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Showing posts from April, 2012

The Woman in White: The Finishining

Omg. We're done. This is probably the main downside of having a readalong that stretches from Los Angeles to Long Island — we can't all go to a bar and get drunk while talking about Count Fosco and how he somehow BEATS US AT MARIAN-LOVE. I was like "NO, NO ONE SHALL EQUAL THE INTENSITY OF MY FEELINGS FOR THIS CHARACTER," and then he went all "I worshipped her with the volcanic ardour of eighteen." I'm too tired for that kind of intensity. I got some stuff I wanna watch on youtube. But for reals. FOR REALS. Count Fosco's narrative was the best. Even though it doesn't have Mr Fairlie's "What have I to do with her bosom?" Best Question Ever in it, it's narrated by the Perpetual Arch-Master of the Rosicrucian Masons of Mesopotamia, and that's all I need. Fosco is well aware of our feelings for him. We started this novel a suspicious group of people talking about a man with a giant forehead. Now I think I would've j

Spittoons and Hilarious Gothic Novels

I seem to now have a chest cold, and my best friend told me there's this thing called an expectorant, which automatically made me think of this: Fun story that might be made up, the 1918 influenza outbreak caused spittoons to decline tremendously in popularity. And then apparently everyone started chewing gum (and then sticking it under things, because then the germs are hiding and can't gitcha). The Woman in White  readalong is almost done (next Monday!), and of course my mind is already in end-of-summer-camp mode and going "WE NEED TO PREPARE FOR NEXT YEAR CAMP BUDDIES." Only by next year, I mean like July.  I was thinking The Monk , because it's the greatest book of all time (ok, I've read 20% of it -- thanks Kindle! -- but that 20% is the greatest book of all time). But then, I don't know how many people have already read it and don't want to read it again. But HOW could you not want to read it again? It has demon nuns. And all sorts of things

Rachel Maddow Needs to Be My Next Door Neighbor

The readathon was this weekend, and while I sadly AGAIN COULD NOT PARTICIPATE (remember that one time I could, but I was still out of town at my parents', so I really just read Winnie the Pooh and went out to lunch?), it was because I was in Milwaukee with my very awesome internet friend Kory, seeing Rachel Maddow be amazing. Speaking very briefly of internet friends, are they not swell? I think I've had like two awkward experiences of real life encounters with them out of a zillion (if you grew up on Livejournal, you eventually meet basically everyone on your friends list, or "flist" as the cool kids called it). With Maddow, you see her show and perhaps think, 'Surely her articulate wittiness is the result of a teleprompter.' BUT NO. She was off-the-cuff hilarious, and used 'morass' in a throwaway sentence, which I died over but by which my mother (whom I told later) refused to be impressed ("People I know use that word all the time" --

The Woman in White: The Beginning of the Endening

Oh, Woman in White . What shall we do when you're gone? As always: So, when Hartright was first trying to figure out Sir Percival's Really Big Secret, my mind went haywire and basically guessed EVERYTHING, including a scenario where he was the father of Anne and Laura, who were twins and therefore it was MEGA-GROSS he married Laura for her money, what with her being his illegitimate (probably) daughter and all, but then I was like "Maybe the news of his wife/ladyfriend Mrs. Catherick being pregnant is what gave him his loss-of-hair/exposed forehead issue. So that little mystery's solved." But probably not. And then we finally find out THE REALLY BIG SECRET, and because I was skimming when I read it, being AGAIN BEHIND, I was kind of like "Oh, really? Ok." I need my mind to shut up and stop guessing what's going to happen, because then I get attached to my own jumped-to conclusions and then the actual thing is like "Oh. I see." So let&

Of Kleenex and Bears

Do y'all remember that episode of Malcolm in the Middle where Malcolm's mom gets sick, and he's like "She is basically an impenetrable fortress when it comes to germs, so when one does somehow get through, it's a doozy"? Yes, of course you do. Because you are self-respecting people and have seen s1 of Malcolm . ("My mom says tv makes you stupid." "No, tv makes you normal!") All this to say, after being mightily full of myself and not getting sick, on Tuesday I got sick. And am still woozily battling it out. But I think I'm unfeverish/uninsane enough today to update, and at least apologize for not answering some people's comments after I got all up on my high horse on Tuesday about other people not doing that on their blogs. I WILL DO IT. SICK ALICE NEEDS NO REASON FOR GIFS I'm basically done with The Sisters Brothers , and it's the best thing I've read this year. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you go get it. The writing's

