What I’m Doing

What I’m Reading: (InteractiveReader Edition)

So titled because it covers not one but two YA books! And InteractiveReader is certainly the best (*ahem* only) such blog that I read.

I am just over half way through Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, and I already have to blog about it. If I remember correctly, this book was actually recommended to me by two people independently: Jackie and Barb (Do you want a link somewhere?) So when the two most qualified book suggesters I know both come up with the same idea for me, I thought I better take them up on it. And they were sooooo right!

I am a sucker for end of the world stories, I don’t really know why exactly. But this was a little bit different. An asteroid hits the moon moving its orbit slightly closer to Earth, affecting the tides, etc. It was interesting how this was sort of a slow decent into chaos over the course of months instead of the instant disaster usually associated with the zombie apocalypse. For example, in this book food is a big issue and it slowly runs out over time (well, slowly for some, faster for others). In the case of a zombie apocalypse, most people die pretty fast leaving a decent amount of food lying around. Since I don’t usually read YA, having a teenage girl as the main character was sometimes annoying. I could do with out the boy talk, day-dreaming about figure skaters, etc., but that being said the choice of narrators did make it interesting. For example, going alone into a lawless town was a big concern, whereas growing up as a boy it’s not something I even really think about.

I would definitely recommend this book. I would listen to the audio book in the car on the way home from work and I would get so absorbed that it would take me a little while to snap out of it when I got home, like I would have to remember that we don’t need to conserve food, or that we could just go to the store and get things if we wanted them. I already have the pseudo-sequel the dead and the gone lined up for when this is done, which is sort of a retelling of the same disaster from a totally different viewpoint (for example, New York city instead of small town PA).

Before Life as We Knew It, I read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

I like vampire books. I have spent a lot more time reading about, thinking about, and watching movies about vampires than I ever have about zombies, and yet nobody ever accuses me of being obsessed with them. Maybe that is because everybody knows that vampires aren’t real as opposed to the zombie menace. I don’t know. But either way, I am inclined to look favorably on the subject matter.

So my review of this book is:  Eh. ::shrug:: I know this is a really well known, well selling book with a lot of hype, but I’m not sure why. The characters are likeable, and they better be since the vast majority of the book is setting them up. I have to admit that the book gets interesting once some action kicks in, you know, right at the very end. It ended well enough that I will get the next one in the series.

I don’t know, to be fair I’m not exactly the target audience. I can only take so much high school melodrama and staring into someone’s eyes and thinking about how beautiful they are. If I have to have one more description of someone’s eyes…sheesh. It was worth a read, but I don’t know that I would recommend it to anybody unless maybe they were a teenage girl. But then there aren’t a lot of them asking me for book recommendations.

The strange thing is that reading the book made me more likely to see the movie. They always have to cut a lot of things from books to make them into movies and in this case it would probably help the story. I can certainly think of a few “longing glance” scenes that could go.

What I’m Watching:

Synecdoche, New York. Anybody who tells you this is a good movie is lying to you. Either they want you to waste a lot of time on this horrible movie, or they are lying to themselves. In the second case, they might not realize they are fooling themselves, but even still they are only telling you to watch it so that you know how sophisticated and smart they are, which isn’t very nice. I don’t know why they don’t like you; you’ll have to figure that out on your own. 

I like all of his other movies, but world? Charlie Kaufman played a joke on us with this one.

What I’m Listening to:

“Jenny Says” by Cowboy Mouth. Do people know this song? I can’t remember if this was on the radio or if we just listened to it. I also like “How Do You Tell Someone” if you’re looking for another good one.

10 thoughts on “What I’m Doing

  1. I also enjoyed Life as We Knew It and often had to remind myself as I was reading it that I wasn’t actually cold and I didn’t have to worry about where my next meal would come from. I too plan to read the parallel book at some point.

    You already know my opinion of Twilight…

    Synecdoche, New York was on my list to see, but maybe it shouldn’t be.


  2. That got me thinking. With such a good song Cowboy Mouth must have others right? After watching that video you posted its hard saying. I am officially afraid now to try and find a new Cowboy Mouth song. They looked so funny.


  3. I’m posting this as a comment because it contains SPOILERS!

    I finished Life as We Knew It and it was really good. Even though you can see the dues ex machina coming a mile away, I still may or may not have gotten a little choked up at the end.

    I had 2 minor problems with the book, 1) wells don’t work when you don’t have electricity. So they should have run out of water long before their well went dry. Not a big deal, but I’m surprised none of the editors or anything caught this, since it is a fairly major plot point. 2) They mention people ransacking houses, but they never do it. Okay, so maybe they have a moral issue with it or something. But at the end when Miranda goes to town to die from starvation and she is passing houses and marveling at how they’re all empty and they must have died from the plague, it’s not worth even CHECKING to see if they have any food left?

    But, nonetheless, thoroughly enjoyable. I will start the dead and the gone on Monday.


    • As someone who spent the first 18 years and last 25 years of my life depending on a well, that was one of the things that bothered me. Teenage angst goes with a YA novel, although the only point to her figure skater obsession was to remind you what she had lost. I went out the door expecting to see the moon a hundred times closer, and could really understand the part with the chocolate chips. The Dead and the Gone is haunting as well, but also totally different. I read them about a year apart, and had to remind myself that they were by the same author.


  4. Got to hang out with Cowboy Mouth a few years ago when the Clarks opened for them in Champaign – that band is crazy! Jenny Says actually did get some national airplay and they made an abbreviated daytime talkshow circuit (“Kelly Ripa” anyone?) not too long ago, too!


  5. I think your current book choice may be oddly appropriate, since I’m pretty sure the world is really ending…

    You read Twilight? The end-all of swoony teen romances? You read the sparkly vampire book! Aaaahhhh!!!!

    Yes, admittedly I’ve read the entire series of sparkly vampire book, because deep down I’m actually a girl and find guilty pleasure in reading the occasional swoony romance novel. Especially when I have a group of well-read girlfriends who have also read said swoony romance novels and are happy to discuss them at length, fully acknowledging the fact that they’re poorly written and slightly ridiculous.

    Lucas also heard “vampires” and asked if he should read them. I said no, but he pressed the issue. Then I told him that vampires can’t go out in the sun, because they get all sparkly, and they’d be too beautiful and draw attention to themselves. That settled it. No Twilight for Lucas.

    PS – The film? Yes it has a lot more action, but the special effects are awful. Really bad. And not only do vampires sparkle when they’re in the sun, they make tinkly windchime noises! *gag*


  6. I have to say that Twilight did bring back some bad memories of high school, like the crazy, “I think I’m in love with this boy I’ve only know a few months” kind of feelings!! Maybe thats what made me read them, wishing I could do high school again and do it TOTALLY different! I think overall, they are good books. But I tend to agree that you can only stand so much of the talk of how much you can love somebody more!


  7. Pingback: Harry Potter and the end of an era « Is this thing on?

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