Tag Archives: the biblio files

The Biblio Files: “Never Have I Ever” by Katie Heaney

I finally got to read Katie Heaney’s memoir Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a DateIt’s been on my “to-read” list since I caught wind of it last January. The fact that someone around my age compiled a collection of essays based around their lack of a love life up to the age of 25 was all too intriguing to me. Does 25 seem too young to have a memoir regarding this topic? Maybe. But I think it’s amazing that us late bloomers finally have a voice in book form (that’s not fiction)! Reading Never Have I Ever feels a lot like you’re having a really intimate late-night conversation with one of your girlfriends about every aspect of her [lack of a] love life, and it’s quite fantastic.

Despite the fact that I’ve been in two relationships (but really, my first boyfriend hardly counts), I felt like I’d really relate to Katie because of what the contents of her book were all about — looking for love, never quite finding it, unrequited crushes, having high expectations, misadventures in online dating, etc. Upon finishing Never Have I Ever, that feeling was confirmed. And I totally feel like Katie and I need to be friends because she mentions Harry Potter numerous times, owns the old school Dream Phone game, likes sci-fi (I wonder if she’s a Whovian?) and spells ‘NSYNC the correct way. Seriously, the correct spelling of ‘NSYNC is so, so important to me! ‘N SYNC, N’SYNC, and ‘Nsync are NOT acceptable. Normally I use an Asterik (like she does in the book, and my preferred way of spelling the group’s name), but WordPress italicizes everything when I do so. But I’m digressing.

All the repressed memories regarding any member of the opposite sex that I ever fancied from grade school up to my mid-twenties resurfaced with each and every page! Like, seriously. Who hasn’t been pissed at a friend who decided to go after the guy you just said you had a crush on first (despite the fact that you had zero intention of acting out on your feelings)? And those times you made drunk phone calls to the object of your affection (or in my case text messages)(because ugh, talking)? Or being bummed out when your crush didn’t ask you to skate with them during couples skate time at the roller rink (yeeaaah ’90s kids!)? And how about the time the boy you really liked and thought that maybe something was finally going to happen between you two, and then he fucking updates his Facebook status to “In a Relationship” not that much long after you made out (or something like that)? Katie covers all this in a hilarious self-deprecating fashion throughout her book.

I found Never Have I Ever to be soooo painfully relatable. Yes, I know this is a book about a woman who has gone on a quarter of a century without a boyfriend, or dated anyone for a long period of time. And yes, I’m aware that a few years ago I talked about my stupid boyfriend on this very blog ALL. THE. TIME. But never mind the fact that I’ve had two boyfriends or have genuinely been in love with a boy that I didn’t create a fictional romance with in my mind palace — my experience with the opposite sex is actually quite limited. No one ever had a crush on me in grade school (except I think maybe one guy did) or middle school or high school — boys probably thought I was a whack-a-doodle because I made it very clear that I was going to marry JC Chasez or Gideon Yago. I’ve never gone out on numerous dates (there have been two cases that made me ask “is this a date?”)(one was, the other I’m still questioning), and boys don’t fawn over and flirt with me constantly. And if they do, I wouldn’t fucking know.

If you’ve ever felt heart broken over a boy that you were never actually in a relationship with OR even officially dating, have high standards of what you want in a future mate thanks to Disney, overly obsess on crushes, have felt pressured and odd by society to get your first kiss or virginity out of the way because you’re over the age of 18, or get carried away with your over active imagination that creates fictional scenarios regarding your love life, then you need to read Never Have I Ever. Katie knows that feel, girl. And you just might find yourself saying, “OH MY GAWD. YAASS!” with each chapter. cheers

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BookCon: Comic-Con for Bibliophiles!

I got to go to BookCon last Sunday while I was in New York and it was BANANAS — B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I had to spell it out Gwen Stefani style because that’s just how bananas it was.

