Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 112
Reason for Reading : It looked fun!

Subtitled "A Story of Bravery and Evil" it is part prose and part illustrated graphic novel style. Three orphans (Rose, Lily and Ned) escape from their orphanage where they are living in really grim conditions. They are looking to buy passage on a boat headed for America, but along the way are threatened by master villian Mack the Knife. He is after their locket to sell and has no qualms about kidnapping one of the siblings.

Out of the fog comes Spring-Heeled Jack. He looks like the devil and has springs in his heels allowing him to leap about. He is a catcher of criminals and evil doers and sets out to rescue Ned. Ned has also picked up an abused dog as a pet called Spangle which has the same idea as Jack. The first priority is making sure Lily and Rose are safe before going after Ned, so Jack leaves them in the care of Polly who works in a local pub. Whilst Jack is off trying to save Ned, the owners of the orphanage are also trying to find the three children as they also want the locket. It turns out they only get paid if their orphange is full and so they are three children down which gives them more motivation to find the children.

Lots of twists and turns with many tiny details observed, this was a light hearted and fun read. The art fit the story really well and I liked the shift between prose and graphic novel format. There are also quotes at the beginning of each chapter from a diverse range of novels which Pullman uses as his first line opening each chapter. I like the idea of a Victorian superhero that also made people fear him, his deeds were often straddling the line of doing good and punnishing the evil which can make some incomfortable. I hope to read more of his children's fiction in the near future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 529
Reason for Reading : Reading Challenge with Nymeth, Chunkster Challenge

The story of Calliope Stephanides and her history starting with the time of her grandparents back in their homeland Greece. Calliope has inherited a genetic defect, a mutation passed down the generations and finally expressing itself in her. She has 5-Alpha-Reductase which means she was born looking like a female, but when she reached puberty she didn't develop breasts or start her period. Instead she developed as a boy. Her voice lowered, she has an adams apple, she grew facial hair and when her genes are studied it becomes clear that genetically speaking she is male.

The first sentence of the novel really sums this up:

"I was born twice: first as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January 1960; and again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room mear Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

She (later He) has always been attracted to girls and had an awkwardness that his condition seems to explain. The problem comes in distinguishing what gender really is. Is it your genes or is it aproduct of nature and the way a child is raised. Cal was raised a girl until her genetic condition is discovered, but as she is found to be male should she have corrective surgery to become more female or embrace his genetics and live the rest of his life a man. Such interesting questions and it is based on a real scientific condition. In the womb in early development, a child possesses the basic equipment to be male or female and it depends which hormones are switched on or off as to which development path they go down. The clitoris and penis are from the same route and sometimes genetic or homonal problems cause ambiguities.

To say the whole book is a question of gender would be misleading however. Much time is spent with Cal's parents and grandparents leading up to how Cal was conceived. It involves war, incest, saucy use of a clarinet, a character faking their own death, freak shows and much more. You are pulled into the story and the lives of the characters from the beginning and it makes a truely fascinating tale.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 307
Number in Series : #1 Cassandra Palmer Series
Reason for Reading : TBR Challenge 08, First in a Series Challenge, comes recommenede by Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong

The first in a new urban fantasy series. Cassandra (Cassie) Palmer is a clairvoyant in hiding from a vampire master. He had her parents killed when she was very young so he could use her powers to gain more money and power whilst assuring her he was doing good with the knowledge. One day she has a vision and sees what really happened so she runs away. She comes back realising she needs revenge and plans on how to take him down by human rather than supernatural means.

It seems he has now found her when one day Cassie reads her own obituary on her computer monitor. She runs to warn her housemate but is attaked at the club where he works by a group of vampires. Another group of vampires working for the Senate come to her rescue (including some very famous names), but the help comes at a high price. Her secret weapon is that she can communicate with ghosts which comes in very handy at times, especially as vampies cannot see ghosts. Any help she can get is especialy helpful when dealing with mad vampires, war mages, the fey, witches and even other humans.

