2014 reads [part 11]

Or: A year of Margaret Atwood, continued

Or: I can’t help myself, I’m sorry, it’s getting to be embarrassing AND I’M SORRY

So to ease your growing concerns– yes, I finished my 11th book of the year before the calendar flipped to its final page. And yes, it was with yet another Margaret Atwood novel. But I really don’t blame myself for this one. Edible Woman practically leapt off the shelf and into my arms, much the same way Annie’s mac & cheese magically makes its way into my basket when I grocery shop on an empty stomach.

Anyways, there’s no photo evidence to support this post because I started packing my apartment for my BIG MOVE way too early (don’t act like you’re surprised) and therefore put a quick end to the growing row of books atop my bookshelf. As upset as I am to have sacrificed my vision for the perfect instaflip video just a few weeks down the line (seriously though), it’s a good step towards this whole ‘abandoning the comfort zone’ thing I’m teaching/forcing myself to do.

Step one: let go of instagram video dreams.
Step two: board one-way flight to Europe.

Sounds simple enough.

PS: Edible Woman was super good, but do you even trust me on this anymore? You shouldn’t. Although according to the book jacket some significantly more credible critics share my opinion, so there’s always that.

2014 reads [part 10]

Over the last few days I’ve been doing things in extremes. I ate an entire bag of Teddy Grahams in one sitting, I placed 7 online shopping orders before finishing my morning coffee, and I donated 2 garbage bags full of old clothes to the nearest thrift store on a whim. (Okay.. so those last two mayyyy have been correlated..)

Among my recent binges was Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays. I started it Saturday night once the kids I was babysitting fell asleep. I planned on reading a few chapters before setting an alarm and having a nap (seriously, is there a better a single job than babysitting?) except a few chapters led to a few more and before I knew it there weren’t any left.

As I fought my drooping eyelids and the tired taste on the back of my tongue (does anyone else get that?), I felt like an 8 year old again — negotiating my lights out time to cram in a few more pages. I still can’t tell if it was the writing itself or the general screwed-up plot that kept me so invested, but regardless I couldn’t put it down so I would deem Didion’s work a success.

Now I know what you’re thinking: how ever will I go on without the anticipation of more compelling chapters?! Well luckily I have some serious online shopping orders to look forward to.

2014 reads [part 9]

I first bought a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five two summers ago for my then-boyfriend. It was part of a mono care package I made him after he contracted the kissing disease within 6 months of my own bout.

The book was, in all honesty, a bit of a toboggan gift – I had every intention of stealing the pocket-sized copy back once he was done to see what Vonnegut was all about. Unfortunately our summer romance ended before he finished the book, and I never did get the chance to read it, so when I saw a practically untouched copy in my favourite used book store, I figured it was about time.

The sad truth (almost as sad as the fact that said boyfriend dumped me via silent treatment) is that it was a bit of a let down. It was kind of like the year I waited until The Curious Case of Benjamin Button had received an unprecedented amount of hype, then critical acclaim, then Academy Award nominations before seeing it myself. It’s dangerous to go into these things expecting a masterpiece. Granted, I left the theatre after Benjamin Button mesmerized by Cate Blanchett’s closing pirouettes, but finished Slaughterhouse Five altogether unmesmerized. (It also took me six weeks to finish, drastically halting my Margaret-Atwood-inspired reading craze of the summer and causing me to fall off the rails a bit with this reading resolution!)

Does anyone have other Vonnegut recommendations that could sway me?

PS: If you’re carefully tracking my bookshelf photo journal (which you undoubtedly are) you’ll see a few glorious vintage murder mysteries thrown in for good measure this month. They were a Christmas gift from a great friend and I’ve decided they still deserve some publicity for being one of my favourite gifts of all time. That means something seeing as I would consider gift-selection one of my top 5 greatest strengths.