Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
On another note, I'd better start getting in shape! I'm not sure I'd be able to survive a zombie attack if one would hit!!
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
I've GOT to stop going to Borders! I'm always talking about saving money, cutting corners, budgeting. THEN I walk into Borders and that all goes flying out the window! Really....I just stopped to maybe pick up the new Stephen King/Richard Bachman book, Blaze. That's all I wanted to do. THEN I see all the signs for the Summer Reading special. TONS of books were marked Buy 3, Get 1 free. It's like crack to me, I swear! Award winners, YA books, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, fantasy.....you name it, it was probably on sale. I guess I'm lucky to get out when I did! So what did I buy, you ask?
- The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho
- The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
- The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo (come on folks...how could I not with a name like that?? Besides...it's a VAMPIRE book!)
- 13 Bullets by David Wellington (MORE Vampires!)
- Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik (Temeraire Book 2)
- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (yes Chris....because of your review!)
- Changeling by Yasmine Galenorn
If that isn't a weird group of book, what is??
Now....if you are a Sci-Fi Fan, maybe you should go visit the University of California Riverside. I found an article in the Los Angeles Times today about UC Riverside. It houses the world's largest library of science fiction, fantasy and horror books. They have first addition copies of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. George Slusser was the first curator of the Eaton Collection (named for J. Lloyd Eaton who donated 7,500 volumes to the collection.) It has been a hard battle for Slusser. Apparently science fiction isn't taken very seriously by the literary community! Really?? Who would have thought? Slusser retired in 2005 (and they are still looking for a replacement, if you are interested in the job!) BUT Slusser might be brought out of retirement to teach for the first Doctoral program in science fiction studies in the nation! How cool is that?
Happy Friday! Later!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Since school is out for the summer (in most places, at least), here’s a school-themed question for the week:
Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?
How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1921 - Pulitzer)
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2001 Pulitzer)
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2007 Pulitzer)
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin (1969 Nebula and 1970 Hugo
- Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (2004 Hugo)
- Johnathon Strange & Mr. Norrell by Suzannah Clarke (2005 Hugo)
- Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt (1990 Booker)
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (2000 Booker)
- The March by E.L. Doctorow (2006 Pen/Faulkner)
- Boy's Life by Robert McCammon (1991 Bram Stoker)
- Lisey's Story by Stephen King (2006 Bram Stoker)
- A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (1995 Giller)
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (1996 Giller)
- The Chatham School Affair by Thomas Cook (1997 Edgar)
- Quicksilver by Neil Stephenson (2004 Arthur C. Clarke)
- The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (1919 Pulitzer)
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1981 Pulitzer)
- Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein (1962 Hugo)
- Life of Pi by Yann (2002 Booker)
- Runaway by Alice Munroe (2004 Giller)
Oh yeah....it's going to take me forever! But at least I have something to look forward to!
Posted by Stephanie at 2:30 PM
Monday, June 18, 2007
Don't Let's Go the the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller (336 pgs, Random House) is my first non-fiction book of the year. I choose to read it because the Around the World in 80 Books book club chose it as a selection.
Mum says, "Don't come creeping into our room at night."
They sleep with a loaded guns beside them on the bedside rugs. She says, "Don't startle us when we are sleeping."
"We might shoot you".
"Okay." As it is, there seems a good chance of getting shot on purpose. "Okay, I won't".
And from the first paragraphs of this memoir you can get just a taste of what it was like growing up in the war-ravaged country of Rhodesia. Alexandra "Bobo" Fuller moved to Rhodesia (which eventually became Zimbabwe) when she was just a toddler. Bobo, her sister Vanessa, and her parents moved to a farm on the edge of the country. Both her mother and father join the police reservists and join the war, fighting to keep Rhodesia controlled by the British. The kids are always on the lookout for "terrorists" whom they fear will "cut off their eyelids". They deal with curfews and war, always on the lookout for landmines.
But when the war is over and the Fullers are on the losing side, they have to come to terms with drastic changes. Their farm is auctioned off for "redistribution" to the black families and they are forced to move. From Zimbabwe to Malawi and eventually to Zambia, the Fullers stick together through good times and bad.
This is the story of life seen through the eyes of a child. A life that is tough with many obstacles to overcome. Her parent's racism, war, brutal countryside, and the loss of several siblings makes Bobo into the person she is today. Her mother, after losing 3 children, becomes manic depressive and spends more time drunk than sober. She seems to be more affectionate to her dogs than her daughters. Her father works hard on the farm, trying to keep them afloat. But even he has a hard time dealing the losses that they are faced with. And Bobo herself feels responsible for the death of her sister, Olivia. But through it all, Fuller does a great job of projecting her love for her family and for Africa, her home. It's a wonderfully written book, with lots of anecdotes and pictures from her time in Africa. 4/5
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Death Match by Lincoln Child (356 pgs, Doubleday) is my first completed book for the SRC2 Challenge. It is also this month's selection for the Braincandy Reading group (and since I am leading the discussion, I figured I should probably READ it!) This is also the first book by Lincoln Child that I have read.
Friday, June 15, 2007
After my post on Wednesday regarding the article in the NY Sun Times, I was surprised at the response. Sam, at Book Chase, had written on the same topic and he really got me thinking. He used the word "Community" to describe those of us bloggers that have come together to discuss all literary topics. I like this word. Websters defines the word community as a unified body of individuals; people that have a common interest. To me, this describes exactly how I consider the bloggers I have come to know.
It seems that somehow I have "joined" into something bigger than I ever thought possible. When I started my blog, I wanted a place to list the books that I've read so I could keep track and review them. I didn't really think other people would read it. When they did, I was excited. Not just because someone else was reading my blog, but to find there were other people out there just like me. Hopeless bibliophiles! People with which I can share my love of books. Not only did I find people with common interests, but I found people that challenged me to go beyond just reading. Whole new genres have opened up for me. Challenges to expand my knowledge and delve into books I never would have picked up.
And the most surprising outcome seems to be a whole world of new friends. People I can trust and opinions that actually matter to me. When Mr. Kirsch attacked the blogger community, others rallied around to defend it. Matt, at A Variety of Words and Chris at Book-A-Rama both posted their outrage at this attack, as well as many others. Although the Literary Critics may be unhappy that lit bloggers feel compelled to actually voice their opinions, I'm ecstatic to find that I belong to a group of people that care. Care enough to defend the rights of all of us to have a voice and use it. Knowledge is power, and it seems to me that our little community is becoming very powerful. Thank you all for accepting me into your group. Keep up the good work!!
In other news, it seems that with the end looming for Harry Potter, a replacement may have been found. According to the Guardian, a new series of books about a boy archaeologist may be the answer. (thanks for the link, Sam!) Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams was a self-published book that was sold in Gordon's bookstore in Norfolk. The 2 authors pooled their resources to get this book published and it seems to have paid off for them. Barry Cunningham, the man who first signed J. K. Rowling herself, tracked down the authors after reading this self-published book. According to CNN, Cunningham said, "I knew from page one Harry Potter was magic. Reading Tunnels gave me the same thrill." So those of you that are in deep depression over the ending of the Harry Potter series, it seems a new hero may be on the way! Gordon and Williams have been signed by Chicken House Press to create a series of fantasy tales about a 14-year-old boy named Will Burrows that is set in the hidden world deep below London.
And finally, I received an ARC of Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein from Harper Collins yesterday. According to the publisher, this book is "full of mind-bending style and packed with a wild cast of characters. Crooked Little Vein infuses Robert B. Parker with Kurt Vonnegut and the madness of the graphic novel world. A surprisingly surreal treat, it will appeal to hardcore comic fans, mystery aficionados, and all readers looking for a riotous summer adventure". With a blurb like that, how can it not be good? Look for a review in the near future!! It's a short read!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?
2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
All of us out here in blogger world, especially those of us that consider ourselves "book bloggers", have read the debate about Book Reviews. In days of declining literary news columns, the blogger world seems to be booming. Why is this? Are these so-called book blogger's reviews valid?? Or are book bloggers taking away from real literary critics? Yada, yada, yada....
In yesterday's New York Sun Times, the debate contintues. The Scorn of the Literary Blogger by Adam Kirsch appeared in the Arts & Letters section. While Mr. Krish's opinions about the consequences of the decline of the print review are spot on, his remarks about the literary blogger aren't very flattering.
But book bloggers have also brought another, less salutary influence to bear on literary culture: a powerful resentment. Often isolated and inexperienced, usually longing to break into print themselves, bloggers — even the influential bloggers who are courted by publishers — tend to consider themselves disenfranchised. Hmmmm...do you really believe this? Are all of you out there just longing to break into print? Hoping beyond hope that someone will tune in one day and boom you are going to be a star??? I don't think so. Sure....as a life-long reader, it's always been a fantasy of mine. Becoming an author. It's the dream job. But realistically, I know that I'm not suited for it and certainly not creative enough to chuck my job and start the "Great American Novel".
As anyone who reads literary blogs can attest, hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned. And the scorn is reciprocated: Professional writers usually assume that those who can, do, while those who can't, blog. Oh please. Professional REVIEWERS may believe this, but do professional writers?? Does it really matter to them if bloggers are talking about their books??? My opinion of writers in the blog world is this: If bloggers are discussing and reviewing a book, that means they are READING AND BUYING those books. Isn't that the point of writing? Shouldn't this be welcomed with open arms? I'd really like to know the answer to this question.
Literary criticism is only worth having if it at least strives to be literary in its own right, with a scope, complexity, and authority that no blogger I know even wants to achieve. The only useful part of most book blogs, in fact, are the links to long-form essays and articles by professional writers, usually from print journals. I personally started this blog for ME. No one else. I didn't even think anyone would actually READ it besides me. Do I like to review books? Sure. It's a way for me to put in print my feelings about something I've read and get back feedback from others. I live with a person that hates to read. Bouncing book stuff off him was useless....so I found another outlet. I really value the opinions of people like ME. That's why I read book blogs. That's why I write a book blog.
But there's no chance that literary culture will thrive on the Internet until we recognize that the ethical and intellectual crotchets of the bloggers represent a dead end. Oh really. Please tell me why MY opinion is a dead end? Why is my opinion any less than that of Mr. Kirsch's? Because isn't that what a book review is....an opinion??
I'm curious as to what others think....I'd like YOUR opinion!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Yeah!! Although my concert going has substantially been decreased the last few years, I'll make an exception for this one!! One of the few bands that I always wanted to see, but never did is Rage Against the Machine! Now, I did see Audioslave with Jane's Addiction (Lollapolooza) a few years back. But Chris Cornell is no Zack de la Rocha! Without his vocals, it just wasn't the same. I did, however, get to meet Tom Morello that day. As with most Lollapalooza concerts, there are always the political tents. And Tom Morello was there in the Axis of Justice tent. I got a great picture and an autograph to boot! Not only is he probably the most kick-Ass guitarist in the entire world, but he's so intelligent, it's kind of scary. He graduated with honors from Harvard University with a degree in political science. And politics and revolution are in his blood. His mother was the founder of an anti-censorship group, Parents for Rock and Rap. His father was a Mau Mau Guerrilla and revolutionary. And his great-uncle was the first elected president in Kenya.
I've always been intrigued by their politics, as well as their music. And yet, this is one of the bands I have never seen live before. I was pregnant during the last Tibetan Freedom Concert. And then they broke up!! That was 7 years ago. In January, rumors of a reunion tour hit the airwaves. Rage performed together for the 1st time since 2000 at Coachella in April. They also scheduled a couple more big concerts together, but NO REUNION. Now you may ask, why I digress with this post??? Because today, they announced they are going to play a show at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin!!! That's 4 hours from me!!!! Yeah!! Steph gets to go to another concert! I will be standing in line this Saturday for tickets to the Rage Against the Machine/Queens of the Stone Age show in August!! So is there really going to be a Reunion?? I doubt it. Too many artist differences. But I don't care. There is going to be one last show, and I plan on being there!
Monday, June 11, 2007
Mistletoe Murder (224 pgs. Kensington Books) by Leslie Meier is the first book in the Lucy Stone Mystery series. I generally like a good cozy, and the Women's Reading Group is using the Lucy Stone series as a Long-Term Reading project. I thought I would try it.
Lucy Stone lives in Tinker's Cove, Maine. It's a rustic small town that houses the famous Country Cousins mail-order company where Lucy works nights taking phone orders. One week before Christmas, business is booming. There is barely time to take a break from all the calls. But that night, Lucy decides to step outside to get some fresh air with the hopes of staying awake until her shift is over at 1 am. While she's outside, she notices that Sam Miller's car is idling in the parking lot. Sam is the owner of Country Cousins and usually isn't around in the later hours of the night shift. When Lucy goes to see if everything is all right, she notices that a hose has been attached to the exhaust and is pouring fumes into the car and Sam is slumped over the steering wheel.
It is hard to believe that Sam would commit suicide. The man has everything. A beautiful wife, a great business and lots of money. But when it is discovered that Sam was unconscious BEFORE he was put in the car, it would seem that Tinker's Cove was seeing it's first murder in many years!
I have to say this book and the entire storyline rather underwhelmed me. I have always loved a good mystery, especially with a female protagonist. But Lucy Stone isn't one of them. In fact, there really wasn't much mystery at all. She stumbled on the body and stumbled across a few clues in between shopping trips. She spends most of her time gossiping with her neighbors and sewing Christmas costumes! There were also a couple of unresolved threads in the story that were just left hanging. I'm still unsure how they are supposed to fit into the story. By the end of the book, I was more annoyed than anything. I have a feeling, this will not only be the first Lucy Stone mystery I read, but also the last! 2.5./5
Friday, June 8, 2007
Colleen Gleason's latest Gardella Vampire Chronicles book, Rises the Night, was released on Tuesday. I went out today and bought it! Yeah! She even has a link for a $1 coupon for Borders on her blog, For All the World to See! The reviews are REALLY good, and the eye candy on the cover isn't bad either!! Can't wait to read it!!
Also picked up the new Marilyn Manson CD: Eat Me, Drink Me. It's really good. Very dark and rather goth compared to his other slightly more Rock albums. I'm liking it alot!!
It was also the first day of the Bloomington Public Library Sale, so I popped in. You know me....always looking for a bargain! I came away with a couple of STACKS of books!! You know it's bad when your basket is getting too heavy to carry! I tried to take a couple of shots. Book Porn, as Chris at Stuff As Dreams are Made On, calls it! Here is a highlight of the books I got:
- 2 Charlaine Harris books - Grave Sight and Dead as a Doornail
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Over Her Dead Body by Kate White
- The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
- Best of Friends by Cathy Kelly
- Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
- Harm None - A Rowan Gant Investigation by M. R. Sellars
- Death at Glamis Castle - A Victorian Mystery by Robin Paige
- What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
- 2 JD Robb Mysteries
- The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacqueline Mitchard
- Witch Fire by James Clemens
- The Palace by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
- The Witch's Grave by Phillip DePoy
- The Warlock in Spire of Himself by Christopher Stasheff
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
- 5 Debbie Macomber Cedar Cover books (not pictured)
- 6 various Red Dress Ink Chick Lit books (not pictured)
All in all, a killer haul. Over 30 books total for under $20! I do HEART cheap book sales!!
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Booking Through Thursday
Almost everyone can name at least one author that you would love just ONE more book from. Either because they’re dead, not being published any more, not writing more, not producing new work for whatever reason . . . or they’ve aged and aren’t writing to their old standards any more . . . For whatever reason, there just hasn’t been anything new (or worth reading) of theirs and isn’t likely to be.
If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . . a book that would be as good any of their best (while we’re dreaming) . . . something that would round out a series, or finish their last work, or just be something NEW . . . Who would the author be, and why? Jane Austen? Shakespeare? Laurie Colwin? Kurt Vonnegut?
Tough question! To only choose one......There are so many phenomenal authors that I had a hard time picking. However, I'm a HUGE Oscar Wilde fan. He was only 46 when he died and I know there was still a whole lot of kick left to him! After being imprisoned on charges of "gross indecency", his health wasn't very good and he was penniless. I would love to read more novels by Wilde. He was sharp, witty and snarky.....and I loved him for it. The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my very favorites.
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
But he was a nice guy, and that's really all that matters. So..I got nostalgic last night and pulled out my old yearbooks. My first reaction, was oh man....look at that hair!! My goth days didn't hit till college, and in high school I had that big hair, glam rock thing of the 80's going on!! Sheesh...I was a loser!
So...in honor of Stacey, I present to you today's Thursday Thirteen topic:
1…. Never Say Goodbye by Bon Jovi - This was our senior prom theme! I loved Bon Jovi!! I mean, come on. Who wouldn't like a band with an album called Slippery When Wet? This isn't close to my favorite song, but I thought it was appropriate to have in the list. I think I was just starting that goth thing about this time....in the late 80's ALL prom dresses were pink, yellow, and white. Mine was black. The ONLY one at the prom!! And it was kick-ass too! I gotta find a picture of it!!
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
You know...I loved this show!! I get so tired of the Survivors, the American Idols, the game shows. Maybe this is because I am completely rooted in fiction!! But this was one great show. CBS decided it would be a good idea to cancel Jericho because the ratings slipped in the Spring. (That wouldn't have anything to do with a 3 month hiatus or being up against a powerhouse like American Idol?) The show's ratings were still very consistent, it was the most watched CBS show on the net, and Jericho has a VERY strong fan base.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Still in the works folks! I feel like I should put up an Under Construction sign! I love the 3-column, though I lost all my widgets!! And I'm still messing around with the colors!
The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. van Vogt (1950, 192 pgs) is a book that I read for a number of reasons. Paul, at Backcountry Musings, offered up a challenge of reading new-to-him Classic Sci-Fi authors. Since I'm a newbie in this genre, just about everyone fits that bill!! Secondly, it's the June selection in the Yahoo group, Classic Sci-Fi. Somehow I got asked to lead this discussion. So I decided to go on a voyage!
Monday, June 4, 2007
randomness...feed your mind and your blog
week of june 3: name one of each
1. a movie that made you laugh - Dodgeball. I know it's juvenile. But I just can't help it. This movie is funny to me. I can just look at Ben Stiller and laugh. Vince Vaughn is the perfect straight man for him. He cracks me up too. Besides...they have a PIRATE!
2. a book that made you cry - The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak- I read this at the beginning of the year. I was sobbing by the end of the book. It was like Zuzak stomped on my heart!! It really touched me.
3. a best friend - Missy - You know who you are!! We started Kindergarten together.....and we've been best friends since. She is the godmother to my kid's, my matron-of-honor, my confidant. I know we don't talk as much as we used to. But she also knows I will always be there if she ever needs anything!! I'm as close as a phone call....and I can drive that 3 hours in about 2!
4. a favorite childhood memory - My favorite memory from childhood would probably be going horseback riding with my Grandpa. We used to saddle up and go check on the cattle in the pastures across the stream. I could spend hours outside with him. He used to call me his little Hunny Pot (hence the Pooh references I'm always making!) I miss him so much sometimes.
5. your favorite animal - at the moment, it's probably my St. Bernard, Rocco. He's a huge baby, but I just love him so much!! He's a cuddler!
6. your favorite food - A big, fat, juicy Ribeye!! Cooked medium, so there's just a little pink.
7. an item of clothing you can't do without - My Chicago Bears Sweatshirt. It's warm and loved and broken in just right!!
8. something you collect - Books! But of course, everyone KNOWS that!! Otherwise, I have a whole glass cabinet full of Precious Moments. My husband has bought me a couple a year since we were dating.
9. your favorite store to shop in - Barnes & Noble. Yeah....There's not much more I can say to that question!
10. your favorite flower - I LOVE the smell of Lilacs. I have 2 lilac bushes in front of my house. They are so delicate and smell so wonderful. It's a shame they only bloom for such a short time every year.
till next time...
Friday, June 1, 2007
Oh yeah...I know. Like a hole in the head, you say!! Yes, more challenges for you to behold!! But with the Spring Reading Thing and the Once Upon a Time challenge wrapping up, I thought I might as well add a few more to the list!!
This is the SRC or Summer Reading Challenge - Round 2. It is hosted by Amanda from Amanda's Weekly Zen. She has even set up a separate blog for this challenge. Just click on the above button and it will take you directly there! If you are interested, send Amanda an email and she will add you to the blog. She is accepting new participants till July 7th. So you've got a week!!
Rules are simple: It's your own challenge. Pick your own amount (you can change it at any time). Try to post at the blog at least once a week. Get to know other book bloggers in the process!! Since I'm involved with a bunch of reading groups and challenges, I have plenty to read. (I also have a stack of books to review, so I'm throwing them in as well!) This challenge runs from today, June 1st - August 1st. 2 months! Here are the books that I've selected for this challenge:
- Marked: A House of Night Novel (Book 1) - P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
- The Screaming Room - Thomas O'Callaghan
- Death Dance: A Novel (Alexandra Cooper Mystery) - Linda Fairstein
- Monster Island: A Zombie Novel - David Wellington
- Death Match - Lincoln Child
- The Coffee Trader - David Liss
- The Years with Laura Diaz - Carlos Fuentes
- Life of Pi - Yann Martel
- The Fire Rose - Mercedes Lackey
- Naked in Death - J. D. Robb
This will be a fun challenge and I have already visited a lot of new blogs in the process.
The rules are simple: Read 12 Award Winning books in a year: From July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. Prize books include any that's won the Pulitzer, Booker Award, Nebula.....and so on! Books can be cross-challenged. She has also created a separate blog for this. If you click on the button above, it will take you there. There will be prizes too!!
I haven't picked out my books. But there are plenty out there to choose from.
So....if you aren't already up to your eyeballs in challenges, you might want to consider one or both of these!!