31 July 2010

Inception was Amazing

B and I went to the movies on his bday this last week. We saw Inception and i absolutely looooved it. Great story, awesome effects, superb actors. I managed to avoid spoilers; i went in just knowing it was about invading people's dreams, that Leo and comp. recruit Ellen Page as a new thief. That was it and it made the movie so much better. There were several huge GASP moments for me. If you like Christopher Nolan's non-Batman stuff (Memento, The Prestige) and David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) and the Matrix movies you will enjoy this one!

Anyone want to talk about that last shot in the comments! There may be spoilers there!

29 July 2010

That Means What?

I finished How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C Foster on Wednesday. It is a pretty fast read for non-fiction. Essentially, Foster breaks down some major tropes, allusions and symbols for the lay reader. A big part of the book was a refresher of things i'd learned waaaay back in AP English Lit my last 2 years of high school, which i am glad i remembered. Foster mentions a lot of other books so my TBR has extended itself, again. *sigh* a 5 i would say. I've got Reading Like a Writer around here somewhere; maybe i'll read that soon. I've got 9(!) books from the library right now that i need to get through though.

26 July 2010

Novella and a Concert

I read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer yesterday. It's a short little novella, big letters on small pages, so it wasn't a big deal to read quickly. Bree Tanner is the character who surrenders at the end of the battle in Eclipse, only to be killed by the Volturi. In this little book we find out what happened to her, and the rest of Victoria's troops, in the week or so leading up to the battle. As Bree befriends a couple of boys, Diego and Fred, she tells her own story of how Riley lured her, a teenage runaway, into his clutches with the offer of a cheeseburger. Tragic. Though she does kind of get sappy at the end about Diego, a guy she's been friends with only days, Bree is much stronger than Bella was. Wish she could have lived! a 5.

The other thing i did yesterday was go to a concert. My friend D got tickets for Melissa Etheridge and i got to go with her! We first saw her back in 1999 (wow, i'm really getting old) and it was cool to see the same performer again after such a long gap. I remember from that first concert Etheridge sang "Piece of My Heart" and I had to introduce D to the Janis Joplin song as she had only ever heard the god-awful Faith Hill cover. ick. Etheridge is a damned good singer and performer. She and her band played about 2 hours and 45 minutes total with the encore. The only cover this time was "It's Crying Time Again" as a sort of tribute to the Ryman and her own country roots. She played all her hits, of course, and 4 tracks off her new album too. The crowd was great and really into it. a 6 for sure and if you like her music at all i would encourage you to see her live!

25 July 2010

61 Hours

Yesterday i picked up a couple of books from the library. One was 61 Hours by Lee Child. I noticed it had a "7 Day Checkout" sticker, so i opened it up when i got home to read a little bit. When B came in about 9 i had only about 80 pages left! And since it is an action novel i was pretty much compelled to finish it.

Jack Reacher is an ex-Army cop who travels around with no baggage. period, not even a toothbrush or change of clothes. He buys a ride off a tour bus driver and ends up stuck in a South Dakota prison town when the bus slides off the road. The little town is practically locked down, due to a meth-producing biker gang who are threatening a witness. The police know that someone is going to try to kill the witness but don't know how and when. Reacher gets involved with the protection detail and using his old contacts to find out about the biker's base of operations.

I've never read a Jack Reacher novel. I have, however, read many Dirk Pitt novels by Clive Cussler. It is sorta the same type of formula. This book is far more realistic than most of the Pitt books. So, i'll be headed to the library today to pick up the first book in the series, Killing Floor. a 5.

24 July 2010

Farmer's Market

I took some pics of my farm box this week. Gobs of tomatoes and peppers, corn, okra, zucchini, summer squash, blackberries. oh and 2 sorts of eggplant. mmm.

honeydew melon and fresh half and half.

my poor cherry tomato plant is pretty much done i think.
lots of plants.
mint is great! i have too much.

Need to make some pesto. This is purple basil.

Spot the problem?

How i got like seven four inch long giant caterpillars without noticing them i have no idea. they were sooooo creepy. I didn't want to touch them. I did pick them off but i used a plastic bag around my hand. If B had been here i would have made him do it! I feel i can choose to occasionally be girly about gross bugs. I shall be vigilant! They ate a bunch of leaves and stems and even two actual tomatoes.





21 July 2010

Madame Bovary

I had to get up early this morning, for a day off at least, and head in to work to pick my next shift. When i got back home at 815 I started applying for some more jobs. I could make $78/day as a substitute teacher. hmm. not great but not bad either. Would it be unethical for me to apply to be an Administrative Assistant at the College of Bible and Ministry? I bet it would be. And possibly they could fire me if they found out i am an atheist.

The other thing i did this morning was finish up Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. I had somehow missed this book in my college lit classes. a 6, it counts for the Classics Challenge and the 1% Challenge too.

Ok, i'm going to take a nap now.

20 July 2010

Bits and Bobs

Sort of a catch all post.

