Thursday, July 30, 2009

Music Mix Friday...Neko Case "Thirce All American"

Like I said, today was my last day of work. I'll be out of here in just a minute or two. And tomorrow I'll finish my packing and by Sunday I'll be on the road back home. So this place isn't really home, but it's close by and there aren't any songs about my home. So enjoy. :)

Work harder on yourself than you do on your job...

Today is my last day of work. I'm a little bummed. I mean, it was totally my idea to quit my job. I am moving back home to be closer to my family and go back to school, but...I love my job. I do. I love the people I work with, and all our crazy clients, and I love paperwork (no joke). It's been really weird this last week and a half because I've been training someone else to do my job. She's over there right now, doing all my data entry. I'm sad to leave. Good news is my going away party included tacos and margaritas.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Miscarriage of Justice - Kip Gayden

miscarriage of justice
kip gayden
336 pages
c. 2009
completed 7/18/2009

read for: southern reading challenge and what's in a name challenge

*may contain spoilers*

Anna Dotson, a married woman living in Tennessee in 1911 with her husband Walter and their children, finds herself growing bored in her marriage. Her husband doesn't show he loves her the way he did when they were first married, choosing to spend more time at his clinic and involved in his community than with his wife. During this time, Anna meets and falls for Charlie Cobb, a local barber, who is dashing and exciting and sees her as she wishes to be seen, as a person as opposed to an accessory. Their affair is discovered and the fall-out leads to a murder trial.

Leading up to the discovery of Anna and Charlie's affair, this was not a great book. It was decent, but a little dry. I didn't really like the relationship Anna and Charlie shared, especially once we got a little deeper into Charlie's character. I wish he had been a bit better of a guy. Then I maybe could have gotten behind their affair a little more, as opposed to just thinking Anna was stupid.

Once their affair had been exposed, things got better. Walter's reaction, Anna's reaction, the murder and trial was where I thought things got interesting. The verdict was a BIG surprise and I'm so glad they explained how the jurors got to their decision. Whether or not it was the right decision...I'm somewhat torn. I don't necessarily think the punishment fit the crime, however after reading the explanation I suppose I think it's fair.

I did think it was interesting the way this story was supposed to draw a parallel to the suffragette movement. Women weren't necessarily just fighting for legal rights like voting rights and the right to sit on juries, etc. They were also fighting for the little things, to be looked at as a person by their husbands, as someone with needs and ideas and thoughts of their own. This book is a true story, and this trial was a bit of a breakthrough for the suffragettes.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Music Mix Friday...the Beach Boys "Surfin USA"

Today is BEACH DAY! My office is taking a bunch of our clients to the beach for the afternoon. And so in the spirit of the California sun I give you THE BEACH BOYS!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl - Fannie Flagg

welcome to the world, baby girl
fannie flagg
c. 1998
478 pages
completed 7/8/2009

read for: southern reading challenge

*may contain spoilers*

Set in both Missouri and New York, with a few stops in Atlanta, Chicago, and Vienna, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl follows Dena Nordstrom, a famous TV personality and news reporter, as she relives her past to discover who she is.

I've discovered my problem with Fannie Flagg novels. I want to like them so much, but I continually come up short. I'm sure I'll keep trying because, like I said, I've discovered the problem. Her novels, her characters really, all seem a little cartoonish to me. Like caricatures of people. And that makes it hard to really be invested in anything that happens. I can't see these characters as real people. This is the passage that made me realize it. "Dena was surprised. Dr. Elizabeth Diggers was a large black woman in a wheelchair. 'Hello Mrs. Nordstrom. I'm Dr. Diggers.' She smiled. 'Didn't Gerry tell you I was a big black woman in a wheelchair?'" (p.134) I mean who talks like that? And why the need to use the same phrase twice?

I also want to know how Dena can have lived in New York and Chicago and places like that all her life and never meet a single black person, like she mentioned on page 149. That doesn't seem plausible for big cities like that.

The book definitely got better for me as I got further in. Once we started trying to reconnect with Dena's past, I was able to get more invested. It took me a while to warm up to Dr. Gerry O'Malley. He was one of the more cartoonish in the beginning, the way his love for Dena was described, but by the end I could get behind him. Possible because in my mind he looked just like Dr. George O'Malley from Gray's Anatomy who I like quite a lot.


The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber

the crimson petal and the white
michel faber
c. 2002
848 pages (253 read)
stopped reading 7/8/2009

read for: themed reading challenge

*may contain spoilers*

The story of Sugar as she rises in society in 19th century England.

