Monday, June 30, 2014

June Reading Wrap-Up

 Time is flying. As it always does. It's extra flying at the moment though because now
Stuck in your head now?
We're now officially in wedding month and really, I'm ready for it to be here. I mean, I feel like I don't have enough time to actually get anything done BUT I would also like the wedding to be here now so I don't have to plan it anymore. That'd be cool.

Anyway, back to reading. I had a surprisingly busy reading month in June. Whoda thunk it? The books have tended to be on the shorter side so there is that. Perhaps I was subconsciously getting lots of reading done now before July hits and I don't have time for anything.

Without further ado, the stats!

Number of books read
The First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Bradden (which yes, was mostly read in May, but finished in June. So here she is.)
In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction
83% - hey look! I got 1 non-fiction in there.

Percentage of female authors


Percentage of white authors
83% - well better than usual

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of ebooks

67% - I'm sort of surprised it's so high, but then I remember how e-reading goes. I'm reading an ebook. Then I finish it but OH NO, I'm still out and have no other book. Better just grab another ebook. Repeat.

Percentage of rereads
0% - I plan on having this change in July. Not cos I think it's important to have a good re-reads stat but just because OH HEY, books I like. I want to read you again.

Percentage of review books


Books written by decade
1860s - 17%
2000s - 17%
2012s - 67%
(Yes, I realize this IS 101%. Blame decimal points.)

Books by genre
Health - 17%
Mystery - 17%
Horror - 17%
Thriller - 33%
Romance (whaaa?) - 17%

Friday, June 27, 2014

Everyone has a good side and a side that's not so good

It's been awhile since I won a prize pack of candy and goodies and a book from Kayleigh way back in April. Which I realize was only 2 months ago except that's 100 years in internet time. Most of the candy is gone, though I still have one Kit Kat left. It's not long for this world though. And of course I read In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami, the reason for this giveaway.

This book is messed up. But let me back up and give you a quick summary.

Kenji works as a guide, showing tourists around the seedier side of Tokyo's Shinjuku neighborhood. The peep shows, the sex clubs, the love hotels. Kenji is only 20 but he's starting to get a Danny Glover I'm-getting-too-old-for-this-shit attitude to his job. But it lets him practice his English and pays well enough that eventually he should be able to leave Tokyo and make his way to America. You wouldn't be surprised if some of the people that call on Kenji's services are a bit on the odd side. But there seems to be something especially off about his latest customer Frank. Or is Kenji letting his imagination and disillusionment with his life get the best of him?

It's hard to talk about this book anymore without getting into massive spoilers. If you want to read an excellent, spoiler-free review, I recommend checking out Kayleigh's. Cos I'm going to just start talking spoilers now. I will tell you that if you aren't into horror, avoid this book. You're not going to like it. If you do like horror, check this out. It is very good in a "What the hell is going on? What am I reading? Seriously??? I think I need to keep the lights on tonight" type way. Also it's a quick read so hey, what do you have to lose?

**Spoilery spoilers**
 I wished the book had been longer. I loved all of the tense build up to "Is Frank a crazy homicidal killer or is he just kind of a weird guy and Kenji is making something out of nothing?" but the book is so short that I felt like all of a sudden you got the answer to that question. A very bloody, very gory answer. Which, in a way, made the rest of the book feel very rushed. I loved the time Murakami spent developing the atmosphere and the setting and discussing all of the different sex clubs and the loneliness of the people that populate the Kabuki-cho and I wanted more of that. I honestly thought at one point we were seeing a dream sequence or fantasy or something but when it was revealed that NOPE THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING I was sort of...disappointed. I wanted there to be more time wondering, more time questioning, what was really going on? I think I would have even preferred if the book had an ambiguous ending. More ambiguous ending. Of course, who knows. Had it gone that way I may have been disappointed that I didn't know what actually happened. I am fickle.
**Spoilers contained**

GIF rating:
Not quite sure of the sloth's intentions

Title quote from page 9

Murakami, Ryu. In The Miso Soup. Penguin Books, 1997

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wedding table names: The final(ish) decision

We're getting closer to the wedding, like under 30 days closer, which seems to mean that my wedding posts are no longer happening on Sundays. Probably because weekends are now spent doing shit FOR this upcoming party and thus don't have time to write about it in time for a Sunday post. Instead I figure I'll just post wedding stuff whenever I think of it/it comes up, considering soon enough we will hit the last wedding post.

