Monday, December 19, 2011

I am the worst blogger ever. Actually, that's probably not true. Especially since I technically wrote this December 9, but due to unfortunate computer charger issues I haven't had time to post it. 

Anyway, I've discovered that this whole "being employed" thing really cuts into my reading time. Which is ironic since I work in publishing. I'm seriously considering taking a week of "vacation" and just staying home and reading. This is my life.

So since selling my soul to Scarecrow Press (Monday-Friday, 9-5) and BCCRS/MCFRS (any other time period, occasionally overlapping), I haven't had as much time to read as I'd like. Nevertheless, I have managed to fit it in here and there and I have a few backlogged reviews.
Not too long ago I finished The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I found it to be a pretty interesting read. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but that's perfectly OK. There are certain books (and this one definitely falls into the category) that I hear such rave reviews for (on goodreads and the like) that I eventually just shrug and put on my list and then pounce on them once I stumble upon them on the library shelves. Oftentimes I end up diving into these books without really knowing what the book is about. It's bizarre and occasionally really confusing, but for the most part I think it's an advantage because your mind is an (almost) blank slate.

Another book I just finished also kind of falls into the same category, though there's been less chatter about it is Her Fearful Symmetry. It's by the same author that wrote The Time Traveler's Wife. Between that and the intriguing name, I had to pick it up. 

I have to say, I really enjoyed Her Fearful Symmetry, but reading it was truly an exercise in the unexpected. Or it was for me anyway. It starts off as an intriguing enough story with interesting characters and you want to keep reading because you want to see how things develop. There's also a sense of mystery to it, even before you know that there really is a secret. Then, 1/3-1/2 way into the book the author just starts throwing in twists and turns. Many a time did I stop, think "huh. that was unexpected" and then continue reading. 

Overall, I think I liked the first part of the book more than the latter part. The beginning and the end are so far apart — but somehow everything between ties them together. It certainly didn't go in the direction I expected it to as I got further immersed in the story. I can't even describe it as the complete opposite since it was in a whole other world. It was mildly perplexing, but definitely a good read. 

I will say though, if you're one of those people who reads the ending of a book first, you may want to skip this book if you can't manage to restrain yourself because knowing the ending without the middle and then trying to start from the beginning will be confusing as hell and you'll cheat yourself out of the full experience of reading this. Just saying. 

Moving right along, after Her Fearful Symmetry I started Super Sad True Love Story. I really did have high hopes for this book. There was a ton of hype (and I try not to let that lead me astray since I sometimes find the public literary opinion worrying *coughtwilightcough*), but it seemed like an interesting work of social commentary with amusing-ish characters. 
In the world of Super Sad True Love Story, language has devolved, everyone speaks in abbreviations and thinks books "smell." Social media is everything. This is the portrait of the world Shteyngart paints us. As disturbing as I find this concept, it does provide a perfect setup for a dystopian novel.

Except it isn't one. It's kind of about government and society, and kind of about people — flawed, mediocre, generally uninteresting people — and while, again, these seem like they should be good jumping off points, it just doesn't work.
I finished reading it due to my unfortunate compulsion to finish all books that I start. I also kept hoping that I would like it more as the story progressed. No such luck.

That's pretty much it for my book life. The only other thing of note is that I am (still) impatiently waiting for the Hunger Games movie. It looks AWESOME and I'm absurdly excited. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to reread the books sometime before the movie comes out, but since I have until March, I've got time. I pretty much read each book in a day or so. Yep. Excited.

Monday, December 12, 2011

~60 hours in the life

We begin Friday evening:

Leave work intending to go to the gym. It's frikin' cold. Watch t.v. instead.

Successfully wake up in time to shower, get ready, get coffee/breakfast, and make it to class on time for my test. Take test without (much) incident. Change 2 correct answers to wrong answers at the last minute. Kick self later. Take CPR test. Pass. Rejoice. Commence waiting impatiently for card to be in my possession (~2 weeks in theory). Spend the rest of my Saturday watching Sister Wives on t.v. while taking 3 out of 4 online MCFRS tech classes and drinking wine. Go to bed early-ish. 

Wake up Sunday morning. Class. "Assess" classmates with fake complaints. Quick nap between class and duty. Arrive at squad. Finish remaining tech class. Learn how to read a map. Discover that fluffy comforter provides the illusion of a comfy bed. 3 a.m. call. Back to bed. Back home to get ready for work. 

Take pills. Too lazy to take multiple gulps of water. Start to choke on a pill. EMT training actually kicks in. Remind self that partially-obstructed airways usually clear themselves (or the become completely obstructed and then I could pass out and die, but I don't remind myself of that). Commence coughing-involuntary retching cycle. Eventually clear airway. Congratulate self on staving off complete panic attack. Take anxiety medication. Finish getting ready. Realize that socks actually show despite bootie-style heels. Decide mismatched polka dot socks add a touch of whimsy (also that warm feet are more important. It's cold out there). Crave peppermint mocha. Realize I have neither the time nor the money for that. Decide to create own peppermint mocha. Fail spectacularly. Rectify situation at work by diluting with ( a lot) more coffee. Contemplate taking nap under desk during lunch. Not even 11 yet. Will revisit possibility later.

My life is so exciting, I know. It's now around the time when I eat lunch. I still like the idea of a nap, but I'm also hungry. Quite the conundrum, I know. 

I really do have a post that is related to the usual topics of this blog, but it's on my computer at home and I'm currently at work. It'll be posted in the near future (probably).

Friday, October 28, 2011


Watching the news. It's apparently going to snow tomorrow. It's like nature doesn't want me to be healthy.

Tomorrow may be spent on the couch with tea and a book about running. Maybe I'll drag myself to the gym, but I make no promises.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

There's a book for that

I may or may not have mentioned this at some point, but I've decided to start running. Now, if you've ever met me, that sounds like the most outlandish statement in the world. I hate to run. I loved playing soccer and rugby, but my coaches were always frustrated by the fact that I didn't run.

So why the change of heart?

No idea. I just decided one day, and now I'm actually feeling motivated. Since I really am trying to be healthy in every way, I need to hop on any motivation train that comes my way. I love the idea of running, and after doing extensive reading (because that's what I do) about how to start running, it does seem like something of which I really am capable.

So last weekend I went on an expedition to Fleet Feet. It is a great store, and if you're looking for anything running-related, I seriously suggest you head their way (and no, they aren't paying me, I just had a very good experience with them. They could totally pay me with free merchandise though....) The woman helping me watched me walk, measured my feet sitting and standing, and then recommended shoes and inserts she thought would be right for my feet. After trying on a few different pairs (with and without the inserts) and walking and running around inside and outside, I picked my shoe. I'd have a picture, but I do not have my life together that much, so I'll post a picture of my new running gear at some point in the near-ish future.

After spending lots of time browsing all the gear and reminding myself of the difference between "need" and "want," I headed to the cash register with my shoes and inserts.

....and one other thing.

Yep. I bought a book at a running store. Only me.

The book is Running for Mortals and I only had to read the title to know I needed that book. I've only read the introduction so far, but even that has gotten me ready to go!

I have a not-so-irrational hatred of treadmills, so I want to go running outside. My plan is to go running on the bike path this Saturday, since it's usually starting to get dark by the time I get home from work and the path doesn't have lights.

I have a feeling that turning myself into a runner will be a long and (possibly) interesting saga. Stay tuned for horror stories.

Meanwhile, I'll be reading my book...

I am an advertiser's dream

The other day I was reading a blog and I saw an ad for some new drink called Neuro (tagline: the operating system for life). Since I'm easily manipulated by advertising, I clicked it. Of course. Then I started reading about it and it really does sound pretty cool. There are a variety of flavors and they all have different supplements/benefits. Allegedly.It's basically a vitamin-water type product. It isn't sold anywhere in my area (as far as I can tell), but it is sold on Amazon. I filed away that nugget of information for later and then proceeded with my blog-reading.

The next afternoon I went into a meeting, and there was one of the drinks, just hanging out next to a pad of paper (and, you know, my coworker). Naturally it was in my head for the rest of the day, so when I got home I opened the page again (fun fact about me: I treat things on the internet like they'll disappear forever if I close the window or stop reading halfway through a blog's archives because it's 3 a.m. and my doctors assure me that sleep really is necessary for me to function). After reading reviews on amazon and agonizing over which one to try first, I discovered a variety-pack. Score.

With that major hurdle out of the way, I could focus on 1) how intrigued I am by the product and 2) how cool the packaging is. Call me superficial, but product design really does matter. It catches, and often keeps, my attention. Since I'm an amazon junkie and have impulse control issues, you can guess what happened next.


A variety-pack of these new drinks is headed my way as these words zoom through the ether-y internet (that's how it works, right?).

Also, I think that Neuro should totally hire me to write reviews about this product. I've already waxed poetic (almost) on their lovely design. Imagine what I could do with some free samples (wink wink, nudge nudge).

So now I eagerly await my package of possibly-overpriced-but-the-bottles-are-really-cool "nutritional supplement" drinks.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Books in my blood

"You will never find a librarian who will argue for higher prices. It's just not in their DNA." ~My boss, regarding prices on books marketed to libraries.

I heard this during our meeting today, and for some reason it's sticking with me. Maybe this is why I want to go to library school (I've taken to calling it that, as other people my age start working toward med school), why I covet special editions of classic books, but am easily satisfied being the third or fourth owner of a paperback (the special editions are so pretty, and if you see the state of some of my most-loved books, it's clear that I can't have nice things): it's just not in my DNA.

I read because I enjoy it. Because it opens my mind to new possibilities. Because each time I open a book, I learn something new. I love books and what they have done for me, and I truly believe that they should be accessible to everyone. Thus, despite my love for the physical book, the act of turning a page and the feeling of the tome in my hand, I don't scorn the rise of e-books and online media. As much as I want every kid to be able to hold a copy of the greatest works from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss, that isn't feasible. But the ever-developing world of digital media brings these books just a bit closer to kids ever day. And that's a big deal.

So as someone who thinks books need to be available to everyone, how do I reconcile my beliefs with the need to turn a profit in the world of academic/professional/general interest (but not trade) publishing?

To be honest, I don't have a good answer to that question. The fact that the two biggest industries related to my passion for books seem to be in conflict is something that deeply troubles me. Maybe I haven't been working in publishing long enough. Maybe once I've been working in the industry longer, this question will cease to hold a place of importance in my mind. Now that's a scary thought.

I recognize that books can't generally be free. There are costs associated with producing them, so publishers must charge for them. That being said, I still can't totally get behind making a book expensive enough that only institutions are able to afford them. I believe information and resources should be available to anyone who seeks them. So maybe my love of books and my decision to pursue a degree in library science makes me more than a product of my environment. Maybe it's in my DNA?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I am not dead, just pretending to be a productive member of society

So it pretty much amounts to the same thing.

Why is it that going to an office to be surrounded by people staring at computers while I stare at my own computer all day is so much more exhausting than staying home and staring at my computer all day?

Seriously. This 9-to-5 cubical farm thing is killing me. I'm developing an irrational, seething hatred for the women whose cubicles surround mine. They talk so much. And yes, much of it is about work, but it's just from all sides. Sometimes they call each other (which does make sense because you don't need to walk all the way around 2 rows of cubicles to ask one question) and then from my desk I can hear their conversation in stereo. I'm in some sort of auditory reverse-Bermuda triangle. All sound goes directly to my cubicle. My ipod is now a necessity to get through my work day.

This post really was supposed to be about books and working in publishing, but I got distracted and now I don't remember what I was going to say. It'll come back to me eventually.

How do you get through a long work day?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dear readers,

I have been neglectful. I am sorry. Well... kind of. I had a lot going on.

For example, I neglected to mention that my birthday was earlier this month. I didn't really do anything exciting. I did, however, have a job interview. AND I GOT THE JOB. Now that's birthday luck.

I started this past week, and while I think this will prove to be a valuable experience, I have NO IDEA how people spend the majority of their adult lives doing this. Sitting at a desk staring at a computer all day long is kind of killing me. I come home and can't focus my eyes.

But I'm working in publishing, so all my work involves books. BOOKS, people. My one, true love.

I'm not throwing out my grad school plans though. It feels like a long process and now that I'm not home all day it's a little bit harder to get myself to focus and do something during my time off.

I had an informational interview with my friend's old boss, and he suggested another grad school that I hadn't even heard of. The program seems amazing though AND the campus is 2 blocks away from the NY office of the company I work at. I honestly have no idea if I'd be able to transfer to the NY office, but first I have to apply and get into programs. Then I have to assess which would be best for me. Then I can figure out if a transfer would be possible. Like I said, it's a long process.

OK, so that was my check-in and I really will start writing interesting things and reviewing books again and all that jazz. If someone would just pay me to read all day I could do that again and blog about it and it would be PERFECT. Yes, I know. In my dreams...

Monday, September 12, 2011

After finally jumping on the Game of Thrones bandwagon a few days ago, I finished the first book yesterday. Bottom line: I'm a fan.

I actually started reading it because my friend was watching the HBO series and wanted me to watch it with her. Of course, being me, I had to read the books first...

When I first started reading, it took me a little while to get into the groove of things and keep the characters/families/settings straight, but eventually you get so sucked in you understand everything without even having to think about it.

So yeah, I really enjoyed it and now I'm trying to find a copy of the second book in the series so I don't have to wait for the 70-some people who requested it from the library ahead of me to read it. Awesome.

In other news, I got a job offer! I'll be an editorial assistant, so it's pretty much right up my alley. Still not entirely sure how it'll work out with my grad school aspirations, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Anyone else read Game of Thrones? Thoughts?
Juggling work with grad school? How do you manage? Is your degree taking a significantly long period of time?

Monday, August 29, 2011

I secretly wrote this a few days ago and then proceeded to forget to post it.

So the east coast earthquake — can you say "unprepared"? Everything started shaking and I looked at the cat for reassurance that I wasn't having a really ridiculous hallucination. Once my brain caught up I ran and stood under the door frame because that's what "they" always say to do, but later my architect father said that was an awful idea and that you're supposed to go away from doors and windows — basically outside. I think he might have some of his natural disaster protocols mixed up, but I admit that standing under a door frame in the basement during an event that causes buildings to collapse doesn't seem like the most intelligent thing either. 

The animals were kind of freaked out once it was all over, which is kind of weird in retrospect since people are always talking about how animals can sense that sort of thing before humans. But really, they looked just as surprised as I was. Not to self: my pets are ineffective as natural disaster detectors. 

The rush of social media attention after this was kind of hilarious. The earthquake took over facebook. What did we do before social media? Probably not read the word "earthquake" so many times in the span of two minutes that it starts to look wrong. 

