Thursday, July 29, 2010

Maybe I'm just bad news.

I present to you, an abrupt list of no discernable theme:

  • I'm not exactly up to snuff on the Avengers lore, but I've learned this week that at some point Spider Woman was a part of the gang, and lo and behold, her real name is Jessica (seems like a positive representation at this point!) - so why can't the upcoming Avengers movie, which is being preceded by single-hero installments like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, feature more female heroes and maybe, perhaps, please even a female-centered prequel? It may be too late now, but if Scarlett Johansson in tight black leather is all they're offering for female avengers, I'll be quite disappointed.
  • But, also, my not-very-deep research into the Avengers tells me that at some point Wolverine was in it. Meaning - given Hulk's Bruce Banner role has recently been filled by Mark Ruffalo - that there is a chance my entire top five could come together in a movie. The only hold out is Joseph Gordon Levitt; unfortunately, he's on the DC side of things at the moment with rumors of him being cast as The Riddler in Nolan's next Batman film. Tony Stark (RDJ), Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) could meet on screen together someday. And maybe they could get a real Jessica to play Spider Woman? Like, oh, I don't know, me, for instance...I'm sure I'd hold my own amongst those characters...for sure...
  • I'm totally in love with Orbit Pina Colada gum.
  • My favourite blog to read out loud.
  • And, finally, yesterday while wearing my Gap denim jacket, I realized it had POCKETS. This makes everything better, am I right? Also: it has INSIDE POCKETS. True, I didn't realize any of this the first week I had the jacket, nor the first time I wore it. You think I'd be better at noticing the details! (My feeble demonstration of pocket below - paired with sundress and yellow wedge heels!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bridge the Gap: Win a Free Pair of Jeans!

Today I have the lucky opportunity of holding another contest for my readers. If you've been around for previous contests, you know I make you work for it. Whether it was making you connect Mandy Moore to Kevin Spacey a la the Six Degrees game, or making you write a haiku the last time around for Gap - it's never just a luck of the draw!

And today, in honor of my way-old feature "If They Mated" (viva la Coco!), I've made one more mash-up of two famous ladies I love (both of whom have been featured in Gap print ads during their careers!):

So the first person to comment with the name of the two actresses mashed up and their e-mail address (so I can contact you!) wins a coupon to get a free pair of Gap jeans at any Gap, GapKids, or BabyGap!!! The coupon is only viable in the United States, however - sorry international readers!

As you may have read on this site previously, ever since Gap revamped the fundamentals of their jeans last year, they've been my go-to store for any denim shopping I may need. I've got three pairs now myself, and they sit on my hips so nice. Truly "Born to Fit"! Looking at some of their newer styles, I think it's time for me to go in for a new pair for the fall...

Comment away! I'll try to be vigilant of the comments and edit this post as soon as someone has won! Good luck!

EDIT - WE HAVE A WINNER!! - my blog readers are so savvy. Michele, first commenter, FOUR MINUTES after posting the contest, guessed correctly with Liv Tyler & Jennifer Garner. I think the If They Mated kind of looks like Denise Richards, no? THANKS FOR THE GUESSES!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Watch out for the Gap.

Last week, I came home from work to a great package from Gap! Just when I was in the market for a new, cool denim jacket - Gap came through. You may remember the Born to Fit parties and contest I posted about last year - well, here's more awesome design out of Gap.

It's got that trendy faded thing going on and it's thin enough for (most) summer days. The jacket totally adds some casual style points to a summer dress...

Ever since I received the jacket, I'd been dying to use it in an outfit - all outfits! - since I do love layering. However, New York has been ridiculously humid and hot. To the point that I would have a slick of sweat on me the moment I stepped outside. I know. Gross.

Luckily, yesterday the humidity had lifted, I came home from work to find a non-sweating husband, and we decided to celebrate by getting sushi and semi-stalking the movie filming on our street (it stars Zooey Deschanel and Paul Rudd, go figure!). It was also the first time that I could wear my new Gap denim jacket! I was very excited. Jesse obligingly caught me in the act of my sartorial happiness, and I didn't crack a sweat!

It's cute, am I right? I like scrunching the sleeves up a little. What do you think?

