Hannah Hart: Buffering

The wildly popular YouTube personality and author of the New York Times bestseller My Drunk Kitchen is back! This time, she’s stirring up memories and tales from her past.

By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.

Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah’s wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.

Personal note:

Hello, my darlings! I am incredibly pleased to present BUFFERING: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded!

As a big fan of memoirs, I wanted to try my hand at writing about the events of my life that deserve a little more consideration than can be accomplished in 140-characters or a 6-minute vlog. Now on the cusp of turning 30, I’m ready to expose some parts of my life that I haven’t shared before. Before, it was all about privacy, process and time. And now the time has come! I’m ready to put myself out there, for you.  

I’m a little nervous about all these vulnerable words going into the world, these tales about my love life, the wrestling I’ve done with faith, how I feel about sex and my family and myself. I’ve had a lot of trials, a lot of errors, but also a lot of passion. Here’s the thing–I’ve always found comfort in the stories shared by others, so I hope my stories, now that I feel ready to tell them, will bring you some comfort too.

And when you read this book please remember: Buffering is just the time it takes to process.

Enjoy!

Love,

Hannah 

OH. OH HANNAH.

I was going to start this blog off by gushing over how much of a Hannah Hart crush I have. “Mild Obsession” wouldn’t be too far off base.

But oh, Hannah. This book.

She’d told us many times that she was revealing all her secrets in this book. And I knew it would be packed full of gayness. I knew that she came from a religious background, and that she suffered from mental illness. I expected some darkness. I know there is a lot of depth behind her bright and shiney coat of happy.

But oh. Oh Hannah.

I was sobbing by page 11. And not like, internal, this is an emotional book, I feel sad but I’m not actually outwardly crying, “sobbing.” No. SOBBING. Full on WEEPING by page 11.

I’m not going to tell you what Hannah’s secrets are. They aren’t mine to tell. But there is a reason that her introduction is called Trigger Warning. This wonderful, beautiful woman who makes us laugh with her silly puns, her goofy kitchen antics, her smooth scotchy wisdom–I don’t know how she got there. How a person goes through the seven circles of hell and emerges with such a fresh outlook on life amazes me. Those people are my heroes–and Hannah Hart is one of them.

Buffering is not “just another Youtuber book.” Don’t throw it on the pile. Pick it up as soon as possible, whether you are a fan of hers or not. It will change your perspective on life–I promise you.

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Review: The Magicians

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.

At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing,The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.

I’ve heard so much about The Magicians, and most of it has been summed up in one sentence. “If you love Harry Potter, you will love this one too!”

…ok…well…I kind of see the resemblance, in that there is a magical school that normal people can’t get into, and there ARE three friends that get into trouble…but that’s really where the similarities end.

As far as the school goes, it is college vs junior/senior high. The result is a super fratty feeling, instead of Griffindor vs Slytherin. Everyone is drunk the entire goddamn book. And I do mean the.entire.goddamn.book. Also, sexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsexsex.

Please don’t tell your middle schooler that if they liked Harry Potter they should read The Magicians. This is not the book for them.

Once they graduate, all semblance to HP disappears and it becomes pretty much CS Lewis fanfiction. Fillory is Narnia and it almost feels like this is set generations after Lucy and her siblings rule.

I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I probably won’t continue on with the series. To read it as fanfiction of two of my favorite fantasy sets–completely entertaining–but I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than that.

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I won this book in a Twitter contest.

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Review: Eragon

One boy. One dragon. A world of adventure.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

This one has been on my shelf for a long time. I tried to read it when I first picked it up, but it was back before I was really into fantasy–there’s a reason it took me so long to read Harry Potter–and so I think I read 50 pages and quit. Saphira has been staring angrily at me from the shelf ever since.

Now that I do love fantasy, I figured it was time to finally give this one a second chance.

I honestly don’t know how to rate this. It was an entertaining book to read, but I feel like I’ve read it before. While searching for fan art last night (because, dragons), I saw one post about this being Star Wars fan fiction. I can see the resemblance, but the whole time I was reading it, I felt like I was reading Lord of the Rings/Hobbit all over again. Sure, other stories have elves and dwarves, but this was SO SIMILAR. The quest across nations, the threads of old magic, the war at the dwarves’ mountain. There’s even a ring–though I’m not sure what the symbolism is there quite yet. It’s weirdly similar.

Still, I didn’t hate it, and the story IS unique enough to stand alone. If the rest of the books made their way into my hands, I would probably read them too, but I’m not going to actively seek them out or add them to my TBR. But, if they show up on my library’s feature shelf or something, or hit the $1 shelf at Half-Price, sure.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I might be one of the last people to read this play–at least of those who preordered it. I thought I’d never get my copy! Ya’ll know I’m a mega Harry Potter fan, so of COURSE I had to read it.

There have been a lot of mixed reviews from the fandom. Many think it feels like fanfiction, but the overall consensus was that it was good, even if it wasn’t the story we had hoped for. (HELLO–MAURAUDERS!) Either way, I knew I would have strong feelings.

But…I…um…HUH??

The only real feeling I have is confusion. And disappointment?

I know what this play was trying to do. It tries to bring the wonderful wizarding world to the stage. IT isn’t a novel, and so characterization and staging is limited. It can’t be the same expansive THING that are the first seven books.

However–this almost did too much in the other direction. So much of the magic of this world is Hogwarts itself–the castle, the feasts, the sortings, the Quidditch. The play had almost none of that. In fact, we hardly spend any time at all at the school; Ravenclaw isn’t even mentioned, and Hufflepuff gets one very quiet nod.

Instead, the play focuses on yet another wizarding war, and Albus becomes just one more Potter clone–and he was supposed to be the one set apart. The time turning plot gets confusing, jumping back and back and back. Maybe it comes across better on stage, but I really just miss the rest of Hogwarts.

I can see why people see this as inauthentic. It feels like it’s trying to hard–and maybe it is. I don’t think I’ve talked to a single Harry Potter fan that actually likes the epilogue, and to build a play upon it just makes it that much more uncomfortable.

I had a feeling that this is how I would feel, when I was reading the previews for the show. There was no doubt I would buy it for my collection, and read it right away. I hoped that I would be as in love with it as the rest of the books–but this will probably grow dusty on my shelf, and never get as worn as the other seven.

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Hamilton: The Revolution

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.

I just finished reading what is affectionately called The Hamiltome. So don’t worry, I’m not sobbing or anything.

I promise.

I’m perfectly fine.

And if you believe that, then look under your seats because I bought you all front row tickets to tonight’s performance of Hamilton.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to love this musical any more than I already do, at least not until I actually get to see it. Then I read the book. MY HEART IS EXPLODING. With as shitty as the last two years have been, we have been so blessed to have Lin-Manuel Miranda right now. I don’t know where his creative genius comes from, but I am so thankful he is sharing it with us.

The Hamiltome as a book alone is gorgeous–the pictures are stunning, and the text is formatted like an old-school pamphlet. Jeremy McCarter wrote two page chapter introductions to explain the creation process of each section of the show:  set design, LMM’s writing process, casting, workshopping, etc. Then a few songs follow, with LMM’s notes in the margins.

Those notes are definitely the best part. Some are funny, some are sad, some are just interesting. But all give us just a hint of just how fast and deep LMM’s brain works. He is no where close to the rest of us. We are not worthy.

If you are a fan, you need to pick this up. I’m telling you now, put it on your birthday list, Christmas list, Must Buy list. Do it. Click the linky below.

Don’t throw away your shot.

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City of Bones

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Another day, another popular series that I didn’t like. I just have to be different, don’t I? I was always the black sheep!

My mind has been exceedingly restless this week, so I could crack it up to just not being able to focus, but I don’t think that is the issue with this one. I couldn’t put my finger on just why I wasn’t interested. It was spooky and magical (even while Jace kept saying it WAS NOT MAGIC), and the writing wasn’t bad. There was the beginnings of a love triangle, but I expected that.

Something just seemed…familiar. I knew there was some controversy with Cassandra Clare, but hadn’t really paid attention it. But after about 5 times of almost putting the book down, and reaching the middle…I suddenly got to a description of The Mortal Instruments that sounded a whole lot like The Deathly Hallows.

Oh.

OH.

I get the controversy now. I’m not going to point fingers. I don’t know what the truth is. But I was already bored with the book and that struck me pretty funny, so I didn’t feel the need to continue. I had already decided not to finish the series after this first one, so there was no reason to finish the other 250 odd pages if I wasn’t interested.

