About this time last year, a co-worker and I were discussing Zadie Smith’s Swing Time after a company holiday book swap. I hadn’t read any Smith, but my co-worker was a huge fan, and I asked to borrow her copy of NW. She gave it to me —grudgingly; it was signed!—and I devoured it over Christmas. But what I found myself most impressed with when I first opened the book was the personalized bookplate my co-worker had on the first page. I told her I liked it when I returned the book, though I didn’t ask where it had come from. I assume she has them on all the books she owns. It’s a brilliant idea, to mark those books as part of your personal library, or to claim them as your own if you plan to send them out into the universe. Continue reading Tis the season: On sharing books
There will be mild spoilers below for assorted horror movies of the last 40 or so years—namely, revealing the names of the “final girls” of said movies. Read on at your own risk.
Until I was 13 or 14 years old, I hated horror movies. I had always hated Halloween because there were nothing but men in scary masks hacking up teenagers on TV (and because I hated seeing teenagers in those same masks running around the neighborhood) and I didn’t like being scared. Life can be awful enough; why subject yourself to extra torture?
But it was the middle of a weekend day, probably on AMC’s Halloween marathon, when my mom (who also largely disliked scary movies) and I ended up engrossed in 1998’s teen slasher, Urban Legend. That moment will live in infamy in my life, as that was the movie that spawned my concurrent love affairs with late 90s teen slasher flicks, Joshua Jackson, and final girls.
This past summer, my friend Brittney and I went to Montauk for a long weekend. We spent one of our vacation days in East Hampton, where we made an appointment to get our nails done and have a fancy lady day. We had an hour or two to kill until our appointments, so we (of course) went to Book Hampton, where, after much discussion of how we had somehow missed out on reading it, we both bought a copy of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.
We finished that book over the course of that day, spending our time getting our nails painted wishing we could be reading and then returning to Montauk to sit outside at a cafe in complete silence and just read. For me, personally, the last 40-50 pages got a bit too melodramatic, but by then, I was hooked, and I needed to know how it ended. Continue reading Slip beneath the surface with INTO THE WATER
Let me begin by stating how disappointed I was to read in a recent New York Times article that you do not read books. I can only imagine how stressful the job (and it is a job, Mr. Trump–you work for us, the American people) in which you now find yourself must be on a daily basis, but I’ve always found reading to be a wonderful way to both relax and educate yourself on any number of topics. There are books out there on the U.S. government and world history and war, and there are instructional books on everything from how to knit a scarf to how to resist a fascist regime. I believe that books are powerful, reading is essential, and universal literacy should be a top priority in any country that claims to be “the greatest.” Continue reading Donald Trump should read ROLLING BLACKOUTS
“Still, Mr. Trump, who does not read books, is able to end his evenings with plenty of television.” —The New York Times, January 25, 2017
The President of the United States does not read books. This should terrify you.
Books are how we first explore our world. Even the children of jet-setters and globetrotters probably read Clifford the Big Red Dog or Spot the Dog. Whether you were an overachiever in childhood who enjoyed heavy tomes or a kid who liked Goosebumps, every time you picked up a book—or someone read a book to you—you were broadening your horizons. You got to know talking dogs and turtles and become better acquainted with magic, yes. But you also traveled to distant lands and learned about jobs you didn’t yet know existed. You learned how to make friends and what kind of fun you could have out in the world. You learned to be careful and you learned not to hate people based on their appearance. Continue reading Dear POTUS: Read a book.
I found myself a little bogged down in the book I was reading the other day and in need of something a little lighter. I had finally ordered and received Losing It by Emma Rathbone, a book I’d been looking forward to for quite awhile, so I started reading that in the early hours of Monday morning. I finished it Monday night—but that’s solely a testament to the number of pages in the book, not necessarily my enjoyment of the story.
Losing It follows Julia Greenfield, 26 years old and aimless, as she leaves behind a dead-end job and a lackluster apartment in Arlington, VA, to spend the summer with her Aunt Vivienne in Durham, NC. But what sets this book apart from the expected fare of a young woman uprooting her life to reinvent herself is the one interesting fact that really drew me to the story in the first place: Julia is a 26-year-old virgin, and she’s determined to make this the summer she finally—you guessed it—loses it.
Things get off to a rocky start in Durham for Julia. Her aunt is a hospice worker and a part-time artist who paints plates with unique scenes of everything from rural life to the legend of King Arthur, and though they clicked when Julia was a kid, they now can’t seem to get comfortable with each other. Julia gets another dead-end office job to make a little money and goes on a few dates that all end poorly (these moments, if a bit enhanced for dramatic effect, played really well). But things begin to get a little more complicated for Julia when she discovers two things: there’s an older lawyer at work who might be interested in her (despite secrets of his own) and Vivienne is also a virgin. Continue reading Use it or lose it
My blog, as you may have noticed, ended up on a bit of an unintended holiday hiatus. It’s been a bit of a stressful last few weeks — good stress and bad stress — and I let my writing suffer as a result. I read a lot more. I watched thirty-eight and a half episodes of The Americans. I played Penny Dreadful Clue. I rang in the new year on the West Coast, my first time heading out that way. I forgot to pack a James Bond book for the flight.
But I’ve got plans for 2016 — resolutions, of sorts. And I thought I’d check in here, just to see what was what and to make a few promises. I’ll finish all of Fleming’s Bond books in 2016. I’ll keep up with reviews. I’ll put a dent in the TBR pile that’s been around since 2013.