Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim

Dangrdafne book review 

So for my 50th birthday last year I wanted to go to Paris and see Notre Dame as my birthday trip. But then, on the same day, Notre Dame burned and I received a letter that my passport was lost when it was sent for renewal. I was devastated on both counts and didn't know what to do. 

Many months have passed and my passport have never turned up but I did get my renewal one and Notre Dame is hopefully being restored and I will get there at some point. And now we are in a pandemic and travel is on hold no matter what for me. An author friend of mine posted a retweet of Roselle Lin's tweet announcing her book release a few months ago and as soon as I saw the title and read Roselle's tweet I knew I had to get the book: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop.

I ordered it immediately from my local bookstore and waited for them to let me know it was ready for pick up. I waited a week and then finally it was ready. My hubby went to get the book for me but upon his return I found that they had placed the wrong Roselle Lin book on the pick up shelf for me. I was so sad and I had to wonder, am I ever meant to go to Paris... even in a book?? They corrected the error and another week later I had my book.

It was worth the wait for sure. I can still see all the sights, hear all the sounds of Paris, smell all the glorious foods and feel all the wonderful emotions of the book. A truly beautiful read.

It is a story about Vanessa Yu and how she searches for love, a life and herself. She has an incredible family, if not a little overbearing but certainly full of love. Roselle's writing is simply beautiful. Her descriptions are real and easy to imagine. Especially when she writes about food. Oh the glorious food. Make sure you are not hungry when you read this book and even if you are full, you will still want all the food. Roselle has an affinity for describing all the smells and tastes of the food in Paris. 

This was truly a wonderful book to get lost in and it was so easy to lose yourself to the streets of Paris and the lives of the Yu's. I love stories about family and this did not let me down. The family is crucial to the entire story and I would love to know them in real life. Their loyalty to each other is something to aspire to in our own lives.

Will Vanessa find love? Will she find a life? Will she find herself? You will have to take the journey with her and enjoy all the twists and turns in the book to find out. So grab a snack and strap yourself in for a ride through Paris and Vanessa's Yu's journey.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 16, 2020


[Mysticism for the People!] -- I realize that not many of our regulars will be familiar with this band. Hel, I wasn't aware of them until very recently. So, while my sonic palette has been expanded, my gain is also your gain. I hope. Anyway, Vox Populi! ‎was a French group who billed themselves as "ethno-industrial." Influenced by industrial music and power electronics, Vox Populi! worked with heavy synth, droning, studio wizardry, and effects to create atmospheric, trance-like audio experiences. This style has several other descriptors such as ambient, darkwave, and coldwave. Vox Populi! made around 108 recorded appearances (according to discogs), 12 of which were their own albums released between 1982 and 1989. (They also released records in 2009 and 2019, but I'm uncertain if that qualifies them as being currently active; perhaps someone can let me know). This week, I'm looking at their 1985 release, Myscitismes, which was recently rereleased on 140 gram vinyl LP, a favorite format for coldwave enthusiasts. So, if you need some background music for reading, writing, or just winding down, this 12-track recording just might be something you should add to your listening rotation. My favorite tracks are "Trois Gouttes De Sang," "Omid," and "Myscitisme II."

Flashback: Vox Populi! ‎– Myscitismes (full album playlist) 

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Folklore - Taylor Swift

 Album Review by Dangrdafne

I never thought I would do an album review but I just can't keep quiet about this album. I am enthralled with it and I can't stop listening to it.

About 3 weeks ago someone mentioned how much they missed listening to an album from beginning to end and I realized that I also have not done this in quite some time either. 

Then 2 weeks ago on a Zoom call someone mentioned Taylor Swift's new album Folklore and how much they loved it. That it wasn't typical Taylor and it was very soothing in fact. I was intrigued and downloaded the album while on the call.

For the past week, I have had the album pretty much on repeat and I still can't stop. 

It is glorious. It is ethereal. It is soothing and calming. It is angry and quiet. It is sweet and lovely. It is everything I didn't know I needed in an album.

I would love to write up and dissect each song but the album isn't about that at all. It is all about getting lost in the sounds and the words and the FEEL of the album. I just sink into it each time it starts and it wraps itself around me and soothes my soul. Even the angry songs just pierce right into me and free the tension. 

I bought the explicit lyric version of the album and I am glad I did. It feels honest and it certainly is not overly explicit and I feel the lyrics are valid and necessary.

My most favorite song is exile featuring Bon Iver. Their voices are spectacular in this song and the harmony and lyrics are divine.

"...there's nothing like a mad woman" is my other most favorite song if just for the title alone. I even had to buy the shirt with this lyric on it from her online store. I already own a Shake It Off shirt and sticker on my computer, as that was and probably still is my theme song. NOTHING on this album is like that song, though, so do not go into this album expecting anything like that song. This is reflective Taylor Swift and I adore it and her.

4 paws and a tail!!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 9, 2020


[Still 1981] -- Still was released on 10/8/1981, 39 years ago this week, but it was originally intended for an August 1981 release (that's why "1/8/81" appears on the center labels). This double album compilation is considered something of a posthumous release -- the 1980 suicide of Joy Division's lead singer, Ian Curtis, led to the band's dissolution (three of the remaining members would go on to form New Order). 

Discogs and Wikipedia each have a good listing of the tracks and their source, indicating what was previously released, or unreleased, and which tracks were from a live recording of Joy Division's last concert at Birmingham University (the entirety of sides C and D). Upon release, Still reached #5 on the UK album chart. The compilation was remastered and re-released in 2007 with a 14-track bonus disc. You can enjoy all 21 tracks of the entire original playlist, in order, via this YouTube playlist. If you just want a sampler, I've made three selections and you can read and hear more after the jump.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Educated A Memoir by Tara Westover

 Dangrdafne book review

What a difficult read. I truly disliked the people in this book but I shouldn't because really they all have untreated mental illness. This was one of the hardest books I have ever stuck with. My psychology mind was reeling from it all but it couldn't let it go.

It is the memoir of a young woman who grew up in Idaho with a very different upbringing than many people. The major influence of the story is that she does not got to school or even receive home schooling as a child. I know schools are not perfect but I can't help but feel that without it you miss out on so much about the world. There is something to be said for understanding things outside of yourself and I believe this book shines the light on that.

Her schooling does change as she gets older and she does end up in college and beyond, which is quite an incredible feat based on her family history. The human spirit really can take someone further than you could ever imagine.

This book was so frustrating to me and I feel like it is all because of me and that others might truly enjoy this book. The person who recommended the book and lent it to me really liked it but actually was not surprised that I had issues with it. 

I just felt so horrible for this whole family but they lived the lives they wanted and knew and who am I to say anything about it. I just know I would not read this book again but I would not stop anyone else from reading it just because of my issues with the book. It is an overall good book and very interesting. 

2 paws 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Friday 80s Flashback for October 2, 2020

[Basically Chameleons] -- 35 years ago this week, English post-punk rockers The Chameleons released their sophomore studio album, What Does Anything mean? Basically. With only one single, "Singing Rule Britannia (While the Walls Close In)," this album was well liked by many critics. However, its wall of sound -- featuring digital delays, pedals, and other studio wizardry -- was a bit too much production for some fans, and other critics (even as recently as 2003, it has been called "as half-baked as its title"). I find it to be a great record to have spinning in the background. Speaking of finding the record, I'm pretty certain I found my copy in the discount bin at a record store that used to be on College Ave. in downtown State College, PA. Yes, I bought it on vinyl. And, yes, I still have the LP record (and it's not scratched). So, to celebrate this album's 35th anniversary, let's spin the whole thing!

FlashbackWhat Does Anything mean? Basically (full album)

01. 00:00 Silence, Sea and Sky 02. 02:01 Perfume Garden 03. 06:41 Intrigue in Tangiers 04. 11:59 Return of the Roughnecks 05. 15:27 Singing Rule Britannia 06. 19:47 On the Beach 07. 24:01 Looking Inwardly 08. 28:35 One Flesh 09. 33:02 Home Is Where the Heart Is 10. 38:57 P.S. Goodbye Bonus Track 11. 42:02 In Shreds 12. 46:14 Nostalgia

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

Dangrdafne book review:

Not at all what I expected!

What a gorgeous book about some not so gorgeous times.

A simple story about a female from childhood to adulthood in the deep south.
It tells the tale of her life and all that she goes through on her own, truly all.on.her.own.

It is disturbing at times, glorious at times and wholly real throughout.
You want to protect her, fight for her, yell at her, yell with her and be her at all different times in the story.
Her tale is long, sad and victorious but maybe not in the ways you think.

This story was not at all what I thought it would be but it was everything I needed it to be.
I feel stronger for having read it and more knowledgeable too on topics I would not have thought about otherwise.
This book took me two days to read and it's been two weeks and I am still not past it.

I loved that I cried both tears of sadness and of joy throughout this book.
It touched me on so many levels.

I know I don't say too much about the actual stories when I write my book reviews but that is because I want each person to be able to experience the story in the book on their own. You don't need me to give you the play by play, that is what you read the book for. I just offer my thoughts on how the book affected me. This one was pretty amazing and I really hope that if you haven't ever read it, you will seek it out.

4 paws