Monday, December 20, 2010

"Igraine the Brave"

I've had this book on my to-read list for some time, and I finally listened to it last week. I'm glad I did.

Igraine is just turning twelve years old, and she's tired of the same old stuff. She wants adventure. It seems that living in a castle and having brilliant magician parents and brother isn't enough for her. Neither is a talking cat. Or magical singing books.

You know the saying "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it"?

Well, Igraine gets her wish for something exciting when Greedy Osmund shows up to demand that her family hands over their magical singing books, and isn't willing to accept no for an answer.

This really shouldn't be a problem, however, because Igraine's parents are great magicians and can easily turn Osmund the Greedy into a cockroach. Or anyways, they would be able to turn him into a cockroach, if they hadn't accidentally turned themselves into pigs!

With only her half-trained magician brother to defend the singing books and their parents from Osmund the Greedy, Igraine sets out to find the magic ingredient needed to turn her parents back into themselves. Will she be able to retrieve it quickly enough? Will she return home to find the castle destroyed?

I've read some of Cornelia Funke's books before, and knew that I could safely expect something fantastic when I picked up Igraine the Brave. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find it even better than I had anticipated. Funke has created a world of delightful characters who are lovable, and a villain who you'll enjoy seeing taken down.

Also, I found that it was often difficult to predict what was going to happen. In fact, I think I was only able to make one prediction with any certainty when I was listening to this book.

I highly recommend this book. You won't regret reading it. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Book givaway

Another blogger is giving away two books this solstice. They are:

by Llewellyn

...and...

prepared by David C. Cook
illustrated by Sergio Cariello
edited by Doug Mauss

If you're interested in possibly winning one of these books you can click here, or copy and paste the following link into you browser: http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/2010/12/witches-datebook-and-action-bible.html

They look like a couple of pretty neat books. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I'm reading

It's been ages since I've done a What I'm Reading post!

Igraine the Brave
by Cornelia Funke
Fantasy

Really really fun. It's been on my to-read list for a while. I haven't even finished it, but I can already tell you that I'd recommend it. :)

I've been listening to it while making my mom's Christmas present.



Shogun
by James Clavell
Historical fiction

I'm still not ready to put this on the list of books I haven't finished! Currently I'm waiting for my turn to get it from Library2Go so that I can finish listening to it. I hope to finish it, or at least come close, this winter break.



Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
Fiction

I'm only on page 37 or so, but I can already tell that this is going to be an interesting book.

Giveaway for fun stuff


I am holding a Yule Giveaway for my online shop, Dragonfly's Laughter. You can enter any time from now until 12:01 am on December 22nd, PST.

The winner will win the item of their choice from my shop, and I will ship it to them free of charge.

You can get multiple entries.

Here are things you can do get entries:

1) Go to my shop (www.DragonflysLaughter.etsy.com) then come back and tell me what your favorite item is. Worth 2 entries. Note: If you win, you may choose to receive a different item.

2) Heart my shop on Etsy, then come back here and let me know that you've done so and what your username is on Etsy. Worth 1 entry.

3) Blog about this giveaway, then come back and share the link to your post. Worth 4 entries.

4) Put the following button on your blog, and keep it up for the duration of the contest. Let me know that it's there. Worth 2 entries.




<a href="http://www.dragonflyslaughter.etsy.com"> <img src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_WA0UrQb-izc/TQqy0HwFK_I/AAAAAAAABXw/xN_uV7HuYso/avatar2.JPG"/></a>

5) Tweet about this and leave me a link. Worth 4 entries.

6) Follow my shop on Twitter. (http://twitter.com/DragonflysLaugh) Come back here and tell me that you're following, and also what your username is on twitter so that I know who you are. Worth 1 entry.

7) Tell me what you plan to do this solstice. Worth 1 entry. Note: You can do this even if you don't plan to do anything special. For example: "Work, fix dinner, watch a movie, go to bed."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"The The Impotence of Proofreading"

I just wanted to share this poem.



It's funny enough reading it, but I think it's even more wonderful when performed. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How many have you read?

TOO MANY BOOKS TOO LITTLE TIME!!! AAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, now that I've got that out of my system...

The list below is something that's been circulating on facebook.

BBC thinks that most people will have only read six books on this list of 100 books. I've put the ones that I've finished in bold, and the those that I started but didn't finish or only read excerpts of in italics.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all)

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis (I think...it would have been years ago...)

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (I THINK I read it...)

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday at Dragonfly's Laughter

I'm getting into this late in the game, but at least I'm getting into it at all!

From now through Wednesday evening you can get 50% off of anything at my shop Dragonfly's Laughter if you enter the coupon code "cybermonday" during checkout.

Don't miss out! It's all handmade things, some of which were already pretty inexpensive. Prices were ranged from $5 to $18, but are now only from $2.50 to $9.00!!!

Below are just some of the things you'll find in my shop.



In my shop:

* Scarves
* Jewelry
* Needlework
* Bead buddies
* Heating pads

Official PayPal Seal

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Ain't what it used to be" books, part 2

"The magicians of old were so much more powerful." "We've lost so much knowledge." "What happened to the Golden Era?" "Things just aren't what they used to be."

I made these quotes up, but they would fit into numerous novels. I was talking with my family this evening and we talked about how it's a common theme in literature -- that there used to be a Golden Era, or at least a time when things were pretty darn good, but that things aren't quite as good anymore.

So instead of doing homework (as we should have been) my brother and I sit down to come up with a list of books that fall into the "Ain't what it used to be" category, and here they are, in no particular order.

And please, feel free to add your own books in the comments!

Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate
Aliens are taking over the earth. Not that anyone knows about it...except for seven (I think it's seven?) teens. Actually, lots of people do know about it. But they're slaves, unable to do anything. It's only the seven teens who stand between the Yerks and complete domination of the earth. (I used to be obsessed with these books...hence the eloquent explanation.)

The Telling by Ursula K. le Guin
A lot of folklore and culture has been lost. Or rather, erased.

Earthsea series by Ursula K. le Guin
Knowledge has been lost over the years. Not that you know that unless you go back and read the books that are chronologically before Earthsea.

Bartimaeus books by Jonathan Stroud
The magicians of old used to be much more powerful.

Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
Knowledge has been lost, one way or another. One example is the olitheometer, however it's spelled.

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
The humans are coming! The humans are coming! Run for your lives!! ...places where dragons can live have been fewer and farer between, and now the last quiet place that dragons have found to live is being encroached on by humans. Things aren't like they used to be for the dragons.

Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
Spirituality has been neglected, and things are falling apart. Even though things are pulled back together again, it's not gonna last too much longer.

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
The fairies used to be more powerful magically, and they used to live above ground.

Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
My brother has read this, and said it belongs on this list.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley
I don't know anything about this book. Mom just told me that it belongs on the list.

Sabriel by Garth Nix
The Old Kingdom has fallen into anarchy.

Dune series by Frank Herbert
Lots of knowledge is lost over the ages. Unless my memory quite deceives me.

Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper ??????
We think that the light isn't quite as powerful as it used to be, but we'd have to reread it to be sure.

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan ????????????????
We aren't sure if it really belongs on here. It seems like it does, but we can't say why. Feel free to give your opinion either way! :)

NOTE: I have spread this out over two posts, because Blogger will only let me do 200 characters in the "labels". Agh. So you may view part 1 here, if you so wish.

"Ain't what it used to be" books, part 1

"The magicians of old were so much more powerful." "We've lost so much knowledge." "What happened to the Golden Era?" "Things just aren't what they used to be."

I made these quotes up, but they would fit into numerous novels. I was talking with my family this evening and we talked about how it's a common theme in literature -- that there used to be a Golden Era, or at least a time when things were pretty darn good, but that things aren't quite as good anymore.

So instead of doing homework (as we should have been) my brother and I sit down to come up with a list of books that fall into the "Ain't what it used to be" category, and here they are, in no particular order.

And please, feel free to add your own books in the comments!

Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
Knowledge of old magic was forgotten, and they need that knowledge back!

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Apparently wizards of the past were more powerful, on the whole.

Star Wars
Jedi were killed off. Enough said.

City of Ember by Jeanne DePrau
Exactly explaining would give the plot away...

Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini
The Dragonriders were killed off a hundred years ago, and an evil king has taken over. Things are definitely not as good as they used to be.

Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Pern was colonized in the distant past, but over many generations much technology and knowledge was lost.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The elves aren't as powerful as they used to be.

Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
A lot of powerful spells have been lost or forgotten, or they simply don't know how to make the charms work anymore.

Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce
The Immortals used to be locked up in the realms of the gods where they didn't bother humans. But now the spell has been broken, and the Immortals are causing trouble. Unfortunately, the spell to lock them up again seems to have been lost... (There's much more to the story than this, trust me.) (Yes, I love it, which is why I'm devoting so much more time to it than the others...)

Bone by Jeff Smith
Anarchy, and other fun stuff.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Due to genetic engineering and some big time medical mistakes, the world isn't so great anymore.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Things are going downhill. Fast. Global warming, government falling apart...fun fun fun. Not.

Black Magician trilogy by Trudi Canavan
Magicians used to be so much more powerful. But how is that possible?

NOTE: I have spread this out over two posts, because Blogger will only let me do 200 characters in the "labels". Agh. So you may view part 2 here, if you so wish.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What I'm reading

Out of Sheer Rage
by Geoff Dyer
Memoir

I'm reading this for school. It's one of those that I probably wouldn't have picked up if left to my own devices, but am definitely enjoying. To give you an idea of what the book is like, here's a quote concerning Dyer's girlfriend:
"We already had our shared motto, almost shared, more accurately, because whereas Laura's version was 'Together Forever' mine was 'Together Whenever'. Laura liked the idea of us sticking together 'through thick and thin' whereas I opted for the more pessimistic 'through thin and thinner'" (10.)
It is quite entertaining.


The Zen of Listening
by Rebecca Z. Shafir
Non-fiction

Another one for school. I mostly like it, but it does get on my nerves at times, especially when Shafir says that we have things harder in this day and age than any previous generations did.


Shogun
by James Clavell
Historical fiction

I haven't touched this book in several months, but I'm not willing to take it off of my "currently reading" list yet! I'll get back to it...eventually...maybe during winter break...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Poetry

"It is like watching a fire and seeing the first lick of flame along a log: you think it is about to catch but then it vanishes. You watch and wait for the flame to come back. It doesn't -- and then, after you have stopped looking, the flame flickers back again and the log catches" (109-10.)

This is Geoff Dyer's description of the birth of a poem in Out of Sheer Rage.

Out of Sheer Rage is a book about not writing a book. Yep, that sounds pretty weird. And this book is pretty weird. But it's also funny, with lovely gems throughout it. Like this description of poetry.

The narrator (Dyer? I'm not sure...) is reading D.H. Lawrence's letters in preparation for the book that doesn't get written, and in those letters finds the roots of poems that he is familiar with. For example, in one letter he finds a story about how Lawrence came upon an adder unexpectedly -- Lawrence wrote of this experience, "She often comes into my mind, and I think I see her asleep int he sun, like a Princess of the fairy world. It is queer, the intimidation of other worlds, which one catches" (109.) The narrator recognized in this story the roots of Lawrence's famous poem, "Snake".

(I actually just did an online search, and you can read "Snakes" here. It's quite an interesting poem.)

As a poet I find this discussion of poetry quite interesting. So I'd like to end with one last quote...

"Who can say when a poem begins to stir, to germinate, in the soil of the writer's mind? There are certain experiences waiting to happen: like the snake at Lawrence's water trough, the poem is already there, waiting for him The poem is waiting for circumstances to activate it, to occasion its being written" (111.)

I've thought before that there is a poem in everything, and either people just do not see the poem or that they do not equal to the task of setting it down on paper. What do you think?

EDITED on 11/9/10: I found out from my professor just a few hours after writing this that Out of Sheer Rage is a memoir, and that the narrator is in fact Dyer. Yes, this is a school book for my English class. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Note to self

Note to self: Book/movie titles should be italicized, whereas story/poem titles should be in quotation marks.

As an English major I ought to get this straightened out! I did it wrong on my last essay and my professor set me straight. I don't want to make the mistake again.

:)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Similar covers -- resolved

In this post I was discussing whether the same painter did the following covers.


I finally got it figured out. As you can see from the second picture, the artist of Seer of Sevenwaters is John William Waterhouse. Since I had one name, I did a Google search (I love Google) (no excuse me, it was Bing!) and my quest took my to Amazon.com. I looked inside The Red Tent (I also love Amazon.com) and discovered that Nancy Resnick painted its cover.

Mystery solved. And Catherine was correct, it is two different artists.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Similar covers

For some reason, the more I look at this cover...

...the more it reminds me of THIS cover.

The similarity is so striking that I eventually decided that I had to blog about it. I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm wondering if they're both the work of the same artist, but I don't have either book on hand to check out that detail.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thoughts on "Visitation"


This is one of my school books, and I finished it about an hour ago. I'd like to mention that I don't consider this to be a review of it -- it's just my random (or not so random) thoughts about the book. The way this is written reflects the randomness of my thoughts. I haven't had time to really gather them yet. :)

To tell the truth, I'm not sure if I would have stuck with the book if it weren't assigned for school. To begin with I was wondering "What the heck IS this about??" "What's the plot? I don't see a plot." And, "What the heck does the title Visitation have to do with anything?" But now I'm glad that I've read it. And I now understand the reason for my confusion: Visitation isn't exactly your ordinary book.

I think it might be said that this book shows the relationship between nature and people. Its story spans across several generations. It tells the story of a house that was built by a lake, the stories of the families that lived in the house, the story of the land.

I also think that the cover for the book is excellent. You see the lake and the trees, and the falling leaves which indicate change. Also you see the reflection of a house in the lake, though there is no lake on the land. I'm still trying to figure out what to make of this particular detail.

This novel is historical fiction, but I also have to wonder if there is another genre that it would fit into.

Spoiler alert

I think it's interesting how the story came full circle. I saw where it was going in maybe the last twenty pages of the book -- in the epilogue the house was torn down, and the land was untended by any gardener. The land returned to being wild, as it had been before people tended it and turned it into their home. I guess this emphasizes that us humans are only "dust in the wind," and not permanent. Our generations come and go, but the land remains, and is still there when we're gone.

And also, now that I think about it...there is one central character, who is almost as constant as the land: the gardener. I don't think we ever learn his name. (If someone has read Visitation and remembers that he does have a name, please comment!) And unlike the families that come and go in the house that has been built, we never learn his own story. We just know that he was there to begin with. And then he disappears mysteriously. I think it's safe to say that he dies, but his body is never found.

The two central characters -- the land, which does not speak for itself. And the gardener, whose story we don't know. Hmm.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Character confusion

I'm listening to Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce. I've read this before, and am familiar with the characters. There's one, Dale, that stands out in my memory. I remember very well how I visualized him before: big, well built, dark hair, somewhat roughish. You can imagine my surprise when I came to the description of him in the book this time and it differed somewhat from my memory.

"A light-haired cove, slender and muscled like an acrobat, appeared in front of us like something from a dream" (64.)

This is definitely not how I remember him! What happened to the tall, dark, and handsome man alive in my memory? I even looked through my copy of the book rather than rely on what my ears told me to check this detail.

Has this ever happened to you? You reread a book, and find that a character's physical appearance is very different from how you've been envisioning him/her? If so, did this change how you view the character? How so?

Monday, October 18, 2010

What I'm reading

Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck
Historical fiction

I've labeled this historical fiction, but truthfully I'm not sure what the genre really is...it's a peculiar book.

I'm reading it for my English class at school. The professor and I seem to have different tastes in literature, but I'm really enjoying this one.



The Zen of Listening by Rebecca Z. Shafir
Non-fiction

As you might guess from the title, this one is about how to listen. It's another school book.



Shogun by James Clavell
Historical fiction

I haven't looked at this in over a month, but I'm not willing to put it on the list of unfinished books quite yet! I think that part of the problem may be that I've reached a point in the book where part of me feels like it would be a good stopping point even though the story isn't actually over yet.



Sabriel by Garth Nix
Fantasy

I've been listening to this one as I go to sleep at night. I'm pretty close to the end of it.

I've listened tot his book so many times before, but it's only this time that I've begun to notice just how beautiful Nix's writing is. It's like I'm discovering new layers to the book! Which I guess I am. :)



Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Fantasy

I put this one on hold at Library2Go and it finally became available a couple days ago. I started listening to it yesterday on my iPhone as I volunteered at my library, and then listened to it some more today while I was lying in bed sick.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Funny

I was looking at the cover for J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and something occurred to me: Hermione finds riding Buckbeak decidedly unpleasant, and is repeatedly saying something like "I don't like this, oh, I really don't like this..." Yet, on the cover, it shows her smiling when she rides Buckbeak.

Then again, I guess they didn't want to show a terrified Hermione on the cover of the book.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

The "Other" vs. the "Same"

I had one English professor at PCC who emphasized that in stories, what we're concerned with is "the other." That is, the people who are different from you. Or things that you don't understand. Like aliens from another planet whose language you don't speak and who look weird. Or the faery folk who live under the hill. Or even (and I am not being silly here) the girl/boy next door who seems totally out of your league.

So even though the "other" might be aliens or faery folk, the "other" can be our fellow humans. People who live right next door to us.

...truthfully, when I sit down to write this post I was not going to start out by talking about the "other." But it occurred to me that it is totally relevant to my subject, so I figured I may as well start out with it.

What I do want to talk about is that some stories are concerned with relationships that bridge the gap that separates people. Since we're using the phrase "the other" to describe those who are totally separate, let's use the phrase "the same" to describe the people in the stories I'm thinking of.

Novels in which you have two characters who are "the same":

Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Think about the dragons and their riders. The two are very close, and are in each others heads all the time. In fact, they can get so in each other's heads at times that they think and act as one, and are basically one person with two bodies. If one dies, the shock usually kills the other.

Pern books by Anne McCaffrey
Again, dragons and their riders share a special bond. And like in Paolini's books, the shock of one dying usually kills the other.

Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer
I'm thinking of the werewolves. When they're in werewolf form, they hear each others thoughts. (I'm not counting Edward Cullen's mind reading here because that's a one way thing, and I'm talking about two way relationships.)

Green Rider series by Kristen Britain

They aren't in each other's heads, but there is a special bond between the green riders and their horses. If one is killed, the other is devastated. In one case a green rider and her horse are separated by a great distance, but because of the bond the horse manages to find its rider despite the great distance.

Joust series by Mercedes Lackey

There's a special bond between the dragon riders and their dragons. The dragons aren't as intelligent as in McCAffrey's and Paolini's books, nor are the dragons and riders in each other's heads. But like in Britain's books, if one is killed the other is devastated.

Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey

Another case of a human and horse. Except that the horses aren't horses, they're something else that are just as intelligent as humans. In the one book I read, the boy can talk mind to mind to his horse, even if they aren't right next to each other.

Dragonlord books by Joanne Bertin

Each dragonlord has a soul twin (I think they're called soul twins). No dragonlord is a complete person without their soul twins. Also, each dragonlord has a horse to ride when they travel in human form, and I seem to recall that there is a special bond between the dragonlords and their horses.

There is always an "other" in each of the novels listed above, but my point is that there's also a relationship that is the complete opposite of the "other." That is, there's always a relationship that exceeds that of what normal humans are capable of, unless we somehow find a way to get in each other's heads. In these relationships I call the two individuals the "same."

...and I notice that in each story listed above the special bond is never between two humans, unless you count the werewolves as humans, in which case you would also count the dragonlords as human.

If anyone has another book to add to this list, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Seer of Sevenwaters"

I just found this link and had to share. If you click on the link you'll find an excerpt from Juliet Marillier's Seer of Sevenwaters, the fifth Sevenwater's book that will be released in a couple months.

The other books in the series are, in chronological order:


I discovered these books years ago and really love them. I cannot wait to read Seer of Sevenwaters.

EDIT: I wanted to add that there's a creative writing competition (you can find the info here) to win a signed copy of Seer of Sevenwaters when it comes out. I'm pretty excited, and am trying to come up with something good to submit. Wish me luck! :)

Halloween Fun

I know this isn't exactly book related, but...

To all my followers who aren't already following Mrs. B.'s 31 Days of Halloween: how would you like to win the below earrings, which are from my Etsy shop Dragonfly's Laughter?


I am giving away a pair of earrings that look just like this as part of the Halloween/Samhain fun this year. If you want a chance to win them, click here to go to Mrs. B.'s blog and find out how.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lovely book cover

I couldn't help but notice this cover when I was volunteering at my local library last week and again this week. I don't even know what the book is about (I'm guessing it's a romance), but I like the cover so much that I just had to make a note of the title so I could share it here.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thoughts on "High King's Tomb"

I've been reading High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain. I'm really enjoying the book, but I do have one complaint. I also have an observation I'd like to make. If you're super sensitive about potential book spoilers you might want to skip this post, but I don't think that I'll be saying anything too revealing.

First, my observation.

Polytheism is the norm for people in this book. It's just a fact of life. Except for the bad guys. The bad guys believe in and worship only one god.

So the good guys are polytheistic, while the bad guys are monotheistic. I'm not sure if this is Britain's way of commenting on the Judeo-Christian faiths or if it's unrelated to her opinion of the world religions.

(I actually looked at wikipedia to see if I could find out her religion, but it doesn't say.)

Now, my complaint.

Enough with Tolkien! I have no objection to writers who find inspiration from Tolkien's books, but there's a difference between being inspired by Tolkien and what Britain's doing. I ought to be reading her book and say "Hey, I think I know where the inspiration for this came from," not "Wait a minute, that's Tolkien..."

The Eletians are too much like Tolkien's elves, the eagles are so like Tolkien's eagles, and certain other details are so much like Lord of the Rings that I want to shake the book in frustration.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Tim Curry

Tim Curry is another audio book narrator who I really like. And again, I'm not sure what to say in a review about an audio book narrator, other than that I like him!

But I will add...

I've listened to Abhorsen trilogy (by Garth Nix) as read by Curry, and his voice for Mogget has got to be one of the most memorable voices from any audio book.

Have you listened to an audio book read by Curry? What did you think?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Differences of opinion

As I mentioned in my main blog, my brother (who shall be known as Tall One) is taking his first English class. This is a fact which I am rather excited about.

Mom and I were browsing through the anthology for this class in Tall One's presence, and we had a conversation that went somewhat like this.

~~~~~~~


Me: Huh? *pause* Oh oh oh! It's one by that guy who wrote The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian. I want to read it!

Mom: Hmm.

*we peruse some more*

Mom: Hey, here's one by Ursula K. le Guin.

Me (excited because I love love love le Guin): Oh oh oh! Tall One, may I please borrow your text book?

Tall One: No.

*more perusal*

Mom: Oh. To Light a Fire. I hope you don't have to read that. It's horrible.

Me: Wait, a minute... *I remember the story, but thought the title was slightly different, so I'm hesitating* ...who is the author...?


Me: *gasp* Oh my gosh. That is such a great short story. I hope you read it, Tall One.

*I think mom rolled her eyes*

*yet more perusal*


Mom: Agh! Another horrible one.

Me: But it's such a moving story!

Mom: All through it I kept thinking "Come on, die! Die already! Get it over with!"

Me: But mom! It's such a touching story! It almost had me in tears!

~~~~~~~

There isn't much more to tell, other than me later trying to explain what To Build a Fire is about to Tall One. Unfortunately, I suspect that he'll share mom's opinion of it if he ever does read it.

*sigh* There are a lot of books that everyone in my family is crazy about. I guess that difference of opinion is good, but I have to admit that it drives me crazy that certain people fail to appreciate To Build a Fire and The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Oh well. At least we both like le Guin and The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian.

Are there certain books/authors that you have to go outside of your family to find fellow fans? What books/authors?

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Two Bobbies"

Earlier this week I was volunteering at my local library in the children's section, and I came across this book. It aroused my curiosity, so I read it.

It is a true story about a cat and a dog who survived Hurricane Katrina, and who were abandoned by their family when the hurricane hit. The cat is Bob Cat, and the dog is Bobbi. They both have bobbed tails which is how they earned their nickname "the Bobbies."

Not only is it an animal story, it's also a story about friendship. Bob Cat sticks close to Bobbi, and Bobbi is very protective of Bob Cat. In fact, if it weren't for Bobbi's protection, Bob Cat probably wouldn't have survived long enough for the pair to be rescued together and eventually given to a loving home.

Something I like about this story is that I think it might help kids to understand what a natural disaster can do. The destruction after Hurricane Katrina isn't dwelled on, but you can see the mess that the floods left in the pictures in the book.

I like this book a lot, and if I had small kids of my own I would definitely read it to them.

I'd also like to add...

This pair eventually were given to a family in southern Oregon, which I think is cool because I'm an Oregonian myself. When looking for the image of the book cover online I also happened to discover that they have their own website, and that a trailer was made for the book. If you're curious about what the pictures inside the book are like, just look at the trailer.




Last but not least...the illustrator, Jean Cassels, is based in New Orleans. Just think, this is being illustrated by someone whose home is where Hurricane Katrina hit.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What I'm reading

First Rider's Call
by Kristen Britain
Fantasy

This is the second in a trilogy of which I recently read and reviewed the first book, Green Rider.

It isn't the best written book, but it's gripping and I can barely put it down. I've also developed a major crush on one of the characters...agh...

Also, I'm reading this book in digital format on my computer. I've read books on my iPhone, but it's something different to read them on my computer. I'm not sure what to make of it, but I am sure that I prefer to hold a regular book in my hands and be able to turn its paper pages with my own hands rather than click a button on the keyboard or use the mouse.


Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Historical fiction

I'm trying to not get side tracked from this one by The First Rider. In fact, I got this one on audio book so that I can listen to it while doing things with my hands, which is what I was doing before sitting down at my computer just now.


Shogun
by James Clavell
Historical fiction

I've been side tracked from this book, but I will return to it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wow -- graphic novel on YouTube

I just had to share this, it's so fascinating. The first part of a graphic novel has been turned into a video and placed on YouTube. In just seven minutes it tells more of the story than the audio book sample from my last post did in ten minutes. I guess that that visuals really do make a difference in story telling.

The story is Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.

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