Oh, By the Way...

I just realized that I think I forgot to mention why I have been so busy lately.

Turns out I got engaged.

It's his late Grandmother's engagement ring.
AND it's in a Cake Ball, which are like my favorite things in the ENTIRE world. So not only did I get an amazingly meaningful ring, I also got to eat a morsel of heaven.

P.S. It was at a Halloween Party, hence the skulls. Oh, and our outfits:

It was really romantic starring into those demon eyes as he proposed, by the way.

So, ever since that happened, my life has gone into a whirlwind of craziness. And then the holidays hit. So, as you can tell, it's been hard to get to the computer and review books.
But, I'm back at it my little readers!
And 2012 will of course be much more productive (with less internet absences).

On to reading!


Don't Panic!

This book has been mentioned to me countless times throughout The History of Me that I finally had to buy it. It was actually my boss who really turned me onto it, and through his incessant recommendation, I finally picked it up.

I am so, so, so glad I did.

Hilarity abounds in this relatively short novel. The story follows Arthur Dent and his good friend, Ford Prefect, as Earth is destroyed by the Vogons (an alien race that writes horrid poetry). Together they hitchhike their way onto various space ships in the galaxy (aided with a fantastically useful book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). They find themselves shoved into space after being captured aboard a Vogon spacecraft and are picked up by a stolen spaceship that is manned by a comical crew. Zaphod Beeblebrox (which, by the way, is probably the coolest name in the entire world, in my opinion), a two headed, three armed ex-hippie who just so happens to be the President of the Galaxy, and not to mention completely wacky, Trillian (once Tricia McMillan of Earth) who is Zaphod’s girlfriend, and Marvin, the absolutely brilliant but exceedingly depressed robot, are all aboard The Heart of Gold (which has a computer that is pleased as punch to help his pals and doorways that sigh with happiness as you walk through them).

Basically, if you can handle the absurdity that flourishes within this novel, then you will love it. If you can understand that mice are more important than we ever knew, that towels can get you out of pretty much any bind, that the Earth is Mostly Harmless, and that dolphins tried to warn us of our planet’s demise by doing back flips, then you will appreciate Adams’ humor.

I tried to watch the film versions of the book – a British TV show and then the  movie that has Zooey Deschanel in it – and they were good… but not my favorite (as it always seems to be for book to movie conversions). I am still confused as to why they cast Mos Def as Ford Prefect… but I guess I can try to get over that. Sam Rockwell played Zaphod magnificently. Zooey was pretty good. I enjoyed the Marvin in the TV series more than the updated movie version, but that’s maybe just me.
Anyway, read the book. You’ll like it more than the film versions.

If you don't get the above picture (which, kudos to the guy that got this tattooed on him) - then you obviously haven't read the book, and it's a shame. This is probably the best part in the ENTIRE novel.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!
On to reading!


Lazy Days

Yes, it's true. I've been incredibly lazy when it comes to A Broken Binding. But guess what? I haven't been lazy in reading. I've read, and I have books that I could totally be reviewing right now... but, well, it's 85% Lazy, 15% Busy.

I will get on this People, I promise.

Until then, have a great Wednesday.

I love these book covers... reminds me of middle school when I used to wrap my textbooks in paper bags so I could decorate them... If you were going for a uniform look on your home's bookshelves, and had great handwriting like the bindings of these, it would be a fun DIY project.
On to reading!


Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

I really like horror books. Specifically, I really like Stephen King. Most kids in my literature classes were always like, Gufaw! Stephen King? You don’t know good writing.
But really, the guy is good. He grips you into his books, they scare the shiz out of you, and then you move on … but you are always haunted by some character, some action, some miniscule little line from one of his books. He taunts you throughout the rest of your life.
For instance:
Whenever I hear the name Gage, BOOM! I am transported right back to Pet Semetary and I am all like “Bah! Killer kid who got hit by a truck!”
Or, Las Vegas will always remind me of a post-apocalyptic flu riddled world, where all the bad guys go and live in Las Vegas.

