Thursday, July 28, 2005

Go here to see the 2005 results of the world's favorite, and possibly only, bad-writing contest.

While the entries are deliberately awful, the site also features lines from published fiction by people who may have thought they were being deep and evocative, and just sound damn silly.

Bulwer-Lytton Contest Main Site

Because God knows we all need to laugh ourselves blue in the face every so often.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's new links day here at Confessions of a Bibliovore. Aren't y'all about to just expire with excitement?????

New Blogs

Dave Barry's Blog - If you, like me, miss Barry's weekly dose of ludicrosity, drop into his blog. He highlights everything we always loved, like weird headlines, proposed band names, and downright tastelessness. Ah, simple joys.

New Websites of Interest

History House - Nothing I like better than irreverence, as readers of this blog will know. But I also like carefully researched, accurate, and who-the-hell-knew-that??? history. Which is why History House is an old fave, because it combines the best of both worlds. Unfortunately dormant now (sob! sob!!) the columns archives is still good for some great time-wasting, justifiable because, hey, we're learning! Don't forget to check out (HAR!) their multitudinous reccommendations for history-type books. - We live in a stupid, stupid world. (unlike, say, NBC news) openly acknowledges this and invites you to enjoy the absurdities.

Richie's Picks - I actually get Richie's Picks in my email. He sporadically sends out emails with a chatty discussion of his latest book. I like it because they're not the ones that get all the press and hoo-ha. Check the website to browse for archived reviews.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog-slogging.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Quick post because I have been bad and not blogged for ten days. And I know you've just all been on tenterhooks, waiting for my next words of wisdom. Right? Right?? (Say yes.)

Book:The View From Saturday
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Published: 1998, winner of the '98 Newbery

Take four extraordinary kids--Noah (fact: loves facts), Nadia (proud owner of a genius dog), Ethan (winner of the all-county Quietest Kid Competition), and Julian (sweet, perceptive, and of course picked-upon), and put them together with their brand-new teacher, the wheelchair-bound Mrs. Olinski. What do you get? A) The Souls, b) the first sixth-graders to compete in state Quiz Bowl c) a group of really good friends, d) all of the above.

I do hope you picked D.

E.L. Konigsberg has a certain dreamy, quirky style that not every kid will take to. If you recognize the name, she's the one who wrote From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (also a Newbery winner). What I love about her is that she's not afraid to weave in complex ideas and unusual characters. The way the novel is structured is also unexpected. Using the state Quiz Bowl finals as a framework, she takes the time to tell the intimate story of each one of the kids, and also Mrs. Olinski. How did they get where they are today? How did they become friends? Why the heck did Mrs. Olinski pick them? What exactly is the meaning of kindness and meanness, and what is their effect? You'll have to read and find out.

Like another favorite author of mine, Margaret Mahy, this book feels as if it should be pointless, but somehow isn't. It's not a sure-fire favorite for every kid, but try it and see. You might be surprised. Mrs. Olinski was.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ha. You thought I was lying, didn't you? Confess! that when you read "I'll do a rec post soon I swear," you went, "Uh-huh Bibliovore, sure. Whatever."

O ye of little faith!

Movie: Charade
Director: Stanley Donen (who? yes, I know.)
Released: 1963

Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) has decided to leave her husband. But when she gets home from a ski trip, she finds that he's left her first . . . the apartment is stripped to the walls. And then she finds out that not only has he left her, and Paris, he's left the land of the living, too.

But hubby did leave her something to liven up her days--a little matter of a lot of missing money, and some very nasty guys that want it back. Now the only person she can trust to help her out as she scrambles to find the money, evade the bad guys, and keep herself alive is the man played by Cary Grant.

Thanks a lot, hubby.

I saw this movie a few weeks back and just rolled on the floor. Sure, it's about spies, murders, and nasty stuff, but it's also hucking filarious. That being said, it's a great suspense movie, too. Like the title implies, you never really know who you can trust or what their motives are, even up to the last moment.

