Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman

Title:  Fragile Things:  Short Fictions and Wonders

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Paperback:  376 pages

Publisher:  Harper Perennial

Publish Date:  2006

ISBN:  9780060515225

Miscellaneous:  This is a P.S. edition

Colors seemed brighter because Becky was there. I began to notice parts of life I had never seen before: I saw the elegant intricacy of flowers, because Becky loved flowers; I became a fan of silent movies, because Becky loved silent movies, and I watched The Thief of Baghdad and Sherlock Junior over and over; I began to accumulate CDs and tapes, because Becky loved music, and I loved her, and I loved to love what she loved. I had never heard music before; never understood the black-and-white grace of a silent clown before; never touched or smelled or properly looked at a flower, before I met her.

-Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wondersby Neil Gaiman. “How Do You Think It Feels?”, pages 196-197.

 

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders is my first experience with Gaiman, but it will most certainly NOT be my last. I am absolutely impressed with Gaiman’s writing, imagination, skill as a storyteller (a weaver of magic, really), and this book will be one of the few books I read that will NOT be posted in my BookMooch or PBS inventory. Truly, Fragile Things is now one of my favorite books, and I want to read it again and again until the pages fall out, then tape them all back in and read it again and again until the ink has worn away.

There is much in Fragile Things that should count as literature and should, in time, be counted as classic literature. Reading a bit like Bradbury (one of the stories is dedicated to him, who, as Gaiman puts it, could have written it much better than Gaiman himself.), mixed with C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll… even a bit of a feel of Roald Dahl and The Brothers Grimm, Gaiman weaves stories and poems that capture the sensations of dreaming, while being mesmerizing and excited the reader’s anticipation at the same time.

I could write a book on this book, and if I were a literature teacher, I would definately use Fragile Things as one of the books to pull from (or at least parts of the book… while my library has classified this book as a Young Adult, I believe it should be in the adult section, as more than a couple stories deal with, hint at, or just out and out have sexually explicit content, as well as the liberal use of the word “fuck” in a couple stories.).

As this book contains fourteen different works, I’m not going to review each one. Instead, I want to bring out a few of my favorites. First off, I want to share what is now one of my favorite poems. As a poet, Gaiman has a Shel Silverstein feel, as well, who is one of my favorite poets.

GOING WODWO
(A wodwo, or wodwose, was a wild man if the woods.)

Shedding my shirt, my book, my coat, my life
Leaving them, empty husks and fallen leaves
Going in search of food and for a spring
Of sweet water.

I’ll find a tree as wide as ten fat men
Clear water rilling over its gray roots
Berries I’ll find, and crabapples and nuts.
And call it home.

I’ll tell the wind my name, and no one else.
True madness takes or leaves us in the wood
halfway through all our lives. My skin will be
my face now.

I must be nuts. Sense left with shoes and house,
my guts are cramped. I’ll stumble through the green
back to my roots, and leaves and thorns and buds,
and shiver.

I’ll leave the way of words to walk the wood
I’ll be the forest’s man, and greet the sun,
And feel the silence blossom on my tongue
like language.

-Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wondersby Neil Gaiman. “Going Wodwo” page 83

The first short story is called “A Study in Emerald”in which Gaiman marries the world of Sherlock Holmes to a world H. P. Lovecraft might create. The resulting work retains the essence of Holmes, while the subtleties of the London of New Albion, the England of an alternate timeline, slowly bloom with the discovery of the name of the murder being a surprise to any Holmes fan.

The short story, “Other People”, is one of my favorites and I’ve already read it three times, and plan to copy it to MSWorks and save it to my computer. It’s shocking, a bit terrifying, and, in the end, a sense of resignation and acceptance of “the way things are” are felt by the reader. “Other People” paints a suppositional picture of Hell, one in which I could totally believe, where after agonizing physical torture is followed by the reliving, re-experiencing, recounting, every bad thing the man has done or lies told, and stretches his realization of how these things effected the people not only in his life, but also strangers he’d never even known. And once all that is done and all that he is left with is truth and self-loathing, he fully understands how things work there. The first and last line of this story is “Time is fluid here,” and it is.

The short story “Goliath”was a story commissioned for The Matrix website to accompany the release of the movie. After reading the script for the movie, Gaiman wrote “Goliath”. It is NOT a short story version of the movie, but rather, takes the concept of humans living in the pods, their brains being used as RAM for a supercomputer. The hero of the story suffers from gigantism and has always felt out of place and clumsy. But it’s all revealed to him why he was created that way, which gives him a sense of purpose and joy… but that joy is short lived when he realizes he is just an expendable part of the machinery to those running the machine. The last 28 minutes of his life makes you ask yourself the question: Would you choose the red pill or blue pill?

THE DAY THE SAUCERS CAME

That day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,
Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,
And the people of Earth stood and
stared as they descended,
Waiting, dry-mouthed, to find what waited inside for us
And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow
But you didn’t notice it because

That day, the day the saucers came, by some coincidence,
Was the day that the graves gave up their dead
And the zombies pushed up through soft earth
or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,
Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,
But you did not notice this because

On the saucer day, which was the zombie day, it was
Rangnarok also, and the television screens showed us
A ship built of dead-men’s nails, a serpent, a wolf,
All bigger than the mind could hold,
and the cameraman could
Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out
But you did not see them coming because

On the saucer-zombie-battling-gods
day the floodgates broke
And each of us was engulfed by genies and sprites
Offering us wishes and wonders and eternities
And charm and cleverness and true
brave hearts and pots of gold
While giants feefofummed across
the land, and killer bees,
But you had no idea of any of this because

That day, the saucer day the zombie day
The Ragnarok and fairies day, the
day the great winds came
And snows, and the cities turned to crystal, the day
Computers turned, the screens telling
us we would obey, the day
Angels, drunk and muddled, stumbled from the bars,
And all the bells of London were sounded, the day
Animals spoke to us in Assyrian, the Yeti day,
The fluttering capes and arrival of
the Time Machine day,
You didn’t notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.

-Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wondersby Neil Gaiman. “The Day The Saucers Came” pages 271-272

Adding to the amazing creativity contained within these pages, the order of the stories and poems have been painstakingly and very effectively arranged so that each progressive story builds on the previous, giving a reader something not felt in most short story collections:  continuity.

I give Fragile Things:  Short Fictions and Wondersby Neil Gaiman five out of five stars, and place it on my shelf next to my Lord of the Rings collection, complete works of Lewis Carroll, my Chronicles of Narnia collection, my Grimms and Andersens.  A true classic of storytelling.

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Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives vol. 2 by Ellen Schreiber

Title: Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives volume 2
Author: Ellen Schreiber
Illustrator: REM
Paperback:
Publisher: TOKYOPOP
Publish Date: 2008
ISBN: 9780061340826

Almost two months ago, I visited the book fair at my middle daughter’s school. With me were Gwen, it was her parent-teacher conference we had just finished, and Maggie. Knowing Maggie’s love for the anime cartoons, and pretty much anything Asian really, I pointed out a few of the Manga books. Of the books available, she picked Vampire Kissesbecause, unlike regular Manga, it opens and reads left to right like any other western-civilized reading material… regular Manga opens and reads right to left, making the average American feel as if the book is backwards or defective; some kind of misprint. So today I am writing my first review for a Manga book :-)

According to the Anime Critic website’s glossary, Manga is:

The Japanese term for comic book. In Japan, manga are targeted at all age groups and cover a wide range of genres. This is in contrast to Western comics which are typically based around superhero themes.

Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives volume 2 is a continuation of the first book (unfortunately, we’ve not found volume one anywhere) in which Raven, the goth heroine, and Alexander, teenage Vampire hero, meet and fall in love. In volume two, they are already in love and kiss a lot in the book (which always brought a loud “EwWwwWWw!!” from Maggie, followed by giggles, then her looking back at the panel again, and giggling some more).

In this book, we meet Claude, Alexander’s half-vampire sexy cousin, and his gang. He has come from Romania to Dullsville, that’s the name of the town Raven and Alexander live in, to steal their grandmother’s vial of whole vampire blood. The construct of Vampire Kisses is that vampire blood will turn a half-vamp into a full vamp and a human, like Raven, into a half-vamp (and make her immortal).

Claude pushes this angle to try to get Raven to betray Alexander’s trust and give him the vial, telling her how, when she’s a half-vampire, she will be able to really share a common bond and a deeper relationship with Alexander. In the meantime, Alexander struggles to work out a plan that will get rid of Claude without giving him the blood.

It was a lot more interesting an pleasurable to read than I had thought it would be. The illustrations are edgy and modern, Raven in her goth gear and Claude with his lip ring, and it has a fun comedic quality to it. We laughed at several silly events… like a lot of Japanese-style animation, Vampire Kisses‘ characters become Chibi-looking caricatures of themselves until they regain their composure. The fact it was about vampires appealed to me, and I think one of my next mangas will be Vampire Knight… and Fruit Basket for Maggie.

Still uncertain of my feelings about manga, and having nothing to compare it to, I’m going to give Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives volume 2 by Ellen Schreiber 3 out of 5 stars.

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BTT- Time is of the Essence

Booking Through Thursday

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?

*Laugh!  Snort!  tee-hee!*  Is that a trick question?

Seriously, the one thing I say a LOT is:  I wish I was a speed reader with a photographic memory, that way I could read all the books now, then savor them later.

2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

I generally pick my reading material by the mood I’m in.  I read Breaking Dawn because I had to hurry up and finish before my boyfriend did… since I was the one who got him into the series in the first place, it just wouldn’t be right he finished before me ;-)  Then I read Nim’s Island because it was short and I could finish it in a couple hours.  Now, I’m starting Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things, which is apparently a collection of “short fictions and wonders”, and is a YA book… though, I don’t know why.  I’ve also started getting into manga and graphic novels, something I’d always said I wasn’t interested in and didn’t like… and that’s my boyfriend’s influence on my reading habits ;-)

As long as it’s a well-written, compelling book with great characters and natural-feeling dialogue, almost any book makes a great escape! :-D

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr

Title: Nim’s Island
 Author: Wendy Orr
Illustrator: Kerry Millard
Paperback: 125 pages
Publisher: Yearling
Publish Date: 1999
ISBN: 9780375811234

In a palm tree, on an island, in the middle of the wide blue sea, was a girl.

Nim’s hair was wild, her eyes were bright, and around her neck she wore three cords. One was for a spyglass, one for a whorly, whistling shell, and one for a fat red pocketknife in a sheath.

With a spyglass at her eye, she watched her father’s boat. It sailed out through the reef to the deeper dark ocean, and Jack turned to wave and Nim waved back, though she knew he couldn’t see.

Then the white sails caught the wind and blew him out of sight, and Nim was alone…

-page 5, Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr

Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr is a fun little tale of a girl named Nim and how she copes with being alone to care for herself when a sudden storm catches her marine biologist father at sea, damaging his boat and preventing his return. Equipped with the modern technology while living in an island hut, Nim answers her father’s email from Alex Rover, the reclusive and mysterious, world-famous adventurer and author.

After receiving Rover’s questions regarding coconuts floatablity and usefulness in building a raft (the planned escape for Rover’s hero in the next book), Nim helps answer Rover’s inquiry… glad of the diversion while her father’s away… and in the process developing a friendship with Rover.

However, as the days go by without the return of her father and an infected injury to her knee, Nim begins to rely more and more on her new friendship with her hero and writer, as loneliness and fear begin to set in. Compounding her emotional turmoil is the close call with the Troppo Tourists boat; the people inadvertently responsible for the death of Nim’s mother.

