Bookish Things

Bookish Things August 2017

I promise I’m trying to find things that aren’t just Jane Austen related, but I guess when I read so much Jane Austen and love so much of what is produced around her it’s inevitable. I have a decent balance this week between Jane Austen and non-Jane Austen. I think it’s 50/50 this week.

I’ve been trying to make an effort recently (which I’ve made before) to read more long-form pieces (including book reviews). A lot of these pieces end up coming from The New Yorker and I noticed they spell any word that has a double vowel like coöperate or reëlect with a diaeresis, NOT an umlaut. This is a great brief article from The New Yorker about why the continue to do it – in essence to signal to non-English speakers that the word is co-operate and not coop-erate. Continue reading “Bookish Things August 2017”

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Books, Professional Development

Book 507: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? – Alan Alda

Only two ARC/Galleys left and I am all caught up! The same publicist who sent me Finally Out reached out about this book and the title had enough humor in it I figured it was worth a shot.* I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would!

What Alan Alda—I didn’t even recognize him from M*A*S*H (IMDb link), I just recognized his caricature—is doing is what the Plain English Campaign (website) has been trying to do since the late 70s, just through a different venue: improv. Both are trying to get things translated from the indecipherable jargon of science or government into easily relatable language. Alda, has basically made a side career out of this with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, where the observations he made from his many years on Scientific American Frontiers are put into practice to teach scientists how to talk to non-scientists.

Continue reading “Book 507: If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? – Alan Alda”

Books, Professional Development

Book 503: Win at Losing – Sam Weinman

I’m still making headway on my pile of galleys/ARCs from the end of 2016 and early 2017.* Now this one is read I think I’m down to under five!

This is another one of those Tarcher Perigee books that I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to read, but the publisher reached out to me and it sounded interesting enough that I figured why not through it into the mix and thankfully, it covered a lot more than just sports (which I was really worried about at first).

The entire premise of this book is Weinman’s son throws a fit after a tennis match he “clearly” should’ve won, but didn’t and Weinman pondered the idea of losing and not just losing, but losing in such a way that it became iconic in certain aspects of our culture.

Continue reading “Book 503: Win at Losing – Sam Weinman”

ARC, Books

Book 434: Eligible (The Austen Project #4) – Curtis Sittenfeld

Sittenfeld, Curtis - Eligible (The Austen Project #4)I really should’ve read Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility and McCall Smith’s Emma before I read this, but getting my hands on a galley/uncorrected proof copy from Random House* sort of made that a moot point. Perhaps I’ll read the other two soon as I loved this one so much. Needless to say, I’m proud I saved it for as long as I did. I always get a bit nervous when an uncorrected proof has in big bold letters “DO NOT PUBLISH YOUR RESPONSE BEFORE X DATE.”

I mean I get it, but it’s still like you want me to read this book and then keep mum on it. How is that possible!? It’s 1) Jane Austen, 2) ADORABLE and 3) hilariously modern in a way only Jane Austen can be made so. I’ll go ahead and warn you that this response isn’t all sunshine and roses though. I will say I was hesitant of the name-change from the original, but as I read it I was convinced with the okay-ness of it. There is a tangent later that is not a reflection of the book, but of some of the stupid comments I’ve seen recently of The Austen Project adaptations.

Continue reading “Book 434: Eligible (The Austen Project #4) – Curtis Sittenfeld”

Books

Book 341: Funny Girl – Nick Hornby

Hornby, Nick - Funny GirlThe only other Hornby I’ve read is High Fidelity (the film adaptation was meh). And I loved the film adaptation of About A Boy, so I wasn’t sure where this novel would go. I hadn’t planned on reading it, but one of my favorite podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, announced they were going to do an episode a few months ago so I put it on hold and timed it almost perfectly to listen! (I missed the exact episode by a little less than week.)

I think the podcast hit the nail on the head when they talked about the story being more focused on “the show [Barabara (and Jim)] rather than the funny girl of the title, Barbara/Sophie. But what Hornby didn’t do, was show us the show; he only ever referred to specific gags, situations or dialogue. Someone on PCHH said it should’ve been called “The Show” and I can’t agree more. It would be a better title and I would definitely have chosen to read it if that were the title too!

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