I am a disgrace to the reading community. I’ve read maybe 200 books in my very short 23 years, not including the “Spot Run” and “Cat Takes a Bath” books I read as a child. My library is a disgrace. I have two, only TWO, book cases filled with books. What kind of reader/writer am I? A terrible excuse for one. My library is lacking so many books… I will never catch up.

I read a lot for my classes, but I don’t pay that much attention and half the time I skim these books.

I blame my parents. Yes, I said it. I blame you Mom and Dad! You didn’t give me books! Well, that’s not true. If I asked for a book I usually got it. But they didn’t really encourage books. I can’t really blame them, English is their second language. My dad was never a big reader, he’s a worker bee and I get that from him (my drive to have two jobs I can attribute to him). My mom was a reader as a child, but she read Czech books. My love for writing was my doing, I loved making up stories. That I can give partial credit to my childhood best friend (who will be known as Niche). Niche could never fall asleep during sleepovers and she would always give me heck for falling asleep first, so I would lay on the floor or next to her in bed and tell her stories until she (or in some cases I) fell asleep.

But my love of literature and books I must blame on my brother’s friends. As I was slowly starting my high school honours English classes all his friends (but not him) were starting their Majors in English at University. They talked about books and suggested books for me and I fell in love. Also, I have to attribute some of my love of literature to my 10th grade English honours  teacher and my 11th and 12th grade English honours and Literature teacher. These men encouraged me, they were fun and serious at the same time. They didn’t take shit from the other teachers, they were sarcastic and fun and I felt so in touch with these men. In 12th grade I was reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, of course half of the content was lost on me but I still found it beautiful. My teacher saw this on my desk and we began to talk about it. I felt like an equal to a man I looked up to. I felt intelligent and I felt respected. I felt like comfortable and in my element.

But I screwed this all up by not reading enough!

I made a list this morning, a list of all the books I need for my library or want for my library. Off the top of my head this is what I came up with:

José Saramago: Baltasar and Blimunda, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, The Double, The Elephant’s Journey, Cain, The Stone Raft, Journey to Portugal, The History of the Siege of Lisbon

Margaret Atwood: Surfacing, Life Before Man, Bodily Harm, Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, The Penelopiad, MaddAddam (not yet released)

Charles Dickens: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, The Adventures of Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cites, Great Expectations

Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Mostly Harmless, And Another Thing…

Tom Robbins: Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Another Roadside Attraction, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Cassandra Clare: City of Ashes, City of Class, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire (not yet released).

Angela Carter: Wise Children, Nights at the Circus, The Passion of New Eve

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: In Evil Hour, The General in His Labyrinth

James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses

Milan Kundera: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

S.E. Hinton: The Outsiders

Umbeito Eco: The Name of the Rose

Susanna Clarke: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norwell

Laini Taylor: Days of Blood and Starlight

And this is just what I thought of in the span of a half hour! If there’s anything that anyone thinks I should add or that I have to read then please tell me! I clearly have my work cut out for me, but the more the merrier. Plus if anyone wants to get me a present for any possible situation (birthday, Christmas, Name’s Day, etc) just pick one from the list. I recently finished The Great Gatsby, but there will be no review until I watch the new movie. I want to compare it. I’ve also got my judgemental cap ready for when I see it.

I just started All the Names by José Saramago and I’m only on page 33 but I already have quotes stashed from it’s pages. This is always a great sign.

Similar blog posts:

The Three BookateersRecommended Reads

Dan’s Book Club40 classic literature books I should have read in school

Red RoseThe Book Guilt List

Japan KaleidoskopMy Reading List of Japanese Literature 


And, may I ask again, how did this come to be?

Of late, I have been wondering about human interaction. Honestly, most of the time, I just don’t understand it.

I’m not that strange or different from anyone else. I don’t have any disorders that would affect my capacity to understand social cues or anything of that sort. But, social interaction truly baffles me.

When it comes to the people I know well or have known for many years I do not worry about this kind of thing. They know me, they know I can be a little kooky or strange or outspoken or inappropriate. They don’t take offence, “that’s just Michele”, they’ll say.

But, when I meet new people I’m never sure what to do exactly. I’m always in fear that I’ll offend someone and a lot of the time people take what I say the wrong way. For example:

In my animal folklore class we were watching a French cartoon featuring anthropomorphized animals. The cab driver was a camel. I found this very clever and cute because he is a labour animal, specifically he carries people places. Now, my whole class stared at me in awkward silence when I said “I thought it was very clever making the camel the cab driver.” I even said “Why am I the only one who’s so excited by this? I would have been equally excited if it were a horse.” Then they understood that I wasn’t being a racist asshole. I felt very stupid. I felt that I had to make the point very clear that I was not being racist, because I’m not a racist person. I will point out cultural differences, but not with malicious intent. I focus on what people are like, not where they’re from.

Anyways, you see how people tend to misinterpret me. That’s actually the second time that class thought I was being racist, when I wasn’t. This is why I don’t understand social interaction.

Also, I do not understand how to approach someone I’m interested in romantically. I tend to over due it because I’m nervous. Attractive people, especially those that I find attractive make me nervous. This, I’m well aware, is a human response. I try to be smooth and suave and witty, but I come off as none of these things. I’m a weird person, I treat most people like I’ve known them for a long time, some people really don’t like this about me.

But how do I go from being friendly to expressing that I’m attracted to this person? To what end, may be the question on your mind. I really just want to get to know them better. If we end up having a dating-type relationship that’s fantastic! If we don’t, I’m more than happy just to call them friend and spend time with them. What some people don’t understand about me is that if you tell me we’re just friends I take you at your word. I say “okay,” and actually mean it. I do not pine, I do not harbour secret loves, I do not waste my time.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that I mean what I say. You mean a female that’s not trying to play head games? Yes, that’s what I am. I hate head games, social ones anyways. I’m always down for some witty banter, but just for fun no real feelings involved. Guys especially don’t get this about me, this is why I don’t generally date. Sorry guys, but you don’t seem to understand that when I say, “I just want to be friends,” or “I’m interested in your personality,” or “Want to grab coffee?” I really mean those exact words! No hidden agenda, no secondary or tertiary meanings, I swear to you.

It’s the same when I talk to girls I don’t know well. When I give you a compliment it’s because I think you deserve it, I’m not trying to make you feel bad or question what’s going on or whatever it is girls do with back handed compliments.

I also realize that I am not an anomaly, I know there are people out there who think this way too. They usually become my friends when we meet. But it’s not a large percentage of this population. I have this silly idea that humanity should just get along and not lie, cheat, or be horrible to one another. Alas, this is not the way the world works. I like to pretend though.

If someone would like to comment on my lovely little rant about human interaction please do! I’d love a discussion. I know that all of these things come from centuries of strange and backwards social customs, but I like to think that human beings evolve.

This rant/musing was inspired by a conversation I recently had with a new friend of mine (who will be from here known as Callisthenics ).

A little update on my life…

So, I haven’t been blogging that much over the past month. “What the hell could possibly be keeping her from that keyboard?!” Some of you may be wondering, or not. I’ll give you an update none-the-less.

This month has been interesting.

I had planned to move out of my parents house in an attempt to become an adult to some minor degree. I had found a place to sublet, but it fell through. The landlord being the delightful man that he is did what he could to gain from the subletting transaction, all within the law (the sneaky bastard), and so the subletter could not afford to leave. Well, you could imagine the stress this left on me.

Even though I was not, nor am I still, at any point obligated to leave my parent’s house, I was determined to find a place to live by August. Why? Well, I’ve told myself this is something I need to do for myself. I’ve not afraid of money, getting, using, or losing it. There’s so much money in the world and if I try I end up making some no matter what I try to do, so money doesn’t scare me off, in any form.

So, I pressed on. I was determined to find the place where I would spend my final 2 years of university, plugging away at my degree. Craiglist shown a light of hope on me. After contacting many sketchy people I found a light. I found a little basement suite, just enough for one. I called, they answered. Within a half-hour I was at the door of this little place checking it out. The landlords, who live right above were some of the nicest people I’ve encountered in some time. They told me they’re review my application.

And the waiting game began. I hate waiting for things. I have patience, but not a lot. And so I danced with anxiety and hope for three days. Then anxiety dipped me, and hope caught me when the phone rang. I got it!

So now, it has been a scurry of getting all that I’ll need to live on my own. It’s expensive already and I haven’t even paid rent yet!

Another reason I haven’t found time to sit down in my chair to do some clickity-clacking on my little black keys, is school. Hey, I have online classes. I’ve been putting them off because there has been some gorgeous weather and since I never go outside, I decided I might try it. Thus, school was put off. Now I have one week to do 6 weeks of readings, a final paper, and 4 assignments. Procrastination got me again! He always does.

