Monday, November 30, 2009

What's in a Name? 3 Challenge

Challenges are my bittersweet addiction. Here's yet another...



So here's how it works:
Between January 1 and December 31, 2010, read one book in each of the following categories:
  1. A book with a food in the title: Sugar by Bernice McFadden
  2. A book with a body of water in the title: Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden
  3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein
  4. A book with a plant in the title: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  5. A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Left Bank by Kate Muir
  6. A book with a music term in the title: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This challenge is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and you can sign up for it here.

Giveaway: The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby



The Polysyllabic Spree
by Nick Hornby

The Polysyllabic Spree collects a year's worth of Hornby’s riotous and informative "Stuff I’ve Been Reading" columns from the Believer, in which Hornby lists the books he’s read, along with what he bought and may one day read. He ably explores everything from the classic to the graphic novel, as well as poems, plays, and sports-related exposés. And if he occasionally implores a biographer for brevity, or abandons a literary work in favor of an Arsenal soccer match, then all is not lost. His warm and riotous writing, full of all the joy and surprise and despair that books bring him, reveals why we still read, even when there's soccer on TV, a pram in the hall, and a good band playing at our local bar.

CONTEST CLOSED!



Books by Theme: Vikings!






Eaters of the Dead
by Michael Crichton

Ibn Fadlan sets out in A.D. 922 as an ambassador from Baghdad to the King of Saqaliba, but before he arrives, he meets Viking chieftain Buliwyf, and joins him on a mission to Scandinavia where they must battle the monsters threatening the land. Better known as the movie The 13th Warrior.




The Whale Road
by Robert Low

Orm Rurikson is taken from Norway to serve on a Viking raiding ship and must rely on his own creativity and wit to survive as a member of the notorious crew.




The Northlanders, Vol 1
by Brian Wood

Accomplished Viking Sven returns to his family's estates in Orkney after years abroad--where he became accustomed to lavish palaces and brutal combat--to reclaim his inheritance, and when he finds that his uncle Gorm has stolen his birthright, he returns to his old habits of war.



The Last Kingdom 
by Bernard Cornwell

Uhtred, the son of an English nobleman, is captured at the age of ten by the Earl Ragnar, a Danish chieftain who raises the boy and trains him in the Viking ways of war, but he finds his loyalties divided when asked to join in raids against the English, and it is not until he marries that he discovers where his true heart lies.




The Last Night of the Sun
by Guy Gavriel Kay

Driven from his northern home for crimes committed by his father, Bern Thorkellson finds his destiny across the sea, in the lands of the Angles and the Gaels, traditional enemies of his people. Set during the time of the Viking raids, the latest historical fantasy by the author of Tigana and A Song for Arbonne brings depth and texture to the ancient tales of the Norse lands.



Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giveaway winners



Here are the winners from my 100+ follower celebration giveaway!
All the winners have already been emailed. Get your mailing info to me pronto so I can get these books off my shelves! LOL

The Monstrosity Gazette: A weekly smattering of all things literary...

Bookish Quote of the Day:

Oh for a book and a shady nook...

-John Wilson


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Today in Literary History....



On this day in 1811, a notice appeared in the Richmond, Virginia Inquirer asking for donations in aid of Eliza Poe, a young actress now "lingering on the bed of disease and surrounded by her children." Though two-year-old Edgar would be rescued by the Allan family, the life of poverty, abandonment and hand-outs so familiar to his mother would eventually return to stay.

For more literary history, visit Today in Literature.

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Literary Pic of the Day:


© 2009 by Gwen Gunter and by Owl Square Press



"Books are the bees which carry the
quickening pollen from one to another mind."
~James Russell Lowell 

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New Book on My Radar:


Solace of the Road
by Siobhan Dowd
Published Oct. 2009

Summary in a Sentence:
While running away from a London foster home just before her fifteenth birthday, Holly has ample time to consider her years of residential care and her early life with her Irish mother, whom she is now trying to reach.

Read the Reviews:

Melody's Reading Corner and  Crossover


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm unplugged and soon to be full of turkey





Beth Fish Reads and Devourer of Books suggested a most excellent idea. They 'gave' us permission to step away from the computer for a day, a week, whatever. I decided that would be a good idea for Thanksgiving, especially since my dear Mamaw, at whose house I'm staying, doesn't have the internet. Yes, people out there exist without the internet on a daily basis :) SO, I'll be back Saturday.

Happy turkey day, everyone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All Things Kid Lit: Under the Snow

Picture Book Pick of the Week:



Under the Snow
by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Constance R. Bergum














Woodchucks sleep soundly all winter long, while even on the coldest days red-spotted newts “dodge and dart, whiz and whirl” in ponds below the ice.


From School Library Journal:
Stewart takes readers on an informative journey, describing how snakes, voles, spotted salamanders, carp, beavers, and red-spotted newts, among other animals, "spend their days" during the winter months. Fascinating facts—a wood frog can freeze solid on the forest floor and survive—make the spare text intriguing and fun. Beautiful paintings in muted watercolors convey the creatures in their habitats and the quiet of the season. This pleasing addition is a great read-aloud for units on winter and animal habitats.

You Might Also Like:

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Kid Lit Links of Interest:

Los Angeles Times (CA)
November 19, 2009
As part of coverage of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief's odyssey to become a Hollywood venture, Rachel Abramowitz has a report on the similarities between two magical youngsters, one named Percy and the other named Harry.


Tulsa World (OK)
November 23, 2009
Before Thanksgiving gets lost in the crush of Christmas cheer, settle in with new and old children's books about our great American feast, turkeys, Pilgrims, and maize.




Monday, November 23, 2009

Books By Theme: Rock n' Roll Fiction




                                                                    by Streetpreacher83
                     



Reservation Blues
by Sherman Alexie

Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in 1931, and was murdered seven years later. He reappears in 1992 on the Spokane Indian Reservation and meets Thomas Builds-the-Fire, who starts Coyote Springs, an all-Indian Catholic rock-and-roll band.




Anything Goes
by Madison Smartt Bell

Bell follows a Tennessee country/rock cover band as it plays dives up and down the Eastern seaboard. The main character, Jesse, capitalizes on a new lead singer's abilities and the shuffling of band personnel by slipping in his original numbers (and those of the former lead guitarist), much to the crowds' delight.


The Exes 
by Pagan Kennedy

One week after Hank and Lily break up, they form the Exes, a musical group made up of musicians who used to sleep together, but when the group goes on tour, they realize it isn't that easy to separate the past from the future.




High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby

Recently dumped by his wealthy girlfriend, record store owner Rob Fleming finds himself in financial trouble and sets out on a pilgrimage to ask his former girlfriends where their relationships went wrong and to learn where his life went off track.




Born to Rock 
by Gordon Korman


High school senior Leo Caraway, a conservative Republican, learns that his biological father is a punk rock legend.





Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Monstrosity Gazette: A weekly smattering of all things literary...

Bookish Quote of the Day:

"When a book and a head collide and there is a hollow sound, is that always in the book?"

-Georg Christoph Lichtenberg



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Today in Literary History...


On this day in 1962 George Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion was published in a new "fonetic alfabet," as commissioned by his will. Those who wished to attempt Shaw's cheaper, more rational system were instructed to "Keep the back of the book pressed against your lips, and advance toward the mirror until you are able to see the individual characters clearly enough to be able to copy them...."

For more literary history, visit Today in Literature.

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New Book On My Radar:


Leviathan
by Scott Westerfeld
Pub: Simon Pulse, 2009
448 pages

Summary in a Sentence:

In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.

Read the Reviews:

Libri Dilectio, The Zen Leaf, and The Infinite Shelf.



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Interesting Links to Peruse: 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wading Through My Wishlist



 Latest additions to the Great Monstrosity that is my wishlist....



Inspired by A.J. Jacobs's The Year of Living Biblically, evangelical pastor and author Dobson (The Jesus Study Bible) devotes a year to emulating Jesus' life and teaching. His initial commitment to keep kosher, observe Jewish holy days, not shave and read the four gospels weekly expands into an exploration of Judeo-Christian devotional practices. Seeking teachers from several religious traditions, Dobson incorporates Jewish prayers, the Catholic rosary, Orthodox prayer rope and Episcopal prayer beads into his daily devotional life. ~Publisher's Weekly









 It isn't quite love at first sight when Celia, Sally, Bree and April meet as first-year hall mates at Smith College in the late 1990s. Sally, whose mother has just died, is too steeped in grief to think about making new friends, and April's radical politics rub against Celia and Bree's more conventional leanings. But as the girls try out their first days of independence together, the group forms an intense bond that grows stronger throughout their college years and is put to the test after graduation. Even as the young women try to support each other through the trials of their early twenties, various milestones—Sally's engagement, Bree's anomalous girlfriend, April's activist career—only seem to breed disagreement. Things come to a head the night before Sally's wedding, when an argument leaves the friends seething and silent; but before long, the women begin to suspect that life without one another might be harder than they thought. ~ Publisher's Weekly





In the tradition of recent hits like The Bitch in the House and Perfect Madness comes a hilarious and controversial book that every woman will have an opinion about, written by America’s most outrageous writer. Covering topics as diverse as the hysteria of competitive parenting (Whose toddler can recite the planets in order from the sun?), the relentless pursuits of the Bad Mother police, balancing the work-family dynamic, and the bane of every mother’s existence (homework, that is), Bad Mother illuminates the anxieties that riddle motherhood today, while providing women with the encouragement they need to give themselves a break. ~Amazon.com






What did you add to your ridiculously huge wishlist this week? Read any of these?


Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt

Summary in a Sentence (Or Two):

When his daughter, Amy, died suddenly of a heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife moved in with their son-in-law and their three young grandchildren. His story tells how a family makes the possible out of the impossible.

My thoughts:

I can probably guess what some of you are thinking: Are you kidding me? Not another tragi-memoir. Never fear, fellow readers. Rosenblatt does not stoop to histrionics here. This memoir is wonderful. I am not a fan of overly sentimental writing, especially in the memoir genre which can sometimes be whiny and self-aggrandizing. Making Toast is a refreshing read. Rosenblatt's prose is simple and not affected at all. As a result, the spare writing makes the book all the more stunning.

By the end of this slim narrative I felt as if I had also moved in with Rosenblatt's newly widowed son-in-law, Harris, and their three children- Jessica, Sammy, and James. Rosenblatt is tender in his writing, and although I initially felt his style to be too choppy, I soon fell into the rhythm of his writing and finished the book in one sitting. I was sad when it was over; I wanted to know more about their lives. Highly recommended.

This book counts towards the Random Reading Challenge.

Rating: 5/5

Also Recommended: