Saturday, June 6, 2009

Blog Posts via Cell Phone?!


Does anyone post via cell phone to their blog?!  I've been trying to get my Verizon Wireless cell set up, thought I did it right, created a picture-post, but....I'm still not seeing anything on my blog!  
*yes, I am horrible with technology*


Thursday, June 4, 2009

15 Books In Fifteen Minutes!

This is a fun one that I just got tagged to do on Facebook, so, I thought it would make a great quick post (and no, don't have internet powers yet, darn it!)  Anyways, here how ya do it:  Don't take too long to think about it: fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. Make sure it's the first fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Re-post on your bloggity blogs if you're so inclined (I hope!) and let's see what everyone comes back with!

Here are my fifteen in fifteen:

1. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
2. Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
3. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
5. The Los Angeles Diaries by James Brown 
6. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
7. Different Seasons by Stephen King
8. Watership Down by Richard Adams
9. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
10. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
11. Neromancer by William Gibson
12. Cages by Dave McKean
13. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
14. Clever Maids by Valerie Paradiz
15. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Internet-less & frustrated!

So, I had some time today to pop by the library, sign into a computer and log in to re-visit my blog which has been sadly ignored since the end of April!


I am currently without internet access at my wee hobbit hole (i.e. home), and, as it looks as I shall remain so for a while, I shall have to try to get into the library more frequently.

Anyone out there who follows my blog still...I am alive and kicking! Please follow me on Twitter (there's a link at the bottom right of this page) as that is the only quick access I have at the moment!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Not a book review, a favorite poem.

Hope is the thing with feathers (254)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

~ Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Puppy Love

Sam & Pilot

Monday, April 13, 2009

Christian the Lion (grab a hanky)

When Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, two recent college graduates from Australia, wandered into the Pet Department in Harrod's of London, England, the last thing they expected to find was a lion cub for sale. Christian the lion quickly won their hearts and before they knew it, they had bought him, brought him home to their London flat, and began the job of, yes, raising a lion cub.

Ultimately, Ace and John knew that Christian was destined to live wild and be free and so, they embarked on a trip to Kenya, where George Adamson was working hard to rehabilitate lions into the wild.

This footage, taken one year after leaving Christian in Adamson's care, shows the remarkable reunion of the best friends: Ace, John, and Christian the lion.

What joy there is in true friendship...

You may say "Glitch", but I say Great Big Boo-Boo.

This was a fascinating weekend for the online corporate giant, and for free thinking readers around the nation. At some point over the past couple days, Amazon moved to "de-rank" a smattering of titles due to "adult content", meaning that a cursory search of a title/author would no longer automatically bring a particular "de-ranked" book to the forefront of the search.

Read a great article about the glitch, here.

Interestingly enough, these "adult content" themed books included a high percentage of gay/lesbian/transgender titles. Even Annie Proulx's recently film adapted short story Brokeback Mountain, and D. H. Lawrence's classic Lady Chatterley's Lover got hit by this de-ranking "glitch".

I mean, really? Does anyone smell a wee bit of censorship in this so called "glitch"? Or is this only a LGBT specific kind of glitch? Don't know about you, but I don't want anyone deciding for me what "adult content" is and what it isn't (i.e. if I am over 18 - don't worry parents!)

It's all a little too Big Brother for my taste.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just in case you were wondering...

I wasn't kidding about the new book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This is an illustration from the brilliant new title by, none other than authors Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Those Regency women sure do know how to wield a dagger, do they not?

A frozen moment...

Yesterday afternoon, I walked out to the parking lot and was met with a phenomenal cloud canopy. Took out my cell phone, kneeled, pointed it up, and just as I snapped - the sun peeked out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

PART II - Judging a Book By It's Cover? (Or the film adaptation poster art?) Something like that.

Yesterday, I had some fun comparing the two covers of Wizard's First Rule, by Terry Goodkind and...WOWZA - what a difference a few years makes, eh? We started with a big red dragon beasty on cover #1, and have since axed the dragon and stuck a great big AUTHOR NAME at the tippy top of cover #2. Good times.

Mind you these are just cover art for book jackets. So, what happens when we get a film/TV adaptation? We get...ta-da! A promotional poster! And yes, to your immediate left, you will find the official promo art for the adaptation of Mr Goodkind's first novel from the Sword of Truth series.Back in November, Disney-ABC launched this television series, entitled in TV-land, The Legend of the Seeker. Lemme say it out loud. I love me some chop-socki-bow-and-arrow-sword-swinging-horse-riding-wizard-wielding-action, believe you me. And neither the books nor the TV series is lacking in that department at all.

