Book Beginnings and Friday 56: The Eyre Affair


This Friday’s book is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.


 

For Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader

My father had a face that could stop a clock. I don’t mean that he was ugly or anything; it was a phrase the ChronoGuard used to describe someone who had the power to reduce time to an ultraslow trickle.

For The Friday 56 by Freda’s Voice

Revenge had been a prime emotion keeping me together over the past two weeks. Without a burning desire to see Hades punished, I might not even have made it at all.

Wishlist Wednesday: The Paper Magician


Today I’ll be participating in Wishlist Wednesday from Pen to Paper. So what do I want to read:

The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg

At the start of December, I stumbled on The Paper Magician on someone elses blog (sadly, I can’t remember whose it was…). The idea behind the story is that magicians are trained to only work in one element, and Ceony Twill would love to work in metal. Sadly, she’s been assigned to work in paper and is sent to learn from a paper magician (perhaps THE paper magician?). At some point, I heard it compared to The Night Circus.

Now, I could probably dowithout the romance that apparently blossoms between Ceony and her teacher (I’m very picky when it comes to romance in books and often times what’s written doesn’t so much capture my imagination as it does make my eyes roll). But I was very interested in this idea about restricting magic to only one medium, and I’m curious of what paper magic will involve.

I requested the book and its sequel, The Glass Magician, from my local library. They were already ordering the books and a few days later I noticed the hold status changed from”on order” to “pending”, And I thought ‘Oh great! They must’ve received the books and now just have to process them.” Unfortunately, the processing (or whatever they’re doing) is taking FOREVER.

So everyday I check back in to see if it’s ready for pick up. I can only hope that day will come soon.

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club Books


Keeping up with this blog in 2015 has been tricky, not from lack of drive or will but from lack of internet… I blame Comcast. Anyhoo, I wasn’t going to attempt a Top Ten Tuesday post since they usually take me longer and involve looking up stuff on Goodreads, but my internet connect is looking good right now for now.


 

Ten Books I’d Love to Read with My Book Club (Were I to Have One)

My psych grad student peeps were mulling over the idea of starting a psychology book club… Then we realized we don’t have time for that sort of thing… The books I’ve chosen are ones that seem thought-provoking or at least interesting to discuss.

1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I’ve actually already read this one, and I taught it to my elementary school class in Korea. Yeah. It was a fun class, but I couldn’t go all that in depth with the discussion. The main thing I’d want to discuss: What’s the deal with that carnivorous vine island?

 

 2. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

This has been on my To Read List for years. This book’s depiction of the meat-packing industry so disgusted Teddy Roosevelt that it lead to a revolution in government oversight of food preparation… even though it was focused on the much broader issue of social justice.

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The true story of how one woman’s somehow-immortal cells were effectively stolen from her and used to create the polio vaccine, IVF, gene mapping and other medical and scientific breakthroughs… and yet her family was never compensated…

4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The struggles of a boy with (I would presume from the summary) Asperbergers as he investigates in a Sherlock Holmes style the murder of his neighbor’s dog.

 

 

5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

A gifted professor struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s and the unraveling of her memory. Soon to be a major motion picture staring Julianne Moore! This story hits home for me since my grandmother died a few years ago from Alzheimer’s. I remember how difficult it was, not just for her but for her children to watch her turn into “Dark Mommy” as she lost her memory which warped the rest of her mind.

6. California by Edan Lepucki

I first learned of this book on The Colbert Report (which sadly is no longer with us). The story concerns a pregnant couple struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic (I think) California landscape. It seemed thought -provokey. Plus, you know, Colbert Bump.

 

7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

One boy’s journey to solve the mystery of the key in his father’s closet after said father is killed in the September 11th World Trade Center Attacks.This story seems likely to be very sad but maybe it will also be uplifting?

 

 

8. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

I have absolutely no idea what this book is about, but people tell me it’s amazing.

 

 

 

9. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I have absolutely no idea what this book is about, but I don’t think I’m suppose to. What I gather is that it’s a multi-generational/time period epic that explores the meaning of life and love… I think?

 

 

 

10. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.

Because Asimov. Also, even though he’s known for his science fiction, his arm chair detective mysteries are worth reading. I love his mystery anthologies. He introduces each short story with a brief blurb that is occasionally about the development of the story, but often times not. Either way, he’s clever, funny, and just the right amount of self-deprecating. Honestly, Asimov is one of the people, living or dead, who I’d want at my hypothetical dinner party.

Micro Mondays: Young Lady and the Sea


I actually thought of two (albeit related) story starters for this picture.


