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 I looked inside The Red Tent (I also love 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'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

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

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

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


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.


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