Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A post to tell you I'll be posting soon

Something does not want me to review Full Dark, No Stars. OK, so "something" is really a series of excuses on my part. But that's still a "something".
The baby gets me
First it was TV. TV doesn't seem to be getting in the way of my reading, but my reviewing is another matter. First it was the Chopped marathon. Then Mad Men depressed me out of writing anything Monday night as I had planned to.* "Don't worry," I told myself. "I'll definitely write something Tuesday, as soon as I get home from work." Ah, such good intentions.

For those of you not in the NYC area or those who are around NYC but don't take public transportation, let me explain. Normally my commute involves a 30-45 min subway ride and then a 45 min train ride. Yesterday however, it took 30+ minutes to go between 2 stops. And then after we reached the stop (meaning after the doors had already closed and we started again) the MTA, conductor, whoever makes these decisions, decided "Eh, we're running on the local line now." I just kept looking at my watch and counting off the trains I was missing. When I finally got to the station it turns out those trains were also running on delays of about 30-45 min. I made it home (hooray) but about an hour later than normal (on the days when I miss the earlier train). However, I felt bad complaining once I got home and learned the reason for the insanity was a guy was hit by a train. Not sure if it was an accident or not, but regardless, I was not in a mood to do anything productive last night and instead spent the time watching 16 and Pregnant. Because apparently when I'm mad I like to watch teenagers make bad decisions.

So I will have that review soon(ish). And I'm about done with Emma so hopefully that review will be less frustrating to write than it has been to read.

*We DVR'd the show because I can't seem to watch anything when it actually airs. If you ask me when something is on or what channel I can give you a vague idea of both, but nothing that's, you know, actually helpful.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book shopping or I'm fickle

This post was going to be a review about Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. But there's a Chopped marathon on right now so I can't concentrate enough to write a review. Instead I want to talk about shopping.
Probably because I'm currently reading Jane Austen's Emma which as you (should) know is the inspiration for Clueless. Which means the whole time I'm reading this I'm going "OH so this is like after the "Rolling with my Homies" party scene. And Sir George Knightly is Josh, aka Paul Rudd. Got it." I also maaaay have bought a DVD combo pack of Clueless and Mean Girls, because my copy of Clueless was on VHS. How '90s.

Now since this is a book blog, the shopping will focus on book shopping. Where do you get your books?

I know a lot of my fellow bloggers have crazy TBR piles. There are several TBR challenges. I don't do this. I have a TBR list. It's my Goodreads list. But I usually buy a book, read it, repeat. It's probably why I re-read so much. At least one of the reasons. I'm not great at planning my reading. It's why challenges intimidate me so. I have to commit to reading stuff? What happens when the time comes and I don't feel like reading that? WHAT THEN? So normally when I buy a book, I read it right away. Which means I can go into a bookstore and find a bunch of books that are on my Goodreads TBR list, but unless I'm in the mood to read it right then, it will stay in the bookstore.

Unless of course, the book is on one of those remainder tables. If a book is on sale I feel less inclined to have to read it right then. Because what if later when I do really want to read the book, it's not on sale anymore?? I'm cheap, so I still don't go too crazy, but I can't leave a bookstore if I see something on one of these tables that I sorta maybe want to read. Remainder tables for the win!

Now I said I'm cheap, which is part of the reason I don't buy ALL the books when I'm at a bookstore. You'd think this would mean I used the library a lot cos hey, free is the best. I do not. I should. I know I should. And I'm pretty sure there's a library around the corner from me. And definitely one not too far from our local indie bookstore. But  I don't want to borrow the book. I want the book to be mine. I want to be able to reread it whenever I choose or be able to pick it up and look for a passage. I want to display it on a shelf and go "Oh yeah, I read that" even if I'm only saying it to myself. I'm vain that way.

I do buy books from Amazon, at least for my Kindle. I don't typically order physical books online but not because of "grr Amazon." I am very impatient. If I want to read a book, I want to read it right then. I don't want to wait for it to come in the mail. This is also why Netflix* never worked for me. We'd pick out movies to rent but the few days later, when they actually showed up, I didn't care about watching them anymore. Why yes, I am annoyingly fickle. This is also why I love downloading books because I can be anywhere and get a book. I've done this on my commute when I finished the book I brought with me, but I still had train time. Of course I can't display these on my shelf, so my vanity and my impatience have to battle it out

What do you do? Do you have crazy TBR piles? Do you pick your reads in the moment?

*For those that might go off topic and ask why I don't just do Netflix Streaming, we did. And you know what's on Netflix streaming? Not much. Every time I went to look for a movie, it said "Oh nope, not available. But don't you want to watch Ninja Bimbos Part III?" After watching all of the Archer and Party Down episodes available, we cancelled our account.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Non-book blogs/sites you should check out

This is probably obvious, but most of the blogs I read are book blogs. I never really followed too many blogs before starting my own, so it makes sense that as I joined this world I mostly follow and read other book bloggers. But there are a few other blogs I've discovered that are amazing and should be shared. And this week's Tuesday Top Ten (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) gives me that opportunity. If you aren't already familiar with these, you should fix that.

A Cozy Kitchen - It's so hard to read food blogs because they have photo after photo of delicious looking food and all I want to do is eat right then and not bother with that whole pesky "cooking" thing. Though I actually do enjoy cooking. I just enjoy the eating more. There's so much I want to try that I haven't gotten to. Yet.

How Sweet It Is - I heart food. Jessica hearts food. And good food too, like cheese and bacon. The important stuff. She beats Cozy Kitchen only because I've made a few of her dishes and they've been fantastic. She managed to bust through my laziness and make me go "I NEED arugula pesto & white cheddar mac & cheese"

The Bloggess - You read this right? Cos you listened to my post about her book when I told you she made me cry I was laughing so hard and I commanded everyone to read her blog. Because if you still haven't check her out, I don't even know. Jenny Lawson is hilarious and wonderful and posts about all kinds of things, from her battle with depression to some mushrooms in her yard that sort of look like boobs. You get it all.

The Sassy Curmudgeon - I think I found her post when I saw someone wrote a "review" of a sports bra that holds a bottle of wine in the cups so you can drink at moments where a glass of wine is inappropriate. But sucking from a straw coming out of your cleavage is fine. That someone was Una LaMarche and she has some amazingly awkward stories from her teenage years as well as chronicling her undying love for high quality TV shows, like America's Next Top Model.

Bad Lions - These are images from various paintings and sculptures. Of lions. That look like pretty much anything other than lions. Straight forward and hilarious.

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie hasn't written for awhile but till then I am sated myself with her old posts. She writes about various topics and usually includes a comic. If you only read one of her posts (which is stupid cos you should read ALL THE THINGS) read Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving which cracks me up every time.

Other cos I don't really know how to categorize this one
Freakonomics Blog - If you liked the Freakonomics books, you should check out the blog. It's like a continuation of the books and they tackle new topics and relationships and incentives the books missed.

A Tumblr
#whatshouldwecallme - animated gifs that crack me up. I can waste days on here.

Non-blogs but still amazing
Cracked - Not a blog but I site I'm on all the damn time. It's a humor website, admittedly geared towards guys, although only sometimes to an annoying amount. I've linked to various articles from here a few times on my blog because I swear I'm constantly coming across things that remind me of something from this site.

Least Helpful - Unhelpful review from various places, mostly Amazon. The comments under each review are probably the best part. My favorite: people who confused Ellison's Invisible Man with Well's Invisible Man. "Man was overly visible. One star"

Monday, May 21, 2012

The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes

Not too long ago I won a copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles from Alice at Reading Rambo. I tried reading this a few years ago, when I was trying out different ereader programs on my iPod Touch. (This was my iBooks test. A Christmas Carol was my Kindle app selection). I quit reading it not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because I couldn't get myself to read on such a tiny screen. Which is stupid, by the way, because whenever I was actually reading on it it was fine. Other than the fact that I had to turn the page ever sentence or so. But I had trouble getting past the idea of the tiny screen so I never finished. Now I had a new chance and this book counts towards my Classics reading challenge so, I'm in!

