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Reading matters.  And in the current political climate, where No Child is supposed to be Left Behind, but millions are, it is penny-wise and pound foolish to cut education funding.  The Reading-Is-Fundamental program, which provides free books to children who may have no books in their homes, no one who reads to them, and few belongings they can call their own, is being cut from the 2009 Federal Budget.  If this annoys, aggravates, and saddens you, as it does me, please consider contacting your political representatives or going HERE to send an email sharing your opinions.
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Rough Harry Potter and Redzils chronology:

Friday - 

7 pm - drive by Barnes and Noble on the way to dinner, realize the line to get wrist-bands WINDS AROUND THE PARKING LOT.

8 pm - redrive by B&N, see TV station trucks, realize it has only gotten WORSE.  Call Panda and bag on the midnight celebration because I Dont Do Standing In Line.

Midnightish - realize that I am much happier doing what I am doing, roll over and go to sleep


10:30 - Mom calls and wakes me up.

11:30 - buy book, after standing in a short line.

READ. Finish around 4:30. Immediately call Panda, who hasn't started the book yet, to say the only thing that wont spoil it - I finished!

Find spoiler comment thread at Phantom's.  Agree heartily with all comments and criticisms.  Decide it is time to go out in the big blue room.  


(ps - call or email me if you are also done and want to discuss! I would love to do so, but dont want to spoil anything for anybody).

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50. - 53. )

New page total: 17,258
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Also, remember how I was going to stop reading the Anita Blake books at Obsidian Butterfly? I didn't, but I should have.  Geez louise, I dont think the woman has been fully dressed in more than a third of the 156 pages I have finished so far.  Let's just say that her Nikes and polo shirts are history, although there is still lots of clothing talk.  Well, at the beginning of the book there was lots of clothing talk, since then it is more birthday-suit talk.  And her already complicated love life has gotten... dare I say, ridiculous.

Of course I am going to finish reading Narcissus in Chains, since I always finish books and have nothing better to do tonight, but I think it is making me blush as I sit here by myself, which is some doing.

ETA: p. 454 - first description of Anita putting on a polo shirt.
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And.... I am obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer today. 

After that last post telling the universe how tiiiiiiiired I am, I did the obvious thing and went to bed with a book.  And - here is where the plan got stupid - read the book.  You know, all 451 pages of it.

2 am is a perfectly reasonable bedtime on a school night, right?
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24.* Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce (re-read 3/11, 581 pages, YA).  Had to read it again, it was even better the second time. Knowing the characters a bit better made their interactions more fun to read.

25. A Difficulty With Dwarves by Craig Shaw Gardener (read 3/12/07, 188 pages, via Ed McKay). This is one of a series of books about an apprentice named Wuntover. I vaguely remember reading a couple of them when I was a teenager, and picked this one up for $1.50 out of nostalgia.  There are a few cute bits  - the other seven dwarves (my favorites are Smarmy and Nasty) and other fairy tale jokes, but it starts slow and stays that way, as there is no story arc.  The book ends five pages after the one exciting thing that happens.  I know it is part of a series, but I strongly believe all books should be readable as stand-alones. Instead, this one feels like chapters 14-20 of a 40 page opus - you know, the boring, pre-action middle. 

26. Memories of the Old Plantation Home & A Creole Family Album by Laura Locoul Gore, with Norman and Sand Marmillion.  (Memoir, 166 pages, bought at The Laura Plantation, Vatcherie, LA, read 3/12/07).  Heather and I toured a Creole plantation while in southern Louisiana, and she bought this memoir chronicling life on that particular plantation for four generations, spanning from French exploration to Reconstruction.  Laura wrote this memoir when she was in her early seventies, for her children and posterity.  It does not say so in the book, but Norman (who conducted our tour) claimed it was in response to her daughters' discovery of Gone with the Wind,and Laura's desire to present a less romantic version of life in the Old South.  As you might expect from a book written for one's children, it feels a little sanitized, but it also presents interesting information about life at that time and the Creole culture. It's a nice supplement to the tour we took, and the pictures of ball gowns and sundry relatives are fun.

