Showing posts from July, 2014

Bout of Books 11

It's almost that time again!  It's hard to believe that the last Bout of Books was just a few months ago.  I am really looking forward to this one, as I will probably be able to read more than I was able to back in May, but I shouldn't be counting my eggs before they hatch!  You probably guessed that I would be participating and if you wish to join, you can go and sign up on the Bout of Books blog.

For those that don't know what Bout of Books is... here you go:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and update…

High Summer Read-a-Thon - Wrap up Post #HighSummerRAT

I didn't really read much more than Road Ends and almost completed The Goldfinch (which I completed the day after the readathon ended), but I did manage to finish both of them.  Due to the fact that I was listening to an audio version of The Goldfinch while I was reading that was from the library, I couldn't really read anything else.

High Summer Read-a-Thon - Goal Post #HighSummerRAT

Here is my goal list for this week:

• get close to or finish The Goldfinch
• complete Road Ends
• work on these books:
     • War & Peace
     • The Count of Monte Cristo
     • The Woman in White
     • The Lady and the Unicorn
     • Mrs. Hemmingway

I will hopefully put up an update each night at around 10 pm, but it might be later.  Happy reading!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 21)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is hosted byShelia at Book Journey, in which we share what we've read and reviewed and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

Books finished in the last month:
• The Perks of Being a Wallflower
• The Remains of the Day
• His Majesty's Hope
• The Rosie Project
• Summer House with Swimming Pool
• The Remains of the Day
• The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
• Speaking from among the Bones
• Levels of Life

Book reviews posted:
• The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (review)
• Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal (review)
• HHhH by Laurent Binet (review)
• Boxers by Gene Luen Yang (review)
• Saints by Gene Luen Yang (review)

Books I hope to finish this week:
• The Goldfinch
• Road Ends

Books I would like to work on:
• The Lady and the Unicorn
• Bittersweet
• Mrs. Hemmingway

Saints - Gene Luen Yang

Title: Saints (Boxers & Saints #2)
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Pages 170
Published: 2013
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Finish the Series
Genre: Historical Fiction, Graphic Novels
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: China, 1898. An unwanted and unwelcome fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn't even given a proper name by her family when she's born. She finds friendship--and a name, Vibiana--in the most unlikely of places: Christianity.

But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is in full swing, and bands of young men roam the countryside, murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie...and whether she is willing to die for her faith. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: This was the conclusion to Boxers and used characters and events from the previous book, so it would be very helpful to read Boxers before reading this book.  I was able to get through…

Boxers - Gene Luen Yang

Title: Boxers (Boxers & Saints #1)
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Pages: 325
Published: 2013
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Complete the Series, Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction, Graphic Novels
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.

Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers--commoners trained in kung fu--who fight to free China from "foreign devils."

Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of "secondary devils"--Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I first heard about this book from Michael Kindness on the podcast Books on the Nightstand, that he co-hosts with a colleague, Ann King…

HHhH - Laurent Binet

Title: HHhH
Author: Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor (translator)
Pages: 330
Published: 2012 (first published 2009)
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Eclectic Reading, Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction, War Fiction, Translation, Literary Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: HHhH: “Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich”, or “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich”. The most dangerous man in Hitler’s cabinet, Reinhard Heydrich was known as the “Butcher of Prague.” He was feared by all and loathed by most. With his cold Aryan features and implacable cruelty, Heydrich seemed indestructible—until two men, a Slovak and a Czech recruited by the British secret service, killed him in broad daylight on a bustling street in Prague, and thus changed the course of History.

Who were these men, arguably two of the most discreet heroes of the twentieth century? In Laurent Binet’s captivating debut novel, we follow Jozef Gabćik and Jan Kubiš from their dramatic escape of Nazi-occupied Czechoslov…

Sunday Salon - Right Now (7/20/14)

Time: 2:20 pm Pacific
Place: Some place other than home
Listening to… Adventures with Words Live from YALC
Watching... An episode of House Hunters International
Reading... A bunch of stuff, but am planning on doing a bunch out of The Goldfinch
Planning...  To write some reviews this afternoon for Bloggiesta

Feeling... Frustrated; can't really seem to get into a routine at the moment.

Wanting... Some sort of routine

Thinking... Trying not to think too much about things at the moment

Looking forward to... Seeing my friend Alison for the next few days.
Books finished since my last Sunday Salon: Nothing
Books reviewed: Nothing
Books I hope to finish this week: The Goldfinch Road Ends

Bloggiesta sign up

I realize that I putting this up a little late, but I figure whatever.  Here are my plans:

• post 3 or 4 book reviews
• catch up on blog-related emails that have been piling up since a week ago Friday (the 11th)
• listen to a bunch of my book-related podcasts
• read up to at least 40% of The Goldfinch
• write up a start up post for the High-Summer Readathon
• write up my Sunday Salon and What Are You Reading? posts

Sunday Salon - What is the purpose of a Salon?

This is usually a place where I gripe or tell you what I am doing on a particular Sunday morning.  But due to an amazing discussion that was taking place between a few of us on Saturday night, I thought I would do a bit of a history of the Salon and maybe a few thoughts of my own.

Basically, the premise of the Salon was to exchange of ideas through conversation.   While some of us may think of it as a place where artists would show works that in the 1800s, primarily those of the Expressionists, it started in Italy in the 16th century, flourishing in France in the 17th and 18th centuries and continuing on in Italy throughout the 19th century.

