Friday, August 22, 2014

B.O.B. Day 4 Progress

Bout of Books Challenge Update Day 4
There are only a few more days left in the challenge, so I better pick up the pace!  Here's how yesterday went:

Currently Reading:  Allegiant by Veronica Roth...I feel like this might be the only thing I get done for the challenge...
  • Read 125 of 526 pages last night.  That puts me on page 379.
I still have hope to at least start another book for the challenge, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Total number of pages read:  379.

Happy reading, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

B.O.B. Day 3 Progress

Bout of Books Challenge Update Day 3

Heading into the midway point of the Bout of Books Challenge and I'm feeling pretty confident.  Here's how yesterday went:

Currently Reading:  Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • Read 96 of 526 pages yesterday.  On page 254.
Still planning on reading the books I've mentioned before.  Also hoping to finish one book soon.  Soon...

So fare I've read a total of 254 pages.

Happy reading, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

B.O.B. Day 2 Progress

Bout of Books Challenge Update Day 2

The second day of the Bout of Books Reading Challenge has come to an end and here's how yesterday went:

Currently Reading:  Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • Read a total of 70 of 526 pages yesterday
To Read:  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and Stuart Little by E.B. White (will count for Bookish Bingo)

So far I've read 158 pages in the challenge.  Not stellar, but there's still plenty of time :)

Happy reading, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

B.O.B. Day 1 Progress

Bout of Books Challenge Update Day 1

Hey All!  Today is rolling in to Day 2 of the Bout of Books Reading Challenge, and here is how day 1 went:

Currently Reading:  Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • Read a total of 88 of 526 pages yesterday
To Read:  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden a total of 88 pages on Day 1.

I'm still trying to figure out what else I'll be reading because I'm using Bookish Bingo to kind of dictate my choices at the moment.  I'll update as I go!

Can anyone think of a great book with music or dance themes????

Happy reading, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beat the Heat Readathon (Goals Update!)

Beat the Heat Readathon
I am a reading challenge junkie...and I make no apologies!  The Beat the Heat Readathon is hosted by Jessi @ Novel Hearbeat and Reanna @ Phantasmic Reads and runs from August 11th-September 1st.  Since I'm already participating in the Bookish Bingo Challenge, I thought this would coincide nicely. 

Here are the rules!
  • The Beat the Heat Readathon runs from August 11th to September 1st. What does this readathon entail, you ask? Well, read as much or as little as you want – the main point is to READ! You set your own goal, and for three weeks you read as many books as you can/want to reach your goal!
  • There will be mini-challenges throughout the Readathon for participants, along with a grand prize giveaway at the end!
  • Sign up here at Novel Heartbeat or over at Phantasmic Reads. You may join whenever you like, but to be eligible for our grand prize giveaway, you must sign up by August 24th.
  • To join, all you have to do is make a sign-up post – even if it’s just a “Let’s do this!” thing – and add your post URL to the linky below! You can put your goals and progress (will be required for the final giveaway) in your sign-up post, or you can make it separate. Totally up to you! (You are welcome to use the template we provide as well.)
  • In order to enter for the grand prize, you must have a post to keep track of your progress so we can see that you participated.
Doesn't that sound like a delightful, stress-free, fun time?  I think so!  Use the links above to sign up if you'd like to participate :)  I haven't solidified my goals, as of yet, but I'll definitely post them up as the start date gets closer. 

Goals for the Challenge!
1.  Finish An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine.  I'm about 75% done with this book, so it shouldn't be a problem at all.
2.  Read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  It's been sitting on my shelf and the movie just came out on DVD, so I'm going to finally plow in.
3.  Read more than I have in the past week, for sure.  I've seriously been slacking.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

B.O.B. 11 Goals

Bout of Books 11 Goals
We are very quickly approaching the start of Bout of Books 11 and I'm super excited to be participating again!  I participated in the last Bout of Books Challenge, my first time joining in, and would like to think it was rather successful for me.  However, I want to do more this time! 

Here is what I hope to get done
  1. Finish the Divergent series by Veronica Roth (this will count for this challenge, Bookish Bingo, and the Beat the Heat Challenge I'm currently participating in).  I'm just starting the first in the series, so I should be able to accomplish this.
  2. Read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.  This will also count for all three challenges!
  3. Read more pages than I did for the last Bout of Books...a total of 779 pages last time.
  4. Participate in as many mini-challenges and chats as feasible!
I'm thinking this is doable. 

