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Sunday, July 18, 2010

In My Mailbox




Hi everyone! Sorry this is a bit late (yeah I know- understatement), my cat just died (she had FIV, basically the cat version of AIDS, which she was apparently born with.) and I completely didn't feel up to posting. I promise there will be minimum moping in this post :P






Recieved for Review:

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard (TBR August 5th, 2010 from Razorbill Publishing) (finished already)
The Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway (TBR August 3rd, 2010 from Razorbill Publishing)
Thanks so much to Razorbill Publishing for giving me complementary copies of these two great books for review!
Library:

From 2 different libraries... I know it seems like a lot, but I returned all the other books I had out, soooo.... it evens out, right? *cough*
Kitchen Princess Vol. 1 (Manga)
The Heart is Not A Size by Beth Kephart
Me, the Missing and the Dead by Jenny Valentine (one of my favorite authors)
Margherita Dolce Vita by Stefano Benni (I'm in love with this imprint, Europa Editions!)
Solanin by Asano Inio (Manga I've been trying to get FOREVER)
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti (I really haven't liked Caletti's work at all, but I'm giving her another chance)
The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin
A Good Day for Love Letters- George Asakura (not sure how I feel about the art)
Gentleman Prefer Blondes- Anita Loos
Cooking With Fernet Branca- James Patterson-Hamilton
Gourmet Rhapsody- Muriel Barbery
The Queen of the Tambourine- Jane Gardam
Kimmie66- Aaron Alexovich (I wish this imprint hadn't closed, Minx was so great!)
Emily the Strange: The Lost Days-Rob Reger (I have no idea what this is, it just looked cool. Is it a series?)
The Ghosts of Ashbury High- Jaclyn Moriarty (YAY! I love this series!)
The Evolution Man, or How I Ate My Father- Roy Lewis (Weird, I know :P)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- Jonathan Foer
The Line- Teri Hall (I never got to finish it)
Sorry- Gail Jones
Gimme A Call- Sarah Mylnowski
Wonderland- Tommy Kovac and Sonny Leiw (Pretty.... *gape*)
JPod- Douglas Coupland (love it even more than I thought I would, considering I'm not a fan of the pessimistic, vaguely pretentious Generation X stuff)
*deep breath* Even more than I thought I'd checked out.
Bought:
All but 2 of these (the one on top and the one on the bottom) are from a used book store. I got them for only 50 cents each down in Mississippi! *dance* Oh, and I got the Great Gatsby too, but I forgot to dig it out from under my bed (books are everywhere under there in my room, as I just got a new bookshelf and have yet to stock it). It's scary under there.
Dr. Slump Vol. 1 by Akira Toriyama (my favorite manga ever! The art is so simple but genius. Toriyama is great.)
The Taker- J. M. Steele
A Farewell to Arms- Ernest Hemingway
Great Short Works of Mark Twain
The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Writings- Oscar Wilde
Pygmalion and 3 Other Plays- George Bernard Shaw
Pygmalion and My Fair Lady (in too horrible condition to show: my dog got a hold of it! Luckily I had finished it on the trip back from Texas :P)
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald (I like it much more than I expected to.)
***********888
Finally done with the list! I got a lot of great books this week, and didn't even spend that much money. A lot of these I've been trying to track down, and finally did, which is awesome :) Mostly mangas that weren't at B&N or either of my libraries. So, what was in you mailbox this week?



Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interview With Yvonne Prinz, Author of the Vinyl Princess!

(While we're on the subject of reviews, sorry for my lack thereof- that's going to change, I promise :))

Thanks so much to Yvonne Prinz, author of the fantastic book The Vinyl Princess (my review here), for this interview!


A short bio of Yvonne: Yvonne and her husband own the largest indie record store in the world, Ameoba Records, in California. The Vinyl Princess is her first YA novel, and she also has a middle grade series about a girl named Claire, who is always getting into trouble. She also has a new book coming out in December, "All You Get is Me," which Prinz describes as a modern-day "To Kill A Mocking Bird".

************

So, here's the interview:

1. Were you anything like Allie when you were growing up?
I was very much like Allie, I worked in a record store in Canada when I was sixteen and I absolutely lived for music.

2. Did you listen to a lot of music while you were writing? If so, what?
I did, actually. Usually I find it too distracting but I wanted the energy of the music to inform my writing. I listened to Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, really, all the music that appears in the book was sitting next to me as I wrote.

3. What inspired you to write The Vinyl Princess?
Owning a record store did. I felt like it's an unexplored culture for a lot of people, sad, because it's been so scaled back and wonderful because it brings out the most interesting people. I set out to re-create what I'd seen every day working at Amoeba in Berkeley.

4. Tell us about your amazing record store, Amoeba Records.
We started as a sort of mom and pop kind of place in Berkeley 1990 but it just sort of took off. Now we have a big store on Haight Street in SF and an even bigger store in LA on Sunset Blvd. We do free live shows all the time and we cater to the collectors as well as the people who didn't grow up with record stores. Each store has it's own personality.

5. How and when did you start collecting records, and how many do you own?
I was hooked when my Dad brought home Abby Road when I was a kid. I started collecting then but I left that collection when I moved from Canada to California so I had to start over. I've never actually counted my records but my collection has morphed with my husband's and we must have thousands.

6. What song best describes you?
That changes daily. Right now it's "The First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes.

7. In the book, Allie puts an Elvis Costello quote on her blog, about how the mp3 has "dismantled" the record. Is that how you feel about digital downloading, and what's your opinion on the future of vinyl and indie record stores?
Well, I think we all have to accept that downloading is here to stay. I'm excited to see that turntables are now readily available at your local Target store. I sure didn't predict that, and young kids are embracing vinyl! Man, that does my heart good. I think we can all agree that nothing compares to breaking the seal on a new vinyl record and spinning it for your friends to hear. The stores are fast disappearing but long live Amoeba!

8. Are you working on any other books right now?
I have a new book coming out in December called "All You Get Is Me". It's a sort of a "To Kill A Mockingbird" for these times with Mexican Migrant Farmworkers at it's center.

9. Will the be a sequel to The Vinyl Princess?
People seem to want one but who knows? Where would I take Allie next? If you can think of somewhere, let me know.

**************

Thanks again to Yvonne Prinz!

Her new book: All You Get is Me

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz







Title: The Vinyl Princess


Author: Yvonne Prinz


Publisher/ Release Date: HarperTeen (December 22, 2009)


# of Pages (Hardcover): 320


MSRP (Hardcover): $16.99





Summary (courtesy of Amazon): Summer is here, and 16-year-old Allie, a self-professed music geek, is exactly where she wants to be: working full-time at Berkeley’s ultra-cool Bob and Bob Records. There, Allie can spend her days bantering with the street people, talking the talk with the staff, shepherding the uncool bridge-and-tunnel shoppers, all the while blissfully surrounded by music, music, music. It’s the perfect setup for her to develop her secret identity as The Vinyl Princess, author of both a brand-new zine and blog. From the safety of her favourite place on earth, Allie is poised to have it all: love, music and blogging. Her mother, though, is actually the one getting the dates, and business at Allie’s beloved record store is becoming dangerously slow—not to mention that there have been a string of robberies in the neighbourhood. At least her blog seems to be gaining interest, one vinyl junkie at a time….





**********


I know it's only about mid-year, but the Vinyl Princess is, hands-down, the best book I've read in 2010. I love everything about it: the characters, the setting, the countless musical references, and most importantly, the subject of vinyl and vinyl culture, and how it needs to be preserved. If we don't, we won't meet people like Allie, our protagonist, who knows everything you could ever want to know about music, looks like, according to her, "the child of Sid Vicious," and considers her thousands of LP's a modest collection- can we really afford to lose awesome people like this?

My favorite thing about this book was the characters. Heavy readers of YA chick-lit will recognize the character archetypes: the sharp, witty protagonist, the lovable (if, at times, ditzy) best friend, the guy who isn't what he seems, and the guy who has been there all along. But they aren't flat stereotypes- Prinz's characters are all painted wonderfully, with their own unique and engaging personalities. And side characters are cast aside and treated as plot devices, either, with each one carefully crafted- even the ones that don't do or say much speak volumes about Allie and her world.

I also loved the setting of Prinz's novel, Telegraph Avenue. Full of more hippies, "bridge-and-tunnel shoppers", and other unconventional populace than you've ever laid eyes on, Telegraph Avenue is a great reflection of the book overall: quirky, funny, and full of surprises.

But my very favorite thing about this book is the way music plays such a big part in it. Good music, too: Just flipping through this book, there's references to everyone from Bob Dylan to the Avett Brothers to the Beatles and Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen and... *takes a breath* Well, you get the point. Allie basically has the best taste in music ever. If you're an "audiophile", too, you might see references that remind you of an old favorite, and if you're don't know much about music, this book is practically a field guide to records.

Overall, in The Vinyl Princess, we find a funny, true voice that needs to be heard, one speaking out for indie record store culture and for the preservation of vinyl in general. Not only that, but it teaches our generation, living in the age of digital downloading, to love vinyl again. There book shows the beauty of the physical involvement in putting on a record, examining it breathlessly for scratches, and enjoying it like the girl on the cover: the waves of nostalgia, the familiarity of the crackling on a well-worn record. And there's something for everyone in this book: romance, music, fashion, drama, and a little bit of crime mystery, too. Read this book in your attic on an old bean bag chair with a stack of carefully selected records, and enjoy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In My Mailbox

(Hey, sorry I've become one of those blogging people who don't publish comments forEVER, and only post once every 10 days or so!)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme telling about books borrowed from friends, gotten from libraries, bought, review copies, anyway you obtain them, created by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I haven't been getting a lot of books lately (I'm on a drawing craze right now: actually, I'm racing to finish this post so I can do my Inu-Yasha and Kagome sketch... *blush* I'm a regular otaku now), but the ones I do get are turning out to be great- well, for the most part :P

For review:

None

Library:

Mercury by Hope Larson

Runaway by Meg Cabot

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Even the Stars Look Lonesome by Maya Angelou

Old School by Tobias Wolff

The Waters and The Wild- Francesca Lia Block

Ivy by Julie Hearn

Bought:

None

I'm really excited about the library books I got, especially Runaway, the 3rd (and I think final? Can anyone confirm that?) book in the Airhead series, which I love. Being Nikki didn't live up to my expectations, but this one is showing promise. I got books from all different genres and subjects, and I can't wait to read them :) Mercury is wonderful: interesting story, but the art definitely isn't your conventional and beautiful. And David Sedaris' essays are hilarious :)

Happy reading all, I hope you had a great week in books!

Monday, May 10, 2010

It doesn't usually look like this, all blank and widget-less, I'm just redecorating.

