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Aug. 8th, 2011

Title: Investing in Men
Author: elaborationlove
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters/Pairings: 11th Doctor/OFC
Rating: G
Summary: The Doctor's new companion is having troubles with the opposite sex.
Author's Notes: One of my first DW fics. I usually don't write with OFCs, but I decided to this time.
Warning: None.
Word Count: 638

Investing in MenCollapse )

Dec. 30th, 2010

Title: The Devouring
Author: Simon Holt
Year of Publication: 2008
Genre: YA
Pages: 231
First Line: "On Sorry Night, just a few days before Christmas, you have to snuff the lamps, douse the flames in the fireplace, and spend the night in the cold and dark."
Summary: The Vours: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.

When dark creeps in and eats the light,
Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours
Comes the feasting of the Vours.
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul...

Source: Back of book

Review: The first-half of this book was better than the second-half. I found it interesting that other characters seemed to perceive a relationship between Regina and Aaron, but I did not see it that way at all. I was much more interested in the fantasy side of the book, as opposed to the horror side. I once tried reading The Demonata Lord Loss by Darren Shan and was almost immediately turned off by the gore. This one was similar towards the end, but because of the more fantastical element, I was able to read through the end (and might read the rest of the series, if only for Aaron, who reminds me of myself in several ways). I wasn't really able to relate to Regina's character very well, but I think a lot of her personality is a result of the situation with her mother. There were parts of the story which were not tied up or explained to begin with very well, but I expect they will be in the sequels. Nothing spectacular, but good enough to finish.


Worst part: I was disappointed the only part of the book The Devouring in the book we got to see was in the beginning. I would have liked more "entries" throughout the book.

Best part: The characterization of the Vour in Henry was very well done.

Grade: C+

Other Books by This Author: Soulstice and Fearscape.


72 / 50 books. 144% done!
Title: But Is It Garbage?
Author: Stephen L. Hamelman
Year of Publication: 2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 272
First Line: "American culture is trash culture."
Summary: Hamelman says that "analysis of rock as trash is needed because it reveals a fundamental yet complex interrelationship between trash, both literal and figurative . . and rock music and culture." Given that premise, one might expect lively discussions of Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, and George Clinton, whose lyrics revel in life's trashy aspects. One would be disappointed, however. Hamelman instead lavishes attention on the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, and their hoary chroniclers, the likes of Dave Marsh and Greil Marcus. Hamelman apparently suffers from the view that most of the most important rock was produced by bands popular in the late 1960s, and he oddly avoids black rock other than Hendrix's. If you can forgive that attitude, that sin of omission, and Hamelman's overwhelming fascination with Lou Reed's Berlin (thank Jah it's not Metal Machine Music), Hamelman's framework for discussing rock's cultural appeal makes for a fairly worthwhile book.

Source: Amazon.com

Review: Written by professor of English at Coastal Carolina University and drummer Steven L. Hamelman, But Is It Garbage?: On Rock and Trash explores the connection between rock ‘n’ roll music, lyrics, and lifestyle, and literal, tangible trash. The piece comes in three parts: Trashed, Wasted, and Saved. Each of these sections explains how lyrics, musical style, musician’s attitudes and lifestyles, and the disposability of the media on which the music is released reflect trash culture, particularly of the United States.

Much of “Trashed,” the largest and opening section in the book, discusses the literally disposable and wasteful natures of the media on which rock ‘n’ roll is and has been recorded. Hamelman cites records (and their tendency to warp, thus becoming useless), cassette tapes (and how often the tape is “eaten” by a player), and CDs (which, while fairly durable compared to the former media listed, are wasteful in packaging). The author includes statistics which illustrate how wasteful the packaging of CDs is, as well as pointing out how the consumerism of America results in rock ‘n’ roll being produced at uneconomical rates and quantities, thus creating even more waste.

In “Trashed,” Hamelman profiles songs as well as artists, as he creates a list of “Top Trash Forty,” listed in chronological order. Some of these songs include Sewer Trout’s “Garbage,” Korn’s “Trash,” and Marilyn Manson’s “Disposable Teens.” Helman admits this list does not include every trash-related song, but offers forty songs with a brief illustration of each song and their context. When speaking of specific artists, much of the author’s focus is on Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground. Hamelman also concentrates largely on the Beatles, spending a length of the text on the members’ opinion on their music – often, unsurprisingly, believing it is “trash.” John Lennon specifically is said to have trashed not only his own work, but also that of Paul McCartney, even in McCartney’s solo work. The quality of the music as well as its tendency to not last in the case of any rock ‘n’ roll artist is, according to Hamelman, essential to the trash culture which surrounds the genre and its many subgenres.

In the second section titled “Wasted,” Hamelman explores the “wasted” lives of rock ‘n’ roll, including Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. He explains how their talent was wasted as both, among others, died at young ages before, he argues in Hendrix’s case, the peak of success and talent had been reached. Both artists, as well as others who ended similarly, would have gone on to create even more artistically significant works, had they not died so young, thus their talent was wasted. Throughout this section, Hamelman also points out to readers that death is a common theme in the lyrics of rock ‘n’ roll. The theme of death is also related to trash culture as death and decay are often considered to be the same thing and anything that is decaying must be waste, according to mainstream culture.

