Sunday, April 30, 2006

local music news

hotel lights' song "follow through" played over the closing scenes on grey's anatomy just now! awesome! (the negative side of this was that i was too busy singing along to catch all of the dialogue. i was all, "shut up, burke, i'm trying to listen!!")

they have a new ep out, by the way.

bar mitzvah/2006 books 58, 59, 60

Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
i was in new york this past weekend for my youngest cousin's bar mitzvah (which was a comedy of errors, as things generally are when the extended family gets together and when my brother is driving on the highway, but which ended in tragedy as the bar mitzvah boy broke his collarbone at hockey tryouts right after the luncheon ended).

anyway, i took some pictures, but as you can see from this one, the bimah is totally backlit by some big-ass windows and they didn't really come out. this is a picture of my dad holding the torah, by the way. most of the other pictures are of relatives preparing for family photos, and of the males of the family playing pool in my cousin's playroom. also be sure and go through the flickr photos to see my sister's cat's abnormally fluffy tail. seriously, it's weird.

fun weekend, plus plane rides meant book-reading time.

maile meloy's liars and saints
it was sort of weird to read this after the other meloy book--definitely they should be read in order--but it was still very engrossing.

jeffrey ford's girl in the glass
historical thriller type thing, as a couple of con men in the 1930s posing as mystics/seers/speakers-to-the-dead get involved in a real-life mystery when one sees the image of a missing girl during one of their seances. an entertaining read, interesting side issues involving the repatriation of mexicans and the popularity of eugenics during those years.

camilla gibb's sweetness in the belly
a young girl's parents are murdered and she ends up being raised in a sufi mosque, never quite fitting into any world she ends up in, trying to make a place for herself, finding love, etc. a really nice read about immigration and the political situation in ethiopia in the 1970s and afterward.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

2006 book 57

junot diaz's drown
this is sort of a book of short stories, and sort of a novel told in a collection of short stories--definitely the narrator/characters are the same for most of it, but it's not really clear if the other stories are the same narrator or someone else entirely. either way, they're very powerful, revolving around a young boy whose family emigrates from the dominican republic to new york. i keep seeing diaz mentioned on various book blogs, so maybe he has something else coming out soon . . . i certainly hope so.

on another note, i'm watching the antm clips show special right now, and dang! i cannot watch those girls in those crazy platform stilettos again! i had to run out of the room and write about this book instead.

Monday, April 24, 2006

2006 book 56

maile meloy's a family daughter
apparently this novel--in which a young woman grows up to write a novel that shakes up her family--is a companion to meloy's first novel (i believe the previous novel is the novel written in this one, if that makes any sense), which i haven't read yet, b/c it was checked out, but this one looked really good so i decided not to wait to read it, and i'm glad b/c i liked it a lot, and now it'll sort of be extra-interesting to go back and read the first one, which is sort of the centerpiece of this one. i really like when you read multiple books by an author and uncover other things about their fictional world and its inhabitants--i'm trying to think of examples of what i mean. david mitchell, i guess, and edward eager (some of his books feature the children of his earlier characters and some scenes are told from both perspectives in different books), but otherwise i can't think of any right now. anyway, i did enjoy this a lot and will be seeking out liars and saints.

2006 book 55

j.k. rowling's harry potter and the half-blood prince
sometimes you just have to obey your urge to reread harry potter books for the umpteenth time.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
yummy sunday breakfast! buttermilk scones (a recipe from this cookbook, which my brother and sister got me for my birthday), fresh from the oven, with strawberries, pumpkin butter, and a tall glass of oj.

now--anyone have any ideas on what to make with all my leftover buttermilk? :)

la maggie la loca

starting today, jaime hernandez is serializing a maggie story in the nytimes. but you don't actually have to buy a paper--it's online in a handy pdf form!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

2006 books 53 and 54

ted thompson, ed. noisy outlaws, unfriendly blobs . . .
i read this mcsweeney's anthology aimed at kid/YA readers in bits and pieces, b/c most of the stories weren't that great. the kelly link one was pretty good, and the neil gaiman was ok (i kind of thought it was leading toward cannibalism, and was a little disappointed when it didn't get there), but the extremely long clement freud story sucked, and the rest were pretty mediocre.

mary gordon's pearl
this book was awesome, on the other hand. it starts with a woman, maria, receiving a call from ireland (where her daughter is studying abroad) informing her that her daughter has chained herself to a flagpole in front of the american embassy and is on a hunger strike. the characters of these two women, as well as a close family friend, are explored in great detail as the reader comes to understand how this story played out. meanwhile, the narrative voice--an omniscent unnamed first person type--is pretty great as well.

unrelated: "american dreamz" is really a funny movie. i still have the song in my head 6 hours after it ended. highlights are too numerous to list, but i will point out to the buffy-fans that the dude who played warren is in it, as a hasidic jew. good times!

