Sunday, November 30, 2008

BOOK: Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon, 197 pages

unread author challenge; genre challenge: adventure

Is this a movie yet? Because I think it will make a fabulous adventure tale, perfect for two actors that I haven't quite cast yet. I'll think on it.

Set in the middle east in a time I'm not sure of, but long ago (wikipedia says it was set in the Kingdom of Arran, in the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, A.D. 950.) Not so long ago that there aren't the religions of Muslim, Jews, and Christians all living and fighting together, but but recent enought that there were many names and identifiers that I didn't recognize, but could guess - Rus were Russians, viks maybe the Vikings, Franks were Germans, things like that. There were a lot of terms I had to let go and just read through. It didn't lessen my enjoyment, just my comprehension. At times the sentences were long, and contained a lot of information, and if I lost the thread, it was a long was back to find the start of the sentence and figure out where I lost the topic so I tried to replicate that tendency in this paragraph, so if my thoughts were convoluted, it was intentional.

"It follows two horse thieves—a massive African Jew named Amram, and a hat-loving Frankish Jew named Zelikman—as they become swept up in a rebellion and try to restore a displaced prince to the throne." I copied that from wikipedia because it summed up the plot perfectly. And my biggest problem with the writing was that I wasn't completely sure what all was going on. As I said, it didn't lessen my enjoyment. I've decided to cast Michael Clark Duncan and Ed Norton as the leads. I was slightly influenced by the sketches in the book, one per chapter, by Gary Gianni as I imagined the characters. There was also a map on the inside covers, which I always love. It's this extra attention to detail that makes the story better.

All in all, a great little read - good plot and characters within the slightly confusing writing. Pretty good for a book I hadn't heard of but just grabbed from the popular shelf at the library. I recognized Chabon's name, but not the title. I had a nice little 'frisson of pleasure' at the title drop early in the book.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, where are you?

We had another meeting of the Ramona Book Club here last night. That's RAchel, MOm, and NAna. We read Anne of Green Gables, each a different version actually. Rachel read an abridged version, reading level grade 1-2, Nana read the original, and I read Before Green Gables (I've read the original too many times to count). We drank red juice that looked suspiciously like raspberry cordial, and ate some cookies, and listened to our Anne and Gilbert CD and discussed the books, and Anne, and the plays. Rachel saw both plays this summer, so she is really quite the expert.

I get to pick the book next time, and I've chosen Owls in the Family by Farley Mowatt. It's a favorite of Rachel's too. Her next pick is Because of Winn-Dixie, and I suggested we watch the movie for that meeting. That will be our first repeat author, as Kate diCamillo also wrote Tale of Despereaux. Do you participate in real life book clubs too?

I am on the road to Azerbaijan with some Gentlemen of the Road, on a rollicking adventure so far. (Michael Chabon) I'm not far in, but it would make a terrific movie. Where is reading taking you this day?

Monday, November 24, 2008

SHORT STORY MONDAY: The Scream by Rohinton Mistry

The Scream by Rohinton Mistry, 35 pages

One of my favorite books is Mistry's A Fine Balance, so when I got the chance to get this book, a single short story, I jumped. His short story collection, Tales from Firozsha Baag was also an interesting view of life in India. This book was originally written and published in 2006 as a limited edition, 150 copies, special fundraiser for World Literacy of Canada. All royalties from the sales of this book will go to World Literacy Canada.

The book is filled with beautiful illustrations by Tony Urquhart. The mixed media pictures were meant to "echo the richness of Indian miniatures and medieval manuscripts illuminations" according to Urquhart. They provide an extra level to the story, since short stories can be so, well, short, having the pictures makes it more of an experience.

The story itself is narrated by an old man, relegated to the front room, to the worst mattress, to the least food of the family. The story is one complete rant, but it has a bit of humor and a bit of pathos of aging as well. A soliloquy on aging, set in India, but really, universal. The elder member of the family becomes less and less influential and important. He is railing against his losses, the family thinks he's a grumpy old man.

Definitely for fans of Rohinton Mistry.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

BOOK: The Secret Scripture by Sebasian Barry

The Secret Scripture by Sebasian Barry, 300 pages

Booker Shortlisted 2008

I read somewhere that this book didn't win the Man Booker this year because the judges didn't want two Irish winners in a row. Instead, they chose The White Tiger set in India. I liked this one better overall, so it's too bad the Irish have been writing such great books recently- lots of misery to mine in their history.

