Monday, May 31, 2010

Empty Joys

I decided to dive back into the world of fantasy through my short story this week. Empty Joys is by one of my favourite fantasy writers, R. A. Salvatore. As you may have previously read on my blog, Salvatore has created one of the most famous characters in Forgotten Realms and potentially in the fantasy genre. Empty Joys, however, is not about Drizzt, though I miss him and hope to see him soon.

Empty Joys is the last story in the Forgotten Realms collection The Best Of The Realms: Book 1. It tells the story of one small adventure had by two former enemies of Drizzt Do’Urden, Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri. Jarlaxle and Entreri are on the road, though they have no destination. Once villains, the reader finds the pair saving innocents from a band of merciless highwaymen.

The story is a stopover or a peek, into the happenings betweens books. It’s a quick punch of adventure, fast-paced and exciting. In its thirty pages, the story gives the reader insight into the main characters. It functions as a short story more than I thought it would. It still felt like part of a larger story, especially with Jarlaxle secretly meeting with his Underdark lieutenant. Empty Joys [thankfully] doesn’t read as a misplaced chapter of a novel, it makes you eager for more of the Forgotten Realms and these characters.

Thanks to John at The Book Mine Set for hosting Short Story Monday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Robert Munsch's Admission

I just reviewed The Paper Bag Princess.  This doesn't change my opinion on it or any of this other books.  He's still a great writer.  I wonder why he came out with this now.  It's not like there was some scandel.  Was it because of his stroke?  Did he want to clear the air?  Is he trying to set an example?  It's okay to admit your mistakes?  I think he could have continued to go on with his career and no one would have ever known.

A NOTE TO PARENTS – The Official Website of Robert Munsch

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Paper Bag Princess

Since I had my daughter, it seems that I’m slowly re-reading stories I read as a child. The result wasn’t favourable in one instance. Since then, it has made me a bit weary. There’s no reason to be with The Paper Bag Princess. I loved it as a child. As an adult, whenever it came up, it still gave me a good feeling, though I couldn’t remember exactly what it was about.

Well, let me tell you… It is about a girl, Princess Elizabeth, who is brave, resourceful and intelligent. Robert Munsch did an incredible job in creating a princess who is not a “damsel in distress”. When Princess Elizabeth’s belongings are destroyed and her fiancé kidnapped, she finds something (a paper bag) to wear and goes to rescue him. She doesn’t fight the dragon with a sword and kill him. She uses her mind and tricks the dragon. She rescues the prince, but all he seems to care about is how she looks; he’s not even grateful for being rescued. Well, the princess decides he’s a bum (or a toad if you’re in England) and doesn’t marry him.

I think Robert Munsch sets a great example for young girls. The girl can be the hero. You don’t have to use violence to defeat the bad guy. Just because a guy is good looking, you might think he’s a prince, but he could actually be a terrible person and you don’t really want anything to do with him. These are messages which are often lost on young girls.

I hope I’m not gushing. I love this book. I have nothing bad to say. The story is wonderful. The illustrations are great. They’re signature; they let us recognize The Paper Bag Princess without words. Every parent should read this to their children, sons and daughters alike.

*A note on the edition:
I bought a couple copies of The Paper Bag Princess for the loot bags for my daughter’s first birthday party. The Paper Bag Princess along with a few other of Robert Munsch’s books are available in mini-editions (3.5x3.5 inches) from Chapters.Indigo for about $1.99. You can’t seem to order them online, but trust me, there are a bunch in the stores. You can order a few online at Amazon (for $1.99), but not The Paper Bag Princess, sadly. I just think they’re great for travel, so you always have a cute little story for your cute little baby.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

DRM, e-books, and Fictionwise

Inkygirl is having a problem with Fictionwise's ebooks. They're a Barnes and Noble company. It's been going on for a month. When are they going to fix her problem? It makes me not want to buy ebooks.

DRM, e-books, and Fictionwise/B&N Removing Access To Books *I Have Already Paid For* Inkygirl: Daily Diversions For Writers

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Beggarwoman Of Locarno, by Heinrich von Kleist

The Beggarwoman of Locarno is a short story by Heinrich von Kleist. Kleist is more famously known for his stories Michael Kohlhaas and The Marquise of O–.  He was a German Romantic, first making a name for himself with his plays; he was also a poet and novelist.

The Beggarwoman of Locarno is surprisingly, a ghost story. I didn’t know it would be. It was a great little story about the punishment suffered if you don’t show charity to the poor. It was an easy read, which I did expect, having read The Marquise of O—. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t know if the likability of the writing style comes from the author or the translator. What I do know is that I enjoyed the story immensely. I hope, with this story, Kleist was able to teach a few rich men how to be nicer to the poor.

A copy of the text can be found here.

The post was written in conjunction with Short Story Monday hosted at The Book Mine Set.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 was fantastic. My husband read in the Toronto Star that it only received 2.5/5 stars. So when we went to see it last night, I didn’t have very high expectations. Today, I check Rotten Tomatoes which has it “Certified Fresh” with 74%. That’s more like it.

If you like action movies with an underlying current of comedy, you’ll love Iron Man 2. It’s full of fantastic explosions and armoured fights. It’s also full of comedic exchanges between Robert Downey Jr. and his co-stars. The movie touches on Tony Stark’s self-indulgent, self-destructive tendencies, which I thought added a bit of realism to the movie. He drinks too much as is narcissistic and he thinks he can single-handedly save the world. The movie was funny and exciting. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I could go on about what I loved, but really, just go see it.
One more thing, there’s an extra scene after the credits. I think it’s a bit of marketing for the filmmakers, but it’s still interesting.