Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekly Words: Cicero

Friday, August 28, 2015

Post-Harry Potter Revelations from Pottermore

Mental Floss has a list of fifteen post-Harry Poter revelations from Pottermore, and they're all worth reading, but for brevity's sake I just included my top five here.  Are you on Pottermore?  What do you think about it?  I am (go Ravenclaw!) and I love the little extra tidbits of information Rowling has revealed there, but I am not one for potions or duels or anything like that.  Still, I think it's a fun website, even if it isn't something I regularly spend a lot of time on.  Anyway, here are my favorites from the Mental Floss list of revelations:

 

5. DRACO MALFOY WAS RAISED TO BELIEVE HARRY WAS A GREAT DARK WIZARD.

One of many theories that went around after Harry survived Voldemort’s curse was that The Boy Who Lived was actually a great Dark wizard—and it was this theory that Lucius Malfoy, Draco’s father, clung to. “It was comforting to think that he, Lucius, might be in for a second chance of world domination, should this Potter boy prove to be another, and greater, pure-blood champion,” Rowling writes. Which is why Draco went out of his way to befriend Harry on the Hogwarts Express:
Harry’s refusal of Draco’s friendly overtures, and the fact that he had already formed allegiance to Ron Weasley, whose family is anathema to the Malfoys, turns Malfoy against him at once. Draco realised, correctly, that the wild hopes of the ex-Death Eaters – that Harry Potter was another, and better, Voldemort – are completely unfounded, and their mutual enmity is assured from that point.
Rowling also reveals that Draco could have had a very different last name; Smart, Spinks, or Spungen were all options.

4. LUCIUS MALFOY I WANTED TO MARRY A QUEEN.

It's not that surprising that a member of this ambitious and power-hungry would want to be royalty. “There is ample evidence to suggest that the first Lucius Malfoy was an unsuccessful aspirant to the hand of Elizabeth I, and some wizarding historians allege that the Queen's subsequent opposition to marriage was due to a jinx placed upon her by the thwarted Malfoy,” Rowling writes. This, of course, happened long before the Malfoys changed their tune on Muggles, and later, the scandalous story was “hotly denied by subsequent generations.”

3. SYBILL TRELAWNEY WAS MARRIED!

Unfortunately, it ended “in unforeseen rupture when she refused to adopt the surname ‘Higginbottom.’” Also fun: One of her hobbies is “sherry.”

2. CORNELIUS FUDGE GAVE HIMSELF THE WIZARDING WORLD’S TOP HONOR.

The Order of Merlin First Class is awarded for “‘acts of outstanding bravery or distinction’ in magic.” Dumbledore received the award—a gold medal on a green ribbon—for defeating the Dark Wizard Grindlewald, a decision everyone agreed with. But when Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, awarded it to himself for “a career that many considered less than distinguished,” there was “a good deal of muttering in the wizarding community.”

1. THE FIRST MEETING BETWEEN THE POTTERS AND THE DURSLEYS WAS A DISASTER.

Petunia had long hated being overshadowed by her witch sister, and her fiance and future husband, Vernon Dursley, hated all things that weren’t perfectly normal—so they were pretty much predisposed to hating all things magical. But it was the first meeting between the couple and Lily and James that really cemented that attitude:
James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronize James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom. Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold. Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.
Of course, no amends were ever made. Petunia didn’t ask Lily to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and, Rowling writes, “Vernon refused to speak to James at the reception, but described him, within James' earshot, as 'some kind of amateur magician.'” The couple didn’t attend James and Lily’s wedding, and the last letter Petunia received from the magical pair—Harry’s birth announcement—went in the trash.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: Cracked by Eliza Crewe


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Cracked by Eliza Crewe
Rating: 4.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it."


Review: WHERE HAS THIS BOOK BEEN ALL SUMMER??  I have been waiting and waiting for something this exciting, funny, and gripping to come along.  This was a case of the exact right book at the exact right time... but I kind of think that anytime would be the right time for this book.  It was a blast.

That being said, I didn't think I would love this book so much after the first chapter or two.  That opening scene is pretty gruesome (plus, I'm not a huge paranormal reader) and I was furrowing my brows a little bit, wondering what I had got myself into.  But I kept reading, and I am so glad I did.  I really had a great time with this story.  

Meda is a fantastic heroine.  She is sarcastic and honest and smart.  And she's constantly at war with herself.  Not in an angsty way, more in a "I don't know what the right decision is, and I'm not sure I care about right and wrong anyway" kind of way.  I liked that she sometimes struggled with her decisions, but once she made those decisions she stuck by them and moved forward.  No dawdling in the past for Meda.  Plus, she was really, really freaking funny.

I just have to give props to Ms. Crewe for avoiding all the annoying tropes found in so much of YA.  There was no manic pixie dream girl.  There was no brooding, secretive bad boy.  There was no love triangle.  The characters felt layered, not because they were contrived to be so, but because they felt real.

One other thing that really stuck out to me was the dialogue.  First of all, there is a lot of dialogue, which I really like because it allows me to really get a feel for all the characters, not just our protagonist.  Secondly, each of those characters had their own distinct voices.  I felt like I could guess whose line I was reading without any context, just by the word choice and grammar, you know what I mean?  It was really refreshing.

The plot was so entertaining.  There were so many interesting surprises that I just stopped guessing what would happen next and enjoyed the ride.  And that plot, while pretty large, really centered around a small handful of people.  All of whom I adored.  I loved the friendship theme.  I loved Meda and Jo's relationship, in particular.  I loved watching Meda grow.  I loved how this book had a clear ending, while still leaving space for the sequels to expand.  Pretty much, I loved this book and will definitely be reading the next two in the series ASAP.  (Because I don't have to wait to read them - they're all out now!)

Review in a GIF:
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Bottom Line: Gripping, funny, exhilarating, and everything else you'd want in a YA book.  Please read this book so that I have someone to talk about it with!  (Why is this series not more popular?!?)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book-to-Film: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli


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From Variety:

Catherine Hardwicke is on board to direct an adaptation of the bestselling YA novel “Stargirl.”
Kristin Hahn adapted Jerry Spinelli’s book and will produce the film, along with Gotham Group and BCDF Pictures. BCDF is financing the movie with plans for a fall production start date.
Hardwicke was quick to sign on for the project after reading Hahn’s script, sources tell Variety.
First published in 2000 by Random House, the critically acclaimed story follows a homeschooled teen who enrolls in an Arizona high school, altering the ecosystem of the student body with her nonconformity.
“This is one of those stories and characters that stir your imagination and steal your heart and just stick with you forever. I am thrilled to have the chance to adapt this beloved novel and I can’t imagine anyone more uniquely equipped to bring this story to life than Catherine Hardwicke, a Stargirl in her own right,” Hahn said.

Have you read Stargirl?  I read it as a young teen, and I actually remember this book a lot better than I remember most other books I read that long ago.  It's one that stays with you, even though it's so short.  I'm curious about this adaptation, and would probably be interested in seeing it.  But I'll wait until the trailer is released before deciding for sure.  What about you?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Worldbuilding 101

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Worldbuilding 101

One of the reasons I read is to explore a world that doesn't exist.  It's a wonderful exercise for the imagination, not to mention it can be a total blast.  One of the jobs of the author is to make the world their story is set in feel real.  Luckily, a good chunk of authors have succeeded tremendously in that task.  Here are ten books that would be on my syllabus if I taught a class devoted solely to excellent worldbuilding:



The best fictional places not only feel real, they are like a character themselves in the book.  Such is Hogwarts - magic castle with enchanted portraits, moving staircases, and more than one secret in its stone walls.

9. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Chima does such a great job illustrating the various belief systems, economies, myths, and values of the various cultures in this book.  Even better, she shows how those cultures clash with each other in ways that increase contention and stakes in the story, without it being clear who is right and who is wrong.  These cultures are fictional, but I think reality functions a lot like how she paints it.

8. Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
I had to fight the urge to make every bullet on this list a Sharon Shinn book.  Her worldbuilding is exceptional in every book of hers I've read.  It's almost jarring to realize that these worlds aren't real.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I actually didn't love The Night Circus as a whole, but the worldbuilding in this book is dope.  What I wouldn't give to have an enchanted circus really feel like this.

6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
This classic dystopia shows the starkness and the simple brutality of a life without love through the setting.  The world is cold and (in this case, literally) without color.

5. The Children of Men by P.D. James
This isn't a fictional world, but it's still not ours.  James amazes me with how she uses the overgrown wildlife creeping into civilization to symbolize the decay of the human race.

4. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
This world is about as creepy as it gets.  The way Atwood writes, this world feels so real, and so possible, that it's absolutely terrifying.

3. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
This series takes the cake for being about as complicated as it is possible to be while still being accessible.  (Though I'm afraid I will have forgotten all the nuances between the various places by the time he finally finishes the next book.)  (Honestly, though, that is a very real fear of mine.)

2. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
This book is just enchanting.  It's a fantasy, but it feels more like a historical fiction.  The fantasy element is so finely weaved throughout the story that it just feels logical that Scottish trees are magic, etc.

1. Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
One word: Slaughterhouse.  Ms. Fine is a genius for selecting that particular setting for her book.


Do you agree with my choices?  What would you add?  What book contains the most impressive worldbuilding that you've ever read?  (Besides Harry Potter, of course, because duh.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekly Words: Edmund Wilson

Friday, August 21, 2015

Feature Friday: How Much Would a Sandwich Cost You in Westeros? And Other Important Questions.

This post was brilliant.  I'll let it speak for itself.  Enjoy!


Money makes the world go roundEver wondered how much a sandwich would cost you in Westeros? Or how much a pint would set you back in the leaky cauldron? Well now you can find out with our handy infographic! We have looked at some of the most interesting and famous examples of fictitious currencies in films, tv, games and literature. Not just to find out some interesting facts about them but to compare the currency with that of the pound and the dollar. We did this by taking prices of items in the fictional world and comparing it with the real world equivalent price, which then allowed us to come up with the exchange rate. There is a long history of fictional currencies, with writers finding different and imaginative ways to create a currency in their created world, and it isn’t necessarily always monetary based. For instance, in the world of George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ there are different measures of wealth, in some cities it is based on how many slaves you own rather than coins, in others it is an honor system. In games there are all sorts of weird and wonderful currencies. Anyone who has played Fallout knows the satisfaction of drinking a Nuka-Cola and collecting a bottle cap, which is one of the main currencies in the game. Who wouldn’t want a drink that turns into money, even if it does give you a little radiation with it! So next time you are down at your local supermarket why not confuse the staff by asking for price confirmation of the gammon in Gils, the salmon in Solari and the clams in… well, Clams. We hope you enjoy our infographic and find it useful next time you’re shopping in the fictional world. 

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon


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Entwined by Heather Dixon
Rating: 3.75 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late."

Review: I finally read this retelling of the twelve dancing princesses fairytale because it's Utah Book Month and Heather Dixon is a local author!  All hail Utah Book Month.  Glad to be supporting it.

Anyway, this fairytale was my favorite as a girl.  I loved the idea of there being secret passages in ancient magical castles that hold midnight balls.  I mean, really, is there anything more romantic to a young girl?  And although I've always loved that fairytale, I haven't read any retellings of it - until now.

So now that I have, my gut reaction is primarily nostalgia for this fairytale.  This story stuck pretty true to its source material.  There are some deviations from the fairytale I grew up with, but the basic premise is very recognizable.  This was both a good thing and a bad thing.  It was good (for me, anyway) because I really like the source material.  But it was bad because it made the story a bit too predictable.  I was hoping for a little more guesswork to be required on the reader's part.  Okay, there were a few things that surprised me, but those surprises mostly surrounded the protagonist's sisters, and didn't have anything to do with the main plot.  

One thing that really surprised me was how young the twelve dancing princesses were.  The oldest princess was sixteen at the book's inception, and the youngest was a newborn.  Maybe I'm just too old, but I had a really hard time imagining toddlers sneaking out to dance these elaborate dances in the middle of the night, every single night.  Firstly, because the dances are pretty detailed, and small kids would not have the attention span nor the coordination to master them.  But more importantly, they're just kids.  Out for hours every night.  I mean, have you ever met a sleep-deprived toddler?  It's not a pretty sight.  Teenagers, I could believe.  But all those younger girls... I call their bluff.  Maybe it's because I am a mother to a toddler, but I found that whole idea to be pretty insane unbelievable.  

But, despite the age of the sisters, and despite some really, really heavy handed dancing metaphors, it was still a fun read.  I loved reliving this fairytale, loved watching this family become happy once again, and felt content at its conclusion.  Fairytale readers, especially younger fairytale readers, should like this retelling quite a lot.

Review in a GIF:

So You Think You Can Dance animated GIF

Bottom Line: A decent retelling with satisfying moments throughout.  I think this story would be a great fit for young romantics, especially if they have a penchant for dance.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book-to-Film: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson


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From EW:

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are getting back together.

The director/actor duo are teaming up again for Paramount’s adaptation of Erik Larson’s 2003 book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and the Madness at the Fair that Changed America, EW has confirmed. Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) is writing the script, and DiCaprio will play Dr. H. H. Holmes, a serial killer whom Deadline — which first reported the news— describes as “the 19th-century equivalent of Hannibal Lecter.”

The book is based on the true story of Holmes, the man behind the “Murder Castle” at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He ultimately confessed to murdering 27 people, and may have killed as many as 200.

The Devil in the White City has been in development for a long time.Tom Cruise first acquired the rights to the book in 2003, at which time DiCaprio said he was developing his own version of Holmes’ case. According to Variety, Paramount re-acquired the rights in 2007.

This marks DiCaprio and Scorsese’s first project together since 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Their other films include ​Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, and Shutter Island​.

Have you read The Devil in the White City?  Are you familiar with the events surrounding H.H. Holmes, the serial killer from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair?  Personally, I think DiCaprio is an excellent casting choice.  Do you agree?  Are you interested in this production?  Tell me your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Top Ten Auto-buy Authors

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

My Top Ten Auto-buy Authors

I just told you all that my list of auto-read authors is very small, and now here I am making a list of ten of them.  What I said before is true, there are very few authors who I will automatically buy and read, no matter what they produce.  So, in order to make this list, I extended that definition to include any author who I will automatically consider reading.  It's an important difference, because even the Rainbow Rowells of the world have books out that I'm not all that interested in reading.  But I've at least looked into and considered reading all her books, so she's on the list.  You get my drift?  Yes?  Okay!  Here's my list:

10. Rainbow Rowell
I told you she was on this list, despite the fact that I have no interest whatsoever in reading Eleanor & Park.

9. Liane Moriarty
I haven't looooooved everything she's ever written, but she writes with such humor and insight that I can't help but admire her.  And want to read all her books.

8. Agatha Christie
Basically any conversation I have about her books end up with me checking them out from the library.  I think I'll have her entire cannon read by the time I die.

7. C.S. Lewis
He's written too many classics for me to ignore anything he writes.

6. Jhumpa Lahiri
Ms. Lahiri is sensational.  Reading her work is always a good idea.

5. Benjamin Alire Saenz
I've only ever read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, but that was enough.  He's on my auto-consider list now.

4. Sharon Shinn
Though I prefer her YA work over her adult novels, she's still someone I will always seriously consider reading.  Something about her writing just really resonates with me.

3. Leif Enger
Peace Like A River is one of my all time favorites, so I feel like I owe it to him to at least consider reading anything he produces.

2. Sarah J. Maas
Ms. Maas fits the original definition of this prompt - I will read anything she writes.  Anything.  No questions asked.

1. J.K. Rowling
Ms. Rowling is the other author who fits the original definition of this prompt.  It doesn't matter how different her new work is from the Potter novels.  I can't help it, I will always adore her.

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Do you have an auto-buy list of authors?  Is it just me who actually only has very few people on that list??

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekly Words: Lloyd Alexander

Friday, August 14, 2015

Utah Book Month - Week 2: Utah Authors



Our focus last week was on Utah-based book bloggers; this week we're all about Utah authors.

Thinking of Utah authors automatically makes me think of Shannon Hale.  Homegirl has written some really fantastic novels, and I recently discovered that she's one of my most-read authors of all time.  So today, in honor of Utah Book Month, I'll be highlighting a few standouts from Hale's impressive collection of published work.  (If you'd like to see a full list of her work, you can check it out on Goodreads by clicking here.)

One of the best things about Shannon Hale is that she is so adventurous in her writing.  She doesn't stick to one genre, or one type of protagonist.  She has written series and standalones.  She has graphic novels and traditional novels.  She has a following amongst Middle Grade readers, YA readers, and adult readers, since she has published novels in every field.  Basically, Shannon Hale is awesome.


Of her Middle Grade novels, I've read her Princess Academy series, Book of a Thousand Days, and The Storybook of Legends.  All of them were absolutely delightful, but, to me, the first Princess Academy book was especially lovely.  One of the themes that often comes across in her MG novels is friendship, loyalty, and bravery.  Those aren't themes that I ever tire of, but I find them to be especially important in MG novels, since kids are just learning what it means to be a good friend, and to stand up for what they believe in.  Hale's Books of Bayern series are pretty highly acclaimed, and I'm looking forward to reading those next time I need a Hale fix. 

YA isn't Hale's most widely published genre, but I did read and love her book Dangerous that came out within the past couple of years.  Hale really seems to understand that while plotting and action are important elements in YA, what really matters is that you care about the characters.  She writes each character - both the good guys and the bad guys and the grey guys - with such finesse that you feel like you know them personally.  It can be quite jarring to consider that these people are fictional.  But that's just a sign of a great writer.  Dangerous is compelling, not just because it's wildly inventive science fiction, but because you care about the characters involved in this suspenseful, action-filled world.

Having said all this, it's actually Hale's books that are written for adults that are my favorites.  The first Hale novel I ever read was The Actor and the Housewife.  My little sister would kill me if I didn't also mention Austenland, which is not only a wonderful book and a hilarious film, but has an even better sequel, Midnight in Austenland.  I'm not sure when Hale will release another book for adults, but you can bet that whenever that day comes, I'll have that book pre-ordered the moment I hear about it.

Between her books and her blog, Hale has provided me with hours and hours of thoughtful writing and warmth and laughter.  I will absolutely be introducing my kids to Ms. Hale's work as soon as they're old enough to enjoy it.  Probably starting with The Princess in Black.  Thanks, Ms. Hale, for writing and representing the Utah book scene with such humor and talent and finesse.  Readers everywhere are better off because of you!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman


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The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Rating: 2 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians, the prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician's Land, is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price."

Review: I'd heard that this book was polarizing, but after the first hundred pages I thought I was going to land on the side with those who loved it.  Secret schools of magic, precocious magicians, suspicious professors, and a lurking evil that no one really seems to understand... it felt like the perfect book for me.  I was enjoying the atmosphere and getting to know the characters, and looking forward to what adventures lay in store.

So no one is as surprised as I am that I ended up disliking this book.  In fact, I nearly stopped reading after 250 pages because, although I was curious in this world, there was no plot.  Let me say that a little louder: There was NO PLOT.  At all.  I had nothing to look forward to, and no reason to keep reading.  I didn't mind Quentin's relentless existentialism, and I didn't mind reading through the mind of someone who clearly had some untreated mental illness issues.  (Most notably depression, though I suspect some narcissism as well.)  

But Quentin's dissatisfaction with every aspect of his life got to me after a while.  I know many people who struggle feeling content, and so it wasn't his depression that bothered me.  It was more his lack of awareness of his own depression that was bothersome.  Maybe his antipathy just rubbed off on me, but by the time a plot finally arrived (300 pages later) I just didn't care anymore.  

There was a lot of mature content in this novel: drugs, alcoholism, and sex were all pursued in the quest to feel something, but of course none of it worked.  The good parts of life (beauty, justice, friendship, love, etc.) were available around him, but Quentin failed to see them because he was too busy chasing false highs.  And, an astonishing number of other characters also failed to see them.  It made me feel weary.

In the end, I was so relieved to be done with this book.  I came away feeling very disillusioned, and in need of cupcakes and kittens to renew my faith in life.

(I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 because, although I did not enjoy the book, I am a big enough person to admit that it was written very well.  Mr. Grossman is a very talented writer.  I just wish his work had a little more hope in it.)

Review in a GIF:
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Bottom Line: Read if you feel like drowning in a grim and relentless pool of depression.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book-to-Film: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion


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From Book Riot:

Jennifer Lawrence will be playing Rosie Jarman in the film adaptation of Graeme Simsion’s novel The Rosie Project. Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, who worked together on (500) Days of Summer, have written the screenplay. Richard Linklater, who is best known for working on the film Boyhood, is currently rumored to be directing the film. The story follows a young man who designs the Wife Project, which is a 16-page survey to find his perfect partner.

I actually haven't read The Rosie Project, but I've heard a lot of wonderful things about it.  The positive reviews combined with Jennifer Lawrence as the star of the adaptation makes me think I should read this sooner rather than later.  

What do you think?  Are you excited about this?  Have you read The Rosie Project?  Do you think Jennifer Lawrence was a good casting choice?  (I know what you're thinking, how could Jennifer Lawrence ever be anything but a good casting choice, right??)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Authors From Whom I've Read The Most Books

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Authors From Whom I've Read The Most Books

If this sounds familiar, it's because we've already done the prompt asking to list the top ten authors from whom we OWN the most books. So, this is a little different. Especially considering that list contained a few authors from whom I actually haven't read that much, despite owning multiple copies of their work.

The results of this list actually surprised me, too.  It turns out, I'm a pretty unconstrained reader when it comes to authors.  I have my set of authors that I know I like and will read anything from, but that list is smaller than you might think.  (It's basically J.K. Rowling and Sarah J. Maas and Liane Moriarty.  The End.)  Looking over my books read this year so far, 75% of those books were by new-to-me authors.  So, clearly, I am not picky about authorship.  This means I get to read widely from a large number of voices.  It also means I was extremely surprised to find that some of my favorite authors (AHEM, Liane Moriarty) didn't make this list.  Here's who did:

10. Sharon Shinn (4)
This is about to become five books read by Sharon Shinn, since the third book in her Elemental Blessings series is due to come out soon.  GIMMEEEE.

9. Roald Dahl (4)
This number actually surprised me; I expected it to be much higher.  I guess I was counting the number of times I reread Matilda and James and the Giant Peach growing up in my tally.

8. Shel Silverstein (4)
And I didn't really like any of them, besides the wonderfully weird Where the Sidewalk Ends.

7. Sarah J. Maas (4)
After A Court of Thorns and Roses, I will read anything Maas writes.  The only reason this number is at four is because she has only produced four books.  (That is about to change, though.  Queen of Shadows, I will devour you.)

6. George R.R. Martin (5)
Curse Martin's slow writing pace.  Curse it.  I'll be 80 years old by the time he finishes his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

5. Mo Willems (8)
They're all children's books, but the sheer number of times I have read them to my daughter qualifies his name on this list.

4. Shannon Hale (9)
I didn't realize I had read this many of her books, but I have!  Luckily for me, there are still a number of her books out there that I haven't read yet.

3. J.K. Rowling (11)
The Harry Potter Series, Both Cormoran Strike Novels, The Casual Vacancy, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard are all exceptional novels.  There's a reason Ms. Rowling is referred to as "the Queen" in the book world.  (Her third Cormoran Strike novel is coming out so soon!  Can't wait!!)

2. Agatha Christie (12)
That woman was one incredible mystery writer.  She's still my go-to when I'm looking for audiobooks to accompany me on road trips.

1. William Shakespeare (13)
I've read a lot of Shakespeare over the years: various plays (many read more than once) and books of sonnets, including two full blown anthologies.  I blame grad school.


What authors have you read the most books from?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weekly Words: Thomas Wharton

Quotes About Books - Book Quotes - Country Living

Friday, August 7, 2015

Feature Friday: Alternative Book Covers

Some covers are so iconic, it's hard to imagine a book with any other image representing it.  So I loved this article, simply because it suggested alternate images to go with classic novels.  It makes me wonder, do these cover images make you more or less interested in these books?  How much does a cover image determine whether or not you read something?  I have freely admitted that cover images can do a lot to sway me one way or another.  Are you the same way?  What do you think of these alternate book covers?  Tell me your thoughts!

From Spears:


george orwell 1984
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Image credit: Ben Jones www.benjonesillustration.com

The Catcher in the Rye
catcher in the rye
Image credit: Beth Elaine Austin www.bethaustinillustration.com

The Curious Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
dr jekyll
Image credit: Jason Edmiston www.jasonedmiston.com

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
the lion the witch and the wardrobe
Image credit: Rowan Stocks-Moore www.rowansm.tumblr.com

The Origin of Species
origin of species
Image credit: Delicious Design League www.deliciousdesignleague.com

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
one flew over the cuckoo's nest
Image credit: AJ Hateley www.aj-hateley.tumblr.com

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
the wonderful wizard of oz
Image credit: Paul Bartlett www.pjbart.com 

The Twits
the twits
Image credit: Craig Munro www.craigmunro.co.uk