• me:

    Hah! How do you know?

  • Luke:

    Because Johnny is my intern pet and he told me

  • me:

    Nerd question - have you read the Phillip Pullman Dark Materials series?

  • Luke:

    Why are you already moving on to new topics??!?!?

  • me:

    I'm not. I'm trying to figure out if you'll understand the joke I was going to make.

  • Luke:

    You are not even comforting me! I am familiar with The Golden Compass (you're snobby for calling them His Dark Materials).

  • me:

    Are you familiar or have you read?

  • Luke:

    Ahaha! Snobby again! Just familiar.

  • me:

    Okay, then I won't make the joke, bc you won't get it and I'll look like a huge dork.

  • Luke:

    Fantasy is not my genre. Were you going to call Johnny my daemon?

  • me:

    ...yes.

Book List: 2012

The Fran Lebowitz Reader by Fran Lebowitz
Have You No Shame? And Other Regrettable Stories by Rachel Shukert
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy
The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family by Dan Savage
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
We Sinners by Hanna Pylväinen
The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff
The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Season Of The Passate by Christopher Pike
The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein
Skymaze by Gillian Rubinstein

Book List: 2012

  1. The Fran Lebowitz Reader by Fran Lebowitz
  2. Have You No Shame? And Other Regrettable Stories by Rachel Shukert
  3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
  4. Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy
  5. The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family by Dan Savage
  6. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  7. We Sinners by Hanna Pylväinen
  8. The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
  9. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  10. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  11. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  12. The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
  13. Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff
  14. The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
  15. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  16. Season Of The Passate by Christopher Pike
  17. The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
  18. Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein
  19. Skymaze by Gillian Rubinstein
#16 The Season Of The Passage
by Christopher Pike
I read this book when I was in middle or high school (I don’t remember which) and this kind of pulpy horror was de rigueur when it came to reading material. Revisiting it, I wasn’t at first as into it as my teenage self might have been but eventually I got sucked into the story of a team of scientists whose mission to Mars goes horribly awry. Like much of Pike’s work there’s an element of eastern religion/mysticism that isn’t really my thing from a plot perspective (and doesn’t really get followed through clearly). 
Bottom line: Complete trash, but the fun kind.
#17 The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers
by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
I found out about the Fabulous Beekman Boys last Christmas when Danny got their cookbook as a gift from a co-worker. The Boys (who also won this most recent season of The Amazing Race) are ad-exec Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner, former VP of Martha Stewart Living, Brent Ridge and this book was the story of how they came to own (and run) the historic Beekman mansion and farmlands. Two city guys — gay city guys — turned goat farmers; hijinks ensued.
Bottom line: I laughed, I cried, I wanted to own a farm.
#18 Space Demons | #19 Skymaze
by Gillian Rubinstein
I read these when I was younger — I’m guessing probably when I was in elementary school in Sydney, since Rubinstein is Australian and I’m not sure how else I would have been exposed to them — and I remembered them being a lot of fun at that age. The idea of being sucked into a computer game and playing it like it was real life, of course, having a little bit more draw then than it does now, but Space Demons (and its sequel Skymaze) was still a light, imaginative read. Even if I’m not the target demographic.
Bottom line: A fun kids read that is a little technologically outdated, but is fun nonetheless.

#16 The Season Of The Passage

by Christopher Pike

I read this book when I was in middle or high school (I don’t remember which) and this kind of pulpy horror was de rigueur when it came to reading material. Revisiting it, I wasn’t at first as into it as my teenage self might have been but eventually I got sucked into the story of a team of scientists whose mission to Mars goes horribly awry. Like much of Pike’s work there’s an element of eastern religion/mysticism that isn’t really my thing from a plot perspective (and doesn’t really get followed through clearly). 

Bottom line: Complete trash, but the fun kind.

#17 The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

I found out about the Fabulous Beekman Boys last Christmas when Danny got their cookbook as a gift from a co-worker. The Boys (who also won this most recent season of The Amazing Race) are ad-exec Josh Kilmer-Purcell and his partner, former VP of Martha Stewart Living, Brent Ridge and this book was the story of how they came to own (and run) the historic Beekman mansion and farmlands. Two city guys — gay city guys — turned goat farmers; hijinks ensued.

Bottom line: I laughed, I cried, I wanted to own a farm.

#18 Space Demons | #19 Skymaze

by Gillian Rubinstein

I read these when I was younger — I’m guessing probably when I was in elementary school in Sydney, since Rubinstein is Australian and I’m not sure how else I would have been exposed to them — and I remembered them being a lot of fun at that age. The idea of being sucked into a computer game and playing it like it was real life, of course, having a little bit more draw then than it does now, but Space Demons (and its sequel Skymaze) was still a light, imaginative read. Even if I’m not the target demographic.

Bottom line: A fun kids read that is a little technologically outdated, but is fun nonetheless.

#13 Fraud: Essays
by David Rakoff
I bought three of Rakoff’s essay collections last year after hearing an interview with him on Julie Klausner's podcast How Was Your Week, but didn’t read any of his work until after his death back in August. I’m sure he’s often compared to David Sedaris, in that their oeuvres could be boiled down to “humorous essays,” but Rakoff’s work has more of a bite to it — I’d say he has more in common with Fran Lebowitz than Sedaris. There’s a darkness to his particular brand of sarcasm that I absolutely revel in.
Bottom line: A must for anyone with a dark sense of humor.
#14 The Tommyknockers
by Stephen King
There are commonalities between a lot of King’s work and this one takes his small-town-in-Maine-taken-over-by-something-nefarious (see also: Under The Dome, Salem’s Lot, it) out for a spin. A woman trips over (literally) a buried flying saucer in her backyard and falls under its spell — along with all of her neighbors. Hijinks ensue.
Bottom line: Just some fun pulp.
#15 Practical Magic
by Alice Hoffman
The film adaptation of Hoffman’s novel took a lot of creative license with this beautifully written story about three generations of sisters. It has more in common with Murakami’s magical-realism than it does with any sort of Bewitched or Harry Potter-type magic. It’s a shame that the movie wasn’t more reflective of the book’s quiet beauty but, at the same time, it wouldn’t be an easy feat. Then again, lots of people said Anna Karenina and Life Of Pi were unadaptable and those are now playing in a theater near you — to lesser and greater effect, respectively.
Bottom line: Absolutely gorgeous prose.

#13 Fraud: Essays

by David Rakoff

I bought three of Rakoff’s essay collections last year after hearing an interview with him on Julie Klausner's podcast How Was Your Week, but didn’t read any of his work until after his death back in August. I’m sure he’s often compared to David Sedaris, in that their oeuvres could be boiled down to “humorous essays,” but Rakoff’s work has more of a bite to it — I’d say he has more in common with Fran Lebowitz than Sedaris. There’s a darkness to his particular brand of sarcasm that I absolutely revel in.

Bottom line: A must for anyone with a dark sense of humor.

#14 The Tommyknockers

by Stephen King

There are commonalities between a lot of King’s work and this one takes his small-town-in-Maine-taken-over-by-something-nefarious (see also: Under The Dome, Salem’s Lotit) out for a spin. A woman trips over (literally) a buried flying saucer in her backyard and falls under its spell — along with all of her neighbors. Hijinks ensue.

Bottom line: Just some fun pulp.

#15 Practical Magic

by Alice Hoffman

The film adaptation of Hoffman’s novel took a lot of creative license with this beautifully written story about three generations of sisters. It has more in common with Murakami’s magical-realism than it does with any sort of Bewitched or Harry Potter-type magic. It’s a shame that the movie wasn’t more reflective of the book’s quiet beauty but, at the same time, it wouldn’t be an easy feat. Then again, lots of people said Anna Karenina and Life Of Pi were unadaptable and those are now playing in a theater near you — to lesser and greater effect, respectively.

Bottom line: Absolutely gorgeous prose.

#10 Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card
I’d never read Ender’s Game before and I was pleasantly surprised by how smart this story was. The book follows Ender Wiggin as he enters and rises through the ranks of child soldiers that Earth has been training in space to fight oncoming indaverss, while his brother and sister, back on Earth, use anonymous internet identities to shape the political future of the planet. Given that it was written 27 years ago, certain elements of the book come off as strangely prescient, but that aside, it was an engrossing read, YA banner be damned.
Bottom line: Sort of like the thinking-person’s Hunger Games?
#11 Cloud Atlas
by David Mitchell
I read back in August, in anticipation for the movie, and I was not disappointed. Its Russian-nesting-doll structure spanning centuries and genres (yada yada yada you heard it all when the movie came out) is genius and, despite what the movie  — which, by the way, missed the point completely — might seem, surprisingly straightforward. A gorgeously written meditation, among many things, the ability to change your own world, this has become one of my all-time favorites. It also has my favorite final line of any book.
Bottom line: Transcendant.
#12 The Good Thief
by Hannah Tinti
Bought and read at the recommendation of a friend, this Robert-Louis-Stevenson-y tale of orphans, grave robbers, and giant murderers was a solid, quick read. Well written, but not the type of thing I usually go for.
Bottom line: A pleasant enough diversion.

#10 Ender’s Game

by Orson Scott Card

I’d never read Ender’s Game before and I was pleasantly surprised by how smart this story was. The book follows Ender Wiggin as he enters and rises through the ranks of child soldiers that Earth has been training in space to fight oncoming indaverss, while his brother and sister, back on Earth, use anonymous internet identities to shape the political future of the planet. Given that it was written 27 years ago, certain elements of the book come off as strangely prescient, but that aside, it was an engrossing read, YA banner be damned.

Bottom line: Sort of like the thinking-person’s Hunger Games?

#11 Cloud Atlas

by David Mitchell

I read back in August, in anticipation for the movie, and I was not disappointed. Its Russian-nesting-doll structure spanning centuries and genres (yada yada yada you heard it all when the movie came out) is genius and, despite what the movie — which, by the way, missed the point completely — might seem, surprisingly straightforward. A gorgeously written meditation, among many things, the ability to change your own world, this has become one of my all-time favorites. It also has my favorite final line of any book.

Bottom line: Transcendant.

#12 The Good Thief

by Hannah Tinti

Bought and read at the recommendation of a friend, this Robert-Louis-Stevenson-y tale of orphans, grave robbers, and giant murderers was a solid, quick read. Well written, but not the type of thing I usually go for.

Bottom line: A pleasant enough diversion.

Reblogged from randomhouse  1,338 notes

The Best of the Book Lists 2012

randomhouse:

One of our favorite things about the holiday season is the recap of the year in books! Publications, websites, and readers everywhere begin pulling together what they think is the cream of the crop — the best books of the year. Take a look below through some of the lists we’ve pulled together, and keep an eye here for additions to the list as we approach the end of this stellar literary year.

Read More

Best Of Books lists: one of my favorite things

Reblogged from wonheechang  16 notes

Books as physical objects matter to me, because they evoke the past. A Métro ticket falls out of a book I bought 40 years ago, and I am transported back to the Rue Saint-Jacques on Sept. 12, 1972, where I am waiting for someone named Annie LeCombe. A telephone message from a friend who died too young falls out of a book, and I find myself back in the Chateau Marmont on a balmy September day in 1995. A note I scribbled to myself in “Homage to Catalonia” in 1973 when I was in Granada reminds me to learn Spanish, which I have not yet done, and to go back to Granada.

None of this will work with a Kindle. People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, not merely an electronic version, believe that the objects themselves are sacred. Some people may find this attitude baffling, arguing that books are merely objects that take up space. This is true, but so are Prague and your kids and the Sistine Chapel. Think it through, bozos.

The world is changing, but I am not changing with it. There is no e-reader or Kindle in my future. My philosophy is simple: Certain things are perfect the way they are. The sky, the Pacific Ocean, procreation and the Goldberg Variations all fit this bill, and so do books. Books are sublimely visceral, emotionally evocative objects that constitute a perfect delivery system.

Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who have clutter issues, or who don’t want other people to see that they are reading books about parallel universes where nine-eyed sea serpents and blind marsupials join forces with deaf Valkyries to rescue high-strung albino virgins from the clutches of hermaphrodite centaurs, but they are useless for people engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books. Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on. Books that make us believe, for however short a time, that we shall all live happily ever after.

Reblogged from popculturebrain  3,314 notes
entertainmentweekly:

Don’t mess with Daniel Radcliffe, or you’ll get the Horns — he just got fitted for a pair of new appendages on the set of his upcoming movie. Here’s a taste of the plot:

Radcliffe plays Ignatius “Ig” Perrish, a less-than-angelic guy who is accused of the violent rape and murder of his girlfriend before waking up to find horns suddenly sprouting. The horns come with a wildly tempting power trip — he can induce people to tell the truth or compel people to give into his ugliest inner urges.

“To play somebody who, in the midst of a time in his life of great turmoil anyway, undergoes this horrific transformation into a devil character — it was very, very exciting,” Radcliffe told EW. No kidding!

Based on the book by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, and directed by Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes).

entertainmentweekly:

Don’t mess with Daniel Radcliffe, or you’ll get the Horns — he just got fitted for a pair of new appendages on the set of his upcoming movie. Here’s a taste of the plot:

Radcliffe plays Ignatius “Ig” Perrish, a less-than-angelic guy who is accused of the violent rape and murder of his girlfriend before waking up to find horns suddenly sprouting. The horns come with a wildly tempting power trip — he can induce people to tell the truth or compel people to give into his ugliest inner urges.

“To play somebody who, in the midst of a time in his life of great turmoil anyway, undergoes this horrific transformation into a devil character — it was very, very exciting,” Radcliffe told EW. No kidding!

Based on the book by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, and directed by Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes).

#7 We Sinners
by Hanna Pylväinen
This book is amazing. Each chapter told from the perspective of a different member of a devoutly religious family in present-day Michigan (devout to the point of no dancing, no alcohol, no television), it charts the complicated relationships between the Rovaniemis and their nine children and what happens when the faith that is meant to hold a family together is rejected. One of the most interesting things about this book is the way that Pylväinen (in her debut novel, btw) manages to make every character sympathetic — both the faithful and unbelieving are given fair treatment in this exploration of doubt and piety.
Bottom line: Masterful and heart wrenching. It comes out later this month (I read a galley of it back in June) so preorder it now.
#8 The Vanishers
by Heidi Julavits
I’d read Julavits’ previous novel, The Uses Of Enchantment, back when I was in college and loved the way she kept me guessing as to what was really going on (the chapters rotate perspectives, each making a case for a different version of events). The Vanishers does much the same thing, though the story rolls out in a more straightforward manner. Dealing with vengeful mind games, faked deaths, and some serious mommy issues, Julia Severn — a student at an institute for budding psychics — always seems to find herself at arm’s length from the truth as she searches for a cure to a psychic attack and the reason her mother killed herself years before. 
Bottom line: Though provoking and addictive, I devoured it in about a day.
#9 The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel
by Jasper Fforde
Friends of mine have been on me to read this series for years now and I finally bit the bullet (finding a copy for $2.00 at The Last Bookstore certainly helped). I love books about books, so this was right up my alley and a pretty quick read. Basically, Thursday Next is a literary detective and when an original Dickens manuscript is stolen and a character in it (and in every copy of the same book) disappears from its pages winds up dead in the real world, Thursday has to figure out how to solve the problem before something worse happens to her favorite book: Jane Eyre.
Bottom line: A fun literary romp.

#7 We Sinners

by Hanna Pylväinen

This book is amazing. Each chapter told from the perspective of a different member of a devoutly religious family in present-day Michigan (devout to the point of no dancing, no alcohol, no television), it charts the complicated relationships between the Rovaniemis and their nine children and what happens when the faith that is meant to hold a family together is rejected. One of the most interesting things about this book is the way that Pylväinen (in her debut novel, btw) manages to make every character sympathetic — both the faithful and unbelieving are given fair treatment in this exploration of doubt and piety.

Bottom line: Masterful and heart wrenching. It comes out later this month (I read a galley of it back in June) so preorder it now.

#8 The Vanishers

by Heidi Julavits

I’d read Julavits’ previous novel, The Uses Of Enchantment, back when I was in college and loved the way she kept me guessing as to what was really going on (the chapters rotate perspectives, each making a case for a different version of events). The Vanishers does much the same thing, though the story rolls out in a more straightforward manner. Dealing with vengeful mind games, faked deaths, and some serious mommy issues, Julia Severn — a student at an institute for budding psychics — always seems to find herself at arm’s length from the truth as she searches for a cure to a psychic attack and the reason her mother killed herself years before. 

Bottom line: Though provoking and addictive, I devoured it in about a day.

#9 The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel

by Jasper Fforde

Friends of mine have been on me to read this series for years now and I finally bit the bullet (finding a copy for $2.00 at The Last Bookstore certainly helped). I love books about books, so this was right up my alley and a pretty quick read. Basically, Thursday Next is a literary detective and when an original Dickens manuscript is stolen and a character in it (and in every copy of the same book) disappears from its pages winds up dead in the real world, Thursday has to figure out how to solve the problem before something worse happens to her favorite book: Jane Eyre.

Bottom line: A fun literary romp.