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Showing posts from May, 2013

I got more books because of reasons

I am officially older. As you know if you follow me on absolutely any social media. BUT FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT, I decorated a cake for myself: And, of course, despite my idiotic current state re books (OMG YOU GUYS I HAVE 28 ITEMS CHECKED OUT FROM THE LIBRARY AND I CAN ONLY CHECK OUT 30 MAX I HAVE A PROBLEM HELP MEEEE), I got some more of them. So...Champaign, Illinois is home to the University of Illinois (where I went and it is awesome, so be aware). There are university people and there are townies, and the two clash in the Books section of Goodwill. I found a multi-volume set of the diaries of Samuel Pepys there last December. There's also, of course, a panoply of semi-creatively-named romance novels. So of course I found Victorian People and Ideas , because what Goodwill DOESN'T have that, and also Speak  by Laurie Halse Anderson, which I am scared  of, because it deals with Serious Things, but it seems to be one of those Actually Good YA Novels, and I'

Truth & Beauty Is a Book You Should Read

I am at peace with the fact that Ann Patchett and I could never TRULY be best friends. Even though it'd be super WAY AWESOME and she'd call and be like "Alice, I can't get this chapter done" and I'd be like "Don't sweat it, Ann, let's go get cheese fries!" and we WOULD and then she'd finish her book and be all "This book is dedicated to Alice and also cheese fries" and I'd be like "GOOD JOB INCLUDING THE CHEESE FRIES." Because I am a good friend who shares credit for things. With some writing, I can't pinpoint why it's good — it's just good. And that's Ann Patchett. I will read anything she writes, and I can count the number of authors I'll do that for on one hand (another is Rainbow Rowell, 'cause damn, get it, girl). When I was 13 and newly into opera, I read Bel Canto because I was told the main character's voice was based on Renée Fleming's, and opera people were alllll ab

Appointment in Samarra: A Fabulous Book With a Snazzy Cover

Someone at Penguin asked if I would like to review Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara if they sent me a shiny (not actually shiny) copy, to which I internally said in a suspicious tone 'Whassthis?' And so TO GOOGLE I WENT, where I discovered that it is in fact a fairly well-known American novel from 1934. I will review all the fairly well-known American novels from 1934. The story's set in the semi-fictional town of Gibbsville, Pennsylvania (let it be known that O'Hara comes from a town called "Pottsville" in Pennsylvania) and concerns the "Lantenego Street set," which means the Richie Riches of Gibbsville — or more particularly, a man named Julian English, but the narrative bounces around a bit to other perspectives (all people, however, who know Julian English). The way I think of this book is like Fitzgerald, but a Fitzgerald where women are actually people and not a caricatured/poorly outlined/purposefully blurred set of dream gir

Harry Potter Readalong, Deathly Hallows II: My copy is in Chicago so I have no quote

YOU GUYS I WAS WATCHING GOLDEN GIRLS WITH MY LITTLE BROTHER AND EATING A BAGUETTE DIPPED IN HUMMUS AND I FORGOT TO POST Here's what I wrote on the train home: Look. I LIKE the never-ending camping trip. Deathly Hallows pt I is my favorite of all the movies, and it’s because it takes its damn time. It isn’t all “WHIZ! BANG! EXPLODING CAKES!” Harry, Ron and Hermione have spent the last six years growing up, having at times silly teenage adventures, and now this is them being serious and getting shit done and being relatable humans. Humans who have to destroy pieces of a dark wizard’s soul that are housed in magical objects so that one of them can try to kill him in an epic battle. STILL RELATABLE. I like when things happen that have actual consequences. The school years are great, but they’re so insular. Everything is at Hogwarts or its immediate environs, and Dumbledore’s always there as a kind of safety blanket. Now it is just them, and they’re trying so hard to make i

"Second Place" is really just synonymous with a one-way ticket to Losertown

So the BookRiot thing has passed, and I have gained the title of "second place loser person." But I remain content in the knowledge that the girl who won doesn't use shit like this: Tracy Jordan's mental image of Harriet Tubman So who's the REAL winner? Still her. But that's ok. totally ok I'm going home for the first time in five months this weekend, which is RIDICULOUS because I usually go home once a month because I have a younger brother and he and I need bonding time, but instead my parents have been coming up here, for I have had commitments and so forth that have not permitted me to journey beyond the city limits.  My mother has promised me hummus and chocolate cake (I get officially older on Saturday, as one of my older brothers did earlier this week, and as my little brother will next week), so I am GOOD TO GO. So long as I also get Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I really want to read that. My parents' house is weird, because

Summer causes stupidity and so forth

I'm feeling genuinely overwhelmed by the number of books I am not reading right now. Which never happens, because I need lots of things going on or I get bored, so usually it's all 'YES TEN BOOKS GO GO GO.' But since I have not actually been 'reading' and instead just keep getting books from the library, it's causing a bit of a panic. I have 21 non-music books out from the library, plus six eBooks. This is dumb. Especially since my at-home-on-the-shelf TBR list is around 200 right now. BUT LIBRARY BOOKS ARE FREE. And then you have them. For nine weeks, at which point the library says "No, you may not have these anymore unless you bring them in and check them out again," which I say is ridiculous because why nine weeks, and if no one else wants them, gimme more than three renewals, damnit. I can't be scooting down to the library every week; I got shit to do. We're not even going to get into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , bec

A post where I do a vlog about Victorian authors and forget that Dickens was a person who existed

BEA people, I'm scared you don't have enough info about me and my many facial expressions and that something will happen to alarm you, so HERE IS A VLOG. It's five minutes long, which just seems presumptuous, but since this is the internet, you can turn it off whenevs. Also the quality is shitty, but...yeah. I'm high-def in real life. Or something. That sounds like a come on. Which it isn't. OR IS IT.

