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Archive for February, 2010

The Lightning Thief, the Movie

Posted by Caitie F on February 27, 2010

Warning: There will be spoilers to both the movie and the book.

I went and saw the movie version of The Lightning Thief last night and was VERY surprised. I couldn’t believe how different it was from the book. I loved the book so I was worried that I wouldn’t like the movie, but even though they made so many changes, it was still a great movie!

I did miss several scenes from the book. I loved how Ares was portrayed in the book, and his scene was cut from the movie. I also liked Percy’s antagonist at the camp, but alas, she wasn’t there.

There were a few things that really disappointed me though. The first is that he knew who his father was all along. in the book, he is in Hermes cabin until he is claimed, but in the movie his dad built him the Poseidon cabin. The biggest difference was the theft of the lightning bolt and the reason. In the movie, Luke took it because he was fed up with the gods ruling and ignoring their children. In the book, Kronos is trying to get back into power and uses Luke to destroy the gods. From what I know about the rest of the series, the main conflict surrounds Kronos trying to get back into power. It made me think they aren’t planning on making all of the movies since it took out this central conflict.

That said, I think the movie worked out really well. I missed some of these scenes, but I don’t think someone who didn’t read the book would mind. I loved the look and feel of the movies, which doesn’t surprise me since I think Chris Columbus is a great director. I think choices of the actors were great and the acting was stellar.If you haven’t gone to see it yet, you really should.

What did you think of the changes? Did any of it bug you?

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Posted by Caitie F on February 25, 2010

Title: Blink

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Hardcover: 277 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company

ISBN: 0316172324

Rating: +++

Summary: In his second book, Malcolm Gladwell talks about how we think without thinking, and about choices that we make in the blink of an eye. He also talks about how experts can predict and/or determine things just by looking at things we do and say in our unconscious.

It doesn’t just talk about the good things that come out of using what you get in the blink of an eye, but also to sometimes catastrophic results — and how to fix them.

Review:

I have wanted to read this for a while because I thought it sounded fascinating. Can we really make big decisions in just the blink of eye? The answer turns out to be sometimes.

I don’t like that you open the book to the inside flap and it says “Don’t think—blink!” because it does not represent what the book really says. The book concentrates on “thin-slicing” when looking at things. It is mainly taking what you see down to the most important aspects and just looking at that. We do it all the time. everyday without realizing it.

I don’t buy everything in the book. There is one scientist that claims he can look at a conversation on a minor disagreement between a married couple and can tell if they will still be married in 15 years. Some of his methods are probably accurate, like looking at four areas of how they respond to each other and unconscious movements and facial expression. He still is only correct 85% of the time, while people without his training do a little better than 50%. It is a difference, but I don’t know if I buy it. Being bale to tell if people will get divorced based on fifteen minutes just seems a little far fetched. If I had less in my TBR pile, I would look further into his study.

The other study that was very interesting was one on facial expression. A scientist has numbered all of the possible facial expressions and can evaluate a conversation based on it. He knows what it means when your eyebrow goes up or your mouth twitches, even if it is for just a couple milliseconds. He can also teach people how to read things in others, which I would love to try!

They also talk about how thin-slicing affects police officers and how they react to situations. It talks about a few instances of police shooting innocent people and show the explanations of what they thought was happening, and then what really happened. It made me see why they did what they did, but also made me sad that a misjudgment of a situation can be fatal in a matter of seconds.

I really liked that it said how to fix these problems, such as have police officers in a car alone so they have to wait for backup and can access the situation for more time, which makes them more accurate.

I could go on and on about the issues brought up in this book, but I am sure no one wants to read a dissertation. You should read the book though. My husband and I argued about some of the claims made in it, which was fun.

Have you read it? Were their any claims you thought were dead-on or ones you thought were ridiculous? Let me know in the comments!

This counts for the 2010 TBR Challenge!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Guest Interview!

Posted by Caitie F on February 22, 2010

I was interviewed by the lovely and talented Jennifer over at Reading with Tequila. Head over there and check it out! You can also win a prize…and prizes are always fun!

Thanks for hosting this Jennifer – I have really enjoyed getting to know some of the other new bloggers!

Posted in Blogging | 2 Comments »

TSS What Else Do You Do For Fun?

Posted by Caitie F on February 21, 2010

It was another crazy week. I went to my internship three days, so I didn’t read very much. When I read all day, it takes some of the fun out of reading at home. I am still reading Blink, but it should be done this week and I cannot wait to review it. When a book makes me question things as much as this did, it is a lot of fun to talk about!

I thought I would talk about something else that I like to do for fun. Reading tends to be a pretty solitary activity, which is a big reason we have book clubs and book blogs. What do you do when you are with your friends? Go to movies, clubs, or concerts? Do you have a favorite place to hang out?

For me, I play board games. I have always loved them, but lately I have been playing them a lot more often. In September, I was trying to find a way to meet some new people because I didn’t really have any friends here and my husband’s friends all have kids so we never see them anymore. I went to meetup.com and started looking for things I might like and found a board game group.

Side note: Meetup.com is amazing. If you are looking for things to do, go check it out. I found a book club, a social group, and this there. I highly recommend it, especially if you are nervous about meeting new people. I think most people who use meetup.com realize that it is hard to make new friends and are more open and friendly.

The group met on a Saturday in Panera about fifteen minutes from our house. We went and met the organizer of the group and a few other people showed up…who we now have over at least once a month in addition to going to the official meetups twice a month. The group keeps growing and we have met a ton of great people. We had one yesterday, got there at three and left at 10:30 and that is what usually happens!

We play a lot of the traditional games – Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Boggle, and other like that, but I have also gotten to learn a lot of awesome new games. My favorite is probably Settlers of Catan. Settlers is a great strategy game where you build settlements, roads, and cities in order to get Victory Points. You can also do things to keep others from getting points. It is such a great game and if you haven’t tried it, you really should! There is a new version coming out in june that I am very excited about. Do you have any great games to recommend?

I was not surprised that one thing we talk about a lot when we get together is books. Most of us are avid readers and we have a wide variety of tastes. From the people in the group, I realized that I like science fiction a lot more than I thought I did, which is great because the agent I work with likes science fiction a lot. They are also introducing me to new movies and television shows that I would have ignored before.

So what else do you do for fun? I would love to hear in the comments!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Posted in Blogging | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Book Survey Contest Winner!

Posted by Caitie F on February 20, 2010

There were 46 entries into the contest and I got over 100 entries, so that means there is one winner!

I put the numbers into Random.org and got…

19- Ariel B!

Congrats Ariel – you will get an email from me today

She gets a week to respond, and if I don’t hear from her by then I will draw another winner.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Forty Days of Sacrifice

Posted by Caitie F on February 17, 2010

Today starts one of the most important times for millions of Catholics around the world – Lent. Now, I am not religious. I go to church on Christmas Eve with my family and that is usually it. I question religion in general all the time. I don’t agree with how the Catholic Church is run, and I don’t agree with what, or how, they teach many things. If you are Catholic, please don’t be offended – I think everyone should get to believe what they want, I just don’t agree with that.

So with all of this, why I am talking about Lent? Well, Lent is the one thing I do. I didn’t eat meat today (and won’t on Fridays), but I also didn’t go to church. For the next forty days, I will not have any pop (soda to some) or eat fried foods. No french fries, no onion rings, no fried chicken or chicken wings, none of some of my favorite Chinese foods.

In Catholicism, it is to represent Jesus’ forty days and nights in the desert being tempted by the devil (I think, it has been a while since I went to church on Ash Wednesday). I don’t do it because of that or because I am getting ready for him to rise.

I sacrifice some things I really like for forty days because I am really lucky – or blessed as some people may say. I live in a country where I can get drinkable water from a tap. I can easily get food. I can go to a doctor if I am sick. Now, our country isn’t perfect, but we have it better than a lot of other people. So I am giving up things I really like for a little while.

Some people criticize me because not drinking pop and eating fried foods is good for me…but so what? This has been my usual for the past few years and I have more energy and feel better in general. They are both things I really like, so I feel like I am giving up. My husband had fries tonight for dinner and I really wanted some! All in all, it is an experience I like doing every year.

