Showing posts from January, 2010

The Club Dumas

I know i've read something by Arturo Perez-Reverte before. I believe i read the first Captain Alatriste novel in 2006, in the fall. The reason i am pretty sure is that was when R first got the news that he'd be having surgery and i remember sitting in a waiting room, staring at the same page and not being able to remember much.

One of the books i finished on my snow day was The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte. This is a very twisty sort of novel, complex. Lucas Corso is a rare book go-to guy. He finds books for collectors, negotiates deals, has books authenticated and, if an owner is unwilling to sell to a motivated buyer, he is able to arrange that the book becomes available, without doing the dirty work himself. He gets two assignments: a friend wants him to authenticate a handwritten chapter of The Three Musketeers and a rich client wants him to find which of three copies of a book, The Book of Nine Doors, is the real one. Several characters seem to Corso to have …

Weekly Geeks 2010-4

I had intended to write a post today about our lovely weather. The fact that it ties in with Weekly Geeks is just lagniappe! Now, to those midwesterners or Yankees that are used to this, feel free to point and laugh, but understand that this is the most snow Nashville has gotten in exactly 7 years. Jan 16, 2003 we got snow like this (i only know the date because the following day is D's birthday) but not more than an inch or two at a time since then.

so, we were supposed to get ice yesterday morning, then switching to 3-6 inches of snow. when i woke up at about 7:30 nothing had started and i figured the snow was a bust again. then, lying on my couch watching Sportscenter, i noticed it had started snowing. by about 1 pm things looked like this
Then at about 5 we'd gotten hereIt just kept going and going, then around 1 i heard a weird noise. it was a plow! I've never seen one in action.
At about that time the weather switched over to the ice we were supposed to be getti…

Can You Forgive Her?

I thought Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope was going to be my 101st book from the 1001 list, thereby pushing me to 10% read. Unfortunately, i'm still at 9.99999999% read. So close! This review may be a little spoilery so you're warned!

Alice Vavasor is a young woman who is engaged to a man really too good to be true, John Grey. Several years before Alice had "an understanding" with her cousin George (really her cousin, their fathers were brothers) but she broke off with him because he was still too wild. Alice takes a vacation with George and his sister Kate, during which she decides John is too good for her and she cannot make him happy, so she breaks up with him. Alice definitely suffers from some self-esteem problems.

At one point Alice gives her cousin George money to run for Parliament, about 1000 pounds. Various characters go on about how much money that amount is and i decided to look it up the conversion to today's dollars. I felt it was go…

BTT for 1/28

I'm doing pretty good with BTT this month!

So, today’s question is in two parts.1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?
1) i do like complicated plots and twisty tales. I don't like confusing ones though, which i think is basically a complicated plot with a poor author in charge of it. Complicated, well done, is great. George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series is complicated and i love it. if the next book ever comes out i don't think i'll have a problem getting right back into it.

2) A few that i thought of that i enjoyed that have an unexpected ending.

Ender's Game has a pretty big twist but i wouldn't say overall it's a twisty or complicated book.

The Lies of Locke Lamora has the advantage of being a caper novel. It is only mildly twisty but then "the plan comes together" and the reader gets a few great surprises at the end.


neat meme

A ten random books meme from Stuck In A Book! The idea is to pick 10 randomly from your bookshelvesand see what that says about you. I went to to get the numbers and pulled the books from my librarything list, which is in order by author. so here i go.

Number 129- When Twilight Burns by Colleen Gleason- unread, recommended by various book bloggers, i bought the series but have only read the first 2. Vampires and a kick-ass heroine.

Number 178- Magic's Price by Mercedes Lackey- read a while back and purchased after, a fantasy series that happens to have a gay hero.

Number 38- The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury- read, sci-fi short stories that i didn't particularly like. Haven't sold it or put it on paperbackswap because i bought it used for $1 and it smells heavily of cigarettes.

Number 137- Start Making Sense: Turning the Lessons of Election 2004 into Winning Progressive Politics by Don Hazen- read, probably in a very weird depressed/optimistic mood.

Number 76- Th…

Another Nashville Only Post

I just have a couple things i want to mention!
I went to The Tempest last Friday night with the atheist Meetup group I'm in. Produced by The Nashville Shakespeare Festival, The Tempest was great. It was a pretty stripped down performance, not lots of props. the costumes are pretty and Ariel flies about the stage. A 6, I highly recommend it. The play will be finishing out this weekend, Thurs-Sun.

Lightning 100 and Team Green are having a silent auction on Tuesday night to benefit relief efforts in Haiti. It is at the Team Green Mixer at the Hard Rock Cafe from 6-8.

Oh, and Go Saints! anybody have an extra 4 grand? we could go to the Superbowl together! I'll even drive!

Lookalike and Random Things

Ok, i read this short story book, Gothic, a couple years ago. i keep seeing the cover though! I completely forgive series repeats, as i get that you'd want the covers to look similar. But really, come on!

This one is for another YA novel, Captivate.

And this is for Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead.
And lastly, Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey

Then there is this version of lookalike covers:
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Need by Carrie Jones (who picks her covers?)
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
And here's The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa De La Cruz

How about we get some new ideas?

here's the random things list
I find book trailers weird. who came up with that idea? i don't know why they've become so popular. about half the time they seem to be just stills with a voice over. I can read, so why would i not just read the product description on the same website the trailer is on? anyone?Am i the only person who wishes the NFC Championship was the Super Bowl? I would lo…

The Savage

I'm really liking what I'm reading of David Almond. Yesterday i read The Savage by David Almond, illustrated by Dave McKean. It's a short little illustrated story full of anger and loss.
The story is very simple. Blue is a young boy who's father has just died. Blue has been going to a therapist who tells him to write down his feelings. He doesn't like that though; he begins writing a story about a savage boy who lives in the forest alone. The savage cannot speak, lives off scavenging tools and food. He kills people who threaten him. Blue puts his enemy, a bully from school named Hopper, into the story and the savage wants to kill him. The savage also learns of love as Blue writes of his little sister. Blue's story begins to bleed over into real life, which leads to a pretty amazing conclusion.

I liked this one but i feel it was too short! also, i got the feeling Blue was maybe 10-12 but his writing seemed much younger. I guess that's just my i…

BTT for 1/21

This was a rather hard question! After all, authors who are popular with book bloggers right now may not be widely popular but i don't know that is really what the question is after. I am going to use the "everyone" in the question as "other book bloggers". After pouring over my librarything books I'm going to go on 2 different tacks with this question.

Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

So i am first going to talk about a couple authors that are recent but i don't think i've read other people reviewing them.

Susan Hubbard: she's written several books but s…

Movies Catching Up

Last year i did a pretty good job of posting about the new movies i had seen but a poorer job of reviewing the older ones i watched. This year i think i will just try to do a monthly post of old movies, with just a rating and a few lines about what i did or didn't like. For my purposes, "old movies" are just anything i see on DVD, not at the theater. Also, i'm just doing movies i'm watching for the first time. Trust me, you don't want to see me remark that i watch, and love, The Matrix movies, LOTR, The Dark Knight, or Watchmen every single month.

To Have and Have Not- 5, sexier than i thought, with a fun happy ending. No one would make such a quiet movie now, it would be so actioned up i'd hate it. the first Bogie-Bacall. The Red Shoes-2, Ugh! pretty ballet scenes but not for me. Female empowerment! No squealy "i'm crazy" scenes!
Rope- 5, tense Hitchcock, i can see Tarantino doing a remake with more likable murderers.
District 9- 6, damn good …

David Inside Out

I liked the second book i read for the YA Challenge much more than the first. David Inside Out, by Lee Bantle, is about a teenage boy discovering himself. He is a junior, 16, a scholarship student at a private school. He sort of has a girlfriend but has thoughts about one of the boys on his cross country team. His best friend comes out at school and, while nothing terrible happens, many of the students treat him badly and even David doesn't know how to act. When David gets an anonymous letter he begins to really look at how he feels and what he wants.

I both did and did not relate to David. My high school experience was so far from David's, even without the gay issue, that i couldn't see myself making some of the same choices. Other parts were very relatable: falling for someone, the first sexual experience, worrying about the future. It is a very fast read though, in my opinion too fast. i give this one a 5.

More Sandman

I read The Dream Hunters (Sandman Vol. 11) by Neil Gaiman and Yoshitaka Amano. This was one of the books my darling (ha) B gave me for Christmas. It is a lovely fable. A fox and a badger make a bet to try to force a monk from his temple. Whoever wins gets to take the temple as their home. The monk is just as wise as the animals are crafty and figures out the various schemes. As the fox begins to know the monk she falls in love with him. When she overhears some demons discussing a plan to kill the monk through his dreams she acts to save him.

It isn't exactly a graphic novel. It is a heavily illustrated long short story. Amano doesn't do little illustrations. I imagine every panel to have been a huge wall hanging, brushwork on silk. They are all so lovely, especially the ones with the fox in girl form with the monk. Morpheus in his Japanese incarnation is very cool too. The demons look creepy and the evil witches scary. I give this a 6.

Ah yeah! Go Saints! On to t…

The Little Stranger

Yesterday at work I finished The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I don't know how to talk about it! I usually try to post non-spoilery things unless the book is quite old. This book just came out last year! But it is difficult to talk about without going into specifics, especially things that occur later in the novel. So let me go with the facts. It's a ghost story in post-WWII England. Doctor Faraday is 40, a bachelor, and worried about his career as things change in England. He becomes acquainted with the Ayreses of Hundreds Hall, Mrs. Ayres who is in her mid-60s, Caroline, the daughter in her late 20's, and Roderick, the ex-RAF officer who's injuries Faraday begins to treat.

Hundreds is practically falling down around the family. Caroline and Roderick are doing what they can but with no money and little prospect for restorations the house just fades. Then, strange things begin to happen. Faraday never seems to experience anything directly, he is always tell…

BTT for 1/14

So, a quickie question.
Suggested by Prairie Progressive:Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?Umm, yes and no? I'm currently reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters because someone, i honestly don't know where, recommended it. I was about 1/3 of the way through when i decided to read the flap to see what exactly the book was going to be about. I'm enjoying it very much, i just wanted an idea of where it was going. The flap, however, didn't really tell me anything more than what i had already known.

if i am browsing for books then i will read the backs for the summary. I don't buy hardbacks so the flaps aren't what i read! I don't like flaps or the backs of books that only consist of blurbs from other authors. That really really annoys me. Unless the book has been a gigantic bestseller, all books should have something that gives an idea as to what it is about. Even if it is just "the latest Jack Ryan a…

Post 600!@!?


According to Blogger, this post makes 600 for me on this blog. i wasn't sure how i should mark the occasion. Should i just allow it to go by? just do a regular review of what ever book i finish, good or bad? Finangle so i review something i loved? Talk about a cause i care about? Beg for money for the arts?
The Haiti earthquake and Pat Robertson made my decision for me. I'm going to beg and rant.
First off, i always, always, have so much compassion for disaster victims. the 2006 Tsunami, Katrina, tornadoes, i feel so terrible for everyone. I donated to Partners in Health today but you can go to Doctors Without Borders or Oxfam or text "YELE" to 501501 to donate $5 on your next cell bill to Wyclef Jean's foundation Yele Haiti. If you can donate, do so.

Now, to the ridiculous comments of Pat Robertson. Beliefs like these are why i am so glad i don't believe in a god. Because if Pat Robertson's god is real, he's a petty, small minded creature.…

First YA Book of the Year

My first YA book for the year is a bust. I wanted to like Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I was looking forward to it, put it on my library list as soon as i saw it was on order, even friended the book on Facebook. I just couldn't manage to like it.

Gatlin is a small, insular southern town. Our Hero, Ethan Wate, is the son of two writers; his father from Gatlin, his mother an outsider who has passed away at the beginning of the novel. He's been having strange dreams for months about a girl he can't save from danger. On the first day of his sophomore year he meets this girl. Lena has just moved to town to live with her uncle, the rich town shut in, Macon Ravenwood. While Ethan knows she's different than the kids he's grown up with, he finds out very quickly she's got special powers.

Ethan finds out Lena is a Caster. She's approaching her 16th birthday (and apparently driving without a license!) when she will be Chosen to become…

The Serpent's Tale

At about 1:30 this morning i finished The Serpent's Tale by Ariana Franklin. It is the second book detailing the adventures of Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, a mistress in the art of death.

So, anything you find out in the first chapter isn't a spoiler right? It is about a year and a half after the end of the previous novel. Well, Rowley Picot is now the Bishop of St. Albans. Adelia has had their child, a healthy girl named Allie. They both live with Glytha and Mansur in the Fens as the doctors of the town have run them out. So much for Adelia's patrons! That bit really, really ticked me off. Henry Plantagenet won't allow Adelia to leave his country but doesn't make any arrangements for her. Prior Geoffrey appears at the beginning and does feel he should do more for Adelia and her little family. Rowley (sort of) has an excuse, Adelia made him leave and the Church, since he wasn't their choice, is looking for any reason to get him fired.

When Henry…

Giovanni's Room

A beautifully written, sad sad book. Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin, is a book about a man in Paris, David, struggling with his sexuality. The story is told in flashbacks. At the beginning we already know that David is alone, his fiancee Hella has left him and his lover Giovanni is scheduled to die by guillotine for murder. Slowly, David tells the story of how he meets Giovanni, how they become lovers, and how David leaves him. Baldwin, through his writing, makes you both hate and love David.

a few lines, as soon as i read them, reminded me of R, a perfect description of him:
I had decided to allow no room in the universe for something which shamed and frightened me. I succeeded very well--by not looking at the universe, by not looking at myself, by remaining, in effect, in constant motion. R was one for constant motion and i think sustained it because he can't, or at least couldn't, handle quiet and self-reflection.

But enough about exes. I loved this book. Lov…

Btt for 1/7 and Snow!

First, let me get BTT out of the way.
What books did you get for Christmas (or whichever holiday you may have celebrated last month)?Do you usually ask for books on gift-giving occasions or do you prefer to buy them yourself?So, from B i received
Sandman: Endless NightsSandman, Book 11: The Dream HuntersThe Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch, graphic novelSandman, Book 9: The Kindly Ones
The Cajun Night after Christmas- kids picture book i wanted
The Collected Stories of Philip K Dick, Vol. 1The Sandman Papers: An Exploration of the Sandman MythologyAnd from my parents i got The Walking Dead, Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars.I am perfectly happy getting books for presents. I have a big list on amazon of things i want so people can get ideas.

So, here's a pop quiz, especially funny for those who are in the North or Midwest US. How much snow does it take to shut down Nashville, Tn?

This much!

Just for comparison, that picture was taken at about 12 noon. here is one from about …


Since i couldn't get out of work on New Year's Eve, i decided to take this past Monday off. I went down to my friends' house and cooked them dinner, then we went to see Sherlock Holmes.

Awesome! While the story is completely new, it gets the right tone of the world of Sherlock Holmes. The Holmes/Watson banter is perfect. Jude Law is cute as Watson. I could have gone without Rachel McAdams but she wasn't a terrible distraction. The basic plot is about a secret society trying to take over England and, by extension, the world. i was worried about halfway through that they were going to have actual supernatural explanations but ended up being very happy with the movie. a 6!

Eating Animals

Ok, firstly, Jonathan Safran Foer looks like a grown up Harry Potter. Seriously, go pull up his Wikipedia page and take a look. I'll be here.

See what i mean!

Secondly, Eating Animalsis the gentlest "go vegetarian" book i've read. Like Foer, i've gone off and on vegetarianism, though really just for the last 10 years, not my whole life. Foer begins really researching factory farming when he has his first child; he realizes that if he's going to be responsible for how this little boy eats then he must be able to answer his own questions.

It is strange how people relate to food. I've never really had to defend the fact that i rarely wear makeup or do my hair. Nobody gets pissed because i choose to drive a little car (a Nissan Versa in my case). But mention being vegetarian and people get actively angry! In many cases they actively jump into argument mode, attempting to convince my why they are right to eat meat. in my experience, even saying i'm…

Two Gentlemen from Verona

Though it is the shortest of the Arkangel Shakespeare productions i've listened to, Two Gentlemen of Verona is the one i've liked the least. I didn't like the production because between scenes they play this slow jazz, very jarring when listening to a Renaissance comedy. I also didn't like the story because of my personal prejudices against cheating boyfriends!

The two gentlemen are Proteus and Valentine. Proteus is in love with Julia in Verona. Valentine goes to stay at the Duke of Milan's home. There he falls for the Duke's daughter, Syliva (why did Shakespeare have to make their names so similar? why not Julia and Regan?). Then Proteus' father sends him to the Duke's so Proteus can gain life experience. There, Proteus also falls for Sylvia and connives so that the Duke finds out Valentine and Sylvia were going to elope. Meanwhile, since Julia misses her man so much she dresses as a boy and follows him to Milan. With Valentine out of the way,…

A Book B Rec'd and What I Did on New Year's Eve

I promised myself that i would finish up the books i'd started last year (ha!) before starting any new ones. so that means finishing 3 books. The first I completed late last night. I liked the book B handed me a month ago, The Reality Dysfunction, Part 2: Expansion by Peter F Hamilton, more than i liked the first part. Since everyone was introduced in the first book and the events have already begun, there is much more action in this book, less setup.

Lalonde finally has gotten so bad that real help is supposed to be coming. First, the LDC hire a huge contingent of mercenaries, ships and people, to come in to quell what they still think is some sort of xenoc (Hamilton never defines his terms, i think that means alien) invasion. And at the same time the Confederation Navy gets involved. Unfortunately, since the possessed people can turn others into possessed so quickly, a pretty awesome space battle ensues. Meanwhile, the scientists of Tranquility find out more about the ali…

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