Tag Archives: Reviewing

(The) Summer (of) Reading

So.   You all know how I love to read.

Since I pseudo-resigned from PW reviewing I’ve been on a binge of summer reading–mostly because I got tripped out on the idea I could read anything I wanted to and I didn’t have to read a book about a snowglobe/lusty-virginalChristianWWIRomance/gothic-southern-time-travel/how-chocolate-brought-me-to-Jesus book.

So.

Thus far, in the past two weeks, I’ve read

1. My Life in France by Julia Child.    Love!  Especially the first half.  Actually, I’d recommend only reading the first half.  The second half is about publishing a cook book…not as funny as reading about fantastically awkward French faux pas by a gangly, chipper American woman.  I just sat on the couch laughing/chuckling/giggling.  That Julia Child woman–she’s a wit!  It was awesome.

2.  Queen Bees and Wannabees:  Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman.  I “read” this book just like I’d “read” books in grad school.  Some fantastic stuff in it.  I got it after watching Mean Girls and learning the movie’s entire premise was based on this single book.  I think I’d like it more if I was actually approaching motherhood to a teen girl since most of it was helpful advice and tips on communication. But, no regrets here!  Glad I got it.

3. A Dictionary of Women in Scripture.  Okay, so I haven’t read the whole thing, but I’ve gone through a good chunk of it (namely, especially, the fantastic 5+ page entries on Eve, Asherah, Jephthah’s Daughter, Rachel, Rebekah, Miriam, Mary x 7, Deborah, Jael, Hannah, Dinah…well…I’ll just stop).  I saw it in the library book sale and about had an apoplectic seizure of pure lust/joy.  Four bucks for this gem!  Four bucks for 800 pages of pure amazing perfect wonderfulness!

4.  Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.  Holy. crud.  This book had my brain going a million miles an hour for three days straight.  I could not put the thing down!  I would close the book at 11pm when I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and then proceed to blabber about it in very excitable tones to poor, tired Paul for another hour since he was a captive audience.  It’s so amazing!!! It made my brain explode in so many good ways!  It had THE BEST ending I’ve ever read in recent memory! “Zero hour.  It’s time to go”  BRILLIANT!  Thank you Newsweek summer reading recommendations!

And now, onto my next two:

5.  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen.  If I thought My Life in France was funny, I had somethin’ coming.  At 10:45 last night I got in bed and thought, “Meh…I’ll just take a peek at the table of contents.”  Right, like that ever happens.  Okay.  I’ve never laughed as hard when reading a book as I did in just that first chapter.  I’m not exaggerating in the least.  I had to leave the room I was laughing so hard.  I can’t wait to get home tonight so I can laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

6.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson.  I’ve heard so much about how everyone loves Larson’s series that I had to give it a go…though I am apprehensive about the whole murder/mystery/thriller aspect of it.  Sounds scarrryyyy….but at least I know that it isn’t literarily scary.  Those are the scariest books of all  (I’m looking at you Snowglobe/Romance/ChristianMystery book).

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Filed under Conspicuously Overwhelming Note, Hobbies and Such

Bodice Ripper

PW sent me another book this month: a Christian romance novel.

It makes me wonder what I did to offend them?

I mean, I think romance novels are pretty iffy to begin with…but Christian romance novels are the worst! I mean, you have to endure the completely fabricated and off-the-wall plot (if there is one) while knowing that there won’t even be anything remotely scandalous to look forward to!

So you spend your Sunday afternoon reading about the handsome, rich, Belgian businessman/noble/half-American and the pious, pretty, adopted French “girl” (never called a woman…though 23 years old) who people think is leprous (meh?) and a miracle-healer (which elicits the phrase “It was not me, it was God” about 500 times).   She also knows when people die (except this one time, which isn’t explained)…it’s just a gift, you know. Oh, and she ends up being the reason WWI ends.

Really.

And through all of that…the most scintillating part of the entire book went something like: Continue reading

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Filed under Funny Story

“The Haiku Review” continues…

{Okay, okay, so I know these aren’t actualhaikus…but it rhymed with review and, well, you get the picture.  I am returning with another collection of book reviews for you, in seven words or less.} Continue reading

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Slocalite In (Enthused) Training

It all started with the concept of an obese Carla Bruni.

Truly, it did.  The summer I read “French Women Don’t Get Fat” was the beginning of a new philosophy for me–the alien idea of enjoying food.

Not “enjoying food” because it was muscle fuel, or “enjoying food” in a uniquely American binge-all-you-can-eat buffet way.  Not “enjoying food” because you’ve spent the last three months eating only steak, cheddar cheese, and one floret of broccoli since Oprah told you Atkins ruled the universe.french_women

“French Women” was touted as a new kind of “diet book.”  One that didn’t waste space telling you what NOT to eat but rather basked in the plenty and variety of all you actually could eat.  It lauded home-cooking (“It is often so simple”) and taking time to dine (“Always sit down at a table with a full setting.  Eat with friends or with self-enjoyment, never with the television.”)  It was the best-selling clarion call to Americans: We don’t have a food culture here and we need one…badly.

It was the summer I first made leek soup (it was awful as far as leek soups go…but I still loved it because it was such a new taste).  It was the summer I bought an actual, honest-to-goodness eggplant and attempted a ratatouille (beforethe movie was even on the IMDB radar).  It was the summer I went to New York for two reasons 1) to see Wicked on Broadway and 2) to experience the Shangri-La of Farmer’s Marketdom.

Once you drink fresh-squeezed apple juice you will never go back.

Never.

Ever.

I remember standing with Alyssa in the shadow of the Flatiron Building and semi-idiotically yelling, “It Tastes Like An APPLE!  Like a liquid apple in a bottle!”  Alyssa nodded slowly and said, “Yeup…::pointing to the label:: Because it’s apple juice, Pinto…” Continue reading

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Where the Girls Are

From Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media by Susan Douglas


“We can reclaim the word feminist from the trash heap it’s been relegated to by the media and remind them and ourselves that a woman who says, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’ is, in fact, a feminist.  I agree with Susan Faludi, who said, ‘All women are feminists.  It’s just a matter of time and encouragement.” (294)

“Nonetheless, whether on the nightly news or in prime time, the battles between the simpering, sheltered wife and mother on the one side and the ambitious, independent, outspoken witch on the other pulled women in the audience to the middle, to the space between the two archetypes.  The space in the middle was not passive and helpless, nor was it masculinity in drag.  This space inside our heads and our hearts was filled with elements of each side, with compromises, with inner conflicts as well as possible resolutions.  The media referees insist on putting feminism in one corner and antifeminism in the other, as if feminism could never be in the middle, but what they fail to recognize is that feminism is the middle ground.  It may be filled with ambivalence and compromise, tradition and rebellion, but the space between the two cats–the space where we, the girls, are–is what feminism is all about.” (244)

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Filed under Considering, Feministing

Book Week 2009

It probably was an official book week somewhere in the world.  Regardless of sanction, however, I decided that this past week would be my very own, unofficial, and therefore amazing,

Book Week 2009

Mostly, this consisted of me finishing one book per day because the pile on our coffee table was getting to who-ville-esque particolored heights and defied the laws of physics with its whompous leaning. Continue reading

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