BTT ~ Dune Thief’s Daughters

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Jackie says, “I love books with complicated plots and unexpected endings. What is your favourite book with a fantastic twist at the end?”

So, today’s question is in two parts.

1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?

2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?

My answer to the first part, “do I like complicated plots and unexpected endings?” is a resounding YES!  I think it’s one of the things I liked best about Dune.  All the intrigues and plots and subplots made it like taking a long trip down a winding road and checking out all the historical markers, garage sales, and tourist traps along the way.  I hate reading a book where I know what’s going to happen, it really takes a lot of the fun out of it.  Maybe that’s one of the things I didn’t like about The Blue Notebook, none of it was a surprise… except just how far human depravity can go.

As for what book with a surprise ending is my favorite, I’d say The Book Thief is my favorite book.  I don’t know whether it was a “surprise” because we know Liesel is going to die by page 3, and yet… somehow… her death is still a shock, like when a person with cancer dies in a car crash.  You knew their end was coming, but when it happens it’s a shock.  It wasn’t the fact she died, but the how and what all happened in the book before that.  I actually cried for several minutes, and couldn’t start a new book for a few days because of how much emotions it had wrought in me.  That’s why The Book Thief is my all-time favorite book.  I’ve never had a book reach me so deeply.

As for my least favorite “surprise ending” book, that’d be BoneMan’s Daughters.  By the time the end came, I was hating the book so bad, there was nothing Dekker could do to bring me back.  I’d lost my willing suspension of disbelief, so the ending was ridiculous to me.

So how about you?  Do you like complicated and twisty books?  What’s your favorite surprise ending?

Check out other Twisty Booking Through Thursday answers!

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The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak

Title:  The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut (Based on the Life and Works of G.K. Chesterton)

Author:  Paul Nowak

Paperback:  55 pages

ISBN:  0977223493

Miscellaneous:  This book is intended to be the first of a series on “Uncle Chestnut.”

Challenges:  2009 ARC Reading Challenge 

“You see, Jack, an adventure is only an inconvenience considered the right way, and an inconvenience is an adventure considered the wrong way,” said Uncle Chestnut.  “When someone complains about the inconveniences in their life – such as hats blowing away, or drawers getting stuck, or delays at the airport – they are missing the adventure in those experiences they cannot control.  The only thing we always can control is how we react.”

“In other words, we can choose to enjoy life, with all its adventures that take place beyond our control, or we can be miserable with all the inconveniences life hands us.  It’s up to you to choose.”

-page 9

Uncle Chestnut is a great storyteller, and he enjoys telling them as much as Jack enjoys listening to them.  He makes faces, uses voices and acts out parts of the tale he’s telling.  When I read this, my mind immediately went to my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Crawford (whose first name, coincidentally, was also Jack).  Mr. Crawford didn’t teach history to us, he performed it.  His face reflected the Pharaoh as he covered ancient Egypt.  I still remember when he was telling us about Israel’s crossing the Red Sea, and he was pretending to be one of the Egyptian cavalry soldiers pursuing them:  “Whoa, Nelly… you can’t drink that water!” was his command to his horse as “Nelly” was getting ready do sample the wall of water.  Mr. Crawford, like Uncle Chestnut, made the stories come alive.

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut isn’t a story, specifically, but rather more anecdotal.  In the book Jack, the narrator, is remembering life with his eccentric writer-uncle.  It’s full of wisdom and good sense that’s definitely lacking today.  The author, Paul Nowak, was inspired by G.K. Chesterton, an early 20th century writer who inspired C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Mahatma Gandhi, just to name a few.  More recently, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett have referenced, credited and even created characters based on Chesterton.

As I first started reading this, I thought it was written by the actual nephew, but I quickly realized that wasn’t possible.  Then I thought maybe Nowak was updating Jack’s diary, or that Jack would turn out to be C.S. Lewis.  It wasn’t until the American Idol reference that I finally understood that this book was really a work of fiction.  Yes, Nowak based Uncle Chestnut on Chesterton and used Chesterton’s work to be as true to him as possible, but it is fiction.  It’s such a surprising little book, not at all what I was expecting.  As it is the first in what the author intends to be a series, I really hope the next book isn’t far off, because I can’t wait for my new favorite uncle to visit some more.

Some little things about the book, though…  The only fault I could really find with it other than the few typos about which Nowak warned in the accompanying letter is this:  It is too short.  I had hardly settled in before it was over.  I’m not saying it to be funny, I really mean that the length of the book actually left a negative feeling.  You know, like when you go to the ice cream shop and order a large, thinking you are really going to get a treat, and they hand you a kiddie cone?  Ultimately, somewhere down the line, it might be a good idea to consolidate books into a 200-300 or so page book.  The other off thing I had to say about it is that it’s supposed to be kinda-sorta a kids book, but I’m not really sure it fits that.  Maybe, IDK… it’s a bit Winnie-the-Pooh like in style, which was actually a very surprising thing to have captivated my kids attention.  I haven’t read this book with them yet, so maybe they would really like it, but it just seems like something the kid inside the grown-up would like.

I really do hope The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnutby Paul Nowak catches and takes off, it’s very much a needed book and voice of wisdom and reason that could tip the balance a little more toward sanity than it’s been leaning lately.  I know my copy isn’t leaving my library, so y’all will have to get your own 🙂  I know I will re-read this one.  5 out of 5 stars, in case you didn’t catch that I liked it. 😉

By the way, make sure to check out the book’s site at http://unclechestnut.com/ .  There you can learn more about the man who inspired this book, G.K. Chesterton, as well as search quotes and sign up for the Uncle Chestnut’s quote a day newsletter.

LibraryThing’s Full of Beans…

Okay, I love LibraryThing.  It was my inspiration to start blogging in the first place.  Well, not technically, since I had already been blogging for a year or so before that, but it was the inspiration for THIS blog, which is the only one I do now and I enjoy it much more than what I was doing before.

But sometimes… LibraryThing is full of beans!  Check it…

On every LT works page (that’s the page for a specific book, if you don’t LT) there’s a bar right under “recommendations” and above the first review.  This bar is titled “Will you like it?”  and when you click the “Will I like it?” link, it tells you whether you LibraryThing thinks you will enjoy a book or not.

Let’s try an experiment.  I just recently read and reviewed The Last Lectureby Randy Pausch and it’s one of my new favorite books, but does LT think I like it?

I won't like it

Not only does LibraryThing think I won’t like it, but they’re certainty of this fact is very high.

Okay, then… Maybe that’s a fluke…  How ’bout Dune, then…. I loved the award-winning sci-fi/fantasy classic and think about the book every time I thirstily guzzle a bottle of water.  I wouldn’t have this luxury on Arakis, I tell myself.  I’ve got the next book in the series, Dune Messiah, on my Books on Deck Pile, even.  Surely LT will say, with a very high certainty, that I’ll LOVE Frank Herbert’s masterpiece Dune.

wtf?  I won't like DUNE?

Even with my all-time favorite book, The Book Thief, LT says I’l probably like it. “Probably like” is the middle of the graph, and the majority of books I check are “probably likes.” Occasionally I get a “You’ll love it!” but that’s a rare event, and I can’t think of the last book I got one on. Oddly enough, about half the books I give 4+ stars on gets the “probably WON’T like it” result.

I love to play with the graph and see if LT thinks I’ll love or hate books I’ve read, but I avoid checking it before I read a book because, even though I have such great proof it’s unreliable, I’ll actually give weight to the thing and NOT get a book if it says I won’t like it. Dumb, I know… and think of the books I would have missed if I had checked to see if I’d like it first.

By the way… LT thinks I’ll love The Gun Runner’s Daughter.

Heads or Tails, My Stapler, Knives and Nukes, and Much, Much More!

Once upon a time, there was a meme enjoyed by LibraryThingers called “TuesdayThingers”.  It was hosted by Marie, the Boston Bibliophile, and played on Tuesdays, naturally.  The Kool-Aid Mom was one of the many, many bloggers who loved playing along, and looked forward to Tuesdays, stalking Marie’s blog around midnight every Tuesday so that she could jump on the question and post her answer with great relish.

Thenone day, The Kool-Aid Mom was tempted away from her home in Mt. TBR and the blogosphere by the deceptively addictive virtual world of SecondLife.  Before she knew it, months had gone by, her fellow bloggers were emailing their concerns for her welfare.  Was she still alive?  Was she alright?  Her brief, random and sporadic posts always received comments of deep relief that she was still in the land of the living.

When she received an email from a stranger offering her a free book to read and review, there was something about his book that rang true within her, and she could not resist accepting his offer of Matrimony.  What The Kool-Aid Mom did not realize, though, was that the book contain a magical spell that broke the enchantments SL have woven around her.

Suddenly, everything was clear!  Her eyes were opened to the long months wasted in SLumber  under the wizard LindenLab’s evil spell.  The Kool-Aid Mom was grateful to the wise author, Joshua Henkin, for her rescue, and gave his book a glowing review, including it in her Top 10 list in the sidebar.

However, as she settled back into reading, blogging and memes, she was stricken to find Marie no longer hosted her beloved TuesdayThingers.  She became even more dismayed when she couldn’t find where it had moved to.  Who is hosting TuesdayThingers now? The Kool-Aid Mom wondered, but to this day, it still remains a mystery to her.

The End

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Since I’ve lost track of who’s hosting TuesdayThingers now, I visited The Daily Meme to see what might be out there for what is possibly the longest day of the week.  So far from either weekend, Tuesday’s doesn’t have the misery of Monday when everyone goes back to the salt mines, nor does it have the glamour of being dubbed “hump” day, like Wednesday.  Thursday is practically Friday, but Tuesday is just…. *sigh*… Tuesday.

TBH, I’m still pooped from the read-a-thon, and the grey and rainy sky is NOT helping in my quest to stay awake and read.  I have a little bit more than 1/3 left in Marked, which I really should’ve been able to finish Sunday, but I haven’t been able to string two thoughts together in a straight, cogent line.  I want my brain back! lol…

So for today, I found a couple Tuesday memes to play:  Heads or Tails and Ten on Tuesday.

First up, Heads or Tails:

The theme/prompt for today, April 21, is:

TAILS – “Once upon a time”

 

Make a post using the prompt “Once upon a time.” It can be a real story or idea that you want to start that way, a fairy tale of your own, etc. (Remember this is TAILS so your post needs to start with “Once upon a time.”)

This one was covered by the first part of this post since the rules are the post had to start with “Once upon a time” 😉

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Ten on Tuesday ~ Ever watched a movie that got bad reviews, or didn’t do well at the box office and think to yourself, “Man, this should have been a HIT!!!”?

okay, the whole concept of whether a movie got bad reviews or lost money is lost on me, as I don’t listen to the “movie critics” or watch the financials for the film industry.  So, I think what I’ll do with this is just list the top TEN movies I’ve loved, but never hear people talk about or they say, “Huh?” when I do.

