Wednesday, February 13, 2013

War and Peace and Lent

I started reading War and Peace, partly because I've really wanted to read it since I went to see the War and Peace movie marathon at the Russian Embassy and partly because now I have real motivation in the form of Annie-the-amazing. (It is also her birthday for another half-hour, so С Днем Рождения! or should I say joyeux anniversaire?) Anyway, She suggested we read it together and commit to posting about it as we go, we decided on Lent which gives us 40 days (and is only very mildly sacrilegious.)
I'm really excited, reading is one of those things like strawberries that I seem to forget I actually love -- I can go for months at a time until I pick up a good book or taste a really ripe strawberry and wonder how I survived without serious withdraw. When I was at Thomas More I read a ton. (And I also watched nearly no TV, where did that go?) By read a ton I mean we read Crime and Punishment in barely over a week. And that's a big Russian novel, notable not as big as War and Peace, but still a serious amount of people with really long names and significantly unpleasant lives. So 40 days for War and Peace is totally doable - plus that might even include Sundays off. Tolstoy's novel includes more than 1,100 pages, hundreds of characters, and 365 chapters. You could read it a chapter everyday for a year as the world's weirdest page-a-day-tear-away-calender.
Why yes, you are correct -- my Russian novel does appear to be speaking French.
The opening line to the effect of "Hey how about those Bonapartes?" has got nothing on Anna K's unhappy families, or Rebecca's dream of Manerley, or Rachel's Four Turnings, but it gets the book going nonetheless. And so we begin!

Got any Russian novel reading advice for us?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gettin' Crafty

...and pretending I'm pinteresting
I've been all sorts of grown-up in the past month: applying for lots of non-4-am-style-jobs, signing a lease (+10 grown-up-points!) and I even let the doctor draw my blood despite the fact that: A. I was using that blood and B. I have a hardcore-panic-reaction to needles ever since I stepped on an up-side-down-pin-cushion (something I would entirely advise against). On another note though, I've also been mildly crafty crocheting myself some borderline-homeless-dude-glove-things and making myself a kindle case. Tada!
I love my Kindle. I love it even more after finding out how useful a compact-yet-endless-supply-of-books is when commuting to school /living overseas. I wanted a Kindle case to avoid losing my dear Kinny to an untimely-end-by-screen-damage, but my word are they expensive! Seriously -- most  cases cost a 1/3 to 1/2 as much as the Kindle itself. Not cool people.

[I've also got a whole rant about how nonsensical it is that other e-books and cases don't work with kindles and vice-versa, cause it's idiotic. Dvds, cd, mp3 and freaking cassettes work in other brands' players, so why not e-books?  Makes about as much sense as country-coding dvds --Also stupid. Ranty-rant-rant.]

Anyhow... I decided to just make my own case. Recent pre-moving-cleaning-o'-my-room resulted in compiling the disturbing amount of unused notebooks/journals I own into huge piles. Although the upside to my unruly addiction to notebooks is that I had a great little "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" journal that I got on sale at some point from Barnes and Noble. So 1, 2, 3, I converted it from a cute notebook to an awesome kindle case in the span of just one episode of Castle:

1. Removed most but not all of the pages.
First I just carefully torn out most of the sections of pages. I left in about three little sections, because the notebook's spine is slightly thicker than my Kindle and because it gives me some note-taking/thoughts-on-books-recordings space in the front which seems pretty handy. (I also left in just a couple of pages in the very back)

2. Glued in elastic hold-in-place-bits.
After trying a couple of other types of glue, I switched to a hot glue gun, which is honestly right up there with duct-tape, so it should have just been the first thing I tried. Naturally it worked the best. I glued the ends in place with the elastic around the back of where I wanted it to be, then once it dried/cooled I just flipped 'em round into place.

3. Prettied it up.
I covered up the glued-down-edges with the pages I had left in the back, plus more hot-glue-gunning to be sure everything stayed in place. Then I put a bit of black ribbon over the torn-out-messy-looking-spine. And I moved the pocket from the inside of the back cover to the front so I could still use it -- with the very artistic tactic of ripping it out of the back and gluing it inside the front. Yup, I'm oh-so-skilled.

And so voila! I have an awesome meme-inspired-cupcake-themed-home-made-ish-kindle-case-with-note-taking-pages-included. It would be just as easy to make a case for a nook/ different sized kindle/ ipad, as long as you find a notebook it fits. 
I decided against using the other cute-notebook-of-the-right-size that I found in my room, because it had a magnetic closure and I don't know enough about technology to know if that would have bad-effects on my kindle over time. Better safe than sorry.

Now I'm off to read some of my abundant collection-of-public-domain-and-therefore-free-to-download-classic-lit on my well-dressed little Kinny-the-Kindle.