31 August 2009

Henry IV Part 1

I listened to Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare over this past weekend. a 3 cd set goes by pretty quickly on a 90 mile each way trip. I'm glad i picked this one up.

Henry IV Part 1 is a history play. It has one of the best comedic characters ever written: Sir John Falstaff. I'm not sure how he got the Sir as he seems to be more a brigand. Henry, called Harry or Hal, is the heir apparent to King Henry IV. He is something of a prodigal son; he parties and drinks and carouses with unsavory characters. Falstaff appears to be his best friend. King Henry's former friends and confidante's have rebelled against him for various reasons, led by the Earl of Northumberland and his son Henry Percy, also called Harry or Hotspur. King Henry calls his men to fight: Prince Hal swears to redeem himself by earning glory in combat; Falstaff does his best to take care of himself.


The production was fantastic. I immediately added Part 2 onto my library request list. You don't just get different people for each part, you hear glasses clinking, swords ringing, horses galloping. I can't recommend the production enough. a 6!

30 August 2009

Weekend Fun

I had a busy busy weekend. Lots of fun!

Friday i woke up early, packed a bag and headed to Chattanooga. I wanted to go to the Aquarium and the Zoo but the rain and grey drizzle made the decision for me to stay indoors. I can really recommend the Chattanooga Aquarium. One building is mostly freshwater, though they had a seahorse special exhibit. lots of amphibians and reptiles too. I liked the room full of various turtles and tolerated the frogs. I've got a phobia of them but am fine when they are behind glass. The second building was mostly saltwater except for the butterfly room which was really cool. they have to grow a few hundred butterflies every week to keep the exhibit going because the bugs only have a few week lifespan. Seriously, any little girl would be ecstatic in that room!

That night after dinner i went to a comedy show at 730 (fun) and saw a jam band play from 10:30 to 1 am, at which point i realized that the band was going to close the place down and i was not going to manage to stay awake much longer. probably had more fun watching the stand up, if just because it wasn't as loud!

Saturday i woke up, had a crappy hotel breakfast, and headed back to Nashville. got back about 1130 and made bleu cheese bacon potato salad. At 4 i headed to an atheist house party! I had a bunch of fun there and didn't leave until almost midnight! I was kinda vacillating on whether or not to go; i was only slightly acquainted with a couple people i'd met on previous meetups that were hikes. But it turned out great with about 30 people ranging from a couple little kids, a couple teenagers, on up to some older folks in their 60s maybe. No, there was not a goat sacrifice, though we did roast dead chicken and sausages. I will be going to more meetups in the future!

29 August 2009

The Grey King

I'm almost done with this series!!!! The Grey King by Susan Cooper is a story with Will Stafford alone again. or at least without the Drews.

After a long illness, Will's parents send him north to Wales to stay with his aunt and uncle and cousins. They are sheep farmers and the sunshine and fresh air is supposed to help Will convalesce. Will makes friends with a boy his age, an albino named Bran with a dog as pale as he is named Cafall. With Bran and a magical harp Will must wake the Sleepers in the Mountain to defeat the Grey King, which will aid the Light in the next steps to fight the Darkness.

I liked this one a lot as well. Lots of outdoorsy hiking and climbing and exploring. The first part is just kids being kids before cable and video games and ultra-worried parents. The series is very very good and I can't wait to finish it up.

28 August 2009

Fables 10

I think i like this series more the more i read of it! Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham is very very good. a 7! Seriously, this has been the best book since the March of the Wooden Soldiers.

The main portion of the book is the story of the Frog Prince, Ambrose, as he journeys with the Forsworn Knight down the Witching Well and back to the Homelands. He fights The Adversary in his own way and strikes some major blows for the free Fables.

Back in Fabletown, Charming and Company gear up for thier own war on The Adversary. Frau Totenkinder gives up some of her sources in the Homelands. Bigby and Snow White help with the logistics and training for the Homeland invasion. A short interlude gives us the cubs 5th birthday and we see a bit of Rose and Blue's friendship. Do they end up together? someone tell me!!!!!

27 August 2009

BTT for 8/27

So i am going to knock out the last several BTT's today.



Recent Fluff: Going to go with Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry.