Anyway, the earthquake excitement was short-lived in my house, so my mom and I went to the movies. After the movie we went to Borders because I am a glutton for punishment.

I finally caved and bought a copy of a book I'd heard about on NPR and picked up every time I went to Borders, only to put it down later because it's still in hardcover. I also bought a copy of Daisy Miller (because who doesn't love Henry James?) and a notebook. I was actually looking for stationery, but I got distracted. I did seriously consider a copy of Knit Your Own Royal Wedding. Because seriously, who doesn't want yarn figurines of the royal family? I may not have the faux-sapphire royal wedding engagement ring (even though I can't deny, I wanted it. It's so damn pretty that I don't care if it's a fake, but getting called out on the royal wedding memorabilia might tag me as "crazy" and we wouldn't want that... right?), but I sure as hell can knit a Queen of England facsimile. Being unemployed at the moment, I couldn't quite justify spending the $12-ish even though it would provide endless hours of entertainment. If you, my loyal readers, want to pitch in and buy me this book I can promise pictures of my royal family attempts. Perhaps even puppet shows. Just sayin'...

But back to Borders.... Being there these days always leaves me feeling kind of awful. It's so damn depressing. They're even selling the furniture/fixtures. Also, it's just chaos. Like a duck on water — calm on the surface, but paddling like hell underneath (I may have just stolen that simile from So You Think You Can Dance. I don't even know. In any case I'm keeping it because it fits exactly what I'm trying to express. Oh! Or eye of the storm where it's all calm in the middle, but it's this massive, chaotic, destructive thing. That one requires a bit too much explanation though. Also, this parenthetical is getting ridiculously long. I'm breaking into the meta-blog. Yeah, I went there).

OK, this post went in many different (and clearly unplanned) directions. That's all for now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The internet needs copy editors

There are so many people/companies in the world that cannot properly use the English language. And apparently all of them are online. Despite all this, I'm still without a job. Someone please explain this to me.

Earlier today I was reading "10 Direct Selling Tips to Improve Your Sales" or something like that. Tip number 1 was "make a good first impression." OK, that makes sense. Let's continue to the explanation. In the first sentence, instead of writing "almost," they wrote "all most." What was that about first impressions? Yeah, irony's a bitch, isn't it?

But seriously people, just re-read something before you hit "publish." It will keep you from looking like a dumb ass and keep me from wanting to hit you with something. It's a win-win.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NPR is an enabler

I only recently realized how much NPR has to say about books. I love listening to their stories about new books on the radio, but I've discovered their blog and some of their amazing writers simply by "liking" them on facebook. Seriously though, I'd love to be a book blogger for them. NPR... hit me up.

I came across this gem today and now I have so many more books to put on my TBR list. At the moment, I can't remember if I've ever shared my Shakespeare obsession with you guys, but suffice it to say, it exists and anything that plays on the Bard's masterful works (provided they do so respectfully) is an automatic win in my book. The other books on the list look great too. I even want to read The Last Werewolf, despite my general dislike of paranormal genre-fiction. It just sounds so smart and interesting.

This list is in NPR's Summer Books 2011 subgroup. Generally, I don't have real "summer reads." I mostly just read whatever sounds interesting that I didn't have time to read while I was at school. Do you distinguish between summer and other reads?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I've been reading a bunch of different books simultaneously, but I finally finished two of them. I read 2666 by Roberto Bolaño and Looking for Alaska by John Green. I'm feeling a bit lazy though, so I'm just reposting the reviews I put on Goodreads.

Bolaño's 2666 has received monumental praise. Much of it is justified, but some of it, I think, is exaggerated due to the fact that he died soon after completing the book.

I found parts of the book incredibly interesting, but other parts felt disjointed and I found them difficult to get through. I guess my main complaint is that this did not feel like one cohesive work. The introduction states that Bolaño wanted it to be published as 5 separate books, but after his death, his family and publisher decided to publish it as one final work. As some other reviews mention, it doesn't feel like  2666 was complete at the time of Bolaño's death, and if that is truly the case, then perhaps bringing cohesion and tying all five parts together was one of the final steps that Bolaño did not reach.

I put off reading Looking for Alaska for a really long time. Generally I have issues with the built-up character of a gorgeous, yet quirky and intelligent troubled girl with whom everyone is enamored, so I approached this a bit warily. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that it was an interesting portrayal of a different kind of teenage life. There were times when the characterization of Alaska made me want to bang my head against a wall, but it didn't completely glamorize a troubled mind.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Health Interlude

Recently I’ve really been trying to get myself to a healthy place. After being sick for so long and being on an abundance of medication that in many ways just made me feel worse, I’m trying to take back control and become truly healthy. I’ve been seeing a dietician who has me cutting out gluten and soy, upping my protein intake (which is difficult since I’m a vegetarian who only eats seafood because all my doctors told me that my body needs it right now), and taking supplements to decrease inflammation and help my body de-stress. I’m also trying to exercise. I’ve gotten to the point that I really wish I could get myself into running. Given my current joint issues and the fact that I had shin splints before prednisone turned me into a blimp, that doesn’t really seem feasible right now. Maybe I’ll try every once in a while.

I thought all these dietary restrictions would make things really difficult, but so far it has been OK. It just seems to take a little longer to prepare meals and snacks these days, but I can manage. The other night I made the massaged kale salad again. It was delicious. I tend to forget how much I like mangoes. I keep finding recipes that look amazing, so as I continue to try to become a responsible adult and take control of my body and eating habits, I’m also going to try to cook more. At least that’s the plan.

Here’s a picture of one of the mangoes I expertly sliced (with the help of the internet) into something that looks like a delicious hedgehog or something:

There have been a few books that I've read/been sent for review that deal with health and dieting, but they all strike me as incredibly unhealthy or impractical. Or both. One book I was sent to review is Turbocharged. To be honest, I've tried to finish reading this book on multiple occasions, but I just find it incredibly off-putting. It basically says to eat foods that have a high water content so that it tricks your body into thinking that you're full. I'm sure it isn't the intention of the authors of the book, but it comes off as "If you follow our rules, soon you won't have to eat at all!" and that is just not healthy. For anyone. I'm in a unique situation where I gained a bunch of weight in an incredibly unnatural way, and now have to fight to lose it, but even for a "regular" person, the Turbocharged tips and some of the techniques that this type of book suggests just don't make sense.

In other book-related news, I’m reading at least four books right now, so hopefully I’ll finish something and then post a review.

What kind of yummy, healthy things do you like to eat? Any idea on how I can get myself into running and skip the wanting to die part?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My cat is a junkie

There has been an amusing new development in my house: whenever I go anywhere near the fridge, the cat starts meowing and trying to climb up my leg. She knows that her tuna-flavored meds are in there and she wants them.

Let me take you back a few months… My cat was very skinny and the vet diagnosed her with a thyroid disorder and gave us some pills.

Now, if you’ve ever tried to give a cat a pill, then you know that wrestling something with four legs and a purely theoretical spine into a position where you can chuck a pill down its throat and then clamp its mouth shut for long enough that they’re forced to swallow it is a harrowing experience. One that no sane (or probably insane as well) person would want to relive two times a day.

Enter liquid medication. Why they didn’t just lead with that, I’ll never know. Anyway, now we certainly don’t have to wrangle her. She keeps trying to trick us into giving the meds to her more than twice a day. She will meow at you every time you open the fridge, hoping you don’t remember that you just gave them to her. It’s hilarious and I was going to post a video, but that requires me getting my shit together, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. But yeah, she will try to con you. Watch yourself. Conclusion: she’s a greedy little junkie.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic is the new black

So last summer on Goodreads, I kept seeing people talking about some book I’d never heard of: The Help. It was getting a lot of hype, which often makes me back away slowly since I feel like hype only leads to me being disappointed once I’ve actually read the damn book. Well, I caved. I was at the library and saw a copy of the book on the shelf and figured “hell. Why not?” 

Then I read (and reviewed) it. If you didn’t click on the link to read the original review let me sum it up for you: so. much. love. It was a great book. Well, it is a good book. I’m pretty sure that it hasn’t decreased in quality since the last time I read it. 

Anyway, I’m sure you can imagine my annoyance when I saw the signs advertising the movie. Actually, my first thought was “Already? Didn’t it only come out last summer? I figured I had a bit more time before I had to deal with this.” I was wrong. Apparently the film industry has run out of original ideas. 

Well, despite my general (and mostly principle-based) dislike of movie adaptations of books, I am cautiously optimistic. It looks like they may just have done the book justice. Damn, I hope so. Or I’ll be feeling a bit stabby. 

And by that I mean that I’ll have an urge to write a strongly worded letter that I’ll never end up sending. Same diff. 

The movie comes out on the 11th, so you’ll be hearing from me once I can save up enough of the money I find between the couch cushions.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

OK this is it for tonight, I promise

but as I'm addicted to THIS BLOG, and considering the movie and discussion I just attended, I think it's relevant and important.

I've been reading all of the Blogess's past posts and I just got to this one. If you don't have time to read the post, then I'll just leave you with the image she posted:

Hush now

I feel like that needs to be part of a campaign. I'd wear that shirt or put that bumper sticker on my car. It's an important message and sometimes I feel like it's something other people need to be reminded about me and about others.

That's all for tonight. Now I'm going to watch my light and fluffy dance shows.



and THIS

are hilarious. I love this blog. I just keep reading it and laughing manically to myself. It's a problem. Only it's really not because I'm incredibly entertained.

And my new catchphrase (if I decide to have a catchphrase) is FULL OF WHIMSY.

No, I'm not done complaining

I saw the movie A Single Man this evening. More on that in a moment.

Before the movie, we went to the Borders nearby. Walking in there, it was like I walked into the middle of a disaster scene. Now that's probably melodramatic and incredibly insensitive, but I'm having trouble forming coherent thoughts.

Seeing the 20% off signs everywhere brought up a lovely thrill, then the horror hit me. The signs were everywhere and though you wouldn't see it if you were only looking at the people, the store was in complete chaos. Entire shelves empty, books moved to completely different sections of the store... It was like going to the grocery store when they're predicting a blizzard and suddenly you have to fight for bread and milk. Only it was so much more sad than that.

I love the old mom and pop, independent book stores, but Borders really was an institution. I still have incredibly mixed feelings about their closing. (Though while cruising the half-empty shelves, I realized that the closest book store will soon be much farther away. Given the lack of air conditioning in my car, my feelings leaned slightly more toward distraught about the end of the Borders era)

On the bright side, I got a copy of Shakespeare's sonnets, Mansfield Park, and...

wait for it...


I'm probably way more excited about this than I should be. I haven't read JE in a while and I've been meaning to, but now I can read it with pictures!

There were so many other books that I wanted, but I'm still jobless and thus in the poor-house. Also, they're still hovering at 20% for fiction, so I might try again when they get closer to shutting the doors and just need to get everything off the shelves.

So. The movie.

It was unbelievably sad, but also incredibly poignant and it truly was great. It's based on a book of the same name, so I unwittingly broke my own rule once again, but I would like to read it now. Since it was showing at AFI and they love doing things like that, they had a Q&A with two mental health professionals afterward, and, of course there's always one whackadoodle who, given a microphone and opportunity, will talk just to hear their own voice. Thankfully, the moderator handled it very well and we were spared what could have been a very long, uncomfortable tirade. Ah, the first amendment. I love it, but sometimes.... well. Yeah.

I've been telling myself that I want to write a post about The Help and the upcoming movie, but this has been a long-ish post, so maybe tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2011

this is what happens when I start looking at my friend's blog

I want this in my life



I don't have a tumblr, but if I did, I'd be reblogging it from we were very tired, we were very merry.

A smorgasbord 'o reviews

So I'm a bit behind on things. I've finished a few books recently, but I keep forgetting to write about them, so now you get a lovely little sampling.

First up: The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker

There were some great lines in this book and I ended up reading it with a notebook nearby so that I could write down quotes and the names of different poets I wanted to look into. But the brilliance didn't really extend beyond certain lines. It read like a disjointed, stream of consciousness journal that was accidentally published. The basic idea of a guy who's supposed to be writing the introduction to an anthology while he feels like his life is falling apart sounds interesting, but the way Baker presented the story, it just wasn't. I just got really annoyed with the protagonist and wanted him to just get along with it. So the fun quips could make it worth the time for some readers, but overall I might suggest skipping The Anthologist.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

It's a classic. Love. That is all.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The conclusion to the Millenium series. As with its two predecessors, I really enjoyed it. As you may remember, I grudgingly gave into the hype and started reading the series, but I've continued to be pleasantly surprised. The characters and the intrigue are great and the writing is just.... smart. Yeah, these are books I feel are deserving of all the praise they get. Haven't read them yet? Go for it.

London by Edward Rutherfurd

A sweeping saga showcasing the history of London. What more can an anglophile wish for? I really enjoyed this book. With every era, the stories changed, yet we saw echoes of earlier characters and earlier times. It was a masterful historic piece. A million thumbs up.

 The Tiger's Wife by Teá Obreht

I've accidentally gotten into the habit of picking up and reading books without reading the back cover or figuring out even the most basic setting/ideas of the book. I did that with this. Thankfully, it worked out pretty well. The Tiger's Wife was a great read, though I wish I'd done a bit of research so I had some sort of historical understanding. In any case, still phenomenal. The intertwined stories of the protagonist's present day, her grandfather's history, and the stories he told work off of each other in a way that gives the larger picture great depth.

Whew. There we go. Now you're all caught up. I'm reading 2666 and The Plantagenet Prelude at the moment. Also, I'm sort of reading A Red Herring Without Mustard (the third in the Flavia de Luce series), but it isn't the highest priority right now. Then there's the collection of Edna St. Vincent Millay poems I've been reading during random lulls in my day. I still have her biography to read. So many things out of the library. I can't even handle it.

In entirely non-book related news, I've applied to start training as an EMT with a local rescue squad. I was a junior member very briefly in high school, but I wasn't really ready for the responsibility and I had a lot of other things going on. Now, I think I'm ready. At this point, I practically crave responsibility. It can take "several weeks" for me to hear back, and I just mailed my application on Tuesday, but I'm already vibrating with impatience. Hopefully I'll hear back and start training soon.

Off to my books for now!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Well this is depressing. Where am I going to get my books now?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And the sharing continues

You guys are (apparently) really lucky that I spend so much time on facebook, since I follow a bunch of pages and find (without any actual effort) gems like this.

I have grown up with Harry Potter and as the end is finally here, I've been feeling a little lost. This article (written by a former high school classmate, I believe) gives voice to pretty much all the emotions I've been feeling as tomorrow's midnight showing looms nearer. I definitely plan on checking these books out.

Does anyone else feel lost as the HP saga comes to a close?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Something to consider

Thanks to a friend's post on facebook, I found an interesting article on fanfiction.

