Book Club: The Raven Cycle

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I have been up all night and it’s Maggie Stiefvater’s fault. But I HAD to know – was Gansey going to die? Would Blue ever kiss Adam? Would they wake the ley line? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY LIFE!

Very few of my questions were answered, but because Maggie Stiefvater is a magical piper who drags us deep into her imagination, I am already into book two.  There are people* who happen to be sitting in my apartment, watching the fog swirl in, thinking that maybe they should go outside today despite San Francisco’s commitment to crappy weather. Today is looking very un-promising for those people. You know who things are looking promising for? COFFEE.

The best part about going deep into a new series as a reader is the fact that you just never know what’s going to get you. I can easily predict the books I’ll be interested in: historical fiction, fairy tales reimagined, YA romance that guts you from the inside out because YA writers will always go for the jugular (i.e., one of them has cancer, or will time-travel away from the other, or has to make an impossible choice and there are no other options.) Books with a strong voice, books that are cheeky, books that are set during WWII. Automatic me-getters.

If your book is a cheeky romance about Cinderella nursing  Prince Charming back to health after he was hit by a German shell, but then! Wait! No! It turns out Cindy has cancer and Charming’s only hope in the whole world is to time travel into the future to get Cindy the chemo drugs (and shiny hair wig) that she so desperately needs…well. SIGN. ME. THE. EFF. RIGHT. UP.

There are also books about things you are not interested in, and some about things you actively dislike. Things like medieval times, dragons, pillaging, architecture. (Ken Follett, I’m looking at you) are things I have no interest in at all. While I am curious about most things – after all, it’s the job of a writer to follow the flare of curiosity – the zeal required for digging deep, investing time, and going the distance is limited to certain things. I know what makes me tick. And what I’ll spend months upon months researching and writing and working on and thinking about. In other words, what I’ll let occupy the limited mental real estate that is my head.

Enter The Raven Cycle.

Prep school boys? My interest in this begins and ends with Dead Poets Society. Coincidentally, so does my crush on this dude. My 15-year old heart still says hellll-oooo.

Psychics? Bleh, move along please.

The mash-up of Welsh lore and Virginia? I can barely spell Virginia.**

I don’t like any of these things. And I LOVE these books. I so, so love them. I’m not even really going to tell you why, but will instead strongly encourage you to buy the books or hightail it to the library to see what’s what. Advance apologies to San Francisco public library goers, because I have them alllllll.

And THIS is the triumphant fun of being a writer. Seeing what a writer can do to make you care, get invested, make your time and investment take the shape of their book. Even when that book isn’t something you’d pick up ordinarily.

For me, the not-yet-published kind of writer, reading good writing is a chance to try and take it apart, that interest, and then examine it and see how it’s done.

Do I know what makes you, a reader, tick? Let’s find out.

*Those people = just me

**I can totally spell Virginia, but you know what gets me every time? Conscience. Concious? Couscous? LIFE IS HARD.

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Best rom-coms for extremely particular situations

 hey girl

 

When you you can’t decide between watching a Wes Anderson movie OR sobbing your eyes out: Love Story.

When you’re in love with your best friend and you want someone to give you false hope, those someones are Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan! When Harry Met Sally.

When you have improved your mind through extensive reading and what you read was most definitely not Nicholas Sparks, but you also, maybe, are casually interested in laying your eyes on a pair of bulging breeches: Pride & Prejudice.

When you are really a glutton for punishment (but Alan Rickman! Be still my heart!) watch this version. And when you want your P&P with more fun and flair than Austen ever imagined: Bride & Prejudice. Austen would have torn it up at an Indian wedding, tho. So.

When you miss Sandra Bullock’s good old days and you also want to see eyebrows get top billing: While You Were Sleeping.

When you want to pretend that your current boyfriend isn’t an asshole per se, but rather, just a sassy Brit-sort of man who will eventually come ’round and be worthy of people: About a Boy.

When you know you are smarter than anyone and can toss Occam’s Razor and Schrodinger’s Cat around like nobody’s biz, and also, you think that guy who carries lumber across the quad is real cute, reconcile yourself: IQ. It’s the most adorable.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

amy and tina

My college years were some of the girliest of my life. I lived in a sorority house with 60 women, went to class for my journalism major surrounded by women, took modern dance and yoga classes with a ton of women. My life was an estrogen-fest for several years…and I loved it! I’ve never found another environment that was more supportive and kind than my college years.

I know many women have a different experience with all-girl groups (and especially sororities) but I’m happy to say that wasn’t my experience. I love those gals with all my heart, and that’s one of the reasons I love Valentine’s Day so much. It’s a day to celebrate love in all its forms, and the love between friends is no less powerful than Notebook-level, making out in the rain, showing up with a boom box in the rain, getting caught in the rain. True love is so rainy, but hey. Whatever it takes.

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And I do feel very “whatever it takes” about my friends. I draw the line at Notebookin’ it, however. Human sacrifice is creepy.

At the KD house, our little Galentine’s tradition was a watertight, no fail, love and cry, guaranteed good time every year: we caravanned over to that classiest of eating establishments, Sonic, and placed a mass order of Sonic Sweetheart Blasts. Once back at the house, we piled into the sunken living room in our comfies and proceeded to cry into our ice-cream while watching rom-coms and going to that screechy wailing place that only girls know. Boys, as far as I know, never screechy wail. They probably just ugly cry into their TMNT sheets, like this:

 

rachel

For Galentine’s Day this year, we have something very similar on the menu: Sweetheart shakes,   loads of rom-coms, and hopefully, will keep the screechy wails to a minimum.

Whatever it takes.

What are you doing for Galentine’s Day?