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Showing posts from March, 2012

Action in the Regency Period + Woman in White Readalong

First of all, HOW AMAZING IS THE INTERNET? I was reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister , which sounds like...well, not what it is, because it IS, in fact, excerpts from a REAL LADY'S DIARIES from about 1817-1826, i.e. Austenian times, only this Real Lady (Anne Lister in case you hadn't figured it out) was all up in other ladies' bizniz. Which is my hip way of saying she was a lesbian. She also lived about ten miles from the Bronte sisters. Meaning they were all alive at the same time and the Brontes had probably at least heard of her because she was known as something of a weirdo. AHHHH. In fact there was a one year period where Austen, C. Bronte and Anne Lister were all alive, albeit one was an infant. ANYWAY. The super-gay parts of the diaries were written in an algebraic...Greek...code thing, and one scholar has basically dedicated her life to translating them and getting them out to the public, and that is Helena Whitbread. WHO IS NOW FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER.

Rainbow Rowell Interview of General Awesomeness

So, you guys remember  when I dorked out over Attachments , right? Yeah. So the author, Rainbow Rowell, is stunningly nice to her readers and allows them to ask her questions via email or twitter that are, at best, distantly related to her books (have we discussed fanfic? yes, we have). This is especially exciting if most of the authors you read have been dead for some time (I would totally ask George Eliot about fanfic, because SHE WOULD READ IT DO NOT EVEN ARGUE). Attachments , book of amazingness and fluff and hilarity, came out in paperback this past Tuesday (at a store near you!) and I was kindly allowed to do an interview. Now HOLD ON WAIT A SECOND. Because I tend to skip author interview blog posts. But trust that this is not sucky and you should read it and then love Rainbow's book more and then buy it in paperback. Mmm paperback. It fits so nicely into purses. You live in Nebraska. What is particularly appealing to you about this  state? As I’m sure you’re aware, it doe


I HAVE RETURNED. With more books. And having learned a little something about this crazy mess some people call "life." If you'd seen my face there it would've been a lot funnier. OKAY. What happened? I went to New York City and 1. Saw an opera at the Met for the second time. The Met is amazing and beautiful and the best opera house in the world. I don't care about ancient European theatres with their incredible ornateness. I love the Met more than all of them. I saw Elixir of Love , which is incredibly silly and fun and starred a German soprano, singing Italian with a Peruvian tenor in America. Did I mention I love opera? I love opera. 2. Saw all the history . I decided to walk around the Battery, and I basically went to every historical thing ever. Meaning the Elizabeth Ann Seton house, the Fraunces Tavern, the Custom House, Federal Hall, Trinity Church, Wall Street, the Bowling Green, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Cannon's Walk. This was the day where I ha

Star Wars and Catharsis

I'M NOT GONE YET. Meaning here's another post. Forgotten Bookmarks'  post for today made me remember a couple years ago when I visited my brother in NYC and we saw Wishful Drinking , and when Carrie Fisher started her final monologue with "General Kenobi, years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars--" my brother and I freaked out and had internal flail attacks. BECAUSE SHE WAS SAYING IT. Lesson:  Star Wars  is the best of all best things. You know how sometimes you read a part of a book and it makes you go And you're like, THESE PEOPLE ARE FICTIONAL I SHOULD NOT BE FEELING ALL THE FEELS. So, one of the cool things about fiction is that lovely Greek concept of catharsis (or "katharsis" if you're a tool). Unfortunately, Aristotle is the one who first articulated this in reference to an emotional experience. You know, Aristotle -- the guy who said that women were just flawed men because they couldn't produce semen and believed that

Readalongs, Labor Rights and Skylarkings

Damnit, Dewey's Readathon! Stop happening on days I am otherwise engaged! It's April 21st this year, which is when I go to Milwaukee to see Rachel Maddow be smart and awesome. I'm not giving that up, people. I'm not giving that up. Today's probably a catch-up day, as my other entries lately have been weird things like book reviews, so let's do this: 1) WOMAN IN WHITE READALONG . Do not forget. We're starting April 2nd, first reading is the preface to page 126, and I will have chapter numbers for you instead of page numbers when I have my copy of the book with me. Which is not right now. We're gonna finish this and we're gonna finish it good (you heard me). 2) I have been collecting ALL SORTS of gifs and haven't been using them. 3) I'm going to be in NYC Friday to Wednesday. Doing crazy hedonistic things like marching in the 101st Remembrance of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and visiting the site of Emma Goldman's apartment.

