What I Read This Month: July

81. Crazy Rich Asians

crazy rich asians

The best part of this book was the title.  Seriously, though, it was so boring I had to skim the last half.  I hate to say it but you could really tell that it was written by a guy.  At the end there’s supposed to be this wedding of the century and the description makes it sound like they’re getting married in that ice palace that Superman goes to where he finds his father.  Meh.

82.  Sisterland

sisterland

Prep is one of my favorite books of all time, and none of her other books have come close for me.  I think I understand this book a bit more after finding out that Curtis Sittenfeld has recently had a couple of children, but ultimately I just didn’t love it.

83.  Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls

lets explore diabetes

I really only like when David Sedaris writes about himself. The made up stories are not for me, so I had to skip every other chapter in this book.  I will always love his book “Naked” so incredibly much and nothing he writes now really holds that same scalding humor for me.

84.  The House Girl

the house girl

I really liked this book.  I don’t know that it’s going to win any  major awards, but I found it engrossing, if not terribly terribly sad.  Also, after you read it you might find yourself getting into a one sided screaming argument with random white Southernors bringing pictures of “much loved” slaves to get valued on Antiques Road Show. Maybe just me, then.

85.  Crapalachia

crapalachia

I was worried this would suck. It did not. I just loved it. I could see how it wouldn’t be for everyone, but I thought it was absolutely amazing.

86.  We Need New Names

we need new names

I thought I was going to loooooooooooooove this.  Alas, I did not.  I was just so long and drawn out and then the resolution took place in three pages at the end.  Hmmmmm.

87.  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

constellation of vital phenomena

I thought I was going to get 20 pages in abandon this due to sheer boredom.  But if you can get past the first 20 pages, OH MY GOD.  This is not an easy book (it takes place during the Chechen war) but it was utterly amazing.  I thought it was a tour de force.  I am so glad I read this book, it restored my faith in everything and anyone and books and life and it was incredibly wonderful. It was sad, it was rough, it was not an easy read, but it was EPIC.  Five stars.

88.  The One I Left Behind

the one I left behind

This was a perfectly serviceable mystery, but I am going to go ahead and say it was a little on the stupidly obvious side.

89.  Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

mr penumbra

Early on in the hype over this book, while I sat in the world’s longest library hold request line, I read a review where someone was gushing about this book which said “Google is a character!” and it made me want to vomit and I decided that this book must be TERRIBLE.  Well, it’s not terrible. It’s absolutely wonderful, I loved every minute of it.  And Google is not a character, thank you god.

90. Nantucket Blue

nantucket blue

This was a perfectly serviceable YA beach read. I liked the main character, although the romance was not my favorite because of a certain demographic issue which bugged me and which could have easily been fixed.  Irritating.

91.  The Spectacular Now

the spectacular now

I gather this is a movie? I am just going to tell you now that I LOATHED this book. It might make a good movie but I thought the main character was an insufferable dick and the female character was such an incredible wet blanket as to make it basically unreadable.  GROW A SPINE YOU BIG LOSER. GOD. There’s a way to write “very confident male protagonist and less confident female love interest” successfully (see My So Called Life) and this is not it.  Yuck.

92. Life After Life

life after life

I was VERY suspicious of this book because it sounded so gimmicky and it looked really long and tough to get through and confusing, and then I looooooooved it. I loved it.  It was WONDERFUL. Depressing as all get out, but just wonderful.

93. Zebra Forest

zebra forest

This was just weird. Luckily it was short.

94.  You Are One of Them

you are one of them

The first half of this book was kind of interesting, but the second half was SO INCREDIBLY BORING.  It was just endless reams of pointless dialogue.  I think it was supposed to be mysterious? Instead it was just pointless.

95. The Good House

the good house

Oh man.  Not for me.  Everyone in this book was a buttface.  Especially the main character who got really old, really fast.

96. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

aristotle

This got nominated for a Printz award. Sigh.  It’s very Printzy.  I did not care for it at all. I literally could not figure out what the point was of the whole thing.  However, every single other person who reviewed it on Goodreads gave it five stars and gushed as though it was the best thing since sliced bread, so maybe it’s just me.

