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atlargeintheworld talks books, food and farming while attempting 75 in 2012 (#2)

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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1leahbird
Edited: Mar 12, 2012, 8:21pm Top

Yay! I made it to a second thread! You do love me, you really do! ;)

It's March now, so things will be picking up around the farm and I'm so excited. I hate winter. It's just boring and blah. Now the hens are starting to try to go broody (wanting to sit on a nest) which means I can start planning for new chicks. Round 2 of piggy breeding. Getting ready for planting. And the not-so-far-away dreams of swimming time again! There is nothing I like more on a hot afternoon than a dip in the lake. And reading of course.

Here's some gratuitous happy pig!


And a picture from this time last year, but it's too cute not to share. That's Addy petting her first calf with my sister (her mom) and my brother.


“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”― Louisa May Alcott
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."― Cicero





*Note: Descriptions are not mine, but mined from LT or other sources. Thoughts are all me.

2leahbird
Edited: Mar 12, 2012, 1:14pm Top

20. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Description: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Thoughts: I don't even know how to described how much I really loved this book. It was so lyrical and atmospheric. The main character here really is the circus itself, which sounds absolutely amazing and mysterious. The stories of the lives that come into contact with the circus are fascinating, not least in the ways that the circus wraps around their lives and alters them forever. From Celia and Marco to Widget and Poppet to Tara Burgess and Friedrich, the characters in this are rich but often shrouded in mystery and misdirection. But the important thing is really how the circus seems to shape their lives even as they manipulate and impact the circus.

I really can't believe that this is a debut novel. It it so well constructed and balanced. I usually don't like nonlinear plots, but this one works perfectly (you do need to pay attention to the dates in the chapter headings towards the end to keep it straight). The writing, especially the circus descriptions, is so beautiful. I can't wait to see what else Morgenstern has to deliver!

5 stars

3UnrulySun
Mar 12, 2012, 6:37pm Top

Well hello there, nice new fresh thread!

You know, I keep reading about The Night Circus, but I still haven't been pulled in. It reminds me a lot of several movies I didn't really care for. I do hold out hope that one day, when I finally do read it, it will surprise me. :)

4foggidawn
Mar 12, 2012, 6:38pm Top

I love The Night Circus, too!

5leahbird
Edited: Mar 12, 2012, 8:19pm Top

I added some pictures above to get me in the mood for spring! Not that I need much pushing in that direction.

In other news, I've got an ebook from the library that I really should read and return, but I'm having to psych myself up to read it. A few years ago, I was crashing with a friend in Texas during a short term job placement. Since I was only going to be there 4 months, I didn't take my books with me. And I couldn't get a library card because I didn't really have an address. And I was broke at the time since I was working for next to nothing (because the job was awesome). Anyway, that left me basically reading whatever my friend had around her apartment. She's a reader, but we don't always have the same tastes in books, so it was a bit hit or miss.

She finally forced the Inheritance Cycle books on me. I wasn't thrilled because these were a bit too high fantasy for my tastes and they are LONG as hell. But I was pretty much down to that or Twilight and I wasn't going THERE again, so I gave in. I read the 3 books that were published at the time. I didn't outright HATE them, but I wasn't overly fond of them either. They were just too... much for me in a lot of instances and a LOT too little for me in others. I was impressed that Paolini found a publisher so young, but I also saw the many places that his age showed in his writing.

Anyway, fast forward to now, and the last book (it is the last right?), Inheritance is out. I feel like I should read it just to finish it off. I mean, what's one book, right? But the greater part of me sees the mountains of books I really do want to read and wonders why I'm making the effort. Shouldn't I just send it back into the queue so some fan could read it? Blah, I don't know.

For the immediate future, it's been trumped by the fact that The Parasol Protectorate Vol 2 came in the mail today... so I'm going straight for that.

6ronincats
Mar 12, 2012, 8:37pm Top

I'm thrilled that you responded to The Night Circus just as I did--I too marveled at the construction and balance of the the novel. And I only made it through the first two books of the Inheritance Cycle and thoroughly conclude with you about the quality of writing. Have lots of fun with the last two books of the Parasol Protectorate. And I loved the animal pictures!

7dk_phoenix
Mar 13, 2012, 8:52am Top

I figure... unless you're so curious about how the series ends that you can't stand it, leave the book and go on to something you really want to read. If your curiosity overwhelms you in future, indulge it, but why waste time on something you know you might be underwhelmed by?

Love the pics at the top!

8leahbird
Mar 13, 2012, 12:58pm Top

It's become an annual tradition now for a bunch of my friends and me to get all dorkily excited about the Ultimate Southern Food Bracket. It functions like a sports tournament (in March none-the-less) and since I hate sports it's a fun thing to do. Go check it out and vote for your favorites!

9norabelle414
Mar 13, 2012, 1:08pm Top

Oh my goodness, that is amazing. Way more interesting than basketball teams!

10leahbird
Mar 14, 2012, 8:55pm Top

Got rather annoying news today that my grandparents are cutting their vacation short and coming home this weekend. That means, we've got to fit a week's worth of cleaning into 3 days... which might just kill me. We've managed to clear 2/3 of the rooms and it's mostly just furniture left to move at this point, but I would really love to have the time to not rush. We were going to have a yard sale and put the money towards painting and setting up the house, but now we don't have time. Everything will just go to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity (tax deductions are almost as good as cash, right?). Because, god knows, if Granddad gets his hands on this stuff, he'll have it hidden somewhere in a heartbeat. Luckily, we've already gotten rid of all the trash and things that couldn't be saved or donated because of condition (except for the 8 million mattresses) so even if we don't get the rest of the donation stuff cleared out, he can't horde pure junk.

I did about loose it today when I picked up a bag of stuffed animals and felt something slimy on my hand. It was OLD cat pee and it had basically been sitting there fermenting, just waiting for me. The smell was so awful I about lost my lunch right then and there. But, I soldiered through and can proudly say that we got that room totally cleaned out. Thanks to a well placed window, I could convince myself I was having fun flinging crap out a second story window!

To brighten the mood, here's a great little short with Sylvia Whitman, owner of Shakespeare and Co in Paris, talking about her dad, George, and what books (and writers) have meant to her life.

Sylvia Whitman

11beserene
Mar 14, 2012, 10:20pm Top

I am totally with you about The Night Circus! I too was surprised that it was a debut, given its level of craftsmanship, but my understanding is she worked on it for a long time. That was a good thing, obviously. :)

And ditch the last Paolini, I say (not that you need me to say, I just like to). I only got through the first one, couldn't manage more than a snippet of the second, but I still feel justified in suggesting that you allow yourself to look at better stuff. Life is too short for second-rate books.

(Also, from what I hear, he only wrote it for the money, so chances are it isn't good even by those lower standards.)

12leahbird
Mar 17, 2012, 12:29am Top

Rd 2 of the Ultimate Southern Food Bracket started today. I CAN'T believe that deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes went out in the FIRST round! It just isn't to be tolerated, especially since deviled eggs were shamefully beaten by pimento cheese. PIMENTO CHEESE, I say!

I guess it's a good thing that I've been brow beaten by allergies all day and was already feeling lousy and defeated or this really might have ruined my day.

13PaulCranswick
Mar 17, 2012, 1:21am Top

Leah - love the photos at the top of your thread - your brother looks like Dwight Yoakam with a calf in lieu of a guitar! Cute niece for sure. Belated congrats on your second thread and thanks for a great and positive review for The Night Circus - must get to that soon. Have a lovely weekend.

14leahbird
Mar 17, 2012, 1:23am Top

21. Heartless by Gail Garriger


Description: Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

22. Timeless by Gail Carriger


Description: Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

Thoughts: I will first warn all readers that, from this point on, there are going to be plenty of spoilers. So, if you haven't read Heartless or Timeless and would prefer to not have them spoiled, then STOP HERE. You were warned.

I dove into these last 2 books with great anticipation of more daring do and irresistible humor. It's there, of course, but for some reason it just couldn't hold my attention as well this time. In all honesty, I didn't enjoy or appreciate some of the directions that Carriger takes the series as it ends. I mean, it was easier to accept Felicity as a genuine Suffragette than it was to believe the crazy story of Countess Nadasdy kidnapping Quesnel (especially since the hives have rules against turning people with families to avoid messy situations just as those) and that Madame Lefoux's only option was a rampage through London and environs in a giant metal octopus, at the conclusion of which she's almost killed Alexia (a couple times over) and lost the pack their home... WHICH SEEMS INSANE! Madame Lefoux is nothing if not subtle, except perhaps in her attraction to Alexia, and it's the subtlety that I loved about her: the perfect yet restrained men's fashion, the cleverly hidden aspects of Alexia's parasol, the inventor's lab disguised by a hat shop. Where is that subtlety in a 2 story rampaging octopus, may I ask? Now, if Carriger was really determined that Madame Lefoux play villainesse, why in the world didn't she come up with something that actually rang true to the woman? Madame Lefoux surely could have come up with a myriad of clever ways to achieve her goals that DIDN'T involve such an absurd situation...

And it was very unlike Alexia to fail to realize that inviting the Mayfair Hive into Woolsey would be more than a kind gesture while they regrouped. It felt awfully lazy of Carriger to brush this off so easily and blame it on Alexia's baby brain- that smacks of something a man would have written. I just did not approve.

And the preposterous living arrangements... well, that really boggled the mind. Why in the world couldn't they just add a hidden door between the two houses? Madame Lefoux probably could have done a bang up job and perhaps have been kept out of the octopus making business in the process. I mean, if you are trying to hide the fact that you are secretly planning on raising the child you actually adopted out, then it's probably a better idea to have a bedroom in your own home rather than a closet that necessitates a gang plank. But that's just a thought. I mean, really, adjoining houses just SCREAM for a hidden door, do they not?

Oh, and my dear Prof. Lyall in the role of Agent Doom? Seriously. This is just absurd.

And then Timeless. Well, I did compare Alexia to Amelia Peabody, but that idea seems to be taken a mite too far when Alexia et al up and pop off to Egypt! Luxor AND mummies? I expected Emerson to show up any moment to run the "tourists" off his excavation site.

The highlight of Timeless was undoubtedly Biffy. Shining little star, although he's been that for quite a while now. And thank god he and Lyall finally got together because once I figured out that Ivy and Lyall weren't... suited for each other, I decided Biffy and Lyall would make an excellent couple. Now, the stupid "I have to leave you to go off to Scotland" thing was infuriating, but whatever. At that point, I just had to go with it.

So many parts of Timeless felt totally off kilter to me. Floote was a wanton assassin of werewolves? I mean, we knew he was a secret badass, but he loves Alexia and the knowledge of her discomfort at such a thing should have been enough to stop him from following through, right? It broke my heart to see him go bad, even if it wasn't for his own selfish reasons but on orders from Alexia's father.

But anyway, I kept muddling through, thinking "Ok, this has gotten ridiculous and characters are being tossed all over the place, but it's still a little exciting and funny, so I'll play along." And then.... then IVY TUNSTELL became a vampire hive queen?!?!?!? Excuse me? What book am I reading here? This just can't be happening! It was so ludicrous that I gave up trying to make sense of it from that point on.

For example, Goldenrod? I get that that was Lord Akeldama, but what did he have to do with Alexia's father, the God Breaker Plague, and the mysterious Drifters? How in the world could that just be left hanging? Unless that was a set up to The Parasol Protectorate Abroad series that Carriger is writing about Prudence? Which would be a dirty trick.

I just... well, I just don't know what to think, really. I had a lot of fun with the first 3 books, even the second one that was disappointing, but in more of a boring way than in a "this series has gone off the rails kind of way." But these last two felt like they had lost the thread a bit, that characters were being pushed in directions that didn't make that much sense for them, which left the plots feeling forced. I don't know. I hate that I wasn't as enamored as I wanted to be. Maybe that's really the biggest disappointment.

3.5 stars each

15leahbird
Mar 17, 2012, 1:25am Top

Thanks Paul! I'll tell my brother you said that and it will probably make his day!

Yes, The Night Circus is well worth a read. It's quite beautiful.

16Morphidae
Mar 17, 2012, 7:48am Top

I'm with you Timeless was okay but just didn't do it for me. All the humor was missing in addition to the other problems you mentioned.

17foggidawn
Mar 17, 2012, 9:11am Top

#12 -- I'd take deviled eggs over pimiento cheese any day.

18leahbird
Mar 17, 2012, 11:25am Top

foggi: You're telling me! I know a lot of people who like pimento cheese (my Mom loves it) but doesn't EVERYONE love deviled eggs? Like, in the whole world? ;) They are one of my favorite foods.

19foggidawn
Mar 17, 2012, 12:14pm Top

#18 -- Yeah, exactly! I usually bring deviled eggs to a potluck, and I have never had any leftovers to bring home. And, while I like the occasional pimiento cheese sandwich, I would take a deviled egg any day of the week.

20leahbird
Edited: Mar 17, 2012, 12:21pm Top

EVERY day of the week!

ETA: Perhaps I'm a bit partial, being an egg farmer...

21Morphidae
Mar 17, 2012, 1:49pm Top

Nope, don't like deviled eggs.

22leahbird
Edited: Mar 17, 2012, 6:36pm Top

Today was the last day of major work in our massive clean-out. And what a day it was! It's amazing how different it looks in the house now. I mean, there is floor and LOTS of open space and NO MORE DEAD RODENTS AND BIRDS!

Final tally:

2.5 dump trailer loads, including
  • 12 mattresses
  • innumerable bedspreads (of the bad hotel kind, mostly) and sheets (we deemed all soft surfaces unsalvageable due to rodent poop and mold)
  • 4 broken chairs
  • 2 broken end tables
  • at least 6 giant trash bags of children's toys that were so disgusting I could hardly pick the bags up (this is what was covered in the old cat pee...)
  • 2 broken vacuum cleaners
  • a wire and plaster human skeleton (well, all that was left was the torso and a leg) that my uncle made in high school 30 years ago
  • and I can't even remember what else, possibly because I've blocked it for fear of psychological scaring.
A major donation to Habitat for Humanity, including:
  • 5 bed frames
  • 12 end tables/night stands
  • 3 coffee tables
  • 2 chest of drawers
  • 8 assorted chairs
  • 3 sets of bifold closet doors
  • 3 doors (the doors were actually from my parent's house since they just replaced theirs)
  • 2 desks
  • 4 boxes of dishes, silverware, and cookware
  • 7 lamps
  • 2 full leg braces
  • 10 restaurant style coffee pots
  • an assortment of bad art
  • and ~15 decorative tins.
The stuff to recycle:
  • 3 boxes of glass
  • 4 bags of plastic
  • 27 cardboard boxes, ~18 of which are currently holding the paper/magazines/books that need to get recycled
  • 2 trash bags of GROCERY BAGS (so annoying)
  • and 8 bags of cans...
And the metal/electronics to sell for scrap (which is loaded up but we can't take until Monday morning and desperately hope he doesn't find before then):
  • 7 window air conditioner units (not functional) which were NOT in windows
  • 4 stereos and a multitude of speakers (not functional)
  • 3 satellite cable boxes (non-returnable)
  • 2 computer monitors (not functional)
  • 4 brass lamps (not functional)
  • assorted tractor blades (rusted)
  • 2 cast iron skillets (rusted)
  • 2 radiators (not functional)
  • one tv (not functional)
  • and the metal parts off a broken ping pong table.

So, what's left? Well, luckily, not much.
  • 4 bed frames to keep, 3 of which can be used in the house and one which will be going elsewhere
  • 2 more bed frames to get rid of which we couldn't fit in the trailer this time (hopefully they will go Monday as well)
  • 2 sofas that apparently were just put in there and we can recover
  • 4 end tables that were actually nice
  • 2 nice coffee tables
  • a kitchen table and 6 chairs that are fine but will hopefully be taken away by another family member because I HATE them
  • an UGLY chair that my sister has become enamored with and plans to recover, which will be gone within the month or I will dispose of against her will
  • a broken piano that has to go to the dump, but they will only take it in pieces and we haven't hacked it apart yet (it's too broken to fix because my BIL dropped it off a truck 2 years ago, which is sad because it WAS pretty)
  • an old green chalkboard (lovely)
  • a pool table we need to sell if we can
  • 10 crates of ugly dishes and glasses from an old restaurant that my uncle is supposedly selling to a reseller which, like the ugly chair, will go or I will chuck them (I mean, someone has to put their foot down at some point)
  • and, finally, 17 boxes of old law documents that APPARENTLY need to be sorted before they are shredded even though most of them are from the 90s. Again, my uncle claims he will go through them for my grandfather, but we'll see. I at least know where we can move them to in HIS house if they don't get dealt with in an orderly fashion, ie by the time I need to sand and refinish the floor in the room they are stored in.

And the plan is?
  • rip out old carpet that is covering lovely 130 year-old hardwood floors
  • rip out linoleum that is covering same (and hope the glue didn't ruin it)
  • test drywall for mold and replace whatever needs replacing
  • fix stairs
  • scrape the stupid popcorn ick off the ceiling
  • THOROUGHLY clean every single inch of the place
  • repaint everything
  • fix bathrooms
  • set it up as a nice guest house, office for wedding business, and small party location, eventually remodeling the kitchen to get licensed as a catering kitchen.
The last is what we've been talking about for years now and couldn't work towards because of granddad stonewalling us at every turn. But everyone in the family wants it. We've been working out of a tiny kitchen at our event location up by the lake but this would allow us to offer a LOT more than what we offer now, which is basically barbeque. Anything else we have to contract out and it's loosing us money. With a big, licensed kitchen, I can even sell baked goods to local restaurants and the market in town. Plus, finally do our own wedding cakes!

We just have to get through the next week without anyone getting killed...

A nice picture of the house looking clean in the snow, even though it was awful inside (this was from last winter). Sometimes I have to remind myself how pretty it is so I don't want to blow it up. ;) I'll get inside pics now that you can see through rooms.

23ronincats
Mar 17, 2012, 10:27pm Top

Congratulations on a BIG job well done! I am waiting with some trepidation to hear your grandfather's reaction, but it sounds very productive.

24kittenfish
Mar 18, 2012, 12:34am Top

Wow! What an undertaking! Sure sounds like you have it under control. Impressive!

best wishes

25leahbird
Mar 18, 2012, 12:38am Top

Thanks! We're all a bit nervous to see what he says too, but right now I feel like nothing he does or says can rob me of my sense of accomplishment! Now, the bacteria probably growing in my lungs is a whole other kettle of fish...

26PaulCranswick
Mar 18, 2012, 1:10am Top

Leah - what a busy bee! Don't blow the house up for heaven's sake!

27leahbird
Edited: Mar 18, 2012, 4:32pm Top

Ok, I lied above. We didn't take the recycling until today and I went up to get the stuff from my grandparents' house (which my grandmother actually asked me to take). Sooo... add to the above list:
  • 7 more bags of cans
  • 5 more bags of plastic
  • 5 more boxes of magazines
  • 6 more bags of newspaper
  • a bunch more cardboard
  • and 2 more trash bags of grocery bags
All of which was in the garage... There was more, but we ran out of room. How much recycling can one person hoarde? Why go so far as to sort it and bag it and then NEVER let it go? I will never understand this kind of thing.

28leahbird
Mar 19, 2012, 10:11pm Top

Roni, I just thought I'd let you know that we've all made it through the day unscathed. I was away most of the day doing a wedding consultation so I was very interested to hear what went down when I got back. My dad told Granddad last night that we'd done "some work" on the house while he was gone, but didn't go into details. Apparently Granddad stopped by the house at some point today and had a look around but didn't have much to say to anyone. Usually he would have called to make his displeasure known immediately, but he didn't. Dad was even up at the house twice today and he didn't say anything.

The only sign of any concern was when Tracy, our farmhand, went up to rake the leaves at their house. Granddad asked him what all he worked on while they were gone. Tracy, who is VERY uncomfortable with confrontation of any kind, hedged a bit and didn't mention the house, just the other things he was supposed to have gotten done. Granddad said "Anything else? Maybe anything you shouldn't have done? Like at the farmhouse?" Tracy said he just smiled and said he might have helped carry some heavy stuff. But he said Granddad didn't seem angry, just a bit irritated and curious. The thing he was the most concerned about was what we did with everything, but he was relieved to know that we donated and recycled so much.

So, it seems that everything's fine. Which is great. Now I wish we'd gotten to this sooner...

29ronincats
Mar 19, 2012, 11:47pm Top

That's very good news! I wonder what your grandmother thinks of it all?

30leahbird
Mar 20, 2012, 12:11am Top

She must be thrilled. The house (and the farm) were her father's before she and my Granddad bought it from him. The house is where her dad spent most of his childhood and she and her sisters spent summers in that house after they had kids (and my great-grandfather had moved away), so it has a lot of meaning for her. She's hated the state that it's been in for a long time, but my grandparents have a very traditional marriage and she would NEVER push him to do something. She has complained about it for a long time, but that's as far as she would take it. Which means that she just drops HEAVY hints to me and my mom since she knows we'll do it and that we can deal with him when he gets worked up.

31leahbird
Mar 20, 2012, 12:27am Top

A nice infographic from the Just Label It campaign.

32dk_phoenix
Mar 20, 2012, 8:59am Top

Thanks for sharing that graphic! Honestly, this should be a non-issue. It's ridiculous. We label everything else that's in our food, why not GMO/GEs???

33leahbird
Mar 20, 2012, 12:49pm Top

Exactly. The thing that boggles my mind the most is, if you are certain something is safe and you are proud of it as a product, why would you have a problem with labeling it?

34leahbird
Mar 20, 2012, 1:02pm Top

So, I'm a big fan of Christopher Moore (the first one on that author page). Some of his Pine Cove books got a bit too ridiculous for me, but in general I've really enjoyed everything he's written. My favorites are, pretty much in order of preference: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff (actually one of my favorite books full stop), Bloodsucking Fiends, Practical Demonkeeping, The Stupidest Angel, and A Dirty Job.

I liked Fool but I didn't love it, which probably had more to do with the source material than the book itself. I just get really frustrated reading King Lear and the good bits of Fool couldn't fix the annoying bits of King Lear.

But I have high hopes for this new book that's coming out in a few weeks, Sacre Bleu. A book about the color blue? Yes, please. A book about Van Gogh? Oh yes! Christopher Moore's dark humor and the Belle Epoch? Oui Oui!! Here's a preview with some sample chapters. To be honest, I stopped reading after the first sample because I don't want to ruin it for myself before I get it in my hands and can enjoy the whole thing. And I'm REALLY excited about the interludes full of factual information. The first one, about the church mandate that the cloak of the Virgin Mary had to be ultramarine blue, the most expensive medieval paint color, was GREAT! I never knew that's where the phrase Sacre Bleu came from! AND there is going to be a companion guide free of charge. Can't wait to see what gems are in it!

35kittenfish
Mar 20, 2012, 1:39pm Top

Yay!! I love Christopher Moore, too. Lamb was perfect! I really liked Coyote Blue in addition to the others you mentioned.

I'm really looking forward to his new novel as well.

Are you a fan of Tom Robbins?

36leahbird
Mar 20, 2012, 1:43pm Top

Surprisingly, I've not read anything by Tom Robbins. He's one of those authors that I'm familiar with and feel I should read, but nothing has just totally grabbed me and made me pick it up right then. One day...

37kittenfish
Mar 20, 2012, 1:46pm Top

If you enjoy Christoper Moore you'll love Tom Robbins. Still Life with Woodpecker is my favorite

38UnrulySun
Mar 20, 2012, 6:59pm Top

I absolutely love Christopher Moore but can't stand Tim Robbins! I tried a few times to like his books but I could never finish one.

Thanks for the heads up on the new book!

39PaulCranswick
Mar 20, 2012, 7:10pm Top

Leah - thanks for the graphic....there is a saying in England that you are what you eat....I am increasingly hoping that that is not indeed the case.

40leahbird
Mar 20, 2012, 7:30pm Top

Paul, if you are interested in that idea, I highly recommend watching the documentary King Corn. They have a bit about how much of the carbon in Western bodies can now be traced directly to corn... because it's in EVERYTHING. It was quite interesting and eye opening.

Although I would wager that you are a tad better off in this regard living in Asia. Maybe you'd be more rice and soy? ;)

41PaulCranswick
Mar 20, 2012, 7:36pm Top

Leah - my driver will not eat a meal if there is no rice included in the deal (still he is a curmudgeon at the best of times). Not sure that Malay food is particularly healthy as it uses a lot of santan (coconut milk in its preparation) but overall it is certainly more healthy than a corn based diet.

42leahbird
Edited: Mar 20, 2012, 11:33pm Top

While coconut milk does have a lot of fat, at least it's good fat and HIGHLY more nutritious than the ubiquitous "vegetable oil" used here. And, from my limited experience with Malay food- one of my best friends when I lived in New Zealand was from KL and a GREAT cook- Malay food is so damn yummy!

ETA: When I was trying to catch up on your million threads, I saw a reference to a holiday you were planning to Christchurch. That's one of my favorite places. If I ever move back to New Zealand and for some reason don't buy a farm, I'd probably move to Christchurch, earthquakes notwithstanding.

43dk_phoenix
Mar 21, 2012, 8:39am Top

Coconut milk... mmm... I can eat that kind of good fat all day... haha. I use it instead of regular dairy to make my ice creams. It tastes fantastic! I believe several decades ago there was a bit "coconut milk is fattening and terrible for you!" scare in the media and it's only recently started to climb back from the bad press. That may be why there's a prevailing "it's bad" mindset among the general population, even if only subconsciously.

I might watch that documentary as well. The more I learn about corn, the more I try to avoid it. One benefit is that I don't like the taste in the first place (unless, ahem, it's popped), but there are so many bloody by-products it's exhausting.

44leahbird
Mar 21, 2012, 11:43am Top

I LOVE corn, on the cob or off. I also love corn tortillas. And cornbread. I just don't want it in my: bread, cheese, condiments, chewing gum, waffles, coffee "creamer", canned fruits and vegetables, powdered sugar, ice cream, lunch meats, sweet pickles, and CERTAINLY not in my pet food (learned that lesson the HARD way). ;)

45PaulCranswick
Mar 21, 2012, 4:47pm Top

Leah / Faith - it is certainly true that Malay food is yummy and my adorable and presently happily snoring better half is a wonderful exponent of it.

46leahbird
Edited: Mar 21, 2012, 6:24pm Top

We got Coco the Wonder Pig moved to the new prego pig yard today! It was a LOT easier than I thought it would be, walking a 300 lb pig 1/2 a mile down the road. She didn't like the gravel but once we got past that, she was great. Only stopped once to try to dig up something that apparently smelled yummy. Did you know that pigs are often used to hunt truffles? I sure wish we had truffles around here because I'm sure the pigs could find them!

Anyway, she's all settled. Now I just have to keep a close eye for the next few days to make sure she doesn't find any weak spots in the fence. If all goes well, then I can move the other 2 pregnant sows into the yard. Coco is always our test subject because I hand raised her from 6 weeks old and she was the only pig we had until she was almost a year old, which means she is more like a big dog than anything. The other pigs I bought when they were a few months old and they are a bit wilder. They will come to me for food, but they don't particularly want to be petted and I don't think they'd follow me 1/2 a mile down a road... Coco just trots around behind me.

Here's a picture of me, Addy, and Coco in the new yard.


And then Addy told me "You go Le-La. This MY Coco, NOT your Coco!"

47leahbird
Mar 21, 2012, 7:25pm Top

It's MARMAGEDDON!!!!!

Marmageddon: New Zealand Runs Out of Unique Spread. Sorry, but this is the funniest news story I've heard in a LONG time. God I love the Kiwis!

"People have grown up with Marmite. It's an iconic New Zealand brand," van Heerden said. He's advising people to use their remaining supplies sparingly: for instance, by spreading Marmite on warm toast, so that it goes further, or on just one side of the bread in double sandwiches.

48leahbird
Edited: Mar 22, 2012, 1:46pm Top

23. The Thorn and The Blossom by Theodora Toss


Description: One enchanting romance. Two lovers keeping secrets. And a uniquely crafted book that binds their stories forever.

When Evelyn Morgan walked into the village bookstore, she didn’t know she would meet the love of her life. When Brendan Thorne handed her a medieval romance, he didn’t know it would change the course of his future. It was almost as if they were the cursed lovers in the old book itself . . .

The Thorn and the Blossom is a remarkable literary artifact: You can open the book in either direction to decide whether you’ll first read Brendan’s, or Evelyn’s account of the mysterious love affair. Choose a side, read it like a regular novel—and when you get to the end, you’ll find yourself at a whole new beginning.

Thoughts: The Thorn and The Blossom was quite charming but a bit underwhelming. I particularly enjoyed the story of the Green Man and how the lives (and loves) of Evelyn and Brendan are intertwined with it. Overall, the plot was nice even though the pacing is a bit strange (this book is quite short, even being read from two points of view). This was probably the source of my biggest complaints: because of the shortness of the story, so much that could have been quite beautiful was glossed over, rushed. When only the highlights are covered, a love story tends to feel shaky and pedestrian, when, with this material, it should feel the exact opposite. Some nice small moments would have bulked it up nicely, but they aren't there.

As to HOW to read this book, I actually read the accounts simultaneously- I started with Evelyn's side and read to the natural stopping place (which is fairly obvious), then I flipped over and read Brendan's account to that same point. I thought it was a nice way to keep the flow of the story going, although the repeated dialog was probably more noticeable than it would have been if I'd just read one account straight through. If you do decide to read one account and then the other, I'd probably suggest Evelyn's first as it seems to work as more of an introduction. I think that's generally how the publisher must have intended it as well since the author biography comes after Brendan's section.

3.5 stars

49dk_phoenix
Mar 22, 2012, 7:53am Top

Oh my gosh I want to give Coco a big hug...! I'd love to keep a pig (pot-bellied, not as practical as Coco I'm sure), but for whatever reason, they're illegal within city limits here (even though we have a nice, big yard that would be perfect). As are de-scented skunks. And hyenas. Umm, yeah, I'm assuming someone found that one out the hard way for it to be on the by-law list... o_O

50norabelle414
Mar 22, 2012, 8:44am Top

>49 dk_phoenix: Just build a tall fence and put a collar on it. No one will know.

51bluesalamanders
Mar 22, 2012, 12:01pm Top

33 atlargeintheworld - The thing that boggles my mind the most is, if you are certain something is safe and you are proud of it as a product, why would you have a problem with labeling it?

Their problem with labeling is not because of the food, it's because of people's misconceptions. I don't find it hard to understand at all. People who don't understand anything about GE/GMO foods will be illogically scared of anything labeled with that, just like people who don't understand that "organic" is a practically meaningless term are illogically reassured by it.

52leahbird
Mar 22, 2012, 1:08pm Top

#49 by dk_phoenix> It's probably because most people don't realize that pot-bellies get big, like the size of a large dog. And that they can be very destructive- they will dig up everything and chew on things and have been known to eat cats... A LOT of people who want them don't realize any of this and they end up giving the pigs up to shelters.

Plus, most towns and cities have ordinances against "livestock" of any kind and pot-bellies usually fall under than even though they aren't typically used as such. It's like with chickens: many people keep chickens as pet now, but most cities haven't changed their ordinances to allow them in city limits yet.

Here's some farmy goodness for the day


#51 by bluesalamanders> You have a point. There needs to be significant education on both sides because EVERYTHING has been co-opted in some way or another. You can see that in post previous post about "free-range eggs" which are hardly free-range. Then again, there are a lot of us that are LOGICALLY uncomfortable with GMOs. And, for or against, consumers should be able to make those decisions for themselves.

53UnrulySun
Mar 22, 2012, 3:07pm Top

I spy Mrs Summers! That's a great graphic.

I agree with the idea of labelling food. Let the consumer decide for themselves, even if sometimes they are making an uninformed decision. The focus should be on the spread of information. I'm sure manufacturers will be able to come up with a new euphemism for "genetically modified" that will set the people's minds at ease. ;)

On the flip side, it's sad how conditioned we are in general to believe whatever labels tell us. If only more people knew better how to read between the lines on food labels and in commercials and print ads, and understand what all the jargon really means. I'm naturally cynical enough to know that nothing is exactly what it seems, but I need to be more educated about food production too.

54dk_phoenix
Mar 23, 2012, 8:21am Top

Ahh, yes, the "no livestock within city limits" thing is what's in place here. Though, just last year there was a change made and we're allowed to keep chickens under certain conditions, but I don't know of anyone who has taken advantage of that yet. I would, but El Husbando used to have chickens when he was growing up and has apparently been tainted by the experience. "They're noisy and they stink," he says. Haha.

55leahbird
Mar 23, 2012, 6:32pm Top

I just got home from seeing The Hunger Games with my sister. I tried to pretend I hadn't read all the books so I could really judge how well they captured the story.

***Spoilers*** ***Spoilers*** ***LOTS of Spoilers***

I'm trying to be very objective. And trying to remember that movies can never encompass everything from a book. Or totally capture the mood and emotional journey. Honestly, I thought it was ok, but I didn't love it. It was a bit emotionally flat for me.

First, it starts with an excerpt from an interview Caesar Flickerman does with Seneca Cane... WTF? I don't remember Seneca even being mentioned by name in the first book. I was OK with the idea of retroactively including him in the movie, since it does provide a nice way to show the gamemakers at work given that we can't be inside Katniss's head speculating about what they are doing. But to START the movie with Flickerman and a GAMEMAKER felt really wrong to me.

The relationships between Katniss and her family and Gale are really quite flat. If you hadn't read the books you'd probably be really lost figuring out who exactly Gale is. And Primrose just came across as trembly and weak, where in the book she is a beautiful, pleasant natured girl who is the only person that can really make Katniss smile. You don't get that AT ALL from the movie.

You'd also be at a TOTAL loss understanding why anyone in District 12 cares about Katniss at all. You don't see her role in the community, you don't see her as a provider and a comrade. There's not even an indication that her hunting is illegal other than the fence. She's just some girl who goes out hunting one morning. So why do they salute her? It feels kind of empty.

Jennifer Lawrence was fine. She gave a good performance even if she was a bit... harder than Katniss of the book. The self doubt wasn't evident enough, but she was still good. Josh Hutcherson... I don't know. He just didn't seem like Peeta. He looked scared too much, where I felt Peeta in the book hid his emotions behind charm and humor so well. Except with Katniss of course. And, I'm sorry, it was just hard to picture this kinda short, not muscly guy throwing around hundred lb bags of flour. Again, the juxtaposition of a big, strong guy who's sensitive, funny, and not really prepared for the arena that is Peeta in the books was kind of what made him so intriguing. In the movie he just mostly looks small, lost, and scared. The guy who played Cato was physically EXACTLY how I had pictured Peeta.

Madge was totally cut. Instead, Katniss gets the pin in the market. I can understand why they needed to cut the cast down, but SO much is lost. The pin has no meaning for Katniss in the beginning other than the fact that it's a gift (her only one, remember?) from someone that loves her. The provenance of the pin, from Madge's aunt, has so much meaning later too. It's a shame that will all be lost.

Then, rather than the pin being her token, which every tribute is allowed, it's apparently contraband that Cinna sneaks in for her. This TOTALLY changes the significance. In the book, the beauty of the situation is how the Capitol repeatedly overlooks small things that they don't see as important (like the pin) but that, in the end, will come to haunt them and destroy them. It's a direct parallel to Katniss. Katniss is NOT a rebel at the start. Neither, really, is Cinna. He might be a tad inflammatory (hehe) and he definitely is no lover of the capitol, but something like sneaking a pin into the games is what he has to work up to. He finds himself in the lengths he's willing to go to to undermine the Capitol in Catching Fire, but he doesn't set out to do so. He does so in the second book because he loves Katniss. Another lost opportunity.

And I really didn't love this Cinna. I mean, Lenny was fine for what they apparently wanted Cinna to be, but he wasn't Cinna. I just don't approve of edgy rock n' roll Cinna. He's supposed to be more refined than that, graceful and caring but NOT edgy. He's the counterpoint for the other Capitol people, still a bit flash and a lover of beauty, but not vapid and callous and ridiculous. Here he's just totally different.

Once they are in the arena, things are handled fairly well for the most part. The deaths were glossed over which took a lot of the power out of it, but I get that. PG-13 was their target and they had to make it a little less of a blood bath to get there. There are too many close (close) ups and too much camera wobbling, but it's ok. The trouble starts with Rue. After the tracker jackers, Katniss wakes up with the leaves on her and Rue is pretty much just there. They have a VERY short conversation about the Careers and then sleep. Next morning they go about their plan to blow up the supplies. AND THAT'S IT! There is ABSOLUTELY NO relationship development. When she dies, it's sad because she's a child but it isn't emotionally gut wrenching. It means almost as little as the deaths of the nameless kids at the Cornucopia. It was probably the most disappointing moment of the whole film when it should have been the most emotional. It is THE SPARK for Katniss. She goes from wanting to win to get back to Prim to wanting to win to show the Capitol that the tributes lives, especially Rue's, are worth more than entertainment. And you just DON'T get any of that. I asked my sister (who didn't read the books) afterwards what she thought of that scene and what it meant for Katniss and all she could say was that it was sad because she was such a little girl. I mean, I only had a little tear in my eye and I'm a BIG crier. I boohooed reading that scene but it didn't carry over well.

From there, it lost the thread quite a bit. A riot in 11 rather than them sending Katniss bread, which should have been a BIG thing. I mean, it's NEVER been done. Haymitch giving the Gamemakers the idea to throw Katniss and Peeta together. Katniss and Peeta not really having much chemistry and only in the cave for one night. There was NO development of that relationship, where the lines between what Katniss is doing for the audience and what she feels are totally ignored. And Peeta just looks like a boob. He's supposed to be working the audience too but he's just a big starry-eyed, in pain boob. Thresh's death was a TOTAL toss away. It's supposed to be the moment when Katniss really loses it and needs Peeta to comfort her and convince her they will find a way through all the horribleness, but instead it's literally a flash of a picture on a screen and they move on.

And then, the muttations. Well, they were basically big Rottweilers rather than wolf-like creatures. And they weren't the tributes. I KNOW! Again, NO EMOTIONAL impact. They were just bad things that wanted to kill Katniss and Peeta, not horrifically disturbing mutilations of the poor tributes that have already been murdered. Just some big ass dogs. Which snack on Cato for approximately 20 seconds before Katniss shoots him with barely a glimmer of regret. Oh well, just another dead tribute. Yay, we can go home!

But who can forget the amazing rush job of an ending?!? Peeta isn't basically bleeding to death, they don't whisk him away from Katniss leaving her in total anguish. There is the merest hint of a warning of trouble from Haymitch and then a perfectly pleasant interview with Flickerman. In which there is no indication that Peeta lost a leg (maybe they are saving that info for #2?) and the couple look, at best, mildly crushing on each other. Celebration at the District 12 station, eye contact with Gale brings a smile, and roll credits...

So, if I didn't know what I was missing, and from what my sister said, I would probably think this was a good movie but not a great one. I'd be engrossed by the idea of the Games and curious about Katniss and Peeta and Gale, but not really invested. Everyone would have seemed fine but not necessarily really wonderful.

But I do know what was missing. And it just felt dull. I can't say enough how little emotional impact I got from this. How just kinda off it all felt. How many missed opportunities there were. I'm really not being some crazy fangirl who can't stand if they changed one single thing. I was fine with many of the changes through the Harry Potter series even if I didn't always agree, but those movies NEVER left me feeling unmoved. They never glossed over the grief. And that's why I love them, even if they aren't perfect. This, I can like. I can appreciate a cinematic attempt. But it just didn't do it for me.

Anyone else? I'd love to hear if you think I'm insane. ;)

56kittenfish
Edited: Mar 23, 2012, 10:04pm Top

i just saw it myself. I have to agree with your take on things....although I enjoyed the movie for the 'ride' that it was.

I don't see how anyone that hasn't read the books could love it or really even get it. I think I was able to do a lot of 'filling in the blanks' because I had read The Hunger Games.

It wasn't perfection, but it wasn't awful. I definitely enjoyed reading your review and as I mentioned earlier.....I have to agree with you. Especially with Rue and the muttations at the end

I don't think you're insane ;)

57_Zoe_
Mar 23, 2012, 10:16pm Top

Wow. I think I'll be skipping that movie.

58leahbird
Edited: Mar 23, 2012, 11:29pm Top

To be fair, I was afraid they were going to give this the glitzy Hollywood treatment and sex everyone up a bit. But they didn't. There's actually zero skin, even where there was skin in the books. Katniss isn't naked through all the prep scenes and she doesn't strip Peeta down after she finds him. So, at least they resisted the impulse to make this steamy. And they did do a decent job of showing the girls and guys as fairly equal- by which I mean, some of each were equally weak and some equally badass. If anything Clove comes across as WAY more nutso bloodthirsty than Cato does, so there is no dumbing down of female characters.

It just couldn't pull the rest up to snuff. I wanted to go on a gutwrenching emotional journey like I did in the book and there they failed.

ETA: Ultimately I think I could have taken a couple of the changes in stride and come out ok, maybe even really enjoyed it. But all of them together was too much. Or maybe I should say too little? I'm sure I will see the other movies as soon as the come out in the HOPES that some of these issues are rectified, but now I won't be going with high expectations.

59beserene
Mar 24, 2012, 2:04am Top

I'm waiting to see it until the madness dies down a bit, but it sounds like I don't need to rush. Bummer.

60UnrulySun
Mar 24, 2012, 10:14am Top

MORE SPOILERS

I saw it last night-- and thought it was done pretty well! For a Hollywood book adaptation, it's not too bad. I agree they missed a TON of backstory and character development, but they have to to make it fit into the run time. I get that, and I knew beforehand some of the things that were left out, so those things didn't bother me.

I thought the scene with Rue was okay. It could have been better, but I don't think non-readers were left cold by it. Showing the riot was a good alternative to the bread because of its immediate impact on the viewers (which is, of course, the point of a movie). What I wished they'd done was show more than just District 11. And explained what the salute meant. I watched with my husband, who hasn't read the books but is a smart dude and was able to infer a LOT for himself. He saw a lot of parallels to our real US history and was a bit emotional over the scene with Rue because of that.

I really liked Kravitz as Cinna. He's not at all what I pictured while reading, but that's okay. I think he played it well: a bit cool but obviously invested in Katniss by the end.

I also liked Haymitch. I read an interview with Woody Harrelson in which he said he pleaded with Suzanne Collins to let him play Haymitch less drunk. He wanted to portray a man who was bent but not broken. I think he did it pretty well, but we'll have to see how far he takes that in the next movies.

Jennifer Lawrence was wonderful. But Peeta. Ohhhhh, Peeta was horrible. I like Josh Hutcherson, he's a cute guy. But not the best serious actor and certainly not the right one for this part. I agree he was portrayed as a weak, scared boy instead of the cunning, introspective man he is in the books. We root for him in the books because he is a perfect counterpart to Katniss's hotheadedness. There isn't much reason to root for him in the movie. They don't explain at all about his alliance with the Careers, his art skills are wasted on a weasely attempt to hide and wait to die, his smoldering passion is twisted into a childish crush. And the makeup and hairstyles! WTH were they thinking?? At the end he looked like he'd just gotten thrown out of The Roxbury.

If you want to see it, go see it! Sure there are always things to nitpick in a book adaptation, and some are more important to you than others, but this one was good for me. And it seemed that the people in the theater with us liked it also. I didn't hear any complaints walking out, like I did with the 6th Harry Potter movie (now THAT was messed up).

61leahbird
Mar 24, 2012, 1:08pm Top

#60 by UnrulySun> "I agree they missed a TON of backstory and character development, but they have to to make it fit into the run time. I get that, and I knew beforehand some of the things that were left out, so those things didn't bother me."

I think what bothered me the most were how many places I could find that slight adjustments would have made all the difference and still come in on time and rating. Subtle things can go a long way. Instead of Katniss lingering in the market and getting the pin from the old lady, they easily could have slid Madge in at the reaping. Just show Katniss meeting her there, Madge calling her name and waving her over or something. They even could have cheated a bit and had Gale or Katniss's mother give her the pin FROM Madge so they didn't need to spend the time having her come see Katniss. They would have maintained what I see as an important aspect of the pin AND stayed on target.

Likewise, they could have used the time she IS in the market to show her doing an illicit deal for meat. It wouldn't have taken more than a few seconds and a couple furtive glances. Maybe a few handshakes with people there to show she's part of the group. Instead, she just came off as some girl... which was too weird. My sister got nothing out of that part. She didn't get that the salute was a dangerous show of respect. She just thought it was what they did when someone volunteered.

I don't know. I think they made a bunch of lazy choices. But again, I didn't HATE it. It just came across as less human and a bit bland.

62UnrulySun
Mar 24, 2012, 8:51pm Top

Very true. The more I discuss the movie with others who have read the book, the more details I remember and the more I think the movie could have been tweaked.

Like I said, though, my husband hasn't read the books but he was able to draw a lot out of the movie scenes and fill in a lot of the blanks himself. Perhaps he's not "normal" (I could have told you that anyway ;)) but I think a lot of non-readers will be able to infer the general meaning behind the symbols and such. They may not get the full impact that you'd get from reading the book but that's to be expected anyway. Hopefully-- the books being so popular-- each non-reader will have at least one reader friend who can discuss the movie with them and fill in a few of the missing deeper-meaning bits.

63kittenfish
Mar 24, 2012, 11:02pm Top

I'm happy to hear non-readers may also enjoy the movie. I thought it fell a lil flat and I thought it would really be lost on those who hadn't read the book.

64leahbird
Mar 25, 2012, 12:38am Top

#62 by UnrulySun> "Hopefully-- the books being so popular-- each non-reader will have at least one reader friend who can discuss the movie with them and fill in a few of the missing deeper-meaning bits."

Haha, that's me 100%. Seems like I'm always seeing movies with someone who hasn't read the book and I end up spending almost as much time filling them in as I do watching the movie. It was always like that with my sis and Harry Potter (and now Hunger Games) and I had to do the same with my mom after we saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo the other day. Well, to be fair, I have to explain just about every movie to my mom... even if I haven't seen/read it before either. She just doesn't pay enough attention to details.

65avatiakh
Mar 25, 2012, 1:20am Top

I've just seen the movie this afternoon and really like the points you've made. I read the books back when they first came out so was able to enjoy the movie for what it was but couldn't say it was outstanding. I took my two teenagers who hadn't read the books and they enjoyed it but the boy said it could've been more violent and the girl said she still wouldn't read the books. She had enjoyed the beginning of the movie but felt that it flagged soon after the games began.

66leahbird
Mar 25, 2012, 12:52pm Top

Glad to see some teens with critical thinking skills! I understand why it wasn't more violent, and I'm definitely no advocate for violence in general, but the WHOLE point is to make you feel how awful this all is, and I don't think this accomplished that.

I'm afraid a lot of non-readers will leave feeling the way your daughter did.

67leahbird
Mar 25, 2012, 1:39pm Top

I was just doing some browsing over at Amazon and found the newest Fables spin-off series, Fairest. It looks great. I'm still eagerly awaiting Cinderella: Fables are Forever and the MUCH anticipated and delayed Werewolves of the Heartland (which was originally scheduled to come out in Oct 2011 but won't make it until Nov 2012), but now I have one more to be excited about! Not to mention the regularly scheduled Fables 17, Inherit the Wind. All very exciting.

Anyone else read Fables?

68avatiakh
Mar 25, 2012, 7:20pm Top

#66: Yes, he's not a 'violence' lover but more that the movie kinda sanitised the brutality of the game. I too was expecting a little more of the Battle Royale type fare. Really they took all the highs and lows of the book and ironed most out making it blander than it should have been presumably to get the PG-rating. I have to say that I loved seeing the capitol fashions.
A child lit blogger in her review pointed out that the only spectators you saw in the capitol were adult, you never saw any capitol teenagers.

69UnrulySun
Mar 25, 2012, 7:27pm Top

I think there were some in the crowds, just not up close. There were small children for sure.

70leahbird
Mar 25, 2012, 10:39pm Top

#68 by avatiakh> "I have to say that I loved seeing the capitol fashions."

I will admit to being freakishly excited to see those same fashions during the war. I can't wait to see how revolting and pathetic they look amidst rubble and snow.

71beserene
Mar 26, 2012, 9:01am Top

>67 leahbird:: Fables is great! I've only read a few volumes, though.

72norabelle414
Mar 26, 2012, 11:30am Top

I agree with everyone on the Hunger Games movie. One of the people I went with had not read any of the books and I had to explain a lot to her that she didn't understand. They even cut out all of the stuff that explained why the games had *anything* to do with *hunger* . . . .

73UnrulySun
Mar 26, 2012, 4:11pm Top

True, that may be the most integral part of the whole reaping process and why the districts feel compelled participate in the first place.

74foggidawn
Mar 26, 2012, 4:29pm Top

They did mention that you could put your name in more times to get extra food (Katniss told Prim not to do it, when they were saying goodbye). And the woman who talked to them as they started training mentioned that many of them would die of natural causes, exposure, etc., when she was talking about the importance of survival skills. So, both the role of hunger in the games, and the role of hunger in how the districts were compelled to play the games, were mentioned -- but you had to be listening carefully to catch it.

75UnrulySun
Mar 26, 2012, 4:54pm Top

But didn't they leave out why they wanted to win? Besides the obvious staying-alive part. Having a winner meant that your district would eat better for the next year.

76foggidawn
Mar 26, 2012, 5:49pm Top

#75 -- Ah, good point. Yes, they didn't talk much about what the winners (and their districts) got. I wasn't thinking of that. Maybe they will emphasize that at the beginning of the next movie? (I know that doesn't help any confusion now.)

77norabelle414
Mar 26, 2012, 6:00pm Top

Here's a really good rant-y article about all the stuff that was left out (and the good stuff that was in): http://io9.com/5896475/everything-the-hunger-games-movie-left-out

78UnrulySun
Mar 26, 2012, 6:18pm Top

Foggi, seems like they're going to have to mention it, since we'll be seeing Katniss and Peeta living in the grand houses, etc. Don't you think?

In the movie, they could have explained it very quickly in a convo with Haymitch on the train. Actually they could have explained a LOT more of the backstory on the train, like the mockingjay symbol and the stir of unrest that had been brewing already.

79leahbird
Mar 26, 2012, 9:25pm Top

#77 by norabelle414> That was a good article. I had TOTALLY forgotten that the Prim's goat story was cut along with the rest of the cave stuff. And I didn't notice that Effie was pretty much NEVER explained or named. And I agree COMPLETELY about Katniss losing her mind on the hovercraft. It was probably the second most disappointing moment (or lack thereof, I guess). She just doesn't seem to have much going on emotionally at the end when she should be a train wreck AND super excited to go home.

80norabelle414
Mar 26, 2012, 9:36pm Top

She didn't have much going on emotionally for almost all of the movie (after the point where she gets on stage after taking Prim's place)

81leahbird
Edited: Mar 26, 2012, 9:48pm Top

True... I was trying to be generous. ;)

ETA: The more we all talk about and dissect it, I think their biggest issue from a production standpoint might have been over-familiarity with the material. Maybe they didn't see all the glaring gaps because they, like a lot of fans, were mentally filling in the blanks and therefore they thought it made sense more and details were more apparent than they really were... And then it actually ends up being pretty obvious that 2 + 2 does not quite equal 4 here.

82UnrulySun
Mar 26, 2012, 9:51pm Top

That's a good point. I realize now after discussing it so much that I didn't notice some of the gaps while watching the movie, probably because it was all there in my head!

83norabelle414
Mar 26, 2012, 9:53pm Top

Definitely agreed. It's hard for us to see the difference between "I love that part so it should have been in the movie!" and "the movie doesn't make sense without that!"

84leahbird
Mar 26, 2012, 10:51pm Top

I actually meant THEIR over-familiarity with the material. But I know MY familiarity is coloring my impression a lot. I'd love to read a really good critique by someone who hadn't read the books to see if the thematic/emotional things that bug us stood out to them as well. I'd ask my sister but she's not much of a critical viewer, she just watches movies for the pure fun, not searching for deeper meaning.

85norabelle414
Mar 26, 2012, 11:54pm Top

By "us" I meant all of our fellow Hunger Games readers, director, producers, and writers included ;-)

Here are a couple good "cold reviews":

http://www.maplevalleyreporter.com/entertainment/144306355.html

http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/the-hunger-gamesmovie-review

86leahbird
Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 9:09pm Top

I enjoyed both of those, so thanks. Some stand-out thoughts:

"The night before the Games, Katniss and Peeta have a conversation, but the one question they avoid is whether or not they are willing to kill the other children (or if they are just praying that other tributes do most of the killing for them).

Considering that some of the tributes are 11-year-old girls, I think it's a reasonable question they would have to ask themselves. Or why they have to participate in the Hunger Games at all."

This one isn't entirely accurate since Katniss DOES ask Peeta if he's planning on not killing anyone and he says that he probably will, when it really comes down to him or them. But it's a valid point that there is little to no explanation as to why the tributes don't just refuse to compete en masse. Without the backstories with the Avoxes the ruthlessness of the Capitol isn't as clear (other than, you know, making kids kill each other).

"I really hate to point this out, but {the tributes} seemed way too friendly towards each other and trusting; keep in mind that they will, at some point, have to kill each other. At no point did I believe for a moment that either Katniss or Peeta would be killed because the film doesn't have the fatalistic atmosphere necessary for it to make sense or feel appropriate."

Yes. There was definitely a lack of critical tension to make you ever really worry about Katniss (and Peeta to a lesser extent). Not that it's ALL that present in the book... you pretty much know at least Katniss is making it out since there are more books.

But I have to say, even though that first reviewer hadn't read the book, they had obviously been well informed by people who had because they mentioned details you CAN'T know just from the movie. Like Katniss taking up hunting to feed her family. There is NO indication that that's why she took up hunting or that other people in District 12 don't also hunt for their families.

The reviewer also says that they are "lavished with food, clothes and other luxuries as they prepare for the Hunger Games." This is really clear in the book, but in the movie it never felt like they were being "lavished." I mean, you can see that the conditions are better, but there is no moment where they seem excited or overwhelmed by the food or clothes on offer to them. Which made it feel like it was no big deal. Which was weird.

87leahbird
Mar 27, 2012, 12:16pm Top

DRAT! I did not win Bitterblue in ER this month. For shame!

88leahbird
Mar 27, 2012, 9:19pm Top

So, in case you didn't know how weird live on a farm could be, tomorrow they are filming an episode of Snapped: When Women Kill here at the farm. Which is sooooo strange. They will be reenacting a murder basically in my back yard. Let's hope the pig gets out again (oh yeah, Coco has already found 2 ways out of her new yard) and runs through production! I'd love to see that!

In other news, there is an exciting new ruling from the US District Court that is forcing the FDA to prove that prophylactic antibiotic use in meat animals is safe. For over 30 years there has been GREAT speculation (and scientific research) that antibiotics in meat were connected to the rise of superbugs-- drug-resistant bacteria-- which kill 70,000 Americans a year, but the FDA has never gotten around to banning the practice. Now, unless this gets railroaded by big agribusiness and drug company lobbying (they are almost more insidious that the oil companies and big tobacco), hopefully we'll get some solid answers. Naturally, I am biased against, but I'd just be happy to get some solid science out there in the public's view. Fingers crossed.

89UnrulySun
Mar 27, 2012, 9:24pm Top

Did a murder actually occur there? What an odd choice if not!

If they're forcing them to prove it, will that mean banning it if they can't? Have they set consequences, a timeline, etc?

90leahbird
Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 9:46pm Top

No murder occurred here, they just needed a lake and wooded area for the reenactment. I like that we're making money for doing nothing, but it's all a tad weird.

Supposedly they will force a ban if they can't prove they are safe. But I don't know what the framework is. I fear this will stretch on and on as special interest scientists muddy the waters to stall. No mention of a timeline that I can see, but I'm sure the information is somewhere. Here's the pertinent bits:

In 1977, the FDA found that unbridled use of antibiotics in feed, which is common in the meat industry to promote growth of cows and ward off disease in overcrowded quarters, can lead to the proliferation of superbugs. Yet, three decades later, the administration has still not banned them. With the telltale information in its back pocket for years, the FDA has continued to drag its feet under pressure from drug companies, agribusiness, and its allies in Congress.

Now Judge Katz is ruling that the FDA must address its 1977 findings and take action. He has ordered further hearings, allowing drug sponsors a chance to prove that subtherapeutic use of antiobiotics—that is, feeding animals penicillin and tetracyclines preventatively instead of when they're sick—is safe.

According to FDA data released in 2011, sales of antibiotics for domestic food animals increased by 6.7 percent from 2009 to 2010, bringing the annual national dose to 30.6 million pounds every year for animals alone.
I've always found this so odd. I mean, we had to dose a cow the other day because her calf died in utero and we had to pull it. Typically, we don't use medications unless it's strictly necessary, such as cases like this when the risk of infection is high. We were about to take a load of steers to market but had to hold that one back because it's illegal to sell her at market until 30 days after she's been medicated. I think this is a good practice, but it seems so strange in the face of industrial meat that's dosed constantly it's whole life...

91leahbird
Mar 29, 2012, 11:52am Top

24. The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens


Description: Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

Thoughts: This book never managed to really grab me. Mostly, I think, because it doesn't ever manage to really differentiate itself from so much of children's fiction these days: there are orphans, they are mistreated by people who should take care of them, they go on a journey and find out that their lives are not what they expected. It's not that it's bad... it's just getting a little stale for me. I almost crave a magical fantasy for tweens and teens that features a kid who has wonderful, loving parents YET still gets an adventure. Seems like ever since Cinderella, the only story people can write is kids in terrible, parentless and loveless situations.

Anyway, other than that the book is fine. The kids are mostly likeable. The writing style is fine. The plot is a little fiddly in a couple places, but still fundamentally fine. The set up for the other books in the series is quite clear and easy to follow.

What really confuses me, however, is that this was an Amazon Best Book of the month and it's being compared to His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Now, that's one of my favorite series and this doesn't come close. And I don't get the hype. I wouldn't rule out reading the sequels but they aren't rushing to the top of my TBR list.

Maybe I'm just too old for this one. Or too saturated in this kind of teen lit. I don't know. I just know that I'm pretty much left feeling this one was fine, nothing more.

3.5 stars

92leahbird
Mar 30, 2012, 1:35am Top

Interesting note from the show they were filming: one of the camera guys did camera work on the North Carolina shoot for The Hunger Games. I heard this in passing (he was wearing a HG shirt and someone asked him about it) and then never got to talk to him about it more because their shoot today was grueling. They just left, actually... at 1:30 am. Wish I'd known about it yesterday when they had more downtime and we could have discussed it. But interesting nonetheless.

93scvlad
Mar 31, 2012, 10:30am Top

>67 leahbird:. I have indeed read Fables and think they are great fun. I didn't know that so many volumes were due to come out! How do you find these things out? I've been reading them from my library, so god knows when and whether they will be available from them. Hopefully sometime soon.

94leahbird
Mar 31, 2012, 1:47pm Top

I get a lot of my Fables info just from browsing Amazon, looking for when the next issue comes out. That's how I found out about the first Cinderella spin-off, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love. So then I went looking to see if there would be more of those, which lead me to Cinderella: Fables are Forever. Fairest is actually kind of a spin off of a spin off... they took the idea or Cinderella- which was to focus on some of the female characters more directly- and expand it (so future Cinderella stories will be folded into Fairest).

I also watch the series page here at LT and when something I don't recognize pops up I go looking for it. That's how I found Werewolves of the Heartland.

95leahbird
Mar 31, 2012, 1:49pm Top

Just read this interesting article from NPR called Snow White Rising. I have wondered why there are so many current Snow White stories when it used to be all Cinderella.

96leahbird
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 2:22pm Top

March Round-Up

Books read: 6
Fiction: 6
Non-Fiction: 0
Classics: 0
Young adult: 1
Fantasy: 5
Cookbooks: 0

Average rating: 3.58 stars

From my shelves: 2
New: 2
Library: 2
Kindle: 2

97leahbird
Apr 1, 2012, 1:42am Top



Will you do something for International Permaculture Day, May 6th? I will be hosting a wedding shower here on the farm (hopefully) showcasing some beautiful local produce and eggs fresh from my hens.

98leahbird
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 3:47pm Top

First Quarter Review 2012

Books read: 23
Books paused: 2*

Paper books: 17
Kindle: 6
New reads: 23
Rereads: 0

From my shelves: 5
New: 11
Library: 8

Fiction: 20
Non-Fiction: 3
Series: 8
Fantasy: 18
Young adult: 10
Fairy Tales/Myths & Retellings: 4
Classics: 1
Cookbooks: 1

LT rating of 4.00 or higher: 10
My rating of 4 or higher: 11
Average rating: 3.81

Pages read: 8,281

Average book length: 360.04
Median book length: 400
Longest book read: 594
Shortest book read: 42
Average pages read per day: 91
Average pages read per week: 637
Average pages read per month: 2,760.33

Some interesting notes:

- I haven't had any rereads so far this year. Normally I don't make it 3 whole months without picking up a comfort read (mostly because I can't find something else to satisfy me). I think it's being part of this group that's kept me on my toes and finding good new stuff all the time. So yay!

- There were 91 days in this quarter and I happened to average 91 pages/day! Now, I certainly didn't ACTUALLY read 91 pages every day, but it's a nice statistic.

*don't count toward any other totals

99leahbird
Apr 1, 2012, 6:05pm Top

25. The Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner


Description: Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.

Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day.

When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving.

Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . .
Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now.

Thoughts: There seems to be a new trend in literature where authors are writing about AMAZING buildings, buildings with personality and hidden depths. This year alone I've read A Discovery of Witches that has an amazing house, The Grimm Legacy that is set in the wonderful New York Circulating Material Repository, and I'd even count The Night Circus with it's ever changing tents and exhibits. And now, The Museum of Thieves, which focuses on The Museum of Dunt.

I happen to really like all of the buildings (or circuses) in each of these books. They are all places that I would readily and eagerly explore. And the descriptions of these places are usually rich and detailed and leave you dying to know more. The problem, however, in every instance- save The Night Circus- is that the stories don't seem to ever really live up to the places.

This is certainly the case in The Museum of Thieves. While the main characters of Goldie and Toadspit, and even Broo, are well fleshed out, the rest of the cast is pretty one dimensional. There are good guys and bad guys and people who are loved and people who are feared/resented but there is no depth at all. There is no explanation as to how The Keepers are, well, the Keepers. The reader has no real reason to like or trust them except that we're told they are the good guys. They have almost no discernible traits. Not that they aren't interesting, because they are, but it just didn't feel like enough to carry a story.

While the world building was intriguing, the overarching plot didn't have enough substance. I finished this one feeling a little flat. The standout character of the museum couldn't hold it all together. And, from what I've read about the next book in the series, the museum isn't really going to be a factor in the story since the action takes place away from the city. Which means I most likely won't be following up.

3 stars

100ronincats
Apr 1, 2012, 6:18pm Top

Hmmm, have you read Flora Segunda or The House of Many Ways, both of which have extraordinary houses?

101leahbird
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 6:21pm Top

I just saw the final details for The Last Unicorn Graphic Novel Deluxe Edition! Looks like the release is FINALLY set for May 1st, so not to much longer to go. Either way, it looks to be quite worth the wait! There is a really nice extend preview on the Amazon page.

The cover is beautiful!


The interior artwork is just as lovely. There is a whole Art section in the back with extra sketches and images. And a WHOLE EXTRA STORY from Beagle! I'm so excited! YAY YAY YAY!

102leahbird
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 6:29pm Top

>100 ronincats:, I've not read either of those but I'll think I'll go check them out. Thanks for the heads up!

ETA: Flora Segunda sounds a lot like Tuesdays at the Castle, which I've also been meaning to read. (The former is now on my wishlist, so thanks for the recommendation!)

103leahbird
Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 10:12pm Top

Has anyone ever had free-range heritage turkey? These are pretty hard to locate but are luckily becoming more common as people embrace local, pure food. Heritage turkeys don't have the giant breasts like modern factory turkeys so there is a lot more dark meat (their activity level- running around fields and being turkeys- also contributes to the dark meat since they have better muscle tone). But it's all soooo flavorful and tender! Before when we had turkey, I never ate white meat because it was always dry and almost crumbly. But with these free-range heritage turkeys, the white meat is delicious.

Anyway, tonight I made the best turkey meal I have probably ever had. I marinated 2 turkey legs/thighs in Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, parsley, and sage and then roasted them. Sliced it thick and served it on a bed of mixed spring greens, dried cranberries, and candied pecans topped with this great chunky raspberry vinaigrette. The mixed flavors of the Dijon marinade and the sweetness from the cranberries and vinaigrette really created a great flavor. Yum! It was a fitting presentation for the last of my turkeys from last year.

104ronincats
Apr 1, 2012, 10:30pm Top

Sounds wonderful! Yum!

105dk_phoenix
Apr 1, 2012, 11:05pm Top

I'm giggling over here at the image of Coco running through the set... I assume she didn't, or else you would have mentioned it. But that would have been hilarious.

I can't say I've had free-range heritage turkey, but I'd love to locate some. I just found a few organic local farmers in the area (within driving distance!) for fruits, veggies, herbs, and eggs, so I'm hoping they can direct me to a closer source of good meat. The closest one I know of is 50+ minutes away. Your turkey recipe sounds amazing... and I don't normally like the flavor of turkey meat. But I wonder if I had a better source, and a recipe like that, if it wouldn't become my new favorite thing... :D

106leahbird
Edited: Apr 2, 2012, 4:15pm Top

Unfortunately, Coco made no appearances during the filming...

Honestly, I don't eat a lot of pork (because I don't eat industrial pork and haven't had pigs very long), but free-range heritage turkey is almost that good. It's much firmer and flavorful than industrial turkey, which has always just been bland to me. You can eat it straight out of the oven with no gravy and it won't glue your mouth together!

I supplied the turkey for Thanksgiving last year and everyone went on and on about it. I know some of that was just a family being supportive, but I think a lot of them were just genuinely shocked how different it tasted. My aunt did a SPECTACULAR job roasting it too... she brined it for 2 days in a wonderful herb and citrus bath.

My uncle wanted to buy one from me after that to deep fry, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm not against deep frying exactly, but it's not for my hand-reared with tender loving care heritage turkeys. He still doesn't understand it, and all I could say was that they deserved better...

Here's some of last years turkeys. The white ones are Royal Palms and the brown ones are Bourbon Reds.


These are my favorite heritage turkeys, the Slate Blue. Aren't they beautifully colored?

107leahbird
Apr 2, 2012, 7:52pm Top

Yay, my library just got The Sisters Brothers for ebook loan! I'm 8th in line, but I'm excited already.

108beserene
Apr 3, 2012, 1:40am Top

So much interesting stuff here, I'm going to have to come back later just to sort through it all. But I am glad to know about heritage turkeys -- I watched the Dirty Jobs episode where Mike Tier was artificially inseminating turkeys and it was disturbing. I'll be on the lookout for a better class of bird this year!

109beserene
Apr 3, 2012, 1:42am Top

So, turns out Rowe autocorrects to Tier on my phone. Anyone else find that linguistically amusing?

110leahbird
Apr 3, 2012, 12:30pm Top

#109 by beserene> That is a very strange auto-correct!

Yeah, modern turkeys- Broad Breasted Whites or Broad Breasted Bronze- have been selectively bread over decades to produce huge breasts because that's what the industry thinks is really important. Because of the huge breasts (and their accelerated rate of growth which makes their bones weak) they cannot breed naturally and therefore must ALL be artificially inseminated... Plus, in breeding for breast size, they've bread a lot of the muscle tone and flavor out, which is crazy to me, but most people don't even know that the poultry (because they've done the same to chickens) they eat isn't actually what poultry should taste like.

111leahbird
Edited: Apr 3, 2012, 4:33pm Top

Have/would you ever request an ER that you pretty much explicitly knew you would hate because you wanted the chance to refute it? I have a deep-seated disliked for Elisabeth Badinter, French "feminist" extraordinaire. Personally, I don't know how someone can be called a feminist when they don't seem to actually want women to make their own choices but rather just want women to CONFORM to THEIR standards, but whatever. Anyway, her recent diatribe against women, Le conflit has just been translated into English and it's an LT ER this month...

Part of me really wants to read this so I can be more informed in my dislike for Ms. Badinter's views, but is it fair to request it as an ER? What about the other people who are requesting it? If I win it and someone who thinks it's going to be great doesn't, is that unfair? AHHH, I'm torn.

If you are interested in my views on Ms. Badinter, you can read a blog post I wrote about her in 2010.

112qebo
Apr 3, 2012, 2:47pm Top

111: is it fair to request it as an ER?
Completely fair. It is an issue of interest to you, and you will be able to write an informed review.

113leahbird
Apr 3, 2012, 10:31pm Top

Buying Easter treats this year? Have you considered an alternative eggy treat from Heifer International?

114UnrulySun
Apr 3, 2012, 11:27pm Top

That organization looks really neat! But I wonder what the support for the recipients is. (I admit I just skimmed.) Do they provide shelter and food and care for the animals? I saw that they provide initial vaccinations and training, but I hope they also can help the recipients maintain healthy animals.

But it's funny you posted this tonight. I ate too many mini-Twixes at work today and I'm regretting it now with a huge headache. There's always so much candy flowing around me at Easter time! Halloween and Easter are horrible for having mounds of sugar around every corner. And I am a sucker for chocolate; I can't resist it. My coworkers always bring in bags of goodies and my daughter comes home from her school parties with gobs of candy too. I can just feel my blood sugar spike at the sight of it!

115leahbird
Apr 4, 2012, 1:55am Top

They don't provide longterm care or food for the animals but they do provide support for the people in the program. They basically give people the tools to help themselves and their families, which is so empowering. The best thing they do is passing on the gift., so every family that receives animals must pass some of the offspring on to someone else in their community.

116leahbird
Edited: Apr 5, 2012, 2:36pm Top

26. One Day by David Nicholls


Description: It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. They both know that the next day, after college graduation, they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. As the years go by, Dex and Em begin to lead separate lives- lives very different from the people they once dreamed they'd become. And yet, unable to let go of that special something that grabbed onto them that first night, an extraordinary relationship develops between the two.

Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

Thoughts: My first introduction to this book was through the trailers for the movie. I only vaguely realized the movie was based on a book and, even though I like Anne Hathaway, I thought One Day looked too sappy for my tastes. In true fashion, I caved in and watched it on PayPerView one dreary afternoon this winter. What I realized was that it wasn't sappy at all, it was a very real and touching story of two lives that are immensely intertwined, for good or bad, even when the two people have gone their separate ways. It felt so honest. I saw myself (and some of my friends) in the highs and lows that Dex and Em go through as they find out what becoming an adult it actually about and realize that life isn't ever really what you thought it was. I was captivated.

So I decided to read the book, because books are always better, right? When I started reading, however, I found that I couldn't as readily connect with the characters or the story. I was worried that it was TOO cinematic and therefore wouldn't read well. I thought I'd ruined the book.

But I was wrong. Once I got past the first chapters I found the narrative rhythm and everything fell into place. I think I actually connected a bit more with Dex and Em (Dex especially). And even though you only get bits of their lives- only what happens on July 15th of every year (and a bit of backstory where applicable)- these are well fleshed out individuals who's stories you feel invested in. It's a touching, troubled, sad, and beautiful love story, but it's also a story of finding yourself and weathering life's storms. And I loved it. It was exactly what I needed after reading so much fantasy and YA.

4 stars

117beserene
Apr 6, 2012, 10:41pm Top

Great review. And you are the first person I've talked to who said something nice about the movie -- so perhaps I will go see it. Sounds rather nice.

118Morphidae
Apr 7, 2012, 7:56am Top

Just a quick delurk to wave hello. I'm here and reading!

119leahbird
Apr 7, 2012, 1:45pm Top

Hiya Morphi!

120porch_reader
Apr 9, 2012, 6:09pm Top

I've thought several times about reading One Day. The premise sounds interesting. Your review makes me think I should push it up on my TBR list.

121leahbird
Apr 13, 2012, 10:29am Top

OH OH OH!!! The new JK Rowling site is up AND it's got the info for the new book!!!!!

Little, Brown announces details of J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Seemingly an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

Publication date 27th September 2012


Obviously this one is TOTALLY different than Harry Potter. Can't wait to see how it is.

122UnrulySun
Apr 13, 2012, 10:49am Top

I'm so disappointed with the description! I knew it wasn't going to be anything like HP but this really doesn't sound too exciting to me (it's a tired plot scenario). I'll have to wait for some reviews before I decide if I'm going to read it.

123leahbird
Apr 13, 2012, 9:20pm Top

I agree, the plot sounds a bit... boring. I'm just betting on some Rowling magic to make it come alive. We'll see. I will definitely be per-ordering this but I'm trying to keep my expectations kinda low.

124leahbird
Edited: Apr 14, 2012, 9:21am Top

27. Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore


Description: A rollicking tale that features special printed map endpapers and more than two dozen masterpieces of art throughout the book, Sacré Bleu is better than a day at the museum!

It is the color of the Virgin Mary's cloak, a dazzling pigment desired by artists, an exquisite hue infused with danger, adventure, and perhaps even the supernatural. It is . . .

Sacré Bleu

In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his own life . . . and then walk a mile to a doctor's house for help? Who was the crooked little "color man" Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue?

These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent's friends—baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec—who vow to discover the truth about van Gogh's untimely death. Their quest will lead them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late nineteenth-century Paris.

A delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history—with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure—Sacré Bleu is another masterpiece of wit and wonder from the one, the only, Christopher Moore.

Thoughts: I really love Christopher Moore. His books are ALWAYS darkly hilarious and sometimes surprisingly moving. I love the oafish, irreverent charm of many of his heroes.

With Sacré Bleu, Moore has tapped into his more reserved and thoughtful side, something seen in his books Lamb and Fool. Reading the first several chapters, I was actually really surprised at the quality of the prose. I mean, Moore isn't a bad writer by any means, but I don't usually spend much time thinking about his prose. It's also really clear that Moore did his homework: the sheer number of artworks referenced (and images included in the text) and the familiarity with the artists lives and relationships is quite impressive. I actually learned a lot about painters and a time period I thought I knew fairly well.

As for the story itself, it's very creative and smart with plenty of Moore staples: an otherworldly being (the level of which hasn't been seen since Catch from Practical Demonkeeping), murder, and plenty of sex jokes. The way that Moore re-envisages the role of certain paintings and how they came to be is really fascinating. And, as usual, some of his characters are WONDERFUL! Henri Toulouse-Latrec is HILARIOUS and I totally wanted to hang out with him. Le Professuer (I and II) was great. Madame Lessard was spectacular. I could go on and on.

There was, to be fair, a little of a wobbly bit about 3/4 through the book where I got a bit lost and thought the story lost some of its charm. I think it pulled out of the slump fine, but can admit that the end wasn't as impressive as the beginning. Not bad by any means, just a little less awesome.

I can easily recommend this one to Moore fans and I think most people who appreciate dark humor or are interested in fantasy reimaginings of history should enjoy it too.

4 stars

**Note: A word on the art shown in the book: It's not always easy to see details of the paintings in the small format, and looking at the art along with the reading was really important for me. My advice is to have a computer handy while reading and check out the Google Art Project as you go. Not all of the paintings are imaged yet, but it's a lot of fun and very informative to check out the ones that are, especially in the bits of the story where Moore is talking about color theory or painting techniques or relaying the (possible) history of the painting and it's models. For example, Manet's Luncheon on the Grass is discussed at length and there is an image in the book, but it's small and you can't get a great feel for it- you can hardly see the woman in the background at all. But, if you check it out here, you can blow it up, zoom in, and really get a good look. It's GREAT! Seeing the works of art as you read really does add a lot to the story.

125UnrulySun
Apr 13, 2012, 9:41pm Top

This one's been on my radar since hearing about it here! I really like Christopher Moore but haven't read one of his books in many years. I just put the pb on preorder for October. Hopefully I'll be able to find it at a reasonable price in the meantime. :)

126kittenfish
Apr 13, 2012, 10:49pm Top

Yay!! 4 stars is good! I can't wait to see your thoughts!

(((the one, the only, Christopher Moore))))) I just love him!

I think I'll be into this book, I just watched Midnight in Paris and found it delightful.

The library is holding it for me, hopefully I'll be able to share my thoughts soon.

127leahbird
Edited: Apr 14, 2012, 9:21am Top

thoughts added. had to get some dinner in me before i could process thoughts correctly. ;)

eta: added a note about the artwork

128kittenfish
Apr 14, 2012, 2:16pm Top

Sounds good. I'm looking forward to reading it.

129kittenfish
Apr 14, 2012, 10:00pm Top

You might want to check this out............

http://guide.sacrebleu.info/2012/04/03/guide-to-the-chapter-guide/

130leahbird
Apr 14, 2012, 11:30pm Top

Interesting... thanks for posting. I'll have to sit down and look through it more completely later.

131beserene
Apr 14, 2012, 11:41pm Top

Okay, that is cool. I haven't even read Moore's book and I already love the effort to get reader's connected with the actual history and space it utilizes. What a great idea! I've stopped myself from looking at all the chapters, so as to avoid any spoilers, but I'll be back there someday.

132leahbird
Apr 15, 2012, 2:05pm Top

A fun meme for our bookish pleasure. (Thanks Morphi for posting it so I could steal it!)

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

Hardback. I'm in the process of replacing all my paperbacks with hardbacks because I think they look better, feel better in my hand, and last longer. Wish they didn't cost so much, though.

Amazon or brick and mortar?

Wildly prefer brick and mortar, especially little locally owned places, but most of my books come from Amazon because I live in the middle of nowhere with few decent bookstores within driving distance. And because they are cheaper with GREAT variety. But I hate it and I still always feel bad...

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

Neither, they are too far for me to bother with (and Borders is closed). I used to prefer Borders when I lived in a city with options. Now, the closest I get is Hastings, the little town imposter.

Bookmark or dogear?

NEVER, EVER, EVER dogear! Oh man, bookmarks for sure.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?

Not random, but not alphabetized either. My system would make no sense to anyone else since it involves preferences and knowledge of what has been read and what is TBR, so it might as well be random in that sense.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

Mostly keep. Some trade.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

KEEP. What are we, barbarians?

Read with dust jacket or remove it?

Remove it. I don't like that they slide around when you are reading and get bent and torn.

Short story or novel?

Novel.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?

Anthology.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?

Oh, definitely Harry Potter.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

Usually at chapter breaks. If I'm REALLY tired, I try to stop at the mini breaks within chapters.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?

Actually, since I like retellings and adaptations, I usually go for "Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night..." ;)

Buy or Borrow?

Almost exclusively buy until this year since I can now get ebooks from the library (I don't buy ebooks, ever), for the same reason that I shop at Amazon: local library usually doesn't have the books I want because I live in a rural county.

New or used?

Prefer new, but get a lot of used from trade sites.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?

Mostly recommendation and browsing.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

Mostly tidy ending. If it's a series, I like each story to be pretty tidy but leave a few things unanswered so that I want to find out the answers.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?

I mostly read at night.

Stand-alone or series?

I do like series a lot, but I don't really have a preference: I don't typically go looking for series to read, I just read whatever sounds interesting.

Favorite series?

Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Amelia Peabody, The Hunger Games, The Wicked Years, Flavia de Luce Mysteries, Earth's Children (well, the first 4 more than the whole thing), Thursday Next, Camp Half-Blood, Underland Chronicles, Love Story

Favorite children's book?

Other than the series above: The Giver, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, The Little Prince, The Last Unicorn, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Graveyard Book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Favorite book of which "nobody" else has heard?

Wrecker by Summer Wood

Favorite books read last year?

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making, Jane Eyre, The Graveyard Book, Wrecker, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, My Life in France, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, Fire, The Magician King, Love Among the Chickens

Favorite books of all time?

Other than those listed above: The Hotel New Hampshire, The World According to Garp, Pride and Prejudice, Fahrenheit 451, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Vile Bodies, Good Omens

Least favorite book you finished last year?

Land of the Painted Caves by Jean Auel: This was a HUGE letdown as I actually love the first 4 books in the series and thought the 5th one was fine. But the 6th one was a BIG stinker.

What are you reading right now?

Sadly nothing. I finished a book a few days ago and have been too distracted to pick up the next one.

What are you reading next?

Probably The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers since it's a library ebook that will expire soon. Or maybe the ER book I've not read yet, The Green Man...

133UnrulySun
Apr 15, 2012, 3:07pm Top

Haha! Great meme. I'll steal it and post over on my thread. I could copy and paste your answers right up to the favorites! Your answers are (eerily) just exactly what I thought in my head when reading the questions.

134leahbird
Edited: Apr 16, 2012, 11:02am Top

So, after a long week of hard work, we're making some progress on the farmhouse. Well, stage 1 of the farmhouse. Here's the projected schedule:

Stage 1 (Living room, dining room, downstairs bath): This mostly involves painting and cleaning and possibly refinishing the wood floors, although the bit that I spilled water on today cleaned up real nice, so I'm thinking that might not be necessary. I also need to spray paint and install these OLD lights on either side of the front door. There is a small chance we may rip the drywall off the ceilings to expose the beams and whitewash them (like this). This stage MUST be done by May 5th as I have clients coming by to view some possible tablescapes for their wedding and need to be able to get everything out of storage. And then I'm hosting a wedding shower on May 6th. I know, I'm insane.

Stage 2 (Downstairs bedroom/office): This is the simplest stage and I have a whole 2 weeks to do it. All I have to do is paint the bedroom, install new door hardware (I'm leaning towards this), and set up the desk for the office area and get the daybed out of storage. This must be done by May 18th so my soon-to-be cousin-in-law can get dressed in there for her wedding. Which I'm planning. Did I forget to mention that I am planning 2 weddings during all this remodeling... on top of my farm chores? Oh, and I have jury duty the week of the 7th.

Stage 3 (Kitchen): There isn't really a time frame for this but sooner is much better than later since this will become my new catering kitchen. The plan right now is to rip out all the horrible cabinets and the HORRIBLE linoleum. Rather than have cabinets, we're going for a 19th century farmhouse kitchen (since it's a kitchen in a 19th century farmhouse and all) with open shelving and a stone counter top supported by decorative legs. Kinda the dressier, older version of this. I'm hoping that there is hardwood under the linoleum, but if not we'll probably tile it.

Stage 4 (upstairs bedrooms and bath): Like the kitchen, this isn't time sensitive but I can't wait to get it done. One bedroom just needs paint and furniture and some floor sanding. The other needs to have the carpet ripped out to expose the beautiful hardwood floors and paint. That bedroom has a closet that backs up to the bathroom closet, both up which we're knocking down, to make it an ensuite. Right now the bathroom is CRAZY narrow and weird, so knocking the closets out will open it up a lot. Then I can replace the tight stall shower with a clawfoot tub, repaint, and put down tile. It'll be LOVELY. Especially since you will be able to soak in the tub and watch the horses in the fields... You all would pay money to stay in such a place, right? ;)

So far, I've fixed and painted 3 100+ yr old exterior doors. This was going wonderfully (other than the 5 hrs it took me to scrape interior paint off the outside of the door...) until I needed to install the new handles and deadbolts... drilling holes in solid hardwood doors is NOT fun. And modern hardware is NOT easy to install in 100+ yr old door frames. But, after lots of cursing and almost tears, we got them all done. I've cleaned the first layer of grime off everything. I sanded all the downstairs walls and patched a bunch of holes to get ready to paint. And, I think I decided on a paint color.

Tomorrow we attack the wallpaper in the kitchen and start painting the entire downstairs. It's starting to shape up! I'm sooo excited! Especially since my grandfather has been stopping in each day to see what I'm doing and NOT complaining. He's actually interested in what we're getting done and he even said "Well, we've got a lot of work to do down here." I almost had a heart attack. Usually he would be downplaying it and trying to put off doing the work. Or arguing with us that it was fine the way it was. I don't know what's come over him, but I'm running with it.

135leahbird
Apr 18, 2012, 10:53pm Top

Why is paint SOOOOO hard to pick out? It took us 6 different grays to find the right one and that one ended up being a custom blend. One was too silver, ones was too blue, one was too beige (and one was almost the exact color of this one), and one was too dark. Yikes! But we've decided now so I can finally get the paint. Now it needs to stop being rainy so I can actually paint.

All the wallpaper is gone from the kitchen!!!! Finished tonight... after I worked on it til 11 last night and 10 tonight. Yesterday was a 15 hr work day because I babysat in the morning. It was NOT fun, but it was productive.

Unforntunately, with all this remodeling stuff in my head I haven't been reading. I need to remedy that. But now all I can think of is the HUGE flea market we're going to Friday.... OH YEAH!

136beserene
Apr 18, 2012, 11:16pm Top

Wow! That is a lot of work. Go you!

137beserene
Apr 18, 2012, 11:18pm Top

PS (re: 134): I would totally pay money to stay in such a place. Perhaps you should plan an LTers retreat next! :)

138leahbird
Apr 19, 2012, 1:45am Top

Anyone know any decent website building/hosting sites that have better theme options than the crap I'm finding on Yola and Webs? Free would be best for right now, but I'm open to suggestions.

139leahbird
Apr 19, 2012, 12:12pm Top

Thought I'd post some before pictures so you could see what I'm working on... since apparently that's ALL I can talk/think about right now. (Click the thumbnails to see the big pictures)

kitchen (view from kitchen door)



dining/living rooms (view from kitchen)



living room with stairs to second floor



downstairs office/bedroom (behind stairs)



dining room and kitchen (view from living room) with bathroom door



downstairs bathroom



left upstairs bedroom



upstairs bath (totally weird- the shower is in the back right corner)



right upstairs bedroom seen from back corner (junk still to be removed)

140UnrulySun
Apr 19, 2012, 3:34pm Top

WOW! What a lot of work that is. You took down all that wallpaper?? Wallpaper is a beast to remove! We ended up stuccoing our kitchen because the 60's wallpaper had been glued directly to the drywall. The rest of the house, not quite to bad, but it took us forever to get it out.

The house reminds me of so many around here, stuck in the 80's and just needing some TLC to be great. It looks spacious. I LOVE all the windows in the kitchen! And is that bedframe in the "downstairs office/bedroom" pic an Ethan Allen? What are your plans for everything?

141leahbird
Apr 19, 2012, 9:36pm Top

Yep, I took down all the wallpaper in 2 days. THANK YOU GOD FOR STEAMERS!!! I've been thinking of writing an ode to my furniture steamer because it made the job sooooo much easier. Also, the lower half of the open (non cabineted) walls had tile at some point and to wallpaper the rough walls they used this cloth stuff. Well, it was basically rotted away so the lower sections came off in huge sheets! The downside is that we're probably going to have to put up beadboard to cover that part of the walls.

Just thought to mention that the wallpaper was just in the kitchen. What you see on the other walls is TERRIBLE faux finish, but it's super easy fix since I just have to paint over it (actually started today).

That bedframe is quite old, from the 60s at least, so I don't know where it came from. I'm going to refinish it and use it upstairs I think. Most of what's in there now- except the pool table and furniture in the right upstairs bedroom- is staying. I'm recovering the couch and refinishing a bunch of stuff. The other stuff will go to Habitat once I get someone to move it out.

142leahbird
Apr 19, 2012, 9:40pm Top

A bit of poetry about the fight for equality
I Want to Know What It's Like

And a FANTASTIC PSA, with lots of great book characters and LEVAR BURTON!!!
Book People Unite

143leahbird
Apr 20, 2012, 7:58pm Top

Thank heaven for this remodel or I would have had NO EXCUSE for all the awesome things I bought at the flea market today! $200 "well" spent!

144leahbird
Apr 26, 2012, 11:46am Top

So I figured out an interesting Kindle trick last night. My library ebook had expired before I started it (I know, shameful) and I was bummed since The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers sounds good. So last night I was at the farmhouse LITERALLY watching paint dry and decided to get my Kindle out to play a game. I was surprised to see that the book was still there. So I started reading and got into it. I was super excited to still get a chance to read it.

Then I came home and turned it on to read again. Well... as soon as it picked up my wireless signal at the house, the book was gone. Damn. So, the lesson is, if you have a library ebook that has expired and you want to finish it, disable your wireless on the Kindle until you are done. Lesson learned. There are now 5 people in front of me on the waiting list. Double damn.

145foggidawn
Apr 26, 2012, 12:56pm Top

I only enable the wireless on my Kindle when I want to shop or download something -- running the wireless all the time drains the battery faster.

146leahbird
Edited: Apr 26, 2012, 8:49pm Top

A friend of mine shared this list of 67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10 and I had to share it. While age 10 seems pretty arbitrary, this was a great starting point. There were lots of books I've not read (a couple I've never even heard of). Of the ones I've read, the only one listed that I don't like is A Wrinkle in Time, which just didn't do it for me. Of course, there are TONS of books I would have added to the list, especially The Secret Garden- hello, how could this one be left off?!

147UnrulySun
Apr 26, 2012, 10:59pm Top

That is a SUPERB list! I always expect those sorts of lists to include the "classic" kid books, which frustrates me. This guy obviously has gotten his hands dirty in reading with his kids. The only one I would leave off is Junie B Jones. I despise those books. My own kid has read some of them though school, and she likes them, but I've had to instruct her numerous times in correct grammar and whatnot- Junie B is absolutely atrocious.

I haven't heard of a few of the picture books, so can't speak to them, but kudos to him for finding some truly inspiring reading for young readers. Books that celebrate intelligence and cleverness and magic and wonder. :)

I also like to recommend Alan Snow's Here be Monsters for that age group.

148lkernagh
Apr 27, 2012, 2:03am Top

> 144 - Yup, I learned that 'trick' when I had an e-book due for return and I wasn't finished with it. Thankfully, I have a hardcover copy of The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers on my TBR bookcase and I look forward to reading it sometime soon!

149Morphidae
Apr 27, 2012, 7:32am Top

I love the list and will have to add it to my collection. Some of my favorite childhood books are there but I really disliked Wind in the Willows.

150leahbird
Apr 27, 2012, 9:26am Top

28. Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson


Description: Fabletown's favorite secret agent and bon vivant Cinderella is back on the job again in this follow up limited series to CINDERELLA: FROM FABLETOWN WITH LOVE. Someone is killing sorcerers out on the Farm, and all signs point to Cinderella's archnemesis from the old days. The only problem is, Cinderella has always believed that her nemesis has been dead for years.

Thoughts: I can always count on a well timed graphic novel to pull me out of a reading slump. Maybe it's because they are so short and finished quickly, giving me an instant sense of accomplishment. Or maybe, because they are so short, they just leave me needing to read more. Whatever it is, I certainly appreciate the bump. And normally, Fables are my favorite instant gratification.

Especially Cinderella stories. The first spin-off for secret agent Cinderella, From Fabletown with Love, was a whole lot of fun, earning 4 stars from me. It was nice to see one of the female fables get all the spot-light for a little while since the last several Fables books have been more meta and dealing with forces acting against the whole of Fabletown (and a lot of menfolk going to war and whatnot)- ever since Snow White had her kids and Rose Red had that little emotional breakdown, the series hasn't had a lot of time for sexy, kick-ass heroines. So I was super excited that another Cinderella book was coming out.

Unfortunately, this second one wasn't as much fun. The plot was a little... sparse. From the description, I expected this to be a bit more involved, but it was actually pretty straight forward with VERY little exploration. And "Someone is killing sorcerers out on the Farm" is a HUGE false lead: someone kills one sorcerer, a complete throw away character, and it's like 2 whole pages worth of importance. It's just a device to get the story moving and really disappointed me. NOT that I wanted to see a bunch of the 13th Floor killed off, but a bit more involvement would have been nice.

I did like the backstory for Cinderella's nemesis- it definitely gave said nemesis a lot more presence. But the whole nemesis thing felt really weak... like bad cartoon weak. No real explanation, no real battle, just some fights. I don't know, it just didn't excite me the way it should have.

The Cinderella stories are going to be folded into Fairest, which I am still eagerly anticipating, so hopefully her next adventure will be back up to scratch. Sorry, Cindy.

3.5 stars

151scvlad
Apr 28, 2012, 5:08pm Top

I TOTALLY want to read this one (and ... with Love). Unfortunately both are one of the few not available available at my library. Damn and blast!

152leahbird
Apr 28, 2012, 5:53pm Top

#151 by scvlad> That's too bad. From Fabletown with Love really is a romp so I wish you could get ahold of it. Good luck!

153leahbird
Apr 28, 2012, 5:57pm Top



A friend posted this on FB and I agreed... with one alteration: Why aren't bibliophile's represented? It IS a LIBRARY after all. I like history, but I'd not go so far as to say I'm a history FAN. But books? Well, I think you all know the answer to THAT.

154UnrulySun
Apr 28, 2012, 6:33pm Top

I agree! It doesn't always go together. But ♥ anyways.

I picked up Rapunzel's Revenge at the bargain bin last week, because I like Shannon Hale, but I'm not much of a graphic novel reader. I've read maybe 3 ever (not counting my child's stuff we read together) but your review makes me want to pick up a Fabletown book and give it a try as well.

155leahbird
Edited: Apr 28, 2012, 9:42pm Top

Rapunzel's Revenge is on my to read list, so I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

I was not an active comic/graphic novel reader until a few years ago. It was the movie versions of From Hell, V for Vendetta, and Persepolis that made me want to read the graphic novels, the first of which I picked up in late 2006 I believe. Around that same time, I had a college friend who was into comics and she introduced me to Fables, which I found interesting but wasn't so sure about yet.

That spring semester (2007), I took Religion and American Culture with a wonderful professor (Mark Hulsether, who writes academic papers on the religious influences and significance of Madonna and Bod Dylan) and our final research project was on Religion and Pop Culture. Having recently read Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and discovered that graphic novels were so grown up (and sometimes actually well written) I chose to write my paper on "The Awakening of an American Art Form in the Jewish Diaspora." It was some of the most fun research I've ever done. Reading books about the early foundation of comics amongst immigrant Jews- who were not particularly accepted in their new country- who were cloaking stories of their mistreatment and their anger over the situation brewing in Europe in wholely American icons of strapping W.A.S.P.y men full of patriotism, it made me realize how complex and provocative the art form could be.

While I'll probably never be a huge fan of the traditional super hero genres, I've really loved some series. Y: The Last Man is a favorite, as is, obviously, Fables.

ETA: EVERYONE should read Maus at some point. Not only is it an amazing holocaust story, it is a TRIUMPH of storytelling and art. The way that Spiegleman differentiates his characters is wonderful and the story is sad and moving.

156UnrulySun
Apr 28, 2012, 9:53pm Top

Kavalier and Clay is an incredibly intriguing book. I hadn't realized that part of the history of comics before reading K&C, and was really drawn in by it. And what a great project for your paper!

I have Maus on the shelf, have since college. Will have to actually read it one of these days. O.o

157leahbird
Apr 29, 2012, 12:13pm Top

Don't know if anyone else is keeping up with the exotic swine ban in Michigan, but it's bad news. This article is a good overview of what's going on.

Now, I agree with them that wild feral pigs are a problem. What I DON'T agree with is their heavy handed tactics in "dealing" with the problem. You just can't go in to an area where there are 60+ farmers making a living off pig shoots on private land and say that it's all completely illegal now. If you are actually interested in solving the problem then you make REGULATIONS that give farmers opportunities to invest in the right secure fencing to keep the pigs contained. I mean, tigers are exotic species as well, but zoos have containment strategies for dealing with these issues. Why are farms different? These farmers are now basically having their livelihoods taken away without a voice.

And the bigger worry? That many heritage breeds have characteristics of feral-type hogs. This DNR order has absolutely no specifics about what is and is not targeted, which means that all heritage breeds could be targeted. This is a completely unacceptable situation. This would force people to farm only certain approved breeds, basically giving the government complete control over the production of pork... a situation that undeniably favors and benefits industrial pork operations and hampers small farms who want to be more sustainable. Interesting that the Department of Natural Resources would see industrial farming, with it's pollutants and terrible treatment of animals (and workers in many cases) as more ecologically friendly than sustainable heritage pig farming which can USE the pigs to improve farmland.

And I was thrilled to see in this article that my dear Tennessee has contacted Michigan DNR for information on this program. Well, it'll be a cold day in hell when I sit by quiet while they take my rights from me.

158leahbird
May 1, 2012, 9:44pm Top

April Round-Up

Books read: 4
Fiction: 4
Non-Fiction: 0
Classics: 0
Young adult: 1
Fantasy: 3
Cookbooks: 0
Graphic Novels: 1

Average rating: 3.63 stars

From my shelves: 2
New: 2
Library: 0
Kindle: 0

And because my April stats suck so much, some fun.

159leahbird
May 1, 2012, 10:14pm Top

I didn't actually read this article, but the video is wonderful.

The Birth of a Book

160dk_phoenix
May 2, 2012, 8:10am Top

Love the poster in #158!!!

161bluesalamanders
May 3, 2012, 9:32am Top

Hahaha that poster is fabulous!

162leahbird
May 5, 2012, 12:32am Top

The final push of remodel madness is almost over. Clients in tomorrow and wedding shower on Sunday and then I can relax a bit. Hopefully I WON'T have jury duty next week (I won't know until Sunday night) and can spend the next 2 weeks painting one room and building exactly 2 cinder block steps. And reading. God, can I please get back to reading.

163leahbird
May 5, 2012, 5:50pm Top

A big thanks to Unrulysun for bringing this to my attention!

29. The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland- For a Little While by Catherynne M Valente


Description: The story of how Mallow defeated King Goldmouth with the help of the Red Wind, Mr. Map, and many fairyland friends new and old, by the author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Thoughts: Not a lot to go off of in that description, eh? The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland is a short prequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, one of the best books I've read in a long time- simply magical. I have been eagerly anticipating the sequel (finally announced and titled The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There) but was completely unaware of this novella about Mallow, the girl who would become queen of fairyland (and a major player in the first book).

The only thing I can really complain about here is that it's too short. Hundreds of pages too short! It's just a tiny little snippet of Mallow's story, and while it's very charming and I really enjoyed reading a bit more of her story and how she came to meet so many integral characters and become queen, this did almost nothing but make me want to beg for more. Not that I won't get more of Valente's wonderful writing and Fairyland stories soon, but that I wanted more of THIS story specifically. I want to know how Mallow, the practical girl, falls in love. I want to know more about how she got to Fairyland. I want to know TONS more about how she left Fairyland and came back. So much ripe material still locked away in Valente's brain and I need it out here on pages...

Anyway, you should definitely read this. Well, read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland first if somehow you've missed it and then read this or it won't be as meaningful (and it might not make a lot of sense since there isn't a lot of establishing details).

4 stars (only because it's too short)

164leahbird
Edited: May 5, 2012, 6:24pm Top

I spent most of today setting up to meet a potential wedding client only to apparently be stood up. It wasn't SO bad since I had to get everything out for the shower tomorrow anyway and I spent the 2 hours I waited reading a book, but it's frustrating nonetheless. A text would have sufficed.

In bookish news, I now have Anansi Boys, The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, and The Sisters Brothers on eloan from the library. HOW DO I CHOOSE? Anansi Boys is due back first and Sisters Brothers last, but it's calling my name the most... damn.

165UnrulySun
May 7, 2012, 10:27pm Top

Anansi Boys is great, but Sisters Brothers has been on my wishlist forever, so I'd probably go with it! Which did you choose?

166leahbird
Edited: May 8, 2012, 8:03am Top

I split the difference and went with Firefly Brothers, mostly since I'd already started it before I lost the ebook loan. I'm trying to be good and speed through it to get to the others in time.

Off to jury duty today and maybe the rest of the week so I'm hoping for lots of reading time during breaks.

167leahbird
May 9, 2012, 11:26am Top

30. The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman


Description: More than anything else in the world, Lila wants to be a Firework-Maker. But every Firework-Maker must make a perilous journey to face the terrifying Fire-Fiend! Can Lila possibly survive? Especially when she doesn't know she needs special protection to survive his flames...The exciting and heart-warming story of Lila's journey to face the fearful fire demon fizzes with fun and drama.

Thoughts: I've really been enjoying reading Pullman's books for younger readers (previously I had only read His Dark Materials which are some of my favorite books). Earlier in the year I read The Scarecrow and His Servant which I really enjoyed but it was a bit overly fantastical. The Firework-Maker's Daughter was a good compliment to that book. While there is still a nice dollop of the fantastical in this, it's much more controlled and delivered like many of my favorite myths. Where I enjoyed this story a bit more, however, I found the pacing was too fast. I know this is a particular issue of short middle grade books, this story trotted along a bit more than was probably good for it... I wish Lila had needed to work for her goal a bit harder and if her meeting with Chulak hadn't been quite so fortuitous. But, in the end, I would still recommend this highly, especially if you have a determined and talented girl in your life.

4 stars

168leahbird
May 9, 2012, 7:33pm Top

Remodel stage 1 is done!!! I posted a bunch of before/after pics here if you are interested. Here's a little preview. (The wall color is a blue gray even though it looks almost cream in these pics)

169UnrulySun
May 9, 2012, 8:26pm Top

Wow it looks great! Love the all-over cozy farmhouse feel. It's amazing what a little paint and a whole lot of elbow grease can accomplish!

170leahbird
May 9, 2012, 9:19pm Top

Truly! Paint makes all the difference.

171kittenfish
May 10, 2012, 3:55pm Top

Looks great!! Your hard work is paying off! Congrats :)

172SandDune
May 11, 2012, 3:13am Top

It looks lovely. It's so impressive that you've got it done so quickly.

173bluesalamanders
May 11, 2012, 7:56am Top

That looks great, atlargeintheworld.

174leahbird
May 11, 2012, 11:12am Top

Thank you all!

175leahbird
May 14, 2012, 6:11pm Top

THIS!!

176UnrulySun
May 14, 2012, 6:16pm Top

LOL
And yet they will continue to do so!!

177leahbird
May 14, 2012, 6:58pm Top

Yep, they sure will. Luckily our neighbors are all good on that front. Now, they might be TOTALLY insane and redneck, but they don't complain about farm stuff.

178leahbird
May 15, 2012, 5:01pm Top

Some of us were talking about labels at some point a while back. I found this today while perusing the Lexicon of Sustainability's new Pinterest page (yay!) and thought I would share. Labels can be very misleading and it's important to be aware of the misdirection and missing information.

Click the picture to see the larger PDF which contains more good info.



I'm not sure I'm sold on the Snapshot label idea because I feel like that information is given on the side panel and people should look there, but I wouldn't mind if the side panel looked more like the Snapshot label since it's a nice clear indication that something is high in something (good and bad) without relying on the whole estimated % of daily value.

What do you think of food labeling?

179kittenfish
May 15, 2012, 11:48pm Top

It sucks.

I can't believe that getting away with total BS is FDA approved

I can't believe that anyone thinks FDA means anything

It clearly doesn't

Grow your own!!!!!! That is really our only hope!! for us and for our future!! PLEASE

180kittenfish
May 15, 2012, 11:48pm Top

But.....I would totally buy that :)

I'm a sucker

181leahbird
May 18, 2012, 12:37am Top

This week has been the final push to get Stages 1 and 2 done on the house AND get the farm ready for Saturday's wedding. My cousin (who is the one getting married this weekend) was out here all day doing various things and was noticing all the work we've been getting done. He was pretty impressed but said something about how it was nice that I could just focus on that stuff (since I don't go to a job somewhere else). He wasn't trying to be snide or rude, but it chapped my skin a tad. I said, "Yeah, other than remodeling the house and cleaning the pavilion for your wedding, in the past two weeks I've only had jury duty, mowed and baled hay, rounded up the rogue bull twice, fed and watered 50 animals every day, thrown a wedding shower (complete with dinner), and babysat my niece 6 times (her mom is changing jobs and schedules haven't gotten in sync yet). I'm really lucky I don't have a 'real' job."**

People say things like this all the time. Mostly they don't mean to be rude or even realize that what they've said is thoughtless, but it bugs me. One friend told me how lucky I was not to "work" since I had so much more time to read... Another friend was upset that I didn't drive 3 hours to come visit her more often since I could "get away whenever I wanted." Every time I'm just flabbergasted. Yes, I have the freedom to pretty much decide what to do when. And I can almost always get away in the middle of the day to do whatever I want. But I work my ass off the rest of the time. And leaving the farm for more than 24 hours is a chore- not only do I have to find someone else to do my chores for me (animals have to eat), which usually costs me money, but it never fails that something goes wrong when I leave. It's like the farm can tell I'm not doing my job and it screws me over. I really don't like getting phone calls about farm emergencies when I'm hours away and can't do anything about it.

Ok, enough grumbling. Lesson for the day is that, if you know someone in an non-traditional job situation, tell them you think they do a great job. It will probably make their year.

**As a matter of fact, I do feel pretty darn lucky not to have a "real" job off the farm, but certainly not because it's less work.

182leahbird
May 18, 2012, 7:04pm Top

I mentioned before that Amazon kept changing the release date of The Last Unicorn Deluxe Edition graphic novel I've been dying for. At my final count, I received 7 different release dates over the last few months. The most recent, from a week or so ago, was that it would be here May 30th. Well, I just got an email that it has shipped and will be here the 21st. Now, I'm thrilled that it's on it's way and that it will be here early, but I'm still totally flabbergasted about the whole thing. And more than a little surprised that my account had any money in it after buying all the wedding stuff the past few days since I won't be getting paid for all of it until tomorrow... Here's to hoping that my $30 book doesn't end up costing $60 after overdraft fees.

183PaulCranswick
May 19, 2012, 2:16am Top

Leah - hope that the work on the house gets done as you want it and that the wedding goes off well. Have a great weekend.

184leahbird
May 20, 2012, 4:38pm Top

Thanks Paul. Things went great and we had a wonderful time. I partook of the joy a bit too much and found myself a bit drunk and packing my suitcase at 3:45 this morning, but I somehow made it up by 7:30 and drove 6 hours to Charleston, SC. Now for my much deserved 4 days of rest (and a few meetings)!

185dk_phoenix
May 20, 2012, 10:48pm Top

I feel your pain, Leah. As a freelance writer who works from home, I get the "but it's not like you have anything else to do" line all the time from people. My mother--in-law seems convinced that I and my husband (who also works from home, but has a decade-long established business he's running) can just pop off whenever or indulge her need to phone us in the middle of the day and complain for 45m about how our lawn isn't cut (yes, OUR lawn, and she lives 40 minutes away from us, so... what???). People seem to think I'm free to run errands, do them favors, or whatever else in the middle of the day, and I have to keep reminding them that yes, I do have a job, and yes, it's awesome that I work from home and can set my own hours, but that ALSO means that if I pop off for 3 hours mid-day? I have to make it up ELSEWHERE. Like, when I should be sleeping. Or eating. Or trying to have some semblance of a life.

*stomps foot*

...and I imagine it's much more difficult for you, considering you have lives to care for and mouths to feed. Anywho, I'm in your corner and will gladly take out the kneecaps of the next person to speak with such ignorance. That may be a little extreme, sure, but I'm in a bit of a mood this evening...

186leahbird
May 20, 2012, 11:21pm Top

Exactly! The amount of work load one has doesn't change even if they have the ability to put that work off for a little bit to do something fun. You either work into the night or you end up skipping fun times to make up the difference. Just like this "vacation" I'm on- the ONLY reason I'm here is to go to meetings but luckily I have some in between time to go to the beach and sleep. So, my work trip IS my vacation. No 2 weeks paid time off when you are your own boss.

While I don't think I need anyone's kneecaps bashed in quite yet, I sincerely appreciate the sentiment Faith! I will happily reciprocate for you!

187leahbird
May 24, 2012, 1:51pm Top

I would like to start by saying that more times than not, Amazon gets books to me without any problems and at prices that I can handle. I will probably always hate buying from them because I don't like megacompanies, but I've accepted that I live in the middle of nowhere and Amazon represents my best chance of getting the books I want for prices I can afford.

That said, whenever I have had a problem, which isn't very often, it ALWAYS turns into a nasty situation. Basically, I know Amazon Customer Service has next to no information about various situations but they are SERIOUSLY unhelpful. They refuse to put me through to someone who might be able to help and their only suggestion is a return or refund. IT'S SOOOOO FRUSTRATING!

My much anticipated The Last Unicorn: Deluxe Edition finally came in and it was beautiful! First thing I noticed, however, was that the corner was badly crushed. Great. Then I couldn't locate where the number and signature was in this SIGNED AND NUMBERED edition. Well, it wasn't there. So I go check my account and it definitely says signed and numbered. Going to the Amazon page, though, it doesn't say it any more. All the reviews say the same thing: no one received a signed and numbered copy.

So I contacted customer service to see what was up. OF COURSE they had no information and wouldn't/couldn't put me in touch with someone who might know what was up. She just kept offering my a replacement or a refund. Well, I'd love a replacement if it's going to be what I actually ordered! THEN she said she couldn't get the system to accept the replacement so she would send me a return label and RESELL the book to me with a shipping update. NO WAY. I said that I wanted clear documentation of what was going on so I would arrange the replacement myself. I got her to agree to pass a note along to the service department with my email and ask them to contact me if they found anything out, but she made it pretty clear that was a serious long shot.

I'm just frustrated. I know that Amazon is a huge company and everyone can't possible have all the information that customers need, but SOMEONE SOMEWHERE in that company knows why this wasn't SIGNED AND NUMBERED as it was supposed to be and I want to know why. I'm really irritated. I feel like if it was just an honest shipping mistake the webpage wouldn't have been changed without customers being informed. I feel like they've done something underhanded and I don't like it. Yuck.

On the otherhand, the book itself is really beautiful and worth looking into, so long as you aren't dying for a signed and numbered edition.

188beserene
May 24, 2012, 3:17pm Top

I had similar problems with mine. Unfortunately, my order history doesn't say "signed and numbered" (anymore?) so I had to give up on that point. But I am now awaiting my THIRD copy to see if Amazon can manage to send one without the corners completely crunched. I have my doubts.

Super frustrating. And, yes, the same response about the signing and packaging issues: "Well, I don't know anything about that, but I can put a note on here that says the packaging was inadequate." Grrrr...

189leahbird
May 24, 2012, 6:16pm Top

Amazon.ca has suspended sales of the book because of customer complaints. It would be nice to see Amazon.com do the same and resolve this responsibly.

190UnrulySun
May 24, 2012, 11:12pm Top

Grr! How frustrating!

Have you tried calling the publisher? They would probably know more about why they aren't signed. At least they *might* be more helpful.

I remember the days when Amazon would send your replacement before you even sent back the damaged copy. They used to tell me "just keep the broken item and we'll send you a new free one". But that stopped around the same time they started the marketplace and public resale stuff. Now it's two hoops and a backflip to get them to even notice your problem.

I also remember the days when they sent out a survey email after your purchases asking if everything arrived okay. I had to tell them several times that books came bent, or a dvd was rattling around in an empty oversized box. They don't ask any more.

191leahbird
May 24, 2012, 11:31pm Top

They did actually send my replacement out today and I have 30 days to return the original, which is nice. But I think they genuinely think that if they send me a new book with one day shipping that I will overlook the fact that they misrepresented the item they were selling me. Which isn't going to happen. I thought about calling the publisher, but I figured I would get more run around from them than I am getting from Amazon... it's worth a try though.

I think the lesson I'm learning is that I really, really can't buy special edition books through Amazon. It's usually these books that I have terrible experiences with. I returned The Tales of Beedle the Bard deluxe edition because it was soooo substandard. I kept but was fairly disappointed with The Hunger Games deluxe edition book which was really just a cloth bound cover and nothing else special. I kept but was disappointed with The Giver special edition because the picture led me to believe that it was bound like a Bible or leatherbound journal, NOT a hardcover with a slipcover that just looked like a Bible. Now this. It's not that I blame Amazon for the books not being what I WANTED them to be, but I do blame them for not being a WHOLE lot clearer about the bindings and contents of special editions.

192beserene
May 25, 2012, 12:38am Top

I emailed the publisher already, to get them in the loop and see if Amazon was ever supposed to advertise a signed edition at all. I'm awaiting a response.

Amazon does still send the replacement item ahead -- I have three copies of the book sitting on my chair right now. Unfortunately, in this case, all three of them are damaged in some way, and that is Amazon's fault -- their packaging and handling is entirely insufficient on deluxe items.

And, add another person to the list -- David got his today, and not only was it not signed, but it had a big box cutter slash down the cover. So, either Amazon's handling is entirely inept or there's some conspiracy to damage all the copies of a deluxe fantasy graphic novel. Which of these seems more likely?

193beserene
May 25, 2012, 12:42am Top

Just saw on Amazon.com that the item is "under review". Interesting.

194UnrulySun
Edited: May 25, 2012, 3:48pm Top

Gosh, they wouldn't even process my replacement dvd of Tangled until they recieved the damaged one back! I guess it's hit or miss.

195avatiakh
May 25, 2012, 6:01pm Top

I really feel for you, as this was obviously a publication you have been looking forward to so much. I hope the resolution works out . I also think the publisher and author would be upset that so many copies from a limited edition were damaged by lax packaging.

196leahbird
May 25, 2012, 10:46pm Top

My second copy came in today and is undamaged but still not signed or numbered... Would still like some resolution on that issue.

197leahbird
May 26, 2012, 11:58am Top

Ha! I just got a voicemail from Amazon Customer Service! They apparently read my review where I said my service was very bad and were calling to see if they could help. I'm at the lake right now, but I will definitely be calling them back this afternoon. Not high hopes for answers, but it's worth a shot.

198UnrulySun
May 27, 2012, 7:55pm Top

Nice! I hope it turns into answers for you. (and all the other people who lost out on the special editions)

199Morphidae
May 28, 2012, 8:32am Top

I hope everything gets resolved well for you!

200leahbird
May 29, 2012, 4:30pm Top

I'm pretty sure my books are procreating... I know I swap a lot and still buy some, but I seriously can't believe how many books are piled on my desk waiting to be shelved! It's kind of scary. Even scarier is that my goal 2 years ago was to reduce the number of books I own and haven't read and I think I might have ended up going in the wrong direction. Troublesome. Especially since I haven't finished a book in weeks: the last novel length book was finished April 12th (GASP) and I've read a novella, a short story, and a graphic novel since then but haven't finished ANYTHING since May 9th. Talk about a reading slump...

201beserene
May 29, 2012, 4:42pm Top

You'll get through it. Just don't get anxious -- all that does is make reading feel like a chore -- and read whatever you feel like, even if it is just short pieces and graphic novels. Nothing wrong with that. These things pass. :)

202leahbird
May 30, 2012, 12:04am Top

I know where the slump came from, namely working my butt off and using all my brain power on the remodel and wedding, but that's over now and I should be falling back into my reading habits. Not so much. I did get some good reading done on my trip but back to squat when I came home. Maybe now that I finished watching Battlestar Galactica (HUGE letdown in season 4, terrible ending) I will be reading in bed again. I just need to make myself NOT acquire books when I'm not actively reading, that would probably solve both problems quickly.

203leahbird
May 30, 2012, 8:56pm Top

Yeah... about that slowing down on acquiring books. I just checked my book release calendar and the first of October is a KILLER.

Oct 1: The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
Oct 2: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Oct 2: The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde
Oct 2: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Oct 2: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M Valente

Just HOW in the world does that happen? Are they TRYING to bankrupt us? I hope I have a good sales week in late September cause otherwise I'm gonna be BROKE!

204UnrulySun
May 30, 2012, 9:00pm Top

Hehe, I have a similar list! July, September, and October are big pre-order months for me. I think October is the Big Release Month in the publishing world. If your book is released in October, it means you've "made it" in book circles. :)

Of course several of my preorders are just pb versions of older titles, so they trickle in over the summer months without fanfare. I've got a HUGE wishlist of unreleased titles that I want to go look through for preorder status now. Help!

205leahbird
May 30, 2012, 9:04pm Top

It's seriously dangerous! I wish the Big Release Month was in November so I could use birthday money for all those purchases.

206leahbird
May 31, 2012, 1:45am Top

And then there is the ridiculous question on which one to read first? If I make it through Oct alive, it will be a miracle.

207norabelle414
May 31, 2012, 9:31am Top

We might need to have a Jasper Fforde support group in October. We can sit around and hyperventilate into paper bags together.

208leahbird
May 31, 2012, 11:48am Top

I think that sounds lovely. Should we hire an EMT just in case? ;)

209leahbird
May 31, 2012, 12:07pm Top

31. The Last Unicorn: Deluxe Graphic Novel by Peter S Beagle


Description: Whimsical. Lyrical. Poignant. Adapted for the first time from the acclaimed and beloved novel by Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn is a tale for any age about the wonders of magic, the power of love, and the tragedy of loss. The unicorn, alone in her enchanted wood, discovers that she may be the last of her kind. Reluctant at first, she sets out on a journey to find her fellow unicorns, even if it means facing the terrifying anger of the Red Bull and malignant evil of the king who wields his power. Adapted by Peter B. Gillis and lushly illustrated by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon, this special, oversized edition features additional art galleries and loads of extras, expanding the universe of The Last Unicorn.

Thoughts: I decided I needed to read this while I was deciding whether or not to keep it. While it still ISN'T signed or numbered, it really is a beautiful edition of a wonderful graphic novel. If you are familiar with The Last Unicorn at all, this will be an accessible and satisfying graphic adaptation. It follows more along the lines of the movie, which is also great, mostly because both mediums share stricter plotting schemes than because of anything lacking in the novel. And the artwork here is really first rate. I love that they abandoned the pulpy format of little squares on pages and let the beautiful art run where it needed to.

If you somehow aren't familiar with The Last Unicorn, I think this would make a fine introduction but you really should read the book. It's just so wonderful. The characters of the last Unicorn, Schmendrick, and Molly are still some of my favorites, for all their flaws and triumphs and wishes and dreams. One of my favorite scenes, from all 3 formats, is when Molly sees the unicorn for the first time. She cries and curses the unicorn for only revealing herself now, when Molly is middle-aged and a bit broken by life rather than when she was young and pure and wished for nothing more. It's a very real moment and has always touched me.

Anyway, I haven't decided what to do with this volume, but I have to say I'm leaning towards keeping it. It's just too beautiful. I'm still very pissed with Amazon and am not giving up on finding out why they misrepresented this, but I think I want it either way... Maybe I'll send it back to Amazon and buy it somewhere else.

4 stars

210UnrulySun
Edited: May 31, 2012, 12:12pm Top

208: Only if he's cute. And brings friends. And booze.

211leahbird
May 31, 2012, 12:20pm Top

A cute EMT with booze? Sounds dangerous and distracting!

212leahbird
May 31, 2012, 7:33pm Top

I love this kind of thing!

213bluesalamanders
May 31, 2012, 11:27pm Top

The idea of that comic is a lot better than the execution. "Chemical Helper" and "Cheese Food?" are funny, but most of the rest are horrible "common knowledge" fallacies.

214leahbird
Jun 1, 2012, 10:50am Top

I agree that the idea is funnier than the delivery. Which is kind of why I found it so funny...

215leahbird
Edited: Jun 19, 2012, 8:07pm Top

May Round-Up

Books read: 3
Fiction: 3
Non-Fiction: 0
Classics: 0
Young adult: 2
Fantasy: 3
Cookbooks: 0

Average rating: 4.36 stars

From my shelves: 1
New: 2
Library: 0
Kindle: 1

Ugh, that was bad.

216leahbird
Jun 5, 2012, 4:24pm Top

I've been thinking about changing my username. atlargeintheworld was from my email address that I started in college 10 years ago and it fit me really well at the time- I was studying Anthropology and dreaming of the travels I would enjoy. I've held onto the email and username for so long because of the sentiment, but it doesn't fit me as well in my life now and for a long time it's felt a little... juvenile. I've taken the big step of getting a grown up email address and think maybe it's time to retire this name altogether (this is the only place I still use it). On most other forums these days I'm just myself or theleahbird (or just leahbird). Since my farm business is Bookworm Farms, I think leahbird suits me rather well while still managing to be a *tad* more grown-up.

What do you guys think about changing usernames when you are already established on a forum? What do you think about leahbird specifically?

217foggidawn
Jun 5, 2012, 4:27pm Top

I think leahbird is pretty. As for changing usernames in general, I'd say go for it if you want to. I know a few users on LT who have changed their usernames for one reason or another, and as long as you make it clear (especially on groups/threads where you post often) who you are, it seems to work out fine.

218leahbird
Jun 5, 2012, 4:47pm Top

Thanks foggi! I feel like I'm leaning more and more in that direction. Does anyone know for sure if changing your username applies to posts retroactively? So, if I change, will my posts in this thread change or stay as atlargeintheworld?

219avatiakh
Jun 5, 2012, 5:29pm Top

Yes, change your name, I really like 'leahbird'. We adapt really fast to these name changes, just add 'formerly known as ...." as a sign off on a few of your posts on other peeps threads and we get the drift.
I sometimes think about changing my username as well as I didn't realise I'd be using the groups so much when I initially signed up for LT.

220avatiakh
Edited: Jun 5, 2012, 5:36pm Top

I'm fairly sure it's retroactive as bookaholic13 changed her name to -Eva- earlier this year and checking her first 12in12 thread, all her posts are as -Eva-.

Eta: Yes it is, I went back to her 11in11 threads and she's -Eva- in those now as well.

221leahbird
Jun 5, 2012, 5:38pm Top

Thanks!

222UnrulySun
Jun 5, 2012, 8:41pm Top

Love the id leahbird! And it suits you as I already think of you so it won't be hard for me to remember. :)

223ronincats
Jun 5, 2012, 9:10pm Top

Go for it!

224leahbird
Jun 5, 2012, 10:05pm Top

After several years of watching America's Got Talent, the thing that repeatedly surprises me is the HUGE response even only decent opera singers get. That's not to say that some of them aren't really talented or that I don't enjoy them, but it's just surprising. Most of the people who watch that show would probably NEVER go to an opera or buy an opera recording but they go insane when someone starts singing libretto or arias on AGT. It's a weird conundrum.

225UnrulySun
Edited: Jun 5, 2012, 10:09pm Top

I think when it's good (even just a little above average), opera is emotionally stirring. It's moving. And when you jump right to the core of it, the recognizable part, and the audience isn't lulled half to sleep for an hour before hand... it's entertaining. ;)

I admit I like the opera singers, but you can tell when they need training. That little girl last year (year before?) was amazing to listen to for her age, but as an adult I don't think she'd have gone as far, KWIM?

The acts I can't stand are the stupid dangerous ones! Swallowing swords, piercing your eyelids, jumping into tiny pools of water... BLEGH

226leahbird
Jun 5, 2012, 10:20pm Top

I HATE those too. Yuck!

I love opera (while fully admitting that I'm NO expert) so I'm always happy to see opera singers, especially the surprising ones, it's just a weird aspect of the show. I think if you asked most people what they thought of opera they would say "blah," but put opera on the stage in front of them and they go bonkers.

227norabelle414
Jun 6, 2012, 11:12am Top

I think the problem is that people go "blah" at the idea of opera, not at opera itself. So when they hear it but they didn't choose to, they actually like it.

228leahbird
Jun 6, 2012, 11:22am Top

I can't believe Ray Bradbury is dead. I'm so sad. His was one of the first voices that reached into my head and heart and took firm hold. Fahrenheit 451 was a turning point in my life that I will never forget. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, and may you rest in peace.

229PaulCranswick
Jun 6, 2012, 11:46pm Top

Leah - we are having a joint read of Dandelion Wine over the weekend in memoriam - see Caro's thread.

230ronincats
Jun 6, 2012, 11:55pm Top

Yeah, join us! There was a nice tribute to Bradbury on the News Hour on PBS tonight.

231leahbird
Jun 7, 2012, 8:50pm Top

Unfortunantly I don't own Dandelion Wine and of course it's checked out at my library. Drat. I think I'll read Fahrenheit 451 so I'm at least there with you guys in spirit.

232ronincats
Jun 7, 2012, 8:59pm Top

Works for me!

233leahbird
Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 9:01pm Top

32. The Rescuers by Margery Sharp


Description: Miss Bianca is a white mouse of great beauty and supreme self-confidence, who, courtesy of her excellent young friend, the ambassador’s son, resides luxuriously in a porcelain pagoda painted with violets, primroses, and lilies of the valley. Miss Bianca would seem to be a pampered creature, and not, you would suppose, the mouse to dispatch on an especially challenging and extraordinarily perilous mission. However, it is precisely Miss Bianca that the Prisoners’ Aid Society picks for the job of rescuing a Norwegian poet imprisoned in the legendarily dreadful Black Castle (we all know, don’t we, that mice are the friends of prisoners, tending to their needs in dungeons and oubliettes everywhere). Miss Bianca, after all, is a poet too, and in any case she is due to travel any day now by diplomatic pouch to Norway. There Miss Bianca will be able to enlist one Nils, known to be the bravest mouse in the land, in a desperate and daring endeavor that will take them, along with their trusty companion Bernard, across turbulent seas and over the paws and under the maws of cats into one of the darkest places known to man or mouse. It will take everything they’ve got and a good deal more to escape with their own lives, not to mention the poet.

Margery Sharp’s classic tale of pluck, luck, and derring-do is amply and beautifully illustrated by the great Garth Williams.

Thoughts: I always loved Disney's version of The Rescuers and, especially, The Rescuers Down Under, so I was very interested in the books. From what I can gather, The Rescuers movie was based more on the second book in the series, Miss Bianca, than this first one, but The Rescuers was a lot of fun in a little book. My only real complaint is that Miss Bianca is quite unsure of herself in this book whereas, in the movies, she is a very confident mouse, which I loved. I'm guessing that she comes more into her own in the following books. Either way, she never let her doubts get in the way of getting the job done and the interplay between her and Bernard was wonderful. Can't wait to get my hands on the other books and look forward to sharing this with my niece when she's a bit older.

4 stars

234leahbird
Jun 8, 2012, 12:13pm Top

It's official! I'm leahbird now. And now, to make things more confusing, I'm going to start a new thread! See ya there.

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