The Where’s your book set? meme

The Where’s your book set? meme

I found this on Blue Archipelago’s Sunday Salon post, and thought it’d be fun.  Here’s how it works – just answer some or all of the following questions about the book you are currently reading (or just finished if you are between books).

Here’s the questions:

1. Title and author of the book

2. What year is the book set in?

3. What happened on this day in that year? Go to google and type in the date ie 13 July 1952 and see if you can find a news item for that day.

4. Where is your book set?

5. Have you visited that place before? If yes tell us something about your trip. If no, look the location up on google and tell us an interesting fact about the city/country.

My answers:

1.  I’m currently reading The White Maryby Kira Salak (I’m also reading Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers but that wouldn’t play well with this meme)

2.  I’m not sure if it has a year, just current.  For the purposes of the meme I’ll say 2007.

3.  “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” opened in theaters on July 13th, 2007 (That would have made it a Friday the 13th…. perfectly witchy day for a witchy movie.)

4.  The White Maryis mainly set in Papau New Guinea and Boston, though there are a few other places Marika goes.

5.  I have not visited PNG, myself, but my dad did on a layover to Australia.  I haven’t been to Boston, either.  Wikepedia says this of PNG:

It is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies, out of a population of just under 6 million.

And I thought Vietnam’s 57 different ethnicities and languages was a lot… 850!

Book Club Classics -Classics Meme!

In order to promote her new site, LitGuides.com (a site dedicated to helping teachers/students navigate classic lit), Kristen over at Book Club Classics has started her first meme – and S. Krishna has tagged me for it! The questions are below, and I’m tagging: Katleen, unfinishedperson, meghan, Mrs. Hall, and Traci.

  1. What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)?
  2. What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)?
  3. Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?
  4. Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?
  5. **Bonus** Why do you think certain books become classics?

What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)?

The best classic I was “forced” to read was The Pearl by John Steinbeck. I was in 7th grade, and this book was my introduction to critical reading. It was the first time I was taught I could think for myself, not just espouse my parents’ ideas. When I started teaching my daughter to read the same way, The Pearl was our first book. The school’s no longer seem to be teaching logic and reason, only sheep-think.

What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)?

Oh gawd! That would be Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I seriously do not think most teenager have the patience for this largely philosophical book. It bored me to tears, and most likely went over my head. I should try to reread it, but I’m just not that masochistic!

Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?

To be honest, and I’m sure this will offend a few people, The Bible. My reason for saying this is, in our Western society, so much of our collective conscious comes from this classic. Shakespeare took from Solomon’s writings, the moralities many books are built around are Judeo-Christian ethics, and most social structures stem from it. We would not be the society we are without The Bible.

Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?

I really don’t know of any that should be put to rest. Maybe some should be saved for older ages, but a classic is a classic because it is always relevant.  Even Harry Potter is relevent for all ages (though I don’t think I’d count it as a classic yet.  We’ll have to see how it goes).

Why do you think certain books become classics?

As I said above, a classic is always relevant. It’s not restricted to it’s own time or place, but speaks to everyone, everywhere, at any time. It reveals something of humor nature, whether it’s arrogance and assumption as in Pride and Prejudice, or the desire to be important and matter as in Vanity Fair, or the evils of the pursuit of power and control as in Animal Farm and 1984. Sometimes they warn us not to give up our power because of fear as in The Giver and Fahrenheit 451, and some mock society to reveal it’s failings as we read in Candide and Le Tartuffe. They challenge us to think and act, and broaden our views of the world around us.

LibraryThing’s Top Unread Books

I ran across an interesting post by LunarEclipse and thought, with all the LT lists that’s been done, this one would be fun to do, too.

These are the top 103 (was 106, bu I guess I lost 3 somewhere) books most often marked “unread” (or the equivalent) by LibraryThing’s users. The rules are: BOLD the books you have read, italicize the books you started but did not finish (DNF), *STAR* the books you’ve read more than once, underline books that are on your TBR pile, and cross out books that you hated.

Here is my list:

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  2. Anna Karenina (a long time ago in high school… should reread)
  3. Crime and Punishment
  4. The Silmarillion
  5. Life of Pi : a novel
  6. The Name of the Rose
  7. Don Quixote * (in English and the original Spanish)
  8. Moby Dick
  9. Ulysses
  10. Madame Bovary (read it in high school and I want to reread it.)
  11. The Odyssey
  12. Pride and Prejudice *(read it in high school, and just reread it a couple weeks ago, review is here)
  13. Jane Eyre (read in high school and want to reread)
  14. A Tale of Two Cities
  15. The Brothers Karamazov
  16. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
  17. War and Peace (read in high school, but need to reread)
  18. Vanity Fair
  19. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  20. The Iliad
  21. Emma (next up on my Jane-a-thon)
  22. The Blind Assassin
  23. The Kite Runner (one of my top 5 this year)
  24. Mrs. Dalloway
  25. Great Expectations (loved it! Read in high school, and want to reread)
  26. American Gods
  27. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  28. Atlas Shrugged (got to the sex scene, got side tracked by school, haven’t gotten back to it)
  29. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
  30. Memoirs of a Geisha
  31. Middlesex (one of my top 5 this year)
  32. Quicksilver
  33. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
  34. The Canterbury Tales
  35. The Historian : a novel
  36. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  37. Love in the Time of Cholera
  38. Brave New World
  39. The Fountainhead
  40. Foucault’s Pendulum
  41. Middlemarch
  42. Frankenstein
  43. The Count of Monte Cristo
  44. Dracula
  45. A Clockwork Orange
  46. Anansi Boys
  47. The Once and Future King
  48. The Grapes of Wrath
  49. The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
  50. 1984
  51. Angels & Demons
  52. The Inferno
  53. The Satanic Verses
  54. Sense and Sensibility *(read in high school, reread a couple weeks ago, review here)
  55. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  56. Mansfield Park (read it last week, review is here)
  57. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  58. To the Lighthouse
  59. Tess of the D’Urbervilles *(read in HS, reread at the beginning of this year)
  60. Oliver Twist
  61. Gulliver’s Travels
  62. Les Misérables
  63. The Corrections
  64. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  65. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  66. Dune
  67. The Prince (I’ve been reading this one for about 6 or 7 months now.)
  68. The Sound and the Fury (read in HS, could probably do with a reread, but I didn’t really care for it the first time so it’s hard to force myself to do it again)
  69. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
  70. The God of Small Things
  71. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
  72. Cryptonomicon
  73. Neverwhere
  74. A Confederacy of Dunces
  75. A Short History of Nearly Everything
  76. Dubliners
  77. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  78. Beloved
  79. Slaughterhouse-five
  80. The Scarlet Letter
  81. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  82. The Mists of Avalon
  83. Oryx and Crake : a novel
  84. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
  85. Cloud Atlas
  86. The Confusion
  87. Lolita
  88. Persuasion
  89. Northanger Abbey
  90. The Catcher in the Rye **(I’ve actually read this one three times, hated it at 14/ loved it at 15/ hated it as a mom)
  91. On the Road
  92. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  93. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
  94. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
  95. The Aeneid
  96. Watership Down
  97. Gravity’s Rainbow
  98. The Hobbit
  99. In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
  100. White Teeth
  101. Treasure Island
  102. David Copperfield
  103. The Three Musketeers

don’t forget to enter to win FRE BOOK MONEY! a $20 Borders gift card at MY FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!! Deadline for entry is July 31st, details in post.

Politcs VERSUS Oprah… the showdown

In today’s Shelf Awareness newsletter, all the way at the bottom… just before clicking delete… a list caught my eye.  I love book lists, I don’t know why, possibly because the idea that all the world’s giant Mt. TBR could be organized and conquered makes the challenge do-able.  This particular list is: 

 

The top 10 bestselling books on AbeBooks.com during June

1. Big Russ and Meby Tim Russert
2. Wisdom of Our Fathers by Tim Russert
3. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen
4. Dreams of My Fatherby Barack Obama
5. The Pillars of the Earthby Ken Follett
6. The Red Car by Don Stanford
7. A New Earthby Eckhart Tolle
8. Three Cups of Teaby Greg Mortenson
9. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Culinary and Menu Terms by Rodney Dale
10. Night by Elie Wiesel

 

So I’m looking at this top 10 list.  The first two do not surprise me.  Tim Russert’s death was a shock.  Anyone who has watched MSNBC primary returns this year knows how excited and vibrant he was.  He was in his element, and the look in his eyes made us think he’d be around for a long time to come.  I loved watching Tim Russert on both MSNBC and Meet the Press.  He was lively, at times fierce, and never passed up the hard questions.  I, for one, will miss him very much.  Sunday mornings aren’t the same without him.

