Thursday, February 26

Booking Through Thursday - Collectibles

  • Hardcover? Or paperback?
  • Illustrations? Or just text?
  • First editions? Or you don’t care?
  • Signed by the author? Or not?

Wow! Great question! I do collect book, like they're going out of style, If I had a more steady income and disposable income, well lets just say, that my collection would be even bigger than it is now. I own 229 books. 223 of them are fictional.

I like hardcover books, but mainly in special editions of the book. For example there is this nice Jane Austen Hardcover collectible I've been DYING to get my hands on. Also, my Harry Potter Books are all, well will be, Hard Cover Adult Editions. I also have sub collections, within the whole collection. I collect certain editions or publications of the books. Tolkien Collection, is all the black covers.

For the most part, I'm not to picky on the covers, unless Im collecting the books by the same author, and it's a series I love and want consistancy in the collection for that author, but there is only a few I'm picky like that on. The rest, I just like the book. I keep them all, except the books I hated (happens so rarely). I also get most books used, so the edition doesn't matter much to me, as long as its in good condition.

I have three signed books, and I would like more, sadly some of the authors who I want to sign my books have been dead for some time (Dumas book signing anyone?).

I love havign shelves and shelves of books, the sheleves dont get very dusty, because there isn't much room for the dust to settle, and for what ever reason, that room doesnt have much dust. Not that I'm complaining!

So yes, I collect books. I would buy books every week if I could.....I should really sign up for Early Reviewrs on Library Things.....those books are free right? (Does anyone know if you have to pay shipping or anything on those?)

Monday, February 23

Freedom to Read Week

This week, is Freedom to Read Week. What is it?

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As many bloggers may know, this past year, a few times, this issue has been brought up in previous blog posts. And I'm sure most of us have heard or even experienced someone, trying to prevent you from reading a book. Now it's time to celebrate our freedom to read these books. This week, more than ever read, read read (like I need the excuse!) and read challenged books also, take a look at the Freedom to Read Website for other ways to get involved, including BookCorssings Get involved challenge! And release a book into the community (if you can part with it) here's a link for more information.

For me, I plan on reading, some of the banned books on my shelf, including The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman, one of many challenged books. What do you plan on doing, for Freedom to Read Week?

Book Review: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Title: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams

Pages: 180

Summary: One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Author Dent, who has only jus and his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the galaxy is a very large strange and startling place.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I really enjoyed reading this book; it was funny, and sarcastic. The book made little sense, there isn’t much of a plot, mostly nonsense, but I loved it. It’s weird, I know, but I couldn’t put the book down. It just amused me so much, with the rambles and nonsense in the book, along with it’s experts from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I won’t give the answer, as you should read the book to find it your self. It is truly, well lets just say, I finally have the answer I’ve looked for, for so long.
There is also Marvin, a sarcastic depressed robot, who you just can’t wait to see, the next time he appears, and you start to wonder, when the next time digital watches would be mentioned, oh and you will love, when the sperm whale appears, because, really, what would a book be without a sperm whale?
Okay, so overall an enjoyable, light and funny read. It’s Sci-Fi, but don’t expect to much from the book, expect a satire, expect just something to read for pure entertainment, or if you’re having a bad day, the book is so out there, you will go “What?” then laugh, at how absurd it is. If you seen the movie Galaxy Quest, then you will have a pretty good idea, to what this book is about.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes read the books! It's a great book to read after a bad day, or just to read to make you smile and laugh. Warning, the book ends off, leaving you unsatisfied, so you will want to get the second book right away.

What to read next: The rest of the trilogy, this is book one of five.... but it's a trilogy, of five books. Also, The Princess Bride, as the same sort of satire, humour to it, it's different genre, but this book reminded me of some of the satiric humour in it.

Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Support Your Library Challenge, The 999 Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge

Friday, February 20

Book Review: The Children of Men

Title: The Children of Men

Author: P.D. James

Pages: 239

Summary: In this astonishing novel, an entirely new departure in her writing, P.D. James imagines a future England where human infertility has spread like a plague. By year 2021 no babies have been born for a quarter of a century anywhere in the inhabited world. The very old are being driven to despair and suicide, and the final generation of the young are beautiful but violent and cruel. The middle-aged are trying to sustain normality, under the absolute rule of Xan Lyppiatt, the charismatic dictator and Warden of England.
Theo Faron is an Oxford Historian and cousin of the Warden, living in a solitary, self-regarding life in this ominous atmosphere. By chance at Evensong in Magdalen College he meets a young woman, one of a small group who seek to challenge the power of the Warden’s regime. Theo’s life is dramatically changed and he is drawn into almost unimaginable horrors. . . .

