Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I've been up to

Well, I haven't done much reading lately, but I have a very good reason. Since, I don't have anything book related to share with you, I'll just tell you a bit of what I've been up to.

a view of Big Ben and the London Eye
Upon arriving in England at the Heathrow airport just five days ago, I have registered for classes, explored Kingston, explored Central London, found a beautiful park, and discovered my new favorite pub. 

In Kingston, there are so many great shops it will take me weeks to visit them all. I'm especially excited about Primark! Central London though is where I've had the most fun. In one day I saw the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, and the National Gallery. Then, just yesterday I found a beautiful park called Canbury Gardens, which was absolutely picture-perfect, right down to the man napping on the bank of the Thames to couples picnicking, and children playing football. I've absolutely loved my time here, and enjoy ending my days at the Kings Tun pub! 

I'll have some reading for you soon, but in the meantime enjoy these pictures :)

Westminister Abbey
Canbury Gardens

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Leaving for London

This girl (ME) will be leaving for a 3-month study abroad in England in only 2 Days. TWO DAYS. Anyway, I have been busy busy busy this summer preparing for it, and the day has finally (almost) arrived. Needless to say, I will not be doing a whole lot of blogging when I have a brand new city to explore. I will certainly keep my lovely readers updated on everything that I do read, but my posts will likely be even fewer than they have been recently. Please feel free to contact me anytime. You may do so via my email or Twitter. Wish me luck!! 


Friday, September 7, 2012

Zahn's Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Pages: 216
Published by Scholastic, 2004
Newbery Medal Award

Goodreads Description:
When an eccentric millionaire dies mysteriously, sixteen very unlikely people are gathered together for the reading of the will...and what a will it is!

What I liked, I liked that this is a sitting on the edge of your seat mystery. Lots of dramatic adventure, and if you like mysteries you’ll love this book! I thought it was fantastic.

What I didn’t like, it was very confusing and almost nothing made sense until a little after they solved the mystery.

A short review, 16 different people are all invited to Sam westing’s funereal, with no connection except that they all live in sunset towers. Sam westing’s Will says that he was murdered and he creates a game for them all to find the name of the person using 5 clues for each pair. If they win they get 2 million dollars! But they have to find it before they are the next victim.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 foxes.

I really liked the character named Chris in this book. He was smart and crippled, and nice. 

Reviewed by Zahn

Monday, September 3, 2012

Guest Post by Phil Brody

I Want To Read Blue Elephants
by Phil Brody

Recently, in an effort to promote my debut novel, The Holden Age of Hollywood, I’ve been sourcing photographs that bring to life some key lines and passages from the book.

The other day, I stumbled upon a painting by Yolanda Goulet Marsolais. I typed “Blue Elephants” into Google’s search engine, so it makes perfect sense why I was led to the image you see below. However, I ended up staring at it for a long while because of how effectively it brought to life the following words. 

 Painting by Yolanda Goulet Marsolais

"When you’re a kid, you color without abandon. You color outside the lines. You color however you feel. Blue elephants, red bears, purple trees, green oceans. It’s all good. As you get older, though, everyone tells you to stay inside the lines, to color everything just like you see it. Why? Where’s the fun and intrigue in that? Writers care too much about coloring within the lines. They all seem to be painting by numbers, everyone wanting their stuff to look and sound exactly like what they see up on the big screen. It’s a shame. A few write what they want. A few make their mark, but then everybody copies them and they ultimately wax and wane into the masses. Damn shame. Should write what you feel. Write outside the lines. We need more green oceans, blue elephants. I want to read blue elephants."

The Holden Age of Hollywood is at once a modern detective novel, an unexpected love story, and a provocative exposé of a broken industry. With dark humor and incisive commentary, the novel immerses readers in a neo-noir quest to attain the Hollywood dream, integrity intact.

The conceit of the story involves the search for the one writer in Hollywood who does not want to be found.

After all, we all long to be discovered. Don’t we?

That passage is part of a late night phone call the protagonist makes to a nameless writer he doesn’t know, one he’s only read. He’s drunk, talking into a machine, but nonetheless, waxes poetic and makes an important point in the process.

“I want to read blue elephants.”

Well, I want to write blue elephants, which is what I aimed to do with The Holden Age of Hollywood. I believe I succeeded in that goal. So far the reviews for the novel concur.

I’d love to know if you agree. At any juncture, you can tell me what you think by emailing me at:

Note: That email address is also found at the back of every copy of the book. I want to know what you all think of the blue elephants I painted onto every page. Hope my words resonate and inspire. Hope they make you long for more.

Phil Brody lives in Los Angeles and writes every day.
The Holden Age of Hollywood is his first novel

Follow Phil Brody Online: 

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Holden Age of Hollywood

The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody


"Hollywood died on me as soon as I got here. Welles said that, not me, but damn if he didn't nail it, you know?"
Sam Bateman came to Hollywood to settle a score, but amidst the sunny and 75, his plans went astray. Everything changed the day he drank in the intoxicating legend of Meyer Holden, the greatest screenwriter Hollywood has ever known, the one who pulled a Salinger and walked away. Holden now tacks pseudonyms onto works and buries them in the bottomless sea of spec that is Hollywood's development process. They're out there for anyone to find -  but at what cost? In his quest, Bateman severs all ties and sinks into a maddening world of bad writing and flawed screenplays. Paranoid and obsessive, the belligerent savant encounters an eccentric cast of characters - each with an agenda - in his search for the one writer in Hollywood who does not want to be found.

Phil Brody's The Holden Age of Hollywood is at once a detective novel, an unexpected love story, and a provocative expose of a broken industry. With dark humor and incisive commentary, the novel immerses readers in a neo-noir quest to attain the Hollywood dream, integrity intact.

Enjoy this excerpt from the novel:

I escape to the patio, perch myself at the bar, where the bartenders can’t pour the Red Bull or the Kettle One fast enough. I watch them work, mesmerized by the stampede for this overhyped mixture of depressant and upper. I know no one uses terms like that anymore— depressant, upper. Call me old-fashioned. Actually, call me well-rounded. Helps me do my job and deal with the reason I’m doing time in this town. Drink to that.
“Another gin and tonic?”
I nod once to my best friend at this party, my only friend in this fucking town—the bartender. Not this bartender per se. Every bartender. They mix a cure for what ails me. Sure, it’s a momentary cure, but those are some of my happiest moments. Way it is.
Too many people. Too loud. Attitudes starting to asphyxiate. I stare at the sea of lights, the view from the Hills of this coldfuckcold city that’s 75 degrees every day. It’s an endless four- story grid of isolated, lock-the-door-behind-you lives, where everyone is either so wrapped up in creating their own success story or so damaged from their failure that resentment for one another is all we have in common.
Lights everywhere twinkle, look so inviting, but it’s a trick. I know it. 

Meet the author: Phil Brody:
Phil Brody lives in Los Angeles and writes every day. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he relocated to Chicago after college and enjoyed a successful career in Chicago in advertising. After moving to LA, Brody toiled in development, penned a few spec scripts, and has worked as a writer, producer, and director in documentary TV. His short film, A Blue Christmas, was the grand prize winner in The Short Film Group’s First Annual Script Competition and was acknowledged in the WorldFest-Houston and Cleveland International Film Festivals. Brody is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio and an alumnus of Writers Boot Camp in Santa Monica, California. The Holden Age of Hollywood is his first novel.

Check back soon for a guest post by Phil Brody himself!

Now, Win something! Here is a giveaway for a $30 giftcard to Amazon. It would probably be a good idea to get yourself a copy of Phil Brody's The Holden Age of Hollywood. 

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