It took me a little while to get into this book. It's very fast paced and the real story took a little while to emerge which made it quite confusing to begin with. When the story did take shape, I found it very difficult to put it down and became engrossed. It ends on a real cliff hanger much to my annoyance! I will just have to read the next one (Claimed by Shadow)...

Other Reviews: Darla D Books and Other Thoughts

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 192
Reason for Reading : Irresitible Review Challenge, it looked stunning

This is a collection of thirteen re-tellings of ballads by world-renowned fantasy authors. It has been lovingly put together by Charles Vess who does all of the art work inside (as well as the cover) and also collaborated with some of the writing.It reads like a graphic novel, beautifully drawn and each story ends with the ballad that inspired it in full.

Famous ballads like Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer are included in this collection as well as a series of ballads I was unfamilliar with. Some were light-hearted and funny, others were disturbing and violent. Authors included in the project are Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Midori Snyder, Delia Sharman and Charles Vess himself. A brilliant and fascinating introduction by Terri WIndling sets the scene and gives you are a graet overview of ballads and their use in storytelling.

My favourite was "Two Corbies" by Charles de Lint. He really made the story his own by using his Newford setting and having the Crow Sisters be in the story. "The Galtee Farmer" by Jeff Smith was probably the funniest in the colletion "The Great Selchie of Sule Skerry" by Jane Yolen was possibly the saddest.

Such a stunning collection, highly recommended to anyone with a love of the arts in any form. A delight to all the senses, I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading it.

Other reviews :
Chris Stuff as Dreams are Made On (thanks for the fantastic recommendation)

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 190
Number in Series : #3
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge, to continue with this great series

This third graphic novel in the series collects comics 11-18 and the focus is love between the fables. The First story "Bag O' Bones" follows Jack as he wins a magic bag from the Devil playing poker and being a better cheat than he was! The bag never fills and Jack knows the magic words to trap things inside it. He traps Death one day when trying to save a fair lady, but he has to release him when nothing is able to die. "A Sharp Operation" covers 2 comics where a mundy journalist tracks the fables believing them to be vampires threatening to expose them. They use Briar Rose's finger pricking trick to teach him a lesson, but they have problems trying to wake her up again. Prince Charming is a cad and loves the thrill of the chase. He no longer loves Briar (his second ex-wife) and so a stand in prince needs to be found to give her loves kiss.

"Storybook Love" is a 4 part tale. Bluebeard and Goldilocks plan on killing the still recovering Snow White and Bibgy Wolf. They use magic to fuddle their minds and send them away together where Goldilocks can kill them without any of the other fables guessing it was her. Prince Charming (Snow White is his first ex-wife) is more than he seems and steps in to fight Bluebeard to the death and the tale ends up with a big surprise for Snow. "Barleycorn Bride" is the final comic and tells how the Lillipututian men got brides like Thumbalina when none of their women folk crossed over into Fabletown with them.

This was a great collection of stories. I am realy becomming fond of some of the characters and caught up in their storylines. The art was great as usual and there were some great references to fairy tales lurking in the background. Bring on the next in the series...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 400
Number in Series : #3 Tiffany Aching Series
Reason for Reading : Series II Challenge, to finish the series as I loved the first two

Tiffany Aching is back for another adventure in the Discworld. As usual the Nac Mac Feegles (Wee Free Men) are on hand to "help" out wherever they are needed and frequently where they aren't. Tiffany is still an apprentice witch and is currently working with Miss Treason. She is taken along to the dance between winter and summer when her itchy feet cause her to jump in and dance with the Wintersmith. He is an elemental (not quite god status) and controls winter. He is interested in Tiffany and thinks he is in love with her.

Strange changes in the weather are noticed. Snowflakes are no longer unique and a strange brand of roses bloom near Tiffany. People also keep asking how her feet are and she is having a strange voice use her mouth. She needs to deal with the Wintersmith or they may never be another spring time and it looks as if she is transforming into Lady Summer.

