Monthly Archives: August 2009

Random Thoughts

Although I agree with virtually all of these thoughts, they are not my own creation. I snagged this off of my sister’s Facebook page.

Random thoughts from people our age…

1) I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.

2) More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

3) Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong. (this has NEVER happened to me, ever… swear)

4) I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

5) Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the “people you may know” feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?

6) Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn’t work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ’s. We just figured it out. Today’s kids are soft.

7) There is a great need for sarcasm font.

8) Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.

9) I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

10) I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

11) The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text or finish my makeup…

12) A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.

13) Lol has gone from meaning, “laugh out loud” to “I have nothing else to say”. (OR “watever, stop Iming me”)

14) Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying. (unless its the letter C)

15) Whenever someone says “I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart”, all I hear is “I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart”.

16) How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said? (or didnt understand…)

17) I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers! (hahaha… except im usually that dick…)

18) What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

19) While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it…thanks Mario Kart.

20) MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

21) Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died, who they had an affair with, what their arrest record was, and if they included the person’s facebook profile.

22) Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

23) Bad decisions make good stories

24) Whenever I’m Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don’t mind if I do!

25) If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

26) You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

27) There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

28) I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my document that I swear I did not make any changes to.

29) I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What’d you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

30) I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing
anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

31) When I meet a new dude, I’m terrified of mentioning something he hasn’t already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

32) I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it’s on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

33) Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles…

34) I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

35) Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey -but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time…

36) -My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day “Dad what would
happen if you ran over a ninja?” How the hell do I respond to that? (Em- this one’s for you!)

37) I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

38) The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Reminder – Bookworms Carnival

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Hey everyone please don’t forget to send in your entries for Edition 37 of the Bookworms Carnival. The theme is Banned Books Week.  I have a few fantastic submissions already, but I’d love to have more! I’m looking for reviews, author interviews, guests posts, or any special features. The deadline is Sept. 11th, so please get them in early!!

Not sure what to send in? Here are some useful links to help get you started.

1. Here is the official Banned Books Week website.

2. Google lets you get a preview from some frequently challenged titles.

3. Here are the 10 most challenged books f 2008

The 10 most challenged titles were:

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence


TT
YL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age
group


Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint,
sexually explicit, and violence

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group


Gossip Girl
(series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age  group


Uncle Bobby’s Wedding
, by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group


The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group


Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Ripped – Review

Greg Kot’s work, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music is a look inside the world of music marketing, and distribution, from the mainstream to the underground.

Beginning chronologically, Kot first gives us a mini-review of the history of the music industry, Clear Channel’s monopolization of radio stations, and the obstacles fans faced when it came to wanting to listing to music. The monotony of radio stations added to the high price of CD sales helped a new generation of technie music nerds change the way the public can access new music. Enter Napster.

Kot takes us through a mini history of the rise and fall and second wind of the online music sharing world, from Napster, to Limeware to Bit Torrent peer-to-peer sharing sites. Kot did not spend as much time talking about Itunes, the Ipod as I would have thought. Instead he devoted a large chunk of the book talking about different artists, (Bright Eyes, Arcade Fire, Lilly Allen, Danger Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie etc) and how they used the Internet to develop their careers, how the Internet chose them to be music darlings in the underground, and how artists such as Prince and Radiohead broke away from the typical music industry rules and regulations to try and go back to the basic roots of giving music to the fans without the middlemen siphoning money away from the artists.

Kot discusses copyright issues, he goes into details about rock music, hip hop’s tendency to use sampling as an artform, and how the music industry has finally learned to evolve with where the Internet is taking them.

This book is most certainly for music buffs, or anyone who downloads cds. My boyfriend is a big music-nerd, so many of the bands discussed in this book, I had already heard of and knew something of their rise to fame. Its funny how the generation the author talks about in the books is my same generation, the one that saw the Napster v. Metallica wars on the news in high school. Who went to college and learned about lime-ware, bit torrent, You Tube, MySpace, Facebook, etc.  I hoped that Kot would have written something about Pandora and all its loveliness in providing me with hours of free music of various forms, styles and genres. Published in 2009, I think Pandora would have been a good addition to the rest of the book.

I loved his sections when he was talking about the individual bands. It reminded me of the band-biographies I used to read in high school because I couldn’t afford to buy the cd’s at the local Wherehouse Music. I knew the entire history start to finish of Babes in Toyland w/o having heard a single song of theirs. Reading descriptions of music that you have listened to is a very strange feeling. Everyone feels and reacts differently to a song, they are much more open to interpretation.

You could sense his love for music, he stayed objective with his facts, by neither blasting the music industry nor condoning what downloaders do as valid. I never felt that Kot spent too much time on any one topic, his writing style was very informative, but also felt like a casual conversation instead of reading like a book of facts about music and the Internet.

This book also a part of my Dewey Decimal Challenge for the 700s Century.

Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music
by Greg Kot
Scribner, 2009
Dewey: 780.2854 Kot
ISBN 1416547274
252 pages

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Find this book at your local library

Wintergirls – Review

After her former best friend Cassie is found dead and alone in a motel room, Lia begins a downward spiral; struggling with divorced parents that don’t understand or are too busy to, a clueless stepmother and ghosts that haunt her every movement. Struggling to keep afloat amidst so much sadness, Lia’s anorexic behavior returns, with even more determination as her world crumbles around her.

Laurie Halse Anderson is a sort of landmark in the YA literature, with other works such as Speak and Chains cluttering summer reading lists for local high schools, and garnering much lauded attention from teens and adults alike. Wintergirls is my first venture into the worlds created by Anderson. This is also the second book that I listened to on audio-cd (the first was Jurassic Park when I was 13). Read by Jeanne Smith, this audio-cd was heartbreaking, disturbing and uplifting. There were many moments where I wanted to break down and cry for Lia, for her struggles. To hug her and tell her that everything would be OK. A lost child surrounded by family. Thinking back to my high school years, its easy to feel surrounded and neglected at the same time. Her family cares for her, but they don’t know how to deal with her. Neither does Lia know how to really communicate with her family about her troubles. Her younger sister Emma seems to be the silver lining in anything Leah does and wants to do.

I think this book is as relevant for teens as it for adults. Parents wondering why their children starve themselves. For teens, it is a way to realize that they don’t have to be stuck in this uncomfortable cycle of binge and purge, starve and cut.

Anderson’s writing is lyrical, eloquent, but also captures clearly how to teen’s talk and think. Jeanne Smith’s reading was well paced, and with her little girl voice, the audio-cd felt like a high school girl was talking to you. It felt more real, more emotional than I think a straight reading from the paperback would have been. The audio-cd also includes an author chat where Anderson discusses her vision and inspiration for Wintergirls.

Wintergirls
Laurie Halse Anderson
Brilliance Audio, 2009
Viking Press , 2009 (for the book)
7 hours on 6 cds

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Find this item at your local library

Teaser Tuesday (8/25)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
# Grab your current read.
# Let the book fall open to a random page.
# Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

# You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! # Please avoid spoilers!

My Two Teasers:

Hotel of the Saints by Ursula Hegi

He didn’t tell her he was flying to Mexico instead. Exhilarated and afraid she wouldn’t know where he would be, he sat across from her, close enough to touch.


Vigil – Review

As her beloved lays sick and dying, Anna recounts vivid details of her life leading up to this moment. From her childhood in El Salvador, to her struggles and travels to the United States first living in a convent, then eventually becoming a nanny for a wealthy southern California family.

Although the synopsis seems really simple, the book itself is not. Cecila Samartin does a fantastic job of weaving together the past with the present of Anna’s life with key overlapping elements. She uses 1st and 3rd person perspective when discussing Anna’s childhood and her life as an adult at the bedside of her love. We learn about Anna’s past, the massacre of her family by renegades in El Salvador, her salvation into the United States and her education and eventual desire to be a nun through snippets of memories and thoughts.

Religion plays a central role in this book, although it didn’t feel like a typical Christian Lit that I have read before. Although Religion is at the heart of Anna’s life and is what grounds her, neither the book nor Anna ever felt preachy. In religion, Anna finds peace and calm, whereas the rest of her life has been filled with violence and fears. Sent to work as a nanny for the Trellis family by the mother superior, Anna is then embraced into a world completely different from one that she’s ever known. She sees the faults in others, but is patient and accepting, reserving judgment and also quick on her feet in difficult situations.

