Sunday, August 31, 2008

WEEKLY GEEKS: Book Photo Tour (# 14 )

The theme this last week is for Weekly Geeks to post book photo tours of their own. I decided to take pictures from around our house of everyone's book shelves, and along the way, I discovered that our house could use a decluttering. Let's see what I was able to find for books.
I realize I am a week late, but I took the pictures and wanted to do the post, even though there is already another weekly geek theme. I must say that Blogspot is much more user friendly for picture uploading than livejournal, unless I am completely missing something at live journal.

The living room, with most of my books that I am keeping, and or plan to read, along with a bunch of family pictures:
The littlest reader, who is just about able to read at age five, and starts kindergarten this week. Here's our collection of Dr Suess books, some board books, and a pile of Clifford and Franklin and Backyardigan books.

Eight year old daughter's bookshelf. There are probably books in a pile on her bed as well. Sometimes I think she is really great at starting books, but she doesn't seem to finish them as well. She can have seven books with bookmarks in them, all at the same time.

When we got the bunkbeds, we found a set with book cases at the head. How could you have a bed with no place to keep a book you are reading? Ten year old boy spent the summer re-reading Harry Potter.

Here's my bedside table, after I cleaned up and took out a huge pile of books that had been read.

And finally, the kitchen, with the shelves of cookbooks. I think that Betty Crocker book with it's big CookBook printed on the sides was one of middle daughter's first words. It's perfect to read, with the rhymes. "I know how to read 'cookbook'."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, where are you?

The Olympics are over and now I can get back to reading a bit more. This last week of August is usually the week I try to get everything done I meant to do for the whole summer, so I see some major cleaning, class prep, shopping, errands, appointments, and such in the rest of this week. Maybe I won't get that much reading done after all!

Right now I am in Algeria and my little city of Oran has just been quarantined with the Plague! Eww. (The Plague by Albert Camus) Now and then I check to see how the String theory is developing in the 1980s. (The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin)

Where is reading taking you today? Some people leave their answer in the comments, some people write on their blog and then leave a link in the comments. Fill your boots! Whatever you like.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Mwahhhh!!!

It's that time again, when thoughts turn to back to school. Ugh! A better thought this time of year is the Reader's Imbibing Peril Challenge, third edition. I'm not feeling as ambitious this year, so am only signing up for the Second Peril, commiting to read at least two books between now and October 31, 2008.
Carl is all about the pool of books this year, so here's what I've been hoarding recently:

Lisey's Story - Stephen King

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

High Spirits - Robertson Davies

The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan

Murder on the Strand - Daphne duMaurier

Voices - Arnaldur Indridason

Creepers - Joanne Dahme

Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith

The Borden Tragedy -Rick Geary

Hey, I'm reading The Plague right now and that probably fits this category of books.

BOOK: Rain Song by Alice J Wisler

Title and author of book?
Rain Song by Alice J Wisler (to be published October 2008)

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre?
fiction, southern,
Possibly Christain? it was subtle, but it was published by Bethany House which leads me to believe this.

What led you to pick up this book?
I won it as an Early Reader edition from Librarything

Summarize the plot, but don't give away the ending!
Here's the blurb that made me request this novel:

Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan. Something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone. Something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy website, Nicole meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart.
Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does! Will Nicole face her fears in order to discover her past and take a chance on love?

What did you like most about the book?
I liked that Nicole had to face some of her fears; that it used emails and the small world we live in to move the plot.
I liked the strong family portrayed.

What did you like least?
It was a little predictable and I would have liked to see to have seen more at the end, but maybe there's a sequel planned?
There are a lot of peripheral characters that could be fleshed out a bit more. For example, it was a bit of a tease to only see a bit of what happened with her cousin Grable's marriage. I would have liked more Grable, but then, it wasn't her story.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? This is Wisler's first novel.

What did you think of the main character?
I liked Nicole a lot. I liked how she hid a lot of her fears and looked to be functioning normally but was a wreck on the inside in many ways.

Any other particularly interesting characters?
It's a southern book! Lots. Nicole's grandmother, Ducee was a really strong character and acted as Nicole's rock. I liked her teacher friend who keeps Nicole in the present, I liked her crazy aunt who kept calling her, and her niece Monet, the wild child. And there was a donkey, not a mule, but a donkey.

Share a quote from the book:
I read an Advance Reading Copy and quotes are not allowed!

Share a favorite scene from the book.
I liked Nicole's trip to the airport.

What about the ending?
A bit predictable, but at the same time, I wouldn't have wanted another ending.

Which of your readers are most likely to enjoy this book? Why?
Fans of southern novels, readers who like a hopeful, family based story.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

BOOK: Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood

Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood
A Phryne Fisher mystery

After reading Marg's review last week, I decided to try a Phryne Fisher mystery from my library. I couldn't find the first in the series, but number two was available and at only 156 pages, I knew I could fly through it.

Wouldn't it be cool to have lived in the 1920s? Women seemed to have a lot more freedom than they did in later years. Phryne Fisher is an independent woman with money who does what she wants, which includes seducing young men, and flying planes. She is establishing herself as a private investigator in Melbourne and having a great time. Here she looks into the murder of a cruel man, trying to clear his son of the murder and at the same time, tries to find a kidnapped child.

It was a cute little mystery, with a strong female lead that puts me to mind of Agatha Christie, just like Marg mentioned in her review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BOOK: The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

2nd Canadian Book Challenge; decades: 1960s

Laurence won the Governor General's Award for her novel The Diviners and that main character gets a slight mention here; both books are part of the Manawaka series (oh the wonderful things you can discover at librarything.)

Hagar Currie Shipley is an old woman coming to terms with her life. Her not-favorite son is arranging to have her put in an old age home, and she is looking back at her life, the decisions and actions that have shaped her, and the people who died before her. She's not a nice lady, she'd be what I might call a tough old bird. Lots of pride, concerned with what people think, but not aware enough of herself to realize that. Life wasn't easy on the prairies in the first part of the 20th century, but Hagar didn't make anything easier for herself. Pride was my wilderness, and the demon that led me there was fear.(page 292) She is so judgmental to everyone and thing around her that she forgot to just live and enjoy her life.

Laurence has described the aging process amazingly and I could easily believe this book was written very recently. The stone angel was the grave marker of her mother and is mentioned throughout the book and was a last minute, yet perfect title for the book as mentioned in the afterword by Adele Wiseman. This type of book, the old person looking back on their life, is a common theme in literature, but this book is very well done, and is not one to be missed. I just recently read The Stone Diaries and it is pretty easy to compare the two, even the titles sound the same! I think I liked this one a bit better. I'll definitely be looking for The Diviners.

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, where are you?

Where is reading taking you? Are you being patriot and reading a book from your country, are you travelling, or are you reading a book set in China to get into the Olympic spirit? We watched Mulan last week.

I am watching lots of Olympics, Canada is finally getting some medals after the first week. And today, Jared Connaughton from PEI is running in the semifinals of the 200 m race, with Usain 'the Lightning' Bolt. Bolt is insanely fast and was incredible in the 100 m race.

In reading, I am with Hagar Shipley as she looks back on her life on the prairies in the Canadian classic The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. I'm liking it quite a bit. I also peeked into Rain Song, the book I got through the Early Reader program at librarything. It arrived today, and I will get into it soon, because it looks pretty good.

Where is reading taking you today?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

BOOK: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Have you ever imagined living in Jane Austen's era? Having servants, visiting, partaking in witty conversations? What about the bad teeth, smelly people, the rigid conventions and roles for women?

Courtney, who recently discovered her fiance having an affair, suddenly wakes up in Jane Mansfield's body in 1814. Courtney is a bit of a Jane Austen addict, she retreats to Pride and Prejudice when real life gets to be too much. She isn't too bothered by the fact of landing in Regency England with a similar mother and similar bad lovelife, and just rolls along with what her new life gives her. She has a potential husband, a loyal friend, and parties galore, also a domineering mother, no power, and no memories. She has practically landed in a Jane Austen novel.

Rigler writes a great romp for Austen fans and others as well. It's great chick lit and escapism and she manages to pull off the unreal situation surprisingly well, using something about the fluidity of time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

CHALLENGE: 2nds Challenge

Joy is hosting, in one of her last big blowouts as challenge hostess, the 2nds challenge again. Oh, I like the synchronicity of that. Anyway. Read four books by an author you have read once before. I like this one because so often I read a book by a new author and then want to read another one by them, but get distracted by other shiny new authors.

