Thursday, August 30, 2012

Car Library

I need me one of these
I'm on the road and could really use this car!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On The Road Again

I'm off on another fabulous adventure so posting may be a bit haphazard for the next week, I will try and get something up on most days, but if I have to go rescue a dragon from an evil princess than I might have to adjust posting accordingly :-)  Here is a list of books that are coming with me on my grand quest into the great unknown.  I won't read them all, but I like to have a variety so I always have the right book to match my mood.

Book I've already started-Leviathan
Book I bought and started even though I have a huge stack already waiting-The Quicksilver Faire
Short stories fantasy/sci fi style-The Girl Who Heard Dragons
Short stories reread nostalgia style-The Faery Reel
Book with lots of awesome words-Fly By Night
Book in case it feels like fall and I need a good vampire read-Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Guilty Pleasure Book-Great Hexpectations
Classic I've been meaning to read forever-Wuthering Heights
Classic I will probably read instead-Emma
Classic that may sneak in 'cause I'm on a farm and it seems appropriate-Anne of Green Gables
Book I've been dying to reread-Wildwood Dancing
Book with an urban spin in case being out in the middle of nowhere gets to overwhelming-The Good Fairies of New York
Book I am really really really excited to read-The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland In A Ship of Her Own Making
Book to read to Hubbin while he drives-Feed
Book for in case it feels like a hot southern summer-The Peach Keeper
Book for in case I don't feel like reading any of the others for some reason-Water Song

Ok so that should tide me over for a couple days at least, of course this does not include all of the books I get to read and be read to by my nephews.  Let the good times commence.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dancing Masks

One of my favorite picture books, gorgeous illustrations, good story, plus gypsies and masks WOOHOO!  I still pull this one out to flip through with a big cup of coffee on a rainy day.
The Mask of the Dancing Princess
What is one of your favorite picture books?  Are they just for little kids, or are they works of art?  Who wants to come to my house and look at all my pretty books?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Boobs Beer and Turkey Legs

WOOOHOOOOO spent yesterday at the Maryland Renaissance Fest, with my Hubbin and good friend L. I am such a little kid when it comes to the RenFest, I get all excited and count down the days, plan what I'm gonna wear, and sometimes I can't sleep the night before because I am so excited!  Hubbin is a trooper and comes with me each and every time, even though I'm pretty sure that it is more male oriented then people realize. Every where you look there are voluptuous girls spilling out of too tight corsets, giant mugs full of beer, and my Hubbin's personal favorite Turkey Legs, seriously it's like man heaven.  Anyways I look
forward to it all year, we usually go at least twice (which is good 'cause we got caught in a wicked torrential downpour that canceled most of the good acts, but that's ok 'cause we had already seen almost everything we came to see.), we listen to great music, eat all kinds of inauthentic junk food, window shop for all kinds of crazy things, and ogle all the myriads of interpretations of Renaissance wear.  Obviously I've got a thing for these fair's so imagine my delight when I found a series of books set at Renaissance Fairs!!!!!
The Faire Folk Trilogy follows a girl named Keelie Heartwood as she goes from an LA city girl, to learning she is a half-elf who can talk to tree's...and oh yeah her bodyguard is a fat orange cat.
Tree Shepherd's Daughter is the first book in the series and is set at the Colorado Renaissance Festival.  Following her mothers death in a plane crash, Keelie (short for Keliel) gets sent to live with her father, with whom she has had little to no contact for many years.  Turns out Keelie's father is a very talented woodcarver who works the RenFest circuit, and oh yeah he's an elf, but not just any elf, a Tree Shepherd, who's job it is to take care of the tree's.  Understandably Keelie is a tad overwhelmed, what with trading in her LA city life for one of scratchy hand me down costumes, food on a stick and knights...well the knights aren't all bad.  After several attempts to run a way, or make her father so miserable he sends her away, she starts to make friends.  Raven is an older girl who balances her mothers Ren style of living with her own quirky gothness and is a great help in introducing Keelie to the Ren world.  Ariel is a hawk with whom Keelie has bonded with.  Sir Davey is an honest to goodness dwarf who trains Keelie in earth magic and brings some modern comfort to her life, and Sean O'the Woods is the handsome albeit slightly older (he's like 70 or something) jouster who has caught Keelies affections.  Then there is Elinard and his beautiful, etherial snotty mean daughter Elia.  As in all good books, trouble ensues, magic abounds and Keelie and her father find some common ground to start working on their relationship.  Keelie saves the day, learns a little more about her past and starts to be slowly accepted by the full blooded elves.
Into the Wildewood is the second book in the trilogy.  Keelie has begun to accept her life of the RenFest circuit and has even embraced certain aspects of it (the clothes are kind of awesome!)  Just when she feels she is starting to get a handle on things, she gets in trouble for overspending on her father's credit card and has to work as a Jill-of-all-trades at the Wildewood Faire, which has a more Robin Hood based Medieval theme to it.  To make matters worse, her best friend is visiting, her father is sick and the tree's are out of control!  It is up to Keelie to try and balance all aspects of her life while still trying to get and hold the attentions of a certain jouster.  The ending to this one was a little abrupt for my taste, but still fun.
The Secrets of the Dread Forest is the third book in the trilogy.  This action takes place in one of the homes of the Elves, the Dread Forest in Oregon.  I was missing the Ren Faire's in this one, but you get a lot of background.  Keelie learns the rest of her family history, including her place in one of the leading families.  She learns more of her mother, and her relationship with her father.  We see a lot of the culture of the elves and get to know more about some of the other races (especially the fairys, which are NOT what you expect).  Keelie is stuck with her imposing elven grandmother, while her father is preoccupied with his duties as Lord of the Forest.  She is tutored in the ways of the elves and practices her tree and earth magic, oh yeah and then there is the little tree princess Alora, who I am kinda in love with.  In the end life ends up working out as well as can be expected and they all live happily until the next book.
These are pretty quick reads, definitely aimed at the YA crowd, but I love them anyways.  They are a fairly safe read, no major drugs or sex or violence, the drinking is totally in context and perfectly age appropriate so thats all good.  I loved the description of the RenFest's, and I really like seeing the behind the scene's stuff that went on, you can tell the author has spent some time on the circuit herself.  I also really like how Keelie took time to come to terms with what was going on in her life, she didn't immediatly forget her dead mother, or magically reconcile with her father, the fact that it is played out over three books makes it very believable (even if it is about tree-talking elves).  Despite being a half-elf, Keelie acts very much like a normal teenager, and her father acts like a bewildered father who has been handed a teenage girl with no idea what to do with her.  The only real complaint I have is the ending to all of these books seems kind of abrupt, like the adventure part of the storyline was secondary and she forgot she had to wrap it up every time, the endings did not always make sense to me so that kind of sucked.  Other then that I would recommend them for a wide variety of readers.

Do you love RenFests?  What ones have you been too?  Do you go in costume?  Do you have dreams of turkey legs?

Friday, August 24, 2012

War and Roses

Between my love of retold fairy tales and my weird interest in World War II, I decided to to pick up Briar Rose by Jane Yolen.  The book is about Rebecca, a young woman who has been fascinated by her grandmothers telling of Sleeping Beauty.
Her grandmother (who goes by Gemma) does not tell the traditional tale, it is a darker, scarier tale with odd little details. As they grow older Rebecca's sisters outgrow the story but Rebecca always remains at least a little enchanted with it.  After Gemma dies, one of her wishes is for the family to find out about her history, turns out not a lot is known about Gemma after she arrived as a refugee from Europe during World War II, the only clues are in a box of mementos left for the girls.  Becca decides to take on the challenge and follow the clues back to Europe.  SPOILER AHEAD, Becca finds an old friend of her grandmothers who agrees to tell her what he knows of Gemma's story.   Josef Potocki, a gay man who lived in a time and place where it was a deadly crime to be so.  He managed to stay safe until 1940 when his landlady turned him in and he 
was sent to a prison camp.  Even in the camp he was an outcast as being homosexual was not accepted by anyone during that era.  He eventually escapes and is taken in by a woodcutter and his partisan group, which was bent on defying Hilter.  Josef joins the group and helps them with their sometimes ill-conceived plans of doing everything in their power to disrupt Hitler's forces.  The group hears of a secret extermination camp called Chelmno and decide to try and do something about it.  As they stake out the camp they watch in horror as van after van full of dead bodies are brought and dumped into a pit.  After the soldiers have left the men go to the pit and find to their horror the prisoners are not just men, but women and children as well.  Somebody sees movement and realizes that a young woman is still alive.  They give her mouth to mouth and manage to revive her. Turns out that these had been people who were taken to the "castle" and told that they were going to be washed and disinfected and then given a work detail, instead they were stripped, crammed into vans and gassed to death on the way to the dumping pit.  The woman they had saved did not remember anything before being revived except for a dim memory of a fairytale, she said she was a princess in a castle and then the mist came and put her to sleep until she was kissed awake by a prince.  Eventually the rescued girl, who they all called Princess fell in love with one of her rescuers known as Avenger and they got married.  After the marriage the band was caught unawares by soldiers and all but Josef and the girl were killed.  The two got away and discovers that she is pregnant.  The girls new mission is to protect her unborn child and Josef helped her by providing forged documents to get her to America.  He never saw the girl again.  Becca returns home and writes up the story of her grandmother as the princess Brier Rose, happy to have learned what she could of her Gemma's past.
OK so that is the story.  I really wanted to love this book, it is very popular and is on many best of lists, but I just could not get into it.  While I understand what the author was trying to do, fitting it into the Sleeping Beauty fairy tell seemed forced.  Some of the details...I don't know felt like they had to be jury-rigged so that you could fit them into the fairy-tale format.  I was also looking forward to learning some of Gemma's history and other then the rescue from the death-pit (which I kind of figured out pretty quickly was gonna happen) we don't learn anything about her.  I guess I was disappointed because 2/3 of the book take a really long time to get us to the actual story and then the story was kind of disappointing.  Don't take my word for it, I have a really weird sense of how I like my stories to go and a lot of people like books I don't.  This is not that long of a read and the idea of what Ms. Yolen was trying to do with the character's making sense of their life through a fairy tale is a great one, I just felt it was a little forced.  A word of warning, there is some graphic violence, gore so don't let your little one read it without supervision.  I give it 3 out of 5 roses.

What did you think of this book?  Did the Sleeping Beauty story fit in here?  What fairy-tale is your life most like?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Color Book

RGB Colorspace Atlas
There is something about this that I find really fascinating, I really want to flip through it, it's like a story that's all colors!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Building Pages

Dooo dododod DOOOO! (that is a fanfare if you didn't catch it)  I have decided to add a couple new pages to the site.  I have added my Future Reading List page which is just a really long and ever growing list of books I want to read.  I will be constantly adding to this and would love as many suggestions as you can give me.  I also now have a Ramblings page, this is where I will attempt to keep track of all the books I have read, this will probably be a constant work in progress as I have a lot to catch up on. I have also included links to any books I have done one of my Ramblings (this is what I call my "reviews" as they are more free thinking spews of what ever pops out of my little brain rather then coherent organized reviews) so if you want to attempt to follow my thought process when I read feel free to check those out.  Let me know any suggestions you have to any of the pages better.  Thanks for all your input!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back In The Day

Get to see a couple of my nephew's soon, hanging out with them always makes me nostalgic for the books I loved when I was a kid.  It's fun to see them find their new favorites, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy when some of the books that they love, are the same ones I loved as a kid.  Here are a few examples of my fond memories.

The Berenstain Bears
This was one of my favorite series, I think I liked the huge variety of books, and the visuals were pretty good too, although I always wondered who would actually name there kids Brother and Sister.
Amelia Bedelia
Love these so much!  I remember reading these to my sisters a lot.  I think even in my younger days I always enjoyed a good pun :-)
Dr. Seuss
All Dr. Seuss is great, the lyrical style is especially good for younger kids who can easily learn to follow along.  The only problem with these is you find yourself wandering the house muttering "I do not like it Sam I Am!" way more then is probably healthy 
Busy Town
Richard Scarry books probably take me back to childhood the fastest.  The illustrations are so full of little tidbits hidden every where, you can go through these books a million times and always find something new.
The Monster At the End of This Book
I don't know if it was the voices my Mamma used, or if I just really liked a good monster story, but I to this day LOVE this book.  We always had a good time pretending it was hard to turn the page after Grover would try and keep it shut.

What books do you remember from your childhood?  What book did you immediately run out and buy when you heard a new baby was on the way?  Have you ever tried reading to a three-month old?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Shelving It, Unusual Style

I'm in kind of a weird mood today, so here are some bookshelves that go along with my mood :-)

Book Bookshelf
It's a bookshelf made from...wait for it...books!
Optical Illusion Bookshelf
I want this one just to watch people try and figure it out
Upside Down Bookshelf
Actually doable, follow the link for instructions, doesn't damage your books and you can take them out and put them back in like a real shelf
Bookcase Bed
This is kind of awesome, I could see this in a guest room
Read Your Bookcase
Something meta about reading your shelves, I think you can actually get these in modules and make it say whatever you want it too, mine would say "buy me more books"

Are any of these bookshelves going to end up in your home?  What is your crazy idea for a cool unique bookshelf?  If I own more then 10 bookcases is that considered a collection...or an obsession?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Dream Job

Once again my baby sis has recommended the perfect book The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman.  The book is about a high-school girl named Elizabeth.  She gets a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, which is essentially a library for things.  People can come to the repository and request just about anything, old clothes for a play, valuable pieces of art for comparisons, ancient chess sets just to play with, all kinds of cool stuff.  Elizabeth is a page along with the perfect Anjali, the handsome basketball player Marc, and the brooding Aaron.  There job is mainly to get the various objects that are requested and send
them up to the main room for distribution and collect and re shelve the returned items.  The items are divided into stacks, so things like Clothes and Shoes would be in Stack 2 or Household items in Stack 7 and so on.  This was actually all pretty interesting in and of itself, but hey this is a story so time for a twist.  Everyday items are not the only thing being kept and loaned at the repository.  There are some sections that contain magical items, the main one being the Grimm Collection, which houses actual items from the Grimm fairy-tales (think flying carpets and magic mirrors).  There is also a Lovecraft collection and a few other cool literary themed ones as well.  Unfortunately somebody has been stealing items from the Grimm collection and replacing them with fakes that quickly lose there magic.  Hijinks ensue, along with false accusations and a love quadrangle for the ages.  Eventually with the help of Jaya Anjali's hilarious spunky 10 year old sister, and Andre Marc's adorable and brave 3 year old brother the bad guy is caught and the Grimm collection saved.  While the story was interesting, I mostly love the book for the Repository and all the possibilities it holds.  The fact that certain people (including the pages) can earn the privilege of checking things out of the special collections makes the options even bigger.  To check something out of a special collection you have to leave a deposit worthy of a
fairy-tale, say your first-born child, or your sense of direction and when you return the artifact you get your deposit back.  This plays very much into the story and also adds another cool dimension.  The characters were a lot of fun, fairly believable and fleshed out enough so they are all distinct.  My favorites were definitely the younger siblings who brought a great humor and forthrightness to the whole thing.  This is a stand-alone book, with all the loose ends tied up, but I could easily see more stories set in this world, even if different characters were used.  This is a quick read and a lot of fun, I would have loved to have this job when I was in high-school...Oh who am I kidding I would love to have this job now!  The book is a great one for almost any age, with nothing really objectional in it and a great way to get into some of the older fairy-tales, it's not a wow I have to think about this book cause it is so deep kind of book, more of a man I can't believe I finished it already I kinda wish it was a series kind of book.  I give it 10 out of 12 dancing slippers.
What job did you have in high-school?  What would you ask the magic mirror?  What artifact would you borrow from the Grimm Collection?  Did I mention there were giant rats involved?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nerd Girls And Boys Unite

Books are the great equalizer, most every person will read at least one sort of book at some point in time.  But there are a few of us who are a tad bit fanatical about our habit, the following is a small taste of an awesome site that among other awesome geekery also understands us bookworms, enjoy and then go check out Nerd Girl Problems and Nerd Boy Problems for other fantastic funnery (that is totally a word).

Does your geekery spill out of books and into other parts of your life? (I'm a super geek, Star Trek, Firefly, Dr. Who, The Avengers, Star Wars, Stargate, the who shebang!)  Are you proud of your geekery or do you keep it locked in the closet?  When did Harry Potter enter into the realm of geekery?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crazy Busy Times

This is about how I feel lately!  Have a hectic crazy three weeks coming up starting last night, should be fun!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Shark Week!

