Showing posts from November, 2010

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Amazon Link for better plot summary and reviews:

Basic rundown of the plot:
Quentin, a high school student, is swept into a hidden world and attends a school for magic (it is for five years and the students are, for the most part, adults). He is delighted to be there because he finds out that magic is real, just like he always hoped when he read books about the "imaginary" Fillory world (and the Chatwin children who have adventures there). After graduation, he and his friends (I guess you would call them friends) end up in Fillory where they face off against evil. Tragedy and victory are the outcomes.

Vague? Yes...intentionally so. And, as I will state again, this is NOT a children's novel. It is very adult and explicit.

I have been trying to decide what to write about this novel for a couple of days. I can't decide if Grossman is doing something important in this book or if he is being clever and uninten…

Thanksgiving Fun!

Well, Thanksgiving 2010 has come and gone. It was a fun night and I know that I ate way too much! Still, what is the point if you don't, right? Here is a little photo coverage of the evening...

Pre-feast, everyone ran around the kitchen, talking, drinking, and just having fun in general!

We all ate too much...including hacking into this cake that I made the day before. It is a pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese icing (with pecans, golden raisins, and cranberries). The cake was huge! I couldn't put the glass cake dish top on it when I was finished icing it. It is considerably smaller now. :)

After dinner, Jessica and my mom enjoy coffee and conversation in the den with Ginny (Jess's mom), Ron (Jessica's dad), and Grandma. But...

...even though Jeff was also in the room, he had passed out by this time. Too much to eat, Jeff?

The only thing missing? My dad's oldest sister and her family! We missed the Wells family! Maybe next year?

We also had our first Christmas charity…

For those of you who want more Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton trivia... is an excellent article about the places the couple rented or owned during their time together: Daily Mail article.

Some interesting trivia and several photos!


I know that this can't be the first time that this has happened, but I came across this book today and nearly jumped for joy when I saw that a black man and a white woman were paired on the cover of a romance novel. I mean, like I said, I am sure that this has been done, but I haven't seen it...and I sure haven't seen a cover like this for a sort-of historical romance novel. But, really...if this is the first time, don't you wonder why it didn't happen until 2010? I can imagine that many contemporary romance covers might have multi-racial pairings depicted (and even in historicals you see Arab, Latino and Spanish, and other ethnicities...but usually not African American and/or Asian men paired with white/Caucasian women).

The second best part of this image is the steampunky-Victorian details. So, I decided that I must read this series. You know me...I love it all. I will read just about anything. Stranger is the fourth of Zoe Archer&#…


Chapter 2 (at least the draft) of my dissertation is complete!!! I am officially taking two days off. Thanksgiving is upon us and I will be enacting my inner-Victorian feminine side (ha,ha) as I help prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

As a preview, I am also about half-way through Lev Grossman's The Magicians:

Review to come...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

If I could rename this film (though it would be inappropriate considering how little we see Snape), I would call it Harry Potter and Snape's Billowing Robes. 'Cause that scene as he entered Malfoy Manor really did something for me. (Yes, I am insane.) Anyway, my slight insanity has to do with the fact that I am taking cold medicine and I can't breathe all that well...lack of oxygen makes you think crazy things...

Anyway, on to the REAL review (and not my fantasy world)...though I use the word "review" lightly...nothing scholarly here:

Wow! I have to say that the movie is wonderful and that everyone involved completely redeemed themselves after the travesty that was the last film. (I really didn't like the sixth movie...Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favorite book. They completely made it into a joke and left out EVERYTHING important.)

AND...whoever avoided the curse of 9 million pages about Harry, Ron, and Hermione camping in the woods and inst…

Oh, yes, is coming... review of HP7 will be posted tonight!!! I see it in under an hour!

"An Inconvenient Wife" by Megan Chance

Recently, I read an incredibly fast-paced and intriguing novel titled An Inconvenient Wife (by Megan Chance). The book takes place in 1880s New York, and follows the story of Lucy, a high society woman, who has "fits" symptomatic of hysteria (basically, a mental disorder singularly exhibited in women due to malfunctioning or deformed reproductive organs). Lucy's husband, William, is the typical nineteenth-century American husband in high society: rich and chauvinistic. He expects his wife to be the "angel of the house," demure to all of his decisions, and, most importantly, endure her once-in-a-while sexual couplings with him--because God knows that women shouldn't feel sexual desire at all.

As a last resort, William accepts the treatment offered to Lucy by a hypnotist (often referred to as a neurologist in this novel), Victor Seth. From this point forward, one never knows if decisions are being made by Lucy, William, or Victor--and the outcome is deadly.


Two more days!!!


Weeds Finale...

What will happen next?? Personally, I think that it isn't the end for Nancy and Esteban...but we have to wait a whole year to find out! NOOOOO!!!!!


Today was the "Quidditch on the Quad" event on campus. I had to go check it out, of course...and it was soooo much fun! I wish that I could have stayed longer, but, alas, responsibility calls.

By the way, if you don't know what Quidditch is...well, I am worried. But, you can remedy that by reading the Harry Potter books or you can take the easy way out: Wikipedia.

I finally found the Slytherin field and watched the "Australia" team win by taking the Golden Snitch! It was brutal! A guy ended up with a broken nose and the boy who was the Golden Snitch was almost choked. It was amazing! (Not that I am condoning violence or anything.)

Anyway, here are some photos. Unfortunately, my camera died before I got a picture of the Golden Snitch!

It was a great beginning to what will surely be an awesome Harry Potter week! I didn't know anyone out there, though it turns out a good friend of mine was there. But, it didn't matter because Harry Potter fans are awesome …

Only in the South

The other night, I had the privilege of teaming up with an old co-worker of mine (and close friend), Nancy. She had an extra ticket to hear Pat Conroy speak at the Birmingham Sheraton (benefiting the Children's Hospital in Birmingham). I have read Prince of Tides (long ago), and I was so excited when Nancy asked me to go with her.

We had a great dinner and then made our way downtown to hear Mr. Conroy. Everything was uneventful until we left the hotel. And that was when we had an experience that is only possible in the south.

We were waiting for the cross-walk sign to light up so that we could cross the street just next to the hotel (Nancy's car was parked under the bridge there). Anyway, the sign on our side kept beeping at us, so Nancy started laughing and asked if she was supposed to press the button. So, we did...and then the craziest thing...

Rather than just silencing the beeping, a woman's voice -- a VERY SOUTHERN woman's voice -- comes out of the pole (I am sure …

Oh, my! Too funny!

Thanks for sending this to me, Claire!

The Mill on the Floss

I first read George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss about ten years ago (wow...can't believe it was that long ago) in Tuman's class. I remember really enjoying the reading experience and being fascinated with Maggie Tulliver. I decided to use the novel in my dissertation, but upon rereading it...well, I don't like it so much anymore. I don't even want to write about it, in fact. I am hoping that I can be convinced or energized with some discussion about it, because it really could be used productively in my work. Still, I almost wrote to my director today and told him that I was completely frustrated with the book. I know that I should at least try to use it. do I make myself excited about something that I just want to throw against the wall??? to make myself resigned to George Eliot's narrative voice when I just want to say, "Bite me, Mary Ann."

Yes...this would be George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans. Just look at that smirk. YOU ARE KILL…

The Taming of the Shrew

Ah, yes. A classic. And, finally, I am back to posting about Shakespeare. :)

So, I finally have a chance to sit down and think about this play after reading it once more. It isn't my favorite play because it seems to begin so interestingly and end so abruptly. I have read The Taming of the Shrew many times, but, to make it more interesting this time around, I decided to approach it with a question in mind: Why, oh why, is Kate a shrew?

I know that people have discussed this at length. But, remember: I am not in a Shakespeare class and I don't have any professional training in this area (other than a few classes that I have taken YEARS ago) so I am just going with my own thoughts. This question came to me as I watched the Taylor/Burton version on DVD.

As one person put it (and not in these exact words), Elizabeth Taylor comes off as being more than slightly unhinged in the production. And, indeed, many people just play the part that way.

But I never bought that Kate was just …