Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Larfs and Tunez

Straight Outa Scotland. I had multiple LOLs. However, I also had multiple wines.

I love this song and video:

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book 35: Bloody Good

Imagine if the Germans had used Vampires as secret spies in WWII, such is the premise of Bloody Good. This is the first installment in the series from Georgia Evans. I started seeing ads for this book as sidebars on the Smart Bitches website, and I think on Crazy Aunt Purl's site as well. I read a sample chapter and the next thing I knew, I was preordering a copy from the fine folks of Amazon.

The town of Brytewood lies along an energy line and so Other folk (Pixies, Shifters, Whathaveyou) are drawn to the place. Brytewood also happens to be the very spot where the Nazis have launched a small invading force of undead. Thank goodness we are not dealing with Sparkly Brooding Emo Vampires. These German blood suckers are devoid of nonsense and romance. They are also plotting to double cross the Nazis, eventually, but only one character is in on that-- Bela, a fairy held by the Nazis as a Remote Vampire Listening Device.

In the other corner is a varied Paranormal Home Guard-- Alice and her Grandmother, Helen, are Pixie. Alice doesn't believe in Pixies or Other until she accidentally uses her powers, about 2/3 in. Meanwhile, her grandmother is a bit of a Character, sort of Marplish. Sergeant Pendragon is a dragon. There is also a were-vixen and another, more local vampire of moral neutrality. Along for the ride is poor, regular Peter-- a conscientious objector sent to work as a medical assistant. Alice and Peter have the whole 'first we hate each other, then we rip each others' pants off' thing going on.

The battle of this book is clearly a warm up for more of the series. I have the next two books already. As I just finished this in the bath this morning, I can't really tell you anything about the rest of the series. There were a lot of threads cast out in this book and either they will be neatly woven together or they won't. I'd go so far as to say that I can't really make a definitive call on how much I liked this book until I've gotten further in the series. At this point, they are calling it a trilogy, but since the first 3 books don't even crack past 1940, this one could be extended.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book 34: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

This book made me crave Chinese food relentlessly. Even now, I would probably stab you for some noodles. Also, I approve of substituting a lucky number for a middle name. All my middle name is used for is an expression of parental disapproval. Anna Marie. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles was written by Jennifer 8. Lee. Let's just get something out of the way: Chinese Food As Americans Eat It Is Not Authentic. Shrug. I don't care about authentic; I only care about delicious. I sort of figured that General Tso's Chicken was as Chinese as I am. Incidentally, Meatballs are about exactly as Italian as I am: 1/4. The math on that is too complex for a mere blog entry.

I was surprised to learn the origins of the fortune cookie. I sort of assumed they were something that Chinese immigrants in this country developed. But no! I don't want to spoil it for you. . . that's what wikipedia is for. The specific restaurant in NYC that gave us delivery is highlighted. THANK YOU FOR THAT. I love it so much when hot, delicious food comes to my very door.

More somber are the details of what it takes for Chinese to come to this country and how hard they work in all those restaurants all over the country. Long hours, no days off. There is a pretty sad case outlined, of parents whose children were taken by the state because of the demands of the restaurant. (I would use names and places, but the book was due back at the library today and I am not prone to taking notes while reading.) Chinese parents who come to this country to give their children a better life sacrifice so much, including their relationships with their children. Lee is very compassionate to the parents who show love through sacrifice rather than through the sort of affirmation that is more commonly valued in the US.

The amount of travel that went into this book is baffling! There is a single chapter dedicated to The Best Chinese Restaurant In The World that must have cost about 15K just for the flights. That doesn't count the domestic travel: tracking the restaurants where people cracked open cookies with winning powerball numbers, or the trips to fortune cookie bakeries or soy sauce breweries. I would love to know more about the travel budget for this book.

I did find the structure of the book somewhat meandering. It is not too long, but it is not direct. However, other than hoping to impose my own organizational system on it, I wouldn't change it. Interesting, educational, not overly taxing on the mind. Much like the Discovery Channel of Books.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book 33: This Duchess Of Mine

This one tries my resolve re: being unashamed of my reading materials. Look, I have to go with something that won't break my heart if it goes into the tub. There is just one character left to be covered in this series, and I had to read this one in order to read that one.

Jemma and Whatsisname have spent much of their marriage estranged and this is the tale of them patching things up. Admirable premise. The success of it all hangs on the well timed discovery of digitalis allowing Elias (Elijah? Something along those lines, can't be arsed) to live long enough to stop being such a stick in the mud. In the first novel of this series, we learned that Jemma and E--- were estranged after she caught him boning his mistress in his office at the house of Lords. Apparently, he wasn't cheating because he wanted to, but so he wouldn't look bad in front of the other aristos. There is a convoluted explanation of how his dad was found dead with a couple hookers and some fetishy stuff so the hero needed a single, boring lover to prove that he was a normal, studly Duke. WTF-ever. I mean. REALLY.

Book 32: Mistress

Oh so bad. So very bad. Unlike my previous Amanda Quick Re-read, this one didn't stand up to time. Maybe I was high when I read it the first time? Huge holes in the plot, through which one might drive a carriage. Dumbassery on the part of the heroine, who should surely have gotten killed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book 31: Two Guys Read Jane Austen

It's been some time since I read Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park-- the two Austen books read by The 2 Guys. If you have a passing familiarity with those novels, you could follow along with their correspondence. Steve Chandler and Terrence Hill are lifelong friends who have also read Moby Dick together and the obituaries. The letters read more like Applied Literature than literary criticism. I think that if anyone ever again asks me what good an English degree is I will refrain from beating them to death with my Norton Anthology and instead recommend they read this book. First of all, it will save me a bundle on bail money, secondly, they will certainly thank me for it. There is a lot of wisdom in here-- the kind of good judgment that rises from the ashes of bad judgment.