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I know this is rather a cop-out, but since I like to think so many of you are worried about me in my blogging absence I didn’t want to be a total failure!

Week in recap

Reading:

  • SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT by Beth Hoffman – very sweet novel of a young girl growing up surrounded by strong women.  Reminiscent of THE HELP, though not as epic.  Worth picking up – Beth Hoffman is an author to watch!
  • IMPERFECT BIRDS by Anne Lamott – My first experience with Anne Lamott, but I now understand why she has such a huge, devoted fan base.   A tough story to read about family struggles, mainly with a mom and her daughter doing drugs.  Will be sending to my own mom so she can better appreciate just how well-behaved I really was in high school! Will be available April 6, from Riverhead
  • THE BOOK THIEF by Marcus Zusak – I’ve read several WWII novels lately, and this title (told from the perspective of Death), may be my favorite.  I also highly suggest another recent read, CITY OF THIEVES (which my friend Max guest-blogged about last month).
  • Also worth noting, this coming Tuesday, 2/9, marks the release of the highly anticipated THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake – a novel based on three women with intersecting lives in the time of WWII.  This deserves a far better written review, but since I am incapable of doing such high-level things at the moment, I invite you to wander on over to Serendipitous Reading and KellyVision for their takes (if you’ve also written a review, I’d love for you to leave your link!)

Imbibed (to be filed, eventually, in my “city-imbibing” page):

  • My roommate Liz and I have a couch-sleeper for a bit, and we went out to celebrate her return to NYC with our favorite sushi restaurant, Typhoon, which happens to conveniently be located two store fronts from our apartment.  During the week all sushi is 50% off and it is delicious.  I can’t recommend highly enough the green tea fried ice cream to top off the meal!
  • Drank: a delicious Red Rhone Wine, courtesy of my classy and cultured OUB & OAD.  I’ve been informed the grapes are from Italy – the wine was so tasty I would really like to go pick some of my own grapes from the countryside.
  • Nothing like some Spanish dancing to kick off Friday early (and by early, I mean late on  Thursday night).  I have no rhythm, but after several mojitos at the Meat Packing’s Son Cubana, even I could merengue!  The food was fabulous (the goat cheese croquettes were to die for) and the live band made it feel quite exotic.

Also, in my total nerdy, authors-as-celebrities mind, I got to meet Chang-rae Lee!!!!!!!!!!  If you’ve never experienced his writing, I highly suggest you pre-order his upcoming novel THE SURRENDERED and prepare yourself to become totally immersed.

I took this picture myself - one lucky photographer!

I have the (admittedly annoying) tendency to judge people based on their grammar and spelling habits, even over informal channels such as gchat and texting.  Some have complained that this practice is unfair; but until recently, I thought it was a fair testament to a person’s overall worth.

I admit, I was wrong (at least in one instance).

I’d like to introduce you all to Max (a real NYC friend!).  Not the most grammatically correct gchat or texter (or best Scrabble-er), but good at fixing things and entertaining over a beer.  Fed up with my correcting him and assuming he’s incapable of writing, Max recently decided to prove me wrong, with the following that he wrote on his lunch break from solving white collar crimes.  Please welcome Max and I’d love to hear your thoughts:

From the desk of Max

It is the dead of winter and I am behind enemy lines in Nazi occupied Russia, 60 kilometers from Leningrad. Bundled up in my Red Army issue parka I have taken up position in a stand of trees, perched high above a clearing on the edge of the enemies’ base.

I can faintly hear what I imagine are the punch lines to jokes about killing Jews,
Something like, “eichenschleimenheimer” or “heishdenjewdemkillier.”

Looking through the scope of my Kalashnikov sniper rifle, I’ve identified six Nazi soldiers standing in a circle, huddled together for warmth. I’ve zeroed in on the Swastika emblazoned on the hat of the soldier whose voice I heard right before the group burst in laughter.

I glance at my watch – only eight minutes left before they report back to their posts among the trees. If I don’t move quickly enough I will surely be discovered and killed. I prepare to fire, switching off the safety while carefully positioning myself to kill all six of them in one burst.

Five minutes.

My heart is pounding. My hand trembles. My vision goes in and out of focus. I am exhausted from the long nights in the trees, but there is no room for error.

Three minutes.

Adrenaline takes over, and I go to work.

THWAP. THWAP…THWAP. THWAP. THWAP…

“Shit” I whisper. The sole survivor of my barrage dove to the ground after seeing his companions fall dead in front of him. He scrambled into the wooded area and has sought cover behind a large oak. Precious time ticks away, but he hasn’t discovered my position. 30 seconds left. He peaks his head out from behind the tree. THWAP.

I breathe a sigh of relief and lay my #2 pencil down as I return to the reality of my fluorescently lit LSAT testing center in New York City.

“Please stop writing and lay your pencils down.” booms the proctor. “You will now have a fifteen minute break after which you will begin the final two sections of your exam.”

This is only a practice exam, but that was too close for comfort. You see, since reading David Benioff’s sophomore effort “City of Thieves“, I have developed a proprietary test taking strategy for the LSAT, for which I am currently studying despite my lack of desire to go to law school (long story for another post).

At the onset of my campaign towards LSAT domination, during breaks in my studies, I would read Benioff’s novel to break the monotony of the “Logic Games” section. The novel takes place during WWII, and follows the adventures of a trio of unlikely heroes, one of whom is a Russian sniper. I enjoyed these breaks, which made the LSAT study sessions somewhat bearable, but quickly finished the book, and was left with the emptiness that only multiple choice questions can provide. So rather than thinking of each question as a series of logical premises that lead to “the best possible answer”, I started imagining myself as Vika, the sniper, my pencil as my rifle, and the questions as Nazis. Haven’t missed a question since. December 5th, test day, will be a bloodbath.

As an aside. I would recommend the book highly. Like cotton candy, it’s light, fun, and will give you a little rush, like a sugar high. I haven’t read his first book, The 25th Hour, but Benioff’s screen play adaptation was turned into one of my all time favorite movies, it’s a Spike Lee joint starring Edward Norton. If you haven’t seen it, do so. Shhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiit. (You’ll understand once you’ve seen the movie.)

“You will now have 35 minutes to complete this section. If you finish before time is called, you may check over your previous work from this section only. Do not work on any other section, and please do not disturb the other test takers. You may begin.”

I can see my breath again.

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