Orange is the New Black

When I was in school, we took a field trip to our county jail so that we could see how the inmates lived. I’m sure the purpose of the trip was to scare us into submission. “Don’t break the law or you will end up here!”

To an 80-pound white girl from a very sheltered small town, those big scary tattooed criminals sure seemed like the worst thing in the world at the time. I’ve grown out of my shelteredness for the most part, and tattoos certainly are no longer scary, but I’m still not sure I want to go wandering around in that place for long.

Still, when Orange is the New Black came out on TV, and I started seeing the trailers for it, the hype sure seemed fun. I haven’t watched the show, but I was eager to read the book. And though I won’t be able to make Club on Monday, I was glad we chose to read this one for Non-Fiction Night.

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I wasn’t disappointed. OTNB is a completely different perspective on the prison system than I’ve ever heard or seen. This was not the dark, dirty, depressed view of things. And it certainly wasn’t big scary dudes with tattoos. Piper could have been one of my friends from high school–she screwed up, and paid for it, but she wasn’t a bad person. In fact, most of the people in Danbury were caring and full of life.

Something I did notice was that Piper didn’t list her friends’ crimes. That did not matter to her. This made the women much more human. The crimes did not define the people in her story, and while I’m curious, I probably would have judged them much more harshly for those crimes. The book instantly would have been much darker.

This was a very interesting and educational memoir. I’m glad I read this, and maybe I’ll watch the show now, if I can manage to put my books down!

TBR Pile

Even though I love my Kindle, it will never be a replacement for real books. I love going in and pulling books off my shelves, and there is nothing better than reorganizing those shelves. I’m quite anal about books–everything MUST be in alphabetical order. However, now that I’ve seen how other bloggers sort their shelves, I have been thinking about reconfiguring some of mine. That may be a project after we move in August…OH YEAH…you don’t know yet. WE ARE MOVING TO DALLAS!!!!!!!! Which means I get to unpack all my books, which I’ll be honest, is my favorite thing about moving. Expect lots of blogging that day.

I did create a To Be Read shelf the other day. I had so many I couldn’t fit them all! Guess I better get to readin’. Here’s everything that’s on that shelf, plus a few.

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This pile doesn’t include all the “husband” books that I haven’t read. That list includes basically all of John Grisham’s collection, a good portion of Stephen King’s, and most of Tom Clancy’s too. He has a bunch of sports and political books, but I don’t care so much about those.

I also took a Book Haul picture for May. I was surprised at how big this stack was. Don’t get used to this…or maybe you should! I would like this trend to continue, but we’ll see. I would like to keep increasing my collection, but I’m also not the type of person to spend money on myself either.

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I can’t wait to read all of these! That Raymond Chandler book is gorgeous. The cover is sort of a squishy leather, and the pages are lined in silver. The ribbon is a little frayed, but other wise it’s in fantastic condition.

Yay books! What did you pick up this month that you are looking forward to reading?

Favorite Non-Fiction

If you look at home videos of my younger days, I liked to show off. A LOT. I have two younger sisters, and we would put on pageants, theatre, runway shows. The one that comes to mind specifically happened shortly after Prince of Egypt came out, where we donned costumes and sang the full soundtrack, LOUDLY, in our semi-formal living room (it had blue carpet…the Nile River, DUH).

At home, I was completely comfortable, free to be me, which was loud, social, and creative. But then I hit kindergarten and my mom started getting reports from my teachers that were completely different from what she saw at home. And she started worrying. Sure, I was “president” of all of the group activities, active and enthusiastic in the classroom when the teacher was around and calling on people. But when it came to actual social things, like recess or voluntary things, I was always by myself. And I was almost always reading. To my VERY extroverted mother, this was not normal. Why didn’t I want to play with the other kids? Why all of the sudden was I so shy, and why was I sitting on the curb at recess?

We talk about this often now, because when I was in high school, and absolutely balking at every social activity imaginable, I thought she just did NOT understand that I was an introvert. My two sisters are pretty extroverted too, so for me to be the only one who would much rather stay in her room rather than go party…I felt that just no one got me. Now I know that she was trying to be encouraging…not torturing. She actually did know, it’s just hard for an extrovert to counsel an introvert. About as hard for an introvert to relate to an extrovert mother!

My introversion has come a long way since then. I’m still an observer first, and until I’m completely comfortable in a situation, I usually keep quiet. I’m much better in small, intimate groups and one-on-one. Give me a little pub where I can get to know the man/woman tending bar, instead of a crowded, pounding club.

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Why am I telling you my whole life story? Because my favorite non-fiction book is Quiet by Susan Cain. Every Introvert will cry when they read this because YES YES YES SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS FINALLY WHAT WE GO THROUGH EVERY DAY. And I want to give it to every Extrovert parent of an Introvert because it helps to show how to relate between the two. I want to give it to teachers, managers, CEOs. Basically, everyone should read this book.

I read this in about 4 hours. I devoured it. We live in such an extroverted society, where people are expected to be as outgoing and go-get-em as possible. If you can’t be popular and society-driven, you are going to get run over. Those of us who need to recharge in quiet, and heaven forbid if you have an anxiety disorder, life is so much harder, if not near impossible.

And for those Extroverts out there saying, “What about us? Introverts need to learn how to deal with us better too!” You are absolutely right. And I’m getting better. Learning why I react the way I do to certain simulations, and knowing that I can only handle so much of those stimulations before I have to recharge, has helped me so much. When I was dating, I would show up 15 minutes early, get a beer, and get settled so I wasn’t so anxiety-ridden. And if I have a meeting, or group event–like book club on Mondays–I do the same thing. I’m learning what I can handle, and what I can’t, and what I can do to deal with social situations.

There you have it. Way too much information about me, and a little bit about my favorite non-fiction book. But that’s what this is all about right? We learn from reading, and we learn from each other. As you can see, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I know there are a lot of Introverts out there who feel the same way I do, and have been hurt badly because they don’t know how overcome it. One step at a time, and don’t wait too long to recharge. We need the quiet.

Favorite Memorabilia

I don’t have a ton of things in the way of memorabilia. I know a lot of book lovers have Harry Potter medallions, and Lord of the Rings brooches, things like that. And trust me, I love all those things.

But I also have this horrible affliction of “can’t spend money on myself” syndrome. Only recently did I start buying things again, now that I have a husband who budgets discretionary income into my life. (He’s pretty awesome, that one.)

However, when we got married, we wanted to incorporate some of our nerdy tastes into our wedding.

Photo by Lauren Reber Photography

I had found kept seeing a quote by Dr. Seuss on Pinterest, over and over again, and it so perfectly described Richard and I, that I knew I had to have it on our programs.

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” –Dr. Seuss

Then, in my quest to find jewelry, I failed miserably. I just could not find a necklace that worked perfectly with my beloved dress. I really wanted a pendant that I could wear every day forever, something that was just me, but would also work for the wedding. And for my bridal shower, my wonderful Maid of Honor came through for me. Look what she had made!!!

Photo by Lauren Reber Photography

Is that not perfect? I still wear that every single day. I get a lot of comments on it too, and get asked about the quote often. I have been told that the quote MAY not be as Seussical as I thought, but I’ve never been able to find out for sure. Either way, it’s still our marriage motto.

Do you collect any booky type things and stuff? I’d love to hear about it!

 

ALSO!!!!

Go check out my amazing photographer, who took the pictures above. She’s pretty amazing.

Lauren Reber Photography

Favorite Book Blog

Starting this blog has been one of the most refreshing things for me, because it is encouraging me to become more involved in the books I read. My book club teases me relentlessly because I always show up with PAGES of notes that I’ve taken about the book–it’s become almost involuntary now.

And not only that, but the discussions I am getting into, here, and on Tumblr, are incredible. The Book Community on Tumblr is unlike anything I’ve ever imagined. Sure, I’ve gotten more recommendations on books to read. That I expected. But I am also quickly gaining friendships–that I didn’t anticipate from a relatively “anonymous” website. Everyone has each other’s back, and everyone (for the most part anyway) keeps an open mind. The goal here is to fuel constant discussion, and that is not something you see anywhere else.

It is also a place for humor and beauty, creativity and wonder. I am constantly amazed by what people post. We have artists, poets. We have photographers and writers. But my favorite…mostly because I am one myself…are the book hoarders. I am always in awe over the pictures of  constantly changing shelves, the weekly, monthly book hauls. I may post a book “haul” of my own every month on Instagram…though don’t get too excited guys, it’ll only be a few at a time. I think I MAYBE have 5 this month.

Mostly the book community is a place for encouragement, and a place to be ourselves. Every day I log on, because I cannot wait to see what else is new in my world, the world that no one on the outside of “nerdland” really gets. I had a full on discussion about Game of Thrones and a few other books the other day when we went out, and my husband just watched in awe, and I looked at him and said “SEE?! THIS is what I’m talking about.” That so rarely happens on the outside.