Roseanne McNulty is over one hundred years old and she is writing her memoirs. At the same time, Dr Grene, the psychiatrist at her mental hospital is given the task of deciding where all the patients should be reassigned to, as the hospital is undergoing renovations as well as a health reform that is changing the criteria for who should be a patient. Roseanne slowly begins to reveal her history against the backdrop of Irish history - civil war and IRA. Why was she admitted to the hospital? What role did the local priest, Fr Gault, play in her life? What was wrong with Roseanne?

I liked this character study novel, but it may have been a bit too slow for my tired state of mind. I had it on 7-day loan from the library so I was rushing through it and read I while I was probably too tired. As a result, my review is a bit mixed. I really enjoyed the first 100 pages, and revelled in the writing and setting that Barry created. The middle third was slower, more emphasis on Dr Grene, and then the last third picked up again. There were layers here and parallels that I sensed I was not catching, it had that feel of 'real literature' that I don't always appreciate, but I still enjoyed the book. It reminded me of The Gathering, especially in the idea of memories, and how much you can trust memories of long ago.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BOOK: The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton, 888 Update

The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton
A Lara McClintoch Archeological Mystery

X title for A-Zed challenge

The first of 11 in the Lara McClintoch mystery series. In this book, Lara travels to Mexico from Canada to help an old friend who sends her a cryptic message. By the time she gets to the hotel owned by her old friends, Don Hernan has gone missing. Lara is picking her life up after a sudden divorce, and she throws herself into finding Don Hernan and what it was he wanted her help for.

First novels in a series can be tough because the author has to set up a whole back story to sustain further novels, introduce supporting characters, plus be a compelling mystery on its own. The mystery was good; Lara jumped right in to situations that I thought were a little daring, but she seemed nonplussed about breaking into a museum, or sneaking out of the hotel while under house arrest. There was a touch more historical information than I would have required but it was a fascinating look at the history of the Maya and Mexico that I knew nothing about.

Summary: cute little cosy mystery, but I won't be running out to get another in the series. Recommended for archeological fans and people interested in Mexico and its history.

It is, however, the last book in the 888 Reading Challenge. I got up to 3 books left to read, mysteries from around the world, in July and then didn't get around to them. So, finally, I am completed. Here's the link to my list of books: 8 categories, 8 books each.

8 Canadian Books finished as of July 30

1. Yellowknife - Steve Zipp Mar 24
2. The End of East - Jen Sookfong Lee Mar 7
3. The Ravine - Paul Quarrington Apr 8
4. Latitudes of Melt - Joan Clark April 5
5. How to Be a Canadian - Will and Ian Ferguson May 25
6. The Birth House - Ami McKay July 30
7. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen July 4
8. Crow Lake - Mary Lawson July 12

8 Bookers (Man Booker Challenge: 4 winners, 4 shortlisted) finished as of July 10
1. Atonement - Ian McEwan sl Feb 17
2. The Remains of the Day - Kazou Ishiguru Jan 12
3. The Life and Times of Michael K - JM Coetzee Mar 8
4. Hotel du Lac - Anita Brookner June 30
5. The Night Watch - Sarah Waters sl July 10
6. The Gathering - Anne Enright Apr 23
7. Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones sl Apri 19
8. In the Country of Men - Hisham Matar sl May 20

8 Books About Books (goes with the themed challenge) finished as of Feb 13
1. The Book Thief Markus Zusak Jan 11
2. 84 Charing Cross Road Helene Hanff Jan 12
3. Housekeeping vs the Dirt Nick Hornby Jan 8
4. Booked to Die John Dunning Feb 3
5. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader Anne Fadiman Jan 28
6. The Case of the Missing Books Ian Sansom Jan 16
7. Reading Lolita in Tehran Azar Nafisi Feb 13
8. The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde Jan 25

8 More from the Something About Me Challenge finished as of June 8
1. The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde Jan 25
2. 84 Charing Cross Road - Helen Hanff Jan 12
3. Booked to Die - John Dunning Feb 3
4. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd May 30
5. The Awakening - Kate Chopin June 8
6. Angry Housewives Eating BonBons - Lorna Landvik Mar 3
7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith May 3
8. The Remains of the Day - Kazou Ishiguro Jan 12

