Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bout of Books Sign Up and Master Post

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Bout of books is one of my favorite things during the year! But then I really love anything that gives me an excuse to read. I will be posting all my reading lists and general updates here. 

The Book Pile

Top to bottom:
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Raven cycle #3) By Maggie Stiefvater
The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah
The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Watchman by Alan Moore
The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman

Granted there is no way I will get through all that in a week, though I would be so proud if I did. When it comes to readathons, I like having a huge list to pull from, and this pile is all the books I want to read/reread at the moment. I think I have a good chance of sticking to the pile this time and I'm usually notorious for deviating from it.

Goals:

  • Stick to the pile
  • Read 1000 pages
  • Participate in at least one chat
  • Not stay up super late reading
  • Possibly participate in challenges
Updates:
Monday
Books read from: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Total books read: 0
Pages read: 44 
Total pages read: 44
Not the best reading day, but at least I read some.

Tuesday
Books read from: Blue Lily, Lily Blue  by Maggie Stiefvater, (finished)
Total books read: 1
Pages read: 347
Total pages read: 391
Much better than yesterday, but stayed up late reading. Not doing well on some goals.

Wednesday
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Thursday
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Friday
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Saturday
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Monday, May 2, 2016

Monthly TBR: May 2016


Time for me to once again show off an entirely ambitious pile of books that I want to read during the month of May.

But first let's recap April. I read some difficult books in April. Some were intense subject matter and some just seemed like a Herculean task to complete. But all in all I am proud of my progress last month. I also started getting back into comics which makes me happy.

In April I read:
Bitch Planet #1 by Kelly Sue DiConnick (comic)
Kill Shakespeare #1 by Anthony Del Col (comic)
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Columbine by Dave Cullen (review here)
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
A Year in the Maine Woods by Berd Heinrich
The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
The Complete Beatrix Potter
Cardington Crescent (Thomas and Charlotte Pitt #8) by Anne Perry

Here is my mahoosive list for May:
Poldark by Graham Winston (someday I will finish this, I swear. It's good, promise!)
The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil
The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
Silence in Hanover Close (Thomas and Charlotte Pitt #9) by Anne Perry (ebook)
Caliber #1 by Sam Sarkar (digital comic)
I, Frankenstein: Genesis #1 by Kevin Grevioux (digital comic)
Lady Mechanika prequel by Joe Benitez (digital comic)
Jessica Jones #1 by Brian Michael Bendis (digital comic)
Planetary #1 by Warren Ellis (digital comic)
Priya's Shakti #1 by Ram Devineni (digital comic)
The Sadhu #1 by Gotham Chopra (digital comic)
Valentine #1 by Alex de Campi (digital comic)

Ambitious list? Yes, always. But I am going away for a few days, and when the weather is sunny like it has been, work can be slow, giving me more time to read. Plus, bout of books is happening this month...sometime. I need to sign up for that so expect that post in a couple days. Will I get to all these books? Probably not, and I may even read things that aren't on the list instead of things that are. That happens a lot.

What are you all reading in May?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon Master Post

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Read-a-thons are one of my favorite things in the universe. Today at 8am is the start time in my time zone. I don't know how much reading I will get done, as I have to work as well, but I hope for the best. 

I have made stacks in the past and haven't had much luck because I made rather small stacks and tried to make myself rigidly stick to them. This time, I am making a huge stack and letting myself deviate from it at will if I feel I need to. I am also including a lot of shorter, easier to manage choices as well as a few novels. My stack includes:

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (if I don't finish it by beforehand)
Poldark by Graham Winston
A Year In the Maine Woods by Bernd Heinrick
Cardington Cressant by Anne Perry
The Complete Brothers Grimm
The Complete Works of Beatrix Potter
The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
Sandman Volumes 1 and 2 by Neil Gaiman
Time Enough For Drums by Ann Rinaldi

If that doesn't get me through 24 hours of reading, send help. I will be posting sporadic updates here throughout the day, and perhaps some challenges.

