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and i need a job, so i want to be a paperback writer

Say Hello to my Butt*…Babysitters Club! (Or, Why You Should’ve Just Let Your Mom Fix Your Hair in Seventh Grade) 07/18/2011

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 9:10 PM
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It’s safe to say that my favorite books when I was a kid were The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin. Which is why it was totally crazy of my mother to give them to my cousins after I’d stopped reading them, only to have them donate the books to the church library or something, never to be seen again. Naturally, it took me a few years to realize that a)the books were GONE and b)they were NOT COMING BACK. (And then I whined about it for at least a decade.)

Luckily, in awesome Mom fashion, two years ago she got her hands on a pristine set of the books (from the 80’s**, before they redesigned the covers and made them ugly***), through book 82 or so (long after Ann M. Martin had stopped writing them and I’d stopped reading them.) I’d never been so happy. My broken heart was mended; my shelves are the envy of some.
(Insert raucous applause for mom here.)

I’d venture to say that the Baby-Sitters Club girls were like the Sex and the City girls of their day. I was definitely a Mary Ann, (who I guess grew up to be Charlotte?) except I dressed like Kristy. (A freaking slob. A thrown-away slob whose clothes never even remotely matched. I had a t-shirt that said “Freak in the Room” (complete with Fruit of the Loom logo.) It took me many years to learn how to dress myself and sometimes I’m still not sure that I know what I’m doing. I mean, I didn’t start wearing eyeliner until like a year ago. And I still don’t know how to fix my hair.) I look at pictures of myself from 7th grade and wonder why my mom ever let me leave the house looking like I’d been left on the side of the road for days. I realize now that she probably figured it wasn’t worth the fight and that I’d look back someday and wonder just what the hell was wrong with me — which is possibly the ultimate mom victory.
(Insert slow clap for mom here.)

The worst is probably my 7th grade school photo**** — I’d forgotten it was picture day, and so my hair was in fine form, pulled back into a ponytail, with a mess of bangs that kinda look like a deflated pompadour on my head. Like someone had taken my ponytail and flipped it back on top of my head so the ends of my hair made my bangs. Except they were my actual bangs, not a reverse ponytail. I was a mess. And the sad (awesome) thing was that I really didn’t care. (Perhaps I will locate this photo and scan it. Don’t hold your breath, though). Did Kristy ever care what she looked like? Hell no! That girl went for comfort from the get-go.
(Insert sideways glance and slow nod of approval for Kristy here.)

But I was also an extreme goody-two-shoes (still am) who did her homework and minded her parents (even if it meant sneaking Kudos granola bars out of the kitchen cabinet for a snack every now and then. Not that they would have denied me a snack. I was just afraid to ask for fear of rejection. And also, they were delicious and I was hungry.) And I didn’t play sports because mostly I was afraid of the ball. So, Mary Ann prevailed.

I didn’t relate to Claudia because I was smart (but I did admire her candy collection.) My cousins had diabetes, so they had Stacy covered (though from the big city they were not). And I probably didn’t meet any crunchy Dawn types until high school, but she was alright I guess. At least she didn’t come across as a major biotch like the other girls did (in at least one book apiece.) And I didn’t pay attention to the younger girls because I was one of the older girls. Mallory Who? Jesse Somebody? They are worthy of a pat on the head.

Tonight I just got a few new (used) books to add to my collection (for 35 cents each!) and felt the urge write a little love note to those books and to my momma. There’s a life lesson in here somewhere. (And it is to let your momma help you with your hair even if you hate hairspray and think it stinks.)


*Theme song parody courtesy of my family, circa 1994

**Acceptable cover:

***Unacceptable cover:

****There is a picture from a birthday party in 7th grade that is a pretty close second, though.


Oh, Hai 06/21/2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 7:52 AM
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I’m going on month 3 of unemployment (not as fun as you’d think), so I thought about blogging again.

