Saturday, March 14, 2009

Book Review in Progress

So, this past week has been my week "off", Spring Break, which means no homework right? Oh how wrong, and as a co-worker says, "Welcome to Grad School". Still, I found time to get a little bit of pleasure reading done during my flights to and back from El Paso where my boyfriend/fiance is stationed. I got 4 delicious novels from the library the day before my trip because I always seem to spend at least $ 20 everytime I fly buying a new book. The 4 books I got were (in no particular order):

The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory
by Betrice Small
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth

I haven't gotten around to Oscar Wilde yet, but I saw that it is one of a series and since the protagonist is Oscar Wilde himself, thrown into a Sherlock Holmes-type role...well, colour me intrigued.

Vixens is traditional historical romance, from one my first favorite romance authors Betrice Small, but I have to say... the memory is serving better than the actual reading. I guess I've just outgrown this type of trashy romance, either that or it's just not well written. I have a feeling it's a combination of both. After all, the highly descriptive sex scenes peppered with the usual "Then he dropped a kiss upon the curve of her delicate neck. 'Your scent is intoxicating. What is it?'" and "virgin shields" being thrust through with "love organs".

Following the path of the historical novel is The Other Queen which I was really looking forward to reading. I really enjoyed The Other Bolyen Girl and The Virgin's Lover, but this book was written as from the secret diaries of the three MCs (Bess, George and Mary). Now, I've read epistlatory novels before and enjoyed them, so it isn't the style that I find problemsome. It's the fact that Gregory keeps repeating herself! The characters are developed so one dimensionally it's infuriating! Bess constantly talks about her fortunes and how her husband taught her to keep account books and that she's afraid the rebellion will take her lands and treasures and return them to the church. George is always talking about his honor and how he's torn between his duty to Elizabeth and his love for Mary. Mary is always talking her revenge. It's always the same. I mean it's like Gregory just cut and paste sentences from earlier chapters to pad the length of the novel. Boo. I cry foul. It's a struggle to get through it because I am so angry at what I consider to be a cop out. FOUL!

Finally, Snuff. This is my first Palahniuk read. My roommate in LA was a big fan and I guess I always thought that Palahniuk was a "man's" writer. But I really enjoyed this. It was fun, interesting, told from 4 different perspectives, but unlike Gregory, Palahniuk found a connection and flow between the chapters. I just devoured this during the first legs of my flight. Some may not like the subject matter, an aging porn star that is trying to set the world record for multiple partners (600 men), but it went deeper than that (no pun intended). Dealing with the reasons behind 3 of the men waiting their turn and the porn star's assistant and her role in the creation of the evening and the events that unfold, it's graphic in an almost clinical description of the sex. No romance, no "love organs" or "virgin shields", which is only right since the porn industry is a business, the people that make money off it aren't doing it purely for pleasure.

So there you have it, and another hour is wasted from my studying. Or is it? Were theses effective booktalks? :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chinese New Year

I just looked at my profile and saw that I am, according to the Chinese Zodiac, a sheep.
So I am a leo and a sheep. Could that maybe be whittled to a lion and a lamb? Somehow, although I'd like to say I'm not a sheep, that I am a goat, I follow my own path and refuse to be shepherded (for lack of a better term) in with the rest of the mutton, I like the idea of being part lion, part lamb.

It matches my personality, loving and gentle and kind but don't piss me off because I have been known to rage and roar.

Sigh, or maybe it's just the lack of sleep. I'm writing from a hotel room in El Paso, where I am spending about $ 500 this weekend on travel expenses alone to see my boyfriend/unofficial fiance. He's stationed here at Fort Bliss, named after a soldier, not the state of mind. But getting in around 9:30 last night and walking out into the 70 degree breezy weather? Well, after a winter in Buffalo, it did seem blissful. And palm trees! I almost feel like I'm back in the cradled warmth of my SoCal winter. Ah how I miss that weather.

And the weather is especially nice because after shaving my head earlier this week I truly feel it! Now, it's not shaved bald, but there's not a lot left to it. And so I wear headscarves and am figuring out fun and funky ways of styling them. I think, that even after my hair grows back I am going to continue to wear the head scarf. It's very new bohemian chic if I do say so myself and I expect this to become the newest retro trend within the next 3-5 years. Mark my words people. And it all started with cancer research.

I raised almost $ 800 in two weeks and still counting, because you can STILL make donations to help me reach my goal of $ 1,000. Visit and look up me, Melissa Seifert, and donate under my webpage. It's a great cause, cancer research and patient care. Like I said when Roswell interviewed me, I know I'm not smart enough to be the person to find the cure, but I can help raise the money to fund that person!