March 21, 2006

Book Review - Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Alice laughed:  "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Alice in Wonderland.

Jane Yolen has some wonderful fantasy books out there and they aren't your typical dwarves and elves type of fantasy, although these creatures may show up in the most unexpected places. I love her work and I especially love the book I just finished. It's a collection of short stories called Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast. It has, as the title suggests, 12 stories. My favorite was the final one in the book, Lost Girls. It's a take on the old Peter Pan story with many lovely twists. I highly recommend it.

Speaking of books, I just bought the book by Dave at Memory.Daydreams.Lapses. It's called Where the Night Animals Live and you should buy a copy and read it. It's a mix of poetry and prose from other publications and earlier writings collected in one place. Very cool :)

Books 07:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

I, Coriander book review

I just finished reading a Young Adult book called I, Coriander by Sally Gardner. If you like fantasy and historical fiction, this is an excellent combination of the two.

Coriander is writing a memoir of her life and the discoveries she makes along the way about her mother and her mother's people. Set in the time of Cromwell and the upswing of Puritanism in England, there is conflict between the Good Folk, people who are accused of sorcery, and the Puritanical force taking control of the country. There is a great blend of fantasy, and the mystical parts mix well with the "real world" parts so well that disbelief in other worlds is easily suspended. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Now I am on to reading Terry Pratchett's take on the Pied Piper tales and continuing to read about Amelia Peabody Emerson's exploits and mystery solving in Egypt.

Books 07:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

Drift House review

I have finally gotten around to changing the "now reading" list to the left. I have actually read quite a few books since I last changed this, and I will try to keep it up to date. I am also going to try to review a few books that I like as I finish them.

Recently I finished Drift House by Dale Peck. Dale usually writes about troubled boys who have grown to be men, and homosexuality, and a combination of the two, but in this complete change of pace he has written a children's book in the same vein as the Series of Unfortunate Events books, only.....better. I love Lemony Snicket, don't get me wrong. I just got tired after the first few books of reading the same thing, no matter how clever he said it. This book is lighter, just enough so to be a really fun read. It also has some characteristics of the Narnia books, much more so perhaps than the Unfortunate Events books. In Drift House, three children are left with their uncle while their parents stay in New York City in the months post 911. The children are intelligent in different ways, and annoying in different ways as intelligent, independent-thinking children should be. Good ways. Uncle Farley takes them in and they soon discover that Drift House does just that, hence the name, however it sails from the Bay of Eternity into the actual sea of time. Soon they have to figure out how to use their wits and individual strengths to save the house and perhaps the world as we know it from Impending Doom. While some of the plot is predictable, Peck writes it in a way that is fresh enough and interesting enough to keep me moving forward at a steady but not annoyingly quick pace. If you like Narnia type fantasy and children's books that break the fourth wall, you will like Drift House.

Books 11:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2005

void where prohibited by law

A friend sent me this link to a page of disclaimer stickers to go in your science text books. I think we should come up with some ourselves. I'll post mine here in a few.  Meanwhile, someone suggested I have a set of disclaimers of my own, as well as a user's manual. Somewhere in there would be this advice:

In case of PMS or severe headache, administer dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more) immediately and then back away. Slowly.

Books, Humor, Politics, Religion, Science 02:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

ladies and gentlemen, start your typewriters

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo. I forgot to mention it well in advance. I planned to write this month, but we will see if I have time. Are any of the rest of you writing a novel this month?

Books 08:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 21, 2004

rebel with a cause

I hope you have fully recovered from Talk Like A Pirate Day, because the next big thing starts September 25th. Banned Books Week. The ALA has a list of banned books. I encourage everyone to go buy one if you can, borrow from the library if you have to, and read a banned or challenged book.

For those who wonder what the difference is, a challenged book is one in which a person or group of people attempt to remove the book from public circulation, from the library, from local bookstores. A banned book is one that is actually removed. As the ALA website states:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. The positive message of Banned Books Week: Free People Read Freely is that due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

Here is a list of the 100 most challenged books for 1990-2000. Not only are there books that seem obviously offensive to the "Moral Majority," there are books that are not so obvious, like Maurice Sendak's In The Night Kitchen, a picturebook where one assumes the offense is that the little boy is naked for a couple of pages. And not in great detail, either. J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, probably challenged for its language and ideas. IDEAS. I recently watched a show written by Aaron Sorkin in which one of the characters says "Actions are immoral. Opinions are not. And I won't apologize for mine. Discussion is good, and for those of us fortunate enough to be the subject of magazine articles, it may be our responsibility from time to time to try and raise the level of debate."

Anyway, go read something subversive. Like The Handmaid's Tale, or Flowers for Algernon. Or how about 1984, or Brave New World? Find out what it is "they" don't want you to know. Then ask yourself why. It might scare you.

Books 09:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

June 27, 2004

Netflix for books? is a site that lends out books like Netflix lends out movies. You have a queue, and when you send back the book you read, they send you another one. There are options to keep the books you read by noting it on your account page and following the instructions (which are, I am sure, instructions on paying for the book). You can borrow books on CD, or paperbacks.

Sounds like a deal for you voracious readers with limited funds for late library fees or buying books outright.

While you are thinking about your literary future, don't forget If you buy a book and read it, but don't need to keep it, set it free and let others enjoy it as well.

Happy reading!

Books 09:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 19, 2004

oh, I get it now

I am reading Hannibal, by Thomas Harris. Due to a reference in the book, I finally understand what it means to "squeal like a stuck pig."

Man, I am slow some years.

Books 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 16, 2004

Happy 100th Bloomsday

From Pops and Leslee I am reminded that today is Bloomsday, and even more importantly it is the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday. Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom took their Dublin trip June 16, 1904. There are many places to visit to find out more about celebrating this literary holiday. Here are a couple:

ReJoyce Dublin 2004
The Village Voice essay

both links were filched from Leslee, who has even more fun and excitement on her site regarding the celebration of Bloomsday!

Books 03:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 14, 2004

booksigning news

Mama Gena, of Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts and other books will be at the Border's Bookstore on Preston and Royal in Dallas Tuesday night, June 15th, at 7 pm. I know this because not only did I get an email letting me know, but one of the sister goddesses called me to make sure I knew. She addressed me as "Sister Goddess Alicia" and I thought for sure it was our own Goddess NakedJen calling. What a surprise when it was one of Mama Gena's minions! I call them minions, but really these gals are all living happily and loving life and their relationships with themselves and their lovers/partners.

Anyway...I want to go. MG is a charismatic lady preaching pleasure as the path to empowering ourselves and our own happiness. Sounds like fun, and best of all it's FREE. Can't beat Free :)

Books 02:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack