Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Electronic Weird and Wonderful

I am kinda in a lull, I'm not quit ready to start Christmas yet, but I don't want to really get into any new/big projects either.  So I'm kind of just waiting around for the season to start and enjoying one of my favorite time wasters, e-book surfing.  I essentially go through the Kindle/Nook catalog looking through the free and cheap books seeing if there is anything new or unusual.  One of the things I mentioned in my e-reader post is the ability for new and upcoming authors to get there works out there.  This can be both a pro and a con as there are some amazing new authors, but there is are some that are not quit there yet.  Most of these new books are short, more of a novella length, but some are full sized.  They range from free to around $2.99 per book, which makes it pretty low risk.  I have found a few new writers that I am excited to watch for and a couple that I am glad I didn't pay much for.  I love exploring this new arena, I think it really gives a lot more freedom in concepts and ideas, not restricted by popular notions as much as a full on published, printed and bound book does.  I really hope these writers use the opportunity to really get some great stuff out there, and the ones who are not so successful the first time out should keep trying.
Here are a couple of books that are (or were at the time) only available as an e-book

To Kill A Warlock by H.P. Mallory was my first foray into the world of unknown e-books at only $0.99 it was a steal (it is now in print!)  I really really liked this one about a fairy detective, there a couple more in the series which are pretty good too!

One Night With the Fae by Claire Farrel is a story about a single night, each chapter told by a different character with a different perspective.  Again at $0.99 this was a GREAT little book, a really quick read, but great story

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells by Rose Pressey is the first in a series about a cafe with a magic cook book and the new owner who gets dropped into the whole magic business quit abruptly.  $2.99 was a little high for this book, it read like a beginners creative writing class novel very disjointed, liked the basic premise but the author needs a little more practice.

Unicorn Bait by S.A. Hunter is a quirky little tale about  women whisked away to a strange world by an old Unicorn horn.  This one amazingly is free, and if you like fantasy or quirky stories at all you should definitely read this one, I would gladly pay for this one.

Alien Coffee by John H. Carroll is a fun little $0.99 read, finished it in an hour, but neat concept about aliens addicted to coffee, will probably keep this one on hand.

I hope this inspires you to give some new books a try, at these prices it's worth the risk, and who knows you may find a new favorite writer!  I have several more on my e-readers and will catch everybody up when I've finished a few more.

What new books/authors have you discovered online?  Do you think this opener forum is good, or does it let to many hacks through?  Has it inspired you to try your hand at writing?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Are You Hungry for the Hunger Games Part 3

Hey folks, I had an amazing holiday weekend, saw family, Christmas lights AND I learned how to make authentic tamales from my Mom and Dad in law (Thanks guys!)  Hope you all enjoyed yours as well.  Well time to jump back into it.  I'm gonna finish up my epically long Hunger Games post today, so here we go.

Mockingjay is the third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.  It starts right were the last book Catching Fire left off.  Katniss awakes to find herself in the hospital wing of the long thought destroyed District 13.  Turns out to avoid mutual destruction due to both District 13 and the Capital having access to nuclear weapons, they agreed that District 13 would be left alone as long as the rest of the world thought that it was destroyed to keep it from becoming a rally point for any future rebellion.  Eventually a woman known as President Coin from District 13 becomes the leader for a rebellion against the Capitol.  She wants Katniss to become the visible human symbol for the rebellion, at the urging of her friend Gale, who survived the destruction of District 12 Katniss agrees on two conditions.  One that all of the Hunger Games survivors be pardoned, and two she be the one allowed to kill President Snow.  Coin reluctantly agrees to both conditions.  Katniss also learns that while her mother and beloved sister Prim have survived the destruction of their home thanks to Gale and Peeta has been captured by the Capital after the last Hunger Games.  Peeta is eventually rescued and taken to District 13, but has been reconditioned to hate Katniss to the point of murder(ah the classic I love you and now I'm going to kill you bit).