Friday, April 21, 2006


after a brief hiatus, i will be back on the air this sunday afternoon from 3-5 pm. i think it will be my LAST SHOW EVER AT WXDU! so, listen, or whatever: 88.7fm or

Thursday, April 20, 2006

2006 book 52

daniel handler's adverbs
i really wanted to like this book. i absolutely adore handler's narrative voice in the lemony snicket books, and was psyched to read his latest novel for adults (not that i've read the other two). but, unfortunately, i really disliked the writing style here. the story itself was problematic for me as well, with characters drifting in and out of little vignette-y scenes (and i'd be all, which one was joe again? or muriel, or whoever), and there were a lot of weird recurring images, like magpies, and volcanoes under san francisco, and people kept saying the same lines of dialogue over and over . . . this has a big ol' "this book is awesome" blurb from dave eggers on the back, so i guess if you like dave eggers, or the extremely annoying and incredibly pretentious latest book by jonathan safran foer, you might like this too. however, i did not like it at all. by the time he started namedropping bands like the clientele (who, to clarify, i love, and felt that their appearance in this novel unfairly maligned them) in the final chapter, i was practically rolling my eyes (whcih made reading hard). *shakes fist at daniel handler*

props to the dan clowes cover though.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

white chocolate lemon peppermint

is my new favorite flavor at locopops. it tastes just like when i was a kid and my school had carnivals and they would always have half-a-lemon with one of those soft peppermint sticks stuck into it and you'd suck the lemon juice up through the peppermint stick like a straw.

i tried to recreate this experience a couple years ago with some soft peppermint sticks i found at southern season, but they were too soft and sort of dissolved.

thank you, locopops, for encapsulating what may be my favorite taste sensation of all time in handy popsicle form. i have never used the term "sublime" to describe a popsicle before, but today, that changed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

2006 book 51

allegra goodman's intuition
this novel is a fair departure from goodman's earlier works (which, if i recall correctly--and i probably don't--focus on jews in the catskills, wacky families, etc). its major characters are the scientists and postdocs working in a cancer research facility in boston in the mid-80s (and, personal history note: as someone who at the tender age of 14-15 worked in such a lab, she has the culture down pretty well--not that any of the bigwigs or postdocs had much time for a high school freshman trying desperately not to butcher fruit-fly larvae). when one failing postdoc suddenly gets amazing, cancer-curing results, a colleague becomes suspicious of his claims. drama ensues! anyway, i liked this book a lot, and goodman's characters are all very well-written, even the more minor ones. i was especially fond of the three daughters of one of the lab-running bigwigs.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
in one month, i will be living in a cute little yellow house!

a few more pictures are at flickr--check out the awesome magenta walls of one room! they are not that bright in real life but it didn't seem like a good time to be messin' around with flash settings.

2006 books 46, 47, 48, 49, 50

i read five and a half books in under 40 hours this weekend (i also slept, valiantly tried to find passover-kosher food in a strange city on easter, drove around in circles, and found a place to live), which is definitely some sort of personal best. at least i think so.

brief summaries:

irene nemirovsky's suite francaise
the stupid bull's head bookstore files this under judaica instead of under fiction, even thoguh none of the characters are jewish and the subject matter doesn't really relate to anything jewish. this is a whole new level of ghetto-ization of authors. anyway, since the author has actually gotten more press than the story, here is the deal: nemirovsky, a ukrainian-born jew who spent most of her life in france as a well-known author, died in a concentration camp in 1942. her daughters, in hiding, had a suitcase of her writings, but never had the heart to read what they presumed were her diaries. it turns out she had planned a five-part novel about WWII, and had managed to write the first two parts before being arrested. of course it was shipped off to a publisher, became a bestseller, was translated, etc.