Anyway, we haven't quite gotten RSVPs from everyone yet but we've heard from most people so we put together the seating chart, which luckily didn't turn out to be too difficult. It worked out that for the most part every guest-category broke out into groups of between 9-12, which is how many people we can have at each table. The tables are going to be on the slightly more crowded side, but we figured people would rather be scrunched up with people they know versus lots of elbow room with a bunch of strangers.

Before I tell you what we finally landed on for the literary couples, I want to share with you a conversation I had with a friend the other day regarding the tables. Boyfriend+ and I met up with a couple friends and we were talking about the tables. We started trying to figure out if there were enough couples in the Harry Potter universe to cover each of the tables.

Me: Well there's Hermione and Ron...
Friend 1: Don't you mean Harry and Hermione?
Friend 2: There's always Harry and Ginny
Me: Lupin and Tonks
Friend 1: Dobby and a knife.
::gasps from the table. Except Boyfriend+ who knows of the HP series::
Friend 1:...I do not care for Dobby.

So it's probably a good thing I decided I only wanted one couple per book/series. Here's the final list of literary couples + a quote from their book:

Calvin & Hobbes  from Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Happiness isn't good enough for me. I demand euphoria!

Sherlock Holmes & Irene Adler from A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex

Westley & Buttercup from The Princess Bride by William Goldman
As you wish

Thursday Next & Landen Parke-Laine from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde
The vicar shrugged. This was fast becoming the most ludicrous wedding of his career.

Lizzie Bennet & Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Eleanor & Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

Jonathan & Arabella from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Sometimes it seemed as if she had fallen in love with him for the sole purpose of quarreling with him.

Hermione & Ron from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
'Hermione, you are honestly the most wonderful person I've ever met,' said Ron weakly, 'and if I'm ever rude to you again -' 
'- I'll know you're back to normal,' said Hermione. 

Odysseus & Penelope from The Odyssey by Homer
Stranger, my beauty went forfeit to the Gods the day my Husband sailed with the Argives, for Troy. Should he return, to cherish me, my fortune and favor would improve.

Beatrice & Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare
For which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

If you have any suggestions for the quotes, I'm all ears. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What star ratings mean to me

Book Riot recently had a post titled "The Convoluted Calculus of Rating Books" that I connected with because I feel like rating books this way is confusing and in general a mess, at least whenever I attempt it. And yet I like star ratings. They're a quick way to see overall what people think of a book and also gives you a good idea of what sort of review you're about to read.

I'm not planning on adding a rating system to my blog at any point, but pretty much every book tracking website out there asks for a star rating. And by every I mean Goodreads and Shelfari, but those are the two I use so yeah, every. I realize everyone has a slightly different definition for what the different star ratings mean, hence the Book Riot post. Following their lead/blatantly copying them, here's how the ratings break out in my world:

5 Stars
OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK! You are going to hear me going on about this book A LOT. And for years, because this is a book I'm going to re-read and you'll have to go through another round of my evangelizing.
Lamb by Christopher Moore
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
World War Z by Max Brooks
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

4 Stars
Yes! I very much enjoyed this book. Sure, it's not perfect, but I can forgive any faults it may have. I'll recommend it to people, I just won't shove it down people's throats like I do with 5-star books. (I DO IT WITH LOVE!) Most books I read fall into this category, which is pretty lucky for me.
Lexicon by Max Barry
True Grit by Charles Portis
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

