27 February 2010
What is amazing is that this book has been out since September 2008 and there are still 92 holds on the library's 31 copies. WOW! Just a comparison, Under the Dome came out November 2009 and there are just 55 holds on the 31 copies. so Larsson is twice as popular as King? Maybe books like this will get more americans reading books in translation. I just put the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, on request and there are 59 people in front of me. ah well.
25 February 2010
I did like the art; it is almost an adult "where's waldo" in every panel. all the Cityscape is overstuffed. This future is one of extreme sensory overload, which i feel might be a way we are headed. The writing is good and the story comes along in the last couple issues of the volume. In the final issue covered i even liked Spider, just not enough to make up for the fact that i didn't like him the rest of the time. I guess that is why i didn't particularly like this book.
My library has several volumes of this series but not the second one. I don't know when I'll be able to get back to it, or if i even want to. a 4 from me.
24 February 2010
The Man Who Knew Too Much- 5, more Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart.
Wolverine- 4, ok, ugh. i mean i get that this was not going to be too faithful to the series but i was pretty disappointed. although...Hugh Jackman is lovely so that is what gives this a 4. nice to see Dom Monaghan in a big movie, even if he was the same wisecracking guy as on LOST. far too many interesting side characters that deserved way more screen time.
Dial M for Murder- 7, awesome! i was rooting for literally every character at one point or another. the Mastermind, the Cheating Wife, the Inept Killer, the Police Inspector. my favorite Hitchcock so far this year.
Mirrormask- very pretty, 5. fantasy movie about a teen, Helena, who has a fight with her mother and says that dreaded line in these movies "i wish you were dead!", and shortly thereafter the mother passes out and is rushed to the hospital. Helena draws and retreats into a fantasy world created from the drawings to save a queen and perhaps her mother as well. Very much a fairy tale, reminded me a lot of Labyrinth.
Vertigo- 4, how many movies did Hitch and Stewart make together? This one was weird. had it been 30 mins shorter it would have been less creepy but i might have enjoyed it more.
Bridge over the River Kwai- 6, I don't know if I've seen Alec Guiness as any character but Obi-Wan Kenobi. I was very very impressed by his character, Colonel Nicholson. another very good WW2 movie.
Star Trek: Nemesis- 5, felt like a long Next Generation episode. Not bad though.
22 February 2010
I was intrigued by Nymeth's review of this book. I had it on my wishlist for a bit and when i got a coupon for Powell's decided to buy it. I'm very pleased i did! the art is great and the story is sad and touching and good! i give this a 6! and this counts in the Bad Bloggers category of the TwentyTen Challenge!
21 February 2010
so today i finished my read of Paul Tremblay's The Little Sleep. The title, of course, is an homage to The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler's first novel featuring the detective Philip Marlowe. Tremblay's detective is Mark Genevich who lives in Boston, not L.A. He also suffers from narcolepsy, with symptoms that range from falling asleep in cabs to having intense hallucinations to automatic behavior. How can a detective, how can any person, operate when what they see may not be real and there are gaps in your life that you don't even know exist?
Genevich's normal cases involve research and internet surfing, which minimizes the effect his condition has on his work. One day he gets a visit from an American Idol star who claims that her fingers have been stolen. Genevich later realizes that part is one of his hallucinations but there are real pictures on his desk of a naked woman who looks a lot like the star. Genevich starts trying to piece his case together before he can even start on solving it. He can be pretty philosophical.
Someone at one time or another wrote all those letters but, unlike their bodies, their armies of letters live on, like swarms of locusts bearing long-dead messages of happiness or doom or silliness.Tremblay has a good, solid style. Part of why i'm not a huge fan of the noir detective stories is that the detective always seems to know so much more than the reader. In this one, Genevich is confused because of his condition and he's not ahead of the reader at all. The mystery isn't a standard type either. also, even though Genevich is an unreliable narrator, he's not trying to trick the reader. I felt for him; narcolepsy has moved to second place (behind blindness) on my "shit i don't want to have" list. I liked this one but wouldn't recommend it if you don't like noir. a 5 from me.
As i was pulling these other opinions, i saw this book is nominated for a Stoker award. Neat! Others' opinions: Birdbrained Book Blog, Follow the Thread.
20 February 2010
- I am now, officially, off on weekends! And Wednesdays for that matter. I've not had weekends off since spring 2007. I'm so excited about this.
- Still seeing B, still ridiculously smitten. I want to post pictures but I've not taken any of us together and i don't know if he would want me to post the ones i've taken of him. they are fine! just casual. Part of the excitement over the schedule change is that now we will have a day off together. he's cute and sweet and funny and bought me flowers! We just sync up so well. ok, done gushing.
- I'm such a geek i want to go to the Harry Potter theme park.
- I've loved the snow and cold weather we've gotten but the last 3 days have been warm and beautiful too. in a couple week my friends D and C and I will be going snow tubing!
- I've managed to avoid being ill this winter as well; i am pleased.
