Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible by Tim Gunn

I'm a huge fan of Project Runway and Tim Gunn. I found this book at my library while I was skimming the shelves for new knitting books to check out and investigate. My local library is pretty small, as is the town I live in, so fashion books were literally shelfmates with the knitting books.

From what I've gleaned from the show and Gunn's other books, he likes the classics, but also likes a statement. But a tasteful statement. He's fussy about fashion but knows his stuff. This book cemented that impression.

Gunn walks us through the history of every article of clothing in your closet. He goes as in-depth as he can, and it's a pretty substantial book, but he notes fairly often that there is even more history that he has to skip over. Fashion has, apparently, been in our DNA since the dawn of time. Gunn covers: Underwear (it is your foundation to fashion, after all), T-shirts, dresses, jeans, dress shirts, belts, capri pants and shorts (word to the wise: if you adore your cargo pants, Gunn has some harsh words about them so man up), ties and scarves, coats, hosiery, sweaters, athletic wear (NO YOGA PANTS AT THE STORE), handbags, coats, etc.

The most important thing, I think, to come away from this book is

LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Please, for the love of God, quit wearing them as pants. Yoga pants should not be your casual wear to run errands. I love my yoga pants, but they stay on me only in the house. I don't wear them out to run errands nor should you.
Fashion definitely has its ups and downs. There are areas I do disagree with Mr. Gunn, such as, I do like my cargo pants. Are they attractive? I'm quite sure they are not, but I wear them anyways. I agree about the leggings and yoga pants. I agree about fit - wear clothes that FIT, not the size you wish you were. Americans have gotten to the point where comfort trumps style and that is a bit sad. Sure, it's comfortable to go to the grocery store in pajamas but have some respect for yourself. Getting dressed and taking a bit of care with your appearance does wonders for your attitude. There have been outcries about this: specifically that people with depression can't get dressed. I disagree. I also have depression but I have yet to leave my house in my PJs. When I am very down and out, that's when I usually pull out the red lipstick and cute shoes. I want to feel better and taking care of myself is the start.

Off the soapbox there.....

This book is a very fun read. As a knitter, I really liked the sweater chapter and the brief history of knitting. Gunn is an excellent writer and so easily appalled by fashion faux pas' that it's very entertaining.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

I finally got a book for book club read. This year hasn't been my year for the book club.

I started off reading this but decided to download an audio from Librivox instead since I had to spend a good portion of the day in the car. I recommend the version read by Chip. It was about 1.5 hours long and quite well done.

Sleepy Hollow is a short story that was published in 1820. I knew of the story but still know it best from the current TV show and the 1999 movie with Johnny Depp. Give me those Ichabod Cranes any day.

Sleep Hollow is set in a Dutch settlement called Tarry Town back in the 1700s. There are rumors and tall tales of the Headless Horseman, a Hessian soldier who lost his head to a cannon and now spends nights riding around trying to find it. Crane is a schoolteacher who has fallen for the 18 year old Katrina Van Tassel and attempts to woo and marry her. Unfortunately, also in the picture is Brom, who sounds like a douchebag, and who wants Katrina for himself.

Crane encounters the Headless Horseman one evening after being spurned by Katrina. He's never seen again. Irving left the story fairly open to interpretation: was there really a Headless Horseman or was the ghost that Crane encountered really Brom playing a prank?

Who knows......

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What is Punk? by Eric Morse

Another LibraryThing Early Reviewers success story.

This is an incredibly cute book telling of punk rock's history in rhyme with claymation type illustrations. While you could read this in less than 5 minutes, it's still worth picking up to read. Read it to  your child and, maybe, play the music! Teach 'em young.

We start off at CBGB (David Johansen's claymation is even wearing high heels) with Blondie, Television, New York Dolls and The Velvet Underground - all bands I still listen to today.

Then we grab The Ramones. Hey ho!

Up to Michigan to meet Iggy (seriously, put on a shirt).

Then over to the UK for some Sex Pistols, Clash and Buzzcocks!

Don't forget the females of this movement: Slits! X-Ray Spec! Siouxsie Sioux! Go Gos!

Onward to Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks!

Go read. Go listen.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

AKA A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Jenny Lawson is also known as The Bloggess. If you didn't find her with her blog or her first book (Let's Pretend This Never Happened) you need to find her with this book. You don't technically need a mental illness to appreciate this book, you could love someone with a mental illness or you could just be curious what all this depression this and anxiety that means. Jenny is here to help.

Suffering from depression and anxiety (along with several other illnesses) Jenny brings her incredible brand of humor to this book. Some of the things are pretty horrible, but she makes them funny. See how the subtitle works?

“What I want you to know: Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. Clinical depression is no fucking picnic.” 
This book consists of essays. Some hysterical and bizarre, some thought provoking, some "I thought I was the only one!". I have also been told by a medical person that I have depression. I feel it somewhat on a regular basis, when I'm down deep in the horrible dark well, but mostly I can still pull myself out and keep moving. I also have some anxiety, mostly in social arenas. People think I'm a bitch or cold, but honestly I have no idea how to talk to strangers. I panic and stop. I always thought it odd that I can handle giving presentations at work or elsewhere, but can't approach a stranger (or someone I know).

Jenny talked about this in one of her essays. Specifically how she is able to be terrified but still do book tours. One of the first "I thought I was the only one!" moments. She knows of what she speaks and she does so with profanity and great humor. Plus there's quite a bit of taxidermy.

Read her blog. Read her books. Listen to the audio because Jenny reads it and she is amazing at it.

“AWESOME. In fact, I’m starting a whole movement right now. The FURIOUSLY HAPPY movement. And it’s going to be awesome because first of all, we’re all going to be VEHEMENTLY happy, and secondly because it will freak the shit out of everyone that hates you because those assholes don’t want to see you even vaguely amused, much less furiously happy, and it will make their world turn a little sideways and will probably scare the shit out of them. Which will make you even more happy. Legitimately. Then the world tips in our favor. Us: 1. Assholes: 8,000,000. That score doesn’t look as satisfying as it should because they have a bit of a head start. Except you know what? Fuck that. We’re starting from scratch. Us: 1. Assholes: 0.”

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Pendergast #2

The first in this series is Relic (reviewed back in February 2013), which I liked. Reliquary takes the Museum Beast from the first book and goes deep underground to the tunnels of Manhattan. The sequel held my attention and was ok but definitely not as good as the first book.

We meet up with all the regulars from the first book: Margo, D'Agosta, Pendergast, Frock and Smithback. A few new faces are thrown in but don't bother with some of the names, their heads come off pretty quick. Something is out there killing folks again and taking the heads of the victims. No one really cares when the homeless are being preyed on but when a debutante loses her head, well, now we need to do something about this!

The authors claim that the Astor Tunnels (aka Devil's Attic) are real. A google search comes up inconclusive (but does point to this book as a source). Supposedly, thousands of homeless live in the abandoned tunnel system under NYC and since the Museum Beast abhors light, he goes underground. He...she....all of them. Because now there are many, many Museum Beasts.

Kawakita, a scientist from the first book, thinks it's a good idea to isolate the virus that manifests people into Museum Beast and sell it as a drug. I don't even know what to say about this one.

The ending, with the leader of the beasts unveiled and all the chaos that happens, was, at best, eh. It was a twist that wasn't completely unexpected.

I would say, this is a readable book, but stick with the first one and just enjoy that.