The Books of 2015

I’m calling it, folks.  I could probably finish the book I’m reading today but I’m enjoying taking it slow and what is really the big difference between 89 and 90 books when you’re enjoying yourself?  Nothing.  I didn’t meet my goal of 150 books this year, which I changed to 105 in late summer because I knew that I couldn’t.  I didn’t reach that goal either.  It was a weird year.  I actually read more than I thought and when I looked back I was surprised that I managed, what?  Three Stephen Kings?  Four!  No disappointments here.  I’m looking forward to starting the new year.  Without further ado, I bring you….

The Books of 2015!

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The City of Ember by Jeanne De Prau

So, straight up: I had the hardest time getting through this book. I just didn’t like it. I will attribute some of this to taste. I am not, in general, a fan of dystopian fiction. It puts me on edge. This one in particular nearly triggered a number of panic attacks on my end. the constant discussion of darkness and nothingness was a little too much for me. I only finished reading it because I had to for work. Bonus, I have to BOOKTALK this book to a bunch of junior high students next month.

What are the good parts of this book? The idea of a city built underground was actually pretty interesting to me. It was cool to see how the society was set up, how people got jobs, where supplies came from. The ins and outs of the city were pretty cool. They also filled me with tons of questions. Like, do their potatoes still taste like potatoes? Wouldn’t all of these people be really pale? Like ridiculously pale? I also liked the sense of community in the book. Everyone has a duty and it is important that they all do their duty to keep the city running smoothly.

The main characters were a 50/50 for me. I hate the dead parents trope because it’s just so overdone but I think that it does help to build Lina as a character. because her parents are dead, she is used to caring for people. She is more grown up, more aware of what might be at stake, and also has a lot less to lose by taking risks. On the other hand there were times when her character fell a little flat, times when it felt like I was reading about a circus performer, not a normal girl. Doon felt flat to me too. Maybe I’ve just known too many boys who take things too seriously. I pictured him as scrawny and nerdy, constantly pushing his glasses up even though there was no mention of glasses in the book, and getting too angry too easily.

When I finished reading this last night, I asked myself is maybe I wanted to know what happens in the rest of the series and I decided that I didn’t want to know enough to actually read the books and I looked ahead via the wonderful web. I wouldn’t have made it through the others. This just wasn’t for me. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be for you.

Tally Monday- December 28, 2015

Checked Out

  1. The Female Man by Joanna Ross
  2. Work by Thich Nhat Hanh

Bought

  1. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beale

Read

  1. Eleven by Patricia Reilly Guff
  2. On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey

TBR: 10

Assigned reading never really bothered me.  When I was in high school, I enjoyed being introduced to new things.  When I was in college it felt great to broaden my horizons and discuss the things I read with people who got it, mostly professors.  There have only been a handful of books that I couldn’t get through: Grapes of Wrath, Tender is the Night, and some stuff from the Age of Reason that I blame mostly on poor copier quality.

But it’s been a long time since I had assigned reading and it’s kind of killing me.

Right now I am reading The City of Ember.  It’s a junior book and it shouldn’t take me long to read.  Except that I discovered a problem with it.  It sets of my panic attacks.  Seriously, it does.  All of this talk of nothingness forever and ever really gets me all worked up.  Before you know it my brain is traveling down some dark roads, you guys.  Basically, I spent my whole weekend off avoiding reading or reading two pages and thinking that was enough.  But I have to get through it.  This is my career.  (And then I’ll look up what happens in the rest of the series because, you know, I need to know.)

Yesterday I took out my big fat King paperback, The Bachman Books, and sat it on the counter.  I kept looking at it and sighing, wanting nothing more than to meet up with an old friend and see someone get killed by a Coke machine or something.  Sigh.  Soon, my love.  Soon.

Happy reading, lovies.

On Murder Considered as One of te Fine Arts by Thomas De Quincey

Number 4 in the Little Black Classics box set.  Another thing I probably never would have read.  My problem with this one is that I am not well versed enough in the history of murder or philosophers to have taken much from it.  I basically found myself wanting to look up a bunch of history on every page and also not wanting to stop to do so.  Basically, my impatience probably blocked me from taking a lot away from this, even grasping the basic satire of the piece.

An early nineteenth-century satirical essay.  I would be lying if I said that classic satire and I get along.  Most of my knowledge comes from an Age of Reason class that I struggled through in college, modern literature being much more my knowledge base.  Still, it’s refreshing to read some and catch some of the funny bits but they don’t really lend themselves to being read aloud to Hubby while he’s playing hid new Star Wars game.  On the other hand, very little lends itself to that…

Basically, this is well written and well done but lost on me, which is a shame because there is definitely an audience out there for it.

Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff

I am now 20% done with the Battle of the Books books!  Honestly, that was the only reason I picked this up.  Before I took up my new position, another librarian chose the books for BOB.  Of the five there were two books that I had been meaning to read, two books that I had little interest in, and there was one book that I had read and loved before.  This was one of my zero interest books.  I started with those just to get them out of the way.

Why did I have little interest?  Well, first of all, I kind of have a problem with those middle grade novels about kids who can’t read.  It started way back when I was in elementary school.  I don’t know what it is but they always feel kind of heavy handed and forced.  Second, the whole plot seemed overly dramatic too me.

