Then Now Next Thursday (June 4, 2015)

Heart and the BottleTHEN

I finished reading The Last Unicorn. It was just as lovely as I remembered.

I also read two picture books: Owl Babies, an old childhood favorite, and The Heart and the Bottle, a new childlike favorite.

NOW

I’m currently in the middle of several things: Naomi Novik’s Uprooted on my phone, Mossflower on my home and work computers via Open Library, and Sabriel on audiobook through my local library! CLAMS kindly set me up with an online library card, even though I live abroad! (I’m still legally a resident of S. Yarmouth, Massachusetts.) I’m like a kid in a candy store now that I have my library card, but I have to remind myself to be reasonable and only borrow as much as I can read. Free access to so many (English) books is such a relief. Why didn’t I ask for a library card sooner?

MossflowerI also listened to some of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneduring a dentist’s appointment. I only made it into the second chapter and I don’t listen enough to justify two audiobooks out from the library at the same time, but it was soothing. I mean, it’s not like I don’t know how the series ends.

NEXT

Well, first I have to finish all this. After that? It’s anyone’s guess, honestly.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Like to See as TV Series/Movies

Top Ten TuesdayThis week on Top Ten Tuesday: top ten books I’d like to see as TV series or movies!

  • The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien I know Christopher Tolkien was not impressed with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations, but, c’mon, wouldn’t The Silmarillion make a great miniseries? It could be Sherlock-style, a few long episodes per season. It has everything: sword fights and epic grudges and world building. I just want to see The Fall of Gondolin with Glorfindel as a real hottie.
  •  The SilmarillionLamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore This would make a great movie… if they could get it made. It would no doubt ruffle a lot of feathers, but think of it as a contemporary Life of Brian, right?
  • Alana: The First Adventure, Tamora Pierce Since the success of the Lord of the Rings films, they’ve been looking for the next big fantasy franchise. They had a chance for a girl-centered fantasy series with The Golden Compass, but they blew it because they were too cowardly to actually make an adaptation of the book. So why not Alana? Or…
  • Sabriel, Garth Nix Uhm, this would be amazing?! Seriously, it has all the makings of a huge fantasy film franchise. There’s cool magic and zombies and battles. With the 20th anniversary recently, this would be great on film and the charter magic would look so cool.
  • Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor Another fantasy series that would be amazing on the big screen. Seriously, there is nothing like this book, but it would be so easy to market as “the next Harry Potter” or whatever they like to say these days. “If you liked Harry Potter, then Akata Witch will blow your mind.
  • The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, Uma Krishnaswami This would be such a fun kid movie! It would be kind of like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but… better! I don’t know, what are current “real life” kid movies popular these days? This one would be great.
  • PantomimeZita the Spacegirl, Ben Hatke Another great kids’ movie in the making! Zita the Spacegirl keeps flying off the shelf in my library and I have no doubt that it would be popular with my students and their peers. It’s got fun and adventure and excitement, without feeling like an hour+ long toy advertisement.
  • Pantomime, Laura Lam Okay, obviously by now you can tell that I really like fantasy. I love fantasy, and fantasy movies in particular. I like to see cool special effects. Pantomime would be another great fantasy movie, but with some diversity, for a change. It’s such a great book, and I think it would make an equally good movie.
  • Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgewick This is another one that would be a good miniseries. Remember that Syfy series, The Door? It would be like that, a limited run of six or twelve episodes and each one would be one time period, and it would all be a big mystery, like Lost or something.
  • Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld I can’t decide if this would be a better movie or miniseries. It would take a lot of finagling to fit in the dual narratives, but if it could be done well, this would be a great show.

Books, Movies, Music & More: May 2015

Heart and the BottleBooks Read in May 2015

I only actually finished two books in May. Oops.

  • Owl Babies, Martin Waddel (picture book, nature, bedtime story)
  • The Heart and the Bottle, Oliver Jeffers (picture book, realistic/contemporary)

I’ve actually been reading a lot this month. I guess I just haven’t actually finished reading anything. I’ve got several books currently in progress.

