Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday...The World According to Bertie

Today's teaser comes from Alexander McCall Smith's The World According to Bertie:

"Some books, of course, were destined not to be read, largely because of their unintelligibility to all except a very small number of people" (171).

I think we can all come up with a few books that would fit this description.  Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I Love...Favorite Series

Getting back into the swing of things has taken a bit of effort on my part.  It seems that, with everything going on outside of the blogging world, my poor blog has taken a tragic hit.  I've been so neglectful of consistent posting...though I do have several (perhaps ten or so) drafts in the works to be edited.  Wow.  So, to help aid my way back into consistent blogging, I'm participating in this week's edition of "Why I Love".  I've been participating in this blogging meme for a while now, but have missed weeks recently.  However, here's my attempt at getting back in the groove!  This week's topic is Favorite Series.

There are so many series that I absolutely love.  The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan...and on and on.  But I'm not going to talk about any of those, mainly because I've written about every single one of them in some capacity; especially Harry Potter.  Instead I'm going to explain why I absolutely love Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series.

First, the characters are eccentrically awesome!  There are a multitude of characters who force you to either love them, hate them, or feel ambivalent toward them.  These characters range from Bertie, the six year old saxophone and Italian prodigy who just wants to play with boys his age, to Bruce, the egotistical man-whore who thinks everyone (EVERYONE) worships the ground that he walks on and that he can do no wrong, from Domenica, the elderly world-traveler who is always looking for new adventures, to Angus, a portrait painter and friend of Domenica who wants their relationship to go a bit further, from Cyril, the overly-intelligent and human-like dog with a gold tooth owned by Angus, to Big Lou, the owner of a local coffee bar who is more sensitive than she lets on and who offers great advice to others.  Plus a ton of others who stand out and make an impact on these characters.

Second, the chapters are incredibly short.  Because this series was originally written as a serial column in The Scotsman newspaper (much like Dickens when he first started), the length of the chapters had to fit within a finite space.  This makes any book in 44 an ideal book to carry with you and read when you  have a little time to kill.

Third, because of the short chapters, these books are quick reads and always have fresh hijinks for the characters to partake in.  In addition, Smith is constantly bringing new characters in and phasing characters out...only to bring them back later in an unexpected way.  They're so much fun!

I'm so glad that my friend Mandy introduced me to this series.  Not only do they remind me of her, but they remind me of Edinburgh.  I can walk through the cobbled streets along with the many characters.  I can experience the feel of the city just as they are.  It's magical.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey: A Review

E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey has become quite the hot little ticket in the "literary" world (I use that term loosely); especially when it comes to the leanings of suburban housewives and whatnot.  While I did put off reading this book for a bit, I finally caved to the pressure and bought the whole damn trilogy.

Grey follows the developing relationship between recently graduated English major Anastasia Steele and Seattle business tycoon Christian Grey.  Anastasia soon becomes completely mesmerized by Christian, as does every single other woman who comes in contact with him, though she tries desperately to keep her distance from Christian and the intense feelings he has for her.  As the two get to know each other, revelations about Christian and his...preferences...are revealed to both Anastasia and the reader.  Soon the two embark on a rather erotic, passionate, and very physical affair.

I must be honest in my opinion; it was a quick, engaging, and jaw-dropping read!  At times I was really enjoying the storyline and at other times I would be asking myself "how is this relevant?  how did I get sucked into this?"  One major aspect that turned me off was the first person narrative that James uses to tell the story.  While I understand why this was the chosen mode of communication, I've never been a big fan of first person, present narratives.  Regardless, I was able to look past this and voraciously read the book.  It's quite good (though at times shockingly uncomfortable) and worth the read. 

In addition, there's speculation that they're adapting this book into a screenplay.  Universal has the rights.  The only rating this movie could ever walk away with would be an NC-17 or XXX.  Whoa.  Check it out!

Teaser Tuesday...PS, I Love You

I always swore that I would never, Never, NEVER read Cecilia Ahern's novel PS, I Love You.  Why so adamant, you might ask.  Well, let me tell you in two simple words:  Hilary Swank.  I haven't picked this book up because of the movie (which I've yet to see) because I can't stand Hilary Swank for some odd reason.  It's strange.  I don't mind her in Freedom Writers or even in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the original), but for some inexplicable reason there is something about her that grates on my nerves.  It's the same way my friend Margaret feels about Julia Roberts, whom I like a lot.  And another aspect of the film that grates...she's NOT American!!!  Ugh.  Screw you, Hollywood!

Anyway...while wandering through a bookstore in Portland, I came across a copy of PS that was not a movie promotion copy (I prefer the non-movie cover ones) and it was only two dollars.  And, being me, I caved and bought the damn thing.  I've loved everything by Cecilia Ahern, with the exception of The Book of Tomorrow (more on that later).  Why should this be any different...honestly?  So I've started it, am liking it (damn), and here's a teaser:

"Holly paused as she entered the door and took a deep breath.  She loved airports.  She loved the smell, she loved the noise, and she loved the whole atmosphere as people walked around happily tugging their luggage, looking forward to going on their holidays or heading back home.  She loved to see people arriving and being greeted with a big cheer by their families and she loved to watch them giving each other emotional hugs.  It was a perfect place for people-spotting.  The airport always gave her a feeling of anticipation in the pit of her stomach as though she were about to do something special and amazing" (224-225).

I know it's a rather long teaser, but I love it because it sums up exactly how I feel about airports.  The adventure they present.  The transitory nature of them.  It's fantastic!  Well done, Ms. Ahern, well done :)  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why I Love...Guest Post

I'm a guest poster for Alexis over at Reflections of a Bookaholic today.  Today's topic for Why I Love Wednesday is Favorite Book Worlds.  Check it out!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday...The Promised World

Today's teaser comes from one of my many Dollar Tree finds:  Lisa Tucker's The Promised World.  I'm nearly 150 pages into it and it's been  good so far.  Verdict's still out on overall opinion.  Regardless, here's a teaser:

"She paused.  'I suppose I sound too excited.  I'm a great believer in stories.  I used to tell Billy I was afraid we loved stories more than real life, but he said, 'What is life but a story we don't know the meaning of yet?'"" (10).

This excerpt is pretty spot on with my approach to stories and books; they are like real life (kind of...sort of).  I mean, who doesn't want to be a student at Hogwart's or roam the halls of Tara or befriend Boo Radley?  Happy Tuesday!