Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I Read in 2008

Assuming I remembered to log everything in LibraryThing, here is what I read this year (alphabetically, since I don't always remember to put in the date)! 

  1. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson (children's)
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA)
  3. A Doll's House (Sandman, Vol. 2) by Neil Gaiman
  4. All Year Long by Kathleen W. Deady (picture book)
  5. The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman (audiobook; YA; re-read)
  6. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  7. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer (picture book)
  8. Becky: The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher by Lenore Hart
  9. Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley (children's)
  10. Big Chickens Fly the Coop by Leslie Helakoski (picture book)
  11. Black Ships by Jo Graham
  12. Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
  13. Bobbie Dazzler by Margaret Wild (picture book)
  14. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly 
  15. The Braid by Helen Frost
  16. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (audiobook)
  17. Chicken Boy by Frances O'Roark Dowell (children's)
  18. The Crocodile Blues by Coleman Polhemus (picture book)
  19. Doctor Illuminatus: The Alchemist's Son by Martin Booth (audiobook; children's)
  20. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (audiobook)
  21. Dreamers of the Day: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
  22. Fame Junkies by Jake Halpern (YA)
  23. The Field Guide (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1) by Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi (children's)
  24. Firegirl by Tony Abbott (children's)
  25. The Ghost's Grave by Peg Kehret (children's)
  26. Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield (technically, I finished this one in 2009, but I only had about 40 pages to go this morning and will count it as a 2008 read)
  27. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman (audiobook; YA; re-read)
  28. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (children's) 
  29. The Graveyard Box by Neil Gaiman (YA)
  30. Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill
  31. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (audiobook; YA)
  32. Hubert Invents the Wheel by Claire and Monty Montgomery (children's)
  33. Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
  34. Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir (audiobook)
  35. The Ironwood Tree (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 4) by Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi (children's)
  36. It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, and Sexual Health by Robie Harris (YA)
  37. Jazz on a Saturday Night by Leo & Diane Dillon (picture book)
  38. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
  39. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt (YA)
  40. The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis (YA)
  41. King Dork by Frank Portman (YA)
  42. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye (children's)
  43. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (audiobook; YA)
  44. Life on the Refrigerator Door: Notes Between a Mother and Daughter, a novel by Alice Kuipers
  45. Little Bitty Mousie by Jim Aylesworth (picture book)
  46. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  47. Look Out Jack! The Giant is Back by Tom Birdseye (picture book)
  48. Love Marriage: A Novel by V. V. Ganeshananthan
  49. Lucinda's Secret (Spiderwick Chronicle, Book 3) by Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi (children's)
  50. Masterpiece by Elise Broach (children's)
  51. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
  52. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
  53. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (YA)
  54. No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure by Susan Hughes (children's)
  55. On the Road (Down Girl and Sit) by Lucy A. Nolan (children's)
  56. One Good Punch by Rich Wallace (YA)
  57. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  58. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
  59. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (children's)
  60. Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne (children's)
  61. Preludes and Nocturnes (Sandman, Vol. 1) by Neil Gaiman 
  62. Previously by Allan Ahlberg (picture book)
  63. Prey by Lurlene McDaniel (YA)
  64. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (children's)
  65. Punk Farm on Tour by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (picture book)
  66. Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity by Elaine Pagels
  67. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  68. Roxie and the Hooligans by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (children's)
  69. Rules by Cynthia Lord (audiobook; children's)
  70. The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2) by Rick Riordan (children's)
  71. The Seeing Stone (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2) by Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi (children's)
  72. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  73. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  74. The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
  75. The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman (audiobook; YA)
  76. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (YA)
  77. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  78. A Thousand Veils by D.J. Murphy
  79. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson
  80. The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3) by Rick Riordan (children's)
  81. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black (YA)
  82. The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari
  83. Truckers by Terry Pratchett (children's)
  84. Wait for Me by An Na (YA)
  85. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  86. Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata (children's)
  87. The Wrath of Mulgarath (Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 5) by Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi (children's)
Breakdown - some cross-categorization:

25 children's chapter books
18 YA books
10 picture books
10 audiobooks
7 nonfiction
2 memoirs

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Reading plan for 2009

Again I've become overwhelmed with all I want to read. My personal collection has become ri.dic.u.lous! So in 2009 my plan is to make a dent in my TBR mountain. I have other things I want to read, though, so I have to work those in somehow. In addition to my personal books, I have my Amazon wish list (which is really just a TBR list of books I don't yet own) and a YA suggested reading list. I also would like to add in some nonfiction and just books I see at the library every day that I want to pick up (I call this my "judge a book by its cover list"). So, my plan (and I am really going to try to stick with it) is to read 1 books from my defined categories for every 3 books I read from my personal collection. I will consider any Library Thing Early Review copies I receive as part of my personal collection, and they will get sent to the top of the list as soon as received.

Welcome to my crazy brain. :-)

Saturday, December 27, 2008


My day started out pretty rough yesterday, and while it didn't get any worse, it never really seemed to get that much better. I guess the biggest factor was having to work the day after Christmas. By the time 4:00 came around, and I was in my last hour of work, I was dead tired. I was shelving nonfiction books, and it occurred to me that what I really needed was some Half Price Books time. And for the next hour, all I could think about was the *need* to get to Half Price Books! 

