cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “blogs”

Bond vs Solo: challenge post


Eli over at Coach Daddy asked me to write a comparison of two well-known heroes: James Bond and Han Solo.

Hmm, is what I said at first and thought it would make for a good post. He said he would match my post. Okay, challenge on.

First of all, I have grown up watching James Bond. As a kid I remember waiting for the clean version on television because there wasn’t any way my parents would have taken me to the theatre to see Sean Connery in all his bomb and bombshell glory. For me, Sean Connery remains the definitive Bond: suave, swagger, skilled, gentleman, although a bit chauvinistic, but hey, it was the 60s. Two years ago I had more to say on the Bond Birthday post, when Bond turned 50. Check it out.

Switch over to my college years and we have Star Wars on the screen. That I did get to see on my own. And I did so several times. Stars Wars was amazing! My dad loved westerns, especially John Wayne, and I immediately recognized that Han Solo was a bit of John Wayne in space. He played the rogue hero, the one who knew everyone, had a bit of reputation, knew how to get in trouble and get out of it. And he gets the girl. It was no surprise that Harrison Ford became the BIG star after his gig as Han Solo.

But to compare them, Eli? Seriously? Bond to Solo? That’s apples and oranges. I think they are best left to stand on their own merits. Spy Wars and Star Wars are two different categories. Although it is interesting that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford became allies in that mash-up genre movie Cowboys and Aliens. Bond and Han made a pretty good team, come to think of it. I couldn’t see Connery slugging aliens, but he did play the Green Knight early in his career, and that’s pretty close to being an alien.

The real problem with this comparison is that there have been so many Bonds, and only one Han Solo. Each Bond played the role differently (again note past post). Han is Han: braggart, lovable rogue, a bit of a McGyver (Harrison even rocked a mullet in the 80s trilogy), a mercenary with a golden heart. Even with his mullet gone gray in the latest Star Wars movie, Harrison is still Han.

So–I’m not seeing much to compare. An apple is an apple next to an orange. I like both, but when it came to choosing which movie to watch in the theatre, I instinctively plunked my ticket down for Bond. Why? Craig has honed his Bond down to perfection, at least Skyfall impressed me. I’m not all that eager to see an aged Han Solo. Dude, who wants to see a hero age?
update: I did see the new Star Wars and was not impressed. I remain a purist. And it’s funny that Daniel Craig managed to get a cameo role. 

Okay, Eli. Your turn. Are Bond and Hans comparable, or are they stand alones?

Bond in space? image: 8bitnerds.com

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Word Nerd and Proud of It


I am a professed Word Nerd. I collect words (lexophile) study them (etymologist), mispronounce them (cacoepy), and read about them (Book Booster). Maybe my mom propped up my crib with an old dictionary, because no one else in my family shows this proclivity.

My love for words overflows into all facets of my life. As a kid, other kids would roll their eyes at my vocabulary, and teachers would be either amused or irritated at me knowing what the vocabulary word meant without any prompting. “Show off” was sometimes bantered about when I was around. Not really. Misunderstood for my zeal of learning vocabulary, yes, that would be better.

Zoom up to my young mothering years (an empty nester now–still mothering, but from a defined distance). I guess I nearly ruined my children’s lives by trying to instill the love of words into their little bodies. “No one talks like us, Mom!” And that was a bad thing? The payoff came much later, when recently the youngest progeny phoned to say the boss folk liked how well he could express himself in company meetings. Ah–delayed gratification.

As a teacher, I legitimately get to introduce vocabulary to students and interject my enthusiasm for increasing word strength and even test them on what the words they need to know for life and  for state required assessments and get paid for it (I just committed a polysyndeton with all those conjunctions–great word).

Lately, as a blogger, I get more attuned to posts about words dropping my way. For instance, I found this gem in my box not too long ago, even though it’s a 2012 post, it’s still relevant to me.  It’s all about Word Hacking, that delicious art of creating new words. There is all sorts of action and exercise in Word Hacking. There’s combining, mash ups, and verbalizing, and nouning. One could seriously lose calories by inventing new words. Shakespeare must have been in stellar shape with all his inventiveness. Doesn’t this look ever so fun? Check out the full blog post

Blog Spotlight: October Round Up


I usually try to spotlight a blog I’ve come to appreciate, yet this month I’ve jotted down so many posts I thought it best to spotlight them all:

Mytwosentences.com keeps me both amused and inspired with the nifty talent for combing a photo with two sentences. A novel in a handful of words that would make Hemingway sit up and take notice.

Daniel Katz provides insightful, informative educational opinion and newsbits.

As a Book Booster, I am always prone to stop by and learn more about literature, which is what Interesting Literature serves up: tasty bits of literary trivia.

