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Jul. 17th, 2011 02:15 pm
katernater: (misc • (books))
I went to the library this afternoon to pick up a copy of the first Harry Potter book because, hey, I figured I might as well get on that bandwagon before it becomes really popular, you know? But when I got there, the library was closed. It was like the Universe had stood up to tell me, "Hey, you: stick with what you know." Which is not meant to be Harry Potter, apparently.

I'm between books right now. I spent part of yesterday afternoon finishing Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which was really awesome, but not the kind of book that you could put down and walk away from for more than a day or so. The plot was dense and there were a lot of people coming and going (and backstabbing and mole-ing). I found that if I didn't sit down and read it for a day or so, I had to backtrack. Overall, though, a really enjoyable book. I'm looking forward to the movie, due out this fall. The next Preston-Child comes out August 2nd. I'm very excited. I've spent the last nine or so summers in the company of Special Agent Pendergast and it's one of the things I look forward to most all year. So, yeah, need to find something to occupy my brain between now and the beginning of August.

Any recommendations? What are you kids reading these days?
katernater: (misc • (books))
I picked up Good Omens after watching Neil Gaiman's "Doctor Who" episode last week, despite having only tepid feelings about his work up to that point. And guys, I have to say, wow. This is one of the best books I've read in quite some time. I'm more than halfway through at this point and probably would have already finished if I hadn't needed to take breaks to go to work, eat, and sleep. I also find the fact that I started reading apocalyptic fiction last Saturday, when the projected Rapture was a week away, more than a little coincidental.

Anyway, I promise a more real life-oriented update soon, complete with my thoughts about the end of my second full term of teaching, and some sad news about the birdies on my windowsill.

In the meantime, here's a fan-created end credits sequence from the as-yet-as-not-real-as-today's-apocalypse Good Omens movie:




I want this to happen so much.

Filed!

Apr. 5th, 2011 06:47 pm
katernater: (actor • (fame))
Taxes have finally been filed. I honestly don't know why I dicked around for so long when the due date is, like, in less than two weeks, but I have found that bad things happen when I am left alone in a room with only numbers for company. Despite it all, I will actually be getting a little money back this year. It's not enough to really do anything with, but it will be nice to pad a few bills and credit card payments. Any thoughts of extravagant purchases that happen to trip over my brain these days are pretty much tabled right after I have them. I seem to've come down with a wicked case of financial pragmatism since moving out on my own. (Except when it comes to books and handbags and, in those cases, I have to be physically restrained from overindulging.)

Work is going well. I find that this term is much busier than the first, but not unmanageable. I am in my office a lot more often and I seem to have a higher percentage of students who are willing to stop by to either work with me on things for class, or simply because they would like to chat. I'm very happy in my job and consider myself very lucky to have found something that I enjoy doing this much every day.

I am also re-reading Frankenstein and thoroughly enjoying it. I was so impressed by the National Theater Live performance this weekend; I hope that the production will be made available on DVD at some point so I may have the chance to see both versions. (I know the soundtrack is available for sale in the UK, but an American version has not been commercially released.) Had I another year in graduate school I might have considered incorporating Frankenstein into some kind of thesis or dissertation; there are just so many interesting interpretations of the text to explore.

Gonna' make some dinner and take it easy for the rest of the evening, I think. I've been watching Professor Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe series over the last couple of nights. He breaks complicated physics concepts down into comprehensible notions and does so in an incredibly poetic, thoughtful manner. It really makes you appreciate how wonderful -- and mathematically incalculable -- it is to be alive.
katernater: (house • (determination))
Today I used the last of my Barnes & Noble gift card to buy this biography of Nikola Tesla because I'm on a bit of a Tesla/science/obscure historical figures kick. It's shipping to my new apartment and I hope it makes it here all right. (I'm still not sure how the post works around here, much less the delivery of pretty, shiny book-like things.) I also found this set of steampunk rockstar scientist posters and must, must find a way to make them mine at some point.

I'm a little worried about finances for this month and the next. 'Called both Todd and my parents tonight to work some things out and to ask for advice. I am very lucky to have such a great support system. I know everything will work out in the end, but it's easy to get caught up in money woes, especially when you're striking out on your very, very own for the first time. It's looking more and more likely that I will be able to attend neither the TESOL conference in New Orleans, nor ComiCon come July. Both for money/time reasons; INTERLINK is on a nine week rolling schedule. One term lasts nine weeks and then we get a week break, only to start up again for another nine weeks. This schedule cycles throughout the year. It's great, because I don't have to worry about finding another job in the summertime, but it's also kind of a downer because I am so limited in the amount of vacation time/number of vacation possibilities I can explore in my downtime. On the upside, INTERLINK wants me to explore the possibility of getting a second Master's degree, this time in TESOL, which might mean spending the summer in Vermont in an accelerated program. We'll see what happens. Right now I'm just trying to keep up with the daily routine.

