31 December 2013

Best of the Year Post!

All of these are in no particular order.  As always, I can't limit myself to just 3 or 5 or 10 either so the numbers will be what they are. 

     New to me:  This category is specifically why I can't make myself rank this stuff.  Is Code Name Verity the best because it was so powerful? How about crying through the end of Ocean?  or laughing and crying during Looking for Alaska?  Should it go by how I felt when I read them or how much I've thought about them since?  See, it is way better just to list them! 
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

YA heavy I know but I read a bunch of YA this year for school.       

     Graphic Novels: 
  • Saga, Volumes 1 and 2: great sci-fi
  • Snarked, Volumes 1, 2 and 3: Wonderful for Lewis Carrol fans
  • Hawkeye, Volumes 1 and 2
  • American Born Chinese
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Hobbit 
  • Ender's Game

WAY genre heavy this year but that's just how we roll...
  • The World's End
  • Catching Fire
  • Gravity
  • The Shakespeare Uncovered series
  • Looper
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Downton Abbey: I watched all that was available this year, all 3 seasons!
  • Wreck It Ralph
  • Thor 2
  • Moon
  • Skyfall
  • Spending a year with B in our new house, too cold/hot/dirty/cluttered and perfect.
  • Going to see Cabaret live with my friend D and C
  • Seeing the Doctor Who 50th Special in a theater full of rabid fans
  • Meeting Neil Gaiman at a signing
  • Finished 2 video games (Bioshock and The Testament of Sherlock Holmes)
  • Going on vacation to Vermont, twice!
  • In November, we got a new nephew, the X-man!
  • Seeing a modern Midsummer Night's Dream production at Shakespeare in the Park. 
  • Introducing B to Mardi Gras!
A lot has happened this year!  More than I though honestly. And I've got lots more coming in 2014.  

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

30 December 2013

How many books did I read this year?

Unless I finish another book tomorrow (unlikely as I've been rereading the Sherlock Holmes stories on my new Kindle and am about 18% in) my totals for the year are as follows:

Total books read: 95

Library Books: 65

Non-fiction: 8
Audio: 27
Graphic Novel: 19
Non-Adult: 37  

So, I'm a bit disappointed in this number and my blogging for the year as a whole.  Looking back, I only posted three times in November!  and one was just for audio books!  Of what I read, a third of the books I listened to, about 20% were graphic novels, just under half were not adult books.  Those all really inflated my numbers.  I did have a lot of school work this year and that definitely hurt my reading.  I was reading so much I had to read, and so much non-fiction for school, and writing so much, that I wanted to totally get away from it in my downtime and played a lot of video games and watched TV.  My schedule is such that I'll be doing a lot of studying in the next three months so I don't expect that my habits will change much in the next little while. 

How did you fare this year?  more than you thought? less? 

December Movies

Since I'm not going to watch any more movies before tomorrow night...

After Earth:  It was ok.  Certainly nothing as bad as I thought from reviews and such.  The climate of the planet was ridiculous and definitely in there just to have a particular scene late in the movie.  The alien bad guy was also weird.  a 4. 

The Hobbit 2: can you both like and hate a movie at the same time?  that's how i'm feeling about the Hobbit films.  They seem to leave out a lot of the heart but add in a lot of spectacle.  Makes me want to watch the old Rankin and Bass movie.  Let's say a 5 because Smaug is fucking stellar.

Elysium: Another one I'm torn about.  I liked parts but disliked others.  let's say 5.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:  I didn't think this was one I was going to like as I'm not a big Ben Stiller fan.  We went on Christmas Day with B's family and it ended up being really good! a 6. 

28 December 2013

Finished a Listen of Ender's Game and Vacation Pics!

So we got back from Vermont this morning, which is kinda sad.  It's hard to live so far away from both sets of families.  

On the drive back, we finished a listen of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  It is one we've both read before, me only once.  It was a multiple cast version put out for the 20th anniversary of the book publication.  It was nice to reread this after seeing the movie so recently as we were really able to see the differences and how much was left out of the film. 

I realized I hadn't posted any pictures of the trip!  Gotta fix that!

 B and a friend when we went sledding

 The sledding hill

 Snowy trees

  Our Dog in the snow

Here's a video of the snow too!

We really had a great trip but even at close to 2 weeks it was too short.  Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

21 December 2013

2 P.D. James Books

I've read very little P.D. James.  I've read Death Comes to Pemberly and Talking about Detective Fiction before.  I'm up in Vermont at the in-laws and picked up Unnatural Causes and tore through it in a day then read An Unsuitable Job for a Woman in two.  Both worth a look!

Unnatural Causes is the third Adam Dalgliesh mystery.  He is a Scotland Yard detective taking a holiday and visiting his aunt at the seaside after cracking a big murder case.  Then a body of a local resident with its hands cut off comes ashore in a canoe.  While it isn't Dalgliesh's case he becomes involved in the investigation.  There's a dramatic climax toward the end and, while i had suspicions about the killer I was happily surprised.  There are apparently a lot of adaptations of this series so I may have to watch a few.  a 6.

Unsuitable is the first Cordelia Gray book.  I really liked Cordelia but apparently there is only 1 more book featuring her. Cordelia is a very young woman who runs a detective agency with an ex-police officer.  The agency isn't doing very well but when her partner commits suicide because he has terminal cancer Cordelia decides she'll keep going with it until the money runs out.  She gets a case; a scientist hires her to find out why his son committed suicide. Of course, it's not suicide.  I really liked the character and even though I saw where the mystery was going (in a general way) it was really well written and I enjoyed it. a 6.

11 December 2013

Yet Another Audio Book Post

Ok, so I now listen to a bunch of audio books, ok?  If you promise not to tell my boss, I'll let you know that I can listen to audio books at work without screwing up what i'm working on.   Doctor Who heavy this month!

Doctor Who: The Runaway Train by Oli Smith:  an 11 and Amy adventure.  This one takes place in the old west and the Doctor and Amy get a group of outlaws together to locate an alien bomb that is going to instantly change Earth's environment to match what the aliens need to live.  Got to listen to various versions of Matt Smith's American accent, all drawly and deep.  His "Amy" accent is not that great though.  Fun story, too short.  a 5.

Doctor Who: Dead Air by James Goss: rather creepy 10 story.  Chronologically, this story is supposed to be right before the episode "The End of Time".  It is a little different in that the Doctor speaks directly to the listener.  He's recording a tape, telling his story of how he followed a creature called the Hush to a floating pirate radio station off the coast of 1960's Britain.  There are a lot of little clues dropped about Time Lords and the War that reward the listener.  Really interesting and a 6.   

Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter: a 2 story!  and a proper book;  the book was 8 tracks long.  It takes place in the future around the moons of Saturn.  There's an evil corporation, a relic of a long dead alien race, a sentient robot, blue creatures, and Jamie and Zoe. Really good, a 7.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  This is  a reread for me but it has probably been close to 20 years since I last read it.  I had remembered the gist but forgotten some of the particulars.  A very sweet story, a 7.

and an old favorite...

The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien:  yes, I know I listen to these pretty much every 2 years or so. 7

09 December 2013


When I read American Born Chinese, Andi recommended Boxers and SaintsI've yet to pick up Saints but I read Boxers and really enjoyed it.  It is the story of the Boxer Rebellion (strangely, something I learned a little about this semester in my archives class) from the point of view of one of the rebel leaders. You certainly empathize with Bao.  I loved the anime-nod that the rebels become the incarnation of gods when they battle.  So so sad as well.  a 6. 

08 December 2013

Who Could That Be at This Hour?

I started Lemony Snicket's new series, All the Wrong Questions with the first book Who Could That Be at This Hour?  It is a series that takes place before the Series of Unfortunate Events.  Lemony Snicket is just a child in this one and is having his first case as an apprentice in the VFD.  It's a clever little book with all the children so much smarter than the adults.  There are a pair of cab driving brothers who work for tips about good books.  There's an ace young reported and even a femme fatale.  Essentially, if you liked the previous series then you'll probably like this one.  a 5. 

01 December 2013

November Movies!

I had a fabulous month of movie watching!  

Ender's Game: a great attempt at filming something unfilmable but one that looses a lot of the emotion of the book.  It hits the events but not necessarily the feelings.  still, really good.  a 6.

Gravity: Ok, overdose of feelings!  I cried at several points during the movie; not such a good idea when wearing contacts and trying to watch a 3-d movie!  Sandra Bullock should get another Oscar.  a 7.

This Is The End: How much you like this movie will be in direct proportion to how much you like Seth Rogan/James Franco and that crowd.  i felt it was fine with some bits that were clever and some that were just stupid.  Hermione kicks ass!  a 5.

Thor 2: WAAAAAY! better than the first movie.  Very pretty, very cool.  There are smart, strong, kick-ass women in this one who actually do stuff! plenty of snark from Loki and Darcy; more Loki would have upped it to a 7 but it's a 6.

Catching Fire:  another wow! Kinda the opposite of Ender's Game as some of the details were smudged but the emotion and the feelings were all there.  I liked how the love triangle was downplayed a bit; it's there but Katniss doesn't really care about it as she has bigger things on her mind.  a 7. 

Red Dawn (the remake): umm, not as depressing as the original but definitely a remake that makes you say "just why?"  Also a bit more unrealistic.  a 4.

Olympus Has Fallen: The makers of Die Hard should sue the makers of this movie.  It gets a 4 only because we had so much fun heckling it. 

Now You See Me: You might have missed this one when it came out in May; there wasn't much advertising that I saw.  Group of magicians appear to be robbing banks, manner unknown, and the FBI and Interpol (The Hulk and the girl who burned down her movie theater in Inglourious Basterds) have to stop them.  cute, kinda clever, some twists you can see coming, some you can't.  I think it's a solid 5.

Also, i was sick on Thanksgiving and we binge watched James Bond.  B had never seen Casino Royale (!?!) and now we need to watch it without commercials/being sliced up.