Thursday, February 26, 2009

Emotional Honesty Is SOOOO Hot

A couple of weeks ago a friend handed me a little sticky note with http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/ written on it. I promptly stuffed it in my purse and forgot about it. A few days ago I found the note and pulled up the site.

Ooh-la-la, ladies, I was fanning myself off in my comfortably cool office. That there blog story is just a-swimming in romance. I swear, I could feel the sparks flying all the way through my computer. The screen practically fogged over.

Being me, I had to deconstruct this a bit. For one thing, I do NOT--repeat, NOT--like cowboys in any way, shape or form. Growing up in rodeo country cured me of any possible shreds of physical attraction to that brand of men. There is absolutely no room in my romantic fantasies for cowboys. So why on earth was I lusting after Pioneer Woman's Marlboro Man? And hiney tingles? Seriously? I didn't know whether to puke or laugh out my nose. And yet, there I was, salivating on the keyboard, breathlessly clicking through each post.

Number one thing to note: there is loads and loads and LOADS of making out in Ms. PW's story. Scrolling through page after page of uber-passionate kisses and gigantically romantic snuggles and barely-veiled hints of more is bound to raise the temperature. I'm not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it's at least a partial explanation for the workout my planner got fanning the air in front of the computer.

Number two thing to note: emotional honesty is SOOOOO hot.

Did you get that? Really, really HOT.

There is just something totally irresistible about a man with the courage and honesty to put his feelings out there. Guys, well--straight guys anyway, if you are taking notes, note this: women just melt when you put yourself on the line. I'm not talking about emotional neediness or manipulation here. I'm talking the strength and self-confidence that says "I can walk away if she doesn't want me, but I want her so much that it's worth the risk to open myself up." Yowsers! That is just so dang sexy!
Important disclaimer here: I do remember a few times in my earlier dating life that a perfectly nice guy expressed an interest in me and for whatever reason, I didn't reciprocate those feelings. His laying it on the line did not melt me into a little puddle of wanting him. But the thing is, every single time, it made that guy jump up a notch or two in my estimation, because you can't help but be impressed when someone has the guts to risk rejection and be up front about what he wants. And even if the guy reminds you of a frog and that's why you just aren't interested no matter how nice he is, it's still flattering that someone with that kind of strength and honesty of character would be interested in you.

And in case you want to argue with me, that cowboys are actually hot...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Completely Self-Indulgent Book List That Partially Justifies Not Finishing Sense & Sensibility Yet

Just to make myself feel better, here is a list of books I’ve read since January 1, during the same approximate time that I’ve been trudging through Sense & Sensibility:

“A Single Life” by Kristen M. Oaks. I expected it to be cheesy; it was. It was also unexpectedly candid, honest, and refreshingly positive.

“Gods Behaving Badly” by Marie Phillips. Clever, often hilarious, and chock full of wry commentary on this strange contemporary society we live in. Thanks to this book I now know that apparently I DO have a limit as to how much XXXXXX (okay, I just went back and deleted the sentence I had written, as I don’t want any of my younger readers asking their parents what I meant). Let’s just say this is quite a naughty book and leave it at that.

“The Ultimate Career” by Daryl Hoole. I know, I know, I felt like a traitor to my feminist roots. But the thing is, I actually found some good ideas for taking care of my house and kids, and that’s worth something.

“Broken Things to Mend” by Jeffrey R. Holland. What can I say—is there anything NOT to like in Elder Holland’s writings?

“The Wish List” by Eoin Colfer. Kind of dull and uninspired. Felt like a tepid, watered down version of The Screwtape Letters, which didn’t work for me at all. Give me good ol’ Clive Staples Lewis any day.

“Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception” by Eoin Colfer. I do not approve of authors killing off perfectly nice characters. Who does Colfer think he is—J.K. Rowling? Tsk, tsk.

“Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident” by Eoin Colfer. I thought I was catching up on the Artemis Fowl books; Christian informed me that I’m mistaken. On the bright side, there are two more A.F. books waiting for me! March's reading list just got happier.

“Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty & the Beast” by Robin McKinley. Fine, if you want to read the Disney version of B & B all over again. I had to repent after being annoyed all the way through the book when I discovered that the Disney version was based on McKinley’s book, not the other way around. If only I had read it before I saw Miss-Provincial-Life-Disneyesque-Belle.

