Friday, May 21, 2010

Question for you Book Nerds...

What are your top five favorite books?

That's my favorite question to ask people. ^^ Not only is it a conversation starter, but also a litmus test. If the person doesn't read, no biggie, I'd just jump in with a question about their favorite TV shows, and if they don't read or watch TV, then we can't be friends and they're dead to me.

(Side note: When my cousin-in-law Amber was here, she goes, "So, I like to ask people, what is your signature meal you cook?" I was sweatin bullets, various Lean Cuisines were flashing through my mind, until I remembered this easy tasty meal I make every-other Sunday but without the chicken, keyword: easy. Thank goodness for Aunt Shel, or I would have looked like a real loser, having a signature meal that's prepared via the microwave, and all.)

It's fascinating to me, what kinds of books people like to read. I'll have someone pegged as a SciFi Fantasy nerd, only to discover that one of their favorite books is The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (thanks for the recommendation, Markie!). My sister Sara is a big fan of the Sweet Valley High series. I don't know if they would make her top five, but that's her favorite genre, along with my sister Amy. My sister Erin checked out a book from the library about the perilous journey of the Donner party, who got stuck in a mountain pass and had to eat each other to survive, and she enjoyed it so much that she decided to keep it. She loves depressing true stories.

So, here are my current top five books:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins--duh
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling--double duh
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabitini--newest gem on my list
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--single tear
Exodus by Leon Uris--epic
The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner--Gen
Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer--the great uniter

One interesting thing I noticed about my list is that I have seven books in my top five, not counting each individual book in the series, then it would be about 20. Another thing I noticed about my list is that they are all books I've read in the last two or three years (with the exception of the Harry Potter series, which I started about 8 years ago). Why is that, I wonder? Are my tastes changing? Or have I just forgotten how much I love Persuasion by Jane Austen? Speaking of that...

Rounding out my top ten books:

Persuasion by Jane Austen --all her books, actually
Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer--all her books, actually
The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye--epic
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami--don't read this book, it's sick!
The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen Mccullough--hard core revenge
These is my Words by Nancy E Turner--Capt'n Jack

Clearly, I have no respect for boundaries, as six books round out my top ten. I haven't even mentioned the Potato book or The Help. This is tough.

Here's the last thing I noticed about my list. With the exception of three books that I discovered on my own, all of those books were recommended to me by either you or someone else I know. My SIL Mich begged me to read Harry Potter when I had no interest in reading it whatsoever. She litrly mailed me books 1-3 so I'd have to read them, and I was hooked. The newest book on my list, Captain Blood, was recommended by a friend of mine on Goodreads. I am obsessed with this book. If there was a Captain Blood action figure, I'd buy it. If Captain Blood lived in Forks, WA, I'd go visit the town. If there was a Captain Blood team, I'd join it.

So, what are your top five books?
I'm open minded when it comes to fiction genre, so don't worry, I won't judge you if there are a few SciFi Fantasy books on your list. Too much nonfiction might indicate that you don't read for pleasure tho, and too many classic novels is definitely a red flag. Otherwise, no judgment.

Then, if you have time, join Goodreads and add me as your friend. Some of you are already on there, and I've gotten some good books from you gize, indeed. Thanks!

My review of Captain Blood:

Captain Blood Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ahoy, everybody. I've decided that Captain Blood is one of my new favorite novels. (I'm putting it in my top five, but I can't decide what to bump down, so there will be six books in my top five--shhhh). It's a swashbuckling adventure that had me completely enthralled from beginning to end. It contains pirates! Need I say more? OK. I'll tell you more. Peter Blood is my favorite kind of protagonist--a reluctant hero, overcoming misfortune, outsmarting his adversaries against all odds, and witty without effort. Plus, he's freakishly handsome (I imagine).

Here's the gist:
Unjustly arrested and shipped off to the Caribbean as a slave, Peter Blood escapes his captors, and, through a series of adventures, becomes a successful (although reluctant) pirate captain. He tempers his pirateishness for the love for an unattainable (or so he thinks) woman he met as a slave--restraining himself against his enemies, sacrificing his pride, risking his life... all for Miss Arabella Bishop, whose opinion he holds in high esteem, even though he believes he'll never see her again (wrong).

Sigh, right?

So anyhow, I recommend that ye read it, me hearties. Or else. Dead men tell no tales.<--that's a promise. View all my reviews >>

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hey, Ladies

This middle-aged gentleman lives in my neighborhood:

I got a good look at him in his garage the next time I passed his house. He's a small, thin man with a receding hairline and a kind smile, so I think he's just being ironic.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Phenomenal Wal*Mart Story

So, I told you this part yesterday:
Tony and I were at Wal*Mart. It was late, and freakishly crowded. Long lines, utter chaos, angry customers.

Right when we got in line, the checker ran over and handed us his "lane closed" sign and said we were his last costumers of the night. We were like, "whateves." Tony tucked the sign under his arm, and we began the long process of harvesting our imaginary farms on our iPhones, ignoring everything around us. But then all the sudden, Tony nudged me and points behind us and there are like fifty people in line behind us, reading magazines etc, as if they'd been waiting there for a while. And we're holding this "lane closed" sign. Dang...
Here's the rest of the story:

We were all nervous, since we had to tell these busy-looking people who'd been waiting behind us that they'd have to start over in another line. At first, Tony tried to hand the sign off to me, and I was like, "no way, that's your sign," and he was like, "this isn't my job, I don't work here," and I was like, "apparently you do." ::glancing pointedly at said sign::

So Tony put on his most sheepish expression, turned to the people behind us, showed them the sign, and was like, "Hey, sorry, I forgot the checker handed me this sign. The lane is closed after us."

They didn't take the news so well. They rolled their eyes and murmured and gnashed their teeth, and I didn't blame them.

But once those angry people went away, we began to take our job much more srsly, and found it to be quite rewarding. A constant and steady flow of people tried to line up behind us, because ours was the only line that was actually shrinking. They'd approach our line with such gusto, relieved to find a shorter checkout line. "What luck!" their bright and eager eyes would say. And then Tony would hold up his "lane closed" sign, we'd explain the situation, and their little faces would fall. They were angry, but not at us. We were just the messengers. And we'd break the news gently, comforting them, agreeing that it wasn't fair, telling them how sorry we were on behalf of the Wal*Mart checker, and they'd say it wasn't our fault, and then we'd send them on their way. Within seconds, another eager soul would approach, and we'd do it again.

There was something enjoyable about the situation, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it was the common enemy thing.

We got to be the bearers of bad news for about thirty minutes, and then we were next in queue. The whole time, I thought the checker should have turned off his light, to stop attracting customers, so as soon as I caught the checker's attention, I asked him if he would please turn off his light. He looked at me all confused. I told him that people keep lining up behind us, and we have to keep telling them the lane is closed. And the checker said, without an ounce of apology, "Huh? I can't close my line down. We're too busy." He took his sign back from Tony--again, without an ounce of apology.

Meanwhile, hoards of new people were lining up behind us, and the people we had most recently sent on their way were in the checkout lanes beside us, glaring and murmuring and gnashing their teeth.

We avoided eye contact as we made our way out of Wal*Mart.

Wasn't that a phenomenal story?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The truth about sugar crystals, and much more

In case you were wondering, sugar crystals grow faster in distilled water than tap water. I know because I spent Mother's day relaxing in bed and reading a book conducting a highly scientific 3rd-grade-level experiment that would give us the answer to that question the hard way. (the easy way being Google)

Notice the hounds-tooth paper on our display board. Nice touch, eh? I'm actually excited to hear back about my grade.

Other than that, my Mother's day went like this:
I got a lovely pink Snuggi.
Tony worked.
I took a decent nap after church.
The house was ransacked by burglars.
The end.

The night before Mother's day, Tony and I went to Wal*Mart. It was late, and it was freakishly crowded. They had maybe ten percent of their registers open, and the lines were loooooong. Utter chaos. We waited no less than thirty minutes in our line.

But right when we got in line, the checker ran over and handed us his "lane closed" sign and said we were his last costumers of the night. We were like, "whateves." Tony tucked the sign under his arm, and we began the long process of harvesting our imaginary farms on our iPhones, ignoring everything around us. But then all the sudden, Tony nudged me and points behind us and there are like fifty people in line behind us, reading magazines etc, as if they'd been waiting there for a while. And we're holding this "lane closed" sign. Dang...

(...hang on a sec, I gotta go. I'll finish this story right when I get back. )