I love everything that this book chooses to be. It's half content from her website and half new content, but I wasn't bothered by the old stuff being...moreI love everything that this book chooses to be. It's half content from her website and half new content, but I wasn't bothered by the old stuff being in there. Actually, I wish she would publish an omnibus so I can hard copies of all of it. The new stuff was great, too. A mix varying from fluffy childhood stories that contain smug drawings of her naked seven year old self standing in a playground, and extremely introspective pieces on the nature of identity. I'm a fan of all of it, and I'm glad she seems to be doing better with her depression.
Even though I know (from reading this book) that she would probably deny any praise I gave to her, I'm still going to say that Allie Brosh is probably a genius, and that most of her experiences are not as uncommon as she seems to think, it's only that they seem to affect her in more intense quantities because she's the kind of person who just EXPERIENCES THINGS MORE than other people do. And she's also more willing to be up front about the darker parts of herself. I don't think she gives herself enough credit. I think we're mostly all dealing with our own bad impulses and trying to do the right thing anyway.
Mostly I think it's amazing how she can get me to think introspectively all the while making me laugh uncontrollably while in public. (I read most of this while sitting in Whole Foods. I couldn't stop myself from guffawing, starting with the epigraph -- "For Scott. What now, you fucker?")
I'm going to buy a copy for everyone I know.(less)
This is the first time I've read this series in YEARS, and I've never bothered to think about them individually before (my copy is the Ultimate Hitchh...moreThis is the first time I've read this series in YEARS, and I've never bothered to think about them individually before (my copy is the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, which makes it easy to judge the whole series rather than its individual parts). Trying to do that on this read-through.
My brain is feeling very overwhelmed right now due to non-book-related things, so I'm not sure I'll do a full review, but I might have something to say later. Who knows. I'm not promising anything.
Anyway, this book was even funnier than I remember (probably because I'm an adult now and have a fully functioning brain).(less)
Well, let this be a lesson to those who would open their mouths and spew venom into the world. I once wrote very publicly and loudly on this here Good...moreWell, let this be a lesson to those who would open their mouths and spew venom into the world. I once wrote very publicly and loudly on this here Goodreads that I could never love a satire -- don't even remember which book I was reviewing*. The point is, this book has made me eat my words. This fucking book, man. I loved it. It's my cheese, my oreo cookie, my soft blanket on a cold winter's night, my let's pack everything up and head out for an adventure because FUCK YEAH WE'RE ALIVE. I'm so glad I randomly picked this book up at my library. Like, last second, I was checking out and there it was, and I just grabbed it. Best last minute decision ever.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a modern day epistolary novel, but not like one of those ones you read as a teenager with like whiny emails and diary entries from lovelorn pimple-faces, it's like layers and layers of subtle genius. Bee is fifteen and loves her mother, her eccentric and troubled mother, who one day disappears. The book is a meta-compilation supposedly put together by Bee of emails, articles, and other assorted correspondences that tell the story of Bernadette: what made her who she is, and what led up to her disappearance. The first 75% of the book is just a delightful satire, on the wealthy and privileged, on the self-deluded and spiritually empty -- but what really makes it are the bits of real emotion that are constantly peeking through. This story genuinely made me feel things, and like I mean that it in all caps, FEEL THINGS. Plus, it's just wacky. Maria Semple used to work on Arrested Development, if that gives you some idea of what I mean by 'wacky.'
Now, just to warn you, I'm writing this all high off the ending (which was just fucking lovely), so I might be a bit biased, and you might end up reading it and being like, Ashley, what the fuck? Just keep that in mind. But to put it in frame of reference, I liked this book almost as much as I liked Ready Player One (and I fucking love Ready Player One), but it's a different kind of love.
I don't want to say anymore because I just want you to go read the book. I mean it. GO!
