Tag Archives: Bookish

Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • i’ve always imagined heaven to be a kind of library: You and me both, googler.
  • burying book in the wall ai weiwei: This is a history lesson I must google to get…now.
  • johnny depp high school girlfriend: Yep, you got my blog.  OW OW! It’s filled with useless facts like this.

Book News:


Swoon-Worthy Bookish Valentine Gift Guide

valentineguide

Create your own flame with this Bookish Valentine Gift Guide

The Big-Hearted Book Lover:

Big Hearted Book Lover

Big Hearted Book Lover

For the Coffee Shop Daters:

LeggingsWear

For the Bright & Bookish:

UniqueFunk

For the Note Passer:

notepasser

For the Girl Who Carries Her Weight in Books:

carryingherweightinbooks

For the Girl With Lists That Have No Titles:

Listswithnoname

Girls Who Celebrate Caturday with Books:

caturday

Bookish on a Budget (Nothing Over $15):

Bookishonabudget


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • see me in a supermarket: What section can I find you in? I prefer the cheeses, or the canned vegetables.  I get nervous when people flick fruit.
  • poem test compared to bowel movement: …. whaaaa??
  • minecraft pub interior: I love when I get super nerdy search terms like this.

Book News:


Newsday Tuesday

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***Due to vacations, this post will be a three week catch-up post. YAY!***

Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms: 

  • i was at the supermarket and say you hey what are you doing here you know just hunting for elephants:  I think this is an internet joke that you can find on pinterest, but it’s written like my students essays…scary.
  • a blonde with wedding party: Usually I get some sick fetish search terms and after reading this one I tried to think of all the weird things that would make you search this.  It wasn’t pretty.
  • vintage petticoat punishment in a mother’s: Here is one of those weird, fetish search terms.  How very Alice of you, anonymous.
  • is it etiquette to use guest bathroom for bowel movement: And then there are hilarious bowel movement search terms.  This is my favorite in a WHILE.  Which other bathroom would you use?  Would you walk into my bedroom’s bathroom to make sure the smell is far enough away from the living room.  I’m just not sure.  Where’s Dear Alice when you need her, or Abby, or just Cheryl Strayed.  I bet Cheryl would have a magnificent answer.

Book News:


Execution is an Ugly Word.

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

I’ve always wondered what it takes to become a death row inmate.  Every week growing up, my family attended a church that was quite liberal in its beliefs (especially for being Catholic).   And every week when it came to praying especially for those around the world, we always prayed for a man named “Jeff Meyer and those who live with him on North Carolina’s death row.”  I never knew what Jeff Meyer did, or where he was holed up, but I prayed for this name regardless.  I suppose that’s a prime example of blind faith.  A few weeks ago, we stopped praying for Jeff Meyer.  His name just didn’t come up amongst the war heroes, people who passed away, or those hooked to a hospital bed, lying amid wires.   I haven’t been able to dig up anything on the google machine about Jeff Meyer’s death, but I know that I’ve heard this name repeated every Sunday over my upbringing.

I guess this all brings me to the major point: I chose The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver on Netgalley because 1.  I watch far too many episodes of Law & Order and 2. I’ve been praying for a death row inmate for my entire teenage life and now well-into my adult life.   The Execution of Noa P. Singleton is a really strange book.  It tells the story of Ms. Singleton through the last months of her death row sentence and the story of how she became an inmate.  It’s a FRUSTRATING read.  She’s frustrating, her father is infuriating, his father’s girlfriend is a flaky waif who’s trying to find herself through semi-artistic means.   Don’t even get me started on Marlene, the mother of the victim.   That sounds really bad when you read the previous sentence, but the story of Noa’s crime involves Marlene deeply.  It’s a book full of disgusting characters.  It’s an episode of Criminal Minds in that the three main female characters are “normal” women.  They can be categorized differently: strong, bag o’ chips, damaged, but they’re all women who are succeeding in a society that has told each of them a different set of morals.

