Come Read We Have Always Lived In The Castle!

No seriously…come read it with me!! Heather has somehow convinced me that I’m capable of leading the Classic Reads Book Club in their fourth quarter book discussion! I really don’t think she knows what she’s gotten herself or the club into :p Not only have I never really taken place in a book club but my leadership skills are lacking. But I’m totally up for a challenge. But I can’t do this alone!! I need people to come join in for the read along and…let’s be frank here…make me feel like I actually know what I’m doing.

Since I’m leading the book club, I got to pick the classic that we’re reading too! And I wanted to pick something spooky since we’re now in the autumn season. For years now I’ve wanted to read Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle. It seems to be a perfectly haunting novel and I know very little about it. Aside from that it’s creepy and dripping with atmosphere. I purposely know very little about this one as I’ve made it a point to avoid spoilers! I also picked something short as I know that as autumn approaches, life begins to get busy as the holidays approach and for those with kids, kids activities pick up!

So here’s what I’m thinking the reading schedule will look like for this one:

October 18th – 24th: Read and Discuss Chapters 1&2

October 25th – 31st: Read and Discuss Chapters 3-5

November 1st – 7th: Read and Discuss Chapters 6-8

November 8th – 14th: Read and Discuss Chapters 9&10 and Wrap Up 😀

Hope that sounds good to everyone. I’m actually super super duper excited about this and I hope that there’s at least somewhat of a response to this :p I think it would be a lot of fun to talk about this with everyone. Like I said, I really don’t even have the beginning of a clue on how to host a book club :p So me as the host of this will be very collaborative and conversational. I hope that even if you’ve read this one before you consider coming over over to the Classic Reads Book Club Blog to consider joining us for our discussion of this fantastic sounding novel 🙂

Bad Bloggers – 9/27/10

Let’s just get right to it, shall we?

1. The Gift of Therapy by Irvin D. Yalom – I just love the title of this book so much. And it’s such a neat looking little book. I may just start reading this one now as my nonfic read. It’s divided into over 100 very short chapters of advice to therapists from who I consider to be one of the modern masters of therapy. Really looking forward to this one. (Paperback Swap)

2. White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick – This looks like PERFECT RIP reading. It’s a “gift” or maybe a burden from Darren at Bart’s Bookshelf :p For winning (or losing) his bad bloggers game. I would’ve gotten this one anyway because of him, so he’s getting the blame for this one 😉 Point for Darren! (Gift from a friend)

3. Passion by Jude Morgan – Yeah, I went and requested this one from Paperback Swap before Ana had even reviewed it…She couldn’t stop talking about it and it sounded REALLY good, so I just knew it was one that I’d have to have. I’m surprised I’ve stayed away from it this long. Can’t wait to dive into it. Point to Ana. (Paperback Swap)

4. Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue – I actually nearly bought this book so many times before I started blogging. I read a book by Susann Cokal called Mirabilis which I absolutely loved and have been trying to get people to read ever since 😉 And this book seems to have come up as a recommendation all the time. Well then I went and read Room by Donoghue and knew I had to read more by her…so I got this one finally. (Paperback Swap)

5. Peter and Max by Bill Willingham – The first Fables novel!!! I’m surprised that I held off so long to actually get this one, but I did! I’m also surprised that I got this absolutely pristine copy from Paperback Swap. It’s brand new! I wouldn’t have even heard of this had it not been for Kelly (Kailana)…so she’s getting a point for this one! (Paperback Swap)

6. The Bells by Richard Harvell – Ok…unless something goes horribly wrong with this one, I think it’ll be one of my favorite books of the year. Or maybe just one of my new favorite books. Books like this just rarely come along and I’m just loving it so much!! It’s simply gorgeous and heartbreaking and horrifying and atmospheric. Perfect. It’s set in the 17th century and it’s about a young boy who falls into the care of monks after being raised by his deaf mother who is in charge of ringing the bells of their village. Bells that are so loud that no one else can stand to be near the sound of them. His voice is so beautiful that he is taken into the choir at the monastery where he’s made into a castrato singer. I heard about this book on the Diane Rehm show on NPR and had to get it after hearing an interview with the author. And like I said..I’m so glad I got it…Point to Diane Rehm! (Bought it)

7. French Milk by Lucy Knisley – I’ve actually had my eye on this one but wasn’t fully convinced that I wanted to read it despite some glowing reviews from well trusted readers….but then Andi raved and raved about it and had an AMAZING interview complete with illustrations with Ms. Knisley herself. And I caved. Can’t wait to read it now! Point to Andi! (Paperback Swap)

8. Life Artist by Ali Edwards – This is a special book 🙂 Never thought that I’d own a scrapbooking book, but it’s so much more than that. Debi sent this to me, and I’m so glad that she did. It’s all about capturing your memories in a creative way. And about embracing the creativity that you have no matter how big or small it is. Just being you. And it’s such a treasure of a book. I wanted it as soon as she told me about it. Thank you so much Debi! You’re getting a point for this one 😉 (Gift from a friend)

9. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff – SO excited about this one. Mostly for the cover, but definitely for the story inside too :p I was immediately drawn to this book for the cover…isn’t it just cool and sinister? I first heard about this book from Amanda who read an ARC of it and I just knew that I had to have it right away!! So I preordered it! And it has finally arrived 😀 Now the question is…when will I have time to read it along with all of these other books :p Point to Manda! (Bought it)

10. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy – Oh dear….this book and the next four books ALL came to me as gifts from Pat!!!! Can you believe that PAT sent ME books?? Yes, she would be the one that you see in the comments of my bad bloggers posts saying she can’t believe all of the books that are coming into my house :p And now she’s sending me books. But she sent me books that I’ve been wanting to read all because of her! Like this one!! OMG I’ve so been wanting to read this book! Point to Pat!!  (Gift from a friend)

11. The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes – My first take on this one was “I’ll pass”….but then I held the book in my hands and saw the cover…and read more about it…and now I’m fully intrigued. And am actually pretty excited to read it! Yet another point for Pat! (Gift from a friend)

12. Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – I’m more excited about this one than any of the books that Pat sent to me!!!! I’ve been DYING to read this book ever since Pat first reviewed it. I didn’t even know that Zafon wrote this book until she reviewed it. It just looks so damn good. Can’t wait to dig into it 😀 Point to Pat! (Gift from a friend)

13. The Dracula Dossier by James Reese – I don’t remember all that much about this one. I remember Pat reviewing it vaguely, but don’t remember all that much about it…but it sounds really good! (Gift from a friend)

14. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – Now I DO remember this one because it’s another one that I put on my wishlist because of Pat 😀 And I just can’t wait to read it now! I swear it was like Christmas when this box came in the mail. Another point to Pat. (Gift from a friend)

Saturday Farmer's Market 9/25/10

Ah Saturday! All the better this Saturday because it’s the first day of a three day weekend for me and I’m off to see the Saints crush the Falcons tomorrow in the Superdome! AND it’s a lovely rainy day here in New Orleans and following this rain we’re supposed to have a cool front. A taste of autumn maybe? We’ll see! Though of course that only means highs in the mid 80’s for us, but we’ll take what we can get. But we’re here to talk gardens, right?

The only sad thing going on in my garden right now are my green onions 😦 They’ve been attacked by the damned army worms…they ate ALL of my green onions all the way down to the bulbs 😦 Which means that I now have NO green onions left. I found 5 giant army worms in the pot of green onions and stomped all of their nasty green guts out. I hate those things so much!!!! I wish they would go away 😦 I hate that they found my house. The rest of the garden is doing great though. Here’s what things look like:

1. What you’re looking at here is a little tiny bitty seedling of a lemon tree!! So excited about this 🙂 I’ve always wanted a lemon tree, so I decided to just stick some lemon seeds in some little pots of mud and see what would happen. They’ve been sitting in there for about a month now and I was about to just give up on them, but then I noticed this morning that this little sprout was out!! Made me so excited!!! So in a few years, I may just have some fresh lemons off of a tree :p Plan of following it’s progress :p

2. My insane flower bed is coming to life. Well sort of…there are little sprouts popping up! As I told you previously, I’ve sprinkled about 8 or 9 different types of seed in this fairly small bed. I’m thinking it’s going to be some sort of beautiful disaster. That’s my name for this…the beautiful disaster flower bed. We’ll see how it turns out! Can’t wait to actually see the flowers in bloom!

3. I have bell peppers!! I have bell peppers!! Like 8 of them growing right now!! And they look beautiful. Seriously guys…I’ve been waiting since May for bell peppers. I never thought I’d be so excited over freaking vegetables. But this is what this is all about, right? :p I can’t wait to cook with these!! I love the taste of bells.

4. My tomato plants are looking absolutely beautiful and so healthy. So much better than my spring and summer plants did. I really think that autumn is going to be an awesome veggie season for me. I have a total of 6 tomato plants in the garden right now. The one on the left is my roma tomato plant and it already has the beginnings of flowers on it. In fact, three of my plants have flowers already.

5. This is the new garden bed and I just love it so much!! I don’t know what it is about this garden, but I just think it looks so nice and organized 🙂 And I love the bean poles 🙂 Yeah…we’re going to have green beans coming out of our ass. I have a total of 36 bean plants planted :/ A mix of rattle snake beans, bush snap beans, and provider beans. And there are two plots of basil, two tomato plants…that back row that’s sprouting up are turnips and right in front of the turnips are carrots which you can’t really see but they are sprouting. This is my first attempt at root veggies and it’s great fun 😀

6. And here’s a view at the whole shebang. At least the two main garden beds…there’s the whole side bed too which has my flowers and black eyed peas and the pots too…but these are my main beds. I’m just having such fun with this this year.

Head on over to Heather’s blog and leave your link to your gardening, sustainable living, farmers market, or foodie book posts!!

Wolf Moon by Charles de Lint

The sleepy monster is starting to take me over, so this will likely be a short review. But not because it was a bad book and I don’t have anything to say!! On the contrary, I absolutely loved it…I just wanted to get my thoughts up because it’s been 5 days now since I finished it.

What I will say is that this is probably my least favorite of the de Lint’s that I’ve read so far. But that’s like saying strawberry is my least favorite ice cream flavor…it really doesn’t mean much :p I just love Charles de Lint’s writing so much and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. As I said, it’s my least FAVORITE. This is the story of a werewolf and a harper. But in this tale, Kern, the werewolf is the good guy. We meet him as he is being chased by a creature called a Feragh who is summoned by the music of a harper. After being attacked and thrown into a river, he washes ashore in his human shape by a local inn where he is taken in by the innkeeper’s niece, a girl by the name of Ainsy, and her cousins.

Kern feels safe here…loved, even – an emotion that he has not known in years. But he’s afraid to show the residents of the inn who he truly is, a shapechanger…a wolf, for fear of rejection. And things are going well until the harper arrives in town and risks everything that Kern has come to appreciate in his new life.

As I said, I really did just love this book….de Lint creates characters that you just fall in love with from page one. As soon as you meet them, you feel like you’ve known them for years and that’s what I’ve always loved about his work. Another thing I love about de Lint’s novels is that he makes magic seem so real. The fantastic nature of his books seems so possible as you just fall into and get lost in his worlds.

Perhaps what I enjoyed more than anything about this book was the theme of acceptance. The theme of having a secret…of not fitting in..of being different and being scared that others won’t accept you just because of who you are. Because of something that you can’t change. De Lint says at the end of the novel:

I…thought it would be fun to read a novel in which the noble, magical harper turned out to be a cad, while the fearsome, monstrous werewolf was actually a pretty nice guy. I suppose it was the beginning of my interest in writing about marginalized people – outsiders, if you will.

As is usually the case when I want to read something, but I can’t find a published version, I wrote the story myself to see how it would turn out.

And it turned out just right, in my opinion 🙂

Curious George Is Really Beastiality Porn

That’s what I’m waiting for next….that kindergartners shouldn’t read Curious George because the man in the yellow hat really has the hots for George and does bad bad things to him behind closed doors. When I first heard about what’s going on with Speak, I admit that I didn’t think I was going to post anything on it.  Not because I didn’t care, but I thought there would be so many posts on the topic as was evident by the #speakloudly tag on twitter that what would my post matter. But then I read the article that Wesley Scroggins wrote that stirred up this controversy. And I realized what an idiot he is. And that since his article has been written, Slaughterhouse Five has already been taken off of the curriculum of schools and Twenty Boy Summer is up for review. Is Speak next?

My rage started with the first words out of Scroggins virtual mouth:

my review of the eighth-grade sex education curriculum revealed that children at the middle school are being introduced to concepts such as homosexuality, oral sex, anal sex and specific instructions on how to use a condom and have sex.

Notice his FIRST and foremost concern is that kids are being taught about the HORRORS of homosexuality!!!!!!! Oh dear holy Jesus no! Instead, we should probably be teaching these kids that homosexuality is an abomination and something that you should feel horribly guilty about and repent for so that we can increase the suicide rate even more and assure that any gay kids that ARE in those classes live horrible lives. And of course be sure that the straight kids know to ridicule the gay kids. *end sarcasm* What is WRONG with people???? Being gay is no more a choice than any other factor that you’re born with. Thoughts like the ones that this asshole provokes is what leads to just more and more hatred and prejudice in our country. And he does it all in the name of religion. Love that. And I’ll note that on the day that I discovered this, what made me smile more than anything today were two men who broke the guiness world record for world’s longest kiss with such a positive vibe surrounding them. No negativity like this.

And THEN he goes on to talk about the “dangers” of sex ed…about teaching kids how to use a condom. Yes, I understand that it’s scary to even THINK about teens having sex, especially if they’re your children. And not every teen is going to go out and hook up with everyone they see, but I GUARANTEE you that some teens are going to have sex. That’s a guarantee…not a guess. And I think it’s much more wise that they know how to use contraceptives than not. But Mr. Scroggins doesn’t…oh no no…that’s certainly not a good idea…this isn’t either. Here’s another idiotic statement:

“Sex education curriculum in the fourth grade includes topics on reproduction. Is this what parents and taxpayers in this community want their children exposed to in school? Is this how taxpayers want their tax money used?”

Really Mr. Scroggins? I doubt that they’re flashing giant picture of erect penises and women spread eagle on the big screen in fourth grade classes. I recall knowing in fourth grade that I wasn’t delivered by the stork. And I think that’s a good thing. I would like to think that most parents wouldn’t mind their child knowing where babies come from by fourth grade. This is life!!! Reproduction is a BEAUTIFUL thing!!! It’s amazing what our bodies can do!!! Why do people have to turn something like reproduction into a horrible sin? Oh the horrors! Don’t utter the words penis..vagina…sperm…egg…uterus..all BAD BAD WORDS!!! That type of ignorance CAUSES horrors Mr. Scroggins. And I haven’t even gotten to the most horrifying part of your article yet. When we’re afraid and ashamed to talk about our own bodies, that’s when silence begins. That’s when hurt and pain begins. When misunderstanding begins. And you misunderstand so many things.

“In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography. One such book is called “Speak.” They also watch the movie. This is a book about a very dysfunctional family. Schoolteachers are losers, adults are losers and the cheerleading squad scores more than the football team. They have sex on Saturday night and then are goddesses at church on Sunday morning. The cheer squad also gets their group-rate abortions at prom time. As the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes.”

With this statement you just disgust me more than anything. I’m being honest with my emotions here. You disgust me and hurt me and you have no idea just how many people you have hurt. To equate a book about rape with soft core pornography is just ignorance. I sincerely hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you or no one that you know ever have to go through this. And god help you if someone you love has because they’ll never feel comfortable talking to someone like you about it. They’ve lost that support if they ever had it.

First of all, children are never required to do anything. I’m sure a parent can say that they would not like their children to read that book. We don’t live in the book 1984, though you’re trying to put us there by doing the same thing you claim others do…forcing schools to BAN books. Speak is not about sex for fun with teens and group rate abortions and loser school teachers and all of the other stupid things you mention. But you know what? THOSE THINGS DO HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE!! It’s time to accept that! Speak is about RAPE. Hence the title. A girl who can’t speak for herself. A girl who can’t speak for herself because of people like you! People like you who silence her and make her feel ashamed and belittled. Like she’s nothing but a piece of trash that belongs in some kind of horrible softporn film. “Alone with a boy who is touching her female parts”?! And you make this out to be PORN?! Did we read the same book???

One good thing came out of your article and that is the outcry of outrage. That is the multitude of voices that are SPEAKING now! I’ve read stories of people coming out about their own rapes. I’ve read all sorts of LGBT activists posts because of your horrendous thoughts. And I’ve read posts that cross between the two. What you have done is nothing but display your ignorance.

Keep Speaking World…Speak Loud…Be Heard..

Saturday Farmer's Market – 9/18/10

As always, the wonderful Heather is hosting Saturday Farmer’s Market and I’m giving you my weekly roundup of what’s going on in the garden. My garden’s going through a big change this week! I don’t have that many pictures to share this time, but thought I’d give you just a play by play on what’s going on. Sadly, I do have this picture of what has happened to my sunflowers:

Yep, they were all drooping and dying and their petals were shriveling up and sadly, they weren’t producing any seeds 😦 So up they came and they’ve now all been composted. I was really sad to see them go. They were such a beautiful addition to the garden. I don’t know if I’m going to do the big sunflowers again next year. I may just do the smaller ones that I used for cut flowers. They produced some really beautiful colors, lasted longer, and the bees absolutely loved them!! But here’s a list of what else is going on in the garden:

  • In place of the sunflowers, I’ve planted a whole bunch of flower seeds! I’ve decided that the little 7 foot bed where the sunflowers were will be a permanent little flower bed for bright splashy flowers. Now, the flower bed I planted may be a total disaster since I literally just sprinkled shit loads of seeds there :p But hopefully it’ll be a beautiful disaster and they all don’t just choke each other. I sprinkled seeds of black eye susans, chamomile, zinnias, coreopsis and calendula. I have some cosmos, echinacea (white), love lies bleeding, and hollyhock seeds on the way too! It’s going to be a CRAZY flower garden :p But I like beautiful chaos.
  • The black eyed peas are still doing beautifully, but I think there time is coming soon. We’re slowly starting to run low on pods on the plants. I’m hoping they’re done by October, because I plan on using the bed that they’re in to plant some seeds of spinach! It’s going to be my little spinach garden.
  • My pepper plants are still doing wonderful! In fact, the jalapeno plant is giving me so many jalapenos that I decided to stuff some today! I just mixed some cream cheese with chives, onions and bacon and stuffed jalapeno halves and baked them at 375 for about 25 minutes. Talk about good!
  • The tomato plants that I had bought awhile ago were looking REALLY bad! I think they had blight. So they came up today and I planted 4 new plants that looked much healthier…so those got added to my two other plants, giving me 6 different varieties of tomatoes growing now! We have, creoles, better boys, celebritys, early girls, romas, and solar fires. Can’t wait to see them all!
  • When I ordered my flower seeds from an etsy seller, she sent me a sample pack of rattlesnake beans! Which are a type of snap bean that are green with purple stripes. I did some research and they’re supposed to grow well down here and have a great sweet taste to them. And the beans themselves are gorgeous. So I planted a bunch of them! They’re a pole bean, so today I built teepees for them out of 6 foot bamboo rods. Love the way the garden looks with those in them 🙂
  • And I think that’s about all the news :p Aside from little things like my turnips seem to be doing great as are the basil that I planted from seed and the carrots are coming up too! Ooooh, and I have another little white eggplant growing and I thought that plant was done!

So what’s going on in your garden?? Click on the link above to let Heather know so that we can all know too!

Wishing Some Books Would Stay Books

You know, I almost hate saying “some books should stay books” about this one, because I truly loved the Swedish movie version of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s brilliant novel Let The Right One In (my review). If it had never been a novel prior to being a movie, it would be one of my all time favorite films. But knowing the novel and having loved it as much as I still do, I had a hard time not taking some issues with it. I think anytime you’ve fallen in love with a novel, you’re going to have some issues with movie versions of it. But even having said that, the Swedish version was good…even though they cut the novel to shreds and took important stuff out….but I’ll shut up about that.

But NOW they have the AMERICAN version coming out! And for some unknown reason, they had to change the freaking title to Let Me In, set it in New Mexico, change the names of the characters from Oskar and Eli to Owen and Abby, and give Oskar (erm, I’m sorry, Owen) brown hair and a normal skin color instead of his pale skin and blond hair. Oh, and the gender issues that were only alluded to in the Swedish film seem to have just completely disappeared from this version from everything I’ve read. The reviews so far say that this is a very good movie, but still, it takes more away from Lindqvist’s original novel.

I think the brilliance of his novel was that it WASN’T just another vampire story. He went places that others didn’t. He scared the crap out of me but not with traditional horror. Instead he scared me with the horrors of what WE are capable of, not vampires. This movie seems to turn the tables on that. I read one review (of the movie) where someone said they sympathized with Eli’s (Abby in the new movie) caretaker who is a child molester in the book. There’s more to him than that, but it’s a part of who he is. I’m just trying to figure out what the hell they did with his character in this new movie….

And what saddens me more than anything about having my favorite novels made into multiple movies that don’t stay true to them is when I do an Amazon search for them and they get further and further away from people being able to find the BOOK. When I searched for “Let the Right One In”, the first result was the DVD of the Swedish film. The second result was the Bluray. The third result was Lindqvist’s novel which has now been RENAMED Let Me In with the movie cover as it’s cover. Bummer…

Will I see the movie? I don’t know. Probably not in theaters. I may see it when it comes out on DVD out of curiousity to see just what they’ve done with it, but I can guarantee you that even if it’s a brilliantly made movie like the Swedish one, I’ll be left angered by what’s been changed. So it is with these things….

This post is cross posted from Tumblr.