Friday, September 27, 2013

What do you do with multiple copies of books?

Do you ever find you have multiple copies of the same book? Maybe you forgot you already had a copy? Maybe you're combining bookshelves? Maybe you just REALLY like that story and feel the need to have all the copies?

I was sitting on the floor near one of our bookshelves the other day, scanning the shelves with Boyfriend+'s books, and I saw some of his Shakespeare. Because like me, Boyfriend+ can't throw out any of his books, including those he bought for class. And I realized we have a LOT of copies of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Then I started going through to find what other books we had multiple copies of. Here's some of what I found.

6 copies of Midsummer.
This is mostly my fault. I have a problem.
From top to bottom we have:
-Boyfriend+'s copy from the Folger Library*
-A copy in both English and Italian. Because why not
-An Arden copy, which my Grandmother got me for my 14th birthday (I don't have that good of memory but she wrote Happy Birthday and the date on the first page)
-A copy of The Complete Comedies
-A Complete Works that one of my university classes made me buy because she insisted we couldn't use smaller books. I used smaller books the entire semester. TAKE THAT, SOCIETY
-A First Folio copy my good friend got me when he visited London. (I've since acquired As You Like It and Hamlet as well)

2 copies of The Great Gatsby
Or 3 if you consider we also have a poster made up of the text of the book. Plus Boyfriend+ and I each have the same copy. And neither of us our willing to give up "our" book.

4 copies of The Odyssey
2 are Boyfriend+'s. 2 are mine. I had a professor insist we buy a specific version for his class but I already owned one. And in all fairness, I liked that translation better than the one I already owned, so fine. I don't know why he has so many.

2 copies each of The Iliad and The Aeneid 
We each have our own copies of these 2. And I swear I had a different version of The Iliad at some point. But I can't find it so maybe 2 1/4?

3 copies of Shades of Grey
Not 50 shades. This is the Fforde book. We don't know how many shades. Just more than one.
This was the second book I bought on my Kindle because I wanted to read it RIGHT NOW. And then I found a paperback copy on sale and I really wanted a copy for my shelf. And then my friend (he who bought me Midsummer cos he knows me really well) found a hardback copy on sale and picked it up for me.

And now I have a copy FOR YOU! He actually gave this to me awhile ago so I could do this giveaway except then I couldn't figure out a reason for giveaway post. I have a tendency to forget birthdays, including blog birthdays, so that didn't happen. I haven't read any new Fforde to use that as an excuse. I thought about just giving it away and then never wrote that post either. But now this is a good excuse!

So this is open to anyone. Just leave your name and email address in the comments and, in a week? Let's say a week, I'll randomly pick a winner!

*I actually really like their copies. If you're looking for Shakespeare, I recommend these guys

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The language of sin was universal, the original Esperanto

I tried to write this review of Joe Hill's Horns over the weekend. I started it by apologizing for not posting more last week and blamed Franzen for it*. And then I realized I should probably give some thought into a readalong schedule cos I hadn't done that yet. Then I was exhausted after putting that together and decided instead of finishing up (or really starting) this review my time would be better spent with a West Wing marathon. Which I now realize sort of gives the impression that I didn't enjoy Horns and the opposite is true. I'm just very easily distracted.

I won a copy of Horns from Kayleigh** which is awesome and thank you for that! I really didn't know anything about it before her review (which you should check out) except that Harry Potter was going to be in this weird movie where he plays a guy that has horns. It's also written by Stephen King's son, but I guess he doesn't want you to know that cos he changed his name. Of course if it was really a sekrit he wouldn't have done that NYT article. I don't know if I would have figured it out had I not known they were related before I started reading it, but I kept getting the feeling that if you told me this was a Stephen King book, I wouldn't have even questioned you.

So, right, the plot. Ignatius Perrish wakes up one morning with a particularly heinous hangover and, oh yeah, he's grown horns. Things had already been pretty shitty for Ig. His long-time girlfriend Merrin had been found raped and murdered a year earlier and even though charges were never brought up against him everyone in town assumes Ig did it, and he got away with it because of his families money and connections.