Recent Best: After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

Recent Worst: You're Not You by Michelle WIldgen

Recent Serious: Sold by Patricia McCormick

Recent Funny: I finished up Fables 10 yesterday and there were some funny parts, with the cubs and what all Boy Blue can fit in the Witching Cloak. I'll be posting my review of that one tomorrow.

24 August 2009

RIP IV- The RIPpening!!!!

Ok, so I was going to use "Carl Takes Manhattan" but we've got to wait for part 8 for that!


WOW, i'm having a hard time realizing 3/4 of a year has gone by. Seriously, i had plans for this year that just keep slipping by. Oh well. For RIP i'll be reading at least 4 of the following:
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen
  • Marked by PC Cast
  • Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova- cheating here, i started this LAST year and haven't finished yet
  • The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy Hoobler- a non-fiction book about the attendees of that famous summer house party
  • I've also got the last 3 Gardella Vampire books to read!

So my RIP will be a bit vampire heavy but if i do get through 4 of these that will be great help on my personal challenge. and probably a couple to sell back to McKay's!

23 August 2009

Tarantino and Shakespeare!!

Fun stuff. Friday night I really enjoyed Inglourious Basterds! A packed theater always helps for a Tarantino film...remind me sometime to tell you about the midnight revival i saw of Pulp Fiction. I had expected a teeny bit more of a normal WWII movie, i mean at least 1 battle scene. But that does not happen. We see some aftermaths of ambushes, several intense Mexican Standoffs (of course) and some dramatic "does he know that they know that he knows" situations. the first 15 minutes i bit through my fingernails on my right hand...Wow. Definitely a 7.

Saturday night i went to the Nashville Shakespeare Festival's presentation of The Taming of the Shrew. Not sure how i feel about this one. On the one side, it is soooo unfeminist that the play is a bit offensive. Also, the girl who played Catherine did so in a very squealy way so sometimes it was hard to understand her words. On the good side, they set the play in 1960's America which was very cool. Great soundtrack. The guy who played Petrucio did a wonderful job, throwing himself into some outlandish costumes! Overall, i think i'll go with a 5. I'll also be going back in a few weeks to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a 3 man play that is supposed to be hilarious. That runs from 8/27-9/13. Come on down if you are in Nashville!

22 August 2009

Prepared..Or Not

I finished up Just In Case: How to be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens by Kathy Harrison. Pretty straightforward summary right there in the title! The author goes over a bunch of information but isn't overwhelming. she's not giving the "we're all gonna die!!" type warnings. she's much more relaxed, suggesting more that an area may have to make it a few weeks or a month without help, or without enough help to have things be normal.

I do feel this book has a lot to offer families and homeowners on preparedness. I intend to begin to follow several suggestions myself, like having cash on hand, getting an evacuation pack together, and keeping my car at least half full of gas. The one problem i had though is that, as an apartment dweller in Nashville, many of the steps i simply cannot take. No fireplace for heating in winter, no basement for cold storage of veggies, no hooking up a generator to run a small fridge. I suppose the author's first suggestion for me would be to save up for a down payment on a home! This book has made me look realistically at my situation and realize that if something bad happened, like a long term power outage in the winter, i'd need to have some plan in place to head somewhere else. overall, a 5.

20 August 2009

Fables 9

I am slowly working my way through this series. Trust me, if the library had more copies or if the guy who's requesting these right in front of me would take a break, i'd be finished by now.

Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham, James Jean, Mike Allred, and Joelle Jonesis a pause. Pinocchio attends a conference of the leaders of the Homelands, with is father Geppetto as ulitmate leader of course. There they brainstorm ideas on what to do about Fabletown and the Mundane World. The Snow Queen (not sure if she's any relation to the Narnia Queen) has a dastardly presentation. Pinocchio counters with a great depiction of how the Fables would "come out" to the Mundys to protect thier new home. Over at The Farm, Red and Boy Blue start becoming more friendly and we have a Christmas story. After all, Santa is a Fable too! We also find out what happens when Snow White, Bigby Wolf, and the cubs visit Grandpa North Wind.

