Monday, January 12, 2009

Fade away.

I just finished reading an ARC of Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin. And I use the word "reading" very lightly. Mostly, I had to skim because the whole thing was confusing and nightmarish. The basic plot was a matrix style thriller where the main character, Sophie Blue, is fighting everyone in the town including her mother to keep herself from being used as a mule for the matrix style 'virtuality' developed by all the teens parents and all the students were given up as test subjects. The scenes were short repeated burst in which it was impossible to tell the difference between reality and 'virtuality' and the point of any of it was never really revealed. I put down the book after my marathon skimming session (mostly I skimmed over anything that seemed like it might actually give me nightmares) and I felt like my brain had been rewired.

This book is definitely something that 12 years ago one of my best friends would have handed me and told me it would CHANGE MY LIFE. And then I would have read it savoring every word but not understanding anything. I would have given it back to him the next day with minuscule detail memorized to claim as favorite parts, but in reality I would never want to touch it again.

So what I'm saying here is that there are probably teenagers who would be all about the matrix style challenges and paranoia this book throws at them. But, while the writing is tinged with humor the ever shifting character and the lack of any true thread to follow (yes you are given clues to why all of this is going on, but the are never coherent enough, for instance: there are two versions we see of the best friend and I'm still not sure which one was the true, if either was.) The constant chapter shifting from character to character makes the book go quickly, and adds to the confusion. It also inhibits any real character development beyond "Kenny is nice" and "Sophie is scary." The best scenes are the ones were the brother and sister interact with each other and you actually feel calm for a second. Then it all starts up again.

The book is set to come out 8/1/09. So far the cover art for it is impressive, a comic style drawing of Sophie, the main character, making it seem like an enticing read. I'll ask the opinions of my teens before I buy it for my library though.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Horton hears a wha?

Honestly I went into this movie thinking it would be mediocre at best. I wasn't super impressed with the live action Grinch. So Jim Carrey and Seuss seemed like a bad mix to me. But there is this tiny...thing, named Katie (who looks somewhat like Cleocatra if Cleocatra were yellow and had hooves.) She is quite possibly deserving of some sort of spinoff. The cuteness!
Don't believe me, check out one of the best moments in the film:

But don't be fooled, that wasn't the only good moment in the movie. Overall I really thought it was a bit too long to drag out a Seuss book. It also went a bit too heavy handed with a moral lesson that Seuss more gently tapped you on the shoulder with originally. But, it was ADORABLE. Filled with cuteness and funny unexpected moments. I don't usually do much movie reviewing here, but I've been slowing down on reading and haven't finished a whole book since New Years (I blame my year of dangeresque reading commitment. Reading dangeresquely is HARD you guys.) So it is a nice break for me to talk about a light fluffy movie instead of the mountain of books I haven't gotten to yet.

Monday, January 5, 2009

You can all return from the edge of your seats.

So I decided that what this blog, and I, could use is a little reading challenge to spice things up. I already read about a book a week on average so I decided to skip the 52 books in a year challenge and to focus on something a little more sexy...a little more DANGERESQUE.
So I decided to try the year of reading dangerously challenge. The basic tenet of the challenge goes like this:
Your job: Read 12 books you deem "dangerous." between January 1st and December 31st 2009. They may be banned or challenged books, new-to-you genres, books that seem to inhabit a permanent space on your stacks, or authors you're afraid of. The possibilities are endless! If it's dangerous to you, it's challenge-worthy to us!

Of course, since I'm already in a genre study group that reads a book from a different genre every other month this challenge can have those proverbial two birds killed with just one stone (my next genre study group is focused on historical novels,a category I shy away from anymore.) I created a special Goodread's bookshelf to help myself with the challenge. The first book for me is the Invention of Air by Steven Johnson. Historical narrative non-fiction puts me to sleep like nobody's business. Which is why I'm reading it right before I pass out for the night. So far though it is actually going along at a fairly nice clip, and I'm interested in the anecdotes. I'm not enthralled with the large blocks of quotes on every page from original source texts. It feels like cheating. Still, it was a gutsy choice for me. The other choices I've made so far are books that I've consistantely skipped over when trying to find new reading materials, or they came from abanned/challenged ALA booklist. Anyway, check back to see how it goes. Will I finish the challenge? Will I flake? Will I even remember I started this challenge by this time next year? Will I find 3-4 more books I'm afraid of?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to the rest of your year.

I have mixed feelings about the new year. I think people (including me!) take it as a time to purge, a time to reflect, and a time to start over. Which is admirable, but how many of us do this year after year and nothing ever really changes? By February we've gained all the weight back, stopped whatever good habits we started, and go back to our old bad ones. I guess I also believe change happens anytime (and over time) and also change happens anywhere with any sort of catalyst. But, if you do start something new, or quit something old, or otherwise stick to whatever it is you want to accomplish in the next year, I wish you all the best. In my own reflection over the past year I've realized that 2008 was a year of MASSIVE life changes for me. Most good, some bad, all for the permanent. I found some new things I love though, and this post, though I said it would be the good bad and really just going to be another "best of." Only, I'm not just sticking to books. I'm talking about all my favorites!

Best Book: Terry Pratchett "Nation." I've talked about it before, and I can reiterate. I love this book. I love Terry Pratchett. I wish I'd been reading his work so long ago. But at least I know now.

Best Conspiracy Laden Thriller written by a prominent blogger: Cory Doctrow "Little Brother"

Best Audiobook: Technically it came out in 2007, but I heard it in 2008: Jay Asher's "13 Reasons Why."

TV's best of the best: Pushing Daisies. Oh, I am sad to see you go. Damn you network executives!

Best Twitterer: Tranquil Mammoth. If he is who he claims, then holy crap, TM, you are a funny man, etc. If he isn't, well, I'm still entertained, and that counts for something.

Most addictive blog: I seriously can not go a day without checking "Cake Wrecks." I can't bake for the life of me. Cake decorating is completely beyond my scope of skillz I could acquire in this lifetime.

Webcomic I still read compulsively after all these years: Questionable Content

Best Radio station: 93.1 XRT...Thanks to my fab hairstylist Whitney for turning me on to the greatness that is a radio station that in one car trip played good ole radio friendly Bowie (Space Oddity) and the nigh miraculous old Cure (Jumping Someone Else's Train.)

Store that I want to buy all my clothes from for 2009: ModCloth. I already rarely wear pants, and now I'm thinking about switching directly to the adorable dresses found at this store.

New Favorite Thing: TV show marathons on USA, TBS, and TNT(they know drama.) Over the past few weeks I've caught up on all the back episodes of "House" and "Bones" in just a couple of days. Deeeelicous!

Old Favorite thing I still love: The holidays and xmas music. I'm sad they are over and am not looking forward to the next two months of winter without the cosmetic benefit of greenery, whimsy, and twinkling lights.

Us, in front of our tree, outshined by the lights. Here's hoping everyone else gets to enjoy their favorite things over the next twelve months.