The Sunday Salon.com

Well, I missed last week’s Salon, and finishing Breaking Dawntook a bit longer than I had anticipated… like 10 days longer; it was an exercise in self-torture and perseverance. I wanted to finish before my boyfriend, but I think we both finished the same night, and I’m not sure who read “THE END” first. You can read my review here.

One of the things disappearing in Second Life for a few months has done is rob me of the time to comfortably achieve my reading goal of 75 books for the year by December 31st. After Breaking Dawn, I had 19 books to go… it’s a seemingly impossible goal to achieve; it works out to one book every day and a half. So I’ve been piling headlong into this insurmountable quota. It’s my goal, set by me, and if I miss it I’ve only got myself to answer to. But still, it chafes a bit that I might NOT make it. I have every intention to meeting this goal if I go blind in the process.

For that reason, my next book was Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. A short 125 pages with a lot of illustrations, this cute little book took a little over 2 hours to finish. Maggie looked it up at her school to see if it’s an Accelerated Reader book, which it is, so I’ll be reading it a second time with her next week ;-) . You can read my review for Nim’s Island here.

I finally returned to my Viral Video Wednesday post, this week posting music videos. The concept was “If there was a soundtrack to your life, what songs would be on it?” I listed mine, along with my reasons for them in a brief history of my life, which included songs like “Crawling” by Linkin Park, “The Unforgiven” by Metallica, “Wonderful, Merciful Saviour” by Selah, Natasha Beddingfield’s “Unwritten” as sung by Team Lachey, and Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love”, among others. Personally, I thought it is a story of triumph and resilience, but it would seem that it was more depressing than joyous, inspiring pity. I apologize to those of you who found it more of a downer than a sharing of my life and recovery. You can check out this week’s Viral Video Wednesday here, if you dare.

I tried hard to finish Fragile Thingsby Neil Gaiman by Thursday to hit that one book per each day and a half quota, but didn’t quite make it. So I finished a book Maggie and I had been slowly working on for the last month or so. Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 by Ellen Schreiber was my first experience in Manga. It’s an interesting and by no means a small genre of reading material. Manga covers any subject matter and age group that books of text cover, only they do it with graphic art panels and thought and speech bubbles. You can read <my review of Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 here.

I did finish Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wonders by Neil Gaiman today. I really loved this book, and read the two poems I posted in the review, plus the short story “Other People”… making that my fourth time reading it… to my boyfriend. I remembered another short entry (not written in verse form, but feels like poetry nonetheless) that I liked in it a while ago. It’s called “In the End”:

IN THE END

In the end, the Lord gave Mankind the world. All the world was Man’s, save for one garden. This is my garden, said the Lord, and here you shall not enter.

There was a man and woman who came to the garden, and their names were Earth and Breath.

They had with them a small fruit which the Man carried, and when they arrived at the gate to the garden, the Man gave the fruit to the Woman, and the Woman gave the fruit to the Serpent with the flaming sword who guarded the Eastern Gate.

And the Serpent took the fruit and placed it upon a tree in the center of the garden.

Then Earth and Breath knew their clothedness, and removed their garments, one by one, until they were naked; and when the Lord walked through the garden he saw the man and the woman, who no longer knew good from evil, but were satisfied, and He saw it was good.

Then the Lord opened the gates and gave Mankind the garden, and the Serpent raised up, and it walked away proudly on four strong legs; and where it went none but the Lord can say.

And after that there was nothing but silence in the Garden, save for the occasional sound of the man taking away its name from another animal.

-Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wondersby Neil Gaiman, “The End” page 233.

You can read my review of Fragile Things here.

I started reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon today, and hope to finish and post the review tomorrow. I’m about 70 pages in and am enjoying it so far. It’s an alternate timeline in which Sitka, Alaska became the interim Jewish homeland after the fall of the State of Israel after three months of independence. The book opens with a murder, a messed up homicide detective, and the stress of the reversion of the Federal District of Sitka to the state of Alaska.

Unfortunately, though, I may not be able to finish it tomorrow… Second Life has made a claim to my time tomorrow, as a SL friend is getting married there and I’m a bridesmaid. Busy, busy, busy!

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Title: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Hardcover: 756 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: August 2008
ISBN: 9780316067928

In the end, we had pulled together seventeen witnesses -the Irish, Siobhan, Liam, and Maggie; the Egyptians, Amun, Kebi, Benjamin, and Tia; the Amazons, Zafrina and Senna; the Romanians, Vladamire and Stefan; and the nomads, Charlotte and Peter, Garrett, Alistair, Mary, and Randall- to supplement our family of eleven. Tanya, Kate, Eleazar, and Carmen insisted on being counted as part of our family.

Aside from the Volturi, it was probably the largest friendly gathering of mature vampires in immortal history.

-pages 575-576, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

So I have been dragging my feet to read and to finish this book. First off, Breaking Dawn is the final book in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, a series I have absolutely fallen in love with, and I didn’t want it to come to an end. Secondly, I have heard mixed reviews of this book from it’s an absolute let down to it’s a great book to end with. In answer to the first reason, after getting him into this series, my boyfriend has caught up to me and started Breaking Dawn as I got to chapter 7… and I could NOT let him beat me in it ;-) . And in answer to the second, which did have more to do with why it took longer to finish, while my boyfriend thinks this is a fantastic book, possibly his favorite of the four, I’ve found it a bit…
meh .

One of the problems I had with Breaking Dawnis that it reads like Meyer was tired of writing the Twilights and so she just hurried through the writing… kind of an “aw, screw it! There ya go… be happy I even finished it,” feel to it. There were several parts in the book where I was rolling my eyes and groaning in pain from the boredom and effort to slog through these blah spots. A couple times, I even wondered if I skipped a chapter or two would I miss anything.

A second problem I had with it was that the format of Breaking Dawn is completely different than the other three. While they are written in a straight story format with Bella narrating, Breaking Dawn is written in a three-books-in-one format with Jacob narrating the middle book. And while I enjoyed seeing things from Jacob’s perspective (and key parts of the story’s development could have only been told from his perspective: the mental link and interactions within the pack, as well as the experience of imprinting are two things that are essential and best experienced through his eyes), the jump from Bella to Jacob and back to Bella again was a bit disjointed.

A third issue I had with Breaking Dawn is that Meyer waits so very long to develop the story and get to the crisis of the book. But then again upon reflection, as it was three books in one, you could make the argument that it had three seperate crises, with the final one being the major and final conflict for the series. Meh, whatever… it took forever to get there.

A fourth issue I have with this book is the relationship between Edward and Bella seems a bit forced and artificial. Whereas in the first three books their relationship was an organic and growing, tangible thing, in Breaking Dawn it feels stilted, artificial… dead, ironically enough, as the series is mainly about the undead… even surreal at times. In my honest opinion, the best relationships (and best character) in Breaking Dawn are that of Jacob’s.

Good things to say about Breaking Dawn: The book reveals the Volturi for what they are, bullies and cowards, which is rather satisfying. The deep and impenetrable bond of family and love is illustrated beautifully throughout the book. Though it is a book about the undead and immortal race of vampires, it is very much a book about the value of life and of living your life with purpose, meaning and really experiencing it to the fullest.

If I were to sum up the message of Breaking Dawn in a single sentence, I would say: Violence, threats, bullying, and fear will always bow when it’s met by love, encouragement, confidence, and hope.

Of the three books, New Moon is my favorite. I think New Mooncould even stand alone, separate from the other three, if you were only going to read one of the books (honestly, though, why would you?). As to Breaking Dawn, I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

 hated itdidn't like itliked itreally liked itloved it

TSS – Habits, Addictions, and I’m Back!!

The Sunday Salon.com

Alright, alright… So I’ve been away for a couple weeks months, and the few posts in between seem to get the same comments, “I was wondering where you’ve been! I thought you died!” lol… Not quite, but I found a virtual world called Second Life and found it rather addictive. Think: Everything the real world has to offer, and then add flying, teleporting… being a werewolf or vampire… or a middle-age princess or knight in King Arthur’s court… and you can see why it’s so addictive.

I’m very much a creature of habit, BUT… my habits are so-SO-SO easily disrupted. My grandma’s death and funeral brought my mom up from Texas for a week long visit, which knocked me out of my reading habit. I decided to try Second Life because my best friend and her fiance (now husband…Yay!) were ALWAYS talking about it. So, on a whim, I created an avatar, signed on and was instantly caught up… so much so that I’ve been planning to buy a second computer and giving this one to the kids because I wouldn’t get off even for them to take their hour computer time (3 hours… I couldn’t even take 3 hours away!).

And in the process of living in Second Life (a common expression on it is “My first life is getting in the way of my Second Life!), I met a guy. Now, if you knew me, you’d know what a LAUGH this is. I’ve always been adamant AGAINST online relationships… and here I am, in a relationship began online. Yeah… be careful what you say because you may end up eating your words… lol. BUT, it’s mostly good. Both of us have had some really bad luck in past relationships, so there’s a lot of fear and insecurities to get past, and I vacillate several times a day between ending it NOW to avoid the heartache that MAY happen and going headlong into it, hoping for the best. HOPE.. *gack!*… never been a good friend of mine.

So, boyfriend lives about 2 1/2 hours from me and came to visit for the first time last weekend. Two and a half days of goo-goo eyes and my kids (who love him already, and likewise… a good chunk of my fears and insecurities eliminated right there) chanting “KISS! KISS! KISS!” then going, “EwwWWWwwwwWWww!” when we did, and my habit of Second Life was broke. I’ve been on for maybe, MAYBE, 8 hours in the last week.

And what filled the Second Life spot? Back to the books :-D and reviewing (-: and blogging the memes \o/ (yay!). I had the commitment of a November 25th blog stop for Two Brothers: One North, One South by David H. Jones, and I had only read a chapter or so before his visit, so I had to cook through it to make the deadline. And while it was an excellently written and researched book, it wasn’t exactly my cuppa. However, it really reminded me of my serious LOVE of reading, and how I’ve always said that as long as you have a book there’s no hell you can’t escape. Hey, if I lost the internet or if Second Life was shut down for some reason, where would I escape to? But books are always there, always accessible, and provide a second life in the world within.

And one of the fun things with my boyfriend is that he’s an avid reader. I’ve introduced him to The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, my number one Best New Author book and definitely on my top 5 reads for this year, as well as getting him into the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer.

He had read the first two books, Twilight and New Moon, and had just started reading the third, Eclipse, when he came down Friday. One reason for coming Friday was so we could go together to see the movie Twilight (I should review the movie, but I’ll have to watch it again… lol.. I was a bit, erm.. distracted the first time ;-) ). So when I finished Two Brothers, I picked up Breaking Dawn so I could keep ahead of him. Problem is, he’s reading them by audio book, which is faster than I can read. I HAVE to beat him, lol, so I picked up the audio book to read along. Hehehehe…. So I’m in chapter 16 and he’s in chapter 7, and if I read while he sleeps I should be able to beat him ;-) .

