Thursday, November 27, 2014

Booking Through Thursday (4) - How much do you read?

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How much do you actually read? Few of us get as much time as we’d really LIKE for reading, but do as much as we can, so … how many books do you read? How many hours a day?
I would really like to spend all of my time reading (seriously, if there's a job out there for a professional reader, I am your girl); however, real life tends to get in the way of that. I take a train when I commute to work and usually read most days as long as I'm not too tired. Even if I don't get any other reading done that day, the train ride will give me about an hour and a half of reading time at the very least. If I'm lucky (ie. not too busy), I'll sometimes read for about a half hour on my lunch break. If I'm really really lucky (ie. my day wasn't to hectic), I'll get about an hour or so of reading in before bed too. At the very least, I always read with my children for about 20 minutes before they go to bed. Reading daily is a huge priority in our house. It tends to vary from day to day but an hour to two of reading is usually my average.

As far as how many books I read, that tends to vary too. It depends on a number of factors: the length of the book; how much I'm enjoying it; how motivated to finish it I am; even how good I think it is - the unputdownable-ness (it's a word) of a book makes a huge difference to how fast I'll get through it. YA books are usually really quick reads that I can finish in one sitting. Classics can sometimes take me two weeks to get through depending on the length and how much they make me really think.

I guess my long-story-short answer to this question is: it depends.

So... How much do you read?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter TBR


Disclaimer: Yes, I know it's Wednesday but just as I was preparing myself to publish this last night... I fell asleep. I know, it's a terrible excuse but it happens. I'm sorry.

November 25:  Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR 

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - This is the December - January pick for the I Like Big Books book club on Goodreads. It's a great group, if you like big books join us and read along!
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  by C. S. Lewis - This book just feels wintry to me. My first-grader loved the movie, so I think this might be the year we read this one together.
  3. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - This one seems obvious, but I've never actually read it. This might be the year for it.
  4. Winter's Tale by Mark Halpern - This has been sitting on my shelf unread since last winter, I think it's about time it gets read, plus it has winter in the title so BOOM. Done.
  5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - I'm doing a read-along with Alysia of exlibris, she is totally awesome and you should check out her Booktube channel. This is my first Dickens and I'm both excited and nervous about it. I really want to like this one.

A Tale of Two Cities Anna Karenina Winter's Tale The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) 
 
A Christmas CarolThat's it for my TBR because three of my picks are so long. Here's what we'll be reading in our fort:
 
Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
White Fang by Jack London
 


Monday, November 24, 2014

2015 TBR Pile Challenge

I love new books. I love used books. I love collecting books. I love buying books. I love buying books so much that I tend to buy books faster than I can read them. I've heard that this is a pretty common habit for most avid readers (except for you smarty-pantses who use your public library to its fullest potential), but I buy more books than I can read and it's become a problem. I have tons of books gathering dust because I am just not getting to them and it's saddening because at some point I must have been really excited about reading them. Long story short, this is why I am glad that for the first time I will be able to participate in...
 
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Adam of Roof Beam Reader is hosting his SIXTH annual TBR Pile Challenge and I, for one, can say that I am definitely going to benefit from joining in on this one.
 
The Goal for this challenge is to read (and review) 12 from your "to be read" pile within the year. Crossovers with other challenges are A-OK, but these books should have been on your shelf for at least a year. You are also allowed to have two "alternates" in case you decide to toss aside one of your titles.
 
You can sign up for the challenge here, you'll need to link your master TBR List and update the links to your reviews. You can also leave comments on that post throughout the year to update your progress and everyone that completes the challenge will be entered in a giveaway!
 
*Note: On the 15th of each month, there will be a monthly check-in to keep us all on track, as well as mini challenges and giveaways. So much fun to be had by all.
 
We'll be chatting about the challenge on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, using #TBR2015RBR
 

My 2015 TBR Challenge Master List:

  1. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
  2. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  3. Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomerey
  4. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  5. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
  6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling
  7. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
  8. Half-Blood Blues - Esi Edugyan
  9. Blindness - Jose Saramago
  10. Roots - Alex Haley
  11. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  12. Emma - Jane Austen
Alternate:
  • The Road - Cormac McCarthy
 
 
 
 
 

Sci-Fi Month: Booktube!


I love BookTube. It is really, really great. Really. Before I started this blog I considered if I should go the Book-tube route, rather than the choice I ultimately made which was (obviously) old-school style blogging. Although I still contemplate (and sometimes fantasize) about starting a Booktube channel of my own, I just don't think I have the confidence to sit in front of a camera and share my face with the world and talk about some of the things that I am most passionate about. Something about the (semi) anonymity of the written word lends a sort-of safe(-ish?) feeling to blogging that I think makes it easier to share my opinions without worrying too much about mean comments. YouTube commenters seem to be quite mean and unforgiving but thankfully (SO THANKFULLY) there are wonderful, wonderful people out in the world who are braver than me and willing to share their wonderful videos on YouTube.

I have to admit that when I first started reading science fiction, I didn't fully realise that's what it was and I was surprised to find out that most of my favourite books were science fiction. You like books with zombies? You like dystopia? You like Sci-fi! I really have to credit booktube with my newly found knowledge because I wasn't really categorizing anything I read before - it was all just fiction. I also credit booktube with inspiring me and leading me to discover even more new-to-me science fiction titles to add to my ever growing TBR list. I doubt I'll ever reach the end of the list, and I definitely won't as long as I keep adding to it - BUT, I digress. What I really wanted to talk about was BookTube, and more specifically, my top 3 favourite BookTubers that focus (or talk quite a bit about) science fiction.
  1. books and pieces - Elizabeth focuses on sci-fi and fantasy, there are also really great discussions and hilariously costumes educational videos - I have learned so much from her.
  2. SFF180 - Thomas's videos are smart and engaging. He's super knowledgeable and doesn't necessarily focus on YA, so if you want to find out more about adult sci-fi and fantasy, check out his channel.
  3.  Ink Bones Books - Sanaa talks mostly about fantasy books but she does occasionally talk about science fiction as well and her videos are really well done, she always recommends books that I really really love. And is one of my absolute favourite booktubers.
Do you love booktube as much as I do? Do you have a booktube channel? Who are some of your favourite booktubers? I'm always looking for recommendations!

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Classics Club Spin

As always, I am a little (a lot) late to post this (the deadline was November 10...oops!). But, I'm here now and I've decided to participate in my first ever Classics Club Spin. I couldn't decide which classic to read next so the timing for this couldn't be any more perfect!

The basic idea behind the Classic Club Spin is that you list your choice of any 20 classics from your Classics Club list that you haven't read yet. This is your "spin list". The Classics Club mods will post a randomly selected number from 1 to 20 and the challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by the given date: January 5, 2015
As I mentioned I am late to post this, so I'll be sharing my spin list and my spin pick in a single post. The idea behind this is that if I share it, I will actually read and review my pick. I've been slow to finish my books lately, and even slower to review, (I've been blaming a job change, but it's probably more due to laziness) so a kick in the pants was definitely needed. 
Without further ado, here's my Spin List:

  1. The Woman in White
  2. The Great Gatsby
  3. Les Miserables
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
  6. North and South
  7. Persuasion
  8. As I Lay Dying
  9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  10. The Handmaid's Tale
  11. Don Quixote
  12. The Little Prince
  13. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  14. 1984
  15. A Little Princess
  16. My Antonia
  17. Great Expectations
  18. The Bell Jar
  19. Mrs. Dalloway
  20. In Cold Blood
Slaughterhouse-FiveThe Classics Club Spin number was #13. It looks like I'll be reading Slaughterhouse-Five next month. This will be my first Vonnegut and I'm both excited and nervous about it. I'm hoping that not too much of it will go over my head, and that I enjoy it. I really want to like this book. 
What was your classics club spin pick? Let me know in the comments or on twitter using #ccspin. 

Readalong Wrap Up: The Hound of the Baskervilles



Hamlette over at The Edge of the Precipice was kind enough to host a read-along of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles and provided a few questions for the participants to answer:

Have you ever read any Sherlock Holmes stories before?

