Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sundays In Bed With...

Hosted by Kate @ Midnight Book Girl, what are you reading this Sunday?

Over the holidays, I got a few books, of course, along with some other very nice presents. In my book arsenal, I now have:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Red Rain by R.L. Stine
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The last two Harry Potters

I'm starting with Gone Girl. 

As I face this Sunday, I am sad. The end of my vacation is Monday and I return to work. :( 

At least I have some good books to read on these cold nights. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened...

Over the holidays (which were busy and great!), I finished Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson in record time. This was one of the best books I have read this year! Starting off in very very rural Texas with a taxidermist for a father and a lot of dead animals brought back to life in very weird ways (with pictures as proof), you won't like this book if you are a vegan or very sensitive to already-dead animals. Jenny tells her stories of growing up, high school, marriage, kids but with some hilarious, self-deprecating writing. 

You will love her meeting her future husband's mother who is all about debutante balls and "mixed drinks." You will love her constant discussions with her husband that leaves him baffled and shaking his head. You will love the father and the collections of animals (dead and alive) that he collects. Most of all, you will love Jenny, a woman who overdosed on laxatives and started to call the police because she thought a rapist had broken in and started passing her notes under the door. I have not laughed so hard at a book since Christopher Moore's Lamb and this girl definitely has beaten David Sedaris!

If you want light, funny and with wicked humor, please pick up this book. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic is Top Ten Books I Read in 2012. 

In no particular order...

1.) The Trial of Fallen Angels by James P. Kimmel was published in November of this year and it is an amazing first novel. From my blog: "...thought-provoking, frightening, illuminating, disturbing, strange and highly poignant. I does not delve into any particular religion but encompasses them all..kind of like The Shack except for the main subject: the afterlife."

2.) The Book Thief - I had never read this before and it's a shame it took me so long. Very well written!

3.) Wild by Cheryl Strayed - Woman hikes the Pacific Coast Trail and is certainly an inspiration. Funny at times, sad at others, it's worth it.

4.) Mrs. Piggle Wiggle - I had read these back in elementary school but had forgotten about them until this year, so I ordered an old copy and relished all the stories of how Mrs. Piggle Wiggle  helps the children and their parents with life lessons.

5.) Slumber Party by Christopher Pike - I read this back in the day too but it was so nice to be back in the high school thriller environment with the master of spookiness. 

6.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Remarkable story about a boy struggling with his mental health while in high school (something I think we are all interested in now).

7.) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - I can't say that the vampire stuff was that great but I learned a lot about Abe that I hadn't known before and it got me into reading more history than usual this year.

8.) Night by Elie Wiesel - I had never read this before this year either. It is a terrifying story of the horrors of a Nazi death camp. It isn't an easy read but it is definitely one that should be mandatory for everyone.

9.) Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson - I'm about 20% of the way into this and it's hilarious! Perfect for when you need to read something light, a little raunchy and fun. 

10.) The Harry Potter Series (first 5 books) - Following a threat of banishment from my book club, courtesy of Kim @ On The Wings of Books and Kate @ Midnight Book Girl, I started the Harry Potter series, fell in love and am now savoring the time before I finish off the series. Hearty thanks to the book club girls. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sundays in Bed With

Hosted by Kate @ Midnight Book Girl, what are you reading today? Well, on this rainy day, I am finishing up Sense and Sensibility on audio CDs and have started a hilarious, politically-incorrect and awesome book, Lets Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. I've finished a few chapters already and am loving it (if you are easily offended or a vegetarian, I'd stay away from this one but others might love it). 

Oh and here's a pic of my sad gingerbread house. I'm not really good with at-home crafts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, what are my Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2012? 

Hmmm, let's see.  I don't know if I can do this or not. These are new to me but may be old to you.

1.) J.K. Rowling - I'm still new to Harry Potter and have the two final books to go.
2.) Jodi Picoult - I read In Plain Truth and it was pretty decent.
3.) Cheryl Strayed - If you haven't read Wild yet, please do so. I loved it.
4.) Erin Morgenstern - I wasn't a huge fan of The Night Circus BUT this is one hell of a writer nonetheless.
5.) Stephen Chbosky - The Perks of Being a Wallflower was quite good.
6.) James P. Kimmel - He's a newly published author and wrote a great first novel titled The Trial of Fallen Angels
7.) Seth Grahame-Smith - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was really historically accurate except for the whole vampire hunting thing. The movie, I heard, sucked.

Dammit. I guess I didn't read that many new authors this year that really blew me away. 

Here's some that didn't blow me away.
8.) David Sedaris -  I tried. I just can't get into the dark humor.
9.) Jasper Fforde - The Eyre Affair. Confusing, weird and annoying.
10.) Stephen King - Not exactly new to me but I re-read Carrie this year and blech. Too many icky descriptions. Yeh, I know this makes me unpopular but I just can't stomach him.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holidays on Ice

Well, I just finished David Sedaris' Holidays On Ice and hmph, I was disappointed. I thought I would find myself cackling at how funny it was but I was just mildly amused at his dark humor. Perhaps I'm not intelligent enough to get his wit. The first story was a funny story of the author working as an elf, dealing with vomiting children and perverted co-workers. The second story was a Christmas form letter written by a woman whose family included her husband's love child and a drug-addicted daughter with a new baby. The ending was definitively dark humor but I pressed on. 

From that point on, it just got silly and not in the good way. He talks about working at a morgue, befriending a prostitute and bringing her home after she had been beaten, a wealthy family who gives away body parts to be more "generous" than their competitive neighbors. I don't know. I just didn't get it. The writing is excellent but the subjects were just odd. I will try another one of his books though and give it a shot because his descriptions are, indeed, spot on, but I really didn't need to know that the morgue puts eyeballs in baby jars to preserve them for later study.

Rating: Eh! - I could take it or leave it but lean more towards leave it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sundays In Bed With...

Sundays In Bed With... hosted by Midnight Book Girl, asks "What are you curled up reading today?" 
For me, it's a few things. As soon as Í'm done with some laundry, I'm turning the tree lights on and continuing to read Holidays on Ice, The Last Lecture and I hope to start Let's Pretend This Never Happened. 

On a side note, husband is still sick and is at the doctor now to see if he has strep. Poor guy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Books, Food and Christmas Movies

Well, my husband has finally gotten the crud and is sick. I'm freezing and I have body aches but I'm not sure if that's due to illness or if it's just due to my office always being cold and me being out of shape. This weekend we finally have time to just relax and read or watch movies which I plan to do (although we still need to fit in errands, wrapping presents, getting the tree, doing chores, etc.).

As soon as the work day is over - c'mon 5:30! - I'm heading to the store to get stuff that will smell good cookin' (chicken perhaps, pot roast definitely), then I'm coming home, putting my jammies on and curling up with one of many books that I'm trying to get to or finish. Currently, I am reading...

Holidays on Ice by Dave Sedaris - I'm only part of the way through but it's hilarious in a dark kind of way. His stint as a Christmas elf makes me want to go sit at the mall with a cup of cocoa and watch Santa and the kids. And of course the jerk in me wants to watch people act frazzled trying to get Christmas presents that they waited until Dec. 23rd to get. Let's make that a date night, hubby! 

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - I read it a lonnnnnnggggg time ago and I know the movie quite well, but thanks to my husband, I have a CD version that I am enjoying listening to in my car. It kind of makes me want my commutes to last longer. 

In Cold Blood - I just keep putting this down and I don't  have a good reason. Maybe it's because I don't really want to think about murder this time of year. 

Other books I'm looking forward to are The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Skipping Christmas by John Grisham and Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. And hopefully by the end of the year, I will have made my way back to Hogwart's for the last two books in the Harry Potter series.


Now, of course, I have to take a little time off from books to watch holiday movies. Here's my top ten picks (since I wimped out on doing Top Ten Tuesday this week), starting with #10:

10.) Love Actually - Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman (purrrrrr!) and whole lot of other people - hilarious, romantic, sweet and a definite favorite - I probably should have ranked it higher but I didn't want to re-do my list. :)

9.) A Diva's Christmas Carol - a lesser-known holiday treat with Vanessa Williams playing Ebony, the pop singer, who has forgotten the meaning of Christmas and is shown her past, present and future. It's got Kathy Griffin, Chili from the group, TLC, and some awesome music. Whatever, I like stop laughing.

8.) The Family Stone - A liberal family with a very familiar and comfortable dynamic is threatened by the new visitor, the eldest son's girlfriend, a conservative businesswoman who "doesn't seem to trust herself." You wince at some parts and laugh and cry at others. Sarah Jessica Parker plays a very different role alongside Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, (Dylan McDermott, Dermot McDerment, Durman Dermulroney - dammit it's Dermot Mulroney) and Craig T. Nelson. It really is worth watching!

7.) Scrooged - Starring Bill Murray, I know a lot of people don't like this version of Scrooge but I do. I love Bobcat Goldthwait in anything and the spooky music really gets me. I'm pretty sure that I saw this movie with a bunch of friends for my 13th birthday in 1988. 

6.) A Christmas Story - The most quotable Christmas movie ever! Ralphie's narrations and the father make this movie a classic. "You'll shoot your eye out!" 

5.) The Homecoming - This is a Waltons' family Christmas movie and the story wraps around the family as they prepare for Christmas during the depression. They wait and worry about the patriarch of the family who is on a long trip home. One of my favorites - very sweet!

4.) It's a TIE: 
Rudolph - I watched this when I was little and it's still awesome. Cute Rudolph, Yukon Cornelius and that scary Bumble. The best part is the Island of Misfit Toys. 
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - The cartoon - not that stupid Jim Carey movie. I love the pup in the animated classic and Cindy Lou Who is so freakin' adorable!

3.) Elf - Bob Newhart, James Caan, Will Farrell and lots o' laughs. "Son of a nutcracker!"

2.) It's a Wonderful Life - If you don't cry at the end of this movie, you are a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. 

1.) Scrooge - the musical, starring Albert Finney. This is the best Christmas movie ever. The music automatically makes me think of Christmas with my family. The sound of my dad cracking walnuts, the clanking of dishes as my mom works on Christmas dinner, the smell of  pine and my mother's perfume, the faces of my nieces and nephew, the trilling laugh of my sister, the quiet breathy laugh of my brother and the sweetness of the day that brings us together. Sorry, I just got kind of mushy. But that's what this movie does for me. :)

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot Little Women (any version will do but the one with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale - before he was Batman) is so beautifully done and I watch it with my mom every year...

Honorable mentions go to...Muppet Christmas Carol, Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas. I'm sure I'll think of others.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sundays in bed with...

From Kate @ Midnight Book Girl, what are you reading today?

Well, I'm still enjoying the time off from writing my novel. I am about 3/4 done and have hit 50,600 words now but I'm taking a break. I haven't really read anything in the weeks I've been working on that but I'm still trying to get to In Cold Blood, The Last Lecture, a book I found in my "old book" stash - Sati by Christopher Pike. I didn't even know I owned that one. 

With the holidays, my birthday, my wedding anniversary and all sorts of other things going on, it's hard to find time to curl up with a good book but I'm certainly going to try.