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Books (an ongoing series) – End of 2012 Edition

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(photo from here)

Here’s the final entry of “Books (an ongoing series)” for 2012. In total I read 59 books this year. Books 28-59 were read from September 12 onward, on the road. I had a lot of time to kill sitting at train stations and bus stops or eat alone (#eatingalone) in ramen shops.

My favourite books this year were Helter Skelter, Geisha of Gion, Tokyo Vice, The Diana Chronicles, Love is a Mixtape, Gone Girl and Bring Up the Bodies.

Please also enjoy some of my favourite Japan photos I’ve come across lately.

When in Japan

Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki
Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein
Underground by Haruki Murakami

It’s so fun to read books that take place in or are related to where you’re traveling at the moment. For Japan, I dove into some Murakami, a huge favourite for many of my friends. I really enjoyed Underground, his non-fiction account of the Tokyo subway gas attacks and was chilled to realize I had been riding the same lines while there. After the Quake had some great little stories but Hard Boiled Wonderland sometimes bordered on a bit too surreal for me.

Geisha of Gion is the autobiography of the geisha on whom Memoirs of a Geisha was partially based. I actually found Iwasaki’s charming recap of her career even more interesting then Golden’s sometimes ham fisted story telling.

Tokyo Vice was so fun to read while in Tokyo, I wish it had been 1000 pages longer! I messaged the author with kudos and he kindly suggested if I went through Tokyo again that we could get coffee, but I never made it back. It would have been fun to pick his brain.

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(photo by Andrew Theodore Johnson)

Thank Dog I Have an eReader

Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren
LA Candy by Lauren Conrad
Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad
Sugar and Spice by Lauren Conrad
Shadow Fall by Erin Kellison
Witch Fury by Anya Bast
Witch Blood by Anya Bast
Witch Heart by Anya Bast

One of the most beautiful things about an eReader is the ability to read the worst books ever and no one is none the wiser. The most tragic thing is that you will read many of these books and enjoy it way too much and wish you had nothing else on your eReader but books written by LC from Laguna Beach.

Speaking of which, I was weirdly fascinated with Conrad’s series, L.A. Candy, about a young blonde girl from southern California who becomes the star of a hit reality TV series about living in L.A. (write what you know, eh?). Mostly because I kept trying to figure out which character represented which person from The Hills. I also loved how she described what the characters were wearing all the time, “Jane pulled on a baggy heather grey Free People t-shirt and a pair of skinny light wash Cheap Monday jeans”.

All those Witch-whatever books were the types of sexy supernatural fiction where all the male characters have hair down to their ass and wear mesh tank tops (or “singlets” as my Kiwi friends say). I don’t even remember what Shadowfall was??

Don’t deny it, if you went to the beach and something subtitled as My Life in a Harem was on your eReader, wouldn’t it be the first thing you read too?

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(I can’t find the original link but I think it’s a photo of Mineko Iwasaki)

Histories and Memoirs

The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown
Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Dawn of the
Modern Woman by Sam Wasson
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen

Unashamed to say I thoroughly enjoyed The Diana Chronicles. Homicide was fantastic, lots of great lingo to learn. Fear and Loathing was chaotic and fun. Confession to the author of Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: I always thought Holly Golightly was stupid. Devil in the White City produced that weird True Crime feeling where you start wishing more murders would happen to make things exciting and remember that real people actually got murdered.

Love is a Mixtape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
Chelsea, Chelsea, Bang, Bang by Chelsea Handler
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
I Drink For A Reason by David Cross
Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
Between a Heart and a Rock Place by Pat Benetar

Love is a Mixtape was really good! It made me cry. Confession: The only thing I knew about Chelsea Handler before reading her books is that she dated 50 Cent but I liked (and laughed at) her books more than both Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling’s books combined. David Cross’ book was one of the worst I read all year. Medium Raw was really enjoyable to read by flashlight on an overnight train in Vietnam, especially Bourdain’s lovely chapter on Hanoi’s food. Benetar did some cool stuff but her story is pretty dull in the pantheon of Crystal Visions. How amazing is the title? She should have fully gone for it and called it Bene-tween a Heart and a Rock Place.

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(photo from here)

And the Fiction:

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

I really was not into Mistborn, the protagonist was insufferable. Breakfast of Champions was sassy. Gone Girl was definitely a page turner, so frustrating! The Fault in Our Stars was whatever, but man, tumblr loves that book. Extremely Loud was good I think? Sometimes I hate “clever kids” books. Fault in Our Stars also falls into that category. I guess I only like my kids inordinately clever if they’re spouting zippy pop culture references.

They talked about pubes SO much in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I mean, they even decorated their pubes. That was unexpected. Parts of Cloud Atlas take place in Korea and I was IN KOREA while I read it. So novel! Bourne Identity was a total snooze. I had to check if Neil Gaiman was English (he is), as the writing in Good Omens has that cheeky British style that rings a bit forced. Guess I just don’t care for that style as a whole.

I actually finished Bring Up the Bodies on January 1st, but I loved Mantel’s beautiful, immersive sequel to Wolf Hall so much, I am including it here.

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Dandelion

When I stayed with Julie and Hiroki in Kobe, one of the first things Julie did was fill my arms with fun Japanese magazines, books and even a sexy gay Yakuza manga (shhh). One book in particular I really loved: Dandelion by Yoko Takahashi. This photo book features photos of Japanese actress and model, Yu Aoi, taken on a trip to Russia. The chilly colours and the layers of bundled patterns are really perfect.

Japanese bookstores had a great selection of beautiful photo books, most in a small soft cover format. Some even resembled printed blogs, covering topics from daily and personal style to self portraits to travelogues like Dandelion. I really wish we had a market for these in North America! I would have bought tons to take home, if I wasn’t faced with the prospect of carrying them around in a backpack or if it weren’t for the fact Japan was bleeding my wallet dry.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for Dandelion to come back in stock and maybe look out for Yu Aoi’s other travel book, Travel Sand. I was also really tempted to buy Yosuke Kakegawa & Kimiko Mori’s Icelandic Honeymoon.

 

Dandelion scans are from here.

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Books (an ongoing series – June edition)

Here’s the books I’ve read since the last edition of “Books (an going series)” (I think I’ve settled on that as the official title of my reading lists by the way). I guess this starts at the end of February and goes to the present (I really should start keeping track).

~~Fantasy~~

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Dance of Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

Guess I went on a little fantasy binge, eh? Probably stirred into a frenzy by the then upcoming  season of Game of Thrones. A few years after I screamed “ENOUGH SUFFERING!” and threw my copy of A Feast for Crows across the room, I picked it back up again and duh, loved every minute in Westeros. I immediately followed it with Dance of Dragons. My favourite storyline right now is <spoiler, I guess> Sansa!

I found the protagonist of The Name of the Wind to be totally insufferable and his love interest was a charmless cow. My friends seem baffled when I relay this opinion to them though. Divergent has a great premise but I didn’t realise it was “young adult” when I started it and went in expecting HBO and ended up with the CW instead. That makes a lot of sense in my head. Mastiff is the concluding novel in the Beka Cooper Trilogy, which I really loved until the most out-of-character betrayal ever. It was one those things where you are so annoyed you almost want to decry the rest of the series. Almost.

Yes, Sometimes I Read Fiction

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley

I saw Winter’s Bone on Jillian’s always amazing looking reading list and decided that I too should read it. It reminded me of my weird fondness for Jennifer Lawrence. The Help came in a pack of books on my Kindle (Did you know I bought a Kindle? I broke it within two weeks. RIP Kindle) and I cried, sorry. I had a weird notion to read some Capote (for some reason my friends all laugh when we say Capote, I don’t know if it’s the word or just the idea of it) so I picked up Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Someone explain to me why girls love Holly Golightly so much. After reading How Did You Get This Number I’ve deduced Sloan Crosley is lucky to have gotten a writing deal before blogs were popular. I’ve enjoyed some of her other work (see: this essay on guest starring on Gossip Girl) but if this book was a blog, I wouldn’t read it.

Also Some Non-Fiction

Live from New York by Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller
Money for Nothing by Edward Ugel

When you read how seriously people talk about playing, like, Mango or the Coneheads or Two Wild and Crazy Guys, Live From New York is really weird. I cried when I read about Gilda Radner’s last time partying with everyone. Money for Nothing is the worst book I’ve read all year! Congrats Edward Ugel!

Continuing My Classic Rock Education with a Major in Classic Rock Ladies

Neon Angel: Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie
Shout! The Beatles in their Generation by Philip Norman

It was hard not to imagine Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart when reading Neon Angel. Who do you think was the sexiest Beatle? Maybe John? Paul kinda got the short end of the stick in Shout! The author used some girls who used to stand outside Paul’s house as a first hand source. I thought that was kind of weird. Ringo basically got ignored. He was definitely the chillest Beatle. George also got ignored so I still only know him as the mean husband from Patti Boyd’s Wonderful Tonight.

TRUE CRIME SUMMER

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
The Stranger Beside Me – Ted Bundy: The Classic Case of Serial Murder by Ann Rule

Inadvertently this has become TRUE CRIME SUMMER. I’m more scared of The Big One (the massive earthquake destined to destroy the pacific northwest) than serial killers so these don’t scare me too much. In Cold Blood was lyrical and chilling, Helter Skelter was totally fascinating and great bookend to my Classic Rock reading list, plus 1970s forensics! Hilarious! The Stranger Beside Me was a bit sensational, so much sometimes I forgot I was reading non-fiction and wished another murder would happen to speed things up. Then I felt terrible.

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Books (an ongoing series)

 Portrait of Miss L. L., 1864, James Tissot/Young Woman in Orison Reading a Book of Hours, ca. 1520s, Ambrosius Benson

My Continuing Education of the 1960s and 1970s

Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit by Catherine James
Miss O’Dell by Chris O’Dell
Bohemians: The Glamourous Outcasts by Elizabeth Wilson
The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones by Stanley Booth
The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night by Anthony Haden-Guest

A year later, I can’t resist the siren’s call of a groupie memoir. Catherine James was kind of useless in the grand scheme of everything, and boy, she had the meanest mom ever. Bob Dylan inspired her to walk out of juvie and into the magical world of musician boyfriends. Chris O’Dell sang on the chorus for Hey Jude! She was on the roof when the Beatles performed for the last time! She banged Mick Jagger! Or was it Keith Richards? She also managed their tour and found time to do Ringo Starr too. Renaissance Woman.

Bohemians covered the culture of Bohemianism starting in the nineteenth century up until Anita Pallenberg runs around with weird performance artists. What I took from this book is that everyone is a poser nowadays. Keef mentioned The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones a few times in Life, so I thought I’d give it a try. It was funny. Mr. Booth made everything sound so grand, it would have been a great blog. Any bands want to take me on a whirlwind tour as their official blogger? Duh, The Last Party was so campy and great. Studio 54 sounded like something caught between the best thing ever and a total nightmare world.

A Moment of Distraction, mid-1860s, Gustave Leonard de Jonghe/Junge Dame mit Zeichengerät, 1816 Carl Christian Vogel von Vogelstein

A Potpourri of Fiction

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Another series which calls to me and I cannot resist answering is Sookie Stackhouse. I don’t even like these books anymore, it’s just an instinctive reaction or something. I can’t even tell you what happened in this particular installment but I think there was a plot line involving vampires being forced to work in a club and wear sexy uniforms. I swear, this has happened in multiple vampire series I have read and I cannot fathom why. Hey! Why did I never think of writing Gossip Girl set in the 1920s? Oh, someone did it for me? Thanks. I will read Beautiful Days in two beautiful days and hide its cover on the Skytrain.

Boy, I sure didn’t like Swamplandia! What a load of misery. But I sure enjoyed Sherlock Holmes, it helped fill the void of the Reichenbach Fall for about three days. Now I just feel empty again.

Carl Herpfer/Lesbia, James Sant. English

Non-Fiction Potent Potables

Beauty, Disrupted by Carré Otis
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model by Ashley Mears
Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

Carré talked about her chihuahuas a lot and man, Mickey Rourke sure sounds like a jerk. Once he made Carré’s purse shoot her. Mindy Kaling’s book was really cute and funny, but it spent a lot of time explaining dated pop culture references in order to set up jokes for current pop culture references. What will happen if someone reads that book in five, ten years? They will need to be continually reprinting updated additions with new pop culture references to explain the now dated ones. I know, right?

Pricing Beauty lacked the gaudy drama I’ve come to expect with my books about models (see: Carré Otis). Actually it was a pretty interesting look at the modelling industry from a sociological perspective, but no one’s purse shot anyone, so it’s a wash. Female Chauvinist Pigs felt like I was reading someone’s thesis. I had a hard time taking it seriously.

If you listen to any of Jon Ronson‘s bits on This American Life, your enjoyment of The Psychopath Test will soar tenfold.

This Books installment features books read from December 2011 to February 2012.

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Reading List Continued

I’m well on track for reading a book a week this year! Here’s what I read since my previous reading list was posted:

Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women by Michael Gross: An in-depth history of modeling. A little dry at the start but things definitely picked up once the modeling business started getting all scandalous in the 1960s and 70s. Anja recently posted about the blog Youthquaker, it’s fun looking at it now that I am more familiar with those classic models.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by John Krakauer: An interesting and disturbing look into the fundamentalist Mormon church. Recommended to me with great enthusiasm by Jessica, who always knows exactly what I’ll like.

William and Harry by Katie Nicholl: I forgot to include this on the last book list! Jessica lent me this unauthorized biography of the Princes for a ferry ride home. Like I said, she always knows what I like.

A Free Wheelin’ Time by Suze Rotolo: Rock star girlfriend book! Written by Bob Dylan’s ex-girlfriend, also known as the girl in the green coat on the cover of The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan. I ended up liking Suze a lot, her journey in making an individual life for herself and learning to be an artist was refreshing, since a lot of those rock star girlfriends ended up playing housewife while their famous partners lived the wild life on the road. Despite this, 90% of the book focuses on her relationship with Dylan. Thanks to Anne for recommending this to me! Still taking recommendation for rock star girlfriend books. Anyone?

Life by Keith Richards: Rock star book! I really enjoyed Richard’s “voice”. In some reviews people complained it was too rambling but I imagined just hangin’ out with Uncle Keef and listening to all his wacky tales. Marianne Faithfull talked about how sweet he was in Faithfull and I totally got that vibe.

Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones: This is from a fun series of books where the author takes stories and rumours from anonymous sources and weaves them into a narrative. In Fashion Babylon, the story follows a young designer creating and showing a collection; Hotel Babylon spends 24 hours in a luxury London hotel. I looooooove tawdry gossip!

Just Kids by Patti Smith: So heartbreaking, so lovely. One of my favourites for 2011. Patti Smith’s sweet story about her and Robert Mapplethorpe becoming artists in 1970s New York City. Funniest part about reading this book was that I kept thinking about this one plot line on Gossip Girl in which a nude photo of Lily Van Der Woodsen taken by Robert Mapplethorpe goes up for auction.

I picked up a new stack of books from the library and am almost done whatever the new Sookie Stackhouse book is called, so I’m getting close! Also, I love book recommendations, so please drop me a line if you have anything to suggest!

 

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Books!!!

One of my goals for 2011 was to read more books and I am pleased to say I have kept up on my promise. At the rate I am going I think I will have read a book a week– crazy! I get a lot of reading done on the Skytrain– it’s 45 minutes, five days a week, of furiously trying to block the outside world with a book. To be fair, some of these books take less than two days to burn through because they are targeted at a young adult reading level… and sometimes a dumb adult level. This is a recap of books read so far, divided into helpful sections.

All images from the Life photo archive.

Classic Rock History with an Emphasis on Rock Girlfriends & Lady Rock

Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac by Carol Ann Harris
Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull
Stoned by Andrew Loog Oldham
Electric Ladyland: Women in Rock Culture by Lisa L. Rhodes
Wonderful Tonight by Patti Boyd
Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector by Mick Brown
I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie  by Pamela Des Barres

I was really into rock star girlfriend bios at the start of the year. I learned all rock stars were assholes, especially in the 60s and 70s, but maybe that’s cause weirdos like Phil Spector and Andrew Loog Oldham were working with them. Marianne Faithfull’s book was the best. She seemed the most honest and upfront about all the crazy stuff that happened to her. The Fleetwood Mac book was hilarious.

Non-Embarrassing Fiction

Dune by Frank Herbert
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messuad
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Rum Diaries by Hunter S. Thompson
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
A Man with No Country by Kurt Vonnegut
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Wolf Hall is my favourite book of the year thus far. I read The Rum Diaries in Honduras and told Lori that she would sell it instantly at her Roatan bookstore to a young male backpacker. My prophecy came true in less than 24 hours. Man, all those dudes in On the Road were so annoying. Always whoopin’ and eating a bajillion sandwiches. Dune, of course, was amazing. I have a feeling Wicked the play is nothing like Wicked the book– it was not quite what I expected.

Young Adult Fiction Read Without Shame

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Wither by Lauren Desteffano
The Hunger Games by Susan Collinson
Catching Fire by Susan Collinson
Mockingjay by Susan Collinson

Sometimes if I see young adult fiction that I know I would have loved as a teen, I will read it– hence Bright Young Things, a sort of Gossip Girl set in the 1920s. Tamora Pierce is a fantasy author whose lady heroines are always amazing. Her Song of the Lioness series and Wild Magic series were favourites of mine when I was around 13. Terrier and Bloodhound did not disappoint. I wish I knew some young ladies to whom I could recommend these books! And duh– Hunger Games trilogy ripped my heart out of chest and mercilessly stomped it in a terrifying future death game.

Non-Fiction Accounts of Stuff

Bossypants by Tina Fey
The World According to Mimi Smartypants
Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer by Chuck Thompson
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
A Man with No Country by Kurt Vonnegut

Mimi Smartypants has a great blog that I love reading. I read Joan Didion lying under a shade tent at Speed Week after I got burnt out by cars and relentless salt flat sun. Here’s a secret: I didn’t really care for Bossypants! Oops!

Books Whose Covers I Hid the on the Skytrain: A Tellingly Lengthy List

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice
Beauty’s Punishment By Anne Rice
Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice
Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
The Vixen Diaries by Karrine Steffans
Narcissus in Chains by Laurel K. Hamilton
Guilty Pleasures by Laurel K. Hamilton
The Laughing Corpse by Laurel K. Hamilton
Circus of the Damned by Laurel K. Hamilton
The Lunatic Café by Laurel K. Hamilton
Descent into Dusk by Jacqueline Lepore
Immortal with a Kiss by Jacqueline Lepore

All those Sleeping Beauty books are wacky erotic fiction– there’s a reason Anne Rice originally wrote them under a different name. The Vixen Diaries was a fairly amusing romp but then the sequel consisted of the author talking about how her crazy fucked up life was now validated because she was a best-selling author (for writing about her crazy fucked up life). Lepore’s books are about a Victorian vampire hunter, which is a cheesy concept but was executed fairly well (until she committed the unforgivable sin of having her fictional characters interact with a real person– in this case, Bram Stoker).

All those Laurel K. Hamilton books are (gulp) supernatural romances. The first few books were super weird for this genre because the protagonist was basically a born again virgin until around the fifth book when suddenly she has crazy sex with EVERYONE. The editions I was reading had been republished with a new afterword from the author and at the end of the fifth book the author revealed that in the process of writing the book, she had divorced her super conservative husband who had basically pressured her into censoring the sex and violence in her writing. I actually read the tenth book in the series first and was pretty amused by all the weird sex scenarios in which the heroine constantly found herself, which were totally absent in the first few books. I guess once the divorce went through, some kind of wacky porno switch turned on in Hamilton’s brain.

Fashion Industry Tell-Alls (A List in Progress)

The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris by Alicia Drake
Fashion Babylon by Imogen Edward-Jones

I’ve got a book called Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women started now and one called Chic Savages is next in line. Both look hilariously outdated.

(Note there are two books I could not complete: The Half-Life by Jonathan Raymond and Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal. Pretty bummed about the SVH book.)

 

 

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Maguerite Henry

The island of Chincoteague has come up twice in recent conversations and it reminded me of some of my favourite childhood books by Marguerite Henry. I was a little horse maniac and loved these books to death. My library had the oversized hardcovers, each with beautiful illustrations by Wesley Dennis. I would love to have some of the covers and colour illustrations blown up– I’d hang Sea Star in a cute little eggshell blue room.

