Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What am I reading now??

I am almost finished with John Harwood's The Seance. I have really enjoyed it. The atmosphere of the novel is so creepy, and Harwood is one of those writers who knows how to make you feel a time period without making it obvious. I think that he does a great job of capturing the Victorian era (later Victorian, actually). I have about 70 more pages before I finish it, and I can't wait to find out what is going on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

“When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don't take are snuffed out like candles, as if they'd never existed.”
― Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

Missing in Action...I know

I haven't updated this blog in a long time! (A long time for me, anyway.) Things have been very hectic lately. My office is moving to another location, so we have been frantically packing and planning for the move at work. It is all happening very quickly, so there hasn't been much time for anything.

I did take off a week from work last week, but I spent the entire time working on my dissertation. I didn't do much relaxing, but I did get a lot done.

I have been reading a lot and one day--I promise--I will be updating my book blog! Ugh. It has just been such a busy time! Hopefully, once things calm down at work and with the dissertation, I can get back to normal!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Racking up the free books!

So, because I am poor and always in need of something to read, I have ventured into the land of "free" Kindle books. Not the classics, but the promo deals or the ones by indie authors just trying to get noticed. I am fully aware that many of these may be really terrible, but I also know that I can find a jewel here or there. When I do, I will be sure to tell you all about it.

The great thing is that there are daily (sometimes hourly) changes to what Kindle offers for free. Getting a free book feeds my book addiction, but it costs me nothing. And sometimes, you can find really great deals by really well-known authors. For example, I downloaded a free novel by one of my favorite romance authors the other day. Not a snippet, but the whole thing! And, what I have found is that sometimes authors will let you download the first book in a series for free, hoping to get you hooked. I LOVE THEM FOR IT. Seriously.

So, if you have a Kindle (and, I suspect the same is true for  Nook) or if you just want to download the Kindle app to your computer to read from there, take a few minutes to browse each day! You might find something great!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Characters

Today is a "rewind" topic (i.e. choose any past list topic). As usual, sponsored by the great folks at The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters:

1. Severus Snape (From J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series). He absolutely must be #1.  :)   I honestly can't get enough discussion about Snape. I read articles (there aren't that many) and listen to Snapecast. I attended the conference in Oxford, England about Harry Potter's World Wide Influence, making sure to meet the one Snapecast representative who made it there and to participate in Snape discussions. What is the appeal? His conflicted essence. His code of ethics. His ability to stick with what he believed to be right--even to the end and even though it killed him. portrait, no death...right?  HaHa!

2. John Thornton (From Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South). I like Thornton for many of the same reasons that I love Snape. Thornton embodies everything that is wonderful about Victorian literature and dedication to authenticity. I love him. :)

3. Katniss Everdeen (From Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games series). I love Katniss. I was stunned recently when I read a review that bashed Kat in the second book, Catching Fire. The reviewer disliked her because she was too thoughtful in that book and showed too much weakness. Well...that is sort of the point, you know? Catching Fire is the book that made me love Kat. When she breaks down for the first time in there, I could totally relate to her. Also, as I have discussed previously, emotion plays a very important role in that series when you consider how it can be used against the characters--both by those participating in the games and by the government. It is fascinating.

4. Elizabeth Bennet (From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice). Do I really need to explain this one?

5. Mary Lenox (From Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden). I know...she is a bit of a pain in the beginning. But what kid wouldn't be? It is a very modern story, when you think about it. A child suffering emotional neglect from her parents and society, forced to leave everything she knows and go live with a strange man in a strange house. This book is one of my favorites, because I always pick up something new each time I read it. I love Mary's transformation.

6. Atreyu (From Michael Ende's The Neverending Story).  Atreyu as portrayed in the movie was my first crush (along with the guy from The Pirate Movie, but don't hold that against me.) But...I didn't read this book until a few years ago. I was doing research on mirror scenes in movie adaptations of books. Of course, as those of you who have seen the movie know, there is a famous mirror scene in The Neverending Story. As I read the novel, realizing its commentary for the first time, I fell in love with Atreyu even more. He is just an amazing character. I encourage all parents to give this book to your child. There are ways to tie it to all kinds of issues, and its symbolic commentary on loss, hate, and Nazi-era Germany is beautifully done. PS: If you have never read the book, you don't know the real story!!

7. Little Jo (From Charles Dickens's Bleak House). I love this child. He is still one of the only characters who has ever made me cry while reading a book. Dickens clearly loved him too, because some of his most powerful writing is featured in scenes with this child. Little Jo is a homeless street sweeper, and probably the most important character in Bleak House. He knows everything--he just doesn't realize it. Watching his struggles and how society neglects him will break your heart. He is the reason I write about orphans.

8. Jane Eyre (From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre). I remember the first time I ever read Jane Eyre. When I got to the confrontation scene between Jane and I kept thinking, "I can't believe she is actually saying this!!" And I was so proud that she did. I do have some issues with Jane, but I loved reading about her.

9. Scout Finch (From Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird). Again, no explanation is really necessary! She is fierce, and I love her. I also like her literary sister/cousin, Idabel Thompkins from Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms. Genius.

10. Kate Malone (From Laurie Halse Anderson's Catalyst). If you have never read Speak or Catalyst, please do so ASAP. Both are wonderful books, but I like Catalyst more. Some considered Kate "self-centered," and maybe she is, but her struggles with perfection and academic success/failure are portrayed marvelously.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Christian is okay!

Just received word that Christian is okay. So happy to hear this!

A fun time with the cousins!

Yes, my hair is darker. I haven't had time to get the highlights since February! I am so looking forward to my hair appointment in two weeks!!!