Current Reads: Wonder Boys

I am currently reading

@ Goodreads
Wonder Boys
By: Michael Chabon
From: My bookshelf

Grady Tripp is a pot-bellied, pot-smoking, over-sexed, aging novelist, struggling to finish the long-awaited follow-up to his award-winning novel. But a visit from his rumbustious, bizarre editor, Terry Crabtree, initiates a chaotic weekend, an odyssey, on which they are joined by Grady’s brilliant student, his pregnant mistress and a beautiful student lodger.

So you can see that this week’s read isn’t a fantasy book… I couldn’t decide what to read, so I picked up unread books from my shelves and read the first sentence of each book in order to decide what I wanted – and I just kept on reading Wonder Boys. I’ve seen the Wonder Boys movie, and the book has been sitting on my shelf for a year, so it’s high time I read it. I’m only a little over 50 pages in, but so far the book is immensely readable!

Last week I read

Last week I only read Finnish books! I mostly read in English, since so much fantasy is never translated, and I like reading books in their original language, so last week was highly unusual.

Toisaalla by Salla Simukka
Second and final part in a Finnish YA dystopian sf series. The first book, Jäljellä, was about a teenage girl in a world where almost all the people had disappeared. This second book reveals the secrets of the first one.

Mustasuon mysteeri by Kati Närhi
A Finnish darkly fun graphic novel about an orphan girl called Agnes, this time solving mysteries in a boarding school. This was also second in a series.

 

This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

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Current Reads – April 22nd

I just finished reading

Teemestarin kirja
Teemestarin kirja
(to be published in 2014 from HarperCollins/Voyager as Memory of Water)
By: Emmi Itäranta
From: The library

Following a great natural disaster, the world is under strict military rule and rapidly running out of water. The only reminder of the past are the tea masters’ diaries and the old technology lying in the landfills.

Noria comes from a family of tea masters, and soon it is her turn to take on the duties and long kept secrets of a fully trained tea master. In a time when hiding water is the worst of crimes, the attention of the authorities is inevitably turned to the tea masters…

Next up

I’m actually not sure. I think something from my shelf of unread books… Perhaps Divergent by Veronica Roth, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, or then The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. Which one would you recommend? I’ll also slowly continue with A Dance with Dragons, which I’m currently two chapters in.

Last week I posted

Favourite Book to Movie Adaptations
Fan Art Friday: Vampires

 

This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Fan Art Friday: Vampires

I am an illustrator and graphic designer and love to see other people’s illustrations of my favourite characters. Fan art Friday is a new semi-regular feature where I highlight book inspired fan art from the web.

In this first episode of Fan Art Friday, I will feature my top 3 favourite vampire characters along with a piece of fan art. Please visit the artists (by clicking on the image or the link provided) to support them and see the full image!

1. Lestat de Lioncourt

Lestat by Diablera

”He came in from the courtyard, opening the French doors without a sound, a tall fair-skinned man with a mass of blond hair and a graceful, almost feline quality to his movements.”

Art: Lestat by ~Diablera on deviantART

Lestat, my first ever favourite vampire! He is loud, ruthless and full of himself, a wonderful counterpart to the more quiet and subdued Louis. I think Diablera’s illustration manages to capture Lestat’s aura of power.

Lestat is from the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
First appearance in Interview with the Vampire, 1976

2. Lord Akeldama

Lord Akeldama by Eeza

”Outrageous was a very good way of describing Lord Akeldama. Alexia was not afraid of outrageousness any more than she was afraid of vampires, which was good because Lord Akeldama was both.”

Art: Lord Akeldama by ~eeza on deviantART

In addition to being impeccably dressed and overly familiar with people, Lord Akeldama is dangerously sharp and knows everything that goes on in his city. I love every moment he appears on the page! In her illustration, Eeza successfully portrays Lord Akeldama’s colorful fashion sense.

Lord Akeldama is from the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
First appearance in Soulless, 2009

3. Thomas Raith
Thomas Raith by Kreugan

”There was a moment’s pause, and then a man glided out of the limo. He was tall, pale as a statue. Sable hair fell in tousled curls to his shoulders. […] The man smiled, bright enough for a toothpaste commercial.”

Art: thomas by ~kreugan on deviantART

Thomas is a White Court vampire, which means he feeds on human emotions, and from House Raith, which means he feeds primarily on lust. Thomas goes through a lot during the book series, but I always finds him fascinating whether he is self-assured or full of self-doubt. Kreugan captures Thomas’s classic good looks very well.

Thomas is from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
First appearance in Grave Peril, 2001

Favourite Book to Movie Adaptations

A lot of popular book series are being made into movies these days. Many times the movies are let-downs, missing key moments or just not able to compete with your imagination. But once in a while, a movie comes out that handles the book really well by either being a faithful adaptation or managing to retain the feel of the book despite making changes to the story. So, here are my favorite book to movie adaptations!

BookToMovie1

Maija’s Top 10 Book to Movie Adaptations

1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I love both the movie and the original Scott Pilgrim comic book series. This is one of those rare occasions where I actually saw the movie before reading the original material. There are some changes and things are left out, sure, but I think the movie manages to capture the spirit of the comic quite well. I also love Edgar Wright’s style. This is just one of the best ever comic book movies in my opinion.

2. Interview with the Vampire
I’ve been a huge fan of the Vampire Chronicles ever since I read the first three books around the time the movie came out. While the characters didn’t quite look like I had imagined them, the actors portrayed their inner workings well. I completely forget Tom Cruise is a known actor while watching him, he just becomes the vampire Lestat. The book and the movie both have this spell-binding atmosphere of sweet despair dripping from every moment.

3. A Room with a View
This is one of my childhood movies. I’ve watched it many times ever since my early teens, but I actually read the original book only last year! I was surprised at how loyal the movie adaptation was to the book – this is one of those movies where very little has been changed. I love Helena Bonham-Carter, Julian Sands, Maggie Smith and Daniel Day Lewis in this!

4. Game of Thrones, season 1
Now you may notice this is not a movie, but a tv adaptation. I thought it still totally counts. I am not that into the following GoT seasons, but the first one was spectacular. It was such a great adaptation, carefully selecting what could be left out and focusing on all the right things. The casting was also wonderful. This was a 10 hour movie of the book, and what a movie!

5. Pride and Prejudice (BBC)
The quintessential adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, to me, is the BBC miniseries. I don’t even remember how many times I’ve seen this. I love watching Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, trying to mumble something coherent and remotely polite to Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth.

BookToMovie2

6. Charlie/Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I love both the older and the newer movie adaptations of this book. I actually like the movies more than I like the book! Perhaps it is because I never read the book as a kid? I just love the visual extravaganza and dark humor of the movies. Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp are very different Mr Wonkas, but they both work for me.

7. Return to Oz
Another childhood favorite, and another movie that I love more than the books. The horrifying wheelers, the wonderfully designed Tik-Tok, Nome King’s opulent hall of ornaments, the nomes crawling out of the walls… I remember being creeped out of many things in this movie as a kid, but loving every second of it.

8. Romeo + Juliet
Baz Luhrman’s high-energy, color-filled adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is one of my favorite Shakespeare movie adaptations. I love the way the setting is modernized with the characters still speaking the original lines.

9. The Princess Bride
I’m cheating by listing the Princess Bride, when I haven’t actually read the book (one of these days). A fun & rollicking adventure filled with memorable lines and characters! ”As you wish!” ”My name is Inigo Montoya…” ”You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

10. Stardust
The book and the movie have many differences, but I like them both. I think their tone is slightly different (the movie: more humour, the book: more fairy tale-ish). I just rewatched the movie, I think I’ll have to reread the book soon to remind myself of how the story goes in that.

Those were my favorite book to movie adaptations. What are yours? Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know, I’d love to find out!

 

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Current Reads

I’ve been quiet for a while, ’cause I haven’t really been sure how to do this book blogging thing my way. Pretty quickly after starting to blog, I found out that I’m not much of a review writer. I just started to stress too much about writing a review after finishing a book!

So I decided to be more casual about this, have more fun. I’ll gush about my favorite stories and characters in a more “inofficial” way than reviews. I’ll take part in the community with challenges and memes. I also want to do cover art & artist features, since I’m an illustrator myself and pretty into that sort of stuff. Book hauls and monthly recaps are still on the list! I’ll just take it slow and find out what I like to write.

So, enough about that, and let’s get to business.

I just finished reading

Rivers Of London

Rivers of London
(Known as Midnight Riot in the US)
By: Ben Aaronovitch
From: Borrowed from my sister

There’s something festering in the heart of the city, a malicious, vengeful spirit that’s taking ordinary Londoners and twisting them into something awful; mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

One night, probationary constable Peter Grant takes a witness statement from a man who is already dead. Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last wizard in England, finds Peter’s ability to talk to ghosts interesting, and takes him on as an assistant.

Rivers of London is a very likable modern fantasy detective novel. The magical and mythical elements work well with the depictions of everyday police work. Peter Grant is a nice main character, but the brightest star for me was Inspector Nightingale. This sharply dressed wizard, who minds if policemen shelf books upside down at a crime scene, was my favorite from the second he appeared on the page. Plus, come on, his name is awesome!

There were two main investigative storylines going on in the book, one focusing on the ongoing police investigation with the vengeful spirit, and the other on more wizardly duties with the rivers of London. These storylines remained a bit too separate, and I would have liked them to tie together more. These dual storylines are also the reason why both the UK and US versions of the book’s title work well with the contents of the novel.

Some of the themes and elements in this book were right up my alley (I can’t specify without being spoilery). I literally exclaimed aloud and jumped a bit on my chair when a specific story element in the murder investigation dawned on me, and that is a sign of an entertaining read for me.

I would definitely check this book out if you are into wizards, modern fantasy, detective novels, and London.

Next Up

Teemestarin kirja
Teemestarin kirja / Memory of Water
By: Emmi Itäranta
From: The library

My next read will be a Finnish dystopian book about a world running out of water, with a protagonist who specializes in tea ceremony. Harper Collins has bought the World English rights for the book, and it will be published in spring 2014 under the name Memory of Water (the word-for-word translation from Finnish would be The Book of the Tea Master). The author has written the English version herself.

I’m very interested in this book because I’ve heard so much about it. It was published after it won a publisher’s fantasy and science fiction writing contest. It has also won one Finnish literary award, and is currently in the running for another. Memory of Water is Emmi Itäranta’s debut novel.

 

This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.