Library Loot

So, hi, intarwebs.  Can we have a chat?  Because I’ve got some confessions to make.  You remember that time, not so long ago, when I took all the books back to the library and it was awesome and cathartic and I was doing the rest of my community a service by making all the books I’d been hoarding like a greedy hoarder available?  And I went from 50 books down to 35 and it was painful, but wonderful?  Yeah.  About that.  I fell off the wagon.

I was all prepared (really!) to do another cathartic book return when I remembered that beautiful time when I didn’t just request books but I browsed the stacks and let serendipity take care of the book choosin’.  And I was jealous of past-Lu for having that joy.  So I decided, oh, well, what can a little peek at the stacks hurt?  Just a few minutes of browsing can’t do that much damage, right?

WRONG.

Sigh.  I left the library with 9 extra books, plus all the things I had on hold.  And more books can never be a problem, except for my shame.

Except I get more books, so I don’t feel too ashamed, mostly just excited.

8+Timbuktu

Timbuktu by Paul Auster: I read  The Book of Illusions by Auster a little over a year ago now and I remember being blown away by how tragic and convincing it was.  The summary of this book sounds really good and I’ve heard excellent things about it.  And I just happened to stumble upon it in the stacks, so you know it’s meant to be.

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The Book of Daniel by EL Doctorow: There was a time when I only read books on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.  Book blogging killed that (probably for the better), but I got a little nostalgic and decided to pull a book off the list.  I read City of God two years ago and really liked it.  The Book of Daniel is a fictionalized account of the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg trial and execution.

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Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block: Very recently reviewed over at things mean a lot, by Nymeth, and I was intrigued.  So I put it on hold immediately.

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Disquiet by Julia Leigh: There is no good reason for this remind me of Memory, except for the fact that it is little and French.  It might not even be French, just set in France.

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Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham: So I found this series on The Perfect Binge, a lovely little blog that posts about delightful things.  I didn’t know if I should start with the prequel, which this is, or with number 1.  Anyone know?

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Guernica by Dave Boling: A lot of my undergraduate work was focused on northern Spain, especially during the Spanish Civil War.  I have seen the painting Guernica, and though I’ve never been to Guernica specifically, I have spent time in northern Spain and it’s an area that is very near and dear to my heart.  I’ve read plenty of non-fiction about Guernica, but no fictionalized accounts.

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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: Even though I’m technically done with the RIP IV challenge, I still have plenty of books to read!  After loving We Have Always Lived in the Castle, this is at the top of my TBR list.

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The Host by Stephanie Meyer: Yeah, I went there.

In the Lake of the Woods, July, July & Tomcat in Love by Tim O’Brien: After seeing Tim O’Brien speak on Saturday, I knew I had to get more of his books.  I can say easily that  The Things They Carried is one of my favorite books, but since I haven’t read any other Tim O’Brien, I knew that it was time.  So I went a little crazy.

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That’s not even all the books, but it’s all I have energy to post about for today!  I can’t wait to dive into these, but unfortunately I have some school work to do :(.  Maybe if I write 3 pages of my paper before class, after class I can have some me+book time?


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Review – Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer’s by Thomas DeBaggio

losing200“Every day is new now, with little remembrance of the day before, but with enough memory retained to know there was a yesterday.  This is a new way to live and it takes getting used to.

Words, even unfamiliar ones, are more helpful now than ever before because they sometimes remind me of the past.  I now lack enough mental security to be sure I remember memories of actual events; they might belong to someone else and I have stolen them for the moment, unknowingly.

I am less certain of everything, but I do not feel like a child with no history.  I have a clear sense of history, I just don’t know whether it is mine. (85)

Continue reading “Review – Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer’s by Thomas DeBaggio”

TSS – 27 September 2009 National Book Festival Update!

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So, posting the pictures last night was very ambitious!  I thought I would get to do it, but we didn’t get home until midnight!  It was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to do it again next year, though I’m definitely going to have a more concrete plan.  National Book Festival turned into Tim O’Brien day, which is actually perfectly fine with me!  But I would have liked to see a few more people.

