My Hubby and I finally got around to seeing Thor: The Dark World. I wish I could say I loved it. There were parts I loved, like Thor and Loki in the ship or on the boat. Jane and the Quantum Field Generator. Erik and Stonehenge. Loki being "righteous." Frigga! As a whole though, I thought it could be better. I remember reading, when they were filming, that they brought Joss Whedon in to "fix" some script problems. Maybe they should have let him proof the whole thing... Also, I was disappointed with the 3D. They didn't use it right. There were so many opportunities to make the 3D amazing (rocks and lasers my way, please). I don't want to be too negative though. I thought the visuals were amazing. I liked hearing about what Jane went through after Thor left the first time. I loved the after battle scene with everyone eating breakfast, because what else is there to do? There were good surprises and great actors. Thor was a fun movie.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I loved Catching Fire as much this time as I did the first time. I wanted to re-read the book before I saw the movie. It's what I did with The Hunger Games. I don't know when I'm going to get a chance to see the movie though. Life's been so busy lately.
I'll keep my thoughts simple this second time. I really enjoyed Suzanne Collins' sequel. It was full of action. It entertained. The plot was more complex this time around. You get to see characters like Katniss's mother, Prim, Gale and others in a new light. What happened with Darius was so sad, the matching set that only serves to sadden Katniss. Catching Fire is a great book, the sequel to a series I often recommend. I'm excited to see the movie (soon!).
Sunday, November 24, 2013
It's been four weeks since I posted anything. I couldn't believe that when I looked at my last post. I don't know if I've ever gone that long without posting something on my blog. I've been going through some changes. I've been very emotional about it. One of the first things to fall to the side was my blogs. I think about it, I think about how long it's been since I put some kind of thought about anything up. I have 9 drafts of posts that haven't been finished yet, that aren't even close!
The centre of all this is a new job. I posted a while ago that my contract was ending at my old job and they weren't keeping me on. I (luckily) found a job that started right away. It's in the same industry, but different in what they want me to do. I know they hired me for my industry experience and I'm grateful for not being unemployed. This job is just a lot of work. A LOT. Much more than my last job. What I've lost is my work/life balance. I'm learning to deal with the tiredness I now feel when I get home from the office. It's mostly mental, but it seeps into my muscles. I only seem to have the energy to take care of the kids. Often, by the time they've gone to bed, I'm spent. It's been a process of getting used to this and bringing my energy levels up, which I don't know if I've even accomplished that.
I almost didn't write about this absence. I don't usually do one of those "I'm taking a break." posts. If I don't have anything to say, I don't say anything. But it's never been this long. It's been a week, maybe two. I have still commented on other blogs, I've still tweeted. My new job has blocked a lot of social media sites. Apparently it was a problem, but it seems to actually go against what my job does, as I think we need to go on Facebook, Twitter, etc., for actual, professional reasons. It was actually hindering my job one day, which is how I found out... I digress. What I want to say is that I'm going to try to be back. I saw Thor, I read Horns and I've been obsessed with Sleepy Hollow. I have started posts about all these things and more. I'd like to finish them, I'd like to get back to a happy work/life balance. I think today is a start.
Monday, October 28, 2013
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what happened. Veronica Roth did in Allegiant what I never expected any YA author to do. Ever. (I know there are some people who are hating on the book and author because of the ending. Whether someone likes or dislikes any book is subjective and everyone has a right to their opinion, I just feel like there is a lot of negativity.) I think the character growth over the course of Allegiant and the entire Divergent series has been great. What Veronica Roth says in her [very spoilery] interview with MTV seems true to me. By the end of Allegient, Tris has grown up. By the end of Allegient, I was practically in tears.
* I wanted to make the spoilers obvious because a couple days ago, in the midst of me reading Allegiant, BAM! I accidentally glimpsed a spoiler about the end. Then I raced through the book, not just because it was a great read, but because I had to find out if what I saw was true or if I mis-read those words. I hoped it wasn't true, but I knew it would be. I was in such denial.
Even though I was going through a whole lot of - I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING, I didn't really start to get emotional until Tris's mother appears. I almost lost it. It was only because my hubby was in the room, and I didn't want him to think I was crazy, that I kept some kind of control. It was even more difficult to hold it together when Tobias lost it after learning the truth.
I'm proud of Veronica Roth, in a weird way, as I don't actually know her. She knew what kind of reaction she would receive, but she chose to stay true to her vision for the series. Do I wish Tris had lived, that Tris and Tobias could live happily ever after, be rewarded for all the difficulties they went through? Yes. After reading Roth's post on her blog and the interview that went up on MTV today, I understand why that didn't happen. I think Roth made a brave choice and that's a big part of what Allegiant was about, bravery.
While Tris is the star of the series, she and Tobias weren't the only things I enjoyed about Allegiant. I think I loved (and loved to hate) the cast of characters in general. Uriah was always smiling and making jokes; did he have a secret drinking problem? Christina goes through so many changes herself from the beginning of the series to the end and her friendship with Tobias. By the end, Cara had also become one of my favourite characters. Matthew was a great addition to their crew. I love to hate Peter and Caleb and David. David! So the love triangle was never going to be Tris's, but her mother's! David was wonderfully awful.
