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Showing posts from August, 2015

It's Hard to Finish Books, Y'Know?

It's the last day of August, so let's look at what I've been reading and not finishing for the last couple months:

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans
This is what I'm currently devoting the most time to, and I'm pretty into it. I can tell you about some major shit that went down in New Orleans at the turn of the century. Also there were prostitutes. A whole lotta prostitutes.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
I've never been interested in the movie, or Hunter S. Thompson in general, but y'know, he invented gonzo journalism, and since that is my JAM, gotta thank him for it. Also I'm fascinated by how very many drugs he can pump into his system in this book and still not die.

The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture
Lesbians as ghosts! Only usually not literally! Terry Castle makes some pretty good points about how our culture "ghosts" lesbians because they don't quite get how t…

Archaeology, Murder, and Giant Ground Sloths: Why am I not reading about these things?

There are subjects I tend to read books about, and then others I am VERY INTERESTED IN that I don't. This isn't on purpose; I've just realized it's the case. So here're a few:

1. TRUE CRIME all the true crime. I grew up with a mother who doesn't like detective novels, but loves true crime. I skimmed books on the Night Stalker on road trips, and am extremely well-versed in shows like City Confidential, Forensic Files, and American Justice. I also know way too much about serial killers, possibly because young females are the primary target, so if you learn about them you can avoid them. Maybe. If you try hard. But probably not.

2. GIANT MAMMALS OF THE PAST. Maybe there hasn't been a good book about them? I never really had a dinosaur phase (aside from my eternal and undying love for Jurassic Park) but I love giant mammals of the past. Also birds. And snakes. Ok, basically anything that isn't a dinosaur.


3. ARCHAEOLOGY. If you're not Jenny from Reading th…

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman: Mysteries! Also, I love Now and Then.

Give me all the books about Mysterious People With Mysterious Pasts, please. Especially if someone has died and there are DARK SECRETS AFOOT. Have I made it clear how much I love dark secrets? Maybe not. Well, it's a lot. I love them a lot. All the dark secrets, please.

I was sent this book with the understanding I'd review it, this did not impact my review except for the fact I wrote it, etc etc.

Every Secret Thing is about two 11 year old girls who commit murder. OR DO THEY. Oh, and big big warning for those of you who can't handle that sort of thing: the person who dies is a baby. But was it negligence? Pity? SOME OTHER REASON? This totally gets answered and I was pretty satisfied with it. It was a nice little mystery book. Albeit with the whole dead non-adult part in it, but that's not delved into too much, y'know? 

I looked up a lot about the Slender Man stabbings while reading this, and then got into a few discussions about whether it's ok to try juveniles …

Straight Outta Compton: How much am I allowed to like this and the music it contains?

On Friday, I went to visit my parents/see my nieces/spend time with my little brother. Said little brother and I went to the movies, 'cause that's one of the only things there is to do in my hometown. When we got there, there was a quick debate about what movie to see.

"Let's see Vacation."
"I already saw that, and it's got a 27% on RottenTomatoes."
"Oh. Then...Ricki and the Flash?"
"Aliiiice, let's see The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I already saw that too and it's hilarious."
"We're not seeing a movie you've already seen. We are going to watch Meryl Streep as an aging rock lady, or whatever that movie's about."
"Let's just see Vacation."
"You said you've already seen it AND it has 27%!"
"Fiiiiiiiiine."

So we bought tickets for Ricki and the Flash, and then the second our tickets were torn, I saw that the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton was playing in the theater …

You guys, comics used to suck

So ages and ages ago, I bought the new Elektra volumes by Haden Blackman and Mike Del Mundo, because they're beautiful and gorgeous and well-written. Mmm. But right after starting to read them, I thought 'Ah, Elektra seems to have been created by Frank Miller for the Daredevil series, so how about I read her stuff from the beginning? That sounds like a wise move.'

Unfortunately, the show Daredevil had just come out on Netflix, so it took LITERAL months and months for the Daredevil Omnibus to come in at the library. Until finally today it did! And off I went to the library to finally obtain this surely amazingly-done treasure. So many people had been in line before me. Frank Miller has been so praised. So IMAGINE MY CHAGRIN UPON ENCOUNTERING THIS:



AHHHHHHHH. OMG. THE EXPOSITION. THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE EXPOSITION. 




Both of the panels I'm posting here are legit in the first three pages of this comic from 1979. Might I remind you that by 1979, we'd already had the first St…

Cahokia Mounds! Truly the moundiest place in Illinois

Last Saturday I undertook a trip I've been meaning to take for QUITE SOME TIME: Cahokia Mounds in southern Illinois.

COME WITH ME ON A JOURNEY to the largest urban settlement in the Mississippian culture of the Native Americans.


Cahokia existed from about 600 AD to 1400 AD, right around St Louis (so where southern Illinois and the Mississippi River meet Missouri). The people who settled there built up giant mounds of earth, the tallest 100 feet high, by carrying baskets and baskets of dirt to one spot FOR DECADES UPON DECADES. The highest is Monks Mound (seen above, it's the one in the distance), which got its name from early 19th century Trappist monks setting themselves up on it. One of them later baptized the son Sacagawea gave birth to on her trek with Lewis & Clark (Jean Baptiste Charbonneau).

Illinois is pretty much all about Abraham Lincoln, and occasionally we sneak in some Mormon history (prophet Joseph Smith was shot in one of our jails: repreSENT, scared and preju…

Dear Meghan Trainor's Record Label: You Guys Are a Bunch of Skeevy Assholes

It was announced today that 21-year-old pop singer Meghan Trainor was canceling the remainder of her "MTrain Tour," which was supposed to run through September 13th, because she has suffered a second vocal cord hemorrhage.

Yes. A second.

This inevitable second hemorrhage occurred because when her first occurred, her record company gave her a resting period of FIVE DAYS.



Five days? The fuck is this, Epic Records? That is a young girl who considered herself a songwriter until last year when you said "Hey, you're gonna sing your own songs," and great, you gave her a record deal. But that girl therefore knows shit about vocal health. You know who I bet does know? The ENTs and vocal coaches you have daily interactions with, because you're a RECORD COMPANY. You're gonna tell me you thought FIVE. DAYS. was an adequate amount of time to rest when your singer's throat is bleeding?

Even this randomass website I pulled up off Google says minimum of one week. And …

Neil Gaiman's Sandman and How Everyone Is Right About It

I've been reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman for a while now, and I've got some feelings about it. Good feelings. Overwhelmingly positive feelings. Feelings SO positive that I will categorically state that it is the greatest contribution to comics ever QUIET ALL OF YOU.


Sandman hits on almost everything I like, tone-wise. It's this mix of darkness, but not darkness for darkness's sake, and literary references and myth and seeing the story through the eyes of someone near-omnipotent, but also flawed: who's above human experience, but also enmeshed in it. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.


I'm on vol. 5 of the really pretty recolored versions that came out in 2011, so I've got a ways to go, which is good because I NEVER WANT IT TO END NEVER EVER.


I mean. I could do without the Hazel/Foxglove storyline, which you'd think I'd be into, because lesbians before lesbians were cool (hahaha lesbians were never cool) but it just bums me out and brings it too much into present da…

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: Kindergarten Moms Kicking Sand At Each Other and Other Fun Things

Liane Moriarty! Your specific brand of pop fiction about the modern day family has struck a chord in my heart and I am a fan of yours now.


Emily at As the Crowe Flies posted about Big Little Lies aaaages ago, and I thought it looked interesting, but it was v. popular for quite a while, so not easy to obtain. I recently saw it just sitting on my library's shelf, so I grabbed it. 

So great! So readable! And it has that brand of "real" characters that makes you think partway through 'If X knew what Y was thinking about them, their feelings would be hurt.' X DOESN'T CARE BECAUSE X DOES NOT EXIST, but try telling your brain that. Bless fiction.

Big Little Lies is about the mothers of a kindergarten class in Pirriwee, Australia. It revolves around three: Jane, Celeste, and Madeline, all of whom are great and I love them and let's all praise Liane Moriarty and her characters. (note: I love Celeste and Madeline more than Jane) Here's Madeline being drunk:

The Mad…

The Hallowed Ones & The Outside by Laura Bickle: AMISH VAMPIRE NOVELS, PREPARE YOURSELF

Hands down, the best thing about these two books is you get to say you're reading an Amish vampire novel. Who doesn't want more information after hearing those words put together. 

The Hallowed Ones and its follow-up The Outside concern an Amish girl named Katie who slowly realizes THAT THE WORLD IS TURNING INTO VAMPIRES. Why? Who knows! How does she find this out? Because cars with panicked people in them are fleeing past her Amish settlement and ravens are flying away en masse and some Amish boys don't come home and then she goes into town and there are vampires there


Both the books were quick and fun, but if you're into the Amish angle (you should be), the first one deals with that much much more, as it takes place in the Amish settlement, while The Outside takes place....y'know....on the outside. 

There's no love triangle; vampires aren't misunderstood and romantic in this series -- they're just evil assholes. Also AMISH GIRL FIGHTING VAMPIRE NUNS. T…