Kat’s TBRTopple List

Welcome back to the TBR Topple Party! (Original post here.

Other participants so far include:
Lynn: http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/the-tbr-topple-campaign-taster/

Effing Rainbow: http://overtheeffingrainbow.blogspot.com/2013/05/tbr-topple-campaign-round-one.html

And Little Red Reviewer:
https://littleredreviewer.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/tbr-topple/

Here’s my TBR pile and its progress. I have both paper books and Kindle books to read. * is for New Mexico authors.
Papillon-Henri Charriere: I loved this movie. I got this book from a friend. Her grandma was clearing out her extensive book collection and I grabbed this one. It is the original hardback, complete with a color picture of the original Papillon on the back cover, showing off his butterfly tattoo. Prison escape stories make for good adventure, methinks, so I hope this one is a good one.
Status: haven’t started it yet
Icarus Rising-David N Pauly *: I met the author at Bubonicon a few years ago. I read about him originally in the ABQ Journal in their Sunday book section. His book sounded interesting and I was excited to meet him at the con. He was a super nice guy and I can’t wait to get into this book. It’s next up to try. The title alone is a winner for me. (he told me the sequel will be called Dedalus Descending *swoon!*)
Status: haven’t started but will this weekend.
Worlds Asunder-Kirt Hickman *: Imma be honest. I see him every year at Bubonicon and he is one of those enthusiastic authors who grabs your attention as you walk by and tell you ’bout the book as you smile politely. Well last year I took a minute and listened, plus I brought a few bucks just in case he had an interesting looking novel, and this one interested me. He signed it for me (bonus!) and was a nice guy. I think he will have a unique writing style I may enjoy, if having a conversation with him is any indication of his writing style.
Status: read the first few pages at the con (back in August 2012) and enjoyed them. I need to at least finish the first chapter. I remember I liked his descriptions of the characters.
A Song for Arbonne-Guy Gavrial Kay: I found this one in a used book store and bought it for the cover! It’s so pretty. It seems like a pretty intense fantasy for me, but I have heard lots of praise about this author since I found it (I heard about him on this blog even!). It’s a completely new author and, well, genre for me. Looks very promising.
Status: Haven’t started yet
Kindle books:
Duel-Richard Matheson: Richard Matheson is a genius of horror. His stories are fluid, heart-wrenching, and the plots are fantastic. He doesn’t go into much detail on the monsters/scariness, but leaves just enough to let your own imagination run with it, much like Lovecraft. This story is the basis for Speilberg’s first film of the same name-another movie I like a lot.
Status: in the queue, haven’t started yet
Way of Kings-Brandon Sanderson: My trustworthy friend told me about this so I jumped on it. She has read all of his books and is a total fan-girl so I want to see what the hubbub is about and also be able to talk about him with her.
Status: well into first chapter. Hooked. The magic is brilliant and even though there are a lot fo new tribes and whatnots to keep track of, everything is easy to remember and it is a nice and smooth read. I will finish this probably this year and devour his other books shortly after.
Three Musketeers-Alexandre Dumas: one of the biggies! Just one I’ve always heard of, seen a million references to, etc. I’m hoping it lives up to the hype! I have it in paperback too but it’s about 4 inches thick and weighs a good 2 lbs. yay for e-readers!
The Exorcist-William Peter Blatty: Again with the movie I loved. I figured if the movie could be so ridiculously amazing the book must be more so.
Status: well into the first part. So far I love how he describes emotions…it’s…deep. In a good way. I’m forced into these people’s hearts and minds. I like the story; I’ll read it someday but having seen the movie so many times I know what will happen. I don’t want to read this whole thing yet because it seems too heavy. oof. You know what I mean, right? The possession scenes?? Give me a year or two when my kids aren’t so young and I’ll get into it. It’s not the kind of story I want to read right now. I have a feeling it will be exhausting.
Aegis Solution-John Krygelski *: I saw this new release on his basefook feed and the reviews plus his synopsis of the book were enough to get me to buy it. It is a very orginal idea. A simple one, but one with possibly big implications I think.
Status: Into second chapter, hooked. JK rules. He’s such a nice guy and he wrotes some really neat ideas into some really neat stories. I love his characters and how relatable they are. This book so far hits a little close to home with it’s technology and politics, which was probably what he intended. I love his attention to scientific details, right down to the engineering and architecture involved in making a building tha tis designed to allow people in but not out. JK is awesome; one of my new favorite authors, one whose books I will read through more than once. Honestly it’s hard not to read this one when I know I need to start reading others in this list.

Fringe Fiction!

I went to Narnes & Boble this week to find a particular magazine for a particular crochet pattern by a particular designer*, and along the way my boys and I found all kinds of wonders in that store, as usual. Older Son found a cool maze toy that changes mazes with a flick of a tab (no batteries required!) and I found not only my magazine, but a new summer book!

I love the show Fringe. For those of you who haven’t seen it, please go watch it. Netflix and other on demand companies have it available, all except the last season which should be out soon. It is the best show we have seen in years. It’s smart, scientific, funny, and the plot is amazing. Need more convincing? J.J. Abrams had a major and in it. So, there I go being a hipster. We knew JJ was awesome before he made Star Trek movies.

SO go watch it! You’ll love it! The downside is that it has finished its course. No more new episodes for us. Then I saw this on the shelf and N&B:

FringeZodiacParadoxBookCover

What?? Fringe fiction? I practically jumped up and down and may have spoken to a stranger walking past about how excited I was. This one came out this very month, and a new one comes out in late summer. Oh, yes please! So I dropped all my TBR stuff and other books scattered around and now I carry Bell and Walter with me everywhere. It is about the two of them, plus Nina Sharp, in 1969 as they track down the Zodiac Killer.

I really couldn’t have asked for a better summer book at a more appropriate time. It’s been so busy with life stuff, that a nice new author and a nice comfortable familiar world are just what I needed.

What are your current summer reads? Has anything jumped off the shelf at you lately?

-Kat

 

P.S. Last summer I read Jaws. It was awesome. We watched the movie after I finished and it just made it even more awesome. I highly recommend it.

 

*If you’re interested or curious, the magazine is Crochet Today July/August 2013 for Juicy Top by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby. His patterns are fantastic. I mean, I ran out to buy a $7 magazine for a crocheted summer top. For srs. I’ve never wanted to crochet a top before. But oh how cute is this?

JuicyTop

Where does one start with comic books?

Where does one start with comic books?

There are a lot of them, for sure. It’s mind boggling. There are tons of them for different characters, different story arcs, different artists, different writers….let’s not even get into how many spin offs there are and how many different publishers there are!
The two big ones are Marvel and DC. Marvel=X Men, Spiderman, Avengers, Fantastic Four, etc. DC has Batman, Superman, Justice League, etc. Darkhorse is a favorite of mine too, for Hellboy.

My advice to the comic novice is to pick a character/villain you are interested in. Everybody has one, right? Pick a character and/or a specific reference to go on. Did you like the movie? Did a friend or blog turn you onto something? Did you see a rad illustration? The good news is that comics aren’t only available in single issues anymore. There are tons of graphic novels and collections to browse. These are my personal favorites because often and entire story is in one book, or a couple volumes. I don’t have to collect 50 issues, they’re all in one. Plus, it’s easy to find the character you are looking for, regardless of the publisher, as most places have everything alphabetized by characters or teams.

Here are some contenders you might have heard of before:
Archie
Arkham Asylum
Aquaman
Batman
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Captain America
Catwoman
Flash
Green Lantern
Grimm Fairy Tales
Harley Quinn
Hellboy
Incredible Hulk
Iron Man
Joker
Lady Death
The Sandman
Spawn
Spiderman
Superman
Thor
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Walking Dead
etc etc etc

Did you know many authors of traditional books also have comics? Hello, Neil Gaiman. Oh, and Joss. Can’t leave you out.

And those are only some american and popular title I thought of off hand; there are oodles of manga to discover!
Bleach
Death Note
Dragonball Z
Inuyasha
Lone Wolf and Cub
Naruto
Pokemon
Ranma 1/2
Rurouni Kenshin
Sailor Moon
Totoro
(anything Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki)
etc etc etc
Chances are if you’ve seen a good anime, there is a comic for it. Reading a bunch of comics can be easier than watching 200+ episodes too.

And! And! You probably have a favorite web comic, too, right? A lot of them have physical books with collections and new story lines. Find them. Put them on order. A lot of LCS will stock new items just because someone asked for it, they order one for the customer and one for the shelf.

Go to your local comic shop (where available). If you are lucky enough to have a LCS, just go right in and tell the employee, “I am new to comics, but I like so-and-so, especially this movie/story/rumor/whatever, can you help me find that?”
OR “I’m new to comics but I heard about this story arc with so-and-so doing that thing with the guy and do you know what I’m talking about? Can I read about that?” They would be happy to point you in the right direction!

When you find one, slow down. Read, but look at the art too. Don’t just zoom through the words- really pay attention to the action or the faces or the backgrounds. Comics are about both art and story. Take the time to appreciate both. You know how awesome the cover is? Just wait for what lies inside!

Many if not most LCS will buy back books and do trades. You can get a decent amount for the book (rarely cover price though) but the best is in store credit. My LCS will give me cover prices in store credit sometimes! woohoo! You can keep your favorites ad trade the rest. I like to donate some to the library too.

Following artists and writers are just as fun in comics as they are in novels. Anything written by Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Bruce Timm, Jeph Leob, Alan Moore, Roger Stern, Paul Dini, Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola or brought to life by Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, Brain Bolland, Alex Ross, and Jack Kirby are well worth your time. Those are only a few of the incredible people who make comics.
I hope that can get you out and reading at least one comic book, and enjoying it. My personal faces are anything Batman, Joker, Arkham Asylum, and Hellboy. I have many (so many) favorites but to save space in my house, and time, I try to stick with those.

Happy hunting!

Glossy Reading, A Shift in Perspective

How many times has someone told you, “Oh I don’t like to read. I like magazines though. I don’t read books.”? This is enough to give bibliophiles like us cramps, and make smoke come out our ears.

I was out and about today and leafed through the In Style Spring 2013 magazine. It made me think of people who “only read magazines” and I chuckled, but then I noticed how heavy the magazine was, which is because it is over 546 pages long!

Check out the top right hand corner:

InStyle-March-2013-Issue-Pictures

That is a serious novel, my friends. A lot of the pages are ads, but the people who love these mags look at all of those technicolor ads (I gravitate to the purses and watches). 500+ pages equals a lot of dedicated reading.

I understand that perspective now. An average magazine has, what, 100 pages? That’s more than most short stories. Some people like magazines, some people like novels. It’s all reading and that makes me happy. I might not usually read a magazine, but then I’m one of those people that will read anything with words on it, be it a cereal box, a novel, or a fashion magazine.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Stuck Between a Book and a …nother book

2013-01-25 06.59.00

I have a lot of books I was really excited to read not too long ago, but now I can’t concentrate on any of them. Dissolution by CJ Sansom, The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Gideon’s Corpse by Preston & Child, River of Doubt by Candice Millard, Death Star by Steve Perry and Michael Reaves, and Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines sit patiently on my TBR table. I feel like my brain is too tired to fully appreciate them right now, even though they all sound wonderful. Thank puppies for Mary Janice Davidson! Betsy and Sinclair are just the zany company I need.
2013-01-29 07.35.34
Who are your favorite authors that you can just read and enjoy, when your brain is full? (You know, books that are like infomercials or old movies, where you just curl up and indulge. The paperback equivalent of your favorite ice cream. A unicorn chaser, if you will.)
-Katermelon

P.S. Undead and Unworthy is a book I never, ever would have read on my own without a friend’s recommendation. :-) I’m so glad I listened to her.

Wool Hipster

http://shelf-life.ew.com/2012/12/13/wool-author-hugh-howey/

It’s not often that I know about anything before it’s cool. But I knew about Wool before you did, I bet. My hubs found a small link on reddit and passed it onto me. A cheap set of 5 books for the kindle about some neat sci-fi story that Ridley Scott is rumored to be interested in. I am very interested in Ridley Scott and his fantabulous sci-fi, so I tried the book I’d never heard of.

It was amazing. I devoured all five of these in like two weeks, mostly on a road trip with two young children (both under 4) and during the summer when aforementioned four year old and his one year old little brother were climbing all over everything including me. The story made me cry, for pete’s sake. Honestly, this story was every single thing I wanted from it and more. I feel like I Discovered Something Important, that this is only the beginning of someone’s very successful writing career and for once I was along for the ride.

I also blabbed about this book to anyone within ear shot! You have to read this. Now. No, NOW. Stop doing what you’re doing and and read it! I don’t care if your book/movie/project/game/class/job is ineresting read it right now you won’t be disappointed! This Howey guy is gonna be huge! I emailed poor Beth countless times and who knows how many annoying “zomg this book is teh bom” postcards I sent.

I am the only one I know that has read them, so far. I have one friend who is reading it now but just the one and last I heard she was only on book 2.
So now that he is being published by the massive and powerful Simon & Shuster, don’t be surprised when, later this year, after you tell me how awesome this book is, I go all hipster on you. I’ll smile knowingly and say, “Oh I read that last year, before it was mainstream.” and sip my coffee.
Cuz I did. And it’s amazing. I strongly recommend it. ;-) You won’t be disappointed.

Resolution Reconfigured

Resolution Refigured:

So remember my lofty goal of only reading what’s in my own house? That will happen, surely, but I wandered around the library page today and (after planning on going to the Lego Club this afternoon), I ran across a whole bunch of book titles I heard about from 2012. Here is a list of books I heard about more than once, in many different places. Different enough to consider checking them out. It’s like I keep hearing key words and phrases in a conversation in another room. All of these book references have been random and therefore have piqued my interest, since they keep popping up! I put most of these on holds, and I’m around 86 or 124 or so in line for all of them. I’ll have plenty of time to read from my own library until these start trickling in.

Vertigo-W.G. Sebald
This is not like the movie, but it sounds great, described as the author’s “most amazing…and most alarming” book. Here is part of a review from amazon:
‘An unnamed narrator, beset by nervous ailments, is again our guide on a hair-raising journey through the past and across Europe, amid restless literary ghosts—Kafka, Stendhal, Casanova. In four dizzying sections, the narrator plunges the reader into vertigo, into that “swimming of the head,” as Webster’s defines it: in other words, into that state so unsettling, so fascinating, and so “stunning and strange,” as The New York Times Book Review declared about The Emigrants, that it is “like a dream you want to last forever.”‘

Doctor Zhivago-Boris Pasternak
I loved the movie. This is one of those books I wouldn’t normally read, but being part of Dark Cargo has convinced me it’s worth a shot. It is set in 1903 Imperial Russia about Dr Yuri Zhivago and his trials and tribulations in his life, mostly centered around a love triangle between his wife and family, and the other woman he falls in love with during the revolution. It’s not the victorian mysteries I’m used to, for sure. No monsters with tentacles, either. But I think I’ll enjoy it. I might try and borrow this on ebook if I can, since it is almost 600 pages. I’m sure it is on the shelf, though. No waiting here!

Gone Girl-Gillian Flynn
This is one I’ve heard about all over the place. At first I thought this would be one of those flippant-not-enough-monsters-books that I don’t like, but further inquiry shows that this may be a very good ghost story. Goes to show how advertising a book a certain way, or to certain audiences, can often take away from the actual story (but that’s a post for another day, about opening to new books regardless of their looks).
A young couple is celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary when suddenly the wife is missing. It doesn’t help that no one (including the missing wife) is particularly likeable, and everyone has a motive apparently. Looks like a real page turner. I can’t wait to try it out!

House of Leaves-Mark Z. Danielewski
House of Leaves is exploding on twitter and FB. Wil Wheaton blogged about it, for pete’s sake. Ok ok, Universe, I got the hint. Unfortunately, I got the hint at the same time as 85 other people. I can wait. This one should be a real treat-it seems to have people turning it upside down and sideways to read, figuring out footnotes of footnotes, references to references, and the plot is supposed to be very good and very scary. I’ve read reviews where people are already tearing it into different meanings, not just the ghost story it is written as. People are dissecting this book like it’s one of those classics we read in high school. I find that exciting. I’m always up for new horror anyway.
The basic idea is that a family moves into a house that is bigger on the inside than the outside, and scary stuff happens.

Watership Down-Richard Adams
Lots of Dark Cargo-ites read this last year, and I figure better late than never, I’ll read it too.

Whew! Here’s to lots of new books in 2013! :-)

Kat’s 2012 Round Up and 2013 Goals

My big goal the this year was to buy fewer things, get in better shape, use what I have or donate what I don’t need. It has been a big success! I’ve even lost 15+ pounds and can see my closets again. That went into my reading a little, in that I’m trying to read the books I already own but haven’t read yet. There’s a lot in there! All kinds of genres and authors and publishers that are new or familiar. I got into some new genres (historical fiction mysteries, anyone?) and I found those at the library, so that totally counts. I even deleted my Hulu account. Wowzers. Gave me more time to read, though, so woo!

Anyway, here’s my reading goal for 2013:

I will read more poetry, and maybe even finish all the books in the Akitada series. I always wanted to read more Ralph Waldo Emerson (I have  a couple collections of his), and I’m going to read all three Clockwork Phoenix collections Elizabeth gave me. Then, hopefully, I can get to Icarus Rising or one of the other con books I have. Oooo! Or Aegis Solution (Krygelski). There are whole worlds in my own library I don’t know about. I will also read aloud more often to my kids, whether it’s comics, Scooby Doo (our new fave), and especially more poetry. Kids love poetry.

Yay! A whole new year of books!

Church Street Cafe Ghosts

Church Street Cafe, Old Town, Albuquerque NM

Not only is this one of the oldest buildings in town, but it is also one of the yummiest restaurants in town. The food and staff are amazing.
So it is its ghost apparently. I’ve been there many times, but have yet to see her. I remain hopeful. hehe

Here is an excellent site about the cafe, complete with cool video for your Friday haunt enjoyment.
http://www.sgha.net/nm/albq/churchstreetcafe.html

I love Old Town! More ghost stories next week.

photo copyright Church Street Cafe.

La Llorona

FROM KATHLEEN:

for you East-of-the-Mississippi folks, La Llorona is The Crying Woman, a very common scare-your-kids story to keep them from playing in the irrigation ditches, which can flood suddenly and without warning, killing even an adult.

Do you believe in ghosts? Are you an enthusiastic skeptic like I am? I’m always thinking, show me some proof! Please! I love looking at these kinds of pictures and watching the documentaries, especially in October. Here is a link to a great list of the best ghost photos ever taken. Be sure to read the stories with each one, some of them are pretty creepy. yeesh!
http://paranormal.about.com/od/ghostphotos/ig/Best-Ghost-Photos/The-Brown-Lady.htm

Bonus question: Who is your favorite ghost? I’m going with La Llorona. Cripes. She scared the hell out of me as a kid. This video tells the story I heard as a child- the second version in the video as told by Ms Pacheco.
Man, even now, as someone who does not buy into this stuff, that story gives me the creeeeeps! (shivers and giggles)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yq-1WXv-8Hk