Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What you should be reading, if you know what's good for you...

Okay, so I don't have a lot of talents or skills.  I can't sing, or dance, or French braid hair. I'm not a gymnast.  I have zero artistic talent.  I don't speak any other language. I'm not an interior decorator, and I don't have a green thumb. I'm not a chef. I don't knit, sew, needlepoint or any of that hand/eye coordination crafting.

So what can I do?  I type fast. Really fast.  I read.  And I seem to have a knack for recommending books people like.  I'm not bragging here, because, well, see the first paragraph. I'm just saying that if you hold a gun to my head and ask me for a book recommendation, you won't be disappointed.

I've been asked to make a recommendation list, and I've decided to give a little blurb as to why I'm recommending certain books.  This will hopefully be the first in a long line of recommendations. These are not new books. I'm not a book reviewer, I'm a book reader.

I strongly suggest you give some of these books a shot.  I mean, really, what do you have to lose? Reading stimulates your brain, which in turn keeps you younger, so really, what I'm offering here is the fountain of youth...yeah, that's the ticket!

Let's begin:

The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein - You don't need to love racing, rain, or even dogs to fall in love with this book.  Although the narrator is Enzo, the dog, don't think that it will be trite or silly.  Enzo is a dog on a mission. His mission, as he is convinced he'll be reincarnated into a man, is to be the best possible dog he can be, so that when he comes back, he can be the best man possible.  Enzo tells the story of his life with his family, and their many ups and downs, in only a way he can tell it.  I guarantee you will never look at your dog the same way again.

Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris - These are just plain fun, and only about a million times better than that poor excuse show HBO puts out, True Blood.  You will fall in love with Sookie, and her exploits as she discovers why she is the way she is.  Perfect summer reading.

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak - The narrator is Death. Enough said? No? Okay, well, the Reaper is poignant in this story, and also a little snarky, and pretty chuckle-out-loud worthy.  He follows a little girl he has dubbed The Book Thief, throughout her life in Nazi Germany. It is a wonderful, microscopic look at one girl, her family, and her friends, and all that she holds dear, but the observer is Death. Worthy of purchase, because you'll want to read it again.

Spooky Little Girl, Laurie Notaro - What a great idea for a story!  Snort-inducing, eye-watering, soul-reaching...excellent summer read, and also definitely worth purchasing.  Girl is engaged. Girl is dumped (harshly, I might add), girl dies. But wait, girl becomes ghost with a mission.  But what is that mission? Read it to find out. 

Any of the Idiot Girl books, or anything at all by Laurie Notaro - When I first started reading Laurie, I wasn't sure. I'd just finished Jen Lancaster's books, and thought Laurie might be a little low brow for my tastes.  Oh, how wrong I was.  Because Laurie is my friend. She exists in all of us.  She's just way more honest than we are, and in that honesty, hilarity ensues.  You won't regret reading Laurie, ever.

Bitter is the New Black, Jen Lancaster - A random stranger-fellow book lover recommended Bitter to me, and my life hasn't been the same since.  Jen Lancaster is a bona fide DINK at the beginning, but hilariously so, but the mighty falls, and doesn't fall gracefully.  After Bitter comes Bright Lights, Big Ass, Pretty in Plaid, and My Fair Lazy.  All are excellent memoirs, and you will start to think of Jen as your raucously funny friend, and if you're like me, will call your other friends to discuss her antics.  Jen also has the funniest blog,  Her first fiction book just came out, and it was pretty darned funny too, If You Were Here.

Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher - A story I personally feel all parents and teenagers should read.  Girl commits suicide, but leaves behind tapes to be delivered to 13 different people, all of whom had a hand in her decision to end her life, for good and for bad.  This book illuminates how our actions and words impact others, for positive and negative. Excellent read.

Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins - Read these before they are bastardized by the movie studio.  Anything I say will not do these wonderful books justice.  You just need to trust me, and read them. 

I will stop here for now, because I think I've given you enough to chew on.  Please let me know what you think, WHEN (not if) you read them!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Things that unnecessarily make my blood boil, in no particular order.

Poor spelling, poor use of punctuation, Extreme Home Makeovers (for what they spend on one needy family with over the freaking top amenities, they could house 20 needy families), inconsiderate drivers (how hard is it to wave, really?), litterbugs, homophobes, racists, most of the right wing conservatives, bible thumpers, ingrown toenails, mosquitoes, gnats, chafing, ignorance (and denying said ignorance), bad drivers, slow drivers, white cars (all of the slowest cars and longest traffic jams are usually caused by white cars, check for yourself)...hmmm, well, that's enough to get me started.

My posts won't always be rants.  Sometimes they'll be raves. Things I love. Things I think you should love too!  In fact, they are things I will INSIST you love!