I was also spoiled rotten by my Grandma, who sent me a new Breyer horse model every year, many of which were based on the horses in Henry’s books. I still have the horses back in Kamloops. I wonder if my roommate would appreciate a dozen model horses strewn about the apartment?

Pictures from here and here.

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I’m with the Band

After reading the thoughtful and wonderful Wolf Hall, I was in the mood for something dramatically different. The Nardwuar vs. Best Coast interview got it in my mind that I was to read some wacky rock biographies. Namely, I wanted to read about Stevie Nicks and did she or didn’t she get coke blown up her ass?

I was delighted to learn that the Vancouver Library does in fact carry rock n’ roll biographies — they just hide them up on the 7th floor. I checked out Storms: My life with Lyndsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac by Carol Ann Harris, Faithfull, the autobiography of Marianne Faithfull, Stoned by Andrew Loog Oldham and Electric Ladyland: Women in Rock Culture by Lisa L. Rhodes.

So far I’ve read Storms and Faithfull, two girlfriend-of-rock-star-bios. Carol Ann Harris  (above, right) dated Lyndsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac for eight years, starting right before Rumours went big. Harris’ book is pretty fluffy. Her presence really only serves as a means of relating numerous scenes of Fleetwood Mac snorting all sorts of stuff.

Faithfull, however, is a bit more of an exotic creature. Daughter of an aristocrat, ancestor of the guy who invented S&M, her appetite for self-destruction and honest accounts of her drug addiction are alternatively engaging and devastating. It’ also a fun and unflinching glimpse into London of the 1960s and its fashion, music and drugs.

I still have to find Stevie Nicks’ biography though! Harris’ experiences with Nicks (the ex-girlfriend of Buckingham) were pretty funny– “crystal visions”, anyone?

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Reading Roll

I finally got a library card for the Vancouver Public Library! The downtown library is a little overwhelming so I hit up the biography section and chose a bunch of books at random. Also, I ride the Skytrain to work every day and I feel a little crazy if I’m not shielding my face with a book. Some of my recent books have been rather embarrassing though. I always look at what people read on public transit, so I hope no one is looking too closely at my picks.

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
I’ve read a good chunk of the Austen canon so I figured it was time. I really enjoyed it! The best scene is the dinner party where all the characters meet and Marianne doesn’t give a fuck anymore and shit goes down. I was pretty bummed when that scene wasn’t in the movie. I also wasn’t really into Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon. Now I’m like “What is Snape doing here”. Here’s some really cute Sense and Sensibility related stuff: A very big house in the country by Miss Moss and Living In: Sense and Sensibility.

HungryCrystal Renn
It was really bad. Sorry Crystal Renn, but I’m not sure your life so far warrants an autobiography. This book was full of insights into Renn’s life like “I loved meatballs as a kid!”. Pretty much skim read half the book.

Envy and Splendor – Anna Godbersen
Pretty sure this author went into my brain and stole my idea for a Gossip Girl series set in the 1890s. Execution in The Luxe series isn’t great and it’s young adult fiction so there’s not as many tawdry bits as I prefer but still good for a brainless (but embarrassing) Skytrain ride. On a related note, why weren’t any of these Historical teen dramas being written when I was actually a young adult? I would have devoured these. The only ones I can remember reading were the Sally Lockhart series by Phillip Pullman and everything by Judith Merkle Riley (all non-tawdry).

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely StripperDiablo Cody
Pretty entertaining, I think I read it in a day. Every sentence was a totally over the top metaphor or simile. I’m sure everyone has seen Juno, so just imagine that movie but Juno is a nerdy stripper.

Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr – David Bret
Joan definitely deserves a biography! I really enjoyed this tawdry gossip fest. Reading some reviews, people seem to hate this book but if you look at the comments on youtube videos of old Hollywood stars, you’ll learn people are very weird and protective of their favourite old school actresses. (p.s. wouldn’t it be awesome if this was written by David Brent?)

And, as an addendum to a previous Reading Roll post, I forgot to mention I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson in September. Now when I see office ladies reading these books on the train, I like to imagine they’re reading one of the really violent scenes.

(Wish I could remember who took the photo– it was saved on my computer a long time ago. Any ideas?)

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Anne Rice

I thought this was really exciting:

Even if it appears she replies to everyone. I love New Orleans! Thanks Anne.

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