Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Girl's Fashion

Rooney Mara, who plays Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which will be released December 21, 2011.), graces the cover of the November issue of Vogue.

Here’s what the 26-year-old Girl with the Dragon Tattoo actress had to share:

On the day she got the part: “I was ready to throw down. I was thinking, You either think I can be this girl or you don’t, but I need to move on with my life. He sat me down and gave me this long spiel about all the bad things that are going to come to whoever plays this part. He said something like, ‘Vivien Leigh was incredible in A Streetcar Named Desire, but she will always be Scarlett O’Hara, and you need to be prepared for that.’”

On how she’s changed since taking on the role of Lisbeth: “Before, I dressed much girlier. A lot of blush-colored things. Now I literally roll out of bed and put on whatever is there. I have really enjoyed being a boy this last year.”

On being a bit like Lisbeth herself: “I am very slow to warm. I’ve always been sort of a loner. I didn’t play team sports. I am better one-on-one than in big groups. I can understand wanting to be invisible and mistrusting people and wanting to understand everything before you engage with the world.”

The Vogue article is very interesting and there is s slide show of her fashion spread.

But seriously, how perfect is this dress to emulate the movie/book/character/darkness?

Ralph Lauren Fall 2011 Collection. Model: Hanaa ben Abdesslem

Rooney Mara was born into professional football royalty in Bedford, New York in 1985. She is one of four children born to New York Giants executive Timothy Christopher Mara and Kathleen McNulty, the granddaughter of Art Rooney, Sr., the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers football franchise. Her father's grandfather was Giants founder Tim Mara.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

i can read?

Someone was a bit jealous of "The Girl Who Played with Fire" last night.

Daisy wishes she could be a part of book club, but I told her she would have to learn to read first. Well, first she would need to learn how to not lick everyone's face, and then, second, she would have to learn to read.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Books Galore!

Guess what? Josh and I went to the library yesterday and I got THREE new books! Yay for me.

I'm currently reading The Uglies series (on book 2 of 4 - and I got the last 2 books at the library). I also got some fantasy book, which is probably a good choice b/c I'm not sure any of you SKANK bookclubbers would be too interested in fantasy (except HP fans like Stace and Katie, maybe ;) ).

Anyway. They did NOT have the third book in Millennium series, so I have yet to start that - so that's good news, right?

Stace - still on page 10?
Kristen - page 20?
Nicole - did you finish?
Katie - did you start reading yet?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Start Your Engines

As Amy said in the last blog post, our book club's third book has been selected (The Girl Who Played with Fire), but we never assigned a meeting date.

Well, start your engines, because we (sorta) assigned a to-be-read date. We also assigned the fourth book. Yea. Go figure.

Our goal is to have The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest both read for a joint discussion meeting in December.

We think asking to have our third book (second in the Millenium series) read by October-ish will give those of us complaining about how difficult it is to read when the weather is beautiful (ahem, Staci) time to finish. We also might try to meet virtually in the fall to discuss. We will see.

I haven't started the book. Nikkie is 400 pages in.

My excuse: I have three books I am currently in the middle of: Eat, Pray, Love; A Time to Kill; and Atonement. (Yes. I realize the irony of those titles.) I should probably remove the bookmark from at least one of them because I haven't picked up any of them in probably a month. My other excuse: every time I go out into the sunshine to read, my eyelids automatically close and I don't resist the urge.

Is it easier or harder to read in the summertime?
Do you prefer to read when it's rainy or sunny?
What do you do when you are in the middle of a book, but haven't read it for awhile?
Do you think I should stop reading all three books and start reading the book club books?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Three: The Girl Who Played with Fire

So, book 3 for our SKANK-y book club is scheduled to be the 2nd book of the Millennium trilogy/series. We didn't set ourselves any sort of to-be-read-by date...which I think is a bad thing. Personally, I keep forgetting to read it. I think I'm on page 2.

Anyone else having these problems? Has anyone gotten farther than page 10?

EXCITED FOR OUR CABIN GETAWAY THIS WEEKEND THOUGH...maybe some time to read will be had then?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Countdown: Book Two Review

The countdown to our second book club discussion: one week. We are all so excited! Mainly because we all just want to see one another. Book Shmook.

But, really, I know we all enjoyed this quick read.

Amy insisted on flying by the seat of our pants for this girls' weekend. But come on! "We need an itinerary!" we exclaimed. Ha. Okay, we don't need one, but we want one.

Shhh. I'm going to do one over here on the blog, rather than in the email.