Ig's still trying to get a handle on the whole horns thing when he wanders out to the living room and he sees his roommate/fuck buddy Glenna sitting on the couch. She doesn't seem to notice the horns. She does start telling him weird things. Not just telling him things, like how she gave a friend of theirs a blog job the other day, but asking permission from Ig to do things she knows she shouldn't. It seems these horns make people want to confess their deepest desires and are just looking for an excuse to act on these impulses. Ig's become a devil-on-the-shoulder for everyone he goes near, even though Ig isn't a particularly devilish character. But he's been given an opportunity to perhaps find out the truth and perhaps move on. And now the book becomes a whodunnit/revenge thriller.

I really loved Ig's character. He's not what I expected, which is good, because the character I was expecting would have been boring. Ig is tortured by Merrin's death and by the fact that everyone has turned on him. He's so hurt and he has no one. And he has no idea what happened to Merrin. He only knows that he's innocent, despite what everyone may believe.

The book is a lot of things. Like I said above, it's a whodunnit and a revenge story and a thriller. It also provides some interesting insights to "the devil inside" and there's some dark humor there. Oh and supernatural, you know, what with the horns and all. But it does a good job keeping everything from getting too muddled.

I agree with Kayleigh that I liked present day Ig and that story more than the flashbacks. I liked the flashbacks and thought they were interesting and they added some good twists and motivations to the present day story. But then went on for a long time and I kept glancing ahead to see how long before we got back to horned Ig. Maybe if those sections had been broken up more I wouldn't have minded them as much.

Overall this was a great book. If you like King (Laaaaura) you should give Hill a try. If you're not a fan of horror maaaybe give this a pass, although I wouldn't say this is necessarily a scary book. It's a very good book. I realize I only mentioned Ig and obviously as the main character you spend the most time with him. The others seems wrong to say "fun" to watch but I was invested in their stories. Even when at times I wanted to turn away.

*Expect to see me blaming Franzen for a lot of things over the next month. Subway delays? Dammit, Franzen.
**She also sent me these crazy chocolate candy bars that have pop rocks and jelly beans in them. I'm pretty sure we have no equivalent of them over here and I think this just means I'm going to need to make a trip to her land to stock up.

Title quote from page 255

Hill, Joe. Horns. Orion Books, 2010.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Corrections Readalong: The Schedule

Apologies for slacking on posts last week. What can I say, just the thought of hosting this Corrections readalong is exhausting.
I was actually in the middle of writing a review of Horns (to be posted later this week...hopefully) when I realized I should probably at least start to figure out the reading schedule for Corrections. I determined roughly how many pages we should read and then I thought I'd find a chapter break around there. Hey, guess what this book doesn't have many of. Chapters! God, Franzen, you're such an asshole.

I now understand why my professors would beg us to all buy the same copy of the book, this way they could just say "read through page 250" and page 250 would be the same for everyone. But I'm going to assume we all have our own copies and just using page numbers won't work. So here's what I figured, but please, if anyone has a better idea, speak up. Because this is already a mess and we haven't even started yet.

October 4th - Intro post! I'd say introduce yourself but I'm pretty sure we all know each other so maybe write a little something about Franzen or this book or why you're doing this

October 11th - Luckily this first chapter break sort of works. Read up to the section titled The More He Thought About It, The Angrier He Got. Plus this title captures my feelings of trying to put this schedule together

October 18th - Here's where things get messy. So I was trying to do roughly 140 pages between each week. Except there is NOTHING, no chapter break, no section breaks, nothing, around this point. Because Franzen is a jerk. So, two options. We can go with more like 200 pages for this section and make it to the next section called The Generator which is on page 336 (in my copy anyway, which is the trade paperback from Picador).