Sometimes I feel like I really do need to say, “I like your shoelaces.” And wait for the appropriate response, just to see if my people are out there.

I could never choose just one Favorite Blog. There are way too many. But here are just a few I follow, both on WordPress and Tumbr.

Librocubicularist

letyourvoicebenerd

Beth’s Books

Bitten and Written

bibliophilenycmom

thebooker

xgingerbookworm

The Bookvengers

teethequoter

treesofreverie

grangerandherbooks

Payge Turner

Oh man I know I’m leaving out so many amazing bloggers. I love all of you, and I’m meeting new people every day. Come join the conversation!

 

Favorite Guilty Pleasure

I shared this picture a few days early, when I picked it off my bookshelf. There are some books you just CRAVE to read over and over, and this is mine.

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I started reading The Thorn Birds years ago, before I was really old enough to understand everything that was going on. In fact, I remember having to ask my mom to explain some of the more…ahem…romantic parts. I had just pulled it off the shelf because it was thick and ORANGE, so it had probably caught my young eyes as something intriguing.

I can’t tell you what draws me back to this over and over, other than it is so familiar and delicious to me, it is like a big piece of chocolate cake. I know that I rescued this copy from one of my mom’s garage sale piles–when I found she was getting rid of it, I quickly snagged it up, and now it’s mine. The pages are falling out of it–the binding is in utter shreds because I have read it so many times. Every time I read it I tell myself just to go buy a new copy, but somehow, this one goes back on the shelf, and that new copy never appears. And next time I’m ready, the musty, yellow pages welcome me home again.

Favorite Author

What is my favorite author?

Is that a trick question?

I don’t have one.

Yes, I’m serious.

Source:  The Relentless Reader

I don’t have one. I have several. Austen, Hemingway, Wolfe. Michael Cunningham. Regina McBride. Ann Patchett. Wilde has now been added to the list. Countless authors who I’ve only read one of their books but I loved with a passion, and they are on my Goodreads list to read more and I just haven’t gotten back to them yet. John Green up there is probably on that list too now.

Why can’t I narrow it down to just one? Geez. They all have different qualities that I love. Every book is different and each means something to me at a different point in my life. And every time I reread them, I love them in different ways.

It would be like picking a favorite topping on my pizza, or a favorite beer.

And yes, I know some people like ONLY pepperoni, and ONLY Bud Lite. That is so totally not my style. Sometimes I want mushrooms and a Belgian. And sometimes I want hot peppers and a red ale. Or maybe a porter, or a triple or….dammit now I want a beer.

It’s almost the long weekend folks!

 

Favorite Library

Guys, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I read REALLY fast. Which means, I go through a LOT of books. And, while I would LOVE to buy everything I read…I am not Bill Gates. So, I have limited space, and a limited budget. *sigh*

I used to make weekly, sometimes biweekly trips to the library. And Indy has a great library system. Trust me–I’m used to small town libraries with a limited (although usually wonderful) collection. When I moved to the city, I couldn’t believe how many books I had access to. Suddenly, not only did I have one branch, I had several! I just had to request a book online, then my lovely librarians would pull it into my local branch from whatever location it was housed at. Awesome! Sure it took a little bit of wait time, but that’s ok. I didn’t mind that, because I have such an extensive list that I always knew ahead of time what I was going to read next.

I don’t remember where I found Overdrive. Maybe I saw an ad, or something on Twitter. But I know something caught my eye one day. “Wait…a library app? That exists?” So I downloaded it. And it has changed my entire reading world. Because now, I no longer have to drive to the library every week. I have access to all of the ebooks and audiobooks that the Indy libraries have in their files. And, now that I’m living in a neighboring county…I have access to THOSE files too. And if we move…guess what! I can have access to any of those libraries too. As long as I have a library card to a library who uses Overdrive for their ebooks–I can use the app to read.

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What I love most about this app is that it is compatible with all of my devices:  my phone, my kindle, even my computer. And it syncs to everything. So I can read a book on my breaks at work, then I can go home and read it on my tablet. Then, if I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, I have it on my phone too! To download it on my Paperwhite, I just have to click a few times on my computer first, and then it downloads automatically with WIFI.

I think one of the reasons I have read so much more this year is because I have so much more access to the books I really want to read. No more borrowing stacks of books and then running out of books that are just so-so. Don’t like the book I’m reading? Ok…download another one. It is so convenient.

Audio books work the same way, and most libraries have a huge collection. No more spending boukou bucks on Audible. No thanks. That’s a great product, I’ll admit, but I just don’t have the money for it, and I don’t listen to enough audiobooks to justify it. So, instead, I rent them from my library through Overdrive.

This app is so easy to use. Just enter your library card info and pin, and the app saves it. Then just start adding books to your wish list, hold list, etc. You can read the books on the browser, or download them to the app. I usually just read them on the browser rather than take up memory, because I read too fast to justify downloading them (which is why my screenshots show there’s no books on my shelf), but you can load them if you want.

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If you aren’t using Overdrive yet, you should be. FREE BOOKS PEOPLE! Stop pirating. Support your local libraries.

Favorite Book Store

There’s a place here in Indy that I’ve been wanting to tell you guys about for awhile, so when I saw Favorite Book Store on Tee’s list, I basically jumped up and down. This isn’t a review blog, but here’s my chance to share MY PLACE!

I have two big passions in my life:  BOOKS, of course, and food culture. Beer is a HUGE part of that second one. My husband and I are big time microbrew drinkers, and seek out local breweries wherever we go. So when I found out that there was someone opening up a book store slash brewery two minutes from my office. UM WHAT?!?!?!?!?! I am THERE.

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And guys. This place does NOT disappoint. The beer is awesome. The people are awesome. The front shop is stocked with used books of all sorts of genres. Last week, I found a mint condition Harry Potter #6. Hardback. I mean, come on. The back of house, where the really good stuff is is full of wooden tables and chairs where you can talk to anyone and everyone–conversation is highly encouraged.

They have a huge social calendar, which is available on their website. For me–that means bookclub, every Monday night. You’ve heard me talk about it here. We have a different theme every week, and it rotates. Lit, Sci-Fi, YA, and Non-Fiction. Our Upcoming books are: Night Circus (YA), Orange is the New Black (NonFic), Dorian Gray (Lit), Jurassic Park (Sci-Fi). Our group is quickly becoming friends, and the discussion is always lively.

They also have Tabletop Tuesday, Trivia Wednesday, and live music on most other nights. They also do a lot of after hours game nights. Just this weekend, they had people in to play Cards Against Humanity, which I was bummed to miss! It’s one of my favorites!

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The beer board from a few weeks ago. This varies a bit week to week.

The Brewmaster is starting to play around with his beer, and is changing taps every Friday, so make sure you get in and taste what he’s got. Right now he has a 200 IBU concoction that blew my mind. For someone who likes to be kicked in the head, this did not disappoint! I hear rumors of a chocolate milk stout this Friday…yummmmmmmmm…

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Smaug Grog Red IPA

 

Oh! I almost forgot, they do have food! They have terrific grilled cheeses filled with local products. They get their meats from Smoking Goose, and I can tell you, everything I’ve had is just delicious. The sandwiches come with homemade chips out of Broad Ripple.My favorite thing to get is the Frankenstein platter, which is a cheeseboard covered with cheeses and meats and olives and breads and holy crap is it good.

Can you tell that I love this place? If you are in Indy, especially on the north side, make sure to head their direction. This is the perfect place to let your geekiness shine. Everyone in the joint is welcoming and happy.

It IS a little out of the way, but worth the winding road to get there. You can find them behind the Bob Evan’s at 96th and 69. Come have a beer!

Favorite Last Line

It was really good to spend some time with my book collection on Saturday. And yes, I really did go through every single one to find my favorite First Line, Dedication, and Last Line. I even reorganized my shelves to make room for the new ones I’ve recently acquired. I pulled out the books I haven’t read yet  and gave those a shelf of their own. I did leave the multitudes of John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King, along with several sports and political books, that belong to my husband. Those may get read eventually, but they are not high on my To Read list for now. OK…I do want to read the Stephen Kings. But those pretty much have a shelf of their own as it is!

I had a few contenders to this category at first. And then I got to Thomas Harris. And he just wins everything. When it comes to shock factor, creep factor, and just down right leaving an impression, you really just can’t beat Thomas Harris.

And that’s really the whole point of a last line, right? Especially when there’s going to be another book. Look at this. *shudder*

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After I read that, all the other pictures I had taken of last lines got deleted. If watching Hannibal hadn’t made me want to go back and reread the trilogy…that last line did. Man, oh, Man, Mr. Harris. You give me nightmares, in the absolute best way possible. (Is that weird? That might be a bit weird…)