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I’m always impressed by events they hold on the Mall.  No matter how many times I go to DC, no matter how many times I see all the monuments, they’re still impressive.  Even on cloudy days like this!  Which means that none of my pictures came out that great, but I have evidence that I was there!  So I really can’t complain.  I loved all the tents, even though they didn’t do much to get us out of the rain.  By the end of the day, I was soaking wet, but I wouldn’t dream of complaining!  I got to meet Tim O’Brien!  And I got to shake his hand!  TWICE.  And it was full of awesome.

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Whenever we travel to DC (every other month or so, during the semester), we take a ridiculous amount of pictures on the Metro.  P1010423Because it’s fun, and even though we technically live in the burbs of DC, it’s nice to just pretend we’re tourists.  Pretend?  Just kidding, we really are.  Metros are still exciting and I’m going to document that excitement.  If some snarky “local” wants to say something about it, go right ahead.  This is me, and She, of A Book Blog.  Period. I told you we knew each other!  I do not lie.   I’m on the right, she’s on the left.  Now you know what I look like!  GASP.  In the blue is my roommate!  She is awesome!  And likes books, but does not blog about them.  Yet.

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Look at those lines!  I totally underestimated how many people were going to be there!  I think most people did.  We did not have our schedules planned out well, so I only ended up being able to meet Tim O’Brien and Mark Kurlansky, but She and our roommate, got to see Paula Deen!  Which I know they were really excited about.  I would have liked to see Paula, but Tim O’Brien was my priority!  And I was FIFTH in line.  Plus, I got to meet some cool people who were numbers 4, 6 and 7 in line. We talked about books and book recommendations and blogging.

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THIS IS THE WORST ANGLE OF ME EVER.  But I am willing to share that with you because LOOK WHO IT IS.  That is TIM O’BRIEN.  Really!!!!!!!!  He is the nicest man, really.  I told him that he was one of my favorite authors and he said that that was a wonderful thing to hear and he shook my hand, TWICE.  And it was really worth it standing in line for two hours in the rain to be able to say, “You’re an amazing writer.  Your stories changed my life.” My first review for Regular Rumination was The Things They Carried, so it is definitely a sentimental thing.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that he’s one of the best authors on the planet, and one of the nicest.

Fortunately we also got to hP1010453ear him do some readings.  He was AMAZING!!!!  At 62, O’Brien is father of two children under the age of 8 and he has began writing a book about his experiences as an older father.  He read us the most beautiful letter to his oldest son.  There was not a dry eye in the audience, including my own.  Then he read excerpts from the last chapter of The Things They Carried which is also a really sad section.  He said that it was a lot harder to read the passages than he thought it would be.  Even though I wish I had met some more authors, I wouldn’t have given up meeting Tim O’Brien and hearing him speak for anything.  It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m thrilled.  I couldn’t stop smiling after we left the Mall to get some food in Adams Morgan.

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More terrible, touristy pictures of metros!  The Adams Morgan metro stop has this ridiculously tall escalator that is terrifying!  But also fun.  We ate at this amazing Irish pub and had perfect cold, rainy food.  She and I had shepherd’s pie and Werehousecat had fish and chips.  I was pretty jealous of the fish and chips, but the shepherd’s pie was amazing.  I finished it off when I got home for a little midnight snack.

So I’m sure you’re wondering what Glee has to do with my day in DC, but after dinner we met up with a friend from high school and went to see his ADORABLE house.  I’m very jealous of his house.  While we were there, we watched the first two episodes of Glee and I just haven’t had the chance to tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE GLEE.  It’s so campy and wonderful and everyone should watch it.  AND LAUGH.  I think the last episode was the best, with the football players dancing.  Priceless!  I also love Kurt.  And want to hear the football player with the mohawk sing more.

Okay, back to the books.

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Here are all the books I got signed!  I met Mark Kurlansky and, obviously, Tim O’Brien.  My roommates graciously got Paula Deen to sign a cookbook for my mom.  Z, my boyfriend, really likes Mark Kurlansky so I got him a book signed, too, for Christmas.  Tim O’Brien and Kurlansky personalized, but Paula Deen was way too busy.  She had so many people in her line, it looped around three or four times.  We were pretty far back in the line, but most people got in to see her.