Work has been busy and exhausting and frustrating; i am finally mentally finished with this job. I'm looking for a new one. Anyone hiring in Nashville? Will work for books and my car payment! :)

I'm sick of the elections in Tennessee. I've yet to see a single ad for a person i'd vote for. I'm hoping that i'm just missing the Democrats' ads but i have a bad feeling that i haven't, that they are just talking about the same crap that the Republicans are spewing.

I need to start doing the Saturday Farmer's Market posts. Here's the state of my tomato plants. I've succumbed and bought some liquid fertilizer to try to save the cherry tomato but, while the actual tomatoes are looking better, the plant itself is worse. There are some little branches with tiny green leaves coming out from the main stem so maybe it will be ok. It isn't a water or light issue as the regular tomato plant right next to it is fine. I know we'll have plenty more sun in TN so i may go ahead and get a new tomato plant if this one dies.
I highly recommend mint to anyone who can't grow plants. The stuff is amazing. it just grows and grows no matter where it is on the porch or how much water it gets. It's right in the middle of this picture. I'll be making some pesto for B tomorrow with some of that basil.
The nasturnium is doing well with pretty orangey flowers. We saw some hummingbirds the other day going from that to the geranium. Will have to get more of each of those next year.

I just joined Goodreads but don't know if i want to go through the trouble of uploading books and really getting into it. Has anyone used both Goodreads and Librarything? I love librarything myself and i was on it first. I've gotten several books from their early review giveaways.

I've now read a book and a half on my phone. I have an Android phone and Kindle now has a program for that device. I'll be posting about reading on that soon.

13 July 2010

Demonic or Crazy?

I finished a shocking book this weekend. A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans is so suspenseful I kept reading it while tipsy. B thought it was interesting, watching me finish a book. I'll have to keep an eye on him next time he's getting to the ending of one!

George is a new father in NYC. He goes to a psychiatrist at the beginning of the book because he can't bring himself to touch his new son. Not to feed or hold or change his nappies. He, and his wife, are rightly concerned. When George mentions that he went to a psychiatrist as a child, the doctor asks him to write down what happened, probably expecting something along the lines of "my dad died, i was bullied at school, i was depressed". What George writes is more like "my dad died, i was bullied at school, i was maybe possessed by a demon and participated in some exorcisms with my dad's buddies. oh, and i was hospitalized as a danger to others". bit of a difference.

Is George crazy? was he really possessed as a kid? was he crazy then but sane now? While i know i've mentioned not being pleased with unreliable narrators i didn't have any problem with this book. George didn't really seem unreliable, just deeply troubled and sad, especially as the book goes along. I had a bit of trouble getting into the book to begin; the story is written as if George is talking to you, his psychiatrist. after i got used to the voice i just loved the story. I also recommend making sure you've got time to read the last 75 pages or so straight through.

This book counts for the 2010 Reading Challenge in the Shiny & New category. B's parents gave me the book for my birthday. Thanks for the great read! a 6 from me. I wish i remember why this one popped up on my TBR. Whether it was another blogger's review or a blurb on amazon, i'm really glad i read it. I'm still thinking about the ending.

12 July 2010

Tally Post 3

As of 7/11
Total books read: 77

Library books: 54
Graphic novels: 18

Non-fiction: 9


Challenges

YA Challenge: 7/12
Science Book Challenge: 1/3
Chunkster Challenge: 3/4

2010 Challenge: 7/20
POC Reading Challenge: 4/10-15
Classics Challenge: 1/6

OUaT4 Challenge: 3/5

1% Challenge: 2/13

At this point i've not completed any challenges. I didn't complete the Once Upon a Time 4 challenge, coming up two short. As for the rest, I'm not too bad off with them but need to get on the Classics challenge as it ends first on Oct 31, 2010. I'm on par to read about what i read total last year but i am well under my last year's average for non-fiction. hmmm.

11 July 2010

Hornet's Nest

On my trip to the Northeast, I read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. I started in Chicago's O'Hare airport on the 3rd and finished on the flight back to Nashville on the 7th.

Talking about this book is spoilery for the previous book. the first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, stands alone just fine but the second and third read like one long novel really. Blomquist and company spend this book uncovering the conspiracy of secret agents that have dogged Salander her whole life. Though she spends most of the book in the hospital, Salander also helps with the research as well as paying back the help that she's being given.

Can i become a journalist or a hacker? I must say that those two careers come off as particularly enticing in these books. I'd be an excellent researcher but not as good of a writer i think.

I would say this one if a 5 but the series is a 6. the first book is the best for sure. This one does count for my Chunkster Challenge list too!

10 July 2010

The Red House Mystery

I enjoyed this little mystery. The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne is an English country house murder mystery. The edition i got from the library included an introduction by Milne describing why he wrote it and what a good mystery should include. I really liked the intro.


This book is a locked room mystery where you think you know what must have happened, then proceeds to show what really happened. Mark is the owner of the Red House, with many friends visiting, including Bill Beverly. Over breakfast one morning gets a letter saying his blackguard of a brother, Robert, is back from Australia and going to come to the Red House that afternoon. The guests go off for their various activities. The perspective shifts then to Antony Gillingham, a friend of Bill's who decides to head up to the house to visit him. As he arrives he hears a gunshot, and with Matthew Cayley, Mark's secretary, discovers Robert's body in a locked room. Mark has disappeared. Tony becomes an amateur detective and Bill his willing Watson.

i liked the dynamic between Bill and Tony. I liked reading about life before TV and computers and cell phones and lots of cars. I'm not romanticizing the past; i know that gobs of people worked to make the upper class English lifestyle possible. It was an interesting slice of life. The mystery was good with some nice twists and turns. and i even pulled some reading quotes:
"The library was worth going into, passages or no passages. Antony could never resist another person's bookshelves. As soon as he went into the room, he found himself wandering round it to see what books the owner read or (more likely) or did not read, but kept for the air which they lent the house"
and
"There was indeed a “frightful lot” of books. The four walls of the library were plastered with them from floor to ceiling, save only where the door and the two windows insisted on living their own life, even though an illiterate one"
Very recommended, a 6. I finished this one right when i got to Chicago on July 3rd. oh, and for those with a Kindle, it is free on amazon.

09 July 2010

Great Trip!

so, i am back from my little vacation.

On Saturday, I flew from Nashville to Chicago and then Chicago to LaGuardia in New York. Michael Emerson, who plays Ben on LOST, was on the flight to LaGuardia! I didn't get a picture or anything but he seemed very nice and personable, not creepy like his LOST character. Meaning, i guess, that he's an awesome actor!

Sunday we drove to PA and i saw a bit of Long Island, New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania along the way. Playing at the lake was fun and i only had a little burn. I met various cousins, second cousins, family friends and kids.

B's parents and family were really nice, and i'm not just saying that because they might be reading! :) Everyone made me feel so welcome. They gave me birch beer (yum) and books (very yum) for my birthday, which apparently they discovered from amazon or facebook.

Tuesday we spent in New York City. We took the Long Island Railroad in and stopped by B's sister's house in Brooklyn for lunch and to watch the soccer game. Then more subway down to 42nd St and the Circle Line boat tour. After that we went by Times Square, then back to the subway and the train back to Long Island. I can see how people would like mass transit; it was so nice not to have to drive around in the crazy traffic.

Wednesday, my birthday, we came back to Nashville. Didn't run into any famous people though. I really appreciated the super smooth flights. Go United! My plants and Kenny the fish survived just fine.

ok, pictures!

The beach at Harveys Lake, PA.

B reading.
Waiting on the train to NYC

Me, too hot!

NYC

Brooklyn Bridge

Tall buildings!

BOO! HISS!

Statue of Liberty. It's much smaller than it looks in movies.

B and I on the boat, i don't think we normally look this goofy.

Me, a bit exhausted, in Times Square

Whew! IF i get to go to NYC again, i am going to take a bit more time. and maybe try to NOT go in July. 103 degrees sucks! And i will definitely hit a museum next time. I had a great time. When can i go on vacation again?


08 July 2010

Btt for 7/8

I like this question.


Do you have friends and family to share books with? Discuss them with? Does it matter to you?


i do more now than i used to. B reads a lot and i can talk with him about books. If i read something really good then i might mention it to family. My friend D really liked the Twilight series so when i've found some YA books she might like i mention it to her. Mainly i talk about books online! With bloggers and on Librarything reviews and such. It both does and doesn't matter. if i read a book that i looooooove, then i'll be telling random work colleagues about it just to share it.

03 July 2010

Walking Dead 11

Here's something interesting: AMC is turning this into a series! Their blog is here. I can completely see the first few books, leading up to where they arrive at the prison and clean it out, working well as a tv series. After that, not so sure.

Here's my problem. I've raved about this series but was disappointed in the latest book, Walking Dead 11: Fear the Hunters. By the end of the book, we are left with just 5 characters who started the series remaining, two of which are kids. If we don't get some backstory on the new people, or some safety and closure for our remaining people, i am probably going to be disappointed. a 4.

Getting on a plane in a few hours! Hope everyone has a great July 4th!


01 July 2010

Little King

Blockade Billy by Stephen King is a short story packaged as a novella. It's not bad, just too short.

The book is told as a story. An old man, Granny Grantham, in a nursing home is telling Stephen King the history of Blockade Billy, a catcher in 1957. That year, Granny was the 3rd base coach of the New Jersey Titans. after loosing their 2 catchers 24 hours before the season starts, the Titans call up a rookie to catch for a few days or weeks until they can buy or trade a good player. However, they get Billy Blakeley, a weird kid who talks to himself in 3rd person but can hit and catch really well. Of course, Billy isn't exactly who he seems to be and the twist at the end is really good.

I'm giving it a 4. Mainly for the format. The book is about the size of a trade paper back but has a huge font and wide margins. it reminded me of papers in college that had to be a certain length, so people would play with the margins and such to reach the minimum. it's not a bad story but it just leaves a lot to be desired. It does count for my 2010 Challenge list for the New in 2010 category.