Monday, January 31, 2011

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup (Late...)

In Blogs

How many spaces after a period.? The people who still think it's two kill me. Unless they are using a typewriter. Then it's fine.
What's YOUR childhood trauma? Babysitter's Club fashionista.
Battle of the Kids' Books 2011! And I'm completely out of touch.
Who loves Tim Gunn? I do!
Our Lives I mean, I try to make it not so. But I'm just so darn addicted.
True Grit I knew it was a John Wayne movie but I never realized it was also a book. It's also a really good movie review on my ... other blog.
Kindle Singles I actually think this is a great idea.
Why kids love Dystopia Which might also explain why I love Dexter so much. Or I'm just sick and twisted. You know. Whatever.
Philip Pullman is AWESOME.
Huckleberry Wordle Apparently 'warn't' is a bigger offender than... that other word.

In Books

A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin (a re-read before the show!)
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

In the Pile

The Eye of the Dragon - Stephen King
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon
On Writing - Stephen King
Into the Land of the Unicorns - Bruce Coville

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Russian Debutante's Handbook - Gary Shteyngart

Rating: 2 stars
Shelf: Reading Now

This wasn't horrible, it just wasn't that great either. It wasn't all that the 5 or so pages (overkill?) of good reviews inserted at the front of the book said it was going to be. It was hipster lit that poked fun of hipster lit. I hate hipster lit.

Shteyngart failingly and smugly attempts to hide how smart and profound he thinks he is behind not so funny double entendres and the outlandish scenarios in which he inserts his unlikable hero.

Purchase Now from Amazon: Russian Debutante's Handbook

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup

It's back! I think this was my post popular regular weekly feature, so this is what I'm bringing back. It also helped keep me on top of book news - which is a must. I'm hoping to bring back some other features and start some new ones, but little by little. Slow and steady.

In Blogs

A Wrinkle in Time in 90 Seconds Now I want to read the book again.
Game of Thrones Trailer omg, omg, omg, omg, omg!
An Incomplete Education That completely kicks ass. Including revisiting the Alot - an animal we all love a lot.
How to Build a Blog I don't know - there's some sort of Blog-fest. Or Blogfiesta. Or something like that. And everyone is fixing their blogs and writing tons of content for their blogs and making love to their blogs.
Everyone was doing it, until they weren't A great article about how all these blog people want quick recognition and then when they realize how much time needs to be put into a blog and how little reward there actually is - they quit. I've thought about quitting a few times. What am I doing this for? But then I realize - it keeps me writing. And I've made at least two random and amazing internet blogger friends because of this. And maybe I'll randomly make more?
A new Sherlock Holmes? Probably because the movie and the BBC series helped the estate realize how much more money they could be making?
The Amazon Alphabet A strange exercise, but ridiculous how well it displays today's reading/publishing trends. I'm tempted to do a Google Alphabet. (Ha! A is for Amazon! B is for Best Buy! Geez - if we're so consumer driven, what's the deal with this economy?)
Why do YOU blog? Again with the blogging theme, but as always - Marian raises some good points and gets some good feedback in the comments.
Death of another format? Pimp My Novel seems to think that e-books, while they might not necessarily spell the death of all "p-books" (god, how I hate that term!), the new digi-book (makin' up mah own) will mean death for certain formats. Large Print for one - and I agree with him. But I sort of think it's okay? I mean - I feel like Large Print books are sort of a waste to make.
Artwork I LOVE Done by a good friend. But seriously - I wish I didn't do co-editions because I'd sign him up to illustrate a picture book IMMEDIATELY!
2011 Notable Children's Books

In Books

Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
The Russian Debutante's Handbook - Gary Shteyngart

In The Pile
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
The Eye of the Dragon - Stephen King
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon
On Writing - Stephen King
Into the Land of the Unicorns - Bruce Coville

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Weekly Feature?

I need to bring back a weekly feature, now that things aren't so crazy anymore. I mean - they're still pretty crazy. But, for a while there I was trying to help my father as well as trying to help myself and it was all too much for just one lady! But now dad is all set up and happy. And while I'm still planning on moving in the spring to help my finances - I think I'm in a place where I can blog regularly again.

So what do I bring back?

What I'm Reading Weekly Roundup? In which I give you all the things I've been reading on the internets, in real live books and give you a peek at what's sitting in the pile precariously placed on my tiny night table.

Wishlist Wednesday? In which I tell you what new books I've discovered in my travels that I really want to read and ask for your opinions?

Or something new? Something you can make up for me, maybe? I know y'all are creative.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

Rating: 5 stars
Shelf: Reading Now

I'm not sure what took me so long to read this classic. I hate that. When a book this good slips out of my reach year after year for one reason or another. Then I absolutely love it and I'm all - where have you been all my life? Anyway, joking aside - I loved this. Steinbeck really has a way with words and characterization. Because the book is so short, you have to immediately understand George and Lennie - their dreams, motivations and personalities. And you do, within the first few pages. Also because this is a novella - not a single word can be wasted. There is no beating around the bush or time for extravagant prose, unless it lends itself to the feel and meaning of the entire work. This is something Steinbeck does magnificently.

(SOME SPOILERS) When I finished, the boy asked - how do you feel? I answered - sad. I was lost in the ending of this book for quite a while, actually. Some describe it as violent, which I guess it is. But - while it shook me (and probably George) to the core - I also found the ending incredibly humane and moving. Humane because, what other options did George have? None of them seem any better than what actually happened. And moving because - well, firstly - I loved Lennie. And because, Lennie is the symbol of the American dream. Even though he's the reason it inevitably can't come about - he's also the hope that keeps it alive.

Purchase Now from Amazon: Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck Centennial Edition)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

Rating: 3 stars
Shelf: Reading Now

Boyfriend should be bringing me Persepolis 2 to read over the weekend. I feel as though I need to withhold judgment until then. Not that this was bad or anything - it was quite good. Moving, funny in a heartbreaking way. Some of the illustrations were spot on gorgeous and meaningful. But it ended incredibly abruptly. And I wasn't all that blown away by it.

Purchase Now from Amazon: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Northern Light - Jennifer Donnelly

Rating: 5 stars
Shelf: Reading Now

Fabulous. Wonderful. Incredibly well written. Fantastic dialogue. Characters that immediately capture your heart. A plot that is engaging and beautiful - young Mattie is an intelligent girl growing up in the Adirondacks in 1906. A farmer's daughter during the drought, her prospects are slim - until a teacher invests enough time to help her get her highschool degree and get into college in New York City. But leaving her father and family seems nearly impossible. Her duties are too great. It isn't until Mattie gets caught up in a tragic murder one summer (which is based on a true murder investigation, real letters and all) that she is finally able to find her voice and her freedom.

I loved this.

Purchase Now from Amazon:  A Northern Light

Sunday, January 9, 2011

From Elephant to Hollywood - Michael Caine

Rating: 3.5 stars
Shelf: Reading Now

Not spectacularly written - but it didn't need to be. Reading this felt as though I'd just sat down to tea with Sir Michael Caine and he'd decided to grace me with well-told and enrapturing stories of Hollywood, old and new. Michael Caine is a good, good man who funny in a way that is heartfelt and sweetly sentimental. His career has spanned old Hollywood, where he worked alongside actors like Danny Kay, Peter O'Toole, Laurence Olivier, Cary Grant - to name a few. And new Hollywood - where he works with the newer up and coming actors and is always recognized and loved no matter what character he's playing. So - I enjoyed this. A lot. Again, I'd give it a 3.5 if those things were allowed.

Purchase Now from Amazon: The Elephant to Hollywood

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Resolutions

This worked fairly well for me last year. I think last year was the first year I actually tried to carry out some of the promises I made for myself. Maybe it was writing it out and then updating it for all to see that helped me stick to it. So here we are again, both bookish/writerish resolutions and not:

- Finish Les Mis and read War & Peace. Slow down completely on all other reading and don't put too much pressure on myself.

- Finish writing my book in time for 2011 NaNoWriMo, so that I can begin something new by then.

- Continue to post all book reviews on my blog.

- Add one weekly feature back to my blog. The time for personal crisis is over and I miss my blogging friends.

- Comment more.

- Lose weight - back to the weight I was after I lost all my college weight. I don't have as far to go as I did back then, so I think it's manageable so long as I stay focused. Using my old livejournal as a dieting journal to hold myself accountable.

- Start running again in the spring.
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