February 2012

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Fell down on the job again. I feel this is so common that I should probably stop mentioning it all together. All together now!

Books Read: 19
Books Partially Read: 4
Books Bought: 5 (copies of my novel, Book ‘Em)
Money Spent: $25
Books Borrowed: 13
Books Given: 7
Money made (from selling books): Well…some? I don’t know, probably around $60 in sales of Book ‘Em.
Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: Not sure because I am house-sitting still and my shelves are all several miles away. Probably 60….Dammit.

Favorite Books this month: Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, A King’s Ransom by Jude Watson, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan, Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, and Showoff by Gordon Korman.

The Winnies were read for Finer Things Club this month. Of which you can see pictures of me dressed up as a small black rain cloud trying to get some honey here. I LOVED them. I’m sure I read them as a kid, or had them read to me, but I didn’t remember how fabulous they are. I also read several not written by Milne and they are just not as good. Other authors cannot approximate the same character voices. (I say that about the February books read but I also loved David Benedictus’ Return to the Hundred Acre Wood that I read in March. He came very close to Milne and was well worth reading.)

I read a lot of kids/tween books this month really. The Watson, Korman, and Holm were all great and very, very different. A King’s Ransom is the second book in the Vespers vs. Cahills series (the second series after the 39 Clue Hunt 10 book series). That is long and complicated. It’s about a sibling duo and their cousins and clues and you can collect trading cards for it. Yeah. Still, they are good. Turtle in Paradise is written by a Newberry Honor winner and is set in the Florida Keys in 1935. It’s an interesting glimpse of a time period and lifestyle I don’t know much about. Mostly it’s the Florida part I’m not conversant with. It was well written and had great characters. Lastly, Showoff is the…5th? maybe 4th in a series by Korman about the same group of kids and their wacky hijinks. My mom keeps getting them for her classroom and I keep reading them. Enjoyed this one and it’s dog show very much.

It was my birthday in February so I got some presents: Darkness Falls was one of them. Kris gave it to me. I devoured it with giggly horror. I wrote about the first one when I read it back in November. This was very second book in a trilogy typical. I can’t wait to read the third one.

Last book! A Princess of Mars which I read in prep for, you guessed it, John Carter, coming out tomorrow. Tomorrow! Ooh, I’m excited. I thought PoM was kind of amazing. It was written in 1917 and is set on Mars. Having read a book set in 1935 also last month, thinking about people in 1917 reading this sci-fi pulp, well, I’d guess it would have blown their minds. This book inspired so many other authors in the 20th Century. It’s just impressive to read it and experience a classic for the first time.

Least Favorite Books: Love in A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich. Why can’t she just write the second Diesel and Lizzy book? Dammit. This one was boring and badly written and I couldn’t even finish it. Heh.


Ten years, baby

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Today is Nyotaimori’s 10th anniversary. TEN YEARS! We’ve come a long way together, blog. In honor of the awesomeness which is March 8th, I’m re-posting my very first blog.

soooo irreverent questions aside, today i heard on the radio that this hair product called krpytonite (bright green gel) is being sued by the owners of the Superman comic. and my question here is this–is kryptonite the hair gel an attack on the american people’s patriotism? let me explain. so i read this article in some magazine about how superman was born in order to give the american people a feeling of power in a downtrodden world, what with the war and hitler and some such. (think chabon’s kavalier and clay those of you who have read it). and then the people as a whole no longer needed superman because we found our own power/subjugated other countries to our world domination tricks. and now (so the magazine said) because of september 11, the people have rediscovered a deep-seated fear of powerlessness and are looking again to mythic heroes and legendary feats of prowess. and they have taken superman as an emblem of the firefighters in new york and as the soldiers in afghanistan. and in that vein, superman t-shirts are cropping up more around town, and the comic is selling better, and people have superman bumper stickers. blah blah blah. (i myself have not noticed this, so we are basically going on the theory that this magazine article was correct). so back to the question, is this kryptonite gel a further reinforcement just of superman’s presence among us, or is it a subtle mockery of america’s fight against terrorism? in fact, is the kryptonite so insidiously buried throughout the country’s psyche that the outward show of bright, green, spiky hair is merely a projection of the will to NOT succeed? of the uncaring apathy that has become our lives? of the crippling effect that our own country-fellows’ minds are having, at this very moment, on the war itself?

assuming i am correct and that the kryptonite sporting freaks are terrorists in our own back yard, what should we do about them? throw stones? smash their car windows? water down their gel with atomic waste and laugh as their hair falls out? food fight?

whatever i say. and again with the whatevs yo. power to the people and free speech/hair products for all. amen.


January 2012


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A new year, yo. So, it begins again. Since my New Year’s resolution wasn’t to update my blog on time, you can see I’m making it here late. Really late. I actually wrote those first three sentences a couple weeks ago and then completely fell down on the job. I wasn’t even doing anything interesting. Whatever. I’m here now and book review for January is happening before February is over and really can you ask for more? No, you cannot.

Books Read: 14

Books Partially Read: 9

Books Bought: 7

Money Spent: $9

Books Borrowed: 12

Books Given: 1

Money made (from selling books): $17

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 62

Favorite Books this month: Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan, Brotherbands: Outcasts by John Flanagan, and The Thin Woman by Dorothy Cannell.

I cannot say enough about how much I have loved the Demon’s Lexicon series by Sarah Rees Brennan. They are amazing, every single one of them. This might be my favorite…but I think that’s just because it’s the one I’ve read the most recently. Honestly, Demon’s Lexicon (the first one) is probably still my actual favorite…Probably. I don’t know! I really love Sin and Alan. I just got sucked into Amazon for a while there looking at upcoming Brennan novels. I did write about the first and second books in the series (briefly) in previous posts. I should have devoted more space and gushing to them. The first one is mostly about Nick and Alan (brothers tho one is also a demon), the second is about Mae and Jamie (siblings tho one is also a magician) (and also Nick and Alan) and the third is about Alan and Sin (romanticals!) (and also Nick, Mae, and Jamie). There’s a lot about magic, demons, a magic/demon circus, family, loyalty, power, leadership, romance. And then also a lot of just super well-written and funny dialogue and incidents and great plot and overarching story-lines. I really really love these books. I now own the first one. I wish I owned the second and third ones. When I finished Demon’s Surrender, I immediately wanted to go back and read all three of them over again. Four of my book quotes this month are from it and it would have been more if a pen had been more handy or if I hadn’t been so enthralled with what was happening. They are fabulous. I love the characters, dialogue and the plots. You should all read them too. Especially Nuala–the one person I know who reads this blog and likes this kind of book.

Brotherbands: Outcasts is a new series by Flanagan set in the same world as the The Ranger’s Apprentice series. Whereas RA was mostly, mm, kind of medieval knights/sneaky bow wielding spies, Brotherbands is set in the north and is very Viking influenced. At first I was kind of like, “MEH. A NEW series. Can it be as good as RA? Prob not. Should I even bother? Ehhhhh.” But then I started reading and was pretty much immediately drawn into the story. I don’t know how Flanagan does this. They’re not amazing stories or fantastic writing! And yet I become completely engrossed within pages. Also they’re very much targeted at boys. Yet, here we are. Loved it.

The Thin Woman has almost nothing in common with The Thin Man movies except for some pretense at witty dialogue, a mystery story, a fun pet, and a man/woman duo. But other than all that, they are nothing alike. I really enjoyed this one and I read the 2nd one and made it halfway through the 3rd. I have to say the first is really the best. And even it has moments of treacle writing that bogs down in its own attempts to be from a different time period. I mean, I guess the 1980s were a different time period but these are trying much too hard to be British, early 20th Century fare and they just feel off after a while. Still, I enjoyed this one and can def see the appeal if that’s what you’re into (and not, say, YA demon trilogies).

Least Favorite Books: There were 8 books I read 1-20 pages of and then discarded during the great clothing swap party. So those definitely. But I didn’t really give most of them a fair chance. I read a lot more Grace Dent books (the Chav series and Poor Little, Rich Girl). None were as good as that first one I read over Christmas. The last one–Keeping it Real–I didn’t even finish really. I skimmed through the ending. Mostly this was due to one character getting super ill and me panicking about sickness and hypochondria and having to stop reading hospital scenes. I realize I have issues, yes. My most difficult book this month was one by a person I sort of know so I shan’t write about it here. I have complained enough in person.

Book Quotes:

“His gun-calloused fingers lingered at the hollow above her hip, and Sin realized that Alan had definitely woken up with a girl in his bed before.”

“‘You’re weird,’ Jamie returned. ‘As soon as this whole magical war is over, I’m going to make us some friendship bracelets, and we will wear them everywhere because we are best friends.’

He gave Nick a beaming smile.

‘Drop dead,’ said Nick, and Jamie looked serenely pleased.”

–(both from) Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan


My Pig Race Victory


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This morning I was having a dream so ridiculous that I actually woke myself up from giggling. I realize that reading about someone’s dream is most often annoying and boring and probably you won’t find this as funny as I did but….I woke myself up giggling. I have to share that.

I was at a pig fair and had my two pigs on leashes.


These are not my pigs.

One was brown and bigger and one was white and smaller. So I’m letting my pigs pull me along and heading them towards a building with a huge arching doorway in front of me on the right. There’s a lot of people walking around, but I spot Christopher Judge (an actor from Stargate SG-1) coming towards me, scowling.


It’s hard to find a picture of him scowling.

Judge: Damn fair’s taking over my town.

He spots me–or, more accurately, my pigs.

Judge: Pigs?!?

This alone was almost enough to wake me up giggling, but no, it got better.

In the big building I enter there is a race track and a bunch of people with pigs queuing at the starting line. I join them. My pigs are super anxious to run and the white one keeps going over the line and I have to pull her back into place a couple times. The brown one sits, quivering, at my feet. He’s better behaved.

The starting gun shoots and we’re off!

Shot of me and pigs walking briskly.

Voice-over of announcers: And the contestants are on the move! These pigs are forces to be reckoned with. Just look at that pot bellied black one move! Michele and her two porkers are coming up into the lead now.

Shot of me and pigs running along with Michael Shanks (another actor from SG-1) and some other pig-racers.


Why am I dreaming of SG-1 people? I don’t know. I haven’t watched it recently. “Recently” being relative. I did watch all 10 seasons and 2 movies a couple months ago.

Voice-over of announcers: And they’re running now! The heat is on! Pigs get your starting engines and engage! Wait, what’s happening now? How are they moving so fast?!

Shot of me and Michael Shanks moving inhumanly fast.

Announcers: And where did the pigs go?!?!

We’re still moving so fast that everything around us is blurs to indicate speed and the pigs are missing from the image.

Announcers: Michele is carrying her pigs!

My pigs poof into place, one under each arm and I am still hoofing it to the finish line. Michael Shanks’ pig can’t be seen yet.

We are glaring at one another and one will get in front and then the other and it’s a fucking race, y’all. But I cross the finish line first, arms raised for victory so the pigs plop back on the ground. They land on their feet, don’t worry. They look both thrilled and also irritated that they didn’t win while on the ground running their short little legs themselves.

Announcers: And Michele is the winner! The undefeated champion! She made Michael Shanks and his pig eat her dust. Speaking of, Shanks’ pig…does he even have one? What kind of man enters a pig race without a pig?

Me: Yeah, what’s that about, Michael Shanks?

Michael Shanks pulls a teacup pig out of his shirt pocket.


This could very well be Michael Shanks’ teacup pig. I’m not going to speculate.

Tinkling adorable music swells around us as I am drawn in to the teacup pig’s limpid round eyeballs of cuteness. It’s a hugely touching moment and the entire audience of pig race spectators has caught their breaths.

Me: Suck on defeat, teacup pig! I kicked your ASS!

And that’s where I woke up giggling. At the teacup pig’s look of despair and my gloating revelry over him.


