31 March 2010

Hellboy

I read the first installment of the graphic novels.  Hellboy, Volume 1: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola and John Byrne.  I've seen and enjoyed both the movies so decided to read the comics when i saw that the library had them. Woohoo!  

Hellboy appears from, well we don't know where, as a child in England at the end of World War II.  Trevor Bruttenholm more or less adopts him and takes him to America.  The story then begins years later.  Hellboy is an adult, with a team of friends works at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development.  Bruttenholm dies in a bizarre way, which sends Hellboy and his team on a search to discover why.

It was a little short.  It covered only four issues which isn't many for a graphic novel compilation.  I'm going to keep reading.  a 5. 

30 March 2010

The Left Hand of Darkness

B was shocked and appalled when he mentioned The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin and i said i hadn't read it.  The next time i saw him he handed me his copy to read.

Genly Ai is a emissary from the Ecumen, a sort of Federation of worlds.  He is on a planet the Ecumen has named Winter due to the extreme cold climate.   The people are humanoid but switch between genders.  anyone can be a father or mother to a child but there is only a brief period each month when the people even want sex, a time called kemmer.  Ai first attempts to prove himself to the king of Karhide with the help of an adviser Estraven.  The king doesn't believe that Ai and the Ecumen only want to help Winter and banishes Estraven.  Estraven goes to a neighboring country Orgoreyn and Ai, after traveling through Karhide, goes there as well.  Orgoreyn is a police state though and Ai gets into massive trouble there.  Estraven proves to be trustworthy and the relationship between the two characters deepens. 


so here's a cool quote.
  A man wants his virility regarded, a woman wants her femininity appreciated, however indirect and subtle the indication of regard and appreciation.  On Winter they will not exist.  One is respected and judged only as a human being.  It is an appalling experience.  
i don't know.  I think people want to be valued, appreciated, wanted, for some reason but i don't think it's exclusively for their beauty or attractiveness.  I think that's the "optimism" part of my title shining through. 


I really liked this one.  It does start slow but you really need the "data dump" at the beginning to be able to understand the rest of the story.  a 6 from me. 

29 March 2010

Once Upon A Time


Here again!  I will be doing Quest the First, reading 5 books.  I am going to pull a few from my Librarything unread list and go from those books.  
  • The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
  • Kushiel's Scion by Jacqueline Carey (really need to read this, the longest fantasy i've had unread)
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke
  • Snow White, Blood Red edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow (short stories)
  • The Oracle's Queen by Lynn Flewelling
  • Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke 
  • Mainspring by Jay Lake (i think this falls under fantasy)
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
  • Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik 
Now i just need to finish a few of the ones i'm in the middle of!  I'm currently working on:
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (B was appalled when i said i hadn't read it; he immediately brought over his copy)
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  • Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (due back to the library on 4/9)
Eek!   

26 March 2010

Mini Vacation!

A couple of pics of my past weekend.  My friends and I went to North Carolina, to a little town called Boone.  Appalachian State University is there and it is really a college town.  Half the population is going to the school!  We went snow tubing at a place called Hawk's Nest. 

Just me.
With my friends D and C.  

We had a wonderful time.  don't be concerned about our light clothes; it was about 60 degrees and we were all sweaty.  I took off my hat and gloves pretty quickly and D and C took off their jackets too.  There were two main slides available but the conveyor belt to the larger one wasn't working so we stuck to the kiddie slide.  All in all, lots of fun.  

another upside is that B said he'd be willing to go to one of the ski places in the fall.  which made me feel goofy and smiley that he is making plans with me for months away!  *squeee!*

25 March 2010

BTT for 3/25

Easy question for me. 

Do you take breaks while reading a book? Or read it straight through? (And, by breaks, I don’t mean sleeping, eating and going to work; I mean putting it aside for a time while you read something else.)

Yup.  usually.  I frequently have a couple books going at once.  Right now i've been working on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall  by Anne Bronte the last several weeks but have read a few graphic novels and a couple books too in between.  I am liking the Bronte but it is one that needs set time to read; it is not a book to read at work with frequent interruptions. 

I also will read a non-fiction book and a fiction novel at the same time, switching back and forth as my mood changes. 

After saying all that, i will go on tears and just read things straight through.  I read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire each in pretty much one sitting.  if a book grabs me, it really grabs me and i'll avoid other tasks to finish it! 

22 March 2010

Book Obsession

On my trip this weekend, which i'll talk about later, I read The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett. I also picked this up from the library last Wednesday. It's a modern story which threw me because i had been under the impression the book covered events that had occurred a long time ago.  John Gilkey steals books through credit card fraud and bad checks and Ken Sanders is a bibliodick who connects the crimes and leads the police to capture Gilkey.  

I'm torn. I learned a bit about the book business and white collar crime which was all very interesting.  But since it is a modern story it doesn't really have an ending, it just ends.  so I am going to give this one a 4.  

sorry about the poorer written reviews these last few posts.   I'm just not feeling it right now. 

18 March 2010

The Dark Ages

One thing i did manage to do on my day off was run by the library, where i found 3 books waiting for me! One was Fables, Volume 12: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham, Mike Allred and Mark Buckingham. I've been waiting for the library to get this since, well, last August and it seems like forever. A lot of anticipation. Unfortunately this book is a bridge between where the huge storyline that carried us from Volume 1 to 11 ended and a new set of conflicts begin. Rose Red, who's been a favorite character of mine since the first issue, comes off really poorly. Another favorite of mine succumbs to war wounds. So it's a sad set of stories. overall, i think it's a 4. Definitely worth it if you follow the series but make sure you don't start here!