3 Stars
Eh, this book is fine. It has faults but it's not terrible. I liked it well enough while reading it but it's unlikely to be a book that really sticks with me.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
In The Woods by Tana French
Under the Dome by Stephen King

2 Stars
Ugh, this book. I couldn't get into it. Maybe it had a stupid plot, maybe the characters were boring. Maybe I could see what the author was trying to do and there were brief moments where they succeeded but overall, no thank you to this one.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Emma by Jane Austen

1 Star
No. No, book. I hated you. Haaaaaaated you. Was angry during the time I spent reading you or just didn't finish. Luckily there aren't many of these. Unlucky for the few that do fall here though.
The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer

So there you go. Here's how the star rating breaks out for me. I can re-rate books overtime. Maybe a book I loved immediately after reading it has sort of faded. Maybe a book I wasn't crazy about at the time suddenly hits me.

What do book ratings mean to you?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The learning curve is, admittedly, steep and humiliating

In general I'm more interested in fiction over nonfiction. Unless it's Bill Bryson. He makes up a third of the nonfiction I've read this year.* I was thinking I should probably expand on that so when I saw Laura's review of Gretchen Reynold's book The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer I decided this was a good one to go with. Which is saying a lot about the power of Laura's review because that title is just terrible and had she not so highly recommended it I never would have considered it.

Reynold's is a New York Times columnist writing their exercise and phys ed column and her book feels a bit like extended columns about topics like stretching, endurance training, and the effect of exercise on the brain. Which I realize doesn't sound like the most entertaining topic, but Reynolds is very funny and is able to take what would other be very try concepts and make them interesting.

"That's important to bear in mind, especially for those, like me, who are fairly confident that we sit outside the bounds of mortality and don't need to obsess about premature death but really, really want to trounce our spouses at the next community Fun Run."

This isn't a book about a specific exercise routine that you HAVE to do if you want to lose weight/win an Olympic gold medal/become immortal, even if that's what the title seems to suggest. It's really a series of studies and reports about exercise. And it's studies about everything. The effects of endurance versus strength training, the effect exercise has on life expectancy and joint health, whether stretching does anything or not, how does exercise affect the brain. The entire book can probably be summed up with "You should exercise." Sure, not exactly new information, but she cites a number of compelling studies about exactly what exercise can do for you.

"Just how much improvement a beginning exerciser can expect in the early stages of a new performance in the early stages of a new cardiovascular exercise routine varies, but the anecdotal evidence, including estimates from coaches and practitioners, would suggest that a reliable, mathematical estimate would be "lots."'

This has been a book I have been annoying a lot of people about lately, mostly by quoting random stats from it while insisting people check it out. And I'm pretty sure I scared a couple co-workers when I mentioned the stats that those who sit most of the day for work (as all of us at my job do) have shorter life expectancy over those that are standing all day, even when you take into account people who sit for work but are otherwise very active, or if those that stand at work are in general unhealthy. Because yeah, I'm that killjoy. I'm also thinking the person who had the standing desk at work probably had the right idea and one I could never make work.

"If improved mental health is a goal, cleaning the house seems, oddly, to help. In addition to the survey of Scots people in which housekeeping was one of the activities associated with less 'psychological distress,' another new, larger-scale survey in Europe found 'an inverse association between housework and distress.' Vacuuming and mopping may make you happier. My house is available anytime for training."

I can't end this without including a quote from the book Laura included in her review that really sealed the deal for me. I was sort of on the fence until this quote at which point I said "Yes, I think I will need to get this book."

"In a study from New Zealand, a group of untrained men in their twenties were brought into a human performance lab and allowed to determine the intensity of their warm-ups on stationary bicycles. They spontaneously started competing with each other and were subsequently too fatigued to complete a cycling power test, a result that may say more about 20 year old males than about the hazards of a too strenuous warm up."
See? Good stuff.

If you have any interest in exercise, or just simply would like to get interested in it, check this out. It's definitely not a how-to book, which really makes it 100% better.