As you may have guessed, I am no stranger to fanfic. I'm more often a reader than a writer, but fanfic gets a really bad rap a lot of the time, and I think that this article treats it very fairly. It was interesting to see that some authors are so vehemently against fanfic. On some level I do understand their position. If I wrote a novel with original scenarios/characters, everything about it is my brainchild. It might seem like a complete invasion for people to take them in completely different directions. However flattering it might be to see that people love your characters so much that they want to use them in their own stories, I can see how it could also make authors uncomfortable.

So. What are your experiences with fanfic? Would you feel comfortable with people writing fanfic using characters from your original work?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So this isn't necessarily book-related. Well, actually, it isn't at all book-related, but it is life-bettering related, and that's all that matters.

Last night I had an ice cream cupcake. Yes, an ice cream cake in cupcake form. Delicious. Everything I wanted and more. Don't formulate any delusions that it's easy to eat though. It is just as problematic as it sounds. The best way to eat it (though I didn't realize this until I'd made an unfortunate mess), I think, is to eat the ice cream and frosting out of the chocolate cup, and then eat the cup. We have more, so I might decide to try that way tonight.

Almost done with The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay. Then I'll probably move on to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I have a ton of library books right now, so I need to read faster.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

For some reason, it seems as though everything I own gets wet at some point. It's like a rite of passage for all my possessions. So, naturally, during my (vehicular) trek to and from New York for an interview earlier this week, my water bottle popped open and emptied itself into my bag. Mercifully, the library book I had in there escaped the deluge. My lovely new copy of People of the Book, however, was not so lucky. It isn't ruined or anything, but if it had been a library book, I definitely would have had to buy a new copy for the library. I've decided that it adds character...

During the drive, I managed to finish reading The Bell Jar. Usually reading in the car makes me nauseous, but this time it was fine. I must say, I really enjoyed The Bell Jar. I've seen it described as comparable to Catcher in the Rye in the whole coming-of-age thing, and I kind of see what people mean. There were times when I really did feel a connection to Esther.

I also just finished reading The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag, the second book in the Flavia de Luce series. I'm usually not a huge fan of mysteries, but I guess when solved by a precocious 11-year old chemist, they capture my interest. There's one more book out right now, so I plan on getting to that one in the near future.

I just started The Anthologist. I don't really know what to think about it yet. The concept is very interesting, but it's very stream-of-consciousness and not something I expected. Given my aversion to leave a book unfinished, I plan on sticking with it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The other day I finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and yesterday I finished The Girl Who Played With Fire. Both were great books.  

The Elegance of the Hedgehog wasn't really what I was expecting. Then again, I'm not sure exactly what I did expect. In any case, it mixed together the tales of a precocious 12-year old girl and a middle-aged concierge working to preserve a facade of simplicity. It was fun and the characters were generally likable. Those are really my main things when it comes to books. Do I enjoy reading them, and do I like the characters? In The Elegance of the Hedgehog, you like the characters you're supposed to like, and dislike the characters you're supposed to dislike. It's pretty straightforward, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The Girl Who Played With Fire met the expectations I set based on my impression of the first book in the series. It was intriguing and, at times, surprising. Once again, I would begin reading and eventually look over at the clock and realize it was 3 in the morning. All the same, I still found it difficult to put it down. Once you get into The Girl Who Played With Fire, it's hard to stop. You simply want to know what's going to happen. I will say, I found the ending a bit abrupt. I'm left with a feeling of "OK... but now what?" Since there's another book to go, maybe I'll find out.

Now I've moved on to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Vanity Fair, and The Bell Jar. I'll update when I have more to say about them.

On an entirely different note, I did a little experiment today and ended up with a delicious smoothie: frozen raspberries, 1 small apple (w/ skin for the antioxidants!), and a splash of limeade. Yum!

And now back to watching the Tony awards (I taped it)!

Monday, June 6, 2011

On the edge

You know how people say that a behavior becomes a problem once you start hiding it from others? Well, I may have finally reached that point with books.

I've been looking for jobs since graduation (no such luck, but if you're hiring, let me know!) and went to the library. I did have books to pick up as well, but I ended up with quite a few extras. Since I'm currently reading around 4 books and just got 2 (oh wait, just got another one for review, so 3) books in the mail, I decided that maybe my family shouldn't see all the books I got at the library. They are hidden (albeit not very well, but putting them on an already out-of-control pile of books is pretty decent camouflage, right?), and now I have to wonder about my book addiction.

Well, at least it doesn't cause me bodily harm (except some achy arm/hand muscles from holding lots of books) or risk my life. Also, when I get them from the library, I'm not spending exorbitant amounts of money.

OK. I just talked myself into denial of my "problem." We're good.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Room-y Review

I just finished Room by Emma Donoghue. When I started reading it, the word ‘creepy’ most frequently came to mind. Room is a terrific book, but it’s also incredibly unsettling at times. Given the general storyline, that isn’t especially surprising, but that doesn’t necessarily change anything.

Room is the story of Jack and Ma who live together in an 11 x 11 foot room. For Jack, Room is all he knows — his entire world — and everything else is just TV, not real. Only he and Ma and Old Nick, the ‘ogre’ who comes in the night to take the trash and bring the groceries, are real. Then Jack turns five and learns that things Outside are “real for real” and that there’s a whole world outside of Room.

As I mentioned, it’s incredibly unsettling at times. Even so, Room is a great read. Maybe just not when you’re in the mood for something light and fun.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I finally finished Mrs. Dalloway and am still working my way through all the Harry Potter books (again). I just started Room by Emma Donoghue. I don't really know what to think at this point. I'm not very far along, but once I'm finished, I'll write a real review.

In other exciting news, I went to my elementary school reunion the other day. It was painfully awkward. I'm definitely OK with waiting another 10 years before doing that again. I did, however, reconnect with two friends, so we'll probably do something in the near future. Small victories.

I'm currently in the midst of some sort of educational existential crisis. Grad school and finding a job are battling each other as I sit here freaking out that I don't have anything to do. It's like I'm in withdrawal. Well, I'll figure it out eventually. I have a list of a bunch of people I need to call tomorrow. I had it all planned out to start making calls today, but I forgot about the holiday, so now I get to sit here all jittery for another day. I'll be OK. I just have to breathe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review of Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence

I finished this book the other day, and now I'm finally getting a chance to post a review. So, without further ado Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence by Pamela Cory:

Hassie Calhoun comes out June 1, just in time for summer vacation. Keep in mind, this is all coming from someone who brings The Aeneid to the beach, but I think this is the type of book people are talking about when they mention a "beach read." Personally, I have very little patience when it comes to books like this. The plot was circular and most of the characters hair-pullingly stagnant and just plain unbearable. I hated the characters. Truly hated them. In my opinion, they all need to wake up and get a life (get lives? I don't mean one collective life). This book is apparently the first in a series though, so maybe that comes later? I just felt like as much as the narrative tried to move on, the focus remained constant. There were places or characters that would have made the book much more interesting had they been elaborated upon, but instead they were just sort of side notes — mentioned when it was convenient and then forgotten.

In the end, Hassie Calhoun just isn't my style. Given a choice, it isn't what I would pick to read. That being said, there's tons of drama and a peek (which makes up with style what it lacks in exactitude) at Sin City during the hey day of Sinatra and the Rat Pack. It's a good-sized book, but you can get through it quickly. I didn't like it that much, but who's to say it won't suit others as a fun beach read? Not I, said the chicken.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize that you read a book and then completely forgot that you did so. Like... within a day?

