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Read: I Lick my Cheese by Oonagh O’Hagan

Another LitGeek! I both started and finished this novel today, it was so entertaining that I just HAD to do a post on it! In my opinion this isn’t really a book. I Lick my Cheese is page after page of notes left to….let’s just call them interesting roommates. I drove down to a nearby university city last night to visit some friends and found this little gem sitting on a side table (+1 for reading a physical copy of a book vs. my usual kindle version!) Needless to say for the next 3ish hours I was hooked!

The ‘chapters’ of this book are organized into the rooms where the notes were left (e.g. kitchen, bathroom) and range from the disgusting to the outright disturbing! Many of the notes are written post-it style however not everyone can be such a professional passive aggressive; there was one note scrawled on the back of a prescription!

It is hard to believe that all of these are real events! Some of the situations literally made my jaw drop. No matter my roommate situation, it has never been as bad as some of these! I will say that since the pages are filled with photocopies of the actual notes some of the handwriting is pretty difficult to read; and apparently grammar wasn’t a priority. O’Hagan has little blurbs at the end of each note which either gives more background on the situation or just an interesting anecdote. I’ll admit that most times I was too focused on the notes to read the blurb of text; but some of the truly shocking notes needed the extra detail! This isn’t really a book of substance, but it is very entertaining and would be a great summer read for an afternoon outdoors. Here are some quick snapshots of some of the more memorable notes:

and for one final gem (this one deserves the caption)

Read: Divergent/Insurgent by Veronica Roth

So this review marks the last of the books I read during my crazy 2 weeks of reading. Seriously I think I read 6 novels in 2 weeks! A friend of mine recommended Divergent to me, she kept singing its praises but I was most intrigued when she mentioned that she finished the novel in less than 10 hours! First a brief synopsis:

Divergent takes place in a dystopian society where citizens have been divided into 5 different factions depending on their ‘purpose’ to the society. The factions are: 

Abnegation: a faction that values selflessness; the people of abnegation hold many government positions because, by nature, they always look at what’s best for society rather than their own personal gain.

Erudite: a faction that values knowledge; this faction is responsible for technology and research. Erudite members are the doctors and researchers of the society, they tend to be a bit arrogant and believe they could do a better job at governing the society over abnegation.

Candor: a faction that values honesty, they say what’s on their mind no matter how hurtful those thoughts might be. They believe there is nothing worse than dishonesty and would rather be offended than be lied to. Candor members are sound leaders of the law because of their black and white view of the world.

Amity: a faction that values kindness. Opposite to Candor, Amity members would rather keep peace (in doing so perhaps acting dishonestly) rather than win an argument. They value happiness and freedom from human conflict. These members grow the crops for the rest of the society and heavily rely on Erudite for the technology to maintain them.

Dauntless: a faction that values bravery. These are the soldiers who protect the society. A dauntless member would rather die than act cowardly and are typically seen as members who make rash decisions.

So you might be wondering, what exactly is divergent? The novel explains divergent as an individual who does not fall into one of the set factions, as such they are often feared and seen as dangerous. Basically if you are one, you keep it on the down low.

So a quick summary: Divergent starts off with Beatrice Prior, a member of Abnegation who has never felt good enough or selfless enough to be a member of her faction. Until the age of 16 all the children of ALL factions go to school together to learn about the history of the factions and how they help society. Once children reach the age of 16, they go through a choosing ceremony where a virtual test tells them which faction they have the highest aptitude for; but in the end it is their decision to enter a new faction. Changing factions is typically frowned upon by your old faction since you will have to leave your parents and your ‘old self’ behind.

If you decide to enter a new faction, there is typically an initiation that you must do before being accepted by the members. This can range from hours of community service (abnegation initiation), jumping on/off of a moving train (dauntless), a rigorous lie detector or honestly test (candor), a large research report (erudite). Divergent is about Beatrice Prior’s decision to either stay with her old faction or change into a new one and the initiation process that follows. Tris begins to doubt the ideals of their society and with a potential war brewing many secrets of the society are revealed.

In case you are wondering, you can fail the initiation. If that happens members becomes fractionless which is seen as the homeless or poor people of society. They live through food donations through abnegation and cannot find jobs. Therefore you need to think long and hard if you decide to leave your birth faction because there really is no turning back.

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you are planning on reading the series, do not read any further as there will be spoilers (from divergent) mentioned.

Insurgent: So we now know that Tris is in Dauntless and her relationship with Four grows stronger by the day. Insurgent focuses on the war between Erudite and the Dauntless traitors vs. the other Dauntless members. The other factions (amity, candor) don’t want to get involved for the safety of their own members so the group has difficulty finding sanctuary. In this novel sides of the battle must be chosen, secrets are revealed and Tris must fully come to terms and accept her divergence to save the broken society.

Hopefully I didn’t give too much away in either description? I enjoyed both these books, I love the whole science fiction/dystopian society theme so I thought this was a really creative idea. I will say that I’m probably a bit older than the target audience for these books. As I was reading them just through the diction and structure I could tell it was meant for a younger audience which was a bit of a negative, but I still enjoyed them nonetheless. I wouldn’t say this was a series that I ‘couldn’t put down,’ I definitely didn’t read them in one sitting but they weren’t torturous to read by any means. I will admit I put off writing this review for quite a few days and I’m not really sure why considering I enjoyed both books in the series so far. I believe the 3rd installment in the series is due to come out in 2013, and I’m excited the see how the trilogy will play out.

Read: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Yes. Those arms ARE scary!

My first Lit Geek post! I’ve been on a reading kick this past month or so for some odd reason. Which is good I guess since I’m finally using my kindle a lot more. I came across Tina Fey’s Bossypants while randomly browsing bestseller lists (you know your into reading when you spend more time looking up bestseller lists than any form of real procrastination on the internet).

I really enjoyed this book. Its more of a series of essays rather than a typical biography however the novel does touch on Tina’s childhood, college life, her earlier days at second city as well as her current job as a producer for 30 rock. There are numerous pictures throughout this book detailing the bad haircuts, bad outfits…and just the downright bad! This is one of those books that I actually laughed out loud while reading.

Is it bad that I start to giggle every time I see this picture?

This book is full of zingers and one liners but they don’t feel forced or contrived. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she mentions the tribulations behind planning her daughter Alice’s Peter Pan themed birthday party, apparently you can’t by peter pan plates!

On Wednesday night, Alice and I drew a picture of Peter Pan to hang up at the party. I explained to her the apparent licensing problem with the plates. She was understanding and suggested we relax by pretending to be Wendy and a mermaid for the next sixty-five minutes.

This is a book I tried to read slowly because I wanted to almost savor it…and that worked…kind of. Instead of finishing this in one sitting (which easily can be done) It took me about 2-3 days, success right?

Here’s an interview Tina did on Ellen promoting her book, some of the things she says are direct quotes from the book so if you enjoy this interview its highly likely that you will like bossypants.