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The Book Blogger Confessions Tag

Okay so I’m in the middle of writing a pretty intense post right now and I know I’ve been away for a while, but I saw this tag on The Bookie Monster and really enjoyed it so I decided I would ease my way back in to blogging with something fun. So here goes my first book tag…

1. Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

Ugh, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I have never read, or attempted to read, a more boring book. Remember in Twilight, when Bella claims it’s her favourite book? I understand that now. None of the characters in Wuthering Heights know how to be happy, or cheerful, or anything other than miserable. Just like Bella! What a coincidence!

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

Honestly I’ve never considered any book a guilty pleasure, I’ve never been guilty about reading a book. If I had to choose, I guess I’d go with The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. It’s a hilarious story, by the author who wrote the Shopaholic series. I won’t lie, I used to LOVE chic-lit.

3. Which book do you love to hate?

I LOVE hating on 50 Shades. I’ve never read it, I really can’t bring myself to pick them up, even to be critical of them. Here’s an article explaining why 50 Shades is so problematic. Also the Twilight series. I mean I loved them when I read them as a young teen but now looking back I just can’t stand them.

4. Which book would you throw into the sea?

Allegiant. I HATED the ending of that book. To be fair, I started hating it towards the middle of Insurgent, but Allegiant had the opportunity to be amazing and happy and redeem itself at the end of the series. You dun goofed, Veronica Roth. I also didn’t particularly enjoy the ending of The Invasion of the Tearling, the sequel to the Queen of the Tearling book. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book. I just didn’t appreciate the ending. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!

5. Which book have you read the most?

The Harry Potter series. I’ve read the full series at least 10 times, the first 5 books at least 15.

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Sports books. I have absolutely no interest in stats and figures and who scored the most points in the 1997 season. I just don’t care. Don’t get me wrong I love watching sports and I love the human stories behind the athletes but I just have no interest in stats.

7. Which book could you not live without?

The Harry Potter series or The Book Thief. My all time two favourite books (I’m counting Harry Potter as one book here). I recently read The Book Thief again on a road trip and was emotionally exhausted after. To be honest I’d have a really hard time living without my bookcase in general. Plus all the books I have in storage tubs that are from my childhood.

8. Which book made you the angriest?

Night by Elie Wiesel. There were so many times during his story that he and his father could have been saved, could have been liberated, and yet one small choice made in an effort to stay alive ended up being their downfall.  I was also outraged at the end of Allegiant, for very different reasons. I was so angry when I finished the book I threw it on the ground while I was bawling and then walked away.

9. Which book made you cry the most?

The Book Thief, then the Harry Potter books, then the Outsiders. The scene where Darry and Soda find Ponyboy at the hospital and they have their reunion just breaks/fills my heart.

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

Anything with the movie version of the cover. I don’t know why, but I just hate those covers.

Alright so there’s my first book tag! Now that school is done I promise I’ll get back into blogging, I’ve been reading a lot over the last few months so I’ll have plenty to write about. If you happen to stumble upon this post and want to do the tag, link me to it so I can read your answers and hopefully find some new books to read! See you soon!

If you

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Serenity – Joss and Zack Whedon

This post might as well be titled “How I Became an Even Bigger Nerd”, or “Let’s Talk About Comic Books”, or “My Slow Descent into Total Geekery”. All of which I considered.

Somehow I’ve managed to surround myself with a lovely little online community of fellow nerds and geeks (does anyone have a working definition for the two?), and I’m very lucky to be a part of it. Since most of you are all about the books (’bout the books, ’bout the books, no t.v….) you might not know what the following post is about. And that’s alright, I’ll see you next time. (How weird is it that we say “see you next time” or “see you later” over the internet?) But a select few of you are the same type of nerd I am, where books and literature intersect with nerdy television and movies. With that in mind, today I am going to write (read: rant and rave) about the Serenity comic books. The Serenity comic books follow the story of the characters of the t.v. show Firefly after the events of the movie Serenity that was created to wrap up their story when Fox (I hate you, Fox) cancelled Firefly due to poor ratings. Quick rant: Firefly is a fantastic show and did not deserve to be cancelled, but Fox was showing the episodes out of the intended order and was just generally dumb so of course the ratings and viewership were low. Have you seen Corner Gas? If you haven’t you should, it’s hilarious. If you have, you know that whenever Dog River residents hear the name of the town Wollerton they spit due to a town-wide hatred for Wollerton. I’m pretty sure that’s what happens whenever a large group of Firefly fans hears someone mention Fox.

