Call Me 37 Today

October 8, 2008 at 10:43 am | Posted in LIfe, Reading | 36 Comments
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Well, the day has finally arrived and I can no longer say that I am 36.  Well, I was born at around 9:50pm, so I could wait to say I’m 37 until tonight, but that’s being a little ridiculous (although if you agree with the whole date and time thing,  you’ll make me exceedingly happy right up until 9:49pm).

Seriously, 36 was a wonderful year.  I feel that I’ve come into my own in my career and as a book blogger.  I have read 70 books since my last birthday and have reviewed 64. It would be hard for me to pick out a favorite from during that time, but the books that have stood out in my 37th year are The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, Gardens of Water by Alan Drew, The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner, The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George, The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman, Trauma by Patrick McGrath, Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan, Aberrations by Penelope Przekop, The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, and Sweetsmoke by David Fuller.

The best blogging experience I had personally revolved around Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield.  I bought this book for my husband, but read it first.  Little did either of us know that this would have a personal connection for my husband.  He was friends with Rob’s wife Renee.  We had a great time going through his pictures from that era and we posted one of Renee.  It always irritates me when there is no pictures in memoirs because I want to know what the people look like.  In this case, Danny was able to supply that for me.  It was also really neat to listen to the tape of his band singing The Beverly Hillbillies theme song to the tune of R.E.M.’s Talk about the Passion.  That whole experience was wonderful.

Best of all, I’ve met some of the most wonderful people last year.  From authors, to publicists, to my fellow book bloggers, to my readers.  I won’t name any because I don’t want to leave anyone out.  My life is richer because of you all.

I hope that everyone has a beautiful, beautiful day!

When Bad Things Happen to Good Books

August 19, 2008 at 4:09 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 21 Comments
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A while back, the Tuesday Thingers blogged about book swapping. In my post, I specifically mentioned lending my copy of Aberrations by Penelope Przekop to a friend of mine named Marjorie, and that when I lend a book, I do so being okay with the fact that it may come back to me damaged or not at all. As it turns out, that was a prescient post. Marjorie took this book with her on a business trip. As with her other previous trips, she writes up really fun stories about her time away and sends them out to all of us. Here is an excerpt from this trip that directly relates back to my book:

I guess I’ve passed the point where I get carded, even occasionally and when in soft lighting. That’s okay though, because I get to remember watching Wonder Woman and Simon & Simon. And that’s Important.

A band is about to start. I think the chances of this being music I would actually enjoy are very slim. Especially given the crowd. They all seem to be middle-aged work friends with their work outfits still on. The conversations around me involve:

• Teenaged children
• Wine
• Email
• Wraps (whether wraps as in food or clothes, I can’t tell)
• Huckleberries (I swear to god, this was a full half-hour discussion)

I’m clearly the best-dressed person here. I’m wearing a shirt with puffed short sleeves, thin navy stripes and a white collar and cuffs. My jeans are very dark-washed and are long and narrow at the ends, and I’m wearing navy round-toed pumps.

I ordered salmon on a bed of arugula with a bright red chili sauce on top. I finished the lobotomy book and am reading a book I borrowed from my friend, called “Aberrations”.
Oh goodness, this lady that is about to play the piano has on a bizarre black velvet outfit with matching headband and frizzy hair. I’m having serious doubts about what this music will be. Turns out it’s classic jazz, so I decide to stay.


A bee started bonsai diving at my food and my borrowed book flew up in the air and came down on my salmon, splashing my splendid shirt in the process. I finally managed to trap it in a glass of water with a saucer over it, but it wasn’t soon enough to spare my friend’s book.
Oh man. I hope she’s not pissed, because it’s pretty royally f***** up with bee sauce.

I only wish that I had a video of Marjorie telling me this story in person. She is a wonderful story teller and was probably a renowned tribal story teller in a previous life. I almost peed myself when she told me that her significant other said, “Uh, I think you owe Jennifer a new book.” Not at all. She really loved Przekop’s novel and that’s the most important thing to me. Now I have another story to go along with the book. That’s worth much more to me than the ARC. I’ll happily buy a brand new copy of Aberrations, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to look at the book without thinking about bee sauce.

Do you have any funny stories about book lending gone bad or has something bad ever happened to a copy of a book you borrowed from someone else? I’d love to hear your stories.

#85 ~ Aberrations

July 13, 2008 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Books, Family, Reading, Secrets and Lies | 8 Comments
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Aberrations by Penelope Przekop

When tragedy strikes during a child’s infancy and childhood, how much should that child’s parent reveal to the child and when? The main character of this novel is Angel, the only daughter of an attorney and a budding art photographer. When Angel’s mother dies while she is an infant, her father chooses to reveal very little about the death. Aberrations tells the story of what can happen to a young woman’s life when the full truth isn’t shared with her, even if things are held back because they seem to be for her own good.

All Angel has of her mother was a series of pictures of clouds whose formations resembled earthly shapes. In addition to hole left in her that can only be filled by “mother,” Angel is also dealing with a rare neurological disorder, narcolepsy. To an extent, Angel has allowed her disease to be an excuse for keeping the status quo. She’s content to live with her father and have an affair with a married doctor.

Angel’s life is turned upside down when Carla, her father’s girlfriend, moves in with them and takes over by redecorating the house. When Carla takes down all of her mother’s cloud pictures Angel is sent over the edge. This upheaval at home is what encourages her to spend more time with her co-workers, Tim and Kimmy. Their friendship, held on to only begrudgingly at first, helps her to open up with others about her life and her disease.  When Tim encourages Kimmy and Angle to come with him to the Blue Flower, the local gay dance club, and try Ecstasy, both of their lives begin to change. When Kimmy becomes the unintentional victim of a hate crime, Angel has to figure out who she wants to be and open her eyes to who she really can trust.

When I was offered the opportunity to read Aberrations, I wasn’t sure. Although I find narcolepsy interesting because it isn’t something that you read about very often, I was unsure of what this novel would be like or whether I would like it. Angel sounded like a misguided young woman who flitted from one sexual relationship to the other regardless of the consequences. It’s not that I have to have protagonists to have it all together (where would the need for a novel be?), but this was a little out of my usual reading choices. In fact, the very first part of the novel started somewhat slow for me. After about 40 pages, however, I was hooked. In the end, I’m so very thankful that I decided to take a chance.

Aberrations, Penelope Przekop’s first novel, was a delight to read and fascinating until the end. It was a pleasure to watch Angel mature, despite the fact that some of what she learns about her parents and herself is quite devastating. While preparing to write this review, I went back over the definition of the word “aberration” provided at the beginning of the book. Next to that was a newspaper article. While reading the book initially, I had forgotten all about it. Finding it again with what I know now gave me much to think about. I know that this is a novel that I will be reading again. Most of all, I’m looking forward to watching Przekop’s career progress.


To buy this book, click here.

July Book Blowout ~ Update Day 2

July 2, 2008 at 10:58 am | Posted in Books, LIfe, Reading | 3 Comments
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Book Blowout Logo

I was able to finish Regina’s Closet last night (technically this morning) before I went to bed.  It was a wonderful book and a quick read.  I have one review to write before this one, so I’m hoping to post my review sometime this weekend.

Next up: Aberrations by Penelope Przekop.

Cover for Aberrations

Literate Housewife’s Official Challenge Tally

I am also updating my challenge from 7 books to 10.  I’m super motivated by this challenge and I hope that everyone else is, too.

1/10 complete

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