Reading May Be Challenging, But So Is Saying NO!

Literary Escapism New Author Challenge 2010Yeah, yeah… I’m already in book-deep with all I would like to accomplish with my reading this year, especially if I get distracted by some new fancy and forget to read for a couple months, but I couldn’t help signing up for a couple more reading challenges!

Well, one isn’t really a stretch for me.  Literary Escapism is hosting the New Author Challenge 2010, and I figured this would be an EASY challenge for me given the majority of my planned reading this year (and it’s pretty much all planned already) is reading ARCs by authors new to the publishing field and therefore new to me.

I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors.  It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be.  For me, I’m trying another 50 new authors.  If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop.

So, if you’ve seen the ARC-alanche page, which I plan on reading everything on it by the end of this year, then you’ll see that signing up for 50 new authors is an easy thing since there are over 60 titles there 😉  AND I’ve already finished 2 with Erick Setiawan and Lori Handeland, so I’ve only got 48 more to go!

By the way, if you hurry over and sign up for this one, you could be the 100th person in Mr. Linky 🙂 (Mr. Monk would love that!)

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Terry Pratchett 2010 ChallengeDuring Bloggiesta, while doing the “comment on a new-to-you blog” mini-challenge, I found out there was a Terry Pratchett reading challenge and squirmed with delight… and pain.  I wanted to do it so badly!  I loved Nation by Pratchett, as well as The Color of Magic mini-series, and wished I could read a few of his books this year.  But, ALAS! my reading schedule is so full already, when and how could I slip in more?

Then I found out I’d only have to read ONE book for it, and surely I could slip in ONE book, right?

Marg at ReadingAdventures is hosting the Terry Pratchett 2010 Reading Challenge

The challenge will start from 1 December 2009 and run through to 30 November 2010. There are several different levels of participation for you to choose from:

1-3 books – Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint
4-5 books – Guard of the City Watch
6-8 books – Academic at the Unseen University
9-10 books – Member of Granny Weatherwax’s Coven
10-12 books – Death’s Apprentice

You can either be reading the books for the first time, rereading, or even watching the TV adaptations if you like! As long as everyone has fun I will be happy! Please also do not feel limited to only reading the Discworld books as any books by Terry Pratchett will count for this challenge.

I’m going for the Cashier level, but may end up a little higher, given you can watch the shows, too.  I wouldn’t mind watching The Color of Magic once or twice.. or ten times.. more.  Tim Curry, Sean Astin, that guy from Braveheart who played Hamish’s dad, and Rincewind.. lol.  I have to smile just thinking about Rincewind and Death (who was voiced by Christopher Lee) arguing. 

My planned reading for this so far is:

  • The Color of Magic -already on my “currently reading” pile
  • Good Omens co-authored with Neil Gaiman – I’m dying to get to this one!

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Jane Austen ChallengeHonestly, I’ve felt a bit lazy and guilty for not having a Jane Austen challenge on my list.  I failed miserably on last year’s challenge, but I think that was due to poor planning and organization.  Hopefully that’ll improve this year, so I’m signing up for another go ’round with Jane.  I still have Persuasion to read of her novels, and I have Sanditon, Lady Susan and The Watsons on my to-read list.  Plus Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is somewhere on Mt TBR.  AND I know I’m gonna read her anyway, so why not do it in a challenge.

Haley at the Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object (what a name for a blog!) is hosting a Jane Austen Challenge this year.

–Levels:

**Newbie 2 books by J. Austen, 2 re-writes, prequels, sequels, or spoofs (by other authors)

**Lover 4 books by J. Austen, 4 re-writes, prequels, sequels, or spoofs (by other authors)

** Fanatic 6+ books by J. Austen, 5+ re-writes, prequels, sequels, or spoofs (by other authors)

I believe this is a READING challenge, so movie adaptations and such wouldn’t be included, so I’m just going to shoot for Newbie level since, as I said before, my reading planner is already exploding.  My planned reading for this is:

  • Persuasion – already on my currently-reading stack
  • Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with Seth Grahame-Smith

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Maybe I should change this blog title to “Confessions of a Reading Challenge Addict”?  Though, I KNOW some of you are even WORSE than me.  Y’all are a BAD influence!  LOL  Which is why I love ya 😉

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Books-to-Movies: Hit or Miss?

Trisha at eclectic / eccentric has a really fun post, Adaptations Lists and Giveaways, where she’s listed 5 books that she wishes were movies, and 5 books that she wishes never were.  I have to agree with her on Eragon, one of the worst travesties done to a book EVER, but not on a few of the others.  I enjoyed reading hers so much, I wanted to play to 🙂  So here’s my 5 and 5.

FIVE books that I’d trade a body part to be movies:

  1. Nation by Terry Pratchett ~ It was fantastic, funny, had a great message, and it just lent itself to visualization.  AND it’d have gorgeous South Pacific scenery that would be breath-taking on a big screen.  I think that’d be worth a spleen, at least… I mean, what does that thing do, anyway?
  2. The Stephanie Plum Novels by Janet Evanovich ~ I’d trade a kidney for a TV series of this.  Grandma Mazur, in my living room, every week.  Oh, that would almost make up for the end of LOST!
  3. Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng ~ It’d be worth a lung lobe just to watch a gummy Miss Adderstone use her false teeth like castanets.  And I think they could do a lot of fun stuff visually with the hypnotism.  Oh, any movie can be improved by throwing a pug dog in the story 🙂
  4. Goblins! An UnderEarth Adventure by Royce Buckingham ~ Goblins.  SNOT. and it’s all underground.  It’d be a good cult classic.  Ok, so I LOVE movies like A Gnome Named Gnorm… and am apparently alone in that given it’s 4 out of 10 stars rating, Super Mario Bros, and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and I think this one could be a cool movie.
  5. Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper ~  Okay, I’d trade a cornea for this one.  El Mochito, the Daredevil, the blind Wonder Cat who defends his mom from the burglar, and whose heart is so big that he enraptures everyone who ever meets him… well, except for Lawrence.  He was too smitten with Vashti.  It’d be way better than that Marley & Me movie, and BEST OF ALL, the cat would still be alive at the end.  Gawd, I hated the end of Marley.  I don’t want to think about my pets dying.  I know it’ll happen, but don’t put it in my “feel-good” movie.  Marley & Me was like being a manic/depressive for 110 minutes… and I still gave it 5 stars at Netflix. 

There should be a special place in HELL for the people who made thes FIVE books into movies:

  1. The Inheritance Cycle (or the movie Eragon) by Christopher Paolini, obviously.  A place in Hell where they’re forced to sit in front of a movie screen and endure inane details of a random person’s life, but NEVER get anything good or inspiring or accurate.  Every good part was cut from the books and then they watered down the surface story, left even more out, and called it a movie.  First off, ERAGON is the name of ONE book, and yet they made the whole book series in this one movie.  Nasuada is one of my favorite characters, and she’s an important character, but she’s no where in the movie.  What about Eragon’s training with the Elves?  and where’s Solombum, the were-cat?  Grr… horrible rendering.
  2. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards ~ That movie sucked so bad, I actually dropped my rating on the book after watching it.  The book was complex and had depth, but the movie was just weak.  Whoever made THAT drivel should be stripped of their sense of smell, have their taste buds seared off, be stricken color-blind and then spend eternity seated at a table loaded with all their favorite foods.
  3. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King ~ You know, the sad thing about this one is, SK himself approved the script.  The book itself has 2 novella stories to it, one centered around playing Hearts at college, and the second where the guy’s an alien hiding out and other aliens come looking for him.   But the movie has NONE of the Hearts to it, and what’s left of the Atlantis part is stripped of all the magic that made me love it.  In the end, it’s just another lousy Stephen King book-to-movie.
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ~ Honestly, it’s not the movie makers fault that it was a bad book-to-movie.  There was NO WAY for them to translate all that goes on inside the narrator’s head, the nuances of the people, and the sense of fear/doom/loss/inadequacy that made up this book.  It wasn’t JUST about him not standing up for his friend and allowing him to be hurt, but it’s about how that one moment was the still point that his whole life and identity grew out of.  I think it’s fair to give the movie people a pardon on this one.
  5. The Hours by Michael Cunningham ~ Okay, I’ve never read the book, so I can’t say whether they did a bad job of making the movie, but here is what I can say:  After watching that movie, I would NEVER read the book.  What’s more, I don’t want to go near a Virgina Woolfe book because of it.  It gave me the impression that her books are very depressing and I’d want to kill myself after reading it.  I might’ve read one of her books before that, I think I even have Mrs. Dalloway somewhere, but every time I think about her books, I think about drowning myself in the bathtub and it’s all because of that movie.

A couple books being made into movies that I’m reserving space on my WORST movie adaptations EVER mental list are:

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry ~ right now, it’s set to come out 2011, but that’ll probably get pushed back.  It’s suppose to be done by the director who did the last few Harry Potter movies, so they’ve had to wait for those to wrap up. I just can’t see how this book could work as a movie for the same reasons The Kite Runner was a miss.  There’s so much going on mentally, how can they show that on the screen?
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy ~ Viggo Mortensen as the man… big, big plus.  It could really be another Mad Max or Blade Runner and be a raging success, but it could just as easily tank hard.  It’s another one of those mental books, though the scenery could be amazing.  They HAVE to have the cellar scene in it, though, or it’ll be a deal breaker.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ~ The book was perfection.  A movie will screw it up.  There’s NO WAY it can be done.

