January 7th, 2012


Book #3 down

Finished Book #3, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the 2nd book in The Hunger Games Trilogy.  It was by far my favorite book.  The Capitol is so twisted and the end was such a cliffhanger.  Thank goodness I was able to start reading Mockingjay immediately afterwards :)

I'm about 1/3 of the way through Mockingjay and I like it, but it is different from the the first two books.  Catching Fire is still my favorite at the moment.  I'm hoping to finish Mockingjay this weekend :)

With that said, can anyone recommend some dystopian-like novels, similar to The Hunger Games series?  I still need to add to my 50 book challenge list.  I currently have George Orwell's 1984 (I have never read it, how sad!), Lauren Oliver's Delirium, Veronica Roth's Divergent and LaHaye, Jenkins' Left Behind on my list.

List of other books behind the cut, in no particular reading order.

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Bendy Dick

book #1: Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

I'm not usually a reader of the mushy, goopy romance novels or anything really involving a girl...being a girl. But loving the 1920's as I do, I first sought after this novel, not actually reading the plot of it beforehand, just knowing I wanted to read.

Honestly? I'm glad I did. It was a quick and easy read (in my life, that's really all I want to handle right now) but very, very enjoyable from beginning to end. While not based IN the '20's, there were many references that made my heart swell. The writing as well, for such an simplistic book was remarkable. I never thought I could find myself getting emotionally invested, but I was tearing up by the end of it.

If you guys are looking for a quick, light-hearted read, this is the one for you.

Now onto book #2- Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris.
book and cup

#2 Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy (1874)

Read for my Hardy reading challenge/reading group a re-read of a novel I first read when I was about 18 (for pleasure not O or A levels )

Far from the Madding Crowd is perhaps the most pastoral of Hardy's Wessex novels. It tells the story of the young farmer Gabriel Oak and his love for and pursuit of the elusive Bathsheba Everdene, whose wayward nature leads her to both tragedy and true love. It tells of the dashing Sergeant Troy whose rakish philosophy of life was '...the past was yesterday; never, the day after'. And lastly, of the introverted and reclusive gentleman farmer, Mr Boldwood, whose love fills him with '...a fearful sense of exposure', when he first sets eyes on Bathsheba. The background of this tale is the Wessex countryside in all its moods.

This is a beautiful pastoral Hardy novel, the first to use the fictional term of Wessex for Hardy's Dorsetshire countryside. I found it an absolute joy to read, and can't imagine why anyone wouldn't. Certainly this novel has more reason to make to reader cheer at certain points than some other famous Hardy works. Far from the Madding crowd seems to be a more ambitious work for Hardy, than his first 3 published novels. It is also deeply romantic, brooding and enormously readable. The story of Bathsheba Everdene a willful, independent farmer, who is object of heroic Gabriel Oak's love, Farmer Boldwood's obsession, and Sergeant Troy's dashing flirtations. The twists and turns in the fortunes of these four people is what makes this such a page turner still. In the midst of this wonderful story we have many of Hardy's themes of rural life, marriage and social convention. Hardy's descriptions of countryside, agricultural and rural life are wonderfully atmospheric. As are the minor eccentric rural characters who befriend Oak and work for Bathsheba.
Needless to say I loved every bit of it, Hardy's writing is breathtakingly good.

Book #2: 'Exit the Actress' - Priya Parmar

Read: 2nd January 2012 
Rating:  1 star out of 5 (*)

It's rare that I feel compelled to provide a review of this book, but I feel I must in this instance, both as a historian with an academic interest in the area and a voracious reader of historical fiction. 

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(Cross Posted from my Goodreads account)

Defining My Reading Chalenge

Since it's hard for me to get access to new books at the moment, I think this year's fifty book chalenge will just be reading sa many books as I can, regardless of whether I've already read them or not. It's been so long since I just sat down with a book and read it anyway that I think it'll be nice to just get back into it again.

So, instead of Fever Dream being my first book, because I can't read it right now, I think I'm going to get my copy of Little Women down off the shelf and start that again. So book number 1 of 2012 will be Little Women.

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I finished my first book of 2012 today and it was a good one.

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley is the fourth and latest in the Flavia de Luce series. It's just as good as the previous three and I'm already looking forward to the next one!

This is a series of smart, funny, and touching mysteries...but it's not just for avid readers of mysteries. For some reason, I (very) rarely read mysteries but I love these. I'm guessing I'm not alone in this and recommend it to others who don't consider themselves "mystery-readers."

Who else loves this series? :) Tell me in the comments!

nerd gohan

Last three books of 2011, plans for 2012

Finally got around to reading The Hunger Games, and while I didn't fall madly in love w/ the series, it was definitely a worthwhile read.

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 374
Rating: 4/5
Book: 27/50

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 391
Rating: 4/5
Book: 28/50

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 390
Rating: 3/5
Book: 29/50

After several friends telling me I absolutely had to read this series, one of them finally swayed me to go through with it. I read all three books back-to-back, and it was a pretty satisfying experience in that it felt very... complete. I feel like for the most part Collins told a very parred down story, only giving as much (or as little) information as necessary, but it still felt thoroughly developed and not lacking in any way. The first two books felt much more tightly woven than the last one – Mockingjay felt a bit more chaotic and less focused, which is partly why I wouldn't rate it as highly as the others.

29 / 50 books. 58% done!

I fell decidedly short of my goal of 50 books, excluding rereads, in 2011. Pretty sure I can attribute this to a dramatic change in my reading habits when I started my job in April – I read fewer books & more newspaper/magazine/online articles. For 2012, I plan to keep track of both fresh reads & rereads, but instead of aiming to complete a set number of books, I'd like for at least 2/3 of my reads to be fresh reads. My purpose in joining this community was to make a dent in my never-ending to-read list, & that's still a more significant goal for me than overall volume.
books, reading

Challenge Accepted - Book #1

"The Angel" by Carla Neggers.  Not a bad book, not necessarily one to keep you on the edge of your seat, but a good one to pass the time on the train or while on your lunch break.  One part romance, one part detective novel, one part mystery thriller.  Plot involves an Irish folk tale involving 3 brothers, angels and fairies and then the author throws the devil in there for good measure.  I found the end to be a bit drug out once the mystery was solved, but then at least it didn't really leave any loose ends.  I'm thinking about acquiring the next book by this author, "The Mist" which seems to involve a few of the characters from this book.
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Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall

Book #1 of 2012.  Born To Run by Christopher McDougall

  I read it in less than 2 days.  ...made me want to start munching on pinole and chia... and go running barefoot.  Such an inspiring and fascinating read. 

and... something i'm really interested to try:  Tita's flapjacks!  I think I might start experimenting with her secret ingredients of "boiled rice, overripe bananas, a little cornmeal, and fresh goat milk"

Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson

Ok, this year I am actually taking this challenge seriously, and as it's been a year since I graduated uni I am hoping I will be able to stand looking at printed words on a page for longer this time. Also, I got a nook for Xmas, which should help some.

Book 1. Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson.

I started this book in November of 2011 and for all that it's short and not a hard read, I had a difficult time getting through it. I read it on a recommendation from my brother. I really liked Treasure Island and so assumed I would like Kidnapped as well but I found David Balfour too whiny and so had a hard time keeping momentum as I was reading it.

I did enjoy the way Stevenson illustrated the accent of the characters, I liked Alan, and I liked the beginning well enough though I thought from the start that David complained too much. Once he got to the island though, I quickly lost interest. I still have the rest of his books to read, and I hope I enjoy them a lot more than I did this one.