Thursday, October 18, 2007
Thursday Thirteen #14 - All About Books and a Meme to Boot
I was tagged for yet another meme, so I've included it in this special ALL ABOUT BOOKS issue of my Thursday Thirteen.
This TT is a bit random, so I'm organizing it into two parts.
I - My "reading challenge" progress (or lack there of)
II - The Book Meme
I. Summer Reading / Book Challenge Report
1) Since July 26 (the EXACT date I wrote up my Reading Challenge List), all of Vancouver's municipal employees have been on strike. Not only has this meant no garbage pick-up, it's meant no librarians. All the libraries have been closed for almost 3 months. And, since Baby and I are on a No New Book Buying promise (due to lack of space and having to move again in the near future), I was hoping to take advantage of the library down the street. Instead, I have had to depend upon book loans from friends and what we currently have in our own library.
So what did I read over the summer?
2) The final Harry Potter. I sped through it as fast as I was able, only staying up past 3 am twice. The conclusion was fairly satisfying (except for that horribly cheesy ending) and I admire how she tied up the loose ends (especially dealing with Snape, which I predicted, although his demise was totally anti-climactic).
Honestly, I was just glad the whole thing was over so that I could move on to something else. I still have the same issues with HP as I always have, and that is he is too passive a hero and I get very tired of how quick to anger he is. I bore of his screaming... There was a ghost character, for instance, that he began to yell at for no good reason. I also think that he has very little character arc. He seems quite immature at times, and not much wiser than he was 6 years before. In addition, I wish someone would bully JK into editing down her text and removing all her superfluous adverbs. (BTW- my friend Tod and I discovered a gaping plot hole, but that didn't really bug me too much for some reason.)
It really is a fun story, such a great world, and it has many other satisfying characters. I absolutely adore Luna Lovegood. The final battle was quite amazing as well. All in all, I understand why people love the books, though there are others I treasure more.
3) The Alchemist, which WAS on my list. This is a fable rather than a novel. It's a quick read and a feel-good story about following your heart. It's packed with little jewels of wisdom such as: When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. Sayings that might come across as cheesy, but put in the context of the fable, they are sweet. I read it with a highlighter. I like the lessons and the manner in which the story plays out.
4) My fantasy adventure novel involves faeries, so I decided to borrow a friend's daughter's fairy books. The first one I read was for 2nd and 3rd graders. It was one of the Disney Fairy books called Rani in the Mermaid Lagoon. I can't believe this book got 4.5 stars on Amazon, because if I had a daughter, I would not buy this book for her. I found it condescending and shallow, as well as expository when it had the opportunity to use imagery. At one point, Rani goes through this fairly tragic event with a water snake, but then the mermaids do her hair up and paint her nails and make her look pretty again so gee, everything's all right! Yick!
NOTE: on Amazon it lists Rani for ages 9-12. They are on crack. There's no way with the sophistication of our readers these days that this book would titillate a 5th or 6th grader.
5) The second book I picked up was the first "Fairy Realm" book, The Charm Bracelet, but it didn't have any actual fairies in it. According to Amazon, it's for ages 9-12, but the book itself says 7-10. I can buy that. I liked it much better than the Disney book. The characters were far more interesting, that's for sure, but still not as clever as they could have been. It wasn't completely satisfying to me, but I wouldn't have an issue with my daughter reading it because the protagonist is independent minded and proactive. One pet peeve, though... I have this thing about overuse of exclamation points in literature! There were a lot in this book!
6) I next read the 2nd "Fairy Realm" book, The Flower Faeries, and enjoyed it more than the first. Perhaps the writer matured with the story. This one actually had fairies and they were way more fun than the Disney fairies. They were pesky in an amusing way. The story was a bit darker, more dangerous than the first. There was a lovely scene where the protagonist tries on a pair of wings. I think of the three fairy books this one had the strongest imagery.
7) I read The Phantom Tollbooth for the millionth time. I read it out loud to a student of mine on the set of Psych. As with all the kids I share it with, he loved it. The book fell apart halfway through, it's been loved so much.
8) Jeff Kitchen's book Writing a Great Movie. If you only read the part on dilemma you are doing yourself a HUGE favour. This is an excellent tool for screenwriters. I'm now using chapters in my classes at Vancouver Film School.
9) Do books on tape count? Baby and I listened to The Secret books on tape and both liked how it went more in depth than the film and also focused on more than just attracting personal financial abundance, but also larger issues that affect the world.
II. BOOK MEME
10) Total Number of Books I own: Sometimes, pictures speak louder than words. This is after getting rid of (sob) over 1/4 of our books when we moved and does not include the 40 books I also counted in our bedroom nor the 12 books in our bathroom (yes, we have a bookshelf in our bathroom).
Pic on left is in our living room
Pic on right is in our office.
11) Last Book Read: I am currently reading Skinny Legs and All (on my book challenge). Robbins had me at the opening sentence (which I will post on the next TT).
12) Last Book Bought: Rules for Renegades by Christine Comaford-Lynch (a self-made millionaire and self-proclaimed "renegade" entrepreneur). Yes, I said I was on a book buying hiatus, but she was having a pre-order special deal which gave loads of bonuses. Of course, due to the Canadian mail system, I have yet to receive the book. I heard Christine speak last spring in L.A. and she is AMAZING.
13) Five Meaningful Books:
I wasn't sure what meaningful meant... to me personally or to the world? Life changing? And meaning changes over time...
I decided to pick five books that impacted me when I was growing up and inspired me to become a writer:
All of the Oz books (because my Dad read them to me and they're fantastic)
Anything by Judy Blume and especially Are You There God It's Me Margaret (There's a new book called Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume which I think it just about right)
Beezus and Ramona (All the Ramona books are wonderful, but I was was especially fond of this one.)
I, Trissy (I read this in 6th grade and for some reason it completely resonated with me. I think it was the honesty and humour. I loved Trissy's very real struggles and the fact that her father got her a typewriter when he divorced her mother)
To Kill a Mockingbird (I cried every time I read it.)
Okay, Vicki? (oh, and i'm reading that harlequin romance you sent, too. my first harlequin romance ever, seriously)
Posted by Danika Dinsmore at 10/18/2007 10:53:00 AM