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Quick Thoughts on SAG Awards 2015

Quick Thoughts on SAG Awards 2015

January 25, 2015 – 9:18 pm | One Comment

The SAG Awards may have a lower profile than the Golden Globes and the Oscars, but it’s the most personal awards show for me because I get to vote for the winners.
This year I did …

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A Peek Inside My TBR Stack

January 20, 2015 – 12:41 am | 6 Comments

As I was perusing the opening passages of books I’ll be reading over the next month or so, for myself and for Shelf Awareness, I thought it’d be fun to share them with you. We all like discovering new books and authors, right? Several of these are new to me, and in a couple of cases that’s because the novels are the authors’ first.

Here’s the stack:

TBR stack Jan 2015

And the openings:

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I may have found a solution to the Wife Project. As with so many scientific breakthroughs, the answer was obvious in retrospect. But had it not been for a series of unscheduled events, it is unlikely I would’ve have discovered it.

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

Orange juice was not scheduled for Fridays. Although Rosie and I had abandoned the Standardized Meal System, resulting in an improvement in “spontaneity” at the expense of shopping time, food inventory, and wastage, we had agreed that each week should include three alcohol-free days. Without proper scheduling, this target proved difficult to achieve, as I had predicted. Rosie eventually saw the logic of my solution.

Canary by Duane Swierczynski

November 27

Hi, Mom. Last night I got arrested. (Sort of.)

I’m writing this so I can sort out the details, just like Dad taught me. He always said things have a weird way of making sense once you write them down. Putting this on physical paper (and not on the laptop) for a number of reasons:

1. These days you have to assume that anything you type on a computer or cell phone can be read by some random geek anywhere in the world

2. Nobody can ever see this, and I don’t want some random geek trolling for revenge porn yanking it off my laptop

3. Paper burns

My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh

There were four suspects in the rape of Lindy Simpson, a crime that occurred directly on top of the sidewalk of Piney Creek Road, the same sidewalk our parents had once hopefully carved their initials into, years before, as residents of the first street in the Woodland Hills subdivision to have houses on each lot. It was a crime impossible in the daylight, when we neighborhood kids would have been tearing around in go-karts, coloring chalk figures on our driveways, or chasing snakes down into storm gutters. But, at night, the streets of Woodland Hills sat empty and quiet, except for the pleasure of frogs greeting the mosquitoes that rose in squadrons from the swamps behind our properties.

All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer

Henry

There’s a delay taking off from San Francisco—caused, I’m guessing, by an overburdened airport, but no one will tell us for sure. At times like this, sitting stalled on the tarmac, it’s easy to think apocalyptically—airports at the bursting point, highways clogged with SUVs helmed by citizens in meltdown, smog alerts and gridlocked emergency rooms, corridors lined with the bleeding. When you’re in California this kind of vision explodes into grandiosity, and you imagine the earth ripping apart, spilling all this overconsumption, all the cell phones and seaside villas and hopeful young starlets noisily into the sea. It almost feels like a blessing.

Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

The first time I saw Nica after she died was at Jamie Amory’s Fourth of July party. I’d slipped into the study, dark and cool and strictly off-limits, was crossing the carpet to get to the liquor cabinet, when I felt someone behind me. I paused, flesh prickling. Slowly I began to turn. A set of doors, French. On the other side of the glass, a girl. I didn’t run, didn’t move, didn’t even breathe, just stood there looking, looking, this girl so familiar: straight black hair, narrow nose, scarlet bloom of mouth, top lip nearly as fat as bottom. My skin recognized her before I did, rippling once then tightening on my bones.

My sister, Nica.

Done in One by Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas

White. Nothing but white. Stretching to the horizon in every direction, infinite and limitless and as full of potential as an unpainted canvas or a child’s soul—pure, clean, unsoiled. But that will change.

The Swimmer by Joakim Zander

July 1980

Damascus, Syria

Every time I hold you is the last time I hold you. I’ve known that since the very first time. And when you came back, and I held our child in my sleepless arms, all I could think was, this is the last time.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

The reader was at first surprised, then shocked, as the criminal Raskolnikov was abruptly slain in the middle of the street, right before her eyes. Sonya, the hooker with the heart of gold, shot him through the heart. It happened midway through an essay on the Dostoevsky classic.

See anything you like?

Since you’ve read this far, I’m happy to say that not only am I sharing these openings with you, I’d like to give you the chance to win two books from this stack: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect.

Project was an international bestseller and one of the best reviewed books of 2013, with its movie rights optioned by Sony Pictures. Effect is the just-released sequel. The first is a paperback copy and the latter will be hardcover.

To enter, leave a comment telling me what kind of effect you have on other people. As usual, fanciful answers and outright lies are encouraged.

Giveaway ends Tuesday, January 27, 9 p.m. PST. US residents only, per publisher’s request.  Winner will be randomly selected and have 48 hours after notification to claim prize before an alternate winner is chosen.

Thoughts on Oscar Nominations 2015

January 15, 2015 – 10:56 am | 6 Comments
Thoughts on Oscar Nominations 2015

Since the Oscar nominations were announced at dark o’clock this morning, many articles have appeared griping about the snubs. I’m surprised, too, that certain frontrunners weren’t nominated—Gillian Flynn being ignored for Gone Girl‘s screenplay is …

Thoughts on the Golden Globes 2015

January 12, 2015 – 12:15 am | 3 Comments
Thoughts on the Golden Globes 2015

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, in their third and final outing as hosts, were my main reason for watching, and they landed some good jokes, though the show seemed less funny this year than it …

Postertext Giveaway

December 17, 2014 – 8:46 pm | 13 Comments
Postertext Giveaway

Since many of us here are readers and have book lovers in our lives, we’re probably all scrambling for unique bookish gift ideas. This is why I’m excited to host this giveaway from Postertext. According …

Gift Book Reviews: THE MAKING OF GONE WITH THE WIND and STYLING THE STARS

December 11, 2014 – 8:24 pm | One Comment
Gift Book Reviews: THE MAKING OF GONE WITH THE WIND and STYLING THE STARS

Every year for Shelf Awareness for Readers, I review a couple of coffee-table books for the holidays. I received two beautiful ones this year that I think movie lovers on your gift list would appreciate. …

Nerdy Special List 2014 Favorites Edition

December 7, 2014 – 9:00 pm | 4 Comments
Nerdy Special List 2014 Favorites Edition

Hope you’re enjoying the season and not getting stressed out by all the things you have to do to be ready for the holidays. I live in denial and then do everything the night before …

Book Review: DEADLINE by John Sandford

October 23, 2014 – 4:36 pm | 5 Comments
Book Review: DEADLINE by John Sandford

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
As a favor for a friend, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers looks into multiple dognappings that have occurred …

Nerdy Special List October 2014

October 8, 2014 – 9:44 pm | 4 Comments
Nerdy Special List October 2014

We have books to recommend this month! So, just sit back with your cider and throw blanket and…oh, who am I kidding? I’m running the A/C right now because it’s hotter than Colin Firth in …

Movie Review: LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM

October 4, 2014 – 4:25 pm | 6 Comments
Movie Review: LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM

As I headed out to see Rory Kennedy’s latest documentary, I stuffed a few tissues in my pocket, preparing for a “sit and sob,” my term for moving cinematic experiences. I was correct about the …

Fall 2014 TV Shows I’ve Seen So Far, Pt. 1

September 22, 2014 – 11:36 pm | 2 Comments
Fall 2014 TV Shows I’ve Seen So Far, Pt. 1

Fall is officially here and so’s the fall network TV season. I enjoy sampling all the new shows, even if I end up faithfully watching only two of them. Below are my first impressions of …

Book Review: THE DISTANCE by Helen Giltrow

September 16, 2014 – 10:39 pm | One Comment
Book Review: THE DISTANCE by Helen Giltrow

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.
Charlotte Alton may seem like a well-bred London socialite, but her alter ego, Karla, operates in the shadows, gathering information that …

Book Giveaway: WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas

September 8, 2014 – 8:43 pm | 7 Comments
Book Giveaway: WE ARE NOT OURSELVES by Matthew Thomas

If you’re a big reader and frequent a lot of bookish sites, you may not have been able to avoid hearing about one of the buzziest books this year—Matthew Thomas’s debut novel, We Are Not …

Book Review: THE FURIES by Natalie Haynes

September 3, 2014 – 10:08 pm | One Comment
Book Review: THE FURIES by Natalie Haynes

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is reprinted here with permission.

Grieving after the violent death of her fiancé, theater director Alex Morris leaves London for Edinburgh to take a job …

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