Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Layout

--by Abby

I'm trying another layout. I really like it. Its easier to read and cleaner than the last. Tell me if you hate it.

Administrative Notes:
  1. Let's try to start with a Newspaper-esque byline to make it easy to follow who is writing.
  2. I'm considering doing a chapter-by-chapter on my next book (as yet undecided) just because it would be more fun for following along and predicting. I'll probably do a separate post for each chapter.
  3. If you are starting new book, try to shoot me an email so I can add it to the widget on the side. Also lets make sure to tag things.
Love you Bloggers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wonderful Tonight

"Yet I came to believe that although something about me might have made them put pen to paper, [the song] was really all about them." The same night I read that passage in Wonderful Tonight I watched an interview with Tegan and Sara where Sara admitted that whenever you're in a relationship and you write a love song you tell your significant other that the song is about them. Actually, the songs are about how the other person makes you feel, so really it's about you. "I have albums full of songs about... myself." This really isn't a major part of the book or anything, but it's an interesting concept.

Pattie Boyd certainly has had some of the most amazing and famous loves songs written about her, or at least, with her in mind. "Something," "Layla", "Wonderful Tonight." It's enough to make a girl jealous. Why aren't songs being written about me? But Pattie's life was more than sunshine and pretty songs. She dealt with a crazy childhood, Beatlemania (George's fans hated her), her husbands' infidelity and Clapton's alcoholism.

I'm not spoiler-fying any of this, because it's an autobiography. Her wikipedia page is practically the cliffsnotes.

I enjoyed the book. Some of the best stories were stories of her childhood in Africa or later stories of her drug experimentation with George and the other Beatles. I think Pattie may have met every person alive during the Sixties, because every five minutes I was being introduced to another person. The book has some stream-of-consciousness to it, she'll mention a person who is at a party she's attending, and then spend the rest of the page explaining how she knows that person and the rest of this person's life story. And then back to the party. It's a little confusing sometimes.

Anyway- the book was a good read and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the private lives of two of rock and roll's biggest stars. Or to anyone who, like me, hopes to someday have a song written about them.

Monday, January 28, 2008

My Next Book

I've finished Wonderful Tonight (more on that later) and I'm deciding now which book to read next. I think I'm going to read the Curious Incident... next, but I did also start Chuck Klosterman IV last night as I was going to bed, so who knows if I'll actually stick to the plan. And also I'm on my way to Barnes and Noble because I'm going a little stir crazy in this house.

Check back later tonight if you want to know what I thought of WT.

Finishing The History of Love

I finished "The History of Love" this morning at about 12:30am. Since I didn't have anything going on yesterday, I devoted all my evening to finishing it.

SPOILERS

It was a roller coaster of a book. It went from three seemingly mismatched tales to this one solid, amazing story. To be honest, the book started with this old man, Leo Gursky, and I didn't like him very much. He seemed down right crazy, and one of those old people that I never want to become. The fact that his old childhood friend from Poland lived in the apartment above him was charming though.

The girl Alma, daughter to the woman whose husband died, wasn't as deep as I would have hoped. She seemed like someone who you started to truly know by the end of the book, which is probably why I didn't want the book to end. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed her, but for my own curiosity I want to know what ended up happening between her and Misha, her immigrant friend whom she figured out she was falling in love with, again, at the END of the book. Yarg!

And the author of the book "The History of Love" within the book "The History of Love" (how complicated is that!?), Litvinoff. What a warped man he turned out to be. I could never print a good friend's work under my name, even if I did have their eulogy at the very end.

The parallels in this book were great. Essentially, Krauss' "The History of Love" was Litvinoff/Gursky's "The History of Love", complete with Leo's eulogy at the very end. It was spectacular, unexpected, and I just know that I want to read it again to catch all the things that I missed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The History of Love



by Nicole Krauss

While buying copies of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" for my book club, the shop keeper, Heidi, recommended this book to me as well, which, as it turns out, is by Jonathan Safran Foer's wife.

Synopsis: This book is similar in style to Foer's work. Foer uses multiple story lines to describe a common theme, and so does Krauss. She takes three very different lives that seem to be on complete opposite ends of the grid, and weave them together in surprising and interesting ways that you would have never anticipated. One story involves an old man bent on his own death, a young woman who lost her husband and whose daughter constantly tries to set her up, and an author of an inspirational book that motivates many characters entitled, "The History of Love". It's also a book within a book.

This sounds intense and unlikely to make sense, but so far, I'm more than half way through and it is downright fantastic. I just hit a point where I gasped and said, "WHAT!? Wow! I did NOT see that coming."

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Look

I'm trying out new looks for the blog. Lemme know if you love or hate.

Book Recommendations


My friend Jean has a fancy real book club with live, face to face meetings and everything. She recommended this book.


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer. It was very creatively written from the viewpoint of a nine-year-old child who lost his father in the 9/11 tragedy. The kid was on a quest to find the lock to a key that he found in his father's closet after his death, so there is a bit of a mystery about it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Finishing Atonement, take two

Funny story- I opened this window like twenty minutes ago, then got distracted. I have no idea what I was going to write. From now on I'm taking notes as I read so that I can have something interesting to say.

SPOILERS. Duh.

So anyway. Atonement. I think I loved it. So what am I so afraid of? I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for.

What?

Yeah, so. Briony Tallis. I can't say that she's my favorite character of all time (I'm very fond of the plucky heroines of the Why ___s Are Weird books, among others). But she was definitely fascinating to read. I've had a couple days to think about the ending of the book, and I've come to the conclussion that it may have been brilliant. It does piss me off, and that's why it's so good. The two most common emotional responses while reading, for me at least, are laughing and crying. It's nice to have a little anger thrown into the mix. We'll talk more when somebody else has read the book.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Finishing Atonement

Perhaps I picked the wrong day to finish Atonement. I've been in a very strange mood, emotionally, since I found out Heath Ledger died.

So I really wasn't prepared for Atonement to fuck with my emotions.

Obviously there are some SPOILERS ahead, so be warned.

Briony Tallis is both the hero and the villan of the book, and right after she endeared herself to me by confronting her sister and Robbie, she goes and pisses me off by revealing yet another one of her LIES.

I'll write more later, right now I'm very tired and I can't think more about the book tonight or I'll go insane.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Book?

Having Finished Time Traveler, I'm looking for my next book. Atonement is an option, I also have Love in the Time of Cholera on my shelf. I saw Charlie Wilson's War and loved it and would love to read that one if anybody loves nonfiction. I've got a few others at the ready that are not really book-clubish so maybe I'll delve into one of those while we sort of get on the same page.

Any other suggestions?

-Abby

Finishing Time Traveler

I finished up Time Traveler's Wife yesterday.

If you don't want the ending to be spoiled stop reading here.

So I enjoyed the book immensely. I did get close to doing what Randa wanted to do- when things started looking bad, just put the book down and pretend everyone lived happily ever after. But despite the sad ending (yeah I cried a little) I think it was a good finish. I mean, there wasn't really a way to end it happily, you basically had to kill Henry off. I just wish the whole feet thing didn't happen. It was a little gross for me. I did love the daughter though. Maybe Alba can have her own book (Sequel: The Time Traveler's Chrono-Displaced Daughter). She seems like an awesome kid. The whole concept of hanging out with another of yourself seems awesome. Like if I'm a bitch, do I hate the other me because she's a bitch? Probably. I don't know. Its kind of awesome.

Also, I'm thinking about rereading Slaughter-House Five for the express purpose of comparing the theories of time travel. Plus I just really like that book. If anybody is interested, maybe we can find some other books with involuntary time travelers and we can compare all of them. Lemme know.

-Abby

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Atonement

By Ian McEwan

Ok, I may be breaking the "rules" (if there were such a thing) of this here UBC (not to be confused with UCB), but hear me out. I'm borrowing this book from my mother, and if indeed it's as good as the blurb from the New York Times would have me believe ("A tour de force.... Every bit as affecting as it is gripping.") then you know I'll be passing it along to Abby in due time.

This was my Christmas gift to my mother. It took her an exceedingly long time to read, almost a whole week. My mom can normally power through a book in one sitting. I'm not entirely convinced that she reads all the words. After she first started it she told me she was having trouble getting into it, which I knew couldn't be a good sign. When she was done she decided that it had a good story, she just didn't like the way it was told. But I am reading the book anyway because my mother's drug of choice is a mound of Harlequin romance novels, so I can't really trust her judgements of quality.

I'm also reading it because I want to see the movie, and I really feel that I need to read the book first. I don't think Atonement is going to be like About a Boy or High Fidelity, that I'll be able to read the book with great enjoyment after having seen and enjoyed the film.

Synopsis: On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony's incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century.

I'm about 10 pages in and I'm already enjoying it, enough to put aside Wonderful Tonight, the memoir of Pattie Boyd, ex-wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton, until I power through Atonement.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Time Traveler's Wife

by Audrey Neffenegger

This is next on deck. I got it from Miranda, I'm 27 pages in and I love it.

Synopsis: A most untraditional love story, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who involuntarily travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

by Mark Haddon

This is the book that started it all.

Synopsis: An autistic kid writes a murder mystery novel about the death of his neighbor's dog. He writes it the way an autistic kid thinks. And its pretty awesome.

Abby highly recommends it. But everyone's already read it. Comments friends?

Welcome to the Book Club

Dia started it. Kind of. Miranda did too.

Or maybe it was Lauren.

Once upon a Canadian summer, Dia passed on this book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, which I read and enjoyed immensely. Turns out it was Shannon's book, which Lauren borrowed then lent to Jeff, who gave it to Dia, and then later I gave it to Miranda. But at the time I didn't really know all this was going on. I found out later while reading a book I borrowed from Miranda.

I was recommending that Dia read the same book and we could imagine we had a book club. Then I mentioned it to Lauren. She insisted she join. And that we make it unimaginary. So here we are. Welcome.