Sunday, September 27, 2009
Don't worry guys! I'm bringing them to work tomorrow!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Alabama Moon has been raved about alot here in Alabama, obviously. Not only is it set in Alabama (1980's), but it is also written by an Alabama author!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Aloha, my gentleman
I am a very open-minded and cheerful girl. I appreciate life as an invaluable gift. I believe in the eternity and love God. I am creative by nature, aspire harmony and perfection in everything. I am independent, have my own opinion and act as I think I should. I am an intelligent person, but I will always obey and agree with the wise and noble decision. I enjoy museums, theatre and reading. I am active and practice yoga, run every evening, swim regularly, enjoy travel to mountains and dancing with romantic music. I am a cheerful and sociable young lady. Mainly all the time I am in a good mood. I can tell that I am a little bit stubborn, I like when everything is the way I like. I value my close people and my friends, if they need my help I will turn myself upside down to give them my helping hand. I like to go to the cinema and theatre. I like traveling by car with my friends. I am fond of sport and I often go to the gym and I like skating. I wish to open my own store of nice underwear. I am looking for a honest, intelligent man, kind, able to support his family.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
George Davies has sought professional help for a troubling problem. He cannot bring himself to hold his infant son. He admits to his therapist that this is not his first time to sit in a therapist's chair.
The doctor gives George a set of blank notebooks to journal in and a terrifying story emerges of an eleven year old boy who meets a Friend no one else can see who tells him things no one else can hear. Is this troubling past merely the result of his father's recent death, the bullies at school, or is something more sinister at work?
A Good and Happy Child came very, very close to scaring me, but overexplanation ruined it for me in the end and I found myself slightly disappointed again. Zippy recommended this to me because she loved it so much. I have no idea why I wasn't scared out of my wits other than there was too much discussion of the events and not enough action. My imagination didn't have enough to go on since the author supplied so much backstory and explanation of the phenomena. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Show me the monster, and chances are good that I lose interest. Let me imagine the monster for myself and I will be up the rest of the night.
I hope I have not given the impression that I did not like this book because that is not true! It definitely gave me the fantods on several occasions and I basically read it in one sitting, finishing up around midnight. While I didn't really have any problems going (and staying) peacefully asleep, I don't recommend this method :-) AGAHC is a great first effort and I will most definitely read his next book! Justin Evans is one to watch!
One of my friends has been recommending The Art of Racing in the Rain to me since before publication and I'm ashamed that I've just now got around to it because I LOVED IT! What a story!
Enzo is a dog and he is the narrator of this story. His owner, Denny Swift, is a semi-professional race car driver seeking fame and fortune. Enzo constantly laments his lack of voice and opposable thumbs. He makes commentary on life, reincarnation, love, and happiness while sticking by Denny through some of the worst possible life experiences and offering the reader his own brand of philosophy, gleaned from a lifetime of listening to the conversations of others without being able to contribute your own opinions.
"That which you manifest is before you."
"Your car goes where your eyes go."
Sounds silly, but Enzo will change your mind, maybe even your life, if you give him half a chance. Just to give you a heads-up in the beginning, this is not a comedy....a dark night of the soul (for Denny especially, with Enzo providing the moral support) would be a more apt description but it is SO worth your time. I plan on giving this book to my Dad for Christmas.
As if to make up for the last couple of disappointments, along came The School of Essential Ingredients! D-lite-full!
This sweet, simple tale revolves around the owner (and namesake) of Lillian's Restaurant and the small, elite cooking school she runs. I don't remember the duration of the class, but it meets once a month on a monday night and each class meeting takes us through the life story of several of the class members. You get a bit of Lillian's backstory but the bulk of it involves the students. Helen and Carl are an older couple who have been married for many years, though that marriage has not always run smoothly. Claire is a young mother of a toddler and new baby who is experiencing some panic as her life begins to revolve around those new loves. Tom still steeps in the sadness of losing his wife to breast cancer a few years ago. Antonia is a kitchen designer from Italy trying to come to terms with her new life in America. These are just a few of the people learning alot more than principles of cooking in Lillian's class.
I told Katie, this is a book I will buy and keep on my coffee table to read when I'm feeling glum. It cheered me up and made me seriously want to take Lillian's class...if she were not a made up person, obviously. I don't know how much of this is actually attributable to the book or the Julia Child high I'm still on from the Julie & Julia movie. It's a toss up, and I don't care who wins!
