Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Ernie Cline is the Numero Uno geek on the Internet…or at least the one who has carved out his niche of geekdom, and becoming successful for actually being a geek.

Spoken word…a screenplay actually produced (that would be the Star Wars homage, Fanboys), and now a novel — Ready Player One:

an homage to 80s geekdom

Simply put, the novel is a distopic look at our world in a possible near future, where all energy is focused on one enormous simulation game…which is, for various reasons, absolutely replete with 80s pop culture references and recreations. Did I mention it features video games? And it has references to absolutely everything and anything that was popular in a pretty limited time frame…

Not enough for you? The audio book, which I am in the midst of right now, is read by Mr. Wil Weaton!

And it’s a good yarn! Thanks, Ernie!

Where do you pile your books? My hubby and I have piles on our bedside tables mostly, then some in the living room, the kitchen, the dining room…and they all live in the basement library/movie/party room (technically the ‘family room’).

The other day I was tidying the bedroom, and emptied the already-read and not-going-to-get-read-soon books off the two bedside tables:

Putting books away...

Then, I pulled books from the living room and kitchen to complete the tidy:

More books being put away..

This post for your voyeuristic enjoyment.

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As I have pointed out before, I’ve been reviewing books for the Canadian Book Review Annual for years. Recently, they underwent a bit of upheaval, as they closed their doors due to the prohibitive cost of putting out the annual, but then were taken over by the Dundurn Group.

So, this year was a letter telling me that CBRA was folding, followed by another saying, “No, sorry for that…we’re back on! Expect your books soon!” Yippee!

Without further ado, the books, in no particular order:

  1. Universal Communicator from Ulysses — A small, itty-bitty little book to fit in your back pocket while traveling, with no words. Point to pictures to express your basic needs/desires. Actually quite brilliant.
  2. Shirin and Salt Man by Nilofar Shidmehr (Oolichan Press) — I’m looking forward to this one…albeit the format is new to me. It’s a novel in poetry about Iran.
  3. A Song For My Daughter by Patricia Jean Smith (Oolichan Press) — Absolutely lovely cover, if one can judge books that way. Another Oolichan press book, from Vancouver Island.
  4. The Sherpa and Other Fictions by Nila Gupta (Sumach Press) — Short stories by an Indo-Canadian woman.  I do like short stories!
  5. My Estruscan Face by Gianna Patriarca (Quattro Books) — Even if I didn’t know this was poetry, the cover design screams that fact. The poet, with the amazing name, is award-winning, so I’m looking forward to this one as well.
  6. As Fate Decrees by Denysé Bridger (EDGE SF and Fantasy Publishing) — A truly horrible cover, with a fraught painting that more or less depicts the story. But then, I’ve already read this fantasy based in ancient Greece, and it’s quite good. Despite the cover.
  7. Pretenders and Righteous Anger by Lynda Williams (EDGE) — Parts 2 and 3 of the Okal Rel Saga. Gads, do I need Part 1? Anyway, from the same publishers as #6, the covers of these are just as awful. And it looks like they have the corner on melodramatic cover artists and designers, because all three books have different people in those positions. I’m assuming they will read better than they look. I’ll keep you posted.
  8. Personal History by Roo Borson (Pedlar Press) — This seems to be an artsy memoir.
  9. We are not in Pakistan and English Lessons and other stories by Shauna Singh Baldwin (Goose Lane) — Two books of short stories with beautiful covers. (Not that I’m looking!)
  10. Lift Up Your Hearts by Laurel Buck (Shoreline) — A slim memoir (one of many, so it seems) by a woman who appears to be a storyteller. (Keeping an open mind…)
  11. Under the Holy Lake: A memoir of Eastern Bhutan by Ken Haigh (UofA Press) — Gorgeous-looking book, a possibly  substantial memoir. By its very ‘luck’ at being at the bottom of this list, I may read it next.

Well there you go. If you have any experience with any of these, if you’ve landed here because you’re tied to them in some ways, please pause and comment.

(If you are one of the cover artists at EDGE, please be aware that I can barely draw a stick figure. Your paintings are great, just not suited to book covers.)

4 Books

Posted on: November 17, 2007

Stolen from casa az, who plundered it from alejna

Four childhood books

  • Freddy the Pig — don’t really remember much about the books, but that I used to love them. (Animal Farm always sort of freaked me out, with my Freddy background.)
  • The Donkey Rustlers by Gerald Durrell. Again, I don’t remember much about the story, but I do remember taking it out of the library again and again.
  • Paddington Bear — of course. I think he is the root of my love of the absurd…how can you resist a world where people don’t think twice about talking to a bear in a coat carrying a suitcase full of marmalade sandwiches, with bacon hanging out of it and dogs following him?
  • No fourth comes to mind…the Hobbit, the Narnia books — all begun in my childhood, and continued to be read and re-read in my teens, my young adulthood, my middle ages, my dotage…

Four authors I will read again and again

  • Robertson Davies (I’m with az here)
  • Lois McMaster Bujold
  • JRR Tolkien
  • Jasper Fforde
  • [This is all really quite random…there are 100s (10s?) of authors I would re-read again and again, I could continue this list on to the next page…]

Four authors I will never read again

I blank out the unpleasant in my life. I’ve not much interest in ever reading Dan Brown, Terry Pratchett (sorry az for putting those two in the same sentence), or Stephen King. Authors I don’t like, I just don’t remember. 😦

The first four books on my to-be-read list

  • Ulysses by James Joyce (az, alejna and I are threatening to read this together)
  • Dante’s Inferno
  • Plus a cast of 100s! Too many to list. (Wow. I’m being rather lazy with this one.)