Fox?

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Okay rant over. I believe the books are released as traditional comic books and then put into a hard cover volume with all of the comic book issues. There are four volumes so far:

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Those Left Behind

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and Leaves on the Wind

The two main writers of the series are Joss and Zack Whedon. Yes, THAT Joss Whedon. His official title is King of All the Nerds and Overlord of Geeklandia, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, writer for Marvel, screenplay writer for Toy Story (which I discovered the last time I pulled out my VHS copy) and other creative nerd things. Just in case you were wondering how to address him if you ever met him.

Now that you know, well, whatever it was that just spewed out of my head in the last paragraph, I think it’s confession time. Don’t judge me, but…

I HAVE NEVER READ A COMIC BOOK

Before the Serenity ones, of course.

I had never even read a full issue of Archie. I’ve always been kind of afraid of comic books. It seemed like a part of the nerd world that I didn’t want to get involved with, for a few reasons. The first was, and I am ashamed to admit this, the comic book world was where the nerdiest of the nerds lived. I was never quite prepared to fully accept the entirety of my nerdiness until relatively recently, somewhere around 6 years ago. Once I accepted that I was a gigantic nerd and not just kind of a nerd, I still didn’t want touch the comic book world. It seemed like such a huge undertaking, and an expensive one, so I wasn’t going to read the Serenity comics. I loved the show, of course, and I loved the movie. And I loved Nathan Fillion, whom I actually watched in Castle first before being introduced to Firefly. I also grew to love Alan Tudyk (who I didn’t realize was in SO MANY THINGS), Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Ron Glass, and Sean Maher. However, love for the show/movie didn’t transfer to potential love for the comic books. That would have been that, until one day I happened to find Those Left Behind in McNally Robinson, a local bookstore that has an awesome cafe where a friend of mine plays baroque music in a trio. We’re cultured, yo. (If you don’t know me, please understand that I am being facetious. I don’t actually use yo in conversation.)

Since I’m writing this post about them I think it’s pretty clear that I bought Those Left Behind that night and ended up reading it, loving it, and wanting the rest of the comics. I suppose I could have waffled over whether to buy it, dragging out the decision for a few weeks, and then going to get it at some other store, but I like to be predictable.

The best part of the comics are the stories. They expand on the plot of Firefly and Serenity, they continue the characters lives. The Shepherd’s Tale explains how Shepherd Book came to be a Shepherd, which was a huge question mark left when the series ended. I don’t want to give away any spoilers because some really exciting things happen, so if you are a Firefly/Serenity fan, you should just go read.

Apart from the story, the other aspects of the books were incredible as well. Obviously I’m not a well qualified critic of comic book art or use of space or anything, but I really enjoyed the graphic design. Especially the cover art, they are awesome. The characters on the covers look like the actors playing the characters, which I loved. I was a little disappointed because this changes as soon as you get into the book, the characters look similar to the actors but not like on the cover. My best guess as to why this happened is that they had to pay to use the characters’ likeness on the cover, and didn’t want to do that for every page. Even with the art issue, I still loved reading these comics. I loved the stories, the plot and the character development. Oooh! Some of the characters even find themselves in romantic relationships! Finally!

If you haven’t picked these up because you’ve always been afraid of getting into the comic book universe like I was, I would highly recommend them. They’re a great continuation of the Firefly world. I’d like to give a quick shout out to Darkhorse Comics for resurrecting Firefly, thank you from all nerds everywhere. As for other comic book/graphic novel reads, I currently have Maus by Art Spiegelman and The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman sitting in my bookcase waiting for me to read. Consider me excited.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for you in the bookverse today. Let me know what you guys think about comic books. Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

P.S. If you want to follow me on Twitter, it’s @lfings. But if you don’t that’s cool too, I’m not that interesting. If you do follow me though, let me know!

Oh! I almost forgot! Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk are making a mini-series together and it looks amazing. The Indiegogo link is here, but I’ll give you a quick run down. It’s basically about two actors from a sci-fi show about space pirates. One, played by Nathan Fillion, was the captain of the starship and then went on to big stardom after the show got cancelled tragically early. The other, played by Alan Tudyk, was the pilot of the ship and now spends a lot of time on the convention circuit. So essentially, it’s a parody of their lives and it looks hilarious. Even if you’re not interested, watch the original funding video because it is hilarious.

Okay now I’m done. Bye!

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The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

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Bonjour! I’ve got a whole bunch of things to tell you about my Florida trip, and a bunch of pictures to put up. If you don’t care then skip right down to the book stuff labelled BOOK! Deal? Okay.

Before we get to the fun stuff, I’d like to give a quick shout out to my awesome little sister Britt. Her twitter account is hilarious, and you should follow her @brittfingland. Tell her I sent you. And I guess if you’d like to follow me I’m @lfings. But you should really follow Britt. Sometimes she tweets embarrassing things about me, so there’s that. Mostly she’s just hilarious without having to make me look like a doofus. I do that myself.

Alright, let’s start the vacation with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Visiting Harry Potter World was one of my life goals. I realize that sounds ridiculous, but Harry Potter is a big deal for me as well as Britt. My sister took all of the pictures from our trip so photo cred goes to her.

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Britt and I hanging out at Flourish and Blotts just like any other day. It’s not just for spell books, you know. That’s me on the right if you’re curious. This was in the expansion, Diagon Alley. Every store you could imagine was there, including Ollivanders, Madame Malkin’s, and even Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. They also have Knockturn Alley, a detail that in my sisters words, “took it from 9 and 3/4 to 10!”. Knockturn Alley features Borgin and Burkes, featuring the vanishing cabinet, from within which you can hear a bird chirping.

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That scarf that’s being knit? The needles move by themselves. All of the store windows have moving displays, there were others with cauldrons being stirred and quills writing on parchment. You can also purchase wands (which we did, I got Hermoine’s and Britt got Professor McGonagall’s) which come in either interactive or non-interactive. We got the non-interactive ones, but the interactive ones are really cool. They come with a map that shows where the wands work (pretty much everywhere) and what spells to cast (how to move the wand) in order to make something (like water shooting out of a fountain) happen.

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Just hanging out at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix don’t you know. Britt and I went through a lot of work to get this photo as people were sitting on the front steps of the house eating. Don’t you people know where you are sitting?! There’s a whole row of houses with numbers other than twelve for you to eat in front of. Sheesh.

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Hopping a ride on the Knight Bus.

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The Sorting Hat! I was so excited to see this beauty. He was just hanging out in the castle, waiting for someone to come along and pull a sword out of him. Get your mind out of the gutter, folks. This is a family friendly blog.

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So we were in a store and my dad says “Linds, get over here, quick!” So I run over and who do I see? Captain America! I was too late for his picture that time, but I was first in line the next time he came around. He took the time to talk with me for a while about where we were from and if we had gone to both Harry Potter parks, since I was such a huge Potter fan. Let me tell you, I was more excited about getting a picture with a guy dressed up as Captain America than I would have been at meeting an actual celebrity.As a side note, if you’re wondering why I’m wearing jeans and a sweater in Orlando it’s because it was 9 degrees Celsius. Definitely not shorts weather, no matter how Canadian I am.

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All week I had been making alligator jokes, and then I found this sign at our hotel. Said hotel was beautiful by the way, the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Orlando, I’d definitely recommend Rosen Shingle Creek, it’s minutes away from Universal and every thing about it is beautiful. None of us encountered a single staff member that didn’t look genuinely happy to be working there, and the food was fantastic. Oh, and there is a Publix just across the street which, as it turns out, is a pleasure to shop at just like they advertise.

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Looking for the alligators from the above mentioned sign.

