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THIS IS MY ENTIRE LIFE RIGHT NOW.

The Middle: I tore through the entirety of season 3 last week, and I'm currently two-thirds done with season 2. I want to talk about it nonstop, but I have the worst time coming up with specific things to say. Or even general things I have not said a thousand times*. I'm just really happy that my theory of this being a classic SYNDICATE-IT-NOW comedy was proven true when I watched a bunch of season 2 episodes I actually saw at some point when season 2 was airing (Axl's hot/dumb movie theater manager is one of my favorites), and I still loved them.


That, and Mike and Frankie's marriage is rapidly becoming my favorite TV marriage. Watch your squabbling backs, Halperts.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out why I dubbed Sue "Snarky Daughter" the first time I saw her, as opposed to "Impossible Optimist" or "Fabulously Without A Shame Gland" or "Loud & Proud Professional Dork" (and I say all these things with love).

Axl has grown on me over the past month, and I find him a lot funnier now, whereas before he was just kind of there. Brick remains something I would like to tie a load of bricks to and drop off a bridge*, but what can you do. (*Brad also falls into this category. Less Brad, MOAR CARLY in the future.)

And Frankie is basically America's Sitcom Sweetheart, because that's who Patricia Heaton is.  Although I have to say, the more time we spend at her job in the used car lot, the gladder I am we have shed that in season 4 and are looking forward to a new profession for her.

Still one of the most comforting households on TV right now. Or ever.

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Glee:
Season 3's Christmas episode was a smashing success (told you! told you I was right to love it), and then since the entirety of season 3 had been spoiled, we backtracked to "Rumours," which was almost as good. Got to show off both Kristen Chenoweth being adorable as April and Terri.

Tomorrow's planned screening is "Prom Queen," since that's pretty much lodged itself in my #2 spot for season 2 at this point. It has great music and pretty dresses, plus this is the episode I like to credit as the turning point in my Kurt/Blaine shipping inclinations, but I am not entirely sure it won't backfire and undo the progress we have made on her liking Season 3 Kurt. It's a delicate tightrope of a line between sympathetic and whiny. I wish Santana's garbage wasn't stuffed in here too, making the GLB storyline ratio tip dangerously high. I also can't decide whether to warn for it or not, because imagine if you actually didn't know who got the title crown until it happened. I can arrange this.


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Speaking of books I read yesterday (and holy crap, I have 17 checked out right now - not including DVDs and CDs)...


Frozen Heat: I did a happy dance before I even got to the story, based on this --
To all the remarkable, maddening, challenging, frustrating people who inspire us to do great things.

The beginning is cute, with a couple more references later on to his early recovery from Coma Times. Did not love
[recurring character death spoiler]
Don getting his brains blown out at Nikki's feet -- come on, Castle, dude has grudgingly grown on me! uncool!

-- not even for the consolation prize of Nikki eventually sobbing in Rook's arms about it soon after. (okay, maybe that was a little nice)

Howled with laughter when they kept getting abducted, more so at the point where they wake up handcuffed together. Hah! Look, this is the first time I've tracked the show closely enough to get canon references. I was inordinately amused.

I love the wild, random-ass backstory they concocted for Nikki's mother, and it was far more exciting than usual to have solving that murder be, essentially, the main plot. Was NOT expecting it to be
[massive spoilers!]
Petar; wow, you are just all about burning those bridges today, aren't you? The reveal of not-dead!Tyler Wynn was quite the firework, though.

And good that they solved it, but still left some openings for Hypothetical Book 5. Overall, it started out a little slow, but once they started digging into the past I was hooked.

p.s. my very favorite thing about this book is how it had no patience for steamy scenes. Like, every time, it was along the lines of "So they're kissing, here's a sentence or two about that... 'And then they had sex.' The next morning... "

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The Fault In Our Stars
You may or may not be familiar with my legendary 1-sided feud with simultaneously Pretentious/Dorky Dad Type author John Green stemming from how much I loathe Looking For Alaska.

[more recently, I have come up with reasons to just dislike the author]
Being a dude who writes YA novels that mostly feature boys, he is already predisposed to write obnoxious and irritating characters, as his first book thoroughly proved. I see his .gifs all over Tumblr, and he is just...augh! STOP IT. STOP TRYING SO HARD, and please stop using that smug tone to talk down to people who use bullying-type language. It just makes my normally passive and lazy, described by everyone who has met me in real life as "sweet" and "nice" self want to go out and bully people, maybe start beating people up if they will not be hurt by my words because at least the act of punching someone offers you gratification.

The fact that he has this enormous audience of fans lapping it all up and all his books are all well into the 4-star realm on Goodreads after tens of thousands of ratings (whereas the vast majority on the site hover in the 3-4 star range) drives me up the wall. THERE ARE SO MANY AMAZING LADY AUTHORS WRITING ABOUT NICE, NORMAL GIRLS WHO DON'T SWEAR OR HAVE SEX AND WHERE IS THEIR STAGE, I ASK YOU, WHERE!

