You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

My fellow white people, we have some catching up to do.  And we need to do it fast.  While it would be nice to consider women like Amy Cooper “crazy” or anomalous in some other way, she is everywhere.  She is us and we are her.  Derek Chauvin may be an extreme and horrific example of the abuse of power, but the core nature of this power is used against people of color (POC) every day, in small and large ways.  White people use their race privilege as a weapon against POC constantly, and until we are aware of it and do something about it, it will continue, with disastrous results. The fact is, and it should abundantly clear to even the most resistant of us, that because of white people and our commitment to racism, POC are dying.

The argument isn’t, as many “good” white folks frame it, whether we are racist. As Americans, we have all been raised in a country founded by racism.  We have been breathing it in, absorbing that thinking, and benefiting from the structures that racism built (for our benefit) for our entire lives.  This will likely make us uncomfortable at first.  It may never have occurred to us.  Everyone wants to believe that they are “good.”  We like to think that racist people hate other people, that racism is individuals vs. other individuals.  That is not true. As white Americans, every single one of is racist.  Our society, our laws and our governmental structures support white supremacy and we participate in upholding those structures every single day.

We may reject this idea.  We may think it doesn’t apply to us.  We may even say “I don’t see color; everyone is the same.”  But our color blindness is a privilege, because whiteness is the default.  We don’t have to think about race because our race is the one in power. Everything is set up for the advantage of white people.  The most important thing we can do as white people is to realize that our willful blindness to this fact has been endangering those who are not white for centuries.

So, assuming we don’t want to continue this ignorance, we may now feel guilty or heartbroken or helpless (or all of those things) and ask ourselves and others but what do we DO?  The answer is straightforward. We need to become not just “not racist” (which most people consider themselves as long as they are in the KKK) but anti-racist.  Which means we need to actively fight racism, to resist it ourselves and call out other white people who are supporting it.  In order to do that, we need to challenge our fundamental thinking and learned behaviors so that we are best prepared to speak against racism and respond to racist thinking and behaviors.  We need to change our perceptions so that we can see what we have maybe never seen before.

The first step toward doing anything meaningful is to educate ourselves, and we need to do it ourselves and not rely on POC to educate us (although there are many willing to educate us and we should listen when they do).  The good news is that there are books aplenty to help us along this path.  Below is the curriculum of sorts that began my anti-racist journey.  I am no expert, I have not been trained in anti-racist work.  I’m just a white lady who reads a lot and has a strong intention to learn more about being anti-racist.  These are just some of the books I have read, and there are many more I plan to read (listed at the end of this post). I’d love to see your recommendations in the comments.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m having trouble reading lately.

Global pandemics can do that to a person.  I need mental and emotional space to fall into a story, and the constant, low-level buzz of worry prickling and poking around in my brain is getting in the way.  I’m definitely not alone. To complicated things, the kind of stories I like to read involve life’s complexity – death, birth, love, tragedy, and loss.  Frankly, real life is too full of drama for me.  I read Wanderers and loved it.  But now we’re living it and it’s not as much fun.

A lot of us are in the same boat reading-wise , and feeling a bit sea sick I’m sure.  I also know that the best antidote to anxiety is laughter.  And the best way to conquer a reading slump is to read something easy, funny, and entertaining.  So I have compiled a list of 11 Delightful, Entertaining, Hilarious, Funny Reads to get us through these wild and scary times.  This list (in no particular order) includes all levels of reading, some comics, some graphic novels, some traditional books.  If you have recommendations, please share!

Battlepug

Battlepug by Mike Norton.  What’s that?  Battle-what?  Yes, PUG.  As in a small, arguably adorable, snuffly, chubby, mild mannered companion.  This comic (vol. 1 available) is an adventure story that features a large, half-naked, Conan-eque hero who can communicate with animals telepathically, including an over-sized pug.  He fights homicidal elves with his band of companions, whom he mostly deserts because he’s that due.  And there are horse thieves (they’re thieves but they are also HORSES!).  If you want the full Battlepug experience, start with the Compugdium, which includes all the background you need for the new issues of the comic.  But you can skip that if you want, you’ll catch up pretty quickly.  Reading level:  This is for adult or older teenage readers.  There is blood, profanity and nudity.

