Monday, April 30, 2012

My hands tingled to strike him, as if I had been a man!

We have come to the end of The Woman in White. Before we mourn the end of this amazing readalong, let's go over how Wilkie ended this journey.

Where we last left off, Percy had immolated himself, because he is not so bright*. This is what happens when Sir Percival quits listening to Fosco. In a way this was great for our trio because now Percy wasn't going to be a problem. The downside is it's going to be difficult to prove Laura being a live and her death being a ruse without one of the ruse perpetrators. This just means Walter needs to get Fosco to admit to the truth. And given how dismissive he was of Marian's warnings about the Count, this should be fine.

Walter gets back to London and it turns out Fosco knew where they were living because Walter sucks at not being followed. Marian is a ninja and should have been the one doing the sneaking around. Fosco pays Marian a little visit. He goes on about how much he admires Marian and pretty much he hasn't done anything to them because of that. Marian is telling Walter about how much this upset her but Walter is all "yeah yeah blah blah blah but what'd he say about meeee?" Methinks someone's jealous.

We also learn for certain that Anne, our woman in white, and Laura are actually half sisters, which you kind of assumed given how much the 2 women look alike. It wasn't the most exciting revelation but it was better than finding out Percy was everyone's dad and then also Laura's husband. So thank you Wilkie for staying away from incest.

Laura and Walter get married and it is uneventful.

Then we get to the important part of the story! Walter must now face the final boss, Fosco, and restore Laura's honor! Also convince everyone Laura's really alive and it was Anne that died. Walter has a plan to take down Fosco.

See Fosco is Italian. And Walter's buddy and our favorite minor character Professor Pesca is Italian. And all Italians know each other (obviously) so Pesca will know all sorts of secrets about Fosco. Walter and Pesca follow Fosco to the opera. Pesca doesn't recognize Fosco but when Fosco looks in their direction he freaks out and leaves the opera early. Walter is convinced Fosco is terrified of Pesca, even though Pesca has no clue who the guy is. There is a man hanging out near them with a big scar on his face. Then he runs out after Fosco while Pesca and Walter got stuck in the crowd. Then he seems to show up a few more times and Walter thinks "well isn't that coincidental!"

But before the man with the scar can keep showing up everywhere, we learn about Pesca's past. He's part of a secret Brotherhood back in Italy and has been stationed in England for years. They don't really explain what the Brotherhood does BUT if you cross them, they will cut you. Into pieces. Turns out Fosco is also part of this Brotherhood and he has crossed the organization. Walter decides to use this information to force a confession out of Fosco before he flees.

He writes a letter to Pesca as sort of an insurance plan should anything happen to him and he confronts the Count. Fosco is evil but also sort of a badass so he asks Walter if he wants to know what he's thinking, reaches for a gun and says: "I am thinking...whether I shall add to the disorder in this room by scattering your brains around the fireplace." Because he's actually an '80s action movie villain, full of quips. But Walter's letter to Pesca saves his ass and Fosco writes his confession.

You don't learn too much new during Fosco's confession except that Mrs. Ruebelle apparently didn't make Marian worse. Actually Fosco did everything he could to make Marian better because he admires her so much. We do learn that Anne dying so quickly was not part of the plan, since she died before Laura even left Blackwater. Which sort of throws off the whole Laura is Anne ploy so is just what Walter needs to hear.   Fosco manages to escape England, but he can't escape the man with the scar.

Fosco's confession is just what is needed to prove to everyone who Laura really is. Walter and Laura move to Limmeridge and eventually inherit Limmeridge for their son. Oh and Marian moves with them so the 3 of them can keep hanging out forever. Like Laura wanted when she asked Marian to never marry. The end.

I want to say a big thank you to Alice for hosting this readalong. This is the first one I've been able to do and it was super fun. This was a story I was a little meh on** but it was so much fun to read and write about it with a group of people. Especially a group that understand the importance of gifs.

ALSO this book counts towards Ben's Smooth Criminals reading challenge so even more win!
**Before I actually read it! Based on preconceived notions that weren't based on anything at all. Once I actually read the story I realized how wonderful it is.

Title quote from page 372/location 8425

Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. Amazon Books, 2006. Kindle edition. Originally published 1860

Thursday, April 26, 2012

No one ever expects vaginal arthritis

I had trouble putting this book down. I also had trouble reading this book in public.

