31 July 2009

ok, 1 more challenge

But it is just for 1 book between now and January 30, 2010 (what? 2010 already?). Dolce Bellezza is doing her Japanese Literature challenge again. I didn't do the first two but think i can manage 1 more book before next January. Here's the unread ones on my shelf:
  1. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  4. Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn- not a Japanese author, but takes place in Japan
so surely i can manage one of these!

The Dead and the Gone

I finished up The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer late last night. another post-apocalypse novel, YA. That seems to be my new favorite genre!

Alex is a junior, a typical NYC overachiever. He has an older brother, Carlos, who is in the Marines, and two younger sisters, Briana, who he gets along with well, and Julie, who he thinks is a bit bratty. His mother is a surgical tech at a hospital and his father is a super of the building they live in.

When Alex's father leaves town to attend a funeral, and Alex's mother is on her way to her hospital shift, an asteroid strikes the moon and knocks it closer to earth. There is flooding and mass death. Tsunamis and tidal waves damage the coast. Food shortages begin very quickly. When neither of Alex's parents returns, he must grow up fast to care for his two sisters.

I liked Alex. He was really believable. He gets angry at his family, frustrated, upset with himself over what he does (which isn't bad i feel). He shares with his sisters less than he should in an attempt to protect them. He does make a lot of smart decisions as well. I enjoyed seeing Julie's transformation as well. I give this one a 5 and am going to pick up the companion novel Life as We Knew It.

Others: Becky's Book Reviews, Dear Author, The Reading Zone, Chris from Stuff as Dreams, Inkweaver, The Book Bind, Karin, BookDweeb.

ok, it's another book that about a thousand people have read! I'm late again!

30 July 2009

The Lost, not about the TV show!

I've completed The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn. I went through different phases during this book. First i couldn't get into it, then it was ok but not great, then sometime around page 250 i got completely sucked in and ended up loving this book. it is a 7. I think it is the way the story is written. the author put little asides in, like "or so we thought then" or "until i found out differently" and such. at first, you just want to know what actually happened and the asides are annoying but as the book unfolds it makes more and more sense.

The author begins by telling stories of his childhood, the stories of things that happened to him and things that his family, especially his grandfather, told him. Mendelsohn knows his grandfather's brother, Shmiel, and Shmiel's wife and four daughters, all died during the Holocaust. No one knows exactly how and when. Mendelsohn begins researching these lost family members and about the city of Bolechow, Poland, where they lived. The search takes him all over Europe, to Australia and Israel as well. I can't say too much about what he finds as it would take away from the story. It is a great story though.

Here's a quote:

To be alive is to have a story to tell. To be alive is precisely to be the hero, the center of a life story. when you can be nothing more than a minor character in somebody else's tale, it means that you are truly dead.

I do wish that the pictures had captions. Mendelsohn talks about a lot of people, in his family as well as others he speaks to about the Jagers, and he only randomly posts the pictures but none have captions. sometimes it doesn't matter because he's just described the person in the picture or the picture itself, but other times it is strange because he's talking about the girls and the picture shows several of them. How are we supposed to know which is which? Maybe that is part of his story, the uncertainty of what you think and what you know.

Does anyone else worry about not liking books similar to this one because you'll feel bad? I'm going to tackle Anne Frank in August and i worry about not liking it. Like it will reflect badly on me, on my person, if i don't like it. does that make any sense? I feel like that anytime i read memoirs that cover terrible events. Like i am negating their experiences if i don't like their writing. Just curious.

29 July 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel

Neato entry this week! I've requested this off Librarything's Early Reviewer group but i doubt i'll get it. Not sure which cover i like more; the black and red one reminds me of the Memoirs of a Geisha movie poster.

The first novel by author Maureen Linley is out September 1. The Librarything blurb is below:

Peking, 1914. When the eight-year-old princess Eastern Jewel is caught spying on her father’s liaison with a servant girl, she is banished from the palace, sent to live with a powerful family in Japan. Renamed Yoshiko Kawashima, she quickly falls in love with her adoptive country, where she earns a scandalous reputation, taking fencing lessons, smoking opium, and entertaining numerous lovers. Sent to Mongolia to become an obedient wife, Yoshiko mounts a daring escape and eventually finds her way back to Peking high society—this time with orders from the Japanese secret service.

