Friday, October 29, 2010

The Hop Asks: What Do You Want?

Book Blogger Hop

This week’s question: "What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?"

My answer: I feel the same as Jennifer does. I want a library. I want floor to ceiling bookshelves. I want cushy sofas and chairs, a chaise by a big window. I’d also need a house big enough to house such a library. My little townhouse isn’t going to do that. Maybe someday…

What bookish thing do you want?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten Scariest Books

What do I do about this week’s top ten?  The Broke and The Bookish want to know what the scariest books are.  I decided to look for books that induce a feeling of tension/the creeps or have horrifying events, not necessarily "fear-producing".  Here is my top ten, in no particular order.

1. 1984, by: George Orwell – This one actually scared me. The situation, what’s happening to Winston, the lies, the watching, all of it.

2. Misery, by: Stephen King – I mentioned this one in a previous Top Ten list. It’s so creepy that I haven’t even read it yet.

3. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by: Robert Louis Stevenson – Classically creepy and very interesting.

4. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by: Mary Shelley – Also another classic. Mary Shelley really knew how to create a compelling Monster. I think any horror fan needs to read this.

5. The Raven, by: Edgar Allen Poe – I know it’s a poem, not novel, but it’s still one of the creepiest things I’ve ever read.

6. The Turn of The Screw, by: Henry James – Are ghosts driving her crazy or is she just crazy? I’m inclined to think the first.

7. Under The Dome, by: Stephen King – I wasn’t scared by the dome itself, what disturbed me was what the people trapped inside were doing to each other.

8. The Handmaids Tale, by: Margaret Atwood – I know it’s not a horror book, but I was afraid for Offred pretty much all the time.

9. A Series of Unfortunate Events, by: Lemony Snicket – I tried to decide which one was the scariest. Maybe it was number 2, or 1 or 6. Even though they are children’s stories, they are all full of tension.

10. Nightmares and Dreamscapes, by: Stephen King – a collection of scary short stories. “Popsy” has stayed with me for years.

I could have put more Stephen King books on the list, but I thought three was more than enough. I also considered Anne Rice, with The Witching Hour and Interview With A Vampire, but I don’t know if I was actually scared/tense when I read those books.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wicked: The Musical

Warning: I’m going to gush.

I thought Wicked: The Musical was fantastic. Elphaba’s costumes were perfect. Glinda’s dress sparkled across the theatre. The songs were great. I really enjoyed the references to the original Wizard of Oz. I’m sure this won’t give anything away, but one of my favourite lines is something like, “Who takes a dead girl’s shoes? What were you, raised in a barn?” It was brilliant.

Much of what I like about the musical, I liked about Gregory Maguire's book, (though there are differences, so I’ll just be talking about the musical). Glinda says, “Are some people wicked or was wickedness thrust upon them?” In the show, I think it’s clear that wickedness was thrust upon Elphaba. She couldn’t betray her principles. She wanted to defend the Animals. She wanted to do what was best for her sister. Elphaba is only made out to be a Wicked Witch. Glinda knows this. Even though her social climbing and then her jealously blinds her to this for a while, she does what she can for “Elphie” and shows that she really is her friend.

I also really liked the ending. It’s not what I expected.

If you’re in Toronto, go see it before it’s gone. If you’re somewhere else, see it when it gets there.

The Dark Tower: Treachery

I love The Dark Tower. I read the first novel, The Gunslinger when I was probably around 13. Now I’m… older and my affection for the series hasn’t changed. Treachery is the third graphic novel in the series. It continues to follow the young Roland and his “ka-tet”. This is part of Roland’s evolution into his becoming the Gunslinger of Stephen King’s novels.

Without giving too much away, I ask: Does Roland’s mother, Gabrielle Deschain, deserve her fate? If she hadn’t stolen what she did, would the gun have been drawn at that moment? Did she do it to herself? We first hear of what happened to Roland’s mother during the novels when he tells his new ka-tet of his past. It is decades later and he still feels guilty. Now, with the graphic novel, getting to see what led up to it, I think Gabrielle laid the path herself. She took the only thing that would cause Roland to do what he did.