My Rating: 4.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Anyone who has seen the movie, is likely looking at my rating and screaming at me why? Well, lets just say, this is one of those very very RARE cases, where the movie is by far, WAY better then the book. About a million times better than then book. There I said it. I can’t believe I said it, but I have. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why do I say such a thing? Well for starters, the book and movie are completely different. The only thing they share is dystopian world that’s infertile. And some of the characters have the same names, and a woman is now pregnant. And only in the last ninety pages, that there is any running/hiding due to the pregnancy. So the rest of the story, was prolonged and out drawn story lines, where virtually nothing happens. A group tries to up heave the government, but they do nothing but hand out some leaflets and blow up a few plank. Which is a lazy and creative way for the author to write 150 pages, before the story actually begins, I get the idea she was trying to show the reader, but really, either have your characters fight against the government and actually mean it or don’t do it. I got the feeling they were just doing it for the sake of it. They didn’t seem to care much about their “cause” if they had, they would have been less lazy about it.
But that is just the beginning. The movie, for those who have seen it, sends such a powerful message, it’s filled with emotion, and haunting parallels, that are absent from the book. The book has no emotion what so ever. The characters are drones, who just live life day after day, and a lot of their way of thinking and events that happens in the book is highly, unbelievable. For one, the live in a society where criminals are heavily policed, to the point theft means your sent to a exile Island, for life, where people would prefer death, than to be sent there, yet the Omagas, the youngest generation, in their late twenties and thirties, run around killing people, and getting away with everything? REALLY? I mean, either it’s a policed state, or it’s a place where crime is easy to get away with. The author states one thing yet shows the other.
Another major issue was that her descriptions, made me want to throw the bloody book across the room. If it wasn’t a library book, I might have. She goes out on these long tangents to describe useless things, such as details how soup from tin cans was made and combined together. SOUP! Really? Unless the soup contained the answer to infertility, then why go into such extensive detail about it? I’m one who likes descriptiveness, when an author explains the setting of a mountain backdrop, or something useful, but Soup….seriously? There are a lot of examples I could give about the pages and pages devoted to detailed information, that in no way, further the plot, but it’s far to painful to repeat.
The author also goes into great detail about Theo’s life and back story, which adds nothing to the story, except he and his cousin, are not close, and he has no ability to have emotion. That is, until the last thirty pages of the book. Which is another major plot hole, how can someone who for the entire book, not care about anything, who has no ability to have emotion, I mean, he didn’t care when he ran over his own fifteen-month old daughter, (actually, he seamed more concerned, although he claimed it wasn’t the case, that his wife didn’t say to him, it wasn’t his fault, the actual act of killing her) but suddenly, after having a loveless life, falls in love with a woman, and is fascinated and in love with the baby, and found religion, after he never really thought of it before. A lot of other reviewers have noted the same issue, about Theo’s magically turn around. One page he’s an ass, the next he’s not.
Overall a terrible book. Great premise, bad execution. The movie version is by far better, both the Director and Screen writer deserve awards, for turning the book into that masterpiece.

Would I recommend it to read: No. Read something more worth your time. Don’t waste it on this. There is plenty of dystopian literature out there, that has good quality writing and story to it. This, is just…… not worth it. Watch the movie instead, if you haven’t yet. And I can’t believe I just said that, but I have.

What to read next: Oryx and Crake, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World are a few titles instead. But this list is more of, what to read instead of, not read next. Trust me.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, Support Library Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge

Wednesday, February 11

Book Review: Oryx and Crake

Title: Oryx and Crake

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 374

Summary: The narrator of Atwood’s riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing and old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to theses questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake’s high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief.
With breathtaking command of her shocking material, and with her customary sharp with and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Oryx and Crake, is my fourth dystopian themed book I’m reading for the 999 challenge, and it’s safe to say it’s my favourite so far. This is Atwood at her best, containing her wonderful style and talent to tell a story. The narrative was odd, in how it told the reader the story, which is part of why I had a hard time putting the book down, the odd and unusual narrative, from what I normally read, pulled me into the story. I also think it was because the mysterious and captivating story the narrator is tell the reader. Each chapter, each page slowly brings you to what happened to the world, how Snowman receives his name “Snowman” and who are the mysterious Oryx and Crake. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, where you are unsure what has happened, and are forced to keep guessing until the very end. But, that’s what caused me to be unable to set the book down, the passages are haunting, as you slowly learn the truth, and what has happened to this society.
This is different the most novels in it’s genre, because it starts off at the aftermath of the society, what we usually see at the end, then goes back into the past, to tell the story, which is what makes it so interesting. Overall a stunning novel, by one of my favourite authors, and a must read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book to read, but because the novel slowly takes you to the conclusion, with little action, some could find it boring. I personally enjoyed that, but I can see some not liking it, but at least give it a try, and take advantage of the fact it’s written by a talented author who brings the reader into an interesting and haunting story. It’s a must read for dystopian fiction fans.

What to read next: 1984, Brave New World, Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451, The Time Machine. - Word to advice - don't read to many dystopian themed books at once, it starts to depress you.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2nd Canadian Challenge, 2oo9 Support Library Challenge, 999 Challenge

Sunday, February 8

Book Review: The Time Machine

Title: The Time Machine

Author: H.G Wells

Pages: 87

Summary: Late in the nineteenth century, a Victorian scientist shows his disbelieving dinner guests a device he claims is a Time Machine. Respectable London scarcely has the imagination to cope with him. A week later they reconvene to find him ragged, exhausted and garrulous. The tale he tells is f the year 802, 701, of life as it is lived on the exact same spot, in what once had been London. He has visited the future, he has encountered the future-race - elfin, beautiful, vegetarian, leading a life of splendid idleness. But this is not the only race these are not our only decedents. In the tunnels beneath the new Eden there lurks another life-form.

Wells's tale of the Victorian future is more than a fantastical yarn - it raises chilling questions about progress, social order, so-called civilisation and ultimate fate of the world.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book:This book is said to be part of the Victorian Era of Literature, and I agree, it has that same elegant style of writing, that becomes captivating, and pulls you into the story. What differs with Wells’ story is that it’s a Victorian style of writing with the added themes of Sci-Fi, making it a unique and wonderful read. This dystopian story, differs slightly then the others I have read, it is a less evident example of it then I have read in others, but as the Time Traveller comes to this futuristic land, you can see hints of this dystopian society, although how sure can the reader be, is this a misunderstanding by a arrogant time traveller, of the lives of these futuristic people, or do they really live in fear, in this seemingly utopic society, turned dystopic from two races striving to survive?

I also loved the sci-fi appeal to it. It has a lot of similarities to so many sci-fi shows, literature and stories we grow up with now. The story has so many parts and themes; I think most readers, no matter their tastes in genres, will have some aspect they could enjoy. Suspense, adventure, Victorian style of writing wrapped in a sci-fi backdrop.

Would I recommend it to read:I would, like I said above, it has so many different aspects to the story, almost any reader, would likely enjoy it. The suspense aspect, isn’t as suspenseful as most would hope, so I can see some people finding the book boring, but it is just a short novella, so its worth the try, the style of writing is that wonderful style, that seems to be lost in most novels nowadays.

What to read next: 1984 George Orwell, Island of Dr. Moreau, War of the Worlds, Frankenstein

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Casual Classics Challenge, New Author Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Saturday, February 7

Book Review: Marley & Me

Title: Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog

Author: John Grogan

Pages: 289

Summary: John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.
Marley quickly grew into a barrelling, ninety-seven pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed though screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests stole woman’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewellery. Obedience school did no good-Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”
And yet Marley’s hear was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behaviour, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley shared the couple’s joy of their first pregnancy and their heart break over the miscarriage. He was there when the babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced through the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning hearts as he made a mess of things. Though it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was on its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.
Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Marley and Me, is one of those books, which every dog lover must read, because I think everyone will see a bit of their own dogs, in Marley, whether it’s his loving heart, or his crazy antics, Marley is one of those characters, who will win your heart first time he emerges onto the pages – even if he’s just a dog. I did find the story to drag, a little, or filled with a lot of unimportant details I didn’t care for as much, but Marley was just so loveable, that you soon forgot about the unwanted parts of the book. One part of the book I hated was the ending, and this may be a bit of a spoiler, but I haven’t cried that hard over a book, since the Time Traveller’s Wife. So if you read this book, make sure you have a lot of tissues for the end. Because you just can’t help but have Marley wiggle into your heart, and stay with you. It’s a light, easy read, but in this light, easy read contains one of the most memorable yellow furry characters you could ever meet.

Would I recommend it to read: Definitely one I would recommend to read, it’s not the most interesting, but it’s one of the most heart warming books. But be warned; be prepared with tissues and to hug your own pets at the end. You’ll need to, trust me.

What to read next: Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2009 Support Your Library Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge.

Monday, February 2

Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea

Title: The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Pages: 127

Summary: The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal-a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far our in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Noble Prize for literature.

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I really enjoyed the book, it is, like the description of the book says a simple language, but it’s the story of the lonely, and perhaps somewhat crazy old man, that pulls you into the story. The reader gets to go on the adventure the old fisherman goes on, as the reader follows him and is agonizing attempts to finally catch the one big fish. Hemingway did a fantastic job at creating the emotions and the heartache the fisherman felt in his attempts, as well as creates a character, readers can easily fall in love with, because the character is determined and hopeful, no matter how many times he is beaten down. The ending is almost sad; I really wanted him to be able to bring his fish back.