8 Mysteries from Around the World finished as of Nov 18
1. Terra Cotta Dog - Andrea Camilleri (Italy) March 10
2. Silence of the Grave - Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland) Feb 23
3. The Snack Thief - Andrea Camilleri (Italy) July 6
4. Shadow Family - Miyuki Miyabe (Japan) May 31
5. Flying Too High - Kerry Greenwood (Australia) August 20
6. Who Killed Palomino Molero? - Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru) Oct 4
7. The Xibalba Murders - Lyn Hamilton (Mexico) Nov 18
8. All She Was Worth - Miyuki Miyabe (Japan) Nov 2

8 Nonfiction (goes with the In Their Shoes challenge) finished as of July 20
1. Never Have Your Dog Stuffed - Alan Alda Feb 11
2. Running With Scissors - Augustus Burrows July 15
3. Persepolis 1, and 2 - Marjane Satrapi Jan 30
4. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson May 17
5. Maus I and II - Art Spiegelman July 20
6. Reading Lolita in Tehran Azar Nafisi Feb 13
7. Brainiac - Ken Jennings Jan 6
8. A Long Way Gone - Ishmael Beah June 21

8 Young Adult Books (goes with Joy's YAC) finished as of Mar 23
1. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson Mar 14
2. Island of the Blue Dolphins - Scott O'Dell Feb 4
3. The Princess Academy - Shannon Hale Mar 16
4. Vegan Virgin Valentine - Carolyn Mackler Mar 21
5. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan Mar 8
6. Zel - Donna Jo Napoli Mar 23
7. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things - Carolyn Mackler Feb 19
8. So Long, Jackie Robinson - Nancy Russell Feb 15

8 books published in 2008. (In the Pub Challenge) finished as of June 24
1. Remember Me? - Sophie Kinsella Feb 26
2. The Quirks and Quarks Guide to Space - Jim Lebans Feb 24
3. The Bleeding Dusk - Colleen Gleason Mar 21
4. The Ravine - Paul Quarrington Apr 8
5. An Exploding Case of Mangoes - Mohammed Hanif June 23
6. The Outcast - Sadie Jones Apr 27
7. Mudbound - Hillary Jordan June 24
8. The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway June 5

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, Where Are You?

Arg! Exams to correct! Christmas presents to buy! Broken computer! Throwing up child! No time!

In reading, because even with all that stuff going on, I still must read a little bit. So when I get a chance, I peek in on the Rosecommon Mental Home in Ireland and listen to, captivated by, Roseanne McNulty's life story. She is over one hundred and has been in the home a long time. I'm not sure she should actually be there. (The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry)

Where is reading taking you today? answer in the comment or post to your blog. Let everyone know what interesting places you are travelling and people you are meeting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MEME: Booking Through Thursday:Why Buy?

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?
Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

I buy books that I want to keep, to be able to reread.
I buy books for my kids.
I buy books when I want to be able to read the book when the feeling strikes.
I buy books for presents.
I buy books at second hand stores or used book sales.
I buy books in the Scholastic order, because it's fun to get books at school.
I buy books after I've borrowed them from the library because I want to be able to look at the book later and remember how much I loved the book.
I buy books for my classroom.
I buy books to replace books I've borrowed that get wrecked in some way (defeating the whole 'borrow a book so I don't have to buy it' concept.)

WEEKLY GEEKS: Fun Facts About an Author, week #24

Weekly Geeks this week is to highlight an author. I am choosing Andrea Camilleri, author of the Inspector Montalbano mysteries. I've read the first four in the series. All info is from wiki. What did we do before wikipedia?

  • born in 1925 in Porto Empedolco, Italy (Sicily)
  • was a director and screenwriter in Italian television for many years
  • wrote his first novel in 1978, but it was not successful
  • in 1994 he wrote the first Inspector Montalbano mystery
  • there has been a TV series made about Montalbano which was very popular in Italy
  • there are 14 books in the series, not all available in English yet
  • he has written over 40 other novels - very prolific as he didn't start writing until he was over 50
  • he lives in Rome and still works as a TV and theatre producer
  • about 10 million copies of his novels have been sold
  • Sicily has tours based on Montalbano's imaginary Vigata and located in his hometown. (that reminds me of how people come to Cavendish, the village Avonlea is based on) Those tours sound so cool. I bet the food would be fabulous, as Montalbano revels in good food. It's a big part of the novels
  • I would have liked to look for information on his website, but it is all in Italian

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BOOK: Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay

Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay, 404 pages

Unread Author Challenge, Genre: thriller; 2nd Canadian

I love a good suspenseful thriller. I started this one yesterday, and since I had today off, I read all day. It was a real page turner, with twists and turns, some I could somewhat see or at least suspect, but still satisfying.