Granny Weatherwax sends her to live with Nanny Ogg for a spell to try to hide her from the Wintersmith. Granny has a new kitten that Tiffany gave her aptly named "You" (as in "You, get back here") which is adorable and puts Greebo in his place. The Feegles are their usual selves, thieving, reading peoples diaries and drinkning. There was a great quote that summed up the Feegles near the end:

"The log was covered in Feegles. They all looked cheerful. Admittedly, certain death awaited them, but it did not - and this is important - involve having to spell anything."

In the background is Roger who Tiffany rescued from the Queen of the Fairies in The Wee Free Men. His father, the baron, is dying and his aunts are making his life miserable. He writes to Tiffany regularly and ends up being dragged by the Feegles into the mess with the Wintersmith as a hero.

I really enjoyed this tale and hope that Pratchett writes more in this series as I do prefer it to the adult ones. I love the witches and it was great to have Nanny Ogg in this one as well as more from Granny Weatherwax. I loved how she interacts with the kitten You. Tiffany is a great character and I have really warmed to the Feegles. I also really enjoy reading about Pratchett's take on witches and witchcraft which differs so much from what you see in other media. It's fun to poke fun at the new age wicca at times which does seem to reply a lot on appearences rather than substance.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 235
Reason for Reading : TBR Challenge 08, Short Story Reading Challenge, to read more from the world of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

A collection of eight short stories by Susanna Clarke with illustrations by Charles Vess. I had read two of them before in some of the Adult Fairy Tale Anthologies collected by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. The easiest thing is to go through the stories briefly one by one.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu - Three ladies, Mrs Fields, Miss Tobais and Miss Cassandra Parbringer forma close friendship and begin using magic. Jonathan Strange is the brother-in-law to Mr Woodhope who hopes to marry Miss Parbringer until Mr Strange discovers her use of magic and arranges for him to be relocated. At one point in the story two of the ladies turn themselves into owls to eat two men who they have turned into mice. A fun story looking at female magicians in the male orientated society of Strange and Norrell.

On Lickerish Hill - Set in East Anglia in the 17th centuary when the distinctions between superstition and science were blurred. Elements of Rumplestiltskin are seen in this tale told by Miranda Sownestron. One of the tales I had read previously.

Mrs Mabb - Venetia is set to marry Captain Fox, but on her return from Manchester she finds him gone to live with the mysterious Mrs Mabb. Venetia goes to her house in a number of different ways to see that he is ok and well. Each time she loses consciousness and wakes up back in her bed with no memory of events and various unexplained injuries. Eventually she bests Mrs Mabb and wins back her love. Echos of Tam Lin with her fighting a fairy woman for her love.

The Duke of Wellington misplaces his horse - Set in the world of Stardust written by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. The Duke of Wellington visits the villiage of Wall and annoys the folk living there so they lure his horse across the border. He follows and finds a beautiful woman sewing scenes from his life as far forward as his death. He is able to change his future by unpicking the stitches and sewing himself a new destiny.

Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower - A rendering of "Midwife to the Fairies" found in English, Irish, Scots and Breton variations. Also includes other fairy tale themes of a girl who was stolen away to suckle a fairy baby, the seeing eye, the fairy house in the woods etc. An interesting tale of fairy and magic told in journal and letter form. This was the other tale I had read previously.

Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge was built in Thoresby - A fun tale looking at the friendship between human David Montefore and fairy Tom Brightwind. Also discussed is the relationship between fairy parents and grandparents and their children. The issue of Tom and a human woman having a child together is disguised by him helping the town by building a bridge in Thoresby by fairy magic.

Antickes and Frets - Mary Queen of Scots has been imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth who she is trying to kill and gain her throne. She is trying to use enchanted embriodary to reach her goals. To explain this I noted down a quote: "In the light of the moon and bare winter branches appeared to her now like great, black stitches sewn across the window-like stitches sewn across the castle, across the Queen [Mary] herself. In her terror she thought her eyes were stitched up, her throat closed with black stitches; her fingers were sewn together so that her hands were become useless, ugly flaps."

