Review: My Fair Lazy, by Jen Lancaster

My Fair Lazy
My Fair Lazy
by Jen Lancaster

I’ve been a great fan of Jen Lancaster’s memoirs since before she published them, and was just another snarky blogger. I mean, even though our politics would never mesh, we’re pretty close in age, and have similar cultural landmarks because of it. It is with some regret, then, that I say I found her latest offering 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 less sparkly than her previous offerings.

Maybe it’s because we’re both getting older, or maybe it’s just because Jen is funnier when she’s playing her shallow consumer act (it is an act, right? Right??) but some of this book just seemed sad to me. I mean, her voice is still as sharp as ever, but I think I’m losing interest in her version of the world.

On the other hand, I did turn into a prune while reading this book in the bath, using my toes to add alternate doses of hot and cold water. I’d have preferred to be reading it while seated on my new-this-year outdoor chair cushions, but even the best Jen Lancaster book isn’t worth sacrificing oneself to the mosquitoes for.

But yes, I will buy her next book.
Whatever that is.

But it will probably be the Kindle edition.

The Sunday Salon: Paranormality

I’m in the middle of reading this novel called The Hypnotist by M. J. Rose, which I classify as a paranomal mystery/thriller. It’s my first read by this author, but not my first foray into paranormal fiction. I’ve been thinking though, of what my first experience with this genre was.

I think, technically, the book that got me hooked on paranormal fiction (mystery, thriller, romance, or otherwise, was one I read several times as a young girl: Ghosts I Have Been, by Richard Peck. It’s about a girl named Blossom Culp who was a supporting character in Peck’s previous novel, The Ghost Belongs to Me, but so strong was her presence in the original book, and so long has it been since I’ve read either (I mean they were published in the 1970’s originally, despite Amazon only admitting to recent reprints) that I get plot elements of both stuck in my head. I know that The Ghost Belongs to Me was actually made into a movie called “Child of Glass,” in 1978, though.

In any case, Blossom is a feisty girl from a single-parent home on the wrong side of the tracks. She’s bright, but gets into trouble because of her cleverness, and she claims to be clairvoyant, except, as it turns out, she’s not just making it up because she ends up having a sort of out-of-body/out-of-time experience and being on the Titanic when it sinks.

Even if the entire plot hasn’t stuck with me, the essence of the book has.

I guess I’ve always liked books that explore the possibility of some kind of Otherness. I’m never entirely certain if I believe in it – I mean, sometimes I wake in the night and swear my grandmother’s perfume in my room – but mostly, it’s the possibility, the wonder, the not knowing, that I really enjoy.

As Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine wrote in Into the Woods, “Isn’t it nice to know a lot, and a little bit…not?”

Aluminum for Remembrance, Post-Its for Pleasure

Anniversary Post-its from Just Paper Roses

There’s a scene in the movie version of Under the Tuscan Sun where Frances, having decided to pick one room at a time in her new Italian villa and make it her own, begins with her writing desk. She turns it so that she can look out the window while she works, and decorates it with pretty boxes, and bouquets of both pens and flowers. While I enjoyed the movie, for what it was, that scene really resonates with me, because I’m the same way about my writing desk. Oh, I can’t always afford to keep fresh flowers on it, but whenever I can, there they are, and even though I tend to compose everything I write at the computer keyboard these days, I have to have paper. Real paper. I have baskets of blank note cards and piles of post-its, and while none of them are about my anniversary, if someone gave me such a pad, I’d laugh delightedly, and add them to the stack. Post-its are great for jotting down notes, and the one thing I hate about no longer working in the corporate world is that I no longer get post-its for free from various vendors.

The post-it notes are just one reason I’m digging this great web-shop that specializes in wedding anniversary gifts, Just Paper Roses. Not only do they have a selection of faux flowers designed for every anniversary, in both artsy and “lifelike” versions, but they also have post-its, picnic-ware, teddy bears, and lots of other cool gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, and just because.

One of the items I thought was cool was that for the 10th wedding anniversary gifts, which are supposed to be aluminum, they offer metallic roses in a shiny aluminum vase, that should look tacky, but instead feels sort of retro-chic. In fact, if my next wedding anniversary wasn’t going to be my 16th, I’d be asking Fuzzy to get it for me, to put on the desk in the Word Lounge.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to give me the tiny square booklet-calendars she got free from the florist or the bank, or wherever. I always got a kick out of reading the list of anniversary gift themes. You know, first year, paper, and all that. I’m guessing the folks at Just Paper Roses liked those calendars too, because their products suit every taste from serious to silly, and their prices are reasonable.

One of my favorite books is a tiny missive by Alexandra Stoddard called Gift of a Letter, that basically talks about how letter-writing is becoming a lost art. I’m a die-hard letter writer. I’m also a die-hard lover of flowers, but I have many friends who feel sad about sending cut flowers because they don’t last. As you can imagine, I’ll be turning them on to the fabulous silk and paper roses Just Paper Roses offers.

Well, just as soon as I place a bouquet on the corner of my writing desk, light some incense, and sit down to write to them about it.