Shada, by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts

Shada: Doctor Who, the Lost Adventure
By Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts
Narrated by Lalla Ward and John Leeson

Shada is a novel tie-in to the popular TV series Doctor Who. Specifically, it is based on the screenplay (written by Douglas Adams) of an unbroadcast eighth doctor story arc.  The Doctor, Romana, and K-9 go to visit an old friend, Professor Chronotis, after receiving a distress signal. It turns out that Chronotis had stolen a dangerous book: The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey. All the Time Lords have heard of this book, but none of them quite seem to remember what it’s for. When the book is accidentally borrowed by a post-doc, the Doctor and Romana must find the book and keep it out of the hands of Skagra, an evil genius bent on becoming the universe. (Important distinction here – he’s not taking over the universe; he’s becoming it.) 

This is the first time I’ve ever read a novel tie-in to a show or movie. My opinion has always been that books can become movies but movies shouldn’t become books. You have to add in so much information for a TV novelization to be a good book. When I read a book, I’m not just looking for a story, I’m looking for beauty. For art. For characterization. These are things that this book did not particularly have. You knew who the characters were, after all. Why develop them? You knew about the world in which this story was taking place. No need for world building. So, in that way, the book isn’t what I’m generally looking for in a book. 

That said, this book did have humor, excitement, and familiar friends going through wild adventures. It was Doctor Who, after all, how could I not like it? 

The book was well-read – narrated by the actress who played Romana in the TV show. K-9’s voice was John Leeson, as well. So that was a very nice touch. This is my first time listening to a dramatization with sound effects. I’ve heard multiple-reader dramatizations, but never with footsteps, creaking doors, etc. It was kind of fun. Maybe I’ll try something like this out again. 

I’m going to have to give this book 3.5 snowflakes because I prefer books that have more characterization and world-building. But I also recognize that this is not what tv novelizations are meant to have. 

March Update

Well, February was another good month! I watched the Superbowl and went skiing with my nephew – who was the most important young man to give me Valentine’s day candy…ok. He was the only young man to give me Valentines. But hey. Someone thought about me!

I wrote a couple of posts about my religious ruminations: Intercessory Prayer – Does it Influence the Divine Opinion?, How Do We Know About Jesus?, and several book reviews: Hunted, by Maggie Stiefvater; The Many-Colored Land, by Julian May; The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, by Karla Akins; The Drowning Girl, by Caitlin R Kiernan; and Resume Magic, by Susan Britton Whitcomb

As far as my other New Year’s Resolutions go, I spent my free-time working on my resume, personal brand, and job applications (yay resolution 3) but left little time for workouts (boo, resolution 2). I decided that I will probably not be able to pull off a Tough Mudder this year if I am to concentrate on more important issues (my career), so I’m slipping back to the more familiar triathlon training goal. 🙂 

Read and Viewed

My nephew, friend, and I have now completed season 2 of the 2005 Doctor Who. So far, I admit that I like David Tennant the best of all the Doctors I’ve seen. But I still have a lot of Doctors to go! This season wasn’t as philosophical as the first season, but it had better special effects and was more exciting. 
Apparently, my sister and her man didn’t realize that my 9-year-old nephew (who plays on a football league) would know what the Superbowl was. Superbowl party plans were made. He was left out. 😦 So my friend taught me how to knit while we watched the Superbowl with my nephew. Independently, we all chose to cheer for the Seahawks. I, because I think hawks are cooler than Broncos, my friend because she likes blue better than orange, my nephew for unspecified reasons that probably have something to do with who his friends were cheering for. Imagine our delight when the Seahawks totally creamed the Broncos. Additionally, I learned to knit while a 9-year-old explained the rules of American football. 🙂 
Idiot’s Guide to Knitting, project 0.5 – The tiny misshapen washcloth.
This was my project during the Superbowl, and I’m VERY proud of it. Yes, it took me the entire pre-game and game to knit that little scrap. But isn’t it pretty? 🙂 I also accidentally learned how to increase from 10 stitches to 13 while knitting this. I’m not sure how I managed that, but I’m told it’s a skill I’ll need to know for the future. 🙂
Reviewed here
Reviewed here
Watched this with a friend. It’s a modern retelling of Emma, and I’m currently watching a bunch of Emma movies so I can do a comparison. 
Reviewed here
This is a cute little picture book about a vain fish which loves its beautiful rainbow scales more than anything….until it realizes that its own vanity and selfishness has made it the loneliest fish in the sea, even if it WAS the most beautiful. An endearing story about how friendship and giving is more important than outer beauty. 
They say this movie is crazy awesome. They are right.
Cute story about the stretchiest mitten ever knitted. Think my knitting skills will ever compare? Fantastic illustrations!
Classic! I especially love the caterpillar’s face after it ate all the junk food. 🙂

Newly Acquired

Free Friday book for Nook
Brandon Mull is my favorite YA novelist right now. I just pre-ordered the first book in his new series. Can’t wait! 🙂
Loaned to me by a friend. This book was written by one of her professors in college.
Thought this would be an interesting book to read after I made my post about prayer in February.
ARC from Netgalley – really excited to read it!
Book release date 3/24/14
ARC from Netgalley
It was released on 2/4/2014
ARC from Netgalley
Release date 11/18/2013
ARC from Netgalley
Release date 10/17/2013
ARC from bookstore
Release Date 3/4/2014
ARC from work
Release date 2/11/2014
ARC from bookstore
Release date 8/12/2014
ARC from bookstore
Release date 3/4/2014
ARC from bookstore
Release date 1/7/2014
ARC from Netgalley
Published 1/7/2014
Given to me by a friend
My very first study bible

One of the textbooks for The Great Courses set Sacred Texts of the World
I’m afraid I’ve skipped on to Lesson 25 with this course, so that it fits with my New Testament / Jesus Studies
Suggested reading for The Great Courses set Why Evil Exists
I’m told this is a fantastic book for job searchers. I was hoping to find a book that is “inspirational” so that I can give it as a gift when I’m done with it.
Free Fridays for Nook

February Update

Another good month has passed, and as you can see I’ve accumulated more books than I’ve read – yet again! As far as my resolutions go, I 1) posted 3 book reviews this month: Hero’s Lot by Patrick W Carr, The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, and Wool by Hugh Howey; as well as an entry about my career development and some thoughts on doubt. 2) I’ve done a terrible job of getting back into shape for a mud run this summer. 😦 3) I’ve worked really hard on buffing up my resume, and 4) I have only joined one group read – which I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to keep up with. So, yay for partly keeping up on my resolutions!

As for personal news, my mom found out she has breast cancer this month. 😦 She had the lumpectomy a couple of weeks ago, and now she’ll have 6 months of chemotherapy followed, most likely, by a couple months of radiation. On happier news, my sister announced that she is pregnant again – another boy. That should be a big change for the family!

Film and Reading Completed This Month

Watched this with my good friend (eeblue) while I was waiting for the New Year to ring in. This is the world’s first introduction to the Daleks, and I really enjoyed it despite (or perhaps because of) the cheesy acting and special effects. I LOVE that they haven’t changed the design in all these years – the Daleks STILL have a plunger for a hand. 🙂

In this story arc, The Doctor, Susan, Barbara, and Ian land on another planet which has been ravaged by nuclear war. On the planet are two races – the peaceful Thal and the violent Dalek. The Thal would like to carve a truce with the Dalek, they will share their anti-radiation medication and the Dalek will share their food. But the Dalek have another plan. EXTERMINATION.

I love the philosophy of these shows. It questioned whether the Thal were really pacifist if it came down to defending themselves, or whether they simply THOUGHT they were pacifist. It also raised the point: There is pride in being unafraid to die, but there is shame in being afraid to live.

I also watched this story arc while waiting for the ball to drop. This story wasn’t very interesting to me, I’m afraid. The TARDIS “crashed” and the group was stuck in the ship for two whole episodes. They went paranoid (for seemingly no reason) and started accusing each other of conspiracy. The story didn’t present any new concepts or philosophies, and the acting / directing  wasn’t strong enough to carry such an uneventful story. 😦 I almost fell asleep.

I started this audiobook months ago for my real-life book club (eeblue and morphidae). I finally decided I ought to finish it.  

Adorable picture book about a monster who wants to be loved, but he’s the only non-cute guy around. He searches and searches for love until… 

I read this book when I was a teenager, and always planned on getting to the rest of the series – but never did. I chose this as a re-read for my real-life bookclub (eeblue and morphidae) with hopes that I’ll finish the series this time around. I enjoyed the book, though it was harder-core science fiction than I recalled. I used to read a lot more hard-core stuff when I was a teen. 
Read this book because it was one of the nominations for the World Fantasy Award last year. 

Newly Acquired

Recommendation from a friend on LibraryThing – she says it will help me on my quest to understand 🙂
Another recommendation from my friend on LibraryThing
Gift from my Aunt 
Gift from my best friend
Free Friday book for Nook
Despite my resolution that I wouldn’t commit myself to group reads this year, I have broken down within the first few days of January. 🙂 There is a thread on LibraryThing to read and discuss the books of this series, and I thought it would fit in well with my “Question of Jesus” resolution. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to read this series for a long time. Looks pretty good.
I couldn’t resist buying this beautifully illustrated book at bargain price at Barnes and Noble
My aunt sent me this book because it helped her fall back in love with Jesus – she thought it would help me answer the “Question of Jesus”
This is the second book to a series that I started last year. I hope it’s as cute as the first.
Will read this for a bookclub meeting in April..
Thought I’d perk up my resume a bit. This seems to be a popular resume-writing book.
Yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m buying “For Dummies” books. What has the world come to? I’m hoping they provide some good tips, though.

This is one of the textbooks suggested for The Great Courses – The New Testament, which I’m using as one of my guides to my New Testament and Discovery of Jesus quest.
And this is the other main textbook for The Great Courses – The New Testament
Free Friday book for Nook
My friend Liz is going to teach me how to knit. I want to knit a sweater! She says I should start with a wash cloth. 
Will listen to this audiobook with my friend Liz while I learn how to knit.

Bought this for my nephew
Signed by author. I’m leading a discussion on this book at the end of February for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Association. You can join the discussion by joining the email list. There’s still plenty of time to read the book!
Free Friday Nook Book

This monthly update was cross-posted on The Sunday Salon, Caffeinated Book‘s Sunday Post,  The Story Siren‘s In My Mailbox, Book Journey‘s It’s Monday What are You Reading?, and on Mailbox Monday.

January Update

Well, it’s a new year! Last year was a difficult one for me – I moved back “home” to Minnesota, and was immediately distracted by family issues. Illnesses and other stresses abounded in my family this year. But I’m thankful that I was living in Minnesota at this time because I was able to be there for my family. Unfortunately, my family problems took away from my available internet time, so I got behind on writing my own blog as well as reading everyone else’s.

Resolution 1: Blog about it! One of my New Year resolutions is to get back to writing blog posts and checking everyone’s blogs again. So hopefully I’ll see you around soon! I’m also going to make a better effort to write editorial pieces for my blog since it tapered off to ONLY book reviews lately. I’m not going to stop with the book reviews, of course, but I’d like to include some other thoughts as well.

I’d been studying the “Question of Evil” for a while, but my studies tapered off when I became too involved in internet-based reading challenges and with my family. This year, I resolve that I will not commit myself to so many challenges and group reads – I will focus on my own interests. Those are: social justice, the “question of evil,” and, my new interest, the “Question of Jesus.” 

Even when I was a child, I asked myself who Jesus was and why people prayed to Jesus instead of directly to God. As the good little Catholic girl that I was, I decided that this was a very sticky question and decided to shunt it off to some corner of my brain and stop worrying about it. Because of this shunt, I have very little relationship with Jesus at all, and even feel a little uncomfortable when other people talk about their bond with Jesus. I just simply don’t know who Jesus is, I suppose. I’m a rather liberal Christian who believes that all religions are “right,” and so I’ve ignored my lack-of-bond with Jesus for quite a long time. However, I have recently decided to read a little about Jesus and find out what He means to me. 

Dedicated to this cause, I went to Barnes and Noble, and browsed the Christian Life and Christianity sections. I resolved that I would buy a “spiritual” book rather than an academic one – because I think the root of my problem is that I have always viewed the question from an academic standpoint. Of course, I failed miserably at my resolution, and bought four academic books. 🙂 Oh well. There’s always next time! Or maybe since I think academically, perhaps I’ll find the answer in academic books? We’ll see. Hopefully I’ll do a better job at keeping my “blog about it!” resolution. Christian friends be warned – my thoughts on the subject of Jesus will most likely stick to academic ponderings.

Resolution 2: Just do it already! I make exercise goals for myself every year, and sometimes I complete them and sometimes I don’t. I DID end up doing a couple of sprint triathlons a couple years ago, and I had been thinking of doing one last year. But I realized that I simply don’t like swimming. It’s so wet and chlorinated! I’ve always wanted to do the Tough Mudder, but that’s one of those mud races where you need a team. And I couldn’t find a team. 

But this year, I have a coworker whose friends do the Tough Mudder every year. Now I have a team! 🙂 So I’m going to train for the 2014 Tough Mudder (Minnesota). I’m a little skeptical that I can make the July 2014 race because right now I would consider myself a “mudderling” in the Tough Mudder Boot Camp. At the very least, I’ll be fit enough for the 2014 Warrior Dash (Minnesota), right? Sadly, I hear the Run for Your Lives races have now been canceled or I’d certainly to THAT again this year. 😦

Resolution 3: Move forward! I resolve to move my career forward. 

Resolution 4: Keep up! I resolve to do a better job of keeping up on my reading of the news / current events magazines. My problem is I really want to know what’s going on in the world, but I’d much rather sit down and read a nice relaxing novel. I need to keep my reading more balanced with heavier stuff that I want to read but am always too tired to get around to. I’m also a pretty slow reader, so my book clubs take up a bit more of my reading availability than I’d like. I wish I had more free time!

Resolution 5: Please, just stop! I resolve to make fewer resolutions. I always make so many of them, and then I get burnt out and don’t complete any of them. I need to focus on those resolutions mentioned above. So no reading challenges! I’ll read whatever I want whenever I want, and not commit myself to group reads and challenges (unless I’m really eager to participate). I set a personal challenge this year to finish up as many already-started series and off-the-shelf (currently owned) books as possible. 

Good luck to all of you and your New Years resolutions!

Reading and Film Completed Last Month

My nephew and a friend of mine watched the first season in one weekend. My friend had just had surgery, so she had a lot of down time to just sit – and my nephew just kept wanting more and more. He also learned to use the rainbow loom while watching Doctor Who, and made me this awesome bracelet (pictured below). I’m glad that we agreed to watch this series through in order, it’s a lot of fun. So far, I’m impressed with the fact that British TV has so much racial diversity – American TV tends to have shows that are biased towards one particular race, but Doctor Who has a more believable race ratio in its casting. Also, I admit that the Dalek are the most awesome enemy EVER. Lethal trashcans with suction cups and lasers?! AWESOME! They make me so happy. 🙂

Awesome Bracelet made by my nephew with the Rainbow Loom
I managed to find the money to re-subscribe to The Economist, which is my favorite current events magazine for foreign news. My first copy was the December 14th – 20th edition.

  • It had an interesting article about the pros and cons of raising minimum wage in America – though the lean was slightly conservative (at worst, it won’t harm anything! It COULD help.) Personally, I don’t understand the deeper economic repercussions of raising minimum wage, but my gut feeling says that it would probably help people who are struggling at the current minimum wage, and I doubt it would cause a permanent dent in the unemployment rate. 

I’m still not a great fan of Rick Riordan, but I’m going to bully through and finish this series. He did a much better job both in writing and in research for this series than he had for the original Percy Jackson series, but there are still some quirks about his writing style that grate on me. Check my upcoming review for more details. 

I watched the first story arc of the 1963 Doctor Who Series – An Unearthly Child – with my good friend and her parents. We enjoyed this campy B&W show, though the Doctor certainly isn’t as charismatic as the more recent ones. And I had a really hard time believing that the 23-year-old Carol Ann Ford was a 15-year-old child. She DID slouch a lot to add verisimilitude.  

In this show, we are introduced to the Doctor and his grand-daughter Susan. Susan’s teachers begin to wonder who Susan is, and why she lives in an old junk-yard. So they follow her in to the TARDIS and are accidentally swept away into the stone age.

I’m slowly puttering through these fairy tales. I end up reading one every couple of weeks. It’s great fun to read this mixture of familiar and unknown stories. Folklore is pretty fascinating, isn’t it?

The Story of Bensurdatu: Three princesses disappear and the King promises that anyone who should rescue his princesses will get to marry one of them. A couple of knights set out to rescue the princesses, but they fail miserably and become servants in an inn because they’re out of money. Then Bensurdatu sets out, rescues the two knights from servitude, and rescues the princesses by jumping into a magical river which the knights are too cowardly to enter. The knights betray Bensurdatu, though, and they leave him to die and take the three princesses home, claiming that they were the rescuers. They marry two of the princesses, but the youngest refuses to marry anyone but Bensurdatu. Luckily, the young man manages to rescue himself, and returns to the king as a hero. He marries the youngest princess, and the two nights are expelled from the kingdom. I feel sorry for the two older princesses, but I guess they should have been strong like the youngest one. 🙂

Newly Acquired

Advance Review Copy. Never read a book by Lisa Unger, but thought I’d grab it since it was free. 
I got an autographed copy of this book for my mom for Christmas. Klassen is supposed to be a fantastic writer, and apparently does fantastic historical research for her novels. I’ll have to read it when mom’s done with it. 

Nook Free Friday