A Quick Book Note

Friday evening, I was obsessing over which book to start next.  I literally took all four of my new books, fanned them out in front of me, then went through and looked at the summaries of each, in hopes that that would help me decide.  Well, clearly they all sounded good otherwise I wouldn’t have purchased three out of the four of them.  The fourth one, I had just received on my Tuesday class, met the author and got her to sign it, who, by-the-way is really nice and funny (and, it appears that we have a fb friend in common).   The other three were all by the author that I am newly obsessed with (Sarah Pekkanen).  I seriously could not decide.  I txted Melissa and called my boyfriend, who both laughed at me and then told me to pick one.  I decided to curb the decision in favor of much needed rest, and went to bed, hoping that it would come to me in the morning.

The next day I still could not decide.  I sprawled out on my couch and watched TV for a while, then went out to do some errands, since I was in possession of my boyfriend’s car and was going to head to his place later on and lose it…I mean give it back to him.  When I got home, I started packing for Billy’s and made a game-time decision.  It would be The List by Karin Tanabe; the author that I had met and who signed my book.  Turns out, it was totally the right choice.

Can I just say that I am OBSESSED with this book?!  I started it yesterday morning (and then on-and-off throughout the day) and am already over a hundred pages in.  I’ll write about it when I’m finished (probably by the end of the week), but just wanted to post this quote:

 

“Could I casually just grab his hand and slip it into mine for the rest of eternity?  Or just maybe place it directly on my boob?”

-Karin Tanabe, The List

New Author Obsession

I have found a new author that I am obsessed with…okay, to clarify, new meaning new to me.  Last week, at the end of class, my instructor brought out two books that were about to be published.  One of them was a golf instructional book that I didn’t really care about, because golf isn’t my thing.  The other was the new book, The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen.  It is available for pre-order on Amazon, and has a scheduled release date of April 9th

Being in the midst of a book currently, I read only the first page.  I liked her writing right away.  It also helped that, on the front cover, there’s a quote from Library Journal comparing Pekkanen to the likes of Emily Giffin (whom I absolutely love).  The next day at work I decided to go online and find out what other books she had written.  After searching for a little longer than I had expected to (she doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry), I came across her page on the Simon & Schuster website. 

As it turns out, there are three other books of hers that have already been published, and three eshort stories that were $0.99 each.  I, who am highly opposed to reading anything that is not in book-form, was torn for a moment.  Would I become one of those people who never pick up a physical book? No.  Never.  I decided that, since I could not fully commit to read enough of her book before deciding to purchase the others (I hate reading multiple books at once, although I have had to on occasion), and since these short stories only exist in the “e” format, that I would purchase them, and bonus, the total came out to $2.97. 

I set about to read the first eshort story, “All is Bright,” and loved it.  I then checked out a little on my book and proceeded to read the other two.  I don’t want to spoil the stories, since they are short, but they are all really good.  Each story is narrated by a new character, one that appears in the previous one either by having an actual cameo, or by just being spoken about, so the stories are all linked. 

I have added her three previous books into my Amazon cart, and all I have to do is hit “send” and they will be mine.  I cannot wait to start reading all of them. 🙂

Balancing Past & Present

I was doing a little research for a project that I am working on and came across an interview by Stef Penney on Tana French.  I’ve never heard of Penney, but, as you should know, I am a huge fan of Ms. French, so I read the interview and pulled this quote.  She was discussing her first two books and said that they both shared the same thing:

“the relationship between past and present – how to balance the two without destroying either”

I feel like that is kind of an interesting thought.  Isn’t that what we strive for in our day-to-day lives? 

As individuals, we are constantly changing; I am quite different today than I was a year ago, and even more different than I was five years from that.  If I look beyond that – to the shy high school girl who pushed herself into drama club despite having a fear of public speaking (think solo singing auditions), to the younger girl who spent one summer in a non-stop-reading-haze amongst strewn pillows in a remote corner of the living-room, to the girl who used to write joint plays with her brother, the girl who would spend hours in one spot when she first learned she could draw, trying to make the perfect line (I once erased so much that I made a hole in the paper), to everything in-between – that girl seems hardly recognizable at times.  I know I did all those things, and if I really think hard, I can vaguely remember doing them, but they don’t feel familiar anymore. 

When I look at pictures of my childhood bedrooms, they seem a bit foreign to me.  I try to place them into my mind, mentally walking around the room, placing familiar people in there, familiar objects, touching objects that were captured in the picture, gently brushing fingertips on surface-tops.  For a place that was once my own space, I’m surprised at the detachment of it all.

A lot of things have changed about me, but some have stayed the same.  As a child, the foot of my bed was covered in rows and rows of stuffed animals that would sleep on the bed with me, because really, there were too many to take on-and-off every night.  Now, my bed is covered in throw-pillows, which spend the evenings on the floor (except for the one stuffed animal that lies on my bed that I’ve had since I was four).  I do still read, and can become engrossed in a story, but not to that extreme extent anywhere near as often.  I write occasionally, and instead of acting in plays I go see them.  I take out my sketchbook about once every ten years, but I love going to the Met.

When you’re younger, the world around you is much smaller.  You can cultivate your talents and interests, but they are only basic; there’s a lot that you don’t find out until you’re older.  Then you become influenced by so many things at once that it’s easy to lose the old you, your interests and what you once stood for…but not completely.  I feel that, for most of us, no matter how different our lives become, no matter how much we stray from our child-interests, that we keep some of it with us.  When we experience internal conflicts, that’s when I feel we are struggling with the past and the present, trying to keep both intact, until we re-adjust and re-balance in order to fit things in.

Near-future Reading

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a few book proposals (of books that are being published later this year) courtesy of a class that I am taking at NYU for editing/book publishing.  I cannot wait for two of them to come out, but had some negative feelings towards the third.  It wasn’t that I disliked it as much as it was that I felt the story was being presented (by the author) as something that it really was not.  The event that is supposed to formulate the whole book, in reality, only makes up a small percentage.  It’s mainly a bildungsroman centered around religion, which is perfectly fine, even though that doesn’t really interest me, but then it should be marketed as such instead of what it is about.  I realize that this might be a little confusing, but I really don’t want to give away anything substantial of this book, since it has not been published yet, and I do not know what the finished product looks like.

The first one that I liked is dual memoir (Impossible Odds) by Jessica Buchanan and her husband, detailing what it was like for both of them for the three months that she was kidnapped by pirates in Somalia.  This happened roughly a year and a half ago, and is interesting to me for several reasons, the first being the dual perspectives on the situation, how Jessica was trying to survive and her husband Erik was trying to save her, the ways that he was going about it, the fact that SEAL Team Six swooped in overnight and rescued her.  Everything about this sounds interesting, and I am not someone who reads non-fiction often.  A MUST pre-order. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1476725160/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_6?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

The second one that I liked (The Longings of Wayward Girls) is a novel by Karen Brown.  I like women’s fiction, and I like thrillers (I love Emily Giffin and Tana French), and this is a bit of both, so of course I would like it.  This is told through the character of Sadie, both as an adult and adolescent.  I always find stories that vacillate between past and present interesting because I feel that you get to know more about the character through their experiences rather than just being told of them.  The proposal contained almost eighty pages of story, and I expressed so much enthusiasm about it that I was given an advanced copy, of which I am currently reading.  It’s not the final edit, but I feel like at this point it mainly just needs to be copyedited.  But, it is a definite buy as well! (Sadly, it will not be available until the beginning of July)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1476724911/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_5?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

A Snowy, Cold Start to Spring

Even though spring began nearly a week ago, the cold, snowy-ness of winter seems as if it doesn’t want to be left behind.  Not only did we have a snow storm last week, but it appears that it is snowing today as well.  

As you know, I am not a fan of snow.  It’s pretty coming down, and in those first few hours, but after that it turns ugly as it mixes with the dirt on the ground, melting in huge puddles that make walking unpleasant, but I do not pretend to believe that snow cannot happen in the spring.  After all, it has occurred in the middle of April on my birthday.

Spring, not unlike New Years’, is a time of new beginnings.  The earth comes alive with colors that have been hidden for what seems an eternity, the days start to get longer, and the cold breezes of seasons’ past are replaced with warmer ones (or, they will be when winter decides to release us from its chains).  We come out of our hibernations, even if it is just to take a much needed walk, or sit on the roof of your friend’s car, parked by the jetty overlooking the bridge, while having dinner and avoiding the rats.  Yes, rats live in the jetty by me, which is rather disgusting and sad, because otherwise Melissa and I would have a perfect time there…that doesn’t stop us from going and enjoying the view, just makes us cautious of where we plop ourselves.  Our days venturing onto the jetty itself were ended last year when we actually saw one pop up onto the rocks (and you can hear them too).  We have not been there this year yet, but give us a few weeks and we will.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons, and I will not let this unsightly weather drag my mood down.   I am looking at floral-y summer dresses to cheer me up, and I recently purchased a pair of coral flats which I intend to break out later on in the week (hopefully).  On this snowy day and night I will be curled up, catching up on Vogue and continuing my current book.

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

Phyllis Theroux

“Let Your Heart Lead the Way”

Recently, as I was combing vogue.com, I came upon a new edition to their Vogue Daily section: horoscopes.  It had been a while since I had kept up-to-date with my horoscope, or for that matter, since I had read my horoscope at all, but I decided to give it a go.  As in all horoscopes, I don’t feel that they are always accurate, because, how can they be, but I kind of like these a lot actually.  Here’s today’s horoscope for Aries from Vogue:

Today is for dreaming.  Let your heart lead the way.  “Following your bliss” can be the realization that everything you desire, you already possess.

Today, I have spent much of the day in front of my computer, working on a book proposal assignment for a class of mine.  It was for a fictitious book by an author that I love.  It should be a book, but sadly is not as of yet.   Here I sit, hair twisted up, glasses on, still in pajamas, and I feel as the horoscope says…that these days, my heart is leading my way.  And that makes me smile.  Another reason why I love Vogue.

