My Library Haul

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Here it is! Yet another update about what I’m reading. I only do this for you…This is a list of books that I recently checked out from the library and either have read or will read very soon. THIS IS MY HAUL!

  • I, Robot by Issac Asimov. I’m not far enough into it to let you know what I think or feel. I had a strong, almost overwhelming, urge to read some classic sci-fi and this book has been on my “to-read” list FOREVER. So I got it from the library a month ago and only started reading it today. I love the movie with Will Smith, but I’m not sure the book will be anything like it. And I’m okay with that. I’d just like it to be interesting.

  • So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson. This was a last minute grab before check out. The title intrigued me and the Mary Kate/Ashley show theme song entered my head and so I checked it out. I’m enjoying it. It’s a non-fiction account of Sara Nelson as she reads 52 books in 52 weeks. I’m in February right now and it’s fascinating to know that someone thinks about books and chooses them the same way I do. I’m excited to finish.

  • Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale. This is a sequel to Austenland about another young lady who journeys through the Jane Austen experience. I have high hopes, so we’ll see. I really want characters from the last book to pop up again. *crosses fingers* Here’s hoping.

  • How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue. This book made it on to my “to-read” list due to Goodreads. I’m not sure what it’s about except two friends who open a cupcake shop together.

  • Someone Like You and That Summer by Sarah Dessen. These are some of her earlier books that I’ve never read. I know the movie “How to Deal” was based of these books and it interested me. I think I’ll enjoy these. They’re quick reads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’m currently reading How to Read Novels Like a Professor and it talks a lot about this book. I had never realized that this was a book of magical realism and that it was a forerunner in the genre. I didn’t really know much about it at all, except that it was considered a classic, but that I was never required to read it. So this is the start of a summer of classics, preferably classics that are new to me. I really want to like this book.

  • Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer Vol 1 by Val Johnson & Dusty Higgins. This starts the Graphic Novel portion of the post. I saw this and I couldn’t resist the premise. Pinocchio? AS A VAMPIRE HUNTER? Count me in! It’s a black and white comic that looks to be super dark and potentially awesome.

  • Sandman Vol 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman. I just wrote a review all about this. My feelings are wishy-washy about it. Read it here.

  • Death Note Vol 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Obha. I really enjoyed the first volume of this comic and am excited to continue the adventure of Light and L and the epic face-off to come. I hope that L wins.

  • Sense and Sensibility adapted by Nancy Butler. I just finished reading this and the graphic novel caught my attention. The artwork is phenomenal and now graces my phone as the background. I can’t wait to read it.

  • Flight: Vol 3 edited by Kazu Kibuishi. I just finished this as well. I’m really enjoying these volumes. They are anthologies. Each comic is about some aspect of flight. They are pretty great. I plan on reviewing the first three volumes sometime in the near future.

So that’s my library haul. I hope that you enjoyed it and I’ll let you know what I think of these in the future!

 

Sandman Vol 1

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I’ve gotta say, Neil Gaiman is a strange duck. He writes about the weirdest things and endorses strange stuff too. I’ve read some of his recommendations and they’re a little creepy. So, I should have been prepared for this.

I’ve heard a lot of really good things about Sandman. I’ve recently gotten into more graphic novels and decided that before it graces the big screen I needed to read it (I heard all about the movie idea here).

So I went to my local library and picked up the first volume, Preludes & Nocturnes. I was really impressed that my library had it. They have the whole series and it made me happy. These past few months have done a lot to restore my faith in the public library system as a whole.

The story is about Dream, one of the seven Endless. (For those that are unfamiliar, the Endless are Death, Despair, Desire, Dream, Destiny, Delirium, and Destruction). He is captured by mortals and bides his time until he can break out and get his revenge. He waits 70 years and in that time his three tools are taken and passed around or traded by various humans.

The bag of sand ends up with a junkie, the mask/helm is in the hands of a demon, and the ruby is with a madman. The whole of the story is Dream breaking out and going on an epic quest to retrieve what is rightfully his.

Along the way you meet some strange characters, The Justice League make a guest appearance as well as Cain and Abel, Dr. Crane (Scarecrow), and a few others. It was a little surprising to see a line drawn from characters so well known to this oddity.

Now, I don’t know how I actually feel about this comic. I know that I will go on to read the second volume. But to say that parts of this story were disturbing is an understatement. It was grotesque. But it asked a lot of interesting questions and had a manga bent to it that intrigued me. There was a lot of violence. The parts that were disturbing were meant to disturb you. It was glorifying the actions of those people; it was showing the madness and the horror of what could be done if dreams turned awry.

