Stats.

It is that time again, ladies and gentlemen. Time to find out what people googled that led them to this humble site. We have some real winners this time. Firstly, it appears Cam et al. from previous troll fame have been busy. To avoid the risk of tripping their buzzers once again, I will attempt to not name what they searched on, but it had the name of my favorite band, and aural sensory loss, if you know what I mean. There were 4 different versions of that search plus one with a search on the same symptoms for a band named for a large cat who has already lost said hearing. Think about it for a minute. I really don’t want to get on that list again.

Also, someone really hates all things house-related. We have “I hate cleaning”, “I hate selling my house”, and “I hate my house.”

One I like is “my dog likes alcohol”. Another (which I might have to follow myself, just to see what I get) is “Bret Michaels chest hair”.

On a naughty note, we have “she smacked my ass.”

And last, but not least, this month’s winner: “at school pooped myself.”

What did they find on my site to answer these searches? No clue.

The Pirate

Michael introduced me to an internet radio station I love. So, I decided to share it with you. It’s KQLZ 100.3 the Pirate out of Los Angeles. It’s all 80′s hair bands all the time. Well, with some early 90′s stuff, too, since the hair metal thing sort of bled into the 90′s. But no grunge. It’s lovely. I figure I now have one of two options: 1) figure out how to get internet radio in the rest of the house and my car, or 2) move to L.A.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and PeaceI finally did it!!! I finally got through all 1455 pages of this door stop.

Actually, the first 1350 pages weren’t too bad. Some of the war maneuverings were kind of boring, but they served a purpose since this was sort of a history of the War of 1812 between Russia and France. That last hundred pages, though. That was a doozy. He spent part two of the epilogue explaining metaphysics and how it relates to how we view history. Snore!!!

A lot of people complain about how hard it is to keep all the families and their members straight. There are a lot of characters in this book. And per Russian custom, they are sometimes called by their first names, their first and middle names, just their last names, or some random nickname. I sort of expected all that, since I’ve read lots of other Russian novels that do the same thing.

The language is beautiful. Tolstoy was so good at the perfect turn of phrase to make just the right sentiment clear. And it was so funny. Tolstoy was so ironic. He would describe a character with his tongue firmly in his cheek. He would expound on that characters views and philosophy, then the character would promptly do exactly the opposite. I laughed out loud many times.

If you can pay attention through 1455 pages (or at least 1350) it is worth it.

Oh, and… The folks over at Reading Middlemarch are now Reading War and Peace. Check it out.

Rereading edited by Anne Fadiman.

Rereadings : Seventeen writers revisit books they loveIn this book, 17 authors reread influential books from their youth. I especially liked the section on Pride and Prejudice (duh). I liked that each author talked about the book they had chosen and how it affected them on first reading it. They also discuss how they felt reading it now, and whether they were disappointed in the reread.

EW.

OK. I found this movie at work (the library) called Princess of Thieves starring Keira Knightley. I’d never heard of it, but the hubby and I are Keira fans so I brought it home. She was really young when she did the thing. It’s a Disney made-for-tv movie about Robin Hood’s daughter and the race to get Richard the Lionhearted’s son Phillip on the throne before he’s killed by his Uncle, Prince Phillip. In the movie Gwyn (Keira) falls in love with Prince Phillip and they kiss. No big deal, right?

So after the movie, I wanted to know who the guy was who played Phillip. I looked him up on IMDB and nearly ralphed. His name is Stephen Moyer. That’s not the disgusting part. Here’s the gross part. When they filmed the movie, Keira Kinghtley was 15 years old. Moyer? Yeah, 30.

Now, being over 30 myself, the age isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that this 30 year old MAN kissed this 15 year old girl. Gross! That’s illegal in this state. I realize it’s just a movie and they were just acting, but jeez! Couldn’t they find someone closer in age?

I guess that explains why I thought he was hot, though. I felt guilty for thinking the teenager was hot. Yeah, older than me. Not a teenager.

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

About a BoyThe book club read High Fidelity recently. I figured I’d give About a Boy a chance since it had been on my shelf for at least a year, and I needed something light to counteract the War and Peace and Smashed (see entry below) I’d been reading.

It worked. I liked it. It read pretty fast. The characters were interesting and it didn’t end up the way I expected it to at the beginning. My favorite character? Ellie, the 15-year-old, black-lipstick-wearing, Kurt-Cobain-sweatshirt-glued-on-at-all-costs, smart-arse that rails against the world. I even liked it when Marcus figured out that Ellie’s life isn’t all that bad, she brings on all her trouble herself.

Smashed by Koren Zailckas

This was a book club selection. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own, but I’m glad I read it. Sort of. I mean it was painful to read about all this poor girl’s stupid decisions. But it was a generally good story. I had a few problems with it, though.Smashed : Story of a Drunken Girlhood

She seems to blame alcohol and the alcohol advertising departments for her and every other female binge drinkers blackouts, rapes, hangovers and time spent on the floor puking her guts up. When, to me, it seems like drinking was a choice she made. I have been exposed to all the same advertising and social pressure she has. I was at a party school and in a sorority. I drank some, but I’ve never been smashed. I don’t like to puke. I don’t like to be out of control. And I don’t like headaches. So, I chose not to drink too much.
She had the opportunity to make the same choice, but didn’t. Why?

Well, she says, alcohol covered up her low self-esteem. Well, she doesn’t say it just like that, but that’s what it amounts to. I’m thinking, “Hello!!! Red Flag!” Never does she appear to realize that she needed help for that. I realize that at the time, she wouldn’t know she needed help, but even at the time of writing the book, she didn’t appear to see that that was an issue.

And that’s another thing. She wrote the book within a year of quitting drinking. That doesn’t seem like enough time, to me. Not enough distance to see what was really going on.

And one more thing. She doesn’t ever offer a solution to the problem. She rails at alcohol companies for making drinking look like such a great thing, but she never says what she thinks should happen differently to stop the epidemic.

On the other hand, I told all the girls I know going off to college that they need to read it. Maybe it will be the thing that keeps them from following in her footsteps.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster

How to Read Literature Like a Professor : A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines Alrightly then. I’ve now read this book twice, and am still not reading literature like a professor. Maybe like an 8th grade English teacher. But this is a step in the right direction. I am horrible at finding hidden meaning in works of literature. I have to be led by the nose.

The book is quite humorous in its instruction, which is a good thing since it looks like I will need more trips through it to feel like I’m actually getting it all when I read.

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

A Bear Called PaddingtonIn another moment when I forgot my kids aren’t old enough to read some of my favorite childhood books, I grabbed this at the library. I ended up reading it to myself during lone meals.

For some reason, I liked this better as a child. I’m not so enthralled by the bear, so I can now see how annoying all his little foibles are. Like dropping marmalade sandwiches over the balcony railing at the theater. I guess it could have been worse. I was glad the chapters were short so I wouldn’t be in agony for very long. Well, agony is a bit too strong a word, but you get the picture.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Look, hey! I finished a book.Prep : A Novel

When I started this book, I thought it was something else. I got it confused with a different book I’d read a review of. I wasn’t terribly interested in reading the other book, and I kept waiting for the story line I expected to kick in. About 100 pages in, I realized it wasn’t the same book. Yay!

Prep is about a girl from middle class South Bend Indiana who goes to Ault School in Massachusetts. She’s not like the other kids and she really overthinks and overcompensates for the difference. It was so amazingly written. Sittenfeld really got deep inside this girl. It reminded me so much of how I felt in high school a lot of the time. Only she said it better than I ever said it in my head.