Monday, December 26, 2011

The Frozen Thames

I’m not sure how to categorize Helen Humphreys' The Frozen Thames.  Is it a collection of short stories?  Creative non-fiction?  Historical fiction?  Each story is based the actual events that occurred during each freezing of the river Thames.

Humphreys has created a beautiful collection.  Each story is like poetry, lyrical, smooth and full of ice.  The poetic quality is why it took me so long to finish.  The book could be a quick read, but with poetry in general, I have to take a step back, so I had to do that after almost every story.  Of course, this is a personal thing and I’m sure others could sit on a cold winter day, in a warm chair with a cup of tea and read the entire book.  The Frozen Thames is simply lovely.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings or, I Hope The People Who Are Buying Me Presents Read This List

This week The Brokeand The Bookish want to know what you’re hoping to find under the tree.

  1. The Dark Tower:  The Little Sisters of Eluria, by Stephen King
  2. In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, by Margaret Atwood
  3. Women of Sand and Myrrh, by Hanan al-Shaykh
  4. Undead and Unwelcome, by MaryJanice Davidson
  5. The Cat’s Table, by Michael Ondaatje
  6. Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel
  7. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8: Twilight & Last Gleaming, by Joss Whedon
  8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  Dreadfully Ever After, by Steven Hockensmith
  9. A History of God, by Karen Armstrong
  10. Robopocalypse, by Daniel H. Wilson
What do you want in your stocking?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Roots Day 3 or I Don't Think The Kids Learned Anything

I had another Roots session on Wednesday.  I don't think the kids learned anything.

This session was supposed to have me go through my diaper bag and explain to the kids what I take with me to care for my son.  Did they retain any of what I said?  I don't know.  A few of them might have.

The teacher and the educational assistant (EA) weren't there.  Instead, there was a supply teacher and a supply EA.  It's difficult to keep control of kindergarteners when you don't even know there name.  The Roots instructor told me that in this instance, the school is supposed to call her and have her reschedule.  It's policy.  The kids didn't learn anything and they were getting a little too close to me and my son.  I wonder if the instructor had a few words for the school administration after I left.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Disney Princesses, by Susan Holbrook

Susan Holbrook’s The DisneyPrincesses is an amazing poem.  I don’t read a lot of poetry.  I read all kinds of poetry in University, but I overloaded.  It was constant analysis and comparisons and I think it changed my ability to simply appreciate a poem.  I believe my ability to enjoy poetry is coming back, but I want the poems I read to speak to me and The Disney Princesses does.

I picked up the new issue of PRISM International.  Honestly, when I pick up a literary magazine, it’s for the short stories.  But one day, as I was making dinner, my husband picked up the magazine and started reading a couple of the poems to me.  (It wasn’t as romantic as it sounds.  grandparents and children were playing in the other room.)  When he began to read The Disney Princesses not only did he become more enthused, but I started to really pay attention.  I really enjoyed the poem, but it also made me think.  That’s what I want from poetry (and other literary works).  I like the point she makes about Jasmine, Mulan and Pocahontas (I have a feeling the poem was written pre- Tiana.)  The last line is also fantastic.

For readers who aren’t into poetry, Holbrook’s poem is something you should have a look at.  It’s funny, a little cheeky and makes you think before you even realize what’s happening.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Searching For and Finding What Others Thought I Couldn't

If you want a 2011 Baby Coin Gift Set for a little one, don't bother with the post office or certain other postal outlets.  Click below.  You'll go to Sears Canada.  You can order it online and right now, they have free holiday shipping.  I say, "Hahaha" to those people I encountered who thought my search was futile.

Royal Canadian Mint 2011 Baby Coin Set - Sears Sears Canada

Literature For All

Literary Blog Hop

It’s been a long time since I participated in the Literary Blog Hop from The Blue Bookcase.  It’s also been a while since I reviewed anything “literary”, but I do have a couple things in the works.  I just couldn’t resist this week’s question:  What work of literature would you recommend to someone who doesn’t like literature? 

Two novels immediately came to mind, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and 1984 by George Orwell.  Both are dystopian.  Both are literary.  Thought I love Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I think 1984 might be more accessible to a casual reader.  I think it’s because 1984 is the source for so many of today’s clichés and expressions, that someone who only reads fantasy or science fiction might find it really interested.  Both stories are also gripping and frightening.  Literature doesn’t have to take place in the present or past; it can push us into a possible future that’ll give you chills.

What would you recommend to the non-literary minded?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Avengers' Butts

(c) Kevin Bolk
I thought this was awesome and had to share.  What if the men were posed like Black Widow?

She's a strong character, just as kick ass as any of these men.

Found here:  Stargazing blog by Malene Arpe

Winter Reads, May Resemble Fall Reads

This week’s top ten from The Broke and The Bookish asks:  what are your top ten winter reads?  Some of these books may have appeared on my fall list.  I couldn’t help it.  It’s difficult these days to read 10 books in three months.  There were also new books purchased and I don’t always feel like sticking to a plan.

So here’s a list that I might not stick to, my top ten winter reads.

  1. World War Z, by Max Brooks
  2. The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Steig Larsson
  3. The Thousand Orcs, by R.A. Salvatore
  4. The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis
  5. The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis
  6. Everything’s Eventual, by Stephen King
  7. The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews
  8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith
  9. The Tent, by Margaret Atwood
  10. Binu and The Great Wall, by Su Tong
What do you plan on reading on those cold, wintery days and nights?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roots, Day #2 – Crying or What He Was Doing All Day Except For When We Were In The Class

[For the post about my first class and other information click here.]

My baby boy did not have any good snoozes today. He fussed and cried a lot. I was worried for when we had to be in the kindergarten class, but he was fine, thank goodness. The kids were energetic and happy to see him. They sang songs and this week we discussed why babies cry.

Crying is how babies communicate. I explained that babies have different cries depending on what is wrong or what they want. The kids seemed really receptive. I think they’re learning a lot and they’re so excited when he enters the classroom. I’m really glad I decided to do this.

When I was leaving, the principal of the school came out to meet me. She told me how much she appreciated what I was doing and how important she felt the program was. I didn’t think she had to come out and speak with me. It made me feel like I was doing something important. I hope that my son and I are helping the kids in that class.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8: Time Of Your Life

I know I’ve said this before, but I don’t have a lot of time these days, so this “review” is really going to be a smattering of thoughts. I’ve also reviewed three of the Buffy graphic novels already, so there are some things that don’t need in depth repeating. As always, I thought there was great writing and I enjoyed the art. Also, minor spoilers.

I am really loving these graphic novels. I was so hesitant about them; I was unsure that they’d live up to the show. They are so fun and entertaining. Time Of Your Life has brought me back to the initial excitement I felt when I read Volume One.

Previously, I complained that they hadn’t done anything with giant Dawn. That has been remedied and in a great way. If they left her a giant for another book, I think I wouldn’t be as happy with it as I am.

What is up with Willow? I feel like there’s more going on with her than they are revealing. I have to say that I like the way Willow had to contact the green spirit lady. It was awesome.

I really enjoyed the Fray crossover. I didn’t realize what that was about. I just thought it was a different slayer. Getting a good look at the character of Fray and the world she lives in really makes me want to pick up Fray. Maybe that was part of the reason for the crossover. I would never have considered reading Fray before now. Though I’m sure fans of both were itching for a crossover.

The single comic at the end of Time Of Your Life is titled, After These Messages – We’ll be Right Back. It is a great ending to volume four. After These Messages was a flashback to simpler times. The art is even different, giving the story that retro, blast from the past sort of feel. It reunited the old high school Scooby gang, with the inclusion of a very young Dawn. Buffy wishes things were less complicated and in a dream, she returns to high school. After really looking back she sees that even then she still had to save the world all the time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Comment About Google Mobile.

Since having my second child, I've been enjoying getting my Google Reader fed via Google Mobile to my cell phone.  It lets me keep up and read all my favourite blogs.  It helps keep me awake at 1am while I feed my little non-sleeper.  The only problem, it doesn't let me comment on any of the posts.  I have even left Reader and gone directly to the blog/website and it still doesn't let me post.  I've tried several different sites and I always get rejected.  Is it because I have a messaging phone and not a smart phone?  Probably.  But I'm not likely to get a smart phone anytime soon.

I just wanted to say to all the bloggers I follow, thanks for the great reads!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gathering Dust: The Top Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf The Longest

I want to read all of these books, I really do.  For some reason, I've never gotten around to it.  Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, here are the top ten books that have been sitting on my shelf a very long time and have never been read.

1. The Sweet Hereafter, by Russell Banks - Purchased for a class in first year university and I never got around to reading it for the class.  Because of the class I know what it's about and I can't bring myself to start it.

2. Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand - Purchased for a class in second year university, then I changed my mind and read something else.

3. Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller - I saw it and thought it was a good purchase, while in University, after reading The Crucible

4. The Green Mile Part 5 and 6, by Stephen King - The Green Mile was originally published as a six part serial.  I got these for my birthday in high school.  The girls who gave them to me knew I read Stephen King, but who gives you the fifth and sixth book in a series?

5. Possession, by A.S. Byatt - Purchased in high school on a recommendation.  I remember not being able to get into it.  I've heard good things since and should try it again.

6. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson - Bought I think around the 8th grade.  I had been reading books like Tom Sawyer and Anne of Green Gables.  I don't know why I never got around to this one.

7. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - I saw it around the end of university and thought it would be a good idea to read it. 

8. Fury, by Salman Rushdie - I saw this on sale while in university and had learned about who Salman Rushdie was, so I picked it up.

