Sunday, 31 May 2009

When the going gets tough, do you shop for books?

The Sunday

When the going gets tough, what do you shop for? Do you shop for books? I do. I shop for books when I'm happy, and when I'm sad, when I'm bored, when I'm celebrating something. Basically any excuse I can find, I celebrate with books and chocolate.

Yesterday my sister called with the alarming news that she is laid up with thrombophlebitis in her leg, a serious case. She's been to emergency once, and is going back in on Monday to see if the blood clot has moved or gotten smaller. The danger is, of course, that part of the clot will break off and travel to her lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. She's far away in New Brunswick so I can't just go on over to her house to help out and care for her family. I had a date with a friend so I continued on, and we were meeting in Chapters, Canada's version of Borders. This is what I bought while I wandered the shelves of fantasy, horror, mystery and science fiction, worrying over my sister and chatting to my friend, who has the only good news so far this year - she's getting married!

The Type 2 Diabetes book I bought a week ago Friday, when I went in for a blood glucose test and the nurse refused to give it to me because my sugar was too high. While I wait for confirmation that I am now diabetic, I ran out to the nearest bookstore (another Chapters location! ) that day, and bought that.

Did I say this month has been a challenge?

So while I wait for news that my sister's clot is dissolving (in the good way!), and wait for my final test result (another week to go), what I wondered as I stared at my pile of books last night and this morning, was if any of you, my Gentle Readers, also find yourselves celebrating - or coping - with life's many challenges and joys by heading to the bookstore? If so, what have you bought?

Much of the pile of books was bought with my birthday gifts, lovely book gift certificates to Chapters. I still have another wonderful gift certificate to Collected Works to use.

Now, I have some Bad Blogger points to hand out:
Not Flesh Nor Feathers by Cherie Priest: Chris
The New Space Opera ed by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan: Carl
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith: JS Peyton (Biblioaddict)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- Junot Diaz: ? (why does Kim L come to mind? or perhaps Eva? Please let me know, any of my readers, if you reviewed this sometime in the past 6 months. Someone did and loved it, and it went onto my book list)
Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill : ? (again, as above, someone reviewed this last summer for or around Carl's RIP3 challenge, I didn't take the name down, but put the book on my list. Let me know if it was you, please! )
The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley - Becky? Nymeth? Kailana? Chris? Someone very recently named this one of their favourite fantasies.......

The rest of the books were ones I was looking for myself. Oh, I'm so happy! New books to read!
Swan Song - Robert McCammon - I read this 20 + years ago, and time for a reread!! It was very very good when I first read it, even better than The Stand, which I also love.
Blood on the Strand by Susanna Gregory - Thomas Chaloner #2 in the series. Medieval London mystery series.
Hard Row by Margaret Maron - a Deborah Knott mystery. I love her and her huge family of brothers (she's the youngest of 12 and the only girl), and her bootleg swill-keeping tobacco father.
Brother Grimm - Craig Russell - recommended by my friend I was in the store with. She reads mostly horror and true crime, so if she says it's good, it'll be scary. And it involves fairy tales, the Brothers Grimm.
Declare - Tim Powers - a departure of sorts for him, this one blends fantasy with true-life history, the Kim Philby spy affair. I can hardly wait to read this. I like spy fiction, and I really like Tim Powers.
Last Rituals - Yrsa Sigurdardottir - I regard this as the find of the night. I had seen her recently written up on the Guardian Book site as another Icelandic author, to go along with Arnuldur Indridason.
Wizards - ed Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois - on sale! In Hardcover! A real find, and one I'd been waiting to get for a while now. Hmm, a whole three weeks left in Carls' OUaT challenge, for short stories, which I have sadly not done any of yet.....

Chris also gets two points for the John Scalzi books I bought earlier this month. Based on his fabulous review of Old Man's War earlier this year, I have bought these two (word of mouth is that Zoe's Tale is even better, though whether I got this from Locus magazine or somewhere else, I sadly can't tell now. I really must start keeping a journal of where I find books online!!!).

I haven't been able to do nearly as much reading this month as I'd hoped. Gardening finally got done earlier this week, and I have been concentrating on my health and reassuring my family I was fine by spending time with them. I did manage to read two books in the past two weeks: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, and The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. I will be reviewing them in my round-up of the month tomorrow. Looking back, I think I'm happy I was able to read anything. A very challenging month indeed, with a tornado, a trip to Picton, a possible diabetes diagnosis (no chocolate!!!), and my sister. When the going gets tough, I turn to books! Even if I only read 4 books, I bought 21 books, plus two book gifts for other people.

Happy Sunday reading, my Gentle Readers.


Chris said...

