Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Pennywise will eat me if I don't read more this time. Promise.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cannonball Read #s 11-18: the rest of the Sookie books Living Dead in Dallas through Dead and Gone, by Charlaine Harris

I read the rest of the Sookie series during my vacation in Florida (oh pelicans, how I MISS you), and read the 9th and most recent published addition the other day. I feel like a complete idiot reading them in public, with their silly covers and terrible terrible titles, but the hipsters on my trolley can shove their Schopenhauer up their asses. This series is fun as hell and I'm already sad that there's no new Sookie on the horizon.

Sookie has continued to grow on me, which is why I just get weepy over how fucking annoying she is in True Blood. She's just such a firecracker (Firecracker? Am I 80 years old? Fuck it, it's staying) in the books-often to her own expense, but it makes for good reading. My favorite character will always and forever be Eric. He's so arrogant and dangerous, it's no surprise me and the roommate have slight book crushes on him. And I love the continued expansion of the supernatural universe, with the shapeshifters and the fairies and the demons and the stupid god-damned werepanthers. The books have consistently grown darker with each new layer of fantastical lore. Sookie may be the heroine of the series but Harris isn't afraid the batter her around and throw tragedy after tragedy her way. Somehow Sookie and her Super-rack haven't been devoured by a weregrasshopper yet. SOON Sookie. It's just a matter of time.

Anyways, this was half assed because it's been so long and there's no way I'm reviewing each individual book 2 months after having read them. I'll finally post a real review of some decent novels in the very near future. My days have been filled with too many hours of warm weather drinking and familial obligations, but I'm much less distracted now. Probably because I'm out of "I wish I could bang a hot undead Viking" books.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cannonball Read #11: The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett

"You damned fool, you didn't have to knock me cold. I knew you'd take him, but I wanted to see it." -Nora Charles

Nick Charles is a former private detective and cynical sot extraordinaire, hellbent on staying out of the gumshoe business. Nick is suddenly thrust back into detectiving and whatnot when Dorothy Wynant, the daughter of former acquaintance Clyde Wynant (the Thin Man himself), appeals to Nick to help find her father and solve the murder of his mistress. The plot then descends into a complete labyrinthine whodunit where suspicions flow more freely than the booze. It's crazy. Really crazy. People aren't who they say they are, new suspects appear every few pages, and that damned Mimi Jorgensen keeps lying her fool head off.

At times I found myself a little lost, from both the twists and the ever emerging cast of characters. But there were two addictive aspects to the book that kept me reading: Nick and Nora Charles. There's a chemistry between Nick and Nora throughout the book that is just so damned effortless that I found myself aching to be friends with both of them. The book is appealing on its own, full of dark corners, speakeasies, scummy felons, sarcastic cops, and hilariously manipulative women. But Nick and Nora Charles are the heart of the novel, bantering so frequently that I nearly had to catch my breath. They're so much fun that I rented the movie immediately after finishing the novel. And with one viewing, my love became eternal. The book has a hazy atmosphere, where the streets and clothes are gray and dingy and everyone's mood is just a little off from slight intoxication. The film manages to recreate the book's ambience and yet through the brilliant portrayals of Nick and Nora by Willian Powell and Myrna Loy, the movie feels joyous. Vibrant. I seriously love these characters. You become drunk from the force of your infatuation.

I'd say more, but I read this book about a month ago and I'm not one with articulation today. But...oh Nora. Please be my girlfriend. We can wear fabulous dresses and drink gin martinis while making ribald comments to the bartender.


It's strange to think that we can become so enamored of someone we've never met in person. I fall so hard for my friends. I want to see them all the time, I want to talk to them as much as I can, I want to make every problem of theirs disappear. And it's the same for those I meet in online communities. I've made connections with people on the internet before, but never as strongly as those on Pajiba. These funny, sweet, warped people who are so decent and make me wish I could live in fifty places at once.

I didn't know Amanda, and yet I feel like I did. I looked forward to seeing her name in the comments, I loved hearing about her son, and I laughed at her ability to debate about movies with a wit that I could only hope to have one day. And Jesus, her STRENGTH. How could someone face cancer that way, especially one so aggressive? I can't imagine...I can't imagine being that strong. I can't imagine knowing that your life has likely been cut short, and still be able to make jokes about zombies and scary bugs and books and so many other things we all discussed on Pajiba. I would sometimes shake my head at her blog posts, marvelling over just how scared she must have been and yet how hard she fought to stay, well, normal Manda. I am the definition of inarticulate...she was really special.

And she makes me love my friends even more today

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So. Effing. Close.

Baseball!!! Is soon!!! Exclamation points!!! Convey excitement!!!

I'm giddy. No, I'm beyond giddy. I'm jump out of my pants delighted. God, I love baseball. I love the collective roar of CB Park when the Phillies get a home run. I love hearing "Kashmir" play over the loudspeakers, knowing that it's Utley's time to bat. I love watching Victorino steal a base, and Lidge close a game. I love the rivalry between us and the Mets, even though it gets ugly (how I hate the ugly). I love hearing Harry Kallas and Sarge and Wheelsy call the game. I love going to the stadium, walking along Ashburn Alley with my friends and a beer and laughing hysterically whenever the Phanatic dances on the dugout. I love playing hooky during the business persons' specials, taking a half day from work for the 1:00 games and sitting in the sun instead of my cubicle. I love watching the games at home with my roommate...screaming "Sac bunt!!", Jess sarcastically retorting "To. Pitch. BETTER" every time the announcers question a failing pitcher's needs, my constant need to pee every time something good happens.

