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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Recent Enjoyable

This Week's Question:

What’s the most enjoyable, most fun, most just-darn-entertaining book you’ve read recently? (Mind you, this doesn’t necessarily mean funny, since we covered that already. Just … GOOD.)

I really truly just reloved The Time Traveler's Wife, once again. It is one of those books where you really come to love the characters, and the writing, and the simplicity of the dilemma that Henry faces - he can't seem to stay in one place in time - makes the novel feel real despite the sort of science fiction element to it. It's a novel about characters and relationships and it's just an all-around good read. I think even my reading friends with extremely discriminating tastes will have trouble finding fault with it.

How about you?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I am way too swamped with school and other crap to participate much this year, but if you are like the last blogger on the planet and have not heard about Book Blogger Appreciation Week, then holy crap, you really should have heard about it! Because there's thing to win! And other bloggers to meet! And interviews to read! And did I mention, things to win?

Book blogging has become a big part of my life. I used to check out a book from the library upon occasion, and I used to wish I had someone to recommend good books to me, because I would have trouble finding books I really liked from the browsing method.

Now, I have like a gillion (yes, literally a gillion) book blogging friends whose recommendations have made my tbr stack so big the coffee table where I store them is threatening to collapse. I go to the library about every other week for new books that friends have recommended. When I go to the bookstore, half the book covers look familiar, and I already have an idea if I will like a book or not, thanks to my book blogging friends.

I've always loved to read, but book blogging has given a lot more focus and diversity to the books I pick. I'm humbled and amazed that there are awesome bloggers out there like Amy who are willing to sacrifice so much time and energy (and I'm sure no doubt money as well) to make an awesome event like Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

It's been awesome so far seeing who has won the various awards (congratulations to the winners!), and I've totally been drooling over some of the prizes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Picky, Picky, Picky

This is the week in which I am extremely picky about my reading. So far I haven't been able to get into Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner or Fledgling by Octavia Butler and so the majority of my reading time has been spent looking over husband's latest copy of Popular Mechanics, which means that I am now proficient on how to fix my car if there is a leak in the radiator, and I have a deep and personal understanding of how to power all of my home tech devices with nothing more than a home wind turbine and a roll of duct tape, and when civilization goes kaput thanks to a nuclear holocaust or World War III, or even the zombie apocalypse, I know what the three essential tools to have on hand are. But alas, I don't have much to report for you Sunday Saloners about lovely books.

How about you? Any books you can't get into this week?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Audrey Wait! (review)

Audrey Wait! by Robin Bentley
Reason for Reading: YA reading challenge
Rating: 3/5

Summarize the plot: Audrey is an ordinary girl until her ex-boyfriend writes a song vilifying her that becomes an international pop sensation. Suddenly she's famous, but it means having her every move make national television, and everyone, it seems, wants to be her friend. No one cares about the actual Audrey anymore.

One sentence review: A breezy, fun read that doesn't really stick with you afterwards.

What I liked: Audrey is a strong-willed character, if a bit dense at times. She has some true, loyal friends, who help her navigate the treacherous waters of instant fame, and the book has a lot of humor to it. The writing style kept me engaged, because it was light, cute, and fun. Also, I really enjoyed the understated relationship between Audrey and her love interest. It was never too in your face, or forced, and it never detracted from the main plot point - Audrey coming to terms with her new-found fame.

What I didn't like: There is a reason this book has a large blurb on the front by Meg Cabot. I'm not sure if Cabot should really be promoting it though, since Audrey, Wait!, is almost a blow by blow copy of the plot and style of The Princess Diaries. I enjoyed this light-hearted book while I was reading it, but when I started thinking too hard, and realizing how the plot lined up exactly with my favorite Meg Cabot read, I started liking it less and less. Both Mia (the protagonist of Princess Diaries) and Audrey are so irritated by all this new-found fame... lame-0... but it seems like most teenagers would have found at least something to enjoy from being famous. They both go through almost the exact same journey with friends, family, and paparazzi, coming to the same conclusions at the end. For some readers, that might not detract from your enjoyment, but for whatever reason, it did for me.

