Between the Lines Book Club: A Gentleman in Moscow

between the lines book club logoWelcome back to Between the Lines Book Club! Our next book is A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. We’ll meet to discuss the book at Arden Dimick Library on June 24, 2017 at 10:30AM. Please join us!

A Gentleman in Moscow is about a Russian nobleman, Count Rostov. In 1922, he is sentenced by the Soviet government to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel. For thirty years, he sees Soviet life from the window and through the stories of the hotel’s visitors. Despite the grim history of the USSR through WWII and beyond, the book never lacks for humor and fun.

I hope you all enjoy the book! Leave comments here!

My Schedule at Baycon

itVe-C3sSo excited to be heading back to Baycon, or, as I call it, “My Family Reunion.” Baycon is happening in San Mateo, CA from May 26 to May 29, 2017. Here’s my schedule:

Girls will be Girls

Saturday 16:00 – 17:30, Inspire 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

Why are so many YA dystopias centered on young women? What about this particular genre is so appealing to (or inclusive of) young women and what does it say about our society?

Loren Rhoads (M), Teresa Edgerton, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Linden Tarr, Carrie Sessarego

Science Fiction (and/or Fantasy) as a Tool for Social Change

Sunday 13:00 – 14:30, Synergy 5 (San Mateo Marriott)

Deborah J. Ross (M), A.E. Marling, Stephen “Dirk” Libbey, Carrie Sessarego

The Hunger Games

Sunday 14:30 – 16:00, Inspire 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

One of the quintessential dystopian works of our time, Suzanne Collins’ series prompts a deeper look at how we view dystopia, children and heroism.

Linden Tarr, Carrie Sessarego (M), John O’Halloran, Chris O’Halloran

Why’d You Steal That Baby?

Sunday 20:30 – 22:00, Connect 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

Evening merriment abounds at this one, folks! Our intrepid panelists have 2 minutes each to answer our moderator’s most scintillating questions!

Steven Mix (M), Carrie Sessarego, Susie Rodriguez, SallyRose Robinson, Cindi Somebody Cabal


Top Ten Characters You Love to Hate

Zim2Looks like someone hijaked my blog again! Here’s a post from our teen correspondent, Linden, who has thoughts.

Top Ten Characters You Love to Hate

Hello readers, yes, all ten of you. It’s me, Linden with another top ten list! If you don’t know me I’m a 13-year-old slightly insane photographer with obsession for all things geek. You might know me from my review of a terrible Harry Potter fan fiction (My Immortal) that I wrote when I was probably ten and my more recent Top Ten Mable sweaters list that was going to be the beginning of a lot of other Top Tens before I gave up on that because I’m flakey…But I’m back now! Welcome to the Top Ten Characters That you Love to Hate! (one is the least loved to hate and ten is the most loved to hate)

1. Team Rocket (Pokémon)

Prepare for trouble and make it double with these three crazy Pikachu capturing villains. Team Rocket is relentless with capturing Ash’s Pikachu and who can blame them, that Pokémon defies all laws of well…Pokémon. Team Rocket is actually the reason I stopped watching Pokémon because they always fail by “blasting off again!” and it gets old fast. However despite how annoying they can be, and the fact that they ARE the bad guys it’s impossible for me not to smile when I hear their iconic motto or see their pictures. They have so much personality and I hear that spoiler alert they got married in the manga how cute is that! They also get some great lines, Meowth also said a quote once that stuck with me to this very day. I remember at one point he said, “It’s the first day of the rest of your life.” And ever since he said it I lived by that quote.


2. Mojo Jojo (Powerpuff Girls)

No, I’m not talking about the new 2016 reboot. I’m talking about the original amazing Powerpuff Girls we all know and love, specifically everyone’s favorite evil ape Mojo Jojo. Mojo Jojo is the main antagonist of Powerpuff Girls and his personality stands out because of his awesome voice and funny dialogue. He’s incredibly fun to watch and just a great villain all together. However he IS a villain and it’s hard not to root for the Powerpuff Girls as they save the world from his evil schemes. 

3. The Unicorns (Charlie The Unicorn)

If you or a loved one is named Charlie then you probably already know about this series due to the number of people telling you to go to candy mountain. Charlie The Unicorn was a YouTube animated short series about a grey unicorn named Charlie who just wants to relax and be his unicorn self. However two other unicorns want to go on crazy adventures with him and refuse to take no for an answer. They are willing to do anything from pester to opening a portal inside his body and then dance in it to get Charlie to join them. They also steal his kidney in the first episode and later leave him to die greeting, “oh, you’re…back” when he somehow finds a way home. Nevertheless the unicorns prove loveable with their ridiculous voices and funny dialogue. Now if you’ve seen Charlie The Unicorn you’ve probably also watched Llamas With Hats which is made by the same people and are wondering why Carl the murderous llama who eats hands isn’t on this list. Well nobody loves to hate Carl. They just love him because Llamas With Hats doesn’t have much in the way of plot. Charlie The Unicorn has hardly any plot ether, but it has more then Llamas With Hats.


 4. Joker (Batman)

If you don’t know who the Joker is…how? How even…I mean what? Joker is the worst of the worst. He’s Batman’s most formidable rival and always will be. Joker the epitome of crazy and we well, love and hate him for it! Actually the only reason Joker is so low on this list is because of Harley. I used to think that Harley and Joker were relationship goals, but then I actually saw them interact and I realized that Joker is simply manipulating Harley and keeping her in a toxic relationship where she does everything for him and gets nothing in return. That’s not something that someone would love to hate that’s just something to hate. Harley deserves so much better and the way he treats her is just gross.

5. Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls)

Bill Cipher is a dapper dorito demon determined to rule the universe and turn the bodies of everyone in Gravity Falls into a throne. He is pretty much a triangular Satan. He even makes deals with people in order to gain power! Bill has made everyone and their mother scream on multiple occasions (that’s based on a true story!) However despite being pure evil Bill is extremely fun to watch. He’s voiced by the shows creator (Alex Hirsh) and has some lines that are…they’re just beautiful. My personal favorites are, “PAIN IS HILARIOUS!” “OH I’LL HOLD MY HORSES…I’ll HOLD THEM…YOU MONSTER.” and, “HAHAHA…IT’S FUNNY HOW DUMB YOU ARE!” If you’re wondering why his quotes are in all caps it’s because that’s how he thinks. Bill even gets to sing the song We’ll Meet Again in one of the last episodes. 


6. Misa Misa (Death Note)

Misa Misa is, simply put an idiot, an idiot who happens to be madly in love with the main antagonist, Light. She’s easily manipulated, ditzy, and the provider of the show’s fanservice. What’s to love about this girl you ask? She’s an idiot! Death Note is an extremely serious show with very few funny moments. Misa however, is almost always part of the reason anyone watching starts to laugh. Her ditzy personality is so different from that of the other serious characters that it’s comical and her shrill voice just makes it funnier. Laughing during a show like Death Note is heaven

7. King George (Hamilton) 

Oh King George, you crazy romantic. You’re the psycho ex of all of America! While King George was a real person (the king of England for that matter) and we’re sure he was heartbroken when America left England for that sexy beast that is freedom, we all love and despise him for his three songs in the Broadway musical about the revolutionary war, Hamilton. Originally George was only going to have one song, but he was too good to only appear once. His first song, You’ll Be Back features him singing about how sure America wants to leave him now, but they will lose the war and will have to let him lead them once again as if nothing had ever happened. One line from the song being, “I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love.” Of course this doesn’t work out and America wins to which George sings about how that’s all good and everything (to quote he says, “You’re on your own! AWESOME WOW!”) but what now? He acts high and mighty and tells America not to come crawling back to him for help when its people say they hate it. Finally his last song is about his reaction to finding out John Adams is running for president instead Washington, which is, “They will tear each other into pieces JESUS CHRIST THIS WILL BE FUN!”  

8.  GLaDOS (Portal)

I have a confession…I’ve…never played Portal. I know, I know – how can I classify a character as one that I love to hate if I don’t even know what they’re like? Well I actually do know a bit about her. I’ve seen a few play throughs of the first couple challenges in the game and I know her famous song, Still Alive by heart. Based solely on this I can tell you with 100% certainty that GLaDOS deserves to be not only a part of this list, but a high ranking spot on the list as well. GLaDOS is the proud singer of what is quite possibly the single most passive aggressive song in existence, Still Alive witch features passages like, “I’m not even angry…I’m being so sincere right now…even though you broke my heart and killed me…and tore me to pieces…and threw every piece into a fire…as I burned it hurt because I was so happy for you!” she sings in a girlish robotic voice that shows she is done putting up with bullshit of any kind and she will live long after you die so HA!


9. Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter)

It is safe to assume that Bellatrix Lestrange is loved and/or hated by every single Harry Potter fan in existence. Some just hate her some just love her, but most love to hate her and it’s easy to see why. Bellatrix is an insane witch who finds joy in murder and in the Dark Lord Voldemort (whom she has a crush on). This makes her one of Voldemort’s most loyal and terrifying followers. She shows zero remorse for killing and in fact sings gleefully about it instead! She is also adept in the art of torture second only to Umbridge who is another character in the series. Bellatrix is probably the only reason to like the Harry Potter films over the books. In the films she is played by the famed Helena Bonham Carter, and like most characters on this list she is extremely fun to watch. She’s energetic and destructive. She dances on tables to break glass, she twirls her hair and pouts her lips when taunting people, and her laugh, oh my god that laugh, it’s enough to make anyone smile even though what she’s laughing about is often terrible and makes everyone sob whenever it’s brought up later.


10. Zim (Invader Zim)

Invader Zim is a cartoon about an alien named Zim who was sent to take over the earth and destroy humanity…by accident. You see Zim almost destroyed his home planet last time he was sent to take over anything so he was banished. However the next time his fellow aliens were sent to take over other earths he decided he had to be apart of it and the Tallest (the rulers of his planet) didn’t know how else to get rid of him but to send him as far away as they could to conquer a planet nobody had ever heard of. That planet happened to be Earth and Zim, though incompetent, is relentless. Some people might say that Dib (the only person who realizes Zim is not who he seems) is the villain since Zim is the protagonist and Zim just wants to prove himself to the Tallest who make him the laughing stock of their planet. However even though this makes Zim easy to sympathize with it don’t make him good. Zim is more then willing to destroy the human race. One time Dib told Zim that one day everyone would know he was an alien because he shares no organs with human beings. So Zim decided to get himself some human organs by harvesting them from children and replacing them with household objects. (One girl’s heart was stolen and replaced with a house cat.) Another time Zim realized that all humans seemed to have at least one friend. So he decided that in order to blend in with them he would need to get a friend as well. That’s all well and good except for the fact that Zims way of getting a friend was luring a child into his house, pulling the kids eyes out and replacing them with new robotic eyes in a twisted form of mind control. So yeah I’m pretty sure Zim is the bad guy in this situation. If you haven’t seen Zim yet I definitely recommend it especially since he has a new movie coming out (as the trailer says) soon…ish

So did you agree with the list? Did I miss one of your least favorite favorite characters? Maybe someone got a lower ranking then you thought they deserved. Tell me in the comments and I’ll see you, in another dimension.

Between the Lines Book Club: A Taming of the Shrew Refresher

between the lines book club logoThis month we are reading Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler, for our Between the Lines Book Club. We will be discussing the book in person at Arden Dimick Library on May 20, 2017, at 10:30AM. Please note that we usually meet on the fourth Saturday of the month, but this month we are meeting on week early (May 20th).

Vinegar Girl is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. For those who need a refresher, here’s the play’s plot:

Taming of the Shrew is a play within a play – in the introduction, a drunkard who believes he is a lord is entertained with the main play.

In the town of Padua, there are two beautiful sisters. Bianca is sweet, but her older sister, Katherine, is a shrew. Their father insists that Katherine must marry before her sister does. Petruchio arrives from out of town and is enlisted to court Katherine by Petruchio’s friend, Hortensio. As if that were not complicated enough, Hortensio and his other friend, Lucentio, commence to disguise themselves as tutors named Lito and Cambrio. Lucentio’s servant is order to pretend to be Lecentio (who, you’ll recall, is pretending to be Cambio).

Petruchio charms Katherine by acting as though all her insults are compliments. She marries him, at which point he immediatly begins “taming” her by refusing her things like food, water and sleep because the food, beds, etc are “too good for her.” Meanwhile the courting of Bianca becomes more and more complicated, with yet more people being cajoled into pretending to be other people.

The final line up is this:

Hortensio + Rich Widow

Lucentio + Bianca

Petruchio + a tamed Katherine

Critics have been debating about the play since it debued. Is it ironic or sincere?  What can be said for sure is that is has some delightfully filthy witty banter:

Katherine: Mov’d! in good time! Let him that mov’d you hither
Remove you hence. I knew you at the first
You were a moveable.

Petruchio: Why, what’s a moveable?

Katherine: A join’d-stool.

Petruchio: Thou hast hit it. Come, sit on me.

Katherine: Asses are made to bear, and so are you.

Petruchio: Women are made to bear, and so are you.

Katherine: No such jade as you, if me you mean.

Petruchio: Alas, good Kate, I will not burden thee!
For, knowing thee to be but young and light-

Katherine: Too light for such a swain as you to catch;
And yet as heavy as my weight should be.

Petruchio: Should be! should- buzz

Katherine: Well ta’en, and like a buzzard.

Petruchio: O, slow-wing’d turtle, shall a buzzard take thee?

Katherina: Ay, for a turtle, as he takes a buzzard.

Petruchio: Come, come, you wasp; i’ faith, you are too angry.

Katherine: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.

Petruchio: My remedy is then to pluck it out.

Katherine: Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies.

Petruchio: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting?
In his tail.

Katherine: In his tongue.

Petruchio: Whose tongue?

Katherine: Yours, if you talk of tales; and so farewell

Petruchio: What, with my tongue in your tail? Nay, come again,
Good Kate; I am a gentleman.

For a delightful documentary (with terrible sound quality) about the Meryl Streep – Raul Julia performance of the play, check this out!

Between the Lines Book Club: Anne Tyler

between the lines book club logoThis month we are reading Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler, for our Between the Lines Book Club. We will be discussing the book in person at Arden Dimick Library on May 20, 2017, at 10:30AM. Please note that we usually meet on the fourth Saturday of the month, but this month we are meeting on week early (May 20th).

Anne Tyler was raised in a small, rural Quaker community until she was eleven. When she and her family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, she felt like an outsider, a quality she brings to life in many of her books. As a graduate student in New York City, she loved riding trains and subways and writing descriptions of the people she encountered. Her first novel, If Morning Ever Comes, was published in 1964 (she hates it).

Tyler married an Iranian political refugee who was also a writer as well as a child psychiatrist (he died of lymphoma in 1997). In 1965 the newly married Tyler moved to Baltimore with her husband, where they had two children. Almost all of her novels written after this date are set in or near Baltimore, where she continues to live. She has published two children’s books and twenty novels.

Tyler is famous for her emphasis on family, quirky characters, and domestic life. In an interview in the Guardian, she responded to criticism of her work as being “milk and cookies.”

“For one thing I think it is sort of true. I would say piss and vinegar for Roth and for me milk and cookies. I can’t deny it.” She does however stress that there’s more “edge under some of my soft language than people realise. I don’t think I’m like one of those little old ladies where everything is so sweet that there’s no traction there.” She thinks Franzen is “an amazing writer”, but also “a little bit cruel to his characters. I didn’t like Patty and I wonder if I could have lived with her for however long it took him to write Freedom. It is probably that I just want to be with nice people, which sounds very milk and cookies, I know.”


My schedule at RT Booklovers Convention

2017-rt-convention-rtbr-homepage-adI’ll be hanging out with Smart Bitches, Trashy Books at RT in Atlanta, Georgia from May 1 – 7. So excited. If anyone is from Atlanta, what should I see? I’m hoping to play hooky a bit since I’ve never been to Atlanta (other than the airport) or, for that matter, anyplace in the South other than Texas (again, for an RT Convention, so I didn’t get out much). I’m vegetarian so BBQ is lost on me but I hear the pie is good.

Here’s my schedule:

Reader Recommendation Party!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Location: LL2/Exhibit/Reader Level

Room: Hanover C

Join Amanda Deihl, Redheadedgirl, Elyse Discher, Sarah Wendell, and Carrie Sessarego as we discuss our favorite reads and be ready to share your own! Many giveaways! Warning: many people found this to be an expensive panel. The sound of people one-clicking on amazon on their phones could be heard for miles.

STBT Meet Up!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 8:30PM – Whenever

A Casual Hangout. More info at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Hope to see you at RT!