Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
What is Man? by Mark Twain
Controversial and, dare I say, irreverent essay on the humanity of humans in the form of a Socratic dialogue between an Old Man and a Young Man. The OM takes the position of human as machine, working as programmed and motivated only by his own contentment of spirit. The YM, as young men tend to do, takes what he considers to be the high road. Great companion read to Bernard Beckett's Genesis, coming up a little later on this list.
Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr by Garth Nix
This is the middle book in Nix's young adult fantasy Abhorsen trilogy. Magic, necromancy, adventure, danger, loyalty, and bravery - something for all and I loved the whole series!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
It's a 2008 Hyundai Accent hatchback and I'm loving it! So nice to be more confident in the fact that I can get back and forth from work without dying! The poor Kia was just falling apart on me. It was a great car but I drive 80 miles a day, minimum, on crappy Alabama roads. There's just no sane way to make a car last under those conditions and I don't expect it. I shopped via Carmax and had one of my best car buying experiences EVER!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I FINALLY made it through the "Hags and Beauties" section of Poems Bewitched and Haunted. It was a chore. I sure hope men get equal treatment somewhere in this book because it was depressing how hard the woman-bashing went on. I thought, perhaps, somewhere, there would be an empowering sort of hag or beauty but no, they all could have starred front and center on Days of Our Lives or some such show. Powerful, shallow, ignorantly cunning...pshaw! I was glad to get past all that.
The "Dangerous Procedures" section was disappointing. Really, it was merely an extension of "Hags and Beauties," with recipes! Blissfully short.
Now we're getting to some good stuff, "Dangerous Venues!" Edgar Allan Poe's "The Haunted Palace" was pretty good, obviously, but my favorite so far is Thomas Hood's "The Haunted House." I will set it down for you here, but I will also be posting it, a stanza per day, over on facebook. It's perfect for it! Creepy and atmospheric with a gothic spice...good stuff!
Okay, the book only has Part I of this three part poem, in total there are 88 stanzas! It's too long to set down here, but click through if you are interested!
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I thought I was on track to be reading a lot less than last month, but 16 isn’t too shabby! I’m just a few books away from beating last year’s total and still basically have 3 months of reading to go, including another staycation in November. Would it be too greedy to shoot for 150 books this year? Surely not. Anyway, here’s what I read last month!
Leaving Unknown by Kerry Reichs
Maeve Connelly is a chronic non-finisher. To her embarrassment, she’s just been fired from yet another job and her parents are expressing some heavy disapproval at having to take care of her yet again. In a fit of inspiration, Maeve decides to move cross country from the Carolinas to take up residence with an old friend in California. With her ancient car, a chatty bird, and a sparkling sense of adventure, Maeve feels like nothing can stop her now…except, perhaps, that ancient car. The town of Unkown, Arizona will never be the same again.
No Doors, No Windows by Joe Schreiber
Greeting card writer and frustrated novelist Scott Mast has returned to his tiny New Hampshire hometown for his father’s funeral. His alcoholic brother and vulnerable nephew make the stay particularly uncomfortable in their separate ways and Scott is ready to head out. Before he can make his escape, he stumbles upon an unfinished manuscript of a horror novel begun by his father before his death. Now The Black Wing consumes him and he begins to wonder just what legacy has been left to him after all.
Marked by Elizabeth Naughton
This is the first book in the author’s Eternal Guardians series featuring Greek gods and demi-gods, demons, and, of course, eternal love. Ummm, of the hot variety. I’m sure you understand.
Vampirates: Blood Captain by Justin Somper
This is the third volume in the young adult series about the twins, Conner and Grace, each of whom were rescued by pirates after they were shipwrecked. Conner’s rescuers were human, Grace’s were not. Now Grace’s nemesis, the vampirate Sidorio, is back and amassing power to threaten the human and vampire world alike.
Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker by Syrie James
A further fictionalized tale based on the original fictionalized tale. What *really* happened to Mina and Jonathan Harker and the rest from Stoker’s classic horror story of darkness and obsession. I wanted to like this, I really did, and it was great up until about the last ½ or 1/3 and then she lost me. Dark, sensual, and more than a little depraved. Still good Halloween-ish reading!
Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
Death broke a cardinal rule when he stepped through the veil of Shadows because of the love he bore Kathleen. Now the dark creatures of Shadow can pass through as well and the wraith menace grows, sucking the souls from humanity. Twenty some odd years after that event, the child created from that union, Talia, is on the run for her life. The wraiths want something from her but she has no idea that she is a banshee. Adam, leader of the wraith research group Segue, knows she may be the key to destroying the menace if he can only keep her alive long enough AND keep from falling in love with her.
Vampirates: Black Heart by Justin Somper
The fourth book in the series. Sidorio just won’t die and now has joined forces with Lady Lola Blackwood, a very dangerous vampire in her own right. Grace and Conner are quickly running out of places to hide and avenues of escape.
Summer at Tiffany: A Memoir by Marjorie Hart
Marjorie and her best friend Marty became the first female floor sales pages when they were hired for the summer at Tiffany in 1945. This is her story of that exciting, life-changing summer when they donned the trademark blue of Tiffany and Co.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Full of the flash and fire of Kerouac’s On the Road, but in Spain. Fishing, bullfighting, absinthe by the bucket loads, and the hectic, mercurial affection of one Lady Brett Ashley.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Grace has been obsessed by the wolves in the forest behind her house ever since she was almost killed by them when she was a small child. One wolf in particular, yellow-eyed AND the one who saved her life then, keeps her attention now. After one of her school mates is attacked, a group of men from town take their guns in to the woods, determined to rid the forest of wolves. Grace desperately tries to stop them, to no affect. When she returns home that night, she finds a naked, shivering, shot boy on her back porch. A boy with disturbingly familiar yellow eyes.
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The sequel to Shiver. The third novel in the trilogy, Forever, is due out next July. Linger finds Grace and Sam struggling to acclimate to their new lives, unable to escape the feeling that nothing good lasts forever.
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Sabriel’s father, Abhorsen, is missing. She knows something is terribly wrong because he sent a very weak shadow hand to bring her his magically-enhanced sword and the bandolier of seven bells he used to bind and defeat the dead. Sabriel refuses to believe he is truly dead so she must leave boarding school, cross the Wall back in to the Old Kindgom, and find her father immediately. Something dark is brewing, the dead are rising, the dead creatures that rise with them becoming even more vicious, and only Abhorsen can do anything about it. With the help of the magical creature Mogget, he only *looks* like a small white cat, Sabriel must journey to death and beyond to find her father before it’s too late.
Vampirates: Empire of Night by Justin Somber
The fifth and most current volume of the continuing adventures of twins Grace and Conner. The twins have learned of their true history and nothing will ever be the same. Hard choices must be made, sides chosen, battles fought…I love this series!
Shadow Fall by Erin Kellison
Sequel to Shadow Bound. Adam and the banshee Talia show up in this book as well, but it focuses on Adam's friend Custo. He has made an unhealthy trade with an adversary he really shouldn't have pissed off but he has to help Adam at all costs. Something is free of the Shadowlands, hunting an innocent young woman, and it's his doing that the creature made the leap into life from the Shadows.
103, and counting!
Monday, September 27, 2010
This was my first time to attend Sidewalk and I am officially a lifelong fan! I had such a great time! I saw 12 showings total: 7 documentaries, 4 narrative features, and a block of 9 short films. I love movies and it was the perfect day, just running from one venue to another seeing lots of different viewpoints on the world. I did a lot of walking and a fair amount of stair climbing and didn't eat any crap. I stuffed my purse full both days with an apple, a banana, almonds, cheese, and crackers. Lots of water fountains for my water bottle. It was the best weekend I've had in quite some time!
Pretty crappy to come home to a freon-leaking a/c unit and a damp spot on the ceiling. Repairmen are inbound bright and ugly tomorrow morning and I may be shopping around for a loan.
Has anyone else seen any of these films?
Shot on location in New York City and starring an ensemble cast of New York City Ballet dancers, NY Export: Opus Jazz takes Jerome Robbins‘ 1958 “ballet in sneakers” and reimagines it for a new generation in this scripted adaptation.
and moral battle that would last six years before coming to a shocking conclusion.
A new space race is born between NASA and the ESA when Charlie Brownsville, Hank Morrison, and Dr. Casey Cook compete against an artificially intelligent robot to find out what's up there on the red planet. 'Mars' follows these three astronauts on the first manned mission to our galactic neighbor. On the way they experience life threatening accidents, self doubts, obnoxious reporters, and the boredom of extended space travel.
This romantic comedy is told in the playful style of a graphic novel- using a unique animation process that director Geoff Marslett developed specifically for the film. Underneath the silliness Mars is also an exploration of exploration. Why do we want to know what is out there? How do we react to what we find? Is it really that important? And where does love fit into the whole thing?
On January 9th 2009, 5 college students left New York City for a weekend in the country. 48 hours later, all 5 students simply vanished without a trace. There were no leads and no evidence...until now. Before Evil Things, we saw The Tub, a 12 minute short film. A man accidentally impregnates his tub. Morbidly funny.
The Thing About Being an Assassin
An intimate and impressionistic look at a super-sly assassin working in the realm of the ultra-business class.
Jason and Christine were a couple in love. But things begin to turn one-sided when communication breaks down.
A Dread of Red
In order to spend eternity with her vampire fiance, Trina must first deal with his blood phobia.
An infertile breast pump salesperson deals with having to choose a sperm donor.
Girl in the Box
A creepy box, an evil man and a girl in a scary situation. We love the silly, scary, gory slasher flicks of the 1980's. Our inspiration came from the horror films that we rented as kids based solely on the video box art (such as 'Happy Birthday To Me.' 'April Fool's Day' and 'Sleepaway Camp') that always had trailers for equally campy movies that revealed the entire plot - ending and all - that we were too lazy to fast forward through.
Lucy in Lala
Lucy lives in her own world. She likes to jog on Saturdays. She has an awful imagination. She has a warped sense of humor. She just can’t seem to make it work. Lucy will do whatever she can to relieve herself of a crappy life.
The Lost Interviews
a series of job interviews highlighting the poor state of the corporate job market.
Brian (Clifton Lewis) is dumped by his girlfriend Claire (Jennifer Leonard). After the breakup, Brian is talking to his friends John (Marc Patterson) and Derrick (Clark Andrews) about why he loves Claire. Brian retraces the steps of his relationship, struggling to remember the day he and Claire first met. When confronted with the question 'Why do you love her?', Brian doesn't have an answer. That is, until his memories help him rediscover the small things in life and 'Claire-ify' what's worth fighting for.
A Face in the Woods
A young man runs out of gas on his way to his mother’s funeral in this haunting yet spiritual look at the grieving process.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
If you're still hanging in there, I'm about to turn over a new leaf!
...and I have a wonderful pig story to tell you!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Second in the Uglies trilogy. Talley gave herself up so that David's mother could test the cure on her, but she remembers nothing until a shadowy figure confronts her at a party. If she can follow the clues, she may just find her way back to the memories the Pretty surgery has taken away.
Specials by Scott Westerfeld
The last in the Uglies trilogy and SO, SO good. Talley finds a place for herself in the world, but it is not a clean journey and hearts are broken, probably beyond repair, along the way.
Extras by Scott Westerfeld
The is a spin off tale from Westerfelds Uglies trilogy. Not as good as the trilogy, but entertaining and I was very glad to see Talley Youngblood again!
Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper
Fourteen year old twins, Grace and Conner Tempest, are adrift, literally and figuratively, after their father dies. They are being pursued by the greedy bank owner and the equally greedy orphanage manager when they decide to take their father's boat and leave. They are separated when a violent storm sinks their boat. Conner is rescued by a pirate ship, The Diablo, while Grace gets picked up by a mysterious ship with black, tattered sails like wings. This ship, The Nocturne, is crewed by vampirates (vampire pirates). Conner mourns his sister but settles in to the pirate life while Grace knows her brother is alive but is fighting some unruly members of the Nocturne crew to stay that way herself. She has unexpected allies in the vampirate Captain and Midshipman Lorcan Furey.
Vampirates: Tide of Terror by Justin Somper
The continuing adventures of 14 year-old twins, Grace and Conner Tempest. In the first book, the twins were separated after a shipwreck in a violent storm. Conner was rescued by a pirate ship and Grace by the vampirate ship. They reunited, but Grace takes a dislike to the type of pirate lifestyle aboard The Diablo and tries to get Conner to go to the Pirate Academy to head off what she sees as a wasted, violent life. Meanwhile, the vampirate captain is suffering from horrifying problems of his own and one of Grace's friends aboard the ship desperately needs her help.
Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
Lawrence and Temeraire race back to Africa in search of a possible cure for the awful sickness decimating Britain's dragons.
Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Napoleon brings down all he has to bear on the British troops, including the other Celestial dragon. Lawrence is arrested for treasonous activity and Temeraire is shipped off to the breeding grounds.
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
For me, this was worth the wait! I love this series real hard. The Napoleonic Wars, with dragons! It might sound silly, but it isn't. This is historical fiction or alternate history, what ever you want to call it, at it's very, very best! Lawrence and Temeraire have been shipped off to Australia since they can't be killed or controlled.
Her Hero in Hiding by Rachael Lee
Harlequin paperback, light and entertaining. Bruised and battered woman jumps out of an abusive ex-boyfriend's car and takes off into the woods. Hunky man finds battered woman running down the isolated road to his home. Chaos insues.
Stay by Allie Larkin
I couldn't stand it, I bought this book because I wanted it to be at my fingertips WHEN i wanted to read it..no lines, no waiting. Van (Savannah) Leone is heartbroken when the love of her life falls in love with and marries her very best friend. After the wedding, and in a drunken haze, she sort of accidentally buys a "puppy" online...off of a foreign website...for an absurd amount of money. Enter the cute, available, hurt-before-therefore-gun shy veterinarian. There are no new characters here and it's predictable, but I laughed so hard I cried and I cried a bit too. Loved it!
Antiques Roadkill by Barbara Allen
Divorced and bitter, the daughter returns home to her manic depressive mother after a shady antiques dealer takes advantage of her mother's fragile condition to clean out the house of its priceless family heirlooms for a steal, literally. After a very public showdown between the daughter and the dealer, her mother runs over him in his yard. Thankfully, he was already dead, but if her mother didn't do it, who did? Funny and fast moving, though the authors' use of parenthetical asides is a bit overdone.
Dragon America by Mike Resnick
I found this in my search for something to fill the Temeraire gap after my quick devouring of the latest in the series...alas, vastly inferior effort. Horribly characters, worse dialogue, and awful, flat, useless dragons. Boo...hiss! Davy Crockett is searching for a legendary breed of giant, fire breathing dragons to help George Washington during the American Revolution. None of the local dragons are big or dangerous enough to be of use, so he must venture out into the uncharted territory of the American West in search of crappy dialogue and fruitless attempts at arousing tension.
Weddings Can Be Murder by Christie Craig
Romantic suspense...ex-cop PI gets a call from a wedding planner who says her brides are being killed. Bride-to-be meets ex-cop PI at the wedding planner's house when he arrives just as the wedding planner is shot and the bride-to-be is fleeing through a conveniently enormous old mansion. Again, light and entertaining.
Divorced, Desperate, and Delicious by Christie Craig
Romantic suspense...falsely accused detective on the run from his renegade partner meets sexy, single (and divorced!) greeting card photographer who lives, conveniently, alone and isolated except for her house full of quirky animals. It was light and entertaining.
Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery edited by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan
EXCELLENT fantasy short story anthology...read it for the library story (naturally!) if for nothing else!
All Tied Up by Cathryn Fox
Short novella, light on plot, heavy on naughtiness.
Cry Sanctuary by Moira Rogers
Short, sexy werewolf story. Entertaining if not terribly compelling.
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
OMG! This books is so good it'll make you hurt. This author describes cold that makes your joints ache, poverty that you can hardly imagine, and a brutal, vindictive world outside any boundaries my own personal reality could come up with. Ree's father, a meth cook, has skipped bail but if he doesn't show up for his court date, the county will take everything they own leaving Ree, her two young brothers, and their mentally unstable mother homeless in the coming winter. The movie is out in limited release here in Birmingham Sept 10th, supposedly at the Vestavia Rave though showtimes are not available online yet.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Last in the Hunger Games trilogy and I loved it! Reviews are decidedly mixed on this one, but mine is resoundingly positive! The Hunger Games universe is a post apocalyptic United States where there exists 12 districts and a Capitol. Every year, to remind the districts of their place, the Capitol requires 2 Tributes from each district, a boy and a girl between the ages (I believe) of 12 and 16, to battle to the death in an artificially created arena. The winner lives a life of luxury and their entire district gets extra food and supplies. Sixteen year old Katniss's story begins when her 12 year old sister Prim is selected from District 12 and Katniss volunteers to take her place. Get 'em, read 'em: Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.