30 July 2013

The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer

I  became the eleventy-billionth person in line to read this after reading Book Riot’s article about the best books published in 2013 so far. Amanda liked it a lot, and since I’m quite fond of Amanda, I was extremely smug to find it on the Infamous 7-Day Shelf at the library.

Who's smug now?

Five pages in, I was So. Fucking. Charmed. By this book. How can one not be, with this description of growing up?

Irony was new to her and tasted oddly good [...] Soon, she and the rest of them would be ironic much of the time, unable to answer and innocent question without giving their words a snide little adjustment. Fairly soon after that, the snideness would soften, the irony would be mixed with seriousness, and the years would shorten and fly by.
It's all so true.

But ALAS and ALACK, it was all downhill from there, and by page 82 I was gonna give it one more night to prove itself worthy – by which I mean show that it has a plot I could get behind - when my cat attacked The Golden Mean for no reason whatsoever and I picked that up instead and well, you know what happens when serendipity comes a-knocking (things off of your nightstand).

Reader, I started it.

There was a time when I was somewhat judgmental of people who didn’t finish books. “I just HAVE to finish them, even if they’re bad!” I would say, with a serious case of Humblebrag. But much like my opinions about What Kids Should Read These Days, I have abandoned that paradigm for a new one, which is that life is too damn short to read books you don’t enjoy.

And thus did I DNF The Interestings for being… uninteresting.

But seriously, you guys, I have An Issue with the genre of contemporary literary fiction. I go into it all excited for plot twists and good writing and WHOA did you see that clever metaphor go by? But instead, I feel awkwardly like I’m reading someone’s exceedingly pretentious, self-aware diary from when they were a smarter-than-most-adults teenager.

Remind me of this next time we’re on gchat and I get all excited about a book that isn’t a part of the Modern Library reprints or doesn’t have a dragon/spaceship (maybe a DRAGON SPACESHIP?!? Helloooo, Anne McCaffrey!) on the cover, okay?

28 July 2013

Mini Readathon: This is the End

I'm not much of a Doors fan now that I'm, y'know, out of high school and all, but I'm pretty sure that right before I die, I'll hear Jim Morrison's otherworldly voice intoning, "this is the end, my only friends... the end..."

Some things just stay with you.


I am so good at segues.*
Did you eat lots of things and read lots of books? I think you must have, because after about... 3 hours in, we all sort of disappeared off of the Twitter except for the occasional check in. Good work actually reading, us! I suspect my extraordinary focus was based on 1) my awesome leadership skills, 2) a few key rabblerousers having alternative plans today (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), and 3) on the brilliance of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park, the finishing of which is why this wrap-up post is late. 

Since the last post, I have eaten a bunch of baby carrots and mini peppers (smothered in ranch)

and a lot of some candy, the mini-bag of Doritos (which was exactly the right amount of Doritos), and some fancy Norwegian cheese. 

Pages Read: 449 (+ 45 minutes-worth of audiobook pages, however many that is)
Hose Elf Hats knitted: 1
Snacks Consumed: lots

Overall? Let's do this again in 6-ish months! I feel like I'm really getting the hang of this binge-reading thing! 

*Yes I stole this GIF straight from Alice and I am delighted to have the chance to use it so soon. 

Mini Readathon: Mid'Thon Madness

It's (nearly) 1pm here in California, which means we've reached the midpoint of the mini-thon! It's half over, you guys, and I have loved every minute.

So far, I have finished 6 mini puff pastries full of gorgonzola and caramelized onions - showing GREAT restraint and cleverness in only cooking half of the box at once (6) to keep me from eating all of them at once - 4 mini cinnamon rolls, and a bunch of coffee. Some proper (and properly tiny) food might be up next, I think.

I have also FINISHED A BOOK!

The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon was interesting and lovely and I shall review it anon. Or not, like I do. Then, while contemplating what to read next, I got a very polite email from the library reminding me that Atwood's Oryx and Crake is due in 3 days, and no you can't renew it because there are other people in line don't be that PERSON, TIKA. So I had a mini-dilemma about whether to hold off on Eleanor & Park (because I own it so I don't have to read it ever - that's how that works, right?) and try to crank through Oryx & Crake, or should I just return O&C to the library and requeue? While I contemplated these things (via Twitter with Laura), I knitted a tiny house elf premie hat and listened to The Mill on the Floss.

Not pictured: The Mill on the Floss. Because it's an audiobook. 
SO! What have you all been up to, my dulcet darlings?

Mini Readathon: Let's Get This (mini) Party Started!

IT IS TIME YOU GUYS and I am so excited that I actually SET MY ALARM unlike last time when I woke up late because no alarm on weekends. But you won't know that for real unless you are hanging out with us on Twitter (#minithon), because I'm totally scheduling this post ahead of time. You didn't expect me to get up in time to caffeinate, read, AND blog, did you? Surely you know me better than that.

Here is my plan!

It looks like a lot of pages (and it is), but I'm already 2/3 through The Golden Mean and 84 pages into The Hero of Ages, which I plan to read more of as soon as I finish this post and also maybe another three episodes of Orange is the New Black.

For those of you just joining us, WELCOME! There aren't a lot of guidelines around here, but we do try to stick with the theme of "mini," or at least come up with some fairly outrageous justifications as to why our chosen books/food fit the theme. Bonus imaginary internet points for creativity. Toss up a starting post, we'll do a mid-'Thon post around 1pm Pacific (that's 1/2 way through and conveniently after lunch for me), and then at some point, a wrap-up. I'll start us off, shall I?

