Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Megan's Book Meme

Megan tagged me, so here goes. :)

1) I don't usually buy books for the cover, but I probably would if I had the $$. A fab cover WILL make me pick a book up, though, and buy it if it sounds interesting. Does that count as buying it for the cover? I always buy books by friends (only I'm getting way too many darned writing friends), and a few auto-buy authors.
2) I don't crack spines. I like my books to stay nice and new looking. Just picky that way. I also don't loan out books much, except to select, trusted bibliophile friends.
3) Ooooh, there's nothing better than bringing home an anticipated new book! I'm dying to buy Phillipa Gregory's new one, "The Constant Princess". And I have Zadie Smith's new one staring at me from across the room. I could just live at Barnes and Noble if they would let me, roaming the aisles at all hours touching nice, new book spines. :)
4) I read one Nora Roberts. I think it was "Born in Fire." Or maybe "Born in Ice." It was okay, but I was never tempted to try another. Same with Suzanne Brockman.
5) I love covers that use real paintings, like the new Susan Carroll books. I hate those Avon clinch covers, with the women in the faux-Regency shiny satin gowns, their bosoms falling out, and the men with their doofus Halloween vampire capes. Eeek.
6) I don't often re-read. It's that whole "so many books, so little time" thing. But I do go back to Jane Austen, or parts of "Jane Eyre" and "Middlemarch". And bits of "Anna Karenina." I've re-read Loretta Chase's "Lord of Scoundrels" once (yes, it's that good), and Laura Kinsale's "For My Lady's Heart." That's about it.
7) I always have at least 2 books going. One in my bag for work breaks, one on my nightstand for bedtime. Sometimes more, depending on what I just picked up at the library. And I always have to plan my travel books carefully. You can't take just one book on a trip, because what if that one sucked? And it has to be good on a flight. I'm a bad flyer, and need distraction (right, Kay-Kay? I doubt she'll ever fly with me again...)
8) I can read and eat cereal at the same time. Does that count?
9) I read (almost) anything and everything. Romance, of course, though not as much as I used to. In high school, I could read 5 or 6 a week. And my parents wondered why my algebra grades were so bad. I read mysteries, non-fiction, literary fiction, a slew of magazines. Not much sci-fi or horror, though.
10) I do love lush, evocative description and world-building (like Kinsale's "Shadowheart") and wish I could do this sort of thing easily myself. And I appreciate dialogue where all the characters speaking actually sound like individual people, and not all the same. And if an author says her characters are "witty", they'd darn well better sound witty.
11) I don't mind kids in books, if they are neccesary to the plot (but not JUST plot contrivances), and if they really behave like children. Elena Greene writes about interesting, realistic child characters, while there is one Regency author who shall remain nameless whose books I had to give up on because her children were so egregiously obnoxious. I really hate contemp. secret baby books, though. And books where the heroine is heavily pregnant. Who really feels "romantic" then???
12) E-books--I read one once. It was a good story. But I guess I'm a Luddite where they are concerned. I like books, the paper, the ink, the covers, snuggling under a throw blanket with one on a cold afternoon.
13) I like the way trade looks--pretty covers (usually), classy-looking size, stuff like that. I hate the price, though, and don't buy many. Would love to have a book out in trade myself, though. Sigh.
14) I used to think I had to finish every book I started. Every. Single. Book. Now I know life is too short and there are too many books in the world.
15) Pet peeves--the aforementioned thing about when an author SAYS her characters are witty/brilliant/braniac, and then they go off and behave like morons at every possible opportunity. "Tortured" heroes who really have no complexity, they are just whiny. "Feisty" heroines who run off and nearly get killed, and must be rescued by the hero 10 times by page 200.
16) I look forward to the huge Friends of the Library booksale every year, even though I already have at least 10 storage tubs full of books in my garage, as well as all the volumes on shelves and piled on the floor. I can't help myself. It's an addiction.
17) The first book I ever read by myself was a story about a princess whose very long hair grew unwieldy. It tripped her, and wound around stuff in the palace, and caught all her servants and even the hairdresser in its curls. Can't remember the title--it had great pen and ink drawings of all those loops of hair. Is it sad that my first experience of literature was about mishaps in hairstyling? Maybe that's why I cut all my hair off. Some of my favorite books after that were the Eloise stories. I drove my mom crazy asking if I could move into the Plaza.
18) I sometimes read the end first.

And now, I tag Kelli.

And I'm going out of town tomorrow for a few days, but will try to post while I'm gone. Happy reading! :)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Over at RR today!

