Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh no! Not an article about Canadian Politics!

This is the second interesting article I read in The Globe and Mail today.  Normally, I would never post anything political on my blog.  I respect that everyone has different opinions and beliefs.  This article caught my eye though.  It's not pro or anti abortion.  It's about the fact that Stephen Harper has been non-commital on the issue either way.  If you're still undecided on your vote for Monday, this might be an article you want to read.

Why should women believe what Stephen Harper says about abortion? - The Globe and Mail

Non-Canadians can probably skip this one...

Social Media and Teachers

I read this very interesting and I think, helpful, article in The Globe and Mail today about teachers, students and social media.  I know teachers who are either extremely careful about how they use Facebook or they just don't have Facebook accounts at all.  If you're interested, click the link below.

For teachers on Facebook, professionalism trumps fun - The Globe and Mail

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I’m In Love versus I Can’t Live Without You – Sentimentality in Literature from the Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop

This week the question from The Blue Bookcase is: Discuss your thoughts on sentimentality in literature. When is emotion in literature effective and when is it superfluous? Use examples.

I feel like it’s an essay topic for an exam in one of my old University classes! Ingrid’s response is excellent and detailed. Her two examples of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Twilight are well chosen. They reflect what I thought of when I first read the words “sentimentality” and “emotion” in this week’s question. I think there is definitely a difference in meaning and in execution in literature and other media.

When I think of sentimentality or being sentimental, I think of indulgence. I think of emotion overriding reason in an extreme sense. Using Ingrid’s example, that is definitely Bella in Twilight. Edward too; after all, he was willing to kill himself in Italy when he thought Bella was dead.

In another “vampire” series, (though this one definitely for adults) Betsy Taylor, the Vampire Queen of MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series , is ruled by emotion while those around her beg for her to be more sensible. Betsy’s emotions give her power, but they are also a weakness, causing for her to fall into traps laid by her enemies.

When I think of sentiment, there’s almost a sweetness to the word. There is less of the extreme; the thoughts and feelings of the characters are deeper. One of my more recent reads, Timothy Findley’s The Wars is filled with emotion. Robert Ross makes many choices based on emotion, like joining the military after his beloved sister dies. Once the decision is made, reason is used to carry it out. The Wars has characters showing a range of emotions, from love to hate and betrayal.

Margaret Atwood’s The Year of The Flood is also filled with emotion. Toby and Ren experience longing and sentiment over the loss of their previous lives. Are the emotions of the characters in this novel as controlled as Robert Ross in The Wars? I don’t believe so. I think emotion drives Ren to do foolish things, like work at a sex club as they drive Betsy Taylor to mouth off to a pack of werewolves while she’s on her own. Do I think The Year of The Flood and the Undead series are on the same literary level? No. The Year of The Flood, like The Wars uses emotion to enhance the story, while the vampire books use emotion to get a reaction out of readers or a simple plot device.

I could go on and one with more examples and comparisons, but I think that’s enough for now. If this was an essay in school, it would have all kind of quotes and specifics. Today I have a smattering of thoughts. In the end, I think emotion in literature is necessary, even a lack of emotion can show a character’s coldness. Even in works not seen as literary, I don’t know if sentimentality is superfluous. A character’s emotions are a tool that help the reader get to the end of the story.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead

The Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead may have been the most graphic and violent of all Stephen King's Dark Tower graphic novels I’ve read so far. The art was brilliant and bloody. The story was very fast-paced. I was reading along and suddenly the battle was over and I was at the end of the story.

