Oh Kristin Billerbeck, this novel is just too cliché for words, unless there’s some cliché that could be used to describe it. What you have written for me to read is like something (or many things) I’ve read before. In the second half of She’s All That, our main character Lilly Jacobs, is torn between three men: Nate, her neighbor that kissed her by surprise and then completely friend zoned her afterwords, Stuart, the dashingly charming Brit that she met at a church meeting, and Max, her grandmother’s helper, who watches TV for a living. This story is full of redundancy, from Lilly’s obsession Lysol to the stench of Nate’s dog’s infected ear. We get the point!! End rant. In all seriousness, this book is entirely lackadaisical. There could of been so many aspects to the story that if worked on, could have flourished but I read this book feeling relieved to put it down every time I had to take a break. Nothing got me excited, like a book should, nothing toyed with my emotions. Lilly does end up getting her fashion business up and running but with Morgan’s fiancé dying and fashion week to prepare for, she is pressed for time. This all happens in less than a week which makes the ending feel very rushed. Morgan ends up running away during the middle if the fashion show with her ‘long-lost’ love, Andy. Lilly ends up with Max, who loves her crazy hair just the way it is, and probably her obsession with Lysol, too. Overall, not my favorite book. It was too cliché and it was one of those stories you’ve read a million times. However, I would recommend this book to those who like stories that are similar to this one.
We are in the age of distraction. Long ago are the days of sitting contentedly with your family around the fire listening to a radio show, or reading your favorite book in one sitting. Everything and anything is vying for our attention nowadays and its becoming harder to pull away from it all. Now I’m not just saying this because I’m experiencing a lack of motivation to do my homework so I’ve resorted to eating chips and guacamole and reading blogs. It’s just something I have stumbled across. And the worst part is, we want to be distracted. We find new things to distract us, whether it be social media (which it mostly is) or any of the limitless things you can do on the gloriousness that is the internet. I hate the feeling of being distracted, I feel out of tune with my surroundings and it gets to be almost uncontrollable. All I’m saying is, we need to tune out of distraction and tune into focus. We need to focus on the people around us or the tasks at hand, and we need to stop getting distracted by the newest thing out there because its going to change our lives, because NEWSFLASH-it’s not. Lack of motivation leads to distractedness which in turn leads to nothing getting done whatsoever. I’m experiencing this firsthand at the moment. I’m even distracting you right now, I have you on my blog thinking I’m going to be talking about books when really, I’m just rambling about my life. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m allowed to deviate once in a while. So if you take anything away from this, let it be that you need to start tuning into life and tuning out distractions that make it so hard to focus in a world that is teeming with them.
Above: She’s All That by Kristin Billerbeck, Goodreads
The spa is a retreat for most women. A time to get away from the rush of daily life and to just forget it all. This is exactly what Lilly Jacobs and her friends do when times get tough for them in She’s All That by Kristin Billerbeck. This is the first book in the trilogy, following three best friends and their surprisingly different lives. Lilly Jacobs happens to be an aspiring fashion designer, working for Sara Lang. She lives in a rundown apartment with her roommate Kim and dreams of making it big in fashion, even though her major was in finance at Stanford. She has trouble with getting dates, each one turning out to be disastrous and she has a mop of a hairdo. Her best friend Poppy is a holistic healer who is very earthy and could almost be described as a hippie. Her other best friend Morgan is the daughter of a renowned politician, who is used in political agreements more than she would like to. In the part of the story that I’ve read up to, Morgan has just told her best friends that she is marrying Marcus, a man who is as old as dirt. Her friends are stunned and tell her she is not going through with the wedding. At the same time, Lilly has been fired from her job at Sara Lang Couture and is going through with her dreams of owning her own line. Near the beginning of the story, Lilly found her boyfriend of 3 months, Robert, with a woman named Katrina. Lilly is asked by Robert to design Katrina’s wedding dress, along with the one that she has to design for Morgan. Sara Lang, her ex-employer, has also given her money for a capital to start her own business. Overall, it is the typical book you would expect from a middle-aged woman. It is kind of cliché, with so many other novels before it being the same sort of plot line. I can already tell you, without skipping to the end, that Lilly’s fashion line magically works out and she gets Prince Charming. We’ve all read something like this. What I do like about this book is the Christian aspects that are speckled throughout the text. Being a Christian myself, it is refreshing to read a book that has a slightly different character point of view that is similar to mine. I still have to finish the book so maybe I will be surprised by the ending and it won’t be as cliché as I thought.
