Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Ten of 2009 (Booking Through Thursday)

Hey, look at that! Booking Through Thursday wants to know my favorite books I read this past year! :)

Suey's Top Ten of 2009

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows
Beach Trip by Cathy Holton
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Top YA/MG (yes, it needs its own category)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Vol 1 by M.T. Anderson
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

(no one is counting, right?)

What are your favorites?

Remembering The Past Decade

A few posts ago, I looked back over the year and remembered the fun things I did regarding reading, blogging and books.

So I thought it would be fun, since we are crossing to a new decade, to now look back over the past TEN years of my reading and bookish life.

1998: (jumping out of the decade just a bit to get started here!) I joined an AOL book club! What a huge step this was for me! Chatting and corresponding with complete Internet strangers... about books! It was called the American Brit Classic Lit club and I loved it. The first book I read with them was Howards End by E.M Forster. Great book. And the online book club experience was wonderful.

2000-ish: That book club became swallowed up by Yahoo Groups and died a slow death. Eventually, I joined another online club called The Book Spot. Raise your hand if you remember that one! I know some of you are out there! This book club read a variety of books, had fabulous leadership and I loved it.

2002: Because everyone in the online book club kept talking about it, I finally started writing down everything I read in a book journal. At the end of the year, I crunched numbers and wrote lists. For the first time ever, I had an idea of how many books I actually read, and what sorts of books ended up on my lists year after year. It made me crazy that I hadn't started doing this sooner.

2003: I visited a friend, we talked books the whole time, and she said as I was leaving, "Hey, I'm going to start a book club, want to come?" And so began my first real live face to face book group. For our first book we read My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok.

2004: The next year, my own neighborhood wanted to start a book club too, so somehow I ended up in charge and somehow I gradually and completely took over.Having my own book club was something I had thought about for years, and now it was finally a reality.

Right around this time I decided to take my book love to a new level, meaning, I would stop fighting against it. Up to this point, I felt like I was holding back, feeling guilty, feeling shy, etc. I'm not sure what happened, but I decided finally, once and for all, to stop being shy about my love for books, to read as much as I wanted to, to add to my TBR list without worry, to read more than one book at a time, to talk to people about books... and.... just do it! It was very cathartic, actually.

I started blogging at Yahoo's 360. I'd thought about blogging for a long long time, but it sounded scary. My sister invited me to join 360, so I tried it and loved it. However, I kept trying to talk about books there, and was completely ignored, for the most part. It was frustrating.

About a year later, I noticed in my online groups, which I was still participating in though the groups had changed over the years, that everyone was talking about blogs, and everyone seemed to have a Blogger blog... so I caved (after pondering the idea, yet again, for months) and created It's All About Books. My first attempts included participating in Booking Through Thursday, and joining a couple of challenges. Also, this was the first year I reached the 100 books read at the end of the year mark. How could I start blogging and yet read more books than ever before.... in the same year?

2008: I dropped all the Yahoo groups. Sad, I know. But I switched completely over to the whole blogging thing and challenges (which are like book clubs really) and decided to not worry about the Yahoo online groups anymore. Also, I started keeping track of the stats on my blog, just to see what was happening. This year I also started going to author events and signings... something I'd never done before.

2009: As I mentioned in the other post, I became a little less shy about participating in blogging things this past year. I saw my blog numbers increase and made more and more friends. As for reading, I've gone from going to the library just to see what jumps out at me to read ten years ago, to now having stacks and stacks of TBR books every where and a list a mile long in my head of what to read next. It's insane how it's changed.

It's been a fun, wild ride, and I can't wait to see what the next ten years will bring in all things bookish! It's going to be great!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: A

For: Fun

With this book, we're leaving the paranormal world behind and getting back to good old fantasy! This one takes place in a world with seven kingdoms, all fighting for power, with each king being helped by people around him who are Graced with some stort of power.

This story follows the adventures of one of these Gracelings, Katsa (yet again a name that sounds awfully close to another name in recent popular books!) as she tries to figure out her place in the world, and how to control and most effectively use her Grace of fighting.

She meets a prince who is also Graced, but with what, you will have to discover as you read. Together, they set off to save a young princess and learn much about themselves and each other along the way.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was quite beautifully written. One of the ways I gage my reactions to books is how much I think about the book while NOT reading it... and this one I thought about a lot. I became quite wrapped up in the characters and their story and situation. Very fun. I will read the sequel, though I'm nervous, because I hear tell it's not as good.

Other Reviews:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Review: Evermore by Alyson Noel

Book: Evermore by Alyson Noel

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Rating: B+

For: Fun

This story was so much like The Vampire Diaries, which I also recently read, that I kept getting them mixed up. They guys in these two books even have the same name! Talk about confusing.

Anyway, there's the girl who's all depressed because her parents have just died. Then she goes to school and of course there's the new guy that everyone is ogling, but she fights it. Yet, they are irresistibly drawn together, and resistance is futile. Then in the process of the relationship, she learns things about him that are pretty creepy and disconcerting, and not quite what you think.

However, this one has a bit of a twist because Ever has powers, she sees dead people, and auras, and everybody's thoughts.

Everyone's that is, except the mystery guy.

Bottom line, I enjoyed the story and it kept me turning pages, but I think I'm a bit burned out by this whole familiar plot line. Time for something different, I say. I'll probably read the sequels some day, but I'm not running to do so.

Other Reviews:

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Top Ten Blogging Memories of 2009

It's been a great blogging year for me and so I thought it would be fun to look back on the year and highlight some of my favorite blogging memories.

1. In October, I participated in the 24 Hour Readathon for the first time. I've watched from the sidelines since the very first one, but finally, this time around, it was on a weekend where I could actually make it happen for me. That was so fun, and a great family event at our house.

2. This year, I started some of my own blog features including Suey's Top Tens, Authors Pick Five, The Bookword Game (with Raidergirl3 of An Adventure in Reading), The Printz Project (with Jessica of The Bluestocking Society) and most recently, Support Your Local Authors Challenge. Hopefully I'll be able to keep them going and improve upon them during this next year.

3. All year, I regularly contributed to the Weekly Geeks blog with assignment ideas. Very fun, however, I am starting to run out of ideas, so if you have any suggestions, let me know... please! :)

4. In the summer I did a complete blog makeover with new colors and headers, and tabs , etc. That was fun. Hopefully I'll learn more this next year on how I can make it look even better.

5. I discovered ARCS and ARCS discovered me! We're still moving slowly with that relationship because I want to leave plenty of room for that "for fun" spontaneous reading category which I feel is so important.

6. I invited a blogger friend to be part of my real life face to face book club... and so far it seems to be working out well. How cool is that? Cool, I say.

7. My subscriber and follower numbers rose steadily all year, which is always fun to watch, and a good sign that I'm "not dead yet" after nearly three years at it. Much of that has to do with that wonderful week in September called Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

8. I have made lots of new book bloggin' buddies over this past year, due in part to BBAW, but also because of our two Utah Book Blogger Bashes held this last year, one in early January, and one in late August.

9. I won the first Blog Post Bingo hosted by Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness earlier this year, and in the process learned lots of new ways to blog besides just reviews, memes and randomness.

10. I participated in my first ever guest posts, one at Kailana's Music Munday, and another at Julie of Booking Mama's book club exchange.

In general, I've seen lots of changes this past year: massive giveaway opportunities, author interviews skyrocketing, lots of controversial heated discussions, Twitter becoming a major connecting tool, publishing companies marketing to bloggers and just lots and lots more bloggers joining the fun. It's been a blast to be part of it all!

Here's to more fun and changes and excitement in 2010!

So, what are some of your favorite blogging memories of 2009?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Book (and Movie) Loot

Today's the day I really look forward to during the holidays. Christmas day is good and all, but there's still "stuff that has to be done" and all that visiting and such. But today, it's sort of an unofficial readathon, a real "do nothing and no guilt involved" sort of day. It's truly the part of Christmas I live for.

And besides that, there's time for blogging again! Well, sort of.

Anyway, it was a great Christmas. This year, we had quite the book and movie Christmas. Sometimes it's an electronic Christmas, but this year, and you know what I have to say next, it was.... All About Books! :)

Here's our book loot list, because I know you're dying to know:

(This includes everyone's books, and isn't that the great thing about books... and music.... and movies... it doesn't really matter whose name is on the present, everyone gets to enjoy, I love that.)

Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins

The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen

Intro to Mind and Brain by Angus Gellatly

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Crow by Alison Croggon

The Asthonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Vol. 2 by M.T. Anderson

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

The Riddle by Alison Croggon

The Pendragon Traveler series (before the war) by various authors

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Epic by Conor Kostick

Nation by Terry Pratchett

The Rice Krispie Treat Cookbook (I think my 10 year old should do a recipe a week and blog about it... what do you think??? )

The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison

Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Hannah Montana Sweet Niblets Cookbook (we could add this to the cooking blog!)

The Help by Katherine Stockett

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (THANK YOU MY SECRET SANTA KAREN from BOOKS AND CHOCOLATE!!)

New York by Edward Rutherford

The Illustrated 1776 by David McCoullough

Opitcal Illusions by Inga Menkhoff

Ummm.... see what I mean about not having to worry about what to read next? Insane I tell you.

Movies and TV series added to our collection, in case you're interested in that too:

Star Trek


Harry Potter 6

Firefly series

Moonlight series

Gilmore Girls Seasons 1 and 2

Monk Season 1

Pushing Daisies Season 1

Smallville Season 6

I'm feeling like a little Firefly right now... followed by a little Moonlight! Mmmmmm........

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2010 TBR Challenge

The Challenge: To read 12 books this year from the pile of books I have (for six months at least) waiting their turn. (Books can overlap with other challenges.)

My List:

1. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

2. The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

3. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

4. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

5. Bleak House by Charles Dickens

6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

7. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

8. When My Name was Keiko by Linda Sue Park

9. The Naming by Alison Croggon

10. The March by E.L. Doctorow

11. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

12. I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter


1. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

2. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

3. The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer

4. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier

5. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

6. Oil by Upton Sinclair

Okay, so it appears I'm carrying much of my last years list on over! See, I really do want to read them, I just get.... distracted.

So... what should I read first?

To learn more about the TBR challenge, and to sign up, click here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Nothing New Here

Today, I'm trying to relax and read, but I can't. The stress level has been pretty high, and I just keep thinking there's something I should be doing. So when I try to read, I can't even concentrate on the words at all.

TV seems to be good though! This weekend we watched Julie and Julia finally. And Angels and Demons too. Julie and Julia was pretty fun. I liked the whole blogging aspect.... but the food and cooking angle just depresses me. And Angels and Demons was pretty much what I expected... I loved the music, but the story made me sleepy and I fought to keep my eyes open.

Tonight we look forward to me TV watching with the Survivor finale. I'm finding myself suddenly routing for quiet boy Brett. And I'd love to see sneaky Russel blind sided. Nice. I guess we'll soon see.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to read Graceling. I've looked forward to it forever it seems, and now.... I can't concentrate. I sure hope once Christmas comes and goes, that the NEXT week is good for reading. Because let me just say, I won't be short of any reading material.

Some things to check out:

-- The Best Books of 2009: A Flashlight Worthy List

-- Got local authors to support? I have a challenge for you! :)

Well, I guess that's it for now. It's crazy around here in real life, but boring in blogging life. I doubt I'll be around much this next week. But I think that's the same story for everyone, right?

So have a great week everybody!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Review: Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton

Book: Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton
Genre: Lit. Fiction
Rating: B+
For: F2F Book Club

This was the book I surprised everyone with when there was a mix up with the original book club set I planned on checking out for everyone last month. So then I had to go with this boo, my plan B. Everyone was a great sport about it, and as it turned out, this ended up being a pretty perfect read for the month of December. Short, sweet, and easy.

But for some reason, I thought it was going to be about a trip this old lady goes on. Perhaps through Egypt or something?

No, instead, she goes on sort of a mental journey as she befriends a juvenile delinquent kid and decides to help him because he is "one of the least of these my brethren." There are many funny moments when she feels like any problem or situation can be fixed with food, or a day at church. The neighbors are nosey, her grown up children are clueless, the kid is manipulative, and she is, as we said last night at book club, quite judgemental.

We all decided that the book was fun and enjoyable, but not a book we could find any deep meaning in. We did end up talking quite a bit about how times have changed and what makes our grandmas the way they are.... how food is so important, and saving things, and the whole "no gray areas" when it comes to moral matters.

Anyway, it turned out to be a pretty interesting discussion. And a fun book to read. There's a movie to go along with it starring Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame, and cute kid Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I think I better check it out one of these days.

Other Reviews:

Next up for book club, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.... including clips from the movie!

Christmas Advent Tour: Our Countdown Tradition

Welcome to my day on the Advent Tour! Today, I'm sharing the tradition in our family for counting down the days until Christmas.

Years ago, when my kids were little, my mom gave us an old antique pop crate that she had fancied up a little. Then, in another box, she gave us several small items that would fit in the slots of the box. The box has exactly 24 slots, and she gave us 24 fun little things to put in it.... but one day at t time.

When the box if filled, Christmas is here! My kids have LOVED this over the years, and even as they've gotten older, they still find it fun to pick a little thing to stick in the box every night. Now, if we were better about stuff, we'd DO something to go along with it... like sing a song, or tell a story. But... we're doing good just to stick something in the box and go "Yey! One day gone!"

(Only now that box makes me crazy, because the days go by so fast and I need more time!)

Anyway, to share this with you, I decided to make a little video. It's VERY short, so I hope you take time to click on it and see how this works:

We love this tradition, and I hope to be able to find four more antique pop crates so I can make one for each of my kids so they can carry it on!

Merry Christmas everyone! Be sure to stop by the other blogs on the tour today:

Veronica @ The First Draft

Marilyn Meredith @ Marilyn's Musings

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear Secret Santa:

Just a shout out to you to say THANKS! And I got your package... but I'm saving it for Christmas, so it's under the tree. Which means, I don't know who you are... yet... but when I do, you can be sure I'll come visiting!

-- Suey

P.S. I already know I'm loving that Mr. Darcy key ring! :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Support Your Local Authors: My List of Potentials

Here's what I hope to read in the next year from my pile of local author books:

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison

Forest Born by Shannon Hale

Spells by Aprilynne Pike (oh wait, she moved to Arizona! Can I still count her?)

Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians, Book 2 by Brandon Sanderson

Fablehaven, Book 3 by Brandon Mull

Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull

Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Echo by Brodi Ashton

.... and that should be good for starters! :)

See why I needed to make this an official challenge?

So, who are YOUR local authors and what will YOU be reading for this challenge? (Come here to sign up.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: The Vampire Diaries Vol 1 and 2 by L.J. Smith

Book: The Vampire Diaries (The Awakening and The Struggle) by L.J. Smith

Genre: YA paranormal

Rating: A-

For: Fun

I wanted to see if the books were like the TV show. My conclusion? They are not. They only that is close to the same is the characters' names. Even their characteristics are different. Except Damon of course. He's as bad in the books as he is the movie. But everyone else is quite different. I mean, for one thing, Elena is blond not dark! What's up with that? And all the stuff that happens is totally different.

One thing that is the same, it's quite violent, and quite creepy. These vampires are not very nice at all.

Oh, a summary if you aren't at all familiar with this story: Elena, our heroine, starts a new school year after having quite the major depression following the death of her parents. She hopes for a new fresh start... but on the first day, she meets Stefan, a new boy in school, who she feels drawn to, against her better judgement, of course.

And then things get very strange from there. People keep dying, and there's a weird crow that keeps hanging out, and her friend's psychic abilities start making more and more sense.

And I better stop there, because right now I'm reading Evermore and I'm suddenly finding that I'm mixing up the stories in my head! You know, I think it's time for a book that has nothing to do with strange, dark, mysterious boys with major secrets to keep.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book, and enjoyed comparing it to the TV show. There's many more sequels, and I'll probably read them sometime... AFTER I give the vampire thing a little rest.

Other Reviews:

The Sunday Salon: Challenges, Challenges, Challenges

Everyone seems to be talking challenges these days. It's making me nervous! So, I thought I'd get it over with and talk challenges too. Posts with my lists for these challenges will come later.

Challenges I finished for 2009:

Dewey's Books Challenge
Support Your Local Library Challenge
YA Books Challenge

Challenges I Made Valiant Effort On:

War Through the Generations: WWII (2 out 5 from my original list... more if I change the list though)

2009 TBR (7 out of 12... working on an alternate right now)

Classics Challenge (3 out of 6 from my original list... more if I change my list!)

Challenges Still in Progress:

Arthurian Challenge
The Printz Project
The Pulitzer Project

Challenges I'm pondering and will probably try in 2010:

2010 TBR Challenge (because this one just makes sense, read what you have)

Rory Gilmore Books Project (because it's such a fun list)

Support Your Local Authors! (because I do this anyway and wanted to make it official)

That's How I Blog Twenty Minute Book Club
(because this is a fun BlogTalk radio show that I want to add to my routine and it would be better if I've read the book!)

ARC Reading Challenge (because my pile is growing)

Take Another Chance Challenge (because this idea is so fun and unique, I have to try it!)

Participate in The Classics Circuit (because this idea also, is just too fun)

And my own personal reading projects (join me if you want!):

Finish War and Peace (going on the third year now... crazy I know)
Read The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Which of my listed challenges will you be participating in? Are there some you'd like to talk me into that I didn't list? Or talk me out of that I did?! :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Support Your Local Authors Challenge!

Okay, here's the official post for the Support Your Local Authors Challenge, complete with a button and everything!

The idea: Learn who your local authors are, famous and not so famous, and read their books! Then review their books and promote them to us. I'll have a different post for linking to your reviews.

The rules: No rules. Just have fun keeping up with and promoting your local authors! This is an ongoing, perpetual challenge with no time limit. Make a goal for yourself regarding how many books you'd like to read this year, then post about them.

To join:
Sign up by commenting on this post (with a link to your post on your what/who you plan to read) and then I will add your link to the list of participants on this post. (I gave up on the Mr. Linky idea... it messed me up big time.)

To review: Come to this post and add your review in the comments. Then, I will add your review link in the post itself. I hope this makes sense!

Simple and easy, right? And fun too! I hope so anyway.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blogger Progressive Dinner Dessert Recipe

Welcome to my recipe post for the Blogger Progressive Dinner Party 2009! I decided to share the following recipe that my family loves at Christmastime. For the list of other recipes being shared, be sure to head over to The Book Blog Social Club site. Yesterday we had entries, the day before was appetizers and salads. Today, it's desserts!

Hershey's Chocolate Mint Brownies


Brownie Layer
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 16 oz. can Hershey's syrup
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Mint Layer
2 cups confectioners' sugar
½ cup butter
1 Tbs. water
½ tsp. mint extract
3 drops green food color

Chocolate Topping Layer
6 Tbs. butter
1 cup chocolate chips


Mix up ingredients for brownie layer until smooth. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake in 350 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes until top springs back when touched. Cool completely. Beat the stuff for the mint cream layer until smooth, frost cooled brownies. Chill. Then melt ingredients for the chocolate topping layer in microwave until smooth. Spread on top of green frosting! Chill in fridge some more!

A couple other desserts on the menu:

Thanks for dropping by and happy baking!

Review: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Book: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Genre: MG Fantasy

Rating: A

For: Fun

I had to laugh when this book came on hold for me at the library, and I had no idea what it was. Usually, books that come to me after I've waited for them, I'm so anxious for and so excited to finally get a turn. But this one, I couldn't remember a thing about it, or why I put it on hold in the first place.

So I searched my Google Reader and discovered that yes, many of you blogged about it and RAVED about it, and so I must have instantly put it on hold... then promptly forgot all about it.

'Course then, I hung on to it forever until it was due, and then finally, I deemed it the "treadmill" book of the week, and then read it while walking and loved it! And all that raving from you bloggers? You were right of course!

It's about this girl, Miranda, who is telling a story to some unknown person about some things that happened to lead up to... what happened. First, her friend (that's a boy) got punched in the stomach by some neighborhood bully and then decided to stop talking to her. This prompts her to make a new couple of friends and they have some fun times. Meanwhile, there's more with the bully, and the homeless person that hangs out on their street, under the mailbox.

Then, she starts getting these very strange notes. Like... very strange. So she tries to figure out where they are coming from and who's responsible. The answer to that is pretty eye popping. And the end is a bit of a tear jerker.

I loved it. What a fun, little, simple, thought-provoking story. So glad that I put it on hold and read it, even though I forgot why at the time!

Other reviews:

Maw Books Blog

Book Nut

So Many Books, So Little Time

SherMeree's Musings

One Librarian's Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Bookword Game: The Winner Is.....

Alright! I finally got a tie breaker for the Bookword vote of the week. So the winner for the word describing a book with a bad cover is:

A Mis-covered Book suggested by Arcona!

The next word that needs discovering is: what should we call a book that makes you sleepy. Very.... very.... sleepy....... Every time you read it your eyes just want to close and take a break.

Comment with your suggestions! Thanks for participating.

Weekly Geeks 2009.44: Reading Habits

Trisha at Eclectic/Eccentric asks a bunch of questions about our reading habits for Weekly Geeks this week. I'm going to attempt to answer, though I think I really have no method to the madness.

How do you choose what to read? Is it random or planned? Based on your mood, challenges, titles, covers, topic?

I try to have a bit of a mixture. I try to get stuff read for challenges, and book club, and what's due at the library. But MUCH of how I choose to read next is based on mood. And hopefully I'll never lose that, because it's really fun that way I think. I rarely base my decision on a cover, sometimes a title if everyone is talking about it... and topic... not so much these days.

What process do you use for reading? Do you take notes while reading? Annotate your books? Just read?

Just read for me. No note taking. I've always thought it would be fun to mark my thoughts in the book, but I've never actually done this.

What happens when you are done reading? Do you wait to review or write immediately? Do you revisit and revise before posting?

I wait a bit to review it... a day or two maybe unless life is especially crazy. I don't spend a ton of time on reviews because I don't want to be stressed out or bogged down with them. I just want to let people know what my reaction is and keep them simple and easy.

What other tasks do you go through after reading a book? Is your blog the only place you post a review? Do you keep lists of readings? Catalog genre, page numbers, gender of authors, etc.?

I have a notebook where I simply list the books I've read. I used to write my thoughts in a sentence or two, but even that was too hard. So I just list a couple of things there like pages, date read, genre, if I read it for a challenge or book club, and a rating. Oh, and I mark it read on Goodreads and add a one or two sentence review/reaction.

What happens to the book when you are done with it? Does it end up in your home library? Go back to a public library? BookMooch?

Books I own end up in my home library. There are many readers at our house and someone else is bound to read it! If I don't feel too attached, I may add it to my Paperbackswap account. Many books are library ones too.

Overall, if you had to give someone a "How To" list for your dealings with any particular book, what would it look like?

1. Buy book, or borrow from library.

2. Sit it on the TBR shelf for a long time.

3. Read it when it is almost due... or when it's turn for a challenge arises, or when the mood strikes.

4. Share reading time with several other books.

5. Haul it all over the place.

6. When finished, log it in a notebook and add to Goodreads.

7. Blog about it before you forget what you thought!

8. If lucky, talk about it with some real live people in your real live life.

9. Start new book right away. There's no time to waste!

10. Repeat.

So...what would YOUR list look like?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Classics Circuit: Wilkie Collins on Tour!

Book: Hide and Seek by Wilkie Collins
Genre: Classic
Rating: B+
For: The Classics Circuit

Yeah! Finally my turn to welcome Wilkie Collins to my blog as part of
the new Classics Circuit. Since I'm at the tail end of this tour, hopefully there's no one out there who will say "Who the heck is Wilkie Collins!?" Also, hopefully there's no one out there saying, "I'm sick to death of Wilkie Collins!"

Anyway, by now I'm guessing you all know that Wilkie Collins was a friend of Charles Dickens, and a wonderful writer in his own right. Unluckily for him, he seemed to be overshadowed by his buddy, and didn't quite make it as big. However, his books, though different, are totally delightful.

I stumbled upon Wilkie years ago, I think it was when an online Yahoo book club picked his book The Woman in White for their selection. I'd never heard of him. But I loved the book. I made my husband read it and he loved it too. Then we read The Moonstone, and really loved it. We started wondering, why doesn't he get any recognition? His books are so funny, witty, clever, articulate, engaging, and memorable.

It was then that we went on a bit of Wilkie kick. Every time we did an Amazon order (because we couldn't find them at the bookstore), we'd add one of his books to the cart. The end result being we now have about ten or so of his novels, some very obscure, in our library. My husband has read them all, but I, somehow (can you even believe it???) got behind.

So I chose to review one of those more obscure novels called Hide and Seek. Sadly, I must say, this is probably the least favorite of his I've read so far. I feel like I've been reading it forever! There were many parts that just dragged on and on. And much too much detail.

But still, the use of words is fascinating. I love it! The story was fun too. It's about a girl who is adopted by this very nice painter man. She had an accident when she was very little which left her deaf and dumb. She was raised by some nice circus people, and the man rescues her from that life when she was about ten. He lives in constant fear that someone will discover her and claim her as their family. That's the "hide" part.

The "seek" part is when a new character is introduced who returns home to England after being abroad for some twenty odd years. We learn right off, as he begins to investigate his long lost family, that of course.... there's a connection to our little friend.

Much of the story was told as a back story, through letters, and long narratives. I kept wishing that those back stories were actually a true part of the book. I wanted to get much deeper into the all trauma and drama... and really get connected and invested in the characters, but we just heard about it... and the actual story itself was quite bland.

Oh, well. I just looked it up and it's listed quite near the top, chronologically speaking, of his huge list of works written. Maybe he just hadn't quite figured it all out yet!

Regardless, Wilkie, you rock! I love your books and will continue in my quest to read all the unread ones I have here on my shelves. I hope those of you who had never heard of him until this blog tour blitz, will give him a try and let me know what you

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Some Bookish Business

Some things I need to tell you about.

First, if you need some ideas for what to read for you next book club, look no further! Check out this link to Flashlight Worthy Book Recommendations where a bunch of book bloggers have contributed to a fun list of Best Book Club Selections from 2009. Yep, you can see my pick there, along with several other familiar book blogging buddy names. And once you click on that link, be sure to look around and check out all the other fun lists on the site. Very cool.

Are you finding time to read the Advent Calendar posts? It's so fun to see everyone's traditions and thoughts about Christmas. My turn will be coming up on the 18th. Last year, I blogged about our Christmas tree decorating traditions. This evening we'll be doing it all again, hauling up the tree, piling on the ornaments, and then baking cinnamon rolls.

Another fun thing that's popped up in the book blogosphere is Dewey's Tree, an idea proposed by Lisa from Online Publicist. She suggests we all give books to someone, or some charity, or some place in honor of Dewey. Hopefully, I'll figure out how to participate, and go through some books, and give them away.

Oh, man! My turn for the Classics Circuit is Tuesday and I still haven't finished my book! So, after the tree is decorated today, I'm going to curl up next to it, and read Wilkie Collins for the rest of the evening!

Well, now that the big party is over (which turned out great btw, except I had WAY too much food... better than not enough though) I can concentrate on Christmas for real. Two weeks to do it all (because that last week kids are out of school and it doesn't count!) I'm a little freaked by that but if past years are any indication, somehow, it will all get done.

I hope you are all having a great, restful Sunday full of tons of reading!

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Randomness

Life's been crazy this week. And I can't think straight enough to actually compose a real post. So randomness it is.... again.

-- The craziness is due, in part, to the fact that I'm charge of our church Christmas party tonight. The theme is "Christmas in Hawaii" and we're feeding 250 people Kalua Pork.... and having live Hawaiian music and dancers, and passing out really cheap plastic leis. Not too Christmas-y, but hopefully fun.

-- And can I just say I'll be so so glad when it's over!

-- Add to that, we've ripped up our 10 year old's room, and need to find time to paint it... before we can get her stuff back in her room and out of the living room, where we need to put up a tree!

-- I was going to do my Advent Tour post on a fun tradition that my kids have loved over the years.... yet... for some reason... so far this year they haven't said a word about it. That really lets me know how crazy things are.

-- My 10 year old will be hanging out with the teenagers tonight after they do a dance performance (since I'll be otherwise occupied). She is on cloud 9, the teenager daughter is annoyed.

-- There's no time to blog this week, and that's really sad, because I even have ideas and everything.

-- Tomorrow, after we hopefully paint the bedroom, in the morning, we have yet another party to attend. The mentality, I'm thinking, is to hurry up and get the parties all over with at the beginning of the month! Sorta sad.

-- I have no idea what to get my kids for Christmas.

-- The thermometer says it's 10 degrees outside. I wish I could curl up and stay in.

-- There's a tie for the new Bookword! Don't forget to go vote.

-- I need a haircut in bad bad way. But... you guessed it... there's no time. I'm hoping to fit it in before tomorrow's party.

-- Hey, I got Google Wave! And now I have no idea why. Maybe someday it will make sense.

-- Oh, and looky here! Someone was in the latest People "Sexiest Man" issue:

-- Well, I gotta run and face the day. Happy Randomness to you all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bookword Poll: Bad Covers

Time to vote on a new Bookword! In this installment, we are thinking of a word to describe a book with a bad cover. Here's the suggestions:

An Ugly Duckling Book: suggested by Amy
A Dis-Covered Book: suggested by
A Mis-Covered Book: suggested by Arcona
A Miscovery Book: suggested by
Judge-me-nots: suggested by Sprite

Let the voting begin!


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