The four books I would take to a desert island

  • LOTR
  • The complete Shakespeare
  • Norton Anthology of Poetry
  • a big blank book, with some pens

The last lines of one of my favourite books

  • I don’t have any. Sorry to disappoint. Although I may think on this one, and change this some random morning at 4 a.m. when a line pops into my head and won’t let me sleep until I’ve added it here.

Anyway — tag yourselves on this one!

One obituary.

Did you know that the author of the classic “A Wrinkle in Time” wrote as much as she did (over 50 works published)? I must admit I was a fan of that utterly timeless classic, but never went further with her work.

I think I can credit this woman with my fascination with speculative fiction.

Rest in peace.

I found a guy I like online — the Burgomeister, and his books. Not only is he a reader, he’s someone who prefers to read online (I’ve been looking for one!):

I love the great novels on my computer screen because, for me, paper is passé.

So, here we’ve got a reader who has found a solution to the problem of friends borrowing books and not returning them. (I just realized last night that I loaned out my only copy of Sei Shonogan’s The Pillow Book.) He is lending out his ebooks to anyone who wants to borrow them.

Brilliant. Not only is he cool, he’s got similar taste in reading to me…lots of SF and such.

Go visit, follow his guidelines, and read.

How can I resist an //engtech contest?!? Especially one where I can talk about my other favourite thing — movies!

Okay — on to the list. Let’s assume that LOTR is in the list somewhere, but that it’s been over-blogged in the last couple of years. And when I say ‘memorable‘, I mean my memory!

No. 1

I Capture the Castle. The Dodie Smith book of the same name is a delight. It’s in diary form, written by 17-year-old Cassandra, who lives with her rather eccentric family in a broken down old castle. The strength of this rather quiet movie lies in Smith’s background as a playright (and writer of The One Hundred and One Dalmations) — I’ve never seen a movie capture the characters, plot, setting, and essence of a book so well. At no point does it slap you in the face and say “hey! I’m literary! Can’t you tell?” (Unlike the first Harry Potter film…which I watched, anticipating each scene: “Ho hum…now we’re going to get ___ scene.”)

No. 2

A Little Princess (the 1995 version). From the book by Frances Hodges Burnett. Okay, so they added a little dramatic ‘hanging-from-the-eaves’ scene — I don’t mind. At that point in the movie, you’re really in the mood for it. The Miss Minchin character is wonderfully done by the great actor Eleanor Brun. You feel for her and hate her at the same time — brilliant! The story-telling, the ‘magic’, and the relationship between all the girls is beautifully represented. And the colours…each scene is shot with either a dark, earthy green that menaces, or a sunny golden glow that, well, glows.

No. 3

The Power of One. Is this a great movie? No. It’s got some brilliant moments, but overall, I wish it had been more…meaty. Gutsy. Longer. The treatment of the material was sketchy — it’s obvious that Bryce Courtney’s greatest book needs to be made into a BBC mini-series (a la Dune or Gormenghast), not relegated to a shortish Hollywood film. But, they manage to get some of the best bits right in this one — it definitely captures the feel of the book, even though they totally botched the story.

No. 4

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. Is this movie based on the biography Dorothy Parker: Oh What Fresh Hell Is This? by Marion Meade? [ooo…a triple whammy. A movie based on a biography of a famous writer!] It doesn’t say that the movie’s writers used the book, but it is the most common biography on Parker, and many of the anecdotes from the book are reproduced verbatim in the movie. (Of course, that means nothing, as all of her friends were literary, everyone in that crowd wrote everything down…) Anyway, it’s a great film, representing the life and times of a great if tragic woman, played with utter perfection by the indomitable Jennifer Jason Leigh!

No. 5

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Okay, I’m cheating on this one. In a sense, the movie came first. But, the author of the movie (and the supposed file cabinets full of material on this character), Earl Mac Rauch wrote a ‘novelization’ of the movie, like no other I’ve ever seen! Usually, a book-from-a-movie is a scene-by-scene rehash of the action. Cheesy. Badly written. Who reads them??? (Okay, I admit, the first book I read in Portuguese when I was living in Brasil was the novelization of ET…and I highly recommend them to language learners because of their screen-to-print regularity.) But this one is different — written from the point of view of one of the main characters, it’s his version of events. And, it’s as wonderful as the film. (If I have to convince you, you’re really not a geek.)

What are your movies?


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!