Monday, July 28, 2014

How To Build A Girl Readalong NOT ON SCHEDULE AT ALL

So, this is embarrassing. My replacement cable came in the mail and I whooped and charged up my ereader, only to find that my copy of HTBaG had expired because I had been extra-keen and downloaded it before they changed the settings to not expire on us. And THEN I was sent a link to a new copy, but THEN MY WIRELESS COLLAPSED. And then, and then, the guy came to fix the internet and I logged on and couldn't download the new copy because of Reasons.

I just want to read this book, you guys.

ALL THAT TO SAY, I just got a new copy today, and am woefully behind. OTHER PEOPLE'S POSTS ARE SPOILERING ME.


But let's talk about what I remember of what I've actually read, shall we? Caitlin/Joanna (Caitlanna) has found a job as a music writer and it's going well. She's a few years older than I am, so I missed the Riot Grrrl movement by a hair (but totally benefitted from it with Hole and Veruca Salt and the general idea that girls could be rockers, nbd), but I remember VIVIDLY the thrill and noise and sheer physicality of my first mosh pit. I've never been into sports, and as a teenager I didn't even run or anything, so concert-going was the only thing I did that used my whole body, and left me all sweaty and feeling like a PART of something.

But in a friendly fashion.

What I love most about this section is that Joanna's concert reviews are good. For the first bit of this book I was worried she was going to be one of those girls for whom nothing goes right, who is ALWAYS bursting into spontaneous Scooby Doo impressions in front of a studio audience. So hooray for success, and hooray for this next bit, where I hear she meets a boy.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

If I Stay - Gayle Forman

Why didn't anyone tell me If I Stay was so booooooooring? Girl is in car accident, girl's spirit hovers above girl's comatose body, girl thinks about run-of-the-mill family life and relationship with boyfriend (he's a rocker! She's into cello! His band is making it big, she got accepted into Julliard! WHATEVER WILL THEY DO!) and tries to decide if she will return to said comatose body.


The book is, like, 117 pages, which is probably why nothing happens. I wanted Mia to float around town for a few weeks, see what life would be like for everyone without her, It's A Wonderful Life-style.


With more violent lovemaking.

There's a SEQUEL to this? I can't even...Mia and Adam, having been estranged, now reunited in New York for 'one life-changing night.' AWESOME.


(Not awesome. Boring.)

Five caterpillars for not being a hopeless train wreck but not really being much of anything else, either.

Monday, July 14, 2014

How To Build a Girl [Or: How To Embarrass Yourself In A Readalong]

Ughhhh you guys. I was going to try to muddle along until my replacement cable came but this is where me not having a copy of the book really topples my penguin.

Just making up gif-based colloquialisms, here.

I feel like I've read this book before. Not in a, like, Oh, we've seen this a thousand times, but in a literal, that-time-I-unknowingly-re-read-American-Gods-and-got-to-that-part-at-the-beginning-where-she-eats-him-with-her-vagina-and-I'm-like-Oh-yeah-I-remember-this-bit way. Either Moranthology or How to Be a Woman talks about Moran's own childhood, from which I think she draws heavily.

All the best story lines do.

I MEAN ALL THIS IN THE BEST WAY, though. Young girl with delusional father becomes obsessed with rock music as a way out of her small-town existence and I forget at which point I come into spoilertown because I've read ahead, but OTHER THINGS HAPPEN THAT ALSO HAPPENED TO MORAN.

And even though I don't have my copy in front of me, I remember the topic of chapter one, page one, paragraph one, because it is young teenage girl wanking, which is something I haven't met in a book since, like, Deanie. Everyone in the readalong is talking about this because OTHER BOOKS DO NOT TALK ABOUT THIS.

They clutch their pearls instead.

Everyone else is quoting the book as well, which I OBVIOUSLY CANNOT DO so go check out some of those links and LAUGH AND LAUGH and also cringe because there's a Scooby Doo incident that gave me severe Second-Hand Embarrassment.

I am this kitten.

HOPEFULLY MY CABLE COMES THIS WEEK and I can charge my ereader and access all the notes I took when I totally read ahead into this coming week's section.

Monday, July 7, 2014

How To Build A Girl Readalong


I'M DOING ANOTHER READALONG because that's all I blog about these days (aaaaaaand about taking my 7-week-old baby camping, but that's a different blog entirely). Unlike every other readalong I've done ever, this is for a book coming out on 2014, not, like, 1814. Way to be current, me.

Nailing it.

Caitlin Moran's How to Build a Girl comes out in September (pre-order it, cause you'll forget), and I've read How to Be a Woman and Moranthology and I'm STILL LAUGHING. Also, I have cheated on this readalong and started the book weeks ago because I am a toddler about waiting for stuff.

Or I'm like nine but also filthy rich. They amount to the same thing.

That gif and the assurance that at least the first third of the book is clever and heartbreaking may be all I end up contributing to this readalong (hosted by the brilliant Emily over at As the Crowe) because I've lost the cable for charging my nook and the battery is dead. I AM DISTRAUGHT. But I ordered a new cable today, and it should get here in the next two weeks, which means I should find my original charger in about nine days.

Until then, check out the other participants in the readalong (the usual suspects, mostly) and I'll just be over here.

Doing this.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Flight of the Silvers - Daniel Price

I mostly don't even want to discuss the plot of this book. We've all read enough dystopia to know where this is going. Group of unlikely young people comes together in the future/another world/our world but like slightly different, only this time they all have super powers and a group of scientists is either trying to study them or gave them those powers (and is now trying to study them...there was definitely an aura of lab rat) and they're all trying to get to safety. TO BE CONTINUED IN AT LEAST TWO MORE BOOKS PROBABLY.

And I'm totally down with generic dystopia. It's so EXCITING and GRITTY and there's adventures and stuff. But the writing has to be middling to good, ok? I can handle middling writing. I stopped reading Scott Westerfield because his plots became recycled and boring, not because his writing is mediocre (even though it is). But THIS. This is awful.


I'm mostly willing to allow certain quirks. Like, an author needs to have a voice, right? But sometimes I'm like LOL NO, that is wrong. Like, in Silvers, people are always chucking a hand. Which I think means gesturing, like when you throw a hand up in exasperation, and I get that I just used 'throw a hand' when I'm taking offense at 'chucking a hand,' but one of them is a Phrase That People Say, and one is Something No One Has Said Ever And Which Evokes A Literal Chucking Of Hands. Also, they do it a lot. Like, every ten pages or so, someone is chucking a hand. Like, Price is trying to be creative, but only so creative, you know?

Also, on this page in particular, a guy 'chucked a hand in hopeless dither.' People do things 'in dither' ALL THE TIME in this book, and theoretically it goes against my every grain to be like, YOU'RE DOING INVENTIVE WORD USAGE WRONG but...

Gotta side with standardized definition on this one.

ALSO. Everyone is always doing everything with 'adjective noun.' 'Mia hugged Zack with gushing relief.' 'Esis crossed her arms in a showy pout.' 'She studied Theo's cerebral tomogram in furrowed bother.' 'Amanda suddenly realized, with dizzying inertia, what a good thing it was to have Zack around.' FIRRRSTLY I'm not sure that's what inertia means, and secondly, adjectives fucking everywhere. A veritable SEA of adjectives. Adverbs. Modifiers coming out of your ass.

Is this review just going to be examples of places I think Price uses language incorrectly? PROBABLY. 'Amanda cracked the door three inches, studying her sister through an anxious leer.'

What proper leering looks like

I couldn't even really get behind the story. The characters are stereotypes having blandly indistinguishable conversations with each other and superpowersing all over the place.


It is perhaps needless to say that I won't read further in the series. It's the adjectives that got me, in the end.

Three caterpillars.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Lady Audley's Secretalong: Because I Just Can't Let This Go

Summing up our feelings on George Talboys:


We are all Doug in this scenario, amirite? Dead people should be dead.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lady Audley's Secretalong: The Finishing [Or: Whomp Whomp]

Ok so remember when Lady Audley was like, You know the secret of my life, and we were all like, Yessssss, because the fact that she'd previously been married hasn't been a Secret since, like, chapter six? And then we finished the book and her Secret-Secret was that the taint of madness lay on her house, and perhaps she also was a little bit mad maybe? And we were all like...


Because that's kind of lame. Should have had her lock Robert Audley up in the madhouse, Braddon, because THAT would have been SOMETHING. Also, George should have stayed dead. Dickens would have stayed him dead. But 'all the good people [are] happy and at peace,' and WHY DO WE THINK THIS IS? Why does Braddon have to have a perfect jolly ending when other Victorian authors felt like they could kill off a character or two (and NOT EVEN JUST THE FALLEN WOMEN ONES) in the name of verisimilitude and pathos? Are you allergic to pathos, Mary Elizabeth?

I'm also disappointed that Alicia became kind of a non-character at the end, and ended up marrying Harry Whatzit, and that Lady Audley was discovered and quietly shuffled off somewhere. I heard echoes of Sir Leicester in Sir Michael's 'remember in all you do, that I have loved her very dearly and truly,' but then he's all like, Never speak to me of her again. I guess he's justified.

This is becoming my defining theme for this book.

Lady Audley boarding a hackney drawn by 'a pair of horses -- which were so small as to suggest the idea that they had been made out of one ordinary-sized animal' is jarringly adorable.

That there're TWO of them, Ben Wyatt.

Oh the 1800s, when a 'detective police officer' was 'stained with vile association and unfit company for gentlemen,' and where it's an event of note that a gentleman would take 'off his his hat in the presence of [a] common peasant man' WHO IS ALSO DYING, PS, SO TAKE OFF YOUR DAMN HAT, and when you only lock up your pharmacy if there's money in the till because surely 'the most daring housebreaker' wouldn't bother trying to steal all y'all's drugs, .

Just...everything was weird about you, Victorians.

So. This book held a lot of promise and sometimes the writing was great but OFTEN IT WAS NOT and Robert got RULL boring, rull quick. I preferred him as a lazy beast, not a man of singular fortitude and purpose. Purposeful Roger was NAVEL-GAZEY and repetitive.

Would I read this book again? Probably not. There's still so much Wilkie I haven't read.

ADDENDUM: NOTHING EVER CAME OF LADY AUDLEY AND PHOEBE LOOKING SO MUCH ALIKE DAMMIT THAT COULD HAVE DEVELOPED INTO SOMETHING AWESOME AND IDENTITY-SWITCHY.

Opportunity: missed.