I feel like I might take the rest of the night off entirely. 'Turn off my computer, watch a movie, or read. Maybe all three.

There's a new post up at The Portable Teacher. I talk about music and how I reacted when one of my students used the word "penis" in class.

Dramatic re-enactment:

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katernater: (misc • (ivy))
The university has been on Fall Break since Thursday, and I have been using the down time to do, well, practically nothing. Yesterday, Todd and I ordered in Chinese take-away from this great place down the street (with portion sizes so huge, they can be seen from space), and I pretty much spent the day reading, knitting, and watching episodes of Destination Truth on my Netflix queue.

Today I figured I should be a bit more productive, so I woke up (late), finished some Japanese homework, then threw a load of laundry into the washer. I'm thinking that might be the extent of my productivity. I want to catch up on some personal reading since we finished The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for class last week, and have no pending reading assignments for this week. I need to catch up to [livejournal.com profile] another_myself in Dance of Death, and I've got Richard Preston's The Demon In The Freezer sitting on my nightstand, demanding to be read. It's pretty rainy and yuck outside today -- perfect weather for curling up on the couch with a book and a mug of tea.
katernater: (actor • (smith))
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I am very proud of my book collection. I always thought that, if you were going to have an addiction, books were probably the least likely to get you into trouble. That is, unless you accumulate so many books that -- according to your mother -- the house is in serious jeopardy of a structural collapse because it has to deal with all the weight.

I can't resist them. I can't help it.

Some of the weightiest books in my collection happen to be medical textbooks and reference texts. When I got into roleplaying House for the first time, I was obsessed with keeping things as medically accurate as possible. I've got Gray's, of course, and Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, and a copy of Diagnostic Tests By Laboratory Methods. My copy of the Professional Guide to Diseases got me through some tricky cases, and the DSM-IV helped me decide whether or not to send the crazies up to the third floor for a psych eval. I've got some law books, some books on Zen, and a couple of books on Zen and the Law (which seems sort of counter-intuitive), and quite a great deal of fiction. Detective stories, thrillers, Poe and the lot. (And, of course, my lineup of Preston-Child novels.) I've gotten really into non-fiction over the last five years, so I own quite a few biographies, autobiographies, and a fair amount of books on science/history/medical/theoretical physics.

I guess the conclusion people might draw from looking at my bookshelves would be that I am a person of eclectic tastes, with a soft spot for history and the classics. Interspersed, of course, with Hammett, King, Preston-Child...and Iron Man action figures.

My favourite book in the whole collection might have to be a 19th century edition of Dante's Poems, translated by the Rev. H.F. Cary, with illustrations by Gustav Dore. A friend gave it to me for my sixteenth birthday, having found it in a second-hand shop. For its age, it's in remarkably good condition.

I am pretty sure I could never give away any of my books. They mean too much to me. In the event of a fire in the apartment, I told Todd that I was going to strap both bookshelves to his back and fling them off the balcony and out of danger.

The books and Todd, I mean.

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katernater: (happy ♜ get what i want.)
I have a copy of Preston and Child's latest, Fever Dream, in my hot little hands and will now proceed to spend the next twelve hours absolutely engrossed in Pendergast and whatever-happened-to-Pendergast's-wife.

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It's gonna' be a good day.
katernater: (cameron ☤ the do-gooder)
I know there are some Preston-Child fans on my FL, so I thought this would appeal:

FEVER DREAM to be released May 11, 2010.

At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning-and dreadful-discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle-her only protection from the beast-had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead...and why?

With Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta's assistance, Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife's murder. It is a journey that sends him deep into her past where he learns much that Helen herself had wished to keep hidden. Helen Pendergast had nursed a secret obsession with the famed naturalist-painter John James Audubon, in particular a long-lost painting of his known as the Black Frame.

As Pendergast probes more deeply into the riddle-the answer to which is revealed in a night of shocking violence, deep in the Louisiana bayou-he finds himself faced with an even greater question: who was the woman he married?


From Amazon.com

I'm very excited for this novel, as it comes with real buzz from the fan community. I saw Preston and Child at Butler University last June, when they were touring for Cemetery Dance and, while they weren't sharing secrets about the upcoming book, we were promised that "questions about Pendergast's past will be answered -- to an extent."

I have to say, I'm a sucker for anything that these guys write. I think I've bought every book they've put out, the week it comes out, for the last five or six years.
katernater: (dw (d) // Gonna' save the whole world)
It's Thanksgiving break! I just got back from my last class before a week-long holiday. I have a few papers to write and projects to work on, but I'm definitely going to take advantage of the lull to catch up on my sleep. Plus, I'll be going home for a couple of days, mid-week, to see my family. It's the big push before the end of the semester. I think I'm in a good place.

I'm also going to use the break to start this book, which has been staring at me, lustily, all week.

For now? A nap.
katernater: (castle (r) // My glasses are scratchy)
I completely forgot that Heat Wave came out this week!

Gonna' have to try and squeeze that one in between Walden and My Antonia.
katernater: (lost (c) // He's a bloody rock god)
All things are cyclical. I was out of perfume, so I went to Bath & Body Works to pick up some more. I grabbed the wrong bottle by mistake and, by sheer coincidence, it happened to be the same scent I wore exclusively during the Europe trip last year. You know how smell evokes a memory? I've got memories of drinking scotch in the shipboard bar, conferring for an hour with a drunk in a Scottish pub, how banoffee recipes translate between Ireland and Liverpool, watching ships floating on the lid of the water through midnight shipping lanes, the way the grass in Hyde Park feels when you pull it through your fingers. I miss Europe. It's been almost a year since Todd and I were there. Talk about being born out of the right time and place.

Hey, [livejournal.com profile] austen! I bought Pride and Prejudice and Zombies today!
katernater: (lost (j) // Suffer a little with me)
Pilfered from [livejournal.com profile] pinksaltines:

Don’t take too long to think about it.
Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you.
First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
Copy the instructions into your own post.


15. The Prophet - Khalil Gibran
14. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - John Le Carré
13. The Cabinet of Curiosities - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
12. Hannibal - Thomas Harris
11. The Code of the Woosters - P.G. Wodehouse
10 The Cobra Event - Richard Preson
9. Steppenwolf - Herman Hess
8. The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
6. The Hottest State - Ethan Hawke
5. Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
4. The Gun Seller - Hugh Laurie
3. Sailing Alone Around the World - Joshua Slocum
2. High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
1. Ten Men Dead: The Story of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike - David Beresford
katernater: (bored (cam) // I drink your milkshake)
Oh, man. After six months of not working the 9-5 shift, I had forgotten how, uh, time consuming the 9-5 shift can be.

ANYWAY. The Preston-Child book signing was awesome. We made it to the Butler campus with plenty of time to spare. There were about 30-40 people there and it was mostly standing room only. Die-hard fans had come from as far as three or four states away, and a lot of them brought their entire Preston-Child collections for the authors to sign. I only had Cemetery Dance (which I finished in the car on the way to Indianapolis) and I even managed to remember my name when they asked for it. I told them that they'd saved me during a lot of long, boring summer temp jobs. They told me not to rush to get a "real job." Yeah, right.

But they had their own tour bus! And they told us that anyone who wanted to stick around after the signing could get a picture with them in front of the literary leviathan.

When I get famous, I want a tour helicopter )

Their next book, Fever Dream, will be out some time next year. From what I understand, it's very Pendergast-focused. As in, we might get to see exactly how the hypocrite lecteur is the way he is. I'm very excited. Preston-Child is almost always on my summer reading list.

This is also highly enjoyable )

ROAD TRIP!

May. 21st, 2009 12:20 am
katernater: (books // A nice addiction)
Seriously, you guys, I'm on the verge of geeking out big time. Ever since I heard back in February that Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child were going to go on tour to promote the release of Cemetery Dance, I've been trying to get my ducks in a row so I could go see them in Indianapolis. One day. One venue. One universe working -- for once -- in tandem with me to give me what I want. Todd and I are going to get up extra super early tomorrow, grab a coffee at Starbucks, then hit I-95 for a two hour road trip to Butler University, where les authors are going to do a reading and (hopefully) sign copies of whatever their fans hand them. I'm going to bring my copy of Cemetery Dance (which I'll finish in the car on the way there; I've been a bad reader the last couple of days and didn't finish in time) and Todd's bringing The Cabinet of Curiosities.

I mean, come on. Don't these guys look like they're ready to melt your face?



I've been a fan of Preston and Child since The Cabinet of Curiosities, which, if you ever become my friend, I will hound you compulsively to read until you cave, endure all 400-odd pages, and then gloat when I get to tell you at exactly which point in the book I figured out the ending. They write independent of one another, of course, and I like and respect them as individual authors and entities (Douglas Preston's The Monster of Florence is an excellent example of their talent as singular authors), but it's their collaborative efforts that really impress. So much so that, when I get word that they're going to release a new book, I mark that day on both of my calendars and make it a point to go out and buy it as soon as it's on stands. They're just good, thrilling reads.

Good night, and have an EPIC tomorrow!
katernater: (love (h/s) // Between Baltimore and me)
Todd bought me another book.

I have never met anyone as thoughtful, generous, and enabling as he is.

('Kind of makes me feel like Riverdancing.)

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