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Buy One Book and Read It Challenge

My Friend Amy started this challenge when she realized over 50% of Americans had not read a single book in a year.

So, I decided to join. While I do buy A LOT of books. I buy a very limited amount NEW. When I asked Amy about this she said that buying NEW was important, because the challenge isn't just about reading, but about supporting authors and book sellers as well.

Amy is offering different levels to join, but I am wimping out and joining at Level One. That means I only have to buy a single book in 2010 and read it.

Sure, it SOUNDS simple enough. But I don't buy that many new books AND of all the *cough* hundreds of books I buy each year, I actually end up not reading most of them. So, I have no clue what book I am going to read because I haven't bought it yet; I haven't even thought about it.

What I do know is that when it comes to buying my book I am going to try to get it at an independent (and local) book store. But I am not sure how this will pan out depending on…

Audio Book Challenge 2010

I am planning on joining several challenges for 2010 and this is the first of them. About a third of my 2009 reads were in audio format, so I decided to try that again but a bit more officially.
Royal Reviews is hosting the challenge for 2010, so thanks to them! Here are there official guidelines:

Challenge Guidelines:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
--Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section.

2. There are four levels:
Curious – Listen to 3 Audio Books.
Fascinated
– Listen to 6 Audio Books.
Addicted – Listen to 12 Audio Books.
Obsessed – Listen to 20 Audio Books.

3. Audio books only.

4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list
them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December,
2010.
Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

I will be joining at the Obsessed level. And I decided that I am going to list a few of the books I am pretty sure…

The Sunday Salon - DON'T PANIC

Okay, so last Sunday didn't really go as planned. I didn't get to start First Light like I wanted because I found myself on an impromptu road trip. It was supposed to be fun and relaxing and it ended up being kind of like HELL. As a result I didn't read one word on Sunday, or for a few days after. I was WAAAAY too busy recovering. Over the remainder of the week I was able to finish my 186th book of the year. (My pace is getting slower as it gets closer to the holidays.) First Light was a good read and the first book by the author of the hugely popular When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead did a good job interweaving two storylines in the icy Greenland.The beauty of the cover seems to reflect the beauty of the land itself. It also really ties into what is happening with the story and it was interesting to flip to the cover and think about what was being said in the book.I read this book because I saw it on a YA Dystopia list and I was really excited to read another book by Rebe…

2010 Reading Goals

Read ALL of Neal Shusterman's books, excluding Unwind and Everlost which I read this previous year. (At least ones I can easily access.)

Read 5 classic science fiction novels: (tentatively)
1. Dune 2. Foundation
3. Minority Report
4. Martain Chronicles
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Read 2 Classics:
1. The Bell Jar
2. Wurthering Heights
Read 5 classice young adult novels:
1. Little Women 2. Wizard of Oz (suggestions welcome)
Read 20 books released in 2009/2010
Read 10 books from the YA dystopian list
Finish The Iron Heel
Read Utopiaand The Tempest

2009 Reading Goals

I have once again failed in my goal of having a more diversified reading list. I read about 95% YA which is the nighest percentage since I was in elementary school!

I wanted to read more classic science fiction novels and I didn't finish very many. I wanted to read more classic YA and I read 2. Reading is so personal it can be especially difficult to set goals ahead of time. It has been effective for me in the past but it completely backfired this year.
I did reach my goal to read 100 books twice over. That's including bother paper and audio books and even the occasional picture book.
While I enjoyed reading that many books I don't think I could handle any more and really enjoy the experience. Even as it was I am not sure I did as much as I would have liked to. I did a horrible job blogging but also had little desire to. Blogging should fun and I try to remember that and not force myself to do it.
Some of my personal goals were reached, like spending more time focused on my …

The Sunday Salon - Not Reading in Dystopia

Lately I have just not been in the mood to read. And really I don't like the feeling. Sometimes I am okay with not reading and being busy and enjoying life. But there are too many things around the holidays to distract me. Also, my mp3 player broke and I used to listen to books while doing things around the house. I do keep picking up books and trying to read them, but I can't stay focused. I can feel my eyes trying to dart around the page. The library called with two books on hold I was really eager to read. I have been wanting to read Gone for a while and when it showed up oneldritchhobbit's list of young adult dystopias I knew I had to read it. The weird part is that we recently got the second book, Hunger at the library but we didn't have the first and I had to do an interlibrary loan. I HATE when the library has the second book in a series but not the first.The Hourglass Door was recommended to me by my librarian and is by a Utah author. I read just a few pages but…

Top Ten Dystopic Novels

1. We 2. 1984 3. Anthem 4. The Giver 5. The Declaration 6. Diary of Pelly D 7. The Compound 8. Uglies 9. Little Brother 10. Brave New World



What books would make your list?

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Utopia/Dystopia

When we did a comparison contrast between 1984 and excerpts from Thomas Moore's Utopia in my sophomore year of high school my reading life was transformed. I was exposed to reading as a way to explore ideas, philosophy, politics, and the world. until this point I read for pleasure, the enjoyment of the reading experience was the act of doing so. But with reading these two works my desire to read grew into wanting to be engaged by reading. I wanted to explore, change, and think.


Though there are are dictionary definitions and encyclopedia entries on utopia, anti-utopia, and dystopia, a lot of the time the distinction really comes down to a matter of judgement in classifying a book. I dent to like the term dystopia, so I use it most commonly as a general classification for a false world or non-historical government controlled society.

Now, not having Internet, I was late in finding out about two different YA Dystopian Challenges. One hosted by Bart's Bookshelf and the other by Bo…

The Sunday Salon - The Return

I have made very little reading progress this past week. This fills me with with a combination of feelings as frustration and acceptance mingle. I have to remind myself it is okay to take break from reading once in a while. Having a new phone to distract me isn't helping matters. But really I have been reading, just not finishing any books.

I did finally finish a book last night. I loved the first book in The 13th Reality series. I don't know why it took me so long to get that last 100 pages done, but I felt relieved to have the book done. I hadn't finished a book in almost a week.

I am also working on the audio of Scott Westerfeld's So Yesterday. I decided to read this book after finding out it was of particular influence in Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. There is definite style similarities between those two novels. Westerfeld has this masterful way of pausing the story to expand on a moment with factoids. It is part of what I enjoy the most in his writing. Doctor…

Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman personally recommended Everlost to me, so it is disappointing to admit I didn't enjoy it very much. Shusterman did his job with great writing and an interesting storyline. He commented to me t hat adult readers tend to enjoy this story more than some of his others. Maybe I a,m not grown up enough because mostly the book just creeped me out!

But School Library Journal writes: “Shusterman has reimagined what happens after death and questions power and the meaning of charity. While all this is going on, he has also managed to write a rip-roaring adventure…”


Shusterman is a maser when it comes to creating multi dimensional characters. The villains do things you agree with and the heroes do things you don't. Finding out what happens to each of the characters drove me through the story. But I think overall it was too dark for me to truly enjoy it, though I know a lot of other people will.



I decided to specifically read this book right now because the sequel, Everwild, w…

Singing the Dogstar Blues

Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman combines a lot of elements that constitute a great story. It has a terrific, strong, and rebellious female protagonist. She often defies authority but has a passion for music and the ability to explore it through time travel.

Although I have criticised books for using slang in the past, Goodman does it perfectly. I always knew what word she was intending to replace or she finds a clever way to explain it.

This Australian author gained critical acclaim and world wide recognition through the publication of Singing the Dogstar Blues. It's creative action oriented plot brings reader to a complex world without over explaining the details. She also doesn't leave the reader in a mass of confusion. Joss's world is so similar to our own. It is easy to take the leaps into the future Goodman requires of us.
I am eager to read more books by Alison Goodman, including the recently released Eon, which is completely not in my genre preference.

Thank…

Fade to Blue

When I read The Compound I thought it was weird and confusing. Well, let me tell you, Fade to Blue makes The Compound look like a boring day. Yes, just to restate, Fade to Blue is the most confusing book I have EVER read in my whole entire life. Sean Beaudoin infuses a strong sense of style and voice into this average American high school. Sophie is the soccer player turned goth girl; she introduces us to a cast of stereotypical players. Jocks, cheerleaders, wannabees, losers, outcasts, and has beens. Sophie is dark and edgy, reminding me a suicidal Veronica Mars.But the story starts to skip through more perspectives and makes less and less sense. This confusion is part of the point, but it happens so quickly I never really got grounded in anything. The skipping around made it hard to care about what was happening and why. There was often no clear connection with a reality I cared about.

The story hops through every inconceivable permutation of reality or non-reality making me want to …

Currently Reading

Lord of the Flies (audio)


Though I know the story well from seeing various productions of it, I really wanted to have this book under my belt.


I am quite depressed because my mp3 player broke so I am listening to Lord of the Flies old school style with a walkman and tapes from the library.

The beginning was a bit slow but now that I am towards the middle I am enjoying the story a lot more than I expected. It's great being able to strap the story to my side while I wander around the house cleaning up.



A Box of Nothing

Peter Dickenson's name shows up on tons of YA sci fi lists but is the first of his book I have gotten around to reading. I am not very far into it but I am LOVING IT.
"James was standing on the shore of an iron-gray sea, flecked with patches
of rust color, and covered with very regular small round waves. It
stretched away and way toward the skyline. From beyond that unreachable
horizon his name was being called. He couldn't hear it, but he could feel
it" (10).

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner begins in pure confusion. Imagine finding yourself sitting in a box with no idea who you are and no memories of your past.

You know only your name. People are staring down at you and talking about you using words you can't fully grasp. This is the world Thomas finds himself in.

He emerges among boys of similar age. They live in a sort of community in a village at the center of a maze. The boys are tortured by both what they do and don't know of the place that is now their home. They live in a square inside a maze with moving walls and deadly mechanical blobs out to destroy them. every day boys are sent out in an attempt to solve the maze with the understanding that once they do they will be released from this torturous world.

Though the elements of this story were interesting and engaging, I found the writing to be filled with too many unneeded words. I was constantly trying to skip forward to the dialog then reading back just to find out the paragraph did…

The Compound by S. A. Bodeen

The Compound by S. A. Bodeen may be one of the weirdest books I have ever read. It was compelling, creative, and at times completely out of control.

It's not inconceivable that humans will destroy themselves. This concept has been a staple of science fiction for more than a hundred years. The possibilities are many; enviornmental, social, astronomical, and possibly most disturbing nuclear.

For me, nuclear annihilation is particularly unsettling because of the inability to predict and prepare for such and attack. If the world was coming to an end, how would you spend your final moments?

In The Compound, a very wealthy family rushes underground to a secret compound created by their father. The family lives over a stretch of days that do not differ one to the next. Living by going through the motions and feeling little joy. They wonder about the conditions of the world and the loved ones that got left behind.

The main character's sense of loss is particularly intense because his twi…

Leviathan

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is a middle grade steampunk novel. It has some great ideas but the ideas just weren't enough for me. I was so excited to read this book and see what Westerfeld with do with this speculative alterate history genre. There are two opposing forces in the world. The Clankers and the Darwinists. These groups of people live in opposing ideologies so intense they verge on religions. The Clankers believe in things that clank or machinery and the Darwinists believe in the more environmental idea of genetically altering living things to serve their needs.



The story is told by two perspectives. Deryn, (aka Dylan) who is pretending to be a boy in order to be part of the military, and Alek, who is an actual boy whose parents have just been assassinated and is trying to escape the same fate. Both narratives move too slowly towards any kind of point. There is quite a bit of action leading towards nothing. The world begins to be explained too late in the story.

In the …

My Christmas Wish List

What books would you like to find under your tree? Special present from me, to me:

Currently Reading

So far this year I have read 172 books! I most recently finished City of Ashes, the 2nd book in the Mortal Instruments series. I know people are crazy for this series and I see why it has mass appeal. But for me, the books are just okay. They have unique elements and a plot that pushes you forward wanting to know what will happen next.

But back to the issue at hand: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld -
Though a fairly quick read with some interesting elements, I don't particularly like the voice or style of this book. The illustrations are great though and I do plan on finishing it.
I do love the cover as well. While I like the concept of the steampunk subgenre I have found I don't particularly like reading it.
Have you read Leviathan yet?

Stolen Voices by Ellen Dee Davidson - AMAZING!!!!! I found out about this book through a FABULOUS list of young adult dystopias that you totally need to check out. Stolen Voices is exactly my type of book. I am not particularly far into reading it but …