Checkin' In

I've been a bad blogger. I haven't posted for a few days. Truth is most of my reading this weekend has involved paint samples. I have to pick paint for every room in my new house that's being built. And tile, and flooring... Too many decisions.

I did just started Oryx & Crake for Spring Reading Thing and the Dystopian Challenge. Very weird but interesting. I don't think it will take me long to read.

I did drop into the local used bookstore on Saturday. I came out with North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Some fellow bloggers think it's the bees knees so of course I have to read it!
I will be more interesting. Promise.

Booking Through Thursday: Seasonal Reading

Does what you read vary by the season? For instance, Do you read different kinds of books in the summer than the winter?

  1. If so, do you break it down by genre, length of book, or...?

Sometimes it does. For some reason, at Christmastime, I like 'comfort reads.' I'll find a book that I love and have read a number of times to curl up with. Sometimes I'll read something that I read during previous Christmases, ghosts of happy Christmas pasts. The books I can think of off hand are Little Women, Silas Marner, and Wuthering Heights. Classic books, I guess. They all remind me of dark, cold nights and gingerbread baking.

In the fall, I like scary stories, for the Halloween season. Shirley Jackson's short stories and a book of Nova Scotian folktales called Bluenose Ghosts are a couple of favorites.

In the summer, I'm usually reading a monster book for my book club. Past books were War & Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo. I also like something fun to read on the beach.

Genre doesn't seem to matter much. For me, it's the feeling. It's the Seasonal Affective Disorder of Reading. My mood dictates what I read.

The Time Traveler's Wife

Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Pages: 518
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2003

I’m still a bit dazed from just having finished this book. When a book is good, it’s sticks around, like the characters are in the room. Clare & Henry are still here.

I'm probably the last person on earth to have read this. I’ve been hearing about this book for a long time. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it. I’d heard it’s sci-fi. I had visions of Jeff Goldblum coming out of that transporter in "The Fly." I heard romance and thought of heaving bosoms. It’s nothing like that. It’s amazing and original.

Henry first meets Clare when he is a 28 year old librarian and she is a 20 year old art student. Claire has known Henry since she came upon him naked in her backyard, when she was six. He doesn’t know her from a hole in the ground; she’s loved him all her life. Henry has a genetic condition called Chrono-Displacement Disorder. This genetic mutation causes him to disappear and then reappear in another time as a reaction to stress. Henry thinks of it as a type of epilepsy.

Clare and Henry’s real-time romance is perfectly ordinary, except for Henry’s unpredictable disappearances. They date, marry and try to have a normal life. Clare is often left alone, waiting. Henry never knows where he will reappear or what perils he’ll face. Time travel is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s confusing and risky, not to mention the pain of knowing too much about your future and not being able to do a thing about it.

There is no "Grandfather Paradox" here. Henry tells Clare that things only happen once. You can only make choices in the present. What you do in the past has no effect on the present. So, Henry can meet his younger self without the universe imploding! No disappearing a la Marty McFly either.

The story is told in the first person of both Henry and Clare. Pay attention to the footnotes at the beginning of each scene: (Clare is 13, Henry 43). It helps keep track of what is happening when.

There were parts that were very hard for me to read. Some very sad parts, but it was so well written that you feel their pain. That’s good writing. The love of Henry and Clare feels real as well. These are just ordinary people living with extraordinary circumstances. They could live next door.

I really liked this book. It took me no time to read it. It was a "just one more chapter" book for me. It’s 518 pgs felt like nothing.

Of course, The Time Traveler’s Wife is being made into a movie starring, Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. Shooting starts this August. Please, read the book first!

Wordless Wednesday

Something About Me Challenge

Here are the books I've chosen for the Something About Me Challenge:

Parenting Your Only Child by Susan Newman PhD (Non-fiction). I found this book very helpful when I realized that I would probably be having just one kid. It's a great guide book for what to do and not do.

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald (Fiction). This novel is set in the area of Nova Scotia that I've lived all my life. It also portrays the hard life of the people who lived at the beginning of the last century. It centers around the lives of a dysfunctional Scotch/Lebanese family and their secrets.

The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes (Non-fiction). This is the true story of Sykes mapping of mitochondrial DNA to seven clan mothers of Europe. I have an interest in genetics and genealogy. I thought the idea of Europeans being able to trace their ancestry to 7 woman fascinating.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Fiction). I so related to the nameless heroine in this suspense story. At the beginning, she is shy and so unsure of herself. She reminds me of my younger self. I love how she finally comes into her own.

In the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Fiction). Probably the best book I read last year. As a booklover, I felt for the hero's desperate attempt to save a book from disappearing from the earth forever.
There is still time to sign up too!

My Blog Haiku

Haiku2 for chris-book-a-rama
picture if you had
3 wishes so anything is
possible to be
Created by Grahame

Adam Bede: Review

I tried. I really did. I really wanted to love this book. I usually love George Eliot's writing but I struggled reading this.

Adam Bede is a story of simple English country life. Adam is a hard working, moral man with a drunken father and overbearing mother. He is in love with the pretty but vain Hetty. Hetty has dreams of becoming the Squire's grandson, Arthur's wife. She has both men head over heels for her. Meanwhile, Adam's brother Seth is in love with the Methodist lady-preacher Dinah, who says she can never marry. Dinah is a kind hearted healer to the sinners of the world. All these people end up entangled in a horrific tragedy.

My biggest problem with Adam Bede was the pacing. It took forever to get to the action. Maybe this is the point. Near the end Eliot says:

"Ingenious philosophers tell you, perhaps, that the great steam engine is to create leisure for mankind. Do not believe them: it only creates a vacuum for eager thought to rush in."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

I did feel for Adam but I was aggravated with him for not seeing Hetty for what she really was. Most of the female characters were either harpies or whiners. It wasn't enjoyable to read those parts.

Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this book at this time. Still, the writing is quite beautiful and the main characters vividly real and fleshed out.


Elements of Style (Audio book): Review

Elements of Style (abridged) by Wendy Wasserstein, Cynthia Nixon (Narrator) 2006 Random House

This was my very first audio book...ever. I have never been tempted by the audio book format. I like holding a book in my hand. I like using my brain to translate the symbols on the page into words that paint a picture in my mind. But I borrowed this audio book from my mother-in-law and decided to give it a try.

First off, the hated word "Abridged" *shudder*. I always feel like I'm missing something when I read anything abridged. Am I getting the full intention of the writer? I have no idea.

Cynthia Nixon was great as the narrator. She has a wonderful voice and she put her own touch on every character. She was a joy to listen to.

Now on to the story... The novel revolves around the lives of the very rich of New York society jut after 9/11. The most sympathetic character, I believe, is Frankie, a pediatrician to the rich who also volunteers her time to the poorer children of New York. Her clients are spoiled and self-absorbed and I'm not talking about the kids. Most are women and social climbers who would run over their grandmothers to be mentioned in the society papers. The title comes from a grammar book, "The Elements of Style" mentioned by one of the characters. The idea is that the women would give anything to have a similar guide book for getting to the top of the social food chain.

At times, the novel had the feel of Edith Wharton, especially at the beginning. It was witty satire. I laughed while being appalled at the amount of money these people would spend on dinner parties or purses. However, the novel takes a turn quickly to the tragic. It veered off into a very dark place and ended quite abruptly. I was left feeling cheated and disappointed.

Although I didn't care for this book, I would go audio again. It's great for 1. cleaning the bathroom, and 2. longs trips in the car.


I've been Tagged!

Oh boy! Bookfool tagged me for a Writing Meme. So simple and yet so complicated. Here it is:

"What's Your Favorite Type of Writing?" And I should mention, your favorite type of writing to do as opposed to your favorite type of writing to read.

I like to write, maybe just to hear myself talk. lol! I know I'm not so good with poetry, so scratch that. I've tried to write articles but I really struggle with them and usually give up.

I enjoy the freedom of creative writing. You can just make stuff up. It's great! Go wherever your mind travels. Within the creative writing sphere, descriptive writing, the way something looks, smells, sounds, and tastes, is something I like doing. Dialogue is fun too.

I must enjoy blogging as well since I spend way too much time doing it! Memes are fun but book reviews are my favorite to write. It's great to have a forum to post my opinions on what I read.

Well, there it is. Pretty short, huh? So who's next? hahaha (evil laugh). I think I'll tag Charity at Writing Wrongs. Are you up for it?

More Challenges

I've signed on for 2 more reading challenges:

The Dystopian Challenge where participants read any number of dystopian novels.

The Something About Me Challenge. Click on the icon to the right. In this challenge, participants pick 5 books that represent them. In August, you choose a list of books you'd like to read from the other participants' lists.

Both challenges are still accepting members. Have a look!

Booking Through Thursday: Guilty Pleasures

'Fess Up!
Booking Through Thursday

Okay, there must be something you read that's a guilty pleasure . . . a Harlequin romance stashed under the mattress. A cheesy sci-fi book tucked in the back of the freezer. A celebrity biography, a phoned-in Western . . . something that you'd really rather not be spotted reading. Even just a novel if you're a die-hard non-fiction fan. Come on, confess. We won't hold it against you!

Don't forget to leave a link to your actual response in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

If I have any guilty pleasures in my reading, it's probably a love of Chick-lit. Becky Bloomwood, Bridget Jones, shopping, dating, or saving the world in a pair of stilettos is what I like. I get drawn in by the characters' funny antics and then I just can't put it down. I know it's not high-brow (although you could argue that Jane Austen is Classic Chick-lit) but everyone needs a good laugh and sometimes a good cry.

I used to read a lot of Harlequins but I got tired of the 'virgin meets rake and changes him into the perfect man' theme. I gave them up.

To be honest, I don't think anyone should feel guilty about what they read. Everyone has different tastes.

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Snow

Scribbit's Write Away Contest

Hi all! I was away for the day but when I got home I had a nice surprise. I received an Honorable Mention in Scribbit's Write Away Contest for my post The Tree Not Taken. This month's topic was growth. Check out the winner and all the other contestants. Thanks go out to Jeanna at Days to Come for judging this month's contest. It must have been tough, so many talented bloggers entered. I don't know if I could do it! And thanks to Michelle host of the contest at Scribbit. I have to say, I enjoy her blog on motherhood in Alaska. She is a fantastic writer in her own right! The contest really gave me a chance to stretch my writing muscles and put my heart on the page. So thanks, Michelle.

Randomness: Genie in a Bottle

randomness...feed your mind and your blog

Week of April 15: 3 Wishes

If you had 3 wishes granted what would you wish for?
till next time...

That's a tough one. I won't say "to have endless wishes," that's not fair. And I'm going to assume that world peace, hunger, global warming, etc have been taken care of (Hey, it's a world where I get 3 wishes, so anything is possible!)

#1. To be healthy, wealthy and wise. It counts as one because of the old proverb, you see ;)
#2. Since I'm wise now, I'd like to have as much time as I want to pursue a dream as a writer. Being wise, I already have the talent. As well, as time for family, hobbies, etc, etc.
#3. Hmmm... The power to travel anywhere in the world by just snapping my fingers.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go looking for a magic lamp...

Found one

I couldn't find a pic of my tree yesterday but I looked a little harder and found this one. The tree from yesterday's post is in the middle, next to the bright red one. Small isn't it?

Booking Through Thursday: A Wrinkle in Time

Where Does the Time Go?
Booking Through Thursday

Have you ever missed an important appointment because you have become so engrossed in a book you forgot the time or were up so late reading that you didn't wake up in time? Been late to work because you couldn't resist the temptation and left the house too late? Suggested by Jacquie.

Don't forget to leave a link to your actual response in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I don't think I've missed an appointment but I've come pretty darn close to being late a few times because of a good book. I think that's a sign of a really good read, you just can't put it down and nothing else seems as important as 'just finishing this chapter.' I've stayed up way too late more than once trying to finish a book because I wanted to see how it ends though.


A Cornucopia of Bookishness

Here's some bookish stuff for Monday:

  • BBC Drama series website: Jane Eyre series extras like wallpaper and photo gallery.

  • Backstory: Authors tell the backstories of their novels.

  • Saw Charlotte's Web over the weekend. I remember reading it as a kid. What a sweet movie! Dakota Fanning is so precious.

  • Also saw Stranger Than Fiction. Harold Crick is a 'taxman' who suddenly hears a woman narrating his life. Knowing he isn't crazy, he tries to track down the author of his life story before she kills him off. Will Ferrell was excellent as a sweet, shy man obsessed with numbers. Not his usual movie. I really enjoyed it.

Following that last item, here's a question. A lot of great works of fiction end with the hero/heroine dying. Did you think it was neccessary in every case? Is it overused? Did you ever feel tricked or cheated by the writer?

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita: Review

From the very beginning we see that Humbert Humbert is a depraved and sick man. As we read his memoir of his lust for a twelve year old girl, his marriage of convenience to her mother and his eventual abduction of Lolita, he makes no apologies. He is what he is. He even seems to revel in the retelling of it. Still, through the use of word play and poetry, we are drawn to the story. Often we are hit in the face with his terrible deeds and we wonder why we’re still here. Then he says something incredibly witty or poetic so we keep reading. Navokov is a master at this balancing act of the cruel and the beautiful. He draws us in, then shoves us back.

Humbert is an awful person. Navokov does not try to create a sympathetic character by having him feed the poor or pet puppies. There are no tricks like that. Humbert is annoyingly self-absorbed and narcissistic. That is one of reasons he is so funny. His self-love is laughable.

Despite all this, I felt sorry for Humbert who is a slave to his urges and obsessions. His obsession with Lolita is what does him in. He is mad with the thought of her. We see it in the first line:

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo.Lee.Ta.

This is Navokov’s masterpiece. It is a tribute to his love of the English language. The writing is some of the most beautiful I have ever read. The symbolism and wordplay is so complex, I’m sure I missed a lot. At some future date, I will re-read Lolita and spend a few bucks on the annotated version. Any review by me, wouldn’t do this book justice. You just have to read it to understand. But be prepared, this is a child molester’s story and not always easy to read. The one thing I can say is there is no profanity. You have to be a mature enough reader to read between the lines. It’s full of innuendo.

After reading Lolita, I want to read more about Navokov. Why did he write this book? He was a beloved family man, a respected scholar, a chess master and butterfly collector. What was the basis for this character? I feel the need to read his autobiography, Speak, Memory.

Easter Goodies

The Easter Bunny just keeps on giving! Stephanie nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award. Then Framed and Booked set me a message letting me know that I won her BAFAB giveaway. Alright! I never win contests, but somehow I won this one. So I picked Mr Darcy's Diary as my gift. Kailana at The Written World gave it a good review and I just can't resist a Jane Austen related item.

I also finish Lolita this weekend. I'll give it a review soon.

Happy Easter!!

A Nice Surprise!

I checked my blog yesterday and had a pleasant surprise. Stephanie at Confessions of a Bookaholic nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award. Wow! I'm very honoured that she would chose me. Of course now I feel I have to live up to it by only writing thoughtful posts. I will do my best, but I can't guarantee anything. ;)

My job now is to choose 5 bloggers that make me think (and I hope they make you think too!) It was tough. Although lot of blogs I read have already been nominated, there are so many others I read that haven't. How do I pick just 5? Well, I had to, so here are my 5 nominations:
1. Kristy at Just Another Blogger: Her book reviews are very insightful.
2. Between the Covers: Book reviews from a book lover, downunder. Beautiful blog too.
3. Tea Reads: A threesome of book lovers, who discuss all things book related.
4. Raidergirl at An Adventure in Reading: Another bookie from the red sand beaches of PEI.
5. Kim from Kimbooktu: I don't know how she does it, but she finds book gadgets from all over the world that make you think, "Now why didn't I think of that?"
I have a running theme of book blogs here! Please check out their blogs. Now that I've chosen these bloggers, here are the rules:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to the thinking blogger post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

Booking Through Thursday: Let's Get Biblical!

Booking Through Thursday

  1. Just out of curiosity, as we enter into Passover and Easter season... have you ever read the Bible? Just the odd chapter or Psalm? The whole thing? (Or, almost the whole thing? It's some heavy reading, of course, and those "begats" get kind of tedious.) Not really. I've read bits and pieces about a million years ago.
  2. If so, was it from religious motivation or from a literary perspective? Stuck with nothing else to read in a hotel room the Gideon's have visited? Any combination? Well, I think it was curiosity more than any other reason. The poetry is quite beautiful.

  3. If not, why not? Against your religious principles? Too boring? Just not interested? Something you're planning on taking care of when you get marooned on a desert island? Why haven't I read the whole thing? I'm not all that interested at the moment. Not to mention that it is heavy reading, maybe a modern version and not the King James would be easier.

  4. And while we're on the subject... what about the other great religious works out there? Are they more to your liking? No, unless you count Paradise Lost.

Icy Blue

Books On Film: DVDs

Over the weekend I had the chance to see two book related DVDs.

First up, Children of Men. I hadn't read the book but a quick look online revealed that P.D. James' novel of the same name hardly resembles the movie. I haven't read any of James' work and I'm ashamed to say that I thought she was a man! Very bad. If nothing else the movie made me want to read the book to see what compelled them to make this movie and why the big changes. Anyway...

The future, 2027, looks grim. No one has been able to have babies in 18 years. The world is in turmoil, except for Britain, or so they like to believe. Britain has a strict immigration policy, forcing refugees and illegal immigrants into camps. Because of this, terrorism is an everyday occurrence. Theo (Clive Owen) is a man without hope in this world. He has nothing to live for, until his ex-wife (Julianne Moore) comes to him for help. She and her group are trying to get a refugee woman to an organization called "The Human Project." Theo has connections that can get them out of the country without being captured and imprisoned. That's all I can really say without giving too much away.

The movie is very dark and violent. It was also a bit confusing. Watching Clive Owen for two hours wasn't bad though. At times, I was reminded of The Handmaid's Tale. Both show a very bleak future for humanity.

Speaking of bleak... I also had the chance to watch BBC's production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House (Like that? ;) ). I was lucky enough to be the first person to borrow it from the library: no scratches! Bleak House is a series 15 episodes long based on Dickens' tale of the same name.

At the center of the story is a court case, Jandyce vs Jandyce, that has been going on for years and years. The case is trying to settle an inheritance without a proper will. Two young people, Ada and Richard, both orphans, stand to win a pile of money, if it's ever settled. John Jandyce (Denis Lawson) is a descendant of the deceased and has seen the case ruin many lives. He takes the young people into his protection at Bleak House.

He kindly takes in another young woman, Esther Summerson (Anna Maxwell Martin), to be Ada's companion and his housekeeper. Esther was neglected by her nasty aunt who let her know she was an unwanted child. Still, Esther is kind hearted and sweet tempered. Everyone who knows her, loves her.

Meanwhile, the villainous lawyer, Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance) uses the law to find out other people's secrets and uses it for his own gain. He realizes his client Sir Leicester's wife, Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson) has a dark secret she's keeping from her husband.

The stories, in Dickens' fashion, intertwine and everything comes together at the end. There are some very humourous moments as well as some very touching ones.

This was a superb production. If Gillian Anderson was good in House of Mirth, she was great in Bleak House. All the acting was excellent. The film was beautiful to look at as well. I enjoyed the whole series. I watched it over three days. It's about 7 hours long. If you have the time, I recommend watching Bleak House.


Just a quickie!

Kimbooktu has started a new gadget contest. The prize is a box full of gadgets. Check it out!

Kailana's Written World is giving away The Birth House by Ami McKay. Excellent book! I reviewed it. Go and try to win yourself it.

Spring Randomness

randomness...feed your mind and your blog
Week of April 1st: April showers bring May flowers
Well, Spring has finally arrived, how do you feel?Has it been a long hard winter for you? Does the beautiful spring weather put you in a good mood?Some people do spring cleaning,some suffer from seasonal allergies, and others just dont care at all.How do you feel about Springtime?till next time...

A long hard winter?! Are you kidding me? YES! Right now my house should be being built but March was ridiculously cold. So it hasn't started yet. I wait and wait. Spring toys with me. We'll have a fantastic day then three miserable ones. The wind is cold because "the ice is in." That's a saying I hear everywhere I go. It means, for you landlubbers, that the ice floes from Northern parts have floated down around us. Put an ice cube in a glass of water and put your hand over it. That's how it feels. Soon it will float away and go off to other waters to melt and spring can officially arrive. When the nice weather does come, I love it. I feel free.

I am a neat freak and love spring cleaning. I feel strange not doing it this year. Hubby asked me if I wanted to go to our old house and clean for them. LOL!