Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Finds

Thanks to Should Be Reading for hosting this weekly event.

This week, thanks to a magazine I recently subscribed to called Bookmarks, I found these books:

  1. The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
  2. The Good Thief, Hannah Tinti
  3. Goldengrove, Francine Prose
  4. Pandemonium, Daryl Gregory
  5. Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us), Tom Vanderbilt
  6. Mrs. Woolfe and the Servants: An intimate history of domestic life in bloomsbury, Alison Light
Now, if I can just keep from buying them all!

Review: The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman


Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
ISBN-13: 9780060530921
Genre: Middle Grade


Nobody "Bod" Owens survives the tragedy that is meant to kill him. He is given refuge in a graveyard and subsequently raised by its ghostly inhabitants. As Bod grows older he learns the ways of the graveyard but eventually he must face the outside world and the dangers that face him there.


This is the second Neil Gaiman children's book I've read; Coraline was the first. I think Gaiman writes excellent children's books; I wish they had been around when I was younger. I would have LOVED this book. (I love it now!)

Each chapter can stand somewhat on its own, but they are all connected and they all add up to a coherent story. I loved the characters that Gaiman created for the graveyard; the ghost's stories and personalities were just amazing.

The illustrations were excellent. I loved how they interacted with the text. When I see illustrations like this, it makes me wish that all books had similar illustations.


Below is a "trailer" for the book.

I would post an excerpt, but it doesn't do the book justice without the illustrations.

Other books by Gaiman:
  • American Gods
  • Coraline
  • Stardust
  • Neverwhere
  • The Sandman Series
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5. Recommended for children and adults.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Review: Great Plains

Great Plains
by Ian Frazier


Published by: Picador
Pages: 320 (although about a 1/3 of those pages are notes that are not referenced in the text)
ISBN-13: 9780312278502
Genre: Place (Nonfiction)


Frazier drives the reader through the Great Plains' mythical, and often bloody, history as he visits various landmarks throughout the sprawling area. He visits such places as the Clutter Farm, made famous by Capote's In Cold Blood, Sitting Bull's cabin, and U.S. military nuclear missile silo sites and tells their histories within the framework of his own experiences.


As I was reading this book, I thought to myself, "This guy is completely manic, definitely off." The language is fast and excitable in some places, yet slow and complex in others. We are with the author in the present, driving down flat roads and watching tumbleweeds drift along; then, suddenly, we are catapulted back into history: Bonnie and Clyde, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, buffalo, Lawrence Welk, Mennonites, Army posts. It is hard at first to understand what Frazier is trying to accomplish. But this is a book about a place, not a book about Frazier. The book is structured around moments of his journey, but his direct experiences take the background--the Plains take the foreground.

In the end, I was convinced of Frazier's love for the most neglected section of our country. He reveres the land and its history; his experiences have clearly changed his character by the end of the book. Here is the passage that finally convinced me that Frazier was accomplishing something interesting:
What I return to most often when I think of Crazy Horse is the fact that in the adjutant's office he refused to lie on the cot. Mortally wounded, frothing at the mouth, grinding his teeth in pain, he chose the floor instead. What a distance there is between that cot and the floor! On the cot, he would have been, in some sense, "ours": an object of pity, an accident victim, "the noble red man, the last of his race, etc. etc." But on the floor Crazy Horse was Crazy Horse still. On the floor, he began to hurt as the morphine wore off. On the floor, he remembered Agent Lee, summoned him, forgave him. On the floor, he said goodbye to his father and Touch the Clouds, the last of the thousands that once followed him. And on the floor, still as far from white men as the limitless continent they once dreamed of, he died. Touch the Clouds pulled the blanket over his face: "That is the lodge of Crazy Horse." Lying where he chose, Crazy horse showed the rest of us where we are standing. With his body, he demonstrated that the floor of an Army office was part of the land, and that the land was still his. (119)
This passage amazes me on two main levels: content and style. Here Frazier is demonstrating the lure of Great Plains Myth (because surely even Frazier's "historical account" is still mythologized). Crazy Horse emodies the spirit of the land; land which will not be held captive by those who tread on it. Frazier draws the reader closer and closer to this conclusion with repeated "on the floor"s---and then reminds you that Crazy Horse has chosen this.

