Bloggiesta progress update #3

Pedro

So, after taking a four hour break to eat and relax a little… very little as it turned out, as the kids screamed and fought and fussed until I sent them to bed, which they fought and fussed about with me (When a 17-year-old tells you “No”, it’s a delicate situation.  Diffusing nuclear BOMBS are less dangerous).  But it’s quasi-quiet, and after trying to read, only to fall asleep, give up and decide to sleep, only to have screaming and yelling and fighting start just after I slip into unconsciousness… Well, I’m wide awake now.  So, back to the Bloggiesta fiesta 🙂

I decided to go ahead and make a separate blog for The Welsh Reading Challenge, but it’s still some work before linking it up here.  It’s coming along nicely, though 🙂  I figure with a devoted blog, I can make all the lists and links that the challenge deserves without turning Mt. TBR into a chaotic mess.  Thanks BethFishReads and Rhinoa’s Ramblings for sharing their wisdom from their first year of hosting challenges 🙂

So now I’m doing a few mini-challenges…

First up, cleaning out the reader. The Book Lady’s Blog is hosting a mini-challenge to clean up your blog reader.  I use Google Reader, and currently have 64 subscriptions.  She puts it like this:

If you’re like me, you subscribe to more blogs than you can keep straight. You love some of them, you skim some others, and you might even mark some as “read” without even glancing. This mini-challenge is all about organizing your feedreader to make it work for you.

yeah… sadly, that’s true for me with a couple blogs.  Why I put them in my reader, I don’t even remember anymore.  Maybe they had a funny Friday Fill-In, so I thought I’d love their whole blog, but it always seems to be about rock collections or dogs in tutus… IDK… lol.  Actually, I’d probably read the dogs in tutus *glances over and Missy, looks to her left and sees the camera… wonders where the tutu and princess cone hat went*  Hehehehe.

So I’m cleaning out the reader and I’ve found one blog that’s moved several months ago, as well as a few dormant blogs and a couple whose content I never read.  As I’m going through the blogs that haven’t had a new post in more than three months, the thought hits me:  What if what happened to Katie in Undiscovered Gyrl happened to them?  What if they’re missing or dead, and I’m just callously ticking off their blog to unsub because they don’t post from the Great Beyond? 

So now I’m down to 51.  There is the possibility of 10 dead and missing bloggers somewhere out there and 2 blogs whose content I groan after skimming.  What’s next?  Categories and folders.  Good idea… if I’d have thought of that before unsubbing, I could’ve just made an “MIA” folder incase they’re found before the guy hacks them to bits and they return to blogging to tell their story.  BUT… I think I’m following them on twitter, so it’s all good.  Okay, so now I have a Welsh Challenge folder and a Meme folder, then the rest are regular bloggers that I read in general.

After that, all I need is to catch up on the reading, which I got caught up on a couple weeks ago, and have stayed caught up 🙂

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Clean Up Your Feedreader! DONE 🙂

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Next up is BethFishRead’s Mini-Challenge to write up a rainy day post.  Either one of an opinion or a list.  I’ve actually got a half-done post that I started about a year ago… lol.  It’s a Fantasy Island list thing, so I think I’ll go ahead and finish it up for this. 

…… On second thought, after looking at what I thought was a half-finished post that turned out to be two lines of what I thought would be a fun post but I no longer know what I was talking about, I’ll write a new one. LOL.  But what to write… hmmmm…  I pretty much exhausted my opinions with the Festivus posts.  Okay, so it’ll be a list then.  BUT, you know me… it won’t be a dry, sensible list… oh, no… it’s going to be goofy and random.

*Tick-tock… minutes have passed*  Okay, got it done.  I set out to make a list, but it ended up more of a humorous rant, so I guess that’s an opinion… lol.

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And for my last mini-challenge before calling it a night, I’m going to Go forth and comment as commanded by Soft Drink at Fizzy Thoughts.

So for this mini-challenge, I (actually, it’s Natasha’s idea, I’m just channeling her for the moment) challenge you to seek out 10 (yes, ten!) new blogs (from the list of bloggers who signed up for the Bloggiesta) and leave a thoughtful comment on their blog. Saying “Just popping in to say hey ‘cause Softdrink told me to” ain’t gonna cut it for this challenge. Find a book review that intrigues you and tell them why. Look for something you have in common and chat about it. Ask them a question about their blog design. You get the idea, right? Be original…be engaging…be yourself!

Okies… so here’s the blogs I visited and left comments:

  1. Reading With Tequila’s review of Mockingbird by Charles J. Shields lol, ended up ordering the book from PBS.
  2. English Major’s Junk Food review of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen I’m safe from a new book addition, at least 🙂
  3. Books of Mee’s review of The Sandman Volume 1:  Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman Again, another safe, non-book-getter one 😉
  4. Notes from the North’s The Sunday Salon:  Terry Pratchett OooOOoo… now I’m whining because I want to join the Terry Pratchett reading challenge.
  5. ReadingAdventures Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge lol, wouldn’t you know it… she’d be a Bloggiesta participant.  Must be fate!  I joined the challenge for the 1-3 book range: Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint.  I can add ONE more book to my list this year, right?  lol
  6. Graasland’s The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (The Sunday Salon of December 27th, 2009) safe from another book or challenge 🙂  Except… that I want to re-read it and I mooched my copy away… crap.
  7.  Coffeespoon’s review of Slumdog Millionaire (or Q&A) by Vikras Swarup Already have it on Mt. TBR somewhere, and I’ve seen the movie… safe. 🙂
  8. Michelle’s Masterful Musings’ review of Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris It’s already on my reading list for this month… or next.
  9. The Zen Leaf’s review of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards Already read it, and found it okay, but the movie version killed it for me.
  10. Bibliofreak’s review of All the King’s Men:  the movie I’ve seen the movie and liked it, but she says the book is even better… and I have the book, Yay!

Wow, 10 was kind of hard.  I got to about 7 and wanted to poop out.  Of course, it IS 3:30 am… and I have put in about 11 and a half hours on Bloggiesta… so I have a good excuse for being tire.

All in all, I think I really got a LOT done today.  While doing the commenting mini-challenge, I came across a few blogs that I always loved reading, but somehow never managed to get in my Google Reader, so my GR sub list is longer now, too 🙂

Kk.. I’m knocking off for the night.  The library is having a family movie event tomorrow, so I’ll probably start back on more mini-challenges sometime in the afternoon.

11:10 am – 7:25 pm… took a break… 11:20 pm – 3:45 am… going to bed.

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The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

Title:  The Sandman Vol 1:  Preludes & Nocturnes

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Illustrators:  Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III

Paperback:  240 pages

Published:  1991

ISBN:  9781563890116

page 73 page76

K, the trouble with doing graphic novel reviews is that it’s hard for me to quote or to give you a good feel of the book.  This is the first book in Gaiman’s Sandman series, book three receiving the most praise.  This book begins with a small cabal trying to capture Death, but getting Dream instead.  During his 70 or so years of captivity, his belongings are stolen and scattered throughout the universe.  When a guard falls asleep during his watch, Dream takes this opportunity to escape.  Bent on getting revenge, he has to collect his three main tools:  His dream dust, his mask and his ruby in which he has stored his power.  In the above panels, Dream enlists the sight of the Hecate to learn where these items can be found.

Traveling to different planes, he spends time with Cain and Abel, travels to Hell to challenge a demon in a game of wits for his helmet, finds his sand in the possession of a woman who’s been using it to escape her own reality, and finally finds his ruby in a storage shed.  But just as he reaches to collect it, he’s overcome by the ruby, which has been changed in the hands of Dr. D. 

