Posts Tagged ‘steph’

5th January
2009
written by Steph
77531

True confession time: I first encountered J.D. Salinger when I was about 10 years old.  I was still of the age where I read magazines aimed at my target demographic, those being of the ilk of Bop, Big Bopper, Tiger Beat, etc.,  At sleepovers, my best friend and I would giggle over articles involving Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell, and Leonardo DiCaprio, then famous for portraying the homeless boy Luke, who was adopted by the Seaver family on Growing Pains.  Good times.  Now, of course, J.D. Salinger himself was not featured in the illustrious pages of Tiger Beat.  For one thing, this would have been well into the era when Salinger had become a recluse and was no longer granting interviews, never mind posing for pin-up spreads.  No, instead I heard about him when reading an interview with one of my favorite actresses of the time, Sarah Gilbert (she who portrayed the sardonic daughter Darlene on Roseanne).  It was a questionnaire-style interview, and under “Favorite Book” she had written The Catcher in the Rye.  And so, on my next trip to the local library, I checked it out.  [Further guilty, but true!, confession: when I was about 7 or 8, I checked out Wuthering Heights simply because it was the favorite book of Mary-Anne Spier from The Baby-Sitters Club book series.  Clearly it was way over my head… but when I read it again almost a decade later, I still didn’t like it!] (more…)
4th January
2009
written by Steph
824173

My first book of 2009 was one I picked up on a whim at McKay’s, primarily because the title amused me, as did the opening line:
"The cure for death by lightning was handwritten in thick, messy blue ink in my mother’s scrapbook, under the recipe for my father’s favourite oatcakes: Dunk the dead by lightning in a cold water bath for two hours and if still dead, add vinegar and soak for an hour more."
I figured this would be a fairly quirky read, which it certainly was.  But what I wasn’t expecting was just how dark and disturbing a story I would be getting in the bargain; in fact, this is probably one of the most alarming and unsettling books I have ever read.  Don’t get me wrong, it was compelling and I raced through the pages (obviously, as we’re not even a full week into the new year!), but it was creepy. (more…)
1st January
2009
written by Steph
Why bother?  Don't.

Why bother? Don't.

Oh bother.  Mark Haddon is probably best known for his book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (which is a really great book, and if you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you do, because it is highly probable that you will like it.  Also, it is vastly superior to this less than awesome book.).  Based on the strength of that novel (and a debut novel at that!), I picked up his second offering, A Spot of Bother.  I am sad to report that this was a mistake. (more…)
31st December
2008
written by Steph
Wheee!  I'm my own longitudinal study!

Wheee! I'm my own longitudinal study!

2008 was ostensibly my best reading year in a long while, and I’d say this was true not just in terms of quantity, but also quality!  I started to keep track in earnest of the books I was reading in 2007 (I began my listkeeping near the tail-end of 2006, but it was already too late by then to remember everything I had read that year).  I think this exercise has reinvigorated my interest in reading, and by tracking what I read, I’m finding out how to get the very most out of my reading experience.   This year, I read 44 books, which is just slightly more than double the books that I read in 2007 (20 books), and likely far more than I read in 2006 (13 books recorded).  I definitely feel as though this year a made a conscious decision to devote more of my personal time to reading, and that is certainly a decision I have not regretted.  Perhaps more significant is that I didn’t just read more books this year, but I appeared to read books that I enjoyed more overall (after all, what’s the point in reading more, if you’re enjoying the books less?).  My mean book rating this year was 3.69, which is an improvement over 2007’s mean rating (3.52), and an even greater increase when compared to 2006 (3.31).  See plot for geekish visual exploration of my reading trends.  Further in-depth evaluations of my reading habits of 2008, as well as the complete list of what I read, after the jump.  I promise there will be no more graphs.  Probably. (more…)
30th December
2008
written by Steph
51y7e623iul__ss400_I received the beautiful special collector’s edition of J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard from Tony as a Christmas present.  This edition is comprised of a beautiful leather hollow book that contains an ornately silver buckled volume (the cover of which is adorned with a thick silver skull) of the book itself inside.  In addition, prints of the illustrations (all hand drawn by Jo Rowling, herself!)  from the book are tucked away inside the larger book.  As an aside, I’ll mention that due to some terrible bungling on Amazon’s part (I was at home the day this present arrived, and not only did they print “Muggles Beware!  Don’t ship or open until Dec 4!” on the outside of the shipping box, but also the actual title of the book (again, on the OUTSIDE of the box)!), I knew without a shadow of a doubt what one of my gifts would be.  I did not, however, know which version of the book I would get, so at least that mystery remained!  I must say that I am very pleased to add this gorgeous edition to my Harry Potter collection. (more…)
30th December
2008
written by Steph
WTF, Teri Hatcher?!?!

WTF, Teri Hatcher?!?!