Tips for New Bloggers? *cracks knuckles in a non-threatening way*

I'm afraid everyone's going to be dreadfully repetitive for this week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. And most of it'll probably be the same as dating advice.  Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers ? I'll say right now I probably don't have ten. I will, however, counter/offer a caveat  for some of the examples you'll see on most blogs. Let's do this 1. Be yourself. - Oh, really? Because a lot of blogs I've seen where people are being themselves involve sparkly black backgrounds, neon text, and a font size that probably resides in the 20s. Those people should not be themselves. They should be other people. My advice in this area is actually to look at blogs where you see them and say 'I feel like I could show this to someone I admire and not be embarrassed by the formatting.' On the other hand, if you only want to be friends with people who like neon text and giant fonts, feel free to say "hey, fuck you, Ali

The Woman in White: Mice, Pocket-Axes and Very Fat Men

SO MANY THINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK. So, I skimmed the last 50 pages of the reading (if you haven't read the four pages or so past what I idiotically assigned, you should, because REVELATION), because I'm behind and I have to go to bed. But I THOROUGHLY read the rest. Let's dive right into week 2 (or 3, depending on if you count How Large Is Wilkie's Forehead week). WHAT HAPPENED? So much happened. SO MUCH. No one likes Sir Percival, but they can't figure out why, then Laura's all "I shall forswear my love, because that is accurate to the duties of the time period, and therefore let Fate do with me what it will!" So she marries Sir Percival Glyde (ewwww his name) and Marian's all "Noooooo!" even though it's pretty much her fault (more Mr. Fairlie's, but let's ignore him), and then they skip six months, which I WAS NOT EXPECTING and she's like "Yeah, nothing really happened during those months," so I guess I'm g

Use Your Clicky Finger to Vote

Ok, it's the Book Blogger Awards or something on Goodreads. Oh yeah,  this is me on Goodreads . It's like my blog, but more boring! Because this is a Friday afternoon throwaway post, I'm gonna give you some awesome internet things before the voting button so you can remember why you're here. Prepare yourselves. Vote for me. Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards! Vote

We Shall Soldier Through Friday the 13th and Emerge Stronger Individuals

Since I am not able to do Dewey's Readathon this spring (curse you, conflicting events!), I think I'm going to do a mini one on my own this Sunday. And oh, I am excited. There will be prizes! For me. And challenges! For me. And snacks! That I would share, but you all live so far away.  I'll probably end up reading 30 pages of The Woman in White and call it a day. ONWARD! My church's book group, which we somewhat cultishly call People of the Book, met last night to discuss the first half of How the Irish Saved Civilization . This book kicks ass. True, I am halfway through and he only just got to the Irish and not so much to them but more St Patrick, but it's one of those books that's like "LET ME SUMMARIZE HUGE SWATHS OF HISTORY IN A COUPLE AMUSING SENTENCES." And he's so SMART but interesting  and he got me to read Plato and learn more about Augustine (we all know who Augustine is?) and now I want to read the  Táin. I don't know if anythin

When Cover-Judging Backfires

A while back, I was reading a book called The Celtic Realms . Unfortunately, it seems to assume the person reading it has some kind of a background in Celtic studies. I do not, of course, so instead of reading about fun Druid sacrifice things (I don't care if that's inaccurate; it's automatically what I think of) there're sections like:  The fortifications have been classified in two main categories: first the great hill-top fortifications of Celtic Iron Age A; and second the Belgic-type fortresses of later pattern but sometimes in contemporary use with the first type. Let's try to tackle that, yes? The Iron Age in the British Isles, according to Wikipedia, was from the 5th century BC to 400 AD. Okay. Now what on earth is Belgic? My obvious first thought was having to do with Belgium, but why would the Celts build fortresses in the style of Belgians? Especially since Belgium didn't exist then. Ah-ha, but Wikipedia again has the answer. Belgium was named for the

Old People Are Hilarious and the Irish Save Things

Omg. Omg. This is the best thing of today/maybe this week (courtesy of my brother's amazing friend Randy): Old People Writing On a Restaurant's Facebook Page I love the internet. What'd people do before it? Probably churned butter or something. Or whittled. I'm still pretty damn excited about Woman in White , mainly because it's GREAT. If you're doing the readalong, I advise you start the next section soon if you haven't already, as it's a little longer than the previous one. I was so behind Easter weekend I had to read at Second City. "EXCUSE ME, PEOPLE TRYING TO DO COMEDY, but I  am trying to read about mysterious Victorian ladies." My church's small group is reading How the Irish Saved Civilization  (did I mention that? I think I've mentioned that) and now that WiW day is over, I was able to actually start it, and DUDE it is kickass. Because the author's like "I'm going to use words like 'pusillanimous' tha

Woman in White: Things Get Whiter (wait...)