I've read some Sherlock Holmes before. Just the short stories, never a full novel(la?) and I enjoy them. Also I can't help but picture Holmes and especially Watson as the mice from The Great Mouse Detective.
Although Disney left out all of the opium. And made Basil/Holmes less of an insufferable asshole.

Anyway, a doctor shows up with a case that only Sherlock Holmes can solve and tells him about this evil hound that has been terrorizing the Baskerville residence. Sir Charles Baskerville was found to have died OF FRIGHT with a big paw print near his body. There's a legend that this evil dog has been haunting the family every since one of the Baskerville descendants kidnapped and planned to rape this neighbor girl. Now the new Baskerville heir Sir Henry is due in England from Canada and the doctor is afraid the guy is going to get killed by the hell hound. Holmes agrees to take the case, but then says he needs to hang around London so Watson should go hang out in Devon for awhile till he can get away from all his other important work. Watson is to get to know the neighbors, keep a close eye on Sir Henry and let Holmes know all that he finds. Will Holmes and Watson be able to solve the case? What is actually terrorizing the Baskerville family? And what is going on with that bog?

And as I've been doing lately because I'm too lazy to make a coherent post, here are some random thoughts

Holmes is an asshole. Not a charismatic one either, just a condescending one. Right on page 3 Holmes asks Watson to deduce all he can about their visitor based on a walking stick left behind earlier. Watson makes some pretty good deductions and even says he's proud of all he's learned from Holmes. Holmes's response: "I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. When I said that you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth." The worst part might be Watson's reaction. It's along the lines of "My God Holmes, you're quite the genius and us morons are lucky to have you around." And the stories are all what Watson recorded, so you'd think there'd be a little more "Shut up, you ass" even if it was just mumbled under his breath.

*The rest of this will be sort of spoiler-y. I mean, this is a mystery and all*
Holmes is hardly in it. I know I just got finished talking about how he's an asshole, but I'd still prefer having him hang around being a patronizing shithead. Sure it turns out he was there the whole time hiding in the bog, but we didn't get to hang out with him. We were with Watson as he watched the weird neighbors and tried to keep Sir Henry from spending too much alone time with the naturalist's "sister".

After reading the first chapter when we hear about the dog haunting, I thought the whole plot would be more Scooby-Doo-esque. Cos really? Demon dog is scaring people away from a property. Jinkies! What I was not expecting was there to be an actual dog. Just a dog, bigger than normal but not hell hound size, with some phosphorus in his mouth to make it look like glowing (something that wasn't brought up until they mentioned the phosphorus). That's...that's it? The mystery was "There appears to be a giant dog terrorizing this family. No you fools, it's actually a slightly larger than average dog terrorizing the family." Well, thanks for the twist, Doyle. Yes, yes, that naturalist neighbor was setting the dog on the family so HE could get the house but there was something so unsatisfying to find out that was it. Maybe I'm too jaded.

I actually think I was so disappointed with the resolution because the stuff leading up to it was far more interesting. There was a very dangerous convict that had escaped! People were told to be on the look-out. And the butler seemed to have something going on. Creeping around while his wife spent her nights just bawling about something. And that crazy old guy that just kept suing everyone all the time. There was set up to have this be something more but it just fell flat.

There's a whole plot point about how dogs don't eat dead meat, which is why they didn't find any bites on Sir Charles. Cos he had already had a heart attack by the time the dog showed up. But really? I get that it's the idea behind playing dead with bears but does this work with dogs*? Especially dogs that have apparently been starved before being set loose.

*For that matter, does this even work with bears? Cos most of my wilderness survival tips come from Looney Toons.
*spoilers contained*

Summary: OK and entertaining but the short stories are better. Also I should probably see the new Sherlock Holmes, if for no other reason than Holmes is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which might be the best name ever. He's really a wizard right?

Title quote from page 32

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles. Penguin, 2009. Originally published 1902

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

(Belated) Blogging Anniversary

I was going to write a post about my blog's anniversary. I saw a few people writing their own because apparently May is the month for starting a blog. I missed my blog's birthday last year, but I was going to pay attention this time around. And then I realized I should probably check when that first post went out. Turns out it was May 8th.


At least I'm consistent. I'll remember to bring this up to Boyfriend next time I forget some important date.

Anyway it (was recently) my blogging anniversary. I've been doing this for 2 years now and it's been wonderful.  Boyfriend talked me into starting a blog because I was bugging him about not really using my English degree and blah blah blah. So he gets a lot of credit for this. Which he reminds me about whenever I start going on (and on) about blogging.

What Red Read started just as an opportunity to write about books since it was the only topic I could think of where I wouldn't run out of stuff to say. So I wrote and wrote. At first it was just to myself and for myself. Then slowly I began to find other book bloggers. And other book bloggers found me. I read books I would have never previously considered that were recommended by bloggers I would now consider friends. I've joined two reading challenges. I've participated in a readathon and a readalong. This blog has become a lot more to me than just a chance for me to record the thoughts about the books I'm reading.

One of my favorite things about this blog has been the people I've met. Or "met" I suppose since I haven't actually met any of these people in person. I'm sure if it hadn't been for the people below (and more that I've inevitably left off because, look, I missed my own blog birthday. I'm not good with memory) I would have given up blogging at some point. Now I can't imagine doing anything of the sort. So in no particular order, here are some awesome bloggers that you should check out if you aren't already familiar with them

Alice from Reading Rambo
Laura from Devouring Texts
Brenna from Literary Musings
Ben from Dead End Follies
Greg from The New Dork Review
Jennifer from Soy Chai Bookshelf
Meg from The Terrible Desire
Sarah from Sarah Says Read
Sarah from Sarah Reads Too Much
Pete from What You Read
Beth from Bookworm Meets Bookworm
Kerry from Entomology of a Bookworm
Rayna from Libereading

Happy 2nd blog birthday to me and thank you fellow book bloggers for being awesome and making me love it here in my corner of the internet.

Monday, May 14, 2012

An artist can't let madness stop him from making art

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art by Christopher Moore is a beautiful book. Normally I don't like hardback books. They're so cumbersome. Even this one I didn't bring with me on my commute because I like my back in the not hunched over position. But still I'm happy I have the hardback of this and not just because I got it signed. (Although SIGNED!!) This is a really pretty book. The rough cut pages, the dark blue text, and most importantly, the artwork.

Sacre Bleu is a book about art, if you couldn't figure that out from the subtitle. But it of course has a little of the supernatural woven in because it's Christopher Moore. The story opens with the death of Van Gogh. One day he goes out to paint in a field, shoots himself in the chest and the drags himself a mile to the door of a doctor while raving about a Colorman. But why would he shoot himself and then walk a mile to a doctor? And who is this Colorman Van Gogh said has been following him around France?

Toulouse's The Laundress*
Unfortunately, we don't get to spend a lot of time with Van Gogh, what with the whole bullet through the chest thing in the first few pages.That's OK though. Well I mean, not OK for Van Gogh but we get two hilarious narrators: Lucien Lessard, a young baker and painter, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. I love Henri and he is just the type of character Moore excels at writing: a kind person with a healthy taste for debauchery. Sure, he spends a good portion of the book in night clubs (Moulin Rouge, Chat Noir), whore houses and bars, but he's a true friend to Lucien and to the other Impressionists. There's a wonderful scene near the end of the novel that captures the spirit of Toulouse-Lautrec. Lucien woke up on the floor, having just come out of a trance and sees Henri lying there with him: "'Why are you lying on the floor?' Lucien asks. 'Solidarity,' Toulouse-Lautrec says. 'And we ran out of cognac. This is my preferred out of cognac posture.'"