I know that Hollywood can be rough for women of a certain age, but I cannot think that the work Teri Hatcher has had done is going to help her get roles.  I mean, sure she's stick thin (she could cut things with her collarbone) and her face is apparently incapable of wrinkling, but when one has so much botox injected into one's face that it is impossible to convey happiness, and one must instead grimace ghoulishly?  Come on.  That's ridiculous.  She looks like she's in pain, and her eyes have gone all wonky.  Do people in L.A. really think that this is a graceful way to age?  Or that women like this look good?  What's even worse is that Hatcher apparently denies that she has ever (never mind currently!) cosmetically altered her face.  Uh, sure, Teri.  She is not nearly so good an actress that anyone is buying that line (perhaps if she could actually, oh, I don't know, EMOTE with her face, that would help matters).  I have seen natural female faces; Hatcher ain't got one. In the end, I realize it's fully her decision to make, but it's really sad that she (and many other actresses) felt this step was necessary or somehow enhances/retains her beauty.  I particularly find it a distasteful move because I know Hatcher has a daughter on the cusp of puberty, and I only wonder what inadvertent pressure her daughter might feel given the unhealthy body image and standards promoted by her mother. She may not be a housewife, but she's got the desperate down pat.
29th December
2008
written by Steph
Pardonable Lies

I’ve mentioned before that one of my literary vices is mystery novels set in England, generally during the turn of the 20th century.  I’m by no means a know-it-all Agatha Christie fan, but I devoured a bunch of her books when I was a young teen, and have recently made it my mission to eventually read all of her books in chronological order (note: I have not yet decided whether I will pick a particular detective, and go through all of his/her adventures before picking a new one and starting afresh, or legitimately just reading them all in order, featured detective be damned!).  I never would have thought that murder could be so soothing, but for me, detective novels in the style of Agatha Christie are the ultimate comfort read.  I haven’t really delved too far into the mystery genre, as I tend to focus on reading “serious” literature, but one good contemporary author I’ve found is Jacqueline Winspear who has created the intrepid “Psychologist & Investigator”, Maisie Dobbs. (more…)
28th December
2008
written by Steph
The first ever (and likely last) Stylista.  Surprised?  No?  Ok, good.

The first ever (and likely last) Stylista. Surprised? No? Ok, good.

I admit, the title of this post might be overly optimistic – as of now, I am not aware of any talks of their being future seasons of this show, which is probably just as well given that it was not very good. Then again, my go-to guilty pleasure, America’s Next Top Model, has become nigh painful to watch (no longer campy fun, it’s just embarrassing) and it’s unclear when the next season of Project Runway will air, so Stylista was my fashion filler tv show. And so, as I predicted from about the second episode, Johanna wins the dubious title of Stylista. Is anyone surprised? I mean, she was going up against Dyshawn (sp? I don’t really care enough to look it up), who had already been taken to task at least three times for copy errors. And I don’t care what Anne Slowey & co. would have us believe, we all know a junior editor at Elle (or any fashion rag) ain’t gonna be designing the layout or styling the photo shoots, since those positions are held by people like “graphic designers” and “fashion stylists”. Junior editors are primarily going to be performing those menial administrative/secretarial tasks (i.e., getting coffee, picking up Anne’s secretary’s dry cleaning, making photocopies) and copy editing text. So if you’re not a good fact checker, don’t have an eye for details, and are a poor proofreader? You’re not going to be an effective junior editor. Ergo, Johanna had to take the competition, especially when it came down to her and Dyshawn. (more…)
25th December
2008
written by Steph
awesome!

Here's a name for this book: awesome!

As I mentioned in my recent entry regarding obsessive book buying, after our latest trip to McKay’s, we found ourselves in the position of owning three Saramago novels, even though neither of us has ever read any of his writing.  I’m sure I’m not alone in finding this a rather peculiar circumstance, since generally it intuitively makes sense to buy a single book by a given author and read that in order to decide if you want to read anything more by said author.  Clearly something beyond reason motivates me when I’m in bookstores. I decided to rectify this situation by vowing to read a Saramago novel after finishing Fieldwork.  Rather than hemming and hawing over which one to commit to, I selected All The Names off the shelf, using the fact that we’ve owned it the longest as justification.  That it was shorter than both Blindness and The Double was also likely a contributing factor, but let’s not focus on that niggling point. (more…)
23rd December
2008
written by Steph
This is what restraint looks like.  And true love!

This is what restraint looks like. And true love!

Books that is!  This latest haul is actually from last weekend, when Tony and I made a quick stop at McKay's (where else?).  This time the damage was relatively small, only setting us back $30, which really isn't too bad when you consider all of the loot we picked up (13 books total!)!  Of course I love the prices at McKay, but the other thing that I really appreciate about them is that they really have a wonderful and broad selection.  On the off chance they don't have a particular book I'm looking for on one trip, it's extremely unlikely they won't have it the next time round.  One reason why I think I would have a hard time transitioning to ebooks (even if the Kindle is indeed brilliant), is because I really am deeply attuned to the aesthetic qualities of each book I read - I do judge books by their covers, for one thing.  If I make it past that, and flip the book over and the back blurb intrigues, me, only then do I venture into the book proper.  And here it's critical that the paper be of relatively good stock, but even more important is that the fonts used are clean and not too heavy.  Have you ever picked up a book where the type is too thick and feels almost smudgy or blurred?  I hate that!  It generally makes for an unpleasant reading experience, and I wind up find poorly printed books more difficult to read, on both a perceptual and emotional level.  Really, reading is a very visceral experience for me!  Anyway, this tangent was merely to convey that at McKay's the constant influx of stock means that if I find a book I want but it's perhaps not an edition that is most desirable or evocative to me, then I generally don't feel bad about putting it back and waiting for another copy that does suit my fancy.  Their books are generally in like-new or lightly used condition, and they do seem to actually take into account the condition of the book when pricing it, which I appreciate.  I've actually begun to accrue a large collection of random book marks, from previous book owners who evidently didn't cashed in on a particular book that they left unfinished. In depth analysis and discussion of each column and individual books after the jump... (more…)
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