Gif Summary: Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle

Fact: There is not enough time to write about the books I love, AND I love gifs. So I decided to make a book gif for each of my new reads, starting with Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle. It was CRAZY! I can't imagine ever writing a book like this, and I feel lucky to have gotten a tiny glimpse at how someone else's brain works. Here's my gif summary of the book.

Does this make you want to check it out? You can find more info here or here.

7 Days of Inspiration: New Kittens, Bison, and bell hooks!

The past seven days have been incredibly inspiring and exciting for a variety of reasons. First up: new foster kittens! I picked these guys up on Sunday, and as usual, they came with crazy names: Kylah, Kyzen, and Kylene. The momma cat (Kaydee--seriously, who comes up with these names?) is hanging with me too, though she's about 10 pounds away from being photogenic. We're working on it.

These kittens are terrified of humans, especially the kind wielding medication and eye drops. They've challenged me to come up with creative ways to lure them out from under the couch, and as a result, I've tested every long, non pointy object in my apartment, finally settling with the giant Cheshire Cat novelty pen that I got from Disney World ten years ago. (Because of course. Why is life so on the nose sometimes?)

Next up: bell hooks and Gloria Steinem in conversation at The New School. A million thank you's to Vanessa for showing me the RSVP for this free (!) event, which was truly incredible. When I read bell hooks's Ain't I A Woman for book club, I really appreciated how she made feminist theory and history accessible to her reader, without losing any of the emotional poignancy. In person, I found her (and Gloria!) to be the same way. They made some incredible comments about the state of feminism and challenged the audience to continue fighting on behalf of women everywhere.

I left feeling rejuvenated and excited about the next generation of feminists, which will also include Willow Smith--she was sitting four feet away from me with her mom (and fellow Baltimoron), Jada Pinkett Smith. They are both even more beautiful in real life, and I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped open when I saw them walk into the auditorium. 

Finallya new book + bison jack-o-lantern. This week, I've been reading Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, which is everything I want in a novel: a feisty, headstrong lady who turns down men right and left, all while asserting her right to flirt and run her own damn farm. Thomas Hardy's Tess of d'Urbervilles is one of my favorite novels ever, so I know things are about to get real tragic--I can't wait. Anyway, in FFTMC, farmer Gabriel Oaks wakes up in the middle of the night to find that his dumb sheep dog led 200 pregnant sheep over a cliff, where they plummeted to their death. I couldn't get those sheep out of my mind, so when my co-worker invited me to carve pumpkins, I dedicated my pumpkin to them. Unfortunately, my sheep carving got a little top heavy, so I gave him horns and voila! he's now a bison. 

When I light it, I remember how lucky I am to not depend on sheep for my livelihood. Instead, I'll just live vicariously through Thomas Hardy and the Herdwick Shepherd twitter account. If you aren't following them yet, what are you waiting for?


My #FridayReads: DIRTY WINGS

One of my favorite parts of my job is making PLL's monthly reading list. Every month, I get to pick the YA books that I think my coworkers should be reading, and then I make them report back with their thoughts.

This month, I assigned DIRTY WINGS to myself. I haven't read ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS yet, but the reviews on Goodreads assured me that DIRTY WINGS could be a stand alone.  The cover reminds me a lot of one of my favorite book series while I was growing up, DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON:

I wanted to be Jimena (girl on the right) SO BAD. She called boys vatos, wore giant hoop earrings, and had a teardrop tattoo under her eye. In my twelve-year-old mind, this seemed like the perfect combination of danger and glamour.  (Who am I kidding, it still kind of does).

Anyway, all this does is make me even MORE excited to read DIRTY WINGS! You can find out more about the book here:

  • Author:
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My #FridayReads: Karen Russell's SWAMPLANDIA

I'm about four years too late in reading this--back when I was an admissions officer, I always included Karen Russell in my info sessions (she taught at Columbia), even though I hadn't read any of her books. 

I like to imagine that alligator leaped off the cover and snagged the corner. I'll never know for sure--I picked this copy up from the generous soul who keeps leaving free books on the sidewalk, just a few doors down from PLL's offices. This is the third book that I picked up from them this week, and it reminds me that it's about time for me to do the same!

My #FridayReads (I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings)

Fact #1: I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to read I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS.

Fact #2:  I bought this copy while waiting for a table at Chuko. All restaurants should have used bookstores close by--it does wonders for hangery-ness.

Fact #3: I am in a book club that almost exclusively reads books from Melissa Harris-Perry's Black Feminist Syllabus, and it fills me with so much happiness. Everyone should read the books on that list! I say almost exclusively because Maya Angelou isn't technically on MHP's syllabus, but we're taking a a summer break from political/racial/gender theory.

I have no facts about the novel because I am terribly behind, but hopefully I'll have coherent thoughts by Sunday!