Summer Reading: Ready Player One

I just finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and I’m giving it 5 stars out of 5. I listened to the unabridged audiobook, narrated by Wil Wheaton.

Here are the pros – it’s a wonderfully creative 80′s nerd fest and I loved almost every minute of it. I’m proud to say I think I understood most of the pop culture references, and got a particularly geeky thrill whenever the book mentioned Star Trek TNG, because I was picturing Wesley Crusher doing all the talking anyway.

If you have any interest in the 80′s (especially TV, movies and music), sci fi, gaming, role-playing games, computers…(Cline covers a lot of ground), I think you’ll love this. I don’t even really know or care about gaming, role-playing games, etc., and I was pretty young for most of the 80′s, but I still loved all of it.

Find the premise and lots of rave reviews here or here. I highly recommend this for a fun summer read. There’s even a little love story in it – which was my favorite part. Truly something for every reader – male or female. Excellent book, Mr. Cline! And excellent narration, Mr. Wheaton!

**audiobook-specific side note** If I had to give it a con, and it would only apply to the audiobook, it would be that there are a lot of LISTS (top 10 scorers, lists of computers, lists of games, etc.). This probably comes off much cooler in the actual book. I happened to listen to the audiobook, so the lists got a little crazy. If I had been reading the regular book, I would have skimmed.

TGIF!

I think Friday is my favorite day of the week. The feeling of joy I get at about 6 pm on a Friday is unmatched by anything else these days.

That was a little bleak.

So anyway, it’s blood donor month. Did you know that? One donation can help up to 3 people! I’ve got my appointment tomorrow morning at 9:45 am. I love having a donor center right around the corner!

I got two new sewing books burning a hole in my metaphorical sewing pocket. Did I blog about these already? My blogging has been so intermittent…anyway, I’m super excited about them. First off is Elizabeth Hartman’s Practical Guild to Patchwork. Of course, there’s already a big Oh

Fransson group on Flickr – check out some of the projects! Besides the great quilts in her book, I also want to give mod mosaic a try. How cute is that? And everyone posting their pictures say it’s really easy.

My other new book is Dare to Be Square by Boo Davis. Super cute projects – especially the robot. And the weiner dog. Her patterns are totally unique. I love straight lines – she’s got such a fun mix of quilts in this book. AND, she’s a totally awesome illustrator. Check it.

So that’s what I’ll be working on in the near future. That and my outstanding bee blocks and some sweet baby gifts for my new cousin Jackson due in Feb.

Oh! And I almost forgot! I’m going to do Project Modern Challenge #2. I’ve been doing some sketches, but I’m not quite to the sharing stage. Thanks to the awesome Modern Quilt Guild for setting it up! Look at all the super awesome entries from Project Modern: Challenge #1!

Have a great weekend!

999 Comments!

How cool is that…I’m one comment away from 1000 comments! Awesome. During my brief blogging haitus due to moving from CA to TX, lots of people have been finding my free hex templates and my hand sewn hex tutorial. I love link backs (hint hint) – seeing new hex projects is super fun.

Look at this little bit of awesomeness – if Betty Draper Francis could sew, she’d be a member: http://midmodbee.blogspot.com/

My sewing machine, tv and tivo are all in storage. Sad, sad, sad. The upside to our extended wait for our house is that I haven’t bought any new fabric or craft books for almost 3 months! Personal record, my friends. I’m still watching a considerable amount of tv online – thank goodness for hulu.

I do have my eye on a few new books though – namely The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman (a.k.a. Oh Fransson!) and Dare to be Square Quilting by Boo Davis. Super original designs. Very, very cool.

Also, my new addiction is my nook. I’ve been blowing through all of Karen Marie Moning’s books – both the Fae and Highlander series are muy excellente!

Two audiobook recommendations

I just listened to two excellent audiobooks. Not at the same time, of course :)

First up, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. A fantastic story about a girl who gets put on a boat in England bound for Australia at age four. The story covers her life, her parents lives, her children and grandchild – who finally solves the mystery of why she was on the boat. It’s a little dark, and feels magical, although there’s no actual magic. It was excellent as an audio book – I know the paperback is on the bestseller list now. I think if you liked The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, you’ll like this one.

Next up is The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss. So funny and interesting – the tale of disgraced Revolutionary Army Captain trying to save his first love and save the new nation from financial ruin. SO MANY parallels to today’s stock market and government. It’s a fun, fictional glimpse at Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury, the men and women of the west that improved the Whiskey trade, the first government in Philadelphia. I loved every bit of it! Historical fiction at it’s most entertaining.

Audible has an awesome sale going on right now – over 200 books at only $4.95. I can’t get enough!

the dome is freaking me out

I recently listened to the new Stephen King novel Under the Dome, on audiobook. 34 hours or some such craziness – for ONE credit on audible.com! Awesome. Anyway, I loved it. And I’m not a King fan at all. I was miserable all the way through Misery, made it to part 3 or 4 of The Stand before giving up, but with Shawshank and Stand By Me in mind, I dove into the dome whole-heartedly.