The prologue starts with Derek, the seventeen year old son of the narrator, sneaking into a neighbour's house in upstate New York, and then being present but hidden while the family is massacred at gunpoint. The ensuing investigation unearths secrets of all the people connected with the family. Murder investigations often leave many people feeling exposed, and as unexpected details get discovered, more than a murderer can be the result.

It's no fun to read a review of a book that derives its pleasure from suspense, so there will be no incriminating details here. The characters were realistic, facing moral dilemmas and not always making the right choices. But overall, I thought Derek and his family were more like people caught in an unusual situation and making decisions based on protecting their family. There are some comments on politics, academia, and ambition, but mostly it's a tight thriller that kept me entertained all day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, where are you?

It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, a time to remember the veterans of all the wars that Canadian soldiers have participated in. Unusual for this year, the weather is mild. A special thanks to the soldiers in Afghanistan this year, trying to achieve peace and stability. At 11:00 am, there will be two minutes of silence in respect.
In reading, I am in upstate New York, and my neighbours have just been murdered. I don't realize it, but my son was in the house during the attack. things are pretty tense as the murders have just been discovered. (Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay.)
Where is reading taking you today? Leave a comment here, or post to your own blog. I know sometimes it's nice to have a set topic to blog about.

Monday, November 10, 2008

ETC: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Three things have happened in the last couple days to get me thinking about Christmas already.

1. These Lindt peppermint chocolates truffles, with 60% dark cocoa! If I was Oprah, I'd be giving them out on My Favorites Things episode. Oh, my.

I bought a bag, and I keep them in my underwear drawer, and every now and then I go to my room and pop one in my mouth. One will fit perfectly and no one else can see what I'm eating. They are my own special treat and I do not share with my family, hence the hiding place

I've noticed that they are a limited time offer. I'll have to stock up.

2. It's the Blogging Advent Tour! Sign ups at Marg's and Kaliana's went fast and furious. It was fun last year to see other traditions about Christmas.

There were music posts, and movie posts, and trivia, plays, family traditions, and lots of cookie recipes. mmmm.

3. The Book Blogger Christmas Swap is being organized by Dewey and Nymeth. I always like Secret Santa at work, getting that little treat in your mailbox just makes your day. This will be my real mailbox, so even better.

Think how much fun it will be with fellow readers sharing their love of books, or just a little treat.

Check at dewey's or nymeth's for more details, but the important thing is to send an email by November 18.

Looks like lots of interesting blogging activity going on in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

BOOK: Drive Like Hell by Dallas Hudgens

Drive Like Hell by Dallas Hudgens, 322 pages

well rounded challenge: A - Zed Title challenge, "D"

Part southern-70s time capsule, part coming of age, Drive Like Hell follows Luke Fulmer in the six months of his driver's license suspension for 'borrowing' a neighbour's car. Raised in a tumultuous home, with a mother teetering on alcoholism, a father who drops in from time to time, and a brother just out of jail for drug related offenses, Luke is trying to find his place and walk the straight and narrow. It's not easy when the moral boundaries are so very blurred. His father taught him to drive at ten years of age and his brother is his pot supplier. Yet they are not terrible people, and I imagine there are many people who grow up with an exposure to options that make the regular lawful existence seem the unusual, rather than the norm.

Hudgens presents a quick moving, tightly written novel. The southern setting in the 1970s provides a backdrop of cultural references, but I never got a sense that this had to be written in that time period other than to be able to mention Burt Reynolds and television shows like Dallas and The Rockford Files. The story itself, with the drugs and juvenile delinquency, could easily have been set in the present. Luke and his brother talk about going legit and living lawful lives, but I don't think they know what exactly that means. Still, these drug dealing and taking people have dreams and a real sense of family. Luke often felt older than sixteen and was, in most cases, more mature and aware than most of the adults around him.

recommended for fans of southern fiction/country music, coming of age stories. (it had some slightly raunchy/violent moments for people who don't like that. Or for those that do.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

CHALLENGE: Exploration: Latin American Reading Challenge

Katrina is planning to host a few challenges next year, and this one looked very appealing, the Latin American Reading Challenge. This challenge will run for 4 months, between the 1st January - 30th April 2009. The aim is to read a 4 books from Latin America, these can be fiction or non-fiction the mix is up to you. There are several options to chose from, check out her post for the details.

Here's a list of potential countries that are classified as Latin America:
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

I haven't thought of any books yet but I would like to read something from these countries. I read a mystery from Peru last month that was very good. A list will be developed soon.

Chile: Isabel Allande - Daughter of Fortune
Brazil: Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza - December Heat
Cuba: Mayra Montero - Dancing to Almendra
Colombia: Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
Dominica: Jamaica Kincaid - The Autobiography of My Mother

Here's a South America country quiz and a North America country quiz to see how many countries you are familiar with.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

MEME: Booking Through Thursday : Presents

So, it’s my birthday today. (Please, no applause.) But it’s inspiring today’s question–
What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura?”

My only sister and I have birthdays that are just three weeks apart. For many years, we've done birthday presents as an event, getting the same thing for each other. For example, one year we saw a play together about Motherhood, each buying the other the ticket. We've shopped for clothes together, buying the same sweatshirt or exercise gear. Basically what happens is we go shopping and if I see something I like, she offers to buy it, but since she really likes it too, I buy it for her, maybe in a different color. On our Mediterranean cruise, we bought each other hand made flip flops on Capri. We picked the same color and style. As an aside, they are my favorite sandals, and if they wear out, I will have to go back to Capri to get another pair.

The best part of our tradition is that it can happen at any time we are out shopping together. Did we get birthday presents this year? Not yet? Here you go, Happy Birthday, I want mine in blue.

One year, we decided to buy books for each other. We planned to get four books in total, and we went to the bookstore together and picked out books, blind from the shelf. It took us a long time, which ended up being an event in itself. I can't remember all the books, but I know Memoirs of Geisha and Clan of the Cave Bear were two of the books.

For Christmas last year, we gave each other Ken Jennings' Brainiac. I laughed when I opened it, knowing I had given her the same book.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

QUIZ: What's your reading personality?

What's your reading personality? Take the quiz here at to find out.

Your responses showed you fitting into two different groups - the exacting reader and the eclectic reader.

The Exacting Eclectic Reader (well, I am a Gemini)

Your responses showed you fitting into two different groups - the exacting reader and the eclectic reader. The expression 'so many books, so little time!' sums up your life.

You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose. You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

I thought I got pegged pretty good. And I think it is kind of neat that there was no html code to insert, just old fashioned copy and paste of the results. I had to go look for a picture I thought might match this meme and couldn't find much. I decided to have some fun with some classic Canadian comedy.

Do you recognize everyone here?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

BLOGGING: It's Tuesday, where are you?

Can you believe new reading challenges are starting up? It seems early to start signing up, but I guess we have to start now, so we can pick and chose which challenges to join for the new year. I am like a lot of people and looking to cut back a bit, but these new great ideas are suggested, like the Countdown Challenge and the Latin America Reading Challenge, and then there are the old favorites, like What's in a Name? or In the Pub '09 that make it hard to cut back. Stop with the fun reading challenges people!

I am in Georgia, my brother is getting out of jail soon, and I can't wait to get my driver's license in Drive Like Hell by Dallas Hudgens. I think I am living a pretty rough life in this coming of age story.

Where is reading taking you today? Leave a comment or write a post on your own blog.

Monday, November 3, 2008

BOOK: All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe

All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe, 296 pages (translated by Alfred Birnbaum)

Japanese Literature Challenge, 2nds Challenge

Another great Japanese mystery by Miyabe; I read Shadow Family earlier this year. This was named Best Mystery and Best Novel of the Year in Japan when it was published in 1992.

A woman goes missing, and her fiance asks a distant relative, Detective Honma to investigate. Honma is off on leave after being injured on the job and after the death of his young wife. His life is pretty quiet, and the investigation is a welcome distraction. The characters are nicely written and enjoyable to follow around. The plot was tight and suspenseful, quick turn after quick turn.

I really enjoyed the look at life in Japan, learning about family registrations, and the different types of red tape in that country. Same but different. The topic was timely as well, with a strong condemnation of consumer credit and the whole business of credit cards and consumerism. This book is fifteen years old, but in today's inflated finacial world, not much has really changed. There were a few sections that got a little preachy, but it didn't distract too much from the mystery. I liked how we followed the detective and learned clues along with him; there were no big surprise reveals, just step by step closer and closer to the end of the mystery. I must continue looking for Miyabe's mysteries.

CHALLENGE: Unread Author Challenge, the second

The Unread Author Challenge began a while ago, but I think I can still do it.

The rules:
The challenge will run from August 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009. You may join at any time before or during those six months.
During those six months, read at least SIX books by an author whose work you have never read before.
You may choose six different "unread" authors to introduce yourself to, or you may choose just one or two and explore their work in greater depth.
Authors may be drawn from any genre of literature. The only requirement is that they be authors whose work you substantially regret not having read yet.
Your choices may overlap with other challenges you have underway.

