Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: August 17, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,
I’ve been sick with the plague half the week and traveling a lot the other half, so not a whole lot of what I wanted to do got done. There was also a lot of sleeping involved, and it’s hard to consume media when you’re dreaming of living in a villa in Italy.

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Listening

  • Cabin Pressure
    Still working my way through the series, but I’m now at the beginning of season 3, which means it’s only a few more short cabin commutes before I’m done again. Thankfully, I’ve got a few things lined up to take its place.
  • Night Vale
    I mentioned this last week and a few days prior to that and finally got a chance to listen to 5 or so episodes of the show. It is delightful and reminds me much of our little village in northern Michigan. It’s especially poignant when reading the police blotter of the weekly newspaper.

Reading

I cannot tell a lie Internet, reading has been poor but in so far as books have gone. I’ve been consuming more content via my RSS feeds — even bankrupted the count to 0, which was glorious, and have been keeping up with feeds instead of shunning them like the pox. I’ve also been keeping up with my magazine subscriptions (Vanity Fair, New Yorker, JASNA, American Libraries) and work routing magazines (BBC History, Computers in Libraries, Library Journal).
Books currently in rotation:

Watching

  • Miranda
    I binged watched this again while I was sick this week and I still love every moment of it. Rumours are that it will be back in 2015, which seems awfully far away but isn’t. My next goal is to pick up her book, Is it Just Me?. in audio format as that is apparently the only way to consume it as Hart herself narrates.
  • Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England
    Based on the book of the same time, Ian Mortimer takes you through a time period but as a travelling guide. Interesting concept, and in written form it works quite well. In visual form, some of the effects were off putting and I found myself mind wandering in some spots, but overall very interesting. The two biggst issues I had were of the constant shots of Mortimer walking through desolate fields and the CGI drawn in effects how things might have looked. It felt a little too flash bang.
  • The Bridge (US)
    Based off the Swedish/Danish series of the same name, the US version places a murder on the Bridge of the Americas, joining El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico. Crime solving with one main character from each state department entangles, hilarity ensues. Not really. While the show as a lot great moments, some of the characters seems a little wooden. We also found that while we have watched all the episodes, the catch up of the previous week’s episodes we never saw or remember. Despite its quirks and often sloppy dialog and plot lines, there is enough to keep us entranced each week.

Weekly watching: Project RunwayThe NewsroomTrue Blood, Sons of Anarchy, Burn Notice,  Da Vinci’s Demons,  The Vampire Diaries
xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2011, 2010

 

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: August 3, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Reading

710Lybld0pL._SL1500_ What the World is Reading 2013 Sampler (Amazon | Google Books)
While at ALA, I was very judicious in picking up ACRs but couldn’t resist this sampler from Penguin. What is brilliant about the sampler is that it gave me bite size chunks of new authors with the downside being that I could not finish the story without buying the book. The first taste is always free.
Out of the dozen or so tales, I was intrigued with three or four of them enough to add them finish later on, but over all I thought the collection was fairly weak.
You can download the sampler, for free, from Amazon and Google Books.

Listening

Now that I’m commuting between Throbbing Manor and Throbbing Cabin, I’ve started listening to my radio shows again. I’m doing a run through of The Castle and Cabin Pressure – both again. Season 4 of The Castle came out last fall and I realised I had not listened to it. And Cabin Pressure? Well bing bong!  Next up on the list is Welcome to Night Vale, which has become the new black according to all of my internet friends.

Watching

Weekly watching: Project RunwayThe NewsroomTrue Blood, Sons of Anarchy, Burn Notice,  DaVinci’s Demons,  The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: June 22, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,

Writing

Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian

Reading

life-after-life_original Life After Life ( Amazon | Local Library | Goodreads)
by Kate Atkinson
Kate Atkinson, along with Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, and several other writers, are ones whom no matter what argument I make to save cash, I always pre-order their books when said boks are released.  For Atkinson this year, I found out a friend was going to give me an ARC she had received of Life After Life, so I dutifully canceled my pre-order. Except, I apparently didn’t. The pre-ordere arrived before my trip to see my friend, so I kept it in the hopes I could get it finished before heading to see her so we can talk about the book. It didn’t quite work out that way for it’s two months later and I’m just now getting started on the book.
While I would describe myself as an ardent Atkinson fangirl, I’m only 25 pages in to this title and have no opinion of this offering as of yet. But at least I’m reading, and that’s something.

