Friday, May 21, 2010

Discount Knightery!

Today I earned two Discount Knight badges.

First, I found a fun video game that, with my Game Stop discount card, only cost $7.00. And then, I got Bite Me by Christopher Moore for %50 off! Huzzah! I tell you, fortune was smiling on me today, because I also did not get a ticket when I got pulled over. I had just put my new inspection sticker on the car and stuck my new registration in my wallet this morning. Wow. What a day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


My "to be read" list is now up to 529. It was 491 only a few weeks ago. Clearly I need help.

I have read a total of 23 books this year, not counting picture books. I had a moment of panic when I was counting them up on my list since the total only came to 21. However, there are two major fluff books that I read this year that I couldn't fit into my categories. I suppose I could count them in the "my choice" category, but at the expense of what? Very puzzling. But as far as my tally goes it is 23 and I'm sticking with that. I may end up chucking my carefully planned list altogether at some point, since I have revised it approximately five times already. The most recent overhaul was to get rid of "Scare Myself Stupid" and replacing it was "Book Blog Recommendations." It was the only category I hadn't read anything from, although I did leave three of the books on the list.

I have added another challenge. (More evidence that I need help). This one is called "What's in a Name?" and it is from Tales of a Capricious Reader. This one is a little different from the others in that you have to read six books with specific title qualifications. There has to be one of the following things included in the title: a food, a body of water, a title (such as King or Major), a plant, a place name, and finally a music term. I've had a lot of fun picking out the books to meet these parameters. I have read 1/6: The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag.

Other challenge statistics:
Our Mutual Read: 3/4. Just The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells left to go!
Fantasy: 2/6
First in a series: 1/6. I was looking at my list and realized I had six of them on there in different places so I went with the higher level of participation.
Typically British: 2/6
Read My Name: 5/14 I've covered the following letters: ELBOH.

I am having so much fun with this!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading? I haven't completely given up on Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, although it has been set aside for the reasons I gave yesterday. I just started The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, and though I am enjoying it the book hasn't really grabbed me like I had hoped. It counts towards the 100 Book Challenge (obviously), the Read Your Name Challenge (for my soon to be last name), the First in a Series Challenge, and also towards another long term goal of reading a book set in or about each of the recognized countries in the world. (I got this idea from another blog, but now I can't find which one. I thought it was Fizzy Thoughts, but I can't seem to find the link on her blog for it, so it was probably someone else. Egads. My apologies to whomever it was, I clearly thought it was a fabulous idea.)

What did I recently finish reading? I finished The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley, and Obit by Jim Sheeler. Both count towards the 100 Book Challenge and Obit counts towards the Read Your Name Challenge (again for the soon to be last name). For those keeping track I've read 23 books for the 100 Book Challenge, almost a quarter of the way there, although fairly off pace considering it is mid-May.

What am I going to read next? I hope to go to the bookstore on Friday and purchase Bite Me by Christopher Moore. I will probably read The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg next.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why doesn't book pooper exist?

After all, there is a website called movie pooper, where you can go find out the endings of the movies that you don't want to sit through, since sometimes the surprise twist is the only thing that is interesting about it. I mainly utilize the site for horror films since I am a terrible wuss about those sorts of movies but am frequently curious as to the outcomes.

I wish that there was something similar for books. I know I can look up classics in reference works like Masterplots, but there doesn't seem to be anything for current fiction. The source for this desire is Boneshaker. I want to know the truth about what happened, but I have very little desire to finish reading the book, primarily because the two main characters annoy me. Zeke because he's a naive and at times moronic teenager, and Brier because she's doing the whole martyred woman thing. I get it, their lives are impossibly hard, but really, if my husband had been blamed for destroying an entire city, and unleashing a horrible poison gas that caused people to turn into zombies you bet your ass I wouldn't have stayed outside the same city with the rest of the survivors trying to eke out an existence. Walking south to California couldn't have been any harder than working 12 hour shifts and living in a community where everyone hates you.

I'm trying to decide if I'm going to finish it or not. I really want to know, but man these characters irritate me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mystery Monday

If anyone were to give either my to be read list or my have read list even a cursory glance, it will become painfully obvious that I thoroughly enjoy mystery novels, especially ones that involve amateur sleuths. I also tend to prefer ones that would be classified as cozy mysteries, that is, no graphic sex or violence, but I have read others that are not cozies. I simply love a good mystery and I'm always on the look out for a new series to satisfy my craving.

I bring all of this up because I just recently finished reading The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley and I absolutely loved it. This is the second book in his Flavia de Luce series, after The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia is unlike any other heroine I have come across, not only because of her age (almost eleven), but also because of her obsession with chemistry and unhealthy interest in poison. And just so we are clear, even though she is a child, these aren't books for children.

Bradley does a fantastic job of breathing life into all of his characters, who are quirky without being caricatures, and with crafting mysteries that a wickedly intelligent and observant child could solve given an absence of parental supervision. And again, these aren't your garden variety safe mysteries, such as who stole a pie off of a kitchen window, but are in fact murder mysteries. Bradley also has a wonderful gift for language and many a turn of phrase in his books have found their way into my daily language. To give you an idea of his writing style here are some examples from Hangman's Bag:

"I have to admit, though, that Cynthia was a great organizer, but then, so were the men with whips who got the pyramids built." (page 31)

"God blind me with a fish fork!" (page 85)

"I wanted to throw my arms around this dotty old bat in her George Bernard Shaw costume and hug her until the juices ran out. But I didn't. I couldn't. I was a de Luce." (page 203)

The books are just wonderful, and I can't believe I have to wait until next year for the third book in the series. I'm hoping to find some other mystery series to tide me over, as I need them in my reading just like I need a nap every once in a while. I highly recommend both of the Flavia de Luce novels to any and all who enjoy a good mystery.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

From the Shelves: Obit

I just finished reading the book Obit by Jim Sheeler. On the surface one might think that a book that is composed of obituaries would be at best morbid, and at worst, horribly depressing. It is neither. The subtitle is "inspiring stories of ordinary people who led extraordinary lives" and it lives up to that billing. Each chapter is an obituary, but it is also the story of that person. In short, Sheeler breathes life into them one last time and makes the reader wish they had known the people and mourn their loss at least in part.
The essays, for really that is a better description than simply calling them obituaries, are celebrations of lives well lived (and in some instances cut too short) as well as memorials to those who have passed on. They are touching and moving and extremely well written. We should all be so lucky as to have Jim Sheeler write our last story. It makes me wonder what sort of stories my family would tell about me when the time comes (hopefully far off in the future). I expect most of those stories would be about my vivid power of recall, or perhaps my ridiculously strong sense of smell. Who truly knows what others find to be especially memorable about themselves?
At any rate, this is a beautiful book and one that I highly recommend. However, it might be better to dip into it from time to time instead of reading it all at once because, while it isn't depressing, it will leave you quite subdued.