Another trivia roundup


I run through trivia books like other girls run through, say, a tube of lipstick.

At any given time, in between the novels I read, I thumb through five to eight trivia books simultaneously and all over the house — in bed, in the bathroom, in the den, in the kitchen. As I’ve said before, they make great palate cleansers, especially when I’ve been reading text-heavy narratives, plus they contain snippets that can be read and digested easily, not to mention the convenience of being able to stop at any point of the book and pick it up days or weeks later and just keep on reading. The trivia junkie that I am, these useless bits of information do come in handy from time to time during the weekly quiz nights and the monthly geek fights that I attend.

I finish a batch of trivia books several times in a year, hence the trivia book roundups. Here’s the last bunch from last year, which includes Say Chic; The Bathroom Trivia Book; Be Safe!; Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets; Kiss and Tell; A Year in High Heels; From Altoids to Zima; The TV Guide Book of Lists; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fun FAQs. These are books 189-198 for 2010, which means I only owe you 6 more book reviews in my 2010 backlog. Hopefully I have the remaining six up by next week so I can move on to my January reads (12 and counting) as well as a surprise in the works for this month (patience!).

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Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’ (of The Nanny Diaries) second novel, Citizen Girl, is about the struggles of a young professional trying to make a living in the city.

Girl (again, they use a generic name) is fired from her job at a women’s advocacy center for trying to assert herself and find some dignity at the job, which in essence has her making photocopies every single day.

She is in desperate need of a job, and My Company, a women’s online resource, offers her a job for a “new development.” Only, she has no idea what she’s supposed to do. No instructions, no one to talk to, no one to work with. And she must figure out what exactly the job requires from her.

I loved The Nanny Diaries so I got Citizen Girl. I wasn’t expecting a light read, because The Nanny Diaries was heavy on introspection and emotions. Although the style of writing is carried over in Citizen Girl, the story got out of hand.

I think it probably dealt with too many issues. It touches on the struggle with day-to-day work. It touches on feminism and its varied meanings to different people. It touches on materialism and how people can stand by watching things drift all for the money. Girl has to deal with all this, and despite her altruistic nature, doesn’t resolve anything.

There were also a lot of parts that I went on and on until it was tiresome to read, such as the work parts with her boss Guy, who kept giving out vague information and instructions, and who kept maligning her for her ideals. The trashy parts didn’t help either, with the pool parties, porn sites, and all that jazz.

Even the supposed light in her tunnel, Buster (the boyfriend), falls flat because they inject the feminism as a conflict between Girl and Buster because Buster keeps on going to parties with strippers and shows with hookers.

The book also depicts some disturbing pictures of women. Girl’s mother is naively optimistic, Girl’s mentor seems to be the most positive character in the book… until she sells out and is a hypocrite to her cause (uh, getting funding for her women’s org from a porn site that traffics women), and Girl’s other boss Manley who is pregnant with a girl baby but is more than willing to earn her living off a porn site.

I guess they were trying to paint an accurate picture, but it’s insulting to all the women who have made it in their fields while retaining their humanity and their feminist ideals.

I really was expecting a better read.

***
My copy: I had it mooched last year, a mass market paperback

My rating: 2/5 stars

photo courtesy of http://www.aquabooks.ca/images/citizen.jpg

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