Sunday, June 30, 2013

This Month In Fiction

I only read one fiction book this month, so I don't know what to tell you.

by Jane Austen

This was the last of Jane Austen's novels that I needed to read.  And EVERYONE I talk to says it's their favorite and it's super underrated and blah blah blah.

I can definitely see why.  For me, it's probably up there with Pride and Prejudice as my second favorite Austen novel.  But Sense and Sensibility is always going to be my favorite.

I really enjoyed Anne Elliot as a character.  Mostly because she was just such a normal person.  I love normal person characters.  Her family is awful, with the exception of her brother-in-law, who actually seems like a decent person, if not a little weird.

What is with everybody fainting all the time?  Was everyone just malnourished?  I'm not going to pretend to know about health in this time period.  I mostly wish I could get away with this fainting business when I don't feel like going to work.  I'm not sure if Louisa really fainted in this book, or if Captain Wentworth accidentally jiggled her brain loose, but she got away with spending a whole month in bed.  I could get SO MUCH READING DONE IN A MONTH.

Thank God Anne stays sane in a crisis.  While everybody else was fainting because they were scared about Louisa fainting, Anne kept her shit together and managed to get everyone in bed and seen by the doctor while holding up Henrietta and watching the love of her life play Jump-Off-The-Stairs-Into-My-Arms with another woman.

Thank you, Anne Elliot.  For being an excellent role model and not taking anyone's shit.

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

This Month In Non-Fiction

This was kind of an odd month for me, considering I read almost only non-fiction.  Also, I bought a house and got my wisdom teeth removed within the same week, so you could say that I've been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions.

But my mouth is almost back to normal!  And I'm almost done moving, so maybe July will be a bit more like my regular life. 

The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury & Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat
by Meg Lukens Noonan

Disclaimer:  I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

I couldn't NOT request this book and find out why this coat was worth $50,000.  It just wasn't an option.  I had to know.

Before reading this book, I had never heard of bespoke tailoring, or the fact that it is a slowly dying art.  I'd never even considered having clothing custom made, because it just isn't commonly done anymore.  We live in a world of instant gratification.  We don't have time to wait for the perfect outfit to be made for us, we're happy enough just buying a cheaper version of poorer quality.

Meg Lukens Noonan takes us on a journey starting with the sheering ceremony of a flock of vicuna in Lima, Peru and ending with meeting the owner of the coat in person.  On the way we see button production in Halesowen, England, gold engraving in Sydney, Australia and silk designing in Florence, Italy, among other things.  It's fashion design as you've never seen it, step by step with all the credit given where it's due.  I'll certainly never think about clothing the same way again.

Things I Learned
  • Americans discard about 13 million TONS of textiles per year.
  • When harvesting silk, it is necessary to boil the moth to death inside its cocoon in order to stop it from breaking out and destroying the silk.
  • People that worked in button factories had their pay docked when they made mistakes, so they often hid defective buttons in their pockets and threw them out while walking home.

You can read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
edited by Mason Currey

This was an interesting little book I found listed in the new stuff my library had ordered.  I'm a big fan of routines and schedules and doing everything just so.  It was nice to discover that other artists also have particular pens they have to use, certain times of day that they want to work during, and so on.

This isn't a book you can just read straight through.  I kept it on my nightstand for a couple of weeks and picked it up for some bedtime reading when I was in the mood.  I learned a lot of fun facts and I may have even picked up a few little habits along the way!

Things I Learned
  • Thomas Wolfe occasionally stood naked in his room and rubbed his genitals to stir up creative feelings and energies.
  • Patricia Highsmith, a writer, kept snails as pets.  She once went to a cocktail party with a large purse containing a head of lettuce and a hundred snails.
  • Benjamin Franklin took "air baths," which consisted of him sitting naked in his room, exposing his body to the cold morning air for 30 minutes to an hour.  Sometimes he would go back to sleep for another hour or two afterwards.
  • The architect Frank Lloyd Wright had a very active libido.  At age 85, he could still make love to his wife two or three times a day.  This worried his wife, who thought it might be unhealthy for him and she eventually consulted his doctor, who prescribed remedies to slow his libido down.  She was unable to go through with it though, because she did not want to deprive him of any happiness.
  • Vladimir Nabokov often wrote his novels on index cards, which allowed him to move paragraphs around if he didn't like the way the story was flowing.  His wife would then type up all the note cards in the order he gave her so that he could begin revisions.
The most important thing I read was this quote by writer Bernard Malamud:
There's no one way - there's too much drivel about this subject.  You're who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe.  You write by sitting down and writing.  There's no particular time or place - you suit yourself, your nature.  How one works, assuming he's disciplined, doesn't matter.  If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help.  The trick is to make time - not steal it - and produce the fiction.  If the stories come, you get them written, you're on the right track.  Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way.  The real mystery to crack is you.

