Thursday, May 29, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: What Is Reading, Fundamentally?

This weeks question suggested by: Thisisnotabookclub

What is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

(Two weeks late for Reading is Fundamental week, but, well…)

Reading is that thing you do when your eyes move back and forth across some form of written words. That's my official answer! So with that definition novels, comics, graphic novels, manga (I think.. you know I'm not sure what manga is really... are there words?) and e-books would be reading. So are magazines, newspapers, and blogs. But audiobooks... now THAT would be listening. That's what we do with our ears, you see.

BUT... NO, it doesn't matter. They count, those audiobooks, because the words get into your head whether you read them or you listen to them.

HOWEVER... for some reason, I still haven't been converted to this listening form of reading. I need to be holding something, for the most part. I need to "see" the words, to "feel" the words.

Having said that, I'm still open to the possibility that audiobooks have their place, especially in the car, or while exersizing, or while crafting or whatever. But at this point, when I read, I want to lie (lay? I can never remember which one!) down and relax and really get involved in the book. So for me, that's what reading is all about.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekly Geeks #5: Forms of Story Telling

Here's the question/theme for Weekly Geeks week #5:

Guten Tag, Weekly Geeks! This week’s theme was suggested by Renay. She says, “I thought it would be cool to ask people to talk about other forms of story-telling.”

This week’s theme is once again one you could approach several ways. You might want to tell about the forms of storytelling (aside from books) you love. Maybe you enjoy TV shows, movies, music, narrative poetry, or Renay’s favorite, fanfiction. You could give us an overview of a type of storytelling, such as listing your favorite movies. Or you might pick a more specific story, one particular favorite. I just finished watching an episode of Lost, for example, so I could tell why I enjoy that series, or I could get more specific and focus on one character’s personal story. Some people might post youtubes of the songs whose stories they find brilliant, or some might share family bedtime stories. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

And my attempt at answering it:

The first thing that came to mind for me regarding good story telling is our own life stories... or autobiographies... or telling the stories of ancestors. I think people's personal stories, especially those people in your own life, are some of the most important and fascinating stories out there. I've been able to interview both sets of my grandparents and get their stories written down, and now that they are done, I need to work on my parents next! As for my own story? I've kept a journal since I was 12 which pretty much tells every boring detail of my life since then... so my story is being told I guess... bit by bit as it unfolds!

I liked all the other suggestions for story telling options. For instantce, a couple of my favorite movies that tell a great story are:

Star Wars (the original of course!)


and The Princess Bride.

And I love the idea of songs that tell stories. A couple that come right to mind:

Hazard by Richard Marx

One Tin Soldier by Coven... I think

and Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin.

Well, I'm guessing I could go on and on with this theme... so I'll just say that's it for now!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A List of SOME Favorites: A to Z

Awhile back, a few of us did the list of favorite authors A to Z meme. Then 3M did a variation of that and did a list of favorite books, A to Z. So... loving lists like I do, I wanted to try that one and I'm finally getting around to that today:

A: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
B: The Book Thief
C: A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence
D: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
E: Eldest by Christopher Paolini, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
F: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
G: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
H: Harry Potter by JK Rowling
I: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
J: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
K: Katherine by Anya Seton, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
L: Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
M: Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
N: Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
O: The Outsiders by SE Hinton
P: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Q: The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
R: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
S: Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
T: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
U: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
V: The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
W: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
X: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman (sounds like X... close enough right?)
Y: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
Z: Zorro by Isabel Allende

Hmmmm.... interesting.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Books vs. Movies

Booking Through Thursday

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

Yes, I would say that's true. Here's some differences between the two, for me anyway:

Books use your imagination much much more. In movies, it's all done for you.

Books are quiet. Movies are loud.

Books go much deeper into the characters and situations. Movies only scratch the suface with what's really going on.
Books are an "alone" experience. Movies are a social experience.
Books stimulate the brain. Movies stimulate the senses.
Books are more fulfilling, like you've actually accomplished something. Movies are more of a time filler, something you can fit in between everything else.
However, both are very entertaining. Both are great ways to escape the real world. Both are fun and enjoyable.
Books and movies? Yeah... I love 'em both!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Speaking of Classics

Another classics discussion, snagged from Julie:

Classics I Have Never Read and Don't Even Feel Guilty About
Lolita by Nabokov

Lord Jim by Conrad
Ulysses by Joyce
(There's got to be more to this list... but it's not coming to me right now!)

