Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Walking, Sleeping, Biting Dead

HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all of you ghosties, ghouglies, witches, mummies and zombies out there.  Hope everyone survived the storm ok, and if you are in one of the hard hit areas, my thoughts and prayers are with you.  I have to say all of this disaster just reminds me that one must be prepared for the ultimate disaster THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (hence forth known as ZA).
In preparation for this event I have been watching every zombie movie I can get my hands on, reading my Zombie Survival Guide and keeping my Zombie Kit stocked. I have also been watching The Walking Dead tv show (which may or may not have gotten me on this whole zombie kick to start with). Of course this series is based on a book, which of course means I now have to read it.  This story is a bit different from my norm as it is in graphic novel form.  I have to admit I love graphic novels, ever since my friend used to sneak in whole backpacks full of them into our World Cultures class in high school, and we used to spend the whole class time reading them under our desks I have been in love with this form of story telling.  I like how in a graphic novel you can sum up a story with way less words then in a conventional book.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE words, but sometimes, especially if action is a big part of the story, words can gum up the pacing a bit.  In a graphic novel you don't have to describe the eerily serene, yet empty gated community using a whole paragraph, you can just show it in a panel.  You rarely have to reiterate things 'cause they are constantly shown, and lets face it SEEING a zombie get it's head bashed in is so much more satisfying then reading about it.
This brings me to The Walking Dead graphic novels I have been reading, I am just finishing Compendium One which is the first 48 issues of this series.  I usually like to wait until most of the series has been written, because I am very impatient and rip through the little issues way to fast.  I also like having a lot of issues collected in one book for connivance purposes.  I am loving the pacing of this series, after watching the hit and miss pacing of the show (season 1 AWESOME, season 2 SUCKS ((until the end then it got AWESOME)), season 3 OH MY GOSH IT IS SO COOL I CAN"T WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK SERIOUSLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE THIS THE WHOLE TIME!) the graphic novel definitely has a more quick, even frantic pace.  I love that the TV show does not feel the need to follow the graphic novel to closely so no matter which one you read/watch first your not going to spoil it for yourself. I give a little
more leniency in tv shows that are adapted from books then I do to movies, because I feel tv shows are more "inspired" by source material than they are trying to translate the book into a single movie which I expect to at least attempt to follow the original story line.  The graphic novel is in black and white, which lends a more...not sure how to put it...surreal, fuzzy line, psycho feel to it.  Anyways I'm starting to ramble (possibly because I stayed up to late reading zombie novels) and I will end this here, if you like blood, guts, gore, and zombies then go read this graphic novel. Be warned it is for the 16 and over crowd only, it is all about every adult situation you can possibly imagine so keep that in mind.  Also pay attention to the good and bad survival skills that are presented, it may save your life one day when the ZA comes upon us!

What is your strategy for surviving the ZA?  What do you think about TV shows straying from the source material?  Who is your favorite character on the show/book?  Does it change from show to book?  Do you also want to see Lori fed to the zombies?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paper Pumpkins

Look at these pretty literary pumpkins that would work all the way through fall...I wonder if you could decorate in nothing but books and book related objects.

Etsy Pumpkin
You can get this one online if you are like me and to lazey to make your own
Do It Your Self

This one shows you how to make it yourself

This one is another do it your self version
Ok so somebody needs to make me a bunch of all of these and get them to me before Thanksgiving, any takers...anybody?!?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Booky

I was at the running the ambulance at the station in preperation for Hurricane Sandy, hope this isn't what it looks like when I get home!
Book Mess
Are you in a Hurricane Zone?  What is your preparedness plans?  Does it include stocking up on books, candles and vodka like me did?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Watching Dead

