Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011 Wrap-Up

I can hardly believe November's over already! I've decided to try something new, and write a post at the end of each month summing up my book-related activities for the month.

Books I read (linked to the reviews)

Witch Hunt by Nick Chivers (NetGalley)
The Shining by Stephen King (TBR pile)
Fray by Joss Whedon (Re-read)
The Revenge of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz (New book)
Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook (review will go up closer to release date) (Galley Grab)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volume 4 by Joss Whedon (New book)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volume 5 by Joss Whedon et al. (New book)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volume 6 by Jane Espenson (New book)
A Full Moon is Rising by Marilyn Singer (NetGalley)
The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket (New book)
The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn Mcvickar Edwards (Library book)

Books I bought

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Predators and Prey by Joss Whedon
The Revenge of the Dwarves
by Markus Heitz
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Time of Your Life
by Joss Whedon
Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Retreat by Jane Espenson
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar
Children by Random Riggs

The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket

Progress on challenges

The Shining was my November book for the Read Your OWN Library! Challenge.

I also read all the books I bought this month (except the one that I just bought yesterday), which means my tbr list didn't get any bigger!

Don't forget to sign up for the 2012 Anne Rice Challenge!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Volumes 1-6 by Joss Whedon (and others)

I decided to combine all the volumes I've read so far of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 into one review, mostly because I read the first 3 before I started this blog, so never wrote reviews for them.

Buffy season 8 takes place (obviously) after the end of season 7 of the show. OK, this is gonna be impossible to do spoiler-free, so if you haven't finished Buffy (the show) yet you should just stop reading now because there be SPOILERS ahead!

OK, so Buffy is at the head of a huge army of Slayers that has bases and squads all over the world and it's pretty awesome. They're up against an Initiative-like military organisation, as well as a mysterious masked Big Bad named Twilight. Those guys might all be working together? I tend to get confused about people's allegiances. There are various subplots along the way, including Buffy going to the future and meeting Fray (awesome) and the Slayers going to Tibet and making what I feel was the most stupid decision in the history of the Buffyverse (not so awesome).
The writing is amazing. Even the parts that are written by people who didn't write for the show are great. The characters talk exactly how you would expect them to, with just the right amount of wittiness.

The art is of mixed quality. I tend not to keep track of who the artists are for each chapter (I'm not a big comic person), but I do know that there are some parts where everyone looks like they should, and others where they're unrecognizable. There were a couple times when a chapter would end by just showing a character and you're supposed to be like "omg it's him!" but instead I was all "wait, who is that?" Because the guys all look the same, except for Xander and Giles.
Honestly, I think that if the plot and the writing and everything were exactly the same, but it was in the form of a tv episode (or maybe a novel; I haven't read any Buffy novels yet, so it's hard to say), I would have nothing bad to say. I think all my issues stem from my confusion, which is largely caused by difficult-to-recognise characters. This is the problem I have with comics.

So, the first three volumes were my favourites, and they all get 5 stars. No complaints there. The next three were confusing for me, though I think the sixth one was less so than the fourth and fifth. I'm hoping for more awesome ahead with the last two volumes in the series, which I'll hopefully be getting for the Winter Holidays!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Get Read-y for 2012! (and, therefore, a read-a-thon)

The Get Read-y for 2012 challenge (or theme, or whatever) will run for the entire month of December 2011. The goal is to get your tbr pile down to a small, manageable pile. My reaction to that is the same as Bev's from My Reader's Block: maniacal laughter.

My tbr pile will not be small and manageable for years, if not decades. I've come to accept that. So, my goal for the month will be to make sure that as of the New Year, I have no library books out waiting to be read, and I have no NetGalley books, etc., waiting to be read or reviewed. So, my tbr pile will still be huge, but it will all be read-at-my-leisure type stuff, not omg-I-need-to-read-this-by-Tuesday! type stuff.

Accordingly, this weekend I will be participating in a Belated Readathon. I actually did the last Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, but I'm gonna do this one anyway because I had so much fun and don't want to wait until April to do it again. :) I may or may not stay up the whole time this time, though. But in any case, it will help me get a few books out of the way before the end of the year.

The readathon starts on December 3rd at 6:00am if you're on Central Time (ie. you live in Winnipeg, Austin, Chicago, Mexico City, Birmingham, or one of a whole bunch of other cities).