Oh and I also recommend checking out some of the negative Goodreads reviews because one of them included the complaint that this (284 page) tome had the NERVE to average 3 paragraphs per page instead of...well I guess a far greater paragraph per page rate than that. I'm not really sure what they were going for. But they weren't happy!

*I mean, that doesn't really say much considering I only read three nonfiction books this year, but still.

Title quote from location 2680

Reynolds, Gretchen. The First 20 Minutes. Hudson St Press, 2012. Kindle edition.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

She didn't know if she was going mad or going sane

It's been a little while since I finished Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby so I shall do the best I can with this review. Although as I begin this I realize the story has stuck with me more than others have so this shouldn't be too bad. Probably because I had a lot of positive feelings towards the book before even picking it up. See NBC did a miniseries (which I haven't seen BUT WOULD LIKE TO WATCH) and as part of the marketing the ebook was on sale AND I got a free cupcake. These were separate transactions but whatever. The bakery Crumbs was giving out free cupcakes as part of this, I like free things and cupcakes. What I'm saying is my loyalty can be bought fairly easily.

Odds are you already know the story here, so there are going to be some spoilers below, but they're light spoilers since I'm sure you already know what's going on. Housewife Rosemary and her struggling actor husband Guy move into an apartment with a sort of dark history. Guy makes friends with their creepy old neighbors who often seem to have weird music and chanting coming from their place. One night Rosemary dreams she's being raped by someone/something while her creepy neighbors look on and she wakes up the next morning with scratch marks all over and Guy saying he had sex with her while she was asleep cos you know, they don't want to miss their chance to conceive. Because Guy is terrible even though I'm pretty sure this wasn't supposed to be an example of him being terrible which makes you realize how messed up things were. Anyway, Rosemary gets pregnant and her neighbors are SUPER into her pregnancy and even suggest a doctor to her who gives her great advice like "Don't talk to ANYONE else about your pregnancy. Just me. That's not suspicious, right?" What was with Rosemary's dream? What is going on with her neighbors?

Even knowing how things turn out, this was still a suspenseful story. I would like to think that I would have guessed what the neighbors are up to long before Rosemary figures it out (cos Rosemary seems nice but not the brightest) but I could just be flattering myself. It's easy to assume I'd have it all figured out when I already know the ending. Rosemary is frustratingly trusting and naive, but not so much that her actions seemed out of character. So the suspense came less from trying to figure out what is going on and more when will Rosemary figure out what's going on. Levin does an excellent job portraying how alone Rosemary is. Sure she's naive but she also has no one. She doesn't talk to her family, she doesn't seem to have friends in NYC, or at least not ones she talks to very often. It's really just her husband. And given what I mentioned above, with the whole "sex while you're sleeping" thing that even knowing nothing else you probably figured out that he sucks. The tension builds slowly so you can see how it would take so long to figure out something isn't right.

Here are some random thoughts I had while reading this:

  • You had a chance to live in the Dakota and you turned it down for...literally any other apartment??? What is wrong with you? (In case you're confused, the Dakota is sort of my dream home.)
  • One month rent in advance plus one month rent for security deposit and that was only $583? I know it was a different time and money was worth a lot more but still. I just...I can't comprehend that. I can just get angry at it.
  • See, now this is why I don't talk to my neighbors. Who knows what they could be into and if things go sour, you have to MOVE to get away.
  • If your doctor's advice is ever "Only trust me and don't talk to anyone else" RUN AWAY QUICKLY. Not just on the off-chance you're hosting a demon spawn. Just general good advice.

There's a reason this story has remained popular for so long. Rosemary's Baby is excellent. It's a classic horror story that builds slowly. It's not really a scary story so much as a tense one. Even if you don't like horror stories I would recommend giving this one a try. It's a short book but it packs a lot in those few pages and knows not to overstay its welcome.

Now I should probably see the movie...

Levin, Ira. Rosemary's Baby. Pegasus Books, 2011. Kindle. Originally published 1967

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wedding Post: We're getting closer

We're in countdown to wedding day now, which means my months of slacking off thinking "Eh, I should probably call some vendors about stuff" have come to an end and I have to actually do things. Last weekend was wedding party time. This has been wedding work time. But it's all fun stuff so it's cool. So, what have I been up to?

Been to the venue to finalize all the...stuff that needs finalized. Figuring out the menu (IMPORTANT!) and yes there will be multiple types of Asian food, as well as Spanish food and Italian food. ALL THE FOOD. The menu options at this venue were a big reason we went with them. But then we also had to figure out table arrangement (not seating yet. That will be a whole other adventure) as well as linen colors, when I need to bring them stuff, signature drink options, etc. The table arrangement was fun. And by that I mean, eventually we came to a solution we really liked but it took some time. Here's the distilled version of that decision, which basically took a few weeks to come up with:

Me: Do you want to do the sweetheart table thing? That's where we sit at a table all by ourselves. Cos I don't want that.
Boyfriend+: Yeah, I don't want that either. That's lame.
Me: Should we sit with the bridal party?
B+: But where will their dates sit?
Me: Nearby. They can sit at the table right next to us.
B+: OK, at the wedding I'm in, do you want to sit with the dates of everyone in the bridal party or would you rather sit with me?*
Me: ...You make a good point. OK, so we won't make the dates sit separate. But then are we back to just us by ourselves?
B+: We could split the bridal party up? Sit with some and their dates and then just near the others?
M: How do we decide who we sit with?
B+: Why do we have to decide? Can't we just sit with all of them??
M: Well, maybe. I mean, why not? Can't we just have one giant table for all of us?

The venue was a little confused with this suggestion at first but EVENTUALLY they got our plan to have all 18 of us (Boyfriend+ & I, bridal party [3 on my side, 5 on his], and their dates) sit together at one big table. So I'm pretty excited about that.

After the venue we had to go to a cake tasting! The cake is actually included as part of the package with the venue (wiiiiiiiin) so it felt like the cake was free and that was pretty sweet. (HA! puns) We look at a billion (OK, 200) pictures of cake options and tasted so much cake I was definitely on a sugar high when we left. I'll save you the suspense and tell you the cake is going to be 4 tiered vanilla cake with 2 tiers of cannoli filling and 2 tiers with custard and fresh strawberries. We stayed away from chocolate since the venue is ALSO providing a dessert of chocolate mousse and fresh berries. I'm expecting a sugar high at the wedding as well, obviously. Oh and even though we were both super full from all the cake, we decided we needed to pick up a little something from the bakery. I mean, listen, if you can hang out in an Italian bakery and NOT pick up something, kudos to you. I'd say you deserve a cookie, but really, that would defeat the purpose of this. We debated cookies but landed on a couple cannolis. Obviously.

THEN the next morning I met up with on of my bridesmaids, my mom, a good family friend, and mom's boyfriend for my first dress fitting. It's been over a year and a half since I've seen the dress so there is that worry like "Shit, I better still like this thing." I LOVE IT so phew! The fitting wasn't too nuts either. The dress fit me for the most part with the exception of a little work at the bust line. Oh and they had to hem it like 5 inches. And that's even with heels. I told the seamstress I know I'm short and she tried to reassure me the dress is just extra long. I wasn't saying I was short like "Aww this is a MAJOR FAULT I MUST TRY AND LIVE WITH" but more of a "I shop in the petite section so this is not a new situation I am facing," but given the major defensive they went on when they told me they were going to order 1 size up from the sample I tried on**, I have a feeling they're dealing with a lot of insecureness.

I am super excited about the dress. I can't share pictures with you until after the wedding (SORRY) but yeah, I am looooving it. I am going to have kick ass posture throughout the wedding cos boning does not abide slouching. It does abide making my waist look awesome. So that's exciting. And once the dress was all pinned up I could actually walk in it. Well I could sort of walk in it. I assume walking will be even better when every step doesn't stab straight pins into my legs and feet.