Towards the end of the book, I would have thought that Anna’s utter selflessness would have annoyed me, but it was more of everyone else’s selfishness that bothered me instead. I admired Anna’s character. She never seemed preachy, either through her actions or words. Anna was well loved by the family she worked for, but those family members were riddled with faults, greed, lies and deception. The juxtaposition between the two worlds was very stark. Both sides were filled tragic loss and regrets, but there was a clear difference in how Anna saw the world and how the Trellis family saw the world. She is sent there to look after Teddy, the wild and spoiled son of Adam and Lillian Trellis. Gifted with an ability to interact with children, Teddy quickly learns to listen and follow Anna’s lead as he grows up. As Lillian’s scandalous affairs and priorities outside of the house take her away from her children and husband, Anna fits easily into the cog of a functional family. Lillian is an interesting character, maybe bi-polar?

I found the eventual romance that developed between Anna and her beloved to not feel all that realistic. I think because through so much of the book Anna was Mr. Trellis’ employee and friend, I never pictured him seeing her as a love interest, although that was the obvious next step. Also, I’m not sure if its my lack of knowledge of El Salvador’s political past, but I had no idea what era the story took place. Even when Anna came to the US, I was still a little confused if this was modern day, or farther in the past. This is still a fantastic read, one that you won’t be able to put down after you start reading.

Vigil
Cecila Samartin
Washington Square Press, 2009
ISBN 1416549528
452 pages

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Find this book at your local library

Breaking Dawn = copycat?

Just read an interesting article via http://www.thebookseller.com about Stephanie Meyers and Breaking Dawn.

Meyer’s 4th book of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, apparently has some striking similarities to Jordon Scott’s novel, The Nocturne. The Nocturne was

“released one chapter at a time on the author/singer/actresses’ Web site and available through some online booksellers, but which was never distributed widely to traditional bookstores.”

Reading the rest of the article, you’d think that Jordon Scott is the one plagiarizing Stephanie Meyers. Quite an interesting development. Jordon Scott began working on The Nocturne when she was just 15 years old, posting chapters online. It seems that the book was eventually published in 2006 by Griffon Publishing.

A thank you!

thanks


I owe you all a big THANK YOU, for voting for my blog for the Book Blogger Appreciation Awards. I recieved an e-mail this morning letting me know that I’ve been nominated for Best General Review Blog.

I feel so honored!! You guys have totally made my year. Thanks so much!!!

Now I get the fun task of choosing 5 posts that best represent my blog for this category (not easy!!). If there are any particular posts of mine that you guys adore, please let me know which ones you like best!

=)

Call for posts –Bookworms Carnival

In a few short weeks, I’ll be hosting the 37th Edition of the Bookworms Carnival, honoring Banned Books Week, (Sept 26th to October 3rd)

The theme, is very simple. Send in current or older posts on the controversial and often banned books that you’ve read and written about.

Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are very valued aspects of human life, for the writer and for the reader. Often, a truthful, but difficult book is deemed unworthy of attention, for whatever reason.  Share your thoughts, you’re reads and your top picks for this next event!

Deadline: Please e-mail your links to: rantsandreads@gmail.com by September 11th.

Jane Austen + The Undead = New Fad

Trend # 1 — Paranormal beings

Trend # 2 — Jane Austen

It seems that a recent batch of concoctions made up primarily of these two factors are infiltrating bookstores around the world. First, we were introduced to the various Pride and Prejudice spin-offs (Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, and also, Mr. Darcy’s Diary) to name a few. Add a few paranormal beings into the mix and you get Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which has revolutionized Jane Austen for the newest generation of teens and tweens. Not to be outdone, Amanda Grange (author of the Mr. Darcy spin-offs) has thrown her hat into the ring with Mr. Darcy Vampyre.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I am incredibly fascinated with the fascination of Jane Austen. If its not a spin-off or movie based on a book of her’s, then its another story or reverie of her life. With the way Twilight and P&P&Z dominated the best-seller charts for so long, I’m not surprised to P&P + Vampires novel. But Mr. Darcy as the vampire?? That seems pretty cool. Maybe its my old age of 25, but I’d choose Mr. Darcy over Edward Cullen any day.

The Guardian had an awesome article up about a month ago about the emergence and validity of all these newfound Jane Austen monster books.

These two are now at the tops of my TBR pile….

Mr. Darcy Vampyre by Amanda Grange: Book CoverSense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters