Friday, January 29, 2016

The Joys of Much Too Much

I've had this book for years, but I don't think it ever made it onto the List because it's nonfiction. I don't specifically remember when I bought it, but I remember hearing about it and really wanting to read it. Bonnie Fuller was a high profile magazine editor with a family of four kids - I definitely wanted to know how she managed such a life (and how I could, too). But apparently not enough to read it for a super long time. But I've been feeling overwhelmed by life for the last few days and spied The Joys of Much Too Much on my shelf. Now seemed as good a time as any to finally give the book a read. So I shoved all the things I needed to do aside last night and started reading.

I have to say, Fuller immediately made me feel better about my life. I breezed through over half the book last night, feeling a whole lot better about everything.

Fuller talks about how she got to where she's at and shares all of her tips for anyone else interested in living life like she does (in semi-organized chaos). Sure, she'll never have a Martha Stewart-perfect house. But who cares? If that's the price she has to pay for being the primary breadwinner of her family while still finding time to spend with her husband and kids, she gladly pays it!  Oh, and did I mention she passionately loves her job, too? That's totally the type of life I want to have, too; one where I'm happy and actively doing the things I love with my friends and family!

While I breezed through the book, I have to say that the latter half felt a bit more like a slog. Hence my three star rating on Goodreads (wheras last night I was definitely thinking along the lines of a four). The Joys of Much Too Much was a good read, but it got a bit too repetitive near the end. I think it would have made a better nonfiction novella (if such a thing exists?) rather than full book.

Monday, January 11, 2016


A friend at work was taking Ally Condie's Atlantia out and I happened to read the back.  It sounded so interesting that I had to take it out, too.  Here's the synopsis:

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Doesn't that sound awesome???

I ended up taking the book out from the library before Christmas, but just got to reading it a few days ago (I actually finished it last night).  And I have to say...I was actually tempted not to finish it.  The first chapter really caught my attention, but then the book got rather boring for quite awhile.  Rio's sister goes Above with no explanation.  Then multiple people offer Rio help and she turns everyone down attempting to do her thing on her own.  Or using them to get her information but keeping things from them because of reasons.  (Some of that was the secret that she was a siren, some of it was literally *reasons*).

Somewhere in the middle, I did manage to get interested *enough* in the plot to keep going.  But that had nothing to do with Rio.  Mostly it had to do with her aunt (who was this super powerful siren with extra special magic powers) because I was intrigued trying to figure out her relationship with her sister (Rio's mother).  It also had to do with the fact that the city was falling apart and I wanted to know who had caused the damage/what everyone was going to do about it.  Unfortunately the pay off for everything wasn't great, which made me sad.  I don't think I'll be running out to get any more of her books anytime soon.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tarzan of the Apes

Well, I did it.  I read Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes, which is the first adventure of Tarzan.  I actually finished it last night, but didn't have a chance to write anything about it until now.

Tarzan of the Apes is all about how Tarzan became Tarzan.  He's the son of an English nobleman (this is a key point).  His father, Lord John Clayton Greystoke, and his mother, Lady Alice, are marooned in the wilds of Africa, where Tarzan (their son, John) is born.  When they pass away around when he is one year old, Tarzan is raised by Kala, a she-ape.  Although smaller and slower-developing than the other apes, Tarzan comes into his own, using his cunning to eventually become King of the Apes. 

But he is also intrigued by the remains of his parents' cottage, where he discovers books.  He manages to teach himself how to read, which is how he learns of the world outside of his jungle.  And then one day he finds other humans.  First a displaced tribe of African cannibals enter his jungle, which he messes with (he kills them and steals from them, making them believe he is some sort of angry jungle spirit).  Later a small group of white people (including the first white woman he has ever seen, Jane Porter) are marooned exactly where his parents were years before.  Tarzan finds himself drawn to these people because they are the first beings he has ever seen that look like him.  He ends up saving and protecting them.  He also finds himself falling in love with the lovely Jane Porter.  But when Jane and the others leave him, Tarzan must choose between his world and following her into her world.

Tarzan of the Apes is very, very dated in its writing.  Like I said, the fact that Tarzan is the son of an English nobleman means, according to the book, that he is descended from the most advanced species of man in existence.  He is physically beautiful (being compared numerous times to gods) and so innately intelligent that he can teach himself to read at the age of 10 from just looking at books.  It really reminded me of Aphra Behn's Oronoko (which is about a black prince who is tricked into slavery; he is repeatedly compared to white people, apparently looking like a white person except for the colour of his skin.  Again, very dated!)

But at the same time, no matter how ridiculous it was, Tarzan of the Apes is a lot of fun, particularly in the latter half of the book (from when people show up in his life).  I have no desire to read any further in the series at the moment though, which is honestly a good thing; now I can choose another (hopefully List) book, rather than running out to find book 2. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Batman/Tarzan: Claws of the Catwoman

I saw this graphic novel go by at work and thought it would be a fun mash-up.  Batman and Tarzan are actually quite alike in a lot of ways!  They are both orphans who have taken it upon themselves to defend their respective jungles.

This story opens with Bruce Wayne having funded a new wing in Gotham's Museum of Natural History (in memory of his parents).  He has financed a second expedition to Africa so that the explorer, Finnegan Dent, can finish what he started on the first one.  At the wing opening ceremony, Bruce Wayne meets John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (aka Tarzan of the Apes), who had business in New York and so made a point of coming to Gotham for the unveiling.

Later that night, a Catwoman breaks into the Museum to steal some of the artifacts.  She's not Selina Kyle; instead she is Princess Khefretari of the Hidden City of Memnon.  Finnegan Dent found the city and stole many of their artifacts; he's going to use the second expedition to finish his looting.

So Batman, Tarzan (who realized Batman is Bruce Wayne due to his smell), and Khefretari team up to stop Finnegan Dent!

This book was a lot of fun.  I think I'm going to go and read Tarzan of the Apes next because of it!  :)


Wow.  What a fascinating and terrifying take on witches.

I can't remember how I stumbled on Scott Snyder's Wytches.  But I am super glad I snagged it from the library (and even more glad that I was able to - it was due back in mid-December and didn't get returned until last week!  I had honestly given up hope, believing it was never coming back!)

Alright, now how to describe this thing?  The Rooks family has moved to a new town for a fresh start.  Lucy, the mother, had been in a car accident that left her unable to walk.  Sailor, the daughter, had been bullied by another girl.  But that girl had disappeared into a tree in front of Sailor.  And because the truth sounds crazy, no one believed her.

But unfortunately, trouble follows them to their new home.  Because Sailor was pledged to the Wytches, ancient beings who will grant you wishes in exchange for food.  They prefer to eat younger people because they are tastier; they cook them in their burrows (in what's called a cauldron - I think the idea was that it's deeper in the earth, so it's using the earth's natural heat to cook you).  As a consolation, you won't even remember the person who was pledged. 

Sailor feels like she's going crazy as she starts seeing the Wytches in the woods (and hearing the chit chit chit of their teeth).  Her father wants to help her, but doesn't believe what's going on until a crazy woman breaks into their house after Sailor's gone missing.  With her help, her father will brave the barrow to save his daughter.  But the Wytches aren't going to let their meal go without a fight.

Like I said, this is quite the terrifying but fascinating take on the idea of a witch.  I loved every moment of the story.  The artwork was interesting and suited it as well; unfortunately I did have a bit of a hard time following what was going on at times though.  But still, this was well worth the read.  I'll have to keep my eye out for volume 2!