Other Books by Frazier:

  • On the Rez
  • Lamentations of the Father
  • Family
Rating: 5 out of 5. Excellent writing and engaging subject matter.

Booking Through Thursday

Prompt from Booking Through Thursday:

Mariel suggested this week’s question.

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

I'm very anal about the way I read my books. I like them to look like they have never been read. This isn't always practical, I mean sometimes shit happens. This is mostly because if you break the spine of a paperback, that book is done for. It will eventually start to fall apart, regardless of whether or not you read it. I usually paid money for these books, so I'm going to take care of them. I usually take the dust jacket off of hardbacks because they will rip when I carry them around in my bag. I use bookmarks too.

This Tuesday I lent my Great Plains book to my professor during class and then watched him fold back the cover and bend the spine. I was silently dying inside. I've also made the mistake of lending YA books to teenagers I know. They come back absolutely destroyed. This most recently happened to my paperback copy of Twilight. I just looked at it, like what the hell did you do to it? Drop it in the bath and set it on fire? Would you do that to a DVD or to a piece of clothing? A book should be treated with the same respect we treat our other possessions. Having said that, what someone does with their own books, is totally their business.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jewish Literature Challenge

I'm joining another challenge!

Rule from the website:

What: Reading at least 4 books by Jewish Authors or about Judaism
When: December 21, 2008 (Beginning of Hanukkah) to April 27, 2009 (End of Passover)
Who: Anyone who wants to participate! Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike
Where: Right here of course! You can also post your picks and reviews to your own blog if you have one of course.

Here are my picks:

  • Night, Elie Wiesel
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
  • The Cage, Ruth Minsky
  • The Russian Debutante's Handbook, Gary Shteyngart
  1. Sarah's Key (12/22) (review)

100 "Shots of Short" Reading

Basically, this is an open-ended challenge to read 100 short stories. I don't usually ever read short stories, so this should be interesting. Rob from RobAroundBooks has some great short story resources on his page. Check out the main page here.

I'm going to leave the list open, since I don't know much about short stories, and just post about them when I'm finished.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Teaser Tuesdays

See Should Be Reading for the rules and to leave your own Teaser.

Next to the levee where no steamboat will probably ever dock again, the Missouri still slides by. Downstream, where it disapears around a bluff called Signal Point, it is still backlit with the beckoning promise of a highway.

--Great Plains
, Ian Frazier (pg 164)

I'm almost finished with this one, so look for a review soon. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Review: The Maze of Bones: Book One of The 39 Clues

The Maze of Bones: The 39 Clues Series
by Rick Riordan


Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 220
ISBN-13: 9780545060394
Genre: Young Adult


Orphans Amy and Dan Cahill are faced with a choice: Accept $1,000,000 of inheritance money from their grandmother, Grace Cahill, or accept the first clue in a dangerous and life-changing search for the Cahill family secret. This first installment in a 10-part series follows Amy and Dan as they try to solve the first clue, all the while dodging traps set by devious family members trying to beat them to the next clue.


Omg! I loved this book. It is like a cross between Harry Potter and the Nicolas Flamel Series. It has all the pieces of a great series in the making. Sympathetic characters, a puzzle, a chase, enemies, friends that could be enemies, iPod-obsessed au pairs, and a red snapper-loving cat. The story starts strong and never lets up. I love how Ben Franklin is the centerpiece of the mystery. So many YA series are centered around Greek mythology a la Neil Gaiman's American Gods; it is refreshing to spin this into an American "myth" (or what we would probably call conspiracy theory).

The Series:

This series is really interesting because each book is going to be written by a different author. The next book One False Note is written by Gordan Korman who has written other books, none of which I have read, such as Schooled, No More Dead Dogs, and The Sixth Grade Nickname Game (which is probably worth reading just because of the name). It comes out in early December, and I can't wait!

The Website:

Okay. I signed up on the website to check it out. I ended up being in the Lucian branch of the Cahill family, which I don't think is a good thing. It's kind of like being in Slytherin. I digress. Basically you can add trading cards to your online stash (a cash cow, I'm sure) and solve puzzles online to crack codes. I'm such a sucker for this stuff. Let me put it this way: I'm glad that most children's books don't go through this kind of multi-media production. BUT, that isn't to say that this can't be a fun and educational activity.


Here's an interview through B&N Studio with Rick Riordan, the creator of the series and author of the first book.

Rating: 5 out of 5. READ IT!

Decades '09

3M over at 1morechapter (one of my favorite blogs) is hosting the Decades '09 Challenge, and I'm really excited to start this one.

Decades ‘09 Rules:

1. Read a minimum of 9 books in 9 consecutive decades in ‘08.

2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.

3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.

4. You may change your list at any time.

5. Peruse the eligible book lists and reviews from 2008 or 2007. Any book from that decade is eligible; it doesn’t have to be on the list to qualify. A good source to find out when books were published is wikipedia. For example if you follow this link, you will see how easy it is to search books by a particular decade. Another resource is

7. Sign up through Mr. Linky below. Please use the url of your specific post for this challenge rather than just your blog url.

8. 6. After about January 12, come back and post the links to your reviews into Mr. Linky for the appropriate decade. Please don’t post ‘09 reviews in the Mr. Linky before January 12. I’ll need some time to switch over the ‘08 reviews and set up the new ‘09 Linkys. You don’t have to, but you are encouraged to post all the books you’ve read for that decade if you’re participating in Decades ‘09.

9. Have fun reading your Decades ‘09 books, and have a great year!

My tentative list:
  • Villete, Charlotte Bronte (1853)
  • Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (1861)
  • Middlemarch, George Eliot (1871)
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, RL Stevenson (1886)
  • Sign of the Four, AC Doyle (1890)
  • House of Mirth, Edith Wharton (1905)
  • Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton (1911)
  • Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf (1920)
  • The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck (1930)
I really wanted to go with all different authors, but the 1900 and 1910 decades were just posing to much of a problem, so I went with two Wharton books I've wanted to read. I'm excited about this list because it will knock off some major classics off my TBR.

Musing Mondays

Todays MUSING MONDAYS post is a question fromScobberlotch” who asks:

How has the economy impacted your book buying? Do you think it’ll change the reading and book-buying habits of the country? Will it increase your library visits? Will it make you wait for the paperback edition instead of buying the hardcover?

Well, so far I'll I've done is change from my debit card to my credit card! Oh boy. Not good. I have a serious book buying problem. There is just something about a new book, I can't explain it. As far as the rest of the country, I'd expect it would follow the trends of the rest of the economy.

There will always be people like me who buy them even if they don't have the money, but I'd think most people would be smart enough to cut back or go to the library. That being said, I do check out books from the Library of Congress if I want to read it, but don't necessarily want to buy it.

I usually try to buy paperback, because hardback is just too expensive, and rarely worth it. But every once and a while, I've just got to have something immediately. Usually part of a series I've been waiting for. I doubt that will change.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Sunday Salon

Well, I didn't get much reading done this week. I've been sick with Strep, and you know I'm sick when I'm too tired to read. But I did finish two books, which are my first two reviews on my new blog. My review for The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston is here and my review for Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Cristie is here. My reviews are really works in progress at this point--I haven't figured out what kind of detail I want to go into or the structure of my reviews yet.

Currently Reading:
  • Twinkie Deconstructed, Steve Ettlinger (pg 141) I'm reading this one for the Books About Food Challenge. You should join! There are so many interesting books out there about how we eat food, how food is made, and the food industries. Check out this list created by members of goodreads.
  • Great Plains, Ian Frazier (pg 65) I'm reading this one for my grad class Recent American Nonfiction. I'll be concentrating on this today since my class is on Tuesday.
  • The Maze of Bones, Rick Riordan (pg 28) I loved the Percy and the Olympians series, so I had to try this one out.
  • Living Dead in Dallas, Charlaine Harris (pg 18) This series is becoming my guilty pleasure, along with the HBO show True Blood based on the series.
I also started two books The Count of Monte Cristo and The Hound of the Baskervilles through Daily Lit, which is this cool site that feeds you portions of books through email or RSS every day. The classics are free! You can thank Ex Libris for this one.

Alright, I'm off to read. Assuming I can keep my boyfriend, sister, and roommate at bay for a few hours. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Review: The Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
by Maxine Hong Kingston


Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Pages: 244
ISBN-13: 9780679721888
Genre: Memoir


Kingston tells her childhood as a Chinese American through her family's myths, stories, and events in five vignettes from the points of view of the women in her family.

Thoughts: As a memoir, this book is very interesting because the majority of the book is not written in the first person. Instead of telling her story through her own words, Kingston retells the stories that were told to her as a child. It is a very unusual technique; I'm not sure I've read another memoir like it, or at least one that uses it to this extent. It is as if the reader is learning the stories as Kingston did as a child, and therefore gains a better concept of the context in which Kingston matured.

Quote: (From the first page) "You must not tell anyone," my mother said, "what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born.

Excerpt: You can read the first chapter at Barnes and Noble.

Other Books by Kingston:
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Today's question:

Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.

Of course the first couple that comes to mind is Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Who else?

  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell (I mean, come on. They do magic.)
  • Clarissa and Richard from The Hours (This is just a tragic coupling. Both gay, one with AIDS the other in a committed and happy relationship, but bonded together by past feelings of love...oh so good.)
  • Gary and Nicole from The Executioner's Song (I suppose this technically isn't a literary couple because they were real people, but you could argue Mailer's portrayal was literary)
  • Sugar and Sophie from the Crimson Petal and the White.
I better stop, or I'll be here all day!

Birthday Presents!

I got three books for my birthday from the ladies at work: Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead by Charlaine Harris (books 2 and 3 in the Sookie Stackhouse series) and The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy (book two of the Border Trilogy).

YAY! Now I just need to stop fooling around on the interwebs and get to reading!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Likeness Giveaway

Trish at Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading? is giving away a copy of Tana French's The Likeness a follow up to In the Woods, which I read this year. You can read her review and sign up for the giveaway here.

The 2009 Pub Challenge

The Pub Rules 2009:

  1. Read a minimum of 9 books first published in 2009. You don’t have to buy these. Library books, unabridged audios, or ARCs are all acceptable. To qualify as being first published in 2009, it must be the first time that the book is published in your own country. For example, if a book was published in Australia, England, or Canada in 2008, and then published in the USA in 2009, it counts. Newly published trade paperbacks and mass market paperbacks do not count if there has been a hardcover/trade published before 2009. Any questions on what qualifies? Just leave a comment here, and I’ll respond with the answer.
  2. No children’s/YA titles allowed, since we’re at the ‘pub.’
  3. At least 5 titles must be fiction.
  4. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  5. You can add your titles as you go, and they may be changed at any time.
  6. Sign up below using Mr. Linky.
  7. Have fun reading your 2009 books!
I have no clue what I'll read for this. I'll have to wait for The Millions to post their 2009 anticipated book list. I think Jasper Fforde is supposed to publish a book next year, so that will definitely be on the list.

