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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Wednesday Funnies

Some interesting special collections...
{Our special collections here at SWBTS includes a shrunken head. No joke.}

And just another reason I'm loving Texas...
{This is actually in the town where I'll be going to school this fall.}

Hope you're all loving this week!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wifey

Have any of you read Wifey by Judy Blume?

Having devoured her more youthful work like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing; Superfudge; Blubber; and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret when I was in elementary school, I was excited to learn {just a few years ago, in fact} that Blume had also written a few adult novels.

Wifey was her first, and I was so excited to pick it up at Half-Price recently.

I didn't realize that when it was described as an adult novel, it didn't just mean for adult readers. Apparently, it also meant adult.

I'm no prude, and I've been around in the reading world. But I was just really surprised at the situations, the actions of the characters, the descriptions, the language. Let me tell ya, the exploits of Carrie Bradshaw pale in comparison to Blume's suburbia.

Maybe it was because it was Judy Blume, and my expectations were different going into reading. It reminded me of the whole Britney/Jessica/Miley/whateverpopstar phenomenon where they start out somewhat "innocent" when catering to a younger audience. But they seem to think that by "growing up" {or, in this case, writing "adult" novels}, that means they immediately have to be as raunchy as possible.

And it wasn't just the graphic nature of the book that I objected to. In fact, if it had been, I probably wouldn't be writing this. But the book was just bad.

It centers around Sandy, who is "trapped" in a loveless marriage to Norman in the mid-to-late 1960s. She stays with him because of the kids and the comforts of her life, but she is forever fantasizing about other men--especially the one that got away, Shep. She ends up reconnecting with Shep and has to decide what kinds of changes (if any) she's willing to make in her life.

At first, I felt sorry for Sandy because Norman is just wretched. He's the stereotypical insensitive, fastidious, arrogant jerk that all husbands are in this kind of feminist literature. (The kind that gives feminism a bad name.) But Sandy quickly started getting on my nerves, too. Even though she was a product of her culture and upbringing, it was as if she couldn't think for herself at all. Except to make bad decisions. She constantly complained, she was weak and whiny, and she ended up sleeping with both her brother-in-law and her best friend's husband.

Again, if this were just a description of Sandy and Norman's relationship, I wouldn't be so disgruntled. But all of the characters were unhappy or dysfunctional. All of them! There wasn't a happy marriage in all of the country club. And that, above all, made the book feel very unreal to me, which was especially disappointing since the realness is what I love most about Blume's other books.
So, fellow Judy Blume lovers, take my advice. Stick with Freckle Juice.

{Oh, and if any of you have read her other two adult novels, I'd love to hear thoughts on those as well.}

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Sentinels: Fortunes of War

The Sentinels: Fortunes of War by Gordon Zuckerman

What would happen if six young, vastly wealthy, brilliant post-graduates faced off against Germany's financial powers during World War II?

Gordon Zuckerman explores this question in the first novel of what seems to be a forthcoming series--The Sentinels.

In a bit of a twist on the idea of a Justice League, these self-appointed guardians of society maneuver the powers behind Hitler out of hundreds of millions of dollars in the hopes of preventing another world war or major dictatorial takeover.

But, as you can imagine, the Germans are worthy opponents and desperate to get their money back--especially as the war begins to turn against them.

Fortunes of War is a compelling, adventurous and fun novel, and I could see the series developing further. The characters are interesting and human, even though, due to their wealth and intelligence, they also resemble superheroes.

My only complaint is that I frequently forgot that the story was set during the 1940s. Some of Zuckerman's language and references gave it a more modern feel.

Otherwise, an exciting story and interesting concept.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Luck of the Irish goes to...

Marda!

Congratulations, Marda! Just message me your address (tiffanydavisnorris@yahoo.com), and I'll get your prize package on its way!

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

And, remember, we're doing one of these every month, so check in again with me!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Break?

Next week is Spring Break. Yippee!

Unlike last year, I'm working {almost} all week, so we'll be modifying accordingly.

On the agenda:
  • An all-day meeting on Saturday to get the party started.
  • Cleaning house. The nice thing about living in a tiny place is that I can really go deep with the cleaning. I may even rent a floor cleaner this year. My goal is to spend no more than an hour/day on each designated area. We'll see.
  • Day trip. Options: Dallas {again}, Austin {again}, hill country to look for bluebonnets, Dublin to try some of the original Dr. Pepper, some of the fun little nearby towns.
  • Night out with the girls at a new {to us} restaurant.
  • Spending the rest of our tax return on things that are broken: our car, our camera, Jason's glasses.
  • Rounding it out with a meeting the following weekend at UNT.

Do you have a break coming up soon?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up and March Giveaway!

Well, I know I said in the last post that I was going to watch New Moon this weekend. Um, yeah. It's not out yet. Ha.

Fail.

Thanks, Blockbuster, for displaying movies weeks early and tricking me into thinking they're coming out sooner than they are. ;)

No worries, though. I caught up on The Office instead.

On to the giveaway!

March's prize will include:
  • A copy of The Death of a Pope
  • Of course, a bookmark from NorrisCreations to mark your place
  • Rodeo soap that I came across at the Cowtown Farmers Market. Smells so good!
  • An assortment of yummy goodies to munch on while you read
I'll randomize the winner Friday at 5 p.m., so sign up by leaving a comment anytime before then!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Books, Movies, Art, Books, Movies, Art, Books

I fully intended to have another review done this week, but I got a little hooked on this...
Even though I still rolled my eyes and laughed at some of the angst, I couldn't put it down. For three solid days. I think I actually liked it better than Twilight, but I'm holding off reading Eclipse until that movie comes out. (I feel compelled to read the books before watching the movie, and I'm planning to see New Moon this weekend.)

Meanwhile, in lieu of a review, I'll catch you up on some links. Haven't done that in awhile.

Also a possibility on the to-see list this weekend is the new Alice in Wonderland movie. If I don't make that one, I'll just check out the original. Circa 1903, eight minutes.

While we're on video clips, here's one about what digital natives {allegedly} want from their libraries. There's been a bit of controversy on whether little Abby was over-prompted. You think? ;)



Finally, I heard a fantastic Think podcast recently about This Book is Overdue. Here's a review about the book that lauds librarians and cybrarians (who wouldn't love that?).

March giveaway coming Monday! Happy weekend. :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sarcasm and BBQ

So this?

Made my week. {Yeah, it's been a tough week.} Also made me homesick.

What's your BBQ preference? Tuscaloosa is tough because you have the competing deliciousness of varieties at Dreamland, Cypress Inn and Archibald's (and now Full Moon with their best-ever vinegar slaw). OK, going to stop now before I eat my arm.

Moving on, I came across this comment about sarcasm on
Penelope Trunk's latest post. (She's one of those I read even though I don't always agree with because she makes me think.)

Sarcasm reveals insecurity and cynicism – both things that make a person unlikable. Sarcasm is always negative in meaning, and the tone is always disparaging. On top of that, people who use sarcasm think they are being funny, but this is a poor man’s humor; because comedy is about timing. You say it, then there’s a beat, and then people laugh. With sarcasm, you say it, there’s a beat when someone realizes you’ve said something you don’t mean, and a beat to process what you did mean. The timing is off. So comedians rarely use sarcasm because it’s not funny. And top performers don’t use sarcasm because it’s mean.

Sarcasm has been bothering me more lately (as has its evil cousin snark). I don't think it's always inappropriate, but it does seem to be overused, particularly in the online realm. And I'm not innocent here, but I notice that I am sarcastic primarily when I'm angry, which should tell me something.

I've also been influenced by my husband on this one. In almost five years of marriage, I can't recall ever hearing him use sarcasm. He doesn't like it because, as Penelope mentioned, it's mean. And he is the nicest person I know.

So...your turn. Thoughts on sarcasm? Thoughts on barbecue?

Happy almost-Friday (or, as some call it, Thursday).

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I Would Read Him on a Boat; I Would Read Him With a Goat

Are you celebrating Dr. Seuss and reading across America today?
Fred doesn't love it when I read aloud to him, but maybe we'll give it a try anyway. For Dr. Seuss. :) Confession time: what's your favorite Dr. Seuss creation?

It's hard not to love them all, of course, but I'm partial to Oh, the Places You'll Go. I received it as a high school graduation gift, and it still helps me out when I'm in "The Waiting Place" now and again.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.


Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a Better Break
or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.


No!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
{or girl}

Thanks, Dr. Seuss.

Read from the beginning...