Wednesday

Heh, heh. Yeah, but I'm not like that. I'm not.

BFA has a new article that hit a little too close to home. I hate baby talk but I find myself saying things like "Are you hun-gwee, baby? Is my widdle white lion hun-gwee?" to Griffith (my cat). I don't know why, man. It's like I don't have any control over myself.

In related news, I've started the quilt for Griffith. It looks pretty cool. I just need to sew a border around it, get some batting and backing. Hopefully he won't shit all over it when it's done.

Tuesday

News from the Upper Valley

Finally, proof that the Patrick Swayze/Jennifer Grey combo drives people insane. Nobody puts Baby in a corner! Give me some percocet!

UPDATE

Conversation I had with my sister while we were driving out to the stores:

AMY: Did you read The Valley News today?

BARBARA: No.

A: There was a pretty weird article-

B: About the Canadian Prime Minister seeing a UFO?

A: What? No, there was... The Canadian Prime Minister saw a UFO?

B: Yeah. An Unidentified Flying Object. He was on a plane and saw it out the window.

A: But... I mean, it wasn't like an alien UFO, was it?

B: I don't know. He apparently saw something bright falling through the sky. Other people on the plane saw it, too.

A: It was probably a meteorite or something.

B: I don't know. He said he's never seen anything like it.

A: ... Huh...

B: What were you going to say about The Valley News?

A: Oh, there was this article about a high speed chase from Enfield to Hanover. This guy was demanding percocet from a pharmacy. They wouldn't give it to him and he drove away. A cop tried to pull him over but he sped up and ended up crashing into two cars up by the hospital.

B: [tsking] Idiot.

A: Yeah, but here's the thing: The Valley News apparently deemed it news-worthy to report that on the drivers seat of the guy's Explorer was a copy of the movie Dirty Dancing.

B: What?

A: Yeah. I mean, I don't know why it's in the article. I think it's a clue or something.

B: Dirty Dancing?

A: Yeah. Can you believe it?

B: ...

A: ...

B: That's so weird.

Later at home, after Amy buys to paper to clip the article and send to Patrick Swayze...

A: Oh crap.

B: What?

A: It says here that it was a "compact disk" from the movie... Does that mean the soundtrack?

B: Probably.

A: I thought it was the DVD. Huh. Maybe it was Patrick Swayze's singing that drove the man to painkillers?

B: Maybe.
As if I need an excuse to drink in celebration

He's back.
I get my comic-to-movie movies from Netflix. It kind of sucks.

I review Netflix for this week's BLACK LIST.

And the review on Marlon Wayans was spot on. He was brilliant in Requiem for a Dream. In case you're wondering what Darren Aronofsky is up to now, it looks like he might be directing one of those movies based on a comic that's been flooding the theaters: Lone Wolf and Cub. I haven't read the series, but I've been meaning to. It right there along with the Bone series.
i like nature

New pics up at explodingdog 2004.
Like Proust, Greer

A new book entited The Confessions of Max Trivoli is reviewed by the New York Times.

The title character in Andrew Sean Greer's ingenious new novel... is born old — looking like an aged gnome — and grows younger as he becomes older. At 60 he is playing in a sandbox with other children.

Monday

70 goats living with you in your house doesn't seem a bit... excessive?

Why is it Vermont only makes the news when the stories are about crazy people?
The Elephant

Blog of a Bookslut has a new look. Very nice, indeed. What I likes even more is the new design for Bookslut merch. Those books really nail the slutty-ness factor.
We salute you, you wankers!

The Secret Origin of Vertigo by Jon Morris. Very cute.

[via Neil Gaiman's journal]
Don't know what to read next?

The New York Times has has some pretty interesting articles and book reviews recently. You know that new DMX joint about to hit theaters: Never Die Alone? It's based on a pulp-fiction book by Donald Goines. He's the best selling black author in America. I've got to read some of his stuff.

