I read Alien and I liked it

Yep.

I found the book at a pop-up bookstore, and at $.75, how could I pass it up? How could anyone? If you’re curious, it reads exactly like the movie. I was so excited to get to the scene, you know it, the scene where the alien pops out of the guy’s chest, that I announced it to all my traveling companions. And everyone else on the train with us that evening. They were not as amused but who cares. I forgive them.

Here’s the thing. I’m a read the book before the movie person. I think of movies and books as two different mediums and don’t try to evaluate them as one entity. They are not. But there was something refreshing about this being exactly like the movie I remember.

Now, a story.

I loved bad horror movies as a kid (still do as an adult) and my dad and I used to stay up late and watch bad monster movies — the type of movies about the man-eating yeti you can still find on the Syfy channel on a weekend afternoon.

When I was about eight or nine, Alien was the movie on HBO that summer. I begged my dad to let me stay up late to watch it on Saturday night. You know when the HBO Saturday night movie was a big deal. He finally relented although I’m pretty sure my mom was preparing to stay up all night with me sure I would have nightmares.

I spread out my blanket on the floor and prepared for all the alien goodness this movie was promised to offer. I was expecting this to be much like all the swampthing movies I’ve always been allowed to watch. Also, it was on a spaceship! I was so ready.

Scary it was but I hung in there. I wasn’t going to let anyone think I was scared. Abandoned ships, alien pods, awesome. Bring on the alien. Que this dinner scene. Yea…I made it through and as soon as it was over, I picked up my blanket, announced I was going to sleep, and walked up the steps to bed. I don’t remember having nightmares and the parental units have never said anything about it. However, a few weeks later, I found the courage and I watched that movie again. And it was awesome.

A few days after I finished the book, I came across the movie on TV. I settled in, I watched. The dinner scene, well, it was so campy and fake. And you know what, so wonderful.

Ah, childhood memories.

Trends?

Lately, I’ve noticed a strange trend in my reading. Well, not really that strange but I’m doing something I don’t do, normally, anyway. It seems, by some strange combination of luck and the work of the subconscious mind, I’ve been reading a fantasy book and following it up with a historical fiction read. Weird, right? Well, no. These are two genres I read quite a lot of — they make up the bulk of my reading in fact so it’s not at all surprising to me. It’s probably not surprising to anyone that looks at what I read either. So, let’s take a closer look together shall we.

Since the end of March (I’m not going to bore you with the whole list), this is what I’ve read:

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

Clockwork Phoenix 4 edited by Mike Allen

Palisades Park by Alan Brennert

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – DNF

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Shadow of the Sun by Barbara Friend Ish

The Inquisitor’s Wife by Jeanne Kalogridis

Before the Storm by Melanie Clegg

Questing Beast by Ilona Andrews

The Black Country: A Novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad by Alex Grecian

Advent by James Treadwell

I’m slightly shocked by how few books I’ve read so far this year, but beyond that, (slow reading, it’s another post) I started noticing what I was doing in regard to book choice. I just finished reading Blood Sisters by Melanie Clegg which is historical fiction and I’m planning to pick up Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht next which puts me back in the fantasy realm. I have no idea how this started, or even why, and there’s always a why somewhere, but I like it. It’s refreshing and I don’t feel like I’m overdosing on either or my favorites. I’m going to see how long this lasts but now that I seem to be aware of what I’m doing, I wonder if that will change. Don’t you hate when that happens and you unintentionally ruin a good thing you had going…

Ever notice anything weird/strange/odd about your reading habits? Wanna talk about it?

The Sunday Salon – Awesome Con

TSSbadge1Awesome Con happened this weekend in Washington, DC. Since it was in walking distance of our house, we decided to stroll over and see what it had to offer. It’s a small con, and the first in DC actually, but over 3,000 came out for it, which was, well, awesome. (Oh, like you wouldn’t have gone there!) I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to, but there were some great moments and great costumes.

We couldn’t get into the costume judging but there was a small parade after.

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We found this in the exhibit hall. The husband went back and bought it for me. 🙂

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One day two, I ran over early to stand in line to see Phil LaMarr and Billy West discuss Futurama. It was like listening in on a conversation and so funny. If you’re fan of the show, (Hi, me!) it was a fantastically entertaining. The line for this one was huge, and for a few minutes, I cursed my need for coffee hoping it wouldn’t mean I would be standing outside the door while it was going on. I lucked out, making it in the room to one of the few seats left in the back.