P1010461 Paula Deen!

P1010462Tim O’Brien!

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Other than that time when I fell on the Metro and bruised my butt, it was an AMAZING day!  Longest day ever, but still amazing.  I can’t wait until next year, when I will get there earlier and plan out the day so I can see more people speak.  Tim O’Brien!

Movie Review – Revolutionary Road

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I just finished watching “Revolutionary Road” and I think it’s one of the absolutely saddest movies I have ever seen.  There is not a moment of hope in this movie; even the beginning, when we first meet Frank and April and watch their romance begin, it is interrupted by a violent argument they have later in their marriage.  It paints a bleak portrait, but at the same time, there were so many things about it that rang true.  The arguments that Frank and April had, how they had become so blind to the pain they were causing one another, were so realistic that it was painful to watch.

I thought that I was going to think Titanic the whole movie, but it could not have possibly been farther from the truth.  I didn’t see Kate Winslet or Leonardo DiCaprio.  I saw April and Frank; the actors wholly embodied their characters.  It was really amazing.

The score and soundtrack were perfect.  I am definitely going to be purchasing that in the future.

I have two main complaints about this movie.  First, where were the children?  They were conveniently absent from almost all the scenes and I would have liked to see a little bit more involvement from them.  Also, I never felt sorry for the characters.  I don’t know if I was supposed to.  April and Frank were the agents of their undoing and they both made terrible decisions and treated each other terribly.

I was putting off reading this novel because it didn’t necessarily sound like something I would love.  I think now, after watching the movie, I’d like to read the book because according to a few reviews I’ve read, there is so much more sympathy for the characters.

I agree most wholeheartedly with Mark Adams of the Sunday Mirror:

You come out knowing you have seen some great performances, brilliant direction and beautiful cinematography, but it is just not a film you love.

That’s pretty much spot-on.  DiCaprio and Winslet did an unbelievable job.  The movie was beautiful, the music beautiful, but I can’t recommend this movie or tell you that I like it.  Instead it just made me angry and sad.

Obsession alert!

I feel like any time I listen to a song about 30 times in a row, I should share it with someone.  Iron & Wine, AKA Samuel Beam, is a wonderful musician and an even more wonderful poet.  I can never get over his words.  This song is so moving, so simple, and just plain beautiful.  So listen and love:

Review – Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

life“It seemed like everyone on the road was out tonight.  Some of the people were on their decks having late barbecues, but most everyone else was in front of their houses, like we were.  The only one I didn’t see was Mr. Hopkins, but you could tell from the glow in his living room that he was watching on TV.

It was like a big block party.  The houses are so widespread on our road, you couldn’t really hear anything, just a general happy buzz.

When it got closer to 9:30, things got really quiet.  You could sense how we were all craning our necks, looking toward the sky.  Jonny was at the telescope, and he was the first one who shouted that the asteroid was coming.  He could see it in the night sky, and then we all could, the biggest shooting star you could imagine.  It was a lot smaller than the moon, but bigger than anything else I’d ever seen in the sky.  It looked like it was blazing and we all cheered when we saw it.

For a moment I thought about all the people throughout history who saw Halley’s Comet and didn’t know what it was, just that it was there and frightening and awe inspiring.  For the briefest flick of a second, I could have been a 16-year-old in the Middle Ages looking up at the sky, marveling at its mysteries, or an Aztec or an Apache.  For that tiny instant, I was every 16-year-old in history, not knowing what the skies foretold about my future.

And then it hit.  Even though we knew it was going to, we were still shocked when the asteroid actually made contact with the moon.  With our moon.  At that second, we all realized that it was Our Moon and if it was attacked, then we were attacked.

Or maybe nobody thought that.  I know most of the people on the road cheered, but then we all stopped cheering and a woman a few houses down screamed and then a man screamed, “Oh, my God!” and people were yelling, “What?  What?” like one of us knew the answer. (pg 18-19)

Continue reading “Review – Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer”