≡ Menu

Some of you might remember a really long time ago when I used to do paid book reviews.

Most of you don’t because I stopped because book reviews are the worst for the following reasons:
A. You have to read a book. I actually read quite a lot of books, so you’d think this would be as easy as convincing yourself a guy alone on a street is there to murder you. You’d be quite wrong. Once you *have* to read a book it becomes like an assignment and I become like a high schooler. At least like I was as a high schooler. Which is very procrastinate-y.
B. You have to like the book. This is not *literally* required because of integrity and blah blah blah, but I feel like a terrible person writing that someone’s book is bad so then I get quite angsty about it.

Anyway, what I’m trying to share with you is that this is a book review.


But when Kris wrote and asked if I’d read and review her new book, Fightball: Dying of Suck,I was immediately down. Because I have had a long love affair with her blog, Pretty All True. As in, I have spent many days reading her posts and feeling sad that I will never be that funny. But despite her terrible attacks on my self-esteem Kris is awesome. As is her book. And her book can probably convince you of that better than I. So, here, straight from the pages of her book, are some of my favorite lines.* (That includes the title, so if you were giving me credit for that clever underwear bon mot, take it back.)

“I know I would go shopping at a store that had my dead mom in the window.”

“Ironic that once you’re homeless and on the street, you’ll be better positioned to hear the word on the street, which… I promise you… is that you’re poor student material.”


(This last one is clearly the one I relate to the most.)

Oh, and if you want to read a review of Fightball: Dying of Suck that actually includes reviewing, Martha has a rather nice one.

(It’s a hilarious fictional (ish?) tale of two daughters and their parents moving from California to Oregon, from home schooling to public schools, from owning two frogs to, well. not.)

OH, and I’m** giving away 3 copies of Fightball: Dying of Suck to the best 3 comments. So try to work in a pun, I have an embarrassing weakness for them.


* In all honestly, Kris provided me with the book via a Kindle copy via an email, probably because she assumed I understood technology. I couldn’t end up figuring out how to get said book on my actual Kindle, so just opened it on the Kindle app on my phone. Wherein I highlighted all my favorite lines while reading. After which I finished, closed the book, then was able to re-open it on the app while never, ever again seeing those highlights. So these lines are the ones I was able to semi-remember/find while scanning back through the book. I deeply apologize to any of my actual favorite highlights that were lost forever in my phone’s sarlacc.
** Kris is.

(To clarify what might have been confusing above, I am not getting paid for this review. Which, let’s face it, would rather necessitate a refund.)


URGENT COMMENT UPDATE! If you leave a comment (have I reminded you to leave a comment?) then you get a strange error message that’s rather victim-blame-y. However, the comment does still come through and shows on my end. So feel free to leave comments, I’m off to learn how these computer things work so one day you’ll all see the comments. And maybe get less error messages.

URGENT BLOGGING UPDATE! So some of you have noted in the comments that I didn’t include a link to purchase Fightball: Dying of Suck because of previously stated incompetence. I apologize for the error.

And the winners are…

Karen Jeanne (for the phrase “the giggles & the shivers), Camille (for hating underwear & calling Kris out in the comments), & Sharon (for finding the correct link when I fell down on the job)

Congrats! And if you didn’t win, and have an interest in discovering how this whole frog situation turns out, buy Fightball with money – it’s totally worth it.

(If you feel your comment was worthy of winning but you didn’t and you know me in real life, I possibly skipped you over to avoid charges of nepotism from the nobody-I-don’t-know who reads this. So really it’s the anti-nepotism. Sucks to know me.)

(Not to say that if you don’t know me and you won, it was a sort of affirmative action for not knowing me. You were completely worthy.)

(Basically, ignore absolutely everything I’ve written here.)


I love memoirs.

I love the this-year-I’m-going-do-something-crazy-so-I-can-write-a-book-about-it memoirs.

I love look-at-me-overcoming-this-tragedy memoirs.

I love my-life-isn’t-any-different-than-yours-but-I-can-draw-amazing-beautiful-symbolism-and-meaning-from-mine memoirs.

2015 has been a great year so far for women-written memoirs, and I’ve fallen in love with the five listed below. I highly recommend you find these books at the library or buy them online or steal them from a friend.

(But only if you promise to give them back.)

(Assuming your friend was giving her books the care and love they deserved.)


(Note: Best of Fates does not advocate liberating misused books if you get caught.)

Today I’m going to try out a new way of showcasing books I love. Rather than blather on and on about them making me cry (not hard to do), teaching me something new (ditto), or trying to sound like I’ve taken a single college literature course (nope), I’ve decided to just share the book and a few quotes I loved from it.

Which, hopefully, will give you a real glimpse into its content and style and showcase my perspective in loving it. Which will then you give a better guide into knowing if you’d share my love.

How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis

“Alcott never stuck to a woman’s sphere. In real life, she, not her father, joined the Civil War; when she was 30, she travelled five hundred miles to become an army nurse and caught typhoid that nearly killed her. Mr. March annoys me even more now I know that he monopolises the heroism that, if she was really going to write autobiographically, Alcott should have given to Jo.”

“But later I started feeling that a battle was coming, a battle about what kind of woman I was going to be, and that laughter and irony would never win it. Lizzy wins the game of Regency society; she gets a desirable man, and she gets him on her terms. But I was starting to think I didn’t want to win my community’s game; I didn’t even want to play it.”

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

“It seems that most of the Bible’s instructions regarding modesty find their context in warnings about materialism, not sexuality…a pattern that has gone largely unnoticed by the red-faced preacher population. I’ve heard dozens of sermons about keeping my legs and my cleavage out of sight, but not one about ensuring that my jewelry was not acquired through unjust or exploitative trade practices.”

“I looked into this, and sure enough, in Jewish culture it is not the women who memorize Proverbs 31, but the men. Husbands commit each line of the poem to memory, so they can recite it to their wives at the Sabbath meal, usually in a song. “Eshet chayil mi yimtza v’rachok mip’ninim michrah,” they sing in the presence of their children and guests. “A valorous woman, who can find? Her value is far beyond pearls.” Eshet chayil is at its core a blessing – one that was never meant to be earned, but to be given, unconditionally.”

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

“That’s a brutal list, in its immediacy and its relentlessness, and it’s a list that silences people. It silenced me for a long time. To say this is difficult is understatement; telling this story is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But my ghosts were once people, and I cannot forget that.”

“After I left New York, I found the adage about time healing all wounds to be false: grief doesn’t fade. Grief scabs over like my scars and pulls into new, painful configurations as it knits. It hurts in new ways. We are never free from grief. We are never free from the feeling that we have failed. We are never free from self-loathing. We are never free from the feeling that something is wrong with us, not with the world that made this mess.”

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I’ve also read and highly recommend I Am Malala, which alongside her amazing life story includes Pakistani history from the perspective of those living it.

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

And Girl in a Band, which I found intriguing and inspirational even though I’ve never heard a Sonic Youth song. Sadly I didn’t “read” those two books as much as listen to their audiobooks, so have no handy list of quotes I loved. (I will attempt to be better in the future.)

And if you still can’t get enough female memoirs, here are a few others I’ve read this year that I truly enjoyed: Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, The Glass Castle, Drinking with Men, Aliens in America, The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice, The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

What’s your favorite female memoir?

p.s. As always, my year time frame applies to when I read said books, not when they were published.

p.p.s. What do you think of the new system? Better or worse or you don’t care about books and I should stop talking about them so much?

{All links are Amazon affiliate.}
{All book covers are links, if that wasn’t clear.}
{The links are also links.}

Lost Weekend III

I first heard about Andy‘s movie nights years ago. He’d have a group of friends over who’d watch a film he’d picked, then hold a raucous debate over said film.


I immediately declared my disinterest in attending.


Movies? I love. Raucous debates? Reminded me of Q&As after speeches or book readings, which I always find inane, offensive, or boring. But then I joined Brad & Lisa’s graphic novel book club and discovered that intense discussions, when done right, increased my love of whatever was being discussed. Or at least helped nuance my hate.


While my love of discussion was evolving, Andy’s film club expanded out of his home and into the nearby Alamo Drafthouse Winchester and birthed a (semi?)annual film festival, Lost Weekend.


The first Lost Weekend, in February 2014, showed eight films. Lost Weekend II, in October 2014, showed 13 films. My friend Keith pushed me to attend but I responded that sitting in a movie theatre for thirteen straight films was pushing the limits of sanity and just no.


This story clearly leads to Lost Weekend III, which I just attended. Lindsey decided she was going. I hemmed and hawed until the tickets were sold out, then decided I would spend the weekend watching movies alone in my basement. Recognizing this as the first step in a horror movie premise, Lindsey asked Keith who asked Andy who said he’d hold one of the box office tickets for me. So I decided to save my creepy basement solo party for another time.


(You’re all invited!)


So what was it like to watch 13 movies in three days? Intense. Uncomfortable. Emotional. Great.


My favorite part of the experience was the kids at summer camp vibe that infected the whole event. While the group of adults voluntarily trapped together in a room for days on end feel is one that is replicated at conferences, there’s something far more freeing and relaxing about the impetus being on pure enjoyment and zero networking.


Oh, and then there were the movies. As I have a job and am not as committed to the love of film as I should be, I only saw 13 of the 16 films shown.


(Though I had already seen Inherent Vice, allowing myself to endlessly realize how much of a minority I am in my opinion of Paul Thomas Anderson’s production.)


I cried in nine of them. (I’m a crier.) I screamed in four of them. (For which I’d like to apologize to all my fellow viewers.) (My startled screaming is not limited to offices.) (I’m working on it.) I absolutely loved seven of them.



So if any of the following come to your local cinemas or show up on Netflix or are hiding under a rock in a nearby beach cave, I highly recommend giving them a viewing:

Zero Motivation

Amira & Sam

Man From Reno

What We Do In The Shadows

Take Me to the River

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

The Mafia Kills Only In Summer

Song of the Sea

And if you’re debating whether to devote a weekend to sitting in a dark, cold room with 100 of your closest random strangers, I say just yes.

On a scale from 0 to institution
How crazy do you think this is?

p.s. I sat next to Brad and Darren who happen to have a movie podcast, In The Mouth of Dorkness, and recorded a podcast episode every night of the festival. So if you felt my summation had too much me and not enough movies, I suggest you listen along. Although not if you haven’t seen the movies and feel strongly about spoileresque discussions, as they veer towards more hinting than less. (I, personally, haven’t listened to the Day 2 episode as I’ve decided to not ruin Chappie before I catch it.) If you’d like to hear about my reaction to It Follows & White God, they mention it at the end of the Day 4 podcast. And their observations are sadly factual.