City Boy looks promising as well. Rich sounds like a guy I knew in college. Those faux hippies (What are they called? Trustafarians?) really piss me off.

This week's New & Noteworth Paperbacks lists two that I'd like: Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser (author of Fast Food Nation) and Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge. Don't know too much about the last book but it sounds a lot like corporate bad-guy sci-fi (1984, Brave New World, Jennifer Gov't, etc).

Friday

It could be lucrative for both of us...

Shizzy wants to sue.

"Do you think we could get a big settlement like a million bucks or more? This woman is RICH. She drives a brand new Saturn and always wears expensive underwear if she wears any underwear at all."

It never fails to astonish me how long people hang onto Shizzy's obviously bogus emails.
Friday Five gets out of control

There is no Friday Five this week. Weird, eh? Figures that when I start getting better about remembering they'd just not do one. Well, I've made my own:



1. What’s the last movie you watched?

Bottle Rocket. What’s the fascination with this movie? I thought it sucked. People seem to really like it but I agree with the reviewer who called it a “grueling, numbing black hole.” James Caan was the only reason I made it through to the end. This makes me realize that Netflix doesn’t know my taste in movies at all. I find that ridiculous because, dammit, I’ve rated 527 movies so far. Apparently I was recommended this move due to the fact that I gave Rushmore, Punch Drunk Love, The Big Lebowski and Lost in Translation high marks. Bottle Rocket isn’t even in the same realm as these movies (other than both Rushmore and Bottle Rockets having the same director: Wes Anderson)!

2. It’s Friday. What’re you doing tonight?

Probably reading. I want to finish The Thetherballs of Bourgainville (which was been incredibly funny so far). I’ll probably start writing my next YPR article. I was thinking of maybe writing about the dark underbelly of Neopets for The Black Table. Maybe I’ll cook something, work on my quilt some more, etc.

3. So you’re some kind of loser that doesn’t go out on the weekend?

I didn’t… I’m not a loser. I just like to do my own thing. I do lots of things that keep me occupied and happy. In fact, I have a party to go to tomorrow and a couple concerts coming up.

Hey, you don’t need to defend yourself to me.

But you said-

I’m asking the questions here. I ask a question and you answer it, that’s the formula.



May we proceed now?

… Is that one of the questions?

No.

Okay. Then “yes”, we may proceed. Let’s just get this over with.

O-Kay… Would so say that you…

4. … have no life or just live a pathetic one?


I’m not answering that.

You have to.

Fine. I would say “neither”. I do have a life and it’s not pathetic.

You can’t do that. You have to choose one or the other. It’s like a “Would you rather…”

I can give any answer I want.



Are you going to ask the final question?



All right, if it’ll get you to ask the final friggin’ question I’d say that… I have… Some people might say that I have “no life” but-

Ahhh hahahahahaha!! You said you have no life!!

Okay, you know what? This ran out of funny a long time ago. Just ask the last question so I can-

5. Earl Gray or English Breakfast?

… Um… I’d have to say-

Which do you serve while having tea with your imaginary friends?

I hate you.

I know

English Breakfast. Now leave me alone.

Thursday

What's with all the Elvis references?

I like to listen to music while I work because it makes me work better, faster, stronger. Currently, Underworld's 1992-2002 is playing. Have you ever heard the song "mmm... skyscraper i love you"? With a title like that, you'd not be surprised if the lyrics made no sense. Eventually, I started singing along and realized I was saying the following:

"corndogs, sniffin' the wind, sniffin' the wind to something new"

I thought that these lyrics made even less sense than usual (and this is take the lyrics to Trim into account). After I quick search, I see that the real chorus is "porn dogs, sniffing the wind, sniffing the wind for something new."

It makes only slightly more sense to me now.
Un-named recognition

My 25-word summary of Watership Down is listed here. Here, too. Originally, here.

Wednesday

Oh my god. I’m crazy.

