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review 2017-04-12 17:03
Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest - Jennifer Crusie 
Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest - Jennifer Crusie

work library has it. Trying to get it downloaded onto a device I can read it on. So much aggravation.

I have it on my phone, now. W00t! If I can get it on my Kindle I will be a very happy person for about 5 minutes, until something else comes along to annoy me. Fingers crossed. I wanted the Fire specifically to be able to take advantage of the extensive work elibrary.

Now I've run into problems getting the sundry devices onto the Wifi network. Sigh. It's not a big problem, just a little niggling one that's going to drag this whole thing out for the entire day.

Not to name names, but the app for reading this on my phone was not convenient.

But the essays, they are intriguing. But also, collectively a little clueless. So many contrast New England culture against [place where the author is now] which is utterly unlike Star's Hollow, for good and ill. Seriously? I realize that Connecticut is the Land of WASPs, the place where Pilgrims get all the attention, but seriously, the lack of history re the entire rest of the nation was off-puttingly White-minded and just wrong. No one should ever again get a book chapter out of ignoring 1) millennia of First Nations, 2) five hundred years of Norse, and English, and Irish exploration and settlement, mostly for the cod 3) French settlement in Acadia 3) more than two hundred years of Spanish exploration and colonization. Seriously, Plymouth wasn't even the first permanent English colony in what is now the USA during the 17th century: there were already three in Virginia.

Generally I love a pop culture essay. I enjoy someone taking a tv show seriously, seeing what it says about society, family, religion, adulthood. Of course, there are problems: backstory is incomplete, sometimes contradictory, often open to interpretation, and that's when these essays get really good. Because there is no objective reality, everyone ends up writing not about the show, but about themselves. It's a Rorschach test. Humans are social animals, and it desire to examine the related between us is just as strong when we're talking about imaginary people. In real life a person rarely has to choose between two romantic prospects, but as a mental exercise it makes us consider what is most important: do we prefer similar backgrounds, or shared passions? Charm or loving actions? What do we need to be content?

So, here I am, nothing like Lorelei, except I do live in a charming old small town, and I like junk food and old movies and coffee, and books examining what this all means.

Library copy 

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review 2017-04-09 16:24
Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest - Leah Wilson, Jennifer Crusie 
Coffee at Luke's: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest - Leah Wilson,Jennifer Crusie

work library has it. Trying to get it downloaded onto a device I can read it on. So much aggravation.

I have it on my phone, now. W00t! If I can get it on my Kindle I will be a very happy person for about 5 minutes, until something else comes along to annoy me. Fingers crossed. I wanted the Fire specifically to be able to take advantage of the extensive work elibrary.

Now I've run into problems getting the sundry devices onto the Wifi network. Sigh. It's not a big problem, just a little niggling one that's going to drag this whole thing out for the entire day.

Not to name names, but the app for reading this on my phone was not convenient.

But the essays, they are intriguing. But also, collectively a little clueless. So many contrast New England culture against [place where the author is now] which is utterly unlike Star's Hollow, for good and ill. Seriously? I realize that Connecticut is the Land of WASPs, the place where Pilgrims get all the attention, but seriously, the lack of history re the entire rest of the nation was off-puttingly White-minded and just wrong. No one should ever again get a book chapter out of ignoring 1) millennia of First Nations, 2) five hundred years of Norse, and English, and Irish exploration and settlement, mostly for the cod 3) French settlement in Acadia 3) more than two hundred years of Spanish exploration and colonization. Seriously, Plymouth wasn't even the first permanent English colony in what is now the USA during the 17th century: there were already three in Virginia.

Generally I love a pop culture essay. I enjoy someone taking a tv show seriously, seeing what it says about society, family, religion, adulthood. Of course, there are problems: backstory is incomplete, sometimes contradictory, often open to interpretation, and that's when these essays get really good. Because there is no objective reality, everyone ends up writing not about the show, but about themselves. It's a Rorschach test. Humans are social animals, and it desire to examine the related between us is just as strong when we're talking about imaginary people. In real life a person rarely has to choose between two romantic prospects, but as a mental exercise it makes us consider what is most important: do we prefer similar backgrounds, or shared passions? Charm or loving actions? What do we need to be content?