But I was wrong.  It happens.

Eleven is the story of a boy named Sam who cannot read.  That is truly pivotal to the story because in the first chapter Sam sneaks into his attic to search for his hidden birthday presents when he stumbles across a trunk with a newspaper clipping hanging out, a clipping with a picture of him as a small child.  He can make out some of the words and discovers that the clipping is about a missing boy named Sam, but with a different last name.  Suddenly, Sam’s life seems like it might all be a lie.  Is his grandfather, who he lives with, really his grandfather?  Why can’t he remember where he came from?  How will he figure it all out if he can’t get back into the attic and he can’t read the clipping anyway?

Then he begins to befriend the new girl, Caroline.  Caroline doesn’t have any friends and she spends most of her time reading.  She tells Sam that she doesn’t have time for friends because she will be moving soon anyway but Sam just needs someone to read the clipping to him.  Friendship is a funny thing though.  Sometimes it just sneaks up on you.

I’d like to conclude by saying that I did not want to like this book.  It was nothing that I was interested in and I went in with a horrible attitude because I was bitter about the books that I wanted to be reading.  I was delightfully surprised at how much I enjoyed though and at its ability to grab and hold my attention.  Also, there’s a cat.  Always a plus.

Tally Monday- 12/21/2015

Checked Out

  1. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Bought

  1. In Place of Never by Julie Anne Lindsey (NG)
  2. Feminism by Nadia Abushanab Higgins (NG)

Read

  1. As If! by Jen Chaney
  2. The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue

TBR: 10

Things that have happened that have deterred my reading as of late:

  1. Christmas.  Finishing a quilt and wrapping presents and going to stores when I didn’t expect to for longer periods than intended.
  2. My job.  Coming home tired with a brain full of new information.
  3. My Job Part 2.  Battle of the Books.  Reading five books that I didn’t intend to read this month throwing off my mojo.
  4. Making of a Murderer on Netflix.  Because I get so angry and worked up and sucked in and I can only watch and I NEED TO KNOW.
  5.  Eye strain.  Or what I assume is eye strain.  I get these tingling headaches in my temples.  I’m pretty sure I need new glasses but I don’t have insurance for, like, 45 more days or something.

BUT, there is hope.  Last week during our Star Wars marathon, Hubby went to bed ridiculously early one night and I sat down and finished As If! in spite of my frazzled brain.  Then I got interested in my first BOB book because I NEED TO KNOW.  Then today I spent a large amount of time at work looking at 2016 reading challenges and feeling like I just need to read.

Hope is a beautiful thing.

I love my new job.  That’s great news.  I love it vastly!  But I am also watching books pile up.  I didn’t include my BOB books in my TBR or the book that was chosen for my book club.

Oh yeah!  In January I am starting a book club!  I took a list of 50 scifi and fantasy novels that I found online, made a book jar for them, and invited people to a Facebook group.  The first book we pulled is feminist scifi and I cannot wait to start.

This week, I gave up on Helter Skelter.  You may recall that I upped my reading goal for the year because I started counting audiobooks but since then I haven’t really gotten into an audiobook.  I spent two months on Helter Skelter but I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I started in on Going Bovine which another librarian suggested to me and so far it’s pretty damn amusing.  Bray can write and apparently she can write very different things.  I listened to some of her other books earlier this year and I didn’t even know that this one existed.

I am looking forward to the holidays.  Four. Day.  Weekends.  And this weekend I have been sure to keep open.  I want to read and clean and slam through all of these BOB books and move on to something else.  I really enjoyed being able to just pick my next book but I have to confess that I haven’t really even been doing that.

Which brings us to challenges.  I saw a lot of really good challenges out there, like Show Your Shelves Some Love which encourages you to read books that you’ve owned for at least a year.  Wouldn’t that be great?  I own soooooo many that I’ve been meaning to read and sooooo many that I would probably get rid of once I read them.  But there’s soooooo much else to read.

And the final item on my agenda this week: Netgalley.  I was approved for my first two Netgalleys this week!  I’m excited and stoked and can’t wait to pounce on them and review them and get more.

Because books are an addiction, you guys.  An addiction.  And I need a fix.

The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue

Book three in my Little Black Classics box set!

It’s not often that I read Viking epics.  In fact, I think I’ve never read one.  There are always drawbacks about these things.  The language slows me down a bit.  However, I kind of enjoyed it.

Helga is a beautiful girl who attracts the attention of some suitors.

Gunnlaug is this poet who kind of reminded me of a big goob.  He’s hard to reign in and he seems a bit naive or gullible.  He wants to marry Helga but he also wants to travel.  He makes an agreement with Helga’s father that he will travel for a set amount of time and then come back and marry Helga but he gets caught up and doesn’t come back in time.

Enter Hrafn, another poet, loses a contest to Gunnlaug and goes on to attempt to marry Helga.  I felt that this we purely out of spite.  I pictured Hrafn as an annoying, spiteful guy.  He succeeds in marrying Helga but Helga can never love him because she loves Gunnlaug.

Then there is the chase and the duel and the outcome which I will share for you to enjoy because it is definitely worth the read.