Pretty self-explanatory title.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Flower In A Storm 1 by Shigeyoshi Takagi



Title: Flower In A Storm Vol. 1

Author: Shigeyoshi Takagi

Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

MSRP: $9.99 US

Pages: 200 (paperback)

Riko is a normal girl (as we are constantly and overly informed in each episode) with un-normal superstrength. Until the day when Ran Tachibana, rich heir of the famous Tachibana family, breaks into her classroom, claiming her as his bride. When Riko refuses, he gives her until 5 o'clock to to escape him and he'll let her go. While Ran has unlimited money and infinite favors, Riko has superhuman strength.

First of all, the characters. Riko is constantly reiterating that she's "just your ordinary, every-day high school girl" (often said as she's running insanely fast, saving balloons for children, and generally putting her superhuman abilities to use), and it's obvious she just wants to belong. However, it's constantly being repeated gets tired quickly, loses all its irony, and starts to feel like the author felt we wouldn't get it. Riko isn't a character I'm particularly attached to, but she is a very interesting character, and very realistic, because she's just like any other insecure teen, trying to hide what makes her special because it's what she's been taught she should do.

And then, there's Ran. Ran is also an interesting character, charming, creepy, odd, and lovable, all at the same time. It's obvious he really is in love with Riko, and his sincere adoration for her is something I definitely liked: but it doesn't change his stalking her, and being slightly insane. Overall, they're a cute, strong main pair.

But they're the only strong characters: supporting characters, like Riko's friends (the shaved-headed student council member was good for a laugh or two, but not much else), he assassin, etc. have no personality and are really flat and one-dimensional, which is disappointing. The side characters are basically just there for the sake of the plot, which isn't how it should be.

The dialogue was pretty weak, even at times between Riko and Ran, especially at the beginning. It seemed a little awkward and repetitive, weirdly worded: but once you got more familiar with the characters, the dialogue got better, and was redeemed by Ran's romantic gestures.

And then there's the plot. Ran chasing after Riko only lasts through the first episode or so, and after that, you'd think the- admittedly shallow- plot would sort of fizzle away. But I felt like the author did a great job with it from there: every chapter has crazy, often funny misadventures of Riko and Ran as Riko slowly starts coming around to Ran.

The art wasn't particularly special, just your traditional shojo style: big eyes, unnatural beauty, inordinate amounts of rose petals floating around. But, it's still very pretty, and nice to look at and try to draw.

There's also a bonus manga, called The Need For Artificial Respiration. It's a nice contrast to Flower, more serious and realistic, and its shortness leaves it feeling even more poignant. On the other hand, Flower in A Storm feels kind of rushed and unreal.

Overall, this manga definitely has its flaws: lacking side characters, a slightly shallow plot, and repetitive chapter beginnings, but if you're new to manga, it's definitely worth a try, and I still loved it anyways. I recommend picking it up at the library (or used on Amazon) if you see it.

(By the way, the 2nd and final volume is out August 3rd!)

In My Mailbox

Hey, sorry I haven't posted in a bit, I've been reading things not pertaining to YA (I've been reading Hamlet- like I would dare review that :P), and some of the YA books I have been reading have turned out to be duds.



Anyways, I got 5 books this week- 2 library books I've been waiting for forEVER, and then one I randomly stumbled upon, then 2 plays my parents bought me (speaking of which, WHERE the heck does Barnes and Noble keep their drama books?!). Plus a new record. So, pretty good :)



Mail/Review Copy:


None


Library:



Flower In A Storm, Volume 1 by Shigeyoshi Takagi











My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day







(Sorry for the fuzziness on this picture!)








Vintage Veronica by Erica Perl









Bought:


Hamlet by William Shakespeare








As You Like It by William Shakespeare







And then, I got this record in the mail, I totally forgot I ordered it last week:


Little Joy by Little Joy

I listened to it all the way through just now, and I think I'm in love. Kind of folksy and sweet, reminiscent of The Strokes in some ways (by the way, Little Joy is the side project of the Strokes' drummer, it's not just some out-of-the-blue comparison), but definitely not an interpretation. My favorite track is Unattainable.)
Good week :)











Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Where She Went

Sorry, there's next to nothing available information-wise on this book!

All I know:

Published in 2011
The sequel to If I Stay
From Mia's boyfriend, Adam's, point of view three years later.

Sorry I can't really give much information, but I just thought you might like to know about the sequel! If I Stay was completely amazing and unforgettable, I absolutley can't wait.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Razorbill Books Double-Feature!



It was so hard for me to choose which book to feature this week- I had a good feeling 2010 would be a good book year, and I was right: My Amazon cart is filled with pre-orders!




I couldn't choose between these two TBP Razorbill Books works, and it seemed like they balance each other out: a cute chick-litesque book with an ADORABLE cover, and an awesomely creepy novel with an equally awesome terrifying cover. Enjoy :)




You Wish by Mandy Hubbard



Being published by Razorbill Books on August 5, 2010
Summary:
Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.
My thoughts: Personally, I don't celebrate birthdays, but this sounds like a great book. I have Hubbard's first book, Prada and Prejudice, in my To Be Read pile, and have read about 15 pages (I always do that before I stack them)- usually, I'm not a fan of Pride and Prejudice/Jane Austen spinoffs, but I like her writing style, fresh and funny.
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff


To be published by Razorbill Books on September 21, 2010
Summary: Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago.
Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants. A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?
My thoughts: I would buy this for the cover alone, really: how awesome is it!? (Sorry, I've been sleeping all day, causing me to be slightly over-peppy. Bear with me) I love the mobile of death. Wish I had something like that when I was a kid: yup, totally good for my psychological health. Why do I have to wait until September? *sigh* *heads off to mope/talley days on walls Shawshank style*

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In My Mailbox

Hey everyone! So sorry it's been quite a while since my last IMM post- I've been super busy. We're remodeling my church and my family helped, piles of homework... etc., etc.

I got a decent haul this week- mostly library books, and I borrowed a book from a friend.

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme telling about books borrowed from friends, gotten from libraries, bought, review copies, anyway you obtain them, created by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Review copies/mail:

None

Library:

Blade: Playing Dead (Book 1) - Tim Bowler
Frozen Fire- Tim Bowler
The Cupcake Queen- Heather Hepler
Heist Society- Ally Carter
The Line- Teri Hall
Girl In the Arena- Lise Haines
Out of Africa- Isak Denisen

Borrowed:

Animal Academy, Volume 1- Hakobune Hakusho (Borrowed it from my friend Jacob, and I'm officially in love with manga! While we're on the subject, know any good manga series, sans paranormal themes?)

Bought:

None

So, it's been a pretty decent book week. I'm proud of myself for not spending any money on books, for once :S ; I discovered manga; and got some really great library books; and made a huge list of books coming out this year I need to read. What about you?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book review: The Heroines by Eileen Favorite



Title: The Heroines
Author: Eileen Favorite
Publisher: Scribner, December 11 2007
Pages (Hardcover): 256 pp
MSRP: $24.00
Rating: * * */ 5

Summary: Although a true lover of books, Anne-Marie Entwhistle prefers not to read to her spirited daughter, Penny, especially from the likes of Madame Bovary,Gone With the Wind, or The Scarlet Letter. These novels, devoted to the lives of the Heroines that make them so irresistible, have a way of hitting too close to home -- well, to the Homestead actually, where Anne-Marie runs the quaint family-owned bed and breakfast.In this enchanting debut novel, Penny and her mother encounter great women from classic works of literature who make the Homestead their destination of choice just as the plots of their tumultuous, unforgettable stories begin to unravel. They appear at all hours of the day and in all manners of distress. A lovesick Madame Bovary languishes in their hammock after Rodolphe has abandoned her, and Scarlett O'Hara's emotions are not easily tempered by tea and eiderdowns. These visitors long for comfort, consolation, and sometimes for more attention than the adolescent Penny wants her mother to give.Knowing that to interfere with their stories would cause mayhem in literature, Anne-Marie does her best to make each Heroine feel at home, with a roof over her head and a shoulder to cry on. But when Penny begins to feel overshadowed by her mother's indulgence of each and every Heroine, havoc ensues, and the thirteen-year-old embarks on her own memorable tale.
******************************************************************


In theory, this book sounds like a fantastic premise, and it is: a magical inn, absolutely drowning in Southern charm, and a mother and daughter who own it, where heroines of famous novels come to life? What could be better?

I had many problems with this book, but one of the main one was that I felt Favorite was trying to accomplish too much with her book. It seemed as though she was trying to blend teen angst of the most annoying manner, a female Holden Caulfield, satire on the huge amount of praise given to books just because they've endured the test of time (and not because the book itself is any good), a kind of "Girl, Interrupted" thing, AND magic into one book, and was spreading the characters, elements and plot too thin to try to accomplish it. As a result, inconsistencies abounded.

The most major inconsistency was of the heroines themselves: sometimes they were portrayed as modern individuals who had no problem with the modern lifestyle, working things fine and dressing/speaking normally; then, about halfway through the novel, they suddenly became old-fashioned, starting with Hester Prynne and Pearl from The Scarlet Letter.

Another thing is on the plot. Like I said, it's a really fantastic idea- but it wasn't delivered on. It wasn't as charming and magical as the premise called for, and it was very vague about the heroines: they stayed for too short a time, and we never really got to "re-meet" them again as promised, and if we did there was never enough description. I felt like this really took away from the believability of the book, and as a result the enjoyment.

Penny wasn't a character you'll like- she's self-centered, angsty, bratty, and stereotypical. She may have been planned this way, but she wasn't so much of an antihero as just a slightly crazy, foolish young girl.

Despite many discrepancies and follies, the book did have it's likable moments that, for some readers could be a sort of redeeming quality. I really wouldn't recommend buying it or going out of your way to get it, but if you see it on the library shelves pick it up and skim through, if you're still interested.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I've Been Tagged... and So Have You (Maybe)!

Hi everyone! I just saw a comment from a few days ago from Lady Scribbles, saying she tagged me. So, I have to type 7 things you might not know about me (or maybe do- I blab about myself entirely too much on here :P) and then tag 7 people to do the same.

Ok, so here it goes:

1. I get my people/places/things/general proper nouns mixed up ALL the time. For example- Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks, all the Johns (except for John Lennon, him I can keep straight :P)... so basically I'm like a senile old grandma who is constantly talking about things she thought happened but that no one EVER said.

2. I love to write, but I can never carry a story through. I just don't know where to go.

3. I LOVE vinyl records. I think I've said that before :P It's exciting to find a store that sells them, to discover a secret stash of records in your attic or basement, and besides that the feel, sound and stigma attached to them are infinitely better than any digital music.

