Sunday Salon: A Great Week for Books

Despite last week being full of midterms, it is my best reading week so far this year. I read ten books! Half were picture books and the other half adult. I read:

  • Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra. Lost in Translation, Orbis Terraum, and A to Z challenges.
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Lost in Translation, Orbis Terraum, Dewey’s Books Challenges.
  • Annie Leibovitz at Work by Annie Leibovitz. A to Z challenge
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Required reading for school.
  • Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham. Graphic Novels Challenge
  • The Big Green Pocketbook by Candice Ransom. Young Readers Challenge.
  • The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson. Book Awards and Young Readers challenges.
  • My Friend, the Starfinder by George Ella Lyon. Young Readers Challenge.
  • The Little Bit Scary People by Emily Jenkins. Young Readers.
  • How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham. Young Readers.

My favorite adult read was The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Funny and philosophical, the ‘Hedgehog’ was a pleasure to read. At 325 pages it can be a dense read at times while other chapters fly by. One of my classmates saw all the post-its in the book and thought it had been required reading for a class.

My least favorite was Bonsai. It’s the tale of a relationship between a man and a woman and what happens after they break up. The best part of the book was the opening paragraph,

In the end she dies and he remains alone, although in truth he was alone some years before her death, Emilia’s death. Let’s say that she is called or was called Emilia and that he is called, was called, and continues to be called Julio. Julio and Emilia. In the end Emilia dies and Julio does not die. The rest is literature. . .

Why couldn’t the rest of the 83-page novella be as beautiful as that opening paragraph? Usually I don’t bother write a review about books I hate dislike but I feel a tad guilty since I asked my library to order this book and they did. I checked on Goodreads and found that readers either loved it or hated it.

I don’t have a favorite for picture books. All five were great reads. My kids really lovedĀ  The House in the Night while one of my sisters loved the repetition in The Little Bit Scary People. Look for reviews of all the books I read this week in the next couple of days.

For the Try Something New mini-challenge hosted by Nymeth, Valentina and I are partnering up to read short stories. I own a ton of collections but never find the time to read them. I plan on reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber while Valentina reads a different collection. Now I’m off to read and relax.

What are you currently reading?

Advertisements

Sunday Salon: 2009 Personal Challenge

As great as challenges are, there are many I won’t be joining next year because of limited time. So instead I plan on having a personal challenge that includes no more than six challenges from the blogosphere. There are so many books I want to read and of course not enough time to read them.

I’m starting my personal challenge on Dec. 18, 2008 and it will run through Dec. 31, 2009. I know the dates are odd but the 18th is the last day of school for me and I plan on reading the second I walk out of class.

The plan: to read 150 books

6 in translation. (Lost in Translation challenge)
12 young adult novels (J. Kaye’s Y.A. Challenge)
10 award winners (Book Award Challenge)
25 on my TBR bookshelf
100 short stories (100 shots of short story challenge)
The rest? Who cares?

I’m also participating in The Year of Readers Challenge that is hosted by Jodie. The challenge is a year-long read-a-thon in 2009 to raise money for literary charities through reading. Instead of asking people to donate money to me for my charities, First Book and 826 National, I’m going to personally donate $1.50 for each book I read. If I read 150 books I’ll have donated a total of $225 by the end of the year. I plan on donating money at the end of each month instead of waiting until the end of the year. If you would like to join and help raise money, go over to the challenge. If not, why don’t you support one of your fellow bloggers and donate money for a great cause?

