"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Available Now: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Just Released!!  

Get your copy of this sure to be best seller now 
and continue the story we all loved in Delirium!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (iPad App)

This is a preview of the 15 minute Animated Short Film that won an Oscar last evening.  Cute, don't you think?  If only I owned an iPad!

Academy Awards Night Highlights!

The 84th Academy Awards


Octavia Spencer received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the movie
The Help (she played Minnie).  Woot!  I am so excited for her!  I really enjoyed this movie!

Hugo, the movie, won for Cinematography,
Art Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing,
and Visual Effects.   That's five Oscars!!  I haven't
even seen the movie yet, have you?

Other winners include:
The Artist for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role:  Jean Dujardin, Costume Design, Directing, Music (Original Score).

The Iron Lady Actress in a Leading Role:  Meryl Streep  (of course!), Makeup

Christopher Plummer received the Oscar for Actor in a Supporting Role for his part in Beginners.

Animated Feature Film - Rango.  (I saw this one)

Documentary Feature:  Undefeated

Documentary Short:  Saving Face

Film Editing:  The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo

The origins of the movie Hugo
Foreign Language Film:  Iran, A Separation

Music or Original Song:  Man or Muppet 
(from the Muppets)

Short Film (Animated):  The Fantastic Flying Books   
 of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Short Film (Live Action):  The Shore

Writing (Adapted Screenplay):  The Descendents

Writing (Original Screenplay):  Midnight in Paris (I saw this one!)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In Celebration of the Movie Release: The Hunger Games....

Gearing up for the movie, The Hunger Games, themed product has been hitting the store shelves and displays much like when Harry Potter hit the theatres.  As the movie is set to release March 23, 2012, here is a preview of available items that I saw recently in a bookstore.

The Mockingjay pin.  This is a limited edition pin.

The Hunger Games first novel with movie tie-in cover.

The Hunger Games Tribute Guide

The Hunger Games:  The Official Illustrated Movie Companion

The Hunger Games District 12 Strategy Game

The Hunger Games Jabberjay Card Game

The Hunger Games Bag Clip District 12

The Hunger Games Bandages Tin

The Hunger Games Pencil Case

The Hunger Games Ear Buds

The Hunger Games Tote Bag

The Hunger Games Beanie Slouchie Mockingjay

These items can be found at your local bookstore, i.e..  Indigo books. Check with your store for availability.  (Indigo)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - YA book review

Author:  Suzanne Collins
Published:  2010
Publisher:  Scholastic
pages: 390, including an epilogue
Genre:  YA dystopian fiction
Source:  I bought it
ISBN 9780439023511

My name is Katniss Everdeen.  Why am I not dead?  I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped.  Katniss' family is safe.  Peeta has been captured by the Capitol.  District 13 really does exist.  There are rebels.  There are new leaders.  A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it.  District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol.  Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss' willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem.  To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust.  She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.  (from the cover)

Mockingjay is the third and final volume in the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.  With the movie, The Hunger Games, coming out here March 23, 2012, the urge to read the series beforehand was strong.  I really enjoyed The Hunger Games, book 1.  It was full of action and adventure and a love triangle.  Book 2, Catching Fire, was less action filled but it continued to build upon the story of the districts and the manipulation and control the Capitol exercised freely over the people of Panem.  It was a necessary build up to the climax, Mockingjay.

I was forewarned I may not like the ending...may not be happy with whom Katniss finds she cannot survive without...may not like the violent nature of the concluding chapters.  Ok, I was forewarned.  Yes, it was violent but not gory.  War is violent; there is just no way around it.  The scenes were edge of your seat reading and, guess what .... I was happy with whom Katniss chose.  I shed tears while reading this book, was angered over the senseless deaths of two of the characters, thrilled to see Katniss evolve and come into her own, as she has done a bit through each novel in the series.  Growth in a fictional character should be equivalent to real life persons and experiences.  If she hadn't grown, despite her circumstances, she wouldn't be a heroine.  She wouldn't have the trust and respect of her fellow characters or the readers.  In fact, it amazes me just how strong she is here. Suzanne Collins shares with the reader Katniss' thought processes, her self-doubt, her qualms, and yet, Katniss rises above it all, being the true leader the people need, despite discovering she was being played as a pawn.  This is admirable and a good read.  I was 257 pages into Mockingjay when I just knew I had to buy the entire series.  I had originally borrowed each book in turn but by book 2, I knew it was a buyer!  I didn't finish reading the original borrowed copy, but rather returned it and bought the set for myself and finished reading from my own copy.  I know my daughter will like it too!

Mockingjay is a roller coaster ride of events, danger, joy, sadness, thrills, edge of your seat reading.  In conclusion, Mockingjay sings!

The Finale of the Hunger Games and Thoughts on the Whole YA Thing

I have come to the conclusion, not only of The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, but a final verdict upon the series:  worth a read!!!  As you may recall from my earlier post about The Hunger Games, the first book in the series, I had known about the book long before I contemplated reading it.  After all, I do not consider myself a YA (young adult) fiction fan.  Of late, though, I have read several books in that genre (aimed for that audience) that have changed my mind.  There are some incredible authors out there pouring their heart and soul into some of the very best reads available to a younger audience.  Might I say, the audience needn't be limited to teens nor young adult though.  If you are young at heart, believe in love, believe in the right to fight for what's right, to have values and morals, then YA may be for you.  At least, some of it.  In the last few years  I discovered the world of wizardry in Harry Potter, the surreal fantasy of vampires and werewolves in the Twilight series, the importance of love in Delirium (not that I hadn't already discovered this personally, but finally a book that addressed what a world without love could be like, a world without choice), and a world where a young girl of 17 has the power and ability to change a cruel savage existence under a controlling "Capitol" government by fighting for what she believes in, in the Hunger Games series.  Each of these books, in their own way, reinforces values and morals while doing so in an engaging manner that draws the reader into another world, surreal and impossible, yet in some ways not so unlike our own in the challenges we each face in a lifetime.

I'm not hooked on YA fiction, nor would I consider myself solely a YA reader, but I CAN say that I will not turn away from a YA book so readily as I have done in the past.  If you think any of the aforementioned books are airy without substance, then you probably haven't read them.  Being quick to judge a book based solely on its genre or focused audience, may leave you out of a world that is closer to reality than you might think, excluding you from the incredible experience of sharing in what could be some of the most meaningful writing you may have the opportunity to enjoy.  So here's a bit of a challenge to you, pick up something you never thought you'd enjoy before and give it a try.  I did and I was pleasantly surprised!

Have you discovered a genre, style or book that has changed your perspective of a particular kind of book?  If so, I'd love to hear about it.  

Some great Young Adult Fiction I have enjoyed lately!
Sudden Moves by Marissa Meyer, Delirium by Lauren Oliver,
Sudden Moves by Kelli Sue Landon, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Book Chair - an ingenious decorating solution for small spaces

After watching an episode of Ctiyline this morning, which, incidentally, was a re-run (but that's why I enjoy early morning Saturday tv, so I can watch this program that I miss during the week), I was inspired to look on the internet for ideas on bibliophile decorating.  The segment I saw today showed a framed piece of wallpaper that pictured shelves of books.  Below that sat a chair underneath which was stored two stacks of, you guessed it, books.  If you receive/buy Style At Home Magazine, you will see the inspiration for this segment, Trendspotting, in the March 2012 issue.

So, in my search for inspiration, I came across this photo of a book chair which is rather ingenious. Between the Covers: Tattered Cover Book Blog shared this photo courtesy of flavorwire.com.  Isn't this a unique idea?  

Does this inspire you to include books in your decor or as a small space decor solution?

For more inspiration on decorating with books see ten beautiful ways to display books from Style at Home magazine.

Indigo Kids Presents: The Lorax

IndigoKids Presents: The Lorax
About this event:
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is coming to the big screen and we’re getting ready for the fun! Join us in celebrating this great classic with a special storytime, activities and more!

Participating Indigo and Chapters locations across Canada
Contact your local store for details.

Saturday, February 25th
1:00 pm

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Making of a Bookclub (as generously shared by Sheila of Book Journey)

Are you a member of a book club?  If so, how well does yours work?  I belong to one which has been started, stagnated and then started again with me as the administrator of sorts.  (I use this term loosely.)  It seems like the group starts off excited and ambitious but then people just sort of drop off.  In my search for ideas, I asked Sheila at www.bookjourney.wordpress.com for some ideas as she has been a part of a long-standing book club that has sooooo much fun!!  She wrote a wonderful blog post in response to my query.  (the title of this post is the same as the title of hers)  Drop by and say hi, won't you.

If you have a chance, watch The Jane Austen Book Club.  I watched it recently and really enjoyed the dynamics of the small group that comprised the book club.  The whole idea rotates around the Jane Austen books of which the club reads one a month and then gets together to discuss the book, with food!  It seems that food really makes a book club, especially if it is themed to match the book.  

Do you have any tips or fun ideas you'd like to share here?  Please, share away!  I'm dying for more fun!

CBC Books - Charlotte Gill on winning the B.C. National Book Award

CBC Books - Charlotte Gill on winning the B.C. National Book Award

Little, Brown To Publish J.K. Rowling's First Novel For Adults

booktrade.info - Book Trade Announcements - Little, Brown To Publish J.K. Rowling's First Novel For Adults

Here's exciting news for fans of author J.K. Rowling, author of the famous wizarding stories, Harry Potter: just announced, J.K. Rowling will be publishing an adult novel later this year with publisher Little, Brown. Book title and publication date is yet to be announced. I don't know about you, but I am beyond ecstatic to read this news!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Titanic 2012 Reading Challenge aka Feeding an Obsession

I admit it!  I am obsessed with all things Titanic!  When a book comes in at work that is related to this topic, I simply must leaf through it to determine if it must be added to my collection.  Yes, I did say collection.  Though not extensive, it comprises about a shelf of a book case.  That doesn't include the Titanic model I built and painted a few years back.  Sadly it has seen better days and is missing a smoke stack.

While perusing some of my favourite blogs today, I discovered Miss Remmer is like-minded and is hosting a Titanic Reading Challenge which you can read about and join here.  The fun begins in April and continues for the entire month.  If you are a Titanic obsessor, why not join us?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry - book review

Coming Up For Air
Author:  Patti Callahan Henry
Published: August 16, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 272
ISBN-10: 0312610394
ISBN-13: 978-0312610395
Genre:  Fiction (chick lit)
Source:  a copy was provided for this review which in no way influenced my opinion of this novel.
Available at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and local bookstores.

Synopsis and trailer as previously mentioned on this blog may be viewed by clicking on this link.

My Review:

An interesting quote dons the back cover of Coming Up for Air:  "Love.  Maybe there should be a hundred words for that one word.  It seems too complex a thing to write in four letters.  We have it; we don't have it.  We need it; we lose it.  We win it; we want it.  We weep for it; we let it go."

That is Ellie's life, really, and it mirrors her mother's own life with remarkable accuracy.  They both loved young.  Lost their loves, but never really lost the love.  Married another.  Her mother closed off her heart.  And this is where they differ.  Ellie saw this in her mother and she didn't want to live the same way, with a closed heart.  Ellie wanted to love, to be loved, to feel love and feel loved.  In her marriage, she recognized it wasn't like that.  She was unsure of her husband's love;  he manipulated through emotions, his words mean, then soft.  Opposites.  Ellie felt herself closing up.  Until the day her dead mother's journal was discovered, then Ellie saw the woman her mother once was.  So vivacious and caring.  Her activities that she had kept secret during the 60's came to light and Ellie discovered her mother's secret love, a name unknown, but there he was.  "This is the year He will love me."  Ellie's mother participated alongside this man, actively fighting the cause of desegregation.  But his name was never made known.  The more Ellie came to know her mother, through this journal, the more she understood herself and the more she desired  to know what it was she really wanted in her life.

Ellie needed to escape the bone-crushing thing that her marriage had become.  Her trip to the seaside cottage of her mother's best friend, is the beginning of understanding of both her mother and herself.  She finds the parallels in life at the sea side with her own life.  When she joins in a "Jubilee", we see how Coming Up For Air, came to be.  How this singular phrase summarizes the feelings in Ellie's own life.

When the conditions are right, the wind just so, the water temperature right, the moon a crescent, a Jubilee can occur.  It is when oxygen is depleted in the water depths and the shrimp, the fish, and the crustaceans fight for the surface, coming up to the shore for air.

"Each creature was in total disregard for the others.  They, each and every one, were fighting for oxygen and attempting to leave their life-giving bay to do so."
 "All they're trying to do is come up for air."
  "All of them - the shrimp, the flounder, the crabs -- they're all coming up for air.  Somehow, for reasons that take a scientist to explain, the oxygen level at the bottom drops too low and everything rushes to the surface." (page 83, Coming Up For Air)
Patti Callahan Henry writes an emotionally charged novel of love, secrets, loss and finding of oneself in her novel, Coming Up For Air.  With finesse, she captures the mood, the memories, making the characters come alive within the pages, encapsulating you in their stories.  I really enjoyed this novel.  Coming Up For Air is a lovely summer's read for the beach, easy to pick up and difficult to put down.  Much like the memory of a gentle breeze as it blows in off the ocean, a single breath of which carries a myriad of scents and sensations, Coming Up For Air lingers fondly in your mind and in your heart.

Some Favourite Quotes: 

“There are nights when the places and spaces in a life shift, disassemble, and then reassemble in the sliver of time between moments, between seconds. There are people who enter or reenter a life, who touch you or laugh with you in the middle of a jubilee, in the midst of nature's sacrifice, so that your life couldn't be the same even if you wanted it to be so.”

  • “Sometimes a voice can change a heartbeat.”
  • “And sometimes to forget the bad parts we have to forget the good parts.”
  • “Crossroads. We all have them, and they are so often seen only in hindsight.”

A Note From Michael Palmer, Author of Oath of Office

Thank you again for your support and feedback of OATH OF OFFICE. I wanted to let you know that I will be donating a percentage of the book’s pre-order sales (hardcover and eCopy) to The Food Project, a great organization near my home that is engaging youth in social and personal change through sustainable agriculture.  I deeply admire this organization, as their mission directly addresses the unpleasant realities of our food system, which was a main theme in OoO (Oath of Office). 

I would love your help in spreading the word about this among your friends and following. Every person who pre-orders the book will also receive a signed bookplate and will be entered to win the Grand Prize: a personal phone call from me to them or their book club.
In order to track entries, I am asking readers to post that they have pre-ordered the book on my Facebook page, or by tagging @michael_palmer @TheFoodProject and #OathofOffice on Twitter. You can learn more about why I support TheFood Project and find more information about the initiative on my Facebook page.
Warm regards, 

**Pre-order NYT best-selling Michael Palmer’s 17th medical/ political thriller OATH OF OFFICE and support The Food Project, a great organization in Eastern Massachusetts supporting youth through sustainable agriculture. Learn more about the initiative and how to get involved:  http://on.fb.me/zya842

Strombo | Hello? Is It Books You're Looking For? | CBC Television

Strombo | Hello? Is It Books You're Looking For? | CBC Television

Innovation combines phone booths and books. Would it work in your area?

Friday, February 17, 2012

There is a Monster at the End of This Book!

This is such a cute story and a childhood favourite of one of my co-workers who kindly shared the story with me.  Not every child will have the luxury of having Grover read it aloud, but I bet you can do a pretty good imitation now, can't you?

Oilers Team Member Shares the Love of Reading

Defenceman Ryan Whitney read to the Grade 1 students at
Lauderdale School yesterday to launch the Edmonton Oilers
Community Foundation's "Share A Book" program. 

