Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Can't Believe I haven't Read...

Here's a top ten idea from Broke and Bookish: Books I can't believe I haven't read.
Of course, there are more than ten. There are SO MANY books I want to read. But these are more books that everyone has read but me (and I may have no desire to read them...). Or I may. Never know. I've mentioned that I absolutely hate to read books that I've already seen as a movie, so some of these will fit that category.

1. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. See above. In fact, I've even seen Muppet Treasure Island.
2. Anything by Thomas Pynchon. I sort of want to, but not urgently enough, I guess.
3. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. This one is definitely on my to-read list.
4. Anything by William Faulkner. I blame my lit professors.
5. Anything by Don DeLillo. I don't think he's my type.
6. War and Peace / Crime and Punishment / Anna Karenina the Russian trilogy. Note that The Brothers Karamazov is missing; I have waded through at least one of these bulky masterpieces.
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It is on my to-read list, but I'm not excited about it.
8. The Left Behind series. I'm fine with this one.
9. The Wind in the Willows. I started it once. Maybe some day I'll try it again, just to get it off this list.
10. Anything by Kurt Vonnegut or Joseph Heller. Not only that, but I can't tell them apart.

What haven't you read?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Reading Habits Meme

Grabbed this meme from You Had me at Neurotic
Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
I taught myself to read when I was three. Or mom taught me.  Either way, she took me to the library all the time, and I started reading. I also read every book in my parents’ bookshelves that had a plot that I could understand (my dad had mostly Bible commentaries).
What are some of the books you read as a child?
When I was seven, we moved to rural Illinois and had to drive about 25 miles to get to a town with a library big enough. I went through that library pretty well—all the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Bobsey Twins, Happy Hollisters, etc. Then there was a biography series (blue with yellow script on the covers) and I read all of them. I loved Francis Hodgson Burnett, especially The Secret Garden.
What is your favorite genre?
I like to read just about anything, but if I’m going to the beach for a week, I make sure to have a Regency romance.
Do you have a favorite novel?
Every once in a while I find a novel that I’m just giddy reading.  That kind makes me really happy.  It’s so hard to pick a favorite, though.  Mostly because as an adult, rereading isn’t something I really enjoy. Even if I love the book the first time, I’m too impatient (with all the stuff I haven’t read) to take the time to read it again. If I had to say one, though, right now it would be Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
Where do you usually read?
I have a spot on the sofa that no one else can claim when I’m around. If it’s nice, I’m out on the back patio. I also refuse to go to the gym unless I can read.
When do you usually read?
Since I’m in grad school, I usually spend about two hours per night reading homework. If I can, I try to read an hour a day just for fun.
Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Yes. I average about 30 in my “currently reading” pile. But if one catches my fancy, I’ll put it on the top of the pile and give it priority. I also give priority to library books and review copies.
Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
No, and I love nonfiction, especially essays, memoir, books about foreigners living in Japan, books about contests of any sort, travel in general. Now school books (for my grad program) I do read differently.
Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

I’m totally cheap. So right now, my big book stash is from two events, the RWA convention in Orlando, where I picked up about 60 free books, and the Penguin 75 contest, where I won the Penguin 75.  I’ve been hanging out on Paperback Swap too.  Normally, when I don’t have all those free books to read, I have a to-read list (currently at around 500 titles). I check to see whether my library or the local public library have them. If not, I’ll try Paperback Swap. For Kindle, I use the Free at Amazon blog and load up on free titles. Haven’t paid for one yet, except a couple of books for school and a Bible edition I could actually use.
Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?

Since I don’t buy many, I usually don’t buy it unless I fall in love with it. I also keep things for school (lit, rhet/comp). If I don’t think I’ll reread, I list on Paperback Swap or donate to my library or give to my mom.
What are you reading now?
I have an ARC of Break the Skin by Lee Martin.
Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Uh-huh, see above. I keep it on Library thing because I can search it, tag it, keep track of call numbers, and find next in series.
What’s next?
One of the 120 or so books stacked up on my floor. Maybe Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life.
What books would you like to reread?
I don’t reread much (see above). If I had time, maybe something I read as a kid and didn’t quite “get.” Nothing comes to mind.
Who are your favorite authors?
Anne Lamott, Louis Bayard, Michael Chabon, Alexander McCall Smith, Eloisa James—that’s just a few.

