Sunday, December 23, 2012

BW52: Year End Wrap Up


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Holidays to you and yours.  Another year has flown by, full of exciting and interesting reads. We have a few days left and I'm sure,  if you are like me, you are looking forward to some relaxing reading time, possibly some new reading material that is just waiting for you under the tree or using those wonderful gift certificates for browsing the after Christmas sales and some end of the year acquisitions.   So how did your reading year go?   I'm going to mix is up a bit this year and borrow a few questions from Jamie's (Perpetual Page Turner) end of the year book survey.


1) How many books did you read this year?

2) Did you meet or beat your own personal goal?

3) Favorite book of 2012? (You can list more than one or break it down by genre)

4) Least favorite book of 2012 and why? 

5) One book you thought you'd never read and was pleasantly surprised you like it?

6) One book you thought you'd love but didn't?

7) One book that touched you - made you laugh, cry, sing or dance. 

8) Any new to you authors discovered and you can't wait to read more of their stories?

9) Name the longest book you read?  Shortest?

10) Name the most unputdownable book you read?

11) Book that had the greatest impact on you this year?

12) What book would you recommend everybody read?

13) Share your most favorite cover(s)

14) Do you have a character you fell in love with? 

15) What was your most favorite part of the challenge? Did you do any of the mini challenges?

What are your goals for the new year?  To read more non fiction? To dip your toes into a mystery or a urban fantasy?  What book are you most looking forward to reading in 2013?   

Congratulations and thank you to everyone for joining in.  No matter how many books you finished this year, the important thing is that you read and that makes you a winner in my book.  Reading to me is as necessary as breathing. And reading is also like drinking a fine wine or enjoying a beer with your friends.  Whether you sip and savor or drink it down, the joy is in the experience.   I'm glad to have shared the experience with all of you.  I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone's reading year and to more fun in the coming new year.


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Link to your last read and/or wrap up post for 2012. Please link to your specific post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field,type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis or indicate wrap up post. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment in the comment section about your reading year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

BW51: Pride and Prejudice



Happy Birthday Jane Austen


Pride and Prejudice
Chapter One 


"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"

"Bingley."

"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

"How so? how can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."

"Is that his design in settling here?"

"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better; for, as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party."

"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be any thing extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."

"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."

"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood."

"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."

"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know they visit no new comers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him, if you do not."

"You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying which ever he chuses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."

"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference."

"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."

"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."

"Ah! you do not know what I suffer."

"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood."

"It will be no use to us if twenty such should come, since you will not visit them."

"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty I will visit them all."

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humor, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news."

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Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2013 52 Books in 52 Weeks

2013 52 Books in 52 Weeks

Are you ready for another round of Reading 52 books in 52 Weeks? Whether you are just joining in or continuing on for another round, the rules are very simple. The goal is to read one book (at least) a week for 52 weeks. Make the year easy and casual or kick it up by exploring new to you authors and genres. Challenge yourself to read at least some classics or delve into that chunkster (more than 500 pages) you always wanted to tackle. The goal is to read 52 books. How you get there is up to you. 

Since this is our 5th year, I challenge you to a 5/5/5 challenge. Read 5 books in 5 Categories and/or 5 Genres. I have several mini challenges to make it fun:
A to Z challenge: Read books alphabetically by title and/or author.

Canadian Mini Challenge - read non fiction or fiction authors

C.S. Lewis: Read the works of C.S. Lewis

Chunky Mini Challenge -books more than 500 pages

Dusty Mini challenge: Limit buying new books for 1 - 4 months and read 4 to 12 or more books gathering dust on your shelves prior to 2013.

Inspiration Reading Project - Faith based or the Classics.

Mind Voyages: Explore the Hugo and Nebula winners, take side trips through the different decades reading the nominees.

Well Educated Mind: Explore the classics in five categories: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama and Poetry.
The mini challenges and weekly challenges are optional, Mix it up anyway you like. 

  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013. 
  2. Our book weeks begin on Sunday. 
  3. Participants may join at any time. 
  4. All books are acceptable except children books. 
  5. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc. 
  6. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2013. 
  7. Books may overlap other challenges. 
  8. Create an entry post linking to this blog. 
  9. Sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post. 
  10. You don't need a blog to participate. Post your weekly book in the comments section of each weekly post. 
  11. Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post to link to reviews of your most current reads.

I'm Participating in 2013

I'm Participating in 2013





Sunday, December 9, 2012

BW 50: Oh Canada!

As I mentioned last week, we have a Canadian Books mini challenge as well as a readalong  in the works for 2013 and I'm putting together a list of authors and books with the help of a few folks over at Well Trained Mind.  In my online wanderings I came across The Canada Council for the Arts 2012 Governor General's Literary Awards.  Awards in both English and French in seven categories: fiction, poetry, drama, non‑fiction, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation.

 It reminded me of something Yann Martel (author of Life of Pi) did back in 2007 when he attended the 50th Anniversary celebration for the council. He was quite unimpressed with Stephen Harper's disinterest in the event and went on to start a project which lasted until 2011 -- What is Stephen Harper reading?  Which is where Life of Pi caught my attention as well as a few other books on the list.  As long as Harper was Prime Minister, Martel vowed to send him a book every two weeks to read expanding on the virtue of stillness.  There are 101 books on the list which is just going to add to your TBR piles and wishlists, because quite a few are well worth reading.


Which brings me back to the 2012 Award Winners.  Click here to find the French winners and list of nominees.


Fiction: The Purchase by Linda Spalding



 Monkey Ranch by Julie Brock
Drama:  It is Solved by Walking by Catherine Banks

Non Fiction: Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King



Children Text: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen

Children Illustration:  Virginia Wolf

Translation:  Mai at the Predators' Ball by Nigel Spencer



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Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

BW49: Plans for 2013

Josephine Wall - Ripples

Happy December, dear hearts!   We have four weeks left in the year and we are coming down to the wire.  I hope everyone has had a fantastic reading year.   Are you ready for another round?  I've been looking at all the other challenges out there, what books I still have in my TBR pile and those still on my wishlist.  I think I have the my eyes are bigger than my stomach syndrome, because there are so many I want when already have a  huge teetering pile of books.  So.....    I'm personally going to institute a buying ban, probably through April and concentrate on those wonderful books that have been calling my name.   We've been discussing the new year over in the Well Trained Mind forums and have come up with some ideas.  

In our quest to read 52 books we'll be doing a Dusty Book Challenge which is just another name for read your own books.   Also a Chunkster challenge which are books that are 500 pages or more.   Start looking through your shelves and dusting off those old, huge books.   I'm going to make an effort to read more non fiction this next year so in that vein will have a C.S. Lewis Mini Challenge which takes the place of Jane Austen.   We'll continue with the Well Educated Mind and Mind Voyages Sci Fi/Fantasy challenges.  There is a Canada Books readalong in the works as well as reading books from other countries.   Plus random mini challenges along the way which I'll borrow shamelessly from on The Novel Challenges blog.

If you have any suggestions for a readalongs or  topics, authors and/or ideas you'd like to see covered next year, let me know.   I'll be posting the I'm participating in 2013 in a couple weeks, plus making changes to headers and links so don't be surprised by the construction.  

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Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.


 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

BW48: Another round of Linky love




Another round of author birthdays:


November 25:  Poul AndersonCharlaine Harris

November 26:  Tracy HickmanFrederick Pohl

November 27:  L. Sprague de Camp

November 28:  David Zindell  / Rita Mae Brown 

November 29:   Louisa May Alcott / C.S. Lewis

November 30:  Jonathan Swift 


 Assorted New Releases:

Barbara Kingsolver - Flight Behavior 

Alice Munro - Dear Life 

Janet Evanovich - Notorious Nineteen

Pope Benedict XVI - Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives 


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Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post. 




Sunday, November 18, 2012

BW47: Michel De Montaigne's Essays

Book # 3 in the autobiographical section of Susan Wise Bauer's Well Educated Mind is Essays by Michel De Montaigne, a french renaissance statesman.  He was a melancholy man and wrote the Essays in order to work through his thoughts.  Bauer doesn't expect  anyone to read the book verbatim unless you are interested in French Warfare. Which is interesting since I found a Penguin classics copy translated by J.M. Cohen at the homeschool store the other day which contains selected essays from books one, two and three.  It begins with Chapter 7 That Our Actions Should Be Judged by Our Intentions: 

Tis a saying, “That death discharges us of all our obligations.” I know some who have taken it in another sense. Henry VII., King of England, articled with Don Philip, son to Maximilian the emperor, or (to place him more honourably) father to the Emperor Charles V., that the said Philip should deliver up the Duke of Suffolk of the White Rose, his enemy, who was fled into the Low Countries, into his hands; which Philip accordingly did, but upon condition, nevertheless, that Henry should attempt nothing against the life of the said Duke; but coming to die, the king in his last will commanded his son to put him to death immediately after his decease. And lately, in the tragedy that the Duke of Alva presented to us in the persons of the Counts Horn and Egmont at Brussels, —[Decapitated 4th June 1568]—there were very remarkable passages, and one amongst the rest, that Count Egmont (upon the security of whose word and faith Count Horn had come and surrendered himself to the Duke of Alva) earnestly entreated that he might first mount the scaffold, to the end that death might disengage him from the obligation he had passed to the other.

In which case, methinks, death did not acquit the former of his promise, and that the second was discharged from it without dying. We cannot be bound beyond what we are able to perform, by reason that effect and performance are not at all in our power, and that, indeed, we are masters of nothing but the will, in which, by necessity, all the rules and whole duty of mankind are founded and established: therefore Count Egmont, conceiving his soul and will indebted to his promise, although he had not the power to make it good, had doubtless been absolved of his duty, even though he had outlived the other; but the King of England wilfully and premeditately breaking his faith, was no more to be excused for deferring the execution of his infidelity till after his death than the mason in Herodotus, who having inviolably, during the time of his life, kept the secret of the treasure of the King of Egypt, his master, at his death discovered it to his children.

I have taken notice of several in my time, who, convicted by their consciences of unjustly detaining the goods of another, have endeavored to make amends by their will, and after their decease; but they had as good do nothing, as either in taking so much time in so pressing an affair, or in going about to remedy a wrong with so little dissatisfaction or injury to themselves. They owe, over and above, something of their own; and by how much their payment is more strict and incommodious to themselves, by so much is their restitution more just meritorious. Penitency requires penalty; but they yet do worse than these, who reserve the animosity against their neighbour to the last gasp, having concealed it during their life; wherein they manifest little regard of their own honour, irritating the party offended in their memory; and less to their the power, even out of to make their malice die with them, but extending the life of their hatred even beyond their own. Unjust judges, who defer judgment to a time wherein they can have no knowledge of the cause! For my part, I shall take care, if I can, that my death discover nothing that my life has not first and openly declared.

As you can see it will take me a while to read through the essays.  It will be one of my goals for next year.  Speaking of next year, yes we will be doing another round for 2013.  So start thinking of your goals and pressing the envelope, stepping out of your comfort zones.  Such as reading more non fiction if you usually read fiction (like me) or reading more fiction if you generally only read fiction. 

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

BW 46: Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman and his dog Cabal



We're just a day off as his birthday is November 10.   This man is one year younger than me and has accomplished so much in his lifetime.  He is multifaceted writer.  My introduction to him was his book The Graveyard Book  a couple years ago.




Front Flap: "Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy--an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack--who has already killed bod's family...."

I enjoyed it, even though it was weird and quirky. The story begins with a man named Jack walking through a home, killing first the parents, then bod's brother. Bod, even though a toddler, somehow manages to climb out of his crib and wander out the open door, while Jack kills his family. The killings are not graphically depicted but implied. The writing is very well done and paints a picture
"The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and man who held it had slipped in, and wisps of nighttime mist slithered and twined into the house through the open door." (pg 5 - 7)

Bod wanders up and into a graveyard where the ghosts and other denizens of the place decide to protect him. Of course, they have to put it to a vote first.
"A graveyard is not normally a democracy, and yet death is the great democracy, and each of the dead had a voice, and an opinion as to whether the living child should be allowed to stay, and they were each determined to be heard that night." pg 29

Bod is raised by the ghosts and Silas, who neither dead or alive, protects him and makes sure his physical needs for food and dress are taken care of. Bod gets an interesting education in history and thought from various ghosts from the different eras as well as lessons in slipping through shadow and fading from awareness, "the ways of the dead".

"Bod tried again. He closed his eyes and imagined himself fading into the stained stonework of the mausoleum wall, becoming a shadow on the night and nothing more. He sneezed.

"Dreadful", said Mr. Pennyworth, with a sigh. "Quite dreadful. I believe I shall have a word with your guardian about this." He shook his head. "So, the humors. List them."

"Um, Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, And the other one. Um, Melancholic, I think."

"And so it went, until it was time for Grammar and Composition with Miss Letitia Borrows, Spinster of this Parish (Who did No Harm to No Man all the Dais of Her Life. Reader, Can you Say Lykewise?) Bod liked Miss Borrows, and the coziness of her little crypt, and that she could all-too-easily be led off the subject." pg 106

Throughout the story, Jack never ceases to look for Bod and finish the job he started. The villains (the Jacks of all Trades) reasons in the story for killing bod's family and him are a bit vague and I'll leave the mystery of what happened to your imaginations.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Graveyard Book and recently read Anansi Boys which was well written and just as unique as the other book.




When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed -- before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.

Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun ... just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.
 
Neil Gaiman. His books are intriguing, imaginative and entertaining. In honor of his birthday, check out one of his books this month. 


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Sunday, November 4, 2012

BW45: Thomas Wharton



Last year I stumbled upon Thomas Wharton's Salamander through one of those neat book title generators (sorry, can't remember which one) and was intrigued by the synopsis:


Nicholas Flood, an unassuming eighteenth-century London printer, specializes in novelty books -- books that nestle into one another, books comprised of one spare sentence, books that emit the sounds of crashing waves. When his work captures the attention of an eccentric Slovakian count, Flood is summoned to a faraway castle -- a moving labyrinth that embodies the count's obsession with puzzles -- where he is commissioned to create the infinite book, the ultimate never-ending story. Probing the nature of books, the human thirst for knowledge, and the pursuit of immortality, Salamander careens through myth and metaphor as Flood travels the globe in search of materials for the elusive book without end.



Of course, I'm intrigued by any book that is about books or takes place in a book store or the story surrounds a mystery created by a book.  I finally started reading it a couple days ago and it looks like I made a good choice.  His writing is unique, along the lines of Dean Koontz in that he knows how to paint a word picture from the very first sentence. 

"A burning scrap of paper drifts down out of the rain. A magic carpet on fire. It falls with a hiss to the wet stones of the street. "

 His other books - both fiction and non fiction look equally interesting:  Ice Fields, and The Logogryph - a Bibliography of Imaginary Books.

He is currently working on a young adult fantasy series called The Perilous Realm. The first book is available in Canada, The UK, and online -  The Shadow of Malabron.  I think he is still working on  The Fathomless Fire.

Go here for more information on Thomas Wharton.


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Sunday, October 28, 2012

BW44: National Novel Writing Month



It's that time of year again - time for Nanowrimo which is short for National Novel Writing Month.   If you aren't aware of what it is - here's the skinny:


National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

I've been participating every year since 2007 which makes November a very crazy, stressful, interesting month.  Why do I do it?  Because it challenges me to be creative.  Plus I get to lock my internal editor in the basement and have fun just writing without worrying about the rules, plus it gives me a head start on completing a first draft.  This year I've had a goal to learn more about editing and revision, because, yes at some point, I'll try to get one of these puppies in good enough shape to query a publisher.  

There are so many how to and do this and that rules books.  I've come across a few that have really been beneficial and even recommended by professional editors including James Scott Bell's  Revision and Self Editing and K.M. Weiland's Outlining your Novel.

I'm currently reading Writing Begins with the Breath by Laraine Herring.  

In this distinctive guide to the craft of writing, author Laraine Herring shows us how to tune into our bodies and connect with our emotions so that our writing becomes an expression of our full beings, rather than just an intellectual exercise. With warmth and wisdom, Herring offers a path to discovering "deep writing"—prose that is unique, expressive, and profoundly authentic. Lessons and imaginative exercises show you how to: stay with your writing when your mind or body starts to pull you away; explore the five senses in your writing; and approach your writing without judgment.

Plus I just received The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler which is based on psychological writings by Carl Jung and the myth making philosophy of Joseph Campbell.  It's a big book and sure I'll be using it more for editing once I'm done with this first draft. 

So if you have ever had the urge to write, jump in and join the rest of the nanowrimo's. For those nonwriters among us, check out Publisher's Weekly Best New Books for the Week of October 29th

 A fool-proof method for sculpting an elephant:  first, get a huge block of marble; then you chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant.  ~Author Unknown


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Sunday, October 21, 2012

BW43: Author Birthdays



We have a few interesting authors sharing the same birthdays this week so leaving you with some linky love. Check them out, perhaps put one of their books on your Want To Read It List or read one of their stories in honor of their birthdays.



October 21: Ursula K. LeGuin
October 21: Win Blevins

October 22: Debbie Macomber
October 22: Doris Lessing


October 23:
Michael Crichton

October 24:
Laura Caldwell
October 24: David Weber


October 25:
Chris Blaine
October 25: Rexanne Becnel


October 26:
Jim Butcher
October 26: Stephen L. Carter

 

October 27: J.A. Jance
October 27: Michael Avallone


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Saturday, October 13, 2012

BW42: Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
The 3rd book in Susan Wise's Bauer's Well Educated Mind list of fiction reads is Gulliver's Travels. A satirical novel once known as Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships.  A mouthful, yes.

CHAPTER I.

The author gives some account of himself and family.  His first inducements to travel.  He is shipwrecked, and swims for his life.  Gets safe on shore in the country of Lilliput; is made a prisoner, and carried up the country.

My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third of five sons.  He sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge at fourteen years old, where I resided three years, and applied myself close to my studies; but the charge of maintaining me, although I had a very scanty allowance, being too great for a narrow fortune, I was bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon in London, with whom I continued four years.  My father now and then sending me small sums of money, I laid them out in learning navigation, and other parts of the mathematics, useful to those who intend to travel, as I always believed it would be, some time or other, my fortune to do.  When I left Mr. Bates, I went down to my father: where, by the assistance of him and my uncle John, and some other relations, I got forty pounds, and a promise of thirty pounds a year to maintain me at Leyden: there I studied physic two years and seven months, knowing it would be useful in long voyages.

Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended by my good master, Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, Captain Abraham Pannel, commander; with whom I continued three years and a half, making a voyage or two into the Levant, and some other parts.  When I came back I resolved to settle in London; to which Mr. Bates, my master, encouraged me, and by him I was recommended to several patients.  I took part of a small house in the Old Jewry; and being advised to alter my condition, I married Mrs. Mary Burton, second daughter to Mr. Edmund Burton, hosier, in Newgate-street, with whom I received four hundred pounds for a portion.

But my good master Bates dying in two years after, and I having few friends, my business began to fail; for my conscience would not suffer me to imitate the bad practice of too many among my brethren.  Having therefore consulted with my wife, and some of my acquaintance, I determined to go again to sea.  I was surgeon successively in two ships, and made several voyages, for six years, to the East and West Indies, by which I got some addition to my fortune.  My hours of leisure I spent in reading the best authors, ancient and modern, being always provided with a good number of books; and when I was ashore, in observing the manners and dispositions of the people, as well as learning their language; wherein I had a great facility, by the strength of my memory.

The last of these voyages not proving very fortunate, I grew weary of the sea, and intended to stay at home with my wife and family.  I removed from the Old Jewry to Fetter Lane, and from thence to Wapping, hoping to get business among the sailors; but it would not turn to account.  After three years expectation that things would mend, I accepted an advantageous offer from Captain William Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyage to the South Sea.  We set sail from Bristol, May 4, 1699, and our voyage was at first very prosperous.

It would not be proper, for some reasons, to trouble the reader with the particulars of our adventures in those seas; let it suffice to inform him, that in our passage from thence to the East Indies, we were driven by a violent storm to the north-west of Van Diemen’s Land.  By an observation, we found ourselves in the latitude of 30 degrees 2 minutes south.  Twelve of our crew were dead by immoderate labour and ill food; the rest were in a very weak condition.  On the 5th of November, which was the beginning of summer in those parts, the weather being very hazy, the seamen spied a rock within half a cable’s length of the ship; but the wind was so strong, that we were driven directly upon it, and immediately split.  Six of the crew, of whom I was one, having let down the boat into the sea, made a shift to get clear of the ship and the rock.  We rowed, by my computation, about three leagues, till we were able to work no longer, being already spent with labour while we were in the ship.

We therefore trusted ourselves to the mercy of the waves, and in about half an hour the boat was overset by a sudden flurry from the north.  What became of my companions in the boat, as well as of those who escaped on the rock, or were left in the vessel, I cannot tell; but conclude they were all lost.  For my own part, I swam as fortune directed me, and was pushed forward by wind and tide.  I often let my legs drop, and could feel no bottom; but when I was almost gone, and able to struggle no longer, I found myself within my depth; and by this time the storm was much abated.  The declivity was so small, that I walked near a mile before I got to the shore, which I conjectured was about eight o’clock in the evening.  I then advanced forward near half a mile, but could not discover any sign of houses or inhabitants; at least I was in so weak a condition, that I did not observe them.

I was extremely tired, and with that, and the heat of the weather, and about half a pint of brandy that I drank as I left the ship, I found myself much inclined to sleep.  I lay down on the grass, which was very short and soft, where I slept sounder than ever I remembered to have done in my life, and, as I reckoned, about nine hours; for when I awaked, it was just day-light.  I attempted to rise, but was not able to stir: for, as I happened to lie on my back, I found my arms and legs were strongly fastened on each side to the ground; and my hair, which was long and thick, tied down in the same manner.  I likewise felt several slender ligatures across my body, from my arm-pits to my thighs.  I could only look upwards; the sun began to grow hot, and the light offended my eyes.  I heard a confused noise about me; but in the posture I lay, could see nothing except the sky.  In a little time I felt something alive moving on my left leg, which advancing gently forward over my breast, came almost up to my chin; when, bending my eyes downwards as much as I could, I perceived it to be a human creature not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hands, and a quiver at his back........

 Gulliver's Travels can be read online Here,or  here, or listen to it online here.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

BW41: Ice Cold by Cherry Adair



A few years ago, I came across Cherry Adair's White Heat which was the 11th book in her T-Flac series.  T-Flac stands for Terrorist Force Logistics Assault Command.  I fell in lurve with her writing and the characters and since then have read every single one of her books.  Most are thrill rides that leave you exhausted at the end of the book because of all she puts her characters through.  She, along with Nora Roberts, is one of those authors whose books I love to reread time and again. In fact, I hear Hush calling my name. 

Cherry Adair's new book in the T-Flac series, Ice Cold, will be available October 15 in ebook format.  If you like action adventure stories with a bit of steamy romance thrown in, then be sure to check it out. It will be available to purchase for download at all e-tailers on October 15th.


Synopsis:  T-FLAC operative Rafael Navarro will never allow another woman to suffer the consequences of his dangerous life. But in a world where a terrorist can do more damage with a keyboard than a bomb, he needs the expert help of a cyber-geek. And fast. Fellow operative, and cybercrimes specialist Honey Winston prefers computers to people. But when a serial bomber threatens the world’s financial infrastructure, she’s forced to work closely with Navarro, whose notorious skill in the bedroom is as legendary as his dexterity defusing bombs. Honey and Rafael must fight sparks hot enough to melt their resolve, and push beyond fear itself, as they join forces in a bid to race the clock before a sinister and lethal bomber proves just how much they both have to lose. T-FLAC is back, and the timer is counting down in the most pulse-pounding explosive op yet.

I'm usually not a big fan of book trailers but the one for Ice Cold is so well done and captures the intrigue, mystery, steaminess of Cherry's books very well, I just had to share it.




Be sure to check out her website and follow her on facebook. She loves to give books away!


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Sunday, September 30, 2012

BW40: Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week  September 30 through October 6, 2012

This week marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week which celebrates our freedom to read.  Every year objections are filed about books containing subjects such as sex, profanity and racism as an attempt to have them removed from school and library shelves.   Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association and calls attention to those books challenged, restricted, removed or banned each year.    Bill Moyers and his wife, Judith Davidson Moyers are the honorary Co-chairs this year and here is what Mr. Moyers has to say about Banned Books.


Listed below are some of the books included on the 2010-2011 list as reported by the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom.


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 
My Mom's Having a Baby by Dori Hillestad Butler 
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
The Koran 
Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India 
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon 
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison 
ttyl by Lauren Myracle 
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 



Check out Banned Books Week.org or American Library Assocation for the list of frequently challenged books and why they have been challenged.  There has been quite a few classics challenged over the years. 

According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike


Visit Banned and Challenged Classics to see why these classic books have been challenged.

Read a banned book this week and support our freedom to read. 

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

BW39: Happy Autumn




Happy Autumn!


Seeing as it is the beginning of Autumn, thought I'd see what books were available with the title of Autumn in them and found these three interesting titles. 


Wicked Autumn

Synopsis:  "Having spent almost three years in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip, Max Tudor is well acclimated to his post as vicar at the church of St. Edwold’s.  This quaint town seems to be the perfect new home for Max, who has fled a harrowing past serving in the British counter-intelligence agency, the MI5. Now he has found a measure of peace among urban escapees and yoga practitioners, artists and New Agers. But this serenity is quickly shattered when the highly vocal and unpopular president of the Women’s Institute turns up dead at the Harvest Fayre. The death looks like an accident, but Max’s training as a former agent kicks in, and before long he suspects foul play....."



Drums of Autumn ( # 4 in Outlander Series)
Synopsis:  It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna.... 

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...."


The Thousand Autumns
Synopsis - "The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn  a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancĂ©e back in Holland.

But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”

 More books to add to my ever growing wishlist.  Do your own search and see what interesting book you find with the word Autumn in the title. Or try Fall and spend an hour or two perusing some fascinating titles.


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Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.