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?)