I Bet You Were Wondering

Whether or not I was still alive. And I am! I feel like I have been away for months and months but in reality it’s just been two weeks.  I admit the holidays, along with some other stuff, has thrown me into a mini reading slump.  I have read barely anything in the past two weeks.  I had high hopes of reaching my goal of 100 books by the end of the year but now it’s looking like a lost cause.  I’m about halfway through The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, which I’ve already read.  Nothing was catching my interest so I figured this would grab me.  It has, BUT it is still taking me longer than it usually would.

One book that wowed me recently though (and the only other book I’ve been reading recently, for that matter!) is Divergent, by Veronica Roth.  I could not put it down! It made me realize two things.  The first was that I should never have avoided this book.  I am not even sure why I did.  The second was that I am on a roll with YA dystopian fiction.  I read Delirium, by Lauren Oliver, a few weeks ago and was wowed by it.  I just need the sequels to that and Divergent to be released ASAP.

As for Christmas, what a whirlwind! It was a great day spent with family and there was a lot of eating going on, which is one of my favorite parts about any holiday.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any books as gifts but my husband did give me a new Kindle for Christmas! And by that, I mean we bought it together and I wrapped it myself.  But still.  It’s the thought that counts. I actually had a pretty hard time deciding which Kindle to go with.  I opted not to get the Fire right away because I didn’t want a color ereader.  I already have an iPad so if I needed to read something in color for some reason, that’s my go to.  I have subscriptions to US Weekly and OK via my Kindle app on the iPad, but other than that I rarely use it to read.  But I digress.  So anyway, it came down to the Kindle Touch or the regular Kindle.  I initially wanted the touch but the reviews were pretty disappointing.  So then I figured maybe I would just go for the regular Kindle.  I can’t tell you what eventually made me go with a Touch.  I mean, I have had a first generation Kindle for years, so maybe it’s time for a change.  So I decided on the Touch.  Then I had to decide whether I wanted to pay $50 more for the 3G.  That was actually a pretty easy decision.  If money were no object, the 3G would have been all mine, but in the end I couldn’t justify the extra $50.  There may be a time here or there when I will be inconvenienced without the 3G, but I’ll live with it.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday as well!

I’m MIA . . . kinda

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but I have been a little lax recently when it comes to posting and commenting.  I haven’t looked at my Google Reader in days.  I have been busting my ass this month to put out at least some reviews.  I am admitting defeat now though.  Until the New Year hits, you probably won’t be seeing much of me.  It’s just too hard with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  I am working two jobs, which are usually both part time, but due to the holidays, my one part time job has turned into full time for now.  So I am just going to enjoy the time I have off and take a small break from blogging.

We have been so busy that not only did we have to skip our usual tradition of going to cut down our Christmas tree with my family, but I also didn’t even get to pick out the tree! My husband went out to a lot a few days ago and picked one up while I was at work. Our house is really small, so he probably should have gone with a smaller tree, but he did well! I am almost done with the Christmas shopping.  I just have a few smaller things to pick up for my husband, and then I have to finish up the shopping for my stepdaughter.  Everyone else is done though!

Today is my one day off this week, so more than anything I plan to relax.  The only thing I absolutely have to do is go grocery shopping, but I am thinking I may also do some holiday baking.  If I don’t do it today I may not have a chance to do it at all!

If I don’t get a chance to get back on here in the next few weeks, I want to wish all of you a happy and fun filled holiday!

Holiday Swap Gift!

I received my gift for the holiday swap today!  I am SOSOSOSO excited 🙂

My gift was sent by the lovely Mary Beth at BookFan.

Here is everything together:

First off, I may very well have the world’s biggest sweet tooth so all this candy nearly made me swoon.  I don’t know where to start, although my boss will attest to the fact that lastely I have been on a Pez kick, so that was a great inclusion!  Plus there was also a gift card to B&N AND the cutest little Vera Bradley book cover.  Here is a shot of the inside:

And to top it all off, there was the cutest card ever.  I do not usually save cards–in fact I can only remember one that I have ever saved, but there is no way I am getting rid of this one.  I am going to take it to my office to hang up.

Thank you so much Mary Beth.  You did a fantastic job!

Book Review: You Better Not Cry

You Better Not Cry

Augusten Burroughs

St Martin’s Press

206 pages

You Better Not Cry is Burroughs’ most recently released collection of anecdotal short stories, all of which are non-fiction. Being a Christmas collection, all of the stories revolve around Burroughs’ most anticipated holiday—Christmas.

The book begins with what may be my new all-time Burroughs story. It starts off unsuspecting; Burroughs is eight years old and awaiting the arrival of his grandparents, who are visiting for Christmas. At this point, he is quite confused, not being able to tell Jesus and Santa apart. Sounds crazy, I know, but the logic he described made sense! Anyway, the grandparents show up with a life size Santa Claus, who Burroughs excitedly calls Jesus, much to the chagrin of his family members. Up until that point, I was entertained. But then all out hilarity ensued. Little Burroughs eventually proceeds to start eating the face of the wax Santa as his relatives comingle in the other room. I was reading the story in bed the other night while my boyfriend watched TV in the other room. He eventually had to pause the TV and ask me what my problem was because my laughter refused to cease. I can’t think of any other book where I had such a strong reaction.

The remainder of the stories were almost as good. They brought a smile to my face and it was nice to read a book that I could completely escape with and just have a good time with. The last two stories took a turn though and had a much more serious tone than the funny stories preceding them. Before I get into that, I want to post a blurb from Publishers Weekly:

Burroughs’s holiday-themed memoir lacks the consistent emotional intensity of his earlier work, despite a few gems. Arranged roughly chronologically, the vignettes begin with concrete Christmas memories (preparing a detailed, multipart list of desired presents in ‘Claus and Effect’) and move toward musings on the spirit of the holiday (facing a flooded house with an atheist partner in ‘Silent Night’). While the childhood stories have Burroughs’s trademark dry wit — he once gnawed the face off a life-size Saint Nick made of wax — they aren’t particularly memorable. It’s when he turns his attention to the less tangible essence of the holiday that the writing comes alive, especially in the final two pieces, ‘The Best and Only Everything’ and ‘Silent Night.’ In the former, Burroughs (Running with Scissors) remembers a long-ago Christmas spent with a former lover dying of AIDS and in the latter, which takes place a decade later, he describes dealing not only with a burst water pipe but also feeling ready to celebrate the season with a tree for the first time since the death of his old boyfriend.

I wanted to post the above review because I had the opposite reaction. I do agree that the final two stories were well written, but I actually enjoyed them the least. I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a book by Augusten Burroughs, I do it for the laughs. It’s not that I think his work lacks substance—it’s just that he has such a wonderful way of telling a story. So while I appreciate what he was attempting with ‘Silent Night’ and ‘The Best and Only Everything’, they were probably my least favorite stories of the collection. Although I understand that the stories went in chronological order, I think Burroughs made a mistake in ending on such a serious note. His funny stories were the heart of this book, as they are all his works, so it would have been a better idea to close on a different note. Regardless, this collection is just what you would expect of Burroughs—wonderful. Below you can find a trailer for the book as well as a sweepstakes that is currently being offered.

Click here for chance to enter the current sweepstakes!