Do you give anything up? If so, what? If not, what would you give up if you had to give something up for forty days? It doesn’t have to be food or drink, it is just what I do! Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Why I Read

Posted by Caitie F on February 15, 2010

Since I have not been reading much lately, I thought it would be a good idea to remind myself why I read and why I enjoy reading so much. This past week, I have not even finished a book…and I had six days off, so I think this post is needed.

I feel like I have always read. I learned when I was three. My mom is a teacher and always thought that reading early would have great benefits…and it did. Growing up, I would get a huge stack of books from the library every week. It has always been something that I have enjoyed. But why?

I like going to another world for a little while. While reading, I forget about the stress of not having a job, or whether or not my new friends actually like me, or what are we going to do if my husband’s salary gets cut. When I am reading, it all goes away for a little while. That is probably why I love fantasy so much – it is a completely different world. Lately, I have realized that I like science fiction more than I thought and I hope that has the same effect on me.

I also like to see how other people see the world, or how they think others see it.  I have always tried to have an open mind, and I think reading helps me achieve that. I will never know what it is like to be gay or a person of color, but by reading books from that perspective, I feel like I can at least understand and be more aware of it.

I also read to learn. I don’t read much non-fiction, but I am trying to incorporate it into my reading more. Right now, I am reading Blink and I find it fascinating. I still don’t know how much I buy the whole concept, but I think my review of it will be interesting.

I read because it is a reasonably priced form of entertainment, which is why I find the price wars on e-books so ridiculous. Books are already pretty cheap. I buy a book for $15 and it takes me 4 or 5 hours to read it. I could have spent that same $15 on a movie and popcorn that lasted 90 minutes. You can also reread the book for that price, loan it to a friend, or give it away in a contest!

Finally, I read because I love to talk about what I read with others. I had a friend ask me what I was reading and I answered and asked him the same question and he said, “I don’t really read, I just talk to people about what they read.” I thought that was very interesting and I don’t understand how you can do that. Unfortunately, the conversation was on instant messenger and we had switched to talking about the word Zamboni.  It will have to be a conversation that is continued at a later date.

I do love talking to people about what I read, which is why I am in a book club and write and read blogs. I always loved English class for that reason too.

Why do you read? Do you have different reasons? Do you know people who don’t read, but like to hear about what other people are reading? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Midweek Musing

Posted by Caitie F on February 9, 2010

I tend to keep this blog about books and publishing and all that fun stuff, but I thought I would take a break from that today because I am not in the mood to review.

Romance

It is almost Valentine’s Day and that makes me think of romance books…and how I cannot stand them for the most part. I have tried, but it does not appeal to me. The situations feel so fake and the characters flat. Do you know good romance books? If so, let me know in the comments – i will give it another chance!

I do like good stories that have a love story within it…but it needs to be more than just the romance and it needs to not be stereotypical. I want a strong woman that doesn’t need a man to feel complete and who has other things going on in her life. Independence is a good thing!  So is finding love.

Jason and I are going to Boston this weekend to see his best friend and his wife. They bought a house and we haven’t been up to see them, so a long weekend is a great time to go! I have only been to Boston a couple times and didn’t see much. Do you recommend anything? Keep in mind that it will be cold!

Internship

I got that major internship and have been there for a week and a half. I love it so much! I don’t want to say where it is since I want to talk about it, but it is at a literary agency.

I have been reading queries and partial manuscripts that we requested. I read them, write my comments, and then an assistant goes over them (don’t worry, I don’t make the final decision). It is very…interesting. I get what people mean when they say something is good, but it isn’t for them. People are very specific about what they represent, so many things just don’t fit. There have also been some really bad mistakes. Misusing your/you’re in the first line of the query, spelling the agents name wrong, spelling their OWN name wrong, etc.

I did help convince someone to request a partial from someone, so I can’t wait to read it. I have been reading a lot of partials lately and it is a lot of fun. I have been about 50/50 on whether or not I think we should request a full. I read an amazing fantasy partial today and REALLY hope we get the full, I need to know what happens!

Weather

There was snow over the weekend and we are getting hit again tonight. Jason is off tomorrow, as am I, so it will be a super short week this week! I hope everyone is safe and has plenty of food and heat! I know the Midwest is getting slammed too, so I wish everyone a safe Wednesday!

I am hoping to spend the day curled up with a book, but know I will watch TV and play Wii instead!

Posted in Misc | 1 Comment »

The Sunday Salon: Mini Review

Posted by Caitie F on February 7, 2010

I have several books that I have read this year and haven’t gotten the chance to review yet, and figure I will do several shorter reviews. You may notice that these are book that I rated lower. I figure that I usually have more to say about book I really like than ones that I don’t. These fit that especially because I didn’t feel strongly about any of these books, but wanted to talk about them a little.

Avalon High

by Meg Cabot

Rating: +

Summary

Avalon High seems like a typical high school, attended by typical students: There’s Lance, the jock. Jennifer, the cheerleader. And Will, senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy. But not everybody at Avalon High is who they appear to be … not even, as new student Ellie is about to discover, herself. What part does she play in the drama that is unfolding? What if the bizarre chain of events and coincidences she has pieced together means — as with the court of King Arthur — tragedy is fast approaching Avalon High? Worst of all, what if there’s nothing she can do about it?

Review

This was a great concept, but I thought the execution was not very good. The parallels were too direct and obvious and the story was very predictable. I got what would happen right away and once it was explained to the characters, it got worse. I wish I had liked it more, but I just didn’t think it worked. It was too trite and obvious.

Reading the OED

by Ammon Shea

Rating: ++

Summary

An obsessive word lover’s account of reading the Oxford English Dictionary cover to cover.

Review

I loved reading about A J Jacobs reading the encyclopedia, so I thought I would love to read about someone reading the OED, especially since i love words. This book lacked the cleverness of Know It All and was not as entertaining and I thought it would be. i read through the Cs and couldn’t read anymore. It took a fun concept and made it…well, not so fun.

If you love words, it is worth a try though. You might find some great new ones!

Black Beauty

By Anne Sewell

Rating: ++

Summary

An autobiography of a horse.

Review

I think this was a very clever book. Seeing things from the point of the view made me like horses a lot more (I have never been a big fan) and made me think about the horrible ways people sometimes treat animals. IT also made me think about how much animals return love and affection. I didn’t love the story, and probably would not really recommend it, but I am glad that I picked it up.

Project Princess

By Meg Cabot

Rating: +++

Summary

Mia goes on a school trip during spring break to buld homes for the less fortunate in West Virginia

Review

It is one of the in-between books in the Princess Diaries series and is very short. I liked that Mia was doing something to help others and thought that it did make her realistic because she thought about her boyfriend in addition to thinking about doing good deeds. If you have read the rest of the series, you should read it. If you skip it, you won’t miss too much though.

Read this week

The Guinea Pig Diaries by A. J. Jacobs

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Project Princess by Meg Cabot

Little lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodges Burnett

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

Currently Reading

The Love Story of J. Edgar Hoover by Kinky Friedman

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

I hope you have a great week!

Posted in Blogging, Review | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Posted by Caitie F on February 3, 2010

Title: The Secret Garden

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Publisher: Candlewick

Hardcover: 272 pages

ISBN: 978-0763631611

Rating: ++++

Super short summary:

The story of an unhappy little girl, her invalid cousin, and the healing power of friendship and love.

Review:

I cannot believe I never read this when I was younger. I know I watched a movie version several times and loved it, but I didn’t get to the book 9so not like me). I really enjoyed reading it. The language is beautiful and the setting is descriptive. It is one of those books you can lose yourself in…and I did!

I love how the kids grow and change. It seemed very realistic. They were spoiled and stuck up because of their situation and once they were given the chance to grow and improve, they did. It also really made me want to start gardening in the spring. It sounded beautiful and relaxing. I remember that when I saw the movie I always wanted to go help my mom garden.

I thought that the concept of “Magic” was very interesting. There wasn’t magic or being outside that made the kids better, it was that they were working hard and were in the Sun for the first time. Now, I don’t think that nature and the Sun have magical powers, I just think that getting outside is good for kids, especially when it gives them a sense of purpose and excitement.

If you haven’t gotten to read thsi yet, go get it! It is a quick read and is a really enjoyable experience!

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 4 Comments »