Rife with Rich Material

Rife with Rich Material

Oh, Ann Arbor Craigslist missed connections – how I love thee!

Pretty much this entire post is amaze-balls, but my favorite line is the one about his parents being disappointed.

It’s such an odd line to end the post on, and also caused me to wonder, temporarily, if the disappointed parents had written it. I vote towards “no,” although if his parents had written it, it would make giggle.

Creepy Craiglist: Why are you posting instead of calling the police?

call the popo

Well, that sounds creepy. You should probably call the police instead of posting a missed connection.

Also – what a great story prompt. You get bonus points if you take this creepy Craigslist post & write a story about it! (But only if you let me know, maybe even posting a link, in the comments below.)

Avoiding M. Night Shyamalan

Like many people, I really enjoyed The Sixth Sense. Cute kid, Bruce Willis, suspense, Bruce Willis, a twist I didn’t see coming that brought the whole movie together in a coherent way while helping the viewer feel a sense of closure and finality, and, of course, Bruce Willis.

I might kind of have a thing for Bruce Willis.

I might kind of have a thing for Bruce Willis.

The Sixth Sense, to me, provides proof that the “twist” can be an effective ploy, and that it would be incorrect to say that an author cannot effectively build an entire work around one. I will venture to say that I don’t think this ploy should be utilized very often, and that when it is used, often results in a shallow work, with little substance, that isn’t very enjoyable to read.

Unless you're dancing, avoid The Twist.

Unless you’re dancing, avoid The Twist.

The latest book I have read using this ploy (poorly) and convincing me that the Twist should generally be avoided is The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon.

This book.

This book.

According to this book’s Goodreads page, at least amongst the readers who rated the book, I am in the minority here. So it’s definitely possible that I missed some of the charm of this novel, particularly since I read it while working an accounting internship that generally spanned at least 60 hours per week. Or (more likely) that I am a picky reader, and found fault with a book that is supposed to be flimsy beach read. Or (most likely) that I should stop reading historical fiction novels, because they almost always disappoint me.

& now I feel like Marnie.

& now I feel like Marnie.

I didn’t feel like Lawhon worked especially hard on building up a twenties atmosphere – which personally, I liked. Often, when a writer does historical fiction, so much loving, careful, wonderful research is done, that the book feels a little claustrophobic. When a writer focuses too much on historical accuracy, I usually have trouble getting into the story. & when Lawhon did sneak a twenties reference into her novel that I noticed, it was generally because it felt forced and/or pissed me off. In a particular scene, the Wife wears a Coco Chanel dress that is “the latest fashion,” but allows herself to feel sad that she can’t have kids when another catty politician’s wife remarks that she is “the type” who can pull off that look. Since the whole point of Chanel and flappers was that women didn’t have to adhere to constricting societal stereotypes, it was really disappointing to me that an act of potential female strength and “I don’t give a damn” was turned into a scene of “My boobs aren’t big enough and I’m a bad homemaker because I can’t bear children.” As a woman, and not a prize sow, I would like to think my boyfriend keeps me around for more than my childbearing hips.

This is a sow, not a woman. #Iknowthiscanbeconfusing

This is a sow, not a woman. #Iknowthiscanbeconfusing

The history revolves around the mystery of a NY judge who disappeared (for realz) in 1930. The fictional aspects primarily revolve around the 3 women closest to Justice Crater – his wife, his maid, and his mistress – and what they knew about the judge, as well as what they possibly did to assist in his disappearance.

There is a twist regarding these three women and their involvement near the end of the book, which the book was obviously built around, and which is ineffective, as well as boring. The twist is explicated in a letter written by the mistress to the maid, which makes NO FREAKIN’ SENSE. If you are writing a letter to someone you are in collusion with, you don’t explain the actions of a third person you were also in collusion with and the reasons for that third person’s collusion because, you both already know that. It’s the equivalent of my writing to you: “As you know, this is my blog that you’re reading. I am currently typing on a fancy shmancy laptop computer keyboard to get these letters into WordPress, from whence I will publish this blog post, so that you can read it. Which you are doing right now.” I do not need to write these things to you. You already know them.

I will stop complaining about this, and just leave you with this picture.

I will stop complaining about this, and just leave you with this picture.

And, since I’ve already been spoilery enough, let me discuss one of my favorite scenes. This scene is when the Mistress has fled NY to go back to whatever farm-hick town she’s from, and the husband she abandoned, because she’s preggers and homesick. The husband seems like a decent guy – he takes her in, though the child is obviously not his. And she’s upset b/c he’s sleeping on the couch and she misses him, and also being pregnant and having a baby is hard. Then, shortly after the baby is born, her hubby crawls into bed with her, and they have sex. With the baby sleeping on the bed right next to them. This sounds irresponsible beyond belief. I mean, if you flee NY to protect yourself and your baby, why would you endanger your baby’s life through sexy times? Can’t you guys do it on the floor or something? Just… what? Also – have you seen a new mother? That dazed expression, the glazed over, red eyes, the slow comprehension of anything? Lack of sleep makes a woman look and act really sexy #sarcasm.

This is what Ariel looked like after she had her daughter.

This is what Ariel looked like after she had her daughter.

So I will thus end my spoil-ridden review of this ARC I received, but sadly, did not enjoy. And I leave with these parting words:

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com
free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

Mrs. Poe probably says “Hell no, don’t read this book”

Probably not even from the grave. It would be fitting for E. Allen Poe’s wife to be a zombie. Desperately craving peaceful rest, but her mind cackles evil-ly and tells her “Never more.” Like an insomniac, but, you know, rotting.

So, yes, I recently read Mrs. Poe, and no, I didn’t like it. Here’s the cover, so you know what to avoid.

Avoid.

Avoid.

Mrs. Poe is not an evil book. It’s not a particularly well written book, but it’s also not particularly poorly written. Instead, it is even worse: It is BORING.

The writer took some interesting concepts – Edgar Allen Poe, appearance vs. reality, imagination vs. reality (done so, so, so, so, so much better in Northanger Abbey. Like – SO  much better. Read that instead. #unbiased), writing – and mushed them together in a very, to me, unappealing way. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I doubt it.

*eyes shifting right & left* No, this is not my favorite Austen book. #ZOMGittotallyis

*eyes shifting right & left* No, this is not my favorite Austen book. #ZOMGittotallyis

So what, exactly, did the Twilight-vampire-named authoress do wrong?

I probably don’t remember everything I disliked about this book. I tend to block out bland, unpleasant memories. But here are a few of them:

  • The narrator is particularly unlikable. Of course, this isn’t always a dealbreaker. Lolita is an amazing book, and if you’re sympathizing with Humbert Humbert, you’re reading it wrong. But I think that the author wanted us to like the narrator (some poet, I forget her name, and honestly, am too lazy to look it up). She is supposedly drop-dead gorgeous (which is fine, I usually prefer to think about handsome people, but will pull this up as a fault if the character annoys me), vain and proud about her poetry (which, frankly, doesn’t strike me as very good), angry that her husband left her for other women (with more money; of course he left you, honey #chaching), lusting after another woman’s husband (hypocrite; also, ew), not spending enough time with her children (which probably wasn’t that uncommon amongst the gentle classes during the time period specified, but still pi$$ed me off), and cannot make up her freakin’ mind. What are you, a thirteen year old? Stop being so indecisive; make up your mind, and stick to it. Making up your mind, only to change it the second some guy in tight pants walks by is not going to make me like you.
  • The unlikable narrator is always going on and on about how sexy Mr. Poe is. Um…ew. Have you seen pictures of E. Allen Poe? Who is attracted to that? Like, seriously.
He's sexy and he knows it? #wait...what

He’s sexy and he knows it? #wait…what

Now, for a moment, I thought it was possible the authoress was going to redeem herself. I thought maybe the narrator was supposed to be unstable, rather than unintelligent, as well as too naive to see what was going on in front of her. I probably shouldn’t explain how I thought this might happen, but I think I’m going to anyway:

MY THOUGHTS that would have completely changed the way this book is read, and also appealed about a million times more to my gothic sensibilities:

E. Allen Poe is a sadistic asshole who can’t even really write. His famous stories, “The Raven” poem, etc., are actually written by his dying wife. Now that his consumptive wife is dying, he’s on the prowl to seduce another “good” writer, whose works he plans to sell as his own. Possibly, in addition, killing this writer after he reaps the literary goods she has sown. (If you have read the book, don’t you agree, this ending would have made the book so much more fun?)

ANYWAY, continuing my list:

  • The protagonist (ew) is frightened of this woman whose husband she is trying to steal. Um, hello? Has anyone seen Fatal Attraction? I think we all agree the protagonist and her “sexy” (#vomit) lover deserve a little torture. Particularly when…
  • Mrs. Poe is dying. DYING. Of consumption. And all her husband and this boring poetess can do is make googly eyes at each other while she withers away? Um, no. Not cool, guys.

Well, I’ve reminded myself of why I don’t like this book. Maybe you will, maybe I’m missing something wonderful about this book. But if so, I genuinely didn’t see it, and so I can’t recommend this book to anyone. Oh, also, I received it as an ARC; thank goodness I didn’t pay for it. *shudder*

& on that dark & stormy note, I bid you adieu. Also - ravens.

& on that dark & stormy note, I bid you adieu. Also – ravens.

Bad things happen in 3s, right? Right?!

I’ve been absent for a couple of months because I am currently in the midst of an accounting internship that entails over 40 hours of work a week, as well as an hour-long commute. I am really enjoying it. The office is great, especially because of the awesome staff, I’m learning a lot, and it is reinforcing the idea that I do, indeed, enjoy accounting.

But last week was pretty much the week from hell.

Not because of my internship… exactly.

Not because of the work for my internship.

Last week, my boyfriend’s best friend, someone he’s known since he was a kid, passed away. We knew it was coming. He was an alcoholic who had killed his liver and kidneys and had been in and out of the hospital several times.

But he was still only in his mid-thirties, and he was still my boyfriend’s best friend, and it still really, really sucks.

A few hours before this young, young man died, we found my phone. My neighbor had found it. Apparently, it had fallen out of my purse in the morning (I usually leave around 7 a.m.), and I hadn’t noticed, and I ran over it with my car (thank goodness I have the overpriced insurance plan).

The screen was completely ruined – the amazing thing? It still rang. That’s how we found it. You couldn’t answer the phone, turn it off, etc. – but it would still ring. Which makes me kind of amazed at the sturdiness of the Android.

Then, on Saturday, to top it all off, my ignition cylinder stopped working.

For those of you who don’t know what the ignition cylinder is, (I didn’t), it’s the thing your key turns in to turn on your car. It also apparently goes bad on all Ford Focuses made from 2000 – 2010. So… don’t get an old Focus if you can help it.

I drove to work fine, but when I tried to leave the parking lot, I couldn’t turn my key, and couldn’t turn my wheel.

After being stranded at work for 4 hours, my parents picked me up. It was so awesome of them, and also made me feel like a little kid again, having to ask my parents for help. My family also waited with me on Sunday, when I discovered that the towing company couldn’t fit their car in the garage.

Luckily, (finally), the tow mechanic told me to call a locksmith. The fact is, I probably could have found a company that could tow my car, but considering I would have towing fees on top of repairs, the locksmith probably saved me money. Plus, he was amazing. It was very cool to see him work. He knew exactly what he was doing, what tools he needed, and had a range of time for how long it would take him which he did not exceed. Locksmithing is truly an art, and one that I’m appreciative of.

This week has to be better than the week before, right? 3 truly horrible things happened to my family, so it’s got to be over now, right? We’re not bad people; we deserve some good karma – though I would settle for middle of the road, “my-life-is-not-falling-apart” karma.

The internship probably ends this month, when you will probably see me on-line, suddenly, frequently, and hopefully, funnily. I could use some laughs. Want to share your funny stories, jokes? You will be my best friend. Or at least some better karma.

Well, *that* doesn’t bode well.

writingmom2013:

The nearest book for me was An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin.

My sentence?

“Still, seven thousand dollars was not bad for a walk around the corner.”

This is why I have missed the Bloggess on WordPress. How else would I understand my love live? (But not really, because as parents of a young child, neither my boyfriend nor I get laid often enough to have a relationship based solely on commerce and sex.)

Originally posted on The Bloggess:

So, this is going around Facebook:

page 45

I decided to try it, and the book next to me was the German translation of my book.  The sentence is:

“Der Familienlegende zufolge schlug der Mann meiner Ur-Ur-Grobtante, als die schon Über dreißig war und eines Tages am Frühstückstisch saß, seiner Frau von hinten einen Nagel in den Schädel und begrub sie anschließend im Garten.”

This, of course, translates to:

“According to family legend, when my great-great-great aunt was in her thirties, she sat down at the breakfast table and her husband drove a nail though the back of her skull and then buried her in the backyard.”

And that’s why I’ve hidden all the hammers on the roof, Victor.  I’m saving you from yourself.  And I’m also saving me from yourself.  We’re both benefitting.  Stop asking about the hammers.  The hammers are gone.

**************

And in other news, it’s Sunday, which…

View original 160 more words

Wow.

I really don’t think there is another word that captures my feeling while reading The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, which is supposed to be a mystery, but by the time the book gets around to the “who? what? where?” questions, you don’t really care, anymore.

I have a feeling this book was self-published, particularly because of the formatting. The author switches viewpoints between characters a lot, but there wasn’t even a paragraph break in the text when this happens, which is both disconcerting and annoying. Also, while I understand why the author switched viewpoints so often, it was not written particularly well.

So – Gordonston is an area in the city of Savannah, Georgia. This fact is completely wasted in this novel, however. If you have been to Savannah, you know that it is a beautiful city, with a lot of different aspects. This book focused on one area of Savannah, but did not really have much discussion of the landscape of the city. There were vague descriptions of a park that everyone takes their dog to, and a couple of mentions of the heat.

oblivious

If you have not been to Savannah, I recommend that you read Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilMidnight… is such a good book, and does a great job of revealing the feeling of the Georgian city. Reading Midnight… is what made me want to visit the city, which I did after receiving my Bachelor’s Degree. (I highly recommend a visit to the Mercer house, which the Gordonston… book at least mentioned.)

