Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Terrible and Wonderful Reason Why I Run Long Distances

There are lots of reasons to run: to lose weight, to relieve stress, to escape danger...
Matt Iman runs to beat the blerch. The blerch is a fat little cherub full of all the delicious sweets and junk food that you want to eat while sitting on the couch marathoning Netflix. Matt Iman used to be chubby, but now he runs ultra marathons. The blerch is all that he used to be, and he imagines it chasing him as he runs. And he runs to seek Nirvana but I like to ignore that and look at his successful, lazy pieces and really take those to heart...

The problem with books like this is I take in all the gluttony and laziness and don't do the actual marathoning. I just think I'll be ok because lots of people are successful and lazy....

But I did run the Beat the Blerch 10k in 2014 (before I read this book). AND I'M GONNA DO IT AGAIN THIS YEAR!! Woo!!! So maybe it did inspire me a little. I'm running a bit faster, but certainly not "fast."

ok "ran" might be a strong word choice...
we came in at just under 1:30:00

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Station Eleven

So, if you've read other posts of mine you may know that I tend to read books without actually knowing what the book is going to be about. Sometimes this goes well, and sometimes it goes really badly, like when I thought 50 Shades of Grey was about a werewolf. For this book, it went well, but it was weird. I knew it was about a troupe of actors. And it starts out during a swanky production of King Lear when a famous actor collapses while playing the titular role. And then the apocalypse happens. And I was like, "whoah I didn't see that coming," because I thought it was going to be normal theatre drama not actors meet the cast of Revolution. The book jumps around between pre-apocalypse and fifteen-years after, following the collapsed actor's wife, a young actress that had worked with him, and the doctor that rushed on stage to help him when he collapsed.

I have to say, I love books like this. not necessarily the post-apocalyptic whatever, but the non-linear mashing up of characters with different timelines, playing with how they intersect. It was fun. I could have done with more theatre and less apocalypse, but I think that was more my fault than the books...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Fault in Our Stars

Oh my god, this book. I mean if you haven't heard of this book, I don't know what rock you've been hiding under because it's definitely a movie. It's not even cool anymore it was so big so long ago. But ok, let's pretend you don't know what this book is about. Hazel was diagnosed  with terminal cancer awhile ago. She's a ticking time bomb and tries to guard those she can from liking her so that they won't be hurt when her inevitable end comes. Her parents can't be helped, but no one else. But Augustus Walters has other plans. They meet at a cancer kid support group, and Augustus breaks through Hazel's shell.

You'd think, given that story, that this would be some sort of whiny YA drivel, but it is so not. This is YA because it's about teenagers but they are real and wonderful and the book is so beautiful. I read this book near the end of summer. I stayed up till some ungodly hour of the morning finishing a big assignment for my correspondence course and then was so hyped up on stress and red bull I couldn't sleep. So I read the second half of this book and cried myself to sleep. This is how I deal with stress.

Speaking of which, it's the season where people are announcing that they got into grad school and half of me is like

and half of me is like

"IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO SAY NO! Turn back before it's too late!!!" Winter quarter was really rough and I think I'm still recovering. And now I'm an intern which is it's own special type of stress because I'm never quite sure what my cooperating teacher is thinking or what I'm really supposed to be doing. But I feel like I should.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Valley of Amazement (4), Amy Tan

This is another audiobook that I listened to to fall asleep after a long, stressful day of grad school. That being said, I don't know that I have a lot of profound thoughts about this book. This book is a beautiful tapestry of life in Shanghai courtesan houses, a remote Chinese mountain village, and nineteenth-century San Francisco. It is a tale of mothers and daughters, of loss, and ultimately, of love. It's a little sexy, a little tear jerk-y, a little

Yep. Go read it if you're into pretty, expansive historical fiction. It was one of those books I listened to over the course of a couple months, falling asleep pretty easily a half hour at a time...until I got to the end and was like "ugh why does the narrator sound so annoying if I try to speed it up? I need to know what happens!"

But it's definitely one of those books that if you want to throw across the room. Like the time Umbridge locked up Harry Potter's broomstick in Order of the Pheonix.

Oh the feels...

...How did I link Amy Tan with Harry Potter? Because Harry Potter is the most universal way to describe feelings and if you don't know what I'm talking about...

Speaking of which, our landlord came over to sign some paperwork because we're getting another roommate, who also came with a cat, so now my house has TWO CATS. The point of this segue is that my cat is named Hermione, which the landlord thought was cool, he was all, "I could be friends with you guys." Which, if he was not my landlord I would totally be cool with. I then muttered, "her name is actually Princess Hermione can see how seriously I take my life," or something like that. To which he replied, "I love all those movies." And I smiled back, because I am a good person. But inside I was screaming, "THEY ARE BOOKS, SIR! BOOKS!"

Hermione trying to hide.
At 1 year old, Hermione is not taking after her namesake. Maybe by 11?

And at this point I would like to add that I somehow have friends, but I'm aware you probably think this is a lie. In this post I have talked more about Harry Potter and my cat than the actual, beautiful, book I read.

Most of my friends DO like Harry Potter. And cats.

I swear my friends are real, human people. I swear. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Girl with All the Gifts (4), M. R. Carey

Update: You guys! I finally did the .2 second google search to figure out how to add a spoiler button. Welcome to 2015, blog. Or 2000. Whatever. I am awkwardly slogging through my backlog of books that I never wrote blog posts about because I'm reading a really "good" book that is too long ("good" = beautiful/intriguing/incapable of holding my attention with the surplus of shiny unicorns surrounding my tiny brain). So things may be minimalist for awhile. 

ALSO: Apologies to the 10-12 people who have been clicking on my blog post when it comes up for the last TWO MONTHS. I like to believe its the same 10 people who desperately crave my book reviews, who click each time. To you ten, I apologize. I thought if I scheduled a post for every week it would mean that I would actually write the posts, at last. Instead I wrote papers. Lots of papers. I also read lots of books. So I still had a couple weeks of empty blog posts when I stopped it today. And I read like 20 more books. The Stack of blog posts is looking as insurmountable as The Stack of to read books I have on my shelf. 
Today, I am recovered and may write more posts. I may also do the things I should be doing, the jury's still out on that one. If I ever catch up it will be a Christmas miracle. I assume, if it happens, it will be around Christmas time. 

I got really excited about this book when I stumbled upon it on Goodreads and read the entire 5+ chapters excerpt in one sitting. But then I didn't buy the book for awhile because I was poor and in the middle of eight books and I think I was in finals.

Melanie is the brightest girl in her class. Every day soldiers come to her room to escort her to her classroom. Some days her teacher is one person, some days another. The best days are the Miss. Justineau days.

It's more fun if you discover what this book is about as you read it, but if you're not that kind of person, I will talk more about what's going on at the end of this post. So skip that if you want to read the book with a fresh outlook.

Click below if you want the first couple chapters of the book spoiled for you. It's more fun if you don't know...

Melanie and the other children are zombies. They are locked into wheelchairs so they cannot attack the humans. They shower in chemicals and eat maggots once a week. The humans that work with them get sprayed down with chemicals to block their scent so the zombie children don't want to attack them

Reading this book from a self-aware zombie's perspective was fascinating. Having a zombie/human student/teacher relationship to discuss the love we have for each other was so great. I devoured this book.