On the Pile
I haven't read nearly as much I had hoped I would this past week. The headaches and the anxiety are kinda getting in the way.
Finished: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. How could a book about legalized vampires in Louisiana and a mind-reading waitress named Sookie be anything but awesomely addictive? But yet . . . I was not only not addicted but also rather disappointed. Although I appreciate Harris wanting to move away from the gothic, fantastic vampire stereotypes (and the inevitable Anne Rice comparisons), she spent too much effort emphasizing that this wasn't the "typical" vampire story and too much time on the technicalities of the vampire world. The themes---love is never simple or easy, we have to accept others and ourselves for who we are---were overly anvilicious. And I never got swept into the story. In my opinion, truly good fantasy/sci-fi lets you almost forget that you aren't in the real world because the stories are so grounded in real human experiences. Joss Whedon is a master of this. I mean, I never would have thought that I'd love a space western. But by the second episode of Firefly, I forgot that I was watching a genre show and got swept into the stories. With Harris, the story constantly took second chair to the genre, when it should have been the other way around.
Currently Reading: I'm rereading Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh to try to deal with my current situation. I tend to let anger entirely consume me, and I don't deal with it in the best way. I get obsessive, vengeful, and emotional. I wind up hurting myself way more than the other person hurt me. At the same time, I don't want to be a doormat. I need to figure out a way to assert myself when I have a legitimate reason without being consumed by negative emotions.
Also reading Human Cargo by Caroline Moorehead, which is about refugees and their struggles. I thought I'd try to remind myself that problem, while frustrating, is hardly the worst thing that could happen to me. Yeah, it'll suck to have to borrow from my parents or taking out cash advances on my credit cards to pay the extra rent for the summer. But I have those resources available to me. I'm not going to be out on the street because of this, and I have rights that I can exercise (like taking the girl to court). Reading about people who have lost everything---family, friends, homes, even their identities and rights as a person---definitely puts my problem in perspective.
On Deck: The Assault on Reason by Al Gore