Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Can you Keep a Secret

I finished Sophie Kinsella's Can you Keep a Secret this weekend. It was cute. Fun. British Chick-Lit.

I started David Sedaris's Dress your Family in Denim and Courderoy but it got packed. Erm. So I'm going to pick it up from the library tonight.

I also started Rudyard Kipling's Kim, but am still reading the 50 page intro by Said. I hate reading intros, because they inevitably give away the end of the book, but, I can never be bothered to go back and read them. So lazy am I.

I, like most people, am eagerly awating Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Due to moving and crappy circumstances, I will NOT have my book on Saturday. It will be mailed to me on Saturday. Such things make me want to scream, but, such is life, and I'm a big girl, so I will take a big breath and deal with it, or, just scream all the louder.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Great Expectations

Ha! I read Great Expectations and really liked it.

I know I'm crazy, but man, that was a good book. Better than Tale of Two Cities.

Now I'm reading some (British!) chicklit a friend lent me.

Then, a week, from Saturday, my Harry Potter ritual shall begin.

The ritual is as follows:
1. Read the latest book.
2. Read all the books in order.
3. Re-read latest book.


And by the time that's out, Something Rotten should be out in paperback!


Friday, June 17, 2005

David Lodge makes Everything Better

Point in case:

Yesterday, my man moved away. I will move to where he is in a few months. When he called last night, what did we talk about?

David Lodge.

What is the search string being used to find this blog?

David Lodge. Changing Places.


Um. I like Great Expectations. Does that make me a freak?

Also, at the end of the summer, I launching a new site about the fact I haven't read the classics. It'll rock, I promise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Someone had to be that person

Reading Dan Brown on the airplane.

And it was me.

So... we went to Houston this weekend to see Dan's fam. I was looking forward to a few hours of flights on which to read.

Notice I said "a few hours" NOT "a few days". DID YOU HEAR THAT AMERICAN AIRLINES?!


Anyway... so. ugh.

We land in Chicago at 10.20 (the exact same time we took off, that you very much Mr. TimeZone) only to find that our 12 flight to Houston had been cancelled. And the best they could do was a 4.30 flight to Dallas with a connection to Houston.

Ok. Called up Ruth to see if she wanted to do lunch, as we might as well go into town. She's going to see Nick Hornby read at the Printer's Row Book Fair. Sounds good enough to us.

Dear Nick Hornby's editor and editor of the Tribune's book supplement:

People who are willing to stand around in hot Chicago sun don't give a flying-anything about adaptations into movies, at least, not enough to warrant your first 15 mintues of questioning to be on such a topic. You suck. Bigtime.

Nick Hornby, however, was deligthful.

So we get back to the airport. And our flight to Dallas is delayed delayed delayed.

We realize we'll never make our connection and book ourselves onto the 6.45 flight to Houston.

I finish Brick Lane. I have 2 hours of waiting in the aiport, plus a 2.5 hour flight AND NOTHING TO READ. (As my backup book was in the checked luggage).

I go to the newsagent. And get Angels and Demons.

And then want to cry, because I forgot that the American terminal at O'Hare actually has a bookstore in it. Gargh.

But you know what? I loved Angels and Demons. Was it crap? yes. Was it trash? yes. Was it really hard to put down and as guilty-ily pleasurable as Britney Spears? Damn yes. Was is better than that other book you hate to admit you actually liked, DaVinci Code? Yep.

Brick Lane was also wonderful. Well written. Beautiful. And the ending made me want to cry for its beauty.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Deja Vu

So... I'm reading along in Brick Lane and just *know* I've read this before. But, I know I haven't read Brick Lane yet. What the?

Then I get an image of me reading this on a train. I think harder and place the memory on the train ride from Norwich back the Manchester.

Think harder.

I was reading Granta. The only issue I've ever really read is the best of young British Novelists 2003. Hmmmm...

Go to the book shelf. Yep. Monica Ali. Chapter 1 has been edited and passed off as a short story. I *have* read this before, but just that bit.

Which makes me feel like this is cheating. Brick Lane had already come out and the point was to write a new short story. They talk about how hard it is for novelists to write short stories. Obviously, Ali failed. It taints it somehow.

