Sunday, April 29, 2012

Who's The Richest Fictional Character This Year?

Forbes Fictional richest 15 people are out.  Well, it was actually out on the 23rd.  I'm a bit slow.  Here they are:

1. Smaug
2. Flintheart Glomgold
3. Carlisle Cullen
4. Jed Clampett
5. Tony Stark
6. Richie Rich
7. Charles Foster Kane
8. Bruce Wayne
9. Forrest Gump
10. Mr. Monopoly
11. Lisbeth Salander
12. Tywin Lannister
13. C. Montgomery Burns
14. Robert Crawley
15. Jo Bennett

I had to look up 12, 14 and 15.  I also posted last year's list.  Scrooge McDuck, last year's number 1 isn't even on the list this year.  Smaug came up from last year's 7th place finish.  Also, how is Lisbeth Salander on this list?  I've only read the first book, maybe I need to read the other two?

From Forbes: "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, 2012."

Where I saw it first:  Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Breastfeeding and Oreos (Milk's Favourite Cookie?)

I've talked about breastfeeding before on this blog.  I'm a mother.  I have two kids, one of whom is still being breastfed.  (The other is long past being breastfed.)  Apparently, there's a controversial Oreo ad in South Korea featuring a breastfeeding baby.  My concern over this ad would have more to do with a baby that age eating a cookie, not the breastfeeding.  Facebook has taken down all content showing this ad.  For more information, see the link below.

peaceful parenting: Milk and Cookies: Breastfeeding and Oreos: If you're in North America you'd almost have to be hiding under a rock somewhere to have missed the hoopla that is rumbling across the U...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Spoilers for Wither. 

I need to take a step back from Lauren DeStefano's Fever.  I've just finished and I thought it was amazing.  It left me on much more of a cliffhanger than Wither did, but I'm sure that's intentional, being the second book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy. I've come to see the Chemical Garden as Rhine's body.  So much stuff has gone in and out of her.  I also wonder if through all of this, from her parents to mad-scientist Vaughn, she isn't the Garden that is growing the cure.  This is all speculation, of course.

Really, I just couldn't put it down.  From the moment Rhine and Gabriel are out of the water, it is one scary situation after another.  They are constantly looking for safety, for escape routes, for a way home to Rhine's brother, Rowan.  Madame's carnival is horrific.  It just misses a worst nightmare, but not by much.  Having them end up there is one of the most horrible things in the story.  Fever is actually rather violent.  Someone is always hurt, or sick or somethingFever is an apt title.

I feel sorry for Gabriel.  I don't think he really knew what he was getting into when he escaped with Rhine.  She paints an idyllic picture of what her life was like before being brought to the mansion.  He didn’t know she was fallible, that she was remembering with love.  I don't think he would necessarily have changed his mind, but I think he wishes he knew more about the outside world before he was thrust into it.  Also, I think he's unsure of Rhine's feelings for him, which is so sad, given what they've been through together.

I like the characters’ growth in the novel. I think Rhine grows as a person; she's lost whatever rose colour she had to her glasses about her home.  Though, I think the bigger change was in Gabriel.  He learns what the real world is like.  He grew up as a servant, but as a servant used to the safety of the mansion.  Gabriel doesn’t understand why demonstrators would bomb trees.

Linden also learns some of the most important lessons of his life, things he should have known years ago.  I hope in the next book he doesn't just blame Rhine and "the Attendant" for leaving him, but sees that even if Gabriel didn't go with her, Rhine would have run back to her brother anyway.  Linden has the potential to become so much more.  I’d like to see him be more than the dutiful son and to use his newly acquired knowledge for good.

The Gathering of young women/girls in this book is awful and a problem that plagues our world.  The kind of buying, selling and kidnapping DeStefano describes is eerily possible.  That is part of what I think makes a good dystopian novel.  It’s using the problems of now and amplifying them.  I don’t think DeStefano holds back.  There’s death, violence and tragedy throughout Fever.  You can really see what people could be capable of if there were no hope left in the world.  Her writing and subject matter make me forget that her book is Young Adult.

