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Archive for the ‘Yes, We’re Having a Baby!’ Category

So, I totally got an iPhone. Thank you very much for your helpful comments. I am still not sold that it was a great idea (so expensive!), but I am trying to ease into it. And I think that once I have a bitty baby to photograph 8,000 times a day, I will really appreciate it.

Speaking of which…

Internet, I am appealing to your collective kind nature here:

Please tell me your (PG) “getting labor started” stories.

Because I am ready to get this labor started, and it’s just NOT STARTING. My dear friend Kristina even gave me her No-Fail 3 Step Process and it did not work. Okay, so I only managed two of the three steps, but STILL.

Anyway, I have tried all the methods. (Except I am not drinking castor oil or eating sardines.) And will probably CONTINUE to try all the methods because I have to do SOMETHING while this baby decides whether to show up. What I really want here is COMFORT, possibly humor if you have some to spare.

What I do NOT want are horror stories about being 45 weeks pregnant or being in labor for 108 hours or… anything else that is horrible.

NOR do I want admonishments to “let Nature take its course.” Because I AM. I am not at my doctor’s house, begging her to induce me.  No, I am writing this cranky blog post. Nature. Course. I GET IT.

And yet I am tired, Internet. (I know, I will be tireder when the baby arrives. I should sleep now.) (HA.) My belly weighs about a thousand pounds. I wake up 89 times a night to visit the restroom or wonder excitedly whether I’m in labor and then pout glumly when I am NOT, AGAIN. I go to work every day and have to endure, about seven zillion times, “You’re still here?!?” and “What are you DOING here?” and “Where is that baby?!?” Everyone I know is suddenly keenly interested in texting me to find out whether I’ve had the kid or not. (Have not.)

My parents are arriving in the next couple of days, having taken off work specifically to be here for This Joyous Event, and having picked a week so far past my due date they were SURE that there would be an honest-to-goodness infant here when they arrived. IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE AN INFANT TO PRESENT THEM.

Also, it’s hot. And my everything is swollen. My toes are so fat, the toenails are digging into the toe meat of the toes that used to be safely out of reach.

Also, the weekly emails that I signed up for to tell me that the baby was the size of a kumquat* or a honeydew melon or whatever? THEY ARE NOW TELLING ME WHAT IT’S LIKE TO HAVE A ONE-WEEK-OLD.

Please, tell me something comforting. Something that YOU, in my position, would have liked to hear.

In return, I am posting the first photos of myself ever in the history of this blog.  It may be an inadequate payment, but this is all I have.

Me, at 21 weeks.

This was back in the day when I could still button jackets and sweaters and such.

This was back in the day when I could still button jackets and sweaters and such.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, at 35 weeks.

 

35W 5D 2

This was when I felt pregnant, but still cute-ish. I could wear my rings, I could wear shoes. Life was good.

 

Me, at 41 weeks.

 

41W 2

No rings. No ankles. No baby. COME OUT, BABY! COME OUT!

 

Actually, I don’t even need any Surefire Ways to Get Labor Started stories. I will take ANY stories that will distract me from the fact that there is no baby. ANY STORIES**.

 

 

* One week? The fruit the email compared the baby to was a durian fruit. Listen, I know what a durian fruit is because I’ve watched the Food Network for many years. But… it’s not a COMMON fruit. And, even though I happen to know what it IS, I still have never seen one in real life. It’s not something my local grocer puts out among the peaches and the mangoes. PICK A FRUIT EVERYBODY KNOWS, EMAIL. Also, one with less of a reputation for smelling and tasting like garbage flavored morning breath.

**As long as they aren’t horror stories about birth or labor or being overdue.

 

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Oh Internet, if I have one complaint about being pregnant (besides morning sickness, which, ACK), it’s the TIRED.  It has seriously cramped my blogging style. Not to mention my ability to garden. SHEESH.

Anyway, I am presented with a rare few hours of wakefulness that are free for reading and writing and, well, here are some things.

  • I’m pretty sure it was a Mother’s Day kind of thing, not a personal targeting of ME, but all the TV ads lately have been so baby centric. Which means that every time I watch TV I end up sobbing over a Target ad or trying to convince my husband that we NEED to buy a Subaru.

Hormones, man. Am I right? These moe-foes is CRAZY.

