Friday, March 30, 2012

Forest Book Nook

Oh man I want this so bad I would never leave!  I would probably put in some super comfy chairs, a coffee maker and a ton of comfy blankets.

Forest Book Nook
It's an actual library in New York, and it has over 10,000 books stored in the bottom part of the structure.  The windows all open so you can really appreciate the ambiance.  Could you imagine curling up here in all the different seasons!

Does this look awesome to you, or not enough places to plug in a lap top? Would you leave the windows wide open, or enjoy nature from a more controlled enviroment?  When I build my castle should I have a hidden path that leads to this "book tower"?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Ode To Orson Scott Card

I just finished reading The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card and once again once I started I was up into the wee hours finishing it.  Every time I read a book that keeps me awake, I try and figure out why and in this case I think it is the author.  One of my favorite things about books by Mr. Card is the readability of it.  No matter what topic he is covering space, fairy tales, fantasy, history or any combination of these, he always seems to keep the reader in mind. I first discovered this in Enders Game, a tale set in space, I then switched to the Alvin Maker series, completely different genre (alt-history) and found it just as compelling.   The topics covered in Mr. Cards books could very easily get mired into descriptions and facts and theories that would bore most people, but he always keeps that sort of thing in check.  This is not to say that these books are not informative, I have found myself on many occasions running to look up some tidbit of history or mythology while reading these books, especially ones like Enchantment that
while being a fairy tale was very much grounded in history and tales from the past. The story is what seems to be the most important thing in the books, and even in the midst of techno-babble and history he always comes back to a character to make the reader care about all the other stuff.  His characters are another thing I love about Mr. Cards books, very rarely is any character all good or all bad, and he gives motive to all his characters as well.  I personally love it when an author gives us a reason why a person might do or say a certain thing, because in real life most people just don't decide to be mean and evil, there is usually a reason.  Mr. Card usually has his hero's/heroine's act and react like real people, sometimes snarky, sometimes mean, sometimes silly which I think goes a long way towards making a character likable.  To many times I've read stories where I like the villain much more then the main hero/heroine because they seem so much more relateable then a one dimensional good guy.
This is not the case in Mr. Cards books, even though you get the motivation for the bad guys (which I always appreciate) you also get a motivation and feel for the other main characters as well. I love the variety of topics Mr. Card covers in his writing.  A lot of my favorite authors cover one or maybe two related genre's exceptionally well, but the talented Mr. Card has written in several genre's and I can honestly say I have stayed up way past my bedtime reading every book I have ever got of his (did that sentence make any sense?).  I have read SciFi, Fantasy, History, Short Stories and How To books by Mr. Card and he shines in every one of them.  I think if i had to pick a thread that ties all these books and stories to Mr. Card it would be his sense of humor (which makes everything better) and his ability to make the reader identify with every character in the book, regardless of gender, age, or genre.  I am very glad to have discovered Mr. Card at such a young age (9) and have been able to read all his various works through out my life.  Keep up the good work Mr. Card and please hurry up and get the next Mithermage book out :-)

Which is your favorite Orson Scott Card book?  Do you have any authors you know you can pick up any book of their's and like it?  Do you think he writes equally well in all genre's or does he do better in a specific one?  Should I learn to go to sleep before my alarm goes off?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wanna Go See

Peter Pan at Kensington Gardens
This another on my literary bucket maybe someday I will actually put up my whole list.

How far would you travel to see a statue? Do you think I can do a world tour based only on literary things and places?  What's on your literary bucket do have a literary bucket list don't you?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hungry Movie Games

Saw the Hunger Games movie this weekend.  I thought for a movie adaption of a book they did an excellent job.  The casting (with the exception of Peeta) was spot on, only one part was changed and I don't think it really affected the overall movie (though I don't know why they changed it).  Some character development was lost, but over all I would recommend it to anyone who has read or has an interest in the book.
Best part of the movie was the casting, especially of Donald Sutherland as President Snow and Stanly Tucci as Ceaser Flickerman.  Lenny Kravitz as Cinna and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy were surprisingly spot on.  The only real casting decision I did not like was Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, mostly because he looked a lot younger then Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss, he did a decent job with the part, I just had a hard time with the chemistry between him and Katniss's character.  The only major change I saw was the way Katniss got her mocking jay pin.  It was given to her when she saw it at the market, and she gave it to her sister Prim, who gave it back to her for the Hunger Games.  In the book it was given to her by a girl from the town, kind of a way to show the support of whole district no matter what class they were in.
The whole transformation process of Katniss at the Capitol was glossed over, which disappointed me a little as I feel in the book that is where we learn a lot about her thought process. I also wish they had done more with the character of Cinna, as I find him one of the more fascinating people in the book.  The addition of the "behind the scenes" stuff during the actual Hunger Games was pretty cool, kind of showed the extent they would go through to make the games interesting to the crowd.  The Hunger Games themselves was done almost exactly as written in the book which was really really cool.  The violence was glossed over a lot with camera angles and quick look away, but they needed to maintain a PG-13 rating which is understandable.  The role of Seneca Crane played by Wes Bentley was expanded to the benefit of the film, and his last scene finally brought home some of the horrific cruelty the Capitol is capable of.
 If I had one major complaint about the film, it is probably the fact that the de-humanizing horror of the Capitol did not really come through.  In the book you get the feel of this unstoppable behemoth that will take any measure to ensure the safety and continued comfort of the lavish Capitol lifestyle.  The terrible things that are done in the book really make for a sinister feel in the Capitol even amidst the revelry and seeming happiness of there lifestyles.
Overall like I said earlier, I was mostly impressed with the movie, they actually kept to the storyline, the casting (which is a huge part of an adapted book for me) was spot-on, and the visuals were stunning. A lot of the tension I had while reading the book was not present as I already knew what was going to happen so it was actually a tad boring in that respect.  A little more character development, and a little more hopelessness and it would have been perfect.  Overall I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 mocking jays.

What did you think of the movie?  Did the characters come across like they did when you were reading the book?  How much do you want a dress that shoots flames?!?

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm Not Pretties Ugies I Am Extras Specials

Ok so maybe the post title is a stretch, but I tried :-)  Lets finish this series off shall we.  We have covered Uglies and Pretties and in this post I will cover both Specials and Extras
We start off Specials right after our heroine Tally Youngblood has been converted into a Special along with her friend Shay and her merry band of Cutters.  Specials are altered Pretties that have been given borderline weapon grade enhancements to act as a sort of Secret Service/Enforcer squad.  They are described as being terrible and beautiful all at the same time sort of predatory.  The Specials infiltrate an Ugly dance and discover people from Smoke (the rebel town) slipping pills to one of the kids.
The Specials follow them and are ambushed by a bunch of Smokies who utilize sneak suits.  After a lovely little chase, threatening of people and so forth they discover the pills were meant for Zane, who's brain had been damaged in the previous book.  Tally is pissed that Zane got taken back to New Pretty instead of made into a Special so she devises a way to break him out and take him to Smoke to get cured.  She plans on then "recapturing" him and taking him to Dr. Cable to be made into a Special.  Plans go awry when the locators the Smokies have been handing out to people looking to run away do not lead to Smoke Town, but to an extraction point where a helicopter comes and takes you to the secret location.  Tally hitches a ride on the helicopter and finds that Smoke is now located in a city called Diego which does not put the brain lesion on there citizens.  The people of Diego are not nearly as tightly controlled as the people in Tally's home city.  Tally and Shay's city decides to attack Diego and Shay who has been cured of her Special (I hope that sentence makes sense) tries to get Tally to do the same.  Tally is injured in a fight and is captured and taken to be
cured.  Shay intervenes and convinces them to let Tally stay Special to help them in their fight.  They agree as long as some of the more weaponized enhancements are taken off.  Tally goes to say good-bye to Zane who's brain has been to damaged to recover.  She tricks Dr. Cable into taking the Specials cure and leaves with David into the woods. The cities become less restrictive and people are given more choices without the pacifying brain lesion.  The cities start expanding and the woods start being deforested and Tally and David decide to try and remind people not to go so far with there freedoms that they destroy the world as they did before.
I like this book ok, it seemed a bit repetitive, a lot of the same plot devices had been used in the last two books.  I did like the very end when Tally tells us that freedom is very important, but the reason the cities got to the way they were in the first place was because of the wanton destruction of resources.  The message seems to be no one idea is perfect and you need to find a balance, which is a good message.
Quick and dirty Extras summary.  This one is set in Japan which makes for a nice change of pace.  Aya is a girl who has not had her Pretty surgery yet. This economy is based on popularity, with the higher your ranking the more you are entitled to, everybody under a certain number is referred to as an Extra.  Everybody is wired into a feed that is basically Facebook on steroids.  Aya has a camera and is looking for a story big enough to boost her into the top 1000 faces.  She ends up infiltrating a group called the Sly Girls and covertly tapes them and there pranks for a story.  On one prank they run into alien like creatures and what looks to be a massive weapon.  Aya breaks her story and is launched to #17 in the faces and is
enjoying the perks.  She is contacted by Tally Youngblood from the earlier books and meets up with her.  They find that the aliens were actually humans who have modified themselves to live in space to help relieve the overcrowding of Earth.  Some of Aya's friends decide to go with them.  The book ends with Aya at #3 in face rankings enjoying herself at a party, camera ever ready to capture her next story.
This book was fun, but it did not fit into the other three as well as I would have liked.  It was nice to have a different setting and the concepts were cool, but I still liked the other three better.

