Quick Update

Hello lovelies! Betcha thought I stopped reading didn’t you? WRONG! I’m like a reading machine…when I have the time! 

This is just a quick post to let anyone out there that is interested know that I have started a side blog – it’s none of my usual happy go lucky fun stuff…because it’s about a very sad and scary thing happening in my life now. 

Anyway, I have probably 10 or more reviews piled up and in the meantime I’m still a reading machine!

If you want to check my other blog out – addictsoffspring

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It has been such a long time since I picked up a book I couldn’t put down. This was definitely one of those books!

My friend gave me this book as a birthday gift this year thinking it’d be a good fit for me based on my love of YA novels, dystopians, and all things nerdy. Boy did he hit the nail on the head.

ready-player-one-paperback-cover

Ready Player One is set in the very near future of 2044. The world has basically gone to crap, and the only form of escapism comes from a game console called the OASIS. Not only does the majority of humanity escape the depression of the real world playing in the virtual world, but they also get their education and go to work there as well.

James Halliday was a teenager in the 1980’s, and so was forever obsessed with the video games and pop culture nerdery that defined the decade. He was also the guy that created the OASIS game. When he died, he left a message for the world that there was an Easter egg hidden in the OASIS ready for whoever was worthy to find it, and once they did they would inherit his massive fortune, which includes gaining control of the virtual world itself.

The protagonist, Wade – aka Parzival, has life about as bad as anyone can. His parents are dead and he’s stuck living with an aunt that doesn’t care for him much…I wonder if he ever felt a kinship with Harry Potter? They live in stacks of trailers. The world is so crappy in 2044 that trailers are literally stacked one on top of the other. So like most people living in this bleak dystopian future of ours, he jumped at the chance to try to find the Easter egg and win millions of dollars to make all his dreams come true.

The OASIS is so large that people make real world money and it even has an actual government. Because of this, there is a scary greedy crazy mega corporation that will stop at nothing to find the egg and gain control of the OASIS. They make for some really terrifying antagonists, especially when they blew up Wade’s trailer stack.

This book is full of all sorts of 80’s nostalgia. I was born in 1984 so I don’t remember a whole lot about the 80’s, but some of my favorite movies came from the 80’s. It’s also full of all things video games/sci-fi/and fantasy nerdery. Being a major nerd myself, I couldn’t get enough of all the geeky mentions.

This has been one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time. I’m definitely interested to see how they pull off the movie adaptation. The fun thing is that Stephen Spieberg is set to direct it, and there were several nods to him and his movies throughout the book. How meta!

And now for the crochet!

I knew pretty early on in the book that I absolutely had to crochet Pac-Man. Not only is it up there in video game history, but there is also a scene in the book dedicated to the game.

I found the instructions here, I just didn’t make it 3D.

pacman

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 7 books down, 43 to go
9gag’s Reading Challenge – A book with a number in the title
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Has anyone read this book? What did you think? Looking forward to the movie? Wish I’d stop asking so many questions? Wondering if I’m going to stop after this one? Yeah, I guess I will.

Raylan by Elmore Leonard

One of the books from the 9gag Reading Challenge is to read a book set in your hometown. I sort of grew up back and forth between two small towns in Kentucky, but I was born in Harlan, Kentucky, and my dad stayed there when my parents divorced so I was in and out of Harlan all through my childhood.

Harlan is a really tiny town with a population of less than 2,000. Really nothing of note happens there other than closing coal mines and a drug problem spiraling out of control. Probably no one outside of the hills of Eastern Kentucky ever heard of Harlan. That is, until the channel FX began airing the show Justified, based on Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole.”

I began watching the show when it first aired in 2010 out of morbid curiosity. Why was there a show on TV about this nowhere town I grew up in hidden away from the rest of society in the “back hollers”, as they say, of the Appalachian Mountains? I admit, I was immediately hooked. Some of the actors portraying the people of Eastern Kentucky were so good I was convinced they actually plucked people out of Harlan itself and put them on TV. Sure, there were issues – for instance they would travel from Harlan to Lexington, Kentucky in about 10 minutes, when in real life that trip would be pushing about 3 hours. Regardless, it was a great show and I’m sad to see it go, as it just recently wrapped it’s final season.

So, yeah yeah stop blabbing about TV, this is supposed to be about a book right? I know, I’m getting to that. So when I saw this challenge I knew immediately I had to read Raylan by Elmore Leonard, which happens to be his last work before he passed away. This is a novel based on the show that was based on his short story. Kind of an odd circle of life.

Raylan_(novel)

Knowing how much I love the show, I was really excited to read this book. It is really nothing more than US Marshall Raylan Givens fighting the crime of Harlan, Kentucky.

The first thing I noticed while reading this was how extremely bored I was with it. I thought maybe I was having a bad day, so I put it down and came back to it the next. I continued to find myself bored with it and essentially put it down and never could bring myself to pick it back up. I made about halfway through at that point, and finally after about a month of this picked it back up and went through a marathon speed reading session to finally put myself out of the misery.

And the weird thing is I really wouldn’t even say the book is bad, per se…. just not very interesting. It might have to do with the fact that the stories were based on episodes of the show, so I really already knew the outcome to most of it. It was also more like three short stories pressed together and made into one, which left me feeling disoriented.

Now, usually I’m pretty favorable on things and go pretty easy on stuff. I liked Twilight for crying out loud, if that tells you anything. So I thought surely if I’m feeling this strongly about it the rest of the world is too. But to my surprise it has received pretty favorable reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. So maybe I’m the odd girl out on this one.

And now for the crochet!

I was so disinterested in the book that I not only had a serious lack of motivation to crochet anything from it, I also had a serious lack of motivation to write this review (I finished reading it over three weeks ago!). But I finally mustered up the nerve to try to make something, anything, just to finally get this book in my past and move on. Well I tried stars for the US Marshall badge, I did several attempts at Raylan’s signature hat… everything was a flop. So I finally give with this final version of the hat, that doesn’t look quite like I’d like it too, and definitely isn’t the right color since I don’t have any light brown yarn.

justified-olyphantpg-vertical-extralarge

raylan_hat

And there you have it. I’m so behind on reading at this point that I really fear my ability to read 50 by the end of the year. Life has been kind of crazy lately, I got a promotion at the company I work for which has come with different hours and time off, for some reason though I know it’s not true, I feel like my free time has vanished somehow! Anyway I hope to be able to make up my lost reading time, especially since my local library has a kick-ass summer reading program that is going to be starting soon.

Read –  I don’t even remember
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 6 books down, 44 to go
9gag’s Reading Challenge – A book that takes place in your hometown
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 Has anyone else experienced this lack of motivation with a book?

No girls allowed!

Ok…. so I’m STILL reading Raylan… I know I know I’m never going to read 50 books this year if I don’t start actually…READING! Anyway in the meantime here’s some thoughts from my husband!

The Wootape Letters

I’m kinda steamed, kids. I’m annoyed, I need my fangs milked (not a sexual innuendo…this time), and I’m about to start pointing fingers. If you’re the reactionary type, maybe skip this one…

DC Comics is doing a line of Joker-themed variant covers for their books in June. The cover to Batgirl #41, has been cancelled. It was cancelled because of whining. Take a look.

jokerPersonally, I think it’s pretty great. For long-time fans, it’s instantly evocative of Alan Moore’s classic story The Killing Joke, a story that was extremely important for Batgirl. It provided something that most comic book characters never get; character progression. After The Killing Joke, Batgirl as we knew her was gone for decades, and Barbara Gordon was forced to find a new niche in the DC Universe as Oracle, a character that was interesting and popular.

Even if you’re not familiar with this…

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Beloved franchises…that actually mostly suck

I’m still not finished reading my latest book (Raylan), so in the meantime, I thought I’d share my husband’s blog! Read, enjoy, have a happy Monday!

The Wootape Letters

We have a lot of long-running entertainment franchises these days that have developed rabid fan followings. With increasing frequency, these franchises crap out sequel after dreadful sequel that are instantly thrown on the pile of loathsome offerings that make us wonder why we ever liked this shit. This usually occurs with film franchises, television tends to get cancelled quickly when it goes to seed, but sometimes this phenomenon occurs within other media. Here now, I take a look at some of these franchises that were terrible far longer than they were good.

HELLRAISER

Look, an Ouya! Look, an Ouya!

I loves me some Hellraiser, it was one of the most innovative and imaginatively brutal horror series around…briefly. There are nine Hellraiser movies. The first one is great. The second one is quite good. The third one…happened. The fourth one was better than it should have been. The rest were a dumpster fire. Cenobites…

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The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell

Oh, what a treat when a friend of mine showed up the other day with this book in his hands. My husband got first dibs on it, but the second he was done I nabbed it up.

First to preface, I have to say that if you have not watched the cult movie The Room, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. If you’ve never heard of it, The Room is a film that was written, directed, produced, and starring Tommy Wiseau about… well your guess is as good as mine about what it’s about. Love? Betrayal? Drugs? Football in tuxedos? The word ‘hi’? Sex? Death? Rooftops? Red roses? Who the hell knows? Tommy Wiseau knows…I think…

Here’s the trailer, maybe you can tell me what it’s about?

Lost a few brain cells after that? Yeah, I know the feeling.

So, the movie is about Johnny, played by Tommy Wiseau, who has a “perfect life” with his cute blonde fiance Lisa, and job that he’s up for promotion. Enter Mark, his BFF who Lisa finds herself unable to stop having sex with. Thus, hilarity ensues. Lisa and her mother have the same conversation about it about 8 times. Mark seems confused every time Lisa calls him over. Tommy can’t stop saying “oh, hi” to everyone…it’s madness I tell you, madness!

The Disaster Artist is written by the guy that plays Mark, Greg Sestero, about his experiences with Tommy Wiseau and the making of The Room. Turns out, Tommy and Greg met during an acting class and became unlikely friends, and eventually roommates. Greg writes about Tommy’s odd outbursts, accent that can’t quite be placed, mystery surrounding not only his actual age but where he’s really from. Not to mention the unknown origins of the $6 million budget for The Room that Tommy independently financed himself. That’s not a typo… SIX MILLION DOLLARS went into making this movie. Step back for a moment… the budget for Pulp Fiction was $8 million. Granted it was made 9 years before The Room, but it stars some of the biggest actors in Hollywood – John Travolta, Sam Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis…the list goes on!

Ahem, I digress. The point is, Tommy Wiseau is a strange man with strange origins and a strange accent and strange emotions and this book is about Greg’s experiences with his strange friend making the disaster of a movie that The Room is. Actors and crews quit and are replaced. Tommy can’t remember the lines he wrote himself. He refuses to let anyone ad-lib or rework any of their lines to make them even remotely normal for natural conversation. Sets are broken down only for Tommy to decide at the last-minute he’d like to add a new scene there.

The entire production sounded like a fever dream, and let me tell you, this book is a page turner. I couldn’t believe one man could be as strange and intriguing as Tommy is, only to turn the page and find him one-upping himself! He makes Ed Wood seems like Martin Scorsese.

Word on the street is that Seth Rogan is going to produce a movie based on this novel starring James Franco as Tommy and Dave Franco as Greg. It will be interesting to see if the Franco brothers can pull off this madness.

And now for the crochet!

At first I tried to crochet a spoon, but couldn’t quite get it right after three attempts so I gave up. The reason for the spoon you ask? Greg recounts in the story that the set Tommy had ordered to be built for Johnny’s apartment wasn’t dressed at all with any decorations, pictures etc. So he ordered some of his crew to get some picture frames. When they came back wanting to replace the pictures in the frames with actual photographs, Tommy told them to forget it. The stock photos that were in the frames were all spoons. Tommy felt it didn’t matter…

Since the spoon wasn’t working out, I went with a football. I lost count how many times the guys in this movie toss a football around, but it’s a lot. The funny thing is Greg said one day they were all told to put on the tuxedos that were bought for the eventual movie premiere (which no one thought would ever actually happen). The reason for dressing in tuxes? Tommy decided he wanted to film a scene where the guys are tossing a football around in tuxedos. Is this ever explained in the movie why? No, absolutely not. And from Greg’s story, it seemed by that point people stopped trying to question Tommy and just went with his insane ideas.

football_theRoom

Before I tucked all the ends in, I snapped a picture of what I had created and called it a “hot mess”. I thought for a second just leaving it at that, because that really sums up the movie well!

football_Mess

 The pattern I used for the football can be found clicking here.

Read –  February 16th – February 20th
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 5 books down, 45 to go
9gag’s Reading ChallengeA nonfiction book.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Has anyone seen The Room? I’m curious to see what the Francos and Seth Rogan do with this movie adaptation. What are your thoughts?

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

One of the books on this year’s reading challenge is to read a book by an author with your same initials. Luckily I was able to not only find an author with my initials, but with my first name as well…huzzah! I didn’t even have to think twice running to the children’s section of the library to check out Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Actually, I read that and it’s precursor Little House in the Big Woods.

Book.littlehousebigwoodslittlehousePrairie

 

Both books were written in the early to mid 1930’s, about Laura Ingalls childhood living in the woods of Pepin, Wisconsin USA, and then later moving to a prairie in Kansas near the town of Independence. The books are written in the third person and isn’t a literal autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life, but the stories come from her childhood memories.

Being children’s books, I know I’m not the target audience, but I actually found myself enjoying the stories. These aren’t my typical go-to for entertainment either, like I’ve said in the past I’m more of a horror/sci-fi/fantasy girl myself. But there was something charming about the simplicity of the writing style, and the life they lived in the late 1800’s.

Little House in the Big Woods was mostly about life during the fall harvest and winter. Their Pa bringing in lots of meat and salting it to store all winter for food. What I found most charming was how wonderful Laura and her sister Mary felt on Christmas morning, because they each got a pair of new mittens. Period. In today’s world of iPhones and Playstations and Black Friday massacres, it’s nice to read about girls just happy with a new pair of warm mittens.

Little House on the Prairie saw the Ingalls family moving from their big woods out west to Kansas into land belonging to Native Americans, because Pa Ingalls got word that the government was opening it up for settlement. What I loved was after traveling they came to a spot that Pa decided was right where he wanted to build a house, then he went and got logs and started to do just that. Imagine people doing that today! I was really taken aback by the amount of racism in this book toward the Native Americans, especially from Ma Ingalls. Both of these books are a good reminder that things haven’t always been as they are here in the crazy 21st century.

 

And now for the crochet!

 I probably got a little too literal with my crochet item for these stories as I did with The Maze Runner, but whatever it’s only my own rules I’m following here!

littlehousechrochet3 littlehousecrochet1 littlehousecrochet2

 

There was no pattern for this “little house”, I just did rows of 15 single crochet in back loops only, at the top I tapered down decreasing at the beginning and end of each row.

 

Read –  February 10th – February 15th
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 4 books down, 46 to go (counting these as one since they were short)
9gag’s Reading ChallengeA book by an author with your same initials.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I’ve never watched the show from the 80s, has anyone else read the books or watched the show? What did you all think?