Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

 

Well I had no idea what this book was about going into it aside from it was an lgbt book. I was at Barnes and Noble one night looking for an lgbt book so I decided to pull out my trusty iphone and search for lists. I found a list of 100 modern lgbt books…and this was the ONLY one that Barnes and Noble had. Truly sad. But I bought it. And I came home and started reading it right away and got totally sucked into it!

The book is about a family in Italy in the 1980’s that takes in someone as a boarder every summer. This year, they’ve taken in Oliver, a 24 year old writer from the states that has come to finish his book. 17 Year old Elio, the son of the family boarding Oliver, quickly gets attached to Oliver and fantasizes about him and spends as much time around him as he can. As the two spend more and more time together, it is only a matter of time before they are honest about their feelings.

This book was SO beautifully written. It’s a coming of age tale, a sexual awakening tale, a tale of friendship. There are some very graphic scenes in the book, but it is ALWAYS done tastefully. Graphic sex is portrayed as art here and I think Aciman does an amazing job of capturing young lust mistaken for young love. Though who am I to say whether or not these characters love each other…their relationship certainly holds throughout the book.

I was worried at first that it would be creepy having a 17 year old and 24 year old sleeping together, but honestly, it wasn’t at all. It worked for them. Obviously there was a reason the author made Elio 17 rather than an adult at 18, but I think it added to the whole wonder and riskiness of the book. Though I have to say that if this were real life I may feel a little differently :p

Bottom line, great first read of 2012 and I only hope they get better from here! Highly recommended.

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I also wanted to mention that over the next several days I’ll be listing numerous books on ebay. These will mostly be first editions, signed copies, limited editions. As part of getting my debt down, I’m getting rid of some true treasures that I hold on to just to hold on to. So I figured I’d sell them to other good homes that would appreciate them. I am NOT asking you all to bid on my items…just making you aware that they’re out there in case there’s anything that really catches your eye and you might want to scoop up for a decent price. Here’s my ebay page and like I said, more books will be added every day. There will be about 50 books going up in total.

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Money Makeover: The Starting Line

That picture, my friends, is my credit card. And it has just been cut up! And it’s the only credit card I have! I said that one of my goals for this year is to manage my money better and start getting out of debt. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’ve found a lot of motivation from my good friend Carl, who recommended a book by Dave Ramsey called Total Money Makeover. I ordered the book right after he shared his story using credit card points, yes those measly points I’ve accrued for spending thousands of dollars.

I’m only 60 pages into Ramsey’s book, but it’s seriously inspirational!! His approach so far is really no nonsense. Look at yourself in the mirror and reevaluate where you stand. And be honest. I know I spend money that I don’t have. Shopping has become a way of me dealing with depression, stress, anxiety, etc. And there are much better ways. I can see how this plan alone can make me happy just to see that I’M DOING IT!! In fact, it felt GREAT just to cut up that credit card!

I was nervous about Ramsey’s book because I know he’s a preacher. I’m agnostic on a good day, so I didn’t know how I’d feel about it, but seriously, this book can be read by anyone. He doesn’t preach at all in this book. It’s written really well and broken up into sections and is written with a language that isn’t intimidating at all.

So I thought I’d track my progress with this journey here on the blog. I’m going to bare all! I won’t tell you my salary, but I will share what my debt is, how it’s going down and how my savings are going up. It lets me hold myself accountable a bit more if it’s all laid out there. So here are the starting numbers:

Checking account: $531.71

Saving account: $25.80 (that number is seriously embarrassing to write)

401K: $13,289.76

Credit Card Debt: $7,154.34

Student Loans: $13,318.94

See where the problem lies here? What I have and what I owe are REALLY far away from each other….well, aside from my 401K, but that money isn’t touchable for right now. So it’s time to turn things around and I’m making an oath to myself that these numbers will only get better from here. This is the worst case scenario.