If we think that will be too much Franzen for 1 week, at around page 300 there's a big text block that starts with "Some mysteries of her obsession, Sylvia said, were that she'd been raised as a Quaker..." so we could stop there. I have no idea if that is in the middle of some big important action sequence so if it is, sorry about that. And again, please speak up if anyone has any better ideas.

October 25th - Let's read up to the section called One Last Christmas. That looks like it will work with either Oct 18th section break we go with.

Nov 1st - FINISH HIM! So I realize we're no longer in October but it's ONE DAY later and I thought it better to finish in November than try to cram in the Franzen to just 3 weeks. This can also be our wrap up post for any final thoughts and perhaps plans about how we'll pretentiously work in some Franzen quotes at our next party.

Let's see how many times this readalong makes me feel like this

I'm guessing at least 6.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Corrections readalong: Wanna play?

I have had The Corrections sitting on my shelf for years now and it seems pretty clear there's no way I'm reading this unless I have some additional incentive. I made it part of a challenge one year and that didn't help. So this time around I'm thinking readalong. Because even if the book is not doing it for me I can at least bitch about it with a bunch of friends and GIFs.
So anyone want to play along? Yeaaaaah, you know you do. We can do the readalong in October. I haven't hosted one of these before, so I will do my best to actually figure out chapter breaks and whatever else I should be doing as host of a readalong. (So I guess step one will be "figure out what I'm supposed to do". This is going well already.) But LOOK, I started this sign up post and there's a Community marathon on, so I hope you all realize how serious I am about this. Or else please forgive this post if it's all over the place, but it's paintball episode number two (the Western one) so it's not like I can just ignore it. Please expect the same level of dedication in the readalong posts that you're getting now.

So if you want to play along, sign up below. And if you have any advice for me, I'm all ears (all eyes? Some of these idioms are very confusing in writing.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

She isn't capable of human speech...but she's excited to see you

I just read The Last Girlfriend On Earth by Simon Rich. This book is a collection of humorous short stories (on average 5-7 pages long) about dating, based on every negative stereotype about women you can think of. Not in a subversive way. In a "all women are irrational, needy, jealous, gold diggers and being in a relationship with one is akin to being in prison ISN'T THIS HILARIOUS?" type way.

I don't really know what to say beyond this. I wanted to like the book. I even found a couple of the stories funny. But then as it went on they started to get meaner and meaner and I got angrier and angrier. But I finished it because I wanted to write about it. And it was a super quick read. So how's this. Instead of me writing down a coherent review I'll just write down some quotes I highlighted and my notes I took (heart you, Kindle) with a brief description of the story.

Boy Meets Girl section
From "Unprotected"
It's the story of a condom that spends its life in his wallet.

Other than the way the condom talks ("I born in factory. They put me in wrapper. They seal me in box. Three of us in box.") this story was pretty funny. Except I spent a good amount of time going "Are you mad? You can't keep a condom in a wallet! That is going to be unusable. This is why we need better sex ed."

From "Magical Mr. Goat"
OK, this is one of the few stories I liked. A little girl conjures up an imaginary friend who goes on adventure with her. But eventually Mr. Goat wants to be more than just friends and is hurt the little girl doesn't feel the same way and just sees him as a friend. Even if I think the "friendzone" is the stupidest thing ever, this was still pretty funny.

From "Occupy Jen's Street"
"It's outrageous," he muttered through gritted teeth. "She refuses to go on a single date with me. Meanwhile, the fat cats on Wall Street just sit there, getting richer and richer."
I was confused.
"What do the fat cats have to do with Jen?"
"It's all connected," he said vaguely.

This was around the point I started to get worried about this book. This story is still pretty funny, but in a bit of a creepy way. It's about how this guy who is GREAT at leading protests decides to lead a full-scale protest outside of Jen's apartment until she agrees to go on a date with him. Overall the story is pretty funny, although you sorta just go with the idea that the woman in this story (and the women in ALL the stories) aren't actual characters. They're demonized or idolized. Cos then you get lines like this from the same story

"Ninety-nine percent of men are in love with the top one percent of women. And yet they often refuse to date us. It's a complete injustice."


Boy Gets Girl section

I pretty much hated every story in this section and got angrier and angrier as I read on.

From "Scared Straight"
"His name is Dan Greenbaum. And he's been in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Sarah, for seven years."
For the first time all day, Kyle felt his shoulders tensing up. He'd never actually met a real inmate before.

My note:
"ahaha yes, I get it. Relationships are a prison. And these boys are being shown what horrors could be in their future if they don't change their ways, a la Scared Straight. HILARIOUS. We're breaking some new ground now."

From "Center of the Universe"
The story is about God having a needy girlfriend that gets annoyed with him for not showering her with enough attention cos he's busy making the world.

My note:
"ahaha, look at women being so demanding. Even God is whipped by them. If you try to have a relationship with them they will cut off your nuts. Why, this is even more hilarious than the last story"

From "Girlfriend Repair Shop"
His girlfriend would be diagnosed with some mental problem: depression, possibly, or something menstruation-related"

My note, immediately after that quote:
This fucking guy

This story is about a guy that goes to couples counseling with his girlfriend, but DON'T WORRY, he's fine. See all women are actually robots and she's not unhappy. She's just malfunctioning slightly. Tighten a couple screws and she'll forget all about her feelings. Hmm women as robots so they'll be perfect wives/girlfriends. Well isn't that just a TOTALLY ORIGINAL IDEA.

From "The Adventure of the Spotted Tie"
Sherlock Holmes has a gold digging girlfriend that's cheating on him (AS WOMEN DO) and even though he's a genius he can't see that she's obviously just using him for his money. This fucking guy.

From "The Last Girlfriend on Earth"
A disease wipes out all women on the planet except this one woman. Now all these guys want to hang out with her and her boyfriend is jealous because they all want to sleep with her and she is surprised these guys don't want to just hang out with her. Then it turns out there's a second girl and the first girl gets super catty and jealous LIKE WOMEN DO.

OK, at this point I pretty much just started writing "This fucking guy" after every story. So maybe these quotes thing won't work anymore. But I'm sure you get the point.

There's a final section called Boy Loses Girl with stories like the one about the secret agent that who uses the invisibility serum he's supposed to be using to track and take out a terrorist to spy on his ex girlfriend and fun stuff like that. There was one other story I liked called "Man Seeking Woman" that is funny and is also something like 50 words long. But it was too little, too late.

I don't think all the stories should have nice to women or couldn't play off stereotypes (offensive and not) for the plot. But all of them? They all had to?

Title quote from page 52, location 488

Rich, Simon. The Last Girlfriend On Earth and Other Love Stories. Regan Arthur Books, 2012. Kindle edition.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Everyone needs to think they have secrets

The other day tweet from Laura about how I was going to make sure I finished Tell The Wolves I'm Home because of all the sads. And then on my way home that night the train in front of me hit...something* and we were delayed. Which mean I had loads of time to do nothing but read and my phone was almost dead so I couldn't keep screwing around on there. And that's how I ended up crying on the train and DAMMIT, IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN THAT WAY.

I would like to start this review by directing you over to Megs' review because it says everything I want to say only better, and also is the main reason I picked up this book in the first place. Or at least the reason I added it to my TBR. Finding it on sale at Costco is why it got picked up.**

I know I already told you about how this book hits you in the feels, but it's in a good way. And that's not all there is to it. June is a misunderstood teen. I know what you're thinking, aren't they all? But June is. She's awkward and a loner, she used to be close with her sister but at some point they've grown apart. she wishes she lived in another time, specifically Renaissance time. She likes to wander into the woods behind the school, wear the special boots her uncle gave her and a Renaissance dress that's far too small and pretend she's actually a Renaissance maiden. So yeah, she doesn't have too many friends. But she has her Uncle Finn, so she's good. He understands her, lets her be who she is, and is always there for her. Until he isn't.