Book Awards Challenge Wrap-Up

Today is the last day of 3M’s Book Awards Reading Challenge. The goal was to read 12 award-winning books from June 2007 through June 2008. Here’s what I read:

Pulitzer Prize Winners
1. Driving Miss Daisy – Alfred Uhry (1988 for Drama)
2. Wit: a play – Margaret Edson (1999 for Drama)
3. Dinner with Friends – Donald Margulies (2000 for Drama)
4. Time and Materials – Robert Hass (2008 for Poetry)
5. Proof- David Auburn (2001 for Poetry)
6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (1961 Fiction)
7. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (1962 recipient for the Nobel)
8. New and Selected Poems – Mary Oliver (1992 National Book Award)
9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret -Brian Selznick (2007 Caldecott)
10. The Tale of Desperaux – Kate DiCamillo (2004 Newbery)
11. American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang (2007 Printz prize)
12. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile – Bill Willingham (2003 Eisner)
13. Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers- Bill Willingham (2005 Eisner)
14. The End of the Alphabet – CS Richardson (2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book for Canada and Carribean Region)
Technically numbers 12 and 13 don’t count because the Eisner award doesn’t count, but the award might be included for the second annual Book Awards Challenge that starts in August.
I think every book I read became a new favorite except Oliver’s New and Selected Poems. I love Oliver’s poetry, but just wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I was reading it. I think most of the books that I read left me so speechless. I have to give all of them 5 out of 5 ratings. I hope whoever reads this post will pick one of these books to read. You won’t be disappointed.

Book Awards Challenge Wrap-Up

Today is the last day of 3M’s Book Awards Reading Challenge. The goal was to read 12 award-winning books from June 2007 through June 2008. Here’s what I read:

Pulitzer Prize Winners
1. Driving Miss Daisy – Alfred Uhry (1988 for Drama)
2. Wit: a play – Margaret Edson (1999 for Drama)
3. Dinner with Friends – Donald Margulies (2000 for Drama)
4. Time and Materials – Robert Hass (2008 for Poetry)
5. Proof- David Auburn (2001 for Poetry)
6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (1961 Fiction)
7. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (1962 recipient for the Nobel)
8. New and Selected Poems – Mary Oliver (1992 National Book Award)
9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret -Brian Selznick (2007 Caldecott)
10. The Tale of Desperaux – Kate DiCamillo (2004 Newbery)
11. American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang (2007 Printz prize)
12. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile – Bill Willingham (2003 Eisner)
13. Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers- Bill Willingham (2005 Eisner)
14. The End of the Alphabet – CS Richardson (2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book for Canada and Carribean Region)
Technically numbers 12 and 13 don’t count because the Eisner award doesn’t count, but the award might be included for the second annual Book Awards Challenge that starts in August.
I think every book I read became a new favorite except Oliver’s New and Selected Poems. I love Oliver’s poetry, but just wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I was reading it. I think most of the books that I read left me so speechless. I have to give all of them 5 out of 5 ratings. I hope whoever reads this post will pick one of these books to read. You won’t be disappointed.

Book Awards Challenge Wrap-Up

Today is the last day of 3M’s Book Awards Reading Challenge. The goal was to read 12 award-winning books from June 2007 through June 2008. Here’s what I read:

Pulitzer Prize Winners
1. Driving Miss Daisy – Alfred Uhry (1988 for Drama)
2. Wit: a play – Margaret Edson (1999 for Drama)
3. Dinner with Friends – Donald Margulies (2000 for Drama)
4. Time and Materials – Robert Hass (2008 for Poetry)
5. Proof- David Auburn (2001 for Poetry)
6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (1961 Fiction)
7. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (1962 recipient for the Nobel)
8. New and Selected Poems – Mary Oliver (1992 National Book Award)
9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret -Brian Selznick (2007 Caldecott)
10. The Tale of Desperaux – Kate DiCamillo (2004 Newbery)
11. American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang (2007 Printz prize)
12. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile – Bill Willingham (2003 Eisner)
13. Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers- Bill Willingham (2005 Eisner)
14. The End of the Alphabet – CS Richardson (2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book for Canada and Carribean Region)
Technically numbers 12 and 13 don’t count because the Eisner award doesn’t count, but the award might be included for the second annual Book Awards Challenge that starts in August.
I think every book I read became a new favorite except Oliver’s New and Selected Poems. I love Oliver’s poetry, but just wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I was reading it. I think most of the books that I read left me so speechless. I have to give all of them 5 out of 5 ratings. I hope whoever reads this post will pick one of these books to read. You won’t be disappointed.

