Friday, August 31, 2007

Reading and posting

When I created this blog, I really intended to be more prolific. And I still have hopes. Unfortunately, life is busy and I'm not finding as much time to post as I like. I'm also reading more slowly, which means I don't have a lot to post about! I am, however, reading lots of blogs and getting ideas for more books to add to my wishlist.

As you can see on my sidebar, I'm currently working on 6 books. I'm almost finished with The Thirteenth Tale (which, since Carl said we could start early, I'll count as one of my books for the RIP II challenge), but not too far along in anything else. The timing is great, because I'll finish The Thirteenth Tale just in time to pick up new books for the challenges I'm doing.

I got Witch's Brew from the library last night, which I saw mentioned on someone's blog (sorry, I can't remember whose!), and will choose a few short stories from there for the RIP II challenge, too. I'm excited about this!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

I think I'm going to have to add this book to my list of favorites. Roy's writing style is just absolutely beautiful. Her descriptions are amazing. I kept finding descriptions I wanted to note, but there were just so many that it seemed pointless. The whole book is just one big memorable quote.

The God of Small Things is most certainly not an upbeat book. Roy uses foreshadowing through most of the book leading up to the tragedy that shaped the entire Ipe family's modern history. You know the tragedy happened very early on in the book, but you don't find out exactly what happened until later on. Roy doesn't tell her story in a linear fashion - the book jumps all over the place, but in this particular case, that just adds to the beauty of the book.

I found it interesting that 95% of the book was written in this poetic, whimsical style, but when Roy finally decided to tell the official story of what happened (probably 3/4 of the way through the book), she reverts to a strictly narrative style. Just the facts, ma'am. Very clever.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

R.I.P. II Autumn Reads Challenge

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year, so this challenge just completely drew me in. After reading through the different perils, I think I'm going to have to be conservative this year and do Peril the Fourth, in which I am only required to read one book. With such a short timespan and so many other books going at the same time, I'm not sure I can get in more than one, and certainly not 4. I am also going to add on the Short Story Sunday Peril, as I would love to read more spoooky short stories!

My book for the challenge will be House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. For the short stories, we have a Poe anthology around her somewhere, and my husband has a Stephen King collection. I may also pick up something more diverse from the library.

Unread Authors Challenge

I'm taking the plunge. I'm joining two challenges. I've been debating this for a while, since I have so many books on my TBR pile, but I just can't resist. I have, however, made my own stipulation. The books I choose must be ones I already own. So that said, on to my first challenge, the Unknown Authors challenge. Not all of my choices are "literary," but they're all authors I haven't read before.

Here's my list:

  • Terry Pratchett, Going Postal
  • John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Philippa Gregory, The Queen's Fool
  • Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth
  • Tess Gerritsen, The Surgeon
    Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent (I changed my mind...)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

My husband borrowed this from one of his students months ago, and I had started reading it in the car one day but never picked it back up. Since he has to give it back tomorrow, I decided to finish it today. I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I really like the premise of this story: fairy tale characters living in the modern world, in exile from their original world after it was invaded by an evil being from another, separate world. I won't go out and buy the others in the series myself, but I would read them if my husband bought them.

Other reviews:
Aaron at That's the Book!


I've seen this on several blogs now and thought I'd join in the fun!

What are you reading right now?
These are listed on my sidebar, but for anyone reading this from their feed aggregator I'm reading 6 books right now: May Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson (this is our current bedtime book - how great is it that my 9 and 10 year olds still let me read to them at bedtime?), The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (on the high school Name that Book list), The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, The Sorceror by Jack Whyte (lunchtime), Maximum Ride The End of the World or Something Like It (standby for when waiting), and First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde (audiobook).

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
The next book in my stack is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
I've never really been a bathroom reader.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (or just Kingsolver, in general)

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they?
The funny thing is that I *am* a librarian, but the librarians at my library don't know me from Eve. Now, back when I was a public librarian, yeah, I guess they knew me. At least I hope they did!

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
Not that I can think of.

Do you read books while you eat? While you bathe? While you watch movies or TV? While you listen to music? While you’re on the computer? While you’re having sex? While you’re driving?
Eat? no
Bathe? Not on a regular basis, but I have been known to (most recently Friday night)
Movies or TV? Not if I chose what we're watching, but if the tv is on in the same room, I will try.
Computer? Does reading a book *on* the computer count?
Sex? Um, no
Driving? I listen to audiobooks on my commute.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits?
Not that I remember. My brother might have, I suppose.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stephen King on Harry Potter

I really enjoyed this article by Stephen King about Harry Potter and the effect it has had/will have on the way kids read.

Stephen King: The last word on Harry Potter

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Gates of the Alamo

My lord, it took me a long time to finish this book! I started it at the end of June and just now finished it. This summer has not been good in terms of my finishing books in a timely fashion, for some reason.

I really liked this book, despite how long it took me to read it. Living in Texas, I am fascinated with the Texas war for independence. Not in the stereotypical, too big for its britches way that Texas can sometimes present itself, but just a morbid interest in the massacre that occurred at the Alamo. I believe this book to be rather historically accurate, minus the inclusion of a few purely fictional (main) characters. Many reviews I have read have complained about the gratuitous violence, and yes, this book has plenty of gory battle scenes. However, I believe the graphic descriptions were essential to providing an accurate depiction of just how gruesome the fight was. Besides the obvious storyline of the war, there is a very unusual love story as a subplot.

I would count this book as one of my favorite historical fiction novels.

My favorite quote: "...the defenders of the Alamo turned and ran into the dark cells of the old mission convent where monks had once passed this venerable hour before dawn in murmuring prayer."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Fort at River's Bend by Jack Whyte

The Fort at River's Bend is the 5th novel in Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles. It's hard to review just one of the novels in the series, as the series reads like one long book. This installment finds Caius Merlyn Brittanicus, along with his ward Arthur Pendragon (and a group of others from Camulod), arriving in the lands of Derek of Ravenglass, seeking a place to hide while Arthur matures. We see Arthur grown from a mere boy to a young man. The Fort at River Bend is part one of Metamorphosis, which Whyte intended to be one complete book , and I am eager to continue on to part two, The Sorceror.

If you're a fan of Arthurian tales and you haven't picked up the Camulod Chronicles, I highly recommend this series. The series begins a couple of generations before Arthur is born, told in journal form by his Roman-legion ancestors, Publius Varrus and Caius Brittanicus, and then by his mentor, Merlyn Brittanicus. This series contains none of the typical magical elements of the familiar Arthur tales, retelling the story from a realistic point of view.

Other titles in the series include: The Skystone, The Singing Sword, The Eagle's Brood, Saxon Shore, Sorceror, Uther, and The Lance Thrower.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I finished listening to Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult yesterday. This is the 5th (I think) Picoult book I've listened to (and 7th I've read), and it's one of my favorites. Picoult does an amazing job of creating sympathy for both the victims and perpetrator of a school shooting in a high school in New Hampshire. The portrayal of the bullying that goes on at all levels of schooling is adequately depicted. I think this is an important book for high schoolers to read, as this is something that could happen anywhere. I highly recommend this book!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Book sale buys

I did, indeed, find some good books at today's book sale. For $11, I got 12 books, mostly hardback. Four of these were on my wishlist, too, so that's even better! Here's what I got:

The Autobiography of Henry VIII, with Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
*This is practically brand new still, and I got it for $1!
Alice's Tulips by Sandra Dallas
*From wishlist. I read the first in this series, The Persian Pickle Club, last year, and while I don't typically get hooked on series, this one was good enough to buy used.
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
*Newbery winner
A Wizard Abroad by Diane Wrede
*My husband bought the first few in this series (Young Wizards) - I hope he doesn't already have this one!
The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue
*From wishlist.
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
*I've read a couple of other of her books (Speak and Fever 1793) and really liked them.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
*From wishlist.
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
*From wishlist.
The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
*I bought this one because I'm pretty sure it's on the high school Name that Book list that I'm trying to complete.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
*This one will be great to stick in my bag for waiting for my shuttle.


I picked up one more book today (Aug 2):

The Children's Blizzard
by David Laskin