Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Out of touch, but just for a bit

I am going to be taking some time off, so I will be post-less and comment-less for a while.  Please feel free to leave comments-I'll get back to them soon.  I will also finish my pending book reviews when I get back too, I promise!  Until then, be good and have fun!  

Monday, June 22, 2009

What I'm Reading Now-Fables Vol.1: Legends in Exile

My next Weekly Geeks catch-up review is:

Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham-This is the first graphic novel that I have ever read, and I had been hearing so many great things about it, I figured it would be a good place to start. Briefly, all the characters that you know and love from your childhood stories like Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, Blue Beard, Prince Charming, etc. have been run out of their homelands by an evil adversary and are now living in Fabletown among us normal folk. They have all agreed to set aside their differences, asylum has been granted for past deeds (like giant killing, home destruction, and granny consumption), and they are preparing to celebrate Remembrance Day when the murder of Rose Red sends Fabletown's sheriff, Bigby (The Big Bad Wolf), on a search for the killer.

Quite a few of you had questions about this, so let's get started!

Nymeth of Things Mean a Lot asks Are you planning to continue with the series? I'm not sure that I necessarily "plan" to continue with the series; let's just say, I wouldn't be averse to it. I did enjoy it, but I'm not going crazy wondering what happens next. Although...somebody call me if Snow and Bigby ever get together cuz I'm pretty sure that would be hot! Who was your favourtie character? Why? Speaking of Bigby, I think he might be my favorite character. He's great as the reformed-bad-guy-turned-sheriff, he can still wolf-out in the name of the law, and he looks hot in a towel (and it doesn't look like I'm the only one who thinks so!). I also kind of like Prince Charming though. Well, actually, I found him despicable, but that's exactly what I liked about him. In all the fairy tales he's the hero, the one true love, the savior, and here we see the other side of that. He's a mooch, and a playboy and totally full of himself. No wonder Snow White divorced him! Do you think the concept behind the series was well executed in this book? I do think the concept was well executed. I like some of the ideas that Willingham came up with to make the story workable. For instance, Jack (famous for growing beanstalks and killing giants), is a prime suspect in Rose Red's killing, but all of that giant killer stuff is inadmissible since that happened before the general amnesty. I also liked the little side stories we got like Beauty and the Beast having marital difficulties-she gets mad, he starts turning back into a beast, and it's hard to keep a low profile when you're walking around all half-beasty and all. Pinocchio is pissed because he's over 300 years old and still hasn't gone through puberty. Little things like that make for a fun departure from the main story.

Bart, over at Bart's Bookshelf said, I've heard so many good things about the series, if you had to pick one thing to convince me to go out and find a copy what would it be? Honestly, the fact that it's so short is a big sell for me. My tastes might not be your tastes, what I liked you might not like, I've never read anything else in this genre, so I don't really have anything to compare it to, etc.; but you can always give it a try, and if you don't like it, you haven't wasted days reading it, and if you do, then bonus!

Eva from A Striped Armchair wanted to know-Did you enjoy Fables? What did you think of the illustrations? I did enjoy it, and I liked the illustrations OK. They didn't particularly stand out for me in any way, but, again, I don't really have a lot to compare them to. What I did like was that at the beginning of each issue appears the original series covers by James Jean and Alex Maleev, which are quite different from the artwork within each issue.

Thank you, everyone, for your questions! I enjoyed my foray into the graphic novel set, and I will certainly let you know if I come back for more.

Other reviews:

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Will you be reading the rest of the series? How do you like it compared to other graphic novels? If you've reviewed this book let me know, and I will add a link to your review (Nymeth, did I miss yours?)
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Friday, June 19, 2009

What I'm Reading Now-Buddhism Plain and Simple

Well, What I Was Reading Several Months Ago might be more appropriate here. I've been a bit behind on some of my reviews lately, but, luckily, this week's Weekly Geeks theme had to do with catching up on reviews. Weekly Geeks participants who were behind in their reviews were asked to solicit questions about their unreviewed books from other participants. Answers to those questions could count for the whole review or as a jumping off place for a review. So, thanks to all the Weekly Geeks who stopped by to ask me questions!

My first question came from Guatami at Everything Distils into Reading. She asks: Why did you pick the Buddhism book? This was a book club pick. Our book club gets together about once a month and each month a different member will present three books that they would like to read for the next meeting, and we all vote to decide which one we will read. Buddhism plain and Simple was the winner for our March meeting. The other books that were up for selection that month were The Impact of Awakening by Adyashanti and Mental
Resilience: The Power of Clarity: How to Develop the Focus of a Warrior and the Peace of a Monk by Kamal Sarma. We have a rather small group, but everybody's reading tastes are pretty different, so we get a fairly good mix of reading materials.

Next, Trisha at Eclectic/Eccentric said: I would love to know if you think Buddhism Plain and Simple is too plain and simple or if it is a decent introduction to the spirituality. I'm glad you said "spirituality;" that reminds me that I wanted to point out that one of the things that the author tries to make clear is that "Real Buddhism is not really an 'ism.' It's a process, an awareness, an openness, a spirit of inquiry-not a belief system, or even (as we normally understand it) a religion. It is more accurate to call it 'the teaching of the awakened,' or the buddha-dharma." (p.9)

Back to the rest of your question: I thought this was a good introduction. It makes Buddhism feel very approachable and not at all intimidating. I think a lot of people think that Buddhism requires you to worship Buddha (but which one??), which is not the case, or to be a zen master going into it, someone who can sit and meditate for hours, someone who can see the beauty of the universe in a single lotus blossom, that sort of thing. What Steve Hagen does is basically say, hey, you've got to start somewhere, and here's how to do that.

Near the beginning of the book, the author provides you with an optical illusion-one of those pictures that sort of looks like an ink blot
until you finally look at it just the right way and then all of a sudden you see that it's actually a picture of something-and if you don't ever see the picture, I think a lot of his book might be lost on you. He relies heavily on the mental shift that occurs when you go from searching for the picture to seeing the picture. If you can't see the picture yourself, there is a section in the back of the book that tells you what it is, but even then a few in our book group weren't able to see it until one of us actually pointed it out to them. So, I would recommend making sure you can see the picture (even if you have to find someone else to show it to you) before you read the rest of the book. For me, that example worked really well throughout the rest of the book. I think this would be a good place to start for anyone who is curious about Buddhism (it's only 176 pages) or even for anyone who is just feeling unsettled in their life right now.

If you have any more questions about this book, please feel free to ask. Also if you have read this book, I'd like to hear your thoughts; and if you have reviewed this book, let me know and I'll post a link to your review.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I caught something unexpected yesterday

Don't worry, it's not swine flu or anything. I had to do some work in Honolulu yesterday, and I decided to take the long way home and drive around the S.E. part of the island and then up the windward coast. I love going this way, it's one of my favorite drives on the island. The water on that side is this deep, bright, amazing blue that you just don't see from the other sides of the island. I was trying to click pictures out my window when I decided, This?  Is stupid. I don't have anywhere to be, and it's beautiful outside. I should just stop and hang out. So I did. My first stop was at a little pull-off between Hanauma Bay and the Halona Blowhole-I'm not sure if there's an actual name for it or not. I climbed over the rock wall and walked around on the cliffs overlooking the ocean and got these shots.

Then I changed location and got these shots.
This couple was having a lot of fun with the waves that were coming in and crashing against the rocks.  

And here I am, admiring everything from my vantage point, including myself!  (Maybe "admiring" isn't quite the right word-I kind of look like a doorknob in silhouette.)

This is a close-up of what was going on down below me. I love all the different colors of blue.

After this, I decided it was time to get a move on, so I got back on the road and was driving toward Blowhole, when I spotted this:  

If I had been looking somewhere else for just a second, I would have totally missed it.  Of course, I had to pull over and try to get a picture.  So, I parked at the Blowhole parking lot and walked back along the road to where I'd seen this.  It was a little precarious; I was walking inside the guardrail, and I had about 18"-24" of  uneven asphalt before the 100' (?-I'm really bad with distances) drop down the rocks to the beach below.  I had my camera in one hand, I was wearing flip-flops, and I had on a skirt that I had to work at keeping modestly arrayed in the wind.  If anybody had hit the guard rail, I would have been screwed.  Luckily, nobody did, and I was able to get these shots!  

This one shows a little better where the rainbow was coming from.  The area is called Blowhole because there's a blowhole there (hey, sometimes the world actually makes sense!), which is a hole in the rocks that acts much like a blowhole on a whale or dolphin.  When the water rushes in with a wave, it gets pushed up through the blowhole and shoots up into a mist.  You can see that beginning to happen with the plume of water/spray to the left of the rainbow.  So, anyway, that was my unexpected sighting that I was able to catch on film.  :) 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day-June

Let's get to it! Every 15th of the month, Carol over at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day so that we can all see what's blooming in each other's yards. Go check it out to see other June displays.

As I walk out my front door, this is what greets me. The tag says Mardi Gras (Jacfrain). That's about all I know, but she smells lovely!

A bit farther out, just past the front patio is this funky looking guy, known as a golden shrimp plant or Pachystachys lutea.

I think the sun did an awfully nice job coordinating with my day lilies this morning, don't you? Sorry, but I don't seem to have the tag for these anymore. They have a very light scent, which is really lovely.

Remember this little guy who followed me home from the drug store and proceeded to bloom straight through from January to April (I only have photographic proof through March, but, really, they lasted through April)? Well, he's at it again! What a prolific little bloomer! According to his tag, his name is Den. Pam Tajima (atroviolaceum 'Pygmy' x eximium) and he came from H&R Nurseries, Inc. in Waimanalo, HI. Hmmm...maybe I should stop referring to Pam as "he."

This is a hau plant or Hibiscus tiliaceus, and it has traditionally been used for many things in Hawaii, but we are using it for privacy. This picture was taken at 6:05 this morning. It's easy to miss the flowers for the brightly colored leaves.

Same time, an inside view of a hau flower just beginning to open.

I just went outside and snapped this shot at 7:45.

By the end of the day, the flower will look like this and by tonight or tomorrow morning, it will have dropped off the tree, just like any other hibiscus.

Here is a shot of the leaves on this variegated variety. See what I mean about the foliage stealing the spotlight?

Growing below our hau plants is this lantana. This one is the "yellow" variety. I'm sorry. I know I'm a terrible information giver-outer. I like that this shot shows all different stages of the blooms.

And here is the "purple" variety.

Here is my previously purple, now white, Agapanthus. I think this is A. africanus, but don't quote me on that.

After making my rounds, I returned and found this guy just hanging out, literally. He wasn't gathering anything or buzzing around, just resting.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-22: Catching Up on Reviews

This week's Weekly Geeks comes at a perfect time for me! Our assignment this week aims to help us all get caught up on our book reviews by asking readers to ask us questions about the books that we've read but not yet reviewed.

Here are the books that I've read in the last couple of months that I have not yet reviewed. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these books that you would like to see answered, and I will do my best to provide you with a non-lame answer.

Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen (Review posted here).

Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham (Review posted here).

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (review posted here)

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What I'm Reading Now-The Thirteenth Tale

Cover to the first editionImage via Wikipedia
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield-I LOVED this book. I enjoyed the story, but what sucked me in was the writing. I'm not someone who usually pays that much attention to writing style-as long as the story is good I don't really care too much about the writing as long as it isn't terrible-but I loved the writing in this book. I can't even define what it is that I liked, I just know I liked it. Part of it was that the author was able to capture so perfectly things that I have thought or felt before but never would have been able to accurately explain to someone else myself, but it was more than that. You can't just agree with someone else's descriptions for 400-some-odd pages and call that love. This is a book that I couldn't wait to get back to, to disappear back into the story every chance I had.

The story takes place in England amongst family-owned bookstores, richly furnished libraries, and country estates. What's not to love so far? The extremely popular but reclusive author, Vida Winter, has requested that Margaret Lea, a reclusive biographer in her own right, come to her home to write her biography. This is a first for Margaret, who is used to writing only about dead people, and for Miss Winter's fans. Over the years many writers have asked Miss Winter for her story, and they have all walked away with something, but never the truth. This changes when Margaret is summoned to Miss Winter's estate and Miss Winter finally tells her story, a story about twin girls, Adeline and Emmeline, who grew up under the neglectful eye of their mother and uncle (father/uncle?) and in the care of their well-meaning but mostly impotent housekeeper. They were a world unto themselves, each one half of a whole but a whole that wasn't quite....right. Eventually their childhood home burns to the ground, but who these girls are and the events leading up to the fire make for a mesmerizing story.

As Margaret prepares for her work with Miss Winter she decides to familiarize herself with some of Miss Winter's work. The effect that Miss Winter's work has on her is described in the following passage:

Of course one always hopes for something special when one reads an author one hasn't read before, and Miss Winter's books gave me the same thrill I had when I discovered the Landier diaries, for instance. But it was more than that. I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same. Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one ever expects to be fulfilled. And during this time, these days when I read all day and half the night, when I slept under a counterpane strewn with books, when my sleep was black and dreamless and passed in a flash and I woke to read again-the lost joys of reading returned to me. Miss Winter restored to me the virginal qualities of the novice reader, and then with her stories she ravished me. (p. 32)

Like Margaret I have been a reader all of my life, whether I was reading myself or someone else was reading to me is irrelevant. I can't remember my life without books. I can't imagine my life without books, and then, wow, that bit at the end!

There are so many things that I want to quote for you from this book, but I don't want this post to get too long, and/or I don't know if they'll do justice to the book all on their own-they're mainly pieces that I could relate to, as I was saying at the beginning of this post, but not much to do with the story itself, so please don't let that throw you. That said...

Margaret and Miss Winter have sat down for one of their sessions, but Margaret is distracted. That description in and of itself is enough for most of us to understand; we've all been there, our thoughts are elsewhere, we've got other things on our mind, but I love the way that Setterfield describes this phenomenon:

All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes-characters even-caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you. Well, it was like that. All day I had been prey to distractions. Thoughts, memories, feelings, irrelevant fragments of my own life, playing havoc with my concentration.

Miss Winter was telling me about something when she interrupted herself. "Are you listening to me, Miss Lea?"

I jerked out of my reverie and fumbled for an answer. Had I been listening? I had no idea. At that moment I couldn't have told her what she had been saying, though I'm sure that somewhere in my mind there was a place where it was all recorded. But at the point when she jerked me out of myself, I was in a kind of no-man's-land, a place between places. The mind plays all sorts of tricks, gets up to all kinds of things while we ourselves are slumbering in a white zone that looks for all the world like inattention to the onlooker. (p. 289-290)

Boy, have I ever been there before. In fact, I seem to find myself there more and more frequently these days. At the current moment I'm a little distracted because I keep drifting back to something that needs to be said, but that I don't want to have to say, and I need to find exactly the right time and place to say it or it won't get said, but it needs to be said. Again, Setterfield finds a way to describe this that is so spot on:

His confidences, this mist, had led us unexpectedly onto a peninsula of intimacy, and I found myself on the brink of telling what I had never told anyone before. The words flew ready-formed into my head, organized themselves instantly into sentences, long strings of sentences, bursting with impatience to fly from my tongue. As if they had spent years planning for this moment.

"I believe you," I repeated, my tongue thick with all the waiting words. "I've had that feeling, too. Knowing things you can't know. From before you can remember."

And there it was again! A sudden movement in the corner of my eye, there and gone in the same instant.

"Did you see that, Aurelius?"

He followed my gaze to the topiary pyramids and beyond. "See what? No, I didn't see anything."

It had gone. Or else it had never been there at all.

I turned back to Aurelius, but I had lost my nerve. The moment for confidences was gone. (p.220-221)
Augh! Don't you hate it when that happens? How many times have you put off having a conversation, asking a question, revealing a secret for hours, days, even years, because the time just wasn't quite right?

One more. Remember the not-quite-right twins? Well, here is a great moment of revelation as to their character. The housekeeper Mrs. Dunne (the Missus) is listening to them talk to each other in their made-up twin language when:

The shock of understanding froze her there in the doorway. And as sometimes happens, one illumination opened the door to another. The clock on the mantelpiece chimed and, as always, the mechanism under glass sent a little bird out of a cage to flap a mechanical circuit before reentering the cage on the other side. As soon as the girls heard the first chime, they looked up at the clock. Two pairs of wide green eyes watched, unblinking, as the bird labored around the inside of the bell, wings up, wings down, wings up, wings down.

There was nothing particularly cold, particularly inhuman about their gaze. It was just the way children look at inanimate moving objects. But it froze the Missus to the core. For it was exactly the same as the way they looked at her, when she scolded, chided or exhorted.

They don't realize that I am alive, she thought. They don't know that anyone is alive but themselves. (p.83)

Yeah, good luck with those two, Missus. Remember how I talked about kids that make me happy? These are not those kids. These kids? They give me the heebie-jeebies.

Anyway, I loved this book. I didn't expect to like it that much, but I finally gave in and mooched it because of all the buzz about it, but I thought it would be entertaining and that would be about it. I was wrong.

Other reviews:

Nymeth at Things Mean a Lot (who also has links to tons of other reviews)

And for a slightly different take (caution: spoilers)
30 Great Books

If you've read this book, I'd like to hear what you thought about it. Did you review it? Let me know, and I'll add your review.

(BTW, do you like my giant graphic? I've been experimenting with Zemanta, and that is what it gave me.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Organic Bouquet review

This is a little late, but I wanted to get the information out there anyway.  For years, I had been using Martha Stewart Flowers for all my flower-giving needs, and I was quite happy with their service.  They were a bit pricey, but you always got really nice stuff.  Unfortunately, Martha Stewart Flowers decided to pair up with 1-800-Flowers, and since then their quality and selection seem to have gone downhill while their prices have gone up.  At least, that's been my experience.  

So, I needed to find a new provider, and I had been considering trying Organic Bouquet for quite some time, but I was worried because I had never used them before and I didn't know what the quality would be.  You always feel bad making somebody your guinea pig when it comes to flowers.  A Mother's Day card that reads, "Happy Mother's Day!  Hope these flowers aren't crap!" isn't really what you want to send...but that's more or less what I did.  I sent my mom flowers and then called her on Mother's Day to tell her that I had decided to try a new flower vendor and that I hoped everything was OK, but to please let me know if the quality was not up to par (and to tell her Happy Mother's Day).  That's fair, right?  

So, my mom took these pictures when her flowers arrived, and as you can see, they look great!  I am totally happy with them, and I will be using them for all my future flower needs.  (The vase was not included; it belongs to my mom.) 

For the record, I ordered the Spring Sunflower Bouquet, and I think the actual bouquet turned out even better than the one pictured on the site.       

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happiness A-Z: K

Okay, so it's been a while since I've done one of my Happiness A-Z posts.  Since it's been such a long time since I started this little project (4 months to the day, in fact.  Not that that's that long, but considering I only had 26 posts to write, it's taking a little longer than I thought), I figured now would be a good time for a little refresher explanation.  I mean, it's fairly self-explanatory, but basically, one of the things that I wanted to do with this blog was to celebrate the little things in life, and I'm afraid that I haven't been as diligent about that as I would like.  So, the goal here is to make a post for each letter of the alphabet and list 5-10 things that make me happy, that I love, that I am thankful for, etc. that start with that letter. 

So, now that you are all up to speed, let's tackle the letter 

(This is part of the reason that it's been so long since my last post-K is tough!)

1.  Kindness-In particular, unexpected displays. You can read about some of my encounters with this in my collection of posts that are labeled "spirit of aloha."  These range from kindness displayed by vendors at work and strangers at restaurants to neighbors with plants and even porta-potty attendants at concerts.

2.  Keiki hula-"Keiki" is the Hawaiian word for child, and kids dancing the hula is about the cutest thing ever!  

3. Koala bears-They run a close second to keiki hula in the cuteness category.  Visit Diary of a Koalawrangler to see lots of cute pictures of koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and other critters.

4.  Kittens-Come on, who doesn't like kittens?

5. Kids that I like-Kids that I don't like don't make me happy.  What can I say?  Don't tell me that you've never met a kid that you didn't like.  You know you have, and you know you feel kind of guilty about it, but you can't like everyone can you?  Kids I like are usually very cute and loving and funny, and they make me happy.

6.  Kittens!-Because I need something better to end this on than that last one.

7.  Knitting-(Just for good measure.) I've mentioned before that I don't actually knit, so I don't know this one for sure, but the idea of knitting appeals to me, and if I do ever take it up, I think it's something I will enjoy.    

Monday, June 8, 2009

What I'm Reading Now-The Hunger Games

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I am pretty behind on my reviews. If you keep an eye on my Goodreads widget in my sidebar at all, you may notice books coming and going in the "recently read" category with no corresponding reviews here and be thinking, Hey, what's the deal? If you really are dying to know what I thought about the book, you can click over to my Goodreads account and see (just click on the bar under the book shelf that says goodreads). I may not have a written review, but you can at least see how many stars I gave each book. It's not that I'm suffering from illusions of grandeur, thinking that everyone is waiting with bated breath to hear what I thought of something before they read it; but I know it's frustrating to see something you're interested in listed as "recently read" and then not be able to find a corresponding review.

So, anyway, on with the review!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-I have been hearing nothing but good things about this book, so I was excited when it was picked for our last book club book. It was an easy read, and while I wouldn't say I loved it as much as some of my fellow bloggers, I wasn't disappointed either. It did keep me interested and wanting to see how everything was going to be resolved, and I definitely think this is one that will stick with me for a while.

For those who haven't heard about this yet (where have you been??) the novel takes place in a North America where there has been an uprising against the Capitol. The Capitol prevailed and now the 12 outlying districts are forced to participate in the annual Hunger Games. The reasons for the Hunger Games are twofold; entertainment for those in the Capitol and punishment for the districts' uprising.

Every year, each district has to send two children, one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen, to participate in The Hunger Games. The children are all thrown together into a manufactured outdoor arena and they have to fight to the death until there is only one child left. All of this is televised nationwide a la current-day reality TV. The winner and his or her district receive valuable prizes, including things like shelter and food, and of course, bragging rights. The Capitol plays up the bragging rights part, the poor districts are a little more excited about the food part, not so much about the our-kids-might-die part.

In District 12, twelve-year-old Prim's name is drawn for participation in this year's Hunger Games. Her sister, sixteen-year-old Katniss, knows there is no way she will survive and steps up to take her place. Since the death of her father, Katniss has been hunting illegally to provide for her family and knows that she has a much better chance of survival. The boy from District 12 is a baker's son who once provided a tremendous kindness to Katniss even though they didn't know each other, so right away, you know there's going to be emotional turmoil. If one of them makes it back, it's going to be because the other is dead.

I really enjoyed this book even though I'd have to stop about every three pages and say, "This is SO MESSED UP!" Reading about Katniss and her strategies throughout the game was interesting. I kept wanting to know what she was going to do next, how she was going to survive, what obstacles she would have to face. The other thing that really got to me about this book was her relationship with her sister. You don't really get a feel for their relationship with each other so much, but you do see Katniss's protective nature and the way she does all she can to keep her sister safe and try to protect her from the bad things in life. That really hit home for me because I have a little sister who is eight years younger than me, and I could really relate to a lot of the things that Katniss was dealing with on that level.

This is a YA book, but obviously there are some pretty heavy themes here, and it is pretty graphic. It doesn't gloss over the fact that the object of the game is to survive and the only way to do that is to kill other children. Given the subject matter, I don't think it goes too extreme, but it doesn't evade the issue either.

By the end of the book, the major story line has been resolved, but the reader is still left wondering, What happens now?? Luckily for us, the sequel, Catching Fire is now out. My bad. Thanks to farmlanebooks for correcting me. This doesn't come out until September 1. I think I will have to read it in the near future when it comes out!

Other reviews:

Books on the Nightstand-Ann (Listen to the Podcast-Ann's review is about 7:20, but listen to the whole podcast if you get a chance)

Now that I've linked to all these reviews, I'm trying to figure out why my response to this book wasn't quite as strong as everyone else's. I pretty much agree with everything everyone else has said, but I just didn't have the same "OMG, I couldn't put this book down!!" response. Maybe you guys can help me out. If you've read The Hunger Games and LOVED it, why? What about this book in particular made it so great for you? Was it the characters? Was it the horror of the Games? Was it that it hits close to home, or was it just all of these things coming together to form the perfect story, or was it something else altogher?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mmmmmm, cheeeeeeese!

Remember those "Behold...the power of cheese." ads?  Well, I think this may have been the inspiration.  

P.S.  I don't know how one loses all of one's clothing chasing a wheel of cheese, but, apparently, it can happen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Ford Mustang, consider yourself on notice.  You have just been knocked down a notch on my coveting scale by the new Camero.  I just wish all the cars I like weren't being made by companies that may or may not exist in the future.  Well, not ALL the cars, just the ones that look cool.  And by "in the future" I mean next week.  Then again, that might be good from a purchasing standpoint. (Okay, honestly, I don't really know what's going on with any of the Big 3 right now.  I know some of them are better off than others, but overall, I know it still isn't good.)  

We were driving in town last week when I saw one of these new Cameros driving along next to me, and I was like, "Ooooh.  What is that??"  I was a little bummed when I found out it was a Camero (my first car was a '77 Firebird, which I spent many years pointing out is not the same as a Camero, dammit!) but then my husband tried to make me feel better by pointing out that in a couple of weeks I'll probably be able to get one for, like, eight bucks.  If that's the case, I'm SO getting one!  Wish me luck!  

Friday, June 5, 2009

Awesome, but in a totally different way

So, as you know, I spent yesterday (about 5 hours) at the beach. When I got into our truck to go home, I looked out my rolled-down window and saw this. I'm pretty sure that this wasn't there when we left the house to drive to the beach. If it was, then it held up admirably. If it wasn't, then this spider was pretty industrious once we got to the beach!


Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day at the beach with my niece (4) and my nephew (8).  (Technically, they are my great-niece and -nephew, but that makes me sound a lot older than I am, so we'll just call them my niece and nephew) and their mom and dad (my actual nephew).  My husband had his kayak up on a grassy area above the beach, and everyone except for my niece and me were down playing in the water.  She was playing in the kayak, and I was watching her.  A man came up to us with his dog, Ola (who is featured in the video below) and he had a kid's book (complete with CD) with him that he said he wrote about his cat, Checkers, who was rescued from an animal shelter.  He asked me if my niece would be interested in it.  I said she might but that I didn't have any cash.  If he wanted to wait around for the others to come up out of the water, they might, but he said not to worry about it-just give him five bucks the next time I see him, whipped out his pen, and made the book out to my niece and nephew.  We went down the beach to show my niece's mom the book, and when I looked back up, the man was leaving a little bouquet of flowers on the kayak.  Aww!   

I'm sorry, but I can't recall the exact name of the book, and I can't seem to find it on line.  I think it's Motorboat Kitty, but that might not be quite right.  I'll try to find out and get that information updated. **6/16/09-Edited to add that the name of the book IS Motorboat Kitty, but I don't have any other information on it at this time.

The man's name is John Orr, and here he is on YouTube singing a song that his dog, Ola, helped to write (just watch, you'll see).  He also shapes surf boards and has surfed with some big names in surfing (Cheyne Horan or Eddie Aikau anyone?)  Some of this information is in the back of his book, and some of it I found on line.  He certainly wasn't bragging about it when I met him on the beach.