Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beyond the Night

Every once in awhile a book comes along that I want to read, but due to school or work I haven't had time to read it, let alone go to a bookstore (I know, these sound like nightmarish conditions, a lack of bookstore time is one of the levels of hell). But then there's a competition. Something that makes me make sure to go check out the book. That happened with Joss Ware's new "sighting contest." I was to go forth into the world and take a picture of her new book, Beyond the Night, in it's natural habitat, a store... though wouldn't it's natural habitat be my tbr pile? Ah, but an excuse to go to a bookstore is better than anything! So many books, including this one, have now made their way to my house... if only I'd get those 160 thumbnails done for class I could really go for a nice long read.

Emma Spotlight: Blake Ritson

Name: Blake Ritson

First Impression: As the sweet Edmund who wins Billie Piper's heart in Mansfield Park.

Lasting Impression: Emma. Complete turn around, the sweet lovestruck Edmund was replaced with the smarmy, sleek, creepy... giving Mr. Collins a run for his money in his kiss assedness.

What else you've seen them in: Small roles here and there, but more notably a fixture among British mysteries, the likes of Lynley and Frost.

Can't believe it's them: Titus... icky icky, I feel unclean, I feel soiled. Memories I tried to bury are resurfacing... noooooo.

Wish they hadn't: The Bill... it's such a joke.

Bio: Making a name for himself as the Emo looking Edmund I was surprised that he actually had such depths to play the subtlety and smarm of Elton. I think we might just see a little bit more of him now that his depths are becoming apparent. It's not all about the looks! I didn't think he was attractive till he was slightly full of himself...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Could I Not Just Have One Good Thing in My Life?

Yes you can! Great News for Paranormal Fans! Being Human has been renewed for a third season! Piers Wenger, the lovely producer of Doctor Who and Sarah Jane, as well as the current head of Drama at BBC Wales announced yesterday that Being Human will be back. This is good news for fans, who in a few short weeks, will be going through withdrawal as the second season comes to a close. Being a huge fan of the show, this is good news and comes just at the right time, mainly after the second season's third and best episode. This season got off to a rocky start with our favorite werewolf, vampire and ghost involved in their own little dramas of girlfriends, vampire coup repercussions and gainful employment for the deceased, without realising the threat of some unknown scientific institution that was brought to their existence by Owen at the end of the first season. But thankfully, by episode three, it was back on track. It wasn't anything major, just a subtle shift wherein the characters acknowledged their growing separation and called a house meeting. This also resulted in the funniest scene ever in the show. I can't do it justice, so here it is in it's entirety thanks to YouTube (don't worry, no spoilers).

Emma Spotlight: Christina Cole

As the Emma Spotlight continues, we turn to one of the more dubiously happy couples in Hartfield... but still, perfectly suited.

Name: Christina Cole

First Impression: What A Girl Wants, as Caroline Bingley's (Anna Chancellor's) daughter in what I like to fondly call, the revenge of the Bingleys. They want Darcy, and they want him now! Ironic that Christina went on to play Caroline in Lost in Austen.

Lasting Impression: Hex... ah, you little show that had so much hype and then failed miserably to meet all expectations... odd that once Christina's character, Cassie, was murdered the show was steadily getting better and then was abruptly cancelled.

What else you've seen them in: Christina is one busy busy lady. From appearing in some of the top TV shows to the best miniseries: Foyle's War, Marple, Doctor Who, Poirot, Jane Eyre, He Knew He Was Right, Lost in Austen to name a few. She is also slowly building a name in films, from Miss Pettigrew Live for a Day to Casino Royale. When you see Christina's name attached, you know it's like a standard for quality, a real seal of approval.

Can't believe it's them: Totally hitting on Jemima Rooper's Amanda in Lost in Austen! Too, too perfect, plus nice to have the shoe on the other foot from what was happening on Hex.

Wish they hadn't: I often forget that it is her in What a Girl Wants so have a few minutes of happiness, till Amanda Bynes shows... worst actress EVER. Why couldn't Jonathan Pryce, Anna Chancellor and Christina killed her and dumped her in the Thames? So I wish she hadn't let Amanda Bynes live.

Bio: Totally awesome in everything. But my favorite might be riding a donkey in the new Emma...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review - Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book

Lost in a Good Book: Thursday Next Novel the 2nd by Jasper Fforde
Published by: Viking
Publication Date: March 31st, 2003 US, 2002 UK
Format: Hardcover, 399 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy (different edition than one reviewed)

When last we saw Thursday Next she was getting her happily ever after with Landen. Of course she had also saved Jane Eyre, even if she significantly altered the ending, eliminated Hades, imprisoned Jack Schitt, the Warmongering Goliath operative, within the pages of Poe's The Raven, ended the Crimean War and generally saved the day. But saving the day tends to get people looking at you as a hero, and heroes need to do the PR rounds, or so says Cordelia Flakk, Spec Ops one woman PR department, who has been desperate for a face to help Spec Ops gain a more friendly foothold with the public at large. After months of press junkets, Thursday has had enough, and after her "no holds barred interview" with Adrian Lush, which ended up being about her Dodo, Pickwick, she's had enough. It's time for her and Landen to settle down and let life get back to normal. But normal is a relative word for someone like Thursday, seeing as her day starts with hearing voices in her head, finding the lost Shakespeare play, Cardenio, getting on a Neanderthal hijacked skyrail where the first time she's shot and the second time, after her father saves her and tells her the world is to end in a few weeks, she's arrested for assaulting an unarmed Neanderthal and ends with Mycroft's retirement party where all the food is pear based and at the end Mycroft and Polly disappear. But despite all that and the SO-5 operatives that are trailing her in an ever changing rota (they keep dying) as well as the Goliath goons, she and Landen bravely try to carry on with their life together, which will soon include a baby. But a picnic leads to another bizarre occurrence of coincidences, confirmed by the Entroscope Mycroft gave her, and culminating in a Hispano-Suiza falling on their picnic, which just might have killed them.

Thursday has obviously too much to deal with, and after her hearing with SO-1 about the Neanderthal incident, things get even weirder. Laden is gone. He has been completely eradicated. Goliath has decided to prove a point. They want Jack Schitt back or Landen will stay gone, having tragically died when he was two years old. Thursday goes into a tailspin... she is still pregnant, but is the baby even Landen's? Where does she live? What has changed? As it seems, much is still the same, despite the eradication of Landen, time being very flexible. But how can she even get into The Raven to get Jack Schitt? The only person she knew of who could bookjump was the Japanese tourist, Mrs. Nakajima, whom she met at Haworth when she was young and again within the pages of Jane Eyre. To Osaka Thursday must go, on the off chance that she can find a clue.

On the short Gravitube ride to Japan she meets the man who she has been hearing in her head. Turns out he's fictional and is to represent her in her trial. Apparently there's an organization inside books, Jurisfiction, which like SO-27, monitors books, and she must answer for her crimes against Jane Eyre... mainly improving the narrative in an unauthorized manner. After another close call with negative entropy and Goliath, Thursday finds herself in the Great Library where she has been expected for some time. Thursday is destined to be a Jurisfiction PROs agent and they have been waiting for her in the Great Library, THE LIBRARY of all books. She is apprenticed to Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, who turns out to be, as expected, a bit of a man hater, but unexpectedly, a speed freak who loves to drive cars. After an unfortunate incident back in Swindon with Miss Havisham at the wheel, where luckily no one was killed, after Thursday's trial was postponed, Thursday must risk her life at a book sale to get a boxed set of romance novels for Miss Havisham before her nemesis, the Red Queen gets them. With a lot of cunning and a little trickery, Thursday passes her test and it looks like she might be a PROs agent yet! But is it a conflict of interest if she's taking the job just to get Landen back? Also is Poe really off limits to all PROs agents as Miss Havisham warns?

But between her duties at Spec Ops, the mysterious appearance of Cardenio, her new duties to Jurisfiction, her landlord, her pregnancy, her missing husband, the general election, Cordelia Flakk and her contest winners, and the fact that the world just might end in a few days, Thursday's life is more complicated then ever. Also the fact that only an evil genius could be behind the forthcoming apocalypse and her attempted murders by coincidence is unnerving to say the least. Hades is dead. Isn't he? But then who is this person of equal evil with the same initials who keeps offing the SO-5 agents and wants Thursday fitted for a coffin?

This book took a long time for me to get into, but it was totally worth the wait. So much of the beginning is tying up loose ends, to an extent. It's not that they're really loose ends even, more repercussions from what happened in the first novel that feel like loose ends while you're waiting for the novel to really start. Also the Neanderthal's are really kind of stupid, not intellectually mind you. I would say pointless, but I get the point of them, especially if you take into consideration animal testing and then genetic experiments, I see why they are valid, and I do love Granny Next's interaction with them, but overall I feel they detract from the book and the world Fforde has created. So once you get past the Neanderthals and Thursday's blissful honeymoon days of her marriage and Landen gets eradicated, the novel really starts to pick up. But it is not until she actually jumps into the Great Library and meets the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat (previously the Cheshire Cat till county boundaries were redrawn) that I fell in love with this book.

The world of Jurisfiction is beyond anyone's wildest biblomanical dreams. It's a place where you can go from book to book, from back-stories to footnotes and partake in the book character exchange program. Where bowdlerizers are very dangerous and gammersites, especially adjunctavores that stripe an object of adjectives are a very real threat. The place is like a grown up version of Alice in Wonderland, very fitting seeing as who the librarian is. Then there is Thursday's teacher, Miss Havisham... she is outrageous, a wonderful contradiction! Fforde has taken a very sad, lonely woman and made her almost more alive and over the top than Dickens could have ever done... well he couldn't have really made her love of automotives known given the time period he wrote in. The fact that she wears trainers and carries a gun, to deal with her nemesis and the throngs of book buyers, is beyond hysterical. The scene at the book sale is one of the best in the book. With the injured Miss Havisham spurring Thursday on by telling her if she doesn't succeed against the Red Queen to get the trashy romance novels box set then she doesn't have a hope of becoming a Jurisfiction agent is pitch perfect.

The world within the world of books Fforde has created is what makes this series so wonderful. He has expanded on literature's beloved characters and given them truly paradoxical behaviors, but ones that we've long suspected they might hold. He has shown us something that we've believed in and held true for years but have never been told outright before. The world within books is far greater than we could ever imagine! It is best not to over-think this though... sometimes I'd find myself questioning the logic of his world, and in books it's best not too. Because between the pages and lines anything could conceivably happen so it's best just to enjoy the ride, just not with Miss Havisham driving. Also, I know Mary Anne Dashwood was driving a plane, but could you please get her out of the Victorian dress, thank you very much.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sorry Steve

I'm not buying that your over sized ipod touch is "magical and revolutionary." Sure you want us to all think we're friends as you sit down to read your new tablet... but it looked kind of unwieldy and awkward... not just the faux friend shtick. Personally I think you needed a Mies van der Rohe chair to set of the mise en scene... but that's just me. Many have waited with baited breath for the announcement of the Apple tablet... and after today I have to really question why. Waiting to make the decision of Kindle versus Sony Reader to see how Apple might clear the field and become victorious seems time badly spent. I don't think they'll be breaking any new ground, in fact they might just have helped the Kindle, with the iPad. It lacks originality, functionality and affordability. Some of the problems... size, price, having to have AT&T, the list goes on. I'm glad I have a Kindle and even if I had waited, I would make the choice again.

So how does it stack up against the Kindle? It's 1 1/2 times heavier than the Kindle. 1.56" taller and 2.17" wider, and 0.14" deeper making it much squarer. Anything bigger than the Kindle would be too large in my mind... and this is larger, plus doesn't maintain a book like aspect ratio which I expect from a reader, even if this is supposedly "so much more." Can we say shiny screen and retina fatigue? The liquid ink of the Kindle makes it easy and pleasurable to read... a few hours of this and your eyeballs might just melt out of their sockets.

In a downward economy will those who follow the cult of Jobs really be willing to shell out this much money for something so meh? People who truly want a reader will not go for it due to the cost and size, and those who just want another Apple gadget will be turned off by it just being a bigger and more expensive iPhone... they don't need another gadget. Plus with restrictions like AT&T, blurry imaging on the game apps, an inability to support flash in the web browser, make this look like a big misstep for Apple. But we'll just have to wait and see if people really are willing to shell out $500 to $800... that's a whole lot of Kindles and throw in a complete libraries of 1,500 books.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We're Watching You!

So, it might be Wednesday, not Friday, but at nine tonight, we still get the awesomeness! Psych returns for the back half of it's fourth season and I couldn't be happier... well maybe if we had actually gotten a Christmas episode this year, but that's quibbling isn't it? Also what was up with that? Monk decides to call it quits and then Psych fans have to suffer? No matching Monk Christmas special, so no special? Hence the move to Wednesday, they no longer have Monk to pair it with. Personally, I'm not sure if the Wednesday move is in the show's best interest, it's always done very well in it's timeslot and had virtually no competition, what with the ailing Numbers... But at least we have more! It's rare to see a quality show that's so funny and unique actually do well. With the combination of dark humor with all out silly antics and more 80s references than you can shake a stick this has to be one of the best mystery shows on the air. Also with James Roday and Dule Hill having more and more control over the show it can only get better! Plus, I'm sure one day they will make the complete leap and do a full musical episode... you know it's coming! As a treat, here's my favorite promo from last January....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tuesday Tomorrow

Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Published by: Dutton
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 544 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files, is back with another story of the shenanigans of the Spellman family: The Curse of the Spellmans. The "parental unit" started a private investigation business when Dad retired from police work. His wife assists him and their two daughters, Isabel, (Izzy) a 30-year-old with a habit of being arrested, and Rae, a 15-year-old Cheetos-loving teen, would like to think that they help out in the family business. Especially where Izzy is concerned, this is a stretch. Brother David is a successful attorney who has nothing to do with the family enterprise. He has troubles of his own.

Izzy has been living in the apartment of a friend while he is away. When he returns unexpectedly, it quickly becomes clear that being roommates with an old, cigar-smoking, poker-playing, big drinker isn't going to work. Izzy moves home temporarily and then the fun begins. She decides that their new next door neighbor, John Brown, whose landscape gardening business she judges to be a cover, is somehow making women disappear. She gets herself invited to dinner, discovers a locked room, believes his name is phony, follows him everywhere, has a restraining order against her, and still she can't let it go.

Meanwhile, Rae has befriended a great guy, a cop named Henry Stone, who is almost too good to be true. The reader starts pulling for him and Izzy to get together right away, even though he doesn't deserve the aggravation. Lutz keeps the ball rolling faster and faster with David's problems, her parents' frequent vacations, which they refer to as "disappearances," and the fact that everyone in the family has secrets from one another. If there is any curse at work here, it is that all the family members are terminally nosy. What they discover about each other and the other players keeps you turning pages and hoping that Lutz is hard at work on the next installment of this zany family's misadventures."

If you are one of those "freaks" who is actually able to hold out the two years for the mass market paperback edition, well today is you lucky day! The Spellman Files series is on of the best series of books out there. Funny, interesting and a little but of a mystery to boot. Go! Buy! Now!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Emma Spotlight: Johnny Lee Miller

And Every matchmaker must have their match. Here's Emma's in the guise of Johnny Lee Miller.

Name: Johnny Lee Miller

First Impression: Trainspotting, duh!

Lasting Impression: Oddly enough Plunkett & Macleane, which I remember being so excited about, when really, it was so not worth getting excited about. Plus how bad was that soundtrack? It was even more jarring than A Knight's Tale, which somehow gets by on it's campiness.

What else you've seen them in: From big budget movies like Aeon Flux, to BBC period pieces like Canterbury Tales, to plain old British and American TV shows from Eli Stone to Inspector Morse, Johnny Lee Miller has been there and done that... having even been married to Angelina Jolie at one point.

