achievements, memories and aspirations in hardcover


i want to say we have too many books. but can you ever have too many books?! i often envy Modern Ms. Darcy for having a job that revolves around books. i can’t keep up. in my good pace, i read about a book a month. lately, the pace is terrible. (i know i owe a Nightstand post on Killing Monica!) that doesn’t negate the fact that we are a household of readers. Spy reads 2 real newspapers every morning (AJC & NYT). we both read real books, not digital — and preferably hardcover, thank-you-very-much. we are old-school. and i love every-fucking-minute of it. getting immersed in someone else’s story always inspires me and makes me think about where i’ve been in or what i want for my own life, so i always connect those stories to certain periods, places and moods.

but all this reading means that reading material stacks up in our house. the newspapers are pretty easy to take care of every Thursday when the recycling trucks come. but the books, well . . . another story. we are both people who save and treasure books. between the two of us, we have gajillions — and we’re now inheriting more from family who feel the same. some are rare, expensive books. some are classics. some are basics on writing. some are just old favorites. i count 11 bookshelves in our home. they are mostly filled now. and they cover a lot of ground.

so when the Writing 101 challenge for Day 15 came up and included the quote above as a jumping off point (as an alternative to writing about a reader-suggested topic), i thought it was the perfect time to start what might be a series cataloging “the random shit on my bookshelves”. because, obviously, nothing on any of those 11 bookshelves is actually organized, categorized or otherwise stacked in any way that makes sense. we have the equivalent of putting Beethoven next to Britney Spears on every one of them. so far, though, the books all seem happy with their neighbors. i imagine the conversations between them are fascinating.

Shakespeare:  hey girl. i hear you like iambic pentameter.

Babe Walker: gross. i’m so sure. i would totally never let you do that to me. now, shut up so i can meditate on Jimmy Choo’s Spring collection. Continue reading

just read: Primates of Park Avenue

Primates of park Avenue

so according to my Instagram post, this arrived 5 weeks ago. at that point, i thought i would dive into it and be done in 3 days. not my best showing for getting through a book for sure y’all, but considering this is the first thing in a while that i have actually finished and enjoyed, i’m cutting myself some slack.

i ordered Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin for arrival as soon as it was available from Amazon. after seeing all the fuss it was stirring up pre-release (yay for effective PR!), i just couldn’t resist. early reports painted it alternately as a gossipy view into the private lives of New York’s super rich and a big so what? memoir that had nothing new to say about the culture or the creatures that live inside it.

so which was it? Continue reading

just read: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

bernadettejeez, y’all. it seems to be taking me forever to get through a book lately — if i get through it at all. i still blame the months and months i struggled with The Goldfinch for throwing me off. i had been on pretty much a 3-4 week/book clip for over a year when that debacle kind of put me off reading anything for a while. lately, i’ve also been spending so much more time reading blogs that by the time i am ready for a few pre-bed pages, i rarely get in more than 3 or 4. that means . . . well, that’s a lot of math for this moment, but for sure it means a lot fewer notches in the nightstand leg over a year.

anyhow, i definitely wasn’t sure about this one when i started it back in November (?? ugh, i’ve got to get on top of this), but it had been on the book-club-i’ve-been-shamed-out-of’s list and i liked the title and cover art, so i went for it. no, i’m never ashamed to judge a book by its cover.

it was a delightful mishmash of quirky characters and interesting relationships, with a good dose of mystery and wit. Bernadette Branch is an L.A. transplant to Seattle, Microsoft wife and mother to teenage daughter, Bee. She has never fit in with the private school mothers — which is just fine with her — and has become agoraphobic to the point of hiring a personal assistant in India to take care of everyday tasks for her. most of the book leads up to a trip to Antarctica, which is Bee’s reward for getting good grades. but of course Bernadette is terrified to go, so you know something weird is going to happen. it does and there are a lot of funny scenes along the way, involving the private school moms, an international crime ring, the FBI, a mental hospital, digs at Seattle and Bernadette’s own neurosis. the story is told through a mix of regular prose and dialogue,  but much — especially of the trying to find Bernadette part — is told through various emails and letters, which can sometimes be distracting but in this case, i think is done quite well.

i won’t tell you where Bernadette goes, or whether she’s found. neither will the The New York Times, but their review is good for some more detail. i will tell you this is a fun, easy read that i really enjoyed. hopefully, it’s gotten me over the book-reading hump! would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read it!

