Archive for the 'books' Category

Chelsea Handler is my idol

Posted by cher on October 21st, 2008

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I haven’t seen her show, but after reading half of her book, I’m going home and telling Tivo to record it. She’s hysterical and her life is hysterical. I aspire to one day have the ridiculous content (or at least be able to make it up) that she’s written. Read her book – “Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.” You can read about her 2-day stint in jail (she hadn’t picked a gang to join yet, but she did have a girlfriend by the time she left). You can read about her crazy-ass family, including her dad who wears suspenders with sweatpants (that her mom irons). And you can read about how she swindles in a flask of Ketel One if she’s going somewhere that doesn’t serve liquor.

My kinda girl.

Something old, something new…

Posted by cher on September 3rd, 2007

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Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin is the latest book to be devoured by yours truly. The review on the cover (and clearly, yes, the cover is pink…see the About Me section if you’re new) states: “You don’t have to lust after your best friend’s boyfriend to worship this book (trust me on this)…Here’s a heroine you’ll root for and a book you won’t want to put down. I loved it.” – Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

Here’s the synopsis:

“Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan. Rachel has always been the consummate good girl—until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy’s fiancé. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness. Something Borrowed is a phenomenal debut novel that will have you laughing, crying, and calling your best friend.” Source

One day I went crazy on Barnes & Noble’s website. I stocked up on like a dozen books because they were all five bucks or less. I’ve since read them all, except for this one, which somehow was forgotten in a drawer in my desk at work. Last weekend I was at home in PA and saw my next door neighbor with whom, when I lived at home after college, I traded books with on a weekly basis. She yelled from her driveway that she just finished a book that I absolutely had to read. When she told me it was Something Borrowed, I thought it sounded very familiar. I asked, “Does it have a pink cover with a diamond ring on it?” Sure enough, it was the same book that’s been hiding in my desk. Needless to say, I immediately dug it out as soon as I got back to the city.

There’s some books that I enjoy, but only read when I’m bored or can’t sleep. Then there’s books that I simply can’t put down. This was one of the latter. Within the first chapter, I was hooked for two reasons: it takes place in New York City, and it was clear that the author had some background in law. As you’ve probably gathered from the synopsis, the main character did the unthinkable; I immediately thought I would hate her for doing such a heinous thing, but as you read more about her past and the situation, you end up completely rooting for her.

The best part of the novel is that it’s not just a love story; I found myself rooting for her as person, not just for her to “win” the guy. By the last 50 pages, I could care less if she wound up with the guy – I only cared that she undergo the personal transformation and growth that had been leading up throughout the entire book. Any woman who has felt inferior to another woman (I’m guessing that’s like 99% of women) and often fails to fight for what she really wants, will completely relate to this book.

It’s one of those books that I continued to think about, even after I’d finished. Between loving the fact that the main character lived in my neighborhood (and frequented one of my favorite places, Prohibition) and dealt with stereotypical New York City inhabitants, I realized that it definitely makes you think about being true to yourself – no matter who is involved in the situation.

If you’re like me, you always feel a little bittersweet at the end of a book that you especially enjoy, because you always want more. There’s no need to fear, though, because Ms. Giffin wrote a second novel, Something Blue, to follow this one. Her second novel picks up where the first one left off, but, as a twist, is written from the best friend’s point of view.

You can learn more about the author and her novels here.

"Summer in the city, I’m so lonely lonely lonely"

Posted by cher on July 9th, 2007

“Here, in a city of eight million, I think whatever temporary afflictions I am experiencing will feel scaled down. I expect to evanesce in the rush-hour crowds, to feel dwarfed by the tall buildings and tall women, teetering on their four-inch-tall heels.

And if not, I think I will feel commiseration.

New York is like the crisis hot lines that tell potential suicides, “You are never alone.” Here, you really aren’t ever alone. Everywhere you look, there is someone to remind you they are there. There they are, crossing against a light. And there, catching your hair in the corner of their open umbrella. And there, letting their fluffy, white poodle crap in the middle of the sidewalk. Everywhere you turn, there is someone else to remind you just how miserable they are, too.

I find out quickly that this doesn’t help. If anything, it only reminds me how disconnected I am. After a few weeks, I can ride eight stops on the number 6 train with one person’s hand on my ass and another person’s sour armpit two inches from my face, and still emerge through the sliding glass doors unruffled because I’m troubled by something bigger. Even in Midtown, among the throngs of people that shoulder by me, I feel the thump of loneliness. From the outside, it’s hard to imagine life can exist inside the mirrored skyscrapers, when I walk by and all I can see is my own painted little face staring back.”

–An excerpt from Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, a novel by Koren Zailckas.

While learning something from a book is gratifying, relating to it is even more fulfilling. In Smashed, I find myself nodding along to her stories, her accounts of high school parties and college rush events. When I read the above excerpt, I couldn’t help but think how ironic it is that one can feel so lonely in a city of so many. Sometimes the anonymity the city provides is almost suffocating; the oppression it creates is palpable. I feel invisible everyday I walk down the street to work – especially when I’m jostled and elbowed and run into as if I don’t exist. It takes a tough exterior to live in this city; unfortunately it’s just that – an outside facade, a painted shell of the real you. The city hardens you; it’s easy to forget to smile or return the morning greeting of a construction worker. You step easily over the homeless man and his empty coffee cup outside the subway station without giving him a second glance. It’s a city where chivalry does not exist; it’s every man and woman for him or herself.

(http://www.korenzailckas.com/)