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Showing posts from March, 2015

Villette continues: "Good-night, Dr. John; you are good, you are beautiful; but you are not mine" and other words a 16-year-old can relate to

This...is a bonnet-grec. If you search "smoking cap" you will find a vast assortment of vaguely similar and horrifying hats. This is what M. Paul wears basically all the time.

And how about that M. Paul. How about that guy. Huh. He's got some pretty major red flags where, if Lucy were my friend, I'd be going "helllllllllllllll no," but Lucy HAS no friends.

You know what? Wait. That is bullshit. Lucy totally has friends. Lucy just doesn't like anyone. Except for Pauline, which she acknowledged was an abnormality. People try to be Lucy's friend and Lucy basically tells them to fuck off, which, to be honest, I kind of enjoy. Especially her amazing series of exchanges with Ginevra. She's constantly either sarcastic or flat-out mean to her, and Ginevra's just like "haha whatever bestiiiiiies."


But seriously, I know we always out someone in these Victorian readalongs, but Lucy seems straight as an arrow and our ONLY candidate seems to be Gi…

Books I Am Idiotically Reading Right Now

The idiocy in the title refers to the fact that my brain refuses to focus on one book, BUT I am currently in three book groups, so this is at least partially not entirely my fault. Unless you count joining three groups as a fault. Which it should NOT be.

Right now I am reading:

Villette, Charlotte Bronte. But you all knew that. I honestly do not think I'd be able to finish this one on my own, no matter how much I might exclaim over it. It's one of those works of art where it seems very important, but I do not look to it for pleasure reading.

How Jesus Became God, Bart Ehrman. I mean. I disagree with Mr Ehrman thus far, but he makes some historical observations that I ACCEPT. Because historical records make me.

Facing Love Addiction, Pia Mellody. My pastor has the young ladies at church reading this. I started out going "psh" and then I was all "YES YES EXACTLY." So. First self help book is deemed helpful.

bird by bird, Anne Lamott. Yes, yes, everyone loves this …

The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters: 1800s Egyptian Archaeology, Romance, and Mystery!

I was very hesitant to begin the Amelia Peabody series. So hesitant that after I acquired the first two books, I let them sit on my shelves for at least the same number of years. Now, while this is not unusual for books I own, what IS unusual is that I was consciously avoiding them. You see, when you grow up reading a lot of historical lady novels, you cannot help but encounter the Anachronistic Feminist, and UGH. Ugh I say! The anachronistic feminist is a salient part of an unfortunate number of historical novels. Historical novelists! Your characters must be informed by their times! Stop investing them with contemporary-to-yourself values!


So when I finally began Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first in the Amelia Peabody series, I assumed I would hate it. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when no! She is conscious of improprieties! She is shocked by things people would be shocked by back then! Sometimes she throws cultural norms to the wind, but that is because it is Egyptian wind and they have mo…

New York City: So many people. None of whom thought of alleys.

Why did you not put alleys between your buildings, New York? Did you just need to smush up against each other THAT much? Evidently yes, because you're willing to tolerate your trash sitting out on the sidewalk like it's the damn 14th century. 

Anyway. Let's get started.


I arrived in NYC late Thursday night, as is my wont so I can get that sweet sweet morning time in on Friday. Said morning time was spent watching Broad City with my brother Carl until I had to meet Jeff from Other Press for lunch. We went to a place called Smorgas. They had Scandinavian food. I classified this as "adventurous."


I got the gravlaks sandwich. I am still unsure what gravlaks is/are, but we also got herring, so now I feel like I can see The Girl King and feel like I am THERE. Also, hey, Scandinavia, lingonberries taste of nothing. You are all fooling yourselves.


It wet-snowed all day Friday, which is why I had the voluminous hat seen in the first picture, which I stole from my brother-in-l…

Villette: "Swallowing tears as if they had been wine" and other goth lyrics by Charlotte Bronte

Behold! Almost 2/3 done. Next week is Chapters 27 through 33. This week, Lucy Snowe continues to be weird, and Graham keeps saying unsettling things to his mother that make me think those two need to make some other friends. Or maybe have Lucy move in. You guys are making everyone uncomfortable with your Titania/Bottom talk and your "Mother, you are better to me than ten wives yet." That wouldn't fly in 2015, sir. Please, CB, be aware of norms in future eras and adapt your books accordingly.

Lucy was mainly obsessed with letters in this section. Letters from Graham. Also tiny Paulina showed up again as we all knew she would because oh, isn't it nice dramatically to have her come around again. Also -- CHARLOTTE. Why has everyone from your character's past moved to the same Belgian town. WHY. I have suspended my disbelief for your book, but there are limits. 


I am unsure about other people's dealings with waited-for letters/emails/whatever, but I thought the sect…

What, do YOU finish books?

Oh my, what's been happening. Well. I have been acting as a reader of all books, finisher of none, which comes as a surprise to precisely nobody.

I wrote a thing for Book Riot! And I'm going to NYC again, where I shall visit the delightful Jeff from Other Press, first mentioned in that post where I questioned Donna Tartt; Meghan from Little, Brown, whom I met at BEA last year and then talked with into the wee smalls; Blair from Quirk, whom I also met at BEA and have since closed down a Chicago bar with; and Alley, whom you all know and love and her blog is right here.

While I'm sad not to see Amanda from Book Riot and Emily from As the Crowe Flies (and Reads), BEA will be in Chicago next year! And I live in Chicago! That is THE most convenient. Unlike this year, when it's in NYC again and I am going to California instead because I am turning THIRTY, and while age 25, aka Golden Birthday, was spent seeing the home of my high school beard, John Adams, age 30 is going to be…

Villette Is the Best, Week 3

Villette is damn astounding. People try to "write fiction" and end up giving us something fake and mechanized, and while it can occasionally be entertaining, it is not humanity written down on paper.

VILLETTE. You're such a weird mix of overly-fanciful prose and Charlotte Bronte's obvious angst spilling into her book. Everyone in her life had died except her father, and who knows about that relationship. She'd started out with four sisters and a brother and in 1853 she was alone. At 37 years old. Lucy Snowe just pours her damn self into this book and doesn't care if you like it or not. CB's struggles with depression and attempts to continue life after her family was gone are just there on the page. I mean, good LORD:

She may have gone upward, and come in sight of her eternal home, hoping for leave to rest now, and deeming that her painful union with matter was at last dissolved. While she so deemed, an angel may have warned her away from heaven's thres…

The Bachelor and a Bachelor-Themed Book: The Bacheloriest Post Ever

The Bachelor seems like a terrible show, right? It's the 21st century and we're throwing 30 women at a man so he can evaluate them based on the everyday dating situations of going to Bali or having to write a country song and then perform it in front of him and the six other women he's also currently dating.

As a lesbian/feminist/whatever, I should be appalled, and I sort of am, AND YET. And yet, I watched the entire season this year and then requested previous Bachelor contestant Courtney Robertson's book I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain from HarperCollins. They obliged and now please consider this post a double-review.

First, the show. I am the only one of my friends who thinks Bachelor Chris Soules is attractive. Maybe because I don't picture myself being with him ever ever ever, but he's got a kind of former high school quarterback look to him that's just cute, and he also looks like a very SOLID sort of person…

Villette, Week 2. Charlotte Bronte is a weirdo and does not give a fuuuck if you know it.

You guys, you guys, when you were reading about Lucy, Ginevra and Dr John, did you...maybe...possibly....think of EXACTLY THIS SONG?




Slam dunk song choice, Alice. 


I am liking this book. Charlotte Bronte's grown up a bit.  I feel like Jane Eyre's romance is stripped away and CB's saying "You wanna know how life is? I'll fucking tell you how life is." You know what it isn't? Brooding gentlemen in isolated mansions who fall for the silent but fiery governess. Instead it's teaching at a boarding school and locking children in closets because they suck. Omg I love this Charlotte so much. She's SO MEAN AND JUDGEY. Jane was how she saw herself early on; Lucy Snowe is how she really was. That is my uninformed opinion. And I LOVE Lucy Snowe.

I could, in English, have rolled out readily phrases stigmatizing their proceedings as such proceedings deserved to be stigmatized; and then with some sarcasm, flavoured with contemptuous bitterness for the ringleaders, …

Meghan Trainor did a concert in Chicago and it was the bee's knees

Meghan Trainor concerting. It has happened.

My delightful coupled friends Emily and Greg came with and we RAN to the House of Blues at 5 PM on a Wednesday, where we stood only about 40 people back in a group of mostly 12-year-olds. Doors opened at 6, and we bee-lined to the bar where we were of course some of the only people drinking. 

Oh, but first we checked coats and I bought some merch. 


So we decide to stand at the back of the main floor, which isn't huge at the House of Blues, because we wanted the many tiny children to be able to see. BUT THEN ALL THEIR PARENTS STOOD WITH THEM and their parents were Mountain People over whose heads the shorter among us could not see, so we gradually made our way to about the middle of the crowd, where I stood with many children who were exactly my height.


 Now when I first got really into Meghan Trainor, I did not realize that most of her fans were in junior high. This is because A) I have very little interaction with children over the age of …

Villette-ing, Week 1

This is our first week of Villette! We've met some people. The ones who'll probably continue to be important are:

Lucy Snowe. Kinda boring for now, but MUCH LIKE ESTHER SUMMERSON, she probably has depths and stuff. I like how practical she is.

John Graham Bretton. You know he's coming back. But I'm honestly flummoxed as to whether he'll end up with Lucy or Pauline. Probably Pauline, because he feels very much like Laurie from Little Women, and Pauline is rather like Amy. So. That's my entire theory there.

Pauline Home. She's fine. She's gonna pop up and be super-pretty and John's gonna be all like "whaaat you were six last time and now look at you!" It should probably be noted that IF this happens, it's ok, because those weren't necessarily clich├ęs at the time (the time being 1853).

The book started and I thought it was extreeeeemely dumb, but then it picked up when all the characters started interacting and then Lucy was on her own an…

Sarah Vowell's Take the Cannoli (and also one other thing)

I need to review Sarah Vowell's Take the Cannoli: Stories from the New World, but first, WTF kind of game are you trying to play, Once Upon a Time? These are people's hearts on the line and you pull this kind of shit. I am not having it. 



I mean, what the hell. You can take a swim in an overly polluted rabid shrimp-infested lake, Once Upon a Time writers. You give us that look exchange between Emma Swan and Regina "The Mayor" Mills? QUEERBAITING SHALL NOT CONTINUE. (...#SwanQueenForever)

Now. I read a book by Sarah Vowell. As previously noted, I have a born-from-loneliness attachment to Sarah Vowell, as her book Assassination Vacation was there for me at a time when everyone around me spoke French and I just wanted a hamburger. Since then, I've read all her books as they've come out, and fervidly recommend them all. This was the last one to read, aside from her book about listening to the radio which, unless someone shoves a copy at me...I'm not readin'…