shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (Life-Read fast icon)
In spite of all our modern conveniences we still are stuck with the same 24-hour day as our ancestors were. As I spend more time online that extra time must come from elsewhere. I no longer read Time, Newsweek, People or the NY Daily News. However I still read the NY Times and other periodicals so it's just that I've pruned my list to what I really need/want to read. I've found I read fewer books last year than in the past but I'm still reading - only it's online and called fanfic. However I did manage to read some 30 books last year (I may have missed one or two and I did start, but didn't finish, several books obviously not included here). My List of Books Read in 2008 )
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (Default)

My spam-of-the-day was sent by Degenhardt Heacock and whoever this spammer really is I love some of the names he uses. If I ever were to write a story I would give some of the names to my characters *g*

Last night I finished Hard Row by Margaret Maron featuring Judge Deborah Knott who is now married and the stepmother of a young son. As she still lives in her home town, she knows a good many of her fellow townsfolk plus she has dozens of relatives all of which helps her to aid her husband the cop piece together the answer to a couple of mysteries. I enjoyed it as I have most of the others in the series but I figured out the pivotal bit of evidence long before she did. I think I've read too many mysteries :(

I'm fighting off a cold and therefore my brain is a bit fuzzy but does "Quantum of Solace", the title of the new James Bond film, make sense to anyone?

More TV

Jan. 23rd, 2008 06:38 pm
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (Only One Earth)
Last night I watched Buffy win $22,800 on Jeopardy - OK it was somebody else named Buffy. I think this Buffy was in her thirties and a bit overweight which got me to wondering if that might eventually happen to our Buffy if she lives long enough. Then coincidentally twenty minutes later I saw Sarah Michelle Geller on E!'s "The Daily 10" looking prettier than ever. 

Monday night I watched "Life After People" on the History Channel while finishing my second book of the year The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Both covered similar topics but are supposedly unrelated to each other - pure serendipity they say. Both are a bit grim in describing the effects of humanity on the Earth. Our descendents are going to curse the day we ever invented plastic as much of it is apparently indestructible and in the oceans breaks down into nurdles and enters the food chain. We really are messing up our beautiful planet and if we don't grow up and act in a sensible manner and take care of our home we may end up becoming a cancer from which the Earth will take millenia to recover from (after we've died off due to out own stupidity and greed).

Books & TV

Jan. 18th, 2008 02:07 pm
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (Gorey book icon)
Last night I finished my first book of the year. It was The Hand of Evil by J.A. Jance featuring Ali Reynolds, her ex-reporter/blogger character. I must say it was quite a page turner as I read it in one evening but by the end of it after being held hostage by two separate killers and then helping to catch them plus a pedophile in the space of a few days, Ali was less exhausted than I was. This is the main reason I rarely read mysteries these days - is it foolish for me to think that ordinary mystery writers, ex-reporter/bloggers, caterers, catsitters, dog handlers and other civilians wouldn't do their best to avoid getting into the thick of things when there are murderers on the loose? I know I would.

I also caught James Marsters on last night's episode of "Without a Trace" and this time he was able to give a bit of spark to his character. However it  appears now that Detective Grant Mars is on the outs with Vivian and her special task force. Does anyone know if JM will be in future episodes and when he'll return to "Smallville" (supposedly he's going to be in 4 episodes so I don't think I've missed his return)? 
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (Gorey book icon)
Well I was able to finish two more books before the year ended. They were:

Bond of Blood by Diane Whiteside which was a vampire romance novel or a romance vampire novel. The author created her own vampire lore (some of the terms resembled vampire customs used in BtVS fanfic) and she translated most of them into Spanish (eg creador for sire) so it felt a bit more exotic. It was a little too "romancey" for my tastes but I believe it was the first novel in a trilogy about Texas vampires and may get better so I may try number two when it comes out in January.

Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? by Alyson Beatrice. I found this in Tanya Huff's LJ ([profile] andpuff) and thought I'd give it a try. Apparently Beatrice is a bigname fan on the BtVS message boards and chat rooms like Buffistas which is a region of the Buffyverse-on-the-Web that I've never ventured into. She's known to Joss Whedon and Tim Minnear and others at ME so she has a few stories to tell but honestly I don't know why this was thought to be of interest to any but the most ardent BtVS fan (I guess I'm not ardent enough). The best story was how some of her online friends got together and brought Nilly, an Israeli fan, to America for a visit. A book on fandom that I found far more amusing and interesting was Bjo Trimble's On the Good Ship Enterprise published in 1983 though of course fandom has altered considerably with the introduction of the internet.

If I've counted correctly I've read about 28 books this year. There were several more that I started but didn't finish before I returned them to the library. I might take them out again one day but I didn't count them. Nor did I count a couple of anthologies I checked out but only read one or two of the stories in them. I also read two newspapers a day, a half dozen weekly periodicals, several monthlies and of course an uncounted number of fanfics on the web. My icon says it all *g*

Books Read

Dec. 4th, 2007 05:37 pm
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (bookbath icon)
I haven't posted the titles of the books I've read for a few months so now I think I'll just bunch them together in one message. 
The Society of S by Susan Hubbard: an unusual vampire tale, unlike most I've read, revealing a different type of  vampire as the young heroine grows to realize the truth about her parents and herself. The only book that comes close to this visualization of vampire existence that I've read is The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez.
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris: another book in her Sookie Stackhouse series that leaves all in disarray - I enjoy Sookie and look forward to see what HBO does with her.
An Ice Cold Grave also by Charlaine Harris: this is the latest in her Harper Connelly series about a girl who can see dead people. This one is darker than most and the character of young Chuck Almand and his fate will stay with me for some time.  
Legacy (The Sharing Knife #2) by Lois McMaster Bujold: the second book in her Sharing Knife quartet, this one taking place among the Lakedwellers. Bujold excells in her worldbuilding and is even better in her characterizations. Though her Miles Vorkosigan stories are my favorites this series comes in second.
Justice Denied by J.A. Jance: the latest in her J. P. Beaumont series that ends with his marriage to Mel Soames. Since I guessed who the guilty one was early on I don't believe it's one of the better entries in the series.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling: I finally read the book months after the big premiere. I felt it wasn't as good as it might've been if an effective editor had been able to cut it down a bit (as with the 2 previous books). JK always said she'd written the last chapter when she wrote the first book - did she mean the book proper or the epilogue? I wish I had the time and energy to read all 7 at one go (as JK has said it's really one book in 7 parts) to see if she really tied up all the plotpoints and loose ends. I wonder if it will be considered a children's classic 50 years hence but it will certainly be a long time before another series causes such worldwide hoopla.
Dead Heat by Dick Francis and Felix Francis: a fairly competent mystery though I felt there was more Felix than Dick in the writing.
D.A. by Connie Willis: a book that is really a short story in the tone of one of Robert A. Heinlein juveniles with a rather Mary Sue-ish heroine 
And finally I come to Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley which I absolutely looove ( I haven't felt this about a book in ages). For devotees of Nim of "Surface" this is the perfect book. In a parallel Earth, much like our own except for the existence of "mythical" creatures like Nessie and dragons, young Jake comes upon a dying mother dragon and becomes foster mother to her surviving dragonlet named Lois. McKinley gets into the mindset of a maturing teenager beautifully and Lois is beguiling. Her take on telepathy between two disparate species is original and believable. There may be further books but it doesn't matter as this one is satisfying by itself. Robin McKinley is the author of two of my favorite books that I often re-read, Beauty and The Blue Sword (some people have comfort food - I have comfort books). I will add this one to the list. BTW McKinley is a fellow LJer as [profile] robinmckinley, joining Wen Spencer ([profile] wen_spencer), Suzette Haden Elgin ([profile] ozarque), Tanya Huff ([profile] andpuff) and other authors.
BTW does anyone know what "Arcadiae vias peregrinentur" means?

More Books

Jun. 29th, 2007 02:17 pm
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (Default)
I have finally encountered a book I could not comprehend. It's called Hagarism: The Making of the Moslem World by Patrica Crone and Michael Cook which posits that Islam grew out of the diverse Jewish sects of the 7th century. It's truly written for scholars as it is full of references to the various sects, historical personages and uses the vocabulary of religious referents that is basically unknown to me. After reading the first few chapters and finding I needed to use the dictionary practically every page I skimmed the rest of the book hoping that it would get easier but unfortunately it didn't. I feel sure this theory might be pivotal in understanding the origins of Islam but reader beware.
Another book I just finished (I tend to rotate as different books require different attention spans) is Survival of the Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalem where the author explained his theory that current afflictions like diabetes, anemia and high cholesterol among others may have actually helped our ancestors to survive things like the minor Ice Ages and the Black Death. It's a fascinating book which I intend to buy once it comes out in paperback.
On a lighter note I read Deliverer by C.J. Cherryh, the third volume in the third trilogy of her Foreigner series which deals with relationships between the descendents of humans stranded on an alien planet and their native hosts. I rarely read SF these days (after 40 years I'm sort of jaded) but Cherryh is one of the few writers I will read and I truly like what she's doing in this series so I'm looking forward to the next trilogy. I also read All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris which is set in an AU where vampires have come out of the closet. I don't read too many professionally published vampire novels as I get my best vampfixes from fanlit but I do like her stuff. HBO is turning the Sookie Stackhouse books into a TV series starring Anna Paquin. Seems like only yesterday that she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1994 for her role in "The Piano" when she was 11.
I meant to post this on Wednesday but just as I was finishing the computer went dead and the lights and everything else - we had a 48 minute blackout. I tried again yesterday but as I was closing one window the computer thought I wanted ALL the windows closed and there went my second attempt. They say the third times a charm so here goes *fingers crossed*
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (bookbath icon)
I've just finished reading a whole bunch of books (I tend to rotate as different books require different attention spans).
First off was a fast read by J.A. Jance, one of the few mystery writers I'm still reading. It's called Web of Evil and is a sequel to her Edge of Evil. I like the heroine Ali Reynolds and the use of her blog resonates with me however she does get into one or two situations that are unbelievably foolhardy like accompanying the cops when they go to arrest the head villain (and would the cops really let a civilian tag along?) that I think an ordinary person would rather avoid no matter the motivation.
Next up is Even a Daughter is Better Than Nothing by Mykel Board about a man who always yearned to travel to Mongolia and finally got his chance to teach English there for a year. Parts of it were amusing but the author has such an aggravating personality that I felt bad that the Mongolians had to put up with him. A much better book is In the Empire of Genghis Khan by Stanley Stewart about his travels in Mongolia.
I guess I'm on a Mongolia kick as I've also read The Blue Wolf by Frederic Dion (translated from the French) about Genghis Khan. Boy I must say I'm glad I didn't live in those times (or if I did I don't remember) as they were bloody and cruel though to be honest there are parts of our world that are just as bad today *sigh*.
I've also finished Atheism edited by S.T. Joshi. Included is a fascinating chapter written in 1889 titled Humanity's Gain from Unbelief by Charles Bradlaugh. It never really sunk in until I read this how many churches, contrary to modern belief, actively supported slavery because it was in the Bible!! 
Last, but not least, there's Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman which describes current the textual criticism of the Bible; how it is difficult to believe it can be the inerrant word of god as we do not possess the word of god - we merely have copies of copies of copies of the original texts and how over the centuries, as the texts were laboriously handcopied by scribes, changes occured in the text either from human error or deliberately introduced to mirror the scribes POV.
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (bookbath icon)
I'm on a roll - I just finished Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs, a sequel to her Moon Called which I wrote about here. She writes the most page-turning books so I had to be very stern with myself one night to stop reading it and go to bed. In the first book she went into great depth depicting her werewolf culture. In BB she does this with vampires. Her vampires are usually simply transformed humans though in this case the villainous vampire was a turned demon-controlled sorcerer. This is not the BtVS 'verse but I could see the bois from "Supernatural" dropping by. Our heroine is a shifter (she can become a coyote) and straddles the mundane world and the supernatural realm where the fae and werewolves have outted themselves but vampires and other beings remain hidden. Her characters are vivid, the action intense and the romance subdued. It's unfair that this excellent book is a paperback while the mediocre Lord of the Dead came out in hardcover. I can't wait for Iron Kissed, her next book in the series, which I hear will deal with the fae.

I just read that the Geico cavemen might get their own TV series (read about it here). I can't wait *sarcasm*. For those of you who live in ignorant bliss the series of ads deal with cavemen who take umbrage at Geico's motto: "so easy a caveman could do it".
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (bookbath icon)
Last night I finished Renfield by Barbara Hambly, a re-telling of Bram Stoker's Dracula mostly from Renfield's POV. It was fairly interesting but the best re-telling is Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tapes written from Drac's POV and making him the hero. For instance it would appear that it was actually Van Helsing and the others who were responsible for Lucy's death when they transfused their blood into her, ignorant as they were of the different blood types. I usually don't read much horror/fantasy but Barbara Hambly is one of the handul of authors I will read. She wrote one of the best and most imaginative ST:TOS novels when she somehow had the brainstorm to cross that 'verse with that of "Here Come the Brides"!! I don't know how she dreamt that up (the only thing they had in common was that Mark Lenard, Robert Brown and David Soul were both leads on HCtB and guest stars on ST:TOS). Ishmael was one of a handful of books that I read as an adult and almost literally became addicted to - I re-read it constantly over a period of several months after the initial reading. The other books were Grace Ingram's Red Adam's Lady, Mary Renault's The Persian Boy and Elizabeth Lynn's The Sardonyx Net. Now that I've spent decades reading books, the re-reading compulsion hasn't occured in years except for certain fanfics online.

Books Read

Feb. 23rd, 2007 01:14 pm
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (bookbath icon)
Well I've finished 3 more books (I tend to alternate books as I'm reading).
The first was Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen by Joyce Tyldesley in which she goes over what is known about the reign of Akhenaten, revealing the myriad theories that abound in Egyptology and giving her opinion as to which are the more credible - I now no longer think it likely that Nefertiti ruled as Smenkhare. 
Then comes Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World by Oliver Morton where the author tells of the history of our speculations about Mars, what the probes have revealed and what will we do when we get there eg should we terraform it?
Finally there's Lord of the Dead by Tom Holland in which the author turns Lord Byron into a vampire. I cannot recommend this book. For most of the book he has Byron telling his story to his descendent thereby removing any suspense as he goes on and on. Far better if the story had been written as the events of the novel were happening. He also leaves a few loose ends which he may not even have realized were loose ends ie he creates a  vampire named Lovelace, which is the the title of the man Byron's daughter Ada married, so is there any relation and if not why did he use that name? Anyway I'm adding Byron's name to the list of real life people that writers have vamped including the Comte de Saint-Germain and Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Henry the VIII. Know of any others?


Jan. 21st, 2007 02:18 pm
shakatany: Sleeping woman plus moon and stars (bookbath icon)
It seems that  [personal profile] riani1and I will be attempting to list the books we've finished this year (not necessarily like  [profile] 52booksprojector [profile] book_it_2007) but just as we happen to finish them.

I've now finished:

The Addams Chronicles by Stephen Cox about the television series "The Addams Family". Did you know that Carolyn Jones (Morticia) was part Comanche?

Jewels by Victoria Finlay which is about...jewels. Did you know that most of the bad luck attributed to the Hope Diamond was made up except for the bad things that happened to its last owner Evalyn Walsh McLean?

Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau. Though it reads like a giant ad for his website it also makes you want to consume nothing but distilled water and food you grow yourself (really helpful in the big city *sarcasm*). He points out the close relationship between big pharmaceutical and big food companies and the FDA and the FTC which is very scary but not surprising as I've not had much trust in our government for the past 7 years *sigh*


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