“Why are all the bunnies bleeding?”

I was about 10 years old the first time I was allowed to roam around a book store on my own. I was on a day trip with my grandfather to Miami. He had a doctors appointment and, rather than keeping me cooped up in a boring doctor’s office, pulled up alongside a Barnes & Noble and said,

“Here’s a twenty. I’ll be back in a few hours. Do you think you can manage okay?”

“How long did you say I was going to be here?” I asked. After giving me a steady look for a moment, he chuckled to himself and handed me another twenty. I turned around and looked up at the towering two-floor bookstore. One would have thought I was in a toy store by the way I was acting. A bundle of excitable and nervous energy, I jittered about and whispered exclamations to myself.  But where to begin? With all that was presented to me, it was almost impossible to know where to start. Quickly, I ran through titles in my head. I remembered Watership Down, a book that one of my best friends at the time was reading, and dashed off to find it. Even today, when I go to a bookstore or a library, I always find an author or title that I know and use it as a touchstone. I browse at the peripherals and continue in an outwardly expanding search pattern as a way of discovering new books.

watership down richard adams

With Watership Down now firmly in my grasp, I march to the check out counter and make my purchase. I then realize I had just under four hours left to wait for my grandfather. Rather than sit down to start to read, I then tried to think of other books. My mind landed on a series of books that my mother read called Merlin’s Legacy. I found the series and decided to purchase a few for my mother – besides, I had the money for it! Now, looking back, I do think it a bit strange for a pre-teen to purchase multiple Harlequin  Fantasy Romance novels… But I digress. Long story short (too late): The point is I bought Watership Down. Now, over 15 years later, and after three incomplete attempts, I have finally finished the epic rabbit tale. Was it worth the wait? I will say that I do appreciate what Adams wrote, but perhaps more so because Watership down has become somewhat of a literary reference in other works I’ve encountered. Whether it’s Stephen King’s Dark Tower Saga (with references to Adams other bear tale, Shardik) or picking up on little Easter eggs in Lost (Ha! Because they’re bunnies!… See what I did there?), I can feel like I have crossed a milestone that was long overdue. Sort of like going back in a video game to make sure you collect everything from a certain level. I will say that after all these years, I suppose I expected some kind of epiphany from completing the novel. Thanks to all the years of the book sitting on my shelf, staring me down. Now all the discussions with high school friends and their favorite books are simply a distant memory. Perhaps I should consider this book a ghost that has been haunting me for a decade and a half, but that casts such a negative light on it.

I did enjoy Watership Down, but I find myself wondering what else there is to comment on. Though the rabbit folklore was interesting, I sometimes wondered what the purpose was… the parallels were loosely suggested between the crafty rabbit El-Ahrairah and the noble leader Hazel… But I did find myself saying, “Okay…. so what?” Maybe my age is making me more skeptical. I could just accept this as a wonderful story about rabbits… or perhaps I should try watching the cartoon next. I heard that scarred resonated with so many.


Rules of the Domain

As I approach another anniversary with this blog, I decided to go through and do a bit of housekeeping, both on the site and at home. After packing up my life and moving to a new apartment, many of my books have been scattered throughout my living space without any sense of order or proper placement. Though there may be a box or two of books still taped up, I was able to organize all that had been unpacked.

The end of summer marks the end of sunny vacations and hot, sticky days, but as autumn draws closer, my mourning is cut short. The fall ushers in a new school year. A time when the air is filled with potential. High expectations and a recharged sense of accomplishment. My summer has been far from uneventful — I believe I have read more books this summer than I have in the past several years. The selection was not the most traditional beach reads, but working my way through The Sickness has kept me steadily motivated.

Now that a new semester approaches, I am faced with a staggering mountain of books to read. (I should have known… it’s a young adult literature class!) Thirty-five books in total, to be read over a fourteen week period. “Oh, for sure I already own a good chunk of this reading list,” I thought. But after looking over the selection, I only recognized three titles: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, A Child Called “It”, and Flowers in the Attic. Less than 10% of this list were books I had heard of. I took pause. After a few calculations I looked down at my paper in disbelief.

Total Pages: 11,080

That staggering number has me freaked out. That’s an average of 121 pages every day — I’m lucky if I can read 12 pages a day! I took a moment to consider a few points: I’m starting the reading list early. I do not have to purchase any books. I have at least an hour of listening time for audio books every workday.

“Okay,” I said polishing my glasses, “Let’s do this!”

The last item of business to attend to was my domain. Not my living space, but my web domain. WordPress has been offering that I “Go Premium” ever since I started this blog, and underestimating my early commitment, I put off purchasing the dot-com for my site. Today I decided to make the purchase, solidifying my little blog in the Internet world, only to be sadly disappointed. “Go Premium today – make http://www.booksick.me yours” said WordPress. Wait, “dot-me”? What happened to dot-com? I quickly typed into the navigation bar, hoping my fear isn’t true… but unfortunately, it seems as though someone else has purchased the dot-com domain for booksick. It seems to be some type of search aggregator, but to be honest, I didn’t spend much time on the site, refusing to give the other pages more hits.

After a bit more research, the knife of remorse only dug deeper. The domain was purchased 31 August 2013 09:24:00. Just two days ago. The expiration is 31 August 2014 09:24:00 — and you can bet I have set my calendar. I’m staring down that date, now charged with even more purpose than before. It will be mine.

*  *  *  *

Currently, I’ve finished the two books chosen for Week 1, and I am working on a book from Week 2. I also found a book from Week 4 on OverDrive that I’ve been listening to while I wait for my holds at the library. Though my school books will not be listed within the master list, I will be sure to address them in each entry.