Yeah, I’m crazy and it’s no longer the funny-ha-ha crazy. It’s the oh-shit, I-scare-myself crazy. You know how you can get infatuated with someone you’ve never met? For example, I’m crazy-in-love with Henry Rollins but I realize things would never work out between us. I would always be much more in love with him than he was with me, which would make for a terribly one-sided relationship. Example of a probable conversation:

Henry: Are you hungry?

Amy: Why? Are you hungry? You want me to cook you something? I can cook you something. What do you want? I have steaks and chicken in the fridge. I can run out and get you something, if you’d like-

Henry: No, just… forget about it. I’ll find something myself…


So I accept that. It’s just too bad when you fall into mild and sporadic obsession with someone on the web because they seem more attainable. Everyone’s got a blog and everyone pops up here and there at different on-line publications, so you start to feel like you know them. You both would make, like, the most perfect couple (if only he didn’t live in another country). He’s witty and up on current events and, even though there’s no way to be sure because you’ve never seen a picture of him, most likely in possession of dashingly good looks.

Then you read about a reference he makes to someone of the opposite sex and you’re suddenly SURE that he’s been in a serious relationship for the past two years but never mentioned it before. Then you’re pounding out an angry email:

Dear Bastard,

Fuck you and your WHORE girlfriend/lover/whatever.

I hope you drown in dog shit,
Amy


Before clicking “send,” you do a little more research in hopes of finding more things to tell him off about. Since you’re ending a relationship that he had no idea existed in the first place, you might as well go for the gold. Eventually you find the nugget of truth: he was referring to his neighbor’s six-year-old daughter. That’s right. And you’re a total psycho that needs to check herself into a mental hospital. You are a sick, sick girl. Sick and crazy and not living in reality. And you have anger issues.
we were an idiot

Loads of new images are up at explodingdog. Bonus.
Where credit is due...

Yankee Pot Roast parodies are famous.

Tuesday

Are lives really influenced upon hair? I'd like to think not.

Ouch. The New York times reviews Rapunzel's Daughters, saying that in the book "academic jargon merges with Oprah-style psychobabble, feminist deconstruction meets up with the self-help movement. The result is a book that is pompous, superficial, pretentious and fatuous, all at the same time: a book that reveals just how easily so-called sociology and women's studies can slip-slide into pop-cult nonsense." Honestly, though: who wants to read about "hair stratagies" anyway? I don't go for that new-age, self-help crap. And I already know what my hair tells me: "You're lazy!"

Monday

Busy Weekend

I’m making a quilt. Actually, I’m trying to make a quilt. I haven’t read any quilting books or, in fact, done any planning but how hard can it be? Sew some squares together. [Shrugs] No biggie. Too bad no one tells you quilting is a time-sucking black hole in your life. After washing, ironing and cutting about 4,000 squares, I’ve only just started sewing them together. We’ll see how it turns out. Oh, and a fact that seems to scare everyone I know is that I’m taking all my left over scraps and making a mini-version of my quilt for my cat. Jeeze, people freak out when you show the slightest obsessive love for your pet.

Saturday was the Vermont SugarMakers open house all over the state. I planned on hitting all ten in Windsor county and set out at 8 a.m. Two Sugar Houses and four hours later, I’m on my way back home in sugar-shock. Read all about at Yankee Pot Roast soon.

Saturday afternoon I saw a matinee of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I thought it was really, really, really good. There were a few funny bits, some super creepy parts and genuinely sad elements. The movie basically had everything. And it seems like Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter) has a magical ability to bend reality in all the screenplays he writes. I’ll probably go to see it again.

The rest of the weekend was just quilting: more cutting, more sewing, more washing and ironing. I did make a nice baked ziti on Sunday, though. Oh, and I’m taking a “break” from reading books. I’m booked-out. This happens occasionally. Instead, I caught up on all my comics: Fables, Y: The Last Man, Boneyard, Hellboy, Rex Mundi, Bear. And my comic seller lent me The Utimates #1-5. Don’t ask me why, I’m not into that super-hero crap and know nothing about the Marvel Universe.
A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was

The discussion has begun over at BookBlog. I chose and am moderating this month's selection: Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.

