Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Month In The Life: February 2018

And we've officially reached the point in the year when I've mostly stopped writing the wrong date on everything! This month started out improbably balmy (in the 60s!), but it's now properly cold and snowy, which we do need to have but also I hate. And while things were a little calmer here than they were last month, we did go see a comedy show and have a visit from an out-of-towner to keep us busy!

In Books...
  • Lost Horizon: This book, about four people in the 1930s who wind up stranded in a Tibetan monastery called Shangri-La, was...fine? It's well-written enough (with the exception of the casual racism that probably was unremarkable at the time but is definitely remarkable now), but didn't really grab my imagination or make much of an impression on me. 
  • Thank You For Smoking: I watched the movie version of this when it came out when I was in college, so of course I wanted to read the book. It's a delightfully witty satire, and will ring especially true if you've ever worked in the corporate communications/lobbying world. 
  • The Sellout: I'm always extra excited when a book club selection is a book I already had on my TBR! For this book, I don't know if it was that I read it directly after another satire that hit closer to home for me personally, but this one didn't blow me away. It's insightful, witty, and well-crafted, though, so definitely worth the read.
  • Wonder Boys: I think the movie version of this book is criminally under-rated, and honestly, it's better than the book. Chabon has rapidly become one of my favorite writers (this is the third of his books I've read in about a year), and his writing is as wonderful as ever, but the overgrown man-child at the center of this novel was not someone I ever rooted for. 
  • My Name Is Venus Black: This book had an intriguing premise, about a girl who kills her stepfather when she's 13 and then gets out of jail at 19 and has to figure out how to live in the world...and tries to find the autistic little brother who disappeared while she was inside. But the plot didn't hold up and the writing is super flat. 
  • The Selfish Gene: This book is remarkable mostly in how it renders sophisticated concepts in understandable language...including the first time I've ever felt like I had a decent grasp of game theory! Also a lot to think about in regards to genetics and how life not only continues but evolves. 

In Life...
  • The Olympics!: I LOVE the Olympics. Especially the winter ones, because figure skating is my jam, but I also like to watch downhill skiing, hockey, and curling, so basically I spent two weeks watching obscure sports and loved every minute of it. 
  • We went to see Tiffany Haddish: I'd heard great things about her, and Drew and I are always trying to get out and do more things, so we snagged tickets when they went on sale a few months ago. It was a good thing I did, because they totally sold out! She was indeed super funny and I definitely recommend going to her show if her tour hits your city!
  • My mom is in town: Today is my mom's birthday, and she came to visit to spend time with me! I haven't seen her since last summer so I've taken the day off of work and we're spending the day together!

One Thing:

As a frequent LL Bean shopper, I have mixed feelings about their new returns policy. While I understand that there were people abusing it to the degree that it was becoming unsustainable (people were picking up their products secondhand at thrift stores and returning them for a full refund or just treating it as a way to get new snowboots for their kids every year as their feet kept growing), it seems like there should be some sort of intermediary step between return-it-forever and returns-only-for-one-year. After all, many of their products, like their adult duck boots, are MEANT to last for years. I've been willing to spend a little bit more for their products with the understanding that if they didn't hold up, I'd be made whole, but I think I'll be more selective before buying there in the future.

Gratuitous Pug Photo:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Could Re-Read Forever

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week, we're talking about books that we could re-read again and again. I LOVE a good re-read, so here are books that have really held up for me the second (and third, and fourth, etc) time through.

Lolita: There's so much to this novel that every time I read it I notice a new brilliant bit of wordplay or layer to the story. If you've let its subject matter keep you away, please don't. It's really an amazing book.

The Secret History: I first read this book in my AP English class my senior year of high school and though I've long since known how it all turns out, it sucks me in all over again every time I pick it up.

A Game of Thrones (series): This is cheating (there's another cheat down the list), but I re-read one of these books every year over the holidays and they're so dense and rich and the amount of foreshadowing is just incredible.

The Virgin Suicides: I first read this book at least 15 years ago and re-read it just late last year for my book club and countless times in between and it never fails to give me that very real, very powerful feeling of place that it did on the first time through.

