Sunday, November 30

TSS - Attention Blog Readers Need YOUR Recommendations!


Hello to my blog readers, I need your help. Starting in January I'm participating in the 999 challenge, much like the 888 challenge. Link below.

http://www.librarything.com/groups/999challenge#forums

One of my categories is recommended reading, which is getting a list of books recommended to be my friends, family, bloggers and Library Thing Recommended reading lists, then pick 9 books from a random draw. So the section will be selected by someone other then me.

Theres just a few things. I won't read graphic novels or children's books (Young Adult ie twilight aren't a big deal, but I'm not reading books for children under the age of 12, or graphic novels.)

Also, if it's in a series, then the thrid book in the series isn't the best choice, because I haven't read the others. But other than that, its a free for all.

Here's my other catagories, and books that are in them so far.

1001 Books Before You Die

1 Cancer Ward - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
2 Amsterdam Ian McEwan
3 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
4 Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
5 Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
6 Middlemarch George Eliot

War Time Fiction

1 - All is Quite on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
2 - A Thread of Grace - Mary Doria Russell
3 – Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
4 - Guns of August - Barbera Tuchman


D (Books Authors Name Begins with)

1- Bleak House – Charles Dickens
2 – The Vicomte de Bralegonne – Alexander Dumas
3- Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
4 - The God Delusion- Richard Dawkins
5 - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams


1st, 2nd or 3rd in a Series

1 Twilight

Woman Writers

1 - Angels - Marian Keyes
2 - Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
3 - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel - Lisa See
4 – Orlando - Virginia Woolf
5 – The Birth House - Ami McKay

Philosophy, Religion, Mythology,Pop-Culture

1 Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
2 Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale - James B. South
3 Harry Potter and philosophy: if Aristotle ran Hogwarts- David Baggett
4 - The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All - Gregory Bassham
5 - Introduction to Aristotle - Aristotle
6 - The Norse Myths - Kevin Crossley-Holland
7 King Arthur: History and Legend- John Matthews
8 Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and Other Pagans in America Today - Margot Adler

Dystopian Lit

1 - A Brave New Word - Aldous Huxley
2 - Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
3 - A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
4 - The Children of Men – P.D. James
5 - The Road - Cormac McCarthy
6 - Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
7 - V for Vendetta - Alan Moore
8 – I am Legend – Richard Matheson


Last Years Leftovers
None yet (although, other categories will likely have a lot of "last years left overs :D)

So get recommending those books to me!


As for my reading for the day, currently reading Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. And I have to say I'm not liking it very much. A good story is being ruined by grotesque scenes that aren't relevant to the book.

Wednesday, November 26

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Author: J.K. Rowling

Pages: 636

Summary: The Summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learned, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to attend. Harry is expecting these; however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This book had a lot of good and bad aspects about it. And it isn’t my favourite in the series it’s probably closer with Philosophers Stone. What I liked about the book was the usual humour Rowling puts into her characters. The Weasly twins always made me laugh, and the relationship between Harry and Sirius and its growth was handled well, she did a fantastic job with that. I also liked the triwizard torment and all of the different events there, made the book a little suspenseful at time. I don’t have an actual favourite part or task, but the idea behind the triwizard tournament was interesting and made the book better then it was. I also loved the ending, with Voldemort returning. That had be (the first time I read the book) gripping the pages.

But, there were also a lot of parts I really dislike. For one, there’s SPEW, the first one or two parts in it were fine, but I found it to be a little drawn out and overused. I can see some parallels between the book and within society, but there is only so many times where you can here Hermione go on how they need rights, and Ron reply how they don’t want it, because they enjoy there life. Dobby is more likable in the book, but he’s not a character I like to focus on. Actually I never gave him thought or cared about him until that part in book seven. But again, the parts with him were over used. I also found the book to be more predictable then the others. It was clear from the start, Harry would be selected for the tournament otherwise it wouldn’t have been in there.

Overall it was a good book, but there are a lot of things, that make you groan because they are drawn out and overused, but that is, for the most part, overshadowed by the fabulous characters in the books.


Would I recommend it to read: Yes I would, it is an action packed book in the serious, and there are some great parts, where the characters grow and start to choose their destinies, but there are some parts that will make you groan. And other parts that have you screaming at the characters.

What to read next:The rest of the Harry Potter series (Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince, Deathly Hollows) Golden Compass, Wrinkle in Time, Chronicles of Narnia.

Wednesday, November 12

Weekly Geeks #24

Weekly Geeks #24 - Author Fun Facts



Marian Keyes



-
Is a popular Irish writer, considered to be one of the original progenitors of "chick lit".

- During
her twenties her life-long low self esteem gradually mutated into a drinking problem (the issue of addictions, is later addressed in Rachel’s Holiday)

- She started writing in 1993 and her first book Watermelon was published in Ireland
in 1995

- Has written 11 books and contributed to six others the books include (italicized if I’ve read).
Watermelon Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married Rachel's Holiday Last Chance Saloon Sushi for Beginners Under the Duvet Further Under My Duvet (Cracks in my foundation) Angels The Other Side of the Story Anybody Out There? This Charming Man

-
novels are usually not written as serials nor with sequels or prequels, except for what has been known amongst her fandom as the "Walsh Sister Series" though it is not a series officially since reading one of the books that came after previous ones would not affect the reader's understanding of the plotline or characters; but would provide better background on character studies and some background information.

- In age order, the Walsh sisters are: Claire, the main character in Watermelon; Margaret "Maggie", in Angels; Rachel, in Rachel's Holiday; and Anna, in Anybody Out There? Each book and character deals with a different theme in overcoming a massive struggle, usually a dark one. A book is yet to be published which centers on the fifth and youngest sister, Helen.

- Watermelon has been made into a TV movie, and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married has been made into a 16 part TV series


- Has a website - http://www.mariankeyes.com/


Tuesday, November 11

Watermelon

Title: Watermelon

Author: Marian Keyes

Pages: 520

Summary: Claire Webster has exactly the life she planned, complete with gorgeous husband James, cosy London flat, and a great job. But just hours after the birth of their first child, the bubble bursts, when James abandons her for an older woman.

With a baby she doesn’t know what to call, a wardrobe two dress sizes too small, and her self-esteem at an all time low, Claire decided there is only one place she can run to, and that’s back home to Dublin.

Thankfully her family are still themselves: her father bewildered, her sisters dippy as ever, and her mother still completely incapable of cooking anything edible. Sheltered by the love of her rather quirky, but protective family Claire realises that despite her grief, ‘Life, against its better judgement, goes on’. So she lets it. And gradually she begins to get better.

So when James eventually comes scuttling back, he’s in for a shock. Is there room in her life for him now? And, if she’s honest, how much does she still want that ‘perfect’ life back in London?

My Rating: 9.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Keyes, never fails to disappoint me, and this Walsh Sister book is no exception. Wow. I loved it, absolutely loved it! I think I found my favourite Walsh sister (well next to Helen of course, I really can’t wait to see her in action in her own book). Claire, at times reminds me of me (usually when she’s at her best and strongest, but sometimes when she’s at her worse), so I think I was able to connect to her more then Rachel or Anna. Also, Claire is a little more level headed then the other two. Either way, this was a great story, filled with Keyes’ humour and wit.
The reader is brought along, as Claire struggles with the after math of her husband leaving her for another woman. The story is centered on her trying to get over this “up-set” and move on, or more of get her self back. The story isn’t about a struggling mother, and the ups and downs surrounding it. But how the effects of the broken relation ship affect Claire on multiple levels and her struggles to get through them.
What I like about the story is the end, and without spoiling, how much she grows. The last few chapters AMAZED me. (Well it was a tad predictable in a way) but it amazed me in the since ……possible spoiler warning, possible spoiler warning.
I wanted to shout for joy and yell You Go Girl!

Spoiler Warning Over. Sorry, but I couldn’t explain with out possibly hinting at something that happens in the end. I’m proud of Claire for what she did. Like with the rest, the reader is really able to enjoy, being able to step into the shoes of one of the Walsh sisters lives, and Claire really seems, in her personality to like to bring the reader into her story more, that the others. I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing.
Overall, the book is a fantastic read, filled with Keyes with, the spectacular Walsh sisters, and a story with a woman, that can connect too many woman, on many different levels.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes! This is the kind of “chick-lit” I enjoy. The kind that don’t reinforce stereotypes set on woman by society. Marian Keyes, just has an ability to write great chick-lit, that I deem Woman’s Lit.
I think a lot of chick-lit fans would like it, and I guarantee, picking up any of the Walsh Sister’s books will make you fall in love with Keyes writing. (Or any book for that matter she’s written).

