Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Summary

Let's just do a quick "where do I stand" for this summary:

Fast Food Nation: Just barely started this; can't wait to delve more
An Abundance of Katherines: Finished last night
The Sorceror: Finished Tuesday
Going Postal: Still working on this; should finish it this week. Fun read!
House of Leaves: Still trudging along here. I'm pretty disappointed in this. Not what I expected.
Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean: This is a pretty fun read. I think we're all enjoying it as our current bedtime book.
The Princess Bride: This one will replace An Abundance of Katherines, being on the high school Name that Book list. I'll start it tonight.
Outlander (audio): Still plugging along her. I'm a couple of hours into the 2nd part (it's divided into 3 parts by Audible). It's a great story so far, and I quite like the narrator!

Short Story Sunday

I'm not doing so great with Short Story Sunday. Last Sunday was crazy, and I started "The Birds" by Daphne DuMaurier. I had no idea the Hitchcock movie was based on a short story by DuMaurier! Unfortunately, I fell asleep before I could finish it, and never finished it over the week.

That said, I have listened to my share of spooky short stories this week, as my daughter and I are listening to a compilation called Even More Short & Shivery retold by Robert D. San Souci. These are short and, well, I can't say sweet. They're a little on the creepy side, and perfect for the RIP II challenge. Unfortunately, I can't remember any of the details about titles, etc. to write reviews...

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

I adored this book. This may well be my favorite book I've read so far this year. I had a great review in my head last night, but I must have been half asleep because I can't remember squat now.

Colin Singleton was a child prodigy. Now, having just graduated from high school, he realizes he's just a kid who remembers things really well and to be remembered he needs to do something great. So he sets out to devise a theorem that can predict how a relationship will turn out based on the propensity for being dumped versus being a dumper and other factors. He has lots of experience, having been dumped so far by 19 girls named Katherine.

An unlikely cast: Colin, the child prodigy; Hassan, his Muslim best friend; Lindsay Lee Wells, a teenage girl from Gutshot, TN; and a gaggle of backwoods Tennessee characters.

This book is so incredibly sweet, and absolutely hilarious. Read it!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

My system's falling apart!

I've posted before about my system for reading so many books at a time. Well, it's completely gone to hell in a hand basket! I'm trying to reduce the number of books, but I ended up picking up Fast Food Nation this week, bringing me back up to, I think, 6 books. Besides that, my "when" for each book is just not there. I've got 2 main books going, Going Postal and House of Leaves, and my plan was to alternate between the two, toting them back and forth to work, now that I've finished The Sorceror. I decided that House of Leaves is just too weird for reading over lunch, so I've just been reading Going Postal. Except for yesterday, when I brought both Going Postal and Fast Food Nation to work with me, and read FFN while waiting for the shuttle and GP at lunch. And then there's An Abundance of Katherines, which I'm just adoring and can't seem to put down once I start reading it! So, my system right now is, ahhh screw it, read what you want!

The Sorceror: Metamorphosis by Jack Whyte

This is the final installment in Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles. I think this was probably one of my favorites of the 6 books in the series, but I found it horribly dissatisfying at the end. Whyte leaves a lot of questions unanswered, things that were foreshadowed, and it just felt incomplete. After checking his website ( , though, I did find that, after some persuasion, Whyte did decide to complete Arthur's story in the Golden Eagle miniseries of books, of which The Lance Thrower is the first. One of these days I'll probably pick that one up, but I'm taking a break for now. Overall, I highly recommend this series, but don't expect it to have all the ends neatly tied up when you finish it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Summary

I feel like I sort of already did this on Friday, but I really do want to try to establish a pattern, so I'll do a quick summary.

I didn't finish anything this week, but I did start An Abundance of Katherines, which, as I mentioned in my last post, is freakin' hilarious. I highly recommend this book.

I'll finish The Sorceror probably midweek, but I'm not planning to pick up a new book to replace it. Instead, my current plan is to tote my "main" book (well, right now I have two "main" books, which I'm alternating between) back and forth between work and home. I'll be glad to focus my reading a bit more for a while, I think.

That said, my daughter asked me if I could get an audiobook for us to listen to on the way to school in the mornings, so looks I'll be adding something new after all. Gonna go browse when I finish this post to see what looks fun.

We're a little less than halfway through reading Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean for bedtime. I tried to read this a while back but didn't get very far. I'm not sure why, as it's really very good! This makes a nice addition to the RIP II Challenge that I'm participating in.

House of Leaves has finally gotten a little freaky. I'm not sure it's living up to all the hype, though. But I'll reserve judgment.

Still loving Going Postal. I wish I had given Terry Pratchett a chance sooner.

And I guess that's about it for today! I still need to read a short story for Short Story Sunday. It's been a really busy day...

Friday, September 21, 2007


Gosh, it's been much longer than I thought since I posted. Life has just been so busy.

A couple of quick reviews:

Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix: This was a great YA thriller. Serious pop fiction for kids. Bethany has been left with an aunt she didn't know she had, and her parents are MIA. After some disconcerting reactions to her appearance by people in her aunt's little town, Bethany begins to have lots of questions about her parents' past and her own.

For Short Story Sunday this week, I read a story out of Stephen King's Everything's Eventual called "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away." It wasn't sufficiently creepy enough to count, though, in my opinion. It's about a traveling salesman who collects graffiti from bathrooms along his travel and the decision he is facing.

I started An Abundance of Katherines, which is on the high school Name that Book reading list, and so far it is hilarious. I love books that make me laugh out loud.

I also finished Maximum Ride: Saving the World, the 3rd in James Patterson's YA series. It was ho-hum. My daughter loved it, but I found it annoying. Stupid things like Fang wanting to know if there was a way to e-mail all the kids in the world at once, and the computer geek telling him yes. My daughter will read the next in the series in the spring, but I think I've had enough of Max and the Flock.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday Summary

I'm going to start something new and do a sort of week in review on Sundays, updating on the books I've been reading during the week, thoughts and such.

I already posted reviews of May Bird and First Among Sequels, both of which I finished this week, so I won't revisit those.

The Sorceror: I'm a little over halfway through this; should finish the last week of September given my reading rate. I read this at work over lunch and typically get in about 20 pages per day, barring lunchtime meetings, etc. I like this series of books (Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte), but I'm ready to be finished. I think this is the last in the series, other than 2 books that are sort of companion books but not crucial to the story. I think I'll pass on those and call it quits after this one (unless I realize that the story isn't wrapped up at the end of this one).

House of Leaves: This is by no means a quick read. It is in the form of a documentary, with lots of footnotes (some rambling on for pages). It's starting to get creepy, though, and I am enjoying it. I knew it was a slow read going into it, so no surprises there.

Going Postal: I'm loving this so far. This is the first Terry Pratchett I've read, and it's so funny. I haven't had enough time to really get into it, though, which has been disappointing.

Double Identity: This is the YA book I'm reading right now (off the Texas Bluebonnet list). It's sort of pop fiction for teens/tweens and really good. It's a quick read, but I only read it right before the kids' bedtime, so it's taking me a little while to get through it. It's one that could easily be read in a sitting, if I had the time.

Outlander: I started this years ago and left the book at my brother's house and never picked it up again. I decided to listen to it on my commute, and I'm glad I did (even though it is a whopping 30+ hours of listening time!). The narrator is excellent. Lovely British accent with wonderful Scottish accents when necessary. I'm only about an hour into it right now, so that's about all I have to say for now.

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean: We started this book for bedtime this week, after finishing May Bird. I had put it down after starting it last year, but have since read several really good reviews of it. So of course I had to pick it back up. Hopefully the kids will like it!

Maximum Ride: Saving the World: I'm almost done with this. It's actually a good thing when my "waiting" book takes me a long to get through, because that means I'm not having to stand and wait for the shuttle to/from my parking garage hasn't been too terrible. I'll write more about this one when I finish it, hopefully sometime this week.

I'm sort of overwhelmed with all my books right now and am trying to decide how to trim that number down. The problem is that I am somewhat compulsive about reading and can't stand to stick to just one, and all of them have their place! I'm thinking I might make one book my "main" book and carry it around with me, as well as read it at home. The whole "waiting" book is a relatively recent addition and not absolutely necessary. I've also considered cutting out my work book and just toting my "main" book back and forth. That's actually probably what I'm going to do once I finish The Sorceror. That would trim it down to my main book, a children's book, and an audiobook. Much more manageable.

Short Story Sunday: "The Cyprian Cat" by Dorothy L. Sayers

Being a cat lover, I just had to read this selection from Witch's Brew. The writing style for this short story is conversational - you are intended to be listening in on a statement being made to, I suppose, a detective or other investigator after a crime has been committed. Main characters are the narrator (whose name we don't know), Merridew, Merridew's wife Felice, and lots of cats. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, although, it became apparent to me just where it was going about halfway through. I think my favorite character was Felice. I'm going to have to read more stories by Sayers!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

I'm not sure how I got into the habit of listening to the Thursday Next series instead of reading it, but there ya go. First Among Sequels is the 5th in this series by Jasper Fforde. I read the first one, The Eyre Affair, about a year and a half ago while recovering from surgery (tip: don't try to read while on Vicodin) and have listened to all the others on my commute. I tend to try not to bog myself down in series, since there's so much else I want to read, so if I like the first in the series, I'll tend to listen to the others. There's no real system, though...

Fans of the other books in the Thursday Next series won't be disappointed with this most recent installment. Thursday is back, this time 14 years after the previous book ended. As always, the literary references are delightful, and Fforde's wordplay never fails to crack me up. The best in this one is "Ann Worthless Schitt." (This brings up one of the downsides of listening to the books - I have no idea how that is actually spelled.) We are re-introduced to Friday (and Friday and Friday) as a slacker teenager, and we meet Tuesday and Jenny. We hear about Sherlock Holmes, and we meet Tempe Brennan (from the Kathy Reichs books). Oh, and how could I forget, Thursday 1-4 and Thursday 5!

The one thing that was very aggravating, and it probably wouldn't have bothered me as much in print, was a particular technique Fforde used a couple of times involving time manipulation. If you read it (or have read it) you likely no what I'm talking about.

Overall, I recommend the book to any fans (and recommend the series to the uninitiated), but I highly recommend reading it in book form and finding other titles to listen to, if that's your thing.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Lamp by Agatha Christie

I'm delighted to have started reading for the R.I.P. II Challenge
yesterday by picking up House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, and even more delighted that it's already Sunday, so I could read an eerie short story for Short Story Sunday!

My first pick for this part of the challenge was "The Lamp" by Agatha Christie. To my knowledge, I've never read an Agatha Christie (short story or otherwise), so when I saw a selection by her in Witches' Brew I decided to give her a try. "The Lamp" is truly a short story, in that it is only 9 pages long and is a very quick read. My memories of reading short stories is that there is often hidden meaning and, while short, they are often quite complex. I found "The Lamp" to be simple and rather sweet. In the story, a very practical woman, Mrs. Lancaster ("...tall, with much dark brown hair just tinged with gray and rather cold blue eyes"), purchases a long-empty house said to be haunted by the ghost of a little boy who is often heard crying. Mrs. Lancaster moves into the home with her father and young son, and while Mrs. Lancaster is closed to the possibility of a haunting, her father and son are aware of the young ghost's presence and want to help him. I won't give any more away!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale

I started out loving this book and fully expected to add it to my favorites when done. However, it sort of lost its luster somewhere along the way. Still, it was a very good book and does certainly make the cut (so far) as one of the best books I've read this year.

I can't really find the words to say what I thought of this book. It drew me in with its talk of books at the beginning, but overall it was the story of Angelfield that was so haunting.

I have two quotes that I marked, which I'll share.

"Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes -- characters even -- caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you."

and from the same page...I know this feeling so well. I have this very distinct memory of sitting in chemistry class in high school and being called on by the teacher while I was in another world. This describes that feeling perfectly.

"I jerked out of my reverie and fumbled for an answer. Had I been listening? At that moment I couldn't have told her what she had been saying, though I'm sure that somewhere in my mind there was a place where it was all recorded. But at that point when she jerked me out of myself, I was in a kind of no-man's-land, a place between places. The mind plays all kinds of tricks, gets up to all kinds of things while we ourselves are slumbering in a white zone that looks for all the world like inattention to the onlooker."

Other reviews can be found here:
Bookin' It
Reading Adventures