Syndicated on

After my recent post, “10 Books I Cannot Live Without,” I received an e-mail from the lovely lovely ladies at BlogHer asking to syndicate my content!

“10 Books I Cannot Live Without; the 2012 updated version” is now syndicated at BlogHer and available from today’s main page. You can also reach the post by direct link HERE.

Thanks again to everyone who commented and discussed your favorite books with me. I enjoyed sharing my thoughts very much and reading yours in return.

Monday Rambles

– The April Readathon. The sign ups. They are HERE. Woot!

– If you should like to volunteer… I highly recommend cheerleading…it is all the fun… do it HERE. I plan on doing both like last year. I had such a blast and the cheerleading was a good break from reading.

– If there is ever one piece of advice you ever take from me, please let it be this. If you have NOT seen The Hunger Games movie and want to, do not reread the books before hand. It only leads to disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was all right. Just not as utterly fantastic as the books. I felt like they maybe assumed the audience had read the books; a lot was left out.

– Also, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna? Absolutely perfect. After this latest reread I’m almost certain Cinna is my favorite character, after Peeta.

– Best part? Hubby has finally agreed to listen to the book!

– Speaking of The Hunger Games, one of my favorite YA authors, Kristen Cashore, posted her thoughts on the series after rereading the books (like I just did!) before seeing the movie. It’s worth a read.

– I don’t know if this is the norm or if it is only because I’m actually paying attention, but I have read the same amount of books I’ve listened to so far this year. 10+10. Which is awesome, I hope it continues.

– Now that I ripped through The Hunger Games trilogy in a week, I’m left wondering which audiobook to listen to next. Perhaps The Chaos Walking series? I’ve been meaning to reread it. Incidentally, I discovered yesterday, Lionsgate (which produced The Hunger Games) also owns the rights to that series.

– I’m off work the next two days. Thank you God that I have 5 weeks vacation. It’s the only good thing about my job. I hope to play in my garden and do lots of reading. Hence, the need for an audiobook!

– That’s all I can think of at the moment. Apologizes for all the Hunger Games thoughts; my head is still in the games. I finished Mockingjay last night and it’s all I can think of. That ending. It has my brain, feeling all the things.

Once Upon a Time – a Reader's Pool

for you, Debi. And anyone else interested. 🙂

Here are the pool of books I have to choose from, for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.

  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman (time for a reread)
  • Among Others by Jo Walton
  • The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint
  • Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  • The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
  • Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories by Angela Carter (for the short story part)
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Magyk by Angie Sage
  • The Secret History of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle (for the short story part)
  • The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradburt (short story)
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Lips Touch, Three Times by Laini Taylor
  • Temereraire by Naomi Novik
  • Fincher’s Brides by Gregory Frost
  • Jack of Kinrowan by Charles de Lint
  • Waifs and Strays by Charles de Lint
  • White as Snow by Tanith Lee
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl (with the kids)
  • Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan
  • Witches by Roald Dahl (with the kids)
  • Into the Green by Charles de Lint
I’m sure there are more, but I’m too tired to hunt them down. What do you think? Read any of these? Which do you recommend? I’d love to know!


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel is 16 years old and living on borrowed time. At 12, she was diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer. She fought the good fight, almost lost the fight, but an experimental “miracle” drug shrank her tumors and bought her a few more years of life. Now, she has finished high school, started taking college classes, and is waiting to die. Her parents, understandably, worry for her. Believing her depression to be a side-effect of the cancer (no, says Hazel, it is a side-effect of dying) they encourage her to get out of the house.

This means going to Cancer Support Group.

Which is the last place Hazel wants to go. As she kinda hates it.

Because it is depressing.

She gives in however, and let’s her mother take her to group. Once there, she meets Augustus Waters, in remission from bone cancer, all around hottie and, in typical John Green fashion, wit extraordinaire. Hazel is totally unprepared to, well, live again, but Augustus Waters is going to make her do just. that.

I’m sure you’re thinking, that sounds kinda manipulative. Cancer kids. Terminal. Falling in love. With maybe only years to live. And honestly, it does sound that way, but it’s really not. Because this isn’t a book about dying of cancer. It’s about living with cancer. It’s about learning to appreciate the time you have left, about worrying about those who will be left behind, about trying to carry on under such circumstances. It’s about these two teenagers learning to love, giving into love, despite being a grenade about to go off any second. As Hazel says, “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” I leave it to you to find out if that grenade goes off before the end of the book.

All that said, I do want to say, I wasn’t as enamored of this book as I have been in the past with John Green. And I HATE TO SAY THAT. *sigh* Oh my goodness, do I hate to say this! I love John Green. I ADORE HIM. Looking for Alaska completely gutted me with its awesomeness. An Abundance of Katherines was fantastic. Paper Towns was amazing. But oh my goodness, this is the fourth book he’s written with his “manic dream pixie girls” (although I would argue that Augustus is actually the “pixie girl”), smart wisecracking kids, and a freaking ROAD TRIP. Yes, it’s a formula that works for him, but geez louise, and I feel awful for saying this as he’s one of my favorite authors but I really want him to grow as a writer, can we please break the mold a little bit. Grow a little. Branch out. Try. Something. New.

End rant.

Seriously though, I did really like the book. It wasn’t Looking for Alaska good FOR ME but it was good. And I’m glad I read it, if only for these little nuggets:

There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.

There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own. Obviously, since I’m one of the very few people who had a tiny negative thing to say about this book.

Once Upon a Time VI

Okay, can we just sit back right hear and bask in the beauty that is that fox, with his golden crown, as he surveys the beauty of that magical butterfly.


Lovely. Just lovely.

In case you have never heard of it, every Spring, Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings hosts the Once Upon a Time challenge. OUaP celebrates the awakening of our beautiful land, our minds from the long (usually cold, but not so much this year) winter, and the magic whispering in the wind. It’s time to:

“Come away, O human child: To the waters and the wild with a fairy, hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”

~William Butler Yeats

As usual there are different quests to take part in. I plan to do Quest the First:

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

And the Short Story Quest:

This quest involves the reading of one or more short stories that fit within at least one of the four genres during the course of any weekend, or weekends, during the challenge. Ideally you would post about your short story readings on Sundays or Mondays, but this is not strictly necessary.

And perhaps a bit of Quest on the Screen:

Stories are not just limited to the printed page. Many entertaining, moving, profound or simply fun stories are told in the realm of television and film. To participate in this quest simply let us know about the films and/or television shows that you feel fit into the definitions of fantasy, fairy tales, folklore or mythology that you are enjoying during the challenge.

There will also be two group reads. In April, there will be a group read of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Then in May, there will be a read of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I plan to try to read Neverwhere, as it is one of the few Gaiman’s I haven’t read yet.

I have plenty, PLENTY of books to choose from. I will track my progress in the sidebar. Want to come away with us? Join in over at Carl’s blog, right here. It’s a magical journey you don’t want to miss!

10 Books I Can't Live Without – the 2012 updated version

Back in March of 2007, I posted about 10 books I couldn’t live without. I thought it would be interesting to revisit that post, 5 years later, and see how much it has changed. Or not.

The 2007 list:

1.      The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

2.       Possession by AS Byatt.

3.       A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

4.       The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.

5.       The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

6.       The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

7.       The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

8.      The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

9.       The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

10.   Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

See my post from 5 years ago, to see my thoughts on these books and why I picked them.

Now, for my 2012 list. What stays? What goes? Does it change at all?

First, I need to decide, once and for all, what my criteria are for this list. One that immediately jumps to mind is rereadability. Have I reread it? How many times have I reread it? Do I want to reread  it again and how soon? And at the root of this? Well my thinking is, if I have read it many times, I obviously found something of merit. If upon rereading, I wound up loving it more than the first, second, third, and so on times, it should be found deserving. So, here we go. My list of 10 Books I Can’t Live Without-5 years later.

1. The Princess Bride stays. Always and forever. As you wish.

2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. This book has become an annual event in my house. My hubby even loves it. I can’t wait to share it with the kiddos when they are little bit older.

3. Possession stays. I’ve read it three, four, five (?) times, and it never gets old. Brilliant book. I think I’m due a reread come to think of it. I think I’ll get my hands on the audio. It is fantastic..

4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Yes! Of course this stays. This is slowly moving up my list of all-time-favorites. This book, THIS ONE, is the ultimate in comfort reads, for me.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. A sentimental favorite for sure. I haven’t read them in about 10 years, but it’s almost time to dust them off for my oldest. She’s just about  ready for them.

The Three Muskateers by Alexandre Dumas. Still a favorite, but I think it gets pulled. I just don’t seem me reading it again anytime soon and for me, rereading is a strong factor in a favorite book. I have to want to reread it. I think 3 times is enough for this one. At least for now.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. Ditto the above. Great book, l0ve it, but don’t think I’ll be rereading it any time soon.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ditto again! I love this book, seriously I do. I even reread it last year. But now, I think I’m good for, oh, the next 20 or 30 years or so.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’ve only read it once. A reread needs to be done, so maybe it will wind up on the list again, sometime in the future.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I’ve only read it once! I KNOW. Someday, I will reread it. Until then, it has to leave this list.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I’ve only read it once! Bad, BAD me. Apparently ,(if I remember correctly) I read all of the last 4 books on my list 5 years ago, for the first time, and it was such instant head-over-heels love that I just arbitrarily put them on my list. Silly, silly 5 year ago me!

6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I think it’s safe to add this one, since I just completed my 4th reread and the story only grew in richness and complexity. This is one series that I think will never fail to move me.

7. The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. Yes, I’m cheating here. No, I don’t care. I will love and adore these books for.ever.

8. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Yes, I’ve reread this behemoth. Three times actually and damn if it didn’t get better every time. This is one of those books where time only makes me grow fonder and multiple rereads only bring the brilliance, the layers, and the joy of this book out more and more.

9. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. A book about the power of words and stories. What more could a bookish book lover love more? Why haven’t you read it yet?

10. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Me of 5 years ago would have been embarrassed to put this on my list. Me of 5 years later just doesn’t care. I think I have probably read (or listened to the brilliant audio) at least as many times as I’ve read The Princess Bride and it just doesn’t get old. Jamie…. *sigh*

So, there you have it. My list of 10 books I just don’t think I could live without.

How about you? What books would you put on your list?

Monday Rambles

– Oh my goodness you guys! My daughter went to bed last night. Without being tucked in! Heavens, I’ve been waiting 8 years for this! Now, to start working on little man….

– I finally bit the bullet and started The Fault in Our Stars by John Green yesterday. I read almost half of it in one sitting. There’s no denying it; the dude can write. He can also pull at the heartstrings. I am afraid they are going to snap before the book is over.

– Okay, since I typed the above up, I finished The Fault in Our Stars. I do not feel sufficiently prepared to put my thoughts into order at the moment, however, I feel, strangely, on the…fence…about it. I must cogitate.

– I also finished Catching Fire today, so I am continuing on my march through Panem, in anticipation of the Hunger Games movie this weekend and took up Mockingjay. I continue to be amazed by how much these books still move me, perhaps even more so, upon repeat readings. I read/listened to The Hunger Games for the 4th time and I think I cried at the end more than any of the other times! I know I won’t make it through the movie. I know because I can’t even make it through the trailer!

– I was poking around in my archives and I found where I posted my 10 books I can’t live without list from 5 years ago. I think I’m going to update that and post it sometime this week. Just to see how much it’s change. Or not.

– We started watching Game of Thrones last night. Holy macaroni. That show is nuts. Of course I’m addicted.

That’s all for now; my brain is fried!