Yes, some poetry is nice

Hey folks,
Happy Labor Day! The book business waits for no holiday, so I of course will be laboring tomorrow. Think of me as you kick back hopefully with a good book or *shudder* your family. Anyway I was looking around those interwebs tonight and I found this poem that fit my mood. Yes, I like poetry. I'm shockingly multi-faceted.

So here it is. If you want to hear it aloud click here. Enjoy!

The Day is Done
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

Have a great day! Book Slave.


Rocky Mountain High

It's convention time! Y'know what I love? CSPAN real time convention coverage and conventioneers dancing. Incredibly awesome. Anyway let's talk books. Onward!

Brideshead Revisited
Is it possible to have everything and feel as if you have nothing? Charles Ryder meets Lord Sebastian Flyte at Oxford in 1922. Through his friendship with Sebastian, Ryder is thrust into the center of a life of immense privilege. Ultimately Ryder ends up questioning everything that he believes about truth and faith. I enjoyed this book immensely which I did not expect. I had not seen the famous tv series, or read any Waugh novels before. As I understand this book is very different from his more satirical works. There is comedy in here, Waugh does an excellent job of skewering the wealthy. I was shocked but not surprised by how the Marchmain's react toSebastian's behavior. Lady Marchmain is a well drawn character of someone who believes in molding and controlling her children's every move. Heaven forbid they be allowed to make their own mistakes and choose their own paths. I was also surprised by Waugh's serious discussions of Catholicism in the latter third of the book. Ryder's atheism and philosophy is very well paralleled by the Marchmain's stark Catholic belief. Each side is at a stalemate leaving the ending devastatingly inevitable.

Special Focus: Literary Adaptation
After I finished Brideshead Revisited I went and saw the new movie adaptation. I thought it was really good. In my opinion Emma Thompson can do no wrong and her portrayal of Lady Marchmain was excellent. This got me to thinking about literary adaptation on the big screen and small.

I think there is always a part of us that wants to see our favorite moments/characters/stories brought to life in front of us.
Some of us want to see exact duplications of what we've created in our heads. Or maybe a new spin on a classic tale. I also think there are books that I never want to see adapted such as Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, and The Crying of Lot 49. Stay Away Hollywood! Stay Away!

Having worked in the book business I am continuously reminded that movie adaptations can be helpful. It doesn't matter how many awards a book wins or it's critical esteem. If a movie is coming out then the masses will read the book. I guess if you make it, they will come. Even if the movie is a stinker, look at Memoirs of Geisha. I tell you we could not keep it on the shelf during Christmas 2005. And that movie was a disappointment.

I know it's obvious, but Books are words, movies are "moving pictures." They can't be exact or it wouldn't be a movie. There is a common perception that the movie is never as good as book.

Maybe that's correct but here's 5 movies and 5 television adaptations that I think are pretty darn good that I've seen and read (BTW these are in no particular order):
1. Bridget Jones's Diary
2. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
4. English Patient
5. Fried Green Tomatoes

1. Lonesome Dove
2. Anne of Green Gables
3. Band of Brothers
4. Pride and Prejudice (1994)
5. Fingersmith

Now I could go on. I think that there have been a lot of great adaptations. I think it all depends on what your expectations are. One of my favorite stories comes from Dashiell Hammett. He and a friend were sitting and talking. His friend asked Hammett whether he was afraid that Hollywood would take away his story and change it into something different. Hammett said that as long as the book is on the shelve that no one can take it away. Amen, Dash, you speak the truth.

What's In my Bag
Four Four Two

Blowing My Cover
In the Woods

Time Master

Comic Pull List: Catwoman #82, Daredevil #110, New Avengers #44, Runaways 3 #1, Superman #679, Trinity #13, Wolverine #68

Check Out Count: Getting Under Control.

Enjoy the convention and a three day weekend baby! Have a good one! Book Slave.


Important Bulletin

Hey There cyberspace,
Today I thought I throw a little personal insight for you. The picture below is of my bulletin board. It hangs next to my desk in my little apartment. Over time it has accumulated alot. It's multilayered. Lest you think that this is non-literary I've got some literary markers in there. Look for a little explanation below.

In the upper left hand corner is an insert taken from a horrible exhibit on James Joyce. The booklet was the best part.

Underneath that is an ad card from the wonderful film Tristan Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. Highly recommend.

The flower right next to George W. is a print that was given to me by a poet named Hector.

Nearby is my English BA tassel hanging. One of the rare tangible gains of that degree.

At the center is Walt Whitman. I am always struck by the look in his eyes.

Below him you'll see the number 52. 52 just happens to be one of my favorite comic series. I got this Wait List # at Sundance completely by chance.

Lower right corner is Allen Ginsberg. I like this picture of him in silhouette. Much like a poet.

Have a great week! Book Slave.


Blather and Apologies

Hey folks,
How are you? Doing well? I hope so. It's been an active week y'know. Some things had to be moved around. The world had to shift a little. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm still working on the adjustments. What I'm trying to say kids is that it's gonna be a short entry tonight. No reviews this week. I'm still working through my reading list.

I do wonder, though, why some lit takes longer to read than others.
Obvious reasons:
1. The Book is terrible. It's well nigh impossible for me to quickly read a book that is poorly written. In this case the only thing that will motivate me is an outside force like school or a manager.

2. Book is written in a difficult style. Works like Faulkner fit into this category. Or Middle English. Tough stuff.

3. Unreliable narrator. There are exceptions here, of course, but in general I don't want to be thrown for a loop. IMO an author has to earn the ability to fool me. Fight Club IMO earned it's big change up.

4. When people do not act how normal people act. It's hard for me to tolerate when characters don't talk or act like the do in the real world. This makes it hard for me to tolerate romance novels.

5. Don't foist your ideologies on me in my fiction. Whether it be communism, the big J.C., or capitalism I don't want to read it. I'm looking at you Ayn Rand.

I could go on and on. But man when you're not connecting with a book it's hard. I will give up eventually, but sometimes it's like biting a bullet.

What's In My Bag
Brideshead Revisited
Blowing My Cover

Four Four Two

Secret Invasion #5

Comics Pull List: Batgirl #2, Batman And The Outsiders #10, Trinity #12

Check Out Count: Diverse.

Apologies, I swear next week I'll be better. Until then I will remain, Book Slave.


Cowboys, Gangsters, and that Anne Girl

Hope you all had an excellent weekend! Mine was pretty active. Happy B-day to my younger brother. I hope he enjoys strange books from his older sis. Today I give you another installment of our monthly series:

Life Changing Reads
Kick back as I give you a little autobiography.

1. Lonesome Dove
I had heard of the famous mini-series on TV but when it aired I was too young to follow it. So my first exposure to Larry McMurtry occurred by accident. Occasionally if I felt like it I would spend Saturdays hanging out at my mom's library in Bountiful. I could basically do whatever I wanted all day as long as I didn't get in trouble. Or bug my mom while she was working. I was wandering through the paperbacks and there it was. It was a thick book (over a thousand pages!) but I had heard that it was a classic western. I was into outlaws/gunslingers at the time so I thought I'd give it a shot. I grabbed it and read it in the breakroom for the rest of the day. I begged my mom to check it out for me, which she did. The rest is history. I went on to read Lonesome Dove a couple of times and many other McMurtry novels beside.

2. Billy Bathgate
After I had seen a couple of movies such as Untouchables, Mobsters, and The Godfather I became obsessed with gangsters. I even dressed like a 20s gangster for Halloween with suit, fedora, and fake gun. The school didn't really appreciate the gun. Anyway because of my reading up on the subject I had heard of gangster Dutch Schulz. This led me to Billy Bathgate. I picked up a copy at the Sprague library. It was a hard cover with a kid juggling on the front. I sat down and started reading. Three hours went by and I didn't even know it. I really connected with the lead character and his luck/ability to keep his head above water.

3. Anne of Green Gables series
As a tween girl I was never into Little House on the Prairie or Judy Blume. I was an "Anne" girl. Yes I responded to a book with a red-headed protagonist with a strong imagination. Anne Shirley has a big mouth, fanciful dreams, and a love of literature. She wants to become a writer. I became obsessed with reading this entire series. I picked them up one after another all summer long from the library. I believe Anne's House of Dreams was read while camping. Nature could not compete with Anne's need to find the perfect curtains for her first house with Gilbert!

Have a good week! Book Slave.


Animal Music

Sorry for the lateness of the hour. Blame the Olympics. I had to know how the gymnastics and swimming would turn out. Well Onwards!

Animal Man Vol. 1
I had to pick this up after I all the praise I had heard for this series. Grant Morrison can sometimes be crazy and weird, but I found this series to be very funny. This story centers around Buddy Baker aka Animal Man and his return to super heroics. He emerges as an animal rights advocate giving him the ability to focus his career. Often Morrison adds a lot of metatextual, as well as goofy likeability to Animal Man's adventures. I especially enjoyed the Coyote issue, as well as his issue with Martian Manhunter. Good read.

Love is a Mix tape
Rob Sheffield, a rock music writer for Rolling Stone and Spin, has written a heartfelt memoir/elegy/tribute that sometimes made my heart hurt. He frames his memoir around the music that reminds him of key events in his life. As someone who also likes to surround herself with music I could easily understand this correlation of music and memory. IMHO the most affecting chapters were his discussion of his marriage and tragic loss. Using music to cope with grief Sheffield is not afraid to show honest emotion on the page. Highly reccomend.

Reading List
Notes on a Life
Blowing My Cover

Batman and the Outsiders

Four Four Two

Check Out Count: Improving

Comic Pull List: Batman #679, Captain Britain And Mi 13 #4, Goon #27, Green Arrow Black Canary #11, Secret Invasion #5, Secret Invasion Runaways Young Avengers #2,
Trinity #11.

Go Team USA! Bookslave.


Some Daily Orwell

How are you all? I'm taking a break from the Olympics 2008 to drop you a line. Seriously I think this guy Michael Phelps is a mutant or the long lost son of Aquaman. Have you seen this guy? Anyway back to books. Here's a fascinating new project that I wanted to highlight for y'all.

Special Focus: The Orwell Diaries

I was listening to NPR today and they had a fascinating story about a new project online. A group of folks over at the The Orwell Prize, Britain’s pre-eminent prize for political writing, is publishing George Orwell’s diaries as a blog. From 9th August 2008, Orwell’s domestic and political diaries (from 9th August 1938 until October 1942) will be posted in real-time, exactly 70 years after the entries were written.

Orwell’s ‘domestic’ diaries begin on 9th August 1938/2008; his ‘political’ diaries (which are further categorized as ‘Morocco’, ‘Pre-war’ and ‘Wartime’) begin on 7th September 1938/2008. The diaries are exactly as Orwell wrote them.

As a major fan of George Orwell I found this idea very interesting. While I understand that some entries will be banal and mundane, I also look forward to this look into the man's daily thoughts. It's like being able to reach back 70 years. And if you think about it this is before he wrote his classic 1984. I hope we get to see some early writings that show his intense socio-political mindset.

If this project proves to be successful I wonder if there are some other authors they might do. Here's a list of famous diarists that I'd like to see:

1. Sylvia Plath-Her journals are already available but I would like to see if I can gain any insight into her psychological mindset.

2. Queen Victoria-She kept a diary religiously for over 70 years. A lot of material there.

3. Anais Nin-Hot stuff I'm sure.

4. Dorothy Wordsworth

5. Bloomsbury Group-A collection of different writers could be fun.

Have a great week! Book Slave.


The Good and the Bad

Hello readers,
I hope you enjoyed the last entry. I want to make these a habit. Of course if you want to know the moment that I post, I urge you all to subscribe. It will make your life easier. Really. Okay enough plugging myself, onward!

Starman Omnibus Vol. 1
Boy did I love this book. I had to force myself to slow down because I never wanted it to end. This series was written by James Robinson, who is currently writing Superman, beginning in 1994. The series centers around Jack Knight who is forced into becoming Starman, protector of Opal City, after the murder of his brother David. David had taken up the superhero mantle from their father Ted, who is the retired Starman. The twist here is that Jack doesn't really want to be Starman. Robinson expertly portrays the emotional conflict between father and son. It isn't what they say to each other it is what they don't say. Tony Harris art is also amazing. I love the way that he portrays the Mist. I also love the use of black and white and color in the issue where Jack talks to a ghostly David. Check this out.

Ultimates Vol. 1
While entertaining I found that this series fell apart in the end. In this series Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, and Nick Fury team together to try to develop a super team like the Avengers. I enjoyed the beginning which focused on Captain America in WW2 and then when he's reinstated in the modern world. There was a poignancy between Cap and his displacement in 90s America. Millar seeks to bring the entire Marvel universe into the modern world, and I get that. But the pop cuture references are horribly dated. This slowly kills the middle half as the world starts piling onto Bruce Banner like he's Peter Parker. It doesn't work and then the ending gets lost in melodrama.

What's In My Bag
Graphic Novel
Animal Man Vol. 1

Love is a Mix Tape

Pax Romana

Four Four Two

Comic Pull List:Buffy The Vampire Slayer #17, Criminal 2 #4, Detective Comics #847, Final Crisis #3, Nightwing #147, Robin #176, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season 2 #1, Terry Moores Echo #5, Tor #4, Trinity #10

Check Out Count: Absurd.

Enjoy your week folks. Book Slave.


Teach me Jane, I'm willing to learn...

Hey World Out There,
How lucky are you? Yes, an extra entry this week. I am introducing a new feature:

Lessons I’ve Learned From Classic Lit: Jane Austen

1. Beware those who speak cleverly. Whether it’s Wickam, Willoughby, or Mr. Elton watch out for men who are dangerously attractive. Let’s not forget the Crawfords as well. Austen throughout her 6 books continuously drills this point home.

2. Sisters are important. Of course in her own life Austen depended upon her sister Cassandra and one can’t help but see parallels between two different sets in her books. The relationship between the sisters Dashwood and Bennett play this out. Both sisters are opposites of each other whether it is sense/sensibility or intellect/beauty. They may disagree with each other from time to time, but when a sister is under attack the other sister is there to defend her.

3. Beware mothers who are focused on wealthy marriages rather than happiness. Mrs. Bennett, Mrs, Farrers, Lady Bertram, Enough said.

4. Watch out for false friends who seem to have your best interests at heart. Throughout all six books the main protagonists have their happiness thwarted by their supposed best friend. Cheekily in Emma the false friend is the main character making it a change up in formula. Be paranoid of your friends folks.

5. Marry for love and happiness, not wealth. This is obvious to us today but back in her day marriage meant security. Without marriage you could end up dying penniless in a cottage with your mom and sister. Considering her own personal situation I find it astounding that her books are relentlessly optimistic.

6. True love takes time to develop. Throughout her books, especially in Persuasion, Austen implies that loving relationships require a certain amount of maturity. Elizabeth Bennett has to turn down Mr. Darcy when she does because they are both not ready. In Persuasion, Anne Eliot and Captain Wentworth prove that love may require a long wait.

Well there’s a few, I know there are many more. Jane Austen managed to cram an immense amount of life into 6 books. I’ve never read Lady Susan or Sanditon because I don’t like reading books not finished by the original author. Hence they are not included her. In the future I’ll feature some more eclectic authors, but I thought I’d start with something easy.

Have a great week. Book Slave.