Now, I mentioned the whole "trance" thing. And that mysterious Colorman character. This strange little man keeps showing up the artists and offering them paint, especially ultramarine, the Sacre Bleu. This is the color used to paint the Virgin Mary and is extremely rare. The Colorman never accepts money from the artists, who indeed are never really sure they want to buy color from him, although they always seem to end up with some. The artists seem to lose time while painting with it. There are paintings they remember working on but don't seem to be anywhere. And of course there's the matter of Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo about a Colorman following him to Arles.

The Colorman isn't the only mystery character here. Lucien's love, Juliette, broke his heart years before by just disappearing. Suddenly she's returned, with no explanation for where she's been and why she's back. No one trusts Juliette, except Lucien, who can't stay away.

This is, no doubt, a Christopher Moore book. It is his style, his voice, his humor. And yet, it's different than his other works. It's funny but it doesn't have the same laugh-out-loud moments like A Dirty Job and Lamb. But this isn't a bad thing. This may be a more serious comedy, but it's a comedy nonetheless. And it's a story I have a feeling will stick with me.

*This is one of the images included in the book and one I found myself turning back to often.

Title quote from page 241

Moore, Christopher. Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art. HarperCollins, 2012.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The day you take on a real job with real responsibilities, that's the day you're done writing

When exactly did the beta-male, as Christopher Moore dubs them, become a thing? In books, I mean. Is this a backlash against the capable, competent manly men of years past, with some examples that I can't think of at the moment. Walter in The Woman in White was sort of that. At least that's what Collins was going for. Whatever the reason, I like the beta-male characters. Those alpha males are too confident for me. Give me the insecure, self-deprecating guy. I mean, there's a reason I love Jesse Eisenberg.
Nerd suave
With this in mind I'd like to talk about Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman. Tom Violet is a wanna be author currently working a job he hates, writing company press releases. He's having some bedroom problems with his wife, who currently wants to have another kid. And on top of all of this his dad just won the Pulitzer for Fiction. Le sigh.

I really enjoyed this. Sure, it's somewhat predictable. Marital trouble? Check. Unsatisfied at work? Check. Dysfunctional relationship with a parent? Check. But it's the characters themselves that made the story. Tom is hilarious, which is good because the book is from his point of view so if I didn't like him the book would have been a slog. And his father is a force, running through marriages and liquor. I thought there would be more tension between father and son, but while their relationship isn't very conventional there is a lot of love there. Maybe not exactly "talk about our feelings" love, but more of "break into my ex-wife's/my house to pick up a change of clothes" type love.

There are moments of drama that were surprisingly touching. When so much of the is so sarcastically funny the serious moments can seem insincere, or at least melodramatic but they worked here. I wasn't tearing up but the scenes felt honest. And this was a quick read, one that drew me in. I didn't want to have to put the book down and head into the office*.

I was going to say my primary complaint is that the female characters aren't as fleshed out as Tom ans his father Curtis. However I realized none of the other characters are that fleshed out so I suppose the complaint his only the two main characters are fully realized. And this is really a small complaint because I didn't really think of it until I started typing this up. Besides my favorite character his Curtis's agent's son Brandon, who isn't much more than the sassy gay New Yorker but I loved whenever he was on the page.

I can see this being a book I re-read. It's a funny, quick read, a good book to read in between some of the more draining books. If you like the beta-male trope, along the lines of a Jonathan Tropper or Nick Hornby, this is worth a look.

*There's a part in the book where Tom describes how his job has these interns whose job is just to constantly monitor Google alerts to see if their company is mentioned. He talks about how ridiculous and boring this job must be. A good portion of my job involves helping people do EXACTLY that. And I have to say, I'm happy I'm not the one who has to actually do the monitoring.

Title quote from page 65

Norman, Matthew. Domestic Violets. Harper Perennial, 2011.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I was in a part of the world where you could drive hundreds of miles in any direction before you found civilization

Bryson is one of my go-to reads, whenever I want to read something familiar, but I'm not quite sure what. Last month I took part in Alice's The Woman in White readalong. I didn't want to read ahead of the week's designated chapters. At least not until I had written that week's post. However that left me time when I was done with my WiW reading and needed something else. I very briefly attempted to start Jane Austen's Emma but the styles were too similar. Yes, I know, different period and everything but to my untrained eye I was mixing up characters and took a cue from Greg (aka The New Dork Review via BookRiot), that if I am going to read multiple books at once they need to be very different. At the time Laura from Devouring Texts* was reading Bryson's Notes from a Small Island and I thought reading some Bryson was an excellent idea. I'd just go USA style with his The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America. And here we have it.

Not long after Bryson's father passed away he decided to travel around the US in search of a quintessential American small-town. The kind that you see in 1950s movies, where everything is clean and neat and everyone is happy. Plus this gave him a chance to reconnect with his home country, after living in England for so long. He starts off in his home down of Des Moines, Iowa and first heads east, stops home for a bit to re-energize and then continues west. And he covers most of the continental US, hitting 38 out of the lower 48 and driving 13,978 miles.

If you've read any Bryson before, you have a good idea what you're in for. He gives you a little bit of history about a place, tells you about his adventure (or lack thereof), shares stories about the people he encountered, whether they were lovely or morons and is constantly confounded by the prices he encounters. Bryson manages to make any topic interesting, and his travelogues are especially entertaining. After an evening of carousing with his brother he decides to leave his car in Pennsylvania and take a long distance bus up to NYC.  As he describes: "By and large a ride on a long-distance bus in America combines most of the shortcomings of prison life with those of an ocean crossing on a troopship." The fact that he was nursing a massive hangover may have made the ride that much more of a hell for him (made all the worse by his seatmates) but at least I enjoyed it.

It's not all schadenfreude** however. There are moments when he finds something truly awe inspiring, like his visit to the Grand Canyon or even just admiring the beauty of Iowa's rolling farms. There insights into the oddities of American life, sometimes about something trivial and sometimes more serious. He noted while driving towards Elvis's home that there were lots of large nice homes that were next to tiny shacks. "It struck me as notably ironic that Southerners could despise blacks so bitterly and yet live comfortably alongside them, while in the North people by and large did not mind blacks, even respected them as humans and wished them every success, just so long as they didn't have to mingle with them too freely." I'm not sure how true (more? less? the same?) this is now compared to 1989 when the book was published, but it is an interesting question nonetheless.

This may not be my favorite Bryson book*** but it is fun to watch him experience the variations in sights America has to offer. He may never find a single town to live up to his small-town America expectations (because really, such a town can't exist in the real world and I promise I'm not spoiling anything by saying this, as he comes to this realization fairly early on) but he does find bits and pieces of perfection.

*I didn't realize how many book bloggers were responsible for my decision to read this book. Apparently I don't make any choices on my own anymore.
**Seriously spell check?? You recognize that word but not velociraptor?
***My favorites include Neither Here Nor There, A Short History of Nearly Everything, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and Made in America.

Title quote from page 293

Bryson, Bill. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America. Harper Perennial, 1989.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bookish wedding invitation

I have a couple reviews to write (Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent, Matt Norman's Domestic Violets and soon Christopher Moore's Sacre Bleu) but  instead of doing that I've decided to spent time watching trashy TV. So thank you TLC. But I did want to post something and my friend came through.

My friend is getting married this summer and I recently got her invitation. Her bookish invitation!* She and her fiance are the academic types and so the bookish theme makes sense. I thought it was adorable and she said it was cool if I shared it here, so here I share.
Clever, yes? Love the Cliff's Notes comment on the RSVP card.**

She's also apparently sent one of her students to this site to see examples of book reviews. I hope she's expecting a report filled with Victorian velociraptors, non sequiturs, and some mild cursing, cos that's what her student is going to find here.

*Sorry if anyone thought this title referred to me and a wedding. And by "anyone" I really mean my mom, given she's the person looking for hints.

**I should probably stop taking pictures of the invite and, you know, actually send in the card. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

April Reading Wrap-Up

April got away from me. I blame the weather, throwing things off. I don't know how things were in your neck of the woods but the month started with 80 degree sunny days and has ended with just rain, rain, cool, rain. I don't have a good reason why this would make April go any faster, but just go with it.

