Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Thanksgiving Reading and Christmas Buying

And so the long Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close. Tomorrow is December. I'm already feeling a panic. One day at a time, and I'm sure I'll make it!

I finished a book this morning! But that's only because it was so short and such easy reading. It was The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. I snagged it from the library awhile back because of all the rave reviews so many of you have been giving it. Now we can add mine to the list, rave review that is. What a cute, fun, thought-provoking little story! But I won't talk about that here, that will be in an official review post, of which this is definitely not.

I also finished The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau this past weekend... the sequel to The City of Ember. That was interesting commentary on war if there ever was one. But I totally enjoyed it too. Looking forward to book three, which I understand is totally different, so that could be interesting.

Now I'm working on one of my book fair grabs, Deep Down Popular by Phoebe Stone. A cute little middle grade book, which I'm enjoying okay. It's not out-of-this-world fabulous or anything. Just fun. Then, perhaps today I may work on... now hold on and don't drop dead or anything.... War and Peace! Remember that one? I haven't touched it for months. My goal to finish it by the end of the year, yeah, not going to happen. Should I extend the date to the end of NEXT year? I am only half way done, so that just may be a realistic idea. Two years to read War and Peace. How pathetic is that?

What the family is reading this Sunday afternoon:

The Mr: Whenever he finishes a book, he comes to me and says, "NOW what should I read next?" I was ready for him this time, and handed him The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I loved that book and thought it would be perfect for him too. He made a face when I said what it was about (vampires of course) but I explained that I really thought he should try it and see, it being an "intellectual" study and all. Well, guess what? He seems to not be able to put it down hardly. He reads even ... in the middle of the day! Now THAT is saying something.

Bud (19): I think he is still working on Obama's book. I haven't seen him reading much of anything lately.

JJ (17 almost): She finally finished The Scarlett Letter for school. However, this past break from school, she picked up New Moon and re-read the entire thing. (Blame that on the Twilight movie.)

Moder (13 1/2): He's going back and forth from Elantris by Brandon Sanderson and Paper Towns by John Green. I'm jealous about the Elantris one because I want to be reading it so bad myself, but I'm saving it for later when my book club reads it.

Toto (9 1/2): She is still working on the second in the unicorn series by Bruce Coville, The Song of the Wanderer. She giggles a lot and has to read me parts as she goes along. I'm taking this as a sign that she's really liking it.

Books I've bought so far for Christmas presents:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
Pilage by Obert Skye
Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Farworld by J. Scott Savage

Friday, November 28, 2008

Review: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Book: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: A
For: Fun!

Thanks to Serena, I got this one for my birthday a couple of weeks ago and bumped it to the top of the TBR, even though it did still have to wait after a couple of other "have to reads." Anyway, once I was finally able to start it, it was a fast, quick and fun read. I totally enjoyed this story and got all wrapped up in the craziness surrounding this character.

The story is about a woman nicknamed Towner who gets word that her aunt, who she lived with a bit of her time growing up, has disappeared, so she comes home to see what's going on. We are to understand at the beginning that something has happened in her past that made her a little crazy. She had to move away from her hometown Salem, and she's had therapy, she's on medication.... stuff like that. So when she comes home, she begins to remember things. There are several flashbacks to when she was growing up, memories of her twin sister, memories of the mean uncle, memories of her mom.

Anyway, I don't want to say too much or give anything away, but it seems she is getting all this stuff figured out, but things still aren't what they seem. In fact, it has one of those... "wait, what?" kind twists and I loved it! You know, when you have to read the paragraph over and over to make sure you're really reading what you think you're reading!

Great stuff. Lots of pondering moments about who are we really, and what's really the meaning of our relationships. Oh, and I loved all the historical Salem references... witches, Nathanial Hawthorne, etc.

What other people had to say, all of whom can explain this book much better than I can:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Thankful

Booking Through Thursday

Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S.
Now, you may have noticed that the global economy isn’t exactly doing well. There’s war. Starvation. All sorts of bad, scary things going on.
So–just for today–how about sharing 7 things that you’re thankful for?
This can be about books, sure–authors you appreciate, books you love, an ode to your public library–but also, how about other things, too? Because in times like these, with bills piling up and disaster seemingly lurking around every corner, it’s more important than ever to stop and take stock of the things we’re grateful for. Family. Friends. Good health (I hope). Coffee and tea. Turkey. Sunshine. Wagging tails. Curling up with a good book.
So, how about it? Spread a little positive thinking and tell the world what there is to be thankful for.

Well, I answered the book part of this question last Sunday for my Sunday Salon. Click here if you missed it. However, it will be easy to elaborate to other things I'm thankful for:

I'm thankful for:

  • chocolate, of course
  • Ibuprofen and anitbiotics
  • the computer and all the amazing things you can do with it
  • animals and their unconditional love
  • warm quilts and soft sweatshirts
  • food of all kinds
  • the opportunity to travel and see several differnent bits of this the coolest world
  • the potential and hope to travel and see several more different bits of it
  • music! All kinds!
  • the dishwasher and the washing machine
  • having bananas even in the middle of the desert!
  • cars
  • being with family, doing silly things like screaming down Splash Mountain, or getting lost on a geocaching adventure, or eating too much ice cream together, or just going to a movie.

Just seven? Really? I went over. Oh, well. I think I could go on and on, but I'll stop now.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating! Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weekly Geeks #26: Blog Hopping

The assignment this week: check out five bloggers that are unfamiliar to you, find something you have in common and post about it. Here's my five:

A brand-new book blogger, Bernadette from Reactions to Reading and I both have decided that sometimes, it's totally okay to NOT finish a book if you hate it. I still get a little queasy at this thought, but I CAN do it!

Louise from Lou's Pages is from Copenhagen, which we don't have in common, but I DID visit there several years ago and loved it. Hey, but my husband's ancestors ARE from there. Does that count? Also, she's participating in the Blog Advent Tour, which I just barely signed up for myself, even though I think all the spots are taken!

Sarah, at Behold, The Thing That Reads A Lot hated The Nanny Diaries! Yep, you guessed it, I did too. Hated it. And there aren't many books I hate. Oh, and Sarah, yes, you should put Holes on your TBR!

Then there's Jessi at Casual Dread. I was excited to see that what we have in common is a love for Star Trek. She posted a trailer for the new movie coming up in May and says "I am so so excited!" Yep, me too. I. Can't. Wait. (She also didn't too much like The Nanny Diaries either.)

Melanie at Cynical Optimism liked Twilight... the movie that is. And as we all know by now, I liked it too. A lot. She's also the oldest kid in her family, like me, and she likes Lost and reality TV, like me. Cool.

Fun new-to-me bloggers that I've found! I love blog hopping!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays: Goodbyes

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

I'm deep in the throes of The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. Here's a couple of sentences from the very page I'm on, page 264:

"She stood in the boat, and for a minute we just looked at each other, but then the boat got wobbly and she had to sit down. She waved to me then, and I watched her for as long as I could."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Watching Jane Eyre

I guess it's all about movies this week, because today I want to gush about Jane Eyre! A few weeks ago, I came home from the library with the BBC 1983 Timothy Dalton version of this movie, just for fun. I found bits and snatches of time over the last couple of weeks, to watch what turned out to be a 5 1/2 hour movie! (11 1/2-hour episodes.)

I can't remember if I've seen this version before, but I loved it! Of course, all my favorite parts can be found on YouTube, so I'm sharing:

After the fire, we get see that Mr. Rochester is harboring some major feelings for Jane:

Now, everything is out in the open..... well... almost everything....

Do you think you would be strong enough to turn your back and walk away?

But of course, she comes back again!

Ah, what fun to revisit this story. Now I want to read it again of course.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Sunday Salon: What I'm Thankful For

What I'm Thankful For, The Book Version:

  • Eyes, so that I can have the ability to read.

  • A bit of money, so that I can buy books if I want.

  • Two fabulous libraries close by.

  • Wonderful, amazing authors that want to keep on writing!

  • Wonderful, amazing authors that enjoy connecting with their readers.

  • A never ending supply of TBR books.

  • A fun book blogging community with which to share the love.

  • A gaggle of IRL friends with which to share the love.

  • Time and energy to read, most days anyway.

  • The way books can make me think.

  • The way books can take me away from real life.

  • The way books can teach me stuff.

  • The way books can make me feel so many emotions.

  • The way books some how become my friends and part of my life.

Yes, I'm truly thankful to be a reader and to have so many books around me to read!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING week to you all!

Twilight, The Movie: A Review of Sorts

First, let me just say that I'm easy to please when it comes to books made from movies. I'm very uncritical and I don't worry about the little things. You may want to take that into consideration as you read my thoughts about the movie!

Second, stop reading now if you haven't seen it yet and you want to have your own reaction to the movie before reading anyone else's, because I'll let the "spoilers" fly. BUT, do come back after you've seen it and let me know what you think!

So, yes, I loved the movie! I thought it was great! Here's a list of some of the specific things that I particularly liked:

  • I totally fell in love with Charlie! A character that I didn't think much about as I read the books, but the actor truly endeared him to me. He was fabulous! Perfect!
  • I thought all the Cullens were great. Perfect for the parts... except for Jasper, who was just a little too creepy. He reminded me of Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands. And I thought Jasper was a fun-loving happy sort of guy. Did I miss something?
  • I wanted to cheer when Carlisle appeared. I have no idea why.
  • I loved how the audience giggled at many different parts simply because we all knew what the characters where thinking. I've never seen that before. Very cool.
  • I loved the "tree flying" scene, which wasn't in the book that I remember anyway. But it worked and I thought it was very cool. And right after, at the piano, also very cool.
  • I thought the fight scene at the end was sufficiently intense. And James was sufficiently scary. Wow.
  • I thought Jacob was great and I can't wait to see tons more of him next movie! I wanted to cheer when he appeared too.
  • I loved how the humor of the situation showed itself quite a bit.
  • There were some cheesy moments too, but I still loved it.
  • Oh, the baseball scene with MUSE's Supermassive Black Hole song playing. So very very cool!
  • I think they did okay with sparkly Edward... it wasn't too overdone or anything. It looked how I imagined.
  • Oh, and I thought it was so cool how they incorporated the cover of the book into a scene! Loved it! :)

Stuff I didn't really like so much:

  • It bugged me that they left out the blood fainting scene. Seems like that wouldn't have been so hard to leave in there!
  • Wow, I was surprised that they actually showed the killing of James!
  • Edward was a little stiff and awkward at times.
  • I didn't like that I missed Stephenie Meyer's cameo! My kids caught it though and I heard the buzz through the audience. What was I looking at instead? I have no idea.
  • The meadow scene. It was just not quite right. It was okay, but a little too different from the book and/or my imagination.

Well, I could probably go on and on, but I'll stop for now. Overall, I thought it was great and I could easily see it again!

So, what'd you think?

P.S. Here's MUSE, Stephenie Meyer's most favorite band, singing Supermassive Black Hole, live. I was able to see them in concert last year and loved it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Review: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Book: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Genre: NF
Rating: B+
For: F2F Book Club

Our book club has waited for over a year for our turn at the library's book club set of this book so it was fun to finally get it read and have a little discussion last night. (The turnout wasn't quite as good as last month though. Remember then I had 14 people show up. Last night there were four! Oh, well. But it does make me wonder what the difference is between months. The book? The stuff going on with everyone? The Twilight movie? I don't know... but that could be another post!)

So, this book was about how we make instant decisions about all kinds of different things without really knowing we are doing it. And how, for the most part, we should trust those "blink" instincts. There were several interesting stories. My favorites: the chapter on the guys who studied facial expressions, even taking seven years to catalogue every single movement a face can make, and how they learned to "read minds" just by what the face was doing. The chapter about the rock star (Kenna) who all the big wigs in the music industry said was fabulous, but the normal radio people wouldn't play. The chapter on symphony auditions that are done behind screens so the judges only hear the person, not see them. And on and on!

It was all fun and interesting for the most part. But I found myself several times falling asleep. Now, that could be that I was just simply tired and have nothing to do with the book, so if you haven't read it yet, and are interested in this mind/brain/psychology kind of stuff... go for it!
Other reviews:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Honesty

Booking Through Thursday


I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

Well, of course this question would come up this week! And here I thought I could easily avoid the controversy! (Which started here and continued here... and then ended up in too many places for me to link to.... just in case you missed it all.)

What I think: Reviewers should NOT be obligated to give a book a positive review. They DO need to be honest with how they felt about it. However, they DO need to be nice and not scathingly obnoxious about what they didn't like. They DO need to respect the author. However, authors should respect the reviewer too. And most importantly they, the authors, should remember that any publicity is good publicity. (Bad behavior and mean remarks, on either side, is NOT good publicity, however.)

So far, I for one, don't have this problem with being specifically asked to review a book. I can count on one had the books authors have sent me. And I won't be going out my way to solicit them either. I can't. I have to read the books I WANT to read and not be obligated to read review books that I may or may not be interested in. One every now and then is fun though. And let's hope that when I do do it, I like the book and I won't have to deal with this issue at all! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Review: Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins

Book: Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins
Genre: Classic/Victorian
Rating: B+
For: TBR and Classics Challenges

Wilkie Collins is one of my favorite authors. My husband and I fell in love with his writing after we read The Moonstone and The Woman in White... both wonderful, witty, involving books. Since then, The Mr. has accumulated more and more of his books, many quite obscure. One of them, Armadale, I enjoyed almost as much as the above mentioned "well-known" ones.

However, this one didn't quite live up to the wonderful Wilkie Collins stuff, in my opinion. It was good, but not great. For me, it got bogged down with WAY too much detail, especially in the middle and I had to really push hard to get through it.

The story is interesting, taking an in depth look at a strange Scottish marriage law where if a guy and girl SAY they're married... then... they're married! So, with an innocent little mix up right at the beginning, a few lives are completely messed with. And the whole book is about how they figure it all out and if/how they fix it.

Anyway, I'll continue to read all the other Collins books we have around here, but I'm glad to give them a break for now! I do think, though, that Wilkie Collins deserves more recognition than he generally gets, and if you haven't read anything of his, I strongly suggest you to go for it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seven Bookish Facts

Since I'm still struggling with blog ideas, and since Ladytink has encouraged me to do it, I guess I'll just go ahead with the Seven Book Facts About Me meme, that is if I can think of any! I know you're all thrilled!

1. One of my favorite things about books is their smell, both old and new books. And have you ever noticed they all have a unique one? But now and then I'll happen upon one that's kind of stinky.

2. I hate it when a book gets all beat up, yet at the same time, the look of well-worn, well-loved book is quite pleasing too.

3. When I was a kid, I loved to play library. I set up a counter in the doorway of my room and made my brothers come check out books.

4. Another thing we loved to play was Boxcar Children. Oh, we had a blast with that one!

5. Remember the scene in Sabrina (the Harrison Ford movie) where you see Sabrina's dad's apartment? And there are books stacked everywhere? I loved that! And my room is starting to look a little like it!

6. I used to hide the fact that I loved reading and books. I'm glad to not be doing that anymore!

7. I wish I would have kept a book journal starting way back in elementary school. I would LOVE to be able to look over that and remember. Oh, well.

So there you go.... until next time.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Plugging Along

I've been working really hard this weekend to finish Man and Wife. I hit a major slump with it there in the middle but the end has picked up quite a bit. It's possible I may have it finished by the end of the day, but I wouldn't hold my breath or anything either.

Then I really need to concentrate on Blink for book club this week. Interesting stuff in that book, but still, it makes me sleepy to read about it!

THEN, I'll be onto The Lace Reader, which I'll bump up before everything else at that point.

So.. this week I've finished absolutely nothing. How many of you go a week with nothing at all to review on your blog? (Well, I guess I did finish Rapunzel's Revenge last Sunday and reviewed it at the beginning of the week... that feels like forever ago!)
I have another book club this week (because of Thanksgiving, both F2F book clubs that I participate in ended up on the same, huh!) and for that one we'll be discussing John Green's books... and anything else YA related that interests us. I hope it turns out to be a good discussion. I'm a little nervous, but you know, that's normal.

The only thing that's really changed with What The Family is Reading is that Toto (9 years old) is nearly done with Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. It's a little old for her, but that's what the upper grades are reading for the principal's monthly book club at school and she hasn't participated yet, so I told her to go for it this time. She seems to have loved it, even if the subject matter is a bit more than she's been used to.

Oh, and Moder, who moans around about "there's no good books" all time, finally picked up Elantris by Brandon Sanderson from off my TBR pile and it actually seems to be holding his attention. Yeah for that!

That's all I've got today. I can't ramble on too much since I did the "rambly" post a few days ago. We can't have two ramblys in a row, right!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Random Friday Ramblings

Since I can't think of anything specific to blog about today, I thought I'd do the random thought thing. Beware, it's NOT all about books today.

** I can't seem to finish a book lately. So there's nothing to review. That's one reason for the blog fog today. I seem to be in one of those book funks we all experience now and then. Icky.

** I could do the "Seven Random Book Facts About Me" Tag, even though I was never tagged! However, I don't think I could come up with seven random book facts about me. They would be extremely boring.

** Or I could do the shuffle-your-iTunes-and-answer-the-question meme, however, only I get a kick out of that one and you would all think it likewise extremely boring!

** I got a year older this week... and not just because we've been having major holiday event planning stress already, on BOTH sides of the family, though that added to the gray hairs I'm sure, but because I had birthday.

** My oldest son bought me a $50 gift card to B and N! I was very impressed. Very. I can't wait to go spend it.

** I started Twittering the other day. I knew I would give in before it was over. But, I'm not sure what to think so far. I mean, it's fun... but who wants to know what I'm doing all day long? I don't even want to know! :)

** At work today, I put together a little book shelf to sit behind me in my little corner. So far, working at the library is pretty much like working at home! Only... at the library. Oh, but I don't have a computer yet. Some day, some day....

** I don't think I'll be able to finish the Classics Challenge or the TBR Challenge. I stink at challenges. Does this mean I'm what you call a mood reader?

** Next week I have TWO book clubs at my house. For one of them I need to read Blink. I'm so not in the mood, speaking of moods.

** I need to buy advance sale tickets for Twilight! My plan is to go on Saturday at 1:00 at our new theaters just down the street. Anyone want to join me? (Or all you all going at midnight on Thursday?)

** I loved Heroes last week. Oh, and Chuck too. And I'm rooting for Sugar on Survivor, and the mom/son team on Amazing Race. I really miss Moonlight.

** Wow! I can really ramble on when I feel so inclined, now, can't I! I better stop now before it gets any worse.

** However, before I go, and because no rambling post is complete without a Josh mention.... here's my latest favorite:


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Why Buy?

Booking Through Thursday

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

I'm a half and half buyer/borrower. Or in other words, half the books I read during the year are from the library and half are ones I own.

So why do I buy the ones I buy? Some reasons:
  • I can't pass up a good deal. Twenty five cents for a book is pretty great. Or even a dollar. Or Paperbackswap (which is kind of like buying). All good deals.

  • Sometimes I know it will take me awhile to read a book, and I don't want the library due date looming over me. War and Peace would be a good example of this! :)

  • Then there's those books I have a feeling I might want to read again. Like Twilight perhaps.

  • Another reason to buy books is to create a library at home. I LOVE the fact that when my kids come home from school with a list of books they must choose from for a school assignment and I can say, "Oh, we have that downstairs, let's go find it." This is why I'm partial to buying classics.

  • To go along with this, if I know several family members may have need to read a certain book, then we might as well buy it.

  • Buy to support local authors! Buy their books. Show the love. Get them signed!

  • I buy because books look cool on a shelf. They create an ambiance in my house that I love. It's an easy decorating scheme, and one that shows my personality quite well.

  • But mostly I buy because I love them and need them around me. Those books that are my favorites, or by my favorite authors, I need to see them there so I can love them over and over again. Even if I don't read them again, I can still hold, touch, browse through, and remember them.

So, why do YOU buy?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weekly Geek #24: Author Fun Facts

This week's Weekly Geek: Fun Facts about authors!

  • born January 1, 1975 in Sydney Australia
  • his mom is Austrian and his dad is German
  • he is married and has a daughter
  • it took seven years for his first book to be published
  • he's written five books: The Underdog (1999), Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2001), Getting the Girl (2001), I Am the Messenger (2002), The Book Thief (2006)
  • he's working an another book: Bridge of Clay
  • he likes to surf and watch movies
  • one of his favorite books is "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."
  • when asked where he gets his ideas from he says " I used to lie about this, but now I actually know – I started writing when I was sixteen. I’m thirty now. I get my ideas from fourteen years of thinking about it."
  • he re-wrote the first 90 pages of The Book Thief between 150 to 200 times
  • writing is hard for him and he says he has to drag himself to the desk to do it
  • his advice to writers: Let failure be your friend!

  • born August 24, 1977 in Indianapolis
  • he is married, but no kids yet (his MySpace says "some day")
  • he worked at a chaplain in a children's hospital for six months
  • he loves learning about conjoined twins, finding out famous people's last words, and making up anagrams
  • He's written three books: Looking for Alaska (2005), An Abundance of Katherines (2006) and Paper Towns (2008). Also a short story found in Let It Snow: Three Holiday Stories (2008)
  • it took him four years to write Looking for Alaska
  • he did a video blogging project with his brother Hank where the only way they communicated with each other for the whole year of 2007 was through vlogging... even though the year is over, they still do a ton of vlogging
  • along with his brother Hank, he created the Ning group Nerd Fighters, which is becoming quite the movement
  • Looking for Alaska is going to be a movie
  • when asked where he gets his ideas from he says "I have no idea. I really don't. All I know is that my books all start with a person."
  • his advice to writers: "Try to experience a lot of heartbreak and woe. Ideally, there should also be some weeping and gnashing of the teeth. That stuff will come in handy later. But the most important thing is to read. That's true whether you're an aspiring writer or a working one. Reading is the only apprenticeship that writers have. "

I love both these guys and hope that they have many many more books coming in the future!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Bunch of Book Bloggin' Business!

There's a bunch of stuff happening out there in the book blogging world lately that I feel the need to promote and support! One of them I've totally been looking forward to because it was so much fun last year. That is the Book Blogger's Christmas Swap! Both Nymeth and Dewey are doing it again. So, if you're interested, click here or here for details! But basically, you send an email saying you want to be included, and then they assign you your blogger and you send them a small Christmas package.

The other thing making it's way around is the movement Amy from Book Blogger Appreciation Week fame has began. That is to buy books for the Holidays in order to support the book industry! Easy, right? We do it anyway, right? So, if you want to know more about this effort, click here. Oh, and also, she's got a Book Bloggers Directory up if you want to check that out. Click here for that and be sure you're listed if you blog about books!

Let's see what else? I think the other thing was new challenge that caught my eye. Of course, it's one I do anyway, so I can handle joining it! It's being hosted by J. Kaye and is called the Support Your Local Library Challenge! Wahoo for the library! So, click here if you want to know more about that and to sign up! I'll be making a post for this challenge that will be blank now, but I'll fill it in as I read my library books next year.

Oh, and in other news! I got an early birthday present yesterday from Serena! She said she was going to, and she really did... send me a book that is. I did a for fun birthday wish list the other day and she went sent me something on my list! I was so curious to know which book it was going to be and it turned out to be The Lace Reader which I've heard so many of you talking about. It sounds wonderful and I'm anxious to read it. I think I'll be moving it to the top of the stack. Thank you so much Serena! You are the best book bloggin' buddy ever! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Review: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and company

Book: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and "no relation" Nathan Hale

Genre: YA graphic novel

Rating: A

For: Fun!

My first graphic novel! It was fun. Different, but fun. I loved the pictures. Nathan Hale is amazing. I can't even imagine doing such a huge project. But, I did miss the word detail that you get from a novel. Still, it was very fun and very cute.

The story is a twist on the familiar Rapunzel, with a little Jack mixed in too! There's no rescuing prince, however, to whisk her away out of the tower! But get out she does, and once out, she meets a bunch of different communities of people, each of whom she helps in some way or another. Somewhere along the way, everything turns into a bit of a western story, which adds quite the personality to the whole book.

I loved it. It was great. My nine year old daughter loved it too, giggling and "oh no-ing!" as she read. A perfect thing for her right now. I hear there'll be sequels. Great news that is.
Other Reviews:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Sunday Salon: What We're Reading at our House

What I'm reading today:

This morning I wrapped up Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale. Stinkin' cute book that is. And my first graphic novel! Yeah. Very fun.

Then it's more Man and Wife by (Wilkie Collins) for me. I'm halfway done. I need to get it finished for the Classic's Challenge and also the TBR. I have tons of Wilkie Collins stacked up ready to read, so there'll probably be at least one of his books every year n my TBR Challenge list. Great stuff though.

Every time I say or hear that title in my head, Princess Bride comes to mind and this is why:

What the family is reading:

The Mr: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (this is for my f2f this month and sometimes he steals my book and reads it before me! Hopefully I get to it this week too.)

Bud: Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama (this book has been added to my toppling TBR)

JJ: The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne (we watched the first half of the PBS version of this last night. Strange show. But hopefully it will help JJ understand the book a bit better.)

Moder: not sure what he's reading at the moment. It could be The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau (now if I could just find the 2nd book, I could finish that one)

Toto: The Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville (2nd of the In the Land of the Unicorn series)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Author Picture Answers

Well, okay. So I didn't have too many guessers this time around on my author pictures. But here're the answers anyway in case someone out there is interested! Click here to see the pictures again if you need a reminder of what I posted.

Favorite Authors: John Green, Elizabeth Gaskell, Christopher Paolini, and Daphne duMaurier (wow I loved this picture!)

Author I'm currently reading: Wilkie Collins

Authors I've met: James Dashner and J. Scott Savage

Auhtors I want to hear speak : Markus Zusak, John Green

Author I just finished reading: Sara Zarr

Hottest Author (since I couldn't post M.Z. again!): Neil Gaiman

And next week the Weekly Geek theme is to highlight your current favorite author. Have you heard too much about John Green and/or Markus Zusak yet? Or should I go on with the obsession?

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm An All-Rounder!

Surprise surprise!

Yes, I took the Book Browse quiz. The results:

Book Personality: All Rounder!

Your responses showed you fitting equally into all four reading personalities:

Involved Reader: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others.

Exacting Reader: You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose.

Serial Reader: Once you discover a favorite writer you tend to stick with him/her through thick and thin.

Eclectic Reader: You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

Now your turn. What's your book personality?

Lit Flicks Challenge November Meme

Here's the monthly meme for the Lit Flicks Challenge:

The Question:

For November, let’s take a look at the Oscar-season movies that are based on books. Which of the adaptations that are being released are you most excited to see? Have you read any of the books upon which they are based? Which ones do you predict will receive awards?
Here’s a (probably incomplete) list of the adaptations coming out this holiday season:

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
City of Ember
The Secret Life of Bees
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Quantum of Solace
The Road
The Tale of Despereaux
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marley & Me
Revolutionary Road

My Answer:

So I've read: The City of Ember, The Secret Life of Bees, The Time Traveler's Wife, Twilight , Coraline, and The Tale of Despereaux. I have Marley and Me and The Road waiting to be read.

I've seen just The City of Ember and enjoyed it quite a bit, though they messed with details of the ending, but not the overall outcome. And it bugged me that the actor was so much older than the character is supposed to be, but only after I came home and figured that out.

I'm looking forward to The Secret Life of Bees, and The Time Traveler's Wife. The Tale of Despereaux looks really cute. I haven't seen much about Coraline, but I'm sure we'll see it somehow sometime. Marely and Me will probably be a DVD rental for me. The Road looks really good too. All the others I know nothing about.

Well except Twilight and I'm afraid I know TOO much about that one! I'll be going the first weekend (though not the midnight showing however fun that sounds.) In fact I think I'll be buying advance tickets today.

As far as what will win awards? Sheesh, I know nothing! Movies I think are good are NEVER in the running, so there you go!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Presents!

Booking Through Thursday

So, it’s my birthday today. (Please, no applause.) (Happy Birthday Deb!)
But it’s inspiring today’s question–

What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura?”

Interesting that this question would come up this week, because it's my birthday is NEXT week! :)

To answer the question, I think any book that my husband and kids have gone out to buy for me is special. I know it's stressful for them. They know I love books, but they have no clue what to buy for me. Often, what they come back with is something I've already read, or already have, but still, I love that they tried. Most recently, they came back with a book they bought from a sad looking local author who was sitting there at the table promoting their book. I loved that.

But most of the time, especially these days, I just get the gift card. And I love that just as much because what's more fun than going into the bookstore with an amount of money that you HAVE to use on books? Not much I'd say!

So, I've been thinking (even before this gift question came up today) I'd post a list of what I'd suggest, book-wise, for my birthday, just in case anyone asks around here... and I'll just stick it to this BTT post since it sort of applies:

My Book Wish List (at the moment)

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
World Without End by Ken Follett
Underdog by Markus Zusak

.... just to name a few.

And hey, did you watch the video I posted yesterday of Markus Zusak? Did you catch that he IS working on another book? It's due out next year. WAHOO! :) It's called Bridge of Clay. So excited!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Weekly Geeks #23: Repeat!

This week's Weekly Geek task is to go back and pick a favorite Weekly Geek assignment from the past and do it again. The one I'm choosing is the author picture guessing game from Weekly Geeks #13. I had a blast doing that, so here we go again, this time with different authors of course. Please comment with your guesses! Answers will be posted in a couple of days.
1. Photos of your favorite author(s).

2. Photo(s) of the author(s) of the book(s) you’re currently reading.

3. Photo(s) of any author(s) you’ve met in person (even very briefly).

4. A youtube of (an) author(s) you’ve heard speak. (Or how about a video of an author (or two) that I really really really want to hear speak!!!) Videos are a give away on guessing who the author is, but oh, well! :)

5. Any photo(s) you may have of yourself with an author.

I'm too shy/nervous to make an author pose for a picture with me, so the only one I have is the one I put up last time with Brandon Mull (Fablehaven) and that's because my husband was there with a camera snapping away.

6. A photo of the author of the book you’ve most recently finished.

7. Photos of the hottest author(s)! (Hmmm... can I think of someone other than Markus Zusak? Could be hard....)

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Book: Paper Towns by John Green
Genre: YA
Rating: A
For: Fun!

In this, John Green's third book, we met Quinten, also known as Q. He's had a crush on his next door neighbor, Margo, for as long as he can remember. They were best buddies when they were younger, but now that they are in high school, Margo, being in the popular crowd, and Q, being in the nerdy crowd, don't have much to do with each other.

But one night, Margo shows up at Q's window and asks him to come drive her around all night as she carries out a huge revenge plan on all her "friends" that have recently wronged her. Q reluctantly agrees, and ends up having the best night of his life!

And so goes the first part of this book. The second part is Q and his friends trying to solve a mystery surrounding Margo. Then in the third part, they think they've solved it and so they go off on 20 hour drive in the minivan to see if they are correct or not.

Mixed in with all the humor and funny parts that are signature John Green traits, we have the other side of a John Green book, which is deep introspective life learning lessons. I love this mix and officially declare myself a hearty John Green fan! As I wrote over at Goodreads, he makes me laugh. He makes me sad. He makes me think. He makes me mad. I love the characters he creates and the things he makes me ponder.

Other Reviews of Paper Towns:

Becky's Book Reviews
Teen Book Review
Books Are King
Zoe's Book Reviews
Reviewer X
Reading Keeps You Sane
Au Courant

Let me know if you need to be added to the list! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays: Who's Been Readin' That Letter?

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

From Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins page 395:

"Did you read that letter?" asked Sir Patrick.

"I might have read it if I had liked."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Review: Lavinia by Ursula K. LaGuin

Book: Lavinia by Ursula K. LeGuin
Genre: Historical Fiction-ish
Rating: B+
For: Book Club

Now here's one of those books that I would have never read if not for the book club. I'd never heard of it, and if I had heard of it, probably would have never picked it up. But I'm glad I read it. It was enjoyable for the most part. Some of it went a bit slow for me, or perhaps I should say, some of it went a bit over my head. But, yeah, it was worth the time.

It's based on The Aeneid by Virgil. I've never read that so I can't really compare, but I guess this girl, Lavinia, is barely mentioned in the original. However, the whole war is fought over her, similar to the situation with Helen and the Trojan War. So, this book is taking that character and giving her a voice, a personality, a story.

In this book, she is about to be married off to her mother's nephew (which makes that her cousin I suppose!) but she has just seen a sort of vision where her poet (Virgil himself) appears to her and tells her how her life will be played out. So she knows that when a foreigner comes (Aeneas) she is supposed to marry him! And so it goes from there.

Anyway, if you are at all familiar with the original poem than you'll probably love this one. And even if you aren't, but are interested in this ancient civilization time period, you'll love it too!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Reviewing the Day, the Week, the Month

The Day:

  • Yeah, well, so I've hardly read this Sunday. I don't know what happens to Sunday's lately, but not much reading that's for sure.

  • I started Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr and read have read a bit of it here and there.

  • I wanted to find time to read some more in the neglected books War and Peace... and Man and Wife, but no such luck.

  • I need to send an email to one of my book groups and tell them what we are reading this month, but I'm still not sure...

The Week:

  • This last week I hosted a blog tour on The 19th Wife, including a guest post by the author.

  • I got a replacement package from Amazon for Paper Towns and Rapunzel's Revenge.

  • I read Paper Towns.

  • I read Lavinia and went to book club where we discussed it.... a little bit.

  • I read Suite Scarlett and finally got it back to the library.

The Month (October Recap):

  • Jamaica Inn by Daphne duMaurier: Bereaved girl gets sent to aunt's and proceeds to get mixed up in infamous deeds.

  • Brisingr by Christopher Paolini: Eragon and Saphira travel around solving problems and learning things.

  • The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff: Two different 19th wives live not-so-wonderful lives.

  • Lavinia by Ursula LaGuin: Lavinia chooses her own husband based on a vision where her poet tells her what will happen in her life.

  • Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson: Scarlett's summer turns out more exciting than she thought!

Pathetic month... but some of these were pretty huge books! :)


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