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to do one big post that I update throughout the day, or a bunch of separate update posts, but in any case I'll only do updates every 2 hours or so, so you won't have 24 posts from me in 24 hours flooding your feed reader. :)

This is a really small read-a-thon compared to Dewey's, so it's important that we support each other, because silence sucks when you're staying up all night! So if you're participating, let me know so we can cheer each other on!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Yule Spirit Reading Challenge

I've decided to take part in a slightly modified version of the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge hosted by the True Book Addict.

Instead of reading books about Christmas, though, I'm gonna read books about Yule (with maybe a Christmas book or two thrown in). I'm starting a bit late, but should still be able to fit quite a few in by the end of the challenge.

There are 3 levels for adult books, plus one for movies and one for kids' books:

  • Candy Cane (read 1 book)
  • Mistletoe (read 2-4 books)
  • Christmas Tree (read 5 or 6 books)
  • Fa La La La Films (watch Christmas movies!)
  • Visions of Sugar Plums (read children's Christmas books)
For the full rules, visit the challenge site. I'll be going for the Christmas Tree level (or in my case the Yule Tree level). I'll also be doing Fa La La La Films, because I looooove holiday movies, and Visions of Sugar Plums, which I hope still counts when you're reading kids' books to yourself and not to kids, because I don't actually have any kids.

I'll be writing review posts for the books as usual, and I'll also maintain a list of what I read and watch for the challenge here. I hope you'll join me in the holiday spirit!

Grown-up books read:
  1. The Return of the Light by Carolyn McVickar Edwards (November 28-30)
  2. 14 Favorite Christmas Stories (December 3-4)
  3. The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews (November 30 - December 12)
  4. The Solstice Cup by Rachel Dunstan Muller (December 12-14) 
  5. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (December 20-22) (Really, this one could count as a kids' book, too!)

Kids' books read:
  1. The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson (December 5)

Holiday movies watched:
  1. Jingle All the Way (November 27)
  2. Home Alone (November 29)
  3. Home Alone 2 (December 2)
  4. The Santa Clause (December 8)
  5. The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause (December 16)
  6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (December 20)
  7. A Christmas Carol (December 23)
  8. Elf (December 23)
  9. Scrooged (December 25) (This one is my favourite, and a family tradition!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Revenge of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz

Title: The Revenge of the Dwarves
Author: Markus Heitz
Publication Date: November 2011 (in Canada)
Length: 777 pages (paperback)

The Revenge of the Dwarves is the third book in the series (I thought it was a trilogy but there's a preview of a 4th book in the back of this book!!!). I didn't review the first two (The Dwarves and The War of the Dwarves) here (because I read them in 2009 and 2010, respectively), but I'll tell you now, they both got 5 stars and a whole lot of gushing from me. High fantasy at its finest.

So, I feel like some of my feelings while reading this book were tainted by the fact that I couldn't help but compare it to two of my favourite books ever. There were some things I didn't like as much. First of all, there were times when I was confused. It seemed like I was supposed to be gradually learning things at the same time as the characters, but my memory wasn't quite as good as theirs, so instead I was like, wait, what? *flip back several chapters* Oooooh. It wasn't the end of the world or anything, but with the first two books I always felt like I knew what was going on, even as I was being shocked and awed.

Also, there was this weird thing where characters' genders kept getting pointed out. I've always loved books (like the first two) that have male and female characters in various roles and just don't even make a thing about it. But suddenly in this book there were mentions of "dwarves, men and women alike". They're still sharing roles, just now it's being pointed out. Again, not a huge deal.

OK bad stuff's over! When I try to look at this book without comparing it to its predecessors, it was still an awesome book. As always, Tungdil and friends have exciting adventures involving saving all of Girdlegard, Tungdil deals with the consequences of his wandering heart, Boindil occasionally goes crazy with blood lust, and Rodario manages to sleep with all the ladies without being an annoying character.

The setting is one of my favourite fantasy worlds. Girdegard is a region surrounded by mountains, which separate it from the mysterious Outer Lands. It's split into six human kingdoms (and queendoms; did you know that's a word?). There are five Dwarven kingdoms and queendoms in the mountains, where the dwarves protect Girdlegard from invading monsters. There are also elves, who are both beautiful and secretive! (Oh, high fantasy. Your species are so consistent.) The world is so well developed that you can really feel like you're in the story. And the characters have such full personalities and backgrounds! Markus Heitz is a truly brilliant weaver of worlds.