9. True at First Light, by Ernest Hemingway - I had recently read Men Without Women, saw this on sale and wanted to read more Hemingway.  I still want to read more Hemingway.

10. The Orange Girl, by Jostein Gaarder - I loved Sophie's World and started buying more books by Gaarder as I came across them.  I've read two other of his novels since, but this one keeps getting put off.

What books do you have gathering dust?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Out and About: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone for Top Ten Tuesday

This week The Broke and The Bookish are asking what books you’ve read that were outside your comfort zone.

Another late in the day post, but this is the only chance I’ve gotten in the last few days to type it up. I wrote down the name of the books while feeding my baby boy in the middle of the night. It took me a few of those late nights/early mornings to get it all down (I'm often very drowsy). I do have to say that I have a big comfort zone. I’m an eclectic reader, as you can see from my blog. Therefore, some of these books are going back ten or more years to when it didn’t occur to me to read books other than literary fiction and the occasional horror or sci-fi.

1. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson - It's a mystery.  I don't really read mysteries.  In general, they just don't appeal to me.  This book was also really hyped up and I tend to shy away from books with a lot of hype.  In the end, I loved it.
2.  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling - It was super-hyped.  It was also written for kids and I couldn't understand why so many people were reading it.  I didn't think I would like it when I borrowed my boyfriend's (now my husband) copy of the book.  I LOVE this series.
3.  Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer - Another super-hyped book.  I would never have read it if my friends at work hadn't handed me the book and said, read it!  I have to admit that I was definitely addicted.  It also opened me up to reading more Young Adult novels.  Up until Twilight, the only YA I'd read was Harry Potter.  If I didn't read Twilight I most likely would never have read The Hunger Games or Wither.
4.  The Dark Tower:  The Gunslinger Born, by Stephen King etc. - This was my first Graphic Novel.  I didn't read Graphic Novels before this, but I love the Dark Tower series, so if there was a Graphic Novel, I was going to read it.  I'm so glad I did.  I've read several Graphic Novels sinces and not all of them are Dark Tower related.
5.  A Short History of Myth, by Karen Armstrong - I had never really read non-fiction except for philosophy.  I really enjoyed this little book and it made me want to read more by this author.
6.  The Crystal Shard, by R.A. Salvatore - Salvatore is my husband's favourite author, so I had to read him.  This was my first Drizzt book and my first foray into Dungeons and Dragons style fantasy.  It was great.  I love Drizzt and have read more about him in the years since I read this book.
7.  Undead and Unappreciated, by MaryJanice Davidson - I picked up this book without realizing it was the third in a series.  I read it and really enjoyed it, so I picked up the first two books.  Now I've read up to book seven, I think.  I also would never have read the Sookie Stackhouse books if I didn't start this series first.  In one of the books there's and exerpt of the fourth Sookie book.  So Davidson's vampire series made me read Harris's.  I love them both.
I couldn't make it to ten.  I had a hard time making it to seven.  I'm not actually sure number seven actually counts, but I'm keeping it in anyway.  Do you read outside your comfort zone?

Breastfeeding In Public

I came across this post at amused, bemused and confused, which then links to a story about a man from Illinois who kicked a woman out of his shop for breastfeeding.  His reason?  "Christian's come in here."  Really?  That's the reason.  Having recently had my second child, I can safely say, that while I try to be as descreet as possible, I will breastfeed anywhere. Click below to see what I'm talking about.

The Christians Seem Fine With It, To Be Honest « amused, bemused and confused

I don't usually post a lot of personal stuff, but this argument struck a nerve with me.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Roots, Day #1 or Letting My Baby Be A Teaching Tool

Roots of Empathy is a book by Mary Gordan in which she talks about creating empathy in young children. Somehow, I am now participating in this program with my son. You can read more about it here. (If you do, you’ll probably know more about it than me. My children never let me get around to reading all the literature given to me.) Every three weeks or so, starting November 2nd until around the end of May, I will be bringing my son into a kindergarten class so that the children there can visit with him, ask questions and learn about his development.

I don’t know if I didn’t pay enough attention when this was explained to me or I was too busy try to soothe my infant while keeping track of my toddler or what was going on with me. I thought there was going to be at least one other mother in the class.  Nope, just me. Well I’m committed now and I thought that since this is based on a book and an interesting program so far, that I would write a little blog entry after each class.

This first class was basically a welcome class. The kids sang a welcome song to my son, it was super cute.  Then they sat in a circle so they could look at him and ask me questions. Much of this was practiced the week before. They asked what he could do and couldn’t do at his age (almost 4 months). We (the instructor and I) measured him, so they could see how much he grows from visit to visit. They wanted to know what he ate. It was a lot of talking and trying to sift through all of it to give them answers. Kindergarteners are crazy! Many of them are hyper and want to know everything and ask you the same questions ten different ways. I was only there for about forty minutes, but so much happened. Even in that time, I could tell which kids where the more outgoing ones and which ones were more shy. They all seem interested and enjoyed having the baby there. They even have a picture of him up in there class! It was cute and kind of fun. I’m looking forward to the next class.

