Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


My Struggle
My Struggle, by Karl Ove Knausgaard
This book has taken over the entire country of Norway and is inching toward European Union domination. In the US, however, it may better described as tilting towards stardom. Any synopsis of the book I attempt will likely sound bad. The Struggle is the story of the author Karl Ove Knausgaard's life, an ordinary Norwegian life, told in retrospect. Each book covers a period in his life and each book is epic in length. As my friend described, "he looks like just another sexy European man."

The novelty of the book, at least part of it, is that the author lays himself bare. He allows himself to be truly known, in a culture where this degree of self disclosure is unheard of. Have you ever wanted to be truly known? Not simply the good parts of your life, but the bad and even the mundane parts. Could you go back and surgically deconstruct your life? Could you do it in a way that captivates your country? That is also how my friend described this to me: she could not put the book down, and the book looks to be about 600 pages and a good seven pounds, paperback. 

I'm going to delve in soon, to the first book in the series, and see what the fuss is about.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I'm talking about these people who've ended up in one life instead of another and they are just so disappointed...They've done what's expected of them. They want to do something different but it's impossible now, there's a mortgage, kids, whatever, they're trapped. Dan's like that...
But I don't think he even realizes it...High functioning sleepwalkers, essentially. 
People like him think work is supposed to be drudgery punctuated by very occasional moments of happiness, but when I say happiness, I mostly mean distraction. 
Say you go into the break room...and a couple of people you like are there, say someone's telling a funny story, you laugh a little, you feel go back to your desk with an afterglow, but then by four of five o'clock the day's just turned back into another day, and you go on like that, looking forward to five o'clock and then the weekend, and then your two to three weeks of paid vacation time, day in day out, and that's what happens to your life.
That's what passes for a life...That's what passes for happiness for most people. Guys like Dan, they're like sleepwalkers...and nothing ever jolts them awake.
- From Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Thursday, February 26, 2015


It's a table! It's a book! It's Bookniture! Such a lovely idea. Available now on Kickstarter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Silkworm and 10 Percent
The Silkworm and 10% Happier
The Silkworm

Everyone knows that Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling in disguise. I know that as well, but if Rowling wants to write as Galbraith, then I will review Galbraith as Galbraith. This is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series, which is a vulnerable time in a book series. The initial freshness of the first book has gone, while familiarity with characters has not been established. I didn't enjoy this book as a a mystery. This isn't to say that it wasn't enjoyable - what I liked was the steady development of the characters, Strike in particular. 

With this second book, Galbraith slowly fleshes out his two main partners, Cormoran and Robin, and their relationship to each other. There's a delicate balance that has to be maintained; there's a sense of tension. You don't know where it's going. That is where the main drama lies, at least for me. The case they're pursuing is not as engaging, and I'll leave it at that. The richness of the novel comes from every character detail as they are revealed. You can feel the firm and steady hand of the author behind these characters, shaping them until they can stand on their own.  

10% Happier

Up until this book, I wasn't exactly sure what it was that television news reporters did. I assumed most of them read straight from the teleprompter, in a way reminiscent of Cyrano de Bergerac. Apparently, they research and pitch their own stories and read what they themselves have scripted. So in that sense, I was mistaken.   

What I liked about this book, is that it addressed the most practical way to apply meditation and Buddhist principles to problems you will face in your daily life, such as the vague flash of panic you may see in the eyes of your family and friends when you start talking about meditation and Buddhism. 

Like a good journalist, Harris continually questions his chosen topic, approaching meditation from all angles, subjecting his practice to hard and endless questions, and deriving a methodical, realistic approach in return. His answers and his meditative practice are complicated and reasoned, and a good  way to go about finding your own way.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Luminaries - Search for Meaning
The Luminaries and Man's Search for Meaning
Fiction: The Luminaries

Yes, the Booker prize winner of 2013. How boring! How uncreative! Why don't I just name drop whatever book Jonathan Franzen's just written? But here's the thing: it's a 700 page long gripper of a novel. I took it on flight with me and couldn't keep my hands off it. The language has a strong regional texture, and at 700 pages, it actually manages to stop your attention from wandering off into the distance. That is rare for me. I haven't had that kind of experience since Gone Girl. I don't expect Booker Prize winners to be gripping. I expect something more intellectual, a little lesson in structure and technique. Not that these weren't there, it's just so much more.

A sexist aside: I read a lot of male authors, and this is a shameful fact. So when I see a female author who has so much richness on offer, even at a slightly daunting 700 or so pages, I want to spread the word.

Non-Fiction: Man's Search for Meaning

I read this once, a long time ago when I was feeling a little lost and looking for signs from the universe, or how to read them. I wouldn't say this changed my life, that would be slightly dramatic and a lie. It's more a humble read from a humble man. It resets the mind and puts matters back into perspective where they belong. This is one of a few books that I would read again, to make sure that, as the title suggests, I look over at where I am, and that there is purpose and meaning built into the process. 

If you have excess time over Thanksgiving, and trust me not to mislead you, have a look at these. 

Friday, August 15, 2014


Sometimes it's all in the title. The PDF of the book is free and the recipes are on the cheap. Some people are very kind. Get your copy here and maybe donate. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Hillside, Point Reyes

During an informal survey in one of my English classes, the professor moved down a line of students, asking each person the same question: What is your favorite book? 

The answers that came, with few exceptions, were identical: One Hundred Years of Solitude.

So, when I read Marquez's obituary in the Economist, detailing how that book came into being, I thought I would share:

"In July 1965 Garbriel Garcia Marquez - Gabo to all who revered him later - decided to lock himself away in a house on Calle de La Loma in Mexico City. He ordered his wife to sell the car and get credit from the butcher. For 15 months, using only his index fingers, he typed for six hours a day in a room he called "The Cave of the Mafia." He survived on a diet of good Scotch and constant cigarettes. At five in the afternoon he would emerge in to the fading light with his eyes wide, as though he had discoursed with the dead... 
"'One Hundred Years of Solitude,' the fruit of his self-imprisonment, sold 50m copies in more than 30 languages... 
"Writing was difficult; the words came as painfully as kidney stones. Nonetheless, there was nothing else he had wanted to do in life. He burned 'to write so I would not die.'"

Friday, June 20, 2014



A little bit of fiction, a little bit non-fiction. I try to make sure I read a mix of both. 

The Orphan Master's Son. On the late train to the 2013 party bus, I finally discovered a book that had won a Pulitzer. This is probably borderline non-fiction; you have to keep moving along until the book's true heart reveals itself. While you read, moving your way down the plotline, the clean straight line you thought you were following will veer into the folds of a sophisticated design, one that you were probably not expecting. That is the beauty of this book. At the core of this design is an alien heart, because the images it evokes are so foreign it almost feels like reading about another world, except for the deep-seated human qualities that root it back into the earth. 

I don't mean to be vague, but I also don't want to ruin it for people that haven't read it, so I'm dancing around hard facts. I will say, however, that this is one of the most moving books I have read in awhile. If nothing else, it will give you a new appreciation for what you have. 

The Body Book. There are certain books that are good to have. Like which kind? Like this one. Everyone has a body, a vessel,* and it's good to know how to take care of it. This book is comprehensive. It details everything from explaining how the body functions on a cellular level, to eating and exercise. The tone is sincere and readable. What takes this a notch above the rest, is that while you're (I assume) sitting on your butt reading it, you will suddenly feel the subtle sensation of a fire being lit somewhere underneath your seat. That, apparently, is what wanting to get up and go work out feels like. 

The material has the potential to be bone dry. Cameron Diaz has, instead, managed to infuse it with energy, and that goes a long way. She has high expectations for your physical well being, and that's a good assumption to have going in.   

* Referencing Supernatural. It's always appropriate.  

Monday, April 7, 2014


If you write, you probably read. It's one of the unspoken tenants of writing: to write, one must read. So what I'm trying to say, however indirectly, is: I read as much as possible. Whatever I can get my hands on, but from the face of this blog, it may appear that I only read non-fiction. Not true. I've been on a non-fiction kick lately, but even on kicks, I throw in a bit of fiction - there just might not be much I have to say because it's hard to talk about fiction without giving away spoilers. If anyone's reading this now, I will try not to ruin the book for you.  

Sometimes, I can read like a reader (purely for pleasure), and sometimes, I read like a writer, and the two are not the same. When I picked up The Circle, I couldn't help myself. I admire what Dave Eggers can do. He never writes about the same topic. He jumps from horrors of Sudan (What is the What) (Based on the life of Valentino Deng) to Hurricane Katrina (Zeitoun), to California (The Circle). There's an inherent risk about the unfamiliar - you might get it wrong, it's hard to find the right tone, you might give a superficial account and miss a lot of important nuances - and what's the point of that? You step out on a limb when you take risks, and that is something I admire.

The Circle is a cautionary tale. Characters are tools that are given enough features to look like people, but are really there to help answer these questions: What would happen in a society where everyone willingly shared all their personal information through social media? What would happen to people that didn't want to do that? (Answer: You're SOL.)

Each of the characters is there to show you something. You begin by following Mae: naive, pleasant, a pleaser, who spends an average amount of her time online - and then you get to see her become addicted to social validation. In the Circle world, people use instant validation as their drug of choice - a written online recommendation, a "zing" - and if they don't get their fix, they go slightly insane. I didn't relate to Mae, didn't like or dislike her, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy hanging around her when she campaigned to send frownie faces to Columbian Rebels, smileys to one of their victims, and thinks she's making the world a better place. The point: social media is a waste of time. 

Now, on the other extreme, is the character I most related to: Mae's anti-social ex-boyfriend: Mercer, a "fat fuck" with back hair, who is so set against social media that he doesn't even have a website to promote his antler chandelier business. If you have a choice between Mercer (fat), or The Circle (hired Mae and gave her parents health insurance), it's not a debate. This goes to another point: Social Media - and sharing every little bit of yourself online - is winning.  

As a writer, I have to appreciate the craftsmanship of this book. Eggers sets up and delivers some beautiful moments of irony through Mae, as she gives up her right to think for herself along with her right to privacy. Maybe the two are connected? I have a soft spot in my heart for irony: when the reader knows something, but the character does not, and you watch with slowly dawning horror as the story unfolds. 

I like a lot of Egger's choices in this book: the ways he uses his characters to deliver a message, the choice to portray the alternative to social media as an unattractive hairy Ex. The writer in me sees every detail as a deliberate, conscious decision. 

That said, this is not a subtle book. In the world of The Circle, social media leads to totalitarianism. Characters chant "Secrets are lies. Caring is Sharing. Privacy is Theft." And where do you think it's going with this? The Circle is also more a book for the head than for the heart, if you know what I mean. There is a clear message at its core to really think about what it means to give up your privacy. It's a question worth asking yourself.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I have a copy of Lolita - a solid honest to goodness paper copy, not an eBook. I bought it new, so I can have it hanging around, because I love it. I'm not just saying that in the way that some people say they love James Joyce's Ulysses, so I can say I love a complicated monster of a book. I'm not saying it's my favorite - the way some people have a favorite animal. I'm not saying it's the best book of all time, a life-changing experience (so is going to prison), or some other sweeping statement. It's more a combination of elements (language, content, author choices, style) that come together to give you everything you've ever wanted. Completely subjective.

To name one thing: I like Nabokov's sense of humor. It's there in the words, the feel of someone having a lot of fun. Have you ever hung around people when they love what they do? It's bliss. 

Coming to the point - it blows my mind a little to know someone rejected this. I would love to have had a hand in publishing Lolita. The closest I hope to come to greatness is probably reflected greatness - standing next to someone great, and hoping it rubs off. Sad, I know. This publisher had a chance to be associated with Lolita...and declined. A little mind blowing. 

Another sad story: here's U2's rejection letter. You can find more letters here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Who is Better World Books? from Better World Books on Vimeo.

Better World Books (BWB) sells books online. Shipping is free. BWB then uses the money from books sold to fund literacy projects both in the US and internationally. BWB makes a book donation for every book sold, book for book

If that's not enough: 
"In addition to selling new titles, Better World Books supports book drives and collects used books and textbooks through a network of over 2,300 college campuses and partnerships with over 3,000 libraries nationwide. So far, the company has converted more than 117 million books into over $15 million in funding for literacy and education. In the process, we’ve also diverted more than 73,000 tons of books from landfills."  
As a bonus, they even have shipping that is carbon balanced by Green-e climate certified offsets approved by 3 Degrees.

They even sell eBooks and used audiobooks. I checked. I'm trying to think of reasons not to buy from them, but until I can, you should check them out.

Monday, January 13, 2014



So...I waited until I was reading something blatantly intelligent before before completing this post. There you have it. Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook, one of the most emotionally taxing, mentally overwhelming, lives-up-to-its-own-legend books I have subjected myself to. Have you ever read a book and thought - "hell, I could've written that." Well, that won't happen here.

That aside, I "read" this on audiobook. Cheating? I don't know. I used to know - I used to have all the answers, but now...I don't know. I've had some truly moving experiences via audiobook, of the same kind that reading a good book will do. That, I have discovered, is not a bad thing. Because the point of a book is to create an experience, and having it read to you, while easier (there is less focus, less concentration involved) will create an authentic experience. It may not be the exact same as hearing that perfect voice in your head, but that doesn't make it any less. 

I started this practice, like most things, under duress. Sometimes the library will have an e-copy, sometimes a physical copy, and sometimes an audio copy, but never all of them and never at the same time. Alas. So to continually feed my appetite for that particular novel, I had to compromise, and considering the state of my morals, it wouldn't be the first time. 

After compromising myself several times over while listening to books in this inferior format, I began to notice a few things:

The voice is everything. If you do not have a good reader, it will bring a good book to its knees; the experience of a book becomes irrevocably tied to this single voice. In the best case scenario, you will have a full professional cast of actors reading each individual character with symphonic interludes (See: The Golden Compass).* In the worst case, you will be subjected to hours in the company of that nasal twat-sicle that sat behind you in History 1B. Between these two extremes, you simply need to be able to read both genders without sounding whiny and high-pitched (men reading as women) or just plain weird (women reading as men). I have noticed that reading, not acting out characters, may also make the listening experience less offensive while enhancing the listener's enjoyment of the language of the book.

Audiobooks may be better or worse for certain genres. Poetry could really benefit from being heard - you can replay them over and over again like songs, until the rhythm of the words really sinks into your head. On the other hand, I'm not sure if I would want to have certain types of books read to me. I suggest you google Gilbert Gottfried and 50 Shades to see what I mean by this.  

Now, here is the crucial question - why would you want to make an audiobook? In my own experience, when I've asked people if they want to take a look at a draft of my book, the answer is almost universally the same - they would love to, but they have no time. This "I have no time" is the most popular rationale that well-meaning people have for not reading anymore. Or for only reading the news, it amounts to the same thing. The book is a monopolizer. You have a carve out a chunk of time to truly experience a novel in the traditional way, and I don't think people will give that kind of time to just anyone. This is where audiobooks come in. 

The experience of an audiobook is different than a book, because suddenly - Look! Free hands! Your hands are not tied to a book! And this allows those same hands to do a variety of other things, like wash the dishes, or drive a car, or surf the internet. Yes, the experience of reading this precious book that it took forever to bleed out from the ashes of your heart is being split between a crying baby and road rage. I try not to think about that part. I try to focus on the other part: this may be how you will reach a broader, busier audience, who would otherwise not grant you their time. It's a tactical maneuver. It's your way in. Let me put this another way, if I could pack the experience of my book into a syringe and inject it into the bloodstream of a reader, I would do it. 

This is all still theoretical on my end, though. I've never tried it - I'm still in the editing phase. But I can provide links to two posts that provide practical advice on how to do this Here and Here.

* The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was also a very good, straightforward listening experience, if you want another example. I could provide negative examples, but that's just being mean. 

Friday, November 8, 2013


Image via Braid Creative
I've been feeling stressed and overwhelmed lately. Strangely enough, listening to Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly on audiobook really helps me to unclench those stress muscles. There is a magical collaboration that takes place between the written content and reader's vocal delivery that just hits the spot. Also, the book is good. 

I don't think I can add anything that hasn't been said already and better, such as by Braid Creative where I got that pic. What I will say is this: the audiobook relieves some of the burden of stress by putting emotion in context. Brown talks a lot about vulnerability, and in doing so she gives it a purpose. You are no longer swimming aimlessly in a sea of discomfort and anxiety, but moving towards a goal. That knowledge, and the repetition of that knowledge, sends a series of neural signals to the part of the brain specifically geared to relax. 

Monday, October 14, 2013


I don't own this book and I've never read it. I'm sure it's good. Amazon seems to like it, but that's not why I'm talking about it. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but seriously, just look at it. Just look. It's beautiful. I found this on a design website because she thought it was beautiful. Again, neither of us was talking about content.  The yellow is striking and inviting, the writing is in a personal script, and the juxtaposition of freehand script against a geometric book pattern is simple, minimalist perfection.  