- I decided to join my CSA again but at a half share this time. Last year i split a box with R and we had way, way too much food. The only thing we didn't get enough of was strawberries and melons. So this year i will get half a box and still give out 1/3 to 1/2 of it.
- i'm kinda addicted to mafia wars. if you are too, look me up! stazimel (at) gmail (dot) com. i'll be your friend! :)
- Pineapple salsa is ok but mango/peach salsa is awesome.
- i need to rededicate myself to reading my own books and stop getting them from the library for a little bit.
- The Olympics has me sold on British Columbia. I need a passport.
18 February 2010
Giles is really a second cousin to Bilbo, character-wise. Common sense, a good bit of luck, and love of a simple life connect them. It's a great little story that i highly recommend. a 6!
17 February 2010
I read The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba last night. It starts with dozens of women, none of whom thought they were pregnant, delivering infants all around the world. An eccentric billionaire, Reginald Hargreeves, finds seven of the children and takes them to be raised as a superhero team. He's a pretty lousy father figure, even telling Seven that "there's just nothing special about you' when she seems to have no powers like her siblings.
We see an adventure the kids go on as 10 year olds, which reminded me a bit of the X-babies issues of X-men. Then we jump 20 years in the future to Hargreeves death. the team is all split up due to a falling out over the death of a member. we find out various bits and pieces of the story as we go back and forth to current events and flashbacks. I just think there were too many unexplained bits. Where are all the other special kids? Why do chimps talk in this world? How did Number 1's head get transplanted onto a giant gorilla? What exactly are Seance's and Kraken's powers?
Now i love Lost so i am all about out of order stories and getting questions answered slowly. But this book was just too out of order with not enough info for me to find the rest of it really enjoyable, which is why i give it a 4. Is it an interesting premise? Yes. Would i pick up the second volume from the library if they had it? Yes. I just think it would work better as a real series as opposed to a couple of short limited series. But Gerard Way, as the lead of My Chemical Romance, is pretty unlikely to hand off his characters to someone else to write a monthly. overall, great idea but give me more.
Other opinions: A Chain of Letters, Book Pirate.
also, on a completely different note, i saw this the other day on the City Paper, It figures.
15 February 2010
This book is a 4 for me. It counts for the 20Ten Challenge Bad Blogger category, as it was Carl's NON-spoiler review that finally made me add this to my library list. Also, his cover picture is much better than the one i had. Other Opinions: At Home with Books, Devourer of Books, Books on the Brain, Rhapsody in Books, Fantasy Book Critic, Stuff as Dreams, Nomad Reader. There are TONS more out there though.
12 February 2010
A few weeks ago i read several posts about diversifying your reading, taking in things from people from different countries, of different races. It seemed to start making the blog rounds as people responded to Bloomsbury's whitewashing of the Magic Under Glass cover. Posts on Shelf Love, A Striped Armchair, My Friend Amy, and The Book Lady's Blog made me realize how much i don't pay attention to the race, gender, or ethnicity of the authors i read and characters i read about. I mean, unless you count "British" as a different ethnicity i can only think of 2 books offhand that i read with either a main character of a different race or an author who was. I want to change that. I signed up for the People of Color reading challenge and will read 10-15 POC books this year.
Today i finished The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. It is sort of a novel, sort of a series of interlaced short stories. I really enjoyed it and give it a 6. The opening chapter is about a young sculptor who, on a trip to sell her first piece, finds out her father was not a prisoner as she thought but a torturer. She begins to question her life; how could her quiet, loving father have murdered people? For the remaining chapters we then jump around in time and see different pieces of different lives, all Haitians and in some way connected to the Dew Breaker. I think my favorite was Night Talkers, about a young man who returns to Haiti to tell his aunt that he may have met the man who murdered his parents but learns more about belonging and family. Another good chapter is Monkey Tails. That one is about a man, telling a story to his unborn son, about being twelve during the revolution in 1986.
The only thing that i didn't like is my own fault. It took me until the third chapter to realize that the characters i read about in the first chapter were not the ones in the second chapter. So i had to go back and reread it, not trying to relate the story back to the starting chapter. does that make sense? The characters have a great depth and there were several passages that brought tears to my eyes. Danticat is a great writer; I've snapped up another of her books at the library already.
11 February 2010
How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?
I can only speak from the experience i have as being the oldest of 5 kids. The youngest two in our family are 12 and 18 years younger than me so i don't know that their experiences match up with me and the two brothers closest to me. Our habits were built in the 80's; we didn't get a Nintendo or a vcr until we were 12, 10 and 8 respectively. we had 1 tv, in the living room, and the parents used that in the evenings. The three of us were used to entertaining ourselves with reading, playing together with toys or board games, running around outside, riding bikes, that sort of stuff. So, limiting screen time, for the whole family, would be one thing i will try to do when i do have kids. It certainly couldn't hurt.