4. I love coffee- but it doesn't make me hyper. If anything, it calms me down, even when I drink americanos (espresso with 2 shots of water). So, that's a good thing :)

5. I'm a total spaz in real-life. I fall and break things and generally make a fool of myself :P BUT that's what makes me loveable :)

6. I overuse emoticons :S See?!

7. I want to live in Portland and be a writer/freelance journalist when I grow up. Then, I want to travel around the world (because you can't go through it). Which may seem a bit cliched, but the good kind :)

So, now that you've been dazzled by my fascinating facts (yeah, right) I tag...

  1. Jessica at Shut Up I'm Reading
  2. Margaret at Blue Duck Book Reviews (formerly known as Bookworm Barista)
  3. Allison at Read Into This!
  4. Cate at Sparrow Review
  5. Imogen at Write About What?
  6. Everyone at B.A.M. Book Reviews
  7. Sara L. from Dragonfly Reviews (formerly found here, in case you weren't aware of her move)

So, there it is:) Directions:


Copy the award into a blog post.
Thank the person who gave you the award.
Tell seven things about yourself that your readers didn't know.
Declare seven bloggers as the new recipients.
Notify the winners with comments on their blogs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge 2010



I'm so excited about this challenge! Gilmore Girls was my favorite show and I still watch reruns all the time (when my dad messed my cable up the DVDs were all I had to watch :P), and I've always wanted to read what Rory read- which is a lot. She took a book with her everywhere- like I do :) (I even took one with me to lunch last year... that didn't work out so well :P)

General rules (copied from the official blog, found here... hope I'm not breaking any rules):

The challenge will officially run from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010. You can begin reading now and anything that you're not more than half way through right now can be counted.
Crossover books from other challenges are allowed. A lot of the books on the list have also been made into movies and those will count as well.

There are three levels of participation:

Emily: Read 5 books from at least two different categories.
Lorelai: Read 10 books from at least three different categories.
Rory: Read 20 books from at least four different categories.


Here is the very long list of books you can choose from:

Classics

Austen Jane Northanger Abbey
Austen Jane Emma
Austen Jane Pride & Prejudice
Bronte Emily Wuthering Heights
Bronte Charlotte Jane Eyre
Browning Elizabeth Barrett Sonnets From The Portuguese
Cervantes
Don Quixote
Chaucer Geoffrey Canterbury Tales, The
Dante
Inferno
Dante
Divine Comedy, The
Dickens Charles David Cooperfield
Dickens Charles Little Dorrit
Dickens Charles Great Expectations
Dickens Charles A Tale of Two Cities
Dickens Charles Our Mutual Friend
Dickens Charles A Christmas Carol
Dickens Charles Oliver Twist
Dickinson Emily New Poems of Emily Dickinson
Flaubert Gustave Madame Bovary
Heaney Seamus Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
Homer
Iliad, The
Hugo Victor Hunchback of Notre Dame, The
Lawrence D. H. Lady Chatterley's Lover
Melville Herman Moby Dick
Poe Edgar Allen Raven, The
Shakespeare William Othello
Shakespeare William Henry IV, Part 2
Shakespeare William Julius Caesar
Shakespeare William Romeo And Juliet
Shakespeare William Hamlet
Shakespeare William Henry V
Shakespeare William Merry Wives of Windsor, The
Shakespeare William A Comedy of Errors
Shakespeare William Richard III
Shakespeare William The Sonnets
Shakespeare William Macbeth
Shelley Mary Frankenstein
Stowe Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom's Cabin
Thoreau Henry David Walden
Tolstoy Leo War And Peace
Tolstoy Leo Anna Karenina
Twain Mark The Jumping Frog of Calavares County
Twain Mark Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire
Candide
Wharton Edith Roman Holiday
Whitman Walt Leaves of Grass


Childrens/Young Adult

Anderson Hans Christian Little Match Girl, The
Baum L. Frank Wizard of Oz, The
Baum L. Frank Scarecrow of Oz, The
Blume Judy Deenie
Brothers Grimm
Rapunzel
Carroll Lewis Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Chbosky Stephen Perks of Being A Wallflower, The
Collodi Carol Pinocchio
Granowsky Alvin Goldilocks & The Three Bears
Grimm Brothers
Snow White and Rose Red
Hinton S. E. Outsiders, The
Keene Carolyn The Nancy Drew Series
King-Smith Dick Babe
Lofting Hugh Doctor Doolittle
Rawlings Marjorie Kinnan Yearling, The
Rodgers Mary Freaky Friday
Rowling J. K. Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire
Rowling J. K. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone: Book 1
Salten Felix Walt Disney's Bambi (based on Original Story by Felix Salten)
Seuss Dr. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Sobol Donald Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective
Thompson Kay Eloise
White E. B. Stuart Little
White E. B. Charlotte's Web
Wiggin Kate Douglas Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm


Modern Classics

Albee Edward Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Beckett Samuel Waiting for Godot
Burgess Anthony A Clockwork Orange
Dostoevsky Fyodor Demons (translated by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky)
Du Maurier Daphne Rebecca
Faulkner William Sanctuary
Faulkner William As I Lay Dying
Faulkner William Sound and The Fury, The
Fitzgerald F. Scott Tender is the Night
Fitzgerald F. Scott Great Gatsby, The
Forster E. M. A Room With A View
Ginsburg Allen Howl
Heller Joseph Catch-22
Hellman Lillian Children's Hour, The
Hemingway Ernest Snows of Killimanjaro
Hemingway Ernest Sun Also Rises, The
Hemingway Ernest A Moveable Feast
Hemingway Ernest To Have And Have Not
James Henry Daisy Miller
James Henry Art of Fiction, The
Joyce James Finnegan's Wake
Joyce James Ulysses
Kafka Franz Trial, The
Kafka Franz Metamorphosis
Lawrence & Lee Jerome & Robert Edwin Inherit The Wind
Lee Harper To Kill A Mockingbird
Mailer Norman Naked & The Dead, The
Mencken H. R. Mencken's Chresthonomy
Mencken H. R. My Life As Author & Editor
Miller Henry Sexus
Miller Arthur Crucible, The
Mitchell Margaret Gone With The Wind
Nordhoff & Hall Charles & James Norman Mutiny On The Bounty
Orwell George Nineteen Eighty-four
Parker Dorothy Portable Dorothy Parker, The
Plath Sylvia Bell Jar, The
Proust Marcel Swann's Way
Rand Ayn Fountainhead, The
Salinger J. D. Franny And Zooey
Salinger J. D. Catcher In The Rye, The
Shaefer Jack Shane
Steinbeck John Grapes of Wrath, The
Tolkien J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Rings: Lord of the Ring Book 1
Tolkien J. R. R. The Return of The King: Lord of the Ring Book 3
Vonnegut Kurt Slaughterhouse Five
Welty Eudora Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, The
Williams Tennessee A Streetcar Named Desire
Woolf Virginia A Room of One's Own
Woolf Virginia Mrs. Dalloway

Non-fiction

Albaret Celeste Monsieur Proust
Albom Mitch Tuesdays With Morrie
Assorted Authors
Norton Anthology of Theory & Criticism
Binyon T. J. Pushkin: A Biography
Bolles Richard Nelson What Color Is Your Parachute? 2005
Bourdain Anthony Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Bugliosi & Gentry Vincent & Curt Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders
Butler Judith Gender Trouble
Capote Truman In Cold Blood
Clinton Hilary Rodham Living History
Clinton Hilary Rodham It Takes A Village
Collett Anne Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals
Cook Blanche Wiesen Eleanor Roosevelt
De Beauvoir Simone Second Sex, The
De Beauvoir Simone Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
Denison Isak Out of Africa
Des Barres Pamela I'm With The Band
Didion Joan Year of Magical Thinking, The
Eggers Dave A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Ehrenreich Barbara Nickel And Dimed
Faludi Susan Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women
Fodor Eugene Selected Hotels of Europe
Ford Ford Madox Good Soldier, The
Franken Al Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
Friedman Milton A Monetary History of the United States
Gibbon Edward History of the Decline & Fall of The Roman Empire, The
Gibson William Miracle Worker, The
Harvard Joe Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground & Nico (33 1/3 Series)
Hersh Seymour M. My Lai 4: A Report On The Massacre And Its Aftermath
Huffington Arianna Pigs At The Trough
Irvin Jim Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion, The
Johnson Spencer Who Moved My Cheese?
Kagan Donald Outbreak of the Peoponnesian War, The
Kagan Donald Peace of Nicias & The Sicilian Expedition, The
Kagan Donald Archidamian War
Kerouac Jack On The Road
Lee/Neil/Mars/Sixx
The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
Lipton Lawrence Holy Barbarians, The
Macaulay David New Way Things Work, The
McCarthy Mary A Bolt From The Blue & Other Essays
McCarthy Mary Group, The
McNeill & McCain Legs and Gillian Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
Meyers Phillip Vanishing Newspaper, The
Milford Nancy Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
Moore Barrington Social Origins of Dictatorship & Democracy: Lord & Peasant in the Making of the Modern World
Moore Michael Fahrenheit 9/11
Nietzche Fredrich Portable Nietzche, The
Pagels Elaine Gnostic Gospels
Plath Sylvia Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, The
Rubin M.D. Theodore Issac David and Lisa
Sherman Wiliam Tecumseh Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman
Sinker Daniel We Owe You Nothing - Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews (Edited)
Spinoza Baruch Ethics
Steves Rick Europe Through The Back Door, 2003
Suskind Ron The Price of Loyalty: George W Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill
Taylor Hobart Chatfield Moliere: A Biography
Thompson Hunter S. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Thompson Hunter S. Fear & Loathing: On The Campaign Trail '72
Thurman Judith Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
Tzu Sun Art of War, The
Vidal Gore The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000
Waldo Myra Myra Waldo's Travel & Motoring Guide To Europe
Weisberg Jacob George W Bushisms: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit & Wisdom of Our 43rd President
Woolf Thomas Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The
Wurtzel Elizabeth Bitch In Praise of Difficult Women