So I read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, which was a really great read. It had everything I look for in a book: a great story, humor, and conflict. Even more, it's really... real. She doesn't hold anything back, and that makes the book that much better. 

Anyway, it turns out I'd put it on my challenge list and then completely forgotten about it. Now it's crossed off though, so there you go!

I finished Hassie Calhoun and have the review written, but not near me at the moment. I will post it soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Catching up

So it's been about a century since I've updated. In my defense, I had my thesis, finals, and graduation to deal with. Now that's all over and I'm home and avoiding unpacking. I can't get away with that much longer though, so I'll have to just suck it up and do it. The main problem is that there isn't really anywhere to put all of the stuff, even after I have it organized.

Since my last post, I've finished a few books: The Eyre Affair, Zel, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. I pretty much enjoyed all of them.

For whatever reason, it took me quite a long time to finish The Eyre Affair. I had some trouble getting into it at first, but it eventually caught and held my interest. It's essentially a mystery that takes place in an alternate universe where literature is a big deal. I don't think I'd mind living there. Anyway, The Eyre Affair is actually the first in a series of Thursday Next books. Even though I enjoyed it, I don't see myself continuing with the series. I could be wrong, though. It has been known to happen.

Zel is an alternative telling of the story of Rapunzel. It's short YA, but a great read. A lot of YA can't really hold my attention, but that was certainly not an issue with Zel.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is a retelling of Cinderella (anyone seeing a pattern here?) by Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked, Son of a Witch, etc. Again, it was an enjoyable read, but I'm not sure I have that much more to say about it.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel isn't exactly a retelling of the traditional story, but it takes its cues from it. It is actually a story of two children managing to survive in Poland during WWII. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say that it's an intriguing story and I highly recommend it.

And with that, I take my leave. I should be posting another book review in the near future, but right now, Jeopardy is on!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

So there's this man named Dylan Moran. And he's a comedian. And he's in this show called Black Books. My friend may have introduced me to Dylan Moran and Black Books. Now I do nothing but watch his stand-up and episodes of Black Books and it's ALL HER FAULT.

You must waste inordinate amounts of time with me.

Do you read? I do. Do you want to do that in the same room sometime?
 - Bernard Black

That ^ is quite possible the best pickup line ever. Just saying.

So I've been sitting in the library looking at instead of doing anything productive with  my life and laughing quietly to myself like the lunatic we all expect me to be. Also, all the pictures/quotes above are courtesy of the aforementioned site that has eaten my soul.

In conclusion, don't let your friends introduce you to hilarity. It will eat your soul.

Basically, when it comes down to it, I see my future in Black Books.... except I'm not an angry Irish man. So there are flaws in my plans for the future, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

In all seriousness, exciting future news: I got in to my publishing studies program! Of course it's in England and expensive and there's very little funding for graduate schools overseas. Figures. So if anyone wants to start up a fund for sending me to England, go right ahead, I'm all for that plan.

I'm going to return to looking at this blog and laughing quietly to myself.

Friday, March 25, 2011

All about the characters

Today I finished Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

I really enjoyed Boy Meets Boy. It was a really quick, fun read. At times the characters or setting felt a bit too unbelievable, but that was kind of OK because you could accept the scenarios without everything having to be 100% real. I don't know if it makes sense when I say it, but just trust me, and when you read it, you'll understand what I mean.

Boy Meets Boy somehow manages to deal with real issues in teenagerdom (and life) like love and loss and the complexities of both. Beyond anything, it has a message of friendship and hope. It's hard to explain, but it's just a sort of understanding that you glean from the book, even if it isn't explicitly written in the words on the page. Anyway, I certainly recommend it.

Franny and Zooey took me a bit longer to read even though it isn't that much longer. After a while, I just got incredibly annoyed with the characters. I think that's 0 for 2 on Salinger's characters since I don't think anyone is overly fond of Holden Caufield. But that's a separate issue.

Franny and Zooey are two of the seven Glass children, all of whom had a peculiar childhood. As readers, we only ever meet Franny and Zooey, and let's just say these two don't seem like the most well-adjusted of young 20-somethings. That being said, life isn't incredibly difficult for them and they seem to get through life pretty easily.

To be honest, the narrative of this book isn't incredibly exciting. It jumps forward a bit from the first half (Franny) to the second (Zooey) without much of an explanation, but there doesn't appear to be much to explain. Nothing incredibly important or interesting really happens until the end. The rest is some description and mostly dialogue. I guess if a book is going to be primarily dialogue, I'd prefer for the characters to be likable. These characters were just annoying and somewhat vapid, despite their use of big words and theoretically high IQs.

Overall, I didn't hate the book. I didn't love it though. I guess I'm just somewhere in between.

Maybe I'm just all about the characters. Characters in Boy Meets Boy: flawed, but adorable and fun. Characters in Franny and Zooey: either flat, or dynamic, but somewhat unlikable.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Alas, I am so very behind in my blogging. I have since finished Catching Fire and Mockingjay from the Hunger Games trilogy and Dead End Gene Pool.

I have to say: I loved the Hunger Games trilogy. At some point while reading Catching Fire, I realized that the writing isn't really that great. I mean, it isn't bad, but it isn't particularly good either. The main strength of the trilogy is really the story and Collins's ability to craft characters you just can't let go of, whether they're particularly likable or not. All of the books in the trilogy pretty much fit my idea of a page-turner: not too difficult to understand, but extremely difficult to put down.

Dead End Gene Pool is Wendy Burden's memoir and it is, to say the least, hilarious. This may be her family and her life, but she does not sugarcoat a thing. It is all out there in the open and reading it gives a kind of voyeuristic pleasure that makes  you never want to stop. It's hard to believe some of this familial insanity, but at the same time, it all falls so neatly into the I-couldn't-make-this-shit-up-if-I-tried category. It's a funny and interesting read. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I finished Love in the Time of Cholera last night. It was really great. I haven't read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez since high school, and I have no idea why it took me so long to read this.

I love Garcia Marquez's style. It's great and always has a certain poetry to it. Reading his work makes me wish I actually learned Spanish so I could read it in the original language. One of these days...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I just noticed that the ticker for my challenge has changed every time I post the updated one. Now it looks like I started out with 5 done. That's annoying, but I am too lazy to change it. Figures.

At least my iTunes is getting a workout...

Ambitions for this semester have come crashing down. It is so catastrophic I cannot even begin to describe it here. And really, you don't read my blog for accounts of horrific failure at life. Or do you? Well that's depressing....

ANYWAY, I had this grand plan where I was going to examine discussion threads in one of my groups on and pick out discourse markers in posts and then write about it in my brilliant paper for my linguistics/anthropology class. This plan was grand. This plan was brilliant. This plan is dead. Perhaps I haven't looked hard enough, but it appears as though most of my co-bibliophiles online DO NOT USE discourse markers. In their posts anyway.

What is this insanity?!

"Well Bluestocking," you must be saying, "look harder."
"But I have looked for an entire ten minutes!" I shall reply
"Suck it up" I assume you will say
"What if I just analyze this blog?" I suggest?
"Lazy narcissist."
"Quite possibly."

As much as I dislike the idea of analyzing myself, it might be my best chance. The people posting on these threads are far too articulate for their own goods. I was pretty much banking on these discourse markers being so ingrained in our everyday speech that we use them in our written "speech" as well. Damn.

Now I wish I had finished knitting that thinking cap....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I feel like if it doesn't beep, it's really anticlimactic

You may not know this about me, but I drink tea like it's my job.

My electric kettle has been on the fritz... well, since I got it. Since I never got around to replacing it, I tend to use the microwave to heat up my water (but I make it boil, baby. I make it boil!). We have a communal microwave in this thing called a tea pantry. It's like a kitchen, but without a stove or oven or dishwasher, and every floor has one.

Now to the pointy bit: the microwave does not ding. Nor does it buzz or blip or beep to alert you that your food (or boiling water) is done. Now, since it is in a communal space and close to people's rooms I understand the lack of alerting noise. Whoever lives next door to the ta pantry probably doesn't care that your 3 a.m. cup of tea is ready. I get that. BUT, I also do a microwave dance while I wait for my things to heat up (don't make that face. you know you do it too) and it is so very anticlimactic when the microwave doesn't beep to tell me that it is tea time.

This oh-dear-lord-I'm-reading-the-blog-of-a-crazy-person moment brought to you by: Bigelow Tea!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A long time coming

I finished Slaughterhouse-Five not so long ago. It's one of those books that I used to be embarrassed that I hadn't read and now that I have, I'm dumbfounded. What took me so long!?

Vonnegut is an amazing author. I hope to eventually read all (or at least most) of his work, but of course it's hard with my ever-growing list of books to read.

In any case, Slaughterhouse-Five is great. I love how time is portrayed. Even if we, as humans, can't see beyond into this dimension, the Tralfamadorians give us some sort of idea, as well as plenty of visuals to work out on our own.

Vonnegut plays with ideas of space and time and still manages to create a clear and enthralling narrative. I don't generally rate books here, but if I did: 10 points. Definitely 10.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If I had the time, I'd probably do this

courtesy of Bookshelf Porn
I had my first thesis presentation today. I didn't die or start crying in the middle, so I'm counting it as a success. Of course now I have to continue working on it. That is a whimper-inducing thought of another kind.

I made myself tea. It's Vanilla Chai black tea and it makes my room smell delicious. It is my victory tea.

That being said, I have more reading to do than I care to acknowledge. Anyway, I will slog through and maybe get some sleep before classes tomorrow. It was snowing again tonight. I have no idea if it still is. Either way, I'm not getting my hopes up for a snow day or anything. I actually need the college to be open so I can get some stuff done. It would be nice to have time to catch up on reading and maybe attempt to clean my room.

I will blog about books in the near future. I promise. But for now, it's back to tea and sociolinguistic reading.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blog = Windex

Things that suck:

trying desperately to fall asleep (so I can get a good night's sleep for once in my life) and havig hiccups at 3:30 in the morning.

Yep.... my life is rockin'

It was snowing went I went to bed. I think it has stopped by now, but I'm too afraid to check. The snow was almost entirely gone today. I can't deal with yet another snowpocalypse. I will crack...

I think I've stopped hiccuping.... clearly blogging is the answer. It fixes everything. Just like Windex.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Times like these, certain insecurities pop up.

I guess there are people who don't realize that I actually do read their blog, and don't just ask for the url to be polite...

Oh well, at certain points, it is really out of my control. Also, things go both ways, I just don't really bitch about it.

Anyway, I finished Bed of Sphinxes today. It was actually one day overdue, so I had a marathon reading session and got through the rest of it pretty quickly. I enjoyed it. I can't give much more of a review than that because I'm pretty sure it was just way over my head.

Anyway, sorry for my bitchfest. I'm continuing to slowly get through Infinite Jest and I think I'm going to start Love in the Time of Cholera soon. Franny and Zooey and Catching Fire are also just sitting there, begging to be read... There are many other things I'm supposed to be reading though, so we'll see. I also have The Eyre Affair out from the library and halfway done, and someone lent me The Dante Club, so I'd like to read it and get it back to them in a timely fashion. So many books, so little time... That's also the title of another book I've been meaning to read for a while. I'm pretty sure I left that one at home though...

OK, back to required reading. I'll try to get in a bit of something before I actually sleep, but it kind of depends on how much later I'm awake. Ah, college.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I am what a plant fears most

I have moved my plants so that they are now precariously situated by my window. I've been watering them, yet they still seem on the verge of death, so it was clearly the lack of sun. Why can't I keep things alive?

I think I can only have dogs or cats. They don't require sunlight and they tell me if I forget to give them food or water. Fish, plants, other small creatures that live in cages and can't remind me to feed them — I probably shouldn't be allowed to interact with them at all.

There is a great deal of stuff I should be doing, but not very many things that I actually feel like doing. Welcome to senior year.

Maybe I'll watch my plants and see if they start to look less dead. That's a good use of time, right?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I've received quite a few books from Bostick authors to review on here. I feel bad because I'm so incredibly behind. Agreeing to read and review these books while being a senior comparative literature major may not have been my most brilliant idea ever.

I will get to them though. It might just take a while. And now, I'm trying to work on my two challenges on goodreads. Life is difficult, but I suppose I make it that way.

I've been feeling kind of sick again, so I'm also behind on my reading for class. Such is life. Ugh. Back to reading and all that, I just thought I'd give a little update.

I'm still working towards getting to New York, so if you need makeup, skin/body care, jewelry, or some clothes, check out my site!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My friend posted this article on facebook. I think it's really interesting and as a person of mixed backgrounds, I could really relate to a lot of what was said.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I just finished The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I don't really know what to say other than it was AMAZING. Maybe with more reflection I'll have something more substantial to say.

In other news, I'm trying to make enough sales to get a trip to NYC, so I need all the help I can get. Go to and buy some of the amazing mark. products. You get great stuff and I get a little closer to NY!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On we go

I finished Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead the other day. It was a good, fairly short read. I was familiar with it before, but this was my first time actually reading it.

I really did enjoy this. I tend to enjoy Stoppard whenever I get the chance to read him, but that isn't all that often. Anyway, not only did I get a fun, enjoyable read, I also get to cross one more book off of my challenge list!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I finished Robin Black's If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This the other day. It's a collection of short stories, and unlike other collections I've read in the past, this feel much more cohesive. The stories do not connect in any way, but they have the common quality of feeling incredibly real.

Some stories captured my attention more than others, but that is not incredibly unusual. All are great and well-written. If you're looking for a quickish, but interesting read, I highly recommend it.

I have fallen deeper into my hole of literary ADD. I am now reading so many books. I don't mind, it's kind of my way, but considering I'm back at school and have real work to do, it's a bit unfortunate. Oh well. Life moves on.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Courtesy of one of my friend's posts on facebook.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sharing is caring (or lazy)

I got this link from another blog or site somewhere, but I can't remember exactly where or from whom. In any case, this book sounds great and I'd like to review it myself at some point. Meanwhile, you can read the New York Times Sunday Book Review:

It's a book by Lane Smith.


School has started again and thus I am failing in the whole reading and having a life thing. As one of my friends said, "junk breeds." It's true. I came back to a messy room and quickly made it much messier. Then in my attempts to clean it just got worse. It is a truly terrifying cycle.

In any case, before returning to the Mawr, I managed to finish All Points North by Shelby R. Lee III. It was one of the books sent to me for review and I finally got to it.

