January 31, 2008

BTT: Quirky

From Booking Through Thursday:

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

I generally don't care for characters that have something odd about them just for the sake of something odd. On the other hand, I do like eccentricities and things that make a character seem real and different. I can't think of a particular character at the moment though. I guess Dumbledore (from Harry Potter) counts as an eccentric, and I LOVE him.

January 29, 2008

Flashback Tuesday

Via Wil Wheaton:
He links to 3 hours of MTV from 1983 - for those of us who remember when they played music - and it includes commercials!

January 28, 2008

TBR additions

I have 3 new ARCs to add to the TBR pile: "The Break-Up Diet" by Annette Fix; "My Soul to Keep" by Melanie Wells; and "One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life" by Kerry and Chris Shook. I also just ordered and received "The City, Not Long After" by Pat Murphy. They all look like pretty fast reads, so hopefully I can add some reviews to the blog soon!

January 27, 2008

Sunday quiz

Your Travel Personality Is: Easygoing

When you travel, you're looking for a lot of downtime. Vacations are your chance to recoup.
All you need is a scenic spot and plenty of time on your hands. You'll figure out the rest.
You're not one to make lots of plans when you travel. You just follow whatever path seems right.

January 26, 2008

Another meme

As seen at the hidden side of a leaf (original source is Eva):

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

Water for Elephants comes to mind - I just can't bring myself to pick it u p. I've been burned too many times by lots of positive reviews that get my hopes up, I guess.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

How about a nice dinner party, and I'll invite Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (for lively conversation), Andrew Wiggin from Ender's Game (for deeper philosophy), and Harry Potter to protect us from the dark forces?

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Anything recent by John Grisham.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?


The Odyssey - this was assigned for a college class, and I managed to not read it and still pass the exam.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?


Wuthering Heights - I have this on my shelf, but I've never read it. Of course I know the story, so that makes me think I've read it.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP)


This is tough - I think Harry Potter, because it's so accessible, and has a good message about heroism and family as well.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?


Japanese, because I would like to someday go to Tokyo and be able to read the street signs.

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Bellwether by Connie Willis - it never fails to amuse me.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

I've discovered so many books from reading other people's blogs - my TBR pile is always getting taller! It's good to be part of a community that enjoys books.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

It would have shelves on every wall, and big comfy chairs to sit in, with lots of light from windows and lamps. It would still have my mix of nice hardcovers and regular paperbacks, but they would be arranged by genre, I think. And there would be a designated place for books that I didn't want to keep but were ready to pass along to someone else. And there would be lots of chairs for friends!

January 25, 2008

Masterpiece...

I'm not the only one who noticed they dropped the "Theatre" from "Masterpiece Theatre." Television Without Pity says it better than I can...

January 24, 2008

BTT: Huh?

This week's Booking through Thursday:

"What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

Most of my favorite books are unknown to people who don't read science fiction: "Bellwether" by Connie Willis and "Beggars in Spain" by Nancy Kress come to mind. I managed to get my sister to read Bellwether, even though she "doesn't like sci-fi."

In other news, this blog might now have been "outed" to my mother - I got a book in the mail today addressed to "Janiejane" (not my real name, of course) and she asked about it. I told her it was a name I used on the internets. So, if she googles the name and finds this: "Hi mom!"

January 23, 2008

Games

I made the mistake of checking Ebay for Nintendo games (for my little DS lite). It turns out it's a pretty good source of used games. I love video games but hate to spend very much money on them, especially because I get tired of them quickly. I managed to get Tetris, which was my favorite on the old Nintendo NES. Big mistake. However I have discovered my reflexes aren't what they used to be - or the keypad isn't as sensitive - because I can no longer make it past level 8 on Tetris, and can't escape the ghosts on Pacman. Still, they are fun to play!

January 22, 2008

Heh.

You Should Be a Politician

Confident, assertive, and dedicated - you know what you want in life and how to get it.
Stubborn and opinionated, you can stand your ground... even if it's unpopular.
And while you have strong views, you never overwhelm people with your opinions.
A true charmer, you subtly influence people into seeing things your way.

You do best when you:

- Work according to your own rules
- Can change the world with what you do

You would also be a good lawyer or talk show host.

January 21, 2008

Punching In - Alex Frankel

The subtitle of this is: "The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee."

The author spent a year working at various retail-type jobs, and recorded his experiences. He worked at UPS, Starbucks, Gap, the Apple Store, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The behind-the-scenes aspect of this was interesting, but I was expecting more of a "Nickel and Dimed" approach. This is a journalistic account, rather than a sociological approach, but it was still interesting.

January 20, 2008

Personality

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTJ)

Your personality type is logical, uncompromising, independent, and nonconformist.

Only about 3% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 4% of all men.
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.

January 19, 2008

I did it!

I bought tickets and booked a hotel for a trip by myself this May! My excuse is a friend's wedding in Orlando, and I'll also be spending a day in Disney World. I can't wait! I haven't been to Disney World since high school, so I am looking forward to that - maybe even more than the wedding!

January 18, 2008

Friday's Feast

Find it here:

Appetizer
What is your favorite beverage?

Margaritas!! Coffee runs a close second, though.

Soup
Name 3 things that are on your computer desk at home or wo
rk.
My computer desk at home has a pencil holder (full of pens, pencils, a lint roller, and a letter opener), a CD holder, and a calculator. It used to have a cute little stuffed ladybug, but my nephew talked me out of it and it now resides at his house. How did he do that? "Auntie, I don't have a stuffed ladybug." "Would you like one?" "Yes, please." How could I resist?

Main Course
If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?

No idea.

Dessert
What stresses you out? What calms you down?

Stress: Having little or no control over the outcome of a situation.
Calms: Books!

January 17, 2008

BTT: Let's Review

From Booking Through Thursday:

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?

I do like to read reviews, and sometimes I am influenced by them. If I read a good review, it does inspire me to put the book on my list of books to read (at least) or to pick up a copy at the first opportunity. I found "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card through a review in the campus newspaper. I probably would not have even given it a second glance otherwise. And I do sometimes decide not to read a book based on a review, although I do look carefully to see what it was the reviewer didn't like and decide if that is something that is important to me or not. I use that for movie reviews as well.

January 16, 2008

American Idol

American Idol is a guilty pleasure of mine - even the early audition episodes. However, I think they should stop showing the completely oddball people, because it only encourages even stranger people to show up at the next round of auditions, and then THEY get shown on TV, and it's a vicious cycle. I'd much rather watch the marginal singers and the good singers, and not so much the guy dressed up as Princess Leia from Return of the Jedi. I wish I were making that up.

January 15, 2008

Go Your Own Way - ed. by Faith Conlon et al

The full title is "Go Your Own Way: Women Travel the World Solo" and the editors are Faith Conlon, Ingrid Emerick and Christina Henry de Tessan.

I have been contemplating the value of traveling alone, and I found this collection of essays while browsing around Amazon. Some of the essays are better than others, but overall this is a very inspiring collection of personal accounts of women's experiences while traveling alone. My grandmother was an adventurous traveler, and I want to follow in her footsteps. She had a good friend who traveled with her - they were both widows, both interested in history and archeology, and were a good match. The only person in my circle of friends and family that is a good match for me is my sister, and she has a husband and child she doesn't want to leave behind while traveling. I'm not willing to wait, so I guess I'll have to strike out on my own! I found these essays to be inspiring, as I said, and I recommend the collection to anyone who likes travel, whether alone or in a group.

January 14, 2008

Persuasion - Jane Austen


I watched Persuasion on "Masterpiece" (when did they drop the "Theatre"?) on PBS last night.  It has been awhile since I read the book, but I thought this was an adequate film version.  It was very short - I think only 80 minutes of actual story - so the story was quite condensed.  I had trouble telling who some of the characters were supposed to be.  I thought Anne and Captain Wentworth were well-cast.  Anthony Head was great as her dad - I've liked him since the old Taster's Choice commercials.  Overall, it made me want to re-read the book, which is not a bad thing.

January 12, 2008

Short Form

As seen at SF Signal - the table of contents for The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection:

1. "Finisterra" by David Moles
2. "Lighting Out" by Ken Macleod
3. "The Ocean Is A Snowflake Four Billion Miles Away" by John Barnes
4. "Saving Tiamaat" by Gweyneth Jones
5. "Of Late I Dreamt Of Venus" by James Van Pelt
6. "Verthandi's Ring" by Ian Mcdonald
7. "Sea Change" by Una Mccormack
8. "The Sky Is Large and the Earth Is Small" by Chris Roberson
9. "Glory" by Greg Egan
10. "Against The Current" by Robert Silverberg
11. "Alien Archeology" by Neal Asher
12. "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang
13. "Beyond The Wall" by Justin Stanchfield
14. "Kiosk" by Bruce Sterling
15. "Last Contact" by Stephen Baxter
16. "The Sledge-Maker's Daughter" by Alastair Reynolds
17. "Sanjeev and Robotwallah" by Ian Mcdonald
18. "The Skysailor's Tale" by Michael Swanwick
19. "Of Love and Other Monsters" by Vandana Singh
20. "Steve Fever" by Greg Egan
21. "Hellfire at Twilight" by Kage Baker
22. "The Immortals of Atlantis" by Brian Stableford
23. "Nothing Personal" by Pat Cadigan
24. "Tideline" by Elizabeth Bear
25. "The Accord" by Keith Brooke
26. "Laws of Survival" by Nancy Kress
27. "The Mists of Time" by Tom Purdom
28. "Craters" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
29. "The Prophet of Flores" by Ted Kosmatka
30. "Stray" by Benjamin Rosenbaum & David Ackert
31. "Roxie" by Robert Reed
32. "Dark Heaven" by Gregory Benford

I love short-form SF. It has always been a way for me to discover new authors, and the short form is a fun challenge. The author has to pack a lot of information into a few words, and the reader is expected to keep up! I'm especially looking forward to the Nancy Kress, Gregory Benford, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and the Stephen Baxter, but I look forward to reading something from new-to-me authors as well!

January 11, 2008

Left-Brain

You Are 75% Left Brained, 25% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.


As seen at 1morechapter.

I do like reading and quiet, but I prefer cats to dogs.

January 10, 2008

BTT: May I Introduce?


  1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?
  2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?

Most of my favorites I discovered myself by stumbling across the book at a bookstore or library.  I do recall my best friend handing me "Nine Princes in Amber" by Roger Zelazny and telling me "You have to read this!"  She was so right - it remains one of my favorites.  The later books in the series are not as good as the first 5, and it pains me every time I remember that he passed away so there is no chance of future books from him. 

January 9, 2008

Birth Order

You Are Likely a First Born

At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.
At work and school, you do best when you're researching.
When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.

In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.
Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.
You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.


This is true: I am a first born. Not all of the description is true, but it's pretty close!

January 8, 2008

Empire - Orson Scott Card

I picked this up from the "new paperbacks" rack at the bookstore, and I really wish I had tried to get it at the library instead. I only made it through the first 75 pages, and I am not going to finish it. I thought Card would be a safe bet, despite the decreasing quality of his "Ender" series, but this by far is his worst. The premise from the back of the book sounds very interesting, unfortunately he doesn't execute it. It is pedantic, with cardboard characters and a preposterous yet confusing plot.

January 7, 2008

TBR to be

I have been on a book-ordering kick for a few days and here's what I have on the way to me:

From Paperbackswap:
Dark Ages America - Morris Berman
My Year of Meats - Ruth Ozeki
The Rest Falls Away: the Gardella Vampire Chronicles - Colleen Gleason
Mythology - Edith Hamilton (to replace the tattered copy I have)
Stranger in a Strange Land - Heinlein (another replacement - my copy is being held together by packing tape!)

From Amazon:
Intern - Sanjeep Jauhar (a rare hardcover purchase for me)
Go Your Own Way: Women Travel the World Solo - Faith Conlon (I think I need to get out more!)

and on reserve at the library:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
War Trash - Ha Jin
Punching in : the unauthorized adventures of a front-line employee - Alex Frankel.

I guess I'll be busy!

January 6, 2008

Sunday Photo



This little bit of summer has survived through a couple of frosty mornings. It's a nice bit of color on a gray day today.

January 5, 2008

LibraryThing

I finally upgraded to a paid account on LibraryThing, and ordered a CueCat scanner from them. The scanner arrived today, and I started cataloging my books (there is now a link to my library in the sidebar!) I only made it through two of my three bookshelves, but I hope to finish tomorrow. The scanner really helps - I did over 200 books today, and typing them would have been much slower. I do have a surprising number of books that predate bar codes, and also some that don't have ISBNs, so I did have to key in a few, but overall the scanner made it pretty fast and fun. I will have to go through and add tags and comments to the books. This will be the first time I've known exactly how many books I have!

January 4, 2008

Not exactly one-of-a-kind


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
28
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

January 3, 2008

BTT: Anticipation

What new books are you looking forward to most in 2008? Something new being published this year? Something you got as a gift for the holidays? Anything in particular that you’re planning to read in 2008 that you’re looking forward to? A classic, or maybe a best-seller from 2007 that you’re waiting to appear in paperback?


I'm looking forward to the new Maria Doria Russell - "Dreamers of the Day." And I haven't given up hope that David Gerrold will someday release the next installment of "The War Against the Chtorr." He claims on his website to be writing it, but it appears to not have been updated since 2004.

January 2, 2008

The Nine - Jeffrey Toobin

Subtitle: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court

The author managed to get a great behind-the-scenes look at the current Supreme Court. He has great insight into the philosophy and worldview of each justice, and how this was and is reflected in their decisionmaking. I love books about the Court, and this one was very readable and brought many of the recent cases to life.

January 1, 2008