Long Live the 90s

Nirvana MenSooo…

Long time, no post. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, I have, I just don’t quite have the brain power to formulate much in the way of thoughts about what I’m reading. And I go back to work in a few weeks. Library patrons are going to love me.

Would you like to know something funny/sad? I use the WordPress App on my phone, and for some reason it stopped updating. Only I didn’t know. So I published my last few posts and heard nothing but crickets, and I was thinking “damn, well I really let the blog crash and burn…” However, I was delightfully surprised to see I was wrong and there were comments. I really did feel better. Thanks for sticking with me.

This next post idea is completely stolen from Laura over at Reading in Bed (on Facebook, no less). The idea, which I see circulate from time to time, is to “List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER*, but only one per band/artist. Don’t take too long and don’t think too long.”

It’s the don’t take too long and don’t think too long that reeled me in. In no particular order:

10. Mezzanine // Massive Attack
09. Version 2.0 // Garbage
08. The Downward Spiral // NIN
07. Meat is Murder // The Smiths
06. Sixteen Stone // Bush
05. So Much For the Afterglow // Everclear
04. Bringing Down the Horse // The Wallflowers
03. In Utero // Nirvana
02. Time Out of Mind // Bob Dylan
01. Metallica // Metallica

If I gave this more thought or I was in a different mood, I bet I’d come up with something different. So, give me your most influential album at a teenager? 

*I tried to limit this to albums that were released while I was a teenager, but there are some that are obvious exceptions (like Meat is Murder, which I “discovered” when I was a teenager).

Image found here.



Notable Books of 2016

I blinked and it’s New Year’s Eve. 2016 has been a year of huge changes, both good and bad, and it has not been a fantastic reading year. However, it has been solid, so I thought I’d share some that I enjoyed.

If that isn’t an underwhelming introduction, I don’t know what is. Regardless of how sub-par this post begins (I’d rewrite it if I had more time, but I don’t), I really am recommending reading the following books.

In no particular order:


10. Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington
09. Inherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn
08. Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (review).
07. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood (review).
06. The Guineveres by Sarah Domet (review).
05. The Girls by Emma Cline (review).
04. Marrow Island by Alexis Smith (review).
03. Goodnight Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes
02. Rush Oh! by Shirley Barret
01. Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser (review).

It’s worth noting, given my typical top ten lists, there are 8 female authors vs 2 male authors. Books worth mentioning that didn’t make the list: Jane Steele, Dog Run Moon, The Heavenly Table, and Hag-Seed.

Let’s all hope 2017 begins better than 2016 ended. Happy New Year!



Sweet Baby June

ivy-juneAlthough I mentioned it in passing on my last post, I will formally interrupt this silence to tell you that my husband, two sons, and I welcomed a baby girl into our family on November 15. Her name is Ivy June (we call her both Ivy and June – one month in and we are undecided whether she’s an Ivy or a June) and she is very sweet and mellow. It was, generally speaking, an uneventful labor and delivery. The only complications were expected and brilliantly handled by the hospital staff (I was very grateful). Until I get into some sort of routine, I’m sure I will pop in and out of this space. I do miss talking about books with other bookish adults, but I love newborns as well. Until then, I will go about my day as if I’m not ruled by three tiny dictators of my own making. I am in control. Completely.

Happy reading and happy holidays to all.


Six Degrees of Separation // Revolutionary Road


The idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to use, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun.

I will keep this quick, as I have a tiny, fussy baby calling my name as best she can – I just miss this space and thinking and talking about books.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates – this month’s starting point – is great, but terribly, terribly depressing. You know what else qualifies for this distinction? Wuthering Heights, but I loathe that book. Interestingly enough, I enjoyed Sabin Willett’s retelling Abide With Me. Abide With Me features a summer romance, which naturally I relate to the ‘80s.

This brings me to The Body by Stephen King, which spawned the quintessential ’80s movie Stand by Me (which relates nicely to the title Abide with Me, which I just now realized. One of the lovely things about Stand By Me/The Body is the idea of childhood friends. This, along with it being a love letter to small towns, is one of the more lovely aspects to Nickolas Butler’s Shotgun Lovesongs.

Speaking of an ode to small towns, Empire Falls very much qualifies. In fact, most of what Richard Russo writes brings declining small towns to life. This particular novel is excellent and, in my opinion, very much deserved to win the Pulitzer Prize – as did Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (though it’s not his best work, in my opinion). I should have one more link, but I loved the symmetry of beginning with Revolutionary Road and ending with The Road too much to add another one.

It has absolutely nothing to do with lack of inspiration or time or exhaustion. Nothing at all. If you’d like to participate, please do!


The Cinematic Glory of my Teenage Years

kat-stratfordI, like any good, angsty teenager of the ’90s, loved Daria and My So-Called Life, but my taste in movies was (occasionally) less than stellar. Does that mean I love these movies any less? Nope. 10 Things I Hate About You FOREVER.

The theme this week is movies. Action, Romance, Thriller, etc. I will call this list “if you grew up in the later ’90s and had a rather unworldly outlook on life” teen movies. Did I like other movies outside of this made up genre? Yes, yes I did.

In no particular order:

Bonus: Blue Crush. Hawaii and surfing and fabulous abs…
10. Save the Last Dance.
Who didn’t want to secretly be a fabulous dancer?!
09. Center Stage. See above. Or was it just me?
08. Now and Then. This one is just plain great, right?
07. She’s All That. Because what teenage girl doesn’t appreciate the message that a haircut and contacts will be all that’s needed to make Freddie Prinze Jr. fall in love with her? There may be a bit of sarcasm here.
06. I Know What You Did Last Summer. My early foray into horror. No wonder I am scarred for life. But Lois Duncan!
05. Sweet Home Alabama. Really, when I think about it now, Melanie is the worst.
04. The Breakfast Club. All the angst. And Molly Ringwald.
03. Ever After. Cinderella + Drew Barrymore = Everything.
02. Clueless. As if…I wouldn’t include this on my list.
01. 10 Things I Hate About You. I wanted to be (and probably was) a less cool version of Kat.

How perfect is this image in tying together current events and top ten Tuesday? I, again, am mostly being sarcastic, but also…not so much. Because this could explain a lot. This brilliant illustration is available for purchase on etsy.

For more movie lists, go here.

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