TSS ~ I’m Planning a Realignment

The Sunday Salon.com

This is the last Sunday Salon of 2009, and it’s got me thinking about how things has gone this year, as well as what I want to do next year.  For one thing, in looking back at all the books I’ve read this year (76 as of right now), it seems like it’s been a LOOOONG year, lol.  AND I started the year late, finishing my first book, Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J.D. Warren on February 10.  I also took a detour into the land of Azeroth, discovering the world of MMORPG (the acronym for “Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game”) when I decided to check out what all the WoW fuss was.  And while I still enjoy playing, I’ve gotten over it as such an obsessive distraction.  Recently, a friend of mine tried to get me into another game like World of Warcraft (or WoW is like it, since it was first) called Guild Wars, but I didn’t really dig it.  I also gave Warhammer a try, and was unimpressed by it, as well.  Books just beat any other medium of escape!

This past year I’ve read a variety of genres from sci-fi like Freedom’s Landing, Dune and Dune Messiah (not yet reviewed) to classics such as Silas Marner, Emma, and Northanger Abbey (not yet reviewed).  I’ve read horror, like Heart-Shaped Box, children’s books, like The Tutu Ballet, and serial books like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6 of the Harry Potter series), Marked (Book 1 of The House of Night series), and Brisingr (Book 3 of The Inheritance Cycle).  I’ve read books that have been made into movies, sometimes for the better, like Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, and Confessions of a Shopoholic.  I didn’t limit myself to fiction, either, and read The World Without Us, The Stettheimer Dollhouse, and  An Inconvenient Book (not yet reviewed) and read poetry and plays like Dr. Faustus and Custard and Company, too.

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read this year and it’s hard to pick favorites.  But I shall try!  The following are my stars of 2009 (in no particular order):

1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ~ My all-time favorite book, I fell in love with the story and Zusak’s writing style.  I hope to give his other books a read as well someday.  After finishing this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I couldn’t start another book for awhile.  I still find myself thinking about the beauty of the writing, the characters, and I want to reread it sometime soon.

2.  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury ~ First off, I love dystopic books, it’s probably my favorite genre.  My definition of dystopia is:  Someone’s Utopia is another’s HELL.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this book lately, as I look at pictures I’ve taken of my 16-year-old this year.  In every one she’s got her mp3 player going in her ears.  At one point in time this year, all four of us were sitting in the same room, all of us listening to our own little soundtracks of our own lives.  We were all in huggable difference, and yet we were in different universes.  All I could think about were the seashells that Montag’s wife wore in her ears.  It was a disturbing and surreal moment.

3.  Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen ~ This book was vivid and well-researched, and it made me feel the magic of going to a circus as a child for the first time.  It had intrigue, romance, and the Great Depression.  The moving back and forth from the present Jacob Jankowski (who was 92, or 93, or 94.. he couldn’t even remember anymore) to the young Jacob who walked away from his vet finals after the death of his parents, becoming the vet for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

4.  Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen ~ I recently finished this one, but in my rush to reach my goal of 75 books I’ve put off writing a review.  Hopefully I’ll get to it this coming week, but it’ll probably not happened until after the kids get back to school in the new year.  Northanger Abbey is my FAVORITE Austen book.  It’s witty and fun and Austen uses it as a great vehicle for arguing the criticisms of her day.  Reading this book was like watching myself as a teen.  I was soOOo Catherine Morland!  Dreamy, romantic who read way too many books and had no grasp of how the real world worked.

5.  Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper ~ Probably the book with the longest full title I’ve read:  Homer’s Odyssey:  A Fearless Feline Tale, Or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat.  This is my pimping-book for the year, meaning it’s the book I’ve been telling EVERYONE I see to read.  In addition to mad reco’s, I gave away copies as Christmas presents.  It’s such an inspirational and heart-warming story that I just can’t stop talking about it.  I know I’ll reread this one again and again :-)

So, what are my plans for the New Year?  Well… I don’t really want to say I’ve made RESOLUTIONS because they never really work.  I’ve been thinking in terms of REALIGNMENTS.  I’ve gotten a bit lazy or distracted about things and have gone a bit off mark from where I wanted to go at the beginning of this year.  So, here’s what I’m wanting to do as we begin 2010:

1.  Um… I really need to do some house cleaning.  Bad.  I keep waiting for Miss Niecy to show up, lol, but I don’t think she’s coming.  Honestly, with all my online game-playing (WoW and facebook games being the main offenders) in the last few months, the laundry has piled up as have the dishes, and it’s starting to look like we have a dirt floor in the kitchen.  So, that’s first on my list of what I need to get done.

2.  I need to get back to cooking dinners.  Again, I’ve been lazy about not wanting to stop playing the games, and Domino’s has become #1 on my speed dial.  My kids are probably the only ones in the world that have said “Please, no more pizza!  I’m sick of pizza!”  And no,  frozen dinners don’t count as “cooking more”… lol.

3.  Get back to blogging regularly.  I’ve been bad about writing meme posts (which I enjoy) and writing reviews (which is sometimes a bit of work, but I also enjoy), mostly because *cough* it’d require me to get off the game and write them.  Yeah… like I said, I’ve been bad about the games here lately.

4.  Try to take things in balance.  I have a bad habit of going “all one thing at the expense of everything else”.  When I’m reading, that’s all I’m doing.  That’s how I’ve managed to read almost 20 books in a little over a month.  It’s pretty much all I’ve done.  When I was playing WoW, that was all I did, too.  All day, every day… sometimes for more than 24 hours straight.  I just don’t seem to know how to do moderation.

5.  Get through all my ARC-alanche pile.  Period.  Some of them have been on this pile for almost 2 years now.  I still have Stealing Athena, The Aviary Gate, Zoe’s Tale, and The Good Thief on it.  SOME are now available in AUDIOBOOK FORM.  I really need to focus on getting these books done.  I have FIVE LibraryThing Early Reader books to read, including Any Given Doomsday which I received back in February. 

So, how about you?  Any resolutions?  What do you hope to do in the year to come?

Mags and I love watching Style Network’s Clean House (the ones with Niecy Nash… not the other lady) and we love to veg in my bed together and watch marathons of the show.  Miss Niecy is lovely and hilarious, and after a few shows we can’t help but walk around doing Miss Niecy impressions… lol.  But, of course, it’s never as good as the original ;-) 

TSS ~ Praise and Awards and Pass the Amoxicillin

The Sunday Salon.com

Hello and happy Sunday everyone :-) Thank you for your get-wells last week when I had the stomach flu. I finally got all better from that, only to come down with a bad sinus and chest cold. Lol… I’ll take that over the stomach flu any day, though.

Thank you Wrighty Reads for the cool Zombie Chicken Award, it’s quite a funny pic and description. I passed it along to Bermudaonion, Blodeuedd, Literary Feline, Steph Su, and Chartroose. So then Blodeuedd returned the complement by giving me:

Premio Dardos Award
The Premio Dardos Award

This award is for bloggers who distinguish themselves for showing cultural values, ethics, great and fun writing skills, as well individual values, through their creative writing.

The rules are:
1. To accept and show the distinct image
2. Show the link to the blog from which you were given the award
3. Choose 15 blogs to give the Dardos Award (Premio Dardos)

Okay, so I’m going to slack on #3, because 15 awards? I might as well just point to the blogroll. I would like to pick a few who haven’t received the award and that I do really like. So, here are my nominees:

1.  Devourer of Books~ One of my first bloggie friends, also on LibraryThing :-)

2.  Fashionista Piranha ~ She has a cool layout, interesting giveaways and her reviews offer a slightly different view on things than my own.  It’s always good to receive from those whose thoughts don’t mirror your own, it makes your world a richer place :-)

3.  Fyrefly’s Book Blog~ Another of my first bloggie friends and fellow LTer, Fyrefly’s blog is bright and pretty, and we often match up on how we felt about a book.

4.  Presenting Lenore~ Whenever I think of Lenore’s blog, the first thing that comes to mind is her interview with P. J. Bracegirdle  (don’t know why it sticks in my mind), and the second thing is the lovely box of chocolates and candies she sent me :-D

5.  S. Krishna’s Books ~ I do NOT know where she finds the time to read as much as she does, maybe a clone?  I suppose I shouldn’t tell her that I mooched a copy of Haunting Bombay last night…. :-D

6.  Book Sandwich~ Mrs. Hall is very busy with life, and has moved a couple times…  AND I believe she was one of my very first mooches on BookMooch :-)

7.  Just A (Reading) Fool~  unfinishedperson writes smart post with a dry wit.  Another one of my long-time favorite blogs and fellow LTer :-)

8.  The Book Lady’s Blog~  I just love her blog :-)

I’m going to reserve the remaining 7 until next week :-) That way I can explore some new blogs to visit ;-)

As to my reading this week…..

I spent a week or more on Brisingr, and I’m glad I’m done with that book, it felt like I was reading it forever.  I did manage a few smaller books in, as well. 

Right now I’m about 100 or so pages from the end of The Lace Reader.  I will be glad to be done with it, because it’s been giving me bad dreams.  I don’t know if it’s because of my cold or the book, or a combination of the two, but I’ve been having nightmares since starting it.  AND I never have nightmares, I’m a lucid dreamer and if I’m dreaming something I don’t like, I just change it.  Like most of the nightmares I’ve had for the past4 or 5 years, it always stars my deceased father returning to life.  Ugh.  Not like a zombie or anything, just like he never died.   I’m sure it’s not Ms. Barry’s fault I’m having bad dreams, but still…..

The Sunday Salon ~ Survey SAYS!

The Sunday Salon.com

As I’ve been struggling for the bulk of this past week with a stomach bug, I didn’t get much reading accomplished. However, I did pick up my emails and blogged a bit… very little bit, lol… and in Friday’s Shelf Awareness newsletter, there was a bookie-survey given to Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife. I love those kinds of things, so I snatched it, filled in my own answers, and made it my Sunday Salon post :-)

BTW… those of you who’ve asked where us bloggers get out hands on ARCs, Shelf Awareness is one of my favorite sources :-D

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1. What book is on your nightstand now?

lol… I don’t actually have a night stand.  I have one of those high-class, bedside-furnishings found in college dorm rooms everywhere.

The Ubiquitous Milk Crate
The Ubiquitous Milk Crate

But… at any rate… upon said “nightstand” is a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that Maggie borrowed from the library and has YET to read, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, and Great Jewish Short Stories.  They’re not there because I’m working on reading them, however.  Rather, they are there because I was sick and didn’t carry them the three feet around the corner to Mt. TBR shelving unit 2 (as, the original book shelf filled up long ago).

I think the meaning of this question is more, “What are you reading now?” And the answer to that is:   I am currently almost halfway through Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, Custard and Company by Ogden Nash, Neil Zawacki’s How to Be a Villain, and From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz.

From the ARC-alanche on deck pile, I’m also reading Something Wickedly Wierd: The Icy Hand by Chris Mould… OH! and, as I glance over my shoulder, I see this one is actually ON the milk crate, too.  I’m a little over 1/4 the way through it.

2. Favorite book when you were a child?

I was not a very prodigious reader as a child… I didn’t really start becoming a reader until I was about 15… but there are a couple books I read until they fell apart.

One was called Nothing At All by Wanda Fag
nothing-at-all

another was How Fletcher Was Hatched by Wende and Harry Devlin

fletcher

and Never Tease a Weasel by Jean Conder Soule

Never Tease a Weasel

There’s another that I read religiously, but I can’t find the name of it.  It had a girl chipmunk, I think her name was Suzy, and a toy soldier in it, but I can’t find it on the net.  It’s particularly enmeshed with Never Tease a Weasel, and I can only guess I read over and over together.

