Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Morning Coffee (6/25/14)

Oh, no, Eli Wallach has died. (Have we talked about how much I love The Holiday? Now I will tear up even more at his scenes, I'm sure.)

Joe Dorsey’s Big Fight: How An Unknown Boxer Knocked Out Segregation In Louisiana

The Kiss That Changed Video Games

Did you see that viral tweet about someone's mother asking to be addressed as "Doctor" in a deposition? Here's the story behind it, and it makes it even better.

Ooh: Box containing Christmas gifts from Royal Family to World War One soldiers discovered

People keep buying Emily Schultz's novel Joyland thinking it's Stephen King's. Here's what she's doing with the money. Awesome.

Why Nicholas Sparks Matters Now

The Onion, but, you know, basically true: Study: Average American Tries Getting Out Of 10,000 Things Each Year

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Recommendation: Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
(Goodreads, Amazon)

TV writer Georgie's marriage is in trouble - and then she accidentally happens upon a way to communicate with her husband in the past. Can she fix things? Should she fix things? Will she somehow mess up the timeline? I've loved all of Rainbow's books, but this one just might be my favorite so far. The characters - both Georgie and Neal as well as the supporting cast - immediately captured my interest and my heart, and I'm in awe of the way that Rainbow gets them to a satisfying ending without sacrificing any of the very real pain they (and the readers) feel along the way or implying that everything has magically turned to sunshine and rainbows. (Er, no pun intended.) And the writing is such that I kept having to put the book down - even as I wanted to race through it - to absorb certain perfect sentences. If you like stories about relationships or family or friends or self-discovery or writing or TV or Christmas, read this book.

Landline comes out two weeks from today, on July 8th, so preorder or put yourself on your library's hold list now!

(Disclaimer: I know Rainbow, but I would not lie to you - I loved this book.)

Morning Coffee (6/24/14)

John Green was on The Colbert Report and it was great.

Awesome: "One of the nice perks about being president is that anybody will hand you their baby. I get this baby fix 2 or 3 times a week."

Update: Into the Woods changes possibly less terrible than previously reported.

Oh good: Judge Upholds Policy Barring Unvaccinated Students During Illnesses

The Supreme Court doesn't understand software, and that's a problem

"David Glowacki, a theoretical chemist, was forcibly ejected from a performance of Handel’s Messiah last week when he attempted to crowd surf."

Heh, this is perfect: The Convoluted Calculus of Rating Books

There's a quidditch documentary coming!

Discarded Descriptions of Women from My Contemporary Hard-Boiled Detective Novel

Monday, June 23, 2014

Morning Coffee (6/23/14)

Still breathlessly following the Whole Foods news: Locals look to get their products into new Whole Foods store in Nashua

My friend Alissa is starting a little free library in her neighborhood.

Ooh, they found some unknown Neruda poems!

The Queen is visiting the Game of Thrones studios. Awesome.

And the Duchess of Cambridge visited Bletchley Park, where her grandmother worked.

Whoa, there's a The Killing prequel novel coming out.

This Diagon Alley ice cream sounds amazing.

My Prestigious Literary Novel

Friday, June 20, 2014

Morning Coffee (6/20/14)

Happy Friday!

My friend Todd VanDerWerff is the new culture editor at Vox, and I can't wait to see what he does there.

Speaking of Todd, his news item on Taylor Swift's new kitten is delightful.

This is the funniest thing I have ever read. Just trust me.

Felipe VI is now King of Spain. Would you like to see some pictures? Of course you would.

James McAvoy for Prada is my happy place.

I am constantly trying to recapture this feeling: Why You Should Read Like a Teen Again

This slideshow of posh British actors is full of delightful information: Eddie Redmayne and Prince William were prefects at Eton together! Kit Harington is a descendant of Charles II!

I never met a Breton stripe I didn't covet.

Look, it's a 12-foot portrait of Prince William and Prince George made from Toblerone. The world is a magical place.

18 Things Only People Who Hate Camping Understand

I love everything about this: Flannery O'Connor on Ayn Rand: "She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Recommendations: Just One Day

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
(Goodreads, Amazon)

I'll say up front that Forman's Just One Day didn't quite recapture the magic of her previous duology, If I Stay and Where She Went. And that it took me a little while to get into this one. But it hooked me eventually - and perhaps weirdly, the part of the book that took place after the "one day" in Paris was much more interesting to me than the iconic day itself. The main character, Allyson, could be frustrating at times, but it was in a realistic way and wound up adding to the story overall. I like stories about kids who have trouble adapting to college (see also: Fangirl), and her struggles with trying to separate her own needs and desires from others' expectations of her felt very true (and familiar). I bought into her personal evolution more than the romance itself, but I think that was the point. Willem, the love interest, was fine, I guess - the next book tells his story, so hopefully I'll like him better then. Here, though, I found Allyson's friend Dee way more interesting. Also: this book DEFINITELY made me want to go back to Europe.

Morning Coffee (6/19/14)

(I feel like Thursday is "everything is terrible" day because I'm always worried about having enough happy links for Happy Friday. Oops!)

Isis breach of Iraq-Syria border merges two wars into one 'nightmarish reality'

Oh, but this is good: In Landmark Decision, U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team

A difficult but important read: This Is How A Domestic Violence Victim Falls Through The Cracks “The question you’re asking me is what’s wrong with the courts,” [the sheriff] said. “I’m asking you, what’s wrong with the women?” Yeah.

I knew very little about this: The Most Discriminatory Law in the Land

"Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?"

I Am Not Your Manic Pixie Bookworm (By my British doppelganger Kaite Welsh!)

Juan Carlos is retaining his immunity. Interesting.

That thing going around about how many immigrants are on the U.S. World Cup team? False.

Did Disney, like, see Into the Woods before deciding they were going to make a movie and then changing it all? (At this point, I'm basically just here for Chris Pine doing "Agony.")

Friday, June 13, 2014

Morning Coffee (6/13/14)

Happy Friday!

It's Friday the 13th and a full moon, and that's pretty rare.

I am extremely excited that they're finally publishing Margot Asquith's wartime diaries, and I have probably never sounded so much like my grandmother as at this moment.

And this new book on Jane Austen's country life also sounds interesting.

Grumpy Cat is starring in a Lifetime Christmas movie, which will include "cameos from other famous Internet memes." So. That's a thing.

Trust me when I say this long piece on Britney Spears, Las Vegas, and feminism is worth a read, even if you don't particularly care about Britney Spears.

Whoa: This Incredible Pen Lets You Write In Any Color You See

Harry Potter And The Forbidden Books

Nifty: Final Fantasy 14 is finally getting same-sex marriage

Western Art History: 500 Years of Women Ignoring Men

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Recommendation: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Houghton Mifflin, 1999
(Goodreads, Amazon)

Ideally, I would like you to go read this book right now without reading another word about it.

No? Still here? Fine. I'll tell you a little, but really - a librarian friend who read an advance copy of this told me to go into it blind, and that was really good advice. But if you must know, We Were Liars is the story of a teenage member of a rich New England family - like own-their-own-island rich - who has had something terrible happen to her. And really, that's all I want to say about the plot. I will say that the book has interesting characters, a very distinctive voice, fascinating structure, and all the trappings of a rich people summer house novel, which is a subgenre I love. It's a perfect summer read, captivating and mysterious. Oh, and if you can, clear out an evening, because you're not going to want to put this down once you start.

Morning Coffee (6/11/14)

A bunch of MLB teams had a Taylor Swift singalong on Twitter and it's basically the best thing ever.

Some Canadian kids hacked into an ATM on their lunch hour - the bank had left the default password - and rather than stealing anything, they told the staff and had their tardiness back to school excused because they were "assisting BMO with security." That's adorable.

Whoa, the Frick is expanding.

Hey look, an actually good piece about The Fault in Our Stars and YA!

Aww, Eric Hill (creator of Spot the Dog) has died.

I really like the new Matt Nathanson song.

Fascinating: The Trials of 'Entertainment Weekly': One Magazine's 24 Years of Corporate Torture

Oooh: Buckland Abbey Rembrandt self-portrait is genuine

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Morning Coffee (6/5/14)

The Senate has confirmed Keith Harper, the first Native American to be a U.S. Ambassador.

And the U.S. has appointed its first ambassador to Somalia since 1993.

I love New Yorker profiles, and reading one of someone I know is a really weird experience.

The Hairpin is starting a series on female killers with Erzsebet Bathory, and it's fascinating.

Crimean Vineyards of Last Czar Withstand Time and Tumult

"Here, money is weightless. Social connections, on the other hand, are commodified."

Author Cassandra Clare and audiobook narrator Jason Dohring interview each other and it's freaking adorable.

How to Wait Out Your Friend's Boyfriend