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Sunday, September 28, 2008


Normally I jump all over the memes I get tagged for, but somehow I've managed to fall seriously behind. So here ya go.

Although I was completely lame and didn't participate in Book Blogger Appreciation Week, Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness mentioned my blog as one of the blogs she loves to read. She mentioned her review of Watchmen, which I linked here (it was a really great review). Thanks Kim, and right back atcha! Kim recently moved from the Twin Cities, my hometown to Madison, Husband's hometown. But the million dollar question Kim... are you a Gopher or a Badgers fan??

Kim and Trish also tagged me with the Why I Blog Meme.
1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively
2. Link back to the person who tagged you
3. Link back to this parent post
4. Tag a few friends or five, or none at all (and inform them about it)
5. Post these rules— or just have fun breaking them.
So my answers:
  1. Okay so my little blog was birthed on December 29, 2007. I've always loved reading, but it's become sort of this thing that I do. All. The. Time. Would ya'll quit giving me such great book recs? I have a tbr pile to last me for five lifetimes.
  2. So I have this beast called Google Reader that I continually try to tame. It's because I've found so many dang good bloggers and I just want to follow them all.
  3. Outside of work hours, you'll pretty much find me reading, writing, or blogging. Well you won't see me, on account of the fact my place is a MESS and I just cannot have any visitors over.
  4. So I used to like to write, then I went to this magical place called college, filled with weeks of this form of torture called "researching". It involved hours slumped over a computer screen trying desperately not to bang my head against the desk. After four years of said torture, sadly my love of writing kind of dissapated. Blogging has helped me to rekindle said love and although I happen to be researching at the moment, I've only banged my head once or twice.
  5. When I decided to start my blog, I was in a bit of a slump. For a number of reasons, I was coming home from work and just sitting around because I didn't feel like doing anything else. I finally decided that my cure was to find a hobby. After trying on a few for size, I finally settled on blogging. It wasn't long after I got the blog up and going that my husband started commenting how much happier I seemed. It seems I may have traded a TV addiction for an internet one, but I'd like to point out there is a definitive study somewhere (I know I read it online) that my brain cells are firing at a much higher rate when I blog than when I watch TV. Or something like that.
If you haven't done this one yet, consider yourself tagged.

Okay, now onto awards! You'll like this part, I promise, because this time I'm actually going to remember to pass them on to other people, not just brag that I received them.

Thanks to Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? for awarding me the Supercommenter Award. I just have to say, it's hard not to comment when you post such hilarious and random thoughts, interspersed with fantastic book reviews.

Okay, here are just a few of the great supercommenters on my blog:

Trish's Book Nook
Tripping Towards Lucidity
Alice Teh
Nothing of Importance

Melody also passed along the I Heart Your Blog Award and the Proximidade Award to me.

EDIT: And I completely missed that Trish of Trish's Reading Nook also gave me this award. Aw shucks!!

Thanks so much Melody! You've been a reader of my blog pretty much since I started and I love reading your comments.

Let me pass this one on to:
The Deus ex machina complex and other theories
Bloggin' 'Bout Books
A Striped Armchair
Becky's Book Reviews
Blue Archipelago
Reading Room

Alright, you might be wondering about what the Proximidade Award is. Here's the scoop:

To translate the gift from Portuguese to English, it means: "This blog invests and believes, the proximity" [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' -being close through proxy]. They all are charmed with the blogs, where in the majority of its aims are to show the marvels and to do friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize, and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut, or that they propagate? Then let’s try to give more attention to them! So with this prize we must deliver it to 8 bloggers that in turn must make the same thing and put this text.

Isn't that sweet? Let me pass that one on to:
Stephanie's Confessions of a Bookaholic
Stuff as Dreams Are Made of
The Ax for the Frozen Sea
The Inside Cover
Ravenous Reader

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Reason for Reading: R.I.P. III
Rating: 4/5

I never read without making sure I am in a secure position. I have been like this ever since the age of seven when, sitting on a high wall and reading The Water Babies, I was so seduced by the descriptions of underwater life that I unconsciously relaxed my muscles. Instead of being held buoyant by the water that so vividly surrounded me in my mind, I plummeted to the ground and knocked myself out. I can still feel the scar under my fringe now. Reading can be dangerous.

