29 September 2011

The Chamber of Secrets

I always think of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as my least favorite Potter book.  Then I reread it and I can't remember why.  I guess it is a bit like deciding my least favorite ice cream from cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, and banana split.  they are all fabulous; you just have to pick one as the "worst" and go with it.

CoS is missing Hermione the last half of the book.  And it has Gilderoy Lockhart, one of the most annoying characters in the series to my mind and has my vote for the worst of the DADA teachers (yes, Umbridge is EVIL, but at least she does seem to give the students the theory while Lockhart appears to just read his autobiographies in class).  I would also say that there are big sections where nothing seems to happen.


however, we get Dobby, and the Polyjuice potion, and the Malfoys, and so many things that end up being important later in the series.  so it gets a 5. 

27 September 2011

Lost Books

No, I haven't lost any personally.  In fact, since i'm in school i think i've found a few extra!  I did finish reading a book B got for me for my birthday (in July, yeah i am slow sometimes) called The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You'll Never Read by Stuart KellyI'm not going to read that whole 1001 books list, so why not dream bigger?

This book is about, well, books that don't exist anymore or never did. Starting waaaaay back with Anonymous, who wrote tons of stuff that we don't have and don't know we don't have, through the Greeks and Romans, which can be particularly heartbreaking as we get lots of references to people's "best" lists where the only thing we know is an author and title, down through the Middle Ages, Shakespeare, then the Renaissance, Goethe, Coleridge, Dostoyevsky, through Kafka, Hemingway and Sylvia Plath, there is so much that has been lost, destroyed, or intended but never written.  I think the stories of the ones destroyed by the author or the author's family are so intriguing.  I wish that I had that drive to write and to have it, then destroy the product, sounds so shocking.  


I have a teensy quibble.  I think that books that are started but not finished due to the author's death are certainly "lost" but I kinda disagree that the book someone just talked about writing (like the sequel to Don Quixote) but never get to aren't really lost.  I mean, i could say that i intend to write a four volume sci-fi series with themes of ambition, fear and the nature of freedom; just because i do not do it doesn't make it a lost book to me.  


I did like it though and it gets a 5.  


UPDATE:  Archimedes book gets found!

Tally 3

as of 9/25
Total Books: 86
Library Books: 60
Graphic Novels: 11
Non-Fiction: 11
Audio books: 29

Vintage Mystery Challenge: 9
Science Book Challenge: 3
Once Upon a Time 5: 4
2011 Challenge: 11
Shakepeare Challenge: 5
Off the Shelf  Challenge: 4

RIP VI:1

25 September 2011

The Book of Three

I started The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander because B and I were talking about books that were favorites when we were children.  He mentioned this series as being one he enjoyed.  I missed a good number of children's books as a kid and I have been slowly filling in the series that I missed.  


Taran is an Assistant Pig-Keeper and dreams of adventures.  The pig is Hen Wen, who can prophecy the future.  One day Hen Wen escapes from her enclosure and Taran chases after her into the forest.  There he narrowly misses falling into the clutches of the Horned King, a sort of Nazgul or Lich King who's pretty scary sounding.  He then meets Prince Gwydion, his hero, looking a not very heroic Rangerish.  Gwydion was coming to consult Hen Wen but now must warn the kingdom of the threat of the Horned King.  When he and Taran become separated, Taran takes up the quest and begins to grow up. 

I would say this one is a 6.  While many of the tropes are familiar, Alexander stirs in so much fun humor that the characters become really wonderful to read about.  I will be picking up the next book when I get a chance!

17 September 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird

I haven't read this book in years.  I was wandering through McKay's and saw the gigantic stack of mass market paperbacks of To Kill a Mockingbird, still with the exact same cover that I had on mine...eek, 23 years ago, and decided I needed to read it again.

I was lucky as a child; when I had required novels for school I almost always liked them (a glaring exception being a senior year read of The Scarlet Letter).  I was the sort of kid that, when given an excerpt of a novel in our literature book, would then proceed to go read the actual novel, just for fun.  Yes, i could be that nerdy at times.  Anyone else? 

Back to classic American literature.  I remembered parts of the story, the main plot but had forgotten a lot of little moments.  I had forgotten about Aunt Alexandra altogether, though i did remember Scout's cussing causing Uncle Jack to learn a good deal about children.  This book has such rich, realistic characters, you feel you know them as people.  I got teary at the end, which I am sure did not happen when I read it originally.  A definite must read and, if you haven't read it in 20 years, well worth the reread.

I am going to count this for RIP.  Why? well, racism is scary, and the end takes place on Halloween.  so there!

15 September 2011

BTT for 9/15/11

an "of course" question!


 I know I did that a good bit when i was a kid.  I remember reading Gone with the Wind back to back in high school, and The Westing Game when I was a bit younger.  I've also done it with series; I know i read the first four books of Anne Rice's vampire series then read them all again.  More recently, I listened to The Lord of the Rings  a couple years ago then relistened immediately.  I don't do it too much anymore as there are so many books I want to read!

also, Happy Birthday to a great guy who will always be my little brother, though now he's 31, married with 3 kids!

14 September 2011

Romeo and Juliet

Sunday I hit Shakespeare in the Park with R and his brother.  We got there early enough to get a great spot, have a picnic and chat.  Even got to munch on some awesome cinnamon sugar kettle corn! 

The play this year is Romeo and Juliet.  Changing the setting to 1893 World's Fair Chicago, with the Montague's and Capulet's as rival Chicago politicians was a great idea.  It was really quite good.  Juliet was an absolute star!  The actress had to go through such a range of emotions and handled it wonderfully.  Romeo was good too.  Mercutio is one of my favorite characters and, while nobody can beat Harold Perrineau's take, the actor was solid.  Nurse was especially funny as she had such a broad Irish accent.  

Overall, a 7.  Go out and support your local arts, museums, theaters, and music venues!  

12 September 2011

Beginning a Reread

I've finished the Aubrey/Maturin series!  But that also meant I did not have an audio book on deck for commuting.  So I decided to do a reread of the Harry Potter series as I haven't read them all in a row yet.  

I finished up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, read by Jim Dale.  He's a fabulous voice actor.  I had slightly forgotten how intricate the books were that took place during the school year and all the little details that got left out of the movies, like Peeves.  a very good way to start a reread.  a 7 of course!

11 September 2011

Ever Fold Yourself?

I read The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold in about 90 minutes.  It is short at only about 140 pages and is written in a sort of diary style.  

Daniel is a young man living in 1975 L.A.  When his uncle Jim, the man who raised him, dies, Daniel receives a box containing a Time Belt.  It allows the wearer to move back and forth in time.  Daniel starts small, just jumping a few minutes into the future.  When he makes a bigger jump and meets himself, he begins to wonder about the nature of time and reality that he's playing with.

i didn't dislike this book but i can't say i liked it either.  There were a few plot potholes and i didn't particularly like Daniel.  I kept feeling like there was a big error somewhere that i couldn't spot.  There are some moments that reminded me of Lost, at least the fifth season with all the jumping about in it.  again, not bad, so i will say it's a 4. 

03 September 2011

Locke and Key 3

I finished Locke and Key, Volume 3: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.  Strangely, this volume is my favorite so far; i like this one far more than the first or even the second.  The story is moving along.  we've gotten to know the characters well enough that I am starting to care about them. 

The mom, who's name I'm blanking on, is headed downhill, drinking more and hiding it worse.  Bode is such a sweetheart; Kinsey (and Tyler somewhat) and her mom have begun fighting over how he's cared for.  Kinsey is also breaking away from Dodge and her new, normal friends are a trip!

This one gets a 6 and i've added #4 to my library list!  onward!

01 September 2011

A Challenge for All

September has begun!  I was over reading at Bart's Bookshelf when I saw his post reminding me of Carl's wonderful RIP experience!!!  I am amazed that it is in its sixth year and will be my fifth time participating.  Time flies when you're having a quarter life crisis, falling in love, changing jobs and going back to grad school! 

I will be trying to hit Peril the First with 4 books and throw in a few Perils on the Screen as well.  as for a pool of book possibilities... 

  1. Feed by Mira Grant
  2. King Rat by China Mieville
  3. Children of Men by PD James
  4. The Year of Disappearances by Susan Hubbard
  5. Autumn by David Moony
  6. Three Seconds by Roslund and Hellstrom
  7. Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
All of these books are in my house, unread.  If I can get 4 off my to read list that will be great.  I believe I will take King Rat on my trip to Louisiana this weekend.  10 hours in the car can make for good reading, if someone else is driving.