27. The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton.  (385 pages, read 3/12/07, arrived via Bookmooch).  More random gore, endless dressing and undressing, and some killing of humans, shapeshifters, and vampires.  I have been avoiding the obvious temptation to fuss about the clothes, but find that my parenthetical note about them is now three times as long as the other things I have to say.  So, succumbing:  There is lots and lots of over-done clothing descriptions in this book (like all the books in this series). We always know what Anita will be wearing (boring polo shirt, black jeans, and black Nikes described ad nauseum), yet it is reiterated every time she changes clothes, and there is a ridiculous amount of getting dressed in these books.  And the masculine attire is somewhat unbelievable.  I mean, where does Jean-Claude get his endless supply of thigh-high black leather books and Jason his skin tight leather pants? On what planet are they the last word in men's sexually appealing attire?  Also - now that I am ranting about this I am not sure I can stop - I am fairly sure Ms. Hamilton has never attempted to wear all these weapons anywhere, including around her own damn house.  Hiding a handgun in female attire is difficult, which she acknowledges, but it is also freaking uncomfortable if you plan to, say, sit down, stand up, take a jacket on and off, or breathe deeply.  I dont understand why she side-steps some of the more comfortable but still discreet options for arms placement, and it seems clear that she is describing all these choices based on pictures in a book rather than weapons on her body.  Okay, moving on:  Spoiler alert: finally, in the last pages of this sixth book, Anita goes to bed with one of the monsters after demonstrating her love for the other monster, by doing something she said she would never do.  Does this remind you of high school yet? (So it's not much of a spoiler. Sue me. I am trying to be discreet).  Having read Obsidian first, out of order, I can see how she is setting up for it in this book via conversations with Edward ("Even Death has needs" etc.).
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23.* Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce. (299 pages, YA, re-read 3/11/07, acquired at Edward McKay Used Bookstore in Greensboro, now in my collection). Reading Terrier reminded me how much I love Tortall and the people who live there, so I decided to re-read this one (for the eleventeenth time). Daine is sweet, and I like seeing glimpses of the people we met earlier in Alanna's series. I have been reading these books since middle school, so they are the ultimate in easy comfort reading.
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19. Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton (read end of February, 329 pages, arrived via Bookmooch). More vampires, shape-shifters, gore, etc. 

20-21.Bloody Bones & The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton (read 3/7-9, 370 & 369 pages, bought for me by Heather at a cute independent bookshop in Florida).  Anita has maintained her virtue thus far, but is finally beginning to lust after two of "the monsters" in her life.  There is some fairly gory "sex" which occurs between other, lesser characters - some of whom are even alive!

I am amused that, while no one has fabulous things to say about this series, more people seem to have read them than anything else I am journaling.  I find them engrossing in the moment, but have trouble remembering what happens in any given book without re-reading the cover copy. And I dont think I would enjoy Anita in person - she is just a little too strident about everything.

The smut element of this story arc confuses me, and I am a little bewildered by how the author will get from here (gore! saving sex for marriage! more gore! french-kissing! wait - casual sex is bad and cant happen! people die! non-people die!) to erotica.  Thus far, I have found the books fairly un-sexy.  They are violent (I think Anita has killed at least three people in every book, despite her continued insistence that all life is sacred) and occasionally we see (because Anita sees) sexual violence being done.  And, yes, sex and violence have some things in common  - both have a lot to do with bodily fluids, power, and vulnerability - however, the confusion here doesn't seem to be doing much for the series.  The only interesting bits so far, if you ask me, are Anita's dawning realization that "the monsters" are not that different from some parts of her, her discovery that she can love Richard and Jean-Claude simultaneously (if not in the same way), and Larry's emergence as a necromancer and as an independent adult.

I figure I will read the next three, bringing me as far as Obsidian Butterfly (the first Laurell k. Hamilton I read), then move on to some other escapist reading.  This series is a fun train-wreck, but the body count is getting ridiculous.

22. Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce (read 3/9-10, 581 pages, YA, I gave it to Heather for Christmas, and she loaned it me).  This was an awesome book (not that I would have expected less from anything set in Tortall, my favorite fictional kingdom). I liked the characters and appreciated the way Tamora presented the Dogs (City Guards) and the Rats (members of the Court of the Rogue) as characters with depth and common motivations.  She lets life be imperfect, occasionally kills a character we care about, and generally respects her reader enough to present a complicated, messy story (since life is complex). The mystery element was interesting and the solution both clear and unexpected enough to avoid early guessing.  Beka, the heroine, is 18ish and you see some of her struggles to find her place in the world, but there isn't so much angst it chokes the story. The developing romance storyline is interesting. Need I mention that I think the rogue sounds adorable? [I always think the rogues are adorable. This is why I found George Cooper more appealing than Prince Jonathan, Jean-Claude more attractive than Richard, and Ranger more interesting than Morelli (double bonus points to anyone who gets all three of those references, triple if you agree with me)]. 


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