Reason three, work. I work, but I’m looking for more work because I can live off of what I make now, but not as comfortably as I’d like, so I am searching for more work. I hate job hunting with every fibre of my being, but I do it. Later today, I may even harass some employers for work.

Well, there you have it, my excuses for not posting enough! Well friends, I’ll try and keep it up. This hectic life should settle down a touch after I finished moving-in to my new place as of August 2nd, and some how managed to get through my exams finishing on August 13th.

Maybe then I can focus on developing a super-power to bend time at my will!

The Heart Is Not in Your Chest

I’ve been having a contemplation day. Ok, I’ve been having an extremely lazy day, avoiding my studying, and I have not left the comfort of my pyjamas all day. But, it’s been since about September when I had pneumonia that I’ve had one of these days, so I’m going to let it slide.

Because I’ve left my brain mainly on autopilot some things have been stewing in the back of my consciousness. As I sit watching whatever random TV show I’m currently watching I doodle. I’m not just any old doodler, I doodle words. Mostly because I have no artistic abilities what-so-ever, but mainly I just love writing words. The strength of one word written down, all its meanings, all its facets, all its intricacies blow me away.

One word I find that I tend to scribble down a lot is “Love.” I found myself wondering what this word really means. Being the nerd I am I looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary and found far too many meanings:

1. Senses relating to affection and attachment

2. To have or feel love towards (a person, a thing personified) (for a quality or attribute); to entertain a great affection, fondness, or regard for; to hold dear

3. To praise, extol (God, a person, etc.)

4. The benevolence and affection of God towards an individual or towards creation

5. Strong predilection, liking, or fondness (for something)

6. An intense feeling of romantic attachment based on an attraction felt by one person for another

7. Sexual desire or lust, esp. as a physiological instinct; amorous sexual activity, sexual intercourse

8. Any one of a set of transverse beams supporting the spits in a smokehouse for curing herring. (This one threw me off.)

As you can see there are far too many meanings to go through, needless to say they all involve some kind of affection (except for that last one). Even with this insight into the meaning of “Love” I still can’t define it. I don’t really think I ever will be able to. Love is one of those concepts, those emotions that language falls short of. Being a writer I find that there are few things in this world that can’t be expressed in the right words, you only have to look hard enough to find the right combination to get across what it is you are expressing.

But “Love” is clearly not sufficient for this overwhelming sense of emotion it attempts to represent. I, like many others, use this word lightly. For instance, on countless occasions I’ve uttered the sentence, “I love soup.” Soup is indeed my favourite food, but I don’t feel that rush of emotions when I look at soup, I don’t think I would take a bullet for a bowl of soup, nor would I cry if I saw soup being poured down the drain. It’s just an expression that I use to explain that I throughly enjoy eating soup.

Love is not something I believe can ever be defined because there are too many kinds and I wish that we had more words to define this infinite concept. Eskimos have about eight different words for snow and we have only one for a concept that is so much bigger than us. As much as I admire and live by the written word, it has a tendency to fall short.

We’ve all experienced Love in one form or another. I love my family, even though sometimes I don’t particularly like them, but they’re blood and no matter what they’ll always be a part of me and I will love them for that every day. I love my friends and not the “Oh my God I totally love you!” kind, but the kind where I would do anything in my power to make these people happy, even if it means I’ll get hurt in the process. This kind of Love is forged from years of trust and loyalty. This kind of Love is chosen and I think one of the most beautiful forms. I’ve also been in Love. We’ve all felt the butterflies, the shakes, the tongue twisters, the anxiety induced stupidity, at least if you’ve been in Love you have. I’ve also felt the gut-wrenching pain of losing Love. Where you feel your insides have been torn out and when you never want to leave from under your comforter, when the world seems completely unliveable because a piece of you has been torn away.

This little four letter word has the power to make you feel invincible and the power to make you feel as if you’ve been torn open and left to bleed out. This little word doesn’t live in your chest, it doesn’t reside in the muscle that pumps blood through your veins, it lives in our minds. We Love because we feel something. We Love because we crave that connection with another human being. You could say that Love is just another chemical in our brains, but so is our consciousness and yet, they’re both so much more.

Words have strength, but they can’t define everything. I’m going to keep trying though, I hope you don’t mind.

You always have something to say, don’t you?

The drip-drip-dripping of the tap. The tick-tick-ticking of the clock. The in-in-inhale of my lungs. The pound-pound-pounding of my pulse. My brain wont quit.

I find myself staring at the inside of my eyelids. They are heavy, it’s as if weights have been attached to them. But my eyes, my eyes wont listen.

Of course they wont, they’re EYES.

Anticipation… it’s always anticipation. How do I get through a rough day? I anticipate it’s end. How do I get through a particularly difficult week, month, year? I anticipate the few joys that are scattered throughout it. Anticipation is a beautiful thing, but it keeps me up at night.

I have the shivers, but I don’t just shiver, I shake. My body says, “Please, get me warm!” But my mind laughs sinisterly and has more blood rush from my extremities to my frontal lobe. No one asks the mind for anything, it only serves its own agenda.

crunch, cruncH, crunCH, cruNCH, crUNCH, cRUNCH, CRUNC- Fuck! I bit my tongue.

Have you noticed yet? Have you seen it yet? Have you heard it yet? Have you felt it yet?


Just my insanity talking, don’t pay it any attention.

Chaucer: A Love/Hate Relationship

Undoubtedly if you’ve ever studied the english language at an institution of “higher learning” you’ve come across Geoffrey Chaucer.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s a clever guy, “ahead of his time” as we say about the greats,  but holy shit can I get sick of him real damn fast!
This is my fourth, count ’em, FOURTH paper on Chaucer. And only the first of two for this particular medieval literature course.  You might say, “then stop taking medieval literature courses.” Well, I assure you I’ve considered it, but it’s Chaucer or Shakespeare, and as much as Chaucer can piss me off Shakespeare should be heard not read. It is a play after all, so why make me read and analyze it when it’s meant to be watched on a stage to entertain on a primary level, not only a literary level. The point is to watch and hear Shakespeare over and over, not pick apart his works on the page over and over. At least Chaucer was meant to be read.
That being said, what else could I possibly say about Chaucer? They, and by “they” I mean the academic community of literature, have been analyzing this one sarcastic, witty, condescending bastard for YEARS! What in my three years of university could I have possibly learnt that would generate some new fanciful and enlightening insight into Chaucer that has not already been thought of? What do they expect me to write? If they want some recycled idea, why don’t they read their own papers from way back when on Chaucer, I’m certain they had to write some.
That being said, I realize it’s important for us to explore the classics and the greats in order to understand where modern literature has grown from, but could we PLEASE lessen the amount of papers on the man? Yes, he’s brilliant and all that, but honestly how much can I really say about the Wife of Bath that my professor doesn’t already know?

Now, I realize that thinking this and not letting my professor know how I feel about the whole Chaucer stigma is a cop-out, a bitchy and cowardly move.  So, as I can be bitchy, but in no way consider myself a coward when it comes to proving a point (even if I’m wrong) I will let you in on the opening paragraph of this particular Chaucer paper:

For years we have been picking apart the words of Geoffrey Chaucer in his work The Canterbury Tales, trying desperately to come to the right conclusions about his multi-faceted characters. Which authority will decide when the right conclusion has finally been reached? Is there a panel of judges or just one person waiting to say “Yes, this is right,” or will Chaucer descend from the sky to come out and say, “By George, I think they’ve finally understood exactly what I did here?”  No, to my understanding there is no omnipotent authority that will finally tell us we have done well, and we have finally figured out Chaucer. This is the exact purpose of The Canterbury Tales; whichever character is looked at his or her personality can never be pinned down, no matter how palpable the analysis proves to be. This struggle to understand Chaucer comes from his playful look at authority. Chaucer uses his characters as a guise to undermine and expose any perceived authoritative conception.

Of course, I had to provide some literary/academic merit to this particular rant. But I think I got my point across.

I’m starting to feel that university is without a doubt only a business these days. I pay thousands upon thousands of dollars taking classes to be judged by people who have gone through the same process only to end up with this paper, this flimsy, flammable, piece of paper with my name on it that says, “You finished the requirements and passed, you jumped through our hoops and paid through the nose to do so, Congratulations So and So.” This piece of paper will in no way validate my existence as I thought it once would. It is likely that I will not enter the field in which I’ve spent six years trying to attain a degree in. I will most likely end up staying at my two serving jobs because I make enough to get by comfortably. So why am I doing this? I realize that this insight may have spawned from this education, so the irony is not lost on me.

This insight into the bureaucracy and pointlessness of the university degree has been brought to you by a rant on Chaucer… maybe we should be studying him after all.