What book was your favorite?  What "enhancements" would you like?  What is the right balance between freedom and protection?  Would you transform into an "alien" to live in space?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Special Uglies Turn Extra Pretty

The other day I gave you a quick overview of book one of the Uglies series Uglies (I know a little confusing but the series is named after the first book).  In this post I will give a quick overview of the second book in the series Pretties.
This is my favorite book in the series, which is odd because most of the time I feel the second book is just filler so the author can make a trilogy (exception to The Two Towers which is still my favorite "second book" ever!!!!).  This is the book where I feel I really get a sense of this world that Scott Westerfeld is trying to now I really want to get jewels surgically implanted in my eyes!
     Pretties starts of with our heroine Tally Youngblood getting ready for a party in New Pretty Town.  She has undergone prettyfication and is trying to join the Crims a clique that is known for there daring stunts.  At the party she if followed by a mysterious figure, who turns out to be a guy she knew from Smoke.  She still has her memories of Smoke (the rebel settlement) but they have been mushified by the pacifying brain lesion that is part of the pretty operation.  Croy (her Smoke friend) tells her that he left something for her, but she has to go find it.  Her Crim friend Zane knew Croy before he left for Smoke and has regretted not going with him, he decides to help Tally find what Croy left her.  What they find is two pills accompanied by a letter Tally wrote to herself, reminding her about the lesion and her willingness to try out the cure that her Smoke boyfriend's mom had discovered before Tally gave herself up (If that sentence doesn't make sense that's ok, I don't really make a whole lot of sense either)  They each decide to take one of the pills and see what happens.  They find if they keep on a constant adrenaline high they can stay "bubbly"(this word gets so overused in this series!) and think  more clearly, even without the help of the pill.  Shay starts getting clearer memories back of Tally's betrayal in the last book and becomes suspicious of her permanent "bubblines". After she finds out that Tally took the pill with Zane, she is incredibly hurt that Tally did not choose to share the cure with her.  Shay eventually starts her own group called the Cutters, who cut them selves to get the adrenaline rush needed to stay clear.  Meanwhile Zane has been getting debilitating headaches, so a group of them decide to try and find New Smoke to try and see if they can help him.  On the way one of the boys decides he no longer wants to go, causing Tally to end up in a strange primitive (even for the Smoky's) area inhabited by very primitive people.  This turns out to be an experimental area for the higher ups to study various human behaviors and how to better control human nature.
Tally eventually reunites with David and his mother who tells her the two pills were meant to be taken together, one to eat the lesion and one to eat the nanobots.  Since Zane took the nanobot pill without the stopper his brain is being eaten.  Tally discovers that the pill she took did not do anything and it was her own willpower that overcame the lesion (Go Tally!)  They find out that the powers that be installed a tracker in Zanes tooth and are on their way.  Tally opts to stay with Zane, which hurts David and causes them to part on bad terms.   The group that comes to get Zane and Tally includes Shay who has been turned into a Special, which is essentially the super powered enforcers for the government.  The book ends with Shay knocking out Tally, promising that she to will be made into a Special.

Did you like the second book better then the first one?  What do you think of the psychological reasoning behind making Pretties look like innocent, helpless creatures?  Do think somebody should hurry up and create calorie chasers so we can all have a second cupcake?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Redesign For Dummy Bloggers (that's me!)

Had to redesign a few things, let me know if it is all readable and stuff.  Also if you have any suggestions to make the site more user friendly please let me know.