We had plans with friends for dinner, so after a very nice dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, I proposed a trip to the bookstore. Being with bookies, this wasn't hard to sell. For the next 30-45 minutes, I browsed the fiction shelves in bliss. Just what I needed after a hard day. I was good, too, only waiting for the books that just absolutely cried out to me. I got 4 books. 

The Museum of Kitschy Stitches: A Gallery of Notorious Knits by Stitchy McYarnpants - total silliness and horrid, horrid, horrid pictures of bad knit/crochet garments

The Terror by Dan Simmons

Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue 

Rules for Old Men Waiting by Peter Pouncey

Slammerkin and Rules for Old Men Waiting already had good prices ($2.98 and $2.00, respectively), but on top of that Half Price Books was having a 20% off sale on everything in the store. 

My day ended on a much better note than it started. :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet by Neil deGrasse Tyson (a guest review)

I recently received a copy of The Pluto Files as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. While I have every intention of reading this eventually, my reason for requesting this book was so that, if received, my husband, who teaches astronomy at the high school level, could read it and review it. He did, and here is what he had to say.

"Astronomers of all ages and levels of skill are benefiting from an explosion of knowledge on topics ranging from possible life on Mars, to the influence of dark matter on the universe, to frequent reports about newly discovered exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars). The deluge of data has resulted in a whirlwind of new ideas and the inevitable changes to the scientific status quo. Pluto's recent change of planetary status and the cultural and scientific turmoil that led up to its demotion stem directly from our attempts to get a handle on the latest discoveries.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's book "The Pluto Files: the Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet" does a wonderful job of putting all the scientific and cultural issues into a fun, well-balanced and very readable volume. The science in the book is easy to follow and presented in a very balanced way. Dr. Tyson presents the facts in the context of culture and history throughout the tale of the beleaguered Pluto. It is an approachable book and very readable. The inclusion of many humorous comics and images of the prominent players in this tragic drama makes it seem more real. You get a sense of the human element. After all, this is a story about how humans react when science and sentimentality don't get along.

Dr. Tyson makes his opinion very clear, but he is willing to admit that the topics bear more discussion. What about Sedna, Eris, and the other "new planets" that make the inclusion of Pluto a sticky problem for planetary scientists? In the end he suggests the issue isn't whether or not Pluto should be a planet, but that astronomers should do a better job of attempting to handle the newcomers to our celestial party. Can we really do science by committee? Is science meant to be a democracy? Shouldn't careful science be the way things are done? Perhaps we have all been too hasty in taking sides on the issue of Pluto's planethood. Maybe we should have a few more planets in our list or leave the number at 8. Either way, we need to understand how all the parts of the solar system work, regardless of what classification we use.

Yes, it is true that Pluto clearly doesn't fit with the terrestrial planets of the inner solar system nor with the gas giants of the outer solar system. But it matters less what name we use to describe Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Sedna, and the others yet to be discovered and more what we do as a culture with our new information. After all, Pluto's story is our story regardless of what label we use to describe it.

So even if you are not a fan of Pluto or an astronomy buff, go out and get a copy of this delightful book, and I promise you will laugh and likely learn some fun stuff, too."

Thanks, Jimmy, for letting me post your review here!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Secret Santa

Yesterday was my late night at the library, so I didn't get home until about 9:30. Imagine my delight when I saw a package waiting for me on the bed! I actually slowed myself down enough to take pictures. Enjoy seeing how my Secret Santa, Lisa at Books Ahoy! spoiled me! (Forgive the terrible pictures - I had to use the camera on my phone.)

Here's what I saw when I opened the package. So carefully packed!

Here's everything laid out before I unwrapped the gifts. Already we can see a cute little jingle bell pen, a yummy-looking caramel lollypop (the goodie that looks like a little house), and a cute little bucket filled with chocolates. I've sampled the chocolates now, and they're delicious!

Inside the first and second wrapped gifts I found the following books, both of which I have had on my wish list for ages: Fasting and Feasting by Anita Desai and Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. The Bryson is actually a UK edition, which adds to the charm. Can't wait to read them both!

And the last gift was this little book, The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon, which appears to be a touching story about the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC.

Thank you so much, Lisa. This package was perfect!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Best of 2008 list

In hopes of kickstarting my blogging again, I'm going to compile my best of list for 2008. The only requirement for inclusion for this list is that I finished it in 2008 - copyright date is irrelevant.

Here, in no particular order besides, perhaps, the order I read them in, are my favorite books of 2008:

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black
Becky: The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher by Lenore Hart
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (audio version)
Black Ships by Jo Graham
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Friday, December 5, 2008

So sad

I've been so behind in my blog reading lately, and I was completely blind-sided when I decided to check out a few last night and found that Dewey had passed away. Dewey's blog really introduced me to the world of book blogging, and even though I know she didn't know it, she was one of the reasons I started mine. Her blog was also the first book blog I ever commented on.

I had the pleasure of participating in one of Dewey's read-a-thons, along with my then-11-year-old daughter. Laura was actually just asking me within the past couple of weeks when there would be another one. She was very sad last night when I told her that Dewey had died.

I will miss Dewey's posts and her enthusiasm. My blogroll will have a huge hole for a long time to come.

RIP, Dewey.