9 Books for 2009

Rules from 9 Books for 2009:

  • Open to anyone, whether you have a blog or not!
  • No need to register or to announce what you are going to read.
  • Start in any category that you wish.
  • 2 books from this reading challenge can be used in other reading challenges.
  • Just post in the comment section.
  • The genre of the books can be ANYTHING (fiction or non-fiction), but it must be decent (because you have to write reviews about the books).
  • Other reading materials (graphic novels, poetry, museum catalogs, art books, zines etc.) are OK.
  • The book must already be in your bookcase or storage area.
  • The Challenge starts 12/27/08 to 12/27/09. (I hate to begin anything on January 1st).
  • You can post starting on 12/27/08.
  • Format of work can be paper, audio, or electronic.

These are the NINE categories to celebrate 2009! See the above tabs for details. (I had to abbreviate some of the categories due to WordPress Code restrictions.)

  1. Long
  2. Free
  3. Dusty
  4. Used
  5. Letter
  6. Strange
  7. Distance
  8. Alive or Not
  9. Cover

I don't know what I'll read for these yet, this one will take a little thought. I think this should be a really interesting challenge.

Exploration: Latin American Reading Challenge

The rules from Katrina's Reads:

This challenge will run for 4 months, between the 1st January - 30th April 2009. The aim is to read a 4 books from Latin America, these can be fiction or non-fiction the mix is up to you. The books can be used as part of other challenges, but must be finished between the dates of the challenge. I will supply a small prize drawn from the names of those people who finish the challenge.
I've shown below a couple of options you may want to follow:

Free Choice
: Read any four Latin American books
Mix it Up: Read a variety of fiction and non-fiction Latin American books
Author Challenge: Read a variety of work from just one author.
States: Read a book from a variety of the different states of Latin America
Magic Realism: Latin America is famous for producing the Magic Realism genre, you may decide just to read books fitting this genre.

I'm probably going to go with the Free Choice so I can read mostly books I have on my shelf already:

  • The Feast of the Goat
  • 100 Years of Solitude
  • The General in His Labyrinth
  • House of Spirits

I give up :(

Well, after a great weekend (+ 2 days) of book buying, food, and game playing, I'm home sick with Strep throat. Lovely. BUT, I'm now fully medicated and feeling a little better.

I went to B&N to return a birthday gift and I couldn't help myself. I ended up buying The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan as well as two YA books: The Graveyard Book by Niel Gaiman and The 39 Clues by Rick Riordan. I'll be reading the Pollan books for the Books About Food Challenge.

I also made the tough decision to quit reading Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. I was reading this for the YA group on goodreads, but I just can't get into it.

I also finished The Woman Warrior yesterday, the book from which my Tuesday Teaser was from. I'll post a review of that later on. I have to post some discussion on the class board for that first.

Let's see, what else? We'll I've got to read Great Plains by Ian Frazier for class next Tuesday and I've started Twinkie, Deconstructed. I better get to reading!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

Today's question: Series. Do you collect any series? Do you read series books? Fantasy? Mystery? Science fiction? Religious? Other genre? Do you use the series feature in LT to help you find new books or figure out what you might be missing from a series?

I love to collect series or all the books of an author I love. I've got Harry Potter (of course) and Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series. I also have the Twilight series, the Percy Jackson series, and His Dark Materials. I have been devouring YA series this year. I just can't get enough! I've read or started many other series as well.

I just joined LT a few days ago, so I haven't had a chance to use the series feature, but I'll definitely have to check that out. I'm always on the look out for a good series.

Teaser Tuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

  • "From stillness came a wind rushing between the smoke spindles. A high sound entered her temple bones."
    --From The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston pg. 88

    A to Z Reading Challenge 2009

    I'm going with Option C: Read both authors A to Z and titles A to Z (52 books; this is the challenge Joy created).

    I guess I'll post a list of my progress in the sidebar as I get started on this one.

    Review: Murder on the Orient Express

    Murder on the Orient Express is the first Agatha Christie Book I've ever read, and I found it very interesting. I picked this one up in a 2-for-1 sale at Barnes and Noble.

    The set-up of the mystery was very perfunctory: crime, evidence, interview, analysis, reveal. This unabashed formula is unlike any other book I can remember reading. I always though "the formulaic" was typically frowned upon--but I suppose that since the style so closely complements Hercule Poirot's detective style it serves a particular purpose.

    The basic premise is that a passenger on a snowed in train is killed in the night--with no apparent suspect. Poirot is charged with solving the crime. He examines the physical evidence and then interviews the coach passengers. His procedure seems straight out of a detective handbook. He then solves the crime in a twist ending, which I was not expecting at all.

    What is interesting about this book is that the clues are all there for the reader to solve the crime. Many books will leave out crucial information so the reader cannot guess the ending. I am in no way smart enough to solve the crime before Poirot, so I was completely surprised by the ending.

    There were a few moments that made me chuckle. Namely, the nationality stereotypes. The unemotional and cold English valet, the passionate Italian, the obnoxious and loud-mouthed American.

    Overall, the book was very enjoyable and I couldn't wait for the reveal. I give this one 4 stars.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Mailbox Monday?!?

    I've seen other blogs do this mailbox Monday thing, and I guess they are receiving free copies to review. I'm not sure what it really takes to continually receive free books, but I did actually get a free book today. It is published by Concord Free Press, which was started to give away books with the condition that the recipients would donate money in some fashion to help others out.

    So the first book they have published is called Give & Take. Once I read it, I'm supposed to give it away. So I may do that here! :)

    Happy Birthday to MEEEE!

    Today I have officially started my quarter-life crisis. Oh, that's right. I'm 25. I know you're wondering: Well if you're 25, then who is the 16-year-old in the picture?

    HA! Well I really am 25, even if nobody believes my driver's license.

    How did I celebrate this weekend? Well, I went with my roommate, boyfriend, and sister to the Green Valley Bookfair in Harrisonburg, VA (south of my alma mater JMU) and I purchased 26 books! One extra for good luck.

    What books did I get? Well thanks for asking! Here's a list and a picture:

    1. Baghdad Without a Map, Tony Horowitz
    2. Writing With Intent, Margaret Atwood
    3. Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Laclos
    4. Eating Mammals, John Barlow
    5. Please Don't Kill the Freshman, Zoe Trope
    6. The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler
    7. The Great Fire, Shirley Hazzard
    8. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
    9. Heaven's Coast, Mark Doty
    10. Dating Amy, Amy DeZellar
    11. All Our Kin, Carol Stack
    12. The Tender Bar, J. R. Moehringer
    13. A Mighty Heart, Mariane Pearl
    14. Adam Bede, George Eliot
    15. Villette, Charlote Bronte
    16. Among Flowers, Jamaica Kincaid
    17. Call to Home, Carol Stack
    18. Parched, Heather King
    19. The Assassin, Henk Van Woerden
    20. Broken, William Cope Moyers
    21. The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, Ann Marie Fleming
    22. Twinkie, Deconstructed, Steve Ettlinger
    23. American Shaolin, Matthew Polly
    24. Julie & Julia, Julie Powell
    25. Pilates for Dummies
    26. Power Yoga for Dummies

    Musing Mondays

    THIS week’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about a “reading” survey, and what it had to say…

    I recently read an article (here), that I found through BiblioAddict’s blog, that talked of “why women read more than men“. In it, author Ian McEwan is quoted saying:

    “When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.”

    Do you believe this to be true? Why, or why not?

    I don’t necessarily believe this to be true, because I know quite a few men who are also pretty avid readers. My Dad, for instance. And, my step-dad, too, come to think of it! My husband isn’t “avid” in his reading, but he does enjoy certain series’ (Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series, or Terry Goodkind’s “Sword of Truth” one).

    Reading an article like this, with all its statistics about reading, also makes me wonder where they take their surveys of readers! ‘Cause, goodness knows, I know a LOT of people online who read waaaay more than just a measley “9 books a year“, like the article said here:

    …Among avid readers surveyed by the AP, the typical woman read nine books in a year, compared with only five for men…

    And, these are AVID readers??? TYPICAL women readers??? Ha! The “avid” readers I know read over 50 books per year, myself included! LOL. :P

    So, what do you think of this article and its claims?

