BTT- The Cold, an Award and a Giveaway!

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The northern hemisphere, at least, is socked in by winter right now… So, on a cold, wintry day, when you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book on the couch … what kind of reading do you want to do?

When it’s really cold, I like get into my bed, snuggle up under my warm covers, and then read.  I’m not particular about the type of book, though I don’t think I’d read anything that required me to think.  The problem I have, however, is that I always fall asleep!

read other Booking Through Thursday answers here :-)

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I’d like to say thank you to Reagan at Miss Remmers’ Reviews for my first award for 2010.  It’s quite a lovely award, don’t you think?

Prolific Blogger Award

A Prolific Blogger is one who is intellectually productive… keeping up an active blog that is filled with enjoyable content.

There are a couple of rules for this award:

  1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
  2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.
  3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to This Post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
  4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners.

Miss Remmers’ Reviews is one of the blogs that I first visited during Bloggiesta as part of the comment mini-challenge, and I enjoy Reagan’s posts, especially the Thesis Statement Video, which has the Thesis Statement Rap in it.  LOL! Had to put it in there :-)

Now for my magnificent seven nominees:

Care’s Online Book Club - While Care is currently UNPLUGGED, I enjoy reading her posts, particularly the Virginia Wolf ones (I argue I don’t like stream of conscious, and yet I loved Push.  Maybe I should give Ms. Wolf a shot, since it really was the movie The Hours that made me run from her.)  Looking forward to your return, Blogging Buddy :-)

Wrighty Reads – Debbie has great reviews and I enjoy her “So I was just wondering…” posts.  AND she’s a fellow left-hander ;-)  Lefties RULE!

Unfinished Rambler – Poor Unfinished.  He’s lost his favorite blog home, Humor-Blogs.com, and he’s been going through the various stages of grief about it.  I think he might be at acceptance now, but I’m not quite sure… He’s definitely still snarky about it, but he’s usually snarky anyway, which is one of the things I enjoy about his blogs.  Did you know Elvis is the janitor at his library?  He’s probably too cool for this award, but here it is all the same :-)

Lady Gwyn’s Kingdom - This is a fairly new-to-me blog, but quite enjoyable.  I found it through my Google Alerts.  She had “Reading Challenge” and Welsh on the same page, so Google thought it was the same as “Welsh Reading Challenge”… erm, not quite, but I’m glad for GA’s loose extrapolation, because I would have missed this one.  It’s a lovely blog, playing chamber music while you read reviews of books about Tudors and other royal members behaving badly (and some not so bad, too;-) ), books by Sharon Kay Penman, and you can read about what happened on this day in history, as well.

Reading In Color – Ari is probably another one who is too cool for this award (really, she is, go check her blog out :-) ), but it’s what I’ve got to show my appreciation for what she’s doing, so here ya go.  She’s working with Doret and Laura on a project to find the most diverse YA/MG publishing company, so if you have any ideas, pass it along!

Debbie’s World of Books - This is another great blog I first visited during the Bloggiesta mini-challenge, and I’ve enjoyed ever since.  Great reviews, fun memes, and I love the blog theme (purple’s my favorite color ;-) )

In Spring is the Dawn - Also a Bloggiesta find, Tanabata focuses a lot on All Things Japanese, whether that be in book or movie form, or the traditional music of Japan.  It’s fascinating to learn about translations, and her blog’s layout is fun and beautiful.

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Also, don’t forget to check out my giveaway!  I’m giving away a copy of Push by Sapphire, and the more people sign up, the more prizes!  If 50 or more people enter to win, I’ll add $10 to spend on Amazon.com for the grand prize!

BTT ~ Dune Thief’s Daughters

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Jackie says, “I love books with complicated plots and unexpected endings. What is your favourite book with a fantastic twist at the end?”

So, today’s question is in two parts.

1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?

2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?

My answer to the first part, “do I like complicated plots and unexpected endings?” is a resounding YES!  I think it’s one of the things I liked best about Dune.  All the intrigues and plots and subplots made it like taking a long trip down a winding road and checking out all the historical markers, garage sales, and tourist traps along the way.  I hate reading a book where I know what’s going to happen, it really takes a lot of the fun out of it.  Maybe that’s one of the things I didn’t like about The Blue Notebook, none of it was a surprise… except just how far human depravity can go.

As for what book with a surprise ending is my favorite, I’d say The Book Thief is my favorite book.  I don’t know whether it was a “surprise” because we know Liesel is going to die by page 3, and yet… somehow… her death is still a shock, like when a person with cancer dies in a car crash.  You knew their end was coming, but when it happens it’s a shock.  It wasn’t the fact she died, but the how and what all happened in the book before that.  I actually cried for several minutes, and couldn’t start a new book for a few days because of how much emotions it had wrought in me.  That’s why The Book Thief is my all-time favorite book.  I’ve never had a book reach me so deeply.

As for my least favorite “surprise ending” book, that’d be BoneMan’s Daughters.  By the time the end came, I was hating the book so bad, there was nothing Dekker could do to bring me back.  I’d lost my willing suspension of disbelief, so the ending was ridiculous to me.

So how about you?  Do you like complicated and twisty books?  What’s your favorite surprise ending?

Check out other Twisty Booking Through Thursday answers!

BTT ~ I’m a Gwen Cooper Disciple

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Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

Well, I suppose Neil Gaiman doesn’t count on the list of “unknowns”, lol, but he’s probably my favorite author.  I love his writing style, he sings the stories into being and paints the canvas of my mind with words.  Fragile Things was my first Gaiman book, and I’ve never been the same since.  But do I campaign for him?  Hmm… not really.

I think the best author to fit into the category of “unknown favorites” who I evangelize and believe in would be Gwen Cooper.  I told absolutely everyone I met that I thought might read something more than the funny papers that Homer’s Odyssey was a wonderful book and that the author, Gwen Cooper, is an amazing person with a big heart.

Well, the kids are home from school today.  Apparently buses don’t run well on sheets of ice, and outside it looks like a giant donut maker drizzled glaze all over.  My attempts to write something intelligent is greatly inhibited by the blaring yellow sponge on the TV, and Gwen and Maggie fighting about the latter writing something about the former’s Meez character ON her character.  I think they need to do some extra chores.

You can find more answers to this week’s Booking Through Thursday here

BTT ~ I’ll Flap You Silly!

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Suggested by Prairie Progressive:

Do you read the inside flaps that describe a book before or while reading it?

I usually do glance at, and read part of, the inside flaps of the books or the back of the book before choosing a book, but ADD usually takes over and I get distracted by something – a sound somewhere, the cats and dog fighting, what’s that smell?  OOoooh, pretty colors….

What was the question?

you can find more Booking Through Thursday answers here.

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By the way, speaking of distractions and stuff, I did find yet another challenge to add to my growing list.  I’m really, really meaning to make this the last challenge, but I just couldn’t resist.  Sarah at Behold, the thing that reads a lot is hosting the We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge 2010.   Inspired by her love of all things 80s, she’s taken Billy Joel’s 80’s “History of the 20th century in less than 5-minutes” song, or “We Didn’t Start the Fire?” and made a reading challenge out of it.   We Didn't Start the Fire ChallengeParticipants are challenged to read books and learn about the topics mentioned in the song’s lyrics.  You can read fiction, non-fiction, or a combonation of both.

COMBO

Bronze Combo: Read any combination of 5 fiction or nonfiction books related to the song.

Silver Combo: Read any combination of 8 fiction or nonfiction books related to the song.

Gold Combo: Read any combination of 10 fiction or nonfiction books related to the song.

I’ll be going for the Bronze Combo, and I realized earlier today that my current ARC, Islands Apart, can fit into this one under “California”, as it deals with The Channel Islands off the coast of southern California.  And I have another ARC called Last Night I Dreamed of Peace which will fit in under Ho Chi Minh.  AND I saw “suicide” in the lyrics, so Surviving Ben’s Suicide will qualify for this challenge.  That just leaves me 2 to figure out, so I should be in good shape.

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I have to say THANK YOU to Sally906 for letting me know Roald Dahl was Welsh, because now I’ll probably have to add a “platinum” level to the Welsh Reading Challenge :-D  I came across a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the thrift store the other day and snatched it right up.  It’s a good time for a re-read, and Mags agreed.  We spent a couple hours tonight whizzing through the first third of the book -she wanted to go on, but I thought 11:30 on a school night was late enough. 

