Friday, August 28, 2015

Spotify Lists of Classic Book Characters

Robert from 101 Books did a post on this same topic, and I promptly told him "I'm gonna be stealing that idea from you. So thanks". I don't have any logic or reason to why these songs get picked, just a gut feeling on my part.

Scout - To Kill A Mockingbird (not Jean Louise of GSAW)
I Won't Back Down- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchel
Simple Man- Lynrd Skynrd

Holden Caulfield - Catcher in the Rye
I'm Not Okay (I Promise) -  My Chemical Romance
Perfect - Simple Plan
Boulevard of Broken Dreams- Green Day

Jane Eyre - Jane Eyre
Fighter - Christina Aguilera
Can't Tell Me Nothing-Kanye West
I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell

Scarlett O'Hara - Gone with the Wind
The only sounds that Scarlett listens to is the sounds of other people telling her how wonderful she is; otherwise she is uninterested.

Uninterested or angry. Or both.

Happy Friday everybody!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: "An Unnecessary Woman" by Rabih Alameddine

I don't remember how I heard about this book, but I'm so glad I did! Our story is about Aaliya, a divorced, childless, 70-odd year old woman living by herself in Beirut. To say that she lives a solitary life would be an understatement. She lives in her apartment, surrounded by books (sound familiar anyone?!), but she doesn't just read, she translates. She carefully selects a book to translate, and it usually takes about a year. When she finishes, she reads it completely through, and then lovingly packs it in a crate, not expecting anyone to see it. She figures there's no market for most of these books, and besides, she basically does it for herself. It gives her a chance to really savor language.

We learn about her past life too. Why things didn't work out with her husband, her best friend and her lieutenant, the young man who walked into her life and after disappearing came back in a big way, and the bookstore that she worked at for many years.

This is a book lovers book. She talks about many different authors and their works. I didn't know some (cough cough most) of the obscurere references but it's kind of grand just to hear someone talk about books in such a beautiful and loving way. The author's writing style is very enjoyable and almost melodic in tone.She also talks about how a soldier pooped on her floor during the war. The talk about Beirut during the war and the general hardship of her life kept the book from being too "pie in the sky" for me.

This book would have been a great diversity/All Lady July read! But it will be great any time of year.I give this book 3.75 stars out of 5! (Yes I said I wouldn't do decimals, but look at that I'm a rule breaker).


Monday, August 24, 2015

Serena, a movie disappointment

The following blogpost will contain some spoilery elements in regards to the book,and the movie “Serena”. If you have not read “Serena” I would love for you to drop everything and read this book, and then come back and read this. It will be here when you are done.

I’ve talked before about my love for the book “Serena” by Ron Rash. I love it so much that it has a cemented spot in my Top 5 Favorite Reads. Then, I found out that it was going to be a movie, and reacted thusly. (Thusly? Sure let’s go with it).

After waiting and waiting it was released on Netflix and it landed in my hot little hands. I finally watched it last night. I have thoughts and feelings.

In general, the movie took a really interesting book full of complex and complicated characters and boiled away all of the heart and compelling elements. Just tons and tons of potential right there and they just swept away all the best bits.

Most disappointing was how they portrayed Serena. In the book she’s mysterious, whip smart and bold. However she’s also a little but off. Possessive and manipulative and very evidently not someone you want to get on their bad side. The movie made her smart and a little manipulative but left so much potential for a great character untapped. Spoilery- In the book and the movie she really goes off the deep end after she loses the baby. However, in the movie since you don’t have this backstory, you think that the death of the baby is what unhinges her. This makes her more sympathetic. In the book you know that she was already a little out there and this was the last straw that pushed her over the edge into a sinister, murdery villain.

Biggest spoiler: She dies at the end. She commits suicide. Book Serena would never do something that “passive” or “weak”. Uh.

Here are some other thoughts:

  • Bradley Cooper’s terrible Bostonian accent comes and goes throughout the movie.
  • The sheriff’s role was completely miscast. I like Toby Jones as an actor but the sheriff should have been someone younger. There’s supposed to be an element of maybe, possible romance between the sheriff and Rachel and that would not have happened as it was cast.
  • They completely leave out the whole knife at the train station incident.
  • There’s the usual “uhhh that is not how that happened in the book” moments that are in every book to movie translation.
  • Rhys Ifans was perfectly cast as Galloway.

I feel like a parent. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed you didn’t make better choices.

Friday, August 21, 2015

10 interesting facts about Ray Bradbury for what would have been his 95th birthday (almost)!

Ray, one of the greatest writers ever, would have been 95 tomorrow. To celebrate, here are 10 interesting facts about my main man.

1. Ray's wife held down a full time job so Ray could write full time. In the 40s, that was crazy talk!

2. Ray was good friends with Walt Disney.

3. Ray hoped that fans would leave dandelions on his grave (a nod to his book Dandelion Wine)

4. Ray never learned to drive a car. He witnessed a horrifying fatal car accident as a teenager and it scarred him for life.

5. Ray has the following named after him/for his works: a comet, a crater on the moon and a Starfleet ship. (They mention the Bradbury in one of the recent Star Trek movies and I was like WHAT?! I want that tshirt!) 

6. "In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury was the first to predict the invention of flat-screen TVs, televised surveillance footage, ear-bud headphones, and ATMs — in the space of the nine days he spent writing the novel."

7.Considering all the great technological things he predicted, Ray didn't ride in an airplane until he was 62!

8. Truman Capote was one of the first people to recognize Ray's talent.

9. Ray was a vocal opponent of the hunt for Communists in Hollywood. A ballsy move considering he did a lot of work in Hollywood and it scared a lot of people to even talk about it.

10. Some of his books were set in rural Illinois, based on the area where he was born.

Thanks for being awesome Ray!

Sources: Mental Floss Flavorwire The FW

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Review: "Rain: A Natural and Cultural History" by Cynthia Barnett

I love books about very specific things. (Remember that whole book on rabies I read? That was an awesome book). So one day while perusing Netgalley I saw a book that was just on rain and thought "I'm going to read this and either think it was awesome or an utter waste of time. Let's find out!" Luckily, I thought it was awesome. The book is not JUST about rain. It's about rain and everything remotely connected to it: trench coats for perverts, umbrella holding as a family job, rain tourism and more!

Did you know that you probably picture rain wrong? You probably think of it as a skinny tip on top and then round on the bottom, right? That's how it looks when it comes from a faucet. When it falls from the sky it's actually opposite due to air pressure.

You know how everyone thinks Seattle is super rainy? It only has 7 thunderstorms a year! Lake Victoria in Uganda has 242 a year!

(Don't ask me what this has to do with rain because I don't remember. Witches travel in thunderstorms?) 50,000 legal executions of witches took place during the Middle Ages. Half of them in present day Germany!

Umbrellas used to only be for rich people. (Poor people just got rained on I guess!) And the style and color of the umbrella had a strict set of rules about who could carry what.

"When it rains, it pours" has nothing to do with rain and everything to do with salt.

This book was full of really interesting and intriguing information. I'm so glad I read it. Even if you're not very science brained it's easily readable! (Most of the super science stuff is in the beginning. Works for skimming!) I give it 3.75 stars out of 5!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The books that have been on my TBR for the longest and shortest amount of time...

I guess this isn't super accurate, because I'm going by my goodreads account. But it's close!







More recently added:






What about you, anything that's been languishing in your TBR for way too long?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Rapid Fire Mini Reviews #6

"Dust Tea, Dingoes, and Dragons: Adventures in Culture, Cuisine and Commerce from a Globe-Trekking Executive"  A man who sets up power plants all around the world writes letters to his family members detailing his experiences. The cultural stuff was interesting (especially the food stuff) but there was A LOT of talk about the power plants. I found myself wanting less of those details...much less...

Outlander. So, Outlander such high expectations I heaped on you. I liked it. I thought it was fun and entertaining. But nothing about it drew me in so deep that I wanted to run out and read the other books. I'm enjoying it on the TV show, so I think I'll just stick with that for now!

The Book of Speculation. There's a lot of buzz around this book at this moment. I thought it was alright, and that the stories were interesting. And one of the characters is a librarian, which is always a plus!

Pictures of the Past. Got this from Netgalley and was a little disappointed because I think there were "pages" missing ocassionally that made me miss parts of the story. But a book about World War 2 and art is always going to peak my interest!

The Arrival. Loved this wordless graphic novel. The pictures are soft and elegant. The creatures and setting a little Edward Goreyish. I want the little critter on the front cover as a pet! The immigrant experience is recognizable and universal even without words.

I think it's the ears, I love silly ears.