Monday, August 30, 2010


1142 is the first story in Helen HumphreysThe Frozen Thames. The stories in The Frozen Thames have been described as vignettes and creative non-fiction. In recorded history, the river Thames has frozen solid forty times. The stories in Humphreys’ book are based on those occurrences. After reading the first story and then looking up this information online, it made me wonder if these could be considered short stories. Then I thought, these are stories and they are short, so yes. If anyone disagrees with me, I’ll have to wait and see.

1142 is the year. Queen Matilda of England is under siege. It has been a long seven years. The Thames is frozen. Getting and idea from her maid, Queen Matilda uses the unusually cold winter and frozen river to her advantage. What happens to Matilda after the siege? Well, that isn’t part of the story.

I feel like the story is about the river and how it is used. Matilda might be the main character, but without the frozen river, who knows how the little narrative would have ended. Helen Humphreys has a way with words that I envy. I really enjoyed the story of 1142 and look forward to reading more of this interesting book.

Side Note: Hardy Jones, author of The Americanization of Li Ming which I read for Short Story Monday two week ago stopped by my blog. I’ve never had a writer stop by my blog before! He left links to some of his other works and to his website. Check out my previous post if you’re interested.

Oxford English Dictionary Will Probably Never Be Printed Again

How do we feel about this?

Oxford English Dictionary Will Probably Never Be Printed Again

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This week’s question: Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

Answer: I do not use a rating system for my reviews. I’ve considered it. It might make it easier to get my feelings about a book across. I’ve read a lot of blogs that have rating systems, like our host, Jennifer at Crazy for Books, Roof Beam Reader, BookSnake Reviews and many others. I’ve been seriously thinking about adopting one, a 0-10 system instead of a 1-5, but I haven’t decided yet.

Thanks for Hopping by. Leave a comment below and I’ll visit too.

200 Followers in 2 Months Giveaway!! | The Broke and the Bookish

Check out this great giveaway at The Broke and the Bookish.

200 Followers in 2 Months Giveaway!! The Broke and the Bookish

Friday, August 20, 2010

Word of the Week!

Alas, there is only one word this week.

From Stephen King’s Under the Dome.

Chivvy: To vex or harass with petty attacks; to maneuver or secure gradually. Both of these definitions are applicable to the current political situation in the small town of Chester Mills as Barbie and Big Jim Rennie vie for power.

Also, for any Canadians reading this and who like Stephen King, Under The Dome (trade paperback) is on sale this weekend at Chapters for only $10! Regular price is $24.99. I warn you, though I’m really enjoying the book, it is super long.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Another Friday, another Hop! Welcome to all first time and returning visitors. Thanks for thanking the time to say hi. If you leave a comment below, I’ll be sure to visit your blog and return the greeting.

This week’s question: How many blogs do I follow?

This week’s answer: 42 (Wow! Hitchhiker’s Guide anyone?) Like our host, Jennifer, I don’t usually have time to read all of them everyday. I try to read as much as I can if time allows. I also don’t just read book/writing blogs. There are a couple random, make me smile, make me laugh blogs too. Though, after this week’s Hop I might be adding a few more to the list.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8: The Long Way Home

I just completed the first volume in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 series, The Long Way Home. I was a HUGE fan off Buffy back when it was first on. I watched it all through high school and through most of university. There was one season, season 6, I believe, that I didn’t watch it that much. It was a combination of being very busy with school (and two jobs) and that season being not that good. Season 7 definitely made up for it and the Season 8 comic/graphic novel series continues the legacy of Buffy.

I had originally decided that I wouldn’t read Season 8. I didn’t want to get involved in another book series and then have to buy all of them. A friend of mine at work, who is much more of a fan than I am, wanted someone to talk about the books with, so about a week and a half ago, she gave me a bag and inside this bag were all her Buffy books. It was a few days before I dug in. I was still reading The Good Earth and had already decided what my next book would be. One day after I had finished my book, I had put my daughter down for the night, my husband was getting ready for bed, they were right there. I picked it up. By the time he was done, I was deep into the first issue (each graphic novel is a collection of five issues) and had to finish before I went to sleep. In just a few days the book was done and I wondered why I hadn’t read it sooner.

It was so good. If you’re a fan of Buffy and/or a fan of graphic novels, you’ll like The Long Way Home. It’s fun and exciting. The art is great. They are able to do things with comics that they never could on television. Joss Whedon and the other writers and artists are able to take Buffy to another level. I really enjoyed this first arc. I like who the villains are. I can’t wait to see Buffy and the other slayers kick their butts. The Long Way Home shows a Buffy with new responsibilities, along with her old friends. She also has some amazing new friends. The Long Way Home is a great hook to get you into reading the rest of Season 8.

One aspect of the book that struck me and I really liked was the last issue. The last issue is called The Chain and it isn’t about Buffy and her friends. It’s about another slayer, her mission, what she’s been through and what being a slayer has come to mean to her. It’s like a short story at the end of the novel. I really enjoyed it. It gives the reader a new insight into the Buffyverse. A note at the end, says that they’re going to do this at the end of each collection. If they’re as good as The Chain I look forward to reading them. The Long Way Home is a fantastic continuation of a television series I loved.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Americanization of Li Ming, by Hardy Jones

It’s interesting to read a short story in which the writer’s notes seem to be a part. I’m not sure who the really main character is in the . Is it Li Ming or is it the writer who is controlling her thoughts and life? Li Ming wants to be American and she is trying to figure out how best to do that without looking like she’s trying. The writer makes side notes about the verb tenses and whether Li Ming is Chinese or Vietnamese. It is as though Jones is making the story transparent, so the reader knows it is made up, but he still manages to make Li Ming seem like a real person you can relate to. It is her struggle for identity that seems real, which manifests in her conversation with her dead mother.The Americanization of Li Ming

This is another author I couldn’t find much on. I think primarily because his first novel hasn’t been published yet. is forthcoming, according to the publication I found the story in, Shelf Life and Will I read the novel? I’m not sure. The short story was nice. Even with the interesting style, I don’t know if it’s enough to make me get his book (I like interesting styles). Though the blurb at the bottom says his work has appeared in “over twenty journals” it doesn’t say which journals, which is disappointing. Overall, I did really enjoy the short story and it piqued my interest in his work. I just don’t know if it did it enough. The lack of available content on Hardy Jones as well as readily available work makes me think that he will be forgotten.Every Bitter Thing

Note: The story is currently available at . I don’t know how long it is going to be up.Shelf Life Magazine

Short Story Monday is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

Word of the Week!

This week’s words are varied in their meaning and sources.

From Alice French’s Spring and Summer.

Muskeg: An acidic soil type common in Arctic and boreal areas. It makes sense that this word was used since the short story took place on the Canadian tundra. A better description of muskeg can be found here.

From the blog, Stargazing.

Barnet: British slang for hair. From rhyming slang, Barnet fair hair (whatever that means). Stargazing was quoting the British Sun, who wrote an article on Emma Watson’s new hair, which apparently has to do with her attempt to land the lead role in The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. [Aside: Am I the only one in the world who hasn’t read this book?]

From the blog, Sleep Talkin’ Man.

Numpty: Also British slang. It’s another word for “moron”. If you haven’t checked out the Sleep Talkin’ Man blog, I suggest you do. It’s hilarious.

I feel like all of the words can be a part of my vocabulary. I think I like “numpty” the best. I feel like I can use it here and no one would know what I was saying.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
This week’s question:

I’m pretty sure I have over a hundred books on my bookshelves, definitely not just a pile. I love books, I love buying them and having them look oh-so-pretty on my shelves. I think I’m addicted to book-buying the way some women are addicted to shoes and it’s an addiction my husband encourages and sometimes shares.

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books.

If you’re hopping by, leave a message below and I’ll hop by to say, Hi!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Spring and Summer, by: Alice French

I found Spring and Summer among the stories of From Ink Lake, a collection of Canadian short stories. From what I can tell, Alice French has written two works, an account of her life called, My Name is Masak from which this story comes and The Restless Nomad. She was born on Baillie Island in the Northwest Territories. In my search for a picture of her, I found a lot of pictures of French Toast as well as French food. There were also pictures of Alice In Wonderland and Alice Munro. Sadly, none of her.

I wish I could find out more about her. Alice French wrote a vividly descriptive account of a spring and summer in the tundra. She starts with the new growth, buds and blossoms. She talks a lot about the birds, where they mate, their particular behaviours. What I found really interesting was her account of whaling with her family and the other families. She describes the process of utilizing every bit of the animals they hunt. Then they return to school and their identities are buried until next year.

As much as I enjoyed the description of Inuit life, I did however, find the story lacking in something. A point, perhaps? Perhaps that was because this was an excerpt from her first book. By being an excerpt is there more that wasn’t chosen to be included in this collection, something that would have made it feel more complete? I didn’t know that it was an excerpt until after I read the story, then read the short bio about her in the back of the book. Going in, maybe it would have changed my feeling while reading the story, or maybe I wouldn’t have read the story. Alice French is definitely worth a read, though I don’t know how easy it will be to get her books.

Visit the host of Short Story Monday, John Mutford at The Book Mine Set.

Mila's Daydreams: Mila Had a Little Lamb

I love this blog.  It's super cute!