I love this description of Margaret Lea, our narrator. She is a biographer asked to write the life story of reclusive author Vida Winter. Margaret is most comfortable with the books in her father's antiquarian books, and her previous biographies were of people long dead. But as she begins reading the books that made Vida Winter famous, the opportunity to finally hear the life story of an author who has given dozens, perhaps hundreds, of false life stories proves too fascinating to pass up.

What Vida Winter is finally ready to tell is the tragic and violent history of Angelfield, a manor long ago devastated by a fire. Her story is a ghost story, a story about the strange inhabitants of Angelfield, and it is a mystery.

This book is also an ode to the pleasures of reading. Margaret lovingly describes her feelings and emotions towards her beloved books. Book bloggers often jokingly describe "book porn", pimping pics of new books they've bought on their blog. Reading particular passages from The Thirteenth Tale, however, might make you rethink whether they might fit the description better.

There followed one of the most glorious times of my adult life. For the first time ever I had on my bedside table a pile of brand-new, glossy paperbacks... Of course one always hopes for something special when one reads an author one hasn't read before, and Miss Winter's books gave me the same thrill I had when I discovered the Landier diaries, for instance. But it was more than that. I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life, and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same. Books are, for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child, books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books. It is not a yearning that one every expects to be fulfilled. And during this time, these days when I read all day and half the night, when I slept under a counterpane strewn with books, when my sleep was black and dreamless and passed in a flash and I woke to read again-the lost joys of reading returned to me. Miss Winter restored to me the virginal qualities of the novice reader, and then with her stories she ravished me.

Despite the length of this book, it was a quick read for me. I was drawn in by the terribly bizarre charaters who inhabited Angelfield. Not everyone who attempts to write a "quirky" character can succeed, but I never doubted Setterfield's skill throughout the course of this book.

Recommended for book-lovers.

Other Reviews:
Deslily, Melody, Out of the Blue, Book-a-rama, Maw Books, Becky's Book Reviews, Dewey, Stuff as Dreams are Made Of, Stainless Steel Droppings, Eva

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Reason for Reading: Mythopoeic Award Challenge
Rating: 4.5/5

Margaret Atwood is not an author you really read for pure pleasure, because her books, though masterful, thought-provoking, and spell-binding, are also extremely LONG, and the action takes a while to pick up.

Still, I have managed this year to read Cat's Eye, The Blind Assassin, and The Handmaid's Tale.

All of which, I did enjoy, after about the half-way point, when all of the seemingly loose connections fit together.

So how could I pass up The Penelopiad, which is not only a retelling of a myth (a favorite genre of mine), but is also a novella?

Have you ever read one of the classic Greek myths and felt just a little bad about the fate of some of the characters who end up killed or punished by the gods? In the story of the Odyssey, Odysseus is away fighting in the Trojan war for ten years, then spends another ten years wandering around, trying to find his way home. All the while his constant wife, Penelope, waits for him and does her best to hold off the hoard of suitors come to try and make her their bride. What did Penelope think of her husband? What was her reaction when he arrived home, disguised as a beggar, and along with her son, Telemachus, murders all of the suitors, and twelve of Penelope's maids as well?

From the other side of Hades, we finally get to hear Penelope's side of things. With her twelve hanged maids as a Greek chorus, she tells the story of her childhood, her true opinions of her obnoxious cousin, Helen (yes, of Troy), her marriage to Odysseus, living with her mother-in-law, the twenty years she was left to her own devices and how she managed to outwit a great band of suitors clamoring for Odysseus' fortune. Greek myths so often focus on the heroes and the powerful, but in this novella, Atwood tried to illuminate life for the weak, the powerless. The unfairness of humans who have had their lives interfered with by the gods.

