Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It is a winter wonderland outside. The snow is swirling in the breeze and coating everything in white, even the roads. I love this weather as long as I don't have to go out in it. Yesterday morning was even prettier as we had an ice storm Monday night and the trees were glazed and dripping icicles. It warmed mid-day and the roads turned to slush but it froze again last night so I am sure there is a sheet of ice under the snow. A few cars have gone by but not many - mostly trucks and SUVs. It is in the high teens today so the snow won't melt soon. It is supposed to get up to 45 degrees tomorrow and I hope so as I have another doctor's appointment and this one is across town. I am seeing yet another neurologist, but this doc is at a sleep clinic. Sleep has been eluding me and I suspect that is part of the extreme fatigue. I am also beating up poor Steve in my sleep with my muscle spasms. I would say serves him right for keeping me up with his snoring, but getting wonked in the head in the middle of the night can't be fun. Guess I also had a death grip on his arm the other night. And here I thought I wasn't sleeping at all!

I am pretty bummed out with the lack of pain relief and fatigue after the surgery almost a month ago now. The doc says I have to give it another 4-6 weeks of recovery time. So I had to cancel my trip to Greenville next week and my trip to Mary's for McKinley's birth. I wear myself out with minimal activity and still lack total balance. I have some pretty ugly bruises from knocking into things around here. Can't see myself hiking across the airports in Charlotte or Chicago carrying a laptop bag. Thanks goodness I work with wonderful people at ECU and I can attend meetings virtually until I get back on my feet. But, I sure miss them all. Let's just say I don't fall asleep in our faculty meetings as they are actually enjoyable! :-)

Since I still am laying down a number of times a day to give my neck a rest I am listening to audiobooks. Finished Pirates! by Celia Rees, which I absolutely loved. The female narrator did a wonderful job with the Jamaican accents - the one thing I miss from the islands is the lilt of so many of the accents. Like music, but often I couldn't understand a word they were saying. The idea of a teenage daughter of a plantation owner choosing life as a pirate over marrying the wicked Brazilian pirate/plantation owner her father and brothers promised her to makes for a good story. Two female pirates, one white and one black, who can strut like dandies in their pirate garb made me smile.

I just started listening to Terry Brooks The Black Unicorn. I loved the first book in the Magic Kingdom of Landover series, Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! Only the fear of losing himself in the grief over the death of his wife and unborn child could cause a level headed attorney to spend a million dollars to rule a fantasy kingdom. Ben Holiday does, but the transition is not easily, and not without a battle. There are a number of other titles in the series and through the years I have read most, but not The Black Unicorn. It has been years since I visited Landover so it is like going home to a fantasy world I love. Ben has to return to his old world to discover if his dream is truly a premonition and his old partner is in danger. Willow, the green beauty who stands by his side, except when she becomes a tree, is on her own quest - to bridle the black unicorn. The court wizard is intent on finding the lost books of magic. And Abernathy, the man turned into a dog, is not happy about any of it – but that is his nature! I am yet again hooked! :-) Although these titles are published for the adult reader and the characters are adults, teens who love fantasy will enjoy these books, as Ben acts very much like a teenager who is finding his place in this new world.

Okay - my "true" YA reading title. Sadly, I was not as enthralled with this latest MS/JH level novel, Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer as I am with Brooks fantasy. And, that is unusual as I typically love her books. I think I have written about at least a couple others by her in this blog. How could I not pick up the ARC with "DON'T EVER TALK TO STRANGERS." Yes, it is a novel about a pedophile abducting a child, but even the chapters from his perspective did not hold me in suspense. A group of five sisters, ages 11 to 17, walk to school together and he watches them, deciding which one he wants to abduct. The idea is for the reader to build a connection with the girls so that when something awful happens it feels real. Well, I never made that connection. Fancy is clearly a special needs teen and her chapters can make you cringe, laugh, cry, and feel proud of her, but the other girls are not “real” enough to feel the kind of fear I needed to for their safety. This is also one of those novels that I will not recommend to a reluctant or poor reader as each chapter is from a different perspective and it isn’t always easy to figure out from whose. Also, the 2nd person point of view is frequently employed, which can be disconcerting. I will not deny this is a very well written novel, but it is not one I can rave about.

That’s it for today. Back to book reviews.