And now I’m so excited to be back into the books… of course, now I’m getting the “Where are you? Are you dead?” messages from my SL friends, but Boyfriend can let them know ;-)

So what’s next on my TBR right away pile? Well, after Breaking Dawn’s 700+ pages, I think I’ll read Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. It’s a nice thin book, and I saw the movie when it came out… hadn’t realized it was a book until a few days later. Then maybe Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling… the movie will be out soon, so I want to get it read before then. Then… maybe Yiddish Policemen’s Unionby Michael Chabon (never read anything by him) and Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, or vice versa. Also, I’ve been slowly working through Emma by Jane Austen, so I’ll get back to my Jane-a-thon, too.  AND… I’m ashamed to say, but somewhere in the last couple months I missed a blog tour stop.  I was suppose to be on Elizabeth McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.  I couldn’t find the date I was suppose to post… if I would have looked at the letter in the book I would’ve seen it was for September 30th.  I think I didn’t start looking for the date until after my House and Home review was posted, so I owe that review quickly.  As well as owing a review of Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland for LibraryThing’s ER group.  AND all the other ARC books I compulively requested… which is a LOT :-\ .

My reading goal was 75 books by December 31st, and I’m at 54 books… which means I’ve got less than five weeks to read 21 books. Hmm… don’t know if I can do that now, that’ll be more than 5 books a week, but I’ll do my best to get as close as possible.

So check back often, because the reviews are going to be flying up here quickly.

Oh…

and I’M BACK!!! :-D

Breaking Ramen Noodle Dawn

Friday Fill-Ins

1. My stomach has it’s own gravitational pull.
2. Ramen noodles is what I ate the most of on Thursday. (We’re having Thanksgiving dinner today ;-) )
3. The yard is a dangerous place in prison.
4. In the arms of my boyfriend is where I’d rather be at any given time.
5. The smell of toast reminds me of my mom making me breakfast when I was a kid.
6. A new computer is what I need right now!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to our city’s parade, tomorrow my plans include reading Breaking Dawn and Sunday, I want to finish Breaking Dawn! (okay, seriously, I got my bf into reading the Twilight series, and he’s been doing it with audio books, and now he’s on chapter 2 of BD, and I’m on chapter 7… only I’m actually READING… so if I’m going to stay ahead of him, I’m going to have to cook it!)

Tuesday Thingers – Favorite Bookstore

Today’s question: Favorite bookstores. What’s your favorite bookstore? Is it an online store or a bricks-and-mortar store? How often do you go book shopping? Is your favorite bookstore (or bookstores) listed as a favorite in LT? Do you attend events at local bookstores? Do you use LT to find events?

My favorite bookstore is my local Waldenbooks. I do not buy books online (unless BookMooch, PaperBackSwap and the occasional ebay book purchase count). I prefer to touch them, smell them and look at them… are they a tome or a quick read, etc. I live in a small town and Waldens is the only new books bookstore here.

But even if it wasn’t, I love Jan, Sally and Obie so much I’d still shop there if I had ten bookstores to choose from. And I think that is also some of the reason I shop there. It’s wonderful to go into the store and see their smiling faces. They always ask what I’ve been reading and are quick to help me find whatever I need. They give great suggestions, and take mine as well… I’m still bugging them to read The Gargoyle.

I usually run in terror from the bookstore because I know I cannot resist! So I haven’t shopped as much lately. Last time I had to go in was to order Josette’s book since she can’t use the Borders gift card in Malaysia, and I walked out spending about $30… I went in to just orderpeople! I suppose electricity isn’t completely necessary… I could read my books by candle light… but I havegrown fond of it, you know. (TV runs on it and TV keeps kids quiet… puter runs on it, and puter keeps me in books!)

LibraryThing has nothing for my bookstore, so it’s fairly useless for finding events. It has Borders in Ann Arbor, but I’m not driving 3 1/2 hours to some book signing, no matter whose pen the scrawl comes from. I do occasionally attend the events at my store… but again, I can’t walk away for less than $20. The last even was the Breaking Dawn party. I went to the Mummy 3 instead. :-D

By the way, Borders is where I get my gift cards for my giveaways, and where I got the Boogers you can win along with a $10 gift card! Enter to win at Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway!

EDIT: I’ve got a shirt for you, readerville:
True Bibliophile

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