Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Snow Flower And The Secret Fan Movie Trailer

This should be interesting to watch. They're making a movie of Lisa See's novel Snow Flower And The Secret Fan. From what I've heard (which isn't much), it's due out in June or July.

The trailer looks good, but it's clear that they've chosen to make some changes, like including a modern period storyline as well as the main one. I'm just hoping that the two tie together well and that the movie makers stay fairly close to the book.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a book that I think could do well as a movie, so I'm really hoping that I'll like the movie as much as I do the book.

"Waiting On" Wednesday - March 30

"Waiting On" Wednesday is the place to spotlight the books where you're waiting for their release date. The meme is hosted each week over at Breaking The Spine.

Last week this meme would have been too easy to pick a book for: I was waiting for both Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel and the new J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood novel, Lover Unleashed. I'm still waiting for them now, but they have been published. The one I'm really waiting to get my hands on is Kings of the North by Elizabeth Moon, which came out two weeks ago. Still not in the stores around here though.

I know this is a book that I'm curious about:
Dreams of Joy
Lisa See
Release Date: May 31, 2011

The product description:
In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy.

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime.

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Acclaimed for her richly drawn characters and vivid storytelling, Lisa See once again renders a family challenged by tragedy and time, yet ultimately united by the resilience of love. 
 Although, I haven't read Shanghai Girls yet, so I don't know how that would affect reading Dreams of Joy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? March 28th

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted each week over at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books. Thanks Sheila.

I have to say, this past week was a really good one in terms of reading for once, although a lot of it was re-reading books. What I didn't get done were the reviews.

I read:
Twilight's Dawn by Anne Bishop. The latest book set in her Black Jewels universe. A collection of novellas, the core of which was set simultaneously with The Shadow Queen and Shalador's Lady. A new release which I bought as soon as I saw it. Fantasy, and perhaps not for everyone, but I like the world.

Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop. The other collection of short stories set in the Black Jewels universe. I didn't finish the book, but I hadn't intended to. I was mostly interested in the story of Luciavar and Marian this time, though I also enjoyed the story of how the Blood came to be.

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop. Fantasy. The first part of the aftermath from the events at the end of the original trilogy when Jaenelle cleansed the realm of Terrielle. The link is from an earlier re-read.

Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop. Are you sensing a theme here? This is the last one. The sequel to The Shadow Queen. Honestly, I think these two are some of the best books in the Black Jewels world. Again, the link is from my last read.

What I'm reading now:
Shogun by James Clavell. This one's taking some doing this time around, but I'm enjoying the read.

River Marked by Patricia Briggs. Nearly finished with this, the latest book in the Mercy Thompson series. Think I only have a few pages to go. I'm enjoying the book, but not racing through it the way I have the others.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. I probably should count this as abandoned, but I don't want to yet.

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. Same thing as above. The link goes to my last read of the book.

The Fires of Vesuvius by Mary Beard. This is the last book in this category for this week.

What I'm planning to read:
Snow Flower And The Secret Fan by Lisa See. Another book I've read before.

Like I really need to be adding more books with the list I've got going right now!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Rambling: Magic and Music

Or maybe I should have titled this "Music and the Supernatural"? The two seem to have been entangled for centuries, starting at least from the time of Homer and Dark Age Greece. In this case, I'm referring to the Sirens that Odysseus runs into in his journey home as told in the Odyssey. Though, that myth has to have been a part of the culture before Homer was writing.

Nowadays in fantasy writing, music is still intertwined with the supernatural. Tolkien did it - a lot of the magic in Middle-Earth is tied to music, both in The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion. Even the creation of Arda was done through music. But, magic and music are tied together: in The Silmarillion it says: "For Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of power..."(The Silmarillion. 171), for example, and that instance is not unique either. There are others in The Lord of the Rings too. For example, when Strider was attempting to heal Frodo after the Witch-King's attack at Weathertop, "He sat down on the ground, and taking the dagger-hilt laid it on his knees, and he sang over it a slow song in a strange tongue"(The Fellowship of the Ring. 265). There doesn't seem to be any other explanation for for that, besides some form of magic.

Mercedes Lackey is another author who has used music as a force for magic in two different universes. First of all, there's the Bardic Voices universe which is comprised of The Lark And The Wren, The Robin and the Kestrel and The Eagle and the Nightingale, as well as A Cast of Corbies and Four And Twenty Blackbirds. At the same time, she has also written the SERRAted Edge/Urban Fantasies series about Eric Banyon. Both of those series are actually quite similar, despite the fact that one of the two is set in the modern(ish) day and the other is a more typical fantasy. By "similar", I mean that neither of the main characters really had any idea about magic and discovers it by accident.

I think, as well, though it's been long enough that I don't remember the details at all, that Terry Brooks had written a world which was created through music in one of his books. As I said though, I really don't remember for sure. However, thinking on the subject of music and magic reminded me that there are other minor examples as well. Elizabeth Moon connects the two slightly in The Deed of Paksenarrion if my memory isn't playing further tricks on me (not helped by the fact that I only have the e-book version handy, which is rather hard to search for quotes). But, there are two separate groups that seem to use music in connection with magic there: the Elves, and the Kuakkgan. The latter group I remember doing so for certain (as with the healing of Paksemarrion's horse, Socks), but I believe the former do as well.

Done right, tying magic to music seems to give it a structure that works well and doesn't seem to be as random as some I can think of. It's certainly something that the practitioner needs to work at in order to do well, and also makes for an interesting way of indicating that magic is (or at least might be) being done, without necessarily being repetitive, given the great variety of music out there, both in this world and in any fantasy world - and if there isn't the right piece for the job, at least some of the characters can probably write it.

Are there more examples of music and magic being connected together that I've missed out on?

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - March 14

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted every Monday over at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books. Sheila works hard to keep us all on track with our reading each week. Thanks.

Last week I didn't get any books finished, for two reasons really: One. I was on vacation (pictures to come), so reading wasn't as much of a priority. And, reason two: the books I'm reading are long ones.

The books I'm reading:
The Fires of Vesuvius by Mary Beard. Non Fiction about the archaeology and history of the city of Pompeii. Actually, this is turning out to be a really neat book to read, even though it's slipping onto the back burner.

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. Fantasy omnibus edition. I love this book, and the new one is coming out in about a week. I can't wait!

Shogun by James Clavell. Historical fiction about Japan. I've read this one before, but I'm enjoying reading it again. Starts off slowly, but now I'm racing through it.

I'm planning to read (If I get through this stack):

Stealing Fire by Jo Graham. Historical Fantasy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hand Of Isis Commentary Link

Jo Graham has written up a nice little commentary for the epilogue to Hand of Isis, one of my favourite books. It adds so much to the understanding of this section of the book. And what's more, in the comments she's expanded on the number of the books in the series, as well as giving a short (very short) synopsis of some of the time periods the stories will cover. I have to say, I really hope the books will go out to the publishers. I love this world.

The other commentary currently there is:
Hand of Isis: Mikhael

Jo Graham also includes short stories and deleted scenes from her books on a regular basis.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted each week over at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books. There, Sheila keeps us all on track with our weekly reading.

This past week I finished reading Jules Verne's Journey To The Center of the Earth, which I quite enjoyed.

I'm reading:
The Fires of Vesuvius by Mary Beard. Non fiction about Pompeii.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. Non fiction biography of Cleopatra. Very enjoyable.

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon. Fiction, fantasy and one of my favorites. I'm reading because Kings of the North is due out soon, and I can't wait.

Shogun by James Clavell. Ok, this one is only tentatively started.

I'm not planning to add any books to the list this week, so we'll see. The way I read, who knows :).


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