I haven’t even gotten to the part in Ramsey’s book yet where you actually start the plan, but I knew right off the bat that I had to cut up my credit card and make some changes on how I spend my money. Changes I can think of right off the bat are making my own coffee at home (which I can do now since I have an espresso maker and coffee grinder!) instead of buying it every day, stop joy riding which I love to do when I’m bored, read the books on my shelves instead of buying new ones, and start bringing my lunch to work. These are all VERY doable things that are just going to require some discipline.

Anyone else trying to get in a better situation in 2012 financially? If so, think about joining me by picking up Ramsey’s book and posting your own goals!! It would be fun to make progress together!! If you decide to do this too, leave me a comment so I know to check your blog often šŸ™‚ See you again in a month for an update! And I promise an ACTUAL book review soon!

First Bad Bloggers of 2012!

I feel like ALL I post about lately is the BOOKS that I have ACQUIRED! Hopefully that’ll change this year as I’m going to try to acquire less and read from my own shelves. I know I have some real treasures buried in there. But alas, I have gotten a lot of books over the holidays and it’s time for yet another of these posts! There are actually 32 books I’ve acquired since my last post, so I’m not going to post the pictures :p It would take up way too much space…so I’ll just list the books I got and the reasons I got them.

1. The Call by Yannick Murphy – Ms. Beth Fish reviewed this one awhile back and really liked it. She also did an EXCELLENT job of making it sound irresistible. So onto the old wish list it went and I finally got a copy from Paperback Swap! Point to Beth! (Paperback Swap)

2. Kraken by China Mieville – Oh Renay…you get a point for this one!!! Maree and Jodi read this together and then Renay started reading it and had an OMG attack….so I went out that night and bought this book. I’ve started it and it’s really good and bizarre but a book you read slowly…so still working on it. Point to Renay! (Bought it)

3. They Draw and Cook ed. by Nate Padavick – This is a cookbook that I saw at Barnes and Noble and had to have. It’s recipes that are all illustrated by different artists and it’s a SUPER cool book! (Bought it)

4. Unlikely Friendships: 47 remarkable stories from the animal kingdom by Jennifer Holland – OMG this book is so freaking adorable!! Another one that I had to have. It’s stories of pairs of animals that became the best of friends. True stories that are accompanied by adorable pictures. (Bought it)

5. Lost on Planet China: One Man’s Attempt To Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation by J. Maarten Troost – This was a christmas gift from Rich and OMG it sounds AMAZING!! When I was filing it away on the shelves I found that I had ANOTHER book by Troost that Rich gave me last year called The Sex Lives of Cannibals. These both sound incredibly awesome. (Gift from a friend)

6. Noisy Outlaws, etc. by McSweeney’s – This was a gift from the WHOLE Steven’s family šŸ˜€ It’s an incredible collection of really awesome stories by really awesome authors from a really awesome family šŸ™‚ (Gift From a friend)

7. Word Of Mouth: Poems Featured on NPR’s All Things Considered by Catherine Bowman – This book is SO COOL!!! I didn’t even know it existed, but Debi was sweet enough to find the absolute perfect book for me šŸ™‚ (Gift from a friend)

8. Goats: Small Scale Herding for Pleasure and Profit by Sue Weaver – !!! Does anyone know me better than Debi? Seriously. She gave me this book too and I just about died when I got it. This book will be put to good use once I get my own home as I plan on living in a more rural area with a nice lot size. I told Matt about this book and he said he’s excited for me to have goats XD He thinks it’s adorable. Oh I can’t wait!!! (Gift from a friend)

9. The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier – Yet ANOTHER gift from Debi who knows my tastes just perfectly šŸ™‚ (Gift from a friend)

10. Slice of Organic Life by Sheherazade Goldsmith – And yes…another book from my Debs šŸ™‚ There are plenty of these “organic homestead” books out there, but I have to say that none that I have seen so far are as AWESOME as this one is!!! I dug into it right away and I think every page is better than the next! This book is a true treasure! (Gift from a friend)

11. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman – I was out book shopping one night and wanted an LGBT book (like I don’t have enough) and did a google search for books and found a list of 100 lgbt books. I’m not kidding when I tell you this was the ONLY one that Barnes and Noble had…pathetic. But I picked it up anyway and I’m reading it now! It’s really a fantastic book that I can’t wait to tell you more about soon. (Bought it)

12. If You Knew Then What I Know Now by Ryan Van Meter – This is a book of essays by a gay man about growing up gay. Looks fantastic! (Bought it)

13. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown – Ok…so I did SantaThing on LibraryThing this year and could NOT have asked for a better secret santa. I mentioned that I was interested in LGBT books and I got a lesbian as my santa!!!! Hooray lesbian santas!!! She sent me four books and this was the first. The next three are all from her too. I’m excited about this one particularly because we have a gay bar here in New Orleans named after this book. (Gift)

14. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan – I’ve wanted this one for years now and thanks to my santa, I now have it šŸ™‚ (Gift)

15. The God Box by Alex Sanchez – Also from the santa! Also excited! (Gift)

16. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan – Yay!!!! I wanted this one ever since Debi got it šŸ˜€ It looks really freaking good! Point to Debi! (Gift)

17. Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin – I forgot where I heard about this book but it looks so freaking good! I actually almost bought this, but luckily did NOT as my sister gave it to me for Christmas šŸ™‚ (Gift from Sis)

18. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman – Can you guess who gave me this one for Christmas? Yep…Mom :p Should be useful!! (Gift from Mom)

19. The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks – My mom got me this memoir too for Christmas and it sounds excellent! Anyone read this one before? (Gift from Mom)

20. The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry edited by Rita Dove – My sweet, amazing boyfriend gave me this for Christmas šŸ™‚ Apparently he heard me talk about how much I was dying to have this absolutely GORGEOUS collection and surprised me with it šŸ™‚ (Gift from Matt)

21. Dear Bully by Megan Kelly Hall – My amazing friend Heather gave me this one šŸ˜€ I don’t know if she even knew, but I’ve been DYING for this book! (Gift from friend)

22. Shivers, Wishes and Wolves Vol. 1 by Donald Lemke – Heather gave me this one too! I’ve never even heard of it but it looks awesome! Graphic Novel adaptations of fairy tales! (Gift from friend)

23. Around the House and In the Garden by Dominique Browning – Just saw this one on Paperback Swap and thought it sounded really good! Can’t wait to read it! (Paperback Swap)

24. Exiles in America by Christopher Bram – Another one that I saw on Paperback Swap and really was intrigued by (Paperback Swap)

25. Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley – Yet another that I saw on PBS and wanted :p (Paperback Swap)

26. Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop – This one is ALL Memory’s fault! I’ve heard a lot about this series for a long time, but mostly from Memory I think. So I finally bought myself a copy over the holidays šŸ™‚ (Bought it)

27. How to (un)cage a Girl by Francesca Lia Block – Couldn’t pass this one up! Found it used at Hastings and hadn’t even heard of it before. It’s a book of poetry by Block, an author that I adore! (Bought it)

28. Eve by Iris Johansen – I wanted something to read while I was visiting Matt so I picked this up in the grocery store. Of course, I got no reading done at all during my trip :pĀ  (Bought it)

29. Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip – I STILL haven’t read anything except for a couple of short stories by McKillip, but the Kinuko Craft covers always draw me to her books. Hope I enjoy the story too! (Bought it)

30. Codename: Sailor V Volume 1 by Naoko Takeuchi – Point to Renay for this one! She loves Sailor Moon and I feel like I should probably read it :p (Bought it)

31. While England Sleeps by David Leavitt – On PBS..sounded good. (Paperback Swap)

32. Hushed by Kelley York – Saw this one on The Book Depository and it sounded fantastic. It’s a murder mystery with some lgbt themes. Hope it’s as good as it sounds! (Bought it)

So have you read any of these? Any that you loved? Any you hated?

Hey There 2012!

How’s everyone’s 2012 going so far? I know we’re only five days in but I hope it’s going good! I’ve given up on resolutions. When I make resolutions it never fails that I fail in them. Which of course sets up disappointments. So this year, I’m not making any resolutions. I’m making goals instead. And here’s what they are.

1. Be happy. Above all, I want to be happy this year. That means being selfish sometimes, something I’m not entirely sure how to do all of the time. But I’ve learned that I need to give myself me time. Most of the rest of these goals have to do with this one.

2. Blog more, read more blogs, comment more, reply to my own comments, play on pinterest and twitter and tumblr. Reconnect. And I’m not going to do this out of guilt…as in “comment because you feel bad that you haven’t talked to your friends in awhile”. No, I want to do this because I really want to. I miss my blogging friends, all of you, so much. I miss those days when I checked in with my friends every day. Where my own comments were a place of conversation. And I want that back šŸ™‚ So this is the year to make it happen!

3. Read for fun. I do this for the most part anyway, but this year, I’m just going to read books that make me happy and I’d like to focus the year on lgbt books because I love them so much. I’m not worrying about review copies, though if some are offered that sound really good, of course I’ll pick them up!!

4. Read 100 books this year. I’ve never done it and I would love to!!

5. Get my debt under control. I really need to do this. And this will be part of a book goal too. I want to read from my own shelves this year. I can’t keep buying books like I do. I’ll still allow myself to buy the books I’ve been looking forward to, but no more shopping just to shop. I can order from PBS and preorder some books I’m looking forward to, but that’s it. I also think I might do a monthly check in with my debt to make myself more accountable. Right now I have $7000 in credit card debt, $15000 in student loans, and pretty much no savings. I want to reverse that!

6. Buy a house. This is the BIGGEST goal for this year and I want to do it in the first half of the year. Despite my debt, I am fortunate to make a decent enough salary that I can afford a small starter home…so it’s gonna happen!

7. Be together with Matt FOR GOOD šŸ˜€ Which sort of hinges on the previous goal.

8. Don’t take work home with me. This is perhaps the most important goal. It’s tied to all of the rest. I always feel like I don’t have time to blog because I’m exhausted, I shop because I’m depressed from work, I don’t read because I’m too tired to. I need to stop all of that!

9. Become and LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) I only have 20 hours of supervision left and I’m actually taking my National Counselor Exam next Friday!!! Please keep your fingers crossed for me. I’m really nervous about it. If I fail, I can take it again, so it’s not like all hope is lost, but I’m still really nervous. I really haven’t studied at all :/

So that’s my plan for 2012! If I can pull it all off, it’ll be a pretty damn good year. What about you? What are you planning for 2012?

Wrapping Up 2011!

Sheesh! It’s that time of the year already!! I feel like I just did my 2010 wrap up! Though if I look back at this past year, so much has happened. Of course, the immediate thing that comes to mind is my relationship with Matt. This is by far the happiest I have ever been in a relationship. I don’t talk about us all that much on this blog because it’s not a super personal blog, but I will tell you all that I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I see big changes and more happiness coming in that area in 2012 šŸ™‚ Definitely grew professionally this year as well with my private practice continuing to expand. There were the downers…like dad going back into the hospital a couple of times…but…well he does it to himself and I’m not going to harp on that. I read some AMAZING books though this year!!!! I’ve also read the least amount of books ever since blogging, but I’m ok with that.

This year was a bit of a blogging funk all around. I’ve felt really shitty about the way I blogged this year. I blog because I love this community so much. I treasure my friendships with each and every one of you so much. And I feel like I let a lot of that slip through the cracks which makes me incredibly sad šŸ˜¦ I barely responded to my comments. I posted so erratically. And I hit the “Mark all as read” button more times than I care to admit. So I hope to change that in 2012 and get back to the blogger I used to be.

