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Weekend Update

What I’m reading: I’m in a bit of a reading slump.  I keep auditioning books but none are sticking.

What I’m watching: The Bold Type and Younger.  I’m excited for my shows to come back next month, but I’m sad because that will mean those shows are off the air until NEXT summer and NOOOOOOOO.

What I’m listening to: I have found so many great podcasts this past week! I really love With Friends Like These, Represent (which discusses the way that women and minorities of every type are represented in pop culture), Sorta Awesome (thank you, Steph! Great recommendation), Sincerely, X, Strong Opinions Loosely Held, On One with Angela Rye (which I found on my friend Crystal’s recommendation) and especially Hellbent (a feminist political podcast). This has been the best week thanks to those podcasts (especially Hellbent).

Weekend Update

What I’m reading: Still reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.  It’s for book club (which is at 10) and I haven’t finished yet.  Either way, at least I get to see my friends at eat brunch.  Fingers crossed! Next up is an egalley of the new Allison Winn Scotch.  I generally try to read in order of release date but getting this one early has broken my resolve.

What I’m watching: I’m still on episode five of People v. OJ Simpson.  Maybe I’ll finish this weekend but more likely is that I’ll be reading.  ALSO still loving Younger and especially The Bold Type.  If you’re not watching, please start!  AND now that we’re in August, I can now happily say that all my shows are back NEXT MONTH.  (Most of them are coming back the last week of September, so it’s barely “next month” and almost “two months away” but technicalities still count.

What I’m listening to: My Favorite Murder podcast! I’m also fond of StoryCorps and NPR Happy Hour. I need to be better about listening to other things.

The Stars in our Eyes

Finished The Stars in our Eyes by Julie Klam.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

From bestselling author Julie Klam comes a lively and engaging exploration of celebrity: why celebrities fascinate us, what it means to be famous today, and why celebrities are so important.

“When I was young I was convinced celebrities could save me,” Julie Klam admits in The Stars in Our Eyes, her funny and personal exploration of fame and celebrity. As she did for subjects as wide-ranging as dogs, mothers, and friendship, Klam brings her infectious curiosity and crackling wit to the topic of celebrity. As she admits, “I’ve always been enamored with celebrities,” be they movie stars, baseball players, TV actors, and now Internet sensations. “They are the us we want to be.” Celebrities today have a global presence and can be, Klam writes, “some girl on Instagram who does nude yoga and has 3.5 million followers, a thirteen-year-old ‘viner, ‘ and a Korean rapper who posts his videos that are viewed millions of times.”

In The Stars in Our Eyes, Klam examines this phenomenon. She delves deep into what makes someone a celebrity, explains why we care about celebrities more than ever, and uncovers the bargains they make with the public and the burdens they bear to sustain this status. The result is an engaging, astute, and eye-opening look into celebrity that reveals the truths about fame as it elucidates why it’s such an important part of life today.”

I have been into pop culture my entire life.  There’s a picture of a toddler-aged me sitting on the couch, reading a People magazine. I’ve subscribed to Entertainment Weekly almost since its inception. I loved getting Premiere every month. (Moment of silence for Premiere.) So yes, I am a huge fan of pop culture.  With that, of course, comes a fondness for celebrities in general and a bunch in particular. (I have very strong feelings about almost all of them, and asked Julie Klam in a Tweet not to ruin Connie Britton for me.)

If you are also into celebrities and pop culture, this is a book for you.  She talks to celebrities I love (JULIE WARNER OMG; I love Tommy Boy, as do many people my age, but she was also in Indian Summer, this amazing independent movie most people have not seen—which, frankly, is a travesty) and respect (basically everyone else; I want to be friends with Timothy Hutton!) and shares fun celebrity encounters that her friends have had. (NOTE: Many of Julie Klam’s friends are authors and so, to me, are celebrities in their own right. There was much freaking out as I read the book.)

This book is a complete delight. There is something in here for all the pop culture fans (reality TV, if that’s your thing; the feelings of watching celebs fall; celeb breakups—I was actually heartbroken when Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins broke up—basically everything).  All I want in the world is to hang out with Julie Klam, eat ice cream and talk about celebrities.  And if there’s anything wrong with Connie Britton, I don’t want to know. She’s an actual treasure. So is this book.