Movies Watched in May 2015

  • Pride & Prejudice (live action, historical drama, romance)

June should be better for movies. Avengers: Age of Ultronfinally makes it to theaters here this Friday, for one thing, and I’ll hopefully have more energy after work once classes finish and it’s just inservice days for a couple weeks while I do inventory.

How to Dismantle an Atomic BombMusic Listened in May 2015

  • Fast Cars – U2

finally found a copy of U2’s Japan-exclusive “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” with Fast Cars!

More – Anything Else? May 2015

  • Steven Universe (cartoon, urban fantasy?)
  • Fate/Stay night (anime, urban fantasy)
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (live action, crime procedural)
  • Criminal Minds(live action, crime procedural)
  • CSI: Cyber(live action, crime procedural)

My usual TV shows ended for the season this month, so I’ll either have to pick up a summer show, or finally catch up on some anime. (I really need to get around to finishing Fate/Stay night.) I love TV, and I’ll probably want to spend a lot of time indoors with the A/C on, because it’s getting hot.

Sunday Morning Paper: Five Hundred New Fairytales

Let’s Celebrate the Art of Clutter

I am not done with living. I am not done with my things. I love them, in fact, more and more each year, as I recollect the journey that brought us together. I will cherish them, till death do us part.

Sally Ride’s Secret: Why the First American Woman in Space Stayed in the Closet

Then I thought, why does her sexual orientation matter? Finally, I got it.

Never before had the words astronaut and lesbian appeared in the same sentence. Google them today, and you get more than half a million hits, all pegged to Sally Ride. Most salute her as an icon with an added, posthumous message of hope for the LGBTQ community. So why the secrecy?

Five Hundred New Fairy Tales Discovered in Germany

A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world.

 When Darcy is a Dog: How Wishbone Introduces Children to Jane Austen

“FURST IMPRESSIONS,” AN EPISODE OF THE PBS CHILDREN’S TELEVISION seriesWishbone (1995), is one of few adaptations of Pride and Prejudice that has not received much critical attention, although for many of today’s college students it has served as the introduction to the novel.  In light of recent critical interest in cinematic portrayals of Mr. Darcy, it seems worthwhile to consider how an adaptation in which he is played by a Jack Russell terrier serves as a child’s first impression.  While Wishbone the dog is adorable, he is not going to inspire romantic longing on the level of Laurence Olivier, Colin Firth, or Matthew Macfadyen.  I will argue that the Wishbone episode is not only appropriate for children but lacks many of the Hollywood clichés and the “harlequinization” that frustrate scholars about Austen films aimed at adults.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Plan to Have in My Beach Bag

Top Ten Tuesday I’ll start by saying this: I don’t read on the beach.

I might read on my way to the beach (the nearest one is more than an hour away by train), but I won’t read on the beach. It’s too sandy and hot. If I’m going to be at the beach, then I’ll play in the water. If I want to read, then I’ll read in the comfort of my own home, with the A/C on.

But here’s what I hope to read over the summer:

  1. TJ and AmalThe Less than Epic Adventures of TJ & Amal, E.K. Weaver I bought this on the Kickstarter months ago. I don’t even know if it will be out by this summer, but if not, I might just reread the webcomic. This is the perfect summer story: a road trip with groovy tunes and a sweet love story. I can’t wait to (re)read this.
  2. Nimona, Noelle Stevenson This one should be in the mail soon! I’ve already read it once this year, online, but I can’t wait to read the print-exclusive epilogue and, well, just reread it.
  3. Peter and the Starcatchers, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson I downloaded this last year from Audiobook SYNC, but I never got a chance to listen because I don’t use headphones (long story). Hopefully this summer, I’ll get a chance to listen to this one and some of this year’s offerings. I’ll need something to keep me entertained during inventory.
  4. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen I’ve never read a single book by Jane Austen. I know, right? They just don’t seem very interesting to me. Northanger Abbey sounds like the most fun of the lot, so I’ll get a copy from the library, or maybe an ebook – the type in the library copy is so tiny. It’s no wonder nobody likes to read them.
  5. Drawing of the ThreeNew On the Job: A School Librarian’s Guide to Success, Ruth Toor OK, I ordered this one with my collection development picks and it probably won’t make it in until the beginning of next year. I’m not even that new on the job, but I want to improve my skills as a librarian, of course. I actually have almost a month of inservice before the students come back for the 2015-2016 school year, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to read it before then and incorporate some of it into my planning.
  6. Dark Tower, Stephen King I probably won’t reread the whole thing, but The Drawing of the ThreeThe Waste Lands, the not-flashback parts of Wizard & Glass, and Wolves of the Calla are just so readable. It’s like watching really good TV. Stephen King isn’t a  very beautiful writer, but he spins one hell of a yarn.
  7. The School for Good and Evil: A World Without Princes, Soman Chainani I am so ready to finally get my hands on this and read it! I loved The School for Good and Evil, but I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t picked up the second book in the series. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Agatha and Sophie next!
  8. Good OmensGood Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman One of my friends just bought a copy of this recently and I immediately asked if maybe I could borrow her copy? I have my own, but it’s at my mother’s house in the USA. (#expatproblems) Footnotes as such a pain on ereaders, so I’ll have to read her print copy… Or just buy it for myself, you know? I haven’t read this book in years.
  9. The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, Edward James I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get my hands on this one, at least not at a reasonable price. It’s not one of Amazon.co.jp’s big sellers, and that means you pay a premium for getting it imported. But I would love to read more about children’s literature, and summer is the perfect time for digging into something heavy. Then I’ll start the new school year feeling smarter!
  10. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice This was one of two print books I brought with me to Japan when I moved. It’s such a trashy book. I have this lovely, beaten up old mass market paperback. The pages are all soft and it’s so cozy to reread. I know almost every word, but: Lestat. Swoon. This, I might even throw in my bag, if I were going to the actual beach.

Then Now Next Thursday (May 21, 2015)

The Last UnicornTHEN

I haven’t finished anything since How to be a Heroine, whoops. I got most of the way through Shelf Discovery, and I may still finish reading it, but I got distracted.

NOW

The Last Unicorn Tour came to my hometown. I don’t live there, but my mother went to the show and met Peter S. Beagle. So of course I had to pick up The Last Unicorn again. I don’t think I “got” it the first time I read it, or the time after that. It’s one of those books that changes meaning for me every time I read it, but each time, it becomes more and more beautiful as I understand it more deeply, or differently. So I’m taking my time.

NEXT

While looking for the image to use with this post, I discovered Two Hearts,the coda to The Last Unicorn, which is available for free on the author’s website. I will certainly read that when I’m finished The Last Unicorn, and after that… I’m not sure. We’re doing a big order for books at the library, so I’m sure I’ll want to read some of those, and then it’s summer. Everything is up in the air, to be honest.

Top Ten Tuesday: FREEBIE: Top Ten Forgotten Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday
I decided to do something different for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. It’s a freebie this week, and instead of writing about books that I love and remember well (or books that I hate and will never, ever read), I thought about the books that I had mostly forgotten, but when I wrack my brain, I vividly remember reading these… Even if I’ve forgotten everything but the title (or, in the case, of Wizard’s Hall, which I had forgotten the title but remembered the cover). None of these come up if you ask me for my top ten favorite anything, and most of them were only borrowed from the library, not bought, so I don’t have copies at home. But once I remembered that they existed, I felt a pang of fuzzy nostalgia for these books. Some of these were exciting new discoveries (the mystery and intrigue of Dead Girls), while some fed my appetite for ghost stories (Here There be Ghosts), and others held me over while I was starving for the next Harry Potter (Wizards Hall). I don’t give these books enough credit.

So, from left to right, top to bottom:

  • The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf, Gerald Morris
  • Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters, Gail Giles
  • Little Butterfly, Hinako Takanaga
  • Chobits, CLAMP
  • Heir Apparent, Viviane Vande Velde
  • Here There Be Ghosts, Jane Yolen
  • Wizards Hall, Jane Yolen
  • Demon Diary, Kara
  • The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm, Erin Datlow and Terri Windling, editors