Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Discover New Blogs

The Hidden Side of the a Leaf has started a Weekly Geek blog challenge. This week's challenge was to visit some of the blogs of the participants, find five that are new to you, leave them a comment and then post on your blog what you have discovered. Since there are currently 115 participants listed there are lots of blogs that are new to me but as I am more of a lurker I don't normally leave comments so it will be a good exercise. This is what I found.

Laura at Reading Reflections is also a new book blogger and I really enjoyed her review of the Book Thief. I have read alot of reviews of that book and Laura's was the first that actually made me want to read the book. I look forward to reading her future reviews.

J at Thinking About ... has a very funny blog that made me laugh out loud and I totally identified with her comments about Yaz!

Misa at This Redhead Reads has a lovely blog and I really enjoyed the post Memories About A Sixth Grade Readathon which stirred up my own reading memories from my childhood.

Naida at the bookworm has a very pretty blog and I enjoyed her review of Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

I enjoyed the attitude of Bibiloatry who states that"reading is essential to living a good life" and contains interesting book reviews.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?

Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?

While I live in the tropics there still is a distinctive change to the season. Spring means an end to the dry season and its brush fires, the mahogany trees lose all their leaves and then promptly releaf, the peacocks become noisy with their mating calls and the days become warmer - you can just feel that summer is coming. While I don't read different types of books as the weather becomes warmer and "keeping cool" becomes an actual activity I do tend to read more. In the winter there are always projects to get done but the hot weather brings with it a sense of justified indolence. No need to clean out that closet, its best to keep cool and read by the pool.


Being new to bloging I am also new to memes. According to the dictionary a meme is “A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, In the blogging world this apparently is usually a question or series of questions that other bloggers can then answer on their own blog. See here for more information. Some of them are posed by bloggers randomly, some are posted upon a regular basis and some seem to circulate through something akin to a blogger’s chain letter. Not being fond of chain letters I am going to try a weekly one by Booking Through Thursday which is book related.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

March/April Bookmarks

Here are the books that looked interesting from the March/April edition of Bookmarks Magazine.

Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski - audio
Signed, Mata Hari by Yannick Murphy - ebook
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips - ebook, audio
Stephen King, Duma Key - ebook, audio
Halting State by Charles Stross - ebook
Diary of a Bad Year by J.M. Coetzee - S
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan -S
Postsingular by Rudy Rucker
Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Once Upon a Time II Challenge

I have been debating whether or not to join Carl V.'s Once Upon a Time II challenge. I have never done a challenge before and my first reaction to this one was that I don't read fantasy. After much reflection however I realized that I do read books that would fit into this challenge which includes some of my favorite reads, books on my to be read pile or my wish list - I just don't happen to think of them as fantasy! I have also never attempted to write a review that someone else might read but I am willing to give it a shot.

So in the spirit of trying something new I am going to do Quest the Third (Quest One with Midsummer Nights Dream which I just adore!).

While I reserve the right to change my selections at any time I believe I will be choosing among these books:

Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn
The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye by A.S. Byatt
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

What's the appeal of reading challenges?

In the last six months my lunch time surfing has revealed the world of literary blogs. I find them astonishing on two counts: 1) the sheer volume of books these people read each year and 2) the popularity of reading challenges. In my world I am considered a voracious reader but last year I only read 20 books and the year before only 20 books. The people I know think I am odd because I actually keep a reading diary and know exactly what I read. But compared with the bookish blogosphere I barely read at all. On the one hand it is comforting to know that there are far more book obsessed people out in the world than me. On the other hand it makes me feel like I better step up my performance before I can even begin to consider myself a real reader.

This brings me to challenges - I simply do not understand the appeal. On my bookshelves at home are hundreds of unread books that I really want to read. Moreover I acquire books at a far more rapid pace then I can read them and accumulate lists of books that I want far more rapidly then I could ever obtain them. So why would I want to conform my limited reading time to comply with a reading challenge? I understand wanting to share your thoughts on books through blogging and I can see that exploring a new genre through a challenge might broaden your perspective but why put aside books that I know I want to read to read ones that begin with the letter A or have an animal in the title? And these bibliophile bloggers don't seem to join but one challenge at a time but numerous ones!! How in the world do that they do that and still have real lives - which they seem to have from their posts? Maybe I am just jealous of these bloggers' apparent ability to fit so much reading into their already full lives.

How can I condemn something that I have never tried? I admit that makes me uncomfortable and so I need to do something about it. I have been wrestling with this thought ever since Carl V. started his Once Upon a Time II Challenge. I should try it - no way I don't have time - but it could be fun - but that means I won't read these books here on my bedside table! Uncle - I give up. In the spirit of research I am going to try the challenge to see what it is like.

Libraries and Borges

I found this book while browsing at B&N in Seattle.
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel. I just love reading about Libraries!

I have a copy of this author's A History of Reading - which I haven't gotten to yet.

Another book of his that I would like to read is With Borges.
Apparently Alberto read to Borges as a teenager.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


by Chuck Palahniuk

I read this for book club. I had heard of this author because of his book (and movie) Fight Club which I never really had a desire to read (or see) and I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It is about a “culling song” which kills people. Originally the culling song was supposedly used in times of war or famine to humanly end the suffering of the young, the old, the wounded or dying. The novel however is set in today’s world in which it has been printed in a children’s book of nursery rhymes and consequently led to many accidental deaths. A man who accidently killed his wife and daughter teams up with woman who accidently killed her son and attempt to rid the world of all copies of the nursery rhyme book. I don’t want to give too much plot away but the novel is filled with outrageous characters, darkly funny scenes and witty social commentary.

The characters include a bereaved journalist, a real estate agent who sells and resells haunted houses, a witch, an extortionist/ environmentalist, and a paramedic who likes to have sex with beautiful dead women. There are some wonderful scenes regarding the bombardment of the senses by the noise pollution of the media. His descriptive narrative is unique and vivid, his dialog witty. My only complaint was that I found the end unsatisfying but I still enjoyed the book. If your not scared off by necrophilia and sudden infant death syndrom this dark satire will have you laughing out loud.