Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Flashback Challenge

Hosted by Aarti and Kristen the Flashback Challenge reminds us to re-read books we've already read and loved. I've been so concentrated on adding new books to my list of accomplishments that I haven't re-read anything in ages and I think it's really time to do so. After all, if I really loved a book so much it's certainly worth re-visiting, eh?

Completed: ALL 3/3 as of 25 March 2010

The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
the Harry Potter series
the Anne of Green Gables series
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Kristy's Great Idea (The Babysitters' Club #1) by Ann M. Martin
Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (The Babysitters' Club #2) by Ann M. Martin
The Truth About Stacey (The Babysitters' Club #3) by Ann M. Martin

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Hunger Games

Boy, oh boy, was that a page turner! So many bloggers have been raving about this series for months and you sure were right! Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games was a fantastic read and is likely to make my favorites of 2010 list, even though it's only my second book of the year... Yep, it was that good!

Well, it was good only if you like reading young adult dystopian literature I suppose, which I really do. The Hunger Games are an event that takes place in a dark future world where the North American continent is reduced to one victor country and a bunch of conquered 'districts' that are used for resources and labour only. To remind the 'districts' who's boss, the victor country holds the Hunger Games, a reality tv show with kids from the districts killing each other off to survive themselves. Very dark, but very, very good!

I ordered the sequel immediately!

Challenges: 2010 Countdown Challenge

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Graphic Novels Challenge 2010

Nymeth from Things Mean A Lot and Chris from Stuff as Dreams are Made On are hosting the 2010 Graphic Novels Challenge. This is a genre I only just discovered and am really enjoying - I don't know that much about it yet so I'm also really enjoying seeing what everyone else is reading and discovering the gems that are out there.

There several levels of participation; I'm going for the intermediate, so my goal is 3-10 graphic novels in 2010!

Completed: 4/3-10 as of 25 November 2010

Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
Fables, vol.2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
The Sandman, vol.1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, vol. 2
The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

2010 Challenges

Well, the time has come to sign up for a few of this year's challenges... I am tempted by so many but am trying very hard to resist most of them - last year I signed up for pretty much everything going and completed 50% of what I signed up for, but this year will be very different...

Last year was a year of hospitals and medical leave and therefore lots of reading time. This year is the year of our new baby and I can't realistically expect to read as much. Or to react as well to pressure. :-) So I'm trying to leave my reading open as much as possible, to give myself the freedom to just pick up whatever I feel like reading at that particular moment, with no (or few) specific goals to accomplish.

Having said that, I AM a reading challenge addict so I will be signing up for a few... I'll keep track of them in this post; here's what I'm signed up for in 2010 (so far):

1% Well-Read Challenge
2010 Countdown Challenge
Graphic Novels Challenge
Women Unbound

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


What can I say about Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, the book that everyone is raving about? According to Nymeth, I shouldn't be saying much at all - members of the Fingersmith club don't disclose any details. There's a good reason for this too - the twists in the plotline are so great that it would totally ruin the book for you if I haven't read it yet and I talked too much.

So just a couple of words on my general impressions. As a rule, I don't normally like books set in 19th century London. I don't know what it is, but I never really care for the squalor and filth. Fingersmith is set there though and I must say that I got over my prejudice, at least to a certain extent. The squalor and filth are still there, of course, but the characters are more real than others I have encountered from that time. Not really likeable, but at least real and believable.

I could not see most of the twists coming, which was great. Sarah Waters certainly has a way with plotlines - are her other books like this too?

I didn't absolutely love it like so many of you out there did, but I enjoyed it enough to recommend it to others. Do you like suspense and enjoy creative writing and strong characters? Then pick this up, I think it's worth reading.

Challenges: 1% Well-Read Challenge

Friday, January 1, 2010

My favorite reads of 2009

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had great celebrations - ours was quiet at home since I can't really do much, being as huge as a whale... :-) although we like spending our evenings at home these days anyway so it's not like we would have been out partying if I wasn't pregnant.

Here are my favorite books of the year, in no particular order. If you want to read my thoughts about them, all the links are on this page.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Out by Natsuo Kirino
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Fables volume 1 - Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
A Break With Charity by Ann Rinaldi

The Good Women of China by Xinran
Night by Elie Wiesel
Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Special mention:
The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella
The Southern Sisters mystery series by Anne George
The Undead series by MaryJanice Davidson
Anything Buffy-related :-)

I had a great reading year and for the first time ever actually got past the 100-book-mark.

Books read: 107
Audiobooks: 7
Graphic Novels: 8
New-to-me authors: 70
Non-Fiction: 13
Classics: 19

I completed 30 challenges and didn't finish 29. Hmm... that's interesting, half-half! I guess I can keep signing up for challenges, but I do want to put less pressure on myself this year, as I think that my reading time will be more limited with a newborn in the house! I'll be off to look at what I want to sign up for in the next few days, I'm sure.

Thanks blogging friends for a wonderful reading year and for making this community so special. Although I missed out on whole chunks of time this year due to life stuff, I'm still so very happy to have found all of you. I assure you that I'll be sticking around, even if my participation continues to be patchy.

All the best for 2010 - may all your dreams, big and small, come true!!!

2009 Challenges

Housekeeping post...

The 30 I finished:

100+ Reading Challenge
1st in a series
2nds Challenge
Bang Bang Book Challenge
Banned Book Challenge
Casual Classics
Centuries Challenge
Chick Lit 2
Childhood Favorites
Classics Challenge
Dewey's Books
Genre Challenge
Graphic Novels Challenge
In their shoes
It's the End of the World... As We Know It
Jewish Literature Challenge
Lost in Translation
New Authors
Once Upon a Time III
Orbis Terrarum
Romance Reading Challenge
Suspense and Thriller Challenge
Themed Reading Challenge
War through the Generations
Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge
What an Animal!
What's in a Name 2
YA Romance Challenge
Young Adult Challenge

And the 30 I didn't manage... although I was close to finishing a lot of them! :-)

999 Challenge
A-Z Challenge
Audiobook Challenge
Battle of the Prizes
Book Awards II
Book Awards 3
Celebrate the Author
Countdown Challenge
Decades 2009
Dewey Decimal Challenge
Eco Reading Challenge
Erotica Romance
Every Month is a Holiday
Japanese Literature II
Latin American Reading Challenge
My Year of Reading Dangerously
Naming Conventions
New Classics Challenge
Non-Fiction Five Challenge
Numbers Challenge
Political History Challenge
Pub Challenge
Rescue Challenge
Science Book Challenge
Southern Reading Challenge
Spiritually Speaking Challenge
Support Your Local Library
TBR Challenge
Whitcoulls Challenge
World Citizen Challenge

Books read in 2010

A total of 59 books, of which:

7 were classics
14 were YA fiction
7 were children's books
5 were chicklit
16 were fantasy/science fiction
3 were crime/mystery
3 were historical fiction
5 were general modern fiction
9 were non-fiction.

38 were written by female authors.

59. I'd tell you I love you, but then I'd have to kill you by Ally Carter
58. *Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

57. The Odyssey by Homer
56. *The Bad Mother's Handbook by Kate Long
55. Kristy's Big Day (The Babysitters Club #6) by Ann. M. Martin
54. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
53. Dawn and the Impossible Three (The Babysitters Club #5) by Ann. M. Martin
52. Diplomatic Baggage by Brigid Keenan
51. Mary Anne Saves the Day (The Babysitters Club #4) by Ann M. Martin

50. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
49. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
48. *Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
47. The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary
46. A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
45. Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
44. The Secret Life of the Unborn Child by Dr Thomas Verny
43. The Mystery of Atlantis by Charles Berlitz

42. An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
41. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
40. Dracula by Bram Stoker
39. *Room by Emma Donaghue
38. *Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

37. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
36. *Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
35. I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti
34. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
33. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

32. *In the Woods by Tana French
31. *The Piano Teacher by Janice.Y.K. Lee
30. The Best Friends' Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Iovine
29. *Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
28. *Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris
27. *Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
26. Gods in Alabama by Joshlyn Jackson
25. Fables, Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
24. *The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

23. *Percy Jackson and  the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
22. Carbon Diaries: 2017 by Saci Lloyd
21. Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume 164pp
20. *The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart 342pp
19. *Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout 270pp
18. The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn 435pp

17. Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts 318pp
16. Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot 345pp

15. *What Mothers Do, Especially When it Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen 258pp
14. Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts
13. *The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Alborn

12. *Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
11. *The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
10. The Truth About Stacey (The Babysitters' Club #3) by Ann M. Martin
9. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell, translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray 298pp
8. Claudia and the Phantom Phonecalls (The Babysitters' Club #2) by Ann M. Martin

7. *Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella 444pp
6. The Group by Mary McCarthy 160/437pp
5. Kristy's Great Idea (The Babysitters' Club #1) by Ann M. Martin
4. *The Hunger Games - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 472pp

3. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King 405pp
2. *The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 454pp
1. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters 548pp