Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WWW...Wednesday: 30 March 2011

WWW_Wednesdays icon I've been so busy over the past couple of weeks that I haven't kept up with MizB's WWW ... WEDNESDAY meme from her Should be Reading blog. Each week, she asks three simple questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?
and bloggers all over the world post their answers and link back to her blog. Here are my answers for the last Wednesday in March.

1:  I am almost half-way through The Know-It-All by A J Jacobs. In 2003, Jacobs set himself the task of reading through the entire 2002 edition of Encyclopedia Brittanica. With a subtitle of “One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World”, you might think that this is a dull book, but it's anything but. It's charming, it's profound, it's humorous, it's poignant, and above all it's fun.

I'm still listening to Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn. I've almost reached the end of disk 10 (of 15) and I'm confident I'll be finishing it next week since I have to commute to the office every day—a distance of 50 miles which can sometimes take 1 and ½ hours if I get caught up in traffic.

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A J Jacobs Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn

2:  After returning from vacation, the pace of reading slowed down a bit. I have taken two business trips which allowed me to spend a couple of hours—uninterrupted—reading. I definitely don't need any other entertainment on the airplane. Just give me a good book or two.

So, what have I read in the past two weeks? On the last day of our trip, I started reading Death at Gallows Green by Robin Paige, the second book in a cozy historical mystery series set in Victorian times. In addition to the characters introduced in the first book, Beatrix Potter plays a role in solving the mystery of who murdered a local constable. On the plane to Costa Mesa, I buckled down and read the last half of The Warden by Anthony Trollope. I can't remember when I started reading it, but since it was supposed to be the first of two Trollope novels that I had challenged myself to read in 2010, I'm sure I must have started it early in the year. So, I'm finally finished with it and can queue up the next book in his Barsetshire Chronicles.

The next two books were very long books which took 4-5 days each to read: Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher and Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon. Both were excellent books and I'm glad that there are additional books in both series that I can look forward to reading.

Death at Gallows Green by Robin Paige The Warden by Anthony Trollope Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon

3:  Next up will be a couple of books which I owe to fellow book swappers at BookObsessed. I'm thinking the very next book will be another of the Vegas Vampires: Bit the Jackpot by Erin McCarthy. It is shorter, totally frivolous, and likely to be a very fast read. Other books I plan to read fairly soon are Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas, The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice, and South of Broad by Pat Conroy.

Bit the Jackpot by Erin McCarthy Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice South of Broad by Pat Conroy

Until next time, I'll be Reading in Texas.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Belated Update

California Poppy at restaurant in Morro Bay It was such a busy week that I didn't find time to post much, not even the memes that I like to participate in. I even started writing my contribution to the weekend's Book Blogger Hop, but just could not find the time to finish it and get it posted. And, I had every intention of repeating last week's Sunday Summary, but again I just could not make the time to type it up and then post it.

What was getting in the way? I was traveling from California to Texas by car. Most of our time was spent on the highway, but we didn't take the most direct route home. Instead, we visited with friends who live near Frazier Park, California; darted over to the Pacific coast to see Morro Bay; and even took a tour of a random winery near Paso Robles. Then we got down to some serious cross-country driving.

The advantage of spending several days with only limited Internet access (dare I say “incommunicado”?) was that I got in a lot of reading. Between the time my vacation began on 4 March until I returned home on 12 March, I read 8 books—7 full-length novels and one novella.

Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler Honor Among Enemies by David Weber High Stakes by Erin McCarthy The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard The Second Silence by Eileen Goudge The Unkindest Cut by Honor Hartman Ghost of a Chance by Simon R Green Interlude in Death by J D Robb

Most of these counted in one way or another toward the various reading challenges that I have taken on for 2011, and the majority of the books are registered at BookCrossing and will be sent along to other readers through swaps and virtual book boxes (VBBs) at BookObsessed

Here are a couple more photos from the trip:

Mountains near Mt. Pinos, California Morro Bay, California At Rotta Winery

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

WWW...Wednesday: 9 March 2011

WWW_Wednesdays icon It's time for another response to MizB's WWW ... WEDNESDAY meme from her Should be Reading blog. She asks three simple questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

1:  Since I'm in Las Vegas, I thought it would be fun to read one of the “Vegas Vampires” books by Erin McCarthy. The first book in the series is High Stakes and I'm about 3/4 of the way through it. All the books in the series are identified as Paranormal Romances—and the plot also has a bit of mystery to it, so I'm finding this book very enjoyable. I have the 3rd book in the series, Bled Dry, with me, but the 2nd book was on order when I headed out on my trip and it's waiting for me back home in Texas.

