this is part two of my march project. part one can be found here
Day Seventeen:special treats - For a special treat or reward, try meat sticks,DONE!!
this is part two of my march project. part one can be found here
Day Seventeen:special treats - For a special treat or reward, try meat sticks, hot dogs, dehydrated meats, or deli meats. Some cats also like a bit of Cheddar, cream cheese, or butter. And there's always the simple act of opening a can of tuna that can trigger ecstasy.
maggie has never been into people food, with the exception of thanksgiving leftovers
but we'll give it a try! i was eating duck soup
so i thought i would give her a little nom
look at those monster toofums!
maybe she would also like some shrimp
she ignores to the left
she ignores to the right
NO MEANS NO!
how about some carrot?
more duck as a reward
maggie enjoyed this part of the project
Day Eighteen:cat eye level -When your cat is in her favorite crouch, get down beside her and observe the world through her eyes. Share your observations.
observations: from this angle, things look soft and fuzzy but i don't get to see her sweet angry face, although i AM in a good position to kiss her little ear. not sure how this is supposed to make her like me more, but it's pretty cozy at least!
Day Nineteen:boing, boing! - Wrap pipe cleaners around a pencil in a spiral shape to create springs. Slide off and depress them so they "boing" to your cat.
i never did get the hang of the "boinging," and at first i was worried this was going to be another photo montage of maggie staring balefully at stuff on the ground and waiting for me to clean it up
she sniffed a couple, as anything new that is brought into the house gets sniffed as part of the "is it mine and can i eat it?" assessment
she sat on a couple
and there was some desultory swatting
but then it was like, "now what? does it come in a food version?"
i tried to demonstrate how fun it was to play with pipe cleaner springs
she was unconvinced
no? not exciting enough?
time for my secret weapon!
oh, NOW it's fun and delicious
'cuz sometimes you gotta cheat a little. BOING!
Day Twenty:me! me! me! - Don't shoo Kitty away when he jumps up and plants himself on the paper you're trying to read or the computer keyboard. He is putting himself in your line of vision, signaling that he wants your attention, so give him a loving rub or pat and a little conversation.
i give her all of those things and also built a damn instagram around not shooing her away when i'm trying to read, because this is always happening
oh, by all means flop over to cover more surface area - why confine yourself to the verso when you can also have the recto? (LGM)
Day Twenty-One:christmas every day - Save big cardboard boxes - like the ones so prevalent around the holidays - and turn them into your cat's new hideout and jungle gym. Throw in a soft blanket and a treat and you've just created a cat heaven.
here is absolute proof that maggie is sabotaging this project. i figured this one would be the easiest one of all. LGM. i gathered many boxes
and within minutes, she came over
and smelled them
and marked them with her scent
and then ... she went over and slept on the bed
so, how is this proof of her messing with me and my goals?? well, i left those boxes there for two full days and she never once clambered into any of them. and yet every other box that has ever been in this house has lasted about 22 seconds before being full of maggie
even when it was comically small
or comically large
maggie just wants to ruin ms. kaufmann's career
Day Twenty-Two:waterfall - Turn on the tub faucet or the showerhead and let your kitty watch the water. For some cats, this is high entertainment, and perhaps a cool drink of water.
'OCCUPIED!!' poor maggie - never a moment's peace...
Day Twenty-Three:ear love - Give your cat a good ear scratch. Hold your hand around the ear as if you were holding a golf ball. Move fingers in and out to ensure you're rubbing around the entire ear. Repeat the motion on the other side.
do i hold a golf ball differently from most people? this didn't seem to do much; the white noise of love where she was neither delighted nor dismayed and pretty much just slept through it. also not the most exciting photographs, although i tried there at the end. meh. the perfect hump-day post, i guess.
Day Twenty-Four:daily workout - Play with your cat every day for at least 10 or 15 minutes. Physical activity exercises Kitty's mind as well as her hunting skills. If you're gone for long periods of time, make sure interactive toys are at your cat's disposal.
lord knows i try. you've seen me try! the only "toy" or "activity" maggie enjoys is ribbon, and sometimes she even finds that tedious
she is aware of toys, but would rather stick her face in the lot of them and fall asleep
or play with the bag the toys i bought her came in
ignoring both fun catnip toy and kitten bed to nap in a plastic bag
no matter how many toys i toss her way
she remains aloof. the only reason that chipmunk is there is because that's where it landed when i tossed it. she's not a fan of fun, although she does enjoy a strenuous game of ribbon before a nap.
Day Twenty-Five:cat burrito - Calm an anxious cat by wrapping him in a towel burrito-style. This technique can also come in handy when taking him to the vet, brushing his teeth, or trimming his nails. Or whenever you want a dose of cute.
i decided to go with the "whenever i wanted a dose of cute" option. and i used a nice soft blankie instead of a nubbly towel because i actually like my cat and want her to be comfy. okay, and i also took some liberties with how a burrito is rolled. basically, i just tucked her in like a baby.
over the course of the day, using different blankets
and then sweetening the deal by adding that heating pad
there was purring
Day Twenty-Six:biscuits for you! - Observe your cat making that kneading motion (known as "making biscuits") that they learned in kittenhood to stimulate the flow of their mother's milk. Imitate that motion on the scruff of her neck, or other sweet spot, when she settles down for a nap. wait for the purr.
and reader, there was indeed purring. for once. i love this cat.
Day Twenty-Seven:paper cutouts - Fold a piece of construction paper in half and then in half again. Cut out little triangles and circles at the fold, elementary school-project style. Unfold the paper and shine a light through the cutouts so they make a pattern on the wall. Move the pattern around for a wall-based constellation show just for Kitty. Reward your cat if she "catches" a spot of light. A tickle under the chin while exclaiming "good girl!" or a little treat will complete her hunt cycle.
now our home is like laser floyd!!
she liked it more when stars-on-walls transitioned into GIANT LASER POINTER, but the photos are mostly too dark and blurry for goodreads. but here's one:
and happy easter!
Day Twenty-Eight:salon time - Brush your cat daily while repeating, "who's a pretty kitty?" in your most affectionate, gentle voice. It will keep the hair balls and mats to a minimum and deepen the cat-person relationship.
i have two brushes for maggie:
one for soft soft soft brushing:
and one to really get in there:
like most things maggie-related, brushing frequently ends in swatting and bloodshed.
Day Twenty-Nine:-there's no business like show business - Practice your best Ethel Merman impression by belting out favorite show tunes for your cat. Kitty will enjoy the stimulation and won't object if you're off-key.
oh, i sing to maggie all the time. and as you can see, she LOVES it:
Day Thirty:wrapped for me? - Give Kitty a present: Leftover tissue paper from a gift makes the perfect curiosity.
i set down the paper and waited for her midmorning nap to be over
at first, she was very unimpressed:
eventually, she gave it a try
and allowed me to give her a tissue paper makeover
a reward for both of us
Day Thirty-One:floppy cat - When your cat goes boneless directly in your path, she needs a little attention. This is the perfect time to reward her with her favorite kind of petting - behind the ears, under the chin, even on the stomach, if that's her thing.
an anticlimactic ending, but i have run out of room here AGAIN, and i wanted to take the opportunity to say 'thank you' to everyone who came along on this wonderful journey before i get cut off. i have many photo-outtakes from additional things i tried from this book so maybe i will post those later in the year, for a different monthly project, but for now maggie would like you all to leave.
this book reminded me of the best garfield book ever: Garfield: His 9 Lives, which was basically authorized garfield fanfic, taking the reader throughthis book reminded me of the best garfield book ever: Garfield: His 9 Lives, which was basically authorized garfield fanfic, taking the reader through his past incarnations, all with completely different styles of artwork, many of which terrified the crap out of me when i was just a little kid.
good lord. goosebumps, still.
this one is a little less jarring, since i didn't have to watch the death of a beloved cartoon character again and again, but it still has its moments of subdued horror.
this is a book about a talking cat. but it doesn't take place in a world full of talking animals - this is our world, and burma is a one-of-a-kind deal.
he is now on his 9th life, and he decides it's time to write his memoirs. however, just because he can talk, it doesn't follow that he can also write - he is stuck with these little cat paws with their little toe-beans and all.
so he hires a ghost-writer - allison breaking of the blog BREAKING NEWS (groan) to write it for him. he does not tell her she will be writing the memoirs of a cat before he imports her from america to london, but he does warn her over and over again that she may be alarmed by his appearance, to the paranoid consternation of her friend reggie, a london-born girl with whom allison is staying.
but once they meet, the cat's kind of out of the bag (!!), and after some "should i or shouldn't i??" allison decides to embark on the project.
she had been warned of the unusual nature of the situation, yes, but she had not been warned that burma was quite so eeeevil, having used pretty much each and every one of his former existences to try to take over the world. because he is a cat, and they appear lazy, but are secretly ambitious:
This is going to sound arrogant, and maybe it's just because I've always been different, always an outsider, the only talking cat, but for my whole life, for all of my lives, I've always felt superior. And there's no sense in being superior without exercising that superiority.
burma has been around for millennia. i'm not really sure how cat-lives work, but i guess when one of their lives is finished, they get to scoot forward in time to a different significant period and carry on from there. as such, burma has seen WWI, met audrey hepburn, and served napoleon, each time a different breed, but with the same basic goal.
he also got to be bayonetted, drowned, eaten by dogs, beheaded, etc.
so - some wins, some losses.
and if you have been paying attention, you have already come to the conclusion that no cat with such a history of world-domination attempts is gonna slack off in his last go-round. so, all the while he is dictating his life to allison, he is also mobilizing a cat-and-human army to try for the gold one last time. conspiracies, assassins, doubles and disguises - a whole criminal underworld at burma's beck and call.
it's a fun little book - the only part i hated was the james bond-interlude. a little cringe-y, and definitely not as interesting as his other lives.
but, like all books, this one came to an end. and like many comic books, it ends with what feels more like a pause than a coda. so, maybe there is more to come, or maybe this is just a standalone with a weakish ending.
but it's about the machinations of a talking cat. worth a read, right?...more
even though i have come a long way w/r/t my feelings towards short stories, i still have trouble writing reviews for them. i have written re3.5 stars.
even though i have come a long way w/r/t my feelings towards short stories, i still have trouble writing reviews for them. i have written reviews in which i have painstakingly reviewed each individual story, but that is such a pain in the ass, because sometimes certain stories in a collection will just leave me cold, and once you've committed to that structure of a review, it's like "AARRGGH what was i thinking?"
and that is why i am not going to do that with this book. this book is a collection of 6 years worth of stories, and while they can loosely be grouped into an overarching stylistic similarity of "dark fantasy," they take on a number of different forms, lengths, and styles, some of which i really responded to and some which just left me a little flat.
the stories are loosely gathered in groupings designated by the parts of a house: the vestibule, the library, the attic, the den, and the cellar. and while some of these stories do in fact slot tidily into these groupings; for example - three of the stories in "the library" segment feature books in some way, some of them are less bang-on obvious. i speak exactly two words of german: das unheimliche, which of course means "uncanny," but more importantly, "heimliche" means "homely," so the truer meaning of the word is something like, "that which makes us uncomfortable in the place where we should be feeling most comfortable." and that's what many of these less-obvious stories do. while some of them do feature haunted houses or houses haunted by memories, troubled relationships, spiders, the past - some of them are just about discomfort within our supposed comfort zones: family, friends, work. the familiar rendered unfamiliar, and a little creepy.
but knowing what you know about me. do you know? have we met? i am coming out of a long held "short stories? bluck!!" stance and while some of these stories didn't work for me, i can't be trusted, so you're on your own.
so - brief summaries only, and make of them what you will
first sentence is aces. hahahaaha!! DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?
Soelle got kicked out of school for killing one of her classmates.
actually - the whole first paragraph is pretty good, and sets up the entire collection nicely:
Soelle got kicked out of school for killing one of her classmates. They couldn't prove she actually did it, which was why she received an expulsion instead of a murder charge, but there was no doubt among the faculty that she was responsible. Soelle told me she didn't care if they kicked her out or put her in jail. She just wanted her tarot cards back.
basically, a spooky little girl with powers who is having an adverse effect on reality while her older brother/guardian tries to protect her and simultaneously protect the town from her.
this one touches explicitly on the whole das unheimliche theme when a character is confronted with a tree in full autumnal splendor despite all the surrounding trees having succumbed to winter bareness:
It's hard to explain why the tree frightened me so. I think it was what it represented. A place where it was always autumn. There was something unnatural about the idea. Unnatural. Un-nature. The tree was something that shouldn't be. It was a tree out of time. A living monument that shouldn't exist, and yet at the same time couldn't be ignored.
it's more of a quietly haunting story rather than a scary one. unsettling.
this one is probably my favorite. ancient malevolent forces and a very hungry man. a good build and a satisfying resolution.
lovecraft tentacles/zombies/mutations. like This is Not a Test in the "boredom of the apocalypse," parts, but also its own thing. an escalation of dread. and tentacles.
A Night in the Library with the Gods
haunted books. this story, like many of them, has a stephen king feel to it. or that x-file episode blood:
another one i really liked. a neat premise: exorcism by babysitting
The Dark and the Young
moar magical books. this one is way more sci-fi-ish, so i liked it significantly less than the other one, even though it is like 4 times as long. it's good, but it's got that thing that makes my head hurt. i have never read lumley, but this one reads the way i always imagined lumley would read. feel free to tell me i am wrong.
this one is good- it reads like a folktale or song. i could see nick cave writing a ballad based on this.
this has a little callback to autumnology, and another iteration of the theme of "home."
