Bad Bloggers Time Again

The sad thing is…it hasn’t even been THAT long since I’ve done a bad bloggers post. BUT, there are 16 new books that magically made their way into my house. Which means that I must blame someone other than myself for at least some of them. Here goes.

1. Shoplifting From American Apparel by Tao Lin – This is the first of several books I bought from Melville House Publishing. I’m in love with their art of the novella series. From the design to the titles. This was the first I’ve read and I really liked it. Reviewed it already in fact! (Bought it)

2. Mathilda by Mary Shelley – I think I’m more excited about this little book than all of the rest. I love Shelley and this book deals with a relationship between a father and daughter that’s slightly more than it should be….(Bought it)

3. Lady Susan by Jane Austen – I’ve never had much luck with Jane Austen. But when I saw that this was an epistolary novella, I thought I’d give it a try because I like stories written like that. I’ll let you know how it is! (Bought it)

4. A Sleep and A Forgetting by William Dean Howells – I know nothing about Howells…but this one sounded good. (Bought it)

5. How the Two Ivans Quarreled by Nikolai Gogol – I’ve been wanting to read something by Gogol forever…so I figured a novella was a good place to start. He just sounds like an author that I’ll like. (Bought it)

6. The Devil by Leo Tolstoy – I read The Death of Ivan Ilyich a few years ago and really really liked it. So I’ve been wanting to read more Tolstoy ever since and I’m still not quite ready for War and Peace. So I decided to go with another novella. I’m almost finish this one and honestly I’m a little (lot) disappointed. I’ll explain why when the review comes! (Bought it)

7. Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf – I don’t get how this is a novella and not a novel, but ok. It’s Virginia Woolf and a very pretty edition at that! So I’m cool. (Bought it)

8. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen – So I can finally blame someone for one of these books!! Annie told me about this book and it sounded super good. And I found a signed copy at my local indie. So I picked it up! Point to Annie! (Bought it)

9. Savvy by Ingrid Law – After I MET Ingrid Law and had this book signed by her, I bought it. I’ve actually wanted to read this one for awhile now too…I believe it was Becky that convinced me to read this one…so she’s getting a point :p (Bought it)

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – I had this one signed too when I MET Jay Asher at my local indie ๐Ÿ™‚ Nothing has really made me think I had to read this one until the last time I visited Matt and went book shopping with him and Renay. They both really liked this one, and that was recommendation enough for me to FINALLY get it! Point to Matt and Renay! (Bought it)

11. Sunshine by Robin McKinley – I did not meet Robin McKinley, but I did buy her book the same day. Same with this one…I’ve been on the fence about getting it, but Renay said she thinks I’d really like it. So I’m trusting her on this one :p Point to Renay! (Bought it)

12. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo – When you meet Kate DiCamillo, you can’t not say hi and get a book signed by her. The trouble is I already HAVE all of her books and have read them. But oh well…now I have TWO copies of this one and one is signed and personalized to me!! Hooray!! (Bought it)

13. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson – The HIGHLIGHT of my last weekend!!! I freaking met Maureen Johnson and she was too freaking cool. I chronicled my meeting her and all of the other authors in this post if you’re interested. Now I just have to read the first book in this series and then I can read this one that’s signed “To Chris, ey!” \o/ (Bought it)

14. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi – So excited to finally have this book!!! I loved Persepolis SO SO SO much!! And I’ve been wanting to read more of her stuff. (Paperback Swap)

15. Prince of Stories by Hank Wagner – My sweet sweet sweet second mama picked this book up for me!! I’ve almost bought this several times. It’s a book ALL ABOUT NEIL GAIMAN! It has to be good, right? And it has that awesome McKean cover ๐Ÿ˜€ (Gift from a friend)

16. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – So I’m super duper excited about this HUGE chunkster of a book! In fact I kind of just want to start reading it now, but I’m going to wait for the group readalong of it hosted by ibeeg at Polishing Mud Balls. I just discovered her blog and I love it!! And I’m giving her the blame for this book :p Point to ibeeg!ย  (Bought it)


The "Holy Shit This Day Rocks" Post

I thought I missed Maureen Johnson. I knew she was in town for ALA, but I thought she signed YESTERDAY with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Dessen. But she did not! She was signing today! I woke up at 12:30 and learned the news that she was signing at two :p I can get dressed fast, lol.