The Golden Mean: is about Alexander the great as a preteen and teenager, as told through Aristotle's (somewhat dirty old man) eyes. Teenagers are, as we established last time, miniature people in brain if not in stature, so this totally counts.

Eleanor & Park: See above re. teenagers. Also, I am part of the minority of my internet book friends who have read this, and minorities are small, which is LIKE being mini.

The Hero of Ages: this... is... not a miniature book - being the third of three equally large tomes - but it might be the shortest book Brandon Sanderson has ever written? And the heroine is... a quite petite person... who was a teenager when the first book started? My brother finished these books before I did and has threatened to start texting me spoilers if I don't finish them soon, and he's younger than I am, so...

You may be wondering about the tiny hat, needles, earbuds, and yarn (or you might not be...). Well, when my eyes need a break from words on the page, I'm going to plug into the audiobook of The Mill on the Floss - which is DECIDEDLY not mini in ANY justifiable way - and knit more miniature hats. For premie babies in the NICU. BAM.

Food! Let's be honest, the reason we're really here is to eat large amounts of tiny foods under the excuse that we're educating our minds by reading when we could be bbq-ing and drinking beer on a Sunday. I started with this:

140 calories of Doritos, some mini-passtry puffs, and a zillion calories worth of Cadbury mini-eggs
And was feeling quite satisfied, and then Rayna had to go and post about mini-muffins on Twitter. So I ran out to Target and got a bunch of other stuff like mini-cinnamon rolls and some baby carrots and sweet peppers (healthy!) and some ranch dressing (to negate the healthiness!). I also got a new make-up case and like 12 things I didn't really need, but that's normal because it's Target.

SO! What are you guys reading/eating/doing? Get on the internet and tell me right now! What are you doing with your nose in that book?!?

23 July 2013

It's Mini Readathon Time Again!

So remember how uhhh-mazing our last Mini Readathon was? With the mini-snacks and the snark and the not actually much reading and the fake competition with that other readathon that lasted like a bazillion hours WHO WANTS TO READ CLASSICS FOR 24 HOURS NO ONE THAT’S WHO OKAY MABEL?? If that’s even still your name.

For serious.
 Sooooo, let’s do it again! This Sunday, July 28, gather your mini-snacks from wherever they may be (mine are still in my freezer from last time), gather some books that fit your definition of “mini,” and prepare to tweet, facebook, and blog about how much you’re eating and how it doesn’t count because the food: it is tiny! And everyone knows tiny food has no calories!

We’ll kick off at 9am Pacific time with an intro post – feel free to schedule this one ahead if you think you won’t be up in time to caffeinate and write a post by 9am (me) – update maybe once (?) at the 4 hour mark depending on how much tweeting we’ve done, and then again at the end.  I suggest we appropriate the hashtag #minithon for our own use, regardless of whether someone else uses it already.

Sign up below! 

09 July 2013

Elantris - Brandon Sanderson

I’m on a kick with this guy lately; his work is interesting and I am amazed by the scope of his undertakings. And also, I’m waiting for him to finish all ten (10!) of his books in the Stormlight series, for which I will be waiting approximately another 15 years. At the rate I’m reading, I should run out of his previously published material in… a couple of weeks.

This isn’t looking good for the rest of the fantasy writing world.

I’m looking at you, Terry Goodkind and GRRM

Speaking of GRRM, I canNOT have been the only one who thoroughly enjoyed the Epic Internet Meltdown that happened a couple of weeks ago over the Red Wedding, can I? AT LAST my wide-eyed, slack-jawed reaction from 2002 is justified!

Ok, back to Brandon Sanderson.

This is his first novel, weighing in at a hefty 658 pages without too much infodumping, which in itself is pretty impressive. It’s something of a post-apocalyptic novel in that the world as the inhabitants know it changed cataclysmically 10 years ago and no one really knows why or what to do about it, and there are plenty of interesting characters.

I don’t know how to be funny about fantasy novels, you guys. No one but me seems to read them in our (really awesome) set, and I’m not generally a fan of the SF/F fandom – just the books.  And this isn’t the kind of SF/F that I’d recommend starting with (see above re. 658 pages), soooo…..

I’ll just be over here, reading cheerfully till 3am and talking to my cat about it.

7.5 of 11 Books You Didn't Write in Grad School, Haters

05 July 2013

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

How cute was THIS book? YA is in this pattern, as Alice has pointed out , of following either the Stephenie Meyer or the John Green paths of fiction; that is, the Possibly Paranormal but Definitely Controlling Boyfriend and Mary Sue Path, or the Super-Witty Self-Aware-Teen Path. Two paths, someone once said, diverged in a wood, and Stephanie Perkins took neither of them.

I worked hard on that metaphor

Anna’s dad is a pretentious author who decides that she needs to spend her senior year at a school for Americans in Paris instead of in her own hometown. Anna, being a teenager, vigorously protests this move because she didn’t think of it first.

I really liked how… teenager-ish this novel was. Anna does stupid things, kids drink without someone dying (it’s legal in Paris which is why no one has to Learn a Lesson about Drinking), characters miscommunicate and then figure it out – or not, and despite the setting of Paris – which seems not quite like a real place to me – it’s realistic and adorable.

“Beautiful. He called me beautiful! But wait. I don’t like Dave.
Do I like Dave?”

Being a teenager is so confusing.

“We stop at a red light. Mom stares at me. ‘You like him.’”

And embarrassing.

So good for you, Stephanie Perkins, for creating interesting teenagers upon whom adults can smile sagely, and to whom teenagers themselves can relate without reinforcing their terrible relationships or their self-satisfaction.

And hey, congratulations for actually completing NaNiWriMo!

8 out of 11 Lost Dorm Room Keys