Nope, this is my first ever Sherlock Holmes read and I'm glad it was because I quite liked it.

Have you read this before?  If so, why did you decide to re-read it?

Again, nope. But I've wanted to read Sherlock's stories for a while and didn't know where to start. So this read-along was the perfect starting point to experience Sherlock.

At the end, Watson calls this adventure a "singular narrative, in which I have tried to make the reader share those dark fears and vague surmises which clouded our lives so long and ended in so tragic a manner."  Did he succeed in making you share them?

There was definitely a clear feeling of unease and general discontent throughout the book, I really appreciated the evocative language which made those feeling very clear. It wasn't as dark as I was expecting it to be but it was gothic. The moors, the fog, the mysterious setting made all the difference in this story, it created most of the feeling for me. I'd consider that a success.
Day 19, Character most like me: Sherlock. We are both unusual, not into social interaction, and really specialized in our skills and interests. We are both a lot more sensitive than we look, and have no problem with doing things outside the status quo. As a matter of fact, we enjoy it.
Have you seen any film adaptations of this story?  If so, do you recommend any?

Aside from Sherlock episode, no. But I do highly (HIGHLY) recommend it. I would definitely be interested in watching more adaptations, especially if there are good classic versions out there.

What did you like best about The Hound of the Baskervilles?


I really liked the writing. The characters and the eerie setting made this a perfect fall read. I also appreciated that I was actually surprised by the ending. I didn't expect that (it was different, of course, than the Sherlock episode), I guess I would make a terrible detective.

Was there anything in the story you didn't care for, or think could have been done better?


<3 SherlockI can't say that there's anything I really didn't like about the story, but I was surprised that Sherlock didn't have more of an active role in the plot for the bulk of the middle of the novel. I expected as that as the main character, his detective work would have been in the spotlight the entire time, which wasn't the case at all. That being said, I do love Watson, so I don't think I would change a thing. 

Have you read The Hound of the Baskervilles? Would you recommend any other Sherlock Holmes stories or adaptations? Please share!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

#Minithon Introduction [& Update]


I have long been jealous of Readathon participants and their ability to spend 24 hours or more reading. I love that, I love the idea of that. I love that those people actually have that many hours to devote to reading. I am not one of those people. I have a full time job. I have a long commute. I have a partner who might revolt if I locked myself away for days at a time to read. I have children that need attention, and feeding. I have CATS. Obviously, the full readathon isn't something I can actively participate in with so much going on in life. 

Thankfully, Tika of Reading the Bricks is hosting a mini-readathon today. This readathon is perfect for me because it's all about laziness ease: Snacks, tweeting about snacks, reading, talking about reading and bookish things on social media, more snacks, staying in pajamas, and general laziness relaxation of all kinds. I'm Canadian and there is all kinds of cold and snow outside so today is the perfect day to stay in, laze around, stay in bed, and read. (and tweet: #minithon)

I'm a little late posting this as the minithon started at 8am Pacific time, 11am where I am in Canada; and ends at 4pm Pacific time, 7pm in Ontario. But I slept in, so forgive me. 
Here's the rules guidelines:
1) Mini-everything! Mini snacks, mini naps, mini discussions (aka tweets),  and of course, some justification of why your reading material falls into the category of "miniature," the sillier the better.
2) Just 8 hours, beginning to end. We will begin at 8am Pacific time (that's 11am ON, CA). And when we end at 4pm PT (7pm ON, CA), everyone can breathe a sigh of relief at a job well done. 
3) Let's keep it to only 2 posts - one introductory and one to close out the 'thon - so as to leave us plenty of time for... reading
I'm looking forward to this minithon, I'll be posting what I read and what I snacked on in my minithon wrap up and I'll also be tweeting and instagramming #minithon throughout the day. 
Let's chat on twitter! (See my sidebar!)

UPDATE:

I'm very pleased to be able to say that my first ever minithon was a successful one. Now, as a disclaimer, it's very nearly impossible to fail at minithon. The entire premise of the minithon is for it to be as easy as possible (for those of us to lazy for readathons). I tweeted, I snacked, I drank lots of tea. I even got some reading done. It was mostly blog posts, which, I was told, still counted; but I did get some book reading done too. I read one of the essays/ chapters in Lena Dunham's Not That Kind Of Girl and even read a little poetry too, so all in all, a win. 