Watching

  • Case Histories, Season 2
    I found out season 2 of Case Histories was being shown in the UK by accident, even though I had thought I had tapped myself into the places that would keep me abreast of such things. I greedily watched all three episodes in two sittings, and I can’t get enough of Jackson Brodie or who he is or what he does. Sure, sure, Jason Isaacs isn’t bad to look at, but the tortured soul of a man who walks (rather runs) to his own moral code is amazing to behold. I don’t know if there are plans to show it in the US on PBS this year or if there will be a third season or if Atkinson has plans for another Brodie book. I’m really hoping all of those things become true, the Brodie world of Edinburgh is one where I want to live.
  • True Blood
    Speaking of tortured men with complicated pasts, True Blood started its sixth season this past Sunday. To me, TB is always the start of the summer, the days feel better knowing I have TB to watch on Sundays. As for the plot, well, what’s being set up in the first episode of S6 is slow. TheHusband and I raised several eyebrows during the hour and we’re hoping TB picks up some speed (and interest!) during the forthcoming season. TheHusband put forth the show has finally jumped the shark, but I don’t think that’s happened. Yet. I DO wish they would clarify more on Pam’s dick whipped attitude towards Eric, since it’s been made pretty clear they were never really lovers in so much as BFFs during their 100 years together. Pam’s randomly shown weakness for Eric when certain conditions apply (but not all conditions that match, just some) is annoying.
  • Sons of Anarchy
    I had no interest in this show, really, until Beth forwarded me a video of Walton Goggins (Boyd Crowder on Justified) as Venus Van Dam, a transvestite prostitute on SOA. After getting over myself of extreme jealous of how beautiful Goggins makes as a woman, I decided to check the show out. I had been working on finding a nice long show I can get into while I do things around the house, knit/cross-stitch, or fall asleep to and SOA fits that bill. TheHusband, on the other hand, was razzing me that I seem to be haphazardly watching all the FX originals as I come across them (The Americans, Archer, Justified, Louie (TheHusband’s choice), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TheHusband’s choice)), but hey! That’s ok. FX has created really great content in the last few years and they are pushing the boundaries of what network television should look like. Other networks better start taking notes.
  • Nurse Jackie
    Just when it looks like Jackie’s life is finally getting under control, a twist. There is always a twist. While I do like this show, this season was definitely not the best and it ranked pretty poorly. Dr. Roman? She just needs to go. Though I do love Zooey’s new love interest and that made me very happy how that panned out.

Weekly watching: Burn NoticeBorgiaDaVinci’s DemonsMad MenThe BorgiasVeep, The Vampire Diaries

Links

Reviews

Fitbit Flex
Lisa-mas was a few weeks ago and presents were still rolling in so I decided to divvy up the reviews over the next few weeks to not overload this post. This week, it’s the Fitbit Flex.
I know Fitbit has been popular around the social sphere for some time, but what got me interested was when Kate and I were discussing fitness regimes and she mentioned the Flex, a Fitbit product designed to be a bracelet with the Fitbit unit cleverly hidden and unobtrusive.  I’ve tried pedometers in the past and found most of them lacking. I know some friends have had good luck with phone apps for sleeping and pedometering, but I found this was not a particular good solution since many pairs of my bottoms don’t always have pockets to put the phone in and the way some pedometers are designed to be clipped, also doesn’t work with how my body is shaped.
The line of Fitbit products are designed to track, learn, and help you manage:

  • Fitness goals 
  • Food consumption
  • Water consumption
  • Sleeping
  • Much, much more

Much of this is done by your input on the website or app but the core information, steps walked/calories burned, is done by the device. You can manage, within the app and website, all of your health needs fairly simply and easily, which is of great interest to me.  It is also shower proof and mostly water proof (though, I’d probably take it off for swimming).
What I really loved is the Flex, because it was something I could wear, like jewelry, and only time I’d have to take it off is to recharge the Fitbit unit, which is about once a week. When I wore the Flex to work, one my student workers thought it was a post-modern bracelet, another person though it was a fancy watch. Inso far as design aesthetic goes, Fitbit gets top scores.
TheHusband ordered the Flex and the accessory bands from Amazon, and the items was on massive back order until mid-late July at Amazon and at Fitbit.com. So imagine my surprise when I received the Flex a few days after my birthday! But the accessory bands, which were scheduled to arrive first, still haven’t arrived and are still marked on backorder.
The package comes with the Fitbit unit, two bracelets sized small and large in a single color (you can choose between black or slate, TheHusband ordered slate), charging dongle, and wifi synch dongle. Setting up the Fitbit was fairly easy, as well as setting up an account. I choose to create an account rather then use Facebook or Google as the login. You can also find friends via Facebook/Google but Kate and I found this was kind of a pain in the arse (Kate had ordered another Fitbit product a few weeks prior). In addition to the website dashboard, there is also an app, available for iOS and Android. You can also sync with other products, like MyFitnessPal, which rocks if you’re already using MyFitnessPal to track your food.
Downsides:

  • You can sync your Fitbit to your phone using bluetooth when you have the app installed, and you can synch the Fitbit when the dongle is plugged into a computer, but you cannot synch it with any other mobile devices using bluetooth. This means if you want to synch it to your iPad or another device, you’re out of luck.
  • The iOS app is available on the iPhone only, and while you can install it on the iPad, it’s clunky. You also don’t have all of the options available you do when it’s in its native environment.
  • The Fitbit Flex system includes the bracelets, Fitbit unit, charging dongle, wifi synch dongle, and yet they did not include a pouch or any kind of carrying case for travel. I was able to find a small pouch to use to hold all the accouterments (and have space for the other bracelets), but it just seemed odd the pouch/carrying case was not included or even made available in the store as an accessory.
  • Going into sleep mode, to track my sleep habits, can be a bit wonky.
  • The dashboard via the web is different than the app version, which is okay, but some of the options available on the website are not available on the app, which is annoying. This always seems to be the biggest problem I run into with software developed for the web and the mobile apps come later: it’s assumed behaviors are not the same in both places, or expectations, when many of them are.

Overall, I really like the Flex. My goal is to figure out what I’m doing now and then improve on it to get more healthy. I also love that I can sync MyFitnessPal with Fitbit so that makes things easier for tracking food/exercise. Fitbit also uses gamification, which can be fun, but since I’m still pretty low on the totem pole on some things, it doesn’t seem to have the thrill yet. I do like how I want to walk everywhere to improve my  total steps per day, but step count on the app is slightly off I’m a spaz and move around a lot without necessarily walking, thus the Fitbit counts those as steps. But so far, out of the other things i’ve tried, this is a really good way to get started getting fit.
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 011

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: June 15, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,

Reading

Finished

Watching

  • Burn Notice
    We have a love hate relationship with this show: Fiona kicks ass, as you do, and Sam’s “Oh woe! Look at my handsome aging face and note I’m just here to get royalties” schtick is not as grating as one would think, but after awhile, the over arching storyline seems to get more muddled with each passing season. This will be the last season of Burn Notice, which it turns out,  makes me sad.
  • Game of Thrones
    If you’re paying attention on the Internet, you know what happens in the second to last episode of GoT, also known as Red Wedding. Because of this, the final episode for season three was very anti climatic and seemed to be almost, but not quite, a throw away. Some things are finally realised, through I do wish someone would just kill Theon Greyjoy and get his bit over with – he seems to be a pretty useless addition (and interestingly, only a very deep back ground filler when they can’t rustle anything else up to kill time) for the show. TheHusband sent me a link after the season finale to a great story on Grantland that is incredibly invaluable to anyone who has not read the series. Despite of some of the many flaws in the show, am I eagerly awaiting season 4? Do bears shit in the woods?

Weekly watching:  BorgiaDaVinci’s DemonsMad MenNurse JackieThe BorgiasVeep, The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: June 1, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,

Writing

Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian

The Lisa Chronicles

Listening

  • Eurovision soundtrack
    Eurovision is everything American Idol wants to be, but amped up 100 watts and on speed. Nearly 40 countries from around the European block (and then some) compete in a song off where each country submits its own entry to the contest. Over the course of three nights, two semi-finals and the grand finale, all of Europe votes for their favorite entry. The songs are often ridiculous, over the top, and borderline absurd. But that is what makes it so goddamned much fun. We caught Eurovision for the first time in the spring of 2010 when TheHusband and I were on our honeymoon and were able to watch it live. We were entranced. Every year we track down ways to watch, most often on delay. We are seriously considering planning our 2014 vacation around getting to a country to see it live (and by live, we mean live telecast).  Eurovision has kindly put the videos of all the contestants up on YouTube for your enjoyment.

Reading

Finished

Watching

  • Elementary
    Much to my chagrin, I found I rather enjoyed Elementary. The gender bending of Lucy Liu’s Watson and Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock is fantastic, even more specifically Miller’s Sherlock is a mixture of sexualization of the Robert Downey Jr. interpretation and the staid, uptight Benedict Cumberbatch version. The fact that Miller is tattooed and a bit punk rock also doesn’t hurt. The final twist at the end was a twist I certainly didn’t see coming, and it was scarily clever. I dismissed the show based on the earlier trailers and I’m glad I owned up and started watching. I’m curious now how the second season will most definitely play out.

Weekly watching: RectifyBorgiaDaVinci’s DemonsMad MenNurse JackieThe BorgiasVeepDoctor WhoGame of Thrones, The Vampire Diaries.

Links

What have you read/watched/listened to this week?
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Kalendae Januariae: Year of the written word

Dear Internet,
Happy New Year.
I knew my brain had fizzled out on me when I stopped doing two things: Reading books and listening to music. I’ve really, really missed being able to finish a book or listen to an album. Since the music part is covered by Automusicbiographically, I had to find a way to get into all the books, comics, magazines, and other bits that have been floating around here forever. So for 2013, I op to:

Read all the books/comics I own before buying more.

According to GoodReads, I read (or attempted to read), about 17 books in 2012. I used to read about 10 books a month. Touching on the “Buy Nothing in 2013” moto, no more new OR used books/comics are to be purchased in 2013.  I get this means I’ll probably be missing out on a lot of awesome new releases but I just can’t keep up at the pace I’m at now (and this is why Amazon wishlists are for). I don’t have a set goal to read by end of 2013, but if I can read at least one books a week, I can cut through my TBR stack pretty quickly. I’m also adding in that I need to do 50 word reviews on GoodReads for books and do reviews here under Bagged  & Boarded for comics (which will appear Wednesday when available).

  • This also includes Kindle/digital purchases (Yes, including the free ones.)
  • I’m not allowed to source books out from the library until my current stacks have had dents made into them. Which, as a librarian who works in a library is EXTREMELY difficult.

Second on my list under this theme is:

Writing.

Back in August, Anne and I worked worked on our own personal SWOTs – her for going into business herself, me for writing.  Since I did my SWOT by hand, I pinned (or rather taped) the pages on the wall above my desk. The ultimate goals were simple.

  • Write 10 hours a week  (Does not include blogging)
  • Write 250 word blog entries 5x a week (Get proficient enough to knock it out in 1/2 hour).
  • Keep notes on everything.

I’ll also add in the following:

  • Write a short story a month.
  • Write a poem a month.
  • Get something published by my birthday in June

You can participate by signing up to be a beta reader to help a girl out.
I was talking to Kristin about how to best track our goals, because as this list continues, it seems overwhelming about how much I want to do in 2013. So for the first few months maybe the goals will be more to get one short story finished rather than write a short story every month or write thoughtfully online twice and build up to five entries a week.  I have put together a schedule (daily and monthly) for writing online that will help, but much of that is going to stuff that’s built up over the course of a week (Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes) or can be stacked weeks in advanced. The soul will still be bared, but I want less thought provoking content up as well.
x0x0,
Lisa

…Who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid*

I never thought I would say this but: Reading has been boring me as of late. TheHusband half-jokingly suggested that if all those things I once held true to my heart are no longer of interest recently (reading, writing to name a few), perhaps I may be slightly depressed. With as much upheaval we’ve had this year (new house, job, car to name but a few things), he may have a valid point. But I also do not think it is that much of a stretch of imagination to think that contemporary authors are also at fault here as well – this is not to say that all books that are published are rubbish or that there is no creative story engine left for me to graze on, but it does speak much of what is being pushed to the masses these days as literature. So it’s hard to escape into a good novel when said novel would be more worthy of toilet paper rather then reading on the toilet.
Recently while cleaning up the backend of the site, I realised that the Book List: 2011 page had not been updated since July and it was now December. The idea of a list was formed when sometime late last December or early January, I ran across a blogger who was documenting, by year, all the books they’ve read. I thought this was a brilliant idea, as I always think anything that involves making lists a brilliant idea, so I started doing it as well. My idea, however, was to take it one step further: Instead of just documenting what I was reading in list format, I would also write reviews, post them on my siteGoodReads,LibraryThing, and Amazon.
It’s wholly acknowledged that while I always seem to have brilliant ideas, I am also incredibly lazy. I did, however, half-heartedly attempt to keep track of what I was reading even if I was not writing reviews. I put the page in edit mode and spent some time racking my brains to figure out what I had read since those summer months. The list was not terribly long.
What exactly did I do over the summer that curtailed my reading? I have no fucking idea, but I do recall that much of what I was reading seemed to be terribly uninspired, formulaic, or I kept putting it on hold for so long that it had to go back to the library.
Take for example, A Discovery of Witches. Reviews and the summary dictated the book would right up my alley and with the mystery element built in, even better! But each time I tried to read it, there was always some obstacle on why I could not finish it. I kept thinking it was me losing steam, or since I tend to read before bed, I was reading the same 12 pages all the time, or I was not reading fast enough and as the book was from the library, every time I wanted to renew it for another three weeks, I had to return it as someone else placed a hold on it.
In regards to the book itself, I found the opening chapters were forming a stink of pretentious fuck twattery and that made me nervous. The writing was stilted and it felt like Harkness borrowed the template of heros/heroines character development from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
How? Well, while writing is is technically correct and there is some marks of brilliance in both books, the characters are outlines of human emotion and involvement, boxes for which to project ourselves on. In both series’, the main protagonists are too perfectly flawed – the heros more so than the heroines. It seemed that in order to give the males depth and character, to add texture their development as believable narrators, Harkness and Gabaldon give them enough of a bad boy backgrounds instead of letting the characters form themselves.
In the case of the heroines, the perfectly adorable, emotionally distant yet will succumb to the right man and yet also brilliant klutzy do-gooder whose shining career is now curtailed by the perfect cock – whom no one could ever love as much as the heroes, just reeks of Mary-Sueisms.
The other issue with ADoW is that it felt like the witch/vampire pairing, along with some of the other supernatural elements, were put in as an afterthought. It is no secret that Harkness knows the ins and outs of Oxford (herself a scholar of note), so she could divine the place with some realism, which is central to the storyline, but for everything else in detail of place/character/event, it felt very much that in order to cover up for her lack of knowledge of something, the creation of supernaturalism was the balm applied to her writing flaws. And that is one thing I’m getting tired of is using supernaturalism as a coverup but apparently this is what you do these days when you have a half-decent story and okay writing skills and you need to make the story contemporary and or sellable and or to use as filler.
If you’re going to write a novel, of any ilk, I firmly believe you must let the story itself unfold and not let the perfection of mechanics or tropey filler to dictate the direction or even, the life of the story. To force the story, so as seen in ADoW, kills the soul of the story. You can have mechanical perfect story but a wholly boring one that lacks of any interest to keep the reader engaged. I had a ton of friends who loved ADoW, but to me it was overhyped claptrap.
Much of what I’ve perused this year in books seem to fall under that same kind of ideology of mine: Book has interesting premise, respectably reviewed but yet when I got my hands on it, it falls short everywhere, so I gave up reading it after the first chapter or two. For ones that I did finish – please see quick review of ADoW above – could be replicated for The Postmistress and even my beloved Susan Isaac’s new yarn, As Husbands Go. 2011 was just a piss-poor of reading delights.
As the year progressed, it seems that I was having a harder and harder time getting into and digging novels of any kind, unless you count my brief obsession with cozy mysteries earlier in the year when I tore through those quickly. It should come as no surprise that after while, the series themselves tends to become (if it was not already) incredibly formulaic. The tales of Ms. Agatha Raisin were amusing upon first reading but how many times can she want to tint her hair, lay waste to her hunky next door neighbor or solve all the murders in the Cotswolds?
Despite my grumpiness as of late with literature as a whole, this has not stopped me from reading from cover to cover every week The New York Times Book Review, making a list of books to the various categories on my Amazon Wish List, following book bloggers and podcasters, or reading magazines dedicated to books and writing. I may not be reading books but I am reading what everyone else is saying about them. So it is not that I’ve thumbed concept, practice, or merits of reading or writing – but what IS causing the problem of my tut-tutting of what I am reading, I have no fucking idea.
Because my husband loves me and wants me to be happy, he bought me books as presents this holiday season. I also have loads (dozens) of books sitting on my to be read pile that I need to finish, not including the gazillion titles sitting on my iPad. I will continue to add titles to my Amazon Wish List, read the reviews from cover to cover, and listen with interest to the book podcasts. The goal, once again, to record all that I have read for the year and hopefully, just maybe, when I write the year end review of my reading habits, my claws will have been retracted and I will have finally escaped into a good novel.
*Quote attributed to Jane Austen, natch.