 As the book progresses the horror of war in all the districts really comes into focus, the whole time Katniss keeping the goal of killing President Snow, which she blames for all the problems firmly in mind.  As the war continues the upper echelon of the rebellion, especially President Coin and Gale seem to be capable of just as many atrocities (what a great word) as the enemy to win the war.  Finally Katniss and her team enter the Capital losing members one by one until only Katniss is left pushing toward President Snow.  As she finally reaches the mansion, which President Snow has declared as a shelter for the children of the Capital, but is really using them as a shield, Katniss realizes her sister Prim is there trying to bring medical supplies to the children.  While Prim is trying to help the children a helicopter drops emergency supplies, as the children and Prim reach for the supplies, they blow up killing everybody.  The supplies/bombs have the stamp of the Capital, ending any last resistance to the rebellion.  Still reeling from her sisters death, Katniss is summoned to a meeting of the rebel leadership, they are trying to consolidate there control, and as one way to do so suggest that they continue the Hunger Games, but instead of district children as Tributes, for the people of the Capital to send theres instead.  A vote is called and Katniss finally votes in favor of continuing the Games.  She goes and speaks with the captive President Snow, remembering an earlier vow they made to never lie to each other, he tells her that President Coin was the one who really ordered the attack that killed her sister Prim.  Realizing the truth, she also speculates that her friend Gale probably had a hand in the plan as well, and she will never be able to go back to a friendship with him.  Later she is summoned to perform the execution of President Snow as promised.  As she lines up her bow and arrow to take the shot, she thinks of everything President Coin has done to gain power and realizes she is just as bad, if not worse then President Snow, having lived through the horrors and still choosing to use the same tactics to gain power for herself.  Katniss then proceeds to kill President Coin.  In all the ensuing confusion President Snow is killed as well.  Katniss is "pardoned" on account of supposed insanity and sent to live in the rebuilt District 12.  Peeta eventually recovers enough to come home and marry Katniss.  The book ends 15 years later, with Katniss wondering if there children can ever forgive them for there parts in the Games and the ensuing violent rebellion.
Whew!  Now that we are all caught up with the story let us discuss .  I liked this book better then book 2 but not as much as book 1.  I again thought there was a lot of repetitive introspective (another awesome word) doldrums.  I understand the author was trying to show the internal personal struggle of Katniss, but on occasion it just came off as whining.  Overall I really liked the ending, showing that just because you are the rebel doesn't always make you right, another case of the winner writing history.  I liked how the author showed how easy it was to fall right back into known patterns, even ones you hate. I like how she showed how everybody suffered, not just the good guys or the bad guys, and in some cases you couldn't even tell who was who, just like in real life. I thought it was a good conclusion to the trilogy and am glad it ended the way it did.  The first movie is coming out soon and it will be interesting to see how Hollywood decides to portray the wholesale slaughter of children on the big screen.
What did you all think of the trilogy?  Is this post or series of posts way too long?  What are your thoughts on the themes of the book, and how they correlate to modern times? (wow that sounds like a college essay question :-)  )

Friday, November 25, 2011


Soooooo stuffed, think I may need this after yesterday
The 17 Day Diet Workbook
Oh wait 17 days!!!! Umm hmmmm, there are leftovers in fridge, I'll start tomorrow :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So Very Thankful

Happy Turkey everybody who lives stateside!  Hope everyone is getting extra helpings of there favorite foods while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!  Since it is a day to be thankful I would like to share what I am grateful for this year.  A lot of my loved ones have had a pretty rough year, health issues, significant other issues, moving issues, work issues, fighting a war in another country issues, incredibly wordy blogger girl issues :-) but I am thankful and very proud that everyone of them has managed to hang in there and deal with all this crap.  I love all of you guys and am glad that you are all here and in mostly in one piece.  Also I am thankful for the written/typed/keyboarded  word that has enabled me to keep in touch with all my far flung family and friends, to know when life is hard, but to also share in the joy when they make it through! Also BOOKS!!!!! 'cause seriously they make everything better.
What are you thankful for?  What is your favorite food?  What is a special tradition you have?

Hubbin putting the yummy turkey in the oven

Some books for kids and adults
What is Thanksgiving?
A Catered Thanksgiving (mystery and recipes)
Thanksgiving Rules
I Spy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are You Hungry for the Hunger Games Part 2

Ok I am back for the next part of my unreasonably long post, but since this is kind of the whole reason I started this blog ( to talk incessantly and endless and at length, redundantly about books) I figure we're all good.  Let jump right into book two shall we
Catching Fire is the second book in the HungerGames trilogy.  It is probably my least favorite of the three, as I said before.  It felt a little repetitive and seemed to not have a lot of new insights.  In my humble opinion they could have put most of the vital information in the other two books and called it a day.  So here is a quick summation of book two.

We start with Katniss at here new home with her mother, and sister Prim.  This is one of the prizes Peeta and her received for winning the Hunger Games.  As a winner she is obligated to go on a Winner's Tour to all of the districts, where they are forced to have a party in the winners honor.  This is cruel as it throws in the districts and families faces the fact that two of there children were killed so that the winner could live.  Right before they leave she is visited by President Snow, the leader of Panem.  He tells her that a lot of the districts have seen her threat to commit suicide with Peeta to have no winners in the Game was construed as an act of defiance and has led to talk of rebellion among the lesser districts.  He reminds Katniss that this was the reason the Hunger Games were instituted in the first place, to remind people the consequences of insubordination.  He tells her that as she travels she had better convince the districts that it was her mad love of Peeta and not rebellion that led to her rash and foolhardy move.  He then proceeds to make a subtle threat on her loved ones if she does not accomplish this goal.  Katniss relay's all of this to Peeta and their mentor Haymitch to try and sort out what they can do. Peeta is hurt that Katniss does not "really" love him, claiming that he has loved her for years.  They come up with a plan for Peeta to propose to Katniss to prove that they are just a couple in love, not rebels.  The first stop on there tour is District 11, which Rue the girl Katniss befriended during the Games came from.  During the games Katniss showed much kindness and respect to Rue both before and after she died.  District 11 acknowledges this and someone starts to whistle the simple song Rue taught to Katniss.  The act is one that results in brutal force being brought against the "instigator" who first whistled the tune, being accused of sedition.  Shaken  Katniss and Peeta see signs of a rebellion that is not fully suppressed in many of the districts they visit.  They themselves, especially Katniss seem to be unintentional symbols of this movement (one of the things I did like about this book is the fact that Katniss never had any intention of starting a rebellion, she is made into a symbol initially completely against her will). 

After the tour ends, it is time to pick this years Tributes, but as this is the 75th year of the games a "Quarter Quell" an extra twist is added.  This year the Tributes will be selected from previous winners of the game from each district.  As there have only been 3 winners out of district 12  (Haymitch, Peeta, and Katniss) it is soon apparent that Katniss and Peeta (after volunteering in Haymitches place) are headed back to the arena.
They pretty much go through the whole process again, this time though Katniss tells Haymitch that they are going to do everything possible to keep Peeta alive, even at the expense of her life (awww).  They meet Tributes from former Games, and find out that the Capital pretty much uses and abuses them for the rest of their lives, and if they don't comply there loved tend to die in "accidents".   The games play out similarly to the first book, with the addition of some allies this time around.  The book climaxes with one of the Tributes coming up with a way to electrocute the other teams.  Turns out his real goal was to disable the force field to allow the allies to escape.  Katniss is injured and wakes up in an unfamiliar place.  She is informed that she is in District 13, which was not completely destroyed because of the nuclear weapons stored there.  Instead they made a deal with the Capital to keep the story alive that the District was destroyed.  They live in tight quarters underground, keeping to a strict regime to survive.  Her friend Gale comes in to inform her that as punishment for her escape District 12 has been bombed to oblivion, with most of the population being killed.  Gale has however managed to help her family escape and they are there in District 13 as well.  The other bad news is that Peeta has been captured by the Capital.  This is where the book ends.
As long as this synopsis is :-)  I still feel the book was very repetitive, the Quarter Quell felt like a gimmick to get Katniss back in the Games which was a big draw in the first book.  A lot of the information and actual getting of Katniss to District 13 could have been done quit well in 2 or 3 chapters and not lost anything.  The hopelessness was still very much in the forefront, but with a little less hope then the first book.  Again this wasn't a bad book, just unnecessary.  Okay another long post, will put up another installment later.  Let me know your thoughts up to this point!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Are you Hungry for the Hunger Games? Part 1

I've been wanting to post about the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins for a while, but wasn't sure if I wanted to do it one book at a time, or the trilogy as a whole.  After careful consideration and much thought (not really, but it sounds good)  I decided to talk about the whole trilogy as the story works best over all three books.  My initial thoughts after finishing the trilogy was mostly that the 2nd book wasn't really needed.  There were a few good revelations that I felt could have easily been split between the first and third book (a feeling I have with a lot of trilogies...except the Lord of the Ring: The Two Towers which is actually my favorite of the three)  Overall I liked the whole story but felt there were some definite weak spots. 

The author did a fantastic job of setting up a dystopian post war society.  The class divide and structure is clear and interesting and sets up a plausible environment for some the horrors that are so blithely accepted.  For those of you living under a rock here is the basic premise.  In an undetermined future North America has suffered from a major war/catastrophe and been rebuilt as Panam around the Capital, which is the ruling/political/upper class.  Surrounding the Capital were 13 districts that were populated by lower class citizens, tightly controlled and forced to work to supply the Capital with all it's wants or needs.  There is a more detailed description of the districts and such here.
Eventually the districts rose up and rebelled against the Capital, an ugly war followed ending with the total destruction of District 13.  The results of this rebellion was a harsh crack down on the remaining 12 districts and the heinous ritual called The Hunger Games.  To remind the districts that there insurgence was not only fruitless, but resulted in the total domination by the Capital, each district must offer up a Tribute of one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 to the Games  once every year.  The Tributes are chosen through a lottery system.  The Tributes are sent off to the Capital to be primped and pimped out to the public, doing there best to represent there district and garner support from the rich upper class of the Capital to potentially help them through the Game.  After a few public appearances, training, and skills test the Tributes are placed into the arena to fight to the death.  To keep things interesting various challenges are introduced as the Game continues.  The Game keeps going until 23 of the children are dead, either from exposure, accidents or killed by one of the other children.  This heinous (I love this word so descriptive)  ritual is not only tolerated by the people of the Capitol, but looked forward to as a betting sport, just like football or Survivor.  Okay now that the simplistic yet long winded explanation is over, lets get to the books

Lets start with book one The Hunger Games
This was by far my favorite book, the tension was amazing, the character development wonderful and the world building stellar.  The book centers around Katniss who has looked after her mother and sister Prim after her father died in a mine explosion.  Her best friend Gale helps her hunt in the forbidden woods (all good stories have a forbidden woods) to help supplement the meager rations they are allotted.  When it is time for the Reaping (this is what they call the picking of Tributes) Effie Trinket comes to do the official drawing.  A 16 year old boy named Peeta, the bakers son is chosen as the male Tribute.  Prim is chosen as the female Tribute, unable to watch her sister go off to almost certain death, Katniss volunteers to take her place.  The two say there goodbye's and one of the village girls give Katniss a pin with a mockingjay on it, which becomes a powerful symbol later on.
 They leave with Effie, and their mentor the drunken Haymitch.  At the capital they are assigned stylists to help them with there public appearances, Katniss is assigned Cinna who is fairly normal (and my favorite character) amidst the flamboyant excess that is the rest of the Capitol population.  He helps her become "The Girl on Fire" and garner attention for her quietly stubborn personality.  Katniss and Peeta, along with the 22 other Tributes are released into the arena to fend for there lives, and presumably take the lives of their fellow Tributes. It is noted that the Tributes from Districts 1 and 2 are called Careers, they are children who train most of there lives and volunteer to be Tributes.  This results in a higher then normal win amount for these two districts, and exceptionally violent, sadistic children.  Throughout the game Katniss befriends a girl named Rue from District 11 who she eventually has to watch be killed in front of her, this leads to Katniss respectfully mourning her friend.  Distraught Katniss runs into Peeta, who confesses his love for her and under there mentors instructions declares her love back.  This little love story encourages the people of the Capital to send gifts of food and medicine to help them survive (I love how she does not get all romantic here, but uses it to keep them alive.)  When they are down to just a few Tributes left, an announcement declares that in a change of rules two Tributes may survive to win the Games.  When it finally comes down to just Peeta and Katniss, the rules are changed once again to only one Tribute can survive and one of them must kill the other.  Out of desperation Katniss offers to take a handful of poisonous nightlock berries to save Peeta the horror of having to kill her.  He refuses and makes the same offer, they decide that if one of them has to die that they will die together each ingesting the berries leaving no winner.  This is unacceptable as having a winner is a way to keep control of the districts, and appease the people of the Capital so they have to let both Peeta and Katniss win.  After the ordeal is finally over Katniss receives a visit from President Snow, informing her that her little "rebellion" had better be the product of foolhardy love and not a sign of defiance toward the Capital.  She reassures him  her only thoughts were of saving Peeta, he tells her that she better make sure that he is convinced by her actions during the Winners Tour, or who knows what could happen.
I really like the borderline hopeless feel to this book, it made the little triumphs all the sweeter.  The horror of children killing each other juxtaposed (fun word) with the delight the Capital crowd takes in it is chilling.  I like that this book is chock full of contrasting views, from the districts forced to watch there children die, to the lavish viewing/betting parties of the uppercrust Capitalists.  For all the horror and darkness there always seems to be a little glimmer of light which makes it possible to continue reading.
Ok so this is getting to be a really really long post, so I will work on part 2 later.  Let me know your thoughts on the story so far!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Stupid computer is acting up, will do a real post later when I don't have the urge to eject it into space, until then here is a funny "Book Tech Support"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Well Thats a Little Odd

Sometimes I am watching a movie and find out it is based on a book I haven't read yet, this is usually a good thing 'cause then I don't do the whole comparison thing.  I do usually go find and read the book after.  So I saw this really cute movie called Nanny McPhee.
Why did I go see this children's movie?  Well I actually really like kid movies, they kinda give you a break from all the yuckiness in adult movies, and...well...Colin Firth, I will watch that man in ANYTHING!  I would probably be happy watching Mr. Firth watch paint dry, or grass grow :-)

Ok Ok back to the post.  Anyways the movie was great, I own it and watch it all the time.  Now besides my near obsession with Peter Pan (it has pirates, mermaids AND faeries, what else could a girl want)  I haven't really gotten into many of the older children's books, I kind of skipped over these and dove right into the big kid books, so of I went to my local book store to pick up The Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand on which the movie was based. 

Reading it through was pretty interesting, but definitely odd.  It is not really a story with a true beginning and end, more of a collection of little cautionary tales taught by lesson of a less than conventional nature such as forcing the children to continue their naughty behavior long after the point of fun, until they are beyond exhausted and begging to be allowed to behave and go to bed. At another point she "takes away" some of there arms and legs, making them share limbs to get home so that they can be whole again, a little weird.  The movie could only loosely "follow" the book as there was not much in the book to follow in terms of a whole story, but the book was highly amusing, and really highlighted the difference in the way children were raised and treated in different times.  The stories reminded me a little bit of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle as both ladies used an excess of bad behavior to teach the children to decide to behave instead of punishing them into submission. 
What books have you read that turned out different then you expected?  Do I read way to many children's books for a supposedly grown adult?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's A Book, It's A Game, It's Nancy Drew!

My Mamma has always been one of my major partners in crime, I have done things with her, mostly at her suggestion that most people wouldn't dream of telling there own parents about...much less actually doing it with them!  One of the less shall we say controversial things my Mamma and I have done together is read.  When I was younger we got through several books together, but when I got a little older my tastes and her kind of diverged a little.  So we got a new hobby, computer games.  We would go by games like Myst and such and sit at the computer for hours trying to figure these suckers out!  The rest of the poor family was stuck listening to us discussing the finer parts of "is that a tweet or a twoot" for many a hour.  Then we discovered the wonderful amazing game series that gave us everything, puzzles, game time, AND it was based on beloved books. That's right folks I am talking about the Nancy Drew computer game series!  I cannot tell you how many countless hours we have spent over the last 15 or so years devoted to these games.  In fact when she was here for her last visit my Hubbin came out to find us on the floor with the laptop playing the newest version :-)  We live much further apart now, but we still play the games on our own and compare notes when we talk, every time I play it's like being with my Mamma.

My favorite game is probably The Secret of the Old Clock because it is based on the first actual Nancy Drew book and is set in the original time period of the books which was the 1930's.  I like the games because they usually require some actual deductive reasoning and tracking.  The story in the games usually unfolds similar to that of a book, and you know your on the right track when the story progresses.  It can be a bit frustrating on the higher level on occasion, but that's what they made Internet walkthroughs for :-) 
Now my Mamma and I are back to reading a lot of the same books, so we are constantly swapping books, and suggestions, but there will always be a soft spot on my computer for Nancy Drew games!
What special literary memories do you share with someone special?
Do you think playing games based on books count, or is it in a whole different catagory?  What book would you like to see made into a game?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Many Words Can You Think Of For...

Read this crazy fun book with my Baby Sis this summer called The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer .

 It is a great story about a young woman name Susan Rose, who has a very practical outlook on life.   It is set in Victorian England, just as the profession of wet nursing is changing. What is a wet nurse?  A wet nurse is a woman who breastfeeds your baby for you either because you can't, or your to busy, or your too rich.  Before, women would bring there children to live at the home of the wet nurse until the baby was weaned and sent back to live with their family.  Our plucky heroine gets herself  *ahem* with child and as she is a single mother (super scandalous in this era) her father makes her work to earn their keep.  To accomplish this she uses her new ample milk supply to feed other babies.  The down side to this is they no longer bring the kids to her, she must leave her own child at home and live with the family of the nursee.  Susan is heartbroken to leave her newborn son at home while she is off nursing another woman's child.  Susan's mother (who was a wet nurse herself until her supply dried up in her 50's) promises to rag feed the child, which is dipping a rag in warm milk to try and keep the baby fed until she returns home.  Unfortunately the baby does not take to rag feeding and dies before Susan can see him again.  Susan is understandably distraught, especially as she is forced to be around newborns, for if she does not keep continuously employed her supply will dry up and she will no longer be able to work as a wet nurse.  As life goes on, our pragmatic Susan gets herself *ahem* knocked up again.  This time she refuses to leave the child, attempting to find a position that will allow her to bring her own baby with her.  Alas the decision is eventually made for her, when her alcoholic father secretly sells her son to an upper class lady who is unable to have her own children.  The ever resourceful Susan finds a way to get employed as her sons own wet nurse (think Moses and his mother).

 As the story progresses we find that the adoptive mother is...well...loony!  Susan finds way's to encourage this and eventually regains custody of her son, finds true love and lives happily ever after. Fun, quick read that ended happy, a perfect beach book or curl up with a cup of tea book (books set in England always make me want to have a cup of tea)
Favorite part of the book was the number of words I learned for breast (boob, teat, tit, dug, milk bag, etc..)
What do you think, is it interesting learning about such an odd, unspoken profession, or do you think there is a reason we don't go around offering it as a career at job fairs?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Middle School Nostalgia!

Sometimes when I am browsing through a library or a used book store I come across books that I used to read back in the middle school days.  Some I am almost to embarrassed to admit I read, and others I am tempted to pick up again.  A lot of these are series that I read with my friends and we would discuss things like are you an Elizabeth or a Jessica :-)  What BSC member are you most like.  If you know what I am talking about then you at one point were probably a middle schooler.  Here is a list of series I loved in those wonderful preteen years. A lot of these have updated covers, but delicious outdatedness inside, enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old Vs New

All through out history there has been the struggle between the traditional, known, beloved way of doing things and the new, provocative, cutting edge, unknown way of doing things.  Horse and Buggy vs The Automobile.  Stove vs Microwave, Snail Mail vs Email, and now ladies and gentlemen the newest debate Printed Books vs E-Readers! That's right folks, now you too can hold thousands of books in the palm of your hand, need a good mystery it's there, bored of that and want a good romance, just switch to a different book...unless you're in your bathtub...or the battery runs out...or your wonderful Hubbin won't share the e-reader.  Of course you could always stick with the good old bound book, you can take it anywhere, you never lose power, you have it actually in your hand...unless it's back at home on the bed table...or you don't feel like reading that particular book but your stuck on a plane with no access to your books shelf...or it's only in hardcover and cost a bazillion dollars and you really don't want to wait for it to come out in paperback.
As you have probably guessed from the above I feel there are pros and con's to both types of medium. 

Lets start with the good old fashioned bound book
It's a book!
You most definitely own it, it will never disappear of your device if the server goes down
They are usually cheaper to replace if you accidentally leave it somewhere or get it wet
You can read it in the bathtub
Never runs out of battery
Some of the older (better) books are not available yet on electronic media
There is artistry in a lot of books that just doesn't translate to the electronic form
There is nothing like the smell of a book, old or new
I like turning the pages
It's a book!
It's hard to take more then a couple at a time with you, especially when you are travelling
Individual books tend to be more expensive, especially hard cover
You have to go to a bookstore or wait for a book to be delivered to read it
Can't read them in the dark without some source of light
Can get damaged by things like water, fire, light, small dogs

Now for the technologically advanced E-Readers
You can have like a zillion books at once
Instant access most of the time, no waiting for books
Can read in the dark
You get to buy a new toy
Individual books tend to be cheaper
Comes with a built in dictionary
Get to read new authors who may not be in print yet
A lot of the classics are available for FREE! (Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, ect...)
The devices tend to be expensive to start with (though they are getting cheaper, and free apps for some devices that you may already have)
You can't(or shouldn't) take them in certain place, like the bathtub (which is one of my favorite places to read) or the beach (unless you are not like me and can remember to keep it out of the sand and rising tide)
The battery can die
It's way to easy to spend a lot of money without realizing it
Technically the books can be removed from your device by the provider
Can be damages by dropping, water, stupid people
It's not a book!