John Dee, aka Dr. D, has been demented and twisted mentally under the stone’s power, and can no longer sleep.  He’s spent the last several years locked up in Arkham Asylum, and manages to escape.  He makes his way to the place he left Dream’s Ruby, and laughs at the immortal laying on the floor as he steps over him to pick up the stone.  Dee uses the ruby’s power in vile and perverse ways to make people violate and dismember one another before finally killing each other or themselves.  Dream has to somehow get the ruby out of Dee’s hands before things get worse.

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I started reading this book last year and was enjoying it, taking it a little bit at a time to make it last.  But somewhere along the way, I set it aside and forgot to pick it back up until the end of the year, when I started trying to finish up books I’d started in 2009.  It is possible that this break in momentum broke the spell of the book, but I lost interest in it after picking it back up.  When I read “24 Hours”, the chapter in which Dee takes control of the diner and manipulates the people in it in all kinds of weird, gross, and perverse ways… gory panels, indeed, I lost my stomach for the book.  It was a bit too Palahniuk for me, and reminded me of Haunted

The graphics in the book are fantastic.  Dream looks a LOT like Gaiman, and when we meet Death, it’s a surprise.  It is definitely different from my usual read, but I think I’ll just stick to manga and fiction for now.  I still love Gaiman’s work, but I don’t think this is for me.  I give The Sandman:  Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

** As I was looking for images from the book to post in this review, I discovered Fyrefly had also read and reviewed it.  Check it out!

BTT ~ Do You Hafta Be So Graphic?!

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by Vega:

Last Saturday (May 2nd) is Free Comic Book Day!

In celebration of comics and graphic novels, some suggestions:

– Do you read graphic novels/comics? Why do/don’t you enjoy them?
– How would you describe the difference between “graphic novel” and “comic”? Is there a difference at all?
– Say you have a friend who’s never encountered graphic novels. Recommend some titles you consider landmark/”canonical”.

For the longest time, I never gave graphic novels a serious consideration. To me, they were just kids’ books, just a glorified comic book. Not only did I refuse to read them on the grounds they were “books for dummies,” (after all, wasn’t it the mark of growing up? Graduating out of picture books and into chapter books?) but I avoided their whole section like it had a highly-contagious, IQ-lowering virus emanating from it.

However, a few months ago I started getting curious about them. It was about the same time I gave anime an open-minded look. I started walking by their area in the bookstore, then started looking at their spines, and even cracked a couple open before passing them up. Then, when Gwen’s school had a book fair, I came across Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives by Ellen Schreiber and finally bought my first graphic novel.

I had always found the few graphic novels I’d read a little confusing.  Who said what first is sometimes hard to tell, as the bubbles aren’t numbered, and often bump together.  So I sat down with Maggie (it was for her I bought the book) and began to read VK, determined to get through it.   And, after a few pages of working it all out, I started enjoying it.  They’re not the awful stupid-fying, “Dick and Jane grows up” kind of book I’d always accused them of being.

Still, I haven’t read many.  I’ve only read one other graphic novel, Robot Dreams by Sara Varnon.  Part of that, though, is there are just so many to choose from.  I do have one, a manga, coming from PaperBackSwap called Psychic Academy.  Also, since I like Neil Gaiman, I’ve put his Sandmanbooks on my wishlists.  I’ve also got the first Fruit Baskets on my wishlist.

As to which book I’d recommend, well… I’m kind of in that same boat with the hypothetical friend.  Maggie doesn’t like the traditional manga books because they open backwards… lol… it seems I’ve passed my book-prejudice on.  And besides, she says, they’re not worth anything in the Accelerated Reader world, which is her yardstick of book-value.  “Why read it if I’m not getting points for it?”  *sigh*

If you’d like to participate in Booking Through Thursday, click the button above 🙂

Edited to add:  I forgot about the Far Side book I recently read and reviewed, Night of the Crash-Test Dummies by Gary Larson.