Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Did you know that most fireflies use their bioluminescence (fancy word for glowy butts) to attract mates, not for warning purposes? From Wikipedia :

Fireflies are a classic example of an organism that uses bioluminescence for sexual selection. They have evolved a variety of ways to communicate with mates in courtships: steady glows, flashing, as well as the use of chemical signals unrelated to photic systems. [Me: Photic systems? This is how people get lost in Wikipedia, clicking to new pages constantly, and then forgetting what they looked at in the first place.] Some species, especially lightning bugs of the genera Photinus, Photuris, and Pyractomena [There are different species?!] are distinguished by the unique courtship flash patterns emitted by flying males in search of females. In general, females of the Photinus genus do not fly, but do give a flash response to males of their own species. [Ladies get the shaft in many species, apparently.]

This has nothing to do with book reviewing except for the title but I always wondered why fireflies have glowy butts and now I know. As long as whoever wrote that page wasn’t lying. If they are, they’re really creative. And weird for lying about bugs.

Glowy butts!

The book for today is by Kristin Hannah. I had never read a book by her until I read Firefly Lane. I had heard many good things about her, but she is so ubiquitous (or so it seemed) that I kind of resisted reading her books. (Just like my resistance to Harry Potter that just ended about 2 weeks ago. I’m in love.)

Pretty glowy butts on a cover!

When I scanned through my nook for titles by Kristin Hannah, this one stuck out to me the most. I’m a sucker for friendship stories (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, anyone??) and this one seemed pretty decent. It was definitely beyond decent. And surprising.

The book centers around Kate and Talullah “Tully” who become best friends in middle school. Kate is the shy, nerdy, intelligent girl and Tully is the exotic, daring, beautiful new girl in town. (Anyone want to guess which one I relate to?) Their friendship, as most friendships seem to be in friendship stories, is unlikely but it works. Tully has a hippie for a mother who comes in and out of her life (“Cloud”) and Kate has the perfect nuclear family. Both, naturally, are jealous of each others’ lives. (Well, I wouldn’t go as far to say that Kate is jealous that Tully has a kooky, dazed-and-confused mother, but she’s jealous can do and wear whatever she wants with no parental supervision.)

The books spans their childhood, growing up on Firefly Lane, to middle aged adulthood. Normally a book that covers that much ground would be choppy or even long-winded, but this book is not. It flows perfectly and you don’t feel as though you’re missing any pieces. Tully and Kate both have goals to become reporters, a la Diane Sawyer, but Tully is the one with the passion for it. She will stop at nothing to get to her goal. I am mega envious of anyone with a passion that strong. I’m just going to blame my perfectionism for my lack of passion.

Kate and Tully have tumultuous periods, like any friends do, and Tully definitely has the stronger personality of the two. You will wind up, if you relate to Kate like I do, feeling angry at Tully for being selfish, but feeling pity for her as well. If you relate to Tully, you feel angry at Kate for letting Tully walk all over her (stand up for yourself, girlfriend!), but feel pity for her as well because she never quite seems to get what she wants like Tully does. Actually, I don’t think  you need to relate to either/or to feel that way. Both of them made me mad and sad at the same time.

The  overall theme of this book is obviously friendship, but also going after what you want in life and not apologizing for it. (Does anyone else notice a theme in all the books I review? I certainly have.) You’ll find out what Kate’s real passion in life is, and maybe you won’t understand. I did and didn’t. You’ll want Tully to settle down, but you’ll want Kate to stop being so settled. This book was about life and learning to live it. It’s also about the unexpected turns that happen in everyone’s lives. You can’t plan for everything. And it may or may not have a happy ending. Or maybe it has a teary ending. Or maybe it has a choke-on-your-own-sobs, ugly cry ending. (I have never looked ugly while crying. Nope.) You’ll just have to read it and find out.

Before you read it though, you probably should watch this video. Don’t worry, it’s sort of about reading…

Told you books and cats are two of my only passions. I can feel you judging. Stop.


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Now, in starting this blog, I vowed (in my mind) to give readers a variety of books to choose from and give honest reviews. The book I’m about to review definitely fits with the title of my blog in that it is a book that isn’t boring, but I think maybe the topic was such a downer, I couldn’t really love it. I liked this book a lot and from a psychological standpoint, I loved learning about the inner-workings of the human mind, especially one that is depressed enough to attempt or succeed in committing suicide. (I sound like a psycho. I don’t LOVE what they did or attempt or that they were depressed. I find it interesting and sad. I like books that depress me, okay? Don’t judge. Sorry I’m not sorry.)

I can't find an image for this book that is working for me, so enjoy this postsecret that reminded me of working at Disney. Not because we had coffee issues, though I'm sure there have been many. People are so entitled. Now, back to the book...

The author, Jill Bialosky, had a younger sister who killed herself at the age of 21. She is quite a bit older than her sister (Kim) and is devastated by her death. From Jill’s own words,

“Kim’s suicide has forever altered the way in which I respond to the world around me. It has transformed the way I think and feel about intimacy, motherhood, friendship, and ones responsibilities to others. Her early death changed every preconceived idea I had of suicide, depression, suffering, parenthood, and our debt to another person. Before Kim ended her life, I thought, like most people, that someone who would take his or her own life was somehow different from the rest of us. I was wrong.”

That passage in the intro to the book explains this book perfectly. Jill poetically spells out her journey in attempting to understand why her sister did what she thought she had to do. She sees psychologists, researches suicide and faces her own guilt that she was not able to save her sister. She transcribes passages from Kim’s diary that lets the readers into her sister’s mind. She shares her own poetry and poetry of others to better explain how she as a survivor feels. I do know a fair amount about depression and suicide, but Jill definitely gave me a lot to think about. You may not be able to ever truly know a person, or ever save them if they don’t want to be saved. That’s a hard thing to realize.

I think this book was hard for me to love because of the content, naturally and as previously mentioned, but also because the whole time I just wished for Kim’s death to be an accident. She gets in a fight with her boyfriend and locks herself in her garage, car running. She leaves a suicide note. But part of me just can’t let go of the possibility that maybe she just fell asleep. She was drunk and high. Maybe she wanted to go and just got tired? Maybe that’s all suicide ever is. You want to go somewhere and you just get tired, but a different kind of tired. You learn in the book that not all attempted suicides or successful suicides are planned for a long time – it’s like the person just snaps and realizes that it’s what they want to do. That is so sad to me. There’s no way for someone to help or intervene.

I don’t have much more to say about this book and I feel weird trying to be funny about such a sensitive topic, so I’ll leave this review short but sweet. (Sweet? Maybe short but bittersweet.) This book is a great read. Like I said, I won’t lie, I did not love this book, but I did like it and it’s great enough to make it to my blog so that counts for a lot. To me. And it should to you, too. If you’re interested in psychology at all, you’ll like or maybe even love this book. If you’re interested in the bond of family at all, you’ll like or maybe even love this book. If you’re interested in mysteries, you’ll probably like this book. I feel that it’s a huge mystery that may never be solved. So I guess if you’re interested in Unsolved Mysteries, this one’s for you. That’s not a joke. Go read this book!

I need to include something happy now after such a sad topic. Here’s a video that makes me cry with laughter every time I watch it. There’s a lot of swearing, so if that offends you, you’re fucking out of luck. Maybe there’s a bleeped version. But watch this if you love cats just as much as I do.

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