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.

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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.

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

Then Now Next Thursday (April 30, 2015)

The Darkest Part of the Forest THEN

I finished reading (and reviewed) Virgin: The Untouched History. Since I last posted a round up, I’ve also started and finished Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest. That’s the quickest I’ve finished a fiction book, like, all year. I’m just having such a hard time concentrating, but man, it’s so good.

NOW

I’ve been really into nonfiction this year, so I read the intro to Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, but then found that I wasn’t really interested in the stories, so I put it down and picked up How to be a Heroine, which I like a lot, even though I haven’t read most of these classics, except Anne of Green Gables.

NEXT

Karen Jensen on Teen Librarian Toolbox proposed the #SecondChanceChallenge, to give a book you dropped a second chance. I signed up and said I would try to read and finish The Twistrose Key and Shadowplay. Both were very good (like, I loved Pantomime, which is the first book in Shadowplay‘s series) but just not what I was looking for at the time, so I’ll give them both another chance.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____________

Top Ten Tuesday This week at The Broke & The Bookish, the Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _______,” fill in the blank. I decided to go with “Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who I’d Like to Befriend.”

Isn’t that why we read, right? I love to spend time with these characters. Here are some that I would love to be their friend.

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter, J.K. Rowling I don’t know if I want to be Hermione’s best friend, or if I just want to be Hermione. I’m not even sure we would have gotten along in school, because we would have been too similar and always competing to be the best in our class. I’m sure as adults, we could look back fondly on our respective know-it-all, insecure school days and laugh about how much we had in common, even though she was learning spells and defeating Dark Lords while I was stuck studying algebra and defeating school administrators, which is not quite as exciting. But Hermione is clever and caring, which are two traits I value highly in my friends.
  2. Weetzie Bat, Francesca Lia Block Weetzie Bat would either be a wonderful friend, or her quirky weirdness would get old fast if it felt too forced. I think Weetzie is a genuinely oddball individual with a big heart. I would have loved to be her friend in high school. I needed a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and that’s Weetzie’s M.O. It would have been so fun to hang out with her, because she’s so daring and adventurous and I’m so… not. Plus, Weetzie needs a friend to gently check her casual hipster racism so she stops wearing feathered headdresses.
  3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman Many of the characters in my list are kids or teenagers, either people I would have liked to be friends with when I was their age, or who I would like to mentor now as an adult. But I would want Mary Malone to be mymentor. She’s everything I wish I could be: compassionate, courageous, clever. She’s a scientist, a researcher like I want to be. (I want to study children’s literature, not Dust.) I would love to hear all about her adventures in other worlds, and emulate her as a teacher who is honest and open with her students, a good guide and role model, even if she is the “serpent.” I want to talk to her about Dust and science and falling in love and China.
  4. SaiyukiLet’s Eat Ramen, Nagumo + Aji-ichi I love ramen and, unlike Saeki, I have no shame about walking into a ramen shop full of businessmen slurping their noodles. I bet Saeki knows more about it than me (and she can read Japanese, which I can’t, really), but I’m not worried about going to a ramen shop with no other girls in sight. We could be ramen buddies! I hope she likes miso. (It would be a little weird, hanging out with a high school girl.)
  5. The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani Although she’s grim looking, with tangled hair and tattered clothes, Agatha genuinely has a heart of gold. She spends the whole book looking out for Sophie, her best and only friend, even though Sophie is shallow, vain, and very unkind to her. Agatha is a good person with a good heart, the kind of person anyone would want to be their friend, and she deserves someone who won’t put her down all of the time like Sophie.
  6. Saiyuki, Kazuya Minekura The boys of Kazuya Minekura’s Saiyukiare a tough talking, rude bunch, who act like they don’t have time for anyone’s BS, but really, they’re all good people. want to go on a road trip with them across ancient China! They have this great camaraderie, even when they’re at each other’s throats, and I really like that. They can fight with each other and still care about each other, too. It was the “breaking of the fellowship” vibe from the last Tokyopop translated volume that really had me on tenterhooks, because I would hate for this band to break up!
  7. Hetty FeatherCastle of Shadows, Ellen Renner Princess Charlotte, usually known as Charlie, is a scrappy but upstanding young girl. She has a hard time of it sometimes, and I wish I could live in her world and maybe do a bit of a better job teaching her than her tutors. I like to think she’d find me cool enough that she wouldn’t always skip her lessons. With no mother, or even really a maternal figure, it sounded like she could really use a “cool big sis” in her life, and I think she sounds like great fun to get to know. She’s very admirable, and also very funny.
  8. Hetty Feather, Jacqueline Wilson In the first book, Hetty’s very young, and I wished I could reach into the pages and take better care of her than the awful foundlings home. By the end of the last book, she’s grown up to be a very courageous, if somewhat brash, young woman, who is very certain of her morals and unafraid to find her own way in a society that doesn’t have a place for someone like her: a foundling, an orphan, a poor girl who refuses to settle in to be either a servant or a farm wife. I hope some of her courage would rub off on me.
  9. Vampire LestatChangeless, Gail Carriger i know a lot of people don’t like Madame Genevieve Lefoux because she’s… morally ambiguous, to put it tactfully, but I think befriending her would certainly make life a lot more interesting. Unlike the others on this list so far, I’m not even 100% sure I would trust her. Okay, I probably would trust her, because I’m a trusting person, but it would be a bad idea. I would befriend Mme Lefoux against my better judgement, no doubt beguiled by her vanilla and machine oil scent and incredible fashion sense.
  10. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice I saved the two most questionable choices for last. Like Madame Lefoux, I am sure Lestat is not to be trusted, but I’m still intrigued by this soulful rock star memoirist persona. At least i would be smart enough not to trust him. (Even I’m not that gullible!) Like Madame Lefoux again, having Lestat in your life would certainly make everything a lot more exciting. But maybe that’s why it’s best to only visit him in his own book, where you can safely shut the covers on him.