"The Book"

“The Book”

The author tries to make the book interesting by creating “zany” characters. And these characters are pretty screwed up. [Warning: Spoilers are about to follow. Read at your own peril of being annoyed that you already know shit about this book.]

  • There’s the “gorgeous” chick who arranges for a vacation in Paris with the husband she has been dating since high school, without realizing he has a passport.
  • There are the two ridiculous, wealthy older ladies who vie for the attention of a man whose wife dies somewhere within the first 100 pages of the book (I wish I could be more specific, but I just. Can’t. Look through that book for details.)
  • There are numerous Nazi/Hitler references.
  • There is a nephew who pretends to be doing all of this awesome humanitarian work in poor countries, who is actually scamming money from people so he can have crazy adventures in Europe.
  • All of these characters are very (I repeat: VERY) self-involved, yet the reader is supposed to believe that these people have enough wherewithal to keep their dogs alive.
& I didn't even tell you guys all of the crazy shizz that goes on in this book.

& I didn’t even tell you guys all of the crazy shizz that goes on in this book.

That’s actually why I read the book. I was expecting a mystery filled with colorful characters. But while the characters are kind of crazy, it wasn’t really any fun to read about their crazy. Don’t get me wrong – I read the entire book. I wanted to know what the author was going to do next. But rather than I-must-keep-reading-this-book-is-amazing-OMG-how-can-the-author-wrap-this-up reading, I was more interested in continuing to read to see how much carnage the train wreck was going to create.

If train A leaves the station in Grand Rapids at 9 a.m., going 125 mph, and this book continues for another 120 pages, will I feel like chucking this book under the train when it rolls through Ann Arbor?

If train A leaves the station in Grand Rapids at 9 a.m., going 125 mph, and this book continues for another 120 pages, will I feel like chucking this book under the train when it rolls through Ann Arbor?

The mystery ends up consisting of which character is going to be killed, though there are supposed to be a couple of “twists” regarding the identity of the contract killer and the manager of a secret contract-killing business that all of the residents of Savannah know about that can be seen a mile away. And why the character who is killed is killed is also supposed to be a surprise, but isn’t really all that surprising, at all.

The book ended, and I realized that it had been a chore to read. Partially because the story was so forced. Partially because the writing was terrible. Instead of being simple and clear, or detailed and specific, the author chose to go the route of vague and unintentionally hilarious. There are descriptions (that I’m paraphrasing because I refuse to open the book again) like: “Kelly wore her long blonde hair in a very trendy style.” There’s also a line something along the lines of: “Kelly and Tom got plenty of exercise through making love, which was expected with a recently married couple, but because they were so attractive, was expected doubly so.”

But the point when I literally looked up from the book, puzzled expression on my face, and said: “Wow,” was another scene between the recently married couple. Kelly, the attractive blonde who could be a model if she wanted to, but works at the make-up counter at Macy’s, wakes up a few minutes before her husband needs to get up for work he thinks, but she’s going to spring their vacation on him that he can’t join her on because he doesn’t have a passport, which she should know since it seems they’ve been living together for a decent amount of time and also she’s known him since high school. (Run-on intentional; I dare you to read that sentence aloud.) But Kelly doesn’t know this when she wakes up and sees the early time on her alarm clock. Kelly wakes up excited, and full of the spunk that made Tom fall in love with her. She decides to wake him up “in his favorite way.” He wakes up talking about a weird dream, and Kelly “smiles secretly” and there’s some mention of a salty taste in her mouth.

Bitch, please.

Bitch, please.

Um, no.

No. No. No. No. No!

In case anyone was swayed by the author’s misguided attempt to portray how “frisky” and “fun” the young couple is, let me explain that since Tom was sleeping, and could not give consent, he was sexually molested by his wife.

In the same way that it is not okay for a man to have sex with his wife while she is sleeping, it is also not okay to give someone a blow job while they are sleeping. Basically, it is not okay to do anything to a sleeping person other than wake them up, and maybe cuddle. Maybe, depending on your relationship. If a person cannot consent to a sexual act, it is wrong to engage in that sexual act, even if you’re “sure” that person would be cool with it if that person was awake. That person is not awake, therefore, it is not okay to engage in that sexual act. Even if you’re married to that person.

rosemarys-baby-rosemary

I just felt I should be very clear & emphatic about that, because, we all know that not everyone seems to understand the need for consent.

Overall, The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club was a terrible book that I do not recommend to anyone. If you think you want to read it, you are probably wrong. I paid somewhere between $1-2 for it, and feel like I overpaid.

Teenage suicide & reading this book - don't do it!

Teenage suicide & reading this book – don’t do it!