Knights

Knights vs. Dinosaurs [also Knights vs. Monsters, Knights vs. The End (of Everything)] by Matt Phelan. King Arthur’s knights are fond of telling tall tales, especially regarding their alleged prowess in battling dragons. Merlin decides it’s time to give the knights a chance to prove themselves and sends them back in time to fight dinosaurs.  Sir Erec, Sir Bors, Sir Hector, Squire Mel and the mysterious Black Knight join forces in an endearing, awkward, bumbling and, in the end, very lucky adventure. When they work together, they conquer their foes.  Reading level:  This is a middle grade book series with lots of great pictures.  A great read-along book for younger readers.

Phoebe

Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson. This series of graphics novels follows Phoebe, a girl who accidentally finds a unicorn that grants her a wish.  Phoebe wishes for the unicorn to be her best friend.  And so Marigold Heavenly Nostrils becomes her BFF and helps Phoebe navigate school and parents and bullies with a little bit of magic and a WHOLE lot of sarcasm.  These books are both obviously and subtly funny and adults will find as much to love as kids. They do not need to be read in order.  Reading level:  This is a middle grade graphic novel series sprinkled with gems of adult humor.

adventure

The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White.  Anne, the hero of this story, is an orphan who lives at Saint Lupin’s Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children.  This rollicky, hilarious series (There is a Guide to Dragons and a Guide to Treasures) is nonstop adventure and laughter.  This series is engaging for both the young readers it’s written for and also any parents who might want to read along (or read alone!).   Reading level:  Middle grade novel series with occasional illustrations.  

Gert

I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young (Vol. 1-4 available). Gert is a 40 year old woman stuck in a 6 year old’s body.  She stumbled into Fairyland and was told if she found the key, she could go home.  But that was almost 30 years ago.  Cynical, tired, ruthlessly homicidal and still endearingly cute, Gert is both accidentally and intentionally chaotic in her revenge on Fairyland.  Her Fairyland guide and friend (?) is a cigar smoking fly named Larrigon Wentsworth III can’t seem to contain Gert or her rage. Reading level:  Adults only.  Lots of violence, and swearing. 

Bloodlust

Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern. Lucy is a British gentlewoman, a gentle lady, until she unleashes her bloodlust on what turns out to be a bevy of vampires.  “How did you know they were vampires?” she is asked after she dispatches the lot of them (reader, she didn’t know they were vampires! Girlfriend is just ragey).  This incident sets her on the hunt for Lady Violet Travesty, during which she accidentally assembles a team of wayward companions including the arrogant, blustery Lord Byron and the mysterious and confusing Sham, a bounty hunter.  The art in this graphic novel is half the hilarity, but the puns and mayhem are the other half.   Reading level:  Hard to say, there is violence and some nudity, but the drawings are so cartoony, it’s hard to take seriously.  My 10 year old read it and LOVED it. 

bland

The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters by Kara LaReau. This series (there are currently three:  The Jolly Regina, The Uncanny Express and the Flight of the Bluebird) follows sisters Kale and Jaundice, who like their monotony thankyouverymuch.  They have order, they have predictability, and a schedule. They liked cheese sandwiches and that which is familiar.  But their oddly missing parents have other plans for them, and they keep sending the sisters on adventures, which the girls would rather not participate in.  Reading level:  Middle grade, and a great read-along for parents, who will chuckle at all the little things the kids miss.

