Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Storm of Swords ~ George R.R. Martin

This is a review of the third book in George R.R. Martin's series, A Song of Ice and Fire.  If you missed them, you can check out my review of first two book as well: A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings.

Gasp.  Gasp.  GASP!

That is essentially what I have been saying for the past week because George R.R. Martin is crazy and has no mercy and the only way you can survive his books is by being maimed and or broken in some other way.  And by "you" I mean his characters.  The books themselves don't paper cut you to death or anything.  Unless you're mad.  The characters that is.  Mad as in crazy.  Crazy people are allowed to die.  Excessively short, noseless people are not.  Neither are furious children, or legless children.  Low-born children are allowed to die so long as they're still in one piece.  THERE.  I've solved it.  Whatever "it" is.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Classics Club

Yes, I am jumping on that bandwagon.  The Classics Club, 50 classics in five years, oh my!  So I chose my classics with an eye to:

1) what I already own
2) what I'm always embarrassed to admit I've never read
3) what I've always intended to read
4) what I still feel guilty about skipping in high school
5) avoiding those books that I'd like to have read but I know just won't happen (see: Ulysses)

So yeah, you know what it's all about, I'm sure.  I've mostly constructed a list of classic classics, Charles Dickens and whatnot, but I've also included some other genres like sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and even kids' books (Everyone read The Giver but me!  Everyone!).  My list is below, and I've also added it to my rather sparse Challenges page, should you ever feel the urge to check my progress.  And here they are, 50 books I'm committing myself to read by August 24, 2017.  Oy.  Oh and I'm starting today with Mansfield Park.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bel Canto ~ Ann Patchett


Have you ever read a book that just captured your heart, that made you want to do nothing but read it and proclaim to the world how great it was?  A book in which both the story and the writing totally worked for you, where the ending broke your heart even though it never could have ended any other way?  A book where you didn't even need to hesitate before assigning it five stars on Goodreads and paused only to wonder why anybody would ever rate it anything less?  Yeah.  That's what Bel Canto was for me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lolita ~ Vladimir Nabokov

I may have mentioned this here before, but Lolita and I go way back.  I purchased a new copy of the book probably close to ten years ago now.  I started reading, got to the part where he licks her eyeball, and - stopped.  I tried picking it up again a few years later and didn't even get that far.  It wasn't so much the eyeball-licking that stopped me but something about the writing, the narrator...  I can't be sure what stopped me back then.  And it wasn't just Lolita.  Within the last couple of years I started reading another of Nabokov's novels, Pale Fire, and again found myself inexplicably brought up short - I wasn't compelled, I wasn't interested, I didn't get it.  And then along comes a book club that barely exists and a friend with inscrutable reading tastes and suddenly I find myself agreeing to read Lolita.  Why not?  It's still on my to-read shelf and I can't bring myself to give it away (Why?  Pride?  Literary obligation?  A sense that this moment might come and I don't want to have to hunt down another copy?).  And so I agree and am committed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reading Journal: My To-Read List

So apparently I'm in list-making mode.  I decided that today I should both make a list of all of the books on my to-read shelf and join the Classics Club.  I haven't finished my list for the Classics Club yet, but I thought I'd share my to-read list in the meantime.  Besides being an excessively long list of books that I own and have not read (87!), it's kind of interesting for me to look at, to see where I've been in my reading life and where I thought I'd go.  You can view my list here; meanwhile here are some observations I've made about it and memories that it's inspired:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Possession ~ A.S. Byatt

So, Possession was an interesting read for me.  I initially picked it up because so many bloggers were all Bestest thing ever!  Read now or die!  And I was all, you know, gullible.  It immediately proved to be a slooooow read, due to the often flowery writing, lack of action, repeated decisions during the first 100 pages to give up on it (none of which I stuck to, fortunately), and, of course, the Telegraph Avenue read along which sucked up much of my reading time.  If you remember my first post about Possession, I was having a tough time deciding if what the characters all do (i.e. study literature in crazy depth for a living) is really a worthwhile undertaking and if anything truly belongs in a museum.  Well, I delighted to see that the author, A.S. Byatt considered these questions as well, and seems to have come to some of the same conclusions as me, which was gratifying.  In the end, I really found myself wondering who I would recommend this book to.  But first, the book.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Clash of Kings ~ George R.R. Martin

This is a review of the second book in George R.R. Martin's famed series, A Song of Ice and Fire.  If you missed it, you can check out my review of the first book, A Game of Thrones as well.

So, remember how after reading A Game of Thrones, I was all pshaw, you crazy fans are making much ado about nothing because this is not really all that awesome?  I officially retract those words.

I finally got my life back sometime after breakfast this morning.  For the past week, I have done little else other than eat, sleep, and read A Clash of Kings.  I don't know what it is, but this book clicked for me in a way that Games of Thrones did not.  The writing seemed better (or at least less distracting), I had more of an investment in the characters and the plot, and I just couldn't put the thing down.  Martin does a really good job of building tension - hundreds of pages worth of tension, which just kept me hooked because ohmygod who will the king be?!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Camp Nanowrimo

As you may have noticed from the badge on the side of the blog, I have signed up for Camp Nanowrimo.  That's right: once again, I will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month.  I did complete it last time, though that time it was actually a cumulative of 50,000 words since I started three separate projects in that time.  Today is day one of Nanowrimo and I've already changed my topic from what I had intended to write about, so we'll see how it goes this time around.  I'm planning to keep posting, though you may be seeing more about Nanowrimo than anything.  Of course, it seems silly to use writing time and energy towards writing about Nanowrimo and not completing my Nanowrimo project but such is the way of procrastination.  I just hope I make it through, as I had no desire to start when I woke up this morning and realized that it is August 1.  Wish me luck (and soy chai lattes)!