Aug 29, 2008

Cool Links and Housekeeping

First of all, I have a couple of cool links to share. You might have heard about a website called Fieldreport from other bloggers this week. When I first heard about it I instantly fell in love with the idea. Today I finally had some time to explore it properly, and yup, it is as cool as it sounds.

And what is Fieldreport, you ask? It's a website where aspiring writers can submit their fieldreports and get feedback from reviewers. A fieldreport is a short creative non-fiction piece, a story from your own life. There are several categories you can submit it to, including TeenReport, Friends and Family, Music and Arts, On the Job, Travel and Nature, Witness to History, etc.

What I find so cool about this site is the fact that it gives aspiring writers the opportunity to get honest feedback about their writing. I mean, if you show your writing to your friends and family, it's likely that they won't be able to be completely unbiased. Fieldreport is like a worldwide writers workshop. And then there's the community aspect - a group of people who enjoy reading, writing and reviewing gathered in one place.

As if all of this wasn't enough, Fieldreport offers a grand prize of $250.000 and monthly prizes of $1000!

Finally, I just love their motto:
On the outside, FieldReport is a contest, big enough to get a lot of people involved. On the inside it's a community of writers and readers dedicated to great storytelling and to breaking down walls of human isolation.

The message of FieldReport is a simple one: The only thing that really matters about life is how you open your heart to it.
Another interesting-sounding website is FeedZa, a public RSS feed reader where readers get to vote for the most interesting blog posts. It sounds like a cool way to discover new blogs, and in case you're wondering, yes, there's a book blogs section.


Secondly, now that I'm back home I plan to spend some time doing a few blog-related things that I've been putting off for ages, like finally adding links to other bloggers' reviews to older posts, updating my index of authors, etc.

Over the summer I got quite a bit behind on reviews, and after a while I just got lazy and didn't post about some of the non-challenge books I had read. I didn't get to participate in Weekly Geeks 12, and even though it's long past, I'm totally borrowing Eva's idea and doing it anyway. So if any of you would like to hear my opinion about some of these books, just let me know and I'll write a mini-review. Also, tell me if you have any specific questions that I could include in my post.

And since I'm doing this, I thought I'd extend the list and include all the books I didn't post about this year. Keep in mind that I might not remember some of the early ones all that clearly, though. Also, though normally I don't give ratings, I decided to use them so that you can have an idea of how I feel about the books and adjust your questions accordingly. Here's the list:
  • Halfbreed by Maria Campbell (6/10)
  • 300 by Frank Miller (6.5/10)
  • The Firework Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman (7.5/10)
  • The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (8.5/10)
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac (9.5/10)
  • Legs by William Kennedy (8/10)
  • The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (9/10)
  • The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth (7/10)
  • Black Ivory by James Walvin (8.5/10)
  • My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall (4/10)
  • Jazz by Toni Morrisson (8.5/10)
  • The Neon Bible by John Kennedy Toole (7.5/10)
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlement, Vol 1 by Alan Moore (7/10)
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (8.5/10)
Ask away!

17 comments:

  1. I totally empathize with being behind on blogging. I think my giveaways page was last updated in April!

    Anyway, I have some questions.

    Jazz: If you've read any other Morrison, how did this book compare?

    My Life with the Chimpanzees: Why only 4/10? Is it poorly written? Do you hate chimps? ;) What inspired the low score?

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: If you saw the movie, how did it compare to the book? What did they leave out that you felt was important?

    On the Road: Did you know I've seen the original scroll? Since you gave the book a 9.5, maybe you'd like to check out my post!

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  2. Good luck catching up - I got behind several weeks ago and I'm just now digging out from under...
    When you get a chance, I'd like to know your take on The Firework Maker's Daughter (how does it compare to His dark Materials?) and the Road to Wigan Pier (I took a class that used this for the textbook - it stirred some spirited discussion!)...and what's up with the chimps' low rating (I haven't actually read it, but...)?

    fieldreport looks like fun!

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  3. I'm really surprised about the low rating for Jane Goodall as well. I don't question it for a second, of course, I'm sure you've got great reasons. I haven't read any of her books, so I have no clue what they're like. And I just asked Rich if he'd read it...he hasn't, but he said he really enjoyed her book In the Shadow of Man. This really has me quite intrigued! And frankly a tad relieved that I don't have to add it to my wish list :) But how about this--which of the others should I add to my wish list, and why? (The only one I've read is On The Road.)

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  4. I empathize with you on feeling behind. I loved The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul! I plan on reading it again in future. It has been so long since reading it that I'm not coming up with any questions for you right away.

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  5. Thanks, Ana, for the post on FieldReport. I'm really glad you are enjoying the site!

    Will Petty (the CEO)
    williampetty@fieldreport.com

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  6. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents!! I don't have any specific questions, but I have seen the title. So, I guess--did you like it? Would you recommend it?

    Also, I have to laugh a little at the thought of you being lazy. With all of your beautiful reviews that you must put a lot of time and thought into and all of the commenting you do and the volume of reading you finish I have a really hard time believing you are lazy, Nymeth. :)

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  7. Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul: What did you like about it? Anything you didnt? Do you like what he did with detective and science fiction here?

    A league of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Is this good a good comic book to begin reading with? How does it compare to the movie (I know already asked, but we really want to know!) As good as or equal to The Watchmen?

    Also, I tagged you for a meme: http://susanflynn.blogspot.com/2008/08/book-meme.html (welcome back, Nymeth!!)

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  8. My questions have already been asked (thanks Dewey and Ken). So I just wanted to say welcome back and glad that you had a safe trip home. :)

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  9. Thank you for the questions, everyone! I'll answer them in a few days. But for now I will say that I was surprised not to like the Jane Goddall book too, and that one of the problems with it was not nearly enough chimps!

    Will: Thank YOU for coming up with something so cool :)

    Tanabata: Thanks!

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  10. Damnit I want more information on 300 and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. Alex can't remember if he has a copy of On The Road as he is itching to read it. I think I will just get him a copy. Glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

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  11. Rhinoa: On the Road was actually a re-read...I just love that book. But more on that and the others later!

    And Trish - somehow I had missed your comment earlier, sorry! Thank you, but believe me, I can be lazy sometimes :P

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  12. Gee, you've reread On The Road and it still rates a high 9.5? Oh dear! Can't wait for your thoughts on them and see what I missed :) I liked the idea of the story but it never pulled me.

    As for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, please tell me you've seen the movie and it's nothing, nothing like the graphic novel to restore my faith in Alan Moore :)

    So I guess those aren't exactly questions :)

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  13. Okay, I can't stand being silent any longer.

    The movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is awful.

    The comic books are like a snifter of finest brandy. They're homages to entire eras of literature; the characters are mostly taken from nineteenth century adventure novels and mysteries and whatnot. The plots are dense and rich and brilliant.

    The first volume is good stuff, but easy to spoiler. The second is a rewrite of The War of the Worlds, the third is a smorgasbord of amazing, using the device of a literary character who has been alive since ancient Greece to hit on just about every major (white, male) writer in Western literature.

    Alan Moore is also my favourite writer, beyond LOG. He's quite the phenomenon.

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  14. Lightheaded: I think I actually enjoy On the Road even more with each re-read. And I haven't seen the movie of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but the general consensus among Alan Moore fans seems to be that it's nothing like the books. And I think Alan Moore himself hated it.

    James: Like I was telling Lightheaded, I haven't seen it, but yep, that's what I keep hearing. I enjoyed the book, particularly all the literary allusions. This was my first Alan Moore, but I plan on reading more. Probably Watchmen next, then Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, Promethea, etc.
    (And thank you for not being silent. Comments are always appreciated.)

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  15. If you've not read much Moore, you might want to check out V for Vendetta before Watchmen. It's more accessible, though it's from earlier in his career so it is a little uneven.

    It's also uneven because there was a large hiatus between some of the issues. Several years.

    Watchmen is a phenomenon, and you should absolutely read it before you see the upcoming film. And it's not that it's inaccessible, it's that it makes most sense when read within the context of understanding superhero history.

    I always recommend people read Moore in the order of V for Vendetta, Watchmen then From Hell. They're very much three different stories about the same ideas.

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  16. I just signed in to Fieldreporter.com today and I thought it was pretty cool! A fun website.

    Questions for you:
    300: I know the movie was pretty violent, I avoided it for that reason. How was the book? Would you recommend it?

    Jane Goodall book:
    What about the book made you give it a 4/10? The writing? Organization? Style?

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  17. James: Thanks for the recommendation. I will definitely read Watchmen before watching the movie. I actually have refused to see the V for Vendetta movie so far because I haven't read it yet.

    Kim: Thanks for the questions, I'll answer them all tomorrow.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.