"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Monday, May 30, 2011


By far, this has been the best book I've read this summer (and yes, I know there have only been three...) and also one of the best I've read in a long time. I have to send out a HUGE thank you to Sarah, who finally convinced me to read this book (honestly, the best way to get me to read anything is to put a copy in my hands, and tell me to read). I'll admit that at first, I had my doubts. True, she had told me wonderful things about this book, and I always hold Sarah's recommendations in high regard, but as I started reading, I wasn't totally convinced. But, all of a sudden, I just found myself grabbed by the shirtfront as it were, and dragged right into the action. This is an AMAZING book!

Kidnapped is the story of David Balfour. After the death of his father, he is sent to his uncle Ebenezer with a mysterious letter. His uncle, a strange, secretive man, tells him that he owes him a small amount for an inheritance, and after attempting to have him killed off, gets him kidnapped and sent off to the Carolinas to be sold into slavery. On the ship, he meets Alan Breck, a hot-headed young man from the Scottish Highlands. Together, the two of them get into all sorts of trouble, and set off on an adventure to earn David's inheritance back from his corrupt uncle, and to save Alan from the gallows.

I cannot say how much I loved this book! Stevenson is a master with words, and I can guarantee that I'm going to be reading more of his books in the future. Of course, I already read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last summer, and I'll be reading it again this summer for my LXG Reading Challenge. But, I also hope to be able to read Treasure Island sometime in the future. I'm not sure what else Stevenson wrote....does anyone else know? If not, I can always Google it, haha.

When I learned that much of the dialogue was phonetically written in a Scottish dialect, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to understand it. However, I was delighted to find that it was not at all hard to decipher once you started reading for a bit. In fact, it was pretty easy to understand. And even better, I found that my limited knowledge of Middle English actually helped me greatly in understanding some of the more unusual terms that weren't mentioned in the book's meager gloss.... ken and bairn are terms that one doesn't hear every day, and it might have been confusing if I didn't know them from somewhere else, first. (Just for the record, they mean "know" and "child" respectively).

Overall, a wonderful book! Please read!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

One of the biggest disappointments about having a reading list is when you finally get to read that one book that's been at the top of the list for months....and it sucks. However, this was not that book.

I know that technically, The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear does not fit into my LXG reading challenge, but it's been at the top of my reading list ever since I found it in a bookstore back in October/November of last year. I didn't buy it, but I took note of the name and author (Walter Moers) and promised to read it later. I found it at the library this summer and was a bit surprised by just how big it was.....703 pages was about twice as long as I had remembered it being. All the same, it might as well have been only 150 pages long, since I was able to tear through it so quickly. To be honest, apart from the fact that it was HEAVY to carry around, I was not really aware of it's lengthy plot. This book simply flies by!

Walter Moers's book tells the story of a young "bluebear" called....well....Bluebear (creative, right?) As the author states, all bluebears have 27 lives, but we only get to hear about the first 13 1/2 of Bluebear's. From minipirates and hobgoblins to eternal tornadoes and the lost city of Atlantis, Bluebear chronicles an adventurous and well-lived grouping of lives. At first, I wasn't exactly sure what to think of this book. The plot reminded me of the stories I would concoct for myself as a little girl, and I feared that the puerile nature of these ideas would leak out into the book. BUT.....it didn't. Not even for one second did I feel that this was a book for little children, or that I was too mature to read it. Like another iconic bear's porridge, it was "just right"...a fantasy book for adults.

I love how seamlessly Moers combines the magic of J.R.R. Tolkein with the wit and creativity of Jasper Fforde, all the while retaining a voice that is completely his own. I can assure you that the next time I go to the library, I'll be looking for more of his works. There were a few more books on the shelf at the library, so rest assured, this is not the last time you'll hear of Walter Moers on this blog. I would write a bit more about Bluebear's adventures, but honestly, I don't know where to begin! There is just too much to cover. Personally, I think the best thing to do is simply to check out the book for yourselves; it's worth the time! And don't be intimidated by the size....it's a super-quick read :) AND!!!! There are pictures! It really enhances the experience :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Great Gatsby NES

Now, as an English major, there is nothing I love more than a good book. And apart from books, one of my other great passions is video games. Now, books about video games are fairly common, almost (dare I say it?) a dime a dozen in the teen sections of libraries and bookstores. However, video games about books are a bit rarer, and in my opinion, far more interesting. So, when I stumbled upon The Great Gatsby NES, I was very excited. Now, its a fairly simple game...play as Nick Carraway, jumping around, avoiding waiters, drunks, flappers, and other guests on your way to find Gatsby at his party. (More levels after that, including a boss which I can just not get past!) Still, it's very fun, and an interesting approach to F. Scott Fitzgerald's original idea. I'd recommend checking this out if you've read The Great Gatsby before. If you haven't, you'll either be a bit confused, or there will be some spoilers involved. As it is, I haven't read the book in several years, and remember next to nothing about it....Guess what's going on my summer reading list? :P

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LXG Reading Challenge: Dorian Gray

"How sad it is!" murmured Dorian Gray, with his eyes still fixed upon his own portrait. "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June....If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that--for that--I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!"

And it is with these immortal words that Oscar Wilde's only novel really takes off. Young Dorian is beautiful and unblemished by society; he is the friend of Basil Hallward, a brilliant (if somewhat dull) artist who is secretly harboring powerful feelings for him, and greatly desires to keep Dorian safe from the manipulations of society. Through a combination of influences (Basil's breathtaking portrait of Dorian and the corruption of their common friend Lord Henry Wotton), Dorian makes a wish that he would never age, and that the portrait would age instead. What he does not realize is that his plea will actually come true. The portrait ages, and displays upon the canvas the very contents of Dorian's corrupted soul.

If there ever was a book to startle a person into seriously considering their actions, The Picture of Dorian Gray would have to be pretty high on the list. And after reading it for the third time, I can honestly say that the powerful message has not been diminished. However, each reading provokes more and more questions, and of course, there is the ever-lingering question....How would you live your life if you knew that your sins would never affect your appearance? If your mouth would never be marred by harsh, cruel lines from sneers and scorn? If a certain hardness would never enter your clear, earnest eyes? Would you strive to live a good life, or would you plunge yourself into a life of debauchery and crime, because your sins would be printed on the canvas but not on your person?

In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the character of Dorian is portrayed in a very different way. Instead of a corrupted young man whose very soul is imprinted on his portrait, Dorian is a suave gentleman whose physical appearance is not only unaffected by sin, but is also spared by the ravages of any physical abuse. Nothing can phase this guy....very cool, but the allegorical aspect of the story is totally lost.

Finally, I was curious to read this story again with full knowledge of the homosexual undertones in the story. If anything, it did not change my experience very much. It only cleared up a few points that were foggy to me before (ie. Basil's devotion to Dorian).

All in all, this was a wonderful book, and a delight to read again. For any of you who are following my LXG Reading Challenge, this is one you really should read :) It's a quick read, too, so even if you're too busy to read much, you could easily slip this into your schedule.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Castle Season 3 Finale Reaction

I just finished watching the season finale of Castle........................


..........................................And I'm completely in shock.



Sibyl Vane

"How horrid you are! She is all the great heroines of the world in one. She is more than an individual. You laugh, but I tell you she has genius. I love her, and I must make her love me. You, who know all the secrets of life, tell me how to charm Sibyl Vane to love me! I want to make Romeo jealous. I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain. My God, Harry, how I worship her!"

~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

**Artist Credit goes to Fiammetta1993 of Deviantart.com**

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dorian Gray: False Portraits

When it comes to fan art or transformations of characters from words on a page to a visual image, there are always going to be some differences; some creative liberties taken by the artist. However, one does not expect to find glaringly obvious mistake from something as professional as a book cover. It was of course, a great disappointment to see that a very obvious character trait (mentioned within the first two chapters several times) would be so easily skipped over when it came to making the book cover for The Picture of Dorian Gray: ie. Dorian is supposed to be a very youthful blue-eyed blond, not a brooding, mature, dark-haired, brown-eyed man. Still, these are cool covers, and worth sharing :)

Summer Reading 2011

Hello, everyone!

Just wanted to send out a quick announcement and let you know that I'm finally done with school for the summer, so it's time for the Summer Reading 2011 posts to begin!!! Those of you who followed me last year will remember that my summer reading theme was Gothic Novels. I still have a ton of books from last summer on my reading list, so you can be assured that some of them will probably creep their way into this summer. However, the main theme for this year is going to be my LXG Challenge. So, to kick off this summer, I'm starting out with one of the only books from the challenge list that I happened to own: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This will of course fulfill the challenge for our dear friend Dorian Gray from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Not sure who will come next on the list, but we shall see ;)

In the meantime, I'll be posting quotes, fan art, and definitely a review of the book. I've read The Picture of Dorian Gray twice before, but this is my first time reading it with a full knowledge of Wilde and the homoerotic undertones of the book, which I suspect will make for a completely different experience than I've had in the past.

Hope you're ready for some interesting books and book reviews! Summer Reading 2011 begins NOW!

P.S., if you have any books to recommend, please, please, please let me know in the comments feed :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Legend of Link's Distraction

I'm unable to embed this video, but you can find it here. Enjoy :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Class Assignment: Favorite Quote

For my African American Literature class today, we had a very fun assignment. Bring in your favorite quote from one of the pieces we're read. Now, we've gone through four books and several short stories, so I had a LOT to choose from. However, I eventually selected this one, from Oxherding Tale by Charles Johnson...

"Is that fair!" I touched him, then pulled back my hand; it was like grabbing a boa constrictor seconds after it swallowed a family of rats. "Your duty is to destroy, I understand that! There must be destroyers. But you sound like a philosopher! A modern philosopher--the mechanic who analyzes the propositions of madmen and sages with the same impartiality, refusing to pass judgement!" I shouted again, "Is it fair that you destroyed my friend--'only following orders,' you'll plead, and I can appreciate that, the dancing of Shiva from birth to death, the cosmic drama where all creatures are sacrificed, regardless of their personal dreams, to a God moving mysteriously, struggling to spin a well-made story, making some of us walk-ons, or extras--maybe Negroes in the New World were only hired for the crowd scenes--but I ask you, Horace, you, the holy torpedo, the mercenary of Brama, I put it to you, do you approve?"

"You still don't see hit," he said. "Ah approves everythin'. Ah approves nothin'."

~Charles Johnson, Oxherding Tale

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekly Wodehouse #31

"Indeed? I thought you might possibly have come to explain your behavior of last night."

Mervyn Potter wrinkled his forehead. it was plain that he was at a loss.

"Last night? Behavior?"

"You have forgotten the incident?" said Mr. Anderson, gnashing his teeth slightly. "To refresh your memory, at three o'clock this morning, accompanied by my desk clerk, you invaded my bedroom and gave me a frog."

Mervyn Potter's face cleared.

"Of course, yes. It all comes back to me. My dear fellow, we want no thanks. Keep that frog, J.G. Anderson, and make of it a constant companion."

~P.G. Wodehouse, Barmy in Wonderland

The Wonders of Wodehouse

When one is feeling down, nothing can cheer you up faster than a cup of coffee (or some other pleasant tasting beverage), a quiet corner (or three, if you have trouble sitting still), and a P.G. Wodehouse book (this one is non-negotiable...it HAS to be Wodehouse for the magic to happen!) I'm not going to lie to you; I was feeling like shit all day today. But, I have to say that I feel about 100x better than I did before. In fact, I'm all smiles and life is good. Wodehouse has that effect on people, especially me :) Speaking of Wodehouse, I'm thinking about bringing back the Weekly Wodehouse from last year. I think the last installment was way back in October! (For those of you who don't know about Weekly Wodehouse, as well as those who would like to relive the wonder, you can find the achieves for the most part HERE). So, starting today, I'll be attempting to post a Weekly Wodehouse quote every Sunday :)