As many of you may know, I am no longer a New Yorker, so please check out my new blog A Library of My Own. If you are just reading Life and Times, you are missing out. Thanks!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Good Fairies of New York - Martin Millar

I decided to pick up a copy of The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar for Carl's Once Upon a Time III Challenge. I think I originally heard about it on Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops' blog site. And it has an introduction by Neil Gaiman...very cool. It was a easy and fun read. But my final verdict is that, well, it was ok. I liked it. But I didn't love it.

The book starts out like this:

Dinnie, an overweight enemy of humanity, was the worst violinist in New York, but was practicing gamely when two cute little fairies stumbled through his fourth-floor window and vomited on the carpet.

The main story revolves around a couple of Scottish fairies who've run away and somehow ended up in New York City's Lower East Side. Heather and Morag, are sort of your typical fairies: they drink a lot, fight, play the music excellently, and get into all sorts of angering the fairies in Harlem and Chinatown by robbing them. Most humans can't see the fairies but some do: including a few homeless people and a couple of lone souls in the East Village: Dinnie and Kerry. Dinnie has a crush on Kerry who lives across the street, but Dinnie is a pretty vile character. And Kerry is preoccupied with a horrible health problem while trying to win in an art competition. Also, as part of a bargain, Heather helps Dinnie try and win over Kerry. And Morag helps Kerry sabotage her ex's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Oh...and Kerry loves the New York Dolls and the ghost of Johnny Thunders is roaming the Village searching for his beloved guitar someone stole. Oh, and at some point there's a fairy war between the good fairies of New York and the Cornish fairies from England.

Interesting, right? I liked Kerry. I could never stand Dinnie. And the fairies were pretty silly. It was funny and cute. But it just wasn't "wow" to me. I think it'd work better as maybe a graphic novel? Hmmm...not sure.

I did find this alternate cover which I like because the fairies wear kilts and Heather and Morag were pretty punked out. I could see them with green wings and purple hair:
Also Reviewed By:
Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops
Rhinoa's Ramblings

Thursday, April 23, 2009


While writing about the book Practical Magic, I kept thinking about my sister...for obvious reasons. I think that we both related to the sisters in Practical Magic. But I'm sure we'd debate who is who.

My big sis and me:

Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman

I recently gobbled up Alice Hoffman's book Practical Magic. Sigh. This is more like the Alice Hoffman writing I loved while reading The River King. Years ago my sister and I fell in love with the movie and I even have the soundtrack. From reviews I've read on the book I went into reading it thinking it was going to be way off from the movie. I didn't think so. So what do I think is better, the movie or the book? Verdict: love them both.

If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, here's my synopsis:

Sally and Gillian Owen are just little girls when their parents die and they move in with their two aunts in Massachusetts. Think this house:
For hundreds of years the Owens women in this town have been blamed for things going wrong in the town. They are believed to be witches. And maybe they are. But this doesn't stop the town women to secretly go to the Owens during the night to get love spells performed. In this environment, Sally and Gillian are raised. They have pretty much all the freedom they could want at home while being tormented at school for being witches. Sally, the eldest, grows up to be responsible...beyond responsible...boring responsible. Gillian, the irresponsible and beautiful younger sister, breaks hearts left and right. Here's Sally and Gillian:

After seeing so many women come to the aunts for help with love problems the sisters vow to never be like them. Uh huh. But they also want normalcy. They both find ways to escape: Sally by marrying and Gillian by eloping and running away. Years later, when Sally's two daughters are teenagers and her husband has passed away, the bonds of sisterhood are tested when Gillian seeks Sally's help for, shall we say, accidentally murdering her boyfriend. And how do two women, who've been hurt in the past because of love, find happiness?

I love how Alice Hoffman writes. So magical. I think it's a bit more refined in The River King but I just love it. The only thing I didn't like is that she uses some pretty strong language here and there sometimes. While maybe to a point it is necessary, I just could have done without it. But the differences between the book and movie...I loved both versions. I think the movie made the story flow a bit better. And I kind of liked the daughter's younger age in the movie vs the book. And the ending was a little anti-climatic compared to the movie...but I liked it.

Ok, here's some alternate covers. I just love the cover with the boot though. This one is a bit weird since the white title box is over her face. It kind of bugs me:

I get the lilac reference, but seriously...isn't this just yawn awful boring?:

And this one is just ok:

And the movie:Also Reviewed by:

Muse Book Reviews

Things Mean A Lot

Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Rhinoa's Ramblings

1001 Book Update - 1984

1984 by George Orwell is one of those "classic" books that I was supposed to read in high school...and never did. I mean, it was actually assigned and I never read it. Shocking I know. I thought I read most of it....well, it turns out I never got past the first few chapters. So I thought I'd right a wrong and finally read it...I even had the same book I purchased back in high school. Yeah. That's pretty bad.

Ok. To sum it up: it was good...wish I had read it back then. But I still prefer Aldous Huxley's Brave New World to 1984. Not so much because of the story...but because of the writing. I remember why I petered out at reading 1984 past the first few chapters...I still think those chapters are pretty dry. Stick with it though and it gets better. I do think that 1984 is more futuristically realistic than Brave New World...well, now with genetics stuff going on who knows. But I really liked the relationship between Winston and Julia.

For those of you who've read it...what did you think about the prison sequence? I thought that was pretty well written. Wow. It actually reminded me of The Septembers of Shiraz (my review here) which takes place in the early 1980s in Iran after the Revolution...which is really creepy. There may not have been televsision screens with Big Brother spying but other than that it's pretty darn close. And Isaac's imprisionment really reminded me of Winston's. If you've read both, what do you think?

And of course, here's the other covers. I don't really like the version I have above. Not so much for the cover, but because the font is really hard to read.

Here's my favorite I found:This on is pretty cool too:
And here's the current version...just kind of "eh" to me:
My Links:
1001 Books to Read Before You Die
Dystopian Novel Challenge

Also Reviewed By:
Books Love Me

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Bit Delayed but...The Winners!!

Hello! I know I've been a little absent....I got struck down with the flu. Blah.

So, before I get really delayed doing this, the winners of my Pay It Forward Giveaway are:

Mindy - Mistress of the Revolution

rlgrady - I See You Everywhere

Avisannschild - Belong to Me

Please email me your snail mail addresses so I can get these little gifts out to you all. And remember to Pay It Forward. Let me know what you do!

Here is your sequence:


Timestamp: 2009-04-22 12:53:12 UTC

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sunday with Flat Stanley

**Note: It's taken me a while to finish this post. I took more photos than I thought!

Remember this post when I told you that my husband didn't know Flat Stanley needed to actually BE in the photos? Well...after you all left comments confirming what I thought, he agreed to go back out in the city, this time WITH Stanley, and take some photos. So here's some pictures of our Sunday with Stanley.

We debated where to go because we don't know what a second grader knows about New York City. So we headed to Central Park. Before crossing the street to the park though, I saw this house and had to take a photo:
Don't you love it! When I was little I wanted to live in a Victorian house and the little tower looking room would be mine. Ok...I still want that. I think I grew up on too many fairy tales :)

Then I had to take ANOTHER photo right away because I love the park lamps in the city and the trees here are starting to blossom. Spring!

My first attempt at Flat Stanley in the Park didn't turn out too well:A bit boring, right? I can do better than that. My next attempt was slightly better. But then I noticed that crayon coloring makes Stanley pretty shiny. And then I got all distracted by the flowers. One thing about this city I LOVE is that in the Spring, daffodils start springing up EVERYWHERE! We even get wild ones in our park. Love it!

Then I got inspired. This guy was nice enough to play along. Hope the kids like it:I was getting better at this! We swung by Belvedere Castle:It has great views of the lake:Then I got distracted again:
Then I got a picture of Stanley with Cleopatra's Needle which is near the Metropolitan Museum of Art (he didn't loose an arm...the wind was just blowing):Then I got distracted again. I love the bridges in Central Park:I was then on a mission to find the statue of Alice in Wonderland that's in the park. I haven't seen it before:The place was crawling with kids (get it!! ahaha). If you look away from Alice you'll see the famous little lake where you can rent little motorized sailboats:So of course Stanley got a photo:Then I got distracted again. Sunday was one of our first really nice days...and it was the weekend. The park was crazy crowded:Ok. Just the pictures don't really do it justice. Just take my word for it...crazy crazy crowded.

Then we decided to head to the Central Park zoo. We didn't actually go inside but there were still sites to see. Here's Stanley at the gate:
The statue of the bear tried to lick him:Here's the famous Delacorte Music Clock. It actual played while we were there!I got distracted again by the sea lion show. But hey, who WOULDN'T get distracted by that?Then we wandered out of the Park and back into the chaos that is the City.Sigh. Here's another random street scene. You can sort of see the famous iPod glass store entrance on the right:Then we headed over to FAO Schwarz
Finally we hopped on a bus because our feet were pretty tired from walking:I had a lot of fun taking pictures of Stanley on the bus. I snapped one as we drove by a church (I think it's St. Patrick's):This is just a random bus scene:After a day of walking the best thing to do is get Pinkberry. Seriously the best stuff ever. My favorite is pomegranate flavor with pomegranate seeds...but being out of season I got white chocolate, coconut and blackberries. Robb got green tea flavor with kiwi, blackberries, and Oreo cookies:Here's Stanley eying our treats:As we walked and ate our treats we swung by the Lion Library. He's on either Patience or Fortitude...I can never tell which is which:
We were a wee bit tired of walking so we snagged a subway ride to our next destination:We then headed to our favorite bar with a great view of the Empire State Building:After a day out in the city we were ready to head home. Instead of taking the longer subway ride home we decided to head to Grand Central Station to take the Metro North train home:Here's Stanley on the train:And a nice window view:Hope you enjoyed the trip around New York City with Stanley!