Anyways, lets start the stats with my favorite books of 2011! I always surprise myself with this…when I go back and look at what I read, some of those books that I SWORE would be a favorite don’t hold that same magic and some that I didn’t think were a big deal ended up being favorites. Always happens. So in no certain order and with no certain limit (I’m not good at doing say a “top ten” list :p), here are my favs of 2011:

1. Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block – This collects all of her amazing Weetzie Bat books and wow weren’t these all amazing! For some reason I avoided these books for so long, but I’m so glad that I finally read this collection. Full of love, acceptance, individuality and hope. Just gorgeous books.

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This one actually exceeded my expectations, which is saying a lot right there. After the Chaos Walking trilogy, I wondered how he would ever follow it up. But he followed it up with something completely different and completely beautiful. A story of struggling with a truth that you don’t want to see. Beautiful characters, beautiful story and beautiful illustrations.

3. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson – This one goes instantly onto my list of favorite books ever. Just amazing! The WORDS! OMG the WORDS. Some of the most poetic prose I’ve ever read. And a tale that is full of magic and folklore that is completely engrossing. I literally got lost in this world.

4. Two Weeks With the Queen by Morris Gleitzman – I found a new favorite author in Gleitzman after reading this book. I knew right away that after reading this, I’d need to read everything else that he wrote. Such a sad story but such an uplifting story at the same time with a genuine respect for all walks of life.

5. Wicked by Gregory Maguire – This was another one that I just didn’t think I’d like for so long. I didn’t think I’d ever read this one. And then I met Matt and he told me it was his favorite book. And I can see why! This is another new favorite. I will forever HATE Dorothy after reading this book. Maguire gives us Elphaba, the green witch, and shows her as the revolutionary woman that she is. God I loved this book….

6. Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante – I actually listened to this on audiobook and I think it’s the best experience I’ve ever had with an audiobook. The narrator was amazing, but even more amazing was this captivating story of a surgeon going through Alzheimer’s from a first person point of view as she’s questioned as a suspect in a murder. Incredible book.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Good lord was this ever an amazing book!!!! I cannot WAIT for Erin Morgenstern to write more books. The circus itself was one of the most amazing characters ever. And it was complemented by the cast of magical humans and the tales of love that accompanied it. If you haven’t read this one yet, what are you waiting for?!

8. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – Another one that I ask myself why the HELL I waited so long to read! I expected a story of an intersex person…and that’s what I got, but the story was more than just Cal being intersex. It’s about this history of his family and those relationships and how they affected who he is and wow, it’s just an awe inspiring book!

9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Best Jack the Ripper tale that I’ve ever read. BOARDING SCHOOL…GHOSTS….MAUREEN JOHNSON! I think that the sequel to this one is currently one of my most anticipated books. It ended in a way that I cannot WAIT to read the next one!

10. Shadow Man by Cody McFadyen – I knew this one was going to be good ahead of time. You see…my dear friend Debi told me that it would be. And I trust her. BUT I didn’t know that it would TEAR ME APART. I’ve NEVER read a thriller that was like this before. McFadyen goes places that most authors just don’t go. I just can’t figure out why I haven’t read book two yet!

11. Kraken by China Mieville – So I’m only 100 pages into this one. And I haven’t even posted it to bad bloggers yet! Renay will be getting the point for this one. But DAMN this book is good and FILLED with WTF. I know know know that it will be a favorite of the year….that is IF I get it finished by the end of the year!!

And now for stats….my beloved stats:

Total Books Read for the Year: 70

Total Pages Read: 18,360

Comics/Graphic Novels: 15

Non-Fiction: 6 (this stat is kind of pathetic)

Short story collections/essays/anthologies: 5

Poetry: 2 (:/)

LGBT books: 16

By Women: 27 (Same as last year…exactly…this needs to improve)

By Men: 42 (Also the exact same as last year…how the hell did I pull THAT off??)