Google Blogger for Dummies
Maybe this is the book I should read next :-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Extra Read All About The Pretty Ugly Specials!

Ha see what I did with that title, I cleverly put in all the names of Scott Westerfelds Uglies series into a cute little sentence I AM A GENIUS (also maybe a tad bit to much of the vino).  To be honest I don't even remember buying the first book in the series (Uglies) but I am very glad I did.  
Mr. Westerfeld sets this story in an undetermined future here on Earth sometime after an oil eating virus/bacteria had been unleashed effectively bringing the modern world to a halt.  In this new era society (or at least most of what we are introduced to) has let the Earth recover by keeping to strictly enforced cities.  These cities are divided up mostly by age.  At the start of our story Tally Youngblood who is coming up on her 16th birthday sneaks off to spy on the island where the "Pretties" live.  Our young Tally is an "Ugly" which is what kids call themselves after age 11 until they turn 16 and are taken to be surgically perfected into Pretties and live their teen years in the city of New Pretty not doing a whole lot of anything other then party and have fun.
 Once they have gotten all the high life out of there systems they are then trained for jobs to work until they get to old and go off to finish off their lives as "Crumblies".  Tally wants nothing more then to turn 16 and be a Pretty.  She meets with another girl Shay who discovers they share a birthday and they quickly become friends.  Shay tells Tally the story of the legendary Smoke which is a settlement where people who refuse to conform to the restrictive ways of the Cities live off the land, without the aid of much technology and definitely do not get there appearances "perfected" through the extreme cosmetic surgery.  Shay heads off to find them and Tally is told she will not be allowed to become a pretty unless she goes after her friend and reveals the whereabouts of the Smokey settlement.  Tally is given an Ultra-Hover board (which is used very, very frequently in all of the books) as her mode of transportation and off she goes.  Tally finds the encampment and Shay and is taken in by the Smokey's.  After being initially appalled at the primitiveness of it all, she starts to fit in and starts falling for the leaders son David (even though he is visually repulsive to Tally after years of only seeing surgically perfected faces).  She also learns that part of the process of being "prettified" is the application of a small brain lesion in a specific part of the brain that makes the general populace fairy docile and compliant (bet every politician in America would love to get there hands on this technology).  Shay also was in love with David before Tally came and re-directed his attention, this does not make Shay very happy at all.  Tally decides instead of betraying the Smoky's to burn the location beacon she was supposed to activate, but instead of destroying the beacon, it actually activates it.
The encampment is raided and everybody but Tally and David are captured.  They go on a rescue mission and get everyone freed except for David's dad who has been killed, and Shay who has been prettified.  David's mother says she has an experimental cure, but will not use it on anyone without there express consent (yay for morals and ethics!)  Tally decides to be the one to try the cure and gives her written consent.  The book ends with Tally headed back to New Pretty to undergo the prettifying procedure complete with brain lesion to test the cure.
I enjoyed the premise of this book, and really appreciated that the author wrote a dystopian future where not everybody suffered horribly.  So many "future is bad" books I read make it sound like total control of a population results in horrific and painful enslavement of the masses, but I always wondered how people let it get that far for so long when they had nothing to lose.  In this book he shows how a mass of people can essentially become "voluntarily enslaved" (I like my quote marks today) and seemingly be as happy as can be.  I will continue with the other books later this week, the next one is my favorite.

Do you like this series?  Are you a fan of futuristic dystopian fiction, or do you prefer a more Star Trekian outlook?  How bad do you want a hover board?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Book of Kells

In honor of St. Patrick's day tommorow I thought we would take a quick look at the Book of Kells.
This beautiful book is also an extremely historical (can something be extremely historical?  Maybe I started the Guinness a little early) account of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)   From what
scholars and the like can tell it was probably created in the early 9th century (holy oldness batman!)
It is very intricatly illustrated and scholars say the monks who wrote/illustrated it were not worried so much about accuracy as they were with the asthtetics of the book.  It is named after the Abby of Kells in which it resided for most of the mediaeval period before it was plundered by Vikings.  No one really knows how the book survived, but it did lose it's bejewled cover somewhere along the way.  The book stayed at the Abby of Kells until 1654 when it was sent to Dublin for safe keeping and then to Trinity College where it is still on display to this day (and on my list of things to go see in the very near future I hope!!!!)
The book has been rebound into four volumes with two being on display at any given time.  One displaying an illustration and one displaying a text page which is also pretty elabrotly illustrated.  I love the how this shows the importance of art, beauty and the written word, even in days where it took years to produce.  I cannot wait to someday see this work of art and literature for myself.

