Author: Alexandra

Speculating on Fiction

Anyone who knows me and knows me well, knows I love science fiction and was, up until a few years ago, a SF reading machine. That is, until I got jaded by the then up and coming authors writing books that weren’t just door jambs, but were a trilogy in one volume. I simply lost interest in wading my way through these novels. Some had good ideas, but mostly, it was recycled ideas, being reused and tweaked, but without adding anything new or relevant to the genre. I felt like I had read it all before. People kept telling me you should read so and so, but so and so had written something that was, to me at least, a pale imitation of something Clarke, or Asimov, or what Heinlein had written 10, 20 and 30 years ago. These new authors, to my mind had (a) never read the authors that had come before them or, (b) had, and were cherry-picking ideas as their own. I didn’t know what was the bigger of the crimes. …

TBR: The Pile of Doom!

My TBR pile is beginning to feel like the dreaded ‘slush’ pile of my junior years when, working in London for one of those companies, we use to take 1 to 5 unsolicited MS home at a weekend, and skim read them. Most were soooo bad, you couldn’t get past ten pages without rolling your eyes heavenward. But, still, diligently, you made copious notes and dropped them back off on the secretary’s desk, Monday morning. Why am I equating my towering TBR pile with the slush pile of by gone years? Because, I’m shirking reading anything from it. I blame it on the hot, hot, hot weather we’re having this year. If I thought July was hotter than hell, I forgot August could be worse. It was 31 degrees this morning at 8 am … at freaking 8 am people! The humidity is to blame: it’s 98%. So what, I hear you say … so, it means instead of staying at home (and reading, like any normal person might do) I’ve been sneaking off to …

Movie Review: True Grit (2010)

Genre: Western Director: Ethan and Joel Coen Writer: Ethan and Joel Coen Stars: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin Premise: After an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), a boozy, trigger-happy lawman, to help her find Chaney and avenge her father. The bickering duo are not alone in their quest, for a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) is also tracking Chaney for reasons of his own. Together the unlikely trio ventures into hostile territory to dispense some Old West justice. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly This version of True Grit — a remake of the John Wayne version (1969) — stars Jeff Bridges in the role of Rueben (Rooster) Cogburn, the Marshal hired by the true hero of this story, Mattie Ross. Wonderfully played by the very able, Hailee Steinfeld. Who, for my part, outshines her male counterparts. They certainly play second fiddle to her, as she steals every scene she’s in. Whether …

Top 5 Villains

Hosted by Shanah of the, Bionic Book Worm, this week’s Top 5 Tuesday is: Villains more interesting than the Hero. So, I’ve seen lists with Voldermort in first places, someone who will always readily jump to mind. But I’m going to do my best to comb through all the books I’ve ever read, and try to remember 5 of the more memorable villains who, quite frankly, overshadow the hero for all the wrong reasons. No. 1 — Alec D’Urberville (Tess of the D’Urbervilles) Author: Thomas Hardy (1891) To quote: “I was born bad, and I have lived bad, and I shall die bad, in all probability.” Come on, this guy lures an innocent 16 year-old into his house, rapes her and then, makes her think everything is her fault. Not only that, he plays mind games with her. Strong stuff! No. 2 — Prof. Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes) Author: Arthur Conan Doyle (1893) Sherlock’s arch nemesis is, without a doubt, one of the most single-minded, cunningly evil masterminds to ever have been written. Ruthless and vindictive, …

The Woman Who Married a Bear

I missed First Impressions Friday, as I had an unexpected trip to the hospital … at 8am in the morning. So I’m posting this today in catch-up mode. Thursday evening, I started reading John Straley’s The Woman Who Married A Bear (1992) — which I had bought last weekend, you know, because of the title, and who wouldn’t right? And I had planned to talk about it Friday. But, as Friday and Saturday came and went, I didn’t get back to reading the book again till yesterday afternoon. First of all, let’s start with the back cover blurb, which has all the right ingredients to grab your attention: “Cecil Younger, local Alaskan investigator, is neither good at his job nor great at staying sober. When an old Tlingit woman, unimpressed by the police’s investigation, hires him to discover why her son, a big game guide, was murdered, he takes the case without much conviction that he’ll discover anything new. But after a failed assassination attempt and the discovery of previously missed evidence, Younger finds himself traveling across …