We here in Northwest Ohio are in a blizzard warning. So not only is it snowing a lot, but the wind is blowing at about 25 MPH. Consequently, there is no snow at all on my car, but when I opened my front door an hour ago, there was 2 inches of snow at my doorstep. Downside to living in a garden apartment, I suppose…

The weather was forecasted to be so awful, that even the university cancelled classes–not that it was that big of a deal to me, since I only had one class today–but with 12 inches expected by 8 AM tomorrow, I am really hoping classes are cancelled again tomorrow so I don’t have to schlep up to school in a foot of snow.

The media reaction has been comical. One station began their 5 PM broadcast at 4 PM, and another station will begin their 11 PM broadcast at 10 PM. Plus, I find it hilarious that the nice reporters are pleading with the public to stay inside, yet the news directors are sending these nice reporters all over the city for live feeds. Like I can’t look out my window and understand the situation is serious.

One of my favorite things to do on snowy days is read. And while I can’t read anything I WANT to read right now (too many school things to read!), after a request from my friend Kristin, I’m posting the best snow day books right here.

1. Anything by Laurie Notaro. She’s hilarious. My favorite is “The Idiot Girl’s Action-Adventure Club.”
2. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Kind of fluffy, but well-written stories.
3. Angels and Demons. Especially if you have a full day to devote to it, you might just finish it before bedtime…
4. Persuasion. My favorite Jane Austen. Sigh…it’s so good.
5. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman. Interesting commentary on culture.
6. Everything Bad Is Good For You by Stephen Johnson. Another popular culture-ish book. Very convincing argument for how tv and movies are making us smarter.
7. Anything by Anne LaMott. Her abstract approach to spirituality reminds me that faith is not something to scoff at.
8. Anything by Nick Hornby. He writes characters you can’t help but love.
9. Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell. This series of short essays is, in my opinion, Vowell’s best work.
10. Anything by David Sedaris. Because if you are snowed in and start to go a little crazy, reading Sedaris will make you feel not-so-alone in the crazy department.

And just because a friend from school told me I needed to read this one, and because it is one of my brother’s favorites: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If I had a copy, I’d have read it today.

The Lake House

I had a coupon for a free rental at Blockbuster and decided to use it to watch The Lake House. I kind of wanted to see it over the summer, but didn’t want to admit it to anyone, and certainly didn’t want to be caught in a theatre watching it. But for free? In my home? Why not?

Plus, it’s always a good idea to support films with a G or PG rating, in my opinion. And The Lake House is PG. And it’s predictable, and plays into all the stereotypes about true love that have been forced upon me for the past 33 years by the film industry, but here’s what I REALLY loved about it: the film uses Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” as a metaphor throughout.

Persuasion! Ah! Those who really, really, really know me well know that Persuasion is my most favorite Jane Austen novel ever written, and therefore explains my general disdain for the more popular Pride and Prejudice. So despite the predictable plot and stone-faced Keanu Reeves, I enjoyed it.


Between waiting for my flight to DC and actually being on the plane, I read one of the best books I’ve read on pop culture…at least since Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. It’s written by a scientist named Stephen Johnson, and the title is Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today’s Pop Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter. Yes folks, he says smarter.

Of course, information can be manipulated to support pretty much any theory, but Johnson lays out a fairly convincing argument. He’s not saying we should eschew formal education, reading, or more traditional ways to “get smarter”, but it’s quite interesting to read about how Seinfeld stole from abstract theatre, how video games teach kids how to make snap decisions, and how all things entertainment are growing more complex.

But my favorite part of his book is the following statement, only because I feel like I have to justify my intented post-graduate studies:

“The talk-show hosts and conservative commentators love to poke fun at academics studying lowbrow culture…but what you’re ultimately interested in is the way culture affects human minds, not the sanctity of the individual work of art.”

And that’s exactly why I’m so passionate about pop culture. The way it affects us is fascinating to me. For example, someone who would dedicate a summer to watching the best films of all time…