Posts Tagged: books

Ladyville Book Club: What I Read On the Plane

whered you go bernadette

Did you know that Hawaii is really far from Ohio? I mean, I knew that, instinctively, but I didn’t understand just how far it was. It’s far. Don’t get me wrong, the time I spent in Kauai was worth every second I spent on a plane, but spending the equivalent of 2 days in an airport or on a plane was a bit rough. Here’s how I passed the time:

1. Trying to find a celebrity at LAX. I was committed to spotting someone famous at LAX. I didn’t tell anyone about this because it’s an embarrassing goal, but whatever. The entire time we were there, I just sat in my chair and people watched. And then I saw Julianne Hough, and I didn’t tell anyone until I got home and confirmed it on the internet. I love Julianne Hough, for the record. I think she’s a weirdly energetic person and I can’t wait to see her in the new Diablo Cody movie.

2. Trying to figure out how American Airlines picks their programming. Why The Big Year? Of all the movies. Oh, and then I watched an episode of Married to Jonas, despite not knowing anything about the Jonases. All I learned was that they seem pleasant and their mom needs to understand that they’re adults now. Seriously, lady has a problem.

3. I read. A lot. After weeks of barely having any reading time, it was downright luxurious to just sit around with a book. Here’s what I read:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple: I’d heard a lot of good things about Bernadette, and then Lauren let me borrow it, so I dug into it as soon as our plane lifted off in Columbus. As I read, I kept thinking to myself, “This kind of feels like a Jonathan Franzen book.” Then I looked at the cover, and wouldn’t you know, old Johnny Boy himself has a blurb. I can see why he liked it so much…just like one of his books, Bernadette is big, features lots of details about very specific things (except instead of birdwatching, it’s Microsoft and Antarctica), and deals with a dysfunctional family. So basically, if Jonathan Franzen could write about women in a way that didn’t show complete and total disdain for them both physically and mentally (insert tangent here about whether that’s Jonathan Frazen’s POV or just that of his characters…we have neither the time nor the space right now for that particular discussion), then he’d probably write a book like Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The book was funny and quick and the story was told in a unique way, but I’ll admit that I found the characters lacking in warmth a little. Which, conincidentally, is another way Bernadette reminds me of a Jonathan Franzen book.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: I’d been putting off Sharp Objects because it’s the last Gillian Flynn book I had to read and that’s depressing. As with Gone Girl and Dark Places, Sharp Objects was compelling from the first sentence. Flynn has a way of writing about women who are literally victims without making them objects of pity. These aren’t women who stumble into their situations; they make choices, do terrible things, do heroic things, etc. The less you know about Sharp Objects, the better, but it features some of the weirdest characters I’ve read about in awhile. Also, it’s very short. Highly recommended.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Okay, so I’m only about 20% of the way through this one, but I’m already obsessed and resenting the time I have to spend doing anything else. It’s about a poor boy from a small town in California who essentially reinvents himself into a prepster so he can fit in with an elite group of intellectual richies at a New England college. His new friends seem absolutely magical, but then (insert sinister music) something terrible happens.You know what the “something terrible” is from the first sentence, but so far the suspense is coming from the intense foreshadowing. Is anything more exciting than foreshadowing?

So that’s what I read while I was up in the air. What about you guys? What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments!

Lady Inspiration: Claire Messud

claire messud
For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao? Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble.”
-Claire Messud, when asked if she would want to be friends with her character. Agreed 1000%. Weird, unlikable characters forever!

Ladyville Book Club: Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar

everything is perfect when you're a liar
If you understand the internet, then you know who Kelly Oxford is. She’s very funny on Twitter, although her writing career is certainly bigger than that, as she eloquently explains in this blog post, where she dishes out some real talk advice about how to become a writer (which has very little to do with using Twitter and a lot to do with writing all the time). She also just came out with a book, Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar, and it’s hilarious.

If you enjoyed the books Bossypants, The Bedwetter, or Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, then you’ll probably love this book. It’s funny, it’s weird, and it made me tear up on at least one occasion (I’m not entirely finished with it yet, so who knows what will happen). Also it dealt with a few of my favorite topics, including but not limited to:

-Old people. The saddest, most serious essay is about how Kelly becomes convinced her husband will die and leave her alone to raise their children, so she goes back to school and ends up working with elderly patients. If you’ve ever stepped inside a nursing home, then you pretty much know how heartbreaking this is going to be.

-Bodily fluids. There’s a lot of peeing and puking on things. Call me immature if you want, but that almost always means comedy gold.

-Drake. One essay deals with Kelly’s quest to workout so much she becomes attractive to Drake. Who among us hasn’t been there? Well, I’ve been there, anyway. This paragraph in particular made me laugh out loud: “I get through the last minute of the video by imagining Drake in the corner behind me, holding a golden chalice of cognac, saying things like, ‘You thirty-three? No way, girl! DAYUM DAT ASS!!’ and totally asking me out on a date and then showing up as his character from Degrassi, Wheelchair Jimmy.”

So basically if you like laughing and Drake, then you’ll like this book. Buy it on Amazon or Indiebound.