Welcome to my bookshelf

I am a voracious reader who is constantly found with her nose in a good (although sometimes not so good) book. I felt the need to share my experiences and suggestions, so here it is. Recommendations and comments are most definitely desired.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Integrating Implications

Currently Reading: The Curse of the Wendigo

Pg 397: "In the name of all that is holy, tell me why God felt the need to make a hell.  It seems so redundant."

Ha!  Even though I don't believe in heaven or hell or all that mumbo jumbo, I had to appreciate that sentiment of young Will Henry.  (Yes I am back on the mostrumology books).  It's too true that so much of what is going on in the world these days is absolutely terrifying.  I mean, Rick Perry for President?  Bah!

In this latest installment, we get to travel to some new places, meet other monstrumologists, and even discover that Doctor Warthrop does have a heart.  I again reiterate that horror and monsters are not my typical thing, but Will Henry is such a good story teller, that I can't help but be drawn into the adventure.  And it seems that I am not all too removed from the genre as I was able to get several references to other horrific tales.  Doesn't it make you feel smart when you understand those subtle clues or allusions to some book that surely any well read person has stumbled across?  Not to mention when it involves art or scientists and their mind-boggling theories.  It definitely speaks to the interconnectivity among creative works in our world.  I just finished another book that revolved around a literary agent and a couple of her authors.  Even though it was pure fiction, you got to glimpse a bit of what goes on behind the scenes and couldn't help but notice how everything connected back to something else.  Is there a truly original work of art anymore?  He was inspired by Beethoven, her acting style harks back to Audrey Hepburn.  On and on the list goes.  And were even those two original in their own right?  Who knows?

I guess the moral of the story is that if something works, keep on working it.  As for Will Henry and Doctor Warthrop, well, we shall see what the final installment holds in store...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Currently Reading: See What I See

More young adult fiction!  Hooray!  I know that you all are probably getting sick of the teen angst, but really, I am sticking with the good stuff, none of that vampire lust nonsense.  This one is about the daughter of an artist who is actually a bit of an aspiring painter herself.  When Kate was young, her father left her and her mother in the name of his craft.  He couldn't sit still and needed to go out and find inspiration and all that artsy fartsy stuff.  Now, she is coming to live with him in Detroit so that she can attend art school there, being unable to afford the student housing.  Of course, dear old dad is dying and so she eventually drops out to care for him.  In the end, she does manage to attend school again, learning more about art and her own quest for inspiration.  What makes Kate and her father different is that she is able to find said inspiration from the people and places around her, while he is constantly searching elsewhere for more captivating subjects.

One of the things that I can't understand about creative minded people is that they never seem satisfied.  There is always something lacking or some other intangible quality that they are seeking.  Never being satisfied with an answer seems like an exhaustive way to live, at least to my humble left brained self.  Not that I have all the answers or an satisfied with my life as it stands.  I guess it is more that I realize that constructive actions on my own part are what is needed in order to find that elusive happiness.  Oh course I lament and whine with the best of them, but deep down, I know what needs to be done.  So who is right?  Must a person find their happiness from outside sources or, like Kate eventually decides, do you have control to create your own happiness yourself?  I guess it all depends on what lies within you and how desirous you are to attain contentment.  Sometimes it seems like wallowing is so much easier than taking action.

I am at a crux with a few things in my life and am finally realizing that I need to make some changes in order to positively affect the outcome.  Whether or not I can stick with it is still up in the air, but I am trying.  I have a list of things to do and have at least attempted several of them.  One of which was getting a membership at my local rec center.  Now that I've paid for it, I'd better use it!  There again is my rational personality taking charge.  Must not waste money.  At least, unlike Kate, I have a fantastic papa to support me in my charge.  But like Kate and her father, my Dad and myself are of the same stock, thinking logically about life and taking action.  I guess that is one thing I need to be thankful for.  OK.  Now that I am merely rambling, I am off.  One last hooray, and this one is for getting the two weeks off!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears...Oh My!

Currently Reading: The Monstrumologist

Pg 119: "Yes, my dear child, monsters are real.  I happen to have one hanging in my basement."

Eek!  This is one that will chill you too the bones (not that my bones need any more chilling).  The Monstrumologist is book one in a series of young adult novels regarding the unknown, particularly monsters and other hideous beasts.  It is told from the perspective of a young orphan whose father once worked for the monstrumologist himself.  Dr. Warthrop's specialty is analyzing and categorizing these creatures, often time dissecting them himself in his basement laboratory.  Of course the story told to the general public is that he is a doctor of psychology.  Will Henry, his charge, is thrown into this gruesome world not by choice, but because he has no one else to turn to after his parents die in a fire.  He is a lamentable character, telling a story that is bother terrifying and compelling at the same time.

I am not typically one who rushes out to see the latest Saw movie or who revels in the ghost stories written by the likes of Stephen King.  Weird that I love science fiction, but cannot tolerate these types of tales.  Still, I am most certainly enjoying this one.  Is is because of Will Henry's story telling ability?  (I suppose I should be giving the credit to Rick Yancy, but still...)  What I find most fascinating about the book is the doctor himself.  He is obsessive about his work.  Often times he forgoes food or rest in order to pursue his latest subject.  Warthrop is alone in his small New England community, having to send letters out to his fellow monstrumologists, and rarely getting the opportunity to converse with them face to face.  I am intrigued by what drives his passion as well as the source of his infatuation and captivation with these beasts.  Is it some underlying altruistic feeling?  As of now, Yancy depicts him as a stubborn old man voicing the typical lines about it all being "in the name of science".  I still can't help but think that there is some other reason beneath his surface facade.  I am impelled to learn more.

The one big idea that these types of books bring to the table is that there is always something unknown out there, lurking in the shadows, merely awaiting its opportunity to enter our world.  Fear of the unknown is a powerful motivator for many of us mere humans.  We would rather fight the demons we know than have to imagine the other possibilities out there.  Does this mean we should never seek out things we do not or cannot understand?  I hope not.  Think about any great advancement made by man.  It always requires one brave soul to step outside the box and attempt something foreign to him.  Here's hoping that man doesn't ever have to be me!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why Can't We All Just Get Along??

Currently Reading: Moral Disorder

Pg 48: "You have an enhanced reaction to reality."

Margaret Atwood has got to be one of the most amazing, yet unorthodox writers of our time.  Her works span across genres and often cannot simply be classified as one or the other.  Is it science fiction, literary fiction, autobiography, the list goes on.  This one is a book of short stories, the best form of fiction in my book (hee hee).  Each story brings about intriguing characters and, one of Atwood's fortes, complicated situations where there is no right or wrong answer to the problems of the place.  I have only gotten through a few stories, but am already eager to read more.

But I did say I would follow up on the Hunger Games and what has occurred for young Katniss.  The Hunger Games are over, or are they?  In the third installment, the outlying districts finally make their move, spurred on by a charismatic groups of rebels.  The leaders of this group choose Katniss as their main image to put forth to the masses.  See?  The victor of the Hunger Games is with us, you should be too!  Of course Katniss, has no desire to lead and is merely a pawn in their little game.  And yes, I use the word game again because as you read the second and third books, you see many parallels between the original rulers and the new group of rebel leaders.  Is it possible for a selfless person to lead a group of people?  I think not.  Look at all the examples that we have in our own history.  It seems that almost every rebellion becomes a mirror image of what it overthrew in the first place.  Giving someone a little power, all too often makes them greedy for more.  Even with a group, there is not stable leadership.  In these cases, it is more likely to be worse for the masses since each member is secretly plotting to overthrow the others all while finding their influence over others to be intoxicating.  In the end, not too many people are the better for the whole thing.  My mind kept being pulled to the Dune novels as an example.

You do feel sorry for Katniss throughout this entire tale, though.  She never wanted to become famous and never wanted to be a public figure.  She just wanted to be at home, with her family and friends, asking for only the bare necessities to live a productive and fruitful life.  Give her a bow, allow her to hunt for food, and Katniss would be happy.  Yet, this doesn't ever happen for her.  She is continually pulled back into the public eye by those simply hoping to use her to their advantage.  She did not ask for the life she ends up with, but is a strong, willful character who in the end comes out content, perhaps not entirely happy with the events that brought her there, but content nonetheless.

I am now quite excited to see how this all plays out on the big screen.  Although, the games were pretty awesome in my mind and I am hoping that the Hollywood version does not disappoint.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's the Little Things

Currently Reading: Catching Fire

I love twinkly lights!  Anyone who knows me, knows that holidays are not really my thing, but I can't help but love the lights.  They are so cheery and fun.  I had to put some up on my balcony.  No tree or anything non-secular like that.  Just the lights.  I wish I could keep them up all year!

Now onto the books since that is what I am supposed to be writing about.  Chasing Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games series.  These were recommended to be by a friend whose opinion I most certainly respect.  And needless to say, I loved the first on and am excited about getting into the second.  The basis of the story is where the title comes from (well that and twinkly lights).  What are the things a person needs on the most basic level?  Food, warmth, and shelter right?  Oh and I supposed companionship too.  This story takes place in the near future.  Something has happened that has caused the government to become a compressing body that holds each district to such strict limitations that no one person is allowed to show any individuality or to rise in society.  Each year, there is a Hunger Game.  This is where two children from each district are randomly selected to participate in a free-for-all, to which the victor goes the spoils.  In this case, the spoils being food for their district.  The central government withholds basic foodstuffs from the citizens, keeping them at a near starvation level.  A win for any district, not only helps the champion, but his or her community and family.  Which is why the fighting gets so fierce at the end, or at least one of the reasons.

The Hunger Games themselves basically pit the 24 adolescents against each other.  The last man standing wins.  Each champion is paraded in front of sponsors before the game begins in order to hopefully elicit some help throughout the game.  This help could come in the form of food, medicine, clothing, and even medicine.  Once the games begin, each person is watched closely by a camera and the action is aired to the masses.  The public cheers for their representative and often work together to scape up something to give to help.  It's pretty sick once you think about it all.

The chosen pair from District 12 are the main characters in this series, mainly the young girl, who chose to take her sister's place in the games.  Her plight is trying and her ingenuity adds a whole new level of intrigue to the game.  She is a charismatic character and I am looking forward to delving more into her life and thoughts.  More to come as the series unfolds.

Oh and yes, a movie is coming out soon, about which I am a bit ambivalent.  I always hate the movie versions of books that I love, but am a bit intrigued to see how Hollywood pulls this one off.  Until then, happy reading!