The Fall of Gilead was a great continuation of the series. We are able to learn more about the wizard, Marten and how he influenced the people and helped orchestrate everything that happened. We also see that he did have human feelings, as shown by the death of Gabrielle Deschain. We get to learn more about the Pink Grapefruit, which is amazing and very weird. Mostly, there is carnage. We see what happened to most of the people in Gilead during the final battle. I felt that The Fall of Gilead could be read on its own, as the focus of the story is mainly on the battle and if you like bloody battles, this is a story for you. It is definitely part of a fantastic series. I’m excited to read the next installments, especially since the next one tells the final story of Roland’s young friends.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Do You Hate Me? – Top Ten Mean Girls In Books

This is a great idea for a list. The Broke and The Bookish present, The Top Ten Mean Girls In Books. This was a fun, but difficult list. It was a stretch for me to get to ten. Because of a couple of the girls I chose there might be minor spoilers while describing them, but hopefully none of them give away too much. In no particular order…

1. Galinda from Wicked. Galinda at first is the typical popular girl and school who makes life difficult for Elphaba, the girl who doesn’t fit in. I really like Galinda, however. She learns real life lessons from her time with Elphaba.

2. Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale. Serena Joy fought for a world that has now subjugated her; taken away all her power and recognition. She fought for a world that has made her into little more than an object. How could she do that to herself and to every woman?

3. Lucy Steele from Sense and Sensibility. I think most people who have read S&S love to hate Lucy Steele. She manipulative and cunning. She’s so mean to Elinor, who doesn’t deserve it.

4. Kitty Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. I almost couldn’t decide between Kitty and Caroline Bingley. Caroline at least wasn’t Lizzy & Jane’s sister! Kitty is self-centred and is constantly looking at herself as better than her sisters, when it clearly isn’t the case.

5. Bernice from The Year Of The Flood. I know Ren and Amanda did a bad thing to her family, but Bernice was never a really good friend to Ren. She pushed Ren around a lot, controlled her, then got jealous when Amanda came along. I thought Bernice’s behaviour was terrible, but there was obviously no parental guidance. Maybe I wouldn’t dislike her so much if she had just let Ren apologize or something when they met again later in life. I almost didn’t include her, but she was definitely a mean girl.

6. Cuckoo from The Good Earth. I always wonder why people in the lower classes try to best each other instead of working together.

7. Prince Ronald from The Paper Bag Princess. Okay, I know he’s not a mean girl. He’s a mean boy. Princess Elizabeth goes through all the trouble of rescuing him and he turns out to be entirely superficial. The Paper Bag Princess was on my list of books I want to see turn into movies, but I can see why they haven’t made this into a movie. Not everyone will want to see the male lead be a loser in the end.

8. Arlene from the Southern Vampire Mysteries. This probably only makes sense if you’ve read up to at least the eighth book, but you would especially need to read the ninth. If you’ve never read the books and only watched the television series, you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Let’s just say, if you were Sookie, you’d want to do more than punch Arlene.

9. The Seeker/Lacey from The Host. Stephenie Meyer has a knack for creating really annoying female characters. The Seeker is supposed to help Wanderer. Instead she just infuriates her. By the end you wonder if it was really The Seeker’s personality coming through or Lacey’s annoying behaviour that drove The Seeker crazy.

10. Elinor Sherman from Shopaholic Ties The Knot. Elinor Sherman isn’t a mean girl, she’s a mean adult. She is a nightmarish mother/mother-in-law. Elinor Sherman wants her son, Luke Brandon, to be more like her and is constantly on the watch, wondering if loveable Becky Bloomwood is just in it for the money. You’d cross your fingers that your boyfriend/husband wasn’t into spending a lot of time with his mother.

I enjoy and author who can create such hated characters. These girls definitely deserve a good punch.

Who are your favourite mean girls?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Herman Wouk Is Still Alive, by: Stephen King

I wasn’t planning on reading this story today. I just happened to be checking some mail and noticed a posting about a new Stephen King short story at The Atlantic. (My intended story will just have to wait.) Herman Wouk Is Still Alive is a quick read, done over my lunch break. It’s intense, which isn’t a surprise coming from Stephen King. I just don’t know if I would have read it on my lunch had I known what would happen. It’s sad. It’s not bloody and violent the way The Dark Tower is, it’s psychological, like Under The Dome. I wonder how Stephen King develops the minds of some of his characters. Does he have a collection of psychological texts and case studies to draw on or does he just see the potential for twisted behaviour in people? Herman Wouk Is Still Alive is powerfully unnerving. After thinking about it, maybe I’m glad that I wasn’t alone, that there were three other people in the lunch room with me, so I wasn’t fully itching to get out of my skin. If you enjoy stories that are in the hidden, deep parts of the mind, then this King read is for you.

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Disneypocolypse!! (at Stargazing)

I couldn't resist sharing. Click the link below for the original post.  Click the picture to make it BIGGER!  Find the artist here.

Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Out of the Comfort Zone Hop | Lucybird's Book Blog

Lucybird is starting her blog hop a little early this week.  The goal of this hop is to get us out of our reading/blogging comfort zones and look at blogs we might normally pass by and maybe discover new and exciting books.  Click the link below to join.
Out of the Comfort Zone Hop (20-24th April) Lucybird's Book Blog

The Shepherd

Ethan Cross’s The Shepherd left me disturbed. I’m hoping to write this review and then put this novel far, far out of my mind. The novel is what it promises on the front cover. It is a face-paced thriller. It’s action-packed chapter after chapter. The main characters, Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. don’t get much opportunity to process what is happening to them. There is a lot of reaction and adaptation. During all that action, there is actual character development. Both Marcus and Ackerman learn more about themselves and of what they are capable. The way this book was going, I didn’t think that was going to happen, but as I saw it happening, it kept me interested in reading. This would likely be a good read for a thriller fan.

That being said, I’m not usually a reader of thrillers. I like books that are “thrilling” and have “mystery” to them, but thrillers as a sub-genre are not usually my speed, so I can’t say if The Shepherd is a good representation of them. I say all this because for the first third of the book, it was a struggle for me to get through. Before I even hit page 100, there were two things bothering me.

My first problem was with the language. Every other sentence seemed to be some kind of metaphor, especially metaphors for good and evil. Couldn’t the author say something plainly? There were many times I wanted to yell, get to the point! The people in the story keep saying that Ackerman is evil, or this action is evil and that action is good. I felt as though Cross wrote in black and white. I didn’t see a lot of shades of grey. (Unless the Sheriff is a grey area.) This book could be 50-100 pages shorter if all the flashy, flowery words were taken out.

The other aspect of the book that bothered me was the excessive violence. The author kept taking us into people’s homes only to have them brutally (and I mean brutally) murdered. For two thirds of the book it seemed like it was murder after murder. It wasn’t until 80 pages in that I felt like the author was actually trying to connect with the reader. Even then, the violence didn’t stop. I understand the part of the story that requires us to follow the serial killer until he’s caught or there’s a confrontation, but why do we need to go into the home of all his victims and follow his thought processes. It was just too detailed for me. It’s not that I shy away from books with a lot of death. I read Stephen King (Under the Dome as an example) so I’ve been with an author who gives us a full back story on a character and then kills them off. There was just something about Cross’s writing out the vicious serial killer’s murders and going into such detail that repulsed me. I might have finished this book earlier if I didn’t have to put it down and take my mind off of the killing so often. I didn’t want to keep reading it if every other chapter, I have to read about Ackerman or another character killing someone. For me, it was too much twisted death for one book.

One final thing that bothered me about The Shepherd (so there are actually three things) was the cover. Do you see it? It’s terrible. I understand the fire imagery, but the “small town” photo in the background with the fire all around is just bad. I would never pick up a cover that looked like that; it’s very unappealing. Who thought this up? (If I had read this a few weeks ago, it would have made my Top Ten Book Covers I Wish I Could Redesign list.)

In the end, however, there were some great twists. I didn’t really see the end coming. I did regarding Ackerman, but not with the Sheriff. Cross definitely provided us with a few surprises, which is very important. The end definitely saved the book for me. Marcus’s reaction to the finale was great too, though some of it was predictable. Cross wrote a good book, not great, definitely bloody, but good. Not for the squeamish either. If you’re a fan of the genre, you might want to pick this up.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book book tours for providing my copy.