Ghost stories are meant to thrill and entertain. They are meant to put the reader in suspense and send chills up their spine. But, if you’re like me, ghost stories or the movies they play ona TV around Halloween give you a chuckle and don’t make you want to walk down a dark hallway with your entire group of friends, just to be safe. I have recently been reading Modern Ghost Stories by noted women writers, edited by Richard Dalby. In doing so, I found a story that actually left me feeling a little jumpy. The story was called No. 17 by E. Nesbit. It starts out with a few men sitting around talking about mysterious things that have happened to people they know. One man tells a story that is far from thrilling and after, a man that is described to have a rabbit-like face speaks up and says he has a story to tell, but he doesn’t like telling it to people who don’t believe in ghosts. Intrigued, the men say they do believe in ghosts and press him to tell the tale. The man was once staying in a hotel where room number 17 was said to be haunted. Everyone who stays in the room is found with his throat cut, dead, with no explanation as to why. The man, feeling a little superstitious, decides to switch rooms, to room number 16, just to be on the safe side. Early in the morning, there is a knock on the door, someone saying they are the chambermaid bringing things that he could shave with (I’m guessing this was custom at the time, as this particular story was written in 1910). He starts to shave when he senses movement, and turns to see a gruesome-looking man sitting on the bed. The man has a slit throat. The story-teller recollects himself and discovers no one is in the room. Realizing this was actually room number 17, that the placards were switched, the man comes to find out that the other men that died in that room perished by slitting their throats with the razors provided after seeing the horrid man. The people listening to the story later question him as to why he didn’t cut his throat. He tells them he shaves with a safety razor. Then he says something that confuses me- he has actually reserved the same room again, as he does every time he visits.
What I don’t understand about this story is the last piece. When you know what goes on in this room and how many men have had their fate sealed in it, why would you go to great lengths and risk your life to reserve it? Oh well, I always do love a story that leaves me with questions, gives me a reason to go back and reread it to try and understand. More stories are to come, so look out!
Since this is supposed to be a blog about reading and books in general, one must have a list of books that they wish to read. In many ways, my list(s) are virtually impossible to finish in the short amount of time I’ve been granted. But, I’ll do my best to try! In efforts to compile my list, I’ll pick the top 5 or so to read every month. Trying to pick from my list is sort of a tedious task since there are over two hundred books on my list. This month, I will finish Modern Ghost Stories By Modern Women compiled by Richard Dalby and I also still need to finish She’s All That by Kristin Billerbeck. After I read those and write about them, I will start Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. This author has always intrigued me by his seeminly-random dialogue (which actually makes sense if you Google it) and his seemingly-ONE MILLION CHAPTERS that make up his surprisingly small books. I have read Slaughterhouse-Five which to this day, still confuses me, and so I want to read some, if not all, of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel just so I can get a small hint of his style. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald has a flowy way of writing, where his characters float and their dialogue blends together. Not saying this is a bad thing, because I love his work, but sometimes it gets hard to follow. His short stories become easier to understand with their small volume, however. In Slaughterhouse-Five you really do get the impression of frenzy and trauma that Billy Pilgrim has, just by the way he acts and what he says. The picture of war that is painted is one that is probably true, or at least to those who have never experienced it. You feel the stress he felt in Dresden during the bombings by the way Vonnegut shapes his words, which may seem to some as confusing and jumbled, but if you take the time to analyze, really bring out the story. I’m excited to read this next book and post about it!
Yes, when you click on my blog and you see this post, it is one of those generic first posts that you see on blogs, twitter accounts, instagram profiles, etc. What is actually so exciting about a first post? Maybe I should change the title to something that applies more to the topic I am actually writing about. Or possibly something more clever that I can’t think of right now because it’s 10 o’clock in the morning and no creative juices can flow at this time. First posts are usually one of many that most people don’t even read. Who really reads entire blogs? That’s virtually impossible, since most people who run blogs post almost everyday. It’s a never-ending cycle. So since I’ve hopefully sucked you in with this rambling about why first posts are irrelevant to society and all that good stuff, you’ve hopefully stuck around (on the edge of your seat, I might add!) to find out what this blog is really all about. Am I right? Of course.
This blog is nothing more than talking about new books, old books, well-liked books, and not-so-liked books. Most of you reading this have probably already stumbled upon MILLIONS of blogs that have to do with this same exact topic. And let me tell you, if it’s something different you’re looking for, you’ve come to the wrong place. I get my inspiration from those blogs and the only thing that will be different is that these are my ideas and my ideas are not always the same as the next person who has, so that’s something. I love classic novels, not to say I’ve read all of them, however. Let’s just say Gone With The Wind is kind of a big deal to me and F. Scott Fitzgerald should be my long lost uncle that you only see on special family occasions. Like I said, my inspiration for these first few posts (oh, there’s more!) come from other blogs on WordPress, like emilyjanuary.wordpress.com or mookology.com. Blogs like these leave me with so many more things to read, adding to my always-growing list of books I need to get the next time I’m at the library. All in all, if you wish to stick around because you just like the sound of my typing (?) then all the more to you. But hopefully, someday, you learn something new or you pick up a book you swore you would never read. Because that’s what my goal is here, and only you can make that happen.