I also saw both my parents reading when i was a child and i don't remember ever being restricted or stopped from reading a particular book. They had very different tastes so we were exposed to lots of different novels. My mom read a lot of romance and historical fiction with a few mysteries thrown in, while my dad was more hard sci-fi, thriller/spy/war novels, and a few classics. I don't know that i ever saw either of them pick up a book the other was reading. BUT i also never remember either of them ridiculing the other's choices. I know that we were given books they felt we would like, as well as being encouraged to read challenging things.
My parents read to us and i remember reading to my brothers. When the younger one was in first/second grade i was in fifth/sixth and i often was the one to listen to him do his reading homework. Hopefully i wasn't too hard on him. Do you remember the storybooks that had a record with them that read the story? we probably had a dozen or so of those, like Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and would listen and act out the story rather than reading along in the book. Maybe having an active way to discover a story could help kids value stories themselves.
Of the three of us, my oldest brother and i are the heaviest readers while the younger one does read but with kids 5 and 3 has a lot less time to do it. My parents still read too. Maybe it is just in our genes?
09 February 2010
I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak today. The narrator is Death and the book is set in Germany between 1939-1944 so i wasn't expecting a happy tale! Leisel is our book thief. She is nine when she steals a book she finds in a graveyard where her little brother is being buried. They were on the way to their foster home when the little boy died. Leisel finishes the trip and ends up at the home of Rosa and Hans Hubermann, an older couple with two grown children and no other foster kids. Rosa is loud and an expert in profanity while Hans is quiet and calm. They live in a suburb of Munich and are relatively poor.
As she begins to settle in she makes friends with her neighbor Rudy Stiener. Leisel learns to read from her new papa Hans and learns to steal with Rudy and the other kids in the neighborhood. At first the war doesn't affect her life much: she has to join the Hitler Youth and go to weekly meetings and food and goods are rationed. One day a man named Max appears at the Hubermann's home and changes everything for Liesel. He's Jewish and the son of the man who saved Hans' life in World War 1 so the Hubermann's take him in and hide him in their basement.
I finished it maybe an hour ago and i still kinda can't stop crying. I'm stopping and starting again when i think of a particular moment from the novel. You should really read this one. it started out a little choppy for me as i had to get used to Death's way of narration. There are lots of asides, interruptions, and forward and backtracking. You learn early on that certain characters will die and that doesn't detract from the book. My response at least was to savor them all the more. i can't recommend this one more highly. a 7.
Others: Maw Books, So Many Books, At Home with Books, MT TBR, Bookish Kitty, Bites, Tea Cozy, The Book Lady, Book a Week.
08 February 2010
The setting is so weird. It really seems to be a Western or could have taken place in rural Australia as it was colonized. The science of Mars is all wrong of course; one character makes a living smuggling foods to Mars by rocket! The expenses would be so enormous that there's no way that would work, even with much faster travel. I think Dick just sets it on Mars to help it qualify as sci-fi for his readership. It wasn't bad at all but not what i was expecting. a 5 from me.
07 February 2010
Great game all around! Loved seeing the camera cut to Manning on the sideline in the second and third quarters looking all pouty. i was a little concerned in the first quarter but after that i got confident. unfortunately i still bit all my fingernails off. ouch! I love that for once i don't have to say "well, maybe next year..." it was great that i suddenly got half a dozen text messages from my family down there. Hope one of them gets me an authentic New Orleans Saints NFL Champion tee shirt for me! black please! I can't imagine how much fun Mardi Gras is going to be this year. Geaux Saints!
02 February 2010
I had actually read this as a short story before in one of Gaiman's collections but didn't realize it until about halfway through. The story starts as the end, as three friends are discussing what they should do about a fourth person's disappearance. We then travel back and hear how the fourth person, named Miss Finch by our narrator, departed. The three people get roped into entertaining Miss Finch, a bio-geologist, for an evening. Before going to get sushi, they head to an underground circus in London. It's more of a geek show, with various magic tricks and macabre acts. When the abrasive Miss Finch gets picked to have her heart's desire come true, things get even more strange.
The art was really lovely. Apparently Michael Zulli has drawn for Sandman and his work did look familiar. This one is a 6. I think a Sandman reread is in store for me in the next few weeks; i read a theory on EW about LOST (starting up tonight!) that linked back to the Sandman series.
01 February 2010
Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.
I don't know how many times i've read The Hobbit. maybe a dozen times? a few years ago i read a big illustrated version when i went home to my parents for a week, just because it was there. i know i have listened to the audiobook at least twice too. B and i were discussing childhood books and we both followed the same pattern: read The Hobbit and loved it, tried LOTR and couldn't understand it, then came back to LOTR a couple years later and loved it. The Hobbit is so accessible, especially to youngsters. Bilbo is small, not physically strong, who wants comfort and peace. Kids can relate to being underestimated and scared in a big bad world and seeing another small, scared person overcome makes you think maybe you can too. I love the ending. Most stories would end with the Battle of Five Armies ending, Bilbo being a hero and getting lots of treasure. Not this one though. Bilbo goes home. He returns to his journey's beginning, older and wiser, with treasures bigger than the gold in his sacks. Of course this is a 7.
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations.