TSS: Missing SoCal

Happy Sunday fellow book lovers!  I should be writing this lovely post from the Hilton hotel in Glendale, California and seeing this view while doing so:

Alas, I’m still in Atlanta holding down the fort.  For some logistical and personal reasons combined, the Hubs and the rest of his family went without me to celebrate his sister’s engagement.  And I’m very sad I couldn’t go, but these things happen.  Anyway, he’ll be back tomorrow for an overnight stay before jet-setting off again to Virginia for work.

With the house all to myself, I’ve been marathoning Greek like it’s my job.  Really surprised at how much I like this cute, quirky, stereotype busting show.  I hated the traditional Greek system in my rather large state university (UGA) and couldn’t stand most people involved in the Greek system so this show was something I missed the first time through.  Not having to actually deal with Greek students on a daily basis has given me enough space to disconnect myself from my negative judgments.  Oh, and if you were in the social Greek system (not honors fraternities), I don’t mean to offend you – I just had several horrible experiences during my college years as a bus driver driving those kids around and living in the dorms surrounded by pledges.  Of course, I knew several Greek kids who were super sweet.  They were just often outnumbered.

How did I get so off topic?

If yesterday was for tv watching, today is really for reading.  I’ve got two more chapters of North and South before tomorrow’s read-a-long post can be written.  Cloud Atlas started off so beautifully, but then I got bogged down halfway through with the Sloosha’s Crossing section and the broken English!  The story is still great, but I have to re-read so many sentences to gain the meaning of the broken language and altered words.  And it feels more frustrating than amazing.  Hopefully, I can finish the last 20 pages of this particular section today!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Sunday!

TSS: Man, It’s Early!

I don’t remember the last time I wrote a post this early in the morning.  Normally, I even schedule them for later than 6:35 am.  But I’m awake and The Sunday Salon is calling my name.

This week has been kind of a big week in the Lee household.  Jimmy quit his job on Friday which is exactly the same Friday that I quit my job last year.  Coincidentally, we both worked at the same firm – perhaps the most evil CPA firm to ever exist.  It’s a very long story with a simple morale – Power in Corporate America is given to complete imbeciles.  No worries!  He’s already signed on with another firm and starts there a week from Monday.  He’s even going to be making a bit more money with the promise of a very substantial performance bonus.  Old firm didn’t know what a performance bonus was – unless you were an evil partner.

Enough of that!  The weather outside is unbearably hot, even for Georgia.  My reading chair is surrounded by a door and a window which literally allows me to feel the heat from outside oozing in.  Disgusting really.  I’m keeping my butt in doors today while Jimmy has a friend over to install a new exhaust system on said friend’s car – in the sweltering garage.  Yuck.

July 4th came and went rather pleasantly.  The park behind our house does a pretty decent fireworks show that we get to watch from our backyard.  We took our dinner up to the balcony and enjoyed from the comfort of our lounge chairs.  Our poor dogs weren’t very happy with the bangs.  Emmy hid in our bed under the covers and Cesar continuously barked at the invisible culprit.

As far as my reading week went, I finished A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin and The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury.  Both were fantastic reads.  I’m now about halfway through The Sherlockian by Graham Moore for July book club.  Honestly, still don’t know how I feel.  It’s lightly entertaining with a bit of hokey-ness thrown in, but not terrible really.  A good book for summer, methinks.  Also just started Gone With the Wind – one chapter in – and can’t wait to keep reading.  I read GWtW in college and look forward to reacquainting myself with it’s story.

How’s your Sunday going?  Did you have a great week?  What are you reading?  Hope everyone beats the heat and has a fabulous day!

 

TSS: A Week of Movies

This past week was filled with movie watching – far more so than book reading.  I’m not the world’s biggest movie person, but every now and again I watch an obscene amount of movies in a very short amount of time.  My husband and I devoured some cinema this weekend and enjoyed quite the eclectic mix.

Earlier in the week, I viewed Sarah’s Key by myself.  The Litwits read de Rosnay’s novel very early on and so I greatly looked forward to the film version.  Overall, I was quite satisfied, but didn’t find the movie amazing.  It was engaging, simple, did great justice to the book, and eliminated  most of the modern day Julia inner monologue that I hated in the novel.  If you’ve read the book, I recommend the movie and promise that the subtitles aren’t too distracting.

Friday night Jimmy and I sat down to Contagion.  They title really sums up the plot and I’m told the science in the movie is superbly accurate.  All in all, a decently engrossing film.  I particularly enjoyed the Matt Damon story line of father and daughter during the outbreak – touching, realistic, and worth the watch.  Jimmy jokingly thinks the movie is anti-Asian propaganda.

Out of the 5 movies I’m quickly reviewing, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the only film I don’t recommend.  I think the movie LOOKED amazing, the actors are brilliant (Gary Oldman, Colin Firth), but the film itself is heavy-handed, convoluted, and extremely long/boring.  Maybe I’m just completely stupid, but many other reviews I’ve read have said this version of the story is incredibly hard to follow as it cuts out most of the novel.  People highly suggest the mini-series as an alternative.  Nothing good can be happening when I am repeatedly asking Jimmy – “do you understand what’s been going on?”

To rid ourselves of the bad taste left by TTSS, we immediately turned to True Grit which I admit being wary of.  Nothing about ‘western’ really turns me on.  But this movie was by far my favorite of the week!  I adored it entirely and all of the actors did an amazing job.  The movie is hilarious, but at the same time gives enough weight to its rather serious material and themes.  I loved Jeff Bridges as Rooster – superb performance.  Watch this movie!!

We ended our Saturday night with Harry Brown starring Michael Caine – because who doesn’t like Michael Caine.  Jimmy selected the movie just because he loves Caine’s accent.  Seriously – that’s all we need to persuade us to watch a movie.  Harry Brown is not a movie for everyone and I was pretty convinced based off the summary that I was going to hate it.  The story takes place in a modern day Britain where young thugs and the criminal element have pretty much taken over normal society – very reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange.  The police are barely even allowed to do their job – most times only knocking on doors to tell loved ones of violent deaths with no hopes of catching the guilty parties.  Riots are the norm.  Michael Caine loses his wife and best friend back-to-back, gets sick of how things have gotten, and begins a vigilante spree that is gory, gritty, and admittedly, extremely satisfying.

Who knows what we’ll watch tonight?!  In the way of books, I did reread Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and loved it the second time around.  I’ve started One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest which sucked me in immediately.  Also began reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower which is the April read for book club.  Hopefully, I’ll be reading much more this next week.  I think I’ll probably post a review of Mockingjay on Monday since my opinion on the story did a complete 180.

Happy Reading!

TSS: So Long, Cable!

Yep – I’m ditching cable television.  For good.  I’ve gone without cable many times over the years and never actually missed it.  I mean, the couple of shows I’m loyal to are available for free on their respective websites.  For other shows, such as Mad Men and True Blood, buying a season pass online is so much cheaper than the $100 cable bill every month.

I’ve just found myself very disheartened with the lack of substance in television these days.  I loathe and despise reality tv.  And I’ve even ditched half the shows I used to be loyal to because they’ve grown ridiculous and should have been cancelled YEARS ago.  I miss the days of Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars.

Nothing much else going on this fabulous Sunday morning.  The dogs wouldn’t let me sleep in which is nothing new.  The HUBS is still snoring away.  I bought my tickets to The Hunger Games – not the midnight showing, but rather a Saturday evening viewing that many fellow Litwits will be attending as well.

As for my reading, I’m definitely in a slump.  I don’t think I finished a single book last week.  I’m halfway through Beautiful Creatures and have started a couple of others, but nothing is compelling me to keep reading.  I don’t blame the books; I blame myself.  Just haven’t been in the mood to read lately.  Burned out.  This always happens to me when the weather starts to turn warm!

Anywhoosie – have a fabulous Sunday!

TSS: Book Buying Ban!!!

That’s right!  No more book buying for as long as I can hold out.  I hope to make this stick until May at the very least.  Hopefully, the books I win, receive for review, or am gifted will scratch my ‘need new books’ itch I get practically every day.  February 14 marked my final book purchase so I’ve had 12 successful days thus far.  My bank account is so happy.  My willpower has yet to be truly tested though since I know there are about 5 books in the mail headed towards my house as we speak.  Once these beauties are received – WHAT WILL HAPPEN THEN?

This book buying ban has occurred at a rather opportune time as I’m feeling generally book slumpish.  After being super excited to begin The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, I haven’t progressed past page 36 and it has been a week.  Something tells me that particular book just might not be for me right now since I flew through John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and have quickly progressed through The Expats by Chris Pavone.  The Marriage Plot just feels so pretentious – exactly what I don’t need right now.

Speaking of The Expats, I’ll be finishing this one up soon and have a copy to GIVEAWAY thanks to the lovelies at Crown Publishing/Random House.  My review will probably be posted later this week with the giveaway so mark your calendars and check back.  I’m having a lot of fun with this one so far!

In non-bookish news, my week was pretty average.  The birthday was okay, but I got to feeling pretty lousy so mainly just snuggled up on the couch watching movies as a celebration.  Oh how much has changed in the past 7 or 8 years!  I did get to eat some birthday ice cream.  I don’t allow myself this particular treat often because I can’t control myself and go on ice cream binges.  But I enjoyed my little pint of deliciousness – flavor of choice?  Mayfield’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – YUM!

Happy Sunday everyone!!

TSS: Blog Hop Giveaways and Birthday Celebrations!

Happy Sunday, dear readers!  I hope everyone had a pleasant week or at least a relaxing weekend.  Things here have been quiet.  Valentine’s Day came and went with barely a whimper although the Hubs was generous enough to buy some excellent Belgium chocolate that we shared and some bath goodies that I love.  This next week begins my week long birthday celebration!!!  I’m giving myself a whole week this year because for the past 4 years I’ve worked 80 weeks during February and have been unable to celebrate due to exhaustion.  Yay for having my life back!

Later today is another glorious Litwits meeting!  We’ll be discussing Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding which was superb in my opinion, but more on that in the discussion wrap up post tomorrow.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Judith at Leeswammes’ Blog. Nearly 60 blogs are hosting giveaways and invite you to visit, spend some time on their blogs, and win free books! Check out my post here for your chance to win The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and links to all the participating blogs.  Giveaways end February 22.

My reading week has been pretty successful.  I finished three books and bought several more which has to stop.  I’ve temporarily placed myself on a book buying ban – we’ll see how long that lasts.  This week I’ll be snuggling up with Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  What will you be reading?

Friday night I stayed up far too late marathoning Downton Abbey Season 2 in preparation for the season finale tonight.  And then I proceeded to spoil myself on what happens because I have no willpower.  Still excited!

 

The Sunday Salon: Stories Through Pictures

I had an ‘odd’ week in reading.  Most of the week was spent with Emma, but I also managed a couple of short reads – The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss and the first volume of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman graphic novel.  All three will get full reviews this week, but reading a classic novel, a high concept novel, and a graphic novel at the same time was definitely an interesting reading experience.  What struck me most was how terrible I am at graphic novels.

In college I read Maus II and enjoyed it – mainly because I had help and guidance from an amazing professor.  But other than a few Buffy comics, my experience with graphic novels is zilch.  And I find them difficult to follow.  Sometimes I read the story/dialogue out of order because I get disoriented and lost.  Does this happen to anyone else?  I assume it gets better with further reading and admit to feeling more comfortable during the second half of The Sandman.  You would think pictures would make a story more accessible and easier to follow, but I don’t always find this true which is kind of confounding.  Do you agree?  Disagree?

I’d like to gain some perspective by exploring this genre more heavily so I need recommendations!  I already want to read Persepolis and Anya’s Ghost, but what else is there?  Should I continue on with The Sandman?  And what about manga?  What’s that all about?  Has anyone re-read a graphic novel retelling of a book they loved?

Next week, I plan on finishing Emma and reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.  I also just started a series I’ve been wanting to read for some time, The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.  Started Soulless last night and find it quite humorous so far.  Has anyone else read these books?

I hope everyone had a stupendous week and may your Sundays be filled with rainbows, unicorns, and books!

The Sunday Salon: A Reading Crash

Looking back on this week, I didn’t actually read all that much.  I only finished two books, one of which was an audio book I’d been listening to since mid-January. Not sure what happened – I think I’m just crashing after my reading high during January.  There was no way I was going to keep that pace up anyway.  The two books I finished will both be reviewed this week – Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and First You Try Everything by Jane McCafferty.

I’m currently reading The Art of Fielding for book club in a couple of weeks.  I had planned on finishing it today, but don’t see that happening unless I do nothing else but read – highly unlikely.  As I type this, I’m not even half way through and there are 512 pages.

Friday night Jimmy and I went out for dinner and a movie.  We spent close to an hour trying to decide what to see and ultimately landed on The Grey starting Liam Neeson.

It’s a survival movie pitting man against nature in the frozen Alaskan wilderness after a violent plane crash.  Liam Neeson plays a tortured soul and reluctant leader of a group of hardened laborers stranded after the crash and being systematically hunted and killed by a pack of wolves.  Sounds bleak, right?  Actually, the movie is extremely spiritual and has a large overarching Christian message and tons of religious symbolism – which completely surprised me.  Jimmy and I both enjoyed the film and recommend it (no matter if you’re into the religious thing or not) – but a word of warning, there are plenty of truly frightful moments and a good bit of gore from both wolf and human slaughtering.  If you can stomach all that, you’ll find a movie filled with hope – such odd bedfellows.

And lastly, I thought I’d post a little picture of where all the reading magic happens in my house.  My reading nook might be my favorite place on Earth.  One day I hope to flank the fireplace with beautiful built-in bookcases.  For now, I have one IKEA bookcase that houses all of my TBR books (or most of them) snuggled into the far side recess – it’s hidden in the picture.  No one needs to know how many TBR books I have – trust me!