As book bloggers, we spend a lot of time talking about all the wonderful ways that the blogosphere has broadened our reading horizons. I can’t tell you the number of wonderful books I have discovered courtesy of fellow bloggers and their rave reviews. BUT. What happens when you pick up a book on a blogger’s recommendation only to find that it’s kind of a stinker? What then? It’s bad enough in real life when someone tells you you’ve gotta read a book and then you don’t care for it, but somehow when this happens in the book blogging world, it seems worse, because you’re publicizing how much you didn’t like the book and are thereby accusing the other blogger of bad taste.
So it is with trepidation that I write this review (and maybe that is part of why I’ve been holding off on writing it?)… because The Surgeon
by Tess Gerritsen, being the first in the Rizolli & Isles series, was a book I never would have picked up on my own, but did so due to a glowing review by a fellow book blogger. Said blogger talked about how the R&I books had become her favorite series and she was just plowing through them because she couldn’t help herself but to read them as fast as was humanly possible. I don’t tend to read a lot of series, and crime thrillers are few and far between on my reading roster, but this blogger was just so effusive that I became curious and decided to give the first book in the series a shot.
Well, she got the malice part right at least...
From a great literary high to a nightmare of a novel, such is the bumpy road of a reader’s journey. When I was offered a review copy of international publishing sensation Rebecca James’s debut novel, Beautiful Malice
, I was intrigued. This was the woman who had sprung from the wilds of Australia and was apparently poised to dethrone the juggernaut that is Stephenie Meyer. Seemed like fighting words to me, so I decided to see what James had on offer.
At 17, Katherine Patterson has experienced more devastation and misery than your typical teen. Haunted by the events that destroyed her family, Katherine believes happiness is beyond her reach. She enrolls in a new high school, in a new city far from her childhood home, and even changes her last name, all in the hopes of one last chance at anonymity. Katherine is content to blend into the background and keep to herself, but when popular Alice Parrie takes an interest in her, Katherine finds she can’t resist her vibrant and alluring offer of friendship. Together, the two charge headfirst into an exhilarating world of hedonism and excitement. Caught up in the rush of it all, Katherine begins to open up to Alice, never guessing that Alice might have some secrets of her own, secrets that are far more sinister and deadly than anything Katherine could imagine.
Last Friday I took the afternoon off from work, as Tony and I had a friend coming over on Saturday night and I had big plans. I was making boeuf bourguignon, you see… And I realize that it’s not in good practice to test out new recipes on guests, but despite being quite labor intensive, I had all the confidence in the world I could pull the dish off. Now, because BB takes so long to cook (the prep is really pretty easy, but the thing needs to be in the oven for a few hours), I decided I would make it on Friday night and then simply reheat on Saturday evening (as there were no guarantees we would be around for several hours Sat afternoon to start the cooking), and voila: effortless and delicious dinner the evening of! However, Tony told me he was probably going to have to work late on Friday night, and if that meant him not getting home until 7, well, I didn’t want to have to wait until then to run out and gather the groceries and then start cooking, so we met up for lunch (always fun), and then I drove him back to work and then kept the car to do my errands.
And so began my afternoon as a make-believe housewife. I have to say that shopping in the middle of the day during the week is actually DELIGHTFUL. I got a prime spot in the parking lot and the store was far less congested. Pretty much it was just me, a few elderly people, and lots of housewives. I was able to zip through the aisles with speed and ease, and all was going smoothly… until I approached the checkout. Seeing as it was the middle of the day, there were only two cashiers open, and I had to choose between standing behind an older bachelor or an old lady. I opted for the old lady, because I figured she was probably more well-versed with efficient supermarket checkout. This was a HUGE MISTAKE.
While it didn’t look like she had a ton of items, her final bill wound up being $118… and this was after she had spent about 2 – 3 minutes scrounging about in her change purse in order to find her coupons (many of them for a measly 25¢…) that saved her a grand total of $3.50. SERIOUSLY. I am all for bargain shopping (Tony was greatly amused the first time we went to the grocery store and I would swap out products for those just a few cents cheaper…), but I do that when there isn’t a huge line of people behind me! Plus, it’s not like she didn’t have plenty of time to have these coupons in hand before her final bill came up! She certainly had enough time to have an awkward conversation (loudly, natch) on her cellphone while her items were being rung up.
And then, the icing on the cake of rage: SHE PAID WITH A CHECK. People, I cannot tell you how enraged I get when people pay for things at the grocery store with a check. Why do this? Clearly you have a debit card, and if for some reason you don’t have the funds in your account at that exact moment in time, you can still choose the credit option! Seriously, WTF?!? If you use a check, it takes aaaaages, because you have to fill the whole thing out, and then they have to see your i.d. (despite carrying a purse, hers was stowed away in her fanny pack), and what should have been a 30-second process has now taken 5 minutes. Haaaaaaaate.
Just in case I wasn’t clear enough, I will repeat myself for clarity’s sake: When grocery shopping, DO NOT USE A CHECK TO PAY FOR YOUR PURCHASES. It is unforgivably horrible of you, and all the joking and bashful smiles at the snaking line of people behind you doesn’t make it better. In fact, it makes it worse because all that time you spend “gee whizzing” over how expensive groceries are today and simpering about how you’re sorry for holding up the line just means you are wasting more of my time. Here’s an idea: rather than feeling bad about holding up the line, how about you just don’t do it? Gah!
Needless to say, after that experience, my trip to the nearby wine store was a necessity… and I don’t regret walking out with three bottles when I only needed one!
And because I know you were all wondering, yes, the boeuf bourguignon was a success, which did much to soothe my fiery rage (but clearly not enough that I felt the check/coupon incident was no longer a bloggable offense!).
The end is near, I can sense it.
Steph and I were out at one of the malls in Nashville the other night wandering around aimlessly (as we do) when Steph said she would like to stop in BCBG and see what's the what. We were immediately off-put by the rather garish, 80s inspired window dressings, but decided to press on... until we came to the front entrance and saw the sight above. DEAR GOD what is
this? Max Azria really, really
thinks women will, or even should
, wear this? If women start wearing these at all, even once, I'm going to lose my shit. Seriously. And these would be the perfect pants to be wearing if that were to happen.
I mean, maybe, if I was 70 years old and required an enormous adult diaper to contain the vast amounts of incontinence that wearing these pants would cause me to have all the time (from shame) then perhaps I would consider these mutated hospital bottoms as outerwear.
Apparently these $88.00 pants of shame are known as the Jersey Harem Pant. There aren't enough capital letters on the Internet to describe how much I hate these extra-ugly sweat pants. If you really want to throw up all over yourself, you can go check them out. You could pair them with this, and then change into this for the weekend. And then you could throw yourself into a ravine full of rabid weasels.
Normally I try to minimize obscenity in my posts (for all you sensitive souls out there) but...
Fuck you Max Azria.
p.s. I apologize for the quality of the camera phone image, I didn't have my nice camera with me because I never expected to see THIS at the mall. Or ever. JESUS
I could put a caption here, but what would I say? How about: "what does the title have to do with anything?"
First off, let me state that we like Michael Cera, especially in Arrested Development. I think that was the biggest reason we decided to watch this movie (even though he claims to be on the fence about a possible AD movie, yet got right on board for this particular film. Little bastard). Secondly, I have nearly all of the music that they play throughout this movie and I am suddenly afraid that fact makes me a douchebag, because it certainly didn't do this movie any favors. Which is sad, because I thought I was pretty cool, "hip" even.
To say this movie isn't any good would be doing it a disservice. It was terrible, dysfunctional, and generally misguided. I'm quite sure this wasn't written by anyone in the demographic it so obviously panders to (high schoolers) and I'm also quite sure it wasn't written by anyone who has been a teenager in a long time. In fact, I can't quite tell what the point of this movie is, why it exists, to be blunt.
When it comes to "The Reader", don't let the reader be you!
This movie season has been all about Kate Winslet, who starred in two films that were based on books. Her appearance in The Reader
had nothing to do with me picking up a copy (for 75 cents!) a while back, and by and large, it seems that the book community has been less interested in it than in the book that inspired her other film, Revolutionary Road
. Having read The Reader
, this is so much the better for people who like books. I don’t care if Oprah selected this for her book club, I am going to tell you flat out that The Reader
is a truly awful novel.
More like "Year of the Crazy Lady"
It should come as no surprise that Tony & I are huge dog people (in that we love dogs, not that we are part dog. See this Demetri Martin clip for clarification
.). Because of this love, we tend to watch a lot of movies that feature dogs, and coo along adoringly when those adorable little canine scamps turn up onscreen. Through this movie-watching exercise, I’ve come to believe that movie makers exploit our love of dogs, namely by making some truly horrendous films that ostensibly revolve around dogs or the love of same. I mean, for every My Dog Skip
, you have a Must Love Dogs
, or a Beverley Hills Chihuahua
, or even a, you guessed it, Year of the Dog
. [For the record, Tony & I have not seen Beverley Hills Chihuahua
, nor do we have any plans to do so] These are some bad movies, people, so be forewarned and avoid them if you either: a) love dogs; b) love movies; or c) love yourself.
"Hold on tight, Spider Monkey." WTF? Who writes this stuff? Kill yourself!
Oh. My. God. So, apparently, Steph watched this movie one day when she was cloistered in the apartment with some sort of (clearly) mind-altering illness. She confessed it all to me, and also said she felt embarrassed to be watching the movie, even though it was on her laptop, behind closed doors and she was alone. I think that’s about right. How she cajoled me into watching this movie is still a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it was with the promise that I would get to flay it in a review, which I intend to do. Perhaps it was simply so I could know for myself. I’m not sure if I regret it yet or not. Let me warn you dear reader, there are a lot of spoilers in this review, so if you haven’t seen Twilight yet and plan to watch the movie, don’t. Read this review instead.
I would have said that this was the worst movie of 2008 (and possibly ever) if it weren’t for Love Guru. I do not need to see Love Guru to know I hate it and, by extension, Mike Myers. Love Guru is like salt in a paper-cut (from one of those nasty manila folders) in the web between your thumb and index finger after you have been run over by a garbage truck full of used diapers. It’s like the aunt you don’t like who always wants a kiss and always has coffee/offal breath and will never let you go for the cheek. Nope, full on the lips buddy. Anyway, Love Guru aside, Twilight is one hell of a bad movie, and I can only assume that if it bears any resemblance to the book, the book must be one of the worst pieces of tripe ever written. And I’m not sorry that this is going to destroy any street-cred I may have had in the 12 year-old girl department either. If they like this crap, I don’t want to talk to them anyway.
As I revealed in my last bookish post, The Morning News's Tournament of Books
books (heh) turned out to be quite difficult to borrow from my campus library. Consequently, I turned to the local branch of the Nashville Public Library, and decided to raid their collection for whichever ToB contenders they had on hand (while placing holds on the other ones). Thankfully, when we arrived at the library, the four books they claimed to have were easily located, which made the trip immensely more rewarding than my frigid foray into the campus library. This is of course barring the little snafu in which we arrived at the library at 1 pm, under the impression that it opened at noon, when in fact it doesn’t open until 2 pm on Sundays. But with that extra hour we just popped over to the Humane Association to play with puppies to while away the time, which is really just as good a use of our time… so it wasn’t really all that catastrophic. Anyway, all of this backstory is really just leading up to the part where I even dutifully paid my overdue fines while at the library, which amounted to the exorbitant sum of 10¢. Why do I share this? Because the dude at the fines counter actually asked if I wanted a receipt for this transaction. I hope he is required to ask that of everyone, but felt chagrinned for doing so. Seriously, people. I paid my fine with what looks like a Toronto bus token (but was worth far less than that), and he asks if I want documented proof of this.
Aaaaanyway, back to the real topic at hand: books! I was going to start the one book I had to borrow in large-text (it was the only copy they had available!), but it smelled really strongly of old-lady perfume and was making me feel nauseous just holding it, so I’m gonna hold off (heh) on that one for a while. [As an aside, I think I’ve heard that you can put smelly books in plastic bags and place them in your freezer for a few days to destinkify them, but I might have just made this up. Have any of you successfully dealt with this issue in the past?] So, I wound up picking up A Partisan’s Daughter
instead, perhaps in part because it was the shortest looking book in the stack. And that’s how we got here.
Have you noticed that I’ve kind of been dragging my feet when it comes to talking about the book?
Yikes. There are evidently people out there who really liked this book. Those people are not me. These are people who probably love Virginia Woolf novels and Jackson Pollack paintings.