March 22, 2010

Another week, another fine haul of books brought in by the Bookslingers.

This week, I (Miss Corene) discovered White Dwarf Books in Vancouver and things quickly got out of hand. Do not let the circa 1992 website fool you. White Dwarf is a magical place where the magical books live. The decorating scheme is wall to wall to wall to wall to bookshelves full of shiny sci-fi and fantasy books patiently waiting to be purchased.

And it was well organized! The books were separated alphabetically by author and grouped by series. I almost fell to my knees and wept.

The shop is guarded by a chubby Basset Hound who quickly identified me as “Professional Belly Rubber/Person Who Has Meat Treats in Her Jacket Pockets.” After I finished my belly scratching duties, I moved on to the serious business of spending money.

The started off by fulfill the quest the had led me to this magical shop: Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series.

Ironically enough, I don’t actually own any rosemary
This is the first book in the series, Rosemary and Rue, in which our heroine is transformed into a fish for fourteen years.

Yeah. You read that right. And here’s the weird part: Our heroine is transformed into a fish for fourteen years and this fact did not make me slam shut the book and pronounce in the manner of the Monty Python Colonel: “Right! That’s enough of that. It’s simply too silly.”

A Local Habitation – The second book in the series by Miss Maiar’s Saddest Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Seanan McGuire has a fantastic blog where she writes about writing, the writing life, and posts some adorable cartoons. If you aren’t subscribing, I heartily recommend a daily dose of Seanan. And I do mean daily. The lady eats the dictionary definition of “prolific” for breakfast every morning and drinks it down with a cool glass of discipline.

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer is the perfect cup of tea book. In fact, this book is the reason why I drink tea. Before this book, it was only something to be passed up for a glass of water. In the book, one of my favourite characters, the terribly English Jane Brailsford, in the start of a wonderful friendship says:

“I’d hate to miss the spectacle but I’m perishing for my tea. Just sit with me for a moment while I drink a cup and then let me come along to watch you murder Menary.”

And there was just something about that sentence that made me put down the book, trot off to Cally’s Teas (if you are even in Edmonton, stop by and bought a Brown Betty teapot and some of her Tsar Nicholas Russian Caravan. It will change your mind about Russian Blends). And my life was changed forever.

At least in the way that my life is significantly more caffeinated than before.

How pretty is this cover? I can just imagine her internal dialogue: “Oh hey there. I’m just going to finish pinning my hair up and then I’ll come over and start kicking your ass.”

That’s all for this week. Next week I will pick up my holds at the library and either resign myself to a life of saltines and Tetley tea or stop buying books.

And let us allow the dear Colonel to end this post in a proper and responsible manner.

March 6, 2010

Tin Head

I may be totally ambivalent about the movie, but sweet sassy molassy do I love this tin.

February 20, 2010

High Pitched Noises

That high pitched noise you hear buzzing at an annoying high pitch in your ear?

That would be me.

I have not stopping exclaiming my pleasure in sound ranges that only dogs and whales can hear since I hear about the release of this:

Yes. Another time travel book by Connie Willis.

The Connie Willis who wrote To Say Nothing of the Dog: How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last which is the best time travel comedy book with title inspired by Jerome K. Jerome ever. There are parasols and peevish butlers and lots of wretched Victorian poetry and drownings cats and references to Gaudy Night and just enough romance (or is it time-lag?).

And now, she is releasing a two book time traveling extravaganza set in World War II?

*Miss Corene regrets that she cannot continue this post as she has left her computer and is sprinting to the nearest bookstore waving her credit card*

January 24, 2010

Books, Books the magical papery substance!

All my money seems to have evaporated from my account this week.

The Haul from Kidsbooks #1

In unrelated news, there’s a fantastic sale on at Kidsbooks in Vancouver.

January 12, 2010



Eep! My ticket’s for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s production of Mahler’s epic Symphony of a Thousand Voices (or Symphony of a Thousand! as the ticket exclaims) have arrived. I’m so excited…

… To buy a new dress.

Me and Mahler have had a rocky relationship. It all began in 2001, when my roommate (a huge Mahler fan) brought home Ken Russell’s Mahler film biopic to watch. Having nothing better to do than memorize German verbs, I decided to watch with her.

What followed, was this:

Warning: Seriously bizarre and disturbing cinema staring Wagner’s daughter as a dominatrix and Mahler nailed to a cross because… I have no idea. Apparently, this is ART.

After an excruciating 115 minutes of waiting for Mahler to die, I decided that whatever relationship I had with Mahler was over before it began. When my roommate rapturously described his Third Symphony, I heard the Sugarplum Fairy theme music. When she pressed the Leonard Berstein recording of the 2nd “Whinging” Symphony, I buried it under a pile of clothing.

For years, we were happily estranged.

Until 2009, when as a Christmas gift and great person sacrifice, I attended the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony or Are You Seriously Going to Have a Large Mallet in the Orchestra? Just Because You Put in the Hands of a Musician, Does Not Make It a Musical Instrument, Mahler! Symphony as I like to call it.

And I may not ever say this again, but there was too much cowbell. Cowbell at the start of the symphony! Cowbell at the end! Cowbell everywhere! By the end of the Symphony, I was cowbelled-out for the rest of the year.

And yet here we are again. VSO is performing the Symphony of a Thousand Voices as part of the Cultural Olympiad. I figure that it’s my patriotic duty to attend this symphony despite the fact that there aren’t actually a thousand voices.

And, for the athletes, I will enjoy it.

… As long as there is no cowbell.

January 11, 2010

Miss Corene’s Best of 2009

This was a great year for YA fiction. There were high highs (ie my nightmares about The Hunger Games) and bitter disappointments (Death in the Air I am glaring with an eyebrow raised in your direction). And despite the fact that my “To Read” pile is taller than my “Read” pile (Grad School is time consuming and there’s a lot of reading that is significantly less fun than cruising through the newest Gordon Korman novel. Who knew?), I’ve managed to whittle it down to the best of the best of the best.

So without further ditherings, I present:

Miss Corene’s Best Five YA Fiction Reads of 2009 – In No Particular Order With Short Annotations of a Recommendatory Type Except for the One Where I Get All Weird and Art History Lecturer About Japanese Art History. I Can’t Help It, I’m a History Major


Skim - Words by Mariko Tamaki and Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Skim - Words by Mariko Tamaki and Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Remember when you were sixteen years old and everyone was telling you that these were the best years of your life and that you’d better enjoy these days because they are going to stay with you the rest of your life? Do these people remember what it was like to be sixteen? Were these people ever really sixteen?

Skim captures being a teenagers like no other book had done before. This graphic novel by the Tamaki cousins captures the drama, the angst and the depression of being sixteen in a world that doesn’t seem to understand. Skim explores depression, suicide, the fickle nature of teen girl friendships, racism, first love and some seriously inappropriate student-teenage relationships.

What really sets Skim apart is Jillian Tamaki’s lyrical and haunting illustrations. Like the ukiyo-e style that it echoes, Skim’s surreal “Floating World” is brought to life through a stylized viewpoint that reflected her dissociation with the real world.

Oh my god. I sound like my Introduction to Art History professor.

Anyhow, depressing? Yes.

Uplifting? Have you been a teenage girl?

Must read? Absolutely.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This book has scarred me for life. In a good way.

It’s a brutal, unflinching look at a grotesque Battle Royale between children in a distopian future America.


For Life.

You should go read it. You will have nightmares for weeks.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Dave McKean

They don’t hand out Newbery Awards to just anyone, you know. I have a huge literary crush on Neil Gaiman so I don’t know why it took me so long to actually read The Graveyard Book. Maybe it’s because once I started, I knew that the whole day was shot. I devoured this book; forgetting meals, missing bus stops (ending in an impromptu trip to Surrey), ignoring friends and faithful hounds (I may have uttered the words “Walk yourself” to my dog. She responded by chewing on the cover).

A frightening, funny, and wise book about family and growing up, this is Gaiman’s best work.


Order of the Odd-Fish

The Order of the Odd-Fish by James Kennedy

This book came as a bit of a surprise. I’d heard nary a peep about it before I picked it off the library shelves and started reading it on the SkyTrain as I figured that the chapters were short enough that I would be able to finish a few off before my stop.

And then I passed my stop and couldn’t tear my eyes off the page.

And I ended up in Surrey at the end of the line.


The Order of the Odd-Fish is one of the weirdest, ebullient, busy, fantastical, lively, curious, strange, surprising, grotesque, scary, triumphant, inventive books I have read this year.

Words cannot describe the words in this books. You just have to go out and experience it yourself.

And I promise that you will never look at cockroaches the same way again.


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

Susin Nielsen is a writer for Degrassi: I Can’t Remember What Incarnation But I Think Snake is Bald and Joey Jeremiah is OLLLLLLLLLDDDDDDD so you know that anything that comes out of her head is going to be authentic, funny and distinctly Canadian (not in the prairie angst way but the Kids in the Hall vein). Word Nerd is the story of Ambrose who is good at Scrabble, bad at people.

Really bad at people.

So bad, that some of the guys he goes to school with try to kill him with a peanut.

Word Nerd is the best book you will read about ex-convicts and Scrabble this year.

So that’s it for 2009. Here’s looking forward to more nightmarish, depressing tales of murder and misfortune and less unplanned trips to Surrey!

January 2, 2010

A Happy 2010

New Years 2010

Hope that everyone had a wonderful New Year’s and that 2010 be full of strong tea, good books and a robust internet connection!

New Year's 2010


December 3, 2009

Up with Transformative Media!

In celebration of my new computer and her amazing processor, I’ve created a little mash-up combining my two favorite authors/detectives.

November 1, 2009

“Why this is very midsummer madness”

If one considers November midsummer (I’m looking at you, Southern Hemisphere), then midsummer madness is upon us; arriving promptly on November 1st, 12:01 AM.

Nanowrimo season is upon us again! National Novel Writing Month is thirty days and nights (and in my case it will mostly be nights) of literary abandon. Contestants are challenged to write an entire novel (40,000 words) in one month.

Not a good novel mind you.

After watching from the sidelines for a few years and a half-hearted attempt in my first undergraduate year, I’ve decided to take the plunge into madness and write that novel I’ve always been thinking of writing but instead just read a good novel instead.

Am busy plotting away (i.e. drinking tea while contemplating which handsome British actor I would cast as the lead romantic interest) this October and then November will be a wording frenzy.

The best of luck to all participants at the turning of the hour on November 1st!

August 16, 2009

Welcome Post!

My Jazz Hands Bid You Welcome

My Jazz Hands Bid You Welcome

On behalf of myself, Princess Pekoe “Faildog” Brown (whom you will no doubt be hearing a lot from later) and my fierce jazz hands, I would like to welcome you to Miss Corene’s Blog.

Miss Corene is an MLIS Student at UBC, an avid reader of juvenile and young adult literature, co-founder of Bookslingers, knitter, writer (fingers crossed for Nanowrimo this year), researcher (the horrible things I have learned about Renaissance medical men I cannot unlearn), Vancouver city fan (with reservations about the rain), tea drinker, dog owner, Bletchley Park fanatic and all-a-round enthusiast.

Hope you stick around or check out my website or browse through the fabulous Bookslingers site if you are looking for some further reading.

I think the best way to sign off on my first official Miss Corene post is with dignity. Always dignity.

My Big Brave Dog Being Chased by a Chihuahua

My Big Brave Dog Being Chased by a Chihuahua