Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Great Gatsby Readalong - Sign up post

I wasn't going to do this, but when trying to set up my various heavier books for the year so that I can get them out of the way as soon as possible, I thought maybe I would get this one out of the way asap, especially since the book is on a number of my reading challenges for the year.

Here are the details for the readalong:


From Unputdownables:
The following is the reading and posting schedule for this read-a-long. Please note, we will be reading roughly 45 pages per week (about 6 pages a day). Unfortunately, there are not very clean breaks (i.e. ending at chapter breaks) this time, so we’ll always be ending in the middle of chapters… feel free to read ahead if you are on a roll, or at least read to the next natural breaking point. That said, please note that not everyone will be doing so, and I ask that you do not comment on things that happen outside of the scheduled reading (i.e. no spoilers, please). Thanks!

Schedule:

Beginning Thursday, December 29th and ending Friday, January 27th.
READING SCHEDULE:

Week #/ dates :: Place in which to STOP
Week One/ December 29- January 5 :: page 45
Week Two/ January 6- 12 :: page 90
Week Three/ January 13- 19 :: page 135
Week Four/ January 20- 27 :: page 180 (The End)
POSTING SCHEDULE:
Post #/ date post should be up on blog:
Start up Post/ Today!
Week One/ January 6th
Week Two/ January 13th
Week Three/ January 20th
Week Four/ January 27th (Final Review)

How it Works:

  1. Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week, even if to say you are behind in the reading
  2. Feel free to post reviews of the each week’s reading on your own blog (if you are a blogger), and to visit each other’s links. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog if you also leave a link to your post about this book. However, please make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, as this is where the main conversation will be happening.
 This will be my first time reading the book.

Sunday Salon - Looking back

As I write this, its about an hour and a half till 2012 and I am listening/reading to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and am starting to reflect on 2011.

This year I started to seriously use my blog on a more regular basis and have gained quite a few followers along the way.   I managed to read 44 books, which 6 more than I read in 2010, also read about 16, 400 pages, which was about 4, 000 more than I read the year.

This was also the year that manage to not finish a book that apparently everybody has seemed to love (A Visit to the Goon Squad), but I am hoping that at some point I will go back and read it.

I have a bunch of plans for the coming year and I hope to hear your particular thoughts about what I have read during the course of the year.  I will be making a change in regards to my reviews, in that I will be indicating the source of where I have read book, whether it has come from my personal library or it is a library copy or an audiobook or an e-book, etc.

Hope you all have a pleasant New Years and am wishing you all the best for the coming year.
 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Saturday Snapshot (Dec. 31)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ AT Home With Books.

Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.


I took this photo with my iPhone while I was watching a Canucks game this past Wednesday.  That slip of paper is one of the many slips that I get in my library materials and end up using as bookmarks; think that one was from an item that I had just returned.  As you can see I was multi-tasking: reading Harry Potter, watching the hockey game, drinking a can of Coke, perusing (aka stalking) Facebook and also listening to the Harry Potter book I am currently reading. And all I wanted was a photo of my fireplace.

Chunkster Readalong - Les Miserables, 2012


As some of you are aware, I am a sucker for challenges, especially reading challenges and this one appealed to me on a number of levels, but mostly because Les Miserables is on my TBR list (and has been for a number of years, basically almost 2 decades) and I have planned to read it during the year and quite honestly, I really do need to get it out of the way and crossed off the list.  So this is the perfect way to get it off the list.

If you wish to join (I have seen the reading schedule and quite honestly its doable), you can click Cosette and sign up over at Kate's Library.  

Every week I will be updating my thoughts about the 20 pages that I have read.  Hope you join up.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge Sign Up: 2012 Edition

Here is yet another challenge I am joining.  Here are the details:


The challenge is simple – read some books from the list! If you don’t own the actual book, you can find a simple list online. For the most basic, check out the Listology list. There are spreadsheets outs there that you can look at too that are more complex.

Since this year is an Olympics year, I thought the structure would change…so here are the levels this year!

Levels:
Got to trials:  5 books from the list
Made the Olympic team: 6-10 books from the list
Bronze medal: 11-15 books from the list
Silver Medal: 16-20  books from the list:
Gold Medal: 21+ books from the list

Rules:
Challenge runs January 1 2012 – December 31 2012.
You don’t have to make a list beforehand. 
You DO need to choose your level at the beginning so you have a chance to win the prize!
You can use any version of the list, not just the current, since they update it every couple years. I figure, once a book is on the list, it is always on the list!
Books that cover other challenges are not only permitted, but encouraged!
**ADDED*** Non bloggers are welcome to participate! Just sign up and leave a comment on this post letting me know what you are going for. At the end, provide a list of what you read this year via shelfari, LibraryThing, goodreads, or just a list of books! But if you review anything on those sites, link to the review post so we can see what you thought!
You do NOT have to review every book you read for this challenge – it is an etra so that the rest of us can see what you thought!

I am going to aim for Made the Olympic team, with the potential of going to the Bronze medal level. You can sign up for the challenge on the photo at the top.

1.  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
2.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3.  Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Best of 2011

Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

What were your favorite books of 2011?

My favourite reads of 2011 were:
Unbroken: a World War II story of a survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
Room by Emma Donoghue
Juliet : a novel by Anne Fortier
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
True Grit by Charles Portis
Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady: a novel by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

2012 Historical Fiction Challenge

I saw this on somebody's blog yesterday and I couldn't help myself.  I realize that I have signed up for a lot of challenges lately and I apologize, but this is one of the last ones that I will be joining, trust me!

Anyways here is some information about the challenge, if you are interested in joining (you can  click on the photo to access the sign up) :


Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:
  • everyone can participate, even those who don't have a blog (you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish)
  • add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review)
  • any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...)
  • During these following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:
  1. Severe Bookaholism: 20 books
  2. Undoubtedly Obsessed: 15 books
  3. Struggling the Addiction: 10 books
  4. Daring & Curious: 5 books
  5. Out of My Comfort Zone: 2 books

To join the challenge you only need to make a post about it, grab the button below if you like and leave your link in Mr Linky below.  If you don't have a blog you can just leave a comment for this post saying that you are joining.
I am going to aim for Struggling the Addiction and read 10 books.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WWW Wednesdays (Dec. 28)

This is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you'll be reading next?


My Answers:
1. What are you currently reading?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Gift


2. What did you recently finish reading?
Nothing


3. What do you think you'll be reading next?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

First Chapter - First Paragaph(s) - Tuesday Intros (Dec. 27)

This weeks choice:
Originally Published June 2003


The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.  Cars that were usually gleaming stood dusty in their drives and lawns that were once emerald green lay parched and yellowing - for the use of hosepipes had been banned due to drought.  Deprived of their usual car-washing and lawn-mowing pursuits, the inhabitants of Privet Drive had retreated into the shade of their cool houses, windows thrown wide in the hope of tempting in a non-existent breeze.   The only person left outdoors was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four.

Would you continue reading?


Monday, December 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (Dec. 27)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.  Cars that were usually gleaming stood dusty in their drives and lawns that were once emerald green lay parched and yellowing - for the use of hosepipes hand been banned due to drought.


~ p. 7, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

What's on Your Nightstand - December 27

Didn't get a lot done this past month; seemed that I just couldn't get myself to calm down enough to get a number of books completed and it seems that only in the last few days that I have gotten to the point that I can just sit down and read, who knows what will happen in the next few days.  I suppose it didn't help that I had some fairly easy books that I was able to complete during November and December I just seemed to be caught up with getting the Steve Jobs book, which I didn't, but I plan on reading and completing it in the New Year.

Reviews:
1. Lost December
2. The Quiet Little Woman
3. The Christmas Wedding

What I am currently reading:
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - I am still on my Harry Potter kick and am hoping to finishing this book in the next few days

• The Gift - I am going to spend more time reading this book over the next few days in hopes that I can get it done and comment on it; seem to be just not reading it.

I have a few other books that I am reading at the moment, but I those are the two that I am going to be concentrating on.  See you next month.

Top Ten Books Read In 2011 - Top Ten Tuesday

Hard to believe that the end of 2011 is drawing rapidly to a close and that 2012 is right around the corner.  And scrolling through the books that I have reviewed over the past 12 months, I am really shocked at the amount I have read over the past year and also the quality of books that I have read.  So here are my top ten books that I have read over the past year.

1. Unbroken: a World War II story of a survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand : This was my absolute favourite novel of 2011 and I seemed to have compared all my books with this one, including the fiction novels.  The book was so engrossing that I did return the book as an overdue and didn't regret that I did.   At times it felt as though you were in the story yourself and I found myself routing for Louie and the other guy on his plane that survived, hoping that they would both surviving in the end.  It was so good that by the end that I was sobbing.

2. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson : This book was a very close second, especially since that the storytelling was just as strong and I did find myself routing for the three main characters that Isabel followed over the course of the book.  The writing was phenomenal and it was very apparent that Wilkerson had spent a number of years researching and working on the book; I can't imagine the notes that she had to go through in order to be able to even start writing the book!

3. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill : I honestly don't know how I missed this book when it first came out about 4 years ago, but somehow I did.  I guess the hype about Harry Potter had something to do with that.  It took my book club to get me to read the book and I found that I didn't really care that the book was almost 500 pages and in fact felt that the book was actually about half that length as the writing was truly amazing and allowed me to engross myself in Aminata Diallo's life as she moved from Africa to the United States to Nova Scotia back to Africa and eventually to England.  Her story was so amazing that I really did think that she was a real person and who knows, maybe she was based on an African woman or a series of women who made that trek.

4. Room by Emma Donoghue : This was by far the best piece of fiction that I read this past year and possibly the only book that I was able to get really engrossed in the book, other than the Harry Potter books that I have been reading over the past year.  I guess the Jessie Dugard story that emerged not long after the book was released made the book even more real and one had to pinch oneself that while this book was a piece of fiction and not inspired by a real story, even though it seemed it had been.

5. Juliet : a novel by Anne Fortier : I really like the tale by Shakespeare and so I was kinda unsure at first what to think of the book and read it in fits and starts, but once I was able to get going in the book, I was really into it and was unable to put it down.  I liked how the story went from the modern world to the Renaissance world and then back to the modern world very seamlessly and it seemed to flow perfectly and how the author told the story made total sense and very enjoyable.

6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot :  This was the book that made me think this past year and since I have read it, I have really started to think why doctors would do what they did in the first place and it makes my skin crawl about what happened and it definitely lived up to the hype that I have heard about the book.

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels by Libba Bray : I really liked these two books and while I haven't read the final book in the trilogy, I can definitely see why its popular with readers and why it continues to be so with YA readers.

8. The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly : I discovered this series this past summer and finished it shortly after the final book in the trilogy was published this past August.  And once I got into the books, I rarely had a moment of why am I reading this and grudgingly read on, but rather I was spending many long nights reading them as I frantically read the books wondering what was happening to the Flannigan clan in their various pursuits.  When examining the bibliography that Donnelly had amassed over the course of the three books, I can see why I was so engrossed in each of the novels.  In other words, she did her research to make sure that books were as accurate as she could possibly make them.

9. True Grit by Charles Portis : I didn't expect to like this particular book, as I don't normally read westerns and due to that I had my preconceived notions of what the book was going to follow.  But seeing the movie adaptation of the book by the Cohen brothers about a year ago, didn't hurt either.

10. Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton : One of the best biographies/memoirs that I read this year.  At times, I could literally taste the food that was being cooked/made and made me want to go to Prune and sample some of the food, which I imagine is just as good as I think it must taste, but I don't want to go and get my hopes up, least I find myself there eating there sometime in the future.

Honorable mentions:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady: a novel by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?(Dec.26)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

I haven't gotten much reading done this week, but have been primarily reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I am hoping to get done sometime this coming week.  I hope that in the next few days that I will get closer to the 50 book read amount.  I don't think that I am going to get to the 50 book mark, but I will get close.  Hopefully next year I will get to the 50 book mark and hopefully I can read more than that (blogging has helped this year in that I can keep myself accountable as to what I should be reading), but that last bit can be wishful thinking.

What I am reading:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 
The Gift 
 Little House on the Prairie 
What Alice Knew 

What I recently finished:
The Christmas Wedding

What is up next:
Harry Potter and the Blood Prince


See you in the New Year!




 

Harry Potter Reading Challenge 2012

This challenge is hosted by The Reading Fever

The challenge:
Read all seven books in the Harry Potter series during 2012.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • The challenge will run from January 1st, 2012, to  December 31st, 2012. Books read before or after this time frame do not count. You can join anytime until the challenge ends.
  • Books can be in any format: Print, ebook, audiobook, etc..
  • You do not have to review the books to participate, although you are more than welcome to. If you choose not to review, you can also do the following and still be eligible for prizes:
    • Answer the discussion questions each month
    • Create a post talking about each book after you finish (any topic)
    • Just update your kickoff post after each book
    • Those without blogs can leave a comment with their thoughts/review/review link.
    • Because this is open to those who have already read HP, old reviews will be accepted. Whether you have read the books within the challenge time frame is on the honor system, so please be honest!
  • Be sure to leave the relevant links in each linky to be entered into the drawings for prizes.
Extra Credit:
  • Read at least one book per month, starting in January. If you do this you will be done well before September, which is when you can join me at Potter Con 2012, the first online HP conference!
  • Each month, I will have a new linky on my blog where you can come to post your reviews/discussions of each book you have read. These will correspond with that month's book (Jan. = Sorcerer's Stone, Feb. = Chamber of Secrets, and so on).
  • In addition, I will post discussion questions about each book that you can answer on your blog, or in the comments of that post.
  • Watch the corresponding movie at the end of each book, and experience them with a fresh new viewpoint.
  • Tweet with me throughout the year! #2012HPRC

I am currently finishing up the series, but am more than glad to reread the series once again.  Just so you are aware, the first book in the series for Canadians and Brits is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and my first review post will reflect that.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Musing Mondays (Dec. 26)

This weeks posting asks:

Did you get any books for Christmas? If so, what were they?

If you didn't, what books are you most looking forward to reading (and/or buying) in the new year?

I got a Kobo Vox for Christmas and after a lot of consternation, I finally got it set up so that I can borrow books from the library on my ereader.  I don't see myself reading a lot on the reader for the fact that there aren't a lot of titles that I can download for free and I still like holding a physical book in my hands and can see myself reading a combination of the two.

Please leave a comment it you wish to.

Edit: My sister got me The Hunger Games, but I have to return because I already have a copy of the book.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sunday Salon - Another little Christmas treat


Here is another little Christmas treat from me to you, especially as you are hopefully not making dinner and just enjoying the day.  I realize that a portion of the video is the same as last weeks, but I think you would enjoy something a little longer.

Jan. 12/12: If you are viewing this on or after Jan.12/2012, you can view the material elsewhere; I apologize, but I just don't want to be doing anything that may get me in major trouble. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday Snapshot (Dec.24)



Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ AT Home With Books.

I took this photo with my new phone (gave myself a nice pressie a few days early and my old cell had a number that was sticking).  My mom decorated the tree and this will be the last year that she will put my sister and mine decorations onto the tree.  And as usual it looks very nice and very homey, especially with the presents below (and on) the tree, waiting to be opened in less than 36 hours from this post.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Follow (Dec. 23)






Friday Follow asks this week:

Q:  If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why? 

This is a hard one, as I can think of a number books/series that I would like spend time in but if I had to choose one book/series it would have to be Pride and Prejudice.  While I understand that a number of people would pick this book for probably the officer's uniforms and the outfits that donned our favourite female characters during the course of the book, but it would have to be the fact that the people that moved in these circles were very fascinating people and would just be fascinating to listen to, even though some of them seem very shallow and self-serving.  It would just be interesting to hear the various things that we didn't hear about during the course of the story.

Fall into Reading 2011 - Wrap-Up post

Wow, I can't believe that this completed; it doesn't seem like it was 3 months ago this started, as so much has happened in the meantime.

I managed to finish 7 of the books that were on my initial post back on Sept. 23 and feel quite proud of myself that I got that many completed.

My favourite book that I read during the fall, that wasn't a reread, was Frankenstein, which was on TBR list.  And the least favourite was The Christmas Wedding.  The reason that I chose these two was because Frankenstein was complete revelation to me and totally exceeded what I expected the book to be and found it to be very relevant to our modern society as well and insightful to the things that Humans create, especially when it comes to computers and other things that come to rule our lives.  The reason that The Christmas Wedding was my least favourite because I found the story very simple and not exactly thought provoking and found that Gaby was a very selfish individual, which was in contrast to her children, who didn't really seem to be as selfish and really much more grounded than she was.

My favourite thing about the challenge was the length of the challenge.  Whereas many of the challenges/readathons seem to be either constrained by what one can read or by time, this one seemed relaxed and not really concerned with what I am reading.

Hope to see the challenge either in the Spring or in the Fall!  Merry Christmas everybody!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Gifts

This week Booking Through Thursday asks:
Any books you’re hoping to get for the holidays this year?
How about giving? Are you giving any good ones?

Answers:
I am hoping to get an e-reader this Christmas, but honestly I am not getting my hopes up.  I usually don't ask for books because the ones that I want, I have either usually read beforehand or have purchased myself.  It doesn't help that my birthday is a month afterwards and usually what I want sometimes comes out 6 months later.


I am giving a couple of books to my dad and sister, but won't say due to the fact that this blog updates on my Facebook page and there might be prying eyes wanting to see what they are getting for me.  I can say that one of the author's that I am giving is well-known, or at least one of his books is well-known.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WWW Wednesdays (Dec. 21)

This is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you'll be reading next?

My answers: 
1.  What are you currently reading?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Gift


2. What did you recently finish reading?
The Christmas Wedding

3. What do you thin you'll be reading next?
No clue.

The Christmas Wedding - James Paterson and Richard DiLallo

Title: The Christmas Wedding
Author: James Patterson and Richard Dilallo
Pages: 266
Published: 2011
Genre: Christmas Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5

The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise--she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever.


Thoughts: After reading a number of reviews on this book and seeing that it has had mediocre reviews, I thought I would still give this book a chance and see if the book was better than what was being reported in regards to the book.  Honestly,  I like the stories of Gaby's children better than that of Gaby herself, who I thought was a bit odd in that she wouldn't reveal who she was marrying to anybody.  I honestly would have liked to see more of the journey's of her children to the wedding itself.  Did Claire have a conversation with Gus about his behaviour?  What was the conversation between Gaby's lawyer daughter and her husband as they came from New York?  I felt that the story was a bit disjointed and felt that the hype for the book was just that: hype. If you need to find something that you can quickly read during the Christmas/Holiday season, this book definitely fits that mold; I finished this book in a couple of sittings and found it okay.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (Dec. 20)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Claire Donogue, Gaby's eldest daughter, had just finished her mother's video, and, well, wow. Go, Gaby! 

~ p. 13, The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Salon - Short and sweet

I am going to make this one short and sweet and wish everybody who has read this blog over the past year a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I thank you for coming by and reading and commenting over the past year (I will give you my best of in the New Year, along with my reading resolutions).

Here is a little something from me to you:



Jan. 12/12: If you are viewing this on or after Jan.12/2012, you can view the material elsewhere; I apologize, but I just don't want to be doing anything that may get me in major trouble. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2012 A Classics Challenge


Katherine over at November's Autumn is hosting a Classics challenge that complements another classics challenge that I signed up for.  Its really quite simple: you need to read seven classics (3 of which can be rereads) and then return to her blog on the 4th of every month to participate in a series of questions about the book we are reading that month — questions that will be neutral enough to apply to any classic. Obviously, we post our answers and link back to her blog, so we can check out each other’s posts.  You can click the photo to find out more information.

My seven will be:
1.  Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
2.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
3.  The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
4.  North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
5.  Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
6.  Anna Karerina by Leo Tolstoy
7.  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, December 16, 2011

2012 Where Are You Reading Challenge

I know that I have already signed up for more than I can possibly chew off at this point, but the great thing of this book reading challenge is that it doesn't really matter where you read, unless of course you wish to win a prize.  But when I saw this over at Bookjourney, I couldn't help myself.  Basically one has to read a book from each of the 50 states between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012.

So here are some guidelines:

1.  In a fiction read it would be the State or Country that the book spends the most time in.  (Ie. If your main character is from Wisconsin but the book is all about his/her time in college in California – the books should categorize under California….)

2.  Non fiction reads categorize  in whatever State or Country it is about (Ie…. a book about fly fishing in Colorado is a Colorado point, and a book about women in Afghanistan is an Afghanistan point.

3.  If the book goes from one state to another… go with the state that most of the time is spent.

  How to get started
Set up a map under Google Maps.  It is easy to do!  Every time you read a book in 2012, upload a cover picture to Picasa Web Albums (there may be other sites to use, feel free to use what works best for you).

 Shelia has a bunch more information over at her site as well as link to sign up, which you can do here.  Hope to see you there!  Personally I am going to just see where I can read and if I can read books that take place in the States, all the better.   If you are curious to see how I do during the course of the year or you just want to see where I go, you can view my map here.

1. Little House on the Prairie - N. Oklahoma 
2. A Midsummer Night's Dream - Athenian woods
3. Mini Shopaholic - Oxshott, England
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Dufftown, Scotland
5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Dufftown, Scotland
6. The Scarlet Letter - Boston, Mass.
7. The Help - Jackson, Miss.
8. The Cat's Table - London, Eng.
9. The Marriage Plot - Providence, RI
10. The Gift - Dublin, Ire
11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Dufftown, Scotland
12. The Kitchen Counter School - Seattle, Wash.
13. 11/22/63 - Dallas, Texas
14. My Life in France - Paris, France
15. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman - St. Petersburg, Russia
16. The Great Gatsby - Great Neck, NY
17. Madame Tussaud - Paris, France
18. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - New Haven, Conn.
19. Sarah's Key - Paris France

Fall into Reading 2011 - Update #5

The last two weeks weren't that great, both personally and reading wise.  I didn't get much reading done, but I hope that I will get more this coming week.  Its hard to believe that its less than a week until it is winter due to the fact that a number of trees still have leaves on their branches and the grass out here still is fairly green.  But it hasn't been a normal fall due to the lack of rain that we have had this year; most days its been either cloudy or clear and the air temperature has been fairly cool (like I have to wear gloves and a toque and a thick jacket in order to feel warm; the umbrella has barely been out).

Anyways hope the last two weeks have been better for you.

Reviews:

1. Lost December
2. The Quiet Little Woman

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Objective:

To read books on your TBR pile that were published in 2011 or earlier. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. You can move up levels, but no moving down.

Levels:
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Due to all the other challenges I want to participate in, for this challenge I am aiming for A Friendly Hug (11-20 books).
Books I am considering:
3. The Weed That Stings at the Hangman's Bag
5. A Red Herring Without the Mustard
7. Northanger Abbey
9. The Passage
10. Anna Karenina
11. The Great Gatsby
12. The Help


I will be linking back to reviews from this page, if you are interested in reading reviews of books on my TBR pile.

2012 BBRC

Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge
Hosted by Reading with Tequila

January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012
Level I - Read 5 books

My books have been selected from the entire 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation list.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Divergent by Veroncia Roth
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4. The Passage by Justin Cronin
5. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Read Canadian Award Winners 2012 Challenge

This one caught my eye because a lot of the award challenges tend to focus on the American or the British Literary Awards, even though some of them do tend to allow you to put any literary awards you wish to use.

Here are the details for the challenge: 
Read Canadian Award Winners 2012 Challenge


Here’s the scoop on the ways you can enter:

• Toe-dipper: one book from the list of award winners of each of “main” prizes: the Governor-General’s Award, the Giller Prize, and the CAA Prize. (Total 3 books)

• Chance-taker: one book from each of the “main” lists plus one from the Amazon.ca First Novel Award winners. (Total 4 books)

• Bluenoser: One book from each of the “main” lists plus one from the Atlantic Book Award winners. (Total 4 books)

• CanLit Lover: one book from each of the five lists. (Total 5 books)


Here’s a list of the prize winners:

Governor-General’s Award for Literature
Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction
Giller Prize
Amazon.ca First Novel Award
Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize

P.S. Yes, crossovers with other challenges are allowed and you don’t have to choose your books now.
 I am going to attempt Toe-dipper.  You can find links to the book reviews on this page.

2012 Chunkster Reading Challenge


Dec. 31/12 - Completed challenge!!!  Yay!  The books that I read are below and linked to reviews.

I seem to love my big books.  By big books, I mean those 450 pages+.  This year I did get to my goal and then some.  Here are the details for the challenge:


Definition of a chunkster:
A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature, whether non-fiction or fiction. A chunkster should be a challenge.

If you read books in large print, your books will need to be 525 pages or more. The average large type book is 10-15% larger or more so it’s a fair estimate.

The rules:
  • No audio books. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • No e-books allowed. This was discussed in much detail in the 2011 challenge. The short version: a chunkster isn’t a challenge if you’re reading it on an e-reader. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  • This year for the first time, essay, poetry, and short story collections will be allowed. Collections have to be read in their entirety to count. If you’ve needed a reason to finally pick up your copy of The Collected Works Of ____ now is the time.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone may join. (If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment on this post with your challenge level and your progress throughout the challenge.) 
  • You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
  • Once you’ve picked a level, that’s it. You’re committed to it!
You must pick a level of participation:
• The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the readers who want to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn't want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.

• The Plump Primer - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months. 

• Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the reader who can't resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 - 550 pages in length2 books which are 551 - 750 pages in length2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions page for some books which fit into these categories).

• Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings. 

I am going to attempt The Plump Primer.  I will update this page at the end with the books that I have read. 

1) The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
2) 11/22/63 by Stephen King
3) The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse
4) The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
5) The Sister Queens : a novel by Sophie Perinot
6) Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
7) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

2012 Tea & Books Reading Challenge

Birgit from The Book Garden is hosting the Tea and Books Reading Challenge.

This challenge was inspired by C.S. Lewis' famous words, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

Birgit's challenge is inspired by that quote and she is challenging participants to read books with more than 700 pages.  Novels only, no large print, short story collections/anthologies, audio books, or re-reads.

There are 4 levels to choose from:
Chamomile Lover - read 2 700+ page books
Berry Tea Devotee - read 4 700+ page books
Earl Grey Aficionado - read 6 700+ page books
Sencha Connoisseur - read 8 or more 700+ page books

I'm going to attempt Berry Tea Devotee (4 books).

Titles will have a link to the review as they are completed:
1. Les Misérables
2. Anna Karenina
3. War & Peace
4 . The Passage

Back to the Classics Challenge 2012

I saw this challenge back in early November and I have hummed and hawed and finally I have decided to join in the fun.

You can find the details at Sarah Reads Too Much.  But essentially these are the goals that one has to complete:

• Any 19th Century Classic 
• Any 20th Century Classic
• Reread a classic of your choice
• A Classic Play
• Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction
• Classic Romance
• Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your language   - To clarify, if your native language is NOT English, you may read any classic originally written in English that has been translated into your native language.
• Classic Award Winner  - To clarify, the book should be a classic which has won any established literary award.
• Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime  - To Clarify, this does not have to be a country that you hope to visit either.  Countries that no longer exist or have never existed count.

Here are my picks:
• 19th century classic - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
• 20th century classic - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
• Reread - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
• Classic Play - Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
• Classic Mystery - The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
• Classic Romance - North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
• Classic translated from its original language to your language - Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
• Classic Award Winner - East of Eden by John Steinbeck
• Classic not set in a country that you will not visit during your lifetime - The Orestia (Ancient Greece)

2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge


The Book Vixen is hosting a reading challenge in 2012.

Here are the details:


  • Runs January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (books read prior to 1/1/12 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2012 than you did in 2011. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge.
  • Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • Grab the reading challenge button and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you could track your progress on Goodreads or LibraryThing.

Levels:
     Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
     Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
     Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
     I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books


I am going to go for Out of breath this year.

Reading Shakespeare: A Play a Month Challenge 2012

 
Risa over at Breadcrumb Reads figured that the best way to read the Shakespeare plays that she hadn’t studied in school would be to read the with others, and to have a read-along. Hence Reading Shakespeare: A Play a Month in 2012 was born. A poll held from 01 November 2011 till 01 December 2011 determined the 12 plays we would be reading in 2012.  Yes, this means that I am going to be cracking opening that big behemoth that is my Norton Shakespeare anthology to read the plays or maybe I could get a free copy on Gutenberg.


Here is the reading schedule:
January — A Midsummer Night’s Dream
February — Macbeth
March — Henry V
April — Much Ado About Nothing
May — Antony and Cleopatra
June — Richard III
July — As You Like It
August — King Lear
September — Cymbeline
October — Twelfth Night
November — Othello
December — Pericles
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