Don't worry, that isn't a spoiler. It's the set up. Because when Finn is no longer there for June she finds someone else she'd never before met who misses Finn as much as she does.

I know Megs did this too but it is really hard to talk about this book without some mild spoilers. They're spoilers that I don't think will mess up the book AT ALL if you haven't read it yet but in case you want to go in without knowing anything you should prob stop now. And then go read the book right now because it's really good. Really, really good.

*Really minor spoilers that you're probably safe to read but fair warning*
June is torn by this stranger Toby turning up, because here is someone that knows all about a Finn she never knew. But it also means that she wasn't everything to Finn like Finn was to her. There were many times I wanted to yell at June for being so mean, but then again her angry, her defensiveness, her frustration, is understandable. Learning that she isn't the only one who misses Finn so much is both a blessing and a curse.

The story isn't just about June and Toby. It's also June's family and their relationships. Particularly June and Greta, her great-at-everything older sister. And then there's June's mother and her relationship both with June and with her brother Finn. Everyone in the family is dealing with loss in different ways. And different losses.

This book made me angry at the '80s. I guess it's hard to blame them. AIDS was a new disease and no one really knew much about it or how it was spread but just that if you got it, it wasn't good. And also you probably deserved what you got because you brought it on yourself because did I mention people are terrible? Because they can be. Especially when they're scared and confused. I have vague memories of a Sesame Street telling you all the ways you couldn't catch AIDS, like giving someone a hug.

There's so much more I want to say but to do that will get into larger spoilers that I don't think would mess up the story if you already knew them but then again, who knows they might. So I'll stop talking about the plot.

I already told you about the sads. I mean, it's a book about AIDS and death so of course it's sad but even these sads aren't the focus. It's about more than that. I wasn't angry at the book for making me cry. I was angry at the book for making me cry on the train, but that was really the fault with the book being so good that even though I knew the sads would be coming I had to read in, public be damned.

I didn't realize this was YA while I was reading it. I really don't think I can pick out YA if asked to. It has a teenage protagonist but that's about it. Maybe that's enough? I guess I don't know enough about the genre, but yeah, if you're avoiding this one because you don't read YA you're doing yourself a disservice. It's also a quick read. Because you can't put it down. Even if you're now crying on the train.

*They originally thought it was a someone, which is happening with surprising frequency, but I'm guessing since we were only stuck for around 30 min that it was a something. They didn't say.
**And apparently this is specifically a "for Costco" copy of the book. It even has a "Dear Costco Readers" thing from the author at the beginning.

Title quote from page 354

Brunt, Carol Rifka. Tell The Wolves I'm Home. Dial Press Trade Paperback, 2012.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another wedding update? So soon? Whaaaa?

I know, I know, can you believe it, another wedding post? Not one about last names like I mentioned last week cos I need to give that more thought. Or actually, I've given it a lot of thought, but I haven't starting writing anything about it yet, and it's probably something I want to give some time to. Except I just realized the show Cutthroat Kitchen is on OnDemand, so yeah, that's what I'm doing instead.

Instead, here's another mashup of random thoughts!

Vendor contracts
Whenever I google questions to ask various wedding vendors one of the questions that keeps popping up is "Will I have a written contract?" which...what? Yeah, I better get a written contract. I want everything in writing with both parties signatures that maps out everything: what's included, what's the cost, what are additional fees, what are the contingency plans. Who wouldn't provide this? Who wouldn't expect this?

Asking about contingency plans is apparently also an unusual question. But seriously vendor, what's your plan if things don't go well? And no, I'm not talking about between me and Boyfriend+. What will you do if your equipment fails? If you get sick? I think we're like the buzzkills of this process. I mean these aren't the only questions we're asking, but are they really that out of the blue?

Wedding albums
Loni and I were going back and forth in the comments of the last post about wedding albums, so I figured I'd open this up to anyone else who may know. So wedding albums. Is this a normal thing? And I don't mean albums like you'd get for scrapbooking, where you just slide pictures in those plastic sleeves or pasted on pages. Everything I've seen so far in this wedding process has included these wedding albums where the pages themselves are the photos. You work with a photographer to design the album (picking photos, backgrounds, format) and then the thing is all bound. Is this a new trend? Maybe it's specific to Long Island?

I also realized when thinking about these albums that I've never seen a friends wedding album. Not that I expect there to be a slideshow or anything, but I realized when I was trying to figure out if these wedding albums I've been seeing are a new thing that I've never seen a friend's album to compare.

The most important wedding vendor
Obviously every vendor we talk to says they're the most important part of the night. Of course they do. They say "Oh I'm not saying this because it's my business" but yes, yes you are.

Really in my mind, food & drink is number one. Well that and the venue cos you have to have somewhere to do the drinking and the eating.
Then comes photography cos that's the part you're going to have forever.

After those two, I'm less sure of what would come next. DJ? Maybe. I do think the music is important. Of course I've been to a wedding that was a lot of fun where they just used an iPod.

The dress? Sure, I love my dress, but that's sort of something just for me. Or mostly for me. Given the popularity of all the TLC dress shopping shows other people like to look at it too. Of course the photography is pretty much just for me too, so I guess that's not a great reason. The dress is the first thing I got, so that says something to the importance.

Flowers? I like flowers. If I couldn't use flowers at the wedding or something I'd be OK. It helps that there's a lot of flowers at the venue.

Bridesmaids dresses? I want people to be comfortable,  I want them to look good, I want them to look like they're part of the wedding, but top importance? eeehhh

What do you think?

Friday, September 6, 2013

In a country that doesn't discriminate between fame and infamy, the latter presents itself as plainly more achievable

We Need To Talk About Kevin gave me stress headaches.

Or maybe it was the changing of the seasons since everyone around me seems to be getting sick and hit pretty hard with allergies. But since seasonal allergies have never bugged me before, I think the book is to blame.

For those that don't know, We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver* is about a school shooting, a la Columbine. Actually Columbine takes place not long after Kevin's attack on his school, and he's very upset to be overshadowed by those boys. And I suppose the story itself isn't really about the school shooting, although that is what happens and is the Kevin's mother Eva begins writing the letters to her husband. She talks about what it was like before they had Kevin, Kevin's childhood, and that Thursday, as well as stories set in present day when she goes to visit Kevin in prison.

 Laura sent me her copy of WNTTAK and I had started to read it last December. Hey, do you remember what happened last December?** So yeah, I put the took down and it took 8 months before I wanted to pick it up again.It's a disturbing disturbing book. Plus it reminded me what it was like to be in high school when all of those shootings were happening (and more than that the No Tolerance responses right after) since I was a freshman in high school when Columbine happened. As for the No Tolerance stuff, I remember telling a friend I had a dream she got sucked into an escalator. A teacher overheard and told me to be careful talking about stuff like that cos it could get me into trouble. This was a teacher that liked me so I guess she wouldn't rat me out for dreaming about sentient escalators, but yeah, it was a weird time.

Sorry there are a lot of tangents in here. Back to the book.

At first I was annoyed at the format of the book. Eva is writing letters to her husband Franklin, but she's describing things that clearly he would know about. Except after the first couple letters I stopped thinking about these being letters and realized even if Eva was addressing these to someone, they were a journal for her. "Talking" to Franklin gave her a way to try and come to terms with what Kevin did.***

So a big thing is the unreliable narrator. We're seeing things through her eyes, and they're her memories. And of course memories are unreliable (no matter what JK Rowling and the Pensieve may suggest) and Eva isn't the easiest person to like. That being said, I was expecting to HATE Eva cos, well, Laura did. And she wasn't expecting to. Perhaps it's those expectations that colored the book but really, anytime I started to think Eva was such a bad person, or that maybe she was lying about all these horrible things she saw in Kevin that Franklin missed I'd remember, but Kevin did end up committing this massacre. Maybe Eva was mistaken but then again, we saw what Kevin ultimately did so maybe she was right. Maybe she did see something that Franklin missed. And of course there were the stories of the neighbors accusing Kevin of terrible things. But again, we're seeing all of this from Eva's point of view, from her memories and what she's choosing to write down and share, so all interactions could be colored.