So, all those opinions might have seemed a bit confusing, but overall my feelings are very positive. If you've read the first two, you have to read this one, and if you haven't read the first two, you have to read the first two!

Four out of five stars, and a recommendation to anyone who likes high fantasy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Unraveling Isobel

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

To participate, just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week is from Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook. The book doesn't come out until January, so this is a real teaser! I probably won't post my review until shortly before the publication date. Today's teaser describes a feeling I know all too well:
I would have sworn the road into town had been flat yesterday, but now that I was biking, it was clear there were hills. Lots of hills. It was also clear that my cardio levels were that of an eighty-year-old woman who smoked a few packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sign up: The 2012 Anne Rice Challenge!

Update: Post your reviews here!

I've been trying to read all the Anne Rice books for awhile now, but I always read a few and then move on to something else, simply because the books are kind of long and I have trouble committing to so much pre-determined reading. But 2012 will be the year.

Join me in one of several levels, according to how many Anne Rice books you plan to read in 2012.

  • Ebooks are fine. Audiobooks are fine as long as they are the unabridged versions.
  • Rereads and crossovers with other challenges are fine.
  • You can change your level at any time.
  • The challenge goes from January 1st to December 31st, 2012.
  • If you read, for example, the edition that has the first 3 Vampire Chronicles books together in one volume, that still counts as 3. We're going by how the books were originally published.
  • All books written by Anne Rice count, not just the Vampire Chronicles, including those written under a pseudonym.
  • You can sign up any time from now until November 30, 2012.
  • Louis de Pointe du Lac (1 to 5 books)
  • Lestat de Lioncourt (6 to 10 books)
  • Armand (11 to 15 books)
  • Marius de Romanus (16 to 20 books)
  • Maharet (21 to 25)
  • Akasha (26 to 30)
I plan to participate at the level of Marius de Romanus, as I currently have 20 Anne Rice books I plan to read. I may jump up to Maharet if I get the few recent books of hers I'm missing. I've read 8 of her books in the past, including the first 6 Vampire Chronicles books and her first 2 standalones. I'll be rereading the Vampire Chronicles to refresh my memory for the later books in the series, but won't be rereading the standalones. I'm even going to give her religious books a try. I will not, however, be reading her erotica, or her autobiography. Therefore, the books I hope to read are as follows (as I write the reviews I'll link to them here):

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Beginnings on Friday: November 18

Book Beginnings on Friday is a bookish meme hosted by A Few More Pages. Here's how you participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you're reading. Then, if you would like, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. Then go add your link here.

I'm currently reading The Revenge of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz. Here are the first coupla sentences:
Gronsha stood still, listening intently in the swirling fog that his yellow eyes were quite unable to penetrate, though he was one of the finest scouts in Prince Ushnart's army. To tell the truth, he was one of only three scouts still left to Prince Ushnart. The others who had set off to reconnoiter for the Prince now lay at the Stone Gate, their heads struck clean from their shoulders.
I love these books so much, you guys. If you enjoy high fantasy at all you need to check out Markus Heitz.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fray by Joss Whedon

Title: Fray
Author: Joss Whedon
Artists: Karl Moline (Penciller), Andy Owens (Inker), Dave Stewart (Colourist), Michelle Madsen (Colourist), and Michelle Madsen (Letterer)
Publication Date: November 2003
Length: 216 pages (paperback)

I read Fray last year, but decided to give it a reread before starting Buffy Season 8 Volume 4, because it has a connection to Fray and I wanted to refresh my memory. It was every bit as good as I remembered.

The book takes place hundreds of years in the future, when the Slayer line has ended and been more or less forgotten. But now, vampires have started coming back into the world, so another Slayer has been called: Melaka Fray. But Fray hasn't had the dreams that Slayers normally have, giving them a sense of their purpose and heritage.

Fray is a great character. Joss Whedon imbued with aspects of both Buffy and Faith, creating a young woman who's strong, clever, witty, and doesn't take crap from anybody. Most of the other characters are either bad guys, or good guys that I just don't feel a strong attachment to, with the exception of Loo. This is Loo:

She is the most delightful character ever. Fray calls her "Rocketmouth" because she talks in long incoherent string of often unrelated topics. This is Loo meeting Urkonn for the first time:

The one problem I've had both times I've read this book is that I tend to get a bit confused about people's intentions. That's probably just a fault of my own, but I find it hard to know at times what people's motivations are, and where they sit on the spectrum between good and evil. This also might be because I don't read a whole lot of comics, so I sometimes find them a bit harder to follow than novels.

