31 December 2007

Sagan

I finished up Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan after all, though i didn't expect to. i am pretty sure it was a reread for me. It is less cohesive than some of his earlier ones but that is to be expected considering it was completed after his death. I was intriugued to read about the global warming situation 10 years ago though and how the scientific consensus is really over a decade old.

stupid-head Republicans.

So to finish off the year for sure: 69 books, 20 of which were nonfiction.

More Philosophy

Completed Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy by Richard Green and K. Silem Mohammad last night during the Titans game. Props for making the playoffs guys! Good luck in the rematch against the Chargers.

As for the book, it is one of the best in the series. I read these books, as i've posted in the past, both to expand my knowledge of specific philosophers and their theories and ideas as well as to peek at the depths of meaning in some of my favorite works. The decent books in the series will have essays that say "here's a philosopher, here's his idea, this is how it applies to the work in question". which is fine for the first reason i read these books. The really good books in the series have essays that say "here's some things that happen in the work, this is how it illustrates the theme of the work, here's how it relates to the big questions of life, here's how it defends/opposes this philosopher's work". That is precisely what all the essays in this volume do. Whether analyzing Kill Bill as a modern retelling of Oedipus by way of female empowerment, discussing the structure of Pulp Fiction as an analysis of the compartmentalization of time, or using the crooks of Reservoir Dogs to compare group morality, all of the essays truly elucidate Tarantino's movies.

I think i just used up my big word allotment for the next few days.

I have one other book i am working on but i probably will not finish today. so that brings my total to 68 for the year with 19 as nonfiction.

29 December 2007

One More Audiobook

I completed The Return of the King on audio this week so i have finished up that series. it was wonderful to hear the Battle of the Shire part as that was what i really really hoped to see in the movie yet it was left out. That is really the part where you see how much the hobbits have learned, grown (literally and figuratively), as well as how the Shire has dealt with the events of the books. I had hoped it something of it would be included in the Special Edition dvd but, alas, it was not.

Speaking of movies, my Netflix is back on. YAY! My first one watched was Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa. It was fantastic! of course, this is one i should have seen forever ago but didn't. I am trying to expand my horizons. I immediately hopped on and added half a dozen others by him to my queue. Which looks kinda funny now, as it's a list of old and new Japanese movies, the tv show Firefly, the series discs for Cowboy Bebop, then a long list of regular American stuff I've not seen, like Disturbia and Little Children and The Pursuit of Happyness that will probably just be moved around for a long time.

So back to books. I'm kind of taking a breath before plunging into my new challenges next year. I am working my way through a couple of non-fiction ones that are both just a series of essays so they may both be finished up before the new year begins.

currently: listening to the Vandy-UT Martin basketball game.

27 December 2007

BTT on 12/27

A Very Interesting Question, one i had intended to post about anyway!

It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?
I have several. Though i didn't start blogging books until February and i don't know what i read in January, I'd say my favorites in no particular order: The Watchmen, Rebecca, Ender's Game, The Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Golden Compass. There were several more that were close but not quite to my top 6. I'd say i am a bit surprised. Three books that fall under young adult? A graphic novel from the 80's? A gothic romance from the 30's? The Kushiel series at least makes sense: a lush, complex fantasy world full of strong characters with several books to delve into is exactly what i enjoy. And I knew Harry Potter, unless it ended with everybody dying, was going to be a new favorite.

Most hated? Wuthering Heights and Wild Seed. at least picking the bad ones was easy! I actually didn't have too many i really didn't like, though i know there were a few i didn't finish and therefore didn't write about. Weirdly i didn't put any non-fiction on my favorites list. i did read quite a few but going back over i don't know that any were really spectacular; a lot of stuff that i wouldn't reread, which to me is a major sign of a good work. I read a lot of timely stuff, about environmentalism or politics, as well as some memoirs which really don't lend themselves to rereads.

