Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Couples in Literature

I’ve decided to again join in The Broke and The Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesdays. The first five couples came to mind easily. The rest took a little thought. Once I had the first four down, I decided to expand and include favourite couples from different genres.

1. Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy – Lizzy and Darcy are the staring couple in Pride and Prejudice. They are probably number one on a lot of lists.

2. Elinor Dashwood and Edward FerrarsSense and Sensibility was Austen’s first published work. Though in love, Elinor and Edward never let their “sensibilities” overtake them. They use their “sense” instead.

3. Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester – The madwoman in the attic won’t keep this couple apart! Jane Eyre made me love classic literature.

4. Romeo and Juliet – Unlike the first four couples, Romeo and Juliet doesn’t have a happy ending. However, they’ve influenced countless stories about star-crossed lovers.

5. Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane – There is no comic couple that has endured the way Lois and Clark have. Their story has been written and re-written countless times. There have been comics, novels, television shows and movies, where even if it isn’t obvious, their love is always there.

6. Wesley and Buttercup – Okay, I haven’t actually read The Princess Bride, but I’ve seen the movie. A lot. My husband has read the book and he says the movie is pretty close. (I will read it eventually.) Wesley and Buttercup are cute and sweet. They fight the bad guy and live happily-ever-after.

7. O-Lan and Wang Lung – I recently read and reviewed The Good Earth. I still can’t even get over what an amazing novel it is. Thought not really in love, they are a partnership.

8. Drizzt and Cattie-Brie – They are a couple that began in 1988 with the Forgotten Realms novel, The Crystal Shard. No matter what genre I read, I appreciate strong female characters. Though Drizzt is the hero of these books, Cattie-Brie provides balance (and she can kick butt in a fight).

9. Arthur Dent and Trillian – They’re not your typical couple. They don’t live happily ever after. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy takes them everywhere, but they end up back at home. (I have read the five books by Douglas Adams. I have not read the new one by Eoin Colfer. I’m scared to.)

10. Aragorn and Arwen – He’s the rugged hero of The Lord Of The Rings, she’s the beautiful elven princess. There’s no real logic to why they are one of my favourites. Maybe the movie influenced me. I don’t care. They make me happy. (I thought of replacing them with Sam and Frodo. I know they weren’t a “couple”, but they were together more than any other pair in the books.)

That’s it! I considered Odysseus and Penelope, but all that waiting and they didn’t give me the same good feelings. I also considered Layla and Mariam from A Thousand Splendid Suns, but like Frodo and Sam they’re not a real couple. They were more like sister-wives (Big Love/polygamy reference). Anne and Gilbert also came to mind, but I never finished the Anne series, so I don’t know how they end up. There was also Sookie and Bill or Sookie and Eric, but I don’t know which couple I prefer.

I thought this was going to be difficult, but then I ended up with so many options!

Who are your favourite literary couples?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Word of The Week!

This week, we’re back with a couple words from the book that keeps on giving.

From Under The Dome by Stephen King.

Excrescence: describes and outgrowth of something on something else. It is usually used to descibe and abnormal or disfiguring growth. They found the thing that is generating the Dome; excrescence is used to describe a part of it that’s sticking out.

Apostate: Is used to describe someone who has renouced thier faith. No matter what he thinks, this word definitely describes Jim Rennie. The word was used by Chef Bushey to describe Big Jim Rennie, who thinks he is following the path of God, but in fact, he is doing whatever he wants and is manipulating scripture (the Bible) to justify his terrible actions.

I don’t think I’ll ever have occasion to use excrescence, but there are people who I’m sure have been described as apostate. That word will likely get used in the future.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Do the Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

This week’s question: Do you write the review while you’re still reading the book or do you write it after?

My answer: I write reviews after, as soon as I’ve finished a book. I get to my computer or write it the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper if I’m not near my computer. Occasionally, I let a book sit with me and write the review the next day, so the magic of the ending can fade a bit and I can think of the book as a whole. I don’t wait more than a day though; I don’t want to forget anything. If I come across a passage or an event in a book that I know I’m going to want to talk about, I flag it. Sometimes I write a little bit about it right away, then include it in my overall review of the book.