It's Monday, which means "Risky Regency" post day! I'm talking about chocolate today, and there are some great Regency costuming links. Check it out! (http://www.riskyregencies.blogspot.com)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! A few things I'm thankful for:
Good health (cliched, I know, but true!)
Good friends (no one has ever been luckier in their friends than I have)
Work I love
Great pets who love me, even if it's just because I keep them in Science Diet and little Burberry coats
A huge to-be-read pile. It would be terrible to run out of books!
Memories of my grandparents (see the pics I posted!)
Pink roses
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Hello Kitty
Orlando (and the guys on "Lost")

Have a great day, everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday, Monday

Here is one more picture from my first Christmas! (I hope everyone likes seeing these--I borrowed my family's holiday albums, and will be posting a lot of them in the next few weeks. Saves time on deciding what to blog about in this crazy season). One more good gift idea: http://www.bn.com, and click on Gift Cards. :)
As you can see, books have always been a favorite present of mine. And while you're there at the website, be sure and pick up the Signet anthologies that yours truly had stories in--"A Regency Christmas" and "Regency Christmas Magic"!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A pic of my very first Christmas!

And my first Christmas dress, made by my mother!

One other great Christmas gift site--http://www.sanrio.com

Friday, November 18, 2005

Christmas is coming!

I know the holiday season is officially starting, not because Thanksgiving (and the knock-down, drag-out tearful fest that is my extended family's gathering) is only 6 days away, but because I went to an open house at a local shopping center last night. There was fudge, carols played on the bagpipes, and sales, and I bought my first Christmas gift. Only 10 more to buy!

There was also a post on Risky Regencies asking about our Christmas wish lists, and I came up with some great, Janeite stuff for mine:
A Jane Austen action figure at The Writers Store (http://www.writersstore.com). they also have a Shakespeare action figure!

The Jane Austen Little Thinker doll at my favorite online shop, The Unemployed Philosophers Guild (http://www.philosophersguild.com ) . My Frida Kahlo and Emily Dickinson dolls want her to join their unholy sorority. (There are also Shakespeare and Gandhi Little Thinkers)

And at Bas Bleu (http://www.basbleu.com), they have not only a Pride and Prejudice board game, but a beach towel printed with the first few paragraphs of P&P (thanks for pointing this out, Megan!)

Happy shopping, everyone! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What I'm Reading

It's finally cold here!!! By the time, say, March rolls around, I'm tired of sweaters and scarves and only want sunshine, but in late fall I love it when the air turns crisp and I pile extra blankets on the bed and light a fire in the fireplace. It's also great weather for snuggling in and reading. I'm reading Jude Morgan's "Passion" right now, a historical fiction novel about women of the Romantic age--Caroline Lamb, Fanny Brawne, Augusta Leigh, Mary Shelley. It's very enjoyable, but I'm starting to realize that, somehow, these four very different women somehow sound, well, all the same. I've also been inspired by all the Janeite-ness in the air lately, and have been flipping back through Claire Tomalin's enjoyable Austen bio.

They also serve to keep me from having to rake the leaves...

Monday, November 14, 2005

At RR today!

Just posted a list of great Jane Austen links over at Risky Regencies, so check it out! http://www.riskyregencies.com We're also having a fun discussion about the new Pride and Prejudice movie and my new Mr. Darcy boyfriend...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Banned Books, 2

And a few more I found:

1) "Canterbury Tales" (outright banned as recently as 1928; a few places still use editions with certain words deleted. As if anyone knows what they really are anyway...)
2) "Just Right Family: Cabbage Patch Kids Series" (used ungrammatical writing. Finally, a reason I can get behind, LOL)
3) Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" (encourages occult activities. Because every man wants not one but two nagging wives on his case)
4) "Diary of Anne Frank" (in 1983, it was declared a "real downer"; in 1998, pornographic)
5) Penny Hayden's "Confidence" (along with several other books in a public library was the target of a self-appointed censor, who whited out certain words and sexually explicit phrases. When I worked in a bookstore, we ran into this as well. Where do people find the time?)
6) "Myths and Their Meanings" (stories about figures like Zeus and Apollo "threaten Western civilizations foundations." Now, I am no classical scholar, but I thought that Greek myths were part of Western civ's foundations...)
7) Ibsen's "A Doll's House" (propagates feminist views. You know, things like individual choice and pesky concepts like that)
8) "Walter the Farting Dog" (used the words "fart" or "farting" 24 times. Who has time to count them??? And if you're going to ban a book for farting, you might as well go after Canterbury Tales. Oh, wait a minute--they did)
9) "Moby Dick" (in 1996, it was stated that MD "conflicts with the values of the community." What, they're against whaling? Or crazy seamen? Can I vote to ban it for being BORING?)
10) "Froggy Went a-Courting" (again in 1996, Froggy's "nefarious activities", including speeding away from the cat police, set a bad example)
11) The "Captain Underpants" books (teaches kids to not obey authority or the law--"including God's laws"--as well as improper spelling, making fun of what people wear, and poor nutrition. I always suspected I was going to hell for eating Twinkies, overuse of spell-check, and making fun of people wearing gauchos. Now I know it.)
12) Samule Richardson's "Pamela" (banned by the Catholic Church in 1744, still in effect in 1906)
13) "Twelfth Night" (again in 1996--what was in the water that year? It has "the effect of encouraging or supporting homosexuality as a possible lifestyle alternative")
14) Shel Silverstein's "A Light in the Attic" (among many other things, it "encourages children to break dishes so they won't have to dry them")
15) Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" (burned by the Nazis for Sinclair's socialist viewpoint. But not, strangely, for his disgusting revelations about what is actually in sausages)
16) Bertrice Small's "To Love Again" (declared "pornographic". How do I get someone to declare MY books porn???)
17) "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" (challenged as recently as 2002. No funny reason given, I just really liked this book when I was a kid and would hate to see it removed from any library)
18) "Zen Buddhism" ("details the teachings of Buddhism in such a way that the reader could very likely embrace its teachings and choose this as their religion." And wouldn't THAT be horrible? I've been on the wrong path the last few years, people, and it must have been due to reading one book about Buddhism...)
19) Wallace Irving's "The Fan Club" (1974, someone was told it is "not library policy to purchases formula-written commercial fiction." If that was so, we would all be reading, say Frantzen or Foer all the time every day, and I would have to jump out a window)

There you have it. :) I went to see the new Pride and Prejudice movie today, and will blog about it tomorrow.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Banned books, 1

Sorry I haven't posted this week. I've been working hard--have 3 proposals I'm trying to juggle right now, as well as the day job--but that's just not interesting to anyone but me. :) I was glancing through a book about all the "challenged" books in the last few years today, though, and just wanted to share some of the more absurd/ridiculous entries. (Not that banning ANY book is not ridiculous--there is almost nothing that makes me angrier than one person telling another how they should think, or that they should not think at all--these are just some of the oddest):

1) "Ida and the Wool Smugglers" (the mother is "neglectful" because she sent her daughter to the neighbors even though the smugglers were out and about)
2) "The Stupids Die" and other "Stupids" titles ("because children shouldn't refer to anyone as 'stupid'". Well, that's just stupid.)
3) Hans C. Anderson's "The Little Mermaid" (it's "pornographic" and contains "Satanic pictures")
4) "The Life and Times of Renoir" (because of the nude paintings--that wicked pornographer Renoir)
5) Jill Anderson's "Pumsy" ("propagates principles of secular humanism" and "new age religion" and also "drives a wedge between children and parents." Oh, noooo, not secular humanism!!!)
6) Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings" (among many other things, it "preaches bitterness and hatred against whites." Maybe on the grounds that it never actually tells us why the caged bird sings...)
7) Francis Bacon's "Advancement of Learning" (granted, it was banned by the Inquisition in 1640, but it still makes me mad)
8) Edna Barth's "Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts" ("interests little minds into accepting the devil with all of his evil works")
9) "Literature of the Supernatural", featuring stories by Poe, Bradbury, Dante, Shakespeare, et al ("promotes the occult, sexual promiscuity, and anti-Americanism")
10) Bonnie Bogart's "Ewoks Join the Fight" ("every page except for 3 has some sort of violence--somebody gets knocked down or the Death Star is blown up". Surprisingly, not on the grounds that Ewoks are the most obnoxiously saccharine creatures this side of Jar Jar Binks)
11) Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Aurora Leigh" (Boston, 1857--"the hysterical indecencies of an erotic mind". I wish someone would say that about one of my books)

More tomorrow...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Guy Fawkes Day

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! "Remember, remember the 5th of November." Hope you light a bonfire and give "a penny for the guy". :)

In news totally unrelated to trying to blow up Parliament (hopefully), someone sent me a list from Esquire magazine titled "59 Things a Man Should Never Do Past 30". It was funny, and, in many cases, oh so unfortunately true. Here are a few favorites:
Coin his own nickname
Name his penis his name plus "junior"
Hang "The Scream"--unless he stole it from the Munch museum in Oslo
Shout out a response to "Are you ready to rock?"
Use the word "collated" on his resume
Name pets after Middle Earth characters
Give shout-outs
Wear Disney-theme ties
Wake up to a "morning zoo"
Air drum
Eat Oreo cookies in stages
Sleep on a bare mattress
Hold his lighter up at a concert
Propose via stadium Jumbotron
Google the word "vagina"
Sport an ironic mustache
Purchase at-home brewing paraphenalia
The John Travolta point to the ceiling point to the floor dance move; also that one from Pulp Fiction
Read The Fountainhead
Watch the Pink Floyd laser show at a planetarium
Refer to his girlfriend's breasts as "the twins"
Say goodbye to anyone by tapping his chest and even so much as whispering "Peace out"

So, peace out, dudes, and I'll see you tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mid-week things

This week is fund raiser time at work, so I'm kinda frazzled (and blue, since Halloween is over for a whole other year!). But if you want to see something scary (post-Halloween, post-Day of the Dead) check out http://www.awfulplasticsurgery.com

And be sure and help me round out my fantasy Byron movie cast. :)