John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal burner - Bears similarities to other stories where a great ruler is outwitted by one of his humblest subjects. After changing the Charcoal Burners pig into a slamon, the charcoal burner exacts revenge on John Uskglass without knowing who he is by speaking to various saints. John returnes eating his melted cheese and ruining his wood before a saint looses John's tongue forcing him to reveal many secrets that should have remained hidden. Everything is returned to normal by John in apologies to the charcoal burner, he also gives him a second pig and leaves most confused!

I really enjoyed this collection, especially Antickes and Frets and The Ladies of Grace Adieu which were the most interesting stories. Quite a short collection with longer stories than I have read in previous anthologies. It was great to revisit the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and I hope there will be more installments in the future. I also look forward toseeing what she will write next.

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 368
Number in Series : #5 The Black Jewels Series
Reason for Reading : Series II Challenge

The main characters from The Black Jewels series return in another dark installment. One of the Landen has just discovered he is actually Blood. He is an author and has written a series of books with main character Landry Langston who discovers as the series progresses that he is Blood. He posts a personalised copy to Daemon SaDiablo with the hopes of it sparking a friendship, but gains no reply. He decides to construct a cunning plan involving a "spooky house" to gain revenge on Daemon, his family and the rest of the Blood.

The focus is on Surreal SaDiablo and her companion Rainier. Surreal started working as a whore on the street at a very young age and kept her other profession as an assassin a secret from many. She recieves an invitation from Jaenelle and Marian (Lucivar's wife) to their "spooky house" and turns up with Rainier to find they have been tricked into a second one filled with dangerous traps and a house trying to make them a part of it for ever. To make matters worse they are told they cannot use ay Craft as an exit will close for each use (there are 30 in total) and they invited some lanen children inside the house with them.

When I first read the plot I as really disappointed. It sounded really rubbish and I was very dubious about the whole "spooky house" idea (think haunted house). As I love Anne Bishop and her other Black Jewels books, of course I wasn't going to not read it though! I am definitely glad that I did. It was much better then I was expecting. Very dark and brutal in places and I really enjoyed spending more time with Surreal. Lucivar also gets a great role, especially near the end of the novel where he matches his skill in fighting against the enemies skill in writing and logic.

I hope there are more in the series. I can't get enough of this realm where the poles are reversed, woman have mroe power and Hell is a pleasant way to spend your afterlife. I eagerly await to read what will happen next and it would be great to see what a child Daemon and Jeanelle would be like. Just think, Saetan as a grandfather!

Friday, July 11, 2008

After a lot of umming and ahhing I have decided to join the second round of the Book Awards Reading Challenge. It is hosted by 3M at 1 More Chapter and the dedicated blog is here. The rules are slightly different this time around:

1. Read 10 award winners from August 1, 2008 through June 1, 2009.
2. You must have at least FIVE different awards in your ten titles.
3. Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
4. You don't have to post your choices right away, and your list can change at any time.
5. 'Award winners' is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs, keeping in mind Rule #2.
6. SIGN UP using Mr. Linky at the Book Awards Reading Challenge site.
7. Have fun reading!

I am not going to pick my books beforehand this time and just see what takes my fancy during the time alloted to the challenge. I am looking forward to getting started!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 599
Reason for Reading : Library Book Discussion Group

Set in two different time periods as narrator Grace Bradley aged 99 in the winter of 1999 remembers her past as a young girl leading up to events in the summer of 1924. Part fiction, part mystery, part love story and part history. Grace tells the storyfor the most part of her life in Riverton Manor where she serves as a maid. She starts at the house just before the First World War breaks out and among the houses guests are Hannah and Emmeline, neices of the current master of the house. Hannah is the same age as Grace and she feels drawn to her and her sister in ways she can't explain. She isn't included in their games with their older brother David being only part of the staff, yet she feels a possessivness about the family.

The two girls are very different in nature. Hannah longs to escape Riverton and see the world, but at the time it wasn't the done thing for woman. She marries in the hope that that will provide her with some degree of freedom, but finds marriage very different to her imaginings. Meanwhile Emmeline is wilder in nature and in contrast does find the freedom Hannah seeks as standards start to change, especially after World War II.

Throughout we are aware that a poet friend of the girls has committed suicide with only the girls as witnesses. Grace hints at many secrets throughout and the story slowly unfolds exposing her secrets as well as finally those of the two sisters. After the tragedy of the death, the sisters never speak to each other again and both die soon after leaving Grace as the only one to pass down her tale. She kept her secrets until the end of her life until a film is made of that fateful night and old long pushed aside thoughts return coinciding with her grandson disappearing after a painful seperation from his wife.

This is an interesting book as it is set very realistically in 1924 and the preceeding years where a number of real characters are referenced yet the main characters are fictional. I did enjoy it, but I found there weren't many surprises and it just isn't the sort of book I would usually choose to read. It looked quite daunting at 599 pages, but passed very quickly, drawing me in to Grace's life and experiences. I have to say I found the present day sections not so nearly as interesting as her memories and actually more depressing as Grace is practically on her deathbed the whole time. It reminded me of The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood which is set in a similar time with two sisters, a loveless marriage for business purposes and a disasterous love affair. I have to say I much preferred Atwood's tale.

Other reviews:
A Garden Carried in the Pocket

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 227
Reason for Reading : Irresitible Review Challenge, numerous recommendations

A beautiful re-telling of Rapunzel narrated by Zel (Rapunzel), her "Mother" and Konrad. Set in the Alps, Zel lives with her mother apart from the towns people. They only visit twice a year when her mother goes to buy her birthday gifts including a stack of papers and ink as Zel loves to draw. Her other love (apart from her mother) is animals and she can't abide the thought of hurting one. Her mother discourages her from forming attachments with anyone besides her and lets no one come to the alm where they live and rarely lets Zel out of her sight or to accept gifts.

Despite this Zel has a very happy childhood although she dreams of one day getting married and starting her own family. Approaching her thirteenth birthday and on the cusp of puberty, Zel has a chance encounter at the smithy with a young man called Konrad. Both think fondly of the other afterwards and when Zel's mother finds out she forces Zel into a tower using her plant magic until the unknown and feared "enemy" has been defeated. Konrad searches for Zel who slowly starts to go insane kept on her own for many years with only an hours company from mother every day. Eventually he finds her and the story plays out.

This was a lovely version of the tale. The different narrators was an interesting touch and allowed the reader to gain different perspectives on the main characters. Zel sounded like a lovely child and I felt so sorry for her when she is alone and lashes out at Pigeon Pigeon. Definitely recommended for anyone looking to escape reality for a few hours and enter a fairy tale story with a realistic feel.

Other reviews:
Miss Erin (the first time I heard of this tale - thanks for the recommendation)
Kim at Page After Page
Jenclair at Book Garden

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 436
Number in Series : #1 Camelot Series
Reason for Reading : Arthurian Challenge

The Lady Rhian is 19, beautiful, wise and wishes to marry, but her father turns away all of her suitors despite their merits offering no explanation to his wife and daughter. Asa last straw he sends away a childhood friend of Rhian's and her mother is determined to learn the truth and for Rhian to place herself in a position to hear it too. It emerges that before Rhian was born her father made a deal with a sorcerer named Eubaracan from the East. In xchange for using his magic to save his wifes life, he agrees to willing give him his first born child. He accepts thinking he will have many children and when his wife seems suddenly recovered he is devastated they seem to only be able to have one child that lives, Rhian.

Hearing the news she runs away with the intention of joining a convent, but the sorcerer means to claim her. Saying a prayer to Mother Mary she is saved by a dashing knight who turns out to be Arthur's nephew and heir, Lord Gawain. He is on his way back to Camelot to tell the King of the Saxon plans to rise up against him and declare war and he takes her with him to gain the protection of the King and Queen.

