Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shadow on The Trail Discussion is Officially Open!

If you haven't finished the book you still have time to finish it today. I think I actually put all of the reasons why I like the book on the introduction post.... Well, except for telling you I think I developed a crush on Wade Holden. :-) Let me know what you think. Did you see a man trying to find his own way to redemption? Or did you find some other hidden meaning in this western. Oh, And if this was your first Western, or first Zane Grey novel please tell us. I am interested in learning how many of you have read westerns before. Let me hear your thoughts. Love you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Literature Poll: Best and Worst Film Adaptations

I thought I'd have a little fun and see what everyone thought were the best and worst film adaptations of books. The answers were varied and thought provoking. Some people submitted more than one for each category and some judged movies by different criteria. For example, mom judged her choices by which one she enjoyed more, while Hillary tended to judge by which one's stuck the most closely to the book's storyline. But there were some that received more votes than others and those are the winners.
For Best Film Adaptation:
The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is not only the best version of the book, but the best movie adaptation of any book. Colin Firth is by far the best Darcy EVER! It holds true to the book while still being entertaining. And who cares if it's five hours?

And the Worst Movie Adaptation:
Wow. I've seen road shows with better acting and more authenticity.

Best Movie Honorable Mentions: The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Last of the Mohicans, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Sense and Sensibility, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Angels & Demons.

Worst Movie Honorable Mentions: The Cat in the Hat, Ella Enchanted, Summer of the Monkeys and Beowulf (2007 version).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Literature Trivia

You have one week to leave a comment with your answer.
What was the first novel written on a typewriter?
Good luck!

Friday, January 22, 2010


I accidently posted my personal blog on this page. I have removed it. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: The Looking Glass Wars.

Many of us are familiar with the story by Lewis Carroll (AKA Charles Dodgson) about a girl named Alice who fell into a Rabbit Hole and entered the magical world of Wonderland. After her first adventure in wonderland, she proceeded to step through the looking glass and return to wonderland for further adventures.

According to the author of the Looking glass wars, Frank Beddor, This is a twisted myth version of the even more twisted reality of it all. He claims that Wonderland is real and Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous Aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss' parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her awesome ninja-like blade bedecked bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, Must flee wonderland through the pool off tears which is a portal to Earth. However Alyss and Hatter are separated in the pool and she ends up alone in Victorian era London, where she is adopted by the Liddel family and renamed Alice. She befriends an aspiring author who wishes to tell her story but gets it all wrong.
Hatter Madigan came out of the Pool of Tears in Paris and spends the next 13 years searching the earth over for Alyss before he finds her.
Meanwhile in Wonderland the loyalists to the Heart dynasty "The Alyssians" are barely holding on. They have been crushed and murdered and beheaded by the evil queen Redd. Their resistance is dwindling to just a few card soldiers, a handful of chessmen, the great General Doppleganger (who has the ability to split into two people Generals Dopple and Ganger), and Alyss' childhood sweetheart Dodge Anders, Who is suicidal in battle because he just doesn't care to live anymore.
Now it is all up to Hatter Madigan to get Alyss back to claim her throne before the resistance is completely gone.

This book is extremely imaginative and very entertaining, with all of the elements for a good tale, Action, Romance, Suspense, and Rivalry. It also has all of the creations of Caroll's story and more. What Carroll described as a Cheshire cat, Beddor claims was actually a half cat half human assassin with nine lives. Carroll's White Rabbit was based on Alyss' tutor Bibwit Harte, a 7 foot tall albino with large ears and uncanny punctuality. My personal favorite however, were the caterpillars, the wise all-seeing omniscient creatures as old as wonderland itself who sit on mushrooms all day puffing on Hookahs using phrases like "Duh," "Wierdest sense of Deja Vu," and "Pass the Munchies."
Beddor's Military structure is fun too. Pawns and two cards being the lowest ranking soldiers, Ten cards, Knights and Rooks near the top. But the most elite branch of the governments forces is the one Hatter Madigan himself is part of, The Millinery. Sort of like our NSA or CIA.

The coolest thing for me when I read this book was the way that wonderland parallels Earth. For example July of 1863 in Wonderland The Alyssians won a major battle that was a positive turning point for them. In July of 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. In September 1869 a squad of surrounded Alyssians commit suicide rather than being captured by Redd. September of 1869 defeated Japanese Swordsmen committed mass suicide in the Boshin War. The first book is the only one with a time line, but it is fun to read the second and third books and draw the Earth to Wonderland Parallels yourself.

