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
This is part of my 2017 reading challenge, Cloak and Dagger, for which I’ve pledged to read all the spy books I have stacked up in my room. Read along!
I was incredibly excited to dive into Queen of Spies, because I really wanted to learn about Daphne Park. To be honest, I knew nothing about her heading into this book; I really just wanted to read a book about a woman who also just so happened to be a spy. But perhaps a year or so ago, I had a friend who worked at the company that would be publishing Paddy Hayes’s book on Park and I got her to sneak me a galley.
I only just now got around to reading it, and I’ll admit that this one was a bit of a let-down. This book is dense, and packed with details that will surely fascinate those who are already fairly familiar with SIS history (or British history, at least) and the ins and outs of international relations during the Cold War. The subtitle of Queen of Spies is “Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Queen,” and though the book opens on an harrowing moment of Park in Moscow in the 50s and then dives into her childhood in Africa, Daphne Park is sometimes very difficult to find on the pages of a book supposedly about her.
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
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
I recently wrote up a list of helpful comics for those considering a move to Canada (for absolutely no reason whatsoever) for Book Riot. As my blog is a safe space, I can admit here that I basically reverse-engineered the entire list because I desperately needed to talk about my new favorite superhero team: Alpha Flight.
Even in a time when a bit overwhelmed at work, desperate to understand what’s going on with my country, trying to read as many spy books as humanly possible, and am now officially about five months behind on all the series on my pull list, I’ve been using my spare time to read, think about, or fancast Alpha Flight. For those unfamiliar, Alpha Flight is basically Canada’s answer to the Avengers (and personally, I think it’s very rude that the Avengers, a bunch of American heroes based in the U.S., claimed the title “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”). Their leader is James MacDonald Hudson, better known as Guardian, who joins the ranks of men like Captain America and Captain Britain by wearing his country’s flag proudly as a form-fitting spandex uniform. The rest of the team is made up of a distinctive cast of characters from across Canada. Continue reading Can’t stop, won’t stop reading Alpha Flight