31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Tonight, i shall imbibe warm witches brew and consume raw, dead fishes. After which i will see a revival showing of The Shining.

I finished up the RIP challenge! YAY me! I definitely liked Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason more than The Rest Falls Away. I liked the bit more adult Victoria. I liked the story and really liked seeing more of Sebastian and his motivations. I didn't like Max in the first novel so the fact that he was barely in this was also rewarding. I know that the reader is supposed to feel Victoria is torn between Sebastian and Max but i really don't see it. Torn between Sebastian and her duty maybe. I've got book three in my TBR stack so i may go ahead and read that soon. A 5. Also, i wonder how many of the reviews/ratings at Amazon are from the book blogging world!

The last book i read for RIP was Gothic! edited by Deborah Noyes. This book is a series of YA short stories. This is really a lot like stuff i read as a kid. I tore through those Scary Stories books which were combos of ghost stories, urban legends, and killer stories. I think Gothic was pretty uneven as some stories were much better than others. There were a few sort of normal, goofy "spooky" ones, like "Have No Fear, Crumpot is Here" and "Morgan Roemar's Boys". A couple that i thought kinda sucked: "Watch and Wait", "Writing on the Wall" and "The Prank". But I really liked "The Dead and the Moonstruck" and "Endings". I was a tad disappointed that the Gaiman story was one from Fragile Things but it is a very good little story with a really great title "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desires". Whew! The book as a whole is a 4.

30 October 2008

BTT for 10/30

Happy Thursday!

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

I'm not a prisine book person. I don't crack spines because that makes the pages fall out. I treat library books well and would never turn corners on those or on any book i've borrowed from someone. For ones i own though i'll dog-ear corners and lay them open face down. With trade paperbacks, at least thin ones, i will roll the cover back sometimes but since i read so quickly it doesn't stay that way very long!

On a different note, I hate to admit i may not finish RIP! ACK! I intend to though. I am halfway through Rises the Night which I'll definitely finish but then i've got to tear through another by tomorrow midnight! hmmm. I'm off tomorrow but have to run to 2 dr's appts and also go get new tags for my car. and i'm going to a play tonight, a spooky Bell Witch based one.

29 October 2008

Vote Obama part I can't remember.

From Seed Magazine, on supporting Obama:

Far more important is this: Science is a way of governing, not just something to
be governed. Science offers a methodology and philosophy rooted in evidence,
kept in check by persistent inquiry, and bounded by the constraints of a
self-critical and rigorous method. Science is a lens through which we can and
should visualize and solve complex problems, organize government and
multilateral bodies, establish international alliances, inspire national pride,
restore positive feelings about America around the globe, embolden democracy,
and ultimately, lead the world. More than anything, what this lens offers the
next administration is a limitless capacity to handle all that comes its way, no
matter how complex or unanticipated.

see! Full article here.

27 October 2008

Persepolis

On a bit of a graphic novel kick I suppose. i read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi in a couple hours today. I so want to pick up the second one now so that's always a good indication of a great story.

Persepolis is the story of an Iranian girl from the age of 9 to 14. It takes place during the Iranian revolution. The graphic novel chronicles the many shocks she and her family receive. One day she goes to school to discover all of the boys are now in a different school. Friends and family members die and flee Iran. Marjane herself is a free spirit, like her parents. They all even go to a demonstration together. But as Marjane grows up, the Iranian restrictions chafe more and more so her parents send her to boarding school in France. The second book apparently shows Marjane grow to adulthood. This one was a 6.

I liked the artwork better than Maus, though it is starker. I'm glad she gets out but worry about the people remaining. I can't imagine a society closing in on everything i value. Perhaps it's something to do with being liberal but i don't understand fundamentalism in any way. Not religious or capitalist or communist fundamentalism.

Still no cable or internet. :(

26 October 2008

Mauses and Night

I tore through Maus 1 and 2 by Art Spiegelman as well as Night by Elie Wiesel last night and this afternoon. These books are all amazing. Shocking and sickening but amazing. I don't know if I've read any Holocaust lit at all; i've never read Anne Frank, though I've seen the play.

