Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Summary: 27 December 2015

Good morning all. I hope your Winter holidays have been fabulous. We celebrated Christmas at my son's house. I cooked a morning brunch of sausages, biscuits, scrambled eggs, ham, and sweet rolls. After breakfast, we sat around to exchange presents. Weeks ago, my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told her I didn't have any particular wishes—just lots of boxes to open. So that's what I got. And every box I opened contained a wrapped gift for someone else. It quickly became a contest to guess whose present might be in my box. But I wasn't left out; my kids know my weakness for books, so I received gift cards to buy books with.

Where I've been reading

Since I had taken the entire week as vacation time, I was at home here in Texas. Well, here in Texas, but not necessarily “at home”. The two five-year-old grandchildren were out of school, so I drove down to my sons' house a couple of days to spend the day with them. It was so warm here in Texas that we went to the park with just t-shirts and jeans. Driving back and forth from my house to where my sons live gave me lots of time to listen to my current audio book, The Guilty by David Baldacci.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (60)

This week's new books are all from the library. I picked up a couple of short books in the hopes that they'd help me complete my objective of reading 200 books in 2015. In fact, I've already read two of the four books which I borrowed.

From the library:

Book Cover: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I was attracted to the description of Illuminae, written in an unusual style. Instead of the usual narrative, the book is composed of transcripts of interviews, medical reports, e-mails, etc. The setting is a planet which has been attacked by the powers of a large corporation. Two teens—who have just broken up—are among those who have escaped and are fighting for their lives. Ezra is recruited as a fighter pilot and Kady becomes a hacker as the survivors struggle to expose the treachery of the attacking forces and win back their freedom.

I don't remember where I heard about Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Perhaps it was even at the library's website. At any rate, I saw that it was listed as a “coming soon” copy and I put my name on the Holds list. Now I have downloaded it into my Kindle and will be starting it soon—probably tomorrow.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Summary: 20 December 2015

This week I'm combining my Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves. I've been ignoring my online presence—forums, blog, Facebook, even e-mail—for a couple of weeks as I focus on taking care of things at work. Now that I have a couple of weeks of vacation at the end of the year, I hope to be a bit more visible.

With Christmas coming up, I'm lucky to have two grandchildren nearby to share the holiday with. Yesterday, I flew to Las Vegas to pick up grand-daughter Victoria for a two-week visit with her Daddy. Since he had to work yesterday, I had the honor of escorting her to Texas. He'll take her back just in time for school to start up again.

Where I've been reading

A week ago I was returning from New York City. Everything was brightly decorated and I was fortunate that the weather was quite mild. In fact, I kept wishing I had left my coat at home and just taken a light-weight jacket to keep the wind at bay. I read on the plane both directions and then read in my hotel room each evening instead of turning on the television.

This week just past, I was blessed to be at home. I tried to make plenty of time for reading as I really would like to make my goal of 200 books for 2015. I knew it was a stretch goal when I set it, and I'm running out of time!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review: Cards of Grief

Book Cover: Cards of Grief by Jane Yolen
Originally published 1984; republished 2012 by Open Road Media
Source: borrowed from the library

Jane Yolen's award-winning story about an alien civilization forever changed by the incursion of human social scientists and a mysterious ancient prophecy

The year is 2132 when members of the Anthropologist's Guild set down on the planet Henderson's IV, or L'Lal'lor as it is known to the native population. Charged with the nonintrusive study of alien cultures, the crew discovers a society containing no love or laughter. It is, instead, centered around death—a world of aristocratic and common folk in which grieving is an art and the cornerstone of life. But the alien civilization stands on the brink of astonishing change, heralded by the discovery of Linni, the Gray Wanderer, a young woman from the countryside whose arrival has been foretold for centuries. And for Anthropologist First Class Aaron Spenser, L'Lal'lor is a place of destructive temptations, seducing him with its mysterious, sad beauty, and leading him into an unthinkable criminal act.

Told from the shifting viewpoints of characters both alien and human, and through records of local lore and transcripts of court martial proceedings, Cards of Grief is a thoughtful, lyrical, and spellbinding tale of first contact. It is a true masterwork of world building from Jane Yolen, a premier crafter of speculative fiction and fantasy.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (58)

After the long list of new books I posted this week, I don't have quite as many to talk about. I did receive a new review book courtesy of the Library Early Reviewers program. And I took a couple of more Mid-grade and Young Adult books from the library hoping that I could read them fairly fast and hit my goal of 200 books for 2015.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Month in Review: November 2015

I had hoped to catch up a bit during November, what with the holiday weekend and all. But I wound up reading only 15 books for the 3rd month in a row. All of which means that I'm really going to have to push like crazy in December if I have any hopes of completed my goal of 200 books for the year.

I've made a bit more progress so far in December by selecting books that “read fast”. That's generally a factor of the vocabulary and writing style of the author as well as my reading mood. I feel like a teacher trying to locate “high interest” books for a reluctant reader.

I've blown out my secondary goal of 50,000 pages. At the end of November I had read 52,086 pages. I expect to finish up the year at roughly 56,000 pages, even if I don't quite make the entire 200 book objective.

Sunday Summary: 6 December 2015

As I wrote yesterday, I was offline for a couple of weeks. Life suddenly got very complicated and blogging was the thing that had to go. I'm back, but just barely. I need to write and post three reviews for ARCs that I've read, and I want to keep up the two weekly posts of new books received and what's been going on in my reading life. Maybe during the holidays I'll blog ahead a little bit.

Where I've been reading

This past week I was working in Montreal. Such a lovely city and even more so with the Holiday decorations everywhere you look. It was cold—especially to this Texan—so I didn't spend any time out of doors. And, because I'm so conscious of how far behind I am in reading toward my goal of 200 books in 2015, I never turned on the television. Instead, I read from suppertime until bedtime. Wish I could make myself do this while I'm at home, but the hubby is a TV fan and I give in to the attraction.


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (57)

Yeah, I was offline for a couple of weeks. Sorry about that—life simply got in the way. Between a challenging travel schedule for work, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and the failure of our heating system on the first really cold day of the season, I had a lot of other things on my mind. I also didn't read as many books in November as I had hoped, but that's the subject of a completely different post.

However, now that everything is under control (including a brand new heat pump and furnace) I think I'm pretty much back on track. On December 2, I gave myself the gift of Kindle Unlimited for 2016, starting with the 30-day free trial right now. I've already downloaded four high-interest books. I've also gone through several library books since the last time I shared a Stacking the Shelves post. The list of “new-to-me” books is pretty long. That's what I get for not posting for a couple of weeks.