Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Books Read in 2008

I read 128 books this year, and considering I only read 45 last year (the first year I started recording) and I had one full-time graduate semester and one part-time semester, I'm pretty proud of that number. It is definitely a record for me. Starred items are books I reread.

  • Holes (9/14)
  • The White Album (9/30)
  • Dead Until Dark (9/29)
  • A Home at the End of the World (9/28)
  • Things Fall Apart (9/20)
  • The Hours (9/17)
  • The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby* (9/16)
  • Storm Front (9/15)
  • Fablehaven (9/14)
  • Strangers in Paradise Vol. 2 (9/11)
  • In Cold Blood* (9/9)
  • Strangers in Paradise Vol. 1 (9/7)
  • The Magician (9/4)
  • Watchmen (9/4)
  • Eclipse (9/2)
  • Essays of E. B. White (9/1)
  • The Red Shoe (8/29)
  • The Alchemyst (8/29)
  • Good Omens (8/24)
  • Hiroshima (8/23)
  • The Executioner's Song (8/15)
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth (8/13)
  • The Titan's Curse (8/11)
  • The Sea of Monsters (8/10)
  • Fables Vol. 10 (7/31)
  • Island of the Sequined Love Nun (7/27)
  • Into Thin Air (7/23)
  • The Shadow in the North (7/20)
  • In the Woods (7/8)
  • Coraline (7/6)
  • The Ruby in the Smoke (7/5)
  • The Westing Game (7/2)
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet (7/1)
  • A Wind in the Door (6/29)
  • Dreamquake (6/28)
  • Dreamhunter (6/25)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (6/23)
  • The Lightning Thief (6/22)
  • Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall (6/20)
  • Skin Hunger (6/19)
  • You Suck (6/18)
  • Bloodsucking Fiends (6/17)
  • Fables Vol. 9 (6/16)
  • Magic's Child (6/15)
  • Fables Vol. 8 (6/15)
  • Magic Lessons (6/14)
  • Fables Vol. 7 (6/13)
  • New Moon (6/12)
  • Magic or Madness (6/12)
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret (6/9)
  • Messenger (6/9)
  • Gathering Blue (6/9)
  • The Giver* (6/8)
  • Buddha Vol. 2 (6/8)
  • The Arrival (6/6)
  • Buddha Vol. 1 (6/6)
  • Fables Vol. 6 (6/5)
  • Fables Vol. 5 (6/4)
  • Fables Vol. 4 (6/4)
  • Fables Vol. 3 (6/4)
  • Fables Vol. 2 (6/3)
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (6/3)
  • Fables Vol. 1 (6/2)
  • The Pox Party (6/1)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (5/30)
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (5/26)
  • Blankets (5/25)
  • American Born Chinese (5/23)
  • Fun Home (5/22)
  • The Complete Maus (5/21)
  • Persepolis 2 (5/20)
  • Persepolis (5/19)
  • The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (5/17)
  • American Gods (5/12)
  • I Am the Messenger (4/24)
  • Reservation Road (4/20)
  • What the Dead Know (4/19)
  • The Book Thief (4/13)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (4/11)
  • The Lion, the Witch,and the Wardrobe (4/4)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (3/26)
  • Fluke (3/25)
  • A Dirty Job (3/18)
  • Twilight (3/15)
  • Practical Demonkeeping (3/12)
  • Lamb (3/9)
  • Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone* (3/3)
  • No Logo (2/25)
  • Fast Food Nation (2/14)
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell (1/30)
  • Nickel and Dimed (1/29)
  • Under the Banner of Heaven (1/11)
  • The Abstinence Teacher (1/11)
  • Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight (1/9)

Review: A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife
by Robert Goolrick

Synopsis from

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.

With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick's intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.

My thoughts:

I usually wait a few days to review a book, to let it settle a little bit, and so I don't gush too much. But in the interest of the new year, and tying up some ends, I figured I'd write about this book, which I was determined to finish in 2008.

I received this book earlier this week, and I couldn't help myself, I had to bump it up in front of my other review books. So bad, I know. Something about this book was really intriguing. And it wasn't at all what I expected, and I still really liked it. At its core, this book is about finding a kind of happiness or contentedness in a life consumed by grief, misery, and unquenchable lust.

There is a slow and torturous reveal of Catherine and Truitt's intentions and deceptions and each reveal is more and more disturbing. What makes it bearable in the end, at least for me, is that the characters are able to come to peace with a simple life--they can be happy with what is real and present, instead of longing for the future, which could supposedly bring something better but doesn't and won't exist.

I found Catherine's character to be more "relatable," but the reader is privy to more of her than of Truitt. Sometimes the things Truitt is able to forgive of Catherine and Antonio doesn't mesh with what he was unable to forgive in his previous life. But maybe this is just another method of atonement. Catherine's transition is much more believable, much more fleshed out.

The language was very lyrical and had that quality that I find difficult to describe. It feels formal and poetic and misty, if that really means anything, and I suppose it reflects the fogginess of the character's intentions.

Rating: 4 out of 5. There is a lot of descriptions of sex and lust in this book, so I wouldn't recommend this to someone made uncomfortable by that. But baring that, I freely recommend it.

Challenges: Countdown, Winter Reading, ARC

Review: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
by Tiffany Baker

Synopsis from

When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the town of Aberdeen joined together in betting how recordbreakingly huge the baby boy would ultimately be. The girl who proved to be Truly paid the price of her enormity; her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her polar opposite sister Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. When he, too, relinquished his increasingly tenuous grip on life, Truly and Serena Jane are separated--Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the future May Queen and Truly to live on the outskirts of town on the farm of the town sadsack, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation at the hands of her peers.

Serena Jane's beauty proves to be her greatest blessing and her biggest curse, for it makes her the obsession of classmate Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans who have been doctors in Aberdeen for generations. Though they have long been the pillars of the community, the earliest Robert Morgan married the town witch, Tabitha Dyerson, and the location of her fabled shadow book--containing mysterious secrets for healing and darker powers--has been the subject of town gossip ever since. Bob Bob Morgan, one of Truly's biggest tormentors, does the unthinkable to claim the prize of Serena Jane, and changes the destiny of all Aberdeen from there on.

When Serena Jane flees town and a loveless marriage to Bob Bob, it is Truly who must become the woman of a house that she did not choose and mother to her eight-year-old nephew Bobbie. Truly's brother-in-law is relentless and brutal; he criticizes her physique and the limitations of her health as a result, and degrades her more than any one human could bear. It is only when Truly finds her calling--the ability to heal illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques--hidden within the folds of Robert Morgan's family quilt, that she begins to regain control over her life and herself. Unearthed family secrets, however, will lead to the kind of betrayal that eventually break the Morgan family apart forever, but Truly's reckoning with her own demons allows for both an uprooting of Aberdeen County, and the possibility of love in unexpected places.

My thoughts:

I wasn't sure about this book in the beginning. The whole giant thing was a little weird to me. But I really like how Baker treated Truly's "condition." The descriptions of her gigantism (is that a word?) had a very magical feel, although a scientific medical condition was offered as the true cause. In the end, that is what sold me on the book: the magical feel to the story and in the language. I also thought that the interplay between the polar opposite sisters was dealt with very well. As the town beauty, especially in comparison to Truly, Serena Jane could have been a very flat and predictable character, but I was able to feel a range of emotions about her.

This book is full of difficult moral questions, and the characters make really interesting decisions. Baker touches on unrequited love, grief, suicide, rape, betrayal, homosexuality, and mercy killing. But I never felt overloaded or preached to. The characters (unfortunately for them) just encountered all these things over the course of the book. The ending was satisfying, although somewhat sad and maybe ever so slightly predictable.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5.

Challenges: Countdown, ARC Reading

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mailbox Monday

See other Mailbox Monday posts here.

I had two books waiting for me when I returned home:
  • Pretties, Scott Westerfeld (from paperbackswap)
  • A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick (from Algonquin)
And my sister gave me The Tales of Beetle the Bard for Christmas.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays are hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page. See other posts here.

How often do you recommend books to others, and who do you recommend them to?

I recommend books to people when I've read something really great and I think they might like it. I'm also the resident book expert/library at my office, so I do some recommending at work. I try to recommend books to my mom and my sister, but they want to fight me to the death about having time to read, so I've backed off a little there.

Do you only recommend books to your “reading friends” or to anyone you think might find the book interesting?

I'm usually more inclined to recommend books to people I know will read, but I definitely have my moments where I try to push books on people I'm just so sure will love them. Namely, my coworkers.

What does it take for a book to make it to your ‘recommendation’ list?

It has to be really entertaining and just damn good.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Salon (12/28/2008)

I don't know if I'm going to get much reading done today, it's my last day at my parent's house, and I've already spent so much time on the computer my sister has yelled at me a few times. I got Wii Music and Super Mario Galaxy for Christmas and she wants to play! I must oblige. :)

I did manage to get some reading and reviewing done this week. I finished The Little Giant of Aberdeen County and I reviewed Drood, by Dan Simmons (finally), Life After Genius, by M. Ann Jacoby, and Sarah's Key by Taitiana De Rosnay. All of these were review copies, so it feels good to make a dent in that pile!

I'm still reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, it is good, it just takes me a while to read books like that. I've started The Magician's Book, by Laura Miller and New Jack: Guarding Sing Sing, by Ted Conover.

I joined more challenges, because nothing will stop me, not even the inevitable failure I'm predicting:
  • Winter Reading Challenge---All of these books are overlappers, but the purpose of the challenge (for me) is to organize and focus! I'm already 2 down!
  • Diversity Rocks! Challenge---These are all overlappers too, but I really liked the idea of adding diversity to my reading.
  • World Citizen Challenge---These won't overlap, but I don't have a list yet. This is a really interesting challenge, so check it out!
Also, lots of bloggers are joining my graphic novel challenge, so hop into the fray!

World Citizen Challenge

Eva over at A Striped Armchair is hosting the World Citizen Challenge 2009. To see the full details check out the dedicated blog.

It is essentially a challenge to become familiar with countries other than your own, in several different categories: politics, economics, history, cultural anthropology/sociology, worldwide issues, and memoirs/autobiographies.

I'm going to join at the Minor Level (3 books in different categories) with the hopes of moving up to Major or Postgraduate. Nonfiction books, typically take me more time to get through and I've already got A LOT on my plate.

I don't know what I'm going to read yet, although I really liked Eva's suggestion to read about the South American apartheid. I'm going to have to give this reading list some good thought and find some good books.

Review: Sarah's Key

See my full review of Sarah's Key at the Jewish Literature Challenge website.

Loved it!

Thanks to Sarah from St. Martin's for sending me this one.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Review: Life After Genius

Life After Genius
by M. Ann Jacoby

Synopsis from

Theodore Mead Fegley has always been the smartest person he knows. By age 12, he was in high school, and by 15 he was attending a top-ranking university. And now, at the tender age of 18, he's on the verge of proving the Riemann Hypothesis, a mathematical equation that has mystified academics for almost 150 years. But only days before graduation, Mead suddenly packs his bags and flees home to rural Illinois. What has caused him to flee remains a mystery to all but Mead and a classmate whose quest for success has turned into a dangerous obsession.

At home, Mead finds little solace. His past ghosts haunt him; his parents don't understand the agony his genius has caused him, nor his desire to be a normal kid, and his dreams seem crushed forever. He embarks on a new life's journey -- learning the family business of selling furniture and embalming the dead--that disappoints and surprises all who knew him as "the young Fegley genius."

Equal parts academic thriller and poignant coming-of-age story, LIFE AFTER GENIUS follows the remarkable journey of a young man who must discover that the heart may know what the head hasn't yet learned.