Maus 1 and 2 cover the story of the author's father, Vladek, as he struggles to keep himself, his wife, and others alive. We are told the story piecemeal, as the author was, as Spiegelman visits his father. This is also the story of a son trying to understand his father. We see Spiegalman and his father fighting and fussing. There seems to be a huge disconnection between father and son and even between the father's young personality and older personality. The younger Vladek seems resourceful and bright but the older Vladek just seems anal and OCD and very sad. Though he's survived and made a good life for himself and his family, he's living in the shadow of his past. He can't let go of the habits he formed during the war and can't simply enjoy the life he has now. There also seems to be a lot of guilt, from father and son, about the death of the wife/mother in the story. She commits suicide when the author was 20 and leaves no note or explanation. Maus is a slice of a story, the much longer story of the Spiegelman family and Jewish and American history, and as such has no real ending. These are a 6.

Night is so different. i am sure much of the difference is the first person perspective instead of the second-hand story in Maus. Also, Wiesel first published Night in 1958, Spiegelman released the first part of Maus in the 70's. Night is darker, bitterer, heavier, and deeply philosophical. We see many of the same events as in Maus: the German takeover, the marginalizing of Jews in general, then specifically living in ghettos, and finally the descent into the camps. Wiesel is 14 when he is sent with his family to Birkenau; he and his father lie about their ages (Wiesel says he is 18, his father says he's only 40) and avoid the gas chambers. They end up in the work camp, from which only Wiesel himself survives. The spiritual or philosophical part is where we view Wiesel going from a very pious, religious youngster to the haunted, angry survivor he becomes. This is a 7.

I wonder what i would have done if i'd really not liked one. Can you not like books like these and still be a good person? i mean, i could see racist skinhead deniers not liking these books. So i can see that But these aren't just straight lit. They are moving portrayals of survival in horrible circumstances. You can't really say you enjoy them; i was moved, challenged and shocked. I felt terrible for the protagonists and ashamed of humanity. i wouldn't say i enjoyed the books and i highly recommend them.

so apparently if i stop with all the internet and cable my reading will increase.

25 October 2008

Video Blogging

So i'm giving this a try. sorry if boring.

21 October 2008

Courtesy of MoveOn.org

TOP 5 REASONS OBAMA SUPPORTERS SHOULDN'T REST EASY

1. The polls may be wrong. This is an unprecedented election. No one knows how racism may affect what voters tell pollsters—or what they do in the voting booth. And the polls are narrowing anyway. In the last few days, John McCain has gained ground in most national polls, as his campaign has gone even more negative.

2. Dirty tricks. Republicans are already illegally purging voters from the rolls in some states. They're whipping up hysteria over ACORN to justify more challenges to new voters. Misleading flyers about the voting process have started appearing in black neighborhoods. And of course, many counties still use unsecure voting machines.

3. October surprise. In politics, 15 days is a long time. The next McCain smear could dominate the news for a week. There could be a crisis with Iran, or Bin Laden could release another tape, or worse.

4. Those who forget history... In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote after trailing by seven points in the final days of the race. In 1980, Reagan was eight points down in the polls in late October and came back to win. Races can shift—fast!

5. Landslide. Even with Barack Obama in the White House, passing universal health care and a new clean-energy policy is going to be hard. Insurance, drug and oil companies will fight us every step of the way. We need the kind of landslide that will give Barack a huge mandate.

If you agree that we shouldn't rest easy, please sign up to volunteer at your local Obama office by clicking here.

It May Be Easy Being Green

but the book isn't so great. I mean, I skimmed It's Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living by Crissy Trask because it isn't really a book you read. I suppose I'd have to say it is useful for someone who has never ever thought about trying to be environmentally aware. There's a bunch of tips but they are all the same stuff you can find on any green website: turn a/c up and heat down, recycle, CFL's, carpool. It has big lists of links as well to get more info on line. But you could get everything in the book online, so why not be a bit more green and save the paper! Amazon has it for 4.99 right now in their bargain bin if you're interested. It's just a 3 from me though. Glad I didn't buy it; i borrowed it from the library (another tip the book suggests).


17 October 2008

Healthy Dinner, Kinda


So I had something really different for dinner: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese and Voga Pinot Grigio. yummy!

So the mac and cheese was pretty healthy. The squash, milk and butter were local and the cheese and noodles were organic. I used a little more noodles as my squash was only about 1.8 lbs. also, i didn't realize you needed to take the seeds out before you roast the squash. it worked out ok though! Not as a sweet as i was expecting and i did have to add regular old salt and pepper to eat. The sauce, without the nutmeg at least, is something that would work great on other noodle/veggie combos too, or maybe tuna/noodles!

As for wine, i'm a Reisling lover but have learned recently that Pinot Grigio is pretty good too and something i can have when outvoted on my sweet Reislings.

I've been having a bit of a hard time recently. It's lead to almost no reading and a lot of staring at the tv without actually seeing what was going on. I had my dog for a week but rather than helping me she seemed to annoy me. Not her fault as other than eating one of my plants (and puking it back up outside) she did great.

I did do something that is kinda RIPy; I watched the 70's BBC production of Count Dracula. Isn't Netflix great? I thought it was solid, although they decided to combine Quincy and Holmwood into one character and make Lucy and Mina sisters. Also, the interiors were video and exteriors were film which kept throwing me off. The vampire-girls-eating-the-baby scene was really creepy. I couldn't figure out why Mina looked familiar so i looked her up on IMDB: she played Andromeda in Clash of the Titans. Hooray for random connections.

Currently: trying to decide if 7:30 is too early to go to bed.

11 October 2008

I don't wear Nike's

But i absolutely love their football commercials.



Serious Lit and Goofy Fantasy

I finished two books yesterday that really couldn't have been more different.

I listened to After Dark by Haruki Murakami in the car. I got the audiobook from the library (of course) and now want the actual copy. There were at least a dozen quotes i want to write down. I haven't read any Murakami before and was so amazed at how beautiful the writing is. Truly, this novel has such a feel of a movie that i can't wait for someone to hand the book to Quentin Tarantino. No, there's no sword or gun fighting, or even much cursing, but Tarantino has an amazing ability to film conversations. Really, 80% of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are just people talking. Hell, the first time i watched Sin City i knew exactly which scene Tarantino guest directed! But back to the book. We follow the adventures of Mari, a nineteen year old girl in Japan. She is staying out all night, just to get away from her home. She runs into an old acquaintance of her sister. The events flow from there and there are some pretty metaphysical bits. One thing i thought was weird is that one of the sisters is always referred to by her whole name, Eri Asai. Whether it is other characters talking about her or the narrator, we hear her whole name and it is just a bit strange. It also took me a whole CD to realize that the book is in present tense and most of a second CD to figure out that the narrator portions are first person plural. a weird book but one i loved. a 7!

Carl V. reviewed this too and his is much much better!

The other i finished was The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop. I really enjoyed her Black Jewels Trilogy and this novel takes place before those events. We see bits of Daemon Sadi as he drops in on the story and a few parts underlining how evil Dorothea SaDiablo is. The main story is that Jared (bad name choice, i kept thinking of the subway diet guy) is a pleasure slave who killed the last queen who owned him. At a slave auction, the Gray Lady, queen of a territory Dorothea wants, purchases him as well as several other slaves. No one but Jared is what they seem. One of the slaves is a spy for Dorothea. Lots of magic, guys facing their feelings, a little love and sex, and fighting. I give it a 5.

09 October 2008

BTT for 10/9

I haven't done this in a few weeks, but this week's BTT is a pretty easy meme.

What was the last book you bought?
Batman and Philosophy.
Name a book you have read MORE than once.
umm, any? Gone with the Wind
Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
Sure. last one would be Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews
all of the above? basically, no matter what the cover or summary, I'd have bought the Batman book because i like the subject. But i just read Never Let Me Go which first interested me purely from it's amazing cover. I read The Book of Lost Things earlier this year because of reccs and reviews.
Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

They are about even for me. Maybe slight advantage to fiction.
What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
plot, no wait characters.

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)
Most is hard! most recent that i've really liked are Jacob from New Moon and Lyra from His Dark Materials.
Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
I don't read in bed so how about a few i've got from the library? The Way Station by Clifford Simak, Coming Home to Eat by Gary Paul Nabhan, The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop, and The Black Tower by Louis Bayard
What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
The last one i finished was Go Green, Live Rich.
Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

yeah definitely. Most recently i stopped reading The Master and Margarita. I'd had it from the library for about 3 months and just couldn't finish it. I'll pick up a cheap copy from McKay's and finish it up soon.

01 October 2008

Banned Books

I haven't seen this article on any other blogs yet so here it is.

Philip Pullman on censorship.


I've got to read more by him. The His Dark Materials books were so so good.