Thursday, March 30, 2017

Big Little Lies on HBO, Are You Watching?

Are you watching “Big Little Lies” on HBO?

While I’m not a huge fan, I’ve read two novels by Liane Moriarty previously (What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret), but not this one. I’m glad I didn’t so that the finale this Sunday will be somewhat of a surprise for me.

I have a strong feeling for what will happen and who is murdered, but I’ve been wrong before! We shall see. It’s pretty safe to say I won’t be reading the book now, and I am halfway tempted to search for spoilers as to how this story ends. Don’t do it, Gina! Just wait three more days, for goodness sakes!

There are a couple themes that consistently run through this. Marriage, while seemingly perfect, is hard and hardly perfect even for the most happily married people because, DUH!, nothing is. We all make mistakes. Big ones and little ones. We are all selfish at times. Judgement of others plain old sucks, and we can only worry about what those important to us think of us, not anyone who really doesn’t matter because that’s not our business. We need to keep our own houses in order. Kids make marriage an even bigger challenge. There’s more.

For some reason in the last episode, this conversation resonated with me:

“We don’t talk about it because that would make it harder to pretend. Sometime that’s the essence of a happy marriage, isn’t it? The ability to pretend.”


“In every marriage there is pretending. Even the best ones. I don’t have to pretend to love you, and you don’t have to pretend to love me, but what I DO like to pretend, as do you, is that I’m all that.”

I’m thinking of all the ways I pretend in order for life to flow smoothly or to feel happier or to avoid certain issues. Do you sometimes pretend, too?

What do you think of the whole concept of pretending and/or Big Little Lies in general (book or movie)?

[Also, I read somewhere that Keith Urban was upset and did not like the severe bruising his wife, Nicole Kidman, experienced during filming. She, and her character, took a lot of physical punishment, sexually and abusively. This storyline was incredibly sad, horrific and hit far too close to home, as I know someone who was in a similar relationship and secretly moved out while her husband was away on business like the show implies Celeste will do. I helped her fill the moving truck, rearrange furniture so nothing would look amiss when he entered the house, if he didn't look too closely, but he is the type of man who would notice every possession missing. Papers were served a few hours after we left as he walked up their driveway, suitcase in hand. The first thing he asked was, "Where's my Bronco (a car)?" That night, we slept on the bedroom floor, a knife beside each of us, because the sparse amount of furniture she took from their Malibu mansion wouldn't arrive until the following morning. I've only since been that scared one time and that was last November. Oh, we also took one of the dogs. That next day, we set up her hideaway. She was safe and divorced shortly thereafter (after a bit of a struggle settling affairs, of course. He is a lawyer.)]

Thursday, March 16, 2017

When I Should Be Doing Something Else

I do not have ducks.

I do not have a row.

   I have squirrels………

 And they’re at a rave.

Is this you, too? Ever feel this way, too? At least some of the time?

Or how about this one:

“I tried to be normal once. Weirdest two minutes of my life.”


“In my defense, I was left unsupervised.”


“Some people 

never go crazy.

What truly horrible

lives they must lead.”

Charles Bukowski

(Kidding, kind of...)

About people and books:

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

Lemony Snicket


“Reading a good book in silence

is like eating chocolate for the

rest of you life and never

getting fat.”

Becca Fitzpatrick

[Hear, Hear!]

So this is stuff I do when I am procrastinating (AKA what I am doing when I should be doing something else.).  And I read.

Sorry, not sorry.

What do you do when you should be doing something else?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Proper Vacation Packing = Enough Books! You, Too?

I wouldn’t say I panic or anything, but forefront in my mind as I pack for an extended vacation are the books that will be coming along. The weird thing (about me) is that, oftentimes, I am going somewhere where everything is available for purchase should I forget something. Books are available from shared libraries and book stores. 

But still. I think about it. Overly think because "What if???". And for my vacation packing to feel complete, be complete, and for my vacation fulfillment to be optimized, be fulfilling, I need to bring enough books. And like clothes, I want options.

That said, I am leaving on a ten day, coast-to-coast, road trip to visit some girlfriends in Florida. That’s a long time, and I want to be prepared so that requires enough books. 

Since I am leaving this Friday, I just now pulled the books I am going to bring. May add a few others, but here’s the list:

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes (I loved, loved, loved The Sense of an Ending. I really liked The Levels of Life. I feel confident about this one.)

The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras (The Lover was wonderful. Plus who doesn’t want a spicy book to read alone in bed while visiting girlfriends? Is that too ewww? Whatever. It made the cut.)

Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick (Women, life, memories, a potential classic)

What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (Started this at least a year back and want to finish it after setting it down one and a half stories in. Short stories about keys. To a heart. To a house. To a secret. Yes!)

Enigma Variations by Andre Aciman (I told you about my fascination with small press publications. This is one. It is told in five vignettes/stories, all which take unexpected turns. It had me at "Sexuality is not black and white.".)

That’s it so far. Any suggestions? I’ll have some “alone” time so searching out an unusual book shop is definitely not out of the question. Wait! Do you know any in the Jupiter, Fort Meyers, or Naples areas?

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Monday, March 6th! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date

I saw George Saunders last week! I saw George Saunders last week! I saw George Saunders last week! 

Super cool. Him, not me! Dug the ponytail too, George!

As I wrote somewhere, he’s just like you and me except he’s a genius and, at least and sadly, I am not.

He’s intensely relatable, and I love a Chicagoan. Even a South Sider, who, of course, did not even mention the Cubs’ World Series win as only a South Sider would not!

Anyway, he was scared, nervous and tentative to write a long work of fiction just like any of us would be or maybe more so. He stewed and marinated on this piece since his twenties. Actually, he described a manuscript he wrote back then loosely based on a wedding he and his wife attended on a beach in Mexico. It was titled La Boda de Eduardo (Edward’s Wedding). So truly awful that after he gave it to his loving and supportive wife to read and spied on her a few minutes later when she was on page six, he found her face in her hands leaving him mortified. No wonder he never ventured into this realm until now. Of course, he has license to do whatever he wants at this point and Lincoln in the Bardo was written in the three months following the release of the amazing Tenth of December as an experiment to see if it would/could amount to anything. Methinks he will never doubt himself again, but I know nothing.

Back to the book event. The reading was performed by six people including George so each ghost’s part was read by a different person as well as the literary references and a narrator. It was perfect and a passage I particularly was drawn to. So poignant.

Unsolicited, Saunders answered a question I had regarding my discomfort with format especially as it related to the ghostly dialog. When a ghost is “speaking”, whose voice is indicated post-colloquy. After a while, I adjusted and let the prose flow over me without obsessing over who was speaking at all times. He did this on purpose, by the way. “Ghosts are confusing, aren’t they?” Says he.

When it was my turn at the table, he promptly stuck out his hand, “Hi, I’m George!!!” Me, “Of course, you are! I’m Gina.”

He inscribed his favorite word of the moment, “Disenthrall”, in my copy because I asked him to. Then he recited in passage with fist raised high, “We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” (A quote from an address by Lincoln).

I told him my twenty-three year old son played Lincoln in third grade, to which he replied, “That must have been so cute.” Then pointed out that he signed my son’s copy, “To Matthew, aka Lincoln”

Super cool!

But you came here to see what I am reading, so here goes!

What have I recently finished?

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

What am I currently reading?

Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick; Enigma Variations by Andre Aciman; You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein (writer for the amazing Amy Schumer) via audiobook.

What’s coming up?

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett because he is coming to Chicago Humanities Festival April 30th; The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes; Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, which is my new book club pick for April.

Good stuff!!! What’s going on in your reading world?