Saturday, July 25, 2015

Texts from Jane Eyre

Book 22 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read on March 26

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg

Summary (via Goodreads)
Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O’Hara to Jessica Wakefield.
Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.

My Opinion
There's a wide range of characters included.  I enjoyed the ones I knew the best but even if I wasn't familiar with the story I could still get the gist of the jokes.

A really fun, quick read.

A Few Quotes from the Book

Edgar Allen Poe is the on the left and a random friend is on the right.



ok don't be mad at me


i feel like you're going to be mad at me
or like you're mad at me
or something
so don't be mad at me

                           you're not coming

i can't coooome to the thiiiiing tonight
i'm so sorry

                           you can't leave the house?

oh my god
i canNOT leave the house

                            I feel like that's turning into a thing with you

what do you mean

                            like last week
                            you couldn't leave the house
                            because you were too busy looking at a bird
                            is it the bird thing again?

i wasn't LOOKING at a bird
wow where is this even coming from
the BIRD
wouldn't stop LOOKING
at ME

that's a really big difference
anyone can look at a bird
i could go look at a bird right now if i wanted
i could go look at the same bird
he's still fucking here
not that you asked

                           I literally did just ask

fuck you
                         why can't you leave the house

oh my god
where to even START
there's a heart in the floor
and it will not shut uppppp of beating
but that's not even the main thing
there's a cat with one eye that keeps calling me a murderer
                            did you murder anyone?

you know what you sound like right now?

                            do i sound like the cat

you sound like the cat with one eye

                            I'm just asking because you said you had a heart in the floor

I said there WAS a heart in the floor
not that i HAD a heart in the floor
there are a lot of reasons a person could have a heart in their floor
not just murder reasons
thanks a lot though"

The Island of Dr. Moreau (Dr. Moreau is on the left and a random friend is on the right)

"what do you think would happen
if you mixed a hyena and a man together

like mixed their bodies together I mean


like if you cut them up and then smashed them together and then sewed them back up

                                   I don't know
                                   what kind of question is that

I bet a lot would happen"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live

Book 21 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from March 11 - 26

Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live 
by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
*the newly updated and expanded version published in 2014

Summary (via Goodreads)
Just in time for the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, a rollickingly updated edition of LIVE FROM NEW YORK with more than 100 pages covering the past decade.

When first published to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, LIVE FROM NEW YORK was immediately proclaimed the best book ever produced on the landmark and legendary late-night show. In their own words, unfiltered and uncensored, a dazzling galaxy of trail-blazing talents recalled three turbulent decades of on-camera antics and off-camera escapades. Now a fourth decade has passed---and bestselling authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales have returned to Studio 8H. Over more than 100 pages of new material, they raucously and revealingly take the SNL story up to the present, adding a constellation of iconic new stars, surprises, and controversies.

My Opinion
There aren't many books, especially one clocking in at 700+ pages, that I love so much I would immediately start over and reread as soon as I finished it.  This is one of them, combining my love of Saturday Night Live and "behind the scenes" stories into one page-turning read.

I read the original version before I wrote reviews so since the layout of the book is original version - new pages for the last 10 years - wrapping up with a chapter on Lorne, I'll write my review the same way.

The Original Book
I liked the format of taking a topic and/or year and going back and forth with everyone's comments instead of writing each person's full perspective separately.  It really highlighted the different perceptions people had while participating in the same event.  The book isn't necessarily 'fact based' as the authors don't insert their opinion of who is correct; they just put what everyone says together and let us be the judge.  Two clear examples of this were how many people took credit for the creation of the show and how many people took credit for discovering Eddie Murphy.  I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle of most of these anecdotes when taking into consideration the haziness of people's memories, the length of time that has passed, and the drugs some people were on at the time.

Like the show itself, not everything is going to hit.  Some stories are funny, some are bitter, some are weird, some are emotional.  I wonder if it was awkward for people to read what others said about them...there were definitely some less-than-flattering descriptions in here!

Okay, okay Joe Piscopo, we get're the best Frank Sinatra if you do say so yourself.  And you do.  Often.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Mike Myers appeared to be very kind in how he talked about his co-stars and Lorne.