I also heard about an iPad app for Gap called 1969 Stream, and after making Jesse download it to his own marvelous device, I was stoked to see that my first blog post about Born to Fit Jeans was featured on the main page! SEE:

It's a free app that allows you to check out a bunch of celebs in Gap, other Born to Fit bloggers, Tweets about Gap, a Gap locator, and probably the most dangerous feature: you can shop directly. Looking through the clothes so easily was pretty tempting! I know where to turn for future retail therapy via the couch!

Finally, tomorrow I'll be throwing a little contest for one of you readers to get yourself some Gap denim for free! Check back tomorrow for details and how to win!

(Full disclosure: they sent me this bit of sweetness for free, but it's not like I had to blog about it, or, rave about it, OR hold a contest so that one of my readers could win some of their own denim!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

With brilliant luck and sometimes a bright idea.

You know how I keep blogging about that small band A Great Big Pile of Leaves? How, yeah, the drummer Tyler is my friend, but I also love his band's music? How stellar their newest album is?? How amazing they are live? How, I may or may not have tagged one of my posts, "trust me you'll want to know who AGBPOL is very soon"?

Today, a fall tour was announced.

YES! Motion City SoundtrackSay Anything & Saves the Day! The lads who brought you Commit This To Memory, ...Is a Real Boy, Through Being Cool! The band Valencia will be opening the first half of the tour dates!

And? On the second half of tour dates? A GREAT BIG PILE OF LEAVES!!!

So, if you haven't, you should REALLY check them out now. Right? Right. I mean, they are GIVING AWAY their latest, bestest album Have You Seen My Pre-Frontal Cortex? FOR FREE RIGHT NOW! Listen, love, and then rock out at the shows!

Here are the official tour dates:

October (with support from Valencia)
14th Soma San Diego, CA
15th Avalon Los Angeles, CA
16th House of Blues Anaheim, CA
17th Regency San Francisco, CA
19th Sodo Seattle, WA
20th Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR
22nd Avalon Salt Lake City, UT
23rd Summit Denver, CO
24th Sokol Auditorium Omaha, NE
26th Pageant St. Louis, MO
27th The Rave Milwaukee, WI
28th First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
30th House of Blues Chicago, IL
31st House of Blues Chicago, IL

November (with support from A Great Big Pile of Leaves)
1st Bogarts Cincinnati, OH
3rd Fillmore Detroit, MI
4th Sound Academy Toronto, ON
5th Starland Sayreville, NJ
6th Lupo’s Providence, RI
8th House Of Blues Boston, MA
9th Nokia New York, NY
10th Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA
12th Sonar Baltimore, MD
13th Amo’s Charlotte, NC
14th Variety Theater Atlanta, GA
16th Revolution Ft. Lauderdale, FL
17th House Of Blues Orlando, FL
19th Palladium Dallas, TX
20th Warehouse Live Houston, TX
21st Stubb’s Austin, TX

I'll definitely be at a few of them (remember, my husband's in that one band...), let me know if you will be attending as well! Who will be screaming along with me? WHO'S EXCITED?!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Walk fast, talk fast.

I think I've figured out a surefire way to meet new people. I mean, besides just walking up to a stranger and saying hello; it's a perfect segue to conversation. My secret is reading.

Let me digress for a minute: lately, on the internet and in talks with friends, I've been discussing thoughtful pieces on cultivating lasting friendships, meeting new people (friend- or dating-wise) without using the somewhat soulless staging of the internet, and making friends after you're done with the naturally social setting of school. As someone who was the perpetual New Girl growing up, I've been through all sorts of trials and tribulations in making friends - but practice makes perfect, right? So, I've dashed away any shyness when it comes to meeting new people. But there's something about making friends with strangers you know you already share at least one mutual interest - without even speaking to them yet.

All of this led up to today's morning commute. I was making my usual transfer from one train to another, and made my way to the door, where a fashionably dressed girl with bright red lipstick stood aside for me to get off. As I passed her with all the other bustling passengers, I noticed she was reading Christopher Pike's The Lost Mind. I paused for a millisecond before I had to continue on, lest I hold up the train and the other gruff commuters - but if I had the time to stop, I would have inquired as to why she was reading the book, and if it was because she had liked Pike books so much as an adolescent like me, or maybe after reading the trite Twilight series she was in need of trying out more substantial young-adult fare?

The point is: I would have said something and that may have led to a conversation, and maybe she wears red lipstick like me because she digs vintage 40s pinups and also Gwen Stefani, or maybe we go to the same bars sometimes and never ran into each other. Or, she could just smile and nod at me, totally nonplussed by my surprise that a 20-something was reading Pike on the subway.

