Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd (4)

Now that I've actually been driving around places, I really, really like audiobooks. I go through at least one a month and it's awesome. This book is the first one I actually took out of my car and played at home, and it was kind of nice to fall asleep listening to it. However, I then had to figure out where I was in the CD when I fell asleep, which was annoying. My car saves my place, which is super convenient. Before, when I was bus-ing everywhere I tried uploading a book to my ipod to listen to, which was really nice except when I listened to music in between and completely lost my place. Which was even harder to find because I sometimes didn't even remember which cd I was on. It was a sad adventure and I never finished that book ("The Prime of Miss. Jean Brodie") even though it was only 3 CDs long. I am a failure.

I'm thinking about just writing about whatever I feel like, instead of just randomly talking about the books I read. I may also still talk about the books I read. Or maybe I'll just start another blog that is only about me. Thoughts?

I wish I was a cool, blog-savvy person who knew how to write this next to the ginormous picture of the book, but I'm not. *sigh* 

Maybe I'll revoke my previous statement about liking audiobooks. I feel less of a response to this book then I usually do when I read books. Usually I read them much faster than it takes me to listen to the book, since I only listen while I'm driving. I think I may have given it a 5 if I actually read it, but since I didn't, I didn't really know what I wanted to rate it, because I didn't remember how much I liked it...maybe I'm just weird.

Short Jananopsis (where I tell you what I think is important, which may not be what Amazon or the back of the book says its about):
Basically, this girl deals with her mom dying and hating her dad and the South sucking and no one liking her or her only friend, who happens to be an older black woman named Rosaleen. She runs away from home because Rosaleen tries to register to vote and ends up getting arrested and Lily (the girl) thinks she's going to get killed in jail, probably because she is (she spit on a white man's shoe who just so happens to think that black people shouldn't vote. Or have rights. Or not be slaves.). They end up living with these sisters who make honey and they just pretend like they aren't running from the cops.

I think You'll Like this Book if You Like:
-Ya-Ya Sisterhood
-other Sue Monk Kidd novels
-fun cultures

You May Not Like This Book if You Don't Like:
-women (or women sitting around talking)
-coming-of-age stories
-sad things occasionally happening. (It's not a totally depressing book, but I definitely cried)

Coming up Next:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which so far is amazing. I don't know why I'm writing this instead of reading it.)
one of the many books I've already read and haven't written anything about because I'm lazy. And had a broken laptop.

And after that:
I really want to read a laugh-till-you-pee book. Like Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging. But for adults. So more like Bridget Jone's Diary. Maybe I'll read the second one?

I also need a car-audiobook. For that I kind of like books I've been putting off for awhile. But now I've been out of school and actually reading so that list is dwindling fast. Perhaps Patty Clark, Ha Ha Ha? I don't want anything super depressing because crying on your way to work is awkward. Suggestions?

Yours in absolute nerdiness,
Jana :D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

VOTING! & The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown (5)

If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you'll like this. It's set in DC, which I liked because I'm more familiar with the area so I was like, "Oooo! I know that building! I've been there! I've seen.....well no....not that....seriously? Is that even true?"

I'm better at writing about books just as I finish it, but I finished this on Thursday and then was really sick so I never wrote about it, and now I have no real opinions except that it was awesome and some "Oh! That [mega spoiler] part was so crazy! I was so pissed and then...." do you want to know how I felt? No. That'd be like telling you the ending of a Harry Potter book. I'm not that lame.

Anywho so I was real sick and started reading The Other Queen, which is not my favorite Philippa Gregory and I might not finish it because I was bored. Nothing happened and I know how it ends and I hate all the characters because their dumb or doomed. That's probably why I loved The White Queen, because I had never studied that part of the story and I had no idea what was going on.

And I had to return Three Cups of Tea, but I checked out the book, so I might finish that soon, but I already started my first Agatha Christie! And then I got a whole bunch of books from the library! What is a girl to do? I think I'll just catalog my books because I have a zillion.

OMG, I just realized one of the books I checked out today is in large print. I don't think I'll read that one because it looks like someone's shouting at me.

So, you choose! What book should I finish first:
a) Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
b) A Murder in Three Acts - Agatha Christie
c) The White Queen - Philippa Gregory
d) None of those, pick a new book!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Which Jana Has an Epic Journey in Search of Books

Today was a weird day. Woke up at 5:30am when my alarm clock was going to wake me up at 6:30 and, get this, did not fall back asleep. Weird. Went to day two of work as a PA. I listened to some Michael Jackson and other dance-in-your-car worthy tunes. Got in just a few minutes early to work. And then potential disaster struck: I was asked to navigate someone to the monorail platform by the Space Needle so we could switch cameramen because the one at the needle shoot wasn't feeling well so the producers wanted him at the hotel so he could rest asap. Well, I knew how to get to the Space Needle. I'd even, luckily, checked to figure out how to get back on I-5 correctly this morning since I got lost last night. However, I had no idea where the monorail platform was. I was pretty sure I could figure it out, but too scared to tell anyone I wasn't 100% sure. Miraculously, I totally found it without looking too stupid. And found us some quick parking that was of questionable legality but did not get a ticket.

Switched drivers, got back, nothing exciting for awhile. Doot doot dooooo, did some work, had some lunch, drove back to the Center to get the show's anchor so he could do a voice over for the commercial and we totally shop talked. Yeah he was in Second City performing for 7 months. Yeah he's on tv. And yes, he too was afraid of theater kid parties in college and was not one of the cool kids. There is hope yet for my life.

Oh yeah, and at lunch I got to hear stories from the Jerry Springer and Steve Wilco shows.

About now I'm really hoping they never, ever read about how star struck I was at meeting people who have actually worked on things I've heard of. I am so glad I had no idea about any of this before I started talking to them. I would have been so terrified to talk to them.

Fun fact: Jerry Springer is one of the nicest guys ever. Apparently he's a really great neighbor too.

And about now you're probably wondering what on earth this story has to do with books, almost there! I left right at 6 and got truckin' home, listening to some Disney on the way. What a fabulous, fabulous day. The drive is like an hour with the traffic. I was getting closish to home and was debating weather or not to go to the library. If you read last night, I was out of books and wanted some new ones. But then I was thinking about it and I have a ton of books on my shelves that I could read - I could finally organize them all! And pick one! Plus I really wasn't sure I remember how to get to the library. My exit is 179...totally tuned back into the exit numbers at the sign for 178 and was like "oh no!!!! must get over!!!" which I did, and got off the exit, no problem.

Then I realized: I had no idea where I was. I got off an exit too early. But, no big deal, right? I can totally find my way through to my apartment. I'd been navigating Seattle and Seatac all day, how bad is Mountlake Terrace? Got totally lost. And then found the library! And was like: sweet. Getting some books. Then I'll just get back on the freeway and go home. So I was looking through the catalog and was like...shoot...I have no idea what I want to I decided to just browse the shelves. So I browsed, and found a promising book, I See You Everywhere, but it wasn't the book, so I kept browsing. And what did I find? There was one Philippa Gregory book left. And it was one I hadn't read! It wasn't The Red Queen, but it was The Other Queen, which I also wanted to read at some point. Score! And then I was like, "But I really wanted to read something more action-y next," so I kept looking a little longer. And guess what I found? The Lost Symbol, the other book I was hoping to get from the library.

What a perfectly marvelous day. But then I got slightly lost on the way home. I had been too lazy to plug my ipod back in and listen to exciting tunes, so I left it on NPR. They were talking about some news, and I was sort of paying attention but mostly lost and frustrated, and I kept hearing that they wanted people to text/email and say where they were while they were listening. They were stationed in England. They mentioned 3 or 4 people who sent stuff in. And one of them was the Kitsap Sun! I was totally in that paper! Yet another sign that I am going to one day be totally famous. Hahaha. But seriously. I know that paper. And they were mentioned on NPR. Ok that's not really cool, I should probably eat dinner before trying to tell any stories because I think my filter turns back on eventually.

And then, full circle, disaster strikes. While walking up the stairs to my apartment I found a SPIDER had built a web across the stairwell!!!!! It was like...a foot above my head...but I tested the air under it with a book or something and the web it was DEFINITELY NOT SAFE TO GO UNDER! So I went back down the stairs, miraculously found a stick right near the bottom of the stairs, and successfully evaded the spider.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Virgin Blue - Tracy Chevalier (4.8)

Oh dear it's been awhile! In my defense, I have actually managed to procure a job, which starts next week because I had a three day job planned for this week, and I had some auditions to prep for. The real reason behind the delay is that I just didn't have any books I felt like reading and preferred to watch Netflix. Instant watch is both a blessing and a curse to those with lots of time on their hands. Or those who don't have the self control to turn it off even though its past their bedtime.

Enough excuses. I loved this book. I thought I might, because I've liked Tracy in the past, but the premise reminded me of a favorite book from when I was 10 or 11, and I am a grown up now, so that was a turn-off. (If you don't know me, or tongue-in-cheek doesn't transfer over the internet: note that I still love Harry Potter and don't think I'm a pretentious snob, however much I wish I was.) Here is how the back starts, "Meet Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin - two women born centuries apart, yet tied together by a haunting family legacy," ...snore? But then at the very bottom it says, "A beautifully crafted story shot with vivid colors," and the cover was so pretty that I just decided, "Why not? The library closes in 10 minutes and I have nothing else to read." Well, The Times (London) was right, it was beautiful, and I loved every page of it. Whoever wrote the blurb should re-write it.

Actually, I'm not sure I liked it as much when I first started reading it...but it gets good and it ends fabulously. It's one of those books that always makes me feel so connected to my fellow women. It has that feeling of the secret mystery of being a woman that I always love in a book. The Red Tent had a similar feeling, and so did The Color Purple. I loved those books too. You should read them. The Color Purple first, it was better. And shorter. But if you're a sucker for historical fiction, The Red Tent is super good.

The Virgin Blue is the third Tracy Chevalier I've read, and I think it's my favorite of them all, then The Lady and the Unicorn, and then Girl with a Pearl Earring. However, that is the order I read them, from most to least recent, so they very well may be equally good and I just like the most recent best. If you like Philippa Gregory, but a bit more poetic, less sexy, and without any (for this novel) historical fact, you'd definitely like this. Oh, and there's some magic. Sort of. And we all know I'm a sucker for all things magical.

In the CD player: Three Cups of Tea
Next to read: ....good question! Obviously I need to stop by the library again. I have another Margaret Atwood, but I'm feeling something different. Although I'd totally read The Red Queen if I can get it from the library.
Also awaiting others returning them to the library:  The Lost Symbol - it'll be my first Dan Brown since high school! I got a little too into him and read like...all of his books that were out right after The Da Vinci Code, and I felt like he was trying a little too hard to be Michael Crichton, so I stuck to the original.
Maybe I'll read the sequel to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I know I have that somewhere...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Books on Tape?

So, since I've been commuting around the Seattle area and been in all sorts of traffic jams I decided that maybe books on tape could cure the road rage and give me something to do during the long hours. (Ok...not even one hour...but it feels like days when you're on the 520 bridge going 5mph when you're lucky.) I'm so used to doing something while listening that it was kind of weird to just listen and drive. Not take notes like in jr. high, high school, college. Not color like in elementary school. Just listen and drive. It was kind of soothing, but I don't know if I actually remember the story...or if I was driving safely. I was listening to "Three Cups of Tea" which starts out with a climb of (insert name of 2nd tallest mountain in the world here, starts with a K I think?) and I was just listening and imagining the surroundings. It was kind of fun...but was I really looking at the road? I don't know...I may be very against books on tape after my next car accident. Could you imagine if I was listening to James Bond while driving? I'd race every car on the road. Well, I'll warn you against the dangers of books on tape if I drive off the road or get a speeding ticket in the near future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The White Queen - Philippa Gregory (5)

Ok, I have to admit this, I love Philippa Gregory. I love history for its stories, but I have a hard time keeping them straight. So I like being able to follow the story all the way through, even if I don't know how much is completely true and how much is questioned. But really, history is written by the victorious, so we always have an interesting side of the story, don't we?

I also have to admit that I like the part when people are falling in love and happy more than when they are plotting over the thrown. Politics don't interest me as much as love...which is probably why I'm really bad at history in general because I space out about who's fighting who and why and would prefer a good battle at Troy over the lovely Helen with goddesses arguing over whose best.

This book has the good fortune to be as historically accurate as possible, has some love scandals, war, magic, curses, politics, everything you could ask for in a well-rounded novel. So if you're into that kinda thing, definitely read it.

Now, dear reader of mine, tell me: what time period of history interests you most? I've always taken to books about Ancient Greece (mostly mythology), Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and the Holocaust.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pirate Latitudes - Michael Crichton (4)

I wish this book had been published while Crichton was still alive, because I feel like its missing some of the suspense most of his novels have. There isn't really enough tension in it. Don't get me wrong - this book makes Pirates of the Caribbean look like a children's movie. It's about real pirates, not pretty-boy Orlando Bloom. Captain Hunter has all the finesse of Jack Sparrow without the lurking question of how he could possibly think through his boozey stupor. Yet no matter how bad things got for Hunter, I just wasn't on the edge of my seat...

Feel free to disagree. If you like anything that has to do with pirates, and can handle the gore of actual throat-cutting pirates, you'll probably really like this book.

What Should I Read Next?

I like conversations more then monologuing. So let me know - what are your favorite books? What book should I read next? I warn you that I just got a stack of books from the library, but I got them last night and I already finished one, so I may make it to your book quicker than I think!

My favorite, favorite books
1. The Harry Potter series
2. A Little Princess
3. Pride and Prejudice
4. Gone with the Wind
5. Ender's Game

I've loved a lot of books, so feel free to give me all sorts of suggestions. I usually stick to fiction and shy away from horror. So tell me: what do you think I should read next?

The Lost Boys - Orson Scott Card (5)

This is a 5 of the page-turner variety. It's a little bit of a horror novel, but it's Card so it's still a little sweet (if you've read the sequels to Ender's Game, you know what I'm talking about). If you're a computer person, you may giggle a little, as the main character is a programmer and this was written in 1980-something.

A brief synopsis: Step Fletcher, his wife DeAnne, and their 3.5 children (DeAnne's preggers) move to North Carolina so Step can start a new job. Turns out, a bunch of little boys around their oldest son's age have been disappearing. Also, Stevie is tormented by his teacher and fellow students so he only plays with his imaginary friends. But soon you have to ask the question, "How imaginary are these friends?" dun, dun, dun!

You should definitely read it. Fair warning: you'll need a Kleenex at the end.

What is the saddest book you've ever read?

The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood (5)

This is definitely a 5 because I love Atwood's style - I always devour her books. I also love Greek mythology, and The Penelopiad is Odysseus' wife's side of the story. It's a pretty read but not much happens. If you like poetry and looking at flowers, or are a particular Margaret Atwood fan, definitely read it. If you would prefer something fast-paced and plot-driven, you'd be better off reading The Odyssey.

I sometimes think of books like these as mythological fan fiction. Do you have a favorite mythological story? Or have you read some mythological fan fiction that you found particularly good?

How I Read

I think it's important to note that I read some books very differently, so my rating system may be completely arbitrary. A "5" could mean that I simply couldn't put it down, even though it's literary trash of the Twilight variety. Or it could mean that finally, those last 20 pages were so good that I have to rate it well, even though the first 120 pages took me six months to get through (a la Sophie's World). So just because you liked one book I rated a 5, don't assume that every book I rate a 5 you'll love as much as I do.