Monthly Archives: January 2011

My Mom Made (Another) Mistake

Love, Work, ChildrenAs surprising as it was to realize my mom had made one mistake on her reading list, it was that much more surprising to realize she had made two! When I finished A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That I decided to move down the list to the next available book: Love, Work, Children by Beth Lisick.

Except that Love, Work, Children is by Cheryl Mendelson. Oops?

The first time this happened I went with the title my mom provided. This time around, though, I made a different decision. Upon looking up Love, Work, Children, I learned that it is the second in a trilogy. While I’m sure I could understand it just fine without having read the first, I don’t like to do things that way. So instead, I investigated Beth Lisick. Her books had catchy titles like “Monkey Girl” and “This To Can Be Yours” and brightly colored covers. I was intrigued.

I decided to go for it and bought Lisick’s Everybody into the Pool. It’s supposedly a funny memoir:

Beth Lisick started out as a homecoming princess with a Crisco-aided tan and a bad perm. And then everything changed. Plunging headlong into America’s deepest subcultures, while keeping both feet firmly planted in her parents’ Leave It to Beaver values, Lisick makes her adult home on the fringe of mainstream culture and finds it rich with paradox and humor. On the one hand, she lives in “Brokeley” with drug dealers and street gangs; on the other, she drives a station wagon with a baby seat in the back, makes her own chicken stock, and attends ladies’ luncheons. How exactly did this suburban girl-next-door end up as one of San Francisco’s foremost chroniclers of alternative culture? Lisick explains it all in her hilarious, irreverent, bestselling memoir, Everybody into the Pool.

Fans of David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell will relish Lisick’s scathingly funny, smart, very real take on the effluvia of daily living. No matter what community she’s exposing to the light, Lisick always hits the right chord.

So, by going this route, I’m not sure I’m entirely sticking to my mom’s list. Is this cheating? I’m sure my mom wouldn’t mind. And if she did, maybe she should have been a little more careful to match her titles to her authors.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower: The Movie

Emma WatsonThe amount I like movie news is disproportionate to the amount of movies I actually see… if that makes any sense. I think I just enjoy the excitement that comes with casting updates, trailers, and all the pre-release buzz stuff more than I actually enjoy sitting in a cold dark room for over 2 hours as one of my favorite books gets butchered.

So, with that being said, there’s news on the Perks of Being a Wallflower movie! I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my mom’s list and I hope to get to it soon. The paperback has been sitting on my shelf for months so it’s about time.

Anyway, it was just announced that Stephen Chbosky, the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, will direct the adaptation of his novel as well as write the screenplay. At least he’ll be in charge of the butchering of his own book.

As for casting, Emma Watson has signed-up to play Sam. Since I haven’t read the book yet, I don’t know who Sam is but I imagine its probably a good choice. I’ve mentioned it before, but even though I don’t love Harry Potter, I do love Emma Watson. She just seems so down-to-earth and fun.

All this amounts to some excitement for the movie. A movie I may or may not see, but will follow with interest until it comes out at least.

A Review Of A Girl Becomes A Comma Like That

SnowBefore I get to the book, can I talk about the weather again for a minute? Two days ago I was in warm Cancun. Last night I walked home in the blinding snow (pictured to the left). Karma for bragging about my fun vacation? Perhaps.

Now onto A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That by Lisa Glatt. In this novel, Rachel Sparks’ mom is dying of breast cancer. That much is clear from the beginning. Rachel has moved into her mom’s apartment to help her, but also because Rachel is a thirtysomething poetry professor with limited funds and an even more limited ability to cope with this tragedy. So what she does instead of coping is sleep with men and plenty of them. Most are flawed, but then again so is she. And none seem to fill the void.

The novel also focuses on an array of other people somehow connected to Rachel. There’s her student Ella, whose husband has just cheated on her in the first year of their marriage. Then there’s Georgia, Ella’s teenage patient at the women’s clinic who frequently comes in with STDs. And we also hear from Angela, Rachel’s friend with allergy troubles as well as boy troubles. The point of view switches between these characters and their perspectives. However, Rachel is the emotional heart of this story and her perspective was the only one I really cared about. While the supporting characters were all compelling, during their chapters I just wanted to get back to Rachel.

The real skill in Lisa Glatt’s writing was her ability to keep the story from becoming too melodramatic most of the time. Yes, it’s unbelievably sad and yes, Rachel can’t let go, but there are moments of wit and vibrators and drunken antics. Rachel’s mom in particular keeps the mood upbeat, lecturing Rachel about her life choices and finding love during a chemotherapy session.

