Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Mean Girls

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.

1. Caroline Bingley - Pride and Prejudice - Gah! If there is a person (other than Mr. Collins) that can make me loath Pride and Prejudice it is Caroline Bingley. Self-important, condescending, and generally just a terrible person! Every time I hear her name I think of this sketch from That Mitchell & Webb Look. It's kind of brilliant, you should watch it. 

2. Dolores Umbridge - Harry Potter - I hate this TROLL of a woman. Not only does she give Harry another scar, she is also incredibly prejudice against half bloods and anything that isn't purely human. She's not a Death Eater, but she's cruel enough to join their ranks. Seriously, this woman is foul. 

3. Bellatrix Lestrange - Harry Potter - If Voldemort is Hitler, Bellatrix is Eva Braun. She's completely off balanced and lies to serve the Dark Lord. Oh, did I mention she loves torturing people? It's one of her favorite pass times. She doesn't have loose morals, she lacks a moral compass all together. One of my biggest pet peeves are people who go around saying "Oh, Bellatrix is so cool. If I were a witch I'd be just like her." Really? You'd be a psychopath who kills for the fun of it? That's cool, I'm just going to go call the police now.

4. Hilly Holbrook - The Help - Hilly's the traditional kind of Bitchy. Overbearing and unbearable to be friends with, but the head of all things social in a her Southern Town. Her bitchiness comes out in her opinions, which are racists, classiest, everything-terrible-you-can-imagine-ist...What makes her really terrible is that she says such horrible things with a smile and a perfectly made up public face. Barf.

5. Margaret Beaufort - The Red Queen - The conniving narrator of the latest Phillipa Gregory novel, Margaret Beaufort was raised to think highly of herself, and her offspring. She's infuriating. I get it, she's a strong woman making a way for herself in uncertain times when she should, by all accounts, have nothing of her own. This doesn't stop her from being a conniving bitch, and a completely infuriating narrator.

6. Estella - Great Expectations - I haven't read Great Expectations. I haven't seen whatever movie versions exists of it. When I was musing about this list earlier tonight my roommate's immediate response was Estella. I trust my roommate, she's pretty awesome, so whoever this person Estella person is get's a place on my too-short list. 

My lists seem to be getting shorter and shorter lately, I'll have to fix this for next week. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Rowling

JK Rowling

Year six at Hogwarts brings some unexpected twists and turns. Harry's NEWT courses are harder than ever and   his added lessons with Dumbledore to uncover Voldemorts past can sometimes be more than he bargained for. On top of this is the monster inside him that has recently taken notice of Ginny, Ron's little sister, and romance has finally hit Hogwarts.

In many ways Half Blood Prince accomplishes everything that Chamber of Secrets doesn't. It succeeds in getting Harry to notice Ginny, helps Ron to grow up and Hermione to acknowledge her feelings, and explains a multitude of things about Tom Riddles(Voldy's) past that connect directly with Chamber. All in all, Half Blood Prince is about characters, and if you've been following this blog at all, you'll know that's pretty important to me.

Overall, I find Half Blood Prince to be one of my favorites. This may be because it is also one of Harry's best years at Hogwarts. Until  the very end, his biggest problems consist of choosing a Quidditch team and dealing with the "monster inside" of him whenever he see's Ginny. I'm also a big fan of the romantic aspects of this book, as they had been pretty sparse in the proceeding five, and I feel like it really rounded out the series.

The other thing I love in Half Blood Prince are Harry's lessons with Dumbledore. Diving into various peoples memories can be fun, and helps to add new scenery to the typical Hogwarts sets.  Oh, and did I mention that Voldy's back story is actually pretty interesting? Love potions, death, antiques. It's pretty cool stuff.

Half Blood Prince is the perfect set up for the final book in the series, Deathly Hallows.  If you're one of those people who's been reading the books out of order, or using the movies as supplements, this is not the one to skip.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Covers (rewind)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.

Covers I Love:

1. Wuthering Heights - Bronte - Penguin 

2.Atonement - McEwan - Vintage

3. Anna Karenina - Tolstoy - Penguin (Red)

4. Falling Angels - Chevalier - Harper (UK)

5. Her Fearful Symmetry - Niffenegger - Scribner

6. Stardust - Gaiman 

7. Arcadia Falls - Goodman - Ballantine Books

8. When You are Engulfed in Flames - Sedaris - Back Bay Books

9. Immortality - Kundera - Harpers

I had a lot of fun making this list, I'm not sure why I didn't do it the first time around!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling

JK Rowling

Harry Potter is now in his 5th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and things just keeping worse. After witnessing Lord Voldemort's return at the end of the last school year Harry finds that the Daily Prophet is slandering him, and that everyone thinks he's crazy. Oh, and did I mention he has a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher that rivals Voldemort as the most terrible wizard ever? Through all of this Harry has to deal with his angst and limited contact with his loved ones to arm himself and his friends for the impending battle.

If I was to sum up Order of the Phoenix in one word it would be angst. Previously, Harry's never been one to give into self pity, but he throws that away during his 5th year at Hogwarts. No one understands him, no one believes him, his scar hurts, blah blah blah. I get that he's a teenage boy going through a tough time, but Harry's attitude is the thing that always makes Order of the Phoenix such a trying book for me.

In reality, this is the book where everyone messes up. Fudge won't believe Dumbledore, Dumbledore doesn't trust Harry, Snape can't get over his personal vendetta against all things Marauders and Harry's to obsessed with his dreams to see them for what they really are. That is the thing I like about Order - that no one is perfect. This isn't a children's book anymore. There is death and destruction hiding just blow the surface, and everyone starts to fear for their lives.

While Order of the Phoenix isn't one of my favorite books in the series it's still a masterfully written novel, and one of the most important books of the seven. Also, you don't need to be afraid of the length. I always feel as the books get longer they read so much faster, since things are happening much quicker.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Books to Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists over at The Broke and the Bookish. I'm sure they'd love to share your lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten list.

This week's topic is books I'd like to see made (or remade) into movies!

*I'm a book purist, and have seen maybe two book to movie adaptations that I consider great, so some of these will be remakes of already ruined stories, and others just in the hopes that one indie studios with bookish producers get a hold of the source material. 

1.Arcadia Falls - Carol Goodman - I am a huge fan of this book. Boarding school for the arts? Check. Fairytale's. Check. Mystery in journal form. Check Check Check. Now I know if a major studio got their hands on this there would be all kinds of changes. That's okay though, because it's highly unlikely this will ever actually become a movie. 

2. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri - I really really liked The Namesake as a book. Really, I did. So I obviously went and saw the movie, which I hated. So much. Like apologizing to the friend who went with me kind of hate (though she didn't seem to see the problem. It is possible this is all in my head). I had a hard time finding the movie Gogol endearing or interesting, and thought the essences of the story was lost. 


4.The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory - I'm a big historical fiction fan, and while I tend to consider Gregory historical fiction lite I do still devour her work like it's some sort of weird, damask covered crack. I really liked The Other Boleyn girl. I really, really hated the movie. I didn't think anyone was convincing in it. When you can say that Scarlett Johansson was the best actor in a movie, there is an issue with that movie. 

5./6. The History of Love - Nichole Krauss/Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Foer - I lump these two together because their story structure is similar, the subject matter is similar and the same pitfalls would come to each movie. While I would love to see both of them up on the big screen I can also picture them being destroyed by big studios who would have a hard time selling these sudo world war two/post 9/11/family death stories that are centered around children. Oh, I also don't have much hope for the version of ELAIC that is currently being filmed with Tom Hanks.

7. Falling Angels - Tracy Chevalier - little girls growing up at the beginning of the Edwardian era running around cemeteries and learning about life? Yes, please.

8.House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski - Just the Navidson records. You know, the part with the growing house? Not, and I repeat, NOT the Johnny story. They just wouldn't work together well in the same film, in my opinion.  

9. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Zafon - I loved this story, and it would be a great, noir-ish type film. 

10. The Paris Wife - Paula McLain - I just read this a few weeks ago and I really loved it. It would be fantastic to see Paris in the 20's on screen, with Hemingway and Stien and Pound and everyone else being artsy and lost and amazing. 

So that's my list. It's mostly me being angry, but that's typically what these lists turn into, isn't it? 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Readathon - Wrap Up

Okay, so the readathons been over for a few hours now. I almost made it to the end, but fell asleep around 3 am. Overall I had a really great time and got a lot of reading done. The only book I offically finished was Order of the Phoenix, but I came withing a hundred pages of finishing Half Blood Prince as well, so even with my chunky choices I feel like I got a lot done!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
To be honest, hours three and four. I hadn't gotten enough sleep the night before and for some reason 10 am hit me like a ton of bricks!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I enjoyed my Harry Potter themed readathon, but maybe the first three (or four) would be better for an event like this.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I was really impressed with how everything was run this year, everything seemed smooth and everyone was really kind.

5. How many books did you read?
1 and most of another. about 1200 pages.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I didn't finish Half Blood Prince, but I enjoyed it more.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
By process of illimination that makes Order my least favorite, but I love it too!

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I wasn't a cheerleader, but want to thank them all for being so great at their cheering!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I'll definitely read again in the fall!

Hope everyone had a great time! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Readathon - Midevent Survay

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? 

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 

2. How many books have you read so far? 
1, it was long though.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

I may or may not stop halfway through HBP to try and read some Jane Austen now that my kindle has decided it wants to work.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

I had to push lots of homework around. Hopefully I won't regret it tomorrow!

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
one of my roommates and her boyfriend decided a very loud fight over deodorant was necessary, and it was very hard to read over!

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

My inadequate choice of books. I need to pick smaller ones next time so I feel like I'm getting more done.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Nope. Love the way you all are running it.

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?

Just the shorter book thing.

9. Are you getting tired yet?

Actually, yeah. Starting at 7 am was a bit trying and now I'm thinking about taking a cat nap.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

I'm trying not to get to caught up in pages/books read so that everything can stay fun. If it's not fun what's the point!

I just decided my day, and my blog needed a bit of an aww factor, so here are some teacup pigs.

Happy Reading!

Readathon - Recreated Cover

I haven't done any post related mini-challenges yet, so I decide it was about time. The Hungry Readers is having a recreate a cover mini- challenge for a book read during the readathon.

Now I've only read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and just started Half Blood Prince, so my choices were pretty limited. The edition of Order I've been reading looks like this:
Which, while easier to recreate then the typical American cover, still required something...birdlike...and since the closest thing I have to a bird is a build a bear dog (which looks nothing like a phoenix and everything like a small terrier) this was off the table. 

Which brings me to the cover I actually recreated.
I know, I know. It wasn't exactly a difficult task, a book on the cover of the book. But still, it was that or a weird bird dog. I made a "pretend" crappy cover for the book. Since it didn't show up well in this picture, it says:
"Suspicious Potions Book
(try all my fancy new spells!)
Forward by the Half Blood Prince"

Evidently I am not very creative today 

Happy Reading!

Readathon - Hour 8

Hey everyone! Just wanted to do a quick update post.

I started the readathon on time (7am ICK!) but fell asleep around nine thirty and didn't get up again until eleven! Other than that I've been reading pretty consistently. I just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and am wishing I had decided on more half finished and/or shorter books, since reading around 600 pages in one book isn't nearly as fulfilling as finishing three! That's my only gripe so far. I just took a lunch break and am now trying to decide what book I should pick up next. Hope everyone is having fun! Happy Reading!

Readathon - Hour 1

Okay, it's 7 am here in lovely (dreary and wet) Chicago and I'm awake and ready to start Reading

This hours post is a get to know you post:
1)Where are you reading from today?
2)Three random facts about me…
3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?

1. Like I said, I'm reading from my cozy apartment in Chicago. It looks really icky outside. Glad I don't have a reason to go out there.
2.Three random facts? How about -

  • I once had a fish I named Ophelia. This was my "go to" fact for all beginning of the semester fun facts. A surprisingly little amount of people got why it was awesome. I judged everyone who I though I named her after the girl in Pans Labyrinth
  • I really love to cook, which isn't really an interesting fact at all.
  • I graduate with my BA in a little over a month.
3. My TBR pile today consists of pretty much everything I haven't read on my shelfs, minus Infinite Jest.
4. Last Readathon I think I got to around 1,000 wages before I got hungry and cranky and more interested in non bookish pursuits, so I'm hoping to at least hit that.
5. I've participated before, but considering how sleepy I still am and how reluctant I am to dive back into Order of the Phoenix, I don't think I'm the one who should be giving anyone advice. Unless it involves which sweeteners to use in their tea. Honey. Obviously.

I'm starting at Chapter 20 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Hope everyone has fun!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon

Saturday, the 9th, is the next 24 hour read-a-thon! I wasn't originally going to participate because of lame reasons, like homework, but it's been to long since I've really read for any extended period of time to pass up such a great event.

When I participated in the Read-a-Thon in November I finished 3 books and a screenplay, so I at least have a general idea of what I can expect out of myself.

Here's a list of the books that I'm planning to finish:
-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling
-Neverwhere - Gaiman

I'll also have these books on hand:
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling
Weird Sisters - Brown
Persuasion - Austen
1984 - Orwell
Tree of Codes - Foer (assuming it gets her by then)

Actually, that's really just a list of things I really really want to read right at this very second. It'll probably change by Saturday.