Mandy’s Miscellaneous Flavours: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Mindy Kaling

Three Rivers Press (Sept. 18 2012)

Hardcover

Humour and Entertainment, Humour, Essays

222 pages

https://i0.wp.com/www.3000books.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/mindy1.jpg

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
 
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

***

First off, on the extremely slim chance that you are somehow reading this, I love you Mindy Kaling and I wish we were friends 5ever.

Anyways…

After lugging around numerous dense and heavy books amid midterm season (lord help us), Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me is the perfect break from it all.

Not to say that this book is merely consisted of fluff. On the contrary, this book still has substance underneath all the jokes. Like Ben and Jerry’s after a long day filled of BS. Ice cream with the yummy brownie bits in it.

So what is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me book about? In Mindy Kaling’s words: “In this book I write a lot about romance, female friendships, unfair situations that now seem unfunny in retrospect, unfair situations that I still don’t think are funny, Hollywood, heartache, and my childhood. Just that really hard-core, masculine stuff men love to read about.”

So it’s no surprise being the manliest manly-man out there that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Within this book Mindy Kaling talks about her life from childhood to adulthood, her success with The Office, from her ups and downs, to bullies and best friends, all in the form of witty stories.

We are given a peek into Mindy’s creative and playful mind, with passages entitled “Don’t Peak in High School”, “Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who Are Not Real”, “Why do Men Put on Their Shoes So Slowly?” and other clever remarks that are sprinkled throughout the book.

At times serious, at times hilarious, but always honest, Mindy Kaling manages to weave a string of what would seem as incoherent thoughts together. Among one of her musings, one story that stuck with me well after reading it was of one about the friendship between her and a girl called Mavis in high school. The story of two friends finding each other at the perfect time only to drift apart and go their own ways just seems like something everyone will be able to relate to.

At times it’s as if she was peeking into my own mind (“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it”) rather than the other way around. And I guess that’s what I ultimately liked about this book and Mindy herself, how relatable she is. Flipping through the books pages was like reading letters sent by a close friend, which I liked a lot…

And not because the only thing I get in the mail are bills.

Until next time!

Amanda  

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Mandy’s Miscellaneous Flavours: Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock (Review)

Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence

Nick Bantock

Chronicle Books- September 1991

Hardcover

Romance/Mystery/Illustrated novel/epistolary book/fantasy/Paranormal

28 pages

Image

Griffin: It’s good to get in touch with you at last. Could I have one of your fish postcards? I think you were right — the wine glass has more impact than the cup. –Sabine

But Griffin had never met a woman named Sabine. How did she know him? How did she know his artwork? Who is she? Thus begins the strange and intriguing correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. And since each letter must be pulled from its own envelope, the reader has the delightful, forbidden sensation of reading someone else’s mail. Griffin & Sabine is like no other illustrated novel: appealing to the poet and artist in everyone and sure to inspire a renaissance in the fine art of letter-writing, it tells an extraordinary story in an extraordinary way.

***

I have to admit I’m not quite sure where to begin with this book, but I do know that I wish I could take a picture of each page and post it here, but I’ll refrain myself. This is a book blog after all, not a picture album (also imagine the copyright issues, yikes!)

With that said, I should probably begin this review by saying that Nick Bantock’s book isn’t for everyone.

If you’re the type who prefers their books to have a clear plot and narrative, Griffin & Sabine is unfortunately not for you. However, if you’re up for an unconventional form of storytelling, and have an appreciation for art, then you should give this book a try. I know I don’t regret it.

 Also as the title suggests, yes, it’s a romance. Yet it’s so typical of me to finally read a romance “novel” that isn’t truly a romance novel.

I haven’t encountered any books like this one before, so its peculiar format instantly caught my eye. An epistolary novel, the story unfolds (literally) before the readers’ (viewers?) eyes as a series of postcards and removable letters.

Without giving too much away, Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, is exactly what it sounds like. Griffin, a postcard designer from London, has his life turned upside down after a cryptic postcard from Sabine Strohem, a woman he has never met. Claiming to be from the Sicmon Islands, Sabine adds a splash of colour and intrigue to Griffin’s grey and dreary existence. So of course they begin to correspond regularly, leading the two to ultimately fall for one another.