With likable characters (I think I'm in love with Dodge), New artillery at every turn, perfectly timed comedic relief, and the best sound effects ever written on paper, this book is a MUST READ! The fact that it is written for children aged 10 - 15 Makes it even better because you don't have to worry about who finds the book lying around your house, and it is easier to understand. But I promise, No Matter How Old You are THE LOOKING GLASS WARS will leave you begging for MORE. Thank Goodness that the third and final book was released in November and you won't have to wait to continue the story. The sequels are called SEEING REDD and ARCHENEMY

Oh and by the way, these aren't exactly Disney's card soldiers.

I do however recommend reading Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky before reading these books. The nonsense words will make more sense that way.

I hope you enjoyed my review.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Book for January

Since we are nearly half-way into the month of January I thought it would be appropriate to have a short fun read. Dad is going to take the month of February. There were 2 paperback copies of this book at my house in September. You can get a copy at most used bookstores.

Now as to my reasons for choosing this book..........

As a child growing up I watched my mother and John and Michelle read books all of the time. But there was a new addition to the house when I was about 5 yrs old. It was a TV. I am sure I was a mischevious child and got into a lot of things or asked a lot of questions because I can still here my mother's voice saying to me... "aren't there cartoons on for you to watch?" I remember sitting in front of the TV watching Jack LaLain, the 5 minute religious programs and cartoons in the daytime, and anything I could watch after school and in the evenings. As I got older and was one of the fastest and best readers in my class the only books I read were while I was at school. I never knew the joy of curling up with a good book and getting lost in the story. I am not complaining. My Aunts and mom would buy me books, but I was a child of the Television era and reading just didn't seem to be exciting to me.

In 8th grade I read my first novel. Charles Dickens Great Expectations. I thought it was weird and to this day the visual I have of the old lady in a mildewed dusty wedding gown in a clutterered dining room haunts me. Maybe I should give it another go. When I was in high school and many of my friends were reading the bestsellers of the day I thought I should try. So at 16 I read The Godfather (the opening scenes made me sick to my stomach). At 17 I read Airport. The movie was better. Both of these were not books I particularly liked, nor would I ever recommend them to anyone. When I took the bus to Utah to go to college I decided to give reading one more try. I picked something I was sure wouldn't make me sick or leave me feeling disturbed. Tom Sawyer. It was fun and I loved it, so I promptly read Huckleberry Finn and decided I found books I could relate to and understand. Children's novels. Well, I don't think I did any extracurricular reading at college besides church stuff. When Dad and I got married and we didn't have TV, I started reading the set of Children's Classics from his childhood. Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, Arabian Knights, etc. I think dad was a little embarrassed when I went into labor with Cali and took my Children's Classic of Robin Hood with me.

A day or two later he suggested I try reading Zane Grey or Louis La'Amour. (An appropriate suggestion seeing as how all things cowboy, western and Texan were becoming part of everyday life. Go figure.) The second Western I read was the one I have chosen for this month.

Shadow On The Trail by Zane Grey. It is the first book that I read and couldn't put down or walk away from. The description of the chase through the wilds of Texas not far from where I was living (so I could visualize it) had my heart pounding, and I realized I was really scared for the main character. All of a sudden I realized what getting lost in a book really means. I have escaped into many books since then, but this one will always be special to me.

A few trivia notes: Sim Bell is actually based on the Outlaw Sam Bass who was killed after a hold-up in Round Rock Texas, not far from Austin. He did hold up a stage just outside of Mineral Wells once. The Character of Wade Holden is actually based on a young man who was known to ride with Sam Bass who disappeared after Bass was shot and was never seen again.

Enjoy the Read.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Discussion Open for Total Money Makeover

Discussion is officially open now, I apologize for the delay it was my fault it took so long. Now can everyone chill out please? This is supposed to be a fun thing, not something to cause more stress in our lives.

I Don't Mean to Push

Okay... I don't mean to rush anyone, but we are a week into January and our "Catch-up" time is through. Please finish The Total Money Makeover this weekend so Jesse can get the discussion rolling. Thank you for your patience. Happy reading.