What I Read | OCTOBER 2017

33951646Jane, Unlimited by Jane Cashore

Yikes, this book!  About 1/3 of the way through, it ended, at which point I realized I was reading a Choose Your Own Adventure type book that laid out multiple directions for the story to take.  At first, it was super interesting, since her decisions to go in different directions revealed more secrets of the mysterious mansion she is visiting.  But it quickly gets SUPER WEIRD, and not the kind of weird that I adore.  It just felt like an author’s fever dream.  I’m sure some people will find this book fascinating, but it was not for me.

What_Happened_(Hillary_Rodham_Clinton)_book_coverWhat Happened by Hillary Clinton

A perfect title for a perfect book.  I loved reading Clinton’s perspective of the last couple years even though it left me banging my head against the wall because we could have had an experienced, intelligent, level-headed leader of our country, but we’re all idiots instead.  I thought she did a great job of owning up to her own failings throughout her campaign while also pointing out larger systemic issues at play (I especially adored her takes on being a woman in politics and the role of media coverage in affecting voters’ opinions).  Like all things politics, I’m not sure this would change the mind of someone who hates her, though I’d like to think they would come away respecting her.

33590214Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

It was good timing to read this right after What Happened, since this is the story of a political sex scandal from the perspective of the women surrounding the issue.  We hear from the mother of the young woman involved, from the woman herself (now decades older and living with a false name because her career was decimated while the senator emerged unscathed), from the young woman’s daughter, and from the senator’s wife.  It was an entertaining read, and mostly just an excellent example of how men’s predatory actions often ruin the women involved (which is very fitting in light of recent Harvey Weinstein news).

61RdD2N2mEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Magnus Chase: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

The third book in Riordan’s Norse mythology series, I just…continue to adore his writing style.  Myths retold with a wink are still my favorite thing, and this series in particular goes to new heights in creating an incredibly diverse dream team.  I think I go over this list in every review of his books, but our main cast of characters includes 1) a homeless teen who hates fighting, 2) a genderfluid teen (which is SUCH a cool real world analog for being a child of Loki, the shapeshifter), 3) a fashionable black dwarf, 4) a deaf elf, 5) a Muslim Valkyrie fighting and fasting through Ramadan, 6) an Irish girl who died in Bloody Sunday, and 7) a Viking.  All this awesome while also pursuing mythical mead made from the blood and spit of the gods in order to help Magnus win an insult contest (flyting) with Loki.  A+, this is exactly my jam.

939334The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip

In classic fantasy style, this is more ethereal than plot, though there’s definitely an all-powerful female wizard who falls in love with a prince AFTER marrying him as revenge plot against a king who tried to magically take away her sense of self.  Also she uses her magic to summon mystical beasts from legends to her backyard where only she can talk to them.  I think it is pretty clear why I was so interested in this book.

51YjlK890rL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Based on the premise “NO, having a mental disorder does not make you better at solving crimes,” John Green’s latest novel is about a teenage girl with severe OCD and anxiety who finds herself trying to solve a missing person’s case.  It’s a really lovely and melancholy story about friendship, first love, and trying to figure out how to connect with other people despite feeling so different all the time.

23281856Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

A friend mentioned that this book was about a brooding archeologist that reminded her of Toby Stephens, so naturally I read it the next day.  It is all that is silliest in an anachronistic historical romance mystery, but…it was about a brooding archeologist that reminded me of Toby Stephens, so I got what I wanted.

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A Political Fanfiction

by Elizabeth and Tricia

Justin and Angela, the ultimate buddy cop duo, team up to defeat international spy Vlad Poutine.

Starring 

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Justin Trudeau as Justin

angela-merkel
Angela Merkel as Angela

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Joe Biden as Joe

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Barack Obama as Barry

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The Hemsworth brothers as Chris and Liam

and Trumbledorf as himself


Justin and Angela stumbled down the boulevard.  Justin pushed this wavy hair back, causing a surfer fifty feet away to fall off his board.  Angela’s hair was immaculate, despite her having just run ten miles over rocky terrain.  “There!” she said, pointing ahead.

She had seen the giant sign for “Frozen Joe’s,” Hawaii’s best-selling ice cream stand.  The man leaning over the counter of the ice cream shop was the spitting image of the giant face on the sign: same Ray-Bans, same cheeky smile.  The sign didn’t include the highlighter yellow tank top that the real man was wearing today.  Against all odds, it made his teeth appear even whiter.

“What can I get you?” Joe asked.  “Vanilla?  Strawberry?”

Justin leaned against the counter, and Angela rolled her eyes at him.  “I was thinking something more along the lines of…mint chocolate chip.”

Joe reached beneath the counter and pulled out an AK-47.  Impossibly, his smile grew wider.  “I know someone who’s been waiting to see you.”

 

The speedboat crashed over the crest of a wave, jolting Justin into the man standing behind the steering wheel.  Justin glanced at his partner to make sure she was okay.  Angela was calmly eating her mojito-flavored ice cream cone.  She paused and fired two shots off the back of the boat, ducking for cover when the KGB agents behind them returned fire.

Over the noise, Justin shouted, “I never thought we’d reunite under these conditions.”

Barry grinned.  It seemed like he’d aged backward in the time since they’d last met.  Hawaii looked good on him, Justin thought.

“Really?” Barry asked.  “This is exactly how I imagined it.”

