Bad Bloggers VLOG

Kelly just informed me that people have been wanting me to vlog again :p I actually don’t mind vlogging for some reason despite absolutely HATING having my picture taken because I always look like an ass :/ So I vlogged. These are the books that have come into my house since last bad bloggers. Sorry I look like ass. My face is swollen right now and I have had really bad luck with my headaches so I’m a bit droopy eyed from my pain meds, lol. But here it is!

Points given in this post:

Kamchatka – Debi

Soulless – Renay

From Absinthe To Zest – Ana

A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig – Ana

Exciting Food for Southern Types – Ana

A Companion to Wolves – Memory

Oranges – Jeane

My Name is Mina – Darren

Salt – Joshua Kilmer-Purcell and Renay

Honeybee – Jonathan Carroll

The Disenchantments – John Green


Ash by Malinda Lo

I’ll admit I was nervous as hell going into this book. I had read so many reviews that said this book was “meh” and it’s been sitting on my shelf for so long in anticipation and I was worried that I would have that same “meh” reaction. Not that that reaction is a bad one to have, I just enjoy loving everything I read :p If only that were always the case. Well, I’m happy to announce that I absolutely loved this book! I honestly can’t think of anything that I didn’t love about it. Well there were certainly parts that broke my heart and I didn’t love that, but wow this book was good.

For those who don’t know, Ash is Malinda Lo’s retelling of Cinderella. Aisling, aka Ash, is forced to live with her new stepmother and two stepsisters when her father dies. And it’s made known immediately that they are not fond of her. She’s made the servant of the house and is, to put it bluntly, treated like shit. But ash finds escape in a fairy named Sidhean, a man who promises her an escape from the horrible world she’s been thrown into. But she questions if she wants that escape when she falls in love with, not the prince, but the king’s Huntress, Kaisa.

I loved Ash and Kaisa’s relationship so much and the way it built. It was slow, never rushed and the moments where the two were together were filled with tension, awkwardness and love. Those sweet moments are contrasted by the horrible emotional and physical abuse that’s thrown on her by her stepmother and one stepsister in particular. Those scenes truly did crush me, particularly towards the end.

I’m not always crazy about fairy tale retellings, but Lo took this tale and spun it on it’s heels. It’s also never a blatant LESBIAN romance between Ash and Kaisa. It’s just a romance, and such a sweet one at that. I don’t think she used that as a gimmick, it seemed quite natural and quite beautiful and never forced, which is a rarity in lgbt literature. At least from what I read. So often, lgbt books scream LOOK WE’RE GAY and I guess that bugs me sometimes. Why do two people have to be labeled a certain way and set apart? Why can’t it just be two PEOPLE loving each other. In this book it is. And I’m so happy that she wrote this one so well, because in her beautiful storytelling, she won me over as a fan.

ETA: Ana wrote an AMAZING sunday salon post today that touches somewhat on what I was talking about in my last paragraph…go read it and be sure to read the comments too!! Great discussion going on there.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.

I loved this quote. I marked so many quotes throughout this book, but this was the last one that I marked. What an amazing book. It’s books like these that make you wonder what other treasures you have sitting on your TBR shelf that have been there for years just waiting to be read.

This book is about Charlie, who is maybe one of my new favorite characters in literature. He’s a sixteen year old freshman in high school trying to find who he is, while remaining exactly who he is at the same time. The book is told through a series of letters that he writes to someone that we as the reader never know. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the content of these letters. Of Charlie learning to find himself and finding his way in the world.

Charlie comes from a history of what most would consider traumas. Things that stand out in his brain that may not affect everyone else in the same way, but had a huge impact on him. He’s nervous about starting high school. But he quickly makes friends with Sam and Patrick, step-siblings that are incredibly awesome people. Charlie has an instant crush on Sam and finds a really great friend in Patrick. And things just evolve from there.

He enters a world of Friday night Rocky Horror Picture shows, experimenting with drugs and alcohol for the first time, learning about sex, appreciating incredible music throughout the novel, reading amazing books that his English teacher assigns him as extracurricular reading, and learning to love people and learning what that means exactly.

