Friday, December 27, 2013

End Of Year Book Survey

I saw a couple people doing the end of year book surveys (recently Loni, who got it from Jaimie) and decided hooray for surveys that allow me to get a post up without too much thought!

Number of books read in 2013: 58. Unless I can finish re-reading Bryson's In A Sunburned Country before the end of year.

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? There were a lot of amazing books I read this year. I re-read Lamb by Christopher Moore and that's a favorite of mine so always good. But for new-to-me books of 2013 it would have to be Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple and I'm thinking even though I just read it a couple months ago, I need to read it again.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? This is a toss up between Michael Cunningham's The Hours and Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I thought they'd be books that were right up my alley (haha, pun) and they didn't do it for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? Where'd You Go, Bernadette? because I didn't think I'd love it like I did. I don't know why I got it in my head this was going to be some pretentious book and instead it was SO GOOD

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013? I know I've tried to shove World War Z by Max Brooks down a lot of people's throats, but I first read that a few years ago so that isn't anything new. Bernadette was another one I kept telling people about, except most people already knew about it so breath wasted.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013? Other than Harry Potter I don't think I read any series this year. And I had discovered HP awhile before. I guess Bridget Jones's Diary and Confessions of a Shopaholic are both the first in their respective series, but while I enjoyed those books "eh" to the series as a whole. Pre-emptive "eh" at least, since I haven't read them.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
This is a tough one. Joe Hill? I read his book Horns and the book he wrote with his dad In the Tall Grass and those were awesome so I'm looking forward to reading more of his stuff. I don't know if he's a favorite author, but one I'm excited to read more of.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? I liked Breakfast at Tiffany's more than I was anticipating, although I was not a fan of the other short stories. Maybe True Grit as another book I enjoyed that is outside of my normal genres.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013? The Harry Potter books kept me enthralled. Of course, that's to be expected. Otherwise Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson had some good thrills in it.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Where'd You Go, Bernadette? since I already said I want to re-read it. I expect I'll probably re-read some more HP and perhaps Eleanor & Park

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013? Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds. I LOVE this cover. The book is very good as well.

11. Most memorable character in 2013? Coraline from Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Or maybe Bernadette (I know, I'm talking a lot about it. Only because it's so great.)

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013? I think I'll have to go with The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace. That book had some beautiful imagery in it.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? Possibly We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, and not necessarily in a good way. The book is very good and well-written and gave me stress headaches while I was reading it because it's very upsetting. So yeah, impactful.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? Bridget Jones's Diary because it seems like one a lot of people had already read. Or Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett which I'm sure teenage me would have loved.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013? [so, I have a lot of great passages highlighted in my Kindle. Which is not with me at the moment. So I'll fill this in later. Or more likely I'll forget, but know that I had intentions to fix this.]

16.Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2013? 
Shortest: In The Tall Grass by Joe Hill and Stephen King at 62 pages.
Longest: Under the Dome by Stephen King at 1,062 pages. Surprisingly Rowling was second longest, beating out George R.R. Martin. I also appreciate that King is both the shortest and longest book I read.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? I'm thinking mostly the HP books, except since we did our SUPER EPIC READALONG I did get to talk to people about all the scenes. So that was sweet.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc). I love Joshua & Biff's bromance from Lamb. Also Cath and Reagan from Fangirl (yeah yeah or Cath and Levi but whatever, I heart Reagan)

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously Not counting re-reading books I had read before I guess I'll have to go with both Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, because I can never decide which Rowell I like best. (All of them. The answer is all of them.)

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation From Somebody Else: Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Once I get at least three recommendations from this group, I must read the book and they have excellent taste so this works out. Next is that time travel River something book that I'm sure I will fall in love with.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013? Umm. I dunno. I don't categorize my stuff into genres because it's too easy for something to fall into a bunch of genres and then I don't know what to do with it. So let's say the genre was "excellent books" and in which case, I read a lot of that.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013? None? Or Sirius still? I still love him.

23. Best debut book you read? Is Bernadette the debut novel? Cos if so, that one.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013? HP. Rowling wins at creating this world, even if she didn't quite figure out the details of wizarding plumbing.

25. Book That Was the Most Fun To Read in 2013? Most of them. HP for the readalong. WWZ I loved listening to. Bernadette was hilarious.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013? I swear, I cry so much more easily now and I cried a lot. HP, Eleanor & Park, Tell The Wolves I'm Home. So amazing, even if it's a little soul destroying. But in a good way.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out? I read a lot of big name books so I'm not sure. Maybe Fledgling because Octavia Butler is in general overlooked

28. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I don't set concrete challenges or goals because when I do that I fail. I am no good at forcing myself to read something. I guess a goal for the last few years has been to read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen and with the help of a readalong I finally got that done. So hooray! Take that, Franzeeeeehhh.

29. Bookish Events on your blog in 2013? The HP and Corrections readalongs. Those were pretty great. I'd include the readathong but I'm pretty sure I managed like 20 pages so that didn't go so well.

30. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014? That River book I mentioned above as one that I'm sure I'll like, even if I can't remember the name right now.

31. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)? Rowell has a new book, Landline coming out, and I think 2014. So that will be fun.

32. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014? Get more consistent with my blogging. I've fallen behind a bit and I want to fix that. Of course my old laptop was a pain to use (overheated very easily, took about 20 min to start up, froze a lot) and Boyfriend+ got me a new computer because HE IS THE BEST EVERRRRR so I'm hoping this will help me blog some more.

(P.S. I keep having on-and-off issues with the comments showing up. Not sure why, but there you go. They came back before and were around this morning so I'm hoping they'll just come back again.)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pride and Prejudice: Movie Battle

After reading Bridget Jones's Diary I thought I'd give Pride and Prejudice a re-read. I'm not going to bother to review P&P here because I've already done it. And while that normally won't stop me from rehashing old points, but instead I figured I'd ask you guys a question.

My BJD post I mentioned I had recently watched the 2005 Kiera Knightly Pride & Prejudice and I figured this wouldn't be popular with people. But some people really don't like it. Or alternatively, some people just really like the 1995 Firth BBC mini-series Pride and Prejudice. So enlighten me

1. Why is the Kiera Knightly one so awful?
2. Why is the Colin Firth one the best thing ever?

Not necessarily compared to one another, just separately, as their own movies, why do you think the mini-series is so much better? I mentioned this in my last post, but I haven't seen the mini-series one for a couple reasons. One being that it's loooooooong cos of the whole mini-series aspect and I have a short attention span. The second being a big draw for the '95 one seems to be "Colin Firth, he's so dreamy" and no. Sorry. Not that that is a bad reason to watch that one (I will totally watch the 2011 Jane Eyre even though that story makes me eye-rolly if only for Fassbender) but just because Firth = eh. Not as an actor. He's fine. But nothing there makes me want to go out of my way to see something he's been in.

Why do I like the 2005 one? I think it does a good job with the story. I think Kierna Knightly makes a good Lizzie one who knows and understands and (for the most part) follows the rules of propriety but she doesn't come off as stuffy or so overly formal that I don't believe her as a character. Brenda Bethyn's Mrs. Bennet is ridiculous in the right amounts, Donald Sutherland's Mr. Bennet tolerates his family with general amusement, which seems the only way to do it. Kelly Rielly's Caroline Bingly is manipulative and bitchy. Matthew Macfayden's Darcy is pompous and adorably awkward. Tom Hallander's Mr. Colin's is hilariously awkward and oblivious. And OF COURSE, Judi Dench nails Catherine de Bourg as pretentious and intimidating and terrible. The shots are pretty, it has humor, and it is true to the original text. I mean, almost down to many of the exact lines. Maybe the 2005 version is more modern in some senses but I'm not seeing that as a downside.

So tell me your answers to questions 1 and 2 up there. Or if you have any other points or movie versions I should mention. I'll updated this post to keep up with people's responses. And since a number of you already left thoughts on my last post, here are some of those:

Why is the Kiera Knightly one so awful?
Mr. Darcy's head looks like a toe.
SO MANY THINGS WRONG. Too much focus on the romance between Lizzie & Darcy instead of everything else. NO TO SWEEPING VIEWS OF NATURE AND DRAMATIC SCENES IN THE RAIN
Jena Malone (Kitty) is terrible. Knightly is fine. (Counterpoint comment: JENA MALONE IS GREAT WTF PEOPLE?)

Why is the Kiera Knightly one maybe not so bad?
The family seems to actually act like a family. Feels natural.

Why is the Colin Firth one the best thing ever?
It's longer so the characters are more developed.
It's focused on more than just the Lizzie/Darcy romance
Firth had more personality than Macfayden.
It's the one I saw first so it's the definitive one in my head

Friday, December 20, 2013

How's your love life, anyway?

As I started to write this review I realized wow, I am way behind. Perhaps I'll make a New Years resolution to get better at reviewing books in a timely manner. (I will not do that. Not even make the resolution. That's just taunting me to now take 3 months before I write a review.)