The Updated Chapters covering 2004 - 2014
The recent years were interesting but not as dishy or informative.  Is it really because things aren't as crazy as they used to be, or were people holding back because they're still working together?

It made sense to end with the chapter on Lorne but since it had old and new material, it was a little strange because some of the people had since passed away but were speaking/being spoken about in the present tense, and any numbers (ages, etc.) from original quotes were off when reading in the context of the updated version.  I think some editing could've been done in this chapter to reflect the years that have passed since some of the quotes were given without altering the spirit of the quote.

A Few Quotes from the Book
"The premiere was less than a month away - October 11, 1975. A day which will live in comedy."

"I remember the terror. You know, the total exhilaration of it. I just didn't know you could have that much fun over thirty. It was like the inmates taking over the asylum. Totally." ~ Candice Bergin

"The idea that some of the things would not be necessarily accessible to everyone didn't matter. As long as there were a few people out there who thought it was hilarious, that's what mattered." ~ Paul Shaffer

"Two guys named Chris, hired on the same day, sharing an office, okay? One's a black guy from Bed-Stuy, one's a white guy from Madison, Wisconsin. Now - which one is going to OD?" ~ Chris Rock

"It's a one-week performance camp where everybody's operating from a sense of just incredible amounts of glee and manic energy as well as vast amounts of fear and flop sweat. That's Saturday Night Live, and there is absolutely nothing else like it." ~ Tom Hanks

"When I came here Lorne told me, "We don't go on the air because the show's ready, we go on because it's eleven-thirty"." ~ Darrell Hammond

"When you think of all the different sketches that have gone into SNL since, what, 1975 - when you think of all the things they've done, there's a lot of chaff among the wheat. But God, the wheat is spectacular." ~ Don Ohlmeyer

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stories of My Life

Book 20 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from Feb. 25 - March 11

Stories of My Life by Katherine Paterson

Summary (via the book jacket)
Katherine Paterson's books are an integral part of childhood, made up of characters that feel like part of our families. Now, in these fascinating stories from her life, she reveals the origins of these characters, like Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terabithia, the great Gilly Hopkins, and Lyddie, as well as the events that inspired her storylines. Katherine's unique life began in China with her missionary parents, and continued as a single woman in Japan and then as a wife and mother of four in Maryland. And of course, these stories go behind the scenes to the exhilarating moments when she won her many awards, including two Newbery Medals and a Newbery Honor.
Filled with personal photos and letters, as well as introductions from fellow writers Kate DiCamillo and Nancy Graff, these funny, poignant, and heartwarming tales give fans insight into some of our most beloved children's books - and the legendary writer behind them.

My Opinion
It's not for everyone but I love people's stories so I didn't mind this read.  It reminded me of a Sunday visit, just sitting around listening to stories.  I imagine it would be a good audiobook if that format has been made.  

She presented an interesting perspective when she realized her children weren't as familiar with the family lore she had grown up with.  She said it was the transition to a dishwasher; when people hung out in the kitchen working together to wash and dry the dishes they would chat and share those "sink stories" to pass the time.

I could completely relate to her cute story about concentration. In high school a friend planned a surprise party for her when she was in the same room, reading a few feet away.  She was so engrossed she didn't hear a word and was totally surprised!  She credited her ability to zone out for how she was able to write while raising children. 

The read picked up for me when she was sharing stories from her adult life.  I didn't realize Bridge to Terabithia was based on a personal loss and I imagine that will change the way I look at it when I reread it with my children. 

A Few Quotes from the Book 

"There are things that happen to us when we are children that we never quite recover from."

"Young readers look at my nearly white hair and ask: "How do you know how we feel?" And I know because I still carry that child that I was inside myself. She is very much alive."

"To be loved by people you thought you hated is an experience I wish everyone could have."

"I loved [her four children] a lot, and even if I didn't spend nearly enough time cleaning the house they lived in, I made it up in countless hours of reading aloud."

"Four children take a lot of time, but I have said more than once that the people who took my time were the very people who gave me something worth writing about."