Highly recommended.


Weekend Update

What I’m reading: the new Laura Dave, Hello Sunshine.  It is INSANELY GOOD, guys. It’s so completely different from her last book, Eight Hundred Grapes, and I love it and I can’t stop reading it.  And it’s under 300 pages, so it goes really fast. Review should be up tomorrow.

What I’m watching: The Bold Type and Younger, and nothing else. I want to watch The People vs. OJ Simpson and the ESPN documentary about the case, because they talk about it a lot on My Favorite Murder.

Which brings us to…

What I’m listening to: My Favorite Murder. It’s the funniest thing–I listen to episodes at work and it’s so fun and funny (it’s under comedy podcasts) and then I go home and it gets dark and I become the most paranoid person. And then I wake up and go to work and the cycle continues. I’m also listening to NPR Happy Hour (they’re time sensitive) and some Dear Sugars. I should probably do more of Dear Sugars and fewer My Favorite Murders but I’m generally not making the best decisions, so…

Stay Sexy, Don’t Get Murdered.

What I’m excited for: We’re almost to the release of the Dark Tower movie and YAAAAAAAAS.

The Punch Escrow

Finished The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure… Arrival… Delight!

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-fifth century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980’s new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.”

This was compared to Ready Player One, and do not believe that; the two are incredibly different.  I really enjoyed this one, too; it’s just that Ready Player One was so much fun and I didn’t have that same experience with this.  It’s incredibly entertaining but in a different way.  (There are a few music references but it wasn’t the constant pop culture delight of RP1.) I just wanted to get that out of the way, because I was so excited for this because I’ve been waiting for something like that.  Instead, this is an incredibly scientific novel.  It’s so smart and it made me feel smarter for reading it.  And there are footnotes to explain the science.  (I eventually got lost and skipped them; it didn’t affect my enjoyment.)

I love Joel and he’s really funny and at the same time, just over his head in this insane scenario where pretty much everyone wants to use him for various reasons and at the same time, nobody would be too upset if he ended up dead.  (And there’s an existential element, too, because now that he’s got a clone, which of them is really Joel? Are either of them real?)

This book is fantastic and you should definitely read it. But it’s not like anything I’ve ever read and it’s probably going to be unique for you, too.  Recommended.

Weekend Update

What I’m reading: I’m reading the new Michael Connelly and it’s so great. Everything he does is great.  So I recommend The Late Show; review soon, I hope.

What I’m watching: I love The Bold Type.  I love it so much.  Everyone’s a feminist, the friends are actual friends and not frenemies and even the jerky characters are more “demanding” and not really just assholes for no reason other than malice.

What I’m listening to: I’ve just started listening to podcasts at work.  I’m auditioning a bunch of different ones, and I’ll have a ton to talk about next week, I bet, but so far, my favorites are NPR Happy Hour and My Favorite Murder.  I started listening to My Favorite Murder on my friend Kathy’s recommendation and it is SO GOOD. (Yes, I have other friends who like it, but Kathy has talked about it so much and once I decided to listen to podcasts, I knew it was going to happen.) I’m probably not going to listen to all of the podcasts’ backlists but My Favorite Murder? YES TO ALL OF THEM.

What I’m looking forward to: the 24 in 48 readathon, which hopefully I’m doing right now.

Weekend Update

What I’m reading: The Force by Don Winslow. It’s so good! It’s like INSANELY good. I haven’t gotten very far in and it’s hard to summarize with a sentence or two. So read this. 

What I’m watching: I’m still caught up on Younger (so in love!) and am about to catch up with The Bold Type. It’s 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and EW raved about it. It’s sort of Devil Wears Prada or Ugly Betty and is really funny and also fun. 

What I’m excited for: I’m seeing The Big Sick and cannot wait! It may be later today or may be early next week after work. 