What this list tells me is that I’m not alone in my appreciation for Russert.  Though I do not have them now, and can’t get them because of the Ye Olde TBR(e) challenge, I do want to read them someday.   Number 4 on the list doesn’t surprise me, either.  As we are going into a fall election with new candidates (not an incumbent), as responsible citizens (USA), we should take the time to learn about our candidates.  Obama’s Dreams of My Father is an opportunity for us to get to know the man first hand, not just from the FWD: fwd: fwd emails saying he said this or that.  A chance to read the quotes in context.

The thing that did surprise me is that there are three Oprah books on the list, tying with the US politically related books.  And if you figure Oprah’s campaigning for Obama, Dreams of My Father might have to straddle the line.  Three Cups of Tea is also a political book of sorts, but in a humanitarian, geopolitical way, so we’ll throw it on the left side of the ledger. 

That leaves self-help, cooking and a children’s book in the balance.  I’m going to say the brain book will side with Oprah… something tells me it’s in the Oprah-anity vein.  And the cooking book would probably be an O book, too… she likes to eat.  So that leaves The Red Car all alone.  Where is he going to park?

4 books for politics (or 3 1/2 if you think about it) and 3 definitely, 2 1/2 most likely, in the Oprah camp, with a scarlet auto abstaining.  I guess that means Oprah wins.

Ye Grande Olde TBR(e) Challenge!

 

Book ADDICT!

I’ve been back and forth over this idea… I’ve commented a few times on Fyrefly’s post Ye Grand Olde TBR(e) Challenge! … but after buying a bunch of books at Goodwill and Waldenbooks, only to come home and find out two of the books were duplicates of what I already have in my library (and that isn’t the first time it’s happened, either!) So I am now repentent and ready to throw my lot into this Challenge.

BookMooch is my CRACK, as are the ARC offers and Goodwill’s book racks and Waldenbook’s bargain bins, not to mention the thrift stores! So, from here on I will:

  1. Not buy anymore books for Mt. TBR (sometimes I buy ones I know are wishlisted on BM.)
  2. Maintain at least a 3 to 1 ratio of books read to books brought in. (If I don’t give myself some wiggle room, I’ll lose it!)
  3. Seriously, only request ARCs and Reviewer copies that I would really love to read, not just get “FREE BOOKS!”
  4. Only mooch or request books already ON my wishlist, and not put new ones on it. (toss the one’s I’m not dying to have onto the Save-for-later page.)

That’s about it. Check out Mt. TBR and tell me if there’s anything you’d like me to get to sooner! (I still haven’t the heart to add the 20 books I got Thursday, July 3rd!)

OH! and don’t forget to enter to win a $20 Borders gift card in My First Ever Giveaway! So far, I have around 270 entries. If I hit 400, I’ll add a second prize of a $10 Borders gift card, and a $5 card at 500. So enter to win, blog for more entries, comment for more, and tell others about it!

I am Elizabeth Bennet

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Didn’t I say this back in my Pride and Prejudice review?

Yes, in fact I did:

I have found that the first time I read this book, I was definitely Elizabeth. Now, about 15 years later, I am still Elizabeth Bennet.

It’s always interesting to get confirmation from an independent source ;-)

Don’t forget to sign up for a chance to win a $20 Borders gift card!

Jane-A-Thon In Progress!

Jane Austen

I have finally begun my Jane-a-thon, which I’ve been dying to do for some time now. I’m putting aside ARCs, books to review and overdue library books. But such is the sacrifices I make for my obsession!

Jane Austen (1775-1817) is one of the greatest authors of all times, and possible the greatest woman author as well. She cleared the way for many others, the Brontë sisters, Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolfe, and so many others. There were women writers before her, but there was something in the way that Austen wrote that proved a woman could write with a balance of logic and emotions, and that both sexes could enjoy her work. In Austen’s short life of 41 years she published a book every year or so after the 1811 publication of Sense and Sensibility.

When I was in my high school honors English reading club, I read Pride and Prejudice, and I read Sense and Sensibility after watching the Thompson-Grant movie. These two are the only Austen’s I’ve read before, never really taking notice of the others. However, a couple months ago, I thought it might be interesting to read all of them, straight through chronologically to see how Austen grew as a writer, and to get a fairer sense of the life and times of Georgian England.

The following are the Austens in chronological order:
Sense and Sensibility published in 1811
Pride and Prejudice published in 1813
Mansfield Park published in 1814
Emma published in 1816
published in 1818
Northanger Abbey published in 1818

And now… a Janing I must go!

Does A Christian Have a Brain?

I’ve just read an interesting Sunday Salon post from Death by Novel. In it, he talks about the fascinating feature on LibraryThing known as the “unsuggester”, an algorithm that determines which books you would least like based on your library.

As I had never heard of this feature, I had to run right over and check out what my least likely to like books are.

Here is a random list of 10 books LT thinks I won’t like:

The number one book I will hate with a passion: Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar by William D. Mounce
You know, I could say this book would be Greek to me, but I might get boo-ed off the net for bad jokes. But the truths it I would definately have to agree with this one. The closest I want to know about biblical Greek grammar is my Strong’s Concordance.

Second on the list is The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper. Considering I have no intention of becoming a preacher, I’ll agree with LT on this. The thing that bothers me, though. is when I clicked ‘why?” it list several of my 1001 books, as well as The Giver, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Godfather (okay, I’ll give it to them on the last one). Is the Unsuggester suggesting if I have a brain and read thought provoking books, I couldn’t possible want to be a preacher? This puzzles me…

The third of my would-be most-hated books is The New ‘Mayflower’ by Alan Villiers. Given the fact it’s only owned by one other LTer (who gave it 2 stars, I might add), and the tags suggest it is a book for avid sailors, I’d say this one should be on most people’s unsuggested list.

The fourth dead fish in my net is Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem. I ACTUALLY HAD THIS ONE! and I gave it away on BookMooch… I had barely cracked the binding! It was like a technical manual (“like reading stereo instructions!” as Beetlejuice might say).

The fifth ill-fated fare is The Bible History Old Testament In Two Volumes, Complete and Unabridged by Alfred Edersheim. Okay, now I like history and I like biblial history… but the “Two Volumes, Complete and Unabridged” part says “Library dungeon geek” to me.

The sixth stinker is The Ramabai Reader: Selections from “The High Caste Hindu Woman”, “Testimony”, Letters, “Stree Dharma Neeti” and Other Hindu Women by Pandita Ramabai Saraswati. The title’s so long it doesn’t even fit on the book page. I don’t know why it says I won’t like this, I have The Namesake, and I’m going to get Interpreter of Maladies next week at Waldenbooks (I made this book and Dreams of My Father a promise I’d be back to save them from the cold, lonely shelf). Is LT telling me I wouldn’t like Indian Women’s Lit?

The seventh awful offering is Brothers, we are not professionals : a plea to pastors for radical ministry by John Piper. A second book I should never read from John Piper. Again, I have no interest in the pastoral arts.

The eighth rotten egg is Who Made God? : And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith by Ravi Zacharias. Actually, this one sounds interesting. I think I’ll rebel on this one and mooch it.

The Ninth nixer is Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism by Herman Cappelen…… HUH?????… Is this random words strung together? or does this title actually make sense?

And to round things off, number ten to turn away is The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die by John Piper. Hey, haven’t I seen his name before?

Now, I haven’t put all my books in LibraryThing library. All of my Christian books are in the shelf next to me, but I’ve just never gotten around to them. Some of them are from college (I have a Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry, are you surprised?) Four years of reading text books and non-fiction, and all the years before when I only read classics, have now given me a serious thirst for contemporary fiction. But is LibraryThing’s unsuggesting algorithm saying I can’t be a Christian AND have a brain? Hmmm….

I’ll just leave you with my number eleven “don’t ever read this, you’ll hate it” unsuggestion: The Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman. What reason does it give? Because I have Christian books! I’ve got The Purpose Driven Life, Purpose Driven Church, Purpose Driven Youth, Darwin’s Black Box, The Darwin Conspiracy. I’ve got Bentley Little, Harlan Coben, and conservative books like Black Rednecks and White Liberals. BUT wait, LT Al! I also have Stardust and Neverwhere, both by Gaiman. I also have several Palahniuk’s, Steven King’s and Mieville’s.

Am I schizophrenic? or is the Unsuggester the Anti-Christ?

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