Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Very, very happy

I am very, very happy because I managed to finish my pre-determined quota of fourteen books on the last day of June. :D
Now to get started on next month's fifteen......which includes additional reading of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and possibly a massive theology book. :D

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Inkheart: The Movie

I watched the Inkheart movie last night. UGH.
They picked lots of great people for the cast, especially Dustfinger, Mo and Farid. Some of the other cast was really awful, either in character type or acting or both. The setting wasn't quite right, and the story was a mess. It's like it crashed, flew into a million pieces, and was put back together by someone who had never seen it and had a bad instruction manual, with a few substitute pieces of their own. The movie captured the gist of the book, but the complexity of some of the more minor characters was brushed aside and replaced with a shallow, stereotypical character (particularly Basta.)

All in all, I enjoyed seeing it, but by the time it was halfway over, I could see that they had butchered the story beyond hope. If it weren't for some of the excellent actors, the movie would have been truly awful. The magic of the book just wasn't.....there. Maybe a trace of it. But not all of it. It was still fun to see, and worth seeing by Inkheart fans if only to see Dustfinger and Mo. I'm annoyed; it's damaged my Inkheart mood just a little, but there's still hope. I think it'll be mended by the time I get holt of Inkdeath...although I've heard more than once that it was a disappointing end to the series. Oh well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Reads: May-June


Okay, I'm gonna catch up on reads, quotes, thoughts on reads, and recommended books for this month.

1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
This was the last book I read in May, which was a puny reading month. (Only four out of a required ten. :( ) Anyway, I think this was either the second or third time that I read it through all the way, and each time, I am awed by the poetic, descriptive prose of Funke. While it requires thought and time to read, it's still easy and not tiring. The first time I picked up Inkheart, I was intrigued by the dedication at the front. It said something like, "For Anna, who put even The Lord of the Rings aside to read this..."
So I had to check it out from the library. Even the first time I began reading Inkheart, I recognized a beautifully written book. It may have the been the first book I bothered to write quotes down from. It was several years ago when I discovered it for the first time, but I don't remember when.....

2. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
I had borrowed this from Mikaela (I actually gave it to her for Christmas one year, and this isn't the first time I've borrowed it...) on my trip to San Antonia with my brother and sister-in-law and their kids. I started it immediately after Inkheart, but didn't plow through it quite as quickly...probably because it is much longer, and I had just read Inkheart, I wasn't as eager to finish it, so far a few days I just piddled and read it whenever I felt like it. Later, though, I started reading it more regular, and then reading it hungrily. The Inkworld is so vivid...the books are just incredible. I can't wait to read Inkdeath. I cried when my favorite character died, even though I had already read the book before...and even though I know this character is safe and comes back, it was still a devastating thing to do. Loved it the second time. I'm in a big Cornelia Funke mood right now, after reading both of those. :)

3. Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
Also a book I borrowed from Mikaela, I've had this one for quite a long time now, and she said it was good, but I was never in a hurry to read it, even though it looked like a reasonably good book. After watching all this Star Trek lately, I was in a science fiction mood, so I decided to read it. If I remember correctly, I finished it in two days, vigorously, and loved it. Heinlein has lots of other novels, many of them his 'juveniles' and I'm looking forward to reading more. It was written in great, flowing prose that wasn't really poetic, but very vivid. I could see Mars. The characters were well-rounded and the dialogue was great. I know I at least chuckled inwardly when I read the following:

"Quit squirming!" commanded the doctor.
"That stuff stings," protested Francis.
"I meant it to. Shut up."

4. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
I confess I wasn't very impressed by this one. I wanted to be, and I was going to read Dancing Shoes (both of which I borrowed from Mikaela...again) but I just didn't want to read another Shoe book. I've heard lots of good things about them, but Ballet Shoes was enough. It was still cute, and probably engaging, if you like that sort of thing, but it was just very hard to be impressed after reading a string of such good books (J.K. Rowling, Will James, Cornelia Funke and Robert A. Heinlein) that I couldn't wait to finish it so I could get started on something else.

5. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
This one I liked, and I'm pretty sure I read this in two or three days. Not long. It was an easy book to read, written for a younger audience, and actually pretty good. The story was original, written in an engaging voice, and full of references to Greek mythology (that's probably putting it lightly. The whole book centers around the son of Poseidon, and features many well known Greek characters, including Medusa, Zeus, Ares, Hades, Chiron, and a satyr) and I thought it was really pretty good. I kept thinking I had read a book similar; easy to read, and lots of fun, and then I realized it was probably Warriors. So, these are similar to those in literary quality and easeness of reading, if that helps any.

6. Rattlesnakes by J. Frank Dobie
I have wanted to read this book for a very long time. A friend gave the book to us for awhile, and I started it, but never finished, and I think my Mom read quite a bit of it. It was loads of fun! Lots of lore, legends, tall tales, facts, and other things, all about rattlesnakes. :D

7. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
This is the first theology book I have read in three days. It was great; I finished a while ago, collected lots of quotes from it, and it forced me to think. Not that I wasn't trying to; but you can't read the book and not think seriously about what he's saying. Let me try summing up in one word: Awesome. I don't mean like, "Cool!" I mean like "I just touched a living dolphin" awesome. You know. Actually awesome.

So, my two recommended books for this month are Red Planet and The Reason for God. Of course I loved Inkheart and Inkspell...but I'll probably recommend those in July, when I read Inkdeath, if I decide to recommend Inkdeath as a book of the month. :) So there you have it! Happy reading.

Recommended TV for the month

I know I'm late at getting to this.

