Showing posts from January, 2012

The Pioneer Woman

I love her. If you have never heard of her, please check out her blog:

The Pioneer Woman

Her story is fascinating and funny...and she is living one of my fantasy lives. Anyway, great recipes and advice...and lots of other fun stuff. Enjoy!

Hello, world!

Yes, the following video is me. It is my first "vlog" for "Susie's Blog."

Clearly, I have no experience with recording these things.  :)   Originally, there were about two extra seconds at the beginning (it looks like I start in mid-sentence right now). I don't know what happened to those seconds.  They simply are lost forever now...floating in the great beyond that is cyber space.


I recorded this video very late last night, which greatly contributes to the pale/no makeup/bad hair introduction of myself to all of you. Still, I am not a "girlie girl," and, seeing as how I am exhausted all of the time anyway...well, this is as good as it is going to get right now.  :)

Anyway, here is the first "vlog" titled "What am I reading? #1":

I love a polite criminal.

So, someone broke into my car last night. He/she broke out a small back window (not the main window) and unlocked the back seat driver's side door. After unlocking the front door, he/she tried to pry out my CD player, but couldn't get it. He/she then took everything out of my glove compartment. Not finding any money, the person decided to leave the scene.

He/she didn't take anything. Not my XM radio (easily taken out), not the CD player face cover (the thing is 10 years old anyway...I mean, geez), none of the paper work in my car, none of the CDs or the books (I have a lot of books in my backseat and trunk that I planned to take to the Friends of the Library today...), none of the books in the trunk (which he/she got into, but gently closed so that I didn't even notice until the police had already left) short, nothing.

Apparently, he didn't think to check the small "change" compartment next to the steering wheel...all of my money was there. (Not muc…

Internet woes...and I am a slacker.

So, I was supposed to do a lot of things online this weekend...and I didn't get to do them because our modem completely died. Ugh. Isn't it sad how fast we feel separated from the universe when we can't get online?

Actually, this should have been a blessing in disguise. You see, I had grand plans of getting a lot of dissertation work done. And not having access to the internet? Well, that should have really helped me out. I should have taken advantage of the opportunity and read until I couldn't read any more.

But...I didn't do that. Oh, well.  :) I did read some on Saturday, but on Sunday I just felt no desire to work on anything. It happens.

Just amazing...

The opening scenes of "Amadeus" floor me every time.

Annoying Characters; or, Why I am Unhappy with Wilkie Collins at the Moment

At the moment, I am reading Wilkie Collins's No Name, a book that I plan to use in the last chapter of my dissertation. Granted, I am not very far into the book, but the heroine of the novel, Magdalen, is driving me crazy! She is so annoying, and, if she was real, I would want nothing to do with her. Everything about her is exaggerated, from her commitment to "getting into character" for a friend's birthday play to her annoying relationship with her father and other men. I really want to throw the book against the wall!

I have been trying to think about other characters that annoy me...luckily, the list is short. I never liked Dorothea, from George Eliot's Middlemarch. I also can't stand Catherine from Wuthering Heights (though I must say that this is a fairly recent development). Felix Carstone, from Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now, is another one. And, from Dracula in Love, Jonathan Harker. Ugh. There are others, I am sure, but these are the ones…

On the shelf soon! The crazy--but gorgeous--William Augustus Bowles.

Check out the abstracts for articles in our new issue! Yes, this is shameless self-promotion, as you will see once you read the abstract for the article on William Augustus Bowles. At the very least, he is a pleasure to look at, even if you don't read the article one day.  :)

Alabama Heritage: Issue 103/Winter 2012

Dracula in Love, by Karen Essex

*** SPOILER ALERTS!!! ****

I finished reading Dracula in Love, by Karen Essex, last night. Overall, I really loved the book. The writing was beautiful and there were quite a few steamy moments! Once I reached the end, however, I just felt that things fell apart and I was a bit disappointed. There are two basic reasons for my disappointment: 1) I don't think that it is reasonable or realistic that Mina makes the choice that she does; and, 2) Some of the action in the last quarter of the book just felt so far removed from the tone of the rest of the book.

Essentially, Essex rewrites Stoker's classic tale from Mina's point of view. In doing so, she creates a very sexy version of Dracula that makes us feel more sympathy than horror. There is a new mythology created, and, basically, Mina and Dracula are star-crossed lovers caught in repeated cycles of rebirth and disappointment. There is all kinds of creative license taking place in this book, so if that bothers you then you s…


Do you like this blog? Then you need to advocate for the rejection of SOPA and PIPA. The proposed legislation will shut down blogs like mine. It will shut down your blog, too. Do you mention companies? Do you link to other sites? Do you post book reviews?  All of these would become illegal due to SOPA. You can be shut down and face other penalties as well.

See my post below with the link to the YouTube Evita clip? The clip of the Hunger Games preview? Yep. In violation of SOPA and PIPA. Am I making any money off of this blog? NO. Is this legislation wrong? YES.

Essentially, by posting book reviews, product commentary, clips freely available on YouTube, and other items, I am giving free publicity to authors. I am not posting full movies on my site. I am not offering links to books pirated from publishers. But under SOPA and PIPA, I am considered a criminal.

To find out more, visit:

Stop American Censorship

SOPA will Kill Your Mom Blog

SOPA Will Take Us Back to the Dark Ages

TechDirt articl…

Finally on the mend...

Wow...all of this has really taken me out. I  have had a horrible time with this sinus infection (I guess that is what it is?) and am still not feeling perfect. At least I am on the road to recovery, though. The problem is that I am catching so many things these days because my immune system is so bad after the round of really strong drugs I had to take while in the hospital with food poisoning in September. I don't think I would be coming down with all of this otherwise. So, my new goal is to boost my immune system--eat yogurt, sleep, eat healthily, exercise, etc. Anyway, that is that.

During my recovery, I have read a couple of books: Marie Corelli's The Secret Power and Kresley Cole's Untouchable (in the volume Deep Kiss of Winter). I updated them to my Goodreads Challenge list, so I am 3 books (out of 50) into it. Yay!

I am now reading Dracula in Love by Karen Essex.

This is another one of those fabulous "bargain" buys I found on the discount aisle at Books-a…

Sick. Ugh.

I have been sleeping away the weekend and today. I have whatever has been floating around out there, and I am sick of coughing! UGH!!! Oh, well. And tonight is the championship game (GO BAMA!!!), but I don't know if I will be able to make it through the game. Disgusting time to be sick.

Other than that, I don't have a ton of news to report. I have (once again) be reflecting upon The Hunger Games and thinking about how much that series means to me. Never in a million years did I think that I would be into those books. I passed them by several times in the store, especially once all of the merchandizing took up as much space as the books. But I am so glad that I read them. I am also very pleased to see that the movie version has a wonderful director and the perfect actress playing Katniss. Jennifer Lawrence, from the EXCELLENT movie Winter's Bone, is playing the part. She is such a strong actress and will be amazing.

A fascinating article from the Jewish Review of Books:

"Why There Is No Jewish Narnia" by Michael Weingrad

I really enjoyed reading this article because it made me think about things I had never realized before now. It is true...where are all of the Jewish fantasy authors? This is a very well-written answer to that question. I look forward to reading his book.

Sleep Helps So Much. Also, here is my 2012 Goodreads Reader Challenge List!

I actually slept last night...even better, I almost slept through the entire night. I had almost forgotten what that felt like. Last night, I was a bundle of emotion and nervousness and anxiety (as usual these days). I crawled into bed around 9:30 and downloaded some relaxation music. The next thing I knew: nothing. I woke up and realized the music was still playing. I cut it off and went back to sleep. It was nice.

I am not 100% by any  means, but I am trying my best to get there. One thing that helps me is to make plans for something that I enjoy. Of course, one of the greatest pleasures/indulgences in my life is reading. So, I joined the Goodreads Reader Challenge. This is a great one because you set your own goals. I don't add everything to my Goodreads list during the year, but this year my goal is to read 50 books. I probably already do that anyway (probably more), but it seemed a reasonable number for me. So, this morning, I made up my preliminary list (which has more than …


I finished Mockingjay last night (the third in the Hunger Games trilogy). I liked it, but I didn't love it. The reason: it felt rushed. Book 2, Catching Fire, is still my favorite. The character development and plot were awesome. In Mockingjay, though, I never felt as connected. Still, bravo to Collins for such a great series!