Friday

Friday Five (on a Friday)

If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve? Food so hot & spicey I would know that all my customers ran to the bathroom as soon as they got home and spent the next two hours on the toilet, crying. (I would not offer a bathroom in my restaurant.)

2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell? Trendy shoes and soaps but it would just be a front for a secret room in the back containing all kinds of sex toys and drug paraphernalia. Oh wait, there's already a store like that around here.

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be? Christian Lesbian Horror

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach? Art. I'd tell the kinds to do whatever they wanted and say "Right on" to all the crap projects they came up with.

5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it? Spoken word. That's about as far as my music talent extends.
Frodo gets 'Illuminated' and 'Sin's

Elijah Wood is set to play the lead in Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated.

And even more interesting than that is the mention at the bottom, where it says Wood is going to be in Sin City. I didn't particularly enjoy this graphic novel, but it's very raw/noir/gritty. I can't imagine a role for adorable, big-eyed Elijah Wood.

Thursday

The best.

Yankee Pot Roast becomes The Minor Fall, The Major Lift.

If you haven't seen any of their other parodies, you check them out.

If you don't speak/read/understand spanish (like me), you can use a text translator. I've put some of the traslated posts (using the Google Language Tool) below:

* * *
"We wanted to indicate to him towards this example shining of the worse article of the history of the media. Absolute Inmundicia. It does that we asked our decision to cover in anonymity and the mud with the sling for free. Snark of snark of Snark. We, we, we. We are a loser so sassy. We inhaled eggs of the donkey."
* * *
"The cockroaches enter but they cannot leave. We are very ill in the head. We are dangerous and violent. We are very drunk. Our sarcasm masks our impotence? In all the probability.

In addition, what you think means yourself by "the fall of smaller importance, the main elevation"?"
* * *
"Some things that you must know on us: We are alcoholic a desperate one. Also, we are a hungry drug addict. We have fixations oral insatiable. Even fixations nasal. We have taste to the things of snort. In order to inhale things. In order to eat, to drink, to inhale. In order to consume. We have fantasies I surprise implying of very very small literary girls. We masturbate of the tin all the day. We enjoyed pornography as a fat boy we have taste of the cake. We are glad ironic. We are destructive we boasted ourselves. He is everything on our ritual use of real we. It indicates the presence of multiple personalities? The possible plus assuredly so."
* * *
"We are so drunk we cannot see. When we are this one drunk, sometimes we obtained all violent ones and angered and we wished to die. We thought that we hated black people and the people of gay. We are excuses displeased for a writer. We are losing the track of all this use of the plural one. Send the aid please. This is not a joke."
* * *
"Franc, you could make worse than to translate all this absurd. You do not make that the very ready writers who are constructing this joke are only modest competent in their maternal language of the English? They cannot also handle possibly Spanish. They finish chaining certain bullshit together and they have translated it through the Internet. The result, probable, does not have to be understood. However, we must repeat that they drink to us, we we wished to die, and we have taste of donkeys."
* * *


Oh... Well, that explains why it makes so little sense. But TMFTML rarely makes sense anyway.
First grader reads a "gay" book, Parents flip out

First grader brings home King & King from her school's library, presumably asks her parents to clarify something, parents freak. The librarian can't remember seeing/ordering the book. Parents consider sending daughter to another school. Yeah, transferring your daughter to another school is going to fix everything.
Hanging with the Hells Angels and writing with Tobias Wolff

The interview isn't all that great and doesn't tell you much about the book. After reading the editorial reviews over at Amazon, it sounds like Peter Craig's Hot Plastic might be a pretty good read. Of course, with a title like that, if there are references to "a wallet full of hot plastic," I'm sure I'll regret spending the money on it.

Wednesday

He's the kind of superhero you need to kill right away. If you tie him up and he gets away, it's your own fault.

