Sunday, March 21, 2010

recapturing that old blogging joy

I admit it--I'm a liar. I keep telling myself that if I just keep trying harder, keep trying harder, keep trying harder, I will eventually "catch up" and all these extra issues we've been dealing with as a family lately will clear up and life will find an even keel again. Ain't working.

I'm exhausted, I'm lacking joy, and it's time to shake things up.

And what a better way to liven things up than with my favorite challenge of them all, Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge. I miss Carl. I miss so many of my blogging friends. I miss the pure fun of reading challenges. I miss putting together big old lists of books that I've got no hope of actually reading. :P

Carl is one of the dearest friends I've made through blogging...and really most of my other closest friends were made because of Carl. Because of Once Upon a Time. Yes, this is the perfect time to reconnect with that old blogging joy.

I'm not going to pretend that I'm going to crank out tons of fun fantasy reading, but I'm going to do my best to make sure that a little piece each day is spent enjoying this challenge. Even if it's just the five minutes I manage to stay awake reading when I head to bed at night, or a few minutes here and there scattered throughout the day checking out all the wonderful reviews.

Aside from all the usual happys...connecting with friends, reading incredible books and stories, growing my wish list by leaps and bounds...this time I'm excited because the whole Stevens gang is going to participate. (This will be the first time for both Gray and Max.) And I'm excited because Rich is going to read Lord of the Rings for the first time. And I'm excited because I'm excited. :P

I'm going to shoot for Quest the First. Reading any combination of five books in the fantasy, folklore, fairy tale, mythology realms. And I really hope to participate in some short story weekends as well.

And now, let me head to my shelves and start pulling. :D

Actually my first two possibles (which are more like definites--though calling anything definite these days makes me leery) aren't on my shelves:

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. This is on my nightstand because I've already started it. I'm less than a hundred pages in, but I am in love with this book so far.

Kesterwood by DesLily. And this is actually on my computer. And I absolutely positively cannot wait to get back to this book. I actually read about a quarter of it previously...but then life got in the way and I was never able to finish it. Being on my computer, it wasn't like I could grab those couple minutes here and there waiting in line at the post office, etc. Even though I remember the story, I'm going to start over. It's just so enchanting that I want to relive it. :D

Honestly, if I manage to finish just these two books, I'll be a very happy camper. (Of course, I do hope to finish at least the five for my chosen quest.) But what the rest might be...who knows. Possibly...

The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Actually, this is another I will likely get to...because thanks to the suggestion of my dear friend Chris, I believe we're going to read this as a selection for school. Rich, Annie, and I have read a Shakespeare play aloud together each of the past three this would be our fourth. And this is one I've never read before...I know, shame on me!

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin. Another one I will likely get to. Thanks to my dear friend Ana, I learned that this is another wonderful choice for school. (It's actually going to be Annie's next read after we finish our current.) I'm so very excited about this one. It is another "shame on me" instance--it will be my very first Le Guin book ever.

The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. And this one I'm going to buddy read with my sweet friend Kelly, if she hasn't totally given up on me yet. Which, btw, I wouldn't blame her for doing! ;)

The Night of Wishes by Michael Ende. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman. Really hoping to read both of these aloud to the boys.

And a "few" others that caught my eye:

*Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
*The Book of Ballads by Charles Vess
*The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli
*Gossamer by Lois Lowry
*Lux the Poet by Martin Millar
*The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
*The Elf Realm: The Low Road by Daniel Kirk
*The Treasures of Weatherby by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
*Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
*Water Tales by Alice Hoffman
*Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
*The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
*The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
*Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block
*The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester
*Ananzi Boys by Neil Gaiman

And some short story sources:
*The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye: Five Fairy Stories by A.S. Byatt
*M Is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
*The Golden Apples of the Sun by Ray Bradbury
*Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint
*Fearless Girls, Wise Women, & Beloved Sisters by Kathleen Ragan

And for no other reason than he's just so stinkin' cute, a Saw-Whet Owl. We went on a hike Friday, and I was so excited to see this little guy...I'd never seen one before. And well, owls are sort of fantastical, aren't they? :)


  1. Wow, look at those list! :D Have fun with the challenge and happy reading, Debi! Can't wait to hear what you'll think of those books!!

  2. I'm SO glad you're liking Tender Morsels! If you made it through that first 100 pages, then you can make it through the rest, and then you can tell me (okay, us all, but I'm self-centered) what you thought, and YAY! I'm glad you're liking it :).

    I can't even imagine reading LoTR as a grownup - the other day someone said something that made me think about this, and I honestly wonder if I wouldn't like it if I hadn't read it as a kid... there ARE things that bother me in it...

    Hurrah for Debi and the Deblets!

  3. Amanda - The owl's name is Leonard. But everyone calls him Hootie. #verycheesygignacinsidejokesonsomeoneelsesblogsorry

  4. ooohhh gorgeous colors ! I've never seen or heard of that owl before!!! I want one to hang out by the pond! lol

    thanks for including Kesterwood i wish i could say it was the best of the 3 but i can say it's the longest of the 3 ! lol lol

  5. It sounds as though there's a lot going on in your life right now, not all of it pleasant. I hope the jump into a new challenge helps take some of the stress away from other things. Ursula LeGuin is great--I'm betting you'll love her bookS, because you really should read more than one.

  6. Aw, I love the owl :D

    You have some GREAT reading ahead of you, Debi! And you're absolutely right: regardless of how much we get read, let's just all make an effort to have fun. I'm so excited that all the Stevens are joining this time :D

  7. That owl picture is OUTSTANDING!! Do you mind if I make that my background pic????? I love owls for some reason I think of them as mystical creatures too!! Looks like you've got a great list going for reading and the coolest thing of all is that the whole family is doing it together!!!!!!!!!

  8. Glad you are finding some joy and excitement - It really sucks when they are in short supply. You will, of course, get through to the other side where things are brighter and shinier but in the meantime, hang in there, beautiful friend!

    Awesome, amazing picture of the owl. And the cat and the sword cracked me up! You are right - he does look like he could use it!

  9. Again, I am in awe of all of your reading. You are amazing!! I'm looking for something to strike my fancy to read. :)

    The owl picture is fantastic.

    take care,

  10. Look at that list! I'm glad you're going to use this challenge to capture a bit of joy. Happy reading.

  11. Ah, I love you all so much!!! You are just the best. And there's no reason to be missing me, we all get busy and life interrupts, those connections stay strong.

    I'm thrilled that you are all joining in, and I am so very envious of Rich's first time with Lord of the Rings. I remember that so fondly, especially since it wasn't all that many years ago. I can't wait to hear what he thinks. Just remind him to push on through the first part of Fellowship if it is difficult for does get much, much better.

    Love to all the S. family!!! :)

  12. I am doing my happy clappy dance as you join us on our fantasy trail. Isn't it exciting. I just love this challenge.

  13. I'm so glad I found your new blog! At last! All because of Carl's challenge :-) and I love your list of books....I just put mine up tonight too. Like you, like Carl, I have lots I want to read, and half the fun is making the list and dreaming of having time to read them!! I'm glad you're still blogging, Debi.

    The owl picture? Gorgeous. Having you blog? Priceless :-D

  14. I am waiting for you for our buddy read. No worries! :)

  15. You know, I read this post a while back but for some reason was unable to comment at the time. Even weeks later this post still makes me happy. Glad you found a little bit of that blogging groove--a great challenge (and better books) will do that, huh?