Oh, and by the way… Don’t forget to Trisha’s having a contest for this:

Giveaway:

If you make a post about this topic and leave a link in the comments section, I will 1) add you to the list below and 2) enter you into a giveaway for one of the following books:

1.  It’s Easy Being Green by Crissy Trask
2.  No Touch Monkey by Ayun Halliday
3.  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
4.  The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The contest closes at midnight January 17.

So what books do you think would be a hit or were a miss?

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.

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak

Title:  The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut (Based on the Life and Works of G.K. Chesterton)

Author:  Paul Nowak

Paperback:  55 pages

ISBN:  0977223493

Miscellaneous:  This book is intended to be the first of a series on “Uncle Chestnut.”

Challenges:  2009 ARC Reading Challenge 

“You see, Jack, an adventure is only an inconvenience considered the right way, and an inconvenience is an adventure considered the wrong way,” said Uncle Chestnut.  “When someone complains about the inconveniences in their life – such as hats blowing away, or drawers getting stuck, or delays at the airport – they are missing the adventure in those experiences they cannot control.  The only thing we always can control is how we react.”

“In other words, we can choose to enjoy life, with all its adventures that take place beyond our control, or we can be miserable with all the inconveniences life hands us.  It’s up to you to choose.”

-page 9

Uncle Chestnut is a great storyteller, and he enjoys telling them as much as Jack enjoys listening to them.  He makes faces, uses voices and acts out parts of the tale he’s telling.  When I read this, my mind immediately went to my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Crawford (whose first name, coincidentally, was also Jack).  Mr. Crawford didn’t teach history to us, he performed it.  His face reflected the Pharaoh as he covered ancient Egypt.  I still remember when he was telling us about Israel’s crossing the Red Sea, and he was pretending to be one of the Egyptian cavalry soldiers pursuing them:  “Whoa, Nelly… you can’t drink that water!” was his command to his horse as “Nelly” was getting ready do sample the wall of water.  Mr. Crawford, like Uncle Chestnut, made the stories come alive.

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut isn’t a story, specifically, but rather more anecdotal.  In the book Jack, the narrator, is remembering life with his eccentric writer-uncle.  It’s full of wisdom and good sense that’s definitely lacking today.  The author, Paul Nowak, was inspired by G.K. Chesterton, an early 20th century writer who inspired C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Mahatma Gandhi, just to name a few.  More recently, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett have referenced, credited and even created characters based on Chesterton.

As I first started reading this, I thought it was written by the actual nephew, but I quickly realized that wasn’t possible.  Then I thought maybe Nowak was updating Jack’s diary, or that Jack would turn out to be C.S. Lewis.  It wasn’t until the American Idol reference that I finally understood that this book was really a work of fiction.  Yes, Nowak based Uncle Chestnut on Chesterton and used Chesterton’s work to be as true to him as possible, but it is fiction.  It’s such a surprising little book, not at all what I was expecting.  As it is the first in what the author intends to be a series, I really hope the next book isn’t far off, because I can’t wait for my new favorite uncle to visit some more.

Some little things about the book, though…  The only fault I could really find with it other than the few typos about which Nowak warned in the accompanying letter is this:  It is too short.  I had hardly settled in before it was over.  I’m not saying it to be funny, I really mean that the length of the book actually left a negative feeling.  You know, like when you go to the ice cream shop and order a large, thinking you are really going to get a treat, and they hand you a kiddie cone?  Ultimately, somewhere down the line, it might be a good idea to consolidate books into a 200-300 or so page book.  The other off thing I had to say about it is that it’s supposed to be kinda-sorta a kids book, but I’m not really sure it fits that.  Maybe, IDK… it’s a bit Winnie-the-Pooh like in style, which was actually a very surprising thing to have captivated my kids attention.  I haven’t read this book with them yet, so maybe they would really like it, but it just seems like something the kid inside the grown-up would like.

I really do hope The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnutby Paul Nowak catches and takes off, it’s very much a needed book and voice of wisdom and reason that could tip the balance a little more toward sanity than it’s been leaning lately.  I know my copy isn’t leaving my library, so y’all will have to get your own 🙂  I know I will re-read this one.  5 out of 5 stars, in case you didn’t catch that I liked it. 😉

By the way, make sure to check out the book’s site at http://unclechestnut.com/ .  There you can learn more about the man who inspired this book, G.K. Chesterton, as well as search quotes and sign up for the Uncle Chestnut’s quote a day newsletter.