Book Lovers Ball Fashion Show

If you missed Book Lover's Ball 2012, you can watch it here.

Check out the 3:04 mark for the Red Means Run inspired designs!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - book review

To Kill a Mockingbird
Author:  Harper Lee
Published: originally published 1960 by J.B.Lippincott Company, this edition published 2002
Publisher:  this edition published by Perennial, a division of HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 323
Genre:  fiction/historical
ISBN 9780060935467
This edition is a "perennial classic"


The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. 

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature. (from GoodReads)
This is my second time reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and it was just as engaging and emotion wrought the second time around.  Since it has been a number of years between readings, I had forgotten some of the details and outcomes of certain situations and found myself genuinely aghast at a particular outcome and equally happy at another, feeling it was justified.

To Kill a Mockingbird is told from the point of view of young "Scout", Jean Louise Finch, a tomboy of a girl more comfortable in overalls and bare feet than a dress.  The setting is Alabama and segregation is everywhere.  The Finch household employs Calpurnia, a black lady who acts as maid and caregiver for the children but who is really as valuable a part of the family as those born into it.  Atticus Finch is a lawyer assigned the case of a young black man accused of raping a white woman.  

When his daughter asks Atticus Finch if he was defending a Negro and why, this is Atticus' response:

After confirming that he was defending a man named Tom Robinson, Atticus said, "Scout, you aren't old enough to understand some things yet, but there's been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn't do much about defending this man.  It's a peculiar case--it won't come to trial until summer session...."

When Scout asks Atticus why he is defending Tom he said, "For a number of reasons.....The main one is, if I didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this country in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again."


"Because I could never ask you to mind me again.  Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally.  This one's mine, I guess. "

This is but one example the author uses to show the nature of Atticus.  He is honourable and upstanding and compassionate and it takes the entire book for young Scout to realize these traits in her father and to see the society she is growing up in as less than ideal.  She is a fighter, but as she matures as much as a child of seven odd years can, she learns to use her head more than her fists and she learns about honour, family and equality for all.  (Scout was six as the story began. The story takes place over three years.)

As the case develops,  it is soon known that things are not as they seem but some people turn a blind eye just the same.  At this time in history it is almost unheard of for a black person to see real justice, though Atticus does all in his power to make the truth be known and to defend not only legally but physically and verbally, his client.  

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win," Atticus said. [when Scout asked why he was trying to win the case while it appeared that it wouldn't be possible]

It is sad to consider that this book was once banned from schools and libraries.  Perhaps the individuals who wanted it banned did not read it for To Kill a Mockingbird was ahead of its time in promoting equal rights for all and the value of one soul is no greater than another.  To have the opportunity to read and to study To Kill a Mockingbird, is a privilege.  For a book that raises the question of racism and addresses the issues through the eyes of the innocent child, is certainly a book that I would encourage all people to read, particularly young people.  Atticus teaches his children the value of a human life.  I wish all would learn the same lesson.  This world would be a better place for it.

Rated 5/5

About the author:  [Nelle]"Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, where she attended Huntingdon College and studied law at the University of Alabama.' (back of book)  She is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and other literary awards.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - book review (YA/adult)

Catching Fire
Author:  Suzanne Collins
Published: 2009
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
ISBN 9780439023498
Pages: 391
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Source:  borrowed

Rating:  4/5

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Catching Fire is the fiery second book in the trilogy of The Hunger Games.   Split into three parts, beginning with a recap of The Hunger Games and the ensuing victory tour; the second part leads up to the Hunger Games "The Quell"; and the latter portion of the book is the Games themselves, Catching Fire takes off right where The Hunger Games left us.

Catching Fire is not so action packed, not until the last third of the novel, really, but it is not a boring trip to the games this time around either. To recap, in the first novel Katniss and Peeta, the two tributes from District 12, are the winners of The Hunger Games.  It is the first time two winners have made it to the end, and this only due to some manipulation of the Capitol and the Gamekeepers with threats made by Katniss, and secondly Peeta, of the death of them both.  It is allowed but a price must be paid for Katniss' defiance. In a mandatory television broadcast, an announcement is made....
"My mother gives a faint shriek and Prim buries her face in her hands, but I feel more like the people I see in the crowd on television.  Slightly baffled.  What does it mean?  Existing pool of victors?
Then I get it, what it means.  At least, for me, District 12 has only three existing victors to choose from.  Two male.  One female...
I am going back into the arena." (page 173)
Thus, The Quell is announced.  The living victors from previous years' Hunger Games are forced to relive their horrors in yet another life and death competition, and this means Katniss and Peeta must return to the arena.  We have already read half the book by the time this is announced!

In Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta are a year older, a year wiser, and we see Katniss develop as an individual, as a woman and as a potential leader.  The author takes the time for some character development, which is noted in the growth we see in Katniss, though Peeta still remains a bit of a vague person.  We know of his love but we don't really get a good look into his psyche, to see what makes him tick, what his true strengths and beliefs are.  The plot is strong and well thought out, though not so action packed as the first, The Hunger Games.  More time is spent developing the story line, showing the tension of the people, the effort of the government to maintain control.  Plot building..... Catching Fire is more about the people than the games.

Leading up to the games, threats of rebellion against the controlling government of the Capitol are throughout the districts, consequently armed patrols invade the districts and there is no leeway on any rules.  Rather than quiet the rebels, though, a great and strong current of unrest continues to rise up.  The mocking jay is their symbol, it is Katniss' token, and the people look to Katniss as the face of the rebellion.  The people of the districts want Katniss to win the games again.  To be their victor, to be their champion of the people.  The games are on again.  Who will win this time?
“The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol’s plans. The symbol of the rebellion.”(page 386)
Suzanne Collins authors another powerful novel in Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series.  She manipulates the environment, the mood, the plot masterfully, weaving in subplots and new characters while maintaining the hold she has on the readers' attention.  It is hard to put down, though not so difficult as The Hunger Games was (probably because The Hunger Games was so action-packed).  Catching Fire ends with a lovely little cliffhanger, just to keep the reader excited and eager to read the next book in the series, Mockingjay.  Which I will pick up next.  

Stay tuned for the upcoming review!

PS  rumours have it that Catching Fire will be in theatres in 2013!

Reader warning:  suitable for junior high (middle school), high school and adults due to mature themes of violence

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Release: I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Released today, February 14, 2012, and available in bookstores near you, is Sophie Kinsella's new stand-alone novel, I've Got Your Number.  See the trailer below:

Happy Valentine's Day Book Lovers!!

Today is Valentine's Day and I dropped heavy hints to my dearest that I'd love a little something special from my favourite second hand bookstore.  Well, it turns out he is a very good listener and indulged my whim....

I had already opened and shared some of the goodies inside, kisses and hearts, before I decided to take photos to share here.  They were yummy and look at this cute mug!  Never Without a Book is a little second hand bookstore near where I live that I like to frequent every so often.  I know, you are thinking, she works in a bookstore, isn't that enough?  Well, no, frankly.  When books are your addiction and you can wander amongst stacks and shelves of gently used books and visit with a cat or two while keeping company with the friendly owners, of course it becomes a part of your life.  I do love new books but I also enjoy the scent of gently used and previously loved books too.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! Did your love for books play a special role in your Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Link Up With My Bookshelf

For my blogging friends, new and existing, I have now included Linky as a means to follow this blog.  If you are a WordPress blog, you know that as of March GFC (Google Friend Connect) sponsored by Google will no longer be available to blogs that are not Google Blogger.  Therefore, to make following me and this blog easier, I have included a Linky follower section on the right hand side panel.  You can sign up with Linky at www.linkytools.com to set up Linky for your blog.  Once you are in the system, you can follow any blogs of your choice that are Linky capable.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Best Selling Author Jeffrey Zaslow Dead at 53

Author Jeffrey Zaslow was a columnist with the Wall Street Journal and author and co-author of a few books, one of which I am currently reading, The Magic Room.  He passed away February 10, 2012 in a car accident wherein he reportedly lost control of his vehicle on a snowy highway in northern Michigan and collided with a truck.  Jeffrey Zaslow is survived by his wife, Sherry Margolis; three daughters, and his parents.  You may read the complete article from the Wall Street Journal here:


Saturday, February 11, 2012

We Bought a Zoo - books to movies

Directed by Cameron Crowe; starring Matt Damon (Benjamin Mee), Scarlet Johansson (Kelly Foster - the head zoo keeper), Thomas Church (Benjamin's brother), Colin Ford (Dylan), and Maggie Elizabeth Jones (Rosie).

We Bought A Zoo, which premiered in theatres December 2011, is based on the book of the same title written by Benjamin Mee.  We Bought a Zoo is based on the real life story of the Mees who, in the movie, desperately needed a change after Benjamin's wife Katherine, died of cancer, leaving him with a son and daughter to care for.  In the movie, son Dylan is 14 and the daughter, Rosie is 7. Each is coping in a different manner, but it is Dylan's frequent school suspensions and his disturbing art work that convinces father, Benjamin, to seek another place to give everyone a fresh start.  Thus, when real estate hunting, the home they find and Benjamin falls in love with is actually on zoo property.

Different obstacles become apparent, both human and animal, but Benjamin is not a quitter and we, the viewer, admire his tenacity.  His family needs this dream and he is determined to see it to fruition.  The funny thing is, as life goes, those things that seem like obstacles, often are the very things that help us heal.

There is a lovely scene that is so endearing, the scene of Rosie all tucked in bed, literally buried beneath all her stuffed toys and the father/daughter talk that follows about capturing Mommy's spirit and keeping her in your heart, all of which Dylan hears while standing outside the door, tears running down his cheeks, to match my own.  Yes, this is a bit of a tear jerker for the sentimental of heart.  You just have to love this little girl who, with her sweet innocent childlike affectation, announces at the hardware store, "We bought a zoo!"  Her enthusiasm is contagious!  

The entire film is a scenic treat, complete with rolling hills, a grizzly, tigers and wildlife in abundance.  Though the original story is in England, the movie version is in Southern California, United States, which I thought at first would be a deterrence for me, but the setting is perfectly chosen and conducive to Rosemoor Wildlife Park (Dartmoor Zoological Park)  Quoted from the Dartmoor Zoological Park site: "Set in 33 acres of beautiful woodland with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, Dartmoor Zoo is a unique, family owned zoo with a fantastic collection of animals including the widest variety of big cats in the south west of England.

Formerly known as Dartmoor Wildlife Park, the zoo was purchased by the Mee family and following major refurbishment work, reopened in July 2007 as Dartmoor Zoological Park. The story of those early days can be found here. It was also captured in the BBC documentary, Ben's Zoo and in Benjamin Mee's book, We Bought a Zoo which has been published in over 20 countries. In the Hollywood adaptation of We Bought A Zoo, Dartmoor Zoological Park becomes, "Rosemoor Wildlife Park" set in California."

Great quote from the movie:
Benjamin Mee: "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."

Screen Rant reviewed this movie and included a viewer poll that of 735 voters, 53% gave it a five star review, 33% a four-star rating! I concur! We Bought a Zoo is a buyer for your DVD/blu-ray collection.  (Releases April 3, 2012 in the USA)

*note: In the memoir, Katherine dies a few months before the zoo opening, after her brain cancer returns.  By this time, the family have already been making strides to reopen the wildlife sanctuary in the English countryside.  

The memoir, We Bought a Zoo, was published by Doubleday Canada (trade paperback ISBN 978-0385666213).  We Bought a Zoo is available in bookstores near you, at Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble, Indigo.ca (in both trade paperback and hardcover ISBN  978-0385666213).  Also available as an audio book and an ebook.

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