Sunday, February 24, 2013

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Well, I read almost 400 pages, that is. Then I finally threw in the towel and gave up. I don't understand the fascination with Gabaldon's Outlander series. I never felt any great romance between Claire and Frank (her hubby in the here-and-now). In fact, she seemed rather bored with him at the beginning of the book. And while I did like Jaime, again, I didn't feel like it was a great romance, more two characters brought together by circumstances who happen to have some chemistry.

Bigger problems for me with the time-travel aspect. Why, oh why, doesn't Claire freak out more when she suddenly finds herself 200-300 years in the past? She's entirely too calm about the whole thing for my taste. I would alternate between "OMG, get me outta here!" and "Must be an acid flashback, a horrible fever, I'm dead" etc. Nope, she's just sort of "Hmm...OK, I'm in the same location but not the same century. Oh well!"

Finally intruding on my suspension of disbelief is the language issue. She says more than once that she doesn't understand her new husband (or anyone else) when they speak Welsh. But she seems to understand everything else perfectly. Well, I don't know about Claire, but the Enlish we speak now is NOT the English that was spoken a few hundred years ago. Anyone else ever struggle with Shakespeare? Yeah, exactly. So for her to only have comprehension issues when Welsh is used, or to only have trouble with one or two phrases her new companions use just didn't ring true to me.

To the friend that sent me the book, sorry. This is defiinitely a did-not-finish-nor-do-I-wish-to.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Everyday Energy Boosters: 365 tips and tricks to help you feel like a million bucks by Susannah Seton & Sondra Kornblatt

Since it's February, and since it's winter, I thought this would be the perfect time to peruse this little book. Who couldn't use more energy in the gloomy winter months, especially given that there's less light during the day and, depending on where you live, it's cold most of the time.

This started off well. I liked the authors' style, and I agreed with most of the suggestions, things like learn how to say no, get more sleep (but not too much), get out in the sunlight (what little there may be in the winter), take short walks, sing, dance, etc. Little energy boosters that I'm sure most of us are familiar with.

Then it got sort of strange. Suggestion 159 is "Get a Headset" - meaning get yourself something so that you can talk hands-free on your phone. This allows you walk around and multi-task, which should give you more energy, I guess because you are saving yourself time. But just a mere two pages later, we are told "Turn Off All Beepers, Pagers, and Cellphones" because often we are too connected. Um, what? And by suggestion 169, we are told to "Mono-Task". So, what would that headset be for again?

There are an awful lot of suggestions for "natural" energy boosters, meaning dietary supplements. I'm all for being healthy, but this book seemed to be pushing a lot of alternative vitamins and minerals, which I can't agree with. I know people want smaller government, but there is no oversight in the supplement industry, and that worries me. Some companies are great, and their products are exactly what they say they are. Others are much shadier, and you can either get what is basically a placebo, or you can get something that has far more of a substance than it you think you're getting. It's just too risky, in my opinion.

Finally, by the last third of the book, it sounded like the authors were getting desperate for ideas. In fact, I realized that one of the suggestions is listed TWICE; "Solve Your Problems While You Sleep" is suggestions 279 AND 312. I thought at first that they were perhaps wording it just a bit differently, but no - it's an exact duplicate. Sorry, but that's bad editing (or sheer laziness on the authors' part).

Overall, disappointing. I skimmed through a lot of the latter half, and I was certainly out of energy by the time I closed it for good.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Yes, I'm still here. Yes, I'm still reading. No, I haven't given up on this blog.

Unfortunately, I'm behind on my reading. Just ask my reading goals/challenges on the two websites I use to keep track of my books; both are currently mocking my snail-like pace. I was doing really well, actually ahead of the game, then BAM! It's like I ran into a brick wall.

Actually, what I ran into was Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. It comes highly recommended by more than one friend, and after receiving a copy from on of those friends, I finally decided to give it a try. It was slow going at first, which was when I was still getting other things read. But now, I've almost reach the half-way point, and it's gotten much better. But it's a looooooooooooooooong book. I've got the mass market paperback, which clocks in at 850 pages.

And that's why I haven't managed to read anything else lately.

Hope everyone's February is going well. Other than trying to make my way thru the Highlands via time travel, I've been super busy at work with meetings, plans for Summer Reading, and the typical nail-biting preparations for the County budget sessions. Here's hoping that I finish this book, get something accomplished at work, and still have a job after June 1st.

See ya!