Should I read it? If you liked The Princess Diaries and don't mind the fact this book doesn't break any new ground, you'll probably love this one.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Reading? What reading?

This hasn't been much of a reading week for me. Oh, I did read through the 40 page syllabus for my first grad school class, but after that I mostly wanted to cry.

Okay, not completely true. At the beginning of the week, I was working through rereading The Time Traveler's Wife, and discovering that I still liked it, but finding myself kind of stuck at the final bit at the end. I already know what's going to happen, and once again, I'm so emotionally involved in these characters, and I just want to stop while things are still going well.

Hmmm... other things I've been reading. I did finish Persepolis I & II last week. The two graphic novels are sad, insightful, and surprisingly funny. I felt like I had a new best friend.

I finally got to read the rest of the Emma manga novels, thanks to a tip from tanabata as to where to find some scans online. (I normally don't recommend reading scans of dubious legality, but in this case it looks like the actual novels may have gone out of print because they were retailing for $80+ on Amazon). I finally got to learn about the nefarious plots carried out against Emma and William and how their love conquered all.

In the upcoming couple of days, I can tell you that the reading I will be doing will be mostly business books for my upcoming class. Bleh. I'm going to try and sneak in something more exciting if at all possible, or else I'm going to wind up with a brain way too stuffed with facts and theories and education and stuff.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Howdy from the Minnesota State Fair

When you live in Minnesota around Labor Day, everyone's thoughts begin turning towards thoughts of deep fried cheese curds, pickles on a stick, chocolate chip cookies and all you can drink milk. Yesterday hubby and I took off of work for the express purpose of testing out how many State Fair activities it is possible to cram into a single day without dropping dead of exhaustion.

It may not have been our most sane experiment ever, but we did discover that there is a limit to human tolerance for walking, eating and simultaneously taking in entertainment.

Some old favorites:
*Crop art. Yes, people make art out of seeds. This year, for whatever reason, political art was really popular. Both of these examples won ribbons.

*Machinery Hill. Tractors. Engines. Okay, not necessarily my favorite, but hubby got to recall his days as a farmer.

*Free stuff. Hey, one of our local radio stations was giving away free air guitars. How can I resist a deal like that?

New favorites:
*Horse shows. This year, all the horse shows were free, so we watched some heart-pounding barrel racing

*Barn tour. A guide took us around all of the animal barns (for free!) and told us all sorts of fun and silly facts about the animals. Even my farmer hubby was impressed.

*Hearty breakfast at the fair. We had never gotten there early enough to get breakfast at the fair before, but it was pretty good.

*Gelato. I'm a bit of an ice-cream snob, and ever since sampling the real, true, Italian gelato, I've been in search of a good equivalent here in Minnesota. Surprisingly, the fair provided the most authentic gelato I've had since Italy.

When my stomach has recovered a little bit more from the excess I put it through, I'll be around to visit your blog!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Life, In Books

Stolen from Bloggin' 'bout Books. Answer each question using the title of a book you've read in the past year. I'm not tagging anyone, but let me know if you did this and I'll come visit!

Describe yourself:

How do you feel: Soon I Will Be Invincible (by Austin Grossman)

Describe where you currently live: Neverwhere (by Neil Gaiman)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Arabian Nights (And Days) (by Bill Willingham)

Your favorite form of transportation: The Road (by Cormac McCarthy)

Your best friend is: The Good Prince (by Bill Willingham)

You and your friends are: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (by Alan Moore)

What's the weather like: Storm Front (by Jim Butcher)

You fear: The Walking Dead (by Robert Kirkman)

What is the best advice you have to give?: The Rest Falls Away (by Colleen Gleason)

Thought for the day: Hurry Down Sunshine (by Michael Greenberg)

How I would like to die: I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon (by Philip K. Dick)

My soul's present condition: Peace Like a River (by Leif Enger)