Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beach Reads

I'm making my list of beach reads* for summer 2009 with relish and though I've never read any of these before so if any of you have, let me know what you thought!

*Note: beach reads comprise that marvelous genre which encompasses frivilous reads and gives one the excuse to read whatever will engross the lazy-day mind and hold its own against the sleep-inducing warmth of summer rays and waves in the background.

Nocturnes by John Connolly
This is a collection of short stories I'm inspired to delve into after reading The Book of Lost Things, a very good adult fairy tale. His stuff is a little dark but never needlessly so and he really knows his literature so he emulates other authors without being too obvious or dishonest about it.

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
"Irène Némirovsky was a Jewish, Russian immigrant from a wealthy family who had fled the Bolsheviks as a teenager. She spent her adult life in France, wrote in French but preserved the detachment and cool distance of the outsider. She and her husband were deported to Auschwitz in 1942, where he was gassed upon arrival and she died in the infirmary at the age of 39. Her manuscript, in minuscule and barely readable handwriting, was preserved by her daughters, who, ignorant of the fact that these notebooks contained a full-fledged masterpiece, left it unread until 60 years later. Once published, with an appendix that illuminates the circumstances of its origin and the author's plan for its completion, it quickly became a bestseller in France. It is hard to imagine a reader who will not be wholly engrossed and moved by this book." —The Washington Post. The article puts it more concisely than I would, but I can't wait to read this book with such a sad but fascinating backstory.

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
This has been called an adult bedtime story, it was inspired by W. B. Yeats' poem "The Stolen Child" . The book plays with the idea of a changling and the balance between a child wishing for its own independence and to be alone vs. abandonment and feelings of unwantedness. I'm very curious about the book, hopefully it will be a good read.

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman
As a woman teetering on the edge of generation X and generation Y (a.k.a. generation "Why not?"), I'm still debating whether or not it will be worth my time to get into this book (it received mixed reviews) poking fun and deciding the significance of growing up with Zach Morris, MTV's the Real World, and Billy Joel. I'm yet undecided.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
HILARIOUS, the name says it all! Who WOULDN'T want to read something this irreverant? Grahame-Smith has not rewritten but expanded Jane Austen's classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, making her an unwitting but undeniable coauthor. This book mixes Edwardian sexual tension with ultra violence, something very rarely done right (I've only ever enountered ultra violence done well in A Clockwork Orange); just to be clear, ultra violence is actually not as bad as it sounds. It refers to violence so outrageous that the audience becomes wholly disconnected with the experience, it creates enough of a psychological barrier between the event and the reader snug in his/her armchair that it takes little effect. Much more damaging are the revolting and highly effectual horror novels masquerading as crime fiction, in my opinion. One of my many literary vendettas. Anyway, I can't wait to start this book; the literary community should never be so proud that they can not laugh at themselves and, likewise, not show prejudice to those who would write outside the box.

The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I am a die-hard fan of Jane Eyre, so I very much look forward to Setterfield and du Maurier's off shoots of the story I love so much. Both creepy, both full of romance and intrigue as I hear it; should be great fun and I purposely have nothing more to say about their respective plots as I've not researched so I wouldn't spoil anything. Aunt Candy, I might be reading a book with Sarah, but I'm reading this one so I can discuss it with you and Mom too!!

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
I revisit this book every summer, I read it the summer of 2003 and I always come back for the story and the education. This is a novel but it's a history of philosophy at the same time. A mysterious writer is sending letters to Sophie Amundsen and giving her the most user-friendly lesson on the history of philosophy. If you ever wondered what Hellenism, Marxism, the teachings of Descartes, Hegel, Kirkegaard...they're all there and seriously, it's so readable. I love this book dearly, my all time favorite for its story and stimulation.

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
I'm most excited about this read because I get to share it with my dear Aunt Sarah! We're reading this book simultaneously this summer and plan to discuss (in person?? Think about it Sarah, you, me, the book, the beach...). She's pretty much the woman I want to grow up to be—editor extraordinaire, avid reader, general do-gooder making the world a better place—so it will be extra fun to get her perspective on this promising book. The novel is set in the 1830s and, interestingly enough, Gaskell died before finishing it (Frederick Greenwood wrote the last bit) so I'm curious to see how it ends and I think this gives us as readers permission to create our own ending, if we like, even more so than ever.

That's the list! Again, let me know if you've read any and have any comment. Some from my past years' lists (should you be looking for books I can recommend having actually read them):

The Wide Sargasso Sea, The Dogs of Babel, Water for Elephants, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Lovely Bones, and a must for summer, Dandelion Wine. Happy reading!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meg-o Likes Legos

I used to always play with my brother, Michael's legos. He never minded because I could be trusted to grab 1) the green grass mat, 2) the biggest, longest blocks I could find, and 3) the window pieces that had a plastic hinge (they were my faves). Yes, I would proceed to create the most creative of all lego structures; the four-walled house.
While I made wildly creative, um, pre-fab homes, Michael made fantastic spaceships, shuttles, and starcruisers, usually utilizing all the black pieces I'd thrown over my shoulder b/c they didn't match the plastic daisies on my house's front lawn.

So you can see why I'm totally and utterly in awe of the sheer ingenuity of the following pieces made entirely of lego pieces!

The white Jesus is my favorite, it was recently revealed on Easter day at a Swedish church, it took a little over a year to make and is constructed of all white legos on the exterior, but its interior is made up of thousands of different colored pieces. Way to go Swedes!

I would date one of these guys, but not the blue one, he's a total square.
I'm also loving the Edward Hopper "Nighthawks" diner scene.

I'm dedicating this post to my brother, Mikey.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Okay, I've got Internet. I bought it. They installed it yesterday. It's official. I can do all the Internet-y things I've been wanting to do which include Skyping with friends, playing the piano music I'm working on using YouTube so I can get rhythms and nuances right, catching up Ugly Betty on, doing banking more regularly, looking up recipies (biggie), and editing for my freelance job (bigger biggie). HURRAH!

Who knows, maybe even the quality of my blog will improve as I won't be rushing through posts as much!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Twenty Four

What would you do with an extra 24 hours? I can't possibly imagine why anyone would be interested in my answer to this question, but here it is regardless (this is a practical list, not something like "Go back to Spain and eat paella," stuff I could do here in S.D.) :

2 I would practice the piano; I'm working on Philip Glass piece from "The Hours" and a Yann Tiersen.

2 I would give myself a manicure and pedicure (30 minutes, I already keep things up pretty well) while watching a movie rented from the library with a friend.

3 I would read in bed and fall asleep for an hour.

2 I would go grocery shopping and buy the ingredients to make another recipe out of my Magnolia cookbook (baking time not included).

2 I would lay out in the sun

2 I would go work out even though I would hate the first 15 minutes of it.

3 I would go swimming and diving for coins.

1.5 I would read in the tub and scrub up.

1 I would call a friend and catch up.

2 I would write a stack of letters to everyone and burn a new seasonal CD to enclose.

.5 I would fold all the clothes I'd thrown into my dresser haphazardly.

2 I would go shopping for a new dress.

1 I would color, draw, or paint.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Internet disappeared, now requires a password. My little heart breaks and so does my piggy bank now...must go buy Internet.