  • You know I’m an anal-retentive over-thinker a planner, right?  So I have been continually perplexed by trying to plan for something that is so very unknown.  It would be nice to have some diapers in the house when the baby gets here… but… how do you know which SIZE the baby will need? Some babies need newborn size diapers. Others are big enough to skip right past them – or to need them for a super short time. And what about clothing? How many newborn onesies do you NEED? Like, reasonably? And how many 0-3 months?

And why is infant clothing sizery so CONFUSING? Does 0-3 months mean “big enough for your kid to grow into between age just-popped-out and 3 months”? Or does it mean, “some newborns will fit this outfit, and some 3-month-olds will fit it, just depends on your particular baby, and you won’t know for sure until the kiddo gets here so better not take off any tags or do any laundry”? These things are making it very hard to plan.

  • Now that it’s no longer winter and I can’t hide behind coats, people are noticing – and commenting on – the belly. So far, no one has tried to touch me. Which is a huge relief. I must give off a tangible forcefield of I Will Slap You If You Put Your Hands On My Abdomen.
  • There is, though, the one Checkout Girl at my local grocery store who notices me every week and makes a comment… even though it’s clear – CLEAR – that she is confident she’s never seen me before in her life. It’s actually kind of funny. We go through the same song and dance every week. “Oh congratulations! Do you know what you’re having? How far along are you? My sister had a baby FIVE WEEKS early, so you just never know!” Every week. EVERY WEEK. It’s gotten a little tiresome on my end, although she’s so sweet about it I really shouldn’t complain. But I have been contemplating switching things up on her next time. Telling her I’m due in December. Acting offended and saying I’m not pregnant. You know. Mean things that poor sweet Checkout Girl does not deserve.
  • Speaking of people at the grocery store saying sweet things: A twenty-something girl in front of me in line the other day spotted my belly and her whole face lit up and she exclaimed, “Oh, happy baby!” like someone might do after discovering it was your birthday or anniversary. It was adorable.
  • One of my former coworkers is pregnant, with her second. When we were exchanging all the pertinent details – how we’re feeling, due date, whether we’d learned the sex – I discovered that she and her husband know the baby’s sex… but are keeping it a secret. I’ve never heard that one before – have you? I mean, I know some people don’t find out the sex at all… and some people keep the baby’s name a secret until the birth… but I’ve never heard of keeping the sex secret. I don’t approve or disapprove – whatever, dude – but I found it interesting because I’ve never heard of it being done.
  • I spend half my time trying to reassure my coworkers that I am totally FINE, there’s no reason I can’t carry that (really not-heavy – I’m not an idiot) small box of letters to someone else’s office or attend such-and-such work event that involves standing and I can certainly walk up the stairs or down the street to lunch… and the other half I spend feeling petulant that my husband doesn’t forcibly prevent me from emptying the dishwasher.
  • By the way, I dutifully took your (Swistle’s) advice and went looking for a rocker/recliner after I wrote about gliders many moons ago. But I ran into trouble immediately. Firstly, it was harder than y’all made it sound to find a chair that both rocks AND reclines. Secondly, the ones I did find were ooogly. Then, my in-laws bought the uber-expensive Pottery Barn glider I’d been drooling over in the first place, so I stopped looking.  Hopefully it is exactly what we need.

(The matching ottoman showed up several weeks ago. But… the actual CHAIR has yet to materialize.)

  • Can we talk about the hospital bag? I’m pretty sure I should pack one… and I’ve read ALL THE LISTS on the Internet (including Emily’s massive and wonderful hospital bag compendium), and yet I just can’t bring myself to pack things. For one thing, denial, probably. For another, what is the actual BAG you need? A mini suitcase? A gym bag? One of those reusable grocery store bags? I feel like just knowing what size bag I need will help immensely.

Also, I feel like I have to BUY STUFF to put into the bag. Like something to wear during the delivery. I’m not going to go all out and buy one of those Pretty Pushers gowns or anything – that’s just not my kind of thing. But I would like to emulate the girl in one of the horrific videos we watched during our birthing class: she had a sports bra and a little tennis skirt type thing on that made her seem simultaneously modest and well-prepared and also sporty. Who doesn’t want to feel sporty while pushing a human out of her nether regions?

Of course, I OWN sports bras. But… They are mainly pre-pregnancy sports bras, which means that a) they are really tight these days and b) they aren’t nursing compatible and c) they are obviously totally inadequate for Giving Birth.

