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Showing posts from 2008

reading challenge: diversity rocks!

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The Diversity Rocks! challenge has options for everyone to pick a level of reading. The purpose of the challenge is to ensure ethnic and racial diversity in our reading choices. I'm opting for level 3: challenge addict, and I pledge to read at least 12 books in 2009. I'll pick my books as I go, but I've been attempting to read more foreign fiction, and this challenge will provide even more incentive.

reading challenges: 2009 master list

For my sanity, I've created this master list to track my progress. A link to this post will appear at the top of the "reading challenges" toolbar on the right.

100+ Books (31 of 100+ read)
2009 Pub Challenge (9 of 9 read) - finished!
Art History (0 of 6 read)
Diversity Rocks! (0 of 12 read)
Read Your Name (6 of 11 read)
Support Your Local Library (25 of 25 read) - finished!
What's In a Name (2 of 6 read)
Young Adult (9 of 12 read)

reading challenge: read your name

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The Read Your Name challenge sounds like a lot of fun too. The goal is to read a book with a title beginning with each letter in your name. I'm using nomadreader as my challenge name. Here are some thoughts on books I hope to read, but this list is subject to change.

N - Natives & Exotics by Jane Alison, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
O - Open House by Elizabeth Berg, O, Jerusalem by Laurie R. King, One of Those Malibu Nights by Elizabeth Adler
M- (The) Maytrees by Annie Dillard, Measuring the World by Daniel Kellman, (The) Midnight Diary of ZoyaBlume by Laura Shaine Cunningham
A - Apples & Oranges by Marie Brenner, Affinity by Sarah Waters, (The) Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta
D - Day by A.L. Kennedy, Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg, (A) Darker Place by Laurie R. King, Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears, (A) Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan, Death duJour by Kathy Reichs, Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
R - Range o…

reading challenge: 2009 pub challenge

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The 2009 Pub Challenge sounds fun. It's simple: read nine books published in 2009. With new books coming from some of my favorite authors, it should be simple. Also, it will give me even more excuses to keep an eye out for new books.

Books I've finished so far:
1. Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein
2. The Lost Witness by Robert Ellis
3. Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
4. Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton
5. The Sisters Antipodes by Jane Alison
6. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
7. 8th Confession by James Patterson
8. Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills
9. Nobody Move by Denis Johnson

reading challenge: support your local library

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The Support Your Local Library Challenge should be a breeze for me, as I get almost all of my books from the library. I'll be doing it by default, but I'll update this list as I go.

1. Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (finished 1/3/09)
2. Much Ado About Jessie Kaplan by Paula Marantz Cohen (finished 1/3/09)
3. Different Like Coco by Elizabeth Matthews (finished 1/22/09)
4. First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (finished 1/22/09)
5. Flotsam by David Wiesner (finished 1/22/09)
6. The Wednesday Wars by David Schmidt (finished 1/25/09)
7. Serefina Under the Circumstances (finished 1/26/09)
8. Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems (finished 1/26/09)
9. Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems (finished 1/26/09)
10. Click, Clack, Moo (finished 1/26/09)
11. The Pout-Pout Fish (finished 1/26/09)
12. The Wall by Peter Sis (finished 1/26/09)
13. Likely to Die by Linda Fairstein (finished 1/28/09)
14. Practically Perfect by Katie Fforde
15. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
16. Cold Hit …

reading challenge: art history

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The Art History Reading Challenge may be the one I'm most excited about. The goal is simple: read six books, fiction or non-fiction dealing with art history.

I'd like to read three fiction and three non-fiction. Here is a possible list of books I'll read:


Fiction:
1. Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
2. Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
3. The Portrait by Iain Pears

Non-fiction:
1. Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis
2. Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim by Anton Gill
3. The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren

reading challenge: young adult

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While I'm feeling hopeful and optimistic about the new year, I'm adding a few more reading challenges. The Young Adult Challenge should be fairly easy to complete while I'm in the midst of rereading all things Harry Potter. Plus, I'll be taking young adult literature in the fall, and I'm sure the reading for that course alone will allow me to read twelve Young Adult books this year.

1. The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
3. The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
4. The Giver by Lois Lowry
5. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
7. The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh
8. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
9. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

reading challenge: what's in a name 2?

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As the new year fast approaches, I've worked up many possibilities for the categories for this year's What's in a Name Challenge? Although this list may change, here are my current ideas:




1. A book with a "profession" in its title:
The Love Artist by Jane AlisonThe Abstinence Teacher by Tom PerrottaThe Fireman's Wife by Jack RiggsPriest by Ken Bruen
2. A book with a "time of day" in its title:
The Midnight Diary of ZoyaBlume by Laura Shaine Cunningham3. A book with a "relative" in its title:
The Sisters Antipodes by Jane Alison

4. A book with a "body part" in its title:
Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (finished 1/3/09)
5. A book with a "building" in its title:
Open House by Elizabeth BergThe House at Riverton by Kate Morton
The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
6. A book with a "medical condition" in its title:
Death duJour by Kathy ReichsHeart Trouble by Kathy Hogan Trocheck
I only have to r…

movie review: michael clayton

I've had Michael Clayton sitting around from Netflix for an embarrassingly long time. It's one of those movies I really wanted to see, but I was never in the mood to see. I'm so glad I finally took the plunge.

The film is deliciously dense. It's so clearly a film written to be a film; it treasures the visual medium. Dialogue is often minimal, and the viewer is forced to pay attention. The story is told in the details, and I thought I was missing things at first. It's subtle and seems subdued until the last ten minutes, when all the details and images come together seamlessly. It's a film that gets better the more you think about it; one further realizes how intentional every frame is.

I've enjoyed many of Tony Gilroy's films, but I may have to actually see The Cutting Edge now. I'm quite curious about the one film that doesn't fit with the rest of his resume.

Overall, I think it was better than No Country for Old Men, which won the Best Picture Osc…

book review: harry potter and the sorcerer's stone

I'm on a quest to re/read all of the Harry Potter books. I started reading Harry Potter the month before the fourth book came out, and I was spoiled. By the time the fifth book came out a year later, I didn't remember what was happening, and I didn't even finish it. Now that all seven are out, I'm rededicated to my efforts. I thoroughly enjoyed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, even though I still maintain the first fifty pages are unnecessarily slow and depressing. Once Harry gets to Hogwarts, the story really comes alive, and I enjoyed the story much more this time than I remember enjoying it last time. Perhaps because I had more realistic expectations going in. When I first read it, I was expecting the greatest children's book ever written. It's really good, and at times it's great, but I don't think the books themselves are brilliant. J.K. Rowling is brilliant, and the world she created is mesmerizing. She's a good storyteller, but ther…

book review: baby proof by emily giffin

Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors, and Baby Proof is my favorite of her books. I had a sudden hankering to reread it, and once again, I read it in a single sitting. Baby Proof is the story of Claudia and Ben, the kind of blissfully happy couple I imagine everyone wants to be in. They have similar temperaments and agree on all of the important things. They both agreed they never wanted children, until Ben suddenly does. The fallout is brutal, as this disagreement is incredibly difficult to compromise on.

Baby Proof is not nearly as heartbreaking as I remember, which is a testament to Giffin's storytelling. It's hopeful and honest. It's one of my favorite books, and I need to remember to reread it once a year.

Rating: 4 stars (life-changingly good)

book review: the friday night knitting club by kate jacobs

I listened to this book on unabridged audio book. It's a passable novel, but it struck me that it was written from blueprints on "how to write a novel". Although many of the characters were likeable, the events they faced seemed formulaic and forced at times. Some storylines seemed more organic than others. There is the crux of a good story, even if it was awkward and forced at times. The events didn't surprise me, and thus I didn't attach much emotion to them. Jacobs' descriptive prose was awkward at times as well. Perhaps I was more attuned to it because I listened to it rather than read it, but she seemed to consciously avoid overusing characters names. Instead, she would write, "the tall man responded," which was not relevant to the scene. Yes, I remembered he was tall, but it didn't affect the conversation.

I'm looking forward to the movie, with Julia Roberts signed on as Georgia. It's one book I imagine will make a better movie. I …

book review: here's the story by maureen mccormick

I love The Brady Bunch. I grew up rushing home to catch the reruns on TBS every afternoon. I own the shag carpet covered box set of all dvds. Naturally, I was excited to read Maureen McCormick's memoir.

McCormick is not a great writer, but she does write candidly and honestly. Because I found the subject matter interesting, I was able to overlook her often awkward prose. The Brady Bunch was only the focus of part of the book, as I'm sure it was only the focus of part of her life, even though she remains Marcia Brady to most Americans. I most enjoyed her tales of Hollywood life and working with other famous people I had no idea she had interaction with. I adore learning about the interconnectedness of people, and this book provided many gems.

If you're a fan of The Brady Bunch or Hollywood memoirs, it's worth a read. Otherwise, it's not sensational enough or well-written enough to bother.

Rating: 2 stars (liked it)

book review: the lazarus project by aleksandar hemon

Sentence(s) worth remembering: "Home is where somebody notices when you are no longer there." (p. 3)

"The world is always greater than your desires; plenty is never enough." (p. 3)

"I am just like everybody else, Isador always says, because there is nobody like me in the whole world." (p. 5)

"She was beautiful; my breath was taken; we were still lonely; she said yes." (p. 32)

"Nobody can control resemblances, any more than you can control echoes." (p. 106)

The Lazarus Project was the first book I read in my quest to read all of the National Book Award nominees. I had not read AleksandarHemon before, but I will again. Hemon is originally from Bosnia-Herzogovenia, but has lived in Chicago more than ten years. His transforming method of writing English is mesmerizing. Although this story is intriguing, I found myself most enthralled with his writing. He uses semicolons more brilliantly and intriguingly than anyone I've ever read. There'…

can i really read 100 books in 2009?

It's an ambitious goal to attempt to read one hundred books in 2009. I'm a full-time graduate student, and I work two part-time jobs. I only managed to read thirty books (and counting?) this year, but I'm setting my goals higher next year. New years inevitably call for more introspection, and reading is one of my absolute favorite things to do. Still, I perpetually find myself watching television or wasting away the hours reading blogs. I'd like to return to focusing on reading. There's now a lovely reading chair, makeshift footstool and light in my bedroom, and I plan to spend a significant amount of time in it next year. I'm a goal oriented person, and I hope setting this very public goal of reading one hundred books will help me accomplish it. My aces in the hole are that I'm taking both children's literature and young adult literature this year, and the reading lists for those classes will help push me to one hundred. If I don't make it, it'…

movie review: the jane austen book club

I won't mince words: I adored The Jane Austen Book Club. It was intelligent, warm and real. Impressively, in less than two hours, the film managed to deal with more than six storylines well. Sure, it's a little schmaltzy, but it's oddly satisfying. The film (based on Karen Joy Fowler's book of the same name) is not only an ode to Jane Austen, but to literature as a whole, especially its resonance over the years. As Jane Austen's novels are too, this movie is about life, love, loss, trust and friendship.

The cast was brilliant: Mario Bello, Kathy Baker, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, Hugh Dancy, Maggie Grace, Jimmy Smits and Lynn Redgrave. It was wonderful to see Emily Blunt have so much to do, especially after seeing her do little but smoke a joint and take her clothes off in Charlie Wilson's War. Mario Bello was fantastic. Despite so many excellent female performances, Hugh Dancy stole the movie. He was charming, dapper, awkward and ultimately endearing.

In so many…

movie review: be kind rewind

It's not a secret I have a soft spot for (in order): Mos Def, Michel Gondry and Jack Black. I read the middling reviews of Be Kind Rewind, and I had moderate expectations. The film is slow to start. When it does pick up, it's delightful, witty and surprisingly poignant. By embracing the ridiculous, yet brilliant plot, the film manages to plausibly straddle the line between preposterous and believable.

It's refreshing to see Jack Black do comedy and drama; it helps restrain his wackiness into something more endearing. Danny Glover and Mia Farrow were fantastic. In this all-star cast, relative newcomer Melonie Diaz gave the best performance. I plan to make a point to see more of her films soon.

This movie delivers many laughs and quite a few tears. It's definitely worth seeing. Even though it's perhaps not brilliant filmmaking, it is unique, refreshing, entertaining and touching. If I had the power to edit out the boring beginning and elongate the last hour, I would.

Ra…

movie review: made of honor

Although Made of Honor included a few patches of humor and charm, it was lousy. Patrick Dempsey is endearing, Michelle Monaghan, whom I had no opinion of, was lovely. The supporting cast was fantastic: Kadeem Hardison, Busy Phillips, Sydney Pollock. It's a testament to the acting prowess of the cast that the wretched script didn't seem so egregious most of the time. The story itself is trite and uninteresting. The attempts at comedy were randomly slapstick and always unoriginal; the movie was almost a caricature of itself. I appreciate comedy with my humor, but it has to balance. Inserting slapstick into a poignant moment makes the poignancy laughable and the intended humor groan-inducing.

Ratings: 1 star (eh); if you have low expectations and a bottle of wine, there are worse ways to spend a night snowed in

movie review: charlie wilson's war

First, let me be honest about relevant biases I hold. I am not a fan of Tom Hanks. I don't like Forrest Gump, and aside from Big, I've never really understand his massive appeal. I either really enjoy Julia Roberts (i.e. Mona Lisa Smile or Steel Magnolias) or I'm lukewarm about her performances. I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant in everything he's ever done. Finally, Aaron Sorkin is a dynamic writer.

The dialogue is fast-paced, which I usually adore (i.e. 30 Rock, the funniest show on television). When rapid dialogue coexists with Southern accents, it is sometimes difficult to understand. This movie is all dialogue. I found myself listening too hard to the individual words to always understand the depth of plot. It's certainly a history lesson, and the story is fascinating. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals every scene he's in, and he deserved the Oscar nomination for it. I happen to believe his performance was even better than Javier Bardem's winning …

book review: deep end of the ocean by jacquelyn mitchard

After haphazardly reading Oprah's book club selections for years, I've decided to systematically read them all, beginning with her first choice: Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. It's the story of Beth and family, including her son, Ben, who disappears at Beth's high school reunion.

It's heartbreaking, and I must admit, I was completely captivated for the first two-thirds of the book. Perhaps it's because the story truly is heartbreaking, and I pulled away from the sadness, or perhaps the story really did run out of steam, but I was heading dangerously close to lukewarm by the end. It's a big book, and a lot happens, but it also seems the story is not fully appreciated it. Granted, Jacquelyn Mitchard is a gifted writer, and I'm sure she made a conscious choice to tell the story from only two points of view, but there is a vibrant cast of supporting characters I'm still curious about.

It's definitely worth a read, and I'm eager to re…

book review: access to power by robert ellis

After absolutely loving the third book Robert Ellis wrote, City of Fire, and loving his second book, The Dead Room, I finally read his debut mystery, Access to Power. While Access to Power is an entertaining political thriller, it lacks the depth of his later works. Granted, it's ten years old, and it's about political corruption and campaigning, so perhaps it's unfair to judge the book by modern standards.

If you're a fan of politics and mysteries, it's worth a read, but you must promise to read City of Fire too. It's a brilliant mystery, and I think it's the only book nomadreaderboy, his mother, grandmother, step-father and I all agree is spectacular. It's quite a feat. Our intrepid Lena Gamble is back in February 2009 in The Lost Witness, in case you weren't paying attention.

rating: 2.5 stars out of 4 (really liked it)

book review: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Sentence(s) worth writing down: "It provided him with a way to structure his behavior, and a way to explain that behavior, both past and present, to himself. Perhaps fiction has, for me, served a similar purpose--what is a narrative arc if not the imposition of order on disparate events?--and perhaps it is my avid reading that has been my faith along." -Alice, on her husband's fundamentalist Christianity

My thoughts:
I've been wanting to read Curtis Sittenfeld for quite some time, and I'm so glad I finally did. As most are aware, American Wife is a fictionalization of Laura Bush's life. It's set in Wisconsin instead of Texas, which the Midwesterner in me loves even more. Several details are imagined and more are rearranged, but the crux of many characters is immensely recognizable. I admit, I don't know much about Laura Bush. I know she's a librarian, and I knew she was a Democrat until her wedding day, but I never even gave her much thought. Now I…

reading challenges

I've recently discovered reading challenges online. They're not new, but I'm late to hop on the bandwagon. I'm trying to resist the temptation to join too many, as I hardly need help with reading goals. There are two I'm signing on for, however: What's In a Name? and Support Your Local Library. The rules are simple: follow the guidelines of the challenge, post reviews of the books you read along the way, and enjoy yourself. I believe some prizes are awarded along the way too.

What's In a Name deals with words in book titles. You must read a total of six books, one each with a title word that is (1)profession, (2)time of day, (3)relative, (4)body part, (5)building, (6)medical condition. I'm curious to see how little I may have to plan for this challenge.

Support Your Local Library offers three options: read 12, 25 or 50 books from the library in 2009. Given my short reading list this year, I'm opting for 25 and hoping for 50.

I've also been slowly …

ode to david axelrod

Where low-brow meets high-brow, hilarity ensues.