Constance Langton has known tragedy in her young life. Her younger sister died as a toddler and her mother never recovered from that loss. Her father was a very distant, and absent, man who offered no affection for she or her mother. In her quest to draw her mother out of her melancholy, Constance decides to fake the act of channeling her dead sister's spirit. Unfortunately for Constance, nothing good can come of that. On another note (and in one of the story's more awkward shifts), a very distant cousin dies and leaves a deserted mansion to her closest living female relative, Constance. The lawyer arrives to tell her about her inheritance and leaves her with some good advice: sell the property, enjoy what money is left from paying it's debts, and NEVER go there. The lawyer ends up leaving her a pack of papers detailing his association with the creepy house and its very strange succession of former owners and this nested storytelling makes up the bulk of the book. As you can imagine, the two stories blend toward the end of the novel but in a somewhat heavy-handed manner.
I tried again for a scary book to count towards the R.I.P. Challenge with The Seance and again I lost that battle. I do not blame John Harwood for this especially. There were good characters here and an interesting, if somewhat convoluted premise. The main problem I had was that this book was eerily similar to Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger, which I loved. I will leave it to Mr. Harwood and Ms. Waters to duke out that one, but TLS is clearly the superior of the two, exhibited not least by the fact that it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize just a couple of weeks ago. In comparison, The Seance was somewhat unwieldy and inelegant. I do plan to read his other title, Ghost Writer, because I did like The Seance. I just did not find it to be very scary.
Um, okay. I grabbed Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts intending to count it toward both the 100+ Reading Challenge AND the Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) Reading Challenge but I can barely stand to admit that I finished it. I hate, hate, hate to say something bad about a book, but I just don't have anything good to say. This book is about 3 girls who get a priest defrocked for crimes of a sexual nature. The priest then gets a demon to exact revenge on the adults the young girls have grown into. That's right. The priest who, as a boy murders someone as he and his mother escape from Cuba, then as an adult, sleeps with a 13 year-old girl, is the victim here. The revenge the demon takes for the priest is of a sexual nature as well.
I admit right up front that I've read plenty of books in which dark, disturbing things take place and while I got the fantods, was grossed out, was disturbed by the images in those books, I've never really felt the distaste that came up with this one. If that was the author's intention, then she hit the nail squarely on the head. However, the characters all felt so flat to me. I didn't care for any of them and none had any redeeming qualities. One Amazon reviewer says it best, "...who is there to hope the devil doesn't punish?" Not recommended.
To the outside world, Ed is not much to look at. He is 19 (though his employer thinks he’s 20), unathletic, ambivalent, unmotivated, and drives a taxi for a living. He has three good friends (Marv, Richie, and Audrey) with whom he plays cards occasionally. He has one exceptionally smelly dog, The Doorman. His more successful siblings have all moved out of this tiny Australian town, leaving him to the very strained relationship he maintains with their mother. He works, he sleeps, and he drinks coffee with The Doorman. That’s about it…until the first ace arrives in his mailbox. Three addresses are written on the playing card. Four aces equal twelve mysteries and Ed will find the answer to his questions only after he visits each one.
This book, along with all Markus Zusak’s novels, is in our young adult collection but, for this one especially, I would recommend for mature readers only (language, sexual situations, violence, mature theme...does that sound too much like the MPAA?).
I have avowed since my first reading of this book that I would place an "I Love Ed Kennedy" bumper sticker on my car just to see who got the reference. A perfect blend of reality and magical realism, I am the Messenger is a feel-good book though the ending does seem a bit forced, like Zusak got all the way to the last couple of pages and just wasn't sure what to do with it. Until that point, I was mesmerized. The language is gorgeous, even the angry bits, and littered with Australian...lingo? Colloquialisms? Whatever the word is. There are beautiful turns on phrase like "their voices slammed and the door shouted shut". I'm pulling that from memory so please allow for mistakes :-) Anyway, imagine a virtual standing ovation sound effect overlaying this discussion and you'll have my opinion!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Poe archive from UT Austin goes online: "Lori sez, 'UT Austin's Ransom Center has digitized their Edgar Allan Poe collection, and it's pretty cool. I especially like the copies of his books, with his notes in them.'
Oh, there's tons of Poe treasure here. I'm in hog heaven.
The digital collection incorporates images of all Poe manuscripts and letters at the Ransom Center with a selection of related archival materials, two books by Poe annotated by the author, sheet music based on his poems, and portraits from the Ransom Center collections. Poe's manuscripts and letters are linked to transcriptions on the website of the Poe Society of Baltimore.
The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection