Great Expectations

This weekend I finished reading Markus Zusak‘s young adult novel “The Book Thief” and watched the movie with my step grandson.


With a stellar cast, I admit great expectations for the film adaptation.  This is one of those occurrences where I loved the book so much that the film, in spite of its excellent acting, was a mere echo of the emotional resonance and expert storytelling in the novel.


In fact, I almost wish that I waited longer between finishing the book and watching the movie.  I suspect that distance may have allowed me to interact with the movie on its own, rather than continuously comparing it to the book.

I waited to read this novel because I worried that I needed to be in the right head-space to handle the subject matter.  I am glad I waited for springtime to read it – the sunshine helped me focus on the truly inspirational, life-affirming messages in the this novel.

My grandson, who is 11, had a lot of questions about how people could be so mean to other people.  I think the movie provided us with the opportunity to begin to talk about this period of history.  I wish that there were easy answers to the questions he asked, but of course, there are not.

I would love for him to read this book and hope I can convince him.  I think it may be a little advanced for him, but I found the writing so compelling and engaging, I think with support he will enjoy the story and learn a little about this dark period of human history in the process.

For those who think they do not like young adult fiction, please put aside that bias and read this book.


Am I Blue?

For those reading who don’t know, I’m a huge Christopher Moore fan.  He is seriously twisted in a way that tickles me enough to laugh out loud.  In public.  Repeatedly.

A few years ago, while reading “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” on a flight to Newark, Delaware, I laughed so much I think I worried several fellow travelers.  Seriously – they would have probably all benefitted from a good laugh.

The book is one of the funniest I’ve ever read, and cemented me as a rabid Moore fanatic.

Today, his latest book hit the shelves (or the airways, as the case may be since I purchased the Nook Book): “Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art“.

I need to finish about 400+ pages in the book I’m currently reading, but I think I’m going to take a short break for Bleu!

If you (like me) need more Moore, here’s an added bonus – a link to the awesome NPR interview I heard with Christopher Moore over the weekend!

Enjoy! And, laugh – it is good for you!

Of Kings and Things

Finally finished the first book in George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series: A Game of Thrones last night.

Good Book

I admit, I had not read this before I began watching the HBO series, but the superior acting in the show got me curious.  I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to read as well as watch – and what  a fantastic read.  I found myself engrossed from nearly the first page and several times read late into the night because I could not wrench myself away from the story.  I also admire how close the HBO first season is to this first book.

I used this book to help me get through travel and a very blue holiday season – I am excited to start the next story – “A Clash of Kings“; I plan to start it tonight!  I have the 4-book Nook set!

Night Eternal

After finishing “Waking the Moon” last night (and wondering what 100 pages were expurgated from the US edition…methinks I need investigate this mystery), I began reading the final installment of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan‘s The Strain Trilogy.  This final novel, entitled “The Night Eternal” takes place two years after the conclusion of the second book.

This is a devastated world in which there is nothing sexy about the vampires.  I’ve mentioned before that I prefer my vamps with a little more fang and a little less sparkle than in the wildly popular Twilight series; however, the vampires in these novels are sexless, fangless, and seriously scary.  (And I’m only a couple chapters deep!)

Scary Vamp Thrills and Chills

My plan is to read like crazy so that I am able to finish this on the 31st.  Absolutely no reading for fun in November: it is time for NaNoWriMo 50K or bust!

Read ’em and Weep

Finally finished “Waking the Moon”.
What a crazy good, terrifying, beautiful, intense novel.
This one is sure to stay with me for awhile – in fact, I will have to haunt the used bookstores to find a copy for my very own as this book needs returning to the South Natomas branch of the Sacramento Public Library system.
Perhaps I will return it on Saturday when the Bat Rescue will have the furry, flying beasties at a pre-Halloween event.
Tomorrow, we upgrade our internet service to a higher (and hopefully more reliable) speed. Wonder if this means I will be able to fill my daily NaNoWriMo word quota any more quickly. First, I need to decide what to write…

Red Eye

Back in Northern California and feeling pretty pooped.  Up at 2:30 a.m. EST so that I could make it to return the rental a tad after four and make my six a.m. flight to Sacramento via Dallas.

I tried to sleep on the plane, but certainly didn’t get much restorative rest.  What I did get was ample time to read.  I’m currently enjoying the first book in George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series, “A Game of Thrones“.

I became interested after catching a few episodes of the HBO adaptation of the first novel upon the recommendation of a coworker.  I really liked the show, but because I came into the series late, I wanted to understand what I was seeing so thought I would give the books a try.

So far, I’m enjoying the read very much.  It is another title for which I’m using the Nook app on my iPad 2.  I’ve got well over 3,000 pages left in the first four books in this series.  Once I finish these titles, the fifth, “A Dance with Dragons“, will be on my agenda.

Blood Lust

True confession:  I have a serious weakness for vampires, zombies, and bloodthirsty historical figures.  I’m reading Rebecca Johns’ “The Countess“, which I bought in the hopes that it would be much like Andrei Codrescu‘s “The Blood Countess,” a book I read in 1995 that has haunted me ever since.  If you’ve read that title, you know exactly what I mean.

Granted, I’m only halfway through “The Countess,” but Johns’ book so far lacks the gut wrenching viscerality of Codrescu‘s novel about Elizabeth Bathory.   What does it say about me that I enjoyed Codrescu’s novel, which at times was so full of gore that I had to put it down.  Yet, it was something that I could not stay away from for long.  Reading this more recent novel about Elizabeth Bathory has put me in mind of re-reading Codrescu’s historical account of a woman  whose reputation in history was one of literal blood baths.

It has also reminded me of how much I like Codrescu’s Exquisite Corpse website and his book reviews, thoughts on surrealism, and poetry.

After I finish Johns’ novel, I think I might be up for some lighter, fluffier stuff – especially for my travel in the coming weeks.  Perhaps some of Codrescu’s sharp poetry?