"He is the guy who has the most to do with getting Obama elected. He's a brilliant strategist, the least annoying campaign spin-meister and anyone who is ready, willing and eager to role out a 50-state strategy to see where Obama's message will work the best isn't just going to stick to the obvious erogenous zones in the sack." -Jezebel on David Axelrod

The full top ten Objects of Their Affection is worth a read too, but that one made me laugh out loud in the quiet library.

adver-nonsense: dooney & bourke

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Look, I really like Hayden Panettiere. I know how to spell her name without looking it up. I've seen Ice Princesses, Racing Stripes, and Bring It On: All or Nothing. I think she's lovely, and I believe she has the acting chops to make Hollywood a lifetime ambition. Perhaps in twenty years, this Dooney & Bourke ad would be not strike me as so hilarious:

Seriously, Hayden is 19 years old. What 19 year old would carry this bag? And why, oh, why did I discover this ad in Teen Vogue? Redbook readers would love this bag. I'm on the higher end of Teen Vogue readers age, and I'm still too young for this bag. I would believe Felicity Huffman in this ad, but not my dear, sweet Hayden.

On second thought, at least Hayden looks alive with the tan bag. Although this bag is (slightly) better in this ad, the pose freaks me out:

Stick to shilling for Candie's, Hayden.

book review: the story of edgar sawtelle by david wroblewski

sentence(s) worth remembering:
"Life was a swarm of accidents waiting in the treetops, descending upon any living thing that passed, ready to eat them alive. You swam in a river of chance and coincidence. You clung to the happiest accidents--the rest you let float by" (p. 457).

I didn't expect to love this book, even though everywhere I turned, publications were raving. It's nearly 600 pages, and it's about dogs and a mute boy.

As all great novels are not truly about the characters or the plot, so too this book is a timeless tale of life and humanity. Each time I sat down to read it, I would not be able to tear myself away. Hours would pass while I read, enraptured by Wroblewski's prose. Wroblewski reportedly spent ten years on this book, and after reading each perfect moment as they fit into one another, I'm amazed it only took ten years. I will try to patiently wait ten more for his next novel.

Additionally, he seems to be an amazing human being as…

american psycho: the musical (seriously)

Silly me for getting excited about Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage. Today Variety broke the news about American Psycho getting turned into a musical. Do you think it will feature original songs? Will Huey Lewis come out of pseudo-retirement to create an original score? It's been a very good day.

Guess the celebrity Cabbage Patch doll

Here is today's amusing procrastination tool. It's way too much fun, and far funnier than it should be.

periodical perusing: seventeen, sept. 2008

In the midst of a recent road trip, I picked up the September issue of Seventeen at a gas station. It seemed the perfect reading for the car, and Miley Cyrus graced the cover. For some reason, I care what she has to say about her relationship with Nick Jonas, even though I don't understand the big fuss about the Jonas Brothers themselves. Nomadreaderboy reminded me that I'm quite a bit older than the title of the magazine as he struggled to keep a straight face while I eagerly forked over three dollars. What I didn't expect to find in Seventeen was a thoughtful, intelligent editor's letter. I don't mean to slight Seventeen or Ann Shoket herself; I rarely find the editor's letter in any publication interesting. Here's Ann Shoket'seditor's letter:

Hi! So when we picked Miley to be our cover girl (for on of our biggest issues of the year!), we had no idea that she'd end up being so controversial! All I knew then was that she seemed like she …

periodical perusing: interview, may 2008

I am a little behind on my magazine reading, and as most of you know, I'm rather fond of too many periodicals for my own good. I've finally finished the May 2008 issue of Interview. I was eager to read it for three reasons: Interview is one of my favorite magazines because it's consistently brilliant, Maggie Gyllenhall (who may be my current favorite actress) graces the cover, and it's the first issue after Ingrid Sischy's sudden departure (she was the editor in chief for eighteen years). It didn't disappoint.

The issue began with a fantastic angry letter. I can't quite explain my fascination with angry letters to magazines, but this letter may be the best, most delusional ever written.

Less Sex, PleaseDo not ever send me another issue of your magazine. I hate it. It is so inappropriate. The pictures in the “Dream a Little Dream (of Me)” [fashion story] in your March 2008 issue are totally inappropriate. You've got a sexually inappropriate female spre…

recap: project runway, season five is here

Even keeping notes while watching this episode, it's hard to keep track of, and get to know, sixteen designers. My early favorites quickly emerged when they were smart enough to have their design philosophy sound bite ready. Jennifer describes her designs as "Holly Golightly goes to a Salvador Dali exhibit." Kelli said, "if Vivienne Westwood and Betsey Johnson had a baby that would be me." Quirkiness and wit are always a dynamite combination. I also instantly liked Kenley for her loud, yet tasteful, designs that mix prints and plaids. It's not easy to mix prints and look chic. Early on, it seems we've got a forceful contingent of female designers this season.

