Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Three More Children's Books

If I haven't mentioned it before, I'm going to do so now. Part of my job at the library is to find books for the children's librarian so she could read during story hour. This Friday's story hour is a dog theme, so my mission today was finding dog-themed books. I had the pleasure of reading some of these. Keep in mind, however, that I am a cat person. I did my best in removing that bias from my mind as I read the books.

"Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate by Bob Graham

I never read anything by Bob Graham before. Fact is, half the children's books we carry are by authors of which I've never heard. So when I selected "Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate, my first thought was, "Is that a lesbian couple and their daughter? How progressive." I was wrong about that assumption, I think.

Still, the book is cute and the illustrations are adorable. And once again, I'm put in the place where I know I should give you some sort of feedback as to why I like this book, but I don't want to give too much away. I swear to you, I'll get better at reviewing children's books. I promise.

Chick 'n' Pug by Jennifer Sattler

I'm sure we've all been there at one point. Where we're the younger sibling and we adore the older sibling, and believe there is nothing our big brother/sister cannot do. The situation might be different for some of you - only children may have an older cousin, or we imagined our parents this way; same goes for the oldest sibling - but the message is clear. Those we hold up to hero standards can do no wrong. So it is when Chick gets to meet his hero, Pug. Only this pug is nothing like the one he idolizes. Instead, this pug would rather nap.

Once again, a cute story presented to you with minimum review. I'll tell you this, however, Jennifer Sattler has a knack for children's books. Which is probably why she writes them. I started reading Pig Kahuna afterwards, but didn't finish. I'll pick it up tomorrow when I have more free time (which I won't, but one can imagine, right?).

What Pete Ate from A-Z by Maira Kalman

I worry about this dog's bowel movements. Especially when that accordion slinkys out. Spoiler alert much? No, it's at the very beginning, so no surprise endings here.

However, Pete is the hypothetical dog that gives me reason not to own one. The dog's a walking garbage disposal. Your kids will probably love him. Hopefully, more than Walter.

These books are all available on Amazon and Barnes an Noble. Their respective links are featured in the caption. Until next time, keep on huntin'!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

"Time after time, Christopher has the last word," writes Carol Blue, Christopher Hitchens' widow, in her afterword for his book. 104 pages of powerful words from Hitchens and two people who knew him best, that's my description of Mortality – a book composed of, what I'm assuming is, his final essays, written while enduring treatment for esophageal cancer. 

Maybe it's my fascination with death that kept me turning the pages. I knew the end of the story – sorta. Or most likely, it's the way Hitchens wrote. Like so many people can state, Hitchens wrote in a way that makes you feel "as though he was writing to you and to you alone." His writing stays strong, he never falters. A non-believer until the end, amused by his detractors.

Each essay reads like a lecture. I was never "blessed" to hear the man in person, and now the only way to hear his voice is via the Internet. But these words are powerful. They're beautiful. Intelligent. Even cancer could not snuff him completely. Because even though his life has ended, his influence still grows. And if he hasn't won you over yet, this book will.

Mortality is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For Kindle and Nook. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Prometheus (2012)

Purchase Prometheus on
BluRay, BluRay 3D and DVD
First of all, you have to walk into this film with a blank slate. If you walk in with Alien running through your mind, you're probably going to hate it. Because, after all, we were promised a prequel to the 1979 Ridley Scott film. And that's the second caveat – Prometheus is in no way a prequel to Alien. It's a film that takes place in the Alien universe, but acts as a stand alone (though, if you must really dissect this, you can say it's a prequel to a prequel).

The film – I expect a lot of hate for this (as if anyone reads this blog, am I right, my two followers?) – is reminiscent of another science fiction flick. Well, two. The first, of course is Alien, which this movie alludes to. There are creatures present and there is the whole waking up process that made me miss Sigourney Weaver. There is the android – robot? – crew member. The list can go on, but I'll stop there. The second film is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not following? I'll explain why. In 2001, HAL becomes a little self-aware that leads to a whole bunch of betrayal. While David is no HAL, I get the same vibe from him. Had HAL been given some limbs to work with and alien DNA, I'm sure similar experiments on the crew members aboard his ship would have taken place. Hell, HAL might have played dirtier tricks. But whatever, that's not the point.

The point is that Prometheus, while disappointing in the lines of not being a prequel to Alien, is still a decent film. And if you're one of those people who are looking for twists and turns and – umm – a film riddled with violence from bad ass aliens, you should probably sit this one out. Though, I'm telling you, the ending is worth the whole sit.

Prometheus is available on October 11. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Flanimals Pop-Up by Ricky Gervais

Atheist parents rejoice? Maybe, but it's only a small jab at believers in this book. The rest of the time it's just all around fun book. And what else did you expect from Ricky Gervais? So what if his dry humor (humour?) is lost upon Americans? As an American who finds this man hilarious, you all should just sit everything out. Quote me on that, if you'd like.

So what is a Flanimal? The grotesque creatures that are part of the unknown world. And perhaps it's better that way because these creatures are ugly. Written as a field guy for the unknown, this pop-up edition is nothing but page-after-page of fun. So much so, you might want to keep this one for yourself. Read it while the kids go to bed. Go ahead, have fun.

I discovered this book today because we have it as a professional book in our department. Most of our pop-up books are professional because kids have the habit of destroying our beautiful toys, which is okay. Sometimes. It was the first thing I read this morning and I'm glad that I did, because tomorrow I plan to order it for my Shaun. Hopefully, he'll love it as much as I did.

You can purchase Flanimal Pop-Up at Amazon (only $6.89!!!) or Barnes and Noble (used starting at $.01). Until next time, keep on huntin'.

And while you're at it, check out these other goodies by Ricky Gervais:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

Sometime ago, I was introduced to Tess Gerritsen's novels. Jane Rizzoli piqued my interest. Later, Maura Isles left me head over heels with the Queen of the Dead. It wasn't an easy journey. Tess Gerritsen's history of writing romance novels featured heavily in the first few novels, and, at times, it overshadowed the main plot.

The tenth novel in the Rizzoli & Isles series hit shelves last Tuesday, and I received my copy in the mail Thursday. I drove right into it, using my Labor Day weekend to devour all 338 pages of it. I entered the book still feeling the buzz from the previous novel, but I left feeling hungry still. Is it just me or has Gerritsen lost her "edge?"

Some will argue that she never had an edge, but I don't let the naysayers deter me from enjoying a book - unless, like Fifty Shades of Grey, it's godawful. I'm not ashamed that I like the series. Not even ashamed that I own all the novels in it. But the books felt too quick. And the ongoing insult of her very intelligent characters still stabs at me. How is that Jane Rizzoli is well respected, yet she always finds herself on the wrong side of the suspects blade in the end? Sure, one or two books might not have her falling victim, but Maura does. It gets knackering, you know?