March 3, 2012

February Bookworm Bite

I accomplished very little reading this month.  In my defense I was sick for two weeks and there was this small problem of my new iPhone.  I didn't take on any clunkers and I only finished one book towards my 2012 challenges.  I am hoping for better results in March!

My favorite read, aside from my reread of The Hunger Games, was Rebecca.  I enjoyed it far more than I had expected. It was also the only book I completed towards my 2012 challenges ...blah!!! I read for the second time, all three books in The Hunger Games Trilogy.  I am super excited about the movie release this month.  In addition to being sick, I dragged my way through Anil's Ghost.  Which reminds me, that book was also towards a challenge!!! Anyways, I just could not get into Anil's Ghost.  I had to force myself to finish it on the premise it was a challenge book and it was way to early in the game to replace it with one of my alternates.  My only other read was The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. That book makes me seriously question my judgement about the whole Twilight series.

Well, that was February ......bring on March!!!

February 27, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I had planned on rereading The Hunger Games before checking out the movie next month.  However, between being sick and getting a new iPhone (my first smart phone ever!) I sort of fell into a reading rut.  I just couldn't get inspired to pick up a book.  So I did what I do when this happens ....I picked up a book that I have already read and loved!! In this case three books since once you read the first one you have to keep on reading.

I am pretty sure just about everyone has read these books by now, but if you haven't read them I can't promise no spoilers!  Nor would I really call this a review, but more of some observations made on my second go round of reading this series.

1. Let's start with Cinna. He is one of my favorite characters and his fate in Catching Fire has always irked me.  It bothered even more this time and I came to the conclusion it's because I now have the image of Lenny Kravitz in my mind as Cinna and man oh man do I love me some Lenny Kravitz.

2. The biggest problem I encounter with reading YA is remembering the characters are usually just that ...young.  There are moments I want to reach into the book and smack Katniss.  I have to remind myself she is just a teenager and well ....teenagers sometimes do need smacking.

3. Something, other than Prim, bothers me about the way the story ends.  Yet I can't quite put a finger on what that is.  Hmmmm, yea I can .....I liked Gale.

4. I loved that my son and I both read this series.  Yes, I convinced my video game obsessed son to read a book.  We will be going to see the movie together.  We can't wait!!!

5. I'm curious as to how Haymitch will be portrayed in the movie.  Let's face it despite some of his redeeming qualities ...he is also a rude drunk.  Will it be toned down for the movie I wonder.

Now it is time to get back to reading the book I couldn't get myself to pick up and read .....hopefully now the odds will be in my favor of completing said task.

February 14, 2012

Top Ten Books that Broke Your Heart a Little (or A LOT!!)

This weeks Top Ten, hosted by The Broke and Bookish, are books that broke your heart a little.  I went with total instinct on this one and listed the first books I thought of.  I think a book that breaks your heart also leaves a lasting impression. I don't think there is much I need to say about these books.  If you read them then you know why they broke my heart. If you haven't read them then I don't want to spoil anything for you :)  Happy Valentines everyone!!
  1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  2. Night by Elie Weisel
  3. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  5. Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
  6. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  7. The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
  8. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
  9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  10. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

February 7, 2012

Top Ten Books I Would Hand to Someone Who Doesn't Like to Read

This weeks top ten, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is books you would hand to someone who doesn't like to read.  Shocking, I know, that such people exist.  I selected a variety of books so that depending on their personality and interests I would select one of these and dare them to tell me it wasn't great fun to read!!  My first three selections I have also picked for past lists.  I think that only means they are really that good!  I tried to select books that weren't too long in length and not difficult reads.

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - I think EVERYONE should read this book.  I hope someday it is required reading in high school.  It will make your heart break a little, but it will also make you smile.
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I actually did hand this book to someone son.  He was fussing about having to read for school and I handed him The Hunger Games.  I said read this and then try to tell me reading can't be fun.  Mom won ...he read the whole series in two weeks time and is anxiously awaiting the movie release.
  3. Still Alice by Lisa Genova - An emotional look at a real and scary disease that can happen to anyone.
  4. Stardust by Neil Gaiman - To a lover of fantasy movies I would say read this ....and then American Gods and then get the point ...just pick up some Neil Gaiman.
  5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith - I would totally hand this to a history teacher.  The best part of the book is how well he blends the lore of vampires with actual history.
  6. The Firm by John Grisham - I consider this his best novel and it's a definite page turner.
  7. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - For it's pure entertainment value.
  8. Animal Farm by George Orwell - I wanted to include a classic.  I went with this one due it's length and readability.
  9. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper - If you are looking for to laugh while you read then this is your guy. 
  10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - The unique perspective of this narrative makes this a must read and it just sooooooo good.  This is the next book I plan to hand to my son!!

February 3, 2012

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca is my first book completed for The Back to the Classics Challenge hosted by Sarah Reads too Much and was my selection the classic mystery/crime/horror category.  I have discovered that my expectations of a classic or almost always wrong.  This of course happens with more modern literature as well, but just not to the same extent.  Books I expected to love leave me looking for a box of nails to chew as I think that would be more enjoyable then finishing the book ...I am pretty sure this first occurred when I took on Henry James for the first time.  Books I expect to find tedious and boring end up shocking those nails right out of me.  Such is the case with Rebecca .....

The biggest compliment to this book isn't the mystery of what happened to her, but how the the author portrays Rebecca believe her to be this beautiful, amazing and kind spirit ....but **Spoiler Alert** it turns out it she was a cruel and heartless woman.  The transformation of character never seems out of place.  The mystery of how Rebecca died isn't as exciting and is rather predictable in this day and age, but I doubt it was as predictable in 1938.  I found myself yelling at the book and rolling my eyes at the new Mrs de Winter ..."why are you listening to Mrs. Danvers and making that dress for the costume ball!"  The true mystery is about who Rebecca really was and that is crafted perfectly through the eyes of the new Mrs. de Winter.

February 1, 2012

January Bookworm Bite

Not a bad month for reading!  I read two "clunkers" ( My definition of clunker is 500 or more pages) and they were my two favorite reads of the month....... 11/22/63 by Stephen King and A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin.  It might only be January but it will be hard to knock 11/22/63 from the top of my favorite list for 2012.  Yes, it was just THAT good.  Don't believe me ...READ IT won't be disappointed.  I enjoyed A Game of Thrones more than A Clash of Kings, but the second book in the series still leaves you ready and wanting to pick up the third book.  On a side note, I am currently watching the HBO adaptation of A Game of Thrones and I am impressed by how well cast it is and by how true it stays to the book.  I am looking forward to April 1st and the premier of the second season!

After participating in a Top Ten Tuesday that asked for my favorite childhood reads I decided it was time to reread some of those favorites and perhaps read some I had missed. I read The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz and I was reminded of why I like the movie better.  I also picked up Coraline, a book I have never read, and am anxious to check out the movie adaptation.  A reread of Charlotte's Web is in my February reading plans.

I checked out Ellen DeGeneres' new book.  It made for some light and easy entertainment after those two clunkers.  The trick is to make sure you have Ellen's voice in your head as you read.  I have heard the real audio version is excellent.  I love Larry Bird = I loved When the Game Was Ours.  I read Life of Pi as part of my Mount TBR Challenge and for my book club read.  It wasn't what I expected ....not sure what I expected ....but I cringed in a lot of places ....

My most disappointing read was Bonnie by Iris Johansen.  I have been a fan of her Eve Duncan series for years and the resolution just left me saying "Really? ...Really?  Really?" Blahhhhhhhh

Looking ahead to February ....I am almost done with my first book for The Back to the Classics Challenge.  Then question is read or not to read some more clunkers in February or to take a breather :)

January 31, 2012

Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks

This weeks top ten, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is books I think would make great book club picks.  I went with the premise of a book club of readers new to the joys and passion of reading and looking for recommendations to help them appreciate the world of books. Any world ....any period of time it real or make believe can be found by merely immersing yourself in a book.

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - A perfect example of why YA Lit can be enjoyed by even an adult reader.
  2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - The most emotionally powerful book I have read in years. 
  3. Still Alice by Lisa Genova - A book that makes you ask the question "What if that was me?"
  4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - A classic that is accessible and shocked me at how it could be a bit of a page turner!
  5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - Fantasy you say ...look no further then this series ....unless you are up for The Lord of the Rings!
  6. Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen - Immerses you in it's circus setting and makes you cheer on an elephant!
  7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - Not an easy read but so worth the time spent.
  8. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane - Everything a mystery should be ...and the movie adaptation is spot on.
  9. Gone with Wind by Margaret Mitchell - A must read classic for anyone! That fact that it took me years to brave reading it is beside the point!
  10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Yes, we have all read read it my imaginary new readers need to join that "read it" club.

