Monday, January 31, 2011

“Italy in Books” - Reading Challenge 2011

I am really excited about Book After Book's “Italy in books” - Reading Challenge 2011! I am considering at trip to Italy in the next year or so. This is a perfect way to get my feet wet. It is a twelve book challenge - which for me means one book per month. Please join me in the challenge.

For complete details (it's easy to participate), click the button below. Follow my progress on the Una's Reading Challenges page.


I am going to start with two recommended reads from the Lonely Planet The Travel Book (I have the 2005 edition): Umberto Ecco's The Name of the Rose and Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard: A Novel.

What Italy books are you going to read?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Must Read Pat O’Brian

Well, it must be fate. I was collecting some books that I intend to finally read and give to the library. What did I find in the pile? An audiobook version of The Truelove – the 15th book in Pat O’Brian’s twenty book navy series.

I won it in a drawing from Suzanne at So I am adding his series to my TBR list. <sigh> The first scribble is Master and Commander. It has been adapted into a flick of the same name starring Russell Crowe.

I cannot ignore the signs, can I? I must give Pat O’Brian’s series a try.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Fighter's Hustle: Soap Making

Who can turn soap making into a cool job for a dude? Chuck Palahniuk, that's who. The soap hustle was completely unexpected and added a strange twist to the story. It made me curious about soap making.

I found a soap making tutorial using lye on I wasn't able to get the Geocities site referenced at the end of her video to come up. However, I was able to find most of the necessary info on her site, Check it out for more details.

"Making Soap in a Crockpot" posted by dyavas1

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fight Club on Glass Slippers

There were some CRAZY comments in Fight Club: A Novel. I kept thinking, "How does Palahniuk come up with this stuff?" One that really tripped me out:

“You know, the condom is the glass slipper of our generation. You slip it on when you meet a stranger. You dance all night, then you throw it away. The condom, I mean. Not the stranger.”- Marla Singer

What would Cinderella think about that? 

What comment in Fight Club really stood out to you?


Check out on Twitter. He tweets quotes from Fight Club.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fight Club: A Novel

This is another example of a book that I probably wouldn’t have read on my own. It’s dark and gritty and violent and crazy. It’s like an impending train wreck that you cannot look away from. I finished it in two days.  

“The first rule about Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club.”  - Tyler Durden

“The second rule about Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club.” - Tyler Durden

With that said, I guess that you’ll have to read it yourself.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unexpected Tangent: Fight Club

You'll need to see the movie, Fight Club, to fully appreciate how funny the Jane Austen's Fight Club video is. If you haven't seen it, check out the preview below.

Guess what? TANGENT! The movie is based on Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Thus it went on my TBR list.

Rent Fight Club: A Novel from Bookswim. Join today and read to your hearts content.

Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
Movie Rating: R
Length: 139 minutes

Monday, January 24, 2011

Which Jane Austen Character Are YOU?

Apparently, I am Elizabeth Bennet from Pride And Prejudice. LOL! I dunno about this ... perhaps!

Which Jane Austen Character Are YOU?
Elizabeth Bennet (From Pride And Prejudice)
Qualities: spiritual (not religious spiritual, other one), good humored, quick to judge, observant, witty, good looking, stubborn.

About you: You have a good humored, spiritual, witty and observant take on life. You hold your morals very strongly as a person, and are strongly opinionated, and that can lead you to be very quick to judge based on what you hear. However, you learn from your mistakes (even with your stubbornness). You are not the most sought after person, but you're definitely a person that at second glance is quite special. You can be quick to judge, and that leads you to be quite wrong as you do not give some as fair a chance as others, which can be problematic in the long run. However, everything resolves itself in the end for you.

Fortune: Not everyone will be pleased or end up living a fairytale in your life, but you will have your happy ending (or beginning (: ). It won't be your ideal one, but it will be the one you'll find out you want most of all.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I am Grigg! [The Jane Austen Book Club]

I am Grigg. Well, okay. Maybe not him exactly. We are more like kindred spirits.

I discovered him while watching the flick, The Jane Austen Book Club. I laughed out loud when Grigg mentioned that he read The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe because it was mentioned in Northanger Abbey. The other book club members gave him a hard time about it. I totally understood. I do the same thing. I read the books (and watch the movies) mentioned in the books I am reading.

