Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day

I always thought that February 29th should be a national holiday, were everybody gets the day of and goes to leaping parties, the mascot/icon/patron saint could be a frog called Leopold and he could pass out Chocolate Frogs to all the good little Muggles...whoa sorry mixing up holidays and books again :-)  Still any event that only happens once every four years should be celebrated with great fanfare, but since hardly anybody listens to me I'll just give some good leap day books to read.
The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up
It's My Birthday...Finally!
Leap Year at the Coffee Shop
Leap Year
Leap Years
Hopefully these books will get you through this extra day that only comes every four years and yet is treated the same as any other, it's a travesty I tell you!  Happy birthday, anniversary, and whatever else you may celebrate on this rather elusive day.

What do you do to celebrate Leap Day?  Anybody have any ideas on what Leopold the Leap Day frog looks like?  Do you love having a whole extra day to read!!!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Because I Just Can't Wait

No this is not a post about the new Hobbit movie (even though I really really can't wait for that to come out!)  This post is about my frustration in finding a great new series and then having to wait months, or even years for the next book to come out (I'm looking at you George R. R. Martin).  I guess if it took me longer then a couple days to read a book this wouldn't be such a problem, but it still gets frustrating.  To try to alleviate the suffering of my fellow series sufferers I have put together a list of some of my favorite series that are complete, as in if you want (and yes I have done this before) you can go get every book in the series and read them beginning to end, kind of what I do on Netflix when a good TV series gets put on (I'm working on Dr. Who and Star Trek: The Next Generation right now).  Here we go!
Waiting for the next book to come out

These books will forever be the beginning of my escape to other worlds.  To this day if I need a happy place this is where I go.  It also has the advantage of all 7 books being a quick read so you don't need to spend weeks on any one book.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
I would also include the Hobbit in addition to the trilogy because I think they tie together so well, but I will leave that up to the individual reader.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I admit this is one of the first series I started before all the books were out, I held of until the first three were out, read them all in a week (didn't shower, eat, or go to work but by golly I got those books read!) and then spent agonizing month waiting with everyone else for the next one to come out only to read it all in one sitting and go through the process all over again. Happily for all you new readers out there you will not have to experience that, you can just go pick up the boxed set.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Excellent series, one of the first that I have been this excited about in a while, great writer, great stories, great characters AND anybody can read them from your fourth grade boy to your 99 year old great-grandmother.

The Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey
This is what got me started into Anne McCaffery and Pern.  If you want to be a tad less confused you can start with the Dragonriders of Pern Trilogy.  She has several books set in this world, but you don't really have to read them in any particular order, you can go escape into this amazing world at any point.

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
These are some good books especially for when they were written, a lot of girl power with out drilling it into your head.  It is pretty much your typical knight/quest story, with some very cool twists.  The other ones set in this world: The Immortals Quartet, Protector of the Small Quartet, and the Trickster Duo are all amazing (and complete) as well.  I like these 'cause each heroine is very different from all the others, not always loud and in your face.

The Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
This is a book...about a book :-)  This whole series is about people who love books, make books, write books, read books and eventually live in a book!  It gets pretty dark for supposed children's books, but they make for an excellent read...especially if you really love books.

The Myst Reader by David Wingrove
If you haven't figured out the extent of my geekyness by now, this should put the final nail in the coffin.  I used to play all of the Myst games with my Mamma late into the night, so when a book came out we got it on principle.  All three books turned out to be amazing, giving some great background to the game, but more importantly they truly created this peopled world, where the game left it empty and desolate.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
I was very pleasantly surprised by these young adult books.  They have it all, humor, gods, monsters, tears, adventure.  I really like how he modernized the Greek gods in this series, definitely a fresh take on the whole Greek hero on a vase thing. 

The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead
These books are written from a perspective of how the legend of Arthur may have been true.  An almost historical account of survivors from Atlantis all the way through to a modern day rebirth of King Arthur, I found it extremely innovative.  He also has a set of books called the King Raven trilogy about the legend of Robin Hood which is also really good.