So, here I am, nothing like Lorelei, except I do live in a charming old small town, and I like junk food and old movies and coffee, and books examining what this all means.

Library copy

 

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review 2017-03-14 22:24
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls - David Sedaris

This is my first exposure to David Sedaris' writing, and I doubt it'll be my last, but this is also the first time I've ever dinged a rating for content.

 

The writing is incredibly good and hysterically funny.  I listened to the audio and Sedaris does his own narration - as he should, because I don't think anyone else could have pulled it off half as well.

 

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls is a collection of essays, mostly biographical with embellishments for comic effect.  They were all good, but even when they were laugh out loud hysterical, they were also oftentimes gritty and confronting.  There is not a topic he doesn't address upfront and without relying on innuendo.

 

I don't typically have a hard time with that; but what I do rebel against is animals being hurt or killed and/or casual references made to it in my reading.  And while Sedaris doesn't hate animals, (in the first essay he professes to be an animal lover) he is very casual about animal death and cruelty.  One particular reminiscence about capturing sea turtles I just had to skip past completely.  

 

Everything else was pretty flawless; at the end, he reads a small collection of short fictional narratives he created for use in forensics competitions (= fancy name for 'debate team').  These were very gritty, very angry, and difficult to listen to, although they were really good.  Hypocrisy was a strong theme running through these.

 

So while I enjoyed all his essays about traveling, life abroad, growing up, etc., I was not at all comfortable with the casual, easy way he had with telling stories involving bad ends for the animals.  There was a distinct lack of compassion or regret in these essays and their casual matter-of-factness made me uncomfortable about the author as a person.  So I dinged my rating by a star.

 

If you have a thicker skin than I do (admittedly, this is most people), and enjoy edgier humour, definitely give this a look if you haven't already.   

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review 2017-03-12 10:17
My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth
My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth - Wendy E. Simmons

In much the same way Simmons felt about her holiday in North Korea, I found her memoir of it both horrifying and educational.  I'm not sure I'd have been able to find the hilarity the way she did, had I been the one on the holiday, but I certainly appreciated her humorous perspective and her writing.

 

As she goes to great pains to make clear, she was there as a tourist; she does not pretend at any point to understand the political underpinnings of the tragedy that is North Korea.  This is a memoir of her holiday there, and her personal experiences during those 10 days, both the horrifying and the heart-touching moments.  Oh, and a LOT of Twilight Zone moments.

 

I have to say, I've had this book for awhile, but hesitated to open it because the cover gave me the impression it would be totally different that it is.  That cover photos is a photo Simmons took while there, when she was invited to a wedding reception on the spur of the moment.  That woman is the bride to be.  Knowing that gave this book a whole different spin in my head, and highlighted the comedy of the absurd that ran throughout those 10 days.

 

If you enjoy travel memoirs, and you're curious about the culture of a totally closed society minus any political philosophy, and heaps of swearing and humor, definitely check this book out.  I did not want to put it down from the moment I opened the cover.

 

ETA:  I have the print edition and it's loaded with great full-color photographs that just added that extra level of interest to the book.

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text 2017-03-08 15:30
(Nasty) Women's Day
Nasty Women - Laura Waddell,Laura Lam,Ren Aldridge,Nadine Aisha Jassat,Sasha De Buyl-Pisco,Elise Hines,Alice Tarbuck,Jonatha Kottler,Chitra Ramaswamy,Christina Neuwirth,Belle Owen,Zeba Talkhani,Katie Muriel,Joelle A. Owusu,Kaite Welsh,Claire L. Heuchan,Jen McGregor,Me

This essay collection edited by 404 Ink is out today. I'm not quite done with it yet, but so far it is great--intersectional, wise, sometimes painful. I'm only reading things by and about women in honor of International Women's Day today, and this book couldn't come at a better time.

Image result for smash the patriarchy gif

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