Sunday, June 30, 2019

Streaming picks for July 2019


We like a couple hours of TV in the Choco household every night, and there's no shortage of options. Unfortunately, the shows we watch are sprinkled among so many services that remembering them all is like trying to keep track of a handful of marbles scattered across my dusty floor.

I've resorted to making lists so I can remember what to watch. My husband says it's a good problem to have; I say he should finally catch up on all those episodes of Fear the Walking Dead clogging up our DVR before we run out of space.

Most of what we watch, however, streams through our Roku TV like a gift from the entertainment gods, no DVR space required. Join me, won't you, as I compile my streaming watchlist for July?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

10 Brilliant Book Titles

10 Brilliant Book Titles

It seems I'm always reading about or looking at books. They pop up like old friends I haven't met yet in my Goodreads feed, book bloggers' tweets, and new ebook additions to my library's catalog. And lists. I can't resist new and notable, year's best, summer reads, book club favorites. You list it and I'm probably there, scrolling away and saving to wishlists or setting a library hold.

Now and then a delightful title reaches out and almost physically grabs my attention. I experience a brief joy bubble when I find one of these. The creative, irreverent, funny, saucy and badass titles always have a home in my heart and my links folder.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Oh my, it's hard to write this one. I wanted to love this book, and at several points I nearly did. But I greatly disliked it many times as well. On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I alternated between feeling it was a 2, and believing it was definitely at least a 4. I'll split the difference and go with a 3.

Based on critical reviews and enthusiastic endorsements from other authors, I was excited to get my hands on Trust Exercise. It proved a slog for roughly the first 50 pages before it picked up for me, becoming increasingly interesting with each flick of the page. But wouldn't you know it, the drudgery returned and increased to fever pitch at the start of the second section, which switched up perspective, tone and time period. I made notes along the lines of "This is so fucking boring." Then this section slowly morphed into something more intriguing, much as the first had. The author's fancy footwork and deft writing skills became ever clearer, drawing me back in.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

6 Awesome Books Worth a Read AND a Listen!


Some people love reading a book, some groove to a good listen, and sometimes, when the planets align just right, you'll find a book that's worth your time to do both.

I discovered this quite by accident, but realized I could gain something unique and complimentary by both reading a book I loved AND later going back and listening to it (or, in some cases, alternating between both at the same time).

Monday, June 17, 2019

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine

Sticky Fingers by Joe Hagan
“Those bastards broke up Cream?!”

Yes, a negative Rolling Stone review that included the words “blues clich├ęs” made Eric Clapton faint, then ditch Cream in 1968. “I was in a restaurant and I fainted. After I woke up, I immediately decided that it was the end of the band,” Clapton is quoted as saying in the book (there was no word on how high you have to be to pass out over a bad review).

At this point, I stopped reading and excitedly told my Clapton-loving husband the tale. To which he exclaimed, “Those bastards broke up Cream?!” I was delighted at how ticked off he was, especially since the band broke up before either of us was born. It’s those delectable tidbits culled from four decades of Rolling Stone covering the music world (and Hollywood and politics) that make this book a fascinating read.

Friday, June 14, 2019

SeinLanguage by Jerry Seinfeld

SeinLanguage by Jerry Seinfeld
Seinfeld remains one of my favorite sitcoms ever. I own the DVD set with a tiny collector's puffy shirt, and I went back and watched all of the commentary long ago. Yet I had never read Jerry Seinfeld's SeinLanguage even though it's been out for almost 25 years!

I decided to rectify that recently. I picked up the mass market paperback on the cheap, and reading it served as a reminder why I never want mass market paperbacks again. The book is itsy, the print is bitsy, and it overall doesn't feel nice to hold or read. So, last one of those that's coming through my door.

As for the content in those little pages, well, it was OK. It's composed of various of his stand-up bits, organized by topic. For instance, in the first section titled "Freeway of Love," it's further divided into "The Date," "The Sex," "The Relationship," and "The End." Many of the jokes here were featured in the stand-up segments of his show. I've been rewatching Seinfeld the last few weeks, and recognized a lot of the material.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a tale as old as time – or at least as old as the existence of political internships. Very young woman meets much older, powerful man and sparks fly. The one who’s got the balance of power weighted massively in his favor and who supposedly has so much more to lose should not encourage the crush, should shut it down – but doesn’t.

And when the truth hits the fan, and it always hits the fan, it’s a temporary bit of rough seas for the man, which does not derail his life, career or marriage. The former intern, however, becomes a punchline, her education and intern experience now meaningless on resumes that no one wants.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Manage when library ebook loans arrive using OverDrive & Libby


Ever get a notice the ebook you put on hold at the library is available, but the timing isn't ideal to start a new book for some reason? Or it's just a bad time to start that particular book? I used to run up against that digital wall all the time.

Maybe it was bad timing because I had another book (or two) in play already, or I wasn't in the mood for that book at that moment, or it was for a book club and I preferred to read it closer to the meeting date. The last one is a biggie echoed by several others I've been in book clubs with over the years. Many people (myself included) prefer to read the book within a couple weeks before their group's discussion so it's fresh in their minds.

Monday, June 3, 2019

20 romcoms that give a jolt of happiness


Sometimes I need a mood boost, something uncomplicated to make me happy and forget my woes or stress. It's not always easy to find. A good movie can give my spirits a lift, but it needs to be sweet and fun, with no sad ending or violence to bring me down.

That's where romcoms come in to save the day! But when I'm feeling like I need perking up, I can't always decide what will do the trick. That's why I made a list of go-to movies to provide a much needed pick-me-up, just to keep in my back pocket for a rainy day (rainy days being perfect, of course, for snuggling up on the couch under a plush throw to watch a lovely, happy, romantic comedy. Preferably with a glass of wine and chocolate). These are my favorite go-to romcoms; I know there are some hugely popular ones not on this list, but I'm just adding ones that ring my bell. Augment at will!