The road to Camelot is not easy, the two have a second enemy to outsmart. Witch Kerra knows no family anymore besides Morgaine who taught her the magic she knows. She is a temptress and uses her magics to ensnare men and bind them to her will. The Green Man also has an interest in Rhian and later Gawain and he comes to challenge them as the Green Knight in the famous tale. A whole host of other famous characters from the tale are introduced like Merlin, Kai, Agravain, Lancelot etc and I am interested to see which characters the next book in the series follows.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. It has everything I love in a novel. Love, passion, temptation, loyalty as well as fantasy and mythology. The characters are all very christian, yet there is much magic and folk tale lore as well as talk of Old Gods so it wasn't too moral. Definitely a great start to the series and I can't wait to get started on book two, Camelot's Honour.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Weekly Geeks #10

It's Weekly Geeks time again and this week the focus is magazines. The task is to talk about the magazines we read and Dewey has even prepared a meme for each magazine read.

1. Name of magazine.
Empire Magazine (a film magazine)

2. Do you subscribe or just buy it now and then?
I don't subscribe but I do rush out and buy it every month. I am waiting to subscribe when they have a special offer I want!

3. What’s your favorite regular feature in the magazine?
I basically just love reading the movie reviews. It also includes some games and dvds as well as a kick ass crossword.

4. What do you think your interest in this magazine says about you?
That I am a film buff.

5. How long have you been reading this magazine?
For a few years now, it's the best film magazine out in the UK.

6. Is there any unique or quirky aspect to the magazine that keeps you reading?
It has the best reviews in my opinion (better than Total Film) and I love the silly comments they put on pictures. They don't take themselves too seriously and are not too pretentious for film fans.

1. Name of magazine.
Edge (a computer games magazine)

2. Do you subscribe or just buy it now and then?
I get it now and then and my husband sometimes buys it when I don't. It depends what is on the cover!

3. What’s your favorite regular feature in the magazine?
I love all the game reviews. My favourite thing about it is that it is not console specific and covers a range of different gaming platforms.

4. What do you think your interest in this magazine says about you?
That I am a console gaming freak!

5. How long have you been reading this magazine?
On and off probably the last 2/3 years.

6. Is there any unique or quirky aspect to the magazine that keeps you reading?
Not so much. The reviews are usually really useful and trustworthy but it's not particularly quirky.

Book Meme

Alice tagged me over at Hello my name is Alice last week and I completely forgot I said I would do it! The weekend was a bit of a blur spent mostly being addicted to Final Fantasy My Life as a King which you can play only by downloading it from the wii. It's fun and instead of being the adventurer you stay behind in the villiage as the young King and try to rebuild it. It's sort of like a Final Fantasy version of The Sims or parts of a great RPG that came out on the PS2 called Dark Chronicle. Anyway enough of that...

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
The joke has always been that I was born with a book in my hand. Since a very young age I have loved reading. I remember locking myself in the bathroom (the only room that locked) so I could read in peace. I spent whole days reading whenever I could and used to pinch my mums books when I ran out of my own. I am not sure how it started, it feels like it was just always there. My mum is an english teacher and always had books around the house. She used to tell me and my sister stories, especially the Greek myths and King Arthur tales, from her memory of them which probably helped and started my love of mythology.

What are some books you read as a child?
I used to love Enid Blyton, particaulrly The Faraway Tree books. Also I first read The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien when I was quite young as well as the Brian Jacques books set in Redwall and Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mice series. Oh and the Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend were good fun growing up as well.

What is your favorite genre?
I guess it would have to be Fantasy and Teenage Fiction/Young Adult. I don't read a lot of high fantasy stuff as it tends to have too many Tolkien parallels, but I do enjoy books that have fairy tale and mythology themes.

Do you have a favorite novel?
So many! My favourite novel so far this year is possibly American Gods by Neil Gaiman (the first book I read in 2008!), but who knows by the end of the year as I have so many great books on my list to read soon.

Where do you usually read?
Anywhere except the bath (I dropped a book once, never again!). I think I get a lot more reading done on the train/bus than when I am at home as there are too many other distractions. My cats, husband, television and computer games are all vying for my attention and it is hard to concentrate sometimes.

When do you usually read?
Whenever I can but usually in the evenings is when I get most of my reading done.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
I used to only read one book at a time, then two and now I can read up to three as long as they are different types of book. So maybe one non-fiction, one library book for my reading group and a fantasy novel. It helps to keep the stories seperate if they are different genres.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
I don't think so. I have to be in the right mood though to read non-fiction. I tend to read it in smaller chunks unless it is a biography and make notes if it is something like a book on the tarot so I need to be in a position I can write in. Other than that no difference.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
I mostly buy all of my books. I have started using the library more, but I have so many here I want to read I am trying to only take out one book a month for my reading group and maybe a graphic novel until I have cleared more of my home reading.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
Yes I keep nearly all of them. I love having a house full of books. A house tells a lot about a person and I like giving the impression that I am a book worm when people visit. A house without books is a house and not a home!

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?
I don't have children, but I hope to pass on my love of reading when I do. My husband loves to read as well so they will get a double dose of it.

What are you reading now?
Camelot's Shadow - Sarah Zettel (a book set in the time of King Arthur following Lady Rhian and Sir Gawain)
The House at Riverton - Kate Morton (a mystery I am reading for my library book group)
The Ladies of Grace Adieu - Susanne Clarke (a book of short stories I started yesterday)
Tarot for Self Discovery - Nina Lee Braden (a book on the tarot I am very slowly making my way though)

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Sort of. I keep track of what I haven't read on LibraryThing, but I do want to make a hand written copy as I get a great feeling of satisfaction physically ticking books off a list!

What’s next?
Trying to catch up with some June reads I didn't have time for although I think I will be behind again this month sadly. Other than that I have a couple of graphic novels planned (Fables 3 and 4 hopefully) and some urban fantasy series to start.

What books would you like to reread?
I have been saying for ages I want to re-read Anne Rice's complete back catalogue again. I love her books and read most of them back to back which I hope to find time to do again in the future. I would also love to re-read The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop.

Who are your favorite authors?
Currently: Anne Rice, Anne Bishop, Charles de Lint, Nick Hornby and Margaret Atwood. I also love JRR Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Shannon Hale, Gregory Maguire, Philip Pullman etc. The list goes on and on!

I would like to tag Darla D at Books and Other Thoughts, Mariel at Where Troubles Melt like Lemon Drops and Susan at You Can Never Have Too Many Books

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I am really lucky that this weekly geekage is open for two weeks so I can join in this time. It seems far too long since I was able to participate. This week is all about challenges:

"If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc"

Luckily for me I m already doing a fair number of challenges (though tahnkfully not as many as some to give me some perspective!). I usually do a round up of my months reading and challenges so I thought I would combine the two below as I am up to date with my challenge posts and Mr Linky bits and bobs.

Number of Books Read May : 11, Total 97
Number of Pages Read : 3386, Total 30,758
Book Awards Reading Challenge : 25/25 COMPLETED
Themed Reading Challenge : 6/6 COMPLETED
Young Adult Challenge : 8/12
Challenge with Nymeth : 2/5
What's in a Name Challenge : 4/6
Graphic Novel Challenge : 5/10 plus 3 extras
TBR Challenge 2008 : 2/12 and 8/12 alternatives
First in a Series Challenge : 7/12
Man Booker Prize Challenge : 6/8
Short Story Reading Challenge : 6/10
Chunkster Challenge : 2/4
Mythopoeic Challenge : 6/7
Inklings Challenge : 2/4
A~Z Challenge : Titles = 19/26, Authors = 19/26
Guardian 100 Greatest Books of All Time : 29/100 (aiming for 50)
Once Upon a Time Challenge : 7/7 plus 17 alternatives COMPLETED
Arthurian Reading Challenge : 0/12
tl;dr Challenge : 1/3
Series Challenge II : 1/8
Non-Fiction Five Challenge : 2/5 plus 0/1 alternatives
End of the World Challenge : 1/3 plus 0/1 alternatives
Classics Challenge 08 : 0/5
Irresitible Review Challenge : 3/8

101 Things to do in 1001 Days : 35/101

My reading was much lower this month in both the number of books read and the number of pages. I guessed it would be with starting a new job and being away for pretty much all of the month. I think I am mostly on top of my challenges still and am hoping that work starts to settle down a little more now I have completed my intensive training in the office. Let the real jet setting begin...!