LOUISE GASSMAN, 28, has a rotating schedule of multiple jobs: as an actress; as an assistant to dance instructors at the Circle in the Square and Juilliard schools; as a baby-sitter; and in a variety of administrative roles and as a spinning instructor at SoulCycle, an indoor cycling studio in New York.Ms. Gassman’s monthly income, which can vary greatly depending on whether she books an acting job, ranges from $1,800 to $4,000. Some months, almost all of her income goes to the $1,450 rent on her 290-square-foot studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Whatever is left after essentials goes toward paying off her remaining $16,000 in college loans.“I worry about money all the time,” Ms. Gassman said. “I live on a really tight budget, and I live paycheck to paycheck.”But full-time jobs don’t suit everyone. Ms. Gassman, for example, has been offered a full-time job at SoulCycle, complete with full benefits, but she doesn’t want it. “I wouldn’t be able to go on auditions in the middle of the day,” she explained. “Of course, it stresses me out not to have health insurance, but what is my choice? Work in an office and be unhappy? Being happy is a superhigh value to me.”
Saturday, June 25, 2011
The first book was fine. A good YA fantasy-adventure, with a female protagonist, which I appreciated, a cool world that's similar to, but different from, ours, and a solid mystery. Mysteries, really. What is Dust, why is the church so interested in it, what's happening to the children who keep disappearing from Jordan College, what is Lord Asriel up to, what's Lyra's place in all this, and so on. The mysteries are what kept me going. Mystery, really. What the hell WAS Dust? I had to know. I didn't want to read two more books to find out, though, so I went to Wikipedia. I was not overly enamored of the writing-it's serviceable, I think I'm just a little out of the target age group.
My congratulations to Mr. Pullman. He crafted a phenomenon so involved that after ten minutes of trying to understand the explanation, I gave up and resigned myself to either never knowing or eventually reading the rest of the books.
And here I am.
I was in the library, about to check out season 1 of Battlestar Galactica, when I remembered that libraries have BOOKS! I need a book! A girl can't survive on a diet of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man alone. You can't tell from the books I've reviewed, but I've been reading a lot of classics. I needed a palate cleanser. Despite never having a great drive to read this one, it has served perfectly well as just that.
The focus has shifted from Lyra Belacqua in her world to Will Parry in ours, creating new mysteries while effectively merging them with the existing storyline. Will and Lyra are both orphans in a sense. They have absentee/dead explorer fathers and mothers who are dead or gone or unstable and in need of care themselves. Will has had to take care of his mother, who's unstable and deathly afraid of an unseen danger, and his father was lost, assumed dead, on an Artic expedition when Will was a baby.
Both books involve Will and Lyra on quests that involve finding out about their parents, learning about other worlds, and being thrust into incredibly dangerous situations. Both children are "important" in a grander sense, crucial to the immense event that is brewing. They're thrown together for a reason, and need to trust each other despite initial misgivings. Their relationship develops as naturally as can be expected when they're a) from different universes, b) running for their lives, and c) VERY IMPORTANT CHILDREN.
The titular subtle knife is pretty awesome, I'm not gonna lie. Since I'm erring on the side of non-spoilers, I won't describe what it does, but it lives up to its name. Pullman has created quite a neat universe, with many cool features and creatures. Plus, eff the church! Who doesn't love a good round of Eff the Church?
I can understand why these books are celebrated, but you will probably get the most enjoyment out of them if you're a young teenager, or really have a taste for YA fiction or fantasy. I was a huge Harry Potter fan, and I wonder what my feelings on that series would be if I was in my twenties when I first encountered it, instead of my early teens. I felt much more invested in even secondary HP characters than I did in some of the main HDM characters. And the Dementors were scarier than the... things in this series that are like Dementors. Now that I've gotten this far, though, I want to hurry up and read the third book. I have more mysteries to solve! Read about being solved. Whatever.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
This doesn't count as a review, since I only got to page 50 before quitting this bitch. Can you tell from my notes below that this would be one of the few books I refused to finish?
Wow. People sure were racist and other -ists in the olden days.
11: her tongue was chewed off at the base by herself? What kind of doctor is this guy?
19: "perfumed sodomite" [Offensive, but funny]
No food specified in orders? Jesus, no wonder all these voyages failed, everyone involved is a goddamn idiot.
20: I'm already feeling like I've read this before, ten pages ago. The lichen soup, the denials of cannibalism, George Back going for food. You are not Rashomon.
21: why would there only be a hint of a tattoo if the meat they brought back was uncooked? Had they scraped off the skin or something? ... I'm not going to like this book, am I...
23: "Great Slave Lake"
James Fitzjames is a stupid name. "often called the handsomest man in the Royal Navy, looked as striking and humble as the war hero he was." WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
26: he filled the silence with an unspoken signal? Couldn't he have filled the PAUSE, or gap, or something that makes sense? Signals that are unspoken don't alleviate silences.
40-41: great cure for consumption, shoveling coal in a ship bound for the Arctic.