Another thing I need? Clothes for the trip home. Supposedly, I will look/feel around six months pregnant when I leave the hospital. Fine. I have clothes I can wear. But… are they really the RIGHT clothes? It will likely be hot outside, so I don’t want leggings. Plus, I hear that tight things aren’t so comfortable right away. But if I don’t wear leggings and some sort of loose top, what do I wear? I have a black sundress that would work – cotton, comfy, and if it gets soiled I won’t care. But… do you really leave the hospital in a sundress? That seems inappropriate, somehow, but I don’t know WHY. So then I go back to leggings… but what SHIRT would I wear? Don’t I need a nursing top? If so, I have to BUY one. (Which, yes, I guess I will have to do at some point ANYWAY, but sheesh. So much BUYING STUFF.)

By the way, these are the ridiculous circular arguments I am having with myself about EVERYTHING on my Hospital Bag list.

  • And then what about the baby’s coming home outfit? I fell down a coming-home-outfit wormhole the other day from which I barely survived… and I STILL don’t know what it should be. Partly because I don’t have any idea HOW BIG THE BABY WILL BE. GAH.

Okay, Internet. That’s all I have for you.

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Internet, I need your advice.

(Let’s be honest, I need your advice about a LOT of things. I get into a panic about pretty much All Things Baby. But let’s start with one simple question and… see where that takes us.)

When planning for our nursery, my husband and I knew that we would want a chair of some sort for reading and breastfeeding and general cuddling-and-shushing purposes.

We went into the nursery-planning process with the idea that we would buy as much transitional furniture as possible. We have a guest room established, and an office, so we figure this will be The Baby’s Room for… until The Baby has turned into The Sullen Teenager.

We (or actually my far-too-kind-and-generous parents) got a crib that is one of those “Lifetime Sleeping Apparatus” things that adjusts to a toddler bed and then can be easily converted into a full-size bed down the road.

(Here is where I say that I only ever had a twin bed, and so did my husband, and we both turned out FINE and clearly we are already spoiling the stuffing out of this kiddo.)

Instead of a “real” changing table, we (again, my wonderful parents) got a dresser that has a changing table attachment. That way, the kiddo will transition nicely over the years from diapers and burp rags to snarls of underwear and mismatched socks and Whatever-the-Kids-Wear-in-the-Future.

(Here is where I say that the prospect of having a teenager never really entered into my initial I Want a Baby thinking, and the whole thing kind of renders me gape-mouthed and stunned.)

(Not stunned enough to stop typing. I’m sorry.)

We wanted to apply the same “transitional” thinking to our choice of chair. So we found a beautiful arm chair at Pottery Barn Kids that starts life as a glider and has feet you can install down the line (sold separately) to transform it into a regular old armchair.

Here is the armchair:

 

This is the color we'd want. Probably we'd have to enrobe it in plastic or something though, right? To protect it from spit up ETCETERA? (Photo from PotteryBarnKids.com)

This is the color we’d want. Probably we’d have to enrobe it in plastic or something though, right? To protect it from spit up ETCETERA? (Photo from PotteryBarnKids.com)

Isn’t it lovely, Internet?

Of course, it also comes with a price tag that will make you consider taking up carpentry just so you can build your own chair instead.

But, honestly, I have no idea what to pay for a stupid glider, and it seems comparable in price to other gliders out there.

I shared our choice with a few people, and one mom suggested that such a sinky, comfy chair might pose difficulties whilst holding a sleeping baby. Namely, that it might be difficult to RISE from the chair with a baby in my arms.

Sounds reasonable, and it was something I hadn’t thought of. I didn’t have any spare babies lying around, but the next time I was in the area, I stopped by the PBK and sat in the chair with my purse cradled in my arms (football hold style) and tried to get up. It wasn’t… impossible. But it wasn’t… easy.

Then again, I’m not sure it would be easy EVER. In any kind of chair. Barring a chair that could mechanically stand me up and push me out of it, that is.

My stomach muscles aren’t really working as well as they have in the past, after all.

Otherwise, the chair was still lovely: comfortable, with thick padded arms and that nice rocking feature. There’s an optional ottoman you can get with it (for another arm and a leg). The wingback style is nice because you can rest your head against the “wings” and take a little snooze. I mean, that’s what happens when you stagger out of bed in the middle of the night to feed your child, right? Snoozing? What do I know.

Anyway, once I had the idea planted in my head that this chair maybe wasn’t ideal, I started looking around.