Blogtober14: my favorite book

booksgorgeous photo: MercerMe

gosh, i could never pick just one. hi, i’m an English major, writer and sporadically avid reader. check out my nightstand for a taste of what i read on the regular. promise it isn’t deep or super-literary or much of anything out of the ordinary! when i’m on my game, i go through about a book a month — mostly just reading a few pages before bed. that hasn’t been happening lately, for a variety of reasons. i always read a paper version — i just love the feel of a book in my hands — and more often than not, i’ll choose a hardcover. there’s just something that feels decadent and satisfying about the weight and detail of holding an actual printed book with a jacket that i don’t get from my digital day job. also, as someone who hopes to publish a novel one day and make at least 36¢ from it, i feel it’s my duty to pay full retail (flawed, i’m sure, but whatevs).

so, anyway. of the too many books in my house to even fit on my bookshelves, here are 5-ish of my very favorites of all time. you’ll probably notice the theme of book/movie. i am completely intrigued by the process of transforming a book into a movie and love to see how the versions differ (spoiler: the book is usually way better.)

it’s been a big day, so i’m just linking and not giving you my own review. promise, you’re probably better off that way anyhow! are any of these on your list?

  1. Rules of Attraction & American Psycho — Bret Easton Ellis (and pretty much anything by BEE except that weird Glamorama phase)
  2. Sex and the City — Candace Bushnell (although now that i’m writing this, One Fifth Avenue might have been better. but this is obvs a staple for 30-40-something ladies)
  3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s — Truman Capote (this is my favorite movie of all time, but the book is so different. i also love The Complete Stories of Truman Capote. he is an amazing writer and storyteller.)
  4. A Moveable Feast — Ernest Hemingway (the ultimate ex-pat story. Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife is an interesting — good interesting! — (fictional) take on this same moment in time.)
  5. Gone Girl — Gillian Flynn (probably on just about everyone’s list and i am dying to see the movie! was completely bummed Reese fell through. but that’s another story for another time . . . maybe tomorrow in the who should play me . . . )
Helene in Between Blogtober

on deck: Rich Kids of Instagram

rkoioh yes, i did. that’s right. go ahead. judge me. i couldn’t care less. so my literary tastes are shallow and vapid. so i have a penchant for stories that include gloriously gratuitous excess of money, drugs and sex. i don’t care. i can’t think of anything i’m more excited about right now than snuggling down in the bed tonight and diving in . . .

whew. one white girl problem solved.

psychos_coverGoldfinch, your days are numbered. specifically, numbered 2. this delicious distraction arrives on Wedensday. i have tried to make this work with you for 5 entire months of my life that i will never get back. ever. i need a break.

love you. mean it.



23 Aug 2014

so is it too soon to ask for another one? love Babe. love the drama. this was totally hilarious and over the top and i loved every second. so nice to have a quick, easy break from War and Peace. but it was over so quickly, i’m now back in a position of having nothing to read. except old Goldy. sigh.

in progress: The Goldfinch

goldfinch if you’ve read my About page, you already know i’m a confessed book club failure. here’s the proof.

i started this book for book club in um, February? not only did i not finish it in time for our first meeting in March, i’m not sure i’m even halfway through yet. it’s not that i don’t like it. i do. i think i just have a mental block about the over 700 pages!

at any rate, i’m determined to get back on top of posting my reading list  again, so hopefully this will give me incentive to finish the damn thing! if all else fails, there’s a week at the beach in my near future, so maybe, maybe…

just (not) read: Z

zeldanormally, i love these kinds of stories that are a deeper dive into people and events i already know and love. not sure if it’s Fowler’s writing style or the voice she created for Zelda, but i just can not seem to care about any of it. i’ve spent maybe 2 months getting less than 100 pages in (they haven’t even moved to New York yet, for god’s sake) and today finally decided to call it quits. it will stay on the shelf and i may try again, but when i put one down, it usually takes some pretty extraordinary circumstances to make me pick it back up.

just read: Indescretion

Indiscretioncompletely not ideal to finish this on the plane to Vegas and be left with nothing to read poolside the whole weekend. alas, i was so engrossed, i just kind of assumed it would keep going simply because i wanted it to. loved the twists in this love-story-gone-wrong. halfway through, i knew someone would end up dead . . . but it didn’t at all turn out to be who i thought.

just read: The Chocolate Money

CN20120918-The-Chocolate-Moneyso loved this! a bit of a slow start had me wondering if i would make it through, but the characters are great and you won’t believe the shit the main character endures. since i never do my research before picking any of these books, i was surprised to learn afterward that the author is a Rockefeller heiress and a fair amount of what happens in the book is based on real events, which of course made me like it even more.