Bookmarks made of Awesome

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I tell no lies here (that’s a lie) but these bookmarks really are awesome. So in my stocking this Christmas my cousin Katherine sort of outdid herself. I totally was not up to snuff this year apparently and will have to up my game next year. Not only did she get me a ton of postcards (some of you might have received one already), she also snuck in two books of stamps with them. And one of them was international stamps! Those things are expensive. I sent off 5 PostCrossing cards already. And on top of that she got me these bookmarks that you can write notes to yourself on and then check a box for whether the book was “Pleasurable” or “Shameful”. You might think I will only be checking the latter but I actually have a high tolerance of shame. Not that high. Ok. Whatever.

Now, there are only 25 of these awesome bookmarks so I’m going to have to ration myself. I have decided that what I should do is allow myself two bookmarks every month for the entire year of 2012. Plus one extra for that month where I just really need it. It was still a dilemma deciding what book to devote the mark to. I’m thinking definitely the first book I read every month, no matter what it is. And then one to be picked at my discretion during the month. We’ll see how this goes. For the month of January I blew both bookmarks in like the first three days. And now I’ve been chomping at the bit for weeks to use another one. I am not a patient person, right? This is very hard.

I know this is kind of ridiculous but I am planning on sharing these with you every month too. Just what you wanted, huh? A second blog about books every month. Maybe I’ll combine the two. But I am really thrilled by this whole bookmark thing and might feel compelled to make you experience it with me. But also I might get lazy and just hold off on doing one until the end of the year when I can spread out all 25 of my fancy new notated bookmarks.

I read Blood Red Road, a dystopic YA fiction, first this month. It wasn’t great. It’s an exciting title to have on a bookmark though. Especially since in contrast my notes are about kissing and being pissed when I find out it’s a series. What I will always remember about Blood Red Road: “KISSING! Bastards.” Which is hilarious considering the plot of most of the book. It’s dystopic old West-esque. Sort of. Not a delightful YA romance. Which, I guess, you could figure since it took till page 383 for the kissing to even happen.

The Duke is Mine was a romance I read second this month. I’ve read a lot of Eloisa James. This is part of her new re-told fairy tales series and is based on the Princess and the Pea. It was pretty funny. Most of my comments are in fact parts I was laughing at–the lettuce diet she went on sounded about as exciting as my miso soup diet. I do not know why I feel the need to note every time anyone puts a bird on anything (p. 25 and 177), but I do. This is just a fact of life now. I do not remember what the “wobble” on page 254 was about. I could go find out but the book is further away than I’m willing to walk right now. And it was kind of an irritating continuity error when the main male character told the woman he loved her on page 259 but then on page 316 it was all internal monologue angst about whether or not he loved her and should tell her. I was like, WTF? You’re past this. You said it already. It was odd. I actually went back and found the page he said it on so I could note it before noting my irritation with page 316.


Clothing Swap

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As some of you (most of you?) know, I lost a lot of weight recently. Due to this exciting change, most of my clothing no longer fits. This is cool in the sense that losing weight is always exciting. This is less cool when you don’t have the funds to buy more clothes and are trying to hold your pants up at the grocery story while putting apples in a bag. Maybe it does make it slightly more legitimate that most of my time is spent sitting around in pajama pants though, because at least those have drawstring waists and I can make them fit. Boo-yah, PJs are my bitch.

I’m off topic. The point of my clothing being too big is that I’m holding a swap party tomorrow. A swap party is where you invite your friends to bring their crap and you put out your crap and then you have a crap lot of stuff. People go thru the crap and take some away! Then you have less crap. Unless you took in their orphaned items in which case there is no hope for you.

I’m very excited about this clothing swap. I also have a ton of stuff that Erin, my brother’s girlfriend, is getting rid of that she never wears. This means I have the entire gamut of clothing sizes–Small to XL–on offer. Everyone wins! AND there’s also a lot of kids stuff and some bathroom stuff and some shoes and some books and some jewelery. You know what, I have a lot of stuff, OK? It’s tempting to keep going around my house and finding more stuff to put in the living/dining rooms on my offering tables. Speaking of which…

I wonder if the shed is full of stuff I don’t actually want?

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