I picked up Bridget Jones's Diary on my way down to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. After re-reading Attachments and even Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? with it's section on how much Kaling likes rom-coms, I thought it was a good opportunity to check out this...I'll say classic rom-com. Plus I had recently re-watched Pride & Prejudice* so this seemed like a good choice. And hey guess what? It was. Good job, me.

For those of you that haven't read the book yet, or seen the movie, or somehow learned the plot via osmosis since it's been sort of a big deal for awhile, here's a plot synopsis.

It's sort of Pride and Prejudice but today.

Fine, a little more. Bridget Jones is keeping a diary (oh, you guessed that from the title? Well, good for you. Quit interrupting). She starts the book with her New Years resolutions. It's the typical stuff: drink less, quit smoking, lose weight, find a boyfriend. Or more accurately "Form a functional relationship with a responsible adult." She starts each of her diary entries with how much she drank, ate, and smoked. She does as well as you'd assume one would do with New Years resolutions, which I liked because if she actually did a good job with her resolutions, especially long-term, I would side-eye her a lot. Her parents and their friends keep trying to set her up with Mr. Darcy (SEE, P&P) a super rich lawyer guy who wears bad sweaters. They don't really connect and instead Jones starts hooking up with her boss.

The novel is Bridget being a single woman over the age of thirty in London, which is apparently a BIG DEAL. Not so much to her, but MAN everyone in her family and their friends are constantly asking her why she's not married yet and she better hurry up ("'You career girls! I don't know! Can't put it off forever, you know. Tick-tock-tick-tock.' 'Yes. How does a woman manage to get to your age without being married?'") and I wanted to kick people for her. Of course then she complains about being a 130lbs and the "terrifying slide into obesity" so then I want to kick her too. SHIN KICKS FOR EVERYONE. But they're shin kicks out of love. She has her friends and embarrassing mishaps, like going to a thing called a "tarts and vicars" party (Which, what? This is a thing?) so she dresses as a tart and then turns out they decided last minute that it will just be a normal party, but my Bridget, what lovely dominatrix outfit.

I know I said this in my Attachments review already, but rom-coms aren't typically my thing. But Bridget doesn't act by rom-com logic. She struggling through life in a general I-haven't-quite-figured-out-how-to-adult-yet way and she makes bad decisions, but they're hilarious. Especially her dinner party which might possibly be my favorite part, even when I was yelling 'No, you fool!! Not like that!" Overall there are a lot of funny moments, without it being Sex in the City pun fiesta. Stuff like

Tom has a theory that homosexuals and single women in their thirties have natural bonding: both being accustomed to disappointing their parents and being treated as freaks by society.

I have been waging a campaign on our street against car burglar alarms which are intolerable and counterproductive since you are more likely to get your car broken into by an angry neighbor.

I liked this book and it was the perfect quick read that didn't require too much deep thinking. I know this is an obvious comparison, but it's along the lines of Confessions of a Shopaholic. I don't plan on rushing out and reading the other Bridget Jones books, but this was the perfect airport read.

*The Kiera Knightly one and I KNOW some of you out there think this is blasphemous compared to the Colin Firth one except 1) I don't know why everyone has Knightly. She's fine. 2) I do not get the sexual attraction to Firth. Perhaps that would change if I did see his P&P (I didn't understand the wonder that is Benedict Cumberbatch until I finally watched Sherlock so it's possible). I'm sticking with my P&P thankyouverymuch.

Title quote from page 11, location 149

Fielding, Helen. Bridget Jones's Diary. Penguin Books, 1996. Kindle edition

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Secret Santa Time

A few of us decided to do a book blogger Secret Santa and I LOVE PRESENTS so of course I was in.

I managed to get my gift in the mail today (or by the time this posts, yesterday. Time travel for the win. Also I was pretty proud that I got my gift in the mail before Valentine's Day.) But other people are more on top of things than me and I got my gift in the mail today.

Laura from Devouring Texts was my Secret Santa!! I was so excited to see the package and I sort of guessed it was her since it had the fancy Royal Mail stamp on the package. And yes, I get that Royal Mail is just what the mail is called there and not some super fancy mail, but still, it has "royal" right in the name.


First up, a King book because OF COURSE. AND a King book I don't have but have had in my sights for awhile so excited! I can always use more King in my life.

