Friday, May 30, 2008
Southern Reading Challenge, Herding Cats
I've seen this book listed on every list of books where people get to nominate their favorite books, and now I know why. Set in South Carolina in 1964, against the civil rights backdrop, it is the story of a young girl trying to find someone to care about her, a mother to love her. Lily runs away from her widowed father, T Ray, with her black housekeeper, as Lily is looking for some connection to her mother. She ends up at a pink house with three black bee keeping sisters in a neighbouring community. There she learns about bees, love, forgiveness, and mothers.
I would put this one on the short list of books worth reading again. The spiritual level of looking for forgiveness and finding love within yourself, as exemplified with the Black Madonna Mary was beautiful. The writing of Kidd to set the scene of South Carolina in the summer was breath taking, and I couldn't wait to immerse myself in her world every time I picked up the book. The voice of the narrator was wise and yet oh so human, with emotions of love and jealousy and anger. But the overall strength of the women was my favorite part, and an antidote after the past few books I've read. It made me proud to be a woman and see some amazing girl power.
Having said that about girl power, T Ray and his cranky foul moods and his behavior at the end made me really wonder about him. What was he like when Lily's mom met him? How did he deal with her abandonment and then death? What were his thoughts about Lily? He is a character that I would like to read this story of from his perspective. Did he analyze his actions and their ramifications afterward? I just feel there was a lot more to T Ray, and he could star in his own novel.
If you've written a review of this book, leave me a link in the comments.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
1.) What country do you always go back to in your travels (not just while reading for OT)?
England would be my favorite country to read about. I live in Canada, and see so much America that those settings are not that unusual, but England is one of my favorite settings.
2.) If you could visit
Thailand (Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding)
Portugal (Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali)
Iceland (Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason)
Ireland (all Maeve Binchy)
I didn't even mention England. I'd love to go to England for all the books I've read.
ex: Neverland to see the subways, Pillars of the Earth for the cathedrals, Bridget Jones for modern London, the countryside for all the novels set during WW2, Bath for Northanger Abbey, the castles and country mansions from the Victorian novels, the monastery from the Brother Cadfael mysteries, and so on.
3.) Have you ever dreamed about a country you have read about, that you have never actually traveled to- except in your dreams?
I seldom remember my dreams, so I can't really answer this one.
5.) What countries have you felt your judgment was off about-after reading about that nation?
6.) Which is your favourite book that you would recommend for this challenge (you don't have to have read it during the challenge)?
7.) I am thinking about hosting again, for a full year next time starting in January, do you have any constructive criticism, is one book a month about right...more? less? Give me some thoughts.
8.) Anything else that you have been wanting to tell us all about? let us have it!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
John is at it again, planning another spectacular Canadian book challenge extravaganza. We had so much fan this past year, reading our Canadian books (either by, or about.) There were puzzles for prizes (I won a book), and the coolest monthly wrap-ups on the blogosphere. Last time I read the White Stripes Way - 13 books one for each province. While I enjoyed that last time, I will try a different method this time. John has 13 different options for choosing your books. Get it, 13?
This time, I was thinking about trying:
2. The Prize Pack- Books that have won awards (Gillers, Governor General, Stephen Leacock, etc)
6. The Double Double- Pick 13 books that also fit the criteria for another book Challenge that you've signed up for.
7. The McClung- How about 13 Canadian books written by women?
I love the names john comes up with for the challenges! It makes me want to pick the double double just for the name. I think I'm planning to pick books from award nominated Canadian authors or books I've mean meaning to read. And many will be used on other challenges, so it's almost a double double, which seems appropriate because I never actually order a double double.
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
The Birth House by Ami McKay
Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
Exit Lines by Joan Barfoot
The Outlander by Gil Adamson
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards
No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
High Spirits by Robertson Davies
Too Close to Home - Linwood Barclay
Remembering the Bones - Frances Itani
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
another Giller winner, maybe Barney's Version
King Leary by Paul Quarrington
Lost Highway by David Adams Richards
View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
In reading, I am in 1964 South Carolina learning all the secrets about bees. What a great book so far! I don't know what I thought it would be about, but so far I am quite absorbed with poor Lily and her sad life. Where is reading taking you today?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Shakespeare Mysteries by Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare's Christmas Dec 2007
Shakespeare's Trollop Jan 13, 2008
Shakespeare's Counselor Feb 9, 2008
Gardella Vampire by Colleen Gleason
The Bleeding Dusk Mar 21/08
Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic & Baby Mar 12/08
continuing series books:
Miss Julia Takes Over by Ann B Ross Mar 28/08
Terra Cotta Dog 2002 (Il cane di terracotta - 1996) by Andrea Camilleri Mar 10/08
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde Mar 19/08
The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith May 24/08
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde Jan 25/08
Silence of the Grave (Icelandic: Grafarþögn) by Arnaldur Indridason Feb 08
Booked to Die by John Dunning Feb 3/08
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale May 10/08
I believe that Kathrin is hosting Series Challenge Season II, from June 1 - December 1, 2008. I'm not sure why a challenge helps a person like me read a particular book, but it seems to give me a focus. I've got a whole blog full of series I'm keeping track of, so there are lots more to read, plus I keep starting new ones.
How to be a Canadian - Will and Ian Ferguson - Alberta
The Call of the Wild - Jack London - Yukon
Latitudes of Melt - Joan Clark - Newfoundland & Labrador
Yellowknife - Steve Zipp - Northwest Territories
The End of East - Jen Sookfong Lee - British Columbia
All in Together Girls - Kate Sutherland - Saskatchewan
Lorelei - Lori Derby Bingley - PEI
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz -Mordecai Richler - Quebec
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures -Vincent Lam - Ontario
Hockey Dreams - David Adams Richard - New Brunswick
a boy of good breeding - Miriam Toews - Manitoba
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood -Alistair MacLeod - Nova Scotia
The Inuk Mountie Adventure - Eric Wilson - Nunavut
Favorite Book: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
Breakdown: 2 short story collections, 2 nonfiction, 2 childrens, 1 Giller winner, 2 books by bloggers
thanks to john mutford for hosting, to Zachariah Wells for donating the poetry book I won. I don't need a challenge to read Canadian books but it is lots of fun when other people are reading them too, and I am learning about authors I haven't read before.
See ya July 1st to start again, ya hosers.
Canadian Book Challenge: Alberta
I had previously started reading Why I Hate Canadians by Will Ferguson but couldn't get into it at all. I thought it was supposed to be funny, but it seemed more of a real nonfiction book, with real analysis. Maybe it was jsut my mood at the time. When I went ot the library to reborrow it, I found How to Be a Canadian (Even if you Already are One ) instead. This is the sequel of sorts, but it was also much funnier. I was reading passages outloud to my husband again and giggling like mad in other parts. It felt a bit dated in parts, as it is from 2001 and the political humor lost a little something after seven years.
With chapters on language, leisure, cuisine, and a cross country tour, our combined culture is ripe for satire. Beer, hockey, Tim Hortons, the CBC; it's all there. The Ferguson brothers tapped my funny bone. There were lots of stereotypical Canadian jokes, but it was the perfect book to finish up the Canadian Book Challenge with.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
African Reading Challenge: Botswana; series challenge
Book four starring Mma Precious Ramotswe and all is well. She is still engaged to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, and although a wedding date does not seem imminent, Mma seems happy. Not much happens in these books but a lovely philosophy of life, a respect of the old ways, and the usual human conditions of adultery, theft, and competition that are complicating life. Precious deals with the people around her in her indomitable yet quiet style. Bush tea is drunk and the standards of society are respected. I haven't read this series in quite a while and I am glad to have re found these books.
Stephanie Nolan's book, 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa, explained how AIDS is not named, just called that illness. I was wondering if AIDS would be a part of the story, because with infection rates as high as they are, it would have to in order for the setting to be realistic. Sure enough, this book included that habit, as well as grandmothers raising their grand babies because the adults have died.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Name: It's The End of The World (As We Know It) Challenge
Host: Becky (of Becky's Book Reviews)
Dates: May 2008 - September 15, 2008
Books Required: at least three
I loved the dystopian books I read last year, and there are a few more left to try. Enough to make a list and I can pick three, or even find another good one:
Children of Men - PD James
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (completed Oct 26/08)
There are lists and lists at wikipedia on dystopian, apocolyptic novels, if you are looking for some other ideas.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
- Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009.
