Thursday, October 30, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Today's prompt is one after my own heart!

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

Oh goody! I can discuss this one. I love to keep my books in the best condition I can. If I read a hardcover, I immediately pull off the book jacket and keep that safe while lugging the book around with me. It's much easier to keep a hardcover in good condition don't you think?

With my paperbacks, I am a little less careful. I would prefer to keep them looking good but sometimes stuffing them in bags or purses causes a bit of wear. I can tell if I've read a book by looking at it's spine. There is usually that tell-tale bend in the middle. I don't think this can be helped!

I do not like to see other people bend the cover back. I don't know why they would do that! The book never goes back on the shelf the right way and won't stay closed laying on a table! I don't dog-ear either. I have quite the collection of bookmarks. Every time I grab a new book to read, I grab a book mark to go with it.

So. . . bottom line. My books are usually neat and tidy and if you borrow my books, I'd appreciate you keep them that way!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Let's Do Some Critical Thinking!

In order to stop the boring LOTR updates (chapter 9 done by the way), I thought I would compare the book to the movie. . . just a little bit. Obviously I can't compare the whole book. Frodo and Sam haven't even appeared yet. I don't want to pick apart scenes - Denethor did not throw himself off the wall - but I find it quite interesting what Tolkien did.

It's been two years since I read Fellowship so I can't even remember the set up on that one. I do remember that The Two Towers was broken up into books, just like The Return of the King. I had forgotten that and once again was asking "Where's Frodo?" before realizing that his story would come later.

What I'm trying to say is that The Return of the King is broken into two books (and then a massive appendix). The first book deals with Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gadalf, Pippin, Merry, Faramir, Eomer, and Eowyn -to name just a few. The second book is about Frodo, Sam and Gollum, and what happens after they destroy the ring.

All through this first book I've wanted to know what's going on with Frodo. Obviously time will overlap once I start the next section. It's an interesting way to write. I don't think I'd ever be that ambitious but I admire Tolkien for it.

I don't think I've made much sense. At least I had something to say!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Teaser Tuesday!

Shocker! I'm actually getting this teaser in before the sun sets. That hasn't happened in a while. I'm still reading The Return of the King *sigh* but I'm making progress.

From page:291

So it was that near the end of a wild and wet evening in the last days of October the five travellers rode up the climbing road and came to the South-gate of Bree. It was locked fast; and the rain blew in their faces, and in the darkening sky low clouds went hurrying by, and their hearts sank a little, for they had expected more welcome.

The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien

Monday, October 27, 2008

LOTR Update! (Again)

Well, I have completed chapter 5. It was a nice short chapter. I'm moving right along and on schedule. Rohan just rode into battle. There is a huge lack of Legolas in this book. He just follows Aragorn along. He should have his own book. Which of course should have it's own movie. Which of course should star Orlando Bloom. Just a dream of mine. I don't have much else to report. I don't have any other book news.

I did see the TV trailer for Twilight for the first time today. It looks good. I know that it won't live up to what I've built in my mind, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it anyway.

Hope you had a book filled weekend! Here's a LOLCat for your enjoyment:

Friday, October 24, 2008

LOTR Update

I just wanted to report in on my The Return of the King progress. I've read 2 1/2 chapters! If I read a chapter a day (meaning I have to finish chapter 3 tonight) I will finish on November 9th. I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats so I'll be sure to check in regularly.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Here is today's prompt:

Got this idea from Literary Feline during her recent contest:

“Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me.”

Ok, let's see. . . That's hard! I feel like I need to choose characters that everyone knows! I've read a ton of romance/chick lit in my life so there are plenty of couples to choose from.

Here's a few:

Stephanie Plum and Joe Morelli. I like them as a couple because I like the way Joe treats her. She's awful to him but he'll declare his love anyway.

Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. This is a couple that will be together through eternity. Literally. I think the idea of some supernatural pull that is forcing them together is what I like about them. Edward is overprotective and old fashioned. Bella is whiny and stubborn. They should never get along. Their love for each other seems to transcend the boundaries of humanity. Bella came into her own as a vampire and it was at that point they were on equal footing.

Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. I think that the reason I see them as a couple is because Ginny was able to provide Harry with what he wanted most in his life. She not only gave him a family, but gave him her extended family. He finally had parents, brothers, sister -in -laws and someone who loved him exactly for who he was. Ginny knew Harry's faults and insecurities but loved him anyway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

High Five by Janet Evanovich

I'm finally getting a chance to review the books I read on vacation. Yeah!
In reviewing High Five, I should address the rest of the Stephanie Plum series because I don't think I've ever reviewed any of them on this blog. I read the first book last summer on my Alaska cruise. I bought it for my mom as a Christmas gift because I thought she might like to start a new series and I wanted to read it too. My mom read it and really didn't care for it too much. I think her view jaded me a bit so I decided that I didn't really care for it either.

Until I left the book on the ship and couldn't stop thinking about it.

I started thinking that it was actually a pretty funny book. Morelli was just plain hot and really Stephanie is quite a character. Maybe I really did like the book! Yeah! I did like the book! I went out and bought Two for the Dough and Three to get Deadly. After reading book two, I really liked the series and requested the rest for Christmas. Now I'm picking my way through them, alternating between other books because I don't want to run out of Stephanie Plum books. That would be horrible. It's nice to have so many books in a series to look forward to.

High Five starts out with Stephanie trying to catch a little person who failed to appear at his hearing. This man happens to be quite irritated with her and it doesn't go well. She's also looking for her uncle who has disappeared. All the favorite characters are there. Grandma Mazur is always fun. She's one of the best characters in the series. Morelli is still hot, Ranger is still hot and I'm really anxious for Stephanie to pick her man. Lulu is the faithful friend as always. Stephanie manages to get one car blown up and another one stolen, so she's back with her Buick.

All in all, it's a fun read. There are many laugh out loud moments. Janet Evanovich has a way with her characters and since there are so many books to read, I look forward to reading them. Good book. Good series.

Woo! Chapter 1 Done!

Yeah, I finally finished Chapter 1 of The Return of the King. I just wanted to share that. Only 18 chapters to go.

Gosh that's pitiful. It took me 1 1/2 lunch breaks to finish one chapter. I might just have to *lose* my book.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

Today's Teaser comes from The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King, by JRR Tolkien. You can read my post below about how this book is a challenge for me. I love it, but it's a challenge. I tend to like my books more set in reality.

From pg. 245:

"Frodo and Sam could go no further. Their last strength of mind and body was swiftly ebbing."
I am only on page 11 (stop making fun of me) but I know exactly when this occurs thanks to those glorious movies. How much do we love Sam by the way?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Here We Go Again

A few years back (I think I've mentioned this. . . ) I started a quest to read four classics/award winners/notable books a year. I chose four because this was the torture inflicted me in High School. One nasty book report a quarter for four years. That's sixteen books that I really didn't want to read. I can remember a few of them too. . .

Wuthering Heights -Oi. I chose this because I was all grown up and thought that all smart girls read Bronte. Uh huh. I don't remember much about this book except I hated it.

The Scarlet Letter - This promised a bit of scandal. Puritan scandal yes, but still scandal. It was all right.

On the Beach - This was one that I chose that wasn't on the list. I had special permission and I really liked it.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Incredible book. Really

A Separate Peace - I had to read this in college too. It was good.

The Color Purple - Ok, that was eye opening to a 16 year old.

Catcher in the Rye - I so did not get this book. I thought I did but I've since learned differently.

Then came the cop outs. . . First the plays.

The Glass Menagerie
Streetcar Named Desire
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Yes, Tennessee Williams was a good friend of AP English.

Then the short books:

The Red Pony - Don't remember this at all, other than it was short.
The Little Prince - It's a freakin picture book! I think this was the most popular book on the list. Every one of my friends read it.

