Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday:  Let The Right One In
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn @ A Daily Rhythm. 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:
"Earlier that morning Hakan had been exploring his new face with the fingers on his feeling hand.  A rubber-like bandage covered his whole face but from what little he was able to make out after painfully exploring the contours protruding under the bandage with his fingertips, he concluded he no longer had a face." --page 216-217
          Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

This book is pretty stellar so far!

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads

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 topic is:  Top Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag.  Now, I am not going to only list books that are beach-y reads.  Instead I'm going to list books that I hope to read this summer.  Here we go!

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie


The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
 
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Whew...it will probably take me much longer than this summer to get through these books simply due to the length of the majority of them!  Yikes!  What books are you planning on throwing into your beach bag?

Also, look for next week's top ten:  Books I'd Love to See as Movies/TV Shows

Happy reading!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Writer's Workshop: May Memories

Edinburgh Castle.  Photo taken May 19, 2008
Between September 2007 and September 2008 I was living in Edinburgh, Scotland working on my Masters in Comparative Literature at the University of Edinburgh.  While moving away from family and friends is difficult, it is also very rewarding.  My time spent living overseas gave my family the opportunity to travel to countries that had never been on their vacation radars.  This picture was taken in May 2008 when my sister and her best friend came for a two week visit.

I am incredibly proud of this photo for many reasons.  1) I think it looks pretty damn good.  2) It offers an amazing reminder of just how awesome this city is.  And 3) It brings back so many fantastic memories.  I really wish I could walk out my front down and stroll through that garden right now...
Nice weather like this was few and far between in Edinburgh, but this particular day was one for the books.  Taken while strolling through Princes Street Gardens, the imposing castle was a constant reminder that I was living in a Medieval city full of rich history.  It is the location of the Scottish Crown Jewels and where The Fringe takes place.  It is also one of the many locations where massive fireworks are set off during Hogmanay, the Scottish New Years Festival.  I think I toured that fortress 5 or 6 times...it's awesome!

Now I'm going to cry in my cup of coffee...and lament the fact that I had to move back to the US...

Writer's Workshop is hosted by Kat at Mama's Losin' It

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday:  The Cutting Season
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn @ A Daily Rhythm. 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:
"She lay down and closed her eyes, thinking of the strangeness of running into Bobby Clancy again, and the things he'd said about his brother, Raymond.  She lay in the stillness with it.  Only then, in the dead of night, her body on the very edge of surrender, did an image finally pop free: the dead woman, her face, the black eyes drawn in charcoal.  She finally remembered where she'd seen her before." --page 92
          The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

Pretty engrossing so far!

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Memories

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 topic is a freebie, so I'm going with:  Top Ten Bookish Memories.  Oh man, books and reading hold very special places in my heart and there are so many events that I can vividly remember being associated with reading.  These are my top ten book-related memories.

  • The Reading Fort.  Being a top reader throughout elementary school and having the privilege of utilizing the "Reading Fort" in the library.  This was the highlight of all library visits for students.  The fort was three levels, where the first level was an alcove on the floor, the second was a platform that you could easily climb onto, and the third (the most coveted) was accessible by a ladder and filled with comfy pillows.  Those days were the best! 
  • Scholastic Book Fair Days!  These days were my absolute favorite in elementary school.  I loved getting the newspaper-like handout prior to the event and perusing it for the books I had to have.  I'm so glad my parents encouraged reading and would buy books for us as kids.
  • Browser's Bookstore in Albany, Oregon.  I loved this used bookstore so much.  So much!  There was a general organization to the shelves, but with so many people pawing through the stacks, things were inevitably disorganized.  It smelled dusty and awesome.  Plus, there was a cat!  I still visit this place...
    • Books associate with this:  Fear Street series by R.L. Stine and, as I got older, Heath Graham's historical romance books
  • Golden Books and My Bookhouse.  These were our go-to selections for nighttime reading in our house.  My mom would read to my sister and I every night and we would choose from a vast collection of Golden Books or a few stories from the big "White Book" collection...that's how we referred to it anyway!  I recently came across the entire Bookhouse collection at Powell's and I am very tempted to buy it.
  • Author Reads and Book Signings.  The first author reading and signing I ever attended was in 2004 at Western Oregon University.  Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, visited campus and was amazing.  My next wasn't until 2007 at a small used bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It was a very different atmosphere.  Both were incredibly rewarding.
  • Everything Shel Silverstein.  These books were my first introduction to poetry and I loved every minute of them.  I was obsessed with memorizing these works of genius.  So good.
  • First Pre-Order.  The first book that I ever pre-ordered was the fourth in the Harry Potter series.  I can't believe that I had never pre-ordered a single book before then.  At the time, Walden Books was still a much-loved destination in the mall.  Man, I loved that place.  I haven't pre-ordered a book since then...
  • Scared Straight.  I loved, loved, loved scary stories as a kid, see my RL Stine entry above, and would attempt to replicate them through my own writing.  Though those books didn't necessarily scare me, I still loved being scared.  Actually, it was a love-hate relationship.  Regardless, I still like scary things but I do get freaked out.
  • Book Hangovers.  I'll admit that I rarely have book hangovers.  While I love books and am sad when they end, there has only been one time where a book severely affected me to the extent that I had to take a break from reading...thank you JK Rowling!
  • Foreign Language.  Learning a second language is a rewarding struggle.  They say that you really "know" a language when you begin dreaming in that language.  This is true.  But one of the things that I was most excited about was reading my first complete book in German and not needing a dictionary for reference (10th grade).  Accomplishments!
    • Book associated with this:  Max und Moritz by Wilhelm Busch and Gabriele Jockel
Ah memory lane!  This was a fun post.  What are some of your favorite bookish memories?