I made it in time! Actually, while I was waiting for MJ to arrive, I noted that Kate freaking DiCamillo was signing too!!! So I got a copy of Edward Tulane signed, which I’ve already read and loved but couldn’t pass up a signed copy ๐Ÿ™‚ I asked her if she was working on a new novel and she said she’s actually finished one and that it’s off to her editor right now! Exciting news!!!

So it was 1:30 at this point and I still had a half an hour before MJ showed up…so of course I did some bookshopping. I picked up a copy of Sunshine by Robin McKinley and a signed copy of What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. Then MJ walked through the door with Jay Asher and Ingrid Law ๐Ÿ™‚ I happened to be by the door when she came in. Another fan told her “Hey Maureen!” and I followed that with “Hey Maureen!” To which she replied “wow, I feel like I just walked into my house! I picked up a copy of The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson and Savvy by Ingrid Law and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and headed over to their table. Maureen was eating a cookie. It looked good.

So I gave them all my books and had them signed and Maureen said she felt like they were having a race to see who could write “Chris” the fastest :p And then I chalked up the nerve to ask Maureen if I could take a picture with her to which she said “sure.” And then commented how she liked my rainbow spewing dinosaur iphone case :p It was a wonderful Sunday surprise!!!

I Am So Proud Of You New York!!

You made history tonight New York. I can’t even tell you how proud I am of you. Tonight, despite the fact we knew it already, you told us that we are all equal. That we all deserve the same rights. That we can ALL marry who we choose to marry. You’re not the first to tell us this, but I hope that your decision will be a catalyst for other states to pick up the same equality. You are wonderful New York. I love you!!!

Shoplifting From American Apparel by Tao Lin

So I kind of went a little crazy on the Melville House Publishing website. You see…they have this series called The Art of the Novella and I’m a TOTAL sucker for novellas. I love them. They expand the story a bit more than a short story, yet still make for a nice one sitting read. Except for Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf…I got that one and it may take a couple of sittings to get through that one as it looks more to me like a novel than a novella :p But the point is, I think this is an awesome series. I was attracted to it originally due to the design of the books. But then I started looking at the titles and they have some amazing classics titles as well as a new line of contemporary titles.

Shoplifting From American Apparel is one of their contemporary novella titles. And contemporary it is. Matt asked me what the book was about and I wrote back “It’s basically about white kid problems…it would be really bad if it weren’t so good.” And I think that’s still how I feel about it after reading it. It’s an interesting book. It follows a guy, Sam, who’s a big underground author and a bunch of his friends. And that’s BASICALLY what the book does. Sort ofย  “a few days in the life.” They chat over gmail, carry their macs around, eat vegan, drink kombucha, shop at American Apparel,ย  go see bands called “Star Fucking Hipsters” and go to clubs where Moby is the dj. Oh…and they say things are fucked a lot. Like “we are fucked” “everything is fucked” “I am fucked” “my life is fucked”. Yeah.

Now in the wrong hands…I should say in MOST author’s hands…a book like this would just come off as ridiculous hipster propaganda. But it came off as much more to me than that and I found it to truly be an entertaining if not thought provoking read. I know that personally, I would think I would be happy if I could write books, play on my Mac, afford everything American Apparel (because they are the most comfy clothes), and listen to music and talk bands all day…well I would be happy. But Lin makes a good point here that an appealing lifestyle doesn’t automatically equal happiness.

This is a very existential type book. What I got from this book is that happiness comes from within. When I read a book like this I can be VERY tempted to say “awww…poor rich white kid…you’re sad..well guess what, there are kids who haven’t EATEN for a week.” And if anyone else would’ve wrote this book, well I probably would’ve said that. The fact is, in this book, none of these people are happy. It’s the reason I would assume he uses the term “fucked” so often in this book.

Happiness is a term that can’t be measured by anyone except the person experiencing it. These twenty somethings have a lot of interesting things going on in their lives, yet they’re not happy. They want more. There’s something missing. Probably something internal. While that starving child may still find happiness in the worst of settings. It’s easy to say, “you have no right to be depressed,” but the truth is something different. People do have a reason for depression…or sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re just depressed.

So my first experience with the art of the novella series has been a good one. This is the only “modern” book that I got from them, but I certainly plan on checking more of them out in the future. I did however get SIX classic novellas by Austen, Shelley, Woolf, Gogol, Tolstoy and Howells…so some fun reading ahead!

An Awesome Bad Bloggers!

I only brought in four books since the last bad bloggers post, but they are fantastic books!!! LOOK!

1. Sweet Tooth Vol. 3 – As always, Debi gets the blame for introducing this incredibly awesome, dystopian graphic novel series to me! Can’t wait to dig into the next volume!! Point for Debs. (Bought it)

2. Home to Woefield by Susan Juby – Nancy made me get this one…she made it sound incredibly awesome, so I had to request it. And I’m so excited to read it now!!! Point to Nance. (Paperback Swap)

3. Canning For A New Generation by Liana Krissoff – This book is too cool for school. Seriously….it is SO awesome and it makes me want to can something every day. The recipes in it are absolutely mouth watering and it’s beautifully presented. Hooray!! (Bought it)

4. American Gods Tenth Anniversary Author’s Preferred Text by Neil Gaiman – So all other reading has now come to a halt and been replaced by this…my very favorite book ever with ALL THE NEW THINGS added to it. Like 12,000 new words!! I’ve never been so excited to reread something before. (Bought it)

Once Upon a Time is Over :(

I can never write this post without being a little bit sad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Once Upon a Time will always remind me of my early days of blogging. When I participated in the very first Once Upon a Time…hard to believe that was 5 years ago!! But in those five years, I’ve made so many amazing friends…and it mostly started with this challenge. Carl was one of the few friends I had made before the first time this challenge was hosted but he introduced me to a whole world of amazing people…some of those, people I now consider my very best friends.

I’m getting a bit off subject here, but blogging really has brought me so much. To think of what this challenge symbolizes is pretty damn amazing. Once upon a time…..the way so many great stories start. And it really has made the story of my life a much happier one. Because of this challenge, I had a whole new world opened up to me. Not just in the amazing books I’ve read because of it, but because of the people I met and how they’ve affected me. I’ve come to know myself much better because of some of those people. I found a place I’m truly comfortable being myself. I’ve gotten to travel. I’ve learned so much. I’ve expanded my horizons.ย  And ultimately, I’ve met a special someone who I fell head over heels for. So thanks for all of that, Carl.

But back to the subject at hand! This was probably the worst I’ve ever done for Once Upon a Time…but it doesn’t make the books I read any less good! Here’s what I read:

1. Light Boxes by Shane Jones
2. Little Red Riding Hood by The Brothers Grimm and Daniel Egneus
3. Black Juice by Margo Lanagan
4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
5. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
6. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
7. Celluloid by Dave McKean

And it’s HARD to pick a favorite from that list!! But I’m going to tie it with A Monster Calls and The Fox Woman. Both are a couple of new favorites. And I think I found a new author to be in love with in Sarah Addison Allen as well ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t complain about any of that!

So I’ll see you all again for the next Once Upon a Time challenge and make even more new friends then ๐Ÿ™‚ And until then, I’ll continue to enjoy the friendships I’ve made with you all!

Two Weeks With the Queen by Morris Gleitzman

I love it when a book surprises you. I love it even more when you think a book will be good before you read it and then it surpasses even those high expectations. I love it when a book makes you cry huge sobbing tears. I love it when a book makes you laugh hysterically. I love it when a book touches you with characters that are so loveable and three dimensional. This book did all of those things and is officially now on my list of favorite books ever. So taken over by this one.

Colin is thirteen and is a very smart little kid. Despite his heart of gold, he gets awfully jealous of the attention that his younger brother, Luke, gets from his parents. Even when his brother passes out at Christmas and gets rushed to the hospital, he’s still jealous that his brother has stolen the show. But he loves him. And it affects him deeply when he learns that his brother has an incurable form of cancer.

His parents don’t want him to have to watch his brother die, so they ship him off to stay with his aunt and uncle in England while his brother gets treatment in Sydney. Colin decides that he is NOT going to let his little brother die. He’ll get the queen to help him…or find the best doctors in the world…or go to whatever means he needs to to have her cured. Along the way, he forms a bond with a young man who’s partner is also fighting for his life and they form a bond that’s amazing.

I can’t even put into words how much I loved this book. It’s only 127 pages, but this book is more powerful in that amount of space than books I’ve read that were 800 pages. Gleitzman is just such a touching and such a charming writer. Even in the darkest moments of the book, there were things that made me laugh hysterically. And then I was sobbing with the next paragraph. This is exactly the type of book I love and I wish I could find more of them. I’m betting that Gleitzman’s novels are all wonderful. And I’ve ordered two of them already from Paperback Swap…can’t wait to read them now!