My First NaNoWriMo, Please Send Cookies

I have officially signed up for NaNoWriMo. It’s absolutely nerve-wracking. It’s the first time I’ve even considered signing up for this monthlong novel-writing frenzy, and I’m both excited and nervous. Wish me luck! Also: with my sister’s wedding in a month and a new article quota at my job, I don’t expect my word count to be above 3,000. That’s a short story, right? ;)

Username is laplusheureuse. Feel free to send absurdities to my inbox if you’re participating yourself!

Gone Girl, a Women vs. Men Murder Thriller

For three days I sat with my right hand permanently glued to my Kindle, watching the screen flash with each crazy page I read. This is Gone Girl, and it was a lot more than I’d expected.

8442457I read the book because of the hype. I love being a part of things when they’re happening and I wanted to see the movie when it was released so I took the time—Halloween time—to read this book and man, was I in for a ride. If you don’t know already, here’s the premise: Nick Dunne is a Missouri boy with a New York wife, Amy. They have to move back to Nick’s hometown after they both lose their jobs. After two years back home, Nick comes home to find Amy gone and a crime scene in his living room. He is the prime suspect. Because the narrative switches between Amy and Nick, readers learn about their five-year marriage from two differing perspectives. With such polar-opposite stories and no other suspects for murder, who is ultimately telling the truth?

So yeah, it’s a helluva ride, and definitely a whodunit with a huge psychological—and psychotic—element, but the thing that struck me most about this novel was its portrayal of how men and women perceive and treat each other in society. Without giving anything away, a truly despicable character says some pretty astute things about dating and how women are liable to tailor their personalities to suit men’s tastes:

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl…I waited patiently—years—for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy.”

Of course, the “Cool Girl” phenomenon isn’t new. Every five years or so a new feminine “ideal” comes along to replace the one before it, but placing the argument against the “Cool Girl” in the mouth of a truly abhorrent character is an interesting move. It challenges you to align yourself philosophically with a murderer. It tests your sympathy. And it also forces you into the perspective of the undisputed villain of the story. What she says is undoubtedly truth, even though you can be disgusted by everything else she says and does. You should hate her, and rightfully so, but she’s (disturbingly) kind of wise. Continue reading…

Anniversary

October 25th was this blog’s first birthday.

It has been a year since I sat at my computer, freshly graduated and frustratingly unemployed, and decided to fulfill a forgotten dream: become a blogger. I started it for a myriad of reasons: to achieve a goal, to get contributor positions at websites, to have an excuse to wear pretty clothes. And now, a year later, I’ve gotten so many more opportunities through this blog than I could have predicted twelve months ago. And more important, I’ve created something unique and reflective of who I am, so yay! Here’s what the page looked like those 365 days ago:
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My chandelier obsession has mutated somewhat.
 
So thank you. For commenting, following, liking and reading. Couldn’t have done it without ya. 

a Jordan Baker Halloween

“The bored haughty face that [Jordan] turned to the world concealed something…”

I’ve never been a flapper for Halloween and always wanted to be, but this year I’ll be more than just a flapper: my costume is inspired by Jordan Baker’s costume in the 2013 film version of The Great Gatsby, which I’m sure you know I’m obsessed with. I like the idea of my costume being semi-literature related, and the costume idea made me delve deeper into Jordan Baker’s character, and I realized I never paid her enough attention whenever I read Gatsby. Here’s a telling description of her:

Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body.

Jordan is a professional golfer, so a self-made woman in a way. She was suspected of cheating during a game, moving the ball from “a bad lie.” Interesting choice of words, huh? She spends a lot of time in the beginning of the novel with Nick Carraway, who is “half in love with her” but lets her go when he begins to realize that she’s a careless person too, just like Daisy and Tom Buchanan.

A lot of Jordan’s characterization is sacrificed in the movie, but with costumes like these, it’s hard to care:

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I’m modeling my costume after her black dress, and I like that the clothes I’ve chosen don’t have a typical drop-waist silhouette. I have this irregular hem skirt and a halter top, along with a whole lot of jewelry. I’ve still got some shopping to do but I’ll post the costume here when it’s done! Can’t wait for Halloween…

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Lily Bart Broke My Heart // A Review of ‘The House of Mirth’

The House of Mirth stole my heart—and then bitterly shattered it—all in a neat 347 pages. I loved this book, but I’m never trusting Edith Wharton again. I suppose Ethan Frome should have been my first clue.

The House of Mirth features the dazzling, beautiful, manipulative yet endlessly charming Lily Bart, a New York socialite who has been raised and pampered to be nothing other than the decorative wife of a rich man. At 29, Lily’s time—and her beauty—is running out. To cement her place in high society she must marry, but at each opportunity to marry a rich man she runs away from the opportunity, her instinct and unfortunate morality taking precedence over her one goal: to catch and marry a rich man.

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She’s sometimes arrogant, always charming, putting on a show to satisfy the theatre of a world she lives in. She is aware of her beauty and flaunts it, using it as a weapon against women and men, to either charm or assert her dominance:Continue reading…

Reads and Recs: A Bookish Halloween

Trying to get into the holiday spirit? If you’ve carved pumpkins and made your costume, gone apple picking and are glued to 13 Days of Halloween, reading a Halloweenie book is another great way to spook yourself into the holiday spirit. So I’ll be checking out these books this month!

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Gone Girl

Isn’t everyone reading this book nowadays? I’ve had this book on my Kindle for over a year and have yet to read it. The opportune release of the movie right near Halloween is the perfect time to finally get to it!

The Diviners

This book…is the scariest thing I have ever read. There’s this horrible murderer on the loose in 1920s New York who whistles before he kills you…and then he eats your body parts. I CAN’T EVEN. But still—I love this book because it was written by one of my favorite YA authors whom I’ve been reading since I was 12 years old, Libba Bray. Bonus photo of her signing my circa-2004 copy of A Great and Terrible Beauty at this year’s BookCon:

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The Shining

I’ve never read this book, but I always remember that episode of Friends when Joey stuck the book in the freezer when he got too afraid. I am anticipating a similar recourse from my terror.

What are you guys reading this Halloween?