Chunksters (450+ pgs.): 7

Average number of pages per book: 262 pgs. (Which I have to say is about how I like my books :p)

Goals for next year: Read more women, more LGBT books, more nonfic, more poetry. Anyone have any good ideas for LGBT non fiction by women??? Sounds like those are the books I need :p Also, I would LOVE to finally read 100 books in the year, but I won’t make my happiness depend on that. I WILL be a better blogger, commenter, and reader. Hope everyone has an AMAZING 2012!!! Look forward to growing my friendships with you all šŸ™‚

Bad Bloggers…the Pre-Christmas Post

I figured I might as well get a bad bloggers post out of the way now, because it’s sure to be super overwhelming after Christmas…good lord, where am I going to put all of these books! Hope everyone is having a great holiday season šŸ™‚ Wish I could hug each one of you individually. And can you believe it’s time to start getting our best of lists up already?? Good lord! Alright…here’s the damage:

1. Sonnets From the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barret Browning – I tried Ms. EBB once before and we didn’t get along so well…but I thought I’d try her AGAIN!!! And of course the point for this one goes to Jason (Paperback Swap)

2. Orlando by Virginia Woolf – Well I had to get this one…I’ve been wanting it for a long time. Virginia Woolf playing with gender…it’s gotta be good! (Paperback Swap)

3. The Accidental by Ali Smith – When I was ordering Orlando, I saw the same member had this book too! I’ve yet to read any Ali Smith and I don’t know anything about this book, but she’s just one of those authors that I have a feeling I’ll love. (Paperback Swap)

4. Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth by Chris Priestley – And so begins the bookcloseouts.com pile. Guys, I got like 14 books for $40. Couldn’t pass it up!! And this is one of them. Carl introduced me to this series of spooky tales a couple of years back and I’m hooked! Point to Carl. (Bought it)

5. Bitten: True Medical Stories of Bites and Stings by Pamela Nagami, M.D. – Saw this one on book closeouts and bought it based on the title. Sounds like my kind of nonfic! (Bought it)

6. How they Met and Other Stories by David Levithan – Debi bought this book when I was with her in New York and after flipping through it I knew I wanted my very own copy. So here it is! Point to Debs. (Bought it)

7. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard – I don’t even remember what this book is about or who I learned of it from :/ I should really start keeping track of that. My memory is not the most reliable method….But I haz it now! (Bought it)

8. If You Follow Me by Malena Watrous – I don’t know who the blame goes to for this one either šŸ˜¦ I feel like lots of people have reviewed this one though…so if you want to claim a point for this book OR The Secret Year, just let me know :p (Bought it)

9. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman – This just sounded really good!! (Bought it)

10. Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman – I want to say that Amy recommended this one. Didn’t you Amy? Anyway, you get a point šŸ™‚ I’ve always loved this cover too! (Bought it)

11. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard – I think this is the book I’m most excited about in this stack!! Ana reviewed this one awhile ago and it just sounds like an incredibly fun book. Point to Ana. (Bought it)

12. The Impostor’s Daughter: A True Memoir by Laurie Sandell – If I recall correctly, Ana wasn’t even that crazy about this one, but she still made it sound like something I need to read…she tends to do that. Point to Ana. (Bought it)

13. Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek – Well first off, I love the title of this book and the cover. I saw it on Debi’s Paperback Swap wishlist and so I stole it from her :p She gets a point for this one. (Bought it)

14. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner – This is one that Pat reviewed quite a while ago, but it’s been sitting prominently on the wishlist ever since she did review it. Sounds good! Point to Pat! (Bought it)

15. Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda – This is an awesome little reference book that I found in Barnes and Noble’s bargain section…I can see myself using this one a LOT when I get my own house to keep everything clean the natural way! (Bought it)

