...or why books and tv rank higher than sleep

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we get to talk about upcoming new releases that we are looking forward to.

This is my first WoW and I'm sharing a book that I just found out was being released:
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett.

I am super excited because Pillars of the Earth is my favorite book (which is soon to be a mini-series on Starz that my husband is going to be annoyed when he finds out I ordered Starz just to watch it).
Fall of Giants is scheduled for release on 9/28/10. Unfortunately I'll be eyes deep in a course load of epic proportions by then, but I'm going to make time to read it come hell or high water!
Here's the publisher overview:
The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families-American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh-as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.
Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man's world in the Welsh mining pits...Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House...two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution...Billy's sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London...
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.
In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the twentieth century, changing themselves-and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Movies/TV Shows based on Books

I haven't been blogging as much as I would like because I'm overloaded with school work and work work. It's the end of the fiscal year and everyone is in a rush to get their billing out asap. People actually expect their employees to work - the nerve of some people's children!

I have to come up with a topic to do a photo proposal on for my library research & eval course. I read an article based in the UK on the success of tv tie-ins on library circulation, which I am kicking around the idea of doing for my topic.

I was discussing the topic with a friend of mine, who pointed out that a tv tie-in version of a book probably would be something that would repel me from buying/checking out the book. I prefer reading a book before seeing the movie that was based on it. I don't know why - I am usually disappointed. But if it's a tv series that is based on a book, I won't read the books until after the series is over. I guess I'm afraid reading the books would ruin the series for me, because the element of surprise would be gone. Off the top of my head, I am thinking of True Blood and Pretty Little Liars.

So, for those of you who have read the Sookie Stackhouse books and are a fan of the series, what are your thoughts? Do you find the show to be more predictable and less enjoyable? Same goes for Pretty Little Liars.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hopping and Following - June 25th

It's Friday (I can't believe it - where has the week gone?!) and once again it's time for Jennifer's Book Blogger Hop @ Crazy For Books, and Parajunkee's Friday Follow.
Click on the links and check out other bloggers. It's a great way to see what is out there, meet new bloggers, and support each other.
I'm really behind in reviews this week. I'm planning on putting up a couple this weekend, and as well as check out the hop & follow as soon as I finish reading and writing an evaluation of "The Effects of Free Choice on Student Learning" by Ya-Ling Lu and Carol Gordon for my research & eval class.
Happy Friday Everyone and Happy Hopping!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - June 22

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should be Reading. The rules are simple:
- open up your current book to a random page
- select a 2 sentence teaser from somewhere on that page
- Make sure you don't post any spoilers!!
- don't forget to mention the name and author of your book.
I'm currently reading (and loving) The Passage by Justin Cronin:
"Whatever happened to her at the compound, whatever the virus was, she appeared to have weathered it; and yet the business with the light was strange. And other things: why, for instance, did Amy's hair not seem to grow?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blogger Hop and Follow My Book Blog Friday 6/18

It's Friday and time for this week's blogger hop. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a weekly opportunity hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books for book bloggers to get their name out there, check out each other's blogs, and just support each other. Click on the link to check it out.
It's been crazy at work this week, so I haven't had a chance to check out some blogs yet. I hope to do it during my lunch break. I'm going to check out fellow newbie bloggers this week, and I will report back with my highlights.
This week's highlights are:
Elizabeth @ Swords for Fighting
Rica and Okapi @ The Smarty Owl
Book Snob @ Book snob
This week I'm also doing Parajunkee's Follow My Book Blog Friday. This is a fantastic way to get your blog out there and find new ones to follow. Click on the link to read all about it.
Have a great weekend everyone!

A Fluff Post

So I really haven't posted this week because I figure no one wants to hear my thoughts on the book I've been reading this week (and for the next month), "Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Systems" by Barbara M. Wildemuth. Heck, I don't want to hear about it and I have to read the book. No offense to Barbara or anything, but the topic is pretty mind numbing.

It's Friday, and my Dad's birthday, so I thought a fluff post is in order. So here are my prefered reading spots, and issues that come up when I try to utilize them.

Prefered spot #1 is my husband Mike's recliner. It's fluffy and so comfy, like sitting on a marshmallow

There are 3 problems associated with this spot. One, Mike actually likes to use his chair (can you believe the nerve?). Two, the lighting isn't the greatest in that corner of the room (as you can tell by the darkness of the picture). Three, I can't seem to sit there without both beagles climbing on top of me. Exhibit A: Gromit has taken over

Spot # 2 is my couch. This is where I am a lot because I can stretch out, have good lighting, and there's easy access to the coffee table and my comfy Nantucket beach sticker blanket.

