Friday, June 21, 2013

Your Summer Reading List

Looking for some hot reads this summer? I present

Beth's Library
Books read and approved by yours truly

Middle Grade:
-Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan)
-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (J. K. Rowling)
-The Wednesday Wars (Gary D. Schmidt)
-Okay for Now (Gary D. Schmidt)
-In a Pickle (Beth Overmyer) ...Sorry! I couldn't resist!

New Adult:
- The Breakaway (Michelle D. Argyle)
- Pieces (Michelle D. Argyle)
- Harvest Moon (Krista D. Ball)

-The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins) FREE on Kindle!
-The Moonstone (Wilkie Collins) FREE on Kindle!
-N or M? (Agatha Christie)
-And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie)

-Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
-A Jane Austen Daydream (Scott D. Southard)

Science Fiction:
-Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
-The Host (Stephanie Meyer)

-The Silver Linings Playbook

-The Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien)
-The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (J. R. R. Tolkien)

-The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

Light Horror:
-The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux)

-What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank (Krista D. Ball)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Random Fact Time

From all the research I've mentioned doing, you should've known I couldn't keep it all to myself! For those interested (and those not) I present, in no particular order...


1. You've always heard that only nobility wore crimson in medieval times, right? "What was so special about the color red?" you ask. Good question, Watson. It's simple: Crimson was a type of fabric. It usually came in three different colors: Green, blue(or was it brown?), and white.

2. In all the movies, you see King Arthur riding off to battle on horseback, feet secure in his noble steed's stirrups. Lovely picture, no? There's just one big problem: Stirrups most likely didn't make it to Europe until the 8th or 9th century. King Arthur's supposed reign took place from 6th to 7th century England. That means a lot of battles on foot (can you imagine riding without security, a heavy shield in hand and a none-too-light sword at your side?)

3. Forget early medieval pottery. Early attempts were...sad. Well, what would you did if you didn't have a potter's wheel and didn't have the fuel or kiln to fire the clay at a high enough temperature? Most tableware of the early middle ages were most likely made of wood.

4. Like tableware, most furniture and buildings were probably wooden in the 6th and 7th centuries. Not much has survived, seeing as wood decays and breaks down naturally in soil. Mostly what we have to go on are documents and art from that time.

5. Candles in the middle ages were made of tallow (animal fat.) It stunk! But if you were starving, well, it's better to eat than to have light, am I right?
They say you're always learning something new. What did YOU learn this past week? 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back in Time

Time-travel. I think we've probably all been exposed to the trope, whether in movies, books, or TV shows.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells was published in 1895, and two films were made out of it. Also, back in the late 90's, the children's television show Wishbone did its own mini adaptation of the classic.

Doctor Who, while not my favorite show (wink), has drawn viewers from all over the globe. Time-travel, space travel, is there nothing a Tardis can't do? And will someone please explain to me why there are so many different Doctors?

 Back to the Future brings images of bright orange "life preservers" and Deloreans to mind, as well as the hip sounds of Huey Lewis and the News. Let's admit it to ourselves: The first two were the best, the last one was...Well, I'll let you argue it out in the comments :)

The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix takes us back and forth through time. It's a fun middle grade series, and I don't want to give away the major twist so Shhhh!

I've never read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, but I've heard that it's good.

There are two major disadvantages I see in using this genre/trope/whatever-you-want-to-call-it:

1. The paradox factor (I killed my father as a child, so now I'm not born, but if I weren't born, I didn't kill my father, so he's still alive and I was born, but I killed my father...) Don't get me started on alternate reality (Star Trek rebooted...I am pro, btw.)

2. Historical accuracy (Read: TONS of research.)

Despite those major hurdles, it's one of my favorite genres to write (and read) in.

Anyone have any other thoughts on this? Any favorite time travel books, programs, movies I should check out? I'm always looking for new material to entertain myself with :)

Keep breathing,