Welcome Back, Me!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Well, hey there everyone! It's been a while, hasn't it?

Good news - I think I'm back to blogging! I've got, oh, about 20+ books to review and a whole new life adventure to write about!

See, I moved to Canada to do my PhD - which means that there is potential around every corner for things to see and do and eat and talk about. So, that makes this little blog of mine a whole lot of multifaceted again - and I couldn't be happier.

So, strap in guys! It's gonna be an exciting ride!

Just so I can brag - look at the view from my bedroom window!
I see you Quebec! Lookin' all fantastic!
We're gonna have a lot fun! 

2013 Reads: Fifty {Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn}

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I guess it's time I finally finished up the reviews of the books I read in 2013, wouldn't you say? So, here it is, the last book of 2013: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I think it's safe to say that you have some sort of idea about what you're getting into when you pick up one of Gillian Flynn's novels. Even if you haven't read one of her books before.

Maybe not exactly what the story you're about to read is about, exactly. But that you're in for a crazy, suspenseful, and twisted ride.

Much like with Gone Girl, I finished this book unsure about if I actually liked what I had just read. Or, maybe, I wondered how if I did like it what that had to say about me. That sentence will make a lot more sense if you've read one of her books. Promise.


Camille Parker has inscribed the words of her life all over the contours of her body. Her past haunts every moment of her waking life - enough that she spent some time in a mental hospital. Now that she has checked herself out, she is seemingly on a fast track back.

The newspaper she works for - a second-rate, local daily paper - wants to send her back to her hometown for a story. Back to the world she so desperately has tried to leave behind. She returns reluctantly to cover the deaths of two local girls. 

Once home she is confronted by everything that went wrong with her childhood. Her mother, a narcissistic and neurotic hypochondriac, is unimpressed by her return. And her half-sister, a thirteen year old and beautiful girl, who she barely knows might just be the in she needs on the inner workings of her hometown. 

Once she steps foot back inside her family's Victorian mansion everything that she has fought so hard to forget comes flooding back. A tragedy which shaped her childhood and marked the rest of her life is unfolding before her eyes and she's not sure she can keep it together long enough to crack the story of the dead girls. As she identifies more and more with the girls she is investigating, Camille realizes that she needs to confront her own past in order to make sense of the present. 



I wasn't sure Gillian Flynn could throw me for a loop again after Gone Girl. I was convinced that I would be able to pick up all the signs that she was laying down - that I was aware of her tricks now.

But man, I was not prepared for what happened in this book. Flynn got me again - and she got me good.

It's hard to talk about her books without giving too much away. And I do not want to give a moment of this book away. The way the little secrets and bits of information drop into your lap at exactly the right moment so you're forced to reevaluate everything you thought you already knew about the story. Those wtf?! moments? Those are the moments I read her books for. And I wouldn't want to deprive anyone from a single one of those moments - or potentially reveal the moment for them.

And if you've read this book already you know exactly which moment I'm talking about.

One thing I really love about this book (and yes, maybe 'love' much like 'like' isn't exactly the right word, but it's the best I've got) is the characters. Flynn is marvelous at creating characters who are people more than they are characters. In this book she has completely succeeded at crafting authentic mean, nasty women. You know those type of women I'm talking about  - the grown up Mean Girls (promiscuous, violent, abusive, self-destructive, and more). And then similarly she is able to perfectly capture their offspring, the mean girls themselves. And those young women? Oh my god, they're even worse.

It's rare to see women portrayed as anything other than either heroines or victim. Instead Flynn casts them as a source of violence and evil within their community as well as the victims of that evil. Because, as we all know so well, women can be so mean - especially to other women. Men in this novel are only secondary - they're the pawns and the playthings of the women around them. And it's interesting to see that so accurately portrayed in this novel.

I would totally recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a wonderful thriller of a novel. Especially one which, in a few ways, seems to turn the genre on its head. Sharp Objects is not for the squeamish though - it's full of sex, drugs, and violence - it's truly not for the faint of heart.

It's kind of like watching a train wreck - you feel bad about watching, but you can't look away. I think Flynn has the literary corner of that market covered perfectly. 


Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime
Medium: Paperback, 254 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (31 July 2007)
Date Read: 31 December 2013
Source: Christmas Gift
Recommended For: High School +, Mystery Lovers, Thriller Lovers
Challenges: Goodreads 

First Line: My sweater was new, stinging red and ugly. 
Favorite Line: The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you. 
Last Line: Lately, I've been leaning towards kindness. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]

When You're Too Busy Looking Down, You Don't See The Chances You Miss

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I know I've been a little absent these days. Sorry world.

I've been busy.

I was caught up so many things these last few months. First I got to revel in my acceptance to a PhD program in Montreal which I am super excited about (more information on that later)! Then I spent a lot of time at home with my family just taking life easy and enjoying the amazing relationship you get to have with your parents in your adult life. And then I got caught up in a month long road-trip which took me to North Carolina and Tennessee and many other places. Reconnecting with so many old friends and making a hand full of new ones. Then I returned to work and have been traversing across New England working with kids on life-skills and character education. And then working with combat veterans and their families.

Life has been insane. But it's been amazing. I've been living my life these days as in-person as possible and not through the lens of my phone or computer. And that, that's the way I want to spend more of my days.

Which really makes me love this campaign that's making its way around the internet these days:

We're a generation of idiots - smart phones, dumb people. I honestly had tears in my eyes throughout this whole video - not just the part that shoved all sorts of feelings in your face. And yes, it totally hits you with the feelings - hard

This is such a brilliant reminder about the type of people we should all desire to grow up to be. We should aspire to be the type of person who presses the power-off button on all of their technology and the power-on button to their lives. We should be fully present in the world around us - and should show the children in our lives exactly how great of a reward that can be.

We should be the generation who LOOKS UP.

And no, the irony of posting this video and this message on a social media site is not lost on me. But, please know, if I disappear again for a while it's not because I'm not reading or not doing anything interesting worth reporting - it's probably that I'm off reading or experiencing or enjoying.

I'm probably off LOOKING UP.