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Posts Tagged ‘Diana Poulsen’

matisse_smsI was cleaning out my inbox and I found an unpublished shotgun review from 2005.  I thought I would share it.  -dp

Matisse &
Jesper Just, Aino Kannisto, Malene Landgreen
Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark)
Copenhagen, Denmark
August 13 – December 4 2005

Matisse & is an experimental exhibition featuring the works of Matisse and contemporary artists: Jesper Just and Malene Landgreen from Denmark and Aino Kannisto from Finland. The exhibition features’: Kannisto’s photography, Landgreen’s insitu paintings, and Just’s video installations. An inventive feature in this show is that text messaging (SMS) is used to give the visitors information about the exhibition, rather than the typical audio tour or information boards.

Landgreen creates insitu works by taking a few of Matisse’s works from the gallery’s collection and merging them with her own work. She paints around the Matisse works using colours from Matisse’s composition, highlighting certain features of his work and drawing the viewer’s eye to highlighted area. Landgreen also uses different coloured blocks to produce a similar effect. The blocks also impede the viewer from getting too close to the work, because the blocks are often placed on the floor.

Just’s room features five video installations,  playing one after another on the five separate screens. You’ll find yourself moving from couch to couch across the room to watch them. Each features either singing or a story, each a dirge about love, painfully beautiful and wonderfully tragic. Each artist has a write up about how each relates to Matisse’s work, however the explanation is very loose and at times the artists’ connections to Matisse do not make sense. I would like to think of the exhibition as a devious and inventive curator who wanted to lure admirers of Matisse into unfamiliar territory and expose them to contemporary art.

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threshold-titledLucky’s World: Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold

by Loretta Sylvestre

Lilley Press

2009

Reviewed by Diana Poulsen

Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold is a contemporary-fantasy novel set in Sylvestre’s version of Earth and the fictional world of Ertha.  The novel gradually gains momentum and accelerates to break-neck speed as the book draws to a conclusion. Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold centres around the wizard Thurlock, his servant Han, and the young amnesiac Lucky.  When Lucky was eleven years old he awoke in a strange ravine, remembering only his first name and nothing of where he came or his identity.  Now fourteen years old Lucky finds himself scraping by,  when he is approached by old man named Thurlock and his servant Han who are not from Earth. Lucky, Thurlock and Han are in a race against time to help Lucky recover his memories and discover who he truly is meant to become. The three are  always under the constant threat of a looming evil and the rash decisions of a homeless teen.

Sylvestre writes in exceptional detail making much of the action in the novel vivid, as though it was a fully blocked and storyboarded film script.  Her writing style is so detailed you know how these characters would sound if they were to talk aloud. She leaves enough to the imagination to allow for the reader to imagine their own variation of the characters, but the reader will have a powerful awareness of how the characters and monsters act. As well as an ethereal description of the powerful and at times eerily cold magic. Sylvestre’s writing also combines unusual ideas such as wizards using public transit or driving a Ford Crown Victoria. This mix of magic and technology is blended seamlessly within the chaotic battle scenes and the normalcy of breakfast.

Sylvestre makes references to Harry Potter and Star Wars, however I think as the series progresses many of these references will be shed into background. In her defence, it’s a difficult feat to write a story with a powerful young boy and an old wizard as main characters and not automatically remind the reader of Harry Potter and Dumbledore.  Also, Thurlock’s temporary use of an umbrella as a magical apparatus does not help shake the initial similarities.  However, the umbrella  is where the similarities end.  Lucky and Thurlock are not  the typical boy and wizard duo. Lucky is at times very resistant to his destiny and Thurlock tends to be more of scholar rather than a loving grandfather figure. Lucky, unlike other fictional magical boys, is sceptical of the other characters’ intentions toward him and forces the other characters work to earn his trust. Lucky chooses to run away in sheer disbelief and denial of his importance. Many readers may be initially annoyed with Lucky’s inability to trust. Conversely, to me, there’s nothing more annoying than a character who accepts everything and questions nothing. I found Lucky’s sceptical nature made him believable, since he reacts and acts like a fourteen year old on the run.

Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold is the beginning of a larger story that I hope will be developed in further books. Sylvestre introduces a variety of  quirky and dynamic secondary characters, L’Aria and Lemon Martinez come to mind, that I hope will be elaborated upon.  Slowly as Lucky’s past is revealed many details and mysteries are introduced, but few are fully resolved and other larger looming questions remain.  Sylvestre on the last page, at the very last sentence leaves us with a cliff hanger, enticing us to patiently await the next book.

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Tin Man

Tin Man

Revisiting, Rethinking and Remaking what we already love.

I am a re-reader. I love to read the same story over and over again.

Ever read a book that was so good you never wanted it to end? Or found yourself wondering what your favourite characters are doing after the novel is over? Or wondered how the book would have run its course if it had been told from a different  perspective? What if Harry Potter had been a point of view story written from the perspective of  Severus Snape? What if Star Wars was told from the perspective of the Empire? What happened to Holden Caulfield in the Catcher in the Rye? Are you a fan of cross overs and alternate universes? If you are, chances are you have or will enjoy fan fiction.

A fan fiction is a story created from a pre-existing narrative or from ready made characters. Sometimes the author is famous, but for the most part they are completely anonymous. Writers, filmmakers and artists don’t have to be entirely original to create a new work. There are plenty of established narratives, characters, places, etc. for authors to borrow and elaborate upon. It’s even debatable whether or not its even possible to come up with an original idea. Media is fulled with remakes and variations upon old ideas. That doesn’t make the appropriation of ideas any less interesting than the creation of originals. In someways, it is more interesting, since we always seem to be attracted to the same stories. We simply love reading, seeing and hearing the same stories over and over again. Umberto Eco addresses this love of repetition in ‘Innovation and Repetition: Between Modern and Post-Modern Aesthetics.’ We like to feel as though we are smarter than the author since we already now what is going to happen. I am one of many who love to hear the same story told from a different perspective and adore any alternative universe episode of any television series.  These variations add to what we already know about our beloved characters and places, and satisfy our need to form a profound and detailed relationship with a narrative.

60 years later

60 years later

Authors like the manga writing team CLAMP (X, Clover, Card Captor Sakura, xxxHolic) started out by writing fan fiction (dōjinshi) in the mid 1980s and began writing their own manga in 1987.  CLAMP produced a dōjinshi of  Captain Tsubasa, and homoerotic and/or homoromantic (yaoi) dōjinshi of Saint Seiya before creating RG Veda. Other famous examples of fan fiction are: are 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye by John David California based on the Catcher in the Rye, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked and Lion Among Men and the mini series Tin Man are Wizard of Oz fan fictions. Even the latest Star Trek film is an alternative universe version of Star Trek and AU is a form of fan fiction.

Authors such as Anne Rice and J.D Salinger do everything in the power to prevent the spread of their intellectual material. They protect their characters and stories, which may be why North America may never see 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye. Conversely, Harry Potter‘s J.K Rowling and Twilight‘s  Stephanie Meyer, don’t have a problem with fan fiction (if it makes money, well then, it’s a different story). Rowling simply doesn’t like the sexually explicit  Harry Potter fan variations. On Fanfiction.net and you’ll stumble upon hundreds of Hermione and Snape love stories and with over 400,000 Harry Potter fan fictions you may find some raunchy stuff.

Of course, not all fan fiction is famous or published in a traditional manner. Fanfiction.net allows users to post their inspired tales. Back in 2000 when I started to visit Fanfiction.net, I was surprised with the amount of sexually explicit material, which was very well labelled with warnings in uppercase letters. Readers were given enough information to avoid  ‘adult’ material if they wanted. Several fan fiction authors excelled in the erotic genre and I sincerely hope, they went on to form careers in erotic literature. In 2002, all NC-17 material had to be removed from Fanfiction.net and the entire erotic section was taken down. I point my finger at the literature prudes. It seems as though we enjoy our appropriation of narratives and characters to be sexual in nature. As though, authors and readers a like need to fill some urge to read about their two favourite characters finally ‘getting it on’.

PPZquirkNot all fan fiction is equal. Like regular book, you’ll run into bad writing or authors who simply do not have an in depth understanding of the characters or narrative they chose to appropriate. Websites like Fanfiction.net do not have any criteria for an author to post, so finding works of fiction that are littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is fairly common. However, if you are willing to take the time, you will find a fan fiction that is a good read and adds to the original story in ways you’ve only dreamed of, and occasionally they do a better job than the original author. Readers and writers can revisit, rethink and remake what we already love and that is the simple joy of fan fiction.

Further reading:

Umberto Eco “Innovation and Repetition: Between Modern and Post-Modern Aesthetics,” The Moving Image 114. 4 (Fall, 1985): 161-184.

Umberto Eco The Open Work, trans. Anna Cancogni Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1989.

Vladimir Propp Morphology of the Folk Tale

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Starting today I have become a book reviewer for London Ontario’s Lilley Press.

Lilley Press is a small press devoted to: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy (Magic Realism, Cyberpunk, Urban Fantasy etc.), Science Fiction, Horror, Mainstream (Contemporary)Fiction, Historical Fiction  and Young Adult.

I am very excited about this opportunity.

I will have a review posted of Lucky’s WorldsBeyond the Wizard’s Threshold by Loretta Sylvestre in the next few days.

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I wasn’t sure exactly when I became romantically involved in the notion of my own death.  My affection for my demise had held much interest for me for years, and yet I had not managed to complete the circle. Afterall, what was there to live for, my life had
become completely interwoven with the fantasies I had created. There was no point in living any longer in the real world. Each day was a disappointment, as each day was no different from the rest. Each day had become a reflection of the day that had passed and I a mere object in that reflection. The world was crumbling to sand and even now that some of my dreams had come true, I was completely dissatisfied with everything, as my deepest desires had yet to be filled and nothing could ever fill them. I was a monster, what I had done was unforgivable, but despite that I knew it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t sorry, only wish it had been different. I was an empty case, waiting to find something to fill it. Nothing seemed to be what I was looking for, all of it was meaningless and bored me. What I had found was only lies, they had lied to me. I let myself believe their lies, and I was not going to stand for it. I had no place to go, nowhere to run or hide. But this way, I could do what I wanted. I could be free, We could be together, yes together. It would be a happy ending. It was right, it was what I deserved and wanted and made sure it was going to happen. I would not allow him to take my happiness from me. I have taken it back, and I have hurt him as I wanted. All is right with everything in the world. I am going to win, and this will be the end of that. No more of their sneaking around, no more of their lies, this time it was going to work and we were going to be together. Even though she didn’t deserve me, she was a liar. She betrayed me. I trusted her and she betrayed me. I shouldn’t be so stupid to let her forget that, there would be time to convince her that her actions were wrong and that with me it would be alright. I would forgive her and she would come to me. That nagging sensation had returned, and I was certain that I was going to submit to it’s will that it had held over me.
I was bathed in light and I could feel it flowing though my veins and deep into my heart. It was a blanket, it was soft and warm and it all felt so right. I finally felt relaxed and I ease, I was right. There she was, her face was bright, smiling and she extended her hand to me and I took her hand. Her hair was once again long and soft, just the way it should be. It grew longer and longer and soon I was wrapped in it, and I felt safe. I forgive you and you forgive me. You understand why I had to do it. I know you do, because I loved you more than I ever loved anyone. You belong to me. Darkness enveloped me it swirled and flowed all around me. It was just black but a variety of shades and tones my eyes struggled to decipher. I glanced upwards and saw a glimmer of light and a figure looking down upon me. Slowly the light grew darker or further away, I couldn’t tell the difference. I was surrounded by water. It was warm and it flowed around me wrapping me in an eerie protective bubble that would keep me safe. There was nothing to think about, nothing to dwell upon. It simply was.
The water surface became disturbed and I felt I was being thrust up to the surface. I didn’t want to leave. I held on to her as tightly as I could, she looked at me cruelly, she knew she controlled me. Her hair became unwrapped from by body, and I held on to her hand as I felt we were going to be separated. I didn’t want to leave her. We belonged together. No, please don’t let go. I could feel my body floating up as the water became filled with blue light stained with clouds of red. I looked into her eyes as we became further apart, our hands the only thing touching. She shook her head, frown and let go of my hand. No, I wanted to stay here. It was simple and safe. It was easy.  This time they weren’t going to save me. I didn’t need saving. I was my own prince and I had saved myself. Why couldn’t he understand that? Why were they so insistent upon my existence. They did not know what they rescuing. They did not know what I was and what I could do. I fought hard for them to stop, with every might and shred of my being I begged and pleaded for them to stop. This could not go on. I was where I wanted to be, I didn’t want to come back, we were together now and I would fight to stay here even if she scorned me.
The light became blinding and I found myself in a fit struggling against what was pulling me out of my pool. I did not want to surface, I did not want to wake. I was at peace here. I felt the heaviness and the return to my form which I had chosen to abandon. Chains once again put in place and I was once again trapped. I could not move my arms, they were tied down. A smiling face look down upon me. It’s mouth moved but I could not and would not comprehend the words that came from it. Second face, a familiar one, pulled in ranged its eyes consumed with worry. The second looked to the first, and the first repeated what it had said.
“Do you know where you are?”
with much defeat I replied  “yes.”
“Where?”
“I’m in hell.”
watertex_md2Another sample of the book I am writing. Critiques are welcome. Yes, you are allowed to hate it.

I wasn’t sure exactly when I became romantically involved with the notion of my own death.  My affection for my demise had held much interest for me for years, and yet I had not managed to complete the circle. Afterall, what was there to live for, my life had become completely interwoven with the fantasies I had created. There was no point in living any longer in the real world. Each day was a disappointment, as each day was no different from the rest. Each day had become a reflection of the day that had passed and I a mere object in that reflection. The world was crumbling to sand and even now that some of my dreams had come true, I was completely dissatisfied with everything, as my deepest desires had yet to be filled and nothing could ever fill them. I was a monster, what I had done was unforgivable, but despite that I knew it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t sorry, only wish it had been different. I was an empty case, waiting to find something to fill it. Nothing seemed to be what I was looking for, all of it was meaningless and bored me. What I had found were only lies, they had lied to me. I let myself believe their lies, and I was not going to stand for it. I had no place to go, nowhere to run or hide. But this way, I could do what I wanted. I could be free, We could be together, yes together. It would be a happy ending. It was right, it was what I deserved and wanted and made sure it was going to happen. I would not allow him to take my happiness from me. I have taken it back, and I have hurt him as I wanted. All is right with everything in the world. I am going to win, and this will be the end of that. No more of their sneaking around, no more of their lies, this time it was going to work and we were going to be together. Even though she didn’t deserve me, she was a liar. She betrayed me. I trusted her and she betrayed me. I shouldn’t be so stupid to let her forget that, there would be time to convince her that her actions were wrong and that with me it would be alright. I would forgive her and she would come to me. That nagging sensation had returned, and I was certain that I was going to submit to it’s will that it had held over me.

