July 2nd, 2010

(no subject)

Hello everyone! I started the year for this challenge on June 1st, and these are the books I've read since then! 

1. This is Where I Leave You- Jonathan Tropper
    A hilarious novel about an extremely dysfunctional family coming together after the passing of the patriarch. The siblings of the family are dealing with marriage, pregnancy, divorce, death, and love- all at once. The mother of the family is still too involved in her children's lives and is waiting with a surprise of massive proportions. Tropper's characters are three dimensional people with traits both good and bad, they make bad decisions but, at the end of the day, they still love each other. It's the well drawn out characters and the hilarious situations surrounding the family's reunion( one particular scene involving the main character and birthday cake still makes me giggle) that makes reading "This is Where I Leave You" such a pleasure. My Opinion: 3/5

2. It's Kind of a Funny Story- Ned Vizzini
      Inspired by the author's stay in an adult psychiatric ward as a teenager, "It's Kind of a Funny Story" is one of my new favorite novels, but it doesn't come without it's problems. The novel is written wonderfully and presents an almost perfect picture of what depression feels like- the numbness of the disorder comes through sharply- and the main character, Craig Gilner, is equally amazing. However, some of the other characters felt underwritten and some of the situations felt forced. As a YA novel, the topic of mental illness is addressed, but not a way I find too aggreable. All of the characters have issues, but none of them seem sick enough to require hospitalization. But that might be the psych major in me speaking. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable book with some minor issues. My Opinion: 3.5/5

3. Mansfield Park- Jane Austen
       By reading this book I've finished all of Ms. Austen's novels and while she remains my favorite author, this is not my favorite novel of hers. It seems a bit more vicious than her other novels, a bit crueler in the fates of some of the characters. Also, I had some problems with the character of Fanny Price; she seemed a bit (okay, a lot) more passive in the novel's situations- the attentions of Henry Crawford (the best character of the novel), her own attractions- she acted on nothing, and was praised for everything! Put her in Forks, Washington and switch Edmund's name a bit and you have Bella Swan! Sorry for that. In all honesty, if it wasn't one of Ms. Austen's novels, I probably wouldn't have read it. My Opinion: 2.5/ 5

4. Let the Great World Spin- Colum McCann
       My favorite novel of the ones I've been able to read recently, and, in fact, one of my new favorite novels. McCann creates so many different, exciting characters and writes such  breathtakingly beautiful scenes and descriptions. I really can't wait to re-read it. My Opinion: 5/5.

Happy reading everybody!

Jazzy Looking Around the Corner

June Reads

52.  The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy  This is a good saga of a mother daughter who are seperated when the mother, Helen McMahan runs off to be with her first love in London.  While she is starting her new life with Louis her first and only love everyone thinks that she has drowned in the lake.  Her daughter, Kit had burned the letter before reading it and before anyone else can read it, because she wants her mother to be buried in the churchyard and she would be unable to do so if she had committed suicide.  Helen only married the local pharmacist in Lough Glass in order to escape the memory of her first love who had left her.  Helen does start up a correspondence with her daughter, Kit using her new identity that she is using in London.  This is a good book about how several lives are affected by one event and one action of a young girl.
 
53.  Fragile by Chris Katsaropoulos  This is an interesting book with an interesting plot showing three different characters.  Amelia is an old maid who has kept herself pure  for her first love Tris who had left her fifty years ago.  While preparing for her fifty year high school reunion she has single mom Holly fix her hair up who is a single mom who has to always be in a relationship with a man no matter how good they are to her and her kids.  Tris is trapped in a loveless marriage, marrying his college sweetheart in order to avoid making the same mistake with his wife that he had made with Amelia.  This book changes point of view with no advance notice and there are places where it is hard to determine the change in the point of view.
54.  Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber
55.  Beguiled by Deanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand  This book is set in Charleston, SC and is about a dogwalker who walks in during a robbery of the home that she is petsitting for.  She meets Logan, a reporter who is terrified of dogs and who is writing a book about a series of breakins called the Robin Hood burglaries.  He enlists the help of Raylee, the dogwalker since most of the victims are clients of hers.  Logan gets to know her personally and even discovers about her hidden past some things even Raylee doesn't even remember.
56.  Bright Lights Big Ass by Jen Lancaster  The author is writing about her life in Chicago though she has downsized her lifestyle since the beginning of her first book.  Having both her and her husband lose their jobs at the same time was a humbling experience for her and even caused her to change her spending habits though her attitude stays the same.  She is working at temp jobs before her first book comes out and her husband is working at a new job that she doesn't fully understand.  Both her and her husband are childfree and there are a few places in the book where she points it out.  She sees her dogs and her cats as her babies which is sweet.
57.  Just Like Ice Cream by Lissa Halls Johnson  This book is about a young pregnant teen's struggle with her pregnancy and the choices that are available to her.  She has a hard time deciding which option would be best for her unborn child.  You also see the fantasy world that she has set up for herself with the baby's father.
58.  A New Song by Jan Karon  In this sixth book in the Mitford series, we see Father Tim and his wife Cynthia travel to Whitecap to become the interim minister at the parish there.  You meet a new cast of characters that are as interesting and as colorful as the characters in Mitford who do make an occasional appearance in this book.  This book talks more about faith and believing in God than the other books do.
59.  The Cat Who Turned On and Off by Lilian Jackson Braun  This is the third book in the Cat Who series where Koko and his owner Qwill work together to solve the mystery of the murder of a local antiques dealer.  When Qwill goes into Junktown in order to write a story for the Daily Fluxion he discovers that it isn't the slum that he had imagined it would be but that it was a popular location for antique dealers that has a variety of colorful characters as residents.  This is a good mystery book with the suprise at the end on the culprit's identity.
60.  Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery  This final book of the Anne of Green Gables series shows Anne's and Gilbert's children during World War I.  Three of her children go off to Europe to fight in the war in the Canadian army while two of her daughters are working for the Red Cross in Kingsport.  Rilla the youngest of the Blythe children stays at home during the war but organizes a Junior Red Cross in Glen St. Mary.  This book focuses mostly on Rilla's point of view who has a sweetheart and three brothers fighting the war.  There are some sweet points in the book such as Jem's dog waiting for him to come back from the war at the train station during the entire war and there are some moments that are sad as well.
 