Classic I Have Never Read and Feel a Tad Guilty About
Walden by Thoreau

Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan
(I've got them, so I'll probably read them some day)

Classics I Want to Read but Haven't Yet
Bleak House by Dickens

Vanity Fair by Thackeray
A Passage to India by Forster
War and Peace by Tolstoy (still working on it!)
Don Quixote by Cervantes
The Little Prince by Saint Exupéry
The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger
(This is just a small list of my hope-to-reads)

Classics I Have Read (or Mostly Read) and Sorta Regret (Julie said Deeply, but I changed it!)
The Good Soldier by Ford (I tried)

The Wings of the Dove by James (I tried)
Moby-Dick by Melville (I tried)
The Idiot by Dostoevsky (I tried)
(I still plan on getting through most of these some day ... I hope)

So... how about you?

Pre-Challenge Fun: A Classics Meme

Trish, who's hosting the Classics Challenge, has come up with this meme to get us exited for her challenge. And even though I'm lousy at challenges, I think I'll try this one and get some classics read since I've been really neglecting them lately!

1. My favorite classic is: sheesh there's so many and I can't list just one! Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, A Woman in White, The Count of Monte Cristo....

2. The classic I had the toughest time finishing is Crime and Punishment... one I read back in high school. It was a tough one. But then, I ended up using it for all the essays I wrote that year. You can use that book to answer any question!

3. I would recommend A Woman in White by Wilkie Collins to someone who doesn't read a lot of classics or who doesn't generally like classics because it's different, it's funny, it's suspenseful, it's witty... and it would introduce them to one of my favorites but less well-known classic authors: Wilkie Collins.

4. To me, a classic book is a book that stands the test of time. A book that is just as good now as it was then... maybe even better now. A book that people will never get sick of.

5. The type of relationship I have with classics is I love them! I find it easy to get into the rhythm of the older style language. They are some of my favorite books. I miss them. I need to read more of them.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Book Signings....Old Books and New!

We found ourselves (me and a couple kids) at yet another book festival this past weekend. This one held at the local library, a free event geared toward the kids. There were a ton of local authors and illustrators there, so of course, I had to be there!

First, we listened to a reading by the three authors I was most interested in... James Dashner, Brandon Sanderson, and Brandon Mull. They each read from their latest kids fantasy books. That was lots of fun. Then, we went to a Q and A panel that they, along with Mette Ivie Harrison, did where we learned more about them, their background, interests and style. While there, they did a raffle and gave away a bunch of books and t-shirts. JJ won The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull! Cool.

After that, it was book signings. I took along five old books (well some old, some sort of new... but books I already had anyway) to be signed. Four of them (the Jimmy Fincher series and the 13th Reality) by James Dashner, and one (Enna Burning) by Shannon Hale. Plus now we had another Brandon Mull book to get signed. (We'd already taken our other Mull books to be signed a few months ago... remember?)

But first, I had to buy some new books to be signed. Of course. That's the whole point, right? So, I bought two Brandon Sanderson books, Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians (that I just recently read) and Elantris, which I've heard is just as good or better than Mistborn, which I also just recently read. Then, of course, I decided I better try one of Mette Harrison's books, having just listened to her on the panel... so I bought Mirror, Mirror.

Armed with all those books, we tracked down all the authors! We were first in line for James Dashner. He was very cool and made my son promise to email him once he finished the book and tell him what he thought. (Now he feels pressure... silly kid!) Then we got our two new Brandon Sanderson books signed. Then, waited just for a bit for Brandon Mull to sign the book that JJ just won. Shannon Hale's line was long and she wasn't even quite there yet since she was stuck in traffic, so we gave up on that one. Then, we met and talked to Mette Ivie Harrison and got that one signed. Fun, fun!!

I wish we'd had more time to talk to all the illustrators too. They were drawing fun little pictures for all the kids that stopped by their tables. They also had fun crafts and things going on that we didn't have time for. Anyway, a very fun event that I hope the library continues doing in the future.

Two things I decided you must have to be an author:

1. You must have a great sense of humor and be witty and funny.
2. You must have perfected the completely illegible signature! Something that's even worse a scribble than a doctor's!

Both of these must come with the creative brain territory I'm thinking.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Book: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Genre: SF

Rating: A

Okay, she's done it again! I loved it, and yet to me, it was completely and totally different from Twilight and company. (Not that I was expecting it to be the same) And I know some people dislike Stephenie's style (though tons love it too obviously) but I found myself just as much wrapped up in these characters and their crazy world as I was in the Twilight books. She has a way, simple though it is, of managing to completely immerse the reader. Our dinner was burned last night because of it and we were late getting out the door to various evening activities, but life goes on! I love it!

So, The Host is about how our world has been taken over by an alien race. They live by taking over other life forms, being parasites in the bodies of all different kinds of species.... Earth just being one of them. Sometimes, things don't work quite right and the host body doesn't cooperate as they are meant to. This is therefore the story of how the alien life form (I'm realizing I don't even know what their official name is.... hmmm... I don't think she ever said.... Souls maybe? I think that's it!) deals with that scenario.

I loved all that the story implies on what it means to be human and what it means to love. Do we love the body or the soul? What makes us human? Emotions? Good and bad?

Another wonderful story by Stephenie Meyer. Loved it! Who else out there is reading it? Let me know if you review it and I'll add a link here! Can't wait to hear what you all thought!

Other reviews:

Becky's Review

Michelle's Review

Stephanie's Review

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Manual Labor Redux

Following up last week’s question about reading writing/grammar guides, this week, we’re expanding the question….

Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?
Do you ever read manuals?
How-to books?
Self-help guides?
Anything at all?
Yes, I do browse through manuals of complicated gadgets. I feel a need to know all the stuff I can do with it! But usually I forget it as soon as I read it. I'm still trying to learn how to work my new car stereo... and I know there's tons more I can do with all the cameras and phones we have.
I read some how to books. As others have mentioned, I like craft books, and cook books.. things like that. Very fun.
But self-help stuff? Not so much any more. It seems like I browsed through in them past, but I haven't now for a long time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Podcasts Anyone?

Lately, I've been discovering the fun of podcasts. I finally got my own Ipod for Christmas, and so this has really made me want to discover the cool podcasts that are out there. (I know you don't need an Ipod for podcasts, but it is nice if you want to veg on the bed while listening, or work on a project away from the computer while listening, or hook the Ipod up to the car while listening, etc.)

So anyway, one of the podcasts I discovered a couple of months ago is called Writing Excuses. It's a discussion between author Brandon Sanderson, and a couple of his buddies, on writing science fiction and fantasy. Now, there's no way I'll ever be writing such a book (at least that I know of), but still, I love learning about the process and feeling like I'm in on their funny, clever and to-the-point discussions. Great stuff!

Also, I've been enjoying the Itunes "Meet the Author" podcast and have listened to James Patterson, George RR Martin, and Alan Alda so far.

I just discovered one that looks fun where these two crazy ladies talk about the Twilight books. I haven't listened yet, it's waiting there for me to have time. But it looks very fun!

Also, all of Oprah's "The New Earth" classes are in podcast form, so I'm tempted to give those a try and see what all the fuss is about.

Anyway, I'm always on the lookout for a fun, cool podcast to listen too, so if you have a suggestion, let me know!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For American Idol Fans

For those of you who are enjoying this season of American Idol, I just thought you might be interested in how I spent my afternoon last Friday. Here's a movie I made of the experience:
(sorry the quality is so crappy. It looks great in the original form, but when I upload to YouTube, something dreadful happens to it!)

Can't wait for American Idol tonight to see their take on this crazy day!

Weekly Geeks #3: Childhood Book Memories

The third Weekly Geek assignment is to list some fond childhood book memories. So last night as I was going to sleep I pondered this and came up with a bunch, so let's see if this morning I can remember them!

The one that always comes to mind first is The Little House series. I loved them! I think I was probably about 2nd or 3rd grade age when I devoured these books. I wanted to BE Laura! I find it weird that I can't get my own girls to read them.

I also loved The Boxcar Children. I would make my brothers go play "boxcar children" with me and we'd go out and pretend to be orphaned kids living in a boxcar. The idea sounded very romantic to me.

Around about fourth grade I really got into the Nancy Drew books. I still remember where they were located in our school library. Every week I'd go straight to that spot and see what new mystery I could check out.

My grandma had a set of the Chronicles of Narnia. I'd borrow them one or two at a time and take them home and get lost in them. I find it kinda cool that my memories of Narnia are mixed up with memories of my grandma.

Once when we went to a family reunion when I was about 12, we met a distant cousin who was a librarian. My dad told him, "This kid needs some book suggestions." I still remember that list he gave me... mostly current (at the time) Newbery winners. I went home and read them all. Julie of the Wolves, Island of the Blue Dolphins, From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.... to name a few.

I remember reading The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary. It was my first exposure to a love story of sorts. And guess what? I really really liked it!

Then there was A Wrinkle in Time. Wow, I loved that one too.

When I got a little older, junior high age, I went crazy for the Anne of Green Gables books, Mary Stewart's Merlin/Aurthur books, and Phylis A. Whitney's romantic thrillers.

When I was in the 8th grade, I read Great Expectations and didn't understand a word of it. The whole book was a fuzz and a fog. I read it again a few years ago and LOVED it and now consider it one of my favorite books of all time. Funny how that happens, huh?

I could probably go on and on about book memories, but I'll let it go at that for now. Let me know if you post your memories and I'll come and compare!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Review: Brandon Sanderson Books

Book: Alcatraz versus The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: A-

My main reaction to this book is... WOW... how does he come up with this stuff? What a crazy imagination! It's a great story about a kid who learns that his talent for breaking stuff might be handy after all... and that the world he has lived in all his life is controlled by the evil librarians... and that if he doesn't go and find a certain bag of sand... then lots of bad stuff will happen. It's full of tons of quirky characters and bizarre happenings that kids will love.

Book: Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy
Rating: A

I LOVED this one! I was in desparate need for a nice "big kid" fantasy with all the good stuff that implies. Again, a very imaginative tale about a not-so-nice world controlled by a very bad man. Our heroes, and one very spunky and powerful heroine, have come up with a plan to overthrow this ruler and try to change the world back to how it used to be. I loved the premise of getting power, or magic, from all the different kinds of metal. Very cool. And the bad guys in this book... whoa.... they are some pretty creepy dudes. I look forward to the sequel whenever I can get my hands on it. This was on of those books that when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about and anxious to get back to it. Love those kind!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Manual Labor

Booking Through Thursday

Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

I love to read writing books, how to write better, writing ideas, authors writing experiences... that kind of thing. The only grammar/punctuation book I've read is Eats, Shoots and Leaves which I LOVED and thought was hilarious.

I have lots of dictionaries... many of different languages too. I have Elements of Style from college. I haven't looked at it in years.... and the AP Manual book too, from college. I think we have a thesaurus kicking around somewhere. Maybe I should dust that off and look at it now and then?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Bunch Of Book Business... or not

I've several little random book things to blog about, so I'm bunching them all up in one post.

First, I won a book giveaway contest! It's amazing! Thanks to Serena over at
Savvy Verse and Wit for hosting that and making me think about poetry this past month. I don't do much with poetry these days, but I remember loving it in school, so it was fun to remember back about some of my favorites. She's sending me Emily Dickinson poems, which I love, so that's very cool.

Second, I'm a bit behind with Weekly Geeks. This week's assignment is to commit to posting links to each other's reviews. So, if I do a review on a book, and someone else has reviewed that book, I link their review also. Sounds easy, right? Actually, it overwhelms me a bit, but I'll try! So... if I see that we've reviewed the same book, I'll link to you. If I don't notice, but you do, then you comment and let me know and I'll add your link to the post!

Third, I got Stephenie Meyer's new book yesterday,
The Host! I'm savoring it though, and not jumping into it right away. I'm going to force myself to read it slowly and enjoy. (Also, I'm thoroughly involved with Mistborn right now too, so I'm not leaving it stranded in favor of another book!)

Ummm... I was thinking there was a fourth thing, but it seems to have left me.

So how about some non-book thoughts:
  • It's a race at our house to see what our new cockateil bird will learn first: "Hello Birdie" or "Hola mi amor!"

  • Liquid laundry detergent is not the easiest thing to clean up from the floor.

  • Oh, Jason, Jason, Jason....

  • Josh Groban, you are the best.

  • It's not REALLY May already, is it?

Monday, May 5, 2008

"New" Books!

Yep. I went to a book sale. I bought ALL these books (yes it took three different pictures!) for just over $12! Some of them I'm swapping at (one is actually missing from the picture 'cause it's already on it's way to someone!) Some of them I'll read first, THEN swap, and some of them are keepers. I'm not going to list them all, so you'll just have to look at the pictures to see what I ended up with. Comment if you have any major insights on any of them!
Now... to find a place to put them......

Friday, May 2, 2008

April Recap (with bitty blurbs)

Stuff I read in April:

Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier: The third in this series where Reason learns about her magical powers and things get crazier and weirder from there!

Devilish by Maureen Johnson: The new girl in school isn't quite who she appears to be.

Looking For Alaska by John Green: Lots of school boy angst and a prank gone wrong.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen: Our heroine makes friends with an unlikely hero and learns to cope with some pretty hard things.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman: A wonderful fantasy full of all that wonderful fantasies should have!

Maximum Ride: The Final Warning by James Patterson: Max takes her flock on yet another crazy adventure.

Pants On Fire by Meg Cabot: Learning to be true to oneself.

Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot: Who you think you love sometimes doesn't turn out to be Mr. Right.

Quentins by Maeve Binchy: Lots of individual stories about the restaurant Quentins, wrapped around the main story about Ella and her struggles.

So, okay, I only read ONE "big people" book this whole month! My goal for May? Read more non-YA books!

Favorites of the month: Just Listen and Stardust

War and Peace update: Hmmmm.... where is that book anyway?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: MayDay!

Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….
Easy answer for me today. BUY A MAGAZINE! I would love the excuse to buy a magazine that I don't normally read, or one I've been dying to check out.... or one that looks really fun but I can't justify subscribing too. I love magazines.
If I need to kill more time than that, I'd buy a cheap paperback, easy-to-read book.
And if I can't find a book that looks interesting, I'd take a nap. That is, if I could relax enough, seeing as how I'm on my way to an emergency of some sort!


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