Friday June 24:
5:00 pm: Meet at Stace's / Leave for Pittsburgh
7:00 pm: Arrive at Kt's in Pittsburgh
7:30 pm: Dinner and Drinks to celebrate Nikkie's 27th Birthday! Maybe some book club discussion


Saturday June 25:
9:00 am: Breakfast and mimosas
10:00 am: Watch Water for Elephants
12:00 pm: Discuss Movie and Book
1:00 pm: Go to IKEA
4:00 pm: Late Lunch/Early Dinner
6:00 pm: Depart Pittsburgh
8:00 pm: Arrive at Stace's

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lend a Helping Trunk

After Joplin, Mo. was devastated by twisters, clean-up crews needed all the help they could get picking up the pieces of the destroyed town.

And not just human help either.

This elephant is part of the Picadilly Circus, which had rolled its bigtop into Joplin for a performance when the storms struck. Since the venue where the circus was instead converted into a makeshift hospital, the circus was canceled. But instead of skipping town, the circus stayed to help, including their floppy-eared, wrinkly friends.

Harnessing their elephant, the circus staff put it to work dragging cars and debris from the city's streets. One circus employee said "We thought it's either take the day off or give a hand to the people who really need it."

The unlikely sight brought some cheer to the community still coming to terms with the disaster.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book 2: Themed Drink

According to Water for Elephants, elephants love gin! Who knew? And I love gin too. Kt and I both enjoy gin and tonics (and her in-laws are also huge fans of that cocktail).

But the rest of the girls in the book club are not gin and tonics drinkers. I wonder if we try the cocktail the elephant Rosie loves, would we all like it too? Gin and Ginger Ale.

Here are some gin cocktail recipes we might have to try:

Gin Buck
  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • 5 oz. Ginger Ale
  • .5 oz. Lemon or Lime Juice
Gin Gimlet
  • 2 oz. Gin
  • .5 oz. Lime Juice
  • .5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • Lime Wedge
Bee Knees
  • 2 oz. Gin
  • .75 oz. Honey
  • .5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
Salty Dog
  • 5 oz. Grapefruit juice
  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • .25 tsp. Salt
  • 1 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • Twist Lemon Zest
I think in terms of drinking with the theme of the book, anything with ginger and lemon work nicely with the storyline.

I'm am going to have to test taste a Gin and Ginger Ale and a Gin Buck soon. Unfortunately, I do not normally keep Ginger Ale in the house.

A review of a Gin Buck says it's the perfect summer drink - cool, citrusy, tart, a bit of spice. It's fizzier than a gin gimlet, and sweeter that a straight gin and tonic. Mmm. Sounds good to me!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Elephant Extravaganza

Once upon a time, we were all young and loved the circus and the zoo. Where did that go? I don't think it went anywhere, and that's why we all are enjoying Water for Elephants.

Last August, I went to the Erie Zoo for the first time in more than 10 years. My, how it changed! It has alligators, penguins, rhinos, orangutans, and more. They still have Samantha, the gorilla. But they no longer have the elephant.

Martika was moved from the Erie Zoo in 1997. Apparently, not only was the space she was kept too small, but also being the soul elephant can make the animal go crazy as it ages. She now resides at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and was just moved into it's new African Elephant Crossing exhibit in early May.

Marika was born in 1985 in Zimbabwe. She weighs 8,620 pounds. According to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Martika is the most playful of the herd. She enjoys splashing water around and making bubbly noises with her trunk when her keepers give her a bath, and she's known to tuck hay and other treats between her trunk and tusks to save for later.

The new African Elephant Crossing marks Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's largest ever investment in preserving the future of elephants. This world-class elephant habitat and conservation center quadruples the amount of indoor and outdoor space dedicated to these majestic animals and provides them with stimulating surroundings similar to their native savanna.

Spread over five acres of lightly wooded grasslands, African Elephant Crossing features two large yards for roaming, ponds for swimming, expanded sleeping quarters, and a heated outdoor range. The naturalistic habitat is capable of housing up to 10 elephants at a time, including at least one bull and eventually calves. African Elephant Crossing also will house meerkats, naked mole rats, African rock pythons and a spectacular collection of colorful birds.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jamaica Ginger

Since Water for Elephants is set in 1931 (and the present day), there are mini history lessons wrapped up into the story. It is set in the depression and during prohibition. And because of both of those things, I wanted to look up one of the "drinks" to poor circus workers imbibe.

Jamaica Ginger Extract (known in the United States by the slang name Jake) was a late 19th century patent medicine that provided a convenient way to bypass Prohibition laws, since it contained between 70-80% ethanol by weight.