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I found one! Not at our hotel though. We went on an airboat ride through a swamp by the Everglades, which was so fun. I love the smell of open water, and the feeling of wind whipping through my hair. After the ride I got to hold an alligator, which I was ecstatic about (almost more excited than when I hung out with Cap). Did you know alligator skin feels rubbery? I always thought it would be scaly.

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Busch Gardens had some super fun roller coasters, and some super majestic cheetahs.

IMG_0971This rhino crossed in front of us so close I could have reached out and touched him. I didn’t, because I happen to value my life and don’t want to be impaled by a rhino horn. But I could have.

Okay BOOK! For those of you that skipped right to here, welcome. For those of you who made it through the vacation photos, congratulations. Fun fact: I originally typed BOOP by accident and now I have images of cute kittens booping each other on the head running through my mind.

I read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss due to a recommendation from a friend who has an eerily similar reading taste in books. I’m so glad he recommended it, because this was one of the best books I have read in a very long time.

The story is about Kvothe, who throughout the book is telling his life story. The story of how he was raised by parents who were the leaders of a travelling troupe of actors and taught by a private tutor that travelled with them. How he was orphaned at a young age and left homeless. How he was admitted to the University as a young teen, how he made enemies of powerful professors and students alike, how he made friends from every station of life, and how he met what he hopes to be the love of his life. Kvothe’s story is fascinating. But what is even more fascinating is that he tells it in his own voice.

This is the story of a man telling his story. Sure, there are parts where we flash back to the present, and don’t get me wrong those bits are just as fascinating, but the majority of page space is spent on Kvothe’s story telling. And he is one heck of a story-teller.

So much of what makes a story good is in the details. The more I know about a character, a place, an event, the better. I want to know everything from what the character eats for breakfast to what kind of grass grows in their front lawn. Maybe it’s just this problem I have where I can never get enough of a good book, but I need to know. And if I don’t know, I make it up. That’s why world building is so important in fantasy stories. The more intricately described a world is the better. I don’t care if the only thing that makes the fantasy world different from our Earth is that it’s now the future and the moon has been exploded into two unequal halves, I just need to know why. And where. And what, when, who and how. Tell me everything!

Some of the best stories I’ve ever read have been the best because the author puts in the time to give me an intricate image of what their world looks like. Harry Potter, for example, has so much information about the wizarding world. And J.K. Rowling releases more pretty often on Pottermore and in interviews. It’s just never-ending Potterness!

Tolkien is another author that creates the most beautifully intricate worlds. He almost pushes the limit of how much detail you can include and still have a readable story. I mean, I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but do I really need to read four pages about what a sword looks like? Yes, yes I do. But that’s because I’m a weirdo and normal people don’t want to deal with that.

Rothfuss has created a world of magic and mystery, of unseen evils you can sense creeping in the night. It’s filled with magical guilds and creatures of all kinds, new crafts and trades out world will never see. Crafts and trades that Kvothe just so happens to learn.

Kvothe is good at everything except romance, which would be annoying if he wasn’t so darn likeable. He is educated in magic, the arts, and pretty much anything else you could think of including music. He uses this education to his benefit, it saves his life more than once. He is apparently a pretty good fighter, having defended himself and another from terrifying spider-like creatures that seem to indicate a greater evil approaching. That happens during non flashback scenes though, so I’m not really sure what’s going on there. I’m also confused as to how Kvothe came to be known as the greatest swordfighter, magician, and musician of all time; how he became known as a hero and kingkiller. And why he has to pretend to be an innkeeper named Kote. Hopefully all my questions will be answered in The Wise Man’s Fear, the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles (this series). It’s sitting on my bookshelf right now, waiting for me to finish rereading the Gentlemen Bastard’s books so I can get to it. I want the next one to answer all my questions, but I also want more of everything. More magic, more music, not drama, more mystery, more drunken bar nights with Kvothe and his friends.

What do you guys think? Have you been to Universal or Busch Gardens? Is world building important to you when reading?

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for today. Have a great week!

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The Magicians Trilogy – Lev Grossman

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This! This series was so so good. And then it wasn’t. And then it was again. So it all worked out.