I was bathed in light and I could feel it flowing though my veins and deep into my heart. It was a blanket, it was soft and warm and it all felt so right. I finally felt relaxed and I ease, I was right. There she was, her face was bright, smiling and she extended her hand to me and I took her hand. Her hair was once again long and soft, just the way it should be. It grew longer and longer and soon I was wrapped in it, and I felt safe. I forgive you and you forgive me. You understand why I had to do it. I know you do, because I loved you more than I ever loved anyone. You belong to me. Darkness enveloped me it swirled and flowed all around me. It was just black but a variety of shades and tones my eyes struggled to decipher. I glanced upwards and saw a glimmer of light and a figure looking down upon me. Slowly the light grew darker or further away, I couldn’t tell the difference. I was surrounded by water. It was warm and it flowed around me wrapping me in an eerie protective bubble that would keep me safe. There was nothing to think about, nothing to dwell upon. It simply was.

The water surface became disturbed and I felt I was being thrust up to the surface. I didn’t want to leave. I held on to her as tightly as I could, she looked at me cruelly, she knew she controlled me. Her hair became unwrapped from by body, and I held on to her hand as I felt we were going to be separated. I didn’t want to leave her. We belonged together. No, please don’t let go. I could feel my body floating up as the water became filled with blue light stained with clouds of red. I looked into her eyes as we became further apart, our hands the only thing touching. She shook her head, frown and let go of my hand. No, I wanted to stay here. It was simple and safe. It was easy.  This time they weren’t going to save me. I didn’t need saving. I was my own prince and I had saved myself. Why couldn’t he understand that? Why were they so insistent upon my existence. They did not know what they rescuing. They did not know what I was and what I could do. I fought hard for them to stop, with every might and shred of my being I begged and pleaded for them to stop. This could not go on. I was where I wanted to be, I didn’t want to come back, we were together now and I would fight to stay here even if she scorned me.

The light became blinding and I found myself in a fit struggling against what was pulling me out of my pool. I did not want to surface, I did not want to wake. I was at peace here. I felt the heaviness and the return to my form which I had chosen to abandon. Chains once again put in place and I was once again trapped. I could not move my arms, they were tied down. A smiling face look down upon me. It’s mouth moved but I could not and would not comprehend the words that came from it. Second face, a familiar one, pulled in ranged its eyes consumed with worry. The second looked to the first, and the first repeated what it had said.

“Do you know where you are?”

with much defeat I replied  “yes.”

“Where?”

“I’m in hell.”

-Diana Poulsen – a sample of a temporarily titled novel Pick who you love.

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Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - AliveSurvive – Essential skills and tactics to get you out of anywhere – Alive
Les Stroud
Collins 2008
By Diana Poulsen
I am not a survival expert and I have a distaste for anything even remotely related to camping. I enjoy being outside, but I’d rather not sleep or go to the washroom in nature. For me, it’s simply not natural. However, watching Les Stroud’s television series, Survivorman, made me become interested in the outdoors and wonder of what would I do if I was stranded? How would I survive?  For those of you that are not familiar with Stroud’s series it follows him as he tries to survive in the wilderness, arctic, desert and a plethora of other locations for a week. Typically he has minimal supplies or pretends to be injured. He films his survival with a several cameras that he has to lug around from location to location, while trekking for water, food or sometimes the nearest civilization.
Survive provides readers with the advice and lessons that Stroud teaches on his show with exceptional detail and pictures. It is not a difficult read and the instructions make logical sense. Stroud offers the reader a variety of different survival skills. For example, there a plethora of ways to start a fire and Stroud gives a description for each of them, including his preferred methods and their level of difficulty. Stroud provides a various ways for gathering and distilling water and how to collect it yourself, in case you are in an arid region, using a somewhat difficult to construct solar still. Stroud himself will admit when some of his constructions are more difficult to make, however he always offers the reader an alternative solution for those of us that aren’t terribly handy.
Stroud’s novel is written in a friendly tone mixed with tips and real life examples. The stories he recounts of survival, helped me to remember the tips he was offering. For example, the story of his survival in the Ontario wildness and how he kept drinking lake water every so often as a way to feign off boredom and fear. This story helped me remember that doing something, even simply regularly drinking water,  keeps the mind from eating at itself.
Survive also tackles issues such as fear and loneliness. It is comforting to know that even a trained survival expert can be afraid and many people are afraid of the dark. Stroud writes about how the mind can be the survivor’s worst enemy. If you believe you are gonna die and fail, chances are you will. If you don’t give up and believe you will make, despite how hard it may be to imagine, your odds of surviving are much better. Yes, all those years that our families have been telling us to believe in our selves is actually the best advice for surviving in the wilderness, that and being resourceful. Everything can be used and don’t be afraid to break precious items. A watch or camera can be replaced, you cannot be. The last pages in his book are labelled fire starter, now you have permission to burn them to save yourself.
Initially, I was a little disappointed that the book is geared toward people that have camping experience. There is also the assumption that you may have certain camping items on you, like a knife or water purification tablets. However, that was my reaction during the first section, later sections teach the survivor how to make your own knifes. For once that pre-historic archaeology class I took which talked about making knifes from bone or rock will one day come in handy. There is even a short section on surviving a disaster at home.
Overall, it is a good read with both fact and a little bit of narrative to keep a reader’s interest.
Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - AliveSurvive – Essential skills and tactics to get you out of anywhere – Alive
Les Stroud
Collins 2008

Reviewed by:  Diana Poulsen

I am not a survival expert and I have a distaste for anything even remotely related to camping. I enjoy being outside, but I’d rather not sleep or go to the washroom in nature. For me, it’s simply not natural. However, watching Les Stroud’s television series, Survivorman, made me become interested in the outdoors and wonder of what would I do if I was stranded? How would I survive?  For those of you not familiar with Stroud’s series it follows him as he tries to survive in the boreal wilderness, arctic tundra, deserts and a plethora of other locations for a week. Typically he has minimal supplies or occasionally pretends to be injured. He films his survival with a several cameras that he has to lug around from location to location, while trekking for water, food, shelter and sometimes the nearest civilization.

Survive provides readers with the advice and lessons that Stroud teaches on his show with exceptional detail and pictures. It is not a difficult read and the instructions make logical sense. Stroud offers the reader a variety of different survival skills. For example, there are a plethora of  descriptions on  the variety of ways to start a fire,  including Stroud’s preferred methods and their level of difficulty. Stroud provides several ways for gathering and distilling water as well as how to collect it yourself, in case you are in an arid region, using a somewhat difficult to construct solar still. Stroud will admit when some of his constructions are more difficult to make, however he always offers the reader an alternative solution for those of us that aren’t terribly handy.

Stroud’s book is written in a friendly tone, mixed with tips and real life examples. The stories he recounts of survival helps me remember the tips he was offering. For example, the story of his survival in the Ontario wilderness and how he kept drinking lake water every so often as a way to feign off boredom and fear. This story helped me remember that doing something, even simply regularly drinking water, can keep the mind from eating at itself.

survivorman_lstroud_400
Survive also tackles issues such as fear and loneliness. It is comforting to know that even a trained
survival expert can be afraid and many people are afraid of the dark. Stroud writes about how the mind can be the survivor’s worst enemy. If you believe you are gonna die and fail, chances are you will. If you don’t give up and believe you will make it back to civilization (home, family, friend, your dog, etc), despite how hard it may be to imagine, your odds of surviving are significantly better. Yes, all those years that our families have been telling us to believe in our selves is actually the best advice for surviving in the wilderness, that and being resourceful. Everything can be used and don’t be afraid to break precious items. A watch or camera can be replaced, you cannot be. Actually, the last pages in his book are labelled as fire starter, now you have permission to burn them to save yourself.

Initially, I was a little disappointed that the book is geared toward people that have camping experience. There is also the assumption that you may have certain camping items on you, like a knife or water purification tablets. However, that was my reaction during the first section. The later sections teach the survivor how to make their own knifes and how purify water without tablets. For once that pre-historic archaeology class I took which talked about making knifes from bone or rock will one day come in handy. There is even a short section on surviving a disaster at home.

Overall, it is a good read with both fact and a little bit of narrative to entertain the reader.

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I was finally tagged in facebook to make this list.

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Copy the instructions into your own note, send it along to however many people you like, and be

b062PB_lg

sure to tag the person who tagged you, since this person is interested in your list.

I decided I would very briefly explain my selection.

1. Why People Believe Weird things – Michael Shermer

Shermer explains why  people believe in things like god, alien abduction and other odd ideas.  He even debunks Ayn Randian Objectivism as not being rational because of their worship of the creator Ayn Rand. Objectivisim prides itself on being rational.  Now I just need to find one about why people are so insure and vindictive.


alanna1st knopf cover2. Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce
3. Alanna First Adventure – Tamora Pierce
4. First Test – Tamora Pierce

I have consistently read Pierce for the past 15 years. Yes,  they do become a bit predictable. Despite that,  she is a master at interesting dialogue and character relationships. Also, it’s nice to read about a female character that is actually strong and isn’t superficial. Now if she made one of her female characters sarcastic and neurotic, I’d be in heaven.

5. I’ll be Watching You – Charles de Lint

There is lovely art world setting to this thriller. It was one of the first point of view novels I ever read and have been fascinated with the style since.  Very creepy. DeLint  knows how to suck the reader into a world and make it believable.


6. The Catcher in the Rye – J D Salinger (lame I know)

I read it in high school. Holden Caulfield was the first character I ever completely understood. He was me in male form. I was very disappointed when my teacher told me that his actions were a result of his pneumonia rather than teen angst. I must have had a seven year long case of pneumonia.


7. The Cripple and His Talisman – Anosh Irani

Hilarious and Dark. One of the first books I read that was dark, seedy and dirty.  It is told backward as the character is trying to remember what happened to his missing arm. How does one lose an arm and not remember? Also, it is fascinating to think of amnesia as a catalyst for narrative progression. None of the characters are good and everyone is flawed. I adore that. I hate people that always know what to do.


The Electrical Field8. The Electrical Field – Kerri Sakamoto

The obessive description of the tea stain on the floor speaks me to on many levels. I am a person that for years and years obssesses about something so small and think that it had large consequences. It is also a very beautifully written text.


9. After Dark – Haruki Murakami

It totally blew my mind when I read it. I had been primarily reading art texts and classical literature at the time. Since reading it I am fascinated with the idea of staying up all night at a Denny’s. Of course, that is not the point of the book. His characters are believable and not perfect. They are who they are.


10. Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology – Kenneth Feder

Another academic book that always stayed with me. It debunks myths. For example, the claim that aliens built stonehendge and the pyramiads, that has always been a major annoyance of mine.  People should not take away the accomplishments of humankind and say that aliens did it. We built it. Humans are simply that awesome.


11. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

I was very surprised by this twisted love story and I read it as quickly as though it were a Harry Potter book.


400000000000000030167_s412. From a Whisper to a Scream – Charles de Lint

The first multi-perspective novel I had ever read.  As well as a magic/supernatural theme in contempoary setting that was not cheesy and took me by surprise, however it did not at all seem out of place. I love reading how in one chapter one character would see (from their prespective) another character running away and then in the next you would find out why the other character the other character was running away.

13. Lirael – Garth Nix

The whole Abhorsen trilogy rocks. I simply love the description of Lirael’s adventures in the Library. Yes, Librarians are cool and adventurous. I also seem to love books where characters learn how to master their powers and find their place in the world. It is slower than Sabriel (the first book in the trilogy), which made me as a reader feel like I was being chased through the whole novel, but I like the slow pace and the day to day activities of Lirael.


14. A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf

There was a tie between this and Mrs. Dalloway.  A Room won because it finally convinced me that Woolf is an interesting writer. Whereas Orlando had not, however it now deserves a second read.


15.The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night time – Mark Haddon

It’s actually a best seller that is not a pile of crap.

What are your top 15?

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