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