According to Wikipedia (oh yes, that's right, I'm citing a social crowdsourcing medium. My research professor would be so proud.):

"Jake" was not itself dangerous, but the U.S. Treasury Department, which administered the Prohibition laws, recognized its potential as an illicit alcohol source and required changes to discourage drinking. In an effort to trick regulators, bootleggers replaced the ginger solids with a small amount of ginger and either castor oil or molasses.

A pair of amateur chemists and bootleggers, Harry Gross and Max Reisman, worked to develop an alternative adulterant that would pass the tests, but still be somewhat palatable. They settled on a plasticizer, tri-o-tolyl phosphate (also known as tri-ortho cresyl phosphate, TOCP, or Tricresyl phosphate), that was able to pass the Treasury Department's tests but preserved Jake's drinkability.

TOCP was originally thought to be non-toxic; however, it was later determined to be a neurotoxin that causes axonal damage to the nerve cells in the nervous system of human beings, especially those located in the spinal cord.

In 1930, large numbers of Jake users began to lose the use of their hands and feet. Some victims could walk, but they had no control over the muscles which would normally have enabled them to point their toes upward. Therefore, they would raise their feet high with the toes flopping downward, which would touch the pavement first followed by their heels. This very peculiar gait became known as the jake walk and those afflicted were said to have jake leg, jake foot, or jake paralysis.

Within a few months, the TOCP-adulterated Jake was identified as the cause of the paralysis and the contaminated Jake was recovered, but it was too late for many victims. Some users recovered full or partial use of their limbs, but for most, the loss was permanent. The total number of victims was never accurately determined, but is frequently quoted as between 30,000 and 50,000. Many victims were immigrants to the United States and most were poor with little political or social influence.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's a Bull Hook?

One of the things I wondered while reading Water for Elephants was "what's a bull hook?" In the story the equestrian (and elephant) trainer uses a bull hook to control/direct/instruct/punish the elephant. 

I've never heard of a bull hook and couldn't picture what it looked like. So hear's a picture: 

The trainer sticks the hook in the leg, neck, head, etc. Since the book is set in 1931, a lot of inhumane treatment happens to both the animals and the people. Some of it is just out of ignorance because back then people just didn't know better. But apparently, the bull hook is still used:


Monday, May 23, 2011

Save the Elephants!

Anyone who knows me, knows I am passionate about environmental issues. In fact, that is a main focus of my blog: ...and then i found $5.

But I thought this environmental petition was appropriate to post to this blog to go along (sort of) with the theme of Book 2: Water for Elephants.

Twenty years ago, illegal poaching to support the commercial ivory trade nearly wiped out elephant populations. In 1989 after international public outcry, elephants were given the highest level of protection, and the international trade of ivory was banned. But the battle isn't over. Over the past 12 years, a number of political decisions have led to a partial lifting of the ban, which has led to an increase in illegal poaching, especially in West and Central Africa, putting these majestic animals in danger once again.

To defend and save elephants, the legal ivory trade must be banned. If ivory had no commercial value, there wouldn't be a reason for these gentle giants to die. Tell the U.S. government to help protect elephants by opposing the international ivory trade.

Join The Animal Rescue's campaign today and you can help free elephants from the threat of ivory poaching. Please sign the petition that urges the U.S. government to protect the world's remaining elephants by opposing any further international trade in ivory.

Thanks for your help to free elephants from the threat of ivory poaching!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book 1: Discussion

Also, Stace (missing from photo above because she is the photog) did a summary of our book club meeting/discussion/excuse to hang out on her blog: SuperYay. So check it out when you have a chance.

(I guess we should have summarized the meeting over here on this blog, but you know... we are All Booked Up!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book 2: Water for Elephants

Our book club's plan was to follow along with the Millennium trilogy (and we still plan to), but we felt The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a bit dark and disturbing.

So for a light-hearted, summer read, we chose to put the other two books on the back burner and read our fourth reading selection - Water for Elephants. We thought it would be good to time reading the book with the movie release (because the previews to the movie look great!). And I always prefer to read the book before watching the movie.

I am about a third of the way through the book and it is an easy read with vivid descriptions. I'm sure, if I tried, I could have it read over one week or over two weekends.

The last book, I finished the month we all decided to meet, but unfortunately, only two of us actually finished to meet that first deadline. So we pushed back the date, and gave each other another two months to finish.

When we finally met, I needed some reminding (even though I took notes) as to what happened. I swore I was going to wait longer to start the next book, so it would be fresh in my mind. But I didn't want to wait as the movie trailers kept playing on TV. I have no self-control (I ate two bowls of ice cream yesterday - shh, don't tell Nikkie.)