I already told you that I went to the book signing for Jenny Lawson's first book* Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir). Obviously if I went to the book signing I'm looking forward to this book. I was prepared to love it and I was not disappointed.

You may already be familiar with Jenny Lawson through her blog, The Bloggess. If you don't already know her blog, you have to check it out. Consider it homework. But do that after you finish this post or I'll probably never see you again. You'll get sucked into her stories about the time she accidentally mailed herself a cobra, her various disagreements with her husband Victor, or all the time she spends hiding in bathrooms during parties. If you do read her blog, you know what you're getting into when you read her book. During the book signing Lawson mentioned that most people assume the book came about because of her blog. In actuality, she started the book first (10 years ago) and began writing her blog in an effort to make herself write and to find her voice. And she found it. And it's glorious.

Lawson's memoir focuses on the embarrassing, difficult moments in her amazing yet unconventional life. Because as she says, how you react to the most moments you want to pretend never happened is what makes you who you are. This isn't a straight memoir. There are a lot of non sequiturs. It's not that it's stream of consciousness, so much as it jumps around to lots of different, but related, topics. It's like talking to someone with ADD. Also be prepared for cursing. For whatever reason Lawson gets grouped in with mommy bloggers** so there's this expectation that she's child friendly or at least doesn't write chapters like "And Then I Got Stabbed In The Face By A Serial Killer" or "It Wasn't Even My Crack". Lawson gives you her own warning right in the intro:
I apologize in advance...for offending you, because you're going to get halfway through this book and giggle at non sequiturs about Hitler and abortions and poverty, and you'll feel superior to all the uptight, easily offended people who need to learn how to take a fucking joke, but then somewhere in here you'll read one random thing that you're sensitive about, and everyone else will think it's hysterical, but you'll think, "Oh, that is way over the line." I apologize for that one thing. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking.
I had trouble reading this book in public because I was laughing so much I was crying. That is not an exaggeration. Tears were falling. The good part was I did manage to get a 3 seater on the LIRR to myself. I think the person who (briefly) sat with me thought I was losing it. Because she doesn't understand the magic of having Lawson's father throw a live bobcat at her future husband. I saw someone at the Christopher Moore signing the night after the Lawson one reading her book and laughing as well. So fair warning, you will literally laugh out loud and get strange looks from people.

I was trying to think of quote to share. Or even name my favorite chapter. But the problem in both cases is I just end up listing everything. It is all my favorite. Even writing this post I almost started reading the book again. It's a quick read and many of the chapters can be read as stand alone stories. And sometimes I need to hear about her crazy stories from when she worked in HR. Or what it was like when her father brought home a tub full of baby raccoons. Or about how Victor refuses to donate his organs on the off chance that if he comes back as a zombie he'd be less effective if he was missing his eyes or something.

I know this is gushing and not very objective. But who cares because I loved this book. Any time I'm feeling down and need to smile, I will be reading a chapter or two. I guess if I had a complaint it would be some of the later chapters are things she also had posted to her blog, at least in part. So some of it I had read already. And I suppose I won't say it was a completely life-changing book but come on, that's a lot to expect from a book that has a taxidermied Hamlet mouse on the cover.

*I say first book because I hope there are more to come. Please.
** Alright she does write a separate mommy blog for Neither this nor her personal blog are mommy blog-esque, even if she keeps showing up on those lists

Title quote from page 230

Lawson, Jenny. Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir). Amy Einhorn Books, 2012.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And the winner is...

Oh hey I did a giveaway!! I mean granted I sort of hid it in my book signing post which was only kind of on purpose.

Who won a copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess)? Alice from Reading Rambo

kermit the frog

Exciting, right? She managed to beat Laura from Devouring Texts who was the only other person to ask for the book but who unfortunately lives far enough away that I could gold plate the book for the money it would cost to send it her way and thus was not actually eligible.

She actual gets an extra bonus with this book. See, I found myself with an extra copy because I pre-ordered the book, then learned that Lawson was going to be in NYC but my copy wouldn't show up in time for the signing. So I bought a new copy. The reason I pre-ordered the book instead of just waiting for it to come out was because Jenny Lawson was signing book plates and the first 3000 people would get one and I had to get in on that. So Alice, you also get a signed book plate thingy.