During her experience alone on the island, Nim takes comfort in the knowledge that the rugged, manly hero/adventurer/writer Alex Rover is only a click away for advice. So when she realizes Alex is an Alexandra, she is angry and feels tricked. Likewise, when Alex realizes Nim’s all alone on the island, and Selkie and Fred aren’t her brother and sister, but rather her pets, she is horrified and decides to fly to be with Nim, even though she is terrified of flying and open water.

Throughout the story, there is the wonder and worry about the dad’s return, Nim’s well-being, the island’s continued secret existence, and loneliness of all three main characters: Jack’s loss of Nim’s mother, Nim’s longing for a hands-on dad, and Alex’s reclusiveness.

I enjoyed this book, and loved the movie version by the same name. I actually saw the movie first, then later found out it was a book as well. The two are rather different, however, which often makes it possible to like both. Whereas the book deals with the Troppo Tourists’ discovery of the island in passing and Nim’s defense of it in a short segment, the movie’s main crisis isthe invasion of the tourists and Nim’s mounting an aggressive push of the unwanted vacationers.

In truth, I liked the movie better than the book, because there’s a lot more detail to the characters’ lives. Alex Rover is more agoraphobic… pretty much phobic of everything, really, so the struggle to “be the hero of her own life” is more intense. The movie’s Nim has more depth and is more like a real girl than in the book, with the attitude of a desire for independence that most preteens have. Also, the movie’s dad seems more like a caring and concerned parent desiring the safety of his daughter than the book’s more-or-less-absentee father.

I’d recommend Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr, particularly for girls ages 8-12. Maggie is rather into it, and is looking forward to finishing it. I’d give Nim’s Island three out of five stars.

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Viral Video Wednesday – The Soundtrack of My Life?

So, getting back into the habit of reading and blogging have been a little slow going. I’ve been a little here and a little there, but no where specific. Reading some, blogging occasionally, exploring Netflix, and raiding Rhapsody for all those wonderful songs I heard at the Second Life clubs. Interestingly enough, I haven’t logged into Second Life for over a week ;-) .

Oh, and to answer Unfinishedperson‘s question for info on Second Life: “Now about this Second Life? What is it? And how do I find out more?” Though it goes against my better judgment to share such access to something so addictive, I figure y’all could Google it anyway so here’s the long and short of what it is: It’s a virtual world in which you can be whoever, or whatever, you want to be… be it Vampire, Werewolf, furry or Neko (I’m a Neko Vampire, and BF is a Dragon-Werewolf). You can fly, teleport, own cars, houses and land, have a business, have.. ahem, physical relationships… marry and even be pregnant and have children (some people live their Second Life aschildren). It’s free to join and has a lot of freebie things, some good and some not so much, but you may find a need for cash (Lindens after SL’s creator Tory Linden), in which case you can camp (hang out in a club or other place of business and get paid for it), enter contests (usually a themed contest like “Best Neko”… which I usually win :-D ), play the sploders (a kind of pinata that gives out money instead of candy), you can even get a >gasp< job. There is also the option of buying Lindens with cash from your credit card or paypal acct ($20 US = aprox $5200 L ). You can find out more and even sign up for your free acct at their website: Secondlife.com. Use this link to join and I’ll get some Lindens for referin’ ya! ;-)

And NOW… for the videos…

I’ve really missed doing Viral Video Wednesdays… lol… I’ve missed watchingthe viral videos, too. And since I’ve been deep into loading my new MP3 player with excercisable music that I love, as well as grabbing all those songs I’ve been missing without Second Life, I though a Music Video Wednesday would be fun.

I’ve often heard people ask, “If there was a soundtrack for your life, what songs would be on it?” So today I’m going to answer this question with the music videos.