I am, however, confident in our group this time around (and also, since the book is a quick read), that we will actually hit our selected meeting date.

I'm excited. This book lends itself well to adding fun activities to do with your book club. All of which, I want to do: Go to the circus, Watch the movie, Visit a zoo, Eat fair foods (cracker jacks, candied apples, fresh squeezed lemonade, roasted peanuts, etc.).

I haven't been to a circus in years! This book makes me want to. Also, the author did great researching behind-the-scenes, depression-era circus history. And as Sara Gruen is a woman, I am also intrigued she is writing from the perspective of an old man.

Around 100 pages in to Water for Elephants: Recommended.

Monday, April 18, 2011

1st Book Club Date Decided!

Yay! We all finally finished our first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and have decided on our first meeting date to discuss the book.

Here are some questions I think we should discuss at our first meeting:
  1. Why do you think Blomkvist decided not to publish the truth about Martin Vanger? Do you think he did the right thing?

  2. What did you make of the final scene of the book, where Salander saw Blomkvist with Erica Berger? Had you hoped that Salander and Blomkvist would stay together?

  3. In Swedish, the title was Men who Hate Women, but it was changed to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when it was translated to English. Which do you think is a more fitting title?

  4. Why do you think Nazism was such an undercurrent in the Vanger family?

  5. Rate The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on a scale of 1 to 5.
Some more . . .
  1. Who do you consider the novel's protagonist, Lisbeth or Mikael? Why?

  2. What point was Larsson trying to make with the themes running through this novel? How do issues such as man's brutality to women, journalistic integrity, and more general notions of trust tie in with each other throughout the book?

  3. What function do the sex-crime statistics on each section's title page serve?

    4. Re-read the passage from Mikael's book on page 84. What is its significance, in terms of the plot?

  4. On page 126, Henrik tells Mikael, "If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength - even if you no longer need to strike back." Over the course of the novel, who puts this advice to the best use? How, and why?

  5. How does the involvement of several Vanger brothers with Swedish fascist groups cloud Mikael's investigation into Harriet’s disappearance? What role does Harald play?

  6. Why does Henrik become an investor in Millennium? Does his plan succeed?

  7. Discuss the character of Lisbeth. Some think she is a "perfect victim" (page 324), others find her intimidating, and Mikael wonders if she has Asperger's, but the reader is allowed to see exactly how her mind works. How do you see her? How do you think she sees herself?

  8. What do you think about the way Lisbeth turns the tables on Bjurman? Is it admirable, or a sign that she's unstable?

  9. On page 202, Lisbeth says her new tattoo is "a reminder." Of what?

  10. Several times in the novel, Mikae'’s journalistic ethics are challenged. Do you consider him to be ethical? In your opinion, is anyone in the novel truly honorable? Who, and why?

  11. After reserving judgment for most of his investigation, on page 238 Mikael determines that Harriet was, in fact, murdered and that he's hunting for a killer. What prompts this decision? How does this affect the rest of his investigation?

  12. Discuss the role of parents in the novel. Who is a good parent, and why? How might Harriet's story have changed if her mother had behaved differently? What about Lisbeth's? Is Mikael a good father?

  13. Blackmail is used several times in the novel, for different ends. Who uses it most effectively, and why?

  14. On page 400, Mikael tells Lisbeth that to him, friendship requires mutual respect and trust. By those standards, who in this novel is a good friend? Is Mikael? What about Anita?

  15. Discuss Henrik's request that Mikael never publish the Vanger story. Is it a reasonable request? Does Mikael's acquiescence change your opinion of him? Do Lisbeth's demands mitigate his ethical breach?

  16. What ultimately drives Lisbeth to take action against Wennerström on her own? Does she go too far?

  17. Re-read Mikael's statement about the media's responsibility at the top of page 454. Can you think of a situation in the American media that is analogous to the Wennerström affair?

And I found this quote about the author and thought it summed up this first book perfectly:
Larsson is a sick minded genius!"

-Rana'a Madani in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia
design image Read the review ...

I found myself being repulsed by this book many times and I was like "why am I reading this!?", but to write with so many details and such a crazy plot, you have to be a genius . . a sick minded genius!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders Bankrupt

Borders Group Inc filed for bankruptcy protection and announced Wednesday it would close about one-third of its bookstores.

Erie's only Borders superstore on Interchange Road will be closing. Within the next several weeks, the store will start winding down

The long-expected Chapter 11 filing will give the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain a chance to try to fix its finances and overhaul its business in an attempt to survive the growing popularity of online bookbuying and digital formats. Sales at Borders declined by double-digit percentage rates in 2008, 2009, and and in the first three fiscal quarters of 2010.