The Olympics are over and a loooong four year wait for Rio has begun...well it's actually only two years 'cause I love the Winter Olympics too, but still it's a really long time for an ADHDer like me :-)  Happily the folks in TV land all love me and do there best to cater to my every whim, so to ease the pain...SHARK WEEK!  Yep they started Shark Week this week, knowing I would need something to ease me back into the world of reality, and what better way to do it then with big bloody shark attacks.  I have to admit sharks fascinate me, they are perfect machines, and swimming with the sharks is on my to do list.  Also sharks make for some great books, like these.
Don't let this creepy awesome cover fool you, this has all the latest research on sharks, very cool stuff
This is a treasure trove of shark horror stories
Monster Shark
Haha, I just like the cover, I have no idea what it is about...
Uncover A Shark
I always loved these look inside of things books, great for your budding Marine Biologist

Are you afraid of sharks?  Would you ever go swimming with the sharks?  Do you watch every single show on shark week and then refuse to even go in your bathtub for a month after?

Friday, August 10, 2012

1st Bibliophile Olympiad

As I am sure you have noted with previous posts, I am a bit of an Olympic junkie.  I love watching the amazing feats that these athletes pull off, watching the pay-off (or agony) of years of preparation.  Alas I unfortunately will never be up for a medal in anything UNLESS we book lovers get together and create our own events.  These feats of literary prowess could include the following:

Speed Reading and Comprehension- This would actually have two divisions:
          Sprint Read-Everybody would read one book and take a quiz for comprehension, one second added for every wrong answer, must get 80% or better to qualify score, fastest time wins
          Marathon Read-Contestants would be given a stack of books and a set amount of time, quiz for each book, 5 minute time out for each wrong answer, 80% to qualify, most books read is the winner

Book Shelf Stack- This event would consist of fitting an impossible amount of books into a bookcase, this would have a few different divisions as well:
           Technical Stack-This event would consist of a standard book case and a pallet of various size and shaped books. The contestants must find a way to get all of the books to fit so that the spines are all readable and books don't fall on your head when you pull one out, fastest time wins.
           Artistic Stack- For this event our bookletes (heehee see what I did there I made athletes into bookletes...leave me alone I haven't finished my coffee yet) would select a more unusual bookshelf and try and fill it as aesthetically as possible.  Other non-book objects are allowed (eg plants, knickknacks) but the objects must consist of at least 75% books to qualify. This event is notorious for subjective judging :-)

The Book Smuggle - First I have to admit this one is inspired the The Book Smugglers blog, but utilizes techniques that any good bibliophile should know.  In this event bookletes must demonstrate their skill at buying books without letting their significant other/mother/debt collector know that they have purchased yet ANOTHER book they cannot afford.  They must then get book to the designated area and find a way to read it all while keeping the other person none the wiser.  Some points may be recovered if said person does find out and the contestant can come up with a plausible story to keep the anger at bay.  Please do not attempt this event unless you are a veteran book smuggler as it could end up in tears for all involved.

The Great Book Move- This event is where some physical stamina may come into play.  The competition includes convincing people that yes you do need ALL 47 boxes of books at your next home, packing these boxes, packing boxes in old pick-up truck, hauling boxes up 5 flights of stairs (elevator is broken) and unpacking all the boxes.  Meanwhile the Olympic workers are making various weather happen, rain, snow, fog, Godzilla running amok.  This is a team event of of four people and usually dominated by Military spouses.

Reading Concentration- In this event contestants must read a book in increasingly difficult and distracting situations.  The first chapter starts off easy, maybe in a living room with loud music coming from another apt. Once a booklete finishes a chapter and answers three questions correctly, they may move to the next stage, say a crowded train with somebody jabbering away on their cellphone, then onto crying screaming children clutching at your leg.  This continues until the book is finished or the booklete throws it at somebody in a rage.  Fastest/furthest completion wins.

These are just some of the highlights of our great Bibliogames, there are many more events in which a booklete can do their country proud, join me as we compete to bring glory to bookworms everywhere!

What games would you have in the Book Olympics?  Which event would you be best at?  What should our mascot be?  Does anybody think that their life resembles these events just a tad too much? (not me...nope...never...hehehe)