Since I didn't bring my audio CDs with me, I haven't “read” any further in Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn.

Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn High Stakes by Erin McCarthy

2:  In the past week, I've only completed two books: Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler and Honor Among Enemies by David Weber. And, I finished reading both of them on Monday. Through most of the weekend, I was reading along in Honor Among Enemies, but after posting my weekly roundup on Sunday, I began to feel a bit guilty that I kept setting aside Full Dark House while I read other books, so as we were driving from Lancaster to Las Vegas, I pulled out Full Dark House and lost myself in London during the time of the Blitz in WWII. With my conscience all assuaged, I then fell back into Honor Among Enemies and finished it shortly after supper. Hooray!

Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler Honor Among Enemies by David Weber

3:  I don't know what's next up. I'm still thinking about it. I did load up the next Honor Harrington book, In Enemy Hands, into my BeBook reader, so I'm sure I'll be reading it over the next week or two. I also have Interlude in Death—a novella in J. D. Robb's series starring Eve Dallas—sitting on my Kindle reader and ready for me to read. Also, when shopping at Bucket of Books, I picked up the final (or should I say “most recent”) book in Shirley Damsgaard's Ophelia and Abby series. The Seventh Witch is definitely going to be a great book to read and probably a very quick book, so I'm seriously thinking that it might be one of the next books up. Check in next week to see what I actually wound up reading.

In Enemy Hands by David Weber Interlude in Death by J D Robb The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sunday Summary

It's all about a week of books and reading.

Memory in Death by J D RobbWhen the week began, I was in Anaheim, California, attending a conference. Sunday was the kick off for the conference and I was committed to meetings most of the day. The "book in progress" was Memory in Death by J D Robb, the 22nd in her futuristic mystery series starring detective Eve Dallas. Back in 2007, I read the two books which follow Memory in Death. I can't figure out why or how I managed to read those two out of sequence, but I finally got around to filling in the gap with this copy that I had picked up for my Kindle in March of 2010. I was able to squeeze in some reading time and finally finished it on Tuesday, 1 March.

Full Dark House by Christopher FowlerOn Tuesday, I posted a quick blurb on the blog for Teaser Tuesday. There, I posted a short quote from another book in progress, Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler. I started reading Full Dark House on 24 February, but I had set it aside to read the J D Robb book. (Besides, I was missing my Kindle and needed to give it a little bit of loving!) I'm still reading Full Dark House and it might be yet another week before I finish it. This is one of those books that is too good to abandon, but for some reason doesn't grab my attention and demand that I keep reading. So, I set it aside when another book catches my fantasy. I freely admit to being somewhat ADD and distractable. I deal with it.

Honor Among Enemies by David Weber Wednesday, I returned to the blog to post my contribution to the WWW...Wednesday meme. I again decided to set Full Dark House aside for a while and pulled out Honor Among Enemies by David Weber. This is the book that I keep on my Blackberry so that I can sneak in a couple of minutes of reading wherever I happen to be. But, I was getting interested in it and no longer wanted to put my Blackberry away after reading a couple of screens. Since I had also loaded the book onto my BeBook reader, I picked it up and carried it with me the rest of the week rather than toting the trade paperback of the Fowler book.

Thursday's post to the blog was my response to another of Deb's Booking Through Thursday prompts. She challenged readers to think of the various literary villains we encounter. Also on Thursday, a couple of books arrived in the mail. (No, they didn't catch up with me in California. My daughter picked up our mail at home in Texas and sent me an e-mail to tell me what I had received.) In the mail were two books which I had ordered from Green Earth Books—an Amazon Marketplace reseller—Bit the Jackpot by Erin McCarthy and The Merchant of Death by D J MacHale. I also received two packages from book swappers who play over at BookObsessed. LoriPed sent me Whack 'n' Roll by Gail Oust, and AM10000 sent me Perfume by Patrick Suskind.

Bit the Jackpot by Erin McCarthy Pendragon: The Merchant of Death by D J MacHale Whack 'n' Roll by Gail Oust Perfume by Patrick Suskind

By Friday, the conference was winding down and I was looking forward to a week's vacation as we drove home to Texas. Hubby drives and I read. It's a wonderful partnership. I worked very late on Thursday night and during one of the early morning breaks, I prepared and uploaded my Book Blogger Hop post for the weekend. This was a good thing because between the final meetings of the conference, checking out of the hotel and taking off up I-5, I didn't have much chance to get online the rest of the day. I did, however, get to spend a couple of hours in dedicated reading time as hubby navigated the Los Angeles traffic.