Also, look for next week's top ten:  Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag/Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

Happy reading!

Monday, May 18, 2015

B.O.B. Progress (Final Update)

Bout of Books Progress and Challenge Tracker
I will be keeping track of my progress for the Bout of Books 13 Reading Challenge on this page, updated daily.  It's so much easier to do it this way than to write separate posts for every single day. 

Final Challenge Stats:
  • Books Finished:  4!  Granted, I had already begun two before the challenge, there was still a significant chunk left in each book.  Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish,  Marvel Zombies 4 by Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker, and Left Drowning by Jessica Park
  • Total Pages Read:  854
  • Total Challenges:  Two - Bookish Survey and Book Haiku
  • Final Thoughts:  The beginning of this Bout of Books got off to an incredibly slow start for me.  Selecting a classic is something I definitely do not recommend doing for this specific challenge because it was difficult to read a lot.  I felt like I was reading a lot and then I'd look at the page count...oy vey!  I'm so glad that I was able to finish the book though and move on to other, quicker reads that I was able to plow through.  In the end, I feel pretty accomplished with how many pages I got through.  I wish that I had participated in a few more challenges throughout the week, but the two that I did post about were great fun!  Overall, I feel that Bout of Books 13 was a resounding success.  How did you all fair?  Until next time, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Day 7 Challenge Stats:
  • Currently ReadingThe Cutting Season by Attica Locke
  • Pages Read:  280
  • Challenges:  None
  • Books Finished:  4 - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish, Marvel Zombies 4 by Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker, and Left Drowning by Jessica Park
  • Thoughts:  Sunday was also a great reading day.  Though the housework has suffered a little from my weekend reading extravaganza, I don't really care!  I managed to finished the book I started yesterday and even got a decent chunk read in a new one.  Hot dog!
Day 6 Challenge Stats:
  • Currently ReadingLeft Drowning by Jessica Park
  • Pages Read:  350
  • Challenges:  None
  • Books Finished:  3 - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish, and Marvel Zombies 4 by Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker
  • Thoughts:  What a freakin' productive reading day!  Even though I had to work for part of the day, the afternoon and evening were amazing for reading.  I had the apartment to myself and just put some tunes on.  So nice!  I manages to finished two more books and start a new one.  Yay! 
Day 5 Challenge Stats:
  • Currently ReadingAnnie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish and Marvel Zombies 4 by Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker
  • Pages Read:  50
  • Challenges:  None
  • Books Finished:  1 - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Thoughts:  Not a stellar reading day, but I was still able to get a little bit of reading in.  Since I had to work early on Saturday, I wasn't able to stay up as late as I normally would to read, but I still got a few pages under the belt!  No challenges for the day :(
Day 4 Challenge Stats:
  • Currently ReadingAnnie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish and Marvel Zombies 4 by Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker
  • Pages Read:  121
  • Challenges:  None
  • Books Finished:  1 - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Thoughts:  Day four was a much more productive reading day for me than all other days...combined!  It still wasn't stellar, but I was finally able to finish up my difficult read (MB) and have moved on to much easier reads that I should be able to fly through.  Yeah buddy!  I got some good, uninterrupted reading time in while the bf was having a minor procedure done at the hospital (he's fine) and then finished up a little more once we got home.  I love days where I can relax and read! 

Day 3 Challenge Stats:
  • Currently Reading:  Still working on Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Pages Read:  15..so sad :(
  • ChallengesBook Haiku hosted by Kristina @ Kristina Horner
  • Thoughts:  While not a super productive reading day, I had a fairly productive day on getting other things done.  I'm really hoping to finish this book soon so I can move on to another, quicker read.  However, I did have fun writing my book haikus!

Day 2 Challenge Stats:
  • Currently ReadingMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Pages Read:  0
  • Challenges:  None
  • Thoughts:  So, day two was not productive in the reading or participation department for me.  I blame work and a leadership recognition dinner straight after that lasted until 9.  By the time I got home I just wanted to sleep.  Fingers crossed today is much better

Day 1 Challenge Stats:
  • Currently ReadingMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Pages Read:  38 (Classics take so much attention and concentration!)
  • ChallengesBookish Survey hosted by Lori @ Writing My Own Fairytale
  • Thoughts:  While I didn't read nearly as much for the first day of the challenge as I wanted to, I feel that 38 pages in a Flaubert novel is pretty dang good.  His writing is super descriptive, dense, and the font is small.  I loved participating in the Bookish Survey mini-challenge; it was a nice way to kick off this week of events.
Read on, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

B.O.B. Book Haiku

Day three in the Bout of Books 13 Read-a-Thon and I'm hoping to get a little more reading in today than I did yesterday.  Fingers crossed!  Regardless, I'm definitely participating in today's mini challenge:  writing a book haiku.
The Book Haiku challenge is hosted by Kristina @ Kristina Horner and is quite fun, simple, and to the point.  Write a traditional haiku about the book you're currently reading.  Easy peasy.

I'm currently working on Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and here's my attempt at a haiku:

Emma Bovary.
You are kind of a hot mess.
No, really.  You are.

And another for your reading pleasure :)

Kind Charles Bovary.
You inept country doctor.
Hippolyte was doomed.

What haikus can you think of for the book you're reading?

Happy reading, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays:  Madame Bovary

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn @ A Daily Rhythm. 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:
"Her tenderness, in fact, grew each day with her repulsion to her husband.  The more she gave up herself to the one, the more she loathed the other.  Never had Charles seemed to her so disagreeable, to have such stodgy fingers, such vulgar ways, to be so dull as when they found themselves together after her meeting with Rodolphe." --page 118
          Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Though hard to get into because of the super descriptive nature of classical French literature, I am quite enjoying the train wreck that is Emma Bovary!

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Want to Meet

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 topic is a doozy:  Top Ten Authors I Really Want to Meet.  AGH!  There are so many.  So many!  I think I'm going to divide my list into two parts:  five authors still living and five who have passed.  Here goes!

Five Living Authors
  1. JK Rowling.  How can she NOT be on your list!!!    She's perfection.
  2. Salman Rushdie.  I think he would be so fascinating to talk to.
  3. Chris Bojhalian.  Hands down, he's my favorite American writer and I'm so bummed I missed his book signing when he was in Portland :(
  4. Alexander McCall Smith.  Just so I could talk all things Scottish with him.  I want to know even more about Bertie, Angus, and all the characters from 44 Scotland Street!
  5. Jenny Lawson.  The Bloggess herself!!  Her second book is coming out in September and she'll be in Portland in November.  Totally on my calendar already!!
Five Authors Who Have Passed
  1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  The father of Magical Realism!  Yes please! 
  2. Jorge Luis Borges.  His stories are so beautiful and intriguing.  Check out The Library of Babel.
  3. Thomas Mann.  Genius.  Pure genius.
  4. Franz Kafka.  How can you not want to meet an author who's most famous character is a giant bug?  He's got some other, even better, writing, but everything is haunting.  So good!
  5. Paul Celan.  My favorite poet...so disturbingly brilliant.
Who are some author's you'd like to meet?

Look for next week's Top Ten:  Freebie!

Happy reading!

Monday, May 11, 2015

B.O.B. Bookish Survey

Bout of Books 13 kicked off its loveliness this morning at 12:00am.  Now, I didn't start reading at that time, as I like to sleep, and I haven't even read anything as of yet because of that pesky little thing called work, but there are still a lot of hours in the day!  Aside from reading all you can read during this challenge, there are also a multitude of mini challenges you can participate in.  This is the first for the week!
The Bookish Survey is hosted by Lori @ Writing My Own Fairy Tale and is quite simple, actually.  She's posted five book-related questions and you only have to answer them.  So easy! 

Here are my answers:
  1. How do you organize your shelves?
    • There is definitely a rhyme and reason to my shelf organization, though you might not guess it by looking.  I have two full size (6-ft) bookshelves that are both double stacked.  One is filled with books that I have read and cannot bear to part with (aside from the very top front row...those I still need to read) and the other is full of yet-to-be read treasures...that I keep adding to.  Then, within this organizing system, I group the books by author and size.  The first step to addiction is admitting that you have an addiction, right?  I admit nothing!
  2. What is one of your favorite books that's not in one of your favorite genres?
    • Oh...hmmm.  I tend to gravitate a lot toward literary and historical fiction, though I've been getting really into YA recently as well.  I guess a genre that I don't read very often are thrillers and crime novels.  So, I'm going to say Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series is probably one of my favorites from that particular genre.  It's gritty, disturbing, and high adrenaline.  Definitely pulls you in.
  3. What is the last 5 star book you read?
    • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  It was kind of a knee-jerk reaction rating because now I would probably give it four stars.  It's good though...
  4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?
    • I am most excited to read John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In.  This book has been on my radar for a while (still haven't watched either film versions because I want to read it first), but I haven't gotten around to reading it.  It's currently sitting on my coffee table just waiting for me to finish up the book I'm currently on.  Soon!
  5. What book do you recommend the most?
    • I'm notorious for recommending books.  Different books all the time.  Despite this, I would have to say that the book I recommend the most is Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.  At least it used to be the one I recommended all the time until everyone read it.  Now I recommend a wide variety of books to people...
What about you?  Where do you fall on these topics?

Happy reading, fellow Bout of Bookers!

Friday, May 8, 2015

B.O.B 13: TBR

Bout of Books 13 is just around the corner (May 11th) and I am super duper excited!  I already posted my pseudo-goals in my participating post, but didn't list what books were on my radar for the event.

So, here ya go!

B.O.B TBR
  • Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist:  I am so excited to read this book!  It's been on my radar for a while and I finally got it from the library.
  • Left Drowning by Jessica Park.  I randomly picked this one up from the library as well.  Added bonus:  it will work for another challenge I'm participating.
  • Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish.  Mainly because I'm more than halfway through it and I set it aside to work on some other books for a different challenge.
  • A few comic books (because the bf keeps pestering me about reading them).  Probably some of the following:  Deadpool, The Logan Chronicles, Black Dynamite...who knows.
Hoping to finish up the two books I'm currently reading, Madame Bovary and 1984, this weekend so I can start the challenge fresh.  Yay!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'll Probably Never 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 topic is:  Top Ten Books I Will Probably Never Read.  While I'm of the mindset that I will read everything, I know this isn't feasible...or enjoyable.  And I never like saying "no" to a book, but sometimes I just know that I will not be reading a specific book...ever.

Here's my list:
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I think my reasons all stem from the movie...which I refuse to watch.  I don't have any specific reasons why.  I like Julia Roberts.  The book sounds like it would probably be okay.  I just feel very meh about it. 
  • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.  Sounds boring.  Boring!  I've never seen the movie either...
  • Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns by John Green.  I was not impressed with The Fault in Our Stars and I really have no desire to read anything else he's written.  So predictable!
  • Anything else by Nicholas Sparks.  I've read The Notebook and A Walk to Remember. What an atrocious writer!!!
  • The Host by Stephanie Meyer.  The Twilight Saga exposed me to enough of her terrible writing (and even more horrific editing) that I refuse to subject myself to anymore of it.
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  I know it's an American classic and Pulitzer winner, but I was so bored by Of Mice and Men that I just don't think I can do it.
  • Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.  No specific reason why I wouldn't want to read this, but it's always been rather low on my radar.
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau.  I remember covering Transcendentalism in high school and I hated it.  We read excerpts and I've never recovered enough to have any desire to read this.  Maybe my view would be different now...
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.  Same as above...
  • The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.  I don't know why I have no desire to read this book.  I even have a copy of it. 
What are some books that you plan to never read?

Also, look for next week's Top Ten:  Authors I REALLY Want to Meet.  Oh...there are so many!!!

Happy reading!

Monday, May 4, 2015

A-Z Challenge Reflections

The A-Z Blogging Challenge has come to a close and now it's time to reflect on the month-long event... 

Overall, this time around (my fourth) was a resounding success...personally.  Though I didn't garner many comments throughout the challenge or a boatload of new followers, it was refreshing to post on a non-book related topic.  It was also really nice to rediscover music that I had completely forgotten about or hadn't heard for years.  So many memories!

This idea of reminiscing, though completely unintentional, perfectly aligned with this year's challenge and its dedication to Tina.  What a beautiful community she was a part of and what an honor it is to be a participant.  I had tossed around several ideas for this year's challenge, but remembering music seemed to really stick.  How fitting in reflection.

Until next year...