The Oatmeal is my favorite web-comic, and I'm a crazy cat lady. Is it any surprise that I loved this? Thank you, Pima County Public Library System, fo...moreThe Oatmeal is my favorite web-comic, and I'm a crazy cat lady. Is it any surprise that I loved this? Thank you, Pima County Public Library System, for ordering this just for me.(less)
Went to Amazon to buy a new vacuum cleaner, and accidentally bought this book. It was delivered the next day, and took me approximately 45 minutes to...moreWent to Amazon to buy a new vacuum cleaner, and accidentally bought this book. It was delivered the next day, and took me approximately 45 minutes to read. There is literally nothing about this book to criticize, and so much to love. I think Heathcliff's face is my favorite, though. So good.
This is, like, one of the best books I've read all year. The little GIF excerpt they have on the internet didn't do this book justice. You have to rea...moreThis is, like, one of the best books I've read all year. The little GIF excerpt they have on the internet didn't do this book justice. You have to read the whole thing. Priceless.(less)
I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did, but I couldn't put it down. City of Thieves follows two young men for the period of one week in...moreI wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did, but I couldn't put it down. City of Thieves follows two young men for the period of one week in the winter of 1941, during the siege of Leningrad and their strange and unlikely mission of retrieving one dozen eggs for a Colonel in the Red Army. The book was smart, funny, sad, disgusting, and frankly, riveting. The narrator, Lev Beniov (who is largely based on Benioff's grandfather) is a seventeen year old Russian Jew, a virgin, who finds himself shoved together with Kolya, an irrepressible army deserter, who is one of the most original and hilarious fictional characters I've encountered this year. I also might be a little in love with the author. Holy shit is that man good looking, but he's married to Amanda Peet, so there's that. Highly recommended.
I also suggest picking up the audio book, narrated by Ron Perlman (aka Hellboy). He does a fabulous job.(less)
I didn't see The Princess Bride, the movie, until I was in 7th grade. At that point, it was 1997 or 1998 and it seemed like everyone else I knew had s...moreI didn't see The Princess Bride, the movie, until I was in 7th grade. At that point, it was 1997 or 1998 and it seemed like everyone else I knew had seen it a million times, and I'd never even heard of it*. We were on a school trip to Tombstone and we watched it on the bus. I remember I had a one pound bag full of rock sugar that I was eating like it was chips or something (honest to God, I should probably be diabetic for how much sugar I consumed as a child), and between that and my first glimpse of the gorgeous Cary Elwes as Westley, and well, the whole rest of the movie, I was high all the way home.
*My parents raised me on a strange mix of Disney, Shirley Temple, and John Wayne movies, and so by the time I grew a brain of my own, I was horribly behind in all things pop culture -- I still didn't manage to see Star Wars until I was 16. Man, that was a good year.
It wasn't until several years later that I came across the book in the library -- I hadn't even known the film was based on a book, and I had a hard time imagining what kind of book exactly could have spawned such a wacky, wonderful movie. The answer? An equally wacky -- if not moreso -- book, with an even more meta story inside of a story inside of a story thing going on. The Princess Bride and I were MFEO. I bought the book for the first time last week (for an undisclosed and super secret reason which shall be forthcoming) and decided I needed to take the opportunity to re-read it for the first time. Dudes, it was even better than I remembered it.
In fact, there's so much goodness packed inside these pages, I'm having a hard time deciding what to write about.
Should I write about the characters? The admirable and dauntless Inigo, the loveliness of gentle Fezzik, the lonely cold beauty of Buttercup, the absolute dreaminess of Westley? Should I write about Goldman's fictionalized self acting as a frame, about how "S. Morgenstern" is a fiction as well**, and how all his little interruptions and asides are gloriously made up? Or should I write about how this book is supposed to be a satire, but is so marvelous that it actually loops back around in the other direction, making itself not only a satire of traditional story tropes (most often adventure and fairy stories), but by the end, it actually becomes one of the best examples of those things that's ever been created. For example, the love story between Westley and Buttercup: Goldman shoves all this ridiculous stuff in there, like Buttercup being the 20th most beautiful woman in the world, and their over the top declarations of love for one another . . . but by the time he's done, you're actually choked up. All this wonderful, quotable, self-aware dialogue, and it still makes you FEEL things. It's beautiful, man. And the whole book is like that! Ridiculous and sublime.
**I do have to confess that when I read this the first time, I had NO IDEA that S. Morgenstern was a fiction, as was almost all of the supposed "true story" of Goldman's life as presented in the novel. When I was reading it back then, I could tell that something was just a little bit off, but I was so naive and Wikipedia didn't exist yet to tell me otherwise, that I took Goldman at his word. Honestly, it wasn't until about five years ago when I finally bought the film on DVD that I researched it a little and learned that the whole thing was made up. It made me feel much better about life.
In the end, I think I will write about none of those things, because I have too many feels and am also lazy.
I feel that I should give this book five stars solely for the monumental task of writing history so that I could actually follow it, something my brai...moreI feel that I should give this book five stars solely for the monumental task of writing history so that I could actually follow it, something my brain has a great amount of trouble with for some reason. This was my first Vowell, and it was good enough that I shall most definitely be reading another.
My only complaint is with the lack of chapters and the occasional jumping around in time, but again, this complaint is most likely mine alone because of my fuzzy-history-brain. It's a good thing this book was so enjoyable, because I'm going to forget everything that was in it in about two weeks and have to read it all over again. Just exactly why I can remember every minute little plot bunny in Harry Potter down to the color of Sirius Black's shoes in Order of the Phoenix without even blinking, but cannot for the life of me remember why Paul Revere was important or what started the Civil War, I have no idea. (less)
This book was recommended to me by my eye doctor, of all people. He asked me what my major was, and when I told him it was Creative Writing, he said t...moreThis book was recommended to me by my eye doctor, of all people. He asked me what my major was, and when I told him it was Creative Writing, he said that if he ever taught Creative Writing, he would love to teach this book. It was a sufficiently weird moment in my life that I took his advice and checked out the series. And he was right. This book is delightful (although I'm not sure I would ever teach it to an academic audience, even if I could, genre restrictions not withstanding).(less)
Perfectly structured, from beginning to end. Mean without being nasty, funny without being stupid. Insightful without being preach...more(4.5 stars, really.)
Perfectly structured, from beginning to end. Mean without being nasty, funny without being stupid. Insightful without being preachy. Terry Pratchett has a gift for lovingly pointing out the stupidities of the human condition.
This particular one is quite delightful. It's got dragons, a man named Carrot, and a group of three men who make up the city law enforcement, inept and lovable guardians of the backwards and corrupted joyful logic of the city called Ankh-Morpork.
Let me leave you with this passage from the beginning of the novel: 'The city wasa, wasa, wasa, wossname. Thing. Woman. That's what it was. Woman. Roaring, ancient, centuries old. Strung you along, let you fall in thingy, love, then kicked you inna, inna, thingy. Thingy, in your mouth. Tongue. Tonsils. Teeth. That's what it, she, did. She wasa . . . thing, you know, lady dog. Puppy. Hen. Bitch. And then you hated her and, and just when you thought you'd got her, it, out of your whatever, then she opened her great booming rotten heart to you, caught you off bal, bal, bal, thing. Ance. Yeah. Thassit. Never knew where where you stood. Lay. Only one thing you were sure of, you couldn't let her go. Because, because she was yours, all you had, even in her gutters . . .'
Also, this: 'It's a metaphor of human bloody existence, a dragon. And if that wasn't bad enough, it's also a bloody great hot flying thing.'
And this: 'People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.'(less)
Look, if you can manage to get past the fact that she (view spoiler)[killed Mark Darcy (hide spoiler)], this is well worth a read. (Not sure why I sho...moreLook, if you can manage to get past the fact that she (view spoiler)[killed Mark Darcy (hide spoiler)], this is well worth a read. (Not sure why I should have to mark that as a spoiler, you know from the very first page, and it's been all over the news.) It was unbearably sad in parts, but also funny, and unbearably happy. I'm very glad I read it. Please excuse me while I go cry into my pillow for a bit. Full review later.(less)