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The Marriage Plot: For Giant Nerds Only

After seeing the giant Jeffrey Eugenides billboard in Times Square, I decided I just HAD to read The Marriage Plot, because that billboard was really convincing. Okay, that’s not true at all. I was already curious about the book, but the very Indiana-Jones-esque billboard was also hilarious. This is the first Eugenides book I’ve read (I know, I know, I should’ve read Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides like a million times by now) and I liked it kind of a lot!

Title: The Marriage Plot

Author: Jeffrey Eugenides

Here’s the scoop on this one: Madeleine (English major), Leonard (Bio major with semiotics love), and Mitchell (Religious Studies major) are all graduating from Brown with degrees of varying levels of applicability to the real world. Mitchell loves Madeleine who loves Leonard who is manic depressive or bipolar. To avoid spoilers, I’ll be vague about the rest of the book, but basically we get to see all kinds of post-collegiate floundering, and who doesn’t love that? Also lots of flashbacks to fun college with all kinds of great lit and semiotics classes and self-importance out the ears.

I think I haven’t blogged for so long because I knew this book was next and I’m having some real trouble dissecting my thoughts about it. A lot of it hits close to home because I double-majored in English and Philosophy, and the overlap that I chose to focus on for my thesis was philosophy of language, which, you know, semiotics hello. And the classes and the reading material and the giant self-important nerds in the novel are all really dead-on and hilarious but also so, so sad. Then there’s the part where I just graduated and the idea of floundering in misery like these characters is just horrifying.

So basically my thoughts are these: If you get the satire, the funny bits of this book are even funnier. And it also highlights how darn sad and not at all funny Madeline and Mitchell and Leonard’s lives are post-graduation. If the idea of reading satire on the popular lit and language theories of the 80s makes you want to barf, probably this book is not for you. If the idea of reading satire on the self-importance of college students makes you want to barf, again, probably this is not the book for you.

I will leave you with this quote, which I think is one of the more hilarious of the lines I highlighted on my Kindle: “‘My goal in life is to become an adjective,’ Leonard said. ‘People would go around saying, ‘That was so Bankheadian.’ Or, ‘A little too Bankheadian for my taste.'” Perfect.

(P.S. This blog was way better but then the stupid internet deleted my edits to it, and I didn’t not put as much effort in the second time around, sorry world!)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOG

Oh my god, blog, it’s your birthday in that way where exactly one year ago TODAY I posted your very first post, which were some resolutions or whatever because you know, beginning of January. (For those who are interested, I would say I was mildly successful with resolutions 1, 2, 3, and 7, successful with 5, and not at all successful with 4 and 6.) 

Anyway, I am not really into the idea of making resolutions this year so instead I’m going to tell you all about what I read last year, since this is a book blog and I’m curious. You can see the whole list of books I’ve read here. (By the way, I don’t know if you realize this, blog, but every book I read I post about. I’m behind on a few books right now, but I promise I will blog about all of them, and the list of books is up to date as of this moment. Also, just realized that I forgot about Legend so I added that to the list in roughly the area where I read it.)

TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN 2011: 56

  • Hardcover books read: 2
  • Paperback books read: 9 (6 ARCs)
  • Ebooks read: 45

I did not realize that I read so few books that are actually books and not ebooks. I did, however, just buy two books I’m super excited about reading and they are real books, and they are for adults of the grown variety, as opposed the the young one. Speaking of…

  • Adult books read: 16
  • YA books read: 34
  • Middle grade books read: 6

(Fun fact: the vocabulary level of the middle grade books was much higher than that of the YA books.)

Also, you guys, I knew I was reading a lot of YA but holy hell is that way too high a percentage of YA books. More than 50% of the books I read this year were for young adults. I know I am kind of close to / in (according to some) that age range, but… that is ridiculous. Reading YA books in and of itself is not ridiculous, but they aren’t even the books I enjoy the most, so I should spend more time with books I love or am more likely to love.

What books did I enjoy the most, you ask? Here, I will give you my TOP THREE BOOKS READ IN 2011, although they are in NO ORDER OKAY? I can’t decide on which is best, which is why there are three.

If you haven’t read the first two, do so immediately. I read them both as library ebooks and I am on the hunt for cheap copies at The Strand or another used book store to buy because they are so worth owning. The third you must read immediately after it comes out in February. I will hopefully have blogged about it by then.

I guess I will make a few resolutions, too, but in the way of books and this blog.

In 2012:

  • More than 50% of books I read should be FOR ADULTS. Seriously.
  • Read MORE than 56 books. 75, even? (Should be doable depending on my job situation. I just looked at my books again and while I was in college I read 9 books, whereas from the summer program in June to the end of December I read the other 47.)
  • Blog AT LEAST 4 times a month, lazy. That is so easy, why am I not doing it yet?
  • Blog about more movies / TV shows! I do those things, too, not just read books!

Okay, blog. We had an okay 2011 in terms of me blogging and reading, but we can do better this year, right?

XOXO,

Gossip Girl

Submarine: Perfectly Pretentious

Hey, you nerds. You know what I like? Pretentious movies that are aware that they are pretentious and make fun of themselves. (Does that make them more pretentious? If they know they’re pretentious and continue with their pretensions?) Anyway, a movie like that is Submarine.

First off, it’s directed by Richard Ayoade, who is hilarious in The IT Crowd (watch it on Netflix) where he plays Moss, a character who has great lines like, “Women, eh? Can’t live with ’em, can’t find ’em.” (So good.)

Second, it is narrated by / follows Oliver Tate (see poster), a 15-year-old boy who says things like, “I suppose it’s a bit of an affectation, but I often read the dictionary” and “To us and a wonderful evening of lovemaking” but still expects to lose his virginity.

