Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Insanely Busy!

Yes, I know I've been gone ever since last week. Sorry all! But I had a super busy (and fun!) 4th of July weekend and then returned to the office to discover our most productive and awesomest attorney in the firm is quitting so we've all been super super extremely busy. I promise I'll get back to posting soon. I just can't right now :(

Hope you all are doing well and reading lots o' books!

P.S. - I have what I think is a pretty interesting post planned regarding Shakespeare and women coming up. Stay tuned :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

June Reading Round Up

Every month over at What Red Read, my friend, Red, does a monthly “reading wrap-up” where she kind of shows the stats of what she has read for that month. I’ve always thought this was pretty cool and I’ve kept saying again and again “I should do this” but I’ve never ACTUALLY done it. Well heck, I’m doing it this month! Yay me!

Unfortunately I picked one of my slowest reading months to actually kick things off but oh well. Here goes nothing…

# of Books Read:
3 (sheesh!)
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Total # of Pages Read:
1,053 (okay that’s better)

% of Fiction Read:
100% (oops)

% of Female Authors:

% of White Authors:
66.6% (the female author was also African American)

% of U.S. Authors:
66.6% (with one British dude in the mix)

% of E-Books:
0! (more on this later)

Books by the Decade:
2000s: 1
1980s: 1
1950s: 1

Well, if I had been keeping track of this stuff all along I could tell you that this was an off month. For one, I know I usually read books way older than just the 1950s, and more than a total of 3 books in one month (I mean really, 3?!?!). Actually, all month long I’ve been trying to get through The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton but it’s been slow going. Not that I don’t like it, just that it’s one of those slow-reader books. I’m over halfway done. And I’m over halfway done with King Lear as well. But I SHOULD have finished Wharton by now.

So, if I had, my numbers probably would’ve looked a lot more like my normal months. I’d have had 50% for female authors, one e-book in there, a book written in the 1900s decade and a whole lot more pages (though Kindle only tells me the percentage I’ve completed so I’m not really sure what that would be…I’m at about 60% right now so I think the normal book is around 480 pages so that’s…288 pages I’ve read so far…what’s with all this math I’ve been doing lately!).

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my monthly wrap-up. Thanks Red for inspiring me to finally do this. I’m going to TRY and make it a monthly thing, but don’t hold me to that :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Math Time

Well, the good folks at Booking Through Thursday decided to make me try and do some math this week. Whomp whomp. Actually I’m quite good at math I just don’t like it, not one bit!
So this week on the blog hop I was asked:

"What’s the largest your personal library has ever been? What’s the greatest number of books you’ve ever owned at one time? (Estimates are fine.)
Is your collection NOW the biggest it’s ever been? Or have you down-sized?
What’s the fewest number of books you’ve ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?"
Hmm…this is when I decided to break out my handy dandy calculator! You see, my books are kind of scattered about my apartment. So, let’s work with nice round numbers and try and add it up, going place by place, to get a good guesstimate. First there are my two teeny tiny bookshelves. They really aren’t fit for an avid reader and blogger like myself but I’m poor so they’ll have to do for now. They’re only three rows high and each shelf has about 15 books on it…so that’s 90 books on my shelves. Then there are about 10 or so on my nightstand…so that brings the total so far up to an even 100. I have a nice wicker basket in my living room where I’ve been storing my recent bookstore purchases (they don’t fit anywhere else) and I think that houses a good 15. Plus I know I remember seeing 3 lying on my kitchen counter this morning…so we’re at 118. Are we counting Kindle books? I own about 60 Kindle books (all free, woohoo!)…so that’s 178. Oh and one book is tucked away in my purse right now for me to read at lunch (King Lear).

So that’s a total of 179 books. Not too shabby for someone always proclaiming to be broke and have no space!

As far as the fewest number of books I ever owned? Well that was probably back in college when the only books I bought were for school. But still, I was a history major and you had to buy at least 10 books per course per semester (at the end of each semester I’d sell the books back). Taking a total of 4 classes each term that still put me at around 40 books.

So what’d your book math add up to?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review for You - Bossypants

Bossypants by Tina Fey
5 stars
Do you ever have that problem when you like a book so much that it becomes hard to talk about? Therein lies the dilemma I face with Bossypants. I know my reviews normally follow a specific pattern: first half I summarize; second half I give my response and analysis. Well, this isn’t going to work for this book because well, it’s just a different book. My whole response to this book was emotional and I loved it.

I guess you could call Bossypants a memoir. Most of it is about Tina Fey’s life. Her early childhood all the way through her rise to tv stardom. But it’s so much more. Yes, she talks about her family and her time working at the YMCA in Evanston (hey, that’s my hometown!) and her interviewing for the writing job at Saturday Night Live, but she also has a whole chapter where she addresses random internet comments that say negative things about her in a lovely sarcastic humor that just rolled right off the page.  Then she has a chapter where she basically creates a list of things she wants to tell her daughter. Funny yet sincere and heartfelt. Oh and I can’t forget the chapter where she finds out all the possible things about her body that can be “incorrect” and she lists them off. So you see, this book doesn’t follow the normal bookish patterns.

I knew before buying this book the Tina Fey was a feminist but I was not expecting this book to be SO feminist, if that makes any sense. It was enlightening to say the least. It was infused in almost every chapter. She hits on topics such as breastfeeding, being a woman in show business, dating and more. And by adding some light (and sometimes not so light) humor in at times it really makes for a well-balanced book instead of just feeling like you’re being force fed someone’s political agenda (which even if you agree with their point of view can get annoying).

Honestly, I had no intention of buying this book. I had heard the reviews and everyone had written about how funny it was but I tend to shy away from bestsellers. As much as I love Tina Fey I figured I’d probably borrow it from the library a few years down the line, once the hype died down. However, the book kept calling to me. All the other bloggers seemed to be reading it so I grabbed it. And I’m so glad I picked it up. It was so much more than just a funny book. So so much more.

As I said, this is a hard review to write. I’m sure I haven’t really given you all much to go on other than me gushing over how feminist the book was and how I loved it, but trust me, it’s a good one. I never spend more than $10 on a book and I bought this hardcover in the airport at full price ($26!!) and I don’t regret it at all. I guess to sum up I’ll just leave you with some humorous quotes:

In response to one of her internet “fans” who commented that she was an “ugly, pear-shaped, bitchy, overrated troll:”

“I hate for our correspondence to be confrontational, but you have offended me deeply. To say I’m an overrated troll, when you have never even seen me guard a bridge, is patently unfair.”
In the chapter The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter:

“O Lord, break the Internet forever,
That she may be spared the misspelled invective of
her peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel
V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.”
And from that same chapter:

“And when one day she turns on me and calls me a
Bitch in front of Hollister,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a
cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.”

Commenting Update!

My blogging buddy Laurie over at What She Read has been talking to me to try to help me out with this whole commenting mess. As a lot of you probably are aware, there has been a problem with Google Friend Connect and Blogger lately where some people cannot post comments. This obviously SUCKS. Well Laurie said the problem seems to go away if I change my comments to the pop-up format. So I just did that and hopefully this works. As you all know I love comments (and you guys!) and would hate to have anything get in the way of you all being able to comment on my blog. So we'll try this out and *fingers crossed* hopefully everything will work out.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some Feminist Reading Perhaps?

Well I’m having a pretty busy day at work (the other legal assistant where I work is on vacation, lucky girl!) so I figured I’d just post some links (feminist links, hooray!) for you all to check out when you had some time.

This is what I’ve been looking at around the interwebs as of late:

As a lot of you probably know it’s Pride Month and also New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the marriage equality bill into law last Friday. So that’s pretty kick ass. But there’s still more to go, as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand points out here.

Then there’s the world according to doucheface, Scott Adams, otherwise known as the man behind Dilbert. Apparently men rape women because it’s a “natural instinct” and it’s all really society’s fault now. Bad society! Oh, but if you don’t get his point you’re just bad at reading comprehension, so there.

Finally, I’ll point you over to HuffPo where Lisa Bloom is talking about her new book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World. Really interesting piece.

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reviews To Come...Get Excited!

Hello all my lovely loyal followers! And how are you on this dreary day? Well at least it’s dreary in the dull state of Illinois. I say dull because it’s rained for probably the last 8 out of 10 days, or at least looked as though it’s about to rain. Boo I say!

Anyway, I thought (since I’m soooo behind) I’d give you all an update on what to expect out of me review-wise in the coming weeks. I’ve finished about five books that I have yet to review and that’s just a few too many in my opinion. Sure, I like to be about a book or two ahead, but five?!?! No thanks. I’d like to promise that in the next week or two I’ll be doing more than one review a week in order to catch up, but that’s a guarantee I’m not willing to hold myself to, haha. But I will TRY.

So these are the five books I have slated for my awesome review treatment:

Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Just as a heads up, these books were all pretty good. One was mag-freakin-nificent even! But you’ll have to wait to see which one that was. And of course, who doesn’t want to actually READ my in-depth reviews, which are just awesome sauce in and of themselves?

So stick around folks :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review for You - The Husband

The Husband by Dean Koontz
2.5 stars

Every once in a while you need to sit back and read something that will not really take a lot of effort. That’s the perfect time to pick up a Dean Koontz novel. They’re thrilling and intense, but not too intense so that you have to do a lot of heavy thinking.

The Husband is a pop-fiction mystery thriller about a landscaper named Mitchell Rafferty. He’s basically an all-around nice guy that has married his dream girl and is trying to put away a little money at a time working in his nice little self-made business. But everything drastically changes for him when he gets a call that his wife has been kidnapped. They want one million dollars or she’s dead. And to show they mean business they kill a man walking his dog right in front of him.

But how on earth is he ever supposed to raise that kind of money? He’s just a small-time landscaper. The kidnapers must know this. His mind races as he runs back to his house to search for his wife. There he finds a gruesome scene. The kitchen is smeared with blood. It’s obvious that, as the kidnappers told him, his house has been staged to look like he had murdered his own wife. With a police detective hot on his trail asking lots of curious questions, Mitchell goes to seek the help of his older brother, Anson.

Anson was always the smart one in the family. He adhered to the strict and very strange teachings of their weird parents and excelled. Mitchell is sure he can help. Anson is sure he can too because he’s helped many of his siblings when they were in jams before, albeit not as horrible as this. He’s made a fortune in his lifetime and thinks he can get the money together to pay the ransom for Mitchell’s wife. But will it be in time? Terrifying events unfold as Mitchell fights to find and rescue his wife and he learns the true reason behind her kidnapping.

I will not say this is Koontz’s best novel but it was definitely a fun read for what it was supposed to be. The twists and turns are very quick and it kept me very much entertained. Like most of Koontz’s work, a few of the plot twists I saw coming but a few of them I did not. And in the end one has to kind of suspend disbelief a little bit in one instance. I remember kind of rolling my eyes a little bit and just wanting them story to finish up when I was about 20 pages from the end point. But overall it was good. Nothing great, but good.

The problem is that I know Koontz is capable of more, where he ensnares the reader from the get go and you really don’t see any of the twists coming. So this was only an average outing for a Koontz novel. A good book to pass the time with but nothing more really.

One good thing about this that I can share is that the wife, Holly, is a pretty good heroine. She doesn't play the victim and is a thinker. The whole time while she is kidnapped she isn't thinking "oh, poor me," she's trying to analyze the situation and get herself out of there. She uses her brain and cunning and shows that even though she's a technically a victim she's not in fact helpless. I liked that part a lot.

P.S. Blogger won't let me upload pics right now so no pic of the cover for you :(