[From the back of the book]

Sometimes comical, always moving, and often starkly painful, the stories in this unique collection share one overriding similarity: an extraordinary ability to reveal the deep psychological complexities of the human experience. In All Points North, author Shelby Lee targets the unseen mental landscape that informs our daily lives. Here are 13 short stories that trace the roots of grief, anger, psychological torment and sorrow, and shine in a much needed light on our seemingly unexplainable behavior and attitudes.

So here we go:

This book did not live up to my expectations. Yes, these stories incorporate some aspect of psychological complexity, but in hackneyed and downright trite ways. This collection felt repetitive — as if it were a novel that kept forgetting its own plot, but remembered the key phrases. Narratives were rambling and seemed to lead nowhere. I'm willing to be confused for parts of a story, but there needs to be a pay-off at some point, and All Points North fails to deliver.
Maybe I'm harsh, but I expected much more from this book. There were bright moments — moments of clarity and poetic insight, but overall I am left perplexed and dissatisfied.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

School is about to start. I am not ready, to say the least. Originally I planned to leave today. That is clearly not happening. I'm still working on finishing my laundry and packing and all that annoyingness.

I also have a lot of reading I still want to do and I know most of it won't happen once classes start. Alas. What's a bibliophile to do?

Between packing and reading, I'm trying to work on more thesis research since that pretty much didn't happen over break, and start my grad school application. The more I hear, the more it seems like grad school is definitely not necessary, but this program is one year and would give me the chance to live overseas (as an actual adult).

I don't know. There's way too much going through my head right now. I shall report back when I am more coherent.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

There is something wrong with me. When I see a mixed review or interesting criticism of a book, I feel the need to read it. I think that may have been one of the factors that led to me reading the Twilight Saga (time I will never get back. Smeyer owes me a week).

I'm often less interested in reading the books with the rave reviews than I am in reading the books that are more controversial. Go figure.

Off to bed and books. Or books and bed. Whichever.

Friday, January 14, 2011

This break I've been spending quite a bit of time on Goodreads. As a result, I've added tons of books to my to be read and wish lists. It's a bit of a problem. The site is nothing if not enabling. It has also introduced me to what may very well become my most-visited site:

Judge all you want, but it's spectacular.

MuhMuhMuhMuhMuhMuhMotivate Me

Motivation is a tricky thing. When you have it, it's great, but when you don't, it feels like life can leave you in the dust.

Lately I haven't been feeling very motivated. There is a lot I need to do and even more that I want to do, but I can't seem to get myself together long enough to get anything done.

I should be doing thesis research. That's the main one. I want to take dance classes and go to yoga (I actually am doing that one tomorrow). I want to hang out with my friends. I want to exercise. I want to bake or cook more (though I did make latkes last week and they were quite good if I do say so myself... and I do). I even want to read more, though I'm already doing a fair amount of that.

I don't know what to do about this whole motivation thing. I guess I'll just have to work through the lack of it and hope that something will spur me into action.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The first step is admitting you have a problem...

In addition to being the book addict that you know and love, I also have a severe case of literary ADD. For some reason, I am incapable of reading only one book at a time. I am currently reading Infinite Jest, The Master and Margarita, and The Eyre Affair. I was sent a book for review quite some time ago, but this is the first chance I've had to really sit down and read it, so now I'm reading All Points North as well. Catching Fire is just waiting for me on my nook right now. I don't know how long I'll be able to resist.

It's not that these books aren't interesting. It's just that sometimes I'm in a different mood and want to read something different. More books = more options. I'd also like to reread Middlemarch, Portrait of a Lady, and The Red and the Black. I might skim Anna Karenina and War and Peace again as well. A co-worker also lent me The Dante Club, so I might start working on that one also.

Yea... I have a problem.

I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to. I'm not sure that any other addictions are that much more expensive than a hard-core book addiction, but I really have no basis for comparison. Oh well. I'd like to think this addiction is beneficial.

Back to tea and reading...

Monday, January 10, 2011


I had an interesting day yesterday. It started by waking up before noon. On a Sunday. That's really impressive for me, just saying.

So after picking up my friend Julia, we headed to Perry's in Adams Morgan for it's Sunday Drag Brunch. Yes. Drag. As in drag queens. There was a brunch buffet (delicious) and a bunch of drag queens as entertainment. It really was a lot of fun. A little out of my price range as a broke college student, but a fun adventure for every once in a while.

After brunch we went to see True Grit. I'd wanted to see it, but it wasn't really like what I expected. I liked it much more than I thought I would. It was a touching story, but it's also really fun at times. I'd recommend it as long as you're OK with violence.

Speaking of movies, I saw The King's Speech today with my mom and aunt. It was phenomenal. I don't even know what to say beyond that. Basically, just go watch it. Now.

Still reading. I'll update once anything actually happens...

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I don't know how I managed not to mention this way sooner, but I got a nook for my birthday. I didn't get many chances to use it while in school, but this break has given me a chance. I actually read Northanger Abbey on it, and now I have Catching Fire waiting for me. I absolutely love it.

Ever since I started thinking about e-readers, I've felt conflicted. I love books. I love their solidity and smell and the feel of the pages... *dreamy sigh* The problem is that I'm often carrying multiple books. And that can get heavy, which really isn't good for me. Just ask the chiropractor I'm seeing twice a week...

In the end I buckled because, let's face it, girls like toys too! I started researching and decided to get a nook once I got paid for my summer editing (got the check today. oy), but my parents beat me to it.

I really do like reading on it. Even with the e-ink screen, there is sometimes a bit of a glare, but it doesn't hurt my eyes like reading on my computer does. Depending on the book, one page might be two or three on the nook. That isn't a huge issue though. It shows your progress on the bottom of the screen, but I will say that I think I prefer going by the feel of the book, rather than the actual number.

One of my favorite features of the nook is the dictionary. When I read books and come to a word I don't know, I'm usually too lazy to go look it up in a dictionary. With the nook, I can just scroll to the word and click 'look up' and it takes me to the dictionary entry. It's expanding my vocabulary, and I think it's just plain cool!

Family brunch tomorrow, I think it might be time for bed...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Forward March!

My goodreads reading challenge is going pretty well. Only three days into it and I've finished Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and The Giver by Lois Lowry. I don't usually read that quickly, so I'm impressed with myself that I read Northanger Abbey that quickly. For some reason I absolutely sped through The Giver. I started it at 10 PM last night and finished it a few hours ago. It probably would have been sooner if sleep and work and such weren't necessary.

I enjoyed Northanger Abbey, but I don't think it's my favorite Austen. Call me cliche, but I think my favorite still is (and always will be) Pride and Prejudice. Persuasion and Emma might be tied. Then Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. I still haven't read Mansfield Park, so I guess I'll have to re-assess my list afterwards. I'd also like to re-read Emma. It's been a while.

Northanger Abbey was interesting, but I found the characters vapid and just plain annoying at times. Overall, I still like Austen, but this novel didn't thrill me. I don't feel the same need to re-read it as I do with Pride and Prejudice.

The Giver was amazing. I don't know how I managed not to read this before. I'm truly ashamed.

Anyway, I've read it now and I really enjoyed it. I never would have expected the whole utopian/dystopian thing to work in YA, but somehow it does. Considering I'm not always thrilled with YA in general, my enthusiasm for this book really shocked me. Seriously though, it's really good. I think I will be buying my own copy in the near future so that I don't have to keep taking it out of the library. In fact, I'm almost certain we have a copy somewhere in my house, but since searching through all the books is a ridiculous undertaking and it isn't in any of the usual places I would look, I think I'm just going to break down and buy another one.

That's it for now. Off to continue my challenge reading.