If you're interested, there's still time to sign up!  Here's the link.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays:  Divergent

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!
Here's today's teaser:
"It would probably be wise to be careful around Four, I realize.  He seemed placid to me on the platform, but something about that stillness makes me wary now." -- page 63
          -----Divergent by Veronica Roth

I'm finally getting around to reading this series.  I have about 40 pages left in the book I'm currently reading and then it's on to another YA adventure.

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form. The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!
This week's theme is:  Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read.  Now, if you are a friend on Goodreads, you know that I have nearly 2500 books on my To-Read pile, and it keeps growing.  This is completely unrealistic and kind of ridiculous.  But I think I'm a To-Read junkie.  Hi, my name is Melissa and I have a problem...

Here are my choices:

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller.  I read Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance and really enjoyed it, but I'm just not sure I care enough to read this one...

The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I love her fiction works.

Little Nuggets of Wisdom: Big Advice from the Small Star of Chelsea Lately by Chuy Bravo.  Not high on my list.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I love his other stuff, but this one just seems like a mash-up of previous writings.

Humor Me: An Anthology of Funny Contemporary Writing by Ian Frazier.  Meh...

Read, Remember, Recommend by Rachelle Rogers Knight.  I feel like Goodreads does a lot of this for me.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  I know there's been a lot of hype about this book, but I don't know if I'm feeling it.  Sad thing...I own it! 

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It's never sounded that appealing, but I felt compelled to add it to my TBR.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh.  Seen the movie...interesting.  I feel like I should read this since it's representative of Edinburgh's seedy drug scene and I love Edinburgh. 

Nickled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich.  I love Ehrenreich's writing, but I've never been super sold on this book despite its popularity.  I also own this one.  Sigh...

Ultimately, I think I need to clean up my TBR list...weed out the ones I'm no longer excited about.  Maybe be a little more selective on what I include from now on.  Who knows.  Are there any here that you think I should read?

Also, look for next week's post:  Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me That I MUST Read

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Here's what I'm thinking about today:

In May, a dear friend and I had tickets to Lady Gaga's concert up in Seattle.  That's about a 5 hour trip (depending on traffic) for us.  It was on a Tuesday, so we both took time off work and made the trek up I-5.  Upon arriving, we hit up the Taphouse Grill for some pre-concert libations and appetizers.  Right before ordering, my friend gets an email from the venue saying that the concert had been canceled.  WHAT?!?  Needless to say we were incredibly disappointed and were at a loss as to what to do.  Do we drive home?  Do we find something else to do in the city?  Do we make hotel reservations instead of staying at one of her friend's houses if we stay out late?  Decisions, decisions!  After scouring a few "Things to Do in Seattle" websites, we decided to check the Mariners website to see if they were playing.  Lo and behold...VICTORY!  We had about 45 minutes until the game started, so we popped over to book a hotel room, where we received complimentary drink vouchers for a local bar (score!), and then headed down to SafeCo.  Our luck was picking up for sure.  We got front row parking (because the attendant was the nicest older man) and then got seats in the King's Court section, where we got free Felix Hernandez t-shirts and banners.  Nice!  It was my first pro baseball game and we won.  Yeah, buddy!  The night was capped off with post-game drinks.

So...where am I going with this?  Right here: 

Tomorrow is the Gaga make-up concert in Seattle.  Again, we're taking time off work and driving up.  We've already booked our hotel (selections were very limited and we spent way more than we wanted to) and are super excited...perhaps moreso this time. 

Then...I got this message from my friend this morning: 

Clicked on the link and saw this:
And then I read the article...

She performed in Denver last night and, afterward, got altitude sickness.  Sucky!  But, according to the article, the Seattle show is to go on as planned.  Hot damn I'm excited!!!!!  Until Friday, Gaga!!!!!

There's other stuff I'm excited about, but I'll post on that next week :)

Happy reading!

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by Christine @ Bookishly Boisterous. Feel free to join in on the conversation :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday:  An Unnecessary Woman

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!
Here's today's teaser:
"I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word.  Literature is my sandbox.  In it I play, build my forts and castles, and spend glorious time.  It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble." --page 5
          -----An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

Loving this book so far!!!

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Give to Readers Who Have Never Read Holocaust Literature

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form. The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!
This week's theme is:  Books I'd Give to Readers Who Have Never Read Holocaust Literature.  Sorry it's going to be a heavy topic, but there are so many wonderful HL books and authors out there who NEED to be read!  Some will be works of fiction, others will be survivor literature/testimony.  All are necessary!

Here goes...

Poems of Paul Celan by Paul Celan or Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew by John Felstiner
  • A Holocaust survivor, Celan turned to poetry in an attempt to cope with the atrocities he faced while imprisoned.  He is known as THE writer of the Holocaust and he's brilliant; and the poems are NOT pretty.  The first is a collection of his poetry.  The second is a biography that is fantastic.
This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeuz Borowski
  • Another survivor, of Dachau and Auschwitz, Borowski wrote a collection of short stories to chronicle his experiences during the Holocaust.  They are brutal and concise and completely worth reading.
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • A work of fiction, Foer crafts a beautifully brilliant story of discovery and adventure.  The character, also named Jonathan Safran Foer, sets out to find the woman who may have saved his grandfather from the Nazis.  It's heartbreaking, heartwarming, hilarious, and just plain awesome.  The movie is fantastic as well.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • If you haven't read this book, do so now!  Zusak weaves a beautiful story about Liesel, one of the most touching characters I've read in a long time, and her relationship with her foster family, a boxing Jew, and books during World War II.  Also, it's narrated by Death, so that makes it awesome.  Though technically not Holocaust Literature, I'm counting it.
Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
  • Probably the preeminent account of life in Auschwitz, Levi chronicles his ten month captivity, sparing nothing for the reader.  Despite the atrocities, there are moments of humor to be found and it's a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.  It's a must read.
Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
  • A fractured novel incorporating photographs in unexpected places, Sebald weaves a tale of history, loss, memory, and the Kindertransport.  It's a beautifully dense novel, written in two paragraphs...yeah...two paragraphs, that is a testament to Europe's "avoidance system" and is nearly impossible to put down.
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • Incorporating his experiences as a Holocaust survivor, along with those he treated in his practice, Frankl utilizes his psychiatric abilities to convey how suffering is unavoidable but that there are ways to cope with the atrocities life deals us.  The term logotherapy, the notion that the discovery and pursuit of what we find personally meaningful is what drives us, is attributed to Frankl and he lays this out in the book.  This book will change your life if you let it.
Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
  • Bohjalian's novel follows a group of people, thrown together, attempting to cross from Poland to the British and American lines during the last few months of World War II.  The group includes Prussian aristrocrats, a POW, and a Wehrmacht corporal (or is he?).  It is a wonderfully written novel. 
Night by Elie Wiesel
  • In Night, Wiesel lays out his and his father's experiences as prisoners in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.  A short novella, it is incredibly powerful from the very beginning.  Not only are you able to see the decline of the war, the people, and hope, you are also shown just how such situations cause a massive decline between family members. 
The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn
  • A work that blends memoir, reporting, mystery, and scholarly detective work, Mendelsohn details how the disappearance of six family members during the Holocaust overshadows the family decades later.  Upon discovering letters written in 1939, he sets out to discover what happened to those family members.  It highlights the inconsistency between history and the stories that are passed along.
Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman
  • A graphic novel featuring animals instead of humans, it tells the story of Spiegelman's father and his experiences in a concentration camp.  It also highlights the relationship between survivors and their children.  The novel is groundbreaking and important and worth reading.
Okay, I have eleven listed...twelve if you're counting the first one as two (which they are...whoops), but it's too hard to narrow it down!  There are so many great options in the Holocaust Literature genre from both fiction and non-fiction standpoints.  I did not include The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank...everyone should have read this one at some point in their life already. 

Have you read much Holocaust Literature?  And, if so, what springs to mind?

Also, look for next week's top ten:  Books I'm Not Sure I Want to Read

Happy reading!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Musing Mondays #7

Musing Mondays #7

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading and is quite simple, really. It asks you to comment/muse each week on one of the following prompts:

  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
  • Tell us what you're reading right now--what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; why you are (or aren't) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books--let's here it, then!
Here's what's on my mind today...

I recently discovered an amazing book site, Book Riot, and have been pretty much obsessing over all it has to offer to readers.  If you haven't checked them out yet, please do so!  I promise you won't be disappointed.  There is so much to discover through their site:  upcoming releases, giveaways, bookish columns, book travel tips, etc.  So good!

Another awesome site:  Influenster!  I was recently invited to join this site by a friend and fellow blogger, Mandy @ The Sassy Starfish and The Rugged Bunch.  It's a great way to try new products, give honest reviews, and help consumers make smart decisions.  I'm pretty sure you have to be invited to join the site, so if you're interested, hit me up!

In other news...I think I might have to buy a new car.  NO!!  My little trusty '97 Civic is being a little stinker and overheating like crazy.  Personally, I do not like running the heater on full blast in 90+ degree weather, but that's just me.  Plus, the heater only helps for a short time.  Boo, Civic, boo!  I've given you oil, coolant, a new radiator cap, etc...why must you be like this?!?  Alas.  So, in the meantime, I'm driving a freakin' F150.  So big...I feel like a tank.

What's on your mind today?

Happy reading!