Review: Eleanor & Park

It doesn’t feel right to even review Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. This wasn’t just some book. It was an emotional entanglement, an experience that happened to be reading, all eyes absorbing and synapses firing. Eleanor & Park made me angry. It made me uncomfortable. It made me cry. It also made me soar and hope and love. It was a difficult book to read, but I’m so glad I did.

2015-08-24 21.44.26It is 1986 in Omaha, Nebraska. Eleanor is the new girl in school. She’s red-headed and bigger than the other girls. She is not particularly secure about this. She wears boys clothes, over-sized shirts, the opposite of girly. She has garnered the unfortunate nickname of Big Red. Then there’s Park: half-Korean, quiet,  listening to his rock music, reading comic books, just trying to fly under the radar. He does martial arts and has the precarious respect of some of the “cool kids.” Both are misfits, in their own way. This is the unlikely story of how they fall in love, of how a brief moment of compassion and embarrassment in the cutthroat jungle of a high school bus can serendipitously lead to something more.

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Packing Is Hard

At the end of August I will be moving into my new apartment with Neil and Mike. This is very exciting. The place we’re moving to is a little bit more manageable in terms of size and it is beautiful. The neighborhood is quiet and its managed by an actual landlord instead of one of those dreadful management companies (you know who you are). Compared to where we are living now, it is going to be an oasis of paradise.

However, getting to that point is a process.

Case in point, I have an apartment, a large apartment, shared by five people with an excess of crap in it, some of which doesn’t even belong to any of us and was left by the previous tenants. There are a lot of things to sift through, a lot to pack, and a lot to throw away. I’ve been harvesting boxes from a number of sources, namely, my office, my coworkers, and liquor stores (beer and wine boxes are SO sturdy). I’ve made lists upon lists of all the rooms we need to tackle and in what order. We’ve even packed up all our books (which, believe me, is no small task). But I still feel like I am forgetting something or I’m not being organized enough. I’m terrified everything won’t be ready in time.

Plus we have so much stuff to get rid of: kitchen goods, furniture, housewares, blankets, books, random blank notebooks. It all needs to get rounded up and donated or given away. Staying in one place for a while is a comforting thing, but it is awful what accumulates: stuff upon stuff. I feel this desire to just shed everything and start from scratch. This next apartment is going to truly be my own. The one I’m currently living in was my friends’ college apartment and though I liked it here, it’s never felt like home. It felt like an in between place. I’m hoping I can carve out a little place in this new apartment, which puts a lot of pressure on it. There’s a lot of stress and anxiety in that hope.

It doesn’t help that we are moving on September 1st, the busiest moving day in the city of Boston. And it does not help that moving in general is confusing what with the whole lease ending at 11:59 pm on the 31st thing. And it really does not help that I still have this secret hope burning in my chest that I will get an e-mail from our realtor any day now saying that the current tenants have moved out and we can move in early, thereby abating any moving day anxiety that I am currently experiencing. *hyperventilates* I also learned far too much about the water service laws in the state of Massachusetts today. The more you know.

Everything will be all right, I’m sure, as both Neil and Mike keep telling me. It wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t constantly fretting. I just want to make this move as smooth as possible. I’m sure snags will rear their ugly heads, but I’ll try to meet them head on and keep the weeping to a minimum.

If you have any packing/moving stories to share, feel free. I’d love to swap war stories. WE CAN DO THIS. SUCK IT SEPTEMBER 1ST!

Until next time!

Review: The Magician’s Land

Th stirring conclusion to the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman is presented in The Magician’s Land, the final book in the trilogy. As a warning, this is the end of a series, so if you have not read the previous books, this review might not be for you.

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The third book picks up pretty much where the second leaves off: sad Quentin in cool displacement, having been cast out of Fillory and unceremoniously dumped back on Earth. Slightly broken emotionally and having nowhere else to turn, Quentin returns to Brakebills where he takes a position as a teacher and throws himself into slightly arcane study. Meanwhile, Janet and Eliot worry about Fillory, which faces its most difficult and dire dilemma yet.

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Boston Comic Con

Whoo! Boy howdy, did I have a looooooong weekend; hence why this post is coming in so late.

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I spent my Saturday and Sunday at Boston Comic Con, representing the Boston Comics Roundtable (the oldest and largest collective of independent comics creators in the Boston area). I’ve been doing a fair amount of work for the BCR lately, particularly of the promotional variety. There are some very talented cartoonists and writers in this organization but not nearly enough people to sing their praises. I’m happy to be in the chorus.

Our latest anthology Spellbound, front and center
Our latest anthology Spellbound, front and center

BCR was an oasis of calm in the chaos of Boston Comic Con. I’d never been to one of these cons before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It’s totally crazy. So many people! The convention completely sold out on Saturday and it was just swarmed. There’s hundreds of booths in the expo hall and hundreds and hundreds of people walking up and down the aisle, coming and going, looking around, looking everywhere, some in costume, some not, but all with a very short attention span. It was the job  of myself and my cohorts to try to get a few minutes of their time, to explain who we are, what we do, and why they might want to buy some independent, local comics.

It was a crazy couple of days, but my goodness if it wasn’t fun! I’m not a marketing professional. I don’t have a degree in it or any real professional training. I had a few internships that covered marketing in book publishing and some that touched upon it in an editorial capacity (specifically social media), but nothing shiny or super official. Though I am nothing if not enthusiastic, and if I like something I want to tell people about it. That’s where much of my marketing philosophy comes from: sheer excited energy. And there was plenty of that to go around this past weekend.

Our table was so pretty!
Our table was so pretty!

I had such a lovely time hanging out with my fellow BCRers and met some really wonderful people.  I also saw (and read) a lot of excellent comics. Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by the table, both in front of it and behind it. We are nothing without our supporters and members! I was really grateful for the opportunity to participate. I can’t wait to do it all over again!

Until next time.