Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ramble: Reading Goals for 2020

Presented for Your Consideration: My Reading Goals for 2020

Total: 120

Books: 90
Graphic Novels/Manga: 30

Christian: 10+

One Devotion
One Apologetics

Non-Fiction: 5+

One on Science
Two Non-Western
Two Biography

Science Fiction / Fantasy: 20+

Two Anthologies
Two Non-Western/Translated Works
One Trilogy
Ten Vintage Sci-Fi

Graphic Novel / Manga: 30+

Either the Vampire Knight or Fruit Basket Manga
Both Monstress and Magdelana

Classic / General Fiction: 10+

One Persephone
One Old Book
Two Non-Western / Translated
One Mystery or Horror

Young Adult / Children's: 20+

Ten Newbery Books
Five YA (ON SHELF)
One Pre-1950 Classic

Re-Reads 5+

Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn
Soulless by Gail Carriger
1 Dallas Willard
1 Jane Austen


Let the Reading Begin!

Ramble: Reading Review, 2019


Total: 170

Failure! 

I fell short by 50 BOOKS! Seriously, 170 was a crazy goal, but with the addition of WoW Classic, my reading time was derailed. 

Books: 120 
 Failure (89)

Graphic Novels/Manga: 50 Failure (31/0)
 
Christian: 10+ Success (30)

One Devotion: Failure (0)
One Apologetics:
Success (1)

Non-Fiction: 10+ : Failure (7)

One on Science: Success (1)
Five Non-Western:
Failure (2)
Two Biography:
Success (2)

Science Fiction / Fantasy: 20+ Success (27)

Two from the Vorkosigan Saga: Failure (0)
Three Grimdark:
Failure (1)
Two Anthologies:
Success (2)
Two Non-Western/Translated Works:
Failure (0)
One Trilogy:
Success
Ten Vintage Sci-Fi:
Failure (8)

Graphic Novel / Manga: 20+: Success (31)

Either the Vampire Knight or Fruit Basket Manga: Failure (0)
Both Monstress and Magdelana:
Failure (0)

Classic / General Fiction: 10+: Failure (3)

One Persephone: Failure (0)
One Old Book:
Failure (0)
Five Non-Western / Translated:
Failure (2)
One Mystery or Horror:
Success (1)

Young Adult / Children's: 20+: Failure (13)

Ten Newbery Books: Failure (2)
Five YA (ON SHELF) :
Failure (4)
One Pre-1950 Classic:
Success (1)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Review: The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

Synopsis: Horatia Winwood is simply helping her family
When the Earl of Rule proposes marriage to her sister Lizzie, Horatia offers herself instead. Her sister is already in love with someone else, and Horatia is willing to sacrifice herself for her family's happiness. Everyone knows she's no beauty, but she'll do her best to keep out of the Earl's way and make him a good wife. And then the Earl's archenemy, Sir Robert, sets out to ruin her reputation...
 The Earl of Rule has found just the wife he wants
Unbeknownst to Horatia, the Earl is enchanted by her. There's simply no way he's going to let her get into trouble. Overcoming some misguided help from Horatia's harebrained brother and a hired highwayman, the Earl routs his old enemy, and wins over his young wife, gifting her with a love that she never thought she could expect.

Review: I'm not sure if I just read this, I would have enjoyed it as much. But Richard Armitage brings these characters to life in a way that made me absolutely adore this story. For each character, he created a distinct voice that conveyed everything about the character you could hope for.
Aside from his reading, I enjoyed this story for its twist on the romantic novel. The heroine isn’t some chaste meek’n’mild wallflower. She’s an extravagant flirt who learns a few lessons about love and propriety. I enjoyed this. She wasn’t perfect, but had distinct flaws that needed correction, that got her in trouble, that she had to confront.
Heyer, known for her historic accuracy, did not disappoint. Her grasp of late 1700s style and manners gave the story a lovely authenticity. But there is no danger of boredom, as the story practically dances with Heyer light and sparkling prose. And excellent summer read, perfect for poolside!

Note: My review pertains to the AudioBook, read by Richard Armitage.
Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-09-947442-5
Year Published: 1934
Date Finished: 4-18-2019
Pages: 272

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review: Major Operation by James White (Sector General, Book 3)

Synopsis: The five short stories in the book are related to a new world called Meatball. In the first story, Invader, a series of strange accidents at the hospital lead Conway to suspect an alien presence. In the second story, Monitor Corps discovers an alien spinning ship near Meatball and brings it to the hospital in order to rescue the pilot. And finally, Conway joins a Monitor mission to Meatball for a major operation.

Review: Another of White’s fun collections following Dr. Conway on Sector General – and off! This book reads like a 5-Part TV series with each series containing a small part of the larger story as well as a smaller story that resolves during the episode. Originally published as a serial story in a magazine, this book combines all of them into one cohesive unit. And it’s a fun read! A little darker then White’s normal story (more direct talk of death) but worth reading. Strange and deadly creatures, a sick planet, and a mystery that might kill everyone before it gets solved!
As always, White is perfect for anyone tired of the traditional science fiction. There a few solid medical science fiction novels around and this is a perfect edition to the collection. Worth reading!

Bookmarks: 4 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-345-29381-9
Year Published: 1966-1970 (Copyright 1971)
Date Finished: 4-15-2019
Pages: 183

Review: The Good Vices by Dr. Harry Ofgang and Eric Ofgang (E)

Synopsis: Much of the health advice we receive today tells us that in order to be healthy, we must consume a Spartan diet, exercise with the intensity of an Olympic athlete, and take a drug for every ailment. We constantly worry about the foods we should or shouldn't be eating and the medical tests we have neglected to take. And all that worry costs us dearly--financially, emotionally, and physically.  In The Good Vices, prominent naturopathic physician Dr. Harry Ofgang and health journalist Erik Ofgang tear down decades of myth and prejudice to reveal how some of our guilty pleasures are not only okay but actually good for our health. For example:
  *  Like wine, moderate beer and spirit consumption raises our bodies' level of good cholesterol, which protects against heart disease.
  *  Egg yolks are an excellent source of important fat-soluble vitamins.
  *  Research suggests that moderate exercisers can be at least as healthy as, and sometimes even healthier than, those who exercise intensively.
Forget what you thought you knew about what's healthy, and enjoy some good vices instead. (from the online description)

Review: With a light hand and quick wit, the authors take the reader through several of the traditional “vices” and illustrated why they might actually be good for you!
This was a fun and education read. Nothing ground-breaking, mind you, just light science combined with a few remarks on social and cultural traditions that could use a bit of revamping in our minds. Reading this confirmed what I knew – beer, sex, wine, chocolate, and sleeping in are all healthy (in moderation) for us as humans. The authors are quick to point out moderation as an important part of these ideas, but also point out that depravation of anything is not good for us.
The prose lacks the heavy technical jargon and would be easy to read for the general population, but it has enough science to satisfy any academic. Worth reading, for anyone 12+, and would be suitable as a non-fiction selection for a book club, particular one that serves wine and chocolate!

Note: I received this book free through LibraryThing's Early Review Program in exchange for my fair and honest opinion 

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-143-13196-0
Year Published: June 2019
Date Finished: 4-13-2019
Pages: 193

Friday, June 21, 2019

Review: Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente (L)

Synopsis: Forget the dark, enchanted forest. Picture instead a masterfully evoked Old West where you are more likely to find coyotes as the seven dwarves. Insert into this scene a plain-spoken, appealing narrator who relates the history of our heroine’s parents—a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. Although her mother’s life ended as hers began, so begins a remarkable tale: equal parts heartbreak and strength. This girl has been born into a world with no place for a half-native, half-white child. After being hidden for years, a very wicked stepmother finally gifts her with the name Snow White, referring to the pale skin she will never have. Filled with fascinating glimpses through the fabled looking glass and a close-up look at hard living in the gritty gun-slinging West, this is an utterly enchanting story…at once familiar and entirely new. (from the online description)

Review: A truly twisted take on a classic fairy tale, Valente takes the reader through a dark and gritty Western rendition of the tale of Snow White. This story is a mash up of Classics European Fairy Tale, Western Folktale, and First Nations mythology. It starts brilliantly, but doesn’t pan out in the end, sadly. The world-building and characters are enchanting, grim, scary, and bloody. But the end becomes so confusing and vague, with no clear resolution (either good or bad), and with too much left untied, that it’s disappointing.
Worth reading, even with the ending, if for no other reason than the imagination, but be prepared to end the book on a WTF note.

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: Winner of the 2014 Locus Award for Best Novella, and Nominated for the 2013 Nebula Award for Best Novella, the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novella, and the 2014 World Fantasy Award—Long Fiction.

ISBN: 978-1-59606-552-9
Year Published: 2013
Date Finished: 4-12-19
Pages: 167

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Review: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty

Synopsis: A biography, with pictures, of the life of Daniel Boone

Review: This is a mixed review:
Pros: As far as a Biography suitable to Young Readers, this is excellent. The story is told with simple but solid prose, nice pacing, with lots of facts about the culture and times, including details about Boone that aren’t often included in stories about him. The art is dynamic, engaging, and vivid. It's a fine addition to the story.
Cons: Written in the 1940, this makes the First Nations people (Indians in the book) out as villainous, blood-thirsty savages, instead of people defending their land about a conquering nation bent on destroying them at any cost. Boone is not a hero. He stole land from other people, then killed those people when they resisted. A product of its time, it makes sense. But it is not a true account of the beginning of the USA and should be read, if at all, with that in mind.  “Braving the wilds of an uncharted land” is a false way of saying “Help eradicate an entire people-group so he could have their land”. Boone, to be fair, didn’t view it that way, and like this book, was a product of his time, in which First Nations were considered little more than vermin to be exterminated. Be warned – this is not the book to use when teaching children about the opening of the west to the Europeans.

Bookmarks: 3 of 5

Awards: Newbery Medal, 1941

ISBN: 9781887840125
Year Published: 1939
Date Finished: 4-11-19
Pages: 95