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Mind's working...body, not so much.

I'm trying to wean myself off caffeine again. I had ordered Super Irish Breakfast and Kopili Assam tea from Stash for Christmas, and probably enjoyed them more often than I should have. Super Irish Breakfast is fabulous with milk and sugar, but apparently as eye-opening as espresso. After a week of mostly sleepless nights and irrational reactions to just about everything (I hear a bag of rolls fall to the floor in the kitchen, I scream. An image pops open too fast on a webpage, I scream) I decided to wean myself off the good stuff. I'm only allowing myself two cups of caffeinated tea a day, both before 5pm. The rest has to be dishwater decaf. =_= I tried doing my "steep for 30 seconds, throw out the water, steep again as normal" trick for a while, because the tea it produces is much better than commercial decaf. The problem is that it's not really decaf. O_O

It's been hard. I've been tired most of the time, but at least I'm not getting headaches! I've been able to sleep better than before, and I'm having an easier time focusing on things. But oh, I am so tired. Especially at night after 8pm. I hate to think that my boundless youthful energy is caused by a drug.

I actually finished some of these books earlier, but forgot to report on them. I always get like this following a major holiday. Having a stack of new books to burn through is pure heaven for me. It's hard to believe that in my late teens and early twenties I probably averaged about three books a year! Now I feel terribly lonely if I don't have a book I'm working through. Mental silence is like death to me, and I hardly ever watch TV. O_o

So...the first book I finished was Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata. It was a young adult novel about a Japanese-American family living in the South during the 1950s. I thought it was a B or B+ book. I've read plenty of books about Chinese and Chinese-Americans living in the U.S, but none about Japanese-Americans trying to make a living in a poultry plant when the workers were struggling to unionize. From a historical perspective it was fascinating. On the downside, I found that writing to be a little too vague and inconcise. I know that the narrator was supposed to be a little girl, but I found the parts about her parents' struggle at work to be much more interesting than the main character's rambling about her inner life. Maybe a child reader would see things differently? I thought the premise was good, but the book was too unpolished. There were so many heartbreaking things going on in the background, but the narrator was too self-absorbed to notice anything but the most glaring details. Is this the danger of using a first person narrator?

The second book I read was The Wild Mother by Elizabeth Cunningham. I actually had to get this one off Z-Shops; I read a recommendation on a website, and thought a story about a family living with a direct descendant of Lilith sounded too weird to pass up. And it was weird. Sometimes it was good. Sometimes the prose was god-awful. It was always entertaining. I would give the book a solid B, because the author had something to say, which is always better than having nothing to say. Still, the character of Adam Underwood was probably the most ridiculous antagonist I've encountered in adult fiction. It was like the main character's father was Lezard Valeth from Valkyrie Profile, and her mother was Lenneth. I wouldn't make such a bizarre statement if it weren't true...

Then I read Dorothy Allison's Two Or Three Things I Know For Sure. Before anyone gets alarmed, this book was only about 90 pages, with huge print and photographs. I read it in about two hours. Now, Bastard Out Of Carolina has to be one of my favorite Bathroom Books (books that are so melodramatic and easy to dive into that I keep them in the bathroom, well...you know what I mean). I think most of my Bathroom Books are about poor rural whites living the South. ::snickers:: Anyway, this little book was the author's biography. I thought it was a fascinating read, but so short! I would give it an A-, because I always love to have insight into where authors find their stories. I think it could have been two hundred pages longer, but maybe she didn't feel like sharing more?

And then I quickly read Tove Jansson's Fair Play. I had to get this one off amazon.co.uk, because it isn't available in English in the U.S. It was a collection of related short stories about the artistic and relationship issues between two elderly women living together on an island off the coast of Finland; they were obviously based off the author's relationship with her partner, Tuulikki (the inspiration for the Moomin character Tooticky). It was an A+++++ book, as good as The True Deceiver and much better than The Summer Book and The Winter Book. I think that age 75, Jansson finally found the words for what she'd been trying to say all along.

Now Italo Calvino's Italian Folk Tales stands before me. I probably won't be posting about books again for a while.

I also finished Ruin (Aron)'s quest in PS3. I felt a little bad about it, but I'm moving on. I'm playing Persona 3 Portable.