 You can read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

 The Tao of Martha: My Year of Living, or Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog
by Jen Lancaster

Jen Lancaster is right up there with Laurie Notaro on my Favorite Authors list.  This woman is constantly cracking me up and making me jealous of her lifestyle.  She is unapologetically herself; fortunately, her self is pretty amazing.

In her latest book, Jen becomes a disciple of Martha Stewart, and attempts to apply all of Martha's techniques to her everyday life.  I mean, imagine Martha Stewart's everyday life.  Her house is so organized that she can start any project she wants immediately, without having to hunt around for supplies or clear off a space.  She already has all the baking ingredients in existence, so if she wants to bake a cake, she just has to turn to the correct page in her cookbook.  In other words, Martha has her life so nailed down, that she can actually LIVE.  She can do ALL THE CRAFTS.  And bake ALL THE PIES.  And redecorate ALL THE ROOMS.  Haven't we all wanted to get ourselves in so brilliant an order that we can live the same way?  Well, Jen actually DOES this.  And not only does she manage to make it seem fun and hilarious, she does it all while caring for a beloved family dog, whose health declines over the course of the year this book takes place.

Basically, I'm trying to say that I don't want to be just like Martha Stewart.  I want to be just like Jen Lancaster trying to be like Martha Stewart.  I'm pretty sure if Jen met me, she would agree that we should be BFFs.  (And I'm not just saying that because she has a completely stocked basement in case of Zombie Apocalypse.)

Awesome Quotes
With all the exertion from slam-dancing in the Easter mosh pit, one of the kids has an asthma attack, and the others, sensing his weakness, throw off their gloves so they can really fight.

I curse each and every cornflower and butterfly bush as I huff and yank and hurl masses of dirty tendrils into the woods.  Thanks for being a dick, lavender hyssop!  I thought you were cool, bergamot!  How about I give YOU a black eye, Susan?


Christmas is not going to sneak up on me like that asshole Thanksgiving did.  I plan to be ready.

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

The Center of the Universe: A Memoir
by Nancy Bachrach

This was another impulse check out from the library, that I actually ended up being really happy with.

Nancy tells the story of growing up with a mother with an undiagnosed mental illness.  Her mother, Lola, claims to be the Center of the Universe, and the whole family lives and works around her needs.

The book switches in between memories of Nancy's childhood, and the present day, where an adult Nancy and her siblings are trying to cope with the accident that killed their father and caused severe brain damage to Lola.

What I found so interesting in this memoir was it's differences from similar memoirs I've read.  A lot of the children of parents with mental illness or similar difficulties wind up resenting BOTH of their parents due to unhappy childhoods or lack of affection, which is understandable.  But Nancy and her siblings care about nothing but returning their mother to her original, although troublesome mental state.  Their struggle to help Lola heal brings them closer together, and closer to Lola.

Memorable Quotes
Who knows what the truth is?  We are not reliable witnesses, especially of our own lives, and plenty of my own memories went down the ostrich hole.  On top of the hole is a steel door with a combination lock.  If there is a combination, I have lost the sequence.  Maybe Lola knows it, or knew it once, but that's ancient medical history.

A memory of a memory is only a pale copy, and there's no way to compare it to an original.  Maybe it's distorted; maybe it's airbrushed.  There's no way to know.  And yet, it's the map of the mind, and so a memory can never be false.  If we're wrong about our memories, then what's the meaning of true and false?

She talked to me plenty when all I could say was "goo-goo."  So now it's my turn.  I savor her nonsense as though the gibberish is a riddle, jam-packed with codes.

My mother is finally the center of my universe now.  My love is as wide as the ocean that separates us, and that is its depth and its strength - denial floating on distance.

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing. 

Medium Rare: Boxed Set
by Kevin Michael (and possibly Lucy Maran, not sure)

Disclaimer:  I was given a free copy of this book from the author through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Meh.  I'm not sure what the author(s) consider a boxed set, but I'm pretty sure it should be more than 116 pages.

This wasn't really bad or good, just kind of THERE.  Kevin Michael has a lot of interesting anecdotes about his time working at various jobs in the food industry.  There's some gossipy tidbits about celebrities in there that are not very anonymous.

Kevin Michael isn't really a bad writer, just a little repetitive.  I just don't think this really needs to be a book.  I could see him keeping up a very successful blog, or maybe it could be a TV show.  He said he was once an aspiring script writer; why not go that direction?  There's some serious grammar mistakes, including sentences that were missing several words.  I found the word "fighted" in there.  And I'm pretty sure the author does not know what ASAP stands for, because it was constantly written as A-SAP.  I did find the beautiful phrase "ass sandwich" as I was reading.  I'll be using that in everyday conversation from now on, so there's that.

So, you know.  Better luck next time?

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode Eight
Save the Date

Spencer is in somebody's car with Aria and Hanna, talking about Garrett.  Hanna suggests that Garrett and Jenna know each other because they all grew up on the same street together and that maybe Garrett just "feeds raw meat to Jenna's cat."  This prompts a weird look from Aria that I'm echoing and Spencer mentions that Jenna doesn't have a cat.  I don't get it, was that supposed to be some kind of weird sexual innuendo?

Emily comes out of her old house where she was helping the tenants with the alarm system and joins the girls in the car.

Aria is voicing her concern about Mike, when they notice Garrett walking into Jenna's house.  They start to follow him.  Are they worried about Jenna?  No, I guess they are just spying because Hanna says that Jenna won't be able to hear them walking up, since she's blind.

Jenna takes off her robe IN FRONT OF THE OPEN WINDOW, revealing the lacy lingerie we saw her trying on in the middle of a store not too long ago.

Garrett starts kissing her and prepares to "feed raw meat to her cat" while the girls stare and gasp a lot.

Special Outfits For Special Occasions

It's My Niece's Dance Recital and It Is Hotter Than Hell Outside

It's My Niece's Dance Recital and It Is Hotter Than Hell Outside
Mossimo Drop Waist Multi-Colored Dress from Target, Xhilaration Mint Green Crossbody from Target, Seychelles Black and White Wedges, Essie Nail Polish in Mojito Madness

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode Seven
Surface Tension

Emily is staying at Hanna's house, and even in Hanna's ROOM for the time being, since the pipes burst in the guest room or something.  I'd like to find some way to blame that on A.

The girls are all drinking coffee in Hanna's kitchen and trying to decide what to do about Garrett and his assistance with their blackmail.  They think Garrett still has the money that Ian was bringing him.  They don't know that Garrett is involved with the whole thing and paid that money to Logan Reed to keep him quiet.  Or at least some of it.  Spencer says she could really use some of that money to help pay for a ring replacement for Melissa.  I think that ship has probably sailed.

The girls are now starting to think that A is the one that killed Ali, not Ian.  But if that's true, why go to all this trouble?  Nobody even knew that A existed until he/she started stalking the girls.  Alison's murder might have just ended in a mystery.  Whatever.  I'm not even going to try to make sense out of this.

Oh look, A sent Hanna and Emily a gift basket!

But Hanna says it's not even good candy.  A is such a bitch.  And a cheapskate.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode Six
Never Letting Go

The girls are hanging out in Emily's room, folding pamphlets for a fashion show.  Now I guess we're going to have to figure out if Ian really killed Alison or not, since the video shows them separating in the woods.  But Spencer has a good point, he could have easily just met her somewhere else to kill her, or just waited to kill her until she turned the camera off.  Maybe he wanted to have some goodbye sex first before he murdered her?

Just as Spencer is gushing about how they all have boyfriends/girlfriends at the same time, Aria gets some random text from Jason asking if she'll meet up with him.  The girls all assume it's Ezra and she doesn't contradict them.  Why would she keep that a secret?

Oh, please don't have an affair with Jason, Aria.  Ezra is so much better than him.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode Five
The Devil You Know

The "Suicide" Note:

I killed Alison.  I
lost my temper because
she knew too much.  But
there's only so much you
can bury.  It won't
be that easy, but
crossout I know how to 
get ride of the
pain.  I can't crossout 
run from the law.
Come and find me.
- Ian

The end of the letter doesn't make any sense.  "Come and find me?"  Who is he talking to?  Why would he want someone to come and find him when he had just killed himself?  No one would be able to even read that letter until they had already "found him."

