Friday, February 27, 2015

Comfort Reads

We all have our comfort foods; those foods we turn to when we need and seek comfort; those that make us feel warm inside and forget all the external crap making our lives hell.

Well, I recently saw an article about how people unwind after a stressful day at work, and one woman says she comes home, picks up her much-loved and much-worn copy of Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and randomly begins reading until she is fully relaxed and ready to take on home life with a stress-free mind.
"Whether I begin reading about an epic battle or the mechanics of whaling ships, I am transported elsewhere."
I like that. I want that. I even like that it's Moby Dick that this woman turns to for comfort -  the same novel that many high school and college students tried to avoid reading. It has become a litmus test among readers, broken into two camps: Those Who Love It and Those Who Don't. 

I have that Comfort Read to a certain degree. Reading in general does that for me, but I'm always reading new books, trying-to-catch-up books that require my attentiveness as a new story is revealed to me. Or else I'll read poetry. Sometimes new, sometimes familiar, always light-hearted.

But I got to thinking about it some. I've reread a lot of books, many times. The four primary books of the Lord of the Rings immediately comes to mind. Each year I reread one, creating a cycle whereby every four years I've gone through another round. But I don't just randomly pick it up and start reading, I have a strict schedule. I then I wondered, "Maybe I should just start randomly reading them." But then, knowing me, I'd sit around for fifteen minutes and internally debate which one to pick up. So it's probably best I just keep doing what I'm doing with that set of books (NOTE: for the curious, this year is a reread of Fellowship, which is probably my favorite of the four for simply nostalgic reasons. But then again, that's not accurate either. I have some sort of unique nostalgic attachment to each one of them for different reasons. Maybe that's why I enjoy reading them over and over - each one fulfills some unnamed emotional joy).

Then I realized, once again, The Surprise in my reading stack. Dune. Yep, the same book I've blogged about before. The same book I own four copies of. The same one that I still have the very first copy I bought and reread so many times that a rubberband holds its pages together. I haven't even made it completely through the whole series (especially and including the ones written after Frank Herbert's death), because I always return to that original and reread it instead of moving off to the post-Frank era.
So if I had pick that one comfort book, from the evidence of my past reading habit, I'd have to say Dune is the one.

(Note: and of course now, I suddenly want to reread it again, despite the two-foot high stack I swore I'd read before rereading or starting another series of books). 
(Another damn Note: I also now have that compulsion to start in on Fellowship. After all, like Dune, I own multiple copies of that series as well - at least three that I can see from this chair.)
(Geez, yet another damn Note: Guess what other American classic book I'd love to find the time to reread? OH! The Lament of the Voracious Reader!)

Until Next Time...
Mobyly Yours,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Blog of List of Almanacs (Jeopardy Geeks Unite)

One time at the home of Grandma Cheese, I discovered a couple of slightly out of date almanacs and a "Book of Lists" from the 1970s. I found a chair, plopped down, and combed through them, fascinated by all the lists, facts, figures, etc. She let me take them home, where Mom and Pop Cheese and I had fun laughing at some of the outdated information. Eventually they bought me an updated almanac and we played games like "Alive or Dead" and "Guess the Celebrity Age." Ever since those days, I've always had an almanac in the house, it may be a year or two old before I replace it, but it's always recent enough to remain useful. Even in these days of the internet and Wikipedia and countless other fact-based websites, a good ol' paperback almanac is a great book to thumb open and read some random factoid.

Some random thought hit me the other day to list movies that have almanacs in them. After only a few moments of thought, I came up with three, but I figure there has to be more.

Back to the Future Part II (1989) - The retrieval of a sports almanac from Biff/Griff (Thomas F. Wilson) is the plot point of the movie.

White Men Can't Jump (1992) - Who can forget Gloria (Rosie Perez) constantly reading a tattered copy of a world almanac and asking her boyfriend Billy (Woody Harrelson) to quiz her from it, all to prepare for her shot on the game show Jeopardy.

The Bucket List (2007) - In one of the opening scenes a young mechanic quizzes Carter (Morgan Freeman) from an almanac, in which Carter not only knows the answers, but is able to provide the correct answer when the almanac is wrong.

In the tradition of "The Book of List...." send me more if you can think any so I can compile a more exhaustive list. Almanacs have been a part of American history since before America was born, they've been the behind-the-bar bible bartenders have consulted to settle debates between patrons, and the Farmer's Almanac has been the daily planner for generations of farmers that there is no way these wonderful books haven't appeared in more movies.

Keep one around the house, have fun with it, make notes in the margin, dog-ear those pages, show it much love. You'll thank yourself.

Until Next Time...
Listly Yours,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ugh, Another One

Okay, I've mentioned before that since I'm a subscriber, the cover doesn't have to convince me to buy the magazine. But seriously, I like fantasy art, and by slapping a mailing label in the middle of the cover just seems shameful to me.
The catch is - this publication didn't always do this.
 Just a few issues back the mailing label was always on the bottom. Granted, that's still covering the art, but at least it's not in the center (translation: focal point) of a piece of artwork. Whoever you choose to feature the work of each issue puts a lot of time and effort into creating that piece, and on the most part, usually doesn't get paid too much for the effort. The artist reads the featured story and tailors the art to that. Let us subscribers enjoy it.
So seriously, gang, if it's feasible, can you at least entertain the notion of placing the mailing label somewhere else on the cover. (I'd suggest the back, but would tick off whatever advertiser bought the space, so I'll settle for a more inconspicuous spot on the bottom.
Until Next Time...
Labelly Yours,