Fables: Legends in Exile

Fables: Legends in Exile (2002)
Bill Willingham
128 pages
Winner of the 2003 Eisner Award for Best New Series

I am becoming the newest biggest fan of graphic novels. This was a genre, that until recently, I didn’t pay any attention to. I’m glad things have changed so much.

Fables: Legends in Exile is the first book in a series created by Bill Willingham. The characters from various fairy tales have been exiled from their homelands by an enemy called The Adversary and now have to live among humans in America. The characters that can pass for humans live in New York City while those that can’t live upstate at a place called “The Farm.” All the characters hope to one day defeat The Adversary and go back home.

Book 1 features Bigby Wolf a.k.a. The Big Bad Wolf trying to solve the murder of Rose Red. Also feature is Snow White, her ex-husband Prince Charming, Cinderella, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, The Frog Prince, Bluebeard, Beauty and her husband, the Beast and many more. The story is so funny and realistic. I started reading the novel and didn’t put it down until I was finished. It deserves my 5 out of 5 rating.

With that said, I just realized this was my last book for the Once Upon a Time 2 Challenge. I have to thank Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for hosting this great challenge. I had so much fun reading books I usually don’t read. So it’s official: I’m hooked on the strange and the unusual.
I read:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 – Alan Moore
The Stolen Child – Keith Donahue
Fables
The Sandman Vol. 1 – Neil Gaiman
The Resurrectionist – Jack O’Connell
My favorite reads for this challenge: Fables and The Stolen Child.
My least favorite: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 1. Maybe it’s the feminist in me, but I couldn’t understand why Mina Murray couldn’t kick ass herself.

A to Z

The End of the Alphabet
CS Richardson
119 pages
Rating: 5/5

I rarely reread books. I can give you many excuses: I’m too tired, there’s not enough time, too many new books in the world… I rather not. I just don’t feel like rereading most books. The End of the Alphabet is so well-written that I just finished reading it for the second time in six months.
“This story is unlikely. Were it otherwise, or at the least more wished for, it would have begun on a Sunday morning. Early, as that was his best time of the day, and in April, that odd time between thin winter and a plump spring…”
Ambrose Zephyr and his wife Zipper find out Ambrose has only thirty days to live. Soon the two are traveling around the world alphabetically from Amsterdam to Zanzibar, trying to see all the places they haveĀ  never been to and visit old favorites like Paris again. Throughout their travels, Ambrose and Zipper reflect on their past and present together, trying not to think about the uncertain future.
This story is one of love that’s realistic but yet subtle. The End of the Alphabet leaves you impatient, waiting for newcomer CS Richardson to write another tale.
Winner of the 2008 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book in Canada and the Carribean Region

Book Awards 2

Dear Friends,

Please pay no attention to my previous posts about not signing up for any more book challenges. I’ve come to realize that I am addicted to book challenges and every time one catches my eye, I join. I cannot ignore the temptation. I will join every book challenge that I feel like joining and try to overlap as many books as possible with other challenges. So hello, Friends, my name is Vasilly and I’m addicted to books and challenges.

With that said, I just joined another challenge. The Book Awards Reading Challenge 2 hosted by 3m. The first annual Book Awards Challenge is still going on now, but will end June 30th. BARC2 has slightly different rules than the first. The challenge will only last 10 months, from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009. You read 10 award-winning books, with at least 5 of those titles in different awards. Here’s my rough draft of what I’m going to read:

1. Looking for Alaska – John Green (Printz 2006)

2. The Giver – Lois Lowry (Newbery 1994)
3. The Color Purple – Alice Walker (National Book Award 1983)
4. Anything by Samuel Beckett (Novel Prize 1969)
5. Driving Miss Daisy – Alfred Uhry (Pulitzer Prize for Drama 1988)
6. Saturday – Ian McEwan (James Tait Black Memorial 2005)
7. August: Osage County – Tracy Letts (Pulitzer for Drama 2008)
8. Housekeeping -Marilynne Robinson (Pen/Hemingway 1981)
9. Angels in America – Tony Kushner (Pulitzer for Drama 1993)
10. Who knows?
Okay, that’s it. Now I’m off to study. I have finals in just two short days.

Southern Reading Challenge

Maggie at MaggieReads is throwing the Southern Reading Challenge. I can’t wait, this will the my first one ever. The challenge runs from May 5 through August 15. The rules are you read at least three southern books by southern authors. Here’s my list:
1. The Known World – Edward P. Jones
2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
3. The Wednesday Letters – Jason F. Wright

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men (1938)

John Steinbeck

103 pages

Rating 5 out of 5

Of Mice and Men by the American John Steinbeck is a masterpiece running the length of a novella. It is the story of two men, Lennie and George, bound together by loneliness and their dreams of having more than a life of working on farms with little to show for it. Lennie is a giant who needs the protection and company of George to navigate through the world, while George is a small man who needs Lennie as much as Lennie needs him. They go to a farm in Salinas, California to work and save up for their dream. In the book when George is telling of their dream to have a “small house with ten acres,” it’s told so vividly that you can picture it in your head. But it’s there at the farm, that their dreams go awry. I felt my stomach almost boiling over with suspense while reading the end of the novel. Even now as I think about the book, I try to picture what happened to the characters after.

John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors, having read East of Eden and The Pearl. Of Mice and Men is now one of my favorite books. I recommend it to everyone.

Book Awards Reading Challenge

It has taken me forever to pick the books I want to read for the Book Awards Reading Challenge hosted by 3M. The challenge started July 1st of this year and ends June 20th of 2008. The rules are that you read 12 award-winning books from the eligible lists picked by 3M ranging from Pulitizer Prize to Commonwealth Writers’ to Nobel Prize and much more. There are so many lists to choice from and so many great books to pick. But here’s my list:
  1. The Singing – CK Williams (National Book Award Poetry 2003)
  2. Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt (Pulitzer 1996)
  3. Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich (National Book Critics Circle Award 1984)
  4. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai (Booker 2006)
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (Pulitzer 1961)
  6. Vernon God Little – DBC Pierre (Booker 2003)
  7. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides (Pulitzer 2006)
  8. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner Orhan Pamuk 2006
  9. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1982
  10. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner John Steinbeck 1962
  11. Anything by Nobel Prize Winner Shmuel Yosef Agnon 1966
  12. On Beauty – Zadie Smith (Orange Prize 2006)

Alternates:

  1. Mister Pip – Lloyd Jones (Commonweath/South Pacific and Overall 2007)
  2. Vandal Love – Dy Bechard (Commonweath/Canada and Overall 2007)
  3. Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (National Book Award Poetry 1978)
  4. New & Selected Poems – Mary Oliver (National Book Award Poetry 1992)
  5. The Shipping News – E. Annie Proulx (N.B.A. Fiction 1993)
  6. The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion (N.B.A. Non-Fiction 2005)
  7. The Echo Maker – Richard Powers (N.B.A. Fiction 2006)
  8. The Worst Hard Time – Timothy Egan (N.B.A. Non-Fiction)
  9. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (Booker Prize 1981)

more…

  1. Passing Through: The Later Years – Stanley Kunitz (N.B.A. Poetry 1995)
  2. Out Stealing Horses – Per Patterson (Impac Dublin 2007)
  3. When I lived in Modern Times – Linda Grant (Orange 2000)
  4. The Penderwicks – Jeanne Birdsall (N.B.A. young people’s literature 2005)
  5. Small Island – Andrea Levy (Orange 2004)
  6. Bel Canto – Ann Patchett (Orange 2002)
  7. Novel Prize Winner Joseph Brodsky 1987
  8. This Blinding Absence of Light – Tahar ben Jelloun (Impac 2004)
  9. The Elementary Particles – Michael Houellebecq (International Impac 2002)

Yes I do realize that I have alot of alternates but since I am a very moody reader, I picked enought books that I should always be able to find something off the list to read thet will interest me. The prizes are credits ranging from 1 to 3 from Paperbackswap is what’s going to keep me motivated.