I could talk about all the amazing characters that Lauren DeStefano created, how she makes the decaying world believable, but it’s better if you read the book.  If you like a good dystopian, good writing and interesting, characters, read Wither and then read Fever.  I think it is an excellent continuation of the series and I can’t wait to read the conclusion.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Roots Day 8: Who Am I?

Again, I got busy and I should have written this Wednesday or Thursday, but I just forgot.  (My daughter was sick with croup.  Yikes!  Better now.  Yay!)

This class was our penultimate session.  It makes me a little sad for two reasons.  I’ve liked taking my son out to these classes; the kids really do seem to be getting something out of it.  The second reason is a little more selfish.  It means I’ll be heading back to work soon.  Only about 2 and a half months until I have to give my kids to other people to take care of while I work so I can afford to give my kids to other people to take care of.  I miss them just thinking about it.  I digress.

We did two fun/interesting things.  The first is that the class got to watch me feed the baby, now that he’s on solid foods.  The first food I gave him was something he liked, strawberries (not an allergen in my family, so okay).  He loves strawberries (chopped up very fine).  The next food I gave him was supposed to be something he didn’t like.  It was supposed to show the class how he reacted to something he didn’t want to eat.  So, after a couple bites of the yummy fruit, I gave him cold spinach.  He ate it and kept eating it.  I told the Roots instructor and the teacher I was sorry, he didn’t like it the last time I gave it to him.  The teacher was smart and used it as a teaching moment for the class.  She said, even though the baby didn’t like it the first time he ate it, he tried it again and likes it now.  So when you think you don’t like a food, give it another chance, you might change your mind.  I thought it was smart of her.

The other fun thing we did was discuss my son’s name.  I know I don’t use my kids’ names on the blog and I don’t plan to.  I also don’t use my husband's.  While I like all my readers/followers/blogging buddies, I like to keep a level of anonymity on the blog.  So, I’ll talk about the name thing in a general sort of way.  What the instructor wanted me to explain to the class is how my husband and I picked our son’s name and if it had any meaning to us.  I told them that my husband and I are from two different cultures, so we decided that one of his names would reflect my culture and one my husband's.  The class’s assignment was to go home and ask their parents why they were given their particular name.  I thought it was a nice way to end the session.

In about three weeks, we’ll have our last visit with the class.  Then that will be it for Roots of Empathy.  I think it really has been worth it so far.

Friday, April 20, 2012

AmaZing Books: From A to Z

I saw this meme about a week ago at Brenna’s Literary Musings (I’m slow, I know).  I thought at first I had done it already, but what I actually did was list a favourite author for each letter of the alphabet way back in May.  Some of the letters were really difficult, like A and G, and too many others.  But, I followed the rules and picked just one book for each letter.  If I were to do it again, however, I don’t know if all my choices would be the same.

A: As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
B: The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
C: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire
D: Dead To The World, by Charlaine Harris
E: Eleanor Rigby, by Douglas Coupland
F: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
G: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
H: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
I: In The Skin Of A Lion, by Michael Ondaatje
J: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
K:  Kindred, by Octavia Butler
L: Lives of Girls and Women, by Alice Munro
M: Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
N: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
O: Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
P: Pride and Prejudice [and Zombies], by Jane Austen [and Seth Grahame-Smith]
Q: Nope.
R: Remember Me?, by Sophie Kinsella
S: Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
T: The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
U: Undead Series, by MaryJanice Davidson
V: Nope.
W: World War Z, by Max Brooks
X: Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood (I’m using Brenna’s cheat.*)
Y: Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood
Z: Nope.

I was trying not to use series and only do individual books.  That’s why there isn’t The Dark Tower or The Legend of Drizzt up there.  I couldn’t help it with the Undead series though.  All the book titles are “Undead and …” and to pick out one book would be too difficult… though maybe the first or the third…

Obviously, I cheated for X.   I wasn’t surprised by not having a Q or Z.  The only V I could think of I hated.  So if you have a Q, V, X or Z recommendation, I’d love to hear it.  I’d like to have a complete list.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Unsolicited Advice: Top Ten Tips For New Book Bloggers

The Broke and The Bookish have asked for advice to give new book bloggers.  I don't know if I should be giving advice, but here goes, in no particular order.