(I know this isn't a ton of information, but it's all I have time for today.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Reads

I know it's late in the day, but I still want to get my list out there.  Today The Broke and The Bookish want to know, what are your top ten books to read around Halloween.  In no particular order:

1. Dracula, by Bram Stoker (*note:  currently reading)
2. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
4. Anything by Stephen King
5. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith & Jane Austen
6. Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice
7. The Sookie Stackhouse books, by Charlaine Harris
8. World War Z, by Max Brooks (*note:  planning on reading this soon)
9. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
10. How To Survive a Horror Movie, by Seth Grahame-Smith

I don't know how Seth got two books up there....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Paladin

The cover of The Paladin caught my attention. It is something I would have likely picked up off a bookstore display. The artwork is bright and edgy; it is full of personality. The synopsis is excellent, making the story sound exciting and different from other supernatural novels. Liking the cover and synopsis have often led me to purchase a book, but I didn't buy it, I received The Paladin from the author, Ken Newman.

I enjoyed The Paladin. It was a fun story full of action and adventure. The action scenes were well written and thought out; I appreciate an action scene that is actually written instead of glossed over. I liked that the story wasn’t predictable. Many of the characters had more than one side, as did many of the events, making for many fun plot twists.

I also appreciate, the strong female characters, good and bad guys. The strong females weren’t limited to those who were doing the physical work either. Maggie might have been the strong, fighting Paladin, but Sara was great too. She was ancient, but emotional strong and willful; she commanded respect. Even the bad girls were great and could be just as cold-hearted as the men.

One thing grated on me about the angel, Larry. This isn’t really a spoiler, it’s more of a comment on the character. I really did not like that he kept calling Maggie “baby girl”. I understand that he was supposed to be more of a “regular” person type angel, but he said it all the time. It seemed to lack respect in a book with many strong females. With Maggie’s personality, I felt that she would have said something to him about it before too long. It might just be a personal preference.

Something I really didn’t like had nothing to do with the story. It is about the person(s) in charge of the actual production of the book. There were too many typographical errors. They break the flow of the story. I don’t want to have to stop to try and figure out what the author actually wants to say. No one asks you if you’re “OKOK”, right? Typos bother me.

Good character development is important to me and I got some of that in The Paladin, but this novel was mostly plot. There were no good descriptions of how characters were feeling – it lacked emotional depth. The language of the book was telling you this, then this, then this happened. We were told how the characters were feeling or reacting to circumstances, versus being shown or being able to feel it with them. I know that's not necessarily what someone is looking for in this type of story, but it’s something I noticed.

Overall I enjoyed The Paladin. If you like funky urban fantasy and plot driven stories, then this is one to check out. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more work from Ken Newman. It seems like the Paladin, Maggie Smith, could have a long road ahead of her.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello Again!

Late in the day, but I couldn’t resist this list. From The Broke and The Bookish, the Top Ten Books I Want To Re-Read:

1. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
2. Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
3. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie
4. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
5. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
6. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
7. Lives of Girls and Women, by Alice Munro
8. Flush, by Virginia Woolf
9. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
10. Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

My first list reached 18 before I stopped myself. I’ve read some great books and there are many I would like to read again. Even though I have an overflow of new books to read, I‘ve decided to revisit my old favourites. I’m re-reading Jekyll and Hyde and I recently re-read The Great Gatsby. I’m looking forward to getting to some of these books soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mini Shopaholic

Someone finally used it! They finally used the word that holds this series together. If you had asked me before, I would have said they'd done it already, but after seeing it I print, I know this is the first time Becky has heard it.

Mini Shopaholic finds Becky and Luke dealing with their rambunctious two-year-old. What I found interesting was learning a bit more about Becky and Luke’s childhoods and how that shaped them as adults.

I really enjoyed this addition to Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. It’s what I wanted and expected. Life’s been crazy and I needed another happy read. The ending makes it obvious that there will be another book, but without a bunch of loose threads. Mini Shopaholic does a fair job standing on its own, but an even better job making me want more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a terribly tragic tale. It is also regarded as one of the “great” American novels. It’s a feeling I had as well. However, not being an American, I’m not sure that I’m a good judge about what it means to be a “great” American anything. Though this is my second time reading The Great Gatsby. I first read it [way too many] years ago in an American literature class. I remembered really enjoying the story and with a movie coming out next year, I wanted to refresh my memory.

Gatsby starts out as a mystery of a man to all those around him, save the narrator, Nick Carraway; the story is told from Nick’s perspective. I think Nick understands Gatsby better than anyone ever has before. Gatsby keeps everyone away; they accept his hospitality without even meeting him. I think this is Gatsby’s choice. Gatsby lives in the past; his whole adult life is lived with his mind stuck in the past, revolving around an ideal. Everything he has acquired has been to attain that ideal. In the end, there are really only two people who care about him.