    I do know a few men who read novels. But they certainly do not read nearly as much as the women that I know. My boyfriend likes to boast that he doesn't read. (Yes, it causes me roll my eyes, sigh, and glance at my bookshelf.) I think he's probably read one novel in the last 10 years. However, he will read gaming magazines and techie books.

    9 books a year really does seem low to me for "avid" readers. My mother reads between 10 and 12 books a year (for her book club) and would never describe herself as an avid reader. But there are plenty of people out there that would consider one book a month a lot of reading. Most people think reading a book a week is an unreasonable goal.

    However, as an overall average, with labels aside, 9 books doesn't really surprise me. I have many more friends and acquaintances that never read or read very few books a year than friends that I have that I would consider avid readers. And I have no friends that read as much as I do.

    I would be really interested in reading the statistical details of the AP poll. Who exactly are they polling? It couldn't possibly be within a group of self-proclaimed readers. Although book bloggers' anecdotal evidence would suggest that the average should be higher, I definitely think we (book bloggers/way above "average" readers) are just examples of extreme outliers.

    So, I guess my conclusion is that although it is disappointing to think that men don't read and the average woman reader reads only 9 books a year, I am not surprised by this claim and I am sadly inclined to believe it.

    Friday, October 17, 2008


    I wanted to join a challenge that I could work on now, so I've chosen the Books About Food Challenge. I'm not exactly sure how the reviewing is going to work; I may be posting on the challenge website. If so, I'll link from here.

    Rules are:

    *From October 1st, 2008 to March 31st, 2009

    *I was thinking just 6 months from October 1st to March 31st and you have to read 5 books about food or drink. They can be recipe books with some history in them, they can be anything on the history of food or drinks. NO Health, Medical, Scientific or Diet books are permitted. Also NO novels about food either.

    Here's the list I'll choose from:

    • Salt
    • The Ominvore's Dilemma
    • In Defense of Food
    • Oranges
    • The Fruit Hunters
    • The Tender Bar
    • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

    I can't help myself

    Ok, another challenge!

    Rules from the website:

    This challenge is simple…
    • Read 4 “Classics” between January 1st and December 31st, 2009
    • Overlaps with other challenges ARE allowed
    • eBooks and Audiobooks ARE allowed
    Here are some of my ideas for this challenge:

    • Native Son
    • Great Expectations
    • Mrs. Dalloway
    • Persuasion
    • Mansfield Park
    I'll nail down a better list later.

    Starting off strong

    I've signed up for two challenges that start in 2009.

    The first is the 2009 Read & Review Challenge.

    Here are the rules from the website:

    * Review each book you read between January 1st and December 31st, 2009

    * PLEASE keep your reviews clean & respectful ~ these books we read are the hard work of an author, and we don’t need to be mean. Even if you didn’t like the book, please try to find something you can say that would be encouraging to the author.

    • reviews can be as short, or long, as you wish
    • you MAY overlap with other challenges
    • eBooks and Audiobooks ARE allowed
    • if there will be spoilers in your review, please note this in the subject line of your post so that those who don’t want to read them can skip that review. Thank you.

    The second is a Mini-challenge Hosted by Becky.

    The Scott Westerfeld Mini-Challenge, the goal of which is to read two of his books in 2009. I'll probably read Uglies and Pretties.

    Giving this a shot

    So, I'm going to give this book blogging thing a try. I've cut back on school, so now I have more time to read. But I also want to start putting more thought into the things I'm reading, so here we go.

    I currently keep tabs on things through Good Reads and I plan to keep doing that, but I want to be more involved here. I just got a digital camera, so chances are I'll be posting pictures here too. Well, truthfully, I'll probably post about all kinds of different things, my life isn't all books! But mostly books. :)