If you want a character-driven read, this is definitely it.  If you’re a psychology minor who thinks you can analyze people upon first meeting, read this.  If you’re an investigative spirit, or you’re the guy/gal who ruins movies for everyone you’re with because you tell the ending, then read this.  By the way, I’m one of you so I don’t judge.  We’re the puzzle solvers of the world without having to take a calculus class.

Death Row

The beginning part of this book was slow when Noa wasn’t opening up to the European, peachy-keen, boy-man of a lawyer.  He hadn’t yet cracked the porcelain of her story and was just tapping the glass of the prison window waiting for a response.  We were all in Noa’s head when she over-analyzed Marlene’s attempt at getting her clemency.   I think most of you know how it is to be too much in a character’s head and not enough in the environment.  The only book that has been successful with this for the entirety of a novel is Catcher in the Rye.  Somehow you want to be in Holden’s head.  I found him to be the polar opposite to Atticus Finch, but equally salty.  Noa is just a caged bird of a woman.  However, this is also the place where the author keeps her the most real.  I had to remind myself several times while reading that this woman has already served on death row for 10 years.  No wonder she’s such a black hole.  Who would want to be in the head of a murderer that’s lived in a body sized square for a third of her life.  Not this girl, that’s who.

Facts. Especially with this book.

I found this book incredibly interesting, but maddening.  These people are so sick and so twisted and so able to add calm to a situation that is nothing but.  I detest Marlene Dixon, she tormented me the most throughout the book.  I loathed her more than the killer.  She kept writing these letters to her daughter, Sarah, to make herself look and feel better.   Side story: my entire life I’ve been conscious of my maternal grandparents watching me.  It’s just my sixth sense or something.  I’ve never seen them, but boy will I ball within the second that one specific Dolly Parton song comes on.  I don’t even have to hear the words, I will be crying by the time Dolly opens her wide mouth.  A lot of the mistakes I could have made in high school were stopped because of this notion.  I thought, “but Grandpa S will see this and I will no longer be his favorite.”  I also believe I’m the favorite of the grandfather I’ve never met, but that’s just me being selfish.  If I did completely unlawful things in the hopes I could “save” my only daughter, when in reality I was breaking her twig wings, I definitely would not write her letters that make me look like an angel who was just trying to help.  That’s just my belief as a human being though.  The dead know.  They know our secrets and they know the unsaid, the undone, the truth of what happened during their lifetime.

Law System

Admitting is the first step, I know I’ve taken a weird and creepy turn on this one.

I just can’t ever, EVER like a character who can’t even make amends after death.  Can’t even be honest when the person you have left alone is finally free of your broken promises.  In fact, I’m angry.  I’m angry with Elizabeth L. Silver for writing a book when all of the characters are villains and I’m desperately trying to find the redeemable piece.  I don’t know how to write a complete villain, I don’t think anyone knows how to write a complete villain, but Silver may be the closest that’s ever come.  How do we become derailed? What is the difference between mistake and undone?

 

***GIVEAWAY WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN THE NEXT BLOG.  SORRY EVERYONE, I WAS ON VACATION.  CHECK BACK TO THE LAST BLOG IF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.***


Newsday Tuesday

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Favorite Tweets:

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Favorite Search Terms:

  • lumberjack valentine: Somewhere out in the interwebs, there’s a girl who’s dating an alligator wrestler, or an Olympic weight-lifting champion, or a lumberjack.  The lumberjack’s girl wears plaid in her freetime and smells distinctly of burnt wood.
  • dress up poison ivy what every decision do you suggest any kids to do in nc is everything: I’m not sure this makes any sense at all, but thank you for using the google machine to write your life story, or a Halloween drunken memory.  Not quite sure which.
  • irish gypsies in south carolina: Is there a caravan park for this? I’d like to join the travelers.

