Tuesday, November 17


I think we all know that I like to set myself reading challenges. Read the complete works of Jane Austen? Sure. Finally finish War and Peace? You betcha. So I jumped at the opportunity the Book Riot Read Harder challenge presented. And great day in the morning, people! Today, I completed the challenge by finishing Faithful by Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King (added bonus: It's been on my to-read shelf since 2005!).

And to make myself even more super-gloaty, I'm ahead of my regular "read X number of books" challenge (I set it to 63, and as of today, I've read 66 books and you know I've got lots of reading left in me before the end of the year).

Here's my complete challenge list:
A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25:
White Teeth, Zadie Smith
A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65:
MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood
A collection of short stories: The Love of a Good Woman, Alice Munro
A book published by an indie press: Once I Was Cool, Megan Stielstra (Thanks, Duff!)
A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ:
The Daylight Gate, Jeanette Winterson
A book by a person whose gender is different from your own:
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walters
A book that takes place in Asia: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
A book by an author from Africa: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
A microhistory: Faithful: Two diehard Boston Red Sox fans chronicle the historic 2004 season, Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan
A YA novel: We Were Liars, E. Lockhart
A sci-fi novel: The Martian, Andy Weir
A romance novel: Never Judge a Lady by her Cover, Sarah MacLean
A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
A book that is a retelling of a classic story: Beauty, Robin McKinley
An audiobook: Jennifer Government, Max Barry
A collection of poetry: Local Visitations, Stephen Dunn
A book that someone else has recommended to you:
The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
A book that was originally published in another language: Blindness, by José Saramago
A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind:
Sandman, Vol. 1, by Neil Gaiman
A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure: Now You See Him, Anne Stuart
A book published before 1850: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
A book published this year: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, by Julia Quinn
A self-improvement book: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Michelle Tullier  

Reading Faithful has been so much fun, because who doesn't want to relive one of the greatest moments in Red Sox history? (I went back and forth over whether or not it was a true microhistory, but since the layman's definition of it seems to be so broad and vague, I went with it.) Other things I learned? I do not like audiobooks. And I'm not big on the self-improvement genre, but other than that, these were all books I might have read on my own anyway.

Monday, October 5

I think we may have a problem here

This I why I'm not allowed to roam free at bookstores, people.

Friday, October 2

Partying like it's 2004

Me and Pea Today, I finally met Pea! (Okay, I know her blog isn't active right now, but I have a compulsive need to link, so I'll also give this link to her old blog. And she says the blog will be back up. Someday.) We've been friends since back when I started blogging ... actually, neither of us could pinpoint when it was exactly that we noticed/started reading each other's blogs, but I know it was in the early days. I'm thinking somewhere in 2003, 2004. Bygones. The point is this. We've known each other for more than 10 years and had never met before today. It's cool, people. And it was crazy how we just started talking like we'd met for lunch last week. I may not blog much these days, but I'm so happy I started way back when. It's brought some cool friends that I've met in person (hi, Duff!) and some I haven't met yet, plus I met this fella, too, and he's not so bad.

In other news of 2004, I'm finally reading Faithful, which is good considering the way the Sox season went this year. A lot has changed in the last 11 years, but a lot is still the same. The Sox are still breaking my heart, and I'm still bitchin' about it online. Good times.

Friday, August 14

A big little movie or a little big movie?

I finally went to see Ant-Man the other night, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I didn't rush out to see it right away like I did with Avengers or Captain America, because I was put off by the very concept of an "ant-man." It seemed like a pretty stupid superhero to me, but I've loved Paul Rudd ever since Clueless, so clearly, I was torn. Luckily, the stepdaughter went to see it first, and she loved it, so we gave it a shot. (Any recommendations from the children are taken with a liberal grain of salt, as they almost always "love" everything. Seriously, they haven't learned to be discerning. Of course, J.R. would claim that I am no one to talk, since I unabashedly love several not-so-great movies, including but not limited to: The Secret of My Success, Con Air, and almost any teen movie John Hughes ever touched.* Bygones.)