*pant*


Aaaanyway, after LFA and its undeserved praise, I banned him from my reading list ever again. Until this summer. When he was traveling in a bunch of the same book circles as Chris Colfer (probably those names should be the other way around, but NOPE), so everyone who was writing about Land of Stories was also writing about this book.

I would have written it off sight unseen, except then I heard it was a cancer novel and it was sad and the main character was a girl, and that was basically all I needed to go, "Damn it. Shields down/wheels up. Gimme."

And god help me, I loved it. I must have read a lot more about it than I thought I did, because I kept thinking details and passages sounded familiar until I realized they were actually straight from this book. I thought the main character was going to be bratty and unpleasant from the way she kept talking about cliches in cancer books and how she was telling the "real" story, but I must not have read many cliche cancer books, because she sounded pretty ordinary to me.

My biggest complaint with LFA was the unnecessary sex and swearing. Not only was the swearing way toned down (though not entirely absent), it was mostly reserved for awful things happening to people because of cancer, and I feel like swearing is justified when you're dying slowly and painfully.

[major plotty-type spoilers]
I was disinclined to fall for the pending romance as long as she was, and then she fell in love and I went, "Oh, okay." The requisite sex was mercifully light on detail, and again, I tend to not mind this as much if one of the teenagers involved is terminally ill and they're in love. However, if you have read the book, and if you know what gets me invested in love stories, you can probably definitely imagine the point at which that tune changed to "OH, OKAY!"

(for the unnecessary record: the part where he admits that his own cancer is back, and not just that, he's basically walking cancer. Picture Robin Scherbatsky in the middle of her weirdly excited "if a guy's got a scar, he's got a Robin. And if he's missing teeth, I'm missing my pants" speech.) Naturally, I bawled my eyes out by the end, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much was left after the bawling point.


I really like how everything concluded, I think. I was legitimately afraid it would end mid-sentence like the stupid novel referenced in the book, but it definitely does not.

The only question now is whether it was a 4 or 5 star read. It could possibly be 5 -- even though I try to be stingy with those, they've been happening more often since I joined GR. I don't want it be 5 because that just sends the wrong message, that this book is great because it's by John Green, rather than in spite of. I'm also afraid it might have inflated hype from traveling in the same circles as Land of Stories, and that fandom osmosis was at play, making me build it up in my head until I was pre-determined to love it no matter what. The fact that I watched and eagerly waited for it on my library request list for 3 solid months probably doesn't help.

But it was definitely good, with memorable characters and excellent plotting, and I will definitely snap up the first copy I see for $2 or less to own.

p.s. the copy I read from the library was a signed copy. Who does that? Why does my library have a signed copy? Even one of the pre-done sort that comes with a sticker announcing it as author-signed?

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Finally: I may have come home with 15+ books from the library bag sale yesterday. Oops? In my defense, the library makes you pay $3 (non-refundable) for a bag before they even let you enter to look around on Bag Sale Day, which I knew, so I was determined to load up on non-ex-library books I could resell to Half Price for a couple bucks, thus negating the entry fee while also acquiring at least a couple of good books to keep. (undoing a year's worth of book purging in a month: that's the RS way!)


Nothing I found on this trip qualifies as treasure, and very little of it even qualifies as sparkly costume jewelry, but god, there were just SO MANY good ex-library YA novels in such fantastic shape that anything I'd read that was 3 stars or higher went in the bag. There is at least one in here that actually creaks. I don't know if I really want to keep any of them, but I feel obligated to at least foster them until I decide whether they can be rehomed or if I need to preserve them in case they go out of print and become scarce.
IMG_1333

An overview:
-Anything without a library sticker on the side is getting sold.

-Say the Word and Viola in Reel Life are the only two I bought just to read (except I didn't read the former's whole summary, and now I'm jettisoning it unread now because NOT HERE AND NEVER HERE for divorced parents going gay). -

-The titles you can't read at the top are Becky's Mare (1960s Scholastic paperback I'll read and maybe keep but probably sell; it doesn't look special), Where The Lilies Bloom, and 2 CDs: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack and The O.C. Mix #5.

-I already own a copy of Final Grades, but it's one of my favorite books ever and out of print and...still sells for the cost of shipping, but I couldn't just leave it. It had a 25-cent sticker on it from the library sale cart and it didn't even sell at that price! I'll figure out what to do with it later. This one is ex-library too, but it doesn't have the plastic wrapper and it probably is in worse condition to boot. Oh, self.

-Hot Lunch and Dramarama are keepers I left behind on Thursday; the former has recipes mixed in and the latter was just cute. Deenie might stay for its cute 1970s cover. The remaining YA novels are probably fosters: high quality writing but not stories I'm likely to look at again, unless I get a strong case of the Worthy Books Deserve Permanent Homes Guilt.

-My favorite book in the whole stack is, unsurprisingly, juvenile chapter book The Comeback Dog. It's 1980s and full of beautiful sketch illustrations and I am partial to it because it was a group reading book in 4th grade and I did an A+ book report on it that I still have.

There may be one final library sale on Thursday in the other nearby county. That of course I will be attending. THEN we go into semi-hibernation as the holidays begin to approach.

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