Monthly Archives:: September 2009

Author Interview – Audrey Niffenegger

September 29, 2009 Author Interview, Books 18

Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger

I am pleased to welcome Audrey Niffenegger, best selling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and the just released Her Fearful Symmetry to my blog today.  I was lucky enough to be able to ask her a few questions about her work.

ME:  I’ve read in past interviews that you wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife the ending first and then added new scenes as they came to you. Was writing Her Fearful Symmetry a similar experience for you?

AN: I started writing HFS thinking that I was beginning at the beginning, but it later became the middle, the scene in which the twins arrive in London. I am apparently incapable of writing anything long from beginning to end, I have to jump around. It’s more exciting that way, that’s for sure.

ME:  I also read that you read Wilkie Collins (whom I adore!), Henry James and other 19th century writers while preparing for Her Fearful Symmetry. How did they influence your work?

AN: I borrowed certain motifs from The Woman in White, including the doubling, mistaken parentage, etc. Henry James is endlessly interesting to me; I used his plot line in which the young American girl(s) come to the old country and experience extreme culture shock (Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller). And the ambiguity at the core of The Turn of the Screw (are the children haunted or is the governess insane?) gave me courage to include a few ambiguous wingdings of my own in HFS.

ME: One of my favorite characters was Martin. Did you do any special research to get into the mind of this excessively OCD character? Did you try to live as he did to see what it would feel like?

AN: I once had a friend who had fairly severe OCD. He was not like Martin as a personality, but he did give me some insight into how the condition can affect one’s life. I also read books written by doctors who treat OCD and other similar disorders. I have not tried to mimic OCD, it’s not something to trifle with.

ME: I find it fascinating that you are a guide at Highgate Cemetery. What is that like? Have you had any ‘interesting’ experiences there?

AN: It is a great privilege to guide at Highgate Cemetery; the Guides are very knowledgeable and they were an immense help to me, both in researching the book and in putting together my own tour. Every Guide has his or her own tour, all based on the same body of facts, but you will see different things depending on who’s giving the tour. It’s wonderful to see the Cemetery in all weathers and seasons, and I’ve had many interesting conversations with the visitors, who come from all over the world.

If by “interesting” you mean “supernatural”, I haven’t experienced anything like that at all. Of course, I don’t believe in ghosts, so if there are any they probably wouldn’t bother themselves with me.

ME: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

AN: A variety of things, most obviously a sense that time is passing and the urgency of living intensely now.

ME: There is one thing I’m dying to know. I just saw The Time Traveler’s Wife. What did you think of the movie adaptation? (I was upset they changed the ending!)

AN: I haven’t seen it, myself, so I don’t have an opinion about it, sorry.

Thank you Ms. Niffenegger for answering my questions.  And thank you to Michael from Regal Literary for setting it up for me.

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Her Fearful Symmetry

September 28, 2009 Books 22

sunday

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Publisher: Scribner
Date: September 29, 2009
Received from publisher

Her Fearful Symmetry is a modern day Gothic tale set in London, near the famous Highgate Cemetery.  When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves the bulk of her estate to her twin sister’s twin daughters.  Did you get that?  We have two sets of twins here.  The older pair are Elspeth and her sister Edie and the younger pair are Julia and Valentina.  Julia and Valentina are mirror twins, meaning Valentina is the mirror image of Julia, down to her internal organs, which are perfectly reversed.  They are young, college aged, flighty girls with very little direction in life.  They don’t want to go to college, find a jobs or do anything else really – except be together, for they have a very strange, intense attachment to each other.  So when the more dominant twin, Julia, decides she wants to take up their inheritance and move to Elspeth’s flat, Valentina, the weaker twin, is forced to follow.

Elspeth’s flat border’s the historic Highgate Cemetery.  Once the girls settle in, they meet their new neighbors; Robert, Elspeth’s bereaved, and much younger, lover and Martin, a brilliant crossword creator and sufferer from a crippling case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As the twins settle in, they come to realize that, quite possibly, they are not as alone in the apartment as they thought.  Valentina is more sensitive to the otherworldly presence inside the flat and becomes obsessed with figuring out exactly what is going on.