“The Blue Sword” by Robin McKinley. This book is so not my friend. I don’t want to rehash all the reasons; let’s just leave it that I don’t recommend it AT ALL.

“The Hero & The Crown” by Robin McKinley. On the other hand, THIS book is my friend. It was the most enjoyable read I’ve had in awhile. The romance even mostly worked for me. Because of this book I’d read McKinley again.

“Larklight” by Phillip Reeve. Okay, I said the above book was the most enjoyable because I hadn’t read this one yet. If books were men I’d be in love with this one. Well, I don’t know if I’d be in love romantically speaking, or in love as in wanting to take it home and be it’s mommy. What an inventive, brilliant, super fun flight of fantasy! I can’t wait to read more by Reeve. Days later I was still giggling over some of the lines, and still mulling over some of the deeper themes explored in this YA novel. Five stars!

“Purity & Passion” by Wendy Watson (Nelson). Third time through. It’s that good.

There! It may take me an obscenely long time to trudge through Jane Austen, but hopefully I’ve at least partially redeemed shreds of my literary reputation (not that the books listed above qualify me as much of a literary person. They are, however, proof that I do read from time to time).

I’m taking Sense and Sensibility with me this week as my in-flight reading. If I can’t polish off a dull book in dull airports, there is officially no hope. Wish me luck.

PS--Send me your gems for the JA challenge in my last post! I found a cool prize and the perfect person to choose a winner, so give me enough lines to make her job hard ;).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sense and Sensibility Insanity

Sense and Sensibility is quite possibly the most boring book I've ever read. I haven't posted because I’ve rather assumed that no one is interested in reviewing my progress through Sense and Sensibility, as it would go something like this:

Page 69: SS is so dull.

Page 94: SS is so dull.

Page 108: SS is so dull.

Page 121: Did I mention that SS is extremely dull? And this Edward gives the name a bad—and very dull—taste.

Nor would you care that this book is so extremely dull that I’ve been forced to rethink the entire Jane Austen experiment, wondering what masochistic urge made me think it would be a good idea to attempt surviving even one JA tome, let alone six. My conclusion: I am obscenely pig-headed, to a really ridiculous degree. Even though it may just kill me, I WILL read every single one of these blasted books.

However, SS is becoming deathly, to the point that I can’t justify continuing to read it unless I liven things up a bit.

Here’s your challenge:

Choose one of the following lines from the book and complete it in a much more lively and INTERESTING fashion. Example: “Poor thing—she looks very bad (original line). Indeed, if I had her face I should keep myself indoors during all day hours and full moons. She is a living warning for the wisdom of judicious cosmetic application” (new line). PS--feel free to do more than one if inspiration strikes, and please feel free to share the fun and pass the challenge to witty friends :).

Post your completed line as a comment or email it me. I’ll include them all in a new post, and most certainly award prizes for the most dastardly/brilliant/clever lines. Isn’t this WAY more fun than reading Sense and Sensibility?

1.) “I was afraid you would think I was taking a great liberty with you—“

2.) “It is a beautiful country, but these bottoms must be dirty in winter”

3.) “I have been open and sincere where I ought to have been reserved, spiritless, dull, and deceitful”

4.) “If he were ever animated enough to be in love, must have long outlived every sensation of the kind—“

Friday, February 6, 2009

Forget Janie; I'll Stick With Junie


We have discovered the wonder of Junie B. Jones at our house. In honor of the coming holiday, we read "Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime" yesterday. And it happened! It really happened! Little flickers of something twittery flashed from the ashes of my cold, cold heart.

"He rocked back and forth on his feet very bashful.

'You make Room Nine sparky,' he said kind of quiet.

After that, he smiled very cute. And he poked my arm with his finger. And he made a sparky sound. 'Zzzt!' he said. 'Zzzzt! Zzzzt!'

I laughed very loud. And I sparked him right back. 'Zzzt! Zzzzt!' I said.

And so guess what? Then me and that silly guy started chasing each other all over Room Nine. And we kept poking and sparking! And it was the funnest game I ever even heard of!"

So, maybe Jane Austen doesn't do it for me. I don't really want to think about what it might mean that I found more romance in kindergarten lit. But I think Junie B. is on to something. Really, doesn't every woman want to make some man's world all sparky? And whether you're five or thirty-five, poking and sparking IS the funnest game ever (sorry--couldn't resist that one).