Oh, and one thing I have to say about the whole paper book vs. e-readers and digital books.  I just don’t think they’ll ever do away with the “real” thing.  I can’t imagine cuddling under the blankets with your child and holding the print-out or the little plastic doo-hickey and convincing them, “No, really!  This is the book!”  There’s something special about asking them to turn the page for you because your free hand is wrapped around them ;-)

BTT- Jane Austen of Gor

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Barbara wants to know:

What books did you get for Christmas (or whichever holiday you may have celebrated last month)?

Do you usually ask for books on gift-giving occasions or do you prefer to buy them yourself?

Normally, I prefer to buy books on my own.  I have put the word out to those who might be buying me a birthday present in June that I’d like a complete set of the works of Jane Austen, one where the books match each other.  I have so many books that I worry someone would give me a copy of one I already own or have read.

Having said that, I did get books for Christmas.  My LibraryThing Santa, youthfulzombie, gave me The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1) by Patrick Rothfuss and Patient Zero:  A Joe Ledger Novel by Johnathan Maberry, neither of which I had heard of, but both look really cool.  I also bought a book for myself from Amazon with Christmas cash my mom sent… lol… the title is a bit embarrassing:  Tarnsman of Gor by John Norman.  On SecondLife, there is a whole Gorean community, so I thought I’d read the first book of the series that inspired them.  Not sure how I’ll like it, though.

Check out other answers to this week’s BTT questions :-)

BTT ~ If the Corn and the Mashed Potatoes Touch, the World Will Implode!

Follow-up to last week’s question:

Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

Okay, I was not going to do Booking Through Thursday this week, I was going to start back on them next week, but I have to tell on myself… after all, confessions good for the soul, right? 

I am obsessive about keeping things separate (except when it comes to the laundry, then everything gets shoved in the machine with as much hatred for the chore the clothing and washer can take without breaking).  I get panicky if my food touches.  I swear, if they’d make good china like the lunchroom trays, I’d eat off those.  My dad used to grouse about it at dinner, “It’s all going to get mixed up in your stomach anyway!” and I’d answer, “Yeah, but I don’t have to look at it there!”

So YES, oh god yes! my books are separate.  Not just TBR and Read separate, but ARC and review piles here, audio books there, books on deck there, manga up there, Mt TBR here and here and there, unreads that aren’t yet TBR’s way over there, the kids’ books are in the living room so they can’t go near my books and spread their cooties to them… each kid has their own specific, all-yours books in their rooms, coffee table books over there… I used to seperate them even further according to genre, but my TBR shelves have become a free-for-all from acquiring so many so fast that I had to give that up.  

So, do I qualify as mildly anal or OCD? 

Oh, forgot to tell you, I alphabetize my canned foods, too.

SBG daily ~ Shar-ities

I’ve got the new computer set up and running and got the old one set up in the living room for the kids.  Then ran into a problem.  Apparently, while my cable acct says I get two lines, there’s only one hole on the back of the modem.  So, either I get a splitter and run 2 computers on it, which probably won’t work, or I have to go get a new modem for in there and pay an extra 4 dollars a month.  Nothing’s ever easy.

AND, trying to get back into the habit of everything is dificult, too.  I just remembered, “Oh yeah… My Google Reader!” and I’ve got 156 posts to get through now, not to mention totally spacing the SBG SBG coverdaily yesterday, Booking Through Thursday and Friday Fill-ins.  And I’ve been spaced out with reading.  I’ve only managed to read 1/2 a manga book last week and about 25 pages of Home Repair by Liz Rosenberg.  Well, anyway…

Today’s daily is the last one and I want to give everyone a chance to leave a link to their favorite charities in the comments.  Be they local, national, or international, online or off, what are some of your favorite charities?

Here are a few of mine:

Emmaus Mission Center is very close to my heart.  At one point in time, my girls and I were homeless.  We stayed at the Emmaus shelter for three months while I took the time to save money and get my brains screwed in straight.  If they hadn’t been there, I don’t know where I’d be today.  Besides a shelter, they also have a girls’ home and a boys’ home, a benevolent center, food pantry, Birthright Center, and a Hispanic help center.

FreeRice.comis a fun website where you answer trivia questions and win a  grain of rice per correct answer.  The rice you win will then be donated to help fight starvation around the world.  Sammi, my oldest introduced the site to me, and I can tell you, from experience, that there is a maximum number of correct answers a day, but it takes like 3 or 4 hours to get there.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a great example of how kind acts can be contagious.  On this site you’ll be able to get ideas of things you can do, as well as report the good deeds you yourself have done.  You can also get together a team.

Feeding America, formerly America’s Second Harvest, uses monetary donations to buy food and get the food to local food banks where it can be distributed to those in need.  Whereas FreeRice.com is global, Feeding America, as the the name implies, is a domestic charity.

I have so many more charity links, but they are on the old computer and I haven’t even started the process of transferring the data yet.  But now you can help out your favorite charities by sharing a link to them so we can all check them out.

BTT ~ The Best Place After the Womb!

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Now that summer is here (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), what is the most “Summery” book you can think of? The one that captures the essence of summer for you?

(I’m not asking for you to list your ideal “beach reading,” you understand, but the book that you can read at any time of year but that evokes “summer.”)

Oddly, when I think of “summer reading” I think of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  When I first really started reading books in earnest, I was in high school and part of an Honors Reading program.  The summer before my junior year, I was a camp counselor and took my copy of The Scarlet Letter with me.  I found this little hidden clearing that was just off a secondary trail, and I would slip into it and park my butt under a tree and read through my free time. 

To this day, this memory is my “happy place” that I go to in my mind whenever I’m stressed out.  It was such a relaxing place.  Quiet but for a gentle breeze blowing through the trees and the birds singing cheerfully.  Safe… no one ever found me in there, even when they were walking by on the trail and calling for me, they never saw the opening to the clearing.  The cheerful sunshine radiating down and warming me, while the shade of the tree kept me from being too hot or getting too much sun.  The book in my hand transporting me to another time and place.

What’s your best summer memory of reading?

BTT ~ Next Stop, Fantasyland!

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One of my favorite sci-fi authors (Sharon Lee) has declared June 23rd Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers Day.

As she puts it:

So! In my Official Capacity as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I hereby proclaim June 23 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day! A day of celebration and wonder! A day for all of us readers of science fiction and fantasy to reach out and say thank you to our favorite writers. A day, perhaps, to blog about our favorite sf/f writers. A day to reflect upon how written science fiction and fantasy has changed your life.

So … what might you do on the 23rd to celebrate? Do you even read fantasy/sci-fi? Why? Why not?

Well, actually, June 24th is my middle daughter’s birthday, so I’d imagine I’ll be busy shopping around for the cake and dinner and presents.  That is also a Tueday… not that that means anything, just that the 23rd’s a Tuesday.

As to whether I read sci-fi and fantasy, heck yeah I read it!  It’s really cool to see what bends, twists and detours the human imagination can take.  I’m forced to deal with reality on a daily basis, so it’s nice to escape from it in a good book.  Some of my favorite authors of this genre are Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and others for whom I’m drawing a blank… but they’re great!  lol…

I have H. P. Lovecraft on Mt. TBR, as well as several Richard Matheson books.

BTT ~ All Things Vietnamese

There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)

But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.

What niche books do YOU read?

As many of you may know, my youngest, Maggie, is half-Vietnamese.  Now, in my honest opinion, it should be her dad teaching her all things Vietnamese.  However, that’s not often the case.  And the distance between him and us also makes it a bit more difficult for him to impart his cultural wisdom to her.  So I read what I can, then pass it along.

Some of the Vietnam-related books I have are cookbooks, with stains on several pages… Pho Bo gets made a lot, as does Mung Bean soup.  I also have a Kinh Tanh (Vietnamese Bible), and an English-Vietnamese dictionatry.  I’ve read The Boat by Nam Le and also interviewed him.  And I’m always on the lookout for Vietnamese kids books and folklore books.

That’s our little niche, what’s yours?

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Edited to add this vid clip. I felt so incomplete leaving this post without any media. For the most part, the recipe in this video is how I make Pho Bo, except I don’t use meatballs, nor have I ever ate anyone else’s soup that did. What we always do is slice a nice cut of beef paper thin, put the raw beef strips on the top of the noodles and everthing else, and when you pour the hot broth over it, the beef cooks. Very nice that way. Interesting point, btw, I char the ginger on my electric stove’s coils… so ghetto, I know, but it’s the only way I can do it.

YUM!

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