Would you make a trip to Ireland just to see this book?  What other amazing historical documents would you like to see?  How cool is it that there have been super bookworms all throughout history!?!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Andre Martins de Barros
I want to hang this over my fireplace so bad, or maybe my bedroom, or maybe the study, or maybe anywhere!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Short and Sweet

As mentioned in a previous post I love a good short story.  As I look around I realize I have them everywhere, my desk, in my backpack, in my magic traveling bag (that is my purse substitute) at the fire station, in my bathrooms, in the car, in the truck, pretty much anywhere I might have a few spare minutes to devour a story.  After reading so many collections I thought I would share with you some of my favorites.

The Faery Reel: Tales From the Twilight Realm- This is my ultimate short story collection, I have read it numerous times and tell some of these stories to my nephews.  Contrary to the title this has nothing to do with glittering vampires and lovelorn werewolves :-)  These are some of the most incredible, imaginative, magical stories I have ever read.  They are based all over the world, using every type of creature out there in every setting and time period possible.  If you like fantasy even a little bit, or like me love a story that takes you far far away then get this book because it is chock full of amazingness. I guarantee there is a story in here for everyone.  The only down side to this one is it is sometimes hard to find, online is probably your best bet.

The Green Man: Tales From the Mythic Forest- Another collection from Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.  These stories are all set in a nature type setting...which does not always mean your typical elfin forest.  Again the stories are varied and the different authors really use every ounce of imagination in dealing with what could be a very stereotypical theme.  The stories in here tend to be a bit more deep and calming then some other short stories I've read.  I really really love this one.

Firebirds, and Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction- Both of these books were great, they are different from a lot of collections because they include both scifi and fantasy.  These stories are aimed at the young adult crowd, but even someone who..ahem...may not be quit that young of an adult any more will still really enjoy these stories.  The mix is great, and the combination of genres keeps things moving pretty well. Both book were equally enjoyable which makes them that much better.

Sherlock Holmes-What you say, Sherlock Holmes is a classic, a tale for the ages!  All true, also the majority of Sherlock Holmes is short stories.  I am totally hooked on these little mysteries.  It's a nice change of pace from the mostly fantasy short stories I read, and it's fun to see if I can figure out the mystery in my little lunch break.  Anybody who wants to read a classic, but doesn't have the patients for some of the tomes out there should get into these nifty little stories.

I have read many, many, many short story collection many of them very good, but the above are ones I would recommend to everybody, weather they are into the genre or not.

What is your favorite short story collection?  Do you like them short and sweet, or do you prefer a more fleshed out story?  What authors have you been inspired to pick up because of a short story?  Have you ever stayed in the bathroom a tad longer then necessary to finish up that story?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Epic Monopoly

I love Monopoly and I love Lord of the Rings, not to mention this is the only way I get Hubbin to play with me :-)

Best Game Ever!!!!!

What literary twist do you like best with your games?  Do you have any cool book based games?  Am I taking my book obsession a tad to far?

