The Middle Place

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Today's book was suggested by ParenthoodForMe.

And I've had another book-related suggestion from CrazyChris. Yesterday I asked if anyone wanted to guess how many books are in my to-read stack and CrazyChris suggested that I put up a picture of the to-read stacks, a sort of "Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar" game.

So, as requested, here are a few pictures (I hope you enjoy the pictures because it took me an hour and a half to move the to-read stacks over to where the light was better for taking pictures, arrange the books, take the pictures, search for the cord to the camera so I could put the pictures on the computer, realize I couldn't find the cord, take the pictures again with a different camera, and then post them on here):

Here's a picture of the to-read stacks from the front.

And here they are from the sides.

Today's book, "She was still undergoing treatment when she learned that her beloved father, who'd already survived prostate cancer, now had bladder cancer. Corrigan's story could have been unbearably depressing had she not made it clear from the start that she came from sturdy stock. Growing up, she loved hearing her father boom out his morning HELLO WORLD dialogue with the universe, so his kids would feel like the world wasn't just a safe place but was even rooting for you. As Corrigan reports on her cancer treatment—the chemo, the surgery, the radiation—she weaves in the story of how it felt growing up in a big, suburban Philadelphia family with her larger-than-life father and her steady-loving mother and brothers. She tells how she met her husband, how she gave birth to her daughters. All these stories lead up to where she is now, in that middle place, being someone's child, but also having children of her own. Those learning to accept their own adulthood might find strength—and humor—in Corrigan's feisty memoir."

Today's book is one that I probably wouldn't have chosen to read on my own because the description made it sound rather depressing. But I'm very glad that it was suggested because it turned out to be a really good book, and not depressing at all. There were definitely sad parts, but with enough humor and lighthearted moments thrown in to keep me from feeling like I was in the pit of despair while reading it. I enjoyed the way the book switched back and forth between the present day and moments in the author's past - books like that are easier to read in one day because I don't feel as much like I'm trudging my way through a long book, I feel more like I'm reading a series of short stories.

My only complaint about the book wasn't about the story itself - it's more of a publishing company-related beef. About every twenty pages there is half a page where the letters aren't terribly clear - it looks as if the page was printed up twice with the words being set a fraction of a centimeter higher on the second printing, which creates the effect that the words are somewhat blurry. For a moment there I was thinking I needed to have a serious chat with my eye doctor about how he screwed up my prescription - but then I realized it was the book and not me (oh how I love it when a problem turns out to be the fault of an inanimate object instead of my own shortcomings.) I'm very glad that the problem only happened on some of the pages or I think I would have ended up with a huge headache.

Reading about the author's high school prom made me so happy I wasn't a teenage in the 80s. Thank goodness I don't have any pictures of myself with big hair and blue eyeshadow at a cheesy 80s prom. Now it's true there are those heinous pictures of me wearing spandex Capri pants under a giant multi-colored pastel sweater - but I was only 10 can't be help responsible for my fashion choices. And then of course there are those embarrassing pictures of me wearing a New Kids on the Block t-shirt, which was a band I didn't even listen too, but I wore the t-shirt anyway because I wanted to look cool (oh the irony). Then there were the experiments with crimped hair, the fluorescent hair scrunchies, the white Keds worn with socks that coordinated with whatever shirt I happened to be wearing that day, the plaid shirt that I wore a couple of times because it was just like the one Mariah Carey wore in one of her music videos, all those times when I used pink sponge curlers to try to make my hair look like Nellie Olsens (shockingly enough that was a look only I sported - the trend I tried to start just never caught on.) On second thought, maybe it was such as bad as if I had been a teenager then.

I don't know why I've been in such an 80s mood lately - perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me that I need to watch more 80s TV. I think I'll have to remedy this situation by watching an episode of Dallas - that is, after I've put all of the to-read stacks back where they were.