I'm still really enjoying Brick Lane though. I just feel the author has lost a little street cred.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Judging Books by Their Covers

So, I took a quick break from Brick Lane to read the latest installment of the confessions of Georgia Nicholson: Away Laughing on a Fast Camel. And by "quick break" I mean "3 hours".

What can I say? I love Georgia. She makes me laugh in all of her absolute ridiculousness. I do, however, wish she'd get her head together and hook up for good with Dave the Laugh. He's good for her. Just sayin'.

Now, Yes, I love Georgia. Then why am I a year behind in her books? Well, here is my DEEP DARK SHALLOW SECRET:

My books need to match. When I buy books in a series, they need to match the other books in the same series. So, because my first few Georgia books were in paperback, I wait until the new installments come out in paperback, so they all look nice together on my bookshelf. This is why I haven't read Jasper Fforde's Something Rotten yet. Because I need it in paperback.

That said, when I finally broke down and bought Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason (despite having read it from the library when it came out) it had to be hardcover. Hardcover without Renee Zelwigger on the cover. I found it on Ebay.

This is also why I need the first 3 Harry Potter books in hardcover, because ever since book 4, I'm not waiting for paperback (I discover Harry Potter about 2 months before Goblet of Fire was released).

Friday, May 27, 2005

There's uproar about a Florida high school assigning Genesis for its summer reading. (Link via Bookslut)

I'm attune to seperation of Church and State issues as much as anyone. (You try growing up in Northeast Wisconsin as a non-Christian and hoo-boy!)

But really? I wish someone would have assigned me Genesis and then explained it. It would have made my English career a lot more successful and meaningful. The parents in the article suggest that the teachers just explain the story but that leaves some problems (both of which I encountered in my high school career):
1. The vast majority of the class will know this stuff and will immediately tune out
2. The way around this is for a teacher to ask if anyone doesn't know the story. Trust me. The 2 kids who don't aren't about to raise their hands and admit that.

Because you need Genesis to understand a lot of the western canon. Reading such things as Paradise Lost and East of Eden without it sucks.

They should assign the gospels as well, as Jesus also plays a big role. Not knowing the gospels kicked me in the butt during class discussions of As I Lay Dying and Grapes of Wrath. And The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe also made a lot more sense after reading up on the New Testament.

My first semester in college, I took a Bible Studies class. Just so I could understand literature. And European history for the same reasons. It was the smartest thing I've ever done.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ready, steady, GO

So I finished up the Ibsen book. I really liked the final play, Lady from the Sea.

I've now started Brick Lane by Monica Ali, but am too lazy to change the side bar info.

I've also been gathering reading lists from High Schools and AP programs to fix some of the holes in my education.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My College Career Now Makes Sense

I can't believe that I never had to read A Doll's House in college.

I mean, I have a minor in Chinese Studies. That includes several classes on Chinese lit. in translation. Now, I know you're wondering what the connection between Norwegian drama and Chinese lit is but...

A Doll's House was crazy-popular in China at the turn of the twentieth century. It came at a time the youth was revolting and modernizing and women were starting to demand rights. It was highly influetianal in the May 4th movement (which was a political and litarary movement). In many pieces, comparisions to Nora were explicit! And I always knew from context what was up, but man, it falls into place a lot easier now.

I know none of my profs are reading this, but LISTEN UP! Grinnell College Chinese Department-- make your students read some Ibsen. It's not long and it'll be good for them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


You know what's better than a book store? A library. A library having a book sale!

I can't even remember all the ones I bought.

I also checked some stuff out and last week wizzed through L'Affaire by Diane Johnson and Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding

They were both good, but I was most impressed by Cause Celeb. Maybe because I was so dissapointed by Fielding's Olivia Joules and the Over-Active Imagination last winter, while being so completely enamoured of both Bridget Jones books.

Anna May Wong continues to haunt me as this weekend had me watching Shanghai Express and next week will have me at the Michigan Theatre to see her in Peter Pan!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Done and Done

So I finished Anna May Wong last night.

I liked reading about her life and all but... it just could have been so much better.