Congrats Alice! I'll send you your book sometime in the next 6 months.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I think it was also perfectly natural that I should damn him for grinning


First up, Mr Fairlie has a narrative and it is glorious. "It is the grand misfortune of my life that nobody will let me alone." That's how he opens his narrative! He is so put upon. Why can't everyone just leave him alone to treat his servants like furniture and damn them for grinning? Fanny, Laura's servant at Blackwater, comes with a message from Marian and Mr. Fairlie is so concerned her shoes will creak because there is a limit to his endurance. (Don't worry, her shoes do not creak. PHEW!)

What we learn from Mr. Fairlie is that he's as ridiculous and self-absorbed as ever and I'm so glad we got to listen to his ridiculousness. He is so annoyed that his brother "inconsiderately marries," dies, and has the nerve to leave his daughter to Mr. Fairlie. ALSO the Count showed up and managed to annoy him less than, well, everyone else on the planet. He also tells him he should let Laura hang out at Limmeridge but Marian is sick so don't wait up for her!

Oh yeah, Marian is seriously ill. All her ninja-ing in the rain before has caused problems. Oh noo. Now she's at the mercy of Fosco and Sir Percival AND Fosco found her diary so he knows what she knows and shit. They bring in a doctor (Mr Dawson) and the Countess gets a nurse (Mrs. Rubelle) but Marian is not getting better. Probably because she used up all her awesome powers in the last section. She's a mere mortal now. A mere mortal with typhus. Fosco and Mr Dawson do not get a long, which means you know Mr Dawson is clearly a good guy.

So while Marian is in bed trying not to die, there is no one to watch over the rest of the house to see what Fosco and Percy are up to and THEY ARE UP TO THINGS. Sir Percival fires just everyone at the house and says he's leaving. Then they do a bit of a bait and switch on poor Laura. They tell her Marian suddenly got better! but no one bothered to tell Laura but she actually decided to head out and is hanging out in London with Fosco and the Countess before continuing onto Limmeridge, and Laura should totally just go there too. She tries to make arrangements to stay with other people in London but that doesn't work and she ends up with Fosco and the Countess. But oh hey, guess what?? Marian is actually still at Blackwater in one of the rooms that Laura didn't check because Laura is not thorough.

Then Laura gets sick and weak in London and she tragically dies of some sort of heart failure. You know, like that heart problem Anne told Laura she had. The same Anne that looks just like Laura. I'm sure that's all just coincidental. Except obviously not. So when Walter is visiting "Laura's" grave a figure comes towards him and GASP, it's Laura.

When Marian got better she went back to being her velociraptor self and figured out the little switcheroo Fosco and co. did with Anne and Laura. She found Laura who had been in an asylum telling everyone she wasn't actually Anne Catherick, and obviously no one believed her. She breaks her out of the asylum because OF COURSE she does. When they meet up with Walter at the graveyard they all go into hiding in London. Marian keeps house, Walter makes money and Laura sits around. I know she was in the crazy house and the crazy houses then were not a fun place so she's been through some difficult times but Marian and especially Walter need to give her some credit because right now their arrangement reminds me of Lisa Simpsons meeting her rival's family. Especially when they tell Laura she can help earn her keep by selling her sketches except Walter's really buying them.
I have a ball. Perhaps you'd like to bounce it?
Marian and Walter are still trying to figure out how to punish Fosco and Sir Percival for what they've done but to do this they must learn Sir Percival's Secret. Walter talks to Gilmore's colleague who's taken over his work and Anne's mother to try to find the secret, but Sir Percival has people following him so it's not easy. He eventually does discover The Secret and it's.....sort of anti-climactic. Maybe not back then when it was monocle-popping shocking but learning that Sir Percival's parents weren't married is kind of eh. I know, it means he loses the Sir and people won't like him and all but still. I was expecting dead bodies in that lake. Anyway, Walter tries to get proof of this and almost does except Sir Percival sort of beats him to it! And sets the proof on fire! And also sets the vestry and himself on fire so things didn't really go as planned for Percy. So what now? Do we go after Fosco? Was that really Sir Percival in there and now a charred skeleton?

Look at everything that happened! I forgot so much of it until I started writing this thing, and then I ended up spending the whole post re-capping what happened. But seriously, there was so much. And there's still so much to happen. Plus I'm keeping my fingers crossed for bodies by the boathouse.

Title quote from page 231, location 5172

Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. Amazon Books, 2006. Kindle edition. Originally published 1860

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book signings or There will be bragging

Look what I did!