1. Read at your own pace.  Don't think you have to post a review everyday, otherwise you risk reader burn-out.  When you read, it should be because you want to.

2. Visit other bloggers.  Other bloggers can be a great source of inspiration for posts and a great source for your next read.

3. Comment.  Don't just throw out a standard "form" comment of "nice review".  Actually read the post and make it a quality comment relating to whatever the blogger has just written.

4. ALWAYS warn if you're post has spoilers.  I read a post once that didn't and it was a little upsetting.

5. Disclose where you got the book from.  Whether from and author, agent, publisher or you won it from Goodreads or a blog giveaway or some other contest.

6. Don't make make your post/review long because you think you have to.  If what you have to say can be stated in one paragraph or even a few sentences, that's fine.  If you need longer, that's fine too, as long as it doesn't feel like you're forcing some kind of word count.

7. Be honest.  Don't just like a book because everyone else does. Also, don't pretend to read a book you haven't.

8. Let your personality show.  Reviews don't have to be essay style.  Own your voice.

9. It's nice to throw in the occasional non-bookish post.  It's nice to know if you're in school or have kids or heading for retirement.  I'm not saying reveal your whole life, I certainly don't. It's just nice to know a little about who you're reading.

10. Variety is the spice of life.  Take from that what you will

What's your advice for new book bloggers?  Are you a new book blogger trying to find your way in the blogosphere?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Case You Didn't Know...

The sinking of the Titanic was real.  I can't believe people don't know that.  I know it happened a long time ago, but still.  It was one of the most monumental catastrophes of the modern age.

via Gizmodo

Source:  Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Here's a picture of the Titanic from Wikipedia when it set sail:

Here's what it looked like photographed in 2004 (It's under water):

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8: Retreat

I loved the two short stories at the end of Retreat. Harmony talks to Stephen Colbert and Buffy has a very bad dream. These stories really lightened the rest of the heavy, action-packed volume.

Retreat has Oz! I was so excited when I saw him there on the front cover (not a spoiler since he’s on the front cover). Even if they drew him a little too tall, it was Oz.  Amidst all the battles, we get to find out what happened to Oz after he left Sunnydale for Tibet the second time.  However, as happy as I am to see Oz, it has brought me to my complaint about the art. Where is his red hair? His hair is brown as we read the story. If his hair was also brown on the cover, then though I'd be sad they didn't use his red hair, I probably wouldn't complain about it. I just like consistency.

As for the actual story, Retreat was great. It had every character you could want make an appearance. It was nice seeing everyone together.  They fight, they argue and there’s a surprise appearance at the end.  Retreat didn't disappoint.  I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the next installment of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Don’t Stop! Top Ten Books To Read In A Day

Some of these Top Ten Books are to Read In A Day, because they are quick reads.  Others are for one day reading because it's difficult to put them down.

1.     The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins - You could potentially read the whole series in a day.
2.     Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris - It's easy to fall for Sookie and Bill in one day.
3.     Undead and Unwed, by Maryjanice Davidson - Decide if you love Betsy or can't stand her craziness.  I love her and you can decide in a day.
4.     Confessions of a Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella - You can get excited and feel embarrassed with Becky.  Go through this fun Chick Lit adventure easily in one day.
5.     Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling - It's been so long since I read the first Harry Potter book.  It would be nice to sit back and take in Harry's first adventure in just a day.
6.     A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Houseinni - It would be a long, emotional day and you might cry at the end, but this book is so difficult to put down.
7.     The Gum Thief, by Douglas Coupland - Coupland's writing is so fluid, it is difficult tear yourself away; you want to know what is going to happen to these characters.
8.     Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams - So good and fun and I think it would be easy to read in a day.
9.     The Helmet of Horror, by Victor Pelevin - I read this in a day by accident.  It was such an easy read, I was sitting with my hubby and the next thing I knew it was done!
10. The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood - An easy, potentially one-day read, for any Atwood fan.  You really want to know what happens to Penelope in end.

Except for The Helmut of Horror, all of these books took me more than a day to read.  It's been a long time since I've had the kind of time where I can just sit and read my time away.  But if I was without the children, maybe on a vacation or something, I could read any of those books in a day.

Thanks to The Broke and The Bookish for another great topic.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Hunger Games (The Movie)

I loved The Hunger Games movie.  I will try to be as vague as possible, so that I don't spoil anything for those who haven't seen the movie yet.  Yes, there were a few bits that I would have liked to be more like the book, especially the muttations, but whenever a book gets made into a movie, things have to go.  Also, I would have liked the end of the movie to be a bit more like the book, concerning Katniss and Peeta's relationship, it was too positive.  The movie was a lot of action; a lot of the explanatory parts were very condensed, but since the movie was almost 2.5 hours, that is understandable.  Gale also felt a little stuffed into the movie, but whatever.

Overall, I was not disappointed.  I enjoyed The Hunger Games and my hubby did too.  If they made my hubby like this movie, I think they did a good job.  This movie is definitely not just for fans of the book.  People who like action movies will probably like this too.  A warning for those who think it’s all about the “teen romance”, it’s not.  There is death, a lot of it (not that it’s brutally violent, it’s rated PG-13).  It’s about 12-18 year-olds killing each other.  In The Hunger Games, the rules are 24 go in, only one comes out.  Some of the people in the theatre sounded shocked at some of the death scenes; what did you think was going to happen?  I described it once to someone as homicidal Survivor… with teens.

One more thing, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  It must still be leftover pregnancy hormones or something (they can last for a year post-partum), because the same scene that got me a bit teary in the book, got me in the movie too.  I’m so crazy!  It’s not like I haven’t read the book twice!  I knew it was coming, but it was so wonderfully done and pretty much what I had pictured in my head.  There is a lot of emotion in this movie, so don’t be surprised if you end up feeling whatever it is Katniss is feeling too.

They Saw It Too:

Wom, by Michael Joll

Wom is a weird story.  It does not match the picture on the website.   It is a story about post-apocalyptic survival.  At first it seems like it might be almost peaceful, but it lulls you into a false sense of security.  It's violent.  The entire story.  So many sentences punch at you.  It's not just the actual violence, but the way the story is written carries an urgent undertone.  Yet, the characters all seem alarmingly indifferent.  They lack emotions; the kind of emotions we would feel if in their situation.  I think that's done on purpose.  Except for a few spoken phrases, these people are nothing like us.  SPOILER!  Wom does not fight for her survival in the end, she just accepts her fate.

Is "Wom" short for woman?
Wom will cause a reaction in anyone who reads it.  You might like the story, you might hate it, but once you read it, I doubt you can ignore it.  Wom provokes feelings in the reader, though they are absent from the characters.  It is well-written, but as I write this, I still don't know if I liked the story.  Because of the content, I don't know if I'd read something by Joll again.

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

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Roots Day #7 or Talk To Me, Baby

I should have posted this last week, but it’s been busy and I completely forgot.

This session’s Roots of Empathy topic was communication.  I talked about how I know what my son needs and how he is feeling based on his facial expressions, cries and body language.  Then the teacher related this to the kids when they hurt themselves.  She said something like, she can tell if they’re really hurt or if they just got a little boo-boo based on how they are crying.  I thought it was a good example and she explained it much better than I just did.

What got my attention this week is how much bolder they kids are getting in their attempts to touch my baby.  It’s a rule that they are not supposed to touch me or my son.  It’s a combination of germs (kindergarteners have A LOT of germs that aren’t good for an infant) and if one of them gets to hug him, they all will want to and not all of them know how to be gentle.  They keep trying to grab his hand (which goes directly into his mouth) or they ask if they can hug him.  I feel a little bad that I have to say no; they look a little sad, but those are the rules. Plus, I honestly don’t want the kids touching my son in case he gets sick.  The flu on a 5-year-old is much different than the flu on a 9-month-old.

The kids seem to still be really enjoying the visits and my little baby (who is not so little) seems to really like it too.  I think only two more visits left to go!