Monday, November 30, 2009

Deadly Little Lies, Laurie Faria Stolarz

Finally an impulse buy that didn't enrage me after reading it! Clearly, I have a serious problem when it comes to buying books that I am 99.9% sure will be exceedingly insubstantial & ridiculous. I bought this book based purely on the pretty cover (which is the reason I bought the previous book in the series). Whoever is designing these covers is hopefully making at least some money from them because the cover art is the only thing attracting me. That and the fact that I will pretty much buy & attempt to read anything when I am in the right sort of mood (read: overwhelmed by my life).

I wasn't too impressed with the first book but I actually really enjoyed this one. I was slightly shocked by how much I liked it. Hopefully the next book will have the same designer giving me pretty art & the fancy kind of smooth paper for the dust jacket. And I really hope Laurie Stolarz continues to write in this style- that way I can forget about the first book. My only request would be for more Ben & Camellia quality time in the next one. I didn't like them being apart for so long and then having just a taste of reconciliation on the last few pages.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare

"a sea nourished with loving tears" (Act I, Sc. I)

Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays but I hadn't read it in a very long time. And I am not feeling awake/intelligent enough at the moment to do more than record a few favorite (& familiar) lines:

"Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,
O anything of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
Still-waking sleep that is not what it is!" (Act 1, Sc.1, 181-186)

"O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh! Eyes, look your last.
Arms, take your last embrace. And, lips, O, you,
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death." (Act 5, Sc. 3, 109-115)

And what kind of teenage girl circa 1996 would I be if I didn't mention the Leonardo DiCaprio movie version. I have so many memories of repeated viewings at sleepovers. Although our main focus of discussion was how to achieve Claire Danes' braided updo from the party scene rather than the actual play.

Oh the hair, the music, the ridiculous expressions on Paul Rudd's face... what's not to love?

Having not watched the Zeffirelli version in a long time I am struck by how much Romeo looks like Zac Efron which is slightly distracting, even the hair is Efronesque. Regardless, I do love this movie.

And finally some lovely Angel Corella & Alessandra Ferri.

Shadowland, Alyson Noel

I don't have much to say about this book. It reminds me a little bit of The Vampire Diaries series which in my particular case is not a compliment. I was only able to soldier on reading this tedious story because I am a stickler for closure and I thought this was the 3rd book in a trilogy. So to be irritated throughout the entire thing only to have an ending that leaves the main characters in a situation almost identical to the one they were in on the first page followed by a full page letting me know I can purchase the next volume in the series next summer.... Yeah, I was more than annoyed. But now I have crossed over to an irritated place that will not waste my money on the next book in a weak moment. I will patiently wait for someone on wikipedia to let me know what finally happens to Ever & Damen. Meh, indeed.

And I am loving all the negative Amazon reviews that sum up my feelings quite nicely.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bright Star: Love Letters & Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

I don't know how I have reached this point in my life and never read John Keats' letters to Fanny. I was familiar with Keats' poetry of course and had always heard vague mentions of his ill fated love affair before his death but I had never read further. Which, if I do say so myself, is really quite unlike me seeing as I spent a fair amount of time being obsessed with the Browning's letters in the past. But I digress.

Normally I hate movie tie in editions of books but this one sold me with its pretty font and promise of a beautiful SLA to borrow a term from a favorite blogger . I haven't seen the movie yet because it is only playing in snooty movie theaters that would involve driving more than 5 minutes (5 minutes being the current home to theater commute time for repeated viewings of TwiMoon). But now I have some motivation to get there.

The letters are so heartbreaking & beautiful. Its funny to read something on such a higher plane after being so immersed in Twimania over the past week. Its not that I had started to think Edward was this amazing romantic hero but I had been thinking he makes a few swoon worthy declarations to Bella. And that right there is a sign that I have been lingering too long in the world of teen fiction & need to have an intervention with my self.

Here is appropriate swooning material for non-tweens:

"For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish that we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days- three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain." (I)

"I will imagine you Venus tonight and pray, pray, pray to your star like a heathen.
Your's ever, fair Star, John Keats" (III)

"I cannot exist without you. I am forgetful of everything but seeing you again- my Life seems to stop there- I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving... My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love... I could be martyred for my Religion- Love is my religion- I could die for it. I could die for you. My Creed is love and you are its only tenet..." (VIII)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Never Cry Werewolf, Heather Davis

This was a cute little story that I read in about 45 minutes. It is very, very light. It was entertaining but completely forgettable- not in an annoying way though. It just didn't have much to it. But somehow I wasn't really bothered by that. So not much to say about it either.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Soulless, Gail Carriger

Today I had vitamin poisoning (a new disorder that comes from trying too hard to fix all of your health problems with a quick trip to the witch doctor section of Whole Foods). Because of this I spent a good chunk of the morning in bed with this book. And it was perfect reading material for my situation.

I loved the characters in this book. I am predisposed to enjoy spinsters and Alexia is a very entertaining one. I appreciated that Alexia was happy with her single lot in life but also quite appreciative of her very attractive friend Lord Maccon. She was a perfect blend of spunkiness without crossing over into being a raging feminist.... I love that her character is an original but also belieavable for her time period.

The story was fast paced and suspenseful. I loved the romantic tension between Lord Maccon & Alexia. And the entire book was filled with hilarious lines. It was a great pick me up from my near vitamin death.

I am really excited that there is another book coming out in the spring!

The Magicians, Lev Grossman

This book has some of the most enticing quotes I've ever read on the back cover. I bought it purely based on those quotes in a fit of impulse book shopping. And when you book shop recklessly sometimes you end up with amazing books you would never have read and sometimes you are seriously disappointed and could have saved yourself $26.95 by researching first.

Unfortunately this book was a let down for me. It started out amazingly. I loved the story and was confidently thinking that I would be recommending it to Nora. The story following Quentin's failed Princeton interview, entrance exams at Brakebills, and the first part of his studies there is so entertaining. Teenage overachievers, Harry Potter college, plenty of Narnia references... lots to love.

But somewhere along the way I started to get tired. I was checking to see how many pages I had left to read. I started to really, really dislike Quentin. And then to wonder if I had ever liked Quentin. By the time {SPOILER}, Quentin cheated on Alice, I was just done with trying to care.

I've read other books with characters that I tremendously disliked and I was somehow able to still enjoy the reading experience. The Magicians is not one of those books. And I think all of the frothy praise on the back cover had set my expectations so incredibly high that it was that much sadder when those expectations were dashed.


This Amazon review & subsequent discussion is a lot more articulate on this topic than I can be.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fragile Eternity, Melissa Marr

Thankfully, this book returns to Seth & Aislinn's story. While there are plenty of side stories going on in Fragile Eternity the main focus is on Seth & Aislinn. So obviously I got excited about these books again now that we're back with my favorite characters. I did enjoy Sorcha's plot line with Seth. I did not anticipate the angle that took and was pleasantly surprised. My only worry at this point is that the next 2 books will be focused on different characters and leave my preferred couple on the sidelines again. I need closure! I want to read that they are happy and have worked out their issues. The 4th book needs to come soon because the last pages of this one were definitely cliffhangerish.

Ink Exchange, Melissa Marr

I really loved Wicked Lovely when I read it back in March and then I didn't get my hands on this next book for several months. I think I lost some of my initial enthusiasm for the world these books are set in and didn't try to read them again until today.

I'm glad I finally read Ink Exchange but in a way it was a little bit depressing. I loved Wicked Lovely in that insane Twilighty kind of way. I loved Seth & Aislinn's relationship so it was hard to be excited for this book. I knew it wasn't a sequel but having Seth & Aislinn as side characters was hard to read; especially when all I did want to read was more of their particular story.

I did like Leslie and enjoy her story but no where near as much as the first book. Leslie's story is much, much darker and sadder as well. There is really no romance in this book and for me that was the pull of the first one. I'm just not that into the world of fairies with an e to love a book that isn't giving me some other fun thing to read. So fairy drama with no romance? Not my personal cup of tea. But it is a well written book and it was nice to have glimpses, however fleeting of Seth again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Professor's Daughter, Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert

I bought this on a whim because of the beautiful illustrations and I am so glad that I did. It is quick, light, and fun. Lillian is the bored daughter of a famous Egyptologist. She takes out one of her father's mummies from the museum and promptly falls in love. From there the plot turns into a screwball comedy. This is one of my favorite panels:

I would read more of Lillian & Imhotep's adventures if they are ever published. The artwork would make great prints as well.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, Allison Hoover Bartlett

This was such a fascinating book to read. I love reading books about book collectors and the sometimes bizarre things that take place in the world of rare books. This story of an unrepentant book thief and the book dealer who was obsessed with catching him was entertaining and educational. I am always amazed at the knowledge of books and printing that some people possess. It was also fun to read this book since I have actually shopped at several of the stores & sales mentioned in the story. Kind of weird, actually.

"I touched the pages and realized how much I would love to own something like it. This is how it happens, I thought." (p.28)

"Too few people seem to realize that books have feelings. But if I know one thing better than another I know this, that my books know me and love me. When of a morning I awaken I cast my eyes about my room to see how fare my beloved treasures, and as I cry cheerily to them, 'Good-day to you, sweet friends!' how lovingly they beam upon me, and how glad they are that my repose has been unbroken." - Eugene Field in The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac, 1896 quoted on page 75

'Camerado! this is no book,
Who touches this touches a man.'
-Walt Whitman quoted on page 129

Aside from making me wish that I had more money & space to devote to my own book collection this book had me thinking about how incredibly selfish John Gilkey, the thief, is. Over and over he tells the author how he deserves these books. Simply buying books with his own money and stopping when he has no more money doesn't appear to be an option for him. It is odd to realize on the final page that he is still out there stealing rare books at this point in time.

Now if I had the (legitimate!) means I would be all about collecting French nrf editions purely for their prettiness, first editions of books I actually like, completing my Virago green paperback quest, & the entire Persephone Books collection. Not that I've spent too much time pondering this but I would also look for Oz first editions to go with the 4 I have, LM Montgomery, Sigrid Undset, & my feminine middlebrow modern authors. That is probably enough of an imaginary shopping list for the moment. It is a fun mental game to play though; filling imaginary shelves with beautiful old books that I can't afford.

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