It's the week of Halloween, which at my house means scary movie time and I realized something through all of the blood and gore, some of the best scary movies are based on BOOKS! Yep that's right, even a scary movie is done first as a book, so if you want a double dose of scary, read the book, then watch the movie...or switch it up and watch the movie then read the book.
Rosemary's Baby- The movie actually follows the book very closely which is always pretty cool. The book and movie are both kind of dated, creating a horror that must have been felt by every woman who was fighting for control of her own body and family in a world that still saw them as borderline property of their menfolk. I also find it ironic that a man wrote the book and directed the movie when the main plot is about a pregnancy.  I think more than anything it gives us an insight into how men, at least at the time, really did not understand pregnancy and what it did to a woman's body, it probably really does seem like a possession   This is one of my favorite period horror movies, just for the clothes if nothing else.
The Shining-I am of the opinion that most Stephen King books actually work better as movies because they have to cut out all of the melodramatic pontification. Jack Nicholson will forever be one of the scariest dads I have ever seen in a movie...actually this movie is kind of one of the spookiest ones I've seen, and I now forever have a fear of identical twins. This one does not follow the book as well as some of the others, but I don't care I like this movie!
Bram Stokers Dracula-The Gary Oldman adaption of my beloved Dracula is my favorite version of the direct translations of the book. It is pretty spot on in terms of story, and I feel it really captures the sinister seduction that I always associate with Dracula.  The movie also kept in the fact that vampires are evil killers that should be killed, not pined after.  The music, settings, casting, and costumes all contributed to an eerie Gothic London that is perfect for a dark and stormy night.
Interview With A Vampire-Oddly this is one of those movies I actually enjoyed more than the book.  The book is very detailed and drawn out, and not really that scary at all, one of those rare times when editing actually works in the stories favor.  Plus Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas with casting like that it would be very hard to go wrong.  I like this story a lot because it gives you several views of vampires, the good, the bad, and the really super creepy.  This is also only one of two movies I could stand Kirsten Dunst in.
The Silence of the Lambs- Definitely a creepy, creepy movie and book.  Smart serial killers always give me the heebie jeebies 'cause that means almost ANYBODY could be out to kill me.  The movie is another good adaption of the book, capturing that fine line between genius and madness that to me is one of the scariest things out there and also I now associate Chianti with Halloween.  This movie/book also has some of the best catch phrases of any non-drunk college movie out there ("It puts the lotion on its skin").

What are some of your favorite horror adaptions?  Have you noticed the best adaptions tend to be the least gory?  Will somebody write me my own personal horror story?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Zombie Survival Kit

How awesome is my baby sis?!?  She MADE me this super cool Zombie Survival Kit book bag!
Yep she put the whole thing together all by herself and filled it with all of the things I would need to survive the pending Zombie Apocalypse or ZA as we call it around here
She gave me detailed instructions on the use of all the different survival items (including fake body parts to lure the zombies into a trap of pop rocks!) and a letter giving me all the sad (yet highly entertaining) highlights of her and her Hubby's last days (zombie Lola for the WIN!)
The bag itself is my favorite part (it is coming with me as my new book back for the fire station).  Not only is it AWESOME! (sorry the caps key is just SCREAMING my name today) but it fits at least one large hard cover, two paperbacks, my e-reader with charger, and even a magazine or two, you know for in between zombie slayings. It is pretty durable so I can toss it in the back of my ambulance without worrying about the seams splitting, so I'm pretty excited about that.  Thanks Baby Sis for combining my love of blood and gore with my love of all things readable (and Sixlets...I mean anti-zombie viral pills) into one of my favorite presents EVER.

What does your ZA survival kit include?  What books do you think I should take for the ZA?  How freaked out will my patients be to see this in the back of my unit?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Books And Birthdays

It's my BIRTHDAY, the day where everyone around the world celebrates the booky, geeky, fairytale addled girl that is me :-)  Celebrations include, the great 24 hour read, the coffee/book pairing festival and of course the annual send whatever great book you just finished to your favorite neighborhood book blogger (which of course is me...right :-) ).  I have been spoiled rotten as usual (I am really a lucky girl, sincere thanks to all my family and friends, you guys know how to make a book nerd feel loved), but so far my favorite is my Hubbin's contributions to my obsessions.
This year I have been OBSESSED with the tv show Once Upon A Time.  It is cheesy, and at times the dialogue makes me want to cringe, but for some reason I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. The main reason of course is that it takes storybook stories/characters and turns them all topsy turvy.  The show does a great job of keeping most of the details (even if some of them are Disney details...which is actually totally ok with me) of the stories in, all while being able to combine them into some sort of glittery, pleathery, time/space skipping coherent tale, and to make it even better they are pulling from all kinds of fictional literature, not just the classic fairy tales.  To help me further my research into this unspeakable obsession of mine, my Hubbin got me Hook which is a fantastic retelling/epilogue/sequel type spin on my beloved Peter Pan.  Disney's Sleeping Beauty which has always been my favorite for some reason.  And of course he got me a book, this year it is the original Pinocchio, he said he knew it was the right one because everybody was complaining about what a brat Pinocchio was and that it wasn't the story they remembered...that's because most people have never actually read/heard the original version of the story, I am very excited to read it.  Of course we can not for get Hubbin's big contribution to my literary happiness this year THE CHAIR in which I will watch and read all of my fairy tales and every spin, version and re-telling I can get my hands on. I hope everybody is having as wonderful a day as I am!

What do you want for your birthday?  What kind of cake should I have tonight?  What is your favorite mushed together story?  Are you a Grimm Fan or A supercoolawesome Once Upon A Time fan?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkins Of Literary Excellence

Ok so I really suck at post titles, but I have not finished my coffee yet (how many more times can I use that excuse I wonder?)  Last year I posted a couple amazing carved pumpkins based on books, I have found a ton more since then so here are a few of my favorites...anybody want to come over and carve them for me?
My favorite good/bad guy from Harry Potter
Hunger Games
I love the flame behind the Mockingjay in this Hunger Games Pumpkin, really gets the whole girl on fire theme across
One Ring Pumpkin
This is a great concept, the fiery writing on the One Ring of Lord of the Rings, may have to try this one
Caterpillar Pumpkin
The technique used on this Alice's Adventure in Wonderland pumpkin is really cool
Puck Pumpkin
This may be my favorite pumpkin this year, from A Midsummer Night's Dream simply beautiful.

What kind of pumpkin are you doing this year?  Are a patient carver who will take hours to get perfection, or are you like me who starts with grand ideas and then about 20 minutes in decide that half it's face got eaten by wild dingos?  How much would you pay to have somebody come carve you the perfect pumpkin?

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Halloween Tree

Just finished a book recommended by my friend CC, who says she can't wait to read it to her kids this year. Since this friend of mine usually has good taste in books among other things, I decided to pick it up myself.  The book is The Halloween Tree by the late Ray Bradbury and if the author and friend recommendation were not enough to grab this book, the cover sealed the deal
The Halloween Tree
See it is totally awesomely creepy and cool and kinda nostalgic all at the same time...which is actually the perfect way to describe this book.  The story is set during a time when it was ok to let the kids go out trick or treating on their own, their is no signs of cell-phones or gaming systems, just a bunch of boys out looking for adventure.
The story is told in a very loose whimsical fashion, very lyrical and almost visual in it's execution.  The gist of the plot is a group of boys go trick or treating, all dressed as a different Halloween staple, a skeleton, a witch, a mummy, a gargoyle, a beggar, an ape man, a ghost, and the grim reaper.  The boys are all excited to get started, but they are missing their fearless leader, Pipkin.  They eventually find Pipkin looking tired and ill, but he tells the boys to go ahead and meet him at the big scary house outside of town.  The boys go to the house which is described as only a little boy could see it terrifying and defying all laws of physics.  The boys then go around back and behold a magnificent giant of a tree that is covered in carved pumpkins lit up as high as the eye can see.  Here they meet the owner of this spooky abode Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud (If I ever get a gerbil that is what I am naming him) who after scaring the boys half to death points out that Pipkin is on his way.  The boys watch as Pipkin comes running to meet them, but is instead swept away by a mysterious force.  Moundshroud rallies the remaining boys to make a giant kite out of old circus posters and 
they are taken to ancient Egypt where they see a burial procession.  Moundshroud starts to tell the boys of some of the history of death, and why they wear the various costumes they have on.  They hear Pipkin trapped inside a mummy casket and try to rescue him to no avail.  The adventure continues through cave man days, Mediterranean death days, old Roman rituals, Irish druid Samhain festivals, a broomstick migration, Notre Dame, Mexico's El Dia de los Mueros, and finally to an underground catacomb where they finally find Pipkin.  Moundshroud tells the boys the only way to save their friend is if they each agree to give up one year of their life in exchange for Pipkins.  This means that if you were supposed to die at age 87 you would die at age 86 instead.  All of the boys readily give up their year and Pipkin is saved.  At the end of the story Halloween is over for the year and the adventure has come to an end.  All of the boys make their way home and one by one extinguish their jack o'lanterns and as the last candle is blown out, the Halloween Tree goes dark.
This book was oddly scary, yet very sweet all at the same time.  The way it is written gives you the feeling of constant frantic movement, confusion, glimpses of this and that, never really letting it's characters, or the reader catch their breath.  It is a pretty quick read, with very short chapters, which would be great for kids to read.  The words are beautiful and fun to say out loud, which again would be great for kids who are learning how to read bigger words. It also piqued my interest in the origins of what we know as Halloween, it is a great opportunity to explore other cultures and times and how they all contributed to modern day Halloween.  All in all I would highly recommend this book for the month of October, it is good for all ages and will stick in your head long after you have finished it.
What is your go to Halloween classic?  Do you like scaring yourself?  What were you afraid of when you were younger?  Why do you always feel braver with a mask/costume on?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dead Head

With Halloween approaching here are some cool things to get you ahead (hee hee get it it's about skulls and I said aHEAD hahahaha...ok I'm gonna go finish my coffee now) of your decorating.
Skull Bookshelf
This would be a great way to use your books and shelves for some of beat decor while still being able to read said books
Carved Page Skull
I would love to have this open on my book shelf for Halloween!
Skull Adventure's Diary
I want this!
Skull Illusion Print on Antique Book Pages
My late grandfather had a similar print I used to love to look at when I was a kid
Tales of Beedle the Bard
As awesome as this is, unless you have a spare 3.98 million dollars on you we will just have to be content with pictures

Do you find skulls as creepy as I do?  What is your favorite Halloween decoration? How crazy are some of the things people come up with?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Books Are For Reading Not Eating

Feed Your Mind
Heehee zombies eating books, I'm a bit on the tired side :-)  Silly Zombies

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dressed To Be Read

Stumbled across these super cool dresses that are made out of the pages of books...only problem with these is that I would never actually get dressed or out the door 'cause I would be to busy reading myself :-)
Fairytale Book Dress
This dress is made of pages from Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales
Wedding Dress
Wedding Dress made from discarded library books
Princess Bride Dress
The dress and bouquet are made entirely from pages from The Princess Bride

How cool are these dresses?  What book(s) would you make your dress out of?  What style would it be in? How much would it cost to buy a bajillion copies of these books to rip apart and make into a garment?

Monday, October 15, 2012

High Tech Zombies With A Side Of Politics

Anybody else feel like this stupid election has been going on forever?  Don't get me wrong, I love politics, heck The West Wing is one of my favorite shows of all times (in fact I'm re watching the entire series for at least the fifth time as we speak), but seriously folks year long elections?!?!  Imagine my delight after suffering through many a political commercial aimed at convincing me that voting for the "other" guy will bring about the apocalypse (I live in a swing state, lucky me) I found a book that actually mixes a presidential election with ZOMBIES!!!!!!  Not only that but the book was well written, intriguing, horrifying, thought provoking, humorous and tragic all at the same time, I literally could not put it down, I had to sneak it into work, kept in in my ambulance, stayed up to all hours, it was wonderful.

The book is Feed the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant (pen name for Seanan McGuire).  It is set in the 2040ish time frame, about 20 years after the Uprising the name for the event where zombies became part of everyday life.  The book quickly lets you in on what happened two separate virus's one to cure cancer which was in the clinical trial phase and one to cure the common cold, which got prematurely released by eco-terrorists got together and mutated into what is known as the Kellis-Amberlee virus.  Everybody is infected with this virus which stays dormant in any mammal over 40 pounds until it is activated. When somebodies virus is activated they call it amplification and it is usually caused by death, though an injection of live virus through bites or needle or swallowing are possibilities as well.  When a person or animal amplifies it loses all sense of self and goes looking for sustenance to feed the virus as well as new hosts to send the virus to.  This results in zombies, the newer zombies are pretty strong and very dangerous, the older and more malnourished a zombie gets the slower and clumsier it gets.  The odd thing about these zombies is that the more of them that group together the smarter they get, so one zombie may do nothing more than shamble after you, but a group of five zombies may start to herd you, and a group of twenty zombies may be able to lead you into an ambush.  This is the life that people now live.
The coolest thing about this book, for me at least is that it is not a post-apocalyptic novel, it is about how people try and find some sense of normalcy and a way to keep living despite the zombies.  The story is told from the perspective of Georgia Carolyn Mason a blogger.  It follows her, her brother Shaun and there partner Buffy as they become official bloggers on the campaign trail of Senator Ryman.  Through out the book Georgia lets us glimpse at what life has become after the Uprising, the fear it inspired and the various thoughts on how it should be dealt with.  For instance, since any mammal over 40 pounds can potentially undergo amplification and become a zombie, people no longer eat beef, or pork, or any other large animal.  There are laws in place about keeping large animals in residential areas and there is an ongoing debate on weather or not they should try to eliminate all large mammals in general. Technology plays a huge role in this story, from the elaborate blood tests and security, to all of the cameras, recording equipment, computers and servers used by the bloggers to keep there readers informed. Georgia, Shaun, and Buffy are the first group of non-traditional media to be officially invited on the campaign trail, giving them the opportunity to report first hand the going ons of the election process, which disturbingly is one of the few things that has not changed very much despite recent events. As the story progresses we learn of a potential conspiracy that threatens not only the campaign, but the public in general.  This book does not go into all of the details, and I am assuming that is what the next two books are for.  The trio meet a lot of people who are willing to help them, and some not so savory characters as well.
This is where I decide not to say any more about the story, needless to say I think it is awesome, but part of the awesomeness is those AH WHAT THE HECK moments that make this such a page turner and these happen everywhere.  There are scary moments, sweet moments, moments that made me cry (seriously a zombie book made me cry, there I admitted it!)  The author does not hold back and by the end of the book I was drained, but in a totally satisfied way.  There were a couple minor, minor flaws, on occasion things got a tad repetitive, certain things were pounded into your head (oh does Georgia really have another retinal KA induced headache, really?!?), but it does not take away from the story at all.  Some people might find the relationship between Georgia and Shaun a bit weird, but again nothing untoward happens so I give it a pass. Again, this is not your typical horror zombie book, this is about all the people who live in this world where zombies just happen to be the latest threat to human kind.  That being said, the best part is that people who had seen George Romero's zombie movies, could actually use them as lessons to survive the uprising :-)  (geek love)  I give this book 9.5 out of 10 zombie blogging politicians.