They were very similar to the English coffeehouses, in which people would gather in a public place to gather for conversation and commerce, which were started in Oxford in the mid-17th century as a place for like-minded scholars to gather together to talk, read, as well as learn from and debate each other for about a penny; it was a way of allowin…

Weekend Cooking - Easy Spaghetti Sauce

In an attempt to reduce costs and to also start cooking more of my food from scratch, I started looking for fairly easy recipes to cook myself this past winter.  On of the things that I found that I liked doing was making a spaghetti sauce from scratch.  It actually happened by accident, in that I had had some canned tomato sauce instead of some generic canned pasta sauce.  And since then I have have made this on a regular basis and have quite enjoyed making it.  I found the recipe on

• 12 ounces spaghetti                        • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (just a pinch would suffice)
• 1lb of lean ground beef                  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion (I only put in a pinch or two)
• 1 teaspoon of salt                           • 2 1/2 cups of chopped tomatoes (I put in one can (19 fl oz or
• 3/4 teaspoon of sugar                       540 ml) of diced tomatoes)
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano               • 1 1/3 (6 ounces) cans tomato paste
• 1/4 g…

High Summer Read-a-Thon - Time to Sign-Up!!! #HighSummerRAT

I have been looking forward to this for a bit and so glad that it is "getting off" the ground.  I am not going to list what I am going to read, but will save that for the night before.  I hope to post most days, but since I have company for the first few days, it may be delayed and I may not read much.

If you want more information, you can visit Seasons of Reading, where Michelle has more information and a sign up, if you wish to join.

Top Ten Tuesday Bookish Confessions

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this meme is all about making book-ish lists of your “Top Ten”s!
Top Ten Bookish Confessions
1.I read while watching TV or listening to podcasts.  Maybe its not the best way of reading a book, but somehow it has become habit and one will often find me reading while I am watching TV.  Same thing goes for when listening to podcasts.  I somehow don't do well with silence.  In fact, I listened to a Canucks playoff game while taking an exam final about 10 years (still had a walkman).
2. Most of the books on my read shelf aren't mine.  For those of you who have read my blog on a regular basis know this to be a fact.  I tend to get most of my books from the library, as I don't have enough money to purchase all the books I would read over the course of a year.  Besides it keeps the library in business.
3. I don't buy books from an independent bookstore, generally.  There is a huge reason why and that is the town that I live in doesn't exact…

Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia MacNeal

Title: Princess Elizabeth's Spy
Author: Susan Elia MacNeal
Pages: 352
Published: 2012
Challenges: I Love Libraries, Eclectic, Historical Fiction
Genre: Mystery fiction, Historical fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, to her great disappointment, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle, where she will tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in math. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous—and deadly—than Maggie ever expected. The upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor is thrown into disarray by a shocking murder, which draws Maggie into a vast conspir…

The Orenda - Joseph Boyden

Title: The Orenda
Author: Joseph Boyden
Pages: 501
Published: 2013
Challenges: Chunkster, I Love Libraries, Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical fiction, Canadian literature, Literary fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description:A visceral portrait of life at a crossroads, The Orenda opens with a brutal massacre and the kidnapping of the young Iroquois Snow Falls, a spirited girl with a special gift. Her captor, Bird, is an elder and one of the Huron Nation’s great warriors and statesmen. It has been years since the murder of his family and yet they are never far from his mind. In Snow Falls, Bird recognizes the ghost of his lost daughter and sees the girl possesses powerful magic that will be useful to him on the troubled road ahead. Bird’s people have battled the Iroquois for as long as he can remember, but both tribes now face a new, more dangerous threat from afar.

Christophe, a charismatic Jesuit missionary, has found his calling amongst the Huron and devotes himself to …

Sunday Salon - A busy week of reading and other stuff

What a week and a half of reading its been and honestly I would like to take a bit of a break from it, but there are books to be read in the next couple of days.  Aren't there always?

Surprisingly, I haven't really gone outside to do any reading, as I have also had the problem of a PVR that had too many recordings on it and needed to watch those items.  And I have managed to get them watched and deleted, except for 3 FIFA matches from Friday and Saturday that I hope to watch today and tomorrow, in addition to the men's Wimbeldon final (Go Roger!).

What I am amazed at is the variety of books that I have read: from an amazing YA novel (Perks of Being a Wallflower) to books that are a little lighter (His Majesty's Hope & The Rosie Project) to what I would consider a book that could be a classic in the coming years (The Remains of the Day).  

The book that surprised me the most was Summer House with Swimming Pool, in that I was sort of expecting sort of the same sort…

2014 Canadian Book Challenge Sign-up and First Post

This is a challenge that I have been looking forward to doing.  It's pretty simple: read books by Canadian authors.  And the ultimate goal is to read 13 overall books, one for each province (10) and territory (3).  One doesn't have to find a book set in each province or territory, as some are easier than others to have books set in (every province except for New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador will be fairly easy; the only territory that would be easy to find something would be the Yukon), but if you choose to do it that way, you are welcome to do it that way.

John at The Book Mind Set is hosting the challenge and has guidelines/FAQ's for the challenge, which you can find here. He also made the photo that I am using for this challenge.

I am going to aim for 13 books.  The challenge runs July 1, 2014 (yeah, I'm a little late) until June 30, 2015.

Books completed: