The two per cent

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I took a hiatus from reading for fun. It didn’t feel right so I’m glad that’s over. I was studying for this finance test and just couldn’t commit what little free time I had to finishing a novel. I’d look at all the amazing books I had on my shelf and feel a little guilty for neglecting them. And they’d stare back and tempt me. Little bastards.

The first one I picked up again was Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers. I’ve seen this book before but never picked it up because the cover looked boring. Yep, I judged a book by its’ cover. But now that it’s an HBO show, it has newer, dark cover art and I wanted to check it out:

Old cover:
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New cover (it’s 27% off at Indigo right now):

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I’m really glad I did because The Leftovers is an amazing read. In the not so distant future, a whopping two per cent of the world’s population disappears. One minute they’re sitting there and the next, POOF, they’re gone. The rest of the world goes into a mourning and most people think it’s something like The Rapture. But there doesn’t seem to be anything special about the people who are “chosen”. Some of them seemed like a**holes. But then what does that mean for those of us left behind?

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People try to find meaning in non-conventional ways. They’re joining weird cults, leaving their families and painfully trying to let go of the people who have disappeared. They stop buying all sorts of garbage and going to yoga (Perrotta hates yoga).

Perrotta’s characters are believable, relateable and so very broken. I couldn’t put this one down. The ending won’t satisfy most readers but only adds to the uneasiness of the story.

A whole week off

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I took the last week off work to regroup, reset and restart this blog! To my dismay, it hasn’t been a quiet week at all but I feel extremely productive. Here’s my week in review:

Saturday, Sunday, Monday – Studied for my Canadian Securities Course. Yoga X 2. Checked work email even though I promised myself I wouldn’t.

Tuesday – Passed the second exam for my Canadian Securities Course (YAY!). Finally tracked down Soup Nutsy in the downtown PATH system. Attended the cardio pump class at my yoga studio.

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Wednesday – Doctor’s appointment. Volunteered at the Pan Am Volunteer Recruitment Centre. Ran into Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Michael Coteau, MPP Don Valley East, during a Pan Am medal unveiling ceremony. Counted sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium with bf. Ate pies at McDonald’s until 1 a.m. because I felt too tired to sleep and quads still hurt from damn cardio class.

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Thursday – Brunch and shopping with my mom! Grabbed some much needed make-up refills.

Friday – Yoga with one of my fav instructors. He only teaches Friday mornings now so I can almost never take his class.

Saturday – More volunteering with Pan Am. Saw the contemporary opera Written on Skin performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the magnificent Barbara Hannigan at Roy Thompson Hall. Discovered the best Italian cream puff things ever at Forno Cultura (I think they are called zeppole). Bought books at TYPE bookstore.

Sunday – Volunteer leadership training for Pan Am games. Met football coach Pinball Clemons! Seems like the nicest guy ever. Laundry X 2. Wrote this blog post.

More details later!

Was Gone Girl, the movie, better than the book?

gone_girl1I saw the horrifying thriller that was Gone Girl in theatres this past weekend. Now, I’m a big advocate of Read It First — that is, reading the book before watching the movie. But I have to say, Gone Girl might have translated better on screen than on paper.

For one, I thought Ben Affleck was really great as Nick Dunne. I mean, most of the movie is literally just Nick freaking out. Whereas “freaking out” translate well in the book because you can show inner dialogue really well, it’s considerably harder for that to come through on screen without it coming off as crazy.

Because an inner freak out is very different from say, full blown crazy.

Secondly, the movie is petrifying. It’s a psychological thriller than has you from the beginning. I mean, I read the book and was still shocked. I knew the ending and it still haunted me.

On the downside, I didn’t love Rosamund Pike as Amazing Amy. A little too bland for my liking although a coworker found that it made the character creepier. Since we are on the topic of second opinions, my boyfriend said Amy reminded him of a girl he once knew and that he’s never seen breasticles like Emily Ratajkowski’s before. I don’t think I’ve watched a movie that was better than the book before — so it was a first for both of us.

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Fobbit: War and Press Releases

FobbitI am writing today during a somewhat strange hail storm. It is raining ping pong balls outside! But enough about weather — let’s talk about war. WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Well, sometimes, good reading. I was really excited when I picked up Fobbit by David Abrams. A satire based on the Iraq War sounds pretty interesting right? Well, I didn’t love Fobbit. It made me chuckle at times but it wasn’t nearly as funny or dark as I wanted it to be. What’s meant to be mean and funny, seems to only come off as mean. All the characters suck. I can barely remember their names. There, I can be mean and not funny too.

Fobbit is based on Abram’s personal experience as a public affairs officers in the US Army during the Iraq War. Fobbit is a derogatory term for the paper pushing soldiers stationed in war zones but never see battle. They are safe in their Fobbit holes while braver soldiers get blown up. Members of the Public Affairs live it up in their air conditioned quarters, drafting press release after press release about dead soldiers.

But most of the story isn’t even about the horrors of writing wartime fluff. I would have enjoyed that more. In fact, I was hoping for something like Thank You For Smoking meets Apocalypse Now but that sounds difficult to pull off now that I say it out loud.

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No, most of the book is about the crazy antics of Fobbits who are bored out of their minds waiting to return to the US. There are moments of action but I found Fobbit unsatisfying as both war fiction and satire. With a war that seems to make little sense, I was hoping Fobbit would exploit that meaninglessness just a little more.

I’d like to use this as an excuse to show you more awesome photographs taken by Richard Mosse of Saddam Hussein’s abandoned palaces — which is where the Fobbits in this story were stationed.

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