As stated in my last post, I had a busy month at work due to doing not only my job but my co-workers, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t reading. In fact I’ve read quite a few books, and have some reviews backlogged that I need to get written up and posted. I’ll be starting with the first book I mentioned, The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

The Magicians is a book I wanted to love. It’s about a kid who shows an exceptional gift for magic and gets to go to a special magical school. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go in expecting Harry Potter which is what this book sounds like when I describe it as that. In fact, some other reviews I read of this before picking it up warned me that this was not a ‘children’s book’ and was written for a mature audience. Never mind the fact that the Harry Potter series stopped being a ‘children’s book’ after Prisoner of Azkaban… I went in with an open mind. What I got was a world that was underdeveloped and characters that I didn’t like much less love. It was an amalgamation of other author’s ideas that were not executed well. Putting all that aside, I was just bored by the book… because I tried my hardest not to draw comparisons to these other worlds as I read.

The initial chapters drew me in… our protagonist Quentin gets invited to a magical school, we spend a third of the book covering his many years there, and I still didn’t develop a proper understanding of the different specialties the characters could learn and how the magic worked (No wand waving, just funny hand gestures and speaking gibberish). We get glimpses of the dark side of this magic and then our protagonist graduates. This whole portion of the story was rushed. If it had been me, I would have flushed this out in more detail THEN moved on to the other two parts of the story… probably as other books. I wanted more and didn’t get it, I got two more parts to a story that I didn’t want, didn’t like and found to be ridiculous… and not just because they borrow heavily from other ‘fantasy’ stories. I didn’t develop a relationship with the protagonist where I WANTED to know what happened to him, in fact I didn’t really care one way or another. Apathy is NOT what you should feel when reading a story.

Part two of the story was like a bad drama on the CW. (GOSSIP GIRL I’M LOOKING AT YOU). The kids all graduate and go to live out their lives in NYC. They use drugs and party and don’t really study or use their magic. They are adrift. Is this the best way to show that they are adrift? By glamourizing drug use and partying and making the characters so irritating you can’t find any redeeming qualities in them? CHUCKBASSANYONE?

Segue to part 3.  A different magician that Quentin and crew never got along with in school appears and reveals that he’s found a magical portal that lets him go to other lands. He wants everyone to go with him to explore so we go jumping through puddles a la The Chronicles of Narina. Are you confused yet? That would make two of us. Why is this necessary, what is the point? Big, dark and nasty magic happens in Narnia, the book ends, is anticlimactic and YET there is a sequel being written to pick up where the story left off… they’re going back to Narnia (okay, they call it Fillory but the Narnia movies were on TV today).

The protagonist is time and again given everything he wants and still he’s unhappy with his lot in life. In my opinion he has no one to blame but himself. That being said, I don’t think I would recommend this book to you all. I did read the excerpt from the new book, and it ALMOST makes me want to pick up the sequel when it’s released (it actually could be released by now, I’m not sure). I doubt I will though, this book was a chore to finish and I don’t want to be sucked into yet another book that was painful to get through. I love fantasy, I love fiction, I love magic and I love coming of age stories but I can’t understand why this book got such rave reviews. I didn’t love or loathe Quentin, I didn’t care about him at all, and that is probably the worst thing about this story.

Page Count: 416/100,000

A response to DUMPTHEBLOG

Posted: January 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

My dear friend @dumptheblog wrote a post on why he dislikes eBooks… I wrote a response (and since it was so lenghty) thought I’d actually post it on my blog for everyone to read.  Why did I post it here?  Because I am still doing my 100,000 page challenge and most of my reading to date has been done on an eReader.

Yes, I’m aware I haven’t actually updated the blog since I started the challenge… I suppose I should make my excuses for the lack of updates but at least this time it wasn’t because I didn’t ‘feel’ like it, which had been the case leading up to the 100,000 challenge.  (A co-worker had a personal issue and was out of work for several weeks leaving me doing her work and my own over the holiday season… oh and I work another part time job at church… I tend to over extend myself and it all caught up with me… that being said I am back and going strong… my first review will be The Magician, followed by a review of an old Nora Roberts Triology and then finally The Hunger Games Series and the final book of the Inheritance Cycle… I TOLD YOU I READ LOST OF BOOKS).

ANYWAYS… THE ORIGINAL DUMP:  http://dumptheblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-i-hate-ebooks.html

MY RESPONSE:

I really don’t agree with your take on this… that there is a great divide between team paper book and team eBook.  (SERIOUSLY I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’VE REFERRED TO THEM AS “TEAM WHATEVER” A LA TWILIGHT *disappointed frown*). 

I have a Nook and love it for all the reasons you mention (portability mostly as I read every day at work and read more than one book at any given time) but I’m not a pusher… I don’t go around saying that paper books or dead so everyone should convert, nor do I assume those who cling to their paper are dinosaurs, so I’m offended by the broad generalizations of each group.  That being said, the rest of my comments are going to come off as very PRO eBook… mostly in response to all the faults you list with them. 

I think that a lot of people are similar to me actually… that they LOVE their paper books but they simply can’t keep all their books because of the lack of space.  Case in point, I have 5 boxes in storage that haven’t been touched in years because it’s too difficult to move the boxes around and dig through them… what good are they doing anyone sitting there?  At least with my massive archive of eBooks I can go back and read them anytime I want… and I do re-read my eBooks!  How many books do you have that you re-read on a regular basis?  How many sit collecting dust that haven’t been cracked in years?  Would you be more apt to read them if it only took a few minutes to pull it from an archive?  What about if your house caught fire… all those books of yours would be gone, all of the dog eared pages and memories attached to them? 

What you describe in your post is your emotional attachment to an object and not necessarily the story it contains… and that I think is my biggest problem with why you hate them.  You can make notes and highlights and dog ear pages in an eBook… the same as you can in a paper book.  (Yes, not being able to read without power is problematic… so I won’t argue with you there).  Holding the tangible book in your hands CAN make a difference in how you read a story but it isn’t the only factor that should matter… A good book is a good book regardless of what format it is in.  I also think you are not taking into account the sheer number of people who are now able to self-publish and get their stories out there… this would have never been possible without eReaders as the publishing industry is notoriously hard to break into… unless you’re Snooki *shudder*.  (Some people SHOULDN’T be self-publishing… I’ve read some real trash… but I’ve also read some great AND FREE self-published stories). 

I do worry that eBooks will kill an already floundering industry, but I really doing think print will ever actually die.  For me, it’s about the story not the method of delivery so I’m happy with the eBook format.  I was once like you and thought I’d never like eBooks but I gave them a chance and I don’t regret it.  Do I still like reading a paper book, and do I still buy paper books… of course I do but I can’t find fault with how the format has expanded the scope of what I read and how I read it. 

Now the real travesty is that eBooks can’t be lent… yes, I can lend them on my Nook, but only once and only for 14 days.  Don’t get me started on how the lack of ‘open’ content and sharing of eBooks infuriates me. 

 

 

November is NANOWRIMO month.

Don’t know what NANOWRIMO is?  Click this link.

I’ve tried for several years to complete the NANOWRIMO challenge but have failed miserably.  You see, I have a hard time coming up with an actual plot and those are somewhat necessary in a novel.  I can write you wonderful (in my opinion) character driven scenes and dialogue, but when it comes to setting those characters into motion and giving them an actual plot that moves the story forward I draw a blank… or feel that what I’d be writing is a poor imitation of something I’ve already read that was written by someone far more cleverer than I so why bother.  I’m not much of a self motivator when it comes to my writing… my blog’s ridiculously long hiatus this summer (after only 11 posts) is clearly a testament to that statement.

