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Showing posts from February, 2012

*something clever to do with debbie downer*

I'm in a terrible mood today, bloggers. Terrible. One could say I just shouldn't update, but then I wouldn't be updating on LEAP DAY, which cannot be. But this is currently the case, only I just realized I DON'T HAVE COFFEE, which will be remedied.

So then all my post ideas were me being pissed off. First there was one about Charlotte Bronte's new story coming to light and why this WASN'T good news, because it was pre-The Professor, and I don't know if you've read The Professor, but it sucks. Plus the story's going to be translated from bad French and was an exercise for her tutor and is about a rat. I do not consider any of these factors reason for excitement.
So that's part 1 of me being a killjoy. Part 2 was when I started going through old unfinished posts to see if I had any happy ones I could just use now, but no, the reason I didn't post them was because I started typing them and then decided they were too angry. The most likely candida…

Book Hoarding Tendencies

Why, hello. I hope you all had splendid weekends. I went to a concert by this lady on the right here. Emilie Autumn's use of Victoriana draws me in, but then most else about her makes me go "AHHH I DO NOT BELONG HERE." So that was a fun concert. But she uses a HARPSICHORD in her music. And she has a song called 'Shalott.' And 'Thank God I'm Pretty' (both of which are excellent).
Anyway. I name her because almost no one I know knows her music, and it's good enough to hear. I know that's a ringing endorsement. Just go with it.
I have a dream. That dream is to have two shelves worth of books, all tasteful-looking and carefully chosen to reflect me being awesome. The shelves will have been crafted by a local artisan, possibly with inlaid carvings of some of my favorite scenes from literature. Instead, I have a sagging white bookcase from Target with random books I picked up at library sales/used bookstores stacked two deep with other books piled on …

Sunday: Follow that Blog

This is a probably one-time feature, but I have to create it, because HOW DOES THE BLOG 'BAD LIONS' ONLY HAVE SEVEN FOLLOWERS?
I quote from its first post:

Especially in medieval to renaissance work, it always seems like most painters had never even seen a cat before, let alone a lion. Most of the time, it seemed like they were painting based on a description they got in the pub, from someone who knew someone whose cousin once slept with a girl who had seen a lion. From there, they did the best they could.

The lion: art’s great guessing game.

Thus, out of peer pressure, this blog was born.

Please enjoy the man/bear/pigs that follow. 


RIGHT? It's amazing. I recommend every post. People in the past didn't know shit about lions. Bless this blog-runner and her important work.

Attachments: Prepare Yourself for Enthusiasm

Before proceeding any further, you have to be aware that I read books for humor, character development and love stories. I don't really care about anything else. Oh! Good writing. That's kind of implied, but this is why I don't just read romance novels.
This book has ALL THOSE THINGS.
Plus the fun format of emails for about half of it.
Ok, so Lincoln is the new nightshift IT guy for a Nebraska newspaper, meaning he reads emails flagged for inappropriate workplace language and then sends the offenders a warning. Plus I think he does some other IT-y type things, but this is not important.
Two women's emails keep being flagged, but they are so hilarious and heartwarming that he keeps not sending them a warning. And then...then shenanigans happen, i.e. he falls in love with one of them. And NO MORE PLOT. Because it unfolds in a delightful fashion and I love it so. 
I started out being like "ha-hah! this novel is so amusing" and then it turned into "YOU TWO KISS …

Where My Girls At?

Just so you're all aware, moderating comments is not my choice. My blog is not so over-run with companies wishing to force their unwanted advertising on my comment section that I feel the need to do this. It really just creates more work for me ("work" = clicking 'approve' on the comment). But Intense Debate is being wonky, and despite my having written them a stern note apprising them of the situation and wishing for a swift but peaceful resolution, they seem not to have fixed it. Yet. But in the very near future, the moderated comment Walls of Jericho will come tumbling down, and you will instantly be able to see your comment in all its glory without any approval by me necessary. One can only hope.
Are you all aware of the tumblr Better Book Titles? Because you should be:

Which brings me to today's topic. Which I've just now decided will be women in contemporary literature. There're all these strong female characters in literature from the 19th centur…

Today Makes Me Want to Watch The Princess and the Frog

You know what? God bless our weirdo mishmash of a country (assuming you live in America -- if not, bless your weirdo country too). What is today? Mardi Gras. Ok, that's French, gotcha. And we speak English, but we're ok with that. How do we celebrate it? By eating paczkis. Which are...Polish? Right. Fine then.
Oh. This article has now made me think this is perhaps because I live in Chicago, Land of Polish People (outside Poland). In any case, I am currently eating one of these:
In sadder news, due to traveling plans that were finalized yesterday, I am NOT going to BEA. Now before you launch a massive protest, know that I am instead going to Canada, and therefore am being punished enough.
No, for reals, my friend is flying me out to Toronto for my birthday because she lives there, and we shall...do Canadian things, I don't know what yet because I am an American and know nothing about Canada. And I only have SO many vacation days, so something had to be sacrificed, and that som…

Woman in White Readalong-in-April Sign-Up

Were you all PERFECTLY aware that The Woman in White doesn't involve a ghost?? Here I've been thinking that this WHOLE time and I suddenly thought 'wait...what if it doesn't. Then in April you will be most disappointed indeed." And no! Not a single ghost in that whole giant book! So much sadness.


In my defense, there's a for reals (fine, "for reals") ghost called the White Lady. And then there's the book The Woman in Black. Which is about a ghost. So I don't think my expectations were unreasonable. Just in case anyone else had my totally rational reaction, here is the button/graphic/whatever for the readalong (which is April 2-30):


So now I'm just looking with suspicion at this book, because my expectations for it have been dashed and all I know is it's by Wilkie Collins, and that he was kind of nutty. He also had a GIANT forehead. I'm attributing all these things to him being named 'Wilkie,' because that's just silly,…

"Illinois Nazis." "I hate Illinois Nazis."

SO. Last week I believe there was something of a brouhaha over getting to know bloggers. It involved tagging people and so forth, and pretty much everyone I would've tagged was ALREADY tagged, plus I hate tagging, so I eschewed that post, despite there being some lovely questions asked. And now I'm just going to tell you some random items, because personally, I'm very nosy and like to know things about people.
1. Hi. My name's Alice and I sing opera. Or 'am in the process of becoming an opera singer.' Yes. That. Opera is swell and my favorite. I rarely discuss it here because 1) book blog and 2) it tends to bore people because they don't bother to learn anything about it and instead think 'oh. Opera. That's boring.'
2. I live in Chicago and have lived in Illinois since I was four. Illinois is awesome, but very very flat due to a glacier coming through here in the last Ice Age. I learned this in a Geology class I took at the University of Illinois,…

Nick & Norah & Library Addiction

At the Library Yesterday:

Me: Hokay self, you're going to go in, get sheet music and leave. You are NOT allowed to check out anymore books.
Me: Okay, I can do that.
*gets sheet music, heads down escalator to 7th floor on way to 3rd to exit the library*
Me: Oh heyyyy, the 7th floor. I'm just gonna stop here a sec and check out the newly returned fiction.
Me: NO! You are NOT allowed!
Me: I have LOTS of time, thank you, and I'm just gonna look to see if there's stuff I want to get later.
Me: ....fine. But then you have to finish reading Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist.
Me: Fine.
*browses*
Me: Hey, there're two Emma Donoghue books here! And--oh look, The Collector by John Fowles. You've been meaning to read that.
Me: NO! Get away! Why can't you ever just get music and go!
Me: But...checking out this Donoghue short story collection and this book by Fowles will make you happy.
Me: *look of despair* But--I....*hangs head* You're right. Let's get them.

And so go…

Cupidity, Interestingly Enough, Means 'Greed for Money or Possessions'

Oh my goodness, WHAT am I doing not updating on Valentine's Day? Meaning it's still early in the day, but I just realized I hadn't intended to post. RIDICULOUSNESS. Let us celebrate a day of listening to boy bands singing about how much they love you, girl.


All right. We've gotta do it. Favorite couples in literature? I did a post on this WAY back in the day, but who wants to look back that far? Nobody, that's who. So these are couples that made me literally flail, regardless of the overall quality of the book:
Will Ladislaw/Dorothea Brooke, Middlemarch - I read this when I was 19 and I LOVE THEM. Dorothea Brooke is my gold standard for life. I love her. And they are awesome.
Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane - What do you MEAN you haven't read Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey series?? Get on that. It starts with Whose Body?, which isn't that great, but it SWIFTLY improves until becoming amazing. Lord Peter is an English lord in the '20s. He eventual…

"Everybody gets a sculpture of their spirit animal"

Last night I saw The Vow (SO MANY EMOTIONS) and The Woman in Black (SO SCARY) and then came home and watched an episode of Bomb Girls (SO MUCH CANADIAN LESBIANISM). Ok, that isn't really true for the latter, but I have been promised this:

This is tumblr's fault, because there's a fuckyeahkateandbetty tumblr, and it posted pictures of ladies in period clothing, and so obviously I had to get on that train. *puts on train-riding hat*
Bookish update inDEED. Let's see. I am reading Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, because I like to challenge myself with literature that both pushes the envelope and makes me reconsider the basic tenets of life that I hold near and dear to my heart. I am not reading it because it is YA and therefore easy. That would be ridiculous.
Also Portia de Rossi's Unbearable Lightness, which I've just started, but is REALLY good. Julie from Contractually Obligated to Like Books and I are weirdly big fans of Better Off Ted, which is a show t…

Lois Lowry Does Not Only Write About Sad Things

Hey, remember when we were all nine and read The Giver, because obviously we're all the same age and were assigned the same books in school? I remember that. So that was pretty much my entire exposure to Lois Lowry, and The Giver is not the most "up" of novels. 

But look at this book! The Willoughbys, written for people CONSIDERABLY younger than myself. It's about four children who deem themselves old-fashioned and have horrible parents, and then one day the parents decide to rid themselves of their children at the same time that the children decide to rid themselves of their parents. Which is not actually the main point of the book, but never mind. It's crazy-short, and you can probably read it in like an hour, but I highly enjoyed it because of lines like this:
"And then there are the two that I can't tell apart," Mrs. Willoughby went on. "The ones with the sweater." 
"The twins."  "Yes, them. Why on earth do they look so much…

Before I Go To Sleep: Getting Its Own Undeserved Post

All right. As is always the case, I have only a vague idea of what I'm going to say, but I'm gonna type some stuff out and by the end of this post, it will hopefully seem like something well-thought-out. Or at least have a hilarious picture (the latter is guaranteed).
After reading Raych's post on Before I Go To Sleep, I thought 'Hm. I like mysteries as much as the next fellow. What-ho, onward and so forth!' By which I mean I added it to my to-reads list on goodreads and then put it on my library Kindle queue.
For those unaware of its plot, this is BASICALLY it: a woman wakes up not knowing who she is, where she is, or who the dude in bed with her is. When she sees herself in the mirror, she's 20 years older than she expects to be. The dude is all "I'm Ben, I'm your husband, you had an accident and have 50 First Dates syndrome so you only remember before the accident and your brain resets itself every night when you sleep" (by the way, I fully a…

No Birthday Hat for You, Dickens

Aw, you guys, it's Dickens' 200th birthday. Back when I tried harder on here, I wrote two posts concerning him. They are:

Dickens vs Austen Cage Match

Dickens and My Kind of Overblown Prejudice Against Him

Since I rarely go to linked posts, I'm going to assume you won't, so I can with impunity just repost a line or two from those. Namely, that Dickens’ particular brand of hypocritical asshattery came about because, despite his constant assertions of how wonderful the Victorian nuclear family can be, he leaves his wife in 1858 and takes up with – dear God – an actress
I love his books. I do. But he's one of many authors I would have zero interest in meeting. We could time travel back to Victorian days and you could say "Alice! By George [for we would be awesome and adapt to the language], Dickens is directly down the street! Let us go hear him expound upon matters and some such things!"
And I would say "If I wished to hear someone I don't respect spe…

Back, Having Painted With All the Colors of the Wind

The Presbyterian Woman Annual Retreat high has been somewhat tempered by my acquiring a migraine (at great personal cost. hah! puns). So as I lay here in my bed, helped not at all by ibuprofen and being extraordinarily bored by endless Facebook updates regarding the Super Bowl, I thought I'd update my book blog on — surprise! — something only vaguely book-related.
First off, look at this:

Calm and peaceful the retreat was! As one might expect. Hail, Wisconsin and so forth. I saw stars! I live in downtown Chicago; do you know the last time I saw stars? The answer would be NEVER. NEVER STARS. But thanks to the kickass app Star Walk, I went out into the freezing Wisconsin night last night, aimed my phone at the sky and said "A-HA! Castor and Pollux, I see you there by the moon!" Then I dragged an 80-year-old woman outside to look at them with me. And behold, it was magical.
My church, coupled with another church, does this retreat every year. I usually go with some kind of rea…

Wisconsining! Also 18th Century Stuff.

This is perhaps a needless post, but I wouldn't have updated today without it, so look! More internetness to read. 

I am going away!...for the weekend. Meaning the time of the annual Presbyterian Women Church Retreat in Wisconsin is here, which is where I put my phone in airplane mode for two days and go stare at a lake and do hippie activities with about 40 middle-aged women. It is delightful. I am off today and back Sunday afternoon, and taking with me Rules of Civility and the Kindle app on my phone (which I hope only to use if worship/sharing time gets too touchy-feely and I wish to distance myself).
Speaking of apps, after years of waiting, I haveth obtainethed an iPhone and would like app suggestions, because there are TOO MANY to wade through. I'm in thrall to a time-wasting game called TinyZoo (I have giant ground sloths in my zoo!), and I just got StarWalk, because I plan on spending time this weekend staring at the sky and Contemplating the Smallness of Man and the Vas…

Why the Romantics Piss Me Off

I've had a stormy relationship with the Romantics (which is a hilarious joke if you think about it). Mostly, I hate them. Every now and then they'll write something and I'll think 'Oh, now that's pretty,' but overall they're a bunch of emo 20somethings who need to get over how much they like to FEEL. If I want to read about young people weeping over how much they love something, I'll go look at Tumblr (Tumblr is comprised almost entirely of teenage girls writing that 'seriously you guys, my keyboard is covered in tears -- emma watson looked SO pretty tonight'). Because honestly, I'd prefer that to some 25-year-old man crying because a mountain is really really big.
What set this off was seeing this picture of Thomas Chatterton:

He's apparently considered the first English Romantic poet. He, of course, committed suicide (it was maybe an accident) at age 17.  Of course. But look at that picture! Look at it! Can you BLAME the Victorians for r…