And yes, I'm a total book nerd, and we're not all book nerds, but it's that one segue you need to spark a conversation between yourself and a stranger. It's happened to me several times while living in New York, and it's always: books.

With other areas of interests, it's not as easy to gather the pertinent information. Nobody talks during movies, and unless you're at a special screening of a classic you love or you see someone wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a line from your favourite movie of all time - you don't have an easy way to say "Hey." It's slightly easier with music - you could meet someone at a concert, though everyone's usually there with other people and, you know, it's loud. But there could be a quiet moment near the bar or in line on the way in. Forget that scene from 500 Days of Summer where Summer hears Tom listening to The Smiths on the elevator and starts talking to him: 1) music being blasted so loud in someone's ears that those nearby can hear it is super obnoxious and 2) there's no easy way to see what people are listening to without being the creep staring really hard at their iPod display.

But reading.

A lot of people might think reading is an especially private endeavor - unless you're being read to, you don't read the same thing with anyone else at the same time, right? But public reading is a different story. You can gather what others are reading displayed on the covers - whether in a Starbucks, at Barnes and Noble, at the library (though you have to remain quiet!), or, as most often in my case: on the subway.

Three years ago, I was reading Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker on the F train heading to meet someone for dinner. I was flipping the pages, reading contentedly, when the young man sitting next to me said, "Tom Robbins?" I looked up and saw a very nice face (I would even say model-nice) as he continued - "I can tell because of the illustrations between sections," pointing at the open book. "Yeah, it's my first Tom Robbins - I really like it." He smiled and said, "I love his stuff, you should definitely check out more." Then it was my stop, and maybe if I wasn't already intensely into the man I'd been dating for a month at the time - the man who told me to read Still Life - then maybe I'd've passed along my e-mail or stayed an extra stop to continue talking.

Another time, I peered over at the girl next to me as she opened a new book, and I read along with her the first few sentences of The Time Traveler's Wife - and those few sentences were enough for me to go out and get the book the next time I went to the bookstore. I wish I could thank that girl now!

Just last week there was a girl sitting across from me reading the totally awesome and yes, very fantasy, novel A Game of Thrones. When I was getting off the train, I got her attention and said "I love that series!" and gave her a thumbs up and a wave (nerd-style) and she smiled back enthusiastically. I've done this many a time - for those books where I think I'm the only person reading it. I think I've mostly gotten these types of exclamations in return when I read comic books - I've just started reading Runaways, so we'll see what the next few days bring.

When my book club was reading War and Peace earlier this year, I'm 99.9% sure fellow member Jaime got a shout-out on Missed Connections because of it. The ad described a tall, blonde woman who had been reading the giant novel War and Peace and that he would've said hi, but he didn't want to distract her. I sent it to Jaime and asked her if she'd been on the specific train at that time the night before, and she confirmed it.

I know it's easy to read on the subway every day, and that it's harder without a metro nearby to just go out in public and read amongst others - but I think it's definitely a way to instantly know one very small thing about someone else. And with that, making an attempt at conversation is far easier than without. Though I haven't exactly made any best friends out of my fellow subway readers, that's mostly because I don't really have time to cultivate new friendships - what with having a husband, six bestest friends, and many other friends and activities. But when ever Jesse and I leave New York and move to a new place, you bet I'll be reading in public, hoping for a stranger to pop up reading 2666 or maybe a Didion collection.

Have you ever stopped someone because of what they were reading? Have you ever been been stopped? Tell me your stories!

Monday, July 19, 2010

They come here to be woken up.

I spent the last two days at Warped Tour, and this morning I'm feeling - wait for it - totally warped. More on that tomorrow. For today: how's about those movies I saw last week? I'll forewarn you when I might get into spoilery territory...

The Girl Who Played with Fire

I was severely disappointed in this adaptation of the novel, considering how well the first novel was translated for screen. I enjoyed the sequel novel much more than the first book because it was focused on titular character Lisbeth Salander, and we delved deeper into her past. Plus, she got to demonstrate just how intelligent she is, despite her anti-social tendencies. In the film, the suspenseful and dark directing and cinematography of the first film was dashed away (because of a new director's vision, I suppose) and replaced with a bland eye and trite music. In the first scene of the film, we get a see-through computer screen superimposed over Lisbeth's face as she works. What is this, Hackers? To be sure: Noomi Rapace still accomplished the daring feat of embodying Lisbeth, but they watered the character down a bit for the film. The adapted screenplay missed many a mark from the novel. Here is where I detail some things that confused me - spoilers!