Folklords

Folklords by Matt Kindt and Matt Smith (Issues #1-5 available). Ansel lives in a world populated with ogres and trolls and elves and dwarves.  He’s at the age when he has to choose his Quest, but he has these elaborate dreams of a world so unlike his own, with technology he doesn’t understand.  He seeks the Folklords as his Quest, in the hopes they can explain his dreams, and why he doesn’t fit in.  But he is denied and told the information he seeks is forbidden.  Which of course only makes him sneak off to find his Quest anyway.  Reading level:  Teen and adult, there is some violence.

Pretty Violent

Pretty Violent (with lots of swears) by Derek Hunter (vol. 1 available). Based on the covers alone, it should be no surprise that this comic is brought to us by one of the creators of I Hate Fairyland.  The premise and images are similar.  In this case, an adorable young girl has named herself Gamma Rae and is trying her damned best to be a superhero but just keeps messing it up.  Like really badly.  EPICALLY badly.  Her family of supervillains tries to keep her from what seems to be a fruitless endeavor, but she is undaunted.  She will be the best damn superhero there is if she has to kill everyone trying.  Reading level:  Adult, violence and swears are right in the title. 

Sparks

Sparks! By Ian Boothby.   Two cats, dressed in a dog suit, fighting an evil alien named Princess, who basically looks like a adorable toddler.  I mean, what else do you need?

Loki

Loki (2019) by Daniel Kibblesmith. This comic got cancelled and that’s a damn shame.  Brought to us by the man who wrote Santa’s Husband, the Loki presented here is funny and arrogant and laugh out loud funny.  If you’ve ever wondering “What would Loki be like as a cowboy?”  this is your series.  The ending of this run is masterful, especially considering it was done the last minute.  If you enjoy Marvel and Loki then check this out, it’s a mere 5 issues, but it should have been more.  Mr. Kibblesmith is also the author of Marvel’s Lockjaw which is, oddly, about an extra large pug, so we have come full circle.

 

 

When I was a girl, growing up in the 1980’s, I was definitely not encouraged to read comics. To be fair, even many boys (then, as now) were often discouraged from reading them.  It wasn’t considered “real” reading (spoiler alert:  it is ).  Thankfully that idea is finally changing (however slowly).  It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s, at the insistence of our very own Jesse, that I went to a comic book shop for the first time.  Even with the moral support, it was hard not to be overwhelmed.  Without a lifetime of comic reading under my belt, I felt like they were speaking a language I couldn’t decipher.  And even in the early aughts, there wasn’t a crowd of women in the shop.  I grabbed onto the Origin limited series, since I was a huge fan of Wolverine, but nothing else ever stuck with me.

It wasn’t until my daughter was old enough to read that it finally clicked for me.  Again, thanks to Jesse, who, when asked for recommendations, sent me graphic novels for both my kids from his bookstore.  They loved them.  I loved them.  We wanted more.  Fortunately, our new interest coincided with what would turn out to be the advent of a surge in middle-grade graphic novel publishing.  It was a veritable explosion.

In searching for feminist stories for my daughters (and honestly, I didn’t have to search too long), I easily found a swath of diverse characters, LBGTQ representation, protagonists of color,  subverted gender stereotypes, and fairy tale tropes turned on their heads.  I was looking for stories written by women, for women, with female heroes and female-centric story arcs.  And they were EVERYWHERE.  More important, they were NEW.  No one else had the advantage of history.  I didn’t feel behind the times.  I felt, for once in my life, on the cutting edge. I could go into the comic book shop and ask for the new release.  And I did, with such regularity that the shop guys now know me by name (full disclosure: at first I was ‘that women who’s always in here buying comics for herself and graphic novels for her kids’).  I’m still one of only a handful of women who frequent the shop.

So ladies, girls, fellow feminists, if you are curious and don’t know where to start, I’ve compiled a list of recommendations below. The list could be longer, but these are my absolute favorites.  I am inclined toward the fantasy genre as you will see. I’ve left off superheroes, even though I’m a huge fan, because their backstories and history can be intimidating.  I’ve noted the trade paperback volumes, which have past issues compiled, though some of these are ongoing and you can get in new issue form once you’ve caught up. Others are limited release and all the issues are out (and compiled in a trade paperback) already.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s December and we’re all a bit tired.  2018 was a hard year.  If modern women were allowed to “take to their beds” like Victorian women often did, I would have done so.  The next best thing was to bury myself in books.   This year I read not only the most I’ve read in a decade – 30,000 pages and counting (thank you to Goodreads for the calculation), but I read some of the best books I have in years.

This year I tried very hard to incorporate diverse voices with stories by and about POC, LBGQT+ and women.  The real world might have been a burning, stinking dumpster fire this year, but the reading world was such a joyous experience.  Here are my favorites.

Science Fiction:

Space Opera by Cathrynne Valente.  Ms. Valente is probably the best author you might have never read.  Despite being quite prolific, brilliant and hilarious, she’s not generally popular (though she absolutely should be).  She has a decidedly cultish following, of which I am a proud member.  If you only ever read one of her books (and I recommend you read ALL of them), it should be Space Opera.  As the title suggests, it’s a space opera – about SINGING IN SPACE.  Get it?  Amazing.  As always, her writing style is mind-bogglingly, psychedelically wonderful.  Her prose is to be savored, not rushed through.  The characters are compelling, and the story is laugh out loud funny.

Honorable mention:  The Power by Naomi Alderman.  In the year of #MeToo, this book was cathartic and thoughtful.  The premise is that young women around the world suddenly have the power to send electric shocks from their body.  These young women are also able to awake this power in adult women.  The shifts in power, politics and culture that result are instantaneous and the fallout is fascinating.

Adult comics:

Monstress Volumes 1-3 by Marjorie Liu. These comics are gloriously drawn and are both breathtaking and terrifying to look at.  The story involves a non-human young woman named Maika Half Wolf and her discovery of a monster that lives inside her, one that she cannot completely control.  Her dystopian story of self-discovery is violent and mysterious and filled with fantastical creatures and characters.  She is a warrior and fair warning; this comic is often graphically (pun intended) violent.  Definitely not for kids.

Middle grade Graphic Novel (standalone):

The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang. This book is just plain wonderful.  It is the story of a prince who loves to wear dresses and the seamstress who helps him awaken into his true (beautiful) self.  It’s about self-acceptance and unconditional love.  Beautifully drawn with engaging characters, this book is great for both children and adults.

Middle grade Graphic Novel (series):

Delilah Dirk Volumes 1-3 by Tony Cliff was one of my favorite series I read this year.  Delilah Dirk and her companion, Selim (who she almost haphazardly picks up on one of her adventures) are one of the best relationships I’ve seen in middle grade writing.  Their repartee is funny and interesting and real.  Full disclosure:  My 8-year-old daughter had zero interest in these.  I, on the other hand, found it delightful.

Classics:

This year I discovered Anne Bronte and I’m here to tell you she is by far the very best Bronte sister.  It is a tragedy that she only published two books.  Tennant of Wildfell Hall is the better of the two. The story is mysterious and compelling.  It must have been downright scandalous at the time.  Anne’s mature and full realized characters reveal just how shallow and flighty those of her sisters’ books are.  She’s definitely the Bronte for adults.

Essays:

Shrill by Lindy West.  On page 3 of, Ms. West writes about the body positive role models of her youth.  She begins her list with Lady Kluck and Little John aka Baloo (in drag) from Disney’s Robin Hood.  Like many women of a certain age, this movie is a touchstone of my childhood; it is part of my DNA.  So when I read this, I was filled with pure joy.   I have never fallen in love with an author quicker.  I recommended this book to my sister based solely on those 3 pages. The rest of the book did nothing to dampen my adoration.  She is a voice everyone should hear.  BONUS:  Shrill is becoming a TV show starring the gloriously funny Aidy Bryant.

YA Fantasy Series (A Tie Because I Couldn’t Decide):

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater (4 books total) is one of the best fantasy series I’ve read, not just this year, but ever. It has a bit of teen romance among an overarching story involving dead kings, magic, ghosts, and demons.  Despite what the “boys” of the title may suggest, there are many strong female characters.  The plot is intricate, and each book is a page turner.  If you like her writing, I also highly recommend her standalone novels All the Crooked Saints (her best work so far) and Scorpio Races.

Also:

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.  Nothing I can say would do Ms. Bardugo justice.   If you like Fantasy, just do yourself a favor and go ahead and read everything she’s ever written, including the Six of Crows Duology and  The Language of Thorns. I read her entire works in 2018 and I look forward to her new series coming in 2019.

Nonfiction:

Small Animals by Kim Brooks.  In a dumpster-fire world, it’s not hard to feel anxious or terrified.  As a parent, it’s especially hard to keep actual danger vs. perceived danger in perspective.   This book is part memoir of a fearful parent and part researched assessment of today’s anxiety-ridden parenting culture.  It explores why we are so afraid and what we can do about it.  A must read for all parents.

Middle Grade Fiction (Another Tie Because I Can’t Decide):

In this banner year of books, my absolute favorite was Thisby Thestoop and The Black Mountain by Zac Gorman.  A middle grade book about a girl who grows up as the gamekeeper of monsters inside a black mountain.  This book is funny and endearing, with a strong female main character and a hilarious assortment of supporting characters.  My 8-year-old supports this rating.

Also:

There is a revealing moment in The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson, a story about Baba Yaga, her granddaughter and a house with (yup) chicken legs,  when I said “Woah” and had to place the book in my lap and breath for a second.  It wasn’t so much a surprise I didn’t see coming, it was the unexpected emotional impact of what was revealed.  This story is about Life and Death and Love and it doesn’t shy away from the impact of any of these things.  This book is written for middle grade; however, the emotional landscape of this story is powerful for adults as well. Both my mother and daughter wholeheartedly agree that this is a great read.

Adult Fiction:

Kate Morton is one of my perennial favorite authors.  With The Clockmaker’s Daughter she doesn’t disappoint.  Every time I think I’ve got her formula figured out, she surprises me.  As with her previous books, there is a mystery and a multi-generational perspective.  This book is ambitious with four different timelines.  Ms. Morton handles this deftly and almost seamlessly.  She makes you think you’ve got it figured out (you don’t).

YA Fiction:

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl.  This story defies description, which is entirely the reason I loved it.  It’s part mystery, part fantasy (there are some “time-y wimey” things happening), part existential teen angst, and part nihilism.  I’ve never read anything like it.

Zone OneI love big words.  I have a solid vocabulary, built on the foundation of obsessive reading since childhood.  I rarely have to stop and look up words while reading.  Although we have dictionaries all over the house, my husband instead often chooses to yell at me  “what does X mean?” while he’s reading.  But to me there’s a limit, a line between being well-read and being pompous.  Which is not to say I don’t enjoy the impossibly big words too.  It’s just that they’re too special for everyday usage.  Like using Grandma’s fancy china for Sunday dinner, when you take them out everyone’s a little bit stiff and uncomfortable.  And let’s face it, they usually come out when company is over and you’re trying to impress someone.

I can’t tell you what word of Zone One first hit a discordant note for me.  I think instead it was the general rhythm that felt clunky and ponderous to me.  I do remember a vague jarring feeling after the first few pages.  It’s the feeling that I would get (I imagine) if I saw a Shakespearean actor starring in a romantic comedy.  I was uneasy.  I was confused.  I thought this was a zombie story.

