Inspiration

I’ve been totally lacking for inspiration lately.  For this blog anyway, I have plenty going on in my normal life.  When I decided to start this blog, I thought it was going to be awesome; all Doctor Who and Joss Whedon.  But I’m realizing that it’s hard to ‘talk shop’ everyday about the same topics without seeming stale.

So as you may have noticed, I’ve been branching out a bit and talking about my writing (which continues to consume my life) and my TV habits (some of which are definitely geekier than others).

But last night as I was watching hockey, (Full disclosure: I watch a LOT of hockey.  It’s a total non-geeky obsession of mine.) I fell asleep!  At about 9pm.  I think that sums up my geekiness in a nutshell.

Oh and this:

This is a snapshot of my bookshelf.  Yup.  I’m that girl.  Twilight meets Nietzsche.  Can you tell which one’s been read more?

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Rory’s Book Club

I want to be a Gilmore Girl.  The show has been off the air for five years or so now, but I miss Stars Hollow.  I miss my friends (Lorelai, Rory, Luke, Lane, Jess).  I miss my enemies (Paris, Logan, Emily, Christopher).

It had brilliant writing and great stories.  (Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for snappy dialog and witty banter.  I’m happiest when a scene consists of two people talking on a couch).

To be honest, I’m probably as close to being a Gilmore Girl as it’s possible to be.  I really am best friends with my mom (and she totally rocks), I read more than any human probably should, I’m neurotic and my head is full of weird useless facts.

But to be even more of a geeky Gilmore Girl, I’m going to attempt to tackle Rory’s Book Club list.  At one point, the WB had a Rory’s Book Club on their website.  Seeing as, GG has been off the air for five years (as we spoke about earlier), it no longer exists.  But the books from the list still do.  (Full disclosure: There are books on this list I know I NEVER want to read and I don’t plan to.  I’ll let you know what the rejects are, but that’s for another day. As I spoke about in an earlier post, life is too short to read books you hate.)

I’ll update periodically to let you guys know my progress.  In case anyone wants to play along:

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  4.  Mencken Chrestomathy by H.L. Mencken
  5. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
  6. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  7.  A Quiet Storm: A Novel by Rachel Howzell Hall
  8. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  9. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  10.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Dreiser
  11.  American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  12. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  13. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan
  14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
  15.  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress: A Novel by Dai Sijie
  16. Bee Season: A Novel by Myla Goldberg
  17. Bel Canto (P.S.) by Ann Patchett
  18. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  19. Beowulf 
  20. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  21. Brick Lane: A Novel by Monica Ali
  22. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  23. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
  24.  Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  25.  Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
  26.  Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  27.  Daisy Miller by Henry James
  28. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  29. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  30. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  31. Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  32. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  33. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
  34. Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable by Mark Dunn
  35. Emma by Jane Austen
  36. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  37. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  38. Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door 2007: The Travel Skills Handbook by Rick Steves
  39. Extravagance: A Novel by Gary Krist
  40. Fahrenheit 451: A Novel by Ray Bradbury
  41. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
  42. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  43. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  44. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  45. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
  46. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  47.  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  48. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
  49. How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
  50.  How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
  51. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  52. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence
  53. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  54. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
  55. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  56. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  57. Life of Pi: Student Edition by Yann Martel
  58. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  59. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  60. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  61. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  62. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  63. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  64. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
  65. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
  66. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville 
  67. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
  68. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  69. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
  70. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
  71. My Sister’s Keeper: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
  72. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
  73. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
  74. Night by Elie Wiesel
  75. Dawn Powell: Novels 1930-1942 by Dawn Powell
  76. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  77. Old School by Tobias Wolff
  78. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens   
  79. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  80. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  81. Oracle Night by Paul Auster
  82. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  83. Othello by William Shakespeare
  84. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
  85. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil
  86. Property by Valerie Martin
  87. Pushkin: A Biography by T.J. Binyon
  88. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  89. Quattrocento by James Mckean
  90. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
  91. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
  92. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  93. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  94. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
  95. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
  96. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
  97. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by LAURA HILLENBRAND
  98. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  99.  Siddhartha: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  100. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  101. Small Island: A Novel by Andrea Levy
  102. The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway
  103. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
  104. Songbook by Nick Hornby
  105. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
  106. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach Swann’s
  107. Way by Marcel Proust
  108. Swimming With Giants: My Encounters With Whales, Dolphins, and Seals by Anne Collet
  109. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
  110. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  111. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  112. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  113. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  114. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  115. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  116. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  117. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
  118. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  119. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
  120. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
  121. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  122. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  123. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  124. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  125. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  126. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  127. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  128. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  129. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  130. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
  131. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
  132. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  133. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
  134. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  135. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
  136. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  137. The Little Locksmith: A Memoir by Katharine Butler Hathaway
  138. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  139. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  140. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
  141. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  142. The Meaning of Consuelo: A Novel by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  143. The Metamorphosis: by Franz Kafka
  144. The Naked and the Dead Norman Mailer
  145. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco 
  146. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  147. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
  148. The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan
  149. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  150. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
  151. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  152. The Portable Nietzsche
  153. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
  154. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
  155. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  156. The Rough Guide to Europe 2006 by Various Authors
  157. The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  158. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  159. The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir
  160. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Kidd
  161. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  162. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
  163. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
  164. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  165. The Story of My Life: The Restored Edition by Helen Keller
  166. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  167. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  168. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters: A Novel by Elisabeth Robinson
  169. Unabridged Journals by Sylvia Plath
  170. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  171. Time and Again by Jack Finney
  172. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  173. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
  174. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  175. Unless: A Novel by Carol Shields
  176. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  177. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  178. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  179.  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
  180. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  181. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel by Rebecca Wells

Books

Books.  They are everywhere.  Most people read them.  But for whatever reason, people who read have tended to be branded with the mark of the geek.

