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Showing posts from November, 2013

Book 47 of 52: Shoot the Woman First by Wallace Stroby

Shoot the Woman First (Crissa Stone Novels) is the third book in Wallace Stroby's series about career criminal Crissa Stone. I'm not really into mysteries or thrillers, but I read another of the Criss Stone books when I wrote about Stroby for New Jersey Monthly , and I was hooked. Yes, Stone is a career criminal, but she doesn't target people who would miss the money, or focuses on bad guys. In Shoot the Woman First , she's involved in a heist from a drug dealer, and things go wrong (if things didn't go wrong, this wouldn't be much of a book). The story flips between Stone, who is trying to give a part of her take to relatives of her partner, and Burke, a former police officer who is being paid by the drug dealer to track down who hit his operation. Crissa Stone a variation of a hooker with a heart of gold type story. She does bad things, but to bad people. She's living by her own moral code, and that makes her a sympathetic character. Stroby's don

Book 46 of 52: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh seems a fitting read right after the last book about memoir writing. Because, yes, this is a lot of memoir, even if part of the story is told in comic from. Brosh started blogging and posting comics about her life in 2009 as a way to procrastinate from studying for a physics final. Some of the comics in this book have run on the website already; some are original. I have heard about Brosh in passing from some editors at Runner's World. Even though I really enjoyed them, I never really checked the site outside the links that they shared, so almost all of this was new to me. It's an interesting way of story telling because it's not just comics and it's not just words, but a blend of both. And because that visual element is there, Brosh can inject some very perverse humor into comics about terrible topics, like contemplating suicide in a bout of depression. I felt bad for laughing, but I think that's the point. It's weir

Book 45 of 52: Writing is my Drink by Theo Pauling Nestor

Writing is My Drink is the second book of this cycle by Theo Pauline Nestor. The first was Book 16 of 52: How to Sleep Alone in a King-Sized Bed,  which I read after attending a memoir writing retreat organized by Nestor. While How to Sleep Alone in a King-Sized Bed  is a full on memoir, Writing is My Drink  is part memoir but the memoir part is set up to support the writing instruction that is given throughout, from personal lessons that Nestor learned on her path to publication, to lessons that she uses in her writing classes, to check lists of writing activities at the end of each chapter. I've been writing professionally now for a while - 15 years if you count when I started earning something for my writing, almost eight years if you start the clock from when I became a full time freelance writer. I've written a lot of personal stuff and what could be considered memoirs in essay length since then. So some of this advice is basic to me, but not all. I dog eared a

Book 44 of 53: [Redacted]

So I'm not going to share the book that is #44 of the series for a lot of reasons, the top one being that this is my blog and I MAKE THE RULES, DAMMIT! It's a self help book and I really don't want to share what I was reading and why. In case you're wondering, I'm fine, fit and healthy - I picked this up on the recommendation of a friend. But I read it, so it's part of the list. It's also an example of the back stories of used books. This one was published in the early 1990s, and it had been read before. Someone wrote in the book, and turned down corners. Based on how flat those folded corners are, I'm betting this book has stayed shut for about 20 years. The person who read it before me made notes in red pen - a very specific red pen if I can remember right: the old Bic pens with the white body and the cap to match the color of the ink. I used to pop off the bottom of the pen - a little round plug - and play with it when I was bored in class. I we

Book 43 of 52: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

If I remember right, I was sent a galley of John Green's  The Fault in Our Stars   before it was published in 2012. It didn't seem like the book for me. YA? Cancer? Pass. I donated it. But after seeing some of John Green's Youtube videos , and realizing he was friends with my friend Claire Zulky , and that the book was being turned into a movie AND that I had marked it "to read" on my Goodreads page, I decided to give it a go. And I am so glad I did. The Fault In Our Stars  is told from the point of view of Hazel, who should be dead. She almost died when cancer took over her lungs, but was saved by a miracle drug that keeps her tumors from growing. So she is alive, but constantly attached to oxygen and knows that the drug could stop working at any moment. At group therapy for cancer kids, she meets Augustus, who has lost part of a leg to cancer, and Isaac, who is about to go blind because of it. The book is what happens to the trio, though Isaac is the thi

Book 42 of 52: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Dear readers, I am writing to you from a terrible flight. First, I had an abominable day yesterday. Probably the second worst day of 2013 that left me sobbing in the shower for an hour. Then, for today, I finally  cashed in some of my USAirways Dividend miles for a flight from Philadelphia to Chicago. In return, USAirways gave me a ticket that put me on the plane in the last boarding group. Person after person with rolling bags got on before me - including a woman with two! - and then, just as I was about to get on the plane, a USAirways employee grabbed my bag and took it from me. When I then took the ticket from her hand, she made a nasty comment about me, in front of a crowd of people. Apparently she thought I couldn't hear her because I was wearing headphones. But no. I heard her, loud and clear. As did everyone else. So then I get packed onto the flight, and a person is in my seat. After much shifting around, I finally sit, and the woman next to me promptly takes over th

Book 41 of 52: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The parade of Collingswood Book Festival titles continues! The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling was the most expensive of the batch - it cost me a whopping $5. That's a lot more than most vendors were charging for used hardcovers, and the guy tried to hard sell me on it by saying it's a first edition (yes, a first edition Harry Potter might be worth something, but this? Eh). But since I so loved the Harry Potter books, I figured Rowling was worth a fiver. The Casual Vacancy  looks at what happens to a community after one person dies, though Barry Fairbrother's death doesn't cause the problems in Pageford Parish. It sets forth a series of events that take place revolving around who will take Fairbrother's seat on the parish council (because he died, his seat being open is called a "casual vacancy") That's because Fairbrother had been on the side of council that didn't want to relinquish control of a poorer part of town. The other side thought