Well, with the shipment of The Secret History to Singapore (!) I found myself in the possession of 4 BookMooch points today. Itching to try this out, I have mooched the following books:

Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers: Magical Tales of Love and Seduction ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, featuring Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates and others.  I have read two of their anthologies so far and adored them tremendously.  And found some fantastic new authors in the process.  Really looking forward to this one!

Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak because I am determined to read everything ever wrote or will be written by this guy!  He’s a freaking genius!

Wolf Boy: A Novel by Evan Kuhlman because it looks really interesting. It takes elements of the graphic novel and mixes it in with regular, good-ole-fashioned narrative.  I’m interested to see if he pulls it off.

I’m going to hold on to that last point for awhile. 

I’m so excited about these! I think I feel an addiction to BookMooch coming on!  I really need to pull my books and see what I can share.  I expect there are a lot, and, as one of my resolutions for next year is to read more of my OWN books, I will hopefully have many more.

If I don’t see you, which I doubt, have a happy and very SAFE New Year!

A $100 goes a long way!

So, just what did I get with that $100 gift certificate? Quite a bit actually. And I did spend a little of my own money. So, technically, I got all the following for about $40.

  • Vampire Diaries #1: The Awakening by LJ Smith
  • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
  • Armadale by Wilkie Collins
  • Kristin Lavransdatter (all three in one volume) by Sigrid Undset
  • No Name by Wilkie Collins
  • The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume I by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume II by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Burning Time by Ruth Morgan
  • Fables: Wolves by Bill Willingham
  • Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald

You will notice quite a few classics on this list. I’m hoping to read more classics this year. The few I read this year proved to me that I can, in fact, read a classic and, ALAS, enjoy it too! I have been dying to read more of Wilkie Collins work and am holding off bravely on starting The Moonstone until January for the classics challenge. I also hope to pull of Armadale and No Namein 2007 too. And A Rogue’s Life, which I recently picked up at B&N. I have been wanting to read more of Conan Doyle, as I enjoyed The Hound of the Baskervilles in high school but haven’t really read any since. And, being the anal reader than I am, I want to read it in order, hence the Volumes I and II of the complete tales.

I read The Three Musketeers earlier this year and want to read more of Dumas. I remember reading The Man in the Iron Mask ages ago, but do not remember  if I read Twenty Years After or not, and I’m thinking not, which means I skipped a book in the series of books about D’Artagnan and the rest. I originally had the last two books in the set in my cart as well but decided to get those after I finish these two. I will eventually have all five though, mark my words!

I’ve been wanting to read more of my own country’s works, so I got Eudora Welty (who I adored in my Southern Lit classes in high school and college!) and Zelda’s book. Amanda read Save Me the Waltz this year and it made her top ten for the year which makes me excited for it. Not to mention I find Zelda fascinating.

It occurred to me this week though I would like to read more nonfiction and I wish I had purchased a few. Specifically I would like to read some biographies and such about the authors I am read. I started my Narnia set yesterday which made me interested in CS Lewis. I don’t know much about him, other than he was a Christian and great friend of JRR Tolkien. So I picked up The Narnian by Alan Jacobs. I hope I can finish it. I think I’m going to challenge myself this year to read at least one nonfiction book a month. Too bad there are no nonfiction challenges out there, they really seem to help me get through books!

So there you have it. Pretty good haul, I’d say.

2006 – A Great Reading Year

2006 has been a great year for reading for me. I didn’t get to everything I meant to read (Margaret Atwood for one, War and Peace for another) but I did get to a lot I did mean to read. I read my first graphic novels (Fables, Maus I and II, Marjane Satrapi) and fell hard for the genre. I read more classics than I have read since I graduated from college; over 6 years ago! And, as of this posting, I’ve read 63 books which exceeds my goal of 60 and is far more than I read last year, when I finished number 52 on the last day of the year.

And the best thing of this year? Last October, my grandmother passed away. I lost so many things that day. I lost my mother, my best friend, and, my reading partner. I’d already been blogging for about a year, but around February or so this year I discovered the world of lit bloggers. And in some ways, you all helped fill that void that was in my heart with your beautifully composed thoughts on books, words, literature, and life itself. You gave something back to me, friends who loved books as much as I did, who laughed and cried over the words and understood just what magic there was inside the covers of a book; and bought them as voraciously as I did as well. And you led me to grow and change as a reader, pushing me to try things I never had before and making me grow. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Now, as I look back over the year, there are several books that really stand out over the rest. So here, I give you the top ten books I read this past year, in no particular order, except for the first one.

Number one, by far, was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Moving, eloquent, and both heartbreakingly hopeful and disparaging at the same time, this book has stayed with me since the day I finished it. Liesel Meminger is an unforgettable character. As is Death. Unforgettable and definitely will be reread. Another favorite was another book my Zusak. I Am The Messenger, while totally different from The Book Thief, still had the beautiful prose and amazing storytelling of this amazing author. I’ll be looking for more by him this year. Along with these young adult novels I also enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (again) and New Moon. I still can’t put my finger on just what it is about these books that makes them so obsess-able, because I am obsessed with them. Can’t wait for the next in the series!

I received an advanced reader copy of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and was immediately in love with the cover. Once read, the story found a lasting place in my heart, which I shouted from the rooftops of my blog. Also a definite reread. Along the same lines, I found Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier to be an un-put-downable read that became an instant favorite. Will definitely reread this as well.

Thanks to the RIP Challenge I readThe Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It was instant love affair. Will be reading more by Mr. Collins next year for sure.

I don’t know why I waited SO long, but I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the first time this year. Oh how I wish I had read this as a teenager! But I am so thankful that I finally did, as Austen proved to be a witty and amusing read. I will definitely be reading more by her this coming year as well, starting with Emma, probably next month!

And, thanks to my new found love of graphic novels I found Fables and Maus. Totally different comics, but both brilliant. Fables was as fascinating for it’s characters as Maus was for it’s heartbreaking story. The art work in Fables can be breathtaking. Maus’s art is completely different, but perfect for the story it is telling. Not a graphic novel to be missed.

So there you have it. My reading year in review. Soon, the year to come, and the list of books I got with that $100 gift certificate. And psst, I have $35 to spend at B&N soon!


Ah, so much to report on!  I’ve been so busy, I’ve barely had time to sit down at the computer, except to cruise around a few blogs to send out Christmas greetings.  I didn’t get to everyone, but I tried!

Our Christmas was very nice.  MUCH better than last year, when the hubby, daughter, and aunt were all sick and I was still numb from the pain of loosing my grandmother.  My side of the family had Christmas at our house for a change of scenery, I cooked (and it was GOOD!) and we opened presents.  As usual, my family did not give me any books, but I got some clothes, a DVD recorder so I can record off the TV, some HD movies (The Corpse Bride – which looks amazing!, Seabiscuit, and The Phantom of the Opera), some beautiful prints of black & whitish sort of sepia tinted flowers, and other such stuff. 


Now my in-laws came through a little better.  One sis-in-law got me a knitting book of patterns for kids and my BIL gave me a generic book of different beautiful stitches.  And my other SIL really came through, with a complete set of the Chronicles of Narnia on CD.  Each book is narrated by a great of English stage and cinema like Patrick Stewart, Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Brannagh, Michael York and more.  I can not wait to listen to it.  Plus clothes and socks and stuff.  And Bones season 1 which I have watched 3 episodes of today and remember just how I fell for this show.  I lurve it hard!

Of course Ellie racked up.  The hubby and I got her the Fur Real Friends Butterscotch pony, the one that moves and breathes and all.  She LOVES it!  She got other horses (Yay.  That was sarcastic), clothes, books, and a game thing called a V.Smile for her to play with.  Hubby got stuff for his Xbox 360, stuff that will let him play online and lots of movies (HD Superman 1 and 2, Seinfeld Ss 7, 24 Ss 5, Tales from the Crypt 4 and 5 and the Amazing Stories set) and clothes. 

Yesterday after we came home from the in-laws Ellie watched the Chipmunks Christmas DVD (LOTS of memories there!) and I polished off Tithe by Holly Black.  A very quick with dark characters and an equally dark story.  Very modern fairy tale.  Of course I loved it.

This morning I finally used my $100 gift certificate on Amazon.  List forth coming.  I went a little wild on books; it’s like my Christmas present to myself!  I also signed up for BookMooch and already have a book to send out!  One point to spend!  And no clue what to get.  I may hoard them up for awhile and then spurge on some reads later in the year.  

All in all a good holiday and I dearly hope you all had the same.  So.  Did you get any books?

From the Stacks #3

secret.jpgI have had The Secret History for probably close to 4 years.  And, embarrassing enough, it’s my second copy.  I had one that I sold to the UBS, only to buy another one later.  I’ve tried to read it previously at least 3 times and finally, mysteriously, I managed to make it through this time.

I’m not sure what my problem was.  For this is a perfectly good book.  Quite the cozy read actually, and with the weather being like it is – cold, rainy, miserable – I holed up in the house today to finish the last 150 or so pages today. 

This book has all the characteristics of a Greek tragedy.  Love (in many forms), murder, honor (and dishonor), suicide.  it was very well written (I can definitely believe it took 10 years to write it) and the characters, while not always the kind you root for, were amazingly well drawn and believable.  No plot stone was unturned and it all tied up, not exactly neatly (but the ending did not call for a neat one at all) rather satisfactorily. 

Now on to something a little lighter, but still from my forlorn stacks.  Something short.  Not sure what yet though.  But short and easy to concentrate on will be perfect for the weekend ahead!  So much to do!

Another Scarf

scarf.jpgI finished another scarf today; this one for my SIL. I love it much, I almost wish it was mine!  The yarn is so soft and I love the colors.  I’m not sure that the picture is doing it justice.

I can’t remember the names of the yarn I used, I used  two different strands knitted together in — I don’t know the name of the stitch — but it’s K1 P1 all the way across. 

It’s some kind of rib.

I like the way it looks the same on both sides with this stitch.

Poem I found

muralboy.jpgI found this poem in a book at church tonight and just had to jot it down.  I was baby sitting the 3 and under crowd when one of the tots (my nephew) thrust this book at me. 

The Library – A Magic Castle

Come to the magic castle
When you are growing tall.
Rows upon rows of Word Windows
Line every single wall.

They reach up high,
As high as the sky,
And you want to open them all.

For every time you open on,
A new adventure has begun.

Just had to share that.  I just wish I had thought to jot down the title of the book…it was something about monkeys.  A boy sat down to read a book in the library and it was about monkeys.  But that poem was in the front of it. 

I’ll have try to remember to get it next time I’m there.

The Secret History

I started The Secret History, for probably the fourth time, earlier this week for my From the Stacks challenge.  I don’t know why I had such a hard time getting into it over the years — I think I’ve had this book at least four years — but I’m 100 pages into it and fascinated!  I am having a very hard time putting it down because I just HAVE to know what happens next!! 

I guess in this instance the fourth time is the charm!

Thank goodness for this challenge, it’s made me pick up some long forgotten books on the bottoms of my shelves.  This is a challenge I may have to keep up with next year!