The first thing I noticed was that these armchair-style gliders are POPULAR.

(And expensive.)

In fact, it’s difficult to find NON-armchair type gliders. At least in the three stores we visited. Which… please don’t make me go to more stores. The three I’ve visited are overwhelming enough.

But the stores/websites I visited had another style of glider that seemed, well, less popular but still not unusual (this one is also from Pottery Barn Kids):

 

I also really love the side table here. And the color scheme. And the wall.

I also really love the side table here. And the color scheme. And the wall. (Photo from PotteryBarnKids.com)

My husband and I tried a few of them at non-PBK stores. While I don’t mind them, he is not a big fan. And even I have to admit: most of them are kind of ugly. (I know, I know – personal preference and all that.)

But, while they are still ridiculously expensive, they are LESS expensive than the PBK armchair.

My husband points out, however, that this version of glider is much less flexible in terms of Future Use. It would always be a glider. (I grew up in a house with a glider in the living room, so it seems like a perfectly normal piece of living room furniture, but I think it screams Baby’s Room! to my husband.)

And then another mom pointed out that THIS version of glider has lots of moving parts. Which would be dangerous for little fingers.

So now I have visions of our poor baby’s mangled hands floating through my already-anxiety-addled brain.

It seems like there is a third version: the Straight-Up Rocking Chair.

 

The least expensive option, but still not FREE.

The least expensive option, but still not FREE. (Teeny tiny photo and giant chair name both from Overstock.com)

But Internet… I don’t know.

This chair looks functional.I don’t find it… UNattractive.

It just… I just can’t picture hours of cuddling in that chair with my baby. I can’t picture us curling up together to read Babar’s Travels or Corduroy or Goodnight Moon. I can’t picture myself feeding a snuggly sleepy infant – comfortably – in that chair. And I certainly can’t picture myself getting a few more winks in while the baby – safely – finishes a meal.

As with all things related to babies and parenting and the seemingly endless array of Things You Just MUST Have, this glider decision is fraught with so many issues! Safety! And Comfort! And Cost Effectiveness! And Functionality! And Durability! And Other As-Yet-Unconsidered Considerations! And and and!

But YOU. You MUST have The Perfect Glider Answers to all my glider questions, right, Internet?

Here goes:

What glider did/do you use? Why did you choose it? Why did you choose NOT to get other versions? Are there options I’m overlooking here? Do you think it’s smart or foolish to try to buy furniture for the baby that will last for the next decade or so? Do/did you use your glider after the baby grew out of it? What, for the love of cupcakes, is an actual REASONABLE price to pay for a glider? And WHY, WHYYYYYY is everything baby-related SO EXPENSIVE?

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When we decided to leave our safe, comfortable world behind and head out into uncharted (by us) territories, I had no illusions that it would be easy. Come on. I read the Internet too much to think that. I settled in for a long stretch of disappointment.

By the time I started my new job, I was already certain that The Long Stretch was just barely underway.  I also figured that New Job Stresses would further delay our travels into the unknown.

So the Monday that I took a detour on my way home from work and drove to the grocery store for the express purpose of buying a pregnancy test, I was confident that I was making a big deal over nothing.

Nonetheless, on the drive, I started writing a letter in my head to Future Baby: Dear Baby, I don’t know you yet, but I love you already. Let me tell you about the day I first learned about you.

But this was all just silliness. I knew that. I’d been disappointed every month so far. Why would this month be any different? Especially because we’d really just begun this journey.  It wasn’t fair to think that I would be among the lucky ones, to be successful so early in the process.

That’s why I didn’t tell my husband that I’d bought the test. That’s why, when he spotted it on the counter (in a bag, still packaged), I laughed and shrugged it off: just me being silly, that’s all! That’s why I didn’t hurry to take the test – I put it to the back of my mind until we were puttering around getting ready for bed. I was very matter-of-fact about the whole thing: This is no big deal, just another exercise in futility.

When the two pink lines showed up I think my initial response was a blank, uncomprehending stare.

Um, what?

My husband and I shared a moment – okay, a moment that expanded to include the rest of the evening – of sheer disbelief that this major life change we’d planned for was actually happening. But it didn’t seem real. I felt like we were actors in a play, reciting lines. Nothing seemed different.

At the same time, everything seemed different.