Harry Potter Readalong, Deathly Hallows I: "Oh well, lucky we've got such a large supply of basilisk fangs, then."

UGH THIS BOOK OMG. I'm crying more this time than the first time. Probably because the first time, I was in a race against the clock to finish it since EVERYONE WAS READING IT AT THE SAME TIME and I knew if I didn't finish it in two days, no one would want to still be talking about it when I was done. So this time I get to emotionally feel every single heartwrenchingly terrible thing. Awesome. Last time I didn't cry over Hedwig. This time I was a mess . Complete mess, sitting in my living room, sobbing over my book. One of the things I love most about J.K. Rowling is she can have you weeping on one page and then laughing on the next  damn one, leaving you a hiccuping, laughing, crying wreck of a human being. KREACHER. And the wedding. And everyone being all grown-up and Ron learning how to not be an asshole to Hermione and eeeeverything omg. I don't know how you can't just sob through the whole book. In conclusion, here's stuff from its midnig

Vote for Me and Rope Your Family Into This — I Have More Hilarious Pictures

I googled Panda Celebration and got this:  Just one of the many items relevant to your life and interests you will find on this blog. Written by me! Now, how can you support more things like panda celebration and this guy ? And stuff like this?: IT'S A CAT GONDOLIER OBVS BY VOTING FOR ME AT BOOK RIOT'S THING . What you do is you go to that page and you click the 'like' under the title. So yeah, it's a Facebook thing. And if you share it with people and tell me, I will draw you a card using Pixlr (in other words, an extra terrible card). If you just like it, I will find you a hilarious internet picture. Some might call this bribery. I call it Awesome Unicorn Coincidental Gifting Powers. But for reals, there are other posts on Book Riot's thing. But all of them are about dudes and none have GIFs. Do you really want to live in a world where THAT'S the thing that's supported? I didn't think so.

Shipping Is My Whatever You Spend Too Much Time and Energy On

Another season, another sighting of Fast-Walking Couple on my way to work. Here's the thing: I love walking. I walk to work every day. It's about a mile and a half, and I take it at a medium pace. I did not realize how unused I have become to fast walking UNTIL Fast-Walking Couple passed me and I suddenly thought 'My readers should -- nay, DESERVE TO KNOW if they are married yet.' So I tried to catch up to them. And OH HOW I TRIED. And oh how my shins yelled at me. But for you -- FOR YOU -- I did it. Looking a bit sweaty and disheveled, I caught up to them at a light and -- nope. No ring. I even checked the right hand in case they're German. Things learned: 1. She has maybe lost weight, and her highlights look awesome. 2. He is still handsome. 3. They still kiss at the street corner when they say goodbye. I've been shipping couples since maybe age 11. Probably before, but not with any degree of intensity (except regarding Ryu and Chun-Li from th

Cheer up! In the future you'll look back on this time with horror

Looking through my old notes on the Lord Peter Wimsey series makes me supremely happy. Mainly because before I had a book blog, I didn't even try to look at something's "literary merits" (yes, this blog is in fact me trying that). Instead it was all: "Greensleeves will never be the same again. She's SO FLIRTING WITH HIM." "HARRIET LOVES PETER AND HE BOUGHT HER CHESSMEN AHHH." "She's so just waiting for him to make a move. COME ON, PETER! SHE CRIED ON YOUR SHOULDER. " And my first note on the book I was reading concurrently with the Wimsey series: " Twilight 's fairly stupid." Seeing what you thought of books five years ago -- or heaven preserve us, ten years ago -- makes you appreciate how much of an idiot you were back then. And there is a certain kind of comfort knowing that ten years from now, your thoughts on something like  Finnegans Wake will be seen by FutureYou as so much piddle. I'm fairly c

Reading Pathways: George Eliot

All right, folks, I’m entering Book Riot’s  START HERE, Vol. 2  Write-In Giveaway, and obviously I chose to write about George Eliot, because she's the greatest (also because we don't talk about her nearly enough). +++++ Congratulations! You've heard of George Eliot; found out perhaps after an embarrassing conversation that she is in fact a she; and now wish to dive into her body of work. BUT WHERE TO START. This is a question that the internet (meaning I) can answer.  Eliot wrote seven novels + one collection of stories in her lifetime, but you can absolutely get away with reading just three of them. Before getting into that, though, let's look at some background info: 1. As mentioned above, she is a lady. 2. She's a Victorian, but much more of the Trollope variety than the Brontë. Many more gruff but kindly old people and discussions of getting pipes whittled than young people standing on the moors, staring into the middle distance. Consequence of nort

Harry Potter Readalong, Tales of Beedle the Bard: "The only surviving woodcut shows that he had an exceptionally luxuriant beard."

