Monday, January 31, 2011

Ramble: A Grand Ambition

I wrote a few weeks ago about the prospect of not purchasing any books, thru any means, for a whole year. You can see that I choose not to pursue that route.

I am, however, serious about attempting that for the month of February. I’ve given myself the deadline of today to buy any books I wish and then to wait until March 1 to purchase any more.

This is a grand ambition, to be sure. But I am notorious for sabotaging myself. We shall see, dear readers, if I may last.

EDIT: I lasted 5 days. I'm certain no one is surprised.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Aquisitions: Thrift Shopping

A dear friend and I went thrift shopping this afternoon, for items unrelated to books, but it's nigh impossible for either of us to ignore the siren's call of used books.

For about $15, I purchased:

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
So Far from Home: the Diary of Mary Discoll, an Irish Mill Girl by Barry Denenberg
Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
A Fine White Dust by Cynthia Rylant
Pregnancy: the Ultimate Week-by-Week Guide by Dr. Laura Riley
What to Expect Your First Year by Arlene Eisenberg
Vampires in the Mists Christie Golden
March by Geraldine Brooks
Monster by Frank Peretti
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques
The Discworld Graphic Novels by Terry Pactchett (The Colour of Magic & The Light Fantastic)
Hank Zipper by Henry Winkler
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Tess of the d'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
Steal Away Home by Lois Ruby
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

EDIT: I'm experimenting with the idea of doing video each aquisitions post. This is my first attempt. Format and Titles may change. Also my outfit and hair.

In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Synopsis: A collection of fairy tales told to wizarding children, along with commentary from the late Albus Dumbledore.

Review: Fairy tales are a hobby of mine, and it was delightful to read new tales, each well done. The format of the book was enjoyable, in particular the commentary by Dumbledore. His insights were illuminating and pleasant to read. I look forward to reading this collection to my children, along with the traditional Muggle fairy tales.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: several

Date Complete: 1-23-2011
Pages: 128

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Synopsis: If you don't know what this book is about, come out from your cave and rejoin the human race.

Review: The greatest compliment I give this book is it surpassed the hype. Which, in all my years reading has never happened. A book may live up to, but never surpass. This one did. I am certain this is one of the greatest (and I say greatest, not best, for a reason) books I have ever read. There is nothing more to say.

Bookmarks: 10 out of 10

Awards: all of them

Date Completed: 1-22-2011
Pages: 759

Friday, January 21, 2011

Aquisitions: Paperbank Inc.

There is a cute little used book store near us I frequent. While 80% of their inventory is romance, I often find small treasures among the sci-fi/fantasy, classic and young adult sections. They are more expensive then thrift stores or book sales, but I don't mind supporting independent book sellers. Plus, you earn money-off and free books with every dollar spent. Not a bad deal, in my mind.

Today, for $40, I purchased:

Dead Until Dark by Charlene Harris
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
The River Between Us by Richard Peck
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Daughter of the Mountain by Lousie Rankin
The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Since all but the Julia Quinn books were on my list, I am very pleased with my acquisitions. Now, which to read first?
EDIT: New Video, mostly to practice. Enjoy!

In the Mailbox is meme created by The Story Siren.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Review: The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions ed. by Arthur Bennett

Synopsis: The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayers and meditations. In this practice the spirit of prayers was regarded as of first importance and the best for of prayers, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature

Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparations. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to "supply" prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before. (From the back of the book)

Roughts: This is a simple, concise collection of one-page prayers and meditations written by the Puritans. It is part prayer and part poetry. The language is old, making use of "thy", "thee" and "thou" but it gives the words a depth and richness lacking in the more romantic prayers of today. There is much focus on repentance, the vileness of sin and the evil of the heart, but also the absolute grace of Christ and the everlasting love of God. This book encouraged my heart and my mind and my desire for prayer. An excellent read.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Completed: 1-16-2011
Pages: 220

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: One Hundred Famous Haiku ed. and trans by Daniel C. Buchanan

Synopsis: A collection of 100 Haiku from various poets, ranging from the 1500-1900s. Each is written in the original Japanese script, the Japanese in Arabic script and the English translation. With each is a short paragraph about the poet, the meaning of the poem, symbolism or tradition. They are arranged in 4 chapters, each after a season.

Roughts: This is an excellent introduction to the best of the Haiku. As someone who has very little exposure to the form, I enjoyed the overview, the wide variety of poets and the accompanying explanation. I have added several names to my list of poets to read from this book. My favorite was by a female poet named Chiyojo:

Dragonfly catcher
How far have you gone today
in your wanderings?

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Completed: 1-15-2011
Pages: 120

Aquisitions: Barnes and Noble

My dear husband took me on my promised Christmas gift buying spree at B&N today. I wasn't as prepared as I normally am, although I had my notebook with me, so I was be to hunt down some longed for books.

Here is what I purchased:

Curse of the Full Moon: A Werewolf Anthology
ed. by James Lowder
Eon by Alison Goodman
Red Hood's Revenge by Jim C. Hines
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
ed. by Kate Bernheimer
Raven's Shadow by Patricia Briggs
Raven's Strike by Patricia Briggs
Edit: Once again, I've added a video. Enjoy!

Review: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

Synopsis: It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, conveinience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily... But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?
In Raidical, David Platt challanges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences He shows what JEsus actually said about being his didsciple - then invites you to believe and obey what you ahve ehard. And he tells the dramtic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gorspell according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in the The Radical Experiment - a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring. (From the back of the book)

Roughts: Platt, in a simple and unadorned way, says Americans take Christianity and use it to help us achieve the American Dream instead of living as God would want us to. We use our money and time to surround ourselves with luxuries while billions of people die without knowing Christ.

This is a hard book to read. I wanted him to say something heretical so I could chuck it and forget the challenge he stabbed into my heart. But one cannot escape two things: 1) Jesus called us to live a certain way and 2) I do not live that way.

In the end, Platt issues a five-point challenge that, if taken, may lead to a radical change in how we live.

I recommend this book with a caution: do not read if you aren't serious about following God. It is a waste of time otherwise.

Bookmarks: 7 out of 10

Awards: None

Date Completed: 1-15-2011
Pages: 219

Friday, January 14, 2011

Aquisitions: CHKD Thrift Store

I stopped by a small thrift store near work to check for something I've been looking for. Of course, I swung by the tiny book section because, although one may find nothing, you may find a treasure - or treasures.

For a mere $10, I purchased:

Zen and the Art of Motocycle Maintenance
by Robert M. Pirsig
The Mystery of the Romans: The Jewish Context of Paul's Letters
by Mark D. Nanos
The Summer of the Swans
by Betsy Byars
(Newberry Medal)
The Headless Cupid
by Zilph Keatly Snyder
(Newberry Honor)
The Enchantment Emporium
by Tanya Huff
Silent on the Moor
by Deanne Raybourn
I'm well pleased with my finds!

Edit: Another video! I think I'm all caught up. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ramble: Without Books

It’s no secret book lovers constantly acquire books. I myself favor purchasing used books, eschewing libraries after turning over my life savings several times to pay fines. The only library I frequent is one attached to my job and they don’t charge late fees for staff (woohoo!).

Generally, I acquire between 75-150 books per year, even with my current Book Ban*. While this Ban is a good idea, I am adept as weaseling around it -weaseling being my husband's word for it; I prefer creative planning.

Recently, I've been rethinking my creative planning. What if, and this is a big what if, I went a whole year without acquiring books through any means – no sales, no weaseling, no gifts, no cards, no book dates, nothing, zip, zilch. What would happen?

Would I explode? Go through withdrawal like a junky? Cave within a week, a month? Find myself stronger then I thought?

It’s an intriguing idea, no? What say you?

*I may not, without my husband’s permission, purchase any books. The exceptions are Approved Library Book Sales, Book Dates and Gift Cards.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Synopsis: Seventy years ago, Earth was attacked by the buggers and only by shear luck did humans escape annihilation. Someday, however, the buggers will return. The government has taken to breeding and training children as soldiers, a process that's produced good, but not saving, results. Then they find Ender Wiggin, the most brilliant of them all. Taken from his parents and trained in Battle School, he quickly rises to the top. Ender is the only one who can save Earth from destruction…if he doesn’t go insane first.

Roughts: The story is mostly told from the viewpoint of Ender, but occasionally from Colonel Graff, Ender’s handler or Valentine, Ender’s sister. This give Card the ability to develop Ender has a complex character, one the reader is immediately drawn too. This is not at the expense of the supporting cast, either. Card’s characters are all 3-demensional and rich, making the story exceptional. The ending is both expected and not, and the world building is delicately handled, detailed but not overwhelming.

Bookmarks: 9 of 10

Awards: The Hugo Award 1986, The Nebula Award 1985

Date Completed: 01-02-2011
Pages: 352


This is my blog to review books I've read, books I wish to read and otherwise rambling incessantly about books and reading.

My goal is to review every book I read during 2011. I will also post any new books I get, and the occasional booky ramble.

The title is a spoonerism of "Reading Thoughts" and is something of an inside joke.

Hope you enjoy my endless prattling!