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Posts tagged ‘meme’

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!)


7 Random Bookish Things About Me

I was tagged by Nicole for a meme called 7 Bookish Things About Me.

  1. The first book I ever read was Go Dog Go.
  2. There was a point in elementary school when I wanted to be an author. I used to write tons of short stories along the lines of Goosebumps with lots of spooky weird things happening.
  3. My high school English teacher told me my name sounded like a romance author’s pen name. Great… that gave me a mild complex for awhile. I seemed to think that was along the line of my name sounding like a stripper or porn star’s name.
  4. I am completely addicted to GoodReads.
  5. I am in about 5 different book clubs. I joined my first book club in 2000 and its still together.
  6. I have over 100 cookbooks and love to try out new recipes from them. You can tell my favorites because they are the ones completely splattered and food stained. Poor cook books!
  7. I am hosting a book swap party at my house next weekend. It’s time to swap out my finished books with friends for their finished books..resulting in a whole new pile of “new to me” books to add to my overburdened to-read shelf. *sigh*

I am not going to tag 7 new people (I am feeling a little anti-social at the moment 😉 ). If you want to participate in this meme, feel free to leave a link/comment here.

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?

Sunday Salon: Have Book, Will Travel

Earlier this week I hopped on a plane to spend a few days in Washington DC for work. I always way overestimate how much I will read on a flight and end up bringing an extra book that I don’t even touch. But, I fear that the one time I don’t bring a back-up book that will be the time where my flight gets delayed for several hours. Then I might run out of stuff to read!  Of course, most airports have shops to buy books but I would feel guilty about those 100+ books sitting back at home unread.

For this trip, I brought The Believers by Zoe Heller and as a back up The Emperors of Chocolate by Joel Glenn Brenner.  I got about 80% of the way through The Believers. I did most of my reading on the plane, my agenda in DC was too packed to squeeze in much reading timeThe Emperors of Chocolate didn’t see the light of day until after I got back home. I started reading it a couple of days ago and am now about 1/3 of the way through it. But, its an evil book that makes me crave chocolate. So, it may be a blessing that I didn’t get to it in DC since there was a Godiva shop on the ground floor of my hotel.

Do you read a lot when you travel? Are you good at estimating how much you will read on a trip?

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  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

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: Autumn Reading

This week’s question for Booking Through Thursday is:

Autumn is starting (here in the US, anyway), and kids are heading back to school–does the changing season change your reading habits? Less time? More? Are you just in the mood for different kinds of books than you were over the summer?

The only season where my reading habits sometimes change is during the summer, when I tend to read a higher percentage of “fluff” books than at other times of the year. This past summer I took this to the extreme and decided to read all the unread chick lit books sitting on my to-read shelf. I enjoy the occasional piece of chick lit but this summer I went a wee bit overboard. My brain turned to sickly sweet strawberry jam by the end of the summer. I was yearning to read something with more substance and a bit less predictable.

So in the past month, I’ve been picking up books with a bit more heft as I attempt to return my brain from its gelatinous state to something a bit more capable of reading about challenging characters and topics. Time for my brain to digest the books instead of the other way around!

Booking Through Thursday: Villainy

 Today’s Booking Through Thursday question has a 9/11 theme:

Today is the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I know that not all of you who read are in the U.S., but still, it’s vital that none of us who are decent people forget the scope of disaster that a few, evil people can cause–anywhere in the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.

So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since. And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news?

One thing that disheartened me greatly in the aftermath of 9/11 was the way some people were stereotyping and generalizing about Muslims and/or Arabs. I am not a Muslim but my husband is one.  After 9/11 I had to listen to coworkers, acquaintances and even family say things like “we should bomb that whole part of the world to oblivion” or “all Muslims should pay for what happened.”  The lumping together of people of a certain culture, religion, or ethnicity has always disturbed me. But, after 9/11 some of the backlash affected my life.  Since 9/11, my husband or I have been stopped for a random security check on every single flight that we have taken together. I also worry about my husband’s family that live overseas in an area with much political turmoil and where bombings and terrorist attacks are a much more common occurance than they are here in the States.  


Booking Through Thursday: Peer Pressure

 This week’s Booking Through Thursday Question:

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

The most recent time that I felt something close to peer pressure to read a book was when the last Harry Potter book was released and everyone ran out and bought it @ midnight…and then they stayed up all night reading it. I’ve always lagged my reading of the Harry Potter books by a year or two after they were released.  I still haven’t read the final Harry Potter book. I just read book 6 last year and expect to read book 7 in the next few months. so don’t spoil it for me! 

Since I am in several book clubs, I do end up reading a lot of the fiction and non-fiction best sellers that “everyone is reading”. Often times I find the same book getting picked in different book clubs within a few months of each other, for example “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Three Cups of Tea” were both popular suggestions and picks in my book clubs in this past year.  

I don’t feel that it is my “duty” or obligation as a reader to read all the trendy books. I read a lot, and some of those books sometimes happen to be the latest popular book.