I don’t mean to imply that zombie stories aren’t smart.  Or that smart people don’t read them.  Clearly I’m a thinking person and I love zombie apocalyptic mayhem.  But with this book I kept thinking what is going on here?  We’re busting out the china and we don’t even have visitors coming.  When on page 75 defenestration was thrown out there (pun intended), I audibly groaned.  Who says that in pre-apocalyptic society?  Besides overly literate teenagers having fun placing it in casual conversation.  Are we assuming a higher level of erudition in the masses surviving zombie slaughter?  We shouldn’t.  My guess is the dudes slinging dead zombie bodies out windows would be saying “later motherfuckers!”  On that same page came the words (also regarding the defenestration of zombie corpses)  “. . .splashing him with ichor and grue.”  So hard on the heels of defenestration, these words almost did me in.  If I hadn’t just read a review in the New Yorker about Magic Mike XXL, I would have thought the world was ending.  Clearly there are no boundaries for the highly articulate.

There is no doubt that Mr. Whitehead is a clever writer.  Sadly, his subtle, snarky asides reminded me of a precocious child screaming for attention in a room full of adults. I do not like precocious children.  He wants us to see how clever he his.   Which, being the contrary person I am, makes me want to ignore him entirely.

So why did I finish the book?  Well for one, I’m also stubborn besides contrary. It amounts to a very petulant attitude of You think you’re more clever than me?  I’ll show you.  And also, as I kept reading I found out just how clever Mr. Whitehead really is.  When he’s not trying to show off, his legitimate brilliance eked out.  The following paragraph made me stop and say out loud “Now THAT is good writing!”:

“Parenthood made grown-ups unpredictable.  They hesitated at the key moment out of consideration for their kid’s abilities or safety, they were paranoid he wanted to rape or eat their offspring, they slowed him down with their baby steps or kept him distracted as he pondered their erraticism. . .The parents were dangerous because they didn’t want your precious supplies.  They possessed the valuables, and it hobbled their reasoning.”

THAT is what I want to think about when I think about zombies.  I want the humanization of a world filled with unhumans.  Tell me what it’s like to live with the undead and survivors.  No fancy words required.

Finally, begrudgingly I came to really like this book. I may even read it again, defenestration, ichor and all.   By the end I was satisfied with story.  It was simple and rang true.

“The world wasn’t ending:  it had ended and now they were in a new place.  They could not recognize it because they had never seen it before.”

We spend much time writing about the books we’re reading here, and little time about how awesome books are in general (and that’s a good thing — no one would want to read that all year round). But Christmas got me thinking about it so I wanted to give thanks to books.

My Christmas morning was full of books. Here’s what I found under the tree, along with a stocking full of an unconscionable amount of candy:

I also gave folks loads of books and indie self-published comics because they would like them, it would help keep bookstores and writers and artists going in these trying times, and because it’s fun. I can’t think of a better Christmas day then one where we are all sprawled out on the couch or living room floor reading our presents while the snow falls outside. That’s how Christmas was when I was a kid and how it still is today — for that day at least I’m only having an adventure, not just reading when I can on the subway or before I fall asleep at night. Books are awesome. So is getting them as gifts.

Here’s a beautiful video via the New York Times book blog that captures everything I just wrote in a much more eloquent way. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

I’ve never had any interest in novel-writing. I’m more of a script guy (comics, screenplays, little notes directing me to write something later that I never will) and I’ve always bristled when people ask me when my first novel will be finished upon learning that I’m a writer. A novel is a very specific art form with many rules and traditions. It’s not simply the default setting for writers.

Then my friend Melissa signed up for National Novel Writing Month last year and it sounded like too much fun. The premise? You just write 50,000 words in 30 days. They don’t have to be polished or good or even (I’m assuming) very novel-like. It’s a writing exercise, really — the kind that reminds you what it was like when you were a kid and writing was as simple as looking out the window in the morning and writing about the snow coming down until you got bored. Writing should be, as Neil Gaiman put it, making stuff up in your head and then writing it down. National Novel Writing Month is basically a hammer to break the emergency glass and get back to that. I’m looking forward to it.

The race began today and I’ve got a few words in the bank. You can check out my progress in the little gadget at left and on the NaNoWriMo site. And you should do it, too! Sign up here.

You too, Jessica! Write a novel!

Book CoverFull disclosure:  I read Marley and Me (hey, it has a dog on the cover doesn’t it?) and I enjoyed the book immensely.  I laughed at all the funny parts, cringed when required and even cried at the end (come on, you knew it was coming!).  I’ve read that Walking with Ollie is Britain’s answer to Marley and I agree with that in many ways. I also think that both men adore and love their dogs and any judgments that follow are solely in their roles as responsible dog owners, not as good people.

I have four rescue animals – two cats and two dogs.  They are all wonderful creatures, affectionate and loving.  They don’t know they are supposed to be thankful that I rescued them and often act quite cavalier about their living situation (they are, plain and simply, spoiled).  Three of them have stable personalities with no issues that need managing. 

One of them doesn’t. 

He came to us as a four month old puppy and the first time I took him to the vet (the second day I had him) she said “He’s a bit timid isn’t he?”  I wouldn’t realize her understatement until many months later.  By then I had come to realize the little guy was afraid of the car (he puked once he got in), strange men on the street (or boys past the age of 15 or so), my father (even after he’d known him for months), statues of people, holiday decorations, the vacuum cleaner, nail clippers (the dog version and the human version), baby gates, cats, and inexplicably, the Stop N Shop Peapod truck.   Unlike Ollie, he was not afraid of his owner (me) but he did give Tim the fish eye occasionally, just to make sure he wasn’t up to no good.

When I began reading Ollie, I couldn’t help but remember the despair I felt when I realized my dog was not normal.  I felt that I had failed.  I thought that my first dog attempt was a disaster and it was all my fault (did I make him this way?).  That I couldn’t help this poor creature who was just terrified of the world.  I felt for Mr. Foster, I really did.  I’ve been there. 

Read the rest of this entry »

“As much as I admire and value intellectualism and experimentation, I’ve discovered that unless a book has a throbbing heart as well as a sexy brain, I feel like the story is a specimen in a sealed glass jar and not a living, breathing creature I want to take by the hand and talk to for hours on end.”

Myla Goldberg from this Slate article.

Cover Image

Let’s face it, readers are at least a little bit geeky.  And I don’t mean you Opera Book Club, Joyce Carol Oates, or Nora Roberts fans (I continue to slam them, knowing there is no chance they are reading this right now).  I mean real readers of real books. You know, the kind who read (or write) a book blog. 

That geekiness doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.  I began liking to read because in my early elementary school years the readers were the smart kids.  And I very much wanted to be one of the smart kids, especially when I learned in the 3rd grade what “straight A’s” meant. What started out as purely academic and competitive turned into something more.  I got hooked on all the wonderful stories out there. 

As I got older and being smarter made me less popular I hung onto reading (which, it needs to be said, my peers were dropping it as fast as they could to become “cool” or a reasonable facsimile) because it is a solitary but never lonely activity.  It’s an excuse to be alone with your thoughts and a clearly identifiable activity which doesn’t make you (that) weird.  Parents don’t hound you for reading too much.  You can opt out of the latest innane schoolyard game quietly and without embarrassment by sitting on the grass with a new volume. If you’re home on a Saturday night you’ve always got something to do.

If you’re reading others don’t hang out with you because they think you are too smart for them (and therefore boring) , not necessarily because you’re a loser.   Or they call you “bookish” which sounds suspiciously like a compliment given to less social, but reading kids.  In school the smart kids are somehow allowed more leeway in the social awkwardness category (actually in life, for those of you who have ever met a brilliant but painfully awkward MIT grad).  There’s at least one positive thing about you – usually a way to get homework copied, or the answers on a test.   

Or it’s possible that these are all the reasons I’ve constructed to make my inner geek feel better. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Jessica’s Reading

Jesse’s Reading

Jesse and Jessica are Both Reading

Devin’s Reading

Categories