They shared a small smile, but Angela had no time for them.  She tossed the last of her cone over the side, put her gun on safety, and strode toward them.  “We need to hurry.  According to our last transmission, Chris and Liam are tied up at the Volcanoes National Park’s visitor’s center, and I’ll never hear the end of it if I don’t save them before Trumbledorf starts showing them his Instagram feed of ‘things that are orange.’”

Fin


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Self-Care During This Political Chaos

I almost always feel alone in my beliefs.  I’m too conservative for my liberal friends and too liberal for my conservative friends, but for one reason or another, I typically have more conservative friends than liberal ones.  A lot of the time, this doesn’t cause conflict, because although our politics differ, many of our goals and values are the same.  But the inauguration of the United States’s newest president is not ‘a lot of the time.’  So it is unfortunate that I currently find myself surrounded by conservative friends when all I want is to complain and cry and grieve that a racist, sexist, lying narcissist has been elected into my country’s highest office.  What’s a girl to do to take care of herself?

  • Snuggle with my cat; many faceplants into soft furry sides have occurred these past three days.
  • Watch A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, and remember that with intelligence, passion, and ingenuity, all sorts of horrible things can be endured.
  • Drink a class of wine, eat a piece of chocolate, and remember that good things exist.
  • Walk outside in the crisp air while listening to podcasts about God, feminism and/or Harry Potter.
  • Scroll through endless photos of women’s marches around the world and get excited about the fact that many a young girls’ career in politics is beginning today.
  • Talk to my female roommate and female friends about theology, about philosophy, and about psychology.
  • Write a message of gratitude to my brother, to my male friends, and to male celebrities who show support for women by joining in marches that do not benefit their exact experiences.
  • Get involved, by writing postcards to my senators so that my voice will be heard.  Too long I’ve tried to avoid being involved in politics, and look what happened.  Everyone needs to speak up, during elections and in between.  That means you too, dear readers, even if you are going to write in the exact opposite of my requests.

I’ve been sad the last couple days, but also inspired.  I feel alone, but in truth, millions of women all around the world marched to make their voices, and the voices of those who could not publicly join them, heard.  I stand with many brave, smart, sassy, angry, passionate, happy women who are going to change history.  This is going to be great.  Let’s not give up or shut up – we are blessed to live in a country that allows us freedom of speech, so for the first time in my life, I’m going to take advantage of that.  Tammy and Richard, I am so excited to write to you!

Sunday Summary #44

1|  Beren and Luthien are my #relationshipgoals, so I am THRILLED that their story is getting lifted from The Silmarillion to have a book of their own.

2|  If you don’t know who I’m talking about, check out this wonderfully titled post about J.R.R. Tolkien’s radical female character, “Luthien: Tolkien’s Badass Elf Princess.”

3|  Donald got booed a lot at the Al Smith dinner, but Hillary was a superstar!  She’s funny and inspiring, and I like her a lot.  Haters to the left, please.

 

Sunday Summary #43

1| Last Night’s Debate, or the Mansplaining Olympics 

An excellent and hilarious summary of the first presidential debate.

TRUMP: Also in addition to your sinister Machiavellian control of everything on earth, you are not good at leadership. I believe these things simultaneously and see no contradiction in them.

CLINTON: Wasn’t I supposed to be talking? About focusing on the middle class?

HOLT: (shrugs)

TRUMP: “TYPICAL POLITICIAN. ALL TALK, NO ACTION.”

CLINTON: Is this in response to something specific?

TRUMP: “NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.”

CLINTON: Did someone hit a switch on your back somewhere into drunk uncle mode?

2|  There are few things I love more than grown men consenting to be bossed around by tiny, amazing girls.

 

Let’s Talk About…PRO-LIFE: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

I will not apologize for the fact that my conversations with Elizabeth frequently revolve around Tom Hiddleston and other men blessed by God’s artistic prowess, but you know.  Sometimes we talk about slightly more important things, like politics, abortion, and social change! 


Tricia:  THIS is our next Obama/Biden bromance!?

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Elizabeth:  NO.
No, because you’re going to help elect Hillary, right?
And then we never have to hear from these idiots again.

Tricia:  Should our next Let’s Talk About be about politics?

Elizabeth:  Hm.  Maybe.  About 80% of my conversations about national politics these days devolve into me ranting about the hypocrisy of the allegedly pro-life party blocking birth control access.  Is that on brand for your blog?
Because it is an OUTRAGE.

Tricia:  Ooo yes!
What’s your definition of pro-life?   Continue reading

Sunday Summary #36: What’s on the Internet

The Stephen Colbert Edition, apparently

The only way I can stand to keep up with American politics (and I am SO thankful that I’m not living in the US right now and having to hear all this nonsense on a daily basis) is through late night talk shows hosts.  So imagine my UTTER DELIGHT when Stephen Colbert went to Jon Stewart for help in this time of political crisis (their spit takes of surprise when hearing that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee are WONDERFUL) and came back with “Stephen Colbert” the most egotistic conservative until, well, Trump. MY SOUL IS SO HAPPY, even if our nation is not.  But that’s what the Internet is for, right?

Of course “Stephen Colbert” would return in a chariot pulled by topless Uncle Sams, omg, I love him (which is why, like, I GET why people are all about Donald Trump, because spectacle is entertaining, but only for TELEVISION, people, NOT THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN OUR COUNTRY).

And here, one more!  Stephen Colbert singing is always great, and this one is particularly absurd and delightful.