Updated later, because now that i got linked to i wanted to have a bit more substance:
Totals, not counting what i finish up the next few days
All books read:67
Non-fiction: 18
Audio: 4

23 December 2007

A Few Things

Played around with my blog colors and i like the little changes i have made. Made it just a touch brighter but it still works i think.

Posting my TBR alternates. I totally reserve the right to mess with these in the next few days!
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein (1K1)
  • Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert (1K1)
  • A Meeting at Corvallis by S.M. Stirling
  • I, Robot by Issac Asimov (1K1)
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (1K1)
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (1K1)
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (1K1)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1K1)
  • A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage (NF)
  • Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett (NF)
  • Charlemagne's Tablecloth by Nichola Fletcher (NF)
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams

Currently: watching the Titans game, in HD at my friends' house...if we win the next 2 weeks we are in the playoffs!

22 December 2007

I Am Legend

So i finished the novel yesterday morning and saw the movie yesterday evening. But before i go into that...

WE SAW THE BEST PREVIEW!! For the new Batman movie. It was in IMAX. A 4 minute scene from the movie. it was the coolest. Some people we were sitting near apparently didn't like the movie and said that at least they got to see that preview.

The book and the movie are radically different. First, i want to say i loved the movie. It is definitely in my top 3 or 4 that i've enjoyed this year. Will Smith was wonderful and the dog was precious. The cinematography and set dressing blew me away. You believe you are seeing a 3 years gone abandoned NYC. Spectacular.

As for the novel, I read this one maybe 15 years ago. I don't remember exactly, but it was during my vampire fetish phase so i know it was in high school. It had been long enough that i really didn't remember much of what happened though. I would say that it is semi-typical of sci-fi or horror short stories (it is only 160 pages long) in that it is pessimistic and rather sad. I was trying to explain to BF, as he had been hoping that the movie would end as the book did, that novels or feature length films have to have a happy, or at least optimistic, ending. The hero can die to save others but he can't just die.

17 December 2007

TBR Challenge

Hooray! i get to post my regular list for my last challenge i am signing up for the beginning of the year. For this the idea is to read 12 books in 2008 that have been on your "to read" list for a while. The guidelines are anything you've had or wanted to read for more than 6 months. I've tried to mix up some non-ficton, regular books and some 1k1 books. I don't have my alternates set but here's my list for what i intend to read.
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith (1K1)
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1K1)
  • A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (NF)
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1K1)
  • The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer (NF)
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov (1K1)
  • The Lover by Marguerite Duras (1K1)
  • All The President's Men by Woodward and Bernstein (NF)
  • The Society of S by Susan Hubbard
  • Purity of Blood by Arturo Perez-Reverte
I feel these are all pretty doable. i am so excited about what i am set to begin reading in January.

16 December 2007

Stuff I Am Fiending For


  • a real cafe au lait. the crap i've gotten up here just doesn't compare

  • while we are at it, beignets.

  • LOST, for which i only need wait until January 31!

  • a good long hug from my father

  • the dark chocolate cayenne pepper cookies i can't find the recipe for

  • a night out dancing and drinking where i don't have to drive home

  • a jaw dropping, freak me out horror movie

  • 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep


Golden Compass Movie

Had a wonderful day with BF yesterday. We hung out, did the shopping for everyday stuff thing and saw The Golden Compass. He was really nice and attentive and funny. We got to fuss over how to put together a kitchen cart. Hugs and kisses and cuddling under the blankets because of the cold. It really was one of the best days I've had in a while.

But enough with the mushiness. To the Movie.

A bit of a different experience reading the book and seeing the movie 2 days later. It made me quite concious of the differences between the 2. An experience i am going to repeat this week with I Am Legend. I liked the movie and it had wonderful special effects. The ice bears and the airship scenes were particularly good. I do understand, even if i don't particularly like, why the filmmakers shortened the book and changed the ending. It is really a setup for the next book in a planned series, like the end of Fellowship of the Ring. BF felt that the ending would really turn people off because he knew a few people who didn't watch the rest of Lord of the Rings because the first movie didn't have a clear cut end. But these are both TRILOGIES! Hence, there are 2 more installments after the first one. I would think people would be aware of that. But i guess if people didn't know that LOTR was 3 books 50 years after the first came out they may not know that His Dark Materials is a trilogy 12 years after it came out.

People is stupid.

14 December 2007

BTT for 12-13

A great question, quickly answered.
Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))
Yes. see the sidebar? BF pointed me to LibraryThing in April 2006 according to my profile on there. This was back when you had to pay to join to get to 100 books though i think they've upped the amount now. why? not sure what attracted me at first. I hadn't any catalog or list of books i owned before that. I do like being able to see who else has a lot of the books that i do as well as seeing which ones only i have posted. I actually have more unique books than i would have thought.

currently: watching The Return of the King and realizing the Mumakil charge owes a bit to the Battle of Hoth from Empire Strikes Back.

Book Review: The Golden Compass

Yesterday evening i finished up The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I absolutely loved the book. I immediately loved Lyra; she reminded me of Hermione crossed with a Weasley twin. And i can completely see how this series is recommended to people who like the Potter books. I loved the fantasy setting and the idea of the daemons. That bit reminded me of the Companions in the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey. I can't wait to read the next two; they will be first on my list for January and the YA challenge!

That being said, i had actually thought that this was going to be one of my "younger" selections for the challenge, more of a children's book than YA. After reading, I personally would not put this in the children's category at all. I would say it is a fantasy novel that happens to be about children, not a children's book. The ending, especially, is heavy and dark but there are plenty of dark moments throughout.

I've decided i am definitely going to the movie tomorrow, with or without BF if he changes his mind about our date. I've now lent the book to him while i've borrowed I Am Legend. It is a reread for me but it has probably been 15 years since i did read it so i barely remember it.

Now, back to a bit about YA. After reading this one i've kind of realized i am not totally sure as to what it is. Wikipedia hasn't been much help. The authors list they have is kind of weird. They list Cujo, Carrie and Christine as young adult books? um, no? They have teens or kids in them but they aren't FOR kids. Then again, i know i read these (and The Shining, The Stand, Salem's Lot, It, Eyes of the Dragon, etc) before i hit 14 and don't think i was traumatized. So perhaps YA is just a category for novels that have someone under 20 as the main character? Perhaps i'll have a better hold on the category by the time i finish up the challenge.


12 December 2007

Two Towers and other Things

I completed The Two Towers on audio book while on the way to the grocery store this evening to get some food for dinner. I really enjoy hearing these novels. I have now 16 discs for The Return of the King and then I'm finished with all of these and i have to return them to my brother. I do wish audio books weren't so damned expensive; even at the discount bookstore i go to they are still 25 or more per book on cd.

So i am going to see The Golden Compass on Friday with BF. so i decided to go ahead and read the book. Yes, I KNOW that i am not supposed to start it until January for the YA challenge but i am reading it now! :P i will slide the next one in the series on my list instead.

On another note, when did December become May? No, i don't mean the weather, although that is far more spring like than winter. I mean the movies! Normally May-July are the months when my movie calendar is full. Now it is crazy. In the last few weeks we've had Beowulf, Juno, No Country for Old Men and The Golden Compass. Friday I Am Legend comes out, then the 21st we really get slammed: Sweeney Todd, National Treasure 2, Walk Hard. A couple more on Christmas day:
The Water Horse and Persepolis.

So what all am i definitely going to see? Compass this weekend and I Am Legend (in IMAX no less wheee!) next weekend. Sweeney Todd hopefully by/on Christmas. Possibly Juno and Persepolis when they hit Green Hills. Walk Hard within a few weeks. Anything else up for one of the big Oscars i'll try to watch before the awards (I'm looking at you, No Country!) And I haven't even looked any further out to see about January, though that is usually a bit of a wasteland for film.

And my netflix comes back on 12/20.

On another another note, I did Something Different today. My therapist (long story, maybe I'll explain later) says that to battle my depression, anger and sadness i need to do new things and meet new people. Not to date but to get my mind on other things. I don't know how well it will work because i am kind of a one-track-mind wallower person. But i am trying. So I had been looking at doing some volunteering (less time commitment than another job or a class) maybe at the library (what a surprise) or the Humane Society. I had signed up on Barack Obama's campaign site a while back when i donated a few bucks and get emails occasionally. I got one about writing letters to caucus volunteer in Iowa yesterday. So today i did. I mean i wrote the first letter and then wrote 4 copies. It did feel nice to send notes to strangers. So now I've added that campaign to my list of possible volunteer places.

09 December 2007

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I liked this one much more than i thought i might. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, is about an Englishman who risks his life during the French Revolution to smuggle aristocrats out of France. He has a secret identity as a rich, dumb, idle English lord, rather like Batman. Although because i am such a comics fan i knew immediately who the Pimpernel was, i still enjoyed the adventure.

I have realized i am probably NOT going to finish my Armchair Traveler Challenge, unless i pick some other books or suddenly feel like reading On the Road. I have had it from the library for about 6 weeks and just can't get into it. i am going to try the Forster this week so we'll see where it goes.

In other news, i went with BF to the Titans' game today. His first pro football game. I went a few years ago with some friends to see Pittsburgh and Jerome Bettis beat up on us. Today i got to see some great defense for 3 and a half quarters then LT break out. So i am 0 for 2 of the Titans' games i've gone too.

currently: eating chocolate pecan pie

03 December 2007

Magic Study

Finished up another one. Magic Study by Maria Snyder. In this one, the main character from Poison Study travels to the country of her birth to learn to control her magic. Of course, we have a rollicking adventure along with the lessons. We get a lot more about the world of the stories. And we get the setup for the next book, due out in March. While the characters are not deeply drawn and the coincidences can be a little overdone, i am really enjoying this series so far. As far as i can tell these are the only books by this author.

So i've already received my Christmas present from my parents: a $75 gift card to Amazon. Whoopee! I've spent 25 so far buying a coffee grinder and the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. so i've got one (or possibly three) of my YA reads for next year.

Currently: waiting for the Heroes fall finale; hoping the South American chick is one of the ones to die.

TBR


A little thing is running around the blogs about everyone's TBR stacks. So i figured I'd post mine too. I've counted mine up and i have 25 books pictured. That doesn't include a couple relationship books i have as well as a few more racy ones i couldn't bear to picture. There are a couple library books in here though.

I have a tendency to get a lot of books through the library though. I know i have a bunch on my list for challenges next year and a few of the ones on here are for those.

I just don't have a tendency to really accumulate a bunch at once. this is really the biggest stack of unreads i've probably ever had. i honestly probably have only had 5-8 books TBR before. Working on challenges as well as my 1001 list has caused me to accumulate some. I think i've had more time recently, unfortunately, to read so i've been getting books in anticipation. And Christmas is coming so i am sure i'll be getting books and/or gift cards as presents. everyone around me is pretty good like that.

01 December 2007

Beowulf--The 3D Extravaganza!

So we went to see Beowulf last night on the wonderful IMAX screen. We hit the 9:30 show and as i had woken up about 6:15 am i was a little tired. Really affected me on the drive back more than during the movie.

Anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I never had to read this one in school so i only kind of vaguely knew the story. BF did read it previously so he knew what was going on. I really expected a normal sort of fairy tale: hero fights monsters and after some trials wins, rescues a fair maid, gets treasure/land, lives happily ever after. But this one really wasn't. The story was far more melancholy than i thought. Really sad, especially the ending as we are shown this cycle we've just seen hasn't ended but simply restarted.

Of course the effects were incredible. i am actually tempted to go see it again on a regular screen just to see if it is any different. There are a lot of shots that i could see could have been added just for the 3D effect, like spurting blood. I would say it is the best whole movie i've seen in 3D but for sheer awesomeness the last 20 minutes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which IMAX had in 3D were better.

currently: so so glad LSU pulled off the win against UT.