The Walking Dead: “Thirty Days Without An Accident”

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Season 4 premiered Sunday night, and I’m so thrilled this show is back. If you aren’t watching it, you’re missing out. I think it’s one of the best character driven shows on television. The season 4 premiere did not let me down.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Rick’s better but not better…get what I’m saying? He’s now got some sort of gun phobia which isn’t super safe during the zombie apocalypse. You can hardly blame the guy, though, after his son gun downed another boy. In fact, I think Rick is starting to really ponder what effects all the killing is having on humanity, particularly the youngest generation who have now been raised during this violent and horrifying era.

I love that Carol was secretly teaching the children how to use knives. That’s an extremely important survival lesson and safety precaution. But books should still be read, just sayin’.

Daryl is still THE BEST. Everyone treating him like a god was humorous, and I’ll be interested in seeing how his character development plays out through the rest of the season. So many survivors are seeing him as a strong leader now. How will he handle that? Will he let anyone inside his bad boy heart? Beth sure seemed to like her snuggles. Not that I’m suggesting Daryl will be hooking up with Beth. I would not be a fan of that. I could, however, see him becoming a father figure to her after Herschel dies (because he’s got to die and I’m predicting that shiz goes down real soon).

The zombies raining down on the group was fantastic. So bloody and wickedly disgusting. I hated to see Zach go, but it was worth it just to get Beth’s blase reaction. Side note: All of the local Georgia beer brands were awesome! Love seeing so much locally sourced.

I can’t talk about Carl yet. I haven’t made up my mind about his progression from the season 3 finale.

Poor Patrick. A lot of newbies got killed off rather quickly, huh? I know people are freaked out by the prospect of a zombie now residing inside the cell block with our sleeping cast of characters, but they should be able to handle that problem quickly. What scares me is how Patrick died and Violet the pig, too. Something airborne? A flu virus? Another excellent way to show how dangerous life has become way beyond the mere presence of a few undead.

Where is the Governor? Michonne and her trusty horse are the only ones looking. This worries me.

And finally, let’s talk Clara. At first, I thought she was some new sentient zombie/human hybrid and that shit was going to be intense. Instead, she’s just a woman driven crazy by this new society. Understandable. Her keeping her husband’s zombie head in a sack was creepy in the best of ways.  I worry that her ominous mutterings might mean that our characters are about to be haunted by their pasts. Just mo’ problems.

And another thing. I’m so sick of seeing the criticism about how slowly the show is paced. You can’t have action all of the time for 16 hours a season. That would be so tiresome and far too intense (not to mention expensive). The slower moments are there for levity and for the characters to grow and give us time to love them so that we care when they die. That’s how a good story works. CALM DOWN.

Dewey’s Read-a-Thon: October 12, 2013

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The Final Survey:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 16 where I decided to pass out.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Fables! The only book I finished.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? So beyond me…I think the readathon is awesome.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Twitter and booktube! All kept me very encouraged.
  5. How many books did you read? 1 in full, and parts of two others.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Fables: Book One, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and  Dracula
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Fables!!
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Now that’s silly – I really loved them all.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Will definitely participate. Might be a cheerleader next time. I think I’d be better working the thon than reading during the thon

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So, I totally failed to wake up at 3:30 and woke up at 7:30 instead. Will continue to read this morning until my dim sum date with Jimmy at 2! Super huge thanks to all hosts, mini-challenge creatures, cheerleaders, booktubers! Also, Andi and Heather – y’all are the BESTEST!

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I’m giving in and taking a nap. It’s 11:35 pm right now so I’ll set my alarm for 3:30. Hope to be reading again by 4 and finish the final four hours!

Pages Read:

Fables: 248 (Completed!)

Miss Peregrine’s: 126

Dracula: 46

Total: 420

Goal when I wake up: Finish Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

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Dear Everyone:

I finally figured out what was wrong with my attention span. I was obsessed with finishing The Walking Dead Season 3. I marathoned the first 10/11 episodes yesterday and just couldn’t stop there. So, I decided to just stop, watch the remaining episodes, and come back when they are over. That means sometime in the 8 o’clock hour I’ll start reading again. After a good, long, cold shower to wake me up. I’m in this thing for the long haul, y’all.

Mid-Way Survey:

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? FAILING. But on the bright side, my eyes are fine.
2) What have you finished reading? Nothing (see the failing bit above). I’ve only read 250 pages thus far.
3) What is your favorite read so far? I’ve loved everything so far. Fables is definitely the easiest read, though.
4) What about your favorite snacks? Chocolate cookies I just baked and ate. I ate all of them. SHAME.
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love! I’ve definitely visited some new blogs. But asking me to remember them is beyond me at this point. In my roundup they will get love!

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Hour 9:

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Hour 4 Completed:

Having so much fun thus far. My first bowl of beef stew has been gobbled up, and it was delicious! Been drinking water. I’m saving the coffee until tonight’s moments of desperation.  Have chatted briefly with Jimmy’s who’s off camping in Helen, GA. My dogs don’t really know what’s going on.

I’ve spend probably 2/3 of my time reading. The other third has been eating/household activities/tweeting. Not a bad balance. I have yet to participate in a mini-challenge. Too busy reading.

Huge thanks to Heather, Andi, challenge hosts, and cheerleaders!

Progress:

Miss Peregrine’s: 100 pages

Fables: 60 pages

Dracula: 16 pages

Total: 176 pages

Books completed: 0

Current view:

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YES!! It’s finally here. Let’s get this thing rollin’, shall we?

I’ll be updating this single post all day long so that no one’s feeder gets taken over by myself. That would be odd and unfortunate.

Here’s the introduction questions:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Atlanta, GA – It’s supposed to be a beautiful day outside. Plus, my neighborhood is having a chili cook-off.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Fables really excites me, but if we’re being honest, I can barely wait to start The Goldfinch.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Don’t snack much, but I’ve made an awesometacular beef stew that smells delicious right now.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! By day, I’m a CPA and spend my hours counting down until I can become a reader again.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I think my book selection is really quite different today. I don’t plan to spend too long at a time with any single thing. VARIETY!!

Happy Dewey’s everyone!!!!!

Time to Chat

You guys! You must go and join A More Diverse Universe. MUST. Basically, you vow to read one book by an author of color in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Due date: November 15. Diversity is so important and often so overlooked by all of us. ALL OF US. Visit Aarti’s page for signups and more information.

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As for me, I’m choosing Dawn by Octavia Butler. I just read a list where it was listed as one of the scariest books of all time. SOLD. I have a couple of flights scheduled for early November and this should be excellent for such an occasion.

I’m eagerly anticipating Saturday’s festivities. I love Dewey’s something fierce. My TBR is locked and loaded. I’ve got beef stew on the brain and hopefully in the crock pot by tomorrow morning. Now all I need is some munchies, a little bit of a sleeping backlog, and an absentee husband this weekend. Not that I love Jimmy abandoning me for friends and a mountainside cabin, but this weekend that just fits perfectly into my schedule.

My goal is to finish some books this weekend so I actually have something to bloggy blog about. Books have alluded me these past few weeks, but I’m hoping to get my mojo back soon.

Also, I’ve won THREE books on Twitter this week. THREE.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

IMG_20131007_110735I haven’t actually finished The Round House as I write this sentence. I’m a little under 50 pages from the finale, but can’t imagine my thoughts changing whatsoever. If they do, I’ll come back and amend these statements, but I’m pretty certain this post will stand.

Louise Erdrich’s National Book Award winner mixes family tragedy with Native American politics. In 1988, Joe is just a normal thirteen-year-old boy obsessed with Star Trek living on the rez in North Dakota. But then his mother is attacked – brutally – and crawls inside herself to hide from the pain. Joe sets out determined to uncover the identity of his mother’s attacker and finds himself in dangerous situations and underneath the scope of dubious political lines.

Nothing I’m about to say should really mean anything to anyone. I mean, what do I actually know about things? But if I’m being brutally honest, The Round House didn’t do much for me. I didn’t hate the time I spent reading the book, but I could barely force myself to pick it up once I had tossed it aside.

The writing just rubbed me as rather dull and tangential. The ‘suspense’ aspects were muted and often felt lazy. The pacing was all over the place – slow exposition, random Native American myth and legend, coming of age teenage stuff, and legal thriller with a healthy dose of Catholicism on the side. Too much that did too little for me. Overall, I just didn’t care.

Readers adore this book and Erdrich’s writing in general. I’ve read tons of reviews glowing over her lyrical language, gripping stories, and amazing knowledge inside the Native American culture. So there’s no need to take my word. I would never have granted The Round House the NBA, but someone else did who has far more credibility than myself.

Many reviewers even likened this story to To Kill A Mockingbird which I haven’t read in a long time, but now I’m almost desperate to compare the two myself. There were moments within Erdrich’s story that were great – a scene with a priest around 100 pages in stands out. I also found several peripheral characters compelling, but none in the main circle. Just not my bag, but it could be yours. I think this might be a situation of it’s me, not you.

P.S. I just listened to the Book Riot podcast where they raved about this book. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I’ll definitely be giving Erdrich a second chance. Any suggestions?

RATING: starstarrating_star_half-1cx8y5d

 

*HOLY HELL! That ending was insane.

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Thanks to TLC book tours and Harper for a copy of this book in return for my honest review. You can catch the full tour here and many, many second opinions.

About the Author:

Louise ErdrichLouise Erdrich is the author of fourteen novels, volumes of poetry, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. She lives in Minnesota and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.

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The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

IMG_20131001_093614Having heard that The Silent Wife was an excellent psychological thriller, I added it to my RIP VIII reading list with very little apprehension. I figured that even if the book didn’t live up to the hype surrounding it, at least it would be a short, moody read for October

I’m not sure a synopsis is necessary. Harrison has created a portrait of a failed relationship – a relationship that goes to an extreme in its ending. Jodi and Todd have been together for 20 years and now they are hurtling towards a brick wall that neither one will survive intact. Both aren’t people you’d really want to be friends with, but as psychological studies they are fascinating.

I really wanted to emphasize how unlike Gillian Flynn’s writing this is. The comparisons are everywhere and do Harrison no justice. Flynn focuses on twisted, grotesque imagery and surprise turns. Harrison delves more deeply into the mind and what makes a person tick – particularly the darkest places we generally don’t explore. Both can be hard to read but for very different reasons.

The Silent Wife works best as an almost clinical analysis of humans gone wrong. I think it’s the kind of book that you could study in a psychology class. The ending is spoiled on page two so there’s no need to worry about how things will turn out. This tactic works brilliantly because knowing how the book ends lulls you into a complacency that is rocked by how the events actually unfold.

Harrison’s writing could be called plodding and wondering. There’s very little dialogue between anyone. She often focuses on the mundane through Jodi or Todd’s eyes (the narrative switches back and forth), but I think this is required for painting a full picture of who these two troubled people are and how they got where they are in their lives. It’s the sort of novel that makes me look at the people around me and wonder what’s really going on in their heads – even what’s really going on in my own head or my husband’s head.

I gave The Silent Wife three stars. It was enjoyable, particularly the second half. I’m not sure it’s for everyone, but if you like a good psychological character study of two terrible but interesting characters, read this one. It’s only too sad that Harrison passed away earlier this year. I think she really could have become a magnificent storyteller.

RATING: starstarstar

Currently: October 6, 2013

Time // 2:28 AM – Why am I awake?

Place // Home. In bed. Not sleeping.

Eating // Nada. I had really good pizza earlier tonight from Ammazza in Old 4th Ward. Double date night!

Drinking // Water.

Reading // Just gulped down 60 pages of The Easter Parade by Richard Yates.

Watching // Homeland! Inhaled season two this past week. Totally prepared and caught up for tonight’s newest episode.

Listening // The Black Keys and that Lorde song is addicting.

Pondering // Money and financial matters – YUCK.

Blogging // Have been such a slack ass, but I haven’t been reading that much. Guest posting for Dewey’s tomorrow!

Promoting // Dewey’s!!

Hating // The stresses of OT in college football games.

Loving // Coffee. I’ve finally come to the dark side and now crave the stuff.

Anticipating // COOLER WEATHER. Please? Oh, and lunch with my Litwits ladies today!

Maus by Art Spiegelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

IMG_20131001_094123Sunday the Litwits met to discuss Maus by Art Spiegelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Obviously, our theme was graphic novels – a theme I was beyond excited for despite already having read Maus. I cheated, though, and threw in the second highest vote getter so I’d have something new to read as well.

What shocked me most about September’s theme reading is how some members really seemed wary of the graphic format. I’ve come across so-called ‘serious’ readers who think comics can’t be literary, but resistance was strange coming from a group of less serious readers. And by less serious, I just mean not professional literary snobs.

I’m not sure if this attitude led to the small turnout that gathered in my living room on Sunday, but it makes me wonder. It also makes me very sad. Maus is a huge literary accomplishment and a worthwhile read no matter what the format.

But moving on to what the ladies actually thought, I think September was a smashing success. Maus was by far the favorite. We actually didn’t end up saying that much about the book because, as Melanie so astutely put it, Maus really speaks for itself. I did bring up one of the most affecting scenes in the novel for debate. When Art’s dad gets upset at him for picking up the African American hitchhiker and spews out a bunch of racist nastiness, I just had such a hard time reading that. That got us discussing how much prejudice is a part of human nature and if it’s something that we can ever truly part ways with.

Our discussion of Persepolis was a bit more historically and politically centered. The ladies felt that Persepolis was a bit harder to get into not knowing so much about the history of Iran and the Middle East. To me, that highlights a huge failure of the American school system. Our schools should really open up to history of the world at large, not just the West.

Our newest member, Shannon, rented the movie of Persepolis and highly recommended it. She did warn us that much of the story had been cut or altered, but that the film still really worked. She thought it was even more powerful than the book. We compared Spiegelman’s cat/mouse metaphor to Satrapi’s inclination to use blacked-out human forms.

As for my personal reading experience, I think I enjoyed Persepolis more than Maus. Mostly, it had that new shininess and covers a part of the world I’m currently rather obsessed with. Satrapi’s sarcasm and perspective were two things I could really personally relate to.

Next up in October is our 3 year anniversary! Victoria and I are in the planning stages of this month’s festivities and haven’t locked down plans yet. What we can promise is cake – there will be cake! And book prizes – big book prizes! Not one to be missed.