27 February 2008

Another Audiobook

I listened to A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray on audio book on my trip this last week. I rationed myself to the first 5 cd's on the way to Louisiana and the last 5 on the way back, which worked pretty well as i managed to listen to them for all of Alabama and most of Mississippi each way. Throw in 3 Beethoven symphonies and a Tchaikovsky cd i am never in the car long enough to listen to fully and the drive pretty much flew by for once. The fact that i went 80 the whole way probably helped too!

So to the book. I liked it but there were a few random flaws that caught my ear. I am not sure if it was the reader or bad editing but the names Doyle (the main character's last name) and Dowd (the last name of the girl who's diary the character reads) were mixed up a couple times. There were a couple places where the story reads something like "several days passed quickly" then a character refers to something that happened yesterday in the story but really several days before due to that line. i wasn't listening to an abridged version so not sure about that either.

But those are nitpicky things. I enjoyed it but i really think it could have been 75 pages shorter. There is a lot of action beginning and ending but there are some boggy places in the middle. I liked Gemma. I really felt for her situation and mental states, being in some of them myself. The reader did a great job differentiating the characters. i can't imagine how difficult it has to be to make 9 Victorian teenage girl's voices sound different from each other.

i give this one 5/7 and have recommended it to my little sister. she's thirteen and LOVES the Twilight series that i have yet to start. i am moving that up to next on my list to read for the YA challenge. I have also ordered the next book in this series from the library on audio.

23 February 2008

Reading in Louisiana

Yesterday i finished The Witches by Roald Dahl, which gets one more done on the YA challenge. I liked it but it seemed like half a story, like there could have been another book of the same length. i haven't read much Dahl before. I know that i read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a little kid but i can't remember much about it. It is the sort of story i could see reading to grade school kids. Maybe when my niece is a little older i'll read it to her. I'll give it 5/7 for the fun of the story.

21 February 2008

BTT for 2/21

Kinda short question today.
All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?
Paperbacks, then trade paperbacks, then hardcover. The only time i buy hardcovers are either 1) Harry Potter books or 2) when i find them on the bargain table for cheaper than i can get the paperback. They are too big, too heavy, too unportable. Occasionally i get them from family members as presents. I buy mostly regular paperbacks but so many books are coming only as trade paperbacks now i am getting more and more like that.

19 February 2008

Two Books I Finished Yesterday

First I finally got through Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. i actually like it more now than i did yesterday when i finished it. It is a family saga about African Americans in Michigan between the 1920's to the 1960's. We are mainly following a character named Milkman from birth through his 30's. He's a priviledged son of Macon Dead, a man who owns property throughout their town and Ruth Dead, the daughter of the only black doctor in the town. These two win my vote for worst couple ever. they hate each other terribly and use their children (Milkman has 2 older sisters) against each other. We hear them tell various aspects of their stories too, as well as the story of Milkman's aunt Pilate who is the free spirit of the story.

It is hard for me to read books where everyone is hurting everyone else. Macon suffers from an overabundance of pride and stubbornness and Ruth strikes back the only way she can. Milkman just drifts through the first 2/3 of the book, hurting everyone along the way. It was especially hard to read the sections with Hagar (Milkman's girlfriend, Pilate's granddaughter) as she perfectly articulated a lot of how i feel about the problems BF and i have had. I haven't wanted to kill him though, nor have i tried to!

So i wouldn't say i didn't like this one, nor would i exactly be able to say that i did like it. it was of my TBR books though and on the 1K1 list. I tentatively think it is a 4/7 but i wonder if that may not change as i digest it a bit more.

The other thing i finished was Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things on audiobook. This is 7/7 for sure! I almost wish i had saved this for my drive tomorrow as i am going to be in the car for 10 hours. It is a series of short stories and poems, beautifully written. I would say that as i had this on audio book the only way i knew the poems from the short stories was that the poems were shorter. which is probably good for me because i've got a bit of a prejudice against poems. My favorite stories were "A Study in Emerald" which was a Sherlock Holmes story, "Goliath" which is a Matrix story, and "October in the Chair" which has one of the best cliffhanger endings for a story-within-a-story i have ever read. I have to give BF props for taking me to see Beowulf because otherwise i NEVER would have understood the last story "Monarch of the Glen". "Bitter Grounds" was rough to read as it has an incredibly accurate detailing of the feeling of depression. I'll be picking up more Gaiman on audio when i get back from Louisiana.

17 February 2008

A Different Meme

A different sort of one i pulled from Bookfool even though i didn't get tagged for it. I liberated it! woo hoo!

a)What issues/topic interests you most--non-fiction, i.e, cooking, knitting, stitching, there are infinite topics that has nothing to do with novels?

Science! Astronomy, archaeology, biology, botany, physics. Really anything that falls under the science section, as long as it is science and not weird defenses of religious ideas that sometimes get shelved over there. History and historical biography too. hobby books i am not too keen on but i can pour over a cookbook if i have a taste for the subject. I'm developing a bit of a liking for memoirs but they have to be weird, like about a drunk who adopts a dog or a guy who reads the encyclopedia. oh, and POLITICS! i have read so much on Iraq that i just can't anymore right now. and Atheism. DYK that the word MEME was coined by Richard Dawkins? oh and John Krakauer style non-fiction stories. Honestly, the only subject that springs to mind as what i don't want to read are detailed military histories detailing how battalions outflanked companies of infantry etc etc. I don't mind the political/historical books that mention various wars and battles but i don't need a blow by blow account.

b). Would you like to review books concerning those?

Hell yeah! I put up a blurb about every book i read on here.

c). Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for what ever you choose.

well, to be in science, especially archaeology or anthropology you have to be a college professor. So since i would super suck at teaching anyone older than 4 i suppose i wouldn't want to do that. If i could do that without having to teach i would love to be paid to dig up bones. I don't have enough math to do physics or astronomy so I'll have to be content with reading it. Politics i would also suck at.

d). Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

I recommend all sorts of non fiction books to my friends but they rarely ever read them. BF picks up some occasionally. If it is one i own i'll just leave it with them to do as they wish.

e). If you have already done something like this, link it to your post.


I like writing bits up about the non-fic i am reading. Nice to have a different way to do it!

Another Oscar Movie

Friday we went to see There Will Be Blood. We had intended to see Atonement but dinner ran late so we hit a later show.

This was another movie that was practically silent. I don't know that there were two dozen words spoken in the first 30 minutes. it was both a big movie in it's sense of place but small in that it is essentially a character study of Daniel Plainview, an oilman in the beginning of the 20th century. I think i've talked before on this blog about not understanding people with ambition and movies like this show me exactly why i don't. I can't understand having no sense of "enough" or "satisfaction".

I would have to give this one 4/7 mainly because it was so desperately long. i was ready to go with 45 minutes left even though i was really interested in the story. i am sure the 25 minutes of commercials and previews for movies already in theaters didn't help. we went to a crappy theater; i'll no better next time.

BF seemed to like this one much more than i did. He actually launched into a analysis of Upton Sinclair's work, an author i really had no idea he had read. So i have a couple more books to read. *sigh*

14 February 2008

Btt for 2/14

sad type of question today.

Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last
book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read
their work since? Could they ever lure you back?

How i miss Anne Rice. When i was a teenager our love was intense and passionate. I read and reread the Vampire Chronicles through Tale of the Body Thief, as at that time she had written no further. My copy of Lestat is so worn, underlined and loved that the cover has come off. I've wrapped it in newsprint and rubber bands but can't bear to throw it away. i inhaled the first two Mayfair witch novels. I read her one shots too: Cry to Heaven, The Mummy, Exit to Eden.

I'd say things started to go wrong when i was in college. I hated Memnoch the Devil and literally threw it aside when i finished; i couldn't stand what happened to Armand. Pandora and Violin and Servant of the Bones were not so good either. There were still some good times, like when i actually got to read Interview for a literature class or when i went to a stage production of that novel. But then She began cheating. She'd showed a character dying in one book and then brought them back later for a different one. Then she did it again!

But it was religion that finally came between us, as with so many couples. I couldn't handle the Christianity. So when i think of her i sigh, shake my head, and wonder what might have been.

I did get back at her though. I'm in love with her son!

12 February 2008

A Botany of Desire

Last night i finished A Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. This one makes the second i have read by this author and i really enjoyed it. Also completes one of my 3 for the Science Book Challenge so i feel like i am making some kind of progress. I am literally in the middle of five different books right now, rotating through whatever fits in my messenger bag or sounds interesting at the time.

So this book is about the complex relationship between people and plants. The premise is that plants please us so that we do what they want us to do. Easy example: humans cut down trees to plant crops, helping the food plants expand their territory. Pollan discusses four examples: apples, tulips, marijuana and potatoes. Each of these plants evolved in such a way that people become their promoters. We've taken them thousands of miles from their points of origin; we've devoted art to them; we've been inspired by them. There's plenty of plant science but also history (American settlement, witchcraft, Irish potato famine), biochemistry (i intend to reread the marijuana chapter again simply to absorb all the brain chemistry information) and even philosophy (the conflict of our Dionysian and Apollonian impulses). There is a lot packed into just 300 pages. The chapters on apples and potatoes are especially critical of our modern food ways as both are unsustainable monocultures. Pollan expands on that subject in Omnivore's Dilemma.

I've learned much from Pollan. I learned why Red Delicious apples are red and pretty but anything but delicious (i personally haven't eaten one since i moved out of my parents' 12 years ago). I learned why when i have had psychotropic induced munchies i have always wanted chocolate. I learned that if i ever have a garden i am going to grow heirloom blue potatoes just so i can serve them to my friends. I've learned another three reasons i should stop eating fast food.

Overall this is definitely a 7/7!

10 February 2008

A Pair of Sixes

Yesterday BF and I took in two movies: Juno and No Country for Old Men. Yes, we were trying to take in the Best Picture nominees and Yes, we were going for some variety. As I said in my title i gave both a 6/7.

We saw Juno first at 12:10. I loved the character, her best friend, her parents. I loved that she was super smart, super aware, yet REALLY didn't see where things were going with the potential adoptive dad. That's reality. You can have a grasp on 95% of the stuff going on around you yet that 5% can be a bitch. I've read a few things where people didn't like it because of the dialogue; they didn't feel it was realistic. I don't pepper my own words with references to random bands from the 70's but there is a shorthand that i can speak in, especially with BF (over 7 years can do that) or with my family. a shorthand where one word or phrase means more because they know what you are talking about. That's how i saw the dialogue personally. On a different note, without trying to be too spoilery, i burst into tears at the end. In retrospect, I know why i did but it startled me severely when it happened. I wasn't expecting that reaction at all. And it wasn't like tearing up slowly the way i normally do in movies. One second i am totally fine and five seconds later i am trying to hold back big sobs and have tears streaming down my face. I really need to do something about my mental state.

No Country was so very different. We took a 2 hour break and got some lunch then came back for this one at 3:50. We were in a small theater filled with much older people. People in their late 50's on up. Why do old people not like differently told movies? at the end, me and BF are stunned and smiling and overwhelmed by just how good this story was. The reaction of the rest of the theater was verbal "oh no!" "where's the rest of the movie?" and "i want my money back". All that just reconfirmed my opinion that old people like simple movies:good guys win, bad guys loose, told straightforward beginning to end with no ambiguity. why is that? The movie was so very good. Big and lonely and small and claustrophobic at once. this was a movie that i could have watched in another language and been just as fascinated.

So this week i have to decide what else i might wish to see. Of the three I've got left Atonement seems the most interesting. I also never got around to watching Sweeney Todd so maybe I'll try to get that in too soon.

08 February 2008

BTT for 2/7

So the question is:

Okay, even I can’t read ALL the time, so I’m guessing that you folks might voluntarily shut the covers from time to time as well… What else do you do with your leisure to pass the time? Walk the dog? Knit? Run marathons? Construct grandfather clocks? Collect eggshells?

Ah. Right now? Sleep. Watch tv, mainly Sportscenter and whatever is on Discovery Channel. Also LOST. And SEC basketball. Play The Sims 2 and World of Warcraft. Stare at the ceiling being upset. Surf the web, right now I am back looking up LOST theories. Go to various sporting events (Vandy basketball now and baseball season starts soon). Working on getting my netflix queue a bit shorter. When i cook i have a tendency to cook really good things that take a really long time (red beans and rice, spinach lasagna, jambalaya) or good things that are super quick mexican or chinese (fried rice, chicken enchiladas, peanut butter noodles). I've recently started doing weird cut out collage things with cutting and pasting and colors but it takes a lot of energy and that is kinda rare right now. I like taking my dog to the dog park when i get to visit her too!

07 February 2008


why I came to work today

06 February 2008

Man, my friend is going to hate this!

Find out Which Lost Character Are You at LiquidGeneration.com!

My friend hates Jack. Hates him with a deep fierce hatred i reserve for Christian Conservatives and people who hurt kids. I am not exactly sure why as i like Jack well enough, though he has never been my favorite. That being said, i am nothing like him. No leadership-ness here!

So I am Alive

We had some serious storms in Tennessee last night but me and mine are all fine. Most of the bad stuff started out west of where i am staying and slid north by the time it got to our area. BF got it much worse, seeing a green sky and watching tree branches fall like rain from the sky. He shall be smacked, however, because rather than sitting in his bathroom with his dog to wait out the storm he spent the time standing on his porch which is on the 3rd floor of his apartment building filming the action. Perhaps he will be double smacked.

In other news, I finished watching The Seven Samurai. I actually started it Monday night but didn't realize it was 3 1/2 hours long so had to stop. I liked it quite a bit but it was looooong. I know it is probably my stupid-young-American-impatience; I just think i would have liked it better if it was 45 mins shorter. there was just a bit too much of the peasants trying to find samurai who would work for them and then the lead up to the battle was a little long. I know i probably am missing the deep significance of the shots of people running in the rain but oh well. I still give it 5/7 and i still have a bunch of Kirosawa on my netflix queue.