Monthly Archives: June 2014

No Post Tomorrow!

I have had the same two best friends since ninth grade. It’s a pretty solid streak if I do say so myself. The fact is, however, that we don’t all live in the same city…or even the same state…anymore. And because of all of our hectic schedules, we only get together once or twice a year. For this reason, when we do manage to get together, we spend inordinate amounts of time together.

All of this was a prelude to my announcement: no post tomorrow!

I’m leaving in about two hours to spend forty eight consecutive ones with my two best friends, before they both head off to their states, and I want to make the most of it.

So, look forward to some sort of update on Friday – see you then!


The Jane Austen Book Club {Book and Movie Review}

I have always dreamed of being a part of a book club. The real deal, you understand, with a group of dedicated readers who come together and revel in the reading, laughing their way through this book or the other while eating various baked goods. The dedicated readers themselves are quirky and different, each bringing something unique and amusing to our table-less discussions, as we sit cosily about with tureens of tea, dissecting this book or that.

I may want to travel the world; doesn’t mean I don’t have a few poky dreams!

So when I started reading The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, I was looking forward to a novel about a group of women who come to find themselves through the works of Jane Austen. I must first confess that upon first picking up this novel, I had only previously read Pride and Prejudice. A victim of my ninth grade english class, I was forced to read the book for some personal reading project, and wound up enjoying it. Now, years later, I have followed up that first reading with numerous movie watchings, and a strong and unabiding love for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, on Youtube. And I felt, as only someone who has read only P&P can, that I had a handle on Jane Austen.

This book proved me wrong, and I have Emma waiting in the wings to be read as we speak! Fowler seems to love Austen, a love she bequeaths to her characters. The characters themselves are interesting, each with their own secrets and quirks and hidden corners. The plot is fairly predictable, allowing this to be quite a calm read. While each of the characters has his or her time to undergo turmoil, the fact is that this is a very calm, rolling novel. Throughout the book I found myself rooting for one character or the other, and in the end the Happy Ever Afters made me sigh happily before I closed the book.

Similar things can be said for the movie. Perfectly pleasant, it didn’t really incite true emotion in me (all though it did tease out a chuckle or two!) This is a movie I’ve already added to my illness repertoire – it’s a sweet, harmless movie with a feel good ending and a satisfying premise. When I reached the end, I found myself yearning to join a book club and read more Austen. I found that I had grown to love these characters in the sweet way we love our neighbors pets.

This is a good book, and a good movie as well (although the directors took plenty  of creative licenses!) I would recommend it to a friend looking for a good beach read, or something to throw into their bag for the doctor’s office; while being pleasant and satisfying, it is not the type of book that is going to light anybody’s world on fire.

To Have and To Hold {Book Review}

To Have and To Hold, by Jane Green, is a marvelous book. It’s written in a really unique style that I appreciate – it’s third person narration, and is consistently set in the present. It’s almost like the narrator is watching something with me, and telling me about it as we watch. Personally, I found that this specific writing style really helped me visualize the characters and their actions a little bit more clearly.

The story is pretty simple: woman is married to cheating husband, has no idea. The thing that really makes this book stand out is the fact that it’s entirely character driven; while there is certainly a plot, it takes a backseat to the characters themselves. It’s an old story, and one that’s been told multiple times. But this unique take on it is entertaining and flies by, and as time passes, you find that not one of the characters is perfect. All of them are flawed (fatally so) and their relationships are more than worth following through to the end.

This reader gives To Have and To Hold an enthusiastic thumbs up. On a scale of one to the sun, this book is somewhere near Mercury. Definitely worth checking out at your local library!

I am not alone, and neither are you

So i’ve been scrolling through HONY pages, and on a lot of them there are people who say “my mom or dad did x, so I did y.” And it got me thinking how we are all a collection of others. We develop the character traits of the people we admire, we inherit some others, admirable or otherwise. Physically, we’re influenced by our genes, we follow the diets of our parents, and follow the exercise regimens Dr. Oz suggests.

None of us is original – we are all a conglomeration of bits and pieces that came from other people. And people take bits from us as well, without knowing that we got them from somewhere else – they read what we read, or take our music recommendations, and suddenly, their music taste has yours mixed into it.

Wherever we go, we take our communities with us – maybe bits and pieces, but the memorable bits and pieces that we imbibed into ourselves. Depending on the people in our communities this can be good or bad, but ultimately there are things we can’t erase, traits that are written on us indelibly.

And when we pass our traits on, the recipients won’t realize we got them from someone else, but we’re all connected by these common traits we imitated and pilfered and inherited. It’s encouraging to me, because people so often feel alone, or isolated – but all we need to do to remind ourselves of the people who are with us is look inwards. A quick look at ourselves yields a Picasso painting of all of the people that have passed through our lives and left something of themselves behind.

The Bermudez Triangle {Book Review}

This is another book that I picked up a while ago that I decided to give another try this week, and I am so glad I did – it really made me realize the sort of prejudices I had as a freshman in high school, and while I’m a little embarrassed, I’m also glad I had an opportunity to see how far I’ve come.

So The Bermudez Triangle is written by Maureen Johnson, and is about three girls who are friends, and their discovery of their sexualities and love interests, but really it’s about their friendship. And their friendship is sort of turned upside down by all of their love lives, and when I first started reading this book when I was 11 or 12, I put it down almost immediately. And reading it again, now, I can see easily why I did; I was a homophobe. And maybe I still am, maybe I’ll look back in 10 years and think the same thing I’m thinking now. But the thing is, back then, I didn’t want to read about two women in a romantic relationship. I just wasn’t interested. I embodied the “it’s all right for others…” mindset.

While I accepted gay people as being part of the world, and, if I recall correctly, affirmed their right to equal protections and everything, I didn’t fully see them as a part of my world. They were there, but separate – something I could easily ignore if I had a mind to (which, it’s clear from this re-reading, I did). It’s just something interesting that I noticed as I was reading this book, and that brings me to the review itself.

This is a good book. It’s a book that a person of any age can read and relate to, with strong themes and a great plot. The characters are fabulous and flawed, and the writing is never unwieldy, yet always intelligent and entertaining. The biggest reason this novel is a must-read, though, is the emotional connection it builds with the reader. This book accomplishes what every book aspires to do – it is on some level emotionally compelling to every person out there. It isn’t a girl book or a guy book or an any type in particular book.

It’s just a really good book, and I’ve already recommended it to my brother and his friends, and now I recommend it to you.