So that's where wedding things stand right now. I'm sure I'll have a bunch to write about next week cos it seems there's always stuff going on at this point.

*I feel I should clarify here that at the recent wedding Boyfriend+ was in, the bride & groom, along with best woman & maid of honor (and their dates) sat at one table. So I did get to sit with B+ during the wedding.
**When they measured me for the dress, they said they thought the sample fit me but recommended going up a size since the sample is stretched out a bit and it's easier to take in. They immediately followed this by saying "Oh don't worry, it's just cos the new one is loose and really, this size could work for you, but we just really need to make 100% sure." My reaction to their defensiveness was a blank stare followed by "You guys are the experts so whatever you say. I really don't care what size this thing says it is." Which I am proving by having no idea as to the size. 10 maybe? Whatever sizes bridal samples typically are, one size up from that.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

You know the secret of my life

This is it, the final Lady Audley's Secret post. We shall see if all of our suspicions were correct. Thank you Alice for hosting this super fun time. Now to the spoilers and the gifs.

We ended the last chapter with Rob showing up very much NOT dead, though I'd like to imagine a bit singed, asking if he could have a word with Lady A. He makes a very dramatic announcement that Lady Audley set fire to the Castle Inn and...yeah. Was that not clear? Is that something that would have needed pointed out to the Victorian audience, or is this just more of MEB's sledgehammer? Anyway, Rob survived the inferno cos he wasn't asleep in his room. Which, OK. Bit anticlimactic but whatever.

Rob tells Lady A she has to confess to Sir Michael and we find out her other secret. She is a mad woman. Or I'm sorry MAD WOMAN. She killed George because SHE IS MAD! Except if you acknowledge that you're mad doesn't that mean you're sane enough to know it and thus not all that mad?

Lady A confesses a bunch of stuff, much of which we already know (Lady A = Helen Talboys, pushed George down well, was pretty pissed off over George's whole abandonment thing), some new stuff that we assumed (she was focused on marrying for money, her dad helped her fake her death), and stuff we didn't know (her mother was mad and it's the hereditary kind of madness). There were moments when I felt bad for her but then she had moments when you realize she's super selfish. Like when she learned that George was coming back from Australia and was trying to figure out how she was going to keep her rich life and she goes to scheme with her dad, where she meets Mrs. Plowson. This woman has the nerve to prattle on about her own insignificant problems which include a DYING CHILD.

I [Lady Audley] had miseries of my own, and worse miseries than her coarse nature could ever have to endure. These sort of people always had sick husbands or sick children, and expected to be helped in their illness by the rich.

Ugh poor people, always whining about how their children are dying or how they have no money for food. Wah wah wah. Don't they know that Lady A could end up poorer than she is now?? Her problems are WAY WORSE. Of course then she realized that she could use this tragedy for her own gain. She makes some comment about how the girl, Mathilda, wasn't going to last a fortnight and George was due back in 3 weeks and ISN'T THAT CONVENIENT??
I'm going to choose to believe that's not lazy storytelling and just add it to Lady A's death count.

Although Lady A hasn't actually confessed to pushing George down the well and I really thought there was going to be some technicality there, but no, she just saves that confession for later. I dunno why we had to hold on to that.

After hearing the confession Sir Michael silently walks out of the room and has a bit of a nervous breakdown. Rob is afraid he's going to have a heart attack when the shock wears off. He has Alicia keep an eye on Sir Michael as they pack to get away from Audley Court. They'll spend some time traveling around Europe. Meanwhile Rob has to deal with Lady A.

He ships her off to a sanatorium in Belgium. But he takes her there so that's pretty nice of him. And he makes sure to set her up in I guess a nice sanatorium. Now she doesn't have to go to court and thus Sir Michael isn't shamed but she still gets punished. Kinda.

Clara, who has not been present nearly enough, sends Rob a letter telling him he has to come visit Luke Marks cos Luke is dying and wants to see him. I'm not sure exactly how it works out that Clara is the one sending this message but I'm going to assume she already has things figured out and is trying to guide Rob the right way. Considering how fast she figured out the Lady A bit, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case.

Rob goes to talk to Luke and GUESS WHAT! George did fall down the well but he crawled back up. Yup, crawled right up the well. The extra deep and empty well. With a broken arm.
Because I guess George is like that chick from The Ring. Luke found George hiding in the bushes and helped clean him up and get him a doctor. Then he was supposed to deliver 2 letters, one to Lady A and one to Rob, letting them know George is alive but ran away to Australia again. Except Luke wanted to keep blackmailing Lady A and didn't know who Rob was so nothing got delivered. Luke, you suck.

Rob tells Clara George is alive...somewhere. Probably Australia. Clara tells her dad, who remains nonplussed. Rob goes to stay with George's dad and Clara for...reasons? I'm not really sure. But it does give him the opportunity to sort of compliment Clara by saying things like:

[Clara was] more beautiful than the morning - for that was sometimes dull and cloudy, while she was always fresh and bright.

Thanks, Rob. I'm sure Clara likes being told "You're more beautiful than a really dreary morning." I'm sure he followed that up with things like "I like her even better than cold, weak tea."

I have noticed that in all of Clara's interactions with Rob in none of them does she display any affection for him. It's all "Avenge my brother, or I'll do it" and "Haven't you figured this out yet?" and "Man, you are wasting your life. Have you thought about not doing that?" He proposes to her, awkwardly, and her response is to just slowly pull her hand out of his. This by the way, right after he said he'd go search Australia for George if she would marry him, so yeah her hesitation makes sense.

Turns out Rob doesn't need to go to Australia to try to find George (which I assume would have ended up with Rob wandering around yelling "George" and eventually getting bitten by SOMETHING poisonous) because George is just chilling in Rob's London apartment. Just haaaaanging out.
Turns out he decided not to go back to Australia and hung out in New York for awhile before coming back at a super convenient time because he "yearned for the strong grasp of your hand, Bob." Good thing everyone has impeccable timing because this would have been awkward if he just missed Rob, who had boarded a boat headed for Australia. BUT THEN we could have gotten the Victorian equivalent of someone racing to the gate to stop him from leaving, so that could have been fun. Missed opportunity, MEB.

Rob and Clara end up married and they live together with George and Georgey so I'm going to assume that Clara is just the beard but at least now George and Rob and be together and raise Georgey together and that is adorable. Oh and Alicia married that other guy that she didn't really seem to care for but everyone has to be paired off, even if the woman doesn't care for him so fine. Whatever. Maybe Clara and Alicia are secretly together. And Lady A dies in the sanatorium. The end.

So what'd we think? I think we've read too many mysteries cos I mean, I am BAD at guessing what's coming next in a mystery. Which is good for me cos then I'm surprised exactly when the storyteller wants me to be. But here, we guessed it fairly early on which meant a lot of the time was spent waiting for the characters to catch up. I liked it but I wanted there to be more twists, more mystery. But I was entertained so kudos MEB.

Title quote from page 233, location 4532

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley's Secret. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1862.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May Reading Wrap-Up

Another month down and time is flying. Especially as we get closer to wedding day and now all kinds of things are rushing by and oh man, there's still a lot to do. I managed to get less reading done this month in small part because of wedding things. And by that I mean I spent time hanging out with friends this weekend for bachelorette & bridal shower instead of finishing up The First 20 Minutes. I know, how could I?

Let's see how May went, shall we?

Number of books read
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction
100% - this has been the year of fiction for me. If this continues I will come up with a better title for the year. Or just read more non-fiction.

