3. Lit Feline
Timestamp: 2008-10-30 11:25:52 UTC
What a deliciously creepy book! This was my last for the read-a-thon, and even when my eyes were growing increasingly droopy, I was still thoroughly frightened! This is my third Gaiman book this year, and though I liked Stardust better, I think this is Gaiman at his best.
Coraline is the story of a curious girl who yearns to explore her new home and its surroundings, but during a particular rainy day her mother insists she must stay indoors. So she explores her home once more and finds a peculiar door that does not go anywhere. When her mother unlocks the door for her, she sees that it has been bricked shut--once upon a time her flat and the empty one next door were joined by this doorway.
The next day, Coraline is once again bored and itching to do something to occupy her time. Her mother has left to run errands, so Coraline takes the key to the door and opens it. Instead of finding a brick wall like she expected, she finds a dark hallway. She enters the hallway and discovers that it leads to a flat just like her own--except that it is better than her flat. And in the kitchen she finds a woman who is just like her mother--just like her mother except for the buttons sewed onto her eyes. She has discovered her Other Mother.
At first glance Other Mother is wonderful. She cooks the food that Coraline loves, she pays her lots of attention, and she promises to love her forever and ever. After spending some time there, Coraline goes back to her own home, but her parents aren't there. And they don't come back that night. When Coraline is awakened by the strange neighborhood cat, she begins searching for her parents. She finally sees their reflection in the hallway mirror--as if they are stuck within and cannot get out. Upon seeing her trapped parents, Coraline knows she must go to the Other House to rescue them from Other Mother. But will Coraline be able to escape the clenches of her soul hungry Other Mother and save herself and her parents?
First--kids must have a higher tolerance for scary stuff than I do because this book plain and simple freaked me out! I don't do scary, and I'm a little embarrassed to report that while reading this book at 3 am I had to cover the illustrations with my hand so I wouldn't have nightmares when I finally crawled into bed. Even now when flipping through a book I landed on a particularly scary picture Other Mother that made my heart skip a beat.
But the illustrations are only a small part of what makes this book so bonechilling. Gaiman does a wonderful job of creating the other world where our fears feed upon more fear until they become out of control and consume our beings. I know that the more I think about how frightened I am, the worse the situation becomes and the smallest sound will send me right out of my skin. But Coraline is such a brave girl and she must separate her fears from what she believes to be good in order to make sense of the other world and her world so she can make things right.
I would recommend this little book--especially as a Halloween spook, but I can't imagine reading it when I was younger! (of course I am the supreme wimp!) Do you get scared while reading books? Do you enjoy being frightened?They also read it: (let me know if I've missed you--I have trouble catching them all when the book is so widely read...)
I read my first Hoffman book, Here on Earth, about five years ago and haven't had a strong desire to read something else by her since then. But I have heard such fantastic things about her books and finally decided to give her another go during the read-a-thon. And I'm glad that I did because this book was spellbinding and captivating from the opening sentences:
"Be careful what you wish for. I know that for a fact. Wishes are brutal, unforgiving things. They burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back. They bruise and bake and come back to haunt you" (3).
The Ice Queen begins with a little girl who makes a simple wish that changes her entire life. She always had a relatively quiet existence, but when she wished that her mother would disappear, everything changed forever. After her mother's death, her brother and she lived with her grandmother and she grew into a reticent woman fascinated with death. Several years after her initial wish upon her mother, the woman wished herself dead, and the wish half came true when she was struck by lightening causing her to be constantly chilled, her heart began skipping beats, and she could no longer see the color red.
Through a support group for individuals who have been struck by lightening, she learns of a man, Lazarus Jones, who was brought back to life by lightening. Upon a whim, she seeks out this man who has received a second chance at living. The two slowly enter into a strange love affair--one where her cold is finally offset by his intense heat, but the closer she gets to him, the more she realizes that Lazarus has his own dark secrets about who and what he is.
The Ice Queen is a beautiful and subtle book about loss and redemption as Hoffman explores how life can instantly change in the smallest moment. She talks about the chaos effect (I've also heard this called the butterfly effect) where the beating of a butterfly's wings can send fate into a completely different direction. But while this might imply that there are things in our lives that we cannot control, Hoffman also shows us a life where our decisions and choices impact the outcome of who we are and where our lives will take us.
The story itself is enchanting, but I was also swept away by Hoffman's writing. Her character development is powerful without being forceful, and while most of the novel is introspective, the plot is smooth and engaging. It was the perfect book for the read-a-thon because there is never a moment where the story lulls, and though there are some fantastical elements to the book, Hoffman makes you believe everything that she writes. I would recommend this book and will definitely be picking up others by her.
Whew! The thought of writing about four books is a little daunting to me, but I'm going to try and spread it out throughout the week--maybe one a day. And be sure to check in for my thoughts on Anne Frank as I will be giving away a copy of Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies.
Alright--now let's talk about Willie Nelson's new book. When I saw the opportunity to receive an ARC of this one from Hachette Book Group I couldn't help myself. I looooooove Willie Nelson's music. How can any Texan not? Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys?? Let's go to Luckenback, Texas with Waylon, Willie and the boys...? *Sigh* I love it. Oh ya--the book...
