Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oh No

My apologies to all of you visiting from the Zen Leaf to read my thoughts on the first installment of the Bleak House readalong: not only did I misread how many chapters we were to read for today (through chapter 7, not chapter six), but I also just finished chapter 3.

Epic fail, I know.

I will do my best to be caught up as soon as possible, and then I will post my thoughts.

Please pardon my temporary insantiy and come back in a few days!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I should really be working on job applications, but I couldn't resist this delightful installment of Booking Through Thursday.

1. Favorite childhood book?
GAH! This is so hard... I think probably the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books (yes, I know this is more than one, but cut me some slack!)

2. What are you reading right now?
I just finished Diana Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I am listening to Insatiable, by Meg Cabot, and am about to start Bleak House, by Charles Dickens, and An Echo in the Bone, by Diana Gabaldon.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
A book about Pearl S. Buck

4. Bad book habit?
I compulsively check books out from the library and then don't keep very good track of the due dates.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, 77 Love Sonnets, The Cookbook Collector, Far North, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, Insatiable, Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, Jayber Crow, Letters of a Woman Homesteader, and Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
NO! And I don't plan on getting one.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I've been reading more; at this point, I have read the same number of books that I read in an entire year, and it is only mid-August! This isn't strictly a result of blogging, but I have been buying fewer books and using the library more.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Hmmm...possibly the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Another hard one!!! I'm going to say Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater, but I might change this one after I look at this year's list of books.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I have pretty broad reading habits, so I'll have to say not much.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I like books that are smart and intriguing and well-written. A Twilight fan I am not.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Yes, but not in a car unless I have my handy dandy pressure point wrist bands.

14. Favorite place to read?
A comfy couch or chair

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I'm pretty indiscriminate. But if you don't give it back, or it comes back damaged, watch out!

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
No, but I do sometimes do lay them down open.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
In books for school, yes; in books I am reading for fun, no.

18. Not even with text books?
I'm more of a yellow highligher girl.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

20. What makes you love a book?
Beautiful writing, realistic portrayals of characters (note, this does not mean the characters need to be real!), interesting subject.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I absolutely loved it (depending on who I am recommending it to) or if I think it will make the person want to read more (I sneakily did this to my youngest brother, and he is now a reading fiend!)

22. Favorite genre?
Uh...fiction, I suppose.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

Favorite biography?
Nathan Hale. I read it as a kid and was just in love with him.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

26. Favorite cookbook?
How to Boil Water

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Bread of Angels.

28. Favorite reading snack?

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I don't really know.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Sometimes. I tend to look for any comments/critiques from authors I like on the backs of the books.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I have no problem with it. I am honest on my blog.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
I can already read in Spanish, but I have always thought it would be cool to be able to read Hebrew.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Probably Don Quixote.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
I don't know that I really have one. Maybe Bleak House because I've started and put it down so many times.

35. Favorite Poet?
Too many to choose from! I do really like Liesl Muller.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Lots of times. Remember, I'm a compulsive book checker-outer.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Arthur Clennam is one of them (one of many)

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Hmmm... Bradley Headstone is pretty much a total creeper.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Lots of them! I usually bring a variety so that I will be sure to have something to read.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
a few days
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Lakeshore Limited

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
not much unless the book is only so-so

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
This is hard! I did really love the movie of Little Dorrit. And I loved the Lord of the Rings movies. Oh, and I thought Atonement was great. I'll stop breaking the rules now.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Maybe Time Traveler's Wife

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
$40 in one stop, but I could spend that three or four times a week before I cut back on buying books.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If it was poorly written, absolutely cliched, or extremely offensive (and I'm not easily offended)

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
by group (classics, sentimental favorites, books I might like to read a bit of before going to sleep, etc.) and then alphabetically.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I am a book packrat.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
The rest of the Twilight books.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
March, by Geraldine Brooks

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The Sunne and Splendour, by Sharon Kay Penman.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The Help. It's not like I hated it, but I didn't think it lived up to all the hype.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When the Fates Conspire...

Hello, blogging friends. I was doing so well; my last two posts were up within a week of each other, and I had grand intentions of reviewing the The Cookbook Collector and Eat Pray Love (I won't bore you with how much the lack of commas in this title bugs me!)and sharing some of my favorite Atticus (of To Kill a Mockingbird fame) anecdotes.

And then the Fates (also known as the Realities of Real Life) intervened with: a massive two-day headache (possibly a migraine?) complete with nausea and general ickiness, family friends visiting from the Dominican Republic who needed an additional translator, and my parents' internet, which decided that it hated not only my computer (old news) but also all computers currently residing in my parents' home.

However, I am back, and I have exciting news! I received a call last Thursday to interview for a job at a high school! It is the first application that has actually turned into an interview (yay for potential employment and the hope of moving out of my parents' place. Don't get me wrong: I am so thankful that they have let me stay with them, but this CANNOT be a permanent situation...). I spent this weekend shopping for an interview outfit, telling the story of my interview over and over again, and generally being nervous about said interview.

The interview went really well, and now I am waiting to hear back from the school. This waiting is definitely more nervewracking and stomach-twisting than the waiting for the interview day. So to distract myself yesterday, I went to see Eat Pray Love.

And this, my friends, is where we have the opportunity to discuss a rarity in my book world: I liked the movie better than the book. I loved Elizabeth Gilbert's voice and writing style, but there was just a bit too much Eastern mysticism, God is who you want him to be, let's all chant in Sanskrit for my taste. Despite all this, however, I will readily admit that this book (and the movie) really reasonated with me; I mean, how could it not? It's all about a woman who makes a seemingly crazy, huge change in her life, and her life is literally never the same. For the better. How could I not relate? The movie had this same effect on me (the spiritualism was played down quite a bit while still retaining Gilbert's distinct voice and humor, which I thought was a much better tone than the book) and proved to be a good distraction from my interview worries because it was like taking a mini vacation to three exotic locations (in only 3 hours!). I especially loved the scene at the end where Liz explains the physics of the quest: she essentially said that making a change can't be anything but good. And in my case, I think she's right.

On the bookish front, I am very excited to participate in the Bleak House Readalong that is being hosted by the Zen Leaf. I have been meaning to actually finish this book for quite some time, and I had vowed back in June to read it during my less hectic, temporarily (hopefully) unemployed time. And here is the perfect incentive! Many consider this Dickens' greatest work, so head over to sign up if you want to read with us!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Linger, or Why Did I Start Reading This Series Now?

Photo credit

Well, friends, the temptation to compulsively consume Linger, the sequel to Shiver, proved too much this past weekend, so I did something that I rarely do: I went to Barnes and Noble and read the entire thing there.

Now, before you get upset, let me assure you that I do understand the difference between a bookstore and a library (I can even tell you about the difference in two languages!), and I do know that bookstores need to make a profit (does it make you feel better to know that I bought ridiculously large coffees while there?), and I do plan on buying the entire series when it is out in paperback and (more importantly) when I have a teaching job.

Let's just say that this inability to overcome my scruples about reading an entire book in a bookstore is evidence that Maggie Stiefvater did an excellent job continuing her good work from Shiver. There were many unexpected twists (least of all the ending: how, I ask you, how am I supposed to wait another year to find out what happens to Grace and Sam?) and lots of poetry and music. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Shiver, but I think that's mainly because there was a side story that I didn't care about too much because I just wanted to KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH GRACE AND SAM FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!!

Did I already mention that reading this book was a bit compulsive?

Anyway, I liked the book a lot. I know this wasn't a great, coherent review, but I don't want to give anything away to people who want to read the series. If you like Young Adult Literature, or you just want to assure yourself that Twilight does not signal the downfall of mankind, then you should really read this series.