Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Multi-tasking Queen!

All the major items have been packed away and my apartment is starting to look ridiculously sparse. I packed all of my books weeks ago since they got classified non-essential items. Luckily for me, we went shopping and these were too good of a deal to pass up, and I have some reading material for the move. So while I pack the last straggling items away, I will be reading through these excellent mangas.

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

I had never watched this series while it was active on TV and even made fun of the few kids I knew who watched it at the time. My husband turned out to be one of those who tuned in each week for a new episode. You can't really make fun of something your spouse grew up with in a nice way. So instead, I was an excellent wife and sat down to watch the entire series through in one weekend. (No easy feat at 153 episodes). I fell in love with the series myself. There are certainly parts that drag, which I still make fun of vigorously, but now I feel I have earned the right to mock those moments. As with Avatar, I decided to read the original mangas from which the show was based. This is an excellent story with some of the best moral lessons that can be taught. The humor of the original TV show stayed true to the manga while making some necessary changes to get approved for American morning cartoons. (Which is a bit of a shame really since those moments are incredibly hilarious and not obscene. American mothers are ridiculous.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This is real cross country

I used to run cross country in high school. I loved the freedom of running through the woods instead of around a track. Unfortunately, running was not as fond of me and eventually developed knee problems to hinder me. Now I am older (and supposedly wiser), I have learned to properly train and stretch while running with my knee braced. There is nothing like the freedom of heading out and exerting your energy on the wilderness.

Silver-White by Shawn Underhill

Another unexpected surprise from the free Kindle preview bin. You can now purchase the book for 99 cents and it is worth the dollar. The plot summary I read before downloading my freebie really pulled at the runner inside me. This book seemed like a completely new take on the werewolf dynamic and I find that very refreshing in an overwhelming genre expansion. No full moons or blood lust just the instinct of a deadly animal inside each human. 

Tangent: I have read fantasy for many years and understand that there are only so many directions an author can go with creatures of the "other" world before they run into someone else who had the same thought. It just seems that with the onset of public media and social attention spans the size of a flea this overlapping expansion has become alarming. You can't look at a recommendation page without an entire list of the exact same book by a different author. I understand introducing a different theory and arguing philosophy, but do we really need 100 authors all trying to make it Hollywood?

Back on track: Shawn Underhill managed to be refreshing as a new author. His writing stutters throughout the whole novel, but I am optimistic he will develop his skill as he gets used to the writing-for-the-public process. Maybe even a better editor can help him with his sentence structure. Overall, the writing did not detract enough from the excellent story and dynamic interaction of the characters. He really created a world that I could fall into and forget about what I was doing. The pace was almost too quick for my liking and seemed to rush through some excellent opportunity for build up and story development. This might be one occasion Robert Jordan could be a mentor, but I understand the YA genre hampers that tome quality. Best cliffhanger I've read in many years, though.

Here is to moving to my new house!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Triple header

As a nice little break from my brain bender with Karen Armstrong, I am enjoying the continuing world of Avatar: the Last BenderI have recently become a fan of graphic novel series as my favorite TV shows no longer run (such as Buffy and Avatar). It is amazing at how much good TV gets cancelled because it does not get popularized from being thought provoking, which actually makes people think about their morals. 

The Promise by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko

The Promise Part 1 cover  The Promise Part 2 cover  The Promise Part 3 cover
I fell in love with the A:tLA TV series as a recommendation on Netflix and was excited to see that they had continued on with the creators through a Graphic Novel series. These certainly kept the charm and humor of the originals. The quality of art work and printing make these fantastic books to own. They certainly didn't skimp on paper quality, though I wish they were a little longer. I plowed through each in about 20 minutes. 

These stories are filled with good lessons that get people thinking on the quality of their lives, and the experience of sharing a world with a multitude of other cultures. It stresses the importance of considering the new families created between the blending of culture and the pressures that arise for a new generation. Avatar can provide insight to all ages. Glad to see there is another three part series to follow this holiday season.

Here is to another Amazon promotion series introduction!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Final interpretation

The stunning conclusion to a stunning expose.

I was raised by an agnostic and born-again Wesleyan ex-Catholic, did undergrad at a university run by Dominican sisters, then married a Latter Day Saint. My father did not attend any ceremonies or sermons, and almost avoided such events held in a religious setting like the plague. He believes in God but, also, in the strict separation of church and state. He had a fairly decent set of morals he passed to me and I believe myself to be a good person. My mother trooped me through multiple churches as she attempted to find a house of God that suited her better than the strict Franciscan Catholic upbringing taught her. She should have read this book. It would have made her venture much shorter and a few mistakes less. I witnessed the sermons, masses, and preachings of multiple fathers, bishops, priests, pastors, etc; as well as, the faith of the agnostic. I grew up believing something more than me kept control over the vast everything, but held nothing fundamentally close to my heart. I wandered through religious studies on my own through high school and lost a belief structure (it was just a general concept that didn't really matter on any given day, I had bigger fish to fry with passing calculus). 

My theology classes and surrounding presence of the convent opened me to explore what I believed in again. The sisters taught the sciences, maths, and humanities classes as well as the expected theology. Their open tolerance to all the religions and the pursuit of knowledge of any kind really clicked. Then, I married a Latter Day Saint and experienced the closest monotheist religion I could accept. They never tried to save me and were true to their faith in church and outside of it. I have since continued to study the world's religions as I have never been satisfied with the monotheist approach and duplicity of the practitioners. 

And now I have read Karen Armstrong's book. I still maintain this is a book that everyone should read at minimum once (if not repeatedly through their life). The direction that all of the Western religions are heading just prove the thesis. I will continue to stick with my Vedic Dharma, but at least I feel I have made the most informed study on God I could.