17 March 2010

2 More Walking Dead

I've been in a bit of a slump, reading and blogging wise at least. To attempt to jump start myself i read two volumes of The Walking Dead.

Volume 4: The Heart's Desire starts seconds after the third book ended. When two prisoners, for semi-justifiable reasons, get some guns to kick out the rest of the group, they also let out another horde of zombies. After our heros handle that crisis, the rest of the book is dedicated to interpersonal relationships. This book has been the most melodramatic one so far. I liked it less, maybe because i'm liking some of the characters less? a 4.

Volume 5: The Best Defense goes back outside the prison. The prison has a generator and the guys get the idea to siphon gas from the parking lot cars to get it started. However, while outside the gates Rick and his 2 companions see a helicopter crash. They try to find the survivors and end up in major trouble, endangering not only themselves but everyone at the prison. I really got ticked with the characters in this installment. While i can see tracking down the helicopter crash site, i don't understand why they followed the trail past the crash. Almost everything "new" since the series started has been something bad. I, personally, don't see why these characters aren't far more cautious. Overall, a 5 though. A major cliffhanger occurs at the end so i am fiending for the next one!

Also, i just saw that the spring Dewey's Read-a-Thon is now scheduled! Unfortunately, i will have to take a break from reading to deep fry a turkey on April 10th. However, for the first time ever i will have all weekend off so i do intend to read a bunch! Yay!

15 March 2010

Classics Challenge

Yay! One more challenge i'm joining, starting April 1st and running through October 31st, is the Classics Challenge. I am looking to read 6 books in the seven months. I'll be sticking to the more standard classics, off the 1001 Books list and, hopefully, my long TBR list too.

Also, looking at Librarything, i love the new header option "entry date", which tells you, duh, when you entered in each book. kinda gives me an overview of my life since April 2006. hmm, nothing entered at all between April and September 2007? really terrible things happening in my life then. but hey, other than the first two months i was on there and entered in everything i owned, the biggest month for books was July 2009 when i acquired 19! ok, i really gotta slow up the book buying. Though i got a bunch for Christmas that shouldn't count i've bought 46 in the last 6 months. eek!

12 March 2010

The Jungle

I picked a bad book for a milestone. It just happens that i've finished The Jungle by Upton Sinclair as my 101st book off the 1001 Books list. That gives me 10% done. Unfortunately i really didn't like The Jungle. If it was just a treatise on the ills of capitalism i probably wouldn't have minded but it is supposed to be a story of a family as they emigrate to the United States and, as that, it sucked ass. Boooooooooring. sad, depressing, terrible, gross, but still rather boring.

11 March 2010

BTT for 3/11

I'm going to take care of a few things today. first, BTT!


I don't particularly care. I like the illustrations from old novels from the 19th century. It is strange when the book doesn't put the illustrations facing the page it depicts though. also, occasionally the picture will spoil me if i am flipping through the book before i read it. but mostly i like them. also, i love reading graphic novels!

My dad was in the newspaper! He does some motorcycle racing and the Daytona paper did a profile piece.

Still goofy about B. He's so sweet. He is just great.

Currently: watching Fullmetal Alchemist.


07 March 2010

The Martian Way

The Martian Way & Other Stories by Isaac Asimov is a book of four short stories. Overall the stories are good, classic sci-fi, with people colonizing other planets and exploring the galaxy. My favorite was the second story, "Youth", which i can't talk about much without ruining it. "The Martian Way" was about the attitudes of colonists and the people left behind. It actually felt really relevant to today's economic troubles and i enjoyed it.

A quote from the last story "Sucker Bait", from Cimon, an astrophysicist:

"It's my opinion that information outside a professional man's specialty is useless and a waste of psycho-potential"
I know people like who think like that. I'd rather be well rounded myself. The story also argues for knowing a bit about everything rather than being so narrowly focused.

These stories are from the 50's so my biggest complaint is a product of the time. There are hardly any women in these. "The Martian Way" has one character with a shrew for a wife and that's the only female. "Sucker Bait" has no women at all, "Youth"'s only female is the housekeeper. I wish older sci-fi was a bit more balanced. Overall though i liked the book and give it a 5.

04 March 2010

Victorian Mystery


I finished The Ruby in the Smoke by Phillip Pullman this morning. Counts for the YA Challenge, Yipee! It's a fun Victorian mystery. Sally Lockhart is sixteen and her father has died. His ship sank on a trip back from India but Sally has just received a letter that must have come from him just before he sailed. When she goes to her father's company and asks about the letter's contents, the man she asks has a heart attack from shock! Sally gets pulled into a mystery that at first she doesn't understand.

Sally is a plucky, independent heroine. I liked reading about her and the friends she makes. I'll be picking up the next book in the series soon. a 6 from me.

01 March 2010

A bit disappointed

I finished Sherlock Holmes in America, edited by Martin H Greenberg, Jon L Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower. I wasn't impressed. I've read plenty of "reimaginings", "recreations" and "continuations" of Sherlock Holmes. I've really enjoyed some of them; Caleb Carr's novel The Italian Secretary was very good. The stories in this one just seemed too patchwork. Most didn't have the right "voice" and several seemed to just be setups so that Holmes could meet famous Americans like Wyatt Earp, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Theodore Roosevelt. overall, it is a 3 from me. Maybe i'll go back to the source material soon; i've been craving Holmes since i saw the movie.