mangofandango: (ats/ orvannahka/ read more)
I finished my 75 books! With a day to spare!

Next year, my goal will be more like 60 books. 75 was kind of pushing it, obviously. ;) You should be able to follow the link below to see what I read, if you are curious, and I tried to at least make a note about each of the books as a "review". The best things I read this year? I loved "Among Others", it was just very very ME. (Nerdy lovers of magic and books, you will probably identify with the protagonist in this book.) "The Gods of Gotham" was enjoyable in a very different way. The "Chaos Walking" trilogy gave me ALL OF THE FEELINGS, and in the end, those translated into mostly love. In fact, let's just take a moment to say: Patrick Ness = amazing, because I forgot he is also responsible for "A Monster Calls" and that was a uniquely moving experience too. "Chopsticks" had the most interesting format, though "Frankie Pratt"'s scrapbook style was also a cool use of format, it just wasn't my precise cup of tea. "When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man" got mixed reviews, but I thought it was really impactful and well-crafted. Speaking of impactful - I read Alfie Kohn's "Unconditional Parenting" early in the year and it was such a validating and powerful experience for me because I both recognized our parenting in it and used it to help us parent better. It's one of a few lenses I look at parenting through, and will come back to as a touchstone.

I read some middle of the road entertainment-y YA fiction too, of which I liked probably Cinder and Year of the Bests best. There are a few bad reviews and low ratings in there, but mostly, I felt like I got something out of most of these books. And I have a whole stack on my desk of books to start 2013 with. Yay. :)

OK so the widget thing was broken on LJ, instead here is a link to the books I read in 2012!
mangofandango: (ats/ orvannahka/ read more)
Books I have read since Sophie was born, excluding 75,000 better sleep guides and baby-related books:

"Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream" - Jennifer Ackerman

This is a book about the cool little processes and magical tricks that the human body does every day. It was definitely interesting, though something about the way it flowed made it easy for the information to slither in and out of my brain without sticking.

"It Sucked and Then I Cried" - Heather Armstrong

I love Heather, and perhaps because I had just had a baby - not to mention a baby who was difficult like Heather's daughter was when she was a baby, I identified with this book so hard I almost choked to death from the laughing. Because yes, as much as it comes from pain and suffering (the author had PPD and a nervous breakdown), this book is really very funny. At times moments from nervous breakdown myself, this was extra well-timed.

"The Constant Gardener" - John LaCarre

I really enjoyed this one. I read it when my brain was still doing its initial recovery post-birth, and it felt nice to engage the poor thing a bit. Political "spy vs. multinational drug corporation" thriller, yay! I really want to watch the movie now, but have nothing more insightful to say at the moment.

I really think that may have been the only pleasure reading I have done in the past 6 months, which is kind of horrifying. Well, I have read like 6 billion baby books, and I spend a lot of time reading on the internet, but still. I have been working on Dave Eggers' "The Wild Things", which I really like but have not finished despite reading it in little bits for like, the past 2 months.

In her second 6 months, I sincerely hope I read more.
mangofandango: (art/Kurt Halseygoldfish painting)
Via Jezebel, a quote from David Edelstein's New York Magazine review of "Precious" (based on the book "Push" by Sapphire, which was one of the most upsetting, chilling things I have ever read.)

"I’m not judging girls who look like Sidibe (the actress who plays the lead in the movie) in life, but her image onscreen is jarring to the point of being transgressive, its only equivalent to be seen in John Waters’s pointedly outrageous carnivals. Her head is a balloon on the body of a zeppelin, her cheeks so inflated they squash her eyes into slits. Her expression is either surly or unreadable. Even with her voice-over narration, you’re meant to stare at her ebony face and see nothing. The movie is saying that she’s not an object, but the way that Sidibe is directed she becomes one."

Okay, first - "girls who look like Sidibe in life" include Sidibe herself. She actually is a 300-something pound woman. Doesn't it seem a bit excessive (not to mention out of context) to describe her quite so cruelly? A balloon on the body of a ZEPPELIN? Really? The author of the review defends himself in part by saying that in real life photographs, her eyes are bright and clear and lovely! So basically, she's a zeppelin with nice eyes then? How generous, Mr. Edelstein!

I haven't seen the movie, though I plan to. However, without having seen it, I still question his assumption that the direction made Precious an object, as if that was some kind of error. Based on the book, it would have to be very deliberate. It's likely very true that the movie communicates that Precious is not, in fact, just an object - but Precious herself would be living a life that defines her as such, and that makes her feel reduced to that level. Sibibe would be directed to act as someone who lived her life as an object, then, and rightly so.

This is such a complicated book, and a complicated movie. I'm interested in it because it is so complex. The book was both horrifying and fascinating, repulsive and hopeful. Some have said it was poverty/abuse porn, and I can see where they're coming from. Some people commented on what is lost in the translation from book to movie, and I imagine there has to be a loss - there often is, especially with something like this, where the narrative in the book is stream-of-conscious thought, written as if by someone who is illiterate and deeply, deeply suffering. That adds so much to the book that I wonder what the movie will be like without it. There's a lot of commentary on the race and class issues it raises, and how those differ from the novel...and that's more than I can thoroughly digest or comment on at this point. But I've been enjoying reading about it, and seeing the discussions that go deeper than OMG MARIAH CAREY WAS IN IT WITH NO MAKEUP.
mangofandango: (misc/ mouthfullofdust/ ghost world adult)
Neil Gaiman's website alerted me to the fact that some people are suing for, among other things, the right to burn a Francesca Lia Block book, as well as for damages because of the negative impact the book had on their well-being.

"Their suit says that "the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library," and that it contains derogatory language that could "put one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike."

Yes, the language in this book can kill you. WATCH OUT. Neil said something about how if they'd picked up "American Gods", caskets would have to be ordered before Chapter One was over. I was thinking the same thing, only about...a zillion other books. Their argument about the "hate speech" in the book is disingenuous too, as it's definitely used in the context of characterizing such language as, well, hateful and bad. (I don't remember details, I read Baby BeBop along with the rest of the Weetzie Bat books a long time ago, but I do know the tone of the books and, um, they were not promoting hate. They were, in fact, protesting homophobia, among other things, and yes I know that is the real problem these people have with it.)

Book banning homophobic people are not new to me, no. Suggesting the book is actually dangerous to one's life is quite an exciting and entertaining angle, though, isn't it?
mangofandango: (bsg/ nyuszi/ inevitable betrayal)
Okay so, tomorrow I am really for sure going to go to yoga in the evening. I tire of being too..whatever to go. So I am going! SO SAY WE ALL.

I just finished my second Jodi Picoult book ever. Book discussion time )
mangofandango: (ats/ orvannahka/ read more)
Our neighbor is smoking cigarettes daily now, indoors. I think we are going to have to ask him to open a window or something when he does this, since I can smell the smoke very strongly up here and the idea that I'm being exposed to second-hand smoke while pregnant is freaking me out. I was okay with it when I only smelled it now and then, briefly, but it's every day now and I didn't realize how much it bothered me until I breathed happy, clean, smoke-free air all weekend at Shawn and Meg's and then came home to the daily stinkiness. I should have just gone down today and said something, but I was having a pregnancy moment at the time and felt too cranky about the smoke to deal with it. Beeswax candles and popcorn are starting to improve my mood.

Book log...I've read just a few things in 2009 so far. Books...1-4. )

I was going to write more, but you know how long it took me to write about those 4 books? Too long. Time to work on my resume or something now.
mangofandango: (brit/ keepyourguns/ britney)
* Banned Books week, and the lists of most challenged books and authors from 2007, are upon us. The lists are here. I was vaguely surprised by "Olive's Ocean" being on the list. I thought it was a beautiful book written by an author who seems to have a very strong understanding of the emotional lives of children, but I guess in among all the merits of the book I forgot about the brief mentions of sex. :P

* Dinner last night: brussel sprouts, halved and browned in butter with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Turnips mashed with roasted garlic mustard, salt, and pepper. Tilapia baked with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice, and then topped with arugula wilted with lemon. Followed by Ben and Jerry's and a night-time walk on Church Street. Mmmm. :)

* I read "Living Dead Girl" while sitting in Borders yesterday. It's a novel that I read about on Bookshelves of Doom. I can't say I liked it, but I can say it was well-constructed...if the goal is to make it so you pick up the book and cannot put it down until you're finished, this book completely succeeded. It has to be read in one big inhalation, or else the nightmares are drawn out over several nights instead of just one or two. When I finished it, I sort of wandered around for a little while. I wasn't really sure what I had wanted to do anymore.

*It is grey outside, and I am a little pffffft. Something needs to be done. EDIT: I am going to go to Shawn and Meg's, that is what will be done. :)

* Here is a photo of a angry peacock, at the zoo in Granville or Greenwich or somewhere like that in NY. :)

mangofandango: (misc/whomadethis?/dinosaurcomics)
House 4x05 )

Look, VP (and VP's Melissa Freakin' Martin aka [Bad username or site: @] is sort of a little bit famous today:

Also, after reading [Bad username or site: @]'s superfabulous post about Stephanie Myers and her sparkly books of doom AKA the Twilight series, I a) laughed a lot and then b) cringed when Smeyer's "The Host" appeared at the library for me. I should really read it and see if the Snarkability endures in her adult novel. Anyone know? Meanwhile, I'm not sure I want to be seen in public with this book. ;)

OK time for housing some more House.
mangofandango: (drhorrible/dontburnhot/clarification)
Link city! Because I am kind of out of it and thus am sitting here reading things for a bit.

First, because it made me laugh, this post, written by a woman who decided to spend one week (IIRC) living by the advice of womens' magazines (inspired to do so by a self-helpish book written by a woman who claims to have changed her life and become a whole and happy person by doing the same).

"...immediately I see a list of impossible demands. Take your Brain Shopping! Linger over Love Time! Say Goodbye to Fungi! Stop Stress Making you Fat! Think Yourself Happy! Wear a Romper Suit! Decode Your Sex Dreams! Feng-shui Your Arsehole! (OK, I made the last one up.)

And the more I stare at the pages, the more surreal the advice becomes. Cosmo suggests I stop emotionally dumping on my cat: "Is Your Cat Your Counsellor?" Prima suggests that, when tidying, "gather up items left downstairs and take them all up in one go". Thanks Prima! There is, according to Company, a correct way to board a plane. Step 4 is to "eat an avocado"."


This, just because I never thought I'd see Young Jeezy and John McCain discussed in the same article, and because this made me laugh:

"But there's another story here. You see, the love goes both ways: McCain's been telling people that he dug the music he saw Usher and Jeezy rehearsing on SNL that night. "Very talented. Very good," he's said. "I was very impressed." The song that impressed him so deeply, of course, was none other than "Love in This Club" — a smooth, catchy ode to having sex in public spaces. Scandal! So it's time to come clean. Does Sen. McCain now want, or has he ever wanted, to make love in this club? Moreover, has he ever made love, to a thug, in a club, with his ice on? The people want answers."

John McCain enjoys "Love in This Club". I love it! I also totally love that Jeezy made a whole video explaining to us that he REALLY TRULY DOES NOT SUPPORT MCCAIN, he just...found him inoffensive to be in a room with? They hung out that one time? "I fucked with that guy" is not generally how I would put that, personally, but sure.

Meanwhile, you can check out the Top 10 Songs lists submitted by McCain and Obama to Blender magazine. Because these tracks will totally tell you what kind of leader each would be and thus make you a smarter voter. Or because I don't know whether it's cool or lame that Obama put "Yes We Can" by on his list. Either way!

I found out about Dirty Librarian Chains the other day. Too bad they are way out of the price range affordable by a real live librarian. ;)

I also found out that Burlington participates in the Bicycle Benefits program. I went and bought a sticker for each of our bike helmets, so now I can get discounts from participating local businesses when I bike there. 15% off Ben and Jerry's!

The Twilight Manifesto is wanktacular fabulousness that might make you point and laugh even if you don't know a darn thing about the Stephanie Meyer teen novels in question. These are fans who seem to be attempting to argue that the 4th novel in the series is legitimate canon (yeah, duh) but they are doing so in a fashion that vaguely suggests that they believe the books ARE ACTUALLY REAL, and that really lends itself to two word capital letter freakouts with 3 exclamation points after them. And this, my friends, is what this LJer has done for us. For example:

"Jacob Black continues to be a great character. He is not a pedophile.


PS - I would be happy to give public statements for any of you, stating that you continue to be great (if this is so) and are not a pedophile (presumably true of all of you :)).

Lastly, a ad campaign that belongs in that "Killing Us Softly" documentary about women in advertising: Wrangler - WE ARE ANIMALS. The ads are creepy and might be triggering, because I guess Wrangler thinks their jeans look great on wet, dead-looking women.

Okay that's no fun as a last item. Let's see what I've got...oh right, the Halloweenie BPAL update! I was doing okay until I got to the Sleepy Hollow inspired oils, and then oh dear. Time to sell off some decants like I threatened to before, so I can get a bottle or two. Not that all other BPALers in the world aren't doing that right now too, but...:)

Time to go. Ryan is on his way home a bit early and we're going to hang out.
mangofandango: (misc/mariarita/ red riding hood)
The Snow, Glass, Apples oil and chapbook went live on BPAL last night, a bit early, and I was lucky enough to be sitting in front of my computer when it happened. As a Neil Gaiman fangirl and a Beth fangirl, I am totally excited. The proceeds go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and the oil and chapbook come to ME ME MEEE for reading and sniffing and loving, so what could be better? In Neil's words, 'It smells like green apples and like sex and vampires, all at the same time. (Actually, it smells like sexy vampire apples.)' Kids, I get to smell like sexy vampire apples. And I get the BPAL collector's item of the year, also. (Except those lucky ComiCon people, who got the autographed chapbook.Oooooh.) Assuming that they didn't sell out before my 10pm order. :)

Now I need to replenish my Paypal account. Perhaps some miscellaneous decants can be sold off, even though everyone probably blew their money on the update last night. :P

I have vanilla hazelnut coffee, coconut cake and vegetarian sausage for breakfast this morning. The cake is leftover from the fabulous picnic Ryan and I had last night in Waterfront Park, to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. (7th! We are old happy married people now. :)) Life is good. :)
mangofandango: (ats/ orvannahka/ read more)
I keep forgetting to log my books as I read them. Here are a few that I remembered to do. I found notes on some of them, and the last two are new reads. Tagged posts say I was up to 29 books last time I posted about books, but I know I skipped a bunch. I am no good.

My readings, let me show you them. Books 30-35, supposedly. )
mangofandango: (ats/ crystalkirk/ painbow)
From Neil Gaiman's blog:

"Neil, I was wondering what you thought about Philip Pullman's books and and the controversy in the united states about the new movie based on his first book.

I like Philip Pullman very much, I like his books ditto, and I think the controversy is stupid. Does that help?"

All I have to say to that is YAY.

I had a rough day at school today. It was very busy, the little kids were amped up because of the snow day yesterday, and the 6th grade was so badly behaved that I lost my voice a little bit dealing with them. One student in particular was very difficult and arrogant, and left me feeling really frustrated and annoyed. I told my assistant I was going to go home and punch something.

Now I am home, and I haven't actually punched anything. Maybe I should! Meanwhile, I have a choice before me: go to the gym, or stay home and bake cookies? I should go to the gym, but I really want to do the cookies. Or maybe get a Christmas tree from the people down the road! Or else just sit here reading things until my blood pressure drops a bit. Maybe I'll start there.

book log!

Jul. 2nd, 2007 09:51 am
mangofandango: (_jems_ - amelie reading)
LJ is quiet today! I need entertainment and distraction, people!

I need to log some books that I've read, and also do some work. But um, work? Not so much working for me right now. I will try book logging instead.

books 20-29 )
mangofandango: (litglitter - rory bookworm)
books 14-19 )
mangofandango: (floatingicons - tracy jordan!)
Edited to add books 11 and 12:

"The Beast" by Walter Dean Myers
I feel I should have something to say about this book, but I really don't know what it is. It was good, but I'm without commentary.

"Perfume: The Story of a Muderer" by Patrick Suskind
This was a royally messed-up story, in the awesomest of ways. It's a book about a psychopath with an amazing sense of smell, but no scent of his own - and the power of scent, even when we never notice it.

Book #13
"Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things" by Ted Naifeh

A graphic novel I was pre-screening for the kidlets. It's pretty awesome, actually. It's a few short stories about Courtney discovering the "night things" in the old mansion she and her family have moved into, and getting into your classic magical scrapes that she's just barely saved from by either mysterious Uncle Aloysius or her own smarts. Courtney has a bad attitude, and she's adorable - kinda Buffy, but brattier.

I think I may be missing something that I read...must check.

We saw "Junebug" the other night, also. I really, really liked it. And my budding crush on one Mr. Ben McKenzie kinda blossomed as I watched. I should have disliked his character, but I loved him. And the pregnant girl? Also horrible and wonderful and completely loveable. This movie just left me completely tickled. TICKLED I tell you. From the OH SO INDIE lengthy silent shots of trees and rooms to the cut scene with the gallon of tea, just...tickled. :)

There may be a big snowstorm on Wednesday, the first one we've really had this year. Could it be...a SNOW DAY? Only time will tell. I will keep you posted, friends.
mangofandango: (lit_glitter - we are as gods)
OMG. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has put up a NEIL GAIMAN themed update, with perfume oils based on characters from "Anansi Boys" and "American Gods" - profits from which go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (which helps uphold 1st amendment rights for comic book writers/artists and others). It's like a fandom collision! My Paypal balance is not enough to fund the need, but I'm going to do my best. ;) Seriously folks, if you're Gaiman fans, or BPAL fans, or comic book fans, or even just fans of free speech and smelling good, check out the awesome. And spread the word. :)
mangofandango: (mixythings - fire bad)
My 7th grade book club and I are reading "Make Lemonade" by Virginia Euwer Wolff, which I've read before. I re-read it and then re-read its sequel, "True Believer". These are great books, people. If I could get everyone to read them, I would. They only take a couple hours to read, and they are spot-on fabulous. "True Believer" made me teary more than once, and often in that happy, hopeful kind of way. Do yourself a favor and read these books, okay? I betcha your local library has 'em in the YA/teen section.

I'm still sick, so my plans for today include sleeping, drinking tea, reading, and probably taking a walk with Ryan to get some fresh air (it is sunny and global-warmingly beautiful outside). I'm going to take him to the new bridge across the brook, and then maybe we'll see if we can walk home from there. Maybe that will help with my whole achey limbs and joints thing - or maybe it's time for ibuprofen.
mangofandango: (killprettyx - fred w/ book)
It is snowing today. We went out to breakfast at Lou's, and tried out our new snow tires. Now everything is quiet and pretty, and I've been in bed reading for the past hour or so. I'm reading the new Neil Gaiman, "Fragile Things", which I am savoring because it is perfect, and "Rent Girl" by Michelle Tea, which was a Christmas present from Kelly and is pretty awesome.

Which brings me to other books I got for Christmas. Let's see...from Aunt Linda, "Fast Food Nation", which I have read and wanted to have handy for re-reading and referring to, since it is really interesting and gross and awesome. Aunt Linda also gave me "The Princess Bride", which I've never read even though I've seen the movie tons of times. Also, "Those Left Behind", the Firefly/Serenity graphic novel that fills in the time between series and movie. From Ryan, I got "Fray", by Joss Whedon - a graphic novel about a slayer in the future, which I've read in the past but need to re-read. Also, "Perfume: The Story of a Murder", which I know nothing about other than it is supposed to be very good and I was compelled to read it (and they are making a movie of it, which of course they "*would* - it's a gruesome serial killer story!) I bet there are actually more that I am not thinking of right now. I have lots of reading to do - especially since I also have books for school to read (the 7th grade book club book, its sequel, and a few others). And I just spent a small Amazon gift certificate too, so new books will be coming soon. I am a reading machine, and it is awesome. :)

I got two new blank books to write in for Christmas too. One is from Janice, who just got back from traveling in southeast Asia and brought this book back for me. Another is from my mom, and it is handmade by Mayans with recycled paper molded into a raised face shape on the cover. I'm looking forward to using these books, but I haven't quite decided how. Do I just journal in them? Do I do something special and thematic? Suggestions? I'm still mulling it over.
mangofandango: (killprettyx - fred w/ book)
Celebrate your freedom to read. Go out and get yourself a copy of a book that has been banned or challenged, and read it. And do this meme, because memes are fun, right?

Which of the 100 most banned books of 1990-2000 have you read? )
mangofandango: (AYNOHYEB (reading) by mangofandango)
Two migraines in the past week...and I'm back to feeling panicky and upset about it, because the amitryptaline helps but not enough to make me feel normal. I'm considering my next course of action, but things are getting limited and I'm really frustrated, and also it's summer so health services is closed and that makes doctor stuff tricky. I swear, I'm doing everything right, and I just don't understand why this is happening to me.

But. I had a massage today and it helped me calm down. Massages make everything much better, and I'm glad I can do that every now and then.

Amazon shipped my mp3 player today. Hooray! Now to stand salivating at the mailbox every day until it appears. :)

I am reading "Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader" by Anne Fadiman (from the magical box of books from [Bad username or site: @] - thanks [Bad username or site: @]!). One of the essays is about two ways of loving books - courtly love, I think she says, and, um, the opposite that I can't remember - hands-on, messy love. The first love books the way I love them - by treating their physical existence (not the ideas within, but the book itself) as holy, keeping books clean and unmarked, getting jumpy about lending them out for fear of creases, etc. Fadiman and family are the other kind of book lover, and reading about it makes me *twitch*. They write in books (a practice I sort of like in theory, for many reasons, but don't know if I could ever actually execute), fold books, even *tear books into pieces*, because to them the ideas are what is sacrosanct and the physical book itself is just a temporary, replaceable housing for those ideas. I understand the theory there, but the actual thought of wrecking a book gives me Very Bad Feelings. I still carry books the way they taught me in the elementary school library - under my arm, at my hip and at a sort of angle, to keep them safe from harm. I am firmly a courtly book lover, and probably always will be. So friendslist, which sort of book lover are you?

Going to go drink lots of water now, to get my recommend post-massage extra 24 oz (in addition to what I would normally drink in a day). I'll be peeing if you need me. ;)


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