20 books and 20 lbs (week 30): It would be nice just to be whelmed

I’ve had this conversation with family before, including dh: how come you can be overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but never just “whelmed”? Right about now, I could use just being whelmed. It would be such a nice change of pace.

Since we got back from vacation, things have been quite busy at work – to the point where one of my major sources of work-related stress is just getting there and getting out on time. I’m very much looking forward to the point a little more than a year from now, when we’ll get back to ONE set of drop-offs and ONE set of pick-ups for the kids; having two separate drop-offs and pick-ups makes morning and evening logistics hard and adds stress. Will I get to work on time or show up late? Will I get the kids before {the place I’m getting them from} closes and I get into trouble?

I also – rather randomly – got sick late last week, probably food poisoning of some kind, so my eating was pretty curtailed. On the plus side, that meant I lost some of the weight I’d gained in DC. That’s definitely NOT how I like to lose weight, so I’ll hope that I can find a way to lose the remaining 10lbs without that extra oomph. Of course, being that this week had extra stress at work and with my family, my eating habits were off a bit. I wasn’t shoveling all the food into my body at a breakneck pace, but neither was I existing off lettuce and raw carrots. Neither is sustainable, anyway, so I’ll just take what I’ve got when I weigh in tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I can report that I’m currently down almost 10lbs from my starting point…but I’m losing daylight on the year and need to find a ~sustainable~ way of losing the remaining 10. I also managed to finish off another two books, so at least I think I’m on track there. I hope.

Book #9: “Gun Machine” by Warren Ellis

This is my second read by Ellis this year, and between that and “FreakAngels”, I’m starting to get the sense that he’s one moody, dark genius. I consider this an incredibly good thing. The story opens with Detective John Tallow losing his partner to a gun-wielding psychotic. The building where the shooting takes place gets cordoned off as a crime scene, and when Tallow discovers an apartment that’s literally covered in guns, he unwittingly uncovers a conspiracy, ages-old murders, and a plan by one of the most dangerous men in history. Ellis deftly mixes the geography and history of New York City with more information about how to kill a person than most sane folks should ever know. The story builds slowly and carefully until it all starts to come together…by which time the characters, the story, and you are running through it all so fast that it climaxes in a blur. Ellis’ second novel is an incredibly engaging read – not for the faint of heart – and it shows that just as he’s got the ability to craft rich, well-drawn stories in graphic novels (where “well-drawn” refers both to the artwork AND the story), he’s mastered the art of the graphic (un-graphic) novel, as well.

Book #10: “Gossip Girl” by Cecily Von Ziegesar

Figuring that I’d need a “light, come-down” reading after another Warren Ellis book, I’d saved this library sale pick for the #10 spot. It definitely didn’t disappoint for the category of “light read”, although I can’t say that I was entirely enamored of it. Perhaps it’s because I read it immediately following a book that had my neurons firing constantly, or perhaps it’s because I never saw the show “Gossip Girl” but had the images in my head of the various actors who played the key roles as I read every page of this book. In any event, I found “Gossip Girl” to be fairly meh, as books go.

I’ve read enough young adult (YA) lit to know how things typically go, and I’m just as interested as the next person in reading about the troubled life of the brahmin; however, I found the writing to be scattered enough that character development was too limited for my taste. Only two characters really got fleshed out to any extent, and even then it was hard to find anyone particularly sympathetic enough that you’d want to continue reading on. This works fine for TV, when the purpose is to give short, easily consumed bites on a weekly basis…but when it’s a book, it’s not always as attractive. Let’s just say that I’m not inspired to read the rest of the series. For those interested in a far better YA read with a girly bend to it, I’d recommend skipping “Gossip Girl” and getting “Spoiled” by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (aka “The Fuggirls”). It’s a far more amusing and engaging read, as is its followup, “Messy”.

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