I picked up this habit after watching a movie that referenced other movies. I took out my writing pad and scribbled a note to watch all of them. I would have never thought to watch some of the movies on my own. It turned out to be a great move. So I started doing this with other movies. I soon realized that I would watch almost any kind of film. However, my choices in books were pretty limited.

So I decided to attach part of my TBR list to movies. Now I read scribbles that have been adapted into flicks. That’s what this blog is primarily about. Scribbles turned into flicks and their  associated tangents. "Associated" according to my random thoughts.

For example, I watched the flick The Jane Austen Book Club. That prompted me to read the scribble from which it was adapted – also titled The Jane Austen Book Club. The flick’s literary tangents added the following to my TBR list:

Persuasion – Jane Austen
Emma – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe
Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin

Here’s to the Grigg in all of us.

I am also going to add a scribble to my TBR for each of the sci-fi authors he mentioned. I almost choked when Grigg mentioned Pat O’Brian’s twenty book navy series at the very end of the movie. That’s a lot of books. I am still debating adding the set. Do you think that I should?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Side Notes: The Jane Austen Book Club

Read an excerpt of the book courtesy of (usa).

Related Audio/Video ~
Austen-Mania! - (usa)'s all things Austen site. Check out the audio lectures (on the left middle side of the page) about The Jane Austen Book Club, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Northanger Abby.

Articles of interest ~ "The Jane Austen Book Club proves to be "Austentatious!" by Maxwell McKee by Sacramento Press

Movie Site ~ Sony Picture Classics Presents The Jane Austen Book Club

e Jane Austen Book Club trailer

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Emily Blunt talks The Jane Austen Book Club

by Empire Magazine on

Prudie was my favorite character (Grigg a close second). The hair. The clothes. The French. The nuttiness. Who was your favorite character in The Jane Austen Book Club?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Robin Swicord talks The Jane Austen Book Club

by Empire Magazine on

Great interview with the screenplay writer and director of "The Jane Austen Book Club." For more insight into the movie, watch the behind the scenes featurette under Special Features on the movie DVD (very interesting).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Jane Austen Book Club (flick)

"Reading Jane Austen is a freaking minefield."  - Jocelyn

I was a tad bit reluctant to watch The Jane Austen Book Club movie. I am a book club drop-out and  not really a Janite. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the movie. After watching it, I decided to read the book from which it was adapted, Karen Joy Fowler's novel. I recommend watching the movie first and then reading the novel.

The movie focuses more on the relationships of the book club members and uses the book club as a backdrop. It managed to make the novels feel relevant to modern-day dilemmas. A feel-good movie, the flick can be enjoyed by those who haven't read much Austen and those who have (which is hard to pull off). Folks expecting a detailed academic dissection of Austen's novels might be disappointed.

Actors: Kathy Baker, Hugh Dancy, Amy Brenneman, and Maria Bello 
Director: Robin Swicord
Movie Rating: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes

Posted by Sony Pictures Classics at

Monday, January 17, 2011

What is you favorite book written by Jane Austen? [vote]

I read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility a long time ago (in high school). I recall thinking that they were okay. I didn't feel compelled to read the others for fun. Perhaps the pressure of grades killed my Jane Austen buzz? I dunno. Fast forward to the present. A different time. A different reader.

Watching The Jane Austen Book Club movie made me want to read the book from which it was adapted. Reading the book inspired me to read all of Jane Austen's novels. I stopped half-way through Emma and decided to start again with the new year. I am picking up the torch again. When I finish the six novels, I am moving on to The Jane Austen is My Homegirl Reading Challenge.

A lot of folks really seem to love Jane Austen!

What is you favorite book written by Jane Austen? Why?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In the Spirit - A Fool There Was

John Schulyer was hitting the brandy pretty hard in A Fool There Was. I decided to make something to eat using brandy. I selected a recipe for Brandy Flamed Peppercorn Steak by TFRIESEN on 

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Kiss Me, My Fool"

"Kiss Me, My Fool" ~ The Vampire

The storyline is familiar today ... evil woman seduces a good (but weak) man. Can you think of any other movies with a similar plot?

Here are three options to view the film.

Title: A Fool There Was (1915)
Stars:  Theda Bara, Edward José, May Allison, Victor Benoit, Runa Hodges, Clifford Bruce, Mabel Frenyear 
Movie rating: NR
Length: 67 minutes

Watch the film (no music) in its entirety, courtesy of the Internet Archive:

Animated Images from Internet Archive

View "A Fool There Was/Theda Bara" playlist
(Includes film in 7 parts with piano score, courtesy of urialle).