  1. Anything by Tyler Perry.  Period.  More specifically, though, I think Madea’s Family Reunion has been my favorite so far, but that’s probably only because I haven’t seen Madea Goes to Jail yet, or because he hasn’t made a movie of Madea’s Class Reunion yet, either, which is the play where Madea suddenly realizes Mr. Brown is Cora’s daddy 😀  FUNNY!
  2. Music of the Heart~ Mags and I just watched this last night and loved it!  It’s the true story of Roberta Guaspari and her violin classes in the East Harlem school system.  Sweet, funny, and moving, it was also a movie that was a conversation starter as Maggie talked at length about her own music teacher… particularly during the scenes where Roberta bit the kids’ heads off. 
  3. (*shaking my head, thinking about Madea and Dr. Phil going head to head…* I have to see that movie!) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ~ Okay, I think the only reason this movie tanked is because people seem to be growing illiterate in this country.  If it wasn’t in Capt. Underwear or Gossip Girls, then it was never a book, so obviously this movie was completely lost on them.  *growls in bitter frustration…*
  4. *singing… Go, go, go… Go! GO! Speed Racer!  What was not to love with this movie?  Racing action; cool, futuristic cars; a monkey and a little brother;  Jack, er I mean, Matthew Fox as Racer X…  The cinematography was awesome, and it remained incredibly anime-like, even though it was real people. 
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show~ Cult classic, panned by the critics…. Dammit, Janet!  Do the Time Warp!  Few movies encourage audience-participation, or at least not to the extent of TRHPS.  And, though I’ve seen the movie, I’m still a “virgin” as far as going to an event.  I seriously doubt it’ll ever be shown here, in my little small-town two-screen theater.  Come on, the man didn’t even get Twilight.
  6. The Rundown~ The ROCK… nuf said.
  7. Office Space ~ I believe you have my stapler, Michael Bolton.
  8. Super Troopers ~ Cat Game, seriously.  If for no other reason, I’d watch it for The Cat Game.  *Foster and Mac have pulled a man over for speeding and are deciding what game to play*
    Mac: All right, how about “Cat Game?”
    Foster: Cat Game? What’s the record?
    Mac: Thorny did six, but I think you can do ten.
    Foster: Ten? Starting right ‘meow?’
    [Mac laughs – they walk up to the car, and Foster taps on the driver side]
    Larry Johnson: Sorry about the…
    Foster: All right meow. (1) Hand over your license and registration.
    [the man hands him his license]
    Foster: Your registration? Hurry up meow. (2)
    [Mac ticks off two fingers]
    Larry Johnson: Sorry.
    [the man laughs a little]
    Foster: Is there something funny here boy?
    Larry Johnson: Oh, no.
    Foster: Then why you laughing, Mister… Larry Johnson?
    [pause]
    Foster: All right meow, (3) where were we?
    Larry Johnson: Excuse me, are you saying meow?
    Foster: Am I saying meow?
    [Mac puts his hands up for the fourth one, but makes an “eehhh” facial expression, as he is considering the last one]
    Larry Johnson: I thought…
    Foster: Don’t think boy. Meow, (4) do you know how fast you were going?
    [man laughs]
    Foster: Meow. (5) What is so damn funny?
    Larry Johnson: I could have sworn you said meow.
    Foster: Do I look like a cat to you, boy? Am I jumpin’ around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree?
    [Mac is gut-busting laughing]
    Foster: Am I drinking milk from a saucer?
    [feigned anger]
    Foster: Do you see me eating mice?
    Foster: [Mac and the man are laughing their heads off now] You stop laughing right meow! (6)
    Larry Johnson: [the man stops and swallows hard] Yes sir.
    Foster: Meow, (7) I’m gonna have to give you a ticket on this one. No buts meow. (8) It’s the law.
    [rips off the ticket and hands it to the man]
    Foster: Not so funny meow, (9) is it?
    Foster: [Foster gets up to leave, but Mac shakes his hands at him, indicating only nine meows] Meow!
  9. Starship Troopers ~ ROFL…  What goods’ a knife in a nuke fight? All you have to do is press a button… 
  10. Jack the Bear~ I bawl every time I watch this movie.  Danny DeVito plays a single dad of two young boys.  He’s a local late-night TV celebrity, hosting horror movies, Sammy Terry style.  Gary Sinese plays a neo-Nazi in it, and if I had nightmares, his character would be the boogeyman in them.

Okay, so I cheated a little with Rocky Horror… I don’t know many people who say “Huh?” to that one, but it did get panned, critically.

So, what’s your favorite dissed movies?

The Sunday Salon ~ Survey SAYS!

The Sunday Salon.com

As I’ve been struggling for the bulk of this past week with a stomach bug, I didn’t get much reading accomplished. However, I did pick up my emails and blogged a bit… very little bit, lol… and in Friday’s Shelf Awareness newsletter, there was a bookie-survey given to Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife. I love those kinds of things, so I snatched it, filled in my own answers, and made it my Sunday Salon post 🙂

BTW… those of you who’ve asked where us bloggers get out hands on ARCs, Shelf Awareness is one of my favorite sources 😀

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1. What book is on your nightstand now?

lol… I don’t actually have a night stand.  I have one of those high-class, bedside-furnishings found in college dorm rooms everywhere.

The Ubiquitous Milk Crate
The Ubiquitous Milk Crate

But… at any rate… upon said “nightstand” is a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that Maggie borrowed from the library and has YET to read, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, and Great Jewish Short Stories.  They’re not there because I’m working on reading them, however.  Rather, they are there because I was sick and didn’t carry them the three feet around the corner to Mt. TBR shelving unit 2 (as, the original book shelf filled up long ago).

I think the meaning of this question is more, “What are you reading now?” And the answer to that is:   I am currently almost halfway through Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, Custard and Company by Ogden Nash, Neil Zawacki’s How to Be a Villain, and From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz.

From the ARC-alanche on deck pile, I’m also reading Something Wickedly Wierd: The Icy Hand by Chris Mould… OH! and, as I glance over my shoulder, I see this one is actually ON the milk crate, too.  I’m a little over 1/4 the way through it.

2. Favorite book when you were a child?

I was not a very prodigious reader as a child… I didn’t really start becoming a reader until I was about 15… but there are a couple books I read until they fell apart.

One was called Nothing At All by Wanda Fag
nothing-at-all

another was How Fletcher Was Hatched by Wende and Harry Devlin

fletcher

and Never Tease a Weasel by Jean Conder Soule

Never Tease a Weasel

There’s another that I read religiously, but I can’t find the name of it.  It had a girl chipmunk, I think her name was Suzy, and a toy soldier in it, but I can’t find it on the net.  It’s particularly enmeshed with Never Tease a Weasel, and I can only guess I read over and over together.

To this day, I unconsciously quote from Nothing At All when I feel like I’m running around in circles, “I’m busy getting dizzy!” is what Nothing At All, the main character of the book, says.

3. Who’s on your “top five authors” list?

Do I hafta limit it to five?!?! Waaaah! ‘kay, I’ll try:   Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, C. S. Lewis and…. Dr. Seuss.

4. What book have you faked reading?

LOL… I’m guessing this means What book did I pretend to read for a grade or book club?  Well, I didn’t exactly “fake” reading it because I admitted to my professor that I didn’t read it but it always sticks out there in my mind as a great “fake”.  In our 20th century American History class we were assigned Eleanor Roosevelt: A Personal and Public Life by J. William T. Youngs.  Try as I might, I was never able to get into the book… I’ve always hated biographies, like I want to know a person’s personal life! blech.

5. What book are you an evangelist for?

okay… those of you who’ve been to Mt. TBR before, say it with me:  The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

6. What book have you bought for the cover?

Erm… None that I can think of, not for the cover art.  I have grabbed a few for the titles, though.  It’s fun to tell people, “What am I reading? Talk to the Hand!”  Actual book title by Lynn Truss, and very funny in that dry brit-wit kind of way.

7. What book has changed your life?

Any book worth the paper it’s printed on cannot fail to leave its mark on the reader’s life, however I’d have to say the book that has had the most effect on who I am would have to be The Bible.  Second to that… I read a book that greatly helped me to stop cutting called Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation by Steven Levenkron.

8. What’s a favorite line from a book?

I just came across a line from Brisingr that every book lover will agree with:

Books should go where they will be most appreciated, and not sit unread, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf, don’t you agree?

erm… *glances at her shelves full of hoarded books and gulps* yeah… sure! I swear I’m gonna get to them all!! 😀

9. What book would you most want to read again for the first time?

easy, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

BTT- A Sick Little Gargoyle

Suggested by Janet:

The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”

I’ve been sick with a stomach flu, so this will be short and sweet. Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle did not fare well when it went on sale. Some have suggested this is because it may be too far fetched, too out there, for the average person. It could also be that it is rather graphic in describing the burning flesh and the whole experience of skin grafts, healing process, etc.

However, I think it was one of the best books I read last year, best first author book last year, and is on Mt. TBR Hall of Fame list in the sidebar. I’ve been thinking about re-reading it, even!