Obviously both sides have there ups and downs and I guess in the end you have to decide for yourself.  The nice thing though is you don't have to pick a side if you don't want to.  I have both real books and e-books and I love them all.  I think anything that gives more authors a chance to be known, and encourages more people to read can't be a bad thing. I personally have several of the more popular apps (Kindle, Nook) on my PC, laptop, and tablet device.  Besides now I have my Hubby convinced that collecting real books isn't so much a hobby any more as it is an investment because someday they may be rare and worth something :-)
Let me know where you come down on the issue.  Have you donated all your books and live the austere techno-junky life of the e-reader only, or are you a purist and only let your fingers touch honest to goodness paper pages, or are you like me and enjoy any possible way that you can read be it book or e-reader?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You Veterans!

Happy Veterans Day!!!!!

It has been my experience that the military always brings about controversy in many forms, from who can serve to should we even be in our current war/situation.  I think it is good that we live in a country that we can question these things it keeps us honest and makes us think about choices that we make as a country.  All this aside I think that any man or woman who voluntarily leave behind their family, friends and loved ones to at best be put through physical and mental hardships, intense training and not ideal conditions, to at worst be horribly injured or killed, all to keep my and mine safe should always be recognized as a hero.  The people they leave behind should also receive a heroic thanks as they are the ones who have to have to hold down the fort and sometimes pick up the pieces.  So to all of those out there who have contributed in the many ways to keeping this country and its people safe and free a huge thank you!
Here are some good books about Veterans Day, and some stories from real Veterans themselves.
Granddad Bud: A Veterans Day Story
The Wall
Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace
Familypedia - Military of the Us: 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Soooo tired, I think I need a little of this

Happy 236th Birthday to the Marine Corps!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Library Love

Some of my best memories growing up involve my local library.  When I was around 4-6years old the little local library was within walking distance and Mamma would pack us four kids up to a trip to the library.  Pretty soon our community outgrew our little library and they built us a big new shiny one just up the road.  For the rest of the time we lived in the area we would head to the library at least once a week.  My taste in books grew up there as I transitioned from picture books, to chapter books, to full grown adult variety.  The librarians knew us by name and knowing my propensity for out reading the library's supply of books for they would put aside new books that they thought I might like.  To this day every time I think of that wonderful place it puts a smile on my face.
Here are some cool libraries from around the country and a few from around the world!  I found most of these at

Heritage Preservation: Reconstructions: Ancient Alexandria; Copyright owner: Bibliotheca Alexandrina;
One of the first libraries in history (renovated obviously :-) )

George Peabody Library, main reading room
I could probably die happy here, of course I would need to add some comfy chairs and a coffee maker

Aerial View of the Rolex Learning Center;Copyright Owner, Public Domain
So cool like a library in space!

Beinecke Library, exterior; Obtained from Wikimedia (Outside)

I just love the inside/outside contrast of this one, kinda want to go see it in person

Langston Hughes Library, exterior; Copyright owner: Lin
Yep this is a real library chock full of books!

The Tower of the Five Orders, Bodleian Library, Oxford
This is always what first comes to mind when I think of a "proper" library

Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey
So cool!

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Of course I had to include my current local library

Kent Library, Kent, Washington
And the library that started it all, my childhood library

Did you go to the library a lot growing up?  Was it a good library with lots of new books, or was it a treasure trove of forgotten titles?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A True SciFi/Fantasy Author

One thing that irritates me in literature is genre's, they never seem to be able to truly capture the whole idea of a given book.  Take the book Wicked, it is a story based on a fairytale, set in a completely unreal world chock full of magic.  Now I personally would probably place this in the fantasy genre, but nope it's usually found in literature or fiction, of which it is both but seems to fit fantasy better.  One of the reasons I hate this is that it seems to discourage people from reading books they might really enjoy.  To really irk me (I know they do it on purpose just to drive me crazy) most places combined Science Fiction and Fantasy into one big SciFi/Fantasy genre. Anybody who reads either of these genres knows that they are NOT the same thing. 

