Saturday, June 30, 2012

Purchased for My Shelf

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Indeed, if you follow this blog this title may sound familiar to you.  I recommended this book two years ago.  Since then I've often thought about reading it again.  When a gift card fell into my lap I decided to add it to my little bundle of purchases because this is the kind of book I can see myself reading multiple times - and that is one of my top criteria for purchasing a book.  Scalzi is a skilled writer who can spin an interesting tale that will draw reactions from the reader - whether those reactions are laughter or worry for the characters.  You should pick this one up if you love a good science fiction book.  Indeed, I'm awaiting my chance to snag his newest book, Redshirts because it looks like a great deal of fun.  And if it's anything like Scalzi's other works, then I'm sure I'm in for a good time.

Notes from the playlist: "Tick Tock" by Hans Zimmer

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Recommended for English Majors

A Handbook to Literature by William and Hugh Harmon

Yes, I realize that this is a textbook, but it's one of those textbooks that you actually want to hang onto after college is over.  I think this is one of two textbooks I kept.  It's a great little reference book for literature related goodies, should you ever find yourself in that particular moment of need.  The link is actually to the eleventh version, although I think there is a twelfth version out now.  Mine is actually the ninth version, and I'm not sure how much more they could add each year, but oh well.  If you're an English major, a fan of literature, a writer, or you just want a good literature reference book so you can finally get away from the Internet and Google for once, then this really is a great book to choose.  (Tip: You can probably find a cheaper and/or older version at used book sites like or!)

Notes from the playlist: "Sovereign Light Cafe" by Keane

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Recommended for Kids Who Love Fun (and Lions)

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex

This was on a display for a while before it got replaced by something else.  But when I saw the cover I decided it deserved a look.  Turns out it's quite a fun book.  The two guys at the bottom are the author and illustrator, and they are here to tell the story of Chloe and the lion.  However, things don't quite go as planned when Adam's illustrations don't exactly live up to Mac's expectations.  This leads to Adam getting eaten and a lot of sub-par illustrations taking the place of his.  From there, Chloe's story gets all sorts of silly until Mac finally realizes he needs Adam after all.  But it's up to his character Chloe to solve his problems!  My favorite thing about this story is actually the mix of mediums used to illustrate this story.  Paper crafted into a layered 3D style, figurines representing Mac and Adam to distinguish them from the story they're trying to tell, and all sorts of other illustrations as Mac tries to get things straight - including bringing in another illustrator.  The story has a fun ending and kids will dig the story, style, and ending of this tale.

Notes from the playlist: "Burn It Down" by Linkin Park

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Currently Reading

Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell

I've been curious about this series for a long time.  Ever since first seeing them while at work, my curiosity was piqued.  That curiosity grew even more after seeing Cornwell's books brought to life when PBS aired a few episodes of the Sharpe movies they made - featuring Sean Bean (the ladies love Sean, and I won't deny that I'm one of them).  But the stories were solid, full of action and intrigue.  After contemplating what to read next and realizing that I obviously wasn't going to stick to my To Be Read list, I ordered this up from the library.  This is the very beginning for Sharpe when he's still a private in the British army and has to pose as a deserter for a mission.  Success means seargent stripes.  Failure means possibly getting eaten  by tigers.  It's said that a good writer knows how to hook a reader with the first sentence.  This was one of those books where I started reading and decided, "Yep, I'm going to have fun with this one."

Notes from the playlist: "I Don't Wanna Die" by Hollywood Undead

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Purchased for My Shelf

Birds of Colorado by Stan Tekiela

I'm going to Colorado this summer - again.  I try to go there every year because I love it.  I wish I lived there.  In fact, ever since we moved away when I was 6, I've been looking for ways to get back there and live there permanently and happily.  Until then, a yearly trip to go hiking or just kick back and car camp have worked as a replenishing dose to get me back on track for the rest of the year.  Last year after spotting a rather large bird on the ground - not a turkey, not a pheasant, what is it? - and grabbing a copy of this little book at the local book store to take a peek, this year I decided I ought to have my own copy.  (It was a female dusky grouse, by the way)  My mother and I have bought these books for the various places we've lived ever since discovering them.  We had one for Illinois.  Pennsylvania.  Our current copy is for Missouri.  Now I have the Colorado one.  These books are excellent for people who aren't serious birders and just need something as a fun and quick identification system.  They're all by the same author as well, and this man knows his stuff.  The books are small, work by a color coding system (aka - what color is your bird?), and give you the kind of tidbits of information you might be interested in once you realize, "Oh, I just saw a green-tailed towhee.  Cool."  Can't wait to get out there with this!

Notes from the playlist: "Love in a Mystery" by Ludovico Einaudi

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...