So anyway, I decided to participate in 1book140’s October horror read… Joe Hill’s novel Heart-Shaped Box was chosen. I was excited. Hurray, a new horror author. The reviews looked good, they boasted of “psychological terror”, “a cardiac hazard”, “Wild, mesmerizing”.

Then, I opened it up and started reading. I cruised through it. Not because it was so good I couldn’t put it down, but because it was so easy I could get through it in no time.
It’s basically a screen play. I mean, it’s not. But I could have easily just read a screenplay for a Hollywood horror movie.

Here is the scoop: There is this old rocker dude named Judas Coyne, who used to be a huge rockstar at one point, now he just lives out in the country and has a personal assistant answer the phone and send out fan mail replies. He really likes creepy stuff, he owns a cookbook for cannibals, an old snuff film, sketches from John Wayne Gacy, etc. Just creepy stuff that most people probably wouldn’t want to own. Although, owning something by John Wayne Gacy would be pretty interesting to me… but that’s not the point. So his little assistant guy gets this ebay update thing for a suit with a dead man’s soul attached to it. Of course, our creepy collector MUST own it. So, a few days later and viola! It appears. Then creepy things start happening, like the suit starts to smell bad, and it starts appearing laid out on the bed. Oh by the way, Judas has a trampy little girlfriend who is like 22, and she keeps waking up next to the suit. Then Judas starts seeing this old guy in the house and he has these spooky black scribbles for eyes.
That’s about as creepy as the story gets… and that is 57 pages into a 384 page novel.
What else happens? Oh you know, supposedly creepy stuff.
The ghost can send emails, which is pretty awesome… not. Everyone in 1book140 seemed to like it, but I was like… eh, hokey.
I don’t know. There were twists in it, which were actually pretty interesting, but it is by no means a great horror novel. Not once did I find it to be a cardiac hazard. Nor wild and mesmerizing.

Then, get this, I was done. And I was like, OK…
I don’t think there is anything in this novel that will follow me around like Mr. King’s books and continue to spook me.
And, when I was done I looked it up to see what other people thought, and it was around the same lines. But I did find this little bit of info: Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son!

Bum Bum Bum!

I’m sticking with your dad, sorry Joey.

On to reading!


Lookey Lookey I Got A Bookey

Oh heavens!

If it isn't obvious enough, I love books. Not only do I love reading them, I apparently love to just collect them.

Over the last month or two I have been stock piling. Mostly because it was my birthday and I got Barnes and Noble gift cards to blow on delicious novels.

(Yes, delicious.)

Here are some of the newest ones:

I have always wanted to read Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. A friend of mine read it when we were in probably the fifth grade, and it has always been one of her absolute favorite books.

This little play was so absolutely adorable, I had to buy it. The cover made me do it... look at that jolly little guy! Plus, it boasts of being funny, and I loves me some funny.

I've already read Night but that doesn't mean I won't want to read it again. What a powerful story, a truly great read.

This old copy of Jane Eyre was only $1.50. I asked myself, does this mean I have to buy it? And the answer was yes. duh.

I'm feelin' like a lot of Science Fiction lately. Specifically dystopian. I believe I've mentioned that before on this blog. And, I think I forgot how much I really love SciFi, being in school made me read so many things that weren't SciFi, and now that I am able to delve into whatever I so please, I see myself leaning more and more towards those kinds of novels. Plus, I've always wanted to read something by Ayn Rand... Atlas Shrugged is for sure on the list to buy, but for now I found Anthem and that made me happy.

I can't even tell you how long I've wanted to own/read this book. Naked Lunch has been on my TBR list since the day I was born I'm pretty sure. And now, eegads!, I own it!

Tender is the Night, oh how I hope you will live up to my love for The Great Gatsby.