Who else is readathoning?

Update at Hour 12:
Today has flown by! Despite working today and meeting a friend for dinner, I got quite a lot of reading done! I finished the last half of A Year in the Maine Woods and the last 160 pages of Salt to the Sea while at work. (It was so sunny today, I'm surprised we saw anyone at all.) One I got home I read half of the Perrault fairy tales and the first chapter of Cardington Cresent. I plan on taking a short nap then continuing with both of those. This is by far my most successful 24 hr readathon ever!

Update at the end:
I managed to read 72 pgs of Cardington Crescent before falling asleep, and unintentionally sleeping until morning. (It's been a long week).  But I'm still really impressed with myself. I finished 2 books I had in progress, read half of another, and a quarter of yet another. I feel like I accomplished so much! Despite the readathon being over, I think I will spend most of today reading anyway. Maybe I can tackle a few more library books on my stack.

How did everyone do?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: Columbine by Dave Cullen

Book: Columbine by Dave Cullen
First published by Twelve; April 2009. (I read the updated 2016 ebook edition)
360 pages
Genres: Nonfiction/True Crime/Journalism
I borrowed this book from the library.

Synopsis via Goodreads: What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.

My thoughts:
What first attracted me to this book is that I remember this happening, and watching coverage on the news. I was in 8th grade at the time, and I remember that after the shooting happened things drastically changed in my schools. All doors to the outside except for the main entrance were locked and you were unable to open them from the outside. The same was done to classroom doors. They were open during class switches, but shut and locked when class began. It was also the beginning of many schools around the country implementing a zero tolerance policy. Despite the changes in my own school, I don't really know much about the Columbine shooting other than basic facts that the media reported at the time, and after 17 years those facts were a bit fuzzy. The other factor was that this book had been likened to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which is one of my favorites of all time, so I couldn't resist.

I don't know what I was really expecting, other than similarities to ICB, but I was pretty disappointed. This book actually screams hypocrisy to me. Cullen was a journalist that reported on the shooting, yet a good chunk of the book he blasts the media (even names a few specific newspapers) for getting facts wrong and jumping to conclusions in the aftermath. He even complains about how some people profited off of the events at the expense of lives being lost. It's hard to wrap my head around at times. And while I will admit that some of his examples in the book were quite disgusting, he also clearly wrote a book so...

The only similarity I could find between Columbine and ICB, was similar to Capote's sympathetic feelings towards Perry, Cullen puts a lot less blame on the shooter Dylan Klebold than he does Eric Harris. He makes the case in his book that Harris was a psychopath, whereas Klebold was a depressive follower that would pretty much go along with anything. (To paraphrase.) My problem with this is that there is evidence, even evidence stated in this book that Klebold did kill people. Depressed or not, easily influenced or not, he did murder innocent people. His sympathies were a hard part of the book to follow. Much like the jumping back in forth in time rather than writing in a straightforward, chronological timeline of the events and aftermath.

While I was disappointed with this read, it was clearly well researched and well put together. Do I agree with everything? No. Did I hate it? No. But I did have more personal issues with the narrative than I expected. It is a difficult read for many reasons, at times it is hard to get through because you are reading about real people in recent history. There are a lot of interesting points and facts in this book and I think a lot of people will find it interesting. However, it drastically fell short of ICB in my opinion, and my world view clashed with that of the author, making it harder for me to like. But at the same time, I appreciate that this book was outside my comfort zone and really made me think.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Make


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten accordingly.  This week's topic is top ten books that will make you laugh (or at least chuckle.)

When I was trying to come up with books for this list (and I went back through 5 years of goodreads challenges!) I realized that I read a lot of dark shit. Not only that, but the humor that I like is equally dark, sarcastic, or snarky. This list will definitely not be what is considered traditional humor, but these books will amuse some of my fellow gallows humor aficionados. 

1. Looking For Alaska by John Green. This was the first JG novel I ever read and still my favorite. While parts of it are very sad, and may make you cry, the wit of the characters is amazing. My copy is full of highlights because I can't resist noting a funny passage.

2. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. To sum up, the world is supposed to end before dinner on Saturday, and someone seems to have misplaced the antichrist. My sister, who is not a reader, loves this book, which speaks volumes about how much you will laugh.

3. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. The Bloggess wrote an entire book of essays/stories about her life. Enough said. 

4. On Writing by Stephen King. I know this will raise some eyebrows. Stephen King, the horror writer? Yes, he is hilarious. (I find some of his fiction funny at times, I know, I'm weird.) But his memoir is full of sarcasm and snark and I just love it.

5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. She is the queen of satirical writing. Let's not take classic literature so seriously all the time, shall we?

6. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Thorne is by far the best character. He is like the Jack Sparrow of space. If he doesn't make you laugh out loud, there is something wrong.

7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Pretty much the entire novel is Anne Shirley getting herself into hilariously preventable situations. However, the raspberry cordial scene never fails to make me laugh.

8. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton. A book full of Burton's stories, poems, and drawings. Need I say more?

9. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. There is a story within a story. Both made me laugh, and the protagonist is so socially awkward. That really struck a chord with me...so maybe I was inadvertently laughing at myself. Also the sisters in the book are named Cath and Wren...let that sink in.

10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I love this book. It is in my top ten fave books of life! It is funny, and romantic, and endearing...pretty much everything you want in a book. I have reread it several times and I never get tired of it.


So that is my list. What books made your top ten?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Turning The Page

tv sherlock

Today out of nowhere, I realized that I really missed book blogging. It just hit me that my current read was giving me feels and I wanted to share with you guys. I tried to pick up blogging after absences before, but it just didn't feel right. My last post was 8 months ago. I fell out of love with blogging, it began to feel more like work than fun. 

I've decided that as much as it pains me to do so, I am going to start this blog fresh. Square one. Count this as a first post. I haven't decided what to do with my old posts yet, but slowly they will disappear off this blog. I need a clean slate and not be reminded of the past. I think. No that it was bad, I just feel I need to start over. 

I plan to participate in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, but I also have to work that day, which sometimes starts me off in a reading slump because most of the day is already gone when I can start. But I've been reading some great stuff lately, so there is hope.

What I'm reading: I have been trying to get through Poldark by Winston Graham for ages, because I want to see the PBS miniseries. (Always read the book first!) But since I actually own the book, I keep pushing it back when my library holds come in. But it's good, and I will finish it. Columbine by David Cullen. It's basically a journalists perspective/research on the shooting. It's intense, and I can't wait to be done with it for many reasons. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. It came in today and I plan to start it this evening. I know very little about it, except that it's set during WWII. I have a feeling going into it blind is best. 

Reads I am looking forward to: Yet unknown last book club of the season. I know it will be a Maine author, though. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. This was my birthday gift to myself. It's an alternative history where Japan and Germany have won WWII. They hold an annual motorcycle race and the winner gets to meet Hitler. A teenage girl enters the race with the goal to kill Hitler if she wins. Sounds amazing, right? I still have two library holds that could come in, so it may take me awhile to get to this one. I should probably finish Poldark first. 

What I'm Listening To: I have been obsessed with Laurence Fox's album Holding Patterns. It's kind of like Coldplay, but not really, because I hate Coldplay. He has this raspy, brooding, voice, and a British accent. It speaks to me these days. I've also been playing Phidel's album Qi a lot. Basically been rotating those two albums for about 3 weeks. 

What I'm watching: I've been rewatching the entire series of Downton Abbey the last few months. I just started season 3. I'm not ready for all the sadness! I've also been catching up on Inspector Lewis, my current favorite British drama. Laurence Fox stars in it, which is how I found out about him and eventually his album. Last night, for the first time ever I watched Rupaul's Drag Race. I feel like I should feel guilty, but it may be the best show I have ever seen, and yes, I am saying that without irony or sarcasm. 

What have you all been doing?