Michael Chabon (not pronounced KA-BONE) has penned a comic based upon a superhero he created in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: The Escapist. The New York Times has an article about mild-mannered literary guys transformed into comics writers.

(Found via Bookslut)

In practically no time at all, the first volume of The Escapist is all set to be pre-ordered at Amazon. I can't believe there are already enough issues out to make a trade paperback.

For more info, check out the links in this post over at I Love Comics.

Tuesday

I thought all this was meant to happen yesterday

What a horrible morning. I forgot to bring something from home into work. Now I’ll have to go back home at some point and I see it as a big waste of time and gas. On my way to work, I bought a nice cup of coffee but forgot to show them my coffee club card. Right now, I could be one step closer toward a free coffee but no. I can’t seem to remember to take out the little paper card that stares me in the face every time I open my wallet. And I’m paranoid that the girls behind the registers were mocking me when they chirped “This is free one so you’re all set. Have a nice day!” at all the other customers. How could I have forgotten to use my card when they were giving me hints? They must have known I would forget and were just rubbing everyones free coffees in my face. Everyone’s out to get me.

Then in the parking lot at work, as I’m getting out of my car whist juggling my bag, lunch, keys and badge, I almost dropped my worthless, not-going-to-count-towards-a-free-coffee coffee. Suddenly realizing how precious the caffeine was to me this morning of all mornings, I reached out and caught it. For a split-second, I thought “Whew.” I immediately realized that I grabbed the coffee too tight, squeezing the paper cup until the plastic lid popped off and hot, brown liquid literally explodes out into the air. In a knee jerk reaction, I dropped the coffee on the ground. “Shit!” I say, as one co-worker walks by, not even paying attention to the tragic scene playing out no more than five feet from him. I have a burning desire to throw my lunch at the back of his head like a Frisbee (and what a wonderful thock the hard Tupperware would make against the back of his soft melon). I shut my car door and see coffee streaming down the window and move my hand to wipe at it only find out that it’s on the inside of the car. I look down to see my jacket, bag, things inside the bag and my hands all wet. And I’m standing in a puddle of coffee.

I want to go home and start the day over. I’d start by not getting out of bed.

Monday

The book has… no… redeeming points

A “friend” recently sent me a copy of Iian Banks’ The Wasp Factory. Because I value this friend’s opinion in the utmost, when he told me to read The Wasp Factory this past weekend, I did just that (allowing this book to jump to the front of a queue of more deserving books). I was under the impression that this book was going to be a dark comedy but after I got several dozen pages into it, I realized it was just freaky macabre filth. I mean, I just… I can’t read about adorable bunnies being blown up/shot at/set on fire. Call me a wimp, whatever. I don’t read books to induce vomiting, I read to be pleasantly entertained for a little while.

What upsets me more is that the guy who sent it to me told me the book was “hilarious.” How scared am I now?

I started a thread at ILB. Read what others have to say about the book:

I think this should sit in the teenage embarassments section. I think it's a good book but you probably need to be 15 to enjoy it.
-holojames

I didn't like it first time round and it revolted me second time.
-MikeyG

I do find it gross and disturbing…
-Caenis

I… found it… to be properly disturbing.
-NickB

…I felt… revolted…
-Øystein H-O

Okay, all right, I spliced together some of the comments to make them say what I want. I think everyone, though, came to the consensus that the book was disgusting/revolting/disturbing at parts.

Thankfully, I’ve started Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. I breathed a sigh of relief when I opened it up.
Vertical: On the way up

"Now that Japan is cool?" What's that supposed to mean? Regardless, I've love to read more Japanese literature. I'll have to check out that Banana Yoshimoto...

And there's a new Murakami on the block.
An ongoing con...

The New York Times reviews Burning Down My Masters' House.

On at least two craven occasions in his book, he loots the suicides and sudden deaths of Times employees to argue that the strain of working at The Times is enough to make anyone kill himself -- or plagiarize, fictionalize and lie, I suppose.