To Read: Discworld Project

When TheEx and I split in the spring of 2008, I moved in with the family for a few months until I could save up a bit more cash before I moved to Detroit to finish my MLIS. This arrangement meant all my worldly goods were stored in their basement instead of having to hire a storage locker in the city, with the idea that I would be saving money in the long run for the move.
The winter of 2008-09 was particularly bad. When packing up my things to move to Detroit in January 2009, we discovered that out of close to 50 odd boxes of books (and some household items) that were stored in the basement, roughly 15-20 boxes were destroyed by water damage and flooding from all the goddamned snow. You see, one thing neither my ‘rents nor I figured into this storage plan was while their basement was not a Michigan basement, it suffered from severe leak problems which they never knew about since the winters were not as ferocious the first few years they owned the home.
With that being said, neither their insurance nor mine would cover the loss as the flooding of the basement was not due to burst water mains, hot water heater, or an act of god. The flooding was due to poor sealing of the basement foundation coupled with the house built at the end of a low hill. I.e.: Sorry, but you’re out of fucking luck.
I lost thousands of dollars in books and irreplaceable paper items such as letters, photos and journals.
It makes people cringe when I talk about the loss and my own heart aches when I think about it. Thankfully, with the help of my mother, I was able to catalog the damaged books and paper goods and have a decent idea of what books I’m now missing. Many, if not most, I will not replace as they are either out of print, given and inscribed as gifts or I no longer have any interest in the subject matter.
The exception to this rule is that I lost a good chunk of my Terry Pratchett collection, which I started collecting in the late ’90s and early ’00s. I was introduced to Pratchett by numerous people and became a huge fan (though to be fair, I started in the middle of the series at the time and didn’t care for it, so it took a bit more convincing to get me to start the continue on reading). Like the pedantic that I am, I eventually started at the beginning of the series, The Color of Magic, and pushed on. At some point, I caught up with the series and switched from buying paperbacks to hardcover (hc) books. Pratchett is one of the few authors that as soon as a book is announced for pre-order, I’m on that like white on rice.
A number of friends of mine who live across the pond, upon hearing about my Pratchett loss, asked me to compile a list of the destroyed books to help with replacement. While I did start purchasing Pratchett’s books in hardcover instead of paperback sometime in the mid-00s (when I caught up with the series), I’m not picky in which form I find the book (though I would prefer getting the British cover over the American one). Ultimately, I just want to get my collection close to completion again.
I compiled a list of Discworld books I DO have over at LibraryThing, which also includes materials about Pratchett and not necessairly by him. If anyone is able to help me out, that would be fantastic. I know a lot of Pratchett fans tend to have multiple copies of his work (differing covers, editions, etc) and if anyone has any extras they would like to donate to complete my Pratchett library collection again, that would be fantastic. Comment here or email me if we can work something out.
Destroyed:
The Color of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Mort
Sorcery
Wyrd Sisters
Guards! Guards!
Eric
Moving Pictures
Reaper Man
The Fifth Elephant
The Last Hero
The Wee Free Men
Hat Full of Sky (hc)
Thud! (hc)
Wintersmith (hc)
Missing:
(Books I’ve been unable to obtain in the .us or were unable to find easily)
Only You Can Save Mankind
Johnny and the Dead
Johnny and the Bomb
The Bromeliad Trilogy: TRUCKERS
The Bromeliad Trilogy: DIGGERS
The Bromeliad Trilogy: WINGS
Where’s My Cow?
The Discworld Graphic Novel