For instance, he was describing a guest appearence on a television show and said that her bottom lip was still stiff from a near fatal stroke two years previous.

This was THE ONLY MENTION of said stroke. You'd think something like that would at least warrant its own sentence!

Ah well... trying to decide what to read next. I'm torn between Brick Lane and Small Island...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Life in 3-D

Anna May Wong is a fascinating person.

It would be nice if Gao Hodges didn't have her on such a pedastal, then *maybe* he could be a little more objective about his subject. Maybe he'd give her some depth and dimension. I bet she'd be even more fascinating then. As it stands now, really, this book is just a big mastabatory experience for this guy. Ugh.

That, and the copy-editing thing again. I mean, in the same chapter he uses Nanjing and Nanking. THEY'RE THE SAME CITY! Pick a transliteration style and stick with it. Put a freaking note in the begining.

And seriously? Peking? The book is largely in pinyin, and then the one time he's consistent, it's with PE-effing-KING?! Ugh. Beijing people. Beijing. If you want to be correct about it, Beiping, as "jing" is capital, it's the Nationalist government, so Nanjing was the capital and Beijing was renamed for a short period of time to Beiping. But really? I'd be happy with the Beijing. But noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Peking. OIY!

Also, minor things... Suzhou is not a seaside resort, as it, you know isn't on the coast. And it's known for its silk products. Hangzhou, as far as I am aware, not so much.

How rude would it be if I reread this with my red pen in hand and then mailed my corrected copy back to him?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

It's called a Copy Editor.

Ugh. So, some minor things about Anna May...

First off, the back has a quotation from Iris Chang, author of The Chinese American. Except, well, her book is titled The Chinese In America.

That, and at the beginning of the second (maybe third) chapter, Hodges is outlining a plot to one of her movies, and makes repeated references to the character named Chang Lo. Except every other time it's spelt Chang Low.

It's the little things that make me not take you seriously.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Book Store

After my jaunt to Borders, I remembered the gift certificate to Barnes and Noble I had gotten for Christmas. When it comes to big box book stores, I vastly prefer Borders, but there is no borders where my parents live, so, B&N it was.

Last night I went a little crazy:

The Cook's Encyclopedia to Italian Cooking Carla Capalbo
A Noodle Cookbook that I can't find a reference for (it was on the clearane shelf)
The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes Bill Watterson
Geisha, A Life Mineko Iwasaki
Small Island Andrea Levy
Boundaries of Her Body:A Shocking History of Women's Rights in America Debran Rowland
Motifs Paris Combo

The last is a CD that came on when I was browsing the clearance shelf. I feel so in love with the first track that I had to buy it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The wheels on the bus

I had to take the bus to work today. I miss taking the bus if only because it gave me 20-40 minutes each day to read...

I started Anna May Wong... today. Some comments on Amazon and my initial reaction to the introduction leave me wary that this won't be the most unbiased opinion of her life and work.

I mean, Hodges first found out about her because he saw a signed photo in a shop and bought it, even though it was really expensive. The way the intro reads, he became infatuated with this photo (almost Peony Pavillion-esque, really) and so got a book deal so he could research her... it seems almost... unhealthy. I am also very wary of historians writing outside their subject field (his is African American history).

But, all that said, I've only read the intro. We'll see how the rest of the book goes. Even if it is only a love letter to an unknown actress, it could still be a good read. I'll just have to get and read a poison pen letter too!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Getting lost in the bookstore

So, I finished up Republic of Wine by Mo Yan this weekend.

It was a good book, but hard to read. It took a long time, partly because I'm a huge wuss and couldn't read it before bed due to visceral scenes of eating babies.

I think I need to reread it. It's all over the place so I think it'll make more sense when I know what's coming... if that makes sense...

Tonight, I went to Borders, as I had a gift card to be spending...

I walked away with:

A knitting magazine
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Red Brush: Writing Women of Imperial China ed. by Wilt L. Idema and Beata Grant
The Doll House and Other Plays by Henrik Ibsen

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Oooooo... I've been tagged by Lynne for this book meme. This is the first time I've been tagged. It's quite exciting!


You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be and why?

