Tag Archives: books

One More Thing

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I just finished B.J. Novak’s new book of short stories, One More Thing.  I’m usually quick to read fun comedians’ books – Mindy’s, Tina’s, Chelsea Handler’s.   But I have to say, I mostly starting reading his book because B.J. came through town and I went to see him at the Dallas Museum of Art (I’m sooooo cultured).  If we’re being totally honest here, I went because he’s best friends with Mindy Kaling (I love her so much and think we’d be great friends – Mindy, holler at me!).  I guess that he wrote for the Office couldn’t hurt either.

I went in not quite knowing what to expect.  I really didn’t know that much about him (like that he was on Punk’d…), but he was such a light and fun yet totally intelligent presence.  He read a few of his stories out loud, which I initially didn’t think would be all that interesting, but it’s great to have an animated author expressing his stories and characters exactly as he intended them to be.   Including yelling the f-word out loud (LOUDLY) (my immediate reaction was as if someone had said that in church – I mean, the art museum is sacred, man!) … that’s the way to get your point across.  Anyways, it turned out to be completely enthralling.  Then there was a question/answer session and you could immediately see how quick and witty he is.  Even boring questions had hilarious and interesting answers.

So, obviously, I had to read the whole book.  When I say short stories, some of them are so short they’re not really stories.   Like we’re talking a few sentences.  It’s a structure that I haven’t read lately (I’m usually not that into short stories), and I have to say I found it really refreshing.  He has a very unique mind – some of the stories are OUT THERE.  Like you read them and think, ‘how would someone even come up with this??’   Honestly though, some, I feel like I didn’t quiiite understand the whole point.  And some are surprisingly dark and serious.  In all, it’s quite a mix, very varied, but yet he still manages to have some semblance of unity and continuity.  And, basically, he’s adorable too, so there’s that 🙂

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Wild Detectives Bookstore

I don’t know if it has occurred to anyone else, but Dallas has NO bookstores.  Even the big box Barnes and Nobles seem to be phasing out into the abyss that is Amazon Prime.  I know I’m probably in the old-timey minority in that I actually still like to read real life books, but I love them.  Always will.  I’ve got stacks everywhere in my apartment and boxes full of books in my garage (waiting for the day I have a grownup house with a real library).  And I LOVE me the bookstore.  I tend to end up binge-buying 10 books at a time when I may have the time to read one.  I get overzealous, what can I say?  But there’s something about the physical book store that just makes you feel like the world is full of possibilities and adventure and knowledge.  I feel less romantic about my iPad, this is not the movie Her.  

Thinking about recent (ish) trips to San Francisco and Austin, it has occurred to me that there really are very few independent bookstores in Dallas.  Upon asking the Googles, it really seems to be mostly religious bookstores and Half Price Books.  I completely get that this is the digital age, but come on people!  So imagine my excitement when I find out that there is a new independent bookstore opening in the oh so cool Bishop Arts area of Dallas, called The Wild Detectives.  AND they have wine!!  It’s like this place was meant for me!  (Also, I feel like the booze is sadly actually how they will make their money since I’m apparently the only one that still buys books.)

wild detectives

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So, did I go to the bookstore on Friday evening cause I’m a huge dork?  You’re damn right I did.  The place is adorable, in a little house just a block off the main trendy strip of hot restaurants.  The book selection is small and curated (very well in my book snob opinion) – sorry, you’re going to have to order Hunger Games online – you’re not going to get it here (no judgement though, I’m on the second book now).  I got a glass of red wine from the bar and wandered around the little space.  Once it truly gets up and going (I think there will be readings and book clubs, etc.), it’s going to be such a great space.  The backyard (since it’s a house on a residential block) seems to be under construction and I can’t wait to see what they make of the space.  I bought Robert Bolano’s book The Savage Detectives, after which the store is supposedly named, so I will let you know what I think.  I’m actually shocked I made it out of the store with only one book, but I will definitely be back.  Wine + books = my happy place!

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Back to School….

Hello!  I am back after a busy week with a report on my new literature class that I (potentially ill-advisedly) signed up for.  I’m sure you were all waiting with bated breath.  The Ciffs’ Notes:  I survived week 1.
First off, I SNUCK out of work early (6:30 to be exact – YOLO!!).  No one at work knows I signed up for a literature class.  I don’t want everyone to know how cool I am.  They also don’t know I have a blog.  I’m basically living a double life.  Like Super Woman and the presumably normal/nerdy person she was in real life (maybe my next class will be in comics and I can make more intelligent references.)
Did I read the full half of The Master and Margarita that I was supposed to?  … Not quite.  (But pretty close!).  Ah, memories of showing up to class unprepared and being terrified of being called on (law school, sometimes most times, I do not miss you).  In true law school form, I eeked into the back row and tried to hide (good thing we all rearranged our chairs into a circle.)  I must say though, it’s an odd thing, going to a class that no one is forced to go to, that people ACTUALLY ATTEND ON PURPOSE.  FOR FUN.  (Nerds, all, but 1. that’s beside the point, and 2. we already knew that.)  Pressure/fear of failure… gone.  Weird.
Anyways, I arrive at the immaculate country club of a campus, walk into the room, and immediately learn that I basically just paid money to join an eccentric book club of older people who all already know each other.  People have asked me if there were cute guys (probably because most of the things I do in life are in the hopes of meeting a cute guy – don’t act like you’re any different).  Maybe they were 30 years ago?  Maybe they have cute sons?  Suffice to say, an “adult enrichment” literature class is not quite as effective as taking shots and acting crazy at a college bar in terms of picking up an eligible gentleman.   (I should probably write a dating book.)
Anyways, I digress.  These people were truly eccentric.   One guy has read the book twice, with two different translations … to make sure he caught everything?  (These people have more free time than me … maybe they don’t hang out at the bar as much….)  One high school English teacher clearly hates the book and was kind of grumpy and surly about it the whole time.  He’s clearly my favorite.  Then there were was this 90 year old lady who sounded like her dentures were taking over her mouth.
Anyways, I think it’s good to branch out and try new things and new experiences, and I do actually in fact look forward to making some legit nutty, yet extremely intelligent and well-read old people friends.  Yay, the book club I’ve been looking for!  Sort of.