I have to say that I really enjoyed F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of language. His sentences are creative and thoughtful. I feel that it enhanced my enjoyment of the story. I really appreciate an author who can use words artfully. (Whenever I get around to restarting my “Word Of The Week” again, there will be a whole list of Gatsby words.)

I could probably discuss and analyze much more of the novel, but I just don’t have that kind of time right now. Plus, this novel has had loads of analyses over the years. I just wanted to get a few thoughts out and to say that The Great Gatsby is a novel I highly recommend.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Short Stack

This is probably the easiest Top Ten I’ve ever done. This week, The Broke and The Bookish ask, what books top our fall reading lists? I have a ton of books on my to-be-read list. What I try to do is keep a “short stack”, a small pile of books, usually diverse in genre or topic. Here are the books on my short list; hopefully, I’ll get to all of them this fall.

1. Moral Disorder, by Margaret Atwood
2. Everything’s Eventual, by Stephen King
3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Volumes 4-6: Time of Your Life, Predators and Prey, and Retreat, by Joss Whedon, etc.
4. The Thousand Orcs, by R.A. Salvatore
5. Mini Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella
6. The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis
7. The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews
8. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
10. Pride and Prejudiced and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith

I did have to add a couple to round it out to ten, but the books I included will likely be added once other books in my short stack are read.

What are you reading this fall?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sea of Swords

R.A. Salvatore’s Sea of Swords made me happy. I wanted to read something that would be exciting, hold my interest and not involve too much contemplation, since I would be reading this book in short spurts while taking care of my newborn. Sea of Swords did not disappoint. It had the characters I love coming together and adventuring. There was great build up and a great conclusion. Salvatore gave me everything I wanted and expected from one of his Legend of Drizzt novels.

I don’t really have time to write too much more. I just wanted to get my feelings/impressions up. This isn’t my first Salvatore book and it won’t be my last. My husband has been “encouraging” me to read the series more quickly so I’m caught up with him. I think there are nine books after this one that are currently published. I’m expecting another one, if not two, to be published next year. When will I catch up to him? Maybe before the end of my maternity leave, but I’m not making any promises.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Had A Baby!

This is my son, born on July 5th. He’s growing well. His sister is getting used to him. She likes him, but has to get used to not having Mommy’s attention all the time. I’m trying to find the balance between the two kids. Luckily, my husband is off for the summer and has been incredibly helpful. Even with my super helpful hubby, I don’t know when I’ll get back to regular blogging. It’s not like he can lactate…. Was that too much information?

While I have a minute, I thought I’d take a look at the thousands of items in my Google Reader. Maybe I should just mark all as “read”.

Anything interesting I’ve missed out in the blogosphere?

Also, I’ve been watching a lot of television, having to feed the infant and not being able to do anything else while I do it, and I see Twitter everywhere. Should I join? I don’t know… Is that just too much work? I’ve been watching the news about Margaret Atwood versus Doug Ford and it’s apparently a Twitter war? Is it too much work?

I’m reading when I can, which isn’t anywhere near what I usually read. I’m trying to read every day, but it only amounts to a few pages. Hopefully, I’ll develop a decent routine soon that includes reading.

Time to get the laundry before the baby wakes up.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mr. T and Me: The Somebody Kid

Yup, that’s right, I read Mr. T and Me: The Somebody Kid Yup, a Mr. T book. It’s a children’s book. Yup, a children’s book. It only took me about five minutes to read. It was hilarious, the way the children spoke, Mr. T’s dialect and the moral at the end. It was difficult to take seriously. A kid wants to be somebody, ie: he wants to get attention. He does only negative things and ends up getting negative attention. In the end, the moral is obvious; Mr. T corrects the kid’s negative behaviour and then tells everyone, including the troublemaker, that they’re somebody. I didn’t see the God bit coming at the end though and that through me off a bit.

The Somebody Kid was funny in its simplicity and language, but I doubt that I’ll ever read it to my kids… at least, not until they are older, learn who Mr. T is and can enjoy its silliness with me.

[This is a pre-scheduled post.  I figure that I'll have a newborn by now.]

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dead Reckoning

Minor Spoilers. I don’t think I really give anything away, but just in case…

Dead Reckoning is the latest (eleventh!) book in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Originally, this series was called The Southern Vampire Mysteries and when I reviewed each installment, even though it had become common to call them the Sookie Stackhouse series, I kept to the first series title. Today I don’t really want to. Where was the mystery in this installment? In previous books, though there are several different storylines, the main mystery has been something like, “Who killed Lafayette?”, “Who’s shooting shifters?” or “Where is Jason?”. I thought the mystery of Dead Reckoning was going to be “Who attacked Merlotte’s?” but that was discovered pretty quickly.

