Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

errr….yeahhhh….the summer reading list…

NOTE: Twilight doesn't really have a plot. Unless plucking a daisy saying, “He loves me, he loves me not” is a plot. yeeeah. I'm not sure why I thought it did. I feel a little bit sorry for my past self. Silly past self!

 

Tess of the D'Urbervilles…so Tess' illegitimate baby has died and I haven't the heart to go on. I mean, it's summer and not a really horrid hot summer…soooo…

I guess I have to talk about Twilight as I keep pestering and jabbering to poor Jocey about it. There's a couple things about Twilight you should know. One, it's about a high school girl. So if you don't like high school kids, ignore this entry. Two, it's about a high school girl falling in love with a high school vampire boy. So if you like high school stories but not vampires, again retire. Steph was really the one that got me turned onto this book, otherwise I'd never have read it because I don't like high school stories. BUT I've always been curious about vampires, and I did my research when I was a teenager, because c'mon, Immortal. I have never wanted to be immortal (I think it would be excrutiatingly boring after a few lifetimes or so) but I've always been intrigued. Why the Yetti has never interested me as much, seeing as they're probably immortal, I'm not sure.

Anyways, I ate up Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It's a plot driven book oh yes and plot driven books Cannot be resisted. At all. I read it one night for about seven hours (with Jeff seated on the opposite sofa reading His vampire and zombie book. Now that's true love) and nearly passed out from my blood sugar levels dropping really low at about the eighth hour chiming (I'm not diabetic or anything but I have a massively sensitive system). Ahhhhh, but sugar level dropping while reading a vampire book is ironic.

I have huge arguments with the character development (as there being none) but you have to give it to Meyer. She's in the right genre. It's young adult- where character development for the intended audience is a bit in the wings. So I'm chewing through this book, wanting to know more about the protagonist, Bella and the boy, Edward and all I'm gettig is that Bella finds him so hot, she's willing to die to be near him. Oh yeah and he's beautiful and fights his monster I-suck-your-blood side. Over and over and over. And yet, and Yet, I'm all agog to read to the next book. I mean, I have to. Because Hello! The plot! Which no, I haven't elaborated but need I? Two teenagers in love, one is vampire, you guess.

All I'm saying if you're one for plot and vampires seem rather quirky, give this series go. I doubt Reading Rainbow would endorse it but I believe I would. It's a great summer read. But you don't have to take my word for it.

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How to Get Through a Big Book

How to get through a Big Book and have a little fun too.

  1. Make and eat food mentioned in the book (big books always include food, usually in meticulous detail).
  2. Read a little bit each day.
  3. Make a soundtrack.
  4. Dress like a character from the book for a day. Or a week. Or a month if it really grabs you.
  5. Ten minutes to kill? Daydream about the landscape or what the characters are seeing as they move through their day.
  6. Read passages you enjoy out loud. If you’re in the right mood, record yourself reading passages and share it (Instagram is great for this). Include illustrations if you like (thank you, Shirin).
  7. Whip out a highlighter or some sticky tabs for those great parts.
  8. Pace yourself and remember, reading gigantic books isn’t a race. It’s about the journey. Might as well bring along snacks, good drinks, great lighting, and enjoy the ride.

How to Search for Story Settings

A big city not far from mine has a casino. I’ve heard a few stories from friends that have worked there. Most center on being treated badly by a customer and revenging themselves by throwing the customer’s car keys into the Fox River. Karma is enacted on a regular basis at the casino.

There’s something about that river, flowing by, murky green during the day and black at night, a bottomless pit for car keys.

The river divides the city in half, east to west. The Fox flows along the old warehouses, limestone and brick, built back when the city had manufacturing plants and industry. Now the warehouses sit sturdy and silent, crumbling ever so slowly. Their roofs are flat and give the illusion of brick walls running straight into the sky. Some were built like prosaic wedding cakes, higher and higher, until the final topping is small square with tiny windows. Industry has never been about aesthetic needs and wants.  And yet by some miracle, these old turn of the century warehouses have achieved it just the same.

I observed the warehouses from the back deck of the riverside café, clutching my cup of earl grey and wishing I had put sunscreen on. It was the first time I had ever been to this café and I came because I needed a new setting for a fiction story I was working on. None of the cafes I remembered from the past were working for me. I needed this kind of café, one that hung out in an old manufacturing city where there wasn’t much industry left. There was, at least, a casino and many local businesses and this café hung on, here at the water’s edge.

A little further up was the casino where my friends had thrown those keys into the water. From my point on the deck, I could see the grimy metallic white heel of the building jutting out. Another friend told me that he goes there regularly to play black jack. It relieves stress and earns a little extra cash for his family.

The wind picks up a little and despite the sun, it’s chilly. Spring plays these tricks on us.

There is no sign of life in the warehouses all around me. We’re all boxed in together and the light plays off their empty windows, open and blank to the sun. I sip some tea and play “Over the Hills and Far Away” by Led Zeppelin just to see if this café will work for my story. It only takes a few bars of listening to the song and I know that this place is perfect. This spot on the river is perfect for many stories. It’s  been perfect for all the stories I know nothing about and the ones that I’ve caught the smallest glimpses of.

A mallard suns himself in the weeds that line the water’s edge. The river moves fast and sure and I turn off the music. No need to for further noise. The song is already there.