Monthly Archives: November 2015

Musing Mondays: Appeal

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Time to kick off the week with Musing Mondays (hosted by A Daily Rhythm).

This week’s random question asks: What makes a book really enjoyable for you? And, conversely, what would turn you off about a book?

Back in my high school days, one thing that could turn me off from a book was having it assigned to me as reading.  Part of this may have been the feeling that I might not be paying enough attention to pass the pop quizzes based on the assigned reading material and worrying too much about making sure I got every detail into my memory rather than really enjoying the novel or story on its own merits.

Now that I’ve graduated (a long time ago, mind you) and generally pick the books I’m going to read, I can’t necessarily put my finger on what will make a book enjoyable for me.   It can be anything from a great character or characters to a novel that challenges me on some level (emotional, intellectual, spiritual, etc.).  It could be just a story that demands to be read and that I can’t wait to turn that next page to find out what happens next.  Or it could just be a new entry from a favorite author that really gels me with me.

A lot of times, I think what makes a book appealing to me is my own mood or it coming across the TBR pile at the right time.  Sometimes I’m just in the “right place” to have a book speak to me or connect with me.  And other times I’m just not in that right place and I may put the book aside to either come back to later or not pick up again (this isn’t a regular occurrence mind you)

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In Defense of Doctor Who

It’s been a decade since the Doctor came back to our television screens and in that time, I’ve seen Doctor Who soar to heights of popularity I never imagined.

If I could take a TARDIS back in time and tell my younger self that not only would episodes air on the same day in America as they did in the UK but that there would be (sold out) screenings of the fiftieth anniversary special in movie theaters, I’m not sure my younger self would necessarily believe it.

But even as the show rose to new heights of popularity, I knew it was only a matter of time before a certain segment of the fan population began to jump off the band wagon for the next new and shiny thing.  I predicted it would happen when David Tennant left and was pleasantly surprised when that fans who jumped on board for Tennant stayed around for the Matt Smith era.

But now in the second year of the Peter Capaldi era, I’m finding more fans who jumped on board with the modern Who are beginning to look around for the next new shiny thing to come along.  As part of SciFi Month 2015 Rinn Reads published a piece about Falling Out of Love With Doctor Who, which I read and disagreed with on just about every point.  Continue reading

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Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On

If you finished Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and wondered what it would be like to read some of Cath’s Simon Snow fanfic then Carry On will push your buttons in all the right places.

Alas, the Simon Snow aspect of Fangirl wasn’t my favorite part of that story — nor did I necessarily find myself wanting to actually read Cath’s final alternate version of the adventures of Simon Snow. So, I guess you could say that Carry On wasn’t my cup of tea.

Coming back to school for his final year, Simon Snow has just defeated the forces of evil, rescued his friends and is preparing for his great destiny to come. But things are all going as well as it would appear. His girlfriend, Agatha, was seen last year talking in the woods to his mortal enemy and roommate, Baz. And there are forces of evil attacking his school in every effort to kill the anointed magical world savior.

Simon Snow was a thinly veiled Harry Potter stand-in used by Rowell for Fangirl to allow Cath to have a fictional wizard to obsess over and create fan-fiction for without incurring the wrath of J.K. Rowling’s lawyers. We got hints about Simon and his world from Cath and her friends. And after reading all six-hundred or so pages of Carry On I feel like a little went a long way. Continue reading

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Top Ten Tuesday: Quotable

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us our ten favorite quotes from books we’ve read this year.

  1.  “One cannot increase one’s talent—that comes with the package—but it is possible to keep talent from shrinking.”  — Stephen King, The Bizarre of Bad Dreams 
  2. “Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us.” — Donald Miller, Scary Close
  3. “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” — Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
  4. “Now all we have to worry about is all the other books, and, of course, life, which is huge and complicated and will not warn you before it hurts you.” — Neil Gaiman, Trigger Warnings
  5. “Some memories are realities and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.” — Wila Cather, My Antonia 
  6. “Every night it’s the same… I have supper in my red dish and drinking water in my yellow dish… Tonight I think I’ll have my supper in the yellow dish and my drinking water in the red dish. Life is too short not to live it up a little!” — Charles M. Schultz, The Complete Peanuts, Volume 8.
  7. “Man, I wish God wasn’t starting to shake us up like this. Wouldn’t it just be easier to care about stuff like dinnerware, golf, school uniforms, and getting to that new resturant that just opened?”  — Lisa Samson, Quaker Summer
  8. “This is why magic is worse even than quantum physics. Because, while both spit in the eye of common sense, I’ve never yet had a Higgs bosun turn up and try to have a conversation with me.” — Ben Aaronovich, Whispers Underground
  9. “I remember back when the only ‘Google’ was the sound a guy made when you punched him in the throat.” — Daniel Friedman, Don’t Ever Get Old
  10. “And reading this way – with no deadline, no agenda – she remembered why she loved literature so much. It was like fucking a new man and knowing that he had made other women come, but that when she came it would be an unshareable, untranslatable pleasure. She opened herself up to her books, and the words got inside her and fucked her senseless.” — Emily Maguire, Taming the Beast

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Musing Mondays: Favorite Book of the Year

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This week’s edition of Musing Mondays (hosted by A Daily Rhythm) asks a tough question.  What has been your most favorite book, so far, this year? Why?

Looking back over the multitude of books I read, there were a couple that stood out to me for a variety of reasons.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee — I re-read it before Watchman hit the shelves and was struck again by just how awesome this book is.
  • The Happy Hour Choir & Bittersweet Creek by Sally Kilpatrick — Even if I wasn’t friends with the author, these two books would be on “best of” list for the year.  They’re outside my usual reading comfort zone, but they’re so well done with such engaging characters that I don’t feel too strange for loving them as much as I did.
  • Scary Close by Donald Miller — Miller’s latest book about dropping the act and becoming really open with the people closest to us really struck a chord with me and is one that I’ve kept thinking about long after I finished it.
  • A couple of Doctor Who Target audio books — Full Circle, Remembrance of the Daleks and The Ark in Space all took my on a trip down memory lane and each book was a much fun as I remember them being.  Now if this audio range could see fit to give us Day of the Daleks, I’d appreciate it.
  • Star Trek: New Frontier: The Returned by Peter David — I waited five years for the next New Frontier installment and then got three e-books that make up one larger story.  And it was everything I love about this series and then some.  And it left me panting for more!  Mr. David, please give me more!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Based on a Book

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us to look at the books we’re looking forward to seeing adapted for the screen.  I’m going to break my list down a bit (because I can).

Books I’m Looking Forward To Seeing Adapted.
1.  American Gods
2.  Preacher
3.  Mockingjay, Part 2
4. The Man in the High Castle
5.  Child 44

Books That Have Been Adapted But I Haven’t Seen Yet
1.  Gone Girl
2.  Dark Places
3.  The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug and Battle of the Five Armies
4.  Me, Earl and the Dying Girl
5.  Every Secret Thing

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Review: Make Me by Lee Child

Make Me

After a couple of a disappointing entries in the Jack Reacher saga, it’s nice to see Lee Child get back to form with Make Me.

Traveling cross country by train, Reacher stops in the town of Mother’s Rest. Curious about how the town got its name, Reacher inadvertently steps into a conspiracy and cover-up. He meets up with Michelle Chang, a private investigator who came to Mother’s Rest at her partner’s request. Now that partner is missing and Reacher is drawn into the mystery behind his disappearance.

The set-up for Make Me is classic Reacher. And for the first half, watching Reacher take swings in the dark as to exactly what he’s stumbled across is a great deal of fun and makes for a compelling mystery. It’s once we get to the second half of the story that that things begin to break down a bit. It’s not terrible by any stretch of the imagination and it certainly fits well into the Reacher mythology. But I couldn’t help but feel a bit like, “That’s it?” when we finally figure out what’s going on in Mother’s Rest and meet the various forces behind a massive cover-up. Continue reading

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