This was a fun bookish month for me! I went to 2 book signings that I may have mentioned once or twice on here. I joined Alice's The Woman in White readalong which was super fun and I will be playing along again. And I read another challenge book, that same The Woman in White, for Ben's Smooth Criminals challenge.

Stats time!

Number of books read
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction read

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors
100% (whomp)

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of ebooks

Percentage of challenge books

Books written by decade
1860s - 25%
1980s - 25%
2010s - 50%

Really need to work on reading stuff by non-white people. This is getting extra sad. Also I read a lot less than I thought. Or rather, I finished less than I thought. I just finished a book yesterday and I'm more than 1/2 way through Sacre Bleu which I've been reading for awhile but because it's a huge hardback book I haven't brought it on my commute because I like my back and would prefer not to break it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Books I want to see on the big screen

Some people hate it when a book gets made into a movie. Not me. I'm all for it. Even if most of the time I think the book is better. I get to be the director when I'm reading the book so it's my vision. Of course I think it's better. I'm very vain. But that doesn't mean I hate every movie based on a book. All of this rambling is to introduce this week's Tuesday Top Ten topic hosted by the Broke and the Bookish: top ten books I'd like to see made into movies. Some of these may have already been made into a movie, but I'd like someone to give it another go. Some of them haven't been made yet and hurry up already Hollywood and give these a try! You're clearly out of ideas anyway. Let's get to it, shall we?

1. Fool by Christopher Moore - He actually talked about this possibly being made into a stage play (!!!) but I would also love to see this on screen. King Lear but from the Fool's point of view, with lots of dirty jokes and some very touching moments.

2. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde - I considered the Thursday Next series, but I'm not sure if it would work on screen. The Nursery Crime series, however, has a shot. And Hollywood seems to be all about re-purposing characters. Abraham Lincoln is about to be a vampire hunter, Edgar Allen Poe is going to help detectives solve murders based on his crimes, so why can't Jack Spratt be a detective working to solve the Humpty Dumpty murder?

3. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - I realize this has been made into a movie but awhile ago and I haven't seen it. Haven't just finished reading this and LOVING a number of the characters (Marian, Fosco, Mr. Fairlie) it would be so much fun to actually see them. If there could be references to Marian being a velociraptor all the better.

4. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke- This might work better as a mini-series but regardless, this would be so much fun on screen. Magic brought to life in Victorian England? Yes please!

5. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers - It's funny and heartbreaking, and don't movies always advertise that you'll laugh and you'll cry? This is just the type of story the academy loves to award. AND it's based on a true story. Really I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet.

6. 11/22/63 by Stephen King - I actually heard they were making this into a movie, which isn't really surprising. King movies can be pretty hit or miss but the fact that this one isn't a horror story means there's more chance things will go right.

7. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper - Middle-aged white guy problems but oh so funny. The Foxman family hasn't been in the same room as one another in years but with the father's death everyone comes together. Of course Judd's wife won't be joining the family, seeing how Judd just caught her in bed with his boss. Judd's in crisis which sucks for him but is hilarious for us.

8. Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein - Jake is the only American working at the Japanese newspaper working the crime beat and he learns of Tokyo's seedy underbelly. He wrote the book because he learned too much about some Yakuza crime bosses and figured if the book was out there, there's no reason to silence him. Hollywood loves crime stories, especially ones with conspiracies. And again, true story!

9. My Name is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield - It's Shakespeare so, you know, classy. But it's also sex and drugs so, you know, Hollywood. Everybody wins! There's a contemporary story of a professional student studying Shakespeare and then scenes of Shakespeare's early inspirations. Like a prequel to Shakespeare in Love. Kind of.

10. Time and Again by Jack Finney - Another time travel story but different from King's telling. There's no famous political figure but we do get to visit New York in the 1800s. And there's a mystery! Plus a lot of the setting is spent in my "if I could live anywhere I'd want to live here" building, NYCs Dakota.

What books do you think would make great movies?