First, there are two things that I was glad they didn't include from the novel.

1. The entire first part of Lisbeth in the Carribean wherein she saves a woman during a hurricane from her murderous husband (who then gets swept away in said hurricane winds).

While I enjoyed reading about Lisbeth's time post-Vanger/Wennestrom scandal from the first book, I can easily understand why it didn't add to the rest of Played with Fire's plot. Plus, Carribean film shoots and the special effects necessary to re-create a hurricane scene seem easy to do away with considering a budget. Well done - I would have made the same decision, script-writer.

2. Lisbeth Salander gets a breast augmentation.

Lisbeth Salander?! Ultimate rebel who doesn't give two bits what anyone thinks of her?! In the book, Stieg Larsson emphatically tries to convince the reader that her decision makes total sense and that she is super happy with her bigger breasts since she was flat as a board before. It was completely unnecessary amidst the unfolding events to mention this, and it was continuously awkward whenever he did so. When she comes back to Sweden, there was always a line about her old friends noticing she'd been stuffing her bra or her breasts looked larger for some odd reason. I am baffled as to why it was even included. I'm all for a woman getting something done to make herself feel better, but it was jarring in the book to be reading about murder! scandal! torture! and then interject with a thought about how happy Lisbeth is with her newly sized breasts. And in the film, as demonstrated by a sex scene, Lisbeth Salander remains as she always was. I was imagining how awkward it was going to be film-wise, considering how awkward it was in the text. Point to you, film.

And much I despised some of the choices made my the filmmakers. (Continued spoilers)

1. The new characters cast. I didn't come to like the new journalist and his doctorate-writing girlfriend as much as I had in the book. When they were murdered, it didn't have the impact it did in the novel.
2. Harriet Vanger not on the Millenium board. What a great wink/tie-in it would have been to the first film.
3. Lisbeth Salander NOT actually being at the scene of the crime. In the novel, she shows up at the victims place to help them with a missing piece of their research, and leaves. Moments later, they are murdered, but the police have Salander's DNA on a tea cup she was sipping from while there. It undoubtedly places her at the scene of the crime, which makes the ensuing chase for her more dramatic, and it also showed how she was always a step ahead of everyone else. However, in the film she's surprised the cops are looking for her, and it was all because of the dumb mistake of touching Bjurman's gun (the murder weapon) a few days before when she threatened him in his own apartment. Don't try to base the narrative on such a simple mistake: it doesn't hold as much drama. In the book, while you read, you almost questioned if Lisbeth really did it or not. In the film, you don't at all, and you lose all that great suspense!
4. The police story being mostly eradicated, with little screen time given to Armansky and his team.
5. Bjurman being "caught up" in somebody else's vendetta, when in the novel, he was the one seeking a way to destroy Lisbeth. He gets murdered as in the novel, but it was much less satisfying a fact to find out since he was just a dumbass in the film. In the book: he was a conniving jerk who was continuing to make things harder for Lisbeth.

I can't even go on - it's gone too long already, hasn't it?

Bottom line: C; if you read the book, the film won't do it for you. If you haven't read the book, the film is still worth the action and drama, but the moody directing of the first film is sadly missing here.

The Kids Are All Right

Simply, this may be the best comedy-drama that comes out this year. Everything about the film is quality: the writing, the directing, and superb acting. Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a married lesbian couple with two children they concieved through an anonymous sperm donor; their kids want to find out who that donor is, and thus Mark Ruffalo's character enters into their lives. There is nothing cliche or political about The Kids Are All Right - but it definitely makes you think. There are lines that had me doubled over in laughter, they were so funny. And while I laughed, there's also recognition of a family's (any family's) relationships and all the familiar, universal truths residing within this incredibly satisfying story.

Bottom line: A; I highly recommend it, and hope that come awards season, the wholly original film and those who were involved in creating it will be recognized accordingly.


I feel lucky to have seen two smart, mature films two days in a row. While Inception is radically different from The Kids Are All Right, I also have to acknowledge that when Pixar is providing the best quality filmmaking out there, I get excited for a theater without children in it (I can only remember two other films this year that were of good quality in adult subject matter - Crazy Heart and Shutter Island).

