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Showing posts from July, 2011

Douchy Little Vampire Kids

If, however, you like dressing in black 'cause it's 'fun,' enjoy putting sparkles on your cheeks and following the occult while avoiding things that are bad for your health, then you are most likely a douchebag vampire wannabe boner. Because anybody who thinks they are actually a vampire is freaking retarded.
I've been re-reading parts of Interview With the Vampire. Before the whole stupid Twilight craze hit, vampires had something of a resurgence (is resurrection a pun there? maybe.) in popularity around 1994, which was when I was nine.
Vampire movies that came out in the '90s:
Bram Stoker's Dracula (this movie is shitty) Interview With the Vampire (we're gonna get to that) Dracula: Dead and Loving It (this has a 9% on rottentomatoes, but I love it for sentimental reasons)
The release of the latter two on VHS coincided with me being maybe the most annoying age possible: 11. Or maybe 12.
Any child between the ages of 11 and 13 sucks. They're hideous ages.…

I'm Going to Get Better at Post-Writing One of These Days

I think it's been established that I have a library problem. I have 150+ books at home that I haven't read, but I can't stop going to the library and getting more. And the books I DO get from the library I mostly either don't finish, or it takes me way, way too long to get to them.
Case in point: Slammerkin, by Emma Donoghue. It sure was great. But I had to renew it three times (which is the max for the Chicago Public Library), take it back, check it out again, and renew it one more time before I got to it. The jackass who already has the book that you want to check out? That's me. And I'm not even reading it. It's in a pile on my floor.
Anyway, continuing this asinine tradition, I went to the library yesterday to return some things, see if some holds had come in (you never know if, in between checking online and walking to the library, something's happened), and then checked out two more books. They are Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (I def. copy/pasted that -…

I Might Seem Like I'm in a Bad Mood, But I Have a Toothache, So Let's All Back Off and Let Me Complain

Okay, here's the deal with Borders: what the crap are people doing? Sure, it sucks for people who don't have a Barnes & Noble, because those two already closed most independent bookstores in smaller towns, but what's with the going and the standing in line for an hour to get 20% off an already-overpriced book that you can find cheaper online? It makes no sense and therefore annoys me, even though it impacts me not in the least.
I get that some people have emotional attachments to Borders. And to be honest, when I went home last and saw that the sign was off our Barnes & Noble, I almost had a panic attack until a store worker told me they were just getting the sign replaced.
Because all my emotional attachment goes to B&N. People tend to prefer Borders, and I get that, but there are like five reasons why, in my particular hometown, B&N is preferable (not the least of which is that it's less of a pain in the ass to park there). Barnes & Noble is where I…

Wherein I Am Sad About a Lack of Cross-Genreing (see what I did there?)

What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

I can't get into sci-fi. I have tried. My dad's an aerospace engineer, one of my brother's a biochemist, they all love sci-fi, and I can't do it. I try and I get bored. The only sci-fi I've been able to read and love was the Ender series by Orson Scott Card (or "OSC" as the cool kids call him), and to be honest, I don't reeeeeeally consider that sci-fi. So here I am. Reading lame Victorian novels that don't have pills for food and jetpacks. Yeah, I could read steampunk, but no, that's not happening.
Oh, I also hate fantasy novels that have names with apostrophes. Hey, fantasy authors – stop being dumb. If I have to be inducted into your stupid pronunciation system that you stole from the Welsh, I'm not reading your book. 
What a worthy post. Awesomeness check: everyone on Spotify? Everyone on Google+? Ok, good. You're all awesome.

In Which I Love the '90s

I've found myself taking an excessive amount of comfort in the '90s as of late. Let me be clear from the start: the '90s were not a good time in the life of me. Does anyone remember 6th grade? Yeah, that was 1996, and then through '99 were pretty much the opposite of a blast. So why I've been choosing to revel in pop culture from those exact years, I have zero idea.
However, in homage to that time, let's look at some pretty awesome (or at least other people say they're awesome) books from then. I need to take a break from watching Buffy and wearing plaid anyway:
Holes by Louis Sachar. Hey! That guy who wrote Wayside School wrote a Newbery Medal book! One that I still haven't read, but it won in '99 and makes the cut here.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham. This won the Pulitzer for Fiction. I love this cover, although I haven't seen it in real life. Ok, confession, I haven't heard of the other winners from '96-'99. And I haven't read …

