August Reading Wrap-Up

Challenges

15booksfinal ReadMyOwnDamnBooksbutton

I’ll have a 15 Books of Summer wrap-up on Friday, but it look like I’ll finish with 12 books read. Which is great! I’m pretty happy with that progress.

In the land of #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, I felt like I had a better month than I did. I only read 2-ish books from my own shelves and DNFed one. (As a public domain book, I think I’ve acquired The Great God Pan a couple of times.) But! No additions! (Well, aside from Heaven’s Ditch which I won from the fabulous Doing Dewey, but haven’t received yet.)

Finished in August

Additions to my Library

None! …yet.

Notes

I am *so* looking forward to autumn books and autumn book challenges.

Review ~ The Bling Ring

Cover via Goodreads

The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales

Meet the Bling Ring: six club-hopping LA teenagers accused of stealing more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry from the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and other young members of the Hollywood elite-allegedly the most audacious burglary gang in recent history.

Driven by celebrity worship, vanity, and the desire to look and dress like the rich and famous, the Bling Ring made headlines in 2009 for using readily available sources-like Google maps, Facebook and TMZ, to track the comings and goings of their targets. Seven teens were arrested for the crimes, and instantly became tabloid fodder. The world asked-how did the American obsession with celebrity get so out of hand? And why did a band of ostensibly privileged LA teens take such a risk? (via Goodreads)

I.

I am a late edge Gen X-er. I am young enough to have still been in high school when the label “Generation X” became prominent in the early 1990s. I was told that my generation was a cynical bunch of slackers that would never be as successful as our parents. Those were the shoes I was apparently destined to fill when I started college in 1993. Way to inspire optimism, adults!

It’s easy to look at a younger generation and purposefully not understand them. In retrospect, what was taken for laziness in Generation X was caution. We’d spent our childhoods in the mess that was the 70s: huge financial recession, the wake of a divisive war that wasn’t a war, and social changes that led to a rise in divorce rates. Even if your parents stayed together and managed to remain employed, there was still a pervasive tension. As Gen X hit adulthood, we didn’t jump into the world. We slowly and deliberately made our way, doing things our way.

II.

Between October 2008 and August 2009, a group of upper middle class teenagers from Calabasas,  CA burglarized famous people. This wasn’t at all on my radar when it happened. I’ve never followed current fame culture. I do have an interest in heists though and I was intrigued when I learned that Sofia Coppola was making a movie based on events. Okay, not enough to see the movie, but I did bookmark the book at the digital library and decided to read it on a whim last week.

Alas, heist is a strong word for what these kids did. Pretty much, they used Google maps to scout the celeb’s houses and looked for easy entrance. Which they generally found. You’d think that really rich people would have kick-ass security systems. Instead they seemed to rely on the fact that their neighborhood (in some cases, gated community) is safe and crime-free. In many cases, the Bling Ring walked in and walked out. The better part of the story, for me, turned out to be the different versions of events that each Ring member told later. Whether misremembered or self-protecting lie, it’s a marvelous case of seven-way he-said she-said.

Nancy Jo Sales originally wrote a long-form article about the Burlar Bunch for Vanity FairThe Bling Ring is part further story, in light of concluded criminal proceedings, and part explanatory theorizing.  Why would these youngsters do this? In most cases, they didn’t need the money. Did they do it because they felt entitled to engage in these celebrity’s lives? Had reality TV made them envious of a certain lifestyle that they didn’t quite have? Did they do it to be famous too?

These are good questions. Unfortunately, Sales tinges her answers with a sort of cherry-picked nostalgia. In her eyes, current culture is to blame; this never happened in the past. I don’t have refuting details at my fingertips, but it seems that the more history I am exposed to, the more I realize that nothing is new.

III.

I try not to be too hard on Millennials. They spent childhood in an economic boom. Their parents, later Baby Boomers, had the resources to protect them and give them everything they could need. Millennials have been emboldened with the notion that they can be anything, do anything. In moderation, that’s a great thing! Unfortunately, the Millennials entered adulthood in the 2010s: huge financial recession, continually rising cost of education, and an increasingly connected social world that can be pretty damn hostile.

Having lived through the 70s,  I feel like Gen X-ers spent the economic boom time like any good survivalist would. Expecting that the world would go to pot again eventually, we built figurative bunkers, well-stocked with fresh water and canned goods. We know the world sucks, but it’s a survivable level of suck. So Gen X-ers, if a Millennial comes knocking, share a can of green beans with them. Millennials, please accept a can of beans in friendship and know they’ll at least be French cut. I mean, we’re not savages.

Publishing info, my copy: OverDrive Read, HarperCollins, May 21, 2013
Acquired: Tempe OverDrive Digital Collection
Genre: nonficton, popular culture

As a good Gen X-er, I felt inspired to make a mixtape, er, playlist reflecting the struggles of every generation:

Magic Monday ~ Aug. 29, 2016

MagicMonday

I like Mondays. I also like magic. I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.

Mac King returned to Fool Us last week. My husband hadn’t seen his first performance and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t shared it before!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Descent into the Depths of the Earth (Greyhawk Classics, #3) Shatterday The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe

I should be able to finish one last book from my 15-ish Books of Summer list. That book will be: Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Paul Kidd. It’s humorous fantasy. Which is what I’ve taken to writing. Maybe. Kinda. Sorta. … I also plan on getting a few short stories read by old friends Harlan Ellison and Edgar Allan Poe.

