Friday, November 23, 2007

Books everywhere!

I've resumed trading books online. I used the BookRelay site several years ago, but when I went there, I discovered that it had been dissolved. I found many of the same players now trading at BookObsessed, so I registered and plunged into swapping books. With this has come a need to better organize the books in the house and classify them as available or not. I've cleared out most of the stacks that were all over the house. Every book I've put my hands on now has a BookCrossing sticker in it and has been recorded and classified onto my personal bookshelf. All books tagged as "available" have been packed into plastic bags and removed from my shelves. Those tagged as "to be read" are now filling 3.5 shelves in the bookcase in my living room.

Along with sorting, classifying, and journaling my books, I decided to review some recommended reading lists. The first one I downloaded is The Big Read Top 100. The Big Read series was broadcast on BBC Two from 18 October to 13 December 2003, and three quarter of a million votes were received by the end of the series. I downloaded the list and then marked the ones that I have read with bold text.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

So—I've read 40 of the BBC top 100 books. Not bad. And, I'll look at the ones on the list that I haven't read as strong recommendations.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Today's trip to Barnes & Noble

Today I made another masterful buying trip to Barnes & Noble. Note that I categorize this as a buying trip and not a shopping trip. I didn't have time to shop—to leisurely walk up and down the rows seeing what might catch my interest. Instead, I went into the store with a mission. My objective was to find the 4th and 5th books in Aimée and David Thurlo's series starring Ella Clah. Jaime just started reading the series and I decided to re-read from the beginning, so we need to locate copies of Enemy Way and Shooting Chant. As luck would have it, neither of those books were in the store, but that didn't prevent me from picking up Mourning Dove, one of the more recent in the series. While I was in the store, I saw a featured display on books by Alexander McCall Smith, so I picked up The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, The Right Attitude to Rain, and the unabridged audio on CD of Espresso Tales. I had purchased Espresso Tales in print a while back, but was not enjoying the reading of it. I had listened to the first book in that series (44 Scotland Street, so decided I'd do the same thing this time. In addition to these books, I bought Jaime the beginning books in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and J.D. Robb's Eve Dallas series. It's so neat that she enjoys reading many of the same books that I do. I hope she'll enjoy these series, too.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Size 12 Is Not Fat

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot Imagine Britney Spears (now 25 years old) loses all her contracts, has her money embezzled, and has to support herself with a real job. That's the situation that Heather Mills, the heroine of this book, finds herself in. So, she finds a job as assistant director of a college dorm err... residence hall in New York City.

Patiently waiting out her six months probation so she can take advantage of the free tuition given to university employees, Heather is shocked when within one week two residents die from falls in the elevator shafts. The police and campus officials determine that the deaths were accidents from "elevator surfing", but Heather is convinced that the two girls were murdered. Even if no one agrees with her, she's determined to find out who the murderer is. And, as you'd expect, her investigations put her in danger.

Told in the first person, the book is a charming read by the author of The Princess Diaries.

2 / 120 (1.76%)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Dangerous Tides

Dangerous Tides  by Christine FeehanDangerous Tides is #4 in the Drake Sisters series by Christine Feehan. I picked up #3 a year or so ago and knew that I wanted to read more. I have the first two in the series on my wish list.

Libby Drake is the fourth of the seven Drake sisters; daughters of a seventh sister. Of course they possess magical talents. Libby is a physician, but also a healer. All her life she's felt like the "good girl" and longs to be just a little bit naughty. She gets her chance when her path [re]-crosses with Tyson Derrick. Ty and Libby went to school together, and each was attracted to the other, but both were simply sure that the other wasn't interested.

While telling a good story with just the right mix of romance and suspense, Feehan sets up subsequent stories very well. Watch out for the explicit sex scenes if those bother you.

1 / 120 (0.83%)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A new year ... a new start

I started 2007 with a couple of goals:

  • Read at least 10 books a month; 120 for the year
  • Keep this READING blog up to date
  • Write something—from a word to a full essay—each and every day in my paper journal

That's it. Should be straight-forward and accomplishable. They're not resolutions, just goals.

That said, I'm 2/3 of the way through Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan. It's the fourth in her Drake Sisters series. I've read #3 and I have the first two books on my "want to read" list. There are lots of books hanging around here that I plan to read. Iris Johansen's newest is sitting in Jaime's room along with two from Meg Cabot. There's a trilogy by Nora Roberts sitting on the bookcase and the box that travelled with me to Virginia in November still has a couple of unread books in it.

Small steps. The first two goals require that I keep track of which books I read ... which can be written in my journal. It's a plan!