April 28, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Question from Wendi's Book Corner: Do you have any missing covers (they show as a plain gray book)? Did you have a favorite view (title, author, date entered)? Do you have any favorite covers? If so, is there anything they have in common?
First of all I really really wanted to put the book covers of my entire LT library in this post but it would take up way too much space, so I have only included those sections where I have missing book covers.
My missing book covers are The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, the first below, and People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.  I have now fixed them.  
Being an organizational sort of person I like to sort and view by date entered rather than by author or title.  Then I can see what I may have read/reviewed recently or a long time ago. Sorting this way the first book I ever added was The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and the most recent addition was...none other than The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory.  What are the odds!
My favourite book covers are below, with The Thirteenth Tale probably being my most favourite.  I guess I like the colors red and green the most, I like pretty, striking or interesting covers.   Can I just say that I really dislike when the cover art cuts off a person's face...what is the point of this? On the left sidebar toward the bottom of my blog I have a Picasa album of Eye Catching Book Covers...take a look.

April 27, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife Movie

I have not yet read the book by Audrey Niffenegger but I have purchased a copy and plan on reading it before the movie is released on August 14. The production stars Rachel McAdams as Clare and Eric Bana as Henry. There are a lot of fans who are hoping that the movie will be just as good as the book. More details here at IMDB. Based on the best-selling book about a love that transcends time. Clare has been in love with Henry her entire life. She believes they are destined to be together, even though she never knows when they will be separated: Henry is a time traveler--cursed with a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to live his life on a shifting timeline, skipping back and forth through his lifespan with no control. Despite the fact that Henry's travels force them apart with no warning, Clare desperately tries to build a life with her one true love.
One of my favourite Movies-Based-on-the-Book is Memoirs of a Geisha. Arthur Golden wove an incredible story and the movie really did the book justice. P&P and the Colin Firth BBC mini-series also was incredibly good. Do you have a favourite movie/book combination?

April 24, 2009

New Michael Crichton Novels

A Reuters news report states that Michael Crichton's publisher HarperCollins will release in November a completed adventure story by the author called "Pirate Latitudes" set in Jamaica in 1665. Extensive notes for another novel were also found in his files, this one a thriller. An as yet unnamed author will complete the story with its release targeted for 2010. Michael Crichton died at the age of 66 after a silent battle with cancer. See the full release here.

April 23, 2009

Upcoming Paperback Releases I Covet the Most

Stealing Athena by Karen Essex (April 28) Stealing Athena is the story of two women, separated by centuries but united by their association with some of the world''s greatest and most controversial works of art. Aspasia, a philosopher and courtesan to visionary politician Pericles during Athens''s Golden Age, defies societal restrictions to become fiercely influential in Athens'' power circle. Mary, the Countess of Elgin and a beautiful Scottish heiress, charms the fearsome men of the Ottoman Empire to make possible her husband''s costly acquisitions, all the while brazenly defying the social conventions of her time. Both women prevail yet pay a heavy price for their rebellion. A tale of romance, intrigue, greed, and glory, Stealing Athena interweaves the lives of two of history''s most beguiling heroines.
The Last Queen: A Novel by C.W. Gortner (May 5) In this stunning novel, C. W. Gortner brings to life Juana of Castile, the third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain, who would become the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne. Along the way, Gortner takes the reader from the somber majesty of Spain to the glittering and lethal courts of Flanders, France, and Tudor England.Born amid her parents’ ruthless struggle to unify and strengthen their kingdom, Juana, at the age of sixteen, is sent to wed Philip, heir to the Habsburg Empire. Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her dashing young husband, and at first she is content with her children and her married life. But when tragedy strikes and she becomes heir to the Spanish throne, Juana finds herself plunged into a battle for power against her husband that grows to involve the major monarchs of Europe. Besieged by foes on all sides, Juana vows to secure her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it costs her everything.
The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson (May 26) In an expensive London restaurant Julia Lovat receives a gift that will change her life. It appears to be a book of exquisite 17th-century embroidery patterns but on closer examination Julia finds it also contains faint diary entries. In these, Cat Tregenna, an embroideress, tells how she and others were stolen out of a Cornish church in 1625 by Muslim pirates and taken on a brutal voyage to Morocco to be auctioned off as slaves. Captivated by this dramatic discovery, Julia sets off to North Africa to determine the authenticity of the book and to uncover more of Cat’s story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia discovers buried secrets. And in Morocco – just as Cat did before her – she loses her heart. Almost 400 years apart, the stories of the two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that will make readers wonder – is history fated to repeat itself? Chapters Amazon
A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander (June 23)
At her friend Ivy''s behest, Emily reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the sprawling English country estate of Lord Fortescue, a man she finds as odious as he is powerful. But if Emily is expecting Lord Fortescue to be the greatest of her problems, she is wrong. Her host has also invited Kristiana von Lange, an Austrian countess who was once linked romantically with Emily''s fiance, the debonair Colin Hargreaves. What Emily believes will be a tedious evening turns deadly when Fortescue is found murdered, and his protege, Robert Brandon--Ivy''s husband--is arrested for the crime. Determined to right this terrible wrong and clear Robert''s name, Emily begins to dig for answers, a quest that will lead her from London''s glittering ballrooms to Vienna''s sordid backstreets. Not until she engages a notorious anarchist in a game of wits does the shocking truth begin to emerge: the price of exonerating Robert can be paid only by placing Colin in deadly peril. To save her fiance, Emily must do the unthinkable: bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange.
Chapters Amazon Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James (June 30) Syrie James takes us into the unquiet soul of Charlotte Bronte. Poor, plain and unconnected, Charlotte, her sisters live in the wilds of Yorkshire. Their eccentric father allows no curtains on the windows and no rugs on the floors. Their brother is a drunkard and a drug addict. But these three sisters write some of the most beloved books ever created. Many don't know that Charlotte's life held hidden passions. And while many remember Jan Eyre, few know about her romance with Arthur Bell Nichols. After her death, he destroyed so much of the personal writing of her adulthood, but now, Charlotte's secrets are about to be told. Chapters
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (July 13)
Mary is Queen of Scotland but she has been forced to flee her land and take refuge in an England that is ruled by her cousin Elizabeth. But England‚ precarious in its Protestant state‚ set against the mighty powers of Spain‚ France and Rome‚ doesn′t need a charismatic Catholic figurehead at large. So Elizabeth′s chief advisor‚ Cecil‚ devises a plan in which Mary will live under guard with his trusted accomplice: Bess of Hardwick.
Bess is a self−made woman‚ a shrewd survivor. She is newly married to her fourth and most distinguished husband‚ the Earl of Shrewsbury. But what marriage can withstand the charms of Mary? Or the threat of rebellion that she always carries? Mary must wait in her privileged imprisonment for the return to Scotland and her infant son; but waiting is not the same as doing nothing... With her characteristic combination of superb storytelling and authentic historical background‚ Philippa Gregory brings to life this period of great change‚ in a riveting tale of betrayal‚ loyalty‚ politics and passion.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (November 10)
A riveting family saga, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle explores the deep and ancient alliance between humans and dogs, and the power of fate through one boy’s epic journey into the wild.
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong companion. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelle's once-peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm – and into Edgar's mother’s affections.
Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires, spectacularly. Edgar flees into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm. He comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father’s murderer, and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs, turn Edgar ever homeward.
Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes – the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a ghost made of falling rain – create a family saga that is at once a brilliantly inventive retelling of Hamlet, an exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.
Amazon I would have to say I am looking forward to The Tenth Gift the most. A friend recommended it highly to me. I can't wait. I think I like the hardcover artwork better than the trade paperback. There has been a lot of positive buzz about The Last Queen too and some great reviews. Now all I need is more hours in the day to read all the books on my wishlist and in my tbr pile!

April 22, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Question from Wendi's Book Corner: Did you know about Helper Badges? Do you have any badges? If so, what is your highest medal/number? What is your lowest? Do the badges give you any incentive to help add to the areas of LT that they cover (Common Knowledge, Venues, etc)?
First of all "Today's Question" for me is Wednesday not Tuesday...work has been incredibly busy since late last week and I can finally take a breath and catch up on blog posts.
We can get Helper Badges! I had no clue. Well I do not have any currently but its nice to think I could get one sometime in the future. I'd like to help more, especially with Common Knowledge. I'll keep this in mind next time I'm adding a new addition to My Library. I need to spend some more time on LT and see what new features and updates there are. Never seems like you have enough time in the day for all you want to do!

April 15, 2009

Silk by Alessando Baricco

Silk by Alessandro Baricco is only a scant 132 pages and although the narrative is sparse and austere it is yet a very authentic story. It is simply the story of silk merchant, Herve Joncour, who is married. Herve exists through life quietly and routinely, always a follower never a leader. On a trip to Japan to smuggle silkworm eggs back to France he is struck by a girl who does not have oriental eyes, the mistress of the Hara Kei and the most invincible man in Japan. The girl stirs his soul and he hovers on the brink of change. He feels connected to the girl in Japan who does not have oriental eyes, the mistress of the Hara Kei and the most invincible man in Japan, and although he loves his wife he is tempted by the elusiveness her. Baricco is very skillful at building layer upon layer of emotional intensity. He uses repetition of words and parts of the plot in this way as well. A story of reality versus illusion. Recommended read. My Rating: 4.0 Chapters Amazon

April 14, 2009

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Question from Wendi's Book Corner: Have you explored the different styles? Have you customized any of the styles? If so, what are your favorite customized items (isbn, Dewey Decimal, Reviews, Book-Swap, etc)?
Yes I have with positive and negative consequences.  I prefer Style A but I have since forgotten exactly what this style sheet's fields are supposed to be since I customized it a few months ago. BEWARE...when I was customizing (by clicking the pencil at the end of Styles) somehow I accidently erased all the field definitions and I had to start from scratch. Now my Styles C, D, and E have no fields besides Shared and I cannot set them back to their defaults.  I use only Style A and Style B with the difference being that Style A lists Reviews and Style B lists Entry Date, as well as Book Cover, Title, Author, Date, Tags, Rating and Shared.
I would say Reviews are my favourite customized item so far...I like being able to sort or search by author and see which books I have written reviews on and which I have not.  I will have to check the other items that can be added.  I seem to remember that we could only have 8 or 9 different fields per style sheet but now it looks like you can have up to 12.
I hope LibaryThing one day adds a feature to set style sheets back to defaults.

April 13, 2009

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

I thought Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders almost as good a story as Brooks’ previous book that I have read, People of the Book. In Year of Wonders we follow the story of 18 year old Anna Frith during the year of the plague in her small remote mountain village in 1665 England. Anna is a young widow, her husband Sam having died some months earlier, living in a small cottage with her two young boys. She helps the Rector’s wife Elinor Mompellion with household duties and in return Elinor takes Anna under her wing, passing along her knowledge of language, herbs and faith. Anna takes in a young journeyman tailor as a lodger for additional income and as spring unfolds, Anna and the tailor begin to have feelings for each other. The day after gifting Anna with a magnificent gown, the tailor falls ill and dies mysteriously. Another love Anna has lost. The year that follows is agonizing for Anna, as not only do her two young boys die of the plague but also her most cherished friend and more than a third of her small village. The local physik’s having being accused of witchery and then murdered, Elinor enlists Anna as her assistant and they dedicate themselves to helping those who have fallen ill. There are a myriad of characters in the story whose behaviour ranges from compassionate to deranged to evil, both helping and hindering the efforts of Anna and the Mompellions to keep the faith of the village, administer to the dying and provide help to the living. Brooks’ has an amazing quality of drawing us into her story and making us become invested in the lives of her main characters, especially true with Anna Frith. Anna has experienced heart-wrenching losses but still summons the will and determination to survive and forge her destiny. She is butterfly in a cocoon waiting to spread her wings…and only after devastating losses and unwelcome revelations does Anna get the courage to break free of her current existence and risk all to find happiness and love of a kind. An amazing story about personal growth, love and hatred, giving and loss, faith and staying true to yourself. My Rating: 4.0 Chapters Amazon Related Reviews: People of the Book