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I am a crazy nerd.

Today I did something kind of crazy and definitely extremely nerdy.  For those of you that don’t know me personally, I am a lawyer, so that in itself should tell you I am a nerd.  A busy, busy nerd who works a lot.  Today, however, I signed up for a “continuing education” literature class at a nearby university.  Nerdy nerd nerd!  I know.  I’m sorry I LOVE SCHOOL.  I’m good at school.  Less so at life.

Back to school, back to school, to prove to Daddy I’m not a fool.  It starts at the beginning of September and goes every Monday evening for 10 weeks.  I SO do not have time for this.  BUT, I’m kind of hoping it’s one of those things where you’re more efficient when you’re busy?  Yeah, let’s go with that.  Also, I’m totally screwed if they try to make me write papers.  I’m not interested in that.  Basically, I’m just trying to pay to be in a book club.

Aaaanways, we’ll see.  The class is called Memory, Desire and the Fantastic.  That’s kind of sexy and less nerdy right?  Here is my reading list.  Let me know if you have any feedback/insight on any of these!

1.  The Master and the Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov (this has been on my reading list for years!)

2.  By Night in Chile – Roberto Bolano

3.  Time Regained – Marcel Proust

4.  The Counterlife – Phillip Roth

5.  Atomised – Michele Houllebecq

I’m pumped if not preemptively overwhelmed.  Time to get a new notebook!  (Gah, I really can’t help the nerdiness.)  Can’t show up with a legal pad like an idiot!!

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Summer Book Report

Inspired by this post, I have decided it’s time for a book report of my summer reading.  Mostly because I’m way behind and too lazy to give you full write-ups in separate posts.  You probably don’t want to read that anyways.  You’re welcome.  I made a goal on Goodreads in January that I would read 20 books this year.  I’m a little bit behind but confident that I will catch up (mostly because I’ve completely had it with the horrible reality tv with which I have been rotting my brain and have decided to dedicate more free evenings and weekends to something that isn’t so horrifying – this deserves a whole ranty post in itself).  Anyways, of course I digress.  Without further ado, here’s what I have been reading lately (ridiculously diverse – surely there is something for everyone here).

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling

Mindy, I would never hang out without you.  Call me.  Let’s be friends, us and Olivia Wilde.  This is the perfect vacation read.  It’s quick, witty, and hilarious.  Mindy is so relatable (hello, the self deprecating humor is right up my alley).  Don’t get mad at me, but personally, I thought it was much funnier than Tina Fey’s book (though Tina, we can still hang out too!).  I love that Mindy isn’t your typical Hollywood twiggy bimbo.  She’s so real and so awesome.

Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides

The subject matter of this book is uncomfortable for some people.  This book is the story of a hermaphrodite, basically a man that was raised as a girl and his struggle with his identity growing up.  I have to say, it’s not my favorite book that I’ve read lately – it wasn’t necessarily a quick page-turner, but Jeffrey Eugenides is a great writer (see my post on The Marriage Plot on my old blog).  He reminds me of John Irving a la A Prayer for Owen Meany and The World According to Garp.  I have his other books on my list.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery

I loved this book.  I have to say, though, it reads a little bit … snobby (though I can be a snob, so there we go!)  It’s a little bit philosophy-heavy, but it doesn’t take away from the story.  It is the story of the interwoven lives of the diverse people that live in a Paris apartment.  I think it’s beautifully written and very smart.  Also, it made me want to learn french and jet off to Paris (note to self:  add to bucket list!)

The International Bank of Bob – Bob Harris

This book was a very interesting change from the fiction that I’ve been reading (people are mean to me about being boring and reading so much non-fiction – sorry I like to learn things people!)  The writer profiles the microfinance nonprofit Kiva which makes very small loans to individuals mostly in developing countries, but really all over the world.  I’ve always been interested in the idea of microfinance (nerd!) and so it was interesting to read more about how it works and how they deal with the banks in these foreign countries.  The author actually managed to track down some of the borrowers that he personally lent money to and see how his own money affected the borrowers – it’s so incredible how much a few hundred dollars can completely change people’s lives.  Very cool.  Check out the Kiva site and donate here!

Foodist – Darya Pino Rose

Ok, so this is my crazy girl reading a diet book (but not really a diet book) book (my mom recently told me I was like Bridget Jones with my self help books – thanks a lot MOM!)  This book is exactly what I needed though.  It’s truly not a diet book – it’s just about maintaining a healthy lifestyle without being a yo-yo dieter.  Diets are the enemy – yay!  Mostly it’s about avoiding processed foods, eating local, moving more – all very reasonable.  She encourages you to indulge and eat whatever you want but just in a mindful, thoughtful way – THIS is a “diet” i can get behind!  Like, I love Italian food.  So instead of eating some greasy soggy office pizza, this book would say eat a healthy salad and then wait until you’re at your favorite restaurant where the indulgence is truly worth it.  It’s a great book, bull of studies and statistics and science.   Definitely a lifestyle changer.  She’s got a great blog also – check it out here.
Next up, I’m going to re-read my favorite book One Hundred Years of Solitude since it’s set in Colombia and I’m going to Colombia in a few weeks holllerrr!!  We’re going to Cartagena and I’m hoping to run into Gabriel Garcia Marquez – dare to dream!

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