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Showing posts from December, 2009

Final Tally

OK here i go! I read 46 more books than last year, but since i read two whole graphic novel series i think that makes my total look higher. I read four fewer non-fiction books. I also read 18 more library books, which i know comes from the graphic novel series.

Total: 148
Non-fiction: 31 Library: 98 (i signed up for the 50 book challenge at the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge so i'm done) Graphic novels: 31

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 - i just never felt like reading the books i'd listed
Chunkster Challenge: 4/3-5 Done!
Classics Challenge: 5/5 DONE! OUaT3: 5/5 also done! 1% Challenge: 10/10 done Everything Austen Challenge: 4/6 Japanese Lit Challenge: 1/1 done RIP IV Challenge: 4/4 Done!

Best of the Year

So, these items are all in no particular order. I can never limit myself to a set number. if i set the number too high, then i feel like i have to add in things, too low and i end up cutting out something i don't want to. Here are the things i enjoyed most in 2009, with comments
Books:Fiction:
The Hugo Winners Vol. 1 edited by Issac Asimov- OLD sci-fi short stories
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist - Swedish vampires
1984 by George Orwell - classic dystopia
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff - modern, YA semi-dystopia
After the Quake by Murakami - lyrical Japanese short stories
The Grey King by Susan Cooper - English kids having adventures!
Skellig by David Almond -English kids having a very very different adventure
American Gods by Neil Gaiman - epic

Plays:A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen - very early feminism
Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare - Hotspur vs Harry plus Falstaff = very good

Graphic Novels:
Fables series - Snow White is proactive? The Big Bad Wolf is a hard-boiled d…

Batman and Philosophy

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Do i read too much philosophy? I completed Batman and Philosophy edited by Mark D White, Robert Arp, and William Irwin today. Overall, i am giving it a 4. Some essays were great but several were pretty bleh. I had high hopes for "Why Batman is Better than Superman", "Is It Right to Make a Robin" and "The Tao of the Bat". They were really not informative though. The best were "Worlds Finest...Friends? Batman, Superman and the Nature of Friendship", "Alfred, the Dark Knight of Faith: Batman and Kierkegaard" and "Batman's Confrontation with Death, Angst, and Freedom". I think the reason i prefered those essays is that they covered information i hadn't already read before. I've read so much about deontology and utilitarianism and consequentialist theory that reading about these as related to Batman isn't that interesting.

So i'll be posting a couple wrap up posts soon. Unless i finish up another grap…

Walking Dead Vol. 3 and Loot!

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Between calls today i read The Walking Dead, Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars. I got it for Christmas from my parents. I would have to say i liked this one a little less than the previous ones. The first two i think are a little more original while this third volume really becomes a "man is his own worst enemy" tale. also, maybe because it is black and white i'm getting a few of the secondary characters confused. It may also be because they keep dying and then we keep finding new ones. I think this one is a 4 but i am still very interested in the "zombie movie that never ends".


My cool best friend D made this for me! It is going on the front of my car as soon as i can dig out my drill to hook it on. Awesome, huh? Besides what i got from B, my parents also gave me a new 16 GB MP3 player! i've been using an old 1 GB that still takes AA batteries so it kept eating those up and i had to keep deleting music to add on new stuff. Now i've got so much s…

Wrap up Post for the 1% Challenge

I finished up this challenge a few weeks ago. I was pretty heavy on female stories this year. Here's what I read, in reverse order, with my rating out of 7.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen-5Villette by Charlotte Bronte-6On The Road by Jack Kerouac-3A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-5After the Quake by Haruki Murakami-7Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte-6
Persuasion by Jane Austen-6Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen-4Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll-4
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll-6Not a bad reading year for this challenge! I would like to work on some more non-English speaking authors next year, especially some more Russian or Japanese novels. I've got more than 10 1001 list books on my TBR stack so i am going to try to read just from those and Dailylit for this challenge next year.

BTT for 12/24

Thanks for not asking a Christmas question, BTT! I appreciate it. All fall i haven't really felt the Christmas feeling. I mean, i went shopping but still didn't get a tree this year. it isn't cold at all! I didn't have an opportunity to take any time off work and don't even get a long weekend because Christmas is on a Friday this year and i have Friday's off anyway. My closest friends are out of town. And i have to work tonight :(. Don't feel sorry for me though; I plan on vegging out and reading and watching movies all day. I also have Titans tickets for the Christmas day game and will have a great time with my friend J.

so, on to BTT!

Given the choice, which do you prefer? Real history? Or historical fiction? (Assume, for the purposes of this discussion that they are equally well-written and engaging.)

My college major was Anthropology! So i have a bit of a penchant for history in all its' forms. I read a good bit of non-fiction, from really s…

Robinson Crusoe

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I have been readingRobinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe on Dailylit and finished it up last night. I really didn't like it unfortunately. I wasn't expecting all the religion!

The story is pretty simple. Robinson Crusoe is a middle class young man who's family wants him to stay in England and remain as he is. He defies them and goes to sea instead. He has a few early adventures, escaping from slavery in Africa at one point, then ends up in Brazil and owning a plantation. Well, he and some other plantation owners decide they could make more money if they brought over a few boatloads of slaves from Africa! So Crusoe hops on a boat, which during a storm gets driven onto an island reef and begins to sink. Crusoe is the only one to survive the attempt to get to shore and he then spends about 27 years on the island.

The first several chapters of him learning to live on the island are ok but the story becomes so repetitive: he learns to do something, something bad happens, he …

B Spoils Me!

I had a lovely weekend with B. He's so sweet!

We did presents on Saturday night. I hope he liked the tees i got him from Threadless. I also got him a couple of soccer books, one of which he said he had heard good things about. He gave me a Box o' Books! Whee! i got the Sandman comics that i didn't have and another graphic novel, as well as some sci-fi and a kids book that i wanted. And a Han Solo bobblehead! and Firefly! so like i said, he spoiled me!

Sunday we went to see Avatar! on IMAX in 3D! It was pretty full but we got some decent seats. I thought it was a pretty cool movie and liked it a lot. However, i got motion sick! i have seen plenty of 3D movies, even a couple on IMAX and have never had any problem with getting nauseous. I saw the 3D Christmas Carol a few weeks ago and was fine. I actually had to get up about halfway through Avatar, walk out and take a breather for a few minutes. i got a soda and that helped and i was able to finish up the mov…

Something to Celebrate

Beautiful. This actually made me tear up.


CSI in the 12th Century

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Just the day after i post about not wanting to "speed read" through good books i tore through Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin yesterday. I had only read a couple chapters Thursday at work because we were very busy. I didn't expect to read it all through last night but the book really captured my attention. The fact that it was only 276 pages certainly helps.

It's the 12th century in Cambridge, England. Several children have gone missing and the one that was found was horribly mutilated. Suspicion falls on the local Jews because the first crime fell during Easter, and everyone knows that Jews sacrifice a Christian child at Easter! (arg, religious superstition!) The Jews flee to the town's monastery and, since they can't make money and pay their taxes in confinement, Henry II sends for help from his cousin, the King of Sicily.

He gets Dr. Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar of Salerno, the best "mistress of death" that the medical …

I got my Secret Santa Package!

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Today i got my Secret Santa package! Yay! My secret santa was Heidenkind over from Heidenkind's Hideaway. I'd seen her blog before; i love the header picture she uses. Here's what i got!

The bookmark is actually 2 and a poster, which will be going up at work. I'm so excited i got Pride and Prejudice too! She must have peeked at my amazon list. Thanks so so much!

Btt for 12/17

Sort of a philosophical question today.
Suggested by Barbara H:What do you think of speed-reading? Is it a good way to get through a lot of books, or does the speed-reader miss depth and nuance? Do you speed-read? Is some material better suited to speed-reading than others?Well, it depends on what you call "speed reading". People at work say i must speed read because i read quickly. Various self/online testing has shown i read about 400-450 wpm, which is good but not spectacular. I certainly don't feel like i'm trying to read fast most of the time. I don't know that i've ever tried to learn to read faster either. I think speed just comes from practice, practice, practice, a lot of which occurred during my formative school years. i know i read some things faster than others. Fantasy, general fiction, horror or histories are all things i read more quickly, while techie sci-fi, philosophy, biology and astronomy slow me down a good bit. just try to read a…

The Coral Thief

So i finished an ERC i received from Librarything: The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott.

The Coral Thief is what i call "an observer to a historically significant time" novel. It is about a Scottish student, Daniel, who comes to Paris to study under Cuvier (a naturalist who thought species couldn't change) right after Napoleon is defeated. The specimens he is bringing from his teacher to Cuvier get stolen by a beautiful woman and he feels that unless he gets those items back he's ruined. The beautiful woman is Lucienne Bernard, a professional thief with a traumatic past who gets Daniel caught up in the political, philosophical, religious and scientific debates of the time.
Things i liked: the illustrations! There were drawings of sculptures, maps, insects and fossils. These pictures really brought to life some of the details of the novel. I also liked Fin, our narrator's roommate. A drunken, but good-natured, medical student who mainly spends his time amputatin…

Mansfield Park

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I finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen last night. This book helped with a couple challenges and is on the 1001 Books List too.



The heroine in the book is Fanny Price. She was taken in when she was ten by her aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Bertram. Another aunt, Mrs. Norris, also lives near the family and is a big influence on the Bertram children, Tom, Edmund, Maria and Julia. Fanny grows up in the other girls' shadow, always being told she's not as good as they are and will never amount to what they will become. Edmund becomes a great friend, as he confides in and protects Fanny when possible. As the second son, Edmund becomes a clergyman as an adult.

The real conflict of the story starts when Maria becomes engaged for position and money, not for love. Shortly thereafter, a new family arrives in the town, the Crawfords. A brother and sister, both single, with large inheritances, they captivate the Bertrams. Edmund falls for Mary, although her attitudes toward the clergy a…

Persuasion, the Movie

Over the weekend I watched the 1995 version of Persuasion. I liked it well enough but i don't think it is going to be one i'll be buying. It definitely is a much slower sort of movie; each part of the story comes to view in its' own time. Because Persuasion doesn't have the zippy dialogue of Pride and Prejudice, our heroine Anne has to show her emotions with how she looks and acts. I liked the theme of love recovered after a long separation and i liked the side characters, especially the Admiral Croft and his wife. overall, i'd give this one a 5.

Yay!

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I was Secret Santa for Beth F over at Beth Fish Reads. Apparently she liked her gift (her post here) that she passed along an award to me! Thanks so much!

The award comes with a meme and one rule: Answer the following questions using single-word answers. Then pass the award to 5 other people and let them know.

Your cell phone? G1
Your hair? blondish
Your mother? giving
Your father? smart
Your favorite food? eggs
Your dream last night? wet
Your favorite drink? coffee
Your dream/goal?serenity
What room are you in? living
Your hobby?football
Your fear? Frogs
Where do you want to be in 6 years? motherhood
Where were you last night? couch
Something that you aren’t? hungry
Muffins? cranberry
Wish list item? Blu-ray
Where did you grow up? everywhere
Last thing you did? showered
What are you wearing? casual
Your TV? borrowed
Your Pets? fun
Friends? close
Your life? better
Your mood?solid
Missing someone? certainly
Vehicle?Versa
Something you’re not wearing? makeup
Your favorite store? McKay's
Your favorite color? b…

Weekly Geeks 45

A whole bunch of questions for this week's Geekiness.

Do you have a book wish list for the holidays? (Or is that one of those 'duh' questions?) If so, what's on it?

I have an amazon wish list. I've got all sorts of stuff on it besides books. The books are frequently things that my library doesn't have (like graphic novels) or that are really more expensive than i'd really want to pay out of pocket myself. A sampling: Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention by Stanislas Dehaene, Impossible by Nancy Werlin, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, Dark Tower: Treachery by Peter David and Robin Furth, Undercover Philospher by Micheal Phillips, and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks.

Are you very specific when someone asks what you want for a gift? Or do you throw caution to the wind and say, "Oh any book you choose...." Or do you prefer a bookstore gift card?

I am not normally specific when people ask me w…

More challenges for next year

First, there is the Science Book Challenge! I always like this one, hosted by Jeff at Bearcastle Blog.
Read at least three nonfiction books in 2010 related to the theme "Nature & Science". Your books should have something to do with science, scientists, how science operates, or the relationship of science with our culture. Your books might be popularizations of science, they might be histories, they might be biographies, they might be anthologies; they can be recent titles or older books.I haven't picked any specific books to read, though i have The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson on my TBR shelves. I should try to get those read.

Next, I am going to sign up for the Chunkster Challenge again. I'll be doing the 4 book challenge. Four books of more than 450 pages of grown-up literature. No YA on this one!

Under the Dome

I finished Under the Dome by Stephen King in a 350 page binge after getting out of work a bit early last night. I didn't take it to work, for which i am glad, as I wouldn't have appreciated the end as much.

One day in late October a clear force field goes up around the entire town of Chester's Mill. Not a round dome as it follows the town's borders exactly, delving underground and straight into the sky for miles each way. Luckily, the town has a competent ex-Army short-order cook, Dale Barbara, with friends in very high places. Unluckily, the town also has a corrupt used car salesman (literally) of a politician in Big Jim Rennie, who wants to use the Dome as a way to take over the town. The whole book is the fight between these two factions, Barbara and crew trying to help people and fix the problem, Rennie and his cronies hurting people and destroying the town.

It's a sci-fi book, pure and simple. I'm blanking if King has written any other straight up sci…

American Gods

So i finally finished up American Gods by Neil Gaiman on audio book. I really would have finished it on the trip back from Louisiana but i had to listen to the LSU game, of course, and spent about an hour talking to B. so those diversions left me with 4 cd's to finish the book and only a 10 min commute each way to work to do it in. I just can't sit at the house and listen to audiobooks.

The book, for anyone not familiar, follows a newly released ex-con, Shadow. While trying to get back home during a major storm his plane gets diverted, he misses another, and finally ends up on the one open seat on a flight, which isn't even the seat assigned him. When he sits down, the man next to him turns and says "you're late".

what kind of awesome setup is that! from there, Shadow gets to know various old gods, who are real, brought to America by their believers hundreds or thousands of years ago. He meets several new gods, of TV and internet and media. There is a…

Post Thanksgiving Picture Reveal!

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Alright, here's some picks of the family. I drove down to Louisiana and had a great time.
My Dad
My Sister.

My niece.

My nephew.

The table.

Mom.

My brother and his 2 kids.

Other brother.

The other other brother, his wife and her nephew.

whew!

TwentyTen Reading Challenge

Bart over on Bart's Bookshelf is hosting the TwentyTen Reading Challenge. 2 books each from 10 categories! here are the categories:
Young AdultTBRShiny and NewBad BloggersCharityNew in 2010Older than YouWin!Win!Who Are You Again?Up to YouI haven't decided what i want to do for that last category but i'm considering something like "African Authors" or maybe "Sports Books". The challenge looks like fun and i hope everyone enjoys it.

Give to Others

I enjoyed doing this post last year. we all get, and give, so much stuff in the US over the holidays. Do we really need everything? do the people we give presents too really need them? I'm not going to rant about materialism. My mom loved her "present" that i gave her last year: school books for an African child from Oxfam Unwrapped. If everyone donated one present, instead of giving one, imagine how much good we'd do. Some ideas:

Habitat for Humanity. They build houses all over the world! They have a range of things you can get for someone, from a hammer for $10, a pallet of 2x4's for $90, a front door for $150, to a roof for $5000!

The International Rescue Committee is "a critical global network of first responders, humanitarian relief workers, healthcare providers, educators, community leaders, activists, and volunteers. Working together, we provide access to safety, sanctuary, and sustainable change for millions of people whose lives have been sh…

The Shadow Queen

Yesterday i finished The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop. This book is the seventh in the Black Jewels universe. Bishop does a good job of giving readers new characters to become interested in while still giving us more about the characters we've loved over the last books. She goes back to the land, if not the time, covered in The Invisible Ring, and we get to see what has happened in a kingdom where all of the powerful Blood were killed during Jaenelle's cleansing of the world.

Overall, i'd say good but a little formulaic. a 5. Way way better than Tangled Webs.

LIbrary Challenge

So i'm joining up on the 2010 Your Local Library Challenge, hosted by J. Kaye. This year i signed up to read at least 50 and, at last count, read 95. and i've got a month to go! so for 2010 i think i'll do the Stepping It Up and look to read 75. I would say i'd do the Super Size Me and read 100 but i am going to try really really really hard to read a good number of my own books.