I had a great reading year and i hope you did too!
31 December 2010
I had a great reading year and i hope you did too!
30 December 2010
- The Book Thief
- The Moonstone
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog
- Giovanni's Room
- The Vanishing of Katherina Linden
- Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
- The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity
- American Vampire, Vol. 1
- The Dream Hunters (Sandman Vol 11)
- I Kill Giants
- Walking Dead, Vol. 8: Made to Suffer
- Library: An Unquiet History
- Packing for Mars
- How Fiction Works
- The Great Influenza
- Blade Runner
- The Thirteenth Warrior
- Dial M for Murder
- The Bridge over the River Kwai
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
- The Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Kick Ass
- Sherlock Holmes
- Moving in with B! he's so cool.
- Going snow tubing in North Carolina with my friends D and C.
- Flying over New York City at dusk, running into Ben from Lost on my flight, meeting B's family, seeing NYC...well the whole trip!
- Watching the Saints win the Superbowl
- Watching the US/England soccer game in a crowded, divided, rowdy bar
- Finding a new job
29 December 2010
28 December 2010
I listened to two audio books on this trip and finished reading one paperback. Quick reviews!
HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian- Book 3 of the Aubrey/Maturin series. In this, though we thought Jack's money issues were solved at the end of Post Captain, we find he's still in trouble and yet to marry Sophia at the beginning of this book. He gets a chance, partly due to Maturin's cunning, to captain the H.M.S. Surprise as she carries an envoy to the far east. I thought the beginning was a bit of a cheat but liked it overall. a 5.
The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian- Book 4 of Aubrey/Maturin. Spoiler's ahead!
With the money earned in H.M.S. Surprise, Aubrey and Sophia have set up house and have a pair of twin girls. Unfortunately, Sophia's mother has managed to loose her own money and has moved in with the couple. Jack's on shore and so on half pay when he has the chance to be a commodore and fight the French in the south Indian ocean he jumps at it. lots of drama in the battles and the personalities of the captains under Jack. in this one i thought it was the end that was a cheat but liked it better. a 6.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins- a cool Victorian epistolary mystery. really liked it. a 6.
I will probably finish The Sherlockian before the end of the year and maybe At Large and At Small. I am going to get my Best of the Year post ready for tomorrow.
25 December 2010
I'm just relaxing swaddled in blankies. My mom, sister, and the Girl Scout troop my mom leads are on their way to England! They've been raising money for this trip for the last year and a half and were so excited to finally be going. We had our Christmas last night. To pictures!
My mom's computer is so weird and slow. I'm going to go get a cup of coffee; I'm cold!
19 December 2010
Maybe the season has just gone by too fast? I'm enjoying the new job and am so so glad i'm not dealing with another season at the cell phone company. It does seem like i just stopped working there when it has actually been about 6 weeks now. In fact, it really seems like since the move time has just shot by. The new job has cut down on my reading a bit as i can eat lunch while i work! I could take a whole hour if i wanted to but i'd rather eat while i work and leave earlier.
Please please don't think i'm complaining, i'm not! B and I have settled into a great rhythm with each other. We're happy being lazy together! We should clean more and finish unpacking all the books and get the dead plants off the porch. But it is much more pleasant to chat and cuddle and watch movies and read together in the evenings. He's great. I should post more pictures of him.
sooooooo. on a completely different note, I'm thinking of taking CB James' TBR Dare but i feel like i'll have to put in too many exceptions (currently checked out library books, library books i may get from my current hold list, audio books for driving to) that it really wouldn't count. I am going to sign up again for Bart's Bookshelf's TwentyEleven Challenge though i am not quite going to finish up the 2010 Challenge.
Currently: watching the Titans and they are winning?!?
16 December 2010
Bryson and his family live in a rambling old rectory in the English countryside. He structures the book's chapters by the various rooms in the home. Some are better than others; the library one is well connected but the attic chapter has little to do with the attic.
So, a 5. i just picked up Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society, edited by Bill Bryson. But I have so many library books right now i don't know how fast i can get to it.
15 December 2010
12 December 2010
It didn't have the Hollywood moments. This book isn't about the smart Jewish kid reforming the old convicts through the power of literature. Several of the characters Avi meets in prison have died by the end of the book. The biggest inter-personal conflicts he faces aren't with the prisoners but with the guards, who go out of their way to undermine Avi's authority and seem to be of the opinion the library shouldn't even be there.
This book is touching but not heart-warming. I liked reading about this very particular life. a 6.
It is snowing here! here's some pics taken about 12:30. we've gotten more coverage since then but i still can't tell about the road.
I'm chilly. I am not going anywhere today! I need to vacuum the apartment. Later, i'll try to make pot roast for the first time! Otherwise, i intend to curl up and read and watch football. Maybe i will try some of the tea i got in the mail. Toorah has the right idea!
Speaking of TV, B decided we needed a bigger, better model. He got a 60 inch tv and the 3D conversion thingy. The mass market paperback is there for some scale.
This is a gigantic tv. We watched The Dark Knight the first night we got it as it is one of the few Bluray movies I own and it was awesome! We were playing around with the 3d demo PS3 games last night and i actually got dizzy!
The football looks awesome.
7:30 PM update:
I may not be going to work tomorrow. The pictures didn't show the snow as sparkly as it really is. B says it is because it is cold that the snow is all sparkly. B also says the roads are bad. The snow isn't supposed to stop until after midnight so who knows about work.
10 December 2010
The Secret Santa gave me a lovely little book to write in, some yummy sounding teas, and 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. She isn't an author I'm familiar with but the book is a collection of her letters to and from an English bookseller Frank Doel. It looks fun!
So thank you thank you Santa! let me know who you are!
08 December 2010
This is a graphic novel series for book fiends. I loved the Kipling/Twain story that ended the last volume and really liked the Pooh-ish story that ended this grouping. I don't want to get all smart sounding and talk about the book being meta-fiction and the intertextuality involved, post-structuralism interpretations and the concept of self. But it is a very smart, literary series. I have to say it again, if you liked the Sandman series you will enjoy this one. a 6.
04 December 2010
So, i have one challenge that goes through April 2011, the 1% Challenge. The challenge is for 13 books off the 1001 list, of which i've read 6.
Next, i think the Shakespeare Reading Challenge sounds fun. I'm going to read (or most likely listen to) 6 plays, of which 2 i can see performances of instead of reading. Perhaps after B and I finish A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court we might try a play. We both happen to have the exact same copies of the complete works. We are lit geeks; B was even an English major!
The Vintage Mystery Challenge also looks fun, though i be i am going to be a bit more vintage than expected. I've started loving some oooooollllldddddd mystery novels, so i am sure i can conquer the "Get a Clue" level of 7.
I currently have over 140 books on my TBR list on librarything. wow. And that doesn't count any i may receive for Christmas! Or all of B's lovely books. so i am jumping on the Off The Shelf reading challenge at the "Making a Dent" level of 30 books to read. I can do it!
As a personal challenge, i want to get some of those Russian books off my to-read list. I've not read War and Peace and intend to read that in 2011. So if anyone knows if a Russian challenge is up let me know! I'm sure there will be a couple more challenges anyway, beside the regular ones I sign up for at Stainless Steel Droppings.
I have never hosted a challenge and have no plans to do so this year. I'm a follower, not a leader! :)
and holy crap, i just realized this is post 800. I can't believe i'm still doing this! Thanks for reading!
01 December 2010
The tone of Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle is one of angry mourning. Anger at the corporations and politicians who are fiddling while Rome burns, anger at the people who buy into the culture of more money now, at people who don't think, who use others. The chapter on porn is particularly angry. Mourning because there was a point when knowledge and thinking were important and valued.
He makes many references to various dystopian novels like 1984 and comes to the conclusion that out current society has many similarities to Brave New World, which I haven't yet read so can't comment on, and Fahrenheit 451. The Bradbury book has characters constantly being "infotained" by video screens throughout the home and city. It isn't just that people aren't allowed to have books, most people have no idea there would be any reason for them to do so. Now I am going to add Brave New World on my list for next year.
I guess the biggest problem I had with the book is that, while it does an astounding job of explaining the scope and facets of our problematic culture, it offers no solutions. so, i am going with a 4 for this book.
29 November 2010
Cave of Forlorn by R.C. Rutter- Fantasy. 5. A good old quest! The King is trapped by demons and dying and only his long lost daughter can save him. Is she a farm girl or a warrior woman? I was surprised how funny this book is! Fantasy isn't always a place to find laughs but I really liked the comic characters in this one. Beware the kitten of doom! The plot is fast paced with a lot of different threads that slowly join together for a great finale.
Cades Cove by Aidan James- Horror. 5. Visiting the Smokie Mountains, Miriam and David Hobbs find a strange souvenir: a little bag labeled "Allie Mae's Treasures" containing various things including a broken tooth. David brings the bag with him home to Colorado, where unexplained sounds, chills and moving objects begin to plague the family. David has nightmares of Allie Mae as the violence escalates, so he takes the bag back to Tennessee in the hopes of placating the spirit. I found the atmosphere of the story very creepy. As the ghost starts with annoyances then moves to violence you become really fearful for the characters.
Deadly Night by Aidan James- Murder Mystery. 5. Jimmy and Fiona Alea investigate ghosts, hauntings and other paranormal phenomena in Nashville, TN. When they, and their ghost hunting crew Nash-Vegas Paranormal, discover the brutal murder of famous country singer Candi Starr, it's traumatic but not going to derail their lives. But the death doesn't stop with just the singer. As the killer tears his way through Candi's Nashville connections, the Aleas must try to protect their friends and family, using Fiona's link to the spirit world to help stop the killer. Side plots follow NVP's ghost investigations, which contribute to some of the creepier moments in the book, as well as the funnier ones. The image of a ghost hanging in a plantation home foyer will stay with you. Jimmy is a great narrator, mixing enough snarky comments in that you believe him as the tension rachets up. There's also a good sense of place; you can feel the humidity and hear the southern accents.
28 November 2010
These stories all revolve around a "What would you do if..." question. What would you do if you were dying, too young, of cancer, and the devil offered to save you but curse your frenemy? what would you do if, after decades of marriage, you realize your spouse is probably a serial killer? What would you do if you were a famous murder mystery novelist and survived a brutal rape and attempted murder and knew who was responsible?
My favorites of the four novellas were the two with female protagonists, "Big Driver" and "A Good Marriage". "Big Driver" is the one about the novelist. At first, i didn't like the main character but slowly her thinking won me over. "A Good Marriage" also has a simple enough premise, one that's a touch scary to someone who just moved in with a man. How well does anyone really know anyone?
Overall, well worth it. a 6.
27 November 2010
While i spent 30 at McKay's today, i got a bunch of stuff. as some of this is going to my secret santa person, and some to B, i'll just show the books, not the titles. i got 4 children's picture books, 4 paperbacks, a cd, and a hardback copy of The Wind in the Willows with lovely pictures.
hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! Go Tigers!
26 November 2010
Reading alone can’t cure diseases, of course, but the researchers concluded that reading contributes to “cognitive reserve” (CR), the brain’s ability to protect itself and adapt to physical damage. CR has been “extensively studied in other neurological disorders—Alzheimer’s, stroke, other dementias, sleep apnea, traumatic brain injury,” says Margit Bleecker of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Neurology in Baltimore, Maryland, who co-authored the study. In all cases, “individuals with more CR are able to withstand injury to the brain.”
24 November 2010
23 November 2010
20 November 2010
18 November 2010
17 November 2010
16 November 2010
15 November 2010
14 November 2010
when i walk into an apartment with books on the shelves, books on the bedside tables, books on the floor, and books on the toilet tank, then I know what I would see if I opened the door that says PRIVATE-GROWNUPS KEEP OUT: a child sprawled on the bed, reading.
13 November 2010
12 November 2010
wows. $500 in books? seriously? can i take $400 in books and$100 in shelving? :) here's my list! the first section is for things i'd give to other people.
- Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business
- All My Friends are Dead
- Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids
- MoMA Modern Play Family
- MoMA Modern Play House
- Creature Floor Puzzles
- The Castaway Pirates
- Squiggles: A Really Giant Drawing and Painting Book
- The World Almanac for Kids Puzzler Deck: Reading Ages 5-7
- The World Almanac for Kids Puzzler Deck: Math Ages 5-7
- The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide
- 30 Postcards by David Choe
- The Ultimate Book of Card Games
- The Armchair Quarterback Playbook
- Dracula's Heir
- Aesop's Fables
- Home Economics
- Let's Bring Back
- Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better
- New Orleans Stories
- The Space Tourist's Handbook
- Signing Their Lives Away
- The Secret Lives of Great Artists
- The Secret Lives of Great Authors
- Writer's Workshop in a Book
- No Plot? No Problem!
11 November 2010
I finished The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston LeRoux last night. It is a pure locked room mystery. A young woman, Mlle. Stangerson, is viciously attacked in her own bedroom with her father, Mr. Stangerson, and their servant, Old Jacques, just in the next room. Her door is locked from the inside as is the only window. When the men finally break into the room with the help of the caretakers only the daughter is in the room!
I literally gasped when the Rouletabille revealed the attempted killer! very very recommended! a 7. And it counts for the 2010 Challenge as an "Up to You" book. My choice was books in translation.
By the by, I needed a book to take to work and couldn't find a properly sized one that fit the age criteria as everything is still in boxes. I decided to take Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman and am almost finished with it now too!
10 November 2010
09 November 2010
Trent is brilliant, working out what he feels is the solution but also falling in love with the widow! Later, he discovers much of his careful logic to be wrong.
I delighted in this short little book. Trent is a great character, a detective that laughs and loves and has human failings. a 6. i wish so that the library had the book of short stories featuring Trent, Trent Intervenes. Hmmm, perhaps an assignment for B to look it up at his library?
08 November 2010
07 November 2010
06 November 2010
- Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist-vampires, love, the dark places inside people, growing up.
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami- nature of reality, finding yourself.
- Fledgling by Octavia Butler-more vampires, identity, love.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman-identity, nature of the world, family.
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley- growing up, family.
- Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn- more growing up, loss, love, revenge, family.
04 November 2010
03 November 2010
Harris: Morality must relate, at some level, to the well-being of conscious creatures. If there are more and less effective ways for us to seek happiness and to avoid misery in this world—and there clearly are—then there are right and wrong answers to questions of morality.
Q: Are you saying that science can answer such questions?
Harris: Yes, in principle. Human well-being is not a random phenomenon. It depends on many factors—ranging from genetics and neurobiology to sociology and economics. But, clearly, there are scientific truths to be known about how we can flourish in this world. Wherever we can act so as to have an impact on the well-being of others, questions of morality apply.
Q: But can’t moral claims be in conflict? Aren’t there many situations in which one person’s happiness means another’s suffering?
Harris: There as some circumstances like this, and we call these contests ?zero-sum.? Generally speaking, however, the most important moral occasions are not like this. If we could eliminate war, nuclear proliferation, malaria, chronic hunger, child abuse, etc.—these changes would be good, on balance, for everyone. There are surely neurobiological, psychological, and sociological reasons why this is so—which is to say that science could potentially tell us exactly why a phenomenon like child abuse diminishes human well-being.But we don’t have to wait for science to do this. We already have very good reasons to believe that mistreating children is bad for everyone. I think it is important for us to admit that this is not a claim about our personal preferences, or merely something our culture has conditioned us to believe. It is a claim about the architecture of our minds and the social architecture of our world. Moral truths of this kind must find their place in any scientific understanding of human experience.
01 November 2010
30 October 2010
All the appropriate movies i've managed to watch during the RIP challenge! I'd intended to watch more but just didn't manage.
Carriers- 4. Chris Pine does good grunge. sorta like what Zombieland would have been if it was completely unfunny. And this has a bad title, as a carrier is a person who can pass along a disease without themselves being infected, which as far as we know none of these characters can.