Space Boy by Orson Scott Card


So we’re getting better! While Space Boy isn’t up to Orson Scott Card’s normal caliber of writing, it was an entertaining and enjoyable novella. I’ve had this one ordered through Subterranean Press for awhile and received it about a week ago. It’s a wonderful edition as SubPress’ books always are and is signed by Card with perfect pencil etched illustrations by Lance Card. I kept thinking of Interworld by Neil Gaiman while reading this one. Card and Gaiman are my two favorite authors and this one was very similar to Interworld in that it was a very fun, quick read, but nothing like what we normally get out of the author. But I don’t think it was meant to be…this was more of a story for the sake of fun story telling. Don’t get me wrong, his other books tell wonderful tales, but they usually have deeper meanings behind them.

Space Boy is the story of 13 year old Todd. Todd has always dreamed of traveling to space. He knows all of his planets all of their moons, all of the satellites, all of the astronauts, etc. Four years ago, Todd’s mother disappeared without a trace. Todd has gone through counseling, the police have done searches, nothing has come up. His little brother has claimed that she was sucked up by monsters in his closet, but of course, no one believes him. Well one day, while Todd is in his back yard, he discovers a strange wavering portal in his backyard through which a naked elf like man appears. He soon discovers that this man has entered from another planet through a space “worm” who’s rear end is in Todd’s back yard and who’s mouth is in…you guessed it, his little brother’s closet.

Not recommended as a night time read to kids to who are scared of the monsters in the closet. I enjoyed this one and I’m glad to have it in my Orson Scott Card collection. I’d recommend it to die-hard Card fans like myself, but at $35 through SubPress, you might want to just borrow a copy if you’re not a huge fan.

Next up for Card is Invasive Procedures in September and A War of Gifts in November!! I’m so excited about both of these. The first is about genetic experimentation and the second is a new Ender novel about Christmas in battle school. Can’t wait!

A Couple Of So-So Reviews

My blog came up for review today over at the Review My Blog website and Diva Dee’s review just cracked me up! She gave me an 8 out of 10, which is fine by me, but really didn’t do much of a review, which I understand. She admitted that she wasn’t very familiar with the subject matter of my blog and it didn’t appeal to her so she couldn’t give it an honest review, and I thought that was fair. I love the fact that my Dave McKean header scared the hell out of her! Her main criticisms were that she didn’t find my blog visually appealing…I feel that’s all in the eye of the beholder…personally I like the look of my blog, though I know it’s nothing flashy. I’ve always been a fan of black and a fan of less is more. So she wasn’t a fan….that’s fine with me…you can’t please ’em all!

Back to books! I finished Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi for the Newbery challenge and I really just didn’t like it. Not that it was a bad book, I just couldn’t connect with it and it didn’t do much for me. I know there are lots of Avi fans out there, but I’m not sure if I would be one of them. I’ll give him another shot though…maybe this just wasn’t the right one for a first read. It’s basically about a boy who lives in a very small town in the 14th century who doesn’t know who his father was and who’s mother has recently died and has left him a cross made of lead. The cross has writing on it which he cannot read since he can’t read or write. But what’s written on the cross is a clue to his true identity. He lives the life of a servant and suddenly has his life at risk as he has been declared a wolf’s head (a person less than human who should be killed) after his mother’s death. He doesn’t know why someone wants him dead. He meets a jester by the name of Bear who helps protect him and takes him on as an apprentice and the book reads as Crispin’s account of all of this. The religious aspect of the book was a bit overkill. I have no problems at all with religious themes, it was just way overdone here. I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style and the story just didn’t captivate me. Oh well.

This year started out so good for me with books. Now I seem to be running into a couple of duds here and there. Lets hope that I get back into a good streak again soon!

Breaking Down The Gender Barrier

So CJ gave me the laugh of the century this morning when she bestowed upon me the “Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award” with these kind words:

“Chris, you may be lacking one of the key elements to win this award, but on the other, you’ve got it made hands down”

Ha! Though I may be missing a few oh so important anatomical parts, I will happily accept on behalf of all of us guy bloggers that missed out on this one 😉 What makes me most happy about this one is that I can pass it along to some of my favorite girl bloggers out there:

Quarter Life Crisis: I’ve been friends with this girl since high school and she’s done some amazing things. Since Katrina (yes that’s now a measurement of time in New Orleans) she’s lost nearly 100 pounds and has now moved to Florida where she’s a teacher. Her blog’s always a fun read.

Literacy Chic: This is Megan’s sister and I’ve actually known her longer than I’ve known Megan! We worked together at a coffee shop and she’s a great person. Her blog is a great one. She writes about her experiences as a grad student writing her dissertation and teaching literature to undergrads, religious philosophy, and being a mommy to two and very soon to number 3!

Dark Orpheus: Her blog is great! You get a little bit of everything here. Book reviews, music reviews, philosophy, yoga, movies, everything! Always something interesting to read and discuss.

So, do I get to nominate a guy too?? If so, Carl, you rock!!!! I’m sure that many of you know Carl. He’s one of the first bloggers that I “met” when I started blogging and remains one of my favorites. His passion for books, art, and humanity come across so strongly in his posts and I always look forward to them. He sponsors these amazing reading challenges that build awesome communities (and the prizes aren’t so bad either 😉 and he’s just an all around rockin’ blogger.

So there you go! All of you gals (and guy) rock! Proudly display the button on your blog and nominate three bloggers of your own. I still can’t stop laughing at this, it just cracks me up. Thanks CJ…you made my day with this one!

Edit/Update: Aha! Thanks to Nymeth, I’ve found this button that was created for us guys who were given this award, so feel free to use this one Carl ;):

Characters That Haunt The Mind

Deslily is hosting a wonderful contest right now. The rules are simple:

I want the post to be about a character in a book that you really like. One that for whatever reason, you can’t seem to forget. Or one that you related to. Or one that made you laugh. Just make it about a character you can’t seem to forget. Tell about how you found this character, and most of all… why you like him/ her/ it… post it before August 3rd and leave a link so that others can read your post.

I love the idea behind this contest. There are so many possibilities for this one, but I’ve decided to go with a couple of characters that haven’t left my mind since they’ve entered it about a month ago…They are Henry and Clare from Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Since I’ve read the book and posted about it, I’ve noticed that there is a universal love for this book and these two characters. They defy genres. Fans of any genre appreciate this book and appreciate these characters. I think it is because this book has such a basic human element to it. The characters are so real. There are intimate moments in the book that anyone who has ever been in a relationship can relate to.

What I loved about the characters of Henry and Clare is that neither one of them are perfect, yet they are perfect for each other. Clare is always there for Henry when he is at his weakest. How many people could handle a relationship as stressed as this one. Yet the relationship seems so smooth…so easy…it fits, it’s right. Same goes with Henry; while he isn’t always physically there for Clare, she is in his thoughts in everything that he does. There love for each other is pure.

I loved them as individuals as well…not just as a couple. They both had incredible taste in music and I loved the scene at the Violent Femmes concert. Henry was a librarian which automatically makes him cool and hello! he can time travel! Clare is an artist which appealed to me immediately because Megan is an artist as well. So I connected with their relationship right away. Clare’s just an all around cool gal.

The whole time I read the book, I thought that these were people that I would love to hang out with. I would love to get a cup of coffee with these guys or have a couple of drinks with them. It’s rare that I connect with characters as well as I did here. That’s no doubt due to Niffenegger’s excellent writing.

I encourage everyone to join in on Deslily’s contest! I’d really like to hear other peoples answers 🙂

The Kindness of Literary People

I’ve been wanting to post about this for days but I keep forgetting to! But I’m remembering now. The reason that Megan ended up in Texas after Katrina is because she has a sister who lives over there. I’ve been friends with her sister since before I even knew Megan…we worked at a coffee shop together. So whenever I go up to see Megan, I try to meet up with her as well, but it doesn’t always work out. She has a family now and with as little time as me and Megan get together time seems to just disappear. Well I was happy that I got to spend a little bit more time this trip with her than I usually do! We went to eat at a really great little restaurant in downtown Bryan and visited a couple of other times. And lo and behold, on one of those visits, she bestowed upon me a giant box of books!! I still haven’t had the chance to root through them all, but that made me so happy 🙂 She’s a doctoral student and teaches literature classes at a major university and has the coolest syllabus for the fall semester! I wish I could take her class. Check it out on this post of her blog.

The second thing that I wanted to post about came up in the Harry Potter comments. Megan had to work Saturday night after I got my Harry Potter book. So I decided that I would go down to her restaurant and order one of their delicious desserts and a Bailey’s coffee while reading my Harry Potter book and her roommate joined me as she was reading the book too. Well there were two guys from out of town sitting next to us who noticed that we were reading the new Harry Potter book and they told us that they had bought the book in the airport and that one of their wives had went to a midnight party. We talked a little about the books and they talked about how wonderful of a server Megan was which made me proud 🙂 Well on their way out, they gave Megan money and told her that our desserts and coffee were on them! I never got to thank them as they disappeared. So if fate allows it, thank you! One of the things I’ll miss about Harry Potter most of all is the unity that it brought out in people and the conversations that it sparked. Maybe it will be a lesson to reach out and talk about things…I know it has been for me.

As for now, I’m having a rough time adjusting to life apart from Megan again. I always do after these trips. It becomes more familiar after a couple of weeks but it never feels right. The bed just feels too big at night and my head seems too full of thoughts…But the thoughts usually lead me to a good place…a place that lies in the not too distant future…the place where my heart lies. God, I’m sounding sappy tonight….

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling


I’VE CLEARLY LISTED WHERE SPOILERS ARE IN THE REVIEW…THE REST IS SAFE!

I can vividly remember reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time in 1999. I remember a wave of excitement washing over me at what promised to be quite a great series of books. However, I don’t think I ever expected the scope of how grand these books were to become and I certainly didn’t know how much of an emotional ride I was in for. In 1999, the series was just starting for me, I had a “whole 6 more books to look forward to!” And now, eight years later, the series has come to a close and while it seems silly, it’s quite an emotional experience.

Harry Potter was more than just a series of books. It was an entire world created by Rowling. It reinvigorated the genre of young adult fiction and brought millions of young readers back to books. In just under 10 years, Rowling has published an entire series of classics…characters who will no doubt live on as long as books live on. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Snape, Hagrid, Voldemort…that’s the tip of the iceberg…She’s created something that brought readers around the world together. We all shared the magic of Hogwarts…the times spent around the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room, adventures in the forbidden forest, battles with magical creatures and dark wizards, trips to Diagon Alley, dinner at the Weasley’s, plotting and planning, touching moments, heart breaking moments, and heart pounding moments.

J.K. Rowling has done a wonderful job of bringing this beloved series to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I wasn’t disappointed in the least bit. Everything that I needed answered was answered. At least I think so. As the days go by, questions may pop up, but I’m extremely satisfied with it right now. Rowling has grown so much as a writer. As a piece of literature, this book was amazing. Gripping story, wonderful plot and twists, beautiful characters as always.

This is by far the darkest book of the series. Characters drop like flies and you may want to prepare with a box of tissue because it gets very emotional at times. I think that part of the emotional response comes from the build up of this being “the end.” It’s a very emotional book all together. I must say that a few moments really caught me in this book and many of them were some of the more comfortable aspects of the book. By comfortable, I mean the character qualities and aspects of the books that have become familiar. Much of that has been stolen from us in this book as it has been stole from Harry, Ron, and Hermione. As the reader, we are as estranged from the familiar as the characters are.

*****SPOILER****

one example of the familiar being emotional is when Ron returns after rescuing Harry and recovering the sword of Gryffindor. When he first sees Hermione and she explodes, I was so overwhelmed with emotions. It just caught me. Another example of humor as an emotional release was Mrs. Weasley’s “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” Ha! That was just great and I was so tense that I really needed that.

******END SPOILERS******

The characters have grown up a lot in this book as they have been forced to. They are on their own for the most part and are fighting evil at it’s purest form. The severity of the situation becomes more and more real to the characters as the book progresses which begins to eat away at the characters. Tempers become short and we see even the “good guys” being revealed as having hidden secrets. Rowling juggles this theme throughout the book and does it well. Can a person really be defined as good or evil? Certainly there is a difference between Voldemort and Harry Potter….dark wizards and everyday wizards, but good and evil is not so easily defined. Rowling visits this mostly with Dumbledore and Snape’s stories and I really enjoyed both.

I was satisfied with Snape’s outcome though at the same time, I was so disappointed.

ok ****SPOILERS*****

Of course I was happy that Snape was a good guy as I always knew he was 🙂 I just felt so bad for the poor guy. Sure, he always treated Harry like shit, but come on…he got such a bad rap and then got killed. I’m glad that Harry explained in front of everyone what Snape had done for him and thought that it was wonderful that little Al’s middle name is Severus, but I wish that Snape could’ve had the recognition for the brave man that he actually was while he was still alive. I thought that his death was one of the more tragic ones.

******END SPOILERS****

I don’t even know what else to write about the book right now as I feel just drained from it. But I’m sure more discussion will pop up in the comments section. Absolutely wonderful book, by far my favorite in the series. I’m very happy with the ending of the book and Rowling has amazed me with what she’s done with this series. It is a very bittersweet farewell to the boy who lived. It was hard to turn that last page. I’m looking forward to what Rowling does with her career and hope that she continues to write young adult novels, though I’d enjoy seeing her work outside of that genre as well. She’s made a reader for life out of me.

Trying To Savor Harry

I’m making an attempt to slowly experience this last book in the Harry Potter series. I set a goal for myself to read only 100 pages a day so that I could have a whole “Harry Potter Week” for this last book, but I’m beginning to sabotage that plan. Day 1…read 100 pages, Day 2…read 100 pages…last night…couldn’t put it down and read 200 pages. I really just don’t want this book to end. I’m happy with the book so far and it’s proved to be such a thrilling read. Very emotional at times and heart racing at others. I was afraid that those little comfortable, heart warming moments wouldn’t be in this book because of the lack of Hogwarts, but they certainly are and they always bring a smile to my face. I’ll be sad when this book is over, but it seems like it will bring closure to the series. Sorry I’ve been avoiding everyone’s blogs but my livebookmarks show the titles of your posts and I can see that many of you have finished the book already 😉 I’ll be by soon, I promise!

In the meantime, my girlfriend’s mom has moved back to New Orleans and her house is a mess. It’s really sad. Her house got damage from Katrina and it was made worse due to problems with the insurance company and her inability to get her checks to fix the house. I feel like I haven’t done enough to help victims of Katrina (despite being one myself) so this is my chance to help someone out who needs it. Yesterday I started getting her yard back in shape and got the front yard looking nice. Today it will be the front garden and I’ll start the back yard. I actually enjoyed doing it. I miss being able to work in the yard. I used to complain about it, but now that we rent a house I actually miss cutting the grass, edging and weed eating. I’m enjoying this DIY stuff.