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I also dropped in on a session on writing fantasy novels and comics featuring: Justin Jordan, Allison Pang, Diana Peterfreund, Meagan Spooner, Tom King, and Alma Katsu. It was interesting to hear their take on the genre and how the publishing industry views it. Also, Katsu said her final book in The Taker trilogy is coming out soon. Yay!

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A few more random pics.

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Yes, I know I take truly awful photos but there you have it. I may write more about it in the next few days when I don’t have deadlines looming over my head.

Were you at Awesome Con? Questions? Let me know and I’ll answer as best I can.

I’m off to read a bit more of The Shadow of the Sun and questions will be answered tomorrow since that’s read along Q&A day. Be prepared, there are some sexytimes happening.

The Sunday Salon – happy soap for my brain

TSSbadge1We don’t go see many movies but my husband really wanted to see The Place Beyond the Pines so we went last night. I should say first that this movie was beautifully shot and the acting was phenomenal. However, it was the most difficult movie to watch. I wanted to leave about 45 minutes in and when it finally finished, I’m not sure but I think I pretty much yelled thank god and ran out. People might have thought I was heading for the ladies room, but I was heading for the door. As we were walking up the street to get a cab home, I told my husband I needed some happy soap to scrub my brain. Not a date night movie.

If you don’t know what this movie is about, go here. I don’t want to re-live this one. Many people liked it and you maybe one of them. It’s just not my kind of movie. Iron Man will be out in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to that one.

It got me thinking though. As I said to my husband last night, I like my entertainment to be on the happier side. In movies, I like silly, I like action. I have to be in the mood for a movie like The Place Beyond the Pines and last night wasn’t the mood. It was too heavy. Very smartly done, but sad all the same.

I tend to be the same with reading. Not everything has to be happy, and some of what I read tends to be on the violent and scary side, a good deal of it is fantasy equaled out by historical fiction. When I read I want to forget all about real life. I want something outside of reality; something that won’t happen to me but will ruin and redeem the characters in the book. I don’t read much contemporary fiction; I quit one last week because it was all too real. When I want to be entertained, I want it to outside of my own experiences.

I don’t even want to think about what this says about me. Probably nothing. Later today, I plan to start The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. I finished Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn yesterday and it was exactly what I needed.

I promised myself I’d post some reviews this week and I plan to do that, if I can draw myself away from the horrible TV show I’m watching. So, off I go to edit.

Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Rain

It’s raining here today and I decided it would be an excellent idea to stay in bed and watch TV. Random flipping and one show about the Loch Ness Monster now over, I’m up and moving.

I’ve been reading two books the last few days — Bag of Bones by Stephen King and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Friday after work I decided I’d park myself on the couch and read. Husband came home and I was curled up on the couch looking, as he put, “slightly freaked out.” Conversation ensued:

Him: “What’s wrong?”

Me: “Nothing.”

Him: “OK.”

Me: “A book freaked me out.”

Him, glancing at books on the coffee table: “To Kill a Mockingbird freaked you out?”

Me: “No, the other book.”

Him, picking up second book: “You’re reading a Stephen King book and got freaked out. No sympathy.”

So, I’ve designated Bag of Bones my daylight reading and To Kill a Mockingbird as my evening reading.

Somehow amidst a week full of crap and more crap, I managed to draft eight reviews. Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander is waiting a review but after that I’ll be caught up. I’m feeling good about that development.

Finally, if you have ten minutes to waste today and want to see a digital painting come to life, go here.

With that, enjoy your books. Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – thoughts on writing and respect

Lately, I’ve been slow on the blogging. A writing slump is mostly to blame but there are a few other things bothering me; bloggy things that have in their own little way kept me from writing.

First, and I’ve said this before but to be clear, the books I review are books I purchase, borrow from the library, and a few are ARC copies that I’ve either asked publishers to send or have been offered and accepted. I do reviews for another online site called The Book Reporter, which I started doing reviews for before I decided to get into the whole blogging thing. I don’t get paid to write review for The Book Reporter although they do send me the books for review. So the reason for the previous sentence is to point out that I’m not doing this for money or for free books. I don’t get many free books and turn down more than I ever thought I would have the opportunity to turn down. I do this because I want to read and talk about my books — the books I buy, the books I borrow from the library, and the books I have discovered on my shelves. I want to be able to read whatever I want and say whatever I want about that book. I don’t love or even like very book I read but I try hard to be honest and fair. I don’t see how anyone can do this any other way.