Image from Writer’s Digest Story 54

Scrambling onto the sinking scraps of her sales shack, Sally swore to cease selling seashells by the seashore.(18 words)

***

As she stepped onto the chair sunk into the shallow tide, it occurred to Meg that this was the strangest flash mob she’d ever participated in. (26 words)

Book Beginnings and Friday 56: Sourcery


I picked up two other books (House of Leaves, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell), hoping their page 56 would have something very quote-able… They did not. So I turned to Terry Pratchett, who writes something quote-able on almost every page.


For Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader

There was a man and he had eight sons. Apart from that, he was a nothing more than a comma on the page of History. It’s sad, but that’s all you can say about some people.

For The Friday 56 by Freda’s Voice

“I’ve just killed a wooden box,” she said.

Rincewind looked around the corner.

The Luggage stood in the dripping street, the knife still quivering in its lid, and stared at her.

Binge Reading or Paced Reading?


Which do you prefer: Binging on a book series or pacing your reading?

I’ve been think about binge reading recently (which I was disappointed to find is already a thing so I can’t coin the term). By binging, I’m talking about reading all the books in a series in quick succession instead of pacing your reading so you wait months if not years between books. I’m on hold at my local library for The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician, the first and second book in a triliogy that’s been published in very quick succession. The Paper Magician was published in September 2014 while The Glass Magician was published November 2014 and the third book will be published in July of this year. My first thought when I saw this was, ‘Oh, that makes sense because once people get hooked by the first book, they’ll want to read the second book/rest of the series right away.’

Then I thought about it for a minute and decided that was a terrible idea, at least for my reading style. Although I’ll probably binge The Paper Magician series to get the books back to the library in time, that’s not normally how I read. I love the suspense that comes with waiting for the next installment of a story, whether it be the next book, TV episode, or movie. I dislike binging TV shows even though that’s all the rage now (the one exception I will binge is Orange is the New Black, which is designed for that kind of viewing). Binging, at least for me, kills at lot that stressful but satisfying suspense and anticipation.

Last year, I read several first-in-a-series books and plan to read at least some of their subsequent books this year. While I could read all the books in one series before moving onto the next, I much prefer mixing the series up. Once I’ve read book 2 from series X, then Y, then z, I can move on to reading book 3 from series X, then Y, then Z. Hopefully that’ll give me time to let the stories sink in and build my anticipation.

Bout of Book 2015, Pt. 2


At the end of last year, I was super looking forward to 2015 Bout of Books. I’m on Winter Break so in theory I should have plenty of time in January to read. Then life happened and my beautiful plans to read from sun-up to sun-down fell apart.

Bout of Books took place from January 5th to January 11th. Unfortunatley, during that week, I had to read about a business trip and several screaming and sick toddlers my roommate was unexpectedly babysitting. I did not get much read. I decided to spend last week as a sort of 2nd chances Bout of Books to see if I could read anymore without distractions… unfortunately, that’s when I got hit with that stomach bug from those screaming toddlers….

During week one, I read a book. During 2nd chance week two, I read a whopping… book and a half! One half more book! Of course that book is only about 100 pages… but still it’s half read!

The book I read for actually Bout of Book had been recommended to me: Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. If you’ve ever wondered if evolution is a true fact, or if you’ve ever  said to yourself (like I did), “Hey, I know evolution happened/is happening, but I’m not sure how I know that” then this is a good book to start your educational journey. It is a tough read in some places, though, and I definitely benefited from having a science (if not evolutionary science) background. The half book I read this past week is called The Big Questions: Evolution, and is part of a series of question and answer-style books on science.

The full book I read this week was a surprising gem: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. I had to make several trips to the children’s library last year for research into children’s books for my work, and I kept seeing this book on the shelf. It looked like the kind of story that I’d have loved as a kid, so I decided what the heck, I’m not to old to read a children’s book and I checked it out.

Splendors and Glooms is a gothic thriller for children, that concerns the kidnapping of a lonely rich girl and plight of two orphans apprenticed and abused by a puppet master who is at war with a dying witch. To me, this book came off as a more Dickensian The Night Circus. I also kept getting hints of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (another children’s book that I read when I was outside of the prescribed reading age because my younger sister refused to read it herself).

While reading, there were times when I forgot it was written for children. Part of that is because it was very well written and had some impressive language (It is a Newbery Medal winner.). It was much more richly detailed, especially in terms of smells, than a lot of fiction that I’ve read recently (which maybe says more about the quality of the books I’m reading… hmmm…). There are also several scenes where I was a like, ‘Well that would have progressed/ended a lot differently if this were geared for an older audience.’ One scene that stands out is when a man who’s been sexually harassing one of the orphans finally makes a move on her. An uncomfortable scene, but nicely handled.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Splendors and Glooms. It was a fine book to end my 2nd chance Bout of Books, and it’s one that I’d recommend to anyone who has kids or doesn’t mind reading a children’s book.