Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reader's Corner - March 2013 Update

"I don't think Elphaba's that bad."
Another crazy busy month is almost over. But I did manage to get some reading in.

I finished reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and now I'm almost done reading Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough (review forthcoming).

In audibooks, I listened to the delightful (and incredibly short) I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

I also listened to Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I haven't seen the musical, but I know a few of the songs and have a rough idea of what it's about. The book is substantially different from what I thought I knew. The novel's world-building is phenomenal and its characters are rich and complex. Elphaba grows up to be the Wicked Witch of the West, but "wicked" is a dubious term. The novel starts shortly before her birth and continues to her inevitable death. Elphaba is outcast from the moment she's born because of her green skin. But when she makes the wrong choices, does it prove that she's wicked or merely human?

Maguire was clearly influenced by both the original L. Frank Baum book and the 1939 movie of The Wizard of Oz, and yet clearly makes Wicked his own.

Bonus Video: Gregory Maguire discusses the origins of Wicked:


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Return of the Random Cat Videos

Pablo the Cat
I can no longer put it off.

This weekend I have to sort through my papers and organize my tax information.

But if you can put it off a little longer, here are some random cat videos to help you procrastinate.

(And that good-looking cat in the picture is Pablo, who gets his fluffy coat and big paws from some Maine Coon ancestor.)

First up is Henri, the French Existentialist Cat. There are a whole series of Henri videos now, including an endorsement deal he got with Friskies. But the first is still the best.

Henri the French Existentialist Cat:




If you think teaching your cat how to walk on a leash is hard, you might have better luck teaching them how to walk their human.

How to Walk Your Human:




Finally, this video was so funny that the tears of laughter blinded me and I had to watch it again. And again.

Scientific Proof that Cats are Better Than Dogs:



Enjoy!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Scarlet Book Review

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0312642969

464 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

Marissa Meyer fans will not be disappointed in Scarlet, Book 2 in The Lunar Chronicles. It has all the heart-pounding action, humor, and touches of romance that Cinder has.

Scarlet centers on Scarlet, the granddaughter of Michelle Benoit, a former pilot who once made a diplomatic mission to Luna. When Michelle disappears under mysterious circumstances, Scarlet goes on the hunt for her and teams up with Wolf, a street fighter who is more than he seems to be.

Meanwhile, Cinder is a fugitive and trying to figure out what to do next. While she's on the lam she meets Captain Carswell Thorne, an American Federation pilot who may be more trouble to her than he's worth.

Eventually, Cinder and Scarlet meet up at the best/worst possible time and the stage is set for Book 3.

Scarlet is a rollicking good read with lots of action and some swoony bits between Scarlet and Wolf. It's a little too insta-love for me, but readers who like brooding love scenes will eat it up.

All-in-all, a good read for science-fiction fans and fans of fairy tale retellings. I'd recommend to readers who enjoyed Across the Universe by Beth Revis or Entwined by Heather Dixon.

Scarlet Book Trailer:


Scarlet Audiobook Excerpt: 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Reader's Corner - February 2013 Update

"Patrick Stewart should play the Major."
I'm starting to get slammed at work with planning summer reading and other programming, so I haven't been able to read as much as I'd like.

I am almost done with Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, Book 2 in The Lunar Chronicles. It's been a lot of fun so far and a review will be forthcoming.

In audiobooks, I took a break from YA books last month. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson has been on my TBR pile for awhile, so I decided to listen to it instead.

What a charming story! It hits every Anglophile button for me. There's wit and social satire and quaint village life and romance. In this case, the romance is between sixty-something Major Pettigrew and his Pakistani neighbor, Mrs. Ali, who runs the village shop. Both are widowed and what starts out as a friendship turns into something more.

Of course there are obstacles, most notably Mrs. Ali's nephew and Major Pettigrew's country club friends. But I don't think it's too spoilery to say that a few set-backs, including a near riot at a dance, a runaway bride, and a shooting, doesn't keep the Major down.

Bonus video: Helen Simonson talks about Major Pettigrew's Last Stand







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