Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Funnies #24

Now that summer has finally arrived for me and all of my teacher friends, everywhere I look there's messages of celebration on Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest.

By working in a school, and with summers off, sometimes it's hard to believe we're "grown ups."

But at this blog, I like to keep it real. (Even though it's primarily about fictional worlds). Here are some friendly reminders, or a check-list if you will, to tell if you are in fact a grown up... Even despite our best efforts to not be.
Please forward this on to all of your grown up friends. Or even to those friends who think they're not grown up, but probably actually are.

Happy Weekend!
And enjoy your summer... Don't forget to avoid the reality of being a grown up by stepping into a fictional literary reality (and then tell me about it!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

I am making it my goal to try not to fall off the face of the blogging-earth this summer (like I have this past week). No Friday Funny? What's with that!? But truth be told, between travelling, attending weddings, planning my own, and preparing to move into our new house (Yay! We bought a house!), it's going to be a pretty crazy summer.

However, I will not forget to make time to read. 

In fact, I'll probably use this gorgeous day (and my second official day of summer vacation) to dig in further into City of Glass.

Before Simon could ask him what he meant by that, Alec entered the room. He was frowning, just as he had been when he'd left. His gaze lingered momentarily on Simon, a look almost of confusion alight in his blue eyes.
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, pg. 69

This book is full of loaded comments so early on... I can't wait to find out what the hell is happening. So many secrets. (I even found myself using Google to translate some Romanian that wasn't translated for me).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades Freed

Well, I am finally finished the Fifty Shades phenomenon.

The last book, Fifty Shades Freed, took me considerably longer to get through than the first two for 2 key reasons: 1. End of the School Year Wrap-Up and 2. I was admittedly dragging my feet a little to prolong it. I have a tendency to do that when I really love a series. (I'm surprised I ever finished The Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn).

There isn't too much to say about the final book. It was fantastic. The story had evolved so that it was different from the first but still true to the style. It delivered answers to everything questioned in the beginning of the series -- satisfyingly so.

It took you to the horizon so you could see the future and left you not searching for more, but content with a real, solid resolution. Yes, satisfying is definitely the right word.

I'd like to make a few notes on the series itself.

With origins based in Twilight fan fiction (and the novel has been heavily criticised for this), I think to a Twilight fan (such as myself) it's easy to get caught up in the obvious resemblances: possessive relationships, somewhat naive young heroine who discovers herself through a man, Washington settings, separated parents, adoption, etc, etc. But for a reader with the foresight to look past these similarities, you're rewarded with a plot-line and story quite rich in intrigue, emotion, and excitement.

This is a must-read for the following readers:
1. Those who can't bear to be left out of current trends/fads in literature -- whether you read to enjoy or to criticize, you can't miss this one if you want to be "in" on all of the Fifty Shades hullabaloo.
2. Fans of romantic fiction. It's undeniable that this is a love story not to be missed. And what's more is that it's not all "hearts and roses" -- It's got a darkness to it that makes it even more irresistible.
3. Mature Twilight fans. All of the elements of the Twilight story are there -- sans the supernatural. But be warned ... it's not considered erotic fiction for nothing.

Up Next:
I'm pressing on with the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Book 3: City of Glass ... And I'm actually quite excited to revisit it. Fifty Shades was a welcome break, but it's time for more of the supernatural in my life.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Keep It Current: National Zoo & Aquarium Month

In addition to books, I love animals. Always have.

There were quite a few topics on my radar for today's current events blog like, Luminato (but it just ended), a recommended summer reading list (but that's not really a current event), the walk across the falls (but that wasn't really as exciting as it could have been), or Friday Night Live @ the ROM (but not all of my readers are from Toronto, so who would care!?)

Anyway... I ended up stumbling upon the fact that June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month. I think sometimes zoos get a bad reputation for being a terrible place. And don't get me wrong, sometimes they can be. But I also think that done right, a zoo can be a wonderful place for humans and animals to interact. For people to learn about the environment and how our actions can affect some really amazing creatures. I mean, zoos also pilot projects to prevent some animals from extinction and I don't think there's anything wrong with that!

So, on my hunt for something great to discuss today, I found a quiz to test your knowledge of animals in Canadian literature -- I scored a 50% (and admittedly guessed on 70% of them!) It's not easy!

How did you do?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Funnies #23

I am a blogger, a Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest user, and one time try-er of Google + and LinkedIn. I'm not afraid of social networking.

Know what else I'm not afraid to do? Wish my dad a Happy (Almost) Father's Day via social networking.

Today's funny is a combination of the two. Enjoy!

*Forgive me for the terrible segue into today's funny.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

Today will likely be a two post kind of day. Last night, I got within 75 pages of finishing Fifty Shades Freed when I realized I wasn't quite ready to be freed so I put the book down and went to sleep.

But now I can't wait to see how it ends. So I'm sure I'll free myself sometime today.

Without giving too much away...

Christian runs a hand through his hair. "Two women, eh?" Alarm flashes across his face, and his dark look vanishes.
Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Keep It Current: Honorary Doctorates

With so many convocations happening over the past weekend and probably next weekend, I think it's interesting to find out who has been recipients of the honorary doctorates. In fact, it's always one of the first questions I ask someone who has been to a convocation ceremony.

I was fortunate enough to have Stephen Lewis speak at one of my convocations. Though really, I'd have loved to have the likes of J.K. Rowling or maybe Jimmy Fallon. (Two long shots for a small, Northern Ontario university like Nipissing -- but a fun dream nonetheless).

I realize, of course, that Rowling received her honorary doctorate in 2008
so is not exactly "current" -- but she's an amazing inspiration and her speech
needed to be shared.

I was pretty excited to find out that Ryerson University in Toronto conferred their honorary degrees to three Canadian Literature superstars: Graeme Gibson, Rohinton Mistry, and Margaret Atwood.

This weekend I also had the pleasure of reading one of the most inspirational graduation speeches ever written. Probably because it mashed together all of the most inspirational speeches ever written. I'd link to it, but the Toronto Star website seems to be lacking that particular article. Instead I'll link to this blog that contains some pretty humorous and inspirational quotes from famous commencement addresses.

I'd love to be witness to any one of those honorary doctorates (especially Kermit). But what about you? Who would give the commencement address of your dreams?

(According to the New York Times)

10. Rescue Me (Rachel Gibson)
9. Stolen Prey (John Sandford)
8. A Night Like This (Julia Quinn)
7. On The Island (Tracey Garvis-Graves)
6. 11th Hour (James Patterson and Maxine Paetro)
5. Fifty Shades Trilogy (E.L. James)
4. The Storm (Clive Cussler and Graham Brown)
3. Fifty Shades Freed (E.L. James)
2. Fifty Shades Darker (E.L. James)
1. Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Funnies #22

Today is my "little" sister's university graduation. Since I couldn't be there to celebrate, I thought I would dedicate today's funny to her!

First, we have a sign made for an English major by her siblings at her graduation ceremony.

And lastly, more fun at the English majors' expense. Thank goodness my sister is a Communications grad!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keep It Current: Libraries

I wasn't in a particularly blog frame of mind this weekend when it came to writing my new weekly Keep It Current post. So I deferred until today, when I stumbled upon a brief and interesting article about some major changes proposed to a New York library.

Read the article here -- "Is This the End of Libraries as we Know Them?"

The Gist of It: There exists a proposed plan to turn a famous New York library into a circulation library by storing the bulk of the materials off-site, adding more computers, and possibly a cafe in order to make the library more of a "community hub." Like any proposal, the idea is being met with resistance by those who believe this will "diminish the role of the library as an important research facility."

My Opinion: I'm on the fence on this one. Although I agree that a library needs books, I think that in this evolving age of technology, libraries need to evolve too. In Toronto there is so much talk about closing libraries and cutting back hours, that I can't help but feel that if we changed the function and perception of our libraries that just maybe they could thrive again. I think a library would be a fantastic "hub" of a community. A place to relax, enjoy yourself, meet some people, and learn.

What do you think?

Tuesday Teaser

The weeks are flying by in a blur. Partly because of the end of the year wrap-up at work, and largely because of my addiction to the Fifty Shades series. Since I started reading them not two weeks ago, not a day has gone by that I haven't been found reading. (Yesterday being the only exception).

In fact, I've been reading so much, so quickly, that I didn't even get to do a Tuesday Teaser about Fifty Shades Darker! Today, we jump from Fifty Shades of Grey to Fifty Shades Freed. Sorry, Darker!

I stir, instinctively reaching for Christian only to feel his absence. Shit! I wake instantly and look anxiously around the cabin.
Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (pg. unknown --- silly eReader bundle)

I hope you're enjoying your books half as much as I'm enjoying mine. And don't forget to post your teaser!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades Darker

More often than not, in these literary mega-series, the second instalment is usually a bit disappointing. (Think, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, or Twilight's New Moon).

Fifty Shades Darker has managed to climb the mountain that is the sophomore slump and come out more than victorious.

I really can't divulge any major plot points because it would surely ruin the story for anyone crazy enough to have not started reading this series yet. (I'm not unaware of the irony behind the fact that I am also a bit behind on this Fifty Shades trend).

I couldn't resist this photo.
The excitement and intrigue continued page after page.

There's also something I find so stimulating about a story whose ending I can only begin to guess at as I near the last 30 or so pages.

Fifty Shades Darker is everything the title promises and then suddenly, the lights are out, and you're itching to tear open the 3rd (and final?) book: Fifty Shades Freed.

Since I'm not sure if I'm ready to be freed from this series quite yet, I'll suppress my urge to read more and wait until tomorrow.

PS - I am painfully aware of the vagueness of this post and I do apologize. But, I sincerely would hate to give anything away. The story is actually just that good. It's really something to see the insides of both Anastasia and Christian unravel as they discover themselves and each other. (There, I've already said too much)...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Funnies #21

It's a miracle I haven't slipped into Fifty Shades of a Coma from all of the reading I've done in the past week. So, to celebrate my Fifty Shades of Addiction, I'd like to poke fun at this current literary fad.

Happy Weekend!