Lorde++PNG

Can’t stop listening to this New Zealand wonder girl…

It’s the perfect song to listen to on repeat while you clean your apartment. Upbeat and different and interesting. And that hair!  She’s a brunette Merida and I love it.

How is it already September? I feel like this year has raced by and, at the same time, crawled from day to day. Time is funny.

I’ve taken a step back from, well, almost everything these past few months while stuff happened. Stuff like… life. Turns out being a grown up is sort of time-consuming. And expensive. I’ve been working a lot of overtime and just being busy in general and this poor little blog has taken a backseat. But I think that’s okay. It gives me a chance to rethink what I want this website to be, so bare with me.

bike_9498web

I do have a couple of new project ideas I’m hoping to focus on this fall, and maybe present at the DFW Writer’s Conference in the spring, so unless I turn into James Patterson and become an industrial book factory, and have time to do all the things I want to do, posts here will probably remain scarce for a little while.

So, go outside, enjoy the last days of summer, and you’ll be hearing from me soon.

(Photo via: The Sartorialist)

Do you read a lot of non-fiction? I’m sorry to say I really don’t. I think it reminds me of having to read required books for school and therefore feels like homework. Nobody likes homework. However, I managed to pick up Brain on Fire on one of my recent B&N trips and I am happy to report that it was really really good.

brain on fire cover

It goes like this: When she was 24, Susannah Cahalan went crazy in the most literal way. She suffered a terrible brain infection that presented itself with episodes of psychosis, seizures, cognitive impairments and reduced her to a semi-vegetative state. She was hospitalized for a month before one of her many doctors figured out what was wrong, and it took months after that to recover and eventually regain her sense of self.

SusannahCahalan-lge

Cahalan, a journalist for the New York Post, retraces the progression of her illness and chronicles her experience, and the experiences of her family, in this fascinating look at a rare, debilitating disease.

110812cahalanzm12web

I loved this book. One of the points that I found really interesting was the fine line the medical field draws between biological disease and mental illness. When she was admitted to the hospital, Cahalan was put on the epilepsy floor due to the seizures she had been experiencing. But when days turn into weeks, the doctors make it clear that unless one of the many tests reveal a neurological source, she will be admitted to the psych ward. In her narrative, she wonders how many patients with similar diseases were sent off to mental institutions before being properly diagnosed. At one point, she draws the connection between her symptoms and those of possessed people– you know, Exorcist type stuff. Psychosis is scary. How many people have had holy water splashed at them when they really needed antibiotics?

Brain on Fire is shocking enough to read like fiction while shedding light on the important, timely, and sensitive subject of mental illness. I highly recommend it.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkn’d ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink

-Keats

 

tumblr_mi7zlyS7YR1s1oegho1_1280[1]
What is the most romantic book you’ve ever read? Not steamy or pointlessly explicit *cough*fiftyshadesofgray*cough*. I’m talking about wobbly-knees-and-butterflies romance.
For me, it’s Persuasion. Jane Austen seems like a cop-out, but I feel like it’s a less obvious choice than say, P & P (although, Mr. Darcy is my tru luv 4ever).
.
The very best part of Persuasion is Captian Wentworth’s letter to Anne. It’s honest and heartfelt and confirms a long-term love that was there all along. Swoon. Let’s observe:
.
“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
F. W.
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”
.
See? Butterflies. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Blogger comrades, listen up! Whilst I was routinely creeping around the interwebs, I came across this very exciting open-call. On Kate Evangelista’s (Author of Taste, Reaping Me Softly, and Til Death) website there is an announcement that her publicist at Entangled is looking for bloggers to read/ review books. This sounds familiar? Yeah, AWESOMELY familiar! Read all the details below and leave comments, as directed, if you’re interested!

(Copied from the website word-for-word)…
Here are the requirements:

Do you have a blog?

Do you love to review books?

Do you want access to books before they release?

If your answers to these questions is a resounding “YES” then you’re the right blogger for the job.

We want you! Now’s a great time to join The List.

If you want to be a part of The List, here’s what you have to do:

1. Add Til Death to your Goodreads TBR pile: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16129271-til-death

and

2. Leave the following in the comments section:

a. Your Name

b. Your Blog URL

c. Your Goodreads Name

d. Your Email Address

Additional Option: URL to your blog post about this call for bloggers

That’s it! I still can’t believe this is a real thing. “Hey do you want to read books and talk about them?” “Ummmmm… YES, YES I DOOOO!” Best of luck to everyone who applies!

153826143493773343_eVyC7hPZ_c

First of all, congratulations to everyone for surviving the end of the world and making it to 2013– it’s only January and you’ve exceeded the expectations of an entire ancient civilization. Well done.

For the new year, I’ve been adjusting to my new job. I am so, so happy to put my days of selling drugs behind me and be reputably employed in an office that provides me with a chair on which I can actually sit down. It’s heavenly.

In other news, I have some super exciting stuff coming up:

– The End is Here blog series over at Epic Reads (I’ll be posting a LOT more on that later)

– My To Be Read list is growing at an alarming rate

– DFW Writer’s Conference is in the Spring!

All that should keep me busy for a while. And in the midst of it all (new job, Stella, reading and writing) I’m finding a comfortable rhythm. My days are full and my brain is occupied, which I think goes a long way towards anyone’s happiness. At least, for me it does.

And it all leaves me thinking… maybe the Mayans were kind of right– not the end of the world, just the end of the world as we know it.

bastardmonday

photo via: the girl

brain on fire cover

Last week I started my brand new grownup job, which is already awesome because it doesn’t involve a cash register. We’ve been training and assessing our progress and talking about goals. I like setting goals, probably for the same reason I like making lists; it’s an organized way to track growth.

flight behavior cover

My reading list is the ultimate in ambition. I will never cross off all the books because it will never stop growing. It’s like a mythical hydra- I cross off one book and two grow back in it’s place. Anyway, I want to share my literary aspirations, even the ones that have been on the list for years:

Brain on Fire, Susannah Calahan

West With the Night, Beryl Markham

Possession, AS Byatt

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver

A Dog’s Purpose, W Bruce Cameron

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

Looking for Alaska, John Green

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver

This is just part of the TBRs (to-be-read), excluding some of the books that I’m too embarrassed to admit I haven’t made it through yet. And sometimes if I’m feeling crazy I go rogue and just pick a book willy-nilly… but I still like my lists.

Epic Reads is a really cool website devoted to Young Adult Fiction (YA). They have discussion forums and quizzes and book clubs. It’s awesome and I wish it had existed when I was in High School.

Anyway, they are asking for Newbies to read a full series of books and report back to the community with thoughts and blog posts. Part of the application asks for a video/photo/original art that shows “why you want to be an End is Here newbie”. So…

That’s me! I recently moved and have a temporary living situation for right now… which means all my books are in boxes. Five, very heavy boxes. Seeing as I’m not staying put, it doesn’t make sense for me to unpack them just yet but I am desperate for something new to read. Being picked as a Newbie would give me an excuse to get more books without breaking into my carefully packed collection. (They are alphabetized.)

And just for fun, I made a picture of Stella saving the world. Because, duh.

Yep. You’ve got your zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, earth-shattering meteor and general mayhem. But don’t worry, she has a cape, so everything will be fine.

There you have it, Epic Reads peeps. Pick me to be a Newbie and you won’t be disappointed!