The next night, I had a post-work dinner meeting with two colleagues.  A meeting that was supposed to include drinks.  At a place we had chosen specifically because I’d recently been there with a group of friends and had mentioned how great the happy hour wine and cocktail deals were.

But… I didn’t even think about the drinking until a waiter was standing in front of me, eyebrows raised, asking what I wanted.

Stammering – and bright red, I’m sure – I ordered a Diet Coke, claiming in what I hoped was a nonchalant and sincere way to be so tired that I needed the caffeine, so tired that a glass of wine would put me right to sleep. (I wasn’t joking about being tired, by the way. SO VERY TIRED. I fell asleep most nights by nine or ten – a big difference from my previous midnight bedtime. Perhaps my assumption that the working-outside-the-home thing was exhausting had been wrong.)  My colleagues were perplexed, I could tell… but I was still very new to the position, and I’m hoping they thought I was trying to be on my best behavior or something.

While my colleagues discussed Important Work Things, I sat there, staring at the Diet Coke, suddenly in a panic about the caffeine. That was… a no-no for pregnant people, right? Were the few sips I’d had already wreaking havoc on the delicate little embryo floating somewhere inside my abdomen? And what was I supposed to eat? The goat-cheese pizza was out, right? Could I order the crab salad? Was crab on the Banned Foods List?

I started to sweat, outwardly participating in Work Talk while mentally kicking myself for not paying more attention to the Dos and Don’ts of Pregnancy and worrying that this meal was going to either harm the baby or out me to my colleagues or BOTH and OMG what the hell did I think I was doing?

One day in, and this baby thing was ALREADY way too complicated!

The next day, my in-laws arrived. We were all taking a road trip, that weekend, to visit my sister-in-law for her birthday.

My in-laws are of The Drinking Sort. And my husband and I are also typically of The Drinking Sort as well. So I immediately started to worry about the transparency of my “condition.”

My husband and I resolved that partially by deciding that we just had to… tell our parents.

Which.

Listen. I’ve had enough friends who had pregnancies end early and I’ve read enough heartbreaking blog posts to know that two pink lines do not guarantee a happy ending.

My intention was always to WAIT. To keep the beans carefully contained until the standard twelve weeks had passed. At LEAST.

But here we were, TWO DAYS into knowing I was pregnant, a month along IF THAT, determining that we needed to do some bean spilling already.

So we told our parents – all of whom were super surprised and excited. (This baby will be the first grandchild on both sides. And so spoiled, I’m guessing.)

I spent the whole weekend feeling so… different. And also exhausted. Like, falling-over-from-exhaustion exhausted.  (I’m guessing that’s something I need to get used to?) My husband joined me in not-drinking, and we concocted some story that was semi-believable, apparently. But I don’t think my sister-in-law noticed anything out of the ordinary. We survived a total of twelve hours in the car with my in-laws. I started feeling a little nauseated here and there – nothing too bad. (Sigh.)

And… that was the beginning.

There’s more, of course. The months between then and now. (Most of which I spent on my couch, moaning in a way that I like to think of as piteous but which was most likely irritating and self indulgent.) Breaking the news at work. Registries. Anxieties. Anticipation. The picking of names. Itchy stomachs, restless legs, and excruciating foot cramps. Identity struggles. Planning. Excitement. Joy.

It’s not a lot, and it’s not terribly funny or remarkable – except in the way that a first pregnancy is remarkable to the people enduring it.  But that’s all I have time for today.

Now, someone is kicking me in a not-unpleasant manner just below my (non-existent, these days) belly button and I must heave this newly cumbersome body off the couch and begin another week of work.

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Let’s talk about the books we have been reading. And NOT reading.

But before we do that – and before you give some suggestions for GOOD books to read, because, as will be perfectly clear in about 4,000 words, I have faced a real Dearth of Good Books lately – let us digress a little to discuss one of the major differences between me and my husband.

My husband and I both LOVE to read. We are both the type of person who buys a stack of books and then starts looking for the next book to buy while we’re not even done with the first book in the stack.

We are also both the type to read multiple books at a time.

But…

That’s where the similarities end.

Here is a photo of our bed and nightstands. See if you can spot the difference.

Welcome to our boudoir.

Welcome to our boudoir. The duvet cover always looks lumpy but at least the bed is made.