A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That comes through with interesting and complex women trying to deal with the challenges life has thrown at them. And, as a reader, it helped to know the tragedy that was facing me from the beginning. It was like watching Titanic. I know the ship is going to sink, but I still get sucked into the story.

I Did In Fact Beach Read

Westin Resort & SpaFortunately the snow – both the day I left and the day I returned – did not interfere with my trip to Mexico. I had a great time snorkeling, eating, and sitting by that pool and beach to the right. And at the same time I managed to squeeze in some reading. Well not the same time as the snorkeling and the eating. But definitely during the sitting part.

With strawberry daiquiri firmly in hand, I finished up A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That, breezed through my book club book Last Night at Chateau Marmont (perfect beach reading), and used the plane ride back to complete another book sort of off my mom’s list. That may sound impressive but they were mostly short and/or light books and you’d be amazed at how much reading you can get done when you don’t have work to worry about, internet to distract you or more than three television stations in your language.

In the next few days, once I’m unpacked and re-adjusted to the cold, I’ll tell you all about the books. For now, though, I’m busy trading in my bathing suits for snow boots. Welcome back to New York, eh?

P.S. If this post made you at all jealous, I’m sorry. I can’t help it. The impending Nor’easter will surely snap me back to reality.

More Tumblring Around The Internet

TumblrI’m not even going to pretend that that title makes any sense.

But it is my way of saying that there’s even more of me to find on the interwebz these days. For the sake of being up on the digital trends, I’ve started a tumblr. Tumblr is a micro-blogging site that’s not so different from WordPress (what I use here), but makes it easier to do really short, quick posts, share links, post pictures, and all that jazz. So I’ve decided that I will try and keep Reading for Robin mostly about my mom, her list, and my personal adventures in reading. My tumblr (Sam I Am) is all the other fun, wacky, interesting mostly-book-related things I find on the Internet. The large majority of posts will direct you to a link I found too entertaining not too share. But my focus is still mainly on Reading for Robin so my Tumblring is sporadic at best.

However, what’s the newsworthy part of this post is that Andrew has converted. He is no longer just a blogging witness but a blogging participant! When I decided to tool around on Tumblr, he figured why not join in and Edelson Shmedelson was born. So if you’re interested in sports, cool new products, or pantsless subway rides, head on over to andrewedelson.tumblr.com to check it out.

Luckily, we have different bloggings tastes otherwise things might get a little competitive over here (you should see our games of Bananagrams!). That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t enjoy a good pantsless subway ride story as much as the next guy. For the time being, though, I’ll stick with books and he’ll stick with things people actually care about.

I kid, I kid.

Book Club Beach Reading

Last Night at Chateau MarmontBy the time you are reading this post, I will hopefully be en route to Cancun. (Unless, this snow storm, yes another snow storm, stands in my way.) I’m not telling you this to brag. Okay, I’m telling you this to brag a little. But there’s some reading involved too.

This month my book club is reading Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger, and I must admit it wasn’t my first choice. And that’s not just because it’s chick lit (I like a good chick lit). It’s that I tried unsuccessfully to read Lauren Weisberger’s earlier book The Devil Wears Prada. You may have heard of it. While I ended up really liking the movie, I just couldn’t get through the book. I don’t remember much about it except that I think my mom lent it to me and after the first few chapters I gave up on it. But that was a long time ago and a different book.

I also appreciated the selection of Last Night at Chateau Marmont when I remembered my trip to Mexico. It seems like a great beach read. I am very much looking forward to the combination of this book, some sun and sand (though hopefully not too close to my Kindle).

Then again, it’s supposed to rain during much of my vacation so here’s hoping that the book holds up just as well with some clouds, precipitation and hotel lighting.

Inception Takes Precedence

Inception Today I can’t talk about books. I can’t even pretend to stretch something into sort of kind of being about books. Oh, you know, like how Kristin Chenoweth said she liked the Hunger Games and so there is a remote chance she’d be in the movies which are based on the books and thus I should read them. Nope, can’t even do something like that today.

That’s because last night, when I would have normally written my book-related post for today, I watched Inception for the first time instead. (Yes, I’m late to the party.) After that I couldn’t think about books. I was too busy thinking about what the hell just happened and whether I was awake or really just dreaming my reality.

So books will have to wait. But if anyone can explain Inception to me, please do.