When Jay Blue makes the decision to hit the local saloon for a few drinks and a flirt with Jane Catlett instead of guarding the ranch, he lands himself into a heap of trouble with his father because their race horse is stolen, presumably by Comanches. While Jay Blue and his best friend Skeeter are searching for the horse, a mysterious murder is uncovered. An unknown brand doctor (someone who "doctors" existing brands into his own so he can steal cattle) is found shot to death by arrows just outside of Luck, Texas. Thus begins a whirlwind adventure of feuds between Texans and Comanches, renegade Texas Rangers against the federal army, a budding love, broken friendships, and a ghost from the past.
At first I wasn't too sure about the book. The first couple of chapters jump around from character to character and the result was choppy and my interested waned. The dialogue is pretty darn cheesy and there didn't seem to be a lot of development with the characters. But, the more I got into the book the more I was surprised at how much fun I was having reading it. The plot evened out and stopped jumping between characters, the dialogue became much more readable, and the characters were flawed and realistic. I don't know how much depth can be found in the book, but overall it was a fun and exciting read. And a little bit of a twist--who doesn't like that?? Plus--who doesn't love Willie Nelson?? :)
For hours 3-4Pages: 80 (from Just Out of Luck by Willie Nelson)
Above Maggie is saying, come on mom, let's go!
Wow 7:00 feels early this morning! But I can already smell the brewed coffee and I'm ready to go. Woohoo!! One other item of business (since I'm now ONE minute into the read-a-thon!!). Bethany is donating $5 for every book she reads to Living Water. I've decided to join her by doing the same. For more information, check out the website.
So when Scott and my schedule aligned at the beginning of October, I jumped on the chance for a quick getaway--Trish and Scott style (aka road trip!). Of course, also in Trish and Scott style a million things went wrong before things finally started going right.
Our flight left at 5:45 in the morning out of DFW, so we headed to the airport early. Getting to the airport around 4:30, we hopped on the remote bus and the suitcase handle broke. Then we couldn't find the Delta check in desk and ran around the different entrances trying to find the one Delta desk. Finally checked in, hurried to the gate and got onto the plane without any further troubles.
Until we got to Atlanta. Apparently there was some sort of problem with landing timing, so we circled above Atlanta for 45 minutes. As soon as we landed, I had Scott check our connecting time and we had five minutes to get to our Manchester, New Hamphire flight. We ran off the plane (of course we were in the last row), and checked the departure screen. Manchester--DEPARTED. Without us. Infinite sad face.
I fought sooooooo hard to hold back my tears. Especially when we got our next flight to Manchester, which was the next day. How do you not start crying? Luckily, we were able to get a flight into Boston, but we lost our entire day (the original plan was to fly to Manchester, drive through NH to Maine and spend the night in Portland then spend the next two days in Mass).
Once we got to Boston, we got our rental car, uploaded our Street and Road Trip Planner and headed to Gloucester for dinner:
Trish and Scott - Gloucester, Massachusetts
Scott looking over water / Scott at Fisherman Memorial
When planning the trip, I was paranoid--to the point of anxiety--that the leaves wouldn't be what I expected them to be. I linked to several foliage reports online, did numerous research, bugged others, and still feared that the leaves would either not be changed or all fallen. Since we drove through the rest of Mass and into Maine in the evening, I had no idea what to expect. And I feared that because we were heading further north, the leaves would have already fallen and another day would be gone.
There is nothing...Nothing that I can say that will do what we saw justice. The leaves were Gorgeous. The brilliant reds, bright oranges, blinding yellows--we don't have much color in Texas, so to say that every expectation was met would be an understatement. The day that we spent driving through Maine and New Hampshire is a trip that I will never forget. Absolutely breathtaking. And my camera sucks.
When we got to Bethel, we stopped at a little restaurant, S S Milton, for lunch. Scott was convinced that we were going to have seafood for every meal, so he ordered the Lobster Roll and I ordered the Crab Cake Sandwich and we switched halves. Ohmygoodness was the food good!
Back on the road and into New Hampshire.
Shortly after we left Bethel, we entered New Hampshire and the White Mountains on highway 16. We drove for about three of four hours through the mountains (or according to Scott, a very very long time), stopping a few times again to take some shots. The leaves in Maine were mainly yellow and red, but in New Hamsphire we saw a lot more orange and yellows.
Day-use Park in White Mountains, New Hampshire
The leaves hadn't really changed yet in Boston, so this orange tree really stood out in Boston Common.
The trip, although short, was amazing. I was afraid that it would bore Scott, especially since my main purpose was leaf peeping, but he mentioned that he wants to go back every year and make it an annual trip. It is certainly one I would love to take again. And the road trip? My favorite kind of trip.
For those curious about how I figured out where we would go--all completely random. I knew the main places I wanted to go--Maine, New Hampshire, Boston, Salem, Gloucester. But in terms of where in Maine and New Hampshire? We got lucky. I looked at a map and decided we would go as far north as Bethel and then drive through the White Mountains. We drove about 500 miles in 2 and a half days, but the loop we made was perfect and I would do it again in a heartbeat.