so, the story? actually, pretty amazing--especially considering that she was writing a novel of occupied france during the occupation. the last parts take place in 1940-1, and she was arrested in summer 1942. the story revolves around a good-sized cast of characters who all sort of connect to each other in different ways as france loses its battles and german soldiers move in. intriguingly, the publishers have chosen to add several appendices, one of which contains nemirovsky's notes/plans for the suite of novels, and another of which prints letters her husband wrote trying to find her after her arrest (before he, too, was taken away). very moving on the whole, but the novel would stand on its own without all the background.

anyway, if you're in chapel hill adn want to buy this, don't bother looking in the, you know, fiction and literature section.

dean bakapoulos' please don't come back from the moon
in a suburb of detroit, all the husband and fathers suddenly leave and their families are left to deal with the aftermath. this has a profound effect on their sons, who grow up with the same shadows over them. um, i'm tired and don't feel like summarizing the whole plot right now. this was a good book.

ellen raskin's the westing game
one of my all-time favorite books has recently been reissued as part of the puffin modern classics series. yay!!!! actually i think this is the only raskin book that is still in print (such a frickin' shame), but whatever, it has a nice new cover and compact size now. man, i loooove this book (thoguh as always found some of the writing at the end a little awkward). anyway, what happens when an eccentric old rich guy brings 16 disparate folks together in a weird game to inherit his estate? good times, that's what. personal history time: my 6th grade english class read this and we had to design book covers as an assignment, and i remember being livid that several unimaginative little girls gave away the lynchpin of the plot in their designs. the fools!! the jerks!! (um. anyway.)

johanna sinisalo's troll: a love story
translated from the finnish, this story involves a young photographer who brings home a sick and weak troll cub. gradually his obsession with the troll causes mad problems, yo. it's told through several perspectives and through (presumably fake) book excerpts. a dark, but enjoyable, story.

miriam toews' a boy of good breeding
i like a book that deals with small town canada. in this case, the mayor of the town is obsessed with being the smallest town in canada. meanwhile you have your whole small town family stuff going on, centering on a young woman named knute (with the equally improbably-named daughter summer feelin') who returns to the town to help care for her ailing father. highly recommended. (confidential to minty: one minor character bears your name!)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

2006 book 45

david mitchell's black swan green
so, david mitchell is like this amazing author who was totally robbed when that alan hollinghurst book won the booker a couple years back. and this is his new book! it doesn't go for the slightly surreal stories and complicated structure of his last book--it's the story of a thirteen-year-old british kid (and there is lots of wacky british slang) growing up and stuff in 1982. one of the things i like best about mitchell is that, through all of his books, he seems to be developing his own world--there are lots of connections between each of his novels, and this one is no different (some of the main characters in cloud atlas are mentioned here, briefly). ok, so i love mitchell and it's no surprise that i loved this book. however, there are a few things that rang false, like the main character thinking that no one will ever forget the falklands war! i mean, hell, i only know that war happened b/c i have a bunch of old doonesbury books, and i'm not sure i knew argentina played a part at all. and through the whole thing i was sort of like, "what happened to this plotline??" but the end made pretty much everything ok for me.

plus, neko case is tonight, whcih makes everything extra-ok!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


guess who just submitted her master's paper? that's right, ME!!!! (and lots of my classmates.)

celebrations will include: going out to lunch, reading more david mitchell, and making a tzimmes for the seder tongiht. possibly i will also watch netflixed dvds whilst peeling two pounds of sweet potatoes.

anyway, happy passover. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

april 11th!!!

sometime today, these two books will be in my hot little hands!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

ham on the street

i just want to give some props to this food network show, b/c it's hilarious! earlier this weekend i caught a bit where the host dude was making people guess what type of meat their hot dogs were made out of (if they guessed wrong, they had to do a shot of the hot dog water--gross!) and tongiht he's focusing on guilty pleasures and deep frying a variety of food items. i mean, you have your more traditional deep-friend oreos, but this guy deep fried cheesecake, a hot dog in a bun, some macaroni and cheese . . . and then convinced a dinerful of patrons to taste-test (unsurprisingly, things are awesome when deep-fried).

