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text 2018-04-08 21:46
The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher #5) - Kerry Greenwood
The Green Mill Murder - Kerry Greenwood

Apparently Mother Nature forgot to break up with Winter. The upside to this continued relationship? I have an excuse to spend my Sunday inside with tea and a book. 

 

I adore Phryne Fisher. She definitely makes my list of fictional characters I would love to spend the day with. She never fails to make me giggle while taking my breath away. I love how she just plunges headfirst into life. 

 

More than Miss Fisher, I love Greenwood's ability to weave a complete story into so few pages. I have yet to get to the end and feel like I've been shorted. Pun intended. 

 

I am starting to wonder if I should attempt to watch the television series based on these books. Do I need to progress further in the series to avoid spoilers? Will I inevitably disappointed with the adaptation? The little snippets of the show I have seen look promising enough. The actress cast as Miss Fisher certainly seems to fit the part which is more than I can say for that abominable Last Kingdom casting. *Listen, I don't know who the casting direction was trying to cast but that man is NOT Uhtred. He's too much of a pretty boy to be my Uhtred.*

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review 2018-03-28 19:23
How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe - Charles Yu

With only TAMMY - a slightly tearful computer with self-esteem issues - a software boss called Phil - Microsoft Middle Manager 3.0 - and an imaginary dog called Ed for company, fixing time machines is a lonely business and Charles Yu is stuck in a rut. He's spent the better part of a decade navel-gazing, spying on 39 different versions of himself in alternate universes (and discovered that 35 of them are total jerks). And he's kind of fallen in love with TAMMY, which is bad because she doesn't have a module for that. With all that's on his mind, perhaps it's no surprise that when he meets his future self, he shoots him in the stomach. And that's a beginner's mistake for a time machine repairman. Now he's stuck in a time loop, going in circles forever. All he has, wrapped in brown paper, is the book his future self was trying to press into his hands. It's called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. And he's the author. And somewhere inside it is the information that could save him.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Author Charles Yu writes himself in as the protagonist of his novel here, presenting himself as a fictional Yu working as a time traveling technician on Minor Universe 31, his job primarily being to repair heavily used time traveling machines.

 

In this universe, (fictional) Yu's father invented time travel, but has been missing for quite some time. Yu's mother is locked into a one hour time loop -- that is, she can only live one precise hour of her entire life over and over again -- where she basically just makes dinner repeatedly. Ugh, can you imagine the horror of that?!

 

Chronological living is kind of a lie. That's why I don't do it anymore. Existence doesn't have more meaning in one direction than it does in any other. Completing the days of your life in strict calendar order can feel forced. Arbitrary. Especially after you've seen what I've seen. Most people I know live their lives moving in a constant forward direction, the whole time looking backward. 

 

Yu decides he wants to try to find his father. With the help of a book written by his future self and TAMMY, an operating system with incredibly low self esteem, he sets out on a space journey of mind-bending proportions through the space-time continuum. He uses time travel to move through memories and alternate scenarios looking for clues to his father's current whereabouts. The journey takes quite a complicated turn when Yu accidentally shoots his future self and has to dive into the closest time loop to try to escape the situation from escalating any further. But ooooh the mess this makes of things! 

 

It can sometimes get confusing keeping it all straight: In the early parts of the story, when fictional Charles is in and around his hometown, he lives and works out of his vehicle, the TM-31, but here's where it gets really wild. Minor Universe 31 is a world made of all the things we know of from science FICTION, but fictional Charles can travel in and out of areas throughout the universe that work in REAL time, such as Earth. When it comes to the US, in fictional Charles' world, ages ago Los Angeles and New York merged so now the States as a whole are basically considered one gigantic city! In this world, US citizens now live across the land in boroughs with names like Capital City, Lost City, Verse City, and New Tokyo ("old" Tokyo broke off from its original position, floated away until it attached to the landmass of the States). 

 

Established science fiction readers will likely have a fun time geeking out to all the Star Wars references and the plot reminiscent of a Douglas Adams novel. Even some similarities to Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series can be found here. But if you're entirely new to the genre, this book could prove to be a befuddling place to start your sci-fi journey. 

 

I was never totally sure why everyone wanted to be Han Solo. Maybe it was because he wasn't born into it, like Luke, with the birthright and the natural talent for The Force and the premade story. Solo had to make his own story. He was a freelance protagonist, a relatively ordinary guy who got to the major leagues by being quick with a gun and a joke. He was, basically, a hero because he was funny. Whatever the reason, first place was always Solo, always, always, always, and second place was usually Chewbacca, because if you weren't the one saving the galaxy, you might as well be eight feet tall and covered with hair. 

 

Portions of the story moved beyond clever into slightly irritating ramblings, especially the metaphysical points that continued for pages and pages before we are able to get back to the story. Module Y -- this novel is broken up into "modules" rather than "parts" -- felt like it went on FOREVER. 

 

The humor was undeniably enjoyable, but when it came to TAMMY's (the operating system) depression, I had hoped for a little more humor worked in there... she did have minor jokes here and there but a lot of her end of the story brought the whole madcap-ish tone of the novel down a bit for me. For this point, I refer back to the master, Douglas Adams, on how to incorporate heavy themes in a more light-hearted way. As a whole, the story is a fun, sometimes head-scratching, "wait, what did I just read?" ride. While I think I preferred the first half of the story over the second, I did really like the epilogue entitled "Appendix A".

 

 

 

 

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EXTRAS

 

* How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe is Charles Yu's debut novel and was partly inspired by Yu's reading of The Fabric Of Reality by David Deutsch

 

* Charles Yu has been awarded the National Book Foundation's 5 under 35 Award and the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award for his short story collections. 

 

* In the acknowledgements of this book, Yu gives a nod to his wife, saying, "Thank you for being the best version of yourself, even when I'm my worst." ♥

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text 2017-06-01 11:57
Book meme

I found this on Litsy and I can't get the photo that goes with the meme, even if Booklikes had let me post it, but I decided to do the meme anyway.

 

You've been kidnappted.

 

You can call on one fictional character to make a rescue attempt.

 

Who do you choose?

 

I choose Chrestomanci from Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci series. Fortunately, I know how to call him. :)

 

In the comments on the Litsy post I found other great suggestions: The Doctor (I'd like to add Jack Harkness), Ranger from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, Murtagh from the Outlander series (but I'd prefer Jamie, he would be great to look at too.)

 

 

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review 2017-04-08 03:18
Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf
Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf[MIND YOUR MANNERS BB WOLF][Hardcover] - JudySierra

Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf is an interesting, funny story about a wolf named B.B. Wolf who gets invited to a tea by a librarian; his friend gives him advice on how to mind his manners at the tea, telling him to smile and to not bite anyone. This story has other fictional characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, who B.B. tries his best to make a great impression on.

 

I loved reading this story. Children would really enjoy it because it is funny, has good advice on manners, and has other characters they are already familiar with. This book would be great to read in a first grade classroom with a number of other books about a "big bad wolf", having the students compare and contrast the wolves and other characters in the stories. They can also have a creative writing activity where they write a story about a "big bad wolf".

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text 2016-07-25 05:36
HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE by CHARLES YU
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe - Charles Yu

First of all, if I read one more metaphor about what time is/isn't like I was going to poke my eye out. See page 14, "Time isn't an orderly stream; time isn't a placid lake; time is viscous; time is a massive flow; time is an ocean of inertia" Ugh!!

And if you describe someone or something once, why not do it a few more times (to eat up words?).

Also using all tenses of a verb in a sentence - just saying this sentence explains my problem.

So, I got to Chapter 11 (page 61) and gave up. No rating because I didn't finish it.

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