Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
To begin with, I’m not a nice girl. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a nice girl. I used to be kind, and helpful, considerate and thoughtful. The kind of girl who went to all of her boyfriend’s games, even though she hates basketball; the kind of girl who helped her boyfriend study for his English final while she should have been studying for her own calculus final—and maybe she would have done better than that C; the kind of girl the boys at school lovingly call, oh, what’s that cute little name they have for us again? Oh, yes—Doormat.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;--
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee--
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me:--
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we--
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in Heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:--
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea--
In her tomb by the side of the sea.
There have been countless parodies and reimaginings of Poe's work for television. My favorite has to be the Raven from The Simpson's from the first Treehouse of Horror. Unfortunately, I could only find the audio of the clip. I actually first saw this in an English class in middle school.
Mia Everett could not believe her luck! The cutest boy in school, Rob, went on SIX dates with her and asked her to the prom! All of her dreams come tumbling down when pretty, popular, cheerleader Samantha Griffin sets her sights on him to get the prom queen tiara. She always gets what she wants. So, Mia is completely desperate and enlists the aid of her faithful (and hypochondriac) friend, Candice. Together, they procure a love spell and perform it at a school assembly. Mia is convinced that it worked because everyone is suddenly nice to her and bringing her lots of tasty treats. Later, she finds out from Chase Miller, undercover agent of the Department of Paranormal Containment, that it did, but not in a way that was expected. She inadvertently turned the senior class in to zombies AND they want to fatten her up and eat her! Can she reverse the spell before it's too late or will Chase have to kill the entire senior class? Will she still have a date to the prom?
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Alexia Tarabotti is a strong-willed and practical spinster, who lives in Victorian London. In addition to this, she is soulless and always carries around a sturdy parasol. It all starts when a rude, obviously new vampire has the audacity to attack her at a party. She ends up accidentally slaying the offending beast, which attracts the investigation of the infuriating and handsome Lord Maccon. It turns out there have been many vampires mysteriously appearing with no knowledge of proper etiquette and established vampires disappearing. Can they figure out who is behind the disappearances? Will Alexia and Lord Maccon ever get over the hedgehog incident?
I loved this book. Alexia was my favorite character by far. Her thought processes and observations were so funny and clinical. She was also reminiscent of Amelia Peabody from the series by Elizabeth Peters, which I also greatly enjoy. They are both strong female characters in a society where strength in the fairer sex is frowned upon and also use parasols as effective weapons.
The novel had a great blend of mystery, romance, science, and humor. The mystery was engrossing and I kept trying to predict what would happen next. I wasn't very successful, but the twists and turns were fun to read. I really enjoyed the romance between Lord Maccon and Alexia. I normally really hate werewolves because it seems like it's all about being super macho, power struggles within the pack, and the fact that women are usually seen as submissive in their society. This book is the antithesis of everything I despise about them. Lord Maccon and his packmates get along well and are strong without being overbearing. Women are respected and the men aren't even allowed to fight over them because of the shortage of werewolf women. I even liked the werewolf characters more than the vampires (except Lord Akeldama). It gives me a renewed interest in reading other novels about werewolves.
This book was great fun to read. I can't wait until the sequel, Changeless, comes out next year.
Friday, October 16, 2009
My second classical piece to focus on is: Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens!
Amanda Palmer is an incredibly talented singer, songwriter, and pianist. She is half of the punk cabaret duo, The Dresden Dolls, and has recently branched out with her own solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. I have seen her in concert five times (both solo and with The Dresden Dolls) and she's simply amazing. She plays with such reckless abandon and passion and it charges her music. It is so unique compared to anything else I've ever heard. This beautiful and macabre book is the companion to her solo album. If you have no idea who she is and want to hear some of her music, here is her MySpace page and The Dresden Dolls' MySpace page.
I finally received this book after ordering it almost a year ago. Needless to say, I was so excited about getting the package that I might have scared the UPS man a tiny bit. The wait was worth it.
This is a beautiful coffee table-type book full of photographs of the dearly departed Amanda Palmer in various places and states of undress taken by a large variety of photographers. They are accompanied by wonderful short stories by Neil Gaiman and lyrics from Amanda Palmer's solo album. The photos are incredibly dynamic, each it's own little morbid and macabre vignette. Some of them are sad, funny, ironic, odd, beautiful, and gruesome, but all of them are unique. My favorite is of Amanda brandishing a sword triumphantly over her slaughtered, younger self.
Neil Gaiman's short stories are nothing short of genius. They go perfectly with the corresponding pictures. He utilizes different voices expertly to tell the story of a young girl with an abusive mother, a suicidal housewife, and others. The stories triggered strong responses in me. Some made me laugh out loud, but others disturbed and sickened me. It's amazing how such emotion and plot can be encompassed in so few words. The longest story is two pages, but each is like a window deep into each of Amanda Palmer's many deaths.
This awesome book is a great collaboration between two talented artists. It's a must-have for any Amanda F-ing Palmer or Neil Gaiman fan.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Here's the plot summary from IMDB.com:
I'm a music major at Cal State Long Beach and I want to share my love of classical Halloween music! My absolute favorite orchestral piece of all time is Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. It's an awesome piece with 5 movements that tells an amazing story using absolutely no words.
Friday, October 9, 2009
I have never read anything by Sarah Rees Brennan, but I can't wait to now! My sister loves her blog and fanfics and now I can see why. Her talk was so funny and witty, I was in tears with laughter. She told us about her very first book (as a 7 year old; it had ponies and ninjas) and her hilarious adventures doing research for her book. She was really sweet and her energy lit up the room. I can't wait to read The Demon's Lexicon.
I had so much fun at this signing (yay hugs!) and I can't wait for their next books to come out so I can come see them again.
* These two pictures were taken by my wonderful fiance, DJ, who I so cruelly drag with me on these various events. :)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This review is in honor of the film version's 10th anniversary. I was happily surprised to see there was an article in the LA Times about it.
I love Takashi Miike's film adaptation of Audition, so I was really excited when I found out it was finally translated into English. I thought it was interesting that the book excelled where the movie failed and vice versa. In the first fifteen pages in the book, the reader knows more about Aoyama and his family than in the entire movie. Giving Aoyama a realistic background endeared him to me and made me forgive his shortcomings more than in the film. The courtship between Asami and Aoyama was much more interesting and believable in the novel. There were many more dates than in the film and it involved more normal conversation, plus Aoyama fussing about what to do like a teenage boy. The first three quarters of the film were extremely boring, but provided a great contrast to the last quarter of the film. The only thing I'm going to say about the ending of the story is that the film was much better and much more effective. I wish I could combine the good parts of both versions of the story.
Overall, the book was very good. The crazy ending seems pretty out of the blue and abrupt, unlike the film, which has more of a lead into it. I loved the fleshing out of all the characters into people I can relate to and care about. I would especially recommend this book to fans of the film.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Have you ever wondered about the little girl who was the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland? Her name is Alice Liddell and she grew up in Victorian England. Melanie Benjamin takes the facts and figures from Alice’s life and intertwines them with fiction, creating a unique story. The narrative follows Alice throughout her life, including her childhood relationship with Charles Dodgson (also known as Lewis Carroll) and the mysterious end of their friendship.
I really enjoyed this book. One of the most interesting aspects was the transformation of Alice at each stage of her life. Victorian England is an extremely hard era for any child to grow up in. The society is very restrictive and bound by expectations, which isn’t conducive to a precocious and imaginative young girl. She’s kind of a wild child that her parents constantly have to rein in. Her friendship with Dodgson is organic because he’s the only adult who really takes her seriously and listens to what she has to say. The breach happens at this point in her life, which goes unexplained until the very end of the novel. Throughout Alice’s young adult life, this is hinted at and danced around, but never definitely answered, which creates mystery and compels me to read on.
As a child, Alice wants Charles Dodgson to write down the story that will become Alice in Wonderland because it makes her feel special. Throughout the rest of her life, the novel holds her in the past, with the memories associated with it and the expectations and vision of her that other people have because of it. As an adult, she matures and learns to come to grips with the literary version of herself. Throughout the entire narrative, from childhood to late adulthood, Alice’s narrative as it transforms is completely genuine and believable.
The mixture of fact and fiction also makes this novel special. The photos Charles Dodgson took that are talked about in the book actually exist. All the people in Alice’s life are real people. This gives the novel an extra layer that piques my interest and makes me so curious that I look up the figures, photos, or facts on the internet. After the story, there is an afterword by the author that reveals the motivation behind writing the novel and which things are facts and which are speculation.
Alice I Have Been is very beautifully written and plunges the reader into the world of the real Alice. The story is genuine and had me so emotionally invested that it brought tears to my eyes at points. I would definitely encourage anyone to read it.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Do you like free books and Twitter? Well, this contest combines both of these awesome things! E. Van Lowe's good friend Park Avenue Princess is hosting this wonderful contest. It runs from October 2 to October 7th. All you have to do is tweet or retweet a sentence with the book title in it. For example: Bella may dance with Edward, but I will Never Slow Dance with a Zombie. (I stole this from E because it made me laugh! ^__^) Be as creative as you want! Each time you tweet or retweet the title in one day counts as an entry, but those entries are only good for the day. There will be one winner per day and no one person can win 2 days in a row.