There was a lot going on in Allegiant. Maybe too much? Was Nita and Reggie necessary? I don't know. Though it did provide another shake-up in Tobias and Tris's relationship (was that necessary?) and they gave the reader a view of the real world outside of Chicago. I enjoyed Johanna's growth. I'm not sure how I feel about Evelyn. I'm glad Marcus finally disappeared. The plot seemed maybe overly complex, more complex than the previous books, but I still enjoyed it.
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what happened. This was not a simple novel with a simple ending. There was a crazy plot, multi-faceted characters and abundant emotion. I'm keep feeling like my feelings may change the more time passes by, but I don't want to wait to post. I've always enjoyed posting my first reaction to a book. I think Divergent is a great series. I think I might re-read it one day. I'm thinking of re-reading the ending now...
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I have a new job and I haven't finished the old one yet! Yay! (I hope.) I'm still a little sceptical because of my recent track record. The Hubby says not to be ridiculous; I haven't started the new job yet. I can't help it though. I have had a string of disappointments on the employment front. Whose fault is it? No one's, I don't think. It's just life. Financial situations. Whatever.
I'm trying to be hopeful. What I know for certain is that I'm lucky. The job is close to home. The people seem nice. The offices have a nice combination of a modern and homey feel, very warm and comfortable, neat and clean. I hope that is a reflection on what the working environment will be like. I start in a week and a half. I will hopefully be smiling.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Monday, October 07, 2013
Carrie was everything I wanted and more than I expected. I think most people know a bit about Carrie, even if they haven't read the novel. Before I read it I knew it was about a girl who was some kind of telekinetic, who gets blood dumped on her at the prom and then causes destruction. What I didn't know was everything that led up to that event and what happened after. There is so much more to Carrie. One thing I didn't expect was how much I would sympathize with Carrie, even though I knew what she was going to do.
If I wasn't already a Stephen King fan, I would definitely be now. King writes Carrie not just though the regular narrative, but through reports and articles and telegrams. It was interesting and I think kept the pace of the novel moving. I was hooked from the first page. I have owned this book for a little while, but just kept not reading it. I figured I knew what happened anyway. That was not a good reason. I should have read this book ages ago. A new Carrie movie is coming out. I want to see it and I want to see the old one too. Not only do I want to see how they portray Carrie, but her mother, Sue, Tommy and Chris.
I feel like I'm just saying things people already know. Carrie was awesome. I don't know if I could recommend it more. It was a perfect October read.
Sunday, October 06, 2013
I'm skating toward unemployment again. It's my own fault, really. I took a job last summer (2012) that was a maternity leave contract, which meant only a guaranteed one year of employment. I listened to the promises. We're so busy, we'll need to keep you on. We'd like you to stay doing all this stuff. We're 99.9% sure we are going to keep you, etc, etc... Well, that .01% chance happened. It is just not financially feasible to keep both of us. Well, fine. I was not surprised but, still disappointed.
It's really affected my mood. I couldn't concentrate on the book I was reading, so I stopped and switched books, something I rarely do. That helped some. I didn't feel like blogging. This blog is sitting with 8 unfinished posts. My other blog has three, I post less often there, so three is a lot. I'm hoping to pull myself out. I want to finish my blog posts. I want to read more. I want to figure out a way to have fun without feeling guilty. Thanksgiving I coming up. Maybe I'll blog about my meal? Maybe not.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
I don’t know if I can really explain how amazing MaddAddam was. The third book in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, it was everything I wanted it to be. I loved Toby. I loved Zeb. The ending almost had me in tears. The Crakers are such a unique creation; they're almost human in a way that makes them sort of ideally human. I know I'm not making sense.
I think my favourites parts are when Toby is telling stories to the Crakers. It's so hilarious. Then Blackbeard, he's a brilliant character. The books, the writing, how the days are remembered is fantastic. It's funny too. There are so many serious issues throughout the book. There are some sad, angry, emotional scenes, it makes the humour really stands out. It stands out in such a positive way. Though the end almost made me cry, I'll always remember how many times I laughed out loud while reading.
I feel like I should still be reading this book. There is so much to this world and so many characters with uncertain futures. I'm a little sad that I won't be reading this book again tonight.
I feel like I should still be reading this book. There is so much to this world and so many characters with uncertain futures. I'm a little sad that I won't be reading this book again tonight.
I don't typically pull quotes out of what I'm reading, but this one really stuck with me.
“…as the online world became more and more pre-edited and slicked up, and as even its so-called reality sites raised questions about authenticity in the minds of the viewers, the rough, unpolished physical world was taking on a mystic allure.” (pg 169)
We all know so many "Reality Shows" are "scripted". Situations are created to keep the viewer interested. Here is a world where practically everything is online. So much of it, that people crave the real world. They venture out of the confines of their lives just for experience. I hope I never forget to go outside sometimes. Also, doesn't Reality TV often drive you crazy?
Also, there's a game for the book/from the book. Maybe I won't be saying goodbye to this world just yet.
Also, there's a game for the book/from the book. Maybe I won't be saying goodbye to this world just yet.
I could keep jumping around all the thoughts I have about MaddAddam Maybe the next time I read it, I'l be more coherent. There will be a next time, I'm sure of it. If you haven't read MaddAddam or the rest of the series, what are you waiting for? If you have, I'd love to know what you think.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
When I read the blog post title "Reading While Walking" over at Book Riot, I thought they were going to talk about reading while taking a walk or something like that. What it was really about was reading while in line at a coffee shop, grocery shopping, reading in snippets, whenever you can steal a few lines in our busy lives. It was an interesting post.....
It still wasn't about what I thought it would be about, what I have been thinking about for a while now. Reading while walking. I read on most of my lunch breaks. Why? Because I love reading and it's one of the few (2) times a day I can read. Though I'm often interrupted, it's as uninterrupted as I'm going to get. Lately, I've been feeling the need to get out of the office and take in some fresh air. I like going for walks, but do I want to give up my reading time? So, can I read and walk at the same time? If I can't, am I willing to trade? They're putting in a sidewalk on the street where my office is located, which makes it so much more tempting. I could at least try to read while walking. Would I look like a weirdo? Probably. Do I care? I don't think so.
I decided to search "reading while walking" and got this really interesting "how to" from wikiHow. In case you didn't know, here is how to read while walking.
Maybe I should have started doing this while the weather was warmer, but I didn't have sidewalks then.
Does anyone out there read while walking?
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I'm really hoping (more than usual) to actually stick to My Top Ten list for Fall books. Can I read these 10 books by December?
1. Allegiant - Veronica Roth
2. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
3. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
3. The Thousand Orcs - R.A. Salvatore
4. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
5. Champion - Marie Lu
6. Fool - Christopher Moore
7. The Last Policeman - Ben H. Winters
8. The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater
9. Horns - Joe Hill
10. Carrie - Stephen King
Can I get all ten of these books read in three months? Probably not, I never do, but I'll try. There are definitely a few that are more of a "priority" than others, series conclusions, must-read-before-seeing-movie, but I do want to read all of them.
Thanks to The Broke and The Bookish for hosting.
Monday, September 16, 2013
I'm excited about television this fall. There are shows I've been waiting for what seems like ages to see. I want to know what is going to happen. (The list is in no particular order.)
Agents of SHIELD - Do I need to explain this? I love Marvel. I'm excited to watch SHIELD dealing with superhuman related problems. (Please be good...)
Dr. Who 50th Anniversary Special (when does the new season start anyway?) - I don't think I should need to explain this. It's Dr. Who!
The Legend of Korra - I think the first episode actually aired on the weekend and I missed it. Yikes! I'm hoping YTV.com will still have the episodes to watch on their website, which is mostly where I watched last year. It's a great show, the continuation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I just love Korra.
Once Upon A Time - I'm excited to see Neverland. I'm hoping that it makes me enjoy the show they way I did during the first season.
Grimm - To be honest, I didn't really watch the first season. I watched the first episode and didn't really like it. Then I eventually gave the show another chance, watching a later episode from the first season and decided again the show wasn't for me. Then last year, I caught an episode by accident and thought the show had gotten interesting. I liked the Nick/Juliet conflict and loved Monroe with Rosalee. The season finale was crazy!
The Walking Dead - Season three was not that good. I got bored. If my Hubby wasn't still watching the show, I might have stopped. I'm looking forward to this show because of hope. I have hope that the fourth season will be better.
Masterchef Junior - I really enjoy Masterchef. Something about this show just gets me. (It's probably the food.) Then I see that they are actually making a kid version of this show for the fall. Well, I just have to watch.
There are other shows I like that I want to see, but I'm not searching them on the internet, trying to find out when they start. I haven't been listening to news about those other shows all summer. So while I may watch other television, they aren't generating the kind of excitement or anticipation these ones are managing.
What are you looking forward to?
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and The Bookish was originally done on April 2011 (wow, I've been doing this meme a long time!) Here is my original list, plus a few comments:
1. Oryx and Crake, 2. The Year of the Flood – I’d like to see both books made into movies. I think they’d be horrific and disturbing and fantastic films. They’d (hopefully) be the kind of movie that makes an impact, where you never really forget the story, just like the books.
Comment: This still holds. I don't know if it will ever happen, though. I'm reading MaddAddam right now and so far could be added to the list too.
3. The Hunger Games – Oh wait. They’re already making this into a movie. Yay! It better be good.
Comment: I really enjoyed The Hunger Games movie and I'm looking forward to Catching Fire.
4. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Oh wait. They’ve already made a Swedish movie, now we’re just waiting for the “Hollywood Blockbuster” to come out. I’ve heard the Swedish movie is amazing. The Hollywood movie better be good.
Comment: I never got around to seeing either version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I don't know why.
5. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Though parts of the book dragged, if you take some of it out, this would make for an exciting movie.
Comment: I think this would still make a good movie, but after reading some awesome books in the last couple years, I might replace it with John Scalzi's Redshirts.
6. Wicked – It’s a musical already, but it’s not as close to the book or as dark as the book. I think a movie could really show Elphaba at her best and worst.
Comment: I would still love to see a dark, movie version of Wicked.
7. Remember Me? – This one might make up for not having a great interpretation of Confessions of a Shopaholic I think the premise and outcome are unique and interesting. It wouldn’t be another formulaic chick-flick.
Comment: I think someone did a TV show with this sort of premise. It didn't work out. Instead, I think I'd like to see Wither, though I don't think a movie that has pregnant teenagers would fly.
8. The Paper Bag Princess – If they’ve done Where The Wild Things Are, why not The Paper Bag Princess? Let’s give the girls someone fantastic to look up to. It’s one of my favourite children’s books and I think a movie of it could be wonderful.
Comment: I still would love to see a movie about Elizabeth besting a dragon.
9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – This would be so awesome.
Comment: I don't know if this movie is ever going to happen. It was, then it wasn't, and now I don't know.
10. A Series of Unfortunate Events – I know they did a movie encompassing the first three books, which was fantastic. I enjoyed the performances of Jim Carrey, Glenn Close and the actors who played the Baudelaire siblings. They’d probably have to start over since the actors have aged so much, but they’re such wonderful books, I think it would be worth it.
Comment: I think a movie of Who Could It Be At This Hour? would be pretty cool instead.
What books would you like to see made into movies? For those who did this topic before, do your choices still hold?
Monday, September 09, 2013
|This is the picture he has posted of |
himself on his website...
For a while, I kept hearing (seeing) Chuck Wendig's name. I'm not sure where... Goodreads? Bloggers? John Scalzi's blog? His name kept jumping out at me, so I went to his website. It's interesting. He has some great advise for writers. His blog posts are fun and engaging. He calls his site NSFW and NSFL. I don't know if that's necessarily true, though I do have some privacy where I work.... One of his headers is "Holy Shit, Free Stories". Well, how could I resist that?
I decided to keep it simple and I read the first free short story on the list, This Guy. This Guy is a truly weird story. I kept trying to figure out what the narrator's "deal" was. Was it a dream? Was he insane? Was this actually happening? I felt awful for his wife Mary. I don't know what I would do in her situation. I can't really say much more about the story without giving it all away. It's violent, maybe slighly confusing (in a good way) and engaging. More than anything, it's made me want to read more by this author.
Short Story Monday is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.
Thursday, September 05, 2013
Oryx and Crake makes me want to know more about this world! I liked Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake better the second time around. I remember the first time reading it thinking that the beginning dragged. I did not think that this time. Maybe I've changed as a reader. I really enjoyed reconnecting with Jimmy/Snowman, Crake and Oryx. I liked being reminded of what the Crakers were like. I liked the glimpses of Amanda and Ren (and Bernice!). I liked being reminded of what Snowman thought of the smoke and the people around it. I am more excited to read MaddAddam than I was before. It was just what I needed before diving in. I'm a little sad that I didn't give myself enough time to re-read The Year of the Flood, but I considered it a more recent read, though it was still a few year ago that I read it. I remember it pretty clearly, but maybe one day I'll re-read the entire trilogy.
I like the way time shifts through the novel. It has a fluidity, as it follows Snowman's thoughts. Jimmy's time with Oryx was intriguing, then getting to know Crake and back to Oryx. Oryx is such an enigmatic character. I'd like to know more about what she really thinks. I think the best glimpse at her inner workings comes at the end of the novel. She is so dismissive about everything that has happened to her, everything that Jimmy is outraged about; is it because she is trying to forget or it all seemed normal to her? Jimmy and Crake were also interesting in the way they developed and changed through the course of events.
I could really go on and on about how much I enjoyed my re-read of Oryx and Crake. Beyond just being immersed in an amazing story, Oryx and Crake has, for me, validated re-reading. I never used to re-read; I always thought that there were too many unread books for me to take the time to go back and read ones I already knew. Then a couple years ago, I decided I should revisit some old favourites, I had to make sure the reason they were so loved still held. Re-reading Oryx and Crake has been my best re-reading experience thus far (even better than Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I loved). I can honestly say I liked it better the second time, I feel closer to the characters and I'm ready to read the final book in the series.
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Where I live, the first day back to school, the day after Labour Day weekend, marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Summer isn't technically over until the Autumn Equinox on September 22nd, but that's not how it feels. I love autumn, but there's so much more work. Summer always seems to feel more relaxed. Everything slows down. I thought I'd take a look back at the summer of 2013 and see what some of my favourite things were.
I read a lot this summer. A couple of my favourite summer books were The Cuckcoo's Calling and Emma... and Who Could It Be At This Hour?. (It was really difficult to pick. These were just the first three that came to mind.)
It was a slow summer for movies for me. I blame the children... we just couldn't always find a babysitter. I did manage to get out and see Wolverine, which was so much better than I expected.
I also did a full rewatch of Clueless after reading Emma. It's a pairing I highly recommend.
I tend to think of Continuum as a summer show, even though it premiered in April. It's on throughout the summer when all the "regular" shows are done. The season finale was fantastic and I can't wait to see what they're going to do with the show next year.
We went to Stratford to see Tommy this year and it was amazing. I recommend it to everyone.
At the beginning of the summer, I blogged about using the Bone Dust Rub. I still enjoy it... I made enough that I still have a fair amount sealed in a container.
Those are just a few highlights. How was your summer?
Saturday, August 31, 2013
The end of Austen In August has come. I meant to read and watch so much more. There's always next year. I really enjoyed sharing the love for Jane Austen with so many people. I've found a few more blogs to
stalk follow. I hope everyone else had a great time too.
Here is what I read:
Here is what I watched:
I think I might continue reading Austen related works for a while. I really wanted to read Dawn of the Dreadfuls after PPZ:TGN, but I thought I should read one actual book by Jane Austen for Austen in August. Emma was fantastic and Clueless was the perfect followup.
Thanks to Adam at Roof Beam Reader for hosting this fun event. What was your favourite Austen in August book or movie this month?
Friday, August 30, 2013
I saw the A to Z Book Survey at What Red Read, who saw it at Sarah Says Read, who got it from The Perpetual Page Turner, the survey creator. I've done two A to Z type surveys in the past. One was AmaZing Books: From A to Z, listing favourite books beginning with each letter of the alphabet. The other was Authors From A – Z, Almost, a list of favourite authors with last names starting with each letter of the alphabet. Am I joining a bandwagon? Or do I just like any excuse to list things?
Authors you've read the most books from: Stephen King, followed closely by J.K. Rowling (I’ve read everything Rowling has written, including The Causal Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling). *Goodreads was very helpful with this.
Best sequel ever: I am reading/have read quite a few series. Who had the best sequel? To hopefully make this easier, I’m sticking to the second book in a series… Even thought it's been a while, I think the best sequel might actually be The Vampire Lestat from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.
Currently reading: Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood. It’s a re-read in preparation to read the final book, Maddaddam.
Drink of choice while reading: Water or Tea.
Ereader or physical book: Yes.
Fictional character that you probably would have dated in high school: Peeta (The Hunger Games) maybe? He bakes!
Glad you gave this book a chance: Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes and The Crystal Shard, by R.A. Salvatore.
Hidden gem book: I’m going to echo Red a bit on this one. Kindred, by Octavia Butler. Read it. Also, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston.
Important moment in your reading life: I think I'm copying Red again... My blog. I love sharing what I'm reading and other bookish and life things with everyone.
Just finished: All the Wrong Questions #1: Who Could It Be At This Hour?, by Lemony Snicket
Kind of books you won't read: I’ll read almost anything. I tend to steer away from Romance/Erotica, but never say never.
Longest book you read: Goodreads says…. Under the Dome, by Stephen King! That was my guess too.
Major book hangover because of: Most recently, I would say Their Eyes Were Watching God, maybe Villette, by Charlotte Brontë.
Number of bookcases you own: 5 and they’re bursting at the seams. I need at least one more, if not two.
One book you've read multiple times: I don’t re-read a lot, but I’m trying to do that more. The most recent book I've re-read was Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Preferred place to read: Bed or the rocking chair next to the window in the living room.
Quote that inspires you: “The writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads." - Dr. Seuss
Reading regret: I get distracted, especially if I'm ereading, because I have a tablet, not a dedicated reader, so I get little notifications and popups talking to me all the time.
Series you started and need to finish: I read too many series and I need to finish more of them. Probably the two that have lurked the longest are The Legend of Drizzt, by R.A. Salvatore and The Vampire Chronicles, by Anne Rice.
Three of your all-time favorite books: The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling and Kindred, by Octavia Butler
Unapologetic fangirl for: Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, R.A. Salvatore, Khaled Hoseinni, J.K. Rowling and there are too many to name....
Very excited for this release: I was very excited for Maddaddam, by Margaret Atwood, but I just got my copy yesterday (yay!) Tied for second, Allegiant, by Veronica Roth and Champion, by Marie Lu.
Worst bookish habit: Allow me to quote Red this time: "Feeling the need to finish a book even if I'm not liking it. I need to learn to let go"
X marks the spot! start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: The Sweet Hereafter, by Russell Banks. I've had the book for a LONG time and haven't read it. It's because I know what happens and I might cry.
Your last bookish purchase: On Saturday I bought Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson and Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.
Zzz-snatcher: Most recently I'd say The Cuckoo's Calling.
Wahoo! I really enjoy doing these things.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Who Could It Be At This Hour? is the first book in Lemony Snicket's newest series, All The Wrong Questions. The book is wonderfully fun. It's short, interesting and quirky. If your familiar with Snicket's series A Series Of Unfortunate Events, you'll see the same distinct writing style. Who Could It Be At This Hour? follows Lemony Snicket's apprenticeship after his "unusual education." I'm assuming this apprenticeship is for the VFD (if you've read Unfortunate Events, you'll know what I mean). His chaperone is abysmal. How she ever became a member of the organization I don't understand. She's so annoyingly shortsighted. There's also something strange about the innkeeper.... and the phone.... and the coffee shop.
Why do the adults not listen to children? They're not even that young. 12 or 13 seems like a pretty good age where someone can explain what is going on. Also, Stew's parents are awful, so blind and so like other parents I've seen. I love Snicket's characters, especially the girls. Moxie and Ellington were fabulous, though different. I also loved brothers Pip and Squeak (nicknames). They were smart and fun.
The illustrations are super cute. They're interesting and I think they really add depth to the story. Snicket's illustrator is Seth, a different one from his last series and from his other books. I really enjoyed this distinct style and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with for the next book.
My only minor complaint about Who Could It Be At This Hour? is that the story is left hanging, by a lot. Not just a little. I know it's the first of four volumes, but I still wish there was a little more conclusion in the ending. I don't feel like enough questions were answered, though the series is called All The Wrong Questions, so what could I expect? One thing the conclusion definitely did was made me eager for the second book, When Did You See Her Last? (clearly a "wrong question"). I have to know what happens. I imagine I am already sucked into this world the same way I was with Unfortunate Events. If Snicket keeps publishing books with clever stories and mysteries that need solving, I'll keep reading them.
(You know, I really should read something by Daniel Handler. I've only ever read the Snicket books... Though I've only read Sophie Kinsella and not Madeline Wickham too. Maybe my brain can't made the crossover...)
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
This is going to be spoilery because I can't compare Emma and Clueless without talking about the characters and plot.
After reading Emma, the urge to watch Clueless was irrsistable. I couldn't help it. Clueless came out while I was a teenager. I've always watch this movie with some nostalgia. The fashion reminds me so much of high school. I didn't live in nearly as high end a neighbourhood as Cher and her friends, but the knee stockings, the bare midriffs, and plaid were all popular. The guys wore baggy pants with their underwear showing (which seems to not have actually gone out of style... yikes!); the flannel shirts, the greasy hair were everyday wear. I could see Cher's point, girls were supposed to find this attractive? Grunge was the it thing. The cell phones! Kids with cell phones and pagers! I knew kids like that. Honestly, why did they need both? Watching Clueless always makes me happy.
This was the first time, however, that I've watched Clueless since reading Emma. I didn't know for years that Clueless was based on Austen's novel. When I found out, I was surprised and I wanted to read the book... but I didn't... for a really long time. This summer, I decided to sign up for Roof Beam Reader's Austen in August event and thought that it would be the perfect time to read Emma and re-watch Clueless (though I've probably seen it at least once a year since it came out).
Cher is an amazing interpretation of Emma. Cher is upper class, vain and beautiful. She also learns and grows. Tai is a great version of Harriet Smith. I had so much fun matching up the characters. I loved Christian's story and how it differs from Frank Churchill. The scene with Cher and Elton is a great modernization of what happened to Emma and Mr. Elton; Mr. Elton would have definitely left Emma behind. Amber, I watched the movie thinking, hey, she reminds me of Mrs. Elton... and that's because she is Mrs Elton. I liked the choice to make Amber part of the entire movie instead of just bringing her in after Cher rejects Elton. Josh was an interesting version of Knightly. I didn't think they were as similar as some of the other characters, but Josh did play the more serious, mature gentleman to vain Cher, as Knightly did with Emma. Cher's father is the opposite of Mr. Woodhouse in personality. In both though, the daughter worries about her father's help and it is her duty to take care of him.
I think having such an affinity for the movie enhanced my reading of Emma. I also think that watching Clueless after reading Emma made me appreciate the characters and events of the movie more. It was a new perspective for an old favourite. Read Emma, watch Clueless. They are loads of fun and worth every minute.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Inspired by a post I saw on a blog I can't remember (sorry), I decided to create this little list. I was then reminded I hadn't finished it when I saw The Broke and The Bookish's A Cocktail and Conversation. I decided to post some of my favourite books that were required reading. I'm not saying I would have never read these books, but way back in my school days, I probably wouldn't have picked them up by choice. These required books, from both high school and university have stayed with me over the years. They have led me to favourite authors and enriched my reading life.
1. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
2. Coming Through Slaughter, by Michael Ondaatje
3. A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal, by William Wordsworth (I know it's a poem, but I had to include it.)
4. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
5. The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham
6. Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare
7. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
8. Kindred, by Octavia Butler
9. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
10. Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaarder
I decided to stick with ten, a nice round number. I should mention though, that I would never have read Ethel Wilson, Edith Wharton, Henry James or Thomas Hardy without required reading... and probably a whole slew of other fantastic authors. I know required reading is often dreaded, but so many times I didn't need to worry.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Emma was so clueless! Emma is the story of Emma Woodhouse, a very vain girl who basically thinks herself better than everyone else. She assumes that she is smarter, higher class and more clever. She fancies herself a matchmaker, which takes her on an interesting adventure through the lives of her friends and family. I can see why someone decided to make a modern interpretation of Emma. Emma is vain, but endearing. Jane Austen fills her novel full of drama and distinct personalities. It is all seen through Emma, but the personalities of the other characters shine through (wasn't Mrs. Elton insufferable?!). Emma takes a journey and I think she becomes a better person.
I was excited and enthralled by Emma. It's pretty close to becoming my favourite Austen... I often found myself talking to Emma or rolling my eyes at her. I connected with her even though she was not always sympathetic. I really enjoyed her cluelessness. I called all the matches, even the ones that didn't relate to Clueless, but I was an outsider looking in. Emma saw what she wanted, used her ideas of society and propriety and wishful thinking.
After reading Sarah's guest post on Roof Beam Reader (the host of Austen In August), I've been thinking about marriage in Austen's novels and in Austen's time. You really did not want to be an unmarried woman. Except for maybe Emma, if the women in the novel did not get married or have some other man to take care of them, what would become of them? Become a governess? A low-paying job with little respect (which I don't understand, wouldn't you want the person taking care of your children to feel some sort of attachment to them? If you didn't respect or pay them well, how well would they teach your children?). Look at what happened to the Dashwoods in Sense and Sensibility. In Pride and Prejudice Mrs. Bennet's overly-eager behaviour regarding marrying off her daughters can be understandable if they would be left destitute otherwise. I suppose that was another time. At least now, a woman can make a living (almost as much money as a man, but that's another topic) and not worry about being homeless if she doesn't marry. (For more, read Sarah's post.)
Was "Jane" a common name in Jane Austen's time? Or does it signify something in the characters who bare the author's name. Jane Bennet, was a quiet, lovely girl and so was Jane Fairfax (I really liked and felt sorry for Jane Fairfax for most of the novel). After difficulties and misunderstandings, they find love, though not front and centre like Lizzy and Emma.
Emma certainly left me thinking more than I expect it would. I knew I would like Emma, I just didn't know how much I would love it..... Now I have to watch Clueless!
Monday, August 19, 2013
4 was the number of the Classics Club Spin. That means, from the list I posted on Thursday, I will be reading The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. It was a late addition to the list and honestly, I can't tell you what it's about right now. I just remember thinking Ethan Frome was a great book and wanting to read more by Wharton. I know The House of Mirth isn't nearly as long as my last Spin book, which I did not finish on time. I'm looking forward to reading a book that's been sitting on my shelf for years and hopefully I'll finish it before October 1st.
(Can I tell you a secret? I was honestly hoping for Cat's Cradle.)
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I liked the Classics Club Spin last time, so I'm joining in again. I find it encourages me to keep at my classics list and helps me not fall behind. The Spin is spinning for the 3rd time. It's easy to participate. All you have to do is list 20 books, make sure they're numbered, and on Monday a number will be randomly generated. Then you have to (try to) read that book by October 1st.
The Club suggests a way to make the Spin more interesting and challenging, by choosing five books for each of these categories: Hesitant, Excited, Neutral, Free Choice - Re-reads, ancients, favourite authors, etc. I couldn't really get five for each category. Primarily because though I'm hesitant and excited about some reads, I'm not really neutral about any of them. So, I decided to make up my own categories. For my Classics Club list, I didn't choose all novels. I have a lot of different types of classics, plays, poetry, children's books, etc. I made up four of my own categories and then chose five titles for each. Here are my 20 books below.
1. Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
2. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
3. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
4. The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
5. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë
Short Stories / Novellas
6. Sherlock Holmes: A Study In Scarlett, by Arthur Conan Doyle
7. The Big and The Little, by Isaac Asimov
8. Dracula's Guest, by Bram Stoker
9. The Weapons Shop, by A.E. van Vogt
10. The Man Who Loved Islands, by D.H. Lawrence
Poetry / Theatre
11. Lyrical Ballads, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge & William Wordsworth
12. Lady Lazarus, by Sylvia Plath
13. Queen Mab, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
14. Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmund Rostand
15. Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
Children’s / Young Adult / Juvenilia
16. Tales of Angria, by Charlotte Brontë
17. Grimm's Fairy Stories, by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm
18. The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
19. The Cat In The Hat, by Dr. Seuss
20. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
That's my spin list! Honestly, I'd be excited to read any of these options, though I'm also hesitant about a few of them. There's only on re-read on the entire list! I did not do that on purpose. I chose each title based on category. There are some very short options and other very long ones that might be a challenge to read by October 1st. We'll see what number comes up.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Really? Really, Cassandra Clare? That's how you're going to end the book? I don't know how I feel about this ending. Usually, even when reading books in series, I like to feel that the novel is complete. Maybe if the last chapter was titled something else, not quite "Epilogue", but I don't know... Maybe I'm feeling like this because it is a major cliffhanger. I suppose the main part of the story line completed itself well. City of Fallen Angels was definitely a good start to the second half of Clare's The Mortal Instruments series.
Really, I couldn't put down Fallen Angels. I think the reason I enjoyed it was the focus on Simon. I enjoyed Jordan and I loved Izzy. Maia has become a more interesting character. Yes, Jace and Clary are the "stars" of the series, but putting Simon as a focal point was a great change. He's going through so many things. Not just regular vampire things, but the other things that make him unique. By giving the secondary characters more time in the forefront, I think Clare was making sure her readers didn't get bored. I certainly didn't. - Also, communication kids, it's important. I'm just sayin'. -
I'm very glad that I read Clockwork Angel first. Magnus really connected both books and they're connected in other ways too. Just knowing what a "Subjugate" is before Izzy mentions it was nice. Though it is going to be difficult, I'm glad that I decided to alternate the books in the two series. I think it'll make the reading experience more interesting. So, while I'm eager to see what happens in City of Lost Souls, the next Cassandra Clare book I'll be reading is Clockwork Prince. You know... maybe I'm warming up a bit to the ending... but I don't know how I really feel. Maybe it'll be couple days before I know.
Friday, August 09, 2013
I loved the novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I was excited to read the graphic novel after I discovered there was one. I was given it as a gift.... Then, it was left on my shelf to collect dust for, well, two or three years. Yikes!
In June, a sign-up post went up for Austen in August from The Room Beam Reader. Austen!? In August?! The perfect push for me to tackle an Austen novel or two that I haven't read yet and maybe read one of the inspired/reimagined works I have sitting around. That brought me back to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel. The excitement I had when I first received the book came back to me. I had to restrain myself for over a month from picking it up right away. Now, I remembered it was there. I couldn't help but look at it on my shelf. When August finally arrived, I grabbed the book and devoured it.
I can't believe I waited so long to read PPZ: The Graphic Novel. It was fantastic. It brought back all the feelings I had when I first read the novel, with the interesting addition of the artwork. I'm not completely sure how I feel about the art. The Graphic Novel was done in black and white. I've never before read a graphic novel that was black and white. I thought with all the zombies and fighting, some colour would be nice. I did, however, enjoy the black and white when it came to expressing the emotions of the characters, like Lizzy and Darcy when angry, filled with telling black shading. Maybe they chose no colour because there would be too much blood or it would come off too gory and lose that Jane Austen "quality". I'm not sure. The lack of colour didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book, it was just something I'm left thinking about.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel has put me in two kinds of moods. One, I want to finish the series. Steve Hockensmith wrote a prequel, which I own and a sequel, which I do not. I'd love to read the story of how the Bennet sisters received their training and I'd like to know if the zombies were ever vanquished. The other mood has me looking to pick up my next Austen in August pick, Emma. Though Emma will definitely come before the zombie books, seeing as I think I should read some actual Austen for Austen in August. If you're looking for a fun, quick spin-off Jane Austen to read, I would definitely recommend trying Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, especially if you are also a zombie fan.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
I don't usually do the Classics Club monthly meme questions. This month, however, the Classics Club asks: Do you read forewords/notes that precede many classics? Does it help you or hurt you in your enjoyment/understanding of the work?
I have blogged about this topic many times before. Introductions have ruined the story for me. It all depends on the book, I suppose. Here's a collection of what I've written on the topic:
I actually only posted this the first time a few weeks ago, on July 20th. What do you think of introductions?
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
On Saturday, my Hubby took me to see Tommy in Stratford. He was very excited to see it. I was... interested. I've never seen a play in Stratford. I knew of Tommy, that it was a famous, well-loved musical that has played everywhere. I knew it was a "rock opera". That was it. I had no idea about the plot, unlike a lot of other musicals I've heard of but haven't seen. When I asked the Hubby about it, he said it was about a guy who was really good at pinball. What? Really? Umm, okay... But no. That's not what it's about. Tommy is so much more. It begins during World War II. It progresses through the 1950s. Tommy is traumatized and then we watch him grow up. The things that happen to this kid are insane. The only outlet for him is pinball and he's a pinball wizard, so I suppose that's the part my Hubby thought was enough to tell me.
Tommy is based on an album of the same name by The Who. It was classified as a rock opera. The musical's plot is based on the story of the album It has also been made into a movie. After reading more about Tommy since watching it, I've discovered that the movie made some plot changes from the album and musical. I don't know if I'd like it the same, but I'd have to see to find out. I find myself interested in listening to the original album, something I would not have picked up had I never seen the musical.
Tommy is an amazing story. I'm glad that my Hubby took me to see it. It doesn't matter if you don't know anything about it, Tommy is worth it.