31 December 2007

Sagan

I finished up Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan after all, though i didn't expect to. i am pretty sure it was a reread for me. It is less cohesive than some of his earlier ones but that is to be expected considering it was completed after his death. I was intriugued to read about the global warming situation 10 years ago though and how the scientific consensus is really over a decade old.

stupid-head Republicans.

So to finish off the year for sure: 69 books, 20 of which were nonfiction.

More Philosophy

Completed Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy by Richard Green and K. Silem Mohammad last night during the Titans game. Props for making the playoffs guys! Good luck in the rematch against the Chargers.

As for the book, it is one of the best in the series. I read these books, as i've posted in the past, both to expand my knowledge of specific philosophers and their theories and ideas as well as to peek at the depths of meaning in some of my favorite works. The decent books in the series will have essays that say "here's a philosopher, here's his idea, this is how it applies to the work in question". which is fine for the first reason i read these books. The really good books in the series have essays that say "here's some things that happen in the work, this is how it illustrates the theme of the work, here's how it relates to the big questions of life, here's how it defends/opposes this philosopher's work". That is precisely what all the essays in this volume do. Whether analyzing Kill Bill as a modern retelling of Oedipus by way of female empowerment, discussing the structure of Pulp Fiction as an analysis of the compartmentalization of time, or using the crooks of Reservoir Dogs to compare group morality, all of the essays truly elucidate Tarantino's movies.

I think i just used up my big word allotment for the next few days.

I have one other book i am working on but i probably will not finish today. so that brings my total to 68 for the year with 19 as nonfiction.

29 December 2007

One More Audiobook

I completed The Return of the King on audio this week so i have finished up that series. it was wonderful to hear the Battle of the Shire part as that was what i really really hoped to see in the movie yet it was left out. That is really the part where you see how much the hobbits have learned, grown (literally and figuratively), as well as how the Shire has dealt with the events of the books. I had hoped it something of it would be included in the Special Edition dvd but, alas, it was not.

Speaking of movies, my Netflix is back on. YAY! My first one watched was Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa. It was fantastic! of course, this is one i should have seen forever ago but didn't. I am trying to expand my horizons. I immediately hopped on and added half a dozen others by him to my queue. Which looks kinda funny now, as it's a list of old and new Japanese movies, the tv show Firefly, the series discs for Cowboy Bebop, then a long list of regular American stuff I've not seen, like Disturbia and Little Children and The Pursuit of Happyness that will probably just be moved around for a long time.

So back to books. I'm kind of taking a breath before plunging into my new challenges next year. I am working my way through a couple of non-fiction ones that are both just a series of essays so they may both be finished up before the new year begins.

currently: listening to the Vandy-UT Martin basketball game.

27 December 2007

BTT on 12/27

A Very Interesting Question, one i had intended to post about anyway!

It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?
I have several. Though i didn't start blogging books until February and i don't know what i read in January, I'd say my favorites in no particular order: The Watchmen, Rebecca, Ender's Game, The Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Golden Compass. There were several more that were close but not quite to my top 6. I'd say i am a bit surprised. Three books that fall under young adult? A graphic novel from the 80's? A gothic romance from the 30's? The Kushiel series at least makes sense: a lush, complex fantasy world full of strong characters with several books to delve into is exactly what i enjoy. And I knew Harry Potter, unless it ended with everybody dying, was going to be a new favorite.

Most hated? Wuthering Heights and Wild Seed. at least picking the bad ones was easy! I actually didn't have too many i really didn't like, though i know there were a few i didn't finish and therefore didn't write about. Weirdly i didn't put any non-fiction on my favorites list. i did read quite a few but going back over i don't know that any were really spectacular; a lot of stuff that i wouldn't reread, which to me is a major sign of a good work. I read a lot of timely stuff, about environmentalism or politics, as well as some memoirs which really don't lend themselves to rereads.

Updated later, because now that i got linked to i wanted to have a bit more substance:
Totals, not counting what i finish up the next few days
All books read:67
Non-fiction: 18
Audio: 4

23 December 2007

A Few Things

Played around with my blog colors and i like the little changes i have made. Made it just a touch brighter but it still works i think.

Posting my TBR alternates. I totally reserve the right to mess with these in the next few days!
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein (1K1)
  • Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert (1K1)
  • A Meeting at Corvallis by S.M. Stirling
  • I, Robot by Issac Asimov (1K1)
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (1K1)
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (1K1)
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (1K1)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1K1)
  • A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage (NF)
  • Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett (NF)
  • Charlemagne's Tablecloth by Nichola Fletcher (NF)
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams

Currently: watching the Titans game, in HD at my friends' house...if we win the next 2 weeks we are in the playoffs!

22 December 2007

I Am Legend

So i finished the novel yesterday morning and saw the movie yesterday evening. But before i go into that...

WE SAW THE BEST PREVIEW!! For the new Batman movie. It was in IMAX. A 4 minute scene from the movie. it was the coolest. Some people we were sitting near apparently didn't like the movie and said that at least they got to see that preview.

The book and the movie are radically different. First, i want to say i loved the movie. It is definitely in my top 3 or 4 that i've enjoyed this year. Will Smith was wonderful and the dog was precious. The cinematography and set dressing blew me away. You believe you are seeing a 3 years gone abandoned NYC. Spectacular.

As for the novel, I read this one maybe 15 years ago. I don't remember exactly, but it was during my vampire fetish phase so i know it was in high school. It had been long enough that i really didn't remember much of what happened though. I would say that it is semi-typical of sci-fi or horror short stories (it is only 160 pages long) in that it is pessimistic and rather sad. I was trying to explain to BF, as he had been hoping that the movie would end as the book did, that novels or feature length films have to have a happy, or at least optimistic, ending. The hero can die to save others but he can't just die.

17 December 2007

TBR Challenge

Hooray! i get to post my regular list for my last challenge i am signing up for the beginning of the year. For this the idea is to read 12 books in 2008 that have been on your "to read" list for a while. The guidelines are anything you've had or wanted to read for more than 6 months. I've tried to mix up some non-ficton, regular books and some 1k1 books. I don't have my alternates set but here's my list for what i intend to read.
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith (1K1)
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1K1)
  • A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (NF)
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1K1)
  • The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer (NF)
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov (1K1)
  • The Lover by Marguerite Duras (1K1)
  • All The President's Men by Woodward and Bernstein (NF)
  • The Society of S by Susan Hubbard
  • Purity of Blood by Arturo Perez-Reverte
I feel these are all pretty doable. i am so excited about what i am set to begin reading in January.

16 December 2007

Stuff I Am Fiending For


  • a real cafe au lait. the crap i've gotten up here just doesn't compare

  • while we are at it, beignets.

  • LOST, for which i only need wait until January 31!

  • a good long hug from my father

  • the dark chocolate cayenne pepper cookies i can't find the recipe for

  • a night out dancing and drinking where i don't have to drive home

  • a jaw dropping, freak me out horror movie

  • 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep


Golden Compass Movie

Had a wonderful day with BF yesterday. We hung out, did the shopping for everyday stuff thing and saw The Golden Compass. He was really nice and attentive and funny. We got to fuss over how to put together a kitchen cart. Hugs and kisses and cuddling under the blankets because of the cold. It really was one of the best days I've had in a while.

But enough with the mushiness. To the Movie.

A bit of a different experience reading the book and seeing the movie 2 days later. It made me quite concious of the differences between the 2. An experience i am going to repeat this week with I Am Legend. I liked the movie and it had wonderful special effects. The ice bears and the airship scenes were particularly good. I do understand, even if i don't particularly like, why the filmmakers shortened the book and changed the ending. It is really a setup for the next book in a planned series, like the end of Fellowship of the Ring. BF felt that the ending would really turn people off because he knew a few people who didn't watch the rest of Lord of the Rings because the first movie didn't have a clear cut end. But these are both TRILOGIES! Hence, there are 2 more installments after the first one. I would think people would be aware of that. But i guess if people didn't know that LOTR was 3 books 50 years after the first came out they may not know that His Dark Materials is a trilogy 12 years after it came out.

People is stupid.

14 December 2007

BTT for 12-13

A great question, quickly answered.
Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))
Yes. see the sidebar? BF pointed me to LibraryThing in April 2006 according to my profile on there. This was back when you had to pay to join to get to 100 books though i think they've upped the amount now. why? not sure what attracted me at first. I hadn't any catalog or list of books i owned before that. I do like being able to see who else has a lot of the books that i do as well as seeing which ones only i have posted. I actually have more unique books than i would have thought.

currently: watching The Return of the King and realizing the Mumakil charge owes a bit to the Battle of Hoth from Empire Strikes Back.

Book Review: The Golden Compass

Yesterday evening i finished up The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I absolutely loved the book. I immediately loved Lyra; she reminded me of Hermione crossed with a Weasley twin. And i can completely see how this series is recommended to people who like the Potter books. I loved the fantasy setting and the idea of the daemons. That bit reminded me of the Companions in the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey. I can't wait to read the next two; they will be first on my list for January and the YA challenge!

That being said, i had actually thought that this was going to be one of my "younger" selections for the challenge, more of a children's book than YA. After reading, I personally would not put this in the children's category at all. I would say it is a fantasy novel that happens to be about children, not a children's book. The ending, especially, is heavy and dark but there are plenty of dark moments throughout.

I've decided i am definitely going to the movie tomorrow, with or without BF if he changes his mind about our date. I've now lent the book to him while i've borrowed I Am Legend. It is a reread for me but it has probably been 15 years since i did read it so i barely remember it.

Now, back to a bit about YA. After reading this one i've kind of realized i am not totally sure as to what it is. Wikipedia hasn't been much help. The authors list they have is kind of weird. They list Cujo, Carrie and Christine as young adult books? um, no? They have teens or kids in them but they aren't FOR kids. Then again, i know i read these (and The Shining, The Stand, Salem's Lot, It, Eyes of the Dragon, etc) before i hit 14 and don't think i was traumatized. So perhaps YA is just a category for novels that have someone under 20 as the main character? Perhaps i'll have a better hold on the category by the time i finish up the challenge.


12 December 2007

Two Towers and other Things

I completed The Two Towers on audio book while on the way to the grocery store this evening to get some food for dinner. I really enjoy hearing these novels. I have now 16 discs for The Return of the King and then I'm finished with all of these and i have to return them to my brother. I do wish audio books weren't so damned expensive; even at the discount bookstore i go to they are still 25 or more per book on cd.

So i am going to see The Golden Compass on Friday with BF. so i decided to go ahead and read the book. Yes, I KNOW that i am not supposed to start it until January for the YA challenge but i am reading it now! :P i will slide the next one in the series on my list instead.

On another note, when did December become May? No, i don't mean the weather, although that is far more spring like than winter. I mean the movies! Normally May-July are the months when my movie calendar is full. Now it is crazy. In the last few weeks we've had Beowulf, Juno, No Country for Old Men and The Golden Compass. Friday I Am Legend comes out, then the 21st we really get slammed: Sweeney Todd, National Treasure 2, Walk Hard. A couple more on Christmas day:
The Water Horse and Persepolis.

So what all am i definitely going to see? Compass this weekend and I Am Legend (in IMAX no less wheee!) next weekend. Sweeney Todd hopefully by/on Christmas. Possibly Juno and Persepolis when they hit Green Hills. Walk Hard within a few weeks. Anything else up for one of the big Oscars i'll try to watch before the awards (I'm looking at you, No Country!) And I haven't even looked any further out to see about January, though that is usually a bit of a wasteland for film.

And my netflix comes back on 12/20.

On another another note, I did Something Different today. My therapist (long story, maybe I'll explain later) says that to battle my depression, anger and sadness i need to do new things and meet new people. Not to date but to get my mind on other things. I don't know how well it will work because i am kind of a one-track-mind wallower person. But i am trying. So I had been looking at doing some volunteering (less time commitment than another job or a class) maybe at the library (what a surprise) or the Humane Society. I had signed up on Barack Obama's campaign site a while back when i donated a few bucks and get emails occasionally. I got one about writing letters to caucus volunteer in Iowa yesterday. So today i did. I mean i wrote the first letter and then wrote 4 copies. It did feel nice to send notes to strangers. So now I've added that campaign to my list of possible volunteer places.

09 December 2007

The Scarlet Pimpernel

I liked this one much more than i thought i might. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, is about an Englishman who risks his life during the French Revolution to smuggle aristocrats out of France. He has a secret identity as a rich, dumb, idle English lord, rather like Batman. Although because i am such a comics fan i knew immediately who the Pimpernel was, i still enjoyed the adventure.

I have realized i am probably NOT going to finish my Armchair Traveler Challenge, unless i pick some other books or suddenly feel like reading On the Road. I have had it from the library for about 6 weeks and just can't get into it. i am going to try the Forster this week so we'll see where it goes.

In other news, i went with BF to the Titans' game today. His first pro football game. I went a few years ago with some friends to see Pittsburgh and Jerome Bettis beat up on us. Today i got to see some great defense for 3 and a half quarters then LT break out. So i am 0 for 2 of the Titans' games i've gone too.

currently: eating chocolate pecan pie

03 December 2007

Magic Study

Finished up another one. Magic Study by Maria Snyder. In this one, the main character from Poison Study travels to the country of her birth to learn to control her magic. Of course, we have a rollicking adventure along with the lessons. We get a lot more about the world of the stories. And we get the setup for the next book, due out in March. While the characters are not deeply drawn and the coincidences can be a little overdone, i am really enjoying this series so far. As far as i can tell these are the only books by this author.

So i've already received my Christmas present from my parents: a $75 gift card to Amazon. Whoopee! I've spent 25 so far buying a coffee grinder and the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. so i've got one (or possibly three) of my YA reads for next year.

Currently: waiting for the Heroes fall finale; hoping the South American chick is one of the ones to die.

TBR


A little thing is running around the blogs about everyone's TBR stacks. So i figured I'd post mine too. I've counted mine up and i have 25 books pictured. That doesn't include a couple relationship books i have as well as a few more racy ones i couldn't bear to picture. There are a couple library books in here though.

I have a tendency to get a lot of books through the library though. I know i have a bunch on my list for challenges next year and a few of the ones on here are for those.

I just don't have a tendency to really accumulate a bunch at once. this is really the biggest stack of unreads i've probably ever had. i honestly probably have only had 5-8 books TBR before. Working on challenges as well as my 1001 list has caused me to accumulate some. I think i've had more time recently, unfortunately, to read so i've been getting books in anticipation. And Christmas is coming so i am sure i'll be getting books and/or gift cards as presents. everyone around me is pretty good like that.

01 December 2007

Beowulf--The 3D Extravaganza!

So we went to see Beowulf last night on the wonderful IMAX screen. We hit the 9:30 show and as i had woken up about 6:15 am i was a little tired. Really affected me on the drive back more than during the movie.

Anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I never had to read this one in school so i only kind of vaguely knew the story. BF did read it previously so he knew what was going on. I really expected a normal sort of fairy tale: hero fights monsters and after some trials wins, rescues a fair maid, gets treasure/land, lives happily ever after. But this one really wasn't. The story was far more melancholy than i thought. Really sad, especially the ending as we are shown this cycle we've just seen hasn't ended but simply restarted.

Of course the effects were incredible. i am actually tempted to go see it again on a regular screen just to see if it is any different. There are a lot of shots that i could see could have been added just for the 3D effect, like spurting blood. I would say it is the best whole movie i've seen in 3D but for sheer awesomeness the last 20 minutes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which IMAX had in 3D were better.

currently: so so glad LSU pulled off the win against UT.

29 November 2007

BTT

Finally i managed to do one on the right day!!

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…



On first impulse i want to say no. I want to say that i do read series but not necessarily books in groups like this question describes. I know i get on kicks where i read a bunch of fantasy, a bunch of popular science, a bunch of historical fiction, a bunch of horror, a bunch of philosophy. And really, looking at my blog since february seems to have shown this. I feel like when i just glance what i've read it's random except for some of my challenge books. But then when i really reread some of the posts i do realize that there is a method to my madness. I might have pulled a book out of my lists to read next but looking back i can see why i picked that one. Sometimes reading one book does point me directly to another; in science or philosophy specifically i'll decide to read another book that the first references. As i just finished up the Philippa Gregory novel so i was looking at some Tudor England history stuff but hadn't picked one to read yet. But the reason i picked up the Gregory book was because i really liked Poison Study.

So that is a long way of saying, yeah, i do have my own twisted logic sometimes in what i read.

28 November 2007

An AudioBook and A Regular One

Finished up The Fellowship of the Ring on audio on Tuesday morning. It is quite interesting to listen to these on audio. The reader is great, doing voices and really differentiating the characters. But, since i've seen the movies so many times, it is strange to hear him do Sam as a sort of Scottish commoner. Legolas sounds all light and airy. Boromir sounds bitchy the whole time. that's my only real complaint. i am getting through a little quicker than i would have thought. I do have to say the 30-45 mins drive to and from work is a nice chunk to get through. Now, on to The Two Towers.

I also completed The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory today. Tore through that 750 pages in two days. I really liked it, obviously. Since i've been struggling my last few books (except for Poison Study) it was really nice to be able to power through a really good book. This one has been made into a movie with Scarlett Johansen as Mary Boleyn and Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn. So much stuff happens in this one i don't know how they're going to get it down to just 2 and a half hours or so. Now i have a craving for more historical fiction. i may pick up another by this author as she has several from the time period and they don't seem like they'd have to be read in order.

I did pick up Magic Study and The Mote in God's Eye today from the library today. I'm skipping my fantasy group read for December as it's the second in a series and i don't fee like reading the first one and the second this month. I am still waiting on the theme for november for my classic group so not a choice there. I have a few other books on deck so not sure what i'm going with next.

25 November 2007

Pop Culture and Philosophy

I so love this series. At a quick glance, i have 7 of them and there are about 2 more that i'd like. I just found out Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy comes out on Tuesday! Now i have to decide if i just want to get it or wait at least until after Christmas in case someone gets it for me.

Why do i like this series? Yeah, part of it is having them sit on the shelf, telling people that i understand deeper things than they do. So sue me. Part of it is to tell people that yes, there is something more to The Matrix than cool effects, there is something bigger in South Park than Cartman's ass. The main bit, though, is to realize why i like what i like. I read these to learn more about myself. I read to help myself think in bigger terms. I know i don't get all the allusions, deeper themes, etc, in the things i read and watch and it is nice to get them laid out for me. That reason is why i've watched the Matrix Trilogy with the Philosopher's Commentary. I want to know what i'm missing. i want to know what i don't know.

and yeah, i know this desire does show a bit about my personality. i'm working on that.

Finished Wuthering Heights

For a group read. Also a 1001 Book. I am so glad i finished it.

I hated it. Really. A LOT! My understanding is that this was one of the great classic romance novels. so what did i expect from a romance written in the early 1800's? Flirting that doesn't quite sound like flirting, "understandings", separations, conflicts of class, a happy ending. what did i get? An absolutely miserable character in Heathcliffe, an spoiled, whiny, adopted sister whom he is in love with (ugh) for no reason we can see. She loves him back, again for no real reason, but marries someone else. Heathcliffe disappears then shows back up rich (which is the one thing i WAS interested to find out about but we never do) and proceeds to cause his love/sister to die, marries her sister-in-law, makes her miserable. everyone has a kid, they grow up (and though the characters know Heathcliffe is scheming to try to get their estate, no one thinks to send the daughter away) and are made miserable too. Then everybody except 2 of the kids die. And then the 2 kids get married.

It was weird. And depressing. And probably didn't help my mood recently. And i put it on paperbackswap immediately.

20 November 2007

Poison Study

No, i am not figuring out how to hurt BF. I finished up Poison Study by Maria Snyder. It was EXACTLY what i needed to read right now. Light, fun, quick, lovely. A bit of magic, romance, poison, intrigue, chases, escapes, true love, miracles.....

um, sorry, wrong book.

But it is a great story. I've already hopped on the library site to get the next one. It reminded me a little of the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey with less sex and much shorter. Third one comes out in the spring, so that's another that'll be up for next year.

Speaking of next year, i signed up for one more challenge. The Young Adult Challenge over on Thoughts of Joy. 12 young adult books for the year. when i go over to YA, i end up loving it. Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Lemony Snicket are all great series. I've been wanting to read some Roald Dahl as I only read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a kid. And through the last few months I've read several reviews for some books that will qualify for this challenge too. So the list, so far:
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Marked by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
  • The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
  • Eldest by Christopher Paolini (I read Eragon a while back)
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
  • Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn
  • House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
So that's the list. I was really trying to get a range of stuff. I am definitely going to need some breaks from the Russian stuff and the heavier classics i am trying to read. NOTHING from my 1k1 books list, not even Lewis Carroll, so i am glad of that. The 1K1 list is essentially the challenge of all challenges but i can get a little weary of them. I do realize that at least 4 of these are either the beginning of or early in their respective series', so i completely reserve the right to drop a few if i end up tearing through a whole series instead.

19 November 2007

Another Little Questionnaire

These are so wonderful! I pulled this from Melody's Reading Corner. I really like answering these things for some reason. hmm, i wonder what that says about me mentally.


1. Do you remember learning to read? How old were you? I was about 3 when i started learning to read. I could before i started school. my earliest memory is actually of sitting on a couch with my dad, my feet just barely over the edge of the cushion, with a book on our laps. i don't know if he was teaching me or if he was reading it to me but i like that memory a lot.

2. What do you find most challenging to read? hmm. i'm not sure. some sort of how-to? chick lit? i guess this question is what is hard to read not what i don't like to read.

3. What are your library habits? We have a great library system in Nashville. I can request things online and pick up stuff at the various branches (one is by bf's and one is on my way to my friends' house so i can choose between those). I tend to go through stages where i am going once a week or so to drop off or pick up holds, then a stretch where i am just waiting on stuff to come in and don't go.

4. Have your library habits changed since you were younger? Only because of the internet. i end up going by a lot more. i never used to put stuff on hold as a kid. don't know if i even knew you could.

5. How has blogging changed your reading life?
I've found challenges as well as a challenge in the 1001 books list. i also seem to be writing down more and more that i want to read in the future from other people's reviews.

6. What percentage of your books do you get from: New book stores, second hand book stores, the library, online exchange sites, online retailers, other?
I would say about 40% library, 20% online from amazon and another 40% from bookstores. Don't know where any good second hand ones are. I don't have a lot on paperback swap so it is just a random one or two from there.

7. How often do you read a book and NOT review it in your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about books? If by review you mean write something down that says i read it i always do that. If you mean a real, book report review i rarely write those. maybe i should start trying to write a little more deeply.

8. What are your pet peeves about ways people abuse books? Dogearing pages? Reading in the bath? I am only bothered by cracked spines in paperbacks. it will make the pages fall out. a paperback shouldn't be able to open past about 110 degrees.

9. Do you ever read for pleasure at work?
Almost every day. I work in a call center and can frequently read between calls. sometimes (especially early morning) we'll have as much as 20 minutes between calls.

10. When you give people books as gifts, how do you decide what to give them? I usually only pick up books for people when i see something on a specific thing i know they would like. A lot of the time i give non-fiction. it's pretty rare that i give any fiction to anyone

16 November 2007

BTT time again (which means it's Friday)

I don't know why i can't remember this on Thursdays. this week's is:
how many of us write notes in our books? Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?
I read a LOT of library books so notes are out on those. I would never write in a book on a first read either. In high school and college of course i wrote in books lots, for notes for classes/papers and also in my personal paperbacks. mainly i would underline/highlight parts more than writing notes specifically in my personal books at least. I do have to say my copies of Interview With the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat are well written in, underlined and highlighted. My poor copy of Lestat has the cover coming off and is actually wrapped and rubberbanded in a piece of newspaper. Guess i should spring for a new one next time i read the series (by which i mean the first 4, the rest kinda suck).

The Sims meet Lost

Found the most hilarious thing today. Got an email from amazon about a Sims Societies game and it had one of those "suggestion links" for a game called Sims Castaway. Looks freaking funny! the trailers are really good. stay for the whole thing as the last couple are the best. Definitely teasing about Lost.
You have 3 choices: run, hide, serenade a chicken!

too good!

Later...ack..looks like is a platform game not a pc one. hmm. maybe bf will buy that wii. or i can get it to play on the PS2 they have where i am staying.

15 November 2007

Space Merchants

Finished up Space Merchants by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth. Immediately posted it on paperbackswap. It was ok, not great though. I found the world far more interesting than the story or the characters. The Presidency is a full-on inherited position (as opposed to the technically elected position it is now) and the Congresspeople and Senators directly represent corporations (as opposed to just being paid for by them). But the main characters were just kind of sad. I know i don't relate well to "ambitious" people and the lead male was the epitome of ambition. want, want, want. i just don't get it.

we'll all be dead in 70 years anyway.

12 November 2007

A Finished Audiobook

So i finished The Hobbit on audiobook Saturday and started working on Fellowship of the Ring. It is really different to listen to these in the car rather than reading. These are such familiar stories to me that i feel i shouldn't be reading (or in this case hearing) anything different. But each time i go back to them i do find little differences or things i don't remember from before. This is the first time i have revisited these since I reread the series after the movie version of Fellowship of the Ring came out.

I listened to these both while moving the BF to a different apartment complex. it was just a couple miles away but we didn't rent a big truck so we had lots of trips. i got lots of short little pieces at a time. strangely, i am getting used to reading like this as when i read at work i am taking calls and only get a few pages done between the calls.

currently: blah.

08 November 2007

BTT post

Another thursday, another question:

Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less?
Why?

I know that i read less now. I don't even really have an excuse as i don't have kids. When i was in high school i read constantly. I regularly hit over 100 books a year counting rereads and rarely went more than a day without picking up a book. I am not sure why i read less. I can blame it on the depression currently but even before these last few months i was reading less. stress? too many other distractions i know, like World of Warcraft, Sims, Tivo, Lost DVDs. the Internet woo hoo! the internet is a huge part of why i read less i am sure.

currently: watching 30 Rock

07 November 2007

Am I a loser?

I think i read plenty. i mean, i enjoy reading. i always have a book with me. everyone recommends books to me, even my therapist! I get to read at work when it's slow, i read while watching slow football games, i read super fast.

But some of you guys are making me feel terrible! I feel like the 3 challenges i'm signing up for for the beginning of the year, as well as the 3 yahoo book groups i'm in will keep me plenty busy for the next several months. but i am reading all these book blogs and i feel like a total wuss! Some of you guys have already signed up for like 6 or more for next year. ack! I mean, one of these for next year is for 64 books! i just don't know if i could plan on the next 100 or more books i am going to read. 25 or so, sure.

I applaud your stamina, your ambition, and your eyesight!

A Strange Moment

So yesterday i spent some time at my and bf's apartment, ostensibly to pack but really we watched tv. I left about 8:15 and drove to my friends' house i am currently staying at. Had a sad but not weepy drive. Just the sort of normal mid-level depression my life is at now.

after i had turned into the subdivision i'm staying in, i saw something i have never seen before. A bright green shooting star fell directly in front of me, at about 75 degree angle to the ground and intersected the horizon. I have never seen a green one, nor one that was not directly overhead. it was strange, disconcerting, to see.

Monday on the way to work i saw a fox. in the middle of the regular neighborhood i drive through in Nashville. That was in the middle of a severe crying jag as i drove (bad idea, leave me alone) and it startled me to see the fox.


I don't believe in God. I don't believe in fate. I don't believe in signs.


but these last few days have been weird.

06 November 2007

Another Challenge

So I'll also be doing the Russian Reading Challenge. Being of Russian descent (mixed in with a good dash of Italian and a bunch of American Mutt) I've always felt like I should know more about where my grandfather's father and his parents were born. My world history classes in high school didn't really touch on the country but for the big bad USSR of the Cold War and i didn't have to take anything about it in college either. I've never had to read any of the big Russian novelists, though i have touched on various shorter things and plays in college. also, besides some fiction i definitely am going to include some history on my list. my tentative list so far is:
  1. Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  3. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  5. House of the Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  6. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  7. Russia and the Russians by Geoffrey Hosking

I may decide to swap or throw in an additional but i feel that 7 books for a four book challenge should be a decent showing. I am NOT going to even think of tackling War and Peace. it is just too frightening. Maybe for next year's RIP? 5 of these are on my 1001 list so that gets a few more done!

I also think i may do the whole "toss all the book names in a bucket and pull them randomly" thing for these challenges next year, at least for the ones running all year long. i will need some kind of calendar or perhaps set up some kind of file on my MDA to keep up with all the books!

05 November 2007

First of Next Year's Challenges

So one of the challenges i have decided to sign up for is hosted by Annie called What's in a Name? I've got all year to get through this one so i am feeling pretty good. I'll post in the next few days what else i'm going to do for next year. I am definitely doing 2 others at the beginning at least but i don't think i'll sign up for any more until at least a few months in or i finish off at least 1 1/2 of the ones i will be working on starting january. So here are my reads for this one!

1. A book with a color in its title: Red Queen by Margaret Drabble

2. A book with an animal in its title: The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt

3. A book with a first name in its title: Emma by Jane Austen

4. A book with a place in its title: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

5. A book with a weather event in its title: The Cloud of Unknowing by Thomas H Cook

6. A book with a plant in its title: The Serpent and the Rose by Kathleen Bryan

I'll have to reread Jane Eyre before i tackle Wide Sargasso Sea as it has been a while since i read it. Or maybe i should wait and do Jane Eyre after? Not sure

Currently: watching Heroes!



02 November 2007

Horror question

So BTT had a Halloweeny question yesterday:
What with yesterday being Halloween, and all . . . do you read horror? Stories of things that go bump in the night and keep you from sleeping?

well, yeah! no, HELL YEAH! The whole reason i signed up for RIP was to read some scary spooky stuff. I have always loved Stephen King, Clive Barker, vampires, Zombies, Poe, psychological thrillers. The problem is so much of horror can be absolute trash. I have never been able to finish a Dean Koontz or John Saul novel. I don't care how many these guys sell, they are crap. Every time i take a chance on one i give up. Give me Bradbury, Phillip K Dick, Preston and Child. These guys can write. I'd rather reread Frankenstein or Jekyll and Hyde than read something bad.

so maybe i am a snob after all. :)

Grisham?

Yes, i read something by John Grisham, Playing for Pizza. No, i am not a snob; i've read several of his when i was in high school. He is just not a great writer. He does a wonderful job on descriptions, of places, things, etc, but he doesn't do characters, or plots, that well at all. After about 3 chapters i knew exactly how the book would end, all but the nationality of the girl the main character ends up with.

That being said, this was a nice little read. However I would not recommend it at all to someone who has no interest in football. They won't get big chunks of this little book. The descriptions of food and Italy were wonderful.

I do have to admit that the travel bug has fully bitten me now. Yes, part of it is a deep desire to run away from the situation i am in. But yeah, part of me want to get a passport, brush up on my french, save up some cash, pay off my credit card, sell my car, sell all the rest of my stuff, quit my job and wander around Europe for months and months. After all, i have no kids, no house, no school loans, and if things don't work out with BF, then single too. I don't really have any reason NOT to do something like that. The little bit of things that i'd want to keep could safely be stored in various friends' houses or a small storage unit.

so maybe that is the new plan

31 October 2007

Halloween

Happy Halloween!!


Hope this is a sufficiently in-the-spirit type story:


When i was a kid my brothers and i had records. Records are like cd's in that they are round and hold music or audio but they are much bigger, dark in color and use a needle to play the music or audio off of it. One of the ones we had and loved was a recording of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Boris Karloff. it was wonderful. Not the stupid Disney creation but the real story. The B-side was Rip Van Winkle and I think we may have listened to that only a few times. We loved Sleepy Hollow though. Karloff, of course, had a great spooky deep voice and the sound effects of wind, the clopping of the horse hooves and the creaky bridge were terrifying. He made Ichabod Crane's final ride through that covered bridge an intense, harrowing experience.

I wonder how much this record shaped my development and taste for scary.


30 October 2007

So What's Left?

I did a post a few weeks ago about what i had set for myself to read by the end of the year. Now seemed like a good time to update that. so here it is:

  • 3 Books left for Armchair Traveler Challenge
  • 1 each month for Fantasy group
  • 1 each month for Sci-fi group
  • 1 each month for Classics group
  • 2 on hold at library
  • 5 from library i am wanting to read
  • 2 i've started and wanting to finish up
so that makes 18 left if i get all the library ones. i am also almost done with 2 of my Armchair Challenge ones so really it is about 16. i should definitely finish that challenge by the end of the month. YAY!

29 October 2007

Do Android's Dream...

The first Philip K Dick novel I've finished. I saw A Scanner Darkly last summer and really liked the movie and bought the book this past spring, probably about the time we were planning our move. I seriously read all but maybe the last 20 pages and packed it, so now it is in a box somewhere all but finished.

I have never seen Blade Runner straight through but it is one of those that i've basically seen, in a 20 mins here, 15 mins there and the story synopsis is every where kind of way. I liked it and do intend to search out more by the author.

Since it is a pretty well known story, i don't want to go over that bit again, i want to compare it to another robot novel i just read, The Caves of Steel by Asimov. I think Caves is a much more philisophically optimistic novel as a whole while Dream is more optimisitic about our technological progress but very pessimistic about humanity. R Daneel, the main robot character in Caves, comes off as a pretty good guy. He seems to feel a kinship with humans and does want to understand them and help them. Is this due to the 3 Rules in Asimov's universe? Rachel Rosen, the main robot we see in Dream, is from a far technically superior level (the police have to do bone marrow analysis on robots in this universe to verify that a dead body is a robot) but mentally seems very deficient, especially compared to R Daneel. The robots in this world are incapable of understanding empathy and don't care about humans, other robots, or life in general. My personal definition of empathy, vaguely Buddhist as it is, is the understanding that other things feel, and hurt, in the same way that i do. I would think that some level of this could be programmed into a robot, especially as it is mentioned they feel pain.

I was thinking of doing a rating system of some sort. haven't confirmed what i am wanting to do with that yet so i'll just say this was definitely worth the read.


21 October 2007

So I Went on A Trip...



the literal kind. The friends i am staying with went to Asheville and i went along too. Camping along the French Broad River was pretty but freezing. Visited a brewery and i was in the position of knowing the most about beer in the group. Downtown was lovely and busy! Found a GREAT chocolate store that i can order from online! Try the "blossom" or "ancient pleasure" ones under the Ecstasy Truffle label. yummy.

Took some pictures from our campsite.

so a question that always comes up in reading groups: what books would you plan on taking on a trip? some people seem to have a set answer, like there is a certain group of books they take that they know they like. some people seem to take just whatever they are reading in paperback at the time. I know i am a little different. It depends on the trip really for me. If i am going home to Louisiana that means i have a 10 hour drive each way. even if BF came with me i still drove the whole way usually. so if i brought a book at all it would be something small and not too engrossing as i would just be reading a little here and there when my family was busy or i got up too early. now if we were flying somewhere the best thing for me to do is get the most engrossing thick paper back i could find. i am not the best flyer yet so a brand new Stephen King, Mercedes Lackey, or George RR Martin would be perfect. Alternatively, a really good popular science does wonders for me too, like Carl Sagan or Jared Diamond.

This weekend's trip i took 2 new copies of Skeptic Magazine (i had my last 2 delayed in reaching me because i moved) as well as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. I knew i was going to be riding much of the time on the drive to and from Asheville (i ended up driving only the last 170 miles back to Nashville) but that i wouldn't be reading much when we got there. I made it through both issues of Skeptic and about 4 chapters of my book so that is not too bad.

currently: resting after this trip.

18 October 2007

Memoirs of a Geisha

I completed Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Another super-fast read for me (2 days).I haven't seen the movie so only knew vaguely what the book was about. I enjoyed this one too. Very very nice change from The Road. Wonderfully rich detail. Very good sense of place. It seemed to end rather abruptly but that is my only complaint. It is a good book when i don't want it to end!

currently: concerned about tornadoes.

17 October 2007

I Finished The Road

Finally, i finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy. i am actually relieved as i was expecting something really really terrible to happen at the end but it didn't. It is depressing, sad, slow and lacking in quotation marks and "said"s so parts can be really difficult to follow who is saying what. I would have really liked to have a little piece at the beginning to say what had happened in the world. It is the story of a man and his son traveling in a post-apocalypse world. they walk, search for food, walk, run out of food, find bad people, find more food, walk, etc. nothing really much happens for pages and pages at a stretch.

I don't know why this one has been so big. I mean it is short and fast to read but not exactly good. i mean, i checked it out once before and couldn't get into it at all and this time it has taken me 3 weeks to read. Compare that to Caves of Steel that i read in a day!

This does finish out my RIP challenge tho!! i had originally said i was going to read an HP Lovecraft for my 4th book but had decided to try The Road again as it is certainly frightening. i will admit that i did have a bad dream involving the setting last week.

currently: watching Around the Horn

16 October 2007

One more for Armchair Traveler Challenge

I finished Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe. It is a very different novel than the ones i have been reading recently. Completely outside of my experience. It is the story of Ezeulu, a Nigerian man in the 1920's who is the voice of his tribe's God. The novel is very culturally rich, in a way that i haven't read since college. This one reminded me of some of the ethnographies i read during my cultural anthropology classes. The customs, foods, stories and words really set up a sense of time and place. The story is a little slow but by the end everything gets tied up in a way that you see nothing could have been any different for the previous 200 pages. The book discusses English colonization of Nigeria and the spread of Christianity and how these things affect Ezeulu and his family.

I am really glad i read this one. If it hadn't been on my 1001 Books list i would never have picked it up.

14 October 2007

Thinking about the Past

Reading Memories

20 Years Ago: (age 11) when i was 11 i was in 6th grade. middle school sucked ass, so i was probably deep into fantasy. i'd say i read Tolkien around this time, as well as the first 3 books in Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series. Like Stephen King at this point too.

15 Years Ago: (age 16) i can definitely say i tore through Anne Rice at this point, as well as reread a bunch of King. I did enjoy the classics and Shakespeare i read in high school at the time too.

10 Years Ago: (age 21) i was working on getting through college at this point so probably reading whatever i had to. Lots of anthropology.

5 Years Ago: (age 26) i was about this age when my mom gave me the first four Harry Potter books. so then i loved Harry.

3 Years ago: (age 28) I really got into political non-fiction around this point, as well as jumping into memoir and biography in general. Philosophy and buddhism. Jared Diamond.

Last Year: (age 30) I believe i found George R.R. Martin about a year ago. more non-fiction too.

This Month: (age 31) see this month's posts lol.

12 October 2007

Politics

Just in time for him to win the Nobel Prize i finished up Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. I like it, although i wouldn't say i hadn't heard some of it before. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert so a great job of pointing out tv and specifically broadcast journalism are a huge part of the problem with our country. Gore's book covers two things essentially: George Bush sucks (and the various reasons why) and the citizenry is disconnected from politics due to being out of the conversation of government. He discusses how we were pushed aways and ways to reconnect the people to the government. And how much Bush sucks. a lot. so that was really nice to read. (truly, i enjoyed it. i am crazy liberal. i thought it was great)

I am still trying to get through The Road by Cormac Mccarthy. i am a little over halfway. it is such a fast read but i am not getting into it at all. so now i think instead of just trying to read it i'll read 10 or so pages at a time. If i can do that twice a day i'll finish in a week, just in time to take it back to the library.

Currently: watching Lost season 2 DVD.

I am in LOVE

with a bookstore of all things! lol.

So a few Sundays ago i had a really bad day. I was really really upset with the BF (ex? what do you call the person you are separated from when both parties are trying to work things out?) when i got off work. crying, sniffly, not even attempting to keep it together upset. I didn't want to go see him, nor did i want to go to the house i am staying at where my friend lives as i didn't want to have to explain. So i drove down to Cool Springs and just wandered. There are so many little shopping strips down there it is too hard to keep track of what is in everything. So i pulled in one to go to Dick's Sporting Goods and saw a huge sign for Book Gallery HALF PRICE BOOKS. "hmm," i thought, "i read. and half price is better than full." so i go in to check it out.

This store stunned me! they had a HUGE classics section and though i haven't heard of some of the publishers (wordsworth?) any classics i can get unabridged i will take. So that day i just purchased Madame Bovary and Wuthering Heights just as possible reads for next year and spent maybe $6.50. So today i went back and said i would spend only 20 before taxes. well, for 20.50 i got Emma, The Moonstone, Anna Karenina, Cryptonomicon and Our Mutual Friend. It may not be the best place to pick up a specific book (their sci-fi/fantasy section is big on Tolkein and hardbacks but not a lot else) but for just wandering or beefing up your collection it is incredible. Also, brand new hardbacks are probably cheaper through amazon. But i don't want hardbacks. I want stuff i can throw on paperback swap if i don't like it. And a brand new trade paperback of Anna Karenina that doesn't have Oprah's name on it is certainly worth 3.99. To top it all off, I also found out they have a big store in the Bellevue Mall. while that mall isn't as creepy as 100 Oaks, i think i have just been in once or twice so i am not surprised i missed it.

On a semi-aside, one thing my Yahoo book groups talk about are their giant To Be Read stacks. Truly though, until this last year i hadn't ever had one. i pretty much bought books as i read them. while i might pick up one i knew i wanted to read a few weeks before i got around to it, rarely did i have more than one or two purchased and waiting to be read. Now library stacks i have always had but if i get where i am just renewing one and never get around to it i always just take it back. The last several months though have seen me sign up for amazon prime (so i can buy a book whenever i want and not pay shipping), go to the flea market, find paperbackswap.com, and now this new store. now i do really have about 14 books in a "too read" pile. eek! I do intend to sign up for the Russian Reading challenge as well as the TBR 2008 challenge so that should cover a good bit of my pile. At least i don't feel like i have the smallest Librarything list.

09 October 2007

In A Glass Darkly--With Spoilers!

First off, i want to congratulate myself on 100th post. while 53 were before i turned this into a mainly reading blog even some of those were about books. It is kind of a big deal to me to stick with this for not quite two years. With 2 1/2 months left in the year i should blast past my 2006 total number of posts.

Finished In A Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu. It is actually a short story collection, threaded together as the collected cases of a doctor, sort of a Van Helsing type. Basically liked the stories, although not all 5 are supernatural they are all quite eerie.

SPOILER SPACE



and some more...


The first stories, titled Green Tea, The Familiar and Mr Justice Harbottle, all involve people seeing things that may or may not exist. In Green Tea, at least, there is the suggestion that the drink of the title lead to the torments of the visions. The second doesn't seem to suggest at all what the cause is, while the third makes you suspect the evil judge really is held accountable by the men he hung unjustly in the course of his years on the bench. Of those three, I'd say Green Tea was the best, perhaps just because of being the first, perhaps because the monkey the main character describes seeing sounds very frightening.

The last two stories were my favorites. The Room in the Dragon Volant is a straight up mystery. In fact, it is so straight out of Tales from the Crypt that they may have ripped it off for the comic. An Englishman traveling in France after the defeat of Napoleon becomes wrapped up in the schemes of a gang and barely escapes with his life. Moves right along though.

The last story is Carmilla. Yeah, that Carmilla, the lesbian vampire story. I loved it! i have read a LOT of vampire things but managed to miss this one. Definitely great descriptions, wonderfully atmospheric. Stoker seems to have pulled the Lucy and Mina characters both from this tale. In this case the survivor is Laura and she is writing the story 10 years after the men vanquish the vampire. One thing about the vampire is that she has to use as her name all the letters in it again. so what would my vampire name be? maybe Elimena? Laineme? Imenale? My name need more consonants.

i have put The Vampyre by Dr. Polidori on my list for sometime next year. Maybe next years RIP!

06 October 2007

The World Without Us

Read a wonderful, interesting non-fiction called The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It is about what would happen to the Earth if everyone just disappeared. Not died in some disease epidemic, or meteor collision, or slowly over time due to environment changes, but if we were just gone. It was really incredible. It is a true call-to-arms for the environment because the chapters about how long and in what ways our trash and plastic will be around were horrendous. The most interesting ones i think were the chapters on what would happen to the petrochemical plants in south Texas and to the nuclear plants throughout the world. To sum those up: very bad things. But he also discusses more hopeful things, like the ways the land, animals and flora would all recover from our presence and the places where it is even occurring now, like in New England.

currently: getting ready for Florida-LSU.

BTT on Saturday

Another Booking through Thursday post!

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)


I would say i have no issues at ALL with naughty bits or swear words. Profanity doesn't bother me a bit so i would neither put down a book nor pick up a book because of it. It isn't a factor at all. i cuss a lot myself, mainly i think because i work on the phone as a customer's bitch and i am so proscribed on what i can say that as soon as i get off the phone the switch is flipped and i am free to express myself!! Sex is kind of a different thing. I would say i don't go looking for it because when i am in the kind of mood to read it i end up rereading something i know is good (Anne Rice's Cry to Heaven springs to mind) or i indulge in some Harry Potter fan fiction. Happy, sweet, emotional fan fiction. I don't read romance novels, mainly because the few that i have picked up over the years tend to not be the best written stuff. The few that i have enjoyed have been historical type ones involving pirates, castles, nobility, etc and i guess i like those because they become a total immersion fantasy. That being said, Henry Miller's Tropic books are near the top of my classics to read list because i have heard they are pretty graphic. I mean, who doesn't want to read about what your grandparents thought about sex back in the day.

Currently: watching Auburn torch Vandy. COME ON GUYS!

04 October 2007

So Banned Books?

ok, it's Banned Books Week! Let's go out and burn some books! WOO HOO!


Oh wait, is that NOT what happens on Banned Books Week?

Looking over the ALA website i saw a link for the most challenged authors from 1900-2004. Wondering who could be the most challenged, i clicked on it. Stephen King? J.K Rowling? Anne Rice? Darwin?

Nope. The most challenged author was Alvin Schwartz. Who the hell is that?

Let me assure you he is awesome. He wrote the SCARY STORIES series!!!! Dozens of creepy tales, urban legends, and ghost stories written at grade school level for children to spook themselves out with. I loved them when i was a kid. I can't believe those books are the most challenged out there in the US. These aren't any worse than plain old Grimm's Fairy Tales. I am so lucky my parents let me read whatever i wanted.

03 October 2007

Robots!

Finished The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. Or to be more accurate today i read The Caves of Steel, as i hadn't started it until this morning. and NO i didn't skip work again. I don't want to be written up. It is short, only about 275 small paperback pages with good size print. Solid mystery, very well written. I would have liked a little bit more after the detective solved the crime and presented his solution but I really enjoyed the novel.

The really weird part is, as i was going over amazon to pull the link for this post, i realized i haven't read anything by Asimov before. At least not any fiction. This is weird and kinda disturbs me. You see, way back in the 70's and early 80's, way back before cable, tivo, dvd players, home computers or video games more sophisticated than the Atari 2600, my parents were really big readers. Still are, for the most part. That is one of the gifts i am most grateful for from them: that reading is valuable, intelligence is important, and knowledge is wonderful. Anyway, my father is a huge sci-fi fan. We had stacks of sci-fi hardbacks and paperbacks. I tore through plenty of them between ages 9-14. Robots, space, aliens, colonies i really loved it. But somehow i don't think i read any Asimov. Did i just skip those? Did my dad not like his writing? Not sure, but now i've got more stuff to read.


30 September 2007

A Book that Didn't get Reviewed

Going back over my previous entries and realized i got one finished that i never posted about. I read Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey. i did enjoy it i just read in in july/early august when my life started falling apart and it just slipped my mind completely. I've got Kushiel's Scion in my book box and plan on starting maybe in November after finishing up the RIP challenge.

28 September 2007

Booking through Thursday, A Day Late

I found this site while wandering through several other book blogs off of the Riping Yarns site list.

Buy a Friend a Book Week is October 1-7 (as well as the first weeks of January, April, and July). During this week, you’re encouraged to buy a friend a book for no good reason. Not for their birthday, not because it’s a holiday, not to cheer them up–just because it’s a book.

What book would you choose to give to a friend and why?

This is actually a hard one. Most of my friends aren't readers exactly and have pretty different tastes than mine. So anything i really like they wouldn't. I did buy the guy i am kinda separated from a book this week about personal finance, setting up a budget, savings because he really needs help on that front. I got it from TJ Maxx so i spent all of $5. I suppose for him i could also get him one of these relationship books i am thumbing through. Or possibly a graphic novel.


27 September 2007

FOOD

Finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It was quite good. Now i am feeling the need to go down to our Farmer's Market tomorrow! It is about how the author's family feeds themselves off local or home-grown food for a year. It reminded me strongly of The Omnivore's DIlemma by Michael Pollan, another wonderful book about food, where it comes from and what really goes into growing it.

I have to say that i know the teensiest amount about how food grows. really, other than knowing strawberries come in late spring and corn, watermelon and tomatoes basil in summer i don't have the faintest idea about what grows when. but i am really inspired to learn.

My Reading for the Rest of the Year

So this morning i am going over my groups, challenges, library on holds and other books i'm wanting to finish to figure out how much i need to read the rest of the year. I'm a little concerned i'm not going to finish! i have at this point:
  • 2 books left for RIP
  • 5 for Armchair Traveler Challenge
  • 1 a month for Fantasy Favorites Group
  • 1 a month for Classic Scifi Group
  • 1 a month for Thematic Classics Group
  • 3 in my queue at the library
  • 2 i have already from the library and am trying to finish
  • 5 books that i have either started recently or just bought that i want to get through

wow! that makes a total of 26 books to finish out the year. and that doesn't count any self-help/coping with relationships books that i will go through (i have 2 now). And i was wanting to reread Harry Potter! I guess HP is out for the foreseeable future. I figure i can at least squiggle in 2 of my other books to fit in the Thematic Classics Group. i'll probably miss out on one from both Classic Scifi and Fantasy Favorites as the library here doesn't have one of the upcoming reads for each. so that gets me down to 22. as there are 13 weeks left in the year starting September 30 that works out to 1.7 books per week. That doesn't sound so bad now. I did try to pick some less than 400 pagers for the Armchair Travel challenge and none of my in queue books are really fat.

But i do need to read more at work for sure if i want to get through all this! :)

26 September 2007

Another Challenge

So I joined another challenge. An attempt to work on my 1001 Books list. Also, as i was trying to come up with books for this i realized i had read The Maltese Falcon so i am up to 69 read. In the immortal words of Ted (Theodore) Logan: DUDE! So my new challenge is the Armchair Traveler challenge. As i NEED to get away but can't right now, i figure it might help.

As this one is for 6 books and ends December 31 (i am starting 3 months in) i am going to cheat a teeny tiny bit. Rebecca fits perfectly; Manderley is a driving character and the reason our heroine meets our hero. So it will be considered my first book for the challenge. The rest are:
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe
I am not normally a Grisham fan but since this one is football related i signed up for it at the library. I am 67th in line for one of 37 copies so it will probably be later in the year that i may get to it. I have wanted to read Kerouac for a while but just never got around to it. The Forster and Achebe i haven't heard of at all and i didn't get around to watching Memoirs of a Geisha so i am pretty open-minded on that one too.

Currently: adding another couple books to the library list now.

25 September 2007

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Read and really enjoyed this one, if you can say you enjoyed a book filled with the author's pain. I have seen Ali on Bill Maher several times and agreed with many of her views on women's rights and not allowing intolerance in the name of tolerance. Her personal story is so desperately sad, moving and in many ways inspiring. When i first started it i read about 2 chapters and put it down because i didn't think i could handle the "downer" with my own mental state being so off right now. But it kept coming back to me; i began reading it again and i felt so much for her as a person and her struggle to survive that it brought me out of my own funk a little bit, at least while i was reading. Highly recommended but not for the squeamish.

currently: at work, ugh!

22 September 2007

Number of Books

BTW, with finishing Rebecca i am now at 67 books done on the 1001 Books list. yay!

Rebecca

Finished my second RIP book, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I haven't seen the movie but i knew the basic plot: guy remarries after his first "perfect" wife Rebecca dies and takes his very much younger new bride back to his huge English estate, where weird things start happening. Not a ghost story in the traditional sense but the whole book is haunted by the past. The author has a wonderful way of conveying mood and feelings. The narrator is very young and insecure. I was reading at work and got a call after a particularly good passage. I felt insecure and nervous on the call. I had to put the book down for a bit after that. I really enjoyed it and have put the Hitchcock film on my netflix list.

I'm in the middle of a few right now so not sure if fiction or nonfiction will end up next on here.

Currently: watching South Carolina at LSU.

16 September 2007

Sense and Sensibility

Finished the Jane Austen novel. I had read Pride and Prejudice long ago (maybe for school?) and liked it so picked Sense and Sensibility for a group read.

I really liked it. A very sweet and innocent story. Fluffy. i don't normally like or read chick lit but since this is classic chick lit i gave it a try. The modern stuff is filled with neurotic, OCD women who can't stop talking about themselves. I don't feel anything like that at all so i don't identify with that.

Austen's themes are universal: love, family, searching for happiness. certainly some things that speak to me right now with my messed up personal life. I really loved the sisters; my only sister is 18 years younger than i so i don't have that kind of close "sisterly" relationship like the book describes. But when i was younger i did want a sister to talk to (rather than stinky old brothers lol) and imagined if i did we'd have a relationship like this novel describes.


currently: watching San Diego perform terribly. hopefully we'll come back in the second half

14 September 2007

Book Questionnaire I Ripped From Another Site

What are you reading right now? Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, A Meeting at Corvallis by S.M. Stirling

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that? Yes! Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe, and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now? I don't read in the bathroom; i am not in there long enough. I only subscribe to Entertainment Weekly and Skeptic.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read? I hated The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzergerald.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone? Right now i am rec'ing The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and the George R.R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire series

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they? I would say no, mainly because we have self-checkout in nashville and the hold shelves are also self service. They probably would if i had to talk to them everytime i checked out though.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all? I have more the opposite problem, there are plenty of things others pimp that i don't like. Like The DaVinci Code. The idea/general storyline was ok but it was terribly written and poorly plotted.

Do you read books while you do other things? Cooking frequently i will, specifically if i am in a "continuous stir" phase of something.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits? No, but i did get my best friend by reading: i was a new kid, freshman in a new high school and eating lunch by myself. My best friend and her boyfriend saw me reading, figured i must be interesting because i didn't look like i gave a shit what anyone else thought, and came sat down with me. we are still friends 17 years later.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down? Probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

08 September 2007

Spoilery Review of A Turn of the Screw

Went in Davis Kidd yesterday, mainly just to kill time because it was just 12:30 and there was no way i was going to try to go in Panera for lunch until at least 1:15. Anyway, i was digging through the bargain bin when i found Henry James' A Turn of the Screw for just 2.99. There was a big rack of about 40 odd titles that were sort of "thrift classics" that started out at just 4.95 anyway. as i was going to read this for RIP i snatched it up but couldn't remember which of the rest may have been on my 1001 Books list so didn't end up spending too much cash. I should probably keep a list of a dozen or so with me to snag some on super discount when this happens!

I didn't realize it was a short story. either a long short story or a really short novella. Either way i ripped through about 30 pages during my lunch and the rest yesterday evening. Very Enjoyable. A governess is in charge of 2 kids at a country home in England. Their parents are dead and their uncle is not around. The governess discovers there are 2 ghosts who want to off the kids so the ghosts can keep them, but the kids are not scared, they are fascinated. Very good mood building and quite creepy. It did have the sort of weird narrator structure that a lot of Victorian horror/mystery seems to use. The first narrator is listening to a story being read by a second person who knew the person the events happened to. Sort of made it a bit urban legendy. Also, apparently Victorians of all ages are terribly prone to heart attacks. I personally would have preffered the death to be a little more dramatic, like someone jumping out a window due to the ghosts, rather than just randomly fall over. I am sure it was more dramatic to those who read it when released.

I will definitely read the other short stories in the book. I enjoyed this one a lot. It actually reminded me of the last story in Stephen King's Different Seasons called The Breathing Method. Not in what the stories were about but in structure, tone, and narrator.

Picking up Rebecca from the library today so will probably start that soon, as well as work on Sense and Sensibility for another group.

currently: in need of a shower.