The Magicians, the first book in the series, was awesome. It drew me in so fast, I read it in a six hour car ride. My parents got me The Magicians for Christmas three-ish years ago, and I LOVED IT. It’s about supposedly normal teens who are admitted to a school of magic (Muggle borns at Hogwarts, anyone?). The students grew up reading books about a magical land called Fillory, and upon graduation find out that Fillory exists, similar to the Narnia stories. They find a way to Fillory and end up, you guessed it, being named Kings and Queens of FIllory. There’s even a tree that grew from a clock, like the lamppost tree in Narnia. The author is clearly aware of the similarities though, he brings up the Narnia books at least once.

Like the Narnia stories, adventures ensue and the characters have to face danger after danger to save Fillory. **SPOILER ALERT** People fall in love, people die, and the story ends. Honestly, my favourite part of the story was when the teens were in school. The bonding that goes on is just so fun to read about. Don’t get me wrong, the whole story is great, but the first chunk where the students were at school was my favourite. There’s so much (mostly) good-natured teasing and sarcasm going around, it’s entirely entertaining.

The second book in the series, The Magician King, well… it was terrible. I hated it. It let me down completely after the great first book. It’s worth reading, if only to understand what is going on in the third book. Let’s just skip the second one all together and head right into the third book, The Magician’s Land.

I have seen people praise this book as “the best ending to a series ever” and I’m calling major b.s. on that. However, it is a good book. It wraps the story up nicely, tying up any loose ends as well as introducing new characters. The story takes place several years after the first and second stories, the original characters who were teens in the beginning are now in their thirties. It was pretty interesting to see how they grew, their personalities and their relationships with each other developed. It’s hard to explain the third book in a series when I haven’t even told you the characters names, but just trust me when I tell you it’s a good series. The characters are all likeable in their own way, if only because of the absolute unlikeableness they posses. Yes I realize that statement contradicts itself, but that’s life. It’s all about contradictions. Look at me, getting all philosophical.

Take this as you will, really it’s just a bunch of nonsensical rambling about a book series that I enjoyed, but I think you should read it. It being The Magicians trilogy, not this blog post. Clearly you’ve already read the blog post if you’re here. Clearly I stopped making sense a few sentences ago, and am in need of some sleep. Goodnight friends!

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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris

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Well hello again! Sorry it’s been so long, you know the drill; school was crazy, I had midterms, and then it was reading week and I was in Florida hanging out with Captain America. Yup, you read that correctly. I’ll put up some pictures once I get organized.

I read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris while in Florida. I’ve heard good things about Me Talk Pretty One Day, also by Sedaris, so I thought I would give this a try. Here’s the best way to sum this one up: it was okay.

From what I understand, this is supposed to be a humour book. Sedaris is supposed to be a humourist. I was supposed to laugh. Preferably out loud. And did I? No. No I did not.

Honestly, I found this more sad than funny. Sedaris’ family doesn’t trust him with stories about their lives because they know he’ll write about them. One of his sisters spent the majority of her teen years in a juvenille detention type school where the people in charge putted golf balls into the teens mouths. All of the stories about his father were about how his dad let his family down in some way or another. His mother, well honestly he makes her sound pretty great.

One of the saddest stories was when David stayed at the home of one of his sisters. She and her husband have two parrots, one belongs to her and one to her husband. Her parrot likes to repeat phrases the sister says, at the time of his visit it was repeating daily affirmation phrases. ***SPOILERS*** The story ends with Sedaris creeping downstairs to where the parrot is kept and repeating “please forgive me” over and over again, feeling bad for publishing stories about his family. That’s just depressing. I realize every family has its problems, and the only information I have about this guys family is from this book, but man are they weird.

There were a few stories that were humourous, most of the stories about Sedaris’ brother and the stories about his time as a house cleaner were quite entertaining.

It boils down to this: if you liked Sedaris’ previous books you’ll probably like this one. I’ve never really read essay style books, and this wasn’t the best introduction to them. It’s not something I would read again, and it didn’t turn me on to the rest of Sedaris’ works. Sayonara, Sedaris.

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