There aren't too many negatives, aside from the cushions sliding out if I sit up to read, and not much back support if I lay down. However, once again I get edged out by a beagle. Exhibit B: Peabody, my shadow.

The sheet is on the couch because of the dog fur. Peabody doesn't always like it when I read, and will usually face me and push his head down on the book until I put the book down.

So those are my usual reading spots when I'm not in bed or in the hammock.

Happy Birthday Dad, and thanks for passing on your love of reading to me. I consider it a win win situation for us both (namely because of the free books).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should be Reading
This week's question is:
Who in your family (both immediate & extended) are readers, and who are not?
My husband is also a reader, but he doesn't read as much as I do. That's probably changed since lately he's been downloading more mp3 books from the library in lieu of reading a physical book. He goes through books a lot faster in the audio version.
My Dad is a huge reader. His whole side of the family is actually (well parents and siblings at least). I like to say I'm a genetically predisposed bibliophile, and we share a lot of books (mostly adventure and history). I fell in love with the works of Bernard Cornwell thanks to my Uncle Brian's contribution of The Archer's Tale and now he's my favorite author.
Strangely enough, my Mom doesn't read much and neither of my siblings are readers. My brother reads Guns & Ammo and Bass Pro Shop circulars. My sister reads a bit, but it takes her forever to read a book. And she won't see a movie if she's reading the book until it's finished. Which is a family joke because she still hasn't finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which she's been working on for years. So she has only seen the first 2 movies.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Blogger Hop 6/11

It's Friday and time for this week's blogger hop. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a weekly opportunity hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books for book bloggers to get their name out there, check out each other's blogs, and just support each other. Click on the link to check it out.

As of posting time this week, I have found:

* Sarah at Loving Books, who is hosting Summer at Hogwarts, which I am definitely going to check out.
* Arena at The Nerd's Wife . Boy can I relate to the life of a nerd's wife, plus she has adorable dogs!)
* Fellow newbie book blogger Niki at Niki's Book Reviews

Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Grahame-Smith, Seth. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Grand Central Publishing (Hatchette Books), New York. 352 pp. 2010

Synopsis (from BN.com):

When Abraham Lincoln was nine years old, his mother died from an ailment called the "milk sickness." Only later did he learn that his mother's deadly affliction was actually the work of a local vampire, seeking to collect on Abe's father's unfortunate debts.
When the truth became known to the young Abraham Lincoln, he wrote in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become learned in all things - a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose."
The purpose? Elimination of all vampires.
While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for reuniting the North with the South and abolishing slavery from our country, no one has ever known about his valiant fight against the forces of the undead. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

This was a book I was dying to read (no pun intended). I'm going through serious True Blood withdrawals, so I figured this would be an excellent way to hold me over from the end of the Vampire Diaries season to the beginning of True Blood.

I was expecting this book to be cheesy. Instead, I found this was a very well done blend of history and vampire fiction. Grahame-Smith cleverly introduced a plausible introduction to how the journal was found (in fact, I actually would have liked to read more about the discovery and writing process). His combination of real historical events and realistic looking photoshopped photographs with the journals and vampire elements was so well done that I started questioning my own knowledge of history. And I'm working on a master's degree in history!

Grahame-Smith's use of nineteenth centure language made the journal entries incredibly believable as having been written by Lincoln. His writing also explains the periods of depression that Lincoln was famous for. I really enjoyed the introduction of other famous characters to the story, like Edgar Allan Poe. I thought the ending left a lot to be desired because it seemed really out of character and more of an afterthought than a twist. Abe's hunting sidekicks came across more as bumbling sidekicks that were thrown in to the mix than legitimate supporting characters. I also want to learn more about Henry Sturges

Overall, this book was a very pleasant surprise for me. I look forward to the movie adaptation that is supposedly in the works. Rating: 8/10

Review: The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees

McNess, Kelly O'Connor. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, Penguin Group. New York. 352pp. 2010.

Synopsis (From BN.com)

In the bestselling tradition of Loving Frank and March comes a novel for anyone who loves Little Women. Millions of readers have fallen in love with Little Women. But how could Louisa May Alcott-who never had a romance-write so convincingly of love and heart-break without experiencing it herself? Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees imagines a love affair that would threaten Louisa's writing career-and inspire the story of Jo and Laurie in Little Women. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire in 1855, Louisa finds herself torn between a love that takes her by surprise and her dream of independence as a writer in Boston. The choice she must make comes with a steep price that she will pay for the rest of her life.


Louisa May Alcott is one of my all time favorite authors. I still treasure the hardcover version of Little Women that I received on my 8th birthday. I still re-read it every year, and shop old bookstores for early copies of her books. I've been successful with Jo's Boys, Little Men, and 8 Cousins, but not with Little Women. If I were to have a holy grail, it would probably be a first edition of Little Women. So, as you could imagine, I was both thrilled and hesitant to read this book. I put it off for months before I decided it was time to read a new interpretation of Louisa. I was not disappointed.

McNees did extensive research on the Alcott family, which is apparent with every detail of the book, and makes this feel much more than a work of biographical fiction. She chose to write her book about a period in Louisa's life that very little is known about, the summer of 1855. Here she weaves a beautiful and touching summer love story between Louisa and a young shopkeeper. Both are torn between their desire for each other, and their obligation to care for their families because of the failings of their fathers.

While the love story is touching and well done, the true highlight of the book for me was how well developed Louisa was. McNees did an amazing job of showcasing Louisa's struggles and her resentment towards her Father for emotionally (and financially) neglected his family. This is a far different father than portrayed in Alcott's writings. My criticism with this book was the lack of development of the sisters and Marmee. Marmee comes across as slightly hysterical and very overprotective. She lacked the dynamic of the Marmee I know and love from the books.

I also got the sense of being rushed through. The romance seemed too quick. The ending almost seemed as an after thought, which was a shame considering the amount of care and detail that went into crafting the character of Louisa.

This was a fast paced read, and another book that can be shared by Mothers and Daughters alike. Rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2003. 400 pgs.

Synopsis (from BN.com):
In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story.

I read this was Jennifer Donnelly's first YA book. Her writing style was so well done. Her characters were well written, and she was able to tell a story in a manner in which both young adult and adult readers can enjoy.
I was pulled in right away to Mattie's world. I felt her heartbreak over the loss of her Mother, her frustration with having to take on adult responsibilities so young, and her desperation to continue her education.
While Mattie was a fictitious character, the death of Grace Brown really did happen. Incorporating the murder as a surrounding event in the life of a girl on the verge of womanhood was an inspired idea because it brings a whole new dynamic to who Grace Brown was. Mattie's struggle over whether or not she should break the promise she made to her Mother, to Grace, and to her family is heartbreaking.
The only complaints I have about the book are its somewhat abrupt ending, and there were some issues with fluidity in regards to the timeline. The book jumps around a bit and was a bit difficult to stay with during the jumps because it wasn't as evident that this was a different time period. Despite the minor criticism, this is a beautifully written and moving book that could appeal to both mothers and daughters.

Word of warning to any moms that might want to read this with her daughter: there are some sexual situations discussed in the book.

Rating 8/10

A Delayed WWW Wednesdays

For some reason, blogger has been uncooperative with me the past 2 days. I went through the effort of saving this post, so I figured it would be a waste if I didn't go back and publish it. Anyhow....

MizB over at Should be Reading hosts the weekly WWW Wednesday. To participate you answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Doomsday Key by James Rollins.

I just finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

As far as what I think I'll be reading next, I'm not entirely sure. Probably Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Final Update

Unfortunately the internet was down pretty much all weekend for me
(lots of heavy thunderstorms), so I couldn't update.

On Friday night/Saturday morning I continued to read until 4:30am (did I mention I have a dog that refuses to allow me to sleep, pee, or really do anything that involves leaving his side during a thunderstorm?). So total time reading on Friday was 10 hours and 15 min. During that time I completed A Northern Light and The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. Rating for Louisa May Alcott is 7.5/10

Saturday was a busy day for me as I had a get together to attend that took up the late afternoon and evening. Plus my husband came home. I only read a total of 30min of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter before bed. 10hrs 45min total.

Today is my husband's birthday and I read from 10-12 while he played his computer game. I haven't finished Abe Lincoln, which I would like to do tonight after Mike goes to bed. I did exceed my goal of 12 hours by 45min.

Friday, June 4, 2010

48 Hour Challenge Update 1

6 hours and 10min in and one book down (380 pages). I give A Northern Light an 8/10.
I'm going to spend the next 20min checking out some blogs before I move on to The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott.

Lots of luck to my fellow challengers, and Happy Reading!

48 Hour Reading Challenge

The 48 hour Reading Challenge is hosted by Mother Reader (click to link to her blog for info. Here are the basic rules from her site:

The weekend is June 4–6, 2010. Read and blog for any 48-hour period within the Friday-to-Monday-morning window. Start no sooner than 7:00 a.m. on Friday the fourth and end no later than 7:00 a.m. Monday the seventh. So, go from 7:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday... or maybe 7:00 a.m. Saturday to 7:00 a.m. Monday works better for you. But the 48 hours do need to be in a row. That said, during that 48-hour period you may still have gaps of time in which you can’t read, and that’s fine

I'm mostly doing this challenge as a lark since my husband is off camping tonight. I have a lot going on this weekend (party, yard work, husband's birthday, needy dogs) but I am shooting to log 12 hours or more. I want to try it out in hopes next time around I can devote more time and incorporate the charitable part of the challenge.

My official start time is 5:30 EDT this evening. I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging during the weekend but I hope to at least pop in and update with what I am reading and the rating of the book I finished. I will save my reviews for later this week.
Right now I'm reading A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Blogger Hop 6/4/10

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. (click on the link to read the rules and hopefully join. For those who aren't familiar, the hop is basically a way for book bloggers to support each other, meet new and interesting people, and share their love of books. I wasn't able to participate in the last hop because I was on vacation. But I'm back and excited to meet new book friends.

This week's hop brought me to:
- Lady Scribble's Book Lounge. I haven't been able to read much of her blog yet, but when I saw her top 10 list of female characters she admires, I knew I would like her.

- Super Librarian She's a librarian, I'm a library student. I really like how she includes recommendations with her reviews.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Larsson, Stieg.The Girl Who Played with Fire.Vintage. New York. 2009. digital edition. 671 pages.

Summary: (from Publisher's Weekly)
Fans of intelligent page-turners will be more than satisfied by Larsson's second thriller, even though it falls short of the high standard set by its predecessor, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which introduced crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk hacker savant Lisbeth Salander. A few weeks before Dag Svensson, a freelance journalist, plans to publish a story that exposes important people involved in Sweden's sex trafficking business based on research conducted by his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, a criminologist and gender studies scholar, the couple are shot to death in their Stockholm apartment. Salander, who has a history of violent tendencies, becomes the prime suspect after the police find her fingerprints on the murder weapon. While Blomkvist strives to clear Salander of the crime, some far-fetched twists help ensure her survival. Powerful prose and intriguing lead characters will carry most readers along. (Aug.)


I really tried to like this book. Really tried my hardest. The beginning was promising - Lisbeth is enjoying her pilfered wealth at a hotel in Grenada. She hasn't spoken to Blomkvist in over a year and no one knows where she is. Meanwhile, in Sweden, Millenium has embarked on a partnership with a man that is about to publish an expose on the sex traffic trade in Sweden. But murders happen and Lisbeth appears to be the killer.

Sounds interesting, right? Murder. Corruption. Sex. Violence. The hunt for the real killer. Should be action packed. Well... It was, but really there were just too many characters and too many things going on in the book. We did learn more about Lisbeth, including why she was declared incompetent as a teen, but the reveal was very anti-climatic.

One major gripe about the book is the number of seemingly indestructible people in this book. Lisbeth in particular is almost comic book superhero: she's rich, violent, has a photographic memory, is an expert hacker, a vigilante, bisexual, and now is a practically professional level boxer. What happens in the end (which I won't give away even though it's glaringly obvious in the summary of book 3) also makes her out to be almost superhuman. I'm waiting for her to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
This book would have been so much better if they cut about 1/3 of it out and reduced the characters by half. and maybe found some better ways to describe the giant with a ponytail.
This book got rave reviews from everyplace I've seen it reviewed, so maybe this is another case of A Reliable Wife where I am wondering if I read a different book than the rest of the blogosphere because I just didn't get the appeal. Rating: 4/10

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 6/1/10

What is it?
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!

My book: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

"Salander had not had such a rush since she visited Grona Lund amusement park several years before and rode on the Freefall. She went on it three times and could have gone another three if she had the money."

That's taken from the page I am currently on. I'm finding myself at a point where I'm struggling through the book a bit and can't wait for it to end.