Howl's Moving Castle
The Cat in the Hat
Green Eggs and Ham
The Magician's Nephew
The Lord of the Rings
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set
The Once and Future King
Flame Of Recca, Volume 1 (Flame of Recca
The Return of the King
The Two Towers
Signet Classics The Inferno
Picture of Dorian Gray
The Book Thief
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Hangman's Daughter
Alice I Have Been

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book #4: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

This is pretty standard Twilight fare. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but it was along the same lines as the main series. There were some interesting things about it, like getting to see how Victoria went about actually planning her revenge on Edward and Bella. And seeing things through the eyes of a non "vegetarian" vampire was cool too. I feel, however, like this was a bit of a missed opportunity.

It's a very short book as intended, but it could have easily been made longer. We start out in the middle of Bree's "short second life," and I think I would have preferred that we started out at her vampiric conception. Meyer describes in the main series how many of the characters became vampires, but I think it would have been worth it to actually feel it happening in a stream-of-conciousness style as it was happening instead of being told in retrospect. Perhaps it's just me.

Either way, it was pretty much what you expect from a book like this -- easy to read, slightly cheesy romance, and embarrassingly entertaining.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book #3: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

On the same Friday night I found The Year of the Hare, I found this book. Well, actually, a friend of mine found it first, showed it to me, and I bought it first! I'm a book thief!

I got sucked into this book almost immediately. It's not what I would usually call historical fiction, but I think technically it is. I love learning about the way things happened, the history of things, and especially if it has to do with literature.

This book is about Alice Liddell, the woman who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He's much older than her (20 years to be exact), but the two of them are clearly in love, even though at the time she was only a child. At first I was like, "Ewww, pedophile!" But then my logic kicked in, and I realized that what was happening was not a revolting thing. It's just very important to keep Victorian views in mind when you read this novel.

Alice is the middle child, the rebellious one, the messy one, the individual. She is a constant rival to her older sister, Ina, but dearly loved her little sister Edith. Her mother had no love for her, and she had to find the answer to all her troubles. She finds that in Dodgson (Carroll), and becomes his inspiration for photography and, of course, writing.

I'm having a hard time describing why I loved this book so much, but I did. It's a perfect and tragic picture of an original child star and how she grows up. I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. I plan on going back to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland soon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book #2 The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

I was wandering around in Barnes and Noble with my friends one Friday night (I know, we're nerds) and stumbled over this book on the new release table. I was immediately interested by the title, even more so by the synopsis on the back, and then completely sold when a review compared it to Life of Pi by Yann Martel, which I adore. What a dirty trick!

This book was...cute? The main character, a reporter, carries this hare with him on his pseudo-escape through Finland from a life he doesn't like. I expected a lot more personal reflection from the character, but instead felt pelted by a lot of little anecdotal stories. I never felt involved in the story after the first couple of chapters, which were in my opinion the most exciting and interesting. I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn't!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book#1 Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity

Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen was my first book of the year. It's about a girl who grew up feeling unloved and unnoticed, so she acted out and looked for love in all the wrong places (sing the song, you know you want to!).

My heart ached while reading this. I grew up in this incredibly loving home. My parents paid more attention that any teenage would want, but looking back on it, I'm so glad they did. I hate to think how I would have felt in Kerry's position. Her mom was self-absorbed and abandoned her daughter's to follow a dream. Her father was no more mature than Kerry herself. I don't think that my reaction to such treatment would have ever been to become a promiscuous teen or woman, but probably to have become more like her older sister, Tyler. Tyler became closed off and more what today's society would define as "emo." She just had a dark outlook, but she still tried to relate to her parents as best she could instead of rebelling against them.

Overall, I would give this book a 4 out of 5, although I have a feeling that your opinion of this book will be strongly affected by how well you can relate to her situation.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let the Games Begin!

I have tried this blogging thing before, failed at it, and stopped. I'm trying again because I actually feel like I'm doing something worth talking about this year! Although technically, after too much free time in my 4th consecutive snow day, I'm now doing 9 (edit: dang it Stephanie!) things.

1. My own personal challenge: One book per week all year long (52 books)
2. The Global Book Challenge (7 books)
3. The British Book Challenge (6 books)
4. The Eastern European Book Challenge (4 books)
5. The Nordic Book Challenge (2 books)
6. The Ireland Book Challenge (2 books)
7. Historical Fiction Challenge (5 books)
8. South Asian Challenge (1 book)
9. Memorable Memoirs Challenge (4 books)
10. Gothic Challenge (5 books)

Links for numbers 2 through 10 are on the right side of my blog!

The personal challenge is the most important to me. I spent a lot of time in the past few years feeling overwhelmed, and I stopped making time for myself. I hardly read anything that wasn't for a class or something I was supposed to be teaching. My 52 book challenge is me making that stress-free time for myself each week to do something that I have loved since I was little. So far, I'm on track! Let's hope I can keep it up and even exceed my goal!

Now, as for the other challenges, I have a good friend of mine to thank for me finding the Nordic Challenge, but the rest was all me! I'm going to be reading 52 books this year, so why not make it a more social endeavor? Plus, these constraints will make me choose books more diverse than what I might normally choose on my own.