If you've review this book and would like to add your link, please let me know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe | Female Writers In Late Night

It's a sad state of affairs.  I don't have a lot of time this evening, but I had to share this.  Click the link below to find out more.
Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Infographic from Statette.

Top Ten Tuesday: REWIND! -- A Past Top Ten Tuesday Topic (or Two)

It was so difficult for me to choose. I didn’t start participating in Top Ten Tuesday until the 13th topic. Then, for about 6 weeks from December to January I was feeling a bit rough from my pregnancy, so I missed a bunch of topics there too. I don’t participate every week either; sometimes the topic doesn’t grab me or I don’t have enough time. That left me with a few appealing options. So I decided to do two.

This is the first list: Top Ten Books of 2010. They’re pretty much in order (this is probably the only time that will happen). I didn’t do any kind of year-end wrap up. It wasn’t ever something I was interested in doing. However, after seeing What Red Read’s quarterly post, I might change my mind. Anyway, List One.

1. Dead and Gone, by Charlaine Harris
2. No Future For You, by Joss Whedon, etc
3. The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
5. The Dark Tower: Treachery, by Stephen King, etc
6. The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
7. Under The Dome, by Stephen King
8. The Helmet of Horror, by Victor Pelevin
9. The Gum Thief, by Douglas Coupland
10. Android Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy & Ben H. Winters

This is the kind of list I’m usually more interested it. Characters are so important in a book; an okay plot can be propelled upwards by an excellent character. I actually found this one a bit difficult because I ended up with more than ten. So here are my Top Ten (Thirteen/Fifteen) Favourite Book Characters in no particular order.

1. Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
2. Elphaba from Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch Of The West, by Gregory Maguire
3. Drizzt Do'Urden from The Legend of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
4. Danica from The Cleric Quintet, by R.A. Salvatore
5. Katniss Everdeen / Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Game Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
6. Sookie Stackhouse / Pam, from The Southern Vampire Mysteries, by Charlaine Harris
7. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice / Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen / Seth Grahame-Smith
8. Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
9. Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but Stieg Larsson
10. Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
11. Princess Elizabeth from The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch
12. Violet Baudelaire from A Series Of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
13. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling

When I hit 13, I had to stop myself from typing. There are so many more great characters I could have come up with. Oddly enough most of my favourite characters on this list are women. Is it a coincidence? I thought of Darcy and Colonel Brandon, but opted for the female leads instead. I also thought of Eric from the Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse series. There’s also Harry & Ron from the Harry Potter series. There are several fantastic characters from Lord Of The Rings… Okay. I’m just going to stop.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Do Women Read Fantasy?

I do.  Apparently there is a writer at the New York Times who says women won't watch Game of Thrones.  I think she's wrong.  I haven't read these books, but Malene Arpe (a woman) loves them and has been blogging about the upcoming miniseries for ages.  Click the link below to read more of her post.
Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

So, do women read fantasy?  I definitely do.  I've read, The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings, several Forgotten Realms novels.  They'd all be included in the same genre as Game of Thrones  I love reading.  I love to discover new worlds whether based on the past, present or future, with or without magical elements.  I'm just insulted that this woman doesn't think women read fantasy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Out and About in the Blogosphere, Lucybird's Out of Your Comfort Zone Blog Hop

Lucybird is hosting a blog hop aimed at getting book bloggers out of thier comfort zone.  It's fun and quick and you might discover books you never thought about before.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Books I'd Like to See Made Into Movies

This week, the Broke and The Bookish want to know, what books we'd like to see made into movies.

1. Oryx and Crake, 2. 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.

3. The Hunger Games – Oh wait. They’re already making this into a movie. Yay! It better be good.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – This would be so awesome.

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, Glen 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.

I wanted to add that I’ve wanted to see a movie or movies based on the Dark Tower series by Stephen King for years. Now that I’ve discovered what they’re doing, I hope they don’t mess it up.

I also considered adding A Thousand Splendid Suns but I think I’d cry the whole time. It’s probably why I haven’t seen the film version of The Lovely Bones.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: A Weekday Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
Jennifer was a bit busy this weekend, so we have our first ever weekday Book Blogger Hop! This week's question comes from Aislynn who reviews at Knit, Purl, Stitch...Read and Cook!  "Outside of books, what is your guilty pleasure?"

Hmm… interesting question. The first thing that came to mind was Supernatural. It’s a television show and I think the Winchester brothers are amazing and dead sexy. I also enjoy a good supernatural story. In the beginning they dealt with the manifestations/interpretations of real legends. The storylines have gotten more and more out there as the years have past, but I still love the show. This guilty pleasure connects closely to another, Canada’s Space Channel. I love pretty much every show on that station. From Doctor Who, to Stargate Universe to Star Trek re-runs (of all the series). The movies they air can sometimes be pretty terrible, but I think I watch at least three quarters of their shows. What can I say? I’m a bit of a geek.

What guilty pleasures are you willing to admit to this week?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Forbes Fictional 15 Richest People

I saw this over at Stargazing.  It's really interesting.  The Forbes article is more extensive and there are links to the biographies of each character.

1. Scrooge McDuck Uncle Scrooge comics $44.1 billion
2. Carlisle Cullen Twilight $36.2 billion
3. Artemis Fowl II Artemis Fowl novels $13.5 billion
4. Richie Rich Richie Rich comics $9.7 billion
5. Jed Clampett The Beverly Hillbillies $9.5 billion
6. Tony Stark Iron Man $9.4 billion
7. Smaug The Hobbit $8.6 billion
8. Bruce Wayne Batman $7.0 billion
9. Mr. Monopoly Monopoly games $2.6 billion
10. Arthur Bach Arthur films $1.8 billion
11. Jo Bennett The Office $1.2 billion
12. C. Montgomery Burns The Simpsons $1.1 billion
13. Chuck Bass Gossip Girl $1.1 billion
14. Gordon Gekko Wall Street $1.1 billion
15. Jeffrey Lebowski The Big Lebowski $1.0 billion

I don't know how they figured out that Smaug had $8.6 billion or that Carlisle Cullen has more money than Bruce Wayne, but it's a fun list to explore.  The "explanation" at the end of the article says:

"Net worth estimates are based on an analysis of the fictional character’s source material, and where possible, valued against known real-world commodity and share price movements. In the case of privately held fictional concerns, we seek to identify comparable fictional public companies. All figures are as of market close, April 1, 2011."

Final valuations are calculated with a grain of salt, and a willingness to break our own rules."

Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Out the Comfort Zone Hop | Lucybird's Book Blog

Lucybird is starting up a new blog hop over at Lucybird's Book Blog.  She's looking to get us out of our blog Comfort Zone and exploring book blogs that are different from our own.  Click the link below and take a look.

Out the Comfort Zone Hop Lucybird's Book Blog



I’m not sure how to start my review of Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay. My gut reaction when I finished the book was emotional, I was happy and sad and surprised by the ending. I thought Katniss’s actions at Snow’s trial were perfect, but I didn’t call it. I was surprised by what happened to Prim. I wasn’t surprised about anything that happened to Finnick and Annie. I’m surprised and not surprised about Gale. I was surprised by District 12 and the Meadow. I mostly expected the ending with Peeta and Katniss; it was written in such a lovely way that stayed true to the characters that had been established over the three books in The Hunger Games. Really, it feels like one long book. It’s certainly less time than I might have taken to read a thousand page novel. I really hoped I haven’t given anything away. trilogy

Though this novel is “Young Adult”, it isn’t written for the faint of heart. Even those who read paranormal YA might be shocked at the violence of not just the whole Hunger Games trilogy, but Mockingjay in particular. I think this is part of what distinguishes it from other Young Adult books. This novel does not glorify war, but shows the immorality of those who do. This isn’t about the love triangle, this isn’t a happy rebellion; there is dissent, disagreement and the feeling that at anytime the main character can decide she’s had enough, run away, switch sides or go off on her own. No matter the influences around her, Katniss listens to her own moral compass, which can differ from both Gale and Peeta.

I know a million people have read Mockingjay and many of them have blogged about the book and the series. I know a million more will read these books when the first movie comes out next spring. I think these books are worth it. They’re easy to read, face-paced and interesting. If you haven’t read them yet, go now.

Other Reviews:

So I just read the reviews I linked to above.  It's a pretty mixed bag.  Some people loved Mockingjay others thought it was terrible.  None of them changed my opinion of the book.  Some readers, I thought they should have looked at the connection between Gale and Prim's death to understand Katniss's choice.  Some readers thought it was too realistic, but I liked that aspect of it.  Some reviewers talked about the hype surrounding the release of Mockingjay and the rest of the series.  Many of the reviews are from shortly after the release date in August 2010.  Maybe it's because I waited (purposefully) to read the series that's one of the reasons I liked it better than other readers.  I didn't want to be brought down by the hype.  I also read the books all at once instead of each book being about a year apart.  It made it all feel like one book to me.

Opinions of books are subjective.  Books I haven't liked, I've read glowing reviews of.  I was surprised by the diverse opinions out there.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Not Quite Right: Top Ten Book Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was as difficult as last week’s. I tend to buy editions with attractive/interesting covers, even if they’re a little more expensive. There are a few covers though, that popped to mind, but most I had to work to find. I decided this week that I’d include not just the book title and author, but the publisher too. The publishers, from what I understand, have the final say on the book covers. Sometimes I want to ask them what they were thinking. In no particular order, the Top Ten Book Covers I Wish I Could Redesign.

1. New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer, published by Little, Brown. – Why is it a bloody flower? Shouldn’t it have something to do with, I don’t know, a moon? I understand that all the covers have the deep red theme going on, but maybe a bloody moon to represent the large wolf presence in this story would have been better.

2. Self, by Yann Martel, published by Vintage Canada. – When I ordered the book, I thought I was getting the cover with the purple flower shaped smudge. Instead I got this weird white statue thing.

3. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, published by Faber and Faber - I thought I was getting a cover with a flower on it (sorry, can’t seem to find a picture), but I got a morose looking girl instead. It fits with the story, but I thought the girl was obvious, where the flower would be symbolic.

4. The Dark Tower: Treachery, by Stephen King, published by Marvel. – This was an amazing graphic novel. The art is spectacular. The problem I have with the cover is that it’s of a girl I’ve never seen before and have no idea who she is. The title is “Treachery” so you think she’s the traitor, but it doesn’t really work out that way. I just wish the cover was more telling of the story, something with Roland and his mother maybe.

5. The Dark Tower V: The Wolves of Calla, by Stephen King, published by Scribner. – (Sorry Dark Tower, you know I love you.) There are two covers that I like and two that I don’t. They don’t seem to go with the other books in the series. Can you guess which they are?

6. Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective, by Donald Davidson, published by Clarendon Press. I know it’s a book about philosophy of the mind, but the cover doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s not mental enough.

With the next two on the list, the book covers have already been re-designed since they were first published and thank goodness. The old ones were terrible, the new ones are much better. They made it easy to dismiss the quality story-telling in these fantasy novels. I’m not including the pictures of these covers since there are five books in #7 and four in #8. The links will take you to the old covers if you’re interested.

7. The Cleric Quintet, R.A. Salvatore, published by Wizards of the Coast. It could have been worse. Maybe.

8. Legacy of the Drow Series, by R.A. Salvatore, published by Wizards of the Coast. I know Drizzt is around 60 in these books, but that’s Drow years. Drow live for hundreds of years. They should have drawn him as though he was in his late 20s or early 30s.

9. And 10 and 11 and 12…. Any book with the movie poster as the cover. Example of why I don’t like it: Confessions of a Shopaholic. The movie had almost nothing to do with the book. It was so unlike the book; I had to go into watching it, thinking it was something completely different, just so I wouldn’t hate it.

