Friday, July 31, 2009 6 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Recipe

Rules:
* 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.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Sorry I'm late this week everyone, life intervened. I'm sitting at the kitchen table eating crackers and Camembert cheese while I play on the internet so the closest book to me right now is New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant. It's a wonderful cookbook full the most amazing vegetarians dishes based on the menus at the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca New York.n Obvioulsy, this is not going to be too exciting.

Marinate for at least an hour, spooning the marinade over them occasionally. Leftover marinade will keep indefinitely if refrigerated.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Book burning anyone?

I don't really believe in burning books, even ones that might preach hateful things. I truly believe in the power of free speech and I wouldn't want to be in a world where someone who had different views from mine could not express them, much less be able to express my own views (which is much more likely anyway).

However, I am considering burning Fight Club. Not because I don't like the book or its author. I was really impressed with Diary (also by Chuch Palahniuk) and was kind of getting into Fight Club before Sunday. But the only reason I ever read it was because I liked Diary and the only reason I ever read Diary was because I liked the movie version of Fight Club and the only reason I ever watched THAT was because it's Jeff's favorite movie. If you don't know where this is going, let's just say things are not well in romance land. Things are so bad in fact, I am considering buring a book. He said he wanted to read it when I was finished with it so of course I'm not giving it to him now. I also don't feel I can pass on a book that has such bad mojo to a friend. So, before I break my own rule and burn a book, anyone have any suggestions?
Monday, July 27, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield


I had been noticing this book for some time since it came out but had yet to read it. Even after I bought it, it sat on my shelf for a couple months while I read other things before pulling it out. Maybe I needed to read it at the right time, whatever that may have been, but I wish I had read this sooner. It is a wonderful book and beautifully written. I'm always amazed when an author's first book is this good. You know they were born to be writers, they don't even seem to have to work at it. Maybe she does, maybe she spends hours constructing the perfect sentence but I doubt it. This book flows as if she just thought of the words yesterday and wrote them all down as the came to her without any editing at all.

The Thirteenth Tale is about an author (another theme that author's never seem to tire of, especially Stephen King, but that's another post for another time), Vida Winter, who in the last years of her life has decided to finally tell the world the truth about her past. She is one of the world's best known authors and her books are always best sellers but she has become as famous for her fictional stories about her past as she is for her books. Several times a year she grants interviews in which the journalist asks for the story of her life. Vida Winter never disappoints, that is, she never tells the truth. Now she's ready and she's decided that Margaret Lea is the perfect person to tell it to. Only Margaret has a secret of her own and Ms. Winter's life is all too close to her own pain.

I loved this book from the moment I began to read. Like I said, Setterfield's writing flows in a way that is like she's talking to you, not writing. It's as captivating as an oral story can be when done well. This may have been a good book to get the audio for, maybe I'll still do that. In fact, most of the book is Ms. Winter telling her story to Margaret in the library of her house. It would be neat to just take the parts of her childhood story and have them put into an oral story. I was drawn in to Vida Winter's childhood in the odd mansion with the family that's not quite right. It reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, though I'm sure that's on purpose since Jane Eyre is mentioned several times throughout the book. I did find one glaring error that should have probably been caught in the editing but it wasn't something that would ruin the story. Just something that made an "ah-ha" moment for Margaret not so momentous as it should have been. I won't mention it, because if you don't notice it won't bother you and I don't like to write spoilers if I don't have to. But if you've read the book and are curious about what I'm talking about, I'll let you know in comments with a big spoiler tag on it.
Friday, July 24, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: The Myestery of Grace by Charles de Lint

Ok, last night I got very, very drunk. Something that maybe it is not a good idea for a woman of 32 to be doing since we do not bounce back as quickly as we did when we were 22. This morning I dragged myself out of bed, still feeling nauseous and made myself go to Yoga because I knew it would make me feel better. Thank goodness I was right and didn't puke on Becky's pretty hardwood floor! That would have been embarrassing. I guess I looked like death warmed over before class started because she took one look at me and asked if I was alright. I was regretting my decision until we started doing some downward dog. I had no idea that hanging upside down would be a cure for a hangover, but everytime we did that and standing forward bends I felt better! So that is my advice to all of you next time you decide to be stupid and drink 4 tequila shots within 2 hours along with 3 beers (I swear that's all I had!). Hang your head below your knees. Instant hangover cure. Anyway, when I was finished I was starving and tired so I made lunch and took a nap. 3 hours later I woke up. Good thing I didn't have plans today. Well, of course now I'm not tired (it's 11:30pm) and while Jeff has gone to bed I'm still up, supposedly reading but really playing Farm Town and writing on my blog. I was going to read, really I was but I got side tracked and am still here! So I'm going to write up the reviews of the two wonderful books I have just finished. The first is one I listened to, The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint.

I will not bore everyone by once again going into detail on how much I love the works of Charles de Lint. I will say that once again he has found a way to speak about something that is dear to my heart and include music that I enjoy throughout his story.

It is hard to describe what The Mystery of Grace is about without completely ruining the entire story. I can't say much about the main plot because otherwise the moment of shock is lost. I will include the blurb from de Lint's site since this is obviously what he seems to think is ok to share before reading the story.

Centered on a remarkable female protagonist and entirely self-contained, this is a modern contemporary fantasy as invented and pioneered by de Lint himself. Altagracia—her friends call her Grace—has a tattoo of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia on her shoulder; she's got a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg; and she has grease worked so deep into her hands that it'll never wash out.

Grace works at Sanchez Motor Works, customizing hot rods. A few blocks around her small apartment building is all her world—from the grocery store where she buys beans, tamales and cigarettes to the library, the little record shop, and the Solona Music Hall. Which is where she meets John Burns, just two weeks too late.

Grace and John fall for one another, and that would be wonderful, except that they're both haunted by unfinished business. Before their relationship can be resolved, they're both going to have to learn things they don't know about the world of the living and the world beyond. About why it's necessary to let some things go.

I will say that it is a story about the veil between the worlds being thinest at Halloween and Beltane, two days of the year that are special to me and my sister. When I realized that, I immediately called her and told her I have a wonderful book she must read.

This book is written from two points of view, both John's and Grace's, and so the audio is done with two actors: Paul Michael Garcia and Tai Sammons. Sometimes when listening to an audiobook, the reader of the story can color your impression of the narrator. I found myself thinking, this is the perfect voice for Grace! But I'm not sure if I would have thought that if I had read it first and then listened to it later. I never thought that about Garcia though, so maybe I would have. Not that Garcia wasn't any good, he just didn't stand out the way the Sammons did.

Sometimes, I think that maybe I should listen to the genre of books that I really like. There's something about them that just is better in reading than in listening but I enjoyed listening to this one, but of course, I haven't found a de Lint book yet that I didn't like.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 17 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56:Thirteen

Rules:
* 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.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Tonight (I'm posting this Thursday night) the closest book to me is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I just finished this literally 2 minutes ago. Wonderful book! I'll post a review of it tomorrow along with a review of The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint, which I finished listening to this afternoon while I was cooking dinner (Polenta: mmmmmmmmmmm).

"One gets so used to one's own horrors, one forgets how they must seem to other people," I wrote at last in the middle column, and in the left I added a note describing the way she closed the finger of her good hand over the closed fist of the damaged one.
Sunday, July 19, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Current Reads

In addition The Thirteenth Tale, which I have listed as my current read, I am also reading Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski. I picked this up because I enjoyed House of Leaves by him so much. You can read my discussion of it in one of the Thursday My Favorite Reads. I am having a hard time with this book. It's not that I don;t like being an active participant in the story, it's that sometimes the prose simply doesn't make sense. I get the gist of the story and I can follow what's happening but it doesn't draw me in because too often I'm thinking "what the hell does that mean?" Has anyone else read this? Do you have suggestions?

On to The Thirteenth Tale. Something interesting I noted when I was looking for the book cover on google. There are two covers but I've never seen this one when I've been in stores:


I know that often the publishers in different countries will put different pictures on the cover. Makes me wonder where this cover was for. It's so much more telling than the cover on my book. Both revealing and haunting. I just wonder what makes publishers decide to put on certain covers and why an author can't insist that the same cover go on their book no matter where it's published.
Saturday, July 18, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Dead Until Dark


Dead Until Dark is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. This is the series that the HBO series True Blood is based on. In fact, the reason I began reading this book was because I enjoyed the tv show so much. If you're not familiar with the storyline here's a little to entice you:

Sookie Stackhouse is waitress in Bon Temps, a small town in Louisanna. She is also a mind reader. When a man comes into the bar where she works one day, she realizes immediately that he is a vampire. This is fairly exciting for Sookie for a couple of reasons. One, she's never met a vampire before. Two, she can't hear his thoughts. This is welcome relief from the many thoughts of other people constantly floating into her head all day everyday. Soon she is wrapped up in a world of vampires, shape changers, and a serial killer. Will she be the next victim?

Ok, wanted to try my hand at writing a blurb instead of using the back of the book. What do you think? :))

It was little weird reading this since I had already finished season 1. There isn't much difference between the first book and season 1 except a few extra storylines in the show that aren't in the book. That seemed a little backward to me. Normally there's more in a book but this is a tv show and not a movie. I guess they can do more. I started watching season one but when I realized how close they were, I decided I wanted to read the books first and will wait until season 2 comes out on DVD. I like that Bill and Sam in the book are less intense than they are in the show. They both have a bit of a sense of humor about their lives that is not shown in the show. What I didn't like is that apparently Sookie's best friend on the show, Tara, is completely made up! She's not in the book anywhere! I really like her and whoever made her up for the show did a good job of fitting her into the storyline. I'm still holding out hope that maybe she shows up in one of the later books, so if I'm wrong please tell me so I'm not waiting around for her.
Friday, July 17, 2009 6 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Fight Club

Rules:
* 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.

HAPPY FRIDAY!


Today's selection comes from Fight Club by Chuck Palahiuk, which I just received from Paperback Swap so it's sitting on my desk.

This?
This is the vaginal vault?
What's happening here?

Ok, really that's just too funny. I've seen the movie but haven't read this yet and have no idea what's going on.
Thursday, July 9, 2009 8 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Sookie!

Rules:
* 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.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

I have a bad habit of waiting until late in the day to do the 56 lately so I'm posting the night before this time while I'm at the computer and thinking about it. Otherwise I might get wrapped up in that extremely addicting game of Farm Town and never make it back.


This week the book closest to me is the one I'm actually reading, not what's posted on my blog as what I'm reading. (Maybe I should fix that). I got hooked on the HBO show True Blood so I decided to read the books and see if they're any good. So far they're pretty fun. Kind of in the realm of fluff but, I tell you, ever so much better than Twilight (which I will hate till my dying day). The only think that bothers me is Sookie's best friend in the show doesn't appear to be a character in the book. I really like her, so that's sad for me. I'm only on page 151 so, if she shows up later or in another book, someone let me know. It won't be a spoiler. It will simply keep me from wondering all the time. If she's simply a creation of the writers of the show, they did a good job of making her fit with the rest of the crazy people in Bon Temps. Anyway, here's my 56 for this week:

"Her young man was killed in the war"
"The Civil War."
"Yes. I came back from the battlefield. I was one of the lucky ones. At least I thought so at the time."
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I added a little more simply because I liked this conversation.

My Favorite Reads: Someplace to be Flying

My Favorite Reads is hosted by Alyce on her blog At Home With Books. The idea is to take a book you read before you started blogging and tell your readers about it.

In case anyone is wondering, I am completely addicted to the new Farm Town game on Facebook, that's why I haven't posted much lately. I haven't been reading much because of the silly game. However, I love this meme and want to post about the first Charles De Lint book I read, Someplace to be Flying.


From locus (a review posted on De Lint's site):

Charles de Lint has developed a strong and loyal readership for his urban fantasy novels, delivering a reliable cocktail of likeable characters, myth, folklore, and music set against a counter-culture background of one sort or another. Someplace to be Flying, set in the fictional city of Newford, is no exception.

The book opens in the Newford slums when Hank, a jazz-loving cab driver, stops to save a woman being violently assaulted in a dark side-street. When her assailant shoots him as he gets out of his cab, the scene changes. In a flurry of darkness and the sound of beating wings, two mysterious young women appear out of nowhere, killing the man and healing Hank's wound. It is a moment that will change the world for Hank and Lily, the woman he has stopped to save, forever. Slowly they are introduced to a world of magic which has always existed around them, unseen and unknown, one peopled by figures of myth and legend, where trickster Coyote and Raven are real, and where it is possible for a young woman to wish her twin sister out of existence.

Why I Loved this book:

This book opened up the world of urban fantasy to me. I had read a couple books by Neil Gaiman but no one else on the fantasy scene was doing what I found in De Lint's book. It combined classic fantasy writing with the real world and with other things I have loved all my life: religion, spirituality, and mythology from other cultures (in this book, mainly Native American). I was sucked in by the writing style and held on for dear life as I live through the eyes of Hank, Lily, Kerry, Katy, Jack, and the crow girls.

Friday, July 3, 2009 14 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Only Revolutions

Rules:
* 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.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

This week's selection is from Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski. There are two page 56s in this book. This is a good representation of how the stories appear not to be the quite the same but are at the same time.

From Hailey:

Back at the Wheel, burning rubber,
my Pontiac GTO overturns limits
supersonic. Unlimiting horizons.
No horizons. Erotic.
Course Sam slips catatonic.

From Sam:

Back at the Wheel, I race
my Oldsmobile Roadster
reacquainting Hailey to speeds so
beyond the horizon of her quaint
emotional expertise she faints.

Ironically, I am actually on page 56. I have not read page 57 of either story yet. How's that for a Friday 56?
Thursday, July 2, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

My Favorite Reads: House of Leaves

My Favorite Reads is hosted by Alyce on her blog At Home With Books. The idea is to take a book you read before you started blogging and tell your readers about it.

This week I chose House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

From Wikipedia:

The format and structure of the novel is unconventional, with unusual page layout and style, making it ergodic literature. It contains copious footnotes, many of which contain footnotes themselves, and some of which reference books that do not exist. Some pages contain only a few words or lines of text, arranged in strange ways to mirror the events in the story, often creating both an agoraphobic and a claustrophobic effect. The novel is also distinctive for its multiple narrators, who interact with each other throughout the story in disorienting and elaborate ways.

Danielewski expands on this point in an interview: "I had one woman come up to me in a bookstore and say, 'You know, everyone told me it was a horror book, but when I finished it, I realized that it was a love story.' And she's absolutely right. In some ways, genre is a marketing tool."[2]

House of Leaves has been described as a "satire of academic criticism."

Plot:

House of Leaves begins with a first-person narrative by Johnny Truant, a Los Angeles tattoo parlor employee. Truant is searching for a new apartment when his friend Lude tells him about the apartment of the recently deceased Zampanò, a blind, elderly man who lived in Lude's building.

In Zampanò's apartment, Truant discovers a manuscript written by Zampanò that turns out to be an academic study of a documentary film called The Navidson Record.

The rest of the novel alternates between Zampanò's report on the fictional film, Johnny's autobiographical interjections, a small transcript of part of the film from Navidson's brother, Tom, a small transcript of interviews to many people regarding The Navidson Record by Navidson's partner, Karen, and occasional brief notes by unidentified editors, all woven together by a mass of footnotes. There is also another narrator, Johnny's mother, whose voice is presented through a self-contained set of letters titled The Whalestoe Letters. Each narrator's text is printed in a distinct font, making it easier for the reader to follow the occasionally challenging format of the novel.

Why I chose this novel:
I recently picked up Danielewski's second book Only Revolutions, which I was not even aware of until I saw it on sale at Barnes and Noble the other day. The minute I saw the book I was so happy that no other book in the store could hold my interest.

I so loved House of Leaves that anytime I come across someone who's read the book, I just gush with them about the book for as long as they will let me. This is usually a long time, because anyone else who's actually finished the book generally loves it as much as I did. It's the most amazing and unique book I've ever read. I'm not finding Only Revolutions to be as amazing and unique, but I am enjoying it's difference from everything else I usually read.

The story told in The Navidson Record within House of Leaves is such a crazy and engrossing story that sometimes when I think about the book, that's the first thing I remember, even though the part that made the most impact on me upon finishing the book was Johnny's story. I guess what I remember most is that The Navidson Record was so strange, that it even affected Johnny and all those who read it, including me.

This book is a little difficult to get through if you like being a passive reader. You have to constantly switch back and forth between different stories and footnotes (which become a story in themselves), all sometimes within the same page. Sometimes you have to read a few pages and then flip back to start again on a page you've already read, but in a spot you haven't read yet because there is a separate story there. Anyone who hasn't finished the book cites this as the main reason. I have yet to hear anyone say they are not fascintaed by the story within the Navidson Record but they sometimes say they were bored with the footnotes or Johnny's story. Trust me, if you can get through the parts you don't like, you'll realize eventually they are part of the story and you will not be disappointed.

Followers