Rough Guide To Europe, The 2003 Edition


Compact Oxford English Dictionary, The


several biographies of Winston Churchill

Other

Allende Isabel House of the Spirits, The
Allende Isabel Eva Luna
Bloom Judy Gospel According To Judy Bloom, The
Brown Dan DaVinci Code, The
Bukowski Charles Notes of a Dirty Old Man
Davies Robertson Manticore, The
Dubus III Andre House of Sand And Fog, The
Ellis Bret Easton Less Than Zero
Erdrich Louise Love Medicine
Eugenides Jeffrey Virgin Suicides, The
Faber Michel Crimson Petal and the White, The
Farrell Henry What Happened To Baby Jane?
Foer Jonathon Safran Everything Is Illuminated
Gogol Nikolai Vasilevich Dead Souls
Goldman William Marathon Man
Grafton Sue R is For Richocet
Grafton Sue S is For Silence
Hathaway Katharine Butler Little Locksmith, The
Hornsby Nick High Fidelity
Kaysen Susanna Girl, Interrupted
Kennedy William J. Ironweed
King Stephen Cujo
King Stephen Shining, The
King Stephen Carrie
King Stephen Christine
King Stephen Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
Kohner Frederick Gidget
Lerner Alan Jay Brigadoon
Levin Ira Rosemary's Baby
Marquez Gabriel Garcia One Hundred Years of Solitude
McCourt Frank Angela's Ashes
McDonald Gregory Fletch
McEwan Ian Atonement
McMurtry Larry Terms of Endearment
Metalious Grace Peyton Place
Parker Dorothy Complete Stories
Powell Dawn Complete Novels/Novels 1930-1942
Powell Dawn Selected Letters of Dawn Powell
Pressfield Steven Legend of Bagger Vance, The
Puzo Mario Godfather: Book 1, The
Reger Roger Emily The Strange
Rilke Rainer Maria Letters to a Young Poet
Robert Henry Robert's Rules of Order
Segal Erich Love Story
Sexton Anne Complete Poems, The
Stein Joseph Fiddler On The Roof
Styron William Sophie's Choice
Susann Jacqueline Valley of the Dolls
Tan Amy Joy Luck Club, The
Toole John Kennedy A Confederacy of Dunces
Uhry Alfred Driving Miss Daisy
Webb Charles Graduate, The
Wells Rebecca Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The
Welty Eudora Collected Short Stories, The


Bhagava Gita, The

**************

I'm doing the Lorelei challenge (10 books, 3 levels). My books:

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
Atonement by Ian McEwan
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
1984 by George Orwell
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

I was going to read that book about The Velvet Underground, but I don't know what it is/can't find it :P But I LOVE VU! And I was also going to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood- has anyone read it and liked it? I'm not sure, I might read it just for fun. Another that didn't make the cut was Swann's Way- I'm reading it, but no way would I EVER review it. There's a sure way to make me look like the biggest dork ever :P

Anyone else doing the challenge? It sounds really fun :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver



Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Release Date: Harper Collins (March 2, 2010)
Pages: 480
Rating: * * * * */5
Summary: What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

*************

I've put off my review of Before I Fall for a few days because I didn't have words to describe how much I loved it. Is it too early to declare this as my favorite book as 2010?

First off, the characters. They were horrible at first, and kind of hard toconnect with for me- I guess it's because I'm a geek and am nothing like people like the mean, pretty girl Sam and her friends were. But that quickly changed- I quickly felt more and more connected to them, despite how horrible they were, and kept hoping Sam could realize what terrible creatures he and her friends were, and could save herself, her friends- and Juliet. I liked Sam, not because she was a good person by any means, but because she told the truth, in a tone full of almost unsettling candidness. They were all very well-crafted, with plenty of detail- something you don't often see in a debut novel.

As to the plot, it was exciting, heart-racing and heart-breaking. It had something for everyone in it- romance, mystery, friendship and family, mystery, and teenage angst, all wrapped up in beautiful prose and tinged with fantasy and an almost supernatural element, with a satisfying, if heart-breaking, ending.

Speaking of the writing, it impressed me as well- unsettlingly and candidly, in a perfectly believable voice and tone, Sam reflected back in an almost wistful tone, with a slight sigh of regret to it, on her short life, her mistakes and regrets, on that final day- until, suddenly, we reach her death... and start all over the next morning. I loved seeing the choices Sam made each day she started over, seeing how the tiniest things, such as not being late- totally changed what was supposed to happen. Again, the writing was much more skilled that many debut novels.

"Before I Fall" is a haunting, heart-breaking, exciting and utterly worth reading new novel- buy it, I promise you won't regret it!

Many thanks to Lauren Oliver herself for giving me a complimentary review copy.

Hunger Games Book 3!

Hey everyone! So, you've probably already heard about this, but I haven't, and it's my blog, so I'm posting it and you're just gonna read it! *ahem* Sorry, another moment of power gone to the head.

Anyways, I just saw the new Hunger Games cover:




Huh. I was sure it was emerald green, for some reason. But I like the blue- very icy, and I like the title. I absolutely can't WAIT to see what happens in the end!

(Just for the record, I'm Team Katniss. Meant to put it on my sidebar :P)



(PS- does anyone know if I did a Catching Fire review? It's been a while... *cough*)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: In A Heartbeat

Note: This excerpt is from an uncorrected advance proof, and may not be the same as the corrected, complete version.

I started reading In A Heartbeat last night- I am in love, I couldn't put it down! The writing flows like poetry, and this teaser is what I think is a good example of it.

For those of you that don't know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme in which people share excerpts from books they're currently reading- NO SPOILERS!

This is from page 6 of In A Heartbeart, by Loretta Ellsworth:

I think I'm dead. Really dead, as in no longer on Earth. I feel removed from my body, like a balloon that someone let loose and is floating up into the ozone. I try to push through it, but it's like pushing through water- more fog fills the gap. If I'm dead, I hope I don't have to stay here forever- I hate gray. I'm more of a purple person, like Grandma.
"Help!" I shout. no one answers. I feel alone and it scares me. I don't want to be here. I want to be back at home finishing my performance. Or at home in my bed, having a bad dream. Or even in the hospital, drugged up and hurt, with a bad headache, but still alive. The only thing keeping me from screaming is that my life is playing out in bits and pieces in front of me. You know how when people on TV die, their lives flash before their eyes? That's kind of how it is for me. Fragments of my life are laid out in front of me like a photo album. All I have to do is remember a moment and there it all is. Every detail!
Of course, right now all I can do is focus on the negative. Some things don't change with death. I'm starting with the last meal I ate, my own personal Last Supper.


