Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Double Dose of Destiny’s Child

Destiny's ChildIn a case of life imitating art, Destiny’s Child is performing at a real upcoming football game and the fictional football game in the audiobook I’m listening to.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain follows the Bravo squad back from Iraq and on a nationawide tour to celebrate their heroics. The whole audiobook takes place over the course of one day, Thanksgiving Day to be exact, while the soldiers are at Texas Stadium where they will honored at the Dallas Cowboys game. The halftime show at the game will feature Destiny’s Child. Presumably, the novel takes place at a time when Destiny’s Child is still famous.

Back in real life, there’s this little thing called the Super Bowl coming up on Sunday. The halftime show will feature Beyoncé. Rumor has it that Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland will join her on stage in what is clearly a Destiny’s Child reunion. Then rumor had it the reunion was off and now rumor has it that the reunion is back on.

Needless to say, with all this Destiny’s Child news swirling around me, I’ve got Say My Name, Say My Name on repeat.


Love Walked In On My Nightstand

Love Walked InFor the first time in a long time, I found myself unsure of what new book to read. Usually there is a work book that I really need to get to, a book club book waiting to be addressed, or some bestseller I’ve been dying to dive into. But not this week. I mean sure, there are plenty of work books that I could/should be reading, a book club pick is likely forthcoming, and there are still plenty of bestsellers that require my attention, but nothing urgent.

Instead of hitting that oh-so-tempting “one click to buy” button from my Kindle, I browsed old-school. That is, I meandered (as much as one can meander in a teeny tiny New York apartment) over to my bookshelf. There I discovered many previously ignored choices. Middlesex very nearly shouted at me to pick it up. How can I have gone this long without reading it? And yet, I decided I needed a break from long books.

That’s when I saw the fairly slim (is 307 pages considered slim?) paperback of Love Walked In squeezed between two larger books. When I bought Love Walked In I knew nothing about it except that it is written by Marisa de los Santos, an author my mom recommended to me. I still know nothing about it except that it is written by Marisa de los Santos, an author my mom strongly recommended to me, and whatever the back copy says. That will change, though, in a mere 307 pages.

Or should I say 303 pages. I managed to get through a whopping four pages last night before falling asleep. That is not a commentary on the book at all and rather just a note about how incredibly tired I was.

Samantha Goes To The Library

The New York Public LibraryMy friend Carley’s New Year’s resolution is to be more cultured. This great goal has already had a positive impact on me. Because of her, I will be seeing The Heiress on Broadway this Friday. It’s also thanks to her that I visited the New York Public Library this weekend. (Andrew came along too as the picture proves.)

It is a travesty that I hadn’t been to the main library in Bryant Park before. I don’t know what I was waiting for. It’s beautiful! We checked out the exhibit on lunch in New York and then headed off to find the books. In the end we only found a few books, but we found lots of pretty ceilings, hallways, and rooms.

While I was at the library, I thought it was probably a good time to activate my library card that I applied for three years ago. Right away, the clerk asked me for proof of my address. Since I’m in the middle of changing my name, I’m currently without an ID. Therefore, no proof of address. (I don’t carry my electric bills or old mail with me unfortunately).

Alas, now I will just have to return to the library!

The Good Event for The Good House

The Good HouseThis week The Good House by Ann Leary (wife of actor Dennis Leary) went on sale. I read The Good House and I have only good things to say about it. The story takes place in a small Massachusetts town and centers on Hildy Good. She’s a good real estate agent, she’s a good mother, and she’s a good friend. Good, good, good. The only thing is, she’s also an alcoholic. Just don’t tell her that. Her unreliability as a narrator is part of what makes the book so enjoyable.

Speaking of enjoyable, the other night I went to Ann Leary’s book reading and signing at Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side. Ann was a really entertaining speaker and took a lot of good questions. Mary Beth Hurt,the narrator of the audiobook and an actress who appeared in many 80s movies, did a fantastic reading from the book.

Following the gathering at Barnes and Noble, there was a fun little party to celebrate The Good House. By the way, Michael J. Fox gave this quote about Taylor Swift at the event and it ended up in US Weekly (thanks Maggie!). That really has nothing to do with anything, but still cool to share. Good times!

(This post, appropriately, may contain a record number of usages of the word “good”)

Next Up: The Thin Place

The Thin PlaceI can’t believe there are only two books left on my mom’s list! And neither is available for Kindle so that certainly didn’t help make the decision of what to read next. At this point, the choice pretty much came down to a game of “eeny meeny miney mo.”

“Mo” landed on Kathryn Davis’ The Thin Place:

The prize-winning author of Versailles tells the story of a small New England village unsettled by a young girl’s unearthly gift. In Varennes, a town near the Canadian border, three girls come across the body of a dead man on the local lake’s beach. Two of them run to get help, but twelve-year-old Mees Kipp stays with the body and somehow, inexplicably, brings it back to life. Her mysterious gift is at the center of this haunting and transcendent novel.

Sounds weird, but if my mom wanted to read it, I’ll read it. Now comes the part where I have to get a copy. This might be the perfect time to break out my library card (finally!). I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I’m reading a book for work that I’m really liking. I’ll tell you all about it soon!

Reading Outside the Box

1Q84In honor of Haruki Murakami’s birthday, Book Riot posted this quote of his: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

I love this idea. Too often, I choose to focus on the books on the bestseller list or the books that are getting all the buzz. I can’t help it, I want to read what everyone else is reading so we can talk about it! Of course, I don’t always bend to popular will. I only read the first 50 Shades of Grey book, I never finished the Harry Potter series, and I’m sure there are tons of other hits I’ve never touched. Still, I need to spread my wings a little.

In fact, that has been one of the best things about my mom’s list. It has forced me to read books I never would have picked up otherwise. This year, even after I finish my mom’s list, I’m going to try and continue to branch out. I want to read some classics, some old popular books that I missed, novels outside my comfort zone, etc. But believe me, I’ll still be reading plenty of the popular stuff.

Speaking of trying new things, maybe I should read a Murakami after all.

Billy Lynn and I Go For a Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkIt’s been almost two weeks since I finished the audiobook of Game Change (on an ill-advised but ultimately uneventful walk home at 2am). Since then I’ve had no audiobook to listen to. While two weeks may not seem that long, when you only have a limited number of songs on your iPhone that time passes a lot slower.

With a trip to the DMV on my to-do list today, I decided the time had come. I had to sit down and pick a new audiobook. The problem was that I had no idea what I wanted to listen to and I didn’t know where to start. I’ve really liked using the format to catch up on nonfiction I would never get around to reading, but nothing was jumping out at me. There were some novels that sounded interesting but some were so long that reading seemed like a better choice (if I wanted to finish in this half of the year).

Then I came to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. I’d seen the book on many Best of 2012 lists, including this one, and so I checked it out.

Amazon shares this description:

Three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare with Iraqi insurgents has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes. Now they’re on a media-intensive nationwide tour to reinvigorate support for the war. On this rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of the Dallas Cowboys, slated to be part of the halftime show alongside Destiny’s Child.

Among the Bravos is Specialist Billy Lynn. Surrounded by patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and Support Our Troops bumper stickers, he is thrust into the company of the Cowboys’ owner and his coterie of wealthy colleagues; a born-again Cowboys cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized players eager for a vicarious taste of war. Over the course of this day, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision, and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years.

With Destiny’s Child just announcing they will come out with new music for the first time in eight years, it was a no-brainer. (If you don’t understand the connection, go back and read the description above for real this time.)

Plus, the audiobook has good reviews and the well-liked Oliver Wyman narrates. And so it was decided. Billy Lynn and I would take the long halftime walk together…and the long walk to the DMV together, and the long walk home together, and the (not-so-long) walk to work together, and so forth.

Now, what to read next?