Duma Key

Duma Key by Stephen King book was recommended to me by an old coworker. We had been sitting around the breakroom table talking about books, I mentioned that I love Bag of Bones by Stephen King and he said if I hadn’t read Duma Key yet, I didn’t know what I was missing. So, upon finding a used copy for relatively cheap, I decided I should read it. And what better time than on a 14 hour flight to Dublin, Ireland?

A synopsis of the plot:

Edgar Freemantle, a once very successful contractor, survives a horrific accident on a construction site one day. He is nearly crushed inside his truck by a crane. He loses his right arm, has a major head injury, and his legs/hips are broken. 
His wife leaves him. 
He moves to Florida looking to reinvent himself, or if nothing else, kill himself and make it look like an accident so his daughters don’t find out. 
Edgar rents a house which he affectionately names Big Pink because of its salmon color. While he is staying at Big Pink he begins to draw. His talent starts to develop at a raging speed, and it always seems to happen when his phantom right arm begins to itch like crazy.
Down the way from Big Pink is another large house which is occupied by Elizabeth Eastlake, a very wealthy old woman who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s, and her caretaker Wireman. Edgar and Wireman befriend one another and the mystery of Miss Eastlake’s family begins to emerge, as well as the reason for why Edgar’s talent for art is becoming so … supernatural. 

Anyway, it was a pretty good book. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Bag of Bones - what with the interesting back story and everything - but it was lacking something to make me enthralled with it like I get with Bag of Bones.

It’s not my favorite, but it’s definitely not bad. It is an interesting, relatively easy book to get through. If you are looking for something entertaining for a 14 hour flight, then it’s a pretty good choice. It’s just lengthy enough to last the whole time (in between tiny, adorable little airplane meals) and compelling enough to make you want to keep reading.

On to reading!


The Ireland Trip

Our trip to Ireland was magical and beautiful and pretty much everything I wanted it to be. 

We got to go and see The Book of Kells (a vellum book made most likely in the 9th century), which was very cool. So old and intricate and interesting, but really nothing that I can explain in words unless you could be there to see it yourself. 

The Book of Kells exhibit opened up into the The Long Hall of Trinity College’s dramatically beautiful library. We got to walk down a stunning hallway completely surrounded by books. 
Busts of famous authors line the hall, the architecture and attention to detail are fantastic.
They wouldn’t allow you to take pictures of any of it, so that really stunk. But, that’s what the power of Google is for.

I don’t think these pictures do it justice. It’s one of those things that you have to see for yourself. When you first get in the exhibit you walk along a little tour of how the book was made, the tools they used, the story it tells, etc. But, it’s not until you are looking at this relatively small little book, with all of its scrolling lettering and precise pictures and intertwining lines, that you see the craft that was put into it.

The library was beautiful, I could have stayed in there for hours admiring its beauty, but unfortunately not everyone we were traveling with was as obsessed with books as moi. So, we hit the gift shop where you could buy little scrolls and pen and ink sets, coffee mugs, shirts, etc. Ireland is full of trinkets.

It was just cool to be in such a historic city where a lot of famous authors are from. 

 Here are just a few random pictures from the trip: 
Awesome Old Cemetery

Jameson Whiskey Factory
View from the Blarney Castle

A tap at your table??
Cliffs of Moher - beautiful
Cool Cliffs - kind of foggy, but still pretty
View from the top of the Guinness Factory

A Frenchmen blowing up a condom on his head


On to reading!



I wanted to read some James Joyce before we embarked for Ireland due to two reasons: 
1) I had never read anything by Joyce and 
2) there is a James Joyce walk you can take in Dublin.
I didn’t end up doing the walk, but I can now say that I have read some Joyce. My book nerd friend of mine gave me both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Upon doing a survey to see which I should read, I was told if I wanted to be "pretentious" I should read Dubliners and if I wanted something good I should A Portrait

So, logically, I read Dubliners

No one is going to tell me I’m pretentious for reading a certain author’s work.
That’s just ridiculous.

Anyway, I actually found Dubliners to be quite entertaining. It’s a collection of short stories about people’s lives in Dublin. None of them really have a happy ending. None of them have an outstanding point. But they are all absorbing.

The Dublin that Joyce painted was dark and dull. It was a place that no one wanted to stay, but no one could leave. Every story in the book dealt in some way with a character who was faced with the choice to leave the city, or to stay, and ultimately they always decide to stay.

It may not have been the BEST choice to read before journeying to Dublin, I was a little weary it would be the dreary city that Joyce painted for (luckily, it was not).

 Pretty cool, huh?

If you haven’t read James Joyce, I don’t see anything pretentious about this collection of stories. In fact, it wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to read them just for the fact that you can get a quick taste for his writing style (before you delve into something like Finnigans Wake, or Ulysses, both of which I also want to read).

On to reading!


Naked Lunch

What. Just. Happened.

That’s the only thought I had in my head the WHOLE time I was reading this. 

It’s like reading someone’s heroin induced dream full of sickening, SICKENING details. I am a pretty "sick" person in some regard, I can take a nasty joke, I can laugh about things that others might find garish, but to me this book was WAY over the top.

I mean, it needs one of those parental warning stickers on the front:

There is no plot.

There are a lot of references to different secretions a body can make.

It was all just too much for me.

Apparently they made a movie of this? If it isn’t a sadomasochistic gay/bi porno then I don’t know how they could have made a movie out of it.

Basically what I got from this was: Don’t Do Drugs. Especially Heroin. 

 On to reading!


