Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Update: Moby Dick

That's right, I'm not finished but I'm still going to talk about it. I'm actually super surprised at how long it's staking me to get through this book. I made a joke about it being my white whale (but not really, because I was certain Pynchon was my biggest white whale), BUT OH MY GOD I MIGHT BE WRONG.

This book is taking a long time. Longer than I've spent on any book (apart from maybe Tolstoy's short stories, but that's different, because I was reading other things as well) in a long time.

It's a good exercise in patience, I suppose. A reminder about it being about the journey, rather than the destination. The goal isn't to have read Moby Dick, it is to read Moby Dick.


I don't think I like this book. I'm halfway through and really? Not so much. I'll stick with it, but better believe I'm rewarding myself with some awesome (and ahem short) Russian literature after this.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: The Reasons I Won't Be Coming and Other Stories

The Reasons I Won't Be Coming & Other Stories
Elliot Perlman
4.12.11 - 4.24.11

Going through the record of my impressions of these short stories was like the best validation for why I should record my thoughts. I really liked seeing how my opinions have changed. I still need to do a re-read of Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity to make a final decision, but I'm leaning towards a "yes" when it comes to Perlman. At least, I'm definitely making my sister read these stories!

Good Morning Again: I can't decide if Perlman is self-depricating or just a smug pretentious jerk. But this story made me sad for all the right reasons.

In The Time of the Dinosaurs: So far, during his stories, it's like you can see the movie version. The narrator in an interview chair, talking, with occasional glimpses into the scenes he's describing. I don't say this about fiction often, but I think it'd be better if it was real...

Your Niece's Speech Night: "We never completely lose our childhood appetites; we just add to them, and in doing so, they become a little less conspicuous" For 98% of the story, I liked it. And I really don't want to be anything like his characters. Then I got to the very end, though, and realized I didn't understand this story. Apparently. The ending, to me, screamed "go back and read this over". So I will probably do just that (but I haven't yet).

The Reasons I Won't Be Coming: The reference to the all-ordinaries, a theme in Three Dollars, was like an inside joke of a reference, a nod of approval to his fan base. I think I like these stories. Falling into the cadence is comforting, but also leaves me with a slightly strange feeling that I'm not sure quite how to describe.

Manslaughter: Oh man. I was pretty ambivalent about this story until the last few pages, when it focused on the widow. Intense and strong finish.

The Hong Kong Fir Doctrine: This is possibly the best "break up" short story I've read. I read about half of it aloud, and it felt so perfect.

I Was Only In A Childish Way: His stories grow better every time. This one was my favorite so far. So disjointed...

Spitalnic's Last Year: This one seemed to branch out from his others somehow, but I'm not quite sure how.

A Tale in Two Cities: First one with a female narrator. Intense story. He loses his rhythm with this length, but Jesus did he get it back in the end. The end was so incredibly, amazingly intense (And, side note, reading ANYTHING about Russia makes me itch to get to the Russian parts of my reading list. Can I just whine for a second that Moby Dick is taking waaaaay longer than I thought it would? And not in a good way!!)

Book Review: Howl's Moving Castle

Oops! I forgot to post this a while back when I finished it.

Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones

4.9.11 - 4.10.11

I asked my friends on Facebook for a "happy" book recommendation. Chrissy suggested this one. She said to not bother with the movie, though, that it was pretty horrible. I was super curious because I really liked the movie... I'm actually a really big fan of that director in general.

Having read the book, though, I can see how the movie would be a big letdown after the book. Any film by Miyazaki, I've been trained to suspend my need for complete answers. I've accepted that his worlds don't make sense and that's fine. This book, though, explains so much of that movie. So if you read the book first, it's clear to see that you'd be bitter at how much the movie left out.

I'm very happy with my order, though.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(Extra Extra) Mini Bucket List: Take TWO!

So I'm only like a month behind in posting this, but here's my list of books to read before July 1st hits. I won't lie, guys, I think this might be too ambitious. I've been hesitating to post it, because I'm already waaay behind schedule. I don't think it's going to happen. But whatever, right! The point is more to eventually read them. It'll happen. I'm excited for all of them.

The Books: (two aren't pictured, because they were in my backpack this morning. Because I'm reading them.)
  1. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  2. The Reason I Won't Be Coming & Other Stories, Elliot Perlman
  3. Woman: An Intimate Geogrpahy, Natalie Angier
  4. The Portrait of Lady, Henry James
  5. Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
  6. Lost and Found in Russia, Susan Richards
  7. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  8. The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie (this will be a re-read)
  9. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  10. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Victor Hugo
  11. The Breaking of Eggs, Jim Powell
  12. The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Michael Chabon
  13. Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
  14. White Noise, Don Delillo
I get a little exhausted just looking at that list. But it's all good! There are also a couple of maybes that I'll be checking out from the library. But those are maybes (they are books my sister wants me to read.)

Oh and I'm supposed to reread Seven Types of Ambiguity, by Elliot Perlman. I read it forever ago but remember nothing, and my sister just finished reading it while we were on vacation together and became almost physically violent when she realized I remembered nothing and therefore she couldn't discuss it with me ( longest sentence ever? I think maybe so!).

What I Wore 4.20.11

That's not Waldo, that's a decoy!

It's true. When I first saw this dress, I was with my (somewhat conservatively dressed) sister. She said it would be horrible, that I'd look exactly like Waldo. H&M was too crowded, so I grabbed my size and paid without trying it on (scandalous and brave all at once!). We got back to the hotel we were staying at, I tried it on, and it was love at first sight. Even my sister (grudgingly admitted that she) loved it.

That being said, when she picked me up from the train the other day, I was wearing it and she laughed. She said it still makes her think of Waldo. I told her I like that quality about the dress (it's true!). It makes walking downtown Seattle so much more interesting.
Dress: H&M
Collar: I made from this tutorial
Sweater: my sister's closet (shhh)
Tights: Fred Meyers (woot, they were a gift from my Aunt & Uncle)

Everytime someone looks at me, I imagine they're thinking "I found Waldo!..... Oh, wait, no. She's just a decoy...."Here's a close-up of the collar. If I had to do it differently, I'd use an actual ribbon like the tutorial told me to do. I thought I was being clever using cording, but I wasn't. I was being silly, and the cording doesn't like to stay knotted. I'm super in love with it, though, but it does point out how I don't have any normal, round-necked shirts to wear with it. Guess I need to get me some!

Also, do you like the make up I'm wearing? I never wear make up, but I may have a date tonight... Shhh....

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
4.1.11 - 4.5.11

I started this one at the bookstore, but I ended up checking a copy out from the library.
Maybe I just need to come up with a better genre description, bu this felt more in line with "experimental writing" fiction--like, some dreamed-up concept at a writer's workshop was developed into a full-fledged novel. I'm not sure how I feel about these books on the whole. Take away the main catalyst, and would I still care about reading it? I'm not sure.

I will say, though, that I think the writer is a strong one. It may be due in part because I read the book while PMSing, but there were multiple scenes throughout where I was very near to tears. Which implies a talented writer (or a hormonal reader... Either way...).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Love My Coworkers (And I bought a book...)

For my birthday, my coworkers gave me a very thoughtful and sentimental card along with a gift card to my favorite (local! woot!) bookstore. It was pretty exciting to indulge in some random book-buying (although not so random that both books I indulged in weren't already massively on my Need To Have list!)

I have a list of books that are my April-May-June list. It's exciting. I'll share it soon (you can read along? if you like? if "you" exist?)