Ok. Today is not only the fantastic best-posts-ever (I'm sure) day for Woman in White , but IT IS ALSO LAURA FROM DEVOURING TEXTS' BIRTHDAYYYYY . Hey Laura, remember this gif? This is for you: May all the baby polar bear tickling be yours on this special day NOW. Woman in White . Daaaaaaaamn, right? Ok, so first of all -- VINDICATED. WE HAVE ALL BEEN VINDICATED BY THAT LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME I FORGOT. Wait -- Jacob Postlethwaite! Bless you, Jacob Postlethwaite, ye probable receiver of corporal punishment. Because what does he say? "Eh!--but I saw t'ghaist " -- BAM. This is why we thought this. Because when anyone sees a woman all in white, the automatic thought is 'GHOST TIME.' I'm reading the Penguin edition (I think -- it's at home) and it has tons of annotations, which is a state of affairs both helpful and annoying. The only one I want to mention is this reference to Wilkie Collins hating corsets:  Marian goes against the  mid-Victoria

Breakfast Club & Grouchiness

Remember when I used to post '80s music videos on Fridays? (ok, I did that twice) Today feels like that kind of day. That vid is all kinds of amazing. I'm the slightest bit sad I wasn't really cognizant for the '80s. The main thing I remember from then would be Pound Puppies. And My Little Ponies. So really the cultural movers and shakers of the decade. Let's quickly delve into social niceties, shall we? (yes) Ok. This is never the correct way this should go: Person 1: How're you? Person 2: Oh, pretty exhausted. Person 1: Oh, yeah, me too. ....see what happened there? The conversation just dead-ended. This can also be applied to the "Oh man, I'm so overwhelmed with stuff" "Oh, me too" exchange. As human beings, one of our evolutionary goals is to be less focused on the self and more concerned with our fellow man. True, our current self-focused age kind of sucks ass at that, but we should still make an EFFORT. In the above, you

Westerns and Regency Ladies, Plus My Terrible Knowledge of Geography

I usually like to give people a mid-week blogging break, and that usually happens on Wednesday, but people like having more stuff in their feed, right? Totally. Plus I feel like updating. In typical obsessive fashion, I've gone from dismissing opera singer Diana Damrau as "some Czech dramatic soprano" (I'm totes not anti-Czech -- ahoj!) to buying four of her operas on DVD ( see other blog ). So that's happening. Oh, and she's not Czech, she's German. I think I confused her with  Elīna Garanča. Who also isn't Czech; she's Latvian, but it's closer? Linguistically? I'm gonna stop now. This is the part of my life you don't normally see, people. Be glad. I started The Sisters Brothers , and DAMN that is a well-crafted book. Based on the first like ten pages. I wasn't expecting to like it, because Western-type books with gruff men whose closest relationships are with their ponies don't quite tally with my love of books that have ch

Blogging and TALKING About Blogging (oh how meta)

I've had this thing for over a year now. Shall we hearken back to those early days? Brontes vs Sea Turtles, essays on why you should shut up about the Kindle ruining reading, and days when I just posted internet-generated memes saying what kind of book I was. Days we're all well shut of. These were accompanied by various moany emails to friends such as: Looking at too man y  book   blogs  makes one frustrated with everyone ever. Although I later decided I was being judgmental and horrible and who was I to decide what inspired people in their lives, and maybe they needed the help of a Jodi Picoult or a Chicken Noodle Soup for the Blah Blah Soul. But, as is the case with most populated areas, you have to wade through a lot of shit (wait...eww) and when you find one blessed floating door like the one Kate Winslet clings to in Titanic  (a movie soon to become relevant again!), you get on and cling to it while singing a jaunty but contextually poignant song, and then get picked up b

The Woman in White: The Beginnining

You think the title of the post is a typo, but it is not. THE WOMAN IN WHITE APRIL READALONG HAS BEGUN. Today is the day we discuss our preconceptions and how ridiculous we think Wilkie Collins is. As mentioned in  the sign-up post , I thought this was a ghost story for basically forever. Because it sounds like one. When is there ever an ALIVE "Woman in White"? Lady in Red, I'll grant you. I quote from an obviously completely reputable website called "Bizarre Bytes": Many, many, MANY cultures have a White Lady figure in their mythology.  In medieval times in England, The White Lady would act as a harbinger of death – appearing night and day in a home where someone is about to die. So just to beat this putrefying horse further into the ground (aww), it sounds like there should be a ghost, and I am put out about this. But enough people have said "OMG WOMAN IN WHITE I ENJOYED IT SO" that it is ok. Wilkie Collins. I look on him with suspicion bec

Teenagers Are Idiots

Journal Entry at age 16: I'm not sure I want to read more of Edith Wharton's books, but I feel like she's a very good author and I would go to the library or bookstore and get all her stuff if she weren't so depressing! I want to pat my former self on the head and go "You no talk more about books." I even used the fatal exclamation point. "The Exclamation Point: Guaranteed to make anything placed before it sound lame."' This is the same self who wrote at 17 about Les Misérables : " Poor Fantine! I mean, I don't want to sound stupid, but this book's sad! :) " Yeah. I wrote a smiley face. At myself. Damn you, teenage years. Jennifer Lawrence gifs make everything better