All that said, director Christopher Nolan has achieved another great mind-bending drama, just as intricate as Memento - but easier to follow. The film looks amazing, the actors are all convincing, and Hans Zimmer's score adds to the film perfectly (think in the same way that Jonny Greenwood's score added to There Will Be Blood). There's something about Nolan and the way he directs with grandeur though his stories are usually about the human mind and the way it works - its strengths, its weaknesses, and above all, feelings of regret and guilt. Inception is no different; while a visually stunning thriller with a sci-fi edge, its power lies in the characters and basic human emotion. In this way, it actually reminds me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I don't believe I want to say much more about the film; Jesse hasn't seen it, so we're seeing it together this week, and it's something you most definitely must see to understand.

Bottom line: A; see this in theaters, see it now. (And please see Nolan's Memento if you haven't seen it either!)

Anybody seen these films? Read the Stieg Larsson novels as well? Fall totally in love with Mark Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right? Have creepy dreams after seeing Inception?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gonna have some great fun.

It's already Friday! The week's gone by pretty quickly since last Sunday's Warped Tour! Perhaps because work's been busy? It's been too hot to notice? Or the fact that by midnight tonight I will have gone to the theaters three times this week? Yes: on Tuesday I saw The Girl Who Played with Fire, last night I saw The Kids Are All Right, and tonight I will see Inception. (That's right: these films contain performances from two of my Top Fives) Expect a triple review coming your way soon.

Or all comes down to the fact that I'll be seeing Jesse tomorrow and Sunday! There's two more days of Warped Tour left for him, and then he's back to being all mine as soon as we drive home from New Jersey on Sunday night. Of course...he has some other shows he must leave for in the ensuing weeks, but we'll choose to savor the spurts of time he's home for now!

In other news: A GREAT BIG PILE OF LEAVES is performing tomorrow night at the South Paw in Brooklyn! I'm so excited to see them perform. They've been practicing their butts off and I believe this is their first show since the stellar album Have You Seen My Pre-Frontal Cortex? was released! If you're around, CHECK IT OUT:

And apparently AGBPOL isn't playing until 11:30pm, so prepare for a late night! BUT! Get there early enough (starts at 8pm) in order to get a free copy of HYSMPFC? - that's the prize for the first 50 people there! Anybody else coming?! It's going to be a great night!
What's up with your weekend?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I maybe perhaps sometimes write like.

Is it humid where you are? It's humid here. I rarely use the "Effects" on Photobooth, but then I explored, and I saw "Thermal Camera" and it seemed appropriate. So I've included one of my efforts, since people don't like posts without pictures, right? Right.

The humidity does not agree with me.

On to the show - yesterday a friend sent me the link to this site: I Write Like. As someone with a long-running blog, I decided to test a few of my posts. Surprisingly, this little gadget says I write most like James Joyce, an author I've never read. Ocassionally I'd get Vladimir Nobokov. For this post, apparently I wrote most like Stephen King - but I wonder if that's because it was about Fenway Park?

I have no idea how scientific this site is - is it based on sentence structure? Sentence length? Subject matter? - but, I will mention that when I input Keanu's letters, poor dude got Dan Brown. It almost doesn't make sense, because Keanu probably doesn't know what symbols like "+" "&" or "#" mean. Perhaps he knows "$." That's probably all he needs to know.

Which famous author does your writing resemble?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

There is no reasoning, it’s quite a silly thing.

A lot of people ask me for reading suggestions - given the fact that last year I read over 52 books, I'm part of a book club, and my penchant for daily commute reading. Last week a friend was planning their impending summer vacation, and asked for some "summer suggestions."

I decided to bring some to you, too. And I've categorized them! Since summer reading can go many a way. Generally I think you can read whatever genre, whenever you want, but let's go with the theme - this ain't time to read the frigid, despairing pages of Cormac McCarthy! You're on a beach! By a pool! Lounging in the sun or relaxing in air conditioning!

The Good Ol' Blockbuster

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (& sequels) by Stieg Larsson

The books, the Swedish films, the rumors for the American film versions - this series is legitimately everywhere! And you know what? They're good! You can believe in the hype. At least - for now. I just finished the second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and I believe it's a vast improvement on the first. Perhaps because we get more of kick-ass rebel Lisbeth Salander? Or maybe because the translation's just better! I can't wait to read the third, and ALERT: the wonderful Swedish film adaptation is currently available on Netflix Instant Watch! The sequel was just released in theaters, and that's what I'm seeing tonight!

The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike

This one's an oldie. If you've been reading, you probably know that as a pre-teen and teenager, I was obsessed with Pike's eerie novels. However, this was one of his adult novels, and it's a wee bit sci-fi, a wee bit vampiric - and a total page-turner. It's been a few years since I last read it, I may have to delve in again!

For a Laugh

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

Last year, Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea cracked me up. This year's choice had me laughing out loud on the plane to San Diego in June. If she wasn't so funny about her practical jokes, she could be a sadistic pathological liar. Good thing she's hilarious!

Hot Mess: Summer in the City by Julie Kraut and Shallon Lester

I read this a few summers ago, and the emo references and teen language were great for a light, funny read. Also, if you've ever seen MTV's Downtown Girls, its star, Shallon, co-wrote this!

Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis

Though definitely a dark comedy (the usual Ellis satirical stuffs) I am fully convinced that whoever wrote the plot to Zoolander definitely read this book. It's about the 90s, supermodels, and terrorism: I'm JUST saying. (It's also really violent and sexual, not for the faint of heart!)

Thought-Provoking Fiction

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

You may have recently heard of this novel because Kiera Knightley, Carey Mulligan, and Andrew Garfield (the newest Spiderman) are starring in a film version. Read it before you see it! I love this novel wholeheartedly, and unlike Dragon Tattoo, I'm pretty sure the movie cannot live up to the written word.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

I read this last summer on the honeymoon - it was perfect to read on the beach with the warm Aruban winds lifting the corner of the pages every so often. It's a saga in the way of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, set in South America and following a family through tragedies and a nation's militant uprising. Allende's settings and characters come to life instantaneously with her gorgeous and illustrative writing.

Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe by Jenny Hollowell

I contemplated grouping this with the comedies, but it made me think - think at what exactly I was laughing at. It's funny, to be sure, but in an almost sad, depressive way. Want to take a look into the seedy business of Hollywood? Go ahead.

Evening by Susan Minot

I read this novel for a class in college, but it still sticks with me long after. The writing uses so many flash-forward, flash-backward plot devices and descriptions that make you think; and it makes you emotional (was it just me?). You'll think of your own memories (many of them summer memories) and your first loves, lost loves, and even regrets.

Perfect for Short Summer Attention Spans

Runaway (Stories) by Alice Munro

Munro makes so much plot in so little words. Her stories could be ten pages long and you'd finish feeling like you knew those characters; her descriptions are succinct, plain, and perfect. I just read this last month, my first by Munro, and I can't wait to read more of her works.

Nine Stories by JD Salinger

I indeed despise Catcher in the Rye - but I truly love this tiny book. In fact, a friend "handed it down" to me last year for the bridal shower, and it was filled with little notes and ticket stubs from all over the world. I recently passed it on to another friend, and told her to leave her mark and pass it on as well. It's writing you can get attached to, but want to share with everyone else.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

I don't think I can even write about how much I love this collection of essays and articles. Ever since I read it last summer, I can't stop thinking about certain moments in this book, and in her writing. I've already reread a few of these essays, and can claim Didion as one of my favourite writers of all time.

A Classic for a Time Escape

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

If someone were to ask me my favourite novel of all time, I'd say this one. I read it one summer many years ago when visiting my family in Panama. I was under a mosquito net, the jungle outside my window, the humidity on every inch of my skin - and I relished in how I remembered everything even more clearly that summer because of this book. Also set in a deep South American jungle, the writing, though translated, is the best. One day I intend to read it in the original Spanish.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

And now to France! This novel made me laugh many times, but like Hollowell's novel, there's an underlying sadness and desperateness throughout the text. Wonderful read.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

For my final suggestion, a return to old New York. I still can't get Newland Archer's character out of my head - Wharton writes in an exacting, witty way and she gets across a lot in few words. If you enjoy Jane Austen and her musings on courtship, Wharton does the same in a much more biting manner. I'm currently reading The House of Mirth by her, and I'm glad to recognize her clever writing again.

*     *     *

Do not, under any circumstances, pick up Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I couldn't even finish it; what a self-indulgent snooze-fest. And I absolutely love her magazine writing! I was super disappointed. Okay, okay - I know a lot of people love it, and maybe you hate one of my own suggestions. To each their own! Let me know if you love/hate/can't wait to read what's listed! Any suggestions of your own?