As for the art, I have nothing but praise. Fray is what I wish every female superhero was. She's tough and beautiful, while having a realistically shaped body, and wearing clothes that actually make sense for her profession. No impractical high heels for Fray! Also no unrealistically big boobs. This is one of the things Joss Whedon insisted on, which is just one of the many things I love about Joss Whedon.

Overall I give Fray 4 out of 5 stars. It only lost one because it occasionally confused me. Highly recommended for any Buffyverse fan, but it's accessible to people who aren't familiar with the Buffyverse, too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Revenge of the Dwarves

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

To participate, just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week is from The Revenge of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz:
Without warning, the dwarf struck him on the head with the flat of his shovel, sending Malbalor flying back against the wall half senseless.
"Treachery!" he shouted as loud as he could, but then his heavy eyelids closed.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Musing Mondays: Collecting Authors

Carabosse's Library posted the following Musing Mondays question today, and I just had to respond:
Are you currently collecting any authors? Why?
Do you have all of their books? If not, why not?
Did you buy all the books in the collection at the same time, or did you buy a book here, a book there? Have you actually read all of the collection? If not, why not?
I collect authors compulsively. It's like an addiction. And, to make matters worse, I have the tendency to collect an author's entire works before I start reading them (though I probably read one or two, which got me hooked).

For the last several years, my big collecting goals have been R.L. Stine and K.A. Applegate. One day, I got it in my head that I needed all the Animorphs and Goosebumps books, and it spread from there to Fear Street, etc. Why? I don't know. I enjoy Goosebumps and Animorphs (even though in general I'm not a huge reader of kids' books). And to be honest, I like the challenge. These are not easy books to find.

I now have all the Goosebumps books, and I just obtained the last Animorphs book I was missing. I've still got a way to go on Fear Street, though. Soon, I plan to read both those series all the way through, and I really, really hope it's worth the huge effort that went into scouring used book stores for the later books that didn't have a huge printing.

Other collections I've completed over the last few years include Anne Rice, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I'm still working on Frank Herbert and Terry Pratchet...

Tell me about your collection! Is it as big an obsession for you as it is for me?

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Shining by Stephen King

Title: The Shining
Author: Stephen King
Publication Date: January 1977
Length: 683 pages (paperback)

For those of you not familiar with the story, The Shining is about a family, the Torrances, who stay at a Colorado hotel called the Overlook for the winter, so Jack (the dad) can be the caretaker during the off-season. Jack has a history of alcoholism and temper-losing, Wendy is always scared that Jack is drinking again, and their son Danny mysteriously knows what people are thinking. The Overlook gets snowed in every winter, so once they're up there there will be NO ESCAPE. Creepy times ensue.
I must tell you now, gentlereaders, that this book scared me right out of my pants. (What does that phrase even mean?) This is the kind of book that makes me jumpy if I read it at night or when I'm home alone.

However, do not expect to have the pants scared off of you quickly. Oh no. This book takes about 300 pages to get to the family moving into the hotel. Then another hundred or two to get to where they're snowed in. Really, the bulk of the action happens in the last 100 pages. However, at no point did I really feel that it was dragging on, or that there was any filler. It was more like hours and hours and hours of suspense build-up (and this book took me a whole lotta hours to read; it is long). And I was totally ok with that. I think that without that buildup, the scary parts wouldn't be so utterly terrifying.

And the writing. Oh, the writing. I LOVE the way a sentence is broken up with a whole paranthetical paragraph of thoughts in the back of someone's head. It's like the book version of a flashback in a movie. A character is talking and suddenly (FLASHBACK!) and you're back to their sentence like nothing happened. The reader gets so much of the characters' thoughts in this way.

So, to summarise: well-written, terrifying, almost unbearable amount of suspense.

My rating: Loved it!

This book counts towards the Read Your OWN Library! Challenge (hosted by The Beauty of Eclecticism) for November. For December, my book for the challenge will be Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WWW Wednesday - November 9

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. To participate, simply answer these questions three:

1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you'll read next?