In our television adaptation's promo poster, we have a gorgeous New Zealand back drop - that's where they film, those lucky ducks; Richard (Sword of Truth in hand); Kahlan (random ball of light in hand? Hmm - I think that might be her "power"); and...yep. An archer dude. Don't know who he is, but he looks kinda-sorta ready to fire away. Maybe.

Anywho, I was pondering how all of these differing images - which are a story's first introduction to a new reader (or viewer) - change, mutate, reveal, underscore, highlight, or possibly even damage a story etc., etc., etc. And, it's kind of fascinating. Publishers and promoters put loads of thought into this kind of stuff (we sure hope they do, at any rate) and, thereby, loads of money, too. Yikes. So, in looking specifically at Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, I wondered aloud to myself:

1. Is the newer book cover more appealing to a readership less inclined to try High Fantasy?

4. Will the TV series drive curiosity and actually introduce new readers to the Sword of Truth books?

5. And now that there is a TV show based on these characters, will readers of the book (future or otherwise) forever see Richard and company with the actor's faces, or with their own brain's creations?

And speaking of the way a film can take over your own mind's idea of what a character looks like, I remember the uber concerned whispers that erupted around the announcement of the first Harry Potter movie. Booksellers, kids, friends, colleagues, parents, everyone (myself included) was worried about the infringement on the eye of their own imagination that might occur under the onslaught of a film director's own images. We all had, and have, our very own vision of how Harry, Hogwart's, Dumbledore - you name it - should look. No doubt about it.

Same could be, can be and is easily said for J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, or Stephenie Meyers' Twilight books. Each has a darn die-hard fan base of readers, and each has been adapted and turned into enormous box office smash hit. I admit to being one of "those people" who was a major detractor of the LotR films; that is, I was a detractor until I was actually sitting in a dark movie theater, and Aragorn took that puff of his pipe in the Prancing Pony which lit his mysterious features - I gasped! It was just as Tolkien described it in the book!

At any rate, there are many many examples to draw from. Maybe I will revisit this again in the future, but for now, I shall leave you with this: my favorite character from the Sword of Truth books and from the Legend of the Seeker television series...

Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander,
Wizard of the First Order:
And I think they got it right - he is exactly what my own imagination conjures as I read.

VDAY: A Global Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls

Check this OUT. It means the world.

PART I - Judging a Book By It's Cover?

Lately, I've found myself sucked into a seriously High Fantasy novel (and by this I mean fire breathing dragons who can talk. Yes, yes, I know; please don't ask.) And, I have to say, I find it incredibly fascinating in the way book covers periodically get the ol' redo - particularly those of the fantasy/sci-fi genre.

Case in point: Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. First off, I must say that I have quite surprisingly and entirely unexpectedly found this to be a very addictive storyline. Finished Book 1 awhile back, thought I was through and then, just the other day, found myself picking up Book 2 because...

I have got. To see. What happens. Next.

Who knew? It has all the basic goods you'd expect to find a good fantasy novel: a brave unassuming hero, a powerful Wizard father-like figure; a dark force of evil that must be defeated; a love interest which can never be...the usual stuff. And alas, I have fallen under its' spell.

So, I was looking at the original edition's cover art and the more recent edition's cover art (don't ask how/why I have both editions - it's one of those bibliophile problems that occurs when you forget you already own a book) and thought....WOW. What a difference.

Here is the first cover for Book 1, Wizard's First Rule:
(Richard our hero, astride the dragon; Kahlan, the Confessor in white gown, and Zed, resident Wizard of the First Order in dark robe with flowing white mane.)

And more recently, the NEW cover for this same exact title:

Ack! Where did everybody go?! Looks like my fire breathing, talking, red dragon got the axe for the new cover (poor thing. I really like her); and Richard and Kahlan seem to be wandering the woods alone. Our author name certainly got a more attention grabbing font size, along with a "New York Times Bestselling Author" mention!

It's just like the David Bowie tune goes: "Ch-ch-ch-changes...!"

(To come in PART II - what happens when you throw in a film/TV adaptation?)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'll take a "Jacob", please.

Yes folks, there is a really neat-o thing to check out here. Have I ever mentioned my sweet tooth/fang?


Monday, March 30, 2009

The Best Book Cover....EVER!!!

I mean, seriously. Do I even need to explain WHY?!!

Another frozen moment...

Once again, I was rounding the corner on my way home from work, when I came across yet another gorgeous sunset. Hellman Ave at dusk is truly a 'magic hour'.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dog Fact #9: Short Stories & The A.S. King Omnibus Project

Having just posted my own review of her new book, The Dust of 100 Dogs, I was mightily excited when this popped up in the blogging pipeline. I love hunting for an author's other writings ( if it's someone I truly enjoyed reading); here you will find links to some of A.S. King's short stories, published in magazines and the like. Check. It. Out.

Dog Fact #9: Short Stories & The A.S. King Omnibus Project

Book Review: The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King

Oh, I do enjoy a good pirate yarn, I do. Give me a fast ship, high reckless seas, a fine sharp sword, and I shall be lost to the telling of the tale. In A. S. King's debut young adult novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs, not only was I lost to the tale, but I was loving it all the crazy way to the end.

As our story opens, we meet a fierce young woman, Emer Morrisey, an Irish lass fighting desperately for her life, the life of her lover, and for her enemy's ultimate doom. She has buried a treasure in the sands of the surrounding beach, and hopes against hope that none have witnessed the deed. It is then, in a cruel turn of fortune, that Ener receives a terrible surprise: the "businesmarlinespike marlinspike, and the curse of the dust from 100 dogs. In that moment, Emer begins the unfathomable ordeal of living the literal lives of 100 dogs, human memories entirely intact.

Fast forward 300 years. One hundred dog lives have been lived, and Saffron Adams (formerly Emer Morrisey) is born. All memories from all former lives (canine and otherwise) still remain intact. She impresses teachers with her knowledge of history. Gives her mother, a chronic melancholic imbiber, hope for the family's future, and generally dreams of the day when she will be free to go off on her own and search for her long ago buried treasure.

King, in possession of an excellent gift for compelling storytelling, interweaves the lives of the two girls with meticulous richness. Emer, we learn, is only a small child when Oliver Cromwell invades her village in 17th century Ireland. Her firsthand accounts of the madness and fright of war are unnerving, as is herlife with a cruel uncle (a curious survivor of her village's crushing slaughter), and her eventual path into pirating. Saffron, no less fascinating, sees all the world - including her family - through the ultra-experienced eyes of a soul gone too long without. Some of the most comedic moments come as Saffron imagines how her past pirate-self would have handled a situation (something that usually involves eye gouging, her pirate trademark.) And sprinkled throughout the tale are "Dog Facts", things that Saffron has learned about herself and humankind during her 100 lifetimes as an acutal dog.

The Dust of 100 Dogs is an absolute page-turner; my only disappointment was in reaching the end of an excellent pirate's yarn.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A frozen moment...

Dusk on Hellman Ave.

Driving home from work the other night, I turned a corner and came upon this lovely scene. The clouds, the golden sun disappearing behind the hill...they all took my breath away. Had to stop and snap a pic with my cell phone.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dan Simmons is a neat-o guy

I love a good book signing I do. Especially when you get an author who clearly loves his subject matter, loves the craft of writing, and enjoys discussing all the above. On Sunday, February 22nd, I had the pleasure of hearing Dan Simmons talk about his new novel Drood, his fictionalized account of Charles Dickens's terrible brush with death - the 1865 Staplehurst rail accident - and the strange happenings that followed. Was Drood a real person? Did Dickens really meet him? Or, was Drood only an imagined horror?

One of the things I love about book signings/readings is the insight into the mind of an author, and Dan Simmons certainly did not disappoint. If anything, he was incredibly forthcoming about his book and the particulars of writing, the research involved in the telling of a fictionalized true story, etc. For example: why choose Wilkie Collins to be your narrator? Simple. By all accounts, he was nuts. How fun for a writer is that?

Some seriously exciting news that came from Mr. Simmons on Sunday, too: the tantalizing promise of Guillermo Del Toro, of Pan’s Labyrinth fame, signing on to turn Drood into a film. Yes, the book is that spooky. Can you imagine how spooky the film, in Del Toro’s hands, will be? I dare you to try.

Wow. Getting’ shivers already.

The tragedy was a deadly life-altering event for Dickens, who never managed to escape the horrors of the experience. In fact, after the Staplhurst train wreck, he never completed another novel to his name, choosing instead to travel the countryside (which was incredibly nerve wracking) and present his work theatrically. His last great work, Our Mutual Friend, was in manuscript form at the time of the crash - indeed, it was in his coat pocket, which he had to retrieve from the wreckage of his rail car.

Lastly, I gotta say – for a Sunday afternoon book signing, and an OSCAR Sunday afternoon book signing at that, 60+ people turned out, and it was fabulous. As Mr. Simmons mentioned to me later, after the final signature had been penned, and the last fan photo had been snapped, “I love independents. You can tell the difference between signing at a big box chain store and a local indie –the experience is just different.”

Hurrah for Dan Simmons.

And for independent bookstores, too.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I've been nominated for an award! Seriously!

Amelia, aka Book Junkie, has nominated me for the "Your Blog Is Fabulous" Award! And to that I say....huzzah!!! (jumps up and down clapping hands together!)

So, the way this works is, I have to name 5 things I'm addicted to and then, nominate 5 additional blogs for this award! Cool beans, right? Ok, here goes....

5 Things I'm Addicted to:

1) Books - yes, it is true. I am a book-a-holic. Tried and convicted. One of these days, I shall post pics of my library (shelves and toppling stacks) just to prove it. Love to read. Always have and always will.

2) Music - if I'm not reading, I'm probably listening to music. I love music as much as I love books and reading. My music collection is an eclectic mix of styles, genres, eras and artists. It is the sound of the soul. Be it A.R. Rahman, Beethoven, U2, or the Pixies...I'm there.

3) Coffee - sadly, I am a coffee addict. Strong, creamy, sweetened and hot. That's my perfect cuppa.

4) My dogs - I've had dogs my whole life! And man, I don't know of a better thing to be addicted to than my wee pups! They are loving, vibrant, crazy, beautiful creatures and they make me happy. It's all about those cold noses and sneaky quick puppy kisses!

5) Cheeseburgers - Oh geeze, this is embarassing. But it is true. I LOVE cheeseburgers. I can't help it and damn it! I am not ashamed! I LOVE CHEESEBURGERS! I feel like Sesame Steet's Cheeseburglar: "Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!"

5 Blogs I Nominate For This Award:

Fresh Eyes on London -
Presenting Lenore -
Mouse Medicine -
Sharon Loves Books and Cats -
Pop Culture Junkie -

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to...Salman Rushdie's fatwa?!

Yes, it's true. Salman Rushdie's fatwa is all grown up.

Yes, it HAS been awhile...! (Hasn't it?)

Well, it’s been a spell since the last post went up. Figured it was time to dust off the old gray matter and drop a thought or two down. So, here goes…

…on the book end of things, I’m finally getting around to reading The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. Don’t blame the Oscars, please! I’ve had this book for ages and ages, but for one reason or another, never got around to actually reading the darn thing and…well, hmmm. Okay, I suppose you can blame the Oscars. Publicity machines be damned! What matters is the actual reading of the book.

And no, I’ve not seen the film yet. So there.


Two gems at the top of my ‘to gobble’ list right now:

Drood by Dan Simmons. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into this spooky-boo novel based on actual events in the life of Charles Dickens. AND, this writer is coming to sign at my local indie bookstore at 2/22, so I hope to post some pics up real soon, too.

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King. Debut YA novel from King about a 17th century pirate girl who finds herself the victim of a dreadful curse: she must live 100 lifetimes as a canine before becoming a girl again, memories fully intact.

And waiting in the pile on my floor to be gobbled:

Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff

Erotomania by Francis Levy

The Drop Edge of Yonder by Rudolph Wurlitzer

Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips

Poe by Peter Ackroyd

Angels and Ages by Adam Gopnik

Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud

Fool by Christopher Moore

Last but not least, here’s an extra special treat that I’m currently enjoying in my car: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman on audio CD! Yes! If you have never heard Mr. Gaiman do a read-a-loud, this is your excuse to try him out. He’s just won the 2009 Newbery Award (see below post!) for this smart, witty and extremely touching coming-of-age story about Nobody Owens (aka “Bod”), a boy who has lost his entire family to a mysterious and sinister man. But, being raised in the very capable and loving hands of the neighborhood’s graveyard ghosts certainly does have its perks….

Currently on heavy iPod rotation: Flight of the Conchords, Noble Beast by Andrew Bird, Mama Mia! Original Soundtrack

Monday, January 26, 2009

Neil Gaiman (yes, that Neil Gaiman) wins...The Newbery Award!

Announced this morning, Neil Gaiman's completely wonderful, creepy, exciting, spellbinding and magical book for young readers (or for anyone who enjoys a good tale, frankly) The Graveyard Book has won the much coveted Newbery Award!


Here is Neil's reaction to the news.