Ok, um, I've never read Fahrenheit 451. I know. It's embarassing. But, I read a plot sypnopsis online and juding off of Lynne's answer, I need to be memorized so I can survive, right? I'm going to go with Beowulf. In Olde English. Great story, easy to memorize and not only would the literature be preserved, but the history of the language would be as well.

The last book you bought is:

Well, one trip to the book store, 3 books purchased.

Red Sorghum by Mo Yan (as a gift)
Anna May Wong: From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend by Graham Russell Gao Hodges
Republic of Wine by Mo Yan

The Last Book you Read:

Changing Places by David Lodge. Hilarious.

Currently Reading:

Republic of Wine by Mo Yan
Gendering the Spirit: Women, Religion, and the Post-Colonial Response edited by Durre S. Ahmed

Five Books You Would Take With you to a Deserted Island:

Some sort of survival guide
Complete Works of Jane Austen
The Colombia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature
The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature
For the 5th one I'm torn between a Norton Anthology of American Lit or the Bible. I think I'm going to go with the Bible.

Sometimes I feel that my high school education cheated me. I don't know. But there are lots of books that I got to college having not read, and, given that I didn't major in English, a lot of books that I graduated from college having not read. I have a hard time comprehending how someone who went to the schools I did could have gotten this far reading certain titles. For instance, I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird. Seriously.

Books I didn't read:
Fahrenheit 451
Nothing by Austen
Nothing by any of the Brontes
Nothing by Dickens
To Kill a Mockingbird
Red Badge of Courage

Now, to be fair, it's not that kids in my school district didn't read such titles, but that kids who took top-level English all through high school didn't read these titles. We read such stuff as:

The Crucible
Things Fall Apart
As I Lay Dying
Romeo and Juliet
Huckleberry Finn
Killer Angels
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Dandelion Wine
Their Eyes Were Watching God
The Great Gatsby
Oedipus Rex
Antigone (by Anouilh, not Sophocles)
Lord of the Flies
Cat's Cradle

Thursday, March 03, 2005

More of last year

A few things:

Republic of Wine is weird. Good, but surreal. I think it might make more sense if I were a least as partly drunk as the characters. Of couse, that worked so well when I played "Keeping up with Dmitry" when I read The Brothers Karamazov. (To my defense, that was my *professor's* idea.)

I am an utterly shallow person. This can be witnessed by the fact that I will wait patiently until Jasper Fforde's Something Rotten and Louise Rennison's Away Laughing on a Fast Camel come out in paperback before I buy and read them. Why? You ask. Because, I want all the books in a series to physically match on my bookshelf. I am denying myself pleasure so my shelves look bettter. I told you I was shallow.

See, not writing reviews after reading the book, I can't remember enough, so...

Short and Sweet things:

Of the two David Lodge books I read, Thinks... was vastly superior to Therapy. Therapy, overall, was just meh. Thinks... was pure Lodge-tastic.

The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde is phemonal. (The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, and The Well of Lost Plots) One big inside joke for those of us who read a lot, but still enjoyable to someone, like me, who is low on classics education. These books, did, of course, inspire me to pick up more classics. Yay for that. Yay for Thursday Next! Smart and absurd and light quick reading.

Out of the contemporary lit. by women pile I read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and The Red Tent by Anita Diamont.

The Red Tent was one of my favorite books last year, definetely the best out of this trio.
Bel Canto comes next and The Time-Traveler's Wife was last.

The Red Tent was the first work of fiction I've read by Diamont, but her Choosing a Jewish Life impacted me in different ways. But, oh, The Red Tent is phenomanal and fantastic. It is the story of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob of Biblical fame, told in her voice. As she is only barely briefly dealt with in the Bible, it is largely imagined, and how! Beautifully written and moving and outstanding and astonishing and superb. You should read it. Now.

I like all of them, but I thought ...Wife could have dealt with some issues better. The main character had some extremely violent episodes, but we never get to explore the darker side. We never explore how the wife's complete lack of other romanitc involvment has stunted her. We never explore the ramifications of growing up with an adult version of your husband and knowing early on that he will be your husband. It's like an arranged marriage almost and we never explore the greater impact... I just wish it would have done more. It could have done more but wanted to be a sweet love story. So it was. Nothing more.

