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    Castle and Dresden

    2012 - 12.09

    We currently have the most recent books by Richard Castle and Jim Butcher out from the library.  We haven’t finished reading them yet, but let us know if you would like to read them before we return them to the library.  The books are:

    • Frozen Heat – Richard Castle
    • Cold Days – Jim Butcher

    BPL Speed Reads

    2012 - 08.04

    Burnaby does things well. I was a Coquitlam girl until I moved out here about five years ago with Dave, and I love it out here (not that there’s anything wrong with Coquitlam!). One of the things that I find awesome is that the Burnaby Public Library now has a category of books they call “Speed Reads”. They’re on a shelf at the front of the library with bright neon stickers on them. They can’t be requested, put on hold or renewed, so it’s kind of like a nifty treasure hunt to see what’s there. Last time, there were two copies of Mockingjay and a new Charlene Harris book. Another time, the newest Laurell K. Hamilton book was there, and I’ve seen very popular books waiting. It’s a great way to avoid wait times!  Just make sure you’ve got the time to read them…they’re only a seven day loan, and the overdue fines are $1/day. Ouch. Flashbacks of SFU library… :/

    The World Illuminated Through a Windshield

    2011 - 11.17

    Regrettably today consisted largely of replacing bulbs, which was way more difficult that in needed to be in my opinion.  Replacing the taillight it was really simple to get it out, more difficult to put back in than it should have been.  Simple four petal design that you turn counterclockwise to remove and turn clockwise to lock back in place.  What they neglect to mention in the manual is that there is one specific petal which needs to match up with one particular gap.  Seems needlessly complex, but is easy enough to deal with once you’re aware that you need to line things up.

    Replacing the two headlights was a much more difficult ordeal, they really leave less than the minimum required amount of space to replace the bulb.  Probably took half an hour to replace both bulbs.  Hopefully it would be faster in the future, but much of it is fiddly rather than “difficult”.  The first main problem was that the manual didn’t actually explain how to release the metal bulb holding clip.  For the record: when you’re facing the car, push on the left hand side of the clip, push towards the front of the vehicle and then down to release the clip.  I don’t know if that’s unique to my car (2003 Pontiac Vibe AWD) or to the bulb type (9003).  With the amount of space available and the lack of visibility into what you’re actually doing, it was way more difficult to do than it felt like it should be, but in the end I was able to do it, despite bouts of doubt and frustration.

    Despite all of that, it wasn’t all bad.  I bought my dual pack of GE 9003 Nighthawk Platinum bulbs at Lordco where they were on sale for $38.99 (seems that regular there is $67.97 according to the invoice; regular price at Canadian Tire is $59.99).  In addition to being on sale, there’s also a $10 mail in rebate on them (at Lordco only) until the end of January, which means I’ll have got them for less than half their regular Canadian Tire price… so pretty pleased with that.  Canadian Tire however was about $4.25 cheaper for the taillight, so that’s where I got those, and installed all the bulbs in their parkade.

    We went out to the mall later to return some clothes and have dinner.  While we were there there was some kind of incident which involved someone being handcuffed.  It happened in the main atrium area while we were eating, Karin took a look.  When we went past later I saw that it was an older guy (rather than a young punk like I assumed it would be).

    Leaving the mall we went to the library to pick up the next half dozen books Karin needs to read in the 100 Book Challenge, some of which are even short.  I picked up Brandon Sanderson’s first book: Elantris.

    Leaving the library we decided to go for a bit of a drive up SFU to test out the new headlights… it’s kind of hard to tell how good the headlights are when you’re driving on streets with headlights.  It was snowing a little bit, but not enough to concern us at all.  Got up to the main intersection and there were some cars essentially blocking the straight through route that takes you to UniverCity that I’d planned to take, so we turned left and headed towards the main campus.  After the first turn we saw a traffic jam which involved a bunch of cars and a couple of buses, none of which were moving forward.  It wasn’t clear what the actual problem (aside from snow) was, so we turned around and headed back the way we came.  Snow 1; Headlight Testing 0.  On the bright side, the all wheel drive and all seasons are still really effective in the snow.

    Heat Rises

    2011 - 10.30

    The third and latest Castle tie-in novel.  I think of the three that the second one is the strongest so far.  The books are campy and a little fun, and entertaining at times.  They clearly aren’t intended to be “good”, which is perhaps a little at odds with the show itself.  The show is definitely good, and Castle is quirky, but I’ve never gotten the impression while watching the show that he wasn’t actually a good writer.  So I’d say that the books themselves are below the level of writing and quality that you would have expected from the character themselves, which tarnishes the fiction that we’re trying to maintain as the credit for the novel is ascribed to the fictional character, and not the ghost writer.

    If you enjoy the show, you’ll probably enjoy the occasional reference to things from the series, but they don’t happen frequently enough to make it worth your effort.  Also in this particular book there seemed to be a bunch of jargon for no apparent reason (I don’t recall that from the previous books).

    On the merit of the books, I can’t imagine that someone would actually read the books and decide based on the books that they needed to check out the TV show.  The books just aren’t that good (although again, it seems as though that’s on purpose, although I don’t know why they’d do that intentionally).

    Heat Rises

    2011 - 09.14

    Just on a related note, Heat Rises comes out on Sept. 20th, 2011 (which is the day after Castle premiere’s for the season).  The Burnaby Public Library has 5 copies on order, and I am the fifth hold, so I guess I’ll be getting to read it as soon as it comes in.  Or probably more accurately, I’ll be getting to pick it up as soon as it comes in, and then I will get book-jacked by Karin as soon as she sees it, and then 2.5 seconds later* I’ll get to read it.

    * note: 2.5 seconds later represents the actual time it will take her to read the book.

    Ghost Story: Review

    2011 - 08.31

    We’ve both now read Ghost Story by Jim Butcher, and although I think we both enjoyed it, I won’t speak for both of us here.

    It was an interesting and different novel within the Dresden Files, which on many levels it needed to be.  Unfortunately that’s about all that can be said about that without offering spoilers, so I won’t go there.  There are moments in this novel more so than any of the previous novels which contain historical reflection and flashbacks (mostly to scenes which you have not previously experienced in reading the other 12 books in the series, but may have been aware of).  Those were definitely interesting.

    I enjoyed the book, but…

    …well the series has evolved I suppose, and perhaps it’s starting to leave me behind.  We’ll see.  Unlike the Laurell K. Hamilton, Anita Blake series which started great and then seemed to devolve (and which is now starting to re-emerge and capture some of that original magic), the Dresden Files has been a continuous and natural progression and expansion of the characters, their responsibilities and the world.  If it hadn’t happened, although I might on some level be enjoying the stories more, I’d probably be complaining that it seemed unrealistic.  Sort of how Bart Simpson has been the same age for over 20 years…

    I digress.  Changes was such a monumental book that any follow up would be difficult, despite the fact that a follow up was clearly necessary.  Ghost Story does a good job of being that follow up novel, and sets the continued path for the series moving forward.  Is it as action packed as many of the other stories, no.  Does that change the feel of the story, it sure does.  In the long term will I appreciate this story for the complexity it adds to the character and the series, probably.  So I think it’s a good addition, and one which I’ll probably appreciate more later, but at the moment it feels as though something was missing, a little je ne sais quoi.

    Regardless you should read it, and the other 12 books, and the various short stories, novellas, and anthologies with related tales.  It’s worth the effort.

    P.S.  How cool of a Halloween costume would it be to go as Harry Dresden?  And what are the odds that anyone would actually recognize who you were dressed as?

    Ghost Story

    2011 - 08.21

    Picked up Ghost Story by Jim Butcher from the library today.  Karin gets to read it first, yup, the ways to prove your love.  Anyway, if you want to get in line (since Karin will likely finish it tonight) let us know.

    Books, books, BOOKS!!!

    2011 - 08.07

    I bet that the title of this post gets Karin all excited ;-)

    Just checking out my holds at the Burnaby Public Library (BPL), and looks like I’m in a good place for most of them, and will be getting them soon:

    Karin will like that it’s possible that I’ll have some of these books by the time she’s back from her vacation.  She might not like that I may have already started reading them (and despite the fact she reads way faster, we have a standing rule: if someone has already started reading the book you have to wait until they are finished.  No Poaching! or “Book-jacking” as we sometimes call it).  However, I’ll have missed her so much I might let her read them first (assuming I even have them yet).  Then again right now I’m on page 97/994 of The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two) so I might not even be finished that by the time she’s back.

    This appeals to one of our readers (e.g. me), so here’s a couple of videos:

    Patrick Rothfuss Interviews Jim Butcher at San Diego Comic Con 2011: No Ghost Story spoilers, but there is a Changes spoiler around 10:50, you have been warned.  [I haven’t actually listened to it yet]

    Jim Butcher Interviews Patrick Rothfuss at San Diego Comic Con 2011: Don’t know if there are spoilers as I haven’t listened to it yet.

    Patrick Rothfuss also appears in Writing Excuses, in particular Episode 1.32.

    The Internet…is DOWN!

    2011 - 07.02

    We had a weird experience yesterday. Our internet was down, due to a contractor cutting through a cable at some place around out neighbourhood. Normally my days are filled with hours of Facebook games and general “falling down the rabbit hole” as I wander through the tubes of the internet, discovering new webcomics and blogs, searching out recipes and art techniques I won’t use because I’m too busy with Facebook games.

    Instead, yesterday and part of Wednesday night was filled with reading, working on my cross stitch zombie project, writing from a writing prompt on Writing Excuses, two visual journal pages, washed some pots, went for a walk and visited with people for Canada Day.  While I still feel that the internet is a valuable tool, I’m starting to realize that I need to walk away from it sometimes. (The irony that I’ve just spent two hours drafting blog posts is not lost on me.)  Today, I’m going to the library to get some books on canning and preserving, going to the farmer’s market to see what’s in season and I’m going to make some preserves!

    Slave Lake Library

    2011 - 05.21

    (Cross posted at Random Synapses)

    Thanks to the Burnaby Public Library (and the Library of Jen), I’ve managed to do the first twenty books of The Project without having to spend any money, except the occasional overdue fines. I can’t imagine being without my library, and the people of Slave Lake will be doing without for some time now, as their library was completely destroyed by fire earlier this month.

    The BPL and other libraries have teamed up to help out Slave Lake rebuild their library collection and spread the news.

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