Bon Mots, Blood, Brother’s Blog.

Following up my last post comes the mandatory promotion of my brothers new blog.

It’s called Bon Mots & Blood and here’s why you should be interested in it:

It offers well-written reviews of books and video games by a variety of talented authors.

Or, to quote from the site’s About page:

“Here at bm&b, our goal is to give you reviews of over-critiqued books and criticisms of under-critiqued video games.

We can also offer excellent taste in indie rock music, scotch, theories as to why television is increasingly better than cinema, and pictures of dogs.”

So please, go check it out. And tell him his oh-so-talented sister sent you!

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Literature Love: Who are your favorite characters?

For Literature lovers, the characters of a book are much more than just words on a page. They become real, and you find yourself furnishing them with thoughts, idea, histories and pasts beyond what the author has provided. You yell at them when they do something stupid, you cry with them when they experience tragedy, and you walk with them through their adventures.

I’ve been (re)reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it occurred to me just how much I love the character of Samwise Gamgee. He is loyal and strong, even though he doesn’t realize his own bravery. Upon first reading, some may think he falls Frodo like a lost puppy, but Tolkien had much bigger plans for this little hobbit, and as you read on his character is truly revealed. The valiant Samwise that we all were rooting for (or at least I was) is revealed and put to the test–over and over. He is not without flaws and along the way he makes his fair share of mistakes. Nor is he the brightest bulb in the Shire, but his dedication always shines through.

Looking back, there have been many literary characters whose attributes I have admired and enjoyed. I once wrote an essay for entrance into my college’s Honor’s Program on Atticus Finch, a man whose actions were heard and felt throughout the country. He is another one of those characters who we could spend hours praising his accomplishments.

But my choice in favorites isn’t based solely on the positive attributes of a character. After all, there are some villains you just love to hate. My favorite characters are those that make me stop and think, that hold my attention long after I’ve laid the book down. I love the characters who make me care– about them, about the story, about another character even. Or sometimes, my favorites are simply those that make me smile.

Here’s a brief list of some more of my favorites:

1. Emma Woodhouse from Emma

My dad once told me I reminded him of Emma Woodhouse. Wheither or not this was a compliment, I’ve yet to decide. But nevertheless, I absolutely adore Emma. She fails to see what is right before her, being too caught up in daydreaming and scheming. But her heart and mind are always on others, be it her overly anxious father or less fortunate friends. She makes mistakes, as do all of us, but she realizes these faults and tries to make amends. Jane Austen gave her the perfect amount of wit, with just a dash of ignorance.

 

2. Sherlock Holmes

I’m a bit of a Sherlockian, and I can’t help but absolutely love this character. While Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock’s creator, may not have been the biggest fan of his creation, years of audiences have begged to differ. He is such a complex character, with much of his history left unknown (not that succeeding authors haven’t tried to fill in these blanks), and not much is even known about his feelings in the time of the stories. He keeps to himself, busying himself with odd hobbies, and applying his mastery skills of deduction to just about any seemingly unsolvable crime. There is so much to him, even inconsistencies that are primarily due to Doyle’s fading interest in his biggest success, but fans like myself have come up with our own hypothesise to cover these irregularities. Holmes has become more than a literary character, he has evolved into a universally identifiable persona. In fact, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who think he was a real person (well, he is to some of us).

 

3. Nick & Nora Charles from The Thin Man

What’s not to love about this silly, constantly inebriated duo? They are fun and funny, and just plain adorable. Set within Dashiell Hammet’s noir novella, they are a perfect contrast to the dark events, without taking away from the suspense or drama. Oh, and their dog Asta is pretty swell as well. They make me smile, and thus are some of my favorites.

 

 

So who are your favorite characters? Now that I’ve rambled on about mine, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions.

 

On Amazon, E-Books have the Edge

July 1995:

Amazon.com opens its virtual doors and begins selling hardcover and paperback books.

November 2007:

With the introduction of Amazon’s revolutionary e-book reader, The Kindle, the website also began selling corresponding e-books.

July 2010:

Kindle e-books sales surpass hardcover book sales on the website.

And now, customers are purchasing more Kindle e-books than both hardcover and paperback books combined.

A mere four years after its introduction, the Kindle has become such a popular format that its book sales have surpassed a traditional medium whose popularity lasted thousands of years.

With over 950,000 books to choose from, 790,00 of which are $9.99 or less, users have embraced this new technology. In addition, there are millions of free, out-of-copyright books available for download. The Kindle’s success continues to show rapid expansion, with more than 175,000 books added to the Kindle Store within just the last 5 months.

In response to the Kindle’s swift success, Jeff Bezos, the Founder and CEO of Amazon.com said:

“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly – we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years.”

Marketing under the mantra “Buy Once, Read Everywhere,” millions have turned to Kindle’s and other e-book readers as their primary source of Literature. Realizing the success within the market, and understanding the need to compete with these tech-savvy inventions, bookstores such as Barnes & Noble have introduced their own e-book readers. In November 2009, Barnes and Noble introduced the Nook in an attempt to counter Amazon’s Kindle success.

Other tablet devices, such as Apple’s iPad and multiple smart-phone devices, have also hit the market providing similar services.

There is no denying the convenience of e-readers: they allow you to take a multitude of books with you without all the hassle of carrying/lugging, the books are less expensive, they’re light weight, text can be magnified, and numerous other positive attributes. And yet, there remains a niche loyal to the traditional paper and ink method of reading (myself included). After all, no matter how technologically advanced these machines become, it’s impossible to completely replicate the experience of reading a good old-fashion book.

Here are a few more Kindle milestones:

  • Since April 1, 2011, for every 100 print books sold by Amazon, 105 Kindle e-books have been sold (not including the free Kindle books, either).
  • So far in 2011, Amazon has sold more than 3x as many Kindle books as they did during the same period of the previous year.
  • Less than a year after the introduction of the UK Kindle, Amazon.co.uk is selling more Kindle books than hardcover at a rat of more than 2 to 1.

And here are some Amazon.com Fun Facts:

  • The first book sold on Amazon.com was Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.
  • Amazon.com opened their DVD/Video store in November 1998.
  • In 1999, Time Magazine names Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos “Person of the Year.”
  • In October 2001, Amazon introduces the “Look inside the book” feature on their website.
  • Amazon.com is also responsible for the operation of imdb.com.

Stumbled Upon: History of Science Fiction

I love all sorts of literature, but sci-fi/fantasy holds a special place in my heart– and apparently I’m not the only one. Artist Ward Shelley has put together a lovely and elaborate Mapped History of Science Fiction. Including films and books alike, the complexity of the map displays the devotion of a true fan. While I’ve included the picture below, an enlarged photo is necessary to get the full effect. Just something I stumbled upon and thought I would share– Enjoy!

‘Unputdownable’ Penguin’s Classics

While this may not be new news, nor is it even American, I was still thrilled to stumble upon a print campaign that Penguin Book in Malaysia did to represent the “unputdownable” nature of some of our favorite classic novels. While I admit that my initial attraction to this campaign came when one of the books featured was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, I find the whole campaign in general incredibly charming. The agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, is based out of Malaysia, which is where this campaign ran in 2009. I only found the pictures after randomly ‘surfing’ the web, but I’m happy to have stumbled upon them and share them with you. So what do you think?

“Life is infinitely stranger…”

Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”

(Sherlock Holmes, [Sir] Arthur Conan Doyle)