There was a little kerfuffle about bloggers getting paid this week and, while I don’t care about what other people do or how they make their money be it on their blog or by any other means, it was slightly annoying to read that people think this is a normal practice. I’m a book blogger, yes. I read and write about books, and yes, some of those books are given to me for free, but I’m not getting paid in any way. I don’t talk about anything other than my opinion about the book. I like helping readers discover new authors and books. That’s why I do this. I’m not getting rich off it. In fact, I’ve never made a cent. Not a single one. There are many others like me in that category. Making money is not a bad thing but I don’t do this to make money.

I guess maybe where I’m going with this rather inconsistent post is that I think the book blogging world is changing and I’m not sure what to think of it now. While I still feel it’s a very vibrant community, and there are many people I talk to and share books and thoughts with, it just feels different in a way that’s causing me to be a little sad about it. Everyone these days is so quick to point out things they feel are wrong and what ends up is a mess of hashtags ridiculing people. I can’t get with that. It’s wrong. All I’m saying. People aren’t always right but they deserve a chance to explain and we all need to move on with other more important things. Life is more than books. Really it is. I can attest to that.

There are many things going on in my life right now and the time I would normally spend blogging seems to be getting slowly chipped away at. I need to find a way to mesh blogging with everything else that’s going on. You see, I want to continue writing about books and I will but I also think I needed to get these thoughts on paper so I don’t feel so weird about the blogging thing. I’m not sure that’s really helped other than forcing me to write which may have been part of the big plan anyway in getting over the slump.

Sorry for the ramble today but it was nice to get words down. Sometimes we just need to write for the sake of writing. Maybe that’s what I need to do more of. I’ll call it Zen writing from now on and if you happen to see posts like this from me every once in a while, please bear with me until regularly scheduling programming returns.

Thanks for reading and listening. It’s appreciated.

Happy Sunday. I’m off to go hiking.

The Sunday Salon – In which I reveal a few non-music facts

OR the totally true tale of a tone deaf reader

Music and books is a topic I see around but a topic I don’t understand and not for lack of trying. In general, I don’t listen to music and when I do it tends to be music I’m very familiar with; I don’t try out new music often. And I don’t try out new music while reading at all. The only place I regularly listen to music, and admit it’s for distraction purposes, is in the car while cursing snarled traffic. This doesn’t mean I don’t like music, because I do. I appreciate classical while cooking, I love songs I can sing along to in the car on long road trips, and when I see a song someone is listening to mentioned on their blog, I click on the link. I may not understand the connection but I’m curious as to why someone would pick that song.

Haruki Murakami is an author that falls into this topic. He’s been influenced by Western music and in particular jazz. Go ahead and google that if you don’t believe the woman who admitted in the previous paragraph to knowing nothing of music. Side note: I once saw Winton Marsalis play in Chicago. It was an interesting concert mostly because I didn’t understand any of it. Jazz is too discordant for me; I can’t find the rhythm. I spent the entire concert watching others to figure out why they were into it so much. I probably should have been paying closer attention to the concert itself though. What can I say; I was newly out of college and knew nothing. Anyway, while this Murakami/jazz connection has been made, and he’s admitted to enjoying jazz, I don’t get it. How can someone listen to something so random and write something so interesting? Maybe I need to try listening to some jazz while reading his books to understand it better.

Moving on to last night… We stopped at a friends’ house for a tree trimming party and were regaled with the sounds of Mary Poppins. They have a two year-old who knows and can recognize the different songs and was insistent on the one she wanted to hear. I didn’t recognize any of the songs. Yes, I was outshone by a two year-old when it came to musical knowledge. Shortly after, we stopped off at a bar to wish another friend a happy birthday. He loves music and his standards were played: Springsteen, U2, The Pogues. While flipping through the song list, I noticed several punk selections. I love punk. I know, I don’t get it either. You would think it would fall into the way too discordant category of music for me since I don’t understand jazz but I heart punk like you wouldn’t believe. And I have a most favorite song — Waiting for the Man by Nico and the Velvet Underground.

Here’s the connection I have to punk. And wait for it…it’s a book — The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The main character, Henry, loves punk. In one scene, he’s waiting for someone, who happens to be a drug dealer, and he starts singing the song to himself. (Yes, the song is about a drug deal if you’re not familiar with it.) I went and looked it up because, well, I don’t remember why I did but I did. And I loved it. I fell in love with the song. Each time I hear it, I remember reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. Oh, memories. So anyway, this is my one and only music/book connection I have ever made to this day.

It’s what you get with a tone deaf reader. You were warned.

But I’m going to ask anyway. Do you have recommendations? I’m willing to give almost anything a listen.

And with that, I’m off to enjoy the company of some friends. Happy Sunday.