30 April 2009

Update post and BTT for 4/30

I will just barely clear 100 at this rate. may need to really dig in to my challenges!

Total: 35 read
Library books: 21
Nonfiction: 13

Science Book Challenge:3/3 i am done!
YA Challenge: 5/12
9 out of 9 challenge: 1/9
Shakespeare Challenge: 1/6
World Citizen Challenge: 1/3
TBR Lite: 0/6
Classics Challenge: 1/5
OUaT3: 1/5

For BTT this week:

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

I would say the second. There are tons of authors that i've only read one book by. Some I've intended to read more by, others i've just not gotten around to looking for more. But for an author that i really like I'm probably going to be more disappointed by bad book because i've been waiting for their new one, or just discovered an old one i hadn't read yet. That's why Lackey's Foundation was so bad; i'd hoped for better. It's why i miss reading Anne Rice; her earlier stuff was so good and it just made the later ones that much worse. The new George R R Martin had best be fabulous!

29 April 2009

1984 and Bookmarks

Last night i finished up 1984 by George Orwell. 1984 is one of the first dystopian novels. I read it in middle school i believe but only remembered that it was about a guy who falls in love, gets caught, and it had an unhappy ending. I missed all the political stuff back then.

I don't know what i thought of it then but this time i loved it. It is so appropriate for our times. I can't even begin to say how much this book affected me. Read it! a 7! I understand V for Vendetta and a few other things a bit more now as well.

Chris from Book-a-Rama's review, Jocelyn from Teen Book Review, Maree from Just add Books.

Also, I'm doing Mari's bookmarks contest! here's my picture.

So on the left you see some of my Chocolate Frog cards. They make great bookmarks for any size book and are laminated so don't bend. Next are a couple receipts, from Borders and from the library. I frequently end up using receipts as bookmarks as they are quite convenient. Up at the top are some little magnet bookmarks: they are little folds with magnets between them to clip on the book. The advantage is that if you tip the book up your bookmark doesn't fall out. The brown one in the middle is metal and says "The greatest power is often simply patience- E Joseph Cossman". I'm working on the patience thing. The large one next is a post card. I'm on postcrossing and get these from all over the world. They are nice to use for library hardbacks. and you get to look at pretty pictures from other countries. Lastly is one i got a couple weekends ago in Atlanta at the King Tut exhibit. I usually get magnets from touristy places by my fridge is starting to get full so i am switching to bookmarks for a while. Across the bottom is a BookThong, another different form for a bookmark.

27 April 2009

Polysyllabic Spree and post 400!

"If I ever shoot you, I promise you there will be a really good explanation, one you will grasp immediately, should you live"

I really really liked The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. I tore through it between 1:30 and 7 pm this evening, which includes working from 3:30 through 7. we had some time between calls and it is a short book. I so want to write blog posts that even come to 10% as good as what Hornby writes. He's funny, he's charming, he's warm and touching. This book is a series of essays about what Hornby reads, and buys, and about the act of reading. How one book leads to a different one that takes you too another. seeing that other reader's have a pattern like mine makes me feel a bit less weird!

unfortunately, my library doesn't have the second two books in this series. ugh. I am on a strict budget the next few months; I want to go to Lollapalooza and it'll be expensive. I can't buy ANYTHING! He does have a blog though! Google reader just gets looooonger every day.

Nymeth's review
, Chris', Lisa's and Carl's. I give this one a 6!

"But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not"

I also can't believe i've hit 400 posts. I really really appreciate everyone who reads, and comments, and then comes back again! Not to get to weird but there have really been days where i've been down and just the act of posting on here, about whatever, just made me feel so much better. Hugs to all!

25 April 2009

Many Waters

I finished Many Waters by Madeliene L'Engle last night. It is a fantasy so works for OUaT3 and is also for the Young Adult challenge. Unfortunately I didn't particularly like it. It wasn't bad, more just kinda meh. In it, Sandy and Dennys get tessered back in time by messing with their father's computer. They end up in a desert, get badly sunburned, and are rescued by Japheth, Noah's (of the Flood) son. They reconcile Noah and his father, fall in love with Noah's daughter, make enemies of the nephilim (a sort of evil angel, who seem to be in lust with the human women) and allies of the seraphim (good angels), and help Noah build a boat. it really felt way too long, even though it is only 300 or so pages. Unfortunately, Sandy and Dennys just aren't as compelling of characters as Meg and Charles Wallace. Also, they need to talk time travel with Miles from LOST so he can straighten them out as to what can and can't happen (i.e. dying in the past won't prevent you from being born in the future). it is a 3. I'd only read it if you're really into series completion or want a different view on the Flood story.

A couple random things:

A very scary article from Scientific American.

Oh, and i am busy on May 2nd. I'm going to a motorcycle race with my dad!

Currently: watching the NFL draft. yeah, i'm a loser.

24 April 2009

Northanger Abbey

I finished up Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen today courtesy of DailyLit. This e-book counts for the Classics Challenge and also gives me 1 more read for 1K1! It is the story of Catherine Morland, an 17 year old girl, and how she finds a husband. It was ok but not up to Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice. i give it a 4.

Since this book is a pretty standard classic, I'm going to talk a bit about DailyLit. About a year ago i tried it out and didn't like it. I think the reason i wasn't happy with the serivce then was the choice of book; i tried Homer's Odyssey and something by Plato. Verse and thick prose are not the best choices for tidbit reading; right about the time i'd really figure out what was being said i'd reach the end of the installment. A couple months ago i decided to try it again, starting with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an 11 installment short story. Since i was able to read that ok, i did some Poe shorts and handled that well. Wanting to try something a little more challenging i picked Northanger Abbey (92 installments) and also figured out how to double the length which helped too. I'm starting Persuasion tomorrow.

Blue Archipelago's Review, Bookling's, Melissa's from Book Nut, and Nymeth's. There really are lots more though!

Several people also commented on my bookshelf picture for my cookbooks. They are invisible bookshelves and hold up to 15 lbs. The bottom book has to be hardback but otherwise any type of book works. Amazon has them to order and i know Barnes and Nobles sells them in store. Look over in the bookends and writing implements.

23 April 2009

Catching up on Life

So i haven't posted in a week or so for a few reasons. I had a bit of a blow in my personal relationship life that's just made me bleh for the last little while. I was really stupid and should have known better than to try to open up and trust someone. I shouldn't have bothered to try to do things because it's always going to end the same. Badly.

On a better note, the other reason i haven't posted is that i was in Atlanta with my mom, brother and sister. We saw the King Tut exhibit which was really cool. It wasn't too busy but as it ends May 17 i bet it will be busier going forward. I definitely recommend it if you're going to be in Atlanta the next few weeks. One warning though, a few of the big famous artifacts, including some they use in the ads for the exhibit, are not there. You aren't going to see the gold sarcophagus or mask. We also went to Medieval Times, just because. It was a fun outing. The jousting at the Renaissance festival is more accurate but of course at Medieval Times it was more dramatic, with splintering lances and drama between the knights. Our knight won! other than that, we just hung out together, got kicked out of a bar (sorta, it was a bar and grill but they go only over-21 after 6 pm and my sister is only 14), talked and relaxed.

So i am going to outline a bit of what is up in May for me...a whole bunch of stuff! May 4th i've got tickets to Death Cab for Cutie. May 8th is a Full Moon evening hike at Edwin Warner park, which i'll be going to unless it rains. I found out about it through Meetup.com. May 9th I've got tickets to Darwin in Malibu. The Tennessee Renaissance Festival is every weekend in May but I'll be going on May 16th because that is Pirate Invasion Weekend. W00T! I get to pick up my first CSA box on May 23rd and if i'm lucky i'll have another 4 day weekend for Memorial Day. I am sure i'll be at a barbecue or a lake or something then. Then May 29th I've got tickets for Beethoven's 9th at the symphony. And there's a Medieval artifacts exhibit at the Frist Museum i need to catch because it leaves soon. Let's see...May 2nd is open! Plus i may decide to go back to doing yoga, I really want to do a few more things on Meetups, or even volunteer somewhere.

And i haven't even started talking about movies: Wolverine, Star Trek, UP, Terminator, The Brothers Bloom, Angels and Demons, and Little Ashes. And the Belcourt has a few cool things too. And i owe my friends a sushi dinner. And i need to get my balcony garden set up. And i need to work on my reading challenges.

Maybe i should join up for NaBloPoMo for May. I'll certainly have plenty to write about!

15 April 2009

The Last Dickens

First off, i have to admit that i have not read ANY Dickens as an adult. I know i had to read a few in high school but managed to avoid it in college. So i only know the vaguest overview of his stories and had no idea he'd left one unfinished when he died. The Last Dickens is the second book i've read by Matthew Pearl. I read The Poe Shadow before i started this blog and this new one feels very similar.

James Ripley Osgood is a publisher in Boston. He and his older partner Fields are trying to keep their business from being swallowed by New York publisher Harper's. Their success rests on being the only authorized publisher of Dickens in the US. But when Dickens' death leaves them without an ending and their secretary Daniel Sand dies mysteriously while retrieving the pages Dickens did write, Osgood begins to investigate. With Rebecca Sand, Daniel's sister and a bookkeeper at the publishing house, Osgood goes to England to discover what Dickens intended to write. They uncover the real life saga that Dickens based his story on and become involved with fighting an opium ring. Exciting stuff!

I give this one a strong 5. It would have been a 6 but the character i really liked, Tom Branagan, was mainly involved in flashbacks and had a less important part in the present of the story. I did feel it was a little long too. One chunk that could have been cut was the part dealing with Dickens' son's adventures as an army officer in India. I really don't see what that bit was supposed to do for the story. if anyone else knows, please enlighten me!

Matthew Pearl does seem to have a bit of weird luck. The Poe Shadow came out at about the same time as A Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard which was about Poe investigating a murder while he was at West Point. Then now, he writes a mystery novel involving Dickens and The Mystery of Edwin Drood just a month after a giant novel called Drood is released. BTW, i just picked up Drood from the library today so i'll have a good chance to compare these.

14 April 2009

Very Very Good

So i finished an excellent book last night. Let the Right One In is by John Ajvide Lindqvist, a Swedish author. I saw the movie late last year and loved it. All i can say is that the book is even better. The basic story is simple. Oskar, an almost teenaged boy, lives with his mother in Sweden. He's bullied constantly and dreams of revenging himself on his tormentors. He meets Eli, a young girl who moves in next door, and everything in his life changes.

Because Eli is a 200 year old vampire.

In the book we learn a lot more information about the people around the story. All the adults are ineffectual; some are alcoholics, the teachers seem to ignore/be blind to what Oskar is going through. The children bully, steal, get high, and hide to try to cope with their lives. Oskar is left to navigate the world alone until Eli comes along and opens his eyes.

It is so dark, and lonely, and achingly sad. at a few points i actually found myself crying. You feel so deeply for all the characters. Even Hakan, a pedophile in Eli's thrall, the one character of any you think no one would feel sorry for, is so pitiful and pathetic. what is weird, what makes this story so effective, is that it has a happy ending.

So this is a 7. and one down for the Chunkster Challenge! Yay!

I really really want to read more by this author! Only one other of his books is available in English, Handling the Undead, but as i'd have to get it from either Australia or the UK i supposed i'll have to wait. :( i mean, i'm totally willing to buy the book, i just don't know that i can afford cost plus shipping. *sigh*

Kimbofo's review
LoveVampire's Review

12 April 2009

edamame at midnight

So working the night shift i have breakfast when i wake up, lunch or some sort of snack about 2:30, dinner at work about 8 or 8:30. so that means when i get home at 12:15 sometimes i'm hungry but i don't particularly want/need a whole meal. Sweets are ok but i hate eating dessert so late. I've found one of the best snacks so late is edamame! It takes maybe 5 mins to make, is filling, is great for a salt craving and also healthy. It takes several minutes to eat since you have to nibble the beans out of the pod which is good as it give you time to actually register you've eaten.

I've joined a CSA! beginning on May 23 i'll be getting a batch of fresh, organic veggies every week. Here's the farm site. I've decided i'm going to be sure to try everything, even if i think i don't like it. I realized that i haven't tried a lot of things since i was a child, so i very well may like radishes, beets or turnips now. After all, i just found out last week i like cucumbers after all. so i'll try anything. except raw onions. i know for sure i don't like those. Interested in finding a farm in your area? in the USA, check out Local Harvest.

This week's Weekly Geeks is about cookbooks. here's a couple pictures of mine.
My kitchen wall.

a close up.

i don't buy many cookbooks; there are too many awesome websites online. The vegetarian/vegan ones i purchased several years ago when i was mostly vegetarian. My mom got me the Hershey's/Tollhouse ones and i don't know if i've cooked anything out of either. I got the Rachel Ray one for like $5 in a bargain bin. I like paging through ones with lots of pictures as it helps you figure out what your cooking should turn out like but not every recipe needs it's own picture. With the CSA subscription mentioned above i might end up using those veggie ones more as i try to cook with some different ingredients.

currently: sleepy

10 April 2009

Another Y

There are only a few copies of this series at my library, which is making me want to splurge and buy them and read VERY VERY carefully then return them. Oh well. I know i'd end up keeping them and i don't have an extra $100. I guess i'll just have to be patient. Y: The Last Man, Vol 3: One Small Step by Brian K Vaughn and Pia Guerra continues the story of Yorick, his escort/bodyguard agent 355, and Dr. Mann. The first part of volume three involves returning astronauts, the Israeli army, a Russian operative and twins! The second portion Ampersand has an adventure on his own with a theater troupe and joins back up with the humans at the end.

so it is hard to talk about this one without being too spoiley. The best way to say it is that i am conflicted. the second section is ok; i'm not talking about that. The first part, though, was great but i didn't want the events to occur as they did. I was really into the story and it is a fast moving plot with great characters. a 5.

Also, i so want Yorick to end up with 355! forget his perfect blond model girlfriend in Australia. 355 is cool. If i had to go through some awful horrible End of the World type shit i'd want her along. And Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo and Roland Deschain from the Dark Tower series. Oh and Sawyer from LOST. cause he's cute.

I'm also posting for BTT today!

1) YUP

2) technically 4, but really 2. I'm really working on two of them and i've got 2 more that i am reading a page or two out of now and then

3) actually yes it is normal.

4) in my school bag, on the floor next to my couch, on my bedroom floor.

Currently: glad all this tornado crap went around me.

09 April 2009

Dark and Dreary

I finished up a group of Poe short stories, Selected Stories and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe. It is an old edition i picked up at Half Price Books for like $1.50. It's been so long since i read these short stories i'd forgotten some of them. I completely forgot what "The Gold Bug" was about, how "Marie Roget" frustrated me, the weirdness of the family in "The Fall of the House of Usher". "The Pit and the Pendulum" was just as scary as i remember. Poe gets a 6!

Giveaway! So Random.org picked commenter 1, Mindy! I'm sending you an email to get that address. Hope you enjoy the book!

07 April 2009


I woke up this morning to this friendly girl on my porch.

She was hungry!

A few minutes later she made the leap.

And chowed down.

06 April 2009

WG and a Weekend Update

I am doing Weekly Geeks Option A and write about what books i read as a child.

A bunch! I loved The Secret Garden and Little Women. I really liked the Encyclopedia Brown books and the Fudge books and the Scary Stories series and the Great Brain series. Harriet the Spy and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Johnny Tremain and T
he Westing Game and Stuart Little and Sarah, Plain and Tall and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh and The Hobbit and The Witch of Blackbird Pond i read and reread and reread. The Call of the Wild and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Treasure Island and Around the World in 80 Days and The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and Heidi got me reading classics. Bunnicula! How to Eat Fried Worms! Redwall! The Waterbabies! The best part is i'd pick up any of these books today and read them again!

This weekend UNC gave me a glorious gift. By winning and advancing to the championship game I won my bracket! I've never ever ever won! *blows kisses* thanks! Good Luck tonight!

Also, i had a date. I went on a hike with O around Lookout Mountain. We ended up walking about 7 miles (whew) and being a bit exhausted.

a bit of waterfall and rock path.

straight up!

a bamboo forest. pretty cool. I learned a what bunch of wildflowers look like. Columbine and violets and Virginia bluebells and trillium and Johnny-in-the-pulpit and blue phlox. Hopefully i'll remember these next time i see them. I think i'll look around for some flower hikes around Nashville.

Currently: feeling pretty good

02 April 2009

My Inner Fish

And inner worm, fly, mouse, etc. Your Inner Fish, by Neil Shubin, is an excellent little book about evolution. Shubin is an anatomist and paleontologist whose team discovered a "missing link" fish that walked. He traces various organs, systems and anatomical oddities from their origins in fish, sponges, worms, etc to how they function (or in some cases dysfunction) in humans. He intersperses the evolution bits with stories of fossil hunting, lab research, and planning expeditions. The best things about this book are the drawings and diagrams. To follow the bones of the arm from lizards, dinosaurs, through birds, seals and humans it great. To see how the structure of the eye has developed (including what the creature with each eye could see) is wonderful. This book is a 6 and is my final one for the Science Book Challenge! Whee!

I'm also going to post for BTT today!

Umm, i read gobs and gobs of library books. The above book is from the library. Of the books i've read this year 16 have been from the library. I go by my local one (a mile maybe from my apartment) at least once a week. I do feel guilty sometimes when i have a book that has a big hold list so i try to read it quickly. My local one is a modern building with one whole wall of 2 story windows but other than that it isn't too special. The Nashville Library downtown is gorgeous!

Here's the main library reading room. I couldn't find a picture of the entrance which is a beautiful 2 story hall...kinda like that one in Matrix Reloaded.

And from flickr, a picture of the statue outside the library. it's GIANT!

01 April 2009

Hugo Winners Vol. 1

I finished up The Hugo Winners Volume 1 edited by Isaac Asimov tonight at work. It is a collection of the Hugo award winning stories and novellettes between 1955 and 1961. I read it specifically for a classic sci-fi yahoo group I'm in. These are some amazing stories and great authors including Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clarke, Clifford Simak and Robert Bloch. I had only read one of these stories before; "The Hell Bound Train" by Robert Bloch is about a man who makes a deal with the devil to be able to stop time in exchange for his soul. I really liked all these stories! They were funny ('Allamagoosa'), sad ("The Darfstellar", "Flowers for Algernon") and even action-packed ("Exploration Team" and "The Longest Voyage"). The most affecting story is "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke. A little 6 page story about a priest dealing with his loss of faith. It was fabulous. In fact, this book is getting a 7, the first 7 for a book this year. Congrats 50 or so year old stories.