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paloni
Here is another guy who took his own sweet time finishing his series, but now that it is finished I have to recommend that everybody read it.  This kid started these books when he was a mere lad of 19!  I also have a soft spot for good Dragon books, and cool sword...and people who live in Montana.

Little House on the Prarie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Huge nostalgia factor for me with these books.  They are pretty quick to read, and give me a familiar break from my epic stuff I'm usually into.  Plus now I know how to make my own cheese :-)

Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
This is one of my more recent acquisitions. She utilizes a first person view in this set that I really love, and it cuts down on some of the gratuitous landscape description that seems to plague fantasy novels. I love her writing style and have started a second mostly unrelated trilogy of hers as well.

Ok ok I'll stop now.  Hopefully I have given you avid readers a few new options, and if you have any complete series you think I would like feel free to send them my way.

Do you hate it when you get really into a series and have to wait for the next one?  Do you ever go back and reread a series when a new book in it comes out to catch back up?  Have you ever bought a whole series at once?  Are showers really that important in the grand scheme of things? Have I given away the extent of my geeky dorkness?

Monday, February 27, 2012

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things...

This weekend I got to spend time doing one of my favorite things...hang out at a bookstore!  I got to spend a couple of hours with one of my favorite book buddies (Baby Sis) perusing the book stacks, then we met up with two handsome fellows who plied us with our favorite drinks (double tall skim no whip mocha for me) and then we covered our table with all kinds of reading material.  We had everything from fantasy, to gardening, to guns and ammo, to home decor, to history.  Then we proceeded to spend the next couple of hours
just the four of us (Me, Hubbin, Baby Sis, Handy Bro-In-Law) discussing books, authors, what we like in books, what we hate in books, why movies should never be made into books except for of course the ones that should :-)  I was seriously in Heaven!!!!  I love it when my favorite (family, friends, books, coffee, expounding on the use of large words) things all converge into those few perfect hours that just help get you through life.  Thanks to all who participated and didn't tell me to shut up, even when my pontificating went a little over the top :-)
What are your favorite things?  What moments do you remember when everything was just right, even for just a little bit?  Should I quit using words over three syllables?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sunflower to Hydrangea

Today my little tiny baby sis turns...well I'll be nice and not reveal that here (mostly 'cause you will all know that I am older then she is and I want to keep you guessing)  I have always associated flowers with my youngest sis, mostly 'cause when she was little she love, love, loved sunflowers so every time I see one of those sunny yellow flowers I think of her
This Is the Sunflower
Now that she is a grown-up big girl her tastes runs to hydrangeas, which like my lovely sis stay the same at heart, while adapting to different environments and showing a whole range of colors.
I think the real reason she likes these flowers is they are one of the best places to catch a fairy!
Happy Birthday Baby Sis!!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Aaas Youuuuu Wiiiiish!