The book also wasn’t sexy enough. I know that’s not a complaint I often have about books, but this is Sookie Stackhouse. They’re the basis of the HBO series True Blood. There’s a reason the show is the way it is. This book lacked that sex appeal that the previous books had. It’s an aspect of the series I’ve come to expect. With the lack of mystery, the lack of sexiness was even more apparent

Dead Reckoning was all about enemies. There were past enemies, present enemies and dead enemies all causing problems for Sookie. Some were minor, some were major, in a terribly deadly way. Sookie spent the novel trying to figure out how to get rid of her enemies. There was a lot of death, gruesome bloody death, that was telling of how Sookie’s character has changed since way back when she dated Bill Compton.

One thing I did like is that we get to learn more about Sookie’s family history and where her telepathic gift/curse came from. We learn about her fairy heritage in some major ways. I also really liked the evolution of Dermot as a character. Though a fairy, I think he has the potential to be one of Sookie’s closest friends.

There were so many loose end at the end of this novel; Harris listed them all at the end. Sookie has to figure out a lot of different things. There were loose ends at the end of Dead In The Family that other readers complained about, but I didn’t mind the ending. I thought it was fine. It wasn’t a complete story the way some of the previous books had been, but I liked the ending. That’s not what I found at the end of Dead Reckoning. It ended with a checklist.

Though probably least favourite of the series, I still enjoyed Dead Reckoning. It gave me what I was in the mood for, supernatural mayhem. It took me only four days to read. There was a lot of action and adventure. The book was never boring. There is no way that a tangle of loose ends is going to put me off of this series. I’m itching to know what happens next to Sookie and the people in her life.

Other Reviews:
The Phantom Paragrapher  
All The Books I Can Read

If you have a review and would like me to add it, please leave a comment below.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Doing What You Believe In

This week, the Broke and The Bookish want to know who our Top Ten Rebels In Literature are. They can be characters or authors. So, like my Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Book Blogger/A Bookish Person post, I’ve split this into two sections. They aren’t five and five like the last one, but I think they’re all great rebels, characters and authors. The list also isn’t as detailed as I normally make it, but hopefully the links answer anyone’s questions as to why I picked these particular people.

1. Gale & Katniss from The Hunger Games trilogy (for different reasons).
2. Drizzt from The Legend of Drizzt series.
3. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice / Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
4. Laila & Mariam from A Thousand Splendid Suns.
5. Elphaba from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
6. Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series.
7. Horton from Horton Hears A Who!

8. Salman Rushdie: Bounty on his life.
9. Margaret Atwood: Oh no! A Feminist!
10. The Romantics: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, etc.

Hope you liked the list. Who are your favourite rebels?

Also, I hope I’m having a baby today. I’m more than ready. Ugh.

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Ballad of the Great Yukon Puke On, by noodleepoodlee

That’s right, the author of this “short story” is noodleepoodlee. noodleepoodlee runs a blog, a political [satire] American blog from what I gather. On it she (I think it’s a she, forgive me if I’m wrong) has posted this fictional account of an ousted Sarah Palin campaign worker. I was led to this story by a blogger friend, Ahab. I read his comments on the story and thought it would be an interesting read and an interesting addition to Short Story Monday. The title also has “Yukon” in it, so that was another reason I had to give it a try.

It was an entertaining story as Hobo Joe tells us about his fall from grace; his fall from the inner circle of Sarah Palin. It was definitely funny. Hobo Joe was so easily influenced by the people he met, he was bound to do something dumb eventually anyway. He does realize how he came to be in his present situation. Joe isn’t someone who wonders how these things happened to him. He knows how they happened. In all this craziness, I feel as though Joe also accepts responsibility for his past and present actions. If you want a fun story that makes fun of Sarah Palin and American politics, read The Ballad of the Great Yukon Puke On.

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

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (3D)

My hubby and I went to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 3D this past weekend. (I’m still pregnant, so I’m trying to get in some fun stuff while I can.) If you’re going to see the third Transformers movie, see it in 3D, I think it’s worth the extra few dollars. Michael Bay really made an effort to shoot angles that would be enhanced by 3D. I don’t think this will give too much away, but there is a scene that is essentially shot down the side of a gun. It’s as if the viewer is the one holding the weapon. There are scenes where the characters are swinging around, fighting, things blowing up, all made more interesting (in my opinion) by the 3D effects.

Now for the actually story: Transformers: Dark of the Moon was miles better than the second Transformers movie. In fact, if we could just skip the second one all together and go straight from the first to the third, I think we would. I think the first one was better, but Dark of the Moon is a decent follow-up. I actually thought the plot was interesting. It wasn’t just the Autobots fighting the Decepticons with their human allies, but we discover that the Decepticons have human allies too. So it’s not only giant robots fighting, but good and bad people fighting each other.

