Calliope Writing


So I Took a Vacation from You Nutcases…
May 22, 2017, 11:51 am
Filed under: Being Awesome, Updates | Tags: , , , ,

…and I missed you terribly. Well, not terribly, because I was on vacation, but I did miss you. I’m glad to be back into the swing of things.

I’m sure you’re all sitting on the edges of your computer chairs wondering: where did Katrina go? What did she do? Did she run into anyone famous?

This vacation’s destination was the fun and sunny:

Retro Florida Postcard

Courtesy of ThePostcard.com

St. Augustine, to be exact.

I’d never been, and getting a beach house with a pool (hello, double water and sun) sounded A-okay with me.

I spent all but one day doing this:

Reading by the Pool

But my husband and I did go into Old Town, which was a blast to walk through. And I dragged him to:

The Fountain of Youth Sign

Yes, I did drink from it. So I’m going to live forever now. Don’t act so excited–I know there’s envy in your heart.

An added bonus? There were peacocks–one of my favorite animals–everywhere. I decided they were the unofficial mascot of The Fountain of Youth, and then went insane chasing them and taking pictures:

And there were even white ones!

White_Peacock

Overall, it was an incredibly relaxing vacation filled with books, tons of kitschy stuff I wanted to buy, loads of peacocks, and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

I’ll leave you with one such sunrise (the only one I got a picture of):

Saint_Augustine_Sunrise

Oh, and I didn’t run into any celebrities. Sorry to disappoint!

What about y’all? Where are you going for spring/summer vacation?



#AtoZChallenge – U – John Updike Quote

John Updike Quote - A to Z Blogging Challenge

Wondering what the hell the A to Z Blogging Challenge is all about? Catch up by reading this post.



#AtoZChallenge – F – Sigmund Freud Quote

words of wisdom a to z blogging challenge

Wondering what the hell the A to Z Blogging Challenge is all about? Catch up by reading this post.



#FridayBookShare – Amy Poehler’s ‘Yes Please’
January 20, 2017, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Books, Friday Book Share, Reading | Tags: , , , , , ,

Welcome to another edition of Friday Book Share.

#fridaybookshare readers books recommendation

The Book: Yes Please by (the great) Amy Poehler

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been reading this book for over a year, and I’m still not finished. It’s one of those books I keep on the sidelines when I want to read something lighthearted or that will make me laugh. Don’t judge me for taking so long.

First line of the book

I like hard work and I don’t like pretending things are perfect.

My kind of gal.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

Introduce the main character using only three words

  • Hilarious
  • Kindhearted
  • Open (as in, about her experiences)

Delightful Design (the book’s cover image)

friday book share book recommendations

Audience appeal (who would enjoy this book?)

Amy Poehler fans.

Your favorite line/scene

My favorite part of Yes Please is all the info Poehler gives about Saturday Night Live. I’ve been watching since I was a child. You need proof? Here is my favorite sketch OF ALL TIME:

I seriously cried while watching this again, I was laughing so hard.

I couldn’t find a video of my second favorite sketch (Gilda Radner as Baba Waba), so here’s a nice compilation where you’ll get a snippet of Baba Waba:

Since we’re here to talk about Amy Poehler, here’s one of my favorites featuring her:

And if you want to see some early Amy Poehler (from the days she worked on Conan), watch on:

Anyone else an Amy Poehler fan? Raise your hands. Don’t be shy.

*Heads up: if you click on the links to purchase any of the mentioned books from Amazon, know that I’m an affiliate. Your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*


#FridayBookShare – Lauren Holmes’s ‘Barbara the Slut and Other People’

Welcome to another edition of Friday Book Share.

#fridaybookshare readers books recommendation

The Book: Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes

This was the last book I completed, and it was a blast to read. It’s a collection of ten stories, each focused on one primary character. “Desert Hearts,” “My Humans,” and “Barbara the Slut” were my favorites.

First line of the book

From the story “How Am I Supposed to Talk to You?”

In Mexico City the customs light lit up green, which was lucky because I had fifty pairs of underwear with tags on them in my suitcase.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

They called Barbara other names – ho, whore, skank, Barbara Lewinsky, sticky-fingers Murphy – but mostly they called her slut. But Barbara does not let these words define her. Instead she defines herself. She is a teenager with an autistic brother, a Princeton acceptance letter and a love of sex, navigating her high school’s toxic, slut-shaming culture with open eyes.

Lauren Holmes introduces us to a parade of people (and one dog), so familiar we might know them, might even be them. A woman who prefers the company of her pit bull to the neurotic foreign fling who won’t decamp from her flat. A law school grad who takes a job selling sex toys rather than embarking on the career she pursued for her father’s sake. A daughter who hauls a suitcase of lingerie to Mexico for her estranged mother to resell, wondering whether her personal mission – to come out – is worth the same effort.

Fearless, candid and incredibly funny, Barbara the Slut tackles sex, family and relationships with a keen awareness for how their nervous systems tangle and sometimes short-circuit. With a genius – and a deceptively light touch – for revealing our most vulnerable, spirited, flawed selves, Lauren Holmes is a newcomer who writes like a master.

Introduce the main character using only three words

Since there are ten, I’ll focus on the title character: Barbara.

  • Vulnerable
  • Fearless
  • Loner

Delightful Design (the book’s cover image)

friday book share recommendations lauren holmes

friday book share recommendations

Audience appeal (who would enjoy this book?)

Readers who have a raunchy sense of humor and an appreciation for the raw, gritty side of life.

Your favorite line/scene

My favorite scene is from “Barbara the Slut” and involves Barbara and her autistic brother, George.

friday book share recommendations lauren holmes

Have any of you read this kickass book? If so, share your thoughts below.

*Heads up: if you click on the links to purchase any of the mentioned books from Amazon, know that I’m an affiliate. Your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*


#FridayBookShare – Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch
January 6, 2017, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Books, Reading | Tags: , , , , ,

Welcome to my first Friday Book Share! This weekly “game” was created by Shelley Wilson with the goal of giving bloggers a chance to share some of their favorite books. The rules go something like this:

#fridaybookshare readers books recommendation

Questions? No? Good. Off we go!

The Book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I’ve read both of Tartt’s other books (The Secret History is one of my favorites), and when a friend of mine told me this was her book club’s next read, I demanded to be allowed to participate.

I’m only about forty pages in, but so far it’s living up to my expectations.

First line of the book

While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity.

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the criminal underworld.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love–and his talisman, the painting, places him at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of striking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with ap hilosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Introduce the main character using only three words

Since I’m only 5 percent into the book, I can’t be too insightful. But my words are:

  • Motherless
  • Melancholy
  • Poetic

Delightful Design (the book’s cover image)

I’ll do you three better than just the cover image!

friday book share reading

#fridaybookshare reading recommendations

This is how far I am. Not too impressive.

donna tartt friday book share

Proof in a hot tub.

friday book share recommendation

Audience appeal (who would enjoy this book?)

Readers who cherish beautiful language would enjoy Donna Tartt in general.

This book’s not really a feel-good one (from what I can tell), so if you want to feel warm and fuzzy while reading, I’d say skip this one.

Your favorite line/scene

So far, my favorite passage is:

“Well, the Dutch invented the microscope,” she said. “They were jewelers, grinders of lenses. They want it all as detailed as possible because even the tiniest things mean something. Whenever you see flies or insects in a still life–a wilted petal, a black spot on the apple–the painter is giving you a secret message. He’s telling you that living things don’t last–it’s all temporary. Death in life. That’s why they’re called natures mortes. Maybe you don’t see it at first with all the beauty and bloom, the little speck of rot. But if you look closer–there it is.”

What do you think? Is The Goldfinch a tome you’d want to read?

*Heads up: if you click on the links to purchase any of the mentioned books from Amazon, know that I’m an affiliate. Your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*

 



My 2016 Year in Review (According to Goodreads)

As you likely know, I love Goodreads. It’s the perfect way for me to track books I’ve read and – more importantly – books I want to read.

If you’re a Goodreads user, first: add me. Second: you know about their year in review feature.

Read on to discover the books I read in 2016 – which ones I loved, and which ones I wasn’t so crazy about.

carlton mellick iii peter straub books

neil gaiman neverwhere carlton mellick iii books

jenny lawson peter straub ray bradbury books

philip k dick stephen king neil gaiman kazuo ishiguro books

HEX thomas olde heuvelt shirley jackson clive barker books

diane setterfield katherine dunn kat howard m.r. carey books

laird barron ray bradbury livia llewellyn laline paull shirley jackson

vanessa veselka carlton mellick iii lauren holmes books

To be fair, I didn’t finish The Bees by Laline Paull (which I acquired during a book haul this year) because…I hated it. So much. There was one line in particular that acted as the cliched straw that broke the camel’s back. (Curious? Read my brief The Bees review here). So really, I only read twenty-five books this year, Goodreads. Sorry about that. I couldn’t not give that awful writing one star.

That’s Right – We Have a Top-Five List

Out of the twenty-five books I did read, here are my top five (in no particular order):

It may have been a shitty year for yours truly in other ways, but it was a kickass year with regards to reading. Let’s hope 2017 is even better.

What was the best book you read in 2016?

 

*Want to buy any of the books mentioned here? Click on the links to purchase from Amazon; since I’m an affiliate, your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*



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