There is of course the issue that Eva is not an affectionate mother. Not with Kevin anyway, though she describes her relationship with her daughter Celia as loving. But from the moment Kevin is born she never connects with him. I think this is what makes everyone really hate Eva. How could she NOT love her son right from the beginning? But then again, what if you don't? What if you have a kid and you don't feel all of the euphoria that you're supposed to feel? She tries to fake enthusiasm and maybe fake love for Kevin, but even Eva says Kevin sees right through it. Did this cause him to do what he did? Was Kevin a sociopath anyway, regardless of the type of mother Eva could have been? Or was Kevin a normal kid and it was Eva who saw all of these sociopathic tendencies and thus Kevin became what his mother always assumed he was? I think it was all of these questions that caused the stress headache. And of course we only ever see the story from Eva's point of view without much indication of what may or may not have actually happened.

In the end, I don't really know how I feel about the book. I think it's extremely well-written. I was hooked. I was horrified. I couldn't look away. This was also a book that people stopped to ask me about. Right when I started it (I was something like 10 pages in) a woman on the subway asked me how I was liking the book. I think I gave her a blank look at first because "EEKK why are people on the subway talking to me? Are my book and headphones not indication enough that I'm trying to ignore everyone?" And also because I was like 10 pages in. So I told her I didn't know yet because, you know, 10 pages. She then told me how she had seen the movie because when she moved into her new home someone had left behind a copy (creepy) and that she thought the movie was very well done and she immediately gave it away cos she couldn't have it in the house with her. She also told me repeatedly how she had a son who was about 11 or so (she gave his actual age, I just don't remember) and how as a mother this really disturbed her.****

I don't know how to recommend this book. It's really well written but very disturbing. But not American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis or Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates disturbing. It doesn't quite reach their "I sorta wish I'd never read these books and not because their bad" level of disturbing. But still, stress headaches. But I can't say that I'll never re-read this book again. So there you go. Real helpful review. "Maybe read it or don't. Cos it's disturbing but kinda and also you may or may not hate the narrator."

*Who I had to look up to learn is a woman and not a guy. Which was pretty sweet because it made my monthly stats go up. Even though I spent some time going "but I thought that's a guy's name. Like Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons or Lion-O from ThunderCats." Then I realized all of the Lionels I know come from cartoons and shut up, maybe it's a woman's name too. Then I finally read her Wikipedia page and it turns out she changed it to that cos she liked the more masculine sounding name. This clearly has nothing to do with the book.

**Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is what happened

***Spoilers - all kinds of spoilers
And of course if you've read the book or maybe seen the movie (I dunno what the movie does) you know that she's not actually writing to her husband. Because Kevin killed him. So then you realize it really is just a journal.
** Spoilers over

****I've only ever had someone stop me on the subway to ask what book I was reading and that was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because Rowling brings people together. Who knew this review would contain 2 Rowling references?

Title quote from page 197

Shriver, Lionel. We Need To Talk About Kevin. Serpent's Tail, 2003.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August Reading Wrap-Up

Hope everyone had a lovely Labor Day weekend. Except I guess those that aren't in the US and aren't celebrating Labor Day, in which case hope you had a nice weekend? I know last time I talked about how summer was almost over but now summer is actually over and sadz. Except it's autumn which means PUMPKIN EVERYTHING and that really helps with the whole summer-is-over blues.

I had a pretty good reading month. I got some non-whiteys in there, I read a book that turned out to be one of my new favorites, and overall I got a decent amount of reading done. Good times. And now, stats!

