Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2009

North and South or, Things Angie Can't Get Out of Her Head

Not long ago we had a splendid discussion about book to film adaptations, our favorites, and those to be avoided at all cost. When I made my list of favorites, I had only just barely watched the excellent BBC adaptation of North and South. I longed to put it on my list, but did not as I have not actually read Elizabeth Gaskell's novel--a fact I really should remedy. Gaskell is one of the few rather glaring absences in my 19th century reading. For those of you wondering why the BBC would adapt a Civil War novel, this is not the John Jakes doorstopper or the 80s miniseries starring Patrick Swayze. This is a classic Victorian novel of the same name, which focuses on a middle class young woman who moves with her family from the south to a grim, industrial town in the north of England. There she encounters a cotton mill owner by the name of John Thornton and is thereby caught up in the roiling conflict between lower class workers and upper class masters that is on the brink of tearing …

On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

I let out a very undignified squeal when this unassuming package showed up on my doorstep completely out of the blue. I'm not ashamed to admit it. Here I am fairly wasting away for the fourth Kate Daniels book and then, swooping in like a risen phoenix, a brand, shiny new copy of Ilona Andrews' On the Edgesaves the day. The first in a new series, do we even dare hope to two Andrews releases per year a la Patricia Briggs? The two of them together easily top my favorite urban fantasy writers and this new book (and series) does nothing to shake those stats, I'm happy to say. As with Briggs' Alpha and Omega series, I think it's important to go in with a clean slate, so to speak, not expecting Kate and Curran but ready to embrace a wholly new world, and I think you will enjoy this book on its own merits.
Rose Drayton lives on the Edge--the narrow strip of land between the Broken and the Weird. Yes, you read that right. She and the two little brothers she's raising li…

Banned Books Week 2009

It's that time of year again, when we get to celebrate Banned Books Week! Every year, during the last week of September, the ALA sponsors Banned Books Week highlighting the importance of free and open access to the written word and the dangers of censorship. My favorite passage in their written statement is as follows: Imagine how many more books might be challenged--and possibly banned or restricted--if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society. Amen. I went through and did a quick cull of my shelves, pulling down a few of the most frequently challenged books over the years. These are some of my very favorite books, people. These are books like To Kill a Mockingbird(see wonderful Harper Lee quote above), Harry Potter, A …

Retro Friday Review: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

When we got to talking about film adaptations yesterday, I knew today's Retro Friday post would have to be about one book, and one book only--84, Charing Cross Roadby Helene Hanff. I owe the discovery of this wonderful book to DH, before he was DH, in fact. He gave the movie to me for my birthday--the first birthday I had after we started dating. Along with the Old Friends Simon & Garfunkel box set and a kiss. At the time we were living in different cities and meeting up somewhere in the middle for our "dates." So I drove home that night and watched the movie all by myself. I cried. Twice. I laughed and laughed and laughed. And I went out and bought the book immediately. I was on my way to London for a study abroad program and so it was a going away gift of sorts. He's particularly good with gifts, as you can tell. It is without a doubt my very favorite memoir and the movie adaptation starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins is pretty much my favorite movie of …

Ballad Giveaway!

I think it's time for a giveaway, don't you? Thanks to the generous people at Flux, I have one copy of Balladby Maggie Stiefvater to give away to one lucky commenter! I'm very excited about this giveaway because I thought it was such a great read and an excellent companion novel to Lament. You can find my review of both books here and here, as well as an interview I did with Maggie last month. I've posted Maggie's awesome book trailer here before, but here it is again because it's totally worth a second viewing. Maggie has since put together a playlist for Ballad, which you can also check out here. The rules for the contest are simple. To enter please leave a comment telling me your favorite ballad or love song. One extra entry if you become a follower, two for current followers. Make sure to leave me a way to contact you. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only and closes on October 1st--Ballad's official release date!

Adaptations

So it seems like every time I turn around they're adapting another book to the silver screen. Just in the last week or so I read that they're making films of: Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, Stephenie Meyer's The Host, and (of all things) the Sweet Valley High series. I happen to love book-to-film adaptations, but I always walk into the theater with my heart in my throat, unsure of how well or badly it will come off. I mean, I somehow managed to sit through all of Blood and Chocolate, but there's two hours I'll never see again. On the other hand, there have been some truly breathtaking adaptations over the years. I was musing on some of the best and came up with a short list. I apologize for all the listiness lately and promise not to make a habit of it. I kept this one to novels made into films, and not only that, but novels I have actually read myself. There are a whole host of adaptations I love from books I've never read, just as there are so many wonderf…

Favorite Mystery Series

Not long ago Jen Robinson posted about her top 12 Favorite Mystery Series. The list included the mystery series she keeps going back to, picking up each new installment, and enjoying the arc of the series as a whole. In her words, These are series that haven't petered out for me--I'm just as interested to read the 10th book in hardcover (if available) as I was to read the second. They are automatic selections for me. I loved this post as it gave me a few new recommendations I'd never heard of before (Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series for starters) as well as made me think about which series would make my list. As I suspected, Jen and I share a couple favorites. I've been a mystery reader since my Nancy Drew days and I've been thinking about my list and I think I've whittled it down to the cream of the crop for me. There are so many series that are classic or already completed, but I kept this list to ones that are still in progress. My top 7 favorite m…

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Thanks go to BiblioBuffet for sending me this book! Honestly, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy once I heard it was a modern-day Beauty & the Beast retelling. Then I saw the cover. *clears throat* That's one good cover. Reminds me of another cover I'm rather fond of. In fact, reading and finishing this book prompted an immediate re-read of Perfect Chemistry. The two actually have a fair bit in common, though they are very different in style and length. There was a lot of hype around the blogosphere surrounding Crazy Beautifuland I found myself anxious to see if it lived up to my expectations. This was also my first novel by Lauren Baratz-Logsted and I was very much looking forward to both a new author and a fresh take on one of my very favorite old tales. My arm rises toward my face and the pincer touch of cold steel rubs against my jaw. I chose hooks because they were cheaper.
I chose hooks because I wouldn't outgrow them so quickly.
I chose hooks so that ever…

The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson

I was so excited to find another Eva Ibbotson book! Awhile back I blew through the wonderful A Song for Summer, A Countess Below Stairs, A Company of Swans, and The Morning Gift. When I surfaced again, I found myself really hoping the magic spell wouldn't end there. Happily there was one more sweet historical in store for me. The Reluctant Heiressis a (retitled) re-issue of Ibbotson's Magic Flutes, which was originally published in 1982. It is set in the 1920s and revolves around the outrageously funny and touching members of the Viennese Opera Company, in particular a young woman named Tessa who eats, drinks, and breathes music and is the heart and soul of the company.
First things first. The prologue opens with the following lines:They were both born under the sign of Gemini and for those who believe in the stars as arbiters of fate, this must have seemed the link that bound them. She herself was to invoke the heavens when at last they met. "Could I be your Star Sister?&…

BBAW Giveaway: Silent on the Moor Winner

And the winner is . . . cqueen2!
Please contact me with your mailing adress and I'll get your copy of Silent on the Moorsent out. I was so happy to see all the entries as this series is really something special and I hope you all get a chance to read it if you haven't yet. After all, everyone deserves a little Brisbane in their lives. I think this is such a wonderful rendering of Brisbane. Check out more of Doris' wonderful artwork here!

BBAW: My Personal Bookpushers

I'm a bit late on this, but now, as part of the great BBAW, it's time to talk about the reason I love book blogs the most: the book recommendations they bring my way. Specifically, the ones I would never have picked up otherwise but that I absolutely loved and can't imagine having never read. Today we encourage you to blog about a book you read only because you discovered it on another book blog. Preferably, this will be a book you loved! You might also write a bit about the blog you discovered it on! Ahem. I've talked before about the gateway blogs that got me into the whole crazy, awesome book blogging world and Bookshelves of Doom is pretty much at the top of the list. I discovered Leila's supercool blog a long time ago now it seems and rarely a day goes by I don't check in to see what books are being challenged/banned across the nation, which books almost get her hit by cars, what the weather's like in Maine, etc. It was Leila's review that made me go …

Mary Stewart Pretties + Giveaway

Chicago Review Press has been reissuing a few Mary Stewart classic mysteries in gorgeous, atmospheric trade paperbacks. Aren't they lovely? Today is Mary Stewart's birthday and, in honor of the event, Jennie over at the Mary Stewart Novels Blog is giving away a copy of The Ivy Treeto one lucky commenter. It's one of my very favorite Stewarts and a great way to be introduced to her work if you haven't had a chance yet. Check out the blurb for The Ivy Treehere and then go enter to win!

BBAW: Reading Habits

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?Not usually, no. If we have leftover baked goods lying around then I will occasionally settle in with one or two. I'm actually much more likely to have a drink next to me than a snack. All that invested emotional energy, the occasional sweating of bullets...makes a girl thirsty!
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? It doesn't horrify me. I just don't do it much. I marked up my textbooks like crazy and if I give a book as a gift I do love inscribing it with a short message, but otherwise no. The funny thing is Ilove used books with writing in them, love perusing past owners' thoughts and handwriting. It makes them more valuable to me.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? This is a tricky question. My gut reaction is: bookmark. On a brand new hardcover, it's almost painful to crease the page. But when I was a teenager I dog-e…