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors
100% - damn

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of ebooks

Percentage of rereads

Percentage of review books

Books written by decade
1960s - 33%
2010s - 66%

Books by genre
Historical fiction (kinda) - 33%
Urban fantasy but also noir - 33%
Horror - 33%

So the genre thing is getting to be a mess. I think I'll keep it up and watch it continue to degenerate. We'll see how June reading goes but given all of the prep for the wedding in July, I'm not going to be surprised if my stats stay low. It's cool. I'm OK with this.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Busy wedding weekend. Hence the Sunday wedding post on a Monday

I realize I normally post my (few and far between) wedding updates on Sunday, which I do cos I figure I'll keep my non-book updates on the weekend. But my normal plan of writing a wedding update on Sunday plus a normal review for the week went out the window. So this is going up now. Take that, arbitrary blogging rules I made up myself.

There has a been a bunch of wedding stuff happening, since the day is coming soon. It looks like last time I wrote a wedding post was in March when Boyfriend+ and I were discussing the couples for the table names. Since that time we've come up with a list of couples, sent out invites, gotten a bunch of responses and thank you, responsible friends and family for getting back so quickly. Can I tell you how important spreadsheets have been during all of this? Because I have roughly a billion of them to help me keep track of who we've invited, who we've heard back from, who I'm going to have to yell at, etc.

AND this weekend I did a bunch of bridal stuff. Namely my bachelorette and bridal shower. Because OF COURSE I did them back to back. Isn't that how you do it?

Actually the reason for this, as I've mentioned before, is my maid of honor lives in Ireland which is a bit far from NY. Which means I'm working with when she is stateside. She is super popular and actually has several weddings to go to (including a few she's in) so I'm not the only one taking up all of her vacation time. I got a couple days to hang out with her before the festivities began.

The bachelorette activities were a surprise for me, which meant I spent a fair amount of the time leading up to Friday quizzing my MoH what she was planning and oh man, there better not be strippers and please don't make me do something embarrassing and I think I'm just going to hide under my covers, kthxbai. BUT because she isn't a terrible person (quite the opposite), she and my other friend planned a super fun night including an "Appetite for Seduction" cooking class then drinking and dancing. Well additional drinking on top of the wine at the cooking class. We also got this amazing hotel room that was huge and including an outdoor patio so after dancing the few of us left hung out drinking champagne until we realized we REALLY needed to sleep considering the whole "we have to get up to get back out to Long Island for the bridal shower in a few hours."

The bridal shower was happening at my house cos I figured if I'm going to be hungover and tired during a party, I may as well be all of that at my own house and worst come to worst I can have people mingle around me while I curl up on the couch. I was alive enough that I didn't have to hibernate until after everyone left. AND another one of my friends catered the event (after being out all night for the bachelorette because she is a trooper and also I don't know how she managed it) which was awesome and the food was delicious. Is delicious, since I still have a bunch in my fridge. Which means I also have meals for the rest of the week.

My poor MoH left the bridal shower to immediately go to ANOTHER wedding. Because while my weekend may have been busy it was NOTHING compared to hers. But my weekend wasn't done yet.

As most of you probably know, BEA just ended. Because of the above activities I didn't get a chance to meet up with many people, but Alice was still around (YAAY) so Boyfriend+ and I met up with her for burgers and milkshakes and a walk around Central Park while we tried to avoid the parade. Good times, of course. Have I mentioned how much I love book blogging and the people I've met through this thing?

The house is still a mess, there are deflated balloons all around and wrapping paper that yes, should be in the garbage but I haven't made it that far yet. The gifts that we got we've decided to just put them in the spare room and we'll figure out where to fit them later. When we're not so tired. I really wanted to finish the 20 Minutes book before today so I could count it towards my May stats, but that didn't happen. I also didn't write that May stats post but this was more important.

So that's where wedding things stand so far. I'm hoping to make these posts more regular, up until the wedding at least. For awhile there really wasn't much to say about wedding planning since you sort of book your vendors and then you have to wait until it gets closer to celebration time before you can do anything else. But now we're close enough that things are happening, and thus there are things to write about.

THANK YOU to all of my friends who planned the parties and came to celebrate. I had the best time and I'm ready for a LOT of sleep. Which I'm sure I'll manage to get. Eventually. Maybe after the wedding.