Sunday, May 27, 2007

is it possible to give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome in one afternoon?

It was supposed to be a 10 minute job.

I'm just going to trim those dead branches off the hawthorn, I said. But naturally while I was in there, I noticed all the dead branches on the row of spruce trees flanking the hawthorn. And that's when my OCD kicked into overdrive. Some of those suckers were a good two inches in diameter and well above my head. Factor into that standing wedged between the branches of the ajoining tree (somebody planted those babies far too close together), with your hair caught on another branch and a hawthorn threatening to take your eye out, you don't really take the time to practice good muscular health.

But two hours of that takes its toll. Do you know that exercise you do where you stand in a doorway and press your arms against the frame and then when you step out, your arms rise into the air of their own volition? That's what my forearms and wrists are still doing this morning.

But now I've got a good excuse to start in on my summer reading list today. I'll be joining Karen, Beth, Krista, and Wandering Coyote in posting a list of books this summer. Some of these fine folks are planning on 20 or 30 books, but I'm sticking to five because, much as I have fantasies of spending the summer lounging in a chair with a pile of books, deep down I know that's not going to happen. I keep forgetting that I have to go to work.

Here are the books I aim to complete by midnight Labour Day:
Twelve Sharp - Janet Evanovich
Unless - Carole Shields
Blindness - Jose Saramago
Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling
bonus book: I will buy myself a new pair of shoes if I complete a sixth book in the alloted time

See? Everybody wins! Do you want to join in? Place your list on your sidebar and keep us posted.
Other bookish activity has John Mutford continuing his valiant efforts to put a regular joe (himself) on the CBC Canada Reads book panel. If you would like to support this and have a Facebook account, you can join the "Put John Mutford on the Air" community. He's looking for 1000 supporters and had over 400 by yesterday evening. It's what all the cool kids are doing.
Karl Brännström has some new "book art" uploaded. These are very imaginative and evocative pieces made from the pages of an old book, called Snäckhuset by Edit Unnerstad. Do take a look.
"Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"
If you have read P.D. James' fascinating and powerful novel The Children of Men, and you are determined to see the film on which this was based, bear in mind that these are completely different stories. Really only the germ of the idea is maintained from book to screen. Characters are combined, plotlines are changed, it is virtually unrecognizable.

The film is unrelentingly grim, and works well enough as an apocalyptic thriller, but has none of the nuances of the novel.

Watch it if, like me, you feel you must, but ultimately I would recommend that you read the book.


K.B said...

If you have not already read it you should read Jpod by Douglas Coupland. It's his best book and it feels like an extension of Microserfs...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have indeed read jPod, KB, and you are right, it does rather feel like an extension of Microserfs (which is one of my favourite books), but clever as it was, it just seemed to be lacking in soul somehow, compared to Microserfs. And maybe that was the whole idea, given the themes of the novel. Still a very fun book to read.

Allison said...

I think that's a great idea to stick with 5 books, I shall have to play along and add it to be sidebar. I'm halfway through Blindness and need to just stick with it and finish it off, as it started out so well.

Thanks for the links to the art as well, I'm going to go and check out everything fully now, I loved some of those paintings you posted a few weeks past. He is a truly unique artist.

John Mutford said...

Hey, I've actually read 3 of those. Trainspotting was a fun read. I had to devise a way to understand the thick Scottish accents, but once I got that, it was good. (Basically, I sped read. Debbie found reading it aloud worked for her.)

And I'm so sick of hearing about that John Mutford guy!


mellowlee said...

Hey Barb :O) I joined the Put JM on the air, and also visited the art site. I love the book art! So Unique! Ok, Im going back to being a lazy couch potato heehee XOX

Dale said...

John Who? What a guy. I hope it works. I'm eager for your eventual review of Blindness. I've surprised myself with almost finishing 3 books in a short span of time. Maybe I'm back on track. Piles of them waiting for me. Including JPod.

Toccata said...

Incorporating a system of rewards into your book reading, very clever. Do you have to say before hand which books you are going to read?

I would take one look at all the dead branches and say, "Forget it nature can figure it out on its own." Luckily for me the girl below loves to garden and is transforming this place into a little garden oasis.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I really like Karl's art too, Al. And I am quite excited when he uploads new works.
I was going to list more books, but those Harry Potter ones are always really long, so I figured I'd better reign in a bit. Besides I never know what is going to be available at the library and if I put something on hold, it always comes in just after I've started another book.

How can you possibly get sick of that John Mutford dude, John? He's boffo!
That Scottish dialogue is going to be challenging to read, but Eva managed a few years ago, so if I have to read aloud to understand it, so be it.

Mel, you have earned that couch potatoness, after all that hard work joning a facebook community and looking at art.
Don't you love weekends when those things count as work?

We all thought you were playing Wii, Dale! You were reading books! Well now I am doubly inspired and may even try for that magical sixth because mama could sure use a new pair of shoes.
I'll be sure to let you know if I find Blindness as great as that John Mutford guy did.

