Someone Thinks Like Me

I’ve been browsing the free downloads in the Kindle Store and I come across something. It unsettles me because it has a similar plot to a novel idea that’s been in my head for over ten years, a story I started writing but never finished.

It’s not exactly the same, but some of the basic premise ideas are there. I don’t plan on reading it though. I’m a bit turned off by the idea of series and this is the prequel to a series. I’ve come to realize that I prefer stand-alone novels. Not always, but most of the time.

Although I have been thinking about taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year. I did it unofficially a couple years ago, just as a motivator to work on writing out a full draft of one of my stories. So I still have the rough draft sitting in a folder awaiting to be revised. I might work on this idea that’s never been fully explored this time.

Yes, I could write at any time, but I get far too distracted by other things. I’m in the last dungeon of Shadow Hearts trying to finish the game, but I’m really wanting to start playing the second game. Although I know if I do that without finishing this, I won’t finish my current save and get the bad ending, because I’ll just start up at the halfway save I have for the game on my memory card so that I can get the good ending where Alice lives. Then of course there are the books… and Netflix… Supernatural… and Jeremy Renner…

And if the world doesn’t end in 2012, then what?

I find it very hard to stick to my guns about not buying books. I’ve been indulging in unrestricted purchasing for years so it’s a very hard habit to break. Although I feel that it’s worth it to show I’m actually accomplishing something by giving myself a goal in my reading and not buying unless I reach that goal. I am tackling that bane of my reading existence, the knowledge that I have all these potentially great books sitting on my shelf and yet I spend all my time reading books from the library or new books I’ve bought to pack into the limited shelf space. So 2012 has been a year of trying to accomplish something.

I was quite pleased to realize that my unread books have reached the realm of forty books. When did that happen? But then I realize it’s because I haven’t been buying books to replace what I read at such an alarming rate. Some books I probably would have read already, but I wanted to save the best for last like my Tolkien books. And there are some others that are part of series or so highly recommended that I just keep putting off for similar reasons. So that leaves stand-alone books that leave me with mixed feelings. Some of them I have been wanting to read and others I wonder why I bought them in the first place. Was it because they were cheap? I admit there were times I hated walking out of the bookstore without having bought something and I wonder why I chose this instead of that. I have a feeling that I’ll be clearing off some shelf space soon.

Yet despite all my self control, what will happen once 2013 rolls around? Do I return to unrestrained book buying binges and see myself back in the same predicament? I certainly hope not. I am thinking about putting a less severe restriction upon myself to help keep any impulses in check. I was thinking about allowing myself to buy any books I wanted to, but make a limit of five books each month. I offer five since I am usually able to read at least that many books each month. I feel that would be a reasonable limit to place upon myself until such time that I have read through all the unfinished books that I own.

Perhaps 2013 will be devoted to watching all those DVDs (movies and season boxed sets) that are langushing on the shelves. Or playing through the insane amount of unfinished video games for both console and handheld systems.

P.S. I kind of have the urge to play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 again and use Hawkeye, Dante, and Amaterasu in my party once more.

Loki needs to give me freedom from choice!

I have decided that I want to read one more book from my TBR pile and then give myself a treat. What kind of treat do you ask? Why I am going to re-read a book! And I don’t mean I’m going to be digesting it in bits and pieces a chapter or two at a time like I do with The Count of Monte Cristo right now. I am going to read it as my normal fodder.

Yet there’s a problem. I can’t decide what I want to read once I allow myself to go into treat mode! Here are some possibilities that I consider:

As you can see it’s not going to be solved by flipping a coin. And I am not sure what I am in the mood for so I don’t entirely trust myself on using such gut instinct.

I’ve actually been wanting to read Fahrenheit 451 for a few weeks now. It might be appropriate considering the recent passing of Bradbury.

Rampant will be read again anyway at some point because I haven’t read Ascendant yet and it sits there on the shelf, taunting me. The same goes with the Little House series. Out of nine books I’ve only finished three. Something’s wrong with that stat and I aim to wipe it out.

But there are some awesome stand-alone books in this list… oh me, oh my! What a dilemma! Perhaps there should be a battle royale and may the best book win!

Review: Bewitching

TITLE: Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles #2)
AUTHOR: Alex Flinn
PUBLICATION: 2012 by HarperTeen
FORMAT: E-book

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Kendra tries to help people with her magic, but sometimes it doesn’t always go swimmingly. However, she can’t sit back and watch as the girl in her new school suffers at the hands of her beautiful yet wicked stepsister. Don’t look for enchanted pumpkins here, but things are about to get a little bewitched.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .

Kendra was a character that I liked in both the book and movie versions of Beastly so I liked the idea of hearing more about her adventures. One of the great things about this book is the fact that you can read it without having read Beastly, so if you’re just interested in this novel you don’t have to feel obliged to go and read another book before you start Bewitching. The opening chapter made me think that the book may focus on Kendra’s story exclusively since we discover how she became a witch. I imagined perhaps there would be several such chapters where the reader hears about her deeds, both successes and backfires. But she behaves in the background again with an occasion page or two devoted to her opinions. Now I’m not saying this is bad, it just wasn’t expected from when I started reading the opening story.

After the introduction to Kendra’s beginnings, we have the main story of Emma and Lisette, which is our modern twist on the tale of Cinderella. It’s divided up into three parts with breaks in between where we hear of Kendra’s other exploits in the matter of the French court during the 1700s and how she aids a love-struck mermaid in the creature’s quest to be with the one she loves. Every story is told in first person perspective, but there’s no problem understanding who’s speaking because each narrative is clearly marked with whose story it happens to be.

Still I have to admit that I liked Emma. It’s hard not to like a bookish character who would rather be reading than interacting with other people. I could relate to her desire to just hide and read a book rather than be social. Like all heroines who learn things the hard way you are longing to shout at her, “Don’t you see what’s going on? You’ve read this in countless stories!” I still can’t help but adore her so I was glad in the end that she realized the fruits of her folly (sorry, I’ve been playing the end of Shadow Hearts and Albert Simon was shouting that phrase at me on the screen so I must exorcise it).

I noticed a few typos, but that’s to be expected in most books whether they’re electronic or physical, I suppose.

To be honest I liked this a lot better than Beastly. I want to read more about Kendra and her efforts to help poor unfortunate souls so I hope that Flinn writes more of her adventures. It was a pretty fun read. I found myself staying up as long as possible to read, but since I had my Kindle I didn’t want to fall asleep and drop it so I finally had to stop myself and wait for today to finish it off. I recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys reading those fairy tale retellings!

Review: Shades of Milk and Honey

TITLE: Shades of Milk and Honey (Shades of Milk and Honey #1)
AUTHOR: Mary Robinette Kowal
PUBLICATION: 2010 by Tor Books
FORMAT: Hardcover

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Jane has not the beauty of her younger sister Melody, but she has a great talent for glamour weavings. Still she resigns herself to spinsterhood. Yet can love come to one such as Jane with the appearance of new neighbors and old acquaintances?

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .

I confess that I only got this book to read because I discovered that the book I had checked out from the library, Glamour in Glass, was its sequel.

The inside flap of the jacket calls this book Pride & Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel. I have not read the latter book in that comparison, but I am quite familiar with the Austen reference since it’s the only Austen book I have completely finished. It very much reads like a Jane Austen novel trapped in a magic world.

Glamour itself is an interesting concept, but I don’t quite understand the mechanics of it. It requires no verbal incantations, but we have these hand gestures conjuring fabulous magic from the ether. I think I would have liked a bit more explanation about it. I think because I don’t understand its magical laws that I can’t accept it quite so easily. And glamour seems to have taken the place of manual labor. When a main character is taken ill, Jane is praised for saving his life with the cold monger (doesn’t that just sound like a spreader of disease?). Wouldn’t applying cold cloths to the victim have produced as much effect as chill spells?

The sisters seem more like the sisters from Austen’s Sense and Sensibility than Pride & Prejudice, but I’m more going by the film adaptation since I haven’t finished that novel. Since the book focuses around Jane I am not sure why the author didn’t just use the first person narrative style to tell this tale. I think it would have been better. I started seeing Jane’s name every other sentence and the repetition was kind of annoying in an indescribable way. The reader sees nothing else except from her perspective so why even have third person if we’re not going to see the inner turmoil of the other characters?

I don’t usually read books like this so would that make Shades of Milk and Honey a guilty pleasure? I liked it a lot more than I feel comfortable admitting. It was finished the day after I started reading it. I can’t really say if this is a book for fans of Clarke’s novel, but if you like Austen go get this book from the library.

Scream

Look what I found in those big 100 movies genre packs at Wal-Mart.

 

This explains why I didn’t get the references in From Reverence to Rape because all I do is watch horror flicks!

Review: From Reverence to Rape

TITLE: From Reverence to Rape
AUTHOR: Molly Haskell
PUBLICATION: 1987 by University of Chicago Press
FORMAT: Paperback

BOOK SYNOPSIS

This is an updated edition to Molly Haskell’s film study from the twenties through the sixties and early seventies. It includes a new chapter with perceptions on the role of women in the movies into the decade after the book’s original publication.

 

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .

I love books. I love movies. Combining the two has been a recipe for success in my opinion. Thanks to books I grew up reading it’s hard to look at some movies the same way again. I was unable to get From Reverence to Rape in the library’s somewhat extensive loan system (which kind of amuses me that I can get a guide on lesbian sex but not a sociology study on the treatment of women in the movies), but luckily one of my favorite bookshops was able to hook me up with a copy.

Most of the chapters are organized by the decades that Haskell is dealing with those particular films. I do like how extensive her knowledge of material is and the way in which she presents her arguments. This particular edition is an updated version with an extra chapter at the end demonstrating another look at the evolution of women in the movies up to the late eighties when the second edition of From Reverence to Rape was published. Haskell devotes one of her chapters to comparing how women in American and European films differed. The last chapter of the original edition shows dismay at the state of the film industry, but the chapter added in the latter portion of the proceeding decade offers a glimmer of hope in the state of movie affairs. It leads me to wonder how things would be if there were chapters on the films from the nineties and the last decade.

There is a passage describing the effect of television on the film industry that begins with the following on page 234:

For in robbing movies of their mass audience, television had stolen more than bodies and box-office figures. It had destroyed the faith: the belief in their fictions and fables by which the movies touched base with millions of viewers and had the authority of received religion…

I immediately thought of all those articles popping up on the entertainment websites about the movie business belly-aching in response to their loss of revenues. They complain about instant streaming taking away their audience instead of looking at the deeper root of their failures to amass audiences. (I won’t discuss it here but this would have the makings of a great post for a future date.)

I have always thought of myself as something of a rabid cinephile. I’ve by no means seen everything (even some of those great classics that I won’t admit to), but my viewing experience has been quite extensive. At least I thought it was until I read Haskell’s book and felt totally owned. There were some movies that I was familiar with so I didn’t have to totally rely on Haskell’s descriptions, Gone with the Wind for example. Most of the others? I was in the dark and this book makes me want to watch them. I believe that From Reverence to Rape is a book that I need to read again in order to fully appreciate the statement that she is trying to make, and I need more of a basic familiarity with all these movies that are referenced if not explicitly described by her. Although I found there were times that I could relate to what Haskell was trying to get at in her portrait. While I did not know the Western films she was talking about, I merely substituted the themes and descriptions for modern films that I had watched enough to form something of a similar example, like American Outlaws.

Do you consider a book life changing if you want to go through your entire film collection and watch all those movies again to see if you look at them differently now? Okay, maybe I haven’t been that altered, but it would be interesting to look at women in films that I’ve always watched. Even before I started reading this book I was falling into the analysis-of-movies mode by seeing things I never realized before in 28 Days Later. (I wanted to refresh my memory of the film for when I planned to pick up 28 Weeks Later from the library the following day.) I’m sure that Haskell hasn’t made it any easier because I watched He’s Just Not that into You when I reached the halfway mark in her book. I had thoughts. Would I have had these thoughts without exposure to this book or would I have just lovingly soaked up the spectacle of Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore on screen?

Did I like this book? Yes, of course. I would recommend it for any cinephile to look into if you can get your hands on a copy.

Special for Sundays

Special for Sundays is a weekly feature hosted by Gabbing About Books and In Which Ems Reviews Books. Each week will rotate to a different topic of discussion.

1st Sunday: One of your Favorite Books and why is it so special to you

 
Despite my rather extensive collection of non-fiction books, there are not very many that I would claim to be among my favorite books. However, Wesley the Owl is one of the exceptions. I adore barn owls. I think it originally extended from a certain film I watched growing up, but Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole made it worse and I had no chance against not reading Wesley the Owl. O’Brien’s book elicited a rare reaction from me: I cried at the end. I loved this story so much that I had to have it on my shelves even though I knew it would break my heart every time I read it.

TBR Intervention (1) + Library Loot


TBR Intervention is a weekly challenge hosted by April @ Books4Juliet, Dani @ Refracted Light and Ayanami @ Whatever You Can Still Betray. The goal is to commit to reading at least one book that has been languishing on your TBR pile in an effort to conquer the mountain.

Due to the overriding fear that I will have too many memes popping up on my blog, I would like to do this as a two weeks goal instead of every Saturday.

THE BOOK(S) I COMMIT TO READ:
Since I have a few library books checked out I am only going to be committing to one. I was less than thrilled with Night of the Wolf, giving up after the effort of 150 pages. So I am hoping this will be better as a direct sequel to The Silver Wolf.  I imagine that the inclusion of my favorite female protagonist will make this an easier book to devour.

I am almost done with From Reverence to Rape so I didn’t really think I should include that on here because it is a sure thing.

 

 

 


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!


The Postmistress I have already mentioned in a previous entry, but needless to say I am excited to read it once I finish From Reverence to Rape. I had originally gotten Glamour in Glass without realizing it was a sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey, so I had to wait for the first book to come in.


Between Shades of Gray hit my radar when I browsing the articles at NPR’s website and came across one where the author was getting a lot of sales due to the confusion of readers thinking that they were getting the erotic novel that’s topping the bestseller’s list. And I am posting The Hurt Locker DVD on here because my love affair with Jeremy Renner in other films continues with no end in sight.

Dear reader, what are you committed to reading or have brought home from the library lately?

Kindle and Library Books

I put several titles on hold through the library’s e-books awhile back, but due to my utter lack of interest in checking my email on a semi-regular basis I missed the requests that I had placed. I clicked on a few more and waited. At the time I did not own my Kindle, having nothing but a vague notion that I would buy one at some point yet not wishing to be confined to the Kindle PC app. Now I have a Kindle and the possibilities are interesting. I had requested titles with EPUB formats because my Alura-tek supports them and those files do not require much space, playing to my desire not to have to move some of my books from the e-reader’s hard drive to the PC.

One of the books that I had previously requested but missed checking out was The Postmistress. There has been interest in this title ever since it was first released. I almost bought a copy when Borders was having its liquidation sales, but I was having one of those moments of willpower when I told myself that I didn’t need to buy any more books that I hadn’t already read and could get them through the library. This book was available as an EPUB and Kindle file, so with the option of selecting which version I wanted I clicked on the Kindle option that took me to the Amazon page. It could only be downloaded through USB, but my Kindle needed a bit of a charge after my time reading Loki and the killer unicorns short story “Errant” anyway.

It’s a painless procedure. Much better than when I first encountered the e-books through the library option a few years back. They had their own e-book app for the computer and it seemed a pain to download that and the books. E-readers are much nicer.

I would dive into The Postmistress right away, but I want to finish my current read about the sociology of women in the movies. I hope to have it done within the next couple of days with any luck. And by luck I mean not getting distracted by things like Tom Hiddleston or Supernatural.