Blair is a a total knob. I can't even stand it.

Slate also reviews it.

Wednesday

A sequel of sorts

Harvey Pekar to write three graphic novels. First one should be out this fall.
If the message is positive, don't be negative

Jessa puts up a post about Revolve, a magazine-looking bible for girls (and, interestingly enough, the #1 selling Bible of 2003). It looks kind-of hokey to me but if teen girls are reading it, being good and doing nice things, I think that's what counts.

Here, someone reviews this Bible and basically calls it rubbish, even going so far as to say mean things about the "TOPTen Random ways to make a difference in your community," which are:

1. Plant a tree
2. Pick up someone else’s litter
3. Smile freely
4. Drop a dollar in charity boxes.
5. Offer to baby-sit your neighbors’ kids for free.
6. Clip the plastic rings on soda six-packs.
7. Use washable containers instead of plastic wrap for your lunch.
8. Recycle cans and bottles.
9. Donate your old clothes to needy families.
10. Do yard work for the elderly or sick.
(Revolve, p. 109)

Apparently, there isn't anything "spiritual or Biblical in the whole list." Whatever. As long as girls are donating clothes, recycling and planting trees, that's good enough for me. If you think about it, they could doing all kinds of drugs, stealing, etc. (Jeeze, some people have to bitch about everything.)

I think I'm just feeling this way because I saw Thirteen last night. Makes me never want to have kids.

Tuesday

Special Prison Decorating Issue: Hideaway Drug Storage

The Black List posts my review regarding Martha Stewart's conviction (see top). I actually gave it a grade of "F-" but they changed it on me. I guess it was a little overkill.

UPDATE: My First Hate Mail

I recieved the following from a girl named Lindsay:

"You dont send a 62-year old woman to prison"

So you're saying what she did was okay just because she's 62? That doesn't justify anything. Just because she's an older woman doesn't mean that what she did wasn't wrong. So let's not send Martha to prison only because she's too old. What if a 70 year old woman murdered a child. Would you say she doesn't deserve to be sent to prison because she's 70 and is too old?

Who cares if she built an empire herself, it doesn't change the fact that she lied to the government. What if I was a multi-billionaire but I decided I wanted to go on a killing spree, is that okay because I'm a successful buisness woman and successful people don't go to jail?

Of course no one will ever look at her the same, she ruined her own career. She chose to do what she did and now she has to face the consequences. That's life and just because she's a successful buisness woman doesn't mean she gets an exception.


Yeah, I agree with everything she says. I wouldn't compare what Martha did with a murder or a killing spree, but whatever. I also think Lindsay needs to chill out. The Black List is just personal reviews and just for a laugh. I'm a fan of Martha's and wanted to write something to show my support.
[Whenever I'm bored] Five

I never seem to be able remember to do the Friday Five on a Friday. Anyway:

What was...

1. ...your first grade teacher's name?
I don't remember... Jeeze, I must have been too young to remember. I can't even remember all the names of my middle school teachers, just a few here and there. In completely unrelated news, one of my middle school math teachers (Mrs. Lory) opened an Italian deli next to where I work. Whenever I go there for lunch and shortchange her, she shakes her head sadly, like: "All that work for nothing... This girl can't even count out 37 cents."

2. ...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?
Smurfs. Did that play during weekends? I always really loved the after-school Disney cartoons: Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers, Gummi Bears, Duck Tales and Tail Spin.

3. ...the name of your very first best friend?
Felicia.

4. ...your favorite breakfast cereal?
I always wanted the sugar-packed chocolate rot-your-teeth-out hyper cereal, but we always got plain old Cheerio's and shit.

5. ...your favorite thing to do after school?
Play in the woods behind my house and (I shit you not) homework. I used to love to bring home school activity books, fill them all out, bring them back to school and be miles ahead of the rest of the class.
fix the world

New pictures up at explodingdog 2004.
Okay, so maybe Jason isn't a Neanderthal and Barbara isn't a slut-bag. I got a little creative but the underlying message is the same.