Audrey Hepburn, while initially wide-eyed and naive in that way she does so well, has smarts of her own to counter Cary Grant's dizzying shifts in character. I said "the man played by" up there because this fella changes names about as often as he changes pants--an element that contributes both to the humor and the suspense. Nice one!

Sure, it's a forty-year-old movie and at times shows it (they smoke like very elegant chimneys, for one thing) but it's also fabulously written and genuinely entertaining. If your local video store doesn't have it, tell them they suck and go find it at the library.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Of interest to me and anyone else who loves books, or for that matter, movies: Books vs. Movies

Check out the movie theater these days, folks. You might as well be at a bookstore. Although the last time I checked, Barnes and Noble doesn't sell Junior Mints at a 375% markup. I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Witness some of these titles shared by celluloid and paperbacks:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Howl's Moving Castle
War of the Worlds
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

. . . and that's just a list of the ones I've read.

This isn't a new trend. Hollywood has been doing this since basically the beginning of Hollywood. It's a great Blockbuster drinking game . . . walk down the aisles and take a chug for every movie that you know there's a book of. The drama section alone will put any self-respecting English major under the table. Of course, then you'll get kicked out of Blockbuster's for public drunkenness, but you should have known better than to take my advice about hot drinking spots. Sheesh.

What would happen if we all took a moment to read some of the books made into movies? That's my challenge to you. Liked the movie? Check Amazon, see if there's a book. (Tie-in novelizations don't count. Sorry. They just don't.) If you find an actual book, published before the movie came out, buy it or take it out of the library. Read, then report back. Over and out.

P.S. I swear I'll do a rec post soon. I sweeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar. Honest!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Another eensy update, this one somewhat less light-hearted:
37 Confirmed Dead in London Blasts

Why are people like this? Why do people do this? I've never understood. Least of all do I understand their belief that they're doing God's will. I've always believed that God goes by many different names in our world, but I have to say of this: that's not my God.

I lived near London for about four months, and I'm trying to picture the London I trundled around in, underground map and digital camera in hand, as Ground Zero. People I may have passed on the street are dead now. Britons I knew (and in some cases still correspond with) are reeling in shock and horror. Some of them may have lost friends or loved ones.

Why do people do this? How can they make this kind of choice?

If anyone's read Caroline B. Cooney's The Terrorist, about a young boy killed in a London subway, the victim of a terrorist bombing, please write in and let me know how it is.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Eensy update, because this made me giggle:

Handicapping the Great 20th Century Novels A tool to decide which door-stop, drinks-coaster, insomnia-curing tome to take out in public and pretend you're enjoying next. Although we all know that what's really on your nightstand is a well-worn copy of Searing Jungle Passion, Dead Before Dessert, or The Ultimate Spider-Man Showdown. Which is cool, as long as the damn TV is off.

Plus I really do think we need a variation of this concerning 19th century British literature.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Guess what! The long-awaited update is here!!

Book: Parsifal's Page
Author: Gerald Morris
Original Publication: 2001

Piers was born the son of a blacksmith, but secretly he dreams of the glitter of court, the majesty of chivalry, and the glory of knighthood. When a knight comes to his father's forge to get a suit of armor, Piers jumps at the chance to become his squire (changing his name to "Pierre" along the way). But he quickly finds out that not only is the life of a knight rather different than he was expecting, all the things he's ever heard about knighthood might not work so great in real life. But if knighthood isn't about chivalry, fair ladies, and glorious battles . . . well, what is it about then? From Arthur's Round Table to the land of Faerie and all the way back home again, Piers is going to have to figure it out on his own.

Gerald Morris has made a writing career out of retelling Arthurian romances, infusing them with an irreverence that helps readers explore past the surface glitter, just as Piers/Pierre does. Kids unfamiliar with either the original Arthurian stories or Morris's earlier books (Parsifal's Page is the fifth in the series, collectively called "The Squire's Tales"), may get slightly lost in the cast of thousands. However, Piers is the P.O.V. character for it all, and even though the actual events of the plot may seem slightly random, the focus on his maturation and deepening understanding remains consistent. Pick this book up for a blend of adventure, legend, fun, and thoughtfulness.