Posts Tagged ‘Rebecca Leviton’

I Have Feyth in Tina

Posted: May 7, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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Step 1: Read BossypantsStep 2: Laugh ass off.

Story:  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really do the whole nonfiction thing.  My life is nonfiction enough without adding other people’s baggage into it.  However, when I saw that Tina Fey had a new book coming out, Bossypants, I knew I’d be bending that particular rule for the third time in my life.  (The first was for David Sedaris, and the second for Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!)).  I love Tina Fey.  She’s a great actress and screenwriter, so I was sure that she would prove to be an equally entertaining author.

I was not disappointed. (more…)

Okay, so I know that whenever someone mentions Peter Pan, 99 out of 100 people think of this guy:

 I don’t know what that hundredth guy is thinking of.  Maybe the peanut butter brand pops into his head first?  Anyway, The Child Thief by Brom (Yeah, just one name.  Like Madonna) takes that image of the lovable (read: obnoxious) flying boy in green tights and contorts it into a vicious demon who will sooner stab you in the nuts than look at you.  Now that I’ve got your attention… (more…)

As if it wasn’t hard enough just keeping track of all the books I read, I also have to find ways to keep myself amused while waiting for my favorite authors to come out with the next books in their series.  Just looking at Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story, which won’t be coming out until July, and Charlaine Harris’ Dead Reckoning, which will be available in May, makes me want to rip all my hair out in order to distract myself from the crippling anticipation of new books.

Then there’s Tamora Pierce, who has written some of my favorite series, and more importantly, my favorite characters.  There’s Alanna and then her daughter, Ali, in two of my favorites, Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen.  Her new series follows Beka Cooper (a girl after my own heart, or name, or whatever), and this series is a prequel to Alanna’s books.  Terrier have already come out, so the wait for Mastiff has been unbearable.  It’s not coming out until October!

New books are like my crack.  They’re the reason I spend my entire paycheck within minutes of getting it.  They’re my guilty pleasure, and my savior.  If this all sounds a bit eccentric to you, just remember that we all have our little quirks, and that I can totally stop any time I want.  I just don’t want to.

-Rebecca Leviton

Okay, not really, but it’s time for another book review!

Laura Whitcomb’s A Certain Slant of Light is positively a ghost story that’s worth reading. It follows Helen, a specter who died long ago, although she can’t seem to remember how. Helen latches onto people who tie her to the world, following them throughout their lives, until she comes across a student who can actually see her—something that no one else seems to be able to do. Turns out there’s something different about this student, but I won’t reveal what that special something is. Whitcomb takes us on a journey to uncover cover what the hell is going on before the truth is finally revealed at the end. It’s a pretty fun ride, in my opinion, and definitely a worthwhile read. The social commentary is, of course, poignant and very relevant to our generation. I will warn you, it can get a bit slow at times, but if you stick with it, you’ll be glad you did. Plus, ghosts are awesome! So sit down with a copy of Whitcomb’s book ASAP and prepare for some awesome chills and a wee bit of mystery!

— Rebecca Leviton

Don’t judge a book by its cover.  You’ve heard it before.  You’ll probably hear it again.  But I’m here to tell you something a little different: Do judge a book by its cover; just make sure it’s the back one.

Sometimes, the summary of a book can be really intriguing, and sometimes it can be really dull.  Most of the back-of-the-book summaries I’ve come across read almost exactly the same, with some choice words taken out or replaced.  To demonstrate this, I’ve put together a sample book summary that I think encompasses most, if not all, of the clichés you’ll find on the backs of books everywhere:

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Everyone, even English majors like myself, dreads getting assigned reading.  Mostly because assigned reading involves books that are written in some kind of old timey English which requires at least two minutes of analysis per sentence in order to figure out what the fuck the author is actually talking about.

As if that’s not enough, those books were written in a time when things like farming, sitting around idly by a fire, and living past forty-five were considered entertaining.  So naturally, going through fifty pages of that a night is pretty close to torture.  This leads me to believe that most English teachers are sadists, but then again, teachers in general are pretty sadistic.  So maybe I should say that English teachers have their own particular brand of sadism.  That being said, I thought I’d make a list of books you might encounter in a class that will not incite suicidal thoughts:

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Ah, the romance novel.  Also known as Girl Porn.  We’ve all seen the section in the bookstore, the one that’s cluttered with books titled things like, Sexy Summer Heat and My Vagina Desperately Needs Stimulation.  Many of us have laughed at and made a couple Fabio jokes in our lifetimes.  Most of these books look the same, and if you read the backs, it’s just a slightly steamier variation of the usual platitudes.  You know, like:

Mary Sue just broke up with her boyfriend Bobby, and now she doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to love again.  Then Chad, a handsome athlete, accidentally spills his coffee all over her.  She and Chad start out with playful banter that they confuse for hatred, but by page 50 they’re humping like bunnies, and it is then that Mary Sue realizes she loves his penis.  I mean him.  She loves him.

Nora Roberts deserves a medal for all the money she must have made off of lonely housewives and lusty cat ladies.  If you don’t know who she is, just take a peek into the Romance section next time you’re at a book store.  Her name should dominate at least four shelves.

It’s true that romance novels are often cheesy and ridiculous.  I’m a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon myself, mainly because neither she nor her editors seem to care about the grammatical content of her books or the continuity.  In one of her novels, Dance with the Devil,  her leading man actually undresses himself twice before pleasuring his lady.  I kid you not.  And she is a New York Times best seller. I guess you don’t need any kind of writing talent to get famous. I’m talking about you, Stephanie Meyer.

It’s no wonder romance novels have such a bad rep, but many people don’t realize that there can actually be some good stuff.  Check out my earlier post on the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  Charlaine Harris’ books are amazingly written, with lovable characters that just happen to make love every now and again.  And I respect her for that.

Don’t be afraid of the Romance section. Sometimes they are a good laugh, but other times you can find a genuinely good read.  Try it out.  You probably won’t regret it, and your libido will thank you.

– Rebecca Leviton

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Libba Bray is someone I both hate and love.  It’s very difficult to admire someone while simultaneously wishing they would fall off a cliff.  Her words are like a punch in the face.  She writes beautifully and dangerously, and when you pick up A Great and Terrible Beauty you will find yourself signed on for a three-book ride that will leave your mind thoroughly fucked.
A Great and Terrible Beauty follows Gemma Doyle, a girl who lives in Victorian England, as she faces the brutal and freakish murder of her mother, and all the insane shit that follows.  She transfers to a new school, makes a few enemies – Pippa and Felicity – and then makes a few friends – Pippa, Felicity, and Ann.  Oh, and she has visions.  Not only that, but she discovers a way to enter a magical realm where a mere thought can change the fabric of reality.  The problem is that Gemma and her friends become somewhat addicted to the magic they find there, and that, coupled with the visions, is really more than Gemma can handle.  So of course she also begins to dredge up secrets about the past – her mom’s past – that make her rethink entering that secret, magical realm with her friends.  I won’t ruin it for you, so let’s just say there’s evil afoot.  Once you finish that section of the journey, which I did in one sitting despite the fact that the book is thicker than my arm, you have two more to keep you entertained!  It’s inevitable that you will pick up book two, Rebel Angels and book three, The Sweet Far Thing. And that’s good.  Go for it.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

– Rebecca Leviton

Meet the Jerk Bloggers: Rebecca Leviton

Posted: February 14, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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Rebecca Leviton, Tale blogger

Hey, Rebecca here! I told you all about books in 2010, and this year, I’m back for more. Believe me when I say, I don’t give out complements easily, so if I give someone a good review, you know it’s gotta be worth reading.

Major: English and textual Studies

Year: Junior

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: Lucky Charms – They’re marginally delicious!

One lie I got away with: I don’t talk like a valley girl all the time.

Two things on my bucket list: Have one of my books made into a crappy movie than I can deny endorsing later. Burn Stephanie Meyer at the stake.

Three celebrities I love? Fuck that. Have three authors I can’t live without: Jim Butcher, Tamora Pierce, and Charlaine Harris

I’m morally opposed to Twitter, so you can’t follow me there, but I do have a blog: www.writeyourfigurativeheartout.blogspot.com