I didn’t know that it was the very first one, or that Book Expo America (BEA), a trade show for industry folks, would be going on at the same time. One side of the exhibit hall was cut off just for BookCon while the rest was devoted to BEA and it was constantly crowded as BEA attendees were also permitted access to the show floor at BookCon and the panels. It felt like all I did was wait in lines for a majority of the time — lines to get into panels, lines to get into the bathroom (which sounds normal, but 30 minutes?), lines to get freebies, etc. It was mass chaos — especially when it came time for the The Fault in Our Stars panel. My sister and I didn’t even bother trying to get into the queue, so no John Green for me. 🙁

But with all that aside, I’m really happy that I was able to go! I just need to remind myself that it was their first go, so it wasn’t going to run perfectly smooth (no convention really does, in my experience). Hopefully they’ll take into account some of the snafus from this year to make the next one more successful. Plus I GOT SO MANY FREE BOOKS (pictured below)!!!

We went to the kickoff panel the night before where Tina Fey (AHH!!!), Jason Bateman, Shawn Levy, and Jonathan Tropper talked about and showed some special clips from the film adaptation of Tropper’s novel This is Where I Leave You. I read the book a couple weeks prior to the trip and I loved it. I’m all for stories about dysfunctional families (who isn’t?) and Tropper is a great storyteller, and based on the clips they showed it looks like it’s going to be a hilarious and gut wrenching adaptation. Oh, and I BREATHED THE SAME AIR AS TINA FEY (and Jason Bateman, but I’m mostly excited about TINA FEY). Just being in the same room as her was a f*cking honor! And Jonathan Tropper read a few passages from This is Where I Leave You to set up certain scenes they showed, which I thought was quite spectacular. He also wrote the screenplay, so it was definitely interesting to learn how he and the director decided to translate the book and figure out what parts to keep, what parts to tweak, and what parts to omit all together.

I also got to go to a panel that featured debut novelists Courtney Collins (The Untold), Yelena Akhtiorskaya (Panic in a Suitcase), and Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You) where they talked about their own individual journeys on how they got their first novels published — pretty informing stuff for aspiring writers. I also got a copy of their novels after the panel as well. I feel slightly bad though because the volunteer that was putting them on the table for us to collect them said, “One each.” I thought he meant one of each. But he didn’t. He meant literally only take ONE book. Oops. Courtney Collins’ book is in stores right now — I actually saw it at work yesterday. It’s such a trip to know I saw her and heard her talk about her book and a slew of other things!

SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE HALLWAY FOR THE PANELS. O__O

I got a free signed copy of Eric Smith’s The Geek’s Guide to Dating and I was pretty stoked to meet him since I started following him on Twitter after seeing an article about how he proposed to his fiance with a copy of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars last year. If anyone is qualified to write a guide book on dating for geeks, it’s him, no question. I mean proposing by way of The Fault in Our Stars? SHUT UP, OKAY? OKAY. I high fived him for that too (I’m very enthusiastic about high fives). And he also sent me a copy of Ransom Riggs’ Hollow City to review last month, so I was happy to be able to thank him in person. Which reminds me, I really need to get crackin’ on that! By the way, I highjacked the picture above from his Twitter page since my sister and I are in it. I look unamused, but I promise I was happy. 😀

Like I mentioned earlier, I got quite a few free books! This isn’t everything, but they’re the main biggies that I managed to grab. I still can’t believe I got the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter audiobook for free. CRAYCRAY! I also got a couple tote bags and a tumbler that says “I Read YA” which I will proudly sip Arnold Palmers out of as I read YA novels this summer.

Since the line to wait to get into the The Fault in Our Stars panel was too crazy for me (like holy sh!t, so many teenyboppers — but I’m glad they’re all fangirling over something respectable like TFIOS instead of boybands like I did back in the late ’90s-‘oos), so we headed to Jason Segel’s panel where he talked about his upcoming children’s novel Nightmares which he co-wrote with Kirsten Miller. Luckily we got there before the line got too crowded! Listening to him talk, it’s clear that he’s a child at heart which just made me appreciate him more than ever. He talked about some of the crazy nightmares he had as a child — a witch that would eat his toes, and being chased by Dracula in his castle, and how one night he dreamt that he found a secret room in the castle that Dracula didn’t even know about and he just chilled there. And he said that he believes in magic and called Kermit the Frog the Tom Hanks of Muppets.

