- Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck
First off, thanks for the lovely comments and well-wishes for my IUI. You guys really make this craptastic scenario more bearable. It went fine, but it was a little stressful in the morning due to super slow subways and a very crowded waiting room. We'll see what happens. As for Dad's scan results, it was a mixed bag, like most things in Cancer World. Long story short, they are changing his protocol, but I'm just really glad we still have a protocol we can switch to.
I swear I won't start every post with a book quote, but right now I keep finding ones I want to use that pertain to my posts. So, I started off 2013 with only one "resolution" and it was really more of a goal than a resolution. I wanted to read at least 52 books - one book for every week of the year. Last year I read around 48 or so, so I felt confident I could do it. Right now, I am at 42 books for the year, and I'm pretty sure I can knock out another ten before January 1, 2014 rolls around. I like to read all sorts of books. Fiction, non-fiction, genre fiction, it doesn't matter to me. If it tells an interesting story and has strong characterization, there's a good chance I will like it.
Last year, I discovered much to my surprise that I actually like high (or epic) fantasy as a genre. I had sort of always assumed that people who read high fantasy dressed up as wizards, played Dungeons & Dragons, and lived in their mom's basement. And if you do any of those things, I'm not judging, but it's just that I don't do any of those things and therefore thought I did not like high fantasy. But then I took a genre fiction class and I learned that "high fantasy" encompasses some of my very favorite books/series, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and A Song of Ice and Fire (aka, Game of Thrones). So once I realized that, I stopped shying away from high fantasy, and read some really great stuff, like Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I also read the first book in what is going to be a 6 or 7 book series called Throne of Glass (TOG) by Sarah J. Maas.
In TOG (side note - fans of fantasy love to abbreviate series names... See, e.g. HP, GoT, LOTR for all my above favorites), our heroine Celaena is serving a life sentence in a horrible salt mine. She's an assassin, but she was betrayed and caught and now she's probably going to die a slave in the salt mine. Except that a year into her servitude, she's offered the opportunity to compete for her freedom. The catch is that if she wins, she'll have to do the bidding of the a-hole despotic king who threw her in the salt mines in the first place. The first book is about the competition. It's super fun, populated with interesting characters and strong world-building. Even better, it has a heartfelt female friendship, which is sadly lacking in a lot of fantasy novels.
The sequel to TOG, called Crown of Midnight (COM) came out at the end of August and if you follow any book blogs or regularly read book reviews, you might have heard of it because it is getting baller reviews. I was super excited for COM, and I bought it right away and started reading it as soon as it was released. It's split into two parts and the first part is fabulous, romantic, swashbuckling, and if I hadn't already thought Celaena was a total badass with a wicked sense of humor, well, then COM just proved it. And then part one ends and something terrible happens. Don't worry, no spoilers. And I started part two and quickly became so upset that I had to put it down and I haven't been able to pick it up since!
It is a testament to Maas's skills as a writer that I was so wrapped up in her characters that I got upset, really upset, about stuff that was happening to them and how they were behaving. I would have arguments in my head with these characters. I know that I will pick up the book and finish it soon. But for now I just can't deal with the emotional turmoil! I told Wendy about this, and how I have been struggling to find a book that won't upset me during a time when I really need to be cheery, and she said it reminded her of when she read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (aka HP 5). So. True. It's just like that. Dark stuff is happening, our hero is acting like a brat, it's all just so hard to take, even though you know it makes sense in the context of the overall story arc.
Wendy said that when she was feeling the way I was feeling, she liked to go back and re-read old favorites. Normally I would be all over that, but see aforementioned book reading goal for the year - it needs to be new books that I haven't read yet. But after talking to Wendy, and remembering a comment Anne at The Second Bedroom had made about how much she loves to reread Harry Potter, I decided that it probably wouldn't really set me back on my book reading goal for the year if I let myself re-read an old favorite. To that end, I've picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (HP 1). It's my first time re-reading it in many years, and I'm so, so glad I did. There is something so comforting about reading a good book where you know the outcome. I don't know the outcome of this cycle, but I know how Harry Potter ends, and I need that comfort right now.
What are your go-to books that you return to when you need comfort and stability?