January 24, 2012

Top Ten Book I Would Want With Me On a Desert Island

This weeks Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish is a list of your own choice.  I selected a past Top Ten list; books I would want with me on a a deserted island.
  1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - This is one of my favorite books of all time and I have all the faith in the world I could read it over and over again.  I mean, I have already read it four times ....
  2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I finally read this for the first time last year and I am already looking forward to reading it again.
  3. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson - Is it cheating to pick a series of books? So be it, I need to make the most of my choices :)
  4. A Song of Fire and Ice Series by George R.R. Martin - I hesitate to add this to my list only because he isn't done with this series.  Am I able to have the new books air dropped in?
  5. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller - I love, love, love this book.
  6. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway - I haven't read all the stories in the book yet so it will make a nice addition to my desert get away!
  7. The Odyssey by Homer - Maybe I will pick up some survival tips.
  8. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - It has been a few years since I read this one.  It is time for a reread to remember why it is on my favorites list.
  9. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - I think you could read this a million times and every time would feel like the first time.
  10. War and Peace by  Leo Tolstoy - I have never actually read this book, but having now read Gone With the Wind this tops my list of a classic I want to read before I die.

January 13, 2012

11/22/63 by Stephen King

First let me confess to this, I haven’t read a Stephen King novel since The Shining scared the kittens out of me in high school.  We won’t discuss how many years ago it was that the word “redrum” had me sleeping with my eyes open, but it was the first and last time I read a Stephen King novel.  So, how is it I couldn’t wait for this book to be released? That the only thing that kept me from running out to buy it the day it was released was the knowledge that either a loving boyfriend or mother would buy it for me for Christmas.  Yes, I was that excited to read 11/22/63 and I’m happy to report that my second venture into a Stephen King novel did not disappoint me (or scare the kittens out of me).

The premise of the book is intriguing even if not quite original in it's concept of time travel.  What if you were able to go back in time and save JFK?  How does that change the future as we know it.  Will it also save Martin Luther King …..will it keep American troops out of Vietnam ….heck, will it keep the Beatles from breaking up?  I won’t tell you how Stephen King envisions that future, but it gives one’s mind plenty to think about.  Our hero in waiting, Jake/George, is living in the past for five years as he waits for time to catch up to that fateful day.  The question is not just what will he change if he can stop Lee Harvey Oswald and save JFK, but how much is he changing every day just by being there in a place and time where he doesn’t belong.  The question is what happens if forced to choose between a life he has fallen in love with and a future he is supposed to change.

This is only the second book I have read in 2012 and I have this feeling it will be the book I can't stop talking about!! It is already the book I am recommending to anyone who will listen ....even those who don't want to listen!

January 1, 2012

December Bookworm Bite

December was a slow reading month for me.  I baked, I shopped, I decorated, I wrapped presents resulting in very little reading.  I read a total of six books and they were all what I classify as "easy" reads. Easy because I can read them quickly. 

My favorite read of December is the The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper.  I just love his style of writing and the humor he incorporates into his novels.  I love a book that can make me laugh.  That would be the reason why I selected Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris for the holiday read for my book club.  I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Me Talk Pretty One Day, but there wasn't a story in our holiday read that didn't touch on some ironic truth of the season. I enjoyed Son of A Witch, but it reached a point where certain elements of the story just didn't seem to fit with the story.  My other reads Friday Night Knitting Club, Dead to the World and Long Lost were books I picked up that I knew would fit into that busy holiday schedule.  I am enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse novels and this book has been my favorite thus far.  What can I say I am an Eric fan!

Looking ahead into 2012.  I have my 2012 Reading Challenges to look forward to and I have set a goal of reading 100 books total for 2012.  I also plan to incorporate the "Baking" part of my blog title into my blog and I want to start writing individual book reviews.  I think that is some pretty good goals for 2012!!!  Maybe I will also try to cut back on my Diet Coke intake ....hmmmm ...nah ....the world ends in 2012 anyway :p