A few weeks ago...no wait, maybe a whole month ago, I found the first season of the Original Series of Star Trek was available to watch for free on Netflix. I've become a Star Trek fan from watching the first four movies, which I gradually enjoyed more and more with each movie. So, I thought it would be fun to watch the Original Series. I was very pleasantly surprised.

I expected them to be good, but not that good! True and granted, some of the special effects aren't great. Some of them are downright awful. Fact: they were good in the 1960's, and they still get the job of entertaining storytelling done. So, I've finished the first season, and I've started watching the second on YouTube, and it's just as addicting as Lost. It isn't for everybody; a lot of people will be turned off by the out-dated special effects, the incorrect futuristic predictions, and probably some of the storylines. Some episodes are definitely better than others. I disliked the one where they come across the Greek god Apollo.

But it does its job; it captures very well the essence of a fantasy world grounded in the question 'What if?'

What if, in the 23rd century, we had incredible starships and had made contact with various alien planets and could go to warp speed? What if one of the crew was an alien? What if this ship was on a mission to seek out alien life forms? What if?

In other words, it's good old fashioned science fiction, and that's the best kind.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Article about Facebook

I just wrote a long blog post on why I don't really like facebook, but then I decided I should let this lady from Plugged in Online (I don't always endorse their stuff, btw, but they have interesting articles sometimes) explain it so facebook fans don't get irritated at yours truly.

Hello! and 10 random things.


1) Well, today, I went to Barnes and Noble. I was first annoyed that they didn't have any autobiographies of Leanard Nimoy or William Shatner,

2) secondly annoyed by the screaming kids that simply WOULD NOT shut up, and

3) thirdly annoyed by not finding another book I wanted to flip through. That's okay though, because I found another book to read in that looks very promising. I'll have to see if the library has it, if they don't request it, if they can't get it, buy it and read it. :D

4) Oh yeah, and I also drooled over Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke. :) I just reread Inkheart and Inkspell, was blown away a second time, got all psyched for the third book and the movie, even though I can tell from clips and previews that they butchered the story up a lot. I looks like they captured the essence of the story pretty well, and I love all the actors they got.

5) Anyway, I am currently doing really well on my reading, so I'll be posting reading updates soon, and a belated recommended book and movie of the month. I know I'm quite late. :D

6) Who else finds that when watching really long videos on Youtube that it stops to load even when it's all buffered? It's annoying to have to refresh every few minutes, watch an advertisement, find your place, and then watch one more advertisement before you can continue were you left off. For Star Trek, though, it's worth it, but I wish my laptop handled it better. The desktop seems to stream them better.

7) I'm starting to do more writing on my book now, but I'm having trouble deciding exactly what to write of the outline I sketched out awhile ago, since a lot of my ideas and stuff have changed and I'm planning on changing the plot drastically when I rewrite. It's ridiculous how many ideas I'll get and then just now know which one to use. Oh well.

8) I'm starting to think about thinking about what I'm going to write during NaNoWriMo this year. This will be my first time participating, and I'm thinking about doing a lot of pre-writing and outlining to make the writing flow go easier that month.

9) My cousin has informed me that I am a certified nerd. She asked me if I have a license. I consider this a compliment. :D

10) Bye. :D


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dialogues and Monologues:

The above is the title of my favorite folder in my Google Docs. I started this recently when I started noticing bits of conversation that cracked me up and sounded like something one of my characters would say, so I wrote them out under that character's name.
Since then, that folder has grown. I use it to record interesting pet phrases or words that go with a certain character, or conversations that I feel like writing at the time. I think I'll be using it a lot more...I recently wrote a whole classroom scene (which required lots of dialogue and classroom jargon that I wanted to write down before I forgot all of it) and it's also useful when I think of a killer line for one of my characters to say that doesn't go in the story right now, but could be incredibly useful later. Sometimes I use it for Monologues, which are fun to write too. Do any other writers out there have folders like this, where they just put variants of the same thing? In my case, clips of dialogue or conversations between characters. Dialogue isn't exactly easy...each character should have a distinct voice of their own, their own way of phrasing things, their own pet words. For instance: I often say, "For crying out loud!"
Dialogue is difficult, but loads of fun. I'm having fun teaching myself how to do it better!
Soon I'll give reading updates and other exciting things like that. :D

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pre-Order an autographed copy of Green!

I just found this in my Google Reader. You can pre-order an autographed copy of Green by Ted Dekker for $18!

As soon as I have cash to spare, maybe I'll buy one....I thought about buying the autographed copy of Boneman's Daughters but I never got around to it. I'm excited about all of his new books!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Someone's Birthday

I love birthdays. I really do; they're great. It's a wonderful way to celebrate a person and their life.

Well, recently, I've been assigning my characters birthdates and ages. Tomorrow is someone's birthday: his name is Thicket Gregory Incen Kitt. I really don't know why his parents stuck 'Gregory' in there....maybe it's a mistake, I could have gotten the wrong birth certificate or something. :D

Tomorrow, Thicket will be seventeen years old. He's a very good, sweet character, very smart and musically talented. He's a good boy. My characters come alive for me. So tomorrow, I think I'll spend some time getting to know Thicket better, maybe go to his party. It could be loads of fun, knowing him.....but wait. Will he even be with people he knows and loves? According to story chronology, probably not. I imagine that tomorrow, Thicket will be with a group of traveling minstrels and bands, learning the art of music. I may be the only one that remembers his birthday. That's alright. Thicket will miss his family tomorrow, but I guess I'll have to do. Maybe he'll confess the fact to one of his minstrel friends when they're going to sleep, and he'll at least get one more 'Happy Birthday.'

Do any of you writers remember your characters' birthdays? If you do, do you do anything to celebrate? Why or why not?