It’s about an invisible dome suddenly surrounding a small town in Maine. I kept imagining a dome coming down as I was driving on the highway. Totally crazy to imagine – and King does it in full detail. This is a long one, but it holds your attention throughout. Narration is superb – distinctive voices for all of the huge cast.

Although King does go for full detail on some gore and depravity, this isn’t a horror novel at all. I’d say it will appeal to anyone who likes a good small-town story, where the characters rule the roost. Human nature under a magnifying glass. With a little science fiction thrown in for good measure. Highly recommended!

Now here’s the crazy part. As you can imagine, when the dome crashes down – or up – it’s not really clear – the power lines are severed. Along with some people and a wood chuck. But I digress. The power lines are cut and the town is powerless except for generators. So, last night, I’m in the drive through at Taco Bell and I hear a loud crash and see big flashes of light above the Taco Bell. THEN THE POWER GOES OUT. On the whole block! I thought, ‘holy crap, the dome just came down around Taco Bell!’

It was an idiot crashing into the power pole. But it scared the crapola out of me. Anyway, read the book. Or listen to the audio book.

The Lacuna

Here’s my review for the lastest Barbara Kingsolver book, The Lacuna. Highly Recommended!

I’ve read a bunch of contradictory reviews of Kingsolver’s latest work. I think we all recognize that The Poisonwood Bible is a tough act to follow…and I’ve loved every single one of her books. This one is a departure for sure. But as this book settles in my mind, I am finding more and more things to love about it. On it’s surface, it is about a Mexican American boy becoming a man, seemingly alone from the 20′s to the early 60′s. That’s a huge historical mine field. Kingsolver touches on events that I was totally unfamiliar with. I found myself googling historical facts and people to find out what was true and what was fiction – which I love! The result of the glimpses of American and Mexican history is like a picture of a picture of a picture. Today’s disbelief about Japanese-Americans being incarcerated in camps and the preposterous nature of the McCarthy hearings will be the same as our grandchildrens’ disgust with Guantanamo Bay. History repeating and repeating to our detriment.

With wit, lovely prose and not a little humor, Kingsolver presents (I won’t say creates, because Frida and Diego and Trotsky were real) wonderful characters. Presenting HER take on the historical figures, to be sure. I truly enjoyed reading Harrison’s journals and letters. I loved Violet Brown’s input even more. The book made me think, gave me renewed interest in history, gave me alternate perspectives to work with. And made me want to eat good Mexican food! I never felt like the political agenda was being forced down my throat…how could I? Harrison never takes a strong opinion – he’s a spectator with pen in hand. I’m glad I got to see his view of the world.

Additionally, I listened to this book on audiobook. I’m not generally a fan of authors reading their own work, but Kingsolver does a spectacular job. Especially with Violet and Frida.

Stieg Larsson

I just whizzed through both The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. So sad that he’s passed away – what a phenomenal storyteller. Lisbeth Salander is at once the most sympathetic and interesting character I have read in a long, long time. I highly recommend either the regular books or the audio books. I got both books on Audible and loved Simon Vance’s reading. Wonderful! I’m a little bummed that the third book in the trilogy won’t be out until Oct 09, but I can’t wait to see what happens to Lisbeth.

I couldn’t find a website for Stieg – probably because he’s Swedish – but Random House has this site for the books, and is running this contest to win a trip to Sweden until Sept. 30, 2009.

I will say that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was one of those books I kept seeing promoted and highly rated and kept avoiding because it didn’t seem interesting. Also, because it had been translated to English, I thought it would have a bunch of foreign references I wouldn’t get. Neither of these turned out to be the case. Both books were just great stories with the very intriguing character of Lisbeth. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

I also recently watched Sunshine Cleaning (awesome) and Gran Tourino (wonderful).  I recommend both for your Netflix queue. Warning: both made me cry.

I’ve been looking for shows to watch, and Netflix has CSI: NY Season 5 on ‘watch instantly’ right now. I’ve really only watched CSI: Vegas since the beginning. I lasted halfway through seasons 1 of the other two CSI’s, and found them super irritating. I love Gary Sinise though, so I thought I’d give NY another try. Big mistake. It’s so corny! I just couldn’t take it. That crazy high-tech autopsy room with the floor to ceiling video screens of the insides of dead people? Even if that’s real technology, it just looks so crazy and unrealistic. I can see how that show would really make it hard for REAL prosecutors and CSI’s and detectives to prove a case in REAL LIFE court – where this Star Trek-esque technology just doesn’t exist.

489 and counting

This post makes number 489.  I’m trying to think of something cool for my 500th post, but I’m not sure what to do. I feel a giveaway is in order – perhaps something with my very fancy new MOXYWARES tag!

drawstring bag-4

That was a fun little drawstring bag I made for my niece’s 11th birthday…the blue linen was in the remnant bin at Joann’s! I got about 1.5 yards for like $6. Awesome. But I digress…maybe a box bag for a giveaway? A boxbag with some fun fat quarters inside?

Give me your thoughts.

In TV news, I’ve been watching all kinds of stuff – good and not so. On the good list: True Blood. Love it. I’m all caught up and can’t wait for the next episode. Also good: Eureka is back on – always good. And a new great show on SyFy – Warehouse 13. Crazy gadgets, funny dialogue, crime-stopping girl/boy duo.

In the not-so-good (but I’m habitually watching anyway) category, we’ve got pretty much all of the ABC Family shows. I actually think Secret Life of the American Teenager is pretty good, but I’d like to fire one or two actors and replace them with better ones. I love the little sister, though.

I think I saw the best “worst scene” ever on Make It or Break It. I think it was on the 2nd episode. If you, like most people over the age of 15, are not watching this show, it’s loosely based on the film Stick It, which I loved. Elite gymnasts working towards the Olympics, catty teen girl relationships, blah blah blah. So anyway, there was a scene where the gymnasts were at a gas station and these punk guys were coming towards them (with brown bag bottles in their hands) making rude comments. The lead girl says “follow me” and they start cartwheeling and roundoffing towards the bad guys. The guys stumble backwards, saying some crazy stuff like, “whoa, that was some superhero stuff or somethin’!” So silly. I feel everyone must watch this scene.

I watched the first episode of 10 Things I Hate About You – another show based on a movie – and thought it was pretty good. The lead girl is great.

I’ve been reading some good books also. I just finished Sarah Dessen’s latest, Along For the Ride. Cute YA book. I also finished a Nora Roberts series about witches…Charmed, Entranced, Captivated…I can’t remember the last one. Pretty good. I’m not a full fledged Nora follower yet, but her books are quick, enjoyable reads.

We also just came back from a big road trip to Montana, but it’s too late to tell that story tonight :)

14 Jun 2009, 12:09am
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Summer Treasure

New books, new movies – I can hardly stand it!

How long has it been since Pat Conroy released a novel?  Here are the books I can’t wait to read:


Movies I can’t wait for:

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

New Moon

G.I. Joe

Transformers 2

What are you looking forward to this summer?

entertainment overload

Awesome season finales: Fringe, Dollhouse, The Office

Okay finales: Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, CSI Vegas, Survivor (Coach got robbed! ha ha ha, just kidding)

I haven’t seen NCIS, Mentalist, Unit, Lie to Me or Ghost Whisperer finales yet…so the jury is out. I did hear that CBS didn’t renew The Unit though, that’s a bummer. Although I always found the writing on that show kind of irritating – like they all took themselves too seriously, or the spoke in ways that normal people just don’t speak. Especially Army families – who I’ve been around my whole life. Still, it was a show my husband would watch with me, and they usually had pretty cool missions. I’ll be sorry to see it go.

I’m excited about Glee – I loved the season premiere or preview or whatever that was. Did anyone else see Lauren from So You Think You Can Dance (season 3) in that show choir from the other school? A few episodes in to In Plain Sight;s second season and I’m loving it just as much as last year. And there are some good things starting up…So You Think You Can Dance tonight, The Closer starting next month. Good stuff.

I also caught up on the last three seasons of Smallville. Awesome! I just loved it. I can’t wait for season 9. *spoiler alert* Although, the lack of detail on Clark and Doomsday’s final battle was annoying. I mean, they disappear and then there’s a distant fiery explosion and then Clark is okay? Clearly, Doomsday must still be alive…somewhere. And when are Clark and Lois going to finally hook up??? That tension is worse than Scully and Mulder! But I just love their relationship. Also looking forward to Ollie and the Black Canary hooking up – at least, I hope so. They’ve got to get rid of that crazy Tess person.

That’s it for the TV rundown. Oh, is One Tree Hill ending? They sure tied that finale up with a pretty little bow. Happy ending for everyone but Dan – and no one expects one for him anyway…but it sure seemed like a series finale.

As for movies, I’ve been making the most of my Netflix membership. I even got to the theater for Mother’s Day to see Star Trek. Loved it. Saw Benjamin Button the other day – didn’t love it. I liked it. I think I just couldn’t escape into it enough to stop questioning how other people were able to accept the wierdness of him, and how “the man” didn’t step in to run a million tests on him. Maybe that’s my love of sci fi talking, but it sure seems like someone would want to know how to reverse aging if it was a possibility. I’m not a particularly logical person, so my inability to just accept the premise of that movie really bothered me. I did love that in the scene where Daisy is performing in New York, and Benjamin comes to see her, the song she’s dancing to is “I Have Dreamed” from The King and I – one of my all time favorite songs in the whole world.

I just finished reading The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini – the latest of the Elm Creek Quilters books. I have to say, it’s one of the best ones in a while. I was glued to it. I just had to see what would happen to Joanna. Highly recommended.

I think that’s it – we’ve got The Reader and Valkyrie on deck, with lots of good movies in the queue. Just got The First Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld from the library, and again, SYTYCD starts tonight! My cup overfloweth!

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