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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weekly Wodehouse #34

"A certain critic -- for such men, I regret to say, do exist -- made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained 'all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.' He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have out-generalled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy."
-P.G. Wodehouse

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

I just finished reading "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  It's currently my favorite short story!  Please read it, and tell me what you think!  It's a piece of magical realism, so it's going to be a bit strange, but the best thing to do is just suspend your disbelief.  If you do, you'll really, really enjoy it :) Don't worry, it's not too long :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weekly Wodehouse #33

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.


LXG Reading Challenge Update

I've come to a bit of a snag in my LXG Reading Challenge.  Namely, I'm not going to have time to read all of those books this summer....

But Emmy! I can hear you all say, there are only like 7 books!  What's so difficult about that?  Besides; it's not like you don't have the time to read!

And yeah, that's true....but here's the issue:  Every time I pick up one of those books, I find about three to seven others that I want to read as well.  And....well, after a while, it just gets to be too much, and I don't want to pass up on stuff that I really want to read, just because I have to read something else.  That's school.

But, don't worry!  I'm going to keep my LXG Reading Challenge up on the blog, and I fully intend to continue it, but on my own time.  This might mean that I'll be reading these books well into next summer.  Not really sure.  But, I do intend to read them.

This is the part where you are all allowed to yell at me.  But, please don't use ALL CAPS or bold letters because that's really intimidating (just kidding-- but you are allowed to yell).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Knitting is Like Golf

Both are supposed to be fun ways to relax, but both are actually super-frustrating.  I've been working on the same piece all evening, but each with each attempt, I'm forced to just unravel it and start again.  I quite simply cannot get it to work for me.  My fingers are killing me, and I'm starting to get a headache.  I honestly love knitting, but it appears that today is just not my day.  It just seems that everything makes me slip up.  About ten minutes ago, I was working on my nth attempt at what I hope will be an afghan for my dorm room when my brother walked into the room and started talking to me.  When I was unresponsive, he left.  I looked down at my piece, and noticed that I had performed the wrong technique (k1 p1 k1 into last stitch, instead of p3tog), which pretty much messed up the whole piece.  And since I'm still a beginner, I'm not very good at fixing a mistake like that.  I pretty much have to ignore it and hope it'll be okay, or start over.  I just unravelled the whole thing.  I'll start it again in the morning, I guess...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jérome Pradon : "Seul devant ces tables vides"

I love Les Misérables! In fact, it might actually be my favorite musical (up in my Top 3 at the very least, with Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera). I also love Jérome Pradon, ever since I saw him in Jesus Christ Superstar (2000). Besides enjoying the film far more than the original 1973 version (I thought it was dreadful), I was captivated by the balding French actor with the piercing dark eyes playing the role of Judas. If you haven’t guessed it already, that was Jérome! Anyway, while I was surfing around on YouTube, I came across this beautiful rendition of Seul devant ces tables vides (Empty Chairs at Empty Tables in the English version) from Les Misérables. And, of course, to make it even sweeter, Jérome Pradon was the singer!

I’ve been listening to this song repeatedly…..Although I get frustrated when I can’t understand the lyrics to a song, because it’s in a foreign language, I have to admit that I LOVE listening to familiar songs in other languages (especially from musicals). I already know what is being said, and it just sounds so beautiful! And it’s even better when the song is from something like Les Misérables, where the character is actually singing it in his/her own language. In this case, the character Marius (here played by Pradon), is singing in French, so this is what the song would have sounded like if he were actually singing. Of course, I love Michael Ball’s English rendition of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, and that’s the version I usually listen to, but there is something wonderful about this one…the combination of the authentic language (in this case French), mingled with Jérome Pradon’s awesome vocals is just perfect! I’ve added the video below; please, watch and enjoy :)

For those of you who are not familiar with the plot of Les Misérables, I’m afraid there is no short way to give an explanation of the story. There is so much going on that this would be a freakishly long post, and then by the time you got to the video clip, you’d want to do something else….So I’ll be brief. In this scene, Marius, a young soldier in the Student’s Revolution, sits in an empty café, contemplating life. All of his friends died in the barricades, as they were shot at by the French soldiers. Marius survives after he is saved by Jean Valjean, the father of the girl he loves. Marius thinks about the “empty chairs at empty tables” where he used to meet with his friends and discuss their revolution; he wonders why he was the one to live if all the others had died, and if they even made a difference. It’s a very powerful, haunting song.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weekly Wodehouse #32

I don't know if you know the sort of feeling you get on these days round about the end of April and the beginning of May, when the sky's a light blue with cotton-wool clouds and there's a bit of a breeze blowing from the west?  Kind of uplifted feeling.  Romantic, if you know what I mean.  I'm not much of a ladies' man, but on this particular morning it seemed to me that what I really wanted was some charming girl to buzz up and ask me to save her from assassins or something.

~P.G. Wodehouse

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

English Major Armadillo


I think that these jokes will be most appreciated by Chessie and Sarah, but hopefully most of you will find at least one that you get a kick out of. English Major Armadillo is a fun little meme where everything is an inside joke that English majors would understand. I subscribe to the RSS feed for this Tumblr account, and get myself a daily dose of English major jokes. These are some of my favorites :)

If you don't get one of the jokes, please let me know; I'll be able to fill you in (and don't worry if you were confused; there were a lot that confused me, too.  It just depends on what you've read...)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula

As I was joyously searching through the stacks of Dracula books I'd just recently checked out at the library, I found one in particular that really held my attention: The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula by Mark Dawidziak.  The innocent looking tome claimed to be "the essential guide to the un-dead," but to me appeared to be no more than just a cozy read.  Although, regrettably, I did not read this in the bath or an armchair, I did read it in bed, and it's trivia and book/movie recommendations made for a comfortable way to wind down before bed.

If you have read Dracula and seen a couple of the movies (preferably Lugosi, Schreck, or Lee), then I would highly suggest this book.  I've read Dracula twice already (this summer is going to be my third), and I've seen movies starring Lugosi, Carradine, Schreck, Oldman, and Nielsen as the infamous Count.  While I don't consider myself a Dracula expert by any stretch of the imagination, I do think that I have enough of a background to remain unfazed by the multiple spoilers this book contains.  If you have minimal experience with Dracula, then I would suggest steering clear of this book, as you would either be a bit lost, or groaning at the spoilers.

All in all, I thought that this was a wonderful book.  I relished Dawidziak's pleasant writing style and candid honesty throughout.  I think my favorite aspect, however, had to be all the trivia.  I feel so much smarter for having read this :P  (I'm sure most of you know I love trivia, haha.)  This truly was a delightful way to pave the way for my reading of Dracula, which is to start very soon.  I'm not sure if I'll pursue another commentary first, or consecutively, though.....Hmm...guess I still have a few things to think through.... In any case, Dracula is the next volume for the LXG Reading Challenge, and I'll be starting it before the end of the week. ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vampire Stars

During the course of my Internet travels on Stumbleupon.com, I found this very interesting article that I thought would tie into my current Dracula theme rather nicely. Whether or not there actually are such things as "vampire stars," I'd have to say that my interest has been peaked, and I might just have to read a bit more into the topic. After all, I've always been interested in both vampires and astronomy....in the meantime, I'd thought I'd share the article on here for all of you to enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

LXG Reading Update

I realized that I've been going through my LXG Reading Challenge a bit haphazardly, and as a result, I wasn't really reading anything. So, I've decided to tackle the books in organized chunks. First, I'm going to finish off the vein I've started with The Picture of Dorian Gray, and read the other Gothic novels on the list: Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. After that, I'll move onto Science Fiction, with The Invisible Man and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Finally, Adventure: King Solomon's Mines and Tom Sawyer. So, that being said, Dracula is next on the list, and with it, I'm reading several supplemental books on Count Dracula and vampires. This wasn't planned, but I found a ton of interesting Dracula supplements and commentaries just sitting there on the shelf! How is any self-respecting English major/Gothic novel fanatic supposed to pass that up??? Haha; well, that being said, please check back soon for more fun :)

The Possession of Mr. Cave

This has to be one of the most powerful books I've read in a long time. Dark, disturbing, and deeply psychological, this was one book that had me on the edge of my seat until the very last page! I know I speak highly of many books, but there was something about this one in particular that really captured my attention.

Terence Cave's life is spiraling out of his control. A single father, he's forced to raise two teenage children, with only his meddling, but caring mother-in-law Cynthia to help him. Then, the unthinkable happens: Terence witnesses the death of his son Reuben, arriving on the scene just in time for the boy to die in his arms. As he tries desperately to cope with what has happened, he finds himself at odds with his remaining child, his daughter Bryony. At first, Terence believes that she is only grieving, but soon, Bryrony's behavior starts to alarm him. She starts becoming distant, hanging out with strange people, and worst of all, dating one of the apathetic, unfeeling young men who watched Reuben die. As Terence's world crumbles, he tries to do everything in his power to stabilize his family life once again. But, as he becomes more and more desperate, even going so far as to stalk Bryony whenever she leaves the house, it soon becomes apparent that his desires to protect those he cares about could actually destroy everything.

I was first introduced to Matt Haig during my senior year AP English class when Donna, my English teacher idol offered his novel The Dead Father's Club as an extra credit assignment. I don't remember much about the book. I vaguely believed that I liked it well enough, but I do remember that the ending left me confused, and launched a twenty minute debate with Donna over the ambiguous scene. So, while I had nothing against the novel, it was not as though I felt compelled to check out all of Haig's other books. In fact, I would have been cool with just the one. I actually found The Possession of Mr. Cave while looking for H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines (LXG Reading Challenge-- Alan Quartermain); that wasn't there, but this was, and the title seemed interesting enough. The description peaked my curiosity, and I tossed the book in my library bag as a little reading fodder. I had no idea that when I picked it up at 2 o'clock in the morning that it would not only peak my interest immediately, but that I would finish it within twenty-four hours of starting.

Besides being a fascinating read, this book also provided some interesting ideas for me as a writer. It really made me think about the importance of a narrator, and how to cope with one that may or may not be totally reliable. Two of the pieces I've been working on (one is a novella; the other is a short story), involve "unreliable" narrators. One, is incredibly defensive, and biased toward herself, even though she does not admit it. The question I hope it will raise in the reader is whether or not she is telling the whole story; not that she is lying to them, but whether or not she is omitting information. The other narrator talks about seeing certain things and experiencing certain things during a night of horror; the question for him is whether or not he is capable of giving the true story; his perception is marred by both alcohol and fear. Therefore, is he even capable of telling the truth? With Haig's Terence, I found myself sympathizing with him without question, but as the narrative continued, I couldn't help but wondering if he was completely in his right mind, and if I should believe him. Oftentimes, the reader can forget that just because you have a narrator telling the story, doesn't mean that they are right; especially with first person narrations.

If you have an interest in psychological thrillers, then this is a book I highly recommend. It's a quick read, and very powerful. You'll find yourself completely absorbed into the narrative. I could not put it down until the very last page was finished!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I feel as though lately, I've only been posting book reviews....and for some of my older readers at least, who are used to a lot more variety, this could be a bit boring. So, I thought I would toss out an idea: is there ever something you wanted to know about me? You can ask :) However, there is one stipulation....as you all know, I'm a bit of a private person when it comes to things such as my location, etc. So, please don't ask for things like that, since I won't answer. But, things like my interests, etc. are open for your questions. The quirkier the better :) Make these like crazy icebreaker questions if you want! I look forward to hearing from you ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing

I've been waiting for about a year to finally get to read this! Ever since I first read online that Jasper Fforde (one of my all-time favorite authors) was going to be publishing his next Thursday Next book back in March, I could not believe it! I was thrilled. Of course, with school and such, Fforde got put onto a back-burner (sadly), and I had almost forgotten about the book completely. There was no point in checking it out if I couldn't even read it; and being a poor college student, I could not afford to purchase it.

I requested it as soon as I remembered this summer, and waited intently for it to come in at the library. And last night, I stayed up til the wee hours, as it were, to finish.

It. Was. AMAZING! Jasper has yet to disappoint me! There is not a single book of his that I have not liked. I will admit that at first, it was a bit slow, and as the plot continued, it got a bit confusing, but overall, this was a hilarious book! Unfortunately, there is not much I can say about this without leaving my readers a bit confused, since you really have to read the rest of the series to totally get this book, but here's a quick summary to help...

Instead of being narrated by Thursday (as the rest of the series is), One of Our Thursdays Is Missing is told by the "fictional" Thursday5, first introduced in First Among Sequels. The book world is in peril, on the brink of a genre war led by Speedy Muffler of Racy Novel. To make things worse, the real Thursday has gone missing, and it is up to her fictional counterpart to take over. But, fictional Thursday has always been sweet and gentle, and is totally unprepared to take on the powerful, confident, and kick-ass image that the real Thursday projects. So, she must try to find out what happened to Thursday, save the book world, and keep things stable in her own floundering story, all at the same time. The question is, can she do it, or will she be a flop again, just as she always has been?

N.B. For those of you who have not read the other books in the series, I've taken the liberty of adding a list here for you....

  • The Eyre Affair

  • Lost in a Good Book

  • The Well of Lost Plots

  • Something Rotten

  • First Among Sequels

  • Enjoy :)

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011


    Hi, guys :)

    As you might have noticed, I've added two tabs to my blog, just under the header. These are to help keep track of my summer reading progress. The first is for my LXG Reading Challenge, and the other is for my basic summer reading. Once I return to school, I'll take the tabs down, but I thought they would be a nice addition in the meantime.