1. I decided to do this meme today because I'm so excited about the book I'm reading! Yesterday I bought The Revenge of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz. It's the third book in the Dwarves trilogy, translated from the German, and I've been waiting for it for years. It just came out a few days ago.

I'm also in the middle of Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant, but I keep putting it aside for exciting new things. I'll finish it eventually.

2. I recently finished reading The Shining by Stephen King. Stay tuned for my review, which will be up on Friday!

3. If I have time after reading The Revenge of the Dwarves before the end of the month, I'll read The Beatrice Letters and The End by Lemony Snicket to finish off A Series of Unfortunate Events. At the beginning of December I'll be reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

What are you reading? Tell us in the comments, or link to your own WWW post!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Shining

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

To participate, just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser is from The Shining by Stephen King:
Jack awoke from a thin and uneasy sleep where huge and ill-defined shapes chased him through endless snowfields to what he first thought was another dream: darkness, and in it, a sudden mechanical jumble of noises--clicks and clanks, hummings, rattlings, snaps and whooshes.
Then Wendy sat up beside him and he knew it was no dream.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Towering Pile is on Twitter!

The Towering Pile is now on Twitter!

Follow me on Twitter (@TheToweringPile) to be alerted to new blog posts, and to get my thoughts and feelings about a book that don't make it into the review. I tend to talk to the people around me a lot about the books I'm reading, and it couldn't possibly all fit into a book review, so now I'll have a place to share good quotes, etc.

I hope to see you around on Twitter! If you tweet about books too, leave your Twitter username in the comments so I can follow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Witch Hunt by Nick Chivers

Title: Witch Hunt
Author: Nick Chivers
Publication Date: October 31, 2011
Length: 195 pages (ebook)

So, I went through a lot of phases of feeling during this book. There were times when I couldn't stop complaining about it, but then I'd sit down and read it for an hour without stopping, needing to know what happens next.

To briefly summarise, Mike is a witch with crazy amounts of power, and in the past he had the Bands of Binding put on him, which dampen that power. He did this for mysterious reasons! But don't worry, you will learn about them! So suddenly, his best friend Drew shows up with his soul-bound partner Jerome, telling Mike that someone from his past wants him dead, and thus the adventure begins! Most of the book follows the three of them as they try to make it to Brazil where a magical council will be meeting to figure this whole mess out. On the way, Mike proves to be rather emotionally volatile when it comes to love interests, in a way that is mostly endearing though sometimes a bit jarring.

Now, on to the critiquing!

First, I had issues with the writing. Some of the dialogue felt a bit unnatural, and I definitely felt that there were not enough contractions (people say "don't" a lot more than they say "do not" in natural speech, for example). So sometimes that could disrupt the flow a bit. When I'm reading dialogue, I don't want to notice the writing style. I want to be able to get caught up in the conversation.

On the other hand, I really did enjoy the story. I love the whole premise of the book. The witches have really cool powers, the characters are likable, and I enjoyed the ending.

Overall, I just feel like it could have used a bit more depth. I liked it, but wanted more out of it. The characters were good ideas for characters, but I felt like for some of them I didn't get enough background, enough personality. I definitely would have liked more out of Rick, because I love the whole "forest guardian" concept of his character.

So, I would rate this book a somewhere-in-the-middle. It gets high ratings in some areas and low ones in others, balancing out to right around the middle.

Full disclosure: Free ebook copy received from the publisher.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge OK, I'm fast becoming a reading challenge addict. The object of the Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge (hosted by The Book Vixen) is simply to read more books in a year than you did the year before.

2011 was my first year out of university, so the number of books I read skyrocketed from the year before. I'm hoping I can continue that trend and bump it up even higher for 2012. I'll be going for the level Out of Breath, which aims for 6 to 10 more books than the year before.

At the end of the year I'll update this post with the number of books I read in 2011, at which point I can set my goal for 2012. Then I'll maintain a list of the books I read here, so it'll be easy to see my progress.

Update: I read 72 books in 2011! I can't believe it! Therefore, I'll set 78 books as my goal for 2012. Wish me luck!

