31 December 2012

Bests of 2012

I had a lot of amazing experiences this year. Since this blog is supposed to be a book blog, those will go first.

   New to Me:
   Graphic Novels:
  • The Unwritten Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words
  • Astonishing X-men Torn and Unstoppable
  •  American Vampire Volume 3
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I know I'm genre heavy, I'm a nerd :)
  • The Avengers!
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  •  Cloud Atlas
  • The Woman in Black
  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • Silver Linings Playbook

Life, not least important though it is coming last:  
  • We got Married!  maybe i should have put this at the very top of the post,
  • Having all our family and friends meet and get along so well!
  • We bought a house!  I never got around to posting about it but Ben and I bought a house at the end of August.   
  • Shakespeare in the Park did Much Ado About Nothing and it was wonderful
  • Seeing Neil deGrasse Tyson speak at Vanderbilt
  • Learning everything there is to know about competitive swimming while watching the Olympics with B.
  • Finishing my 3rd semester of my Master's with some great classes.
So that's a bit of the highlights of my year.  I hope everyone had a good 2012 and has a wonderful New Year!  Be Safe!

30 December 2012

Final Tally!

I don't believe I will finish anything in the next 30ish hours so here's my final tally for 2012.

Total books read in 2012: 66
Library books: 53
Non-fiction: 13
Audio: 20
Graphic Novels: 16

For Challenges:

Non-fiction Non-memoir challenge: 6
Science Book Challenge: 2
Chunkster: 2 (i've read plenty of longer books but they've been on audio)
RIP: 4
Total pages for the End of the World Challenge:  13652 (doesn't count rereads or graphic novels)

so...these are my lowest totals since I started recording.  I mean, if you pull out the graphic novels, which usually i can read in an hour or less, I read less than a book a week.  Factor in that 20 were audio books, which i listen to while going to and from work, and i'm basically at a book every two weeks.  now, I did have a pretty busy year, so that's an excuse.  I do miss reading and blogging like I used to though, so my goal/resolution is to get back into the habit.  I did reread several books this year which i found to be quite nice, so perhaps I should focus on rereads?  Also, Librarything says i have about 150 unread books so i need to work on those too.  I have signed up for the TBR Double Dare to help!  I'll be posting my bests list tomorrow.  

I forgot to add Dracula in!  I listened to it on audio and finished the last chapters last week at work.  It was a reread, so the total, library and audio totals need to be 67, 54 and 21!


29 December 2012

The Last Policeman and Tokyo Year Zero

I got through two murder mysteries this week.  

I read The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters last weekend.  Actually, I read it Saturday evening between 5-9 pm.  Superfast reads seem to be something i can only do with mysteries. There's just something about them that i feel almost compelled as I read them.  They don't have to be actiony thrillers even; I can do the same thing with Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers (who i need to read more of).  anyway, in The Last Policeman, a humanity destroying asteroid is headed to Earth, scheduled to hit about 6 months after the story begins.  We get the backstory of the asteroid's discovery as the mystery continues.  Hank Palace is a newly promoted police detective, a position he's wanted his whole life.  Unfortunately, he mainly spends his time clearing suicide scenes as many people have chosen to kill themselves rather than waiting for the asteroid.  He begins to investigate an apparent suicide because it just doesn't feel right to him and he believes it is actually a murder.  I liked the story because I liked Hank Palace and his struggles.  I liked it less when i found out that this book is the first of a trilogy.  Why aren't there more standalone genre stories anymore?  a 6

Ever try to remember what made you pick up a book?  I am wracking my brain trying to figure out why I put Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace on my library hold list.  He's not an author I've read before.  I don't read a bunch of mysteries.  While I'm interested in Japan, where the book takes place, I do not think I've read anything set in post-WWII Japan.  So I really do not know why I requested it.  This book is about a Japanese detective taking part in an investigation of a serial killer.  It wasn't a bad book but is written in a semi-stream of consciousness style that took a bit to get used to. It is also the first in a trilogy but no sci-fi theme to this one.  a 4 from me.

I gotta read something upbeat!  I am trying to read The Casual Vacancy but it is also a pretty big downer.  hmmmmmm.

15 December 2012

Quiet Or Why Introverts Rock!

I finished Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. It is really very good.  It's a book that is partially written for extroverted people who want to learn about introverted ones;  there's some good bits about raising children who are introverted and about being the boss of introverts.  It is also partially a book for introverts who want to know about ourselves and why we act the way we do.  I think both parts are what make the book work.  Some of the parenting bits really just come down to "let your kid be themselves and don't overschedule" which seems like good advice for every parent and other parts are about introducing new experiences and such.  The science regarding the brain and nervous systems was fascinating and well worth reading.  a 6!

on a personal note, i'm an introvert who is more toward the middle of the extro/intro scale.  There are things that trigger my introversion more, like showing up too early for something and having to wait by myself, but I like going out and being with people more than my husband or my best friend seem to.  One thing that working on my MLIS has made me do is work on my "cold calling" issues as i've had to set up a school visit and a few other things, so that is good.  I was also a little shocked regarding how schooling is organized now, which Cain touches on in the "raising introverted kids" part of the book.  Apparently it is set up more for group activities and shared work than when i was a kid and i would have HATED that.  Partly because I learn by reading and by writing, partly because (and i really hate how braggy and arrogant this bit sounds) I was usually a little ahead of everyone in school, and partly because I always hated slackers which always happens in groups of more than like 3. She mentions that things may be starting to pull back a little from the "group is best" mindset so hopefully if i ever have a kid in school it won't be too bad for them.

13 December 2012

BTT for 12/13/12

Here's the question:

btt button

So … you’ve just finished reading a book. For the sake of the discussion, we’ll say it was everything a book should be—engaging, entertaining, interesting, thought-provoking. The kind you want to gush over. The question is—do you immediately move on to your next book? Or do you take time to contemplate this writerly masterpiece and all its associated thoughts/emotions/ideas for a while first?

So, it depends on when i finish and in what sort of mood i am in.  Occasionally, i'll hop right up and get on here and start blogging about why the book is so good. If i finish it because i stayed up too late, then i'll probably just head off to sleep.   if i'm in a reading mood then i might just take a moment or two then grab the next (or usually just the other concurrent) book.  I might grab my husband and start jabbering about how awesome it was and what it was about and whether he might like it too.  so really, there are several different ways i might handle it.  One thing i did as a kid but don't anymore is turn to the beginning and start again!  Not sure why I don't do that now; perhaps because there is so much more to read?

10 December 2012

Tommy Taylor and Cinderella

a couple of quick reviews.

AMAZING!  I finished The Unwritten Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words by Peter Carey and Mark Gross.  Everything really comes together and makes all the previous books really worth the read.  While the story is pretty much in no way like Gaiman's Sandman series, it has a similar sort of fun in finding and recognizing the allusions and characters plucked from history and literature.  7

Good!  I also read Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson and Bill Willingham.  If you've read any Fables, you may know that in that world, Cinderella is a spy/secret agent for Fabletown.  Her cover is that she owns a shoe store and is a shopaholic and therefore travels around the world for her work/hobby.  This book is the 2nd collection of her solo adventures and I liked it.  I really liked the villain in the piece as well.  a 5.  

08 December 2012

Nonbeliever Nation

I finished Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans by David Niose.   Niose is the president of the American Humanist Association.  I read a bit of atheist non-fiction and follow several blogs so a lot of the info was not necessarily new to me.  If you don't follow atheist news and are curious about those end of the year polls that came out, talking about how the categories of "nones" or "spiritual but not religious" are rising, I can definitely recommend this book.  If you read a lot of atheist news, much of the info is not new but it was an interesting read nonetheless.  Niose collates a lot of data and shows how changing demographics are creating a more secular America.  He also details some of the court cases recently and describes the new tack of pursuing cases based on non-discrimination laws rather than freedom of religion.  a 5 from me only because i've read a lot of this before.