Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Want To Be In Your Club!

What are your Top Ten Book Club Picks?  This week The Broke and The Bookish want to know.  I’m not sure if my books are going to work.  I’ve never been part of a book club, so I don’t know what kinds of books are normally chosen.  So, I’ve decided to theme my book club picks.

1.     If the book club read Zombie books:  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Graeme-Smith.
2.     If the book club read Vampire books:  Dracula, by Bram Stoker or Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice.
3.     If the book club read Dystopian books:  The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.
4.     If the book club read Young Adult fantasy books:  Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling or The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
5.     If the book club read Fantasy books:  The Crystal Shard, by R.A. Salvatore.
6.     If the book club read Classics:  Flush, by Virginia Woolf.
7.     If the book club read Mysteries:  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson or Murder On The Orient Express, by Agatha Christie.
8.     If the book club read Horror:  The Stand, by Stephen King (even though I haven’t read it yet…)
9.     If the book club read Historical Fiction:  The Wars, by Timothy Findley.
10. If the book club read Paranormal Romance:  Undead and Unwed, by MaryJanice Davidson.

What is your book club going to read?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Silver Chair

The Silver Chair is the forth book I’ve read in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.  It is labeled as the sixth book, but as some people may be aware, there is a disagreement as to what order the books should be read.  Some say that you should read them in the order Lewis published them; others say that they should be read according to time the story takes place.  I’ve chosen to read them in the order they were published.  One article pointed out, there are references in some of the books that make more sense if you read the books in the order Lewis wrote them.

Enough of that, back to the book.  The Silver Chair continues the story of Eustace Scrubb, cousin to the Pevensies, the siblings who once ruled Narnia. As the story begins, we find Jill Pole, a schoolmate of Eustace’s, as she is trying to escape the bullies.  Eustace finds her.  This is not a coincidence.  Visitors to Narnia are called in some kind of magical way.

It is nice to see Eustace is still himself, but with the goodness and bravery he learned in Narnia.  He still gets annoyed at things the way he did in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but he isn’t in disbelief and he strives to do the right thing.  Jill is now the one who places blame, even when she knows she’s in the wrong.  It’s another story where the children grow and learn about themselves and the world.

We also revisit Caspian.  Many years have passed.  (This is all in the beginning of the book.)  It made Eustace sad to see a once great warrior grown so old, but I saw it differently.  I thought it was great that Caspian lived a long life, ruling kindly over the land.  I like looking back at characters in a series or even over a long novel.  I know Narnia is a bit different, as the stories don’t necessarily need to be read in order, but it is still nice to know what happened to a character you had grown to care for.

The Silver Chair is a good story.  It made me wonder if the white witch and the green witch are somehow related.  I’ve looked on the interweb and I’m not the only one who wonders at the relationship between the green and white witches.  I also want to know, who will threaten Narnia next?  There always seems to be something to fight.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Roots Day #5 Or, The Day I Forgot To Write About

I guess I've been so busy with the kids, I forgot to write about the Roots class last week.  Class 5 dealt with emotions.  We talked about why my son would be happy, mad, sad or scared and then the children related it to their own lives.  I think it was an important topic for the class. 

For some reason, this class didn’t make that much of an impression on me.  The kids were the same, the carpet, the art and thankfully the teachers.  It wasn’t particularly crazy or boring or inspiring.  It was regular.  Maybe I had higher expectations after such a disappointing class in December.  I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see what February’s class brings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bad Grammar From A Bookstore

I have an extreme dislike of bad grammar.  Accidental typos and honest mistakes are one thing; you learn from them and move on.  To choose bad grammar makes my skin crawl.  Click the link for more information. Also, I don't think and apostrophe really makes a difference to a search engine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ten Canadian Authors

This week is Freebie week over at The Broke and TheBookish.  I was inspired by 1girl at AllThe Books I Can Read, who decided that she would name the top ten books by Australian authors.  Naming ten specific books might be a little to difficult for this time of night, but I do want to recommend ten great Canadian authors.  Are they the top ten?  I don’t know, but I certainly like them.