Books read so far in 2012:
  1. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  2. The Grimoire Chronicles: Veil Between Worlds by Sally Dubats
  3. Steam-Powered 2: More Lesbian Steampunk Stories edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft
  4. Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
  5. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
  6. Caught in Crystal by Patricia C. Wrede
  7. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
  8. The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
  9. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
  10. The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn
  11. Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
  12. The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry
  13. The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
  14. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  15. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  16. John Dies at the End by David Wong
  17. Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by R.L. LaFevers
  18. The Twits by Roald Dahl
  19. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  20. Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C. Clarke
  21. Risen (The Dark Victorian #1) by Elizabeth Watasin
  22. Charmed Season 9 Volume 1 by Paul Ruditis
  23. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
  24. The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa
  25. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
  26. Jesus on Mars by Philip José Farmer
  27. Running in Bed by Jeffrey Sharlach
  28. The Mummy by Anne Rice
  29. Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides by Ariel Meadow Stallings
  30. The Invasion (Animorphs #1) by K.A. Applegate
  31. Final Crossing by Carter Wilson
  32. The Visitor (Animorphs #2) by K.A. Applegate
  33. The Marrying Kind by Ken O'Neill
  34. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  35. Xoc by Matt Dembicki
  36. The Wish List by Eoin Colfer
  37. Auraria by Tim Westover
  38. The Encounter (Animorphs #3) by K.A. Applegate
  39. A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager
  40. A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager
  41. What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor
  42. Sabrina the Teenage Witch #14: Spying Eyes by Nancy Holder
  43. Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle
  44. The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice
  45. The Enchanted Truth by Kym Petrie
  46. Quarantine by John Smolens
  47. You are Microscopic (Choose Your Own Adventure #130) by Edward Packard
  48. The Infects by Sean Beaudoin
  49. Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice
  50. Dream Magic: Awakenings by Dawn Harshaw
  51. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  52. Claws by Will Weaver
  53. The Message (Animorphs #4) by K.A. Applegate
  54. Carrie by Stephen King
  55. Change the World Before Bedtime by Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good
  56. Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon
  57. The Hermitage House Miracle by Malcolm Ater
  58. The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll
  59. The Predator (Animorphs #5) by K.A. Applegate
  60. Killer Virus (Choose Your Own Adventure #177) by R.A. Montgomery
  61. Zombie Surf Commandos from Mars by Tony Abbott
  62. The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
  63. The Capture (Animorphs #6) by K.A. Applegate
  64. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  65. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  66. Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedon
  67. The Stranger (Animorphs #7) by K.A. Applegate
  68. Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler 
  69. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
  70. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
  71. Uglies: Shay's Story by Scott Westerfeld 
  72. The Andalite's Gift (Megamorphs #1) by K.A. Applegate
  73. Cat or Dog for President by Julia Dweck 
  74. We're All Different but We're All Kitty Cats: First Day of School by Peter J. Goodman
  75. Skin Again by bell hooks 
  76. The Mine by John A. Heldt
  77. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd 
  78. "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" (All the Wrong Questions #1) by Lemony Snicket
  79. Twelve Months by Steven Manchester
  80. Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger
  81. S is for Space by Ray Bradbury 
  82. North Pole High: Rebel Without a Claus by Candace Jane Kringle
  83. The Tree With No Branches by Johnny Knew 
  84. The Alien (Animorphs #8) by K.A. Applegate 
  85. Fog by Caroline B. Cooney
  86. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Vol. 1, adapted by Denise Mina 
  87. The Journey by John A. Heldt
  88. Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom 
  89. The Living Room by Bill Rolfe
  90. Dented Cans by Heather Walsh

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Safe as houses

I just had the weirdest moment while reading The Shining. I'm reading along (quite enjoying it, by the way), when suddenly a character refers to the hotel as "safe as houses". What! If you are a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or Angel, you will know that "safe as houses" is one of the many uncommon phrases used in the Buffyverse, and I always assumed that Joss Whedon made it up. Apparently not. So now I don't know if Stephen King made it up, or if it was legitimately something people used to say, and it just fell out of common usage. Either way, it was a bit of a "holy cow!" moment for a huge Buffy fan like myself.

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012

I've found yet another reading challenge in which to participate for 2012. For the Mount TBR Reading Challenge, you choose a level, and commit to reading a certain number of books off your TBR pile in 2012. They must be books you already owned before January 1, 2012, and haven't read. This challenge goes along nicely with the Read Your OWN Library! Challenge.

I'm going to be ambitious and go for the level of Mt. Ararat, meaning I plan to read 40 books off my TBR pile next year. That's a pretty lofty goal, since I only expect to read around 60 books total next year (unless I get into the Goosebumps books or something else similarly quick and light). If I end up being incredibly successful, I can always switch to a higher level later on.

