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Archive for July, 2013

Fiend and the Forge: The Tapestry by Henry H. Neff.

Publisher: Random House (November 23, 2010)
560 pgs
ASIN: B00540K5S8

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Book Description

Rowan has lost the war, and while the Academy works to rebuild, outside its protected walls everything has changed. Astaroth, using the Book of Thoth, has created a world where demons rule, chaos reigns, and humans toil like slaves . . . and worse.
Outraged by Rowan’s seeming complacency with the new order and reeling from personal tragedy, Max McDaniels sets out on his own for escape, for information, and for revenge.
In his travels, he will be forced to become many things: prisoner, gladiator, assassin. But can he become the one thing mankind needs most—a hero?
The Tapestry series continues to weave threads of fantasy, mythology, science fiction, and mystery into a wholly original adventure with appeal to fans of everything from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to The X-Men. Genre-blending and fully illustrated, The Tapestry novels have caught the attention of middle-grade and young-adult readers alike.

Thanks to Debi I got to read Book 3 of the Tapestry, the largest of the books so far! 

This is a young adult series that seems to be doing quite well.  And although I have enjoyed the books I’ve read, I have too many books sitting here to consider  going on with the series. 

That being said.. this book is probably the most exciting to date!  A good mixture of adventure with some sad parts thrown in to bring you back to “reality”, before once again digging into mysteries and escapism.  I find it amusing that when I read books that has other worldly creatures (ogres, trolls, fairies etc) that after a while you find yourself thinking, “wouldn’t it be great if some of them were real?!!”.

I found my mind wondering now and again.. let’s see now..hmmm, where have I heard of a “broken blade” that needs to be fixed to help save everyone? Hmmmm   :o)

I am impressed that the author Henry H Neff is also the illustrator in the books.In recent years I can think of only one person, Brom,who has written books and used his own illos .

This really is a very good young adult series that I would recommend.  Max (our hero) may be young but he’s quite a good protagonist! 

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On Facebook, my “sis” Cath  posted a photo that asks: Do you have something that identifies you as a book lover in your home, office, or yard? If so, what?

Here’s what…….

I have 3 Bookends like the one below…

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.. only one book end like this one (which I love).

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If that’s not a good enough hint, how about this?

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or this?

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or maybe this???

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Or even this?

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Well,… if those “hints” aren’t good enough I guess I need more books!

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Here we go Again!

This time, because of the Stephen King book, I really wonder if I’m loosing it?!  I don’t read Stephen King!  (but admit to having 11.22.63, but only because it’s about the Kennedy assassination) So I don’t know why I took this book!   I can admit my second choice makes me laugh too!  I bought it because of the cover!  Can you believe that it’s “book 2” and I don’t own book 1?!!! lol…  More and more I just know that they are holding a room for me at the “funny farm”!!

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Now.. Dragonsinger is a different story!  I don’t happen to own Dragonsong, Dragonsinger or Dragondrums in hard back and this is hardback!!  I squealed as I picked it up!  But it’s not “perfect”.. the whole first chapter came out in one piece (not page by page).  I think it can be glued back in, at least I hope so!  Either way it goes in my Pern collection!   I can’t say a whole lot for the cover…. I guess I am spoiled by Michael Whelan covers!

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Having never seen the hardback of Dragonsinger before I thought her dedication was nice!

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Days later I took books I had read to drop off of Friends of the Library…   *huge sigh*

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d dig through the garbage if I thought there were books in it!  *groan* (Dropped off 3 and brought home 3!) Two of the books are over 500 pages.. can you hear me groaning?

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Then in the mail a book came that I signed for a free copy of!..duh. As all this adds to my tbr pile I still hope the other “free book” comes which is the Diane Setterfield book!

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If I thought a speed reading class would help I think I’d take it!  But at my age “speed” is a word of the past! 

I better go read a chapter or two from the book I am reading or I will never get to any of these!…

So… how grows your TBR pile?

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Pickford

Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood by Eileen Whitfield.

Paperback: 488 pages
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky
ISBN-10: 0813191793

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Book Description

"A knockout of a biography." — Newsweek A silent-film star. A woman who played children, wide-eyed and gamine, skipping about in frills and long curls. That’s how most people remember Mary Pickford. In reality, Pickford was a towering figure in movie history, central to the evolution of film acting and the development of the Hollywood motion picture industry. Born in Toronto in 1892, Pickford began acting as a child. She switched from stage to film at seventeen, joining D.W. Griffith’s Biograph Company, and became almost unimaginably popular. This allowed her to dictate the terms of her contracts — power she seized and consolidated. She developed her own production company at Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players, and in 1919 she co-founded United Artists (along with Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks), taking not only creative control but also direction of the marketing and distribution of her films. Eight years in the making, this definitive biography brings Pickford to life as a complex knot of contradictions and establishes her as a groundbreaking genius, casting new light on one of the most influential and least understood artists in the history of popular culture. Eileen Whitfield recreates Pickford’s life in meticulously researched detail, from her trying days in turn-of-the-century Toronto through her reign as mistress of Pickfair, the legendary Beverly Hills estate at which she and Fairbanks entertained the world’s elite, to her sadly moving demise. Along the way, Whitfield explores the intricate psychology that tied Pickford to her mother throughout her life and analyzes Pickford’s brilliant innovations in the art of film acting, her profound influence on the movie business, and her role in the history of fame: once the best known woman in the world, she was the object of a mass adoration that prefigured today’s cult of celebrity.

This book took me a while to read.  I wasn’t opening it each time I sat down, but it wasn’t from the lack of interest.  It was one of those books that squeezed double the amount of words on a page than most books do …aaannnd…. I really don’t like LONG chapters and many of these were like 40 to 50 pages long.  There were many easy places to stop but I found myself stopping sooner and not rushing back.  However.. I did finish the book, and it was quite interesting!

Of course I had hard of Mary Pickford and most especially about the time she was married to  Douglas Fairbanks and their famous home  called “Pickfair”.

It was very interesting reading  how movies went from Silent to Sound as seen thru the eyes of Mary Pickford.  She did not crossover very well.

She was then one of the founders of United Artists, along with Chaplin and Fairbanks. 

I found it rather sad that even in the infancy of movies one could be typed casted and made to feel that if they “changed” anything about them that her fans would not tolerate it.   Or maybe it was herself that kept her making movies in the same look and same type character as she grew older.. I’m not sure which.  

In her personal life, although she married again after Fairbanks and remained married to her husband Buddy Rogers until her death, she never got over Douglas Fairbanks.  He was the love of her life.  I hope and think she loved Buddy, because he certainly loved her enough to put up with her calling him Douglas at times and her eventually drinking problem. 

Life isn’t always what it looks like.  And Mary Pickford is an example of that.

The book manages to cover all the silent movies that Pickford made along with keeping up with most things concerning her private life.  Her marriages, her family problems, her mother etc.

I enjoyed the book and learning about “The Woman Who Made Hollywood”. 

For old movie star fans and those with interests in the Silent Movie era, this and the book, Chaplin (by Charles Chaplin) should be must reads.

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I Had a Dream..

I had a dream.. it was nothing as important or meaningful as the Dream that Martin Luther King had.. but rather, just a simple dream by a simple old lady who stopped dreaming a long long time ago. (that would be me).

Last night, as I tried to go to sleep I found that my mind would not shut down and let me get the good solid sleep that I needed.  Strange as it seems I haven’t had a dream in many years. When I was younger, I dreamed a lot, and like other people some of my dreams were nothing more than thoughts that made me smile or made me happy inside just thinking of them.

This time the dream was like those of old.  As many who know me already know about me, I collect celebrity autographs.  Often I would dream of meeting someone that I held in high regard.  They could be and actor or an astronaut or an author….

Last nights dream was about such a person.  I dreamed about a man who is an Author/ Producer and Director of some of the movies that mean a lot to me.  The person in my dream was Nicholas Meyer. Among his credits are: The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, and The Undiscovered Country. Others by Mr. Meyer are The Seven Percent Solution, Sommersby, The Day After, Sherlock Homes novels and I can’t forget his latest book: The View From the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood.

In my dream I decided to write to Mr. Meyer and send 2 photo’s that I have of him hoping to get him to autograph each of them.  I also wrote him a lengthy letter (something you are not advised to do when writing to request an autograph).  In the letter I tell him of my one and only time that I had the privilege of meeting him, which was at Paramount where he was directing, The Undiscovered Country.  I go on to tell him that DeForest Kelley had brought me and two others to the sets that day to see a scene being filmed.  While we waited DeForest called Nicholas Meyer over to introduce us all to him.  Mr.. Meyer shook hands with the first two ladies and I could see the evil smirk on De’s face of an embarrassing situation about to happen.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and when Mr. Meyer reached out to shake my hand I threw my arms around him and hugged him stating that hugs were so much nicer then handshakes. (I could no longer look Mr. Meyer in the face, but De was grinning from ear to ear).  I had hoped Mr.. Meyer did not think I had just gotten out of a loony bin!  I remember that in my dream I hoped that reminding him of this would not put a damper on my request for his autograph! The two photo’s I sent were favorites of mine.  One of DeForest and Nicholas together ….. (one of my very favorite photo’s!)

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and the other of Nicholas “doing his thing”,.. directing.

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My dream went on with high hopes as dreams should.  I dreamed that whoever it was that opened fan mail for him brought my letter to him, saying that I was a friend of DeForest’s and had met him at one time.   My optimism was high (which it never is).  The long letter made Mr. Meyer smile and he autographed the photo’s to be sent back to me. (I always include a SASE)

There was a time that I had similar dreams such as this one, but I can’t say that I’ve had any dreams at all since the passing of DeForest and Carolyn (De’s wife).  They were in my life for 10 yrs or so and during that time they were the main focus of my happiness.

It’s strange if I think about the fact that I didn’t pursue Nicholas Meyer’s autograph back when I might have a real chance of getting it, only to have this dream now when I am old and no longer have hopes and dreams.  I wonder why this dream popped into my head just now?  I guess I will never know.. but it was a really nice dream.

I had a dream..

..and I wonder why?

I had a dream…

..as in days gone by.

I had a dream..

..and I wonder why?

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Sometimes.

But the thought of not finding some gems for only 1.00 or .50 is to depressing!

I will say only one sentence:

“went to a thrift shop and my tbr pile just went up by FOUR!!!! AGGGGGHHH!”

 

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Charles Chaplin

My Autobiography Charles Chaplin by Charles Chaplin.

Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Simon and Schuster; BOMC edition (1964)
ASIN: B0023SN6WG

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(below: Charlie’s mother who was in and out of insane asylums.)

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Book Description

“The best autobiography ever written by an actor. An astonishing work.” —Chicago Tribune
Chaplin’s heartfelt and hilarious autobiography tells the story of his childhood, the challenge of identifying and perfecting his talent, his subsequent film career and worldwide celebrity. In this, one of the very first celebrity memoirs, Chaplin displays all the charms, peculiarities and deeply-held beliefs that made him such an endearing and lasting character.

Take this unforgettable journey with the man George Bernard Shaw called “the only genius to come out of the movie industry” as he moves from his impoverished South London childhood to the heights of Hollywood wealth and fame; from the McCarthy-era investigations to his founding of United Artists to his “reverse migration” back to Europe, My Autobiography is a reading experience not to be missed.

In the beginning I wondered if this Autobiography would keep my interest for 512 pages… but my concern was unfounded.  It’s obvious that Mr. Chaplin was as good a writer as he was an actor.

Let me give you just a few sentences that caught me early on…

Upon staying at his first hotel:

I took a bath and combed my hair and put on my new bathrobe, intending to get every ounce of luxury out of my four dollars and fifty cents worth.  If only I had something to read… a newspaper.  But I had not the confidence to telephone for one.  So I took a chair and sat in the middle of the room surveying everything with a feeling of luxuriant melancholy.

Working for Mack Sennett…

I had no idea of the character.  But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was.  I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.  When I confronted Sennett I assumed the character and strutted about, swinging my cane and parading before him.  Gags and comedy ideas went racing through my mind.

The secret of Mack Sennett’s success was his enthusiasm.  He was a great audience and laughed genuinely at what he thought funny. He stood and giggled until his body began to shake.  This encouraged me and I began to explain the character: “ You know this fellow is many sided, a tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure.  He would have you believe he is a scientist, a musician, a duke, a polo player.  However, his is not above picking up cigarette butts or robbing a baby of its candy.  And, of course, if the occasion warrants it, he will kick a lady in the rear… but only in extreme anger!”

I have to admit to having an interest in the beginning of motion pictures.. and of the time it all actually happened.  I enjoy books that don’t just tell about the person I am reading about but that it also lets me know what was going on in the world at the time this was happening.  Good descriptions of what streets and hotels and people looked like in that era, help make a good read.  Mr Chaplin succeeded in keeping my total attention through the entire book.

As technology advances so quickly, one forgets (or never knew) that there was a time one could NOT fly back and forth to England, but rather  had to travel by ship.  Then must also remember that ships were not made they way they are today!   Sometimes I think it is sad that the generation following me and others after that.. have their whole life in their pocket at their fingertips and never really sees the world around them.

Anyway.. if you like biographies and have any interest in a time long ago before  sound even came to the movies.. this might well be a book you would enjoy reading.  There are still first editions of this book available cheaply (and at thrift stores) and I believe it’s the only edition untouched by another who may have changed some things in Mr. Chaplin’s book.

So for now… I may go on to read Mary Pickford’s story since Mr. Chaplin was for a long time good friends with Douglas Fairbanks and his then wife Mary Pickford.  I am not positive of the read..but I will see how it goes.

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