Oh the words every girl (and I am sure plenty of boys) really wants to hear "As you wish" and if you know where that quote came from, then you can be my friend :-)  The quote comes from the book (and later epic movie) The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I have to admit, this is an instance where I saw the movie several times before I picked up the book, mostly 'cause I started watching the movie at like age 0 and didn't know there was a book until I was in college.  After reading the book I was amazed how closely the movie followed it until I did a little digging and realized that the author William Goldman actually worte the screenplay for the movie as well (which should be done a lot more often in book to movie adaptions).  The book itself has a lot of interesting side notes, the author writesas though he is abridging the story from a very long and detailed history of the country of Florin by S. Morgenstern and to this affect there are many asides and footnotes about little tidbits that were "removed" to make the book more readable.  Mr. Goldman also makes up a ficticious backstory for himself as well, telling the reader that he has a son (the author really had two daughters who he told this to as a bedtime story, hence the silly names like Humperdink and Buttercup), his wife is a psychiatrist (not really) and his father was actually from the country of Florin (not a real country) interspersed with actual facts about his life.  I got lucky enough to get a 25th annaversary edition of the book which includes a chapter on a not written sequal called Buttercup's Baby to which he asks the readers to write to the publishing company to try and get it into print. 
 Mr. Goldman puts in his "notes" that he wanted to abridge this book as well, but after the way he supposadly butchered Mr. Morgenstern's first book, they wanted Stephen King to do it teehee.  Keeping in mind the whole thing is fictional and S. Morgenstern does not even exist.  He got his publishers to play along by sending letters detailing the "legal issues" they are haveing with Morgensern's estate :-)
Most people know the plot of The Princess Bride, as it is one of the few movies that everybody seems to love, I have yet to meet a person who will not voluntarly watch it with me (of course now that I have said that, I will get a flood of comments from people who just can't stand that silly little movie)  Like I said earlier the movie does follow the book very very closley.  Buttercup and her farm boy Westly fall in love after she realizes the words he always says to her "as you wish" really mean "I love you".  He goes of to sea to make his fortune and is captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts who is notorius for killing his captives.  In despair Buttercup agrees to marry Prince Humperdink (I am so getting a goldfish and naming it Humperdink!).  She is kidnapped by a motley crew lead by the Sicilian Vizzini (Inconceviable), his Turkish giant Fezzik, and his Spanish sword man Inigo Montoya.  After a couple of misadvetures, they realized they are being follwed by a man in a black mask.  They head for the Cliffs of Insanity (say isn't that where I work?) to try and lose him, but he is a persistant little bugger.  The Sicillian leaves Inigo to kill the man in black while he and Fezzik continue on with Buttercup.  Inigo Montoya is an honorable man and allows the mysterious man in black to rest while he tells his sad story of the six fingered man who killed his father and left him scarred.  His goal in life is to find the man and get his revenge.  The Spainard and Man in Black fight and Inigo is bested but not killed.  Fezzik is next sent to deal with the nusciance, but he too is unfatally bested.  The Sicillian finally challenges him to a contest of wits, resulting in his death and the Man in Black is able to rescue Buttercup.  She finds out that her savior is not other then the Dread Pirate Roberts, and promptly pushes him down a steep hill.  As he falls he calls out that famouse line "aaassss yoooou wiiiishhhhh) Buttercup follow him and learns the story of how he came back to her.  They travel through the Fire Swamp, and contend with the ROUS's (Rats of Unusual Size) only to be stopped by Prince Humperdink and his six fingered man Count Tyrone Rugen.  Buttercup bargains with Humperdink to spare
Westly if she goes back and marries him.  He agrees, but betrays them when he tells Tyrone to take him to the Zoo of Death.  At the Zoo of Death, Westly is tortured to death, while Buttercup has horrible nightmares about wedding Humperdink.  The prince agrees to send out four ships in four directions to find Westly and if they return without finding him Buttercup will marry him.  Meanwhile, Fezzik and Inigo hunt down Westly to get his help to breach the castle walls.  They find him in the Zoo of Death and bring him to Mad Max the miracle man who declares Westly not completly dead, just mostly dead and revives him, but with the side effect of paralasyis that will hopefully wear off.  Back at casa de Humperdink, Buttercup has discovered his deception and decides to kill herself (this is pretty dark for a supposed childrens fairy tale!).  Westly and crew arrive just in time to stop her and Inigo finds his six fingered man, quoting the other famouse line "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father,
prepare to die".  Crazy swordplay ensues and Inigo gets his revenge.  In Buttercups room Prince Humperdink arrives to discover Westly alive and challanges him to a duel, but since he is still fairly weak from being mostley dead, he tricks Humperdink into letting them go. Fezzik appears below the window with horses for all and the merry band ride off into the moonlight to hopefully live happily ever after.
I really liked reading this book, and all the extra little comments, asides, maps and footnotes really gave it a fun spin, I give it 100 "as you wishes" and read it all the time. (again spell check not working so sorry about the spelling) ((And yes I know all the pictures are from the movie, but it was a really long post, pictures keep my attention, and there are no good not movie pictures so there!))
What is your favorite quote from The Princess Bride?  Are you one of the few haters?  Do you wish all books were adapted this well to the big screen?  Should there be an international "as you wish" day?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Art and Book Combine

How amazing is this!  Especially when this was made back when everything was done by hand in lamplight.  Everything from the pigmants to the brushes were all painstakingly hand made!!!!  I think we've gotten a little lazy now days :-)  No wonder books were among the most treasured objects back in the day.

Book of Hours
 How awe inspiring is the work that went into this?  How many hours do you think went into this book? Do you think I can get my Hubbin to shell out 30,000 dollars to get me this for Christmas?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Graph Says It's Funny

Again I must put out my disclaimer that I really do love books, I just really like to find the humor in things as well, so as I said before...please don't hurt me!

Do you like finding the humor in things you love, or is it just mean?  Don't you hate it when you go online to look things up about a book and all you can find is things about the dumb movie!?!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidential Oddities

In honor of Presidents Day I am not going to work HOORAY!!!! Instead I'm going to enlighten you all to the strange little idiosyncrasies of some of our former President. 
I found a nifty little book called Oval Office Oddities by Bill Fawcett.
It holds such gems such as
Gerald Ford was a state athlete, he was so good looking that he was on the cover of Cosmopolitan and in a Beautiful People spread in Look.
Ronald Reagan once stated that tree's caused up to 80% of pollution...he was quickly corrected.
James Garfield could simultaneously write in Latin with one hand and Greek with the other
Thomas Jefferson considered being a Supreme Court Justice more important then being President.

These and a zillion other strange and fun little facts to astound your friends at that wild Presidents Day party I know you are all going too can be found in this book. I hope you enjoy this little foray into oddness.

What weird facts do you know about our Presidents?  Do you get the day off or is your boss a meanie head?  What do you like to do with your extra day's off?

Friday, February 17, 2012

I'm Turning 100 (Sort of)

YAY I've made it to my 100th post, syndication here I come...oh wait that's television :-)  Regardless I think this calls for a celebration break out the bubbly!
Mmm that was tasty.  For the rest of you I have posted some quotes from my favorite authors, hope you enjoy.
C.S. Lewis
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
-- C.S. Lewis

 “You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
-- C.S. Lewis

“We read to know that we are not alone.”
--C.S. Lewis

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”
--C.S. Lewis

J.R.R. Tolkien
“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
--J.J.R. Tolkien "The Fellowship of the Ring"

“Never laugh at live dragons.”
--J.J.R. Tolkien

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
--J.J.R. Tolkien

“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”
--J.J.R. Tolkien
J.K. Rowling
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.”
--J.K. Rowling

“The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should be treated with caution.”
--J.K. Rowling

“It is my belief... that the truth is generally preferable to lies.”
--J.K. Rowling "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

“Nitwit, blubber, oddment, tweak.”
 --J.K. Rowling "Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone"
Anne McCaffrey
“A good story is a good story no matter who wrote it.”
 --Anne McCaffery

“Make no judgments where you have no compassion.”
 --Anne McCaffery

“Oh, Tongue, give sound to joy and sing
Of hope and promise on dragonwing”
--Anne McCaffery "Dragonsong"

“Drummer, beat, and piper, blow
Harper, strike, and soldier, go
Free the flame and sear the grasses
Til the dawning Red Star passes”
--Anne McCaffery "Dragonsong"

What is your favorite author quote?  How cool is it that this is post 100?  Should I quit writing posts while drinking the bubbly...or does it help :-)?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cool Bookmarks

I love cool bookmarks, I don't use them very often 'cause I read so many books at I tend to lose them.  That does not mean however I do not love a good bookmark, I especially love the pretty princess jewel ones.  Here are some cool bookmarks that might make people look at you a little funny, but that's ok we are all used to that right?
Oozing Books!

