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Showing posts from January, 2013

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

Or rather, seven severe to mildly frustrating characters. Happy Top Ten Tuesday ! 1. Lee Fiora, from Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld Always my go-to love-to-hate girl, but seriously Lee, could you be more self-hating and judgmental? 2. Pamela, of the eponymous novel by Samuel Richardson Pamela, how could you marry your would-be rapist? And how could you agree to those egregious marriage terms? Oh, go jump out a window! 3. Mary Musgrove, from Persuasion by Jane Austen Oh Mary, are you sick? Do you need your sister to scrub your floors and take care of your children? Poor, poor Mary. (Actually I totally love Mary and her ridiculous hypochondriac and hypocrite ways. But. Frustrating, definitely). 4. Winterbourne, from Daisy Miller by Henry James Can you get over yourself and your double standards? While you're worrying about whether or not Daisy is a "nice girl," should you maybe consider whether or not you're a "nice guy"? 5. Hamlet, from that D

SFF Lit Round Two

I started my SFF Lit project last year, and decided to make it an ongoing project for the blog. Here are my criteria for literature that I established last year: "I look for a distinct and effective writing style that uses language appropriately and creatively, a plot with a distinct structure (beginning, middle, and end, not necessarily in that order but present) that is appropriate to the genre/topic/characters, and characters that feel like real people and who can be understood, identified with and/or emotionally reacted to." I've also been heavily influenced by Litlove's thoughts on what is literature . Here's my list of SFF Lit Read in 2012: 1. The Coldest War by Ian Tregellis Tregellis' writing style is inundated with imagery and wit, and populated with dark but human characters. I'll never forget that opening sentence, "Wizards do not age gracefully," nor the terrifying Borg-Queen-esque Gretel or the well-meaning traitor Will B

Top Ten Settings I'd Like to See More Of

I like the creativity of this week's Top Ten Tuesday as it's not something I've really thought about a lot. Unlike some people, I don't generally pick books based on setting (though I do based on historical period). A well-evoked setting, however, can really enhance a great book and even salvage a not-so-great book. So, here goes. 1. Boston When I read The Art Forger this past year, seeing some of my former haunts in print just warmed the cockles of my heart. If I can't move back to Boston right now, at least I can read about it! 2. Chicago I should probably learn a little more about the city I'm in now. Maybe I can visit the sights in books and then follow up in real life if they sound fun! 3. Washington D.C. It's the city I've lived closest to most of my life and yet I read relatively few books set there. The only two I can think of in recent memory are The School of Night , which is partially set in D.C., and of course All the President

The Angelina Jolie Particle

50. The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll I have "absolute zero" background in physics. I never even took it in high school. Yet, I've always been fascinated by how the universe works and how we came into existence (and why, but that's another matter). Like everyone else, I was excited last July to read about the discovery of the Higgs Boson, also known as "the God Particle." But what does the Higgs really represent, what does it do, and what are its implications for the origins of "life, the universe, and everything" (you know, "the whole General Mishmash)? Sean Carroll makes it seem not only easy to understand, but positively thrilling. A physicist at Caltech, Carroll's sheer passion for his subject shines through the book. Playful chapter titles and subtitles let the reader in on the joke, such as Chapter Six entitled “Wisdom Through Smashing,” and subtitled “In which we learn how to discover new particles by colli

The Second Empress

49. The Second Empress by Michelle Moran I finished The Second Empress back in mid-December, but my review has been on the back-burner. Thank you to Fashionista-Piranha for the opportunity to read it. I received it as a prize in her giveaway. Princess Maria Lucia of Austria is asked to make an impossible choice: invite war and devastation on her country and the probable loss of her father's throne OR marry the monster who has wreaked such destruction across Europe. Meanwhile, Pauline, a woman born into poverty and now the sister of an Emperor, struggles with her unnatural affection for her brother and a debilitating illness. Pauline's servant, Paul, cares for his mistress and pines for her love as he watches her grow ever more erratic and cruel. All of these stories are tied together in Michelle Moran's The Second Empress , a historical novel set in the last years of Napoleon's rule in France. I think choosing to write about Napoleon's often forgotten s

Friday Finds

My recent book acquisitions include a few books that have been on my mind for a year or more, as well as a few that were completely unexpected! From Bookmooch, the online book swapping community in which I partake, I received: The Last Boleyn by Karen Harper I received for review from Tor: The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman For Hanukkah, my dad gave me: This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz The Joys of Love by Madeleine L'Engle Looking at them together and knowing what I know of both authors, they look like a delightful juxtaposition. Finally, I had the opportunity to visit The Book Bank in Old Town Alexandria. The used book store was impeccably organized and boasts an impressive collection both of antiques and recent releases. I was actually surprised at the quality of the latter, since I saw several books I thought people would have wanted to hold onto! They also have an excellent sele

Bookish Goals for 2013

I'm combining this week and last week's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. I don't want to overburden myself with too many extracurricular goals just as I start my thesis for a very intensive graduate program, so this year I'm keeping it light. Top Five Books I Resolve to Read in 2013 1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth 2. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel 3. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz 4. The Seeress of Kell by David Eddings 5. The Sorceress of Darshiva by David Eddings Top Five Bookish Goals for 2013 1. Read more short stories (perhaps an easier way to get in my SFF and stay up on this year's writers). 2. Read more nonfiction (nothing too crazy, let's just see if I can beat 2012's eight). 3. Read more books translated from other languages! It shouldn't be hard to beat last year's one. 4. Post to the blog at least 5 times a month (that was my goal last year and I mostly kept it up and even surpassed it