Monday, April 26, 2010

Two Reviews of No 1 (cute, isn't it? :))

At long last, my adoring public, the wait is over: I have finished a book! To be more precise, I have finished the latest No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, The Double Comfort Safari Club.  The truth is, I'm not sure how much I have to say about it... I can't even decide on a title for this post, so I'm going to go back and add it later.

Remember how I said I could have done this review before I read the book? Well, that's somewhat true- so let me first tell you what the advance review would have said - I love Alexander McCall Smith for two -well actually three - reasons that I can think of. 1) he's a really good writer- I don't tend to encounter sentences that make me wince at all and he's really quite lyrical. 2) travel! Scotland and Botswana, of all places - I realized that if there's one genre other than romance I reliably will pick to read, it's probably books that take place in foreign places (but not war books) 3) peaceful.  All those criteria apply in spades to this series, so no wonder I like it.

The main thing I think stands out about these books is the sense of peace AMS creates.  He writes about this country which is basically fictionally - the people aren't all good, but even the bad ones are sort of comically villainous - they tend to be unintelligent and easily outsmarted.  Sometimes the books start out slow, but I think that might be intentional.  There's this mood of kind of sluggardlyness, the kind you'd have in a desert country where there's not much going on.  But the people are good, and likeable and good things happen to good people.  And most of all, in the end, everything is always resolved satisfactorily.  And actually, even more, the really bad never touches the main characters - it's always Mma Ramotse's poor clients, but she herself never experiences more than minor discomforts, with a little heartache thrown in occasionally.  Whatever it is, when I close one of these books I just shake my head, lie back, and smile - they are just happy books.

So that's my review before reading - does it still apply? To some extent, of course, yes.  But... well the number one issue is I must admit I was kind of distracted because I kept thinking, what am I going to post? and of course, most of what I was thinking I promptly forgot - though I knew I was going to post about how I kept thinking about what I was going to post... anyway, I really need to stop doing that or I'm going to be  bad reviewer :( but besides that, I really think this book didn't have quite the same immersive effect as many of the previous ones, and I don't think it was just my perception.   The book actually moved pretty fast, but it almost read like a book of short stories.  Actually if you want to know what it really reminded me of, at one point it popped into my head- George and Martha! The are hippopatamai, which are mentioned at some point  in the book, they are therefore "traditionally built" :) like Mma Ramotse, they speak in simple complete sentences (because it's a children's book) and
everything gets resolved in a few pages, only to get pushed aside by the next crisis/story/whatever.  That sounds pretty negative, but I like George and Martha and I liked this book too - it kind of had that same kind of tongue-in-cheek humor at times.  And the stories were interesting.  Oh and guess what  - in the end, there was a somewhat surprise (well not surprise, but not instantaneously resolved) resolution to one of the story lines... so that's something :)

What else? well I did enjoy the pearls of wisdom as always - they are always obvious truths, but I always say it's good to hear obvious truths once in a while :)
and one more thing - I felt this book kept emphasizing how kind Mma Ramotse is, which was a little weird - the truth is, i always think of her as kind of vain - with her "traditionally built"ness and "it is well known" and her red bush tea.  I forgot how in the earlier books she's almost saintly, what w/ her father and losing her baby, etc. - but being told how kind she is doesn't really convince me.  She comes off as nicer than Mma Makutsi, but not as nice as Mr. JLB Matekoni - but then, who is? :)

I can't decide if this book is disrespectful to Africans, since it potrays them as these pretty simple people living in this happy land that I don't think really exists - Bostwana is one of the poorest and has one of the highest AIDS rates in Africa... but I think AMS definitely sees it as a mark of respect and love - and since I never thought one bit about Botswana before, I'd say it's made a positive impression on me at least - totally on my list of places to travel!