I think Sam could have grown more as a person, become more mature. However, I like the return to the comic relief of the first movie. I like the change in Epps. He still works with the Autobots, but he’s tired of getting shot at all the time. I like Lennox too, but what happened to his wife and daughter? They were an important part of his character’s personality in the first movie, but now they’ve disappeared. I also want to add that I love Dutch.

I’m going to geek-out a little, but hopefully not give too much away. I love the actor who did Sentinel Prime. I was surprised and delighted when I realized who it was. I actually think my favourite part of the movie is when he says his famous line… It was so cool. If you know who it is and want to leave a comment and be geek with me, that’s great. Doesn’t Sentinal Prime even look like him?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon isn’t ground-breaking or thought-provoking. It’s a good action movie that makes up for past mistakes. It’s exciting, though about 30 minutes too long. I had fun watching it and I’m glad I got to see it in 3D.

Okay, time for my non-movie related complaint. This is a people complaint that I know I’ve mentioned before. Please, can parents take better care of what they’re showing their children? There was a little boy in the row in front of me that had to be around 6 and that’s too young for this movie. It’s violent. People die. There’s human and robot blood. People disintegrate. There’s a skull practically thrown in your face. Why are you bringing your young child to the theatre, who sounds uncomfortable when he whispers to you? Again, I’m just asking parents, do not take your kid to see a movie just because you either, a) can’t find a babysitter, or b) they ask you to see the movie. You’re the parent. Please make the responsible decision. Thanks.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Do I Say That?

A few weeks ago, I saw this list over at This Week At The Library and wondered if I was guilty of using these stock phrases. smellincoffee highlighted the phrases he’s guilty of using. The original list is from and the list below was copied by This Week At The Library from their site, including the examples given and I’m passing it along. My comments are in blue.
1. Gripping
2. Poignant: if anything at all sad happens in the book, it will be described as poignant
3. Compelling  I think I use this word. Do I? Have you seen it?
4. Nuanced: in reviewerspeak, this means, "The writing in the book is really great. I just can't come up with the specific words to explain why."
5. Lyrical: see definition of nuanced, above.
6. Tour de force
7. Readable  I must have said this at some point.
8. Haunting  I’ve said that I’ve been haunted by a book, does that count?
9. Deceptively simple: as in, "deceptively simple prose"  I don’t think I would ever say this.
10. Rollicking: a favorite for reviewers when writing about comedy/adventure books
11. Fully realized
12. At once: as in, "Michael Connelly's The Brass Verdict is at once a compelling mystery and a gripping thriller." See, I just used three of the most annoying clichés without any visible effort. Piece of cake.
13. Timely
14. " X meets X meets X": as in, "Stephen King meets Charles Dickens meets Agatha Christie in this haunting yet rollicking mystery."
15. Page-turner
16. Sweeping: almost exclusively reserved for books with more than 300 pages
17. That said: as in, "Stephenie Meyer couldn't identify quality writing with a compass and a trained guide; that said, Twilight is a harmless read."  I don’t think I’ve used that exact phrase, but I think I’ve said something similar.
18. Riveting
19. Unflinching: used to describe books that have any number of unpleasant occurences -- rape, war, infidelity, death of a child, etc.
20. Powerful  I think I’ve used it too. Sometimes there isn’t another word for it, right?

Thankfully, I don’t think I used a lot of these words. Unless I just don’t notice. Do I use them? Do you find yourself using some of these common phrases?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Clash of the Titans

My husband said to me the day after we watched this movie, “I’m so glad we watched those 4 or 5 movies yesterday.” It was a bit difficult to get through Clash of the Titans without seeing scenes that looked like bits of other great fantasy films. I think the only original part was the fight with Medusa. It was well thought out, precise and I couldn’t recall any other movie it resembled.

Spoilers! I disliked the ending. I find this with a lot of action movies. A group of people (usually men) go on a mission/quest to save a people (or a woman) and all of them die except for the hero. Why? Yes, I understand some losses; it can serve as an emotional plot device to help push the heroes forward. But seriously? They all died? It’s annoying and utterly predictable. Spoilers End

Clash of the Titans wasn’t a bad movie. It just wasn’t particularly good. I’m glad that I didn’t pay to see it in 3D or even in the theatre. It was a decent rental if you’re in the mood for an action movie. Just don’t expect anything original.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Sites: Goodreads, Librarything, Shelfari, Etc

Which of these bookish sites do you like and why? I’ve seen bloggers with different accounts on these sites, their widgets on their blogs, but why do you use them? It just seems like extra work to me. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is asking for the top ten bookish sites. I don’t use these sites. I shop on and (I really like online shopping.) I have a profile on the Chapters website, but I haven’t used it in ages. I don’t think I can really afford the time. Maybe I don’t understand the purpose of these sites if you already have a blog. I know they can help you keep track of the books you own and read, but I have an excel spreadsheet for that. I’ve had it for years, long before I even started blogging. So explain me, why do you use these websites?