Sleep and Its Unfortunate Effects

Bleah weekend you have too much in you.
Complaining about how busy one's weekend was doing fun, awesome stuff feels like disguised bragging that you got to do fun, awesome stuff, so let's just skip to the part where I fell asleep in a park and drooled all over the back cover of my book, shall we?
Lincoln Park's on the -- what I consider -- northside of Chicago. My church is there, and I was meeting friends there for dinner at Super-Old People Time (i.e. 4:30), so I figured I'd just hang out for a couple hours. I didn't quite realize that, what with Midnight Harry Potter and then Apartment Party Time, coupled with Ouch I Have Cramps Ow Ow Ow I Can't Sleep, if I attempted to read in the park while laying down, I would most certainly pass out. By the time I realized things were heading in that direction, I didn't care, and the next thing I knew, I woke up to several cawing crows and my cheek pressed against Gods of Manhattan, considerably damper than I had last …

It's Saturday Night and There's Some Kind of Song About That

Hey body, how about you suck it up and start being invincible?
Thursday Night, Harry Potter at midnight: Three hours of sleep
Friday Night, party in the back of my building: Seven hours of sleep.
Saturday Night, cramps: No idea yet.
So I've gotten ten hours in a few days? Which isn't bad, only I'm worried about tonight, what with cramps usually impeding sleepness. HURRY UP AND CREATE ME A BIONIC BODY, SCIENCE. I don't want to deal with being dependent on this sleepy, hummus-craving thing.
I mention the above for a few reasons. One, I wanted to complain. Two, I actually cheated and took an hour nap this afternoon, solely so I'd be awake enough to read more of Gods of Manhattan. Don't look at the cover — it'll make you not want to read it. But it's pretty rockin' as of two-thirds of the way through. I'm enjoying it quite a bit, despite an apparently straightforward plot, but then I love YA lit for 10-12-year-olds that features the hero/heroine suddenly…

Harry Potter: Awesome or Mega-Awesome?

It's that day. Yeah. Chances are if you're under 50 and have any contact with the waking world, you've read the Harry Potter series multiple times and/or seen all the movies. And now the last movie's coming out, and there will be mass sobbing in theaters across the nation.
Since this is the last major Harry Potter release (at least for any time in the foreseeable future), I think it's a good opportunity to tell Harry introduction stories. What this means is how you first encountered the series. My story's fricking weird, and I hope you guys have some good ones (if you would be so kind as to share them):
My family used to spend every summer in a little place called Chautauqua, NY. It's a gated community of sorts. It has its own library, amphitheater, opera house, playhouse, cinema, belltower-by-the-lake, and it was the birthplace of the American "Literary and Scientific Circle." Not sure what that means, because the CLSC was just a bookclub, but anyw…

Carola Woerishoffer and Why She Is Awesome

Have you ever heard of Carola Woerishoffer? Of course you haven't. Because as Americans, we hate hard-to-pronounce names, and she's basically the most obscure insanely awesome person I've ever heard of.
I came upon her name while finishing The Triangle Fire by Leon Stein (written in 1962 when survivors of the fire were still alive and could be interviewed). It's a well-paced, thoughtful and obviously moving account of the fire, the events leading up to it, and the repercussions/after-effects. Carola ('Woerishoffer' seems too forbidding) is only mentioned in one paragraph, but it interested me enough to read more about her. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of readily-available information, but there was a lengthy memorial by muckraker journalist Ida Tarbell. Here's the original paragraph I read. The setting is the shirtwaist strike of 1909, when the girls in the factories went on strike for three months. They were beaten in the streets and arrested for no…

I Lied About That Not-Making-More-New-Posts-Today Thing

Hey, I'm not posting tons of pictures in one blog post. That's CRAZY. So here's my last new one for the day, because with the sweet, sound passage of time comes NEW READATHON CHALLENGES.
. Take a picture (using your camera, webcam, phone... whatever) of where you're reading today for the readathon, or your favorite places to read.
Okay, when I first saw this I saw it as WHAT you're reading, so first you're getting a picture of that.
I like to read out back of my apartment. There's a back stairway that probably doesn't pass fire codes, but whatever, I'm sure it's fine.

I guess I should finish Middlesex now. Oh, and I'm extending my time past 9 o'clock because, y'know, my time at church should totes be subtracted. I refuse to be punished for my beliefs! Freedooooom!

Mini-Readathon Main Post for Updatin'

I'm not gonna flood your Google Reader feed with posts, so here's the thing I shall go back and edit.
12:58 p.m. Back from church with lunch canceled, I have made myself three more tacos. Now, with tacos, I like to use the Old El Paso taco kit for soft tacos, get the highest quality beef I can (let's not be stingy with that extra dollar, people), and buy Kraft Shredded Sharp Cheddar, and lastly, Cholula hot sauce. Why? Because my mom used those brands (excepting the latter, which I picked up on taco journeys with friends) and damnit, I like them. Three tacos down for the day, and when the Italian place around the corner from me opens, I'm buying some Mexican Coke. FIESTA CON LIBROS.
As for books..er...I read part of Middlesex on the bus, and now I shall continue that fantastic journey.


3:54 p.m. Nearing the end of Middlesex which is, of course, awesome. Also getting laundry done and baking potatoes for tomorrow, so BAM. ProDUCTIVE. The store by me opens in six minutes, at…

It's Mini-Readathon and TacoFest Time

Due to my own idiocy involving scheduling and meals, TacoFest 2011™ had to begin last night. How many tacos did I eat? Well, that'd be five. Let's see if we can't do way more today.
I woke up at 9 and so let's do challenge #1 for Sarah's Summer Mini-Readathon! Woooooo!
1. Tell everyone three random things about yourself:
- I think cryptozoology is the shit.
- I am a 26-year-old elder at my Presbyterian church.
- My favorite word is monkeypants.

2. Is this your first readathon? It is my first officially sanctioned readathon. YEAH!

3. Do you have any specific goals for today? (# of books or pages to read?) I want to finish two, but they're probably gonna be two I've already started, as I am a super-slow reader. Finishing Middlesex'll probably take me a while, but that doesn't matter 'cause it's amaaaazing.

4. Do you have any specific snacks, drinks, or books planned? TACOFEST 2011™. And I'm cheating by pausing after church and going to lunch with…

In Which I Am Angrier With Victor Hugo Than I Originally Intended to Be

It's Friday. The week of 4th of July is over, and with it any chance of my workplace being closed until Labor Day. Alas and alack.

So! Let's close this week with an awesome quote by a man I have ambivalent feelings about: Victor Hugo. Because of my major, and a reading plan I formulated in high school, the works of his I've had to read are Les Miserables, L'Homme qui rit, and paaaaart of Notre Dame de Paris (i.e. Hunchback of Notre Dame). I put aside the latter because I occasionally hate Hugo, but I intend on finishing it..er..."someday." Yeah. Then.
Before I redeem him slightly by posting this lovely sentence, let me talk a bit about him and why he sucks.
Bypassing, for the moment, his 'Bird's Eye View of Paris' chapter in Notre Dame, which was SERIOUSLY the most unnecessary bit of reading I've ever had to do, except maybe for translational theory, in the book L'Homme qui frickin' rit, he's like "Oh! a chapter on the British H…
What is one of your favorite literary devices? Why do you like it? Provide a definition and an awesome example.

While I'm a big ol' fan of malapropism, I'm going to have to be lame and pick characterization in order to talk about what I want to talk about. For those somehow unaware of what it is, it's "the method used by a writer to develop a character. The method includes (1) showing the character's appearance, (2) displaying the character's actions, (3) revealing the character's thoughts, (4) letting the character speak, and (5) getting the reactions of others."
My favorite thing in all literature is when a seemingly stoic, impenetrable character suddenly cracks and we see a breakdown, revealing her humanity. It. Is. Awesome. My first memory of reading this and loving it is Dorothea in Middlemarch (avast, all ye,  for spoilers be lyin' ahead). For almost all of that rather long novel, she's calm and in control. She knows exactly what she w…

Planning! Preparations! Snacks!