I’ve been reading a lot of Charlaine Harris, and little to none of children’s and YA. I think this is indicative of two things: 1) my mental capacity right now and b) the segue into a new part of my career and my life.

So, cozy mysteries are about all I can handle right now, though I’ve been throwing in some nonfiction to try and keep my brain functioning (‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall, since I have started running, lazily, and ‘Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live,’ since I have been wistfully reminiscing about my comedy days.)

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse
Charlaine Harris
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1994

I started ‘Three Bedrooms, One Corpse,’ which is Book 3 in Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series. When I checked the book out, the clerk at the library saw the title and started laughing.
Quote: “Mysteries are so crazy! I mean, look at this title: Three Bedrooms, One Corpse. If there’s a corpse in one bedroom, what do you think happened in those OTHER bedrooms?”
I told her I’d come back and let her know when I was done.
Oh, and by the way, Aurora is supposed to be a “librarian” but she really is a library clerk. Aurora Teagarden did not go to library school and does not know about “Boolean logic.” She also doesn’t do library programming, cataloging, or collection development. She checks out books and reshelves them, which means she is an integral part of a library’s front line staff. Not a librarian. Front line staff are important, but they are not librarians. Not everyone who works in a library is a librarian. I don’t mean to be elitist, but I did not spend two years of my life and thousands of dollars to be lumped in with everyone who works at a library. I have a master’s degree and therefore I am a librarian. Okay, thanks, bye.

Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
Christohper McDougall
Knopf, 2009.

This book is about crazy people who are crazy and run mega miles in sandals. But apparently they don’t get running injuries like the rest of us so maybe we are the crazy ones.
Side note: My shins hurt like they’ve never hurt before.
Second side note: I am getting old.
Third side note: This is the kind of nonfiction I really like.

Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests
Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
Little, Brown and Company, 2002.

I suggest reading this book if you want to hate men in comedy!


Watersmeet 02/16/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 7:27 PM
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Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott.
Marshall Cavendish, 2009. 341pp.

I…think I may have to give up on this book before finishing. Never before have I experienced such euphoria in beginning a book (I was thoroughly engrossed and impressed at how good it was), only to feel crushed at how the book and characters failed to deliver after the 3rd section or so.

Abisina lives in Vranille, where she is an outcast for having dark skin, dark hair, and green eyes. The only person allowed to talk to her is her mother. Some guy-demon named Charach shows up one day (he has apparently been expected and eagerly awaited) and instructs the villagers to kill the outcasts. Abisina escapes, and her mother is killed — but not before she gives Abisina instructions to find her long lost father in the mythical, magical land of Watersmeet. Along the way, Abisina meets dwarves, centaurs, and all sorts of other creatures she’s been instructed to hate her whole life. Eventually, she makes it to Watersmeet and meets daddy, and that is where the book turns bad.

Up until the arrival in Watersmeet, the book was quite solid. Shockingly solid, I’d say. So, how in the world did it fall apart so badly? Maybe Abbott was possessed by a child while she was writing the second half of the book — that’s certainly how it reads. For example: Abisina is distraught at the idea of going to war for Watersmeet against Charach, because she doesn’t know if she can bear the thought of watching her father die in battle. She goes on for pages and pages about how she is NOT GOING TO WAR. Then, her father asks her to go for a ride (horseback), and a couple of trots in, she is all like OKAY YAY I AM TOTALLY GOING TO WAR. I mean, hello — show me some freaking inner turmoil, here! Or at least a couple of lines of dialogue in which Daddy tells Abisina not to be scared (we’re not dealing with Arwen, here)…


It just seems to be lacking…something. To say that I am disappointed in this book would be an understatement. However, I wouldn’t be nearly as disappointed as I am if the first 200 pages of the book weren’t as good as they are. (Sorry for the excess of negatives).

Anywho, if I ever finish this book maybe I’ll come back to tell you if it redeemed itself.