97.  Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head

stranger here

I liked this, and I read it in a night, so it’s an easy read, but I kept wishing for more.  She leads off with a lot of talk about losing weight didn’t fix her life and then…it kind of did.  Except she also kept eating and drinking and binging and smoking and never really seemed to stop doing that, but still lost 180 pounds, all the while talking about how she never solved the root problem that made her fat and that she hadn’t learned anything.  Um, ok? It was a little weird.  I felt like the premise of the book was not delivered on.

98.  The Coldest Night

the coldest night

 

This gets criticized as being derivative of Cormac McCarthy, and I can definitely see that, but I can’t stand Cormac McCarthy and I liked this.  I was wonderfully written.  By the time I read this I had already read two war books this month so another one (about the Korean war this time) was a bit much, but it was an incredible read nevertheless.  It’s not a page turner, I kept having to make myself go back to it, but it was really wonderfully written and oddly beautiful for a brutal book about a brutal war.

Advertisements

What I Wore This Week

DSC_0368-001

I highly recommend you buy this shirt from Target, although I’d size down.  They still have it in the store. This is a Medium. Possible it runs large or I don’t understand my shirt size. Also, why can I not just own twenty five jersey skirts and rotate between them? This was the most flattering outfit and it felt like pajamas. (The skirt is from Anthropologie but I thrifted it.)

DSC_0401-001

This skirt is also from Target. It’s oddly bunchy on the sides, it might be too big.  But if I’d gotten a smaller one I’d just be shorter and I don’t know about that. Gap ribbed tank, Large Petite. Seriously. Go get six of these in all different colors. Trust me.

DSC_0450-001

This is the day I went to my first therapy appointment. I was going for “not THAT crazy!” with this outfit. I think it adequately conveys that I am only SORT of a nutbar.  A nutbar with cute shoes, if you will.

DSC_0513-001

I have no idea why this skirt (from Garnet Hill but sold out, unfortunately) confounded me for so long, but look how cute it is with a fitted tee and a belt. And the famously uncomfortable Toms.

DSC_0562-001

And then I threw a Gap tank on it and went to the pool because I like to live on the edge like that.

DSC_0635-001

My new hot pink maxi skirt makes another appearance! I love it more than words can say.

Also, there will never be a ruffly gathered ripped off from Anthropologie but on sale t-shirt/tank that I will not snatch up as fast as my little fingers can click “buy”.  This one (from Garnet Hill) also came in fuchsia, and I dithered mightily over that choice, but in the end I pictured this with my navy sateen skirt and a belt and some wedges in the fall and went with white. I would LOVE to find a perfect summer navy skirt but for some reason this item has eluded me so far.

Thus concludes our week in fashion. Someone bring me a doughnut.

What I Wore This Week

DSC_0032-001

This is my new Ann Taylor Loft dress with a belt instead of the sash that came with the dress. I actually really prefer it with the belt, but it’s less comfortable, so when I’m feeling grossish I don’t belt it.

DSC_0072-001

I looked everywhere for a white skirt.   This one is from J.C. Penney and it’s a little short and kind of see through and a little too small, and it already needs to be mended, so I’m hesitant to recommend it, but it is a white skirt and it was really cheap.  And I like that I can wear it with flip flops, at least it’s not that awkward length where you have to wear heels or look amish. The J. Crew ruffled tee is one of my favorite things.

DSC_0116-001

We had this terrible heat wave and maxi skirts started to seem like SUCH a good idea.  This one is from Old Navy and I really like it.  It’s a Medium, because the reviews said it was oddly huge, and it fits perfectly.  It also shrank more than this after I washed it and it’s even shorter now, which is good for me, because I’m only 5″2′, but I’m thinking it’s going to be short on anyone much taller than that.

DSC_0226-001

Favorite outfit of the week.  I’ve been looking for wide navy stripes FOREVER.  This sweater was on sale at Ann Taylor Loft and I LOVE it.  It’s that perfect meshy style summer sweater.  Best $20 bucks I’ve spent in a long time. And of course my AE Artist Capris, which I adore, even though I do have to hitch them up a bit.  They’re cute so it’s worth it.

DSC_0249-001

I bought this J. Crew dress on Ebay because what’s not to love about a navy sack with ruffles? I probably could have gone with a Medium, but instead I had the shoulders taken up on the large.  It was supposed to be taken up far enough so that I didn’t have to wear it with a cami, but I have convinced myself that this is better because otherwise there would barely be any ruffle left.

DSC_0294-001

This is a super hot dress. Banana Republic hand me down, via Kate Welsh. I thought it might a little va va voom for Target, but then I thought, what the hell.  You only live once.

DSC_0389-001

Yes, my hair is still wet in this picture.  Yes, I am going to take off that necklace and those shoes as soon as I am done writing this.  Yes, it’s going to be 100 degrees today.

Also, I know own approximately 10 trillion white tank tops. I am looking for this one: white, that comes up high on the chest and is not a scoop neck, with wide edging on the neckline and the edge of the shoulders/sleeves, but not ribbed, and not see through, and a little boxy in the waist/stomach, but fitted, and not too long, with a nice finished edge at the bottom so I can wear it untucked.  Like a sort of muscle tee crossed with the sleeveless part of a sweater set?  It doesn’t exist, but if you see it, holler at your girl.

 

Ten: Yes I Wore a Tiara, and I’d Do It Again Tomorrow

When Erik and I were planning our wedding, we decided that we’d have his brother get ordained on the internet and he would marry us.  We didn’t want a priest and we didn’t want any mention of how we were marrying Jesus or obeying anyone or anything like that, so why not, right?

My sainted mother, who wrote checks without blinking an eye and who stole flowers from other people’s yards in downtown Naperville when our flowers fell through and who tagged along for the ride as I rejected over 100 wedding dresses, my mother took a little pause and said,  “Hmmm.  This is my one thing. Please don’t do that.  Please use someone real. You don’t realize it, you can’t know it now, but the words.  The words are so important.”

And so we had a Justice of the Peace, and we did not write our own vows.  We did not say anything about Jesus and we didn’t promise to obey anyone, but we said the same words that millions of other people have said before us, and we faced each other, shaking a little bit, smiling and crying, so nervous, and so happy, and we said the words, “For richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, for as long we both shall live.”

I never thought that getting married would change things that much.  Erik and I have known each other since I was 17.  We lived together for almost four years before we got married. I assumed it would just  be more of the same. And I don’t know that I should even say that things were different after we got married because I can’t really even explain how they were different, but they just were.  We went from “cool, I like you a lot” to “forever”, and it changed things. It just did.

This is not some kind of anti writing your own vows treatise.  You get on with your bad self and write reams of marrying each other poetry.  This is just to say that for me, for us, the words were so important, and I think of them almost every day.  I have thought of them a lot this year.  We have been through a lot this year.  “In sickness and in health” weaves itself through my hours, while I drive to the grocery store, when I go to bed early again, when I feel better, when I feel worse, when I realize the Target pharmacist doesn’t even have to ask me my name anymore.

The thing about my marriage though, is that when you really come down to it, even though we said those words to each other and I know we meant them, even though the words are important, even though I think of them almost every day, they don’t mean anything unless they mean everything, and it’s the not the words that made that happen, it’s the person who stood across from me with that nervous smile on his face, the person who stood by me through thick and thin, the person who said those words back to me.

The truth is I married the best person I know. It has been a privilege to be married to him for ten years, despite the thousands of socks of I have picked up off the floor and the millions of beer cans I have moved from the counter to the recycling bin, despite the fact that I myself do not drink beer.  Because this man? He is the soul of patience.  He is nice to everyone.  He is interesting and funny and so smart, and he is the best father there ever was.  Everyone wants to talk to him, everyone wants him on their team.  And he’s on my team, and for that I will be forever and eternally grateful.

