Monday, May 17, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

This may date me a bit, but this book reminds me of an old classic (and I use classic loosely here) from the 80's, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure with Keanu Reeves (I swear he deserved an Academy Award for this one, for his hair alone) and some other "dude" whom no one can remember (and do we really want to).

Anyway, those two go back in time in a phone booth time machine....(good grief, was it really this dumb) to ace a book report, you know, because they're the get good grades type of students, obviously, and end up bringing back famous people from history. One was Abe Lincoln, looking remarkably like the real thing by the way, his voice was like..a grumbling, deep canyon of manliness, if that makes any sense. That's the voice that kept playing though my head during the diary portions of this book. "Let us have faith that right makes right..." or "A house divided against itself can not stand," and lest we forget "I want to kill vampires until every ounce of blood is drained from their bodies.." Er, yeah..some of the greatest lines in history were uttered by this man. I guess.

This book will make a fine companion to the biography of Mary Todd Lincoln I'm reading in June for book club. Hopefully Mary kicks some serious vampire booty too. And she'll do it all while hand sewing a handkerchief. Of course.
3 stars

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

This was a very interesting book. Like I said previously, it has just about everything in it. Good, bad, murder, Irish wisdom, Chinese wisdom, familial tensions, lost love, suppressing parents, history, religion, and whorehouses. Lots and lots of whorehouses.
The major theme of this book is good vs bad. What makes someone good or bad? Is it our surroundings? Is it because of Cain and Abel? Is it due to what kind of parents we have? Or are we capable of choosing to be good or bad?
East of Eden follows two families through three generations and what constitutes the good and the bad of the family. At times, a very depressing book. I found myself unable to read because I just wanted the characters to grow and I was afraid they wouldn't. I found myself wondering how often I say "that is just who I am" or "I take after my father or mother". Is this reason enough for me not to change? I think it is hard to change the cycle of families. Those that do it, are the ones with real courage and that was the golden nugget from the book.
My one issue with the book is the female characters. There were not many redeeming qualities in the woman in the book. Maybe I was just being overly sensitive. I tend to like my woman strong and not crazy. There was redemption of this at the end.
I wish I had a book group to discuss the book with because there are many parts that would elicit interesting conversation. So instead I will share some facts on Mr. Steinbeck.
1. He considered this his greatest work even though it came at a time that critics suggest his writing was declining.
2.He grew up in Salinas, the setting for most of the book.
3.He had a falling out with a close friend and he wrote this a few years after the friend died. (There is so much brother tension in the book I just had to find a reason why. I don't know if this is true. Just hypothesising).
4.His book Grapes of Wrath, was the 6th highest book to be banned from 1990-2004.

He was a controversial writer and I would guess a controversial person in life. Very interesting.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's a new month as well as a Monday. What are you reading??

Hey, it's a new month and a new week! Now if it'd only be nice enough outside to maybe venture out occasionally it'd be a happy ending all way round! I swear I've never been this cold...brrrr. Check out what others are reading here.

This time of year my reading usually slows, not increases, again blame the weather and my anxious gardening fingers need something to do, so, why not turn pages instead I say.

I just finished:
Angelology by Danielle Trussoni.
Excellent haunting, brooding sort of book.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
A fun vampire read where the vampires aren't really that nice., or attractive. Holy cow they were actually scary! What a concept.

We discussed The Help by Kathryn Stockett at book club. Another excellent book that took me back to a time period we must never forget.

I'm currently reading:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
I'm liking this one more than I thought I would, and I saw the end of Hamlet the other night on PBS. The cornucopia of death scene. Got the tragedical juices flowing anyway. Can't wait for that to happen here...I guess..

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Graham-Smith
I liked his P&P&Z version, and this one is supposed to be better. Real photos this time! At least, they look real. Those damn vampires..

Abigail Adams by Woody Holton
In case you didn't know, Abigail was a 1776 feminist! There's Joan of Arc, then there's her.

Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism edited my Maxine Hanks
Stephanie and I are reviewing and leading discussions on these essays for a friend of ours who has a blog feministMormonhousewives. We're only just starting. It will probably be a summer long project.

So what are you reading? And, how do you keep your hands warm after they develop the pallor of a corpse? Just wonderin'.

Something I really want

So I am using all of you a little today. I have talked about an author named Sarah Eden and how I really like her books. She is doing a giveaway of her fabulous book Seeking Persephone on her site. Not a big deal you might say, but it is the last copy she has of this book. You can't buy it anywhere. So I am linking her on this site for my own personal gain. She does have a book out "courting Miss Lancaster" that was just lovely. She reminds me of Georgette Heyer.
Here is her site.
Sarah M Eden

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

I'm not sure why I liked this book. Maybe it was the half naked man on the cover. Maybe it was the religious foreshadowing, the looming Gothic art and the mysterious passageways into long lost secrets, that moved my brain to crave it like a big bowl of the banana cream cake I just had after dinner.

I became slightly involved with this book. It haunted me a little. It haunts me still, and that surprises me, because there is very little romance, very few people die (but when they do die, they die spectacularly), the praise on the back cover catalogs words like: alluring, delicious, gorgeous, beguiling and holy, and I usually try to avoid books with so high of appearance adjective praise...they frighten me into disliking them.

So what was it then? The atmosphere. I became quite lost in this world she's created. A world that's deeply religious, mythological, and historical at the same time. A world where angels and humans are at war with each other. A world where if you really want to know what happens read Misfit Salon's excellent review of this book here. The plot is complicated and diverse, very descriptive and bordering on verbose, but still, I liked it.

But who knows, maybe it really was the naked man on the cover.
And now I really must get back to more cake...
4 stars.