So then, why am I even writing about NANOWRIMO if I don’t plan on participating in this years challenge?  Well, mostly because it’s what inspired my latest idea.  I read A LOT of books.  Not all are good books –in fact most are trashy romance novels– but I average around 800 pages a week.

That got me thinking… what if I counted the words I read in a month, instead of those I wrote?  Well counting words just isn’t practical.  What else could I use to gauge how much I read?  What about the page count in a book?  Much more do-able, but how many pages should I set as a goal?  10,000 is clearly too small and 500,000 is probably too big… so what’s a good number?  Should I impose a time limit like NANOWRIMO?

These were all the questions I asked myself and ended up with the following guidelines after some deliberation and a brief conversation (via twitter naturally) with @dumptheblog.

1. There is no time limit; however long it takes is however long it takes.  (Place your bets now… seriously, there needs to be a betting pool for this!)
2. I’ll be counting up to 100,000 pages (with 500,000 being a stretch goal if I reach 100,000 with in 3 months of the start of the project… not bloody likely).
3. Novels and non-fiction books will both be counted (I tend to read historical books which are mostly non-fiction).
4. Magazines, newspapers, web pages, e-mails, work related reading (anything that is not picked up voluntarily) will not be counted.
5. The page count listed in the book is what will be used for the official count.
6. Table of Contents, Appendixes, Glossaries, etc.  will not be counted.
7. Hard copies AND electronic editions of books may be read (as I love me my NOOK color).
8. Favorite books may be re-read, but only if they are read in their entirety. (I re-read my favorites quite frequently, but only skim, scouts honor that I’ll read them front to back).

That’s it.  Not THAT complicated I don’t think.  I will of course attempt to review some of the books I particularly like as I update about my page count.

What book have I selected to start this project?

The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

I’ve just started the second chapter and I’m already enthralled.  How could you not love lines like (SPOILERS!)
“…she kissed James good-bye—she put a hand on his chest and kicked up her heel like an old-timey starlet—….”
-and-
“It was when he looked around to make absolutely sure that nobody was watching that he saw the dead body on the floor.”  

Want to join my challenge, by all means, I’d love to hear about what you’ve been reading!

PAGE COUNT:  29/100,000

No updates since Harry Potter?  That’s so ridiculously sad.

):

SAD EMOTICONS ARE SAD.

Anyways, this is probably where I should make some excuses and apologize and say it’ll never happen again, but uh, I hate apologizing (because I AM NEVER WRONG!) and it will most likely happen again (probably tomorrow) and I haven’t actually SEEN any movies in the theater since Harry Potter… so not much to write about eh?!   (That’s a lie I saw Captain America and wrote half a review but didn’t finish it… not apologizing for that either… LOVED Captain America btdubs… that was basically the review… I MIGHT be tempted to do another blog where we play Marry, Kill or Bop with the Avengers… we’ll see *shiftyeyes*).

So then what has inspired this blog?  A trip to the movie theater, today in fact.  I saw (WAIT FOR IT)

FOOTLOOSE!

I agreed to see the remake with my sister, in return she will NOT make me see Breaking Dawn Part 1.  First off, why the HELL did they break that crappy piece of bat shit insanity into two movies?!  Secondly, I did have to sit through the Breaking Dawn trailer which made me want to vomit and gouge my eyes out simultaneously.  That in itself is pretty impressive.

Goodness, I’m in rare form tonight.

Moving on.  Footloose was quite enjoyable, if you like that sort of film.  Dancing, angsty teenagers, awesomely (bad) music, rebelling against authority figures?  Of course I like that sort of film.  As you probably know, the original stars The Baconator aka Kevin Bacon (who is in every movie ever made, he is the white Samuel L. Jackson) as Wren or is it Ren, I’m too lazy to look it up so I’m going to swap between the two spellings as I see fit.  It also has the AMAZING John Lithgow as the preacher.