Shut up, Garrett.  You're not sorry.

And he's been dead for at least a week.  So it was totally A that's been orchestrating this whole thing.

What does A want is an excellent question, Emily.  This whole situations is super gross.

Why would the suicide note look familiar?  God damn it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode Four
Blind Dates

Okay Pawn Shop Man, you're acting like you're pleased that she actually showed up, but what are you going to do about the fact that you already sold her ring to someone?  And that that someone was a psycho dressed all in black that knew way too much information about Spencer?  You should be fired.  Or put out of business or something.

Where is this pawn shop?  Knockturn Alley?

Aria looks like someone from Grease.

This guy is such a dick.

I told you this was a terrible idea, Spencer.

It's really not necessary for you to read aloud the text message that everyone received.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode Three
My Name is Trouble

I think it's unlikely that Jason is keeping Ian in his house.  It seems like he hated him, right?

Oh my God.

Oh my God I'm going to throw up!

Did that happen or not?

Okay, just a dream.  Jesus, what a rude way to wake somebody up, Melissa!

And what a super obvious secret phone call you're making.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode Two
The Good-Bye Look

A greenhouse seems like the worst place to be hiding when a murderer/stalker is after you.  Whose greenhouse is this?

And here's the second actor to play Jason.  And he's got a new boy band haircut!

And he's throwing out a whole bunch of memorial stuff that was left for Ali, which seems sort of sad.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season Two: Episode One
It's Alive

So, this season starts on the same night that the last one left off.  Ian's body has disappeared from the church, and everybody thinks that these girls are liars.

Garrett's going to drive the girls to the police station, to question them I guess.

Ummm, except now he's turning into an alley with them.  What the hell?  Is he going to murder them?

And why isn't the cop car that was DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THEM radioing to find out why they turned in that alley?

Garrett is the worst cop ever.

Wait, how were those girls able to let themselves out of the backseat?  Isn't that the whole point of a police car?

Oh, hey Jenna.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We're Moving!

Moving all the our books only took two days of back and forth trips.  No big deal. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Special Outfits For Special Occasions

I'm An Adult, And I Can Totally Buy This House
I'm An Adult, And I Can Totally Buy This House
Mint Green Skinny Jeans from the Gap outlet, Simply Vera T-Shirt from Kohls, Audrey Brooke Pierre Flat from DSW, Safety Pin Watch from Charming Charlie, Jade Stud Earrings from Art By God in Laredo, TX

Monday, June 10, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season One: Episode Twenty-Two
For Whom the Bell Tolls

Okay, so whoever was spying on the girls was also spying on Jenna (the rapist) and Toby.  It was probably Ian right?  I mean, he has a video camera.  

Yeah, Hanna, that's exactly what I think.

You girls need to take this to the cops NOW!  So what happened to the last video doesn't happen to this one.

Also, so Toby can get some counseling.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Happy Season Finale of Game of Thrones, everybody!

Last episode was really rough, so let me just remind you that we're all in this together.

The North Remembers.

A Storm of Swords Playlist

1.  "Mr. Sun" by Kina Grannis
2.  "Whatever Happened" by The Strokes
3.  "The High Road" by Broken Bells
4.  "Where the Story Ends" by The Fray
5.  "Cemeteries of London" by Coldplay
6.  "Set Me Free" by Fefe Dobson
7.  "The Beginning is The End is The Beginning" by Smashing Pumpkins
8.  "Turn Me On" by The Fray
9.  "Slow Life" by Grizzly Bear
10.  "The Rains of Castamere" by The National
11.  "42" by Coldplay
12.  "Finding North" by The Civil Wars
13.  "Violet Hill" by Coldplay

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Who Wants To Watch Pretty Little Liars With Me?

Season One: Episode Twenty-One
Monsters in the End

Ew, a clown mannequin?!  Why would this be needed for the Founder's Festival?  Were the founders clowns and/or clown fetishists?

Here we are again at the only restaurant in town.

I hate Garrett.  Are they ever going to explain to us how the girls know him?  Oh, wait they did, didn't they?  Neighbors or something.  Who cares?