  1. Alice Munro
  2. Michael Ondaatje
  3. Rabindranath Maharaj
  4. Sinclair Ross
  5. Douglas Coupland
  6. Helen Humphreys
  7. Timothy Findley
  8. Margaret Laurence
  9. Gwendolyn MacEwen
  10. Lucy Maud Montgomery

Narrowing it down to ten was not easy.  I purposely did not include Margaret Atwood, because I talk about her all the time.  I hope some of these authors make it onto your shelves.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


In recent years, I feel like we've been inundated with sparkly-inspired vampires.  Vampires that are your boyfriend, that walk around in the daytime and are all brooding and cute.  What happened to the vampire who only wants to rip out your throat? I love Lestat, the vampires of Blade and Buffy. (I know Buffy also started as a teenager, but she killed almost every vampire and demon that crossed her path; she saved the world on a regular basis.  Yes, she dated a vampire too, but she also sent him to hell to save the world.)  I wanted a dark vampire story, where the vampire is the villain and the heroes work tirelessly to save the ones they love and maybe they aren't always successful.

I recently re-read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and felt that another classic horror was calling to me.  Dracula was the answer.  It was classic, with blood, violence and death. Anyone who calls themselves a vampire fan, has to read this novel.  Bram Stoker is the one who really started the modern fascination worth vampires. Yes, there have been different authors, television shows and movies during the various surges in popularity, but without Dracula, would it be the same?  Dracula will wine and dine you, before killing you.  Dracula will steal your loved ones from you, just for fun.  Dracula is the immortal serial killer. 

I really enjoyed Dracula.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel in the end. The entire novel is told through various letters, journals, articles, etc., which is fine; I've read stories like that before.  I liked the different perspectives and narrators.  The first part of the novel is told through Jonathan Harker's journal; he is the young lawyer who travels to Castle Dracula.  It was intense, going along with him into all the dark parts of the castle, through all his discoveries and the realization that he was trapped.  It was exciting.

Then we moved to Mina, Jonathan's fiancée and her friend Lucy.  I was bored by these two ladies.  I wasn't sure I'd make it through the novel at a few points.  Some of the information was necessary to set up the rest of the novel, but it seemed to go on forever.  I'm glad I pushed through.  Once the men start trying to save Lucy, it gets more interesting and we are finally introduced to Professor Van Helsing.  

Van Helsing is crazy and fantastic.  How does he know what he knows?  If Dr. Seward didn't know him, they would have lost.  Van Helsing was the key.  He knew what to do.  He told them that Dracula/the Undead/vampires were repelled by something sacred, like a crucifix or holy water.  My side question here, sacred to who?  If it is anything sacred, would the Star of David or Om work as well?  Also, garlic, how did he figure that one out?

One other point about Van Helsing, I know that he's from Amaterdam, but did Stoker have to write his speech that way.  Occasionally, when reading certain notes or dialogue from Van Helsing, I had to re-read it to understand what he was saying.  Stoker also did this with other people who weren't speaking perfect English.  Trying to read accents and dialects was not always fun.

Perhaps a minor spoiler here:  Another part I found frustrating was when they are at Dr. Seward's, first Mina, then others, talk about the mist.  How do they not know? Dracula is the mist! They're trying so hard to protect Mina that they're ignoring the signs. Very frustrating.  I hope I'm not giving anything away, but was so obvious to me.

[I'm moving past the men protecting women issue (man-brain, woman-brain, really?), because of the era of the novel.]

One continuity note, when Dr. Seward is introducing the men to Renfield, where did Harker go?

Reading Dracula has made me want to watch the movie. We have it. I'm not sure how long it has been since I watched it. I barely remember it.  That's good, I think, for reading the novel, but I know there are differences and I want to see now how it compares. That might be something for this weekend.

So now I've read and enjoyed the big three of classic horror, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein. It's been a whole decade since I read Frankenstein.  I think I'll re-read it in October.

"Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot?" - Dr. Van Helsing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

20 000!

