Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Author Archive: Jana

TV pet peeves

I’ve been watching a lot some TV and movies lately and some shit is really on my nerves. Let’s discuss:

  • Why does no one start a car with a key? How do these magic cars start? 
  • Teeth brushing. Just use some damn toothpaste. Your water isn’t fooling anyone
  • Perfectly decorated and clean houses everywhere. Except when they want to represent poor people. Then the houses are dirty. Like FILTHY. I don’t get that stereotype and quite frankly, it pisses me off. Economic status does not always equal level of cleanliness and organization
  • No one says goodbye when they hang up the phone. Manners exist in real life. Why not movies?
  • All the pushed up against a wall sex. It looks painful and uncomfortable and awkward because hello height differences and are that many people having sex that way?
  • Cheerleader tropes. I’m confident I’ve ranted about this before but honestly, the cheerleaders I know don’t dress or act like that and MAYBE they wouldn’t have to fight against the horrible stereotype movies and TV perpetuate if people who write those tropes would knock it the fuck off See also: buffoon dads
  • WHY SO MUCH VOMIT?
  • Gun usage. Not so much that there is gun usage but more a matter of how does everyone know how to use a gun? I don’t know how to properly use a gun and I was forced to take self-defense and that included dismantling (disarming?) a gun. Still can’t shoot it
  • The perfect manicures and the frequency with which nail polish colors change. You want to show real? Show a woman with chipped nail polish. See also: no wardrobe repeats

Do you have any movie or TV pet peeves?

Weekly six pack, 2017, v18

First full week of summer vacation is in the books! Only 4 million more to go! Although I am enjoying getting to the gym earlier and taking some classes I don’t generally get to take and also being done by 10AM most days. So that’s a perk. Also a perk? Not having to stop whatever I’m doing at 3PM to get the child from school. Parent pickup is my nightmare and 3 months without it? Yes please!

Other than that, here’s a sample of my life this week:

Reading. Bastard Out of Carolina and In the Shadow of Alabama. Picked up Everything Everything from the library. Currently contemplating creating a personal read-a-thon to clear out my Kindle.

Watching. Well, preparing to watch. Bloodline and Kimmy Schmidt. Almost done with this season of OITNB (very mixed feelings) and, to balance it all out, in need of some documentaries. Any suggestions? 

Eating. It’s too fucking hot to cook so I pulled out an old recipe for gazpacho. I made it a little too spicy which mainly the result of me not wanting to cut up a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce or measure the sauce so I used the whole can (pro tip: don’t do that) so I throw some shrimp and avocado in it to offset the spice. It doesn’t help much but it does help a little. 

Wearing. One of my new nail polish colors (Highlight of My Summer) I picked up on my annual birthday Ulta shopping spree. China Glaze is not a brand I use often but I’ve been quite pleased every time I’ve purchased and used their polish. 

Planning. All the things I want to do this summer. It’s a long list and I don’t think my budget is happy with me but right now I give zero fucks. In September I will give lots of fucks, though, which is why I’m trying my hardest to dial things back a bit but CHOICES ARE HARD.

Laughing.  

VERY low key weekend planned since I’ll be spending most of it alone with the husband off on a work trip and the child off to her annual week at my in-laws’ house. I’m looking forward to the quiet and you can bet I have a long list of things I will attempt to accomplish before they get back to make my summer that much lazier easier. 

 

 

Judging Covers with The Family: It’s Back! Again!

It’s been many, many months since we’ve had an edition of Judging Covers but a few weeks ago the child mentioned it and I needed a post idea so here we go. 

For those who are new, this is a series I do where I ask my husband and daughter to deduce the plots of books I’m reading simply by looking at the covers. This month’s edition features a few of the books on my nightstand and none of the books on my Kindle and I figured it was a nice compliment to SUYB. Like a Preview My Books. 

Book #1: In the Shadow of Alabama by Judy Renee Singer

The Child says: I think this is about a family that lives on a farm in Alabama and everyone knows them as a sweet caring family but they aren’t fully who they seem to be. 

The Husband says: I think some people came to Alabama not from Alabama OR some people who don’t fit in Alabama are having to live in Alabama (me: STOP STAYING ALABAMA) and they can’t be who they are because they’re in Alabama.

Goodreads says: Rachel Fleischer has good reasons not to be at her father s deathbed. Foaling season is at hand and her horses are becoming restless and difficult. Her critical mother and grasping sister could certainly handle Marty Fleisher s resistance better without her. But Malachi, her eighty-something horse manager more father to her than Marty has ever been convinces Rachel she will regret it if she doesn t go.

When a stranger at her father’s funeral delivers an odd gift and an apology, Rachel finds herself drawn into the epic story of her father s World War II experience, and the friendships, trauma, scandal, and betrayals that would scar the rest of his life and cast a shadow across the entire family. As she struggles to make sense of his time as a Jewish sergeant in charge of a platoon of black soldiers in 1940s Alabama, she learns more than just his history. She begins to see how his hopes and disappointments mirror her own and might finally give her the means to free herself of the past and choose a life waiting in the wings.

Book #2: A Brief History of Seven Killing by Marlon James

The Child says: It looks like a mad person kills themself and the book explains why.

The Husband says: I think the title is pretty self explanatory but the bird adds nothing. It’s useless. I want to give the bird the bird because it gives me nothing. 

Goodreads says: On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert, gunmen stormed his house, machine guns blazing. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Marley would go on to perform at the free concert on December 5, but he left the country the next day, not to return for two years.

Book #3: Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

The Child says: I think this is about two people who have a secret in murdering and it about what caused it.  (Child: Am I close? Me: No. Child: It sounds like that’s what it should be about)

The Husband says: I think it’s about since we’ve both left our former lives we’re now in some kind of shitty situation and we’re trying to figure it out together. 

Goodreads says: Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself.

Book #4: The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

The Child says: I feel like it’s something related to 13 Reasons Why but instead of the girl having tapes for her classmates it explains all of what happened and how it affected the people who cared about her after what happened happened. 

The Husband says: This one is about woman who has never let you see all the parts of her but if you think about it, over time, you can build a full picture of who she really is. 

Goodreads says: For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

Not discussed: Bastard Out of Carolina, Better Than Before, The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tale of Life on the Road

This was an off month for them, especially the child. She usually does a pretty good job of deciphering plots simply based on covers. Or she goes WAY off the deep end and isn’t even close. Like when she asked when I was going to read To Kill a Mockingjay. 

I cannot. 

Show Us Your Books, June 2017

No clever introduction, just straight to the book talk because it’s summer and there’s no school and my time is at a premium before I have to drive the child from one place to the next. Don’t forget to visit my co-host, Steph, and some of the other participants. Next one is July 11th.

Confessions by Kanae Minato. OMG. Insane and intense and weird and FUCKED UP and twisted and constantly full of surprises and the end was jaw dropping and one that I definitely did not see coming. Nothing was predictable at all. It’s a little hard to stomach given the nature of the plot but worth it. The author’s bio is pretty interesting, too, and I’m really curious to see the movie adaptation. 

A Colony in a Nation by Christopher L. Hayes. This is a big, important book which has even more meaning having read The Hate U Give in the same month (that wasn’t intentional, though). It’s short but packs so much thought provoking, rage inducing, well researched and personal experience/commentary that you could write a book just reviewing it. It’s both an exploration and an indictment of the disparities in our criminal justice system that regardless of political leaning you need to read it. Some of it will make you uncomfortable but you need to feel that way in order to comprehend the depths of the points he makes. 

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon. A supernatural thriller that both bored and captivated me. It fluctuated between gripping, interesting, and twisty and weird and annoying. It teetered on having too much plot and too many characters but at the same time needing them all to tell the complete story. The writing was strong and creative even if the plot was too big. It passed the time just fine but if it’s on your TBR, don’t rush to bump it up. 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. This is a beautifully written book about love and obligation and war and refugees and migration and what happens to people and relationships when they’re forced into horrifying, extraordinary circumstances and while it takes place in modern times it could have been set in any decade. The realness and emotion come through on every page. It’s a short book but was a slow read for me. Not my favorite but I’m glad I read it. 