I don’t want to give away too much more of the plot.  This is definitely one you need to read for yourself.  There is just so much at play in this book.   Niffenegger plays with life, death, duality of nature, duality of self, love, hate, desire, fear, redemption, and oh, so much more.  So much more.

Here comes the hard part.  How do you review a book that you didn’t love as much as you hoped? I loved, loved, LOVED The Time Traveler’s Wife.  It was one of those books I sang from the rooftops; I loved it so much. So when I was contacted about getting an early copy of Her Fearful Symmetry, I think I quite literally screamed.  I was so excited.  And here lies what was probably my biggest mistake; I was too excited.  I set the bar impossibly high and Her Fearful Symmetry didn’t quite reach it.  The second mistake I made was reading it too fast.  Do not mistake me, I liked the book – I just had a few problems with it.  I just think I should have taken a minute, let the book rest on my desk a moment while I calmed down, and then read it slowly.  I should have savored it more.

So my advice to you, those who are excited about this book, is calm down.  It’s a book to be relished.  Take delight in Niffenegger’s deft hand with prose.  Her careful handling of these characters is marvelous.  Give yourself time to come to know the characters, to care for them, to want them to all come out okay at the end.  Take time to let the narrative flow over you.  Put it down from time to time and think about the story.  Ponder where it’s going.  Let the anticipation build up, but let it build up slowly.  In Her Fearful Symmetry Niffenegger gives us another of her timeless tales; a beyond-the-grave love story, full of tension and impending tragedy.  This is a book I will definitely be rereading somewhere down the road and I hope you enjoy it.

Her Fearful Symmetry hits shelves tomorrow.

I was so, so, so LUCKY to be able to email Ms. Niffenegger herself with a few questions and she was GRACIOUS enough to answer me.  Come back tomorrow to see her answers for your self!

The publisher is giving away ten ARCs and three first edition hardcovers on October 1st in a lottery to anyone who joins the Facebook page as a fan and sends an email to hfs@regal-literary.com. There are a lot of interesting things going on over at the Facebook page, included videos of Ms. Niffenegger discussing the book.

Also, Audible.com has the first chapter of Her Fearful Symmetry available for download.  It’s free for members!

A special thank you to Hannah and Michael Regal Literary for offering the book to me.

Also by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife | The Three Incestuous Sisters: An Illustrated Novel | The Adventuress

Also reviewed by

Devourer of BooksStainless Steel Droppings The Spoiler Review (his feelings on the book are very similar to my own) | Stainless Steel Droppings (the non-spoiler review)| Fantasy Book Critic | Jenny’s Books | Books on the Brain | S. Krishna Books

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RIP Short Story Sunday

September 27, 2009 Book Reviews, Books 3

This is not my cover, I couldn't find mine.

This is not my cover, I couldn't find mine. I really like it though, just not as much as mine.

I am woefully behind on reading short stories for RIP. Neither of the two collections I thought I wanted to read from really piqued my interest.  Friday, I was browsing over my shelves (because I was home sick) and came across a book I had totally forgot I had.  I bought it a couple years ago for RIP and apparently completely put it out of my mind.  The book I am referring too is The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales edited by Chris Baldick. And it’s fascinating.  And rather…large.

What I love most about it is that it has the stories in chronological order, therefore giving the evolution of the Gothic tale.  And the introduction is fascinating.  I’ve read several Gothic books in my day, but I never really sat and thought about; what makes a Gothic  story Gothic?  According to Baldick, a Gothic story typically “will invoke the tyranny of the past (a family curse, the survival of archaic forms for despotism and of superstition) with such weigh as to stifle the hopes of the present (the liberty of the heroine or hero) within the dead-end of physical incarceration (the dungeon, the locked room, or simply confinements of a family house closing in upon itself). page xix. It is “characteristically obsessed with old buildings as sites of human decay.” page xx.  It explores “our deepest fears” and our “fear of death, of decay, of confinement.” xx

I’m not sure why these tropes are so fascinating to me; it sounds rather sadistic doesn’t it?  But it is.  I am just as fascinated by the Gothic as many other readers.  So I am excited that I rediscovered this volume and am very much looking forward to exploring it during RIP.

annalaetitaaikin

Anna Laetita Aikin Barbauld

I read the very first story, a fragment, and I was sorry that they didn’t have the entire story.  It is called Sir Bertrand and is by Anna Laetita Aikin.  Isn’t it interesting that the first story featured is by a woman?  Who wrote in the 1700s?  I LOVE that!  I looked up Anna Laetita and wow, she had a fascinating life. You should really go check out her biography at Wikipedia.