I just thought I'd mention, I've reached over 20 000 hits.  It happened sometime yesterday.  Yay for me!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Artist Ryan Larvin

I am going to tell you something important about Ryan Larvin.  Ryan is a fantastic artist. I love his paintings. I am excited to write about his work and have his paintings on my blog.  Ryan's work makes me think of love and family.  There is a beauty and fluidity in his art that can make you feel comfortable and warm, even if it's a painting of a snowy hill.

Currently, Ryan resides in Leeds. He is often in Canada.  He will do work on commission and has work on sale at Brown's Gallery in the UK.  Customers can customize their paintings by choosing colours and by having their initials painted on a the tree.  Each member of a family can be included in the paintings too.  Please visit his website for more information.

Leeds Fine art Artist Ryan Larvin Original modern fine art! personalised for your home interior

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Giveaway at Literary Musings - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favourite novels.  When I saw that it was being given away at Literary Musings, I had to post the link!

Literary Musings: Giveaway: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: I was organizing my bookshelves and notice I have two copies of The Handmaid's Tale , one with my penciled annotations and underlines and an...

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 8: Predators and Prey

Giant killer kitty, a submarine and Harmony.  What more can you ask for?  Seriously, Harmany, what is she doing?  When did she think that was a good idea?  She didn't think of it herself... did she?  Volume 5 is crazy!

Predators and Prey gives us a look at all the Buffy, Season 8 characters.  We get to see what everyone has been up to since the story left them behind.  I like that we see what's happened to Faith and Giles, which I've been wondering about.  We also see what caused Dawn to turn into a giant and a centaur and a new incarnation. There’s Kennedy and Satsu, which is great.  There’s even Anderson Cooper.  I like a little bit of real life bleeding through onto the Buffy page.

Predators and Prey was such a crazy volume, it's difficult to know what to say.  I loved it.  There was action, adventure and excitement.  I found the Buffy gang as engaging as ever.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop over at Crazy-For-Books is back and a bit different. It's now a monthly event. I'm glad to have a place to read new blogs. Thanks to everyone who drops by!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Want More!

First my post published before it was ready, then it was deleted altogether.  I also can't get rid of the background...  This post did not go smoothly...

The Broke and The Bookish really made me think this week.  I wasn't sure if I could make it, but here are the Top Ten authors I wish would [have] write[n] more. Except for the first book, they are in no particular order.

1. Harper Lee - She wrote one of the best books of the twentieth century, To Kill A Mockingbird. She's in her eighties now, with no plans to ever write a second book.
2. Lauren DeStefano - Oh, wait...  After I read Wither, I was so sad that there was nothing else by her, now I'm eagerly waiting.
3. Khaled Hosseini - It has been five years since A Thousand Splendid Suns was published, one of my favourite novels. 
4. J.R.R. Tolkien - He wrote some literary criticism and started other things, but nothing like Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.
5. Emily Brontë - Love it or hate it, Wuthering Heights is an English classic.  It is a dark, moody story and I would have loved to see what else this Brontë sister could have created.
6. Alice Sebold - It has been five years since, The Almost Moon. The Lovely Bones was intense. She' only 48, What's next?
7. J.K. Rowling - How difficult must it be to even begin something new after the massive success of Harry Potter?  I do hear there is something new in the works, but who knows when that will come out.
8. Douglas AdamsI loved the Hitchhicker's series. I should read The Salmon Doubt, my husband owns a copy.
9. Stieg LarssonI think the only mystery writer I like.
10. Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar was amazing. She also wrote brilliant poetry, but I can't help that she wrote more novels.

Who do you wish wrote more?

Monday, January 09, 2012


I hate when I accidentally publish a draft before it's ready.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A teacher recommended I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a project I did on horror in high school. I remember this novel being one of the highlights of my research. I loved it. My second reading of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was as good as the first. It might even have been better since the first time I read it, I was so young, I think grade 12. My reading tastes have broadened and matured; I think it helps give me new appreciation for the work. Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of "mystery and suspense" was my example of a classic horror. It isn't horrific because of gruesome killing scenes; it's horrible because something like Hyde could be living in all of us. It makes you wonder who would succumb to temptation of letting it loose, like Jekyll. 

I think it is safe to say that most people know the general story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde even if they haven't read the novel. I saw it portrayed in a re-run of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It makes of wonder if I'm missing something when I read this story. Stevenson's original readers didn't know what was going to happen; they didn't know who Hyde really was or the hold he had over Dr. Jekyll. I think much of the intended mystery and suspense didn't exist for me. Though I read the novel knowing what the big twist at the end of the novel was, it was still really enjoyable. What I didn’t know when I first read it was that it was told from the point of view of Mr. Utterson, Dr. Jekyll’s friend. It was interesting to follow Utterson and watch the story unfold through his eyes. While a reader of the 21st century might know the secret, Utterson doesn't; I went through the novel anticipating his surprise and being excited when he finally learned the truth.

The appeal of the story is broad; it has mysterious settings, violence and excellent characters. More than anything, this story is driven by its characters. Utterson and Jekyll/Hyde move the plot forward, taking the reader on a dark journey. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a book not just for those who love horror and those who love classics, but those who love compelling characters.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

How To Tell If Your Boyfriend Is The AntiChrist

(and if he is, should you break up with him)
This is an amusing, quirky, little book. Patricia Carlin has created something fun and it was just what I needed. There was no thinking, just laughing.  AntiChrist is just one of the options.  This book gives you instructions on what to do if your boyfriend is anything from passive-aggressive to possessed by demons.  How To Tell If Your Boyfriend is the Antichrist is just what I needed for a laugh when things were getting increasingly busy and stressful.  It would be fun to leave out on the coffee table for guests to peruse too.  I’m glad that this book came my way.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Touch Of Dead

A Touch of Dead is Charlaine Harris’s collection of Sookie Stackhouse short stories.  There were originally published in various paranormal anthologies, but now they’re all together.  That’s good, because as much as I love Sookie, I wasn’t going to buy five different books just to get these short stories.  (I do have one of the books, but I didn’t buy for the Sookie story.)  Here are my brief thoughts on each story.

Fairy Dust

Fairy Dust is a great little mini-mystery.  I enjoyed getting a deeper look at the fairies, Claude and Claudine as well as their relationship to Sookie.  I also liked finding out what happened to their triplet, Claudette.  The only problem I have is that from the novels, I thought Sookie didn’t know what happened to Claudette.  Maybe I don’t remember correctly. 

Harris admits in the introduction that she tried, but that the stories may not completely line up with the novels.  I have a second problem, though not a timeline one.  I found the language in the first half of the story a little dry.  It lacked the usual flair I enjoy in Harris’s writing.  At least it picked up by the end.

Dracula Night

Dracula Night doesn’t really give you any new insight into the story of Sookie, but it does let you find out something about Eric.  It’s a cute little story that finds Sookie in danger (as usual) and then pulling out of it.

I want to mention that I like many of these new takes on Dracula lore from books, television and movies.  It keeps things interesting.

One Word Answer

One Word Answer confused me.  This story deals with the death of Sookie’s cousin Hadley.  The story is different from the events in Definitely Dead.  There are similar bits, but unless I’m remembering it completely wrong, it’s still surprisingly different.  Why did Harris write this?  I still liked it.  Sookie solves the mystery of her cousin’s death (again?).


Lucky was another good story.  It involved characters that are often passed over as residents of Bon Temps and never looked at closely.  By doing this, Harris avoids discontinuity issues and gives herself new characters to play with. 

Lucky had Sookie teaming up with Amelia Broadway, who after the last couple of novels, I’m not sure we’re going to ever see again.  I’d like too.  Amelia has been the most understanding of Sookie’s human friends.  She has been there for Sookie in a way that Tara and Jason haven’t.  (The character of Tara is VERY different from the book to the television show.)  Amelia is interesting, creative and will get right into anything Sookie needs her to.  I hope to see more of Amelia in future books.

Gift Wrap

Gift Wrap was easily my favourite of the stories.  It shows how much Niall loves Sookie and how unique Fairy love is.  Gift Wrap doesn’t affect the body of work; there are no new plot points.  It also doesn’t change anything that has already been laid down.  It’s written in the style that made me fall for the Sookie books.  It was a great final story to the collection.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Which Do I Read First? The Top Ten Books I'm Eager To Read In 2012

I can't believe it's 2012 already!  It's the first Tuesday of 2012 and this week The Broke and The Bookish are asking what books are topping your list for 2012. This list might look similar to my Winter Reads list. But I'm not going to look at it, so maybe not. The list will also likely change.