What about you? What are your reading habits?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Newbery Awards, my version

The Allen County Public Library has a Newbery Book discussion group that recently ranked all of the Newbery winners from best to worst.  Since a couple of my library friends have weighed in on these rankings, I had to follow suit. Because I love lists and rankings.
The first thing I noticed was how few Newbery Books I’ve read.  I can only say for certain that I’ve read 17 of the 89, way worse than the BBC list (interesting blog post about it).  I guess that means that I jumped to the adult section before I was done with the kids’ section (though I have to admit that there were only 57 Newbury winners when I graduated from high school!)
Another thing I noticed was that I feel differently about the books depending on whether I read them as a child or as an adult. I’m not one of those adults who prefers children’s books; there is always a sense of remove (“oh, how nice for the little ones”).

Read as an adult (*indicates both). My ranking:
8. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (1972). Had a boyfriend who loved this book for some reason.  I’ve never been much of an animals-as-main-characters book lover (except for Watership Down)

7. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (1981). Meh

6. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1978). I read this after I heard her speak at the Festival of Faith and Writing. I enjoyed her speech more than the book. 

5. *A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1963). I enjoyed it more as a kid, but really love some of her other work. 

4. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (2004). I got it for free at ALA. Thought it was cute.

3. Holes by Louis Sachar (1999). Vince and I love to watch the movie together, so I read the book after seeing the movie, which is one of my least favorite things to do.

2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2009). Didn’t like it as much as I had hoped to, based on who the author is. Still pretty good.

1.    *The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1979) I still liked it when I read it as an adult with Vincent.

Read as a youngster:

11. Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (1967). No memory of this book.

10. Sounder by William Armstrong (1970) Had to read this for school. A downer.

9. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (1962). Don’t remember much about it.

8. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (1950). I know I read it. That is all.

7. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (1961). I remember being traumatized by a film version of this book before I was seven.  In grade school, this was the “hot” book in the school library and always had a waiting list of several weeks.

6. Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry (1941). Remember those Scholastic Book flyers, and you’d save up your money and buy as many books as you could?  This was one I bought.

5. *A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1963)

4. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Brink (1936). Another Scholastic Book purchase. Looking at the date on this, I’m surprised that Scholastic was selling some of these books so many years after their publication.  I really liked this book and read it several times.

3. *The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1979) LOVED this book as a kid.

2. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (1968). For a good part of my childhood, this was my favorite book, and I longed to go live in a museum somewhere.

1. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (1985). She’s still one of my favorite authors, and this is still one of my favorite books.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Paradise Dogs: Worth a Read!

This was a Library Thing Early Reviewers copy.  From back cover: Adam Newman yearns to reunite with his estranged wife and recapture the edenic life they once had running their legendary hot dog restaurant.  In the meantime, our delusional protagonist--who has a knack for assuming others' identities--delivers a stranger's baby, saves a couple's marriage, talks himself out of a ticket but into Chattahoochee, and attempts to foil a conspiracy in which shadowy forces are buying up land to block the construction of the Cross Florida Barge Canal.

The author is Man Martin.  This is his second novel; the first, Days of the Endless Corvette won Georgia author of the year in 2008.  I haven't read of it, nor had I heard of him before I received this book.  I chose it mostly for its Florida setting.

That said, this book was so funny that it made me laugh out loud (a rarity) and actually snort a couple of times.  I also kept imagining the film it will make.  Imagine Clouseau in Florida.  As a Floridian, I have a soft spot for Florida literature (even when written by a Georgian), but I hope non-Floridians will pick it up.  Adam, the bumbling hero, has nothing going for him, but you root for him anyway. 5*