a cocktail party so they resort to weather. I promise to get to the point soon!) As I sit here and look out my living room window at the rain pouring down, and listen to the sounds it makes as it hits our roof like a snare drum, I can't help but marvel at the beauty of it all. The grass is glistening with the raindrops and shining its 15 different shades of green. The trees are blowing in a gentle breeze and you can almost see everything sucking up the water into reserves to be used later as we move into Spring and Summer. Positively amazing.

(I think this is where I slowly get to my point)

One of the best side effects of the rain is the perceived inability to leave the house. It's raining? Oh well, I guess we're housebound today then. It's an unfair thing to attribute to the rain and yet we all do it. I'm as guilty of it as the next person although even I have been known to take the kids out to splash in the puddles.

Today though, we have succumbed to the rain. And it's fantastic. The spawnlets aren't at each other's throats and are instead playing well together. Boy spawn was given a Hot Wheels track for his birthday and they are experimenting with each of the three billion cars that he owns to see which will travel the fastest, slowest, best down the track. Girl spawn is enjoying her new CD player and blasting Hannah (gag) Montana at full volume while she writhes around her room singing off key but nevertheless enjoying herself. They have spent the morning (while Hotty Hubby and I pretended we were still sleeping) making up games and acting out scenes from what I can only imagine are their lives in a parallel universe. There has been laughter and imagination, shouts of amazement and many a jubilant "hurrah!". For once, there has been no demands to veg out in front of the tv (helped along of course by the fact that we currently only have four not very good channels).

More than anything though, they have been reading. (Aha! My point!) Since I was a child, I have been witness to my mother curled up with a book more often than not. This is something my own children have been party to. Can't find mum? She's probably reading in a corner somewhere. (Not that I hide from my children often....just every second day.) And because of this passion for reading that the people in my family seem to have etched into our very genes, my spawn have developed their own love of the written word.

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~James Bryce

Girl spawn, now 7, can read to herself. She devours books as if they were a lifeline thrown out to a drowning man or water offered to someone who just spent weeks crossing the dessert. She long ago graduated from the simple picture books with few words to ones where she has to use her own imagination a little bit more. Boy spawn, only 5, is just learning the sounds that the letters make and how to put them all together. But still at bedtime he will happily curl up with a book until he is "all done read-ING!" and settles into a deep sleep. The rain has sent them scurrying for their bean bags to read. To each other, to us and in their cute little heads.

When I met Hotty Hubby, he rarely read anything beside a Dungeons & Dragons book or the tv guide. Now, he is as likely as anyone to be caught with his nose deep into the fantasy worlds portrayed in the novels he so loves.

I think it is obvious to most people how I feel about words. Writing them or reading them, I love them all equally. I have read the classics and the "difficult" ones like War & Peace (good book, I highly recommend it!). The "deeper" the book, the more engrossed I found myself. Then, I started working nights and suddenly had no energy for the intricate books. Instead I moved back into my old habits of the murder mysteries and vampire books. They were good, they allowed me to read, but they were easy. Too easy. As entertaining as they were, I craved something more. Sadly, it was that something more that I could not have because of my tired brain.

Nor could I continue to add to my own books. Although for years I have attempted to write my own novel, it never gets there. After the spawnlets made their appearance, I turned to children's books. No luck.

If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

I no long work nights. I am slowly moving back to reading books with a little more substance. Sure, I still throw a few mindless crap books in there - you need to even out the work after all. But it's the substance I want. I started to put together a list of books I wanted to read. As I was doing this, I noticed a book list in the sidebar of Playgroups Are No Place For Children. I added them to my list. Then I found this and this and my list has evolved to be over 100 books long. I have no idea how long it will take me to read them all. But I still need more. I am craving book titles to add to my ever expanding list.

So (and maybe this is really my point?), I need you all to leave a comment with some of your favourite book titles. And if you put anything vampirish (that includes it multiple times, don't need to again), I will find you and make you watch Lambchops sing-a-long over and over again.

Over to you now my friends. I know someone out there has some awesome book titles to throw my way.

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  1. Dear angels in Heaven... do you really want me to start posting the titles of books I've read and loved? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Where would I start?!
    Anything by Jennifer Wiener, Rosemary Wells, Douglas Coupland, Phillipa Gregory (except that WW2 one, was SAD and icky), Tamora Pierce.
    I've also enjoyed the "Rogue Angel" series, it's fluff, but she's like that Tomb Raider chick.

  2. There are so many books I love. I read The Shadow of the Wind while in Hawaii a couple weeks ago. I really enjoyed it. The Wednesday Sisters is good. The Pillars of the Earth and it's sequel World Without End are fabulous. Water for Elephants is a favorite too.

    I could go on and on and on! : )

  3. I love the Terry Pratchett Disk World series. They aren't serious, but they aren't too silly either. :)

    He also has a book with Neil Gaiman called Good Omens which is one of my favorites.

    As for more serious books, the only non-fiction I read are science textbooks or science papers.

  4. Hello Maggie ;) Ginger Rug here, lurker no more!!!!!

    My list for you is

    Lovely Bones-Alice Sebold
    Tuesdays with Morrie-Mitch Albom
    5 People you Meet in Heaven-Mitch Albom
    She's Come Undone-Wally Lamb
    I Know This Much is True-Wally Lamb

    and a super funny one that I honestly could almost hear you laughing with me as I read it myself
    Twenties Girl-Sophie Kinsella.

    Enjoy, let me know of any good ones you have found as well!

  5. Oh so I shouldn't mention the three book series by Nora Roberts about vampires? ok, I won't. But I love her and it's really good.
    I have read a number of Jodi Picoult books, like 19 minutes. They are freakin' intense, but she's an amazing writer.
    In between military history stuff this past spring I read Wally's Lambs "The Hour I First Believed." Gripping...well worth it.
    And I loved hearing you talk about the rain, btw, because I've got no freakin' idea what it is like in NZ so I am absorbing all your info!

  6. I really like the C.J. Sansom books I'm reading just now. Also, I loved the Baroque trilogy by Neal Stephenson.

  7. Ok, I won't recommend Christopher Moore's vampire books because I REALLY hate Lamb-chop. However, his books "Fluke" and "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" are so worth the read. LOL funny and poignant, too. "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini will REALLY make you think.


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