Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Was there possibly any better book for me to read over the Christmas holidays? No, I think not.

I loved this book. It was a beautiful love story in that it didn't feel like a big love story, the kind where you know from the beginning that the characters will be forced together, even if you don't particularly think they belong together. This one felt real, innocent, lovely. It was a story where I sometimes wanted them together, sometimes thought it would be okay if they didn't, but loved the final outcome. I also loved Dash. I mean, really, really loved Dash. I think he's the boy in my head. But maybe that's just because he's one of David's.

I start Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List tonight.

View all my goodreads reviews

Monday, August 22, 2011

Carpal Tunnel Coping Tips

It's no secret that I suffer from chronic CTS and that I'm hoping to have surgery before the end of the year. Some of my friends, however, also suffer, though (thankfully) not to the same extent. Still, just because they can't get surgery, doesn't mean they don't suffer. So I promised to compile a list of tips for you, some are obvious and often repeated, some aren't often included on carpal tunnel pamphlets.

  • The obvious: avoid activities that exacerbate the symptoms.
  • If you can't avoid something (e.g. it's part of your job), try to find a different way of doing it. Maybe hold the controller a different way, or use your other hand as often as possible.
  • Keep your wrist straight when typing. Adjust your keyboard. Use a wrist pillow. Keep your wrists up, like they taught you in school. Basically, keep your hand level with your arm. When you bend your wrist, it cuts off the tunnel more, hence the pain after hours of typing.
  • If your hand/wrist/arm/elbow hurts, raise it to heart level or above.
  • Ice, rather than heat. 30 mins
  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. Whatever will reduce the swelling. Use these in moderation, of course.
  • Massage the nerve running round your elbow.
  • Stretch your muscles, but slowly, as if you're doing yoga.
  • Avoid sharp, staccato movements.
  • Avoid the salty foods. They cause you to retain water, bloat, and constrain the pathway through your wrist.
  • Don't hold up books. Rather, place them on the tabletop and hold the pages down.
  • If you can carry things by balancing them on your palm, rather than gripping them, do it. This is especially important when you've reached the same point as me, as dropping becomes a major concern.
  • Take a warm shower.
  • Use a splint or brace when it's especially painful. Using one at night is also quite beneficial.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why Rose Tyler is a Fantastic Companion

First, we have the Doctor, who has come up with yet another brilliant plan that could save the world…but he hesitates. A war-torn timelord who has lost everything and has become a loner, a survivor, has found something to hold on to. He hesitates, because even with the entire world at stake, he just wants to save this one person, this one girl. And more than that, he tells her. He could have saved the world, or he could have saved Rose and everyone would have gone along with his plan, but instead he chooses to tell her why he’s hesitated. Basically, he’s opening himself up to her, telling her how much he cares about her.

And then Rose—beautiful, wonderful, fantastic Rose—tells him to save the world. Unlike the Doctor, she doesn’t hesitate. She just tells him to do it. She is so selfless and heroic. It doesn’t diminish what he’s doing by telling her, either. She recognizes that he’s saying he cares for her and she’s reciprocating by allying herself with his cause, by learning from him, by understanding what it means to be a timelord or a companion, what it means to be the savior. And she knows that no matter what, her life is not worth any more than the billions of lives they could save together. She doesn’t hesitate, she just tells him to do it.

Why River Song's Life Sucks

River has had such a terrible life. She’s kidnapped as a baby, we see her dying (and regenerating!) as a child, she spends the majority of her life in prison (even though she can break out whenever she wants)—but mostly her life is terrible because she hasn’t known her family and when she did, they didn’t know her.

When Rory shows up at the prison, she knows exactly who he is, but she doesn’t recognize him. I don’t think she’d met him yet, but here he was—her dad!—coming to get her…and he hasn’t the foggiest who she really is. All her life River has known about Rory, the Last Centurian, her father. All her life she’s been told that he would go to the end of the universe and stop at nothing to save her. And here he is, right in front of her, on her birthday.

For a split second, she’s excited: her dad is here! He came all this way to be with her on her birthday! But he didn’t; he’s not there to celebrate, he’s not even there for her, he’s there for the Doctor. It’s this crushing reminder that no matter how much she learns about her family or how much they will eventually know about her, she’s not a part of their lives and she lives out of order with those closest to her. Every day of her life she knows a little more, but everyone around her knows less: knows less of her. Slowly she watches everyone fall out of love with her, even her own father, even on her birthday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Neil Gaiman Visits Second City to Promote City Underground Novel - Chicago Young Adult Fiction | Examiner.com

Neil Gaiman Visits Second City to Promote City Underground Novel - Chicago Young Adult Fiction | Examiner.com

2 chances to see Neil Gaiman in Chicago this week! Neverwhere is such a great book, it's possibly my favorite Gaiman book to date (but who could really choose?).

Also, check out my articles for the Chicago young adult literature section on Examiner.com!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Leviathan

The Lover's Dictionary is a wonderful book that tells an ordinary love story in a unique way. The unnamed narrator has organized his tale in a series of dictionary entries, giving uncommon definitions for words through storytelling. It is a novel comprised of flash fiction, set up alphabetically as a dictionary. That sounds confusing, but to a logophile like myself, it's love.

I found this book via twitter, when the webpage suggested I follow @loversdiction. On this page I found a series of very short entries similar to the ones in the book, and I was hooked immediately. One of the newest entries at that point was "appendix, n.: In the body, it’s in the middle; in the story, it’s at the end. I say, let’s live now, and let the charts come after." and after I retweeted it, I knew immediately I had to have this book. It mixed together a love for words, an unconventional and unique form, a love story, and David Leviathan--a combination I knew immediately I would love. I admit that I bought it on impulse, which is the downside of being able to use Amazon at any time of night (1 am, I think), but I'm glad I did.

In this multi-formed novel of flash fiction, we hear a love story not in the way it would unfold—that is to say, chronologically—but in the way it is remembered: pieces at a time, overlapping and conjoining until the story itself takes form. Each word and moment unravels a little more of the story, each story reveals a little more of the people, each person adds a little more to the relationship. In this rare form, we get an idea about the relationship as a whole, not just the beginning, middle, and end. The story is real, ordinary and familiar, and that's why we love it. The characters are even more-so, realistic right down to their taste in music or way of thinking. I felt absolutely that the unnamed girlfriend in this tale was someone I knew, as well as the narrator. Often times I felt I was the narrator, despite the second-person point of view. The book is structured in that the reader should feel like the girlfriend, or perhaps a friend secretly reading these notes written to her (for they are letters, in addition to dictionary entries), but I connected with the boyfriend so much that at times I felt like I was him, which is incredible and not altogether common in anything aside from great Literature.

Overall, I think this is a great book that any lover and any lover of words will enjoy. Additionally, as it is comprised of flash fiction, it's a quick read. At the end, you'll be left wondering exactly what happened, but I think it's possible to draw conclusions, though opinions may vary on what those conclusions are and mean. Whatever you decide happens, I'm convinced that by the end of the last page--at the Zenith of the book--you'll be wishing there were more to read.


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