So, my husband may read as many as three books at a time. I think, right now, he’s reading the second in the Game of Thrones series (so we can get started on season two of the TV show FINALLY). He checked out some book from the library recently, which I think he may have started. I can’t remember if he’s started Wicked or if he’s saving it until after he finishes the other(s).

He may also be reading something on the Kindle, and, occasionally he “reads” a book on tape while he’s driving to and from work.

Anyway, my husband’s nightstand is neat and clean. Aside from the few books, it holds a picture of me as a child that he has deemed especially cute, a recent issue of Consumer Reports, and a book of puzzles.

My husband's top-of-nightstand contents: reasonable and not in danger of falling on a person in the night.

My husband’s top-of-nightstand contents: reasonable and not in danger of falling on a person in the night.

He keeps reference books (and the aforementioned Kindle) in the open cupboard portion of the nightstand.

There are also two books I've recommended to/bought for him that he hasn't yet begun.

There are also two books I’ve recommended to/bought for him that he hasn’t yet begun.

Two of my husband’s favorite things to do are to a) pick the next book he is/I am going to read and b) put away books that have just been finished.

It’s one of his most endearing quirks – in fact, I think I’ve mentioned it in this space before – that he loves the task of rearranging our bookshelves to accommodate new tomes.  I’m not sure why; the simple logic of alphabetization, perhaps? The chance to go through all the books he has and hasn’t read? A combination of both?

It’s nice for me. I never have to set foot in our (tiny) “library” – or even get out of bed if I need something new to read.

But he has been frustrated with me the last few months.

Because I have been collecting books atop my nightstand like it’s the only book storage space in our entire house.

(It’s not. The “library” has three bookshelves. The office has two and a half. One of the guest rooms has one.  While we could always use MORE bookshelves, we’re not out of room by any stretch of the imagination.)

Take a look at what I mean.

You can't even see the pictures on the nightstand, there are so many books in the way.

You can’t even see the pictures on the nightstand, there are so many books in the way.

So, Internet, it has been an off few months for books.

Sure, I’ve found a handful I really enjoyed.

But the majority of books I’ve started have been stinkers.

Yet… I can’t bring myself to just… quit.

Which is odd. Usually, I have no problem deciding that a book just isn’t working out for me, and closing it and putting it out of my mind.  Maybe my recent reluctance has to do with the high hopes I had for the books in question? Agent 6 is the perfect example. I devoured Tom Rob Smith’s first two books – Child 44 and The Secret Speech – and couldn’t WAIT to get my hands on Agent 6. And then it was just kind of… boring. So I’ve been halfway through it since… August? July? Who knows. But because I was so in love with the first two, and had such high hopes for this one, I just can’t GIVE UP, you know?

(The reluctance to give up on a book may also have to do with the book recommender, now that I think of it. Two of the books – Leaving the Atocha Station and The Orphan Master’s Son – on my unfinished pile were either purchased for me or recommended by my husband. And I think he also recommended that I read Await Your Reply, which I honestly can’t remember if I DID finish or not.)

I haven't finished a single one of these. Well, except Five Patients, which I've read several times. But couldn't finish on the last go-round.

I haven’t finished a single one of these. Well, except Five Patients, which I’ve read several times. But couldn’t finish on the last go-round.

(One of the books I haven’t finished – A Point in Time – was recommended by my father-in-law. So I can’t very well put THAT ONE back until I’ve good and finished the book, right?)

Let’s talk about the fact that there are four Patricia Cornwell books on my nightstand. (One in each pile, apparently. Way to represent, PCorn!)

I was a HUGE Patricia Cornwell fan my entire teenager- and college-hood. Her Scarpetta series was one of my all-time favorite mystery series. Until 2005. That was the year that she made an appearance at a St. Louis Barnes & Noble (or Borders?) and my then-boyfriend and I went to see her. She gave a little speech and then signed books, and we got our photo taken with her and I bought a copy of her newest book (signed) to give to my father.

Her newest book, at that time, was Blow Fly and it was a departure from her normal writing style. No longer first-person, but third-person omniscient.

And it was AWFUL.