Oh, bless him. ♡

I didn’t get to take a picture with the infamous Grumpy Cat (that line was too hectic as well), so I had to suffice with this crazy ass taxidermy Fantastic Mr. Fox looking fellow.

Did any of you get to go to BookCon, or watch The Fault in Our Stars or are excited for Jason Segel’s book and the movie adaptation of This is Where I Leave You?

Cheers,
Nina

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Meeting Mr. Gaiman

Earlier this month Tim and I got to meet Neil Gaiman in Santa Rosa!!! Tim bought tickets for the event months in advance, so given the fact that it fell on the day before Papang’s viewing was such a blessing because I really needed something spectacular to help cheer me up and get my mind off all the sadness that was going on back home.

It was so lovely just listening to Neil Gaiman talk about his writing process, what inspires him, how Shirley MacLaine asked him if she could touch his hair because she didn’t believe it was real and tugged at it (real hard), and he also read an excerpt from his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which is F*CKING GORGEOUS by the way), and a bit from his soon to be released children’s book Fortunately, The Milk, which will be released in September (or October… don’t recall). I’ve been excited about that one for awhile since I heard that Skottie Young is doing the artwork for it. His art is simply beautiful! But back to Neil. He also talked about how when he wrote Anansi Boys, there was a point where he just felt it was utter rubbish and called his editor apologizing for it, and that he’d stop wasting her time, that he would just quit writing all together, find a decent job or hobby (bee keeping!), and be on his way. His editor’s reply to that was, “Oh, so you’re at that part of your novel.” Apparently, he gets like this with each book he writes and she also noted that her other clients tend to do this as well. He said, “I couldn’t even feel unique in my own tragedy!” Haha!

Tim and I had requested an art commission from Jenny Parks to create a portrait of his dog Cabal, who passed away last year, as the 11th Doctor [pictured below] so we could present it to him as a way to say, “Thank you for your wonderful stories and for inspiring us in all of our artistic endevors.” Once we finally got in line I told Tim to give it to him because I was so damn nervous and I knew I was going to stumble over my words if I tried to say anything to him.

So, we were in the first batch of folks to go meet him and I had a silent panic attack because I was about to meet one of my, for lack of a better word, idols. Or maybe role model? I think role model sounds a little less intense than idol. Okay, so I’m about to meet one of my role models! I don’t write science fiction/fantasy per say, but the man’s an amazing story teller so it’s hard not to be inspired — y’know what I’m sayin’? Anyway, I go before Tim and I handed him my copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which had a sticky note with my name on it so he would know who to make it out to, and I wanted to tell him that I read it and thought it was so brilliant and that it helped me re-think about the way I wrote the narration of a story I did during my last semester at SFSU and haven’t touched in years, but my mind went blank. I said, “I work at a bookstore and was able to borrow it before I came here!” After I said that I was like, “You twit! Think of something else to say to recover!” But my thoughts were running in zigzags and my mouth and brain couldn’t coordinate a string of coherent thoughts, and he had already signed my copy of The Graveyard book and gave me thanks for coming. I didn’t even at least say, “I loved it and found it inspiring.” Nope. A co-worker told me that my being there was enough to show him that I’m a huge fan and whatnot, but NO!

I stood to the side as Tim was getting his books signed and then he presented the portrait to Neil Gaiman. He said “My girlfriend and I got this commissioned for you…” etc etc, and his eyes went all buggy as he looked at it and exclaimed in his charming British accent, “That’s my dog! As the Doctor!” And then he shook Tim’s hand and said thank you and I’m thinking, “WAIT! I GAVE IT TO YOU TOO!” x__x

But oh well! I’m just so glad that he really liked it and also the fact that I was able to just be there.

He’s actually going to have a panel tomorrow at Comic-Con and I have a day-pass for Sunday, so who knows. Maybe I will get to redeem myself 🙂

Cheers,
Nina

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The Great CATSby

outfit details – glasses: Derek Cardigan (buy here) // pullover: Out of Print Clothing (buy here)

Hello, Old Sports!

With the recent release of the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, I wanted to re-read the novel before seeing the movie… ’cause that’s how I roll. My expectations aren’t too high for it though; I already have a feeling that it’s going to be one of those the-book-is-better-than-the-movie kind of deals. And Christina Hendricks should’ve totally been cast as Myrtle Wilson, am I right?! I mean, Isla Fisher is gorgeous, but Myrtle’s described as having a bit more of a figure. Plus Christina Hendricks and Carey Mulligan are my lady loves, so it would’ve been mind blowing to see them in a movie together! Anyhow, I found my old copy from high school with notes dated from May of 2002 (#hellaold!) hidden within the pages, but both of my part time jobs have kept me busy and so has my Etsy store, so I haven’t really found a whole lot of time to sit down and read. RUGH. But thankfully audiobooks exist ! I just bought the version Jake Gyllenhaal narrates on Audible (it’s $6.95!!!), and I’m listening to it as I type this very blog post!

The glasses I’m wearing might look familiar — I put them on my “Wishful Wednesdays” post awhile ago. I bought them immediately after I wrote the post too. Waste time I do not! The frames are a lot smaller than I’m used to, but I really like them. I’ve always wanted to try out cat eye frames too. And just like my first order from Coastal.com, the glasses came in a nice case and also came with a bottle of glasses cleaner, a cloth to wipe them with, and a screwdriver to tighten/loosen the glasses. I was a little freaked out when I first put them on though because they were really narrow and had the sides of my face in a tight bear hug. I thought, “OMG, NOOO! I don’t want to have to return these!” And then I remembered that I could go to LensCrafters and have them adjust the glasses for me, and for free nonetheless. Crisis averted! I’m over the moon about these glasses, and I loooove the fact that they have semicolons and colons on them. It’s a subtle detail, but as someone who majored in Creative Writing I can’t help but be super excited about it. Haha! If you haven’t checked out Coastal.com, they have smorgasbord of fantastically wonderful frames and first-time customers get their first pair of glasses for free. Well, you pay for shipping, but other than that they’re FREE!

And don’t my new glasses look just dandy with my The Great Gatsby pullover?  😉

Cheers,
Nina

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Curator’s Corner #2: Nan Lawson

I don’t quite remember how I came across the art of Nan Lawson (I think it might’ve been a random Etsy find), but I just remember immediately falling in love with it! She’s very well known for her super quirky/nerdy art style and pop culture pieces from the likes of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Downton Abbey (I used her Lady Mary shirt in my Thoroughly Modern Mary post awhile ago), The Avengers, Doctor Who, Wes Anderson, etc. The Academy Awards also commissioned her earlier this year to create some pieces for their website of iconic cinematic couples for Valentine’s Day that people could send as virtual greetings (The Sound of Music and Gone With the Wind are pictured below). Nan’s work has also appeared in Timeout New York, Zooey Magazine, GadChick, and art galleries such as Gallery 1988.

I hope you all enjoy her work just as much as I do! Be sure to check out where to follow her on the interwebs and buy her prints, t-shirts, and other thing-a-ma-bobs at the end of the post. 🙂

“Summer”

“I Love My Piano”

“I’m Not a Hipster, I Just Dress Like One”

“The Piemaker”

“Max”

“Love is a Book”

“Gatsby”

“Friendship and Bravery”

The Oscars Love Letters – “The Sound of Music” & “Gone With the Wind”

“You Had Me At Meet Tornado”

“Joanie”

“Meow”

Spider-Man/Peter Parker

L-R: “Archer Avenue” & “Richie”

The Jerk

L-R: “The Rest of Our Lives” & “I Love You, But You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About”

“All of Time and Space”

Follow Nan on…

Cheers,
Nina

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Happy 200th Pride & Prejudice!

I’m the worst self-proclaimed bookworm that ever lived. I can’t even remember the last time I read a book! I have all this guilt festering within my innards as I have so many books collecting dust due to my negligence to pick one up and explore the stories their pages contain. I’m attempting to get back into the habit of reading often, but picking what book to start off with has been a doozy. But since today marks Pride & Prejudices‘s 200th anniversary I thought that it would be appropriate to start reading since I’ve been wanting to give it another go (I totally gave up on it when I was supposed to read it for a Jane Austen class… which I somehow passed with a B) — and I am SO OBSESSED with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube! If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a webseries that’s a modern adaptation of Pride & Prejudice and Lizzie is a communications grad student and the web show is to act as being part of her thesis. It’s super interactive too as each character has their own Twitter account and whatnot. Oh, and Jane Bennet works in fashion and has her own LookBook account! It hasn’t been updated in awhile which makes me sad because I really loved her outfits. *le sigh* It’s worth a peek though!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaires definitely played a part in me wanting to give P&P another chance. 🙂

Here’s the first episode of the series:

art by Nan Lawson

I’d love to ramble on a bit more, but I’ve got to get going or else I’ll be late for work. Enjoy your Monday! <– what an odd thing to say.

Cheers,
Nina

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Sweat & The City

All SF trips must begin at Dynamo Donut.

Yesterday Tim and I celebrated our 5 month anniversary exploring the Mission district of San Francisco and catching Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Orpheum Theatre. But holy crap, was it HOT. We got stuck in traffic at the Alta Mont just before Livermore on our way there, and once we finally reached the Mission there was a Cesar Chavez festival thing going on, which meant that parking was impossible to find. After 45 minutes of driving in non-stop circles, we found a spot on 20th street and proceeded to walk 4 blocks in beneath the sweltering sun to get our delicious Dynamo Donuts.

Vanilla Bean and Candied Orange Blossom donuts.

By the time we got there, my face felt like it was literally about to melt off. Despite the rare summer heat in the city that day, we had a really great time. 🙂

Tim and I went into a couple of the Dog Eared Books locations that are scattered about in the Mission and found some pretty cool things. Well, Tim did anyway. He bought TONS of books, including a copy of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace for me. I got a bit too overwhelmed with the selection and didn’t have my booklist with me. RUGH! I didn’t leave empty handed though. I keep adding onto the pile of books I need to read. There isn’t enough time in the world to read them all. *cries*

There were soooo many beautiful copies of books from the Wizard of Oz series.

My finds. Tim recommended ‘Demian’ to me since I was frustrated from the lack of books I was holding.

Tim’s finds!

And due to the fact that we were stuck in traffic and couldn’t find parking right away, our exploring time got cut short and we also didn’t have enough time to check out Ike’s Place (a sandwich place all my classmates at SFSU could not stop talking about). *sigh* We definitely want to go back again in the nearby future so we can do more exploring and do all the things we originally planned to do.

My atheist boyfriend.

Dia de los muertos Giants gear.

Holly Golightly!

We headed downtown around 6:30ish to make sure we wouldn’t be late to Spamalot and I got to eat my Cheddar Bacon Buck from Buckhorn Grill. It is a cheesy and meaty delight. If it had eggs, I’m sure Ron Swanson would approve. And even though it was dark out by then, I could NOT STOP SWEATING. Seriously San Francisco, I don’t think you were ever this hot when I lived in the Bay.

I’ve seen a lot of musicals at The Orpheum. This was my first time going without a family member.

I watched Spamalot a few years ago in Las Vegas (even though I hadn’t seen the movie first… I know, that’s weird), and I found it just as funny the second time around. And yes, I watched the movie immediately after watching the musical the first time around (in case you were wondering).

And that was my day. 😀

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