"There's a writer who said you can't go home again. He was only partly right. You can go home again, but when you come back you find out home isn't home anymore. It's just a place where you used to live. It's lost something,but you can't tell what it is. It's like an itch that you can't scratch."
frankly, i am mystified by this one. the tone is suitably creepy, but i have no idea what the hell happened. this is like a meaner giving tree. and a little bit like this movie:
The House on Ashley Avenue
similar to the nanny in that it is a more traditional haunted house story. this one might be my favorite, actually. it's a perfectly encapsulated little tale, with a solid ending.
The Rifts Between Us
sci fi and a short story? brother - you are going into this with two strikes against you. this is how i feel about most sci-fi - great ideas but the execution bored me to death. this one had what i feel was a particularly inelegant info-dump. which i think is my general problem with sci-fi.
this is a very short story about a lake monster in which no one has intercourse with a lake monster, which is a change from most of the lake-monster lit i have read.
NO - THIS ONE!! THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE STORY!
it kind of reminded me of that amazing stories episode - Thanksgiving even though it is nothing like that episode except in terms of unexpected sources of secret wishes coming true.
i don't know why i can't seem to stop comparing these stories to completely unrelated things. but this is my path, now.
this is a clever idea, and a treat for film geeks and fanboys. i enjoyed it, especially the sad trombone ending.
this is pretty cute. slap some illustrations in here, and you got yourself a very marketable children's picture book. i would buy it
where sci-fi meets spiders. this would also have been a fun episode of amazing stories. or to make myself sound about five years younger: tales from the crypt. or creepshow. no, that makes me even older. damn. but it's good - a little nod to Charlotte's Web, but with more dead bodies.
It looks like a Philip Marlowe novel exploded in here, observes one character. that is my take on it as well.
another teeny tiny one, but the length works for it. more of a sensory piece than anything, but the sense is good and spooky, like that first episode of walking deadwith all that hospital-confusion before it just turned into a show about people talking endlessly.
these family secrets are worse than your family secrets
dreamy childhood story more about wonder and innocence and that loss than anything truly ghostish. a haunty feeling without any true haints.
another one with an effective atmosphere, but that i don't really get. like wood, i liked it without really knowing what it is about, really.
and that is my review!!
i would definitely read more by this author, especially if the next book is a full-lengther. and is about cats....more
so all you motherlumpers who didn't listen to me when i squeeed all over Niceville when i reviewed it last year are going to be SO EMBARRASSED! becausso all you motherlumpers who didn't listen to me when i squeeed all over Niceville when i reviewed it last year are going to be SO EMBARRASSED! because the sequel is coming out, and it is a legitimate squee-quel, better than the first!!
it is such a "me" book that i am too blinded to even know who else i should recommend it to. and by "it," i mean niceville, because if you attempt to read this one before you read that one i will slap my keyboard and pretend it is you.
i mean, it's your life to live and you make your own choices, of course. just don't make dumb choices. the book does a good job of dropping details from the first book in little expositional nuggets, but they are mostly for the people like me, who have read a book or two between this one and niceville and they are more like bread-crumb reminders than stand-ins for you aforementioned motherlumpers. you do it your way, you are going to miss a lot. you do it my way, and hopefully you will have the same reading experience as i had, and you will feel lit up from within with satisfaction in a well-told tale.
here are some tags for you: southern gothic, canadian author, crime fiction, ghosties, historical flashbacks, eeeeevil child, afterlife-intervention, beware the deer, bone baskets, mysterious disappearances,crimes both white-collar and otherwise, fantastic courtroom scene, drill-torture, mental asylum, mysterious reappearances, gorgeous elderly archivist, a mayaimi indian gigolo,assassins,sharpshooters, high-speed highway chase, hostage situation in a fortified survivalist store,and very hungry cats.
ohhhhh, it is my kind of delicious.
the action in this book picks up right after niceville ends, and from there, there are some time-jumps, but it mostly follows chronologically in a shortish span of time.
niceville is the kind of small town that inhabits the sleeping brain of david lynch. on the surface, it is all scenic and quaint, with its little trolly rolling through the historical district by antebellum houses and weeping willows, and a vast lake, steeped in native american lore. oh, but there is a darkness roiling unseen, and the borders between here and after-here are porous.
and on top of the supernatural presence, there is also good old human crime. one crime in particular, which has consequences that spiderweb out into four or six additional crimes, keeping the various law enforcement agencies very busy indeed.
and with all this going on, it still manages to be funny. frequently. which is something i just love, when it is successful - a book that can be creepy one moment, and then crime-thrillery, and then making me laugh all in the span of a few pages (or screens, because i am so modern now) the chapters are on the shorter side, and they all have huge-font, evocative titles like: what the military term "vertically deployed into the terrain" actually means and zero to sixty in four point three is good but sixty to zero in one is not. it is definitely a book that holds your attention.
apart from the haunted carnival fun of its plot and pacing, the characters are so very good. and nuanced - there are characters that you would expect to hate, like charlie danziger. but i just couldn't stop myself from having a soft spot for him, long before the scene with mavis where even the most cynical reader has to forgive him. and you cannot dislike a character named lemon featherlight. you think you can, but you can't.
there is definitely space for a third book, here. i'm not sure if he is planning on going for it, but in the introduction, there is the following quote:
"I hope Mr. Stroud, having had so much fun writing Niceville, listening to his people give him terrific dialogue, is writing a sequel or another one like it."
and who can argue with elmore leonard? there are such mixed reviews for niceville on here, leaning over to the negative, it must be told, that i want to be very careful about recommending it, because i guess people don't like books where there are a lot of converging storylines where awesome stuff happens. and some people like shows where people sing all the time. so, people are strange, but i loved this book, and that's the best i can do for you....more
gather round, urban fantasy-romance fans...the rest of you can go do something else. or maybe you should stay,to** NOW WITH ALL-NEW MUSICAL CONTENT!**
gather round, urban fantasy-romance fans...the rest of you can go do something else. or maybe you should stay,too. because i never would have thought to classify myself as an urban fantasy-romance fan, having never read one,(because i don't think Life Guards in the Hamptons: A Willow Tate Novel counts? ) but i liked this one a lot, so one never knows, does one?
take a risk in 2013.
i'm glad i read this one. it is a fun story with likeable characters, good action scenes, and it is genuinely funny in places. i particularly liked the relationship between kailey and her mother; it was touching without being treacly, and even though the book is primarily a fantasy-world adventure story, this relationship definitely stood out for me as the strongest writing. which is probably just my fantasy-inexperience talking; for me it is easier to be affected by things i can hold onto, emotionally, than towards things that are more surreal.
so, basic plot-stuff: kailey lives in south side chicago, where she has just survived a brutal assault by a creature not of this world. she is slowly recovering, physically and psychologically,but the world around her is changing. strange creatures are being seen around town, and there have been other attacks on humans. kailey has a terminally sick mother, a high-maintenance best friend named amber, an excellent akita named kioto, and a deep and abiding love of tea.
on an evening out with april, meant to be a "back in the saddle empowerment" outing, kailey meets an old man who gives her a gift. and then things really start rolling.
it turns out, there is another realm, called renhala, and select people are able to travel freely between the two realms. kailey learns that she is one of them, and has many as-yet undeveloped powers. which is an awesome thing to find out after you have been attacked and left for dead. way more empowering that a night out in heels.
but recently, evil elements from renhala have been slipping into our world, and kailey has to discover her powers and fight the bad creatures with the help of some good creatures. including:
a greble, which by its description i kept picturing like this:
a pregnant ceetchan, which is like a raccoon:
because there isn't much that is cuter than a baby raccoon
unless it is bunches of baby raccoons:
a wood sprite named jenna:
and, of course, some handsome gentlemen. you can insert your own images for them.
as far as the baddie things that come creeping, there are meeples, which are like cute little bunnies:
but bunnies who will kill you
and pixies, which are kinda like this:
and mooncats, which are seductive and sexy sentient cats.
so, like, the opposite of that. they can go either way, in terms of whether they will help you or kill you. they are renhala's wild cards.
there are other creatures and humans, as well, but i grow weary of GIS. fun fact: you can GIS any phrase in the world, and the odds are good that one of the results will be angelina jolie.
as for the romance elements... well, i am like a little kid. i am always watching the movies waiting for the close-up makeout scenes to end so we can get back to the killing. this is not an erotica-romance, by the way, so there is less for me to giggle over, but it does have a love triangle, and those of you who like that sort of thing will probably find it very engaging. i will just say that i would definitely have chosen the other fellow. no contest.
so, yeah, for me to have read a 430-page book outside of my genre-preferences, and NOT feel bored or confused at the end of it all, and to feel annoyance at the cliffhanger ending (reader-annoyance, not angry-annoyance), well, that is saying something. if you're looking to get into the genre, or are already into it, check it out. i have no idea how it stacks up against others of its kind, but i enjoyed it, so there's that.
**so, naturally, the fact that kailey is a "karmelean" had me singing this to myself the whole time. and considering one of my first crushes, after admiral ackbar, was on boy george, i think we have figured out why traditional romance novels just don't do it for me. ...more
this was great stuff, seriously. i liked Burden Kansas a scootch more because - come on - vampire western, but this one is great and manages to shudde this was great stuff, seriously. i liked Burden Kansas a scootch more because - come on - vampire western, but this one is great and manages to shudder the reader with the horrors of "the hoarding lifestyle," compound it with an additional layer of grotesquerie in the form of supernatural parasites, and have it all wrapped up in this short and tightly-packed novel.
piles on sofas and beds that make the furniture useless, homes that have to be navigated by narrow "goat trails", stacks of paper that are "churned" but never discarded...
but it is mostly books, for me. and that's okay, right?? because when i read a book like the hoard, i realize just how much worse it can get, in terms of hoarding. garbage and newspapers and cats and their feces everywhere, plumbing unusable, floors rotted through...i am nowhere near this level. and yet at the same time, i understand this character: raised up poor, learning never to waste anything, finding clever uses for objects other people would see as "junk" because she has had to become creative in her poverty. and it is easy to get out of hand. and ryker manages to make the situation horrifying, but the character sympathetic. and that is tricky business.
like all the best works of horror, this one takes an already-scary situation that we can understand,like hoarding, and adds something to it that makes it even more chilling and awesome - in this case - a creepy parasite that'll get in ya and transform you into a violent host for your new blood-based organisms, and make you wanna burrow down in a warm dark smelly place until you pop and set all your "babies" free.
and he makes it work. i wholeheartedly recommend this author to you if you are looking for something good in the modern horror genre. because i have spent all october reading "spooky" books, and this one is one of the best. i will read anything this guy writes, forever.
thank you so much for such a wonderful stack of birthday books! and for somehow creating a paperback editio okay first things first: (((elizabeth)))!!!
thank you so much for such a wonderful stack of birthday books! and for somehow creating a paperback edition of this book to go along with my paperback of the first book. i could only find hardcover editions listed online, and i like my books to match. and now they do.
so last week, i tore through varjak paw so i could get on this one. it is also illustrated by dave mckean, and is another dark little tale of littlecat survival in a bigcat world.
in the first book, varjak paw was taught physical fighting skills by the dream-vision of his famous cat ancestor. in the sequel, he learns how to fight a mental game - the psychological tactics that keep a cat alive in a tough world.
because this time, the stakes are higher. sally bones, the super-creepy one-eyed cat who knows the same ancient fighting secrets as varjak, is taking over the city: she and her gang are barging into territories and intimidating the non-gang cats into giving them food and slowly forcing them into smaller and smaller free-zones where they are allowed to live and try to sustain themselves. "pussies," you scoff, "why don't they fight back??" oh, because sally bones' gang is big and strong and if she doesn't like you, she will have them rip off your ears and your tail which is pretty damn badass, as far as creatures without opposable thumbs go. bad kitty!
so, yeah, it's pretty dark. but varjak has a motley "gang" of his own, with a dog and a classroom while he sleeps. so he's going to be okay. but some of the cats around him, cats that he considers to be friends... there will be consequences. i really like that this isn't a sweetie-pie story where all the good fluffy kitties are okay and all the nasty kitties get punished. there is a little of that, but it is still a little tougher than a lot of middle-grade fiction.
this book is nearly twice as long as the first one, and the cast of characters is much bigger and more developed. i assume he is finished writing these, because this one came out in 2005, and there hasn't been another since then, but i really hope he chooses to revisit these characters, because i think this could be a successful series, if someone could keep the damn things in print!!
and again with dave mckean - there is no better choice for an illustrator for this book. nicely done....more
huh. i had never heard of this kenneth oppel fellow, but i guess he's some big deal in YA publishing. i have so much to learn.
i liked this book very m huh. i had never heard of this kenneth oppel fellow, but i guess he's some big deal in YA publishing. i have so much to learn.
i liked this book very much. but more important than my enjoyment, this is going to be a great book for reluctant boy readers. that's a big problem in the world of educators and librarians: "why won't the boys reeeeead??" and from where i'm standing, i get it. most of the YA stuff is all girls girls girls. and although there are some fantastic books for boys, i have read a bunch of them, there need to be more, all the time, to keep up with all the unicorn hunters and vampire love triangles that may as well be push-up bras and powder puffs and make boys feel outnumbered, when confronted with a YA fiction department in a bookstore or library...
this book is perfect for those poor overwhelmed boys. don't get me wrong, girls are going to love it, too, but it's just full of adventure and alchemy and monsters and it all leads up to frankenstein. eventually, i guess. not so much in this book.
this book is about victor frankenstein, aged 15. and his twin brother konrad and their cousin, elizabeth. when konrad becomes deathly ill, victor and elizabeth secretly become involved with a creepy doctor and the quest to mix up the elixir of life to save him.
his writing is great - it takes the suspenseful bits and drags them out enough to be gripping, but not so much that it frustrates one of those reluctant boy readers. it's good stuff, truly. there are some great action scenes, and some more tender moments, and all the characters come alive in their own way. the beginning part reminded me of the peggy parish books i used to love, in which liza, bill, and jed had their adventures and followed the clues to wonderful conclusions. that is high praise - those books saw me through many years of my youth.
my only grump with this is the discomfort i feel when dealing with the fictitious childhood of a fictitious character, where there are streets named wollstonekraft alley and doctors named polidori. it's cute to have these references, but it complicates things a little, no?? but, then i remember that this book is intended for ages twelve and up, and i should stop thinking too hard and just enjoy this as a well-written adventure story with some great takes on loyalty and love, and the complications therein.
this book of his looks very good - i am definitely going to check it out as well.Half Brother. but you read this one, yeah?...more
first, let's focus on the artwork, because i saw this cover somewhere and i knew that i needed to read this book, no matter what its contents. i reall
first, let's focus on the artwork, because i saw this cover somewhere and i knew that i needed to read this book, no matter what its contents. i really do love dave mckean. he has been responsible for some of my favorite jonathan carroll covers, and the man just really knows how to draw cats.
he manages to get cat mannerisms down perfectly with such an economy of line - i love it. the only person whose cats even come close, and with a totally different tone is jeffrey brown:
he gets all the cute stuff - mckean settles for the slinky, creepy, dangerous cats.
fortunately for me, the book is also very good. it is the story of a purebred housecat who goes on a mission to find a "dog" in order to rescue his family from a bad man with two seriously bad cats who have taken over the house. along the way he learns some ancient secret cat fighting tricks in order to survive on the streets and meets some cat gangs and learns about the ways a cat can just go missing on the streets...
said does a good job of juxtaposing the pet cats with the feral ones; the stakes of each and their own particular values and mythologies. and now i am off to read the sequel!!
done quixote!!! pun quixote!! fun quixote?? none quixote...
and that's not entirely true; there are some rollicking good times in here, but the first partdone quixote!!! pun quixote!! fun quixote?? none quixote...
and that's not entirely true; there are some rollicking good times in here, but the first part is so much endlessly episodic violence, and while the second half becomes calmer and more focused, it never got my imagination engaged nor my blood flowing.
in fact, although i know he really does love it, i can't help but feel that brian's recommending this to me is similar to the duke and duchess having their fun with don q. i feel like brian is pulling a prank on me - that he does not want me to meet my reading goal and is laughingly crowing, "no, karen, you will not read 150 books this year!! i am preventing you!!"
i will show you. despite the amount of time i was stalled on this one, i will come right back in the game.
but this, i did not love this. and a lot of it is just context. i can appreciate it as an artifact and as a foundation for western literature, but it suffers from the fate of any work that was not edited professionally.
tastes change over time. just in the same way that marilyn monroe would have probably had to drop fifteen pounds to rock our modern-day underfed runway ideal, so this book could lose a similar amount of text. stop frothing, bri, seriously if this turned up in some slush pile somewhere, there would be allll kinds of criticism, and it might even get passed around the office (lgm) a few times to the giggles of the editorial assistants: "this guy can't even keep the supporting character's wife's name straight!!", "this is inconsistent!!"," "this is repetitive!""what is this interlude that has nothing to do with anything else doing in here??" "this is flat-out stolen from another source!!!"
an editor would go to town on this puppy.
but we have the luxury of reading this 500 years after it was written and marveling at how fresh and modern it still sounds. and part of it is very modern. but grossman's frequent "cervantes probably meant ____here" or "this is the wrong reference" would not play in a modern novel. if jonathan safran foer had done this, there would be a crown of pretentious classics majors drawling, "i can't believe he said "perseus" when he meant "theseus"... " guffaw guffaw.
but 500 years down the road, we can afford to be more forgiving. vanity press authors take heart!
and i am aware i am being nitpicky, i am more just interested in pointing out how a lot of people who love this book would be very indignant to read something produced today that had so many obvious flaws.
but i do admire longevity.
i just couldn't get into it, overall. there are a lot of great moments here: the burning of the books (nooo!), the puppet show, don q. in a cage, and great non-action sequences in the discussions of the value of drama as a medium and the difficulty of translation and many other minor occurrences.
the first half is just episode after episode of this delusional thug with some kind of 'roid-rage, meth-aggression attacking people and innocent lions, unprovoked, and his sidekick who is a grasping fiend who would sell you out for even the promise of a sandwich. and it all reads like marx brothers slapsticky stuff. i mean, how do you break someone's nose with a loaf of bread??
with the second half, it is better and becomes more self-reflexive and much sadder, but a lot of it still remains tedious. the second half, written ten years after the first part, frequently references the unauthorized sequel to don q that some guy wrote and pissed cervantes off. it is like a mean girl passing notes to the cool kids, "did you hear what he said??? that's my man he's messing with!!" etc etc.
and i am not a lazy reader, even though my tastes tend toward a faster pace than this, but i have read plenty of slow-paced, dense prose that didn't make me take out my mental red pen and slash away at what i felt was extraneous or repetitious.
i can appreciate the message about art and its impact and its potential and its place in the world, but i did not have fun reading this book.
and i make no apologies.
and for jasmine - who doesn't think there is anything complicated or pretentious in the spanish language - this qualifies, i think. it gets all meta in the second act. for its time, it was seriously mind-bending stuff....more
ahhh... me and japan. such a long and complicated relationship we have. i love japanese food and many japanese films and everycutething silvia broughtahhh... me and japan. such a long and complicated relationship we have. i love japanese food and many japanese films and everycutething silvia brought me back from there. but i dislike murakami and mishima and abe and most of the literature i have read. (ishiguro does not count, obviously) but i keep trying. and i like this publisher - the last thing i read of theirs (Now You're One of Us), was pretty good. and this is good too. i liked reading it directly after reading that freud book - another example of the complicated relationship. this one is like a japanese henry james, but henry james doing ghost-story, not washington square.it is a nice little spooky family story with a bad-cat-and-little-girl team....more
this was my favorite choose-your-own-adventure (knockoff) book when i was a little kid because that cat was terrifying. or would have been had i in rethis was my favorite choose-your-own-adventure (knockoff) book when i was a little kid because that cat was terrifying. or would have been had i in reality been an inch high. i am from rhode island, of course, where we are so tiny. i am putting this up here now because of jen's confession regarding these books.... behold - the shame!!...more
this book makes me really cross i missed the 3d movie when it was out. there are definitely things i would have loved to have seen all up in my face.this book makes me really cross i missed the 3d movie when it was out. there are definitely things i would have loved to have seen all up in my face. i think if i had read this as a young girl, it would be one of my favorite books ever. as a (physical) adult, i enjoyed it, but ive read too much in my life to be scared of it, or surprised by it, which is a shame. im going to turn this review into a request for people to scare me. when i was little, my brother would hide under my bed until after i was just drifting off to sleep, and then jump out to scare me. it worked. when i was a little older, and he was babysitting me, he would rent the scariest movies and make me watch them with him. he never really liked me. so but now it is rare for me to get scared. and i want to be scared. the last book to scare me was when i was about 8 or 9 and i was going on a car drive with family, and someone had left a stephen king book on the floor of the car, and i ran out of my own books so i picked it up and read that boogeyman story. didnt sleep for months. thats what i want. a book, a movie, i dont care. someone scare me. (just dont hide under my bed - lets stick to books or movies, yeah?)this will be my preparation for halloween mental gathering....more
this is not to say that i steal books from bookstores or libraries (although i considered performing a superheist at the morgan to gi am a book thief.
this is not to say that i steal books from bookstores or libraries (although i considered performing a superheist at the morgan to get all their byron books with his notes in the margins)
but when i was twelve, i borrowed this book from someone. and i never gave it back. shocking, right?? even more shocking is that i do not regret it. "my" copy is fat, with sprouted, swollen pages soft to the touch, and has been read at least twenty times. the copies they sell nowadays have some sort of modern paper that make the book half the size of the one i have, and it looks anemic and sad. mine is a proud fat tabby, basking in the sun of my love.
yeah, that one got away from me, but i don't even care. i love this book, i loooove this book. i made alfonso and greg read this book, and both of them gave it five stars. why?? because it is great. it is a cat adventure story, how could it be anything but great?
i always describe is as a cross between the hobbit and watership down but with cats. n.b. - i have never read the hobbit, but i saw the cartoon with all the singing, so i feel qualified to make this comparison.
it is a quest novel like the hobbit; it involves adventures in the forest, in the towns of man, and underground (shudder). and it employs its own animal vernacular the way that watership down does. but it is about a cat, trying to find his missing friend. and there are giant killer cats with red claws. and intrigue!
i fell in love with this world for both the action sequences and the interludes of catworld mythology and history, which are very detailed and add a density to a story that, in my description anyway, seems like it is slight: cat looks for missing friend. that's like saying titanic is about a boat that sinks. but there is all sorts of wailing and lovemaking surrounding the boat sinking. and this is better than titanic by many leagues.
and it is not slight at all (despite what modern paper would have you believe) - it has interspecial relationships (not those kind of relationships, grosso) and stories within stories, and it is a cat coming-of-age story as well as an adventure story with battles.
seeing negative reviews on here kind of breaks my heart, so i thought i would drop my two cents up in the mix. most of my childhood memories involve me, eating plums, and reading this book.