Off the Cliff

Finished Off the Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge by Becky Aikman.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“You’ve always been crazy, – says Louise to Thelma, having just outrun the police in a car chase and locked an officer in the trunk of his own car. “This is just the first chance you’ve had to express yourself.”

In 1991, Thelma and Louise, the story of two outlaw women on the run from their disenchanted lives, was a revelation. Suddenly, for the first time, here was a film in which women were, in every sense, behind the wheel. It turned the tables on Hollywood, instantly becoming a classic, and continues today to electrify audiences as a cultural statement of defiance. But if the film’s place in history now seems certain, at the time its creation was a long shot.

Before Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, and a young up-and-coming actor named Brad Pitt got involved, Thelma and Louise was just an idea in the head of Callie Khouri, a thirty-year-old music video production manager, who was fed up with working behind the scenes on sleazy sets. At four a.m. one night, sitting in her car outside the ramshackle bungalow in Santa Monica that she shared with two friends, she had a vision: two women on a crime spree, fleeing their dull and tedious lives–lives like hers–in search of a freedom they had never before been able to realize. She knew in that moment that she had to be the one to write it.

But in the late 1980s, Hollywood was dominated by men, both on the screen and behind the scenes. The likelihood of a script by an unheard-of screenwriter starring two women in lead roles actually getting made was remote. But Callie had one thing going for her–she had no idea she was attempting the almost impossible. And she pulled it off, by dint of sheer hard work and some good luck when she was able to get the script into the hands of the brilliant English filmmaker Ridley Scott, who saw its huge potential. With Scott on board, a team willing to challenge the odds came together–including not only the stars Davis and Sarandon, but also legends like actor Harvey Keitel, composer Hans Zimmer, and old-school studio chief Alan Ladd Jr.–to create one of the most controversial movies of all time.

In Off the Cliff, Becky Aikman tells the full extraordinary story behind this feminist sensation, which crashed through barricades and upended convention. Drawing on 130 exclusive interviews with the key players from this remarkable cast of actors, writers, and filmmakers, Aikman tells an inspiring and important underdog story about creativity, the magic of cinema, and the unjust obstacles that women in Hollywood continue to face to this day.”

I first saw Thelma & Louise when I was 12 or so.  I remember renting it the first weekend it was available (at my local Blockbuster–this was back in the days when one did such things), and I didn’t know much about it.  But I liked Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon (I had already seen The Fly and Bull Durham; my parents were very liberal about what I watched), and I loved the movie immediately.

I don’t think I could have articulated why then, but now I realize that I love the fact that–while there are guys in the movie and some of them are good or great guys and some of them are complete jerks–the movie is about their friendship.  It was probably the first movie I had ever seen (and there haven’t been that many since, either) where the guys were in the background and the women were centerstage.  It felt like a bit of a revelation, and it still does.

I like to think of myself as a Louise (in fact, one of my mantras was stolen from her—the unsympathetic but no less true “You get what you settle for”) but I’m probably slightly more of a Thelma.  I can be scattered and I may not be the best person around in a crisis.  Honestly, though, I’d be incredibly proud to be either of them.

But that all doesn’t matter.  If you love Thelma & Louise (or movies in general), you need this book.  It’s so well-written and thorough and I feel like I love the movie even more now.  And, of course, it’s always great when people are passionate about the same things I’m passionate about–and people were so passionate about this, and still are–even decades later.

Highly recommended.

Weekend Update

What I’m reading: I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and am about to start The Light We Lost. A friend really loved it, and I can’t wait. 

What I’m watching: I am fully caught up with Younger, so no new episodes until next week and there are only ten episodes left this season. I don’t want to think about it. 

What I’m looking forward to: a new episode of Younger. And I can’t wait for the new Michael Connelly, which is out the Tuesday after next. 

Forever, Interrupted

Finished Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.

Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.”

This book is insanely good.  I love the chapters with Elsie and Ben although they’re also hard to read since we know what’s coming for them.

Watching Elsie and Ben’s mom Susan learn how to deal with his loss is also wonderful/awful to read.

Everything about this book is perfect and I find it so hard to believe that it’s a first novel. (So far, everything she’s written has been perfect.)