To this day, I unconsciously quote from Nothing At All when I feel like I’m running around in circles, “I’m busy getting dizzy!” is what Nothing At All, the main character of the book, says.

3. Who’s on your “top five authors” list?

Do I hafta limit it to five?!?! Waaaah! ‘kay, I’ll try:   Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, C. S. Lewis and…. Dr. Seuss.

4. What book have you faked reading?

LOL… I’m guessing this means What book did I pretend to read for a grade or book club?  Well, I didn’t exactly “fake” reading it because I admitted to my professor that I didn’t read it but it always sticks out there in my mind as a great “fake”.  In our 20th century American History class we were assigned Eleanor Roosevelt: A Personal and Public Life by J. William T. Youngs.  Try as I might, I was never able to get into the book… I’ve always hated biographies, like I want to know a person’s personal life! blech.

5. What book are you an evangelist for?

okay… those of you who’ve been to Mt. TBR before, say it with me:  The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

6. What book have you bought for the cover?

Erm… None that I can think of, not for the cover art.  I have grabbed a few for the titles, though.  It’s fun to tell people, “What am I reading? Talk to the Hand!”  Actual book title by Lynn Truss, and very funny in that dry brit-wit kind of way.

7. What book has changed your life?

Any book worth the paper it’s printed on cannot fail to leave its mark on the reader’s life, however I’d have to say the book that has had the most effect on who I am would have to be The Bible.  Second to that… I read a book that greatly helped me to stop cutting called Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation by Steven Levenkron.

8. What’s a favorite line from a book?

I just came across a line from Brisingr that every book lover will agree with:

Books should go where they will be most appreciated, and not sit unread, gathering dust on a forgotten shelf, don’t you agree?

erm… *glances at her shelves full of hoarded books and gulps* yeah… sure! I swear I’m gonna get to them all!! :-D

9. What book would you most want to read again for the first time?

easy, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Booking Through Thursday ~ Gimme a Gargoyle!

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is an interesting one:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Unfortunately, a lot of the books I think should never be made into a movie already ARE movies, The Kite Runner is the best example of this I can think of. The book spent so much time in the realms of the character’s mind, that when it was put on screen it was a pale, two-dimensional version of Hosseini’s brilliantly moving book. Eragon is another of the worst book-to-screen POS’s I know of. Where in the world did the screenwriter come up with the second half of the movie? I’m three books away from Brisingr on my “books on deck” list, and things are far from over, yet everything is tied up in a neat little book in the movie that shares a title with BOOK ONE of the Inheritance Cycle.

For the most part, though, I don’t think books-to-movies is a bad thing. Several books that are now on Mt. TBR, or that I’ve already read, were books I’d only found out about AFTER seeing the movie’s credits (Nim’s Island, V for Vendetta, and Dexter to name a few).

The real trouble in taking a well-loved book and making it into a movie lies in the fact that no two readers envision the same book in the same way. What is a beloved and favorite part for you, essential to the story and a deal-breaker in its retelling even, may not even stick in my memory. I can’t help but watch a movie, looking for my favorite scene from the book, only to be disappointed at the exclusion of what I thought were important points in the book. For instance, my favorite parts of Where the Red Fern Grows were Sammy the cat’s scenes, yet none of the books various movie renditions show, if even name, Sammy.

Books that I am dying to see on screen are already in the production process, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Lois Lowry’s The Giver being the two I’m most eager for.

I think I will take this opportunity for another shameless plug for one of the best books I read last year. I would LOVE-love-LOVE! to see a movie version of Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. The book should have really dominated the book market, but for some reason it fizzled, which is further proof the universe is NOT just. As to what recommendations I could have for producers? Meh… that’s their department, not mine… But I would have to say, “keep as much of the mystical/supernatural aspect as possible.” It’s a modern-gothic, urban and gritty with the shock and tragedy that causes people to watch houses burn and car crashes, but also offers the hope and encouragement people need to continue pressing forward and living another day.

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Don’t forget to check out this week’s Viral Video Wednesday and share your favorite video clips!

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