ANNOUNCEMENT
After a lot of thought, I've decided to take a break from blogging for the foreseeable future. With my little C creeping its way back into my life and possible long term treatment now, I need to take a couple of things off my plate for the time being, and the blog is going to be one of those things. As it is, it felt like it was becoming more of a chore than anything else. I need my reading time to be more enjoyable right now, more of the escape that I really need, and what I don't need is the little voice in the back of my head telling me how many reviews I'm behind and trying to come up with what I need to say about the book.

I simply want to read.

I'll more than likely occasionally post on here what I've been reading, and if there is something that really blows my mind, I'll probably have more to say about it and may write up a proper post, but for right now, things are going to be very quiet around here.

As always, happy reading!
2017 edit
I will continue to blog according to my health and ability, and connecting my posts thru Goodreads, so please be patient if things get quiet around here again this year.


2017 edit #2
I am happy to report that my bone marrow transplant was a success and that I'm feeling more like myself everyday. That said, I'm going to try to start blogging a little more frequently, but please bear with me as I still continue to recover.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Thoughts #3 - The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers and Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro


This week, I'm still working on reading Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates and have started Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. I'm really enjoying The Anubis Gates. Powers wastes absolutely no time in jumping into his story, and I did feel that the main character was a little too easily swayed into joining the adventure (I don't want to go into details and spoil anything!) and then again the main character adapted a little too quickly to his predicament for my liking. But now that he is in the predicament, I feel the story is beginning to drag on a little bit and I wish that we could jump to the next plot point in the story. I'm sure that all of this is necessary for the actual movement of the story, but right now I just want to get into the real meat of the story.

Ishiguro's Nocturnes is definitely leaving something to be desired. The only other Ishiguro that I have read is Never Let Me Go, which was one of the most amazing books that I have read in a long time. I've gotten through the first two short stories in Nocturnes, and they both deal with situations that seem so ridiculously out of the realm of possibility that they verge on being completely unbelievable (not so much with the first story, but definitely with the second). I'll probably be finishing up the volume tonight, and unless something amazing happens with the last three stories, this certainly will leave me wondering if Never Let Me Go just happened to be a fluke of a good book from Ishiguro.



Want to join in and tell us what you are reading right now? Stop by and let us know. We're not so much looking for a synopsis of what you're reading so much as just your general feeling on the book(s) that you are in the middle of. A favorite quote from the book? Do you like the overall look and feel of the design of the book? Are you really enjoying what you're reading, or can't stand the story at all and are going to be moving on to something else? Let us know! Grab the logo and leave a comment with a link back to your blog. I figure this way, we can each learn a little bit about what each other is reading right now and maybe discover something that we might enjoy reading in the future!

Read a preview of Brunonia Barry's new book, The Map of True Places


Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, one of my top books for 2008, has released the prologue and first 2 chapters of her upcoming book, The Map of True Places, on her website here. So far, I've loved what I've read, and would like to share this with my readers here, so enjoy!

Untitled by Meg Waite Clayton released Spring 2011!


I just found out today that the next book, currently Untitled, by the fabulous Meg Waite Clayton will be on the Ballantine Spring List next year, and I can't wait! Her book, The Wednesday Sisters, was by far one of my favorite reads of 2008. As I find out more information about it's release, I'll be sure to post it here.

Congrats, Meg! It's exciting news and I can't wait to read it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Thoughts #2 - The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers and The Poet and the Donkey by May Sarton


This week, I'm working on reading Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates and The Poet and the Donkey by May Sarton. The Anubis Gates is for a group read on LT, and The Poet and the Donkey is a reread, but Sarton is always worth rereading, and I haven't really read anything by her in a couple of years now, so I was thinking that I wanted to focus a little bit of my reading on her this year.

Unfortunately, I've not really that far into either book this week to really have a firm grasp of either story yet. As far as I can tell, The Anubis Gates is a steampunk story concerning the Egyptian gods and from what I remember of The Poet and the Donkey, an aging poet has lost his Muse and rediscovers her in the form of a donkey who is put in his care. My favorite quote this week comes from The Poet and the Donkey:

Silence has its point. Silence, like a sky of stars on a winter night, is full of mystery and elevation. Words, on the other hand, can kill.



Want to join in and tell us what you are reading right now? Stop by and let us know. We're not so much looking for a synopsis of what you're reading so much as just your general feeling on the book(s) that you are in the middle of. A favorite quote from the book? Do you like the overall look and feel of the design of the book? Are you really enjoying what you're reading, or can't stand the story at all and are going to be moving on to something else? Let us know! Grab the logo and leave a comment with a link back to your blog. I figure this way, we can each learn a little bit about what each other is reading right now and maybe discover something that we might enjoy reading in the future!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Changeless by Gail Carriger

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

My "can't-wait-to-read" selection for this week is:

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Changeless is the follow up to Gail Carriger's Soulless, the first in The Parasol Protectorate series. Soulless is probably one of my favorite books in a long time, and I'm sure will be at the top of my favorites for 2010. It's a funny, smart and sexy story. You can read my entire review of Soulless here. The third book in the series, Blameless, will be coming out in September, and I'm sure that I'll be adding that as a Waiting on Wednesday selection as it gets closer to its release.

From Amazon: **spoiler alert!!**
Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.


But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.

She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.


Changeless will be released on March 30, 2010 from Orbit.


Tweeting the blog

So, I've made the jump and I'm tweeting from my bookshelf in addition to publishing on Facebook. So many social networking sites making for so little time for actual reading time!

Monday, February 15, 2010

19. Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde

#19

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Title: Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde
Author: Oscar Wilde
Copyright: 1888/1892 (1990)
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9780451531070
Publisher: Signet Classics
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5 stars
Finished: 2-14-10
Challenge: 100 Books 10, 1010 Challenge (Fairy Tales/Folklore Category)

From Amazon:
Published here alongside their evocative original illustrations, these fairy tales, as Oscar Wilde himself explained, were written “partly for children, and partly for those who have kept the childlike faculties of wonder and joy.”


"What a silly thing Love is. It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, & it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, & making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite impractical..." from "The Nightingale and the Rose"
I'll admit up front that I've never read anything by Oscar Wilde before now, and I think that I'm sorry that I've waited this long. I thoroughly enjoyed his fairy tales, and even found myself underlining multiple passages in the book for future reference. I felt that his insight into life and love and all the joy and troubles that come with both was quite remarkable and still very relevant for our time, even though these stories were written over 100 years ago. I'm sure that if I were more versed in fairy tales and folklore as a whole I might see more relations between his stories and those that came before, but taking these for what they are I enjoyed them immensely. The particular volume that I have contains both of Wilde's collections, The Happy Prince and Other Tales and A House of Pomegranates, in one volume, and I while I enjoyed all the stories, I found that I did enjoy the stories that were from The Happy Prince and Other Tales slightly more.

The stories contained in The Happy Prince and Other Tales are "The Happy Prince", "The Nightingale and the Rose" (my favorite), "The Selfish Giant", "The Devoted Friend" (probably my next favorite), and "The Remarkable Rocket". A House of Pomegranates contains "The Young King", "The Birthday of the Infanta", "The Fisherman and His Soul" (a unique reworking of "The Little Mermaid"), and "The Star-Child" (another unique reworking of "Beauty and the Beast").

The stories can easily be enjoyed just as much by adults as by children, and I think that adults as a whole may actually get more out the stories than children. The tales deal broadly with love and individualism and being true to your self even when others may look down on you. The views of love are both in and out of favor of it, and my favorite passage from the book deals with Love and how it can lead one astray: "What a silly thing Love is. It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite impractical..." Like I said, the insights that Wilde has on love and life are quite remarkable and I found them very relevant for my life right now. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

18. Amphigorey Also by Edward Gorey

#18

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Title: Amphigorey Also
Author: Edward Gorey
Copyright: 1983
Pages: 156
ISBN: 9780760734735
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3/5 stars
Finished: 2-14-10
Challenge: 100 Books 10

From Amazon:
Drawings (including thirty-two pages in color), captions, and verse showcasing Gorey’s unique talents and humor. “The Glorious Nosebleed,” “The Utter Zoo,” “The Epiplectic Bicycle,” and fourteen other selections.

Oh, the bizarre genius of Edward Gorey. That is all. Carry on.

17. The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

#17

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Title: The Lost World
Series: Professor Challenger series
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Copyright: 1912 (1998)
Pages: 172
ISBN: 9780486400600
Publisher: Dover Thrift Editions
Author Website: www.sherlockholmesonline.org
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3/5 stars
Finished: 2-14-10
Challenge: 100 Books 10, 1010 Challenge (SciFi Category)

From Amazon:
An exciting account of a jungle expedition’s encounter with living dinosaurs, written with the same panache exhibited in the author’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries. This 1912 novel, the first installment of the Professor Challenger series, follows an eccentric paleontologist and his companions into the wilds of the Amazon, where they discover iguanodons, pterodactyls, and savage ape-people

I'll be honest, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World took me forever to read, and it's not that long of a book. Part of the problem is the edition that I bought, a Dover Thrift Edition, because they use small, compact type to get as much text on a page as possible to cut down on the book size, thereby keeping the price lower. The other problem is that Conan Doyle's story is wordy. Very wordy. But, it is also part of the charm of the story. He's taken his four main characters and made them into such caricatures of themselves that they seem almost comical: Professor Challenger, the gruff, overly-charismatic leader of the expedition; Professor Summerlee, the skeptical intellectual who needs physical proof of Challenger's outrageous claims of living, prehistoric life; Lord John Roxton, the sportsman who is looking for his next big adventure; and the narrator, reporter Edward Malone, who is trying to win the hand of the woman he loves by becoming the man of adventure her overly-romantic self seems to be looking for. Filled with adventure and peril at every turn, the story did take some time to get moving, but once the adventurers found themselves in the lost world, the story really takes off and is a non-stop thrill ride.

The whole idea of the book is that Professor Challenger says that he has been to a "lost world" in South America where dinosaurs still live. Naturally, he is laughed out of the scientific community, but eventually he finds a group of explorers who are willing to go with him, either to prove him wrong and a fraud or to partake in the adventure of a lifetime. Once they finally reach the plateau where the lost world is, they find themselves in the midst of both dinosaurs and mammals that have been lost thought extinct, as well as in the middle of a civil war between a tribe of Indian "natives" and a nation of ape-men.

I've read a lot of reviews that go on about how wordy the story is and how it doesn't really seem to hold up so much for our time. Well, it was written almost 100 years ago, and I think if you take it in the context for when it was written, it stands up very well and is actually quite an enjoyable book to read. Yes, some of it seems rather outdated, but at the time was probably quite the thrilling idea of a book. Taken for what it is, I really enjoyed the book and will probably look for more of the Professor Challenger books.

16. Bone Handbook by Jeff Smith

#16

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Title: Bone Handbook
Series: Bone
Author: Jeff Smith
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 123
ISBN: 9780545211420
Publisher: Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic
Author Website: www.boneville.com
Twitter: @Scholastic
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3/5 stars
Finished: 2-14-10
Challenge: 100 Book 10

From Amazon:
This is the ultimate handbook for every BONE fan! Includes character profiles, a timeline of events, interviews with creator Jeff Smith and colorist Steve Hamaker, a showcase of cover art from the original BONE editions, a behind-the-scenes look at how the Scholastic editions were colorized, and other fun stuff!

The Bone Handbook is just what it sounds like, a source book of information concerning Jeff Smith's Bone. Printed as a companion to the Graphix/Scholastic reprints of the series, it is written in a slightly juvenile fashion, but that's because the Graphix/Scholastic versions have been marketed towards a younger audience. It still makes for a good refresher on what happens in the series and who the characters are. It's a really quick read, but fun all the same. If you are a fan of the Bone series, I'd say you'd probably enjoy this, just as a reminder of what went on in the series. It is a little spoiler-filled, so if you haven't read the series yet, be warned that this will give some of it away.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Thoughts #1 - The Lost World by Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle & the Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde


Right now, I've been reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World and the Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde. I've wanted to read The Lost World for some time now, and I'm really enjoying the story, but it seems to be slow going with the actual reading. Realistically, for as much time as I've put into reading it, I should have it finished by now, but I think part of the problem is the actual typeset of the book itself. I purchased a Dover Thrift Edition, and it seems the type is set very close together without much space between the lines and the type itself seems to be a little compressed and the margins are very small. It really looks like they were trying to get as much type on a page as they could to reduce the number of pages, and I get that these are Thrift Editions which is rather the point, but it is making for an increasingly difficult time reading the book. The story itself is fun, if a little wordy, but I'm willing to get through all of this to see how it ends, so I guess that's the sign of a good book, right?