Sounds interesting. The amazon reviews are mixed but i want to give this new author a chance. This book is loosely based on real person, Yoshiko Kawashima.

28 July 2009

Fables and Athiesm!

I finished up 2 books today. Though i spent several hours at the hospital yesterday instead of going to work (i'm fine, R had issues) i didn't do any reading there. I mainly played solitaire and tetris on my G1.

Today i finished Fables Volume 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckhingham and Shawn McManus. First we have a story about Mowgli, as he was directed to by Prince Charming, searching for Bigby in Russia. After talking to all the human residents, he has to talk to the wolves which leads to some action. After Mowgli finds him in the Alaskan wilderness, Bigby returns to Fabletown to do one more job for the city, in exchange for a patch of land near the Farm for he and Snow to raise their children. The last job involves threatening the Adversary himself! We also get a bit about what Cinderella has been up to. Cindy's really growing on me! I give this one a 6.

Before work i read the last dozen pages of The Little Book of Atheist Sprituality by Andre Comte-Sponville. This was a birthday gift last year from R, so i am using it for the "Free" category in the 9409 challenge. I give this one a 7. The author, a French philosopher, looks at what churchs and religion give people, besides the belief in God parts. He argues that things like connection to others, community building, and fidelity to humanity are an important part of the human experience that we atheists can't ignore. Comte-Sponville uses many examples from Eastern religions to describe the mystical, meditative experience which he feels is universal. i really liked this one and it made much more sense than the previous one i had read on spirituality.

currently: at work

27 July 2009

What are you reading on Monday?

So, technically i'm in the middle of
  1. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
  2. The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville (which i should finish tomorrow)
  3. The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn.
I also have from the library right now
  1. Replay by Ken Grimmwood
  2. What to Eat by Marion Nestle
  3. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  4. Moving Targets: and other tales of Valdemar, edited by Mercedes Lackey
currently: sleepy

26 July 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Heretic Meme

I do another Sunday Stealing meme! These are actually the questions from last week as i didn't like this weeks' list.

1. Who was the last person of the opposite sex you lay in a bed with? hmm, probably R.

2. Where was the last place you went out to eat? I had a breakfast burrito this morning from McDonalds. for a real restaurant, i went to Rainforest Cafe Friday evening.

3. What was the last alcoholic beverage you consumed? a Newton's Folly hard cider.

4. Which do you prefer – eyes or lips? If you mean in an attraction context i'd say eyes.

5. Medicine, fine arts, or law? Fine arts or Medicine

6. Best kind of pizza? I like Pizza Perfect (a local place) cheese only

7. What is in store for your future? no freaking clue

8. Who was the last band you saw live? Death Cab for Cutie

9. Do you take care of your friends while they are sick? sorta.

10. How many songs are on your iPod? don't have an ipod, do have a sansa mp3 player with about 200 songs.

11. Where is the last place you drove to? work, it's where i am at now.

12. Where did your last kiss take place? with the opposite sex it would be some dude's house in Smyrna

13. What were you doing at 11:59 PM on Monday night? was at work

14. Are you a quitter? damn straight.

15. Who was the last person you had in your house? My mom and Grandfather

15.2. What do you think about people who party a lot? hope they are having fun.

16. Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable? depends on who i am talking with

17. What was the last CD you purchased? paid money for would be My Morning Jacket Evil Urges and Bon Iver For Emma, bought at the same time.

18. What are two bands or singers that you will always love? The Beatles and Beethoven

19. Which of the seven deadly sins are you guilty of? I think all of them.

20. How is your last ex doing? was fine last time we talked.

25 July 2009

Patient Zero

BTW, I've got a domain now! Going forward i'll be at cynicaloptimism.net. fun!

Modern Zombies! I finished up Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry today. It's a terrorist thriller where the terrorists have a virus that basically turns people into zombies. The good guy, Joe Ledger, is a Baltimore cop who's been lent out to a multi-agency task force which takes out a terrorist cell. Then he gets recruited by a mystery agency called the Department of Military Science. When he has to kill the same guy twice, the story really starts to get good.

It is rather stereotypical really. The good guys are good, the bad guys bad, the girl hot, the industrialist a greedy maniac. It is a fun read but isn't going to expand your mind or anything. A 5 from me. First in at least a trilogy.

currently: Watching The Watchmen.