Books Read:

1. The View from Saturday by EK Konisburg (read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler)

2. A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (read A Boy of Good Breeding)

3. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson ( read One Good Turn)

4. All She Was Worth by Miyuke Miyabe (I read Shadow Family)

I believe a book pool list is in order now:

Sarah Waters something (I read The Night Watch)

Alistair MacLean - No Great Mischief (I read The Lost Salt Gift of Blood)

Arnuldur Indridason - Voices (I read Silence of the Grave)

Mary Lawson -The Other Side of the Bridge (I read Crow Lake)

Graham Swift - Last Orders (I read Tomorrow)

Mordecai Richler - Barney's Version (I read The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz)

Joan Clark - An Audience of Chairs (I read Latitudes of Melt)

Paul Quarrington - King Leary (I read The Ravine)

maybe I'll read a book in September and then want to read another book by that author.

Friday, August 15, 2008

BOOK: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

what an animal!; booker longlist title 2008

I would guess that the Man Booker judges committee this year all like the same kind of book: wry commentary on society, first person narrative, confessional story, with lots of dark humor. The White Tiger had the same tone and feel to me as A Fraction of the Whole and A Case of Exploding Mangoes, and I haven't completely decided if I like this type of novel. For all three, I enjoyed the story and the humor, but I didn't care enough about the characters to want to keep reading. I continually checked to see how much farther I had to read, and I could put them down and not be interested in picking them back up, and yet, I did enjoy the books. I have learned that I prefer a more emotional book than an intellectual book. My favorite books of the summer were Crow Lake and Before Green Gables, books which focused more on personal relationships rather than social commentary.

Modern India gets the going over in The White Tiger. The caste system, the servants to the rich, the many ways the poor people are kept down, American outsourcing, the balance of the old ways with the Internet society, people with cell phones but no running water. The narrator, Balram Halwai, writes to the premier of China who is expected on a visit, telling of his entrepreneurial rise to success in India. If morals had to be slightly ignored for his success, well, too bad. He tells us from the beginning what the end will be, but the reader is kept in suspense as to how, and while I can't condone murder, he makes his case that the least damage was done for him to break out of his life and to be a success. I kind of liked Balram in the end.

The first person confessional was reminscent of The Reluctant Fundamentalist from last year's Booker shortlist, but the letter writing makes it more conventional. The writing was good, and the exposure to different cultures is always good. Adiga keeps the story moving along and it will be a good read for people who like social commentary with a dose of humor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BOOK: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

2nd Canadian Book Challenge; Book Awards II: Pulitzer 1995; decades: 1990s; 1% well read challenge

And the question arises: what is the story of a life? A chronicle of fact or a skillfully wrought impressison? (p. 340)

And that is what I am left with after reading this book, the 'autobiography' of Daisy Stone Goodwill-Flett. Her life spans the 20th century, born in 1905 in Canada and died 1990s in Florida. There were unusual point of views taken and at times, the reader is left wondering if Daisy is writing her story or not. Each chapter documents an era in her life - Birth, Childhood, Marriage, Love, Work, Sorrow, Ease, Illness and Decline, Death.

It amazed me how much I could learn about Daisy and at the same time, know nothing at all about her thoughts, beliefs and dreams. Perhaps it was more of a biography from the points of view of her family and friends, disconnecting from her emotional self and seeing only their perspectives of Daisy. I loved the section with photographs of the characters and kept referring to them as I read. I liked Daisy's story and the way it was written and I imagine it would make a great book club read, with so much unsaid in the book to discuss.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, where are you?

Where is reading taking me today?
I am with some theoretical physicists, trying to determine the Trouble with Physics, following the rise of String Theory (Lee Smolin). Then at other times, I am peeking into the diaries of Daisy Stone who has just been born, under rather tragic circumstances. (Carol Shields)
Where is reading taking you today?

Monday, August 11, 2008

BOOK: Wine Bar Food

Wine Bar Food: Mediterranean Flavors to Crave with Wines to Match

by Cathy Mantuano and Tony Mantuano

Two summers ago, my mother and sister and I went on a Mediterranean cruise, starting in Barcelona and ending in Venice, with stops in Marseilles, Florence, Rome, Capri, Mykonos, Istanbul, Ephesus, and Athens. I'm not explaining this to gloat, but to show why I love this cookbook. It is divided into sections based on cities and stops around the Mediterranean Sea, with most of the above (except the Turkish ones), but also Milan, Seville, Lisbon. Each city gets a tour with recipes and suggestions. Every time I pick up this book, I relive our cruise.

The cruise left from Barcelona, so we had a night there before we departed. I had a little guide book and we managed to found a restaurant listed in it - I felt like I was on the Amazing Race. We sat outside, eating tapas, and just drinking up the atmosphere. Our waiter insisted we order tomato bread so we did. It was plain, but delicious along with everything else. I've been wanting to make tomato bread ever since.

Some nice Irish tourists next to us took our picture, that's me on the left.

There are two types of cooks: the ones who faithfully follow a recipe, especially the first time and the ones who figure they know what they want and will make changes right away. I am usually the second type, but I faithfully followed the Tomato Bread recipe from this book for our family party. It called for Serrano ham which was my concern. It's a cured bacon type meat which I didn't actually enjoy for breakfast in Barcelona, but I found it in the grocery store so I decided to be true to the recipe. The Tomato Bread was yummy and got the requisite "ooh's" from my relatives last weekend. Once the ham was mixed with the other flavors, it was delicious.

The recipe book is filled with fabulous pictures, great ideas, and suggestions for wines and cheeses and how to use canned foods that might be more readily available in North America. Some recipes look like what you would order in a restaurant but not make for yourself like the Lavender Ice Cream on Briocche from Nice or the Potato Chips with Sea Salt and Rosemary from Milan. But I have a list of recipes I'd like to try, like Fried Eggs with Mushrooms, Garlic and Parsley from Barcelona or the Barolo Risotto from Milan. Fresh vegetables and herbs, good cheeses and wines, and good olive oil are the staples of Mediterranean eating and also coincide with healthy eating. Lots of great recipes in this book mean I will be reliving my cruise and adventure for years to come.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

BOOK: Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Book Awards II: Hugo and Nebula 1987 ; cardathon; in a series

Last year I read Ender's Game and liked it enough to read the next book. It's a summer read as I can take them from my school library. I would recommend this series even to people who don't like science fiction, as I am one of them. But the writing and the characters are so likable and conceivable that it makes it easy to read. Also, Card has a lot of things to say about forgiveness, and getting along with different people.

Andrew 'Ender' Wiggin has grown up and now is called to speak for the dead, to tell the dead person's story and let people know who they really were. Card has said this was his original story, but he had to write Ender's Game first to set up Ender as the Speaker for the Dead. He is called to a planet that humans have inhabited along with another species, the piggies. I was really intrigued by the piggies and how they lived. Humans judge everything based on themselves and the piggies were so different that it took Ender to figure out what was going on. Ender is a grown up now, but three thousand years have gone by since the Bugger War; travelling at the speed of light does some wonky things to aging.

Speaker for the Dead sets up the next book, but was stand alone as well and had a great ending. I'm not sure if you could read it without Ender's Game, but that is a really good book anyway.

Friday, August 8, 2008

CHALLENGE: Olympic Reading Challenge

annie is hosting an Olympic Challenge, and it will go very nicely with the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge for you Canucks out there. I was thinking of reading a book set in China, but this is even better. You know Canada won't win very many medals so this is our chance to be patriotic. My idea of support: sit on the couch and read!

Here's the info from her site:

1) You are to read as many books possible written by authors from your own country during the period the Olympics are on. The genre and length of the books will be up to you.
2) Each time you finish a book, post your name, country, blog address, book title and author as a comment on the bottom of this post. That will earn yourself and your country a silver medal. If you do all the above plus post a link to your review of the book you earn yourself and your country a gold medal.
3) A running country medal tally will be kept down the right hand side of this blog as well as the individual currently topping the leader board.
4) To win the Amazon Gift Voucher, you must be a gold medal winner (ie you must have submitted a review).
5) I don't mind if you've read the books before or were half-way through when the challenge started either.

Some Canadian books I have around here I am hoping to get to include:
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
Microserfs by Douglas Coupland
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
I won't read all of these, don't worry.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

BOOK: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

What an Animal!; Orbis Terrarum: Norway; Book Awards II (IMPAC 2007); notable books

I never mean for a book to fit into so many challenges, and I didn't even get this book until a couple weeks ago; it just fit in perfectly and lets me finish two challenges off. I picked it after Laura gave it a rave review, and the chance to read a book from Norway was pretty exciting.

It's a quiet and slow, beautiful book, like I would imagine Norway to be. Sixty-seven year old Trond Sander has moved to a cabin in the woods to be alone. He coincidentally ends up living beside an old neighbour, and memories from a summer when Trond was fifteen and Lars was ten come back. They don't come flooding back though, because that implies a out of controlness that Trond is not capable off. There are a few going backs here, as he remembers the summer of fifteen in 1948, and learning about his father's actions in the war from 1945 when the German's were occupying Norway. I confess I found the different time frames somewhat confusing to keep track of.

I liked Trond and at times it seemed like he was going to be the kind of narrator you don't like, but he was kind and a little sad but not regretful of things in his life. It's a good book, not great, for me. I won't be raving about it, but it was solid. The ending was a little lacking, it was a bit of a let down. I thought there would be more of a connection between what had happened in 1948, but it just ended. It took me longer than it should have to read the last 60 pages, a sign that I wasn't involved enough to race to the end. I like a little more plot in most of my stories, but I appreciated the characters and the story told in this one.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

CHALLENGE: Southern Reading Challenge 2008 Wrapup

Goal: 3 books set in southern states, May 15 - August 15, 2008

The books I read:
Miss Julia Throws a Wedding by Ann B Ross (North Carolina)
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (Mississippi)
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (South Carolina)
Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White (Georgia)
The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Louisiana)
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines (Louisiana)

I had hope, but didn't get to:
Beach Music by Pat Conroy (South Carolina)
something by Mark Twain

I won the copy of Mudbound with my haiku from The Secret Life of Bees. Maggie had a couple other contests as well. Thanks for everything Maggie, it's been a blast.

BOOK: Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White

Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White

southern reading challenge 2008

I read Quite a Year for Plums by White last year, so when I saw this book at a used book sale I snapped it up. I've been picking at it slowly for the whole challenge. White is a grade one teacher who lives with her mother and she has written a series of essays about her life, some from when she was young, some about her mother (a real character!) and her colorful family. My favorite ones were about her grade one classroom, but the whole book is sweet and amusing. The lady who tamed the alligator, her mother who baths and sleeps on the front porch, the taxidermist who learns to cook. White has a pleasant and southern style, perfect for steamy afternoons reading on the front porch.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, where are you?


Where is reading taking me this warm summer day? I am reminiscing about my youth in Norway, helping my father to chop some trees down, and when my friend took me Out Stealing Horses. I won this book from Wendy, at musings of a bookish kitty. thanks!

I just got off the train at Bright River and am waiting ever so patiently for the ride to take me to the home where I will be adopted! My first family! Life has been pretty tough for me, with all those twins, can a woman really have three sets of twins? I may not look too big, but I can cook dinner for thirteen and wash diapers and carry buckets of water, but I would love to get to school and have the chance to learn. My teachers so far have been wonderful to me and it would be exquisite to be able to go to school again. And maybe, do I dare wish, I will be able to find a bosom friend. Katie Maurice, and then Violetta, helped me through the depths of despair, and I know they weren't actually real, but they were all I had, but a real friend, to talk with and play, would be my deepest wish. (Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson ends with Anne waiting at the train station. I just finished it today)

Where is reading taking you today?

Monday, August 4, 2008

BOOK: Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson

Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson

2nd Canadian Book Challenge

I believe Anne fans have been somewhat leery of this book. To attempt to write the before story, based on the small tidbits of her past that Anne let slip, was a huge undertaking for Wilson. People who love Anne would want the story to be true to LM Montgomery's unique character. When I heard Wilson speak last month, she said her task was to write the story that would have allowed Anne to become the girl she was: full of spirit, still optimistic despite having been an orphan and essentially an indentured slave to families who agreed to take her in, the Thomas' and the Hammonds. Wilson has succeeded beyond my wildest hopes.