I'm a little late for this one, but I easily found six authors from August until now that I have already read that are new to me, such as Margaret Laurence, Robertson Davies, Carol Shields and Geraldine Brooks. I expect that there are at least 6 more that I can read between now and January that fit this category.

Some possible authors include:

Linwood Barclay - Too Close to Home Nov 11/08
Michael Chabon - Gentlemen of the Road Nov 29/08
Zora Neal Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God Dec 8/08
Haruki Murakami - After Dark Dec 20/08
Rose Tremain - The Road Home Jan 9/09
PG Wodehouse - Ukridge Dec 27/08

Jhumpa Lahiri
John Green
Marion Keyes
Maria de Los Santos
Kate Grenville
Alice Munro - The View from Castle Rock
Urgula LeGuin
and who knows who else may appear on my list?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

CHALLENGE: Countdown Challenge

3m has thought of another original challenge based on dates. She's done the Decades Challenge -for older books, In the Pub - for books published this year, and now, for all the books in the middle, the Countdown. Starting from 8/8/08 until 9/9/09, the goal is to read 9 books published in 2009, 8 books published in 2008, and so on, back until you are reading 1 book published in 2001. This is a great challenge, because it is just reading those books you've been hearing about for the past few years, and have always wanted to read.

I've gone back and determined what books I've already read - cool! a retroactive reading challenge, and then looked at books I have around here and am hoping to read soon, and came up with the following list, all subject to change. If it's linked, it's already been read.

total so far: 45/45!

2009 - read 9 books

2008 - read 8 books

2007 - read 7 books

2006 - read 6 books

2005 - read 5 books

2004 - read 4 books

2003 - read 3 books

2002 - read 2 books

2001 - read 1 book


I've finished a few challenges lately, and should update.

I only committed to 2 books, but managed more than that. Only 2 were proper long novels, which was probably why I only thought I could manage two.
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury I am half way through this and loving it.
High Spirits - Robertson Davies (short stories)
The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan
Creepers - Joanne Dahme (young adult)
Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith
Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Borden Tragedy -Rick Geary (graphic novel)

Other books I still really want to read:
Lisey's Story - Stephen King - moves to the next pile of challenges, Book Awards and Genre
Murder on the Strand - Daphne duMaurier - moves to the next pile of challenges
Voices - Arnaldur Indridason - moves to the next pile of challenges as part of a series

RIP is a great challenge, and I easily find books that fit this genre. Likely my most favorite type of book to read. I am in the middle of All That She Was Worth, and Too Close to Home is yelling at me to get started. I think my RIP will continue well into November. Thanks Carl, I love this one.


Read three books from September 1 - December 1, 2008 that have been turned into movies. Easy peasy.

1. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
2. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. Last Orders by Graham Swift

Good books all in all. I have a few more here my daughter wants me to read: Because of Winn Dixie and Ella Enchanted. I hope to finish them before the challenge ends. Thanks to Callista for hosting this one a second year.


Here was a great little challenge - read three science related books. Since I teach physics, it seemed appropriate to join in. The Trouble with Physics was the one I learned the most from.

1. The Quirks and Quarks Guide to Space - Jim Lebans
2. The Planets - Dava Sobel
3. The Trouble With Physics - Lee Smolin

Saturday, November 1, 2008

CHALLENGE: What's in a Name? 2

Annie is hosting the What's in a Name Challenge again, with all new categories. I like making a list with a few options for each category. there is a new blog with all the details, but basically, 6 books throughout the year, chosen from the following six categories. I must head over and see some other suggestions of titles for the categories. Some seem harder to find titles for, but I haven't been looking for very long.

A book with a "profession" in its title:
In the Company of the Courtesan
Teacher Man, Frank McCourt

A book with a "time of day" in its title:
The Smell of the Night by Andrea Camilleri June 14/09
Late Nights on Air
When Twilight Burns

A book with a "relative" in its title:
The Sister by Poppy Adams June 30/09
The Seven Daughters of Eve
When We Were Orphans
Cain His Brother, Anne Perry

A book with a "body part" in its title:
Remembering the Bones - Frances Itani Feb 28/09
The Left Hand of Darkness

A book with a "building" in its title:
The House at Riverton
The Wheel on the School
The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro July 4/09

A book with a "medical condition" in its title:
Girlfriend in a Coma