Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Bollywood Affair - Sonali Dev

This was romancier than I expected. I went into it not knowing anything except that people really like it. It was fine!

I've had this gif for like three years and never used it, what have I been doing.

Mili came to America to get an education, to be a better wife for the husband that she hasn't seen since her marriage to him at the age of four. His father annulled that marriage the year after (without Mili's knowledge), so the 'husband' (uhhhhhh his name starts with a V, I'm not going to go look it up because he does like nothing in this book except crash a plane) has no idea that his child-bride thinks they're still married. HE is married to someone else, expecting a child, when he finds out that Mili is after his property (spoiler: she isn't; it's her nanni sending those lawyer letters), he sends his charming playboy of a brother to get her to sign annulment papers.

AND THAT'S ALL JUST LIKE THE PREAMBLE. But the rest of the plot is pretty predictable: Mili and the playboy, Samir, meet-cute when she crashes her second-hand bike adorably into a tree, and if that makes her sound kind of Manic Pixie Dream Girlish, let me also tell you that she's a pocket-sized person with enormous eyes who loves food, like, orgasmically. She has a secret (she's married!) and he has a secret (he knows she's married!) and they fall in love anyway but have Tension Episodes of escalating seriousness until all the secrets are out and a Minor External Crisis brings them both together at last!

And there are lots of superlatives. Everything is the most plush and the finest woven and everyone's cheeks are the softest velvet.

It was fine! Someone bring me like ten samosas please.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sunny Side Up - Jennifer L Holm, Matthew Holm

This was fiiiiiiiiiiine.

It's no Giants Beware, that's for sure.

Sunny goes to stay with her grandpa in Florida with all the other olds instead of going to the beach for the summer with her best friend, and you are like, But why is this? And what of her older brother, who is clearly traveling down the road to vice and dissolution?

And Sunny and her grandpa struggle with typical generational shit (Want to do something fun? Let's go to the post office!) and she's bored, and then she meets a boy who introduces her to comic books, and she learns the powers of superheroing and they collect golf balls for fun and profit and she and her grandpa eventually bond and she learns that she was sent away, not because she was bad, but because her brother is going into rehab and her parents don't want her around to see it. 

Why they didn't just send her to the beach with her friend and the friend's family, I'll never know, except then the book would have no Unobtanium and would be like eight panels of Sunny having a blast on the water, the end.


Perfectly fine, super short graphic novel.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Giants Beware - Jorge Auguirre

THIS BOOK IS A DELIGHT, how is this written by a man, I no longer understand the world.

Seriously though what is.

Claudette is the best. She's tough, she's scrappy, she's a good friend, she's a bad friend, she's brave, she's scared, she's supportive of her brother's desire to learn both pastry- and sword-making and open his own Swords and Sweets shop, she's supportive of her best friend Marie's ambition to become a princess (and this is maybe my favorite facet, because we have a lot of tomboy heroines but not a lot of Girly Best Friends who aren't, like, bimbo sidekicks).

Also she fights giants. And Apple Hags. And Mad River Kings. It's just, like, adventuretime all over the place. I read this to Eleanor, it took about an hour and she was just completely into it the whole time. Comics are hella fun to read out loud because you get to make a ton of sound effects.

See? So fun.

I am FO SHO reading Dragons Beware.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Teeth - Hannah Moskowitz

The blurb makes this sound like a generic summer teenage thing when it really should just say "Boy falls in love with a half-fish boy, the end."

This is such a weird, funny, heartbreaking little book about a boy whose family moves to an island surrounded by magical fish that can cure your whatever. AND THEN HE MEETS A BOY WHO IS HALF FISH. Not quite like that.

And their relationship is what carries the book and what makes it different than Summer Romance With A Side of Sick Brother. Teeth (the fishboy) has a responsible, bigbrotherly relationship with the magical fish, the same magical fish the eating of whom is curing Rudy's brother's cystic fibrosis. So, you know. Whose life is more valuable than whose.

Rudy and Teeth are easy, jolly friends and then they are complicated friends, they are both such damaged people and I hate what contemporary YA has done to the adjective 'damaged' because there are damaged heroes and then there are damaged heroes, you know? These two are the realistic, interesting sort of damaged, not the brooding, sexy damaged with mussed hair.

So melancholy.

Book gave me much feels and also I laughed a bunch, is basically all I want out of life these days.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Am I resurrecting the blog after almost a year of radio silence? I AM NOT. But I am doing a readalong with my Very Particular Group of Internet Friends (led by Alice, duh) and we are reading The Monk and it is going to be a blast and also seasonally appropriate because demon nuns? Also I love that cover because look at him, that is the monk who I bet is gonna seduce a bunch of bitches. He is a sexy dude.

(Although I have thought about taking up blogging again, in extremely short-form, because there's a book on my ereader that I KNOW I have read but the title doesn't even look familiar what the heck is it even about my plot retention skills are appalling.)

My brain, when I'm trying to put stuff in it.

Anyway. I'm glad a bunch of people have already made the Matthew Lewis/Matthew Lewis joke so that I don't have to.

I am going to do an awful job of this Monkalong, because not only am I posting days late, but I didn't even finish the allotted TWO CHAPTERS. However, I'm pretty sure that Ambrosio (the over-confidently-pious monk) and Antonia (the virgin with the well-turned ankle) are going to bone and it is going to be HILARIOUS because neither of them knows 'in what consists the difference of Man and Woman.'

Both of them, upon disrobing.

Anyway. So far we have had some pretty aggro exposition, a sassy garlic-smelling aunt, a CRAZY DREAM SEQUENCE I MEAN RIGHT THAT WAS SOME DRAMATICAL SHIT, and a glimpse into what young men got up to for larks before there was internet (spying on unveiled nuns at their confessions).

Also, I did not read the Gypsy's predictions because they were in VERSE and if I'm not reading the songs in The Hobbit, I am not reading the songs here, so I am just going to assume everyone was cursed.

Anyway. The part where I left off is apparently right before one of Ambrosio's lackeys comes into his cell but it turns out to be a lady and I dunno I guess they do it? I'm expecting a lot of doing it in this book. Because Halloween. So I'mma go do that, see you  next week when I hopefully am caught up on my shit.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Texts From Jane Eyre - Mallory Ortberg

You. Guys. I understand that I am a Person Of Hyperbole, and that you might find it hard to take me seriously when I tell you that this is the literal best.

Take the Fassbender seriously instead.

Ok it may not be the perfect book (probably it is), but it is my perfect book. English literature! Allusions! Swears! This is the first book that I've read and then re-read on three consecutive days. And due to the modern miracle of Mallory Ortberg already being REALLY VERY THERE on the internet, there's a super simple way to figure out if you're going to like this book.

Question A: Do you enjoy this? Or this? Or THESE, MANY OF WHICH ARE ACTUALLY IN THE BOOK??

Question B: Have you read books? Like, any books. Don Quixote? Gone with the Wind? The poems of Emily Dickinson? Sweet Valley High? THE LORAX? Or I mean do you at least know a few things about books? Because I'mma be honest, a lot of the humor depends on a passing familiarity with the text. I haven't read Moby Dick but I have the basic idea so I got the jokes. I know nothing about Atlas Shrugged except CAPITALISM so I was kind of like, Ehhhhh. I'm still cry-laughing about Wuthering Heights. I want to quote that whole chapter for you right here, now, it's that good.

ANNNNNYway, if you answered 'yes' to both A and B, you're in pretty good stead. In fact, the amount that you found A funny is kiiiiiind of almost exactly how much funny you're going to find the book, them being written by the same person, and all.

Play us out, Fassbender.

It really is.

Ten caterpillars. 

Requisite ass-covering: book received from publisher.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Being Mortal - Atul Gawande

I requested this without knowing what it was about because Atul Gawande. Always great. In case the title is as vague for you as it was for me, it's about dying. Super fun Sunday read. I don't really have anything hilarious to say about it, so maybe I'll just throw in a bunch of random gifs.

And I read it all in a day because it is engrossing. As always, Gawande is like, Hey, here's a thing you didn't know about medicine and also had never thought to think about, 'you' being laymen but also most doctors. The first half is about aging, and how we have almost zero viable options for the infirm. The goal of medicine is to fix what ails you, but when what ails you is a naturally deteriorating heart, and you're not going to get better from that, where do you go?

We don't really.

He kind of dances around an idea I find really compelling and terrifying, about safety versus quality of life. He talked to one woman who was moving her father from an assisted living, where he had finally (if reluctantly) built himself a routine and a community, to a nursing home because he wasn't safe living largely unsupervised anymore. He was furious about the move, but for her own peace of mind she felt she had no choice to severely decrease his quality of life. Gawande describes several innovative options for the elderly, almost all of which opt for freedom and independence over assurance of safety. What's unspoken is this: you move someone because you're worried they're going to die, but they're ALREADY going to die. They're old. The question is whether it's better to live independently for a year and then fall and break your hip and die, or to be confined to a wheelchair for your own safety for three years, during which you have no control over what time you get up, when and what you eat, where you go, and then die.

This gif has never been more appropriate.

This I guess is the underlying thesis of the book: often we sacrifice quality of life now for greater gains later. The trick is figuring out when there is going to be a later. At what point in a person's chemotherapy treatments do you decide that the amount you are going to extend their life (if at all) no longer compensates for the life they are losing during treatment? At what point do you decide that a person is close enough to dying of old age that your goal becomes to help them enjoy the next six months, instead of trying to stretch them at whatever costs to another year?

We really don't know.

Gawande talks about the conversations necessary to figure out what a person's goals are, and at what point living becomes intolerable to them. One patient declared that as long as he could eat ice cream and watch football, he wanted to go on living, which helped his daughter make good choices when a surgery turned complicated.

Make good choices, you guys.

All of this comes home to roost when Gawande's father, also a surgeon, is diagnosed with a tumor in the spine. One doctor pushed immediate surgery and aggressive treatment, while another counseled waiting, since what was most important to Gawande Sr was to continue his practice for as long as possible. Surgery might restore some of the failing function in his hands, but also might paralyze him from the neck down for the remainder of his life.

Me neither.

Weighing goals and ultimately deciding to wait and see runs contrary to the current medical practice of pushing as hard at a disease as you can. As Gawande says, patients think they'll move forward until doctors tell them there's no more they can do, but there's always something more they can try. We need a new way of thinking to figure out at what point trying your hardest becomes counterproductive.

Effort doesn't always = cake.

This is starting to sound really book-reporty. Read it, guys.

Eight caterpillars.

Requisite ass-covering; book received from publisher.