March Reads

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The Irish restaurant I went to for St. Patrick’s Day has a leprechaun phone booth!

I hope everyone had a nice March! Although I was super excited for spring to start this month, I’m still waiting for the weather to improve. As I type, there are piles of snow in my yard and a forecast of snow for this Tuesday and Wednesday. Spring, where are you?!

I don’t have anything exciting to report for March. With the exception of some St. Patrick’s Day fun, it was mostly a stressful, depressing month. I actually took a week off from blogging because my mind has been too cluttered to focus on writing anything. I’ll be back this week, though, and I have quite a few posts to catch up on. I’m hoping April will bring good news along with nicer weather. Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from Mrs. Dalloway

“Quiet descended on her, calm, content, as her needle, drawing the silk smoothly to its gentle pause, collected the green folds together and attached them, very lightly to the belt. So on a summer’s day waves collect, overbalance, and fall; collect and fall; and the whole world seems to be saying “that is all” more and more ponderously, until even the heart in the body which lies in the sun on the beach says too, That is all. Fear no more, says the heart. Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall. And the body alone listens to the passing bee; the wave breaking; the dog barking, far away barking and barking.”

– Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Book Review: Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr.

Book Review: Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr.FLIMSY LITTLE PLASTIC MIRACLES
by Ron Currie, Jr.

Fiction
Viking, Feb. 2013
Hardcover, 340 pages
Source: The Lit Bitch giveaway

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles is a book by Ron Currie, Jr., about a character named Ron Currie, Jr. Is it a novel? Is it a true story? Is it both? What’s the difference? Where do you draw the line between reality and fiction? Is it even a useful distinction to make? Why? Currie examines these questions in this fascinating book.

Ron Currie (the character) is a writer whose first book flopped and who is in love with his high-school sweetheart, the alluring but elusive Emma. When Emma, who is going through a divorce, asks him to give her space to figure things out, he travels to a small Caribbean island to drink copious amounts of rum and write a book about her. He also gets in fights and sleeps with beautiful co-eds to fill the void left by Emma, his love eternal — until… Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from Cloud Atlas

“Belief is both prize & battlefield, within the mind & in the mind’s mirror, the world. If we believe humanity is a ladder of tribes, a colosseum of confrontation, exploitation & bestiality, such a humanity is surely brought into being … if webelieve that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe divers races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real.”

– Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Book Review: Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

Book Review: Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell
VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE
by Karen Russell

Fiction: Short stories
Knopf, Feb. 2013
Hardcover, 243 pages
Source: Library

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Karen Russell. I freaked the F out over Swamplandia! last spring, and I fell in love with Russell’s charming debut short story collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves a few weeks ago. In Vampires in the Lemon Grove, her brand new release, Russell amps up the weirdness, and it is delightful.

Continue reading

Best Bookish Tumblrs

I don’t always go on Tumblr, but when I do, I love the bejeezus out of the numerous witty, adorable, bookish Tumblr pages. Since I didn’t feel like writing an actual book review today and instead spent time tumbling, I now present you with my ten favorite literary Tumblrs (including example posts), including gif-tastic commentary on working in publishing, terrible book covers, bookish confessions, and thoughtful musings on books and pop culture. Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there — and then bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses.”

– St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

Book Review: Mad Girl’s Love Song by Andrew Wilson

Book Review: Mad Girl's Love Song by Andrew Wilson
MAD GIRL’S LOVE SONG: SYLVIA PLATH AND LIFE BEFORE TED
by Andrew Wilson

Non-Fiction: Biography
Scribner, Feb. 2013
Hardcover, 369 pages
Source: Provided by publisher for review

Sylvia Plath is a literary icon known for her confessional poetry, her autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, her tumultuous relationship with her husband and fellow poet Ted Hughes, and her tragic suicide at the age of 30. In this new biography of the poet, released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of her death, Andrew Wilson tells the story of Sylvia Plath’s early life. Continue reading

Book Review: St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

Book Review: St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
ST. LUCY’S HOME FOR GIRLS RAISED BY WOLVES
by Karen Russell

Fiction: Short stories
Knopf, Sept. 2006
Hardcover, 246 pages
Source: Library

Karen Russell’s debut is a stunning, imaginative collection of ten short stories, including the piece that grew to become Swamplandia!, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize.

Similarly to Swamplandia!, the stories in this collection have a whimsical feel and touches of magical realism. In the title story, a pack of girls are taken from their werewolf parents to be re-educated and become proper, civilized young women. Other stories feature an over-night camp for children with sleep disorders, where campers are subject to a social hierarchy in which sleep apneics and somnambulists are at the top and narcoleptics and incontinents are at the bottom; a young pioneer on the wagon train westward, whose minotaur father pulls the family’s wagon; and a reluctant member of the Waitiki Valley Boys Choir, who becomes the victim of disaster while flying up to a glacier to sing the snows down. Continue reading