Bel Canto was nice and I recomend it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Booze Nation!

Mo Yan is my favorite author. I discovered this when I had to read Red Sorghum for a Chinese lit. class in school. I was only auditing the class and you know how these things go... I never finished the book for class, but I liked it so much that I read it over Christmas break.

His prose is so visceral in a way you rarely ever get, especially with Chinese lit. The smells and tastes and colors just permeate through everything.

Also, he always works with the same translator, Howard Goldblatt and it's obvious they have a really close working relationship, so the translation is faithful to Mo Yan's intent and artistry.

I'm suprised at Mo Yan's guts. I don't know HOW he gets away with publishing what he does, especially as one who works for the army! It's crazy.

Right now I'm reading his Republic of Wine. What I love is that Jiu Guo, the title of the book, is translated two different ways: Republic of Wine in the title, and Liquor Land in the actual text. I also like my own translation of Booze Nation. All are accurate.

jiu means alcohol and is modified to refer to a certain type of alcohol:
pu tang jiu is grape + alcohol= wine

guo mean country or nation (much to the fascination of my history advisor, the Chinese language does not really differentiate between these two concepts.)

Anyway, I'm not really far enough into the text to really comment on it besides that Mo Yan is AWESOME.

I thought I'd instead comment on a book of his that I read last year, in my continuing series of Books I read last year... (creative titling, I know)


Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh

Is a collection of short stories. The title story is a hilarious look at modern Chinese treatment of workers and lovers. I was very excited to read that the film Happy Times was an adaptation of this story, but was dissapointed. I really liked the film, but something kinda similair to the plot of the story occurs in the first 15 minutes of the film. The rest of the film is about something else entirely.

The collection also has a story that is a sequel of sorts to Red Sorghum, which was exciting.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Changing Places

Oh, David Lodge, may I please bear your children?

Seriously, this man rocks.

I just laid in bed all weekend reading. Well, not all weekend, the book isn't that long!

So, two English professors change places through a professorial exchange program in the 70s. The British prof ends up at a thinly disguised Berkeley and the American prof ends up at what I've been told is a thinly disguised Birmingham. I wouldn't know.

Of course, they end up emeshed with each other's wives and department politics.

I appreceiated the way the story was told in different styles. Sometimes straight on prose, a chapter told in newspaper clippings, a chapter told in correspondance, a chapter told in script form.

Some interesting insights to the culture at the time. The book was written in the 70s, so it does date itself. But all in all was excellent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Even better than a plane full of fallen women!

Oh, after this morning's rant on Bebe Moore Campbell, a love song for David Lodge...

I think I needed his character's next. I'm only 40 pages into Changing Places and I wanted to do a little piroette when I stopped reading after lunch today... mmmm...

I mean, here's an author who can write characters! Such a contrast!

Just take Morris Zapp, a man who wanted to write the definitive commentary on every piece of the Jane Austen cannon not to enlighten readers, but so there would be nothing more to say, so all the drivel that gets published about Austen could just stop. And yet, the names of his children are Elizabeth and Darcy.


Is my time back to read something else

Ok, so Moore Campbell's What you Owe Me...

So, Hosanna (a black woman) and Gilda (a Holocaust survivor) meet in an LA hotel where they're both maids. Hosanna's suprised to see a white woman with troubles similair to her own (such as thee fact that Hosanna's family's land in Texas was taken by some white guys in a fairly sketchy way. They have the deed and proof that the land is rightfully theirs, but can't get it back. Gilda has the bankbook for her family's Swiss Bank Account, but the authorities won't let her get the money that her murdered parents set aside when they saw the writing on the wall)... they start a cosmetics company together and then one day, poof! Gilda and the money are gone. Hosanna is bitter bitter bitter (understandably) then Gilda reappears with her own costmetics company that is much more successful than Hosanna's. Hosanna is bitter bitter bitter (understandably) and passes this bitterness onto her children, mainly Matriece, who wants to own her own cosmetics empire one day and forsakes everything else for this dream and ends up working for Gilda bum bum bum! Which sets the stage for "a tale of classic revenge"

But instead of "classic revenge" you just really get shallow characters not learning anything and bumbling along and knifing each other in the back haphazardly and it magically turns out all right in the end. Ugh.