"Well, the flag is out..."

On a jaunting trip with my book nerd friend to a little book shop we had never been to before, I came across Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. It’s something I have always wanted to read, and I’ve always been a little bit interested in her life… Plus this shirt has always caught my eye:

I wouldn’t feel right wearing it if I didn’t know what it was all about though, you see.

In addition, I would just like to see if she lives up to all of the hype. 

The little book store that we went to was ... odd. It is an old house, painted robin’s egg blue, with all of the shades drawn so it never looks open. There are no hours of operation on the front door. There is a small parking lot in the back because the front of the house sits right against a busy road. We tentatively tried the backdoor and found that it was open, so we went inside. The whole house has been transformed into a library, including an upstairs attic where you basically have to crouch in order to avoid bumping your head.

Upon mentioning to the notsolovely patron at the front desk that we couldn’t really tell if they were open, she scoffed at us and said “well, the flag is out...” in a rather snooty tone. So, as we drove away we circled around to the front of the book shop to see if we had missed an OPEN flag or something.

All we could do was laugh when we saw a little flag out front, a flag that said nothing about being open, didn’t even indicate that this was a book store. In fact, the flag was of a Border Collie dog. Similar to this:

“Well, the flag is out”. Yeah, like THAT screams “We’re Open”.

On to reading!


A Spectacular Saturday

Ok bloggity friends. Share in my bookish excitement!

These beautiful shirts just came in the mail today:

The delight is palpable, is it not?

Do you know the references?
I've talked about both on the bloggity.

On to reading!


Bel Canto. Canto Read Again.

Oh, Bel Canto
I had high hopes for you. I bought you on a whim, was intrigued by your cover, and was ultimately disappointed. 

Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto is about a group of well-to-do people who are brought together for the birthday party of a powerful Japanese businessman in the South American home of the Vice President. They are all to be treated to the voice of a highly acclaimed opera singer. The Japanese businessman, Mr. Hosokawa brings along his translator, Gen. At the end of the birthday party, a group of terrorists break in hoping to capture the President, but he was unable to attend, so instead they take the whole group hostage… for MONTHS. 

Friendships are discovered, boundaries are crossed, and relationships are formed. They are all united by the beautiful voice of the opera singer. I was somewhat interested in the book throughout most of it, but it wasn’t until the very end that I decided I didn’t like it. The ending made me scratch my head. It just didn’t seem that plausible to me.

Apparently it is based off a true events, which makes it a little bit more interesting... but not enough so that I would actually recommend this to anyone.

I enjoyed reading the book while listening to different opera pieces though, it was great background music and, whenever a new piece was brought up in the book, I would look it up to have it in my ear while I read.

I wasn’t looking for a happy ending. I knew it wasn’t going to have one. But the ending I did get was just… strange. And unexplained. It was like Patchett thought I should have just KNOWN that’s how it would end up.

On to reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Movies

The Broke and the Bookish have come up with yet another great Top Ten Tuesday Topic: Top Ten Books That Should Be Made into Movies:

I am actually getting kind of sick of the Books Into Movies Craze that has been going on lately. I mean, I get it to an extent, but after you see the movie the usual comment is "the book is WAY better than the movie" ... so why not just read the book and live with that? Don't disappoint yourself with the movie adaptation, inevitably it won't be what you envisioned in your mind, and directors/producers are going to change things to how they want it to be - either so it fits their version of the story better, so it is more visually striking, so it will appeal to the masses, etc. 

1 - Ender's Game - This is cheating because it is being made into a movie as we speak. But still, it hasn't YET, so I can still put it on this list. It's going to be awesome - or so I can only hope.

2 - Tender is the Night - I haven't finished reading this book yet, but I really love it. I'm 2/3 of the way through it - I think a movie could be made from this, or at least use the story for some sort of inspiration.

3 - The Blind Assassin - read this for @1book140 on Twitter, and it was very very good. It's written in a way where it almost reads like a movie. I think it isn't far fetched to say that I'm sure this will be made into one at some point - if it isn't, then Hollywood is crazy.

4 - Gunslinger and/or the entire Dark Tower Series - They could either just do The Gunslinger, see how it goes with the general public (horror dorks would be thrilled, myself included), or they could just sign a contract for all of the books to be made into movies (similar to the Harry Potter series).

5 - A Wrinkle in Time - a classic from my childhood, I think it has all the qualifications to make a great movie.

6 - The Alchemist -But it HAS to be directed by this guy:

Tarsem Singh. 
If you haven't seen any of his movies, you have to. He is known for his work on The Immortals, The Cell, and my favorite, The Fall. Seriously, check him out.

The photos don't EVEN do his beautiful imagery any justice. The colors, settings, wardrobe, makeup EVERYTHING that he comes up with - I love.

I think that's all I can come up with. Six books.
Now, if I could have done Book/Movie remakes that need to be REMADE, I could come up with quite a few.

Also, for a quick rant: if you turn ALL of the great books/literature into movies, then younger generations will have NO REASON to read. They can simply run to a Redbox or jump on Netflix and watch it.

But, I should also say that there is something particularly exciting about seeing your favorite book being made into a movie (or even remade). The idea of seeing how your imagination compares to someone else, to see what visual representations they will choose to embellish or not, to see what they will change... it all adds to the anticipation of seeing the book remade.  I am guilty of this anticipation for movies too, specifically of late because of The Great Gatsby.

It's already been made into a movie - but this new version has Leonardo DiCaprio in it. Which you may roll your eyes at, but that's ok.

On to reading!