Mila's Daydreams

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Toy Story 3

What an amazing movie! I can’t believe an animated movie (in my head I was thinking “cartoon”) almost made me cry. I teared up twice at the end. I held it back though. I love Woody and Buzz and Barbie & Ken and all the others. There are such interesting characters. The Monkey was awesome.

Toy Story 3 is another amazing film by Pixar. I was so happy I saw it in 3D too. Toy Story 3 is fun for kids, but carries emotional relevance for adults too. The hidden grown-up jokes were a lot of fun too. The Pixar “cartoon” tackles abandonment and growing up in a way that kids can understand and adults can relate to. It really is one of those movies that the whole family can watch and enjoy.

I really can’t say enough good things about it, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. (Of course, if anyone wants to talk about it, I’m happy to discuss it.) It’s currently at 99% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. I remember when it came out, it was 100% for a long time. So, I suppose, there are a few people out there that don’t like it. Fine. You can’t please everyone.

Okay, I have one criticism, not about the story itself, but about the 3D. It’s not really worth it to pay 3D. Nothing really jumps out at you off the screen. There were more 3D effects in the trailers for other films than the actual movie. Everyone should still see it, but it doesn’t have to be at the extra 3D cost. Toy Story 3 reminds you about growing up, but remembering the joy of being a kid playing with toys.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Good Earth

Wang Lung works to give his family a better life. He has a love of the land that his sons never grasp. Did the better life he created also create a distance between the sons and their heritage? Was that the nature of family life in China?

Pearl S. Buck grew up in China. Her parents were missionaries, who only returned to America to have her. When she was three months old, they returned to China. Buck then only left China to go to university. She was forced to permanently leave in 1933 because of war. A short biography of her life can be read on Wikipedia. There is also more information about her and the foundation she started at the foundation’s website.

I did not expect to be so thoroughly engrossed in The Good Earth. It was fantastic! I connected with these characters more than I expected. Their world is so different from the one I inhabit. Their emotions feel so real; it is that deep emotional connection that pulls you into the story.

Buck's life was deeply connected to China, its people and culture. She writes about the farmer, Wang Lung with a true realism. She even says that she writes about China because that’s all she knows. The Good Earth really reflects that. The story reads as though it was someone close to Wang Lung who wrote it.

One of the first things that struck me on a personal level was the treatment of women in Chinese society in the early 20th century. When a girl child is born, it’s called a “slave”. The child is raised essentially to leave the family and be some man’s wife. Once they are married, there is likely no more contact with parents or siblings. Boys are what they hope and pray for. Boys carry the family forward and take care of aging parents. O-Lan is a slave Wang Lung’s father buys to be his son’s wife. She is not pretty, but she is strong. Though for a time he forgets, Wang Lung knows that he would not be where he is in life without the quiet O-Lan. Wang Lung is good to the women in his life, though within the confines of the society he is born into.

The Good Earth is set during pre-revolutionary China, though there is always some far off war happening. By the end of the novel, the edges of war has come through Wang Lung’s home. War is ever growing closer. It makes me wonder what will happen to the life that Wang Lung has created for his family. His sons also smile behind his back. It makes me wonder what they will do to the legacy as well.

Something I learned, as I read a bit about Pearl S. Buck was that The Good Earth is part of a trilogy. Though I had often heard of this book, I’d never heard of its sequels. Sons is the second book and A House Divided is the third. As much as I want to know what happens to Wang Lung’s family, I’m hesitant to read these two books. It’s difficult to even find them.

One thing I do know, The Good Earth is worth reading. It might be one of those rare books I read twice. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope everyone who reads it loves it as much as I do.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books. This is my second time participating and I can’t wait to see what new blogs I’ll discover this week.

In answer to this week’s question, I do like listening to music while I read. It doesn’t usually matter what. Just whatever mp3’s are on my computer or whatever the radio is playing is fine with me. I don’t like the quiet, I actually find it distracting.

If you’re hopping by, leave a message below and I’ll come by to say, Hi!

Word of the Week!

I only have one entry this week. I’ve had a pretty busy week. There’s been a lot of family time (my daughter is growing up so fast!), a lot of visiting and getting things done around the house. I’ve still been reading, but not a lot of new words have come my way. I chose this one, because, while in context I knew what it meant, if I had to give a definition, I don’t think I’d be able to.

This week’s only entry is from Stephen King’s Under The Dome.

Shambled: The past tense of shamble. To walk in while shuffling or dragging the feet. To walk slowly and awkwardly, without lifting your feet correctly. The definitions are from Wiktionary and the Cambridge Dictionary. Junior Rennie is shambling his way home after doing something rather bad. He’s so self-involved, he doesn’t even know the Dome exists yet.