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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Gaiman’

Whew!

Holidailies is at an end and once again I say to myself:  Why do I choose December as the month to participate in the blog-every-day challenge??? 

Don’t know.  Maybe because I’ve found some great blogs from the Holidailies crew and appreciate having the portal into their worlds.  For that, and the challenge itself, I say – Big thanks to Jette and Chip for hosting Holidailies.  Big Mahalo!

Thanks also to the many bloggers who spent so much time and thought on their entries this year.  It was fun to revisit some old favs like Bozoette’s Red Nose Green Tuna’s Tuna News and Bev’s Funny the World.   Nice to hear from fellow bloggers like Hannah over at IAmNotBroken, John at Where’s My Plan? and  Erik at the electronic replicant.  I’ve added a few more blogs to my favorites list, such as Ginny’s Praying to Darwin, Lisa’s Notes from Zone 4 and Zannim,.    And, as always, all challenges are more fun when I get to participate with one of my all-time favorite writers, Saturncat.

Thanks everyone and keep up the good blogging so I have more reasons to distract myself in 2010!

Not too shabby this year.  With this entry, I have posted 28 times since December 7.  Who knows what 2010 blogging will bring for me.  I hope folks will stick around to find out.  Maybe a move.  Maybe lots of visitors to our home in Maui.  Maybe an addition to the family. ??  Certainly a few weddings, as Sweetie and I already have four we know about.  Something about food, I am sure.  Perhaps a cure for insomnia!?  And you can always count on me for plenty of rants, political ramblings and some fawning words about this guy:

Aloha all and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!!  Happy Blogging!

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Book, books, books

I want to do more reading in 2010.

By the way, did you realize that it is almost 2010!?!

Seriously, that fact is only starting to sink in with me.  I’ve blogged before about how slowly my brain makes connections sometimes. I knew that the year 2009 is about to end.  I know that 10 comes after 9.  Somewhere along the way I had the thought that 2010 sounds significant.  But then I started reading blogs where people are talking about 2010 coming up and – Blam!  I made the connection.  2010 will be here soon.  (which also means we are close to the Winter Olympics.  Wheeee!)

Anyway (did I also mention it’s easy to distract me?) I want to read more books in 2010.  I tend to read more than one book at a time.  In the last few years I’ve been reading mostly non-fiction.  My Mind and Life series books.  Poker strategy.  Quantum physics.  Poker tournament strategy.   You know – the easy stuff to read.

I haven’t been reading many fiction books.  And the sad thing is – I haven’t been finishing that many books at all.  But after Lavender sent me a book that completely absorbed my brain, I remembered how nice it is to completely lose myself in a good book.  To want to read only one book at a time and to want to read it ALL the time.  To stay up until the wee hours of the morning, not tossing and turning and fretting because I *can’t* fall asleep but pushing myself to read just a couple more pages because I don’t *want* to fall asleep.  I devoured a book that Sweetie gave me (I think for my birthday this year).  Recently, I picked up my copy of Amy Tan’s Saving Fish from Drowning and I am delighted to be back in that zone.  This may be my favorite Amy Tan book I’ve read.  And I think I’ve read most of them.

I don’t know when I lost that addiction to books I had in my younger years.  Maybe when I moved away from my book club group – or maybe when we slowly disbanded.  I don’t remember which happened first.  Maybe when I started spending much of my free time in front of a computer.

So!  I’m on the hunt for some book challenges.  I like the idea of setting some goals for myself.  Anyone have any ideas?  I’ve found one idea that I really like – Read Your Own Books Challenge 2010.  The challenge is simple – pick a number of books, read them next year, and they have to be from your own collection (if I decide to go with this one, I’ll post another blog about it).  This challenge idea is great for me because #1) I have many books on my shelves I have not read yet.  I can happily say I’ve read most of my books, but you know how it goes.  Oh! – That looks like a good book and Oh! That looks like a good book and if you buy two and read one and repeat, you suddenly have stacks of unread books piling up.  #2) Money is tight/low/non-existent and if I want to read more books this year, it’s better that I rustle up something I already have then run out and buy something.  Granted, you can buy books very cheaply – from used bookstores, eBay, and various other places.  But – free is best.  And I already know I want to read the books I have.  I mean, I bought them didn’t I?  Most of them.  Some are gifts.  Gifts from friends who know me well enough to know what I want to read.

So!  I’m going to peruse my collection and see what I can find.  I’m trying to decide on a number – something challenging but not too overwhelming.

I’m going to keep looking around for other book challenges.  And possible new books to read.  Again – I’m open to suggestions.  One of the things I loved about my old book club was the variety of new books I was introduced to.  The group was started at my old workplace and many people came and left the group over the years.  We all had different favorite genres and many of us managed to sneak something other than current fiction into the mix.  I snuck in some Neil Gaiman.  Our biologist snuck in an awesome book about the coelacanth.   We read some great non-fiction.   And even some very good current fiction that I probably would not have picked out on my own.

So…….books and challenges.  Challenges and books.  2010.  Sounds good to me.  What do you think?

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You can join this week’s Friday Five over HERE.

This week, the question is – Name five favorite books and why they are your favorite.

Five?  Just five!?  With so many good books out in the world?  ok,  I will just throw some out there.

1.  Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.

Probably my favorite fiction book.  The second book in Card’s four-book Ender’s Game series.  It blew my mind when I read it.  Here is what I wrote in my review:

Amazing concept. Complex characters. It says something about the preconceived notions of humans. It speaks about our prejudices. It’s an anthropological mystery. It’s science fiction. It is human drama.

The idea of a real, live Speaker for the Dead has popped up all over the world. Following Orson Scott’s Card’s concept of speaking a person’s life after death – in sometimes harsh and truthful terms – has caught on with many people and people have written to Card to tell him how they served as someone’s Speaker during a funeral, or memorial. Pretty powerful concept. And none better to perform such a task than Ender Wiggen. The things he discovers on the planet where he goes to speak is beyond mind-blowing. Not in sci-fi technology- but in the ways and whys different species treat each other.

2. Gentle Bridges: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind, Edited by Jeremy W. Hayward and  Francisco J. Varela.

The book that introduced me to the Mind and Life Institute and all the great books that come out of these meetings between scientists and the Dalai Lama.  Good stuff.  I was so happy to hear there were a whole series of books on a range of topics – from destructive emotions, to constructive emotions, to sleeping and dreaming.  Good information from the scientific experts.  And great insight from the Dalai Lama.

3.  Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss
Because a person’s a person, no matter how small.

4.  Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Can I count a whole comic book series as a book?  Y’all know how much I love Neil Gaiman.  I’ve read a lot of his books.  But nothing compares to the characters and storylines in the comic book that introduced me to Gaiman.  Sandman and his siblings (Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium) are richly written personifications of their respective realms.  The interweaving of historic and mythical figures into their stories has generated a ton of additional reading for me.  Pretty awesome.
5.  Ashes in the Wind, by Kathleen Woodiwiss

Because sometimes I just need to sit back with some chocolate and a good bodice buster.

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Sweetie and I went to watch Iron Man yesterday.  Enjoyed it.  As far as superhero origins, I didn’t love it as much as Batman Begins.  But I liked it, and I really like Robert Downey Jr.

As we sat watching the credits, I turned to Sweetie and asked “So, is it cool yet to collect comic books?”

For you see, I am a closet comic book collector.  And by “closet” I mean – I literally have closets full of comics.  Here in Maui.  Back at my mom’s house.  You may call it “nerdiness”, but I call it “diversifying my retirement portfolio.”

Not a bad thought considering a comic book like “All Star Comics” # 5, which sold for $0.10 in 1941 is valued today at $6,000 (see www.comicspriceguide.com).  Of course, it would have to be in mint condition to catch that kind of money.  That happens to be the oldest comic book I own, but mine is worth about $300.  All told, I have about 2,000 books and most of them are only worth their cover price.  It’s hard to find older books in good condition, but I try and pick up a few when I can.  Yes, I’ve attended a couple of comic book conventions.  No, not The Biggie.  Maybe someday.

Why comic books?

It all started with a little gem of a book called “Sandman” by Neil Gaiman.  During college, my boyfriend at the time was a comic book reader/collector.  He introduced me to Sandman, and I fell into one of the best written stories and set of characters I’d ever seen.  I could go on and on about Sandman and Neil Gaiman.  Oh wait, I already have.

Anyway – back to college.  After my boyfriend and I broke up, I was left to buy the books for myself to keep up with the story arc.  And I guess, once I started, I got hooked.  Comic book collectors will advise “Buy what you like to read” when collecting.  This is because there are soooooo many titles to choose from – so many books – it’s hard to know what will catch on in the future.  So you might as well buy books you enjoy.  And so I have, over the years.  Plus or minus a few hundred random books.  Which is not to say I’ve read them all.  No one can compare to Sandman.  Although one of my current favorites is Fables created by Bill Willingham.  Awesome books.

For someone like me – all these Marvel superhero movies excite me – not just because I enjoy a good movie, but because I’m hoping for increases in my books’ values.  Incredible Hulk?  Yeah – I got some.  Iron Man – Not a lot, but I own a few.  Batman?  Of course.  Ghost Rider?  Bring it on!!  By the way – did you know one of the most well known comic book collectors is Mr. Nicholas Cage himself?  Bet he had a blast playing Ghost Rider.  Which enables him to buy books like Action Comics #1, currently valued around $580,000 for a Near Mint copy.  Not something I will ever see in my lifetime.   But hey, I’m happy with my Marvel Spotlight #5.  Yes, I’m a huge nerd.

So, I confess.  That is one of my hobbies.  I may not ever make a big profit from it, but at least I’ve read some good stories along the way.

Back in the movie theater, Sweetie just smiled at my question and said “Well, I married you didn’t I?”  Nice. I collect comic books.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.

And – if you haven’t seen Iron Man yet and plan to – sit through all the credits.  There’s a little extra suprise scene at the end of the movie that sounds promising.  And made me think “cha-ching!”

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Appetizer
Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version?

Join the Feast!

 

Neil Gaiman. That would be wicked cool.

Soup
Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)

Cats and songbirds hate each’s ways.

Salad
If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?

Ergg….can’t I go forward instead? Maybe 1920s….what in the world happened back then? Might be interesting.

Main Course
Name a song that brings back memories for you.

wow. where to start.

Good: Three Little Fishies, Bizarre Love Triangle, Forever Young, Famous Last Words, Get Me, In the Air Tonight

Bad: Get Here, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Cherish, the entire Cranberries album “Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?”

Dessert
Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?

Usually warm.

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n case you don’t know yet, I am a HUGE fan of Neil Gaiman. HUGE. Ever since 1990 when my then-boyfriend introduced me to Gaiman’s Sandman comic books. These books are not just a bunch of caped crusaders jumping from rooftops to help damsels in distress (although some of those are good to read). Gaiman’s Sandman series are filled with complex characters, intricate story lines, and fantastic artwork. Sandman is the only comic book to ever win the World Fantasy Award.

You know I love good character development, and the Endless of the Sandman world are a crazy cast of characters. They include Dream himself, as well as one of my favorite characters ever written – his older sister Death. Awesome character.

I can literally point to books on my shelves I bought after my curiosity was piqued by a good Sandman issue – American History (ever heard of the Emperor of the United States?), mythology (lots of folks from myth in there), 50 Great Philosophers, and on and on. Not to mention, Sandman kicked off my own comic book collecting habit.

Anyway, besides Sandman, Gaiman has written many novels – American Gods, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere, and Anansi Boys. He wrote the 2005 movie Mirrormask, a visual trip directed by Dave McKean.

And, he wrote the book Stardust. Which has been made into a movie. Which is coming out in August. Which looks FANTASTIC! Really good. Like, possibly – the director didn’t destroy Gaiman’s work (except……Claire Danes as Yvaine???…..erg?). Oh well. I think it helped that they allowed Neil to consult during the movie-making (I think). He’s written on his blog about how he was joking about who his dream cast would be for the movie. Thinking “That’s impossible.” Little did Neil know that the movie would attract the likes of Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ian McKellen, Rupert Everett, and Peter O’Toole. And, again – they look FANTASTIC! Movie website is: http://www.stardustmovie.com/

So, check this out. Then check the movie out in August. It’s mostly a big fairy tale. But, like all of Gaiman’s work, it can be both thought-provoking and fairly dark at times. Consider that fair warning.


Photo Credit: www.stardustmovie.com

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