I write about my book addiction over at ILB. How lovely it is to have so many people profess love and ask for my hand in marriage. The bad news is that they all probably live no where near me.
Dear Anger... Am I your master or your chump?

Stephen Todd Booker is 50 years old. He has been on death row of 26 years. He writes poetry. Read more here. It's chilling in more ways than one.

Read more here.
I feel mean (even though I wrote the review as nicely as possible)

The new issue of Bookslut is up and I wrote a review of Sparks (a.k.a. The Worst Graphic Novel Ever): An Urban Fairy Tale. I posted some nasty comments about it a while ago over at ILB but no one's taking me up on the offer to have it mailed to them. I'm serious, I'll pay for posting to you...

Monday

The Pulitzers sneak up on me every year…

The Pulitzer Prize winners will be announced April 5th at 3pm EST. Here is my guess for Fiction:

Winner:
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Nominated:
Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

If the winner is The Da Vinci Code, I’ll eat my hat. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book but it’s not exactly Pulitzer material. (I don’t think Vernon God Little was Booker material, but that’s neither here nor there.) If The Da Vinci Code won, it would be like a Nora Roberts novel winning. I enjoy her books now and then as well, but it’s literary junk food. Heck, the 2002 Pulitzer board got a shitload of flack for declaring Empire Falls as the Fiction winner that year, presumably because the book isn’t high literature. I can’t imagine they’d choose The Da Vinci Code… Then again, I was wrong last year. I thought, “They won’t choose Middlesex. The subject matter is way too controversial and I don’t think the stuffy board is all that progressive.” I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about.
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
****-

This is a good book for many reasons. Auntie Mame herself is a character and a half. Her actions and the things that happen to her are truly entertaining to read. Also, it’s nice to read stories that take you back in time a little (the 1920’s to 1950’s Manhattan in this case).

This wasn’t a laugh out loud book for me but it was consistently amusing and made me chuckle more than once. The characters are some of the most colorful I have ever read. Auntie Mame superficially appears to be self-centered but you eventually see that she really cares about people and does the right thing(in her own manner). Also, for the time period in which the novel was written, she was extremely open-minded.

The chapters are digestible enough to read one each night in bed before going to sleep. I also like that each chapter opens up with the narrator talking about an old (and unbelievable) lady in an article he’s reading. This causes the narrator to reminisce about a related story starring his Auntie Mame. In the end, the narrator stops the reminiscing and brings the story to the present. I thought this structure was well-crafted.
Jennifer Government by Max Barry
***--

In this alter-reality novel, where “taxation has been abolished, the government has been privatized, and employees take the surname of the company they work for,” characters are colorful and interesting but (I thought) superficial. I enjoy these types of novels, where companies are the bad-guys, but there was something substantial missing from this novel: depth.

Jennifer Government’s relationship with her daughter is a dichotomy of “I’m here for you” and “I gotta go to the other side of the planet for work,” which she never seems to feel too remorseful about. The person she leaves in care of her daughter was someone she had only met twice. Business people make random decisions for seemingly no good reason. Side characters pop in and out of the story with no inner-development to explain their actions.

Jennifer is literally obsessed with catching a man named John Nike. You know they must have history together for her to break official rules/orders, leave her daughter and recruit/blackmail people into helping her. Once you find out what the reason is in the end, though, it just doesn’t seem convincing enough.

This was a nice, light read for 320 pages but I would have liked this book more if it was heartier: more information, more background, etc.

If you want to read another book along the same plotline, where advertising to the public and sales are number one, try The Savage Girl by Alex Shakar. I enjoyed that book more than this.

Friday

"Hair like summer and a voice like 3 AM"? What the hell does that even mean?

January Magazine reviews Love Monkey by Kyle Smith. Sounds like pure dick-lit.
News from the Upper Valley

Apparently, an afro will get you on the front page.