he also hung out in a mall eating a tube of cookie dough, and now he's making tiramisu out of a twinkie--my kind of show. :)

note that more food/baking posts will be appearing eventually--my sibs got me some AWESOME cookbooks for my birthday!--once the school stress lessens a bit.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

2006 book 44

angela davis-gardner's plum wine
here is the brief version: a young woman from raleigh (the author is a professor at nc state) ends up in japan as an english professor. a colleague and friend dies suddenly, leaving the north carolinian a chest of homemade plum wine, each bottle wrapped in papers revealed to be diary entries. enlisting the help of a local potter and friend of the deceased, who like her was a survivor of hiroshima, the american begins translating these entries. blah blah self-discovery, love affair, blah. i was really into it for like the first half, and then it got a little too sentimental or something, and the end was kind of really trite.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

birthday part 2!

Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
well, that was a pretty sweet birthday. thanks to everyone for coming out for drinks at lantern, and thanks especially to pinky for giving me a tiara to wear (which unfortunately doesn't show up in this picture--do my alcohol-flushed cheeks make up for it?).

sadly, lantern stopped serving food before we got a chance to get dessert, but since i got to gawk at merge folks and superchunk and dinosaur jr. over dinner with kate and chris, i guess it's ok. celebrities make birthdays more fun! especially when i am telling them it's my birthday and i have a tiara on!

there are a few other pictures at flickr--mostly i forgot to take pictures today though, so there aren't many. i think this one pretty much says it all! i am shocked to be 27.


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy.
today this little cowgirl is twenty-freaking-seven years old! holy crap!

me and some friends will be at lantern at nine for drinks and desserts, if you want to help me celebrate my oldness. :) (then it's right back to master's-paper-writing for me!)

unrelated: hooray for gray horses getting a feature in salon! i love hope larson. (one note: although she lives in canada with her husband, bryan lee o'malley [of scott pilgrim fame], larson is actually from north carolina.)

what a great day!!

(me and my brother, halloween 1982)

Monday, April 03, 2006

2006 book 43

paul auster's brooklyn follies
i read this entire novel tongiht by flashlight--there's not much else to do when the power goes out and you just can't get past that one fortress in super mario 3 on your gameboy (seriously, i have lost at least 70 lives failing to defeat that one koopa). anyway, this book was ok. it starts off sort of meh, with an aging dude in remission from lung cancer who moves to brooklyn, ostensibly to die (this never ever becomes relevant to the plot again, by the way). things pick up a little as the cast of characters suddenly explodes with zany relatives and/or new yorkers, but the story takes a nosedive down as it approaches the end, which takes place just before 9/11 and which is super lame for that and a variety of other reasons. this story was definitely not worth the crick in my neck from propping a flashlight on my shoulder, and it isn't worth all the dead flashlight batteries either.

at least my power just came back on, after 5 hours! woo!

2006 book 42

teru miyamoto's kinshu: autumn brocade
recently translated from the japanese, this novel is written entirely in letters between a couple who divorced ten years before the current story after the husband has an affair that ended tragically. they encounter one another on a train in the middle of nowhere and a correspondence ensues, during whihc their past and present stories are told. i really liked this book--it's sort of quiet and beautiful (or maybe that's just the cover i'm thinking of, as i glance down at it--either way, i'd recommend it).

Sunday, April 02, 2006


oh man, i just got a telemarketing call form the durham-chapel hill jewish federation, and i have never gotten such a contemptible call in my life. they are pimping out twelve year olds to do their fundraising calls. that just sucks! i mean, it's jsut mean to have a cute little kid call and ask for support. if the cute little kid hadn't started off asking for a hundred bucks, i may have been tempted, but instead i just laughed.

low blow, durham-chapel hill jewish federation.

i am glad i am moving to another state, where hopefully the local jewish groups don't play so dirtily.

in other jewish news, the kroger over in that shopping center on 15-501 where the dsw is has a pretty awesome passover selection. i got all sorts of snacks and goodies, althoguh i decided against the passover pizza mix (powdered pizza sauce seemed freaky).


the fact that i've missed both destroyer and the rosebuds this week to stay home and try to write is ALMOST made up for by the fact that i get to read astonishing x-men for my paper.