The End

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I received a notification in email that my domain name required renewing. And I decided not to renew. It has been a good run, and I am thankful, so very thankful, for this part of my life, and for you, especially. But it’s time to call it quits. I’ll be over on instagram, talking about books and cake, mostly. (So not really different than in any other part of my life.)

Goodbye, lovelies! I will miss you all the time.

 

Books I’ve Liked Lately

Heavy on the graphic novels this month. I don’t know why.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

I thought this  was cute and sweet and an interesting take on a young woman’s life through food. If you’re looking for recipes and innovations, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a light autobiography through food, beautifully illustrated, you’ve got a winner.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

I was looking through collections of graphic novels suggested by the ALA, and I kept lamenting that I’d never read this one (it’s on basically all of the “best of” lists). Then I got it from  the library and realized…I had read it. To my credit, it only takes about an hour to read. It deserves to be on every “best of” list. Oh, and if you don’t like Secret! Religious! Allusions! To! JESUS! you’ve got to calm down a little, and also, you shouldn’t read this. Or live in America. Or, as the Religious Allusionists call it, George W. Bushlandia.

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie. A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss

A biography about Marie Curie (with a little bit o’ Pierre), and also the history of radiation? You’ve got yourself a fun read! No, okay, not fun, but beautiful artwork and very insightful.

The Last Girlfriend on Earth  by Simon Rich

I read this ages ago, and I can’t remember if I told you about it. As with all collections of short stories and essays, some of them are better than others. But the first story in this collection should be read by every nineteen year old heterosexual boy. It was so good I read it out loud to three different sets of people, and every time I laugh-cried.

Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren

I have read a loooooot of romance novels, and most of them are Not Good. Christina Lauren’s are always good. Funny and well-written and consistently what you want and expect as a romance novel reader, and yet even with following a predictable story line, uniquely entertaining. Definitely my favorite writers of romance lately.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This was sweet and cute. I had to put it down because the main character and her sisters annoyed me a bit. Okay, her older sister bugged the crap out of me, but she’s supposed to bug the crap out of the reader. But Jenny Han writes YA romance perfectly, and very cleanly. I’d have no qualms letting a mature middle schooler read this (there is talk about sex, but no, you know, Doing It).

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Have you heard of this novel? You should read it! It’s pretty good! Okay, so I had to reread this for a workish thing, and at the end I was like, ATTICUS FINCH I LOVE YOU PLEASE MARRY ME NOW. Every man, woman, child and animal in the country should marry Atticus Finch. He’s fictional Gandhi, except super hot. I mean, unless you’re into emaciated Indian guys, which, cool?

 

 

The Best Gift Guide

I am not the type of person who says, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” when it comes to the commercialism of the holidays, but I just found myself seriously looking at a hand-knit cozy for a hard-boiled egg and wondering if that was an appropriate and fun gift. You don’t believe me? Here you go:

Egg Cup & Cosy

 

Why is it not okay to just give people cash? Cash is a great gift, and it lends real insight into relationships with people. It says, “You like money!” but not in that Merchant of Venice type way.

But no. We must give each other adorable little hats for our eggs. (Face it. That egg cozy is adorable. It’s like looking at a picture of a newborn baby, but cuter and less red, with better skin.)

So, with some ado, here is a gift-giving guide of things that people sell purely to make the gift giver look ridiculous. (And yes, I do realize that my last two posts have been mocking in nature and perhaps my creativity comes only in the form of criticizing others’ hard-earned cozies. I assure you karma is a bitch and whence I create a cozy, I shall get slammed.)

Cashmere sweatpants.

Do you need more information than that?

Chef'sChoice Egg Cooker

Sometimes I think boiling water is just too onerous. Voila! 

Soup Socks & Herb Sachets (Sets of 12 Each)

Soup socks! Soup socks! (Okay, this isn’t so bad, but just the name made me giggle.)

Gold Swarovski® Tumbler, 16 fl oz with Wood Box

Nothing says, “I think you’re the most awful human being on the planet,” like a Gold Swarovski coffee tumbler. Use it for the Emily Gilmore in your life! Because if you have an extra $110, you definitely shouldn’t give it to the food bank.

I recommend getting something your friend really hates engraved onto one of these boards, like, “the cold virus,” or “colic,” or “Rush Limbaugh,” (or, for your more conservative friends,”‘Obamacare!”) and then handing them a big cleaver and a bloody steak. Said the vegan.

There’s more, but it’s all in the line of five hundred dollar overalls and bejeweled bras, so, you know, we’re all ridiculous. Duh.

A Day in the Life of a Holiday Photo Card Model

Striking Hello - New Years Cards - Magnolia Press - Fuchsia - Pink : Front

 

“Pose in this gravel parking lot.”

“Here?”

“Yeah, by the puddle.”

“I think there’s a used condom in here, and little Felicity is about to–”

“Perfect! Smile! Hold it. Hold it!”

“Goddamnit Sarah, hold the kid before she grabs the condom.”

Perfect Cheers - New Years Cards - Pinkerton Design - White : Front

“That kid is BITING MY FUCKING EAR.”

“Work through the pain.”

“But–”

“PERFECT. HOLD IT. HOLD IT.”

“Why the fuck does SHE get gloves?”

Intricate Winter - Laser-Cut Cards - Sarah Hawkins Designs - Rich Red - Red : Front

 

“Listen, I’m just doing this for my son’s portfo–”

“Sure, sure.” *whispers* “Do you think we could get the kid out of the photo and just use this guy?”

“Excuse me? I’m not that comfortable in front of the–”

“Perfect. Hold it! Hold it!” *whispers* “Get as many shots as you can.”

“I’ve really got to go now. So–”

“Sir, listen. We’d really like to use your image. Otherwise we’ll have to use the jokes the casting agency sent. They don’t have those rugged calloused hands like you. Or those shoulders. Or–”

“This is making me really uncomfortable. And little Finnigan has to use the bathroom.”

“Please, sir. you haven’t seen these guys. Please?”

Spectacular Joy - Laser-Cut Cards - Papier Fabrik - Reef - Blue : Front

Joyful Crystals - Laser-Cut Cards - Wiley Valentine - White : Front

Surrounding Snow - Flat Holiday Photo Cards - Magnolia Press - Black : Front

 

Glowing Winter - Flat Holiday Photo Cards - Fine Moments - Winterberry - Red : Front

“Finnigan’s dad is suing us for sexual harassment, so the company has to use the other models.”

“Damn.”

“Yeah.”

 

 

 

 

Supposedly Great Books I’ll Never Try Again

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I was reorganizing a high school’s book room and was haunted by stacks of these, taunting me for never reading them. They teach this novel in school, for cripe’s sake. It’s Important American Literature! And despite trying to read it twice and listen to the audiobook once, and despite loving Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver, I simply give up. I cannot get into this story, and I don’t know why.

The His Dark Materials omnibus by Philip Pullman

Product Details

How many people have told me how great this series is? Dozens? Oh well. Can’t get past the first seventy pages of it.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

I know! Important! Great! Current! And yet every time I get it from the library, it molds on my nightstand for three weeks until it’s time to return it.

Ulysses by James Joyce

Worst. Book. Ever. Ever ever ever ever ever.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I know I should identify with Heathcliff because The Man kept him down, but all I can think is, “You’re a dick, Heathcliff,” and not in a good way. I hope Catherine haunts the shit out of him.

Your turn!

 

 

Booooooks

I have so many books that I want to discuss with you! I’m not going to mention books I outright disliked, out of respect for authors, and also because there’s not much to discuss. “I hated it.” “Okay?”

Books I kissed and then wanted to break up with later

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

So, I didn’t put this in the outright “hate” spot in my heart (where it lives with spiky artichoke leaves and the very last bit of Harry Potter) because I liked the writing. At first. But I felt…bored. And then annoyed? And then I kind of didn’t get the point. I think I’m asking someone to explain why this won the Pulitzer.

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman

I actually quite liked this book, except that it’s about a pretentious asshat, and that puts a damper on outright loving it. It was really well-written and I felt sorry for every single woman in this book, but I thought the author had a certain specific point she was trying to get at (feminism has a long way to go? men are asshats? not sure), and it was either not clear enough or it was drowned out by asshatness. Still, it was interesting to see women through the lens of this particular male, and then to see the ending.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

So, I loved Fitzpatrick’s first novel, and this was not that. At all. It was less idyllic and more truthful and while the romance in here was nice, it was a little too Pretty in Pink for my taste. But it was a good distraction on a plane.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

This book broke my heart. Not because it was sad, but because it wasn’t up to the Rowell standards. Her previous three books were amazing, and this felt like a first draft of something. There were too many questions at the end of it. I think I would have liked it better as a first novel, or if it was by basically anyone else who I didn’t idolize. I will still read everything she writes, forever and ever, but it was just not up to my (too high?) expectations.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Same song, second verse. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is perhaps one of the best pieces of YA literature, and this was not one of the best pieces. It was fine, but it was about really rich white people  and one slightly less rich non-white person and it was hard to sympathize with them.

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

I quite liked the audiobook of this. I heard there were complaints because the romantic hero in this novel was so very, very flawed, but as with almost all heroes, he finds his redemption, and I liked the way he worked to it, and it wasn’t a given. I wouldn’t break up with this book, but it just wasn’t a book I absolutely adored. It was sweet and well-written, though.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

This book was really uneven, but the good parts were great. Everything where the narrator talks about his dog, Jasper, is so touching, and if you’ve ever loved a non-human, you will relate.

Books I loved and proposed to and am now in a serious, committed relationship with

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Perfect? This book is perfect. I listened to the audiobook driving to and from Portland to visit this lady, and then I sat and listened to it more at two in the morning after I came home because it was so good. It’s about the slowing of the earth’s  rotation, and how it effects an eleven-year-old girl’s life. It was so sad and haunting and wonderful, and if you need something to clear our your tear ducts, pick this up.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Has everyone already read this? It’s sweet and short and fun and romantic, and the main character, Don Tillman, is so fun.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

I admit this is not a book I  would normally pick up (it was for work stuff), but it was beautifully written and I think there’s enough mystery in the ending to make a nice discussion with smart ladies and gentlemen.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

If I were wearing my librarian hat, I would say something like, “If you like John Green, you’ll love this novel!” Except I loved it more than Green’s novels. I listened to the audiobook on my commute and the actor who narrated did an AWFUL job of girls’ voices, but other than that, it was so fantastic and it made me cry and I loved the ending.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

I liked this much more than her other two characters, perhaps because I identified more with Isla, but also, I think, because it relied less on quirk and more on her (very strong) narrative skills. If you’re looking for a sweet YA romance, I highly recommend this.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This is the kind of novel that I think should win Pulitzers and National Book Awards. It is both literary and entertaining, both funny and insightful, and Zevin makes a main character that is not that likeable and yet totally loveable.

Origami Yoda series 

Okay, okay, so I read this series to my kids, but it was so cute and fun. Maybe “loved” is too strong a word for me, but the boys loved it.

Timmy Failure series by Stephen Pastis

Okay, again, I read this series to my boys, but it is so hilarious that we’d often by wiping away tears of mirth. Yes, tears of mirth! It happens.

Right now I’m listening to The Poisonwood Bible on audio (kind of confusing with the switched narrations), and reading Lucy Knisley’s graphic/comic biography, Relish. The boys are making their way through Lemony Snicket’s oeuvre, and adoring Series of Unfortunate Events very much.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Questions? Bathrooms are around the corner. (That’s the most popular reference question on any reference desk. That and, “do you have a stapler?”)  (Yes, I do.)