 Tika of Reading the Bricks was so great for hosting this minithon. THANK YOU!

How did you spend your Saturday? Did you participate in the minithon? Did you get any reading done? Let me know :)


Sci-Fi Month: Thanks to Science Fiction

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“Anything that one man can imagine, another man can make real.” - Jules Verne

Thanksgiving is coming for all my friends south of the border and even though we Canadians celebrate in October, there's always something to be thankful for and since it's still sci-fi month, I scoured the web for things that we can thank Science Fiction for.

There are many many inventions out there in the world today that were once dreamed up solely to exist between the pages of science fiction, be those pages bound in book or script form (I'm looking at you Star Trek). I am not a super-techy person, but I sure am glad that these awesome things exist today. There are so many more things that started out as ideas in science fiction than I am going to list here, and there will definitely be countless inventions to come in the future. As humans, it's in our nature to speculate, to create, to invent, to improve. To push boundaries. And I think we all owe a big thanks to science fiction, for being the pioneer of inventive ideas. Because without it, we might not have such awesome things as these: 

1) Cell Phones - thank Star Trek 


2) Submarines - thank Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


3) The Helicopter - the inventor of the helicopter was inspired by Jules Verne's Clipper of the Clouds

 

4) The Rocket - thank H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, the inventor of the rocket became obsessed with space flight after reading it

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5) Atomic Power - H.G. Wells' book The World Set Free  inspired physicist Leo Szilard to create a nuclear chain reaction 

The World Set Free

6) The Taser - Fun Fact: Taser is actually an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle" based on Edward Stratemeyer's books about an inventive boy who created and "electric rifle" inspiring the tasers of today

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7) Tablets - you can thank Star Trek: The Next Generation for your iPad

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8) The Waldo - I'll be honest with you, I didn't even know what the waldo was before I started researching this post, but we can thank sci-fi author Robert Heinlein for his short story about an inventor named Waldo who created a mechanical hand 


9) Nasa Canadarm - (yay Canada!) while I'm not entirely sure if it was directly inspired by it or not (please tell me if you know!), the Canadarm is pretty similar to the mission robot from 2001: A Space Odyssey 


10) The Internet - Tim Burners-Lee (credited with inventing the internet) was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's 1964 story Dial F For Frankenstein 

Tim-Berners-Lee-WWW.jpg                     The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke


There you have it, 10 pretty awesome things we might not have if not for sci-fi...and because I like to give credit where credit is due, here are the links I used to find out about all this cool stuff (and also, in case you're interested in reading more, here ya go): 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can't Wait to Get My Hands On

 
  1. The Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin - A lot of people are going a little crazy over the wait for this one, I'm thinking about maybe rereading the series to get ready for what I'm sure will be an epic addition to an already amazing series. Or maybe I'll just start watching the show, I haven't decided.
  2. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - I know that I don't technically have to wait for this since it's been out for quite a while, but I am on a bit of a book buying ban ('tis the season of giving, not getting, after all) so I won't be getting this for myself any time soon. But I will, eventually.
  3. Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss - I don't really know what to expect from this third book, especially since I haven't read the second book yet, but I always plan on finishing each series I start and I am looking forward to this one.
  4. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch - Same reason as #2. Is this a cop-out? Maybe. Probably. Yes. Do I care? Possibly. Unlikely. No.
  5. The Republic of Theives by Scott Lynch - Same reason as #3. Same explanation as #4. I am really going all out this week.
  6. The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch - Here's one I actually will have to wait for for reals.
  7. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman - I've been really late getting around to reading These Broken Stars and I wasn't sure if it was going to be deserving of all it's hype. But I can definitely say I am looking forward to the sequel very much, even if it will be focusing on different characters.
  8. Ensnared by A. G. Howard - I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. I wasn't crazy about Splintered [I only gave it two stars on Goodreads], and though I enjoyed Unhinged slightly more [3 stars], I still had a lot of problems with it. However, I really want to finish the series and I'm hoping that the third book will redeem it for me. I love Alice in Wonderland,  and I want to like this series, so I'm giving it another shot.
  9. Untitled (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Steifvater Is anyone out there not waiting for this one?
  10. Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan - I am obsessed with this series. I know I could just buy the single issue comics and get that monthly fix, but single issues are so short, it's like getting just one bite out a glorious slice of cake. I just really love the collected editions, they are so beautiful. This is on my "Treat Yo'self" Christmas list and I'll be snatching it up as soon as it hits shelves.
 
What are some sequels you've been itching to get your hands on?  Any series you need to catch up on like myself?
 
 

Teaser Tuesday: The Hound of The Baskervilles

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Hound of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle


The Hound of the Baskervilles

 "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light."

"When taken in conjunction with your uncle's death I am not sure that of all the five hundred cases of capital importance which I have handled there is one which cuts so deep. But we hold several threads in our hands, and the odds are that one or other of them guides us to the truth."






Monday, November 17, 2014

Sci-Fi Month: A Really Late Update and Book Monogamy

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WE are already half-way through the month and I have been failing miserably to update my Sci-Fi November journey! I'll be posting a review of Ready Player One on Wednesday. I'm actually shocked I haven't gotten around to it since I've been saving the review for MONTHS specifically for Sci-Fi November, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Since Sci-Fi Month also happens to be Non-fiction November as well as #readkidslit month, I have been trying my hand at reading multiple books at once and it has not been going very well and it's as if the stars were aligning or something because Rachel from Confessions of a Book Geek wrote a guest post over at Oh, The Books! on Book Monogamy and it was fantastic.

I completely understood where she was coming from because I to tend to be a one-book-at-a-time reader as well. It's just easier for me to keep things straight that way. There's no chance of me mixing up characters or story lines. Or of getting carried away with one book leaving the others to the wayside only to come back to the discarded ones disinterested or having to start over from the beginning because I've forgotten the plot.

I really love getting immersed in the story, getting to know the characters, and deeply exploring the world the author has created. I know that reading multiple books at a time just isn't for me, but that certainly hasn't stopped me from trying this month. So far:


Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

I've skimmed most of this parenting book that I didn't get a chance to finish because it needed to be returned to it's original owner. Bummer, but I wasn't really enjoying it anyway.



Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"

I've gotten about halfway through Lena Dunham's Not That Kind Of Girl, my Non-fiction November pick (review to come - hopefully).

A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle, #1)

I'm about 70% of the way through A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, my #readkidslit pick. 

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1)

I have just barely started Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I've recently read a lot about this author and his message that has kind of turned me off of reading his work. I'm not sure if I'll be sticking with this one but I'd like to finish it because a) I bought it and I'd like to have an opinion of my own about it. and b) I try to finish every book that I start (the only real exception I've given myself in this regard is when I don't own the books and need to return them and Allegiant by Veronica Roth - it was just so so terrible, I got half way through and needed a break and just never got around to picking it up again - this was last February, so I doubt this one will ever get read)

The Hobbit (Middle-Earth Universe)

I started The Hobbit back in September as one of my Fall Reads picks, when I was also participating in a Sherlock Holmes read-along. True to form, I ended up focusing on The Hound of the Baskervilles and sadly, The Hobbit was set aside. I really wanted to finish this one last month but that didn't happen, so it got added to my November pile. 

So here I am two weeks into November with four books on the go at varying degrees of completeness (and none finished) and I am realizing a few things, not all of it is new. I already know I'm not a very good multi-book reader. I've learned that having too many books on the go at once feels like I'm putting pressure on myself that I don't want or need and in the end, it doesn't make me feel excited to read any of the books I've started. I've also noticed that reading too many books at once actually takes me out of each world, I feel disconnected and it takes me a longer time to get back into the story - which is what surprised me most. Reading too many books makes me read slower and I end up reading less - not more. Who knew?! 

What do you think? Are you capable of having multiple books on the go at once? Are you a monogamous reader like me and Rachel? 

P.S. I think I've figured out a way to make book polygamy work for me. Post will be up in a few days :)