What to read next: Angels, Rachel’s Holiday, Anybody Out There? Are the other three Walsh sister books by Marian Keyes.


Thursday, November 6

Booking Through Thursday - Presents

What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The “gift aura?”

Only one book stands out as a memorable book that I got as a present. I've gotten books as gifts before, for x-mas, or just randoms books for just because. But there is on in particular, that really stands out, and that is really special to me. And that's the Timer Traveller's Wife.

I got the book at the end of my four years of university and was packing up to move from my place in Windsor back to London. My boyfriend at the time was helping my dad and I bring stuff out to the truck. We said our tearful goodbyes (although we didn't break up to later that summer). Later that day I was unpacking my tote-bins (those giant plastic bins) full of clothes an in the middle of one of them was, the Time Traveller's Wife. My boyfriend had hidden the book in one of the tote-bins as he was carrying them out to the truck. Very sly indeed. Inside, he wrote an inscription about cherishing time together and the imprint it leaves behind. (Aww I know).

So the Time Traveller's Wife book, has become VERY special to me. Although we're no longer together, we're still good friends, the book is still very important. And is the only book I'll never loan out to friends.

Wednesday, November 5

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Title: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Author: Helen Fielding

Pages: 338

Summary: Lurching from the cappuccino bars of Notting Hill to the blessed-out-shores of Thailand, Bridget Jones searches for the Truth in spite of pathetically unevolved men, insane dating theories, and Smug Married advice (‘“I’m just calling to say in the Potty! In the Potty! Well, do it in Daddy’s hand then!’”). She experiences a zeitgeist-esque Spiritual Epiphany somewhere between the pages of How to Find the Love You Want Without Seeking It (“can self-help books really help self?”), protective custody, and a lightly chilled Chardonnay.

My Rating: 5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: : I have to say, I didn’t like the sequel much. I am borderline on how exactly I feel, but for the most part, I disliked the book. I just liked, the first book it was funny at times, having a little spark of magic, but the sequel either lost all that small spec of magic the first one had, that allowed me to enjoy it, or it was drowned out by the random fluff that filled the sequel. There can be such thing as having too many eccentric characters. I found that almost every character, save maybe Mark Darcy, are these extremely eccentric, slightly insane characters. It gets to the point, their wacky personalities; take away from what really matters in the story. Not to mention, I found there was a lot of random, out there ….. “crap” that filled the plot. There were parts of Magda’s children while she interacted with Bridget…. (the whole Potty fiasco, got very boring within seconds). There are a lot of other BIG events that occur in the book, that just don’t seem to mesh with the story as a whole, but I can’t really say too much without spoiling the book. To put it vaguely, the events happen to Bridget, just seemed to come so far out of left field, I’m led to believe it was more of a way to make a longer book, then to create a better story. Because it does nothing to improve the stories (both examples) it does nothing to help Bridget grow.

This brings me to Bridget. I found this in the first book, but it didn’t bug seem to bug me as much. But in this book, I found her to be a little too helpless and “must have man, to complete life, because she’s nothing without” idea was just bothersome combined with her total lack of self confidence. I just found that she played into two many stereotypes, for the story to be enjoyable in any way. Not to mention, nothing is really resolved at the end of the book. The reader is in the exact same place as they were on page one as they are n the last page.

Overall, not a good read.

Would I recommend it to read: I have to say I wouldn’t recommend it to read. It isn’t not as good as the first, and it has a lot of pointless fluff, that ruins the story as a whole

What to read next: Watermelon, Angels, Rachel’s Holiday, Anybody Out There, Sushi for Beginners, The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes or Past Secrets by Cathy Kelly


Tuesday, November 4

Teaser Tuesday's

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

  • My Teaser for Today

    They walked three times around the lake, trying all the way to think of a simple spell that would subdue a dragon. Nothing whatsoever occurred to them, so they retired to the library instead. Here, Harry pulled down every book he could find on dragons, and both of them set to work searching through the large pile.
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire page 295.

    Okay so that's three lines, but I can't help it.


    Tuesday Thingers

    Today's question: Work multiples. Do you own multiple copies of any books? Which ones? Why? Can you share your list?
    I have to say I do own multiple copies of books in my collection. They are:



    Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.
    Original Copy - Children's Paperback
    Second Copy - Adult Hard Cover

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Original Copy - Children's Paperback
    Second Copy - Adult Hard Cover

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Original Copy - Children's Paperback
    Second Copy - Adult Hard Cover

    The reason for this was 1) the paperbacks are wearing out after so much reading, 2) When I got Deathly Hollows I got the Adult Hard Cover edition. So I want the collection to match. I also wasnt all hard covers, because they last longer the the paperbacks. They also look nicer. So thats why I have the first three Harry Potter's. I will eventually get Adult Hard Cover editions for Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince. But Alas, no money.

    I also have double copies of The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings, Lord of the Rings the Two Towers, Lord of the Rings The Return of the King and The Hobbit. I had originally, the copies of LOTR in those blue green and red covers with the mountians and shadows of the characters. I now have the black covers. Whish is also my reasoning for havign to Hobbits. I searched and searched for the elusive black cover for the hobbit and coudln't find it. I gave up and bought the green blue cover of the hobit. Few weeks ago, found that cover of the hobbit. So now my Hobbit, Lord of the Rings books, Simerilion, and other Toliken books both present and futrue will all have those nice black covers.

    So mainly I have multiple copies of books, because I collect books I like, and want to have a certian set for certain books. I may have two persuations, sense and sensibilties, but those second copies may be sold to a book store when I get the edition of the book I want. The HP books I have, Ihaven't decided what I'll do with them, same with my Lord of the Rings. Both are very worn from multiple over reads.

    P.S I recenrlty found out you can only have 200 books on Library Things, then you have to pay for an account.... I am not happy. Only 200 books? They build me up, I finally start like using it, then they say, sorry your at your limit.

    Sunday, November 2

    Weekly Geek # 23

    This week, every participant gets to choose one of the previous Weekly Geeks themes to repeat. I think it’ll be a lot of find seeing what everyone chooses. It’ll give me an idea of what the most popular themes have been, and it’ll give everyone else a break from seeing almost identical posts on the blog of all the WG participants. And of course it gives you the flexibility of choice.

    Exceptionally simple instructions!


    1. Browse through the previous Weekly Geeks posts.
    2. Decide what you’d like to repeat.
    3. Do it!
    4. When you finish, come sign the Mr Linky with the url to your specific post, not just your general blog url.
    5. Don’t forget to check out what other Weekly Geeks
    chose.

    Okay, so this is my first Weekly Geek. I've been meaning to do one for months..... but alas... anyways, I'm repeating Weekly Geek # 14 Bookish Photos.

    I chose to show pictures of my book shelves, Used Bookstore finds 13 so far this year.

    Also, sorry for the bad quality of the pictures, my camera sucks.

    The first picture is of the whole book shelves from a year ago. At the time, the bottom shelf, of book shelf two only had dictionaries and random junk on it.... it dos not now. It barely fits the cook books and Trivia Purisuit 90's edition. And I have about eight books not on the shelf at the moment...wait....10 two have been out on loan for almsot three years now.. GRRR!


    These next pictures are close ups of the shelves on book shelf one. Again, sorry they suck. Yes they're in alphabetical order.





    Used Book store Finds: Top to bottom, left to right. Dr. Jekeyll and Mr. Hyde, Dark of the Sun, The Color Purple, The Hobbit (took forever to find that edition) Orlando, Posion Wood Bible, Outstreached Shadow, Cats Eye, Frankenstein (wait a minute... not sure about that one, now that I think of it...) The Waves, Under the Tuscan Sun, Further Under the Duvet, Great Expectations.

    So there you have it! My collection, also know as my precious......



    TSS - Bridget Jones Diary

    Title: Bridget Jones Diary

    Author: Helen Fielding

    Pages: 310

    Summary: In the course of the year recorded in Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget confides her hopes, her dreams, and her monstrously fluctuating poundage, not to mention her consumption of 5277 cigarettes and "Fat units 3457 (approx.) (hideous in every way)." In 365 days, she gains 74 pounds. On the other hand, she loses 72! There is also the unspoken New Year's resolution--the quest for the right man. Alas, here Bridget goes severely off course when she has an affair with her charming cad of a boss. But who would be without their e-mail flirtation focused on a short black skirt? The boss even contends that it is so short as to be nonexistent.

    At the beginning of Helen Fielding's exceptionally funny second novel, the thirtyish publishing puffette is suffering from postholiday stress syndrome but determined to find Inner Peace and poise. Bridget will, for instance, "get up straight away when wake up in mornings." Now if only she can survive the party her mother has tricked her into--a suburban fest full of "Smug Marrieds" professing concern for her and her fellow "Singletons"--she'll have made a good start. As far as she's concerned, "We wouldn't rush up to them and roar, 'How's your marriage going? Still having sex?'"

    This is only the first of many disgraces Bridget will suffer in her year of performance anxiety (at work and at play, though less often in bed) and living through other people's "emotional fuckwittage." Her twin-set-wearing suburban mother, for instance, suddenly becomes a chat-show hostess and unrepentant adulteress, while our heroine herself spends half the time overdosing on Chardonnay and feeling like "a tragic freak." Bridget Jones Diary began as a column in the London Independent and struck a chord with readers of all sexes and sizes. In strokes simultaneously broad and subtle, Helen Fielding reveals the lighter side of despair, self-doubt, and obsession, and also satirizes everything from self-help books (they don't sound half as sensible to Bridget when she's sober) to feng shui, Cosmopolitan-style. She is the Nancy Mitford of the 1990s, and it's impossible not to root for her endearing heroine. On the other hand, one can only hope that Bridget will continue to screw up and tell us all about it for years and books to come

    My Rating: 7/10

    What I liked/disliked about the book: Although I enjoyed the book, it made me laugh out loud, it kept my interest, this is one of the very very few times. I liked the movie better. I know I know! I can hear all my literary readers groan, spit the coffee at the screen and perhaps yell at me why? Normally I would to. I find very few movie adaptations better then books…. There have probably one or two others…..if even. But the book just didn’t have the same sparkle as the movie. Again, maybe it was because I saw the movie first, I think that is likely why I didn’t enjoy the book as much, I kept waiting for certain funny moments to happen, that didn’t in the book that I saw in the movie.
    Not to say the book wasn’t good, because it was. It was a nice entertaining read, full of British Humour, and Bridget is a likeable character, as are many others in the book. There are many who are a little, eccentric, but it makes the book interesting and keeps the reader attracted, because you want to know what the characters will do next.

    Again, the only real problem was that I saw the movie first, so I was a little disappointed in parts that weren’t in it. Also, the style, because it’s a journal and because it is British Literature, is hard to follow. Sometimes short forums are used, and 9st….. for the weight…. But that just took a few seconds to do research, but other readers my find it … difficult (if that’s the right word) to follow.

    One thing, (this is about the movie) did anyone else find, the made Bridget a little too over weight? I pictured her to be “heavy” but not to what she was in the movies. To me she was somewhere between 125-130 and at 5.7’’ that isn’t that heavy; more of that not quite plus size, but, not under plus size either. She’s basically your average women in a sense. Just a little tidbit I found.

    Over all it is an enjoyable, light read, it will make you laugh out loud, and has some good, empowering and eccentric characters that will cause you to turn the pages.

    Would I recommend it to read: Yes. It is a good read. I’d recommend reading the book, then watching the movie. I think had I done that, I’d have like the book better. Bridget is a bit empowering, as well as amusing.

    What to read next: Bridget Jones Diary 2: Edge of Reason also by Helen Fielding (durrr (sorry, had to do that)). Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes is also very close. More so one of the characters reminds me of Bridget. Anything by Marian Keyes is going to be great, but Sushi for Beginners, has more of an empowering and struggling woman feel, who grows to more at the end in the sense of what Bridget grows up to.