Monthly Archives:: January 2011

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

January 31, 2011 Books 15

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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!

Do you know what it feels like to finish a book and be equal parts ecstatic that you read such a great book and sad that you will never read it for the very first time again?  That is how I feel this week.  I flew through the final 4 books of the Bone series by Jeff Smith and I am forlorn.  I am lost.  I miss Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, Smiley Bone and especially Bartleby.   But more on them later.

I am almost over 100 pages into Karen Abbott’s new book about Gypsy Rose Lee, AMERICAN ROSE. Y’all, this book is utterly fascinating.  I’m learning so much about Vaudeville, the early days of the entertainment industry, and about the enigmatic Gypsy Rose Lee.  It’s a fantastic book.

I’m also almost halfway through THE GOOD EARTH by Pearl S. Buck and seriously y’all, this book pulls at the ole heartstrings!  I go from optimistic for the main characters future to utter despair then exultation to despair again.  And folks, it is SO GOOD.  The writing, it is amazing!  Witness this quote:

There was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods…Some time, in some age, bodies of men and women had been buried there, houses had stood there, had fallen, and gone back into the earth. So would also their house, some time, return into the earth, their bodies also. Each had his turn at this earth. They worked on, moving together-together-producing the fruit of this earth.

You know the gardener in me was just all HELL YEAH!  Love this book.

I’m itching to start another book, but don’t know what just yet.  Maybe another graphic novel?  I’m ripping right through them…or maybe a reread.  Or something new.  You know i have no idea.  What are you reading that’s good?

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

January 24, 2011 Books 9

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.!

Whelp, so far, I’ve read 10 books this year!  Can I get a heck yeah?  lol  Of course, most of them were graphic novels.  BONE graphic novels to be precise.  I. Am. Obsessed.

You may or may not remember, but several friends challenged me to read some of their favorite books this year.  One friend, Debi, challenged me to read Bone.  Bone is 9 volumes long.  My library does not have all of the Bone books.  Heather got the first one out of the library and then, guess what?  Did they have the second?  Nooooo, they did not!  They had the fourth one!  Genius, I’m telling ya.  So, I was sweet enough to buy the rest for myself for my birthday.  Hey, a book lover wants books for her birthday, right?  And of COURSE, she has to buy them for herself.  *grumble*

Anyhoo.  I read the first four this week.  I’m trying my best to slow myself down, so I am trying to hold off on the fifth.  Especially since I don’t have the sixth in my possession yet.  I had to order it.

I also FINALLY (!) finished The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins yesterday.  I listened to the audiobook read by Peter Jeffrey, who is amazing by the way, and it was very long.  I think I started it before Christmas.  With holidays, snow days, weekends, vacation days and whatnot, I didn’t have a lot of commute time to listen this past month!  That should all be dying down now, I hope.  (No more snow, please!!!!)

As for starting things, I started the magnificent Karen Abbott’s American Rose, the story of Gypsy Rose Lee.  I know next to nothing about her, but I’m already gripped by the book.  Karen is such a great writer and makes her nonfiction books come alive in ways few can (in my opinion).  I’m also starting The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck in audio in anticipation of our Classic Reads Book Club discussion starting next month.  Yay!

Sooo, what did you read this week?  What was good?  What wasn’t so good?  Give me the heads up!

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Bloggiesta!

January 21, 2011 Books 13

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BloggiestaOh my goodness, it’s so hard to believe it’s time for Bloggiesta again!  And it’s the fourth one!  The time!  Where does she go?!  Thanks ole Pedro, for helping us improve our blogs!

Plan.  Edit.  Develop.  Review.  Organize.

My goals are mostly behind the scenes this time round.  I doubt you’ll see many changes to the appearance of the blog, but we shall see.

My goals are:

  • Get all my reviews linked up in my Book Reviews page.  Easy onestopshop place to find them all!
  • Clean out and organize your feed reader and blog subscriptions.
  • Get reviews up on Goodreads and LibraryThing.
  • Get all guest posts and interviews linked up in the Author page.
  • WRITE REVIEWS!  Ahem.
  • Clean out and organize your feed reader and blog subscriptions.
  • Get some rainy day posts/ideas in the idea box.
  • Guest posts?  Any takers?
  • Put out feelers for author interviews.
  • Revisit about me page, review policy, disclosure policy, privacy policy, etc…
  • Clean up and update your challenge lists.  Link up your posts with hosts.
  • And did I mention clean out and organize your feed reader and blog subscriptions?  A daunting task there.
  • And of course, get some reading material and read it!  ;)

That’s about it!  Have fun everyone!  Go, beautify your home in the internets!

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Man Alone Burns with Books

January 14, 2011 Quotes 2

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“But that’s just a story,” said Luka faintly.

Just a story?” echoed Nobodaddy in what sounded like genuine horror.  “Only a tale? My ears must be deceiving me.  Surely, young whippersnapper, you can’t have made so foolish a remark.  After all, you yourself are a Drip from the Ocean of Notions, a short Blurt from the Shah of Blah.  You of all boys should know that Man is the Storytelling Animal, and that in stories are his identity, his meaning and his lifeblood.  Do rats tell stories?  Do porpoises have narrative purposes?  Do elephants ele-phantasize?  You know as well as I do that they do not.  Man alone burns with books.”

Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie, page 34.

Wow, what a line.  “Man alone burns with books.”  Like my friend Chris said, it’s epic.

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Library Loot 1.9.11

January 9, 2011 Books, Lists 10

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Haven’t done one of these lately…so…

I figure it’s time.

Here are the first books I checked out of the library this year.  They all look so beautiful, I honestly don’t know where to begin!  Well, I did begin Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand, but other than THAT, I don’t know where to begin… lol

Click on the covers to see them larger and you’ll see what I mean…

1 – The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood – I’ve seen this several places and it seems like it was well liked.  I love the cover.

2 – The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi – Saw it on some best of 2010 list… don’t remember where.

3 – Under Heaven: a Novel by Guy Gavriel Kay – I’ve never read Gavriel Kay.  I know.

4 - Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike – Neil Gaiman referenced a podcast he took part in with some other authors and one of them mentioned this book. I think it was Salman Rushdie.  Anyway, it sounds great.

5 - Illyria by Elizabeth Hand – I’m on a quest to read lots of Elizabeth Hand, after Nymeth’s glowing reviews of her work.

6 – Luka and the Fire of LIfe: a Novel by Salman Rushdie – the sequel to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which I just read for the 3rd time and finally gave a proper review.  Well, as proper as I ever make them anyway.

7 – Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontës by Jude Morgan – Ditto pretty much what I said about Illyria.  Started with this one because I love the Brontës!  And it’s on my goals for 2011 list.

8 – The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle – It was on Melissa Marr’s best of 2010 list. I think.  I need to start taking notes.  Come to think of it, I think that’s where I heard about The Search for WondLa too.  That’s one creepy cover, isn’t it?So there you have it.  Anything good jump out at you?  Have anything excellent out from the library?  Tell me about it!

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.


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Thoughts: Haroun and the Sea of Stories

January 7, 2011 Book Reviews, Books 10

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Margaret Atwood.  A.S. Byatt.  Jonathan Franzen.  Salman Rushdie.

I don’t know about you, but all those names give me the heebee jeebies.  They strike fear in this little readerly heart!  I have never finished an Atwood.  I’ve read one (and adored, stupid me, I don’t know what my problem is with her.  I mean Possession.  One of my all-time favorite books) one A.S. Byatt and I’ve read one Salman Rushdie.   (I just don’t like Franzen’s attitude.)

Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

I have read it three times now in fact, and I loved it more each time.   If you have ever been tempted to try a Rushdie and hadn’t for fear of it being over your head, rest assured dear reader – this is your Rushdie.  You can read Haroun and the Sea of Stories and I’d bet you would love it too.  Trust me.  When have I ever steered you wrong?

Don’t answer that.

So, what is Haroun and the Sea of Stories about?

First, some back story.  I suppose you know all about the price on Rushdie’s head?  For his book The Satanic Verses?  Well, he wrote this right after all of that.  AND he wrote it for his son.  SO, I hope you can imagine the potential awesomeness that could come from such a combination.  Brilliant father writes book for his son after publishing another book that so angered an entire ethnicity that they put a million dollar price on his head.  Do you see where I am going?  Okay, now, the book is about this:

Haroun concerns a supremely talented storyteller named Rashid whose wife is lured away by the same saturnine neighbor who poisons Rashid’s son Haroun’s thoughts. “What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?” Haroun demands, parroting the neighbor and thus unintentionally paralyzing Rashid’s imagination. The clocks freeze: time literally stops when the ability to narrate its passing is lost. Repentant, Haroun quests through a fantastic realm in order to restore his father’s gift for storytelling. Saturated with the hyperreal color of such classic fantasies as the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland , Rushdie’s fabulous landscape operates by P2C2Es (Processes Too Complicated To Explain), features a court where all the attendant Pages are numbered, and unfurls a riotous display of verbal pranks (one defiant character chants “You can chop suey, but / You can’t chop me!”; elsewhere, from another character: “ `Gogogol,’ he gurgled. “ `Kafkafka,’ he coughed”). But although the pyrotechnics here are entertaining in and of themselves, the irresistible force of the novel rests in Rushdie’s wholehearted embrace of the fable–its form as well as its significance. It’s almost as if Rushdie has invented a new form, the meta-fable. Rather than retreating under the famous death threats, Rushdie reiterates the importance of literature, stressing not just the good of stories “that aren’t even true” but persuading us that these stories convey the truth. As Haroun realizes, “He knew what he knew: that the real world was full of magic, so magical worlds could easily be real.”

Yes, I am totally cheating, but dude, do you have any idea how hard that would be to summarize? It’s better to let Barnes and Noble tell you about it  because honestly, all I can think to say is just read it, okay?   That, and give you sample quotes from the book to show you just how awesome it is.

“There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name.”

That’s the opening line.  It’s one of the best opening lines ever in my opinion.  I mean, I immediately want to know why it’s so sad and if they ever get happy!

“…the Water Genie told Haroun about the Ocean of the Streams of Story, and even though he was full of a sense of hopelessness and failure the magic of the Ocean began to have an effect on Haroun. He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one different currents, each one a different color, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity: and [the Water Genie] explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each colored strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories…”

I love rereading. It’s like visiting with old, dear friends:

…so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead, but alive.”And if you are very, very careful, or very, very highly skilled, you can dip a cup into the Ocean,” Iff told Haroun, “like so,” and here he produced a little golden cup from another of his waistcoat pockets, “and you can fill it with water from a single, pure Stream of Story, like so,” as he did precisely that…

It’s not dead, but alive.  An ocean of stories, creating more stories and more and more and more.  And one can drink it.  *sigh*

I hope I left you needing to know what happens to Haroun and his storyteller father and the Oceans of the Streams of Story.   This book is a story lovers dream and now I just can’t wait to read the Luka and the Fire of Life, set in the same universe and written for Rushdie’s other son.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Purchase from Barnes & Noble.

Requisite butt covering – I am an B&N Associate.  I will make a pittance from them if you buy a book from one of my links, which may someday go to hosting, giveaways or buying myself a snack.  In about 50 years.

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

January 3, 2011 Books 5

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Woo y’all!  It’s three days into the year and I’ve already read two books!  How’s that for bouncing back???  *knocks wood* I don’t want to jinx myself.  

Late New Years Day I finished Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie.  Geez louise y’all, I love that book so much!  It was my second time reading it and it was even lovelier this time around.   Now I have to get my hands on Luka and the Fire of Life, since it’s the sequel.  I have always hoped there would be more stories set in this amazing world Rushdie created.  *Edit* My mistake, this was my third time reading it.  That’s what is so great about having a reading blog – it reminds me when I’ve read things.  Duh.

Then yesterday I zipped through a short story fairy tale collection by Kate Bernheimer called Horse, Flower, Bird: Stories.  It was… interesting.  All the stories had hallmarks of fairy tales. There was lots of abandonment, torture, imprisonment, misery and the like, yet very little saving.  I don’t expect white knights in shining armor, but… well I get ahead of myself since I hope to review this one later this week.  

Yesterday, after the heaviness of Horse, Flower, Bird, I started the newest book in Rick Riordan’s Olympus series, The Lost Hero and wow, does it start with a bang.  This is going to be a fun read.  I’m also still listening to The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  I didn’t listen much last week as I had double ear infections and just didn’t really want earphones in my ears.  Fun times!  I started it again this morning and had little trouble picking up the story again.  I just enjoy Wilkie Collins so much! 

So, how was your reading week?  Read anything good? 

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.!

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Reading in 2011

January 2, 2011 Books, Lists 14

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Obviously, there are a look of books I want to read this year. Last year, I read deliberately.  And I had a great reading year!  But, while I’ve joined a few challenges and a few friends have challenged me to read some of their favorites, the name of the game this year is reading for pleasure.  In the fourth quarter last year I totally crashed and burned.  I read 94 books by October.  By December, 107.  Something happened, something BAD happened, and I don’t want it to ever happen again.  13 books in 3 months makes a very unhappy Capricious Reader!  I’ve cut out tours, I’m not accepting (well, not accepting very many) ARCs, I’m just going to read whatever the heck I want to read when I want to read it.  I have to heal.  These last three months have been so hard! *fake cries*

I do have a few goals.  I want to read more of the books I already own.  As in, try not to buy many.  I’ll still use the library, but probably not as much.  I really want to knock out a few books that I’ve had for years and here is the tip of the iceberg.

Books I want to read

  • No Name by Wilkie Collins – because I adore Wilkie!
  • Charlotte & Emily by Jude Morgan – This just sounds all kinds of excellent.  Not to mention Nymeth has been reading Jude Morgan and making him sound fantastic!  And, strangely enough, I love books about the Brontës.
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – Have had it FOREVER.
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – Have also had it FOREVER and I still haven’t tried Gaskell!
  • If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino – Had for forever and a DAY
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone – Ditto
  • Midnight Becomes Her by Marie Brennan – Just sounds good.  And I want to read it with my buddy Kelly.
  • Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon – I loved Lady Audley’s Secret, so I’m not sure why I haven’t read more by her!
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – Had forever and a day plus one.
  • Far from the Maddening Crowd by Thomas Hardy – I loved Tess of the d’Urbervilles when I read it eons ago but never read more by him!
  • Margaret Atwood. Any Margaret Atwood. I WILL FINISH A MARGARET F’ING ATWOOD
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan – because I’ve never read McEwan either.  And this one looks short. lol

Twelve books.  One book for each month of the year.  And I will whittle away at mountain TBR before it kills me!

Have you read any of these?  Where should I start?

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