Reviews: Books: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict #everythingausten

2everythingausten [Cross-posted to GoodReads and LibraryThing. The entry chronicling my #everythingausten list, has also been updated.]
Several years ago, while working at $corporate_bookstore, I came across Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler which promised a fresh perspective in the Jane Austen paraliterature canon. I had been burned before by authors who use Austenmania as the foundation for their work, usually bogging themselves down by trying too hard to emulate Austen instead of just using her or her work as inspiration. What I really adored about Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict was that it didn’t seem to fall into the same tangles and missteps as other Austen inspired novels: the writing was contemporary and not fake-Georgian/Regency era, story was well paced, background was well researched, the comedic errors were indeed funny and above all else, I really liked the heroine Courtney Stone.

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

I could relate, which is hugely important when writing chick-lit, to the heroine’s experiences and I could also identify with her. This is really where Rigler excelled: she wrote chick-lit without making the heroine vacuous or implausible and she stayed (more or less) true to Austenesque style, which is where 90% of Austen regenerators fail.
One of the advantages of working in a bookstore is that you usually have your finger on what is going in the world of books and publishing much sooner than the general public, which was fantastic for me since I could keep atop on my Austen paraliterature better than the Austen blogging world. Having not worked at $corporate_bookstore since January of 2009, I’ve not been as diligent at finding new authors and books. Thus when finding out Rigler had written a parallel novel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, to tell Jane Fairfax’s side of the story, I was intrigued and hopeful. If Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict was fabulous, how much more awesome would be Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict?
The answer is: Not so much.
If you haven’t read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, here is a quick recap: Courtney Stone, 21st century Angeleno, finds out her fiance is cheating on her and breaks up with him. Stone’s passion is everything Austen (natch) and after days of obsessive reading/watching/listening, she smacks her head while drunk in a pool and wakes up in Georgian era England (Austen’s period) in the body of Jane Fairfax. Courtney has her own personality/memories, she also must contend with the memories of Jane Fairfax. Hilarity, anachronisms, misunderstandings and love ensues (obvs).
While Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict concentrated on 21st Courtney’s story, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict would tell of 19th century Jane Fairfax in the wilds of L.A. The premise then, is that while Courtney fixes Jane’s “life,” Jane too must fix Courtney’s “life.” Supposed hilarity, anachronisms, missteps and love ensues. Everyone goes home happy.
While I liked the idea and the concept, the execution was not as well done as Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. Rigler tries too hard to bridge the misunderstandings of a 19th century girl in a 21st century world, but the whole thing fell apart for me. I thought Rigler could have had a lot of fun with this, but the situations and problems she throws Jane in seem to be too conceptualized and trite. (Jane stumbling about as she learns about modern living for EVERYTHING LITTLE THING was stifling at best.) What I wanted, and what the premise of the book foreshadowed, was a young woman who had been oppressed for years, finds her own voice and freedom. Instead, she falls into the same trap as every other damn heroine in chick-lit.
In the end, SHE MARRIES THE FUCKING MAN! What would have worked is having Jane/Courtney come into her own, find her own footing, become a 21st century woman, make her passion (drawing) into a career. She doesn’t. Instead, she flounders for a few weeks, has everything taken care of for her by a man (just as in her past “life”) and learns nothing about freedom or independence. Wasn’t the point for Jane to fix Courtney’s life, thus by ensuring “Courtney’s” ability to stand on her own two feet and becoming her own person?
I was also confused as to what moral message Rigler was attempting to give here, surely if she is attempting to project that Jane/Courtney understands that things are different in the 21st century (as such Courtney/Jane discovers about 19th century in the first book), so are the mores of women. However, Rigler doesn’t do that, instead she just throws in some proto-feminist crap, makes weak argument about the sexual life of today’s woman and then drops it.
What the hell?
I adored Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict because of all the reasons I stated at the beginning of this review, but the Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict was nothing more than a huge mess. Rigler could have a had a lot of fun with this book by using Jane/Courtney to give a fresh perspective of 21st century life via a 19th century set of eyes. Instead, the text is a muddled piece of vacuousness with unbelievable and creepy characters1.
Also, the leading man? Wes? Man has no balls or spine but he DOES come from money, so obviously this fixes everything. If you want fun, read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and forget that the second book exists. I think Rigler has a lot of talent, I’m hoping Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict is not indicative of her future works. If so, well, she needs to find another shtick because this 21st century girl won’t be buying.
1. Deepa creeped me out — I didn’t find her to be “helpful” or “guiding” Jane towards the answers, for surely, that is what she was supposed to have been doing. Again, another character whose life was made simpler by a divorce from a man with money – how fitting. Rigler seems to be saying here, then, that the only way to true happiness is to marry a man with money. Because obviously, our sister suffragettes struggle for over 200 years means shit.

