Saturday, October 20, 2007

meme !

Stolen from my friend Courtney

What is your name? Rachel
4 letter word: Ring!
Vehicle: Roller skates
TV Show: Robin Hood and Road to Avonlea
City: Rouen
Boy Name: Roderick or Rasputin
Girl Name:Rapunzel
Drink: Red Bull
Occupation: Reporter
Something you wear: Raincoat
Celebrity: Richard Harrington ( that yummy guy from Bleak House and MI:5 ) or RANKIN
Food: Ragu sauce
Something found in a bathroom: Red toothpaste ( sorry, it is late )
Reason for Being Late: Ran into Gabriel Byrne
Cartoon character: Ren ( not Stimpy)
Something you shout: REESE'S PIECES !
Animal: Rhino ( as in the giant space rhino Judoon on the Moon in Dr. Who)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I had a great weekend!

Last night I went out with a bunch of friends to karaoke to celebrate a birthday! The dj had a bit of a crush on me and proceeded to try sitting in my lap four times. He also gave me a bunch of hot tamales ( the candy, people, watch those dirty minds ! )

And, I just got home from bowling ! I love bowling. I suck at it. But that is not why we go!

In the adventures of reading for the weekend, I finished The Sense and Sensibility Screenplays and Diaries by Emma Thompson. Which I loved. Now, I need to watch the movie again.

This afternoon while chilling in my pjs and resting from my 4am return from karaoke, I watched the Legend of 1900 which I had always wanted to see. Based on the monologue by Barrico. Unfortunately, this brilliant fable was so poorly told, I ended it thinking what a waste: of talent, of plot, of Tim Roth, of Ennio Morricone's exquisite music.

All of the ingredients, in the wrong order ( or something ) that should have made a delectable feast bland and unsettling.

I am now angry and frustrated and want them to try again!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

just a bunch of really good books !

I think I am substituting my reading of Blood and Chocolate for the RIP challenge with the new Neil Gaiman trade paper, Fragile Things because Blood and Chocolate is dismally bad.

Along the same lines, I recently finished P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern, because I will try anything once. The premise is cute and I can see where she was going, but the writing was abysmal. I think the only reason she got published is the fact that she is the Prime Minister's daughter and her name was recognizable. But, you didn't hear that from me. Dreadful. Dreadful book.

Last year, I was delighted to read Causeway by Linden Macintyre while I was a reader for the Leacock Humour Award. It was one of my top picks. So, I was very happy that the nice people at Harper, sent me a copy of my very own. I was reading through it again and realized just how brilliant it is --- both as a memoir, and as a moving piece of non-fiction. I only wish it could garner more acclaim than it has. I also have a huge thing for East Coast writers and the East Coast in general, so this was a tasty treat!

In Jane Austen news, I finished "reading"....erm.... navigating my way through the Choose Your Own Adventure Maze that is Lost In Austen by Emma Campbell Webster. This was an interesting idea. I do not agree with every choice she made for her book but, if you are into this thing, go right ahead !

The kind ducks over at Austenblog sent me a copy of Dear Jane Austen by Patrice Hannon....which basically reimagines our fair writer as an advice columnist. It was utterly readable! Jane you are a brilliant sage ! I treasure your advice....

Did I mention that George RR Martin's The Ice Dragon is a dear little fable/novella for young readers with a craving for some tasty fantasy? All five senses are heightened when you wade through is powerful description. Quite beautiful. KEEP IN MIND FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS CHALLENGES, it would fit in perfectly.

Now, in movie news, I am eagerly awaiting the release of Elizabeth: the Golden Age this weekend because, well, who is not?!

I saw The Seeker:The Dark is Rising based on the Newbery award-winning sequence by Susan Cooper. Gotta say, I only went to this for Christopher Eccleston and I only came out thinking: "Wow. I am glad I saw this for Christopher Eccleston."

Not brilliant stuff.... but it introduces a lot of themes and emblems I wish they had the time/tenacity/talent to explore further. It reaches almost-allegorical at moments, very dark and twisted at others. The time-travel thing ( as always ) is *sorry, insert Christopher Eccleston voice* FANTASTIC !

NOTE: I am not an Oprah fan to begin with. But, it bugs me even more when a great book like Eat Pray Love which I read eons ago is now tainted with Oprah-mania. Now it just bugs me anytime I hear it. Before, I was happy to hand sell it to anyone. Ridiculous. And quit picking Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Geez. Must you spoil everything?!

Monday, October 08, 2007


As many of you know I have a love/hate relationship with Christian Historical Fiction.

I love selecting and buying it, but the end results are seldom pleasing.

Luckily ( and more frequent of late ), there have been some wonderful exceptions. Long have I thought that "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a literate woman in want of a literate Christian historical novel will be left unsatisfied" but the tune is changing.

It changed brightly this Summer when I stumbled upon a gorgeous, rollicking and fun regency called "All the Tea in China" by Christian novelist Jane Orcutt.

This was clever writing, witty Austen-esque dialogue, a great, sword-wielding heroine with humour and aplomb, strong and resourceful, and a somewhat disguised hero named Phineas ( who is the most original Christian hero I have ever come across in a book.... well atleast since John Murphy in a perennial favourite of mine, Vienna Prelude ).

I loved the setting, the fact that it was set on a ship, the way the characters met, the historical accuracy, the beautiful descriptive tapestry and the fact in made me laugh ( and in the right places, thank you very much).

So, eager to find out what Jane Orcutt had in store for me in the future, I logged onto her website tonight. Perhaps I was prompted by the fact I had sold a couple of these books to secular readers last week just before Thanksgiving.

To my utter dismay, I discovered that Jane Orcutt passed away from Leukemia this past March.

How horrible! She had such potential. I was hoping this stand-alone historical would lead to more great work.

So, in her memory, I am devoting this whole blog post to rave:

You were one smart duck, Jane Orcutt, I have yet to find another Christian Historical that had a TWIST to its plot. You did the industry proud. And, of course, the highest praise I can bestow on a Christian writer and usually reserved for the usual suspects: Dale Cramer, Bodie Thoene, Catherine Marshall and, recently, Geoff Wood---

it was so good I forgot I was reading a Christian novel.

NOTE:For those of you who are not quite sure about delving into this subject reluctant to read preachy matter, the Christian themes in this novel are just that... themes.... it is very subtle and not overly set on converting people. No fire and brimstone here! Just a great novel with some great morals and a couple of brilliantly funny love scenes.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Taken from A Work In Progress

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why? Trade paperbacks are my favourite for every day reading. But, for collector's editions and classics I like hardcover.

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…Mycroft's .... it would be a Mystery bookshop, naturally.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is... Emily Climbs by LM Montgomery :
"I will just have to fix my thoughts on the moonlight and the romance and ignore the mosquitoes."

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be ….L.M. Montgomery, Dorothy L. Sayers, Dickens, Charlotte Bronte ( deceased ) ( I would say Patrick O'Brian byt he might be a little prickly ) Living: Ian Rankin. Hello! Anthony Horowitz.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be…Les Miserables.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…. turned the pages of a hardcover for me in bed. Or somekind of indescructable type of paper you could take in the bathtub.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…. home. in the fall or winter. mellow light and a comfy chair.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be….Sherlock Holmes, ( I still believe I am Sherlock Holmes ), or maybe Marianne in Sense and Sensibility because she gets Col. Brandon and a big house . I would say Anne in Persuasion but I would have had to have undergone that treacherous upbringing. Valancy of The Blue Castle because I could live w/ Barney..... any heroine who ends up with a great guy. Rich.

9. The most overestimated book of all times is…. oh Where shall we start?
Dan Brown ( naturally), the Secret ( Come on people, don't be so stupid ), the Shopaholic Series ( come on people, don't be stupid), everything by Jodi Picoult, The Kite Runner, and, of course, last year's over rated award goes to The Thirteenth Tale.
And more Dan Brown.

10. I hate it when a book…. is written by Dan Brown, includes badly rendered dialect (i.e., most Scottish or Newfie dialect in novels, sometimes some really bad pioneer-type dialect..... I am thinking, here, of all the Janette Oke books I read as an undiscerning kid in the Church Library fact most Christian novelists screw up dialect!)