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Showing posts from April, 2013

Readathon: Post the Last

Omg. Today.

Today actually kicked major ass. I worked on a ridiculous amount of music, read, drank multiple almond milk/banana/cranberry juice smoothies, finished all my hummus, and bought a cardigan, pencil skirt and necklace.


Book-wise (which I guess is the point of all this), I caught up to last Friday's reading for Harry Potter (yay...), finished a couple chapters of The Drood Murder Case, actually picked up How the Irish Saved Civilization (it's been a while) and learned a li'l something about St Patrick, almost lost my shit over Mary Wollstonecraft's writing in Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and FINISHED Lamb.

Yes, I finished a book I'd already started.


If I can just reproduce here the first sentence of Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and we can bear in mind that it was written in 1792, that'd be swell:
After considering the historic page, and viewing the living world with anxious solicitude, the most melancholy emotions of sorrowful indignation hav…

Readathon: Post the Second

I have a ton of music I need to be working on, so I've been alternating between that and reading. I'm about 60 pages from the end of Lamb, and I'm nearing the halfway point of The Drood Murder Case, which is basically a collection of essays written by a REALLY enthusiastic Drood fan in the 1950s.

Drood's a half-finished novel, and as it is in fact The Mystery of Edwin Drood, there are a ton of mysteries left unsolved (thanks for dying, DICKENS). This author guy has some theories. A lot of theories. And as far as I can tell, they are awesome theories. Like WHO IS DICK DATCHERY. Oh, he has an idea. And I now completely agree with him and will fight anyone who disagrees because they will be WRONG.

Got through some of Half-Blood Prince, and am slowly remembering how pissed off I was when I read it the first time and was SO CONVINCED that Ron and Hermione would finally make out, and then JK engineers this stupid fight which then is PROLONGED because Ginny told Ron he wasn'…

Readathon: Post Uno

READATHON IS HEEEERE. Ok, I have pictures. And yes, I was supposed to start at 7, but I passed out last night WITH MY CONTACTS IN, so when I awoke at 7:45, a good deal of time was spent showering and making myself un-disgusting.

Now, first hour survey that I missed two hours ago:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. It is gorgeously sunny and I expect to see people wandering around in shock like you would if you were a fire poker employed at the Beast's castle and it's right after Belle kisses him.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Weirdly enough, I think it's The Drood Murder Case. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I've been looking forward to the item pictured below for DAYS and I am glad it isn't in fact gross.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I sing opera. I ship a lot of couples. If I could be a cryptozoologist-opera singer, I'd consider my life made.

5) If you participa…

Harry Potter Readalong, Half-Blood Prince II: "Dumbledore's man through and through, aren't you, Potter?"

And yet again, I did not finish the reading. LOOK LIFE IS BUSY RIGHT NOW. But I did do some of it. And I skimmed the other parts. So we're all set.

Regarding this section: I. Love. Backstory. I love backstory so much, if you give me 5% current day situation and devote the rest of your book to backstory, I WILL LOVE YOUR BOOK 95% MORE. This is a big reason I'm liking A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I started prior to Saturday's readathon because I have no regard for your "standard practices."


So when they just spend large amounts of time visiting Tom Riddle's past, oh so very happy am I. Then it reverts back to present day and there seems to be some trouble on the Quidditch team, and okay. I guess I'm on board with that. But sekritly I'm hoping there'll be more backstory. And then there is! Oh happy day. We also get flights of verbal fancy with Dumbledore:

"From this point forth, we shall be leaving the firm foundations of fact and journeying …

The Graveyard Book: Hey, I Liked a Neil Gaiman Book

"Someone killed my mother and my father and my sister.""Yes. Someone did.""A man?"""A man.""Which means,' said Bod, "you're asking the wrong question."Silas raised an eyebrow. "How so?""Well," said Bod. "If I go outside in the world, the question isn't 'who will keep me safe from him?'""No?""No. It's 'who will keep him safe from me?'"
After reading Good Omens -- which is stellar and if you haven't read it you should, good Lord, get on that -- I had a theory based on basically nothing that you were either a Neil Gaiman fan or a Terry Pratchett fan. Meaning, more precisely, a fan of their writing. I'd tried Stardust and disliked it, then American Gods and disliked it, and what I ended up deciding was that Neil Gaiman has good ideas, but is not great when it comes to getting them down on paper.