Gone Girl: This is the book on this list I've re-read the least often, only twice. But Flynn's sharp-as-nails evisceration of the ways the world is bullshit to women is so insightful and hard-hitting that it's just as good when you come back to it.

In Cold Blood: Truman Capote's storytelling skills are really top-notch, which is why the pleasure of reading along as he tells the tale of the men who murdered the Clutter family doesn't diminish over time.

A Wrinkle In Time: I read this whole series over and over again as a young teen, but the first one most of all. For such a slim volume, L'Engle really packs it full of not just plot, but themes that resonate for kids and adults too.

Harry Potter (series): My second cheat, because picking just one of these books feels impossible. It's really all together, as the story of Harry (and Ron and Hermione), that they're best and so, so, re-readable.

1984: My sister still has the copy I got when I was like 12 on her bookshelf and it is a book I constantly reference and go back to because it is so prescient and smart.

Bridget Jones' Diary: Pretty much all of these are serious books, so I needed to throw in something funny. This is one of those books that literally makes you laugh out loud reading it and its cleverness is undiminished over time.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Book 117: Americanah

"Ifemulu showed her the cover of the novel. She did not want to start a conversation. Especially not with Kelsey. She recognized in Kelsey the nationalism of liberal Americans who copiously criticized America but did not like you to do so; they expected you to be silent and grateful, and always reminded you of how much better than wherever you had come from America was."

Dates read: January 10-14, 2017

Rating: 10/10

Every so often, a thread pops up on Reddit asking people who've come to the United States from elsewhere what surprised them most about this country when they got here. The answers are usually fairly similar: our obsession with germs and our "personal space", our loudness, how big the country really actually is, tipping. I always enjoy reading these kinds of things because I'm always curious about how what seems very natural to us can seem bizarre to people who grew up elsewhere and I try to keep it in mind when I myself travel elsewhere: what seems odd to me probably seems perfectly normal to them. Just because I think of something as "the way things are" doesn't mean it's the way things are everywhere.

Ifemelu, the Nigerian-born-and-raised protagonist of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, experiences this kind of cultural whiplash twice: once, when she transfers from her university in Nigeria to a small college in Pennsylvania and then the second time, fifteen years later when she decides to return to Lagos. That Ifemelu is black and only really experiences what it's like to be black in a predominantly white world once she gets to the United States, as well as the gap between African-Americans and Africans in America inspires her to start a blog about race, which becomes a major source of income for her and helps earn her a fellowship at Princeton. Once the fellowship is over, she shuts down her blog, leaves her longtime boyfriend, and prepares to go back to Nigeria.

She's nervous about going back, not so much because she doesn't have anything lined up there but because it means she'll be back in the same place as Obinze, the man she loved in high school and college but is no longer in touch with. Adichie uses one of my favorite framing devices to structure her novel: she begins with Ifemelu just before she leaves the US, shows us how she got there through flashbacks, and then proceeds forward. I love getting some information but not all of it right up front: it makes me intensely curious to find out how the situation we first encountered came to be. I hate mystery-style books where all the "answers" are makes the rest of the book feel like it's treading water before the payoff at the end. Those just leave me annoyed by the time I get to the end, but unwrapping the narrative layers one by one keeps me hooked. And Americanah had me like a fish on a hook.

Not only is her story structure one that I personally respond well to, but Adichie's writing is absolutely magnificent. I marked what feels like half of the book because she has a such a knack for taking feelings that you have or you recognize and phrasing it in a way that hits you right in the gut because it's so dead on and perfect and you never thought about it like that before. And I loved the way she wrote Ifemelu and Obinze's relationship, from their charmed young love to the reason for their separation and that Adichie isn't afraid to give them new partners, partners they experience happiness with even. There's context and nuance, not just to their relationship, but to their lives. The whole book explores shades of gray, no one is either a saint or a villain. They're people, trying hard and messing up and trying again. I think one of the most important things about reading is its potential to increase empathy, to see people outside of the ones like you as having the same kinds of hopes and dreams and fears as you even if their experiences don't look exactly the same. This book is a beautifully written examplar of that exact principle. It's completely fantastic and I totally loved every second of reading it and I recommend it highly.

One year ago, I was reading: The Bear and the Nightingale

Two years ago, I was reading: The Twentieth Wife

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This topic, about books we meant to read at one point, but are no longer interested in, is a hard one for me. I rarely change my mind on reading something once it's made my list. But these are ten that I've decided to let go on.

My Absolute Darling: Bad reviews, particularly from Queen Roxane Gay, turned me off.

Heather the Totality: A trusted reviewer (Jessica Woodbury) said that it wasn't only bad, it was offensively bad and very reductive about its central female character. The book turned out to be a massive flop so this was apparently the right call.

I Am Charlotte Simmons: My rule is that I give authors two tries. If I don't like one book, it just might have been that particular book, or the time that I read it. Twice, though, almost certainly means that author isn't for me. Tom Wolfe has two strikes.

Nutshell: I'm usually here for Ian McEwan, but I heard this novel is very weird and not in a good a "fetus judges the crap out of his mother" way. Which doesn't sound like anything I'd particularly enjoy.

Portnoy's Complaint: There are several other Roths on my TBR, but given that I've heard this book is basically about one guy obsessing over sex for a couple hundred pages...unless I start to read him and turn into a completionist, I think I'm good.

My Sister's Grave: This was a book I got from the Kindle First program, but realized I don't actually want to read and I don't have to.

The Killing Kind: Pretty much exactly the same as above. I don't really like mystery-thrillers, so no reason to force myself to read mediocre ones just because I got them for free.

Younger: Same.

(R)evolution: Same.

King of Taksim Square: I thought I should keep this on my list just to get some more exposure to Turkish literature, but honestly, the not-great Goodreads reviews turned me off. I'm sure there is much better Turkish work out there (I've read some of it!).

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book 116: American Heiress

"What made the moment even more extraordinary was that it took place because of something else that had never happened before in the United States: a political kidnapping. The nation had always prided itself on the nature of its civic discourse; lone gunmen might assassinate our leaders, but this was not a place, like Europe or South America, where political outlaws kidnapped their adversaries or robbed banks. So the Hearst kidnapping and its aftermath suited the hallucinogenic moment, where America looked less like itself and more like a foreign country."

Dates read: January 6-10, 2017

Rating: 6/10

The way that the brain reacts to trauma is unpredictable. I've been fortunate enough that I haven't experienced much in the way of major trauma in my adult life, but it's not uncommon to remain oddly calm in the face of the actual event only to break down later. As we've come to understand more and more about post-traumatic stress disorder, it's become more obvious that difficult experiences can have actual biological effects on the brain and its processes. Neuroscience is weird and fascinating, y'all.

So if you look at a case like Patricia Hearst, the heiress who was kidnapped from the Bay Area apartment she shared with her fiance in the early 70s by a radical leftist group that called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), could it be possible that she would have professed to join them of her own free will? Author and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin's American Heiress examines the Hearst case, from the formation of the SLA, through Hearst's kidnapping, her year and a half with the SLA, the trial, and the aftermath. The trial brought the concept of "Stockholm syndrome", although that term was not yet coined and was never used, into the pop culture consciousness. And Toobin presents the story, as fully as he can, to try to answer the question I posed above: did she join the SLA for real, of her own volition, or was her behavior a result of her trauma?

Hearst herself didn't cooperate with the writing of the book, and one wonders if that's what leads to Toobin's all-but-stated conclusion that her claim of duress was made in bad faith. I had been only vaguely aware of the entire situation before I read this book...I knew that she'd been kidnapped, and seen the pictures from her bank robbery, and that she'd been tried for her role in it, but I honestly didn't even know if she'd been acquitted or convicted. I'd been vaguely under the impression that her time with the SLA was relatively short and that after the bank robbery, she and the SLA had been quickly apprehended. Turns out, that wasn't the case at all: she was with the SLA for a year and a half, and the bank robbery that produced the pictures we've all seen was just one of the crimes she was involved in the commission of on their behalf. And, as Toobin points out, she had multiple opportunities to flee her situation or reach out for help, even being encouraged to go home on occasion, and she refused to do. But why? That question is never satisfactorily answered.

It's Hearst's time with the SLA that makes up the substantial majority of the book. Since his prior books that I've read have been focused on the courts, I went in expecting a greater focus on the trial, but that makes up maybe a quarter of the narrative or less. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I've enjoyed Toobin's other books, in part because of his bias against Hearst (one of his primary sources were the records of another member of the SLA, which may well explain this tilt), but one thing this book does really well is setting the events in the context of their time and place. The Bay Area, where most of it transpired, had seen the hope and promise of the late 60s counterculture sour into the suspicion and paranoia and politically-motivated bombings of the 70s, mirroring the larger national climate in the same direction. I think I've mentioned it before, but I feel like US history in the 1900s outside of World War II is a sizable gap in my knowledge, and I really liked getting perspective on a time in the recent past that I was less aware of than I realized. It's a well-constructed book as his always are, but it's not as good as some of his others that I've read. If you're interested in the case, it's worth a read, but it's not worth an unqualified recommendation.

Tell me, blog friends...what pop culture event are you only vaguely aware of?

One year ago, I was reading: Zealot

Two years ago, I was reading: Ahab's Wife

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Couples I Did NOT Root For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! This week, we've got a "love freebie" in honor of Valentine's Day coming up tomorrow. I'm going to twist this a bit to talk about the couples that a book tried to make happen but I never really bought.

Anna Steele and Christian Grey (50 Shades of Grey): Yes, I read these books. Yes, all three of them. And I never quite figured out what was supposed to be especially romantically compelling about them. I think most of us have had enough good sex with bad partners to know that just banging alone doesn't make a relationship.

Tess Durbeyfield and Angel Clare (Tess of the d'Urbervilles): It's supposed to be tragic when he learns about her past, and instead of understanding because his own past isn't spotless, ditches her. But he basically never saw her as an actual person in the first place. She was always an object. Not romantic.

Romeo and Juliet (Romeo and Juliet): Two teenagers who've known each other for like a second and a half but then of course they get married and then kill themselves over each other. That's not love it's hormones.

Madeline and Leonard (The Marriage Plot): The love triangle in this book has a weak third leg, but honestly even the central relationship didn't really work for me. They never seem suited to each other at all...I know that early-20s-mistaking-drama-for-passion but I couldn't understand what either of them thought they were getting out of their relationship.

Sookie Stackhouse and Quinn (All Together Dead): Sookie has plenty of boyfriends over the course of the Southern Vampire Mysteries, but Quinn was my least favorite. Maybe because their relationship never really gets off the ground? I'm not sure, it just never really worked for me.

Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility): I love this book for the relationship between the sisters, but it felt kind of crappy for the lively, intense Marianne to end up with this much-older, buttoned-up dude. It felt like he was a better match for Elinor, actually.

Rachel Chu and Nick Young (Crazy Rich Asians): For two people super-in-love, they barely seemed to talk about anything important. How can you be dating someone seriously enough to be living together and just never really talked about your family?

Elise Perez and Jamey Hyde (White Fur): Despite some good quality prose, this book fell flat for me because I never really bought into the desperate, crazy, take-no-prisoners love affair that's supposed to hold everything together.

Anne Welles and Lyon Burke (The Valley of the Dolls): These two just want such different things out of life. Also they're both pretty boring.

Natasha Rostova and Pierre Bezukhov (War and Peace): Pierre is such a nerd and Natasha is such a delight and she can do so much better than him I hate that they end up together.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book 115: The King Must Die

"Man born of woman cannot outrun his fate. Better then not to question the Immortals, nor when they have spoken to grieve one's heart in vain. A bound is set to our knowing, and wisdom is not to search beyond it."

Dates read: January 2-6, 2017

Rating: 6/10

Lists/awards: NY Times Bestseller

Every society has rules. There's usually quite a lot of similarity on the major points: no murder, no stealing, that kind of thing, but outside of that there's a lot of variation. Making sure everyone knows and understands and (for the most part) plays by those rules is one of the most important roles a society has. We can learn a lot about a place by learning about their rules: what they chose to forbid or allow and how they enforce it.

Mary Renault's The King Must Die takes place in a world where the rules are in flux. We're in Ancient Greece, and a matriarchal society with an earth-based religion is in the process of changing to a patriarchal one that worships sky gods. She uses this background to re-tell the Greek myth of Theseus. Briefly-ish, the myth version goes as such: King Minos of Crete angered Poseidon by refusing to sacrifice a particular bull. To punish him, his queen, Pasiphae, is made to be overwhelmed by lust for that bull. She engages Daedelus, the legendary craftsman, to build a cow she can fit inside to, er, consumate her love. What results is a half-bull half-man monster that eats human flesh: the Minotaur. Daedalus is commissioned again, to build a maze, the Labyrinth, in which the beast can be hidden. Crete is a powerful city-state and demands tribute from other Greeks: seven young men and seven young women to be given to the Minotaur every year. Theseus is the son of the King of Athens, and is one of the youths sent to Crete. When he arrives, Minos' daughter, Ariadne, falls wildly in love with him and gives him a ball of yarn that he can tie near the entrance of the maze so he can find his way back out. She also gives him a sword, which he uses to kill the Minotaur. He flees with Ariadne, but abandons her on an island on his way back home. Theseus forgets to change the color of his sails when arriving back in Athens to signal his father that he's returning home safely, and his father commits suicide in despair over his "death". There's more, but that's the portion covered in this book.

Renault takes that structure and constructs a story that could have been the basis for the myth. In her tale, Theseus is raised by his mother, a priestess devoted to the earth goddess, and her family outside of Athens. As a teenager, he starts to return to Athens to be reunited with his father, who nearly kills him accidentally. He does volunteer to be sent to Crete, but for different reasons: in this version of the story, based on something more like actual history, the young people are sent to Crete to become "bull dancers", a team-based sort of sacred ritual bullfight. The labyrinth is the enormous palace of Minos, Ariadne is a priestess. Although the Olympians are mostly taken out, Theseus is gifted with an ability to sense pending earthquakes, kind of big deal in a seismically active region.

Reading this book actually reminded me a lot of my slog through The Masks of God by Joseph Campbell, a series which details the development of religions all over the world. Campbell traces the same transition in Western religious belief that Renault highlights, with earlier people just starting to form groups based around farming often believing in an earth goddess, who required human sacrifice in order to produce agricultural bounty, while later societies with more stratification turned to worship mostly-male sky gods. Renault portrays a Greece which is dealing with this exact movement, with Theseus himself working to convert a city where he finds himself from the latter to the former. The story is entertaining enough and Renault's prose is solid, but Theseus is a bit of a Mary Sue. He always has the right answers, for the right reasons (in his mind anyways), always does the correct thing. It made him kind of boring as a character...I wanted him to face more conflict from within, struggle against forces internal as well as external.

Theseus is motivated strongly by devotion to his religious beliefs, especially his sense of moira, or fate. This got to me thinking about the role of religion in public life. In Theseus' world, religion is a constantly part of daily life, both inside and outside the home. Today's Western world, on the other hand, is becoming progressively less and less religious. This is often treated as a reason for some sort of moral decline, which I find obnoxious as a non-religious but perfectly moral person. But it does have me wondering about something else that comes up often in The Masks of God: ritual, and its purpose of enforcing social structure and rules. We have some secular rites of passage: drivers licenses, high school graduation, college graduation, but these lack the solemnity of religious ceremonies. I certainly don't think that secular culture is incapable of creating meaningful rites to acknowledge maturation, but I don't think it's necessarily done so effectively yet. Anyways, to close out with the book itself: it's a decent read, but not a can't miss, and I don't feel any compulsion to seek out the sequel.

Tell me, blog you think our cultural markers of maturity are as significant as they could be?

One year ago, I was reading: Flowertown

Two years ago, I was reading: Creative Mythology

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! For this topic, about books that we've been meaning to read for foreverrrrrrrr, I went back into my Goodreads to see what's been hanging around for the longest. The most shameful part is that I own every single one of these so they're right there I just haven't actually opened them yet!

East of Eden: I've hated the two Steinbecks I've read, but everyone tells me this book is incredible, and I haven't tried him since high school, so I'm going to read it. Soon.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: The movie is really good, and as someone who majored in psychology, I'm always interested in stories about mental health treatment facilities.

Catch-22: This shows up on every must-read list, so read it I shall.

