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Librarian problems

23 Apr

Today, in preparation for my drive back to Utah, I packed all of my worldly possessions into my car. Approximately half of the total space is taken up by books. So. Many. Books. I saw this picture today and it made me wonder if you can have too much happiness…

books

The Magcians Review

3 Jul

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought The Magicians was a realistic, if somewhat bleak, take on what magic might actually look like the in the real world. Without a noble cause or evil villain to ground them, these already self-important young genius magicians run riot through the world. They truly live a hedonistic lifestyle with nothing and no one to check them besides their own shaky moral compasses. These kids learn the hard way that the cost of being one of the magical few is pretty damn high. Definitely not a feel good book, but one that made me re-imagining the fantasies I grew up loving.

This book is about 60% Harry Potter, 40% Chronicles of Narnia. But in a bad-ass, grown up kind of way: with Hogwarts awash with alcohol and Narnia being taken over by the freaky hybrid human-animal monsters. I enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book more than the end, where it got increasingly fantastical, action-packed and depressing.

A few annoyances.

1. Normally I feel like I have a better than average vocabulary. However, I felt like I had to read this book with a dictionary. At least a dozen times I ran across a word that not only did I not know the meaning of, but had no idea even existed.

2. Grossman uses the word “viscous” as an adjective no less than 4 times in the first 100 pages. Not sure why, but it annoyed me to no end.

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Empire Review

15 Apr

EmpireEmpire by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a huge fan of the Ender series, which predisposes me to love pretty much anything Orson Scott Card writes. However, I was curious to see how he would manage in a more contemporary and realistic setting rather than his usual futuristic sci-fi. I think it holds up pretty well. The pacing of the book was nice. Thrilling, but with some natural ebbs and flows in the story. It was compelling throughout, but I wasn’t forced to read it in one sitting due to cliffhanger chapters and never-ending plot twists.

As in most of Card’s work, I really enjoyed the political themes the book explores. It’s obvious that the book leans to the right, but not in a way that offended or annoyed me at all. I think both sides of the political spectrum were painted fairly and accurately, though in their most extreme forms.

Most of all, I enjoyed the afterward. Although it was written in 2006, I think most of what Card writes is 100% true to the current political climate. A few choice quotes from the afterward:

“A good working definition of fanaticism is that you are so convinced of your views and policies that you are sure anyone who opposes them must be either stupid and deceived or have some ulterior motive. We are today a nation where almost everyone in the public eye displays fanaticism with every utterance…we have become a nation of insane people able to see the madness only in the other side.”

“We live in a time when moderates are treated worse than extremists, being punished as if they were more fanatical than the actual fanatics.”

“…maybe, we can just calm down and stop thinking that our own ideas are so precious that we must never give an inch to accommodate the heartfelt beliefs of others.”

All in all, not Card’s best work, but a solid, entertaining and thought-provoking thriller that shows a disturbing picture of where the current trend of political polarism and hateful rhetoric could lead.

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#113-116

26 Apr

113. Record Store Day. I know it’s a little late. I meant to post this one last time, but I forgot all about it. I love that there’s a day that celebrates independent stores and music.

114. Buying books at thrift stores. I got 9 books yesterday for $10. Same goes for games. Disney Scene It = $3.00

115. Starting a new work out routine. Well, more like feeling motivated enough to start a new workout routine.

116. ABC Family original television. It’s so cheesy and I’m a little embarassed to admit how much I love it, but I just can’t get enough of shows like Make It or Break It.

#75-92: Cambridge, Netherlands, a tiny bit of Belgium, and home again

1 Apr

75. My friend Australian friend living in England described someone’s style as “poncy with a dash of tarty.” I loved it. You have to say it with a muddled Australian/English accent though.

76. Punting. The greatest outdoor activity ever.

77. Boots meal deals. For those of you who have never seen one, Boots is like the British equivalent of Walgreens, but WAY better. Partly because they have the Boots meal deal: 1 sandwich or salad, 1 snack item and 1 drink for about three and a half pounds.

78. Friendships that you can pick right back up where you left off even when you haven’t spoken in months.

79. Sunny days in usually very gray countries.

80. My last night in England I stayed with my friend George at his aunt’s house. When I introduced myself to his cousin Sam (about 10 years old) I got the following response: “Hello, I like you. I think you’re dating my cousin. We need to talk.” Sam promptly left the room to discuss our relationship with George. When asked if he even knew which one of us I was, Sam answered: “Of course I know which one’s Chelsea. She’s the American, the big one.” Luckily I was traveling with my friend Patti who’s about 5 feet tall and 90 pounds so I wasn’t offended. Instead I found myself loving this cheeky British kid. Hilarious.

81. Noticing the moon the night it appeared 14% larger than normal without knowing beforehand.

82. I rode a bike with Patti on the back and neither of us died. Patti did sustain a few minor bruises though.

83. Drinking homemade hot chocolate with stroopwafels every day.

84. The canals in the Netherlands. They make everything so cute.

85. Mustard soup. This classic dutch dish is my new fave.

86. Charming Italian waiters.

87. Old buildings. We just don’t have them here. Not like they are in Europe anyway.

88. Making it onto my my last flight with 5 minutes to spare.

89. Making it though 4 security checks and customs in 2 different countries with all my illegal contraband. I’m a rebel with my cheese and tulips.

90. Sleeping in my own bed. Well, in Molly’s bed at least.

91. Three people showed up to book club this month. That’s 50% more than last month. It looks like I’m on a roll 🙂

92. I got an interview for the fellowship I applied for. After yesterday’s freak out, the call couldn’t have come at a better time.

#41-42

11 Feb

41. I ran across this picture of the Stockholm city library. It’s beautiful in a way that I rarely associate with books. The photo itself is stunning as well. Another reason to love libraries, and another place to add to my list of must-see libraries. One day I will take a world tour. 42. Molly and all the wonderful things she says. Last night she was mocking me and I make a gesture like I was going to punch her arm. Her response: One day I’m going to slap that violence out of you! Priceless.

Book club

1 Feb

I used to be in a book club. I was the youngest member, but I didn’t really mind. We took turns hosting the group at our houses and providing dinner for everyone. We started off really strong. We read some great books and had good discussions. Pretty soon though it turned into a “Let’s get together and eat some good food and talk about our lives under the pretense of literary discussion” group instead. Still really fun, but definitely not much book discussing went on.

So, I’m determined to try it again. I’m looking for people who love to read, but not necessarily the same stuff as me. I love diverse opinions. I’m still trying to hash out the details (i.e. where we would meet, how often, etc.) but we’ll probably meet twice and read 1-2 books per month. If anyone is interested let me know.