zoethe: (Book slut)
I fell off the wagon in tracking my books for last year. Now that January is over, let's see if I can do a better job this year.

January books:

1 - Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice by Karen Traviss. I used to read on the Star Wars novels, but fell out of the habit when the prequels almost killed Star Wars for me. Now, I read occasionally in the post-Return of the Jedi-canon. But there are so damned many books out there now that it's hard to keep it all straight. This particular series, of which Sacrifice is the fifth book, is set about 30 years later and is well-written - [livejournal.com profile] delosd tempted me into starting it by pointing out that Aaron Allston, one of my favorite SW writers, was an author in the series. I had heard enough spoilers about this series that the shocking event in it was one for which I was braced, but it still got to me. I have the next books, but am taking a break from them for a short time. It's a well-written series in a setting that is comfort reading for me.

2 - A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton. The sixth and penultimate book in her Merry Gentry series, this book amuses me because of the evolution of the story telling. The Anita Blake books started as a vamp detective series and then slid into vamp porn with little story value (they have gotten better in the last couple, than the stars). The Merry Gentry series started as pretty much faerie porn, but developed plot as time went by. There was hardly any screwing in this one! Hamilton's style is messy and cliched, but it was great airplane reading.

3 - Dirty Little Secrets: True Tales and Twisted Trivia About Sex by Erica Orloff and Joann Baker. If I had read this book when it came out in 2001, it might have actually had something interesting to tell me. As it is, the infomation was very mundane and not that interestingly presented. If you have grown up in a convent, it is a good way to ease yourself into modern life.

4 - All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. The link is to the audiobook, which is how I experienced this book. It was extremely good and did not follow the arc I expected, but the writing reminds the reader that Robert Penn Warren was first and foremost a poet, and there are digressions that, had I been reading it on paper, would have caused me to put it down and not return to it quickly. It was very much worth listening to, though.

5 - Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky. This was a book club suggestion and definitely not a book that I would have read otherwise. I thought the book ended at just about the place where the story was getting interesting, but it was meant to be a love story and the coming ugly would have overshadowed the happy couple. Meh.

6 - Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett. Not one of his stronger novels, as the whole thing is a kind of one-note-joke commentary on Hollywood, but Pratchett is always fun and it was a good Nordic Track book.

7- The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Post apocalyptic survival fiction is always fascinating, and this is a beautiful book. McCarthy has a simple voice that describes the landscape with heartbreaking simplicity. It's not a happy book - a man and his son trying to make it south to warmer climes in a burned-over and destroyed world - but it's amazingly written. I swallowed it in about a day and a half.

8 - Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. The first book in her Hollows series. I'd made a stab at it once before and didn't get past the first few pages, but at that time I still had a lot of Laurell K. Hamilton to read. Now that I'm all caught up with her, except the final Merry Gentry book, I was looking for methadone for my habit. This series is pretty decent methadone. The writing isn't stellar, but it's entertaining. I've read a couple more of the series already this month, so they will go on the February report. But if you like creature-of-the-night detective stuff, you will probably enjoy this mind candy.

Not on track for 100 books. Guess I'll just have to read more. Oh, the pain!!!
zoethe: (Books)
I totally failed at keeping up with my monthly book reading report, but I did keep reading books. Here is the 2007 year-end report. Yes, there are some graphic novels in here. No, I don't have time for reviews. But I may actually make it all the way to 100 by my birthday. Which is teh rock.