For those of you who don't know me IRL, I'm a planner. My greatest joy in life is planning. When I contested this, my friend who lives in Boston countered with "When you visited me, you arrived with an itinerary."
True. But! because of this itinerary, we were able to pack in seeing as many old houses as possible. Also, despite flying into Boston Logan, I spent precisely zero time in actual Boston. I made my friend go to Cambridge, Salem and Quincy. And a jolly time was had by all, if you count touring a Unitarian church a jolly time (you should).
So I'm pretty jazzed about this upcoming readathon and have started to plan accordingly. My Comparative Lit degree has slowed by reading speed down to an embarrassing degree, so I in all probability won't actually get much done. But I like to have a vast selection, so these are my current choices:
Short Stories, Henry James The Throne of Fire, Rick Riordan Open Secrets, Alice Munro Waiting for the Barbarians, J.M. Coetzee S…

Readathons, and Whatever Else I See Fit to Discuss

If you all don't know about Sarah's Mini-Readathon over at Sarah Speaks, you should check it out. It's this upcoming Sunday and going to be mega-awesome. I'm forsaking a Buffy marathon to do it, so yeah, it's kind of a big deal. 12 hours, although I'll probably do like nine. But I'm gonna liveblog it, and if you were here for my last mini-readathon, you know it's scintillating stuff. Like that part where I wrote about eating hummus? You don't find that shit on your everyday blogs, people.
I should probably make my blog snazzier. I just chose the most work-friendly template, as I have people looking at my computer screen all day long every day. If you actually click over to it as opposed to Google Readering it, expect some weirdness today.
All right, let's wrap up this completely necessary post with a fun fact: Henry James was gay, and he and Edith Wharton were BFFs, so I like to imagine them going to non-existent gay bars together and dancing to K…

My First Post in Which I Do a Slightly Unlazy Thing

Hey, it's 4th of July almost, right? And that's, like, a celebratory time. Let's do a giveaway! I have no idea how this works, except I guess people comment to enter and then I use some randomizer thing, right?
Because this is a spur-of-the-moment thing, comment if you want my fantastic, perfect-condition-but-read-by-two-awesome-people copy of The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman. After I pick someone, I guess I'll message them or comment in their blog/whatever to get their address.

You can tell which giveaway's mine by the fine attention to detail. Oh, and I guess you have to be a follower. I'm not having random nutjobs getting my book. And I guess this runs until...Wednesday? Yeah, sure, Wednesday.

Edit: Aaaaaand the only entrant, Red, wins! Woooooooooo!

Where I Kind of Defend Sarah Silverman, Which I Personally Am Surprised By

Here we go. A book review. To the extent that I can do one. I also want it known that this was written while listening to Taylor Swift, so if it has the faint air of teen angst and brooding over high school boys, that's probably why.
The mentioned-in-a-different-post Katie and I were at Books-a-Million downtown, and this was in the bargain section. Despite my Sarah Silverman reservations, I really like the cover, so I read the foreword. It was hilarious, I showed it to Katie, we bought it, she read it overnight because SHE IS THE FLASH when it comes to reading, then she gave it to me. It took me two days, which basically means it should be the fastest read ever for anyone else.
When I asked her how it was, she said "Depressing," which left me rather perplexed. It makes sense, though, after reading the first few chapters. About half the book will harsh your buzz on life. She talks about some really tough things, but I kind of felt like maybe that was part of the joke — …

An Entry That Barely Belongs in a Book Blog

It's 4th of July weekend, which means I'm at my parents' house, watching episode after episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my 15-year-old brother and struggling not to gain ten pounds due to all the readily-available fast food. See, that's a benefit of living in a city with no car: fast food can be a pain in the ass to get to. You have to go out of your way to find it, and in all likelihood you'll pass several other better-for-you options on the way, all tempting you to eschew your plans and get a salad at Au Bon Pain.
When you're in a medium sized city/town with a car, it's basically either cook something yourself, which involves driving to the store, going in, buying stuff, going back out, driving home, bringing in said stuff, and then doing cooking things, which I don't even know how to do — either that or you drive to Wendy's and get fries, a chicken sandwich and a Frosty. Doesn't that sound amazing? Yes, it does. And despite buying a fo…