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A Post About Books

Twitter pal, fellow Newsies lover and book blogger Kim of Reflections of a Book Addict recently tagged me in post in which she asked me and other bloggers questions about books and other randoms. I’m supossed to tag eleven other bloggers and come up with eleven new questions, but guys, I’ve had this in my drafts for over a week, so I’m just going to publish this now, okay? If you want to answer these questions on your own blog, please do and let me know! I’ll read it and tell you I think you’re swell. Because if you are still reading my blog, you are indeed a lovely, lovely person.

What is the one book you recommend to people over and over?

 Persuasion for everyone who thinks Pride and Prejudice is the only book Jane Austen wrote. I am also working to spread the gospel of YA books and have been shoving The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner in the face of everyone I know.

Why did you start blogging?

I was bored with a lot of time on my hands. Hahaha, okay, that is only partially true. I had been reading blogs for a few years and I decided I wanted to join in with all the fun. I’m glad I did. I would have never met Kate and Kate is swell.

If you had all the money in the world and could travel to ONE place, where would it be and why?

ONE place—just one? Kim, why are you trying to kill me? I have a bad case of Wanderlust and would be happy to travel anywhere in the world (and universe, once that option becomes available). But if I can only choose ONE, it has to be Egypt. I have been in love with that place since I was a tiny baby Christine and I would happily spend months traveling up and down the Nile, visiting museums and archaeological sites and tombs and markets and OH MY GOSH SOMEONE TAKE ME THERE RIGHT NOW.

Who is your favorite author?

AustenDickensTolkienWallace. Can you imagine what that book would look like? It would probably be so amazing you would go insane once you finished it because you couldn’t handle its genius. I just figured out what the Infinite Jest is—a film adaptation of the book written by AustenDickensTolkienWallace.

Since I can’t pick one all-time favorite, I’ll say that my favorite living author at the moment is John Green. Not only for his books (one day, maybe I’ll write about how much I loved The Fault in Our Stars and what it means to me), but for the community he and his brother Hank have fostered over on the YouTubes. I wish the Nerdfighter community had been around when I was a teenager, but I am so happy and thankful it exists today for the teens I know. I have mad respect for that man and I think he’s cool.

If you had to give your blog a color to describe it, what color would you give it?

Green with white polka dots. My blog is a print.

What book started your love of reading?

Probably this book.

I literally can’t remember a time I did not love to read. Thanks Mom.

What is your favorite genre to read?

Books about books. That one goes out to The Brother.

Is there a film adaptation that you think was better than the book? What film?

I can’t think of one. I do think the film version of The Virgin Suicides is the perfect companion to the book.

Where is your favorite place to read?

I’m partial to the couch in The Brother’s house whilst he and BFF X play video games. Otherwise, I’m quite fond of my bed, under the covers. Or on a bench outside. Actually, I don’t think I have a favorite place to read. Wait—at the box office when I’m working, because then I am getting paid to read and I feel like I’m living the dream.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure read?

Re-reads of books I love and know by heart. There are so many books out there I have yet to read, so I do sometimes feel guilty for reading Harry Potter for the 20th time. But it makes me happy, so oh well. Who cares.

Do you prefer solids or e-books?

Solids. I am learning to like ebooks and I enjoy checking ebooks out of the library, but I still prefer to carry around a physical book.

That was fun Kim! Now if anyone has books they want to recommend me, leave a comment! You know I always need new books to read.

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Don’t looked so shocked. You knew I would be back. And look, I’ve written twenty blog posts in my brain—I just haven’t transcribed them to the Interenets yet. Give me time. I’m down to two jobs now and the holiday season is behind us, so we’ll have plenty of free time. That noise you just heard was the universe laughing at me.

Once upon a time, Christine was twelve. It such a long time ago. I had a pen pal and she lived in New Zealand. We were both homeschooled and our mom’s decided we should read a book together for school or something. Honestly, the details are a little fuzzy, and maybe I was thirteen, but regardless a book was chosen and that book was David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

Dickens AKA The Love of My Life

You might have heard of him.

Anyways, I read David Copperfield and I fell in love. I fell in love with the characters, the language, and the beautiful, wonderful, rambling sentences that only Dickens could write. Seriously, the man could go on and on and I love to read him go on and on and it may be where I picked up my rambling tendencies and maybe, just maybe, that is why I had to name my blog something with the word “rambling” in it. Because that is what I do and I learned from the best.

The first Dickens I bought was David Copperfield. It was a lovely vintage edition that was part of a massive set that was on sale at the local Half-Price bookstore. I saved up my babysitting money and would go back and pick out another book from the set to add to my collection (or coerced my mom into buying them for me, like I said, my brain is a little fuzzy on the factual details). But one day I returned to find they rest had all been bought! Oh the sadness. The OCD part of my brain was heartbroken to know I would not able to have a complete and matching set.

And then a lovely illustrated copy of A Tale of Two Cities was bought for another English assignment. When I visited my pen pal in New Zealand when I was fifteen, I bought five Dickens books that were compact, soft-bound leather, with the tinest print and perfect for carrying around whilst traveling. And that is when my ecclectic, mis-matched, vintage Dickens book collection really began. Now, whenever I travel, I check out used bookstores for old and interesting copies of Dickens work to add to my collection. I added Sketches by Boz on another trip to Auckland and Nicholas Nickleby was picked up…in Texas, somewhere. When I visit the Strand in March with Kate (because that is happening, I’ll tell you about it later), I’ll be sure to look for a copy of Great Expectations, because I really can’t believe I don’t already own a copy.

My Dickens Collection

I know I’m a day late, but I want to wish my beloved Dickens a very happy 200th birthday. I wish he was still around to celebrate it with me. I do love him so.

Making Christmas

Dear Readers, I know.

“CHRISTINE! Halloween was only two days ago!”

Yes, I realize this but–

“IT’S NOT EVEN ANYWHERE NEAR THANKSGIVING!”

Hey now–I’ll have you know that Thanksgiving (AKA The Greatest Holiday That Is Not the Fourth of July) is a mere twenty-two days away! So that argument is invalid.

“CHRISTINE!”

I KNOW! Believe me, I know. But guess what? As a girl working THREE jobs with a list full of people living overseas whose packages have to be mailed early in November to ensure delivery by Christmas, it is NOT, in fact, too early to be thinking about Christmas.

“Uggggggghhhhh–”

Quit your moaning! Look, you can skip this post and come back to it the end of November if it makes you happy. Okay?

“Okay.”

As I was saying…

As a girl working three jobs with a list full of people living overseas whose packages have to be mailed early in November to ensure delivery by Christmas–I have to start Christmas shopping early. Which I don’t mind at all. I LOVE buying people gifts. It’s honestly one of my favorite things to do. If I won the lottery, after I bought a bunch of real estate, traveled the world and put half of what was left in savings, I would probably spend the other half buying gifts for the people I love. Wouldn’t that be amazing? But I digress.

This year I miraculously finished shopping for my BFF & little nephew in New Zealand absurdly early and was ready to wrap everything up by mid-October. That is when I discovered not only was there no Christmas wrapping paper to be found in my house, but there was no Christmas wrapping paper to buy in the stores either. Well, there wasn’t any Christmas paper in the three stores I went to one Tuesday night. So, I did what a girl in the Year of Making Do would do—I improvised. Call me smug, but I like my version way more than any paper I could’ve bought.

Making ChristmasArmed with coupon for Michael’s (seriously, if you buy something at Michael’s for full price, you are doing something wrong) I bought a large roll of plain brown craft paper. I pulled out my box of Christmas related craft goodies I picked up last year on clearance (most of it from Martha Stewart—man, do I love her stuff) and decorated the plainly wrapped presents with stickers, crafty tape and glitter. Lots of glitter.

Making ChristmasIn lieu of tags, I wrote the first initial of the recipient in glitter (or microbeads). The above is my favorite. Simple yet oh so pretty. I had so much fun wrapping and crafting that I will definitely do it for the rest of my presents this year. Thankfully, I have enough glitter to go around.

Happy crafting!

Guilty Pleasures

I have a confession. Nay, a proclamation: I love Justin Bieber. Do you think I’m joking? What if I said it in sparkling purple letters?

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It wasn’t love at first sight. Or even first listen. I mean, I knew who he was and I knew all the little girls in the world were in love with him, but I hadn’t listened to a second of his music. Then one day he somehow came up in a conversation with The Brother and our BFF X. I made some dismissive remark about the Biebs and The Brother (the musician, you know) said “Have you even heard “Baby”?”

“Ummm, no.”

“You have to listen to it. It’s pure pop genius.”

“WHAT?!”

“It really is good,” BFF X affirmed.

And so they made me listen to Baby. Pretty soon, we were listening to it on repeat in the car running around Austin. A lot. But it wasn’t until we finally rented Never Say Never (from Redbox, because it was a last minute movie decision and there was no way in hell we were going to walk into I Love Video and rent it) that I became a Belieber. A 26 year old Belieber who pre-orders his upcoming Christmas album. Yes. This has happened.

Thirteen year-old Christine would be so ashamed of nearly 27 year-old Christine. Young teenage Christine shunned EVERYTHING her peers were into back in the day. ‘N Sync, Hanson, JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, in case you have somehow forgotten how hot he was in the ’90s), nail polish, lip gloss, Clueless…I could go on for pages. Instead, I listened to Glen Miller, read Dickens and Austen (“I’ll stick with reading the book that Clueless ripped off, thank you very much”) and watched Casablanca approximately 47 times in one year. Maybe that is how I justify my Bieber love. “Look, World, I wasn’t into the Backstreet Boys, so I am allowed Justin Bieber as my guilty pleasure, okay?”

Honestly though, the idea that I should somehow feel guilty over something that makes me happy is just plain absurd. Who made up these rules, anyway? I love reading young adult novels. I love Radiohead. I love Justin Bieber. I love Jane Austen. I love watching The Fashion Police. I love David Foster Wallace. None of these loves are mutually exclusive. I’m happy to say that at the ripe old age of almost 27, I have finally learned to openly embrace what brings me pleasure while leaving the “guilt” behind.

So, dear readers, what are YOUR so called “guilty pleasures”? Whatever it is, I hope you have learned to embrace it, own it and love it! And tell me all about it in the comments.

Forever a Belieber,

I Love This Kid

I am obsessed with the following video. I’ve posted it on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook—basically everywhere on the internets. And if you follow me on any of those lovely places, you are probably over this. But I don’t care—I love this video and I want everyone to see it because I think it will make you happy.

WHY DO I LOVE THIS SO MUCH?! Granted, 80% of my love of this video comes from my love of all things Disney and my unbridled passion for the Happiest Place on Earth: Disneyland. Clearly, Lily loves Disneyland as much as I do. I kinda want to take Lily to Disneyland myself because I think we would have The. Greatest. Time. Ever. But I love this video for other reasons.

1. Lilly literally CAN NOT understand how her mom knew she wanted those DVDs. When was the last time someone bought you something you DID NOT ask for and it was exactly what you wanted? It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it? It means someone was paying attention to you. Someone knows you well enough to know exactly what you like and what you want before you even had to ask for it or buy it yourself. It seems like those type of surprise gifts don’t happen as often once we grow up, which is sad.

2. This is girl is excited about EVERYTHING. Everything is cool. Everything is a surprise. And she loves it all. Oh my gosh, I can not remember the last time I felt like that. Although thinking about it, it was probably at Disneyland.

3. Lily is cool with playing along and pretending. She has probably been told that even though she really, really wants to go to Disneyland all the time, she can’t. But she can play and pretend she’s going! That is a fun game! When her mom says “Why don’t we go?”, Lily goes along with it. She doesn’t sulk and say something about how she wants to go to Disneyland, but you said I can’t. Basically, she has the best attitude ever.

4. My favorite part of the video is right after she realizes this is not a joke, she is going to Disneyland. It’s when she is so happy she is crying and she just HAS to give her mom a hug. She realizes what a big deal this is and she doesn’t take it for granted. She is grateful and she loves her parents for this. This kid is made of awesome on so many levels. Congratulations, Lily’s parents—you are doing it right.

This may sound ridiculous, but this video makes me feel hopeful. There is a little girl out there who loves and appreciates her parents and her parents clearly only want to make their kid happy. That girl loves Disneyland and, like me, will love it just as much twenty years from now. The world isn’t such a bad place after all.

It’s Now or Never

HELLO DEAR READERS! Bet you never expected to see a post from me again. I myself wondered if I would ever want to write one again. This year has been….different. It’s been good and exciting and monotonous and busy and boring and full of soul searching and trying to understand my heart. And we’ve still got three and a half months left in 2011! I wonder what it shall bring.

When I got back from my trip to London and meeting Kate (which is where we left off months and months ago) life got very busy and then mine got complicated and I honestly didn’t feel like talking to anyone, much less writing blog posts. I didn’t even think about starting to write ye old A Rambling Fancy blog again until the end of July. I went back and forth in my mind—to write, or not to write. Do I even have time to write? I don’t really know. But the truth is I’ve missed the blogging world and my bloggy friends (even if I do see you on Twitter, which is totally my BFF now—if you aren’t on Twitter WHY EVER NOT?! IT IS THE BEST!) and if I had never started this blog I would have never met Kate and that thought makes me sad. So yes, I am back. I have no idea what I’m doing and what this blog will turn into—but who cares. I’ll figure it out.

So, if you’re still reading this, tell me—what have you been up to since…March? Hahahaha, I’ll make us a large pot of coffee (or tea or hot water or whatever strikes your fancy) and we’ll catch up, okay? Okay.

I missed the hell out of you, my darlings.

 

Way Out

MIND THE GAP

This is going to sound dorky, but I really loved not driving in London. I love walking and biking and since moving to back to my parents’ house in the Austin suburbs, I’ve had to drive a lot more than I like. I’m sure if I actually lived in London, there would be things about the tube, buses and trains that would annoy me, but on the whole I loved it (even when I arrived back at the Waterloo train station at rush hour and was running for the tube so I could go back to the flat and change before going to the Oh No Oh My show in Brixton—WOW! there are a lot of people in London). I could read, write, go through my pictures or just sit and think without really worrying about how I was going to get to my destination.

Somewhere in Hampshire
On the train from London to Alton, somewhere in Hampshire.

Armed with a few aps on my phone, I managed to NOT ONCE get on the wrong tube line or go in the wrong direction. I will admit that due to poor planning on my part, I did get kind of, sort of lost when walking once or twice (once because I asked someone which way to go and they told me the exact opposite direction to go, lame!), but never for long and I never felt lost, so there.

Reading Dickens on the Train

Reading Little Dorrit on the train

Also, a special thanks to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film. Because of this scene, I knew how to use an oyster card and insert train tickets into the turnstiles without looking like Mr. Weasley, YAY!

St. James' Park

Also, I loved the parks. I wish I had time to pack a picnic lunch and just rest for a bit, but I did thoroughly enjoy walking through as many parks as I could. The snow drops and crocus’ were just popping out—I bet the parks are gorgeous when spring and summer is in full bloom.