Penelope, who, like the other inhabitants of Hades can glimpse out into the real world, speaks to us in modern language, and her Greek chorus performs a sea-chanty, a tapdance, and act out a courtroom scene for the benefit of the audience. It's an interesting presentation. Some readers might find it disconcerting, but I really enjoyed this quick, easily digestible read.

Other reviews:, Thoughts of Joy, Estella's Revenge, 51Stories, Dewey, Kailana

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Weekly Geeks #18

Weekly Geeks this week is to catch up on something.

Not that I need to catch up on anything (read heavy sarcasm there).

Goody, this gives me motivation to catch up on my challenge lists and books read for 2008.

I'm also catching up on my sleep this week because I came down with the most gawdawful cold. I hope that counts.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vampyres of Hollywood

Vampyres of Hollywood by Adrienne Barbeau and Michael Scott
Reason for Reading: RIP III
Rating: 4/5

You do not typically find me reading vampire novels. I also am not usually found reading police procedurals, but for whatever reason I happened to request this one.

And it turns out, that's a good thing.

Funny, quick-witted, campy, and leading up to an ending that would have been dopey in any other context, this book had me hooked.

Here's the first few lines:

It took an X-ray and an autopsy to confirm that Jason Eddings had been killed with the Oscar he'd won for Best Actor just six hours earlier.

He deserved it.

The Oscar, that is.

As for being murdered, well, he probably deserved that too.

Three gruesome celebrity murders within two weeks, each one connected to Ovsanna Moore, a powerful B-level scream queen. Ovsanna is practically an institution in Hollywood as she now heads up Anticipation films, a studio on the brink of making it really big.

But her big break is going to be drying up fast if she can't discover who's messing with her and her clan.

Her vampyre clan that is. Ovsanna is the 500 year old leader of the Hollywood vampires.

The other major player in this book is Peter King, a Hollywood detective with the smarts and persistence to crack the crime. If people will just stop dying around him.

I really liked this book. It had enough humor and snarky writing to keep a premise that could have worn thin, going strong throughout the book. I recommend it to fans of the vampire and/or detective genre, but don't let the labels put you off if you're looking for a light read.

Other reviews: Stephanie's Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Book Blogger's Diary

I'm Totally Geeking Out Man


Okay, in like one year or something ridiculous like that.

But today I happened to stumble upon the trailer. Which is awesome.

And also very cool is pics of the new cast, side by side with the original cast.

Is it just me, or did they send Nichelle Nichol back in time so they could cast her younger self as Uhuru? I'm pretty sure they couldn't have picked a more identical actor (if she is indeed a real person named Zoe Saldana and not a time-traveled Nichelle Nichols as I hypothesized).

I perhaps haven't mentioned my Star Trek geekiness too much here, but let me put it to you this way.

I'm hopeless.

I watch Star Trek.

No you don't understand.

I watch Star Trek.

And that's about it.

We fit in other movies we're interested in.

On the side.

We made it through all of the movies, The Original Series (most of them anyhow), the Animated Series (although it was a bit painful... campy and animated... yeesh), and we're on Season four of The Next Generation.

The only other TV series I've that close to being as dedicated a fan is... oh wait, there isn't another one. Yes, I love Firefly. And I love Battlestar Galactica. But those are recent affairs. Trek has been a life-long love, and for that, I fully blame my parents, who are even bigger Trekkies than I am.

My mom's comment when she heard that The Original Series was being remastered with sweet new special effects? "Ah darn, I JUST bought the entire collection!! Guess I'll have to buy it AGAIN."


Friday, September 19, 2008

Reading & Blogging for Darfur

Is September almost halfway gone already? It seems like the days have been flying by for me this month. Something I originally intended to post about a very long time ago and slipped my mind is Maw Books' Reading & Blogging for Darfur campaign. During the month of September, Natasha is raising money and awareness for the people of Darfur.

She's got a ton of ways to sponsor and other ways that she herself is going to be donating money to causes that support the people of Darfur, check it all out here. Commenting, sponsoring her reading at a penny per page, and posting about her campaign are all encouraged, as they all raise money.

Maw Books already has gained a reputation as having some great giveaways, evidenced by her recent "Most Extravagent Giveaways" award in Book Blogger Appreciation Week. She is also a recent recipient of "Most Altruistic Blog" award.

So of course, she has a pretty amazing list of prizes to giveaway during the month, in case you need any more motivation to participate. I personnally think this will be an awesome month for her blog and a great way to get involved in an important cause!

I've Tamed the Reader

From 360 unread posts to 137.

Okay that's only counting book bloggers. I don't even want to tell you the unread posts from all my categories. It's embarrassing.

But sadly I did not do a single drop of writing writing tonight.

That's what tomorrow's for, right? And all weekend.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Uglies by Scott Westerfield
Reason for Reading: YA Reading Challenge
Rating: 3/5

I am pretty sure I've seen this book pimped, like, well everywhere, so I reserved it at the library forever again, and had forgotten about it when I got an email that the book was finally mine!

Uglies is set in a dystopian future where all ordinary people (or uglies as they're called in here) have to wait for their sixteenth birthday to undergo the operation to turn them supermodel gorgeous. Then you get to move to New Pretty Town, where all you have to do all day is party and have a great time.

Tally is just dying to turn pretty, since she's been left behind now that her best friend Peris is already Pretty. To kill some time before her operation, she makes friends with a girl named Shay, who isn't sure she wants to turn Pretty. Shay thinks she might be happier with life on the outside, but Tally can't imagine what on earth is more exciting than being pretty. But when Shay runs away before the operation, Tally is given a choice. Find her friend and turn her in, or never be Pretty at all.

I didn't hate Uglies, but I didn't love it. Maybe it loses something in comparison to my last YA read, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, which I found to be nothing short of amazing. Anyhow, this book just didn't get me real jazzed up. I found Tally kind of annoying, the plot felt familiar, the themes (normal can be beautiful) seemed a little obvious.

The pages turned quickly, though, because there was a lot of action, even if the characters felt flat at times.

I know there are a few sequels out there, and I will probably still read at least the next book, when I'm looking for something light.

Other reviews:
Rhinoa, Annie, Susan, Lightheaded

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Have You Ever Had a Day...

... Where you wished to be independently wealthy so as to not have to grovel... I mean work for a living?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume 1: The Pox Party by M. T. Anderson
Reason for Reading: YA Reading Challenge
Rating: 5/5


Okay, you want a reason to read this book aside from my assertion that you should read it.

Aside from the name M.T. Anderson, here are a few great reasons to read this book:

1. Fascinating subject matter. This book is set during the Enlightenment, right before and during the Revolutionary War. It was an era when people first began to think that there was a scientific answer to every question in life, and that all answers could be discovered through the experimental method. Octavian, the narrator of the book, lives with a group of scientists who spend their time conducting experiments and writing papers. He has the finest of classical educations, and his mother, a princess, is the center of everyone's attention at the events they host.

Over the course of this book, Octavian begins to suspect that he may be the subject of one their experiments. He must decide for himself then, who he is and what his destiny is to be.

2. Amazing writing. M.T. Anderson captures the dialect, thought process, language, and ideals of the era so perfectly, you would swear that this book actually was a series of original letters and diaries that Anderson collected (as the book purports).

I can think of few other books that so perfectly capture the sense of place. The scientists in the book value rationalism so highly they call either by numbers instead of names so that everyone knows their rank immediately. Historical events occurring around the book are not painted in a broad stroke. Anderson is smart enough to incorporate just enough historical details without overwhelming the reader, and he shows a different side of the events you thought you knew about.

I'm trying really hard not to give too much away about this plot, but this is one of the few books in a series I've read this year where I absolutely will be reading the sequel as soon as it comes out.

Other reviews:
Dewey, The Mumpsimus, Bottle of Shine

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bookclub Letdown

Today was a bookclub letdown. Le sigh.

I selected Neverwhere for this month, and then I didn't even end up liking it that much. Of our normally lively group, only four of us were able to make it, and only one other person besides myself read it.

Sorry Neil Gaiman, I did not make any new fans for you this month.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Write on Wednesday

Becca asks this week: How about you? What’s your writing state of mind these days? How do you access that “mysterious faculty” where insight and imagination are nurtured? How do your instincts about your writing ability help you? What’s your experience of being in “the writing zone”?

My writing state of mind these days is in research mode, which is not really conducive to actual writing just yet. Because to read a book and try and condense into somewhat legible notes and keep oneself from getting so bogged down the whole project is out the window is tough. Just as tedious as back in college, but at least the subject is self-imposed.

I keep in mind that eventually these little scraps of fact will collect into a larger whole that I can see glimpses of already. When the research is too tedious, then I go back to the world-building aspect/plotting aspect, which sometimes feels like a million little pieces that will never come together just right.

I like Becca's phrasing "the mysterious faculty". Writing is mysterious to me. Most times that I write a story, the opening lines just come to me, and I will sit for heaven knows how long until I reach a point at which I need an actual plot. I have never had a plotline just fall into my lap, those always require much more staring at a blank pad of paper or computer screen until finally the pieces come together. I usually must just plug along and write for a while, with more effort, and then suddenly, the words flow right from my brain onto the computer screen.

At the moment, I'm yawning over my computer, and the words are not flowing so easily, so I must bid adieu to you, my faithful Bold. Blue. Adventure. readers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Am Such a Mean Mommy

At the Renaissance Festival last weekend, I completely bought him a pirate hat for Rusty AHA (Against Husbandly Advice) because it was so damn cute on him. Rusty did not care for it very much and tried to do everything in his power to dislodge it. So very naturally, I made him wear it in a pet costume contest.

Rusty won a bag of dog treats and after consuming all of the dog treats and heaven knows how many turkey skins (because you can't go to the Renaissance Festival without eating a turkey leg), Rusty woke the next morning in extreme gastric distress. I'm not sure who was more miserable, Rusty or us after waking up at 4 am to clean him up. I comforted husband with the reassurance that "at least we'll be prepared for kids, right?" At 4 am, I don't think he was as reassured by this as I had hoped.
From Bold. Blue. Adventure.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Reason for Reading: IRL Bookclub, Mythopoeic Award Challenge
Rating: 3.5/5

It had to come at some point. I knew the romance was fragile. I am a fickle person, and it takes a lot to satisfy me. No one person could possibly live up to my standards all the time. Still, it was disappointing all the same when the day finally came.

The day of course, I wasn't completely charmed by one of Neil Gaiman's books. That's not to say, by any means, that I disliked Neverwhere. I enjoyed it, found it intriguing and all, but for me the excitement, the passion I remember after finishing American Gods and Anansi Boys just wasn't quite there.

I had a feeling as I read this book that I might appreciate it more were I a Londoner, or had I ever visited London. In Neverwhere, there are two Londons, London Above and London Below. London Below seems to exist sort of simultaneously with London Above (the borders between the two are a little fuzzy).

Richard Mayhew is an ordinary guy on an ordinary date with his beautiful but demanding fiancee when he stumbles across a young girl bleeding on the street. Richard knows he can't just leave her there, so he ends up taking her home. When she leaves the next day, he heads back to his normal life... only his landlord is trying to rent out his flat, his ATM doesn't recognize him, his coworkers are cleaning out his desk, and his fiancee can't remember him.

Richard, it seems, has fallen between the cracks into London Underground. A reluctant Door agrees to let him tag along in her quest to discover who murdered her family. And so begins a most bizarre journey into the underworld of London. I guarentee you'll never think the same way about a subway station again.

This book had all the great elements of Gaiman's other books. Fascinating characters, especially the marvelously stomach-churningly disgusting villains, Mr. Coup and Mr. Vandemeer. Richard is particularly interesting, being clumsy, kind, disorganized, and completely oblivious to the horror he is engaged to. The plot is twisty and and full of challenges for Door and Co. to overcome. The setting was of course, incredibly imaginative. I wonder if maybe the setting, though was my biggest hangup. I kept waiting for a precise explanation of how exactly the Londer Undergrounders could kind of but not quite be seen by London Abovers, whether London Below is a literally separate place or if it just occupies space not generally used by London Above.

Most of the locations in London Below are taken from the name of the London Above station, but are literal. For example, at Blackfriar's station, there are Black Friars who guard a secret relic. And so on. Like I said, I wish I had been to London so all of the locations had meant more to me.

I'm not going to lie though, I really want to visit London now. While riding the subway, in between visiting Platform 9 3/4, I'll totally be hitting up the stations mentioned in the book.

Husband: Okay, we took the subway all the way to Knightsbridge. Was there a reason we are now on the opposite end of the city from where we were supposed to be?

Me: Yeah, see in this book I read one time, Knightsbridge was actually Night's Bridge, like you crossed over a bridge, and it was night. Get it? Night's bridge? And now, here I am! Yay.

Husband: (smacks his forehead) No more reading for you!

(Just kidding, my husband is not anti-reading. He is actually quite pro-reading, which is a good thing considering the fact I spend a lot of time doing it.)

Friday, September 5, 2008


Watchmen by Alan Moore
Reason for Reading: Graphic Novel Challenge
Rating: 4/5

Watchmen is set in an alternate 1980's where different eras of costumed adventurers have already risen and fallen. They are normal humans with the usual human limitations, but each for their own reasons, they all feel the need to dress up in costume and fight evil.

However, after the Keene Act outlawed adventurers, no one seems to care much about them anymore. Until the Comedian is murdered and his fellow adventurer, Rorschach, takes it upon himself to investigate.

As Rorschach traces the clues to find the Comedian's killer, we also learn about the complicated history of the adventurers. In Alan Moore's vision, the desire to dress up and fight crime comes from a variety of motivations, not all being noble.

When I mentioned before that all of the Watchmen are normal humans, I neglected to mention one character. Dr. Manhattan is a creation of a freak laboratory accident (you know that there had to be at least one character created from a freak laboratory accident, didn't you?). Coming back to life as a creature that can bend time, space and matter to his will, Dr. Manhattan is hailed as the "New Superman", and the American government uses him to balance the terse threat of nuclear annihilation that exists between the U.S. and Russia.

The problem is, that Dr. Manhattan isn't someone you control, and right at the height of nuclear threat, he exiles himself to Mars.

So even if Rorschach and his friends find the killer, will it mean anything anyhow if the world is ending tomorrow?

What I really found intriguing about Watchmen was the extensive character development of each of the adventurers. Each had their own motivations, secrets, histories. There were a lot of interweaving plotlines, a lot of events that we go back to from a different perspective. I also liked the fact it didn't simplify anything. Complicated questions were asked, and although the book was resolved, it didn't neatly tie a bow on everything.

However, I had some mixed feelings towards this book. I'll repost what I mentioned the other day about this book:

(Watchmen) was the first superhero comic I have read and about halfway through I began to suspect it shouldn't have been my first read in that genre. Now, that's not to say I didn't like Watchmen... by the time I got to the end, everything had been wrapped up the way it should be, and I couldn't have imagined any other ending for the book, but how can I put it... it left me wishing for some other more traditional superhero ending, maybe?

Some readers helped me out by giving me some of their thoughts and opinions to chew on before I wrote this review. Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness wrote:

Watchmen is a pretty difficult comic book to start with -- it isn't so much part of the super hero genre as it making commentary on the genre itself. I really liked it, but I was reading it in a class and had a lot of opportunity to discuss it with others. I think it's one to think about, not necessarily to just read and put away, if that makes sense.

She posted a great review here, where she worked through a pretty detailed analysis. I couldn't agree more that the book is a commentary on the superhero genre. Although I have watched plenty of cartoons and movies, I have not read a single superhero comic book, so my appreciation might be more limited. It's pretty awesome that she got to read it in class and get all sorts of perspectives, because even reading through Kim's analysis, I totally missed a lot of the things she pointed out in my reading of the novel. I just wasn't looking for them.

Susan of You Can Never Have Too Many Books wrote:

I'm picking up Watchmen shortly, because of the movie, and I want to read it first. So my questions to you about your reading of it are: Is it worth reading? I know from one of your commentators that this comic book is making a comment on the genre; however, I want to know: does it succeed in commenting on it? Is it a smart (intelligent) comic book? Did you like the characters, and were there any you related to?

Yes, I think this book is worth reading, and even if you are a newbie to the genre, like me, I think you'd find it intriguing. You will probably appreciate it more if you collected comic books as a kid, however. I believe this graphic novel did succeed in being a commentary on the comic book genre. It was a serious "what if?" look at what it might take to put on a costume and fight crime. What if the head of your superhero league annoys you? What if you like working alone and not with a team? What if you didn't care so much about saving people as letting out your aggression? And probably, the biggest theme of the book, what determines the line between hero and villain?

It is definitely an intelligent comic book, and if I ever get the chance to reread it there are probably a million more details I'd pick up. The characters were very vivid, but I wouldn't call the majority of them likable. That's not a bad thing, because trying to have all likable characters would completely ruin the tone of the book. If I had to choose one character I related to, I suppose it would be Laurie, the second Silk Spectre. Laurie ends up somewhat unwillingly in the costumed adventurer lifestyle because her mother was the first Silk Spectre. Living up to her mother's expectations, trying to come to terms with the choices her mother made helped Laurie to be one of the most human, the most sympathetic characters. I mean, who hasn't had to deal with the fact your parents are actually people... with like hopes and dreams and aspirations and mistakes of their own.

What is kind of funny about this book is that as I've been thinking more and writing more about it, I find myself feeling more fondly towards it. My immediate reaction after turning the last page was much more WTH??? So in conclusion, if instead of going into the book expecting that it is a pleasure read, but rather that the enjoyment of the book might come with more reflection and analysis, you will find this to be an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thoughts to Ponder

When you have too many things to do during the evenings, is it better to:

A. Write down everything you want to accomplish onto a list in Excel, tinker around to create a formula where you assign each task a level of importance, a deadline, and then based on the formula, create a graph that shows you, relative to each task, how much time you should spend on each item, tinker around some more to turn your graph into a pie chart, see if you can figure out how to change the colors and fonts so that your graph looks real pretty, when completed with your work of art, attempt printing it up, only to realize you are out of paper, go to the nearest Office Max so you can buy paper to print up your pretty graph, realize after you get home that the printer is actually low on ink as well, and decide screw it, you can draw a better graph than that anyhow if you can just find the colored pencils and graph paper from your last math class, taken, oh perhaps five years ago, dig around in box of college textbooks, discover your social psychology textbook and ultimately spend the rest of the evening remembering how you used to learn all sorts of beautiful theories that explained why people do what they do, but now in the real world that college degree has gone towards entering very fascinating numbers into a very fascinating spreadsheet all day, with the occasional interruption when someone calls to complain about something.


B. Screw it all, blog instead, and not even about those books sitting in the "Read but Not Reviewed Yet" pile.

Really, I'm waiting for an opinion on this one.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How I Spent My Weekend

Labor Day Weekend

I had a three day weekend thanks to Labor Day, and I pretty much did not do a single of my usual weekend chores. Instead, I went to a wedding, played scrabble against my dad (lost big time) and then on Monday, scrapbooked a little, finished reading Neverwhere, and spent a lot of time having fun on

Dewey first brought it to my attention, but a number of other blog friends have been talking about it. It is a website where writers can submit short non-fiction essays and readers can review them. What makes it very cool is that you earn points for each review, which you can use towards publishing your own fiction, or giving stories you especially like a little "nudge."

And they have some pretty cool prizes to give away. I actually published an essay there already, which you can now read.


I finished Watchmen a while back, but I haven't had the willpower to review it yet. It was the first superhero comic I have read and about halfway through I began to suspect it shouldn't have been my first read in that genre. Now, that's not to say I didn't like Watchmen... by the time I got to the end, everything had been wrapped up the way it should be, and I couldn't have imagined any other ending for the book, but how can I put it... it left me wishing for some other more traditional superhero ending, maybe?

Anyhow, going back to the Weekly Geeks idea from before, does anyone have any questions about the book or my little mini-review here? I appreciate it!

Monday, September 1, 2008

An Interview with J. Scott Savage

Tomorrow I'll post my review of Farworld, and you'll have a chance to win the book, but since J. Scott Savage was so good as to get back to me today, here's our interview:

Hi, I hope things are going well for you. Everywhere you look, Farworld is making it's rounds across the book blogging world and it sounds like there has been a lot of positive buzz so far. Knowing I'm going to be one of the last bloggers interviewing you, I'm going to make this short and sweet. In fact, you only have to answer 6 questions today. First of all, let's lay the scene. Have you ever been to Minnesota before?

I have. I love going there in the summer. Not so much in the winter.

I don't love the winter either, and I would go out of my way to avoid it, but unfortunately growing up here, it is a little harder to leave. There is a reason retired Minnesotans become snowbirds and spend the winter down south. Anyhow, one of the best things about my home state, Minnesota summers is sitting out by the lake. So for our interview, that's where we'll be. I just hope you brought bug spray.

Perfect! Since we are bringing bug spray, I assume it is summer.

To start with, how did you first get the idea for Farworld?

For me, when I write a book, it’s never one idea. It’s a series of ideas that come together. Years ago I wrote a short story about a wizard and warrior that go in search of a child legend says will save his world. Then I got an idea about a boy and girl that could jump worlds. Eventually the pieces just fell into the same simmering pot and formed a story. Once I started writing it though, I realized there was much more to the story than I thought.

Do you have a favorite scene from the book? Please share!

I’ve always kind of liked the scene where MT hits Marcus in the head with a stick. It just makes me laugh that the wizard is finally about to teach you magic. You have all these crazy cool ideas about what is coming: wands, magic words, secret knowledge, and instead he hits you in the head with a stick. It makes me laugh every time I think about it. I also like the battle scene.

In your opinion, what is the best cure for writer's block?

I know some people say, “Just write your way through it.” But for me, writers block is your subconscious telling you that something in your story is broken. I go back and read from the beginning until I realize where I took a wrong turn. (It’s not always a wrong turn. But something is not working.) Then I fix it and move on.

Do you have any special plans to celebrate on the release date for Farworld?

The problem with celebrating the release is that with a first national book, you don’t get a hard release date. Stores generally just start selling the book when they get it. You can’t demand a hard date until you are more popular. But I am having a big release party on the 13th at the Spanish Fork, UT library with free posters, food, drawings, etc.

So how did you get the idea to mount such a massive campaign using bloggers? It seems like I can't turn my head without seeing your name out there in blogland.

Well I knew Shadow Mountain was going to do their marketing things, sending ARCs to national reviewers. But I wanted to try my own grass roots campaign. These days, so many people have blogs, and the reviews are of such high quality that I generally seek blogs out first when looking for a new book or author. I’ve had a ball doing it and I don’t think I could have dreamed of getting better overall feedback.

A quirky thing not many people know about you is:

How about three things? I was a mall Santa when I was 15. I got engaged after dating my wife for only 13 days. (We’ve been married for twenty-one years.) I am a huge Disney fan. We go to a Disney park on average a couple of times a year, and we live clear out in Utah, so it’s a drive.

Again, thanks for the ARC and I'll be posting a review of your book shortly.

Thanks so much! And thanks for your patience.