I'd like to change that conclusion a bit and…

Readathon? More like ReadaFUN, amirite?

Readathon? Readathon. This Saturday. Very exciting. I HAVE BOOKS I WILL FINISH. Because I like piles of things and lists, here are the things I'm contemplating working on:

Lamb, Christopher Moore
Half-Blood Prince, Rowling
The Drood Murder Case, No Idea Who Wrote It
How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill
Passions Between Women, Emma Donoghue
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

THAT'S DOABLE RIGHT? Given that the last readathon I participated in, when I was visiting my parents and therefore BUSY eating things I didn't have to pay for, I read Winnie the Pooh annnnd that's it.


But it's not like I'm actually gonna read all of those. I just like options. When I take a bath, I bring like three books with me. Because what if. What if. But if I don't finish Lamb this week, I'll kick my own ass. I have like 100 pages left. I also just renewed The Drood Murder Case at the library, but it was the kind o…

Harry Potter Readalong, Half-Blood Prince I

Few things.

1. I absolutely did not get past page 21 in the reading this week and unfortunately we are now at the point of the readalong where I do not know the books well enough to remember things.

2. I have things to say aside from Horace Slughorn anyway, so I am ok with this.

First, ANNOUNCEMENTS. People seem to be all right with making this book happen in THREE weeks instead of four, as it's a bit shorter than the last couple, so we're going to change the reading for next week to be Chapters 8 through 18, which ends on QUITE a cliffhanger, let me tell you.

With this change, we'll have a spare week in the month, which is fantastic because regardless I was going to make us take a week before Deathly Hallows and read The Tales of Beedle the Bard. If you do not have a copy of this, please obtain one from your local library. Or just buy it 'cause it's like eight bucks and it is excellent.


ALSO, I have made a promise that due to JKR's terribleness at shipping cou…

Books I have been meaning to read for a billion years (or thereabouts)

Who knows if I'll ever actually get to these. But one can hope.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Obviously. I made it like 50 pages into this over a year ago. It's been wedged between my bed and the wall since then. Look, it's REALLY good. It's also a million pages long. WHY DID YOU DO THIS, SUSANNA CLARKE WHY. I remember having a copy of this while in college. Another copy was given to me in 2009 in a New York City hotel room by a friend visiting from Germany. And it remains unread.

John Adams. I've started this so many times. I've owned it for over ten years. That is EMBARRASSING. I was in high school when I bought it. I didn't even know how to drive, or that Evelyn Waugh was a gentleman and not a lady, or that hummus is delicious. THAT IS HOW LONG I HAVE OWNED THIS BOOK. I think I made it to his marriage with Abigail right before visiting Boston three years ago, but then I stopped again.

Little Altars Everywhere. I read The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Si…

No one knows who George Sand is, so let's fix that

Okay, so what my last post proved is that no one knows shit about George Sand. We're about to change all that. GATHER ROUND ME, CHILDREN, FOR I HAVE JUST DONE INTERNET RESEARCH.



George Sand was born in 1804 with the EXTREMELY FRENCH ladyname of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin. Good. Job. So she was born right when Napoleon was all 'KABOOM! I am your emperor' and as far as I know, the French were like 'Hey, we just killed a whole bunch of people trying to end that, but ok.' So she's born when that's going on, and also the same year that the Napoleonic Code is adopted, which is basically all "I'm gonna be an asshole to women." 