All 200 closings will be superstores, and about 6,000 jobs will be affected, the company said. It has the option of closing up to 275 in all, according to court documents. It said the stores it wants to close lose a combined $2 million a week. The closings will start by Saturday. Borders operates 642 stores, including about 500 superstores as well as more than 100 smaller Waldenbooks locations.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Themed Drink

The characters in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo have two recurring drinks they consume: Coffee and Aquavit.

If I can find Aquavit in the local stores, I think it would be fun to drink during our Book Club discussion.

But what is it?

Akvavit or aquavit is a flavored spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia. Aquavit gets its distinctive flavor from the many spices that is distilled with alcohol and water before being mixed with rectified spirits.

It is distilled from either grain or potatoes. It is flavored with herbs, spices, and fruit oils such as caraway seeds, cardamom, cumin, anise, lemon or orange peel, or fennel. Caraway is typically the dominant flavor (similar to anise, fennel, or licorice).


Maybe we should stick to the coffee. Or better yet, wine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Interesting Fact

The original title of the book (in Swedish) was Men Who Hate Women, but it was changed to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when it was translated to English.


I haven't gotten far enough into the book to understand why (I'm about 200 pages into the 700-page book.).

Friday, January 14, 2011


Hey look who got book 2! I might be last to read the first one .... but won't be last to get the second one.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What what

Oh who didn't get their book yet...?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Start a Book Club

This is a first for all of us. At age 26, none of us have been members of a book club, discussed a book in an organized fashion, and we, especially, have not started our own club.

Please join us as we take our first novel (pun intended) steps in beginning a new chapter (I promise to get these puns out of the way early) in our young adult lives. We will adjust to reading books for pleasure; discussing books with Q&As and notes and order; and opening up about our thoughts and opinions with munchies, wine, coffee, and friends.

When we decided to start a book club our first question was: what's the book. Our second question was: when do we meet (since we have busy schedules - hence the blog's title). Our third question was: how do we do this.

Maybe we asked these in the wrong order.

Here are some basic steps in starting a book club:
  1. Intentions. What do you hope to get out of having a book club? What type of books do you want to read? How many people do you want in your club? How often will you meet?
  2. Members. If you already have a group of friends interested, that helps a lot. If/when prospective members contact you for more info, explain the purpose of the book club, the number of members you're looking for, and find out what types of books they are interested in reading.
  3. Meeting Place. These locations can also determine the size of your club: a restaurant, library, bookstore, or your living room will all work well. Or you can meet virtually. Start a discussion thread and maintain comments that way. Or you can set up Skype or G-Chat for those members who live out of town.
  4. Food. Will refreshments be served? (This is a no-brainer for us.) But this could also limit your meeting place. Determine who will bring what. Take turns and/or limit the items. Or link the food to the theme of the book.
  5. Price. Is there a price limit to the books you'll be reading? Paperbacks only, for instance.
  6. Choose. How do you decide on the book?
    1. Ask everyone attending the book club meeting to bring two book suggestions.
    2. Vote.
    3. Simply take turns suggesting.
    4. Use suggestions from Oprah, Amazon, or New York Times.
  7. Discussion. Having discussion questions before your book club meets will help facilitate a good discussion of your book. As you read each novel, jot down page numbers of passages that moved you, questions that development, or opinions you had.  Many publishers' websites now offer reading guides or discussion questions for their titles. And you can find many generic questions online. Plus, we will post our questions for the book on our blog (I promise without checking with my BCers).
  8. Fun. Finally, it is important to remember this is not school. The BCers at All Booked Up are busy! Yes, it is important to finish reading the book, but don't pressure yourself or crame all the reading in at the last minute. We are not studying for finals, we finding a way enjoy life and another excuse to get together with friends.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Book 1: Where to Get It

Good deals & great prices on Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Borders $5.20

Borders Coupon 33% off (Must have *free to sign up* rewards card) Exp: 1/6 Paperback $5.47 (and eligiable for free super savers shipping)

Kindle Edition $5.00
Nook Book $5.00

Book 1

Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Stieg Larsson
(Translated fromSweedish to English by Reg Keeland, pseudonym of Steven T. Murray)

Published: 2005 (Author died in 2004)

"A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue."

Synopsis: Perfectly timed before the July publication of Larsson's second book in this series--"The Girl Who Played with Fire"--this international publishing sensation introduces readers to Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander, the stars of both contagiously exciting books.An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pieced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption. (via: Borders)