Monday, February 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  You should go there immediately.  After you read this.






Top Ten Authors I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List
These are the authors I reread all the time.  I own most of the works of all of these writers, with a few exceptions here and there; maybe something hasn't been published in the US yet, or I've run out of money.





1.  Jasper Fforde - Easily the funniest man in the world.
     Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  The Eyre Affair
     Website





2.  Meg Cabot - Everything she writes, adult/ya/juvenile, it's all awesome.

Book I'd Recommend to Start With: 
The Princess Diaries





3.  Louise Rennison - Warning:  you will develop a British accent after reading her books.
 Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging (Georgia Nicolson Series)





4.  Garth Nix - Please don't judge him by his website, which is awful.  He creates beautiful fantasy worlds.
Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  Sabriel (Abhorsen Series)





5.  J.K. Rowling - Yes, even The Casual Vacancy.
 Book I'd Recommend to Start With: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone (duh)





6.  Lemony Snicket - I hear some guy named Daniel Handler is pretty cool too.
 Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events)






7.  Amy Tan - Warning:  All her books will make you hungry.
 Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  The Kitchen God's Wife






8.  Laurie Notaro - I feel like a phony because I actually haven't read her fiction work yet, but I intend to!
 Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club






9.  Jen Lancaster - Ditto with her fiction.
 Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  Bitter is the New Black






10.  Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham - I know I said I was getting tired of her Shopaholic series, but the first one is still amazing and the rest of her stuff is great!
 Book I'd Recommend to Start With:  Confessions of a Shopaholic




Who are the authors on your auto-buy list?

Special Outfits for Special Occasions

Impromptu Oscar Party



Impromptu Oscar Party
Mossimo Dark Wash Skinny Jeans, Swan Sweatshirt and Long and Lean Black Tank from Target, Beaded Plume Headband from Anthropologie, Flower Slippers from Goody, Lipstick in "Frosted" by Rimmel London, Nail Polish in "Mint Candy" and "Gold Glitz" from Milani

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reread

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
by Douglas Adams





I'm rereading this whole series as part of my Shelf by Shelf project.  All the books in the series are great for a laugh or a light read before bedtime.  Here are some of my favorite quotes:


“The first ten million years were the worst.  And the second ten million years, they were the worst too.  The third ten million years I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.”- Marvin

“I teleported home last night with Ron and Sid and Meg.  Ron stole Meggy's heart away and I got Sidney's leg.”

"No, I'm very ordinary.  But some very strange things have happened to me."  - Arthur Dent

"Their songs are on the whole very simple and mostly follow the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath a silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason."

"In an infinite universe anything can happen.  Even survival.  Strange but true." -Ford Prefect

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review

Northanger Abbey
by Jane Austen






Meh.  I wasn't that impressed with this one.  According to Wikipedia, this was Jane Austen's first completed novel, so I guess it makes sense that it's not her best.

Back of the Book:  Actually, I read this in ebook format, so there was no back.  But if there WERE a back, it would probably say something similar to the description on LibraryThing:

Catherine, at seventeen, is an insatiable reader of 'horrid' novels full of villainous monks, secret corridors and blameless heroines. So, when, during an eventful visit to Bath, she is invited to the Tilneys' family home, Northanger Abbey, her cup is full. The quizzical Henry Tilney embarrasses her by guessing at her vivid speculations and she fears that she has lost his good opinion for ever. Just as she begins to hope again, his father inexplicably banishes her...In a lively novel, portraying social life in fashionable Bath and the terrors of an imposing country house, Jane Austen exposes the dangers of an over-active imagination, of mistaken ideals and of bad faith. But while Catherine's youthful blunders are treated with reconciling good humour, hypocrisy, avarice and social climbing are unmercifully delineated in this joyously incisive love story.

Unfortunately, Catherine doesn't actually get to Northanger Abbey until about 2/3 of the way through the book.  So, the subplot of Catherine thinking the Abbey is a house from one of her novels is really minimal.  Most of the book takes place in Bath, where Catherine was invited by Mr. and Mrs. Allen so that she could experience something of the world.

Mrs. Allen meets up with one of her old friends and Catherine befriends her daughter, Isabella.  At first, I really liked Catherine and Isabella's friendship.  They were all teenagery, trading books and gossiping about their crushes; pretty much the way I live my life now.  But I HATE when you have one of those friends that thinks you shouldn't have other friends. Isabella and her brother, John, are the worst kind of selfish.  Even though it looked super dramatic when Catherine ran all the way down the street and forced herself into the Tilney's house to tell them that she COULD hang out with them the next day (contrary to what John had told them), I didn't blame her.  Although, I would have tied the whole situation up by punching John in the face afterwards.  And then maybe getting a restraining order.

Catherine gets invited to stay with Henry and Eleanor Tilney at Northanger Abbey by their dad because he was under the impression that Catherine came from a lot of money.  And a lot of money = a good daughter-in-law.  Catherine gets this wild idea that the Tilneys' mother didn't really die of a mysterious illness, and that she is instead being kept locked in a room in a secret wing of the house by General Tilney.  There's not a lot of evidence that supports her theory, besides the fact that the General doesn't want anybody visiting his wife's old rooms.  Well, neither would I, but Catherine thinks that means he never loved his wife, so...

It all ends well of course, because it's Jane Austen.  But I just never really felt the love between Catherine and Henry Tilney.  I mean, her crush on him is obvious from the beginning, but I never got the same vibe from him.  All-in-all, not that bad, but probably not worth a reread.



Read more reviews on this book at LibraryThing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Playlist

I LOVE making themed playlists.  Sometimes I theme them around a mood or an event.  But my favorite playlists are the ones I base on books.  The first book playlist I ever made was my Snape playlist.  I've also made a few for the Twilight series (don't judge me).  Most recently, I've made some playlists for each book in the Song of Ice and Fire series.  That's the Game of Thrones series for anyone who only keeps up with the show.

Since season three of Game of Thrones is starting at the end of March, I'm going to start this new segment off with my Book One/Season One playlist. 

[Edit: I deleted the part where I told you guys which characters I thought each song represented.  I want you to be able to interpret it your own way.]



A Game of Thrones Playlist 
  1. "Summertime" by Kat Edmonson
  2. "Tragedy" by Christina Perri
  3. "Love, Love, Love" by The Mountain Goats
  4. "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers
  5. "When You Were Young" by The Killers
  6. "Already Know How This Will End" by DeVotchKa
  7. "Arms" by Christina Perri
  8. "My Love" by Sia
  9. "Wunderkind" by Alanis Morissette
  10. "Carry On" by Fun.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  You should go there immediately.  After you read this.




Top Ten Favorite Characters in Retold Fairy Tales/Fables/Myths Genre
It was REALLY hard to narrow this top ten down to one genre.  I made about five lists before I settled on this one.  But I've been reading A LOT of retold fairy tales lately, so it seemed like a good final choice.



 "If at any time you sense yourself in danger of breaking any of the tenets of the Millinery Code you must immediately remove your Hat from active service." - from the Millinery Code of Honor (Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars Vol. 1 by Frank Beddor)




"What did that mean?  Where could it go?  He was a death diety.  I was a high school senior."  - Pierce Oliviera (Abandon by Meg Cabot)




"Jack, I've just locked myself in the closet and I can't see the kitchen anymore.  Can we abort?" - Mary Mary (The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde)




"They moved together, blue diamonds on a green field." (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire)




"I know when you're happy, which is rare; when you're sad; and when you feel desperately lonely-- which is all too often."  - Bigby Wolf (Fables Series by Bill Willingham)





"I certainly know Bigby's worth.  And he tried to tell me yours, but I wouldn't listen.  I will in the future."  - Snow White (Fables Series by Bill Willingham)





"I'm sure I'll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on."  - Cinder (Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)





"I am his moon, and his brightly shining star.  I am his life, his heart.  I am all that and the answer to every unspoken question, the comfort for every hurt, the companion who will walk beside him from now until the end of our lives, reveling in the bliss of each simple chore done in his name, overflowing with beauty because I am blessed to spend my life with my love"  - Juliet Capulet (Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay)




"He had everything a dream boy should have.  Back, front, sides, everything.  A head."  - Tallulah Casey (Withering Tights by Louise Rennison)





"The question is not about what's best, but what's right."  - DCI Jack Spratt (The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde)




What genre did you go with?  And who were your top ten characters?  Feel free to leave a link!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Book Review

Fresh off the Boat
by Eddie Huang







I was really excited about this book.  First, because I love memoirs; second, I love food; and third, I ate at Eddie Huang's Baohaus in NYC last fall.  Unfortunately, I was mostly disappointed by this book. 

Eddie's still fairly young, so the great majority (about 90%) of the story details his childhood growing up in a mostly white Florida town.  There were some AMAZING food descriptions, and it's clear that Eddie was born a chef.  As a child, his taste buds noticed more subtle flavors and spices than most adults' can.  He says at one point that he has hardly any memories of his life that aren't associated with a type of food, and I can believe it.  This was obviously his calling, and his memoir shows that.

However, the story-telling throughout the book is really broken up.  He'll start off describing one event that leads into another that leads into a detail about rap music or shoes.  Several pages later you realized that the reason you're feeling like you forgot something is because he never finished that first event.  There's also a lot of unnecessary dialogue.

He doesn't start talking about Baohaus until the very end of the book, where it only takes up about a chapter and a half.  Eddie's journey is very inspiring, but the telling of it is not very well organized.



Read more reviews for this book on LibraryThing.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book Review


Wives and Daughters
by Elizabeth Gaskell





This is one of those classics that I had been meaning to read forever, but never got around to.  And no surprise, because it is really long.  Annnnnd, it's not even finished!  I didn't know this, and I'm kind of glad, because I might not have read it otherwise.  Sure, there are some notes at the end that basically summarize Ms. Gaskell's plans for the conclusion, but that's not the same thing.  I'm not sure how there is a BBC miniseries of this either, if it's not finished.  Do all the actors just turn to the camera and shrug at the end of the written part?  Or does the director take artistic license and just sort of finish it off?  Now I guess I'll have to watch it.

I read this in ebook format, so I didn't have a fun cover to analyze first.  The one above is from the Barnes and Noble Classics collection.  These girls look miserable.  I'm going to assume the young lady on the couch is the heroine, Molly Gibson, because she is supposed to be brunette.  The blonde on the piano must by Cynthia.  Even she looks pretty bummed out.  I'm guessing they are really embarrassed about the animal rug under Cynthia's feet.



This image is from the BBC miniseries.  Cynthia and Molly are holding hands in the front.  I like to think they are looking at the viewer in a way that says, "Please save us from this crazy bitch."
       

Now, even though I've known about this book for years, I had no idea what the actual story was like.  Here is the Goodreads description:


Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly's quiet life – loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford.

Wives and Daughters is far more than a nostalgic evocation of village life; it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society. 'No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority', writes Pam Morris in her introduction to this new edition, in which she explores the novel's main themes – the role of women, Darwinism and the concept of Englishness – and its literary and social context.

What that summary doesn't tell you is that, although Molly gains a lovable step-sister, she also gains an incredibly selfish and annoying step-mother.  Don't get me wrong, I realize that Cynthia commits some rather selfish acts over the course of the story, but at least she has the self-awareness to feel shitty about it.

Spoiler Warnings!
Character Relationships:

  • Molly Gibson and Cynthia Kirkpatrick- Now, this was not a relationship that I expected to thrive when I first started reading.  As soon as I heard Molly was going to have a much prettier and more sophisticated step-sister, I was sure there was going to be some jealousy and cat-fights.  There is some jealousy when it comes to the admiration of Roger Hamley, but there is NO cat-fighting.  Molly and Cynthia genuinely begin to love each other and are soon best friends.  Cynthia is always there to stand up for Molly when her mother is being an idiot (which is constantly) and Molly is definitely there for Cynthia while she tries to get out of an undesired engagement with Mr. Preston, who is the worst man in the history of ever.  What I love most about Molly is that she REFUSES to slut-shame Cynthia after the Mr. Preston fiasco, even though the rest of the town is.  Molly refuses to dignify all the nasty gossip by discussing it with anyone.  Even when the whole town thinks that it's MOLLY who is secretly engaged to that jerk, she won't acknowledge it.  She knows Cynthia made a mistake and, more importantly, she knows that CYNTHIA knows she made a mistake.  We should make t-shirts, you guys.  As big a thing as slut-shaming is these days, we need to remember Molly Gibson, who will not stand for that shit.









  • Cynthia Kirkpatrick and What's-his-name Preston - Good God, this guy is terrible.  I only wrote one note during my entire reading process, and that was "Mr. Preston = Rapist."  He starts off by tricking Cynthia into thinking she OWES him something, and then basically convinces her to pay him back in sexual favors (I assume they would be having sex once they were married).  Then he stalks her all over town, crashing parties and asking everyone about her and what she's doing.  Then, he makes her agree to secret meetings, and forcibly HOLDS HER HAND, which was third base in the 19th century.  Not only do I hate this guy because he is literally the worst, but also because my brother's name is Preston and I don't like this dick soiling my brother's good name!  My brother would never force-hold someone's hand!
  • Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley - I just love these guys.  They're both so smart and wonderful and his dad already loves her like a daughter... It's just meant to be.  And, although she's hurt that he has feelings for her sister first, she's totally supportive of their relationship; she just wants him to be happy.  Roger appreciates Molly for who she is.  He never belittles her, though she is much younger, and much less mature at the beginning of the novel.  He understands her feelings, and he is able to comfort her during her father's remarriage by acknowledging that her feelings are normal, and totally okay to have.  Both of them are able to grow as human beings independent of each other, which makes me believe that they will be that much better off when they finally wind up together.
  • Mr. Gibson and Hyacinth Clare/Kirkpatrick/Gibson - Talk about a marriage of convenience.  Do these two care about each other at all?  I guess they don't have much need to; Mr. Gibson is always off visiting patients and hardly has to see his wife.  I'm sure he's going to live to regret this marriage.  Especially when both the girls are married and Clare has no one but him to spout off all her stupid opinions to.
  • Osbourne Hamley and Squire Hamley - Was I the only one that thought the big secret was going to turn out to be that Osbourne was gay?  He was TOTALLY gay, right?  Notice how Molly gave up her crush on him pretty quickly after his arrival.  And the Squire was always comparing him to the mother.  Cynthia and Molly never suspected that Osbourne was interested in Cynthia; Molly because of his secret!wife, and Cynthia because she wasn't blind.  I felt like Squire Hamley was so angry with Osbourne because he just wanted Osbourne to come out already!  He would have been able to handle it.

Okay, now I'm looking at the IMDB page for Wives and Daughters and I love half these actors!  Guess what's going on my Netflix Queue!




Read more reviews for this book on LibraryThing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  You should go there immediately.  After you read this.




Top Ten Favorite Romances
I didn't realize until I tried to write this that I don't read many romances.  I kept trying to write about couples that aren't featured in romantic books, which probably don't count.  Some of them weren't even canon, so they definitely don't count.  (except to me!)




Oh, hell yeah.  Is there anything better than when Mr. Rochester realizes it's Jane in the room with him?  And then he's crying and she's crying and I'm crying and we're all hugging each other and he's blind and still handsome in an unconventional way OH GOD!



I'm sure this is not the first novel most people think of when they think about romances, but I don't know how you can better represent undying love than by following your soul mate down to hell.  This book has so many beautiful quotes about love and partnership that you could make a second book with just those quotes in it and sell it to the same people that bought What Dreams May Come.



This love story was definitely only in the background of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it still resonated with me.  This companion book to the series held a lot more mysteries than answers, and for that it was frustrating.  But reading the cryptic letters detailing Lemony's history with Beatrice was well worth the frustration; especially for quotes like this, "Always.  Continuously.  With increasing apprehension, and decreasing hope....I will love you until the chances of us running into one another slip from slim to zero, and until your face is fogged by distant memory, and your memory faced by distant fog, and your fog memorized by a distant face, and your distance distanced by the memorized memory of a foggy fog....That, Beatrice, is how I will love you even as the world goes on its wicked way."  I even used that quote in my wedding.



Oh, Howl.  You're so vain.  You probably think this Top Ten Tuesday's about you.  But, seriously, if you can find a man to fall in love with you even if you've accidentally been turned into an old lady, you've won.



Start this series if you want to read the hottest love scene ever between a human and a god.  I don't know why you haven't stopped reading this post and gone to your nearest library/bookstore.  I haven't read the third book in this trilogy yet, and I hate myself for it.  This is the series for all fantasy lovers, and any average looking woman who has ever wanted a damaged, all-powerful Nightlord to want her.



I can't remember the first time I read this book, but I had to have been in middle school.  So, I was definitely still living in a fantasy world where the most popular, good-looking boy in school might somehow notice me and become obsessed with me.  That never happened.  But Louise Plummer taught me that it could.  Also, that you should probably shave your legs, even in the winter, just in case that guy you've always had the hots for comes home from college for Christmas break.



I could probably get kicked off the internet for not posting this one.  But I honestly don't know why I wouldn't, Darcy and Elizabeth are everything.  I love it when people admit they're wrong.  And I also love it when bad-ass ladies like Lizzie stand up to snooty rich bitches.  Take what's yours, Lizzie!



Thank God for normal characters like Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley.  Just when you think that classic romantic literature is all one big soap opera, you get a story like this.  Which...was still pretty much like a soap opera.  But Molly and Roger are the only people who are only ever themselves.  And sure, he wanted her prettier sister first, but that happens to everyone.




She's a princess, but she's a teenager too.  This whole series could easily be an excerpt from any of our diaries at Mia's age, which is probably which makes it so easy to love.  No other book is talking about the things we really think of about boys, like the way their necks smell.  And how sometimes you have to take some time out to grow up before you can be together.




Because sometimes the best thing you can bring to a relationship is finding yourself, and becoming the best version of you that you can.  God, Steve Martin.  Why do you have to be good at EVERYTHING?




What are your favorite romances?  I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February Goals and TBR

I feel like I started off the year pretty well.  True, I've already failed my goal of not buying anything else until I've read everything I own, but we'll ignore that.  I'm not going to bother making that goal again since Valentine's Day is coming up, and Edward and I always go to a bookstore for Valentine's. 

So, without further ado...



February Goals
  • Continue reading poetry.  I've been wanting to read more poetry for awhile and so I've been reading a couple of books I already own.  This week I checked out a few more poetry books at the library.  My plan is to start a notebook of some of my favorite poems or lines from poems.  I was sure I had an old one somewhere that I had started in high school, but I can't find it now.  Edward and I are buying a house this year, and I really like the idea of incorporating poetry and quotes into whichever room we turn into the library.  Maybe writing them straight onto the wall?  I'll have to think more about this.
  • Catch up with my book reviews.  I have three advanced reader copies to review for LibraryThing, and at least one more on the way.  I hate being behind on this, because I always feel really rude for not giving these books priority when someone gave them to me for free.
  • Keep better review notes.  I've noticed that some other bloggers keep a separate notebook for their review notes, so I'm going to try that.  I tend to get way involved with another book before I have a chance to review the one before, and I'm afraid details are getting lost.
  • Comment on more blogs.  I guess I get worried that commenting a lot will make people think I'm a stalker or something, which is totally irrational.  The whole point of blogging is to share with people.  And I would totally be fine with people stalking my blog, so I don't know what my problem is.


February To-Be-Read 

 
  • Starting at the bottom, I have Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang.  I was so excited to receive this one from LibraryThing because I love food memoirs, but also I ate at this guy's restaurant in NYC!
  • All the Wrong Questions: Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket, who I've been missing desperately ever since A Series of Unfortunate Events ended.
  • The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.  This is the first book in his only series that I haven't read.  It was only recently released in the States, but I think there might be two more?
  • Her by Christa Parravani; another early review copy.
  • Another Jasper Fforde, and the most recent in the Thursday Next series, The Woman Who Died A Lot.
  • Not pictured is an ebook I have for review called When the Siren Calls by Tom Barry


Besides all these, I've been making excellent progress on my  Shelf by Shelf project, so I'll try to update that soon.

Happy Reading!  And Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  You should go there immediately.  After you read this.




Top Ten Best Bookish Memories
These are in no particular order.  I sort of just typed them out as I thought of them.  I didn't realize how many of them had to do with Harry Potter until it was too late.




1.  The Second Time I Ever Tried to Read Harry Potter - The FIRST time I ever tried to read Harry Potter, I only made it through chapter one.  I was thirteen, my brother and I were visiting our cousins in Plano, TX for two weeks during the summer, and I had run out of things to read.  They owned the first three books, although they had never read them.  But I didn't find the first chapter interesting at all.  I thought the Dursleys sounded AWFUL, and I was not interested in reading a whole book that featured them.  It wasn't until an entire year later that I picked up Sorcerer's Stone again while at my cousins' house.  I did nothing else but read for the last two days we were there.  And, with my aunt's permission, I went home with all four books to be borrowed for an indeterminate amount of time.  I finished them on the trip home.  My life has never been the same, and I regret nothing.

(I did eventually return the books.)



2.  The Midnight Release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I remember feeling like my whole life had led up to this moment.  I took my lunch break at 9:00 that morning so that I could stand in line at Borders for the correct color bracelet that would let me be in the first group to get my pre-ordered book.  I wanted to be sure and represent Snape correctly, so I wore a Slytherin headband, a "Trust Snape" t-shirt that I had made myself, and grey underwear.  I vaguely remember games and a trivia contest going on, but my friends and I were unable to participate, because we were too busy alternating between hyperventilating and trying to get the attention of a newspaper reporter.  At one point, the trivia announcer mispronounced J.K. Rowling's name and was almost murdered.  As it got closer to midnight, some lost soul stood in the middle of Borders and screamed "Harry dies at the end!"  There was complete silence for about ten seconds, and then three police officers apparated from behind some shelves and yanked that guy outside.  The entire bookstore agreed through telepathy to pretend we hadn't heard.  After I bought my book, my husband (who was still my boyfriend then) drove while I wept all over the dedication page. 



3.  Daisy the Dinosaur - I wrote my first novel when I was five years old.  It was called Daisy the Dinosaur and it took up an entire L.A. Gear spiral notebook.  It was about a T-Rex named Daisy.  Spoiler Warning:  She falls in love with another T-Rex and they give birth to an entirely different species of dinosaur.  Then she dies.  This story basically repeats itself with each generation until I ran out of pages.  Daisy is the only one named, and also the only one with clothes.  I had a lot of fun designing her outfits.  There is a lot lacking in character development, but I think there is an underlying metaphor regarding all the different dinosaur species and equality, or something.  My kindergarten teacher made me read it aloud to the class.  They didn't care.



4.  Every Scholastic Book Fair That Took Place at my Elementary School - I lived for these things.  My mom would give me ten or fifteen bucks and, even though I hated math, I would learn the damn tax rate and walk around with my calculator to make sure I spent every single dime of that money.  I was still so young that pretty much everything I bought was impulse buys, and I was introduced to so many good books that way.  Plus, you could buy animal shaped erasers.



5.  My First Ever Author Signing When I Was in First Grade - Diane Stanley, author of The Good Luck Pencil came to my school library and signed copies of that book for us.  I never thought I would meet a real, live author, and she was so nice.  I still have that book.



6.  The Library at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, TX - I went to NVC for my first two years of college.  My friend, Meredith, and I did a terrible job of scheduling our first semester, and we had hours of time between each of our classes.  So, everyday we went to the library, checked out a new book, and switched off between reading and napping on the roofed balcony.  That was probably the last time I ever felt completely relaxed. 



7.  The Day I Discovered Fan Fiction - Anybody who remembers the long wait between Goblet of Fire  and Order of the Phoenix remembers that this was the reason the Internet exploded.  Harry Potter fan sites were everywhere.  And we had nothing to do all day except discuss ridiculous theories over message boards.  It was the greatest time of our lives.  Somebody I met on the Internet sent me an email with an attachment that was "totally the leaked first chapter of Order of the Phoenix!!!!111!!omg"  It wasn't.  It was totally fan fiction, and not even very good fan fiction.  But, I never even knew that existed.  So, I found ffnet, and then I found fictionalley, and then I found ashwinder.  And no one ever saw me again.



8.  The Book Arts Class I Took in Art School - One of our printmaking teachers offered a book binding class once a year, and you can bet your ass I took it.  It was a FIVE HOUR FRIDAY class, which should just tell you how dedicated I was.  My professor was a genius, and I learned amazing things about book binding and using it as an art medium.  Also, my professor was CONSTANTLY, but unknowingly, making sexual innuendos in all his lectures.  So, class was always incredibly entertaining.



9.  The Day I Got Sorted on Pottermore - I was put into Ravenclaw, which caused an identity crisis.  Up until then I'd always identified with Slytherin.  I had Slytherin headbands, sweaters, t-shirts, Toms, bookmarks, bumper stickers, you name it.  And now I'm in Ravenclaw?  I mean, I like being in the smart house.  My brother/best friend is also there, and he promised we would mess with Cho Chang.  Most of my other friends are in there, and the dorms have decent desk and book space.  But, Snape is in the dungeons!  How am I supposed to convince him of our destiny if I'm not even in his house?!  I was really upset about this, especially because my husband DID get into Slytherin, until I realized that their common room is under the lake and you can see the giant squid through the window.  So long, Slytherin!



10.  My First Self-Published Photography Book - In my second-to-last semester of college, I put together a photography book for my Final Critique.  I had spent the semester on a project where I photographed people's garage sales.  It was the body of work that I'd had the most fun on, and when my professor suggested I present it as a book, I was totally thrilled.  I made it through Blurb, a self-publishing site.  It's a totally amateur piece of work, but it was really exciting to see my photographs in book form. 



Anybody else have any awesome bookish memories?  I'd love to hear them!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cover Snark

River Thunder

by Will Hobbs






There is no way any of these characters survived this.  Maybe the people in the raft on top.  Although, you know they're totally looking at each other right now thinking, "What the fuck did we get ourselves into?" 

What is that guy in the front of the raft holding onto?  It looks like a big bag full of bodies.  And I know that the long yellow thing sticking out of the head of the girl punching the wave is just the oar handle, but I keep seeing it as her ponytail.