Saturday, October 11, 2008

Balance, Bull-Fighters, and what should I read?

Someone had an awesome post about balance, and I'm sorry, I thought I bookmarked it, but I can't find it. Please let me know and I'll link to it. I'm embarrassed, because it brought up some great points about finding one's balance.

I keep trying to cram everything I love into every day, to live the perfectly balanced day. But maybe I need to take a longer view: to live the perfectly balanced week, or month, or maybe even year.

I've been reading like mad. Obsessively. Everything. I'm currently in the middle of (no kidding): Shakespeare's Sonnets, Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (which hardly counts as I've been reading it over and over this year), Charles Dickens' Hard Times, Mark Terry's Angels Falling, Mary Reed and Eric Mayer's Two for Joy Johann Goethe's Die Leiden des jungen Werther (relying more on memory than reading it; my German is rusty), Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Not to mention a bunch of wonderful unmentionables. ;-)

I've never read Hemingway. I was completely surprised it's good. No one ever told me he was a good writer. I just heard he supposedly portrayed women badly and that he killed himself and that he was depressed.

I didn't expect to be met with a character who just turned thirty-five (like me!) and who wants to take his life's bull by the horns (like me!). I didn't expect this awesome quote:

"Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters."

I could read forever. I have a hundred other books piled up on my Kindle, just waiting to be read. I'm also dying to write, but I can't stop reading. It's terrible.

But as far as balance goes, why not spend a month obsessively reading? Then a couple months obsessively writing? And just alternate? I've never tried that.

How do you balance your life? By day? Week? Month? Year? How do you balance reading and writing?

I sure wish I could read faster. I feel like I've missed too many books I should have read.

Will you give me a few ideas? What must I read? What can't I go another year without reading? What books do you read again and again? What are the best books you've ever read in your who life?

I'm not picky about genre at all. Which reminds me: I haven't finished The Stand. Just let me click a few buttons on my Kindle...

37 bonus scribbles:

Heather Harper 10/11/2008 11:42:00 PM  

My faves are To Kill A Mockingbird and Chocolat. I would love to read (and finish) East of Eden, but I feel drugged and unfocused after a few chapters. His prose is mesmerizing to the point of disctraction for me.

spyscribbler 10/12/2008 10:04:00 AM  

Heather, I have to confess I love the movie Chocolat better than the book. Johnny Depp, you know, and the happy ending. God, is he sexy.

I remember trying to read East of Eden once. We might have had to read it high school, but I think I didn't. I'm putting it on my Kindle now! (tee-hee!)

Edie 10/12/2008 10:42:00 AM  

Probably the only two books I've read again and again (except for Dr. Seuss) are Little Women and Pride and Prejudice. Even those two, it's been awhile. I like to read new books. There are so many to read!

I've never read Hemingway either. I should give it a shot.

But you asked for recommendations. Since you're interested in taking life by the horns, I recommend this book.

Aimless Writer 10/12/2008 11:40:00 AM  

I have no balance. I rock from side to side as the wind blows.
I just got The Sun also Rises ...which I'm ashamed to say I've never read. I've suddenly got a hankering for the old classics. I don't know why.
I've been ignoring my WIP lately. Other things have been getting in the way. And I'm having some shoulder pain again...a sure way to send me into excuse-land.

Melanie Avila 10/12/2008 11:58:00 AM  

Spy, HOW do you keep all the stories straight in your head? I cannot read more than one book at a time or I start to get all the characters mixed up. I say you finish out this month reading, then get on a more balanced schedule.

Someone recommended The Sun Also Rises to me last year. I've never read Hemmingway either and I was this close to buying it last month while I was home. Let me know what you think (besides what you've already said).

I just finished Whitethorn by Bryce Courtenay and was surprised at how much I liked it. My friend's mom loaned it to me so I had zero expectations, but it's a goodie.

spyscribbler 10/12/2008 11:59:00 AM  

Love it, Edie! But I'm so bummed: no Dr. Seuss for the Kindle yet! :-(

I loved Little Women. I loved Rose in Bloom, Little Men and Jo's Boys, too, and there are quite a few of her books I've never read. I've downloaded samples!

spyscribbler 10/12/2008 12:00:00 PM  

Aimless, ME too! What is up with that? I haven't touched the classics since college. Now I can't get enough of them.

I hope your shoulder feels better soon!

Stewart Sternberg 10/12/2008 12:26:00 PM  

Time. I wish I were thirty. How do I balance my time? I don't, it balances me. And sometimes it drops me on my ass.

One thing I do is force myself to write each day. No matter what. It takes precedence over everything else. Even if it's not about publishing, it's certainly about mental health.

Travis Erwin 10/12/2008 04:35:00 PM  

I've always enjoyed reading Hemingway.

lainey bancroft 10/12/2008 04:39:00 PM  

Balance? What's that? I used to keep a military schedule that made me think I had some balance, but lately I think I'm reverting to a little kid. I let my mood rule. I do things when I 'feel' like doing them.

Which makes it perfectly logical that I'm all over Edie's book choice. And while you're there, don't miss his "How Lucky You Are"!

Hmm, have you read Ann-Marie MacDonald's 'Fall On Your Knees'? It isn't new but it isn't old enough to be a classic. It isn't Kindle available either. But I did love it! Her 'The Way the Crow Flies' (based on a true story) is Kindle and it was also well worth the read. She...I dunno...has a skill for building the whole world and putting you right there' at the table' with the characters that I want soooo badly to have!

Robin 10/12/2008 08:46:00 PM  

Oh, Spy, your life seems in great balance to me! I have weird favorite books. I love the "Anne of Green Gables" series (all 5 billion of them), I've read Tolkien's books 8 times, and now I'm sort of obsessed with Garth Nix's Abhorsen series. I gave them to my dad to read and he's ga ga over them, too. If you read my dad's comments in my newest blog, you'll see why. My parents couldn't have normal babies, so they cloned my dad, and switched an X for a Y chromosome. They were before their time.

Rick 10/13/2008 12:27:00 AM  

I don't know, but it sounds like to me that you've got you're living your life as good as any bullfighter. If you'd like to read some interesting word poetry, may I suggest James Lee Burke's work, especially "Black Cherry Blues."

Have fun!

spyscribbler 10/13/2008 08:19:00 AM  

Hey, Melanie! Are you dry, LOL? Well, I was loving Hemingway, but then he just started following a boring story line. So we'll see if it picks up again.

I can't find Courtenay on the Kindle. :-( I pressed the little button on Amazon that sends a message to the publisher, begging them to make the title available for the Kindle.

I'm not sure how I keep them straight, LOL. It does take me a page or two to get back in the groove. I can never remember names in the first place, so it's not a big deal to not remember a few or a lot, LOL.

spyscribbler 10/13/2008 08:21:00 AM  

Stewart, it drops me on my ass often. :-) I usually write every day. Right now, I'm kind of enjoying this I'm-going-to-go-crazy-if-I-don't-write feeling. It sort of makes the fire burn brighter. I'm dying to get back to it, but at the same time, I'm loving reading!

spyscribbler 10/13/2008 08:22:00 AM  

Travis, I've hit a bit of a boring spot, but I'm hoping it will pass!

spyscribbler 10/13/2008 08:26:00 AM  

Lainey, I wish I could keep a schedule! Schedules do make me happier and healthier, but trying to keep me on one is a near impossibility.

I haven't read it, but I just requested it be made available for Kindle, and I downloaded The Way the Crow Flies. Wow... Oprah hasn't picked a woman in ages for her book club. That really gets under my skin. I think the last 18 picks have been men or something.

spyscribbler 10/13/2008 08:28:00 AM  

Robin, I love Tolkien and Anne of Green Gables! Does that make us bosom friends? :-)

I've downloaded the trilogy for Garth Nix. I've never heard of him before. This Across the Wall... is that related to the trilogy?

spyscribbler 10/13/2008 08:32:00 AM  

Rick, I've requested that be made available for the Kindle. In the meantime, I've downloaded the sample from Swan Peak. I'm looking forward to checking it out!

Melanie Avila 10/13/2008 12:25:00 PM  

Spy, I just ordered The Sun Also Rises, and NOW you tell me it's getting boring? LOL. I decided to order the '09 Writer's Market and I got free shipping with a second purchase so... Hemingway. :) I have a friend coming to visit in less than two weeks (!!!) so she'll be my international courier.

Eric Mayer,  10/13/2008 01:22:00 PM  

Wow, so you were game for a second of those mysteries! I haven't balanced reading with writing well at all. Since Mary and I started on the novels I hardly read. My former reading time I spend writing. I did read a few books this year I hadn't read before though, like Crime and Punishment. I should spend less time messing around on the Internet. I do have a problem though in that when I read much my own efforts seem pathetic!

Ello 10/13/2008 01:54:00 PM  

Balance is very hard to maintain - but you have an interesting type of balance - obsessively read one month, obsessively write another. That definitely is a form of balance! Hey whatever works for you!

Have you read Amy Mackinnon's Tethered? Gripping!!!

StarvingWriteNow 10/13/2008 05:20:00 PM  

I'm always breathless when I read Hemingway. I like his style. I just finished Company of Liars by Karen Maitland. Historical fiction, plague days... I really liked it.

Robin 10/13/2008 06:07:00 PM  

Spy: Across the Wall is a book of short stories he wrote after the trilogy. Don't read it yet!

The 3 books of trilogy are Abhorsen, Lireal, and Sabriel.

Phew! I'm so glad I caught you!

Robin 10/13/2008 08:41:00 PM  

Ha! Definitely "bosom friends". Spy, I forgot to thank you for recommending "The Unit". I downloaded Season 1 on my i pod, and watched it on the train to Boston. It was soooo great! I was in heaven. I literally kept thinking, "What a great life I have!" I didn't even think that on my wedding day!

J.K. Mahal 10/13/2008 10:12:00 PM  

I obsessively reread books, everything from Dick Francis novels to Nora Roberts to Little Women and the catalog of Jane Austen.

But for sheerly beautiful writing, there are two books I love: A Room with a View and The English Patient. The language is sublime.


Avery DeBow 10/14/2008 03:11:00 PM  

I don't balance well. That's why I've been a non-entity online and at my computer for the past few months. I'm a one-task-focuser.

You know the one book I always read, The Mists of Avalon. I read the Harry Potter books for comfort, and A Little Princess and The Once and Future King for nostalgia.

R.J. Keller 10/14/2008 04:36:00 PM  

Get your hands on "The Book Thief" if you haven't already done so.

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 04:57:00 PM  

Melanie, I haven't read on yet, but hopefully it gets better. We'll see!

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 05:00:00 PM  

Eric, I downloaded that! My best friend loves Crime and Punishment. I remember her raving about it in high school, but I think I skipped reading it. (I was never real good about reading stuff I had to read.)

And of course I was up for another one! They have 1, 2, and 4 for the Kindle. I clicked all the buttons for the other ones that said, "Let publisher know you'd like this available for the Kindle."

Hopefully they'll make it available!

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 05:04:00 PM  

Ello, I haven't read that one, and it's not available for the Kindle yet. :-( It looks good, and I've requested it!

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 05:10:00 PM  

Writenow, really? Okay, I gotta get back to that book. A few remarks took my breath away, but it's at a dull spot.

I'm bummed! Company of Liars isn't available either! I requested it. Don't tell me all the good books aren't available yet!

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 05:12:00 PM  

Got it, Robin! I'll read the trilogy that much faster, because I love short stories.

The Unit is awesome this season! I'm loving this new story.

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 05:15:00 PM  

Jen, I just downloaded A Room With A View! I'm not much of a rereader, but I'm trying. There is just so much I'm dying to read! I don't know how I'll get to it all before I die.

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 05:17:00 PM  

Avery, I totally get that! All of those choices. Although, I've never read the Once and Future King. I'll have to get that one, because I've been meaning to read it for at least twenty years. Isn't that crazy???

spyscribbler 10/14/2008 05:20:00 PM  

Done, R.J.! Another one I've been meaning to read.

LaDonna 10/15/2008 11:09:00 AM  

Hey Spy, sheesh I thought I'd commented, nothing like being late.

Let's see, I'm reading The Secret Life of Bees and loving it! So glad it's headed for the big screen. Southern writing, and so beautiful.

Melanie Avila 10/15/2008 11:12:00 AM  

Spyyyyyyyyyyy, where ARE you? I need my fix!