The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives by Lisa Servon. This book tries to do for banking what Nickel and Dimed did for the working poor and Evicted did for housing except this one fell a little flat. It’s informative, well researched, mostly unbiased, and exploratory but focused slightly more on policy than consumers. I wish she’d spent time living as an unbanked person using the services as well as working at a few places and interviewing people. This would have provided a more well rounded picture and might have been more impactful. 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book is a fucking masterpiece. There is no other way to describe it. She eloquently gives a voice to those who don’t generally have a leading role voice in literature, the story is powerful in ways I can’t adequately describe, and in the same way The Outsiders changed YA 50 years ago, this book will change things. It will make you angry, it will make you think, it will make you sad, and it’s impact is best represented by its last page (I apologize for how tiny it is but the photo editor won’t let me make it bigger which is a phenomenal pain in the ass):

The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place by Jennifer McCartney. I love the concept behind this book, another parody of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, that it’s okay to have things and stuff everywhere and not have an immaculate house and her thoughts on Tidying Up echo mine but her humor and sarcasm are grating. I am no stranger to cursing and I’m not prude but her constant sex references became annoying and took away from her point of giving people permission to lighten up and not take minimalist culture so seriously. 

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh. I read her novel Eileen last year and enjoyed it more for her gorgeous writing than the story about an absolutely horrible person. This book of short stories is similar. Her writing is absolutely superb but every character is miserable and awful and insufferable and tragic. And she has an unexplained contempt for fat people that’s featured in almost every story. I get wanted to explore the less than perfect, and I appreciate it, but it’s morose and depressing.

The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers. DNF. If you know the story of Bernie Madoff, you know this book. Like straight up his and his wife’s story. And her fictionalization of some things was boring as fuck and I didn’t care about any of it or any of the characters and her writing isn’t for me. Her book Accidents of Marriage was decent. This one was not. 

TL;DR: The Hate U Give. Read it. Read it. READ IT.  A Colony in a Nation and Confessions are also worth a read. The others are optional depending on your taste.

On tap this month for me: Bastard Out of Carolina, In the Shadow of Alabama, The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tale of Life on the Road, and a few others including some NetGalley books. That’s the plan, anyway. Who knows what’ll actually happen?

Now it’s your turn! Let us know what you’ve been reading! 

 

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Weekly six pack, 2017, v17

Recapping this week in light of Comey’s testimony which I’m still trying to process and I don’t think I can comment on until I have my thoughts together. I don’t even know how long that’ll take because shit just got real. Like, really real. 

Reading. Finished The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place. Currently reading The Widow of Wall Street and Homesick for Another World. Picked up A Brief History of Seven Killings, Better Than Before, and The You I’ve Never Known. Hitting pause on NetGalley for awhile. Show Us Your Books on Tuesday!

Watching. House of Cards and The Path. Both insane in their own ways and both highly recommended. OITNB, I’m coming for you this weekend. 

Eating. Well, drinking. Cold brew coffee made with Steph’s instructions. It took a few tries but I think I finally found the right ratio (for me) of water to coffee. This makes me happy and it makes my wallet happy since I can stop hitting DD every day.

Preparing. For another round of Whole30. Things have gotten a bit out of control around here and the weight loss has stagnated so it’s time for a reset. This is a great month for me to do it since I have no major plans except for a few days at my parents’ house. If you have a favorite recipe that’s Whole30 compliant, please share it with me. I don’t want to get bored with the same 5. 

Reminding. You to join this giveaway. There’s an Amazon gift card and 100 copies of a book up for grabs!

Laughing. 

Hope you all have a great weekend! We’re finishing my birthday week with a Shawshank escape room and dinner at the beach followed by a cheer fundraiser (because God forbid we go a weekend without cheerleading). See you on Tuesday for the best book day of the month!

 

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