There's your very brief plot description, as I didn't finish the book. I wanted to. I wanted to like this book so much. But I just couldn't. I couldn't connect with the story, the characters, anything. I had to win an argument with myself every time I tried to convince myself to keep reading. So I've given up. I will say, the thing that kept me going so long and makes me want to look into other Faber novels was the writing style. It was written as if someone was talking to you, as if you and he are standing in the street following these people. And that I really liked. Unfortunately it wasn't enough.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why am I so sad?

Apparently my library does not yet have a copy of the book Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold (apparently I've been spelling his name wrong for some time on my blog...I don't know where I got the wrong spelling Gaijnor...I think there is some sort of conspiracy). They ordered it in May, but they don't have it yet. So I'm going to have to take it off my Themed Reading Challenge (see sidebar) list. I'm replacing it with The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy which bums me out a little since I wanted all my titles to have different colors. But I am SUPER CRAZY WAY behind in most of my challenges and The Black Dahlia is already on my list so I'm just gonna go with it.

It's Tuesday, where are you?

Elmwood Springs, Missouri, USA

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Agnes Gray - Anne Bronte

agnes grey
anne bronte
c. 1847
219 pages
completed 7/2/2009

read for: classics challenge, penguin classics, 1001 books

*may contain spoilers*

Agnes Grey tells the story of our title character Agnes as she goes off looking for adventure by becoming a governess to first one and then another family of unruly, uneducated, ungrateful children.

This book was surprisingly readable. I was expecting it to be somewhat stuffy, but I didn't find that at all. The voice of Agnes was incredibly engaging and confiding.

The ladies and gentlemen that Agnes works for are terrifying. Are they really that out of touch with the realities of their children? How can these parents just have no idea that their children are such terrors? I cannot understand how these parents can spoil their children, can pretty much tell Agnes only to make them do what they want to do, and yet still expect Agnes to have control over them. The children themselves were pretty terrifying as well. The little boy from the first family who liked to torture animals is going to grow up to be psychopath. Did you know torturing animals is the first step in the cycle of domestic violence?

And the girls from the second family were not that much better. I wanted to scream when Rosalie said that vanity is the most essential attribute of our sex. Wow. How were thoughts of this nature ever seen as attractive and desirable? Thank God for the Mr. Westons and Mr. Darcys of this time who wanted women of sense. I loved Agnes' quiet longing for Mr. Weston. It's so sweet and simple, her love for this man. And he's so kind to her despite the example set by everyone else in the Murray household where she works.

This was a bit of a rambly review.

Sorry. 5/5

Slow and steady wins the race...

So...still not much, but better than last month. I managed to make it through four and a half. Slowly but surely I'm making progress.

To Be Read by the End of July
The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber
Welcome to the World Baby Girl - Fannie Flagg
The Year of Living Biblically - AJ Jacobs
The Woman in Black - Susan Hill
The Aleph and Other Stories - Jorge Borges
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Meaning of Night - Michael Cox
The Black Dahlia - James Ellroy
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemmingway
The Virgin of Small Plains - Nancy Pickford
To Siberia - Per Petterson

This list kind of makes me die inside, but it's good to have goals however unattainable...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To be read...

Books added to my list during the month of June...

Last Call at the 7/11 - Kevin Cowherd
My Cousin Rachel - Daphne du Marier
East of the Sun - Julia Gregson
Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death - Laurie Notaro
The Borgia Bride - Jeanne Kalogridis
The Virgin's Daughter - Jeane Westin
I'm Down - Mishna Wolff
The Winter Mantle - Elizabeth Chadwick
The Painter from Shanghai - Jennifer Cody Epstein
Bedlam - Greg Hollingshead
Boy's Life - Robert McCammon
Under the Dragon's Tail - Maureen Jennings
Gifts of War - MacKenzie Ford
Daughters of the Grail - Elizabeth Chadwick
Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Death at the Priory - James Ruddick
Best Intentions - Emily Listfield
The Talisman Ring - Georgette Heyer
The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second - Drew Ferguson
The Walking People - Mary Beth Keane
How I Found the Strong - Margaret McMullin
Royal Panopoly - Carolly Erickson
Hello Goodbye - Emily Chenowith
Commencement - J Courtney Sullivan
The Group - Mary McCarthy
In the Kitchen - Monica Ali
Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
Requiem for a Paper Bag - Davy Rothbart
The Lost Hours - Karen White
Debbie Harvey Sings in French - Meagan Brothers
The Flying Troutmans - Miriam Toews

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