So what's the bottom line? I definitely enjoyed it, but I kind of felt it was lacking the lullubatic (I know that's not really a word, but I can't think of the one I want) tone of the other books - on the other hand, if those are a little slow for you, this one does move a little faster... but if you need fast, you shouldn't be reading these so... 3/5

EDIT: so I was looking for a picture of George and Martha on google and it did the autofill and it was George and Martha Washington! don't think I've ever made the connection before - but I have to say, I kind of like it - phlegmatic but loyal - works, no? :)

Well it's not a book but...

I think I worried about this enough to grant it that status :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Directed Inquiry

Attn: abg (who shall not be further identified, do not worry)
If you are still wasting time, I heard a piece on NPR today about Fred Harvey's restaurants out west.  It said the waitresses were called Harvey Girls - was the book you recommended, The Harvey Girls about them? Because I totally want to read it - they sound awesome.  I looked for it a while ago but none of the libraries have it... should I buy a used copy?

Sorry this post is all business... if I manage to find the book, you will get a very long and fascinating review, I promise ("they are generally very long but whether they are always charming is not for me to judge determine") :) :) (I'm very sorry if that's not exactly accurate, it does not imply an disrespect of the source)

update....! I found it in the pratt library, my city library (don't know why I couldn't find it before, maybe I didn't look hard enough) but anyway, I will hopefully go tomorrow to pick it up - let me know if you weren't even talking about this book though :)

update II: no wonder I couldn't find this book anywhere... I just got the original 1942 edition out (it says 3rd printing so maybe not the very original but the only date in there is 1942)... where in the world did you find it, a (almost wrote your full name, but I erased it :))? (if you are reading this, which it seems you are not - don't worry, i forgive you :)) - anyway, i'm very excited to read it, the first sentence looks very exciting, and somewhat austenesque - "Well and romantically read young girls of the awakening Nineties were assured in the faith that, if they behaved with propriety and circumspection, a stranger would one day appear within the periphery of their lives, whereupon all would be magically changed".  A promising beginning, don't you think? I'll let you know if it lives up...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh

Interim Post - hang in there :)

So.. I know all you 53 viewers (or is it even more :)) are just desperate for new content... I am unfortunately rather preoccupied with my paper at the moment, but I will hopefully have time to read on Shabbos (though we are having very exciting guests, so  I guess we'll see...) but if all goes as planned, you should see a new post on motzei shabbos on at least one of:
A Winter's Tale - by Mark Helprin, one of these great American books but I think it'll be pretty good - I read the first two chapter last shabbos
Howl's Moving Castle - recommended by the crowd on badforshidduchim who inspired this blog in the first place (couldna done it without them :)) (not really) - so I got all three out, though I probably won't get through more than one
and... most exciting and most likely... The Double Comfort Safari Club (I think that's what it's called) the BRAND-NEW AMS that I got today and it was actually at the library yesterday, the day it came out! yay! anyway, I could probably write the review in advance... (see La's Orchestra for what my opinion of AMS) but I'll wait :)

Exactly who is viewing this blog? ...

so, i've noticed that the view count on this blog has reached an astonishing 53 views! Now, the question is ....

Who are you?!?!?!?

I know that Rochel put this link on the gg's, but I'm wondering who is still checkin this thing out so...
if you are reading this post, please make yourself known by leaving a comment.
thanks, the management

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Help (AKA The One You've Been Waiting For)

Today I finished The Help... so where to start?

First of all, the history of me and this book (yes, there's a history, and it's very important :)).  A few months ago, we had extensive discussion of P&P on the Swia. gg and there were a few objections to the topic from non-JA lovers.  Naturally, I felt mystified by their disinterest but try to refrain from my favorite (well one of my favorite) topics.  One of the chief detractors of my taste in literature (well she didn't detract my taste, just said she doesn't like P&P OR Emma) was GG (shall not put more than her initials, b/c I don't want to incriminate her (and I think she might now appreciate her name online)) but anyway she recommended The Help as a piece of excellent historical fiction.  There was definite interest in the book and after Aunt Sarah read it, I decided I simply needed to give it a whirl, even though I already knew it wasn't strictly my type, taking place in the civil rights era in Mississippi (fun to know how to spell that :)).  So I put it on the hold at the library where i was quite far down on the list (was this book in Oprah's Book Club or s/t?) and I got it during Pesach... and I started it last week and finished it today.

So what did I think of it? First of all, this was my first book I've read since starting this so I definitely kept on composing reviews in my head, which was kind of distracting (though for this one, I'd have been doing it anyway, since I would've posted a review on the gg) but I think it definitely kept me thinking actively the whole time... and since it's that kind of book, that's a good thing.

Well did it keep me thinking? It's a civil rights story... so the first question is, is it relevant? I mean we all know  segregation was an ugly era in American history and since we're all Northerners here (or at least I am and I'm the only one reading this :)) it's not even one we have to feel guilty about... or do we? I mean I'm not racist at all, but I definitely buy into some stereotypes... but scratch that, those stereotypes are true (and more about stereotypes later).  The thing is, I think part of the guilt or discomfort comes from the same root as the "It can't happen here" fallacy associated w/ Nazi Germany and Abu Ghraib (and don't I sound like a raving liberal? sorry I had a discussion with Peryl about whether evil is in-bred or situational and the centerpiece was the Abu Ghraib scandal and I REALLY don't mean to compare the two just that they are both examples where people did bad things and then claimed it was just the situation).  Anyway the point is, given that Mississippians really believed that blacks were inferior, their attitude was actually quite understandable (I don't mean their treatment of their maids, I mean segragation in general).  So the question becomes, why did they believe it, and did they really believe it at all? Or was it just a leftover attitude from slavery, at which point they believed it because it was the only way they could justify their way of life? Okay this all really has nothing to do with the book so I'll stop now.

ANYWAY, back to my point about stereotypes, the author mentions she wanted to write the book as kind of an anti-Mammy portrayal of the black domestic service, but... I have to say, I didn't find any of it at all surprising - the white characters behaved stereotypically toward the blacks, and the black maids were all these very good and caring, and very strong woman - smart, hard-working, willing to do anything for their families, submissive because they needed to be... I don't have a problem with any of this, I think it's a true stereotype, but I'm sorry it is definitely a stereotype.  So if Katherine Stocktenn (I think that's her name) think's she's breaking new ground... sorry but no.

On the other hand, it IS entertaining - The three narrators are very likeable and I love reading about the black culture in the sixties - it makes me feel so magnanimous :) - see I do care about the less fortunate :) and the truth is, despite what I would have thought, the book meets one of my main criteria for being a good one, it doesn't ever get too tense - I mean, they're a little worried about the repercussions of the book, but it works out well for everyone and even Skeeter's mother doesn't die (at least not in the book).  and the story moves along pretty nicely, and there's never any real discomfort w/ good ppl doing bad things or getting into trouble - so in some way, I'd say it's actually a feel good books - and that's the only kind I like :)

So what didn't impress me about this book? Well, this ties in with the stereotypes thing - the characterization was just not that original - I mean she's trying to make her point about how help was treated in the South, so she makes the bosses into these total witches - Miss Leefolt is a terrible mother and always trying to act richer than she is and Miss Hilly is just a nightmare - but what does it prove that nasty people are nasty to their underlings? nothing at all.  and the nice ones are nice so.... in the afterward, the author says the point of the book is that we're not so different underneath and i'm like really? like we didn't know that - now that message really isn't current...

to me, the most compelling moment of the book was actually where is talks about the death of Medgar Evars - they just convicted his killers a few years ago and at the time, I didn't care too much, but it made me happy reading about it to know they finally got justice (well, that sounds ma-ghty high flown, sorry y'all :))  The most disturbing message I really got out of it is the one of how trapped these people were - but Skeeter was almost as trapped and she was a privileged white girl - so the message there is education and jobs for everyone :) (again, liberal, liberal)

Okay, okay so what's the bottom line? I definitely enjoyed the book - and since Huvi told me it was slow in some parts and the ending wasn't so good, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would - it moved quickly, it wasn't too stressful or controversial, and I love hearing those good black ladies' voices - they really are like Mammy :) (sorry, author)  I don't know if I'd recommend it, because I think that's the job of people who are too snobby for P&P, but it wasn't hard to read

4/5 of whatever I'm using for a rating

EDIT: so I just went looking on google images for a picture and the first 3 are images from other people's book review blogs - too funny, no? guess it's a popular book for a popular pastime :) but anyway, I read one of the reviews and she just loved it because she thought the characters were so loveable and had such great stories you could really get into... and I suppose that's mostly true, though I think there was a *little* too much pathos (dead son, abusive husband etc.) but anyway, I guess I kind of take that for granted... so, sorry it is a really good book, don't get me wrong because I like to get on my high horse (well, if people didn't write pretentious books, I would feel no compulsion to unpretense...)

ANOTHER EDIT: apparently, Evars's murderer was arrested in 1994, so I don't remember that (though I did read a Reader Digest article about it, now that I think about it) and died in 2001, so I must be thinking ot something else... but whatever, I think the point still stands

and also, I remembered something else - at one point, the New York editor asks Skeeter if she knows about MLK's march on Washington and she doesn't! kind of scary how much the media can control attitudes because they control the information flow... I mean reading this book, you have no idea how outraged the country was by Medgar Evars's death, but I just looked him up and Wikipedia and yeah... it was not unnoticed. -  but of course, if we knew that, it would kind of detract from the desperation of the Help's plight so I guess it's all okay :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brand New Books! (really, really new)

So... as some of you may know (that would be all of you,since I assume no one is actually reading this :)) I am planning on writing a book when I finish my paper (if anyone who knows me is reading this, I'm not 100% serious, so don't get either too excited or too freaked out). It's going to be fiction - obviously - but the plot etc. is  kind of (totally) up in the air.
I've been tossing around a character centered fairly serious kind of novel, based on the principle "write what you know" - not that I know much about character-drivenness, but i thought i could kind of basic on myself - after a lot of soul searching, naturally.  well that's still on the table, but tonight I came up w/ two more elements of a potentially GREAT book (probably not all the same book).

One is more of a setting thing - probably came to mind because I was thinking about Jasper Fforde's book about the color driven world - can't remember the title, but it's good - read it! :) and the two sequels, probably next one coming out next year i think... anyway, so my idea was to write a kind of world where all the things little children think are true actually are true - I had an example, trying to think of it right now... actually I probably had the example first and then I thought of the idea - whatever, this would definitely sound better if I could think of the example.... anyway, I imagine it as kind of Jasper Fforde or Terry Pratchett-esque - definitely on the light side

My second idea is slightly cheating, but I think it's be tons of fun to read- a human version of the lion king! - modern version - a boy from a political family whose father dies when he's young, a corrupt uncle, he runs away, learns life the hard way... and then comes back as a reformer who brings good back to politics :) - ugh it sounds like saccharine junk (actually not saccharine junk, I like saccharine junk - it sounds totally smarmy) but I think it could work - my problem is I don't think I'm capable of writing a good boy - it's hard enough for me to handle the generic girl/woman - so I thought maybe I'd focus on Nala - she's got a story too... of course if I plagiarize closely I don't know if it'd be publishable... hmm.... I think I'll worry about that when the time comes :)

so tell me... are you waiting with bated breath?

EDIT: this all sounds a little more serious and therefore a little more delusional than I intended - please don't think that I actually think I'm going to do this :) - then you can be totally surprised when I do...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Spellman Files

Here's a short one, since I read this a while ago...
Well we all looked forward to the final install of Lisa Lutz's Spellman series (I've been looking forward to it since last year, when I emailed her and asked when the next book was coming out :)).  I went out at bought it the day it came out, since I neglected to put it on hold at Howard County Library and Pikesville didn't get it fast enough...

The rule is that whenever you anticipate a book too much, it will not live up to expectations - that's not a Murphy's Law thing, it's just that you end up expecting more than there really is.  (don't know if you get the difference, but there is one).  So I wasn't expecting to love The Spellmans Strike Again - and yes I know that I wasn't expecting to love the book because my expectations were too high... I have very multi-layered thought processes :)

The truth is, even though I always found these books funny, I read them for the romance - because that's what I generally read books for :) - so let me first discuss the romance.... they got together, as I knew they would, and Henry said he liked her the whole time, which is always good... but I just don't think she handled it that well - Henry may have liked her, but his behavior (and the description of his behavior) just didn't make that obvious enough - trust me, I'm an expert at picking up the author's "subtle clues" and she just didn't put 'em in.  So that's my complaint there - full marks for the big scene at 2:00 in the morning though :)

As for the humor.. this book was definitely not the romp that the other 3 were... but I think that may have been intentional - after all, Isobel is growing up - she's just not going to be the same wacko anymore -and that's a good thing, even if it doesn't make for the best fiction

as for the verdict... given that all i care about is the romance, i'll give it a 4/5.  for those of you who read it for the antics... I'd have to say 2.5/5, but only compared with the others in the series.  Overall, it's still at least a 3... and if I had to rate it against books in general, well it'd definitely be between a 4 and a 5... but that's because I rate most books at somewhere between 1 and 2 :)

hmm... didn't end up being that short... that's what i love about books - i can just go on and on and on :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Musings

Time for a change of pace... having dazzled you with my razor sharp critiquing abilities, it's time to treat you to a more philosophical bent - aren't you the luckiest? :)

Although book blogging is not the *most* unoriginal web journal genre (that would have to be people talking about themselves), it's definitely one of the more common ones.  Why? well there's a lot to say - there are a *whole* lot of books out there - and books are a source of common ground, as long as we read the same ones.  But I think the main reason is just that people love books - i mean I certainly love than more than most people do, or at least I love talking about the more than most people do, but the many amongst us (and we know who we are (the smart ones, of course :))) who enjoy reading generally like it a whole lot... so why is this?

Well I know why I like reading - and yes, it's a totally cliche reason - reading is an escape and an adventure.  It lets you live vicariously, do awesome things, be absolutely awesome and feel even more awesome than that.  For instance, when I read P&P, I get to be a gentleman's daughter in the 1800's, smart and with a sense of humor, with an upper-10,000 landed gentleman absolutely stuffed with goodness (and not too hard to look at either ;)) who loves me and whom I eventually marry. I mean seriously, what more could I ask for? (except for indoor plumbing, or course).  So that all makes sense, as far as it goes...

but does it go far enough? I personally know more than one person who does not absolutely adore P&P. (see post below).  I know people who don't even like fiction.  I know people who don't like books with happy endings.  What can I say? The world is a deep and unfathomable place.... okay, not really.  The truth is, there are some people who just love being educated, some people who love provocative discussion, some people who are entertained rhetoric (I mean come on, you love this blog, don't you? don't answer that :))... and guess what? there's something out there for everyone! so lucky you, as long as you're literate. if you're not... i'm deeply sorry...

and if you are one of those deep and unfathomable people who does not like P&P, I love and respect you, and wish you all the best - good luck finding another blog :)

La's Orchestra Saves the World

I'm a pretty avid reader of Alexander McCall Smith, not least because he's such a prolific writer.  He's right up my alley for two reasons - 1) many of his books take place in Scotland and I'm a total Anglophile and 2) nothing bad ever happens - the tone can be described as idyllic (in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency most of all I think).  With that, he has a pretty light touch and a dry (very dry) sense of humor.  Anyway, don't get the wrong idea, I'm not literary critic, I just like these books because they are happy.  So what can I say about La? The interesting thing, pretty much the same thing - it's got that dulcet English tone, and moves along pretty peaceful - and this is *despite* the fact that La marries a man she doesn't love, then falls in love with him but can't have children, then he leaves her for another woman, then he dies, and then WWII.... and then she falls in love with a Polish refugee who may or may not love her back but never says anything and then she reports him as a German and he leaves... and 20 years later they meet again... but yes, with all that, it's not a disturbing book.  Of course, any book about WWII is just so sad- the sense of loss is too prevailing... but AMS manages to create such a cocoon it's not so bad...