16. The Best American Poetry of 2011 ed. by Kevin Young – All Lu’s fault!! She said that this was a really good one and I’ve been craving poetry lately. Looks like an incredibly cool collection! Point to Lu! (Bought it)

17. The Best American Science and Nature Writing of 2011 ed. by Mary Roach – So this book just sounds like a dream come true. It’s SCIENCE and NATURE edited by MARY ROACH! How could it be bad??? (Bought it)

18. Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country by Suvir Saran – This sounds AWESOME. It’s a book written by an Indian American who moves onto a farm and raises his own food. And as the title suggests, it’s filled with recipes and stories and beautiful pictures! Just found this at Barnes and Noble…hadn’t heard of it before, but it was screaming at me READ ME. (Bought it)

19. Sons and Lover by D.H. Lawrence – Jonathan Carroll tweeted a quote from this book one night and the quote was so beautiful that I had to get the book. I hadn’t had a desire to read it before now. Point to Jonathan Carroll. (Paperback Swap)

20. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth Century America by Lillian Faderman – hadn’t heard of this one before, but saw it on Paperback Swap and had to get it just for the title. I actually started wondering if maybe Ana HAD reviewed this because it sounds like something she would love..hmmmm…I should check! (Paperback Swap)

21. Flood by Stephen Baxter – FINALLY. I don’t know why I haven’t bought this until now. Renay has wanted me to read this for awhile now and it’s really intriguing to me. So I saw a copy at Barnes and Noble today when I was finishing my Christmas shopping and said “screw it, I’m getting it.” Point to Renay! (Bought it)

22. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Yay surprise ARCs that sound really good!!!! I actually don’t get many ARCs..like pretty much none at all. But every now and then a publisher will surprise me with one and they end up sounding really good. Like this one! I read the first few pages as soon as I opened it because I loved the cover and it looks like it’s a futuristic steampunk retelling of Cinderellla. Awesome. (Review Copy)

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

I went into this book assuming that it was an lgbt book, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a book about differences…a book that questions traditional gender roles and points out stereotypes based on the readers thoughts alone upon reading the title. At least, this reader’s thoughts I should say. We equate boys wearing dresses as being gay, but this is not the case in this book. That’s a stereotype…boys who wear dresses must be feminine and if you’re a feminine male then you MUST be gay. I always say that this logic drives me mad, but here I am, drawing the same conclusions. Let me tell you what this book IS about.

This book is about a boy who likes to wear dresses. The boy in question is Dennis and he’s a delightful character! His mom left the family when he was a young boy and all he has left as a memory of her is a charred picture. He now lives with his brother and father and his favorite pasttime is football…and by football I mean soccer :p But he has another thing he loves too, fashion. Though he is not ashamed of his love for fashion, he keeps it hidden from others because he knows it’ll draw ridicule. But it all comes out when his father finds a Vogue magazine hidden under his mattress.

Dennis feels extremely alone and rejected until he meets Lisa, a girl two years his senior who he has a huge crush on. He comments to her one day on how beautiful her dress sketches are and before he knows it he’s in her room poring over Vogue magazines with her. And then he’s in a dress. A dress that Lisa designed that she thinks he’ll look wonderful in. And once he puts it on, he feels wonderful.

From here, the story takes flight, though I won’t tell you what else happens. I do think the ending was a bit over the top and not probably in reality, but that’s my ONLY complaint about this book! This book was wonderful. It might be the most direct book I’ve ever read at challenging gender checkboxes. Men can love fashion just as much as some women can. Women can dislike fashion just as much as some men can. But society tends to slap us on the wrist for thinking that way. And you’re automatically labeled “gay” if you don’t fit into those norms.

Oh, I need to add that Quentin Blake did all of the illustrations for this book which added an even bigger charm to it. Quentin Blake is the famous illustrator who illustrated most of Roald Dahl’s books. He did an amazing job at capturing the book and the characters. Definitely one to go onto the shelves.