Friday, September 9, 2011

Super Secret Guilty Reading Pleasures.

I have a theory that everyone has some sort of guilty pleasure reading. There's always a scale of how guilty a pleasure it is - something you fess up to openly, to close friends and to nobody. So, in light of full disclosure, here are my top 5 guilty pleasure books, authors or series:

1. Spider Robinson: Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. This book was publishes in 1997, and found it I believe in about 1999. I was still in high school, and seeing how it's set in a bar I have no idea how I managed to find it. I LOVED it - my copy of it is pretty much destroyed, it's been with me for every move, and it's still my go-to novel to read when I want a laugh. Not only is Spider one of my favourite authors ever, as is almost everything he wrote, this book set the tone for why I love Sci-fi.

2. Tanya Huff's Wizard of the Grove is a compilation of 2 of her novels, and is the first of her many series I've picked up over the years. I love this book - I got it about the same time I got Callahan and it's why to this day I have a bad habit of fantasy books. I proceeded to read almost every series she's written, and not only have I loved them, but everyone I've recommended them to has loved them too!

3. David Eddings - pretty much everything. Yeah, I'm one of those people. I read the series backwards, starting with Polgara the Sorceress, and then read most of what he's written (except the Elder Gods series, for which I have no actual good reason to not have read. I got this book the same time I got Wizard of the Grove, and I loved it. I love everything he's written - his writing defines my relationship with one of my closes friends, it's what kept us in contact for years.

4. I'm going to cheat for this one. #4 is urban fantasy - from Jim Butcher to Seanan McGuire right now when I want mindless fun this is the genre that I look to for for something that will make me laugh. It took me forever to go here - I was a traditionalist when it came to sci-fi/fantasy for years. I'll admit I was a snob about what I read, and what I read was the classics: Heinlin, Lackey and the like were who I looked towards. Now, I've broadened my horizons!

5. J.D Robb's In Death series. Yeah. I'm going there. I love this series. Of ALL the things, I started reading it with my mom as a bit of mindless fluff when we needed something entertaining for a trip to Mexico a solid 10 years ago. Mildly inappropriate? Perhaps. But to this day I can't wait to buy the latest copy of this futuristic NOT ROMANCE romance series.

Bonus! Clive Cussler. When I first started dating my boyfriend, we started talking about favourite series. I told him what I liked, in a rare fist few dates bout of honesty, he gave me the weirdest look and then lent me Raising the Titanic. I was baffled. I tell him my secret reading is fantasy, and he hands me a thriller? I LOVED it. Finding out it was a movie? I will watch that movie anytime, anywhere - even if it's horribly not true to book form. I love this series (and I love more Clive Cussler is that much of a lunatic in real life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jillian, Jillian Jillian Jiggs

Summary: No one can keep up with Jillian Jiggs. With boundless energy and imagination, Jillian rushes from game to game. One minute she''s a robot, the next minute she''s a tree. How can she take time to clean up her room when there are so many wonderful things to make and do? No one knows what Jillian will think of next- especially not her mother!

Why I recommend it: I Loved this book when I was a kid. Loved. I remember Jillian Jiggs and her pigs. It's funny, endearing, and memorable. Read it, you'll love it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To a new year (sort of, not really) and summers past.

I don't know if it's because the majority of my life has been spent in school, or working with kids IN school, but I've always felt that September is the new year - not January. So, here's looking back at some of my summers.

I've had some pretty amazing summer jobs. My first ones in high school were at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Arts Alive! day camp & a few other arts camps. In university, I also lucked out - I ran my own company for a summer selling fair trade bags made of recycled materials, went on an archaeology dig in Italy then went to China. After I went to China, I was faced again with needing a summer job, but living in Waterloo meant most of the summer jobs there were already taken by local students who didn't go learn Mandarin & Chinese history for a summer.

In a mild fit of panic, in my last week in China I applied to a job at a summer camp in Waterloo, the day of my flight home I confirmed that later the day I landed I had an interview for the job. I wasn't entirely sure what I was thinking, but I stumbled off the plane, explained to my mom I needed a shower and a ride, and went to the interview. I remember having the interview, and at the end of it, looking at my (future) boss and telling her "Look. I just got off a 18 hour flight. I'm a little bit crazy, but I love working with kids, I love art & I promise I'm usually more coherent". Turns out, that's what got me the job.

That's kind of how I feel right now - like I just got off a plane and am looking for that one right job. It's almost perfect timing: Autumn, new year, new job is coming, and the weather is getting cooler.

So, here's to Autumn.

The Immortals Series

Summary: The Immortals quartet, by Tamora Pierce, is the story of Veralidaine Sarrasri (known as Daine), an orphan with an unusual talent: she can speak with animals. Veralidaine (Daine) Sarrasri who was orphaned when raiders attacked her village. Daine has an unusual (and extremely strong) gift of wild magic which is mistaken as insanity because she is unable to control it . Though convinced she has no magical Gift, it is discovered that she has 'wild magic' - a magic that is not uncommon, but for some reason is a disregarded branch of magic. What is rare is the amount of it that Daine possesses, and what she is able to do with it. This magic gives her a unique connection with animals. Her abilities manifest gradually throughout the series, allowing her first to speak with animals, to heal their injuries and eventually to shape-shift into animal forms. The series covers a timespan of four years, following Daine as she learns to communicate with humans, animals and Immortals.

Why I recommend it: This is arguably the best series for teenage girls ever written. Daine is identifiable, courageous and entertaining. Most of my friends read this growing up, and each of them had the same reaction I did - to this day we still re-read it, and name it as the best series we ever read. The covers change, but the series is always more then worth a read. Every one of Tamora Pierce's series is well worth a read, but start with this one - no matter how old you are!