Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: Friday Night Knitting Club

The Friday Night Knitting Club
Kate Jacobs
366 pages

I really hate having to give books negative reviews.  I hate it even more when it's a book that has been recommended to me over and over again.  This being said, it shouldn't be too surprising that I've been putting off this review for about a week now.  Well, here we go.

The Friday Night Knitting Club is about a Georgia Walker, a single mother of the baking-obsessed young teen Dakota and owner of her own knitting shop, Walker and Daughter.  Set in New York City, the book covers the drama of being a single mother and business woman, especially when Dakota's long-absent father comes back looking for some involvement in her life.  However, although centered around Georgia, the plot goes on to explore the complicated lives of a handful of other women, and how they come together each week to find some comfort and support in their friday night knitting club.

I guess I should start of by mentioning that I don't normally read a lot of chick lit, but I picked up this because 1) it was recommended to me multiple times ("I mean, you knit, don't you?") and 2) because my grandmother had just finished reading it and had offered it to me.  So I figured why not?  Well, now I remember why not.  It wasn't that the struggles of a single mother weren't compelling (although maybe I am a bit young to really appreciate them), but I was worn out by the constant complaining.  It wasn't just Georgia, either, but every single character had at least one moment of long-winded self pity. By the middle of the book, I was beginning to feel like I was watching a soap opera.

Basically, I am not a fan of the style of the writing.  I especially did not like the fact that, every time a new character was introduced, Jacobs would pause the novel's "present" and jump into some long winded and frankly not-quite-necessary backstory.  While I could appreciate all of the work that she had obviously put into constructing each character, I couldn't help but be reminded of one of the first comments I ever received on a work of my own creative writing: "I like that you're telling us all this backstory, but is there a way that you can work it into the action so it doesn't feel out of place?"  I also felt that there were too many subplots within the larger context of the novel to the point that the dramatic ending didn't actually phase me as much as it could have.  I blame this on all the "mini-plots" and false-climaxes.

Of course, I could have stopped reading at any point in the novel and simply walked away.  I didn't, though, and this is simply because of the concept of the novel.  Everyone who recommended this novel to me was right, in a way: I did love all the knitting!  It really reminded me of when I was first learning to knit and drew me in because of that.  The characters were generally compelling and well-written (with the exception of Dakota and Darcy) and I really wanted to see how it was going to work out for them in the end.  This is really why I gave this two out of five stars on Goodreads.  Jacob's was lucky enough that her concept made up for the awkwardness of her writing.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wall Wednesday: Book Collection (Part 3)

Here's the final installment of my book collection tour!  It's official: I have WAY too many books!  I want to say that I should stop buying more, but I also have fallen way behind on young adult reads over the past couple of years, so that's a pretty good excuse to keep buying books, right?

Special announcement for those of you who do not subscribe to me on YouTube.  I am officially a Booktuber!  All this really means is that I will be making videos about books, reading, etc.  I will probably still do a few other kinds of videos to post  here on the blog, but I think my days of free-form blogging/vlogging are over.  I plan on finishing off the two years here at Little Girl, and then stepping away from the blogging world for a while.  Videos are just so much more inspiring for me right now, so I think I'll start going more in that direction instead.

Happy Wall Wednesdays, guys!  Are you reading anything good lately?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wall Wednesday: My Book Collection (Part 2)

I'm really enjoying being able to use older footage from spring break, because I've been incredibly busy and haven't had time to film (or write) anything new.  Hope you enjoy this quick look at my collection. The final part will be up next week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break 2013

I'm back in the city from spring break and have a few pictures I want to share with you guys.  If you follow me on Instagram at all, I apologize because you'll have seen all these before.  But over break I started playing around with my drawing tablet a bit (my wonderful Christmas present - thanks Dad!) and put together these fun little groupings.  Let me know what you think about the writing on the pictures, because I quite like it.  Actually I have a feeling that my tablet will start making quite the appearance here at Little Girl!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wall Wednesday: My Book Collection (Part 1)

This past weekend, I found out that March is National Reading Month, and decided that I would post a book collection video to commemorate it.  This video caused my first major YouTube struggle: attempting to upload an unnecessarily long video.  So now it's in three parts (and the first barely made it on a Wednesday!)

Over the next two weeks, I'll upload the next two parts (one for each bookshelf).  If you have any suggestions for future reading, or a book collection of your own that you'd like to share, don't hesitate to leave a comment!  I absolutely love reading/watching videos about this sort of thing.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies
Jhumpa Lahiri
198 pages

As in most things in my life, I am currently a bit behind on my 75-book challenge for this year.  According to my Goodreads widget, I am exactly 8 books behind.  Last night, I sat and frowned at that number, trying to figure out how that could be possible.  I'm an English major; it's my job to read all day!

Then I realized it's probably because the classes I'm taking this year are mainly focusing on short stories.  This means I've started a lot of collections, read the few required stories, and moved on.  But not with this one.  I was originally assigned Interpreter of Maladies for an Asian-American Lit class, and literally could not put it down.  I actually read and reread stories before class (and I never reread just for class!) and then moved on to finish the collection on my own.  As you probably know by now, I'm a sucker for simply yet descriptive language, and that describes Lahiri to the letter.  All of her stories are jam-packed with multiple layers of meaning and motive, but she does this in the most minimal, uncluttered way possible.  I love knowing that every word she writes is not wasted, but rather pointed and intended to be considered carefully.

Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of short stories that all revolve around Indian or Indian-American characters.  A lot of the stories involve Indian-American couples or families that are struggling to find balance between assimilation and maintaining their ethnic heritage.  These are not particularly uplifting stories, but rather very honest narrations about the state of immigration and assimilation in American society.  I found it particularly interesting that, as an Indian-American herself, Lahiri does not shy away from criticizing her culture through her characters.  She boldly pokes at both American society and the individuals trying to find their niche in it.

In other words, if you enjoy books that make you think about the world you live in, or enjoy small moments of heartbreak, then this book is definitely something you should check out.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wall Wednesday: Clement Street Storage Haul

I thought I'd try my hand at an "in person" Wall Wednesday, or at least as close as we can get!  I know I've said this before, but I really cannot believe how many ideas I've been coming up with since starting be a more active YouTuber.  That being said, I have not forgotten that I am a blogger first!  I am planning blog posts such as a book review, pictures from spring break at home, and a long planned and slowly actualized SF Essentials guide!

Get excited, and happy Wall Wednesday!  Any fun decorating or organizing going on in your world?

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Favorites

I know I sort of explain this in the video, but let me clarify a bit.  These monthly favorites are going to be replacing Fun Finds because I'm trying to focus on loving what I already have rather than obsessing over things that I really shouldn't be spending money on right now.

I'm amazed how many ideas I've come up with since decided to incorporate vlogs.  I'm having a ton of fun with this, so I hope you enjoy the video too!  Do you have any fun monthly favorites?