I think it would be difficult to write a review as you are reading. I find a story needs to be taken as a whole. Yes, there are often specific parts that need attention, but I don’t think you can know if you’ll love it or hate it until you reach the end. I suppose the only exception is if you find a book so terrible, you can’t finish it.

Thanks for stopping by on this week’s hop. How do you write your book reviews? Leave a comment below and I’ll stop by your blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Under The Dome

I finished Under The Dome! It’s a hefty book. A friend of mine, who also just finished it, called it an investment. It is an investment, in more ways than one. Stephen King's book is over one thousand pages long. So there is an investment of time. You also become invested in the characters and the outcome of their time under the dome. It’s not just the good characters you care about either, you care about the bad ones; you want to make sure the bad guys get what they deserve in the end.

The end was fantastic. I couldn’t put it down for the last 80 pages. I just kept reading, even though I knew I should get up, until the book was done. Stephen King created some amazing, compelling characters. Their history before the dome greatly influenced their behaviour once they were under it. If you paid attention, you could see the paths the characters would follow.

I warn future readers now, no character is safe. It doesn’t matter how much back story is given. It doesn’t matter if you think the outcome hinges on them. If their time comes, they die. The first section of the book is an onslaught of death. What happens when an invisible force field is put in place and you don’t know it’s there? That is the beginning of the book. When you think the dying has stopped, someone else goes.

The only part of the end I wasn’t happy with is what happened to Big Jim Rennie. I really wanted someone to shoot him in the head. If you read the book, you’ll know what I mean. He doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. At least his son, Junior, has a moment with the Appleton kids where he shows kindness, though five minutes before he punched a random guy in the stomach. Though Junior is a bully, some of his behaviour might have been attributed to an actual illness. Big Jim doesn’t have that excuse. He never shows kindness unless he is getting something out if it. He knows he has a bad heart, but treats it as though it’s another person out to get him, instead of something that is a part of him. Though he attributes his behaviour to “God’s will”, all he ever does is try and take more power and control. He treated the people in the town like they were his subjects and he was the divinely chosen king.

Dale Barbara (Barbie) and Julia Shumway are great heroes. They are regular people, dealing with their own problems and lives. Barbie was trying to leave when the dome came down. He was only minutes from missing the chaos. Barbie and Julia are the people who put aside personal concern and even safety and do what is necessary to save lives. Rusty Everett does the same thing. Though only thirteen, so does Joe McClatchey. It is people like them that should have been in charge from the beginning and I kept reading the book hoping somehow Barbie would take over and make everything better.

Stephen King is often touted as the Master of Horror. I found the events in Under the Dome not as much “horror” as horrifying. There are murders, rapists, riots and suicides. There is so much hatred, contempt and corruption. There are people who don’t understand the difference between right and wrong. There are too many people abusing their power. The evil already existed in the town, the dome just amplified it.

Under The Dome is worth the investment. It’s not just a story about a supernatural event, it’s a story about the people of the town.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Seventh Future: Israel/Palestine, by: Margaret Atwood

Again I find myself having read a piece of fiction, unsure if it’s really a short story or not. Margaret Atwood posted The Seventh Future: Israel/Palestine on her blog, Margaret Atwood: Year of the Flood, about a month ago. I found myself drawn to it immediately. The Seventh Future is about someone who can see the future; he envision seven different future for the much disputed region. The seventh future that he sees is the one that is the most desirable. It would be hard work, but it is possible. The other six futures are different degrees of bad to worse. On a personal note, it makes me even more eager to read Year of the Flood.

Something I found intriguing is the debate on Ms. Atwood’s blog generated by this short piece of fiction. There are some very angry people out there. Someone blatantly call Margaret Atwood stupid. I was a little taken aback because I’m a fan of her work and I don’t think any writer who can create such amazing tales is stupid. Perhaps, what the person meant to say is overly optimistic or uninformed (which I don’t actually think). Yes, Margaret Atwood is a writer, not a politician or diplomat. So perhaps her opinion doesn’t have the same weight as people like Barak Obama or Tony Blair. However, her opinion is as valid as any one else’s. There are a couple people out there who really don’t like her or what she wrote. I thought The Seventh Future was insightful. I see each future that is laid out in the story as possible; the seventh is just the one we all hope for.

Thanks to John Mutford at The Book Mine Set for hosting.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let’s Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books. In honour of Book Blogger Appreciation week, each participant is sharing their love for a couple favourite blogs (like Crazy-for-Books).

Roof Beam Reader is a fantastic blog. Every week Adam posts Uncensored Saturdays and takes a look at books that have been banned and why. As a result, I learned that I’ve read quite a few banned books.

amused, bemused and confused has two things I love. Books and tea! Teadevotee has read many of the same books that I’ve read or want to read.

The Book Mine Set is probably the first book blog I started to follow. John Mutford writes insightful and interesting reviews. He hosts The Great Wednesday Compare every week and I can’t wait to see who the battle is between. I think my guy might lose this week.

I could go on about other blogs I’ve discovered, like The Lost Entwife and The Book Brothel and so many more, but there’s only so much time in the day. Plus, I hear my little one calling me (she’s almost 16 months!) I hope to find many more fine book blogs this hop.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books I’m Dying To Read

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke And The Bookish. This week’s topic, pick ten books you’re dying to read.

It was difficult for me to pick just ten. I have over a hundred books that are sitting neatly in my bookcases waiting to be read. Plus, there are the books I don’t even own yet.

Except for the first book, they are in no particular order.

1. Year of the Flood, by: Margaret Atwood – I’ve been itching to read this since it was published. I almost bought it over and over again, but I was trying to be good. But I saw a stack of them at Costco last weekend, and my final bit of resistance was gone.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by: Stieg Larsson – I’m not dying to read this as much as a couple of my bookish friends are dying for me to read it. The copy I have is borrowed and, succumbing to peer pressure, I will read this next instead of Year of the Flood

3. Son of a Witch, by: Gregory Maguire – I’ve wanted to read this for a while. I absolutely loved Wicked and I’m going to see the musical in just over a month! I came across a copy of Son of a Witch at a used bookstore. I had to have it, especially after I bought…

4. A Lion Among Men, by: Gregory Maguire – I saw it at a different bookstore and bought it.

5. The Battle Of Jericho Hill, by: Stephen King – This is one of the graphic novels that have been written as prequels to King’s Dark Tower series of novels. Jericho is where THE big battle takes place, helping to forge the man the main character is in the novels.

6. Dead and Gone, by: Charlaine Harris – I’ve read all the books staring Sookie Stackhouse up to From Dead To Worse. After a fantastic ending, I wanted to start the next book immediately. Sadly, I don’t own this one yet.

7. The Chronicles of Narnia, by: C.S. Lewis – I know it’s more than one book, it’s seven. So maybe I’ll just say, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet. It seems like something I would have read as a kid.

8. Night of the Living Trekkies, by: Sam Stall and Kevin David Anderson – I just got it last month. A gift from my husband. He knows what I like and this book combines two of my favourite things, Star Trek and zombies!

9. Dracula, by: Bram Stoker – Classic gothic horror. The one that started all the vampire fiction, really. Written before vampires were teen dreams. Here, vampires are scary and I can’t wait to read it.

10. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini – I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The only reason I haven’t read it is because I don’t own it. If I somehow got a copy tomorrow, I don’t know if I’d be reading Year of the Flood or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo next.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Word Of The Week!

This week’s words have a few different sources – two blogs and a short story.

From Virginia Woolf’s The Mysterious Case of Miss V.

Neuter: In the context of Woolf’ story, is a noun of the neuter gender. The neuter term is what the narrator says she is using in reference to Miss V. She equates Miss V. to a shadow of a piece of furniture; therefore she uses the neutral, not feminized terminology.

From Ahab at Republic of Gilead.

