COOL QUOTE // Brain on Fire

The Vacation Mode Brain on Fire“Sometimes, just when we need them, life wraps metaphors up in little bows for us.  When you think all is lost, the things you need the most return unexpectedly.”

 – Susannah Cahalan

I read Brain on Fire after being urged by a friend and found it riveting from beginning to end. This young woman’s brave story is equal parts terrifying and inspiring.  Have you read it?  Full review to come!

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COOL QUOTE // Girl With a Pearl Earring

“I looked at the painting one last time, but by studying it so hard I felt something slip away. It was like looking at a star in the night sky – if I looked at one directly I could barely see it, but if I looked from the corner of my eye it became much brighter.”

– Griet

I’m on a family getaway near Bend, Oregon at the moment and despite coming fully prepared with my chosen reads, I couldn’t resist a perusal through the rental house’s well-stocked bookshelves.

I plucked out Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and haven’t been able to put it down!  The quote above is a great example of its beautiful prose.  Hopefully I make it all the way through, else management may find themselves short a book :-).

TIME’s Best Books of 2015 (So Far)

TIME Magazine said it and I’m inclinded to agree: “It’s turning into a big year for readers.”  Their edit staff just released their picks for the best books that have been released in 2015 thus far.  I’ve shared them here – have any of these made it into YOUR favorites or TBR list yet?

A God in Ruins Seveneves I Take You

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy

Get in Trouble Trigger Warning H Is For Hawk

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

The Story of Alice The Brothers The Folded Clock How Music Got Free

The Story of Alice by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

The Brothers by Masha Gessen

The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits

How Music Got Free by Stephen Witt

COOL QUOTES // Choke

There were so many thought-provoking zingers in Choke (read my review here)it didn’t feel fair to pick just one. Scroll down for some of the raddest (IMHO) lines from Chuck Palahniuk’s provocative novel.  Any favorites of yours that I left out?

Choke by vacation MODE

You gain power by pretending to be weak.  By contrast, you make people feel so strong.  You save people by letting them save you.

It’s ok to cry as long as you’re faking it.

I used rebellion as a way to hide out. We use criticism as a fake participation.

Language, she said, was just our way to explain away the wonder and the glory of the world.  To deconstruct. To dismiss.  She said peope can’t deal with how beautiful the world really is.  How it can’t be explained and understood.

“Anything you can acquire,” she says, “is only another thing you’ll lose.”

Unless I’m scamming for money, I’d rather people hate me than feel sorry for me.

On the radio, they talk about where to find traffic, a two-car accident on the bypass, a stalled tractor-trailer on the airport freeway.  After I fill the gas tank, I just find and accident and get in line.  Just to feel like I’m part of something.

We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are.  Sane or insane.  Saints or sex addicts. Heros or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are.
Letting our past decide our future.
Or we can decide for ourselves.
And maybe it’s our job to invent something better.

 

BOOK REVIEW // Choke

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Choke by vacation MODEVictor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be “saved” by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor’s life, go on to send checks to support him. When he’s not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park.

I scored Choke for a great deal in my favorite LA bookstore.  This was my introduction to Chuck Palahniuk’s work, though I’ve definitely heard of him before – like any other member of my generation, I’ve seen the Fight Club movie approximately one billion times.  While I know it’s not kablamo to judge an author’s work by a film adaptation; I perceived a lot of thematic similarities between that film and this book.  Anarchism, sex, apathy/disgust for commercialism and society, and an anithero protagonist who, underneath everything, just wants to be loved…you feel me. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW // Dragonfly in Amber

The Vacation Mode Dragonfly in Amber

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones … about a love that transcends the boundaries of time … and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his….

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart … in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising … and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

Well, I did it.  I really did it – I made it through Dragonfly in Amber.  I don’t know why this book was such a challenge to finish (the “break” I took to binge-read The Selection Series might have had something to do with it) but all in all, it was really good.

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BOOK REVIEW // The One

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In true binge-reading fashion, I ordered The One overnight upon finishing The Elite and finished it in two days.  And in true …me (?) fashion, I feel the same way about it that I did about the previous two books in The Selection series (reviews here and here).  It was not, by any means, the most groundbreaking literature I’ll ever read, but was definitely entertaining, even addictively so.

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