The Count of Monte Cristo: Another one where I saw the movie and really liked it and while I was not down for a long-ass book set in the Napoleonic age as a high schooler I am down for it now.

All The President's Men: I've seen this movie, too, but this time I wanted to read the journalism classic before I even watched it. And I still do...eventually.

The Cuckoo's Calling: Ever since I found out these books were actually written by J.K. Rowling I've been wanting to read them and that was...a while ago.

The Goldfinch: Donna Tartt's The Secret History is one of my all-time favorites, AND I'm a shameless award-book reader, so double the reason!

Everything Is Illuminated: My law school boyfriend loved Foer's work and recommended it really highly. I think we broke up in 2010? So it's been on my TBR for a bit.

Revolutionary Road: I liked the movie, but I remembered hearing a bunch of people say that the book was better, so...I'm going to read the book one of these days.

Catherine The Great: I love non-fiction about royalty, and I also like getting outside of my Tudor wheelhouse and I feel like it was optioned at some point and then never got made and I probably heard about it then?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Book 114: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

"Mom disappears into thin air two days before Christmas without telling me? Of course it's complicated. Just because it's complicated, just because you think you can't ever know everything about another person, it doesn't mean you can't try. It doesn't mean I can't try."

Dates read: December 30, 2016- January 2, 2017

Rating: 3/10

I'm big into both the page (obviously) and the screen. Some things work beautifully in one medium, but not nearly as well in the other. Some, like Game of Thrones, manage to be fantastic both ways, but those are relatively few and far between. There's a reason The Great Gatsby has had such a hard time being adapted well as a movie...the story isn't hard, but that elegant expressed feeling of longing and loss is hard to depict visually. And the madcap antics of Arrested Development are so dependent on amazing cast chemistry and perfect comic timing that in another format that another format would likely collapse that souffle.

Arrested Development is a perfect one to mention here, since the author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple, previously wrote for that show. In Bernadette, she uses the same kind of absurdist humor lens to tell the story of Bernadette Fox, a deeply unhappy wife and mother living in Seattle with her Microsoft-rockstar husband, Elgin Branch, and their daughter, fiercely intelligent and independent Bee. Bee was promised whatever she wanted if she achieved perfect grades at her private school, and she claims as her prize a family trip to Antarctica.

This is a problem for Berndadette, whose anxiety and depression has manifested as intense agoraphobia. In an effort to make her daughter happy, though, she engages an Indian virtual assistant to help her both prepare for, and as the trip grows nearer and her fear of it grows, avoid the trip. Her decompensation, including a feud with the busybody mother of one of Bee's classmates, finally breaks through her husband's workaholic fog and he prepares an intervention to confront her, from which she escapes, prompting Bee's search for her (and the title, of course).

It's a satire of the original tech bubble scene, Seattle, complete with a prep school consultant engaged to attract the "Mercedes parents" to the school, a self-help group called "Victims Against Victimhood", and Elgin's status as a TED talk celebrity. And I know a lot of people who loved this book and found it outrageously funny. But the central family story is where it failed hard for me. I think we're supposed to be giggling at Bernadette's "antics" and her clueless husband's attempts to "deal with" them. But all I saw was a story about a tightly wound woman whose deepening unhappiness with the environment in which she found herself should have long since been noticed by her husband and dealt with as a family. Instead, he's spent years ignoring her worsening problems to bask in workplace glory and develops an inappropriate relationship with his secretary, who he tries to bring to his wife's mental health intervention? What? This is supposed to be funny?

Then again, Arrested Development on paper would probably rub me all wrong, too. After finishing it, I actually found myself wishing I'd seen it as a movie first, because I think the right cast could mine real comedy gold from it. But as it was, I thought it was playing a genuine, understandably developed mental health crisis as being the sufferer's fault, laughing at her rather than with her. I don't think that was the intention, at all, but I couldn't shake that reading. If you like Arrested Development-esque zany humor, you'll probably love this book...I'm honestly the only person I know who didn't. But it wasn't for me and I can't in good faith recommend it.

Tell me, blog friends...did you like Arrested Development?

One year ago, I was reading: Marlena

Two years ago, I was reading: Creative Mythology