did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #34 -- Robin M. Hastings, Microblogging and Lifestreaming in Libraries, 105 pages.

Guidebook that explains how to set up Twitter, Tumblr, FriendFeed, etc. accounts for your library and how to make the best use of them.

Book #35 -- Mike Wilks, Mirrorscape, 324 pages.

A lovely YA fantasy set in a world in which the Mysteries - corrupt guild-like agencies - regulate everything, including the right to create anything new. Melkin Womper, apprentice to the master painter, discovers that the best artists can create doorways to the worlds depicted in their paintings. Soon he and his friends are caught up in a struggle against the Mysteries that leads them into danger on both sides of the canvas.

Progress toward goals: 181/365 = 49.6%

Books: 35/100 = 35.0%

Pages: 9183/25000 = 36.7%

2010 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven
yomiko readman

June 2010 Reading

June reading:

39. The Midnight Hunt, by L.L. Raand (272 pages)
Lesbian urban fantasy, concentrated on werewolves and a little on vampires. It's okay, but is essentially a smut-fest with little character or plot development. If it really needed to concentrate so much on sex and mating and male-like genitalia, it really should've been 200 pages longer to actually have a STORY. The POV shifts are jarring, as well. It shifts from one point of view to another randomly. Also, even though I'm a lesbian myself, the "almost everyone is lesbian" thing irritated me.

40. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, by Mario Acevedo (354 pages)
The first of another urban fantasy series, but with a decidedly different style than what I've previously read. I actually really liked it.

41. X-Rated Blood Suckers, by Mario Acevedo (370 pages)
Continuation. I really like the Chicano twist to the typical urban fantasy. The main character is likeable, too. Definitely recommend this series.

42. The Undead Kama Sutra, by Mario Acevedo (368 pages)
Another continuation. I like where the plot goes. Looking forward to the next book.

43. Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys (190 pages)
Had to read this one. Part of a book list I need to finish. It was supposedly inspired by Jane Eyre, which I haven't read. It was rather well-written, about the descent of a woman into madness.

44. Dubliners, by James Joyce (176 pages)
Great read, but one that takes FOREVER. The stories are subtle and beautiful, though, so it was worth it.

45. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov (317 pages)
I don't think I've ever been quite so disturbed by a book as Lolita. Beautifully written, but it was disturbing to feel as though you were supposed to root for the pedophile.

46. Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (268 pages)
He's regarded as the father of the Japanese short story. This particular book contains short stories and also the autobiographical pieces that were published after his suicide, which he apparently wrote knowing he intended to kill himself. Very interesting style, and an enjoyable read--though it would be easier with footnotes instead of endnotes!

June book pages: 2,315

Total book pages: 14,961

Progress: 46/50

Next on my list: Mrs Dalloway, House of Mirth, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Going to Meet the Man, etc.


Comic books/Manga:

None

Total comic book/manga pages: 7,919

Next on my list: several Doctor Who comics, Dragon Knights, Hunter x Hunter, issues of Shonen Jump

January 2010 Reading
February 2010 Reading
March 2010 Reading
April 2010 Reading
May 2010 Reading

A few more...

Here's a few more off the list. By the way, if my summaries/ opinions are brief, my apologies. I'm typing these from my blackberry, and it's a bit of an inconvenience.

7. Maldoror- The Comte De Lautreamont. I don't really know how to explain this one. Disturbing poetic short stories about a man who is more like a beast. From murder to beastiality. (I feel like I said that wrong. But you get it.)
8. Venus On The Half Shell- Philip Jose Farmer. Sci-fi. Quick read. Man explores various planets with his lady of sorts and dog.
9. Riddley Walker- Russell Hoban. Hard to get into the dialogue, it's set in the future after men have lost most of their knowledge.
10. To Your Scattered Bodies Go- Philip Jose Farmer. First in The Riverworld series. Humans wake up from their death to find they've been brought back to life on a new planet. I'm undecided about this book, but I plan to keep going with the series.
11. Anne Of Avonlea- L.M. Montgomery. I've always loved Anne. It was nice to see the next part in her life.
12. Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte. Re-read for me. I love this book. The first time I didn't. But now I've learned to appreciate the relationship dynamics.
13. Buzzing- Jim Knipfel. Crazy story about a journalist who interviews homeless and insane people. Then he gets a conspiracy theory of his own... Can't wait to read some more by him.
14. A Drink With Shane MacGowan- Shane MacGowan and Victoria Mary Clarke. Memoirs of the lead singer from The Pogues.
15. Pump Up The Volume- J.S. Feliciano. Good book. The movie follows it perfectly. Hugh school student hosts his own radio show, to get out his angst against parents and a school with some guidance issues.