Book Review! Emotions! Familial Relationships!

Guess what today is? REVIEW day. Of an honest to goodness ARC. So this is about M. Dickson's book,  Dear Dad: It's Over (released this May, but available for pre-order) .   Before reviewing this, I should state that the author and I are twitter friends (based on our mutual love of reading about serial killers and watching Designing Women ), and that she is hilarious. I would say this makes me biased about her book, but this book is not about being hilarious. It's about opening herself up emotionally and discussing her tempestuous relationship with her father. At first glance, it seems like a girl just telling stories about how her father was a pretty shitty dad, but it is one of, in my own experience anyway, the most obvious picks for the You Shape What You Get Out of Your Own Life genre. Because this is about her stopping an extremely painful cycle and taking control of the level of horribleness she'll allow into her life. I  grew up in a somewhat churchy environ

"Piratical Scottish fiction is my absolute weak spot"

Hello to you all! And a happy Monday indeed. The weather in Chicago has been SO fantastic that one had to get out this weekend. Especially since I live on a block with an Irish pub, and I don't know if you know what Chicago's like on St. Patrick's Day, but basically, avoid any thoroughfares and all people. So I went to the Garfield Park Conservatory (built in 1907) and sat around underneath some truly ENORMOUS ferns or palms or something while reading Perfume (which, you're right, ends very oddly). Then my roommate and I watched Shallow Hal and The Brothers Bloom , both of which I LOVE, so NO DISPARAGING THEM. Especially not the latter, which I'm convinced is close to perfect. I skipped church (boooo me) and later went on one of those 30 minute 'let's go in a big circle on the water' boat tours around Navy Pier with my roommate. The embarrassing thing (and it's supposed to be embarrassing if you LIVE in Chicago as opposed to visiting) is I reall

My Forthcoming Nuptials and That Book About That Guy Who Smells Things

This week's been rather busy, between learning arias and planning my wedding to British tv presenter (and narrator of that Dickens documentary you of course all watched) Sue Perkins: I'm splashing this about wherever I can BUT I have still been reading things. Mostly yesterday, as I was stuck without my phone for 12 hours (HORROR OF HORRORS) and had to resort to the book in my bag ( Perfume ) while on two long El rides. Unless something truly terrible is coming up in Perfume, I feel like maybe the movie was just really gross and people cannot get over this, so they've connected it to the book. Because nothing in the book has been particularly disgusting, and yet that's the only thing I hear about it. I do really like the writing, despite it being a translation, although it has made me realize how extremely little I know about scents, as I am limited to "This smells nice" or "ewwwww." For those unaware of the plot: It's 18th century Paris,

Chime Is Not Very Great

So I finished Chime . And it was kind of lame. It got a lot better from the South Park Goth Girl beginning, but since that was the most amusing part for me, here're some quotes that I could only hear in Goth Girl's voice (whose monologue is below, in the stellar SP episode 'Raisins'): Raisins He was more at home with the villagers than we were, even though he’d arrived from London only six months back. Perhaps it was because he was such a big, comfortable sort of man, while we Larkins are rarely comfortable, especially with ourselves. - AGH TOO MUCH OBVIOUS. SO MUCH OBVIOUS. “Another few minutes won’t hurt,” said Father in his sermon voice, which is his favorite voice, the one he starches and irons every morning.  Have you become a doctor, Father? How do you know it won’t hurt? Or did you hear it from God? You don’t talk to anyone else. - now just hear that in Goth Girl's voice. It's not hard. People always say one thing and mean something else beneath.

Sit Through a Story and Then I'm Giving Away Something

I HAVE A STORY. Prepare yourselves. Yesterday I decided to go to Target. This is a bit of a complicated process when you live in a city and don't have a car, as Targets are rarely downtown, so I walked a mile to the red line and took it to the nearest Target, which is in a not-particularly-savory part of town. After purchasing important items like bergamot body wash and corkboard (bless the superstore), I left, deciding to walk home because it was such a very lovely day outside. But I needed ice cream first. So I betook myself to Baskin Robbins, where I purchased a 3-point chocolate/rainbow sherbet cone (I would not recommend this combination, as caramel does not mix with rainbow sherbet, but peanut butter & chocolate totally does). I left, walked another half mile, whereupon I discovered that my CTA card was missing. CTA is Chicago Transit Authority, and I have a monthly pass. I'm normally extremely paranoid about where my keys/CTA card/phone/wallet are at all times, as

Wherein We Discover That Dickens Sucked at Self-Given Pseudonyms

It's the weekend, and this is both eye-opening, amusing and highly informative. So sometime Saturday or Sunday, grab an hour, grab some popcorn, and sit down in front of the friendly glow of your computer and watch Sue Perkins talk about Mrs. Dickens and how horrible her husband was. I still love Dickens's novels. I do. Like, huggable amounts. But I cannot stand him as a person.

Ranting About Unimportant Things (Again)...and Then It Became a Tour Guide Post

Are we aware that Nathaniel Hawthorne's women characters are named Hester, Zenobia and Hepzibah? I thought maybe this was him coming from a weirdo family, but his wife's name was Sophia. Totally normal. His mother's name was Elizabeth and his grandmother was Miriam. "Ah, but what about his OTHER grandmother?" you ask. "Surely she had some highly unusual name." HER NAME WAS RACHEL. RACHEL. I refuse to research things beyond Wikipedia and the facts I learned ages ago that MIGHT be correct but who really knows? I certainly don't. But I'm gonna go ahead and blame his weirdo names on Transcendentalism. DAMN YOU, TRANSCENDENTALISM. Speaking of Hawthorne, did you know that in Salem, MA you can visit the house that The House of Seven Gables  was based on? Kind of? He stayed in it with his sister or aunt or cousin or something, whose husband owned it, and it was pretty fancy, but completely disappointing after reading the book. Yeah, I went on the tou

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Other Important Issues Affecting Our Society

I haven't done the Literary Blog Hop in forevers, because it usually wants me to, y'know, Think About Things, and when I write this blog, I pretty much do it in a stream of conscious style. In case you couldn't tell. BUT. Before we get to the thrilling question for the week/month, I have to tell you about this movie I saw last night starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. My co-worker Doug (whom I quote often on twitter) lent it to me; it's called Knock Off and this is the plot as given by Netflix (no, you want to read this): After learning Russian mafia terrorists are plotting to implant  thousands of "microbombs" in knockoff jeans and ship them around the  globe, Hong Kong-based fashion rep Marcus Ray (Jean-Claude Van Damme)  races to stop them alongside undercover CIA agent Tommy Hendricks (Rob  Schneider). RIGHT? That movie was amazing. Ok, Blog Hop time: How do you find time to read, what's your reading style and where do you think reading literature sh

50 Classics...Here We Go

All right. It's late, hopefully no one's looking at Google Reader, so here's A List of Books with which to delight the senses. I stole my format from Adam at Roof Beam Reader , because he's spiffy and does things like this well. As for what I say in this post, well...again, it's late. 50 Classics I Plan to Read in the Next 5 Years Hosted by Jillian at A Room of One’s Own Pre-1700 Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan AND THAT IS ALL, BECAUSE BOOKS PRE-1700 SUCK. It was too long ago. 1700s Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe The Monk, M.G. Lewis - AKA The Best Book Ever Written. Demon nuns! Elopements! Perfidious monks!   1800s Daniel Deronda, George Eliot The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins Villette, Charlotte Brontë Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell The Blithedale Romance, Nathaniel Hawthorne - Unlike the Emperor with Anakin Skywalker, I do not watch Hawthorne's later career with great interest. Barnaby Rudge, Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens Dombey and Son, Di