First there was Samuel L. Jackson reading Go the Fuck to Sleep and that was good. Now we have Christopher Walken reading Where the Wild Things Are (I say “now” because I just saw it, but youtube tells me it’s been on the interwebz since at least 2011).

This is great not only because of the way Walken reads the story, but because he describes what’s happening in all of the illustrations. It is hilarious and magical and so much more.

Just take a moment to watch/listen and enjoy.

If you’ve been on social media in the last 24 hours then you’re probably aware that Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and famous for staying out of the spotlight has a new book coming out in July.

Bookish circles have long wondered why Harper Lee never wrote another novel (a question never satisfactorily answered, despite hints, in the contested memoir The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills), and now we have a sequel. Go Set a Watchman is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird (though it was written first) and takes place when Scout is a young woman returning to Maycomb.

There is so much excitement about this book that I’m worried it might be drowning out some important questions. Lee’s sister Alice was in many ways Harper’s protecter. She shielded her from people who tried to get too close and take advantage of her or gain power over her estate after her stroke. Alice died last year and Lee’s lawyer seems to be the main line of defense now. From what I gather, it seems the lawyer is also the person who found the manuscript of Go Set a Watchman.

So I’m worried. I’m worried that the release of this book is not necessarily what a Harper Lee with her full capacities wanted.

At the same time, I desperately want to read that book. The publisher is planning a print run of two million copies (that’s a ton, trust me) and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy (fun-fact: as of now, Go Set a Watchman is ranked #1 on Amazon. The AP broke the news at 7:05 this morning.)

For more info, check out Book Riot, Jezebel, and the NYT.

Sabriel — Review

November 7, 2014

I initially decided to pick up Garth Nix’s Sabriel because it was one of those books that I kept hearing about every once in a while when talking about books and then we were coming up on the release of Clariel (which is part of that series) and there was so much buzz. So I got my act together and added it to my never-ending holds list at the library.

And I really liked it.

It has multiple forms of magic and a girl hero coming into her own and a snarky sidekick. What more could you possibly want?

There are hints of romance which I could really take or leave, but I get the impression it’s sort of important for plot things later on. In any case, the driving force of the plot in Sabriel is not the romance.

So here’s the thing. I enjoyed this book and went to find out which was the next book in the (then) trilogy (now it’s a series—Clariel is the fourth book). That’s when I realized it isn’t really a continuation of the story, though it is connected. At that point I decided that I wasn’t going to continue with the series.

Now if you follow me on instagram (which you should because I post all kinds of awesome book pictures … and sometimes pictures of my cat) then you’re calling shenanigans because you know that I picked up Lirael and Abhorsen in my last library visit. Well, everyone kept gushing about Clariel and as we’ve already established, I’m weak in the face of the giant monster that is book buzz.

So there you have it: I loved Sabriel and I buckled in my resolve to not read the rest of the series, so those reviews will show up at some point. Though I picked up four other books at the same time and have countless other ARCs and books I’ve bought that I should also be reading.

If we could just stop time for a bit so I could get some reading done that would be super.

Matilda on Broadway

July 13, 2013

Last night I got to see Matilda on Broadway.

I’ve been so excited about this show. It started out in England (beginning in Stratford, then moving to the West End) and got great reviews. Matilda has finally come to New York where it has continued its streak of critical acclaim, winning a number of Tony’s, as well as additional awards in the theatre community.

But to be honest, even if the reviews were bad and the award committees indifferent, I would still have wanted to see Matilda. I love Roald Dahl’s books, and Matilda, with its emphasis on being true to yourself and the power of books, stories, and imagination has always had a special place in my heart. I own the movie adaptation of the book and watch it fairly often. Seeing the Tony performance just confirmed my burning need to see the show — it’s an adaptation of an awesome book and it looks spectacular!

So anyway, (due to circumstances I won’t go into here) a family friend was unable to use her tickets for the show and generously offered them to me.

And so, a dream came true.

Matilda was everything I could have hoped for and more. It was hilarious and heartbreaking, sweet and inspiring. The cast was superb. I can’t even begin to express my awe at the talent, especially considering the average age is so young.

My favorite line has to be when Matilda asks Ms. Honey, “am I strange?” I desperately wanted that to be on one of the t-shirts, but, alas, I remain unsatisfied. That is a missed merchandising opportunity if ever there was one!

But seriously, the show made Dahl’s story come alive. It’s magical and inspiring and I have to go read the book again. If you get a chance to see this show, I highly recommend it. I’d see it again in a heartbeat.

Review — Mansfield Park

September 15, 2012

I finished reading Mansfield Park not too long ago. It took me longer than I expected to finish, partially because of my previously-mentioned inability to focus on one book at a time, but also because despite my love for Jane Austen, I just couldn’t get into this one.

It turns out I’m not really alone. Ask a selection of Austen fans to rank the novels, and Mansfield Park will as often as not end up closer to the bottom. It’s denser and the characters are harder to like. Bits of witty repartee are few and far between.

It’s not that I didn’t like Mansfield Park, it’s just that I didn’t like it nearly as much as the other Austen novels I’ve read. When deciding which book to pick up of the four or five I was in the middle of, Mansfield Park just didn’t reach out to me as much, and so it took longer to get through.

Now, trying to paint you a picture in this review becomes increasingly problematic. It’s not that nothing happens, it’s just that it happens so slowly and the characters don’t endear themselves to the reader, so you don’t particularly care. Fanny Price isn’t a bad person, she’s just kind of dull. And Edmund means well, but is easily distracted and even more easily manipulated. These are our protagonists.

And our inevitable Austen scandal isn’t particularly surprising given what we know about those involved. The cousins are selfish and flighty, the Crawfords equally selfish and somewhat devious, so really, what did you expect?

I may try to give this one another go when I’m out of my read-80-books-at-once phase and can actually concentrate on it. It really is considered to be one of Austen’s more profound works, so I should probably give it the attention it deserves. Right now though, I’m thinking I may revisit good ol’ Pride and Prejudice as it’s been a while and I have a new copy to break in…