Number of books read
Native Son by Richard Wright
The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Number of pages read

Percentage of fiction
100% - read ALL THE FICTION

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors
60% - look, they're not all white people. I WIN

Percentage of US authors
100% - OK well at least they're not all white men. Baby steps

Percentage of eBooks
0% huh look at that. No Kindle

Percentage of review copies

Books written by decade
1940s - 20%
2000s - 40%
2010s - 40%
Look, look, I even managed one book that's older than me.

So yeah, it's been a pretty good month. Let's see how September goes.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wedding plan update: A ramble

I knew I hadn't been writing about wedding planning stuff for awhile. I didn't realize just HOW long ago it was until I went through my posts. March 24 was the last wedding post, asking for help coming up with names for a bookish centerpiece. Well. Shit.

In case anyone would like an update from that things are...well, not much further along than they were back in March. But now I'm at the point where the wedding is less than a year away, so I probably need to start making decisions. Something I am awful at.

Here's what we have figured out so far:
Venue! - This is really the most important thing, at least in mind. Regardless of what else happens we have a location that will feed us and give us liquor. Everything else is a bonus.
Wedding dress - Yup, that's done. That one has been done for awhile. I think that should be coming in some time soon? Maybe? Probably something I should follow up on.
Bridesmaids' dresses - Hey, even this is done. Almost. I mean, I picked out one I liked and 2 out of the 3 bridesmaids were there to try it on. So we'll consider it 2/3rds done.
Officiant - All set! Unset. Did you know in the states of NY, FL, and VA a federal judge can't marry you? NY, do you really want to do the same thing Florida is doing? Think about that. No ship captains either. So I guess we need to figure this one out again. Dammit.

So that's pretty much it. We're looking at photographers and DJs now. We went to this bridal showcase and...I just don't think I'm cut out for these things. There was a lot of eye rolling on my part. I can't help myself. We have appointments set up, people to be met with, and hopefully decisions will be done soon. Then it's onto the next thing which, according to this wedding checklist. Also a lot of the items on this list tell me I should "envision" things, like the flowers and type of music and things like that. I think they put those on there so I can feel accomplished checking more things off. Nevermind all of the items on this to-do list that have big exclamation points next to them cos I haven't chosen the bridal party yet. (My side is done. Boyfriend+ is taking his time. I figure I'll find out who all is included on the wedding day.)

I was going to ask those of you who have done the whole wedding thing about how long it took you to get your album*, but actually I've been looking over the laws for getting a marriage license and holy hell, are there a lot of details. Here are some fun facts about getting married in NY state (NYC is a whole new can of worms that I'm not even going to bother with but let's just say, I'm happy NYC was out of my price range for a wedding)

Did you know some states apparently require a physical before getting married? NY does not and that's good cos I'm not forking over a blood sample. Not for any reason that I think I'd fail, or that my DNA will show that I'm actually on the run after committing a series of bank robberies in Nevada** or something. Just, screw you, you don't need my blood for this.

Did you know you can get married at 14 in NY? Cos apparently, you can. You need written consent from parents plus a Supreme Court or family court judge, but still.

You can't your marry a parent, sibling, aunt, or uncle. Cousins are cool though, apparently

NY kicks ass in letting you choose what you want your last name to be Some states *cough*Florida*cough* say that only the lady can change her last name. And you can change your name whenever you feel like it, although your marriage license will say whatever you go with at the time. I plan on having a different post about figuring out last name, but I've already babbled about other things so I'll save that for it's own.

No ship captains I don't really know what this means other than a ship captain can't officiate a wedding happening in NY state. If you were to get married not in NY (and thus have a license from somewhere else) and the captain officiated that, you'd be fine. I think.

I apologize for the fact that this post is all over the place. Next time, I'll do a post about one wedding topic. Probably that name thing. And there will be less of a lag time between posts. Hell, these posts might pick up as I get closer and closer to the wedding and have stuff to report on.

*I sorta still asked that question, so if you have an answer, I'm all ears. I'm trying to figure out if the ranges people are telling us are totally reasonable or holy hell, what is taking so long?
**I may have been watching too much Unsolved Mysteries lately