Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Loss of My Fave Author

First thing I do every morning when I wake up (no matter how late I'm running) is log onto CNN and at least glance at the headlines. This morning was no different, but I was dissapointed to read this story. I remember the first time I picked up a book by Sidney Sheldon. I was in class seven. I'd read all the Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley Universitys that I could handle and I was getting bored with the same old predictable story line and like any series running too long, the authors were starting to run out of ideas. The result was that Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield were becoming more and more alien (werewolves? For crying out loud!) In my quest to find a different kind of author, my friends introduced me to Mills & Boon books and Danielle Steele. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed.

Then one day, I happened to pick up a book titled "Stars Fall Down" by Sidney Sheldon. There was no ounce of romance in that book and it was so captivating, I stayed up all night reading it. That weekend, I went to some bookstore in city center (centre?) and bought my very first copy of a Sidney Sheldon book: "Nothing Lasts Forever". That's how I became hooked. Over the years, I made it my mission to read every single book he ever wrote, and to that end, I think I succeeded. He was such an awesome writer, always keeping you in suspense until the very end. While most mystery/thrillers usually become predictable by the time you get to the middle of the book, Sheldon did a pretty good job of keeping you clueless until the last few pages, and that's not an easy feat.

And so today, I take the opportunity to acknowledge the great contribution Sheldon made to my literary life. I'm sure I'm not alone out there when I say that on many days, I killed my boredom by burying myself in one of his books. As a result, my imagination grew and I sure put it to good use. Yes, I won an award for creative writing in my senior year of high school. Rest In Peace Sidney Sheldon. I will miss you as one of my favorite authors of all time.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm Bored

Have you ever found yourself in a relationship in which you were simply going through the motions of being a girlfriend (or boyfriend)? You everyday to see how the day's going and say goodnight, go on a date and end up in bed having sex (it's still good), and right afterward be in a hurry to leave rather than let that feeling linger? The I-love-you's have dwindled and now you're lucky if you even hear those three words within the month.

At first, I thought that maybe the opposite schedules were working against us. We were both busy and stressed out from work. However, now that I've switched my schedule and synchronized it with his, nothing's changed. If anything, I'm spending all my free evenings hanging out with my friends or family. Sometimes, we'll both be at home, bored, but neither of us wants to drive to see the other. I'm not as eager for the phone calls, in fact, I find myself increasingly screening his calls and intentionally not calling back for a day. I've stopped suggesting coffee/dinner/dancing/movie dates, and so has he. I actually find myself feeling very bored when I'm at his house and we're not being intimate. While he's still thinking we have a future together, I'm increasingly starting to see that what we both want is too different for this relationship to ever work, let alone lead to marriage. I intend to move out of state and start school in fall and I just don't see us surviving the long distance (I don't wanna be a prisoner) and I don't see him moving with me (again, I don't wanna be a prisoner).

Despite all this, he still manages to make my heart skip a beat, and our conversations are great when we're both not too tired to talk. I went out of town this past weekend. The night before I left, we were cuddling in bed when I brought up the topic of the current status of our relationship. He gave me a puzzled look, acting all surprised. According to him, everything's perfect, and his only worry is what's gonna happen when I move. Needless to say, I haven't seen him since then (almost a week now) and he hasn't even called to ask me how my weekend went (in detail). If everything's ok in his book, how does he explain the lack of touching and kissing (unless it'll lead to sex) and the non-existent I-love-you? Sometimes, I feel like we're simply good friends. Sure, it's expected after you've been in a relationship for awhile, but I'm not ok with the status quo. Maybe it's just been too long since we had drama. I can't cook up any drama right now if I tried. Maybe that's the problem. Our relationship is a little too perfect, hence too boring....

Monday, January 01, 2007

What's Your Recommendation?

A few weeks ago, two different people recommended a book for me to read. The first person is a friend from church, and the other is a workmate. I don't recall exactly how the conversations led to the book recommendations, but hearing the same book title from two different people piqued my curiosity. I am usually very particular about the kind of books I read, and take the subject matter very seriously. But, in the spirit of my 2006 resolution of trying new things, I went to Barnes & Noble and bought a book - blindly. I had no idea what the book was about and I intended to keep it that way to prevent myself from judging it too fast. The cover was pretty. That's lame, but for me, it was a good sign. The title made no sense to me, but that didn't matter. As I sipped my grande chai latte, I tentatively opened the first page and started reading.

The book was centered on the brutal rape and murder of a fourteen-year-old girl and her account of events following her murder, as she observes from heaven. One thing stood out for me: the fact that the description of the rape and subsequent murder and dismemberment of her body was not as detailed and gruesome as you would expect. In fact, the tone of that book is so light that at some time, I had to stop and wonder why exactly these two people had recommended the book to me. It was the kind of book you read just because. But, in the end, it did make me think how horrible it would be if people really died and went to heaven and watched the world from heaven (this is a theological theory I don't buy into. From my own understanding of the Bible, death is like sleep, and people don't die and immediately go to heaven or hell). In the end, I still didn't understand what the title "The Lovely Bones" means.

Since this was a new writer previously unknown to me, I did what I do with every writer. I dug around for reviews of her other books. It turned out that Alice Sebold had a memoir on top of the fictional "Lovely Bones". I am going through a memoir-phase right now, and I decided to go out and buy that book, especially since I found out that she is a "rape victim". I am always interested in learning how other people have coped with trauma in their lives and figured I had nothing to lose. So I went out and bought "Lucky". In contrast to her fictional work, Alice Sebold started the first five pages of this book with a detailed, gruesome account of how she was attacked and raped in a park in the middle of the night when she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman. Perhaps it was the shock of the account, or the matter-of-fact way in which she wrote about it. Whatever it was, I was hooked and ended up reading the entire book in a day. The last few pages were so surprising and dismaying that when I was done reading, I felt like I had lost something. Not sure what that "something" is, exactly.

So, that's how I started my new year. Reading about rape. And crying. Lots of crying. I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for a few hours. After all, it's my first holiday without my kid bro, we had a winter storm that ensured there would be no new year's eve parties (I wasn't about to be the dumbass being rescued by the National Guard simply cuz I had the urge to drive to a party in the middle of a winter storm). My parents had already called and wished me happy new year at 9:00 p.m, they had no intention of staying up late for no reason. Lilly is gone. And Steve. Steve had gone to St. Louis to visit his grandma and his flight back was cancelled. Plans to spend new year's eve together went out the window then. In bed and alone, I had plenty of time to feel lonely and miss all the people I loved. Hopefully, that's not indicative of how the rest of my year will pan out.

Of course, I'm digressing. Now the point of this post. I want to indulge this memoir craving I'm having. Have any of you fellow bloggers read a mind-blowing memoir that made you cry, laugh, paranoid, or simply go "wow"? One that touched you in some way, perhaps because you could relate? Please make a recommendation, and say why you recommend the book. Thanks, and happy new year. Hope your year started off on a more upbeat note than mine did!