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Nerdy Special List August 2017

August 7, 2017 – 1:37 am | 7 Comments

Summer is almost over and I’m relieved because I’m melting. But I’ve had more excellent reads this summer than I did in the past few years, and many of the standout books are August releases.
Here are our recommendations this …

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Book Review: ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE

July 19, 2017 – 11:53 pm | 7 Comments

I was in a bad reading slump recently. Picked up six novels and put them all back down after reading only the opening paragraphs. Nothing pulled me into its world, or introduced me to characters I wanted to spend time with.

Then I met Eleanor Oliphant, and she was exactly what I needed.

Eleanor is the star of Gail Honeyman’s delightful debut, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. She does accounts receivable in an office, takes phone calls from her mum every Wednesday, eats pizza and gets drunk on vodka every weekend, and talks to no one until Monday comes back around.

When she does have to be around people, she has no edit button or social skills. When she goes to events, she sees no problem with putting sausage rolls into her purse for later consumption. In other words, she’s my kinda gal.

Here are glimpses of her inner life.

On sports:

Sport is a mystery to me. In primary school, sports day was the one day of the year when the less academically gifted students could triumph, winning prizes for…running from Point A to Point B more quickly than their classmates…

As if a silver in the egg-and-spoon race was some sort of compensation for not understanding how to use an apostrophe.

Her thoughts while walking through a neighborhood:

The streets were all named after poets—Wordsworth Lane, Shelley Close, Keats Rise…poets who wrote about urns and flowers and wandering clouds. Based on past experience, I’d be more likely to end up living in Dante Lane or Poe Crescent.

Her disdain for obvious statements, after buying a coffee at McDonald’s:

Naturally, I had been about to pour it all over myself but, just in time, had read the warning printed on the paper cup, alerting me to the fact that hot liquids can cause injury. A lucky escape!

How she’d like to be dealt with after her death:

I think I might like to be fed to zoo animals. It would be both environmentally friendly and a lovely treat for the larger carnivores.

She’s a straight-up weirdo but this is why she’s wonderful. Her life is forced out of its routines when a man falls down in the street in front of her. Extending herself is something she doesn’t do, but when she helps him, it leads to unexpected places—and feelings. Eleanor is funny and tragic, innocent and wise.

There’s an element of mystery to her backstory—why did she show up at her job interview with a black eye? Why can’t anyone meet her mum?—but it’s hardly necessary. Eleanor is the draw. She believes no one thinks she’s interesting, but she’s all that and more.

Nerd verdict: Eleanor is more than Fine

Nerdy Special List July 2017

July 6, 2017 – 11:41 pm | 2 Comments
beautiful, terrible thing

Oh, man, it’s been so hot here, I’m tempted to run down the street naked and dive into random sprinklers. Mr. PCN said the neighbors would just think it’s a regular Friday.
The other day, I was reading …

Nerdy Special List June 2017

June 8, 2017 – 9:13 pm | 2 Comments
the child

School’s out and summer has started, which means lazy days—or in my case, lazier days. I blame it on the heat. And laziness.
But there’s one activity I’ll always do a lot of and that’s reading. The NSL contributors and …

Nerdy Special List May 2017–Take 2

May 8, 2017 – 12:44 pm | 4 Comments
where dead men meet

OK, let’s try this again. Earlier this post was unfinished but published without my knowledge or permission. While writing it, I experienced technical issues so I saved what I had and asked tech support to look into …

Movie Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

March 15, 2017 – 11:08 pm | One Comment
beautyandthebeast

Does anyone need a refresher on the plot of this “tale as old as time”? The one about a girl whose kindness saves a selfish prince and his household from a curse? No? OK, great. I can jump straight into …

Book Review: DISTRESS SIGNALS by Catherine Ryan Howard

March 9, 2017 – 1:55 am | One Comment
distress signals

Catherine Ryan Howard’s Distress Signals—shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards’ Crime Novel of the Year after its UK release—opens with a man plunging off a cruise ship into dark waters, but readers will have to …

Nerdy Special List March 2017

March 7, 2017 – 1:18 am | 2 Comments
follow me down

March brings spring, and whoo boy, I could use some spring right now. Heavy rains (causing a tree to fall on a friend’s car—while she was in it) were rough, turning me into more of …

Oscars 2017: And the Winner for Biggest Flub Is…

February 27, 2017 – 2:49 am | 4 Comments
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Wow. I tuned into the Oscars hoping for at least one surprise and I got it, all right.
In case you’d bailed on the very long show and haven’t heard: the wrong best picture winner was announced (La …

Nerdy Special List February 2017

February 7, 2017 – 10:07 pm | One Comment
darkness absolute

Like many people, I’ve been distressed by what’s going on in DC and have found it hard to focus on reading for pleasure. I also wondered if movie and book reviews are too frivolous to write at …

Nerdy Special List January 2017

January 11, 2017 – 6:48 pm | 6 Comments
blood and bone

Since almost half the month has passed, I figured I should get this list up. I’ve been moving slowly due to January rains, days that get dark at 1:00 p.m., and my general tendency to …

Golden Globes 2017: Predictable *and* Surprising

January 9, 2017 – 12:27 am | 5 Comments
streep-nbc

Here we go, the first of one million award shows this season. I always look forward to the Globes because it’s usually the loosest, wackiest award show, with drunk celebs and the Hollywood Foreign Press often choosing …

Favorite 2016 Books

January 4, 2017 – 6:51 pm | 8 Comments
under-midnight-sun

I’m baaaack!
I took off for a couple of weeks over the holidays, and when I go on vacation, I go off the grid. There’s no blogging or social media, sometimes no Internet or cell reception. I …

Capsule Movie Reviews: FENCES, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, SING, and HIDDEN FIGURES

December 19, 2016 – 1:18 am | One Comment
20thcenturywomen

The holidays are upon us and the movies are coming out fast and furious, competing for your dollars. Since you’re probably doing last-minute shopping and have no time for full reviews, I’ll keep my comments …

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