Anyway, I got really off track. It's my blog, who cares? The point is, I have a desire to read some of the great books that got away. I'm still doing a poor job of it but at least I'm trying. Not too hard, but I'm giving it a shot. A little one. I started this in 2006. That year I read:

The Three Junes by Julia Glass- A National Book Award winner
The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander - A Classic
Crispin and the Cross of Lead by Avi - Newberry Winner
Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien - Classic

In 2007:

Angels Fall by Nora Roberts-Quill Romance of the Year (cop out #1)
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory- Notable Book ??? (cop out #2)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling- Notable Book (cop out #3)
The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien- Classic


A Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis -Classic
Prince Caspian by CS Lewis - Classic
The Kite Runner - Notable Book

That leaves one more. Have you noticed the lack of Tolkien in 2008. Yep. I've got one more to go in the Rings trilogy. It's officially been started and it will be complete. I dread this. A lot. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan. The Hobbit is one of my favorite books ever, I've read that one a few times. I've just never had a good time reading the Lord of the Rings books. After I finish each book I marvel at the story which is just brilliant but it's pure torture while I'm in it. I'm not good with the big fantasy books. The names and places and languages just mess with my head. I'm going to attempt Eragon at some point in the near future because my BFF tells me I need to. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm going to finally finish the Lord of the Rings. It should be fun. The good news is my book has Viggo on the cover. I can always stop and stare at him when I need a break.


On Saturday I went to a book sale at a local library. You all know my issues with library books, but I don't have as big a problem when I buy used books. Oh I wipe them with Clorox wipes and everything but I tend to be ok with them. I managed to get 14 books for $18! Yeah! Sure I might get some dread disease from a previous reader but they were cheap! Woo! Really, I had no expectations. I ended up with one James Patterson, 3 new authors and 10 Janet Evanovich (Some written with Charlotte Hughes) books. Who knew she had written so many that I haven't read? I just love a prolific author.

Maximum Ride: The Final Warning, by James Patterson

I just finished the fourth book in the Maximum Ride series. The Final Warning is a quick -nearly pointless read. That being said, I suppose I'm glad I read it. I'm a romantic at heart so I'm all about Fang and Max getting together. These books are written for young adults though so I'm just going to have to settle for a few kisses. I picked up the first Maximum Ride book a few years back -all by accident. Really.

A friend was pouring through James Patterson's Alex Cross books. I wasn't terribly interested in them (still aren't) so I didn't give it much attention. She got my attention when she mentioned a book about kids with wings. She talked a bit about the book and it peaked my interest. I'm not sure how much time went by but I decided to get the book. The book I was looking for was When the Wind Blows but I found Maximum Ride instead. It wasn't a bad thing at all because it was a fun, action packed read. So was the second book.

The third book was when I started to lose interest. I don't know what happened but it seemed to get pretty tedious. Bird kids get captured. Bird kids escape. Bird kids get captured again. Throw in a talking dog and now a normal malamute for a little comic relief. Yeah, I love Total. Nothing wrong with a snarky dog.


This fourth book was pretty weak in my opinion. There is a message -and it's an important one - about global warming but the message doesn't come across very clearly. In the middle of an expedition to Antarctica, instead of learning of the work the scientists are actually doing there, the focus is on Max's jealousy, Angel's desire for a penguin, Total's crush on Akila, and then the whole capture thing. Thank goodness for that hurricane or the Uber-Director would have won.

I'm all for saving the world. I've made changes in my own life to try to be a good steward of this planet we live on. I think that bringing the problems of climate change, renewable energy, and alternate fuel sources to the young adult audience is a great thing, but I don't think this book did much other than making people aware of the words being thrown around. It was a page turner like always but it wasn't like I didn't expect them to escape in some way. I was bored. What kind of title is Uber-Director anyway?

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Shack by William P. Young

I finished The Shack last night and I have to say it was one of the more unique books I've read this year. I enjoyed it to a point. I'm going to warn you in advance that there may be a few spoilers ahead but they won't give away the whole story.

The Shack starts with a man enjoying a camping trip with his three youngest children. This part of the book was the most "novel" like. What I mean by that is that this is where there plot and storyline really take center stage. We are introduced to Mack and get a sense of who he is as a man and as a father. His role as a father is a key point in this book. He's a good one. His role as a son is where he struggles. He struggled with his earthly father and he struggles with his Heavenly Father.

During the camping trip, tragedy strikes when his youngest daughter, 6 year old Missy, is abducted and thought to be dead. Through his struggle to recover from his loss, and what a loss it is, he begins a period of his life he calls The Great Sadness. One day he receives a note in his mailbox inviting him to the shack where they found Missy's bloody dress. The note comes from Papa, which is the name Mack's wife has for God.

Mack goes to the shack and there has the most incredible experience of his life. He meets God in the form of the Trinity. God the Father appears to him as a "big black woman with a questionable sense of humor." Jesus appears as a Middle Eastern working man -a carpenter of course. The Holy Spirit, well, she's something else. She's a very insightful "Asian looking" woman who Mack can not fully focus on. Through their time together, they discuss the state of the world, the meaning of the Trinity, forgiveness, judgement, relationship, and any number of deep thoughts.

This was a book that I couldn't read for long without having to close it and think. The majority of the book was conversations between Mack and the various persons of God. There wasn't much plot toward the end of the book and it became more teaching tool than novel. The author made some good points. He took a fairly liberal view of Christianity and I appreciated that. I have found over the years that my own relationship with God has changed and I think more and more that God isn't as judgemental as common Christian thought lets on. I can't see Him abandoning any of His children just because they mess up.

This book may not be a favorite of mine, it grew tedious at the end, but it made me think. I can't fault it for that. For that alone it was worth reading.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Today's prompt is very interesting:

Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.

So, the question is his: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?“

Oh yes. I've got some of those books. I've got a lot of those books actually. I have a whole bookcase that is full of books I never even look at anymore but intend to read. Occasionally I'll skim through and purge but it's rare. At one point I was embarrassed by all the bodice ripper covers on some books (thank goodness that trend seems to be over) and got rid of those. I just couldn't imagine carrying one around with me!

The ones I hang on to that I fully intend to read -really- are a lot of the classics. I'm trying to read four classics/award winners/notable books a year. This is not to say that I only read mindless fluff, because I don't. I do however want to expand my literary horizons. I've got some Jane Austin novels waiting for me to read, and I still haven't finished all of the Narnia books. My mother belonged to some book-by-mail club and the books are all relatively short romances. I keep them around with the thinking I can grab one when I need it. Of course I never do. There's too much else to read! At one time I wrote about my fear of running out of books. I suppose that will never really happen. Time to go dust that bookshelf. . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teaser Tuesday!

Yes, I missed two Tuesdays but I'm back on track now. Today's teaser comes from The Shack by William P. Young. This is a very interesting book. As it is Christian Fiction, it will probably turn a lot of people away. I think that it should be given a chance though. It's very unique. I'll write more once I'm finished but for now here is your teaser from page 179. Jesus is talking to Mack during a very difficult time in Mack's life.

"As well-intentioned as it might be, you know that religious machinery can chew up people!" Jesus said with a bite of his own. "An awful lot of what is done in my name has nothing to do with me and is often, even if unintentional, very contrary to my purposes."

This is an interesting quote. I'm not to this point in the story yet so I'm unsure of the context. Just by reading that line, I think I get the point though. I have to agree that I think Jesus is probably quite turned off by some of the religous fanaticism that uses His name. No wonder a good chunk of the population are turned off by Christians. I could go on but that's not the point of Teaser Tuesdays. I'll leave it for another time.


So, I've been neglecting this blog. Again. I really don't want to. Honest! I'm all about the writing and sharing and reading of blogs. It's just been a helluva couple of weeks. I went on vacation! Woo! Finally! I was on a Canada/New England cruise for a week and spent a couple of pre-nights in New York. It was great. I read four books during the cruise (ok 3 1/2) but still, I read a lot. It was a port intensive cruise so I didn't have as much reading time as I would have liked. I'll get to reviewing those books soon. Promise.

Last Sunday I lost my little dog Oreo. She was almost 12 and it was her time to go. It didn't make it any easier and I'm shocked that I'm not crying while writing those words. She'd been a part of my life for almost 12 years. A huge part. She was my baby. I'll post a tribute to her at some point but it's too raw right now. It's too recent.

Anyway, I've been struggling to get back into routines, let alone find time to blog. I'll be back later with my Teaser Tuesday entry.