What to read: Liane Moriarty, John Green, Allegiant, Insurgent and MORE!

248190_537582386299388_285614533_nWell now I just have an overall case of reader depression. I haven’t posted any book reviews on here since February and after updating Goodreads, I discovered I am actually three books behind on my reading challenge for this year. I would call myself a slacker but I know what the problem is (was). The problem was Orange is the New Black and Game of Thrones. But I am now finished with both. That’s right folks, I watched seasons three AND four of Game of Thrones over Fourth of July weekend. I am a WINNER. Nothing says America like a good television binge. Before you judge me as a lazy heifer, you should know I also worked out three times, had a great holiday cookout with friends for which I made homemade pimento cheese and ensured no vodka went to waste, went to a concert, decorated my back patio, started an herb garden and organized my jewelry (do you understand what an undertaking untangling necklaces can be?!) So THERE.

My biggest accomplishment out of all of this, however, was surviving the Red Wedding. You people have had like a year to recover. As I write this (I always let a post rest overnight before publishing) I’ve had all of one friggin’ day. I’m still traumatized. I need extra therapy after watching 20 episodes of that show in such a short amount of time. I am unfortunately going to have to now give in and read these books. If you know me well, you know that what will drive me up and down a wall faster than anything is NOT KNOWING. My innate sense of impatience and uncanny ability to be a nosy ass (the journalism degree wasn’t a coincidence) doesn’t allow for much “wait and see.” I have avoided reading these books much longer than the show has been on or its fans knew of their existence. The Song of Ice and Fire series was my ex-husband’s absolute favorite. Back in our happy days together (when they actually existed) and thanks to my love for Lord of the Rings, I read a lot of fantasy myself. I know what a ginormous project it is. I can pretty much kiss my reading challenge goodbye if I officially decide to do this.

In the meantime, I’ve read many other fabulous, non nerd alert (for the most part) books since I posted about Wild in February. If you recall, my primary literary mission was to read a lot of the books upon which many of this year’s movies are based. This already included Fault in Our Stars, Labor Day and Wild. There are several others listed here. I want to point out, due to the context of my full-time job, this post and anything else I write about related to movies is completely independent of my profession. I ain’t making money off of this, folks. At least not yet and never in relation to that aspect of my career.

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How to be: hi, my name is Nikki. And I am still a Twilight fan.

HUNGRY KIDS...HA!The majority of you people reading this are from the United States of America, Canada or possibly the UK. Therefore we are all fortunate enough to live in (mostly) free societies. We have the right to our opinions, our beliefs, our thoughts, our values, our interests, our hobbies, how we spend our free time…the list goes on and on. We eat what we want, we drink what we want, we read and watch what we want. It’s pretty much amazing.

But we also have the ability to disagree. And gosh knows there isn’t a place where we tend to disagree more than on the INTERNET. It is a cesspool of negativity and attack when it comes to most everything. How nasty people can be is astounding. If I had a dollar bill for every time I’ve read the phrase “I couldn’t care less…” I wouldn’t have to work for a living. Ever. Side note, it’s actually usually misused as “could care less”, which drives me bananas. If you could care less, that means you DO CARE. Think about it.

Grammar nazi-ness aside, let’s talk about Twilight so I can use myself as an example (it IS my blog after all, no matter how neglected it’s been). Rarely has a book/movie/interest divided the human population into two such drastic opposing sides. Y’all know there are starving children in Africa, right? And you really care THAT much if someone likes poorly written novels or followed every detail of the Kimye wedding? Does it affect your ability to pay your bills? Put food on your own table? Get out of the bed in the morning? Yeah…I didn’t think so.

Let me explain why I personally became a Twilight fan, not that it should matter. Two things happened in April and May of 2009 that whooped my ass. My divorce papers were final and I went through my first post-husband break-up with someone I absolutely adored. I was a DISASTER. In full disclosure (to put it in perspective) it was the second time I was legitimately diagnosed with depression. I lived on Chinese food and Ben & Jerry’s. I rarely left the house for anything other than work and to walk the dogs. I was 1,500 miles away from my entire family and just felt quite alone, despite the fact I lived in the second largest city in the U.S. and had a gazillion friends. You get it, it wasn’t pretty. Twilight had recently made it to OnDemand and I still had no freaking clue what the heck it was about and why it was so popular. So one night after picking up the requisite City Wok (orange chicken and pork fried rice should you be curious), I thought well, might as well…

Fifteen minutes into it I knew I had made a terrible mistake. Because I can’t just like something with a passing fancy. I have to love it and hug it and SQUISH IT TO DEATH. I have a penchant for obsession (see: hockey and my high school years). All three Twilight books were purchased and read within like a week and a half. I went to Comic-Con, I even made some new friends. It was awesome. I never got into Twilight because I found it to be Pulitzer-prize winning literature and Oscar-worthy movies. Quite the contrary. It was senseless entertainment and a much-needed distraction. It pulled me out of a my own head for a little bit each day. Books have ALWAYS been an escape for me and no chick I know of – correct me if I am wrong, it’s the internet so I know you will – wants to take on A Tale of Two Cities when she’s bawling her eyes out over a guy and halfway through a pint of Half Baked.

You have no idea why people like the things they do. And you just shouldn’t care. A Twilight habit (or bad TV or shitty movies, whatever your vice) is much better than a cocaine habit, I say. The fun part is you don’t have to like it too! Crazy! Also what you don’t have to do is be so self-righteous about it. You are not better than me because I like Twilight (and 50 Shades of Grey, *gasp*) and you find it trashy and unbearable. I guarantee you that you like something I find unappealing. I have dated Philadelphia sports fans and Conservatives, I can clearly get past terrible interests. (She’s funny, this one!)

I may say to you, hey You, I don’t like that. But hey You, it’s totally cool that you do. Cause that’s how it should work. Remember in Steel Magnolias when Clairee said our ability to accessorize is what separates us from the animals? I believe our ability to pick and choose our likes, interests and individual thoughts are what separates us from not only the animals, but also from being absolutely mundane and boring. Who wants boring?!