I also ask: Why is John Farson called “The Good Man”? He isn’t good. He’s cruel and vicious. He’s a terrible man. I understand the want to revolt against Gilead. Women and men aren’t equals. There’s a definitive class system. There really isn’t room to follow your dreams and desires. So I can see the appeal in wanting to change things and even joining with a rebellious force. Farson murders and I’m not just thinking the army versus army killing. He deliberately kills civilians. Who would follow such a leader?

Treachery is the bloodiest of the Dark Tower graphic novels. Just be warned. It was still another great installment in the series that could have ended with the seventh novel. These graphic novels really fill in the blanks for Roland and the world he lives in. They introduce new characters without stepping on old ones and they make characters who were only lightly touched on more real. They are beautifully drawn; the art is dark, intense and bloody. Treachery isn’t a stand-alone graphic novel, but it makes me eager for the next in the series.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lisbeth Salander's IKEA Shopping List | Apartment Therapy New York

I learned that in the second book, Lisbeth goes shopping. This is apparently what she buys.

Lisbeth Salander's IKEA Shopping List Apartment Therapy New York

Word of the Week!

This week’s only word comes from a dark graphic novel.

From Stephen King’s (et al.) The Dark Tower: Treachery

Perfidy: An act of deceit; violating faith, trust, promises, vows etc. It is very fitting when a young Roland Deschain uses this word to describe his mother. Perfidy can be equated to treason or treachery.

It’s interesting that they’ve used a synonym for treachery in the novel, a word very fitting with the atmosphere of the story.  Would I ever use this word?  First I’d have to learn how to pronounce it without it sounded a little silly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo follows the investigation of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist into the mysterious past of the Vanger family. What they discovered was very surprising and not at all what I expected. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is Stieg Larsson’s first book in the Millennium trilogy. I’m not usually a “mystery” reader, but this was an amazing. It’s more than a mystery novel. Lisbeth and Blomkvist shine a light on serious social issues.

I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. I won’t talk about specific events (unless someone who has read the book asks in the comments). However, certain implications might be made.

Lisbeth is the character everyone is talking about. Multiple actresses vied for the role when it was announced that a Hollywood version of the movie would be made. I think I can understand why. Lisbeth Salander is unique. If an actress is looking for a strong female lead, possibly the defining role of their young career, this could be the one. Lisbeth is anti-social, anti-police, anti-normal, but she can act normal if she wants. Lisbeth has an intelligence no one can quite grasp and some who doubt that it’s even there. Bad things happen to Lisbeth, they make you wonder how she could ever get over them, but she does. She is stronger and smarter than anyone realizes.

Except, Mikael Blomkvist. Blomkvist is an investigative journalist. He is a journalist who has integrity and accepts the punishment for his actions. He is smart, intuitive and trustworthy. He also sleeps with multiple women by the end of the novel. Blomkvist survives and acts as his morals tell him. He’s strong and can also be kind and understanding. He is really a great counter for Lisbeth Salander.

I know that this is a mystery and the mystery of the disappearance of Harriet Vanger was great. For me, it wasn’t the plot that moved the story along; it was how Lisbeth and Blomkvist moved through the plot. It was their reactions to the different events and discoveries that took the reader to the next step on the road to Harriet Vanger. Regarding the mystery, my first instincts were right. The book tried to convince me otherwise, so I doubted myself along the way, but in the end, I was right. I know I said that I was surprised, but that surprise didn’t have to do with Harriet; it had to do with other characters.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a mesmerizing story. I only had to minor problems with it. First, Lisbeth and Blomkvist are the main characters, right? It takes ages before they actually meet. I kept waiting and wondering when it was going to happen. Second, after the Harriet mystery is taken care of, the secondary plot of the Wennerström affair has to be resolved. Fine, I understand that. Why did it take so long? I kept waiting, for ages, after what I thought should be the essential end of the novel for the novel actually to end. It’s not that it wasn’t interesting or exciting, I just felt that once Harriet Vanger’s disappearance was solved (the primary mystery), there shouldn’t be so much more novel left.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is an excellent novel. It has complex and interesting characters and an intriguing plot. I’m glad my friends and family peer pressured me into reading it. I was happy to oblige. Now The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest have just been added onto my to-be-read list.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten Fictional Crushes

Thanks to The Broke and The Bookish for hosting such a fun meme.

Except for number one and two, they are in no particular order.

1. Roland Deschain from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I’ve loved him since The Gunslinger and will hopefully continue to love him, even though they’re doing some crazy movie/television thing with the books.

2. Drizzt Do’Urden from R.A. Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt.

3. Lestat from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. It started with Interview with a Vampire and grew with The Vampire Lestat.

4. Mikael Blomkvist from Stieg Larrson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. He’s my new crush.

5. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudices.

6. Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen (but really Seth Graeme-Smith’s) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Everything I liked about Lizzy in the original, plus she can kill zombies and kick ninja @$$.

7. Eric Northman from Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series. I think I always liked him, but Dead to the World really made me fall for Eric.

8. Wolverine/Logan from the X-Men.

9. Danica from R.A. Salvatore’s series The Cleric Quintet.

10. Aragorn from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

I thought this was going to be difficult and it was a bit. I’m not a swooner (except for Roland, I’ll always swoon for you), so I had to think about some of these guys (and girls) for a while. Each person on the list has qualities that make me happy.

When I told my husband what this week’s top ten was, he wanted to share a few crushes with me too. He didn’t reach ten, but here are my husbands top six.

1. Storm/Ororo Munro from the X-Men.

2. Hermione from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

3. Catti-Brie from R.A. Salvatore’s series, The Legend of Drizzt.

4. Danica from R.A. Salvatore’s series, The Cleric Quintet.

5. Arwen from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

6. Buttercup from William Goldman’s The Princess Bridge.

My husband reads a lot of fantasy. These are six great females and I like them a lot too. One even appears on my list!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Poker Game, by: Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane was an American writer from the late 19th century. He is well known for his story, The Red Badge of Courage. Being the kind of girl I am, I didn’t just buy the novel, I bought, The Red Badge of Courage and Other Stories. A Poker Game (click the link to read the text online) is the last in the collection of stories.

Maybe it’s because I’m unfamiliar with his style or maybe it’s because I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I don’t know, but I had to re-read the story just to make sure I understood the ending. Once I read it the second time and thought about what the actor, Archie Bracketts said to the main character, Bobbie Cinch, did I fully understand the end of the story. Basically, being nice can pay off in the end.

The ending seemed simplistic. Bobbie and Archie did learn something from Bobbie’s behaviour playing the last hand, but it seemed like there was a lot of build-up without enough pay off. Crane was known to write in a realist style. Maybe that’s all this is. Instead of inventing an unrealistic scenario, Crane is relaying what actually would happen.

I read The Red Badge of Courage a long time ago in school. I can’t exactly remember it, I know a soldier gets what is called a red badge of courage, but he didn’t really earn it. I remember really enjoying the story and I was glad I purchased a collection that had more of Crane’s work. A Poker Game was easy to read and I liked it, but I don’t think it lived up to my expectations.

Short Story Monday is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Word of The Week!

Last week I found myself without a lot of free time. The week before, I actually had no new words. I seem to be making up for it this week.

From Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:

[Greek] Amphora, (pbk, pg 58) – An amphora is a type of vase with two handles and a long, narrow neck.

Avuncular, (pbk, pg 67) – Pertaining to an uncle. A kind uncle.

From Carol Shield’s short story, Stop! (in the collection Dressing Up For The Carnival:

Anathema, (hc, pg 62) – Originally it meant something lifted up as a gift to the gods. It has come to mean something/someone that has been formally set apart or exiled. It makes sense in the case of the Queen.

Triannulus, (hc, pg 62) – I can’t find it…. In the story, they speak of the third Triannulus of her reign. I think it means the third era or stage of her reign.

From Ahab’s The Republic of Gilead:

Undergird (posted 10-10-10) – To strengthen from beneath. It can be used in engineering terms and in moral terms.

There are a lot of interesting words this week. I liked the stories and posts the words came from. Will I use any of them in the future? I don’t know.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Paperback Princesses/Crazy-for-Books have given us a very interesting question for the Hop this week. "When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?" I struggled with this in July. I almost didn’t finish the book. I also discussed this with another blogger recently, but I can’t seem to remember who… Sorry.

Even though I believe that if you’re not enjoying a book, you should have the freedom to put it down and move on, I find it difficult for myself to put it into practice. I feel like, if it’s been published, there has to be a reason. If I just read a few more pages, it’ll get better. I’ve deluded myself more than once. I once read an entire book to the end and only liked one chapter and that chapter had almost nothing to do with the actual plot. There have been a couple books I’ve actually given up on, though I hope to try again another day. Am I deluding myself again? I don’t know. So, while most of the time I do stick it out until the end, I don’t always think it’s worth it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Top Ten Books I’ll Never Read

The Broke and The Bookish have presented us with an interesting list for Top Ten Tuesday. What are the Top Ten Books I’ll Never Read? That’s really difficult. I don’t want to count any book out. However, after thinking about it, I came up with ten books, for different reasons, I don’t think I’ll ever read. This is the order they came to mind, not the order of importance, though I did want to end with number ten.

1. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy – It’s not that I don’t want to read it. I actually own it (it was 50 cents, how could I resist?). It is just so BIG. It seems like there is always something else on my shelf more appealing/less daunting.

2. A Million Little Pieces, James Frey – There was some controversy about this book when it came out. There was some lying involved. I admit to not knowing what the actual story was. I don’t tend to read something just because of media attention. It just gives me a feeling like I don’t want to read it.

3. The Firm, John Grisham – I know, I’m about to be stoned. I saw the movie, which I know isn’t always a good indicator of a book, though it wasn’t a bad movie. There’s a part of me that wants to read it, I just don’t feel like I ever will.

4. Misery, Stephen King – I know, more stoning. How could I not want to read it? As many people know, I’ve read quite a few Stephen King novels. I even own Misery. But do you know what it’s about? I do. I saw the trailers for the movie (which I also haven’t seen) and I’ve read the synopsis for the book. It’s just a tad too creepy for me.

5. The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan – My husband owns these books (except the new ones) and has read them. He thinks, however, that I won’t like them; I’ll get bored with them. They are also really, really long. All of them.

6. The Vampire Diaries, L.J. Smith – I’ve had enough of the sugary vampires that teenage girls fall in love with. What happened to Dracula, Lestat or even Selene? The show has just put me off ever wanting to read the books (even though I think Ian Somerhalder is super sexy).

7. Confessions of an Heiress, Paris Hilton – I hope I don’t have to explain this.

8. Star, Pamela Anderson – See above.

9. Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert – Maybe if I could jet around the world to find myself, I’d be more interested in reading this book. I’m sure it’s well written to be so appealing to so many people; I just don’t think it’s for me.

10. A Shore Thing, Snooki– (Yup, it's got a title.) See 7 & 8.

Now, I’d never say never. Who knows how I’d feel about 1-6 and 9 in a year? But, if I had to choose right now, those are what I’d pick (or not pick, as the case may be.) I don’t believe in banning books, so if you’re a fan of any of these books, I support your choice to read them. Maybe your opinion on them could even change my mind. After all, I’m currently reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because of peer pressure and really enjoying it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Under Construction!

I’ve changed my blog. I hope it’s for the better. I’ve basically had the same looking blog for the last four years. I needed a change. I hope everyone likes it. I do. I think it’s a little more me. I’m still tweaking it. Let me know if you notice anything out of place or if you have any comments on my new look.


Friday, October 08, 2010

Thirsty Book Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This week’s Hop question over at the Crazy-for-Books is: What is your favourite beverage while reading or blogging?

I love tea. I have an entire section of my pantry just for my tea and tea related things. Though, on occasion, I have been known to drink a martini while sitting at the computer…

What do you like to drink, if anything?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Authors

1. Margaret Atwood – For The Handmaid’s Tale; as well as all the other books I’ve read and loved.

2. Michael Ondaatje – For In The Skin Of A Lion; I know The English Patient is the big one that everyone knows, but the former came first and it got me hooked.

3. Gregory Maguire – For Wicked and Confessions Of An Ugly Stepsister; I hope the Wicked sequels live up to the first.

4. Stephen King – For The Dark Tower series; I love Roland.

5. William Shakespeare – For your entire body of work. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream; I could go on forever, but I don’t have to, your work will.

6. Jane Austen – For the three books I’ve read so far, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion and for the rest I plan on reading.

7. Douglas Coupland – For The Gum Thief; I worked at Staples. I know what box-store monotony can do to a person.

8. Khaled Hosseini – For A Thousand Splendid Suns; I will never forget Mariam and Layla.

9. J.K. Rowling – For the Harry Potter series; I don’t usually like saying things like this, but Harry Potter might just be the Chronicles of Narnia for our generation. (Though, let’s see where we are in twenty years.)

10. Lemony Snicket – For you Unfortunate Series of Events; I loved the Baudelaire children and I’ve wondered what they would be like when they grew up.

This was another difficult one for me. There are so many authors that I love. I have to give honourable mentions to J.R.R. Tolkein, R.A. Salvatore, Charlaine Harris and Sophie Kinsella. I love and have read so many of your books too!

Thanks to The Broke and The Bookish for hosting another great Top Ten Tuesday.  Who tops your list?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Stop!, By: Carol Shields

Stop! was a fantastic little story by Carol Shields. I have it in her collection Dressing Up For The Carnival but I believe it can also be found in her Collected Stories.

Stop! follows the Queen. What she is the queen of, we don’t know. We learn that because of her “allergies” the Queen grows more and more reclusive. It seemed to me that she was a hypochondriac. Is the physician taking advantage of this, I wonder? The Queen retreats more and more from the world, from her children and the King. It’s interesting how the Queen’s perception of the world keeps her from doing the simplest of things. Stop! is the kind of short story that opens you up to what else the author has written.

After reading this short story, I wonder why I haven’t read any of her novels. I really aught to read The Stone Diaries. For those that don’t know, Carol Shields died of breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 68.

Short Story Monday is hosted by John Mutford at The Book Mine Set.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Roof Beam Reader: Saturdays, Uncensored! (And Banned Trilogy Giveaway!)

Check out Adam at Roof Beam Reader. He's giving away the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? I can't believe they were burned, only 9 years ago, in 2001 as Satanic.

Roof Beam Reader: Saturdays, Uncensored! (And Banned Trilogy Giveaway!)

Friday, October 01, 2010

An Excellent Venn Diagram

I thought this was hilarious.
Original Image From Here
Here's the post I found it on: Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This week, our host Jennifer is asking how we promote our blogs. In the beginning, I didn’t really think about promotion. I did the blog mostly for myself. I told some friends about it and they read it sometimes. I created my blog so that when I finished a book, I could write about what I thought and felt. Though an avid reader, I don’t belong to any reading groups and until the last couple years, I hadn’t found anyone with similar tastes in books.

After a while, I decided to venture out into the blogosphere. I found some interesting blogs and started following/subscribing to RSS feeds. I commented occasionally, but it was still some time before I started promoting my blog. I haven’t done anything extraordinary. I participate in a few different weekly events, like the Hop. There’s also Short Story Monday at The Book Mine Set and Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke and The Bookish. I also comment more often on all the great blogs I’ve found. I make sure to leave quality comments, taking the time to read a couple posts, the blogger’s profile if they have one and anything else that catches my eye. I agree with Jennifer in what she said about leaving good comments behind on your visits.

I don’t have a Facebook page and I don’t Twitter (though I’ve considered both). I don’t want to stretch myself too far; I don’t want to start, only to have it fade away into nothing or have it become a chore. I write my blogs because I enjoy it. I still think about Twitter and Facebook. Maybe one day I’ll join up and you’ll find me tweeting away. Until then, I’m happy here in the blogosphere.