The reason i didn't like this one as much is partly the art. I'm so used to how Mark Buckingham draws the characters that the last story, "Father and Son", was a bit jarring. How Buckingham manages to draw six children, each looking distinctive from each other but looking like siblings, is beyond me. Overall, it's a 5.

19 August 2009

WOW!

Thanks Thanks Thanks! Someone nominated me for Book Blogger Appreciation Week under the Graphic Novel category.

17 August 2009

It's Monday, August 17

J. kaye hosts this weekly event!

I'm working on a few right now.

The Grey King by Susan Cooper- the 4th book in The Dark is Rising series, young adult, from my TBR.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons- a reread for me. Graphic novel. I'm rereading because i've been watching the movie over and over and because i'm also reading Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test edited by Mark D. White and William Irwin. Nonfiction of course, and from my TBR.

And finally, i'm slowly working on What to Eat by Marion Nestle- non-fiction as well, dealing with food politics. as it was originally published in 2006 some things are a touch outdated but a ton of useful info. A library book that is a whole 624 pages, i'm working on it slowly.

what are you reading?

15 August 2009

Two More

I read Greenwitch by Susan Cooper. Will Stanton from The Dark Is Rising returns. His American uncle takes him to Cornwall over spring break. There they stay with Merriman and the Drew children. They are all together because the Dark has stolen the grail (found by the Drew kids in the first book) and may be coming for the manuscript that fell in the ocean (also in the first book). There's a creepy Dark minion, a visit to the Sea Queen, a freaky dream sequence, and
Jane saves the day. a 6.

Also, I finished up Z for Zachariah by Robert O'Brien. another post-apocalypse YA novel, an oldie from 1974. Ann is alone in the valley she grew up in. after some unknown war ended, Ann's parents, both brothers, and the other family that lived in the valley all left to check out the surrounding area. None returned (this is the one bit i found a bit unrealistic). Ann is now 16 and has been working the garden, tending the cows and chickens, for the last year or so. Suddenly she begins seeing smoke from a campfire on the horizon. a man shows up in a radiation proof suit. For Ann, things radically change. overall, a 4. Just didn't like this one as much as some of the others i've read recently.

I am glad i read Greenwitch between Sold and Z for Zachariah. reading about some good male characters helped blunt the evil, possessive, angry males in the other two stories. i mean, i'm not going to say no man i've been close to, friend and family, has never paid for sex. i understand prostitution and if two consenting adults want to do that, no coercion involved, i'm not going to say anything. i can guarantee i've not known anyone who could rape a 13 year old girl. What kind of man, what kind of person, is so self centered and hateful that they can objectify a person so completely?

so rhetorical question i know. *sigh*

14 August 2009

Serious Offense

Sold, by Patricia McCormick, is a story that is true. Not in the sense of the particular girl existing but all the events actually happen. Officials estimate there are at least 1.2 million child prostitutes in India. 7000 women and children a day are transported in to India for sex work. Some are kidnapped, some are sold by parents or guardians, some are tricked and told they are doing factory work or becoming maids.

Lakshmi is a 13 year old Nepali girl. She worries about her mother and baby brother, she works hard in school, she daydreams about the boy she's betrothed to, she feeds her pet goat and waters her vegetable patch. Unfortunately, she has a gambling, alcoholic stepfather. He sells her to a woman who takes her to India and sells her in turn to a madam (terrible word in this case) Mumtaz. When Lakshmi won't cooperate and have sex, Mumtaz tries starving her and beating her. When Lakshmi still does not give in, she is drugged and raped. As Lakshmi learns about her new life, she slowly comes back to her own self and finds the courage to trust an American who says he can help her.

I give this one a 7. I love the fact that Lakshmi isn't just a passive person. she's willing to let herself die before Mumtaz drugs her. She keeps track of her own earnings in various attempts to work her way out of her so-called debt. she learns some English and Hindi from one of the other women's son, Hamsish. And, most importantly from a real person psychology standpoint, she helps herself out of her situation.

When trying to come up with a title i had some problems. my vocabulary failed me....what's a word that means "blasphemy" but without the religious connotations? Travesty maybe?

13 August 2009

More Valdemar

I finished up Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, edited by Mercedes Lackey and can't exactly recommend it. a few stories are good; I liked "Live On" by Tanya Huff which is about a very old Herald and a very young Herald. "What Fire Is" by Janni Lee Simner is another good one; it is about Karse and what the priests do to those children who are magically gifted. I also really liked "The Sworddancer" by Michael Z. Williamson but it isn't really a Valdemar story. A Herald pops up once or twice but it is mainly a story about a young warrior woman fighting for her family and her town. Overall the book is a 4 but probably for completists only.

12 August 2009

Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens cuts a nice swath through my challenges! I read it off Dailylit so it is not coming off my To Read list. It's a quote filled book, starting with the whole "best of times, worst of times" bit and ending with "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known". I thought the last one was something someone said in World War II!



We open with Mr Lorry, a bank employee, meeting Lucie Manette, a young woman. Lorry reveals that Dr. Manette, Lucie's father, is not dead as she thought, that he had been in The Bastille prison for the last 18 years. They take Dr. Manette back to England and somehow get involved with some sort of treason trial of Charles Darnay, a French emigrant as well. Darnay is found innocent when an eyewitness can't tell the difference between Darnay and his lawyer, Sydney Carton. Both Carton and Darnay fall for Lucie, but Lucie only loves Darnay. So they marry and have a child, Lucie.

Darnay is actually a French nobleman but doesn't want that life so never claims his title. When he returns to France to help a friend he gets arrested and thrown into the Bastille during the Revolution. So all the other characters troop to France. Going much further would give away the ending so i'll leave it there. And i can't believe Lucie was so stupid to take her little kid into a freaking war zone! I just wanted to smack her several times during the story. Not my favorite character.

Overall, i say a 5. I was a bit confused, maybe because there were several long intervals between the sections i read.

I also read Planetary VOL 1: All Over the World and Other Stories by Warren Ellis (Author)
and John Cassaday (Illustrator). Bad thing is that my library only has the 1 volume, none of the rest of the series. soooo, i'm a bit confused as to what exactly is going on. I also cannot remember why i picked this up. something tells me that it had to do either with LOST or maybe all the coverage of Watchmen, as Alan Moore blurbed the copy i had. Planetary is some sort of consorsium of highly placed people who we never meet. we do meet Elijah Snow as Jakita Wagner recruits him for the field team. The Drummer is the third member of the field team. over what appear to be a few random adventures we start to see connections and begin to learn about our characters and Planetary as a whole. not a bad book, a 5.

The good thing about working until midnight

Is that you are already awake for astronimical events! 

Currently: laying down in the warner park parking lot waiting for meteors.

10 August 2009

After the Quake


I snagged After the Quake by Haruki Murakami last week from the library. I really had no intention to read anything but what was on my list for the Japanese Lit Challenge, it's just such a little book that i figured i might as well read it. I didn't realize it was on the 1001 books list, which means it also counts for the 1% challenge. Yay!

After the Quake is a series of short stories. Murakami connects them by having them all refer to the Kobe earthquake of 1995. The first story, "UFO in Kushiro", begins with a woman obsessively watching the news coverage of the earthquake. The last story, "Honey Pie", has as its basis a little girl who has nightmares about the earthquake.

I don't know how to describe his writing. it lovely, dreamy, yet the images are clear and concrete. weird fantasy or sci-fi elements intertwine with deeply human feelings and sadness. It is simple but so good.

My favorite story was "Honey Pie", with my second favorite being "thailand". Both have lost love and longing but essentially happy endings. i'm needing happy endings right now. a big, fat 7 overall. READ THIS!

09 August 2009

The Forger

I finished another book on WWII last night. The Forger: An Extraordinary Story of Survival in Wartime Berlin by Cioma Schonhaus is an astounding story. It sounds so improbable.

Schonhaus is a young man, just 19 in 1941 Berlin. There's a good bit of a young man's bravado in his adventures. Before the war he was an art student. Through various connections he gets a job at a munitions factory so he just barely escapes being deported with the rest of his family. He even manages to do a bit of sabotage. Then, he begins forging passports, id papers and stamps on legitimate articles to help other Jews survive. Even though he is technically underground, he buys a sailboat, goes out with girls, drinks and parties. He becomes a wanted man under two different aliases yet, after forging his own set of papers, he bikes down to the Swiss border and essentially walks across. amazing.

The writing is a bit patchy. there aren't a lot of clear transitions between times and places. So at times it's a bit hard to follow. Kind of like a stream of consciousness at times. I liked it overall and give it a 5. It also counts as one for the World Citizen Challenge, under the Memoirs/Autobiography category. yay!


08 August 2009

fast funny

Since we don't have enough time to read, i present Book-A-Minute!

Enjoy!

07 August 2009

How many lists do i have to master?

Arg! The 100 Essential Books You Should Have Read in College! Maybe i should just get a list of every book ever written and just go from that....hmmm.

I've read 22, BTW.

05 August 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Beautiful Creatures


It's also a movie by Peter Jackson, the first movie where Kate Winslet was the lead. A completely different sort of book is coming out on December 1st. Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, is a long YA novel of the deep south. From the early reviews, it is called "creepy", "awesome", involving paranormal mysteries. And it has a male perspective. cool!

They have a nice blog up for the book. As much as i hate to admit it, cause all you guys will overwhelm my entries, they're even doing giveaways! Whee!


I also finished up Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer earlier tonight at work. Though i am giving it the same 5 i gave The Dead and the Gone, i liked that book better. In this one, we follow Miranda, a 16 yr old girl, through her diary. it starts shortly before the moon event so we see what people were thinking before it happened. She has an older brother, Matt, a younger one, Jonny, and they live with their mother who is a writer. In the countryside of Pennsylvania they seem to do a lot better than Alex and his family did in NYC. This story also doesn't end until March so we get a bit more of what happens after the flu sweeps the country. It is a solid book. I just wish it didn't have such a Deus ex Machina ending. The Dead and the Gone did too but it didn't seem so obvious.

Also, an update/link to an old post. Back in May Guys Lit Wire did a book drive for InsideOut Writers to help incarcerated boys have books to read. They put up a sum up post and they got a total of over 600 books! amazing. they also mentioned they'll be doing another book drive in November, so check back.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
currently: tipsy from a glass of Pinot Evil!

04 August 2009

The Last 20

A memeish thingy. I pulled it from Tempting Persephone, who said she picked it up from Hey Lady and Presenting Lenore. Where do you get your books from? i figure this is pretty typical for me really.
  1. The Dark is Rising- bought for $1.25 at McKay's
  2. The Dead and the Gone- library
  3. The Lost- bought for $6 at McKay's
  4. Fables Vol. 8- library
  5. The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality- gift from R for last year's bday
  6. Patient Zero- library
  7. The Forest of Hands and Teeth- library
  8. Over Sea, Under Stone- McKay's
  9. You're Not You- library
  10. A Certain Slant of Light- McKay's
  11. Just In Case- library
  12. World Made By Hand- bought new from regular bookstore
  13. How I Live Now- library
  14. Fables Vol 7- library
  15. Fables Vol 6- library
  16. Fables Vol 5- library
  17. The Wordy Shipmates- library
  18. Jane Austen for Dummies- library
  19. Holes- bought used at a thrift store
  20. What I Was- library
Nifty. 4 from McKay's, 13 library, 1 gift, 1 bought new, 1 thrifted. *sigh* and this is with me trying to read more of my own. ok, redoubling efforts!

03 August 2009

The Dark Is Rising

After several delays i finished up The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. Awesome book. Again, i wonder how i missed this book as a kid. it is EXACTLY what i loved at that time.

Will is a young English boy, the seventh son of a seventh son. The day before his eleventh birthday, which occurs on the shortest day of the year, he learns he is one of the Old Ones, the Sign-Seeker, gifted with special abilities. He meets Merriman Lyon, the uncle in the first book of this series, who is an Old One as well. Will learns he must find the six Signs, of Fire and Water, Wood and Stone, Iron and Bronze, before the Dark forces do. The Light has always fought the Dark but, as the title says, the Dark is rising.

I really liked this story. Lots of English mythology. Will is a great character, reminding me a bit of Harry Potter and Will from His Dark Materials. I can see that both of those stories owe a bit to Susan Cooper. a 6 and one more for my personal challenge.

Other opinions: Nymeth, It's All About Books, Joy's Blog.