Sunday, July 26, 2015

50 Shades of Grey by EL James

I read this book because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  The book that started out as fan fiction to the Twilight series.  The Mommy Porn of my generation. I wanted to read it before I watched or attempted to watch the movie - that's my M.O. I always read the book first.  And quite frankly, after I was about two chapters in, I was like "Why the HELL is this so popular?"

The story is told from Anastasia Steele's perspective - known affectionately to her friends as Ana. She's living in Seattle and a senior in college, just about to graduate and is a virgin (of course) who hasn't had any sexual interest in anyone whatsoever - that just doesn't seem right at ALL. Wasn't she a teenager at one point?  I'm pretty certain that teenagers, with their raging hormones, have sexual interest in anything that moves. So yeah, doesn't make sense. She meets Christian Grey, the sexy business owner right away because she has to interview him for the graudation edition of the college newspaper. She's pretty much smitten and intimidate at once - mostly by his intensity and his money. He seems to be somewhat of an enigma as well. She learns after he grooms her by buying her a first edition of one of her favorite books, rescuing her from drunks, showing up at her work and taking her ona helicopter flight that he's into BDSM.

This book was laughable at best and terrible at worst. It is terribly written and utterly and disappointingly predictable.  It perpetuates damaging stereotypes of sexuality and sexual identity in general and about BDSM specifically. The characters are flat and boring and there is NO conflict in the book that is resolved. Really - vanilla v. BDSM?  The prose is robotic and boring. Childish even. There is no room for nuance in this and I felt like either the author herself didn't understand nuance or she thought that I, as her reader, couldn't be counted on to understand nuance and subtlety. It is uniformly predictable and utterly boring.  

Ugh, this book is so not worth your time or money.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My book Meccas

So, I know I haven't posted in a while. Since my divorce, things have been hectic but I have lots of things that I want to blog about now and now that I have a great space to do it in, I'll find it more enjoyable to actually do it. See! Here's my new little "me" space:

The first topic that I want to come back to blogging with is what my book Mecca is. I attribute it to listening to an episode of Books on the Nightstand. I love wandering around in bookstores - my ultimate Mecca of a bookstore would be a place where I could just wander aimlessly for hours or days and not get bored ever. It's my Holy Land of books - wehre I can feel the books, pick them up and smell them and flip through the pages, where I can sit and read a few and/or have conversations about them and maybe meet an author or two.

I have a few that I have been to and one or two that I really want to visit. The ones that I've been to are below.

  • The Boston Public Library - what other place has a museum  AND a library filled with hundreds upon hundreds of any sort of book that you could ever want to read???  In the heart of a truly wonderful and historic city?  I mean, really. I could LIVE there if I put my mind to it. 
  • The NY Public Library - this is the infamous library from the beginning of the movie, Ghostbusters. The one with the steps and the lions out front that is in Midtown Manhattan.  The architecture on the inside, the wooden tables with the lamps and the sheer size of the place make it wonderful.
  • The Harvard Bookstore - this is an independent bookstore in Harvard Square in Cambridge.  It has author events/signings and sells a fantastic number of bestsellers and local favorites.  The staff is knowledgeable and friendly.  Also, the basement has a used book section - always a plus for bibliophiles like me that are looking to sell/trade/buy books and it was a pretty decent selection.
  • I went to Powell's once and only once when I was in Portland for a training.  First of all, I loved Portland - there's a shocker right?  I think that I would totally fit in in an episode of Portlandia. Secondly, Powell's is just amazing.  It had the largest used book section that I had ever been in.  People were all over the place just browsing, sitting down and reading, discussing books intelligently and passionately, and I felt completely and utterly at home.
There are a few places that I'd like to visit that have the potential to be added to the bookstore Mecca list. 

  • The Strand - as someone from NY, I am ashamed to admit that I have never once been to the Strand.  I've heard amazing things from everyone that I have spoken to that has been there - one day that I take a trip back to NY, I will make it a priority to go to this book store.
  • Northshire Bookstore - I mean, just LOOK at it - so cute!  And they have Booktopia there!!
What makes something a book Holy Land for you? What are yours?

The Power by Naomi Alderman

If you liked The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, you will want to read this dystopian novel, which has won a number of awards in th...