  1. Fever, by Lauren DeStefano. This book can't be released quickly enough.
  2. World War Z, by Max Brooks. As soon as I'm done the book I'm reading now, I'm going to start it.
  3. The Stand, by Stephen King. This will be the year I finally read King's big book.
  4. The Little Sister of Eluria, by Stephen King. This will be the last King book on my list, I think.
  5. The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson.  What has taken me so long?
  6. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest, by Stieg Larsson. Really, what has taken me so long?
  7. The Thousand Orcs, by R.A. Salvatore. Also, what has taken me so long?
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Horse and His Boy, The Magician's Nephew, The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis.  I feel like it's taking me so long to read this series.  I've enjoyed the first four books, why haven't I finished the rest yet?
  9. The Tent, by Margaret Atwood.  What's a year without Atwood?
  10. Generation X, by Douglas Coupland.  I think it's about time.
What are you eager to read in 2012?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Year In Reading: End Of Year Book Survey

Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner has created a great end-of-year book survey.  She put it up some time ago, but I wanted to wait until 2011 was actually over before completing it.  There were a couple of books I was still hoping to finish.  So here goes…

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

The Hungers Games Triliogy, by Suzanne Collins.  Not exactly how I expected to answer, but I loved these books.  The Chronicles of Narnia:  Voyages of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis gets an honourable mention.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano.  I didn’t expect to love this book so much.  I can’t wait for Fever.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

The Hunger Games and The Wars, by Timothy Findley, depending on the person.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

I didn’t read a lot of new series this year.  I’ll have to go back to The Hunger Games and Wither, book one of the Chemical Garden.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Apparently I didn’t read a lot of new authors this year either.  Timothy Findley (not exactly new, but I hadn’t read him before), Suzanne Collins and Lauren DeStefano.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Umm… I have a pretty broad comfort zone; it includes most of the bookstore… I don’t know… How To Tell If My Boyfriend Is TheAntichrist, I guess.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

If you can’t tell by now, I’m not going to say it again (okay, The Hunger Games)

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

Dead Reckoning, by Charlaine Harris

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

Here are a few:

11. Most memorable character in 2011?

Katniss or Rhine? (The Hunger Games and Wither)

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

The Frozen Thames, by Helen Humphreys.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

This is a difficult one.  It’s a little unexpected, but my instincts are saying, Mini Shopaholic, because as I read about Becky dealing with her crazy daughter, I could see myself in many of the same situations.  If I’m not careful, one day my daughter will knock down the mannequins in… a store that has a mannequin dog.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

Sea Of Swords, by R.A. Salvatore.  I started the Drizzt series so long ago and I’m still not caught up yet!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

I don’t keep track of quotes anymore… I used to… ten years ago.  I actually have been feeling like I should start again.

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?

The Hunger Games, before the movie comes out.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Moral Disorder, by Margaret Atwood.  The Head.

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?

What Red Read, at least, I think that was this year.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011?

The Disney Princesses, by Susan Holbrook; Ponies, by Kij Johnson.  Interestingly, a poem and a short story.

I’m skipping 3 & 4.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I have to say, my favourite memes are Short Story Monday and Top Ten Tuesday.

Also skipping 6.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My FlannelKnickers, by Leonora Carrington.  I don’t know why.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I think they’re all loved J

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I don’t do challenges.  I read more than last year by one book!

Looking Ahead...

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

World War Z, by Max Brooks

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Fever, by Lauren DeStefano

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

Reading – I read a lot of genres this year.  Usually I’m more balanced with my literary fiction and I want to get back to that.

Blogging – I hope to be able to blog as much as I like.  I have a bit of a back log because of the infant and I don’t usually.  I’d also like to get back to doing my Word of the Week posts.

Thanks for reading! Leave me a link so I can read your survey too.