And because it was Erik who said those words back to me, they have always meant everything, and I have never been afraid. There have been good times and bad, there has definitely been poorer, there has been more sickness than I would have chosen, but I have never once worried that those words would stop meaning as much to him as they did to me. I have never wondered if he would leave. I have never wondered if he would forgive me. I have never worried he would walk out the door and not come back. I have never not gotten what I needed, not received what I asked for.  I have never had to wonder if he would sit with me and hold my hand while I cried.  He always always does whatever I ask him to do, he laughs at my jokes, he wakes up with our kids every single morning of every day, he plays ponies with a three year old every night and when something wonderful happens, he is my first phone call.

I am really looking forward to the next ten.  Maybe there could be a little less poorer and a little less sickness.  But even if there’s not, we’re gonna be ok.  We said those words, and we meant them.  Till death do us part, as long as we both shall live.

Ekdahl_4276

What I Wore This Week: The Week Where It Never Went Below 100 Degrees

In some places, they call that Texas.  To all of you with this geographic affliction, my heartiest sympathies. Anyway, it sucked, but whatever. Right now it’s only 85! I am delirious with joy! Or Xanax! One of the two, certainly.

DSC_0056-001 - Copy

I really love this (Old Navy) dress. It’s just so elegant and easy. And my “shazam shoes with boring dress” plan worked out really well.

This dress is one of those dresses where finding the right bra to wear with it can be a tidge tricky, I finally bought new bras though (hallelujah! And also it turns out that all those years of buying 34C’s? Ha, yeah no. I mean, maybe in some bras I do wear that? But in the new bras I bought which fit and are not uncomfortable and do not give me boob dent and which support the lady bazzers quite well, I wear a 38D.  So yeah. Whatever. PS You can buy two of these bras at Costco or Target for the price of one on Amazon, the Costco ones are my favorite out of the three, all of which I have tried). Anyway, with this dress I wear a beige bra with the straps crossed in back and then you mostly can’t really see them. It works.

 

DSC_0114-001 - Copy

I really wanted a long pink skirt but I couldn’t find one anywhere and so I took a chance and bought this one on Ebay. I really like it, despite the dreaded hi-low phenomena, in this case I think I actually approve of the hi-low because it means the front doesn’t drag on the ground.  I still need to have it hemmed (it’s rolled once in this picture) or it drags in the back, but I really really like it. I have no idea why it’s oddly slanted in this picture, I blame the photographer.

It’s Apt 9 (which is Kohls brand, I believe) if you want to look for your own on Ebay. This is a Large. And Gap Petite Ribbed tanks. The best.

DSC_0194-001 - Copy

This is one of my first successful summer dress purchases. Right after I decided that this would be the Summer of the Dress, every major clothing manufacturer in America decided that this would be the Summer of Polyester. Dudes, I’m not wearing ponte knit in 105 degree weather to the pool. Just calm down over there with the ponte. Anyway, this is the Pintucked Tie Waist Dress from Ann Taylor Loft, I love it, it’s perfect, I do sort of wish it had a tiny bit more sleeve  but the pattern is perfect, it fits perfectly (this is a Petite Large), you can just throw it on over your head but the sash thing  makes it look like a dress and not an elastic waisted swimsuit cover up, it cost me $24 dollars, the whole thing is excellent.

DSC_0210-001 - Copy

You  may have noticed that this is the exact same dress as the dress above it, just in plain navy. Way to go, smartypants.

DSC_0318-001 - Copy

This skirt has been sitting on the “stay or go” pile for six weeks. I am still undecided. On one hand, the length seems incorrectly proportionate to my super duper short body and it also seems kind of too big. On the other hand, it’s gauzy, it’s the only casual navy skirt I own, and if I didn’t have dog poop from the World’s Worst Dog on my flip flops, I could have thrown on a white tank and some flip flops and there you go.  That seems excellent.  On the other hand I have cuter outfits.  On the third hand which I suspect is not a real saying, go new bras! Look at that boob liftage! Excellent.

Why am I making that face?  I have no idea. It’s either my “I Just Done Took A Xanax Face”, my “I Am Not So Sure About this Skirt Face”, or my “I Have On My Sexy Gold Shoes” face, or my “The Heat Has Entered my Brain and Cooked It” face.  You can be the judge of that.