Purchase the "A Fool There Was" DVD.

It comes with the following cool special features:

~ A piano score that compliments the film
~ Text of Rudyard Kipling's "The Vampire" (read before the film was screened)
~ Excerpt from Terry Ramsaye's "Million and One Nights: A History of the Motion Picture Through 1925 (A Touchstone book)"
~ 1915 review of the film
~ Photo gallery of actress Theda Bara

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Fool There Was (scribbles)

According to the book, Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara by Eve Golden, the path from the film A Fool There Was is quite interesting. The movie was based on a play of the same name by Porter Emerson Brown. The play was based on Rudyard Kipling's poem entitled The Vampire. The poem was inspired by the painting The Vampire by Philip Burne-Jones (Kipling's cousin). The painting was influenced by the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Whew! Bask in the inspiration below.

  • Read a Kindle version of Bram Stoker's Dracula by for free: Dracula

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Poll: 42nd NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction

Who should win the 42nd NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction?

A Fool There Was (flick) Released

A Fool There Was was released January 12, 1915. It's almost 100 years old!

Have you seen it?

If no, see my post "Kiss Me, My Fool"

If yes, what did you think of it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Theda Bara - The First Vamp?

I have never really been into silent films. They seem kinda hokey to me compared to modern movies - strange makeup, overly dramatic gestures, odd camera work. However, after reading a few books like
Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara by Eve Golden, I feel that I have been unfairly judgmental.  A Fool There Was was made almost 100 years ago! What will people think of movies made today 100 years from now?

Eve Golden paints an interesting picture of the manufacturing of a movie star. Working only in silent films, Bara is considered to be one of the movie industry's first sex symbols (the opposite of her true life). She is often credited as being the first vamp (that is now under dispute). Some of the costumes that she wore ... Wow. I think that they would still cause a quite a stir today. I would love to see her in Cleopatra. The costumes and sets were said to be amazing (still shots can be seen in the book).

When considering time and place, silent movies make more sense to me now. Some are actually quite good. Unfortunately for Theda Bara, her best work has not survived (mainly due to a fire).  A talented actress, Bara is known for having the highest percentage of lost films (compared to other actors with a Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame). Of her 40 movies, only four remain and they are considered to be some of her worst work. Check your attics and storage rooms. Old movie reels have been known to surface every now and then.

On to the scribble(s) and flick!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Goal: POC 100 Participants (Yeah, we can do that)

The folks at the POC Reading Challenge are upping the ante this year. They would like to get 100 participants to sign up for the challenge. We can help them do that, can't we? Of course, we can!

You can commit to reading just 1 book to reading as many as 25 books.  Just click on the button below for details. I have signed up for Level 4 (10 -15 books).

Update: 1/12/2010


I am going to read the books of the fiction nominees and select my own winner in the category. They are:

Outstanding Literary Work -Fiction
• "A Taste of Honey" - Jabari Asim
• "Getting to Happy" - Terry McMillan
• "Glorious" - Bernice L. McFadden
• "Till You Hear From Me" - Pearl Cleage
• "Wench" - Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Suggestions for other books?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"you done fell and bumped your head"

"You done fell and bumped your head," a lady said (jokingly) when she heard about all of the reading challenges that I have signed up for this year. Laura Miller at wrote a great article about diversifying your read list. I used her article as a start for my challenge search. Check it out - "Be a better reader in 2011."

I am amped. I am motivated. 
In the words of Marvin Gaye, "Let's get it on!"

Follow my progress on the Una's - Reading Challenges 2011 page.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Zora Neal Hurston!

Zora Neal Hurstion was born today (January 7, 1891).   In honor of her birthday, I am reading Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston* by Valerie Boyd.  Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God is on my TBR list as a scribble - flick combination.

Check out the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts & Humanities – ZORA! festival happening later this month. Are you attending?

*Triple whammy! Counts toward the POC Reading Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, and the TBR Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shoulda Read By Now

Not in any particular order ...

The Works of Jane Austen – I have seen so many references to her work lately. I read a book or two of hers in high school. I hadn't considered reading Austen again until a trip to Bath, England a few years ago. She has a HUGE fan-base.

-    Sense and Sensibility
-    Persuasion
-    Emma
-    Northanger Abbey
-    Pride and Prejudice
-    Mansfield Park

Good Night Moon - Margaret Wise Brown
Has everybody read this book but me?!? I don't remember this book from my childhood.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
The waiting list for this book at my library was crazy (and still is).  I got all huffy and decided to just order the entire trilogy for myself. The books were still in the box. SMH. I need to read to them and give them to the library.

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
I got this book on CD to listen to on vacation … four years ago. Still haven’t listened to it.

The 7 Habit of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
I want to be effective. Really, I do.

The Art of War - Sun Tzu
I have read a few sections of the book.I need to read the whole thing.

Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Potter fever never hit me. The series dominated the best-seller list for the past decade. Let’s see if I can see if I can catch the fever.

SMH - shaking my head

Update 5/10/13:

I was reading Literary Chameleon's update on World Book Night 2013 and realized that I still haven't read The Alchemist yet. UGH! I am going to add that to my summer reading list.

I have read all of the books with a line through them. One day, I am going to get to those Potter books. Really, I am ;-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shoulda Watched By Now

Not in any particular order ...

Sunset Boulevard 
"Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup." Classic.
Enter the Dragon
Martial arts at its finest. I took a picture with a Bruce Lee statue in Hong Kong and have been meaning to watch this movie every since. Let's see if  I can find the picture.

Gone with the Wind
I think that I have seen most of the movie - just not completely from start to finish.

Harry Potter (any of them)
The Harry Potter book series is on my "Shoulda Read By Now" list too. It dominated the bestselling books list of the last decade.  I am gonna find out why.

Netflix keeps suggesting that I see this movie. Okay. Okay. Okay. I am on it.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I have only seen snippets of it. It didn't seem appealing ... but people mention it a lot.

Born into Brothels
I kept hearing such rave reviews about the film. And I kept saying that I was going to watch it. What had happened was ...

The Blind Side
I don't know why but I cannot bring myself to watch this movie. And I really like Sandra Bullock's work.

Dracula (1931)
With the vampire business booming now, I figure I need to start further back. I want to see both versions - the "Bela Lugosi" English version that was filmed during the day and the Spanish version filmed during the night using the same movie set.

Blade Runner
I never understand references to the movie.

What's on your "Shoulda Watched By Now" list?

Update 5/10/13:

Well, it looks like I have more work to do. I have watched all of the books with a line through them.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I shoulda ... No, I'm gonna

My TBR* and TBW** lists are getting ridiculous. Something must be done. I don't want to assign a number of books or movies to complete. Too much pressure. So instead, I am going to start with some books and movies that I feel like I shoulda read or shoulda watched by now. You know the ones:
  • They have been on your to-do list. 
  • They come up in conversations. 
  • They are referenced in other media and you only have a vague idea of them.
  • They make you sigh, "I really should read/watch that."
Short of pulling a Bayard***, I just need to read/watch or remove them from the list. My clean up lists will be be next two posts. Let's get to it!

*TBR - To Be Read
**TBW - To Be Watched
*** His book, How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, is on my TBR list. Too funny (or sad - depending on how you look at it). Check out, "Read It? No, but You Can Skim a Few Pages and Fake It" by Alan Riding at the The New York Times.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fat City - Please vote!

I just saw the movie, Fat City (1972), starring Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges and Susan Tyrrell. It was directed by John Hurston. What a line up! The movie is kind of dark and dirty. More about missed opportunities and hard living than boxing. Definitely not like the the typical boxing movies that Hollywood has been churning out since then. Check out Roger Ebert's January 1, 1972 review of the movie. Watch Fat City now with Video on Demand at

The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Leonard Gardner. I have gotta get a copy of the book on the cheap. My library does not have it ;-( I have cast my vote to create a Kindle version and add it to the Bookswim collection. Please do the same - if you are interested in reading the book. Gracias!

Underneath the book image of Fat City, there is a "Tell the Publisher!" link. Vote to ask the publisher to add a Kindle version of the book.

Don't have a Kindle? Get free Kindle Reading Apps for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android phone.

If you are a member of BookSwim, vote for Fat City's inclusion in the pool using the Book Request feature. If you are not a member, consider giving BookSwim a try. It is a great online book rental service that delivers hardcovers and paperbacks to you by mail.

I wonder how it compares to The Fighter (starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale). I haven't seen it yet. Have you? The official movie site certainly hypes it up -