I know Cassandra Clare has a multitude of fans, and many of my friends love this series. None for me, though, please and thank you.

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Wishful Drinking

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

You guys. Carrie Fisher is fucking HILARIOUS.

I’ve seen her interviews here and there, and I follow her on Twitter so I’m aware of her general snarkiness. But Wishful Drinking goes so far beyond that. Fisher’s rambling, barely-there train of thought is so rarely serious that it is hard to imagine her the same stoic Princess General from Star Wars.

Her memoirs are short–I finished them in just a few hours. But they are filled with funny anecdotes from her childhood as the daughter of two fabulously famous Hollywood icons. Then, as she grew older, her mental illness kicked in and her life mixed between stardom and addiction.

This is a must read for fans of Star Wars, those sharing similar brain pain as your own, or just goddamn incredible women. Most of us don’t know much about Carrie Fisher outside of those dual buns and blaster, and that really should change. She is so much more than that.

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Alexander Hamilton

What’s your name, man?

Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton. There’s a million things I haven’t done. Just you wait, just you wait.

Why yes, I did just sing that from memory. I *might* be a little obsessed. OK…more than a little.

GUYS GO LISTEN TO HAMILTON IMMEDIATELY I COMMAND YOU.

SON. CALL ME SON ONE MORE TIME.

Dammit. Sorry, I did it again.

As if my Hamilton obsession couldn’t get any worse, I just finished the 730 page Ron Chernow biography that Lin Manuel Miranda based his musical after. And by that, I don’t just mean he took a few facts from it, oh no. GUYS, I COULD MATCH THE RHYTHM TO THE ENTIRE BIOGRAPHY. Have you ever read a 730 page biography in rap? It makes it SO much more interesting. I wish Lin Manuel Miranda could teach us all of the history. We would understand so much more.

Hello, Mr. Next President, do you want to save the schools? This is what you need to do. Hire LMM to produce our curriculum. Post to the internet. Done. Teenagers will now be engaged. They will even create fanart.

But I’m getting away from the actual biography again. For the most part, it’s exactly the same as the George Washington one that I read several months ago. It’s very long and very dry. There is SO much research here, and he does a brilliant job. It’s a 730 page history, though, and while Hamilton is very interesting, there’s only so much you can do to make it not boring. And that is to get LMM to make a musical about it. Seriously, Chernow needs to kiss LMM’s feet for the amount of extra book sales he is getting out of this. I couldn’t find it anywhere because it was sold out.

Sorry. Sorry. The book. Right. It’s a solid biography. If you like biographies, read it. If you are interested in the founding fathers, read it. If you’ve previously read Ron Chernow’s work and liked it, read it. If you are obsessed with the musical…it’s going to be a toss up. Because I’m a book nerd and will read EVERYTHING, I say read it–but I also think there are a lot of musical nuts who may start this monster and just really not care for it at all. It’s a beast. Just know what you are getting into when you pick it up, and if you’re used to fiction and never read NonF, this may not be the book for you.

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Fulfills Bibliophilicwitch’s #BigBookChallenge

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The World of Ice and Fire

My love of Game of Thrones was not instant. George RR Martin’s world was just too complicated for me. There were so many characters! But after my initial read through, I tuned into the show, and that was it. What I had read matched with the characters on screen, and abracadabra I was hooked. I went back for a complete reread of the series and it made much more sense.

And then we were “gifted” *cough* with the last season and it was a bit tainted. But I can’t help it, I’m addicted, ridiculously problematic as it is. I need to know what happened to Jon Snow and all the rest. Seriously George, hurry up with that next book–and I don’t mean that weird one you put out to try and pacify us.

In the meantime, I purchased the mammoth history of The World of Ice & Fire. This thing is GORGEOUS–I don’t know if the art was based on the show, or the show on the art, or if it all came from Martin’s crazy wonderful brain–but it’s all just a marvel. Unfortunately, that’s sort of where the positives end. This book is BORINGGGGGGGGGG. I was really hoping for more fantastical stories, prequels to the actual series. However, this is more akin to the type of history tome we used to tote to History 101. Not exactly something to curl up with while you drink a mug of tea.

Mostly, this is just a good companion to the super complicated novels. It’ll go up on my shelf, and if I decide I want more background on a section of GOT history, I may pull it down…until then, it’s a very large, very pretty book for my collection.

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ALWAYS