Biblyotheke: A Meme. (Look into a thought process.)

TBRJuly2010-300x225
o Be Read Pile: As of July 2010.
Does not include the TBR piles from the library or on our bedside tables…”

This is how it works:
My wonderful friend Alice and I were bemoaning to each other a few months back that we were behind on a number of projects, blogging on our websites and in short, world domination. We decided to support each other since we were in the same boat on a numerous things and so she wrote up this post to kind of nag us to well, stop bemoaning! One of my things is/was to clear out Google Reader and keep the more quality stuff while in turn, Alice would update her blog more on her antics with her crafts, charming daughter ‘Melia and whatever floats her boat that day. Total win-win situation.
This morning I’m poking Google Reader with a big stick and see that Alice has indeed been writing and not only that, but name checking me in the process. Except that because my gReader account is getting beyond scary, I haven’t been checking it as much as of late because well, it’s getting beyond scary even when marking many of the accounts “Mark as Read – Anything Over 7 Days.”1 Plus, I’ve also been talking to Alice nearly everyday so if she was name checking me, surely she would have told me, yes?
Well, no. 🙂 But the post, a meme, which looks kind of short and fun to do, instead of spending the 15 or 30 minutes of whatever writing, editing and posting the damn thing, I, being me, turn this into a big production!
In order to get the post out, I have to:

  • Take pictures of our TBR books!
  • Compare from photos taken a year ago.
  • Notice that many of the books haven’t really moved position in that time.
  • Wonder
  • Upload the photos to Flickr and to the blog!
  • Oh, wait – there is a work around for posting to Flickr and Twitter at the same time? I must debug that! 2

The meme (unanswered):
1. What was the last book you read?
2. Recommend a book.
3. Recommend a children’s book.
4. My guilty pleasure is:
5. This one was rubbish:
6. If you wrote a book, what would it be? (Adapt as desired if you are writing or have written a book.)

1. This is a definite note to self that I must clear out my gReader of stuff that is less than mildly interesting, educational or amusing.
2. Originally, any camera photos were being uploaded to Twitpic. The problem I have with this is that I wanted a central location for my photos and while Flickr has a great iPhone app, said app does not have capability to upload photos to your Flickr account and then repost, from the app, to your Twitter account. Poking around, however, discovered that Flickr allows you to email photos to Flickr+Twitter simultaneously, so I can ditch the Flickr app, dump the Twitpic account and just post photos to Flickr as $deity intended.