Next up is some English chocolate because Laura taught me that it's not that I dislike milk chocolate, it's that I dislike American milk chocolate. I'm sorry for all of you who have fond memories of Hershey bars, but they taste terrible. This stuff however is delicious. I actually ate one of the chocolate coins before I even took this picture. Because it didn't fit nicely on the book or something.

Lastly is the "Her?" button. Laura included a note with the package and I started reading the note first, but each time she got to one of the items in the package, I had to open it. First she mentioned the King book, so I opened that. Then when she said there was also an Arrested Development badge I had to again stop reading and open that package. 
And then I laughed and laughed when I saw it. 

I know I just said this with my Thanksgiving post, but I have met so many amazing people through book blogging which has really been my favorite part of the whole book blogging experience. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

I respond very well to people being overly familiar with me a little too soon

A lot of my book choices from the last month or so have been driven by finding inexpensive ebooks. Hooray for deals. One of those was Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? which I've wanted to read for awhile. Pretty much since I read Fey's Bossypants and thought "Hell YES, I would like some more memoirs by hilarious ladies." But then I heard "Kaling's book is good, but not as good as Fey's." Don't worry, Kaling heard this too:
This sounds okay, but not as good as Tina Fey's book. Why isn't this more like Tina Fey's book?
I know, man. Tina's awesome...Unfortunately I can't be Tina, because it's very difficult to lure her into a Freaky Friday-type situation where we could switch bodies, even though in the movies they make it look so easy. Believe me, I've tried.
I can't tell if my version is updated to include this in the intro after the book came out, or if Kaling heard this so often when the book was in the early stages that it's been in here since the beginning. But really, it's unfair to try to go up against Tina Fey. But I was impressed because Kaling does a good job. Maybe because it's been years since I first read Bossypants so I didn't spend the whole time comparing them.

Just like Fey's book, Kaling's is a memoir about her life growing up and when she eventually became a writer/actor/director(!) on The Office. It's what you expect in a memoir: she talks about growing up and being close with her parents, no matter how nerdy that made her, going to college ("I went to Dartmouth to pursue my love of white people and North Face parkas"), living in NYC and later LA, and throughout how much she looooooooooooves comedy.

Kaling is hilarious and I found myself thinking "Kaling, be my FRIEEEEEEND" a lot while reading this. Which I didn't expect just because Kaling is a lot peppier than I see myself. Even when I was reading about how much she loves romantic comedies, which are generally not my jam, I was thinking that she made some good points and I would be all for it hanging out and watching rom coms with her, even if I spent a large portion of the time making snarky remarks. But then she reveals how terrible she is with children and YUP, I hear you.

I think my favorite parts came from when she was living in NYC, after college and before she started on The Office. I loved her talking about her friends, and the apartment they had ("The staircase in our third-floor walk-up was the steepest, hardest, metal-est staircase I have ever encountered in my life. It was a staircase for killing someone and making it seem like an accident"), and her trying to break into showbiz. She talks about when she tried out for a Broadway show called Bombay Dreams. Since she's Indian-American she fit their very-narrow demographic they were looking for. Except for the "can dance" part. She sums up the dancing part of her audition: "It remains the single most embarrassing performance of my life, and it's on tape somewhere. I like to think Andrew Lloyd Webber watches it whenever he's feeling down." Plus the NYC section provides hilarious lines, like what it was like for her to live in the city in October 2001where you're torn between 9/11 and Sex and the City anxiety:
Should I keep a gas mask in my kitchen? Am I supposed to be able to afford Manolo Blahnik shoes? What is Barneys New York? You're trying to tell me a place called "Barneys" is fancy? Where are the fabulous gay friends I was promised? Gay guys hate me! Is t his anthrax or powdered sugar? Help! Help!
I really enjoyed this book more than I was expecting to. I mean, I was assuming I'd like it but I didn't think I'd laugh so much. I knew she was funny but I'd really only see Kaling on The Office. I wish I could see her stage show and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (where she and her friend played Matt and Ben and YES, DON'T YOU WANT TO SEE THAT?) This was a really funny, light, quick read. If I had to compare them, I still like Bossypants more but this isn't far behind.

Title quote from location 926

Kaling, Mindy. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Three Rivers Press, 2011. Kindle edition.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Attachments revisited

I would like the preface this review by saying that I'm currently fighting a cold. At least the start of a cold. Anyway I was up a good portion of the night with a sore throat that kept waking me up and this was after not getting a great night's sleep the night before so I'm at that fun point where lack of sleep turns into delirium. But since I'm writing a second review of a book I already reviewed on here awhile ago, I figured that's fine.

