Showing posts from August, 2010

More Murakami

Reading Haruki Murakami is strange. His writing evokes this dreamy weirdness that you don't really stop reading, you just wake up from. Kafka on the Shore is no exception.
It is rather difficult to describe without giving too much away or not explaining enough. Kafka Tamura is a 15 year old boy who runs away from his father's home. He's just suffered too much neglect and emotional abuse to stay any longer. The town he runs to has a public reading library where he begins to spend his days. In another storyline, an old man Nakata has never recovered from a strange coma he suffered as a child. He woke with no memory and has never been able to learn to read or write. He can talk to cats and as he's searching for a lost cat he meets some sort of shape changer who asks Nakata to murder him.
it's weird. But i loved it. a 6. and i really need to read more of Murakami's work. and this counts for the 1% Challenge and is a 1001 book.

Currently: wishing i wasn…

a wordle

B likes this.

Weekly Geeks- Connections

So first i'll post a quote of a quote (of a quote i think really):

This is the phrase
“We didn't get any reading done tonight. I told Jack we must read some tomorrow! It connects us somehow. I can't explain it, but it does. It's good to do things together”
Shayne © This and That

and the questions for this week are:

Firstly, have you come across a phrase recently that has made just such an impact. And secondly – who do you read with, if you don’t read with anyone –WHY NOT?

ok, i promise not to gush about B after this post for at least, hmm, 72 hours. B is really the first person i've read with since i lived with my family, not counting studying in the library or dorm in college. We don't read out loud to each other but we'll be reading at the same time and it's kind of nice. guys i have dated previously didn't like it when i read, mainly because i am not aware of my surroundings and don't hear when people talk to me. I'm sure some of it had to…

movies, part 5ish?

I feel like i'm watching plenty of movies now. B being around my place now has increased my movie rate i think.
Jumper: 4, not bad but not that good. and i can't stand the OC girl and Anakin so bad casting. I will look into reading the book though.
Red Cliff, International Version: 6, this one is loooong. the first 3rd of the movie really, really dragged. the second half was really good though so i am going with a 6.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox: 6. funny!

The Blind Side: 5. ok. I liked the movie but i kept feeling like i shouldn't, that it, while a true story, was a Dickens story set today. though...i may read the book. still ambivalent.

Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog: ok, so i was tipsy when i watched this. a 5. which leads to...

The Guild, Seasons 1-3: 6, funny stuff, really liked it. If you've ever played World of Warcraft or Everquest and the like you'll find so much to laugh about. Great characters too.

High Fidelity: 6. I managed to somehow miss this…

OK, now I DEFINITELY want to be a librarian

Reading this book clinched it! This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson made me really completely think that i would enjoy that job for another 30 years. Even with going back to school and being broke for a while and being 37 when i got finished with school i really think it would be worth it to do something i would find a lot of fulfillment in.
There are two main themes in the book: that librarians are defenders of knowledge, history and freedom and they are becoming even more relevant as the world goes digital. The digital section is a great anthropological study of the online librarian community. I've never played Second Life but i am curious now to see these online places Johnson describes.
She also describes the differences between librarians (finders) and archivists (keepers). I'm really in the middle myself. I love digging up stuff and researching things, even if i never particularly liked writing papers. And the preservation of artifacts fascinates me as well.…

How Fiction Works

I finished a little book and i want to reread it and take notes. How Fiction Works, by James Wood, describes all the ways authors, and readers, create novels. I'll let his preface explain.In this book I try to ask some of the essential questions about the art of fiction. Is realism real? How do we define a successful metaphor? What is a character? When do we recognize a brilliant use of detail in fiction? What is point of view, and how does it work? What is imaginative sympathy? Why does fiction move us? He does a very good job, both of explaining the questions and answering them. I didn't know what free, indirect style was until this book. I loved the chapter on metaphor. I learned about register and characterization and gobs of other things. I have put this on my list to buy now so i can have my own copy to mark up and refer to. A warning, he does seem to give away a good many plots to various classic novels so the whole book should really have a big spoiler warnin…

Hardboiled Hollywood

This book was interesting on its own but not what i was expecting. Hardboiled Hollywood: The True Crime Stories Behind the Classic Noir Films by Max Decharne talks mainly about the way the writers and directors turned books into movies. a few chapters, on Little Caesar (Al Capone), Psycho (Ed Gein) and of course the ones on Bonnie and Clyde and Dillinger, do discuss the criminals but most chapters describe how the writer wrote the original book and how that was changed for the movie version. The early chapters also talk about the censorship rules of the 1920s-1940s and anti-Communist hunt in the 50s, which i didn't know much about. It isn't a bad book; it just didn't give me the information i wanted. a 4.