* I know I’ve done a bad job with the weekly Top Ten when I can’t even get one on my list.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Pregnancy discrimination is on the rise" from Feminist Philosophers

I saw this post the other day and it scared me.  In case you haven't read it here already, I'm going to have a baby, really soon.  I don't live in the UK, but I can see how this could happen anywhere.

Pregnancy discrimination is on the rise « Feminist Philosophers

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How To Survive A Horror Movie: All The Skills to Dodge The Kills

I was in the mood for something fun and something that wasn’t going to make me think too much. Pure entertainment. That’s what I got from Seth Grahame-Smith’s “meta-fictional” book, How To Survive A Horror Movie. What do you do if you suddenly realize you’re stuck in a horror movie? This book is your guide.

How To Survive A Horror Movie goes through how to identify if you’re in a horror movie (having this books is one of the signs). It then proceeds to help the reader discover what kind of horror movie they are in, then it gives you instruction on how to survive. The book is written as though it is speaking to someone who is in a horror movie, all escape methods are about being in the horror movie. The book is hilarious. My favourite part comes at the end, when Grahame-Smith tells you the only way to defeat the biggest bad guy of all horror movies. I also really like the selection of movies to watch at the back. Some of the movies I’ve seen, some I haven’t, but this book makes me want to see them all. The art was also a lot of fun.  I don’t think the book would have been the same without it.

This book is for anyone who loves horror movies or even for anyone who just wants a good laugh.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

True Blood Covers From Entertainment Weekly

Some more fantastic True Blood pics thanks to Stargazing.

What’s The Meaning Of This?!

Literary Blog Hop

This week The Literary Blog Hop over at The Blue Bookcase wants to know: Should literature have a social, political, or any other type of agenda? Does having a clear agenda enhance or detract from its literary value?

I’m going to try to keep my answer simple this week: It depends on the author. The example of what an author shouldn’t do that Connie gives is excellent. Even though it’s from a book I really enjoyed, Jane Eyre, Brontë’s stopping the story to push her agenda takes away from the work. I also liked the examples Connie gives of how a social/political agenda works in literature. Like 1984, I think The Handmaid’s Tale as well as Margaret Atwood’s other dystopian works, Oryx and Crake and The Year Of The Flood have agendas or are at least commentaries on social issues. I believe H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine falls into the same category. The Eloi and Morlocks are how he saw the evolution of the class system. I’d like to use a literary example that isn’t dystopian or science-fiction, but none come to mind right now*.

What books do you think do a good or bad job at presenting a social or political issue?

* I blame the baby brain for any lack of mental function right now. After the baby is born, I’ll be blaming lack of sleep.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Everyday is a Blog-iday!

Check out a blog started by two of my friends at the office.  Every day is a holiday!  Celebrate with us.  Click the link below to check out the office whiteboard.

Everyday is a Blog-iday!


Lauren DeStefano’s first novel, Wither was fantastic. I couldn’t resist reading about Rhine, wondering what was going to happen to her next. The story was full of urgency. The beginning was incredible. DeStefano didn’t ease into her story. She started with action, fear and consequence. We learn about Rhine and her past as she moves through the present and worries about the future. In the world of Wither women only live until 20 and men until 25. This has spawned the acceptance of human trafficking, teenage pregnancy (it’s pretty much expected) experimentation on children and slavery. Orphans are bought and sold. Up until the beginning of this novel, Rhine was lucky.

I don’t think I would have picked this up if I didn’t read the review from The Lost Entwife. Then I kept seeing it reviewed on many other book blogs. I stopped reading too much about what other people were saying when I knew I would read it. The topic was just too interesting. The plausibility of that future was too eerie. If something like this happened, would we degenerate to this degree? Wither really grabs onto a large part of what I like about dystopian fiction; the possibility of something bad propelling the human race into a darkness it might have trouble escaping.

Wither is the first book in DeStefano’s trilogy. The last trilogy I read, I was able to reach out and grab each book in succession. The next book in DeStefano’s series isn’t expected until February 2012. I was worried that I would be left hanging, wanting more, unsatisfied with the ending. That wasn’t the case. The ending was great. It really completed this part of Rhine’s story. You know there’s room for more, but if the story ended with Wither without the guarantee of another book, it would be okay. You’d still be left wanting to know more, like so many other books, but the end of Wither felt like an ending, not like a direct enticement to buy the next book… and that’s probably the best enticement of all. The Chemical Garden

I won’t go on too much more. I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone who’s considering reading it. If you are thinking about it, or it’s on your “to-be-read” list, read it. It has pretty much everything I want in a novel. A good plot. Character development. Action and excitement. A bit of love. A bit of hate. Good. Evil. Complex characters that you start out loving/hating and then change your mind about by the end. If you like Young Adult fantasy, science-fiction or dystopia, I think you’ll like Wither.

Other Reviews:

If you've reviewed this book, let me know and I'd be happy to add your link.