Can't believe it's them: No freakin' way! He was on an episode of Keeping Up Appearances? That's just too too funny. Of course there's also The Bill and EastEnders as well!

Wish they hadn't: Mansfield Park due to my own personal hatred of everything to do with this adaptation. Don't bother trying to convince me otherwise, many have tried, many have failed. Johnny himself couldn't change my mind... though he is welcome to stop by and try.

Bio: Despite being in film and television for years it wasn't until the smash success of Trainspotting that he finally got real recognition. In recent years he's been on several failed American television shows and has recently gone back to the BBC, which I am very happy to see, it's great whenever he comes back, from Byron to Emma, he's a welcome sight.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Emma Spotlight: Romola Garai

In honor of the new BBC adaptation of Emma that's finally airing stateside, I thought my ever fun to do actor spotlights should be Austen centric, concentrating on some of the couples of Highbury. Without further ado I bring you the actress playing the mischievous matchmaker herself....

Name: Romola Garai

First Impression: As the heart-breaker, Gwendolen Harleth, who gets more then she bargained for from a domineering Hugh Bonneville in Daniel Deronda.

Lasting Impression: Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon. Now I'm not saying I'm endorsing this movie or even liking it, I just thought that Romola was magnificently cast and then the director didn't even get the point of the book... there is NO HEROINE! You can't make Becky redeemable because she's being played by Reese! Directors and their radical ideas... get the best cast possible and then ruin it. Just watch the Andrew Davies version, it's very close to perfection.

What else you've seen them in: From smaller roles in BBC productions she's been working her way up in the film world. Though I've loved her since first seeing Daniel Deronda she probably didn't get more well known till Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights or get the critical acclaim she deserved till Atonement, but she's always at the top of her game. I loved her in As You Like It and the new Emma adaptation.

Can't believe it's them: She has to dance with Mister Collins from P&P in I Capture the Castle... ewwww, David Bamber, creepy, icky. I actually felt slightly unclean after this scene.

Wish they hadn't: Atonement... I know, I know, people love it and she got lots of critical acclaim, I just couldn't stand it. I was either wanting to feed Keira Knightly or counting the holes on the ceiling. They stretched it out and made it an unbearable bore, plus overly predictable. Just panning shots of the beach do not a good WWII drama make, pick any episode of Foyle's War and it captured it better than this snooze fest.

Bio: Keep an eye on her, she's going to be huge one day... perhaps quite soon. Also I'm really looking forward to Glorious 39, the new Stephen Poliakoff film that she's starring in with a who's who of Brits, from David Tennant to Christopher Lee! Plus the last lead of a Poliakoff... could that be a little lady by the name of Emily Blunt? And as a total random aside... I want her archery dress from Daniel Deronda.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Surprise Announcement!

Ok, so I've really been wanting to announce this for a few weeks, proclaim it from hills, sing it from mountains, what have you... the hitch was I wanted to make sure it was happening. First weather intervened, then illness, thne the US Postal service was not up to their usual standard. But FINALLY! Today, in my mailbox was the thing I've been waiting for. As you hopefully all know I have a giveaway running till the end of the month for a copy of Jasper Fforde's new book, Shades of Grey. Well, if you look to my little side bar you'll notice a new word has been added, that word is "signed." That's right, thanks to "M" is for Mystery, you have a chance to win a signed first edition of Shades of Grey. So if you were waiting, for whatever reason, you have no excuses now! GO ENTER! Of course, if you'd like to stay, there's a lovely new video on the dangers of swans... you can always enter after you have been educated as to their dangers.

Jane Austen's Emma

I'm sure everyone stateside is getting all ready for Sunday. What's Sunday you say? Well only the premiere of the new Emma starring Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller! Personally I think it's the best Emma yet, having extreme issues with the Andrew Davies one and some reservations about the Gwenneth Paltrow version. Romola is perfectly cast and Johnny Lee is surprisingly sexy. But in order to tide you over in your paroxysms of agitation of having to wait a few more days, PBS has put up a fun little quiz for those wanting to know how they'd be matchmade if they were to step amongst the inhabitants of Highbury. It was a fun quiz, though I'm sorry, I do not think that I am a match to Mr. Woodhouse! Just because I like to stay in and don't particularly like a loud party.... Knightly AT LEAST! That's all I'm asking... though funny how 0% had ended up with Elton... I think that, right there, says something, he can't even get a girl with a hypothetical online dating scenario. So head on over and tell me who they think you should end up with? Personally, choice of all Austen... Henry Tilney any day! But that's just me... how about you? Check out my polls in the sidebar... who is your dream Austen man?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


So, I don't know if I've stated this, but I'm a Smallville addict. I just can't get enough of Clark and Lois. Last week it looked like my wish might have come true, in the form of a possible tenth season, and with the "Absolute Justice" movie even coming in the next few weeks, this season is continually getting better and better. But today I am over the moon with glee... Martha Kent is returning to Smallville, as is a certain Perry White! Now, while I love the show, I thought the hustling off of Martha Kent to DC a little contrived and hokey... If she had to leave why didn't they coicide it with John Glover's leaving? Plus the fact that Clark can be in DC in two seconds and that Martha didn't come to Lionel's funeral... many plot holes there that need answering. But I might be willing to forgive them with the real life husband and wife team of Annette O'Toole and Michael McKean returning (both of whom I was lucky enough to see in Milwaukee earlier last year). People have been clamouring for McKean to return after his stellar one-off performance as Perry White way back in season three... we didn't even have Lois then! Think of that... Lois and Perry, fast friends or do you see I fight coming? I can't wait, not till May! You think they could hurry this along?

Book Review - Charlaine Harris' Grave Secret

Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: October 27, 2009
Format: Kindle, 306 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Order

Harper Connelly and Tolliver Wells have barely recovered from their horrific experiences in North Carolina (read An Ice Cold Grave) when they decide to head to Texas to see their two little half siblings, Mariella and Gracie. They figure that it's going to be tough enough telling the girls that the two of them have gone from step siblings to being a couple, let alone the girls religious adaptive parents, Iona and Hank. On the way they stop off near where they grew up in Texarkana, to do a reading for a Lizzie Joyce who read about Harper and decided she couldn't rest until she thought of a reason to invite her to Clear Creek. Harper decides to throw out a few freebies for the Joyce's and Chip Moseley, the manager of their ranch and Lizzie's beau, before she get's to their grandfather, who is the reason for her visit. Harper unwittingly uncovers that not only had the Joyce's grandfather died of a heart attack induced by someone throwing a snake at him, but his caretaker had died after childbirth. Unconcerned with this bombshell they've dropped on the family, Harper and Tolliver head onto Dallas, and their own family. The reaction to Harper and Tolliver becoming a couple, and in fact becoming engaged, really shocks their family, even Tolliver's brother Mark is taken aback. This reaction on top of a multitude of other reasons, including Iona finally becoming pregnant, leads Harper to consider that perhaps her and Tolliver's dream of moving to Dallas and becoming more involved in their sister's lives is in fact unwise.

But everything takes a back seat when Tolliver's dad, Matthew, shows back up. The man who shared Harper's mother's slide into depravity. The drug addict who would willingly sell his own step-daughter to eager men. The drug addict who ruined their lives and wasn't their for them when Cameron went missing. He's been released "clean and sober" from prison, but more importantly he wants to "reconnect" with his family, surprising them on their day out skating. They desire to have nothing to do with him, making him resort to tailing them. But something worse happens...Tolliver is shot and it appears he might not have been the target. Bodies start piling up but the one body Harper hopes to find more than any other remains elusive. Will Harper even find Cameron? Also why where they attacked? Could the Joyce's case, whose missing baby is being looked into by Harper and Tolliver's old PI friend Victoria Flores, have a connection to Cameron? Was the answer to Cameron's disappearance closer than Harper even knew? And can Matthew really not be involved in all this? Thankfully Manfred shows up to land an ever eager hand.

While I will freely admit this was not my favorite in the series, which given the quality of the series is so not a slam, it was the most satisfying. Answers have been given and it all makes nice sense. Answers which you won't be hearing from these lips...or these nimbly typing fingers as the case would be. This book was far more personal then the other three, dealing with how bad their life was in the little trailer in Texarkana. Instead of an outside murder mystery plot driving the story, here the plot is driven by discovering the mysteries within these character's lives. We see more clearly then ever before the horrors of their past and how Cameron affected their lives. After the total disclosure and revelation of this book you feel like you can understand the characters better than before and that until now they were never truly formed, like something was missing. I also have to say, I loved the Joyce's. They were quite literally the Ewings of Dallas. This was like one long season of the most wonderful of shows with missing babies, hidden heirs, a murder or two and then, BAM, a kick to the gut with the fistful of answers you were waiting for. Also, I like Tolliver and all... but Harper and Manfred... hmmm... it has a certain kind of interesting allure... Also if you take issue with Harper and Tolliver, then you take issue with Clueless... it's the same resulting hookup!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Shall Wear Midnight

Could this possibly be the image for the cover of the new Terry Pratchett book I Shall Wear Midnight? All signs point to yes! About ten seconds after finishing Wintersmith, the third in Pratchett's popular Tiffany Aching series and the thirty-fifth Discworld book, I was clamoring for the next. Well this fall, that wait will be over. And as is the case when you're impatient like me, you tend to surf the net looking for any information you can... well tonight I stumbled on this gem. Bill Mayer, the artist behind the Wintersmith cover and the covers of the re-releases of Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky happened to have this picture in his flickr stream... Sadly his website is under construction, so it's hard to find out any more corroborating evidence, though this was captioned: "New Terry Pratchett book cover!" Oh, I'm so happy to see this and can't wait to see what the British cover by Paul Kidby looks like, because, while I love this, it's heading in the fantasy headless torso direction like the previous Wintersmith cover, though the Nac Mac Feegles do help in that regard. Sadly Paul Kidby doesn't have anything up yet, but he is working on new covers for the first three books which will be re-issued when I Shall Wear Midnight comes out in September. Till then, I guess we must wait to find out if the rumors of Esk's reappearance are true... ah Terry, I wish you could write faster, but then a book a year is pretty awesome as it is.

Doctor Who Stars to New Show

In an interesting development for fans of Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston has been cast to star in a one-off drama as John Lennon. Lennon Naked will be a 90 minutes movie centering on his evolution from Beatle to enduring and enigmatic icon, therefore Yoko will play an important part. Filling that part is the 9th Doctor's Torchwood associate Tashiko Sato, Naoko Mori. Naoko, besides being the sad sack of Torchwood (did she ever have a functional relationship?) might be known to non-Whovians as Sarah, Saffy's Baby Spice obsessed friend in Ab Fab, or even as the Spice Girls' pregnant friend in Spice World. The cast will be rounded off by Claudie Blakley. Plus, come on, Christopher, in his eerily ability to morph into someone new all the time looks very much like Lennon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pink Carnation Spotlight - The Supporting Players

Now just because I've finished casting my leading ladies (and gents), don't be thinking that I'm done! Oh no! What about all those supporting players? Well... I do have a few ideas, not as solidified as say my previous choices, I have given them some thought... so here goes... the
ensemble! You know, to tide you over, seeing as I'm sure you've read The Betrayal of the Blood Lily at least once by now (it's been out a week already) and Turnip's book feels quite a ways away...

Name/Role: Raymond Coulthard as Colin Selwick

The whys: Sure I first saw him in knee breeches in He Knew He Was Right, but it was his sweet country farmer on an episode of Love Soup that made me realize he might have been made for period dramas, but he would look damn good as a certain Colin Selwick!

Name/Role: Jeremy Swift as Amy's Brother Edouard

The whys: Ever since he played Amelia Sedley's put upon brother in Vanity Fair (the good one with Natasha Little, not the crappy Reese one) I've habitually cast him in similar roles in my reading. So why not just have him pop by and play some pomposity Napoleonic style?

