Herding Cats – the books that I’ve chosen

April 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm (Herding Cats)

I’ve finally decided the three books that I’ll be reading for the Herding Cats. You’ll notice that tomorrow is May 1st. It’s when the challenge starts. Yes, I procrastinate. So sue me. 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See from 1morechapter.com’s list.

The Eight by Katherine Neville from Page After Page’s List.

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak from Confessions of a Book-a-holic’s list.

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Weekly Geeks #1, part 2. Or: A bit of a dunce…

April 29, 2008 at 5:45 pm (Weekly Geeks) (, , )

I was going on my merry way, blog surfing and such. I went back to my blog to look at something and stopped suddenly on the “Weekly Geeks #1” post. I counted… 1, 2, 3, 4… where’s number five?

I know what happened. A friend of mine has introduced me to a blogging tool that lets me save drafts locally before uploading, so that I can come back and work on them later. So, when I went to publish the weekly geeks post, I came back to the blogging tool – which, btw, I hadn’t actually closed down yet – saw my post still sitting there. Actually, what I saw was my post sitting there in and amongst a bunch of random letters (thanks to my kitties for trying to help!) so I thought to myself “Ok, self. No problem. Just pull up the saved draft and post it.” But I hadn’t saved after I’d listed my fifth blog for “Weekly Geeks”.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember who I’d picked out for the fifth pick. This isn’t because I don’t think they’re good – it is because I’ve been looking at a lot of blogs and have a short memory (at least on things regarding that). So, here’s the deal: if I went to your blog and said I’d feature you in my “Weekly Geeks” post but didn’t, please tell me. I will make you your own post.

I also decided that since it is entirely possible that person will never be found/won’t step forward, I’d pick another blog to “feature” – only this time, I’ll pick one that posted to Mr. Linky after me (the others, I believe were all before me on the list). So, without any more rambling on, here’s the fifth blog for my Weekly Geeks entry.

Book Nut – I enjoyed reading the many reviews on Melissa’s site. I can also completely appreciate her comment on the sidebar of the blog, stating “She hates wandering the the stacks of the library and/or the bookstore looking for something good to read and so thrives off of recommendations.” While I love bookstores and libraries, I get extremely frustrated because the back of the book/book cover can make even the worst book seem good. (This is part of the benefit of having a Paperspine membership – I get good book suggestions, put them in my que, and don’t even have to walk into a library or bookstore hoping that I’ll remember what I want or that they’ll have one of the books on my list.) Her blog looks like a great resource – I followed several links to interesting sites. Stop by and check her out.

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Weekly Geeks #1: Discover New Blogs Week

April 28, 2008 at 9:00 am (Reading challenges, Weekly Geeks)

For this week’s “Weekly Geeks”, we’ve been encouraged to discover new blogs. We’re supposed to find five new blogs and hopefully comment on them. Since I’m actually fairly new to book blogging, almost everybody on this list was new to me. I’ve read several of them now, but here are the five I’m picking to write a little bit about:

 Trish’s Reading Nook – Trish recently posted about her shelves. I now have bookshelf and book envy. Even though I’ve cut down SIGNIFICANTLY on buying books, thanks to Paperspine, I still covet having all those books!! I also went and checked out her travel blog. As it turns out, last year she cruised on the cruise line I work for. It’s actually possible I met her last summer, depending on what day she came in and what airline as I did meet and greet at Sea-Tac airport last summer. It’s a small world after all. (And, at the risk of sounding stalker-ish, she and her husband look like a really cute couple!)

Leafing Through Life – Megan lives in Pennsylvania and suffers from the same problem that I do: too much to do and too much that she wants to read. Like me, she feels guilty when she has to click “mark all as read” on her feed reader – I know because she recently posted about it. I’ve added a few of the books that she has read to my “TBR list”. It grows faster than I can read, I tell you!!  

Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic – Stephanie’s blog is awesome. I love the layout and her liberal use of pictures. Also, her “Me” portrait is pretty nifty. She is participating/has participated in a whole bunch of reading challenges. She has reviewed some pretty interesting books. She seems to strike that fine balance – her blog is definitely a “subject based blog” but she includes some personal things, which I really enjoy reading.

That’s the Book! – According to Aaron’s “About Me” page, he lives in Seoul, where he teaches English. I wanted to do that at one point – not necessarily Seoul, but teach English in a foreign country. His favorite bookstore there is called “What the Book?” Apparently, he likes to read outside during spring (at least, that’s what his last Booking Through Thursday answer said). I don’t do a lot of reading outside, but then again, I live in Seattle so I’m afraid the books would get damaged – you never know when it’s going to rain.

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Top 5 Gifts for the Mother Who Loves to Read

April 27, 2008 at 7:30 pm (Articles, Holidays)

Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts for the Mother Who Loves to Read – This article has several ideas on gifts that you can give your mother if she’s a bookworm. If you decide that you want to give her a Paperspine subscription (it is one of the suggestions in the article and would be great for any mother or grandmother – especially if they’re either busy or can’t really leave the house much), please use my referral code: MA2359.

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Weekly Geeks

April 27, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Reading challenges, Weekly Geeks) (, , )

The Hidden Side of a Leaf is hosting something called “Weekly Geeks”. This is a “challenge” that is almost like a blogging carnival. (Hey, that’s way awesome in my opinion. I only know of one book blog carnival… if you guys know of any more than that, please let me know!) Basically, every week, there will be a new theme.

While you don’t have to participate every week, if you join, you should try to. Dewey will be posting the weekly theme every Saturday. Learn more about “The Weekly Geek” behind the link. Oh, and if you sign up, please let them know that I sent you – I’d really like that chocolate monkey!

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Memories of a Sixth Grade "Readathon"

April 26, 2008 at 8:56 pm (General) (, )

In sixth grade when our teacher announced that we’d be having a “readathon”, I was so excited. We were told that we could bring snacks, pillows and blankets (if we wanted to), and, of course, we could bring any books that we wanted to read.

Although I did bring a snack, I didn’t care so much about eating it. I was just excited to have a whole day to read. This was probably the first time in my life that nobody said “Okay, you’ve read enough. Go do something else,” after several hours of reading. We were even allowed to read through recess. (This was a constant argument between the “playground duties” and myself – if I was outside, it should have been enough. I felt I should have been allowed to read. They thought differently. Hence, no reading during recess.) I brought two books to read. The first book I don’t remember – it was probably whatever book I’d checked out from the library recently. This doesn’t mean it was a bad book, just that I don’t particularly remember what that book was.

I do remember the second book, though: Family Album by Danielle Steel. My mother had given me the book for Christmas. Remember that at this point, I was eleven years old, maybe twelve. I think she either took the recommendation of somebody else or just picked it up off the shelves and only read a page or two – if that. Otherwise, what was she thinking?

This book was probably a bit too mature for most sixth graders (or at least, their parents would have thought so – sixth graders when I was a sixth grader were much more “aware” of certain things than sixth graders were when my mother was a sixth grader). In this book, among many other things, a young girl runs off, joins a commune, participates in an orgy (several, actually), spends a lot of time high on drugs, and ends up pregnant. She later ends up with her best friend’s father – while she is still in high school. Gay sex is described – not in extremely graphic details, but had my mother known, that right there would have prevented her from giving me the book. One of the girls in the family is a complete slut and dresses like one. Really… what was she thinking?

Anyway, when I started reading that day, I didn’t know much of what the book was about. My teacher wasn’t thrilled, to say the least. We had a minor argument that ended in “Next time, bring something more age appropriate.” The problem was that I had already read pretty much everything that was “age appropriate” in the school library – and she knew it – so she let me keep reading. Since we were scattered about the library, wherever we wanted, I chose a smallish spot in a little nook near the checkout desk. It kept me apart from most of the other kids – and shielded me from any noise they made. It was just me, my book, and a decent amount of time to read. I read until the end of the day and nearly missed my bus – my teacher had to come find me because I was so engrossed in my story that I hadn’t noticed everyone else had left.

A few weeks later, my mother confiscated the book. “This book is too old for you. You can have it back in a few years.” I stared at her a bit dumbfounded – didn’t she remember that this was the book she’d given me just a couple of months prior? Of course, even if I had mentioned that, my mother probably wouldn’t have remembered or believed me. And, if she would have believed me, she wouldn’t have let on. I think she probably knew, but I can’t confirm that. Why did she suddenly change her mind about the book? Had she just noticed what was in it? If not, why did she give it to me in the first place – and then change her mind? I didn’t know then. And I still don’t know.

But every time I come across that book, I’m reminded of that delightful day in sixth grade when I was given a whole day just to read.

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Annoying People in Bookstores and Libraries

April 21, 2008 at 1:46 pm (From the blogosphere) (, , )

From Bookgasm:

The 5 People Who Make Me Hate the Public Library

and

The 9 Most Annoying People I Always See at the Bookstore

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Book Contest

April 19, 2008 at 7:47 pm (Contests)

There’s a book contest going on at In Bed With Books to win a copy of either The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle (this one is an ARC) or Wake by Lisa McMann. I’ve put an entry in for Wake. If you want to put in an entry, you should do so soon: winners are going to be announced on May 1st.

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342,745 Ways to Herd Cats – Ten Books That I LOVE

April 19, 2008 at 12:13 am (Herding Cats, Reading challenges)

Here’s my list of ten books that I love for the 342,745 Ways to Herd Cats challenge. We’re supposed to pick ten books we like a make a list. Then, we’re supposed to pick three books from other people’s “ten books I love” lists and read them between May 1, 2008 and November 30, 2008. The main challenge page is here. I don’t have posts about some of these yet, but will probably be adding them in the future.

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you’d like to know a bit more about it, please read my post over here.

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, which I’ve written about here.

3. The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. Apparently, a lot of children’s libraries won’t carry this book, even though it won the 2007 Newberry Medal, because of the word “scrotum” appearing in the book. It does so only two or three times, in reference to a rattlesnake biting a dog. It isn’t offensive, IMHO. And, also, if you can’t let your children read a book that mentions a non-offensive term for a body part (which, btw, about half of all children have), then your child’s biggest problem probably has nothing to do with what he or she was reading. The story itself is wonderful. It’s a good “story”, not just a good book, if you know what I mean. Lucky is a 10-year-old girl who lives in a little town called Hard Pan (population 43) with her guardian, Brigette. Brigette became Lucky’s guardian after Lucky’s mother died two years ago and her father called Brigette (his first wife) to take come from France to take care of Lucky (his second wife’s daughter). Lucky believes that Brigette is unhappy, that she is planning on moving back to France, and leaving Lucky. So Lucky sets out to find her “Higher Power”, which she hears about when eavesdropping on 12-step meetings.

4. Area 51 (Book 1) by Robert Doherty. I’d actually suggest all of the series but I’m only listing this book. You can read my post about this book here.

5. Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne Jones.

6. The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson.

7. So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson.

8. Going With The Grain: A Wandering Bread Lover Takes a Bite Out of Life by Susan Seligson. I was going through school to become a bread maker/pastry chef but had to quit because I was getting sick all the time. Ha ha ha, Universe, thank you for “gifting” me with gluten intolerance.

9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. Actually, I loved the whole series, but this one was my favorite overall.

10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I don’t care what anybody else says, this is the first book in the series. I love them all, though.

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Area 51 (the series of books by Robert Doherty)

April 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm (Book Reviews, Reading challenges, Spring Reading Thing) ()

I first came across this series a handful of years back and quickly devoured them. The books are, as you can probably tell, science fiction but they’re not “high” science fiction. I personally don’t enjoy sci-fi that is too into the technology. Don’t get me wrong, fantastic gadgets are… well, fantastic, but I don’t want to read something where I can barely remember what each piece of technology does. I want something that seems believable.

I could actually see all of this happening. It features many major landmarks and addresses things that I have wondered about, as have many others: How is it that there are pyramids not just in Egypt but also in far-away places like Central America? Who made the statues on Easter Island and how did they get there? Why are so many ancient written languages so similar when there’s no way they originated or were even influenced by the same source? What about Stonehenge? How was it created? What was it for? There are many “Atlantis” style stories – how is it that they’re so similar? Did such a place really exist? What about the face on Mars? Are UFOs real? Have we been visited by aliens? If so, why don’t we know about it?

The answer? Not only do aliens exist, but they visited Earth five thousand years ago – at least, that’s how it happened in these books. It was this alien species, the Airlia, who created the pyramids, the face on Mars, the Great Wall of China. Robert Doherty does an excellent job of weaving all of these bits and pieces together with bits of human history.

But are the Airlia really the good guys? Do they want to befriend earth, destroy it, conquer it, or just finally get off of this wretched rock? Each book is fantastic and keeps me wanting to read more. I finished the second book, The Reply, today and plan on finishing the series (although I’m going to probably rotate one of those books at a time with a book outside of the series).

If you have reviewed this book as well, please feel free to email me at thisredheadreads@gmail.com with the link to your review and I will add the link to this post.

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