I will not be posting my list ahead of time, because I can't do that much planning when it comes to books. I can't even pile up books for the next week without changing them on a day to day basis. I will, however, maintain a list here as I go, linking to the review posts I write for each book, so it will be easy to keep track of my progress.

  1. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  2. The Grimoire Chronicles: Veil Between Worlds by Sally Dubats
  3. The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn
  4. Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  6. John Dies at the End by David Wong
  7. The Twits by Roald Dahl
  8. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  9. Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C. Clarke
  10. Charmed Season 9 Volume 1 by Paul Ruditis
  11. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
  12. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
  13. Jesus on Mars by Philip José Farmer
  14. The Mummy by Anne Rice
  15. The Visitor (Animorphs #2) by K.A. Applegate
  16. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  17. The Wish List by Eoin Colfer
  18. The Encounter (Animorphs #3) by K.A. Applegate
  19. Sabrina the Teenage Witch #14: Spying Eyes by Nancy Holder
  20. You are Microscopic (Choose Your Own Adventure #130) by Edward Packard
  21. Claws by Will Weaver
  22. The Message (Animorphs #4) by K.A. Applegate
  23. Carrie by Stephen King
  24. The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll
  25. Killer Virus (Choose Your Own Adventure #177) by R.A. Montgomery
  26. The Capture (Animorphs #6) by K.A. Applegate
  27. The Stranger (Animorphs #7) by K.A. Applegate 
  28. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice 
  29. The Andalite's Gift (Megamorphs #1) by K.A. Applegate
  30. S is for Space by Ray Bradbury 
  31. The Alien (Animorphs #8) by K.A. Applegate

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Welcome to the Towering Pile!

Hello! Welcome! Be careful, though. I wouldn't want a book to fall on you! The pile (the to be read pile, that is) is 643 books tall at the moment. I try to chip away at it, but it just keeps growing! So join me in my constant struggle to conquer the pile, whether you're fighting the same battle, or you just like to watch others fight it and laugh/cheer us on.

I started this blog mostly because I participated in the October 2011 Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, and really enjoyed doing it and blogging through it, but didn't want to spam my genealogy blog every time I wanted to talk about books. So now I'll have a place where I can blog to my heart's delight about the books and snacks I've got planned for the next read-a-thon, how I'm doing in my ongoing reading challenges, and what I thought about the book I just read (because I am a woman of strong opinions).

I'm hoping this blog will also spur me on to get through my to be read pile once and for all. It will likely take many years, but I'll be happy if I can just see the number going down instead of up. My mom offered to take me out to dinner to celebrate when I get it down to 500 books, so that can be my first goal!

In accordance with this goal, I'll be participating in the Read Your OWN Library! Challenge, at the level of Biblio Rehab. This means that every month I must read a book I've owned for at least 6 months and haven't read, and until I've read it I can't go to the library or buy any new books. I hope to even exceed these requirements, since I want my pile to decrease as quickly as possible.

For the month of November, I've chosen The Shining by Stephen King, which I've already started to read. So far, I'm finding it quite enjoyable! Nothing much has happened yet, but I'm enjoying the writing (this is my first Stephen King book). I think this challenge is going to help keep me on track. Wish me luck!

Update: JNCL at The Beauty of Eclecticism has (hopefully temporarily!) suspended this challenge, but I'm gonna keep doing it anyway, sans link-up, because I just love this challenge! That way I'll be ready to jump right back in when she's ready to start it up again. :)

Second update: Due to the large number of challenges I'm doing this year, as of the start of 2013 I'm discontinuing this challenge. I will of course pick it back up if other people start doing it again.

Books read so far for the Read Your OWN Library! Challenge:

November 2011: The Shining by Stephen King
December 2011: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
January 2012: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
February 2012: Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
March 2012: John Dies at the End by David Wong
April 2012: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
May 2012: The Mummy by Anne Rice
June 2012: The Visitor (Animorphs #2) by K.A. Applegate
July 2012: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
August 2012: The Encounter (Animorphs #3) by K.A. Applegate
September 2012: The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
October 2012: The Capture (Animorphs #6) by K.A. Applegate
November 2012: I never got around to reading my planned challenge book that month.
December 2012: The Alien (Animorphs #8) by K.A. Applegate