I thought Charlie was such an amazing character. He’s one of the most open minded kids I’ve ever known, and it came off as genuine, not forced. He truly doesn’t care that Patrick is gay, he just knows that he’s an amazing person. Unfortunately, you don’t see that a lot in high school. At least not here in New Orleans. He doesn’t care that Sam has a boyfriend, he just loves her without ever being invasive. He doesn’t judge people and I loved that about him. He’s a smart kid, a brilliant kid. And he’s unique..he’s himself.

This book felt SO nostalgic to me. With the recurrent Smiths references, the laying in bed reading, the weekend parties getting high with friends, the closeness between friends that so often disappears after high school. It truly did bring me back to my high school days. Days that I always though were so horrible but seem so amazing looking back on them now.

Chbosky wrote a modern classic with this book. He really did. I can see this as a book being taught in high schools for years to come. And a little known fact, for all of you Jericho fans (read: Debi), Chbosky was the co-creator and executive producer of the show! Pretty cool. Think I may have to watch that now….

Yay Gay Season 1!

I’ve been in a HUGE reading funk lately. As in I haven’t finished a book all month. I think it’s partly because I’ve been looking forward to my Yay Gay January that I planned this year. So I said, what the hell, let’s just make a whole season of gay reading. So that’s exactly what I’m doing!! From now through January 31st, the plan is to read nothing but books by lgbt authors, or books that have an lgbt theme, or books that can teach me some more history about the lgbt community. Looking forward to it! And I started last night with The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and my funk is now gone! I’m thinking of doing this anually. After RIP, it’s natural I guess to go into a reading funk, so this will give me more time for deliberate reading. Every November through January. So here’s the list of what I’ll be reading. Of course, it is subject to change:

    1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
    2. Anabel by Kathleen Winter
    3. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
    4. We the Animals by Justin Torres
    5. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
    6. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
    7. Hidden Warrior by Lynn Flewelling
    8. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
    9. The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak
    10. One For Sorrow by Christopher Barzak
    11. The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
    12. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
    13. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
    14. The Poems of Sappho by Sappho
    15. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
    16. Naked by David Sedaris
    17. Barrel Fever by David Sedaris
    18. The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
    19. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
    20. Keeping you a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
    21. Rage by Julie Anne Peters
    22. The Misfits by James Howe
    23. Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
    24. Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller
    25. Hero by Perry Moore
    26. A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl
    27. My Queer War by James Lord
    28. Ash by Malinda Lo
    29. The Full Spectrum edited by David Levithan
    30. The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
    31. The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
    32. Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs edited by Jonathan Ames
    33. Carnival by Elizabeth Bear
    34. A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
    35. The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington by Brian Francis
    36. I’ll Get There.  It Better Be Worth The Trip by John Donovan
    37. Boyhoods by Ken Corbett

Let me know if you can think of anything else that NEEDS to be on this list! And of course, feel free to join in if you want 🙂 You don’t have to read all three months, nothing but lgbt lit of course, but maybe let this be a chance for you to dive in! This is not an official challenge or anything like that. More just something I wanted to do for myself. Hope everyone is doing fantastic!!

Random Monday

Hey guys! Remember me? I’m still here. I had disappeared for awhile due to NaNoWriMo, but sadly, that has ended for me. I was about four days behind where I should be and started getting super stressed out trying to catch up and I don’t need the added stress right now. So I’m bowing out. I’ve learned that NaNo is not a good writing mechanism for me. I’m too much of a perfectionist just to pump out the words and not worry as much about the quality. Though I do think that NaNo is amazing for those who can do it and I’ll continue to support them every year and donate and buy a tshirt. Anyways, to the rest of you still participating, I wish you all the best and hope you rock it!!!!!

What have I been doing in the mean time? Stressing :/ What I do best. Work has just been CRAZY lately. I don’t know what’s happening, but the mental health system in New Orleans just seems to be getting more and more crowded with less and less resources. I was kind of pissed when we reelected Bobby Jindal as governor seeing how he’s pretty much destroyed the mental health system that was already suffering. I’m sorry, but I think the man is a total asshole. I get pissed just seeing his face these days.

Also having a post Matt visit funk. Matt and Renay came to visit me a couple of weeks ago and it was AMAZING!! I love them both so much. But it’s always so hard having to say goodbye. I can’t wait til the day when there are no more goodbyes between me and Matt. It’s really rough. I think the distance has been good in some ways. It’s allowed us to take our relationship slower and really build it. But at the same time, it’s rough not being able to get a hug whenever I want one.