Finally, in “Saved,” Hamelman discusses the artistic merit of many of the rock ‘n’ roll performers he spoke of in previous sections. One instance he mentions is how one teacher “incorporated” Rage Against the Machine into lessons on The Grapes of Wrath. He compares some rock ‘n’ roll artists to well-known and respected composers and novelists. Much of this section also discusses the similarities of “Paul’s Case: A Study in Temperament,” a short story by Willa Cather, and the characteristics of rock ‘n’ roll, thus drawing the conclusion that rock ‘n’ roll is more or less designed for adolescents, as Paul, who exhibits many of the same characteristics, is an adolescent. Hamelman also points out how just as Paul was saved by art – the story was written before the time of rock ‘n’ roll – so were many of the rock ‘n’ roll artists including Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Patti Smith, and Keith Richards.

Hamelman’s study of rock ‘n’ roll and its relation to garbage is a thorough, academic piece. Hamelman avoids using “et cetera,” making his lists as complete as possible and explains the rock ‘n’ roll and garbage conceit as fully as possible. His argument is clear as is his process. Readers will find themselves thinking about the work’s implications and what Hamelman’s arguments mean for the future of rock ‘n’ roll. Readers familiar with today’s music and technology should question what iTunes and similar non-physical music media means for the trash culture, or what covering – and therefore recycling – songs fits into Hamelman’s thesis, in order to make the piece all the more thought-provoking.



Worst part: I felt the argument was a little far-fetched.

Best part: Despite that it was far-fetched, the idea was really original.

Grade: C

Other Books by This Author: None.


71 / 50 books. 142% done!
Title: My Heartbeat
Author: Garret Freymann-Weyr
Year of Publication: 2002
Genre: YA
Pages: 154
First Line: "It's after midnight when I hear James leave."
Summary: Ellen loves Link and James. Her older brother and his best friend are the only company she ever wants. She knows they fight, but she makes it a policy never to take sides. She loves her brother,the math genius and track star. She is totally madly in love with James, his long eyelashes and hidden smiles. "When you grow out of it," James teases her, "you will break my heart."

Then someone at school asks if Link and James might be in love with each other. A simple question. But the answer is far from simple, and its repercussions affect their entire lives.

Source: Back of book

Review: While this book got off to a somewhat slow start, I really loved all of the characters and the plot. Everything was very realistic and I enjoyed the relationships between the characters. Freymann-Weyr's simplistic writing style reflects her characters' age, but she still manages to make profound observances that make readers of all ages think. This book will not bother those squeamish with gay topics -- it is addressed in a way that is not graphic or anything else (at least in terms of same-sex relationships). A simple concept that makes for an interesting and heartfelt story.

Worst part: I felt Link was slightly underdeveloped.

Best part: I loved James. His character was by far the most interesting.

Grade: B+

Other Books by This Author: When I Was Older, The Kings Are Already Here, Stay With Me, After The Moment, Pretty Girls and French Ducks in Venice.


70 / 50 books. 140% done!
Title: What I Wore to Save the World
Author: Maryrose Wood
Year of Publication: 2009
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 276
First Line: "'And so, in the immortal words of Polonius--'"
Summary: Senior year's coming up fast and I still have no clue about college or a career -- the whole rest-of-my-life thing is basically a blank. Maybe it's because I spent this year obsessing about Colin, the hot Irish guy I fell for last summer (that was right around the time I discovered that I'm a half-goddess from the days of Irish lore -- trust me, you had to be there). I even saved Colin from a nasty enchantment, but he doesn't know that. Colin doesn't believe in magic, not even a little.

But now a mysterious message has reunited me with Colin, who turns out to be caught up in the biggest faery-made disaster ever. We're talking the end of reality, and I don't mean reality TV. To save the world, I'm going to have to tell Colin the truth about my half-goddess mojo. But if he doesn't believe in magic, how will he ever believe in me?

Source: Back of book

Review: Better than the second, not as good as the first. I feel like a large part of the plot was missing because the plot-arc did not flow well. I still love Colin and Wood's writing style is unique -- though I don't know if I like it or not. Pick up the first book for something fun to read and then pick up the sequels if you're still interested.

Worst part: Whatever that missing piece was.

Best part: I liked the whole three crowns thing a lot.

Grade: G-

Other Books by This Author: Why I Let My Hair Grow Out and How I Found the Perfect Dress.


69 / 50 books. 138% done!

Oct. 23rd, 2010

Title: War for the Oaks
Author: Emma Bull
Year of Publication: 1987
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 332
First Line: "By day, the Nicollet Mall winds through Minneapolis like a paved canal."
Summary: Guitarist Eddi McCandry has just dumped her boyfriend and their band when she finds herself running through the Minneapolis night, pursued by a sinister man and a huge, terrifying dog. As she soon discoers, the two creatures are one and the same: a phouka, a faerie being who has chosen Eddi to be the mortal pawn in the age-old war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts.

Eddi isn't interested -- but she doesn't have a choice. For more than her own survival is at stake. To save the city -- and man -- that she loves, Eddi must face off against the Dark Queen of the Unseelie Court in the ultimate duel of music and magic.

Source: Back of book

Review: My all-time favorite book. I really don't have anything to say about it. It's brilliant. It's fantastic. I love it. Read it.

Worst part: The dream sequence doesn't work with the rest of the book, I think.

Best part: All of it. It's my favorite -- I can't choose!

Grade: A+

Other Books by This Author: Finder and Bone Dance.


68 / 50 books. 136% done!
Title: Harry, A History
Author: Melissa Anelli
Year of Publication: 2008
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 334
First Line: "Within twenty-four hours, everyone would know."
Summary: During the brief span of just one decade, hundreds of millions of perfectly ordinary people made history: they became the only ones who would remember what it was like when the Harry Potter saga was still unfinished. What it was like to seek out friends, families, online forums, fan fiction, and podcasts to get a fix between novels. When the potential death of a character was a hotter bet than the World Series. When the unfolding story of a boy wizard changed the way books are read for all time.

And as webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron, one of the most popular Harry Potter sites on the Internet, Melissa Anelli had a front row seat to it all. Whether it was helping Scholastic stop leaks and track down counterfeiters, hosting live PotterCasts at bookstores across the country, or touring to Edinburgh to interview J.K. Rowling personally, Melissa was at the center of the Harry Potter tornado, and nothing about her life would ever be the same.

The Harry Potter books are a triumph of the imagination that did far more than break sales records for all time. They restored the world's sense of wonder and took on a magical life of their own. Now the series has ended, but the story is not over. With remembrances from J.K. Rowling's editors, agents, publicists, fans, and Rowling herself, Melissa Anelli takes us on a personal journey through every aspect of the Harry Potter phenomenon -- from his very first psell to his lasting impact on the way we live and dream.

Source: Back of book

Review: Almost as emotional as reading Deathly Hallows for the first time. I really loved Anelli's style. It was engaging and interesting. Her insight is fantastic and she lived the dream of many Potter fans -- more-or-less befriending J.K. Rowling. As I was fairly young during the entire Potter phenomenon (I was seven or eight when the first book came out), much of this information is new to me or shown in a new light. I really enjoyed this book and it gave a lot of interesting information about the phenomenon as well as the books and J.K. Rowling. Even the parts concerning Anelli's life were interesting and I looked forward to those bits. Definitely worth checking out, even if you aren't (gasp!) a Potter fan.

Worst part: The arriving at the release day and such was kind of abrupt. But I think it's okay to have it this way, because that's how it felt.

Best part: J.K. Rowling's forward was really touching. I really enjoyed it.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: None, but she runs the Leaky Cauldron.


67 / 50 books. 134% done!
So, several years ago, I saw the tail-end of an ad for a movie. The title sparked an idea for a novel that I planned to write someday. I decided that someday would be this November, having forgotten -- or possibly deluded myself into disbelieving that -- I had gotten the idea from this movie.

Well, I decided to search what I thought the title was (which I was half-certain I had come up with myself) and found that the exact title was actually the title of a movie.

And the plot is pretty much exactly the same of what I had planned.

If I go ahead and write this, is it plagiarism? I haven't seen the movie, and the only thing that will be similar will be the plot, and I imagine, since I haven't seen it, there will be some variations. What would happen if I wanted to get this published? Could I be sued? I obviously plan on changing the title (and therefore a character's name) as a result of discovering this unfortunate remembrance.

Help?

(For those of you interested, the name I had "come up with" was Searching for David's Heart. This is also the title of the movie.)
Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Year of Publication: 1963
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 229
First Line: "It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
Summary:Esther, an A-student from Boston who has won a guest editorship on a national magazine, finds a bewildering new world at her feet. Her New York life is crowded with possibilities, so that the choice of future is overwhelming, but she can no longer retreat into the safety of her past. Deciding she wants to be a writer above all else, Esther is also struggling with the perennial problems of morality, behaviour and identity. In this compelling autobiographical novel, a milestone in contemporary literature, Sylvia Plath chronicles her teenage years - her disappointments, anger, depression and eventual breakdown and treatment - with stunning wit and devastating honesty.

Source: Here

Review: I liked this a lot more than I expected to. I found it to be a lot like The Catcher in the Rye. The style was very similar, and, the more books I read with this style, the more I enjoy it. It's very conversational and simple, but somehow timeless. Plath wrote realistically, taking much from her own life and inserting it into this novel. It's a spectacular book and if you haven't read it, you should.

Worst part: Some of the characters were tough to keep track of. It was a bit like an Austen novel in that way -- I always have a hard time keeping track of characters in books like this.

Best part: The ending worked really well for this book.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: Various selections of poetry.


66 / 50 books. 132% done!

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