32 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
33 - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
34 - The Lovely Bones
35 - The Time Traveler's Wife
36 - The Walking Dead 1
37 - The Walking Dead 2
38 - The Walking Dead 3
39 - The Walking Dead 4
40 - The Walking Dead 5
41 - The Walking Dead 6
42 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
43 - Twilight
44 - New Moon
45 - Boomsday
46 - The Eyre Affair
47 - Lost in a Good Book
48 - Somewhere in Time
49 - The Well of Lost Plots
50 - Something Rotten
51 - First Among Sequels
52 - Freedom & Necessity
53 - The League of Gentlemen: A Local Book for Local People
54 - Magdalen Rising
55 - The Passion of Mary Magdalen
56 - Eclipse
57 - I am Legend
58 - On The Road
59 - I, Claudius
60 - Blue Moon
61 - A Caress of Twilight
62 - Beowulf
63 - The Trial of Colonel Sweeto
64 - Sourcery
zoethe: (Books)
I did well in May. I begin to believe I might actually make it to 100 by my next birthday:

22 - Tim, by Colleen McCullough: I'd read The Thornbirds, which is one of those "epic and depressing" novels that Oprah types live for, so I went in to this a bit apprehensively. It's nothing like her Thornbirds. It is, instead, a sweet story about a rigid, isolated, middle-aged woman who befriends a 20-year-old retarded man - a man who is, in some ways, further handicapped by the fact that he is staggeringly handsome. We meet his family, and see their relationship enhance both their lives. The ending is flawed by a strange last chapter, but it was just a nice book.

23 - Godbody, by Theodore Sturgeon: This made me incredibly nostalgic. You see, every generation or so, Jesus gets reinvented. Right now he's portrayed as a rigid taskmaster, only kind to those who follow his rules. But back in the late 60s/early 70s, Jesus was a hippy, trippy dude who was all about the love. And there was a whole literary genre about Jesus making a reappearance, sort of this time-traveling Zen master: Paul Gallico's The Man Wno Was Magic, Richard Bach's Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. Godbody is one of those books. Jesus just makes us feel warm and good all over, and sex is the language of his love. It was sweetly naive, and makes me miss those times. It's not much of a novel, really, but it is a classic example of the genre.

24 - Pagans and the Law, by Dana Eilers: Very basic look at some of the issues that religious nonconformists face.

25 - The Nightmare of a Victorian Bestseller - Martin Tupper's 'Proverbial Philosophy' by Brian Thompson: This is a little book we picked up in England, and it vividly illustrates the arc of a fad. Tupper wrote a book of proverbial sayings that was a runaway best seller in its time, but no one has ever heard of him now, and by the end of hs life he was a joke. Success in your lifetime does not always guarantee a Dickensian immortality.

26 - The Mistress of Spices, by Chitra Banjeree Divakaruni: This tale of a magical woman from India who settles in San Francisco reminded me very much of the everyday magic present in many Spanish novels. It is a very cinematic story, and i was not suprised to learn that Bollywood has made it into a movie. A quick, enjoyable read.

27 - Darcy and Elizabeth, by Linda Berdoll: This sequel to Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife may win the award as the most abysmally bad book I have ever read. I cannot even begin to describe how dreadful it was. Not only is it glorified fan fic, it's glorified fan fic based mostly on her first fan fic novel. I read the first 80 pages and was rewarded with a rehashing of the same bits of story over and over - as if Berdoll just couldn't let go of her own little creations. Nothing was happening. After that I started skimming. Sure enough, she continued to retell the same bits of story from slightly - only slightly - different angles. It completely lacked any of the ridiculous fun of the first book and I only slogged through because I was curious how she would deal with one specific character (usatisfactorily, of course). It was appalling.

28 - Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone
29 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
30 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
31 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Yes, I'm rereading them in anticipation of the final book. Yes, I am still enjoying them very much. No, I'm not going to bother reviewing them.
zoethe: (Books)
Previously read: )

April's Books:

17 - On the Losing Side of the Dragon, by [livejournal.com profile] theferrett. It's still in rough draft and not published yet, but it was a fun read. I can't wait until the rest of you get to read it!
18 - Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
19 - Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris - I think the most fun about reading these two books was trying to determine which would cause a more apoplectic reaction in dead Miss Austen: the one wherein Lizzie and Darcy are graphically boinking on every flat surface within Pemberly Manor (and some that are without), or the one entangling witchcraft and curses. Both were the sort of deliciously dreadful reads that make you very glad for library books!
20 - Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Because everyone had to read a Vonnegut book in April. I have not read enough Vonnegut. It was very 60s. Made me nostalgic.
21 - Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. Ferrett reviewed this book a while back, and I agree with his assessment. It's a fascinating look at how we have no idea what will make us happy and why, and it's written in a very entertaining style.

21 books is kind of pathetic. I am definitely behind in my quest to read 100 books by my next birthday. I need to be reading shorter books.

So of course my desk and head are occupied with The Making of Star Wars, which is HUGE and written in tiny, dense print.

Ah, me.

Books Read:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
21 / 100

Pages Read:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7,944 / 15,000
zoethe: (Books)
You know, I started the year so strong with the books. But then things happened. Things like the bar exam. And NaNo. And reading really long books. I finished precisely one book in October, so didn't even bother with an October post. November was better because it consisted of finishing the books I started in October. But man, I better get my act together for December!

October and November's books:

40 - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. Book group choice. Only the woman who chose it and I finished it. This probably tells you everything you need to know. The stories of the women are a fascinating look at cultural differences between then and now, but the lead character is pretty much a boat anchor throughout the bulk of the book. They really should make a movie of it again.

41 - April 1865: The Month that Saved America by Jay Winik. An outstanding look at the end of the Civil War. Highly recommended if history interests you.

42 - A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I love Bill Bryson, who after years of writing humorous travelogues is now moving closer to John McPhee territory, taking on difficult or obscure topics and writing accessible books about them. In this case, the history of which he speaks is actually the origins of the world, and the understanding of biology, and the scientists who doped out the stuff. I enjoy his turns of phrase, which are enhanced in my mind for having listened to his book "A Walk in the Woods" and being familiar with his not-quite-British precision of speech (he's American butspent his teen years and twenties in England). Quite entertaining.

43 - The Witches' Goddess: The Feminine Principle of Divinity by Janet and Stewart Farrar. Mostly an encyclopedia, but it was a handy read on the NordicTrack.

44 - Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure by Dave Gorman. We picked this up in England, after seeing his TV special of the same title. Gorman is an oddly crazed man who gets himself involved in really bizarre undertakings but then manages to turn them into profitable ventures. I recommend seeing the show of the same title first, but the book gives more character details and is a lovely supplement.

That's it. That's all I've got for now. And only one book seriously underway.

Best get cracking.

But I do have 20,000 pages under my belt. That's something.
zoethe: (Books)
First book update in, oh, three months. My reading this summer was pathetic: in June and July I finished only one book per month. But I read thousands of pages, over and over, getting ready for the bar exam. I had this vision of reading loads of books in August. Instead, I walked loads of miles in England and Germany, saw loads of interesting sights, and spent loads of time talking to good friends.

A trade-off worth having.

But I am back to reading now, and the list must be updated!

June-August books:

29 - Earthsong: Native Tongue III by Suzette Haden Elgin, quick review )

30 - The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. No review yet; I'm working on the second book in the series,

31-33 - The Black Magician's Trilogy, by Trudi Canavan: The Magician's Guild, The Novice, and The High Lord. quick review )

34 - Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson. not-so-quick review )

Books read:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
34 / 50

Pages read:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
16,855 / 15,000

zoethe: (Default)
Looking back on very favorite books from childhood, I realized that I had overlooked my own holy trilogy: Baby Island and Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, and The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes. I reread them over and over, when I was in grade school. And my own girls loved two of the three - even though I could get them into the charm of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, they somehow were never enchanted by the antics of Caddie.

And in the "books I should have read by now but never get past the first few pages" category, the winner is [hangs head] The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I know, I know....
zoethe: (Default)
I'm not about to bury this much effort behind a response on [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's journal. You can look there for his answers to his survey.

What books are your comfort reading - the ones you slink back to in times of stress? My life at this point doesn't allow for a lot of slink-back -- there is always too much necessary reading to be doing. When I have time to read, I'm so far behind in the stuff I want to get through that I haven't tended to reread. Instead, I tend to go to nonfiction, topical goodies - gardening books or pagan books. When I did have time for rereading, it was Mists of Avalon and The Chronicles of Narnia

What was your favorite book as a child, and why?
Everything Louisa May Alcott, but particularly Eight Cousins. I was fascinated by genteel, loving families that pulled together. So different from mine.

What was your favorite book as an adolescent, and why?
The Lord of the Rings, without a doubt. I loved the fantasy aspect of it, it was when I really fell in love with fantasy literature.

What is the most-unread category of books gathering dust on your bookshelf - the books you've bought but just never got around to reading?
I'm such a brutal weeder of books that there really isn't a category of books on my shelf that as a category have gone unread. I have several large categories of books within which there are unread selections, but I've at least bitten into the apple pretty consistently. Otherwise, out they go. The most unused selection of books that I haven't been able to bear getting rid of is books on writing -- I still harbor hopes that I will tap into the talent and bring determination to bear and actually complete something worthy.

What kind of books would you like to say you read, but never do?
Roleplaying books. I never do get around to reading them thoroughly, and as a result I am still struggling to truly grok the rules, nothing about magic casting is natural to me, I forget to do stuff and regularly get hosed.

What's the oddest book you ever read?
"Odd" by whose standards? Some people might consider the reading on midwifery that I did a while back to be odd. When I was only 8 years old I slogged through the lengthy and scholarly The Sinking of the Bismark, which my mother kept on top of the TV as part of the seascape decor. My whole family thought I was pretty odd for working my way through that.

Then there were all those books on building log cabins....

What's the book you were never able to get through, despite the recommendations of people you respect?
Anything by James Joyce. I don't get it.

What's the book it took you a couple of tries to get into, but was as good as people promised once you finally made it?
Vanity Fair. Loved it when I finally read it. Also Pride and Prejudice. It all goes back to that same love of Louisa May Alcott as a kid, I suppose. I'm sure I will think of other, better answers for this question and the last one soon.

What's your favorite short story... Or do you even have one?
I'm not that keen on short fiction. I like more character development. I only remember vague bits of them from highschool.

The desert island. Three books (and collected works don't count; if you want Lord of the Rings, it'll cost you all three slots). Go.
The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - both because they are long and intricate and have fascinating characters - and the unabridged Golden Bough by James Frazier because it's LONG.

And this whole thing has made me feel very illiterate - my reading is lawschool-based these days. sigh.
zoethe: (YummyAlyson)
Two days ago there was snow. Today shirtsleeve weather.

I am reading A Midwife’s Tale – The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812. This changeable weather and its effect on our lives stirs me, yet how trivial it has become compared with what daily weather meant to people in that era. If I feel compelled to comment upon it, how much more it must have meant to people who lived and died by the weather.

I managed to run one errand that got me out into the sunshine today. I hope I can contrive a second. In the meantime, back to spreadsheets.
zoethe: (Default)
Yesterday morning, returning from a cross-campus errand, I stopped in at the downstairs bathroom before returning to the office. While I was in the stall two other women entered, talking about the weather and how sick they are of snow, and then started talking about "The Age of Innocence," how one of them had just finsihed reading it and the other recommending "The House of Mirth." I piped up that my favorite of the Wharton novels is "The Buccaneers," though she didn't finish writing it herself. There was a moment of silence and one of them demanded, "Who's in there?" Feeling sheepish, I told them, identifying the department in which I work. When I emerged a few seconds later, the shorter woman gave me an up and down look. "I work with John Phillips up there all the time. How come I've never met you?" In point of fact, she had, but only briefly. She's the head of procurement for the entire campus. Before I could explain all this, she went on, "You should come to the Women's Coalition book group. We meet once a month at lunchtime. I think you'd enjoy it."

So now I've been invited to the book group. One more place to meet people of some influence on campus and get to know people. Not the most conventional invitation I've ever received, but I'm happy to take it. Working in a book a month isn't always going to be possible, but it at least gives me a goal and motivation. And I don't have to find time in the evening to get there. I haven't been in a book group for a few years, and I've missed it.


zoethe: (Default)

September 2012

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