The other thing that struck me about this book is how proud the English are of what they did in WWII - and rightfully proud.  My father was just mentioning how it was basically Churchill against the world - no one wanted to stand up to the Nazis, but Britain stood up and sent their sons to basically die (I don't know the fatality rate in the RAF but it was ridiculously high) - it even makes me proud to be an Anglophile :)

So was it a good book? I liked it, mainly because it was about England.  It was a little slow moving, but definitely well written... 3.5/5

Frog, Toad, and Bambi

I had a wonderful Pesach with all my little cousins (k"nh) and, though I am not usually much of a babysitter, I had the pleasure of reading both to Chaim Swia. and Menachem, on different occasions. As I was not about to go searching for the ideal storybook, we just made do with what was available. In Chaim's case, that meant the very shortened version of Bambi while Menachem lucked out with Frog and Toad together, four stories about... a frog and a toad. And I must say, there is a lot to say about children's books.

First, Bambi - by the way, did you know that the Hebrew word for a baby deer is baabmi? too funny, no? anyway, I knew before I started that I was not going to love reading this book and I have to say, my fears were confirmed. Chaim didn't seem to mind, but I was pretty horrified. First of all, the family situation there is not fantastic - totally absent father, whom Bambi only meets after he's already spent his formative years with his mother. Second, I was really not comfortable with his growing relationship with Filene... I mean I just don't think 5 year olds need to hear about the deer growing up and starting a family. I think most (all) of this goes right over the five year olds' heads but I don't want to be the one stuck with an awkward question... and of course, most disturbing of all - what is WITH that story? guns killing his mother, fire burning down the forest home, the old prince becoming weak and possibly dying (not too clear on that)... and what's the saving grace? a happy childhood and yes, a nuclear family in the end? I suppose the book is realistic enough - I mean many children grow up in less than stellar family situations, go through a lot of hardship growing up, and then manage to raise a beautiful family... but really, this is a children's book. it's a children's book about a baby deer! not a morality tale - I think the basic thing to get out of all this is that children's books can be deceptive - sometimes the ones that seem reprehensible are not all that bad, and the most innocent ones are just full of complete swill.

so much for bambi... what about Frog and Toad together (by Arnold Lobel, if you're wondering) - now that's a good book! it was totally adorable! I mean I suppose their middos (especially Toad's arent the BEST) but they are sincerely good friends who really care about each other and I don't think there's anything in the books I (or someone a whole lot more strict than I) would object to. and with all that, they are so funny! Menachem is 8, so he is old enough to understand the funny parts (especially when I pointed them out to him) and Toad's illogical yet very methodical ways of looking at life are hilarious (or at least funny) every time. I mean the idea that he can't go on with his life because he lost his list, but it's okay to continue it on the ground... his endless objections to Frog's attempts at willpower... their bravery from the well hidden confines of the closet... I would have kept reading this book even if Menachem had stopped (admittedly, I read children's book not infrequently so this isn't saying that much).

The most interesting thing about this whole experience was seeing how much more I appreciated the content of these books (for better and worse) when I read them to children - and children with - how shall I put it? - delicate upbrigings :)

so verdict - Bambi 1/5, Toad 5/5

long and short of it is - I Can Read all the way!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mr. Darcy Haters

So, as we all know, there are some people out there who claim to abhor, or at least dislike, Mr. Darcy. These people, of whom I know zero personally, do sadly exist and last night I got to thinking about their warped senses. There are two types of Darcy-haters. One group are the same people who like Ron better than Harry. For some reason, they always root for the underdog, even when said underdog has major character flaws. Like Ron, who is sickly jealous and pathetically mismanages his and others' lives because of it. What, I ask, is there to admire in that? And not that Harry is perfect, but at least he has more courage and strength of character than Ron!

Now Mr. Darcy, on the other hand.... IS perfect! And yet, people persist in hating him. Why? Because they inherently hate the perfect character. It is a strange phenomenon-- the psychological implications are vast.