Name/Role: Maggie O'Neill as Miss Gwen
The whys: For some reason I never picture Miss Gwen as old as she is, hence Maggie O'Neill seems perfect. She's not actually that old, but there's something about her that exudes age and a domineering personality that would indubitably thwack you with a parasol.

Name/Role: Geraldine James as Richard's Mother, Lady Uppington

The whys: She's been around forever in miniseries and there's something about her that is at once motherly, but at the same time you don't want to cross her. A will of iron. That scene in He Knew He Was Right when she goes and confronts Louis... that is the Lady Uppington I know and love.

Name/Role: Frances Barber as the Marquise

The whys: Because I've always pictured an older version of Natalie Dormer as the Marquise... and Frances Barber sure looks the part. As for kind of scary and domineering... have you seen her on Manchild?

Name/Role: Jamie Sives as Tommy

The whys: As first Lieutenant Summers in To the Ends of the Earth, I wanted him to be the hero... so wistful... and so Tommy. Plus his guest spot in Doctor Who wasn't bad either.

Name/Role: Ed Westwick as Medmenham

The whys: Laugh all you want, but Medmenham is so a 19th century Chuck Bass.

Name/Role: Rupert Penry-Jones as Freddy

The whys: Sure he might be getting older, but I can't think of anyone who has the pretty boy, slightly vacant charm that Rupert has. Plus he can be nasty when he needs to be. A great versatile actor for a great foppish role, seeing as you need someone with real acting prowess in order to appear that doltish and caddish.

Name/Role: William Beck as Fiske

The whys: Because he looks like a fish! I mean, great actor, wonderful in Northanger Abby, really surprised me in Robin Hood... but blah blah.. he's a fish.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Top Reviewer

So here's a bit of news that made my day... who am I kidding, it made my week, perhaps even fortnight, month might be pushing it, we'll have to see. Anyway, the lovely people over at Blog with Bite are a group of bloggers who "unite for a common purpose: an obsession with vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches, demons, shamans... ooh the paranormal list can go on and on." They are a group review club who pick about two books a month to review. Then anyone who wants to read the book and hand in a review before the given deadline has a chance to spread the word on the book and author as well as be in with a chance at the nifty Top Reviewer Award. The current selection was Soulless by Gail Carriger. I loved this book and felt it my duty to enter, I should also point out I've been wanting to participate for a long time but sometimes laziness will out. But as luck would have it my participation paid off! I still can't believe that I got the Top Reviewer moniker, it was a lot of bleary eyed disbelief coupled with bad typos when I announced my joy earlier today. So, if you feel like it, you can head over and see my review re-posted over there, and while you're at it take a look at the poll for Blog with Bite's next round of reading... perhaps you might get bitten!

Martin Luther King, Jr's Day

I thought today I might do something a little different, a little historical, and a little contemplative. Here is the full text to Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's "I Have a Dream" speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spotlight: Philip Glenister

Name: Philip Glenister

First Impression: William Dobbin in Vanity Fair, when he hits his head on that lamp in the entryway.

Lasting Impression: Life on Mars, season 2, episode 7. Could I be anymore specific? I don't think so. But it's the episode where Gene Hunt is wrongly accused of a crime. It made me realize for the first time that this was really Gene Hunt's show and Sam, well... he didn't matter so much. My love of Gene Hunt is not unique, they so made Ashes to Ashes just for him, despite Keeley Hawes being the "big name."

What else you've seen them in: Besides being featured on my blog before... From losing life and limb in Cranford while educating the local youths, to Hornblower to more modern works, like Calendar Girls with Helen Mirren and State of Play with his Life on Mars co-star John Simm. Philip Glenister has been around for quite awhile, but it took a little Gene Genie to get this man some well deserved recognition.

Can't believe it's them: He looks so little in Hornblower, but then all those big named stars who started out here did... Jamie Bamber, Ioan Gruffudd.

Wish they hadn't: Demons... a Buffy-esque show with Mackenzie Crook where he donned a bad American accent... best just to forget about this one for all involved.

Bio: I love me my Gene Hunt! Plus is it just me or has he aged into his looks more?

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