Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

What’s the ONE super-hyped book you’ll NEVER read?

I know a lot of people love the Twilight series. I read the first book so I could understand all the hype, and I was underwhelmed. I thought the relationship between Bella and Edward was too undeveloped; they're supposed to be so in love, but I didn't understand why. And here Bella is, basically giving up everything to be with him, and I just didn't get it. Plus, I think it sends the wrong message to young girls who are reading it. That's why I'll never read the rest of the series.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review - The Opposite of Me

The Opposite of Me, by Sarah Pekannen, is about two sisters, Lindsey and Alex. They're fraternal twins and each other's flip side. Lindsey is smart, driven, insecure, and lonely. Alex is gorgeous, confident, and used to adoration. Then Lindsey loses her job in adverstising and simultaneously has to deal with her best friend Bradley falling for her sister. As Bradley is the one guy who has valued Lindsey above Alex, this is a hard pill to swallow. But Lindsey is focussed on making her situation better, and she gets a new job, a new wardrobe, and a new outlook on life. Meanwhile, Alex starts to lose the one thing she has always counted on: her looks. This is related to health concerns, and the whole situation becomes very dramatic.

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. Pekkanen is a clever writer, and she infuses humor while bravely writing about uncomfortable situations. Some of this novel was heart-breaking, but it maintains its light tone throughout. However, by the second half of the novel I started to lose interest. I felt like a lot of the story focussed on stuff I didn't care so much about, and glossed over the important parts, like her relationship with Bradley and Matt (her other love interest), and most importantly, Alex's character arc. There was just a lot of telling versus showing, and I think this author is better than that. She could have gone more into depth if she'd wanted to.

I still reccomend this book, but I don't think it's as good as it could have been.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Barbie For President

            When I was little I spent hours playing with Barbie. My best friend and I would make up all sorts of scenarios, where Barbie was somehow challenged, but she always made it through with fashion and grace. I suppose you could say my writing career began with Barbie, because it was through her that I used my imagination to create countless stories with her as the star.

            So, when I heard Barbie was running for president, of course my interest was piqued.

I’m sort of a political junkie; I follow presidential campaigns as if they’re sporting events. I also still like Barbie. She’s extremely glamorous, and her clothes fit so well. Besides, how many women can claim as many careers as she’s had? There’s actually a Wickipedia page that lists out her entire professional resume. It will take too long to list all her work experience, but here’s a random sampling: sign language teacher, dentist, paratrooper, ambassador for world peace, Canadian Mountie, paleontologist, Nascar driver, scuba diver, McDonald’s cashier, Sea World dolphin trainer, and a Marvel comics superheroine.

            So, really, who do know that is more qualified to be president? Barbie is in touch with the working class, but she has her finger on the inner workings of our economy. She understands how our country works, and she’s got hands-on experience to back up her book knowledge.

            Too bad she’s made of plastic.

            Barbie actually has her own blog that is chronicling her run for office. She’s run for president every four years since 1992. This year her platform is for young girls to “B inspired, B informed, and B involved.”

            She claims that she’s the only candidate who can stand on her own. That doesn’t make sense to me. I played with a lot of Barbies in my day, and none of them could stand. Is she going for irony with that slogan, or am I missing something?

            Anyway, my two-year daughter, Pauline, is already showing signs of being into Barbie. She’s found a “teacher” Barbie I got as a joke gift many years ago, before I began teaching high school. Now Pauline grabs it by her hair and drags it around the house. And that’s fine. There are many worse things to be into than Barbie.

            I had so many wonderful hours playing with Barbie as a child, and I don’ think my self-image suffered for it all. Instead, my imagination grew. The one thing I will want Pauline to understand, however, is that Barbie is perfect only because she is not real. The rest of us are flawed, and that’s the way we should be. We can’t expect our leaders to have hundreds of careers, never gain weight, and always look well-groomed.

We can’t expect it of ourselves either. We come with quirks, and that’s what makes life interesting.

            So while I still love Barbie, I’m not voting for her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review - April & Oliver

April & Oliver, by Tess Callahan, is a lyrical novel about unrequited love. At the beginning of the story, April's younger brother Buddy is killed in a car accident. April is running low on family members; both of her parents are already dead, and her beloved Nana is growing old and frail. But Oliver comes back to town. Oliver and April's fathers were step-brothers, which makes April and Oliver sort of like cousins, only they aren't blood related. This is an important distinction to remember, because there is sexual tension between the two of them that can barely be contained.

That wouldn't be a problem, except that Oliver is engaged to the wonderfully perfect Bernadette, and April is a total mess, so she can't be good for Oliver. Yet the two of them are drawn to each other nonetheless, and the question remains: will they get it on?

I enjoyed this novel because it is beautifully written. Tess Callahan has a brilliant control of language. This woman can write metaphors and imagery like nobody's business. In addition, there are some very profound passages and insights into human nature. But, if you need a book with a gripping plot that is wrapped up neatly at the end, this is not for you. I'm glad I read it, but the ending left me a little unsettled. I wanted more.

10 Word Post - Baby Can Dance

I hope
dancing will
always be this joyful
for Pauline