23 July 2009

BTT for 7/23

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

  • Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? hmm, i'd say both. No preference really.
  • Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? to buy i'd pick paperbacks, from the library hardbacks seem to last longer
  • Fiction? Or Nonfiction? based on my numbers this year i prefer fiction.
  • Poetry? Or Prose? Prose. The only poetry i've read in the last year was some of Poe's in a collection of short stories.
  • Biographies? Or Autobiographies? I don't think i've read either in a while. I guess memoirs are autobiographies so i'll pick that.
  • History? Or Historical Fiction? ack! again, i'd say no preference. Or a slight preference to the fiction.
  • Series? Or Stand-alones? I read a lot of each but i'd say stand alones.
  • Classics? Or best-sellers? classics are the best sellers of a few years ago! classics though.
  • Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? Mostly the basic stuff.
  • Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Plot. S-o-C confuses me.
  • Long books? Or Short? both or neither, it doesn't matter length too much.
  • Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? I love books with pictures.
  • Borrowed? Or Owned? I borrow mostly.
  • New? Or Used? Used definitely! i love old book smell. and how new books smell i guess.
that's all i got.

22 July 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Unwritten books

First off, i know authors don't write at my pleasure. Ideas come, or don't come, real life and other projects intervene. I'm just saying, since there are books i've waited for, and books i've WAITED FOR, here are some of that latter category.

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman- well, Once Upon a Time in the North came out in 2008 but this is not a prequel to His Dark Materials. This book is a sequel to The Amber Spyglass, which came out in 2000, taking place when Lyra is about 16. websites say it is "as yet unwritten" and "slated for late 2009 release" so who knows.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin- I think this is the worst! I only say that because when book 4 came out in 2005 it included info about how book 4 was too long and was being split into two. there have been 2 different release dates on Amazon that have already passed by. Still, we've got a "possible" release of fall 2009.

Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker- The third in the Abarat series. Second book came out in 2004. one website says this will be out in winter 2009, which i guess means end of 2009.

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist- Kind of a weird one. The author wrote Let The Right One In in Sweden, which became a great movie. so the book got translated and released in the US. This other book is out in a British and Australian edition but not in the US and no release date is scheduled. I could bite the bullet and pay for international shipping and just order it off Amazon UK but i just haven't yet.

That's what i've got...anything you've been waiting for?
Hosted by Breaking the Spine.

21 July 2009

More Zombies

So why are zombies "in" right now? I personally think it may be due to the polarization of everything now. any group can portray their foes as mindless, crowd-following ghouls, hungry to destroy everything you value. The rich can see the poor this way, Democrats can see Republicans like this (and vice versa of course), environmentalists can see anti-global warming pundits this way, everyone can portray terrorists like this. You're anti-immigrant? Those Latinos are just climbing those fences, desperate to take your job. You're atheist? Those mindless Evangelicals are shredding the separation of church and state to make you ONE OF THEM!

I finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I give it a 4. Not great but not bad. I guess i just felt that the story could have been done, and has been done, without the zombies. Make Mary a Jewish girl in Europe in the late 1930's and the zombies the Nazis. Still works. Make Mary a black slave in the south in the 1840's and the zombies southern slave hunters, still works. I wish it had a little more resolution and a bit more of the "why" behind the events. I'll read this writer again as she did a wonderful job of creepy atmosphere.

One thing i did like was a little detail. It's become harder for people to have children...genetics rears it's ugly head!

Other Thoughts: Chris, Dear Author, Book Zombie, Becky, Teen Book Review, Today I Read, Fantasy Book Critic, Presenting Lenore, Slee
py Reader, Kid's Lit, Books and Movies.

ok, there are like 100 more. so go to the Book Blogs Search Engine and type in "forest hands teeth" and see what ya get!

20 July 2009

Weekly Geeks 26

This week's topic is another movie one.

so i had to think about this for a few days. Part of the question is what makes a good adaptation? Is it just being faithful to the original source? Is it just a good movie that has a basis in a book? What about updated versions of old stories? What happens when the movie is better than the book?

One that is tops for me in the "faithful" category is The Shawshank Redemption, based on the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. It has an advantage; by being based on a novella it can pack almost everything from the story into the movie. Very little gets lost. Another good one is The Secret Garden. I loved that story during my school years and the movie captures the feeling and atmosphere of the book. Another great movie pretty close to the book (as far as i can remember) is The Color Purple.

In the second category of just being "based on the book" I'd say I, Robot and I am Legend work. Both are fun action movies with only a loose premise to connect them to the source material. In fact, I, Robot really stretches the story from the book so much it almost needs a different title.

In the third category O Brother, Where Art Thou is a great film. Based on The Odyssey, it is completely it's own story while being parallel to the original piece.

In the last category a favorite is Fight Club. The book is good, i did enjoy it. The movie is just mind bending and cool and i think it works a little better. I also liked the ending to the movie more than the book. Another I liked is Trainspotting. I saw the movie before reading the book and loved the whole trippy look of it. I couldn't finish the book though. It was too difficult to read the accents and about 2/3 of the way through i decided i just didn't care about the characters enough to continue.

Need some help remembering? Here's a great site that lists a bunch of movies made from books from 1980 onward.

19 July 2009

Online Shopping

I ordered a couple things this weekend.

first, from Perpetual Kid, a very cool bag. Perpetual Kid is a great site. I got my neice a cool Moon Jar last year for her birthday.

Then, from Microcosm Publishing, a book.

And off Amazon, this movie i think i've heard of. :)

18 July 2009


Why tag a novel by Stephen King "stephen king"? or "book"? or one of the Harry Potter books "harry potter"? how is any of that helpful?

Anyway, I got a haircut today.

And i saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince yesterday. I am going to go back and see it in IMAX in a few weeks. I enjoyed it. I just wish they'd left in more of the book. oh well, a 5.

16 July 2009

Over Sea, Under Stone and BTT for 7/16

I tore through Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper last night after work. As this story was exactly like what i loved as a kid i can't believe i didn't read it then. After all, it had been out for 17 years when i was 10.

It's a pretty decent standard kids adventure story. Three kids, Simon, Jane and Barney Drew, are staying with their parents (a painter and a doctor) with their Great Uncle Merry in an old house in Cornwall, England. They find a map, along with an old manuscript, one rainy day as they are exploring the old house (after they have to move a big wardrobe to find a secret door lol). After a strange break in, they decide to show the map to their uncle. He translates the manuscript for them and the kids realize they've found a map to the Grail of King Arthur! Unfortunately, some shady characters realize this as well and the kids have to race to figure out the map and clues before something terrible happens.

I really liked the interactions between the kids. They felt very real. The main portion of my childhood i had 2 younger brothers, 2 and 4 years younger than me (my youngest brother came around when i was 12 and then a sister when i started college) so we played a lot together. When we got along we had great adventures, Indiana Jones/treasure hunting being one of our favorite games. Nice to see that is a universal desire for children!

I give this one a 5. I'll be starting the next book as soon as i can get a couple of books i've started finished.

Other opinions: Joy's Blog, Read_Warbler, Once Upon a Bookshelf, Fiddle-de-dee's Not English (wonderful title for a blog!), Bogorman.

Also the BTT question. Since i didn't take any pictures last week I'll post some now.

Follow-up to last week’s question:

Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

I have mine all over. I have a wide windowsill, so a good many unreads are on that. Sorry so dark!

Here's some boxes too! The one closest to the camera is all unread, the other two have unreads mixed in with books i've read...but most i haven't :(.

and in my living room i've got my only real bookshelf. The second shelf under the top one has a handful of unread books as well.

Whew. and i didn't even empty the boxes out! I also have a dozen or so on my desk that i forgot to snap. Mainly read. And i usually have a couple i'm reading next to the couch and in my school bag. And what about my list on Dailylit? I guess those aren't books i own so that doesn't count right? ack!

15 July 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: And Another Thing

Here's another book I'm looking forward too! And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer is a Douglas Adams estate approved 6th book in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy! I actually became aware of it when i was searching for info on if there was to be another Artemis Fowl book. I love part of the blurb on Amazon:

And Another Thing is Eoin's first book for adults, and he found the
experience very similar to that of writing for young adults, apart from less
usage of the phrases it wasn't my fault and none of you people get

Fabulous! This one is due out on October 12. Now i just have to decide if i want to reread the other 5 books before this one! Eek!

Hosted by Breaking the Spine.

14 July 2009

You're Not You

This morning i finished You're Not You by Michelle Wildgen. it is a real life type story, no supernatural or fantasy or extreme elements like i've been reading recently. Real life can be pretty extreme though.

Bec is an aimless college student, sick of her waitressing job. She's having an affair with a married poetry professor (not one of hers) and her life is rather scattered. She answers an ad to be a caregiver for a woman with LDS. Kate is only 36 and is wheelchair bound. She can barely move but can speak. at first Bec is overwhelmed and awkward with Kate. They become friends as Kate gets sicker and still retains her style and control over her own life.

In a way it was a book about how the sick person teaches the young person about life. Or more about living really in this case. i liked the book but i still ended up crying afterward. in weird ways Bec's lower moods hit too close to my own emotional state but then her good times swung so wide of my own experience. She's lonely, gets set up on a double date by her best friend, goes home with the guy and gets laid. i guess everything is just that easy with normal people but all my dates since R have been one awkward rejection after another.

one thing that is bad, really bad, is the paperback cover. It makes it look more about teacher/student affairs than the book actually is. see?

The hardback cover, the one i got, is stark and beautiful and lonely.

much better. Overall, i give this one a 4. it is a beautiful book but it just wasn't for me right now.

Other Opinions" Reading Rants!, and Literate Housewife. that's all i could pull up. if anyone else has read this one let me know and i'll link on over!

13 July 2009


I really have nothing much to write about today. which means that i either start going more personal for a topic or i do a list or links. I'd talk about me personally but i just don't have the energy today. I'll set myself to crying if i do.

so here's a link to something fun!

Classical music in cartoons!

12 July 2009

Food, Inc.

So i supported the Belcourt last night by going to see Food, Inc. It was a good, solid, informative movie. If you haven't read anything by Eric Schlosser or Michael Pollan or about the Slow Food or local eating then you will really be blown away. A lot of it was stuff that i already knew personally because i'm super interested in the subject matter and have been reading about it all for years. a 6.

A link for the companion book.

currently: at work

11 July 2009

Weekly Geeks 26

I haven't done Weekly Geeks for a few weeks. This week's topic is about where reading has taken you. With cool Map function! I've culled my countries from my Librarything list as well as the ones i've reviewed on this blog. it is kinda sorry.

create your own visited country map

I suppose i need to read more broadly. I'm only at 11%. And i haven't read anything that took place in South America? I have watched movies far more broadly. Maybe I'll do one for movies when i need a topic later this month.

10 July 2009

A Certain Slant of Light

The YA Challenge is DONE! w00t! I finished A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb late last night.

Helen is a ghost. She doesn't remember much about her life: her name, that she's female, and how old she was when she died. She's had to have a host, or live person she stays with. She's had some wonderful ones: a poetess, an actor, a playwright, a professor. Now she is with Mr. Brown, a high school English teacher and novelist. One day in class she realizes a boy is watching her. He's not a normal boy though. James is a spirit, like Helen, but he went into Billy's body when Billy's spirit left after an overdose.

James and Helen fall madly in love then go about finding a body for Helen. They find Jenny, a girl who's spirit left because of her restrictive fundy parents. The kind that measure her skirts every day, track her periods, and make her write Bible verses about how awful she is. As Helen is learning to negotiate modern life, James begins to remember more and more about his mortal life and sees Billy's spirit as he tries to come back. I can't say too much more without giving away the story. I really enjoyed it.

So this is a 6. I would recommend it for anyone who might want a book about ghosts for RIP but not a scary book. I'll be sending my copy on to my 15 yr old sister.

08 July 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Bride's Farewell

So since I'm trying to fill up the month of July with posts i spent a few minutes on A Novel Challenge this morning looking for events for the various days. That site is wonderful for we obsessive-compulsive book bloggers! I decided to do "Waiting On" Wednesday, hosted by Breaking the Spine. The idea is to highlight a book you're waiting to be released.

Since Meg Rosoff is my new favorite author (seriously, she's got a 6.6 average rating from me!) i picked her new book, out on August 6th.

Amazon says "In Meg Rosoff’s fourth novel, a young woman in 1850s rural England runs away from home on horseback the day she’s to marry her childhood sweetheart. Pell is from a poor preacher’s family and she’s watched her mother suffer for years under the burden of caring for an ever-increasing number of children. Pell yearns to escape the inevitable repetition of such a life.

She understands horses better than people and sets off for Salisbury Fair, where horse trading takes place, in the hope of finding work and buying herself some time. But as she rides farther away from home, Pell’s feelings for her parents, her siblings, and her fiancĂ© surprise her with their strength and alter the course of her travels. And her journey leads her to find love where she least expects it."

Very very different from Rosoff's previous books in that it is set in the past. It's another adult novel but sounds as if it could be a crossover. I can't put it on request at the library yet but i will as soon as it pops up, personal challenge be damned!

07 July 2009

Items of Interest

Need more books to read? here Mental Floss lists some reeeeeeealy looooooooooong series'.

The Eternal Moonwalk Michael Jackson Tribute....It is kinda laggy today.


Also, umm, it's my birthday. 33 years ago exactly i was 6 lb 14 oz 6 hour old bundle of joy for my parents, especially my mom who no longer had to be suffering through the Texas summer 9 months pregnant. We were snoozing in the army hospital air conditioning...aaah.

Here's some cards i've received. I've already had 2 giant pieces of cake at work last night and my friend D is making her fantabulous oreo cheesecake for me! w00t!

06 July 2009

Just In Case

The first several hours at work last night were quite slow. I read Just In Case by Meg Rosoff as nothing else to do. Not that i didn't enjoy the book! I did. It's one that is going to stick to me.

David is 15 when his year old brother almost jumps out the window trying to fly. David looks up to catch him in time and everyone is fine. Or should be. David suddenly realizes all the awful things that could happen to him or anyone every second of every day. He feels that Fate is actively trying to get him. So he tries to hide. He changes his name to Justin, begins dressing differently with the help of Agnes, a photographer he meets. He creates an imaginary greyhound he names Boy. Other people can see Boy though. Justin gets deeper and deeper into crises, personal and public, as he begins to grow up and face adult choices.

It is a dreamy sort of novel. In a weird way it reminded me of an X-Files episode, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose. The Bruckman character became obsessed with all the tiny little things that put people into the situation where they die. Justin resembled that character in a way. It is a weird thing to think about, the series of events that leads you to places in your life. My own example: if i hadn't been afraid of my ex-fiancee waaaaay back in 1999 i wouldn't have moved to Tennessee. If i hadn't moved to Tenn then i wouldn't have been roommates with my friend D. If i hadn't been D's roommate i never would have made a deal with her that i would answer a personal ad if she posted one. If she hadn't posted one, she never would have met K. If she hadn't met K, she would have been in town the last weekend of April in 2000. If she was in town, i wouldn't have been on the computer that night. If i hadn't been on the computer that night i wouldn't have started talking to R. If i never met R then i wouldn't have spent 7 years with him and spent the last 2 miserable and depressed and alone. weird stuff.

a 6, and one more for the YA challenge!

Other opinions: Big A little a, Mother Reader, Jenny's Books.

05 July 2009

World Made by Hand

I finished up World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler yesterday. Another post-catastrophe book but in this case the catastrophes are several years in the past. Robert Earle tells the story. He's a carpenter, a widower and becomes the mayor of his little town Union Grove. The story starts as a friendly religious sect moves into town, taking over the old high school that has been closed for several years. The people are led by Brother Jobe who takes an active interest in his new community. These newcomers cause Earle to start reevaluating the community and make him decide to start making the town thrive, not just survive.

It is a solid book. We never find out exactly what caused the world to dwindle. We hear of a few mass illnesses the caused population die offs after things began going downhill. LA and Washington DC were apparently hit with some sort of small scale nuclear devices. Global warming gets a mention, and war, and peak oil. but nothing is concrete.

I didn't like that there were no real female characters. they are all archetypes, not real people. Yes, it does make sense for the young mother whose husband has died to move in with someone else but does she have to be so stereotypically helpless? There are no women on the city's council at all. I find it hard to believe that all the women who had careers and positions of responsibility would be content to let the "menfolk" make all the decisions going forward. It also bothered me that none of the people seemed to have apprentices. I mean, if you've got one dentist and one doctor (either of which could have been a woman with NO difference in story) shouldn't they have a younger person or two around that they are training? Earle is apparently a very skilled carpenter which is a great skill to have, yet no one has a child they would want to learn that skill?

overall i give this one a 5. Lots of action and Earle is a great narrator. a few tweaks and i would have loved it.

other opinions: Jenclair, Indextrious Reader.