Sorry that was kidn of long- I wanted all that included :P

Anyone Else Upset About This???

I know this is kind of odl news to some of you- I heard it months ago- but I just saw that HarperTeen confirmed that: a) Disney is directing it, and b) MILEY CIRUS is going to be the star.

Is there a person in the world approving of this? I love Wings, what I've read of it (the librarian saw it in my bag when it was way overdue and got all furious on me and said i had to give it back... eep!)- and as of late, I don't think Disney has been doing such a good job of their movies like this. And Miley Cirus? She can't act!
I'm sorry, but... NO.

What do you guys think? Pro, con, neutral? I jsut don't want to see this really excellent book not done justice to.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book review:A Match Made In High School



Title: A Match Made In High School
Author: Kristin Walker
Publisher/Release Date: Razorbill, February 4 2010
Pages (Paperback): 288
Rating: * * * */ 5
Summary from Goodreads:

When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky male cheereader/jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

My thoughts: I am absolutely in love with this book! It has a refreshing, surprising plot filled with aborable characters, hilarious situations, excellent music and pure fun.

Characters: Fiona was an great main character- very well-developed. I loved that she was a geek, but fierce and strong at the same time, like a real person should be. She had a smarty, witty tone that I could completely relate to. And as for Johnny Mercer (cleverly named after Johnny Mercer, the musician)? My absolute favorite male character, possibly ever. He had fantastic taste in music (The Killers, Radiohead, Chairlift, even a little Velvet Underground & Niko), was big, tall and husky, AND completely sweet. If only every boy was like that! Todd was unfortunately
reminiscient of guys at my school, but got more likeable and funny as the book went on, and you could tell him and Fee were only pretending to hate each other to show they cared about each other. I wasn't sure what to think of Marcie, but from what I saw I didn't like her- which brings me to my only complaint character-wise: I felt like some characters didn't show up enough, like Johnny and Marcie, and also Fiona's neighbor, Sam- and adorable little 6-year-old Fee babysitted- for them to really develop, and that made me feel kind of cheated. I wanted more.

Plot: While slightly- ok more than slightly, but nothing wrong with that!- unbelievable, it was fresh and original, with plenty of unexpected twists. It was so fun and hilarious, with everything from pranks by Fee and Todd to mid-announcement assistant principal breakdowns to parents constantly chanting outside the school in protest of marriage ed- Fiona's mom being the leader of it!

Writing: A fun, strong tone on Fiona's part, believable and smart dialogue, and generally absorbing writing.

Overall/anything else?: A great new debut for the new year that deserves a spot in your TBR pile.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary review copy for fair reviewing!

Book review: The Catcher In the Rye

Usually, my policy is that I ONLY review- bookwise, at least- "classic" novels- you know, the all time greats, the legends- but I'm making an exception for The Catcher in the Rye, bu J.D. Salinger because of his death a couple days ago, which you probably heard about :C (Superfrown!) Besides, The Catcher in the Rye is one of the best kinds of classics- easily read and easily related to.





Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger
Publisher: (Paperback reprint) Back Bay Books, January 30th, 2001
Pages: 288 (Paperback Reprint)


What can I say about the Catcher In the Rye? I loved it and hated it when I read it about a year ago, and to this day I don't know what I think of it.

Characters: There are very few characters- really, only Holden and his little sister Phoebe immediately come to mind- but Holden was very well-developed. However, that doesn't mean he's a character you'll like at all- he's a true hypocrite, always calling people and things"phony" and "depressing", when that's exactly what he is, which his sister calls him on towards the end (I knew I liked that girl at the beginning of the book...). But I think that you weren't meant to like him- he shows the flaws of humanity, how judgemental and hypocritical we can be yet turn around and think we ourselves are flawless. I loved his little sister, though- she was such a good counterbalance to him, how she was so innocent, but so smart and had such interesting views to things.

Writing and plot: The plot is almost nonexistent, mainly consisting of Holden's rants, ramblings, whines, "observations', and various tangents. Being as that's the way I think and tend to write (of course I edit... 0_0) I didn't care too badly. However, most people will have a definite problem with that, as well as . If you like your books neat and organized, with a definite point, this probably isn't a book you'll like when your forced to read it in middle/high school, or college- if you haven't been already :P

Overall: While notfor everyone, it's definitely a YA novel deserving of praise, if only for how real Holden is, how closely linked his problems are to our own, and how his thoughs are so much like ours.

(I think it may be obvious why I don't review classics now- above my head :P)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bad Blogger.

Hey all! Sorry I've been neglectful and a bad blogger *turns hand at extremely painful and awkward angle to tsk at myself*! Also, sorry if you're comments have been rejected- I don't mean to, I've been getting a LOT of spam *COUGH COUGH COUGH*.

BUT. I'm back for good, and can't wait to start book blogging again! I hate to admit it, but lately I've had zero interest in reading- it's all music and vinyl (I think I might start a music blog or w/e. Like I know anything about it :P) up there :P

I've finished a lot of my ARC's, so expect reviews tomorrow :) I'm also bringing back all the bookish meme- WoW, IMM, TT... yeppers.

Off to do stuff!

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