Treating Yourself Every-so-often, is Nice

I am not the girl who goes to the salon every week, or every few weeks, to get my hair or nails done.  Although, there have been times where I have gotten myself into a mani-frenzy and gone regularly, it only lasts for a month or two, and is immediately followed by multiple months of bare nails, or at-home-manis that sometimes are so awful that they have to be removed instantaneously.  As far as hair goes, I am never happy unless I’m the one washing it.  I don’t exactly know why this is, especially since so many people that I know love to get their hair washed before getting it cut, but I just don’t.  I am not the girl who cannot leave the house without first applying make-up…more often than not, I am bare-faced.  Not that I don’t enjoy wearing make-up, because I do, but I just do not love wearing it every day.

Despite these things though, I do consider myself to be a girly-girl, and here’s why:

I love dresses and shoes.  Despite my lack of adequate closet space, where I literally had to re-organize it last year to accommodate my collection, I still look to buy more…or at least look at more (not necessarily purchasing). 

I love getting dressed up to go out just as much as I love wearing yoga pants and leggings, which is why, last week, after over a week of not being able to do a lot of things due to a minor surgery on my back, I decided to treat myself.  I was going to a wine tasting with my boyfriend Friday night, so Thursday, I got a mani, and Friday, after work, I went to this place called Dry Bar.  There are a few locations scattered around the city, and it has become quite popular as of late.  For those of you who don’t know about it, they wash your hair and do blowouts in a pretty, sunshiny environment, with girly show/movies playing in the background, and you get a drink, all for only $40.  It was fabulous.  My hairstylist was really nice, and even though she made my hair a little bigger than I would have liked (I chose a wavy style with some volume), I knew that it would be tamed within an hour…because my hair is always in charge.  I would definitely go back once in a while.  Oh, and my drink of choice…champagne of course!  After the wine tasting, which was not good – we discovered that, despite all the hype that I’ve heard about Chilean wines, they’re not that good (or, at least that’s how we felt) – I was more than happy to put on a tee and yoga pants, and sit at home with friends…drinking much better wine.  I had make-up on, my hair and nails done, and I felt pretty.

My New Gym…Blink!

For years, I have been an avid NYSC (New York Sports Club) member.  It started mainly for one reason: it was the only gym close to my office that was somewhat affordable, unlike the YMCA or Equinox, although it is far from inexpensive.  I would pretend not to notice the $80 fee (occasionally more) every month on my credit card statement.  Everyone pays a lot for the gym, right?  Wrong.  Let me note that it was also the closest gym to my apartment, although I never visit that location.  I am strictly an early-gymmer; if I am not there before lunch, I will not go when I get home…I just simply cannot motivate myself.  This laziness that I possess has only been controlled by my evening yoga classes (in Brooklyn). 

A few months ago, I received an email from a coworker informing my office that a new gym would be opening up in our building; the monthly fee…$20!  I couldn’t believe that it was true.  At first I thought that it was one of those seedy gyms, the ones that exist in the not-so-great neighborhoods that I would never walk into.  Then I learned that this gym was owned by none other than…Equinox.  A gym that boasts a $156/month fee for one location and a $188/month fee for multiple locations was actually opening something affordable?  I was intrigued.  The pre-opening registration was only $1, and…it is in my building.  Instead of crossing both E 40th Street and 3rd Avenue, and then walking to E 41st, all I would have to do is walk out and it literally is located two doors down; the store-front that had once housed my beloved coffee shop that has been vacant for over a year and a half.  For that much convenience, I decided to take the plunge.  And then I waited.  The gym was supposed to open the day after Christmas but kept getting pushed back until this week that is.  Tuesday, it opened for a walk-through only; the employees briefly took you around, showing the locker room and equipment, and answered any questions that you had.  Wednesday, it opened at noon and today was the first full opening.  With the woman’s locker room closed for the third time (in three consecutive weeks) at NYSC, I decided that it was the perfect time to go.

For the most part, I like it.  It is more spacious than the NYSC I go to, there are a ton of cardio machines and I like the way that it is laid out.  The equipment is nice and new, and one thing that I especially love about the treadmills is that they have an interval button, where you input your jogging/running speeds and then when you want to switch paces, you press it and it automatically changes the speed for you.  So easy.  The downside: the locker rooms are a bit tiny, there are only five showers (my NYSC has probably double that plus a sauna and steam room, which this new gym is also lacking), and you have to bring your own towel, they do not provide towels for you…apparently that helps keeps the membership costs down, oh and also, I dislike the fact that the stretch area is not padded and therefore makes doing crunches a bit uncomfortable, but I found a machine that I may like instead…if I am in pain tomorrow I will know that it worked.

My conclusion is this.  There are always going to be good and bad things about anything, especially places that are new, like my new gym, Blink Fitness, when you are spoiled (towels) and used to places like NYSC.  However, I’d say that the list is about even, and the price is great…and it’s about time I joined a gym that cost less…especially since I am also yoga-ing.