Sunday, 27 May 2012

Here and Back Again

We've met some dragons, been enchanted by faeries, fallen in and out of love, and been scared away from some books we've not ready for, but we've come to the end of our trip through the alphabet. Some letters have been lingered on, and some were bypassed without so much as a cursory glance, but they were all there. Yet the journey doesn't really end here (because nothing ever really ends, and all roads just lead to others) and obviously I'll keep reading forever and ever. To keep you lot updated on my latest reads I've added an RSS feed panel of my Goodreads account, so you can read along with me. I'm not entirely sure how well it updates (some books stay on my reading shelf for quite some time, while others barely last a day), but we'll see. If you want to see the complete list, then go ahead and add me on Goodreads :) So with that, we'll be back in a week with regular fashion, shoes, nail polish, and the ever-popular rants that you all know and love, but never forget...

A bookstore holds a thousand books,
All colours, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges. 

image of Russell's Books from Virtual Tourist

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Z is for Zoos, Zebras, & Zippers

... all of which can be found in The Norton Anthology of Children's Literature, edited by Jack Zipes. He's one of the foremost scholar's on children's literature (both content and historically), so for anyone with an interest in the genre this is not a book to be missed. Normally I don't bother keeping the Norton/Oxford/etc anthologies that I was forced to buy as part of my English degree, but this one I kept because it has a whole bunch of stories that aren't in publication anymore and aren't easy to find, even though they're important to the historical development of children's literature. It's a huge volume, even in paperback, hence why it comes with a carrying case, so that it won't get damaged, and every page is packed with useful information and wonderful tales.

image from Good Reads

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Dragontamer, Historian, Magician, Storyweaver (Y is for Jane Yolen)

image from Jacket Flap
image from Steven Silver's Reviews
We're going back to my childhood again for this post, because Jane Yolen was a pretty important writer in my library stacks. I've read pretty much everything she's ever written, and a lot of her stories remain my favourites to this day. The series that always comes to mind when I hear her name is the Pit Dragon Trilogy, which I read over and over and over, and still have multiple copies of in my collection. It's typical fantasy, with a teenage protagonist, who befriends a fighting dragon and brings himself out of a life of indentured servitude. But it's still a good read, for all it's minor clichés. More recently I finally got around to reading Briar Rose, which is a re-telling of the story of Sleeping Beauty, but with themes involving the Holocaust, family history, and the lies parents tell their children. It's a kind of strange story, and I'm not sure if I entirely get it, so I'm going to have to go back and re-read it at some point.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

XXX-Rated (?)

I've never really gotten why Clamp called their über-awesome manga series Xxxholic, because there's really very little about it that's x-rated. Sure there's death, dying, the occult, love triangles, and the occasional boob, but there are many more manga sesries that are closer to soft-core or blatant pornography than Xxxholic. I'm going to write the title slip as a "lost in translation" thing, and continue to adore the series, because Clamp can do no wrong! And really, who doesn't love a bumbling hero, who cleans up nicely when you get him into a tuxedo?

image from Manga-Reader

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Storybook Love (W is for Willingham)

I've already said that I love re-told fairytales, so it's no wonder I fell head-over-heels into storybook love with Bill Willingham's graphic novel series Fables. Every creature from fairytales around the world are reworked into the series, but in the most modern sense. These characters are referred to as "Fables," and have been chased out of their homelands by the Adversary to reside in New York (and other locales around the world) among the "mundies." Political drama, relationships made and broken, magic, adventure, and a glass slipper or two all reside within the pages of these volumes, and in the spin-off series. It's no wonder that Fables started racking in the awards soon after their inception, since they're everything that a reader could want.

image from Scene 360

Saturday, 19 May 2012

V is for Veritas (and Vivian Vande Velde)

image from Good Reads
Secrets, duality, and truth have always been some of the my favourite literary themes, and every single one of Vivian Vande Velde's novels deals with these themes in some form. Whether it's vampires who are capable of love, people who don't know their own power, or (my personal favourite) dragons who turn out to have hearts of gold as well as scales, none of her characters are quite who they seem at first. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

And How are You All Doing? (U is for You)

Apparently U is an extremely un-used letter to begin last-names with, so I have not a single author to suggest that you read. Instead I want to hear what you're all reading for the summer! Whether it's a 6 foot stack of Harlequin romances, Sherlock Holmes (Liz and I discovered we were reading it at exactly the same time without discussing doing so, and therefore you should follow along), pre-reading textbooks for next year (though hopefully not...), or catching up on your favourite authors I wanna hear about it! Though I can't promise not to laugh if you're actually reading a 6 foot stack of Harlequins...

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Russian (T is for Tolstoy)

I dare you to go pick up a novel by Tolstoy. Seriously. Go ahead and prove to me that you're not as literarily weak as I think you are ;)

image from Rob Around Books

Sunday, 13 May 2012

S is for Spies, San Diego Comic-Con, & Art Spiegelman

Anyone who says graphic novels can't be literature obviously hasn't read Art Speigelman's classic comic book Maus. It doesn't get any more serious than the Holocaust, and that's exactly what the book tackles, alongside themes of family relationships, PTSD, history, memory, and the plight of the writer. It has it's moments of being clichéd, but no novel is perfect, and as a student of history, literature, and art this book is an extremely well-done blending of the three genres.

image from Can't Explain

Saturday, 12 May 2012

On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (R is for Louise Rennison)

It's summer, and we deserve a mental break from anything serious, so go ahead and get that venti mocha cookie crumble frappuccino from Starbucks and lay out on the beach with one of the hilarious Georgia Nicholson books from Louise Rennison. You'll be laughing away those calories in no time!

image from the Book Slooth

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Quest for Books

image from here
My Quest for Books - yes I meant to capitalize the "q" in Quest and the "b" in Books - is neverending. I've always kept lengthy (and sometimes slightly unachievable) lists of the books I want to read. Case and point: I actually think that somewhere down the road I'll finish the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. I guarantee I've read more than 1001 books already, but that list is pretty intense. It has approximately a dozen Charles Dickens' and as many Margaret Atwood's (my two least favourite authors), Tolstoy's War and Peace, Joyce's Ulysses, and some truely tedious books by contemporary authors that I'm not sure how they made the list. Thankfully it also has The Lord of the Rings, Süskind's Perfume, and hidden gems that are oddly entrancing like A Confederacy of Dunces by Toole.

And then when I get tired of reading Literature-with-a-capital-L I've found Good Reads to be completely addicting. All my random and extravagant lists, plus recommendations to make the lists even more ridiculous. Though I think they're quite confused at the random selection of books that I've given five star ratings to... But I figure variety is the spice of life, and the same applies to books. Reading phases are great, but mixing it up ensures that I never ever get bored of my reading material. And I can't ever get tired of books because what kind of Librarian would I be then?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Literary Lioness (P is for Tamora Pierce)

When I was young and unsure of who I was I didn't turn to my mother, or to famous people, or to Oprah for guidance. I turned to literature. Specifically Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet about Alanna, a girl who pretends to be a boy and becomes the first female knight of Tortall. She taught me that sometimes we have to hide who we are to succeed, but once we do succeed nothing can stop us. She taught me that women can be as fierce, or fiercer than men. She taught me that life gets tricky sometimes, but also that if you fight for it, you can achieve anything. Being a girl isn't a limitation, it's an inspiration.

image from Good Reads