Karen tells me there are no hard fast rules for the book reading challenge, Toccata. So whatever works for you, go for it!
I try to incorporate rewards into every aspect of my life, it seems. You should see what I have to promise myself to get me to exercise.
I tried that nature will prevail talk for too many years, and it was finally time when I had to admit that nature wasn't prevailing.

Anonymous said...

stupid yards...i'm having back spasms after moving a 6' high rododendron and edging and spreading bark mulch..I should buy a condo..

Serah said...

Oh if only I had the time to read so many books. If I could read the books I have been meaning to read, my list would include:
And the latest Dave Eggers book which was only available in hardcover when I went to purchase it. I would have gotten it then but I had already decided that I was more willing to put out for the hard cover of Chuck Klosterman's - A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas.

I have read 1 and 3/4 books this year so far. It would be 2 but I forgot "You Shall Know Your Velocity- Dave Egger" (soft cover choice instead of the hard cover of the newest one) at my mom's and have yet to retrieve it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm starting to think this gardening crap is for the youngsters, Kelly. I've though that way about window washing for years.

You're halfway there, Serah! You've already picked some books you want to read; you could just do a really short list if you want.
I plan to give up exercising to make time to read.

K.B said...

I liked both Microserfs and Jpod alot. Both of them left me wanting to spend more time in those worlds with those characters. They could have been endless.

Oh, and I really liked how Douglas Coupland portraied himself as an a-hole in Jpod.

Another book I stronlgy recommend is "The curious incident of the dog in the night-time" by Mark Haddon. It gives a fantastic insight to the world of someone who is autistic.

John Mutford said...

Hi Barb, I'm over 500 now!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I loved how Coupland portrayed himself as a real jerk in jPod, K.B. That was really very brilliant and probably not something most people are willing to do. I found the characters in Microserfs to be more sympathetic than those in jPod, where they seemed to be more jaded and cynical, although that would be a natural progression of that sort of life, I would think. I too wanted to spend more time with them.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is such a fascinating book - what a great recommmendation! Actually I think I would like to reread that.

Yay, John! You da man, I'm telling you!

Wandering Coyote said...

Hi Barbara,

I read Children of Men a few months ago (review on my blog, actually) and saw the movie, but before I read the book. I enjoyed both, but was so surprised when I read the book at how different it was from the movie. I love PD James. I have no idea why they changed the story around so much for the movie...It didn't make any sense.

As for your reading list, I enjoyed Janet Evanovich, and I really loved Unless. Carol Shields is one of my favourite authors of all time.

phlegmfatale said...

You know, you really should by yourself one pair of new shoes PER book read this summer. So say I.

Considering your tendency to nip off parts of your digits, I'd say you're getting off easy with just carpal tunnel.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Wandering Coyote, welcome! It sounds as though we have some similar tastes in books. I am completely flummoxed by how they changed The Children of Men - you are right, it makes absolutely no sense to do so.
I'm finding that Janet Evanovich isn't quite as entertaining as she used to be - she now seems to spend a lot of the book rehashing past books, which is a shame because she used to be dead funny.
You cannot go wrong with Carol Shields, though.
I'll be coming over to check out your reading list.

It's a great thought, PF, but then I would be spending all that reading time shoe shopping instead.
I made sure I counted all my fingers when I finished my yardwork the other day.

John Mutford said...

Speaking of books into movies, apparently they're making a movie of Blindness now. I'm nervous. Likewise for the 28 Days Later sequel coming out the summer. I hate people.

(Oh wait, I'm running for prez aren't I? I love everyone. Let me kiss your baby! Leprosy? No matter, it comes right off.)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Isn't Don McKellar directing Blindness, John? That could actually be pretty interesting - guy does some neat stuff.

And I was horrified at the thought of 28 Weeks Later as well, but I have been hearing some surprisingly postive buzz about it.

And keep your scurvy lips off my baby!

Anonymous said...

Crap-- they buggered up Children of Men? That's one o' me favs... Maybe I should stay 'way from the movie, eh??

Anonymous said...

hi auntie barb!
i thought your post was great, b/c i just started 'children of men' (the book, that is) last night. what a co-inky-dink. as for recommendations for a 6th book....ANYTHING by David Sedaris, and Bill Bryson is wonderful too, especially 'In a Sunburned Country' and 'Notes From a Small Island'.
give your daughter a big b'day hug for me tomorrow!!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Big Orange aka Uncle Moonpie (I can't decide which I like better), welcome!
They did, they mucked it up beyond recognitiion. If you hadn't read the book it would have been fine, but no, I was really flummoxed and more than a little pissed off by the film.

Hi Beth! The book is soooo good, I hope you enjoy it. Hey, thanks for the recommendations. I have to admit I'll have to google David Sedaris (any relation to Amy?), but I do love Bill Bryson's writing. In a Sunburned Country was hilarious and fascinating, but I've not read Notes From a Small Island. Thanks!
I will definitely hug the birthday girl - thanks!

Anonymous said...

yuppers, david is amy's brother. he mentions her (and all their other siblings) in a lot of his stories....definitely worth checking out!!! I would recommend 'Naked' to start, it's great.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That sounds promising, Beth. I'll keep a look out for it - thanks!