Thursday, May 29, 2008

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

treasure island
robert louis stevenson
259 pages
c. 1883
completed 5/28/2008

*may contain sploilers*

This is my favorite book in the whole world. I probably read it for the first time before the age of 10. I think I probably haven't read it in a few years, but I read it just now for the Heart of a Child Challenge (see sidebar). And I loved it just the same as when I read it the first time about 13 years ago.

The story is intriguing the whole time. You always wonder what's coming next. Who is the Captain really? What is it that Black Dog and Blind Pew are after? Is Long John Silver, the pleasant and helpful ship's cook the same one legged man that Billy Bones was so afraid of? Is Dick in the beginning and Dick in the end the same person? Why would the doctor give up the stockade?

This is just one of those simple, great adventure stories. The adventure never ends. Sure, most of the characters are not very well rounded (except maybe Long John Silver), but you still care for them. Even one or two of the pirates (for some reason I have a special place in my heart for Dick, the young pirate who was so in awe of Long John. And I try to believe he didn't die of his fever when left on the island).

I don't know. I could talk about this book forever, but I'll just leave it at this. It gets the job done.


Southern Reading Haiku

I haven't started reading anything for the Southern Reading Challenge (see sidebar) YET, but it's coming up. But I thought this little challenge was so cute so I'm kinda of faking it. The first book I'm reading for this challenge is by Fannie Falgg. I also read one of her other books, Fried Green Tomatoes, earlier this year, so my haiku is based on that book instead. So......
spend time with your friends
hear the new gossip and eat
fried green tomatoes

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

So I spent my Memorial Day at Cricket Stadium in Chula Vista, CA watching an Elvis Costello/The Police concert. Which I got to go to for free. Jealous?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Booking through thursday #12...

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

Books and movies and movies are completely different mediums. A book literally tells you a story; someone is talking to you. You hear the words in your head and they invoke the pictures in your imagination. They can take the time to unfold slowly, letting the language and story wash over you. There are really no limitations of length. They can take 100 pages to tell the story or 1000.

Movies, like I said, are another medium. They have, at the VERY most, three hours to tell their story. And that length is reserved for the hugely anticipated blockbusters like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. A normal movie is only about two hours. When you're translating a book to a movie, if it's a full novel as opposed to a short novel or novella, that's hard. Close to impossible. 1 page of script in a screenplay is supposed to equal roughly 1 minute of screen time. So think about it. A movie is 2 hours long, so 120 minutes. That's 120 pages. How many novels are that short? Of course things are going to be left out. A book can tell you the back story, can delve into deep psychological character development, can tell you how a person feels about their current environment. A movie has to show that.

It's hard to compare a movie and a book. A movie takes a novel and instead of making that novel into a play script by reading it line for line, they take the characters, the events, and themes that are discussed and go from there. The movie is it's own story. The movie is an interpretation of that story.

I think I kind of rambled a bit in that answer. I got interrupted a few times while writing it (seeing as I am at work). But hopefully I got the idea across.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Classics Meme

I will be officially joining the Classics Challenge 2008 in June when the sign up is posted and once I've chosen my books, but in the meantime, I'll take some time to fill out the pre-challenge meme.

1. My favorite classic is Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
2. The classic I had the toughest time finishing is Adam Bede, mostly due to the author's writing style I think.
3. I would recommend Treasure Island to someone who doesn't read a lot of classics or who doesn't generally like classics because it was not meant for literary analysis or as a social commentary on its day, just a pure adventure story for entertainment. A super fun way to enter into the world of the "classic."
4. To me, a classic book is a book that stands the test of time: one that is still loved and/or studied at least 50 years after they were first published. A classic defines the era in which it was written. It revolutionizes peoples' thinking either because of the subject matter or the writing style. A classic is iconic.
5. The type of relationship I have with classics is somewhat forced. I want to be "well read" and part of that is knowing your classics. Sometimes this is easy and enjoyable while other times this is somewhat difficult.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

wuthering heights
emily bronte
c. 1847
247 pages
completed 5/14/08

*may contain spoilers*

Read for both the Decades Challenge and the 1% Challenge (see sidebar), mostly because I'm surprised I haven't read this before. This is one of those books I feel I should have read long ago, but somehow missed.

Probably about halfway through the book I started writing down some thoughts, mostly about the characters. Basically my main thought was 'I really hate everyone in this story.' I hated Heathcliff and Catherine. I thought they were the most awful, hateful people. I was not at all sorry for the pain and torment they put each other through. I did not care at all for their love for each other. I almost feel you can't classify it as love, seeing the torture they inflicted on each other. It nothing more than obsession.

For all the other characters, my opinions of them changed all the time, except for I think Joseph and Mr. Lockwood. I couldn't stand Joseph, and I liked Mr. Lockwood, though to be fair he didn't do much. Edgar and Isabella I started out detesting for their weakness, but in the end they grew on me. The same with Hindley and Hareton. Their boorishness made them unlikable, but occasionally their actions showed a softer side of them. With Linton, though I felt sorry for him because of his poor health and was heartbroken when he was taken from Edgar and had to be delivered to Heathcliff, it was hard to remember this pity when everything he did was out of selfishness, fear for his self, and self pity.

I was appalled through most of this book at Heathcliff's actions. His cruelty was despicable. I've read many reviewers write that his unending love for Catherine should redeem him in the readers eyes, but I saw nothing redeemable or admirable in their love for each other. He was scorned by her and he took his revenge out on everyone else around him.

This was not what I expected coming into this book. I knew it was a love story between Heathcliff and Catherine, but I didn't realize that their love would be match by their hatred. This story just held you because you felt so terrible for these other decent people (Edgar, Isabella, Cathy, Nelly, even Linton and Hareton) and you just had to know what other torture would be inflicted on that at Heathcliff's mercy.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Once again...

Penguin Classics - P
1. Pamela - Samuel Richardson
2. Pan - Knut Hamsun
3. Parade's End - Ford Madox Ford
4. Paradise Lost - John Milton
5. A Parisian Affair and Other Stories - Guy de Maupassant
6. Parzival - Wolfram Von Eschenbeck
7. The Pastures of Heaven - John Steinbeck
8. The Pathfinder - James Fenimore Cooper
9. The Pearl - John Steinbeck
10. Peer Gynt - Henrik Ibsen
11. Pensees - Blaise Pascal
12. Pericles - William Shakespear
13. Persuasion - Jane Austen
14. Peter and Wendy - JM Barrie
15. Phedre - Jean Racine
16. Phineas Redux - Anthony Trollope
17. The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens
18. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
19. Pierre: or the Ambiguities - Herman Melville
20. Pierre and Jean - Guy de Maupassant
21. Pinocchio - Carlo Collodi
22. The Pioneers - James Fenimore Cooper
23. The Pit - Frank Norris
24. The Playboy of the Western World - JM Synge
25. Plays - Anton Chekhov
26. Plays and Fragments - Meander
27. Plays Pleasant - George Bernard Shaw
28. Plays Unpleasant - George Bernard Shaw
29. The Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan
30. Piers the Ploughman - William Langland
31. Poor Folk and Other Stories - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
32. The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
33. The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
34. The Pot of Gold and Other Plays - Plautus
35. The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene
36. The Prairie - James Fenimore Cooper
37. Praise of Folly - Desiderius Erasmus
38. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
39. The Prime Minister - Anthony Trollope
40. The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli
41. The Prince and the Pauper - Mark Twain
42. The Princess Casamassima - Henry James
43. La Princesse de Cleves - Madame de Lafayette
44. The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau - Anthony Hope
45. The Professor - Charlotte Bronte
46. Prometheus Bound and Other Plays - Aeschylus
47. The Promised Land - Mary Antin
48. Pudd'nhead Wilson - Mark Twain
49. The Pursuit of the Well Beloved - Thomas Hardy
50. Pygmalion - George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Booking through thursday #11...

Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

I have a few in my personal library, though I haven't read any of them very extensively. I have a few different "How-to's" on screenwriting, a past time/career that's always been in the back of my mind, though I've never had the time to really sit down and go through them. Except to look for the different movie titles to add them to my 'ones to watch' list.

I also have a French/English dictionary from when I took French in high school (bonjour!).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Red and the Black - Stendhal

the red and the black
485 pages
completed 5/7/08

*may contain spoilers*

I am pretty sure I liked this book.

I was never sure of Julien's character. I had trouble deciding if I liked him or not. I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to like him. There were times when he was super shy and bumbling and terrified of everything, or where he was so passionate and completely in awe of someone he respected. But there were other times when he was so selfish, so arrogant, and full of so much self love and self pity. Stendhal kept referring to him as 'our hero' so I think I should like him, but I don't know.

I was never sure if he was actually in love with Madame de Renal or Mademoiselle de la Mole or just obsessed with the idea of possessing their love, the love of those in a superior class. I felt bad for both women. I didn't really like either of them, I thought they were too weak and petty and small minded, but I did feel for them. They had such passion for this man and were risking so much for his love and he could really take it or leave it. He loved them when he wanted to, not constantly.

His hypocrisy irritated me. He held the upper class with such disdain, as I think most peasant like him did in those days, yet he so much wanted to be a part of them.

I think there is probably a lot of this book that I didn't get, especially some of the French politics and Julien's psychological structure. As for the story itself, I enjoyed it.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two new challenges...

I recently finished the Expanding Horizons 08 challenge and so have replaced it with two new challenges!

Challenge #1: Southern Reading Challenge

Being someone with roots in the South (family all from Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina) and someone who has always loved all the time spent down there, I was super excited for this challenge. The rules are simple. Between May 15 and August 15, read 3 books by a Southern author set somewhere in the South.

My three books will be:

1. Standing in the Rainbow - Fannie Flagg
2. Quite a Year for Plums - Bailey White
3. Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen - Susan Gregg Gilmore

Challenge #2: 1% Challenge

This challenge is based of the list 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. The rules are to choose ten books off the list to read in ten months, May 1 - February 28. These ten represent roughly 1% (hence the challenge title). I have already read some books off the list, and had planned to someday read all of them, so this is a good start!

And the ten books will be:

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Saturday - Ian McEwan
Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
The Virgin Suicides – Jeffery Eugenides
Emma – Jane Austen
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Casino Royale – Ian Flemming
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

I think there's a good mix. Some classics, some more recent. Fun fun.

Book Binge

book binge
Book Binge for the month of May! All through May we're keeping track of every book we read and come June 1st, we'll post them all. Pretty simple seeing as I do that already.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Booking through thursday #10...

Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….

Thankfully there's usually a bookstore or magazine stand in the airport, so I would just hit that up. Probably I wouldn't buy any books (because they never seem to have any decent books) so it would be all about the magazines for me. A little People, some Entertainment Weekly, maybe even a Cosmo or a Rolling Stone. If things were really desperate, I could probably even bring myself to stock up on Star, Intouch, or Life&Style. Classy. I know.