I've heard that as long as a child has one person they can count on, who loves them, in the first few years of life, they will have a base for future relationships. Anne gets this in the form of Eliza, the sixteen year old daughter of Mrs Thomas. Eliza also told her the fantastic stories of princesses and knights and fairy tales that would sustain Anne in her wild imagination. Although Eliza leaves to get married when Anne is about four, she laid the foundation for the wonderful Anne we know and love.

I had to set rules for when I could read this book, because I was thrown in the depths of emotion as Anne is hurt and let down time and time again, and to be found sobbing in the car at a soccer game would draw too much attention. I think it was so emotional because you know where she will end up, in the loving home of Matthew and Marilla, but getting there, when there were opportunities for Anne to have a loving home along the way that kept getting thwarted, was a mixed emotion. Sad that Anne was hurt, but knowing that it had to happen to get her to PEI. Characters for the most part weren't purposefully mean to her, life was pretty tough on them as well, like Mr Thomas and Mrs Hammond. And everywhere she went, peripheral people were drawn to the spindly, homely child with the bright red hair and so many freckles with the wild imagination and huge words. They managed to give Anne small doses of love and concern that she latched onto and held in her bosom heart. In the debate over nature/nurture, nature wins out for Anne, as her intelligence and optimism and love of beauty were inherited from her loving parents and could not be stomped out by the life she led.

Wilson included information that Montgomery let slip - the carpet bag, Anne's fascination of puffed sleeves, and Katie Maurice. It all fit together perfectly for me, and my heart broke the whole time, waiting for Anne to get the train to Bright River, and finally get picked up by Matthew Cuthbert, whose name can also burst me spontaneously into tears. The style is not Montgomery but it was very readable and I wasn't expecting the same writing as Montgomery. Wilson has provided Anne lovers with a new book to make us love Anne, and Matthew and Marilla, even more.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

BOOK: Pedro and Me by Judd Winick

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick

graphic novel challenge

I never watched The Real World on MTV but I've certainly heard of it. Seven strangers are put into a house to live together all the while being filmed 24 hours a day. I guess it is like Big Brother, my summer guilty pleasure, but without the money at the end, which would eliminate a lot of the nastiness. Pedro Zamora and Judd Winick were a part of the third season, in San Fransisco.

Judd wrote this graphic novel in 2000 to document 'friendship, loss and what I learned' during his time in the house. Pedro joined the house as a person living with HIV to educate and provide a face for people to know someone with HIV. Winick describes their meeting, their time on the show, and their friendship and then Pedro's decline. Winick is a cartoonist, so the pictures are great, and the story is very compelling and emotional, and well worth while. I would think anyone who watched that show would very much enjoy this book as would someone wanting a greater awareness of AIDS/HIV, or people who enjoy memoirs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

CHALLENGE: July Book Blowout

Here's my list of books I read in July:

Miss Julia Throws a Wedding - Ann B Ross
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
The Snack Thief - Andrea Camilleri
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
Crow Lake - Mary Lawson
Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
The Planets - Dava Sobel
Maus I and II - Art Spiegelman
A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Toltz
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher - Kate Summerscale
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
The Birth House - Ami McKay

I don't know if I can pick a best book, there are a lot of really great books here. Candidates would include: Crow Lake, Things Fall Apart, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Water for Elephants

Least favorite: Running With Scissors, The Princess Diaries

Series I continued: Miss Julia, Inspector Montalbano, Uglies

Mrs S asks:
Since you’ve worked so hard this month why not write a wrap up post (either on your own site or here in the comments).

Here’s some questions to help you out - though you’re free to write whatever you wish!

1. Did you discover a new author? several. I'll read and look for more by: Mary Lawson, Sarah Waters, Chinua Achebe

2. Where was the most unusual place you found yourself reading? In teh books? Nigeria, death camps in Germany, future world of Pretties. Or actual reading? at ball fields

3. Did you read more than usual? I always read more in the summer, but I read some longer books and some nonfiction which usually take longer

4. Did you give up anything in order to read more? No, but I made a real effort to carry a book with me and to read during the day whenever I could. I guess I gave up sleep when I read too late into the night. (but I often do that)

5. If you won the Amazon voucher what would you spend it on? a book! Likely the next Camilleri in the series

6. Would you like to see a 2009 Book Blowout? sounds great!