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Literary Pet Peeves

I have finally gotten some time to actually finish (or almost finish) a bunch of books I had started YAY ME! I have also discovered I am a bit of a book snob, expecting the near impossible of my beloved books.  Once again I am going to have to put in a bit of a disclaimer here, this post is in no way bashing books or authors, it's just a post about the part of the whole experience of reading, and to my fellow addicts out there you all know the more you read, the more there is to nit-pick.  OK disclaimer portion of our tour is out of the way on to the whining.  Yep today's post is about my book pet peeves, my literary Achilles heels, my biblo-flys in the ointments if you will.  See the more books I read the more a pattern emerges of things I love about books, and things that really annoy the heck out of me.  Let us explore some of them shall we.
Deus ex machina- this literary device as defined by is " 'god out of the machine'; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object."  This is one of those things I absolutely HATE in books, I can be cruising along, really enjoying a story, thinking what a great author this is when BAM you realize there are only 10 pages left in the book and not a single thing has been resolved.  All of a sudden your long-lost mother who just happens to be an all powerful zombie god-mother who has access to unlimited funds and is also the lead singer in that awesome band you promised your friends you could get tickets to appears and everything is all better...even though the story was about film noir mystery solving monkeys?!?!? (Not a real book but seriously that actually sounds like a kinda cool book)  A word to authors, not everything has to end epically (is that a word?)  not every tiny detail needs to be gift wrapped, and yes we want the end of the book to actually make us feel like reading the whole book was worth it, because to me when you fix something last second with a curve ball that has little or nothing to do with the rest of the book it feels like a waste of time to read the last 200 or so pages.  All that being said I would guess that trying to end a story would be extremely difficult and I myself would have no idea how to write a satisfactory ending to half the books I complain about.
Series that won't end- I hate, hate, hate it when you get almost done with a great story, the author has given you a beginning, middle, and once on little detail is revealed and get to the last couple pages when all of a sudden a bunch of weird characters show up, or the situation just kinda peters out when you realize OH NO they are going to make this into a series!  Now I have nothing against series, if they are either a) planned that way (like Harry Potter) or b) the material is obviously episodic (like Nancy Drew).  When a story feels like it is complete and ESPECIALLY (I really like my caps lock today) when the next books are not anywhere near as good as the first one it feels like the author (and/or publishers) just want's to squeeze extra money out of us.  Along the same idea, I hate it when a series that starts good goes on to long.  I have read triliogies that are awesome then at the back of the last book you see and excerpt for the next book and I'm always bewildered 'cause I thought the story wrapped up nicely.  I have also seen authors who feel there books should be trilogies (what is with the love of trilogies?) when you could usually very easily combine the second two books into a much better story.
Unclear writing styles- this is what I call books that feel like they were written with more then one voice or writer.  There is only one author listed, but it feels like there are disparate viewpoints or styles mixed into one book.  I am not talking about books that have several points of view, but for example, I finished a book about a month ago that the premise was very interesting and the world building came across complete, inventive and mature.  The story itself however seemed very simple and childish, the descriptions were trite and stereotypical.  I am not sure if the author took somebody elses idea's and built a story around them, or if there were actually multiple writers, or if the editors just really screwed up.  These books usually drive me insane because I want to like them so bad, as certain parts are so well written, but the hacky parts are made just that much worse!
To much blatant politicizing-I understand that a book is an expressive art form for an author, and when it is done correctly I don't mind when they try to get a personal ideal or belief into there books, but when it starts to take away from the story, or go into blatant preaching/politicizing to me it just gets obnoxious.  I have read books and series that I love and have been able to mix in these idea's almost flawlessly, and I have read books and series I love where on second reading I skip whole pages and chapters that contribute nothing towards the story.  The exception here obviously is when the book is supposed to be about whatever topic the author is pontificating on.
I want to like a book, but I can't- sometimes I'm not sure why I don't like a book.  The story is fine, there are none of my biggest pet peeves, nothing to offensive, but for some reason I just can't get into the book.  This is usually the most frustrating for me because I always want to like a book, I always go in looking for ways to love a story and when I can't tell you why I don't I feel like maybe it's just me.  Sometimes a person will recommend a book to me and I will be very excited because it seems like my type of genre, or the premise sounds exciting and I crack it open...and nothing.  I keep reading because on many occasions once I get a couple chapters in I can really get into it...but still nothing...kinda like a bad blind date, it looks great on paper but no chemistry in reality.

What are some of your biggest pet peeve?  Can you figure out what books I am referring to with my complaints?  Am I really being too nit-picky? Should the 14 chapter camping scene in the last Harry Potter get it's own special peeve?

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's a Bed, It's a Book, It's a BookBED!!!

I need this so bad!!!! I wonder if they make this for adults 'cause I would snuggle right down in that!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Is The Time For Austen...And Iced Coffee

It is supposed to be 70 degrees here in the Capital today!!!! My most sincere heartfelt apologies to the rest of you and any yucky weather you may be having.  Weather like this means something very special is about to happen, that's right folks the annual cracking open of Jane Austen books!!!!  Now even thought Ms. Austen's books tend to cover whole years, I always feel the urge to read them in the spring.  I usually don't get a chance to read each and every one of them every year, but I do get a couple of them done so I have read them all several times (does that sentence make sense...I think I need more coffee).  Here is a quick summation of these great works, maybe this year you can pick a couple to read and we can discuss them whilst sipping tea and nibbling scones brought to us by our chambermaids...

