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2014 Reading List

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Blog

New year, new challenge! Every year, I try to complete a GoodReads.com reading challenge, and this year I’ve set the bar at a reasonable 40 books. Last year, I didn’t manage to read a book a week as I intended, so I decided to give myself a bit of extra time to enjoy each book this year.

I’m always looking for good books to read, so I’ll be drawing from this list of recommendations I’ve received from friends when I’m looking for something to read:

Reading List

  • Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines His Former Life on Drugs – Lewis, Marc (Kindle)
  • Gone Girl – Flynn, Gillian
  • Dark Places – Flynn, Gillian
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Larsson, Stieg (Kindle)
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire – Larsson, Stieg (Kindle)
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest – Larsson, Stieg (Kindle)
  • Ulysses – Joyce, James (Paperback/Kindle)
  • 1984 – Orwell, George (Paperback)
  • The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway, Ernest (Paperback)
  • In the Skin of a Lion – Ondaatje, Michael (TBD)
  • Infinite Jest – Wallace, David Foster (TBD)
  • Outliers – Gladwell, Malcolm (TBD)
  • Old Man’s War – Scalzi, John (TBD)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Smith, Betty (TBD)
  • Contact – Sagan, Carl (Kindle)
  • Raptor Red – Bakker, Robert T. (Borrowed)
  • The Passage – Cronin, Justin (TBD)
  • Tigana – Kay, Guy Gavriel (TBD)
  • Shibumi – Trevanian (TBD)
  • Hardboiled Wonderland – Murakami, Haruki (TBD)
  • Herbert, Frank. Dune.
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury, Ray
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bryson, Bill
  • Ender’s Game – Card, Orson Scott
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey – Clarke, Arthur C.
  • Last of the Mohicans – Cooper, James Fenimore
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Dick, Philip K.
  • The Gun Seller – Laurie, Hugh
  • Suck It, Wonder Woman! – Munn, Olivia
  • Stiff – Roach, Mary
  • Clash of the Geeks! – Scalzi, John et. al.
  • Enchanted Glass – Wynne Jones, Diana
  • The Neverending Story – Ende, Michael
  • Daughters of a Coral Dawn – Forrest, Katherine V.
  • Zodiac – Stephenson, Neal
  • Being and Nothingness – Sartre, Jean Paul
  • A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters – Barnes, Julian
  • Silas Marner – Eliot, George
  • Madame Bovary – Flaubert, Gustave
  • A Doll’s House – Ibsen, Henrik
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany – Irving, John
  • The Turn of the Screw – James, Henry
  • A Language Older Than Words – Jensen, Derrick
  • A Fine Balance – Mistry, Rohinton
  • A Portrait of Jennie – Nathan, Robert
  • The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe – Nicoll, Charles
  • Inferno – Niven, Larry
  • Walden – Thoreau, Henry David
  • The Glass Castle – Walls, Jeannette
  • The Importance of Being Earnest – Wilde, Oscar
  • The Stone Gods – Winterson, Jeanette
  • The Second Sex – de Beauvoir, Simone
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Lannisters of Westeros

Posted by on Aug 15, 2012 in Art & Design, Sketchbook

Everyone’s favourite incestuous twins, in the style of my favourite 1980s twins!

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Review: Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

Posted by on Aug 3, 2012 in Comics, Reviews

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not the biggest fan of DC Comics, or even Batman (a few of the movies withstanding), but this story gripped me and held me so that I couldn’t put it down. The art is not entirely my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed some of the ways in which it was carried out — the book requires you to turn it sideways and upside down to follow the story at one point, which I thought reflected that part of the story perfectly. Snyder’s story is an exciting reimagining of the Batman mythos, and I can’t wait for the next volume to come out!

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Review: Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu

Posted by on Jul 30, 2012 in Manga, Reviews

Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tezuka’s series about the life and times of Siddhartha Gautama, the prince that became Gautama Buddha, was originally published between 1972 and 1983. He had already created the iconic ‘big-eyes’ style of manga that is so familiar today, and achieved great success with the series Astro Boy. With this venture, he brought manga to a wider audience, encouraging more adults to enjoy the art form.

I really enjoyed the first volume in this series. There were plenty of familiar manga tropes, and it was hard to keep in mind that he was a pioneer in the field because of how influential his style has become. His writing and art style are iconic for a reason, and I enjoyed things like the small cameos he made (and pointed out!) in the story. His is a very interesting take on the story of Buddha, and it’s made me interested both in reading the rest of the series, as well as learning more about Gautama Buddha and Buddhism.

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Review: Awkward Moments with Men

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Books, Reviews

Awkward Moments with Men by Shannon Lee Miller

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I had no idea life was so hard for skinny, attractive girls with boyfriends that come from outrageously wealthy families! This book, despite being “ripe” (they mean rife) with “hoards” (they mean hordes) of proofreading errors, has really opened my eyes to the plight of educated, affluent white girls everywhere: navigating the “awkward” encounters they have with the educated, even more affluent white men that they desperately want to marry.

These vignettes may work in small doses, like a blog, but strung together, they very quickly begin to irritate.

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Cosplay: Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo

Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 in Blog

It’s that time of the year again, when a fully grown woman’s fancy turns to costuming. Fan Expo and Hallowe’en are right around the corner, and that means it’s time to pull together a costume. I usually go in a group, but this year my Hallowe’en plans are starting to run expensive, so it looks like it will just be me and my boyfriend, tagging along with some awesome Fallout vault dwellers.

My sun and stars, moon of my life.

I finally talked Brandon into going as Khal Drogo, provided that I do all of the actual costume construction. We’re going to cosplay the wedding scene, give or take some expensive details. Reference shots and requirements lists are below, with the price (including shipping and taxes) that I spent on them.

Daenerys

Dany wears an elegant, gray-violet dress with armbands to the wedding. The bodice is held by a triple-dragon fastener. She wears a simple ring on one finger, and her accessories are silver.

Her hair is long and light blonde with beaded braids, and her eyes (in the books) are violet.

Click to embiggen

 Wig – eBay ($20)

Violet contacts – Pinky Paradise ($33.50)

Wedding dress:

Fabric – Fabricland ($)

Gray and purple dye – Michaels ($)

Arm bands

Dragon fastener

Silver sandals – eBay ($34.01)

Drogo

Drogo has long, braided hair and a braided beard. He wears lots of leather and an apron of hide. He has fabric wrapped around his knuckles and painted stripes on his shoulders.

He has a distinctive scar and heavy makeup.

Click to embiggen

Wig – eBay ($19)

Beard extention

Leather girdle

Apron of hides and leather

Leather bracers

Leather pants

Leather boots

 Other Resources

I found this amazing Daenerys cosplay (in Italian).

This is the most amazing Khal Drogo cosplay you will ever see.

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Review: All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Blog, Books, Reviews

All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have book hoarding issues. I bought this book over a year ago, and it’s been languishing on my shelf for over a year.* I picked it up to take a break between epic George R. R. Martin tomes, and I’m glad I did!

I love games and I’d say I consider myself a gamer, but I’m not as hardcore as a lot of dyed in the wool gamers. I’ve loved playing video games since my parents bought me a copy of Jumpman back in the day; I still spend an ungodly amount of time in front of a glowing screen.

I may be playing Jumpman here, or I may be hacking into the Pentagon. It’s hard to say.

Even so, I learned a lot about the history of video games reading this book. It’s by no means encyclopaedic, but there were games I hadn’t even heard of before described in the pages; I learned new things about the games I already knew and loved, too. Harold Goldberg has a lot of personal, hands-on experience in the gaming world, and his personal anecdotes make the text even more engaging. The only complaint that I have is that his writing style can be a bit jarring at times. His prose is engagingly conversational, then abruptly shifts to a formal tone peppered with obscure words in a heartbeat. The flow would have been improved immensely with a little consistency.

Overall, this was a quick, fun read. It rekindled my interest in creating video games, and I think I might take a few courses (or just read a few books!) on game writing and programming, as a result!

*That’s not true. It was on the floor under my computer desk; I tried to class it up with a little white lie.

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