I when I read the synopsis of this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. After reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, I wondered if this book could live up to that one. Well, that's what I get for trying to compare the two. Green's book was comedy, but this is far more introspective and slightly depressing. Mead has returned home right before graduating, but the reason is unclear. The story weaves in and out of time, from the present---having returned home from college---to the past---Mead's interactions with classmate Herman Weinstein. What is clear is that something bad has happened at school and Mead has not been able to cope with the problem.

I found his interactions with his mother to be interesting, but a little over the top. It is clear that Mead's mother put way too much pressure on him to develop a superhuman intelligence, but Mead doesn't seem to recognize that she clearly loves him, nor does he ever develop enough before going to college to stand up to her. Then the father is completely on the other side of the spectrum---the reserved man that just lets things unfold in front of him.

Overall, I liked the story, especially the parts where Mead interacts with his family and friends after returning from college. This is when his character really starts to grow up. My biggest issue with the book is the so-called "academic thriller" aspect. The build up was really good, but I didn't find the main reason Mead left school before graduation to be serious enough to warrant that reaction. I don't want to give it away, so I won't go into more detail other than to say the problem seemed to have a better solution. But perhaps that is part of the point? Mead was unprepared for complicated life decisions?

While, not my favorite book of the year, it is a worthy read and hard to put down. I will definitely be interested in seeing what else this author writes.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5.

Challenges: Countdown, ARC challenge

Merry Christmas!

How was everyone's Christmas? I didn't get many books, because I didn't ask for specific ones. My parents can't handle a general "buy me some books" Christmas wish. They need a specific list with links to pictures so they can find it. But my sister did get me Tales of Beetle the Bard. (Yay!) She wasn't happy about it though, because she said she looked at it and thought I'd read it in 10 minutes. I did get some gift certificates, but I going to try and be a good girl and use them for my school books. I also bought Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, and I was going to use a 15 percent off coupon, but when I went to check out I got confused and forgot to use it. Oops.

I bought my dad John Adams by David McCollough and he's already on page 70! Of course, the first thing he asks me is "how does he [the author] know what the people were feeling as they rode horses down the road." I said Dad, he's telling a story. I also bought him this portable professor thingy from about Ben Franklin. He went out today and bought the "textbook" for the course. I think he thinks he'll enter the National Treasure movies if he learns enough. It is always exciting for me to get my parents to read.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Diversity Rocks! Challenge

Yes, I am joining another challenge. But, the books are all overlapping with other challenges so I'm not actually adding anything. Whew!

Ali from worducopia has created the Diversity Rocks! Challenge, which asks you to read books from non-white authors. Going back through my list, I realized I had several non-white authors, which I was glad to see. I don't pick my authors by their race or ethnicity, but it was still good to see I'm reading authors that aren't all from the same race or class, etc.

There are different levels, all of which you can see here. I'm going with number 2, The Overlapper: This is for those of you who are signed up for multiple challenges already. This challenge doesn't ask you to read any more books that you've already committed to. Just commit to including one author of color in each of your challenges (or pick 6 challenges, if you're signed up for more than 6).

Here's my list:
  1. Native Son (Casual Classics)
  2. House of Spirits (Latin American)
  3. The Muse's Soliloquy (Reading Dangerously)
  4. When We Were Orphans (What's in a Name)
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude (999)
  6. Among Flowers (Well-Seasoned Reader)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Review: Drood

by Dan Simmons

Synopsis from

On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever. Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying? Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.

Wow. That's my knee-jerk reaction to this book. At almost 800 pages, it took me quite a while to get through, but it was worth it. This book is very ambitious, telling the tale of Charles Dickens' darkest years through the eyes of another. I have to admit, I haven't read either Dickens or Collins, so I'm sure I missed many references to their works, but it wasn't necessary to know their writing to appreciate this book. The characters were fully threshed out, whether it is historically accurate, I couldn't say, but it doesn't matter.

Although the story is based on the mystery of Dicken's Drood figure, the majority of the book is actually about Collins and his unraveling of the Drood mystery. I found his character to be very interesting. It is interesting to see the changes in his character that take place over the course of the novel. Although we know, through Collins' observations, that Dickens delved into the darker areas of life after the Staplehurst accident, it is really Collins who takes the deepest dive.

The story relies a lot on the ideas of mesmerism, hallucination, and drug use (ie. opium, laudanum, and morphine). Both Dickens and Drood wield mesmerism as a tool and a weapon. Collins is both reliable and unreliable due to his serious drug use, for his gout, and his life-long predisposition to hallucinations. There is an interesting give and take between the characters, both are holding back even though they are on the same side, that is, working against Drood.

In the end, the reader must decide who to believe: Collins or Dickens.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5. This book takes a little effort, but it is well worth it.

Challenge: Countdown Challenge

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Reading Challenge

Robin from My Two Blessings is hosting a Winter Reading Challenge. This is good because I really needed to sit down and think about what books I had to read first for my challenges. And now I'm scared!!! By the time this challenge is over, I will have need to complete the Books about Food Challenge, the most of the Latin American challenge, most of the Jewish Lit challenge, the Well-Seasoned Reader challenge, and the Cornelia Funke challenge. Not to mention I'll be reading other books for school. So I clearly need to do some planning, which is something I've never done before. I don't usually structure my reading. I'll see how it goes this year, and then I'll adjust accordingly next year.

Here are the books I'd like to/need to complete:

Books about Food:
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma
  • In Defense of Food
  • Julie & Julia
  • Oranges
  • The Fruit Hunters
Latin American
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • House of Spirits
  • The General in His Labyrinth
Jewish Lit
  • Sarah's Key (12/22/08) (review)
  • Night
  • Diary of a Young Girl

Well-seasoned Reader
  • American Shaolin
  • Baghdad Without a Map
  • Among Flowers
  • The Muse's Soliliquy
Cornelia Funke
  • Inkheart
  • Inkspell
  • Inkdeath
ARC Reading
  • Little Giant of Aberdeen County (12/26/2008) (review)
  • Cobain Unseen
  • The Magician's Book
  • This One is Mine
Oh this should be interesting.