An example of the weird…

It definitely isn’t for children, and I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone under the age of 18. If you are easily disturbed by some of the weirder elements of life then don’t read this. If shows like Game of Thrones make you queasy, stay away. If you want happy ever afters for everyone, this is not for you.

But if you think you could handle a little odd then I recommend it. I’m excited to read more of the story, and I’m excited about getting to the one Gaiman just released, Oblivion.

Oy with the Poodles already!

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Gilmore Girls wasn’t a staple in my life until I started watching two girls when their mom worked nights. Jennifer was a nurse and I would come over and eat with the girls and send them to bed at an appropriate time. The brilliant thing about this was that both girls were pretty self-sufficient and they had all six seasons of Gilmore Girls. The season that shall not be named hadn’t come out yet. It was my first time watching GG and it illuminated my life. Lorelei and Rory introduced me to Casablanca and Toblerone (which I actually don’t like too much, but it was an experience). I fell in love with Dean, Max, Jason, Logan and wished that Jess would just look at me once. I cried with them and laughed with them and felt all the spectrum of emotions. Recently, I’ve been reliving that experience a little. I started with Season 4 and moved on from there. Rory’s dedication to writing and journalism inspired me to write a review of all seven seasons of this delightful show, one season at a time.

SEASON 1:

Lorelei Gilmore is a single mom trying to raise her daughter Rory the best she knows how. Everything has been going swimmingly until Rory gets accepted to an elite private school and Lorelei doesn’t have the money to pay, forcing her to go ask her parents, from whom she’d been estranged for 20 years (or something similar to that). Emily and Richard Gilmore lend her the money on the condition that she and Rory attend dinner at their house every Friday night until Rory graduates. And thus the story unfolds.

I got to say, this season is potentially my least favorite. It feels too slow an introduction, but I guess that’s to be expected of a small town like Stars Hollow. I so wish this town existed. With the town meetings and the one diner and the cute gazebo. I’d go there all the time (However, being a city girl, I’m not sure I could live there). Lorelei and Rory are completely lovable right off and are the reason you stick with the show. Meeting Luke, the grumpy cat diner owner, was one of the best parts. He’s fantastic throughout the show until season 6, but more on that later.

The whip-fast dialogue is marvelous and is one of the reasons the show is so popular. Lorelei and Rory’s relationship is the other. It’s not necessarily a model for all mother-daughter relationships, but it’s entertaining and full of love, laughter, and often tears. Their dating lives are full of intrigue and specialness too. The first episode Rory meets Dean, who looks totally BA, but is actually a teddy bear. And Lorelei meets Rory’s English teacher, Max Medina, who is played by Scott Cohen, one of my personal favorites. They have…ups and downs.

I don’t really like Dean; I never have. He’s too needy. He does have one thing going for him. Dean is one of the few “Gilmore” men that understands their relationship and how to interact within that. The other two are Christopher and Luke. None of Rory’s other boys seem to get it, but Dean knows and it’s nice that he is loved by Lorelei as well as Rory. Max is my second favorite choice for Lorelei. He understands her and loves her just the way she is and it’s a beautiful thing.

Various people show up as reaccuring characters. Christopher, Rory’s dad, shows up. He and Lorelei have an on-again-off-again relationship of sorts. They flirt and have fun, but Chris is too unpredictable for Lorelei to rely on. Luke’s old flame, Rachel, shows up, but leaves by the end of the season. Chad Michael Murray also pops in sporadically as another option for Rory, but she is with Dean for the duration. At the end of Season 1, Max proposes and Lorelei says yes. Rory and Dean say “I love you” after rocky bits in the middle and Luke is left alone, with his repressed feelings.

Honorable mention to Kirk who is a universal favorite and Lane who is my favorite until season 5.

 

Ella Enchanted

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I’ve been going through childhood favorites of mine, as mentioned in my previous post. I wasn’t really expecting to re-read this one though, it just happened. A friend of my little sister’s came over and I was shocked to find that she hadn’t read it, but she’d seen the movie. I was appalled. The movie is in no way similar to the book; they merely used the names in the book and then wrote their own story. So naturally I ran downstairs, grabbed my copy, and insisted on reading part of it out loud. We got to chapter ten before she had to leave, but it was enough to hook me into the story again. And enough to have me watch the movie again as well (I know, I was shocked too).

The Book:

Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is a story about Ella, who was cursed from birth to be obedient by a careless fairy. When her mother dies she is forced to deal with an absent and selfish father and new, odious acquaintances. However, among all the grief she meets Prince Charmont and it is the beginning of a beautiful new friendship, for both of them.

Ella is forced by her ridiculous father to go to finishing school with Hattie and Olive, the most disgusting girls on the planet. Hattie quickly deduces that Ella will do whatever she tells her to and makes her Hattie’s new “lady in waiting.” Ella reaches a breaking point and runs away, deciding to find Lucinda (reckless fairy who cursed her) and earn her freedom once and for all.

It is a beautiful story. I’d almost forgotten how amazing it was. I’m glad I read it again. One of my favorite elements of the book is that despite Ella’s required obedience, she isn’t necessarily a damsel in distress. At one point of the book she is captured by ogres. It’s established pretty early on that she is magnificent at picking up languages and so instead of just allowing the ogres to eat her, she imitates the way that they lure their victims. She speaks to them in their own language and convinces them that they are full and sleepy. She doesn’t have a next step, but she at least saved herself for the time being. (And then Char shows up and saves the day…)

Her relationship with Char starts out as friendship, and I like that too. Char is completely taken with her from the day they met, but she is more hesitant and their relationship grows through laughter. My favorite scene with Char is her father’s wedding. Lucinda shows up and gives her father and Dame Olga (evil stepmother) a gift, and Ella runs to hide from her. Char, arriving late, joins her upstairs and they search for a hidden tunnel together, laughing and simply enjoying each other’s company. Towards the end they slide down the banister together. It’s magnificent.

I hate the step family. You’re supposed to, they are THE WORST. Hattie is petty and entirely self-centered. Olive doesn’t understand anything beyond wanting money and copying her sister and mother. It’s kind of sad. Dame Olga is a gold-digging wretch. They torment Ella and force her into servitude.

I can’t say that there is anything wanting in this book. If it weren’t a children’s/YA book, it would need more character development to make it perfect, but it’s written for kids and it’s perfect the way it is.

The Movie:

There are two redeeming features of the movie. The first is Hugh Dancy, who is everything Char ever was in my mind, even if the movie version isn’t anything like the book version. The second is Cary Elwes and his ridiculous evil snake. They made up their characters to make the movie “more interesting” but I love Cary Elwes so it was almost acceptable.

Everything else is awful. The movie took the names of the places and characters and then changed the story into something else entirely. It had some similar elements. Like Ella is under a curse. And they include Hattie’s theft of Ella’s mother’s necklace and the glass slippers. Also Areida is Ayorthian. But Ella and her father get along and even love each other. Dame Olga, Hattie, and Olive are all skinny and pretty mean people, instead of fat and ugly. And the plot is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

With all that in mind, it’s important to realize that the movie is not Ella Enchanted. It stole the names, but it’s a different story with different characters under similar circumstances. And when you look at it that way, it makes it bearable. Funny, even. I enjoyed watching it, once I came to terms with it.

If you haven’t had the chance to read Ella Enchanted, I would encourage you to go to your library and obtain a copy and read it. It doesn’t matter your age, your gender, your situation in life. It’s a heartwarming tale that will encourage to pursue your dreams and appreciate what you have.

Old Friends

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I’m a re-reader. I go back and read my favorites until the book gets worn and starts falling apart. My favorites have tears, tea stains, and typically, the cover is falling off or has been taped on multiple times. My favorite author in high school was Tamora Pierce.

I had the opportunity to meet her my freshman year of college and it was probably one of the most embarrassing/awkward situation in my memory. I couldn’t speak to her. It was awful. She was super nice though. That year I came to realize that reading fiction, specifically Tamora Pierce, was an idol for me, so I symbolically tore up my favorite book (which I read more than any before it) and decided not to read her anymore. It was a good decision for me at the time. I got a lot more done and was able to explore newer and better books outside of that genre (like John Green and Diana Gabaldon and Samantha Shannon and Dorothy L Sayers).

Recently, I saw Wild Magic at my local library and decided to give it go again and see if it was as awesome as I remembered. I had gotten the audiobooks of Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen. Those were my particular favorites. They weren’t as good as I remembered, but I put it down to the narration, which was pretty awful. However, now that I’ve read the books, I know the truth.

The books aren’t that well written.

Don’t get me wrong; the story lines are good, the character development is all right, but the writing is so-so. She wrote these books for teen audiences pre-Harry Potter, so the stories go by fast. I read eight books over two days (which is a little embarrassing to admit).

It’s hard sometimes to visit old friends, like these books, and realize that they aren’t the way you remember them. It’s a strange sort of sadness. But I embrace it because I know that these stories that shaped my childhood can be put behind me. I’ve outgrown them, and that’s marvelous to realize. I’ve moved on to better authors. I’ve developed eclectic taste. It doesn’t mean that I don’t cherish these books. Like I said, they were a fundamental part of my childhood, and therefore are precious to me. I can only hope that my future self will read what I like now and find that I’ve outgrown that too…

What I’m Reading…

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Surprise! It’s an update on my reading list. What am I reading right now? Well…my goodreads list lies. Here are the three books I’m working through for real.

  • Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler. I’ve had a minor obsession with Dirk Pitt for a while now; more so than ever after Matthew McConaughey played him in Sahara. I now have that beautiful image in my head. I tried, for a while, to find the first book and read them in order, but I’ve given up that quest and just picked one that I found interesting. This one looked very interesting. I’m only a couple chapters in, but I like it so far. There’s already a bad guy and intrigue involved. I’m excited to finish it.

  • Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (audiobook). I’m having trouble with this one. Usually I get into SAA novels easily. It’s like sliding into a bubble bath or the first taste of crème brulee. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that I’m listening to it first, but I keep stalling. I’ll listen to 30 minutes and then just stop for a while. It’s mildly irritating, because I’d like to finish. But I’ll keep at it until it becomes more interesting.

  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (audiobook). So I have an Audible account, from which come many audiobook choices, but recently I’ve also been frequenting my local library for audiobooks to play in my car and I picked this one up last Tuesday. I’m already on disc 2 out of 7. I’m excited. I love the way Ms. Rowell writes and her characterizations are magnificent (see rant on Fangirl). Park is probably my new favorite fictional person. Well, almost. Levi still holds that title. Anyway, I love being able to pick up a story in my car and the suspense that comes with it. It’s not an instant gratification thing. It’s a wait and savor it thing.

I love the CD art.

I’m SUPPOSED to be reading Sense and Sensibility too, but I keep picking other books up. Maybe that will be my goal for this weekend, to finish S&S and arrange a time for JABClub. I also need to finish the Thomas Covenant books and the Pixar book from Audible. But I’ve sort of paused all that to read adventure novels and listen to sad but delicious chick lit. Go figure.

Bridget Jones…we meet at last

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I’ve seen the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary many times. I own it; I love it. I’ve been saying for a while that I wanted to read the book and recently I obtained a gorgeous copy of it.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I couldn’t resist.

Penguin did a great job with this cover.

If you’ve seen the movie you know the basic premise. Bridget Jones is on the lookout for the perfect man and a better career. She works as an editor at a top publishing house and is “in love” with her boss Daniel Cleaver. She makes a list of New Year’s Resolutions which include to stop smoking, drink less, find boyfriend, find new job, lose weight, and basically renovate her life. The whole book revolves around the embarrassing events that happen in her life.

Some of my favorite parts of this book were the downward spirals. That sounds weird, but her journey is like everyone else’s which is why this book is so relatable. She has her successes and her failures, but her failures were amusing and made me laugh at my own failures.

Bridget Jones has a way of looking at the world that makes her life and subsequently your life seem funny and somehow better than it did before.

Let’s take a moment to talk about Mark Darcy. This book is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice and Mark Darcy is basically Fitzwilliam Darcy. And he’s a pretty decent imitation. The Mark Darcy of the book is actually the biggest deviation from the movie. Mark Darcy ain’t no Colin Firth. He’s the strong, silent type. He doesn’t really come in until the end when Bridget’s mom makes a complete fool of herself and he saves the day. He has a few encounters with Bridget beforehand, when it obvious (at least to me) that he fancies her a bit. He’s a little more subtle than the Darcy of the movie and I liked him more. Which is frankly, surprising because I love Colin Firth. As any Darcy character.

Daniel Cleaver was just as vile as he was supposed to be in the book and I completely hated him. It was delightful.

Other discrepancies from the movie include the birthday dinner. For her birthday she does have friends over, but the awkward blue soup episode doesn’t happen until after she starts seeing Darcy.

One of the best things of the book, in my humble opinion, was that both Hugh Grant and Colin Firth were mentioned in the book. It came out shortly after the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice came out and Bridget watches it and compares Mr. Darcy to Mark Darcy. Ironic because they are played by the same man in the film adaptations. Hugh Grant was brought up by her new boss later on in the book, and he plays Daniel Cleaver.

I think you should read the book if you liked the movie, or if you like chick-lit in general. It was brilliant and recommend it to all women everywhere. Especially the beautiful cover version. Read the book, watch the movie. Enjoy all the embarrassing moments.

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