Oh Susan, I hope you're ok...and I hope that your sister is ok too. Who needs stress like that, huh? I turn to books too when I'm stressed out ;) And when I'm happy, and angry, and get the picture. I have a feeling our minds think alike ;)

Look at all of those books that you got!! Did you get strange looks from the cashier? LOL. I read Heart Shaped Box and reviewed it, but I wasn't totally nuts about it, so it's probably not my review ;) It was good, but I wanted it to scare me more. Wizards was a bit of a disappointment for me too, but there are a couple of stories in there that make up for the bad ones!

And YAY for Scalzi :D Enjoy all of your wonderful books Susan and try to relax if you can!

Bybee said...

I heart Oscar Wao. I gave it to my son to read and now he has a man-crush on Junot Diaz.

I hope you're not diabetic...maybe you're just borderline and you can get it back to good without medication. Here's hoping.

Book shopping is cheaper than therapy.

Cath said...

Well, I'm sure you know that diabetes is not the end of the world. Not these days anyway. You can still have chocolate, but maybe not as often. :-) I do hope your sister will be all right too.

*Great* book haul! Wonderful. Oddly enough I picked up Last Rituals myself this morning... from the library.

You take care.

Susan said...

Chris: Normally May is a good month, with lots of birthdays and the trees becoming green,spring etc. So this is unusual for it to be this 'challenging', lol. I think you and I do think alike, and alot of other bloggers too. Books (as Bybee says below) ARE cheaper than therapy! and you can keep them forever :-D

So you didn't like Wizards so much? I'll keep that in mind. I just love the idea of a bunch of short stories about wizards. and I'm so hoping Scalzi is what I read very soon so you can see how/if i like him!

here's me, trying to relax ....

Bybee: Oh my. Your son has a man-crush on him! I've only heard good things about this, and that it's unputdownable (is this an English word? should it be?)so I'm hoping to get a weekend...well, with the kids, an evening free to read it!

And I totally agree book shopping is cheaper than therapy. LIke I said to Chris, we can keep the books, but you can't keep a therapist! Buying books soothes my soul, reading them replenishes it.

And thanks for hoping I'm only borderline. I already am glucose intolerant, only I thought it was under control. Next Monday seems so far away (when I have the appointment with my doctor). Here's hoping! thanks, book-twin!

Cath: no, it's not the end of the world. It's just a shock, because, see above, I thought I was watching what I was doing, more or less. ONce I get it under control (and from testing myself at home I know it's higher than normal and does have to get down, but not in danger level yet)I'll be having little squares of chocolate here and there. I just won't be making Nigella's chocolate loaf cake (4 kinds of chocolate) anytime soon....

Do you want to read/review Last Rituals together? I'll send you an email. It can't be just coincidence that you and I picked it up at exactly the same time! :-D

Becky said...

I don't think I reviewed it, but I did like Heart Shaped Box. Enjoy!

Daphne said...

I hope you and your sister are both in good health soon... thanks for this giant list of fabulous books. I will add a few to my TBR list as I know we have similar taste in books!!

I too am going through tough times but although I have cut myself off from buying books this year, that doesn't mean that I don't completely gorge at the library!! Seriously. One of the perks of living in a big city: great selection at the library. I routinely have 8 or 10 books out at a time. You see why I cut myself off from buying books? :)

Take care of yourself and sending good thoughts to your sister.

Stephanie said...

I'm really sorry to hear things have been tough for you. Man, I've had a horrible few days too. I feel like I'm sinking into this whole depression thing and I have to get out of it soon. It's killing me.

I love to shop for books. But I have been very good lately. Of course, the library is my bookstore and the moment, and when I'm feeling down, that's where I head. Kind of the same thing, right?

I read Swan Song a billion years ago myself and enjoyed it. (I'm going to ignore the fact that you said it was better than my FAVORITE book!) I hope it's as good the second time around!

Cath said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for your results next week, Susan.

Oh yes! I would love to Read Last Rituals. That would be great fun. I'll wait for your e.mail. :-)

Kailana said...

That's great! Lots of good books in that pile. I always buy books when the going gets tough, too! I hope that everything starts to even out for you soon!

Emily Barton said...

I hope things start looking up for you soon. 2009 has not been a very good year thus far. And, yes, I most definitely head for the bookstore (or the library) when the going gets rough.

Susan said...

Becky: thanks for telling me! How come you didn't review it? you usually review most of everything you read, don't you?

Daphne: I think a few of us are having a difficult year, so I thank you for your thoughts. you have so much you are going through with your partner this year.

And the library is a haven when buying books is put on hold!! You'll have to let me know if you pick up any that I have on my pile, we could try reading together some time :-D

Stephanie: whenever i think of a blogger who has had so much to deal with, you are almost always the first one I think of. I so wish you didn;t have to do two and three shifts of work, that is so hard on you and on your family. I hope your husband finds work he likes soon, so you can get a bit of a rest. Take care of yourself, Stephanie!

And as for The Stand vs Swansong - 20 years ago when I read them, it was close, and Swansong just edged over. I am very curious if time and age have changed this for me at all. The Stand is one of my all time favourites, too :-) I'm so hoping Duma Key is good. I'm going to read that this summer, I think.

And thank heavens for libraries!

Cath: I am just about to email you..... :-D

Kailana: I know, I keep looking at the pile of books, thinking, oh now I have it, how soon can I get to reading it? It was so much fun to buy books like that - my husband said I could, although when I came home with them he'd completely forgotten he said I could!! lol

Emily: Monty Python keeps popping into my mind, so I think I'm starting to find my sense of humour in all this again. I need a good laugh! And some day you and I are going to meet, and talk about the year that was 2009.....

DesLily said...

Susan, Susan, Susan... let us work on that diabetes stuff !(like the "we" bit? heh) I know some about it since my brother was diabetic.. whenever they do a blood test on my for my cholestrol they always check for that too since he had it... and since I eat a lot of starch due to not being able to eat red meat or dairy products it really limits me.. I do have "some" but very little.. generally only if I am invited out to dinner or something I don't keep much in the house. I do keep eggs here and eat only the whites.. I found it cheaper to buy real eggs and eliminate the yoke than to buy the "egg beaters" stuff... Just take care of yourself ok??? It doesn't even matter that WE want you around.. I'm sure your family would not appreciate you gone lady! so behave yourself!

Nymeth said...

I hope your sister is okay, Susan! I've missed you, you know!

PS: Don't listen to Chris :P Wizards was wonderful! There wasn't a single story I disliked.

Nymeth said...

And I hope YOU are okay too, of course! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you next week.

Cath said...

Susan, I'm not sure if you sent the e.mail or not. If not, no problem, but if you did, it hasn't arrived. Perhaps you could resend it to:

Debi said...

My goodness, girl...when it rains, it freakin' pours, huh? I do hope your sister is okay now!!!! And I hope the answer turns out to be a big fat "NO!" on the diabetes!!!! (I'm just waiting for that particular shoe to fall one of these days...too many risk factors to think it won't happen eventually).

Hmmm...Swan Song better than The Stand, huh? I just find that impossible to believe! Which I guess means that I'm just going to have to read it to find out for myself, huh? :)

Take care of yourself, sweetie! Even if that means buying another truckload of books.

Susan said...

Deslily: lol! Not about your brother being diabetic, but about the 'we' bit. Thanks! Everyone seems to know someone who has it, so looks like I can be that 'someone' for many people on the blogging world! lol at least I have my sense of humour still. How come you can't eat red meat or dairy? I tried not eating red meat one year, but I missed it too much, and being anemic, I crave it when my iron gets too low. I hope you don't get diabetes, you have enough already on your plate....sorry, bad pun! I'm busy this weekend playing the "I dont have it, Monday afternoon they'll say everything is ok and I can go back to eating when I want etc...." and my daughter reminded me after dinner that I had to go check my blood! and She's 6!!

Nymeth: I'm more worried about your wrists!! and my sister is getting better - I'll be doing an update tomorrow on her. And same here, I've missed you, was hoping to get an email off to you today but am only now getting on the computer (after mddnight...) *hug*

Cath: got your email! and replied, so no worries! will email more tomorrow :-D about reading together.

Debi: LOL! You always find a way to make me laugh! freaking pours is right!! Monday afternoon is when I find out.....I'll let everyone know, since then you'll have to put up with my complete withdrawal from chocolate for a while (and it ain't pretty, no siree, not at all!) And here's to you never developing it, risk factors or not....

I have The Stand, and I have Swan Song, and they both are among my favourite books. I remember reading The Stand and completely loving it, and then later reading Swan Song and loving it more. So yes, you have to read it to see for yourself! I dare you and Stephanie....:-D

And see my post tomorrow for the 'truckload of books' I got at the children's school fete!!!! LOL

jspeyton said...

I definitely turn to books when I'm stressed out. I either spend some quality time (and money) in the bookstore, or I bury nose in books and don't come up for air until I have to.

The good news is I always come away with some great books to read, like you! I haven't heard of a few of your novels, but I'm looking into them. The Brothers Grimm looks pretty great! =)

I hope June turns out to be a much better month for you and your sister.

Susan said...

JS - Exactly! When I look at the number of books I've managed to bring into the house over the last month, it's impressive, especially as my reading dropped due to gardening time!! lol I had to promise my husband yesterday after I came home with 2 more books that I wouldn't go into a bookstore for the rest of this month, except the one where I have a gift certificate for my birthday....