Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - The Battle Of Tull

The Battle of Tull was just what I needed. I've been feeling a bit discouraged or maybe frustrated in my reading choices of late, for various reasons. I needed something that I was confident that I would enjoy.  Of course, that would be the next Dark Tower graphic novel.  With The Battle of Tull , the graphic novels have brought us full circle in Stephen King's series. The graphic novel stayed mostly true to the novel, The Gunslinger. Robin Furth, the adapter, took some artistic liberties.  There's a flashback moment for Roland, where he remembers his lost love, a lost love I'm pretty sure Stephen King didn't invent until book four.  I thought the addition was nice though, it connected the graphic novels as a series on its own and to the novels that came before. Though, I've been doing some reading and maybe what I think are "artistic liberties" are actually the changes King made to The Gunslinger in the Revised Edition. I read the original novel written by King in 1982. In 2003 King published a new edition changing a few things. I knew this, but I don't know what he changed exactly. Maybe I should read the new version of the novel?  The Battle of Tull was a great addition to the series and it's made me excited to read the next in the series, The Way Station.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Want ALL Your Books: The Authors On My Auto Buy List

The topic from The Broke and The Bookish: "Top Ten Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List (basically an auto-buy list is no questions love this author so much that no matter what they wrote next you'd buy regardless of genre or subject matter) "

I'm not sure I have ten authors on my Auto-Buy list.  I also don't tend to buy a lot of new releases.  I already own so many books.... I often wait for sales/specials so as to slow the hoarding...  There are also some authors I love that have large back catalogues.  So I aim to eventually buy all their books, but that takes time and money.  

In no particular order, here is my Auto-Buy List.

1. Stephen King (So many books!)
2. Margaret Atwood (See above!)
3. Michael Ondaatje (I haven't read his newest novel yet.)
4. Alice Munro (Working through her many books.)
5. Lauren DeStefano (Probably the newest addition.)
6. Sophie Kinsella (But not Madeline Wickham?  I haven't actually read anything under Wickham, only Kinsella....)
7. J.K. Rowling (I liked The Causal Vacancy)
8 Veronica Roth might make it on to this list.

I couldn't make it to ten.  Maybe I'm too discriminating... maybe I'm too poor.

Who is on your Auto-Buy List?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Harry Potter: The Prequel

I had heard years ago (probably over four) that J.K. Rowling had written a short  Harry Potter prequel story.  At about 800 words, it is very short.  Why did it take me so many years to read it?  I'm not sure.  I knew it was there, and I wanted to read it, it just never happened.  I'm sorry I waited so long, yet I'm also not sorry.  I love the Harry Potter series.  I was sad when it came to its inevitable end.  It has been several years since I read the final book, The Deathly Hallows.  Reading The Prequel was like indulging in a bit of nostalgia.  I really enjoyed a peak at what James and Sirius were like when they were young.  It made me smile.  It made me wish there was more.  I know that Rowling will likely not write about Harry Potter and the wizarding world again, but she hasn't said never.  Who knows how she'll feel in ten or twenty years.  The Prequel has made me want to read the books again, possibly along with Pottermore.  800 words certainly made me think about a lot of things....

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sonnets From The Portuguese

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets From The Portuguese might be her most famous work.  It contained the poem of hers I was most familiar with, Sonnet 43:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 
I love thee to the level of everyday's 
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. 
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; 
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. 
I love thee with the passion put to use 
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. 
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 
With my lost saints!---I love thee with the breath, 
Smiles, tears, of all my life!---and, if God choose, 
I shall but love thee better after death.

I can see why it's her most famous.  The collection is brilliant, but Sonnet 43 stands out among them.  She initially didn't want to publish this collection.  Her husband, Robert Browning (who the poems are about) encouraged her to do so.  He apparently said they were the best sonnets since Shakespeare.  Since my hubby thought I was reading Shakespearean sonnets, maybe he was right.

Another favourite for me was Sonnet 14:

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
“I love her for her smile—her look—her way
Of speaking gently,—for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day”—
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.

I think her take on love is pretty modern and refreshing. I didn't know about the darker quality of Browning's "love" poems until I read the first one.  It certainly grabs you, as love gets a "death grip" on you.  I loved the unexpected end of the first Sonnet.  I looked up some information about it online (without spoiling anything for myself.)  Sonnet XVIII has a morbid way of bestowing a token of love (giving a lock of hair that was the last place your mother kissed you before she died.)  I found Sonnet XXXII relateable because it talked about insecurity in a relationship; something everyone feels at one time or another, I believe.  I'm not sure I like the final Sonnet in the collection.  It's not as passionate as some of the others. Maybe because it comes after How do I love thee; that's a tough comparison.

I'm really glad I downloaded an ebook with no introduction.  I haven't been liking introductions lately.  I find that too often, they either give away part of the plot/spoil the ending or they tell you how you're supposed to react to whatever it is you are about to read.

I have to admit, though, I'm not as much a fan of Browning's self-deprecating poems, which are most of the first quarter of the sonnets.  There's a lot of "I'm not worthy of this man".  I suppose I can relate to the feeling of "I can't believe I'm so lucky" as I am married to an amazing man.  I guess, I like the love has gripped me idea more.  (Not that the poems aren't lovely.)

I haven't read a lot of poetry since I left University.  I took classes on poetry, changing how I looked at poems.  I can be overly analytical.  The last couple years, however, I've been allowing myself to enjoy poetry without having to dissect every single syllable.  I thoroughly enjoyed Sonnets From The Portuguese.  I look forward to reading more by Browning and more poetry.

This counts as #2 for the Classics Challenge!  Yay!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - The Little Sisters of Eluria

(I just realized I never posted this!  Bah!)

More Stephen King!  After reading the awesome short story collection Everything's Eventual I had to read a Dark Tower graphic novel, especially since the next one in my queue was an adaptation of one of the short stories I just read.  The Little Sisters of Eluria is creepy.  Naturally, the Little Sisters are not so little.  They're women; who knows how old they are.  Roland, the last gunslinger, encounters them in his travels, after The Battle of Jericho Hill in his pursuit of the man in black.  At the beginning of the story, Roland's horse is dying.  He's hoping to find a town soon.  He comes over a ridge and there lies Eluria.  He thinks it might just save his horse.  The visit is to Eluria is not what he wanted it to be.

The graphic adaptation of the short story/novella was fantastic.  I enjoyed the story and art immensely.  They altered the story a bit, creative liberties I think, to create a better graphic flow. There's an introduction with an apology for changing the story. I haven't been a huge fan of introductions lately.  I didn't need the introduction to tell me that they changed the story slightly.  It's an "adaptation", I pretty much expect some alteration.  There are reasons why certain books need to have introductions; I suppose I'm just tired of the story being explained to me before I read it....

Back to Eluria.  I love Jenna.  She has an innocence about her, though she is more like the other Sisters than Roland likes to think.  She wants to be free.  I really liked Jenna's story.  I wish we could know more about her background.  Who knows with King though?  She might show up somewhere else one day.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Earl Grey

Picture by me!
Yup.  Today, I'm going to write about tea.  I love tea.

The tea shop I used to buy most of my tea from was bought out by a larger chain.  I was very sad.  I had been going there for a few years.  Now, it has left me trying to figure out where to buy the teas I enjoy.  This new chain, while also selling loose leaf tea, does not sell the same tea selection of the previous store, so I've lost a couple favourites.

The first tea I had to get was Earl Grey.  I was hesitant to buy the Earl Grey at the new store because their small size was huge compared to the old store and I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the money.  Mistake.  Bagged Earl Grey doesn't cut it any more (unless it's the kind you get at Starbucks).  So I sucked it up and bought around 225 grams/ .5 pounds, which trust me, is a lot.  But it's so yummy.... However, to save a little money, I saw another loose leaf Earl Grey that was specially selected from blah, blah, blah...  It is about the same price and it comes in a smaller quantity, so I thought I'd get it.  It is not good enough.  It has a bitter taste to it.  If I accidentally steep it too long, I HAVE to add milk and sugar otherwise I can't drink it.

So, in the end, I'm buying Earl Grey from Teavana.  It's so good.  

*I almost wrote, "Earl Grey, hot." as the title to this post because I love Captain Picard.  He's probably the main reason I tried Earl Grey Tea in the first place.

** June 17, 2018

So, Teavana, as many people know, has gone out of business. So, I'm buying Earl Grey from David's Tea now. Good. Yummy. I've made and Iced London Fog with it too!