Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Movie Recommendation

June4

I went to see Night Watch (NOCHNOI DOZOR), a new film that’s playing at the local rep cinema. As the film’s website says:

NIGHT WATCH (NOCHNOI DOZOR) is the first installment of a trilogy based on the best-selling Russian sci-fi novels of Sergei Lukyanenko (which also includes Day Watch and Dusk Watch). This visionary horror fantasy film features a dazzling mix of mind-blowing effects, adrenaline-fuelled action and suspenseful terror.

NIGHT WATCH (NOCHNOI DOZOR) was an instant smash hit in its native Russia when it was released in July 2004 shattering all previous box office records. Made for a mere $4 million, the film surpassed both LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING and SPIDER-MAN 2 at the Russian box office. Internationally acclaimed, it was also Russia’s contender for the 2004 foreign language Oscar® award.

The film is dark, visionary and incredibly cool. I would highly recommend it and I will be ordering my copies of Sergei Lukyanenko’s books today.

Night Watch is being released by William Heinemann (in English) at the end of July and the sequel Day Watch is scheduled for release in January 2007. No word yet on a release date for Dusk Watch, the final volume in the trilogy.

Weekend Reading

June3

It’s been a crazy week and I am very tired. I slept in way too late today and I think I might have thrown off my sleep schedule just a bit.

So, the mandated cleaning is taking second place to reading. I’m pleading tiredness but really I’ve been sucked in by When the Rivers Run Dry: Journeys into the heart of the world’s water crisis by Fred Pearce. Completely enthralling is all I will say at this point and utterly terrifying at the same time. Along the lines of an accident waiting to happen. I’ll post my review once I’m done.

Black Books, a favourite TV show

June1

I don’t know about you but there is so much for me to love about British TV shows. My hands-down favourite? Black Books…it’s just so…black!

Thanks to Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind for bring this fabulous link to my attention. This is Bernard in all his glory, enjoy.

My Hor-O-Scopes, Courtesy of Crazy Aunt Purl

June1

It’s that time of the month again chez Crazy Aunt Purl – Hor-O-Scopes. Given the fracas from last month, and the general bleck of May, I have high hopes for June. What gives that hope you ask? Why the bold section below! Bring on the joy June…

SCORPIO (Oct. 24 – Nov. 21)
I heard it through the Pissed-Off-At-Astrology Grapevine that Scorpios were really unhappy with the way most of last month went. How do I know this? Did you not hear all the Cancers also complaining that Astrology had FAILED us, and we were giving up stars altogether, and also, hand me that bottle of Cabernet right now before I smack you upside the head with this here mean and ugly stick? So, June is here, and I know you’re still kind of mad about May, but you simply cannot get revenge on a whole month, so you must let it go. The problem is of course Saturn (Damn you, fat planet of hardship!) and take it from someone who just spent seven long years wandering in the desert of Saturn, it does get better. The best thing about you and June is your real willingness to try new things to revitalize your life. It’s rare that ya’ll don’t dissect through the consequences or results of all your actions, and this month you will feel liberated and (mostly) care-free, willing to travel to a new place, meet new people, all of it with a who-knows-what-could-happen attitude. This, Scorpio, is a very positive development. Walk lightly, and leave the mean and ugly stick for someone else. Maybe the Virgos could use it.

Paul Auster wins Spain’s 2006 Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature

June1

I saw this today on Rake’s Progress:

Paul Auster, author of novels including “Mr. Vertigo” and “The New York Trilogy,” has won Spain’s Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature for 2006, the prize giving foundation said on its Web site.

Auster, 59, also writes poetry and has written screenplays for movies including “Smoke” and “Blue in the Face.” He is considered one of the “most relevant” U.S. authors of his generation, the Prince of Asturias Foundation said.

His work “creates a literary universe around chance and the search for identity, where reality and fantasy invade people’s every day space,” according to the foundation.

Congratulations to Paul Auster. I really enjoy his work and I was lucky enough to read and review The Brooklyn Follies last fall.

Thoughts on a Saturday

May27

There is something about being wide awake at 3 am that makes getting up at 5:30 am rather difficult – so my day started without much sleep. It was already a busy morning at the Mennonite Relief Sale when I arrived shortly before 7 am. The plant tent had done some pretty brisk business on Friday night, selling over $2,000 of plants in a few short hours. The tables were looking rather picked over but more plant donations kept arriving throughout the morning so we were busy pricing and selling house plants, perennials and vegetables/herbs.

I picked up several new house plants: a really healthy coffee plant, a philodendron, Dracaena and a tiny baby palm. Hopefully I be able to find them all the proper light and humidity to keep them healthy.

I’ve spent most of the rest of my time reading and will have some new reviews to post as soon as they are posted on the review websites. David Long’s new novel The Inhabited World causes a lot of reflection and Mark Childress returns to small-town life in the south of the 1970’s in One Mississippi. Both will be out in early July.

For pure kooky fun, grab Shanna Swendson’s Once Upon Stilettos, as ArmchairInterviews.com says, it’s chick lit for the Buffy and Bewitched crowd.

Next on the reading pile? The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, Ticknor by Sheila Heti and The Dodecahedron by Paul Glennon.

Type Books: Toronto’s Newest Independent Bookstore

May26

I’m posting this for my friends who don’t read BookLust’s great blog. Toronto has a new independent bookstore so you must all go forth and shop! You can find this gem at 883 Queen Street West and business hours are as follows: Mondays – Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00am to 6:00pm, Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00am to 8:00pm, and Sundays from noon to 5:00pm. Type’s website is still under construction but given how cool their logo is, I can’t wait to see the website in all its glory.

I know where I’ll be going on my next trip into Toronto.

2006 Mennonite Relief Sale in New Hamburg, Ontario

May24

I’m putting in a plug for the annual Mennonite Relief Sale being held this Saturday (May 27)in New Hamburg, Ontario. This event involves 2,000+ volunteers each year and since 1967 has raised more than $12 million for the relief efforts of Mennonite Central Committee.

What will you find at the sale? The famous quilt auction, lots of great food, homemade pies, indoor and outdoor plants, and a tent featuring items from Ten Thousand Villages.

Events start at 7:00 am at the Fairgrounds in New Hamburg and the Quilt Auction usually begins at 8:30 am. For a partial preview of this year’s quilts, visit the online gallery. Maps to New Hamburg can be found here.

If you’re in the area, this is an event you shouldn’t miss. As an added bonus, many people in New Hamburg hold their annual garage sales on Saturday.

Initial musings on finishing "The Ministry of Pain"

May22

First I have to say wow…totally not what I expected from the blurb on the jacket. Incredible writing and I have to admit that I wish I could read Croatian to have the experience of reading this in the original.

I wanted to read this prior to reading the postings in the Book Group at Words without Borders or any of the interviews with Dubravka Ugresic. I didn’t want others’ comments to affect how I read the book, which is my general practice when reviewing a book.

There is so much going on in this book that I need to digest. I hope to have a review up here shortly – in the meantime I can suggest is that you go and grab a copy of this book and read it as soon as possible. It’s well worth your time.

Long Weekend

May19

After so much posting on Tuesday, I went into a dry spell. I’ve been writing so many reviews lately that I had lost any words to put here.

Today’s a new day and the start of the weekend that I always think of as the beginning of summer. I’m not sure why other than warmer weather beginning and this being the first long “party” weekend…which so does not go with it being the celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Yet this is traditionally a party weekend. The name most people call it by is the “May 2 – 4” weekend (a two – four is what we call a case of beer in Canada) since May 24 is the office Victoria Day.

All this rambling leading to one point. It’s a long weekend, Monday is a holiday, summer is officially starting here at the Eclectic Closet – party on!

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