First off, if you follow my blog and have read my posts, I have mentioned some of the things I went through growing up. One line explanation, I was sexually and emotionally abused my my father. So, track one of my soundtrack is “Wonderful” by Everclear:

As you can imagine, I struggled with depression, self-esteem problems. When Metallica’s “The Unforgiven” came out, it was the song of my soul for a long time. Even now, I still struggle with not being completely myself, instead being just the parts of me I instinctively find others want me to be.

What i’ve felt
What i’ve known
Never shined through in what i’ve shown
Never be
Never see
Won’t see what might have been
So I dub thee UNFORGIVEN.

I became a cutter after daily failed attempts of suicide settled into a habit self-medication through releasing these demons through my flesh. When Linkin Park’s “Crawling” came out, I only had to hear it once to know it was a complete lyrical representation of my own life. In the video you see a young woman in an abusive relationship with an older man, then later you see her in bed with a guy closer to her own age. For me, I see this as her using a physical relationship to fill the void of love she doesn’t receive, or at least in the right way, from her father.

I struggled with cutting as a form of escape and a pressure valve release for over a decade; It’s been 9 years since I’ve done it and three weeks since the last time I wantedto grow a small flower bed of my pain (meh, you’d have to be a cutter to understand that I suppose). It NEVER goes away completely, it’s always there on the fringes… waiting to return to its place in my life, but I learn a way to go around it.

Linkin Park’s “Bleed It Out”, to me, really represents the futility and never-satiated need to cut. The act itself bled out the emotional pain and despair I felt, however, it was an addictive behavior that was easier and easier to return to and rely on. The last time I cut myself I was 26, and I started in on the inside of my right arm until I ran out of room then started on the outside of the forearm. I later counted the number of lines I cut and, quite by coincidence, there were 26… one for each year of my life was my thought at the time.

I just want to point out a line in the lyrics, “I’ve opened up these scars
I’ll make you face this”. No matter how hard I tried to get recognition from my father for what he did to me and how it affected my life, to have him shoulder his responsibility and apologize for it, I never got it. In the end, I forgave him for my own personal peace and the last conversation I had with him before he died from cancer was a release of his hold and power over my life and my happiness… I simply told him I forgave him and let go of my role as victim, becoming a survivor from then on.

As I’ve gotten older, healed some and put distance between myself and that dark time in my life, I have a deep affinity for The Fray’s “How to Save a Life”. The song was inspired by The Fray’s lead singer and songwriter Isaac Slade’s experience working as a mentor at a camp for troubled teens. He was completely at a loss at how he, a suburbanite, could reach the troubled musician/teen with whom he had been paired. The song has since taken on a life of its own, having become a song of survivor’s guilt for many.

It has also inspired the Save-A-Life Campaign, a nonprofit organization that was born from the tragic loss of the founder’s son in a car crash. “How to Save a Life” was the last song he had downloaded. The organization seeks “to save the lives of our youth by enabling them to have moral courage to do the right thing no matter how hard it may be and to accomplish this by providing and supporting committed volunteers, coordinating community education, and teaching them that the first life they must save is their own.

I must give credit to God for my healing and survival. It was only after I released my pain, disappointment, grief, shame… sense of injustice… and “let go and let God,” as they say, that my life made the change it has. I had accept that the past is something I can do NOTHING about, and throw off the binds that kept me opressed. I stepped out of the darkness of bitterness and despair and into the light of hope and love. What happened is in the past and I have no control of it, but what I do today and tomorrow is completely within my power.

After a lifetime of having my identity dependant upon having a man in my life, and having never learned how to relate t guys without sex, I made a vow to myself not to date for 5 years… until after my 35th birthday. In that time I finished college, getting a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry, and I learned who I was. What I wanted and didn’t want in life. I learned to be comfortable within my own skin.

Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” is a great song to make the point that I am not limited by my past, but that my future is entirely in my hands… “the pen’s in my hand.” BUT, the version of this song that would be on MYsoundtrack is Team Lachey’s version of “Unwritten” from NBC’s “Clash of the Choirs”. Hometown, everyday singers had a chance to be part of a choir directed by different professional singers from that town (Team Lachey was directed by Cincinnati native Nick Lachey). Gotta love that!

Well, I celebrated my 35th birthday last June, and met my boyfriend at the beginning of September. It’s all post Twilight series, lol, and new and different… and absolutely terrifying. I learned to be by myself and became quite comfortable and good at it. No heartbreaks or hurt feelings to contend with. No worries of his nefarious motives… why does he want a single mom with teenage daughters? >… paranoia sets in …< and I’m finding two songs being the major lyrical voice of my life at the moment: “The Rose” by Janis Joplin

because I am finding it hard to get past fears and previous heartbreak… it would almost be easier to just go back to my shell and turtle in, except I would be missing him.

Everything with him is completely new and unlike anything I’ve ever known. Whereas in past relationships the other person always wound me even tighter than I already was, he calms me.. and not just me, but the kids and even the dog… and she’s a rat terrier (hyper doesn’t even begin to cover it!). We think so much alike, that if I want to know what he would think about something, I only have to think how I feel about it and it’s almost always right.

But the voices of doubt and fear still hang out and whisper in my ears, trying to keep me from becoming attached to and loving him. Just when I had given up on ever having a “love life” again, I met him. He gets through when no one else, not even family, has ever been able to.

Because of all that, the last song in my soundtrack (at least for now :-D ) is “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis.

So, what would be the soundtrack of yourlife? What song describes who you are or where you’re at in life right now? Leave it in the comments, or better yet, blog the meme on your spot and leave the link in the comments here :-D

I’m looking forward to your songs ;-)

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Title: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Hardcover: 756 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: August 2008
ISBN: 9780316067928

In the end, we had pulled together seventeen witnesses -the Irish, Siobhan, Liam, and Maggie; the Egyptians, Amun, Kebi, Benjamin, and Tia; the Amazons, Zafrina and Senna; the Romanians, Vladamire and Stefan; and the nomads, Charlotte and Peter, Garrett, Alistair, Mary, and Randall- to supplement our family of eleven. Tanya, Kate, Eleazar, and Carmen insisted on being counted as part of our family.

Aside from the Volturi, it was probably the largest friendly gathering of mature vampires in immortal history.

-pages 575-576, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

So I have been dragging my feet to read and to finish this book. First off, Breaking Dawn is the final book in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, a series I have absolutely fallen in love with, and I didn’t want it to come to an end. Secondly, I have heard mixed reviews of this book from it’s an absolute let down to it’s a great book to end with. In answer to the first reason, after getting him into this series, my boyfriend has caught up to me and started Breaking Dawn as I got to chapter 7… and I could NOT let him beat me in it ;-) . And in answer to the second, which did have more to do with why it took longer to finish, while my boyfriend thinks this is a fantastic book, possibly his favorite of the four, I’ve found it a bit…
meh .

One of the problems I had with Breaking Dawnis that it reads like Meyer was tired of writing the Twilights and so she just hurried through the writing… kind of an “aw, screw it! There ya go… be happy I even finished it,” feel to it. There were several parts in the book where I was rolling my eyes and groaning in pain from the boredom and effort to slog through these blah spots. A couple times, I even wondered if I skipped a chapter or two would I miss anything.

A second problem I had with it was that the format of Breaking Dawn is completely different than the other three. While they are written in a straight story format with Bella narrating, Breaking Dawn is written in a three-books-in-one format with Jacob narrating the middle book. And while I enjoyed seeing things from Jacob’s perspective (and key parts of the story’s development could have only been told from his perspective: the mental link and interactions within the pack, as well as the experience of imprinting are two things that are essential and best experienced through his eyes), the jump from Bella to Jacob and back to Bella again was a bit disjointed.

A third issue I had with Breaking Dawn is that Meyer waits so very long to develop the story and get to the crisis of the book. But then again upon reflection, as it was three books in one, you could make the argument that it had three seperate crises, with the final one being the major and final conflict for the series. Meh, whatever… it took forever to get there.

A fourth issue I have with this book is the relationship between Edward and Bella seems a bit forced and artificial. Whereas in the first three books their relationship was an organic and growing, tangible thing, in Breaking Dawn it feels stilted, artificial… dead, ironically enough, as the series is mainly about the undead… even surreal at times. In my honest opinion, the best relationships (and best character) in Breaking Dawn are that of Jacob’s.

Good things to say about Breaking Dawn: The book reveals the Volturi for what they are, bullies and cowards, which is rather satisfying. The deep and impenetrable bond of family and love is illustrated beautifully throughout the book. Though it is a book about the undead and immortal race of vampires, it is very much a book about the value of life and of living your life with purpose, meaning and really experiencing it to the fullest.

If I were to sum up the message of Breaking Dawn in a single sentence, I would say: Violence, threats, bullying, and fear will always bow when it’s met by love, encouragement, confidence, and hope.

Of the three books, New Moon is my favorite. I think New Mooncould even stand alone, separate from the other three, if you were only going to read one of the books (honestly, though, why would you?). As to Breaking Dawn, I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

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BTT- 5 For Favorites

5 For Favorites

1. Do you have a favorite author?

I don’t have a specific, single favorite author, how could you narrow all the great authors into one “best author”?

As to my favorites: I love Jane Austen because, besides being an exceptional writer and pulled back the curtain of the social life for women (and the men in their lives), but she was one of the first and greatest women authors, opening up the doors for the rest of us to follow.

Another favorite author is Stephen King, who was for the longest time the only contemporary fiction writer I read (I’ve only just started reading contemporary fiction in the last year, before that I only read classic literature). King’s amazing ability to build a fantastic and often frightening world within the covers of his novels is mind boggling. BTW, I saw he has a new book out when I visited Waldenbooks yesterday (*sigh* like I NEEDED more books!). Just After Sunset is King’s fifth collection of short stories, and I’m looking forward to reading it :-) .

Janet Evanovich is also a favorite. Okay, Stephanie Plum is a fun character and I enjoy her exploits, but seriously, Grandma Mazur keeps me coming back for more… lol, if Evanovich ever wants to end the series, IMHO, she only has to kill off Grandma Mazur. Come on, the geriatric matriarch answering the door in biking shorts? And she shoots the chicken “right in the gumpy”? And Plum Lucky was just plum hilarious from one end of the book to the other… the leprechaun, Grandma in Atlantic City, and Lula’s distraction to allow the others to get away. AND, January 6th is the release date for the new Stephanie Plum novel, Plum Spooky. I’ll be waiting for the store to open, even if I’m the only one in line… lol.

I must include Harlan Coben in my list of favorites, because it was his book The Woods that made me give contemporary fiction a chance. Now, I’m trying to catch up to all the great books I’ve missed…

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

Yer… No, lol.. of course not… I’m working through reading the Austins, but I’m still in Emma, with Northanger Abbey and Persuasionto go. And I’ve only read the first two of the number Plums and Plum Lucky in the Evanovich bibliography. All of Stephen King? Who in the world has, other than King himself, his wife, son and editor? Yikes! He’s up to, what?, 89 books now? And no, haven’t read all the Cobens either.

3. Did you LIKE everything?

I’ve loved all of what I’ve read, of course… Why else would I have kept reading them and named them as my favorites?

4. How about a least favorite author?

LOL… OMG, there are soooo many. I suppose I should stick to one that a lot of other people like. Hmm… I really can’t say that I have one I hate, and I don’t know about a least favorite, either. I have more of a genre aversion: I don’t read, WON’T read, romance novels, i.e. Harlequin, et al.

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

I don’t know about an author I wanted to like but didn’t, but Julius Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul was a book I really wanted to like but couldn’t force myself through. Eleanor Roosevelt’s biography was another I just couldn’t gag down, even though I took a hit on my college history grade because of it.

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