Archive for March, 2010


[openbook booknumber=”9781416986430″][rating:4/5]

Would you risk everything for a fairy tale? Cassie was a young girl growing up in an Arctic research station. Her grandmother used to tell her stories about Cassie’s mother, the daughter of the North Wind. The story went like this:

When the North Wind wanted a daughter he asked the Polar Bear King to kidnap for him a child. In return the North Wind promised his new daughter in marriage to the Polar Bear King. Before she came of age she met a human man and fell in love with him. When the Polar Bear King came to claim her it was to find her heart already belonged to another. The daughter of the North Wind asked him to hide her and her human love from her father and in return she would give him their first born daughter as a wife. The Polar Bear King hid them in snow and ice but it wasn’t enough. The North Wind found her when the cries from her new born was heard by one of his brothers. He came and whisked her away to a Troll Castle and she was never seen again.

Now that Cassie is grown up she realizes that her grandmother’s story was just a nice way of telling her that her mother was dead. She lives in the real world now, working at her father’s Arctic research station. She is a very literal minded aspiring scientist and is very passionate about her work tagging and tracking polar bears as part of her father’s research. On the night of her eighteenth birthday she stumbles across the largest polar bear she has ever seen. Her attempts to tag it come to naught as the bear actually seems to dissolve into a wall of ice. She breaks protocol and attempts to track the bear for hours only to return to the station defeated. When she tells her father of meeting the bear he freaks out, but not for the reasons she expects. All of a sudden he wants to send her to Anchorage. Now. Before it’s too late. It turns out her father and grandmother actually believe the fairy tale she was told in childhood is true and that the Polar Bear King has come to claim her as his bride. Thinking her family has gone insane she sneaks out to try and tag the bear again to prove it is just a bear once and for all, only to have him appear before her, and start to speak…

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The Hunger Games

[openbook booknumber=”0439023483″][rating:5/5]

In a dystopian future North America as we know it has been destroyed and from its ashes rose the Capital and it’s 13 Districts. The Capital was powerful and greedy and ruled the districts with an iron fist. When the districts rose up against them the Capital completely destroyed District 13 and subjugated the remaining 12. To keep the Districts in check they force each one to give up one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 17. The children must participate in The Hunger Games, a live televised fight to the death aired for the enjoyment of the residents of the Capital, the Districts are forced to watch in horror as their children are murdered right in front of them.

Katniss Everdeen is a 16-year-old who lives in District 12. She has been forced to provide for her family all her life as her father passed away in a mining accident when she was young. Her mother went into a catatonic state of depression afterward leaving Katniss to care for herself and her younger sister alone. Feeling abandoned and alone Katniss ends up drawing on the skills her father taught her: using bow and arrow, foraging and hunting in the forest, and surviving and supporting a family. When her younger sister Prim turns twelve and gets entered into the reaping for The Hunger Games the worst happens. Her little sister is chosen. Katniss sacrifices herself and volunteers in her sister’s place. Now she needs to see if her survival skills can transfer from providing for her family to staying alive in the arena as she faces the cruel carnage and inhumanity of The Hunger Games.

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Recap: March 7th-13th 2010

I’ve always wanted to have a link blog as part of… well just about every blog I have ever run. I always stumble across cool links, or have them come in on news feeds, or whatever and want to share them. Lately I’ve taken to tweeting them (or re-tweeting them) and I thought every week for my non-twitter followers I would compile the links here for people to check out and enjoy. I only tweet a link if I really think it’s interesting or it contributes to an ongoing conversation the book blogging community is having. Here are the links I tweeted this week.

Atwood describes her writing path

I’m a huge fan of Margaret Atwood and enjoy reading her work and have seen some of her interviews on youtube and just think she’s a cool person. I enjoyed reading about her experiences in writing and how she got where she is today. I especially enjoyed the part where she talked about social media and modern day technology:

During the question and answer period, a student asked her about social media, since Atwood is well-known for Twittering and blogging.

“You have no idea who your readers are, and no idea who people on Twitter are,” she said.

That world, she said, “is like having fairies at the bottom of your garden,” who pop up and make themselves known in unpredictable and mischievous ways.

She admitted that she couldn’t “do that thing with my thumbs” and spoke disparagingly of her phone.

“I have a bad relationship with my phone and it has a bad relationship with me. We live in a state of mutual hostility.”


RT @hcmurdoch: Review: Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout) and Give Away: Nice, no strings attached, give away!

Nothing more needs to be said here! I do like the current trend of just filling out a form for a giveaway, oh, and Helen’s Book Blog is awesome anyway, you need to check it out!

Read an E-Book Week is here!

This week was read an e-book week. A chance to raise awareness about e-books and, if you are an avid reader of them, to be sure and answer any questions people might ask you this week and get them on the path of addiction to love of reading e-books as well. There were also a lot of free or deeply discounted e-books available this week. You lucky e-reader owners, you!

YA “more vibrant” than adult books, “with better plots, better characterizations, a more complete creation of a world.”

This was an article about Young Adult books coming of age. It talked about the changing trends of YA literature and about how, in a lot of ways, it’s not just for young adults anymore! I guess I’m one of those rare adults that’s never felt guilty about cracking open a young adult novel, but if you ever have then read this article! It will reassure you, it says we are living in the golden age of Young Adult literature, so you might as well enjoy it!

The Christian book review situation is a Pandora’s box (via @AUChristianNews)

I thought this article was a very interesting take on Christian book reviews in particular. With reviews concerning books about such a dominant religion (in this society) there is extra baggage being brought to the table. The reviewer agreeing or not agreeing with the particular theology being presented will skew the review one way or the other. I never thought about that but now I want to look back at my old reviews of Christian literature and see if my beliefs in one way or another affected my ultimate rating of those books.