The remake stars a kid I’ve never heard of named Kenny Wormald as Ren.  Originally Zac Efron (DUDE THAT IS A BOSS ZEFRON POSTER… sorry random A Very Potter Musical quotes must happen when the Zefron is mentioned) was slated to play Ren but stepped out of the project as he didn’t want to get type cast in that sort of role.  Best decision he ever made.  He wouldn’t have done it justice.  Chace Crawford from Gossip Girl was also slated to play Ren and that would have been an even bigger disaster than Zefron.  Ugh.  I think that because this Kenny kid looks like The Baconator (Zefron does not, and I don’t think Chace can actually dance had he been cast).  He looked a little rough around the edges with that Boston accent, which wasn’t that thick but was ‘just right’ for the film as he was an outsider coming into a small Georgia town. Frankly, he wasn’t as irritating as I found the Baconator to be in the original.  One of my complaints about the original is that Ren doesn’t come off as a troubled, misunderstood youth (as he does in the muscial version… I ran lines for this version with my friend Joey once upon a time which clearly makes me an authority), he just comes off as a whiney, teenage brat that I want to slap from time to time for being TOO stubborn and hard headed and opinionated.  Anyways… I very much approved of this casting.   Wormald was charming, a fantastic dancer and just enough of a rebel  to be interesting, but you could still bring him home to mom.

Juliana Hough from Dancing with the Stars (a guilty pleasure show of mine) stars as Ariel, and the love interest of Ren, with Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell starring as her parents (the preacher and wife).  Hough, who apparently has been trying to have a country music career since leaving DWTS, was quite good as well.  Surprising considering she’s had no real acting experience (to my knowledge).  Quaid was adequate as the preacher but it’s very hard to top John Lithgow (seriously, have I mentioned how much I love John Lithgow?) My favorite actor of the bunch though has to be the kid who played Williard (Miles Teller).   He played the ‘aww shucks’ ‘good ole boy’ ‘redneck’ sort so well, all while being endearing.

Aside from that, the film was pretty much the same with updates to music as well as some of the classic songs that made the film so awesome in the first place.  Williard still learns to dance to “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” and Rbaconen rolls into school listening to “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa which of course I loved.  There were also lots of homages to the old film like Ren driving a yellow VW Bug.  He also wore the maroon tuxedo jacket to the prom and did the “LET’S DANCE” shout before throwing confetti everywhere.  The final dance also mimicked a lot of the moves from the original.

So then, my final thoughts?  Rent it and watch it, it’s a good time.  Frankly, I can’t wait for it to start airing on TV so I can flip through and watch it.  (Seriously, I can’t watch Dirty Dancing one more time… give me something else to watch as a guilty pleasure please!)  I still question WHY it was even made, when it is so spot on to the original.  Was it really necessary?  Probably not.  Then again, if they remade all the Harry Potter films, would it be necessary, probably not… would I still see every single one?  You betcha.

Coming later this week (if I have the time before I got to Disney World) the introduction of a new… non movie related project.

Did I mention I’m going to Disney World?  Winning!

That was perhaps the most emotionally exhaustive thing I have put myself through in recent years.  I know, I know, it’s just a movie, but I’ve talked to several of my friends and they said the exact same thing.  It can’t mean that we’re all crazy right?  (Don’t answer that).

After twelve years of reading and watching and nitpicking and obsessing and sporting swag, I don’t think it is surprising that I’m so emotionally invested in the characters and the story.  That’s a long time to care about anything.  Heck, I’ve known marriages that haven’t lasted that long.  The fact that I had been bouncing around like a five year old jacked up on sugar all week because I was excited, and had consumed copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake the night of should probably also be taken into account as contributors to the emotional exhaustion.

Anyways, that has nothing really to do with the movie, but just my mental state now that it’s over.  HOLY BANANAS IT IS OVER (and I’m okay with that… I think).  I felt it was worth commenting on as I try to put everything into perspective.

I simply need to say that the movie was amazing.  It is by far my favourite (Goblet of Fire still holds a special place in my heart as it’s my favourite book and movie excluding Deathly Hallows (book) and Part II (movie)).  The 2 hour 10 minute timing was nice as well as I did have to get up for work.

The film itself was fast paced, and though I spent the last hour or so in tears, I did calm down after they show the major characters that die.  (No I won’t say who, if you are a person who lives under a rock and haven’t read the books I won’t ruin it but seriously, why the hell haven’t you read the books??! )  I only calmed down because I knew WHAT happened in the end.  By then I was excited and thrilled and on the edge of my seat.

As with any movie adaptation there are things I could nitpick, things that I wanted to see but that were omitted, and things that could have been explained better.  That being said, I’m not going to nitpick.  It doesn’t at all detract from the final product, which is truly a credit to both the original story and to the actors who have grown into their roles.  I will however discuss the parts I loved…

*SPOILER*

MAGGIE SMITH (aka Professor McGonagall) I LOVE YOU.  Is anyone else pleased to see her in this film, finally (after being shelved for the better part of the last films for plot/pacing reasons) getting her due and showing just how accomplished and frankly bad ass she is?

KISSYFACE.  Ron and Hermione, it’s about damn time.  I didn’t get my favourite line (Oi, there’s a war going on here!) but that’s okay, at least I got the kiss.

Neville Longbottom.  Oh Nevs, I’ve loved you since the first book.  You got your moment, had the best comedic moments, you embodied Gryffindor, YOU OWNED what your house represents, and for that sir you should be commended. Oh, and you did destroy a horcrux, good work!  (P.S. My inner fan girl wants to know if anyone saw how smoking hot he looked at the premiere, srsly.  Did you know they had him wear fake teeth to get the buck tooth look?!).

*END SPOILER*

Okay, I’m sure I could continue to wax poetically about this story but I’ll refrain.  This is a 5 star rating.  Go see it and experience on the big screen.  It’s worth it.  A fitting ending to a much loved series.

Oh, and thank you to every single fan that was in the auditorium with me.  (Our AMC Lowes has 21 screens and every single one was sold out!) Your cheers, applause, gasps and tears contributed to the viewing experience and made it one of a kind.  This is why I attend midnight shows, because YOU understand exactly what I’m feeling and revel in it with me.

 

Misc. rambles, etc.:

  • Paying for the ‘preferred’ seating at Lowes was worth it.  No fighting to find a good seat was winning.
  • I got a diet coke when I ordered a coke zero at the concession stand.   *grumpy face*
  • I slept for over 4 hours on Sunday, and went to bed 3 hours early the same night, clearly I needed lots of recovery time.
  • I loved the texts I got from everyone about the film, thank you! ❤
  • I promised pictures of my mask.  See below.

Step One:  Spray Paint Silver

 

Step Two/Three:  Draw the Design in pencil, over lay in black.  (I used a paint pen).

Step Four:  Kill all muggles and mudbloods.  Oh, and don’t be lazy and upload cellphone pictures instead of nice ones.  *shifty cough*

I am the type of person who likes structure.  Who plans and nitpicks and re-plans and comes up with various contingency plans in case something goes wrong.  No, I’m not a stick in the mud; *cough*anal retentive*cough* I just like to be prepared.  Why then, with less than 30 hours before the new Harry Potter premiere did I decide I needed to change my costume?  Because I absolutely bonkers.  Clearly.

On my way home from work there is a costume shop.  They are advertising Harry Potter ‘stuff’ is 20% off.  I pulled in just to scope it out yesterday, not realizing they were closed.  (This shop seriously has the WORST hours ever).  In the window they had three death eater costumes.   I got to thinking, how fun it would be to show up as a death eater and surprise everyone who thought I’d be attending as Ginny Weasley Romilda Vane.  (Don’t get me started on why *I* couldn’t be Ginny Weasley, I am bitter over this because yes, HP is SERIOUS BUSINESS so stfu and stop mocking me IT ISN’T JUST A MOVIE GOSH).

I called my friend Anna, (who sucks because she went to California and will NOT be seeing the midnight premiere with me) gushing over the idea.  Anna encouraged me.  I love her for this reason.  Oh, and also because if she were with me she’d be dressed as Bellatrix and would look like an utter rock star.  /continues story

I stopped at Party City and looked for a cloak to wear.  Found none.  Went to Joann’s, looked at patterns and fabric to make one then finally ended up at Walmart, where I bought black bed sheets.  Oh, I got a white party mask, some silver spray paint and a paint pen to create the mask at Joann’s but that was actually the least of my worries, the mask was easy-peasey.

I got home and began working on the mask, and told my mother my plan to somehow convert bed sheets into a hooded cloak.  God bless her, she agreed to help me and actually ended up making the whole thing for me.  I had figured I’d be on my own.  Plus she had a head cold and was feeling pretty miserable, so her help was even MORE appreciated.  You gotta love that she was indulging my particular brand o’crazy.  We googled something resembling instructions and she got to work.  It took her about three hours but when we were done we had a hooded cloak.

I’ll throw on some black pants and t-shirt, the cloak and my mask and I’ll be the baddest DE around.  Oh, and I’ll have my wand and requisite dark mark on my arm.  I just really hope it can be washed off before I go to work tomorrow; I don’t particularly relish trying to explain it at a meeting tomorrow afternoon.  I also can’t remember which arm the mark is supposed to be on.  I’m thinking it goes on the left arm, but I’m left handed so drawing this could be tricky.  If I had more time, I probably would have bought a pattern for a cloak and had a nicer version made, I’d also have roughed up the mask a bit more and done some more texturizing/patina but for one night of use I’m content.

So… on that note, I am nearly ready to head off to the premiere.  Camera is ready!

The boy who lived.

Posted: July 10, 2011 in general thoughts
Tags:

There are things that change your life.  Marriage for instance, or having a baby… not that I see either of those things happening to me in the foreseeable future…  but that’s not the point of today’s post.  Today, I am unleashing my inner fan girl and I’m going to talk about Harry Potter, because yes, “the boy who lived” changed my life.  The books introduced me to an entire new world, allowed me to make wonderful new friends (all across the country!) and helped me to become a much better writer.  It reinvigorated my imagination and is some of the best “page-turner” writing I’ve ever read.

As most everyone probably knows, the final installment in the HP movie franchise will be released this Friday and after Friday it will officially be over.  (I’m not sure how I feel about pottermore exactly, so at the moment Friday is the end for me, I don’t know if this community JKR is creating will actually do anything to extend the series that for me (sadly) is coming to a close).

I will be seeing a midnight showing with a group of 40 or so people, and I will be in costume as will most everyone in the group.  I told a few people this, co-workers for instance and they seem to think I’m nutters.  They do NOT understand it at all, my NEED to see this film at midnight, surrounded by other HP lovers.  On many levels that saddens me.  I first read the books in 7th or 8th grade and was utterly addicted.  All through high school and college I attended book launch parties and midnight premiers and was in seventh heaven at each one.  Surrounded by people and fans who loved the characters as much as I did, who wanted to go to Hogwarts and put on that sorting hat, who could recite their favorite lines for you from memory… how could you NOT want to be a part of that?  It’s a once in a lifetime moment!   As for the dressing up… I’m all for dramatics.  If it makes it more fun then why not do it?  It’s certainly not hurting anything and doesn’t make me a daft ninny.

That being said, I’m not sure what else I wanted to accomplish in this post, but HP means enough to me that I felt it necessary to write something about it.  I’m so sad its ending, excited for the final film (goose bumps every time I see a trailer on TV) and hope that you are out there enjoying HP that night so you don’t miss out on the once in a lifetime moment.

I won’t be posting Thursday, except perhaps to show off my costume.  A review and pictures from the premier will be up Friday evening when I get home from work.  I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from Goblet of Fire:  “It’s a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.”