She eventually has something to say regarding that. But as a baby she was probably pretty chill about it.

When she's 18 (let's skip all those formative years), she marries a guy called "Baron Casimir Dudevant," making her (in my mind) Baroness Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin-Dudevant. Which is awesome.

Nine years …

George Sand probably loved carrot cake

I hope if George Sand were living today, she'd write for Jezebel. But only if she were like 30. When you're older, it's not so much the site for you. But then the question is WAS Sand funny enough for Jezebel? Maybe. But because her work seems to be primarily "Women's rights! Serious things!" I am not sure. And I base this entirely off the one book of hers I've read, Indiana.

Fun story about Indiana, I was taking a French lit course, and I remember thinking 'Huh. We haven't had a paper due in awhile.' And ON THAT VERY DAY, I show up to class and everyone gets out their five page papers and I, of course, go "Merde." But the professor gave me the weekend to finish it, which ended up being a Simpsons moment, because the University of Illinois had their first snow day in 30 years that Monday, and I had to spent it indoors, staring at Indiana and trying to figure out how it was a literary precursor to Naturalism. FUN TIMES.

There're som…

Harry Potter Readalong, Order of the Phoenix IV: "When you say 'Sirius,' are you talking about Stubby Boardman?"

Let's get one thing clear right from the start on this. McGonagall gets hit by four Stunning spells to the chest. They bring her inside. Do you go back to the common room and say "She's not exactly young, is she?"

FUCK NO. You RUN YOUR ASS DOWN TO THE INFIRMARY and you pound on the door WHILE SOBBING and you find the fuck out whether she is alive and what you can do and how you can help if at all but WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU EVERY STUDENT IN GRYFFINDOR EXCEPT MAYBE LAVENDER THIS IS REALLY THE FIRST TIME I'VE LIKED YOU. DAMNIT GRYFFINDOR.


 Ginny. Luna. Neville. Good Lord, I love them.
"Ginny?" Harry asked fearfully. "What happened?" But Ginny shook her head and slid down the wall into a sitting position, panting and holding her ankle.
"Anyway, one of them grabbed Ginny's foot, I used the Reductor Curse and blew up Pluto in his face, but..." 
"DON'D GIB ID DO DEM!" roared Neville, who seemed beside himself, kicking and writ…

First 50 Pages, ANOTHER INSTALLMENT

You know when it gets to Thursday and you're like "DAMN all I've updated about this week is a 1980s stunning tv drama about a lion man"? Yeah, so, welcome to another edition of I Review the First 50 Pages of Books Because I Can't Seem to Finish Any.

Valencia, Michelle Tea. I saw this when I was making a list for people of important lesbian lit and doin' some research, 'cause really I'm just all up in Sarah Waters and Emma Donoghue. But this was on a bunch of other people's lists, so when I was at the library, I picked it up. And immediately almost put it down, because it seemed so very Not My Sort of Book. The main character (who is Michelle Tea) lives in San Francisco in the '90s and is very...does drugs/gives herself tattoos/doesn't hold a job/becomes a prostitute for a while/etc. I don't do that kind of book. Except THIS IS SO GOOD. She's a poet, and you can tell from her prose style, which has delightful sentences such as:

We wer…

Murdery things, subterranean lion men, lady music

YOU GUYS I READ SHARP OBJECTS. And basically it was ok-not-great. This is Gillian Flynn's first book, and while it involves murder (hurrayyy kind of), it's also got a lot of shit about the narrator girl and cutting, but instead of normal cutting, she cuts WORDS into herself, and I'm sure this is supposed to be very interesting, but I was mainly exasperated by it because it seemed like a Literary Thing.

I was SLIGHTLY surprised by one of the twists, but overall, meh. Gillian Flynn's good if you read her quickly. Otherwise it kind of feels like a waste. Her prose isn't good enough to single her out as a writer, so it's mainly a plot-driven read. And she's really into psychotic women, which I can get behind, but if that's always your plot device, then your books are going to get predictable.



In the past, I've mentioned how life is EXCITING because new awesome things are being created all the time, while there are also thousands of things that have been a…

Harry Potter Readalong, Order of the Phoenix III: "*are you quite sure you wouldn't like a cough drop, Dolores*?"

I'm basically furious with myself for not having done any of the reading this week, because as I skim it, I see that all the best parts of the book are pretty much in this particular section. Good job, me.


First of all, does anyone remember when this book was coming out? J.K. Rowling let loose a rumor. The rumor was that someone important would die. This turned out to be THE MEANEST THING EVER because there are about three times you think someone's going to die before someone actually does.

Time number one — I think — is here with Arthur Weasley. 'THIS IS IT' I thought as I read it the first time. 'NO NOT ARTHUR WHAT WILL MOLLY DO NOOOOOO.' But then it was okay. The second one was much, much worse, but we haven't gotten there yet.

"I forgot," he said.
"Lucky you," said Ginny coolly.

Just to remind everyone AGAIN that Ginny is a badass and let's all appreciate the shit out of her during this readalong. I don't even want her to end up w…

Say Anything is Really Just a Remake of The Barretts of Wimpole Street

Does everyone know about the Brownings? Sweet, romantic story where she was this bedridden (kind of), acclaimed poetess, and he was this dashing young man six years her junior who was all Say Anything holding up a boombox outside her window in love with her. And they got married and it's really cute.

BUT -- and this is not my area, so this is wholly based off what I learned like eight years ago in my Victorian lit class -- he was kinda jealous of her and her fame and awesome poetry. Because he wrote poems too. Mostly monologuey, dramatic poems, a conclusion I base entirely off 'My Last Duchess' and 'Ulysses,' which isn't even BY him but because we read it at the same time as My Last Duchess, I keep thinking they're both by Browning (Tennyson wrote 'Ulysses' and it is the shittiest of poems because ODYSSEUS AND PENELOPE FOREVER you bastard).

This is all to preface that I've kind of always seen Robert Browning as this lesser poet next to EBB, beca…

"I hate the way you make me feel!" Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On

I wasn't going to update today. I wasn't. But then I saw on Alley's blog that Top Ten Tuesday's topic was AMAZING and so here we are. Thanks, Broke and the Bookish, for being awesome.

Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On

It's supposed to be "...if I were a fictional character," but screw that, I DO crush on these people.


1. Moiraine Damodred, The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan. THIS IS THE FIRST PERSON THAT CAME TO MIND. And I read that book ten years ago. Moiraine is a badass. She's an Aes Sedai, which is...I dunno, some kind of lady wizard? It's been a while. I just remember she's awesome and when she started screaming at the end of one chapter I FROZE THE SHIT UP because Moiraine doesn't scream. So whatever was happening was really. really. really bad.

2. Jamie Fraser, Outlander, Diana Gabalalabadon.  Um, shut up, because Jamie is perfectly calculated to make everyone fall in love with him. "Oh, you're handsome and tall and brave …

March = Getting Things DONE

March was a stellar month for reading, people. And by reading I mean 'for me finishing books.' Since that so rarely happens, let's examine them in all their mostly super-easy glory:

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The Wilder Life
Diana Victrix
Moranthology
Surpassing the Love of Men
Anna and the French Kiss
Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together


FINE three of those are half the Scott Pilgrim series and they take like half an hour to read, but WHATEVER THEY ARE SEPARATE BOOKS. I'm also about halfway done with Lamb and Order of the Phoenix, and working on a bio of Nell Ternan named The Invisible Woman which is QUITE good, plus I just started The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin because I am now obsessed with the Supreme Court.

I already did reviews of a lot of the above books. Wilder Life was entertaining, plus I enjoy non-fiction books where people go out on adventures — especially adventures that involve butter churns. Diana Victrix …