31 December 2010

Tally post: FINAL

Happy New Year!

Total books read in 2010: 136
Library books: 94
Graphic novels: 23
Non-fiction: 29

Challenges

RIP Challenge: 10/5

I had a great reading year and i hope you did too!

30 December 2010

2010 Bestest Stuff!

Here's the best things i've read, watched and done this year, in no particular order.

Books
-Fiction
  • The Book Thief
  • The Moonstone
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog
  • Giovanni's Room
  • The Vanishing of Katherina Linden
  • Beowulf
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Books-Graphic Novels
  • 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
Books-Non-Fiction
  • Ex-Libris
  • Library: An Unquiet History
  • Packing for Mars
  • How Fiction Works
  • The Great Influenza
Movies
  • Inception
  • Up
  • 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
Events
  • 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
I hope everyone has had as good a year as I have and that next year is even better for you and yours!

29 December 2010

Old Movies Encore Post

yup, again.

The Time Traveler's Wife- 5. I cried. B had read the book but i had not. i may now.

Scott Pilgrim VS The World- 5. cute, funny stuff.

Doctor Who The Completed First Series-7, B had me start watching this and i loooooved it! working on the second series now.

28 December 2010

I'm home

Vacation is over :( I loved being back in LA and wish i could have stayed longer. I will be going in the summer as that's when my new niece or nephew will arrive!

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 in Louisiana!

Happy Christmas everyone!


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 dad and my nephew.


me and another nephew.


my niece.


The joy of being 4 on Christmas. This was like the second thing he opened.


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

Sunday before Christmas

I don't know why this year i'm not so much in the Christmas mood. B leaves tomorrow for Vermont; I'll be leaving work early on Wednesday to head to Louisiana. I'll be driving back next Sunday but i am not sure when B will return; he doesn't technically have to be back until January 5. I've got almost all my shopping done. The only decorating i've done was to put up the Christmas cards we've received and to get out the holidayish kitchen towels.

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

At Home

I finished At Home by Bill Bryson today. It is a rambling book of trivia, terribly interesting if not very useful. It is the sort of book that as you read you are telling various friends and family the little facts you've picked up but that you may not remember in two weeks.

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.

I expected it to be more funny! In every other book i've read by Bryson there's been a moment so funny and so startling that i've about embarrassed myself in giggling. This book had some amusing stories but nothing as funny as the others i've read.

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

Post Captain

I can't say I liked Post Captain by Patrick O'Brian as much as Master and Commander but it is a good book. I believe a bit of the problem may be that I am listening to this series on audio book and had a hard time with the new narrator in this second volume. I had gotten very used to the way the reader in the first book did the voices for Maturin and Aubrey and didn't like the difference. Also, in Post Captain the reader seems to take weird pauses. By the time i had gotten about halfway through I had gotten used to the new voice.

A difference between these first and second books is also in the point of view. Post Captain is told mostly from Stephen Maturin's POV, while Master and Commander had a big mix of Jack and Stephen. There are also several gaps in the story that almost made me think i had put in the wrong disc. At one point we see Stephen about to go on a mission and the next track it is several months later and he is back in England. I didn't particularly like the jumps.

I did like the new characters and coming back to some from the first book. I liked the women, Sophia Williams and Diana Villers, with whom Jack and Stephen become involved. I liked the life on land sequence early in the book; it reminded me strongly of Jane Austen. I also enjoyed the comic, if unbelievable, scenes of Stephen and Jack fleeing France with Jack dressed in a bear suit.

lastly, as occasionally happens with library audio books, there were a lot of scratches on some of the discs which made them skip and stutter. And of course a few of the bad ones were in important places. Like when Jack finds out his agent has run off with his prize money, which he now owes back to England. I missed the track that explained this and didn't catch on to what happened for a while. I am sure that didn't help my enjoyment.

Overall, a 5. i picked up books 3 (HMS Surprise) and 4 (The Mauritius Command) to listen to on the trip to Louisiana. I'm headed home for Christmas!

12 December 2010

Bookie

Running the Books by Avi Steinberg is a very good memoir. To get some steady income to supplement his job as a freelance obituary writer, Avi Steinberg becomes a librarian at a prison in Boston. He supervises some prisoners who work at the library and also teaches creative writing. There's a moment that caught me where he is talking to one of the students after class then has to count all the pencils to make sure none were taken to be used as weapons.

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

Secret Santa, Maybe

I received a package but i don't know who it's from! Sorry about the poor photo.

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

Unwritten 2

After waiting forever to get Unwritten Vol. 1, the library got part 2 to me in record time! The Unwritten Vol. 2: Inside Man by Mike Carey and Peter Gross goes deeper into the story of Tom Taylor. In prison awaiting trial for crimes he didn't commit, Tom meets some helpful people but many hurtful characters too. When other people start seeing Tom's storytold creations, Tom begins to believe he may actually be a fiction brought to life.

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

Weekly Geeks 12/4

Wow. December of 2010. I know everyone says this but it is amazing how fast this year has gone by. I'll be doing a big, long, end of year post later this month, but today we are already talking about next years challenges!

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! :)

Happy reading!

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

Depressing

I really thought I had read something by Chris Hedges. I've spun back through the blog and see that, while I thought I had read American Fascists, I must not have as it came out in 2008 and i was blogging about every book I had read by that time. I know I've read articles he has written.

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.