alexiscartwheel: (dw - billie on set)
It's almost the end of the year, which means it's superlatives time! [livejournal.com profile] d4ni posted recently about her favorite albums of the year, so I thought I'd start out with music. Just so you know, my favorites include music that was new to me in 2008 as well as newly released albums.

6 albums, in no particular order )

More great discoveries this year: Fleet Foxes, Bloc Party, Kate Nash, Jane Vain & the Dark Matter, The Rumble Strips, Spoon, MGMT, Black Kids, "Being Here" by The Stills, "Relax, Take It Easy" by Mika, "Great DJ" by The Ting Tings, "Sun Goes Down" by David Jordan, Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, Kanye West's Graduation, Girl Talk's Feed the Animals, and Rilo Kiley's Under the Blacklight.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Civil War )

Olympian War )
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
I meant to post about Lauren Groff’s The Monsters of Templeton last week when I finished the book, but I just didn’t have time amid all my moving preparations. Better late than never, though!

Groff’s first novel takes place in the town of Templeton, a fictionalized version of Cooperstown, New York, hometown of the author as well as novelist James Fennimore Cooper. The Monsters of Templeton incorporates some of Cooper’s character, as well as a fictionalized version of his family, the town’s founders. (Yes, ancestry, as it relates both to people and places, is very important to the novel.)

Willie Upton, the novel’s protagonist and sometimes narrator, is descended from founder Marmaduke Temple through two lines, one legitimate and one illegitimate. She returns home to Templeton after a disastrous affair, pregnant and confused. Unfortunately, Templeton doesn’t immediately provide the solace she seeks. On the day of her return, the town’s legendary lake monster dies. Then Willie discovers that her ex-hippie mother Vivienne has been born again as a Baptist. As a result, Vivienne cannot continue to lie to her daughter, and reveals that her father was not one of three men from a California commune—as Willie had always blieved—but a Templeton resident, also descended from Marmaduke Temple.

Willie embarks on a quest to find her father, whose name Vivienne refuses to reveal. Groff includes Willie’s constantly changing family trees in the text, as well as family portraits and chapters narrated by some of Willie’s ancestors. The genealogical aspects of the book really appealed to me, since I have a personal interest in chasing down my ancestors, if not for such a dramatic reason.

There’s a lot to enjoy about The Monsters of Templeton. There are bits of magical realism, mystery, ghost story, and historical fiction that make it hard to place the book in any particular genre. There’s also a fascinating cast of characters, both contemporary and historical. I really don’t feel I’m doing to book justice, and wish I could quote an excerpt, but unfortunately I had to take my copy back to the library. Suffice to say, it’s an entertaining and well-written story, and you should definitely add it to you to-read pile!
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Every once in awhile I pick a book at random from the library shelves and find an accidental treasure. Ellington Boulevard by Adam Langer was exactly that. I admit that I've become suspicious of any novel set in New York after run in's with too many supposed "clever satires" that weren't. I'm glad that didn't stop me from giving this book a chance.

Ellington Boulevard: A Novel in A-Flat is a story about the sale of a Manhattan Valley apartment (84 West 106th Street, #2B) at the end of the housing boom, told from the perspectives of everyone involved, even the pigeons living on window air conditioning unit. It begins with clarinetist Ike Morphy and his dog, Herbie Mann, who arrive home from Chicago to discover that the apartment--where Ike has lived for 25 years--is being sold out from under them.

Herbie Mann is standing impatiently in his apartment, waiting to go out. Herbie Mann is usually outside long before the sun has started to set. He has spent the past half hour watching exasperatedly as Ike Morphy stood atop a ladder in their living room with a can of black paint and a brush, writing I'VE GOT A GODDAMN LEASE! on his ceiling.


Ellington Boulevard reminded me in many ways of a modern day Dickens novel, and I do mean that in a good way, because I love Dickens. The style is modern, but the way the characters and subplots interconnect was similar. There's a very strong sense of place--the city itself is practically a character--and Langer evokes a sense of nostalgia for an era that's coming to an end. (Sort of like Brideshead Revisited, another recent read that I loved.) But don't let all my talk of similarities lead you to think that there's nothing original about Ellington Boulevard, because there is.

The book is structured like a Broadway musical--the real estate broker's actor boyfriend thinks apartment 2B is the perfect fodder for a musical--is sometimes humourous, sometimes tragic, and sometimes heartfelt, but often some combination of the above. The characters really drew me in, and I ended up spending most of Sunday afternoon hanging out at home reading in between my loads of laundry. It's a very "New York" novel that for once is enjoyable rather than alienating and is actually clever because it doesn't try too hard to be so, and I highly recommend it.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
When Sam Pulsifer was a child,his father left the family for three years. That was when his mother took to telling him stories about the Emily Dickinson house, located in their hometown of Amherst. Years later, Sam accidentally burned down the house, killing two people inside. He is tried convicted and sentenced to 10 years in a minimum security prison. Inside, he learns that the more he insists "It was an accident" the less people believe it. After Sam's release he creates a new life as husband and father--not arsonist and murderer--but it all falls apart when someone starts burning down other local writers' homes.

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England is the type of title that always sucks me in with its quirky promise. Sometimes rather hum-drum books lurk under those fascinating titles, but that isn't the case for author Brock Clarke. An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England is at once a dark comedy and a family tragedy. Sam is an intelligent and often funny narrator, but he is, as he admits, a bumbler. He's a terrible detective, so his fire investigations are hugely self-destructive. I could see many clues before Sam--which I suspect is partly the point--but I was still surprised by the resolution. The novel raises some interesting issues about storytelling, truth, and identity. If everyone believes something about you, will it eventually make it true?

For those who, like me, enjoy books about books, this book is worth checking out. It's sort of Joseph Heller meets Jasper Fforde meets one of those "inspirational" memoirs gone wrong. If you're interested, you can read an excerpt at the author's website.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
It's been a big reading week for me, so I'm combining everything into one big book post. There's lots of variety this week: contemporary fiction, sci-fi, graphic memoir, and non-fiction. I've been keeping a list of every book I've read this year, and this week brings the total up to forty-one!

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood - Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite novelists ever, and one of the few among my favorites who is still writing. The first of her novels that I read was The Blind Assassin, which is brilliant, and I've read several others since then, as well as some of her stories and poetry. The three central characters in The Robber Bride--Tony, Roz, and Charis--are middle aged women whose friendship was formed by a shared adversary: Zenia, a woman who befriended and betrayed each of them in turn. The trio believe Zenia is dead until they see her in a Toronto restaurant, leading them to reexamine their histories with her. Most of the book is told in flashbacks to the characters childhoods and their prior encounters with Zenia. Atwood creates wonderful female characters. She offers insights into the characters' worlds that make them sympathetic even as all their flaws are on display. I highly recommend it.

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card - This is the second book of four focused on Bean, a secondary character in Ender's Game. The first book of the quartet, Ender's Shadow actually takes place at the same time as Ender's Game, but from Bean's perspective. In Shadow of the Hegemon, the action moves back to Earth, where Battle School graduates have been kidnapped by a psychotic teen in attempt to provoke global war. The narrative follows several characters, mostly Bean, his friend Petra, and Ender's older brother Peter. I enjoyed the fast pace of the book, as well as the military and political intrigue, and I think I'll probably try to read more from this series.

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan - Pollan's first advice in this book is: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Easier said than done, though. The difficulty, Pollan claims, is that the typical Western diet is largely made up of imitations--things that resemble actual food, but are largely artificial. Nutritionism has led many Americans to obsess about particular substances within food, be they good or bad, reducing foods to a sum of there parts. Pollan says it's better to go back to the whole: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, eggs, etc. The shorter than the list of ingredients, the better, and best if it comes without a package at all. In Defense of Food isn't a book about any particular diet plan, it's a book about what's wrong with the Western diet and how to fix it. I read the whole thing in a day, and really enjoyed it. I thought it was well researched and insightful, and I learned a lot from it.

Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi - This sequel begins where Persepolis leaves off. It follows Marjane's four years at school in Vienna, a time of many cultural adjustments. After that, she returns to Iran, and has trouble readjusting to a country that is now both familiar and foreign. As an adult, she's no longer sure if she belongs anywhere. Like the first volume, Persepolis 2 is at times both poignant and funny.

Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon - This one is a quick and fun sci-fi read and the first book in a series of... I'm not sure how many. [livejournal.com profile] d4ni recently finished the series and enjoyed it, so I thought I'd give the first installment a go. The protagonist, Kylara Vatta, is expelled from the military academy on her home world. When she returns home, her father offers her a position as Captain aboard one of the family's interstellar shipping vessels. Nothing goes as planned, and a routine trip turns into an adventure for the fledgling captain. Ky is an easily likable character who builds confidence in herself as the novel progresses. One of the strong features of the book is focus on the difference between military and civilian thinking. Ky sometimes questions the military impulses, but her training turns out to be very important to her survival.

Persepolis

May. 30th, 2008 09:30 am
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Persepolis is a memoir of author Marjane Satrapi's childhood in Iran in the years surrounding the Islamic Revolution. I had heard good things about this book, but I was really blown away. The black and white art is simple but striking and add to the power of her story. The child's eye view Satrapi provides is insightful and authentic. The episodes she includes in Persepolis show the many ways--from the seemingly trivial to the horrific--that her family's life was affected by the revolution and the new Islamic regime.

I highly recommend this book to, well, everyone. You really should go read it. I think it's an especially valuable book for those Americans whose knowledge of Iran is limited to Bush's "Axis of Evil" designation and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust. You'll learn a lot.

Alos, an animated film version of Persepolis was released in 2007. It won the Jury Prize at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar. I haven't seen it yet, but I'd really like to.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
I realized I hadn’t written any book reviews for a long time, in part because I spent so long reading Bleak House then didn’t feel like writing anything up, so today I’ve got a double dose. It’s even thematic! (The theme being gods, the end of the world, and humor.)

Good Omens )

Gods Behaving Badly )
alexiscartwheel: (narnia - lucy)
Prince Caspian on Friday was fantastic! The second Narnia story is much darker than it's predecessor The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but just as magical.

There were some pretty significant changes to the narrative structure of Prince Caspian, which I think made for better film storytelling. (In the book, a major section of the action involving Caspian is related second hand to the Pevensie children, which would have been very awkward on screen.) Overall, the adaptation was very faithful to the source material. Although some elements were changed, I noticed many seemingly insignificant details that were retained, for instance a Bulgy Bear serving as Marshall of the Lists. I think that kind of attention to detail shows a real appreciation of the material by the filmmakers.

Prince Caspian is visually stunning from beginning to end. I'm not sure where they shot any of the scenes, but there are some amazing Narnian landscapes. The battles are well realized--and longer than the scant pages given to them in the novel. There's obviously a lot of CGI at work in those scenes, but it didn't seem intrusive at all.

One of the things I loved about the film was that it addressed (a little bit) an issue that I've always had as a longtime reader: that strange disconnect of growing up as kings and queens then being returned to normal life as children. I thought the distinct personalities of the children and their different ways of dealing with their return were very well portrayed. I particularly love Lucy and Edmund. Edmund was subtle but strong, and he got some great lines. His scene delivering Peter's challenge to Miraz is fabulous. Lucy is the emotional heart of the story and the one who still has the greatest love for Narnia. (Interestingly, when I was younger, I identified more with Susan, but now I identify more with Lucy.)

Overall, it's a great movie that satisfied this reader but I think would also be enjoyable for those encountering the story for the first time. Now I'm eager for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. More King Caspian, the return of Edmund and Lucy, and of course Eustace. In the meantime, I may just have to watch Prince Caspian again!
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Happy National Library Week! Now go read a book. (Maybe this one.)

On Saturday I read this year's Caldecott Medal winner, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick. To the best of my knowledge, it is the first 500 page book to win the award. About half the pages are detailed pencil illustrations, the other half are text. The result is something between a picture book, a graphic novel, and a traditional novel. Whatever it is, it's wholly enjoyable.

The story stars Hugo, an orphan with a fascination for clocks who lives in a Paris train station. Hugo lives in secret behind the train station walls until he cross path with a crotchety toy booth owner and his book-loving goddaughter. Hugo uncovers a mystery that will, you know, change his life. (That's so cliché, but it's true, and I can't exactly tell you how without ruining the fun of actually reading the book.)

Selznick is a wonderful storyteller and artist, and I would recommend this book even to those who don't normally read children's literature. It's a great story and a completely unique reading experience. If you need further convincing, check out the snazzy website.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Last week was Spring Break--for the students, not for the library staff--so the library was nearly empty all week. Besides mailing lots of overdue notices, I didn't have that much to do, so I spent most of my time reading. (I read a lot at home too since I haven't been feeling great lately.) I ended up finishing five books during my "Spring Break":

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - The SF/Fantasy section at the library is pretty intimidating sometimes because there are so many prolific authors, and it's hard to know where to start. I picked Bujold at random, and it turned out to be a good choice. The story is loosely based on that of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, but set in a completely different and well-conceived world. I'll probably read more of her work in the future.

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster - Forster's prose is understated and really quite wonderful. He follows heroine Lucy Honeychurch from Italy back home to England, deftly blending social satire with romance. There is, of course, a love triangle. (Isn't there always? :D) A great read!

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler - I had low expectations for this one, but was still left underwhelmed. It wasn't great either as an Austen-inspired novel (many of which were published last year) or as a time-travel novel (if that's even what happened; I never could tell.) For modern Austen-inspired fiction, I'd rather have Bridget Jones's Diary.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff - I was helping my mom select some good books for a student when I came across this former Printz medal winner. American teen Daisy is living with cousins in England when World War III breaks out. The family is separated, and Daisy and her cousin Piper struggle to survive. It's a chilling and engaging story that focuses on the psychological and emotional effects of the war. The unusual style was jarring at first--the sentences tend to be long and not punctuated to conventional standards--but after a few chapters I didn't really notice anymore.

A Little Trouble with the Facts by Nina Siegal - The description on Amazon calls this book "Chick lit meets Raymond Chandler", which seems pretty apt. Heroine Sunburst Rhapsody Miller shakes off her hippie roots to become Valerie Vane, gossip columnist extraordinaire. After she is felled by a drug scandal and banished from Style to Obituaries, solving the murder of a famed 80s graffiti artist may be her last chance to salvage her career and become a "real" reporter. I enjoyed this book, which was much meatier than the average Chick-lit fare.

Overall: A Room with a View is the best of the bunch; don't bother with Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
I picked up González & Daughter Trucking Co. by María Empara Escandón last week at the Johnson County Library. I could say that I didn't pull the book down from the shelf because the cover is bright yellow, but then I would be lying. I know, don't judge a book by it's cover, blah blah blah, but I'm sorry, I just can't help it if my brain thinks aesthetics are kind of important. Warm and inviting yellow cover aside, here's why you should read the book:

"Bringing back to life all the people I killed is the one wish at the top of my list."

Libertad González is an inmate in the Mexicali Penal Institution for Women, but no one knows what exactly she's in for. When others enquire, Libertad is less than forthcoming, not because she doesn't want to tell, but because she doesn't know how. Then she starts the Library Club. The Library Club meets once a week to listen to Libertad read from the books in the small prison library. But instead of reading from The Three Musketeers or The Old Man in the Sea, Libertad begins to tell her own story. She tells of her father, Joaquín, the former literature professor on the run from the Mexican government, and her mother Virginia, lady trucker. Libertad grew up a trucker, partner in the González & Daughter Trucking Co. since her infancy. She tells of her life and education on the road, each week leaving her audience hanging, waiting for more, until she finally can confess her crime.

There are so many stories in González & Daughter Trucking Co.: the story of Libertad's life in prison, the stories of the inmates who become her closest friends, and of course the story the Libertad, Mexican-American Scheherazade, weave each week for the Library Club. In the end it is her story, not her crime, that matters most.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
I have a confession to make. I have never read Hamlet. I hope this won’t completely destroy my English major street cred. In any case, it’s on my To-Read list. I’ll get there eventually. I wonder if Hamlet has anything to do with homoeroticism or the destruction of the homosocial bond by the institution of heterosexual marriage. Maybe it’s about epistemology. My college Shakespeare prof seemed to think that’s what all the plays were about. (I quite enjoy Shakespeare, but I hated that class, and not just because I had mono that quarter.)

Despite lapses in my Shakespearian education, I have read Julius Caesar, a quote from which inspired the title of a novel I recently read, Interred With Their Bones by Jennefier Lee Carrell. Pretty creepy sounding, isn’t it? Here’s the original quote, if you’re curious:

The evil men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

Oh yes, there's definitely more. )

TV Picks

Jan. 23rd, 2008 11:55 pm
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Looking for something new and interesting on TV? Here’s what I’ve been watching recently:



ETA: The cuts are to spare your flists, not because of spoilers, so never fear!
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
This weekend I finally finished my first book of the year, Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I became interested in the book when I picked it up in Chapters in Ottawa—I ultimately bought Twilight instead—and read the table of contents. The contents are presented as a required reading list, starting with Shakespeare’s Othello and ending with Ovid’s Metamorphoses. I’m always game for a novel full of literary allusions, so even though I didn’t buy the book, I put it at the head of my to read list.

From the beginning, I found Special Topics in Calamity Physics fascinating, but I quickly got bogged down. The opening chapter reveals the “mystery” of the novel, Hannah Schneider’s death. After that, the narrative steps back in time to Blue van Meer’s final year of high school. Blue is an intelligent and interesting narrator, but at times she’s almost too intelligent. At times the frequency of her obscure citations to real and invented scholarly works got to be a bit intimidating. It didn’t help that I was in the mood for a story, and felt like I was getting meandering recollections instead. Forget the quirky, the random, the everyday… where’s the plot, eh?

Hannah is an enigma from the point in which she first appears in Blue’s death, and Hannah’s death is the real catalyst for the plot to begin. Or rather, Hannah’s death draws the plot to the surface, bringing together all the quirky, random, everyday events and making them part of something important. The unraveling of mystery of Hannah in the second half of the novel made my struggle through the first half worth it, and the conclusion was both surprising and delightfully vague. The library labels the book as “Mystery” with a handy Sherlock Holmes sticker, but I’m not sure it can be so easily pigeonholed into the world of genre fiction. Certainly there is a crime and an investigation, but those take up the only the second half of the novel. In truth, it’s Blue van Meer’s history, both of the life she though she had and her even stranger reality.

If you aren’t discouraged by 500+ pages packed with literary allusions and figurative language, and would like to read an unusual sort of mystery, complete with visual aids, then I suggest you give Special Topics in Calamity Physics a go.
alexiscartwheel: (kaylee)
We're one week into the New Year, which I think means it's about time I started formulating a plan for the the portion of my life. As enjoyable as it is to spend my hiatus from school to lounge around the house reading books or watching TV, I can't realistically keep that up for the next nine months. Even if I didn't need an income, I get bored when I have no purpose. I'd love it if I could find a library job, specifically as a library assistant, or reference assistant, or whatever a particular system calls the position. (Really, I want to be employed in a Hemingway novel, but with less angst. It's not the sparse prose I want either; I really just want the "job" of living in Europe and doing, well, nothing.)

I'm not usually one for resolutions, but with the New Year and this new page of my life in mind, I decided I should set some goals for myself. There's nothing Earth-shaking about these, but here goes. This year I'd like to:
- travel somewhere new (see above, re: Europe)
- read some non-fiction (novels are great, but so is branching out)
- become more organized (I'm starting with my room, but I'd like to be more organized in general, particularly with my time)
- brush up on Spanish (languages are good)
- eat vegetables (I adore bread, but it's not brimful of vitamins and minerals)
- sleep more, and go to bed earlier (1am doesn't count as "early)

I'd also like to try what [profile] d4ni is doing and record all the books I read this year. I'm curious to see what the tally is. And of course, I want to get back into grad school so I can finish my MLIS.

When I haven't been watching Torchwood or Blackpool or Battlestar Galactica or... way too much TV this week, I've been listening to bits of CD101's Top 2008 Countdown. CD101 is my favorite Columbus radio station, and each year they begin the year by playing the top requests since the station's inception. It's a great week to hear old favorites that you haven't heard for a long time, or discover new favorites. For anyone interested, the entire list can be found at the CD101 website. Completely separate from the list, there are three songs that've been running around in my head the past few days:
"Relax, Take it Easy" by Mika - Like, "Grace Kelly," which was one of my favorites last year, it's a song that I heard once and immediately wanted to listen to again. Plus, relaxing is a pretty good idea for me right now.
"I Can't Decide" by The Scissor Sisters - The melody seems much too happy for the lyrics, which I think is part of the appeal. I'm not that familiar with the band, but this song at least reminds me a bit of Abba. I mean that in a good way, too, because I used to really enjoy listening to my mom's old Abba albums. Oh, shut up.
"Love Song" by Sara Bareilles - Yes, it's a Top 40 type pop song. An infectiously catchy one. I have a particular weakness for pop songs with piano, and Sara Bareilles has a nice voice. Apparently I'm currently going for catchy tunes and upbeat rhythms. Nothing wrong with that, though.

ETA: Wouldn't want to forget, the National Championship game is tonight! OSU-LSU in New Orleans. Go Bucks!
alexiscartwheel: (sailor moon)
It's also, incidentally, a recipe for utter awesomeness.  This week, [profile] d4ni and I have been searching out all the best Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon videos on YouTube. And there are a lot! I think we started out just looking for Minako/Rei fanvids--because they are made of awesome--but we found lots of other great stuff in the process. "Great" is, of course, relative. Some of the videos are actually pretty well done, but a lot are just hilariously cheesy.
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
I turned in two more annoying projects this week and successfully negotiated a higher mark on the evil InMagic project of DOOM! It's amazing that I got the projects done at all, because I was much more interested in reading novels. I devoted the majority of Sunday and Tuesday reading, so I have another pair of recommendations.

The first is Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey. It's part of the Elemental Mages series and based on that old fairy tale standard, Cinderella. I happen to like fairy tale retellings, but for the skeptics, there's plenty that's unique about Phoenix and Ashes. Instead of the traditional fantasy kingdom, the setting is England during World War I. Eleanor, the heroine, is forced into servitude and literally imprisoned by her stepmother, an Elemental Master of Earth. The "prince" is Reggie Fenyx, the local lord and an Elemental Master of Air, who returns from the front shell-shocked and blocked off from all magic.

The main focus of the book is on Eleanor and the development of her skills as a Fire Master. As she learns to control her element, Eleanor is able to stretch the bounds of her imprisonment. In the middle of the book, I even forgot the Cinderella element, because the characters were interesting enough to hold my interest on their own.

My second recommendation is New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, the same book I've been impatiently waiting for. The sequel to Twilight didn't disappoint. Edward, Bella's vampire boyfriend, thinks that he can protect her from danger by leaving town. After a few awful months, Bella, danger magnet extraordinaire, decides to cope by being as reckless as possible and starts landing herself in the ER on a weekly basis. There's the normal high school drama, but with a vengeful vampire, a pack of young werewolves, and a frantic trip to Italy. New Moon is over 500 pages long, but I tore through it in one day. It's just a fun read.

Books!

Oct. 27th, 2007 12:15 pm
alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Well, this is my reading week after all! I’m sure I’m meant to be reading about something excruciatingly boring for my “Information and Society” class, not reading novels, but oh well. I’m just preparing for Reader’s Advisory! With that in mind, here are some recommendations of two great books I read this week:

In the final weeks of August, right before my move, I did a lot of shopping therapy to ease my nerves. On one of my frequent outings, I picked up a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, which I had been wanting to re-read, for a mere five dollars! The Time Traveler’s Wife is essentially a love story, but a highly unusual one. Henry, the time traveler, and Clare experience the milestones of their relationship in a different order, so reading the novel is a bit like piecing together the puzzle that is their lives. I really love this book; it’s clever, it’s engrossing, and it makes me cry.

My second recommendations is another extraordinary romance, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I started this one Thursday night after I got home from Ottawa, and I only intended to read a chapter or two before I fell asleep. Around 5:30 am I finally forced myself to put the book down because I could hardly keep my eyes open. Twilight has high school angst, romance, suspense… and vampires. There are two sequels, which I’m now quite eager to read.

On Friday I went to the Grande Bibliothèque, which is a giant library run by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Quebec. Now that I have some bills with my Quebec address, I was able to get a library card. There was a pretty decent sized English collection, but there are even more French books. If my French reading skills ever progress beyond reading street signs, I’ll have plenty to read. In the meantime, now that I’ve got a library card I definitely don’t have to worry about running out of reading material in English anytime soon either.
alexiscartwheel: (Default)
Last night, J.K. Rowling had her book tour stop at Carnegie Hall, and she answered some pretty interesting questions about the Harry Potter series. Of course, the two biggies are ships!

First off, Neville/Hannah!! I'm really excited that it's canon. Before I discovered Neville/Hannah, I couldn't really ship Neville with anyone because none of the more popular pairing seemed quite right. If you haven't been introduced to the joys of the Neville/Hannah pairing, go read Asking for Roses by Dogstar. She really understands Neville, and picked up on all the little hints of Hannah's personality that make her a great match for Neville.

Second, Dumbledore/Grindelwald! LOL. It's canon too! That should make the slashers happy, eh? I always like Dumbledore, but I think DH just gave him so much more depth. He wasn't the perfect figure that many readers seem to have wanted him to be, but I think it's much more interesting that his wisdom was gained through experience, that he had to re-evaluate his values and goals.

There's also a new SQodcast today, so as fandom days go, today's been pretty fun!
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