Saturday, May 30, 2009 5 comments By: Suzanne


I've been watching the HBO series True Blood recently. I don't have cable so I have to get from other sources, which means I haven't watched it as it was shown. If this has already been discussed and I missed it, sorry. I'm a little behind.

I'm only on episode 3 and I haven't finished it yet but I couldn't wait to write this. I might be completely off base here but I think Stephanie Meyer stole the entire idea for Twilight from the Southern Vampire Series (which True Blood is based on) by Charlaine Harris. There are just too many coincidences, and not in the way every vampire story has coincidences. Vampire who's in love with a human who's best friend is in love with her and might (not sure about this yet but looks like he might be) a werewolf. In this series it's the human that can read minds and she's attracted to the vampire initially because she can't read the vampire's mind. Makes a whole lot more sense than the other way around. They never explain why Edward can't read Bella in Twilight but it's explained easily when it's the human with the psychic ability. I can not wait to read this series if it's anything like the tv show. So far it is so much better than Twilight. There's also a trio of bad vampires, 2 men and a woman who "nest" together and want to go after Sookie (the main character). Sound familiar? Harris' series was started in 2001 and Meyer's was started in 2005.
Friday, May 29, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: 5/29/09

OOOOOPPPPPS! I completely forgot today to do this! Jennifer reminded me by posting on an older one! I'll paste her's under mine!

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


I had to cheat a little this week. So I'm sitting on floor eating some boiled peanuts and checking my email. This is the closest book that I haven't used yet!

From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"You might snear, Ron," he said heatedly, "but unless some sort of international law is imposed we might well find the market with flimsy, shallow bottom products that seriously endanger -"

I'm glad I got to use a Harry Potter reference. I started my blog after I finished reading them all.

Check out Jennifer's at Just Jennifer Reading. Thanks for reminding me this week!

Thursday, May 28, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: Lost and Found

This book by Carolyn Parkhurst was surprisingly wonderful. I thought Lost and Found was going to be fluff and just something fun to listen to in the car. I ended up taking it in the house last night to finish the last two cds. This would have given me another two hours of listening time in the car, when I desperately need to be entertained. It gets really boring driving the same route everyday. I just couldn't wait to finish the story though, especially knowing I wouldn't be working today. I thought to myself, "You can listen to this on Friday as you're driving between client's homes or you can finish it now." Yeah, that was never a real question.

Lost and Found is about a group of people participating in an Amazing Race type reality show. They come in pairs. The mother-daughter team that is keeping the daughter's recent pregnancy and adoption secret - or so mom thinks. The married couple that met at an ex-gay religious group and wants to get out the message that homosexuality is a choice and you don't have to do it - or so the wife thinks. The brothers that are there solely for comic relief - or so one brother thinks. The millionaires that really have no reason to be there. The high school sweethearts that are trying to rekindle what they had - and failing. The ex-child stars trying to restart their careers - and failing.

The story is told through several different viewpoints, which I think is a plus for this type of book. The idea is to get behind the cameras and see what's really going on. If it was told from one viewpoint it wouldn't be any better than watching them on tv. I love how everyone is trying so hard to keep their secrets off the cameras even though most of them KNOW the producers already know the secret. They think they can one up the show by not revealing themselves completely on the show. They have no idea what lengths these rotten people will go to make sure it all comes out of the closet - pun intended!

I won't give away any more than that, it's simply too wonderful to spoil. I highly recommend this book. I haven't read her other book, The Dogs of Babel but will be doing so very soon. Parkhurst's writing throughout Lost and Found was brilliant and funny. I found myself laughing during sad moments the way we really do in life. Someone tries to bring a smile to your face even while you're having a hard time. Parkhurst did this so easily. And the sarcasm she writes with is interspersed just enough to make you laugh right out and make people look at you funny!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Teaser: 5/26/09

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

This is from page 322 of Royal Blood by Rona Sharon

A curl of lip satisfied him that they were friends again and he exonerated of false charges.
Saturday, May 23, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

An Award!

I got this from Gaby at Starting Fresh, who got it from J. Kaye.

Thanks! I love this one especially because it is about new bloggers, or new-to-you bloggers. I love that people are discovering new and varied book blogs. I have been trying to get my vegetarian lifestyle blog going and have found it's not as easy as book blogging. In the book community, people want to find new and fresh people to talk to and read the blogs of. When I go to different recipe and food blogs, there are no comments on most of them and when I comment, no one replies. It's a weird experience after being so quickly accepted with book bloggers. I didn't know we were so rare in that! Or maybe the foodies are just weird.
Friday, May 22, 2009 8 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: A Magick Life

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


From A Magick Life: A Biography of Aleister Crowley

Although he avoided chapel services in college and remained a fierce critic of established Christianity, be it Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, or the Plymouth Brethren, Crowley did not give up all thought of religion.
Monday, May 18, 2009 0 comments By: Suzanne

Where are you? and Teaser: 5/19/09

It's Tuesday, Where are you? is hosted on An Adventure in Reading.

I have just arrived in England from France to do the bidding of brother-in-law the King of France. I have been blackmailed into coming after I was found in the bed of a poor painter by the name of Raphael.

Royal Blood by Rona Sharon

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

He grinned in a man-to-man rapport. "How should you like to share tankard of bad ale and a pair of liced but not poxed whores at the stew after midnight?"
pg 56
Sunday, May 17, 2009 0 comments By: Suzanne

Food Blog

I'm starting a new blog all about being a vegetarian. Sounds exciting, I know! So you just have to come visit and read all about my veggies!

Tasty Foods Through the Eyes of a Vegetarian

There's not much to it yet. I just had the idea to start it today and wanted to go ahead and do it. I'll get going on the formatting and posts tomorrow. Until then, visit and read my first post!

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

I am really, really sorry but I just can't do it!

Last night I was talking with a friend of mine after Jeff's show. She had just recently read my review of the New Moon. Her husband said she had to read the book just so she could agree with me! She was quoting things from my review that she thought were funny. It made feel pretty good! I got to thinking about how someone else had said she wanted me to read the next book just so she could read my review of it. Since I finished a book yesterday, I thought, "Ok, I'll give it whirl."

I read 17 pages and then got to: I wrenched the door out of my way - ridiculously eager - and there he was, my personal miracle. Really?

I read the next two paragraphs detailing how sexy, beautiful, and amazing Edward is and shut the book. I just can't do it. Maybe I would write something funny about how terrible it is but I know it's going to be all the same things over again. I told myself before I started: just read it with the knowledge that there are some things in it that you don't like. Since you already know about those things, you can just gloss over them and deal with the book as it's own entity.

Nope, can't do it. Moving on to something else.
Saturday, May 16, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Confessor: Terry Goodkind

Confessor is the last book in the Sword of Truth Series as well as the Chainfire Trilogy. Maybe it doesn't seem to make sense that one book would be the end of two series', but they are not different. What Goodkind has done was actually kind of genius. Most fantasy series' are one long story that you have to read from beginning to end to get the full story and to appreciate the end. For the first eight books of the Sword of Turth, each contained it's own story with the overall story taking a back seat for the time being. Each book came to a logical conclusion so you didn't feel unfulfilled at the end. The last three books are one long story dealing with Kahlan, therefore the term "Trilogy" to refer to them.

The Sword of Truth series tells us about Richard and Kahlan. When we meet Richard, he is a simple man, living the life as woods guide and knowing very little of the world outside his village. He is not a "simple man" in the way a person would mean mentally disabled, I should clarify, but simple in his living. He doesn't know much about the outside world because he is happy where he is and has no real desire to leave. He knows nothing of magic, wizards, sorceresses, witch women, or dragons. That outside world crashes in on him one day when Kahlan comes to his village for help. Kahlan is the Mother Confessor. She is also the last Confessor as they have all been hunted and killed by the evil Darken Rahl. She is looking for the First Wizard. Richard calls him Zedd (or grandpa). Eventually, for reasons I will not get into because it simply would be way too long, Richard leaves to stop the plan of the Lord Rahl and to help Kahlan. Along the way, Richard learns he is a wizard but because of his unique type of gift, he doesn't know how to control it. This is the basic story of the first book. From here, Richard and Kahlan's story get ever so much more complicated, involving Richard going to the underworld to rescue Kahlan, Richard being kidnapped by sorceresses who believe it is their duty to teach wizards how to use their gift (by putting a magic collar on them that limits their ability), an evil Emperor, Jagang, who wants to eradicate magic from the world, and eventually Kahlan being wiped from the memory of everyone (including herself) except for Richard. This is the story of the Chainfire Trilogy. At first, all of Richard's friends think he is crazy for believing in this woman that no one remembers. When he finally is able to convince them, he gets captured by the Emperor's Army. With the help of all those he has helped along his journey and those he has changed through his influence, Richard seeks to defeat Jagang and the Imperial Order while at the same time returning Kahlan to who she once was.

To say that I have invested a lot of time in this series is an understatement. There are 11 books, all of them at about 5-600 pages or more. There were times when I just got irritated with the path that Goodkind was taking was but I never once thought of quitting. It seemed to meander through story lines that just were unnecessary and kind of boring in some of the middle books. Except for one major exception though, he has wrapped up EVERYTHING in this last book. I was quite surprised at how he did that. About half way through the book I found myself thinking, "ok, but what about this" and then he'd mention it. The only thing he didn't mention (and this may be a **SPOILER** not sure, guess that depends on how you take it. Skip a couple paragraphs if you don't want to know.) was whether Richard and Kahlan could ever have a child. There were several times in the series when they were told that a wizard and a Confessor could not have a child because of the type of child it would create. This was actually pretty important for awhile. I thought at the end when everything was being wrapped up, it would be mentioned but it never was. It was like he completely forgot about it.

Speaking of the end, I was a little disappointed. Here's this epic story with the most complicated twists and turns and the solution felt like a cop out. I wish I could solve all my problems by **SPOILER** sending everyone that disagrees with me to another world. Please! We all get to live happily ever after because all those that oppose us are gone? Great. Where do I sign up for that solution?


Overall I enjoyed this series. I am also a major fan of the Wheel of Time series. I know that a lot of Robert Jordan fans feel that Terry Goodkind stole some ideas and didn't even do as a good a job with it. Maybe that's true, I'm really not going to argue that, but for the most part all modern fantasy is a rip off of Tolkein anyway. There were not any major epic fantasy trilogies before him (if you know of any, please let me know). The idea of going on a long journey to save the world from unspeakable evil is in some ways one of the oldest stories in the world, but the way in which Tolkein did it was inventive and beautiful. Many authors have been creative in taking these ideas from Tolkein (they have pretty much become a part of our collective storytelling) and using them in unique ways. In the Wheel of Time series, Jordan found an ordinary boy who was prophesied to save the world, placed him somewhere that no one would know that about him and he could grow up without that burden of knowing. Then when he comes of age, something major happens to thrust him into the prophecy. He travels the world, learning about different cultures, changing as he goes, learning about his gift, and changing the people he comes into contact with in the process (mostly for the better). These ideas, yes Goodkind stole. This is also the overall story of the Sword of Truth series. But they are done in such different ways that unless you're just an ogre, you should be able to enjoy both. And I have. To say that you shouldn't read Goodkind's series because he stole ideas is to say you shouldn't read certain vampires novels because they stole the ideas from Bram Stoker. I highly recommend that anyone that loves fantasy check out The Sword of Truth series. You will enjoy it. I also recommend that you look for the Wheel of Time series. I will admit that it is better but it is not yet finished and Jordan died. Someone else is finishing the last book. I've been waiting for that book for a LONG time, so let's just say he has some very large shoes to fill!
Friday, May 15, 2009 11 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Angela's Ashes

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This is from Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. I'm probably the only person in the world who hasn't read this yet.

Dad says, Cuchulain fought to the end like the men of Easter Week. His enemies were afraid to go near him till they were sure he was dead and when the bird landed on him and drank his blood they knew.

mmmmmmmmmm, doesn't that just make breakfast go down easier?
Thursday, May 14, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: Baby Proof by Emily Griffin

To be honest I was not particularly impressed with this book. I thought the writing was good and the storyline interesting but something integral to good writing was missing: character development. The characters go no where. With the exception of one minor character in the book, no one changes. From the box:

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes...a baby carriage? Isn't that what all women want? Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seems too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

In the interview with the author at the end of the story, Griffin says that she wanted to give a voice to the women who DON'T want children. They are not lepers and there is not something wrong with them, even though society makes them out to be. I applaud her effort. I, for one, am one of those women. I love children and get along great with them, I simply don't want any of my own. I have a friend who has a wonderful marriage. She also doesn't want children. People always act like we're crazy because of this.

In this book, Claudia's husband one day spits out that he's changed his mind. He actually does want children and he wants her to change her mind too. Claudia feels betrayed, especially when he enlists the help of their families. The book is surprisingly heavy for the chick-lit genre. I won't ruin the story by telling anymore, in case you want to read it yourself, but I was irritated with the end. Like I said, only one character (a minor one at that) has any type of inner journey. Even Claudia is exactly the same at the end and she's the lead character! She tries to change, I guess that's the important part, but it felt false. I was very irritated by the end of this book for a number of reasons. Her best friend, her sisters, and her husband all have major life complications that should make the most hard-headed of people take a different look at their life, but it simply doesn't happen, except in one case. It reminded me of a roommate I had in grad-school who, after watching the movie Sliding Doors (one of my favorites), stated,"I like that movie because it shows that no matter what we do in life, we can't change the outcome of our lives. It's going to happen whether we do something or not." FOR REAL??!! That's a positive message? Maybe I'm just weird but that's not comforting.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: Paint it Black by Janet Fitch

Paint It Black is by the author of White Oleander. For those of you that read and loved it, check this one out. It's amazing. For those of you that only saw the movie: GO READ THE BOOK!

From the box:
Josie Tyrell, art model, teen runaway, and denizen of LA's 1980 punk scene, finds a chance at real love with art student Michael Faraday. A Harvard dropout and son of a renowned pianist, Michael introduces Josie to a world of sophistication she had never dreamed existed and to his spiritual quest for beauty that shines through everyday experience. But when she received a call from the LA County coroner, asking her to identify her lover's dead body, her bright dreams all turn black.

The story opens as Josie is remembering the last time she saw Michael, and wondering why he isn't answering his phone. She knows he went away for a few days, but she is still expecting to be able to talk to him. When she gets the call to come to the coroner's office, everything she thought she knew about her relationship begins to unravel. Actually, everything she tried to make herself believe begins to unravel to the reality that she did not want to face. Josie realizes she must learn to live in a world without Michael and she must find out who she is without him to define her. Josie's self discovery in the aftermath of Michael's death, is in some ways similar to Astrid's journey in White Oleander. I am very attracted to screwed up female characters who are strong in the face of their own issues and the crazy world around them. I was riveted throughout the telling of this story and am only sad that I listened to an abridged version of it. I feel now that I HAVE to get the actual book and read the whole thing. Why, oh why, do they abridge audiobooks? Would it be so difficult to record the whole book?
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 5 comments By: Suzanne

Where are you? and Teaser: 5/12/09

It's Tuesday, Where are you? is hosted on An Adventure in Reading.

I am in two places at once this week. (Reading): I am still I am visiting the land of D'Hara. I have been captured by the evil Imperial Order and am feeling despair over every being free again. (Audio): I am also in London, where I have just woken up in the hospital after suffering head trauma from a severe car accident. Apparently, I have lost my memories of the last three years. I'm married and don't even remember meeting him!!!

From Confessor by Terry Goodkind
and Remember Me? by Sophia Kinsella

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

My teaser this week again comes from Confessor, pg 294.

"Being free would be wonderful. Eating well as a slave is not my idea of wonderful."
Johnrock's face sagged a little, then brightened. "But being a slave eating ham is better than being a slave eating eggs, don't you think?"

Saturday, May 9, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne


What can I say but that I am failing miserably at those challenges. I think it must be like having to read a certain book for high school English. The book may be wonderful but it's REQUIRED so it's probably just not going to happen! Seriously, I have some of the books sitting on my shelf but there are other, so much more interesting books I want to read first. I simply don't know when I'm going to get around to the books in those challenges. I'm stopping for now, admitting defeat and taking down the sidebar. I will read those books eventually. I picked them because I knew I would enjoy them but I just don't think I'll get to them in time to finish these challenges. I'm going to work my way through the piles (yes, plural) of unread books in my house and then maybe I'll try one challenge at a time. Maybe something strictly fantasy...
Friday, May 8, 2009 8 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Confessor

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Ok, so I'm not starting Royal Blood, like I said last week. I just wanted for so long to read the final installment in Terry Goodkind's series (but not enough to pay $30 for it). I saw it at Recycled Books the other day and grabbed it. I started reading right away. So today my 56 comes from Confessor because it is the closest since I've been taking it everywhere I go.

Her memory of Kahlan was still not vital, but Kahlan was. Nicci now knew, reall knew,
that Richard's love was real.

And can I just say about the tv show that they have made of this series, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Did the casting director really believe that guy looks like Richard? Come on! I can't even watch it. I hope it's good, but I haven't been able to watch more than two minutes of it.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Where are you? and Teaser: 5/5/09

It's Tuesday, Where are you? is hosted on An Adventure in Reading.

I am visiting the land of D'Hara this week on my final journey to overcome the forces of Jagang and his Fellowship of the Order. I have forgotten who I am and why I am here, but I do know that I hate this man...

From Confessor by Terry Goodkind

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

This from page 37 of the same book:

I had occasion to cross paths with her once. We had a talk, of sorts. It was not what I would describe as a pleasant conversation.
Monday, May 4, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

Home Story: Do You have Swine Flu Too?

Ok, maybe I'm the crazy one and maybe not but I think everyone is seriously OVER-REACTING. In case you don't know, I live in North Texas close to Dallas and Ft Worth. Here were have several school districts that have closed until next week and countless schools within districts that didn't close that have shut their doors. I understand that it's a rapidly spreading flu and that it might be pretty nasty if you catch it. However, we have ways to treat it. If the media reported on the number of people who catch and/or died each week due to the regular flu, it would sound just as bad. In fact, it would sound worse. More people catch the flu every year that have gotten this "swine flu." More people die every year due to the regular flu than to this "swine flu." I'm putting it in quotes because the name keeps changing but everyone knows what I mean when I say "swine flu."

Last week, I missed 3 days of work because of the TAKS test. I knew this was coming. I was prepared for that. They don't want me in the schools disrupting anyone during this all important test. I was not prepared for the school districts to start freaking out on me and shut down. Some are closed for 2 weeks! Last week one of the mom's of my private client called to tell me her son was "lethargic" and she didn't think he should be seen. Today another one has a "runny nose" and should be seen. This is what happens when the media over plays things like this. People begin to freak out over being lethargic and having a runny nose.

Now here's what bothers me. What if it really is as bad as they say and guess what....the school district I work for ISN'T CLOSED.
Sunday, May 3, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decided to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the Utopian mother planet, Annares to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

Normally I don't start my reviews by posting the back of the book like this (instead I like to talk a little first) but I did it here to make a point. This is not at all what happens in the book. Sometimes I wonder if these blurbs are written by people who did not actually read the book. I was very confused for a long time by this statement because Shevek is FROM Annares and he is going TO another planet. This blurb also makes it look as if the hatred is from the outside. In a sense it is but the isolation on Annares is self imposed. They refuse any contact with other societies. Anyway, kind of irritating. It so rarely happens that the blurb is just WRONG but it seems to have happened in both this and The Ruins, which I reviewed the other day. Maybe I shouldn't put so much stock in the blurb of the book, but I do. It's what gets me interested in a book and I feel lost, it helps me get grounded in it again.

Shevek is a temporal physicist. He is seeking to prove a connection between "Sequency Theory" and "Simultaneity Theory." In layman's terms, he wants to prove that time is not sequential, that past, present, and future are all occurring at once and yet he believes there is still validity in the sequence that we experience. He has grown up in a pure socialist society. There is no government, no money-based economy, and people work in the jobs they want instead of have to. However, for a society like this to function, people must also do things for the good of the fellow man. Therefore, they have instituted the "ten-day work job." Apparently (I say that because it is never explained but implied) they use a ten day week. Once week, if possible, people leave their long-term jobs to work in other jobs that need doing - janitors, cooks, farming - whatever is not being covered. They also see this as a kind of break. They don't HAVE to do this, most people opt to do it so they can just break up the monotony of their lives. (There is an interesting moment when he meets a man from a country very similar to how the USSR was. He recognizes without ever having to go that this is not an actual "communist" society as they pretend since there a strict power structure that rules over everything). Unfortunately in this kind of society the will of your neighbors becomes a kind of law. If you don't do for "the good of social organism" you must be working solely for yourself, being an "egoist" as they call it. After many years, this has begun to form a type of government. Shevek is feeling strangled by it.

At the same time he has been offered a position to teach and share his physics with the people of the home world - Urras. This where the people of Annares came from. They were given the moon of Urras as a kind of bargaining chip. They were revolutionaries, socialists, working class people that weren't going to take it anymore. The governments of Urras offered to give them the Moon and let them build their own society according their non-rules. They never imagined it would actual become a success.

Now Shevek is learning all about the "profiteers" (what they call the people of Urras) and their system of only doing something for reward or profit, instead of for the good of society. There are two moments in his story that show the stark differences in the two worlds.

On Annares:
Letters went unsealed, not by law, of course, but by convention. Personal communication at long distance is costly in materials and labor, and since the private and public economy was the same, there was considerable feeling against unnecessary writing or calling. It was a trivial habit; it smacked of privatism, of egoizing. This was probably why the letter went unsealed: you had no right to ask people to carry a message that they couldn't read.
pg. 251

On Urras:
He went down to the basement door and tried it; it was locked. All doors were locked. Property was private.
pg. 303

The book is not told linearly. Obviously this is done on purpose to show how our lives are also not linear; to show that although the past is gone and the future is yet to come, we constantly live our lives with the past and future as a part of our present. There are moments in the beginning of the book when this makes a bit for a disjunct story. Just as you're getting into the story in one time, you're forced into the other and the momentum seems lost. Starting about the middle though, the two stories of Shevek's life come together in a way. He has faced this trouble before and gotten through it then. There is hope for the now. It also helps us see that his "Utopian" society is as perfect as Shevek believed. His moments of realization, both in his past on Annares and his present on Urras happen at virtually the same moment for the reader. It is very powerful.

This is the first book I've read by Le Guin and I was struck by her similarity to Ayn Rand. The writing style is that same stark harshness that can be off putting but keeps you coming back for more. Also, there are the contrasts between socialism and capitalism but obviously told from very different points of view. I am always in a weird state of mind after finishing an Ayn Rand book. I want to be out in the world trying to change the bad and influence the good. I want to tell the world about what's good and how the world should be. This book made me feel this way also.

There are a couple quotes from the book that I'd like to share. The first two come at the moment when Shevek begins to learn his home, as broken as he may have felt it was, is better than where he is now.

At the mills in Southwest Shevek had seen men hurt much worse than this in accidents and had learned that people may endure and survive incredibly much in way of gross injury and pain. But there they had been looked after.


"You are contemptible," Shevek said in Pravic to his companion. "You cannot keep doors open. You will never be free."

And this when he is becoming disenchanted with his own society.

...the social conscience completely dominates the individual conscience, instead of striking a balance with it. We don't cooperate - we obey. We fear being outcast, being called lazy, dysfunctional, egoizing. We fear our neighbor's opinion more than we respect out own freedom of choice.

A summary of Shevek:

Loyalty, which asserts the continuity of past and future, binding time into a whole, is the root of human strength; there is no good to be done without it.

In closing of the my review, I want to say that this book is exactly why I've stopped taking ARCs. I could talk all day about this book because I LOVED it. I'm writing for the joy of writing, not because I'm expected to. This book was published in 1974. Every review and literary paper that could be written on it, has been. I found an entire site devoted to dissecting this story. So what. I don't have to review something new for my review to be fresh and new.
Friday, May 1, 2009 7 comments By: Suzanne

Home Story: Jeff

For those of you that don't know, Jeff is my boyfriend of three years. His dog Skillet is the pit mix in the snow with Aurora on the left side of your screen. Jeff turned 30 on the 30th. Yes, I found myself a younger man! Aren't I naughty? hehehe

I wanted to do something special for Jeff's 30th birthday. He's not big into holidays and celebrations but I think they're important. I especially think birthdays are important because that's the one time every year that each person gets a special day that's all about them. So when I found out one of his bands was going out of town on his birthday, I was a little upset. Just ruin all my plans, why don't you?

Maybe I should mention that Jeff is in 5 different bands. This makes planning ANYTHING virtually impossible. If he isn't working, he's probably got a rehearsal or a show. Luckily we live close to each other, so I do get to see him fairly often. Granted, it's usually on the way to bed or waking up but we always (almost) have Sundays. Neither of us works or has any permanent plans for that day. I call them my lazy Sundays. Best day of the week.

About a month and a half ago I started coordinating a surprise party. You have to do these things far in advance when you're working around 5 bands and the people in them. I noticed that NONE of them were playing ANY shows the weekend before his birthday. Wonderful! I sent messages to all the "band leaders" (for lack of a better word) to not book any shows for the Sunday of that weekend. We were gonna do it up good for Jeffrey. I just had to find a good place for it to be. My place is way too small and his doesn't even have much of a yard. Luckily, one of his bandmates came through. Thank you Wally and Laura, I couldn't have done this without you!!

There wasn't much to do once I got everything in order except tell a million people when and where, any one of whom could have slipped and told Jeff. 5 bands, the spouses and significant others, friends, co-workers; oh, yes I was worried. So I waited. I didn't see the point in letting too many people know too soon. A few important people knew, that was enough to keep it on track. The rest wouldn't have too much to do anyway with these people not scheduling anything.

So one night, while Goodness Gracious (one of his bands) is playing a show at a house party. I overhear someone trying to book Jeff for a show ON THE 26TH!!! This is the date of the party. All of his bandmates KNOW not to book shows that day.
"Who is that?!" I say without thinking.
"Mike," Jeff says.
"He's trying to book a show for the 26th??!!"
"Yes, June 26th"
"Oh, ok, carry on."
Yeah right. Like he's not going to wonder what that was about.

"So, what's happening on the 26?"
"You're such a bad liar." Me laughing because it's SO VERY true.
Thinking fast, I say, "Nothing really, it's just Sage's birthday party and I wanted you to come but I felt silly about my reaction." Oddly enough, he bought this.

Sage is my nephew. He turned 4 on the 27th. His party was NOT on the 26th. It was on the 25th. Close enough for jazz, as my flute teacher used to say.

So the Friday before his party (so far, so good) I have a pretty open day and begin to prepare some food. I had told everyone that if they wanted meat, Wally would have the grill going and they could bring their own. Otherwise, I'd have some veggies stuff for the vegetarians. I had planned on making some Vegetable Samosas and Chinese Sweet and Sour Balls. I was very excited. I love cooking something that I know will be a hit. It's so much fun! That is, until the recipe you've used a million times lets you down. I still don't know what happened but my Chinese Balls were the consistency of oatmeal. Not supposed to be that way. I thought, "I'll just pop a couple in the oven and see how they turn out. Maybe once it's cooked, it'll be fine." Nope. Gross. Completely and utterly gross. In the trash. On to the samosas.

These were fine except I couldn't cook them yet, they need to be served hot. I figured I'd just put them in a container, separated by wax paper and fry them up on Sunday when we got to Wally's house. Perfect. (not so much, when I pulled them out at the party later, they were all sticking to the wax paper and to each other. I got two to come out and fried those. The rest were one big doughy lump. Very disappointing). Now cut the veggies for the veggie platter. Done. Now what do I replace the Chinese Balls with? FUCK IT! (by this time I'm running short on time because Jeff will be off work soon and feeling very frustrated). Cut some veggies, throw them in a pot with some lentils, add spices, go to the store while that's on low, get some black beans, kidney beans, chick peas, go home, throw them in the pot, let it cook. DONE. Take everything to Wally and Laura's. Call Jeff. Spend the evening with him.

"Hey, Jeff. Are you working tomorrow?"
"Yes, why?"
"Well, Andrea changed the day of Sage's party and I wanted you to come."
"mmmm-hmmm," in a kind of sarcastic way.

mmm-hmmm???? What does that mean? Does he know something? Later I call Laura so we can diagnose this reaction. We decide that we can't tell. We'll keep acting as if he doesn't know.

Saturday. Sage's party. Such a sweet boy. I love him so much and he always acts like I'm the most amazing person he's ever seen when I come over. This is a wonderful ego boost. Sage gets a humungous set of Legos for his birthday. Nothing else in the room matters for the rest of the day. Not such an ego boost.

Sunday. OH MY GOD. COULD 4 O'CLOCK BE ANY FURTHER AWAY?? Why didn't I say lunch? This waiting is going to kill me.

"Sweetie?" Me to Jeff in my best, could you do something for me voice right after my phone call from Laura in which she offers me a tv stand if we come pick it up when she gets home at, oh, maybe, around 4 or so.
"Could you help me go pick up a tv stand at Wally and Laura's this afternoon. She's got one she's getting rid of."
"She said she'd be home about 4 or so. She'll call when she gets there."
Now, for those of you who haven't figured it out. Laura is actually calling me when a bunch of people have shown up so we can get Jeff in there and surprise him.

2:30. SERIOUSLY? Is it not 4 yet??!!
Jeff is at home at this point working in his garden. I go to the store to pick up his favorite beer and take it over to Wally and Laura's. Just as I'm placing the beer in their fridge, my phone rings. IT'S HIM!
"Ok, Boomer (their dog), don't bark."

"Hi, sweetie."
"What are doing?"
"I was just at the store."
"I'm about to take a break and work my beans before finishing up." What?? Beans? He isn't planning on showering before we go? Ok, think quick. "Has Laura called yet?"
Awesome! Perfect!
"Yes, she did."
"She did? She's home."
"Oh, uh, no. Not yet. She just called to, uh, tell me, uh, they're planning on a few people coming over tonight and we're, uh, welcome to stay and hang out for a bit."
"Ok, sounds good."
", you might want to take a shower."
"Ok, I guess I won't finish out there. Let me just finish the beans." Crap! How do I get the beans out of the picture?
"I think they're gonna have some food."
"Well, I'll bring them with us."
"Great." No!!

4:00 FINALLY! Phone rings. It's Laura. Quite a few people are there already. WOW! Imagine little old me getting a bunch of drunks and hippies to show up on time. (just kidding guys! Love you!)

Call Jeff. "Laura says we can come pick up that tv stand now."
"Ok, let me just check on the beans and get in the shower. I'll call Wally and see if he wants me to bring them over."
"You haven't showered yet?"
"No. Are we in a hurry?"
"No, that's fine. See you in a minute."

Ring to Laura. "Jeff hasn't showered yet. It may be a little longer. And he's gonna call Wally to see if he needs to bring anything. He's planning on bringing beans. I didn't know how to get him not to. I can't tell him I already made beans and they're there!"

At Jeff's. Not in the shower yet. "Ummm, are you gonna shower? I can watch the beans."
"Are you in a hurry?"
"No, I just think they might be expecting us."

Phone rings as Jeff is headed to the shower. Hannah. Wondering exactly where it is and how to get there but Hannah is awesome. She picks up fast that I can't talk.

"Who's that?" I'm really tired of trying to lie at this point. I just can't think of something good and I'm feeling kind of guilty about it.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" I say in a flirty little way.

FINALLY. Walking out the door. "Should we pick up some beer?" he says.
"I don't think so."
"What if I want some Hefeweizen?" What can I say to this? You already have a whole case there that I bought early today? Yeah, sure. Now is the time to ruin it.
"ok, what store?"

In the parking lot of Kroger. Waiting for Jeff. Call Hannah, tell her how to get there. Call Laura, explain why we're STILL not there.

Ok, pulling up in front of Wally's house. OH SHIT! It's Aaron and Shaina. They don't know Wally. Wave them away. Go away before Jeff sees you! No such luck. Here they come.

Jeff looks strangely at Aaron. Then at me. Then Aaron says, "Happy Birthday, man!" Oh, for crying out loud. We're here!! We made it all this way and it gets ruined now??

Jeff is slowly realizing. I can see it on his face. "I thought you were acting weird," he says with a little smile curling one side of his mouth. He walks into the house in a daze and out POPS (literally) Matt and SCREAMS at the top of his lungs and for as long as his breath allows SURPRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISE! Yes, Jeff this party is for you. We walk out back and there are so many people! Jeff is smiling and laughing and he puts his arm around me and kisses me.

This is it. He was surprised still. He keeps seeing people he didn't expect. This look on his face is the whole reason for all this. I love this man.

So the last little bit of the story that I will tell is about pole dancing. Yes, pole dancing. That is not a typo. Jeff, got very, very drunk. His friend Danny took these great pictures of him. Enjoy!!

Genre Mash Up: Emma and Christine

Jenners at Life With A Little One and More has some fun games. This one is about mixing up different genres/authors. I chose Jane Austen's Emma and Stephen King's Christine. This is my first time doing something like this so hopefully mine doesn't look dumb! I chose to do it in "blurb" style, as if it's the back of the book:

Emma has just purchased a new carriage in celebration of her marriage. She soon realizes there is more to this carriage than meets the eye, like it doesn't always need the horses to get around..ONe day, she is trapped inside and taken directly to Mr. Elton's front door. Is Mr. Elton somehow involved with this possessed carriage? She begins to realize this carriage was put purposely in her path in order to drive her crazy and to drive her (FINALLY) to Mr. Elton. Can she overcome this mad carriage and the mad man who is after her heart again?

The Friday 56: 5/1/09

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


From Royal Blood by Rona Sharon:

"Perhaps if you gave her the occasional slip, she would grow to appreciate your bucklering," Walter offered affably. He extended his hand, "Sir Walter Devereaux."

I haven't read this yet, but am looking forward to it. It's my next read!