Having gone on that rant I now would like to present to you an author who actually does combine the genres of SciFi and Fantasy almost flawlessly.  She is also one of my favoritists (another special word of mine) authors.  I am talking about the wonderful Anne McCaffrey.  I love her for reasons too numerous to put into a single blog post...unless you all have about three hours to read this?  No...nobody?  Ok I'll keep to my top reasons.  The main reason is probably very nostalgic, I found her book Dragonsong, the first of the Harper Hall Trilogy my freshman year of high school during a rough period of life and it really took me away to another world. 

The second reason is she really was one of the first accepted females in the SciFi genre.  She was the first female winner of both the Hugo and Nebula award which is a pretty big deal, she is probably the reason I read as much SciFi as I do.  The third reason as I mentioned before is her ability to blend SciFi with Fantasy so seamlessly.  Her most famous of books is probably her Pern series in which the Harper Hall Trilogy is set. 

The original trilogy The Dragon Riders of Pern tells of a technologically regressed world that fights a mindless menace from space know as Thread, a spore that aggressively eats all organic matter.  The people of Pern use Dragons and there empathetic riders to protect the world from Thread.  Now I know what your thinking, dragons are totally fantasy and have nothing to do with SciFi and yet Ms. McCaffrey manages to convey the genetic and scientific reasons for the dragons existence in this world.  There are many other books in this series detailing the arrival, history and current situation on this planet, really cementing the marriage of the two genres. The series is so popular is even was it's own Pern Wiki

Ms. McCaffrey has written numerous other novels and short stories some with other authors in some wonderful collaborations.  One of my other favorite series of hers is definitely more SciFi, but still has elements of the fantastical is the Talent Series comprised of the Pegasus books and the Tower and the Hive books.  These are about the emergence of people with amazing mental powers and the ensuing changes that come about because of there abilities.  The Coelura is a short read that is essentially a fantasy set in space, really transporting.

 Like I said I could go on and on and on and on about Ms. McCaffrey and her works but I think I will stop now and let you go read some of these for yourself.  Let me know which books you have discovered.  What books/authors have really made an impact in your literary life? Is this a really long post?  Did you actually read the whole thing?

Friday, November 4, 2011

221B Baker Street

As much as I love/adore/passionately obsess about fantasy(books) I love me some real life, practical science.  I love it when a story can take something seemingly fantastical and show how it can be possible to me that is the best kind of magic.  Sherlock Holmes stories tend to sum this up for me, they take seemingly impossible issues and problems and make sense out it them.  Mr. Holmes is an extremely observant, learned fellow who can deduce the most amazing things from the most trivial, mundane piece of...well, almost nothing. Like in the story The Adventure of the Speckled Band  from the book The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes what seems like a supernatural curse, is really the victims father using a snake to commit his murders. Holmes figured it out with no more then a glimpse of a rope in the murderers room.  Another thing I love is that most of the stories are fairly short, 15-40 pages at most.  This gives just enough time to set up the scene, throw out some red herrings, but still enough clues that if you pay attention you just might get to solve the case before the end of the story.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did a fantastic job of not only creating a character that is now one of the most famous literary figures of all time, but he did it in a way that invited others to use this character in new and interesting ways.  Since there if very little linierness (is that a word?) to his works, it is open to various interpretations, new settings and lots of different characters.  The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is an incredible collection of short stories from modern writers that write new adventures in most diverse of places and situations, all in the style of the original tales (Thanks for suggesting this book Mamma)

When the movie Sherlock Holmes came out I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had seen various movies and TV series mostly on PBS that were done well, but a blockbuster with big name stars and a director who recently was best know for being married to Madonna...well I was a little skeptical.

As the movie progressed it seemed to lean toward a supernatural explanation, especially the part where Holmes appears to get high and locate things on a map based on oogie boogy work, which is most definitely NOT the way Sherlock Holmes does things!  But by the end of the movie they had wrapped it up in perfect Holmsian style with a logical scientific explanation for everything, and with great humor to boot.  Obviously this movie had been made with much love for the original story.
What is your favorite Homes story?  Do you find the cases baffling or is it "Elementary dear Watson?"