- You must have at least FIVE different awards in your ten titles.
- Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
- You don't have to post your choices right away, and your list can change at any time.
- 'Award winners' is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs, keeping in mind Rule #2.
- SIGN UP using Mr. Linky here.
- Have fun reading!
I'm in! I did really well on this last year, and I like the idea of the 5 different awards.
Awards I'll look into include, listed with books I already own:
1925 So Big by Edna Ferber (decades)
1995 The Stone Diaries by Shields (2nd Canadian Challenge)
2000 Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards (2nd Canadian Challenge)
1970 The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
1987 Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (also Nebula Award)
2006 Lisey's Story by Stephen King
Royal Society Prize
2000 The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene (Science Reading Challenge)
2007 Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson (What an Animal!)
2008 The Road Home, Rose Tremain (Orange January)
Full lists to be completed later.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
- The Remains of the Day - Ishiguru '89 Winner
- Life and Times of Michael K - Coetzee '83 Winner
- The Gathering - Anne Enright '07 Winner
- Atonement - Ian McEwan (book awards) '02 shortlist
- In the Country of Men - Hisham Matar (notable) '06 shortlist
- Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones (Orbis Terrarum) '07 shortlist
The best of this group was Remains of the Day and the least likable was Life and Times of Michael K.
Thanks to Dewey for hosting this challenge to read 6 books, either winners or shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I decided to split the challenge and did 3 winners and 3 short list. I will still keep reading these, because the Booker lists appeal to me for some reason. There is a lot more action to do with Bookers over at the Booker Project - trying to read all the Booker Winners, in however long it takes you.
Man Booker challenge (shortlist 2006); African Reading challenge (Libya); Orbis Terrarum challenge; notable book challenge
I usually try not to use the same book for too many challenges, but this one took me so long to read I am going to use it where ever I can. It is a well lauded book; the cover lists all sorts of important awards it was nominated for, but it just didn't resonate with me.
Suleiman narrates his story from his nine year old point of view, which is accurate if you think that nine year olds don't really know what is going on, so neither does the reader. His father is away on business, his mother is 'ill' and requires lots of medicine from the pharmacy. Poor Suleiman can only relate from his perspective, but it left me feeling as confused as a nine year old. The writing was good in that sense. There is also a revolution going on in 1979 Libya, and people are disappearing. Is his father going to be next? Did his father betray they neighbour? There is some Oedipal stuff going on with the love for his mother, and he is trying to be a man but he is simply a kid.
I just didn't get it mostly, but I didn't dislike it. It was one of those books where I know there is more going on, but I couldn't see it. It might make a better discussion book, or if it had Spark notes to go with it so I could read about the symbolism and themes. I don't claim to be very good at seeing the levels in a book. It's so, literary. And lots of people like that in their books, so I don't want to put any one off, but it wasn't enough of a page turner for me. I liked the view of Libya and seeing what life was like in that African country.
If you have also reviewed this book, leave me a link in the comments, so others can see another point of view.
Where is reading taking you today?
Monday, May 19, 2008
2006 Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures -Vincent Lam
2005 We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham
2007 The Road - Cormac McCarthy
1983 Life and Times of Michael K by JM Coetzee
1985 The Bone People - Keri Hulme
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazou Ishiguro
1997 The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
2000 The Blind Assassin - Maragaret Atwood
2007 The Gathering by Anne Enright
2006 Other Colors by Orhan Pamuk
1983 Life and Times of Michael K - JM Coetzee
1961 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
1968 From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by EL Konisburg
1990 Number the Stars - Lois Lowry
1991 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
2004 The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
1986 Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
1997 The Chatham School Affair - Thomas H Cook
2005 Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason
2004 This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun
I enjoyed this challenge, and liked looking into the different awards, since there are a lot out there. My favorite books would have been The Bone People and The Tale of Depereaux, perfect since I read a majority of Booker and Newbery winners. I get to pick two because I read 23 books! I am pleased with the overall quality of the books I read, and that I managed to read from a variety of book awards. There are more books to read and more awards to discover; luckily, I believe 3m is planning another edition.
book awards challenge (NBCC 1993); herding cats challenge
I'm not sure I read this book in the right setting. A story about lessons learned before dying in the electric chair and an amusement park don't really go together, but I had lots of time while watching children ride the roller coaster and merry go round, so I took advantage of the reading time. This Oprah pick of a novel was good and kept my attention, but it's not the type of book that will make me rave.
Grant Wiggins, the teacher on a plantation school, is asked by his aunt to go and visit Jefferson in jail, in the months leading up to Jefferson's execution for a crime he did not commit. Grant is not happy with the way his life is going, and the expectations he feels on placed on him, but in talking to Jefferson, he gains a new view of what it means to live. I gained a new appreciation for life in the 1940s of Louisiana, in which the race relations don't appear to have progressed very far from the slavery days. It was rather scary to realize how desperate the times were for African Americans a relatively short time ago. It was a good read and it feels like an important book. Maggie talks about sense of place in the Southern Reading Challenge, and I really felt it in this book.
from the cover: "Enormously moving ... Gaines unerringly evokes the place and time about which he writes." - Los Angeles Times
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Black Swan Green - David Mitchell
Island of the Blue Dolphins - Scott O'Dell
2. A book with an animal in its title.
The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale
The Terra Cotta Dog - Andrea Camilleri
3. A book with a first name in its title.
Eleanor Rigby - Douglas Coupland
Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. A book with a place in its title.
Yellowknife - Steve Zipp
Amsterdam - Ian McEwan
5. A book with a weather event in its title.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
6. A book with a plant in its title.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
The Grass Harp - Truman Capote
What's in a Name Challenge: weather event; in their shoes challenge, Cardathon challenge; nonfiction five 2008
I haven't laughed out loud while reading a book in quite a while, but Bryson certainly tickled my funny bone with this book. It says memoir, but it is just as much a look at the good old days, the 1950s in America. Bryson makes the argument that the 1950s in Des Moines, Iowa were the best time ever! I loved how Bryson used the exaggerated memory of youth to describe events - there were 800 kids outside, everyday. Part of it is how we always exaggerate when remembering our youth - the scab he nurtured that was one and three quarters inches thick-, so maybe that's why the old days were the best times.
Bryson alternates between his childhood and family, amusingly exaggerated, with the detailed research I associate with Bryson to explain America during times - the economy, the world, Communism and the threat of atomic bombs, and the role of farming in Iowa. He sneaked facts and information into his narrative and left me with an understanding of how we came from the good old days, with the slower pace and easier life, to the fast paced hectic life now.
I grew up in the 1970s and life certainly had changed, but I can see the same relative amount of change today from my childhood. I felt many parallels to Bryson's life: I too led a very happy childhood, nothing traumatic ever happened, I spent the summer outdoors with 800 other neighbourhood children, and the Saturday afternoon matinee was still going on in the 1970s. This was a great read and lots of fun, but also an informative look at how America has changed since 1951.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
- The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
- A Lesson Before Dying - Ernest Gaines
- The Plague - Albert Camus
- So Big - Edna Ferber
- Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Hurston Neal
- Big Stone Gap - Adriana Trigiani
- The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
- Crow Lake - Mary Lawson
- The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
I don't know how I will pick just three. There are so may good books to pick from.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Nonfiction 5 challenge, African Reading Challenge
Twenty eight stories, one for every million people living with HIV/AIDS. Nolen's book has certainly raised my awareness of the disaster in Africa and how it could have been prevented or, at the very least, lessened with quicker action, and more concern and money.
Each chapter looks at a different person, a different country, a different aspect of the crisis. From the orphans to the grandparents to the activists to the prostitutes. From the civil war, to the lack of help, to the pharmaceutical companies and the generic drugs, to the lack of research into the aspects of AIDS that affects Africans more, your heart will be broken twenty eight times. Time and again, the shame and denial that we see here in North America prevented people in Africa from getting the timely help they needed, for the few where health care and ARVs are available. Awareness and help are needed now.
In the words of Nelson Mandela: In the face of the grave threat posed by HIV/AIDS, we have to rise above our differences and combine our efforts to save our people. History will judge us harshly if we fail to do so now, and right now.
Nolen's passion for the continent and the people comes through, and her method of putting a human face on each issues she tackles makes this book a great read. Disturbing, and upsetting, and frustrating, but a great read.
Austen Mini Challenge
I'm not the hugest Jane Austen fan, but I have enjoyed my little forays into her world. I've read two books - Pride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey. Then I watched part of the PBS Austen marathon, including the two novels I read, plus Mansfield Park. And I love Bridget Jones' Diary, which is simply P&P retold, including Colin Firth and Mr Darcy.
Fan or not, this book was enjoyable. I would guess that for the diehards, this book would be fabulous, with all the references to the novels and the abject adoration of Jane evident within the book club. For the casual reader like myself who is a little in awe of the Austenites, and a little scared of them, there is some playful humor making fun of the Jane fans.
Each Austen book gets a meeting and a host, and a chapter. The six members each get a focus of a chapter and we get to see the interactions and events in their lives. There are five women and one man, who could be considered the perfect hero. Different stages of relationships, matchmaking, uneven matches, and lost loves. I'm sure I missed the exact parallels to the novels, but I got quite a few. I was, however, extremely confused by the first person point of view, because it wasn't any of the characters and yet it was all of them. I'm not sure why it wasn't just third person, because the narrator changed around but was present and gave her/his opinion and little comments, but it was impossible to figure out who it was.
There are also tons of quotes at the end regarding Jane, and synopsis of the novels, and questions the characters would have asked at their meeting. The end notes added to the Austen experience.
What a great book to read for the Austen Mini-Challenge, for someone who doesn't want to read another Austen book (they take me forever!) I might still look for Austenland by Shannon Hale but this challenge is completed for me now:
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
There are so many parts to this. There are the books that I can remember my parents read to me - particularly Winnie the Pooh. I don't remember learning to read, I just remember reading.
When I came home from grade 1, I started trying to teach my three year old sister to read.I decided if I could read, so should she. I don't think I taught her to read, but I got her to memorize the book, and the word opossum. My books here included Clifford the Big Red Dog, and a book about a Halloween Witch and how to throw a Halloween party. I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the famous book my mom bought my sister and me: Free to Be, You and Me. What a great collection!
Next phase: chapter books, but we didn't call them that. I loved going to the library and picking out books and bringing a pile home. I really only remember the books I owned, as these are ones that were read over and over again.Bobbsey Twins mysteries [I didn't do Nancy Drew or Hardy boys]
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This Can't be Happening at MacDonald Hall, and the rest of the series by Gordon Korman
The Great Brain, and the rest of the books by JD Fitzgerald
anything by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary
The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
Scholastic Books from the book order like: Follow My Leader, Amy's Room, something about Terri and she started a babysitting business?
There was this book in the elementary school library, and I think it was called Why Me? It was about a girl who developed diabetes, and so did her yellow lab dog and she tries to save it. Does anybody remember this book? Or did anyone else read it? I know I borrowed it several times and read it more than once.
Another book I vaguely remember was about two young kids whose older brothers and sisters go away, probably to school. They leave a series of clues to keep the youngsters amused, with a mystery to solve. It was set in older times, because there was a carriage house with a horse buggy. At one point, the siblings have to help them find a clue, subtly, when they were home for a holiday. Anyone? anyone?
I'm sure people are wondering where Anne of Green Gables is. I don't think I read Anne until I was well into my teens. For my teenage reading I jumped right into teenager issue books like The Outsiders, anorexic girls, alcoholic boys, or Danielle Steele and Stephen King. I don't think Young Adult was a genrewhen I was young, and I wouldn't have read Newbery winner-type books. I remember having Jacob, Have I Loved but I thought it was very boring.
Best assigned novel to read in school: Cue for Treason, a Shakespearean novel
Thanks for reading my trip down reading memory lane. I had fun thinking of my favorite books, and I know I left a ton out. Like you other bookworms, I read so many books over the years it's hard to pick the best, or my favorite. Even now, I'm remembering more books and resisting writing more into this post. My mother had this old red fairy tale book that we loved to look at, and read some of the stories, but we usually ended up at the limerick section, ... and I could keep going.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Once Upon a Time II, Cardathon
I've had this book from the library for several weeks, and I had to renew it before I even started it. You know how there are books that people rave about and you want to read, but for some irrational reason, you avoid it. And what usually happens is the book is terrific, and you wonder why it took so long to decide to read it. This is one of those books.