And it looks like they don't want my money:

Hanover -- In a rare tie vote, the Hanover School Board put off a decision on whether to accept a $20,000 anonymous gift for enhanced special education programs at the K-5 Bernice A. Ray School.
Tailypo... tailypo... I want my tailypo...

My sister and I have been looking for this children's book forever. I finally found it today after much trial and error on Google.

We read it in elementary school and remember it as being pronounced "tally-pole" (instead of "taily-po"). Regardless, it scared us shitless. Read all the reviews and you'll see that other kids have been horribly traumatized by it as well. To this day, if my sister and I are outside at night and one of us says to the other: “tally-pole, tally-pole, I want my tally-pole,” the result is almost always a punch in the shoulder accompanied by “Shut up! That’s not funny!”

Thursday

Books to Movies

What is up with Colin Farrell turning up in movies based on books, taking character roles that he's sure to ruin? First, there was A Home at the End of the World. Now, (get a load of this), he's going to be Arturo Bandini in Ask the Dust (2005). I'm actually looking forward to Selma Hayek as Camilla. I only wonder: how captivating the movie is going to be? The book is moody, introspective and basically about Bandini wanting to be a famous writer. Maybe Farrell's sick of those Phone Booth/S.W.A.T. shoot-em-up movies?

Taking into account the popularity of the novel, it's no surprise that The Da Vinci Code is going to be made into a movie.

I generally dislike horror movies but I'd be interested to see this one. The graphic novel was great.

i may be stupid, but you're a jerk

New images up at explodingdog 2004 for Feb. 26 and 27. I'm a bit late posting these but they're worth it. They're really cute.
They had a nice time on the couch until the sun went down

The Village Voice reviews The Sleeping Father. The last book I read containing backwards, disfluent text was Everything is Illuminated and I couldn't really get into it for that specific reason. I'd like to try The Sleeping Father, I just hope it doesn't have that stupid "Today's Book Club" sticker on the cover. Who am I kidding? I know I'll end up waiting for the paperback.

[Link via Bookslut. This week Jennifer Howard (Washington Post) has been guest blogging while Jessa's on vacation.]

Wednesday

We're not alone in our suffering through thankless interships

The Onion A.V. Club reviews Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z. I heard this was a really good book.
Worst graphic novel I've ever read

I finished reading Sparks and boy did it suck ass. If you want to read my real thoughts on it, read what I wrote over at I Love Books.

I also started a thread on The Da Vinci Code. [whisper] I get the feeling there are some snobby book people over at ILB. I say it doesn't matter whether a books is high or low-brow. If people are reading it, that's a positive thing.

Tuesday

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Delights Audience With New Play

Are you kidding me? Arthur Miller was at the Briggs on Sunday night... and I missed it? Oh, the shame.

Monday

Dammit. I forgot to mention The Bell Jar

The New York Times reviews Goat. A bit too late, I think. I already covered it. Well, I didn't "review it" or whatever, but... you know, whatever. The point is: I mentioned it first.
So many wonderful new books to read.

The March issue of BookPage is up. (Well, not yet actually. I just typed in the url for March 04 because I can't wait any longer.) I'm glad they spotlight The Well of Lost Plots because I loved The Eyre Affair and plan on reading all the Thursday next novels.
There are no supid questions, just stupid people who don't read.

Check it out: I'm moderating this month's book selection over at BookBlog. That means go and get the book, read it and participate in the discussion on March 22.
I've got to start planning now! Let's see, I'll make little sandwiches shaped like books, pastry rolls that look like scrolls... uh, a bowl of Alpha Bits cereal...

Did you know that this coming Thursday (March 4th) is World Book Day? I had no idea... Wait, it looks like it's just a UK thing.

It says here that World Book Day is meant to be held on April 23rd. Looks like I'll have to celebrate it then because I'm completely unprepared to host a gala this week.
With a kiss from a fairy princess, a boy turns into a man and dragon fighter

The San Francisco Chrinicle reviews some interesting-sounding fantasy novels.