Lately I’ve been wobbling in my commitment to blogging and that’s why I especially appreciated Robert’s comments about his five years of observations as a blogger. Check his post on 101Books.

I also appreciate photos and SFarnell, provides some stunners.

One of my newest followings is CoachDaddyBlog. His avatar (or is it his metaphorical symbol?) is a Stormtrooper. His quick wit and observations are worthy of a visit.

If you don’t know these bloggers and their wares, I hope you stop by and check them out. What blogs are in your Reader bin that brighten your day?

Yay! An Award!!


BR_Award

I like awards. I especially like them when they are unexpected. Nicole over at I Am Booked unexpectedly gifted me with this lovely award and I shall now pass it forward by A) discussing how I started CricketMuse plus a bit of advice on blogging and B)nominating 15 other blogs.

The Blog Start
The conference presenter said “You have to establish a platform if you intend on getting noticed as a writer.” I took that bit of insight to heart and bounced around ideas for a blog. It had to be something I had an interest in, could sustain, and it needed to be catchy. Well, I am passionate about books, reading, writing, and teaching. So finding sustainable subjects wasn’t too much of a stretch. And in terms of catchy–that was the tough part, because I know getting the title right is an important part of blogdom, as well as grabbing reader attention. It’s competitive out there. After some different ideas, I decided upon Cricket Muse because Cricket is a nickname (chirpy little critters with a song that is either annoying or pleasant depending on your point of view) and Muse, which is what I do a lot–ruminate, didn’t sound quite as lyrical. I’ve been blogging about three years and I haven’t run out of ideas yet. In fact, I have a page full of post possibilities I constantly add to.

The Advice
As for advice, I offer two tidbits: consistency and scheduling. Bloggers come and bloggers go. I follow lots of blogs, yet few keep a consistent posting pace. I believe the most popular blogs keep a fairly visible presence. I suggest posting at least once a week, more if possible, to keep interest level up. This brings me to scheduling. I have devised a schedule of topics for different days of the month. I have a running theme of “Why We Say” which explores all those odd sayings that work themselves into our speech, as well as a Poem(s) of the Month page. I also try to spotlight a writer, a blogger, or a book. This equals about six posts a month or about every five days I’ve got something going. This diversity of topics also appeals to a variety of readers, so I am constantly attracting new viewers. If readers like what they see, and get a sense for what is offered, they will, it’s hoped, keep coming back, and perhaps become a follower. And I suggest follow up visits. It’s not only polite, but it’s also fun to go out and visit new-to-you blogs, and exchange howdies with those you already know.

The Nominations
The following blogs have a commonality in being Book Boosters. I am indeed a reader, and I have a definite soft spot for others who unabashedly promote books to their readers. I hope you check out their blogs. And once again, a big thanks to Nicole!

  1. Paperback Princess
  2. Interesting Literature
  3. BitsnBooks
  4. Books on the Tube
  5. Literary Distractions
  6. The Literary Classics
  7. The Nerdy Book Club
  8. One Minute Book Reviews
  9. Reading with Rhythm
  10. 746 Books
  11. Picture This Book
  12. 100 Books Every Child Should Read Before Growing Up
  13. Book to the Future
  14. Friendly Bookworm
  15. Blogs-of-a-Bookaholic

Not on the list? It was tough to choose, since I follow so many different blogs, I decided to keep it to the theme of Book Boosters, and I know there are more bibliophiles on my list. So, if you aren’t in the line up–you are in my thoughts, just not on my list (for now).

Happy blogging!

Blue Skies,
Cricket

Mockingbird Winner!


I have yet another reading quiz result. This time I explored what kind of hero I might be–I am quite pleased with the findings. Honestly, I wasn’t peeking at the choices. Yet, here it is and *tadah* I’m feeling vindicated. Ready…

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Apparently because I like to read in my spare time, fight for what I think is right, and prefer my own company I’m an Atticus kind of hero(ine). All this time I thought I was a scrappy bookworm. This time I included the link. Do tell what your results are.

What kind of hero are you? Take the quiz!

What Book Are You?


I am drawn to determinant quizzes. You know the ones–you answer all sorts of questions that lead to some revealing aspect of your personality or your secret career or dream vacation spot or other stuff that thought we knew about ourselves but obviously don’t.
One of my countless book-related web subscriptions, The Reading Room, dropped an irresistible quiz into my mailbox: what book am I? Obviously any matters of import ceased until I discovered my book type.
I was lead through a gamut of questions starting with the obsequious “What kind of book do you most think you are like?”
Their choices weren’t really working for me: Mystery, Quirky, Romantic, Escape. Where is the classic option?
I was hoping to nudge my answers towards the announcement I was indeed a Jane Eyre kind of book–a heroine who triumphs over injustices and is remembered for her unwavering principles that finally show the world that intelligence wins over beauty. That is Jane Eyre, right?
Well, with “classic” unavailable I went for “quirky” figuring Thursday Next is pretty quirky and she got to know Rochester as well.
Be careful if quirky, as it leads to surprising results.
Other questions involved preferred people types, job and vacation choices, a couple of introspective questions that lead to my supposed book type.
A drumroll would be appreciated
Then again, which do you think is the result?
1. Da Vinci Code
2. Sherlock Holmes
3. Harry Potter
4. Tom Sawyer

I wasn’t wasn’t terribly disappointed but grew a bit miffed when I read what choices other commenters were bestowed. I retook the quiz three times and never did get Pride and Prejudice or even Alice in Wonderland.
So–
What’s your guess? What book type dost thou thinkest the Cricket be?

Book Booster Beckonings


 

Book Booster

I have been quite remiss in my blog hostessing. Usually I invite new followers to add their name to the Book Booster roster. If you are a recent follower, please accept my apologies for not having invited you sooner. What’s a Book Booster? This is the detailed link and here is the short version:
Read books? Recommend books? Buy or checkout books by the armload? Have a TBR list and stack longer and taller than Superman can leap over in a single bound? Consider yourself a Book Booster and consider this your invite.

What are the benefits?
If you are hoping for a Barnes and Noble discount, I’m afraid the details are still sketchy on that one.
And reserved parking at the library is still being negotiated.
I am still working on that secret handshake.
However, you can revel in the knowledge you are in great company and you can spend hours clicking to connect with other Book Boosters.

While I can’t guarantee all the links are still active I can ensure you will no doubt discover a few new blogs to follow, and in turn they will no doubt find and follow you and that Six Steps Separation thing gets one step closer to becoming a big blogging bunch of Book Boosters.

What? You’re not on the list and you thought you were? I can fix that…

So send me your “Of course add me to the roster” approval and then it’s happy browsing.

Blue Skies and Happy Reading,

C. Muse

Blog Spotlight: Book to the Future


My latest spotlight is on another blogger whom I’ve exchanged commentaries since the beginning of my blogging foray.

In his own words:

Everyone calls me Ste J.
I am an obsessive book creature, in fact I spend more time between the (book) covers (I read in bed as well though) than I do with ‘real’ people.
Which means I probably spend more time with you guys than anyone else. Feel privileged.

Ste J is a bona fide bibliophiliac. He loves books. That’s a bonafide fact. Proof: he once read 100 books in 362 days, just to see if he could do it.  His blog is neatly organized into genre and with a mere click, a person can investigate reviews and titles. His tastes are eclectic, his insights meaningful, and his replies clever.

For a sampling of his classics page, click here.

Lately, his posts have wandered a bit off the original track of being primarily bookish in content and he writes on whim. I can relate.  I too have strayed from my original intent of providing astute book reviews that would dazzle and benefit bookdom and have taken to writing as serendipity taps the muse.

So, I hope you will check out Book to the Future and meet the intrepid Ste J, where as his banner states “more book than a mad ‘orse.”

Costco: Warehouse Candy for Book Boosters


Recently we gifted the youngest progeny with a Costco membership and instead of being thrilled with loading up on cheap eats, he headed for the book aisle, practically leaving a trail of slavering as he beelined over to the miles of titles.

“Mum, look at all these!” he gushed. Looking over from my own browsing I could see him transfixed by a display of author works, the ones with the fancy covers and decorative texts.  The librarian teacher that I am can only smile and hum like llama in my happiness.  It’s so wonderful to have hatched a reader amongst the brood.* Especially since he was a late bloomer in the reading arena.

While I prefer to keep my frequent flyer status at our local library, our youngest dreams of houseplans that include a generous library. “And, of course, I will have you come organize my collection, Mum.” Aah, these are retirement plans in the making.

*the other kiddos are readers too, how could they not be with an English teacher librarian for a Mum? However, this particular kiddo gets as excited about the whole sensory aspect of reading as I do. Is there a book geek gene?

Anyone else hit the book aisle first before launching out to fill their Costco cart? Even before snarfing the vendor snackies?

Neil Gaiman: Why We Need Libraries


  • image: greenbaywriters.wordpress.com

Neil Gaiman is one of those buzzword authors. Unfortunately, I have not harkened to becoming a reader of his works. I have tried, really I have. However, I do perk up when it comes to successful authors speaking up about reading, particularly about libraries. Last year, Gaiman spoke eloquently about the need for libraries and the lecture,  “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming” was reprinted in The Guardian.  

Excerpt:

The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.

Another excerpt:

Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before – books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio. But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world.

  • image: pinterest.com

Check out the lecture. You will be cheering by the end of reading it. You might even feel like running down to your library and say to it, “Thanks for being here.” Don’t forget to hug and a librarian and say the same.

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