What do you think about sharing our world with zombies?  How much would fear of zombies affect your everyday life if you knew they were here to stay?  Do you think the elections would be way more exciting if you knew there could be a zombie attack at any moment?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Creepy Classics

People have been drawn to scary stories since the dawn of time.  They were originally used to teach lessons to children and morality to adults, but from some of the elaborateness of even the oldest stories I think people just enjoyed a good scare.  I love some of the more classical incarnations of these monsters, back when they were just around to scare people and tell a good story.  Here are some of my favorite creepy classics.

Dracula by Bram Stoker-This is my favorite of the "monster" subset of horror.  I love how intensely creepy and jumpy and just evil this book is.  Stoker sets up the story of the vampire Dracula beautifully and never gives you a moment to relax.  I first read this book in the middle of a hurricane by candle light and let me tell you every time that thunder cracked or a tree fell I jumped out of my skin.  This is also my favorite vampire story because I think that Stoker really captures the beautiful seductive yet utterly horrifying character that is Dracula and now I compare all vampire books to this one and have yet to find one that is anywhere near as chilling and wonder.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly-First of this was written by a woman, which kinda is super awesome, especially considering the time period in which this was written.  Second, whenever I hear monster the first image that pops into my head is of Frankenstein's creation. Many people mistakenly call the monster Frankenstein, but he was actually it's creator...though I guess after reading this book one could argue that it really was Dr. Frankenstein and not his creation that is the true monster.  This book is actually less of an all out horror novel and more of a scifi/drama/thriller.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-This book combines elements of the supernatural ( a picture that keeps the subject young and immortal) and a cautionary tale of too much excess and what it can do to a person.  This book details the fall of a young man from naive and innocent to a lecherous, greedy, selfish worthless man.  The story shows how living a life with no consequences can result in some pretty horrific outcomes and the past will always come back to haunt you.  When this book first came out it was censored and warned against for it's pretty vivid and graphic descriptions of an unwholesome life. A very interesting look at a classic morality tale.
The Essential Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe- I had to put in a collection for my friend Mr. Poe because I just cannot choose my favorite story, The Raven, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher.  Mr. Poe knew how to use words to invoke such great imagery that you really get into the stories, even the short ones and all kinds of creepiness ensues.  These stories are also great for beginners of classic horror because they are short and concise enough to be able to get into a great story while learning the vernacular of this particular era.  Plus Poe is just simply awesome.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving-I absolutely adore this little bit of American folk-lore, gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that we have our own special ghosts stories and legends.  This story is a bit different from the previous ones on this list as it has a bit more humor to it.  The legend is never confirmed nor proven false to the outcome of the tale is left mostly to the readers interpretation.  This is also one of the few stories that has translated fairly well onto the screen, mostly cause you can go either slightly comical (Disney's cartoon version) or more on the creepy side (Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow)

What is your favorite classic creepy?  Do you think stories are scary back in the day or have we upped the ante in modern times?  What is your favorite original monster?  What contemporary creepy do you think will be on the classic list in 100 years?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Leaf Man

Mmm sleepy today after a long night at the station, think I will curl up with this beautiful picture book when I get home
Leaf Man
Hope every body gets time to curl up with a pretty book today!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marking The Leaves With Leaves

Along with zombies, October also offers us here in DC the best of fall, the colors are changing on the trees, the air is crisp, and I can finally put on my pretty fall sweaters and boots!  Here are some great autumn book marks to celebrate the occasion.

Softly Falling
Loving the end leaf beads on this one
Wool and Ribbon Pumpkin Bookmark
Ahhh so cute, what a little baby pumpkin
Wood Fall Leaves Bookmark
Carved wood AND fall leaves, yes please!
Fabric Leaf Bookmark
This looks so much like a real leaf, I must have it
Pressed Leaf Bookmark
I love the vivid  colors they managed to capture in this one
Fall Mermaid Bookmark
Fall and Mermaids, not a normal pairing, but awesome all the same
Colorful Leaves Bookmark
The cutouts on this are very cool

Which one of these tickles your fancy?  What most reminds you of fall?  Are you as tempted as I am to get a different fall book mark for every book you own so that they can all celebrate fall with you?