The point is, I still really, really like Paul Rudd. He managed to pull off a combination of superhero and snark quite well, and the supporting cast was hilarious. I particularly liked Michael Pena as Luis, and I'm pretty sure I would watch the movie for his scenes alone. I'm also a huge fan of Anthony Mackie since we saw him at Emerald City Comic-Con earlier this year, so the appearance of Falcon was quite welcome. Also, I liked that they tied it into the Avengers universe without overshadowing Ant-Man. Okay, I still hate the name, but I'll come to grips with it eventually. Probably.

*Notable exception: I hate Pretty in Pink. Hate. Loathe. Despise. Despite the fact that Andrew McCarthy was my guy throughout adolescence, his character was a total dick in that movie and never should have got the girl. Plus, his name was Blane. Stupid.

Friday, June 26

Love wins

That is all.

(Okay, and also: Fuck, yeah. Thank you to the five Supreme Court justices who had the courage to say, "This is wrong. We need to make it right.")

Friday, May 29

This could mean trouble

There is a Mountain Dew store now on Amazon. This is so exciting, there are no words. My bank account may be screwed, but I see good things ahead for my wishlist. (And, yes, I did hear about this via the Dewsletter.)

Wednesday, April 29

Don't read out loud

I think we all know I love a good book, but what I apparently don't like is listening to a good book. As part of the Read Harder challenge, I had to finish an audiobook. I picked Jennifer Government because I've been wanting to read it for awhile (my name is in the title, people), and it was available from my library.

I think I liked the book okay (pretty standard science-fiction type stuff with a healthy dose of satire, but many of the consumer references are now dated), but I know I didn't engage with the characters or the text as much as I would have had I been actually reading the book instead of just listening to it. I know lots of people like to listen to them in the car, but I find I just zone out and pay attention to neither the book nor my driving. Not a good scenario. I doubt I'll be listening again, but at least now I can say I've tried it. And I still don't like it.

Friday, March 13

Out of this world

Okay, so I totally lied. I didn't watch grown-up stuff. Well, I did expose J.R. to the joys of The Usual Suspects and Children of a Lesser God, but I'd already seen those movies. Left to my own devices (and the evil temptress that is Netflix), I've been watching Roswell. Yes, the late '90s drama about teen aliens. I admit, sometimes I roll my eyes so hard I give myself a headache, but for the most part, it's fun. Some of the fun, it's true, comes from watching actors as teenagers who I knew only from their later work. (Katherine Heigl, I'm looking at you. Colin Hanks! The Good Guys! Too soon. Sigh.)

My greatest joy, however, was discovering that the series was created from the brilliant mind of Jason Katims, who brought us the ridiculously good Friday Night Lights, then followed up with the quiet but brilliant Parenthood (I miss you already), and the so-far, so-hilarious About a Boy. Who knew this is where he got started? (Well, I imagine he knew. And people who watched Roswell when it was actually televised.) Sign me up for whatever this man does next.

Monday, March 9

Young at heart

When it comes to movie/TV watching, I freely admit to having the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old and an endless fascination with all things teen. I think I've watched more teen-based dramas as a woman in her 30s than I did when I was an actual teenager. Perhaps it's because I appreciate their simplicity (problems always revolve around wanting the impossible girl/guy, thwarting the mean girl, and/or parents who just don't understand, etc.).

That's why when I saw the previews for The DUFF, I knew I was going to see it. And I was probably going to like it. Which I totally did. I love Mae Whitman (her work on Parenthood was stellar), and Robbie Amell brings the right blend of wry humor and hotness. It was a cute movie, and there were several laugh-out-loud moments. Afterwards, however, I tried to place in within the pantheon of excellent teen movies, and I wasn't sure I could. I mean, will anything ever top the '80s classics from John Hughes? I highly doubt it. (Except for Pretty in Pink. I f-ing hate that movie. Blane is such a dick, and his name is Blane, and Andie still takes him back. I could go on for hours about how much I dislike that movie, but I won't. Just watch Some Kind of Wonderful instead. On repeat.) It's clearly not on the same level as Say Anything. But in the realm of teen movies that came out after I was actually a teenager, I liked it better than Mean Girls and just as much as Easy A.

For my next film, I will attempt to watch something with grown-ups in it. Maybe.

Tuesday, January 13

Just getting started

Book harvest

A few of my to-read books this year.