Thursday, December 31, 2009

Read Your Name 2010

I've been a little hesitant to join this challenge because A) I've already joined a bazillion for 2010, and B) I didn't think I could find any book titles that start with "U". Shockingly, I found a couple on my shelves, so I'm signing up for this (what may be my final) challenge. The rules are pretty simple - use your first name, pets' name, whatever name you'd like, and read books with first title letters that spell out the name. Sounds good to me! I'll be doing my first name. The contest runs for the entire year.

L: "Living Well with Hypothyroidism", Mary J. Shomon, February

A: "Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging", Louise Rennison, March

U: "Up the Agency", Peter Mayle, December

R: "Royal Flush", Rhys Bowen, January

A: "The Arrival", Shaun Tan, January

Completed: December 23, 2010!

What's In A Name? 3rd Challenge, 2010

The What's in a Name? 3 Challenge, hosted by Beth Fish over here, should be kind of a tough challenge. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find the right books for each category, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. The rules are that you read one book in each of the following categories:
  1. a book with a food in the title
  2. a book with a body of water in the title
  3. a book with a title (like queen or prince) in the title
  4. a book with a plant in the title
  5. a book with a place name (country, city, etc) in the title
  6. a book with a music term in the title.

Categories Completed:
1) "Chicken with Plums" by Marjane Satrapi, March 30
2) "Heart of the Sea" by Nora Roberts, July 2
3) "Doomed Queens" by Kris Waldherr, February 11
4) "Persephone and the Pomegranate" by Kris Waldherr, February 18
5) "Round About Chatsworth" by Duchess of Devonshire, July 29
6) "Evanly Choirs" by Rhys Bowen, April 21

Books can be in any format, and each title cannot be counted for more than one category. There's even a prize to be given away at the end of this challenge! Yahoo!

I'll be spending the afternoon making lists of books to read, I think. And honestly, it sounds like fun for me. What could be better than making lists of books?!?

Completed: July 29, 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

TwentyTen Reading Challenge

This challenge sounded like too much fun to me! Hosted by Bart at bartsbookshelf. The rules:
  • Read 2 books from each category, for 20 books total.
  • The categories are intended to be loose guidelines only - if you decide it fits, it fits. (Apart from those marked **)
  • Categories marked with ** have tighter rules and these must be followed.
  • Each book can only qualify for one category.
  • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  • Challenge lasts the entire 2010 calendar year.
The Categories

1. Young Adult
Any book classified as young adult or featuring a teenage protagonist counts for this category.
- "Viola in Reel Life" by Adriana Trigiani (January)
- "Briar Rose" by Jane Yolen (March)

2. T.B.R.**
Intended to help reduce the old T.B.R. pile. Books for this category must already be residents of your bookshelves as of November 1, 2009.
- "Scandals, Vandals, and da Vincis" by Harvey Rachlin (February)
- "Bronte Country" ed. by Glenda Leeming (February)

3. Shiny & New
Bought a NEW book in 2010? Then it counts.
-"Living Introverted" by Lee Ann Lambert (June)
-"Never Learn Anything from History by Kate Beaton (June)

4. Bad Blogger's**
These books were picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger. (Any reviews should also link to the original post that convinced you.)
- "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" by Shirley Jackson. Recommended by Bad Blogger Eva at A Striped Armchair. Her review is here.
- "Godmother" by Carolyn Turgeon. Recommended by Bad Blogger Swapna Krishna at SKrishna'sBooks. Her review is here.

5. Charity
Purchased in a charity/thrift shop.
-"The Golden Bowl" by Henry James (July)

6. New in 2010
Newly published in 2010, whether it's the first time released, or the first time published in your country.
- "Wench" by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (February)
- "The Swan Thieves" by Elizabeth Kostova (March)

7. Older Than You
Books that were published before you were born.
- "Botchan", Natsume Soseki (February)
- "Carmilla", J Sheridan Le Fanu (March)

8. Win! Win!
Have a couple of books you need to read for another challenge? Then this is the category to use.
-"The Kitchen Boy", Robert Alexander (August)
-"Nicholas and Alexandra" Robert K. Massie (August)

9. Who Are You Again?
Authors you have never read or have never heard of before.
- Chris Abani (February)
- Kris Waldherr (February)

10. Up to You!
I'm choosing Graphic Novels for this category.
- "The Arrival", Shaun Tan (January)
- "The Watchmen", Alan Moore (February)

2010 is shaping up to be a great year of reading and reading challenges!!!

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

I'm excited to be joining this reading challenge, as I stalked it online for the last few months. I've really enjoyed reading YA books this year, and this will hopefully help me feel less guilty about it. Challenge is being hosted by J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog. The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2010. There are four challenge levels to choose from. I'll be doing the Mini YA Reading Challenge of reading 12 YA novels.

1. "Viola in Reel Life" Adriana Trigiani, January

2. "Briar Rose" Jane Yolen, March

3. "Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging" Louise Rennison, March

4. "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" Roald Dahl, April

5. "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" Stephenie Meyer, July

6. "Enthusiasm" Polly Shulman, October

7. "Finn Family Moomintroll" Tove Jansson, October

8. "The Vampire Diaries: The Awakeneing" L.J. Smith, October

9."The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle" L. J. Smith, October

10. "Hex Hall" Rachel Hawkins, October

11. "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" Grace Lin, November

12. "Bunnicula" by Deborah & James Howe, December

I'm almost positive I can finish this level, and am hopeful I can move up to the next level, Just My Size, at 25 YA books to read. *crossing fingers*

Completed: December 2010

All About the Brontes Challenge 2010

This challenge, hosted by Laura over at Laura's Reviews, sounds like it's going to be right up my alley! The rules:

  • The challenge runs from January 1 through June 30, 2010.
  • You can read a book, watch a movie, listen to an audiobook - anything you like! Reading, watching, or listening for the second, third or more time is allowed.
  • You choose your own goal for this challenge. Changes to the goal are allowed (and probably encouraged).
To make this a little easier on myself (since I'd like to overlap for other challenges and don't have the brain power to figure out a good number), I'm going to shoot for a total of 3 items completed. However, I hope to get at least a few more in here!

1. "Bronte Country", ed. by Glenda Leeming (read Feb 11)



As of now (December '09) I'm planning on reading "Bronte Country" ed. by Glenda Leeming, "The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte" by Syrie James, and "The Professor" by Charlotte Bronte.

Reading Through the Seasons 2010

This challenge should be fairly simple, as it's only four books! Book Dragon, over at Book Dragon's Lair is hosting this challenge. The rules are:
  • Four books, one for each season.
  • Title must have a season (not holiday) - winter, fall, autumn, spring, summer.
  • Challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2010.
I'm looking forward to this one, as it seems like the only one that I'll finish for sure!





Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Colorful Reading Challenge 2010

In anticipation of all of the books I'll be reading next year, and the reading challenges that go along with them, I'll be adding my 2010 reading challenges here in the next week or so. Since I'm new to this whole interwebs thing (especially blogging), if any of you notice something amiss here, please let me know.

Okay, for my first non-LibraryThing challenge, I present the Colorful Reading Challenge!

The rules are pretty simple - read 9 books with 9 different colors in the title. The challenge runs from January 1 - December 31, 2010. This should be lots of fun! Here's hoping that I can find 9 books that I already own (trying to cut back on book buying - yikes) with colors in the title! And big thanks to Rebecca for hosting!

1. "Briar Rose" by Jane Yolen, March

2. "The Golden Bowl" by Henry James, July

3. "Agnes Grey" by Anne Bronte, November

4. "My Trip Down the Pink Carpet" by Leslie Jordan, November






Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So if you guessed that I'm posting this to avoid working, you'd be right! You win! Congratulations - you should be receiving your free monkey soon.

Winter is officially here. I had to break out the snowblower and shovel this morning. This was the view out of my front window last night at 10pm. Yes, I assure you, I took that at 10pm...pretty stinkin bright, hey?!? This was right before I started losing electricity (five times in an hour and a half), and I was still wide awake, pulling blinds shut to remind my brain that it was actually night-time and that I should probably be getting to bed. Instead, I finished a book and watched The Golden Girls. You know, the usual.

Other than that, nothing much new has been happening. Lots of working, not a lot of paid hours, nothing new. Except for books, that is!

"Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer's Life"
- Michael Greenberg, 2009
ISBN: 9781590513415

From the back cover: "Beg, Borrow, Steal" is an autobiography in installments, set in New York, where the authoer depicts the life of a writer of little means trying to practice his craft -- or simply stay alive. He finds himself doctoring doomed movie scripts; driving traucks and taxis; selling cosmetics from an ironing board in front of a women's department store; writing about golf, a game he never played; and botching his debut as a waiter in a coveted four-star restaurant.

Central characters include the City of All Cities; Michael's father, whose scrap metal business looms large; his elegant mother; his first wife, Robin, whom he met in a Greenwich Village high school; their son, Aaron, who grew up on the Lower East Side; a repentant communist who fought in the Spanish Civil War; a Chilean filmmaker in search of his past; beggars who are poets; a man who becomes a woman; and rats who behave like humans and cease to live underground. Greenberg creates a world where the familial, the incongruous, the literary, the humorous, the tragic, and the mundane not only speak to each other, but deeply enjoy the exchange.

Thoughts: Once I finally committed myself to finishing this book, it was an enjoyable read. Like so many things, I had started this one, left it sitting on my coffee table for a month, and then got so sick of looking at the bland advanced proof cover that I made myself sit down and get it done with. And I really liked it! I didn't know anything about Mr. Greenberg or what his writing would be like and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. It didn't have a reading "flow" to it, and it worked out wonderfully. These 45 essays are like little snapshots of his life experiences - just enough to get a sense of what his worldview is and what he sees around him. It's good, but I don't know if it necessarily qualifies for all of the accolades it has been receiving.

"The Vintage Caper"
-Peter Mayle, 2009
ISBN: 0307269010

From Publishers Weekly: Mayle uncorks a winning wine caper in the tradition of "To Catch a Thief". When a hot-shot Hollywood lawyer's most treasured and expensive wines are stolen, his insurance company calls in Sam Levitt, a gourmand and lawyer-of-all-trades with a varied background, to investigate. The investigation takes Sam to Paris and Bordeaux, where he hooks up with the elegant insurance agent Sophie Costes, a fellow wine and food snob. The trail finally leads them to a man named Francis Reboul in Marseille, and soon, with the help of Sophie's journalist cousin, Phillipe, they get an in with Reboul and close in on closing the caper. While the plot may be predictable, the pleasures of this very French adventure—and there are many—aren't in the resolution, of course, but in the pleasant stroll through the provinces and in the glasses of wine downed and decadent meals consumed.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. Then again, I always enjoy Peter Mayle. No matter if it's fiction or non-fiction his writing, stories, mysteries, etc, are a gentle escape from everyday life. This book is certainly no exception. Dealing with a wine theft from a conceited s.o.b., a wonderful trip to Marseille, and a bit of a who-dun-it, it was an easy read that I looked forward to getting back to every time I had to put it down. If you're in the mood to read a book for pleasure that's not fluff, "The Vintage Caper" will happily fit the bill.

And now, between loads of laundry, I'll be nosing around on book blogs, checking out reading challenges for 2010, and probably signing up for a few along the way. On a related note, I should check out a HTML book, or look for a class - I don't know how to make my blog look better, and how to better post sidebar things, etc. Any recommendations are very welcome! See you later!