*Happy dance! Happy dance!*

A friend of mine noticed Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, was doing a book signing for her first book Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) in NYC and we're in NYC so we should do something about this. And so we had plans for April 17th.

A few days later I realized Christopher Moore is also on tour, promoting his new book Sacre Bleu: Comedy D'Art, so I decided to look up his tour schedule. And what do you know, but he's in NYC on April 18th. Excitement!

Naturally I went to both of them, much to my wallet's chagrin. Also the part of me that likes sleep's chagrin, because each night I didn't get home till late. Not that the book signings went that long, but I had to get back to LI after each and that was a struggle.

Both were amazing and different. Lawson's event was slightly smaller (certainly had a smaller space*) but packed. Moore's space was larger and there were definitely more people there, but it wasn't quite so cramped. B&N at 86th underestimated the crowd Lawson would draw while B&N Union Sq knew the crowd Moore would bring and had the room. Lawson talked a little bit about writing the book and read a (hilarious) chapter. Moore talked a little bit about writing/researching the book and about random shit like the idea of a Rastafarian Princess Disney movie. During Q&A, the people at Lawson's event asked simple, to-the-point questions. People at Moore's event rambled on to show how clever they were and how much of a fan they were and OMG get to your stupid question already. While getting the book signed Lawson seemed as nervous as I was while Moore clearly has experience with meeting lots of fans. Both different and both so much fun.

Now that I've gone from having never attended a book signing to going to 2 in 2 days, I've decided I'm both a newbie AND a veteran of this. Because that's how this works in my head. And obviously because I have the fresh experience on both sides, I'm going to start giving tips that I learned that are probably crap if you've been to more than 2 book signings, so please feel free to correct me in the comments.

1. Don't ask long rambling questions to try to prove to the author how smart you are or how much of a devoted fan you are because you're annoying everyone. No really, everyone. B&N even (nicely) told people not to do that before the program started. After someone asked Moore a question he would repeat it back so everyone could hear. The fact that he could condense these long questions into a couple quick sentences means those people should have done that to begin with.

2. Get there early! Or at least get as close as you can if you're planning on getting your book signed. For Lawson's event my friend picked out awesome seats and we were the 3rd and 4th people to get our books signed. At Moore's event I was about mid-way through the audience and waited an hour. I believe the signature was worth the time but Boyfriend, who was waiting for me with food, was less thrilled.

3. Going up and actually getting your book signed is awkward. Maybe if you're a SUPER VETERAN it gets easier. Or maybe if you're naturally suave and/or charismatic. While I sounded exceedingly witty in my head, I'm fairly certain what came out when I got my Moore book signed was along the lines of "You write good I like sign please!" I sort of accepted the awkwardness ahead of time so at least I wasn't disappointed with how things went walking away from the table.

OK so I only came up with 3 tips. But those are gems, I tell you.

Exciting news for Moore fans! He's currently working on a new book (yay!) and it's going to be another Shakespeare one, like Fool (YAY!!!) I actually mumbled something about how stupid excited I was to hear he was working on another Shakespeare book and then he talked about the opening to Henry V and how hard iambic pentameter was to write and I'm sure I smiled like an idiot, but it was still awesome.

And exciting news for Lawson fans AND people who've made it this far. I'm giving away a copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened! See when I heard her book was coming out, I got all excited and pre-ordered a copy. And then she announced her book tour w/ NYC being the first stop. Which is nifty but that was also the day my book was shipping so I didn't have it for the book signing and it's not like she has other books out I wanted her to sign. So obviously I bought another copy, which means I have a copy coming to me and I don't actually need 2 of them. My impatience is your gain! So just leave a comment with why you want this book and your email address and I'll randomly select one of you to win it. And while I would super love to open this to international readers, I looked up the rates to do that and they are just awful. Like 3 times the value of the book awful.

*If you want to see pics of the space and try to find me in the crowd** Lawson posted some pics to her blog
**I can't find me in the crowd. I was sitting front row left and I think I'm blocked by some people. So I just asked you do something I knew you couldn't do, because I'm an ass.***
***Why yes, I do have a footnote off of a footnote. And then another footnote to explain that. There's magic happening here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New to book blogging? My humble advice

I haven't participating in the Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesdays in awhile, but this week's prompt intrigued me. So Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers.

1. Write what you like. This seems obvious and I would assume if you're writing about books and reading you like books and reading. But beyond that, make sure you're enjoying what you're writing. Don't write something just to get traffic. Those posts are obvious, so you're not fooling anyone. And if you don't even like what you're writing, why should anyone like reading it?

2. Comment on other people's blogs. The book blogging community is the best part of book blogging and you'll never get the full experience if you just post but don't engage.

3. But don't leave pointless comments. A comment like "Nice post" is boring and doesn't start a conversation. Don't feel like you have to comment if you don't have anything to say.

4. You will find other like-minded book bloggers. If you like paranormal YA romance it might be easier to find those like-minded book bloggers. But no matter what genres you like or what writing style you're into, there are blogs out there you will like. You may have to look for them but when you find them, it's great.

5. Post regularly. That doesn't mean you have to post every day or even every week. But don't let your blog sit idle for months. Or I guess do that if those are only the times that move you to write. It just may be difficult to find a regular audience if they don't know when you'll show up.

6. Try out some of the memes/hops. There are lots of different ones out there and it is a great way to learn about other blogs. Just make sure you actually hop around and visit the other blogs.

7. But don't feel like you have to do any of the memes/hops. If something isn't for you, don't do it. If you don't like the prompt, if your tastes change, don't feel bad about skipping it for a week or dropping out entirely. It goes back to enjoying what you're writing.

8. Back up your reviews. If you love a book, tell me why you loved it. If you hate a book, tell me exactly what it was about the book that made you want to chuck it into the ocean. That doesn't mean you can't write a review that is based on emotion. Those can be great, as long as I can relate. If all you say is "I loved it!!" I got nothing.

9. Don't be cruel. Maybe you hated a book. Maybe you vehemently disagree with another blogger's post.  Maybe someone left a comment on your blog and totally missed the point you were going for. That's fine and you should feel free to disagree. The conversations would be no fun if it was just everyone patting each other on the back. But don't get nasty.

10. Write what you like. Did I mention this already? Well, it's that important. If you're doing this because you love it, why make it a chore for yourself?

What tips have I missed?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why he should have been so discomposed by a trifle I cannot say - but he was seriously discomposed

Before I get to anything about the next part of the book, look what I found!
By Adam Mazur
Every time I read anything about Miriam/Marian this is what I pictured. And it was wonderful. Clever girl, indeed.

Now, to The Woman in White. Gilmore's narrative comes first but isn't that interesting. The only things you learn are a) Laura is posed to get just a boatload of money b) Sir Percival Glyde has written an agreement that gives him all the money on Laura's death instead of Laura's family, which is typical and c) Mr. Fairlie is even more awful/amazingly narcissistic than I previously believed and let's Percy get away with his plan because eh, whatever; he'll prob die first anyway. Gilmore's narrative is short which is good because that means we get to Miriam the Velociraptor's section quicker! 

So much happens! Finally there's some action. Well pseudo action. And there's a new Italian guy who, granted, is no Professor Pesca, but he is still entertaining in a very ominous sort of way. Marian, Laura (now Lady Glyde, which sounds like a classy porn name), Sir Percival Glyde, and Count & Countess Fosco are all hanging out at Sir Percival's home and Percy is living up to Anne's warning letter of him. He's being a real asshole to Laura and Marian, although Fosco seems able to keep him under control. 

Fosco is an interesting character. On the surface he seems to be looking out for Marian and Laura. He comes to their rescue a couple times when Percy goes all nuts, he trains animals like mice and birds, he loves sweets. These don't usually make for an intimidating presence. But Marian doesn't trust him. And his wife, who used to be loud and obnoxious is very quiet and subservient now. How'd he do that?  He seems to be spying on Marian as she tries to discover what's going on with Sir Percival and the Woman in White, but at the same time he seems to have a plausible explanation for everything he does. Very creepy.

I am finally starting to get on Laura's side with this section and it was all based on the scene where Sir Percival tries to get her to sign something without letting her read what it is she's signing. And Laura stands up to him! Who saw that coming?? Marian has to convince her a couple times she's right to not sign something without knowing what it is but still, Laura stood up for herself. She's still boring but at least she's not weak anymore. She even throws the pen down when insulted. That is more action than I thought possible from her. Go Laura. 

But really, it's the end of this section that made me go I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! Sir Percival definitely has a secret. He was trying to get to Laura's money (hence the document he wouldn't let her read) AND there's also a secret that he thinks Laura and Walter know about. The Woman in White knows his secret. I want to know! I was on the edge of my seat, literally gasping (and getting weird looks) while Miriam the Velociraptor sneaked onto the roof to eavesdrop on Sir Percival and Count Fosco's conversation. The tension! Will she get caught? Who knew she really was such a badass? Do you see why I can't help but picture her as a velociraptor. Although it just made me think "If she was a velociraptor, she would have bit his head off by now. It would have been shorter story sure BUT still awesome." And that post script at the end of her diary??? I wasn't sure if I was supposed to read that since I think it's past where we read (although Alice fixed that yesterday) but I couldn't help it and all I can say is dun Dun DUUUN!!!

I know I'm gushing but she's the best and here are some quotes to back that up
"I banged the door after me, and I hope I shattered Mr. Fairlie's nervous system for the rest of the day."
"Being, however, nothing but a woman, condemned to patience, propriety, and petticoats for life, I must respect the house-keeper's opinions, and try to compose myself in some feeble and feminine way."
"I remember the time, Countess, when you advocated the Rights of Women and freedom of female opinion was one of them."

One last quote that made me laugh when I read it:
"Even baldness, when it is only baldness over the forehead (as in his case), is rather becoming than not in a man, for it heightens the head and adds to the intelligence of the face"
Oh Collins, first you talk about how Marian's little forehead makes her so ugly and then you go into detail about how a big forehead makes a guy look smart. Your insecurities are showing sir.

Title quote from location 3230/page 146

Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. Amazon Books, 2006. Originally published 1860

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

He said he preferred Armageddon to Sam's Club

I just read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and you guys, I loved it. There's going to be a lot of gushing. Be prepared.

Lincoln is the security tech guy in charge of making sure no one is using the company email for personal conversations or cursing or anything remotely fun. Emails from two employees, Jennifer and Beth, keep getting tagged. But their conversations are incredible and Lincoln can't even bring himself to send them a warning. Yet he keeps reading their emails and develops feelings for Beth. It's a romantic comedy, which is not my normal cup of tea. I think the last one I read was Pride and Prejudice. Lamb was kind of bromance-y. Anyway, what I'm saying is normally romantic comedies aren't for me. But this snuck by normal cynical defenses and I didn't even realize I was reading a romantic comedy until I was already in love with all the characters.

Lincoln's the main character and you spend a lot of time as his failed relationship and his job that he hates. And of course reading Beth and Jennifer's emails. Don't get me wrong, I liked Lincoln and I liked seeing him break his normal routine. And I sort of loved his mom and her cooking. But every time a chapter started with an email from Jennifer and Beth I got all excited. You only see these guys through their emails that get flagged so the fact that they establish themselves as so amazing so quickly is a skill. My favorite moments are all contained in their conversations. It's hard to find lines to share because the joy in these two is really their back and forth but here are a couple examples:

Jennifer to Beth: Maybe I do like Tom Cruise. But I hate feeling pressured to find him attractive. I don't.
Beth to Jennifer: Nobody does. It's a lie perpetuated by the American media. Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts.
Jennifer to Beth: Men don't like Julia Roberts?
Beth to Jennifer: Nope. Her teeth scare them*

Beth to Jennifer: I don't know if I ever believe in that anymore. The right guy. The perfect guy. The one. I've lost faith in "the".
Jennifer to Beth: How do you feel about "a" and "an"?
Beth to Jennifer: Indifferent.
Jennifer to Beth: So you're considering a life without articles?

Beth to Jennifer: Why are you lying awake, thinking that you're a terrible person?
Jennifer to Beth: To keep my mind occupied when I can't sleep. Some people count sheep. I self-loathe.

Don't you love them already?!?!?!

You should read this book! Right now. Right now! Although it was hard to find. Or rather, I went to my local indie bookstore and I couldn't find it (but I didn't ask so it may have been there) so I ended up getting an e-copy. So it's not that it was hard to find, it just didn't fall into my outstretched hands.

Also you should read Alice from Reading Rambo's and Rayna from Libereading's because they're amazing and their reviews are great and the reason I picked this up.

*Rayna shared this quote too but it's just. that. good I had to share it here too. I also liked Alice's larking comment but I only wanted to repeat one quote.

Title quote from location 3610, page 209

Rowell, Rainbow. Attachments. Plume, 2011. Kindle edition.

Monday, April 9, 2012

We don't want genius in this country, unless it is accompanied by respectability

First post actually about The Women in White and not about Wilkie Collins crazy big forehead and Scheherazade-esque bullying. Readalong post ahoy!

So even though it's been made very clear, I'm still sort of in denial that there's no ghost in this story. So when Walter sees the woman in white walking along the road I kept expecting her to suddenly disappear while wearing his jacket and then he goes to find her and is told she's dead and then he sees his jacket on her grave AAHHHHHH!* So what I'm saying is "escaped from insane asylum" while fun, is not quite the same. But given that disappointment is my own fault even though I knew better, I can't hold this against Wilkie.

Besides, what the story lacks in ghosts, it makes up for with amazing characters. Professor Pesca, the Italian almost-but-not-quite dwarf. How fantastic is he? A little ball of energy who is SO EXCITED that he got Walter a teaching job, even if I don't think "got you a 4 month teaching job" is quite equal to "saved you from drowning", but if Walter's cool with it, that works.

And there's Mr. Fairlie, master of the house where Walter is teaching art. He's a hypochondriac. Or really suffers from maladies that make it so things that annoying him will kill him. Also he has super human smell, given he was offended by the "odour of plebeian fingers" on some art he'd asked Walter to take a look at. That was pretty awesome. So really, he's an ass who is rude to his servants and wants to stay away from everyone. We don't see him much (so far) but he's pretty great in that one scene.

But the best character is Miriam. Even if she keeps talking about how lame ladies are. At first when she's all like "Ladies, we suck don't we? Man I wish I could say the things that guys do." I was taken aback. But then she'd go ahead and say what she wanted. So I'm thinking (because I love her character) she's voicing the position most people at this time have about ladies and she's being sarcastic about it. Every once in awhile I remember it's Wilkie who wrote this and think maybe he really feels this way, but then why would he make Miriam so amazing?  Anyway, here are some of her gems I highlighted
"How can you expect four women to dine together alone every day, and not quarrel?"
"no woman does think much of her own sex"
"Women can't draw - their minds are too flighty, and their eyes are too inattentive."
"Don't shrink under it like a woman. Tear it out; trample it under foot like a man!"

Yeah, yeah, there's the actual plot involving Walter falling for the most boring person in the Limmeridge House (Laura) but she's getting married to a Baronet (Sir Percival Glyde) that the asylum lady hates. Oh also asylum lady has a name (Anne) and she grew up for awhile with Laura and sent a message talking about how much of a jerk Glyde is. Walter is sad Laura's getting married to someone that's not him, so he leaves the house. End of Walter's narrative!

So what's going on with Anne?
Why'd Glyde (probably) send her to the hut house?
Will Professor Pesca show up again and be hilarious?
Will we see more of Miriam being awesome?
Will Laura and Walter get together, even though they're both pretty boring so I'd rather spend time with the other characters?

Onto The Story Continued by Vincent Gilmore!

*I like urban legends...

Yes, yes I know it's Marian. But I like Miriam better so I'm sticking with that at least when I think about her name. Also I've been calling her that for whatever reason for this long so now the name has stuck in my mind.

Title quote from location 148, page 11

Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. Amazon Books, 2006. Originally published 1860

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Hunger Games movie: I have thoughts

I saw The Hunger Games this weekend and I have thoughts! I wasn't planning on writing them down but then I left this long comment on Laura's post about the movie so I thought maybe I should write my own. But instead of a coherent post I'll just bullet point out things I loved.

*Spoilers so you should probably have already seen the movie. Or at least read the book*
Jennifer Lawrence made me like Katniss. As you may remember, I wasn't exactly enamored with Katniss from the book. Maybe because the book is from her point of view and it's a bad idea to spend that much time in the mind of a sixteen year old. But I thought book Katniss was whiny and oblivious and I wanted to smack her several times. JL Katniss was never whiny. She was brave and strong but still terrified, which is the exact reaction you should have in such a situation.

I loved District 11's reaction after Rue's death. Yes, I missed District 11 sending Katniss the bread after she covers Rue's body with flowers. However, I liked the riot a lot more. This wouldn't have worked in the book because the book was from Katniss's point of view and she couldn't see anyone's reactions. But seeing the people of District 11 riot after Rue's death shows you just how dangerous to the Capital Katniss's actions were.

On the topic of Rue's death, all the stuff about the race and how because Rue is black in the movie (and book people) that her death was less painful. Those people can go fuck themselves because seriously, that was so much more heart-wrenching in the movie. Maybe because you don't have to see this innocent little girl when you're reading. And Collins doesn't really describe her in detail until she and Katniss join up. But in the movie it's brought home exactly how young she is. And how sweet and childish she looks in her dress during the interviews. In the book I thought Rue's death was manipulative, just a chance for Katniss to feel a death and for the reader to feel the loss of a character that doesn't mean too much. But in the movie, just seeing this little girl, brings to the forefront the brutality of the games.

Cato's lines right before he dies. I like the Careers. They're made to be these enemies and in the arena they are a force but they lose their lives while they train for these games. Not only if they lose the game but they lose their entire childhood training to be killers. The movie gives a moment of insight into the Career Cato. He's bloodied and he's holding Peeta in a choke hold while Katniss aims her bow at him. He tells her if she shoots him, he'll just take Peeta down with him into the pack of wolf things below them. He says he'll have no problem killing Peeta. He can do it again, it's what he was trained to do. It's all he knows. And you can hear the shame in his voice when he's saying this. How he knows what he is, how he hates what he does but it's what he does. In those moments you get the feeling that he hates the games as much as everyone else in the Districts.

In the book we see the story from Katniss's point of view and hear her thoughts. We don't have that with the movie so they have the TV announcers fill in the holes. Not only does this mean more Stanley Tucci (yay!) but it also means you get to see how the Game is portrayed as entertainment. It really brings to light how callous the Games are. I've seen sports announcers display more pain at a missed free throw than these announcers display when announcing the death of a tribute. While reading the book you can forget that this is all entertainment but the movie doesn't let you forget.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thoughts on Wilkie Collins or how I'm already behind on this readalong

This is my first time doing a readalong and I'm already behind. I come into work and was checking blogs and saw Alice had up a lil post about Wilkie Collins. And I thought nothing of it cos I figured it was just the intro this month (and the readalong) starting. And then another person had a post about the guy (and his giant forehead). And another. And another. And then I realized shit, I already missed the first post. And I was so proud I remembered to buy the book.

I wish I could say that even though this post is a day late, don't worry it's super awesome because I have great thoughts about the guy. Except I have none of those. I know nothing about the guy. Or the book. I signed up because this book (apparently) fulfills one of the categories for the Smooth Criminals reading challenge. And also I've wanted to do one of Alice's readalongs but she kept picking books I had just read.

I thought maybe I should learn about the guy and write a well thought out post. But I read everyone else's posts and I got the gist: BFF with Dickens, a bully made Wilkie tell him stories (which sounds like the plot of an animated movie), he has a name that sounds like a Mother Goose character, and he has a HUUUGE forehead.
Don't look directly at it
So I got the important things down. Also the episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where the gang finds a dumpster baby is on and how can you turn away from that?

Monday, April 2, 2012

March Reading Wrap-Up!

Another month done. April always takes me by surprise. Probably because my birthday is the end of March, and I seem unable to really grasp that time will go on after my birthday passes. Cos I'm mature like that. Also I remembered Boyfriend's birthday this past March. So maybe I am maturing. Or at least all of my reminders are finally working.

I've done a better job this month of reading books by female authors. And some of that wasn't even me really trying to do it. So go me.

Separate news, I saw The Hunger Games movie and everyone's right: it was excellent and I never went "the book is so much better!" I did look around the audience and go "There are a LOT of children under the age of 10 here. That seems...well, they're your kids, I guess you know if this will scar them forever or not."

Now to the stats!

Number of books read
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father She Ate Me ed. by Kate Bernheimer*
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Green Mile by Stephen King
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction read

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors
100% - whoops. Had an OK month in February but I seem to have backslid

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of ebooks
0% and I somehow managed to ignore my Kindle for an entire month

Percentage of challenge books
33% - 2 whole challenge books! Win

Books written by decade
1950s - 17%
1990s - 17%
2000s - 50%
2010s - 17%

OK, so as usual I should probably work on reading some books that are older than me and some by non-white people. At least I managed to get some female authors read. Baby steps people, baby steps. I am at least taking a step in the right direction. I'm participating in Alice's Woman in White readalong so that covers a) it's older than I am, and b) challenge book!

*Yes, yes I know I didn't technically finish this one. But I was all of 30 some odd pages away, so I'm counting it. Take that, stats that I keep for myself.