*updated 12/26/2008: 2 out of 22 completed

Sunday Salon (12/21/2008)

Well it's already almost 4pm here, and I haven't done much of anything except check my google reader and twitter. Everyone has so much snow! I've got no snow. Just cold wind.

This week I finished Bone, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Drood (finally!), and Life After Genius. Unfortunately, I haven't written review for any of them yet. Oops. My goal is to head down power through on that today.

I've been up to other stuff, though, like starting up a Graphic Novels Challenge. It has its own blog (at that I'm encouraging people to join. It is a flexible challenge with options of 6, 12, 18, and 24 books over 2009. If you've never read a graphic novel before I highly suggest checking out the blog because I've posted some great lists on the sidebar and bloggers have started posting their own reading lists. I even made a button, which I'm pretty proud of! Also, I posted the first in a short series of posts about graphic novels, which you can read here.

I also joined a few other challenges this week, shockingly enough.
I also manage to post a couple of reviews about Shakespeare's Landlord, by Charlaine Harris, the second book in the Fablehaven series Rise of the Evening Star, by Brandon Mull, and a short wrap-up of the Southern Vampire Series.

I'm currently working on The Little Giant of Aberdeen County and The Omnivore's Dilemma. I'll probably end up starting something else as well.

Happy Reading everyone! Stay warm!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spring 2008 Class Reading List

One of my classmates sent me the reading list for the class I'm taking next semester called Writers in Non-native Places. Here's what we will probably be reading.
I've only ever read Heart of Darkness. This list seems short to me, so we will see when he posts the official list.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Graphic Novel Challenge

I've decided to host a Graphic Novel Challenge, because as far as I can tell, no one else is. I've created a little blog where we can all do our posting. I'm totally new to this hosting thing, so any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Check out the Graphic Novels Challenge.

I don't have a picture for it yet, and I don't really know how to do that, so if anyone comes up with a good one and wants to donate, that would be awesome! ***Note: I did it! What do you think?***

I hope everyone will join, it is a very flexible challenge, it is really just my way of trying to get readers to try out graphic novels. I've put a few links on the blog to help generate some reading ideas, and I plan to post more recommendations on this blog over the coming weeks.

2009 ARC Reading Challenge

Teddy over at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time, is hosting the 2009 ARC Reading Challenge. Although I'm in LITERALLY 9 million challenges already, I do have to actually read these books I've been receiving so I thought this would be a good one to do.

Here are the rules:

1. To sign up, leave a comment and a direct link to your blog post about this challenge that includes your list from rule #2.

2. List all of the ARC's that you have to read right now. Then throughout the year, you must continue updating that list as you receive more ARC's. (This is important). You should also strike out the ones that you finish.

3. a. All of us who have or will have more than 12 ARC's must read and review 12.
b. All of us who have or will have less than 12 ARC's must read all of the ARC's we have. Note, that if you have 11 ARC's and then receive a 12th one you will be bumped up to catagory a.

4. You don't have to make a list of which ARC's you plan to read, but you can if you want.

5. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed and Audio-books are allowed as long as they are ARC's.

6. Read the books and review them on your blog. If you don't have a blog, you can post your review on sites like Powells, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

7. Please subscribe to my blog, as I will be posting updates to the challenge periodically.

Here's my current list (preferably I'll read them in this order, but I doubt it):
  1. Life After Genius (12/20/2008) (review)
  2. Cobain Unseen
  3. Little Giant of Aberdeen County (12/26/2008) (review)
  4. The Magician's Book
  5. A Wood Engraver's Alphabet
  6. This One is Mine
  7. Sarah's Key (12/22/2008) (review)
  8. Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year
  9. The Misadventures of Oliver Booth
  10. Conan Doyle's Wallet
  11. Ruby Among Us
  12. Gods Behaving Badly
  13. A Fortunate Age
  14. The Book of Unholy Mischief
  15. A Reliable Wife (12/31/2008) (review)
oh boy...I need to get started.

*updated 12/26/2008: 3 out of 14 completed.
*updated 12/29/2008: Added A Reliable Wife.
*updated 12/31/2008: 4 out of 15 completed.

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is hosted by Deb. See other posts here.

There are two posts today, so I'll answer both:

What is the best book you ever bought for yourself?

Wow, that's a tough one. I've bought so many books, it's really hard to answer that. At the least, I'd have to say The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber.

And, why? What made it the best? What made it so special?

It is huge, and I bought it on a whim, and it really paid off. Love it when that happens.

Do you give books as gifts?

As often as I can. I want people to read!!

To everyone? Or only to select people?

Not to everyone. Some people just don't read and I have to respect that. I wouldn't want someone to buy me a football just because they love it so much.

How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

Please please please, gimme more books! Hence the title of my blog. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's So Great About Graphic Novels?

I have had some interest from commenters on graphic novel recommendations. So I thought I'd write up a few posts about the graphic novels I've read this year and then what I'd like to read in the coming months. This is all leading up to a graphic novel challenge I'm going to create for 2009. (I'm no where close to being an expert on graphic novels--I read my first ever this year. But, I've become very enthusiastic about the genre. I want to get other readers excited too!)

For my first post, here are a few graphic novels that are pretty well known, at this point, and are really great starting points for readers unfamiliar with graphic novels (and maybe a little biased against traditional comics).

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

This is the first graphic novel I ever read, and it definitely left me craving for more. Persepolis is a memoir about Satrapi's childhood during the Islamic Revolution---from her childhood perspective. The pictures are in black and white, which makes for a stark contrast between right and wrong, good and evil.

Also, I read Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, which is the sequel about Satrapi's education abroad. Or, you can read them both at once in The Complete Persepolis. This was also made into a film, which I haven't seen, but I heard was good.

She has also written other graphic novels, which I haven't read: Embroderies and Chicken With Plums.

The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale, by Art Speiglman

In this graphic novel, Speiglman tells his father's Holocaust story with Nazis as Cats and Jews as Mice. The father's story is framed within the story of of Speiglman's difficult relationship with his father. Despite the "cartoon" medium, the story is compelling and heartbreaking. Volume 1: My Father Bleeds History is about his father's struggle to survive the concentration camps and Volume 2: And Here My Trouble's Began is about his parent's struggle to build a new life in America. This book won the Pulitzer in 1992.

Also by Art Speiglman: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! and In the Shadow of No Towers

Blankets, by Craig Thompson

This is a longer graphic novel, especially for one that was not serialized first. But that doesn't take away from the story at all. Blankets is about the relationship between two brothers, a budding romance, and a fundamentalist Christian home. It explores the themes of family, love, and obsession.

Also by Thompson: Good-bye Chunky Rice

Watchmen, by Alan Moore

This is a graphic novel that is much more like a traditional comic book than the others I've listed above. It made TIME magazine's top 100 novels of all time, the only graphic novel to do so. It follows two generations of masked superheroes as they try to figure out who is killing them off. I was hesitant at first to pick this one up, but I'm glad I did. The characters are fully threshed out and the book doesn't rely on other DC Comics characters. This is a good transition into other comics like it.

Also by Alan Moore: From Hell, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

These are just a few that I think are good to start off with. I'll post more in a few days.

Review: Shakespeare's Landlord

Shakespeare's Landlord
by Charlaine Harris

Genre: Mystery

This is the first book in the Lily Bard series. Although the main plot revolves around finding out who killed the landlord of the neighboring apartment complex, the more interesting part of the book is Lily herself. When the book opens, Lily is walking the streets of Shakespeare, Arkansas late at night and witnesses someone dumping a body in the local park. Instead of immediately calling the police, Lily goes to take a look and finds out the that the local landlord has been murdered. She places an anonymous call to the local police, and then hopes her quiet life as a maid will continue. But obviously it won't.

I won't reveal Lily's history as that is the most interesting part of the book. But I like Lily because she is strong and can overcome adversity, but still bears the scars, figuratively and literally, of her past. Also, I like how the other characters in the book begin to flesh out as Lily tries to solve the mystery. Overall, it was a quick and entertaining read. I wouldn't say it has the same flair as the Sookie Stackhouse books, but still worth reading.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5.

Challenges: Series and Countdown

Review: Last Three Books of the Southern Vampire Series

#6 Definitely Dead
#7 All Together Dead
#8 From Dead to Worse

Because I'm a major slacker, I have put off writing something about these books. I'm struggling to know what to say that I haven't already said about the previous books in the series. This series is great. I love it. Although it is not high literature, it is very entertaining. I absolutely devoured these books.

I'm not going to write a synopsis, because if you've made it this far in the series, it doesn't matter what I say here, I'm sure you'll finish it out. All I really have to say is I thought there was good character development in these three. Sookie's "relationship" with Eric continues to grow and change, which I think is great. And Sookie's adventures just get better and better. There is also an interesting scene with Hadley's child at the end of From Dead to Worse that I thought was really well done.

Get to readin' people!

For Series challenge and countdown challenge

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review: Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star
by Brandon Mull

Genre: Middle Grade

In the second book in this series, Kendra and Seth make their way back to Fablehaven after inadvertently freeing a demon (who, by the way, must devour Seth). They must help their grandparents protect Fablehaven from the Society of the Evening Star, an organization that wishes to infiltrate the reserve and steal an immensely powerful artifact, while dealing with a enemy disguised as a friend.

Although I liked the first book, this second installment was much better. Seth has finally learned how to follow the most basic rules, although he still has greedy inclinations, so at least the trouble they get into isn't of his own doing. Kendra is learning about her new powers, although I really wonder why she doesn't make a more concerted effort to learn what she could really do. It seems like it would make it easier for her to deal with magical issues that arise. This book was definitely suspenseful and I found the conclusion to be very satisfying. There was also a twist ending that totally shocked me! If it hadn't been for a pressing final paper, I would have run out to the store immediately to get the next book. I enjoyed how this book began exploring the complexity of good and evil---the gray areas. There was definitely some good character development, which the first book lacked. It isn't the best children's fantasy book ever, but moments of awkward writing don't interfere with the overall story and it is very entertaining.

Recommendation: 5 out of 5.

Challenges: Series, Countdown

Audiobook Challenge

This is getting out of control. Someone tell J. Kaye to stop making challenges. Enabler!!!!

Here are the rules from J. Kaye's Book Blog:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start listening to your books prior to 2009.

2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.

3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

4) When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your audiobooks will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed. If you don’t have a blog, leave the URL blank.

5) You do not have to list your books ahead of time. If you decide to, you can change them as you go.

6) Our goal is to listen to 12 audiobooks in 2009. No need to list your books now. You can do so as you go.

7) Feel free to post a link to your reviews in the comment section below. That way, we can visit your blog and read your review.

As I've been prone to do, I'm going to leave this list open. My goal is to listen to these in the car on the way to work, which is typically an hour a day. Also my goal is to get them from the local library, as I definitely can't afford an audiobook addiction along with my book addiction.

999 Challenge

Ok, so with all the talk on Twitter about the 999 Challenge, I am succumbing to the hype and joining in. This challenge is on LibraryThing, which I only use off and on, as I much prefer Goodreads. But, it has its own blog here and I do have a post on LT here.

These are the categories I am choosing:

  1. Graphic Novels
  2. Young Adult
  3. Classics
  4. Nonfiction
  5. New Authors
  6. In Translation
  7. Books into Films
  8. Women Authors
  9. Review Copies/ARCs
I left the categories pretty general, as I don't want to overdo it. I'm most concerned with completing the In Translation category. I know I'll definitely get a few, as I'm doing the Latin American challenge, but these types of books typically take me more time to get through. I also think I'll struggle with classics, but graphic novels and YA should be cake! We shall see!

So is next year 101010? Maybe it should be renamed the Binary Challenge...

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Check out other Teasers here.

So the mountain [of corn] grows, from 4 billion bushels in 1970 to 10 billion bushels today. Moving that mountain of cheap corn--finding the people and animals to consume it, the cars to burn it, the new products to absorb it, and the nations to import it--has become the principal task of the industrial food system, since the supply of corn vastly exceeds the demand.
--page 62 of The Omnivore's Dilemma

Monday, December 15, 2008

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page. See other posts here.

Reading on the Go:

I always like to have a book with me at all times – call it a nerdy grown-up security blanket – and rarely do I leave the house without slipping one into my bag (even if I KNOW I’m not going to have a chance to read it). Do you take a book with you? Do you take whatever book you’re currently reading, or do you have a special on-the-go book? And do you have a preference for a these types of book (paperback, hardback; short stories; poetry etc)?

I usually have a book with me wherever I go, especially if I know that I'll have some down time. I'm a total book nerd, so there is always a book nearby. I carried three with me to work today, and there are several already at work.

I will usually just take whatever I'm reading at the moment, but sometimes, that can be difficult. For instance, I just finished reading the graphic novel Bone, which is all in one volume over 1000 pages. I'm obviously not going to carry that around!

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at the Printed Page. See other posts here.

This week was slow, but that's really a good thing. I need to play catch up!

I received The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark from Atria books, off of Twitter. I couldn't believe how fast they got this book to me. Probably within two days!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Salon (12/14/2008)

This week was somewhat productive, which is a nice change. I wrote my final paper on Jon Krakauer, and was basically happy with it. So, now this semester is officially over, and I have time to relax.

I wrote a two reviews on The Heretic's Daughter and Creepers. I still have a few to write to catch up, but at least I got two done.

I also joined THREE more challenges: 1st in a Series, Cornelia Funke, and Reading Dangerously. At this point, I may have to make some kind of tentative reading plan just to make sure I can finish these challenges.

Since last Sunday, I have finished two books: Shakespeare's Landlord and Shakespeare's Champion, the first and second books in Charlaine Harris's Lily Bard series. I haven't written reviews yet, but overall they are enjoyable and short books. I plan to finish out the series.

I'm currently working on Bone, which is a great graphic novel, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and of course, Drood.

I also joined Twitter this week; I hope you will follow me there. My profile is here. I will post about book stuff there, but also more personal things.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Reading Dangerously Challenge

Ok, this is seriously the last challenge I'm signing up for...tonight!

This challenge is hosted by Estella and has its own blog here.

The rules are:

Your job: Read 12 books you deem "dangerous." between January 1st and December 31st 2009. They may be banned or challenged books, new-to-you genres, books that seem to inhabit a permanent space on your stacks, or authors you're afraid of. The possibilities are endless! If it's dangerous to you, it's challenge-worthy to us!

Ok here's my tentative list of books:
  1. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf (because she intimdates me)
  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (because I couldn't finish it the first time)
  3. Middlemarch, George Elliot (because I've been told its the best book ever written and it is HUGE)
  4. The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Michael Chabon (because I borrowed this from one of my attorneys about two years ago and still haven't read it, and I'm scared to give it back)
  5. The Feast of the Goat, Vargas Llosa (because I've never read anything by him before)
  6. Villette (because its a Bronte which equals "school book" in my mind)
  7. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (because I've tried so hard to read this before)
  8. House of Mirth, Edith Wharton (because I've never read her before)
  9. Bleak House (because it is huge)
  10. All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy (because I love him and I want to read this trilogy but I couldn't get into this the first time)
  11. The Muse's Soliloquy, Pramoedya Ananta Toer (because his name scares me)

Cornelia Funke Challenge

I've decided to join the Cornelia Funke challenge hosted by Zoe at Zoe's BookReviews. I'm planning on reading her series anyway, so I figured I'd join in on the fun.

My plan is to read Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath. Depending on how I like this series, I might also try more of her books.

Read List:
  1. Inkheart (1/5) (review)

1st in a Series Challenge

I'm joining another challenge at J. Kaye's site...because I have a serious problem and there are so many series I want to read.

Here are the rules:

Guidelines for 1st in Series Challenge 2009

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

2. Read 12 books that are the first in any series. You may read & list your chosen books any time during the year.

3. Challenge begins January thru December, 2009.

4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

Here's my tentative list:
  • Uglies, Scott Westerfeld
  • Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Leguin
  • Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
  • The Amulet of Smarkand, Jonathan Stroud
  • Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini
  • Sabriel, Garth Nix
  • Field Guide, Tony DiTerlizzi
  • All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
  • The Looking Glass Wars, Frank Beddor
  • Real Murders, Charlaine Harris
  • Grave Sight, Charlaine Harris
Read list:
  1. Inkheart (1/4) (review)
  2. The Hunger Games (1/5)
  3. Artemis Fowl (1/8)

**updated: 1/9 3 complete

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

See other responses here.

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?

For the most part, I do. And sometimes, when class is in full swing, I'm probably reading more than I want to. I have down time at work to read, and I don't have any family responsibilities (yet) so I can pretty much choose to read or not when I want.

2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

I would read whatever I could get my hands on. I'd like to spend more time reading my Economist magazines, since I paid for them--I never seem to read them as much as I planned.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review: Creepers

by Joanne Dahme

Creepers is a different take on a ghost story. (See a synopsis here.) The story itself is compelling enough to read to the end---I'm such a sucker for a ghostly mystery, but the writing itself feels a little stilted and forced. I would have also preferred more character development.

What is most impressive about this book is the book itself. The typography and the design, the ivy seems to overtake the book---I wish more books were like this. It is a total experience--and it adds to the book, it doesn't distract.

I'm unsure whether to recommend this book. On one hand the book itself is worth the experience. On the other hand, I think the writing leaves something to be desired. If you are looking for a ghost story that is a little different---and this is definitely a good ghost story for young adults---and don't mind that this isn't the best book you'll read this year, then pick it up. It is a quick read. I'll give it 3 out of 5.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Review: The Heretic's Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter
by Kathleen Kent

I've always found books about the Salem witch trials, or that general time period interesting. So I was really excited to get this book from Hatchette. But I had no idea how great it was really going to be.

This book is the story of Sarah Carrier, the daughter of Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be tried and hanged in Salem. The author is actually a distant descendant of Martha, which is interesting but not really relevant to the story. (See a full synopsis and sample chapter here.)

This book isn't really about the witch trials and it isn't really about the Puritan religion. It is about family and love in the face of fear and persecution. Family relationships can be so complicated, when the author gets it right it can make for an amazing story. The language is absolutely beautiful, almost haunting. The family's time in the prison cells and Sarah's eventual understanding of her father really hits home.

I highly recommend this book. 5 out of 5

Teaser Tuesdays

See other Teasers at Should Be Reading.

I'd kill the woman, too, I thought, feeling a wave of weariness sweep through my body. The woman I'd never seen. The bikers I'd never actually seen, only heard, felt.

From pg 80 of Shakespeare's Landlord, by Charlaine Harris

Mailbox Monday

Well, better late than never!

See other Mailbox Monday's at The Printed Page.

This past week I received:

  • A Fortunate Age, Joanna Smith Rakoff from Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club
  • Ruby Among Us, Tina Ann Forkner, which I won from Goodreads
  • Gods Behaving Badly, Marie Phillips, from Hatchette (I'm excited about this one, I've been wanting to read it since it was originally published.)
I think I'm forgetting something. But that's about it for the past week. It is good things have slowed a bit, my new bookshelf is already overflowing!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Salon (12/7/2008)

Well, I've been a little more productive reading-wise this week, although, as far as life stuff goes, I've kind of been a waste of space.

I finished up the Sookie Stackhouse series this week (Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, and From Dead to Worse) all of which I loved, and none of which I have written a review for as of yet. I also finished The Heretic's Daughter, which I had started in November, but had to set aside for school reading. I absolutely loved it. I want to write a good review for it, so it will have to wait until after my paper is finished. I just finished Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star (Book 2) not 5 minutes ago. Holy cow, what an ending. I'm going to have to run out and get the third book soon. I also read Creepers by Joanne Dahme, although not the best YA reading, it was a quick and enjoyable---definitely an interesting twist to a scary story.

I've been doing a lot of reading because I have a paper due and I'm the World's Greatest Procrastinator.

I posted some reviews this week, all for books I read for class:
And I joined the Series Challenge 3. I'm already making good progress on this one.

Now I actually have to sit down and write this paper.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Review: The Devil's Highway

The Devil's Highway: A True Story
by Luis Alberto Urrea

*Instead of writing a review I'm just posting the journal I wrote for class.

The most notable use of style in The Devil’s Highway is Urrea’s use of the second person point of view. He turns the reader into a participant instead of a bystander. It is definitely an effective technique for this story. In fact it is almost too effective. His descriptions of the dryness and heat of the desert and subsequently the men’s horrible descent into death were very difficult to finish. I don’t want to go back and find a quote. I had a physical reaction to his descriptions: I found myself refilling my glass of ice water every few paragraphs and sending my sister who was across the room uncomfortable glances.

But despite this physical reaction, this book is not as effective in fulfilling its purpose as say Into the Wild. The section about immigration policies is more of an afterthought than a true indictment. So this horrible thing happened—now what? That’s the question I’m asking after suffering through the 26’s journey through the desert. For all the heart wrenching description, this book is missing something. At the end of this book I am horrified by what people have to go through to try and get into this country. But I don’t have a better understanding of immigration policy or politics—I don’t have an opinion—I’m not fired up. At the end of Into the Wild, I was overflowing with opinion about Alex McCandless and his doomed quest. Krakauer gave me insight into his life and his thoughts. I was angry and frustrated; I wanted to talk about what I had read. I felt as though I had understood something fundamental about McCandless, and I disagreed with it. After reading The Devil’s Highway, just felt beat up and thirsty. There was nothing with which to agree or disagree. There is only horror: this is happening and I had no idea. This subject begs for a solution or at least movement towards a solution, but Urrea doesn’t make that leap—to the book’s detriment.

After trudging through Friday Night Lights, I thought it would be a relief to read a shorter book. This book is very effective at horrifying the reader. But Urrea leaves me wanting more. I want more about the desert’s history. I want more about the men and their families. I want more about the coyote system. (I want less about death by heat stroke.) I want more about our border control system. I want something beyond the horrific.

Booking Through Thursday

See other submissions here.

1. Do you have a favorite author?

It is really hard to pin one down because I read so many genres, and it is often hard to compare authors. I really enjoy Jasper Fforde and Christopher Moore for humorous fiction, Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan for fiction, Jon Krakauer for nonfiction, Phillip Pullman and J.K. Rowling for YA...I could go on all day, but you get the idea.

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

I've read all of Jasper Fforde and I buy his books as soon as they come out. I even got to meet him last year and have him sign some of my books! I've read a bunch of Christopher Moore, and I'm working on completing him---same for Philip Pullman and Rowling. I've read 3 of Krakauer's books and I'm about to write a paper about him.

3. Did you LIKE everything?

I've loved all their books. Although, I had some issues with On Chesil Beach, by McEwan. Why does the woman have to be so unbelievably lacking in sexuality?

4. How about a least favorite author?

My first reaction is Dave Eggers. I absolutely hated that "memoir" of his. I'll give him the section about his dying mother...but he (as in his writing voice) just drives me nuts. I'll be the first to admit I don't get it.

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

C. S. Lewis. I wanted to love Narnia, but I just couldn't get into it no matter how hard I tried.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Review: Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream
by H. G. Bissinger

This is the book that the movie and the TV show are based off of. I've never seen either, but I suspect that they are not much like the book.

I slogged through this book in two days so I would have it read for class. It was a slow read, and I wish I had given myself more time to read it. There is a lot of information in this book.

It isn't a book so much about football, as it is about the small Texas town of Odessa. Bissinger spent an entire year in Odessa, following the team around and it is clear that he spent every waking moment with them. The characters are fleshed out, the history of the town and of Texas football politics is extensive, the cultural and racial ramifications are at the forefront.

The most shocking piece of information in the book is that the Odessa school system was not desegregated until the early 1980s. The town managed to keep the school system segregated a solid 20 years longer than most. I just couldn't believe it. I'm from southeastern Virgina, where desegregation didn't go over so well either---the Norfolk school system shut down for 2 years because of it. I had to ask my father about it. He is almost 60 and went to school in the 60s. Even he was shocked to hear the schools had not been integrated.

I didn't think I'd relate to this book, since I know little to nothing about football. But I did. The descriptions of the pressure put on these teens to play and perform at perfection through injury, sickness, and heat, was all too familiar. The "this is all your life is worth" approach to sports is prevalent not just in football-crazed towns. These kids are told they are worth something because they can play football---they are never prepared for life beyond their senior year, which makes the end all the more disapointing and drastic. I saw this over and over again at my highschool---with softball players, baseball players, football players, you name it. Highschool ends and life is over. Weak attempts to continue "the dream" in junior colleges; education set aside for unattainable glory. Makes me glad I got out when I did.

I recomend this book to readers of nonfiction, and those interested in learning about small town America. 4 1/2 out of 5.

Review: The Liar's Club

The Liar's Club
by Mary Karr

See a synopsis here.

I read this book for the first time when I was a junior in college--so around 2004ish. It was one of the first memoirs I had ever read, and I thought it was one of the most amazing books ever written. I devoured other memoirs after this, looking to relive that experience. Nothing comes close. This is the definitive memoir.

I reread it for my nonfiction class, and the second time around it did not disappoint. Her ability to convey humor through the horrific scenes of her childhood is amazing. She weaves her childhood memories and her adult reflections around the story of her mother's mental collapse. This is family myth and storytelling at its finest.

I recommend this to everyone. I'd even go so far as to say it is required reading for any serious reader. Obviously, I give this one 5 stars.

Playing Catch Up

In the interest of catching up on my posts, I'm going to change the format of my reviews somewhat. I don't really write true reviews anyway, I just call them that for simplicity. I don't know if this will stick, but I want to write something about the books I've read, I just don't have the energy to go all out.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Series Challenge 3

Kathrin at Crazy Cozy Murders is hosting a series challenge. Here are the rules:

The challenge starts December 1st, 2008 and goes until November 30th, 2009.

The rules are easy:

1) Pick a couple series you already started and now want to finish (meaning, you'll be all up to date with the series when it ends).

2) Read at least 4 books, more are also okay, of course!

3) Post your review of the books on your blog or in the comment section, no matter how long. If you post the review on your blog, please post a link to the review in the comment section so that everyone else can check out your review.

I've been reading a lot of series this year, so this will help me organize my series reading. A lot of these will also count for YA reading.

Southern Vampire:
Percy Jackson
  • The Last Olympian
The 39 Clues
  • One False Note
  • War and Pieces
  • Breaking Dawn
Octavian Nothing
  • The Kingdom of the Waves

November 2008 Wrap-Up

My hope that November would be a better reading month than October fell through, but I did manage to read two more books than in October, thanks mostly to Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse. Here's my list:

  1. An Abundance of Katherines, John Green (11/2) (review)
  2. Club Dead, Charlaine Harris (11/4) (review)
  3. Twinkie, Deconstructed, Steve Ettlinger (11/5) (review)
  4. The Borden Tragedy, Rick Geary (11/9)
  5. Dead to the World, Charlaine Harris (11/18) (review)
  6. Dead as a Doornail, Charlaine Harris (11/19) (review)
  7. Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell (11/20) (review)
  8. The Liar's Club, Mary Karr (11/24)
  9. Friday Night Lights, H. G. Bissinger (11/25)
  10. Definitely Dead, Charlaine Harris (11/27)
  11. The Devil's Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea (11/30)
I'm still reading:
  • Drood---which I SWEAR I'm going to finish this week if it kills me.
  • The Heretic's Daughter
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma
  • The Secret Adversary (on Daily Lit)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (on Daily Lit)
and I'm going to start All Together Dead today at work.

I also joined several challenges:

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Mondays are hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. See other posts here.

I came home from my parent's house to a huge box of books!! I mentioned these in an earlier post when I ordered them, but here they are again:

  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
  • The Amulet of Samarkand
  • Creepers
  • Skin Hunger
  • The Likeness
  • The Hunger Games
  • Fledgling
  • Blood and Chocolate

I also received Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, and From Dead to Worse earlier last week. I read Definitely Dead over the holiday. I'll write a review soon.

And from I received The Wizard of Earthsea and Shakespeare's Companion.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is hosted by Just One More Page. See other answers here.

With the holiday season now upon us, how does it affect your reading? Do you have more, or less, time to read at Christmas? Do you read Christmas themed/related books?

Well, since my class will be ending in a week, I'll have more time to dedicate to reading. I also don't have a very long Christmas break from work this year, so I'll probably get a lot of reading done at work. (It will be very slow here.) Usually, I have a harder time reading at my parent's house---there are more demands for my time when I'm there. I'm hoping to crank out some books this December.