Sense and Sensibility-Jane Austen's first published adult novel tells the tale of a family who after there husband and father dies are left with very little.  The mother Mrs. Dashwood moves with her girls the responsible eldest Elinor, the unbridled Marianne, and the young Margaret to a cottage on the estate of her cousin.  The girls fall in love, out of love and all around love.  Every possible combination of man is presented in this book in every possible situation.  In the end the girls end up with there true loves and life is lived in some semblance of contentment.  This is probably the most romantically romantic of books in my personal library.

Pride and Prejudice-Easily my favorite and probably most reread of Ms. Austen's books, at some point I will do a full post dealing only with this book, but until then here is the quick and dirty.  The Bennet sisters are all in need of husbands according to there mother as their estate is entailed away from the female line.  This book follows the parallel paths and perils of falling in love with someone against your better judgement with three of the five sisters finding a man of their own each in vastly different ways.  Ms Elizabeth Bennet is probably one of the most recognized characters in literature and it makes me happy that this icon is a feisty, smart girl who is not the acknowledged beauty of the family. Seriously I could go on and on...but i would rather you go read it for your self.

Mansfield Park-This book is a bit of a Cinderella story, focusing more on the shy, quiet gentle heroine Fanny Price, instead of Ms. Austen's other heroines who tend to be a bit more fiery.  This book is a great one for scandal's and multiple love triangles and not everybody gets there happy ending in this one (except of course our heroine and her love)

Emma-This is probably my second favorite, second most read book of my Austen's.  This book is entirely contained in Highbury, without the heroine traveling to resolve or push issues to the forefront as in the authors other books.  I love Emma because she means well, but she is really a bit of a self-righteous busy body.  She is the heroine who has the most personal transformation instead of other people changing there minds about her, and accepting her, she must change how she views herself and work on improving herself and only then does she get her true love.  This book is probably the funniest one as well as the most light hearted of the bunch.

Northanger Abby-This book is a play on the popular Gothic novels at the time (think Twilight for the 18th century) Our heroine and Gothic novel addict Catherine Morland goes to Bath and meets many interesting people, among them the Tilney siblings Henry and Eleanor. They eventually invite her back to Northanger Abby which supposedly harbors a dark secret, this coupled with Catherine's love of Gothic novels has her convinced of things that are not there.  As with all Austen novels much confusion and adventure ensue, again ending with the prevalence of true love.  This book is a bit tongue and cheek which makes me love Jane Austen all the more.

Persuasion-This is the last novel Ms. Austen completed before her death and along with Northanger Abby was published posthumous .  This novel is a bit quieter then previous ones, showing a more mature and sensible heroine then in previous books.  Anne Elliot is the middle daughter of a baronet who we find out had been talked out of marrying her true love because of his supposed unsuitability. The young man Wentworth left understandably upset at Anne's inability to stand up for them.  Anne's father Sir Walter is forced to rent out there estate as it comes to light he has overspent for many years. With her altered station Anne does some traveling eventually running into Mr.Wentworth and after many mishaps and heartbreaks ends up as always and finally with her true love.

Ok so obviously there is a lot more to these books then my little blurbs, but I could write 100 page posts about each of these so this is what we get for today.  Some of my thoughts on why I like Jane Austen so much.  I was kind of surprised how much I did enjoy all of her books, since I am not usually the romantic type, but I think as far as fictional always happy in the end novels go, she tries to add a sense of feasibility to each situation.  She gives reasons that might actually occur to why a person would marry below there station not just "true love" which was much less a consideration in her day.  I also love the variety in her heroines, some are feisty, some are quiet and shy, some are silly, some are loud, some are sensible.  Again to me it gives a sense of realism that not all her characters are cookie cutter icons.  She usually has multiple story lines so you don't get to bored and her sense of humor is still funny even today.  I love how she has become an icon for a different era, a way to fuse a femininity with being a strong woman.  I think her novels show the idea that you don't have to choose one or the other that you can be just as strong in a frilly pink dress while sipping tea, as you can be utterly absurd while spouting non-realistic girl power nonsense. Another really cool thing is that they are all available for free on e-readers, so no excuses!

What Jane Austen book is your favorite?  Which character are you most like?  Who really wants to go drink some tea and eat some crumpets while wearing a feathered hat?