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A constantly curious and melancholic wanderer...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Resolutions

I have decided I will read more in 2012.  Since I normally can't keep any new years resolutions, I am putting up all the books that I want to read in 2012 on this blog and then I can be reminded of it all the time:)

1.  Fables:  This is a graphic novel series about fairy tale characters trapped in the real world.  It's quite weird seeing Snow White swear and Goldilocks shooting people, but I am quite adicted.  Read the first two in two weeks and can wait to read the next one...

Fables is a comic book series created by writer Bill Willingham, published by DC Comics's Vertigo imprint beginning in 2002. The series deals with various characters from fairy tales and folklore – referring to themselves as "Fables" – who have been forced out of their Homelands by "The Adversary" who has conquered the realm. The Fables have traveled to our world and formed a clandestine community in New York City known as Fabletown. Fables who are unable to blend in with human society (such as monsters and anthropomorphic animals) live at "the Farm" in upstate New York.[1] (Wikipedia)

2.   The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes:  This is Jaco's early Christmas present.  He loves it and it is still in a bag under the tree.  It shows the illustrations as they were used in the newspaper before it was issued as books.  I love the recent Sherlock Holmes movie (the new one coming soon) and I absolutely loved the BBC mini series and I think I am definately going to love the book.

If you're a Holmes fan, this book will make a great addition to your collection: it reproduces the original illustrations created by Sydney Paget for the stories in Strand Magazine. (But it's not the "complete" Sherlock Holmes -- some of the stories were published elsewhere.) Paget was originally a fashion illustrator, hired by mistake for his brother Walter who specialized in adventure stories -- but the Holmes tales brought out the best in Sydney. While some of the pictures are merely dutiful scene-setting, others are exciting enhancements of the story (cf. the Hound of the Baskervilles!). In any case, the pictures are a good corrective for the cartoonish Holmes and Watson depicted in dozens of Hollywood epics: they're a pair of active, well-dressed young men, not the scarecrow and his doddering sidekick. (The TV series with Jeremy Brett got this right, although it made a botch of some of the plots.) And I enjoyed the glimpses they give you into the world of Victorian society -- the interiors of elegant living rooms and hansom cabs, ladies' at-home dresses, tea-trays and decanters. (Amazon Customer Review)

3.  Lost in a Good Book - Jasper Forde:  I love Jasper Forde's books.  I've only read a few and it is impossible to put them down.  It's non-fiction taking to another level.  And I found this book at the old age home at a jumble sale and decided it's a must have.

The inventive, exuberant, and totally original literary fun that began with The Eyre Affair continues with Jasper Fforde’s magnificent second adventure starring the resourceful, fearless literary sleuth Thursday Next. When Landen, the love of her life, is eradicated by the corrupt multinational Goliath Corporation, Thursday must moonlight as a Prose Resource Operative of Jurisfiction—the police force inside books. She is apprenticed to the man-hating Miss Havisham from Dickens’s Great Expectations, who grudgingly shows Thursday the ropes. And she gains just enough skill to get herself in a real mess entering the pages of Poe’s “The Raven.” What she really wants is to get Landen back. But this latest mission is not without further complications. Along with jumping into the works of Kafka and Austen, and even Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, Thursday finds herself the target of a series of potentially lethal coincidences, the authenticator of a newly discovered play by the Bard himself, and the only one who can prevent an unidentifiable pink sludge from engulfing all life on Earth.

Sounds Awesome, doesn't it?

4.  Top 10 New York City:  Since we might be going to New York for the Next Christmas, I have got to know my way around the city and see all the cool things I want to do and check out when I am there in  a year's time. I will post a blog later in 2012 with an itenary of plans:)

You can look at the whole book online on this website.

5.  Man van Cirene - F.A. Venter:  I've been wanting to read this book for a long time.  It's about the story of Simon who helped Jesus to carry the cross.  It is also considered one of the top 10 Afrikaans books ever written. 

In die tyd van keiser Tiberius, opvolger van die deurlugtige Augustus, toe Jesus Christus sy leer in Galilea verkonder het, het die Jood Simon in Ciréne gewoon. Ciréne was een van die pragtige stede wat die Grieke in Afrika gebou het nog voordat Rome groot geword het. Hier is die verhaal van Simon, wat ook Simon Niger genoem word.

This book can be summed up by the Ray Boltz' song:

Walking on the road to Jerusalem

The time had come to sacrifice again

My two small sons,

They walked beside me on the road

The reason that they came

Was to watch the lamb


Daddy, daddy what will we see there?

There's so much we don't understand

So I told them of Moses

And Father Abraham

And then I said,

Dear children, Watch the lamb

(Good Read Reviews)

6.  Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band is Playing & Leviathan 99 - Ray Bradbury:  One of those books I bought, because I liked the cover. (about 2 years ago)  I think it is time to read it now:)

The two stories in NOW AND FOREVER are not new. In fact, "Somewhere a Band Is Playing" was begun over 40 years ago. "Leviathan '99" began life as a radio play script that was never produced as television started to grow. Aged though they may be, this is the first they have seen the light of day, finally dusted off, polished and presented to the reading world. As with most of what Ray Bradbury delivers to us, they are gems --- beautiful gifts of wonder and humanity that pull and lure until we, as mere readers, are within the story and seeing it side by side with the characters.

"Somewhere a Band Is Playing" is a tale of eternal youth, of ghost towns and havens, perhaps even heavens, for those fortunate enough to find their way. Sumerton, Arizona isn't found on any map. It is a quiet town in the middle of the desert, soon to fall under the coming onslaught of time and industry as the Interstate will bury it under concrete. James Cardiff arrives in Sumerton to warn its residents, though he does not know why he chose to come or what he can really do. While there, he begins to find a world he never imagined --- a world without death, of cemeteries filled with gravestones bearing birthdates but no mortal dates, an existence with no children, of long-lost stories of history that have been archived for all eternity.

Katharine Hepburn was the inspiration for the story and for its character Nef, who never ages. In his introduction, Bradbury says that he worked on the tale for years, finding inspiration in movies and life, hoping one day to have it ready for Hepburn to star in on stage or screen. She would not see it completed, and Bradbury's admission colors the story with more sorrow and more beauty.

Likewise, "Leviathan '99" was begun in the hopes of having it directed for radio broadcast by Norman Corwin. It was never to be, though Bradbury would eventually continue to redraft the original work until he felt it was suitable for the stage. It failed in that medium, and he tried to rework it back to its more original form until he included it in this book.

The novella came on the heels of his screenplay for MOBY DICK, and it is nothing more than that classic story reworked for a different age. Set in the year 2099 aboard the starship Cestus 7, Ishmael Jones is a crewman caught between his desire for survival and his duty to follow his Captain. Standard exploratory orders have been ignored, and the Captain, blind and mad, pursues Leviathan, the most devastating and impressive comet the universe has ever known. This unnamed Ahab hurtles his crew into certain destruction in his bid to destroy the beast before it can pulverize the Earth ---which is a misguided belief.

Both stories shine, and though so completely different in tone and setting, they bear the trademark Bradbury style. There is a simplicity to the tales, even where a more complex issue or thought is explored, and it permits the reader to just exist within the story. With a writing style so smooth and hypnotic, Bradbury never loses an audience or leads them to believe they are reading --- they experience the story. Were it that more writers could be so brilliant. Then again, that would only serve to undermine what an exquisite storyteller Bradbury has always been and  continues to be.

7.  Oath - Frank Peretti.  A Christian Story with a twist.  I bought it for Jaco as he needs monsters and darkness to keep him going.  And this one has all that plus a spiritual message underneath.  He really like it, so I thought I will try it this year. 

The Oath is an allegorical 1995 contemporary Christian fiction horror/fantasy novel by Frank E. Peretti. The recipient of the 1996 ECPA Gold Medallion Book Award for Best Fiction, The Oath is one of Peretti's most critically acclaimed and layered novels, having sold over one million copies worldwide. The story centers around the fictional mining town of Hyde River, the gruesome deaths of many of the townspeople, and an "oath" that the residents of Hyde River have taken up to hide the secret behind them.

7.  Watchmen - another graphic novel :)  I asked Jaco a long time ago what graphic novel I should read and he said this one.  Didn't get far with it the first time, but planning to read it this year.  Here is the first paragraph:  "Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."

Watchmen was the only graphic novel to appear on Time's 2005 "All-TIME 100 Greatest Novels" list.[94] Time critic Lev Grossman described the story as "a heart-pounding, heartbreaking read and a watershed in the evolution of a young medium."[95] In 2008, Entertainment Weekly placed it at number 13 on its list of the best 50 novels printed in the last 25 years, describing it as "The greatest superhero story ever told and proof that comics are capable of smart, emotionally resonant narratives worthy of the label literature."[96] In 2009 Lydia Millet of The Wall Street Journal contested that Watchmen was worthy of such acclaim, and wrote that while the series' "vividly drawn panels, moody colors and lush imagery make its popularity well-deserved, if disproportionate", that "it's simply bizarre to assert that, as an illustrated literary narrative, it rivals in artistic merit, say, masterpieces like Chris Ware's 'Acme Novelty Library' or almost any part of the witty and brilliant work of Edward Gorey".[97] (Wikipedia)

9.  It's only a Movie (Alfred Hitchcock - a personal biography) - Charlotte Chandler.  I need to get to know my movies and directors better, since I'm married to a movie-genius:)

IT'S ONLY A MOVIE is as close to an autobiography by Alfred Hitchcock that you could ever have. Drawn from years of interviews with her subject, his friends and the actors who worked with him on such classics as THE BIRDS, PSYCHO and REAR VIEW WINDOW, Charlotte Chandler has created a rich, complex, affectionate and honest picture of the man and his milieu. This is Hitchcock in his own voice and through the eyes of those who knew him better than anyone could.

10.  The Fellowship of the Rings:  I've read The Hobbit a long time ago and I loved it, so I don't know why I've never started with the Trilogy of the Lord of the Rings.  I've only just seen all 3 the movies (which is a scandal according to my husband and makes it more of a miracle that he married me:)  But I want to definately read the first book this year...

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in THE HOBBIT. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

A unique, wholly realized other world, evoked from deep in the well of Time, massively detailed, absorbingly entertaining, profound in meaning." The New York Times
"Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." -- C. S. Lewis "

(Amazon book description and reviews)

May 2012 be full of memorable stories and interesting new characters that fill your life with suprise and a litte bit of magic...


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