I'm reading the Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde as part of my 1010 Challenge for my Fairy Tales/Myths category. I've been reading one fairy tale at a time in the book, as I've found that if I read a book like this all the way through, I generally lose my interest by the end, since sometimes some of the stories read the same. I'm sure that if I were a little more versed in fairy tales as a whole, I'd probably be finding several similarities between Wilde's fairy tales and others that came before, but they seem refreshing enough to me that I'm enjoying them as they are. So far, my favorite quote from the book:

What a silly thing Love is. It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite impractical...



Want to join in and tell us what you are reading right now? Stop by and let us know. We're not so much looking for a synopsis of what you're reading so much as just your general feeling on the book(s) that you are in the middle of. A favorite quote from the book? Do you like the overall look and feel of the design of the book? Are you really enjoying what you're reading, or can't stand the story at all and are going to be moving on to something else? Let us know! Grab the logo and leave a comment with a link back to your blog. I figure this way, we can each learn a little bit about what each other is reading right now and maybe discover something that we might enjoy reading in the future!

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

Hunger Games Book 3 Cover Revealed!

Finally! Can't wait!!

Hunger Games Book 3 Cover Revealed!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia

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Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Authors: Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9780061886577
Publisher: Collins Design
Artist Website: www.camillerosegarcia.com
Twitter: @camillergarcia
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4/5 stars

From Amazon - About the Artist:
Camille Rose Garcia was born in 1970 in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the generic suburbs of Orange County, where she visited Disneyland and went to punk shows with the other disenchanted youth of that era. Her paintings of creepy cartoon children living in wasteland fairy tales are critical commentaries on the failures of capitalist utopias, blending nostalgic pop culture references with a satirical slant on modern society. Her work has been displayed internationally and featured in numerous magazines, including Juxtapoz, Rolling Stone, and Modern Painter. In 2007, a retrospective of her work, titled Tragic Kingdom, was on display at the San Jose Museum of Art, accompanied by a catalog of the same name. She has also written and illustrated a children's book, The Magic Bottle. The recipient of the Stars of Design award from the Pacific Design Center, she recently moved to the Pacific Northwest after thirty-eight years in Los Angeles.

OK, I'm not going to be doing a review of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as I did a rather lengthy one last year (if interested, click here), but I do want to talk about the illustrations in this new edition. I'm a sucker for picking up multiple copies of a book that I like if there are new illustrations or something in the book that catches my interest (for instance, this is my third edition of Alice that I own, and I have 6 editions of A Christmas Carol - just to change it up a little, I try to read a different edition each time I re-read these).

Of course, with the new Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland coming out in just a few short weeks, it seems that Alice is everywhere I look these days, and imagine my surprise when a friend pointed this edition out to me yesterday at B&N. I am a real stickler for the original Sir John Tenniel illustrations for Alice, but I have to say that Camille Rose Garcia's illustrations are just so unique and original that I couldn't pass the book up. These are very much a modern day Alice - Garcia kept the feel of being in a dream intact, but brought them to vibrant, technicolored life. To be honest, these illustrations look like they could have been pulled right out of Tim Burton's head - they have that same creepy yet beautiful look and feel that I find so mesmerizing about Burton's films. Garcia's illustrations are a little off-kilter and her characters look a little crazed and everytings seems just a little out of proportion (even for poor Alice, who always has trouble keeping to just the right size) and yet it all comes together to create a wholly refreshing new look for the cast of the story. We even get a few glimpses of scenes that weren't illustrated in the original, such as the actual Lobster Quadrille, not just the Mock Turtle and Gryphon's demonstration. I'm hopeful we'll get to see her take on Through the Looking Glass in the near future.

For more information on the artist, you can visit her website here.