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Posts tagged ‘BTT’

My Favorite Reads of 2008

bookingthursdayThis week’s Booking Through Thursday question lets me partake in one of my favorite things… making a list. Here’s the question:

It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?

The one book that was at the tip-top of my favorite reads of 2008 was by one of my favorite authors Haruki Murakami. And that book is (drum roll please!)….
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

I read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle back in February and was absolutely blown away. It had that perfect twist of the bizarre and the dreamlike quality that I so love Murakami for.  I didn’t review it on my blog, but I did write a short book review on GoodReads.

I had been looking forward to reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicleever since a former book club member recommended it to me in around 2001. It didn’t disappoint. I have read several other of Murakami’s works and he is definitely one of my favorite authors. I love the trippy, magical, and quirky quality to his writing.

Extra kudos since the book mentioned one of my favorite things: watching ducks walk on ice— hours of entertainment!

Some other books that I enjoyed in 2008, in no particular order…with a few words about each: (after the jump!)

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2009 Reading Resolutions

bookingthursday It’s been over a month or so since I last participated in the Booking Through Thursday meme. With the new year and a fresh start, I will try to be better with participating.

This week’s questions is:

So … any Reading Resolutions? Say, specific books you plan to read? A plan to read more ____? Anything at all?

Name me at least ONE thing you’re looking forward to reading this year!

Oh, I always have reading resolutions!  I am great at making resolutions, but not always so great at keeping them.  Some informal personal reading goals that I have:

  1. Even though the 1% Well-Read Challenge will be officially over, I am going to continue my quest to read my way through the list of 1001 Book You Must Read Before You Die.  I have currently read around 150 of the the 1001. My goal for 2009 is to read at least 25 additional books from the list.
  2. I currently have around 115 books sitting unread on my shelves. I would love to read enough of these to get the number down to under 75 books by the end of the year.

Some of the books that I am going to start of 2009 with are:

  What are your 2009 Reading Resolutions?  Have you read any of the books on my to-read-soon list above?

Booking Through Thursday: Conditioning

It’s time for the final Book Through Thursday for October. This week’s question is:

Are you a spine breaker? Or a dog-earer? Do you expect to keep your books in pristine condition even after you have read them? Does watching other readers bend the cover all the way round make you flinch or squeal in pain?

I try really hard not to break spines of books but there’ve been a few that have been broken— most memorably my copy of A Suitable Boy. That is one thick paperback tome, and the poor book’s spine couldn’t hand up to all that reading of all of its pages, the book pretty much split in half and the cover fell off. After it split in half it made lugging the book to work on the train a lot easier. *shrug*

Otherwise, I don’t even dog-ear my books’ pages as I read them, I always use a bookmark of some sort.  I also never write in books, with the exception of some college text books. If I want to mark a certain passage to go back and re-read, I mark the page with a sticky-note.

How about you? What condition do you leave books in after you’ve read them?

Booking Through Thursday: Sitting on the Shelf

This week’s BTT question is:

Okay–here was an interesting article by Christopher Schoppa in the Washington Post.

“Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.”

So, the question is his: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?

Ahhh, the good old to-read shelf— a topic that is a bit too near & dear to my heart. I currently have around 115 books sitting unread on my to-read shelf. All of these books are as yet unread by me. I am hoping to get that number to under 100 by the end of 2008.  Some of these books have been sitting unread on my shelf for over 4 years. They’ve been lugged from place to place when I’ve moved. They glare at me angrily as if asking “when on earth are you going to pay attention to me??”  I feel a bit like a neglectful parent.

My shelf contains a nice mix of classics and more contemporary works of both fiction and non-fiction. A random sampling of books on my to-read shelf:

Some books on my to-read shelf are ones that I’ve actually purchased, but most are ones that I’ve gotten in a swap. I’ve swapped dozens of books with real life friends and dozens more via Paperbackswap.com.  I get to a point where my to-read shelf has a number that is not as outstanding and then I can’t resist the allure of new-for-me books received via a swap.  In fact, I plan on hosting a book swap party later this fall. I have a box of finished books under my bed just waiting for new homes.

Booking Through Thursday: Book Meme

This week’s Booking Through Thursday is a series of questions. Here are my less than inspired answers…. (sorry, I only got about 3 hours sleep last night!)

What was the last book you bought?

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz — this is the selection for one of my book clubs for this month. I am really looking forward to reading it as I’ve heard tons of rave reviews for it.

Name a book you have read MORE than once

Hmmm, I don’t re-read books very often. I am more the type to want to move on to explore new books. I will have to think about this one. There are plenty of kids books that I’ve read more than once but I can’t immediately think of a “grown-up” one.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

There are a few that come to mind…most are non-fiction:  Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan is one of the most recent ones that I’ve read. Omnivore’s Dilemma made me think about the different way and places that we get our food from and what the impact of the different methods are.  I find myself opting for local foods whenever possible now.

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

Some of the books I read are because they are book club picks and were selected by the group. I find a lot of books by reading friend’s reviews and ratings on GoodReads.com.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I tend to read a lot more fiction than non-fiction. But I love a well written non-fiction book as well.

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

When I was in my teens I definitely would have said a gripping plot…but I’ve grown to appreciate beautiful writing more than a gripping plot now. I love character driven stories where the author expertly paints each character in such a way that really lets us get to know them. 

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

So many, but one of the most memorable (not necessarily loved) is definitely Humbert Humbert, the protagonist from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

I am currently reading Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons and Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

Yesterday, I finished Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

I usually tough it out to the end. But, I’ve given up on a few stinkers in my days.

 

What are your answers to some of these questions?

Booking Through Thursday: Best

This week’s Booking Through Thursday Question is:

What, in your opinion, is the best book that you haven’t liked? Mind you, I don’t mean your most-hated book–oh, no. I mean the most accomplished, skilled, well-written, impressive book that you just simply didn’t like.

Like, for movies–I can acknowledge that Citizen Kaneis a tour de force and is all sorts of wonderful, cinematically speaking, but . . . I just don’t like it. I find it impressive and quite an accomplishment, but it’s not my cup of tea.

So . . . what book (or books) is your Citizen Kane?

 

I had always heard everyone rave about A Confederacy of Dunces. I finally read it last year for a book club and while I enjoyed reading it, I didn’t find it lived up to all the hype. It definitely wasn’t the funniest or most clever book ever like some people touted.

Another book which has a lot of people who love it is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I was really looking forward to reading it. But this one too fell short of the great expectations that I had for it.

What about you?  What books that are considered to be “great reads” or “best book ever” by others did you just not enjoy that much.

Booking Through Thursday: Unusual Reads

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?

And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

I really enjoy reading unusual books.  I vastly prefer reading something bizarre and different over a same-old same-old cliche novel that I feel like I’ve read a billion times before.

Some books that were “ground-breaking” for me when I first read them were:

  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi — My first graphic novel… I’ve read a handful more since then
  • Blindness by Jose Saramago — completely different writing style than I was used to.. total stream of consciousness… but I loved it and he is now one of my favorite authors.
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino — again, very different than anything I had ever read at the time. It totally turns fiction on its ear. Calvino is now another one of my favorite authors.
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami — another tale of how I developed a new favorite author! I’ve read several more of his books since then and have his book Kafka on the Shore coming up very soon on my to read list.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Many of the “unusual” books I read fall into a genre that some call slipstream. This has led me to seek out other books that fit into this genre, and for the most part I have been pleased with the books that I have discovered.

What about you?