As Griffin writes in one of his handmade postcards: “Why doesn’t this alarm me as much as it should?”

I can honestly say I was thinking the same thing.

As the readers, we are not given any more insight into the characters’ or story’s development. All we have to rely on are the letters that we have before our eyes, and the unfounded trust in the words of Griffin and Sabine. We are forced to be some kind of detective, putting the pieces (or rather letters) together to better grasp what is happening. Despite being so restricted of material, it is notable how heartfelt and believable the connection is between the two star-crossed lovers. However, the “realness” of the exchanges is forever disrupted by subtleties that add to the mysterious and even mystical feel of the book. For example, a major difference between the letters of Sabine and Griffin are how they are dated. Griffin’s always have a date, Sabine’s never do. This shouldn’t really matter; however, Sabine’s timeless and dateless letters only build up Griffon’s theory of his slow descent into madness. His final letter to her is heartbreaking, while Sabine’s last letter basically says:

Shit’s gonna go down.

With all that said, the world has changed since then. This book was published in September of 1991. Now we live in a time of emails, texts messages, instant chat and tweets. Ultimately leaving one to wonder how a book in this format would be received if it were written today.

Seriously, when’s the last time you handwrote a letter?

I thought so.

Mandy

Paper Garden Presents Hack/ Slash Omnibus


Title: Hack/Slash Omnibus
Author: Tim Seeley, Dave Crosland, Stefano Caselli
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing
Year: 2008
Number of pages: 300 pages
Type: Paperback
Genre: graphic novel, horror, humour, fantasy, adult, urban fantasy

Summary:
At the end of every horror movie, one girl always survives… in this case, Cassie Hack not only survives, she turns the tables by hunting and destroying the horrible slashers that would do harm to the innocent Alongside the gentle giant known as Vlad, the two cut a bloody path through those who deserve to be put down… hard

Review:
Firstly, Hack/Slash isn’t porn. I know the cover is misleading, as even I was a little hesitant to pick it up because of the way the heroine (Cassie Hack) was posed and what she was wearing. Mind you there is a severed clown head right beside her, so you would have to be in some pretty kinky stuff.

Anywho, back to business!

Hack/Slash is all about horror, but I don’t mean the computer generated monsters and ghost of this day and age. I mean, the corny, campy horror that involved plenty of make up and rubber. Cassie and her companion Vlad hunt down and massacre, usually with the help of a baseball bat that has nails sticking out of it, serial killers who rise up from the dead. They fight all the classics, including Chuckie the psychotic doll.

Basically, if you don’t like blood and gore, you are not going to like this one. If you can’t stomach the following photo, find yourself another graphic novel because this is nothing:

Oh, did I mention that Cassie is a freaking badass! She is tough, sarcastic, and will do anything for Vlad, who would do the same for her. He is also very cool being big, green, and Hulk-like minus the invincibility. I liked Cassie. She came from a screwed up family, including a serial killer for a mother, and had some serious issues, as one does when you spend your life travelling across the country, hunting, and killing undead serial killers. She also isn’t a typical heroine, in which I mean she isn’t an “independent” woman that needs some hot guy to swoop in to save them at the last minute and then they fall in love. God am I sick of those stories. Cassie has a sort of crush on this one guy, but that lasts a single issue. The only person who saves her is Vlad, and he is not getting anywhere near her pants unless he is doing the laundry.

She is sort of a mix between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tank Girl.

Oh, remember when I said that this isn’t porn? It still isn’t, but there is some nudity… okay A LOT of nudity, but come now, with HBO and the Internet, you should all be used to some boob flashing… and lesbian make out scenes. Whatever.

Hack/Slash is funny, but in a cheesy, God-the-80s-called-and-they-want-their-material-back kind of way. I loved it just as much as I love horror and John Hughes movies.

Oh! I forgot to mention one little thing that I found a little annoying at the beginning, but then got used to it. The omnibus contains a bunch of stories, not all of which are drawn in the same way (there is one drawn like an Archie comic), and there are also little previews of stories that are really cool, but at the time I didn’t think they were going to be written. Luckily for me, they appeared in later omnibuses. Yay!

So, this may not be for everyone, but I loved it and I will keep reading it. Some people I know didn’t like it because they thought that it was too bloody or too much sexual content, but I found this series addictive and hilarious.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Michelle

Michelle’s Paper Garden Presents Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables

Title: Clockwork Fairy Tales: A Collection of Steampunk Fables

Author(s): Stephen L. AntczakJames C. Bassett,Pip BallantineK.W. JeterJay LakeKat RichardsonPaul Di FilippoSteven HarperNancy A. CollinsG.K. Hayes,Gregory NicollPhilippa Ballantine  

Publisher: Roc Trade

Year: 2013

Number of Pages: 336 pages

Type: Paperback

Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Short Stories, Fairy Tales Retellings, Fantasy

Summary: Combining the timeless fairy tales that we all read as children with the out-of-time technological wizardry that is steampunk, this collection of stories blends the old and the new in ways sure to engage every fantasy reader.…

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes”, New York Timesbestselling author K. W. Jeter’s “La Valse” forges a fable about love, the decadence of technology, and a gala dance that becomes the obsession of a young engineer—and the doom of those who partake in it.…

In “You Will Attend Until Beauty Awakens”, national bestselling author and John W. Campbell Award winner Jay Lake tells the story of Sleeping Beauty—and how the princess was conceived in deception, raised in danger, and rescued by a prince who may be less than valiant.

The tale of “The Tinderbox” takes a turn into the surreal when a damaged young soldier comes into possession of an intricate, treacherous treasure and is drawn into a mission of mercy in national bestselling author Kat Richardson’s “The Hollow Hounds”.

In “The Kings of Mount Golden”, Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee Paul Di Filippo tells the story of a young man’s search for his heritage and a mechanical marvel that lies at the heart of a sinister pact in this fascinating take on “The King of the Golden Mountain”.

ALSO INCLUDES STORIES FROM
Steven Harper
Nancy A. Collins
G. K. Hayes
Gregory Nicoll
Pip Ballantine

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15810153-clockwork-fairy-tales?ac=1]

My Rant:

Alright so I have not begun to read this book yet, but I am very excited for it. I saw the cover and just had to pick it up. Also, I love fairy tales. If I could just read fairy tales for a living, I would. I have actually never heard of some of the stories that are retold in this anthology, which only added to my excitement. I also hope that this book’s steampunk theme will make up for all the bad steampunk I have read in the past few months. I want airships, automatons, gadgets, and goggles! Is that so much to ask? Well we will find out once I sit down and read through the stories. I highly doubt that I will read them all at once, so my next review may just be on one or two of them.

Goodreads readers gave the book a 3.57/5, which isn’t too bad and to be perfectly honest, the readers on Goodreads and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on books. Most of them thought the Time Machine was a good book.

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy


Title: Hemlock Grove
Author: Brian McGreevy
Publisher: FSG Originals
Year: 2012
Type: Paperback
Genre: Horror, paranormal, mystery, werewolf, urban fantasy

Summary:
The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12510849-hemlock-grove]

Review

I watched the tv show before I even knew it was a book, so one would assume that I have spoiled the book and all of its mystery, but that’s not completely true. I have only read about 100 pages and so far they are keeping more or less true to the book. However, the book tells us what the characters were thinking, while a televised version could never do that unless you have Sookie Stackhouse around. Their thoughts and even some of the backstory that the show left out are very interesting and give the characters a slightly different feel. For example, in the show, Peter is motivated in his quest to stop the murders by fear of being locked up s everyone suspects him, while in the book he is motivated by not only fear, but also pity.

