Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Forbidden Sea

One of the coolest things about working at the Provo library is that we have a couple librarians that are authors and illustrators. One of those lovely ladies that I know happens to be Sheila Nielson, the author of The Forbidden Sea. Sheila got a couple Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of her book that she passed around, and I was one of the lucky ones that got a chance to read it back in October.

The basic plot is this from Amazon.com that can be found at this link here:
"When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to take her younger sister. Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song. Yet, when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid she is scorned, for this small and superstitious community believes the mermaid will bring devastation to the island if Adrianne does not give herself to the sea. A powerful and lyrical story of one girl who must choose between having everything and having those she loves."

I agree with this great synopsis of Sheila's novel, but I didn't really like the storyline. I can see how this story would appeal to a younger audience, but I couldn't relate to Adrianne at all. I admired her spunk and tenacity, and the fact that she's the oldest daughter, but I hated her family. I thought the mom had no backbone at all and needed a good punch in the gut, her sister was a brat and needed to be slapped, and the choice that she makes at the end was disappointing, and not the choice I would have made.

For her first book, I think Shelia did a great job, but I just wish that there was a different ending and a different way of how she approached the mermaid- it felt like the mermaid wasn't in it for how long she should have been, especially if this book is being marketed as a "mermaid book". This wasn't the best thing I've read, but definitely not the worst either. Maybe if I were younger, and didn't have past parent issues, I would have liked this book more. Maybe you'll enjoy it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Movie Etiquette, or the Lack Therof

So I know my blog is supposed to be about books and the literary world, but I just couldn't resist writing this post. I'm sorry that this doesn't fit into the literary world at all, but I feel we all need a little refresher on the principle of movie etiquette, especially those of us who live in Provo, or the greater Utah County. So to review the movie etiquette rules:

1. Get a babysitter- DO NOT bring your child to a movie (especially newborns) if your child has the potential to cry, talk loudly, or has the need to get out of the theater to do a number of items, such as peeing, talking, etc. If you can spring for you and your significant other to go to the movies, and get popcorn, and get drinks, you can afford to get a babysitter. If you can't, then obviously you can't afford to go to the movies. OR, for those of us who live in the greater Utah County area and are Mormon: have it be a service project for the Young Women, try swapping "service" babysitting with another couple in the ward, or call the in-laws. I'm sure you have some family that could watch your child for a couple hours. No? Then don't go to the movies. Don't think that your newborn is going to sleep through the loud noise. Stop kidding yourself.
2. If you do want to bring your child to a movie, DON'T take your child to a movie after, say, 8 pm, seeing as they won't be able to stay awake. I don't care who you are- go to a matinee- they're cheaper, and you're less likely to run into ornery adults who are upset at you for disregarding movie etiquette rule #1.
3. If you have a loud and annoying laugh (if it's loud, it's annoying), reign it in- laugh a little quieter so the people around and in front and behind you don't suspect that you're mentally handicapped, which I thought of a girl last night with her ridiculously loud and obnoxious laugh. Also, don't laugh LOUDLY at parts of the movie that aren't funny.
4. DO NOT TALK ON YOUR CELL PHONE DURING THE MOVIE. It's really not that hard-you're there to watch a movie, not to talk to your friend/lover/child, etc. If you NEED to talk on your phone while you're at the movies, for the love of all that is holy, go talk outside of the theater.
5. DO NOT pull out your cellphone during the movie to answer text messages- again, you're there to watch a movie. I don't care how hard you try to cover that blinding white screen, it WILL be seen by other movie-goers and we'll get really pissed off at you. Your life is not that important. I'm sure it won't kill you to answer the message once you're done with the movie. Deal with it.
6. Contain your body movements. I swear that if my chair gets kicked one more time, I'm going to kill the person behind me, and not even God will object because he's been there.
7. If you have to get out of the theater during the movie, get out as quickly and quietly as possible. Don't make a big deal of it. You shouldn't plan on leaving your seat until the movie is over anyway, but if you do, make it fast. And painless for the rest of us.

If you're still not sure whether or not something is "questionable" and whether it deserves to be put on the movie etiquette list, remember this: Your life is not important to me, I don't care, be responsible for your own actions and that of your posterity, and me, myself, and I are the only things that I do care about. Don't disturb that happy balance. Take responsibility for your own actions. You just paid the ridiculous fee to see the movie, now shut up and watch it. Oh, and if you're wondering if others feel the same way as I do, THEY DO! Just to give you a little taste of what happened to me last night while I was at the movies, rules #1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 were all broken. Yeah. I don't even know what the movie was about. I'm still confused.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Falling Angels

So by now you should have read my blog post spotlighting Tracy Chevalier, and why she's amazing. Obviously, this is going to be a positive review. So I'm jumping right into things.

This book is set during the end of the Victorian era, at the cusp of the new century, and opens up with the death of Queen Victoria. Kitty Coleman is a Victorian housewife who has nothing to fill her days, and obviously feels like her life lacks purpose. As Kitty, her husband, and their daughter Maude attend a memorial service at their local graveyard for the Queen, the Coleman's run into their graveyard next door neighbors, the Waterhouse's. Their daughter Lavinia is Maude's age, who through the story's development, becomes Maude's best friend. Though this book is told through the viewpoints of (roughly) 10 or so character's points of view, the main focus of the book is of the growing up of both girls. We see them caught up in the melodrama of being a girl on the throes of becoming a young woman in Victorian society, deal with loss and sorrow in a hypocritical age, reliving Suffragette marches, riding the waves of scandal, and understanding what it means to be a friend. The book is full of double standards, hypocrisy, melodrama, real drama and nostalgia, and should be read immediately. The genius of writing the story from several character's viewpoints only shows how capable Chevalier is at mastering the art of storytelling.

Not only is the story original and beautiful, but the writing itself is passionate and full of intrigue and romance that can only be found in one of Chevalier's books. I definitely recommend this book and advise you to read it tonight, cuddled up in piles of blankets. Chevalier's books have always left me wanting more, and this one was nothing different; after you finish this book, I'm sure you'll want to go and pick up a couple more of her books. My advice: give into the urge!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tracy Chevalier

This post is hereby entitled "Why I love Tracy Chevalier". I should call it with the better title ( I suppose) of "Why I Don't Love Tracy Chevalier", which would be a shorter post and would allow me to get back to my pile of homework, but this defeats the purpose of why I'm even writing the post to begin with. So, here launches my post of why Tracy Chevalier is a FABULOUS author, and why you should like her too.

Tracy Chevalier

Website: www.tchevalier.com
Books Written: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Falling Angels, The Virgin Blue, The Lady and the Unicorn, Burning Bright, Remarkable Creatures (comes out in the US in January 2010)
Notable Awards: Barnes and Noble "Discover Great Authors" Award; plus she's always on the New York Times Bestseller list whenever one of her new books comes out
Books Adapted into Films: Girl with a Pearl Earring starring Scarlett Johansen and Colin Firth, which was nominated for Academy Awards
Her Niche: Historical fiction. She does a great job of throwing you into the time period that she's writing about. I love how real her characters seem to be, and how vivid and earthy her descriptions are. Nothing is lost through Chevalier's tellings.
Why I like her (a lot) and why you should too: You know that you've found a good book when you find yourself flipping pages without even realizing it. You know you've found a good author when you find yourself flipping pages without even knowing it in every book that you've read by said author. Chevalier is such an author. Half the time I'm reading her works, I don't even realize I'm flying through the pages. Her books are just THAT good.
Which of her books I've read: Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, Remarkable Creatures, The Lady and the Unicorn
On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being "This book was sent from the gods for us mere mortals to read" and 1 being "This book wouldn't even make good toilet paper") here's how they rate:
Girl with a Pearl Earring: 5
The Virgin Blue: 5
Falling Angels: 5
Remarkable Creatures: 3
The Lady and the Unicorn: 4
Need I say more? The scores speak for themselves. Her writing has never let me down.