I am very much looking forward to autumnal reading.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

ROW80 ~ Sunday Update, 8/28

Week 8 Update

So, in TweetDeck, I have a column for “nabity.” It ends up containing Tweets in Czech*, news about Nebraska running back Graham Nabity**, occasional sales retweets when I promo books, and tweets by actual people named Nabity***. This morning, one of those from the last category was a horoscope:

Sunday, August 28, 2016 – The secret to your success is setting your specific goals down on paper now. … Don’t take your eyes off the distant horizon, but you must simultaneously reassess your plans for the next few weeks. The more you can accomplish now, the easier it will be later on. Literary giant Samuel Johnson wrote, “The future is purchased by the present.” (Source: Twittascope)

I don’t believe in horoscopes****, but this is good advice and coincidentally timely for me. I’m probably past due in setting a solid goal for this new project. For the rest of this round (the next three weeks, I guess?), I’m going to add 3000 words per week to Wicked Witch, Retired. I’ve been trying to move away from word counts, but I think I need to use them while drafting. This is kind of a low-ball goal—500 words per day—but I’m still feeling my way through things. I should be able to use that excuse for the next three weeks at least.

“Playlist” for the past week: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983), Ghost Story (1981), and A Knight’s Tale (2001).

*Presumably, since my last name is also a Czech word. The Google translation is “loaded.”
**I am quite excited that football starts up again next week. Football means fall. It means we’re that much closer to basketball, which means winter.
***All Nabitys are related though the family is much too big to know them all.
****I don’t believe in fortune cookies either, but… We’ve been eating a lot of General Tso’s chicken from Panda Express and one of my fortunes was: Forge Ahead With Your New Ideas. I kept that one and threw out the non-applicable ones.

Continue reading “ROW80 ~ Sunday Update, 8/28”

ROW80 ~ Sunday, 8/21

Update – Week 7

My bulleted list is getting pretty long so I created a page with my original goals for this round. It has everything I’ve added as well as the stuff I’m not currently working on.

This week was spent on my new project. It’s based on a flash fiction piece I wrote called “Wicked Witch for Hire.” The obvious title for it, which wasn’t all that obvious since Eric didn’t think of it until Friday, is Wicked Witch, Retired. That title might be too frivolous, but it’ll do for now. I have a few pages of notes and the manuscript is at 2500-ish words. My writing soundtrack has been the Star Trek movies, II – IV. Goal this week? Finish the scene I’m on (part II of the first scene), move on to the next. I know that’s not a solid goal, but I’m still leery of going back to word counts.

Coming up this week: Tonight is the draft for VOTS‘s big coed fall frisbee league. Games won’t start for another two weeks, but I’ll be updating the web with teams this week. Also the Bout of Books readathon starts Monday. I’ll be reading and doing a few challenges for that.

Continue reading “ROW80 ~ Sunday, 8/21”

Deal Me In, Week 33 ~ “Person to Person”

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Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Person to Person” by Richard Matheson

Card picked: King of Diamonds
From: I Am Legend, and other tales by Richard Matheson

Thoughts: The phone starts ringing at 3am. When Millman tries to answer it, he finds that he cannot. The ringing is in his head. His doctor suspects tinnitus and recommends chiropractic adjustment even though Millman doesn’t hear the ringing all the time. It usually stops around 6am. The treatment doesn’t help.

Millman’s therapist suggests that he do what one usually does to a ringing phone: answer it. Millman does, but who is on the other end? A CIA agent recruiting Millman to be a spy? A inventor of brain-to-brain communication? Millman’s dead father speaking to him from beyond the grave? His mother *was* psychic after all. Or is it, as his therapist believes, Millman’s own ill subconscious mind? But maybe…

church_lady_could_it_be_satan-1
I sometimes feel all my blogging comes down to how often I can use this gif.

This is definitely one of Matheson’s more meandering tales. I haven’t quite figured out the ending.

Fun Fact: I have tinnitus. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember and never realized that I experience “silence” differently than most people until I was in my 30s. It doesn’t bother me most of the time, but I do prefer to live somewhere with lots of background noise. The high pitched static is only really “loud” when I’m overly tired or not feeling well.

Bout of Books 17!

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Aug. 22-28: I plan to have a good writing week, keep up with my classes, deal with the chaos that is the week after ultimate frisbee league draft…and readathon! It’s the perfect plan. What could possibly go wrong? Luckily, there is no failing the Bout of Books readathon.

Wrap-Up

My grand total for the readathon was 416 pages read and 278 minutes of audio book listened to. It wasn’t quite the week I wanted to have, but it worked out well enough. I certainly read more than I might have during a busy week. I finished The Unknown Poe and The Bling Ring and confirmed that I still don’t care for Jane Austen.

Big shout out to Amanda and Kelly for hosting. BoB is always runs so smoothly and it’s all to their credit!

TBR Stack

I’m making a last 15-ish Books of Summer push:

The Unknown Poe Northanger Abbey The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World
  • Finish The Unknown Poe, edited by Raymond Foye
  • Finish Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – DNF
  • The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman
  • Finish The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales
  • “The Dust of Death” by Isaac Asimov for Deal Me In
  • Finish Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (audio)
  • Decent into the Depth of the Earth by Paul Kidd

Continue reading “Bout of Books 17!”