Saturday, December 22, 2007

Items good and bad

1) The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray is officially out in four days. Woo hoo!

2) I have just purchased the Labyrinth Soundtrack and it is fabulous. When I hear a song, I can see exactly what's happening in the movie, even though it's been years since I last saw it. Labyrinth is the best movie ever made, and no one will ever convince me otherwise. Jim Hensen, Goblins, Jennifer Connelly, and David Bowie in tight pants! You can't go wrong.

3) Today at the library I noticed two young boys, around 5 and 8 years old, sitting in the children's section. They were just sitting there looking sad and incredibly bored. So I went over to talk with them. And apparently their Dad had ditched them to go and do something on the adult side of the library. So I asked them if they would like to look at some books while they were waiting, and they said no. And I said, "Well, you look bored. I'll go find you some books and you guys can look at the pictures." So I found some picture books, brought them back to them. And they didn't even open them. They sat there for 45 minutes, completely bored, with an entire children's department of books surrounding them. It was so frustrating, because I don't want to force books on unwilling kids, but I mean really, what is this world coming to??? Obviously their parents don't read to them at all. If my parents had ditched me at a library at that age (or any age) I would've been in heaven.

4) I noticed that SB over at Digital Diamonds has attempted to read God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and found it... lacking. I read this book a few months ago, but just never got around to posting about it. Basically, although I agree with the sentiment behind the book whole-heartedly, I have to say that it is a spectacularly badly-written book. First of all, it's a tough slog at times because he uses a lot of big complicated words. Sometimes it's good to add a new word to your vocabulary, but there are other times when it is completely unnecessary. Hitchens may think he sounds intelligent, but really all he's done is make his book inaccessible to normal people. People who don't have the patience to wade through his overly-complex prose. If you want to convince people of your point of view, then you should probably try to speak to them on their level.

Secondly, and more importantly, he meanders. He starts out the book well with a well-organized introduction. And each chapter seems to start out fairly well, with a clear direction of where he wants to end up. After that's where it all falls to pieces. He meanders of topic, goes into various asides, and often ends the chapter in a completely different place than where you thought you were headed at the beginning. If I had turned in essays like that in university, I would've gotten a C-plus, at the most. I don't know a lot about him, but I think I read somewhere that the guy's a journalist. For someone who is supposed to write for a living, he sure doesn't appear to have had much practice.

Really, the book in general is a pretty big disappointment. It promises so much with it's bold controversial title, and then just ends up being barely mediocre. Sad, sad, sad.

5) Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My cat is weird

George is kind of a weird cat. Avery sleeps in normal kitty places, like in her kitty bed or curled up on the couch. George is another story.

George Plays Dead
This is George, momentarily disturbed mid-nap by my camera's flash. He really does sleep like this. On his back, legs in the air, usually in the middle of the floor somewhere.

George Zonked

George Still Zonked
These two pictures display George in his other preferred sleeping position: Face down, usually on top of my desk or my stereo. I've never seen another cat do this, with one possible exception.

In other news, I saw The Golden Compass last night. And I thought it was pretty good. Maybe a bit slow in the middle, but good. I was worried cuz I'd read a bunch of bad reviews. People were saying that the end was terrible because there was no climax. Of course there was one, but it obviously didn't tie up all the loose ends because it's the first part of a trilogy. The book was like that too. If you didn't go on to read the second and third books, then the first one was really unsatisfying. A lot has to get set up in the first book for the other two to work. Interestingly enough, the movie ended in an earlier place than the first book. But I think I agree with the way they did it. Because in the book, it was like you got two climaxes. The first one (where the movie ended) and then the second one later. And they're saving the second one for the beginning of the first movie. And that's fine. Good acting from Dakota Richards, the girl who plays Lyra, and Nicole Kidman who plays a very good (bad) Mrs. Coulter. Didn't get to see too much of Daniel Craig. I guess I'll just have to wait for the next Bond movie.

I've also just finished reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. It was quite good. The book is absolutely huge. In fact, I'd say the length is on par with the fifth Harry Potter book. But it really is deceptive, because probably about a third or more of the book is made up of drawings. It's a really neat book, because it's like a novel/graphic novel in one. But the pictures almost work like a film sequence. And film is a very important theme throughout the book. So it was a good read, and for you librarians out there, don't be fooled or put off by the thickness of the book. The book is actually quite short, I read it in a couple of evenings, and I would feel comfortable recommending it to a good third grade reader.

I also finished reading Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and have moved on to its sequel Inkspell. And while I was at The Golden Compass, I saw a preview for Inkheart the movie. And I think I have a new crush on Brendan Fraser. I also just re-watched Mrs. Winterbourne which isn't a great movie in my opinion, but it just reminded me of how cute Brendan Fraser can be. Anyway, Inkheart is slated for release in March 2008, and I can't wait.