Bossypants by Tina Fey

This is how reading should go.  You should read or listen to a book and it should lead to the next book naturally.  For me, I started with Amy Poehler’s Yes Please! and enjoyed it so much that I decided to give Tina Fey a shot.  I listened to both on audio and they were an absolute joy.  It was nice to have something to laugh at after a long day at work.  I am going to do my best not to compare the two books because they were both good and should be taken independently of one another.

However, I don’t think that there is any way that I can review this without making an express point that I listened to the audio.  It made a great audio.  Tina Fey does her own writing well.  She added character to the audio that I just can’t imagine would come through in the text version.  Obviously, the text wouldn’t have outtakes from television and it’s really hard to make some sounds of disgust on the page.

Fey’s memoir is about: Being a better writer than actor, being a woman, being a mom, facing challenges head on, being a child to republican parents, being only able to impersonate Sarah Palin, being on the worst cruise ever, and being honest.  There.  I think that sums it up.  It covers all of that and more with humor and just the right amount of restraint.

Plus, it was pretty short and easy to digest.

I really enjoyed this and I definitely suggest it, especially if you live in Michigan and it’s winter and you drive a lot for work because it really took the edge off.

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Tally Monday- January 26, 2015

Checked Out

  1. Wyoming Kid by Debbie Macomber

Bought

  1. Ultimate Book of Card Games
  2. The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo by Paula Huntley
  3. The Discovery of Poetry by Frances Mayes
  4. King Arthur and His Knights by Maude Radford Warren

Read

Shit.

TBR: 36

I am not going to make any excuses.  I am just going to tell you that this may be the most boring Tally Monday of all time and then I am going to roll with it.

First, you may be surprised by my checked out item.  I am not a romance reader but I recently saw a flow chart for writers of Harlequin romances and I decided that I just wanted to try one Harlequin.  I went with the American Romance series because it seemed like my kind of thing (small towns and cowboys and farms in trouble, oh my) and I ordered in the oldest listed book in the series on the Harlequin website.  I may try it.  I may decide that I don’t actually want to.  Whatever.

You may have noticed that I brought home my weight in books this week.  See, the first three books are books that were being withdrawn from the library during a collection management sprint.  They were all books that I had been eyeing for a while.  The card game book is gorgeous and in the past 6 years it has only checked out once and that was to me.  The Frances Mayes was something I had been thinking about for a while too.  My poetry is suffering.  My poetry is horrible.  I wrote better poetry when I was 16 and all of that poetry was about being in love with my ex boyfriend, not liking my then current boyfriend, and suicide.  Perhaps a little study and practice could help me here.  $2 for three books?  Alright!  The King Arthur is actually a 5th grade reader printed in 1930 and it’s quite pretty.  It’s going on my antique shelf.

No.  I did not read any books this week.  I read 31% of Stephen King’s Tommyknockers. I love Stephen King, you know I do, but I will be the first to admit that I am not going to plow through one of his books, not even a relatively short one.  I checked it out for my Kindle because, as I think I said last week, the hardcover weighs a ton.  I mean, it weighs enough that it surprises me every time I pick it up.  I meant to spend as much time as possible reading it this weekend but I played Trivia Crack and Soda Saga instead.  I want to finish by Thursday, which is when my e copy is due back, but I just realized that the Kindle says I have 20 hours left.  That’s 5 hours a day.  I need to eat and sleep and work, you guys.

I’ve been doggedly working through Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters despite my growing disgust with it and should be done this week.  I am also listening away to Tina Fey’s Bossypants and loving it.  Really, despite my low numbers, I’m enjoying my reading life right now.

Isn’t that really all that matters?

Some Sunday Thoughts

Sunday night is always that time when I start thinking about the week ahead.  The end result is a gut load of worry and tension.  I think ahead to all of the things I NEED to do, my lists, my work week and I think about all of the stuff that I could have done over the weekend to make my weekdays easier.  I get itchy and twitchy and restless.  I feel like I need to clean the house at 9 at night instead of enjoying the last little bits of an otherwise great weekend.

But I am refusing to do that this week.

It started with a pair or two of tight jeans.  I spent most of my weekend bouncing back and forth about dieting.  “I need to lose some weight.  I’ve gained so much recently.  I need to get it under control.”  was met with “I don’t want to worry about this all of the time.  Can’t I just eat well and call it good?  Why is this such a problem?  I’m driving myself crazy thinking about it all of the time when I could be using that brain power to read and write and do stuff.”  This morning I got up and made a big, bad breakfast like I used to to every Sunday.  Then I napped.  Then I went to the in laws’ for dinner.  We had spaghetti and bread and butter and delicious Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and by the time the cake rolled around I had changed my thinking completely.  I accepted a cup of coffee with dessert because I love coffee with dessert, even though the back of my mind nagged that I wouldn’t be able to sleep all night.

Then I stopped and I made a decision.

I just want to have a nice week and I want to enjoy my life and I want to savor the good things and the things that make me feel good.  You know, I may not sleep well tonight but I am promising myself that I will read if I can’t sleep.  I am promising myself right here and right now, in front of you all, that I am going to have a good week and relax.

Last week can be summed up by Monday:  I worked out, got ready for work, picked up the house, washed the sheets, ran the dishwasher, went to work, did two story times, stopped at the store on my lunch break, ate lunch, made the bed, unloaded the dishwasher, picked up a bunch of stuff in the basement, went back to work, worked standing most of the night to burn more calories, came home on shitty roads, shoveled the walk and the porch, and made dinner.  I cried while I made dinner.  I was tired.  My back hurt.  I just wanted to sit down but I had this running list in my head.  I don’t think that I relaxed until mid Saturday.

The truth is that I don’t need everything and I don’t need to do everything.  Nobody cares but me and I don’t have a solid reason for caring.  Do I really care if I don’t hop on Duolingo every day?  If I write four solid pages on the novel does it really matter if I save the fifth for the next day?  No and no.  I set myself into a wheel of crazy and I am not going to do it this week.  I am going to take my time and read like hell and eat something good for me that I actually like and I am going to be happy.

During 2013 and 2014 I was going through a pretty rough depression.  There were days when I really didn’t think that I could do it.  Every day I thought about hiding underneath my desk or barricading myself in my bedroom.  I found myself crying uncontrollably for no reason that I could discern on more occasions than I would like to admit.  In 2013 it was even worse because I knew that I should be happy.  I was planning my wedding and I was in love and everything was going my way and I was just miserable.  This fall, though, I started to surface and it feels so good to feel like myself most of the time again.  I feel good and I am not going to make myself feel bad anymore.  Fuck it.  Life is short.

Hughes, Plath, and Daddy Issues

You may remember that last year I read Kate Moses’s The Wintering and that it sent me back to the Plath Path.  I picked up Ariel again, which is still one of my favorite collections, and then I moved on to Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters.  I’m almost done with it…

Only, I kind of don’t want to finish.

I know that it’s not a good policy to let fiction color your opinions of actual people.  I mean, I think it’s not a good policy, right?  The truth is that all I know about Sylvia and Ted’s relationship I learned from Moses, who was obviously writing a biased story.  We know only Plath’s side and, if you recall, I related to her jilted feelings a little too much.  It was a hard book for me to read because it took me back to a really hard time in my own life and made me confront those feelings anew.  (I may have said aloud at one point that at least I didn’t actually kill myself, barring Plath’s history with severe depression as opposed to my just a little beyond normal depression.)

My problem is that this last quarter of the collection Birthday Letters feels like Mr. Hughes saying again and again, “It was your fault!  You had daddy issues!  How could I not cheat on someone with daddy issues!  Daddy issues, daddy issues, blah, blah, blah.”  Really.  That’s what it feels like to me and I keep catching myself caught up in two thought patterns.

Thought Pattern 1: Omg.  Do I have daddy issues?  What if I have daddy issues?  I mean, I don’t think I do.  Obviously, this is something I’ve thought about a lot recently because, you know, my father passed away in September.  My father was really awesome and I loved him a lot but, you know, I don’t think that I let it color my relationship.  I may expect more from my husband than other people but I think that’s more because I grew up with my parents and their ridiculous love.  Still, I keep thinking, “I don’t want to have daddy issues!  Better deal with this shit right now!”

Thought Pattern 2: Yeah, well, maybe you’re just looking for an excuse.  Seriously.  What kind of an ass is just like, “I loved you and I married you and I knew you were a little crazy from the start but you drove me away!  Daddy issues!”  I like to picture Ted Hughes finger shaking at this point.  No, no, no.  See, the honest to goodness truth is that if you cheat on someone it is your fault.  You make the choice.  If you are unhappy with someone, you end it before looking elsewhere.  You have options.  I don’t know.  I just don’t buy it and if this collection was meant to make me feel more sympathetic towards Hughes, well, he failed pretty spectacularly.  What a tool.

See, this is what I think about on Friday mornings.

Yes Please! by Amy Poehler (Audio)

Just a couple of weeks ago, I would have been the first person to tell you that I don’t care for Amy Poehler.  I never really put my finger on why but I just didn’t like her.  I was okay with it.  I accepted it.  Then I kept hearing everyone actually rave about how great her audiobook was and I can only handle so much of that before I cave and give something a try.

I am so glad that I did.

I really, really enjoyed this audio.  I loved that I could listen to my morning show in the morning and laugh and then put my audiobook on the rest of the day and laugh.  It had the right amount of humor to meaning and the right amount of history to current events.  It had Patrick Stewart reading haikus about plastic surgery.  Poehler knew when a subject was getting too serious and dealt the perfect line at the perfect time.

Poehler uses her book to tell a little about her history and how she got going in the business.  She has guest readers who sometimes add their own bits to the books.  She talks about how much fun she has had, mistakes she has made, and what it’s like to be a woman.  The topics are broad but there is always something to make you smile.

Tally Monday- January 19, 2015

Checked Out

  1. Bossypants by Tina Few (audio)
  2. A Life of One’s Own by Joanna Field

Bought

None!

Read

  1. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
  2. “At Sixty Five” by Emily Fox Gordon

TBR:34

I really really really need there to be a fire lit under my ass.  Even being home sick for two days last week was apparently just not enough.  How is it that the pile never shrinks?

Plain and simple: I’m a little crazy.

Okay, so, I read the A.S. King this week and that didn’t get replaced in my pile.  I did happen to come across the Joanna Field book in another book that I was reading and for some reason I expected it to be little short chapters and thought that I could take a break from poetry and read that instead.  It’s not and I can’t.  I can’t give up my poetry.  I am almost done with Ted Hughes!  I need to more on!  (BTW, did you know that you can see what I’m reading on the Goodreads widget on the lower right?  Check it out.)

Interesting world I live in, I read “At Sixty-Five” about two minutes after I finished writing my review for Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future.  It made me really angry.  I think that it was purely because I came out of Glory O’Brien feeling like I shouldn’t buy eye cream any more and now this lady is telling me that she is starting to learn to adorn herself and be more feminine.  I almost put the damn essay down at least once a paragraph but I kept fighting, thinking that there had to be some sort of wisdom to be had.  Not for me.

I started reading The Tommyknockers by Stephen King this week and I like it a lot so far.  Of course.  I did stall a little because, you know, that’s a pretty heavy hardcover and I was waiting for the ebook to come in for me.  I got it on Thursday and started digging in.

Still, there is a life to be lived.  Being sick and exhausted and going to work does nothing for my reading ethic when I get home.  By Friday I was so frustrated with the world that I just wanted to eat nachos and drink beer and live in the internet for a bit.  I had a baby shower on Saturday and then we ran to town for a Chinese feast.  I still feel frazzled.  I still feel stressed.  I still feel tired.  But I have high hopes.

High apple pie in the sky hopes.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A. S. King

Once upon a time I decided that some things are popular because they are just that good.  Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future was totally one of those things for me.  I kept hearing great reviews about it then I heard an interview with King that made me want to read the book.  Sometimes it’s just nice to hear from another feminist, nice to see that someone out there is thinking about the same things I am.

If you want the short version, this is the story of Glory who drinks petrified bat mixed with beer with her best friend, Ellie, and then can see everyone’s infinite past and much more finite futures.  There’s more, though.  The future Glory sees in terrifying.  There is a second civil war and women lose all rights and end up treated like property.  The pasts that Glory sees are usually riddled with war as well.  Still, it’s even more than that.  It’s the story of Glory’s past and her fears for her own future and in the end it’s about making a decision to live or die.

Glory’s world is complicated.  Her mother committed suicide when she was only four.  Her best friend lives in a hippie commune that could be a cult.  Her father and her are stuck in their own holes.  King does a great job making everything feel real and believable and she handles Glory’s visions wonderfully.  I was really concerned that the “transmissions” would disrupt the story but they add to it instead.  Ellie is a kind of foil to Glory, worrying about the things that Glory finds trivial.

I loved the questions this book brought up.  I loved how Glory’s mother was always questioning.  What makes a rock a rock?  I loved that Glory was unwilling to give in to expectations and that she was always thinking about something that wasn’t always herself.

This was a great read and I’m glad I had it with me while I was stuck home, sick.