Review: The Great Gatsby

I can understand why my high school honors English teacher chose not to have us read this book. It’s fine. But she knew it wouldn’t challenge those of us in her ninth grade and tenth grade honors English. As a tableau of the “roaring twenties” it’s pretty good. As a work of literature… it’s fine? This isn’t a book I would recommend to someone who doesn’t either have a teacher to walk through the context of the 1920’s OR a decent knowledge of the 1920’s because you’ve studied history. I say this because the alcohol flows like rivers throughout the peoples’ hands, but this is the height of prohibition – and that Gatsby is a bootlegger or helper of bootleggers is heavily implied even if it’s never verified. He smuggles alcohol. Frankly, none of the characters are good people. Not just because they guzzle down gin and brandy like it’s crack in the 80’s. They lie. They are selfish. They

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Manners: Sidewalks & bicycles

GA law is clear (and this is apparently true in more places than not): Bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks. I disagree strongly with this law. For several reasons, but not the least is manners. Manner FOR cyclists, and manners FROM cyclists. I object because I think most people riding bikes (at least that I’ve ever dealt with) have a few problems: 1. They don’t know the rules. I’m big on following the rules. The number of people who don’t know how to signal while riding a bicycle is upsetting. The number of times a pack of cyclists will be 3-4 abreast (the law says no more than TWO). The number of times people have been riding against traffic…. Seriously, I need to start a YouTube channel and call it “illegal shit I see on the road every day” – I could do a monthly bicycle video (at approximately 5-15 seconds per sighting, I’d need to collect a few to

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Review: The Phantom Tollbooth

This is a children’s book, but it was a really nice break from “normal” in my reading regime.  And DAMN, I wish I had been given this book when I was seven. This probably would have been one of those “classics” that I devoured over and over like Matilda. The premise is that Milo is bored. And then receives a mysterious present which promises entertainment.  With hefty sighs he passes through the tollbooth “toy” and soon finds himself drawn into adventure in the lands beyond Imagination. This book had to inspire Terry Pratchett.  The play on words is just too much for the man not to have read it and loved it (in my opinion). With places like Digitopolis and The Sea of Knowledge, which you cross by jumping to Conclusions.  It was punny. Occasionally, I almost groaned and then remembered who the audience is supposed to be. The pums are perfect for an audience of 7-10 year olds. This

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Reading: resolution update

I am behind on my resolution of classics. BUT I can still do this!! Completed: Frankenstein The Bell Jar My Sister’s Keeper Attempted and failed: A Tale of Two Cities (for the upteenth time in my life!) Started: The Phantom Tollbooth On hold/planned/gotten: The Great Gatsby (the library only has one copy in audiobook and someone else checked it out!) Silence I already have a copy. I just need to find it on one of my to-be-read piles. Wuthering Heights I’ve downloaded from Librivox (I’m currently listening to a silly series, but this is next on my phone for my driving needs). I CAN read 9 books in 4 months. God knows I’ve done it before. I have 7 “on deck” so to speak. Shockingly my library doesn’t have ebooks or audiobooks for A Clockwork Orange or The Grapes of Wrath. They have an ebook of The Left Hand of Darkness and with the new ipad ebooks are slowly being

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Review: My Sister’s Keeper

Holy Shit. That”s got to be the summary of my review of My Sister”s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I cried through at least half this book. I literally would just sit with tears steaming down my cheeks because I couldn’t or wouldn’t close my eyes even to squeeze the tear ducts shut. This book would have hit me hard no matter what, but it definitely held a special twinge in my heart every time my son squirmed while I was reading. Every time he shifted in his sleep while I watch him. Every time I try not to imagine the horrible things that my anxiety-riddled brain likes to come up with. Anna is a protagonist in this story. The third child with an eldest brother and middle sister. Three years younger than her big sister. This mirrors my own life, Everything else might be different, but there are echos of familiarity. Older sisters tend to be a force in younger

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Politics: Why aren’t we doing more?

I can’t watch the news right now without being angry. I can’t watch comedic sketches about the news without being angry. It is too exhausting to be angry all the time, but there is a part of my brain always ready to turn on that juice – it’s just waiting for an outlet at all moments. I studied history and I can’t see what’s happening along the Mexico-US border without hearing ringing cries of “concentration camps” in my head. I can’t head stories of ICE raids without hearing “ghettos.” I basically can’t hear “Mexican” without hearing “Jap.” And I cringe even writing it. Even thinking it. I have written my representatives. I am going to begin calling them every week. I would like a march on D.C. – I would like millions (not thousands, millions) of us to march on our representatives. Not in the streets. I would like us all to pick a week and start standing in lines

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Review: Children of Blood and Bone

I’m breaking one of my rules. I’m reviewing a single book in a series – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. This is because the second book (Children of Virtue and Vengeance ) isn’t out yet. So I can’t review the whole series. And I need to talk about this book. I’ve had this book on my radar since I saw the bit about “women writers are automatically YA” and the falsehood this entails. I have to 1000% agree – this is NOT a YA book. At least not in the “sure, 14-year-olds can read” level YA. Maybe 18. Definitely 20. And although I might consider 20 “young adult” – that isn’t what the market actually says (12-18 is pretty standard). This books hits hard on some deep, serious, and difficult topics. Genocide. Trauma. Blood Magic. Torture. Adeyemi doesn’t toe around these topics lightly, she drags you into them in such a way that you wonder where the

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Tech: Tablet… upgrade?

Within 30 minutes of posting my previous tablet piece, Eli messaged me “you know, there’s an apple store right by my office” He also convinced me to go with wifi-only model, with the promise that if I really, truly miss/need LTE we’ll look at adding a wifi hotspot to our cell phone plan. So that night he brought me home my new ipad mini (there really wasn’t much competition, it was a matter of convincing myself to just bite the bullet). So it’s been two weeks – what do I think? So with the money we saved on the wifi-only option, I got a case and a crayon. The crayon is a very nice stylus. The case does exactly what I want – protect my ipad and give me a real keyboard. Thus far it’s been great, the bluetooth has connected without issue. My only complaint with either is he ability to know how much battery is left (this is

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