Book News:


120 Books Later

Photographed: BOOKS & BOWEL MOVEMENTS

Photographed: BOOKS & BOWEL MOVEMENTS

This Christmas, I was given my usual books and my father was given a toilet seat.  If ever again I am asked why my blog title remains this tradition of reading while pottying, I will point to this blog.

Bookish Gal

Bookish Gal

This morning I sat at the breakfast table while my mom vacuumed around me and my father had a Santa nap on the couch.  I finished the 120th book of the year.  Here is my thank you speech:

I’d like to thank the Academy, my mother, my father, my brother for creating competition, coffee, sweet potato muffins, fellow bloggers, my students, books AND bowel movements, dancing in the kitchen, soft rain, both cats, and my budget for adding $50 a month for books for the last year.  (It’s clear I have a problem and I should have started with “I am Cassie M and I am a bookoholic.”)

I’d like to thank people everywhere who read and who have encouraged me to continually write this blog even when I’m too tired, or there is too much reality television that I could watch instead.

I tried to get it down, but I’m not sure these words are good enough.

I think it’s safe to say that I came to reading as an escape rather than the sport that it has become in my life.  When you’re a kid and instead of playing video games, you’re picking Great Expectations off the shelf of the school library, you know you’re different.  And I’ve finally come to realize that that’s a good different.  We’re studiers of the language of our time, we’re the history keepers, the stop-motion picture takers, the people who can appreciate a moment put to words.  I can analyze the placement of a period for an hour if I must.  I prefer the soft light of a flashlight against the glow of a sheet rather than a ceiling light or a lamp.  We all do, us readers.  We’re like a community, a sisterhood, a brotherhood, we should design robes that have pockets deep enough for all the characters we carry around after we’ve placed our bookmark in new pages, new words, new wishes.

HOLY BOOKS BATMAN!

HOLY BOOKS BATMAN!

Like oak trees that carry equators of history in one chopped stump, we carry words.  We are the people that will carry history all the way to our grave stones.  When we’re asked by grand children, small children, dwarves in the woods, about our world we’ll be able to tell them with eloquence and grace whether we start with “Once Upon a Time” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”  We carry the voices of generations in our wombs and for longer than nine months, for life times.  We’re women made of hair, water, and syllables.  They kink in our hair, leave freckles on our cheeks, sunburns, hang nails, wrinkles at the bed of our palms.  We’re not made of water, fire, earth, or wind, but stories, paragraphs, sentences, ink.  The next time you wonder why you picked up that book instead of turned on that television, remember the gift that you’re bearing because not a lot of people are given this gift.  We’re the minor few.

True. Story.

True. Story.

My dad just said, “You know the theme I find with these books about presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, they’re all well read, they all sit in the evening and read.”  It’s just proof – we’re the Presidents of time and letter.

We’re the ones who walk into a bookstore and before turning to the coffee, the calendars or the shelves, we just take a deep breath.  There’s nothing more powerful than the smell of printed paper bound and stitched to a cover.  We don’t read blurbs, we break spines to read paragraphs before we buy the book.  We test ourselves with different genres, different publishing companies, different words.  We read everything; street signs, mall kiosks, gas station pamphlets, books. If there’s anything I learned from reading 120 books this year it’s that I’m one hell of a dinner party guest, no wait…that wasn’t it.  If there’s one thing I learned from reading 120 books this year, it’s that you can’t breathe under water and you can’t breathe in smoke, but you can breathe the middle of an o, the undercarriage of an a, the drooping breast of a b for life support.  You can live on words written and trees carved.

Just some more pictures of me.

Just some more pictures of me.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey this year.  I could not have done this without the encouragement of my blogging friends.  This community of people have made me feel more at home and more bookish than I ever thought possible.  Keep breathing, keep sobbing, carrying the weight of the world’s words on your shoulders because no one but you can bear it.


Project 365 | Week 49

Day 347 | Cat Nap

Shoved in the cushion.

Shoved in the cushion.

Don’t ask me how I got a cat this handsome or this photogenic, but he’s even a looker while he sleeps.

Day 348 | Tree Trimming

First Real Christmas Tree

First Real Christmas Tree

Brittni couldn’t believe that I didn’t know that you have to water these.  She whipped out her little watering can like a ninety-year old gardener and showed me the way.

Day 349 | Away in a Manger

Nephew

Nephew

My mom took my nephew to look at Christmas lights and he suddenly became a shepherd boy. Fits right in with his converses and shaggy Justin Bieber hair.  (Does anyone know how to correctly spell Bieber)?

Day 350 | Midsummer

Midsummer

Midsummer

My new life quote.

Day 351 | SELFIE

Photobooth

Photobooth

Good hair days are few and far between.  They need evidence.

Day 352 | “Glitter is the herpes of crafting”  - BD

Bookish Bulbs

Bookish Bulbs

Sunday afternoon crafting session with my cat lady double.

Day 353 | Progress Reports

Period Grades

Period Grades

Progress reports is almost never a good day.  It was even raining.  Jane Eyre should have come in and taught them a thing about the weather dictating feelings.


When in Doubt. Be Bookish.

My Workspace | Infested

So, I had a bad night.  It may be due to the picture to your left where tissues are crowding my mug of raspberry tea and my Downy napkin poetry.  I’ve been sick with a cold for just two short days and yet, I’m a cosmic mess.  At least tissues and napkins are pulling double time: snot and words.  Hopefully the two are not blurring one another.  Due to my lack of composure during creative writing discussions (which was more so the reason for my no good, very bad day) I took a mild trip to the bookstore.  By mild I mean I only purchased one book.   Quailridge isn’t exactly the place to go when you only want to purchase one book, it’s the place to go when you want to become a serial book killer.  It’s an instant mood lifter, it’s like the mood ring of bookstores – you walk in and you’re instantly violet-blue.  See the mood ring manual here.

I did the usual: ran my fingertips along the hardcover spines, through F,G,H,I and then poetry, travel, literary journals.  I looked through the card section, found quotes for friends in other hemispheres.  I cheered myself right up from that crying jag.  I joke with my friends that when I’m pregnant my husband will have to run out and get books, not tacos, or pickles.  Maybe a book on pickles.  Do they have such a thing. Today, I bought a book on birds (typical).

Let me introduce to you, The Conference of the Birds (retold and re-illustrated) by Peter Sis. I have a thing about bird books, or the word bird in titles.  I also have two birdish tattoos, and a nickname of “little bird.  It’s kind of my thing; birds and books.  Any title with “birds” or “birdies” usually lends itself right to the register.  This book spoke to me from clear across the room.  It was face-up towards me, it’s printed on this unbelievable grid paper, and the whole back sleeve is birds.  It didn’t take me long to designate this book, “the one” and marry it right on the spot.  In this case, I’m polygamous. This book is amazing.

If you didn’t already know, I’m obsessed with Shaun Tan books.  If anyone in Australia wants to send me his new sketch journals, I will not be opposed.  I own every single one (The Red Tree is in my nephews room though because I gave it to him for a holiday not even thinking it wasn’t very childish. It’s actually quite depressing).  Since my love affair started with Tan in Australia, I have yet to find illustrations, or illustrated books for adults that measure up to Tan.  I think in color, and oddness, The Conference of Birds matches. Just check out some of the images that Penguin gave as an excerpt to NPR.

I was delighted to find this book.  It only takes one page of something delicious to perk a bookish girl up (boys take note.  Maybe read the little diddy “Date a Girl Who Reads” so you can know the truth about love and devotion). Once I did some research, I found that last year Sis was on NPR “All Things Considered” to introduce his dream world of birds to adults, not children. Anywho, that’s not really why I’m writing. I never wrote a blog about how wonderful my Month of Letters was in March and Claire reminded me to blog about it.  A month of letters was a really lovely way to get to know bloggers out there and realize how your brain works in the stream-of-concious.  I often stream-of-concious for fiction and poetry exercises during my daily writing, but I don’t often enough write about my own life this way.  It’s interesting to decide what you’re going to write to a stranger, or how you’re going to present yourself, or if you’re just going to write about the glass in front of you and the orange eye make-up you’re wearing that day.  I wrote a lot of letters about coffee and food.  I was almost always hungry when I started writing.  I filled every first letter with the same note as well:

It's in my notebook called, "Bad Experiments" based on a post-it note I found.

“For it is said, you know, that a letter will always seek a reader; that sooner or later, like it or not, words have a way of finding the light, of making their secrets known” (Kate Morton, The Distant Hours).

I think there’s something about the honesty in writing letters that you don’t get through an email.  How easy is it to just slide your pinky to the delete key and let everything go blank again, start fresh.  With a letter, unless you feel like digging and scraping your pen across a page (who writes in pencil other than Nikki Finney anymore), it’s a lot more work to delete ink than the georgia font on the screen. I like letters because I always feel like myself when I write them.  I’m never pretending to be someone else because I know if I do, then it’s all fake.  In letters I can scrawl my bad, loopy, half-trying-cursive handwriting, my unknown and aggressive commas.  (The page looks like people are on the comma egg hunt).  My bad spelling and lack of acceptance of the “i before e” rule.  I tend to be the mess that I am when it comes to letters.  Usually, the blog world doesn’t see that mess because I try to focus (sometimes it comes out though, like this blog, it can’t be restrained). It wasn’t just me who celebrated the art of hand-writing, but tons of ladies wrote me back.  Here is what came of that:

My best friend Sars sent a montage of birds, her wedding, and New Zealand. She’s the one doing 365NZ.
She also sent a cat card.
Katie sent me an ugly doll card (totally not knowing I had a keychain). Anna sent me a card on stationary I almost bought two days before I received her card. And Chris drew me a bouquet.

Muzette's Tiger and my favorite drawings by Claire's two children.

Emerson Graduate School - Red Letter from Katie B. that turns into an envelope. All stuck into my 2012 Book.

Whitney is not only a darling human-being with passion, she sent me a magazine creation. It was lovely.

These are assorted letters. One is my to-do list with letter writing on it. One post card of a famous tiger. One fashion card. Two child drawings that are both hilarious, and wonderful. Pink trees in the upper right. Thank you to Claire, Muzette, and Chris(tina) for these.

Two out of Three from Claire. We're going strong.

Thank you to Claire, Jen, Whit, Muzette, Lauren, MyMeanderingMind, Riki, TraceyChrissy, Ever, Kate, Katie, Kristine, Cindy, Chris, Sars and Anna.  I got more cards than this.  Haley sent me this rad owl card that I unfortunately have misplaced.  I think my dad moved it from the kitchen counter where I last saw it.  It was very hippie Harry Potter, as she is.  In fact, I think I just described her in three words.  Thank you to everyone who participated with me, or helped me to create a global community of letter writing/penpal-dom. It’s a revolution, get on the bus.


Newsday Tuesday

Tweets of the Week:

Favorite Search Terms:

  • Kids Lawn Furniture: I just have the best image in my mind of girls tea-partying in the yard.  Yes, tea drinking is a verb.
  • Girl Hairy Leg: It’s true I didn’t shave my legs for most of high school due to competitive year round swimming and “hair checks” but I think I’ve grown beyond that.  (Except in winter – winter wool).
  • my spring feels like you: I just like the way this reads.  Whoever searched this, you’re a poet.
  • the expense of the bird cage: This is also oddly poetic.  I know it’s probably some cheap father who’s daughter wants a bird or something, but it’s poetically written. 

News:

Nick Flynn @ Norton Tumblr

It’s March Madness.  Let’s all participate.  The 2012 Book Bracket:

Book Bracket


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