The Walking Dead - S3 Ep. 7

Episode 7: When the Dead Come Knocking

Glenn = Badass
No explanation necessary. He continues to be one of my favorite characters.

Woodbury Research

We're given another glimpse into the research they do on walkers at Woodbury--an attempt to determine if walkers can access memories prior to transformation, or if they remain in their 'unconscious' state of mind...aka flesh eating mania. Still unsure of where that's going. And I'm with Andrea on this one, just stab them in the head.

The Governor is a megalomaniac
Not that I didn't know that already, but his little scene with Maggie truly disgusted me. Pig. 

How is the rescue mission going to go down?
I don't see how Rick, Michonne, Daryl and the new guy can successfully infiltrate Woodbury, find Maggie and Glenn, and then somehow stumble upon Andrea and make it back to the prison, without someone or multiple someones getting killed. I just hope it's not Glenn. Maybe Meryl will bite the bullet. I don't know. 

We'll find out in the next episode...which is a mid-season finale I think (I hate those) 


Reading Challenge: TBR Pile 2013

And another one-- The 2013 TBR Pile Challenge hosted at Roof Beam Reader.

This is commitment numero dos. I really need to do this one. No 'ands, ifs or buts' about it...when you see my list you're probably going to think: "What--She hasn't read that yet? why?" And all I can say is I know, I'm a literary slacker, blah blah blah.

Anyways, twelve books for this challenge. There are simple specifications on which books to choose from and how to go about updating challenge progress (something about a master list)...go here for more details.

The list (to be read in no particular order):

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
3. The Things They Carried by Tim O' Brien
4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
8. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
10. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
11. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

...so many 'classics'. How did that happen?

The Hobbit - Movie Trailer

I'm halfway through the book and I'm enjoying it. It's a very easy read and the chapters fly by. I think I'd be done or almost done reading, if it wasn't for this read-along schedule. However, without the read-along I might not have read it before the movie (part 1) comes out...funny how that works.

Anyways, I'm not super excited about the movie yet, but that could change.


Poetry for thought - Thanks

by W. S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Image: Flickr - SLR Jester

Reading Challenge: Monthly Key Word 2013

I'm about 95% done with my current challenges (two books left, two challenges left, one book each challenge) Even though I have yet to complete all of the reading challenges I've committed to for 2012, I'm looking ahead and planning for the future. And I think it's alright to at least get somewhat organized for the upcoming months. 

I've decided to sign up for the 2013 Monthly Key Word Challenge hosted by Kim at Bookmark to Blog. It's an interesting concept, without too much restriction. And I believe this challenge will force me to read a variety of fiction next year. 

Essentially, readers must read one book per month with a title containing a key word from the list for each month. You can find out more information here. You should join!

My 'to-read' pile has grown substantially...it's usually a fluid list of ten books or so. Now it's triple that. Hopefully this challenge will help me whittle it down to a reasonable number. 

I'll put up my book selections for the first quarter of the Monthly Key Word Challenge in a post later. 


The Walking Dead - S3 Ep. 6

Episode 6: Hounded

It's all in your head...
Okay, so the phone call was still part of Rick's temporary insanity  unavailability. I knew something was wrong when the woman on the other end said they were perfectly safe with no walkers...I'm thinking nowhere is safe from walkers except for in death--and Woodbury perhaps. And I'm not sure how long they're going to have Rick grieve like this. Too long and it becomes awkward and viewers stop caring...good thing it seems like this was the last episode of a detached Rick. 

Why did Andrea hook up with the Governor?
Not that I didn't see that one coming...I'm sure everyone did. She hooked up with Shane and now the Governor. She just likes to be close to leaders I guess. It's her way of gaining some sense of control--I don't know. I don't want to over analyze because she could just be a skank, right? I predict she will regret this decision...and it could very well be the end for her. 

How is it Michonne can stand next to walkers?
Seriously? I know Rick and Glen used the same zombie-guts camouflage in season one to get out of the city but it seems like such an unlikely way to avoid detection. How is it walkers can distinguish between the living from walkers? Smell? Very curious...Michonne is literally right next to them, wounded and bleeding and they didn't even notice her. 

The next episode looks like it will be good. With Michonne's help I think the Rick and crew will be making a trip to Woodbury to rescue Maggie and Glenn and possibly Andrea.


The Walking Dead - S3 Ep. 5

Episode 5: Say the Word

Woodbury: Walker Technology and Entertainment Capital

I'm still not sure of the 'research' they're doing at Woodbury. They've got a few held captive within Woodbury (hidden of course) and a well off site, where it seems the Governor's cronies go fishing for them...but why? Michonne said something very interesting to Andrea in an argument this episode. Something to the effect of: you don't leave until they make you. So I'm thinking until they make you--as in turn you into a walker. All subversives and defectors within Woodbury are turned into Biters? Could be a stretch, but the Governor is capable of many things (except controlling Michonne) and full of many secrets. I can't believe so many people in Woodbury were excited about that party. How bizarre! Michonne is right--time to get the hell out. 

Rick is temporarily unavailable

Okay, he's lost it. He's decided to go on a solo trip and cleanse the entire prison of any remaining walkers. Just him, his axe and his pistol...great. He won't acknowledge anyone, not even his newborn child. I mean c'mon Rick. The group needs you. You're the leader...meanwhile Daryl steps up, but I still don't think this baby is going to make it.

Ring, Ring? 

Apparently, someone is alive and of all the places in the world to call, they've decided to phone the prison. Rick has a moment of clarity and answers it, but we won't know anything else until the next episode--which is fine with me. Some of my friends said this episode was 'weird' but I thought it was appropriate because it still moved the story along. I think everyone was so on edge from last week's episode, they didn't know what to expect, or were expecting more carnage. But we needed a transition episode and a glimpse into the future (which came in the form of a phone call)


Poetry for thought - Sawdust

by Sharon Bryan

Why not lindendust,
   hackberry, hemlock,
live oak, maple, why
   name the remains
after the blade, not
   what it cut—

 only now do I see
   that the air is full
of small sharp stars
   pinwheeling through
every living thing
   that gets in their way.

Image: Flickr- Horia Varlan


Book Beginnings - The Hobbit

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a dirty, nasty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. 
I've decided to join a Read-along of The Hobbit hosted at Unputdownables. I've always wanted to read this book, and since the movie is coming out soon, I want to have it read or mostly read before then.

I like the beginning...I knew what this comfortable hobbit-hole looked like before I read the beginning. (because I've seen The Fellowship of the Ring)


The Walking Dead - S3 Ep. 4

Episode 4: Killer Within

Holy sh*t, I didn't expect that

I honestly have no idea how I went almost an entire week before posting anything resembling a reaction to this episode.

It was one the best things I've ever seen.

The entire episode I was yelling out some variation of: "Oh Nooooooo!" or "Oh my gosh!!!"

Seriously. It was that awesome.

...and in the end, I even teared up a bit because I felt bad for Rick (very good acting there)  He is no doubt a broken man now.  I still don't understand why Lori had to have a c-section. Why couldn't she have the baby the old-fashioned way? Part of me thinks she wanted to die...which was okay by me. But now without a mom, this baby doesn't have a great chance of surviving either. Also Carl is all hardened and soulless after shooting his mother blah blah blah. And then T-dog--I was bummed he died too. However, he did last longer than I (and probably everyone else) thought he would. Luckily it seems the group will have another resident black man very soon.

I can't believe that prisoner set those gates open. I don't know how he survived because I thought he was surrounded by walkers and bitten in a previous episode...curious.

There were some scenes with Merle, Andrea and Michonne in Woodbury, but I didn't care so much about that. 

I wonder who will die next. That's what I love about this show; no one is too important to die. Everyone's light will be put out.

The next episode looks like a good one too. Rick seems to have lost his mind. 


Review - Monster

by Walter Dean Myers
250+ pages

Description via Goodreads
The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help (1)
Monster is about the fate of a young man named Steve Harmon. There is a good chance Harmon will get 25 years to life in prison, if found guilty of felony murder. In Monster, the emotional turmoil Harmon experiences in prison and during his trial is documented into a screenplay. He does this to help him process the extreme turn his life has taken. In between scenes, Harmon has diary entries that speak more to the cruel circumstance of prison life. 
Miss O'Brien says that Petrocelli is using Bolden's testimony as part of a trail that will lead to me and James King. I think she is wrong. I think they are bringing out all of these people and letting them look terrible on the stand and sound terrible and then reminding the jury that they don't look any different from me and King (59) 
The author focuses on what it means to be guilty, or rather, what it means to not be innocent. He includes little details about Harmon's life, upbringing and neighborhood to suggest how men like Harmon are predisposed to guilt. This same guilt consumes almost every person in prison (innocent or not). Guilt manifests and infiltrates everyone. It's not a jacket you take off whenever you please; it's the pain in your gut, the bag over your head, tattooed on your forehead, multiplying in the melanin of your skin. 
I hear myself thinking like all the other prisoners here, trying to convince myself that everything will be alright, that the jury can't find me guilty because of this reason. We lie to ourselves here. Maybe we are here because we lie to ourselves (202)
At first I was unsure of how the structure of a screenplay would affect the reading experience. Would it distract me? Can I visualize these scenes correctly? Would I understand what Harmon is trying to emphasize? Yes, some phrasing is a little awkward, but the dialogue is clear. In the end I decided  what mattered more was the idea of the screenplay; the fact that the reality of Harmon's situation--the gravity of it--the bleakness of his future is so unbelievable that only a movie could capture the sensation.

Another thing I noted when reading was the overall indifference I felt to all the characters...I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I didn't hate the prosecutor, I didn't empathize with Harmon, all the witness accounts and cross examinations seemed solid, the prisoner advice was casually reflective. I didn't spend any brainpower on forming my own judgement on whether Harmon was not guilty--I was just indifferent. I'm sure this due to the form of the narrative, as the reader is just there to observe. I feel weird suggesting that there's no reader engagement because I did find the novel interesting enough...
I wish Jerry were here. Not in jail, but somehow with me. What would I say to him? Think about all the tomorrows of your life. Yes, that's what I would say. Thank about all the tomorrows of your life (205) 


Three Stars

Smooth Criminals, Reading Challenge for 2012


Top Ten Tuesday - Non-fiction Reads On My Radar

This week's topic: Top Ten Non-fiction Reads On My Radar

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish. Basically, you create a list tailored to the week's topic and share it with other readers by linking up at The Broke and The Bookish. You can find out more information here.

Generally speaking, I don't read a lot of nonfiction. However, I always try to read at least one nonfiction piece every once in a while. The last nonfiction I read was The Devil in the White City (review here). Before that--I can't remember--so it's time to get some lined up for the future.

Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries by Jon Ronson
A friend wants me to read this with him. I said okay before I even knew what it was about, but after doing a quick search, it actually sounds very interesting.

Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Wall Street While Rescuing Wall Street by Neil Barofsky 
Yes, I know. There are a thousand and one books, documentaries, arguments, etc. on the economic bailout. But I saw this guy on some mid-morning television show giving an interview on his book and he persuaded me to jot down the title to look up later. Will I still watch the movie on Netflix about the bailout?--absolutely.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
 I am an introvert. I talk when necessary. Small talk annoys me, 9 out of 10 times. I don't need the spotlight on me at all times. This book tells me I have power--I'm going to read it.

Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What it Means to Be Black Now by Toure
I personally don't believe that post-blackness will ever exist. Just like I don't believe we live in a post-racial society...However, I do think the term 'black' or 'blackness' is very fluid and diverse because Black people are a very diverse people. I'm more interested in Toure's opinion of what it means to be Black now. Most people (including Black people) have this set in stone idea of blackness, when in reality many Black Americans are living considerably different experiences that what's considered Black--you know the stereotypes.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Hirsi Ali is such an intriguing person and so charismatic. I have to know her story. How anyone can pass on her testimonial is beyond me.

So that's it. Only five. I knew I didn't have ten because like I said, I rarely read nonfiction.
Have you read any of these yet?


Poetry for thought - Problems with Hurricanes

Problems with Hurricanes
by Victor Hernandez Cruz

A campesino looked at the air
And told me:
With hurricanes it's not the wind
or the noise or the water.
I'll tell you he said:
it's the mangoes, avocados
Green plantains and bananas
flying into town like projectiles.

How would your family
feel if they had to tell
The generations that you
got killed by a flying

Death by drowning has honor
If the wind picked you up
and slammed you
Against a mountain boulder
This would not carry shame
to suffer a mango smashing
Your skull or a plantain hitting your
Temple at 70 miles per hour
is the ultimate disgrace.
The campesino takes off his hat— 
As a sign of respect
toward the fury of the wind
And says:
Don't worry about the noise
Don't worry about the water 
Don't worry about the wind—
If you are going out
beware of mangoes
And all such beautiful
sweet things.

Photo: flickr - Will Ellis


Review - The Feast of the Goat

The Feast of the Goat
by Mario Vargas Llosa
400+ pages

Description via Goodreads
Animated chaos, the profound need in what was once your people, Urania, to stupefy themselves into not thinking and, perhaps, not even feeling (6)
The Feast of the Goat takes place during the end of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. It contains the narrative of the infamous Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molinas--el Jefe--as well as the narratives of the daughter of one of his top officials and the many subversives and anti trujillistas, that take part in his assassination. 

The book begins with the narrative of Urania Cabral, daughter of one of the most distinguished Trujillo loyalists. She visits the DR for the first time in 35 years after having lived in the United States, to see her father who has degenerated into a vegetable. Despite his condition, Urania is bitter and borderline hateful towards him. Little by little her narrative sheds light on how Trujillo caused this woman to stupefy herself, to hate her father and become estranged from her people. Her story and the flashbacks within it, frame the other narratives. 
And then it occurred to him: "A cure equal to the disease." The face of a beautiful woman, exploding with pleasure in his arms, thanking him for the joy he had given her. Wouldn't that erase the frightened little face of that idiot? Yes: he'd go tonight to San Cristobal, to Mahogany House and wipe away the affront in the same bed with the same weapons (128)
The one ever-present element in this book is the intertwine of sex, politics and machismo, especially in Urania's and Trujillo's narratives. It seems when Trujillo isn't ordering people around, he's thinking about taking a trip to the Mahogany House (the local upscale brothel) What's interesting about this is Vargas Llosa parallels failings of the Trujillo regime with the failings of Trujillo's body; old age, impotence and incontinence.  

Whereas Urania is repelled by anything suggestive, or of a sexual nature, due to certain events in her adolescence which can be directly linked to Trujillo. In fact, I would go as far to say that Trujillo and Urania are complementary characters in almost every level of analysis. Trujillo holds a very low opinion of intellectuals, artists and writers, people whose work influence the evolution of thought, challenge his sovereignty. Urania falls into that category, not only professionally, but personally. And not just on an intellectual level, a physical one. 
It must be nice. Your cup of coffee or glass of rum must taste better, the smoke of your cigar, a swim in the ocean on a hot day, the movie you see on Saturday, the merengue on the radio, everything must leave a more pleasurable sensation in your body and spirit when you had what Trujillo had taken away from Dominicans thirty-one years ago: free will (144)
I could go on and on about gender, sex and politics in this book. It's a really good book to analyze for that type of reading. But generally speaking, I think this book is great because it shows how fear, shame and paranoia can spread like a disease in all parties. They spread through the oppressed and the oppressors--and not just in those individuals in the moment, but through generations over time.

The Feast of the Goat

Four stars.

Smooth Criminals, Reading Challenge for 2012