Posts Tagged ‘things that bug me’

1st November
2010
written by Steph

Room is one of those books that set the book blogging world on fire. It was first released in the UK before being released Stateside, and there didn’t seem to be a single British bookblogger that I followed who didn’t review this book. Even more remarkable, everyone who read it seemed to love it! When the book hit the U.S., responses were the same – readers talked about how tense and riveting the book was, how the book urged them to keep reading and lent itself to being consumed in a single sitting. I couldn’t remember the last book that made me want to devour it in an 8 to 10-hour reading jag, so I was so excited to get my hands on this one. Of course, so were about 100 other patrons at my local library, so it wasn’t until about a week ago that I finally got the chance to sit down with Room and see what the fuss was all about. I’m sure anyone reading this has already heard of the book, so giving a short summary is probably pretty redundant, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock (or in Room), the basic gist is that the novel is narrated by Jack, a young boy who has just turned five. Jack and his mother live in a single-room, and for Jack, this space constitutes his entire world. He has never stepped a foot outside and has no understanding that anything exists beyond Room’s four walls; the duo’s only visitor is a menacing man that Jack calls “Old Nick”.  Through Jack, we learn how it is that his mother and he came to be in Room and how they have adapted in order to survive… As well as what Jack’s mother will risk in order for them to escape their prison in the hopes of living a normal life. (more…)
7th October
2010
written by Steph

I don't know what an "Anthony Award" is, but I don't think I want one...

Regular readers know that I don’t shy away from writing negative reviews here at S&TI! In fact, some might argue that I actually revel in lampooning the occasional deserving book. I admit that sometimes it’s just a whole lot more fun (and a lot easier) to snark on a book than it is to sing its praises. But I try to only do this if I think a book really deserves it. Dead Until Dark (aka “the first Sookie Stackhouse book”) definitely deserves it. I realize that most of the time when I rag on a book and call it “bad”, I generally talk about how I found the writing uninspiring and/or not very good. But I also realize that my high prose standards are not always appropriate – not ever book strives to read like poetry or transmute words into shimmering gold, and that’s ok. It's not fair for me to lambaste a book for not achieving something it didn’t set out to do. So I will skip my usual diatribe of “this book was not written well” and try to focus on the other things Dead Until Dark does aim to do, and perhaps does not succeed in doing. (more…)
13th July
2010
written by Steph
Yes, we’re FINALLY back from our grand tour of lovely Puerto Rico! But it will take us a few days to get all our pictures in order and get some posts prepped documenting our trip, so bear with us while we catch up on bookish things in the meantime. I promise pictures and a run-down of our wonderful trip are coming! But in the interim, I thought I’d kick things off with a little warm-up post to help me ease back into this blogging thing. Whenever people start talking about how publishing is a dying industry and paper books are going the way of the dodo, I always wonder how often these people travel. Because as much as people have laptops and ipods and similar electronic devices on planes when they travel, I never see more people reading actual books (and magazines, and newspapers) than when I’m at an airport or on a plane.

No electronic devices...

Even the advent of e-readers seem less threatening to those who cling faithfully to books printed on paper. Why? Because unlike e-readers, you’re never going to get nagged to turn a paperback off until you reach an altitude 10,000 feet… That’s what happened to me yesterday on our flight into Atlanta. I won’t get into arguments as to why I think it’s an inane rule to make people turn things like ipods and ereaders off during take-off and landing (Tony & I already had a rather heated argument about this yesterday), but I will say that as an avid reader, I hate having to sit around for 10 minutes or so without being able to read. Tony thinks it’s no big deal, but let’s just say that getting between me and whatever I’m reading generally does not make for a happy Steph. One of the greatest perks attributed to e-readers is their portability for things like traveling. Slim and compact yet with sizable library space, they eliminate the worry of never having reading material on hand as well as the inconvenience of clunky, heavy books that can take up much needed space in your carry-on bags. That said, for people who are avid readers, does having mandatory reading-free time on flights somewhat lessen the e-reader’s appeal when it comes to traveling? For me, it definitely did. I kept glancing around jealously at all those people with version 1.0 books who could happily read without worry that they might be forced to stop reading mid-sentence or at a critical juncture because the plane was preparing to land. I read to escape and to help pass the time, and I sitting around for 20 – 25 minutes during a flight twiddling my thumbs is pretty unsatisfactory. So I ask all my fellow readers and travelers, where do you fall on this issue? Does your love for your e-reader outweigh a little downtime on flights? Or do you always have a paperback book with you for just such an instance? I’m also curious to know how many people have flown with e-readers and whether you have in fact been asked to turn your reader off at any point during the flight (whether it be a Kindle, a Nook, a Sony, or some other beast) or whether you've been able to read uninterrupted as soon as you've settled into your cramped little seat. Please weigh in and share your experiences!
5th January
2010
written by Steph
Bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

I’m pretty sure Tony thought there had been some kind of terrible mistake with our Netflix when Julie & Julia showed up in our mailbox.  What Tony always fails to recognize is twofold: 1) I like watching crappy movies; 2) Just because I don’t make him see something in the theater doesn’t mean I’m not going to rent it when it comes out… in fact, I’m probably waiting for it to come out on dvd so I can do just that!  Given that I love food and cooking as much as I do, it really should have been a no brainer that this movie was going to make an appearance in our home sooner or later. And what can I say?  I actually liked this movie for the most part!  It’s not a groundbreaking piece of cinema, but based on most of the reviews that came out when it was first released, I expected it to be fairly horrific, especially the parts featuring Julie Powell.  Instead, I found this a pretty pleasant movie that was soothing and charming, if not challenging and provocative.  I enjoyed Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Julia Child (then again, I do have a bit of a girl crush on Ms. Streep) and loved when Jane Lynch popped up as Julia’s sister (again, another girl crush there), I liked seeing all of the kitchen antics that took place for both women, and I adored the little journey into the past and overseas to Paris that we got to take, even if now I’m trying to figure out when we can pack our bags and move to the city of lights. (more…)
11th September
2009
written by Steph
Three things I feel compelled to post on a Friday: 1) First, a question to all of you diners out there (by which I mean restaurant patrons, rather than greasy-spoon dining establishments.  The difference is subtle, but important, I think.).  Two nights ago, Tony and I went to a newish Mexican restaurant, since our old standby switched management and we can no longer go there because the food is no longer any good (RIP El Palenque).  So we go to this new place and it's fairly busy for a Wednesday night, but keep in mind it is your run-of -the-mill Mexican place so none of the entrees require much finesse or time (read: most of it is probably pre-cooked anyway).  We wound up waiting for OVER AN HOUR for our food, and it became clear that either our waiter had neglected to turn in our order, OR the kitchen had overlooked it.  People who had been seated after us had eaten and left before we saw anything more than chips and salsa at our table.  After many apologies (and about 75 minutes after sitting down) we finally got our food.  In such a case would you expect your meal to be comped, or at the very least, for a free dessert to be sent out?  Is this not pretty much the universal way that it is understood any sit-down restaurant deals with snafus that are clearly their fault?  I wound up asking if I could speak to the manager, but he never showed... and we wound up paying for everything.  Needless to say, we won't be going back!  Sorry, Nacho's!  Your guac may be good, but your service was muy abysmal.

*    *    *

(more…)