The other Darcy-haters have an even flimsier excuse. They just like to be contrary-- if everyone thinks one way, they think another. So because everyone loves Mr. Darcy, they hate him. It's really quite shallow.

And there you have it. No longer do you have to hotly defend when someone off-offhandedly criticizes Mr. Darcy. Just know why they are doing it.... and smile (superiorly of course).

The Princess Bride

Well since I just can't wait to get started...

Yesterday I finished rereading The Princess Bride. I've been meaning to for a while, and it was definitely fun to read again. I always get confused about how much of the life he mentions is real so I looked it up on Wikipedia last night - the definitely answer is - none of it. He has two daughters, not a son, his wife is not a psychologist, he never wrote a reunion scene, and I very much doubt he has pneumonia as kid... I wonder if he had a teacher in fifth grade who encouraged him... probably not either.

It's funny, I guess I'm pretty gullible (I *know* I'm pretty gullible) because the first time I read it I thought the whole thing was real - I thought S. Morgenstern was real, and I must have thought Florin was real too - though I don't know how I thought that was possible because I'm not that ignorant. But anyway, it was funny when I figured it all out. It's definitely a great device (don't I sound literary? :) - he uses that word a lot) for writing... kind of clues you in that the whole thing is a satire. Which is something I did not get the first time I watched the movie, but in my defense, I think I was pretty young at the time - I just thought it was a really cheesy, low budget movie.

But but to my actual opinion of the book - well I obviously like this book, I've read it more than once (this is probably my third time) but... I have to say I found his tone a little more annoying than in previous times. I mean you can just *tell* he's getting kick out of the multiple layers and pretending to be respectful and at the same time slightly bemused by "Morgenstern" - I get a kick out of it too, but I can just feel him smirking... don't know if I'm being clear, I just felt he was being a little self-satisfied, or self-promoting or something self-oriented. That being said, it was still fun to read and very funny... and if he is proud of himself, so what, it was a great idea! Multiple layers of tongue in cheek are fun! and the idea that he made up this outrageous family (thinking here of his fat son Jason and their relationship...) you just gotta shake your head and smile at that one...

so verdict is (should I start doing verdicts? maybe... maybe I need a cute measure like 5... I don't know 5...something other than stars... well I'll think of something...) for now 4/5 stars - a really funny book! and I'm sure I'll go back to it again a few years

So... what exactly have you stumbled onto?

Hello out there! I've been thinking about starting a blog for while - AS SOON AS I FINISH MY PAPER and it was going to be about my life, which may not be fascinating, but who cares, because no one is going to read this anyway, but I just got completely excited by a post on (this one) so I am now going to be writing a book blog about whatever I'm reading or whatever other books i feel like talking about because I LOVE BOOKS - I just do. Anyway, I am NOT finished my paper, so I'm not really starting yet... or possibly ever... but since I'll do anything rather than my work... here I am posting :)

So what does the title mean? well if you don't know, I'M not going to tell you... okay, I'll tell you - it's a combination of two words - vellum and umpire. umpire is pretty straightforward I think - using it in the sense of mediator, used kind of in the sense of commentator... and vellum... well vellum is actually klaf, which I did not know till I just looked it up on Wikipedia but besides that vellum is important b/c.... do I really have to tell you? maybe you shouldn't be reading this... well okay, I'll tell you - "bound in white vellum" - now where's THAT ONE from? :) do I really have to tell you? okay, I'll tell you - describing the book of poetry by... Augustus Fawnhope. And if you don't know who that is, you REALLY shouldn't be reading this... but just to jog your memory, Augustus is a divinely handsome young man from the wonderful book The Grand Sophy - and I am REALLY not telling you who wrote that :)

oh and I just thought of another meaning... since the word kind of looks like vampire anyway (totally unintentionally) it can also mean that I'm like a vampire except that instead of blood I crave calfskin (and other varieties of writing material of course) - it's slightly vulgar, but it works, I think

EDIT: and even another one! could say vellempire - i may even like that better... like empire of books... my this name has lot of promise