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Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Late and Brief

Happy New Years!

I’m going to keep this really short for now, because I can’t say all I want to say, and I’m having a wicked tendinitis flair-up and the computer makes it a lot worse. My hand has been tingling for about 24 hours now and my arm feels like hell.

Good news first: My resolution last year (privately, I don’t know if I made it public) was to become utterly hooked on the gym. It worked, I am. I even just bought myself some weights for the house when I realized that my work schedule might conflict with the gym hours over break. Here’s hoping I can keep this trend going.

I did not complete the 50 book challenge this year. I read about 40, and have several half-read. I think that the challenge has served its purpose, and I’ll just continue reading and keeping track on my own. It was a great motivation to get me back into my old reading habits, though! I will share the last 8 or so books I read at some later date.

In lieu of a reading challenge, this year I’ve decided to take on a knitting challenge:


12 adult sized tops in 12 months. This is the reason I’m roaring mad about my elbow being buggered up. Nothing to do but go easy on it…

Anyhow, off the computer for now, hopefully more later as my arm improves.

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Book: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
Pages: 218
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 8/10
Books Read Total: 32/50
Pages Read Total: 7066/15,000

A solid story of love, loss, secrets, discovery, horror, and some sort of forgiveness. I found this book very readable and I read it straight through (it even prompted me to spend an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill this morning) but I never quite felt like I got what I was looking for. The plot is great, but I got lost in the execution. I didn’t feel particularly sympathetic or angry or really any sort of emotion, despite the emotionally driven plot, and it seems to me that that’s a fairly significant shortcoming. I wouldn’t say don’t read it, because it is an interesting book, but I can’t quite agree with the LA times when they say that it “ensnares both heart and mind”. Unless maybe my heart is made of stone (which we know is not the case from the emotional gushing that sometimes appears on this blog).

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Shameless vacation reads!

Book: Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton
Pages: 630
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 1/5
Total Rating: 5.5/10
Books Read Total: 30/50
Pages Read Total: 6301/15,000

I don’t think the actual plot began until a solid 250 pages in, but it was certainly an amusing read. These books are really more like watching chick flicks than reading.

Book: Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton
Pages: 547
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 1.5/5
Total Rating: 6.5/10
Books Read Total: 31/50
Pages Read Total: 6848/15,000

More plot than the last, and SO MUCH witty dialog I thought I’d never stop chuckling. Why any of those men put up with that chick is beyond me.

At the moment I’m reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell which is proving to be quite interesting, and I’m listening to Children of Dune on my trusty Mp3 player.

And just because it’s been a long time since I included these little gadgets, here they are:

31 / 50 books. 62% done!

6848 / 15000 pages. 46% done!

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I have a dilemma. I’m reading Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman and it’s a wonderfully intelligent book, but it’s a bit heavy. I’ve suddenly been struck by the urge to read the book on Waldorf Ed. that my mom gave me for Christmas (that’d be Waldorf Education: A family Guide, for those who are interested) but I do want to read this Berman book. I’m afraid if I stop now I won’t pick it back up, but by refusing to start reading another book without finishing it I find I’m simply not reading anything. What to do?

Also! Old Songs went wonderfully this past weekend. It’s a fabulous little festival, a really comfortable size, very family friendly and mellow. I felt safe and welcome the entire weekend! It rained a bit but we were ready for it and it was no problem! Up next is Grassroots in Trumansburg, NY, followed promptly (read: two days later) by Falcon Ridge in my hometown Hillsdale, NY. I hear fabulous things about Grassroots, and I know from experience that Falcon Ridge is the highlight of many people’s year, including my own! Y’all should come on by!

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Book: Knitting with Balls by Michael del Vecchio
Pages: 150
Entertainment Rating: 3/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 7/10
Books Read Total: 27/50
Pages Read Total: 4942/15,000

I got this book from the library in hopes of finding something to knit for my brother for Christmas (how forward thinking of me, right?) This book is wonderfully thorough! Much like the Stitch ‘n Bitch books this one has all the information you need from start to finish, but written in “man” language. Occasionally the wording is a little bit cheesy and over-the-top but it’s mostly endearing. I especially enjoyed the breakdown of different yarn weights, the tips and tricks (I never thought to use a card or post-it to mark my place in a chart!), the how to knit continental or english, and the bit in the back about altering patterns. The actual projects didn’t do much for me, but I did check them out, and they offer a great range from basic onward and cover a variety of techniques. This book would make a great gift to anyone (male or female) who’s looking to start knitting more. It’s also a good source for quick guy-gifts (unless that guy is my brother!)

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Book: Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 3/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 26/50
Pages Read Total: 4792/15,000

I actually finished this book a couple weeks ago, but somehow never got around to writing about it. A part of a series called The Circle Opens, I found this book as enjoyable as I found the preceding books so many years ago. Interestingly, this book was released in audio before it was printed. The actors did a lovely job, and the story is quite entertaining, if a bit over the top at times. I enjoyed this book, but I think much of my enjoyment was nostalgic. These are great YA books, but do not quite take that step beyond. Fun and quirky!

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Book: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 24/50
Pages Read Total: 4220/15,000


Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Pages: 572
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 2.5/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 25/50
Pages Read Total: 4792/15,000

Pullman is fabulous. Each time I experience his storytelling I think about it for days afterwards. While listening to this audiobook (narrated by Pullman himself) I was also reading Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and couldn’t help but draw parallels between the two. While I recognize that Brown and Pullman play in two different arenas I think that in terms of depth of character and thought-provoking plots Pullman definitely has the upper hand. While he does have the advantage of a trilogy’s worth of pages to build his story I feel he has been true to those pages and made use of each of them. He’s neat. He cleans up after himself, if you know what I mean. While Brown (miserably, albeit with some witty bits) shoves a weak love subplot in to attempt to add some depth to his action packed adventure, Pullman captures the anguish and complexity of what love really is, but without disrupting the story in any way. As I said, he’s neat.

I am by no means “hating on” Brown’s book. I read all 572 pages in a matter of days (a feat for someone as busy as me) and I hated putting it down each time I forced myself to sleep. Brown can tell a suspenseful story, to be certain. There are no good places to stop, and when it comes to plot twists he has a field day. Still I find that when I’m on the hunt for content the most surefire place to find it is in a Young Adult or even a children’s book. Somehow these authors have taken responsibility for the power they have to captivate young and old alike, and they have put it to good, thought-provoking use.

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