I love The Tales of Beedle the Bard , and I am DELIGHTED that the readalong caused some to read it for the first time. JKR is just a magnificent writer who is so very very good at her genre. And so good at fleshing out her universe! Extremely good. The story of the Hogwarts play-gone-wrong? Fantastic. "A proud non-theatrical tradition that Hogwarts continues to this day" (poor theatre nerds). All the stories are lovely (er, except The Warlock's Hairy Heart , of course) and I want JKR to spend the rest of her life writing other made-up books from the wizarding world and random companion books to HP. That is all I want from her. But that's not exactly an original want. I do have to say though — "Bertrand de Pensées-Profondes"? JK, what is it with you and disliking the French? Because with the possible exception of Madame Maxime, I feel like you do. Maybe it's the English thing. For those unaware, Bertrand's name translates to 'Bertrand of D

This post has taken all day

BEA tailgating is coming up at the end of the month, after which I will hopefully have a post about a quest that has been FIVE MONTHS in the making. Quests are the greatest. I used to think of myself as chivalrous (TAKE BACK THE WORD, LADIES, EVEN THOUGH WE DIDN'T HAVE IT ORIGINALLY), but then I turned into something of a lame-o who needs to borrow her friend's jacket when it's cold and I can no longer claim the term. BUT my love of knight-like questing remains. I'll just do it while wearing someone else's jacket. This New York trip is the most unplanned thing I've ever done. Yes, I have a spreadsheet with my schedule on it, but it has like six things on it for a three day period. How can one GUARANTEE they are going to have fun if one does not schedule all available time? So right now I'm feeling rather adrift, a condition that can surely only be remedied by hanging out a lot with you all who are going to be there. Also by eating things. That'll be go

A Visit from the Goon Squad: It probably needs more hype, right?

Someone, I think it was Laura , advised me to just read Goon Squad straight through. This is excellent advice. For this is one of those novels where you keep switching perspective and seeing characters from different angles/times. If you read it slowly, you'll probably forget things and then be all "Wait, who is this girl and why are they in Africa and why does this one sentence seem fraught with meaning?" Things I love in books: 1. Switching perspectives 2. Backstory 3. Sentences like " Ted deliberated this question while downing three espressos in the hotel lobby, letting the caffeine and vodka greet in his brain like fighting fish. " Now I know that some of you -- those who have held out this long -- are all "Yeah, but it's probably overhyped and I don't want to be all bandwagony and why should I care about this book booooo," so when you see me talking it up, you're like, To you I say: THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC AND MADE ME F

You should all read Auntie Mame and Lord Peter Wimsey

I am a slouchy pile of slouch today due to EVENTS on the weekend. The fact I can type is currently being seen by my brain as a miracle, so forgive me for whatever this post ends up being about. I just feel guilty about a relative lack of updating last week, so HERE ARE MY BRAINTHOUGHTS, INTERNET. Patrick Dennis is vastly, vastly underappreciated. People barely know who he is today, which is just BS, for he is one of my all-time favorite authors (see also: Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, particular A.S. Byatts). He wrote Auntie Mame , which I usually name as my favorite book when forced to answer this stupid question. It's episodic, which is my favorite way a book can be, and there's so much detail in a non-hideously boring way. It's funny and socially advanced (make of that phrase what you will) and I love it. There's also a sequel, which is actually more of a parallel novel (it takes place during Auntie Mame ) called Around the World With Auntie Mame . The copy I origi

Half-Blood Prince III: The Finishining

Sorry, guys. Singing things are taking up real life (that bastard), so I didn't finish. A final HBP post without talking about the last 200 pages seems ridiculous, so I leave it to you all to be awesome in your discussions and bring forth new ideas, etc etc. Luna's Quidditch commentary is obviously the best part of the book. I'll be over here until next week edit: Don't forget we're reading Tales of Beedle the Bard for next week. It will be a rollicking good time.

Lists, because anything else I wrote today would be insane

I've been delinquent in updating (for me), but in my defense, I thought you all might need a break after readathon updates. ALSO I was lazy. And have auditions this week, which always throws my brain into a no-read-books flurry. I have a BUNCH of books I want to review, but I don't feel mentally capable of that at the moment. You see, I -- through covert means -- came into possession late last night of a clip involving Helena Landless and Rosa Bud from The Mystery of Edwin Drood kissing on each other's faces. And that, plus audition adrenaline, plus the first Coke I'd consumed in weeks, plus two episodes of Doctor Who -- including one with GHOSTS that was very scary but which also involved me yelling 'KISS. KIIIIIIIIISS' at the screen until whapped by my friend -- PLUS chatting with my lovely roommate whom I hadn't seen in some days, means I was up very late indeed last night. I AM THE DUCKY SO. For now, here're the books I read in April: S