This is on my list of TBR, and I came across it at my BFF's house in Washington this last weekend. Upon giving her the "let me borrow it eye" she handed it over for an undetermined amount of time (seeing as the pile of books I have that need to be read is staggeringly tall).

I was gifted Hammerhead (signed!) by my BFF (see above). She knows this Jason Andrew Bond fellow and he was nice enough to autograph it for me and ask my opinion. It is SciFi. I shall keep everyone up to date with it.

Ok, now I have already finished this book, it shall be my next post, but I figured I should put it in here as a book that I recently acquired. I bought it for @1book140 on Twitter - we were doing a spooky Halloween read for October.

And this is the book I am currently devouring. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I am loving it. It's funny and stupid wacky - in a great way.

I also bought Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, but mi madre wanted to borrow it, so I allowed her to do so...

Anyway folks, those are the 12 books that I have bought recently. I'm excited to read all of them - as well as all of the others that are accumulating in my little library.

On to reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers

This week's Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is to choose ten books that I have purchased solely based on their covers.
I really do buy books based on their covers - but most of the time I have to have some inclination (besides really cool artwork) that the book is going to be worth the money. I can't just throw cash down without having some idea that the book will be well worth it... and not just look pretty.

So, I'm sure I could go through my bookshelf and point out specific books that I chose because I liked their covers, but it was probably because I had to choose between two different covers and one appealed to me more. Or, for instance, when I recently bought H.P. Lovecraft's complete works - I could have just bought another version, but the fact that it was so pretty was hard to pass up. But I'd had an idea that I wanted to buy something by Lovecraft before I even saw it.

So, that's why this week's topic would be hard for me to do.
Instead I strolled over to the Book Cover Archive and found quite a few covers that I found extremely visually appealing.

So, I think it's pretty obvious that I like more modern book covers, I like interesting type fonts. I love weird. I'm a freak for 50's bright, fun advertising - but I love dark, creepy Kafka too.

I think one of the most iconic book covers for me is Beowulf. I could see the tiniest sliver of this book cover and know exactly what it was.

Anyway, I have a lot of great books that I have recently acquired, so next post shall be of those beauties.
Then, I recently finished Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill for 1book140 on Twitter... A spoooookey October read.
And now I am reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which I can't wait to finish so I can tell everyone everything I love about it.

On to reading!


Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

All my life I’ve heard about how great Kurt Vonnegut is. How Slaughterhouse Five changed peoples lives. How his writing was so absolutely fantastic.

And all I am left with thinking is, “I guess”. 

I don’t know. It’s good. It was tragic and funny – sad and delightful (just like the back of my edition boasts), but the best antiwar novel? Hmmm. I’m not so sure. I’d rather promote Catch 22 or even Johnny Got His Gun as the two most influential antiwar novels. Or even The Painted Bird which deals not with the soldier side of war, but civilian’s experiences with war.

I guess, for those who haven’t read it, a description of the plot, and maybe a little background information, would be beneficial (maybe).
The novel is based on Vonnegut’s experience in World War II. He was a Prisoner of War when the firebombing of Dresden took place. The novel begins with his explanation of his experiences in the war. Vonnegut says that some of the things that happen in the book really did happen to him (and as you read, Vonnegut puts himself there in Dresden in a few occasions, just as a background character, nothing huge, almost just to make the story seem more real and less like a story).
The real story is about Billy Pilgrim. Billy joins the war effort and is almost immediately captured as a prisoner of war by the German troops. He is transported in an extremely crowded train to a POW camp. Billy suffers a breakdown and is hospitalized.  Soon he and the other American POWs are sent to Dresden. They are set up inside a former slaughterhouse (i.e. Slaughterhouse Five). One night, while locked in their airtight meat locker, allied troops bomb the city and kill nearly 130,000 people. They surface from their camp to find a moonscape of devastation. They are forced to exhume corpses from the debris and wreckage. Billy returns to Ilium, NY after the Russians capture the city. He becomes engaged. He has a breakdown. He gets electro-therapy. He gets married. He has children. On the night of his daughters wedding he is abducted by a race of aliens called the Tralfamadorians. They make him live in a zoo and mate with an adult film star/actress from earth. They teach him their thoughts on the universe.

All of this is much better when you read the novel – believe me. Just reading over what I wrote would NOT make me want to read this book.

Anyway, all of this is told in a nonlinear fashion. Billy Pilgrim goes back and forth between past, present and future throughout the novel.

In the end, I don’t think I could ever figure out if Billy Pilgrim was crazy or not. Did he really get abducted? Or was this all just because of what he experienced in the war… it could be, due to the breakdowns he suffers at different times throughout the novel.

I see how it is antiwar to an extent. I mean, Billy Pilgrim DOES go through some pretty horrific things. He sees death and destruction. But, it’s also about a guy who gets abducted by aliens. I get it. It’s like black humor. It’s taking a super serious topic, like war, and mixing it with bad science fiction. Does Catch 22 do it better? Yeah, I think so.

Anyway, it’s not the last Vonnegut novel I will read. That’s for sure. I like his style.
And, all I know is that I want the last words for my eulogy to be “So it goes”.

On to reading!


Banned Books Week

How many books from this Banned and Challenged list have you read?

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck 
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce 
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding 
9. 1984, by George Orwell 
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov 
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller 
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell 
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway 
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner 
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway 
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston 
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison 
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison 
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell 
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright 
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey 
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway 
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London 
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin 
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren 
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien 
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair 
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence 
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess 
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin 
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote 
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie 
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron 
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence 
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut 
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles 
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs 
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh 
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence 
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer 
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller 
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser 
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Oh dear, I've not read nearly as many as I would love to claim. Although, many of these are on my TBR list. 
I'm a few meager pages away from finishing Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, so I will post on that later this week in honor of Banned Books Week. 
I also received some gift cards to Barnes and Noble for my birthday not too long ago, so perhaps I will go out and buy as many of these books as possible this week.... perhaps.

And, once I have a second to figure out why the formatting on this post is so funky, I shall fix it, but until then, I must be off to work.

So, on to reading!


The Painted Bird

I honestly finished The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski days and days ago, but I was so disturbed by what I had just read that it took me a while of NOT thinking about to be able to write down my thoughts on it.
First of all, if you are AT ALL faint of heart or can’t stand to read about children/women/men/animals/pretty much any noun being tortured, then you shouldn’t read this book. It’s rather horrifying. Yet, I could not stop reading it.

I was perusing a used book store and came across it - the cover really caught my eye (a painting by Heironymous Bosch – whose paintings, although twisted and often dark, are beautiful all the same [much like The Painted Bird]) and then the price - .75 cents! Book ballin’ on a budget. 

The book claimed to be about the story of a young boy who survives World War II by being passed around from village to village. His parents, both anti-Nazi, determined that the best way for their 6 year old son to survive the holocaust was to be sent away to a distant village. They had no one they knew or trusted to send him off with, so where he would end up was all of their best guesses. Turns out he ends up in the worst places possible. They young boy is never named, but you follow him as he sees and undergoes unthinkable and horrible atrocities over a series of years. He is constantly mistaken as a Gypsy or a Jew due to his dark hair and eyes.

I think what caused me to continue reading was not because the book was well written, or an instant classic, or heartwarming – it was because I wanted to see if the boy would survive all of the awful tortures he was put through. I wanted to see if one more beating, or rape, or heartbreak would kill him. I mean, if I saw even one tenth of what this kid went through, I’d be so emotionally scarred that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Even just reading some of the things made me want to hide under a bed.

I do recommend this book. I really do. Just not for anyone with a heart condition or a sensitive stomach. 

Now for some pictures by Bosch because, well, I just want to.

On to reading!