What struck me is how fresh and modern this cover is; this is a deliberate and calculated choice, as all covers are, and I believe that it works. By "it works," I mean that it will make a reader curious about the book, to want to take a peek inside, and sometimes that little push is all you need.

This cover would look beautiful hanging out on your desk or on the face of your iPad. I am by no means a book designer or cover artist or whatever the official title may be, but this is something worth considering, yes? 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Here are a few books that I've been trying to read more or less all at the same time, because...well, why not?

A lot of this depends on whether or not I can get the book from the library, so sometimes I just end up getting everything at once and then gorging. I also think t's a good idea to mix it up between fiction and non-fiction.

Dangerous Liaisons:  Classics are classic for a reason, and they're most likely to be available. This is a really juicy read, not a period piece at all, and the author makes some excellent observations about human behavior and social manipulation, and creates one of the strongest, most interesting female characters I've read in a long time in the Marquise de Merteuil. Please don't just watch Cruel Intentions and call it a day, you're just screwing yourself - it's not the same.

The Dinner: I'm waitlisted for this, but I've heard excellent things, how it's epically suspenseful and takes place over the course of a single meal.  I don't like to read too much about a book before I read it, but if it sucks then I will post an update. For reference purposes, I hated The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo.  The original title of that book was Men Who Hate Women, and that is a more accurate description. Since I can't help myself, I will add that it felt like half the book had unnecessary descriptions of character's boring outfits.  

Yes Chef: There is a good reason why this book is so thick - it's because Samuelsson's life is just that interesting. He never lets up; his own life won't let him.  There isn't a lot of fluff in this book, such as excessive introspection, extended set up, needless descriptions, etc. Samuelsson just jumps right in and he should - he has a lot of ground to cover to get where he is today. After you put the book down, you can do what I did, and watch him kick all sorts of ass in Top Chef Masters Season 2.

The Templars the Secret History Revealed*: This is my own niche interest, the Templars, but I really like the way this book is written. Frale is a good writer and more importantly a passionate one. It makes a real difference in the world of non-fiction. Many people write about the Templars, but a lot of those rely on you personally having an interest in the topic going in, and they can get by with being badly organized and kind of eye-glazingly boring. Not the case here, my friends.

* This post has been corrected.  I listed the wrong book.  Sorry!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Happy Monday!  Monday always seems to get a bad rap, to be the anti-Friday, that day that everyone universally dislikes because it marks the beginning of the workweek suckfest.  So it seems appropriate to celebrate and welcome it.  Start the week on a sunny note.
I like change (for the better), and usually have a list of things I want to do to improve.  This is where the beside comes in.  The bedside stand always seems to be the place where goals go to pile up and die.  I apologize for the mess, by the way, I just didn't want to  have a polished picture.  Perfection wears a little sometimes.  If I ever photograph my living room, my yellow garbage can is staying in the shot.   
Ever had one of those days where you just wake up to streaming sunlight and think, I will change X,Y and Z about myself! I will get started on cognitive behavioral therapy!  I will start journaling every day!  I will read the economist!  Oh, what's that?  It's my phone that I keep fully charged so I can surf the web before passing out. 
Here are some new goals:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Caitlin Moran
While I have been debating whether or or not to get lasik, or what to wear to my funeral, my woman crush Caitlin Moran has written a brilliant, comprehensive book* detailing all the things that women blindly go about doing, without asking themselves if they are in fact engaging in some "sexist bullshit."**  Why do women plan their social lives around hair removal?  Why?  Why do women have to live in constant fear of looking old?  That it may be too late to have children?  Why?  Why do females value themselves (and others) only in relation to their ability to look good and have kids?

I appreciate people who have the guts to ask these questions, and to talk about things that leave them open to be judged by others, because left to my own devices, I honestly might not have noticed.

I sometimes*** think that life should be an adventure.  You should do things that make you happy, and try to be as happy as possible.  And these things - these superficial things like being afraid to grow older, wearing uncomfortable heels, feeling fat, comparing yourself to models, trying to be anything other than who you are  - they suck the joy right out of life.****

* When I say "book," I mean "audiobook."  I listened to this using my phone because it's the only copy the library had available.  Listening to her read might actually be better than reading it yourself.  She's that good.
** For some reason, hearing this never gets old.
*** Not always, some days are filled with distractions and I just want to get by.
**** By the way, I do all of these things, don't get me wrong.  It just makes me feel like ass.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Wardrobe Essentials

Full disclosure time!  I have none of these staples.  Either that, or I have the shittier version that should not see the light of day (but does).  In short, I am not going to share a picture of the inside of my closet.  It's too shameful, eyes will burn, etc.    

This all harkens back to the Lululemon v. American Eagle yoga pants debate that I have been having with myself since the dawn of time.  Ideally, I would open up my walk in closet, and it would look like the above.  But in that world, I would also be taller. 

This is not to say I don't shop, don't get me wrong, but I have clearly been buying all the wrong things - like 4 sets of floral jeggings or something.  I don't mean for this to be mean spirited.  I drool over at polyvore like everyone else, and then I work with what I have. 

Friday, February 1, 2013



I really enjoyed reading this book.  I can't say enough to recommend it - in fact, the only thing that could possibly ruin it for you, is if you read this post before reading the book.  What am I saying?  Oh...I don't know...Stop, stop right now.  Stop reading. Stop. Reading. Now.  Go on Facebook or* or something.

There.  I've done my duty and made the world a better place.

Now, to ruin the experience, here are a few things that I really enjoyed about this book, aside from solid writing, and plot twists.  There's a lot I could talk about here, but I will control myself, and only mention these:

Fantasy Fulfillment #1: You know that saying, that cardinal rule, how you can never change the person you're with - how you have to accept them as they are?  Well, apparently, if you conspire to frame your significant other for your death - he will become a better, stronger, more intelligent person to rise to the challenge you have laid for him, and he also will not kill you.

Fantasy Fulfillment #2: Breaking up twins.  Ever been with someone great, but who came with a complete @$$ of a sibling or friend?  And you have to be nice to that person, right?  Because for some God-forsaken reason, these two are bound together for life, and you just have to suck it up.  It was unbelievably satisfying how Amy managed to break up a Nick's twinship (twins dammit!) with Margo.  I didn't like Margo.

Writing a solid male character while being a female:  I realize this is a skill, being able to portray the other gender, but I usually notice if male characters are too sensitive and talk about their feelings too much (female authors), or female characters who are too whiny and superficial (male authors).  I thought Gillian did an excellent job with this one.

Awesome female character:  Yes, Amy is a sociopath, and a sociopath who gets her way in the end, and some who, on some level, I was hoping would die.  Basically - you know that person who you are happy to see die, but you respect them enough to go to their funeral?  Well, that circumstance applies here.  I don't often come across enough interesting female characters, particularly ones who are willing to self-rape and kill in cold blood, and that often makes me sad.

Sheer Ballsiness:  I wasn't sure if Gillian was actually going to go there - was she really going to have Amy and Nick get back together for a truly psychotic ending?  With a child??  I'm always afraid to go over the top in my work, in case it wouldn't be believable, lose credibility, lost reader interest, etc.  There were many ways I could have seen her ending it, but she decided to go for the gold by laying out a believable reconciliation and choke-out scene.

* I don't ever actually go on  That's just some website I googled for the hell of it.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Source: 50 shade of cake

Many people hate or love this book for various reasons.  Possibly depending on whether they find it a turn on, with its redheaded-grey eyed romantic lead*, or whether they find the naive protagonist a huge boner killer.  I received this as a gift and tried to read it, but I just couldn't.  Why?

This may be particular to me, but...the book is written in first person, present tense, which is like trying to get off on a picture, I really shouldn't go there.


1st person, present tense:  I look in the mirror and wink at myself and think: what a good-looking female I am!  Then I take a walk in the park.

1st person, past tense:  I looked in the mirror and winked at myself and thought: what a good-looking female I was!  Then I took a walk in the park.

Past tense always sounds at least ten times less ridiculous, no matter what you happen to be saying (to yourself).   This was too much of a roadblock for me; it was the mental florescent lighting that blotted out all potential sexy good times.  That 50 shades of cake, however, I would totally eat.

* As an aside, do you find the concept of a man with grey eyes and red hair a turn on?  I kept trying to picture this in a sexy light and failed repeatedly.  I will further add that my imagination is rock solid.
* Did anyone else read Archie comics as a kid?  That's who my imagination kept turning to.
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