Showing posts from October, 2009


I read Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer yesterday. or, I should say, I started Eclipse yesterday and finished it at 4:15 this morning. It is my fourth book for the RIP challenge, so i've completed the number i wanted to finish. Of my original list of possibilities, two of the four i've read were on it. Ok i guess. I just started Breaking Dawn today and will include that one if i finish by Halloween. No late night reading tonight though!

so, where to begin. I'm not even going into the plot, you know what's happening right? Bella loves Edward, a vampire, but is also friends with Jacob, a werewolf, both of whom are in love with Bella. Much angst ensues. I give this one a 4. Really, Twilight was better than New Moon, which was way, way better than Eclipse. I mean, there is really only so much vacillating, whining, woe-is-me, wanna-be-ness that i can take. Those last couple pages, where we switch to Jacob's POV, were heavenly. Maybe if the books were written in 3…

silly but serious question

I finished Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Jared Diamond earlier. It isn't bad but apparently a lot of the material in the book was covered in The Third Chimpanzee. In fact, as i was reading it i checked twice that i hadn't listed it on my blog or rated or reviewed it on amazon just to see if it was a reread. So, just because i give it a 4 doesn't mean it isn't worth reading!

I do wonder why this book has this title. That exact question isn't addressed. The majority of the book covers how abberant human sexual behavior actually is and the possible evolutionary advantages or reasons behind concealed ovulation and menopause. It is all interesting but not really extensive enough.

While i didn't do the readathon

I did read a couple books yesterday. The first was a very pretty book, Skellig by David Almond. It's a YA novel. just 182 pages. I give it a 7. The volume i had was a sort of "guided reading" copy, with an author interview and questions on the book at the end. In the author interview, Almond explains his take on magical realism, which is exactly what this book feels like to me. Michael and his family have just moved into a new house, one that needs a lot of work, when Michael's mother has his little sister prematurely. Michael thinks of the baby constantly, even deciding he can feel her little heartbeat next to his own. As Michael's father tries to get the new house in order, Michael explores. He meets the home schooled neighbor girl, Mina, who quotes William Blake and seems pretty smart. He also finds a man, dirty and old and crippled, living in the broken down garage. The man's name is Skellig, and he may be an angel.

Other opinions on Skellig: So…

Various Goings On

Sort of a bit of everything post..

Congrats to all doing the Read-a-thon. I swear i am going to do the one in the spring. For sure! I'll be visiting various blogs i follow and cheering you on, as well as trying to get in the spirit and do a little reading myself!

walked 1.6 miles yesterday, 1 of which will count towards that 100 mile challenge!

I cooked jambalaya last night and B seemed to like it. Yay! That whole "to the heart through the stomach" thing seems to be working. I made him take some home as you can't just make a little jambalaya; you must make a bunch!

I got a CSA box this morning full of giant vegetables. This picture includes an acorn squash (the green one), a butternut squash, a sweet potato, and a normal sized apple for scale. anybody want some butternut squash soup?

for dinner tonight i'm cooking up some collard greens and baked butternut squash w/ bleu cheese and onions. here's a pic of that the last time i made it.


Whatever i…

Sci-Fi Series

I finished up the book B gave me to read, The Reality Dysfunction, Part 1: Emergence by Peter F Hamilton. it's an extremely complicated book with a dozen or so characters doing their own thing throughout the galaxy. Towards the end a few of the various characters meet up but still end up going their separate ways. Kind of a sci-fi version of the Song of Ice and Fire series.

I do wish the different characters were separated out into different chapters, like in the Martin series. It would have helped me to keep things separated. Hamilton swaps between characters in the same chapter. It wouldn't bother me if we just got multiple points of view of a series of events, like if we first got the perspective of the captain, then another crew member, then maybe an outsider coming on board the ship. but Hamilton will give us the events character A experiences, then jump across the galaxy to character B, then to character C, then B, then some other new person we hadn't read abou…

Library Loot!

And a review....I picked up 3 books today from the library that i've been waiting forever for. Ok, in reality, i put League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill on my request list back in May, just before it got released. It showed "on order" until last Friday when suddenly it said "in transit". Whoopie!

I liked this waaay more than Black Dossier. Black Dossier was just a little too trippy for me. And it jumped so far forward in time that i felt lost. Century: 1910 goes back to the characters as we knew them just after Volume 2. Mina and Quartermain have become immortal; they are still in the League with the gender switching Orlando (from Virginia Wolff's novel), AJ Raffles and Thomas Carnacki. Since there were more characters i didn't know, and until reading the wikipedia entry i didn't understand why several were singing, i guess i got less out of it than i would have otherwise. a 5 from me.

Then, i…

100 Mile Challenge

This challenge seems cool and maybe a way to keep some of that Halloween Candy/Thanksgiving Turkey/Christmas Cookie weight off. The challenge runs from 10/1-12/31 and the goal is to walk/run 100 miles over the course of the 92 days. That works out to 1.08 miles/day. so, since i'm starting late, my goal will be to do 85 miles, with a stretch goal of the full 100. I like the fact that i can also use 15 minutes of other exercise as a mile; I need to pull out that yoga video!

So, because i can, i'm going to count the 2 miles i did at Radnor Lake yesterday for my first 2 miles of the challenge! I actually walked 2.7 but that extra .7 doesn't count. Had i known i was going to be doing this challenge i'd have finished another .3. ah well.

Monday, October 19

Couple things....first off i'm reading
The Reality Dysfunction: Part 1 Emergence by Peter F. Hamilton- B's rec, epic sci-fi, can i say it's weird to be with a guy who reads?
Rises the Night by Colleen GleasonMansfield Park by Jane Austen
Secondly, I took a mental health day today. woke up late (but not late enough), made some yummy apple-pecan baked thing for breakfast, walked at Radnor Lake, where i saw a flock of nuns, and have read and played on the web. And worked on my resume. Ever get super crazy burned out? I've worked as a Customer's Bitch for 7 full years come November 8. If one more thing changes or one more piece of bad work news comes my way i think i'll literally stand up at work and start screaming. so, rather than have a full on, public nervous breakdown (hmm, would my disability insurance cover that?), i've decided to at least try to begin looking for different employment. While the night shift is no longer the pain it once was (thanks,…

Weekly Geeks for 10/10

hmm, this week's geek topic is about asking for recommendations.

i am going to ask this a particular way i think. There are a few authors who i believe i would like but, having never read anything by them, I don't know where to start! So, if you've read any of these people, especially if you've read a few by them, where would you tell someone to begin? Or, would you tell me to run far, far away from these authors?

Barbara Ehrenreich- non-fiction. Bright-Sided is her newest and really looks the most interesting to me. I know i've read the back of Nickel and Dimed several times. This Land is Their Land and Global Woman also both sound good.

Zadie Smith- fiction. On Beauty and White Teeth are both on the 1001 Books list.

Steven Jay Gould- non-fiction. Strangely, i've not read anything by him, though i've read gobs and gobs of biology. Full House, Wonderful Life, and Ever Since Darwin all sound good.

Salman Rushdie- fiction. i've really got no idea wher…


So i read my second RIP book and was rather disappointed. Marked, by PC and Kristen Cast, is another vampire book. For some reason i thought it was going to be about werewolves but realized a few pages in i was wrong on that front. My mistake is not why i didn't like it though.

The world itself is rather interesting. Vampires have always been around and humans turn into vampires in their teens. They are Marked first, with a crescent moon on their foreheads, and then begin to Change over the next few years. Some people do not survive, at one point one of the teachers mentions 10% death rate. A group of humans, People of the Faith, are a counterpoint, a religious conservative group. There are spirits and gods/goddesses and a long history that we only get hints of.

We start with Zoey, a high school student, being visited by some creepy something who Marks her as a vampire. Her best friend Kayla freaks out, as do her mother and stepfather, a pastor for the People of the Faith. She goes…

Fall Recipe Exchange Entry!

Hooray for Fall! I've always felt like fall was the beginning of the year. During school it really was the start of something and i guess i've always kept that with me. Something about the way things quickly change, the anticipation of the holidays and the cold weather makes it feel like things are starting, not ending. The first day i go out and can smell the cold makes me happy!

so i've had a bit of a new beginning this year myself. I've started seeing someone! B is a very sweet, warm guy...who works nights and really likes to read! *grins* A guy I can swap books much better can i get? That's almost as good as having your best friend be your same size so you can swap clothes! But seriously, I'm having a great time being in that goofy, getting to know you, sweetly awkward, early relationship stage. I'm grinning all the time!

Changing gears back to fall in general, My Friend Amy is doing a Fall Recipe Exchange. I've recently develo…

The Bride's Farewell

I'm not exactly sure how i feel about this book yet. The Bride's Farewell is Meg Rosoff's newest novel. I think it's being marketed as an adult novel but any teen who liked Just In Case or How I Live Now would also be attracted the adventures of Pell Ridley, the bride of the title.

Set in 1850's England, Pell is the oldest girl in her family. After living her life with her worthless, drunken father, her overworked, heartbroken mother, her mess of sisters and several dead brothers, Pell decides to run from this life on what was to be her wedding day. She owns a horse which she takes with her and her little brother, Bean, joins her. Her first plan, as she's been working with horses since she was a child, is to go to the Salisbury horse fair and get a job.

Unfortunately, life on the open road can be complicated and the wrong choice can have long term consequences.

i liked it but it took me a while to get into. The story of Pell's childhood is interspersed…

One More Update

as of 10/12
Total: 121
Non-fiction: 30
Library: 86 (i signed up for the 50 book challenge at the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge so i'm done)
Graphic novels: 24

Science Book Challenge:3/3 i am done!
YA Challenge: 12/12 DONE!
9 for 09 challenge: 2/9
Shakespeare Challenge: 6/6 DONE!
World Citizen Challenge: 2/3
TBR Lite: 0/6
Classics Challenge: 5/5 DONE!
OUaT3: 5/5 also done!
1% Challenge: 9/10
Everything Austen Challenge: 0/6
Japanese Lit Challenge: 1/1 done
RIP IV Challenge: 1/4


I finished my fourth book by a Bronte! Villette, by Charlotte Bronte, reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre, not at all of Wuthering Heights, and little of Agnes Grey.

We start off with Lucy Snowe, a young girl, staying with her godmother, Mrs. Bretton, and her son, Graham, as she's a teen. Mrs. Bretton also looks after a little girl, Polly, who's six. We get a good entry into Lucy's personality before the real story starts as she relates how the people in the household interact. Later, as an adult, Lucy has to become first a companion to an invalid lady, then journeys to France to begin a fresh life. Though she speaks no French Lucy ends up at a girl's boarding school, first as a governess to the Madame's children, then as the English teacher. Lucy deals with Madame Beck, the spying headmistress, Ginevra, a coquettish English student who treats Lucy as a personal pet, and Messieur Paul, a French teacher at the school. There may or may not be a ghost, but there is…

More Evolution

In another one of those weird coincidences, i got Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne from the library just a couple of days after the news about the Ardi fossil broke in Nature. While Coyne's book, of course, can't cover that fossil, it is an amazing resource for all the various lines of evidence for evolution. Right when i was in the mood to dig into some meaty science i get a great book to read!

Coyne is an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Chicago. He really knows his subject.
How many lines of evidence do you want? Transitional fossils? covered! DNA evidence? Done! Seeing natural selection and gene change occurring in the here and now? Explained! Coyne even covers what "scientific theory" really means. He breaks down the various points of evolution and does cover some arguments of creationists. One of the best parts, for me, was how he explained how various weird things can be explained by or predicted from evolution but completely fall apar…

Henry V

I am done with the Shakespeare Challenge! And i finished it up with my favorite of the plays i've read so far. Henry Vgot a 6! I know that i'll continue on to Henry VI sometime soon, maybe if i get to go back to Louisiana for Thanksgiving.

It's a very manly play. It begins with Harry the King discussing with his advisors whether or now he has a legal and moral right to France. He then uncovers a plot of treason and deals harshly with the lords who conspired with France against him. The English sail to France and have a few victories before they come to face the majority of the French force at Agincourt. Harry's forces are outnumbered and tired and the French are fresh. Everyone, on both sides, seems to expect an English defeat.

This play is the one with the St. Crispin's Day speech. Wikipedia's entry on the play is rather funny, as essentially it says every epic speech by a leader before a battle in any movie ever is drawn from the Shakespearean speech…

Shakespeare Wrote for Money

I could read a dozen collections of Nick Hornby's "Stuff I've Been Reading" column, if only he'd keep writing them. Of course, then I'd have even more things on my to read list. So maybe it's a good thing that Shakespeare Wrote for Moneyis the last collection, for now anyway.

Hornby is such a normal, for blogger terms anyway, reader. As in, he reads all over the place, admits to not finishing some books, to not liking big famous bestsellers, and admits that sometimes he just doesn't read. His non-reading period in this volume spans the World Cup (soccer) and his own wedding. I think that that column is one of my favorites in the book, making me laugh out loud. It's that weird synchroniscity of reading that Hornby describes: since my knowledge of soccer has exponentially increased in the last month, the column is funny. if i'd read it in August, it would have only been ok. He relates that idea to movies, discussing whether people shoul…

Beedle the Bard

I finished up a quick book for my personal challenge. I am not doing too well there but maybe i can finish the year strong. I read Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling. The stories are wonderful fairy tales of the type i read as a kid. We had a couple volumes of international children's tales and these stories could easily fit in any of those books. I really enjoyed the "commentary" by Dumbledore.

weird side note: i got this one from McKay's earlier this year. stuck in the book as a bookmark was the receipt from where the original purchaser had bought the book. They got it at the Tampa International Airport, along with a couple magazines, People and US Weekly. funny huh?

So i give this book a 5, mainly because it's so short. if it had another half dozen stories i would have rated it higher. Other than being over too quickly, it is a fun book. also, since i own it, it counted for my personal challenge. Yay!

Beer! and Wine and Tea....

A History of the World in Six Glasses is a fun nonfiction book by Tom Standage. A sort of alternate history, the book discusses how various beverages influenced the world. The chapters on beer, wine and tea are the most interesting to me. Wages used to be paid in beer! Tea supply directed British foreign policy! Wine led to the Republic! The Coke chapters were the least interesting. I've read plenty on globalization and American dominance overseas. I recommend this one though, a 5 from me.

Catching Fire

I finished up Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins today! I really liked this one more than Hunger Games. This book felt more original and the characters had more individual personalities. And we find more about the history and political situation in Panem, and about the districts too.

So Katniss and Peeta have survived their Games and have come home to wealthy lives. But Katniss is still out of place because, though she cares about Peeta, she doesn't know if she wants to be forced to be with him the rest of her life. Gale, her friend from before the Games, has become a bit more than just friend. When EVEELL President Snow shows up, talking of how Katniss has become a bit of a symbol of rebellion, saying she better make sure everyone knows she defied the Capitol only for love, Katniss realizes that, in one way or another, she will never be free. Then Capitol rachets up the pressure, in ways only a dictatorship can.

Lots of the action takes place out of the Arena. We start seeing…

My anthropological heart is all a flutter!

Very Super Cool! On days like today i wonder if it would be worth it to go back to school.

We've got another ancestor! Who had some pretty awesome feet by the way. Science published today studies on the Ardipithecus ramidus, a 4.4 million year old fossil found in Ethiopia about 15 years ago by Tim White and colleagues.

Carl Zimmer's summary for Discover Magazine's blogs.


BTT for 10/1

Today's topic:

Two-thirds of Brits have lied about reading books they haven’t. Have you? Why? What book?

hmm, not that i know of? I will fully admit to being mistaken on books, where i thought i'd read it but then if i pick it up or read/talk about a summary of it realize that i probably have not. I don't even count the fact that i read many "abridged for children" classics as having read the book itself. so i guess i am pretty honest.