Wicked Witch of the East
Growing In My Book

I Feel Like This All The Time

Are these bookmarks you would actually use?  Do you use bookmarks, or just display/lose them like me?  What is the prettiest/weirdest/most unique bookmark you have?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sleeping Beauty: Historical Style

I don't remember how I found this book, I may have like the cover, I may have been intrigued by the back cover, it wasn't the author because I didn't know who he was yet, but regardless I've had this book for a really really long time.  The book is Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.  Yes the Orson Scott Card that wrote Enders Game, and the Alvin Maker series.  I have come to know and love Mr. Cards work, but this one will always be my favorite.
The book is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which has always been one of my favorite fairytales.  The story is told with a historical spin on it.  A young man Ivan finds a mysterious spot while running in the forest deep in the Carpathian mountains.  In this spot is a "lake" of leaves in the middle of which is a stone pillar with a young woman sleeping.  Around this pillar is a moat like trench filled with leaves and guarded by a huge talking bear.  Ivan outwits the bear and leaps to the pillar and realizes how much like the story of Sleeping Beauty it seems to be. 
He kisses her, which of course wakes her up. This all happens pretty early in the story and then it gets really good!  "Sleeping Beauty" turns out to be a princess of a borderline primitive country that no longer exists, and by kissing her awake Ivan is now her betrothed.  The princess, Katrina, was placed under the spell by the evil witch Baba Yaga in a bid to take over her kingdom. Way too much happens to do it justice in a post that is under 100 pages and the pair end up going back to modern times to Ivan's parents. Ivan discovers that the time spent in Katerina's era matches up with several of the "original" myths and tales leading him to realize that the stories all started
with at least a kernel of truth.   Baba Yaga follows them back to modern America and continues to try and keep Katrina from inheriting the throne.  Ivan and Katrina with the help of his parents and the people of her kingdom come together in an EPIC (what a wonderfully overused word) battle of good and evil, culminating with the defeat of Baba Yaga.  In the end Katrina and Ivan end up splitting there time between the two worlds, raising there children in both times and places.
This is a very quick and dirty synopsis of a very detailed engrossing book.  Mr. Card does his homework and puts in plenty of historical facts without ever wandering into boringville.  The back and forth between the two times give both the main characters a chance to shine and a chance to feel awkwardly out of place.  The story mixes magic and epic struggles, with the everyday mundaneness of living life contrasted with the viewpoint of a person who has never lived our mundane life (does that sentence make sense at all?).  Another thing I love about this book (I love it when books do this) is it made me want to go look up some of the old tales and stories, too really get into some research on the lesser known characters in mythic history it's kind of a way to keep the story going.  I have read this book multiple times and recommended it to several people, all of whom (who?) have loved it.  I give this book 10 out of 10 sparkling tiaras.
What do you think of known authors branching out into something different?  Do you like it when a story mixes several old tales together, or do you prefer yours a little more pure?  Do I know how to write a long meandering post or what?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines is Bloody

Ok so I admit that excepting the candy I am not a Valentines person.  I was the kid in grade school who insisted on covering her milk carton mailbox in black paper and when informed it had to have some decoration I promptly tore neon hearts in half and stuck them all over the Valentine box :-)  When I got to highschool I started taking to wearing all black on Valentines day.  Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against love and all that, in fact I have received some very nice Valentines gifts from boyfriends and such, but as my Daddy says "there are 365 days in a year I am not going to be told I have to prove my love once a year when I should be doing it every day" (he gets gifts for people everyday that's not a holiday :-).  Not to mention the origins for this holiday are a little gruesome.  Anyways since people insist on celebrating this very pink and lacy holiday I have decided to post some light reading for you romantic Valentines Day.

Valentine's Day Massacre
My Bloody Valentine
Blood for St. Valentine
Valentine Horror Stories
Ok Ok I'll behave now...maybe!  Here is hoping everyone gets to spend Valentines with someone/something they love, I know I will!