It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

Well?  So?  How was your Christmas?  Mine was fabulous!  I didn’t get many books (only Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and a spiffy new cover for Jackson Wilkie Fitzgerald Owens, my nook) but I got lots of cooking stuff including a brand new Kitchen Aid Fire Engine Red Mixer!!!  And new knives!  Woot!  It’s funny, the way presents change and what excites us over the years, isn’t it?

I did manage to finish three books last week despite the holiday and coming down with a raging case of Strep Throat (fun times, that) and am more than halfway through another.  Firstly I finished The Sherlockian, which I teased last week, and which totally lived up to it’s hype and promise.  I looooved it.  Then I finished Second Nature by Michael Pollan.  I listened to the audio version, which the author reads.  THEN!  I finished an ARC of Wither by Lauren DeStefano, a new YA coming out in March which I could. not. put. down.

Now I’m listening to The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, read by Peter Jeffrey which appears to be out of print – which is a crying shame.  I adore Wilkie, as if you didn’t know and I’m really enjoying Jeffrey’s reading of The Moonstone.  I’m also reading The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.  Pratchett is my best discovery of 2010 hands down; I completely adore him!

You may also notice I changed my template a little bit.  Any time I get bored with blogging, that usually helps bring me around.  I’m rather fond of this one, so I expect it will stay for quite awhile.  But you never know with me!

So, gimme all the dirt?  What did you get?  What did you read?  What will you be reading?  Feed my TBR my minions!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

The Challenge is saying no?

Yes. More 2011 Reading challenges. I can’t resist when they look this good!

Teresa over at Teresa’s Reading Corner is hosting an Audio Book Challenge in 2011.  Piece of cake!! There are four different levels:

  • Curious: 3 Audio Books
  • Fascinated:  6 Audio Books
  • Addicted:  12 Audio Books
  • Obsessed: 20 Audio Books

I’m committing to the Addicted level, but secretly gunning for the Obsessed level.  I know I have way WAY more than 20 books on my iPod and I’m hoping to get through a bunch of them! Especially (maybe) Cutting for Stone and Master and Commander.  They are so long they will probably take a month apiece!!

Margot over at Joyfully Retired is hosting a challenge that is perfect for me!  The Foodie’s Reading Challenge!

  • Nibbler: 1 to 3 books
  • Bon Vivant: 4 to 6 books
  • Epicurean: 7 to 9 books
  • Gourmet: 10 to 12
  • Glutton: More than 12

I’m signing up for the Nibbler, but secretly hope to make it to at least Bon Vivant. I have dozens of foodie books on my shelves wasting away including a Julia Child biography, a book on waitressing, and an Alice Waters book!

2011 E-Books Reading Challenge
Fascinated Level (0/6)

The E-Book Reading Challenge was previously hosted by Alaine at Queen of Happy Endings.  And I didn’t know anything about it or I would have joined!  Now, it has a new home at The Ladybug Reads,  Hand there are 4 levels:

  • Curious – Read 3 e-books.
  • Fascinated – Read 6 e-books
  • Addicted – Read 12 e-books.
  • Obsessed – Read 20 e-books.

I’m going for Fascinated level.  I’m not quite so ambitious with this one simply because, while I have enjoyed the ebooks I’ve read, ebooks are still finding their place in my life.   They just don’t hold a candle to holding a real book in my hand, ya know?

Graphic Novels 2011
Expert Level (0/10)

Of course I’m doing this one!  Vasilly is hosting it this year. She says:

Hey guys! It’s Vasilly and I’m the newest host for the the Graphic Novels Challenge. I want to thank Nymeth and Chris for keeping this challenge going strong for the rest of us in 2010. This was one of the challenges that Dewey started and I’m happy to see that it’s still going on years later.

There are three levels:

  • Beginner (3 comics or graphic novels)
  • Intermediate (3-10 books)
  • Expert (10+)

Expert is a piece of cake!

PLUS, Kailana from The Written World gave me a list of books to read!

  • The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
  • The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne-Jones

She also has a master list of all the books readers have challenged other readers to read.  Check it out. It’s a fantastic list of books!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

Oh, Graham More, you had me at…well…not hello, but at this:

“When you’re presented with a problem, it’s only natural to want to know the answer. But if you think you can manage to sleep tonight, then sleep on this: Is the mystery sometimes more pleasurable that the solution? Are you sure that finding out what’s in this diary will be as satisfying as forever wondering about what’s in this diary?” He stepped back, away from them, switching his briefcase from one hand to the other. He pulled it to his chest, tapping it lightly with his free hand. “I suppose you’ll see tomorrow.”  The Sherlockian by Graham Moore p19-20

To say I was smitten is putting it mildly.  I adore Sherlock Holmes anyway, so it’s a match made it heaven and long overdue.  I don’t think I’ve been so into a book since Dracula back in October!  Hurrah!

I’m still having trouble finding time to read, but that goes with the time of year.  So busy!  Lucky for me, I am off this week.  So my plans for the day, while including gift counting, wrapping, cooking of treats and dinner, will also prioritize finished THE SHERLOCKIAN.   Ah, the priorities of a bookworm.  C’est ma vie!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

Virtual Advent Tour – A Trip Down Memory Lane

It’s strange to say, but at 32, I am just about the last member of my family left.  I have an aunt and uncle, and of course my kiddos and hubby, but the core family unit I grew up with isn’t around any more.  My parents are gone, as are the grandparents who raised me.  This time of year can be, well, depressing for me.  Yet every year, when the tree goes up and those old, handmade decorations come out of the attic , I feel my family with me in ways I don’t feel them the rest of the year.  For they are here, in my favorite ornaments, the nativity scene that was made by my aunt and put up every year (this will not be pictured as it is not out this year. I do have a very adventurous three year old!), with loving care on top of the piano by my grandmother  and the feelings in the air.  They are still here, which is a part of what makes this such a wonderful time of year for me.

My grandmother gave me an ornament every year.  This would have been when I was 1.  She continued this tradition for many years.  I think I got most of them after she died.  There were a few lost to breakages, of course, and I can’t remember how long she did it.  I still have 1981 though!

Then, there are the ornaments I made over the years.  I think Mama kept all of them.  I didn’t put many up this year, again because of that rambunctious three year old, but I did put this one up.  It’s one of my favorites. I made a TON of these about 12 years ago.  It’s a clear ball with paint in it.  You let the paint drain out into a paper cup and when it dries, it looks like this!

And then, there are the new memories we’re making.  All the Disney ornaments I have from my time working at the Disney Store…

All the ornaments my kids are making…

And all the new ornaments we’re buying because of love….

and the hope that if one falls (see crazy child) it won’t break because it’s cheap and from Walmart.  It may not have value now, but if it’s still around in 10-20, it will then.  It will be a survivor!

So, I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour of memories.  I hope if you are missing someone you find comfort and that the memories you make with those still here are a blessing.  Just remember to pay attention.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, have a Wonderful Winter!

Graphic Novel Mini Reviews

The last set of mini reviews I did went over so well with you guys that I think I’ll do it again.  It suits my currently milieu of lethargy and short-attention-span-ness.   Really, I feel ever so much like a teenager lately, flitting from one thing to the next. It’s abysmal and I hope it passes soon!  It’s a little too early for holiday fatigue.  Our tree isn’t even up!  This is mini reviews – the Graphic Novel Edition Volume 1.

Trickster – Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection by Matt Dembicki – Being part Cherokee, this was an especially exciting find for me.  I’d not heard of it before, so when I saw it on the library shelf, it was a pleasant surprise.  Reading it was even more pleasant.  Well, not pleasant exactly…. But it was very satisfying.  I loved this collection of 21 folktales and I loved the story of how it was created even more.  Native storytellers were paired with many artists to create these gorgeous little comic stories that tell the story of our world and how things came to be, of how animals love to play tricks on each other.  Coyote, Raven, Rabbit, Fox and many other animals are brought to life in these lovely little tales.  The artists outdid themselves.  Many of these stories have some of the most incredible art I’ve seen in any such collection or comic book or graphic novel.   Highly recommended.

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus – from those zany guys (or, well, mainly the mind of Bill Willingham) comes another off-shoot of the Fables Universe.  This time it is Cinderella’s (aka Super Spy, fashionista, and shoe-whore [I mean that in the nicest way]) – time to shine.  Cinderella is like a mythical, magical, beautiful, feminine James Bond and this graphic novel is a great addition to the Fables canon.  I really enjoyed this spin-off!  It’s a fast-paced, rollicking good-time of a story of espionage and lots of adventure – the kind of thing you expect from Fables.  The combination of Cinderella and Aladdin was inspired.  The art was as gorgeous as you would expect and I LOVED Chrissie Zullo’s cover.   I can’t wait for more of this spin-off.

The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan – Gorgeous!  Absolutely stinking gorgeous.  Every page, every frame, every gust of dusty wind are works of art.   This is probably my favorite graphic novel of the year.  The Storm in the Barn is set in 1930s Kansas, when farmer’s tried to survive a terrible drought and follows a painfully shy, sweet 11-year old boy named Jack Clark.  Jack’s father thinks he’s useless.  He has a sick sister who cannot leave her sick bed.  And he keeps seeing a dark, mysterious and rather scary figure lurking around an abandoned barn near his home.  He chalks it up to the dust dementia everyone’s been talking about.   Curiosity, however, gets the better of him and he goes inside.  And what a surprise he finds in there….

I shall leave it at that. Well, and with a bit of the artwork, since I was able to find some of it online!

Art from Matt Phelan’s website.  See more there.

Requisite covering of the butt….  All book links lead to Barnes & Noble, where I am an associate.  Purchases go to maintaining my website and helping me buy more material for said website, ie – more books.   I bought Cinderella, the rest came from the library.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

Guess how many books I finished last week.  Just guess.  If you said ONE, you are correct!  I finally finished a book!  However, it was audio, so it’s not like I did it with my eyes.  *sigh*  I am thisclose to finishing The Fox Woman though, so it’s all good.  I have resigned myself to just petering out this year.  I will hit January like a sledgehammer!  I hope….

So, the book I finished?  The audio of The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.  Read by Caroline Lee.  You know how I always say I could listen to Neil Gaiman read the phone book?  I think I could listen to Caroline Lee read my college sociology book.  She is just. that. good.   Delightful read.  Hopefully more on that soon.  I immediately started listening to Terry Pratchett’s Nation, after numerous recommendations.  I’m in hour two and so far, it’s pretty interesting!  As I figured, I’m having trouble getting into this alternative world (if that’s what you call it) but now that a female has been introduced, I find myself more into it.  So we’ll see how it goes.  I haven’t read a ton of fantasy in my life, something I am trying to correct here.   Plus, I’m not too sure about the reader.  He reminds me an awful lot of another narrator I didn’t care for (or it could have been the book that narrator was reading, but you know, I am associating it with him. Or something like that. Who knows what I mean?).  Seeing as how I just put The Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1 by Mark F’in Twain on the iPod, well… Nation had better pick up soon.  Is it one I need to stick with?

I can’t believe I haven’t had a serious, long-winded book review for, like, weeks!   I feel as if I am on semi-hiatus!  I did manage to write a few mini-reviews, they will be up tomorrow.  I managed to cover a few of my favorite graphic novel reads this year.  This time of year is just so crazy busy!  I’m off the whole week of Christmas, so here’s hoping I can catch up.

So, how was your reading week?  Read anything stellar?  Something that, maybe, I wouldn’t be able to put down either?  I open to ALL suggestions!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!