Archive for the Books 2012 Category

100

Posted in Books 2012 on December 17, 2012 by tom

I love to read. For me, it’s an escape into another reality, maybe a completely fictional one. Other times, a book transports me into a different time or place, even into another person’s life.

When I started my 2012 Goodreads Reading Challenge, my goal was 52 books–one a week, right? Before long, I was so far ahead, that I upped it to an even 100. I was kicking ass, too, reading like crazy through mid-April. That’s when my little brain thing happened.

I read four books in May, three in June, one in July, three in August, and two in September.

Today, I read “Franny and Zooey,” which marks #100.

franny_and_zooey

It sucks that the months when I was deepest down, I couldn’t read. It was nearly impossible to focus from paragraph to paragraph. There were odd days where I could pick up a book and read sorta-normally, but they were rare. As I healed from the depression–slowwwly–I began to get back my old reading skill. One day, it was like a dam burst, or somebody cranked-on a dripping tap, and I was able to blast through books again.

It’s not like I cured cancer, brokered lasting world peace, or did anything of great empirical importance.

But it felt so damned good to read “Franny and Zooey” this afternoon, and know that–no matter how much this year has absolutely sucked for my brain–I was able to put down my completed book, high-five myself, and know that I managed one little victory in a year of defeats. Here’s the list http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5024047-tom?utf8=%E2%9C%93&read_at=2012&view=covers&per_page=100

One hundred books. Fuck, yeah.

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BBAW Reading Interview Meme

Posted in Books 2012 on September 12, 2012 by tom

(I stole this from Kelly, who got it from one of her fellow book mavens. As Kelly is my book maven, who has led me to some wonderful books I’d never have found otherwise, I stole it from her)

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

I do, sometimes (usually popcorn). I’m less worried about this when reading using the Kindle app, since butter stains aren’t permanent on them. Also, I don’t snack while reading books I’ve borrowed from somebody. I do laugh, however, when I find a pizza sauce stain in their book, for I know they are a snacking reader.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

No. The worst I would do is write a discreet note on the endpage (e.g., p.143 (paragraph symbol) 3 ln 3) if there were something I’d want to reference later. Again, never in a borrowed book. I do find myself highlighting and marking more on the e-book, although I still never go back and review my markers. But by God, if I ever needed that awesome line, I’d know where to find it.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

I use a bookmark, one unique to that book. It could be a business card, a pizza coupon, a grocery store receipt, whatever. I just use one bookmark per book, and I leave it in there, so if I reread the book later, I have the same bookmark for it. This is what experts call “DORKY!” I don’t even know why I started doing it. Also, I call in outside help. For my current book, I’m using a Southern Living subscription card I found in the mechanic’s waiting room, as well as Wind.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Nearly always fiction. I like some biographies, but only if they’re non-boringly written. There’s nothing worse than having a dreary book about a vibrant person’s exciting life.
 
Hard copy or audiobooks?

I like paperbacks, trade or mass-market, better than hardcovers (I can hold them in one hand more comfortably). However, the Kindle app makes it possible for me to walk around with dozens of books, some of which I haven’t started yet)

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I try to stop at the end of chapters exclusively. When I get to a chapter end, I’ll look ahead to see how long the next chapter is before starting it. It seems like the reason the author wrote the book that way.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

I love Kelly’s answer, and I agree with it 99% of the time: “This is going to sound bitchy probably but I generally know what words mean.” The exception was when I was reading a bunch of 18th and 19th Century books earlier this year. There were some words that were so germaine to that era, that their use (thankfully) had ended before my time. In all of these cases, they were on the Kindle thing, so I just touched the word, and a definition appeared. Very handy. Sadly, this doesn’t work on print books, so in those rare cases, I just figure it out from context. Eh. Sometimes, I will use my dictionary (app), if I feel motivated.

What are you currently reading?

Damn. “Explosive Eighteen,” by Janet Evanovich. (Why couldn’t this have been when I was reading something like “Ulysses”?? lol) I got my friend Cathy hooked on the early Stephanie Plum series, and she buys the new ones as soon as they hit paperback, then gives them to me to read as soon as she’s done, so I just got 18. Guilty pleasure.

What is the last book you bought?

A Boy’s Life, by Robert McGammon

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

I only read one at a time, but I can put a book on hold and read another one during the interruption. For example, I was reading “Dracula,” I think, when Kelly convinced me to read “Ready, Player One.” I started that, and read it in one day. Then I went back to “Dracula.” I couldn’t read a Drac chapter, then a RP1 chapter, repeat. That would bother me.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Whenever I have a block of time, I enjoy reading. I don’t like reading 15 minutes on my break. I get too involved in books, and I don’t like to switch them on and off for short bursts. I like reading lying on my bed. I just always have. (note: This is why many of my books have cat hair in them)

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

It depends on the book or series. Sometimes, I find myself playing “catch-up,” where I’ll read an entire series somebody recommended to me (e.g., The Soul Screamers series). Then, when I have to wait another year for the next book, I sometimes lose interest.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

“Ready Player One,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” and John Mortimer’s  “Paradise Postponed.” Nobody ever reads “Paradise Postponed,” so little so that it’s out of print. Sad, too. It’s an awesome, funny, very smart little book.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

I don’t keep a lot of books around, especially what I call “supermarket paperback series” books. Some of these are interesting–John Sandford’s various, interwoven series. Others, I just find enjoyable to blast through, then give away. (Catherine Coulter’s FBI novels, eg) I keep books I think I’ll want to reread in the future (The Millenium Trilogy, e.g.). All my Harry Potters except two are on my PDA, and I have a hundred or so on the Kindle thingy, so those are just always there. When I moved back to St Pete from my parents’ house, I cleaned out all the books I no longer needed. The rest are gone to Goodwill. Goodwill got about 10 times as many as I kept.

I guess that’s it. Back to Stephanie Plum. I mean, Ulysses.  😉 Happy Wednesday, and thanks Kelly.

My Soul to Keep, by Rachel Vincent

Posted in Books 2012 on February 7, 2012 by tom

A new “drug” called frost is making its way through Eastwhatever High School’s cool kids. It’s powerful. It’s gaseous. It’s sold in black balloons.

It’s demon’s breath.

Kaylee Cavanaugh, teen bean sidhe, and her hunky boyfriend, Nash Hudson, find themselves more in the middle of this crisis than they’d like.

Add in the avarice hellion, Avari–who still has his knickers in a twist about Kaylee’s last dealings with him–and the story unfolds.

There’s not a lot I can reveal without spoilers, but I’ll make a generality: Rachel Vincent doesn’t put her characters on pedestals. Sure, Cousin Sophie is a bitch, and BFF Emma has enviable curves, but everyone–human and bean sidhe alike–has faults, and some strike close to Kaylee’s heart.

I like where Ms Vincent took this story, and I look forward to finding out how she resolves things in the next book. I have it loaded into the Kindle and ready to go. But I’m going to read a Stephen King next. I’m about teened out for awhile.

I do like this series, though.

Grade: B

Soul Screamers, Volume 1: My Soul to Lose•My Soul to Take•My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

Posted in Books 2012 with tags , on February 7, 2012 by tom

If you are new to the Soul Screamers series, this is the place to start. This volume contains a prequel short story, plus the first two novels in the series.

Kaylee Cavanaugh is living a Harry Potter sort of existence: she’s essentially an orphan, lives with her aunt, uncle, and spoiled, obnoxious cousin, Sophie.

I kept thinking of Sophie like Quinn on the “Daria” show, except Quinn wasn’t quite as bitchtastic.

Kaylee’s secret is that she’s a bean sidhe, what we bastardize into “banshee.”

Kaylee has an irresistable urge to scream when somebody is dying. She meets Nash Hudson: jock, hunk, and boy bean sidhe named after two defunct car companies. (Being a curmudgeon, his name bothered me for awhile, though I doubt Ms Vincent named him after cars on purpose)

In case you’re curious, male bean sidhe don’t have the same gifts as females.

Much like in the Potterverse, we learn about the bean sidhe world as Kaylee does.

I liked this collection. The prequel shows what happened when Kaylee’s bansheeism manifested in a JC Penney, before she knew anything about it. She ended up restrained in the psych ward.

Once she begins to master and control her gift–with Nash’s help–it leads to two good stories: one about a rogue reaper killing teenaged girls, the other about pop stars who literally sold their souls.

I’m not a Young Adult reader, as a rule, and I admit that some of the teenaged angst in which Kaylee wallows sometimes–OKAY! YOU HAVE SMALLER BREASTS THAN YOUR ÜBER-POPULAR BEST FRIEND! WE GET IT!–but my annoyance patches were really quite rare.

One thing I admire in Rachel Vincent’s work thus far is that, like J.K Rowling, she can convey a rather harrowing story, involving teens who drink and have sex, and yet she never resorts to excessive profanity. I’m not a prude–I swear frequently and con molto brio–but I’m impressed that her characters didn’t drop f-bombs every fourth word.

Ms Vincent’s storytelling skills are first rate, and I recommend Volume 1. Good stuff.

My Soul to Lose: B+
My Soul to Take: A-
My Soul to Lose: A-

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