Friday, October 31, 2008

The wrap up...

The RIP III Challenge ends today, as today is Halloween. My original plan was to read The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Unfortunately, in my reading time line, I realized ahead of time that I had not left myself enough time to accomplish this. So instead I decided to count The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson as one of my two books instead, and am in the middle of reading The Woman in White as of right now (which, by the way, I am having the hardest time putting down...this book is awesome!).

So in review, I read...
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson 2/5
The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury 4/5

I am not normally one to like scary things, but around Halloween time I like to pretend to be into mild spookiness. This worked for me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury

the halloween tree
ray bradbury
c. 1972
160 pages
completed 10/16/2008

*may contain spoilers*

I finished this last week and already it's starting to fade from my mind. I don't think that says anything about the book itself, just that it was short and I finished another book and have started one more before writing this review. So...

I enjoyed this little book. Like I said, short, but an interesting way to explain what Halloween really means. It's not just fun costumes and candy, there's legend and loss and celebration behind it.


Wrap it up...

Okay, so I've been done with the Chunckster Challenge since forever (well, since July) and I'm tired of looking at it on my blog so I'm writing the wrap up and getting rid of it.
For this challenge, we were to read four books in 2008 that were over 450 pages long. These are the first four. I'm sure I've read more than that since July, but those were the first and they're the ones I counted.

I read...

1. LA Confidential - James Ellroy 4/5
2. The Red and the Black - Stendhal 4/5
3. Standing in the Rainbow - Fannie Flagg 4/5
4. The Virgin's Lover - Phillipa Gregory 4/5

Okay. So they were all consistently pretty good all across the board. I think Standing in the Rainbow was my favorite. All good reads.

I have also just finished up the Book to Movie Challenge. Between September 1st and December 1st, read three books that have been turned into movies.

I read...

1. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott 5/5
2. The Pilgrim of Hate - Ellis Peters 4/5
3. The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury 4/5

All good, but Little Women was the best.

It's already time...

Well, it's about that time! The challenges for next year are starting to come out of the woodwork and it's time to start planning for them. I'm winding down the '08 Decades Challenge, one more book to go for the official rules. Even though we only needed to read 8, I planned on 12, one for each month of the year, and I think that might have been a little ambitious for me. I didn't cross them over with enough other challenges maybe. So this year I'll just stick to the rules instead of trying to be and over achiever. Book Nut is hosting the Decades '09 Challenge. Read 9 books in 9 consecutive decades in 2009. Last year I decided to start with 1810, this year I will be starting from 1900.
My list will be...
1. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham (1908)
2. Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux (1910)
3. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf (1925)
4. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (1937)
5. For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemmingway (1940)
6. Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury (1957)
7. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967)
8. The World According to Garp - John Irving (1978)
9. The Gunslinger - Steven King (1982)

Some of these (The Wind in the Willows, Of Mice and Men) are books that I don't know how I haven't read them yet. Others (Phantom of the Opera, The Gunslinger) are me letting the influences of my sister, the librarian, take over. And the others I have at least all heard of before. 2009 is already shaping up to be a good year of books.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CNN Heroes

Okay, so normally this blog is strictly about books. However, today I heard about CNN Heroes and I had to post about it. From now until Thanksgiving, you can go here and vote between the top ten CNN Heroes of 2008 for who you believe should be the number 1 CNN Hero and winner of $100,000 (probably to be used to further their hero-ness). It's pretty cool to see the top ten people and read about why they're heroes. So if you're so inclined, check out the link and vote for who you think is the number 1 hero.

What is especially exciting about this for me is I KNOW ONE OF THE HEROES! I spent 2007 serving as a Team Leader in AmeriCorps*NCCC (which is the greatest program ever and you can learn more about here), a 10 month national service program. During that year, I spent most of July and August in the St. Bernard Parish of Louisiana, a little outside New Orleans, working with the St. Bernard Project, a non profit organization which helps Hurricane Katrina survivors rebuild their homes. The organization was founded by Liz McCartney and Zach Rosenburg in 2006, is run mostly by volunteers, and so far has helped to rebuild over 140 homes. This is a great organization, and an area of need that has faded from the minds of most of America. So vote for Liz (or anyone you like) as 2008's Number 1 CNN Hero!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson

the strange case of dr. jekyll and mr. hyde
robert louis stevenson
c. 1886
90 pages
comepleted 10/7/2008

*may contain spoilers*

I think my sister, long a fan of all things Edward Hyde, would not be at all surprised when I start this review by saying "I didn't like it." But I was! I had always held off because this type of book isn't normally my thing, but when I decided to read it I went about it really objectively. Yes, this is not my favorite genre, but it's written by the author of my favorite book (Treasure Island) and I LOVE the musical (despite the cheese and seeing the TV movie version starring the Hoff). So I really tried to go into it optimistically.

Sadly, my optimism did not last long. I just felt like nothing happened. There was no character development as we really weren't seeing anything through Jekyll or Hyde's eyes, there wasn't very much action, and the structure of the book made it seem like you had to hear the story twice. I do think part of the problem was it was written so the identity of Mr. Hyde was a twist, and I obviously already knew the twist. Maybe that twist would have added some sensationalism to the story. Well, I tried.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Pilgrim of Hate - Ellis Peters

the pilgrim of hate
ellis peters
c. 1984
190 pages
completed 10/6/2008

*may contain spoilers*

First off, I am happy to report that I have finally moved passed the first nine books of this series. It has taken me a long time, but I have broken that personal barrier.

I have always been wary of starting this book since it is the episode I like least in the "Mystery" TV version. But after reading it I have discovered it is NOTHING like the movie. Maybe some of the same names and circumstances (crippled boy, barefoot pilgrim, etc), but personality and motives? Totally different.

This book starts out different that all the others, at least it seemed to me. Up until now, the beginning of each novel showcases a crime: a murder or murder attempt or sometimes just a theft that will lead to murder, and Cadfael eventually takes upon himself the task of solving the mystery (or aiding Hugh in solving the mystery). This time, a murder is mentioned, but it doesn't really have anything to do with Cadfael and his goings on. It something sad he hears about, but he doesn't find himself connected with it until very late in the book, and then only by accident. He never goes looking to solve a case, information just falls into his lap. So you're never really caught up in the mystery.

It was enjoyable to have Olivier back. He's an interesting character and has a VERY interesting relationship with Cadfael. I hope that we see him again, and that eventually he will come to know his full relationship with Cadfael. And I was glad Hugh was confided in with both of Cadfael's secrets, both about Winifred and Olivier.

I love, Love, LOVE this series, but this one just didn't have the same structure as the others so I can't give it a perfect rating.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

To be read...

September's additions to the TBR pile...

Kept - DJ Taylor
The Whiskey Rebels - David Liss
1776 - David McCullough
Nights in Rodanthe - Nicholas Sparks
The Conqueror - Georgette Heyer
Messenger of Truth - Jacqueline Winspear
Belle Weather - Celia Rivenbark
Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Company of Liars - Karen Maitland
East of the Sun - Julia Gregson
The Tsarina's Daughter - Carolly Erickson
The Ladies of Grace Adieu - Susanna Clark
The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter
The Woman in Black - Susan Hill
Broken - Daniel Clay
Sky Burial - Xinran
Sin in the Second City - Karen Abbott
The Thief Taker - Janet Gleeson
The Sealed Letter - Emma Donoghue
Murphy's Law - Rhys Brown
Murder on the Eiffel Tower - Claude Izner
American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld
Downtown Owl - Chuck Klosterman
Fine Just the Way It Is, Close Range, Bad Dirt - Annie Proulx (3 books)
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Books of Lies - Brad Meltzer
American Eve - Paula Uruburu
Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstresses - Dai Sijie
Lady Chatterley's Lover - DH Lawrence
Run - Ann Pratchett
The Chatham School Affair - Thomas H Cook
Testimony - Anita Shreve
In the Woods - Tana French
The Photograph - Penelope Lively
The Interpretation of Murder - Jed Rubenfeld
Girl in a Blue Dress - Gaijnor Arnald
The Heretic's Daughter - Kathleen Kent

40 new books. And 2 of them are the first in a series. Out Of Control.