Baseballs feels like my childhood. It feels like going to games with my dad, bringing my glove to the Vet even though we never once caught a foul ball, playing catch in the backyard until the last trickles of daylight ebbed away, and the sticky sweatiness of my softball uniform. It feels like red and white and furry green, and that tickle of nervous exhilaration in your stomach during a close game.

I can't wait :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cannonball Read #10: Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris

I swear on all that is pure and good and sparkly, I do not have a weird obsession with vampires. A number of Cannonball members have read the Stackhouse books, and since I'm a fan/kinda fan/non fan/this show makes me want to punch koala bears but I CAN'T STOP viewer of HBO's True Blood, I was curious to read these. Plus there's the added bonus of not having to endure Anna Paquin's unicornicide-inducing portrayal of Sookie. YAY.

It's basically what I expected; the plot mirrors much of that in the first season (girls being killed, Sookie romanced by Bill), the characters ditto. Tara isn't in the first book at all, which I found refeshing even though I generally enjoy her in the show. I missed Jason, he spent most of the book showing up long enough to refute Sookie's claims about her abusive great-uncle and to flirt with the girls at Merlotte's. The biggest and most welcome disparity is the characterization of Bill. He's...kind of a dick. And I like that. Call it the Mr. Darcy Syndrome. He's a fucking vampire, so it's nice to see him acting as such instead of the eternal polite southern gentleman. What I did find lacking was the depth of the main characters...they're interesting and compelling, but they don't quite resonate emotionally as they do in the show. In a way that makes these books perfect for a translation on television. The characters are there in the most elemental of ways, so they're easy to build on in a serialized drama.

So...yeah. Funsies. No sparkles. Not well-written, but didn't leave me huddled in despair at the bottom of my tub bemoaning my increasingly terrible taste in books.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cannonball Read #9: Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer

I really don't know why I keep reading the Twilight books. I honestly don't enjoy them. I hate almost every single character. The writing is genuinely bad. REALLY bad. Meyer doesn't seem to grasp the idea that plot development isn't achieved by talking about's about, oh I don't know, writing scenarios and motivations that advance the narrative and the characters' perspectives? It's 400 pages of discussing what could happen, just how fucking beautiful Edward is, just how individual and fascinating Bella is, and then 50 pages of action.

My favorite part of the book was a line that, though this may not be completely verbatim, comes rather close..."You know Bella, for a teenager, you are remarkably unwhiny."

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! Jesus CHRIST lady, do you have ANY insight into your characters?

I have to finish though. I HAVE to. I already got this far, and to be honest with myself, my morbid curiousity has bested me once again. When I opened this book for the first time, I was giggling to myself. Because they are ridiculous. My roommate can only shake her head and laugh at me. Which is pretty much what I do each time I turn the page.

I had to cleanse my palate with this:

Because cheesy wereteenbitches make me laugh my ass off. Especially when she tries to cut off her tail.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cannonball Read #8: The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

Who hasn't imagined what it would be like to interact with a living breathing incarnation of their favorite literary characters? As a child I would have given my Color Kid collection and my Skip-it to have churned butter with Laura Ingalls and Ma, to have attended Queens College with Anne Shirley, and to have created a Kid Kit with Claudia Kishi and Mary Anne Spier. Now I spend my days wishing I could shave yaks and search for the three wise men with Joshua and Biff, explore London Below with Richard Mayhew, attend Herbology class with Ron and Harry, and, well, cut Bella Swan's heart out with a spoon (it's dull, you twit, it'll hurt more). I may never have the chance, but these fantasies could be an actual reality to Thursday Next, Fforde's leading lady in this the first book of the series.

Thursday is a literary detective in a fictional England, where a seemingly unending Crimean War continues and books are debated as hotly as politics. As the battles rage on, a sinister murderer/thief/former professor/doer of naughty deeds named Acheron Hades has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit. This may not seem like the most heinous crime imaginable, but Thursday's uncle Mycroft has created a device named the Prose Portal, one which enables a person to walk into any novel or work of fiction. By stealing the original manuscript and kidnapping Mycroft, Hades now has the potential to permanently alter the course of the action in the book and that in all of its subsequent copies. There is a TON of plot in this book and I don't want to give too much away, but eventually the original copy of Jane Eyre and its inhabitants are in grave danger and its up to Thursday to save Charlotte Brontë's quintessential novel.

Fforde has a wonderful grasp of his heroine and manages to keep the narrative flowly quickly. Too quickly at times, the one word that keeps popping in my head when trying to describe this book is "manic." But it's beyond fun to see how he interweaves the mystery of the missing manuscript with his own version of Jane and Rochester. It must be a daunting task to write two of the most well-known fictional characters into your own story, but Fforde's obvious love of literature and his quirky sense of humor make the retelling feel seamless. And Thursday is pretty fascinating, a well-layered and headstrong woman in a book comprised mainly of headstrong men. It's interesting to see the differing opportunities afforded to both Thursday and Jane Eyre. Thursday emulates Jane in certain ways: her stubborness, her intelligence, her straightforward way of dealing with others. And yet Jane has so many limitations due to her class and the century in which she lives, it's almost as if Thursday is a near reincarnation of her.

I must admit, my favorite parts of the book were those that featured Rochester and Jane, but that's because I'm an English major geek who gets her jollies from literary allusions. This was a breezy read and a great diversion-I'll definitely be checking out the second installment of Thursday's adventures. Maybe the next one will feature Atticus Finch. :crosses fingers: