Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Even More Re-Reading!

Yeah...perhaps it is me being budget conscious or just a strong desire to re-visit some past stories, but I am at it again. I finished up the 2 Tuscany books by Frances Mayes I adore (I really need to go to Tuscany someday), and now I am diving back in to the Harry Potter series.

There was a brief interlude while I read one of my husband's fantasy books, Legend by David Gemmel. It was an easy read, but not so memorable. Set in a Conan type world there was a fair number of heroes, under-dogs and mystical monks. You know...that sort of book.

But on to another go at Hogwarts...it is pretty amusing to re-read and see Harry Potter as the plucky young misfit again. It will also be a treat to read all of the books back to back and not have to wait for the next one to be released!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Too, too long!

It been ages since I updated my reading list...oops!

I feel like there may be one or two books I have forgotten since it has been so long since my last update, but if I figure it out I will add them in later. In all of the time that has passed I have done a fair share of re-reading old favorites like the Hitchiker's series by Douglas Adams and Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes as well as devouring a new favorite...the Twilight Saga!

One of my best friends since kindergarten brought her set along when went on vacation for a week down in Sea Isle, NJ. I didn't start reading until mid-week and let's just say devour is the right word! I read Twilight in just under 24hrs, New Moon around the same speed, but slowed down with Eclipse as we had to head to my home town and throw a surprise party for my Dad's 60th b-day. If I had a block of time I probably would have sped through that too!!! And unfortunately I left the 3rd book at my parents which caused another slight delay (right before the action starts of course) so I ended up buying the box set for my self at Words so that I could get to the exciting parts of Eclipse and get rolling on Breaking Dawn. Yes, all 4 books were read in under a week!

Now, I can not say that these are the best books I have ever read but they are like literary crack...completely addicting! Some parts are completely predictable and some what formulaic from book to book, but perhaps it taps in to the geeky high school feelings and the need to belong coupled with the perfect guy (albeit an un-dead guy) that makes these books so compelling to girls of all ages.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Off to a good start!

This year I am starting off with a bit of classic sci-fi. I already mentioned The Revenants by Sheri S. Tepper and it was an interesting book with a very slow build up and all too quick of an ending. I might have preferred a more even spread of interest. It is impossible to discuss my favorite parts with out spoiling some of the surprises. There are many twists I did not see coming in the final chapters which seem completely obvious in hind-sight (and I am usually pretty good at spotting these sorts of things!

Next on the night stand was The Other Wind by Ursula LeGuin. It is part of the Earthsea Tales which I read ages ago but for some reason never followed through. I would like to go back a re-read the series in order one after another because I felt like there were references (although thoroughly explained in this book) that I could have better remembered if I had read all of the books more recently. It was a nice conclusion story that wrapped up story lines while weaving its own independant tale.

Now I am reading another collection of stories under one cover by Ursula LeGuin entitled, Wolrds of Illusion and Exhile: Three Complete Novels of the Hannish Series. It is set in the universe of another LeGuin novel, The Left Hand of Darkness which I read for a sci-fi/gender studies course in college. I can't really recall much about the book, but I must have liked it to hold on to it for 12 years! I am through the first two stories which do not take place in the same time frame but the second references the first as part of an ancestry. Both stories tell tales of space travelers exploring their universe and chronicaling worlds to join the "League" (yes- similar to Star Trek only less time in space, more time stranded on planets). The tales have far more to do with interspecies relations (parallel to racial relations in our world) and the consequences of war, quests, and that ilk. My plan is to re-read The Left Hand of Darkness to see how the stories relate to each other.

Books in 2009

1. The Revenants by Sheri S. Tepper (started in '08, finished in '09)
2. The Other Wind by Ursula LeGuin
3. Worlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula LeGuin
4. Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland
5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (3rd or 4th time re-reading!)
6. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (3rd or 4th time re-reading!)
7. Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams (3rd or 4th time re-reading!)
8. So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish by Douglas Adams (3rd or 4th time re-reading!)
9. Young Zaphod Plays it Safe by Douglas Adams (3rd or 4th time re-reading!)
10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
11. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
12. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
13. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
14. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
15. Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
16. Legend by David Gemmel
17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling (re-reading)
18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (re-reading...in progress)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winding Down...2008

I finished Lion Among Men and found it to be another intriguing book in the Wicked series. With out giving away too much of the ending I can say that there are more questions raised than answered and while we learn a great deal about the "cowardly" lion I felt like I only had a glimpse and there must be so much more that is going untold. I know there were several references to past events that made me want to re-read the three books in the Wicked series back-to-back to see if there were connections that I was grasping to make.

The last book to grace my nightstand this year is The Revenants by Sheri S. Tepper. The husbeast and I were clearing out some of his old boxes from high school/college and a few older books he deemed not worth keeping were tossed in a box marked for recycling. It was not until I knew that I was almost done with Lion Among Men that I gave a peak in to the box and realized I recognized the author of one of the books. Back in college I read Gate to Womens Country in a lit course I took and figured I could give it a try. It is too early to form an opinion at this point...but I will close out the year in between the pages of this old paper back.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I forgot to mention in my last post that I re-read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which is another great book on my shelf. It is a love story, tale of time travel and a nice way of blending two perspectives of a story into one. I also could not resist re-reading the rest of the Josephine B. stories by Sandra Gulland. I imagine I will read all three before I move on to A Lion Among Men!

In looking at my list for this year I am glad to see I am averaging a book or more per month. I love reading and my goal is to read no less than 12 books per year. It was tough the past few years with all of the academic reading (which I often included) but I hope to up the numbers each year to keep my imagination and brain going!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Re-Reading

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, but I have been buying fewer books, and with less time to go to the library I have hit my own bookshelf to read old favorites once again. Both Intrusions by Ursula Hegi and The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland are books I read quite a while ago, have moved with me several times and I thought deserved a re-read.

Intrusions did not hold up quite as well as I hoped, but was entertaining none the less. I love that the story is told from the perspective of an author writing a book and her characters intrude and try to influence the story. Apparent to no one else, there is the obvious line being walked between sanity and delusion. There is also the distinct dated feeling about parts of the book that were almost more humorous than the actual story events. The book was only written 11 years ago but the missed commuications and complications that occur (which would never happen now because most people have cell phones) feels odd.

I adore The Josephine Bonaparte Collection by Sandra Gulland. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. is the first of three books written in a journal/letter set up. Some how Gulland is able to almost immediately create a a bond (esp. for me) between reader and characters. This book is filled with vivid imagining of the time of the Revolution in France and Josephine's life prior to her life with Napolean. Gulland's research and attention to historical facts are artfully blended with fictional interpretation. It has been nearly 10 years since this book came out and I used to be so disappointed that Sandra Gulland had not published any further books...until today! I was on amazon.com looking up her name and I see that a new book came out in June 2008!!! It appears that Mistress of the Sun is a tale of Louis XIV's mistress, Louise de la Vallière. I did not blink twice before adding it to my wish list! There is also a much older book about Anne Boleyn that is most likely out of print that I will try to dig up as well.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Right now I am finishing up Wyrmhole which is a good passive read...it is a bit cheesy and a blend of far too many genres, but not a bad read. Hey- cheese can be good, I like cheese. As for genre identity crisis this story is a sci-fi/futuristic, super-natural crime investigation story. Huh? Yeah.

Basically the central character, Jack Stein, is a psychic investigator hired by a corporation to find out what happened to some miners who disappeared from a site on another planet. His investigative powers are heavily based on his dreams (the psychic part) and his cunning detective skills. The futuristic place the story is set is interesting and the author includes it almost like another character rather than a backdrop. There are links to alchemy and ancient symbols that pop up and right now are seemingly unrelated but I am sure will influence the outcome.

We shall see how this turns out. It is a book I received in a swap and not something I would normally read, but it is a good light summer read for sure.

Before this book I re-read Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje which I forgot I had already read. I liked Amazon.com's description better than my own so here is a quote:

In his Booker Prize-winning third novel, The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje explored the nature of love and betrayal in wartime. His fourth, Anil's Ghost, is also set during a war, but unlike in World War II, the enemy is difficult to identify in the bloody sectarian upheaval that ripped Sri Lanka apart in the 1980s and '90s. The protagonist, Anil Tissera, a native Sri Lankan, left her homeland at 18 and returns to it 15 years later only as part of an international human rights fact-finding mission. In the intervening years she has become a forensic anthropologist--a career that has landed her in the killing fields of Central America, digging up the victims of Guatemala's dirty war. Now she's come to Sri Lanka on a similar quest. But as she soon learns, there are fundamental differences between her previous assignment and this one:
The bodies turn up weekly now. The height of the terror was 'eighty-eight and 'eighty-nine, but of course it was going on long before that. Every side was killing and hiding the evidence. Every side. This is an unofficial war, no one wants to alienate the foreign powers. So it's secret gangs and squads. Not like Central America. The government was not the only one doing the killing.
In such a situation, it's difficult to know who to trust. Anil's colleague is one Sarath Diyasena, a Sri Lankan archaeologist whose political affiliations, if any, are murky. Together they uncover evidence of a government-sponsored murder in the shape of a skeleton they nickname Sailor. But as Anil begins her investigation into the events surrounding Sailor's death, she finds herself caught in a web of politics, paranoia, and tragedy.

I loved reading The English Patient and Ondaatje's way of slowly telling a story so that you not only care deeply about the characters, you are shattered by the book ending. I have only read these two books of his and I look forward to reading more.

When I love an author I tend to want to read all of the books they have written. So is the case with the next book on my night stand. Tim Robbins is one of my favorite authors. His quirky, often irreverent stories are a rouse for a much deeper, more meaningful situation with in the story. Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas is a title that alludes to more of what I have loved in the past.

I first got hooked on Robbins when I was in college. I was working my summer job at the mall is a cutesy country craft decor store that hardly anyone would visit. Someone had left a promo mini-book with a few chapters of Skinny Legs and All which I read out of boredom at first. I read it, liked what I saw and filed away the name for a future read. It wasn't until many years later that I finally bought the book and loved it. It is my most favorite book of his and I would recommend it heartily!