Tuesday, August 9, 2016

summer books

I totally skipped the last Show Us Your Books so I have some definite catching up to do. Here's what I've been reading:

The Nest: I've seen this book on a million lists and found it completely forgettable. The characters are alright, but not a lot happens and I didn't care about any of them. It was too many characters spread too thin without much to keep them together. I don't get why it's such a big thing. Steph and Jana nailed it when they discussed it on The Armchair Librarians so listen to that and know that I completely agree.

(A) LaRose: Another book where nothing happened. The premise was fascinating. The book takes place in 1999 - so, not in ancient times - and a Native American man accidentally kills a young boy, so to atone for his mistake, he offers his son, who is the same age. The story follows the son, LaRose, and both families. While the central conflict affects everyone, I just couldn't wrap my head around this as a plausible solution and there wasn't an obvious course of action going on that let me forget it. The prose in parts is very beautiful, but I couldn't wait for this to be over.

(I blame these for putting me in a book slump. It took a while for me to want to pick up something new!)

Side Effects May Vary: This book was better, but still didn't help my slump. It's by the same author as Dumplin' but just isn't as good. The main character was mean for no real reason and for me, the teen angst in this one was too much for adult me to want to get into. If teenagers could learn to communicate more, would YA even be a genre?

(A) Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything: This book was perfect for me since I have been in such a TV watching mood. The author basically interviewed anyone she could find who knew anything about the history behind and the making of Seinfeld and put their anecdotes and opinions in this book. If you're a Seinfeld fan, you'll definitely enjoy this and learn something. For example, Larry David wanted the show to be cemented in real life as much as possible. Since the show was so fast-paced, most of the writers used their best material in one season of work so nearly every season, the entire writing staff was turned over. Stuff like that. It's really dense and you definitely want a background in the show to appreciate it, but I found myself constantly sharing what I learned with Andrew. It was a fun read.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman: You guys, this book. I loved it. I learned about Lindy West through This American Life (she's the woman who confronted her internet troll and the one who wants to be called fat, both of which are detailed in the book) so I was excited to read her story. She's an unapologetic feminist and a writer. She talks about how her body image has affected how she is and how she receives love, what it's like to have such a public job when you aren't society's definition of beautiful, and tells stories about how she has stood up for herself and other women (most notably, by calling out stand-up comedians for making jokes about rape). I want to be her friend and learn from her. The book is more essays than memoir, but it's very cohesive and tells a lot about her experiences. I liked it so much I want to buy it - my highest level of praise.

Listen To Me: I read books because I want a good story. I like things to happen. I don't like to notice tone shifts and draw a ton of conclusions when I'm reading a novel. At face value, this book was boring (again, nothing happened. I have awful taste this month). After reading reviews on Goodreads, though, I see that people far more intellectual than I got a lot more from this book than I did. Does that change my personal opinion? No. But at least I kind of get it now.

Black-Eyed Susans: Several months ago, I told Steph I needed a book to completely suck me in and she suggested this one. It was a good pick. I liked the way it was told, alternating present day with flashbacks. I liked the Texas setting, too. It was one I didn't want to put down to go to sleep at night. I didn't like the too-obvious red herring, though, and that the mystery was revealed at the very end with very little wrap-up as to how the characters dealt with the aftermath, but overall, I definitely recommend it.

I'm currently listening to a Taylor Jenkins Reid book and about to start reading a new book (probably Modern Lovers by Emma Straub). But, between the Olympics and starting to watch Veronica Mars (so good!), it's hard to find time for anything else...


Life According to Steph

Thursday, August 4, 2016

the summer of...

For me, summer ends next week. I work at a school and students are back. I can't wear jeans anymore, and traffic will pick up.  The past three months were over before they started.

It was the summer of...

- Starbucks. I've stayed away from them for the better part of two years in favor of buying local but the convenience of mobile ordering and the sweet cream vanilla cold brew have made them at least a weekly indulgence.

- TV and podcasts instead of books. Maybe one day I'll write about my second experience at the ATX TV Festival, but not today. Let's say that it  made me want to watch more TV than I have in a long time, and it was time well spent. And I talked about podcasts last week. (I spent a lot of time on Orange is the New Black and what happened this season? Why so many characters with storylines that just weren't expanded upon enough?)

- Trying to figure it out. What do I love? What makes me happy? Where do I see myself in x years? I have never been good with goals or long term planning, and I tried to change that. I didn't get very far. How does one plan when one can't figure out what they want from life, let alone how to get it?

- BBQ Wife Life. If you follow me on snapchat, then you know all about Andrew and his friends and the early stages of their BBQ business. Doubleback BBQ is becoming an actual thing, and I couldn't be more proud. Except when I am sweaty and attending the pop-ups or cleaning up before or after they cook. At those points, I wish his passion was a little less messy...  but I'm still excited about his success.

- In-laws. Due to my sister-in-law's wedding in Atlanta and some other things, I have spent more time with my in-laws this summer than ever before, and it was all good. Something about weddings brings me out of my shell and makes me a total embarrassment on the dancefloor. Plus, I got to spend more time with my SIL than ever before and I feel like I got to know her as her, and not jut as Andrew's Older Sister, if that makes sense.

- Trivia. We discovered Geeks Who Drink trivia and it's so fun. And we're pretty good at it. It's a fun way to break up the week.

- Giving advice (both solicited and not), becoming the in-house interior designer for my office (a post I'm definitely NOT qualified for), realizing that I lucked into some pretty great friends, trying to stay politically informed. attempting to stay cool, and trying to find more hours in the day. I can't believe my summer is nearly over.


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