Now that we've hardly gotten to know the designers, it's time for their first challenge. Austin Scarlett is back as a guest judge, which I think is genius. Who can be more fair than a prior contestant? The producers have brought back the grocery store challenge, which was the very first chal…

recap: so you think you can dance - the top 10 perform

The night began with the news the blogosphere has been waiting for: Jessica's mysterious injury is broken ribs! No wonder she had to drop out. How much more endearing is her positivity knowing she's been dancing with broken ribs for weeks? She also announced she will be on tour.

Lil' C was the guest judge this week. I don't recall seeing him guest judge, but he was the best guest judge I've seen this season. I'm curious to know more about his non-crumping background. He provided valuable constructive criticism rather than merely espousing his opinions as several judges have done this season.

Courtney and Joshua danced a hip-hop routine first. Courtney said she's never popped before, which I find quite hard to believe since she dances for the Knicks. I had to pop my hips as a j.v. football cheerleader. It was a Frankenstein-themed routine, and I liked it. They both exhibited beautiful showpersonship. I enjoyed the performance, if not always the dancing. …

emmy announcement semi- live blog (and my early predictions)

8:30 a.m. I realize the Emmys are September 21, the same evening as the Indigo Girls concert I just got my tickets for.

8:40 a.m. Damages is nominated! Dexter too! Squealing ensues, and I realize I cannot possibly type fast enough to actually live blog this event. I resort to typing snippets of notes, and now I'm reconstructing them.

I'm also distracted by Kristin Chenoweth and Neil Patrick Harris standing next to each other. I was under the impression she was freakishly short, and I always imagined him to be quite normal sized, yet she's holding her own height-wise next to him. (According to imdb she is 4'11" and He's 5'11 3/4". Seriously, she had to be standing on a box.)

The six nominees for outstanding drama series are: Boston Legal (as I said yesterday, they always have one great episode a season, which is all that matters in Emmyland, and legal dramas lend themselves to this format brilliantly), Damages (hooray! it is absolutely the best, most …

emmy wishes and predictions

It's the eve of Emmy announcements. This year we've already been treated to the top ten lists, which makes predicting the actual nominees that much easier. Here are my predictions for the best series categories, including my cynicism when I imagine I will disagree with Emmy voters.

I wish for Best drama:
Mad Men (it's hip)
Dexter (amazing)
The Wire (it's due)
Damages (it's best show on tv, but I'm still hesitant because the Emmy process involves a single episode, and one cannot appreciate the sheer brilliance of the final three episodes without the first ten)
The Tudors

I predict for Best drama:
Mad Men (it's hip)
House (I'm cynical)
Boston Legal (it always manages one good episode to submit)
Lost (as a reward for getting good again)
The Tudors

I wish for Best comedy:
30 Rock (funniest show on tv)
Weeds (one of the five best shows on tv)
The Office
Pushing Daisies (I'm still unclear why this show is a comedy, but it's original and entertaining)
Flight of the Co…

dame helen mirren

My esteem for Helen Mirren is not exactly a secret. Still, I always find myself being met with questioning stares when it arises in conversation. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one enamored with so many of Helen Mirren's amazing talents and qualities.

It's nice to add another mutual appreciation the Fug girls and I share: good and bad fashion, young adult novels and television shows, and Helen Mirren.

book review: practical magic by alice hoffman

A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly published their 1000th issue, which features numerous 100 new classics lists. I, of course, have set out to read their 100 New Classic Books. (Yes, I'm still working through their memoir list too). First, or rather #100, on the list is America (The Book). While I adore this Daily Show tome, it's not the kind of book one either sits down to read or carries around on the bus all day. Instead, I'm reading one chapter a night before bed. I moved on to #99, Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

I've read a few Alice Hoffman books, most notably her brilliant Skylight Confessions. I vaguely remember seeing the movie adaptation of Practical Magic with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock years ago. The vagueness of my memory makes me inclined to believe it wasn't terribly notable. The book is magical, pun intended. Hoffman plays with magic as a realistic story element better than any non-Latin writer I've read. The story of the Owe…