Is it because people who read tend to be seen as loners?  I certainly was.  Is it because people who read tend to look for escape?  I certainly did.  Is it because people who read tend to want to consume more knowledge?  I certainly did.

Reading seems to be more socially acceptable today than it did twenty years ago.  Or it just might seem that way since I know myself better and care less what people think of me, but I really think it’s the former.

And I hate to say it, but I really think reading became popular when every book that was every published started getting turned into movies.  It became cool to say, “I read the book long before they made a movie out of it,” and “Oh, the book was so much better.”  These are the kind of things I used to get punched in the face for saying (okay not really, but I did get ignored and kind of became a social pariah).

A part of me is glad.  As a lifelong reader and lover of books, I used to long for someone to discuss stories with.  I was never able to find anyone (expect maybe my librarian- yes she was mine) to talk to about the characters that I loved and someday hoped to emulate.

A (big) part of me is jealous.  Books were my special friends.  I had them first.  They were my sanctuary.  No matter how bad the world outside was, books could always soothe me.

It is, I think, a very geeky thing to love something fiercely and then when other people realize how great it is (and it ultimately becomes popular) become upset with them for not realizing its amazingness sooner.  We argue with people and tell them they aren’t true fans of whatever geeky thing we love because they weren’t fans from the beginning.

I think at our core, we just want to be accepted.  And whatever our geeky thing is, it gets us.  But we don’t get these ‘popular’ people who are now taking our beloved things (in this case, books).  We don’t want to be associated with these people who have, for so long made fun of us, for the very thing they are now claiming to love.

At the end of the day, I want people to buy more books (but it’s mostly for selfish reasons- I don’t want them to start only putting books out on eReaders).  But I don’t want them to buy my books.

Let them keep buying Jennifer Weiner, Danielle Steel and Jodi Picoult (Full disclosure: I’ve never read anything by any of these authors.  But I don’t want to either.  And with so many books out there, I want to read, I’ll leave these alone).

FYI: Sorry I know this post is a little rambly but that’s how I felt writing it so I didn’t want to edit it too much.

Kindle or Nook? Just buy a freakin’ book!

This past Christmas (as in 19 days ago) seemed to be the year of the eReader.  I think I personally know half a dozen people who received them as gifts.  As the title of this post might imply, I am not a fan of the eReader.  (Full disclosure- you’ll notice I do this a lot- I’ve never actually used an eReader, but I’ve never used a pack of C4 either).

I love books.  I love books like Grant Imahara loves Geoff Peterson robots.  (That’s a Mythbusters reference with a little bit of Craig Ferguson thrown in, for those of you not in the know).  I’m that weird girl who walks through the book store and smells all the books.  (Yes, they have a certain aroma).  I love their scent.  I love the way they feel in my hands.  I love thy way they look lined up on a shelf.

While I’m a loud voice against the rise of the eReader,  (well if you know me, you know I could have stopped at ‘I’m loud.’) At the end up the day, I do understand their appeal.  Having tens of thousands (this number could be millions for all I actually know about eReader, see above) of books at your disposal at any given time is tempting.  Not tripping over books that are piled up on the floor because your bookshelves are full is tempting.  (Full disclosure: This will no longer be a problem for me as I am currently turning our extra bedroom into a freakin’ library!) Knowing the book you are always looking for will always be in stock (I’m only assuming this is true with eReaders) is tempting.

But what are you giving up?  I remember when the fourth Harry Potter was being released.  Five of us went to Barnes and Nobel to wait outside in line for hours in order to be able to get a copy that night.  (Full disclosure: I’m pretty sure I was the only one who actually went home and read the book that night, but still).  It may seem like a silly thing, but we had such a good time.  We were surrounded with friends, like minded people and let’s not forget a bunch of little kids dressed up as book characters.  For a book nerd, it was a kind of  mecca.  What will we do now?  Eagerly stare at a Nook until 11:59 becomes 12:00 so we can tap the button that says ‘buy’?

Going forward I’m going to try to be a little more tolerable of eReaders, but I refuse to jump on the bandwagon until they stop actually putting book out in print (which hopefully won’t be until long after I’m gone).

The Nerdist Way

So I just read Chris Hardwick’s book, The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life).  I don’t really know what I was expecting before I read it, but what I was not expecting was a strange self-help book (that in some weird bizarre way was actually kinda helpful) with waaaaay too many typos.  I mean really.  I think I found at least a dozen. (Full disclosure: he discussed the typos on the podcast and said he’d try to edit them out when the book came out in paperback, but stilll…come on man!)

Now, I love Chris Hardwick.  I listen to his podcast religiously.  He’s a funny dude.  Not only is he funny, but he’s smart (not about typos, of course).  And not douchey about being smart (expect when you piss him off with your grammar usage-but it’s a funny rant).  But I don’t think he should write anymore books.

The parts of the book that were good, were the parts where you could hear his voice coming through.  When he was performer Chris Hardwick or at the very least, just Chris Hardwick.  Too often it seemed like he was trying to write a book that would appeal to everyone so he appealed to no one (and by no one, of course I mean me).

He did have some good ideas and I think he’d make a fine motivational speaker (actually this book might be good if you got the audio version now that I think of it-I’m pretty sure he did the recording of it), but his words were meant to be spoken out loud.  Written down they fall flat and don’t carry with them that jovial Chris Hardwick-ness.

Doesn’t mean I love him any less, or that you’ll be hearing less about him in the future.  I can’t thank him enough for helping make the world a little  geekier.