Another aspect about the book I enjoyed is how well Hemingway captured the little details of Cuban life. A lot of minor things, such as the mention of baseball, a widely famous and loved sport in Cuba, was well put, and added character and soul to the unnamed old man. I wouldn’t have realized the importance of the sport to the Cuba, or any of the other little details Hemingway put in the book, if I hadn’t recently gone to Cuba, and leaned this. I was also able to go to the little restaurant Hemingway wrote this book in, seeing the picture of the old man, who inspired him to write the book. That made the book that much better. This is definitely a classic book, and a great way to introduce your self to Hemingway.

Would I recommend it to read: I would highly recommend this book! It is such a extraordinary example of a great literary work, which can teach the reader to never except defeat, to try for your personal goals, and losing the “big catch” isn’t everything. Although, I will wrong you, it isn’t action pack, and there will likely be a lot of people out there who would find the book boring, as almost the entire book takes place out on the sea, and the thoughts going through the old man’s head, as he tries to catch his fish, but at least give it a chance, and appreciate what you can take out of the story, once it’s finished.

What to read next: More books by Hemingway. Also the Black Tulip has some similar themes of determination in it, so that may also be a good place to start.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge. Casual Classics Challenge, New Author Challenge, RYOB Challenge

Sunday, February 1

TSS: 7 New Books + 3 Signed, ARC'S! = Fantastic Week!

This week, I've been busy, espcially with ten "new" books being added to my collection. Including 3 ARC! My very first ARC's! I was at the OLA (Ontario Library Associations Super Conference) On Thursday, (29th) and they had some publishers there, who were selling books, but they also had authors, who were there along with their copies of their soon to be released books! So I jumped at the chance to meet the author, get their books and have them signed. I mean what book nerd, wouldn't love that? So Not only did I get three ARC books, but they are all signed! Two of which are personalized! Soo exciting!

The three books are:

Tales from Cook's Cove - Three for a Wedding by Mary C. Sheppard.
The Virgins Tale - Sherri Smith - This is one of the ones that is pesonalized
Old City Hall - Robert Rotenberg - This is one of the ones that is personalized

So that was exciting. As was the rest of the conference, it has given me insight on a lot more possibilities in the library world, but the books and authors were just iciing on the cake. And it took all my strength to not buy hundreds of books!

Yesteday, Saturday Jan. 31, I went to the used book store..... oh! How I love this place, I really can't stress how much this used/new book store is soo amazing! If you live in the GTA goto BMV Book Store. You won't regret it..... just bring money and lots of thigns to carry your treasures you find. Trust me, you'll need it! Yesteday I got 7 books for 28 bucks. So thats about 4 bucks a book! The books are:

Castle Rackrent and the Absentee - Maria Edgeworth
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
Talented Mr. Ripley - Patrica Highsmith
The Stone Angel - Margerat Laurence
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
The Time Machine - H.G. Wells

Also, this is my first Sunday Saloon in a While. I've been soo busy, I've neglected my blogs!

January Wrap Up!

January is over, and it's been an alright month for reading and completing challenges. I managed to read six books this month, I expected to do a little better then that, reading around ten books, but I'm still happy with the results. The books read for January are:

1) Stancliffe's Hotel - Charlotte Bronte

2) Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
3) Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

4) Edible Woman - Margaret Atwood
5) Angels by Marian Keyes
6) Tales from Cook's Cove - Three for a Wedding by Mary C. Sheppard

My favourite book of the month is Fahrenheit 451. My least Favourite was a tie between Brave New World and Tales from Cook's Cove - Three for a Wedding.

Challenges that I started on this month: 9 plus one from last year. So I worked on 10 challenges in total this month. Challenges were:

100+ Challenge: 6/100 - reading 6 books this month

2nd Canadian Challenge 2/13 - read 1 book this month (Edible Woman)

999 Challenge 3/81 - reading 3 books this month (Edible Woman, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451)

2009 Support Your Library Challenge 1/25 - reading 1 book this month (Brave New World)

A - Z Challenge 4/52 - Reading 4 books this month (Brave New World, Angels, Edible Woman, Fahrenheit 451)

Casual Classics Challenge 1/4 - read 1 book this month (Fahrenheit 451)

Decades Challenge 1/9 - read one book this month (Brave New World)

NaJuReMoNoMo 5/5 - read 5 books. Completed Challenge (Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Angels, Edible Woman, Tales from Cook's Cove - Three for a Wedding)

New Authos Challenge 2/3 - reading 2 books this month(Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451)

RYOB Challenge 4/25 - reading 4 books this month (Fahrenheit 451, Angels, Edible Woman, Tales from Cooks Cove -Three for a Wedding)

Challenges Complete: One - NaJuReMoNoMo! My very first completed challenge since I started Blogging! Whooot!