Saturday was a very lucrative day when it comes to acquiring books! First, there were the books which arrived in the mail. My fellow BookCrosser, Fotini, sent me three books. First was The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber, a book which I had selected from the Paranormal VBB at BookObsessed. The second was a book that I have had listed as a wishlist book for quite a while, Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair. And the third was the sequel to Gabriel's Ghost, Shades of Dark. Fotini said, "because you can't stop reading after #1 in the series." Then, around mid-afternoon, I dropped in at Bucket of Books, a used book store in Atascadero which I had read about at Lisa's blog earlier in the week. I really tried to be good, but wound up buying seven books: The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard, Triple Witch and Wreck the Halls by Sarah Graves, Obernewtyn and The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody, Quaker Testimony by Irene Allen, and Real Murders by Charlaine Harris.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard Triple Witch by Sarah Graves Wreck the Halls by Sarah Graves Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody Quaker Testimony by Irene Allen Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

Web Visits This Week

From the Teaser Tuesday site, I visited a couple of the participants whose comments were next to mine in the sign-ups for Teaser Tuesday. The comment/link immediately above mine was from Lisa at Lisa Is A Bookworm. Lisa's teaser came from Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake, a western romance novel which she was reading on her Kindle. I left a comment saying, "Hi Lisa. I made the comment immediately under yours at MizB's site, so of course it is appropriate for me to hop over here to see what you are reading. I think my mother would have really enjoyed this book. It's not really my style, but it does look like a good one. And, I should really compliment you on reading on your Kindle. I just finished reading a mystery novel on my Kindle." And, the comment immediately below mine was by Lisa-Marie at this little life of mine. Her teaser came from Funerals for Horses by Catherine Ryan Hyde. In her blog post, she mentioned a favorite used book store—Bucket of Books in Atascadero. Since we were nearby, I stopped in there on Saturday afternoon. After getting back to my hotel, I left a comment on her blog saying "So -- I popped in here to read your post on Tuesday and noticed your mention of Bucket of Books in Atascadero. Well, I knew I was going to be near there this weekend, so I stopped in this afternoon. Wow! The woman who runs the shop is amazing. Wish I lived nearby so I could shop there often. I picked up 6 or 7 books and had to restrain myself from buying a lot more. Thanks for cluing me in about it."

I got very busy on Wednesday and Thursday—even though I took a few minutes to write my own WWW...Wednesday and Booking Through Thursday posts, I didn't have much time to visit any other sites. And, since Book Blogger Hop goes on through tomorrow, I'm going to be visiting a couple of places today and tomorrow and may loop back to check on a couple of other bloggers who participated in the other two events.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Book Blooger Hop: 4-8 March 2011

Book Blogger Hop As the weekend approaches, it's time for another Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. This week's question comes from Mia who blogs at Girl About Books: “Who's your all-time favorite book villain?”

Hmmmm... I'm not sure about a “favorite” villain. By definition, a villain isn't someone you're likely to favor—he (or she) is the bad guy. I can't think of a villain that I can claim as a favorite at all.

Jennifer, however, mentioned Gretchen Lowell from Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. While I cannot claim Gretchen as a favorite villain, she is likely to be the most memorable villain of any that I have encountered in my reading. So much so that I don't think I can face the prospect of reading any more books in the series. Heartsick was the most disturbing book I have ever read. (And no, I haven't read Silence of the Lambs and I don't intend to!)

So, even though I couldn't come up with an answer to the question as it was posed, it was definitely one that made me think.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

BTT: Cheating

Booking Through Thursday logoIt's Thursday and Deb has posted another Booking Through Thursday prompt. This week, bloggers are asked:

Do you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

Before I sat down to write my answer, I read the first 6 or so responses to today's question. Interestingly, a couple of people seemed to react the same way that I did to the question. To answer the question as asked, I have to admit that I rarely jump to the back of the book. I have done so once or twice, but it is very rare that I will look ahead.

But my reaction to the question is to bristle a bit at the negative implication that peeking at the end of a book would constitute “cheating”. Unless you're reading a book for a course and your instructor has forbidden you to read ahead of the rest of the students so that everyone will have exactly the same knowledge of the story so far when it comes to assignments or class discussions, then what would it matter if you read the last couple of the pages of the book out of order? Would the poser of the question consider it “cheating” if you read a review of the book? What about reading reviews (or even the book jackets) of subsequent books in a series?

I agree with the other bloggers who have commented that reading isn't a competitive sport where the playing field has to be absolutely even. Nope. Reading is entertainment. I feel free to pick up the remote control and fast-forward through a movie and I feel the same freedom to skim passages, or skip ahead in a book that I'm reading. I'm not accountable to anyone but myself for how I read and I don't have a rule that says I must read every word in the order they appear in the book.