Aikin’s story Sir Bertrand is the story noted at the beginning of these Gothic Tales and it starts on a sinister note.

“…After this adventure, Sir Bertrand turned his steed towards the north, hoping to cross these dreary moors before the curfew.”

How I would love to know what adventure he had been on, because the next one is absolutely crazy.  After he turns his steed, he promptly gets lost and it’s not a nice night out on the moors.

“It was one of those nights when the moon gives a faint glimmering of light through the thick black clouds of a lowering sky.”

As he winds his way through the dark seeking help, he comes upon a large, antique mansion.  He knocks three times, but gets no answer.  So, he goes inside!  Smart man!  Because the door closes on him and won’t let him back out.  He’s a big scared chicken (I’m being nice) but bravely (for him) means not to act so.  He stands shaking for awhile, trying to figure out what to do (I get the feeling Bertrand isn’t the sharpest knife of the set) until he sees a sinister blue flame hovering over the stairs.  When he moves toward it, it moves away.  So he gets the bright idea to follow it!  I know that’s what I would have done, if I was trapped in a creepy old house scared out of my wits.  Follow the scary blue specter!

As he climbs the stairs, it gets good. Listen:

A dead cold hand met his left hand and firmly grasped it, drawing him forcefully forwards – he endeavored to disengage himself, but could not – he made a furious blow with his sword, and instantly a low shriek pierced his ears, and the dead hand was left powerless in his – He dropped it, and rushed forwards in desperate valour.”

He sees a completely armored figure with a bloody stump that vanishes when Bertrand goes to attack again.  Don’t you just love how Bertrand has broken into someone’s house and attacks the first “person” he sees?  Anyway, the figure leaves behind a “massy key.”  What is a massy key?  I have no idea.  Curious, yes?

Bertrand finds a door just beyond where the figure was and goes and turns the key in the lock where he discovers a “large apartment” and coffin with a taper burning at each end.  Plus, the room is full of statues of black marble “attired in Moorish habit”.  Don’t you love it?  And old abandoned house, with a spooky blue spirit thingy and a COFFIN inside Plus, those statues?  They attack Bertrand.  I would have run screaming.  But here Bertrand proves he is made of stronger stuff that he at first appeared, for he fights off the statues!  And guess what happens next.  The COFFIN flies open.  And a lady in BLACK emerges.  And she KISSES Bertrand. Freaky! The kiss makes the house shake and shudder and “fall asunder.”  Now, it really gets good.  He falls into a TRANCE peoples.  And when he awakes, it is to a large room with a banquet.  A woman greets him and she is “an incomparable beauty” and calls him her deliverer.  She leads him to a sofa and…. It ends.  Yes, it ENDS right there.  What happens on the couch?  It’s up to interpretation!

Sir Bertrand was a ton of fun to read and I highly recommend it.  And it was interesting to see how all the characteristics of the Gothic literature Baldick mentioned were utilitzed in this story.  You should definitely read it.  It’s like only 4 pages long.   You can read it for yourself here. It really makes me look forward to what comes next in this collection and if you do check out Sir Bertrand, I would love to hear your thoughts!

rip4short

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A little bookish buzzzzz…

September 24, 2009 Books 5

because I’m going on like, 4 hours, of sleep and I can’t think straight.  Honestly, if I tried to write a review right now, I’m not sure it would make much sense.  I’m not even sure this makes much sense, but I’m trying!

  • Who the heck put Diablo Cody in charge of a screen adaptation of the Sweet Valley High series? (Variety) I mean really. WTF?  WHY?  And who will plan Elizabeth and Jessica?  Surely the Olsen twins are way to old.  And Todd? Who will play Todd???
  • Dude. Nymeth just keeps on adding to my TBR wish list thingy. Seriously, her review of Mortal Love makes it sound sooooo fabulous.  Thank goodness my library has a copy. Yeah, and I had to add The Stress of Her regard to my list too.   She is BAD on my TBR. Bad!
  • Win a copy of Night Runner from The Story Siren. It sounds pretty good!

For Zack Thomson, living in the Nicholls Ward isn’t so bad. After his parents died, he developed strange and severe allergies, and the mental institution was the only place where he could be properly looked after. As strange as it was, it was home. He could watch as much television as he wanted; his best friend Charlie visited him often enough; and Nurse Ophelia–the prettiest no-nonsense nurse ever–sometimes took him bowling. Of course, that didn’t mean he had it easy. His allergies restricted his diet to strawberry smoothies, and being the only kid at the hospital could get lonely. But it never once crossed Zack’s mind to leave…until the night someone crashed through the front doors and told him to run. Now he’s on a race for answers–about his past, his parents, and his strange sickness–even as every step takes him closer to the darkest of truths.

  • Adele at Persnickety Snark (My goodness, I just love that name) is having an International YA Book Blogger Celebration this week.  She’s featured a few of my favorite bloggers, you should check them all out.
  • Don’t forget, next week is Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association(ALA) and other organizations to raise awareness about challenged titles.   Do you plan on reading anything special to celebrate?  Do you have a favorite Banned Book you think I should read?  I think I might try to get a copy of Fahrenheit 451.

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The Maze Runner

September 23, 2009 Book Reviews, Books 17

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Pub. Date: October 06, 2009
ARC from publisher
James Dashner website
James Dasher on Twitter

Life has made a very confusing turn for Thomas.  The moment he wakes up in the lift, he doesn’t know his name, his purpose, or where he is.  His mind is a slate wiped clean.  At least he’s not alone.  For as he climbs from the lift, boys of every size, shape and age surround him and welcome him to the Glade – a large, self-sufficient expanse surrounded by tall, stone, imposing walls, and, a maze.  Like Thomas, the other boys don’t know why they are in the Glade, they are simply living day to day, trying to survive.  Day after day, the boys work in the gardens, work with their livestock, and survive.  And they run the maze.  Every morning the stone doors to the maze open, and every night they close.  And every 30 days a new boy comes to the Glade in the same lift that brought Thomas.   Thomas was expected.

But the next day, the unthinkable happens.  The lift delivers a girl. 

Not just any girl – a girl that Thomas is certain he knows and she comes bearing a message.  The end is beginning.  Now Thomas might be even more important than he ever imagined; if only he could unlock the secrets buried deep inside his own mind.

When I requested and subsequently received this ARC, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had a tiny blurb to go on.  It sounded interesting, but I had never heard of the author and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  One rainy weekend saw me pick this up, and I barely put it down until I finished it.

I have put off reviewing this for two reasons.  One seems pretty obvious; it doesn’t come out until October. Secondly, I wanted my excitement for this book to have the change to burn down a little bit, but honestly, it hasn’t.  When I finished this book I was convinced it was my favorite book of the year.  It may not quite be my absolute favorite now, but it will definitely be in my top ten.  This is hold-on-to-the-seat-of-your-pants done by a master.  Dashner takes you on a fast-paced adventure of a ride.  He grabs you up in the first pages and doesn’t turn you loose until well after you turn the last page.  In fact, he doesn’t ever let you go because there is one HECK of a cliff-hanger at the end.  And he breaks your HEART to boot.

Not only is the pacing and plotting so great.  The characters, despite their amnesia, are well rounded and well thought out.  I very quickly came to care about Thomas and the other boys (and girl!) and what they were going through.  James Dashner has created a dystopian future that is equal parts fascinating and terrifying.  And more than anything, I just had to know, what the heck was going on!  Dashner keeps you guessing to the very end and then just leaves you with more questions.  Leave your preconceived notions at the door for nothing is as it seems in this universe.  I cannot wait for the next book in this series and think you should go and grab a copy of this on October 6.   Highly recommended, especially to fans of The Hunger Games and other such dystopian young adult fiction.

~ Also reviewed by ~

Books and Movies | Corrine’s Book Reviews chaotic compendiums | Ticket to Anywhere 

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Willow by Julia Hoban

September 22, 2009 Books 9

Title: Willow
Written by Julia Hoban
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Dial (April 2, 2009)

Willow’s life has changed a great deal in the last seven months. She lives with her brother, his wife and baby girl.  She goes to a new school.  She has no friends.  She’s failing miserably in school, but she just can’t find it in herself to care.  It is all she can do to make it to the next day; why be bothered with reading Bullfinch’s Mythology, writing papers, and studying up on her French?Her parents are dead.  And it’s all her fault.

One night, Willow and her parents went out for dinner.  Her parent’s had too much wine and, even thought Willow only had her learner’s permit, they make her drive home.  It was during a terrible storm.  Willow lost control of the car and she lost both her parents.  Now, Willow can’t deal with the emotional pain of what she’s done and finds that by inflicting physical pain upon herself, cutting herself with a razor blade, it helps keep all that pain fade away, makes it more manageable.  It helps her cope

Willow is so lost.  She feels she has no one to talk to.  She is convinced her brother blames her and hates her for what she did to her parents and that he resents her for her intrusion into his life.  She refuses to talk to her best friend from back home.  She hasn’t made any new friends at her new school; she only embarrasses herself when she talks to someone.  She doesn’t know what to do, but refuses to ask for help.

Then she meets Guy.

And Guy finds out her secret.

Willow is a beautifully written book.  Hoban doesn’t pull punches with pain, suffering, confusion and remorse.  Yet she never forgets the love, compassion, and commiseration we feel for others.  While Willow is in such exquisite pain, we see those around her reach out for her.  Her sister-in-law leaves her a note after a particularly ugly fight with her brother.  Guy waits for her day after day, to check on her, to make sure she’s okay.  He gives her his cellphone number.  He takes it upon himself to care for this scared, hurt stranger BECAUSE HE CARES.  Even her brother gives little overtures of love; even if Willow fails to see them.  The nuances in the writing Hoban shows with this novel are wonderful; I would have never believed this was a first novel.  There is one scene in particular, and if you’ve read this book you might know what I mean, that is particularly masterful and was pivotal in Willow’s path to healing.

What surprised and touched me most was the gorgeous ending.  It was perfect for a book like this and something I admire the author greatly for.  I will go no further for fear of spoilers, but I strongly encourage you to take up this book and give it a read.  It is worth every second it takes to read it.

Boys Town National Hotline, 1.800.448.3000, serves as a crisis helpline for people all over the country.  Every year, our highly trained counselors help more than 450,000 people with problems ranging from depression and drugs to anger and abuse, and much more.

If you are or someone you know is having trouble dealing with pain and are resulting to cutting (or any other destructive behaviors) please, I encourage you to get help.  Boys Town National Hotline, 1.800.448.3000, serves as a crisis helpline for people all over the country. Every year, their highly trained counselors help more than 450,000 people with problems ranging from depression and drugs to anger and abuse, and much more.

This was a co-read with Melissa the Book Nut and Kailana of The Written World.  We agreed to each pose a question to each other.  Here is my question to them, with my response.  See their blogs for their questions to me.

I am a huge fan of the cover.  Do you think the cover gives an accurate description of the book?  How so?

Melissa’s response:

I am, too, actually.  I’m not sure that’s exactly what I pictured Willow as looking like, but I liked the rips across the cover. At first glance, it’s an intriguing cover: without knowing anything, one wonders why exactly those rips are there, and what do they mean. Then, after reading the book, it becomes very symbolic — it’s both the brokenness of Willow as well as her cutting – which makes it very powerful.

Kailana’s response:

I really liked the cover, too! It really seems to convey a sense of emotion, but you don’t necessarily know what it is all about until you read Willow’s story and then it is Willow. In a time where book covers are getting some abuse because they are not very good representations of the books; I think that this one was handled really well. Willow is hiding from the world, essentially, and with the hair falling down in front of her face in the cover that is what it looks like she is doing.

My response:

I love the cover.  I love everything about the cover.  From the slightly turned away face of Willow to the jagged rips down the picture, I think it is perfect for this book.  I especially like how the overlapping tear towards the center of her face also looks slightly like a tear track.   The cover illustrates not only Willow’s need to cut to control her emotions, but just how much her emotions are literally tearing her apart.   It’s a powerful image.

~ See Melissa’s Review ~ See Kailana’s Review ~

~ A few other reviews~

YA Reads | S. Krishna’s Books | Look At That Book | All Five Stars | Shooting Stars Mag | The Compulsive Reader
Beth Fish Reads | Presenting Lenore | Dissecting Perfection | Frenetic Reader | Pop Culture Junkie
The Story Siren
| Harmony Book Reviews | Reviewer X | and more…

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Sunday Book Coveting

September 20, 2009 Books 16

Today I am on a mission.  This week I’ve talked about the following book several times on Twitter.  First it was Raych of books i done read, who made me pull out my own copy and start it.  The last night I did everything I could think of to convince Eva of A Stripped Armchair and Kristi of The Story Siren to pull out their own copies and read it for the first time.

Which made me wonder, how many of my own readers haven’t read MY FAVORITE BOOK of ALL TIME?  So my mission today is, convince you to read this book.

This is not my edition, but wow, I wish it was. I love this cover!

This is not my edition, but wow, I wish it was. I love this cover!

Title: The Princess Bride; S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure (The ‘Good Parts’ Version)
Written by William Goldman

What is it about Fall that makes me want to read adventure stories?  Surely by now, you have seen this movie.   Trust me when I say this is one of the very few instances, in my experience, when the movie and the book are almost on par with each other.  I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that Goldman wrote the screenplay and that the makers of the movie had a very obvious love for the source material. All your favorite quotes are here, in all their gorgeous glory!The Princess Bride is my favorite book of all time.  Every time someone asks me, what is your favorite book, this is always the first to come to mind.  I read it for the first time when I was…around 13, and I think I’ve probably read it 20 times, at least, in the last 18 years and I just had to pick it up again for a reread.  What is the book about you say? Well…

Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True Love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Good men. Bad men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.

Plus there is a  Zoo of Death. Yes, you heard me, a ZOO OF DEATH.  How can you NOT be intrigued?

But even better, there is more backstory.  We actually get meet Inigo Montoya’s father.  Learn about their story, learn why Inigo has to kill the six-fingered man.

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”

We learn more about Fezzik, the lovable giant, who had such a hardscrabble life.  Vizzini, in all his malicious glory.  The Count.  The best books have an evil count, don’t you think? Prince Humperdick.  Why was he such a vicious little man?  It. Is. In. Here.

There is more about Buttercup, the most beautiful woman in the world.  And more about WESTLEY.  Ahhh…Westley.  The man who says I love you in the most beautiful way…

“As you wish.”

If I haven’t convinced you, please see these other reviews.  Perhaps they will do a better job than I for I feel like I never, ever get my love for this book across.  I do hope you will give it a try though.

things mean a lot | Adventures in Reading | Educating Petunia | Becky’s Book Reviews
Rhinoa’s Ramblings
| The Written World

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BBAW Giveaway WINNERS!

September 18, 2009 Books 7

Okay.

So.

Do you realize just how many of you entered to win Her Fearful Symmetry? I am overwhelmed peoples.  No, I’m more than overwhelmed, I am flummoxed! Super flummoxed.

134.  One hundred and thirty four people.

And I could pick only one. *sobs* I wish I could give all of you a copy, I really do!  But, alas, There Can Be Only One, but you all get to keep your heads. (if you get that movie reference, give yourself a hug, because you probably have a hubby/boyfriend/someone as obsessed with Highlander as my hubby and I bless and commiserate with you for it. *hugs*)

Anyway…geez, where was I?  Oh, yes! Winners!  Because I’m also giving away a copy of Dreaming Anastasia!!!

Which one should I do first?  Okay, I’ll do the Niffenegger.  Did I tell you she did an interview with me?  Little ole me??? I’ll share next week.  Promises.

OKAY, I know, you want to know who won.  Geez, give me a minute.  I just have to load the picture.  Thanks to Random Number Generator, the winner is…

Winner!

Winner!

You can click on that to make it bigger.  But the number is 43 and the number 43 on my SPREADSHEET (did I tell you how amazing the spreadsheet thingy is?  It is MARVELOUS.)

Anyway, person number 43 is… have I got you in suspense yet?

RAYCH from books i done read.  Hurray for RAYCH!!!

And Dreaming Anastasia goes too…

Winner!

Winner!

Number 37!  And number 37 is…

37

KIMBER!!!  Yay for KIMBER!!!  I’ll be in touch lovely ladies and thanks for playing everyone.  I wish you much happiness and rainbows and all that fun stuffs. To everyone who didn’t win, I hope you manage to get your own copies and that you love them greatly.

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BBAW: My Blog; Present and Future

September 18, 2009 Books 8

On this, the last day of this magical Book Blogger Appreciation week, Amy asks us to write in 50 words or less…what do you like best about your blog right now and where would you like your blog to be a year from now. So…

I’m really happy with the tone I’ve been developing in my reviews; happy, light, and fun! I hope I’ve succeeded! I read a lot of blogs and I have noticed that those who use their voice are a lot more fun to read. 

In a year from now, I’d like to see more readers of course.  I also hope to maintain my unique voice.  I hope to still be reading the wonderful amount and quality of books I’ve read this year.  This is definitely my year for magical reading.   

It’s more than 50, but I think I was pretty concise, for me!  Happy Book Bloggers Appreciation Week everyone!

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BBAW: “What Blog Inspired You To Read This?”

September 17, 2009 Books 4

On this day, during Book Blogger Appreciation Week, we are to share the books that we’ve read because of other bloggers. I feel as if I should make a confession here. Before I started blogging, even before I narrowed my scope to blogging mainly about books, my reading was, for the most part, completely different. I was not nearly as sophisticated a reader as I am now. While in college, I burned out on classics, more difficult literature, you know; that stuff that makes you think? Once I graduated, I read easy, boring, sometimes poorly written stuff. But then I “met” a few bloggers, saw what they were reading, became interested in reading in myself, and well, my life changed. I still read some of the best-selling type stuff but I find myself drawn more and more to genres outside my comfort zone, to new authors, new types of books all the time and I am eternally GRATEful for it. Without bloggers, I don’t know what I’d be reading, but I sure as heck know, I wouldn’t be enjoying in nearly as much.

For an idea of how bloggers have affected my reading this year, I’ve taken the list of books I’ve read so far, of which there are 87 so far (woo hoo!!! Best year EVER!) and am leaving the ones I read because of blogging. 52 books I’ve read so far this year, and I can attribute them all to a blogger.

Hurray for book bloggers!!!

85. Willow by Julia Hoban
84. Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
80. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
78. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
77. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
76. Killer Bunny Hill by Denise Robbins
75. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
74. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
72. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Read by Carolyn McCormick
71. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
70. Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis
69. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
67. Storm Front: The Harry Dresden Files #1 by Jim Butcher, Read by James Marsters
66. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
65. The Patron Saint of Used Cars and Second Chances by Mark Millhone
64. Fire by Kristin Cashore
62. Atherton: The House of Power by Patrick Carman
61. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
60. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
59. The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
57. The Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon
56. The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
54. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
53. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
47. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
46. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
45. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
44. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
43. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn
41. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
40. The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer
39. The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine
38. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
33. The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
32. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
31. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
30. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
29. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
26. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
25. Anatole by Eve Titus
24. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
22. Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
21. As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason
20. Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
17. The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Read by Kate Reading
16. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
14. Drood by Dan Simmons
12. The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes
10. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
1. Paper Towns by John Green

Whew! That’s a lot of books!

Don’t forget to enter my two BBAW giveaways; for Dreaming Anastasia and Her Fearful Symmetry! The deadline is tomorrow! I’ll post winners tomorrow night.

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