Anyway, onto the actually book! I haven’t finished it yet, but so far it is pretty good. It isn’t as confusing as the tv show, well at least not yet. Things are given more of an explanation in the book. The author can write very well, which is evident through his character Shelley who is mute but writes beautifully in her emails to her uncle. However, there are some points when he completely loses me and I have to reread the paragraph and figure out what he’s talking about. Some of his wording is awkward and there were a couple of words that I had to look up because I hadn’t the slightest idea what they meant. Also, the dialogue is weird to say the least. I didn’t think it overly realistic.

The constant reference to Peter’s balls was a little awkward for me. I don’t have any, but I am pretty sure they aren’t supposed to be able to sense trouble. They are not supposed to have spidey sense!

So far it’s a good read. I haven’t given up on it yet. We will see what happens.

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings


Title: Pawn of Prophecy
Author: David Eddings
Publisher: Del Rey
Year: 1982
Type: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304 pages
Genre: epic fantasy

Summary:
Long ago, the Storyteller claimed, in this first book of THE BELGARIAD, the evil god Torak drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But Garion did not believe in such stories. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved–but did not know…?

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44659.Pawn_of_Prophecy]

Review:

To start off, I devoured this book in a day and then the rest of the series in a week. That may not seem like a feat, but I was twelve years old when I read this series.

I loved this book, despite some of the obvious cliches that come with an epic fantasy. There is a prophecy (from the name, that seems like a redundant statement) and it is pretty obvious that the good guys are gonna win. There is a group of companions, each with a very specific task to complete. This was my first taste of epic fantasy, so back then I thought this book was super original, but then I read LOTR and played D&D and realized that the book was basically a mixture of the two with a little bit of bad 80’s epic fantasy movies in the mix; that’s not a bad thing, mind you. It simply means that my beloved story is not as original as I thought it was.

For the most part, the character were static and only changed if it was needed to further the prophecy (SPOILER!! SPOILER!!ie. Garion goes from a quiet farm boy to a confident wizard). I still really enjoyed the characters, well at least most of them. Certain characters were annoying, but they usually didn’t last very long. My favourite character is a thief named Silk because he is a little, sarcastic ass whom you should watch your back around because he is not afraid of killing you. He is the reason that I always play thief/ assassin in D&D or RPG games.

In short, this book is really good… if you are a young adult. It is full of cliches and corny lines and everything else you would find in a young adult novel.

4/5 because of nostalgia

Michelle’s Paper Garden Presents Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile


Title: Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Author: Bill Willingham
Illustrator:Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton, James Jean
Publisher: Vertigo
Year: 2002
Type: Paperback
Number of Pages: 128 pages
Genre: Graphic novel, fantasy, fairy tales, urban fantasy, mystery, folklore

Summary:
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown’s sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21326.Fables_Vol_1]

Review:
I love fairy tales and mythology. If I could spend all of my time studying and reading mystical magical stories of heroes and monsters, I would be the happiest person in the world. For this and many other reasons, I fell completely in love with Fables. The idea of taking my favourite storybook characters and tossing them into a modern setting was exciting and new (well at least it was when I first read Fables). The characters had to adapt to living in the modern human world, and those who couldn’t were sent to the Farm which is basically made up of talking animals.

I liked Bigby (the humanized Big Bad Wolf turned detective) because he reminded me of those hard drinking, short-tempered detectives from all those old movies my dad used to make me watch. I like that style, so I thought he was cool and the ridiculous lines he has fit that style. His backstory is pretty interesting and the y later explain why he can blow houses down with his breath. The jokes were a little lame, but I like cheesy stuff so I giggled and moved on. Snow White was not what I expected. I figured she would be the annoying, high-pitched damsel from the Disney movie, and instead I got a hardass ice queen. Oh and Prince Charming is a dick, but that’s to be expected seeing as he has married virtually all of the princesses in Fabletown.

The cover art is beautiful! The art beyond that is pretty good, but of a different style.

The actual story is okay and the murder is meh, but I liked the book anyway, mostly because I kept fan girling over characters.

Okay, the only problem I had with this series is that by the fourth volume I had already figured out who the Adversary was. I am not gonna spoil anything for you, but it’s a little obvious.

I give it a 4/5