It was lovely. Hale retells the fairy tale of The Goose Girl, a story I was not familiar with. Her writing is wonderful and she incorporates the mystical and magical parts of fairy tales in a way that seems perfectly natural. The characters are ordinary people with strengths and weaknesses, and love stories that make you root for the couple. There was the perfect mix of treachery and sword fights, mistaken identities and folk tales, royalty and common folk. Ani was a wonderfully strong character who grows and learns how strong she can be. She is different because she can communicate with animals and doesn't fit in, but finds out how to believe in herself. Her friend Enna was loyal and strong and the next book is called Enna Burning. I look forward to reading it.
If you have reviewed this book as well, leave a link in the comments.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I'm not sure how committed I'll be to this, but if you want your review linked up with mine, just drop a note with the link in the comments. I've seen other bloggers who add the link to other reviews into their comments, which is another option to this. Since many people are opening up to this idea, I can see doing it the other way: if I read your review of a book I've read, I would go back and link it into my post after the fact. I'll just leave a comment to let you know. This is what guatami tripathy did for me today with our Yellowknife reviews,and I liked that.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Welcome to all the new people stopping by to see where reading is taking us, but don't just stop by, drop a line, and let us know where reading is taking you. It's more fun when everyone plays. So much fun stuff going on the the book blogging world, or Bblofia as Aaron's friend has labelled it. Dewey's Weekly Geeks is pushing people out of their comfort zone of just reading books and writing reviews, and new challenges are popping up all over the place - some new ones and some old favorites. After one year, I am already calling these challenges old favorites - Southern Reading and Nonfiction Five in particular.
Reading is taking me mostly to Africa this week. I am in Libya and I'm not sure what is going on in this country of men, but it won't be good for the women I'm guessing. And there are 28 stories of AIDS in Africa which is depressing but uplifting at the same time. This African Reading Challenge is taking my attention right now.
Where is reading taking you today?
Monday, May 5, 2008
Miss Julia Throws a Wedding by Ann B Ross
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Heard it Through the Grapevine Challenge
This was the perfect book for this challenge, because I wanted to read it after reading reviews at tinylittlelibrarian's and kookiejar's. Both described it as cute and funny and a delightful romp. Well, maybe they didn't say exactly that, but they were right. I envisioned American Gods light, and that wasn't far from the truth.
The Greek Gods, like Apollo, Aphrodite, Eros, Ares, and the rest who I have never been able to keep straight, are living in London, in squalor since cleaning is totally beneath them. The Gods' powers have weakened since mortals don't believe in them anymore. They are trying to get by doing what they can: Aphrodite works for phone sex, Artemis walks dogs, and Apollo is trying to break into television. Although they all live together, they are not getting along the best after centuries of in family fighting. In trying to take revenge, Apollo is made to fall in love with Alice, a quiet mousy girl. Her nerdy, almost boyfriend Neil has to save Alice, and eventually the world.
I learned more about the Greek Gods reading this book than I ever have before. It was amusing and fun, and perfect for me today when I am full up with the cold. I just wanted to read an easy, fun book. For the squeamish, there were some incestuous relationships amongst the Gods described frankly. It doesn't bother me, but there was some descriptive language. I liked how the Gods operate within their own rules and guidelines, like the witches in Harry Potter. They may be powerful, but they still have rules that guide their lives. The book had a great idea and was executed well, in an amusing and fast-moving plot.
I was able to get 11/12 plus two minor Greek Gods on this quiz after reading the book.
also reviewed at: tinylittlelibrarian and katrina's
Saturday, May 3, 2008
chunkster challenge 483 p; what's in a name? plant in title category; decades challenge 1940s
This is a book I've been meaning to read for quite a while, so it ended up being on several challenge lists, most notably the chunkster challenge. At 483 pages, it took a while to read. Francie Nolan grows up from 10 til 17 years old, during the early part of the 20th century. Smith provides a view of life, based on her life, of poor working class Americans living in Brooklyn. It was a time of vast changes, but with so little historically happening, it's a time I haven't read much about. It's not prohibition, it's not the first World War, it's not nation building. I enjoyed it, but I think if I had read it as a much younger person, it might have had more impact on me. There were parts that touched me a lot, but in other places I found it a bit preachy. The funniest part was when Francie's brother tried to buy sauerkraut once the Americans had joined the war, and he forgot to order it as Liberty Cabbage. Freedom Fries anyone?
It was an epic novel, following one family's journey, during a much simpler time of life. A glimpse of life when the difference between rich and poor was very noticeable, when a family's pride was all they had as they struggled to better themselves. A real American dream novel.
The goal of this challenge is to read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. For you non-math people, 10 out of 1001 is approximately 1%, hence the title. The challenge will run from May 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009.
I'll list a few books I am hoping to get to soon:1. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
2. Amsterdam - Ian McEwan
3. The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields
4. A Bend in the River - Naipaul
5. The Plague - Albert Camus
6. something by Vonnegut
7. Things Fall Apart - Achebe
8. Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry
9. A Pale View of Hills by Kazou Ishiguro
10. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit - Winterson
11. Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
12. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Huston Neal
13. Isabelle Allende - House of Spirits
14. The Colour - Rose Tremain
15. Love in the Time of Cholera
16. The Reader
It's hard to make a list, from a list, and this may well change.
Friday, May 2, 2008
53. The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier
52. The Outcast - Sadie Jones
51. The Gathering - Anne Enright
50. Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones
49. The Chatham School Affair - Thomas H Cook
48. This Blinding Absence of Light - Tahar Ben Jelloun
47. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
46. The Ravine - Paul Quarrington
45. Latitudes of Melt - Joan Clark
28 Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen
The Outcast by Sadie Jones
The Sister by Poppy Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe by Douglas Adams
Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale
Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Book Award Challenge July 1 2007 - June 30, 2008
read 22/12, but I have 1 more that I want to read before I consider this done
Canadian Book Challenge Oct '07 - July 1 '08
read 11; still Alta, Yukon to go.
Series Challenge Dec 1 - May 31, 2008
read 8 books; finished the Lily Bard mysteries and Shopaholic series and Gardella Vampire Chronicles.
this one is going to start again, on June 1st - Nov 30th
A - Zed Author and Titles Challenge all year 2008
decades challenge - all year 2008
only 2, haven't begun thinking of this one yet
in their shoes - all year 2008
Cardathon Challenge - all year 2008
What's in a Name? all year 2008
4/6; first name, color, animal, place
YAC books all year 2008 completed!
Man Booker Challenge all year 2008
notable books 2007 - all year 2008
In the Pub - all year 2008
chunkster challenge 2
Orbis Terrarum Challenge til December 20
once upon a time challenge II til June 21
2/8 categories completed
Themed Reading Challenge finished, read 8/8 First category in the 888 completed!
Hometown Challenge read 2/1 completed!
eponymous challenge read 4/4 completed!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!
I'd buy a book at the airport bookstore. Or I'd read the airplane magazine, or the directions for safety procedures, or the ingredients on the cracker wrapper or.....
I'd still read, somehow.
novella challenge, I Heard it Through the Grapevine Challenge
What would happen if the Queen wandered into a mobile library and discovered all the books she had never read? This book explores the eye opening that happens as the Queen become engrossed in books and ideas she never knew about. The slim little volume was full of literary references (Great Expectations again!) and had a cute little story, nothing too much, but it feels like we get a peep at the life of the royals. It is fiction of course, but I imagine there were aspects to how a person might feel after over 50 years of tiring duty and protocol.
I could identify with her quick immersion and sudden obsession with reading and books and always looking for the next fix, I mean book. I particularly liked Norman, her supplier of books who gets promoted to being her 'book guy', who had a bent to gay literature. There were lots of cute moments, finagling behind the scenes, and the Queen herself was great. It made me want to watch The Queen movie. If you want to read a short, cute, book-based novel, this will fit the bill.
I chose this book after 3m rated it her favorite book published in 2007.