I did not enjoy it. I don't think the characters learned much. Well, maybe the *dead* ones did, but fat lot of good that does 'em.

It also really rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like the message of the book was "All a white person wants to do is screw over the black man, and Jews are the worst of all".

I also got the feeling that the book was trying to say that black people have suffered more than Jewish people, but the Jewish people get all the "credit". Maybe in the US, but there's a broader picture here.

I think it might have tried to tackle issues that were bigger than it and then didn't fully address them.

On the other hand, it's a little over 500 pages and many of the reviews on Amazon (both published and reader-generated) have comments in the vein of "don't let the length scare you!". It's a little over 500 pages in mass market paperback. Maybe I'm not the intended audience.

A more detailed review. (Warning! I will give away the ending here!)

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I've realized that my current reading habits (ie where I read and for how long) no longer lend themselves to non-fiction...

This does not bode well for my hope of 20 nonfiction books this year...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

British Tales of Teenage Angst!

Next up on my "books I read last year" tour, we bring you tales of teenage angst all the way from Merry Ole England!

We have:
Dancing in my Nuddy-Pants Louise Rennison
Knocked out by my Nunga-Nungas Louise Rennison
On the Bright Side, I'm now the Girlfriend of a Sex God Louise Rennison
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison
Adrian Mole from Minor to Major Sue Townsend

All the Louise Rennison's will be taken first. I had already read Angus... and On the Bright Side... but it had been over a year, so I decided to reread them before I tackled the other two, so I could remember the subleties of the plot. (This is a joke, there's nothing really subtle in these books.) I read all four in a weekend. Maybe a day. They're really quick and pretty funny. I had thrown out my back and was a bit loopy on pain killers and these were the perfect books for such a time!

So, this is a series about a teenage girl named Georgia Nicholson who lives somewhere in England. I don't think we ever find out where, but I secretely think it's Eccles or Sale. Ok, not really, but I do think she lives somewhere around Manchester. It could very well be Eccles or Sale or even Macclesfield or one of the other bajillion towns and communities that have grown over the years to smoosh together and become the greater Manchester area. She doesn't live in Manchester, but close enough that the bad girls can go into Manchester to go clubbing.

Except they go to Fifth Avenue (I think). What a waste of a club. Except it's the perfect place for people like the Bummer Twins to go to. Just saying.

I like the American prints of these books over the British for the sole reason that there's a glossery in the back of each one that's fabbity-fab-fab and full of hilariousity (as Georgia would say). The British versions, on the other hand, have most excellent titles, such as It's OK, I'm wearing really big knickers (On the Bright Side...) and the new one Away Laughing on a Fast Camel (which I haven't read... I'm waiting for it to come out in paperback) in England is And that's when it Fell off in my Hand. Apparently And that's when it fell off... is too rude for American audiences and well, we don't refer to our underpants as knickers, so the other one didn't make much sense...

Of couse, On the Bright Side... as a title did have its own problems! (For any worried parents out there-- there isn't any sex in these books. "Sex God" is British for "really hot".)

Anyway... back to Georgia. She's really shallow and her whole diary is full of boys, makeup, and getting into trouble at school. High brow, it is not. Hilarious and absolutely silly, it definetely is. Read them order. Angus... is still the longest, but Away laughing... looks promising... and I hate to admit it, but man, I hope she ends up with Dave the Laugh. It will never happen though, because she's too shallow. *sigh*

Oh! They're also available in adult editions! They include 2 books in one and have tamer covers and really boring names (The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson).

Moving on to Adrian Mole. Also a diary. Also British. Also funny, but in a darker way. And Adrian's a boy, whereas Georgia's a girl. Adrian's humor comes from Townsend's hilarious characters. This is still light reading, but not the complete fluff of Georgia. From Major to Minor is a four-book collection. The first book, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, is the best. After he goes off to college, eh. However, there are more books not in this book, such as The Cappucino Years that my sister highly recomends. I'll try and check them out sometime!

Also, I think that the Adrian books were written more for adults, and Georgia was written for 13-year-olds.

Monday, January 31, 2005


So, I read 50 books in 2004. Here's the first of a series of reviews...

I'm not going to go in order that I read them, but rather group them into catagories...

So, here are THE CLASSICS

Emma by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Suprisingly, I've never had to read any of these books. I took all advanced English classes and hold a degree from a good college, and the only one of these I had read before 2004 was Wuthering Heights, which I read for fun one Christmas break during college. (And it's not just these books, but I've never had to read any books by these authors!)

So, I liked Emma a lot, but I'm an Austen sucker. I also really enjoyed Jane Eyre, which I only read because everyone kept telling me to read Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair and I thought I should read Jane first, or else it would be cheating. The thing that struck me though was the fact that I never had a sense of Jane and Rochester falling in love. But, all of a sudden they were! I knew it was coming because who doesn't know that? But I was still suprised when it happened.

After I read Jane, I read The Eyre Affair which made me realize that I really didn't remember much about Wuthering Heights so I re-read that. It's a good book, but I've never understood the obsession with it. It's not that good. But, I'm obsessed with Pride and Prejudice so I really shouldn't say anything.

Then in spring I read Tale of Two Cities. I never really got into it. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law's S.O. were absolutely horrified that I didn't cry at the end. Horrified in a way that I'm sure they still think I am an absolutely awful person (as I'm sure you're thinking now as well). I think it was because I had to read it in short bursts. So, I'd read 10 pages, put it down, in a few days read another 10 pages... so I never really bonded with the characters. Or maybe I really am a heartless creature. Hmmm... I really do need to read Great Expectations though. It's on the list for this year.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The book is always better...

Finished Persausion and it made me all girly, like only a Jane Austen novel can...

However, I am now even more pissed off that they so drastically changed Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason when they made the movie. Because now it's not the same story.

What does it say that the original and best chick-lit books are Bridget and they don't have original plots?

Still, I will never argue with an opportunity to drool over Colin Firth. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Guy Stuff

So, this past week I read Guy Stuff by a guy named Dan.

It's an interesting publishing premise, as it's a blog, but each entry is a chapter. I don't know whether or not I'm sorry I came across it after it was finished. On one hand, I ripped through it pretty quickly, and would have been really impatient to wait for a new chapter every week. On the other hand, if it was only a chapter a week (they're pretty short chapters) then I probably would have wasted a lot less time at work!

The book, in itself, is pretty good. Nothing too deep or earth-shattering, but a pleasant read. Funny in parts. No great insights on life, but some fun jabs at the evilness of Starbucks.

It does, however, need a good edit. And not just in the occasional typo, but you can tell it wasn't edited as a whole, as certain turns of phrase are reused chapters later, and really shouldn't be. (For instance, the narrator twice makes the observation that his roommate was the only person who could lose weight by going out to eat. For the sake of good writing, it only should have been made once. The same is true for the comment "if it were an apartment, it would be called garden style". A good description once, but shouldn't be reused.)

All in all though, a good ladlit read, and you can't beat the price (though you should flip Dan a few bucks).

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Things my Girlfriend and I... was the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

Kinda like David Lodge on crack? I don't know if I like that analogy, but he captures relationships well and academia (but this time the support staff side) well, as does Lodge.

But there's more to it. More slapstick. More crazy. I mean, Lodge's people/situations are all totally believable everyday observations.

Millington's world is crazy, and yet, you do believe it anyway. I mean, Lodge would never have his university pay Chinese mobsters to recruit Asian students.

Don't read it if you're a librarain who is easily offended, though. He hits them pretty hard. But, on the other hand, I've known several librarians like the one in his book.

Monday, January 10, 2005


Currently Reading: Things My Girlfriend and I have Argued About Mil Millington

by Dava Sobel was suprisingly good. I'm not always the biggest fan of pop history. I think one of the reasons that I appreciated this book is that, unlike a lot of pop history, it didn't make grand claims without evidence or explanation.

Or maybe it was the pop science of it. Which I don't mind, because I don't know a lot about science.