But onto happier things! Reading! Well…it’s not so happy, lol. I haven’t finished a single book this month yet…though I’m reading some good ones! I’m reading Umberto Eco’s new book, The Prague Cemetery. I decided to get that one after hearing an excellent interview with him on the Diane Rehm show. Also reading Catch 22 for the first time EVER! And I’m loving it! Then there’s The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean which is so incredibly cool. A book of poetry by Margaret Atwood. AND Dark of the Moon by John Sandford, the first book in the Virgil Flowers series. Yeah…think I’m reading too much at one time? I do too :p The sad thing is, I’m really craving some non-fic to throw into that…well The Magic of Reality is nonfic, lol. But I’m thinking of starting either Boyhoods or A Queer History of the United States. Dying to read both!

Other good things…I made pineapple jelly this weekend!!! It’s easily the best jelly I’ve EVER made!! It’s actually supposed to be pineapple butter, but I think it came out more like jam. Here’s a pic of it 😀 And here’s a link to the recipe I used!

And that’s all for now folks…though I hope to be back with some book reviews EVENTUALLY! Miss everyone!!!

Wrapping up Bad Bloggers #2 of 2011

So it’s been six months since the last bad bloggers round ended. Which means that it’s time to announce the baddest blogger for the last six months. But FIRST! A few more books and blame. And by a few, I mean

1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (paperback swap) (Point to Ana)

2. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (Bought it)

3. The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories by Emma Donoghue (Paperback Swap)

4. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Bought it) (Point to Ana)

5. Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Bought it)

6. Carnival by Elizabeth Bear (Paperback Swap) (Point to Memory)

7. Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller (Paperback Swap) (Point to Amanda)

8. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (Paperback Swap) (Point to Jason)

9. Bad Blood by John Sandford (Bought it)

10. The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley (Bought it)

11. Dark of the Moon by John Sandford (Bought it)

12. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (Paperback Swap) (Point to Jason)

13. Rules of Prey by John Sandford (Paperback Swap) (Point to Debi)

14. Rough Country by John Sandford (Paperback Swap)

15. Heat Lightning by John Sandford (Paperback Swap)

16. The Unwritten Volume 4: Leviathan by Mike Carey (Bought it)

17. Gate 7: Volume 1 by CLAMP (Bought it)

18. The Door by Margaret Atwood (Bought it)

19. The October Country by Ray Bradbury (Bought it)

20. An Elegy for Amelia Johnson by Andrew Rostan (Bought it)

21. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Bought it)

22. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman (Bought it)

23.Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire (Bought it)

24. Woodswoman by Anne LaBastille (Paperback Swap) (Point to The Fabulous Beekman Boys)

25. The Museum of Dr. Moses by Joyce Carol Oates (Gift from a friend) (Point to Debi)

26. Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye (Paperback Swap)

27. You are My Only by Beth Kephart (Bought it) (Point to Amy)

Are you guys ready for this??? Someone BEAT ANA for the first time since I’ve been doing Bad Bloggers! And it’s only by one point! LOL….And that person is Debi!! Debi, let me know which you book you want! Any book that I’ve ever reviewed is yours! Here’s the breakdown of points this time:

Debi – 9
Ana – 8
Renay – 5
Carl – 4
Heather – 4
Becky – 3
Nancy – 3
Lu – 2
Matt – 2
Diane Rehm – 2
Rich – 2
Octavia Books – 2
Annie – 2
Jill – 2
The Beekman Boys – 2
Jason – 2
Rebeca Makkai – 1
Bellezza – 1
Ibeeg – 1
Patrick Ness – 1
Michael Pollan – 1
Neil Gaiman – 1
Trish – 1
Sid – 1
Lisa – 1
Pat – 1
Other Chris – 1
Amanda – 1
Andi – 1
Heather (Age 30+) – 1
John Green – 1
Nurse Katie – 1
Amy – 1
Memory – 1

Next Bad Bloggers will wrap up April 30th of 2012. Couple of side notes. If I’m even MORE of a stranger (if that’s even possible), it’s because I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month! Going good so far!! If you’re participating and we’re not friends, please add me!! My name is chrisa511. I HATE the look of the new Google Reader. And I LOVE the new Florence and the Machine album. That is all.