A Reading List for International Women’s Day a day late but just in case you need MORE books for your #unbound rec list

International Women’s Day was March 7th, this article by the UN Dispatch give a list of recommended reading that touch on the theme of women’s (and human) rights. One book from the list that particularly struck a cord with me was The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World:

“I would also like to strongly recommend The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. First published in 1989, its most recent edition, the 4th, came out last year. Written by geographer Joni Seager, it’s a feminist nerd’s delight — chockfull of fascinating maps, charts, and statistics about women around the world, Topics covered range from the average number of hours per week women around the world spend fetching water, to what countries are the world’s biggest markets for cosmetics, to male literacy rates in various countries, to the status of lesbian rights across the globe.

I was particularly struck by the stats on violence against women. Some examples:

— In Russia, 70% of adult women say they have experienced physical abuse by a male partner or intimate.

— In Bangladesh in 2002, 68% of women who were physically abused say they never told family or officials about their abuse.

— In the U.S., between 22% and 35% of women who visit the emergency room do so because of domestic violence.

— In Japan, out of 104 gang rapes that were reported in 2005, there were only 5 convictions.– In the U.K., the rate of criminal convictions on rape charges is 7%.”


The books that took the Oscars (via @CSMonitoronline)

Quite simply an article about all of the books that were behind the movies that made the Oscars this week. I was surprised to find Push in there, a book I actually own! Shows how out of the loop I am sometimes.

I had entirely too much fun recreating Mockingjay’s book cover for @princessbookie8‘s contest. I blame this video:

The by now famous two minute video of creating a book cover for the third book in the Soulless series. The contest in question is Princess Bookie‘s Recreate a 2010 YA Cover Contest. I entered my cover recreation of Mockingjay the third book in The Hunger Games series.

RT @GalleyCat Quirk Books Buys Night of the Living Trekkies – GalleyCat

I’m a bit of a Trekkie fan so I perked when I saw this, but now that I’ve read the article about it I’m not sure if it will be hugely funny or hugely lame. Probably the later.

Here’s the pitch: “It’s Galaxy Quest meets Dawn of the Dead when all hell breaks loose at a Star Trek convention–and the world’s only hope for survival rests in the hands of some very determined fanboys!”


FarmVille, ChatRoulette, Video Games: Publishers Look Beyond the Book (via @daily_finance)

This was kind of a continuation to a link I tweeted last week about how Penguin will reinvent books for the I-Pad. My brothers are big time gamers and so when I saw that Random House was looking to expand into the video game market I became very interested in what the article had to say. Basically it talked about a huge expansion of what qualified as a story telling vehicle and how publishers can get in on that. It was really interesting!

Controversial author challenges the novel medium (via @SU_Spectator)

Really controversial article about an author who thinks the novel medium has become outmoded and outdated in our media driven world that had a thirst for reality based media.

“The novel as a form really bores me a lot of the time, and it’s frankly outdated,” Shields said.


JANE’S FAME is aimed at diehard Austen fans […] It’s full of minutiae that only a “Janeite” would be interested in

A link to a review in the Montreal Gazette about the book Jane’s Fame. It sounds really interesting, I particularly liked this part of the review:

Jane’s Fame is aimed at diehard Austen fans, of which there are, of course, a prodigious number. It’s full of minutiae that only a “Janeite” (a term we learn dates back to about 1870) would be interested in. But this book is leavened with humour and a little gossip, both of which would no doubt have pleased Austen herself. We learn, for instance, of Austen’s visit to a library with her niece Anna. Not knowing that her aunt was the author of Sense and Sensibility, Anna threw aside the book, saying, “Oh that must be rubbish I am sure from the title.”


Turning historical figures into action heroes

I noticed Aarti from Booklust brought up the concept of Abe Lincoln being portrayed as a superhero in the book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer in the twitter convo following the posting of my article about Feminism and the Recent Vampire Craze. So I thought this was an interesting continuation on that, talking about other famous historical figures being fictionally portrayed in supernatural situations in books and movies.

Historical Tweets: History through the eyes of Twitter (via @examinercom)

Not strictly speaking relating to books, this was just a humorous article about the website Historical Tweets. Very humorous take on what history would have looked like through the tweets of various historical figures.

Read along as authors write ‘Exquisite Corpse Adventure’ online (via @seattletimes)

An article about a group of famous children’s writers and illustrators who are writing and illustrating a book online Exquisite Corpse style. They started last September and are planning to finish this September. The book is currently over 90 pages long! You can read the story for yourself at the government website Read.Gov, the project is being sponsored by the Library of Congress.


So I discovered this meme just before I started moving and have really been wanting to participate. In this meme you discuss a different fairy tale every week. Turns out I’m starting on a great week! This week the theme is in honor of Share a Story, Shape a Future and in that vein we are supposed to blog about our favorite fairy tale from childhood.

I’m going to take that theme and flip it a bit. I spent a semester studying fairy tales in college and I’m going to quote liberally from one of the essays I wrote in that semester. One of the class assignments was to look at all of the different fairy tale versions of Cinderella and determine which one you would share with your child. I know everyone did Cinderella last week, but I missed it so you get me this week instead!

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The Great Flow Giveaway

I’m participating in The Great Flow Giveaway over at The Book Lady’s Blog, to win a copy of Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation. Basically, the point was brought up that talking about menstruation is considered a bit of a taboo topic and so in order to “work” for a copy you have to enter into the dialogue about, well, your flow! So, if you are at all squeamish about this sort of thing I suggest you cut away right now, because here are some of my experiences, and a lot of tips for survival.

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