After finishing The Hours I needed something else to read but wasn't on the mood for anything on my TBR pile. I turned to a standby: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I have it on my Kindle so it's one of those books I tend to re-read bits and pieces of cos I often have a copy with me*. I hadn't so much be slowly re-reading this story as I was reading bits and pieces of it here and there. Jennifer and Beth's email exchanges are the best and you don't need a lot of context to enjoy them. But this time I decided I would actually re-read the whole thing. Hey, did you know the ENTIRE story is amazing and not just the email exchanges?

I knew the whole story was great. But I knew it on the logical level. But whenever I would think back on the book it was the email exchanges I would remember the best with the rest of the story fading a bit. Which was stupid on me because I love all parts of this book. I love Lincoln's story, which before I liked but whenever there would be a Lincoln chapter all I could think was this meant I wouldn't be getting a Beth/Jennifer chapter. This time I knew the stories, I knew their email exchanges so I could focus on Lincoln and the larger story at hand. And it is so good. I forgot just how good it is and how much I love it and how this is a romantic comedy and even though I'm not usually crazy about those I LOVE THIS ONE. I think I figured out why this time around. The characters never do something incredibly stupid for the sake of moving the plot along.

*some spoilers but you probably should have read this book already. You're lucky I'm even bothering with this spoiler message*
Mindy Kaling talks about romantic comedy logic and essentially how there isn't any but you sort of just have to go with it. But where she loves it ("I simply regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world created therein has different rules than my regular human word.)** I hate just going with it. One of the biggest things I hate is when there's a love triangle and one of the guys is CLEARLY AN ASSHOLE and the hero is who the girl should end up with but there's all this fake tension about who she'll choose. Except no, there is no tension, the choice is obvious.

Attachments has a love triangle and it almost fits into this basic structure. Lincoln is the main character so we're on his side. Beth's boyfriend seems like kind of a douche and Lincoln seems like he would make a great boyfriend so OBVIOUSLY they should be together. Except we see moments where Beth's boyfriend isn't a raging douche. And we understand why Beth is with him and why he's with Beth. And also we have no idea what the chemistry would be between Beth and Lincoln because they don't talk to one another until the very end of the book. I mean we KNOW they're going to be awesome together, and we want them to get together, but I didn't spend the whole time rolling my eyes going "No, you know what lady? Just stay with your obviously terrible boyfriend who even you can't come up with redeeming qualities for." Instead I spent my time going "YES, THIS IS GREAT! HOW DID I FORGET HOW GREAT THIS IS?"
*spoilers contained. But you should probably just read the book. and hang your head in shame for not having read it yet.*

This is the joy of re-reading. I can go back and focus on new parts of the story that I skipped the first time around. Of course I still LOOOOOOVED the email exchanges because while I have come to appreciate the awesomeness of the whole book, these are still the best and if Rowell felt like writing an entire book about just these two, I would be for it. 

One thing Rowell hasn't made any easier is helping me decide which of her books I like best. Everything I think "Attachments is my favorite" I remember something awesome that happens in Eleanor & Park and Fangirl and I continue to go round and round in circles. So to be safe you should probably just read them all. Clearly.

*Moranthology by Caitlin Moran is another good "pick up whenever" book.
**I realize I've included a quote from a book I haven't even reviewed yet but 1) Kaling's book is awesome and 2) it works so well right here.

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

There are still the flowers to buy

I hadn't actually heard of The Hours until the movie came out. Of course that happened long before I started this blog, and thus long before I was on top of new books coming out, so it sort of makes sense. For awhile now the book has been in my periphery. It was a gook that I wanted to try and figured I would like, but never enough to go out looking for it. Then it was on sale and I love those.

Unfortunately it's been awhile since I read this (I am real far behind on reviews) which means I can't remember a lot of the book. On the other hand, that's a good indication on how I felt about the book.

I'm sure you probably know the plot, but just in case, it's about three different women all connected in some way by Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. The first is Virginia Woolf who is writing the book, the second is Laura Brown, a 1950s suburban housewife who is reading the book, and Clarissa Vaughn, nicknamed Mrs. Dalloway, who is throwing a party for her friend/living out the story. The three women aren't completely happy with their lives. We know what happened to Virginia Woolf. And even if you didn't, the book starts with her suicide, so now you know. Spoiler, I guess. Laura feels trapped by her life and is possibly in love with a neighbor. Clarissa's best friend and dear love is dying of AIDS.

Here's the thing about the story. I liked it enough while I was reading it. For the most part it kept me engaged. For the most part. But when I put the story down, it was an effort to pick it back up again. Because overall, I didn't care too much. There were nice moments. The writing was beautiful. I really wanted to like it. And I didn't dislike the story. I just nothing-ed it. Perhaps if I had written this not long after I finished reading it I'd have more to say. Maybe. But it's been awhile and I got nothing.

I'd like to see the movie. I have hope that I'll like the movie more than the book. I don't really know why I think that. That's not true. Both Meryl Streep and Allison Janney are in the movie, so already we're starting in a good place.

Title quote from page 9

Cunningham, Michael. The Hours. Picador, 2002. First published 1998

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I hope everyone, at least those in the States, had a lovely Thanksgiving. For the rest of you, I hope you at a lot of food anyway. Just because food is delicious.

I was lazy getting the puppy pictures off of my phone, or you would have gotten these yesterday and the November reading wrap-up today. but as it was I wrote part of the wrap-up before November is over and hadn't started this yet. And while my travels on Monday were uneventful, it was still about 8 1/2 hours of door-to-door travel to get from my dad's house in South Carolina back home to NY*, so I was tired.

My Thanksgiving reading didn't play out as I anticipated. And by that I mean I ended up not reading  A Storm of Swords because after Bridget Jones I was in the mood for the original and re-read Pride and Prejudice. But then I wanted something to break that up so I started The Shining. Because I have schizo reading choices. I did however spend time listening to the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and I'll have you people know I'm very disappointed you didn't bring this to my attention sooner. Really, very disappointed.

 But as promised, here are puppy pictures!!

Dad has 4 dogs: the mutts Clyde, Lucy, and Ranger and then a miniature dachshund Puccini. Puccini is a terror, but an adorable terror so he gets away with a lot. Clyde could get away with a lot too, if he tried, cos he's sort of the favorite (and the oldest and THE BEST ONE). But he's pretty well behaved. As long as you're not a squirrel, cat, or bird. If you're an animal smaller than him, you better be faster cos otherwise you'll be a snack. There are also 3 cats (one of them saved from the outside and the wrath of Clyde) but I only saw them briefly (they mostly hide in the master bed room) so I have no pictures of them. It's cool though, cos PUPPIES
Clyde & Ranger
Clyde, laying around some more

And there are no puppies here, at least not in frame, but here's my Dad and brother frying up one of the turkeys. Because we celebrated in the appropriate southern tradition. I believe this was even the cajun bird.
Om nom nom
I'll get around to actual reviews soon. You know. Probably.

*If you're curious my travels consisted of: a car ride, a shuttle van ride, 1 airplane, a monorail, and 2 different commuter rail lines. Because ADVENTURE. Or you know TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November Reading Wrap Up

I know I've said this with pretty much every monthly wrap up, but still, time flies. How is it already December? This is nuts. I am finally ready for all of the Christmas commercials and decorations that I have been bitching about since Halloween. But seriously people, I do not acknowledge your holiday decor until that is the next holiday to come up. Stop expecting me to get ready for Christmas when we haven't had Thanksgiving yet. I don't care if it makes me a hum bug, I'LL NOT HAVE IT. However, as soon as Thanksgiving is over BRING ON THE CHRISTMAS!

Before this becomes a full rant about the appropriate time to put up Christmas decorations, let's get into the books I read in November

Also there will be a Thanksgiving post filled with puppy pictures soon. Except this week to be a bunch of procrastination posts.

Number of books read
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth about Parenthood and Happiness by Jessica Valenti
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (review from last year; and updated review over here)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

Number of pages read

Percentage of fiction read
57% - look at all the non-fiction I read. I'm surprised

Percentage of female authors
71% - Can I say how proud I am of this? I didn't try to read lady authors. It just sort of happened, which is how I would like all of my reading diversity to work out. PLUS even the books written by guys are focused on women. So that's pretty exciting.

Percentage of white authors
86% - Look! It's not 100%. I mean, I know. It almost is. Baby steps

Percentage of US authors
86% - this was ALMOST all US

Percentage of ebooks
86% - I'm surprised by this since usually physical books win.

Books written by decade
1950s - 14%
1990s - 29%
2000s - 14%
2010s - 43%

I'm pretty happy with how my reading turned out in November. Which is extra exciting because I didn't try to read more or anything. I happened to read a lot of books that were quick reads. And I re-read Attachments and I think I forgot HOW much I love that book. A lot, is the answer.