Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mini-Review: The Mating Season

The Mating Season, by P.G. Wodehouse, is yet another Bertie-and-Jeeves story in which Bertie does something ridiculous that could get him in trouble, and Jeeves has to step in and save the day. In this book, Jeeves is saving him from potential matrimony (the horror!) and a bad reputation. Bertie travels to a country estate in the guise of his friend, Gussie Fink-Nottle, who has been detained by the police for taking a dip in a public fountain after a night of inebriation. The ruse causes assorted romantic mix-ups, of course, and the day can only be saved by Jeeves' dry wit and clear thinking.

The diction in these books is one of my main pleasures in reading them, and The Mating Season was no exception:
Jeeves, in speaking of this Fink-Nottle, had, if you remember, described him as disgruntled, and it was plain at a glance that the passage of time had done nothing to gruntle him.
Fans of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks will probably get more out of that quote than others. :) The Mating Season is a great book, very fun and funny; highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm the other Hepburn

Fun, random quiz found via Kristina. There are only two questions, yet it's amazingly accurate!

You are a Katharine -- "I am happy and open to new things"

Katharines are energetic, lively, and optimistic. They want to contribute to the world.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Give me companionship, affection, and freedom.

  • * Engage with me in stimulating conversation and laughter.

  • * Appreciate my grand visions and listen to my stories.

  • * Don't try to change my style. Accept me the way I am.

  • * Be responsible for youself. I dislike clingy or needy people.

  • * Don't tell me what to do.

What I Like About Being a Katharine
  • * being optimistic and not letting life's troubles get me down

  • * being spontaneous and free-spirited

  • * being outspoken and outrageous. It's part of the fun.

  • * being generous and trying to make the world a better place

  • * having the guts to take risks and to try exciting adventures

  • * having such varied interests and abilities
What's Hard About Being a Katharine
  • * not having enough time to do all the things I want

  • * not completing things I start

  • * not being able to profit from the benefits that come from specializing; not making a commitment to a career

  • * having a tendency to be ungrounded; getting lost in plans or fantasies

  • * feeling confined when I'm in a one-to-one relationship
Katharines as Children Often
  • * are action oriented and adventuresome

  • * drum up excitement

  • * prefer being with other children to being alone

  • * finesse their way around adults

  • * dream of the freedom they'll have when they grow up
Katharines as Parents
  • * are often enthusiastic and generous

  • * want their children to be exposed to many adventures in life

  • * may be too busy with their own activities to be attentive

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Recipe Tuesday: Deceptively Delicious Tuna Salad

Today's recipe comes from Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food, by Jessica Seinfeld. I got a copy a few months ago in a white elephant-style gift swap. The recipes are a little unusual: to prep, you need to puree vegetables, divide them into labeled plastic baggies, and freeze or refrigerate until you need to use them. It's a little time-consuming, but it's nice to know that you're adding that extra bit of vegetables into the recipes. On the plus side, you can't even tell they're in there, which should be nice for you mommies who have picky eaters.

This tuna salad recipe is one of my favorites so far. You could also make it without the puree, if you don't want to bother with it.

Deceptively Delicious Tuna Salad

2 (6 oz.) cans light tuna packed in water
1/2 cup cauliflower puree
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayo
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt (I used less in my 2nd go round; I found it too salty the first time)
1/8 tsp. pepper

Drain the tuna, then mix it with the other ingredients. Voila! Easy, if you puree the cauliflower ahead of time. I served it in a pita pocket with spinach leaves:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mini-Review: Sick Puppy

I read Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen, last year but never got around to reviewing it. I picked this copy up through BookCrossing; it was a wild release I found in a used book store. The plot is classic Hiaasen: Twilly Spree is a well-off environmentalist who decides to teach a litterbug a lesson. He ends up kidnapping the litterbug's dog and blackmailing him to keep an island off the coast of Florida from being developed. There are tons of other crazy characters, of course, and a lot of political intrigue and wacky high jinks. I found this book immensely entertaining; it was my first adult Hiaasen novel, and it definitely won't be my last. I loved the character of Twilly because he's such a contradiction: a rich hippie with a heart of gold...and anger management issues. Highly recommended reading for anyone who's ever had an urge to give a litterbug a piece of their mind.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blog Improvement Project Task 2: Brainstorming

The second task for the Blog Improvement Project is:
Part 1 — Brainstorming Ideas:

* Read the articles above and find a technique that you think will help you brainstorm, then spend some quality time brainstorming.

* Keep track of the topic ideas you’ve brainstormed for a time in the future when you need some ideas.

Part 2 — Blogging Your Ideas:

* Use your brainstormed ideas to come up with a new, regular feature for your blog. There are a lot of memes and stuff out there to participate in, but I think it’s cool when a blogger has a feature that is unique to them. Think about what makes your voice different, then come up with a feature that reflects that. There aren’t any “rules” about the feature — just be yourself.
That second one is actually easier (for me) than the first. One of my original goals was to bring back Recipe Tuesday, which should be pretty self-explanatory (in case it isn't: I post a recipe every Tuesday). I started that back up again last week, and I now have a few RT auto-posts, so that even when I'm at school, they'll still get published on time.

As for the other brainstorm ideas, here are a few suggestions I liked from the articles we were given to read:

Introduce "Random Challenges," revisit a previous post, switch "voices." switch styles, ask your readers a question, and summarize what others are writing. (from 24 Things to Do When Stuck for a Topic to Blog About)

Keep a journal and analyze your results. (from 9 Steps to Better Blog Post Ideas)

The other article dealt with ways to generate blog post ideas, which were also helpful. For the time being, I think my regular memes and book reviews (in addition to the random personal posts) will keep me pretty busy, but I'll definitely use the tips if I ever get stuck for an idea.

Sunday Salon 25 January 2009

Good morning, fellow Saloners! This hasn't been a really productive reading week for me (although I did finish The Last Days of Dogtown and Jane Austen in Scarsdale). I did, however, clean my apartment. I've also been working on my 101 Things list, I started a new diet - and I've already lost a few pounds! The new diet means my next few Recipe Tuesday posts will probably be kinda boring for everyone else, but I've really enjoyed the recipes I've found and the foods I've been eating. After I finish updating and making the blog rounds, I'll be reading The Willoughbys, which I won a month or two ago from Chris. It's a pretty slim book, so I hope I'll be able to get pretty far into it today. I still have several books to review from last year, so I'll be taking a lesson from some other blogs I've been reading a posting mini-reviews throughout the week.


This week's Booking Through Thursday question(s):
Since “Inspiration” is (or should) the theme this week … what is your reading inspired by?
My reading is mostly inspired by authors I enjoy already (Gaiman, Fforde, Austen, Palahniuk, Chabon) and by recommendations from friends and fellow book bloggers. When I was younger, my reading was inspired by my dad - he was a big sci-fi geek (he's the one who named me after a character in Dune), which made me want to read the books he had enjoyed. I just wish he had been around to discuss them with...but reading his favorite books helped me feel closer to him.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Check out btt for more opinions.


This week's Weekly Geeks challenge deals with classic literature. I'm going to talk about question #1:
How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don't get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!
Being an English major, I adore the classics. My favorite classic lit author is definitely Jane Austen. I love the wit and social commentary in her novels, not to mention the romance and happy endings. I also really relate to her and her characters, especially Emma Woodhouse.

One of the best things I did during my undergrad was taking a "Spirit of Place in British Literature" class during the summer. We read a bunch of classic novels set in England, Scotland, and Wales, and then spent two weeks traveling around the country, finding the places mentioned in the books. I loved walking on the Cobb in Lyme Regis (the same place Louisa Musgrove fell in Persuasion!) and climbing Arthur's Seat (where the narrator or Confessions of a Justified Sinner sees God); having read about them beforehand made the experience even better. So my love of classic literature is kind of wrapped up in that trip as well.

Other authors I really like: Dickens (especially A Tale of Two Cities), Thomas Hardy, the Romantic and Lake poets (Byron, Keats, Shelly, Wordsworth, Coleridge), and, of course, Shakespeare.

What about you? How do you feel about classic literature?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Recipe Tuesday: Easy Chocolate Cookies

To celebrate the return of Recipe Tuesday, I'm starting off with some extremely easy chocolate cookies. These are pretty much the same recipe I used for the lemon and strawberry bites in December, but with chocolate. I modified that recipe for my friend Seth; his birthday was last week, and he wanted something chocolate.

Easy Chocolate Cookies

1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 container of chocolate Cool-Whip
1 egg
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips (optional)
powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix the cake mix, Cool-Whip, egg, and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Using a spoon (or your hands, but the batter will be very sticky), drop balls of batter into the powdered sugar and roll them around until they're covered. Place the balls on a greased (or parchment-covered) baking sheet about 1.5 - 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Let them cool on a baking rack, and enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mailbox Monday

This is my first time participating in Mailbox Monday. Every week, Marcia at The Printed Page hosts this meme. I wanted to share this week because I actually got quite a few books in the mail this weekend:

I got a copy of Rock Bottom from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and I won two cookbooks from Bethany: Katie Brown Celebrates and Confetti Cakes for Kids. My copy of Dumbing Us Down also arrived, but after I took this picture. Yay, lots of books!

To be honest, the recipes in Confetti Cakes look a little intimidating, but I'm willing to give them a try. Katie Brown Celebrates, though, is full of easy, yummy-sounding recipes. To celebrate, I cooked the Tomato Bread Pudding recipe that Bethany featured on her site. It is delicious!

I actually just had some for breakfast. Yum...

What about you? Have you received any exciting packages in the mail?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Out of This World Mini-Challenge

Carl's Out of This World Mini-Challenge has us reading sci-fi short stories. Here are the ones that I read:

"The Cold Equations," Tom Godwin
“He didn’t tell you his work was dangerous?”
“Well — yes. He mentioned that, but we didn’t understand. I always thought danger along the frontier was
something that was a lot of fun; an exciting adventure, like in the three-D shows.” A wan smile touched her
face for a moment. “Only it’s not, is it? It’s not the same at all, because when it’s real you can’t go home
after the show is over.”
This story reminded me a lot of the TV series Firefly - space as an unexplored frontier, wild and dangerous. It was incredibly moving. I don't want to say too much about it, for fear of spoiling it for others. It's an intense story about a stowaway on a space ship. That's about as broad as I can get, I think. :) Both Carl and Eva recommended this story, so you know it's good.

"The Nine Billion Names of God," Arthur C. Clarke
Another story recommended by Eva. I liked this one because it has a religious aspect to it. I love when faith and science combine and get all muddled. In this (very short) story, a group of monks use a supercomputer to print out every possible combination of letters that could possibly be the true name of God. I especially like this one as I just attended my first Catholic mass this morning and am feeling extra-religiousy today. :)

I will continue adding as I read more stories.

Sunday Salon 18 January 2009 - Catching Up

Good morning afternoon, fellow Saloners! This week's post will be a little longer than normal, as I'm trying to cram a whole bunch of stuff into one post. I'm also participating in Carl's Out of This World Mini-Challenge, and will need to spend a little time today reading some sci-fi short stories. I already have a few picked out...

First up, I got an award! Laza has given me the Premios Dardo Award!
This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
This is a big honor, and I'm really excited about it. The fifteen that I'm passing it on to are:

1. Ali from worducopia
2. Veens from Giving Reading a Chance
3. Susan from Plays With Needles
4. Eva from A Striped Armchair
5. Nymeth from things mean a lot
6. Care from Care's Online Book Club
7. Andi from Tripping Toward Lucidity
8. Alex from Daemonwolf Books
9. Florinda from The 3 R's
10. Vasilly from 1330V
11. Bethany from B&b ex libris
12. Chris from Book Notes
13. Joanne from Book Zombie
14. Jill from Fizzy Thoughts
15. J. Kaye from J. Kaye's Book Blog

If I missed you, I'm really, really sorry. There are dozens of blogs that I read and love (I just updated my blogroll - check out some of the new arrivals!) but I didn't have enough room to list them all here. Next time, I promise! :)


