Archive for May 2011

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

I’ve done something that I rarely ever do.  I read a book AGAIN.  I know, right?  I first read this book probably 5 or so years ago and have read all of Emily Giffin’s other books since.  When I heard that the movie was coming out, I wanted to reread the book since I was a little fuzzy on plot/character details (storylines and characters start to blend together once you’ve read one too many chick lit-type books), but I couldn’t find it on my bookshelf!  I must have let someone borrow it (no pun intended) and never got it back, although I do still have “Something Blue”.  Rather than download a new copy to my Kindle, I wanted to buy a paperback copy so I have both books in the series together (I’m really anal about stuff like that).

“Something Borrowed” is a tale of two best friends, Rachel and Darcy.  Rachel is your everyday “girl next door” – pretty conservative in her life choices, lawyer, single… someone who you could totally be friends with.  Darcy is basically the opposite – always the center of attention, flashy PR job, gets all the guys, etc.  You could say that Rachel is Darcy’s sidekick.  Darcy is engaged to Dex; he and Rachel met in law school and Rachel introduced him to Darcy.  After a surprise party for Rachel’s 30th birthday, Darcy overdoes it on the alcohol.  While she goes home, Dex returns to the bar to look for Darcy’s purse, and one thing led to another, and next thing they know, Rachel and Dex are kissing then go back to her apartment.

At first, they pretend like it didn’t happen and have no intention on telling Darcy.  Then, Rachel starts to notice things about Darcy and the way she is treated by her – Darcy always competes with Rachel and has to win and be better than her.  Why should selfish Darcy get Dex when she doesn’t deserve a guy like that?  Rachel and Dex begin to communicate in secret and begin to carry on a secret affair.  The wedding date is only months away and Rachel has to figure out if she wants Dex, or if she wants to be loyal to her best friend since childhood.  And if she does want Dex, will he want her enough to call off the wedding?

I love love loved this book the first time I read it.  The second time around, I still really liked it and realized it has a lot more drama and emotion than I had remembered.  That’s not a bad thing, though.  It’s just not a happy, fluffy chick lit read.  The book is told from Rachel’s perspective, so even though she is doing something that’s pretty darn bad, you want to side with her (at least I did).  I began to really dislike Darcy and feel like she deserved everything that was coming to her.

If you read this book, make sure you go out and read “Something Blue” next.  It picks up where “Something Borrowed” left off but is told from Darcy’s perspective this time, so it adds a really interesting twist.  Emily Giffin’s other books are all fantastic as well.

Now onto the movie.  I haven’t seen it yet.  Have you?  The previews of it make it look totally different than the book.  I agree that Ginnifer Goodwin is a great Rachel (I loved her way back when she was in “Ed“!), but I was surprised at Kate Hudson as Darcy since in the book, Darcy is clearly described as a brunette.  I guess that doesn’t really matter.  But I could see how she could be a good Darcy, personality-wise.  This fellow, Colin Egglesfield, that they casted as Dex?  Eh. I’ve never heard of him and wasn’t who I had imagined when I had first read the book.  John Krasinski (swoon) as Ethan?  Not sure it would be my first choice either, but I’ll see anything with him in it.  My question: why did they not put the character Hillary (Rachel’s law firm coworker/confidante) in the movie at all?

So, is the movie worth seeing now or wait till it’s on Netflix?  Or is it just going to be so far off from the movie that it’ll make me turn it off halfway through?

All Things Jen Lancaster

So last night, I got to meet Jen Lancaster!!  Her newest book (and her first novel), If You Were Here, just came out and she was on a book tour and stopped in Pittsburgh.  I got there a little late (thanks, traffic) so I was standing in the back of the group and couldn’t really see her during the reading/Q&A session.  If you’ve read any of her books, she seems just as awesome and hilarious as she is in her books.  And super cute and preppy-looking, too.  She was a real trouper and signed the book of every person in line (I also ended up toward the back of the line and it took me almost 2 hours to get to her!) and made sure to chit-chat and get pics with everyone who wanted one.

Jen Lancaster and Jaci

Jen's signature in my book

I am so kicking myself now, though.  See, Jen talks about in her books how when she’s around a celebrity, she starts to talk their ear off and tries to touch their hair.  Her interaction with Alec Baldwin was the best, though (read “My Fair Lazy” to find out what I’m talking about!).  But when I get in front of someone famous (or even semi-famous like a local news personality), I freeze up and can’t even get words out.  What I WISH I would have mentioned to her was: 1) that I have this blog and I’ve read all of her books within the past few months and love her, and 2) that she inspired me from her book “Such a Pretty Fat” to join a gym and get a personal trainer; if she could do it, so could I.  But…. I’m a wimp and just made some comment about the spelling of my name because she mispronounced it and said something about being glad they gave us (the ones in the back of the line) chairs.  Yes, I’m a loser.  Either way, it was really awesome to see hear her talk and get to meet her for 60 seconds.

Here are my short summaries of her books (all but the newest one are memoirs) since I don’t want this post to be TOO long (and it’s best if you read in chronological order, as listed below) –

Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office“: Jen was in a high-paying executive career until the post-September 11th recession, when she was fired.  Her life goes from one extreme to the other pretty quickly and her then boyfriend, Fletch, also finds himself out of a job.  Through a number of temp jobs and some difficult and frustrating situations involving money, they come out on top and Jen lands a book deal in the process.

“Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl’s Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, Or, Who are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next to Me?”: This one is a little more about Jen’s daily life and experience living in Chicago in a questionable neighborhood, shopping, and her thoughts on just about everything.

“Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, Or, Why Pie Is Not the Answer”: Jen proposes an idea for a new book: a memoir about her journey to lose weight.  Once it is accepted by her publisher, she realizes she actually has to DO it.  She hires a personal trainer named Barbie (just imagine how that turns out) and goes on a number of different diets.  This is the book that pushed me to get off the couch and join a gym and try to eat better.  At her signing last night, someone asked if she still sees Barbie (which she doesn’t, she moved away) and Jen stated that she has realized it is more enjoyable NOT to go to the gym.

“Pretty in Plaid: A Life, A Witch, and A Wardrobe, Or, The Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase”: This one’s a little different, as Jen details her clothing choices from childhood up until current day and how they’ve shaped her life.  To be honest, although I did like this book, it is not my favorite out of her collection.  I like the current snarky Jen more than hearing about her younger days.

“My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover if Not Being A Dumb Ass is the New Black, Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto“: In between working on her books, Jen has become a reality TV addict.  After spending time with a more “cultured” friend, she embarks on a quest to become more well-rounded as a person and learn about the arts and ethnic dining, which she calls her “Jennaissance”.

Don’t pay attention to the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  I agree that maybe she’s not everyone’s taste, but Jen Lancaster is freakin’ hilarious.  She’s snarky, sarcastic, snotty, and sometimes inappropriate, but she sure is entertaining.  She tends to say and do those things that you think in your head but would never actually do.  Need some good beach reads for this summer?  Pick up some of her books.  You might get some looks when you start laughing out loud while reading them, but it’s worth it.  Her books are a “guilty pleasure”, some would say.

I’m looking forward to reading her newest book and will blog about it when I’m done!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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