Proselytization: Is a way of converting people to another opinion, particularly to another religion. In modern times proselytization/proselytism have negative connotations, used to describe a forced conversion. Ahab is talking about Kirk Cameron speaking in Maryland.

From Jen at The Broke and The Bookish.

Facetiously: A flippant manner; treating a serious issue with deliberately inappropriate humour. Each week The Broke and The Bookish host Top Ten Tuesday. Each Tuesday you create a top ten list, the topic of which is given the week before at the end of the previous post. This week, Jen posted her top ten favourite words and facetiously was number two. Did you know that all the vowels appear in order?

I like facetiously the best. It’s a word I might actually use (after I learn how to pronounce it properly).

Geek and Gamer Girls!

Geek and Gamer Girls Song - Watch more Funny Videos

I've never posted a video on my blog before, but I kinda love this one.

Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

I really like this week’s question. Link to a review that you wrote in the last three months. For me, that would have to by my post about Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth. This was a novel that went beyond my expectations. It reached me on an emotional level that I am reminded of whenever I glance at the book on my shelf. I could read it again right now and be so happy.

Thanks for stopping by. Please, leave a comment below and/or a comment on The Good Earth.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dark Tower Films and TV!

Check out the link below for news on the new deal to make Stephen King's The Dark Tower series into three films and a television series.  It's crazy!

Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Mysterious Case of Miss V., by: Virginia Woolf

I dove back into The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf This week. I found the fantastic, somewhat chilling story, The Mysterious Case of Miss V. While the story was interesting, well-written and enjoyable, I couldn’t help but apply what I knew of Woolf’s life to its text. My first reaction was that Virginia Woolf was writing what was going on in her mind. The main character is nameless, but it’s not really about her. It’s about Miss V (V for Virginia?). Miss V. is actually two people, Mary V. (elder sister) and Janet V, but they are treated as one. Woolf stresses the difference between country life and city life. In the city you can be forgotten so easily. If you do not make your presence known, you become part of the background. The narrator often calls Miss V. a shadow.

If you’re a fan of Virginia Woolf and interested in her life, this story should definitely be read. If you like somewhat creepy, thoughtful short stories, The Mysterious Case of Miss V. is for you too.

Happy Short Story Monday! Thanks to John Mutford for hosting.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Word Of The Week!

There are some interesting words this week, most provided by Stephen King. I haven’t finished Under The Dome yet. It’s a really long book!

From Under The Dome:

Incantatory: Comes from Incantation, which is a charm or spell created by words. You can find the definition here. King uses the word to describe Lissa’s walk. She’s the school librarian and known for being a little different than everyone else. Is King therefore saying that this character has a magical walk?

Declamatory: Marked by passion or pomposity. Bombastic? King used declamatory to describe a gunshot. I guess you could have a bombastic type gunshot, right?Ululating: Means to howl or wail with grief, which is perfectly fitting when describing a scream during a bloody riot.

From Sleep Talkin’ Man:

Acrimonious: Karen uses this word to describe Adam’s relationship with mole hills. Apparently Adam is bitter towards them.

Four new words this week! I’m not sure incantatory is a real word. Were you making up a new word, Mr. King? In real life, I’m not sure I’d use any of these words. In blogging/writing life, I could see myself using acrimonious, so that’s the best new word this week.

Side Note: I was trying to post Word of the Week every Friday, but the last few weeks it hasn’t happened. I don’t know if it’s just that this has been a particularly busy time for me (which it has been) or if it’s something that can’t happen on a Friday. I’m going to see what happens in the coming weeks. I’ll either do better and keep it (normally) on Fridays or I might move it to Sundays. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Time To Do The Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

Another week, another Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books.

The questions this week: Do you judge a book by its cover? My answer: well, yes and no. If I’m browsing in a bookstore or online, then an interesting cover will definitely catch my attention. Will I buy the book because of the cover? No. I always read the synopsis first and often the first page or two. If I see a book by an author I’ve already read, I’ll pick it up even if it has a terrible cover. I think, however, if you want to get new readers, an enticing cover is important.

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment below and I’ll return the visit.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010