Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not-So-Casual Friday - And My First Book Blurb

Whew! Another busy weekend of hanging out with friends and watching football! Yee haw!

I really wanted to wear my new skirt from a couple of weeks ago, so I forwent wearing denim on Friday and just did a regular outfit. I was pleased with the results:
You may remember this jacket from such the post "Casual Friday - Olive, Red and Tweed". Wow, I can't believe this is only the second time I've worn it!

The skirt feels like like suede, like when ultrasuede first appeared, not that cheap thin stuff that's in stores now. It's incredibly thick and soft - I actually had to check the seams to make sure it wasn't real leather! It has a semi-high waist and nice wide flat band across the tummy area. It was $10 in one of my favourite thrift stores! This is why I'm still going to continue to shop second hand.

I added touches of red and raspberry. I ended up stopping downtown and doing a bit of shopping after work - this was a BAD outfit for trying on clothes, especially since I had a raincoat, two bags and an umbrella to deal with!
I really liked all the layers and the accessories, how it all looked. I felt very eclectic all day, very quirky.

The stuff:
These shoes were not very good for shopping. I can wear them all day for work and to walk to and from the bus stop (as it was Friday and I don't work out on that day), but not so much another 3 hours on my feet. And those two buckles on the shoes were a pain in the butt when trying on stuff.

A close-up of the jewelry:
Pretty heart pendant, my leaf earrings L gave me for Christmas and one of my long double chains. I cleaned out my jewelry box and gave a bunch of stuff away on Friday, just trying to pare down what I don't wear anymore.

Now, let's talk books...

So! As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, my New Year's Resolution for 2010 is to read an hour a day. I love reading and frankly, I just don't make enough time for it. L and I have 9 bookcases (5 of which are 6' tall) crammed with books, which we weed out from time to time (we take them to our local 2nd hand bookshop and trade them in for store credits to buy more books!). I'm lucky in that I haven't moved much during my lifetime so far, so I've been able to keep a lot of childhood books (I have some really old vintage Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Happy Hollisters and Bobbsey Twins books), as well as build up my collections.

Anyway, I thought I'd do something this year to help me keep my resolution - to note when I've done a book, see how well I've been doing with my resolution, and give a brief blurb on books as I finish them.

Here's how I track my books (yes, I know I'm anal, I write down stuff a lot):

Heh, my lovely chicken scratch writing...The black book with the ribbon was a gift from my friend Arnold for my 40th birthday. In it, I write down all the books I've read: the title, the author, the year published, type of book (paperback, graphic novel, hardcover), when I started, when I finished, and my rating out of 5. Also, if it's a Book Club pick, I note that and whose pick it was. I've tracked my reading since November 2007.

The pink book was a Christmas gift this past year from L's grandma (it's a Breast Cancer thing from Avon). I track in it how much I read every day. I keep both of these books on my nightstand, as I do a good portion of my reading in bed at night.

My Book Club's selection process for books is not democratic - we struggled too much with finding books everyone could agree on. After 4 years of trying to agree on what we would read, and ending up with people either not buying the book or not reading it (guilty), I came up with a solution which has served us well over the past 3 or 4 years: whoever's turn it is to pick the book buys 5-6 copies of it (we have had up to 12 people in Book Club over the years, but are around 6 now...people come and go) and distributes them at the end of the meeting. The next person volunteers to pick books for the next meeting, and so on. We meet every 6 weeks or so.

When it's your turn, you can pick whatever you want...any genre, any age of book. Over the years since we started this, we've had some really cool books, and have gotten to read things we might not otherwise. Books I've chosen since we started that kind of pick: "V for Vendetta" (graphic novel), "Fanny Hill", "The Moon and Sixpence" and "Snuff" (that one was not very well liked - I should have gone with "Invisible Monsters", my favourite of his).

Today's book was the last pick for Book Club, as chosen by Karen, "I Know This Much is True" by Wally Lamb. I've read "She's Come Undone", but years and years ago. I don't remember it at all.

Shamefully, I didn't finish this in time for discussion at the last Book Club meeting, as I was bogged down with finishing "Atonement" (loved it, but wish I hadn't seen the movie first so that the ending could have blown me away). This book was a monster at 891 pages. I started it on January 1st and finished it yesterday, so 16 days to read it. I didn't start tracking my hours until a week ago - I read for a total of 7 hours and 45 minutes in one week (I missed one day entirely...um...I had wine that night - but made up for it by reading for 2.5 hours last Sunday and yesterday).

In addition to my Book Club books, I also have multiple stacks of books on my nightstand. I'll be blurbing on those as I read them, too.

Blurb: I really like Lamb's writing, and his ability to really get inside a character's head. The main character, Dominic, is not especially likeable, but we are taken on the journey with him and come to understand him well. The book is nicely circular in structure - what I thought would come back around did, what I hoped would be resolved was - and ended satisfyingly. It did feel overly long in places, and at points I wanted to just get on with it, already. Overall, I gave it a 3/5 due to the predictability and lack of engagement with the characters (I'm a tough marker), but would recommend it for a nice, long meaty read.

Next book on my reading list: It's another Book Club book: "Girlfriend in a Coma" by Douglas Coupland.

Jacket (Jacob Connexion, consignment), lace top (Express, consignment), cami (Jacob, gift from Ruth), skirt (Liz Claiborne, thrifted), tights (Hue), shoes ("Ivanna" Listen Up, Fluevogs), heart necklace (consignment), necklace (Plum), flower brooch (on jacket, Roberta's Hats), earrings (Plum, gift from L).

15 comments:

  1. I do that with books too! I like the idea of reading an hour a day. It would pull me away from the computer more. Are you on GoodReads.com? It's a place where you can keep track of what you've read, rate books, and see what others recommend. I can send you an invite if you'd like! Oh, and I love your skirt!

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  2. Funny, I was thinking of the Lamb book just the other day. I wrote this review of it when it first came out: http://edition.cnn.com/books/reviews/9808/13/this.much.true.cnn/index.html

    After it came out, Judith Regan, the publisher, called me to personally call me a cunt. I called her a psychotic bitch and we all lived happily ever after.

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  3. Couture, thanks so much for commenting! I tried GoodReads but it was just too much work (I'm terribly lazy about some things). Thanks for the compliment on the skirt!

    Wendy, that's hilarious - I am reading it right now. I agree very much with your review - that book needed a good 200 pages edited out. Hee!

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  4. I liked Girlfriend in a Coma, from what I can remember of it. But Coupland's Microserfs is still my hands-down favorite of his books.

    I don't read nearly enough anymore.

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  5. Completely understand! I agree with you and Wendy about "I Know This Much is True" and I hated "She's Come Undone". After reading it, I stopped listening to Oprah's suggestions.

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  6. I also keep track of my books, although I am a book snob so I could never be in a book club as I only want to read what I choose.

    I read 66 books in 2009 and one of my New Years Resolutions for 2010 is to get off the damn computer and read 100 as I did in 2008.

    I have to differ with you over "I know this Much Is True" It is on my list of the top ten books I have ever read....

    I am going to check GoodReads.com

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  7. The layering in your outfit is incredible - and so sleek! I'd have thought that so many structured layers would cause a lot of bunchiness, but you look impeccable as always.

    How neat that you are in a book club - that will definitely help with your resolution. I'm a bookworm as well - and a former literature major - and I've really missed reading. Picking up an old favorite book is a good motivation for me to get out of the house in time to catch the bus because then I gain an extra hour of reading time every day.

    Sheila, thank you so much for your incredibly kind comment. I am so glad to know you and think it's awesome to have developed a friendship purely through style blogs! One of these days I hope I'll have a chance to see you in person. I'll let you know next time I'm heading over to the island.

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  8. i LURVE me some palahniuk, but i agree that Snuff left me...wanting more? i dunno, compared to other books of his, it felt lacking. i think my favorite of his is Haunted. youve probably already read it, since youre a fan, but if not, go get it!

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  9. I love the raspberry top with the lace and the tweed jacket, it all looks so lovely together! Who knew tweed could be so curve-enhancing??

    So far i am digging Gf in a Coma, glad I picked it!

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  10. Great color combination. I like the raspberry top, goes great with brown and cream.
    Books: I loved “Atonement” and “V for Vendetta” but haven’t read any of the others. I look for them!

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  11. (Hey, this is Johnny, whose comment you remarked upon over in that Song Of The Exile thread. Thank you for the compliment. I like your blog...I just subscribed to your RSS feed, and I look forward to reading more.)

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  12. Kristen, cool - it's good so far. I'm about halfway through. It's the first book of his I've read, so thanks for the recommendation!

    Couture, yeah, I'm not interested in reading anymore of Lamb's stuff. I tend to avoid the Oprah books - too "chick lit-y".

    Lesa - ha! I'm not a snob, but I have rather erm, shallow tastes (I like Stephen King, fantasy and sci-fi). Wow, that's a huge amount of books! I only read 24, which is why I wanted to do this resolution. Fair enough - I think I might have liked it more if I wasn't trying to so hard to finish it, but then, to each her own!

    Kari, thank you! It did not feel sleek when I was trying on clothes, that's for sure! Our book club has been around for years - it's how I met all my girlfriends (I have mostly guy friends). I'm a longtime writer and lover of language, so it saddens me when I can't read as much as I want to.

    Oh, you are so welcome, Kari! Next time you're here, we'll go shopping and do lunch. :)

    Evanadine, I love him too - but my book club gals sure did not! I thought Snuff was pretty weak, though. I own Haunted but haven't read it yet! Now I'm excited - that will be my next Palahniuk! Thanks!

    Sherylyn, thanks! I love tweed, especially in skirts. I am really liking your book - good choice!

    Thanks, Aradia! Heh, Fanny Hill was banned for years and years - it is loaded with graphic sex...described with flower images!

    Thanks for commenting, Johnny, don't be shy. :) Your words rang so true - why should anyone have to defend themselves for spending their money how they want?

    Thanks, FA!

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  13. I'm reading, too - determined to take back in 2010 what blogging took from me in 2009! I just finished The Lacuna (B. Kingsolver) and wrote short review...I keep pertinent facts about books I read in a special section of my journal - much like you (I wrote about my journal in my blog, too.)

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  14. That's awesome, Rebecca! I am trying to cut out things that I don't get much out of...like TV! I'll check out your review, thanks!

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Comments are so incredibly special, and I love them and hug them and treasure them forever. Please feel free to tell me what you think! I try to respond to every one, so please check back!

Cheers,
Sheila