I gave up reading her books until this past Christmas, when my husband’s aunt (my aunt-in-law?) gave me a Patricia Cornwell book that was a few books further down in the series. And I read it and enjoyed it! It wasn’t as good as I remember the original books to be.  But it was WAY better than Blow Fly. So I decided I needed to get back into the series, and to really do so PROPERLY, I had to read all of the books between Blow Fly and whatever book I got for Christmas; I can’t honestly remember.  It may be one of the ones on my nightstand WHO KNOWS.  Anyway, I read a couple of them – Book of the Dead and… something else – and now I’m trying to read Trace but it’s SO BAD.  The primary plot is dragging along like an overweight three-legged alligator and there are a couple of secondary storylines that haven’t intersected with the main plot yet… but you know they WILL, and there are only so many pages left in which they CAN, so I anticipate that there will be a sudden flurry of tying-togetherness that will seem haphazard and sloppy. Plus, one of the main characters of the series has morphed into someone fairly unlikable and I’m not really appreciative of that trend. Honestly, none of the main characters seem all that likable right now – like Cornwell is focusing so hard on making them flawed heroes that she forgot to make them relatable. And what else can I complain about? Oh yes, the WRITING. It’s as though Cornwell had an outline sketched on a cocktail napkin or something, but when she sat down to flesh it out, she didn’t have enough meat, so she’s filled in entire paragraphs with meaningless repetition and “character development” that makes me hate the characters.

Whew.

So that’s why I haven’t finished Trace. It’s still on my nightstand because I feel DRIVEN to finish it, though, and finish the other intervening books between the god-awful Blow Fly and whatever book I read in December. But feeling driven to finish a book and actually plowing through to the end are two wholly different things.

Let’s move away from what turned into some real bashing of one of my favorite authors. (She really IS one of my favorites. And I sympathize with what’s going on with her Scarpetta series. It must be exhausting to have to continue a series that may have begun to feel a little stale to you… and tremendously difficult to switch writing styles when you have been writing in one way for so long. I am cheered to know that she DOES settle into the new style and I have every reason to believe that the rest of the series will be GREAT.)

Anyway.

There are two Thursday Next books on my nightstand.  I started reading one a while ago and had the sinking feeling that I’d read it before. I couldn’t actually remember what HAPPENED in the books, thinking ahead… but as I would be reading along, I’d feel strongly that everything was happening as I knew it would.  Very odd sensation, to not know what was coming around the bend of the next page, but to know, when it happened, that you weren’t surprised in the least. I am explaining this very poorly. It was like book déjà vu. There.

The other Thursday Next book is – I think? – the most recent, and I had taken it with me to Montana last summer and who knows if I read it or not. I haven’t yet cracked the cover to see. (Although who knows if I would even REMEMBER if I HAD read it. Sheesh. Maybe I should give up reading all together.)

Right now, I am reading Canada, which I am thoroughly enjoying. (After all, it does take place in a part of the world very near to where I grew up.) The plot – while elongated – is engaging and most of the book is contemplative in a way that makes me actually THINK about what the author is getting at, and there’s a lot of nice description and character development of interesting, flawed-yet-relatable (mostly) characters and, well, it keeps me awake far longer than most books have of late. So that’s SOMETHING.

A good book, a bad book, and a terrifying book.

A good book, a bad book, and a terrifying book.

So that’s on top and nearest to the bed, which means I am less likely to plop it down as my eyes are growing heavy and tip a entire pile of books off the edge of the nightstand, which has happened oh about twenty times in the past few months.

Most of the other books on the nightstand are not really the kind of books you read all in one go.

Kind of a random assortment, isn't it?

Kind of a random assortment, isn’t it?

You pick them up on a night when you’re not in the mood for serial killers (although, when am I not in the mood for serial killers????) or literary fiction, and read a poem or a chapter until your mind is either settled by soothing rhythms and sounds or set a-racing by the terrors of child birth/rearing so that you must turn, instead, to Trace, which puts you asleep almost immediately.

The last pile on the nightstand has NO REASON to exist.

I did NOT like Everything Asian. But by golly I FINISHED IT!

I did NOT like Everything Asian. But by golly I FINISHED IT!

Well, to exist on my nightstand, that is.

It’s a pile of books I have actually finished. (And I enjoyed some of them! In a couple of cases – the Rob Lowe memoir and The Boy in the Suitcase and the Sophie Hannah book and maybe that’s it – immensely!)

Are they still there to remind me that a) I AM capable of finishing books and b) good, readable books DO exist?

Who knows, Internet. Who knows.

Now is your chance to shake yourself out of the stupor that this long and ridiculous post has undoubtedly forced upon you, and recommend some other books for me to read. And, while you’re at it, books I should NOT read. I’d rather not ADD to the pile, you know.

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