And they’re off: The Great Bike Trip Begins

IMG_1128My husband and daughter are off on the epic bike trip – they plan to spend the end of June through July biking form the California/Oregon border down the coast all the way to Mexico, wrapping things up just in time for San Diego Comic-Con. I know they will take some showers in campgrounds but still – can you imagine what those two are going to smell like by the end of the trip? And how many bike tires they will go through? The mind reels.

I’m driving the back-up car for parts of the trip so will be posting sporadically. Wish us all luck!

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Between the Lines Book Club: Further Reading

between the lines book club logoThis month’s book club selection is All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. We will be meeting at Arden Dimick Library tomorrow (6/25/16) to discuss the book, not to mention to admire the new look of the refurbished library.

All the Light We Cannot See is centered around WWII – and I say “centered around” because the story starts before the war and ends in 2014. If, like me, you are an avid google, the book has topics to chase down. Here are links to a few that might be of interest:

St-Malo Then and now

“The Burning of St. Malo” by Philip Beck

St-Malo: an Indépendent Travel Guide

“St-Malo”, Lonely Planet

Saintmalo

National Museum of Natural History

“Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle”, Lonely Planet

“A Giant Cabinet of Curiosities in Paris” by Messy Nessy

Hall of Evolution

Famous Diamonds

“51 Famous and Historic Diamonds” , abazias diamonds

“Carats and Curses: Five of the Most Famous Diamonds in the World”, The Telegraph

Guest Book Rant: A Tween Reviews My Immortal

We have a very special guest blogger today. My tween daughter read My Immortal because her clueless mom (ME) didn’t catch on to what she was reading until it was TOO LATE. I cannot recommend this book to tweens (or anyone) but I can tell you that we had many candid talks about the subject matter, we laughed a lot, and we’ve been using the word “keenly” as often as possible.

Anyway, Dear Daughter wrote this review/rant for all of you. It’s too late for her – she has already been traumatized by what has often been referred to as “The worst fan fiction of all time”. But you can save yourself! Don’t let her sacrifice be in vain!

My Immortal is a Harry Potter fanfiction and is rightfully known as the worst fanfiction ever written!  The book (if you can call it that) is about a vampire who is also a witch and goes to Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry. Her name is Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way however it changes multiple times throughout the book. (Evony, Enboby, Tebony, Ibony, Enbony, Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Terra Raven way etc…) She is a hardcore goth and a satanist and a lot of people tell her she looks like Amy Lee. She falls in love with Draco Malfoy (In the book his name is spelled Dracko multiple times) and befriends (with benefits) Vampire Potter (Harry Potter, but he got a new nickname because he likes the taste of human blood.) at some point Voldemort shows up and tells Ebony, and I quote, “Thou must kill Vampire Potter!” And when Ebony refuses to do this he says and I quote, “Thou must! If thou does not, then I shall kill thy beloved Draco!” and Ebony is faced with what to do.

The Author of My Immortal is a girl named Tara Gillesbie. However she claims she had spelling help from her friend Raven. The two girls are “goffick” and also have a youtube channel called xXblo0dyxkissxX. (Subscribe at your own risk watching these videos may cause brain cell damage/loss)

Speaking of brain cell loss just reading the fanfic will probably cause this to happen as well! The entire thing is full of bad grammar, people acting out of character, overly long and unnecessary descriptions, and even some stuff that is super offensive! For example this line I was feeling kinda depressed so I slit my wrist and read a depressing novel  and listened to GC while waiting for the blood to dry I drank some human blood, then I was ready to go to the concert. (Grammar errors made in this passage have been removed for your reading pleasure, you’re welcome.) Okay first of all, the protagonist  just casually slits her wrist because she was feeling kinda depressed. Thats offensive to anyone who struggles with depression or suicide! This is a real issue! And that’s not the only time the author casually talks about people slitting their wrist. In one chapter the protagonist is talking with her friends and they are planning what to do during the day and the the teacher (That’s right the teacher) says, “OMFG let’s have a group cutting session!” (Once again bad grammar has been removed, you’re welcome.) NO thats is super offensive to people who struggle with suicide! Also this teacher should be fired!

Like I said before My Immortal is full of characters acting out of character! For example in one scene Ebony and Draco are “Making out keenly against a tree” in the forbidden forest (I swear that’s exactly how the author writes it). When Dumbledore shows up out of nowhere and screemes, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU MOTHERF******” That’s right DUMBLEDORE says this! There are no words to describe how out of character this is! Later in an author’s note Tara claims that the only reason Dumbledore cused was because he had a headache. How stupid can you get?

Despite all of this My Immortal does have one good quality, and her name…. Is Britney. Britney is the arch enemy of the main character but she never does anything wrong. She is the only named Gryffindor character and is a “prep”. Ebony always makes sure to give her the middle finger. Britney is probably the most loved character even though she only shows up about 5 times for 2 seconds. She’s just that awesome!

I don’t think that anyone should read this. Not even Britney can save it. Like I said before it’s full of grammar errors and people acting out of character, and will probably manage to be offensive to you no matter who who you are. It’s impossible to like. It’s extremely inappropriate for children as well. If however you decide to read My Immortal despite everything i’ve just told you, know that YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Dont come crawling back to me begging for holy water and brain bleach. You can read My Immortal on Fanfiction.net or Wattpad (it’s an app its awesome I love it so much.) Or you can simply google My Immortal and a bunch of sites will pop up that will let you read it, not to mention some people made a movie of it and it’s on youtube.        

Between The Lines Book Club: Blindness in All the Light We Cannot See

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between the Lines Book Club, which meets in this space every Friday and will be meeting in person at Arden Dimick Library on June 25, 2016 at 10:30AM. This month’s book is All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.

One of the main characters in All the Light is a blind girl named Marie. Marie is fiercely protected by every other major character with the exception of the arch-villain of the story. Her father bathes her and dresses her and helps her put on her shoes well into her teens. Marie usually seems much younger than her actual age – at the start of the book she is six, but although later she is a teenager seems more like a girl between the ages of ten and twelve. She is presented as without flaws, other than a kind of passivity. However, she does show resourcefulness and increasing independence.

Most reviewers have praised the book, but some have pointed out that Marie represents an unrealistic version of life as a blind people. Blind people learn to navigate without ropes and model houses, and they can most certainly dress themselves. In this passionate essay by Sheri Wells-Jensen, Wells-Jensen (who is blind) analyzes the portrayal of Marie as a character “without agency”.

Not everyone agrees – here’s a dissenting essay by blind author Beth Finke. She felt that Marie was a well-rounded character, and she especially admires the way the writing stays within Marie’s point of view, so we don’t see anything she doesn’t see.

What do you think? Is Marie realistically written? Is she more, less, or equally passive than Werner, who drifts along with the army and makes very few choices on his own behalf?

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Between the Lines Book Club: All The Light We Cannot See

between the lines book club logoArden Dimick Library is open again and it is BEAUTIFUL. If you don’t have a copy of All The Light We Cannot See, our book club selection for June, just request one at the circulation desk.We will be meeting on June 25, 2016 at 10:30AM!

All The Light We Cannot See tells two stories (set in WWII) that seem inextricably connected even though the characters only meet briefly. Marie is a blind French girl who lives in Paris and, later, in the besieged town of St. Malo. Werner is a young German soldier who specializes in radio equipment and in locating radio signals. The novel is notable less for it’s plot and more for its use of lovely language to describe difficult times and the characters’ internal states:

What mazes there are in this world. The branches of trees, the filigree of roots, the matrix of crystals, the streets her father recreated in his models… None more complicated than the human brain, Etienne would say, what may be the most complex object in existence; one wet kilogram within which spin universes.

The book was a bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. One of the things I noticed, though, is that every review has a different, “The book was great but…” Did you like the book? Did you have a “The book was great, but…” reaction?

Review Links:

The Guardian

NPR

New York Times

Washington Post

Changes in the Air

book on beackYou all may have noticed that I’m waaaay behind in my p0sts. This is for happy reasons – I am super, super busy doing other writing and presentations and attending panels and doing family things. My health is better (yay) so I’m also busy trying to cook and exercise and sleep and do all those things that we all have to do to maintain our health but that, frankly, take up a ton of time.

With this in mind, I’m going to switch this blog focus to two days only (Mondays and Fridays). Mondays are for personal stuff, updates, maybe some guests posts, just sporadic random stuff. My tween daughter would like to post some things – she is working on a book review of the worst fan pic ever that is HILARIOUS. We will have pics after San Diego Comic-Con. Sometimes I’ll post and sometimes I won’t. It’ll be all wacky and spontaneous.

Fridays I’ll be continuing to post for Between the Lines Book Club. Arden-Dimick Library is open again, it’s lovely, and we are back in book club business!

And for a thrilling (HA) project I’m going to try to figure out how to combine my Geek Girl Facebook account and my personal account and set up groups and all that stuff so I can post more random Facebook things since we won’t have Wednesday Videos.

Thank you all!

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