04 July 2009

How I Live Now

I finished up How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff last night and have decided i loved it! a 7. It snuck up on me. I read a few chapters Monday then a few the next day. Somewhere though Daisy's voice just clicked with me and i just got into it. I had read about 2/3 of the book by Thursday night and every time i woke up during the night i kept thinking about it. That's a good sign!

Daisy is an anorexic American 15-year-old sent to live with her British aunt and cousins because her stepmother wants her out of the house. Her new British family lives in a beautiful, bucolic countryside. The aunt has some kind of international job so essentially leaves the kids with the run of the house. Osbert is the oldest at about 17, then Edmund and Isaac are twins and 14, then Piper the youngest at 9. We never find out about their father or exactly what the aunt does. After just a few weeks the aunt has to go to Europe and while she is gone a war starts. England is cut off from mainland Europe. For a while the kids are just kids playing and hanging out as the war only means they don't get the regular foods they are used to. In the midst of the stresses and strangeness, Daisy and Edmond fall in love.

The way it is written is weird, first person run on sentences for each paragraph. with random capitalization. I believe that is the reason it took me a bit to get into the book. Here's the rest of my review written in that style.

I couldn't believe how intense the book got as you get deeper and deeper into the story things just keep happening and i got so worried about the characters i did something i Never Do and skipped to The End just to see how it turned out before going back and reading the rest and i don't want to give anything away but it is a great book, though it does have to do with War and Death and Growing Up it does have an encouraging ending.

kinda breathless feeling huh?

Other opinions: Sassymonkey, Bold Blue Adventure, Big A little a, Nymeth's, Persnickty Snark, Dear Author, Stephanie's Written Word, Bookshelves of Doom.

03 July 2009

Books I Bought

Not sure why I'm frowny.

02 July 2009

Btt for 7/2

Quick question this week.

Suggested by Callista83:

Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?

Nope, no celebrity books. not the memoirs or the ghost written novels either. I'll leave the writing to the pros!

01 July 2009

Everything Austen Challenge

So i am caving and joining the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie of Stephanie's Written Word. Running July 1 through January 1, the goal is to read or watch 6 Jane Austen related things. Here's my list!
  • Read Mansfield Park
  • Read Emma
  • Read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice
  • Watch the Kiera Knightly Pride and Prejudice
  • Watch Persuasion
So that's my list. I've also decided to try to do NaBloPoMo again. I succeeded last November and posted every day. The theme this month is Routine but i don't know that i will blog much on that. wish me luck!

3 More Fables

I seem to read these in sets! Fables Vol 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham is a quieter, more intricate set of stories than March of the Wooden Soldiers. The first story is about Cinderella, who we find out is Prince Charming's third wife. She gives a great breakdown as to why she still has a right to be bitter! The next story is about Bigby Wolf and an adventure he had working for the Allies in World War II. Since I love Band of Brother and i've been watching some old war movies recently (in preparation for Inglourious Basterds) i loved that one! Lastly, Snow White has her children! a fair few actually, including an extra special one. They all go to live on the Farm while Bigby goes into exile. Prince Charming, Beauty and her Beast take over leadership in Fabletown and find out they seriously under-appreciated their predecessors. a 6.

Fables Volume 6: Homelands covers Jack's Hollywood trip, where he sets up his plans for his own immortality. Taking place over several years, that part was ok. Boy Blue's trip back to the Homelands is fantastic. He's invincible due to his magical objects, crafty and brilliant. He's a great hero and i want to read more of him! We also discover who the Adversary is and what his plans were, how he went from a regular Fable into a crazy dictator bent on conquest. In Fabletown, Beast finds a spy in the mayor's office. We also meet perpetual tourist Mowgli (gorgeous man!) who works for Fabletown as well. Charming gives him a mission: find Bigby Wolf. A 7! also, Mark Buckingham's art is great.

Fables Volume 7: Arabian Nights (and Days) begins with Charming and Co. overwhelmed with work. The Prince is even loosing out on some beauty sleep by camping out in his office! When Sinbad and his Arabian Entourage show up, because the Adversary is creeping into thier world now, the complications rachet up. Frau Totenkinder is wicked! In the Homelands, we learn that there are no favors. a 6.