Sunday, May 29, 2011

Books I read two months ago.

Look what I found in my drafts folder?  Yup, forgot to hit "publish" with the list of books I read in April.  I'm a slacker.

1.  The Help by Katherine Stockett
I loved this book. If you haven't heard of it, you're living in a literary blackhole.  About a young white woman in the South in the 1960's, who decides to write about the life of "the help"--the black women who clean the houses and raise the children of white people.  Told from multiple perspectives.  Made me cry a couple of times, very bookclub-esque.

2. The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
I kept waiting for something more to happen.  Man is married, man cheats on his wife, and both his wife and his mistress are decent people.  Crazy, right? (insert sarcasm here).  The whole book was boring and it never went anywhere.

3. Spirit Dances by C.E. Murphy
Good urban fantasy series by C.E. Murphy, about police detective/mechanic-turned-shaman JoAnne Walker.  This one was actually one of my favorites.  I feel as if the action scenes were much better written than in previous books (they tend to drag on) and the plot moves along nicely.

4. Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons
 Historical fiction, inspired by a true story.  That "almost a true story" part saves it, makes it more interesting--it's about a Jewish immigrant in England who is obsessed with building his own golf course.  It has some nice details but the story drags on for a bit too long.

5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Young Adult novel, Mean Girls meets Groundhog's Day.  Popular, mean, teenager relives the day she dies in a car wreck over and over again until she gets it "right".  Enjoyable but repetitive at times.

6. Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice
 I read this series way back in high school and decided to pick it up again.  Unfortunately, I couldn't read the book without picturing Brad Pitt in a bad wig.  Louie's angst is awfully whiny and the narrative style takes away from the story--but still a classic in the vampire-lit genre.

7. The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1)
 I adored this book.  Loved it.  If you like fantasy at all, pick it up now.  Told in flashback, it's the beginning of the story of a legendary and bigger than life man named "Kvothe the Kingkiller"--as he's now settled down in a sedentary life as an innkeeper.  He's arrogant, smart and dashing, but makes enough mistakes that you can't really hate him. 

8. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2)
 See above.  Still love it, this one tells the stories of his 20's.  Plus the comic Penny Arcade even makes fun of some of Kvothe's...."exploits".  Really, not as much of this as this comic would have you believe.  A fun, well written series with strong characters and well-written action scenes. 

9. Every Last One by Anne Quinlan
Well-written but dark and depressing.  I bought this from the library and didn't realize she's the same author of Black and Blue---good book, but also rather depressing and about domestic abuse.  First half of the book sets up the frivolous and minute details about a family (the voice is authentic but are perhaps a bit tedious), and the second half is about how the remaining family members cope after a tragedy strikes. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Engineer friends

Engineers think a bit differently than the rest of us.  I mean that in the nicest way.  After all, my stepmom is an engineer.

I've mentioned my lawyer friend, Shortstuff, on this blog before.  She's engaged to Tallstuff.  He's not only unusually tall, he's also a patent lawyer with an undergraduate degree in engineering.  He's incredibly smart and graduated second from his law school class. 

When Tallstuff helped us move, he spent a half hour arguing with our other lawyer friends about the best way to fit everything in the moving van.  (We have a lot of lawyer friends.  Which is cool if we ever want to sue someone, I suppose, except none of them are "That Type" of lawyer.  However, they are all the type of lawyer that has strong opinions about the best way to load a moving van.)  He also wanted to take off our door frame to get our couch out of the living room, despite my repeated assurances that we did not take it off to get the couch in there.

Tallstuff is also strangely gullible.  We once convinced him that pregnant ladies need a special bathtub, called a "pregnancy tub", and it fit over your normal bathtub and made it bigger.  

We went to a trivia night with Shortstuff and Tallstuff last weekend.  Shortstuff leaned over and whispered to me.  "Ask him what time it is."  I did.  Tallstuff raised one finger to signal for us to wait.  He looked at his watch.

We waited.  And waited some more.

"It's 6:34!" he said at last, proudly.

Shortstuff sighed.  "He keeps his watch set to Greenwich time.  Because it's easier."

Tallstuff looked offended.  "It is easier!  What if I forget to reset my watch after daylight savings?  This makes a lot more sense and I never have to reset it.  Besides, it's gotten a lot easier since I quit trying to move the clock hands mentally in my head and started looking at the time then subtracting the hours."

He was dead serious.  We spent the rest of the night asking him what time it was.  Then snickering.  We're such supportive friends.