Review and Pics

I finished The Neutronium Alchemist, Part 1: Consolidation by Peter F Hamilton. It has been a while since i started reading a series that is already completed. It is really refreshing! Besides the fact that B has the books i know that i'm not going to have to wait if i feel like finishing the story up.
You can't start this book cold. You have to read the first 2 parts, titled The Reality Dysfunction. In the first part of that book, we get all the setup. You meet a dozen or more characters, get lessons in the galaxies politics, history, technology and geography. Towards the end, the conflict gets started. The dead begin to possess the living on a colony world called Lalonde. In the second part, the big hero characters become aware that something is happening on Lalonde. the action goes into high gear with space battles and ground fights as the Confederation of Planets tries to take Lalonde back.
Now, I would say this first part of The Neutronium Alchemist is another…

Saturday Farmer's Market and Book Buying!

Ok, here we go!
Strawberry drinkable yogurt and chocolate milk. Delicious.
The box o' goodies! Watermelon, yellow squash, peppers, eggplant, Italian eggplant, corn.
What didn't fit on the box anymore. Basil, tomatoes, okra, jalapenos, and some other sort of peppers. We will be having pesto for dinner tonight!
These are not from the farmer's market. My best friend D's partner's niece (her niece if she and her partner could be married in my state!) has chickens and since i gave her like 15 egg cartons i got some free eggs! B and i eat a lot of eggs.
Now, i haven't bought books in...a few months. May 30th! I went to the thrift store today and found several. And i only spent 4.87!
I found a copy of the first Lone Wolf book! the previous owner filled in the first character page in pen! *gasp* but otherwise the book is in pretty good shape. I have a copy of Space Merchants already but this one is in much better shape so i'll keep it. This store had a ton …

BTT for 8/19

Booking Through Thursday has a long question list today.1. Favorite childhood book? I've been thinking about this question a bit anyway recently. I reread the Great Brain series many times as a child so I will say those books right now.2. What are you reading right now? How Fiction Works by James Wood, The Neutronium Alchemist Part 1 by Peter F Hamilton, and on my phone's Kindle program Cades Cove by Aidan James3. What books do you have on request at the library? bunches.I have a full list at 10, including Mockingjay, Packing for Mars, and The Fall: Book 2 of the Strain Trilogy. 4. Bad book habit? I turn corners on mass market paperbacks.5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Only 6! The new Atemis Fowl book, How Fiction Works, Jumper by Stephen Gould, Johannes Cabal: the Necromancer by Jonathan Howard, Hardboiled Hollywood by Max Decharne, and The Great Influenza by John M Barry. 6. Do you have an e-reader? Sort of. I have a new smartphone, the Samsung Vibr…


The second book i read on my phone's Kindle application is Disproving Christianity: Refuting the World's Most Followed Religion by David G. McAfee. I bought it because it was inexpensive and i wanted to see how reading non-fiction would work on my phone.

The text itself was fine though i had heard much of it before in other atheist books. There are gobs of contradictions in the christian bible and plenty of things that modern people just choose to ignore. Those contradictions are part of why i find it difficult to believe that people actually believe in that book. how do they reconcile that they really should be stoning their unmarried daughters to death for having sex with a caring, loving god? it baffles me.

one thing i didn't like about reading it on my phone was how the end notes worked. while there was a little link to the note, once you jumped to the note there wasn't a way to go back to exactly where you were before. At least i couldn't find one. You…

Frankie Landau-Banks

I finished up The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. Frankie is a sophomore at an exclusive prep school. She hears her father's stories of his days at the school, hinting about his involvement in a secret society, the Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds. Frankie finds out her new senior boyfriend, Matthew, is a member as well. As she overhears their rather lame attempts to come up with an idea for a Halloween prank, she realizes she'd be a much better Bassett than they are.
I completely disagree with the blurb on the back, saying that at 16 Frankie is possibly a criminal mastermind. She never gets to 16 in the book and her actions aren't criminal, they are more politically based civic disobedience.
Reading this book reminded me of the first time i listened to "just a girl" by No Doubt. Very girl power, very strong. I just wish it had ended on a bit of a happier note. I've added it to my possible present list for my 16 yr old …

The Bloody Chamber

I have an interest in short stories but i never feel i read enough of them. I'll pick up a volume of stories by mulitple authors but rarely read a whole book of short stories by the same person. I usually enjoy those books when i do read them.
The Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter, is a book of folk tales retold. Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, Bluebeard, and Red Riding Hood get some dark twists. Carter writes such drippy, gothic prose you can almost taste it. It is gorgeous stuff. I would have to say my two favorites were the longer ones, "Puss 'n Boots" and "The Bloody Chamber" which is the modern Bluebeard.
I just wish i'd known a couple of the tales Carter's stories were based on. I've got no idea what was going on in "The Erl-King". I must not know the basis behind a few others because i think there were 2 "Beauty and the Beast" stories and 3 "Red Riding Hood"s. But i may be wrong. Over…

BTT for 8/12

I haven't done BTT in a long while. I just haven't been jazzed by the questions i guess. This week's question is one that i've actually been thinking about but still don't know that i have any real clarity on it.

Have your reading choices changed over the years? Or pretty much stayed the
same? (And yes, from childhood to adulthood we usually read different things,
but some people stick to basically the same kind of book their entire lives,
I would say...sorta?

When i was in middle and high school, i read big historical fiction novels (Gone with the Wind was a yearly reread), fantasy (LOTR, Dragonlance), some sci-fi (Douglas Adams, Piers Anthony), my mom's romance novels (ok, i was a teenager, i wanted to read about sex!), some of my dad's thrillers (probably the same reason), and mysteries (loved me some Sherlock Holmes and I read almost all the Agatha Christie books). Oh, and i read comics and a choose your own adventure type series called Lone Wolf.


Southern Festival of Books

Ok, yes, there is a free book fest in my town every year and I've never managed to go. NOT THIS YEAR! Barring new job issues, i intend to go for as much as i can. The Southern Festival of Books is in its 21st year now and is going to be from October 8-10 this fall.
who's going to be there? Audrey Niffenegger, Adam Ross (Mr. Peanut), Fred Thompson (he was our senator for a while but did movies and Law and Order), Michael Sims, Helen Simonsen (maybe I'll have Major Pettigrew's Last Stand read by then), Louis Sachar, Dr. Bill Bass (runs the Body Farm at UT), and Harold Ford. And lots of others of course. EEK!
So that's exciting. Wanna come up?

Father of Forensics

I liked this book a lot, so much so that i was attempting to explain complex medical junk to B while watching his eyes glaze over. Somehow, i alway manage to overestimate everyone else's interest in forensics, especially old school cases. Everyone isn't familiar with Dr. Crippen? Impossible! The definition of adipocere isn't universally known? Crazyness! "Archaeology of Death" isn't a required college class? *shakes head*
The Father of Forensics: The Groundbreaking Cases of Sir Bernard Spilsbury and the Beginnings of Modern CSI by Colin Evansis very good. I had never heard of him and I've read a lot of books about forensics, going back to my college curriculum. And yes, i did take "Archaeology of Death". As he's British and began working at the turn of the 20th century i suppose that may be why i wasn't familiar with him.
Spilsbury was a great pathologist but a superb witness. Previously, medical experts had lectured or talked d…

Saturday Farmer's Market 8-7

So far today i'veHad a fabulous lemonadetook 2 books back to the librarypicked up the CSA box as well as chocolate milk and half and half from the Farmer's Markettook out the recycling and the trashfilled up my car with gasswept and vacuumed, even the couches!applied for a couple jobsNot that this will surprise anyone but one job i've applied for now is at the library. I've got my fingers crossed.
Here's the pic of the food
You can't see the two cantalopes that are under the top layer of stuff, nor the okra. More corn, peppers, little tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and zucchini. Some new peppers, jalapenos and whatever this one is. It smells spicy.
I'll be freezing the okra and peppers i think and passing one of the canatalopes to my friend D.
On a completely different note, if i can ever get a decent picture of B i'll post one. He has an annoying habit of moving at the last minute, turning his head away from me or blurring the shot whenever i try to …

Short Stories

I always hate when i am really really waiting for a book and then find that, as i read it, i'm really not liking it. I had Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, on my library hold list for the longest time. I thought the concept was great: sci-fi/fantasy short stories that don't have to be about the same plots and concepts and characters.
The problem is that many are boring and most are unmemorable! Going back through the titles i am remembering the good: Joe Hill's "Devil on the Staircase", Gaiman's "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains" and "Human Intelligence" by Kurt Anderson. For several titles I can't even remember what happened and the others i do remember i didn't like. I certainly won't read any Jodi Picoult based on her one story and i think Fight Club may be the only thing i ever enjoy written by Chuck Palahniuk. "Juvenal Nyx" is ok but i'm getting over vampires and "The M…

Waiting On Wednesday

Breaking the Spine hosts this meme. Here are the books i'm waiting for! While they are not all brand new or unreleased, these books are the ones that i have on my hold list at the library.

Artemis Fowl #7: The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer- I've liked the previous books and really love how Artemis has grown over the course of the series, i'm 10 of 15Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross- written by a local author, which is why i'm branching out to a modern murder mystery, I'm 9 of 114Hardboiled Hollywood: The True Crime Stories that Inspired the Great Noir Films by Max Decharne- sounded cool. i'm next!Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonsen- I added this onto my list recently, i feel like another blogger recommended it, i'm 17 of 27The Fall: Book Two of the Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro- I read the first book last year when it came out. while i'm just 3 of 3, this one isn't released yet. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins- ok, yeah, i'm in …

Sunday Farmer's Market, kinda

I didn't go to the market this week. I didn't need to pick up my box and I had so many veggies i just had to do something with them. Just making some tomato sauce on zucchini and ravioli wasn't going to cut it. I found out that you can freeze bell pepper as well as shredded zucchini for bread. and since you can mix yellow squash in with zucchini to make bread, i made a mixture.

I managed not to shred a finger. Excellent. :)

Here's the recipe i use for zucchini bread. I got it from my CSA's biweekly email.


Makes 1 really thick loaf or two thinner ones.

I ended up with 3 bags of future bread mixings out of several sma…