Monthly Archives: October 2011

Have A Very Literary Halloween

Sherlock Holmes costumeHappy Halloween everybody! Admittedly, this is one of those holidays that lost its luster sometime between the ages of dressing as Little Mermaid and dressing as Sexy Little Mermaid. (It’s also better when there isn’t a freak snowstorm in October, but that’s another story.)

Even though I do not enjoy coming up with a costume, I can appreciate the creativity of others. That’s why I like GalleyCat and Random House’s efforts to aggregate literary halloween costume ideas. There’s a Curious George, Rhett Butler, and Heathcliff to name a few. There’s also a link for great ideas for kids including Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie, The Cat in the Hat and more.

Now that I think about it, I inadvertently wore my own literary costume for a party this weekend. In looking for an easy out, I went the generic detective route as pictured here. However, it totally qualifies as a Sherlock Holmes get-up. And I’d like to think Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be proud.

(Please note my costume appropriately involved a trench coat but it was way too hot inside to keep it on.)


Wear The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Dragon Tattoo clothing lineFor your Friday Funday, I present to you a line of clothing based on the heroine in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

GalleyCat informs us that H&M commissioned the costume designer for the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movie to create the line inspired by Lisbeth Salander.

And what do you need to wear to epitomize the fierce Lisbeth? All it takes is some black ripped tees, asymmetrical jackets and leather leggings. I could totally pull it off. Am I right?

Next Up: Deeper Than The Dead

Deeper Than The DeadJust when I think I’m getting to the end of my mom’s list, it seems to grow right before my eyes. There’s still a whopping 18 books left! So if I’m not at the real end of the list, I might as well jump down to the literal end of the list. Which brings me to Tami Hoag’s Deeper Than The Dead.

It also seems to be good timing. The title is vaguely Halloween-y and the cover is definitely autumn-y.

From the description the book does not sound like my normal fare:

California, 1985-Four children and young teacher Anne Navarre make a gruesome discovery: a partially buried female body, her eyes and mouth glued shut. A serial killer is at large, and the very bonds that hold their idyllic town together are about to be tested. Tasked with finding the killer, FBI investigator Vince Leone employs a new and controversial FBI technique called “profiling”, which plunges him into the lives of the four children-and the young teacher whose need to uncover the truth is as intense as his own. But as new victims are found, Vince and Anne find themselves circling the same small group of local suspects, blissfully unaware that someone very near to them is a murderous psychopath…

Serial killers haven’t been my usual reading material lately but it does call to mind my Mary Higgins Clark obsession of my younger years. And if nothing else, it’s a departure from my ordinary.

A Review of Peony in Love

Peony in LoveJust a few chapters into Lisa See’s Peony in Love I grew very skeptical. It turns out the story is mostly told from the perspective of a ghost. I don’t really do ghosts. (Or vampires or zombies or werewolves or mermaids.) That was a concept that took quite some time to get used to, but I did my best to let it go.

I understand that the emphasis on the afterlife is really a look into the Chinese culture and their beliefs. Lisa See’s books are always big on research and history and culture. I am just not cultured enough to fully appreciate it though I know it takes skill to make a compelling plot with such a strong background.

Even if I can’t appreciate all the cultural elements, the story kept my attention. Right before being married to a man she doesn’t know, Peony dies of lovesickness. She is then forced to roam as a ghost and ends up influencing her sisterwives’ lives. If it sounds a little far out there, it’s because it is. But it makes sense in context.

With most of Lisa See’s books I’ve wanted to like them more than I actually have. However, I didn’t mind this one as much as I thought I would when I found out the point of view. I enjoyed the great writing and the story moved swiftly and smoothly.

All in all, a solid Lisa See novel… and I know because thanks to my mom I’ve read quite a few of them.

e-Reader Envy

KindleMy birthday last week was also the two year anniversary of my being a Kindle owner. A few months later I even got my mom on board the Kindle bus. And now my dad is a user as well.

Sometimes I feel guilty about harming the publishing industry, but at the same time an e-reader hasn’t diminished my love for print books, it has just made it easier (and more financially possible) for me to read even more.

Since I received my Kindle, there have been many advancements and new additions to the e-reader world. Most recently, Amazon announced three new Kindles: the next generation Kindle, the Kindle Touch, and the Kindle Fire. I started to feel a little e-reader envy. I was practically stuck in the Stone Age with my second generation gizmo.

Then I saw somewhere that Amazon actually has a Kindle trade-in program. You return your old Kindle to them and they give you money back… presumably to use on an upgrade. I had to examine further. It turns out for my model a “Like New” Kindle fetches $40, a “Good” one $17, and “Acceptable” $12. Well if you ask me, my Kindle is “Like New,” but apparently to qualify you need to have the original packaging. Like there’s room for that in a New York apartment. Ugh, it’s just like that time I cut off all my Beanie Babies’ tags.

Needless to say, I decided it was not worth the $17 for the trade-in. Plus, if I really stop to think about it, I am perfectly happy with my Kindle. All I want to be able to do with it is download e-books and read them, which it does perfectly. The grass is always greener, but I’m satisfied with what I have. Then again, if someone wanted to give me an iPad…

The Night Circus and Other Audiobook Love

Jim DaleFor the past few weeks I’ve been listening to The Night Circus audiobook and I’m really liking it! I almost hope for mindless activities at work so I have an excuse to turn it on for a little while. Need envelopes stuffed? Sure, no problem!

While the story is enchanting, I have to give a lot of the credit to the narrator Jim Dale. I’ve mentioned it before, but in the world of audiobooks, Jim Dale is king. He narrated the Harry Potter series and people of all ages fell in love. I passed the word along to Maggie who was re-reading the Harry Potter series and she took my advice and went for the audio for one of them. She too sang Jim Dale’s praises. So if you like a bit of a British accent and someone who will expertly differentiate characters and more, than Jim’s your guy… for audiobook narration.

Also in the world of audiobooks, Gabrielle Giffords’ memoir Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope comes out November 15 in both print and audio. Her husband Mark Kelly, who cowrote the book, will narrate most of it, but it was just reported that Giffords will read the final chapter. Giffords, the US representative from Arizona who was shot in the head last January, has made remarkable medical progress and narrating a part of her audiobook is just further proof of that recovery. It is so nice to see… and hear.

Book Club’s Next Pick…

True Confections I wanted to have blog post up yesterday, I really did. But then Andrew took me out to dinner for my birthday the night before and a food coma sidelined those plans. But I’ve had a day or two to recover from all the deliciousness and think about other things again. Like how we have a new pick for book club!

Stacy and Erica chose True Confections by Katharine Weber. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of it, but I guess that’s part of the fun of book club… reading books I might not have gotten to otherwise. The book is described in part as: “Take chocolate candy, add a family business at war with itself, and stir with an outsider’s perspective. This is the recipe for True Confections, the irresistible new novel by Katharine Weber, a writer whose work has won accolades from Iris Murdoch, Madeleine L’Engle, Wally Lamb, and Kate Atkinson, to name a few.”

I certainly like chocolate candy so I’m already excited.

Book club will meet right after I get back from a trip to Europe so I know I’ll have plenty of time to read the pick. Maybe too much time because that is a lot of flying. But I can’t complain because… well, because I get to go to Europe. And now True Confections is coming with me.