I can wait to see what book covers other people have come up with.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Catching Fire

Is it possible to love Catching Fire more than The Hunger Games? I think it is. While The Hunger Games was incredible, Catching Fire had me on the edge of my seat. I never knew what was going to happen next. There were elements of the ending that I could see coming because of the setup throughout the story, but there are other parts that took me by surprise. It all made me want to dive into Mockingjay so much more.

There isn’t really anything new to say that I hadn’t mentioned in my previous post on The Hunger Games or other people have already written. The only thing I’ll add is that Catching Fire really emphasizes how far the vanity of the Capitol has really gone. President Snow and Caesar Flickerman have been around for over 25 years and they look practically the same. No one shows there age in the Capitol. Katniss mentions that people in District 12 would never do those sorts of surgical procedures to themselves. If someone has reached old age, they are envied and counted as lucky and they don’t hide it. I know there are people out there that get botox, collagen injections and all kinds of plastic surgery. Could it happen that you can hide yourself aging 25 years? It seems creepy and wrong. I think people should try to age well, exercise, don’t smoke, eat well. But to look like you’re 25 when you’re 50 seems wrong.

Moving on from that serious note… I’m very excited to dive into Mockingjay. I don’t’ know how people read Catching Fire, then had to wait almost a year for Mockingjay could stand it! I know I’ve felt that way with other books in series before, the anticipation of waiting or the relief that the next books is at hand. I’m happy that I can already start Mockingjay since Catching Fire has me so wound. I want to know how it all ends.

Other Reviews:
The Steel Bookshelf
All The Books I Can Read
Writing From The Tub
Cali Cheer Mom
No Rest For The Wicked
If you've reviewed this book, let me know and I'll add your link.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Hunger Games

Minor SPOILERS. I don’t think they give away any of the plot, just a bit of the background you learn in the story.

I finished The Hunger Games and I had to stop myself from picking up Catching Fire right away so I could write down my thoughts on the first book in the trilogy. The Hunger Games was fantastic. It was thrilling and exciting and I couldn’t put it down. It was also much more than I thought it would be. Yes, it’s Young Adult Dystopian novel. Its main characters are teenagers and there is even a little romance, but the romance isn’t the focus. The Hunger Games is our world gone very wrong. The Games themselves are like Survivor gone mad and everyone watches. This television show is mandatory viewing; during its airing is the only time the poor Districts are guaranteed to have power. The Hunger Games is how the Capitol reminds the Districts of what rebellion can bring them. Panem isn’t a country where citizens try to help the poor or where a person can become whatever they want. Each of the twelve districts has something they produce to benefit the Capitol. District 12 mines coal, District 11 is agriculture, District 1 makes jewellery. The life of the citizens is strictly controlled and it’s frightening.

I don’t want to say too much more, because I know there have been reviews written about The Hunger Games all over the interweb. I’m just glad I decided to read the books and I enjoyed the first one much more than I thought. I’ve already got my greedy hands on Catching Fire and I can’t wait to dive in to another thrilling ride.

Other Reviews:
One Book At A Time
Writing From The Tub
Tiny Library
The Steel Bookshelf
The Blue Bookcase
All The Books I Can Read
The Lost Entwife
No Rest For The Wicked
There are many other reviews.  I probably could have listed more if I tried.  If you've reviewed this book and want me to add your link just email me or leave a comment below.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Crazy Blog Hop! Happy April Fool’s Day

Book Blogger Hop
This week, Jennifer from Crazy for Books asks:

"Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

I’m not a pranking sort of person, though I may help/instigate things… One of the more fun pranks I’ve helped with is the saran wrapping of a co-worker’s office and laughing as the head conspirators put his stapler in Jello. I’ll let a few pictures illustrate.

The next morning, he came in early to get some work done, but had to spend a couple hour unwrapping his office first. Oopsies!

What have you done?