Next, I'm going to take a page from Florinda and start combining my weekly posts. This means that TSS, BTT, and WG will all be in one post, published on Sunday. Hooray for time-saving! This week's Booking Through Thursday question is:
* What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love?
* Why?
* And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?
My absolute favorite singer/songwriter is Jennifer Nettles. Her song "Casual Dread" (which you can listen to on her website) was the inspiration for this blog's name. I've been a fan of hers for almost 10 years now (!), and although I prefer her older, folky-acoustic rock to her newer alt-country style, her lyrics have always been great. A lot of her songs focus on love and spirituality, and they're all great for rolling down your windows and singing along really loudly.
I also really like the lyrics (and music) of Indigo Girls. (Just so you know, I do listen to more than just Georgia-grown female alterna-folk-rock artists.) They have a bunch of great song lyrics, including "Closer to Fine" ("I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper / And I was free."), "It's Alright" ("It seems easier to push than to let go and trust but it's alright."), "Leeds" ("I crave inertia every move made so I can stop / Whatever this madness is in me spinning like a top on a bed of anxiety / over a deep dark drop down into nothingness into withoutyouness."), I could go on and on. And the music that goes along with the lyrics is just amazing.


This week's Weekly Geeks challenge is a few questions:
For those who have been with the group, either from the start or joined within recent months, what does being a member mean to you? What do you enjoy about the group? What are some of your more memorable Weekly Geeks that we might could do again? What could be improved as we continue the legacy that Dewey gave us?

For those just joining us, why did you sign up for Weekly Geeks? What would you like to see here?
The best thing I get out of Weekly Geeks (beside all the great reading suggestions) is the community and sense of camaraderie. I love the tasks that have us going to new blogs and making new friends. I can't really think of a way that Weekly Geeks could be improved - I'm just glad that's it's still around! My favorite past WG tasks and the ones I would like to do again are: #17 (I want a chance to actually complete this one!), #23, #24 (I liked reading interesting facts about lesser-known authors), and #26.


Finally, I'm going to leave you with a few fun links and one hilarious video:
* Can you name the Weasleys in two minutes? Silly question, I know...
* Free e-books: The Ruins of Gorlan and Coraline
* Obama-ize yourself
* KNiiTTiiNG!!, Wii-style

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blog Improvement Project Task 1: Goal Setting

The first task for the Blog Improvement Project:
* Read some of the articles on goal setting.
* Set some goals for your blog. Think about where you would like to be a year from now, and try to set clear and specific objectives that you’ll be able to measure in some way once we get to the end of 2009.
* Write a post about your goals. If you can think of any, also include ideas about projects or activities that you think could help you achieve those goals.
* Come back and sign the Mr. Linky (image below, it will be a popup) with the specific post you’ve written your goals in.
* Check back to answer questions (if you can), read and comment on other participants blogs, and to see a wrap up post next week of some of the most common goals other participants have set.

I'm just going to keep this short and sweet. My goals for this blog for 2009 are:
1. Complete all challenges (reading and reviewing) that I have signed up for.
2. Create a header and change up the layout a bit - I'd like to get another sidebar on the left.
3. Bring back "Recipe Tuesday," which I used to post weekly when I did cooking demonstrations.
4. Write more posts on the weekends and set them to publish throughout the week, so that I don't have a bunch of reviews going out on Saturdays and Sundays.

That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure I'll come up with more as the year progresses and as I see others' goals.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-01

Weekly Geeks is starting back up again! Today's question:
In the spirit of the amazing community building that Dewey was so good at, tell us about your favorite blogs, the ones you have bookmarked or subscribe to in your Google Reader, that you visit on a regular basis. Tell us what it is about these blogs that you love, that inspire or educate you or make you laugh. Be sure to link to them so we can find them too.

Another option: Reading goals for ’09 and wrap ups for ’08 have been pretty well covered by now on a lot of blogs and other memes. But if you haven’t done this, feel free to make that your first WG of the new year, in addition to or instead of the above.
I love this question, because building community was something that Dewey did an amazing job of. I can't even tell you how many of my blogging friends I met through the previous Weekly Geeks, the Read-a-thon, or just from reading Dewey's book blog.

I prefer to subscribe to my favorite blogs and read them in Google Reader. Feeds are the greatest things ever - I love that they tell me when my favorite blogs have updated. I read so many, it would get really confusing if I had to hop around and visit them ALL on a daily basis. As of right now, I am subscribed to over 100 blogs. Not all book-related, but still. Here are ten of my favorites:

A Striped Armchair - Eva reads some of the most amazing non-fiction and writes great reviews, and now she's encouraged me to broaden my reading with the World Citizen Challenge.

Austen Blog - I love Jane Austen, I love snark, and these ladies introduce me to some wonderful JA para-literature.

bookshelves of doom - I just blogged about Leila last night, but I'm doing it again because this blog is so great. She reads and reviews Young Adult fiction and posts great book-related links about award winners and general funniness.

The Dairi Burger - Speaking of snark...ihatewheat re-reads the Sweet Valley High series and blogs about all the craziness therein. I loved those books as a preteen (being named Jessica and having a sister named Elizabeth, I figure it was inevitable), and reliving them through this site makes me happy.

Geek Central Station - Not necessarily book-related, but I love the little amigurumi figures and general geekery that she posts about.

Giving Reading a Chance - Veens is always enthusiastic, and she's one of the friendliest bloggers I've ever "met".

Neil Gaiman's Journal - I am just a little obsessed with Mr. Gaiman. I love that he blogs about the writing process and answers fan questions, because it makes me feel more connected to his books. I also just enjoy reading whatever he writes. He could write a grocery list and it would probably be the most amazingly spooky grocery list in the history of the written word.

The 3 R's - I lovelovelove Florinda's weekly wrap-ups. She has the most interesting, funny links. She also collects all of her memes (Tuesday Thingers, Teaser Tuesday, Booking Through Thursday, and Friday Fill-Ins) and puts them in the same post, which is a great idea and if I regularly participated in more than just btt, I would totally do it, too.

Tripping Toward Lucidity - Andi posts great reviews (I still need to get my hands on a copy of The Gargoyle!), reminds me about authors that I enjoy but forget to read (Sedaris, Vowell), and she's an English teacher, so you know she's good people.

worducopia - I "met" Ali through a previous WG task and discovered that we had a few things in common. As I've been reading her regularly, I've discovered quite a bit more! We're participating in a lot of the same challenges (including her Diversity Rocks! Challenge) and she's introduced me to some great books.

I have dozens more that I read regularly, and I'm always looking for new additions to the feed. Welcome back, Weekly Geeks! :)

Getting back into the groove...

School started back up this week, so I've been crazy-busy trying to learn all my new students' names, helping the Drama Club get ready for their next one act performance, and just generally trying to keep my sanity. My classes are slightly bigger this semester (no inclusion classes this time), which means twice the papers to grade whenever I assign work. Sigh. I had over 1,000 unread items in Google Reader from this week; I've done a blitzkrieg on reading/commenting and have my fingers crossed that I didn't miss anything important.

As for my challenges...well, I'm much better at the reading than the reviewing part. :) I hit up a used book store a few weeks ago, and I've already made my way through a few YA novels.

Bonus links:
Not to brag or anything, but I got 100% on this logic test. The high school Math flashbacks that came with it weren't as great...
Leila over at bookshelves of doom, one of my favorite YA book blogs, is starting a YA-themed fiction magazine. Click on the link for more info and submission guidelines.

Reviews, Blog Improvement Project posts, and Dream King Challenge updates coming soon - hopefully

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dewey's Books Mini-Challenge: Dewey's Knit-a-Long

Robin is sponsoring the second mini-challenge for the Dewey's Books Reading Challenge: Dewey's Knit-a-Long! From the challenge blog:
Now that the holiday season is over, it’s time for new projects! Help celebrate Dewey’s love of books AND of knitting! This is a mini-challenge for those of us that are honoring her memory by reading the books she talked about on her blog, and who also share her love of knitting! How about dedicating at least one of your 2009 knitting (or other handwork!) projects to Dewey’s memory? Perhaps you would like to knit or crochet some things for a local charity? Or if you’ve never learned to knit, maybe it’s time to learn! (Come on, Chris!)

* Leave a comment on this post to sign up for Dewey’s Knit-A-Long by the end of January, and I will randomly pick one of your names and send you a free scarf pattern, some beautiful NORO yarn, and some bamboo knitting needles for the project.

* Post about your projects on your own blog as you finish them, (or post updates on your progress!), include photos, and then leave a comment on this post each time. I will update this blog throughout the next few months with links to your project updates, with reviews of knitting books, and with interesting and helpful knitting information.

* Please put one of the Knit-A-Long buttons on your sidebar with a link to this post for easy access.

* A drawing will also be held at the end of February, March, and April for more prizes: patterns, yarn (I have some Malabrigo for you sock knitters!), and knitting books!

* You don’t have to finish your project in that time. Just post about what you have on the needles and about your progress! But please keep us updated!

* If you prefer another type of handwork other than knitting…we welcome you, too! Please just make a note of that when you sign up here so that if your name is chosen for a prize, I can adjust it to your preferred handwork materials!
Visit the mini-challenge page for more info and to sign up. I'm not sure what I'll be knitting (or crocheting) yet, but I would like to try my hand at a pair of socks...

The Sunday Salon - 4 January 2009

Good morning, fellow Saloners! 2009 has gotten off to a great start. I'm slowly working my way through all of my challenges, and I've begun my 101 things to do in 1001 days as well. Today is my last day of vacation before school starts up again on Tuesday (we have a teacher work day tomorrow, so my second semester officially starts then), and I plan on spending it curled up with a good book. Several, in fact. I'm just about done with The Last Days of Dogtown - it's such an intense novel, I keep having to put it down and read lighter, happier fare - and I'm also re-reading a few books from the Taffy Sinclair series (by Betsy Haynes) which I found at a used book store and thought would be great for the YA Reading Challenge. I've also been reading What Would Audrey Do? (very sporadically - a chapter a day or so), which is a combination biography of Audrey Hepburn and guide to living with style. I don't feel like I've learned much about style (I think I'm pretty much a hopeless case on that score), but I have learned quite a few tidbits about Ms. Hepburn that I'll be sharing in my review. Whenever I get to it, that is...

One of my goals for this break was to write several reviews. I didn't get to them (yet), but I still want to. So in the next month or so, look for me to post about The Mating Season, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Sick Puppy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Graphic Novel, Austenland, The Little Prince, and An Abundance of Katherines. Whew! The sad part is, none of these count toward my 2009 challenges. Oh, well...

One last (fun) thing: the "What Kind of a Reader are You?" Quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I got this from Beth F. Good times.

Happy reading! :)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Review: Fables #11: War and Pieces

Title: Fables #11: War and Pieces
Author: Bill Willingham
Illustrators: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Niko Henrichon, Andrew Pepoy
Genre: Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Published: 19 November 2008
Collects Issues: 70 - 75
Pages: 177
Rating: 9 / 10
Challenges: Graphic Novels Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge, Sci-Fi Experience, A to Z Reading Challenge
Awards: Fables has won 14 Eisner Awards so far

Synopsis (from the back cover):
Fables Attack! The final battle between the free Fables of the mundane world and the Empire occupying their former Homelands is about to begin, and the scrappy storybook heroes have already managed to even the odds considerably. With his previously unstoppable wooden soldiers neutralized, the Adversary is about to get his first taste of high technology in the form of steel-jacketed bullets and laser-guided bombs. But the ruler who conquered a hundred different worlds didn't do it by fighting clean - and he's still got a surprise or two left to spring on the residents of Fabletown

My review: This was the first book I read in 2009, and I don't think I could have made a better choice. In War and Pieces, the war against the Adversary reaches it conclusion, and I found it very satisfying. The story starts out with Cinderella's clandestine mission to get the upper hand on the Empire; watching Cindy in super-spy mode made me wish she had her own spin-off. It would be just like Alias! And seeing Beauty's confused/enraged reaction to Cindy getting her own mission ("SHE-ONLY-SELLS-SHOES!") is priceless.

The war itself is told through Blue's perspective, and I really felt sympathy for him in this book. He's melancholy because he's been rejected by Rose Red (he has the worst luck with women!) and because being in the war reminds him of the past. He's a key figure, though, because he's able to use the Witching Cloak to keep the front lines supplied and to keep all the bases up-to-date. There's also a scene towards the end that had echoes of Blue-as-Neville in the final Harry Potter book, which made me love him even more.

There's so much to enjoy in this book. The conclusion of the "War with the Empire" story arc, of course, but also the return of some characters and plot points we hadn't seen in a while (Briar Rose turns out to be pretty important, and the zephyrs and magic beanstalk also have parts to play in the war). Prince Charming actually turns out okay in the end, which was pretty amazing. Flycatcher is mentioned but never seen, but after giving him his own story arc I guess that's forgivable.

I highly recommend this book to everyone - Fables is one of my favorite comic books, and this is a an impressive end to a long-running storyline. I'm glad the creators opted not to finish the Fables series with the end of the war, because I love the world they've created and I'm looking forward to more.

Other reviews:

If you've reviewed this book as well, leave a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.

Booking Through Thursday: New Year's Resolutions

Today's Booking Through Thursday question(s):
Happy New Year, everyone!
So … any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all?
Name me at least ONE thing you’re looking forward to reading this year!
I actually have 101 resolutions, because I'm participating in the 101 things to do in 1001 days challenge. Several of the tasks I've chosen involve reading, including banned books, cook books, and craft books. I've also started my own reading challenge, so of course I'll be reading lots of Neil Gaiman this year!

But you don't have to take my word for it. Check out btt for more opinions.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Books Read in 2009


Graphic Novels:
Fables #11: War and Pieces

What Would Audrey Do?, Pamela Keogh

Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris
Drawers and Booths, Ara 13
Jane Austen in Scarsdale, Paula Marantz Cohen
Julie and Julia, Julie Powell
The Last Days of Dogtown, Anita Diamant
Matrimony, Joshua Henkin
Mr. Darcy's Diary, Amanda Grange
Rock Bottom, Michael Shilling
Song for the Blue Ocean, Carl Safina
The Tenth Circle, Jodi Piccoult
Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes
1st to Die, James Patterson


Short Stories / Short Story Collections:
"The Cold Equations," Tom Godwin
"Contents of the Dead Man's Pocket," Jack Finney
"Everyday Use," Alice Walker
"Lamb to the Slaughter," Roald Dahl
"The Masque of the Red Death," Edgar Allan Poe
"The Nine Billion Names of God," Arthur C. Clarke
"The Pedestrian," Ray Bradbury
"The Storyteller," Saki

Young Adult:
Aquamarine, Alice Hoffman
Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway
Bingo Brown's Guide to Romance, Betsy Byars
The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd: Eight Grade Bites, Heather Brewer
The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd: Ninth Grade Slays, Heather Brewer
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, Ally Carter
Dial L for Loser, Lisi Harrison
Enthusiasm, Polly Shulman
l8r, g8r, Lauren Myracle
Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys, Kate Brian
The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Ann Brashares
Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood, Ann Brashares
Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood, Ann Brashares
Taffy Sinclair Strikes Again, Betsy Haynes
Taffy Sinclair, Queen of the Soaps, Betsy Haynes
Taffy Sinclair and the Romance Machine Disaster, Betsy Haynes
Blackmailed by Taffy Sinclair, Betsy Haynes
Taffy Sinclair, Baby Ashley, and Me, Betsy Haynes
Taffy Sinclair and the Secret Admirer Epidemic, Betsy Haynes
The Truth About Taffy Sinclair, Betsy Haynes
ttfn, Lauren Myracle
The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin

Total books read: 20
Total amount to be donated to RIF through The Year of Readers: $20