Third, the cinematography is really pretty.

Fourth, Oliver Tate, again. And other characters like Graham Purvis the mystic and Oliver’s parents.

Fifth, also the soundtrack is good!

Sixth, okay go watch it now.

Here’s a trailer, if you need some extra media to convince you:

Brooklyn Book Festival

Can we talk about how great New York City is? New York City is so great that it attracts tons of fabulous authors who get together to read and talk on panels and sign books and New York City is so great that it’s all free. On Sunday, I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival.

I saw comic-writers Kate Beaton, Michael Kupperman, Keith Knight, and Jennifer Hayden talk about their work and things like how they knew they were funny and if they’d ever gone too far into not-funny territory. Michael and Kate in particular were hilarious speakers.

Then, I went and listened to Karen Russell, Elissa Schappell, and Jim Shepard read some fiction. (The ladies were both great, but Jim seemed like kind of a D and I wasn’t really into it. And by Jim, I mean his narrator.)

Then a little wandering over to the Youth Stoop to see Cory Doctorow, Jacqueline Woodson, and Gayle Forman read a bit from their books and then talk about making difficult choices the subjects of young adult fiction. I was so into Gayle Forman and her “Team Adam” button that I read If I Stay this morning. (Now you go read it.)

And THEN a two-bags-of-chips-and-a-sweet-tea break was sorely needed because I am a fatty.

Finally went to go see short story writers Clark Blaise, Seth Fried, and Amelia Gray read some of their fiction, followed by some Q&A and I was really entertained by all of them (Seth was the best, though) and then wanted to immediately write a million things.

Basically, NYC is the best. And next year I am both going to get up earlier to arrive earlier and going to stand in line for the ticketed bits. (If you wanted to see the bigger name authors it was still free, but you had to wait around for tickets.) ALSO. Jennifer Egan was after me in line for the bathroom. Just saying.

How I’m Wasting My Time

HEY BLOG,

I’ve been pretty busy doing important things like reading more paranormal romance for teens and being super ashamed about it. Also I’ve been doing other things like socializing and going to parks and that’s about it. I feel bad about not blogging though, so here you go, world, here are some funny things I found on the internet recently!

  1. Harry Potter Humor tumblr. Particularly here, here, and here.
  2. Fake YouTube pronunciation guide, PronunciationManual, which I found on YouTube yesterday, probably before Alison did, even though she blogged about it first. RAL-PUH-HUH FEE-EN-NEN-NEZ.
  3. Duke Silver. Enough said. And if it’s not enough said, it’s because you don’t watch Parks and Recreation, which means you’re really missing out. Get on Netflix right now.
I’m nine books behind right now, so see you soon, blog! P.S. People who read this, put more funny things in the comments, plz.

Winning at SEO

Having learned about SEO at the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, I was curious as to how my little blog was doing. Luckily, with WordPress, you can check what search terms are getting people to your blog. Here are my favorite search terms that have gotten people to my blog:

  • “giant romper” (This has apparently gotten me two views.)
  • “piece of gum “cavernous vagina”” (This has also gotten two views! Glad multiple people are searching cavernous vaginas. It’s from this entry about Bossypants.)
  • “read to the blind” (…not sure why this got someone to my blog. Possibly The Blind Assassin?)
  • “bossypants quotes “batshit crazy”” (Thanks, Tina Fey. You’re getting my blog several views.)
  • “things to do when unemployed” (Probably don’t read my blog.)
  • “handmaids tale dying” (Why did someone search for this? P.S., Thanks Margaret Atwood.)
  • “spoiler water for elephants” (Someone is looking for spoilers! Not a good book or movie, so probably the best way to save yourself some time.)
Glad I discovered these.

Harry P and the Weird Hug-Tumble Over Hogwarts

Two weeks ago this very hour I was standing in line, slightly worried that I wasn’t going to make it into the theater to see Mr. Harry P. and the midnight showing. Three hours less than two weeks ago I was eating Lucky Charms and waiting for the subway home, mulling over the final film and wondering how bad I looked after sobbing for part of the movie. (Also wondering how bad I’d look the next morning at the career fair, but so it goes.)

I liked the movie. I’m a huge fan of the books and I try to think of the movies as distinct entities from the books. I liked Deathly Hallows, Part One better, but I definitely liked the second half. I’m not going to do a review here, though, I’m just going to take you through all the weird bits which, to me, make the movies kind of charming in a silly way.

  • The weirdest of the weirdness was definitely the hug-tumble that Voldemort and Harry do off of a cliff with some bouncing off of turrets and generally blurriness. I have no idea what that was about. I knew about part of it because of the trailer but really, so weird.
  • Why did all the goblins look horribly deformed?
  • Poor Cormac didn’t graduate.
  • Voldemort hugging Draco. Weird.
  • Awkward bloody baby train-heaven Voldemort. Gross, and kind of silly.
  • OLD MAN DAN RADCLIFFE & CO. Talk about WEIRD. Also, Rupert’s old man belly.
  • HP’s kids’ names… OH WAIT THAT WAS ROWLING’S FAULT lolololol.

I’m sure there are others, but that’s all I can think of now. Thanks, movies, for being so weird sometimes! Also if ANYONE reads this blog and can think of more, please suggest your own weird bits!
(But Siriusly [pun intended], I liked the movie. The acting was WAY better than it has been before, especially from Dan Radcliffe. And I cried SO MUCH during the Resurrection Stone scene and the Snape loves Lily scene and the people-who-died montage, etc. I want to see it again.)