Oct 2, 2010

Anachronistic

There are some people who are struggling to understand exactly what steampunk is. To understand it is pretty straightforward but to try and explain it gets a little more convoluted. The basic concept of alternate history is relatively easy to explain, but once you start getting past that people tend to get lost.  Wikipedia let me to the word anachronism to aid in the understanding of steampunk. I think it perfectly encapsulates what makes steakpunk fiction unique.

 

a·nach·ro·nism

[uh-nak-ruh-niz-uhm]

 

–noun

  1. something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, esp. a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time.
  2. an error in chronology in which a person, object, event, etc., is assigned a date or period other than the correct one.

 

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You want to read steampunk, share your opinion and reviews with like minded people? You want to get recommendations from others because you have no idea where to begin? Join the steampunk challenge and share the experience!

 

The challenge runs from October to October and there are no obligations other than to have fun discovering a genre and let other participants know about what you find.

 

I was thrilled when I found out about this challenge from Carin. I ran right over and signed up! Honestly, steampunk culture and art interests me more than the fiction, but I am willing to give it another try. My issue with steampunk is that it is rooted in historical fiction, which bores me beyond belief. You know, I really don’t WANT to be bored by these types of novels, but I am. It’s just the way things work sometime. But there are so many books I have been wanting to read anyway that would classify as steakpunk I am excited about the whole thing.  This challenge is nice and easy bcause it is a long time frame and minimum commitment. I have been encouraging as many people as I can to join, simply because I think it would be fun. I also want to make sure I thank Rikki for hosting this challenge.  Head on over, you still have time to sign up. Already have a lot of enthusiastic participants making suggestions and sharing links.

 

Just like normal there are a lot of books I want to read for this. Unlike normal, I seem to have plenty of time to actually get them read. This challenge is also adding quite a few books to my wishlist, so if I get any of those they will be added to the pile! :)  The list for now is as follows, in no particular order:

 

Boneshaker
The Windup Girl
Perdido Street Station
The Difference Engine
Mortal Engines
Soulless

 

These are the titles I am definite on and there are a few more that I am considering. Since I have struggled with this subgenre before I am worried about planning ahead to read too many books and then not being able to get into them no matter how hard I try. But this is a good starting place.

 

Are you a fan of steampunk fiction? What would you read? What would you recommend?

Oct 1, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 

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What, you ask, is the most wonderful time of the year? Is it Christmas? Nope! Is it Thanksgiving? NOPE! My favorite time of year is better than any holiday because it comes TWICE every year.  Do you know what it is? It’s our book fair!!!

 

I am thrilled to be doing another Scholastic book fair at my daughter’s school. We managed to get more books than we ever have before and I am very excited.  In case you were wondering, here’s a picture that basically give you the whole idea of how our book fair is set up this year.

 

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You can kind of see the other book fair lady in this picture and all that really does is make me happy that I was the one taking the picture.  There are so many reasons to love the book fair.  There are the books. And the….books. And more important than that is getting these kids excited about books and reading. At our school we work really hard to find the right book matches for people, especially ourselves! No, we love helping the students out whenever we can and with the re-launch of our Accelerated Reader program we are focusing on really having the parents come in and buy quality books for their children.

 

But you’re right, I probably do have my eye on one or two books this time.  I even already have one home by a local author to preview and recommend to all the students, teachers, and parents who come through here. That book is called The Clockwork Three and it has a pretty amazing cover.

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I really hope that I get to meet Matthew Kirby sometime soon. I love finding Utah authors in our Scholastic book cases and this book sounds really amazing.  I have already been pointing it out to the teachers and they are eagerly my response to it.

 

The pressure to enjoy this book is a little high right now but I am pretty sure it is going to be fantastic. So maybe Mr. Kirby will get a pass this time. *grin*

 

The only unfortunate thing about this book is that I am really trying to push the AR books  and this isn’t one. But I GUESS we can make an exception this time.  Hopefully it will be wildly successful and have a test soon.

 

The next book on my list has been interesting me for about a year.  I haven’t heard very many good things about it, P1012615mostly about too many authors in too small of a book but it is still peaking my interest so I will soon be a proud new owner of  The Clone Codes. Have you read this book? I would love to see some of them and share them with my readers. Also, I talked about how great The Clockwork Three cover was, what do you think of The Clone Codes cover?  The one thing I noticed is that where it is on the cart and the art doesn’t really pop at the book fair. Even though I was looking for it my eye passed over it a few times.

 

Unfortunately I there doesn’t seem to be much interest in this book so far from the teachers. The advantage it does have is that it is an AR book and it is worth a decent amount of points. Our quarter is coming to an end pretty soon and every student’s points will reset. I am hoping to see them achieve as much as they can over the next 20 days so we can start this program off successfully.

 

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I am pretty excited about this new series by Michael Buckley, the author of the Sisters Grimm series.  So far there are two books out in the NERDS series and I would really like to have both of them. 

 

I was flipping though these books and the details in the headings really caught my eye and made me feel like they were my kind of thing. They seem like they will have at least a little bit of technology in them.  Have any of you read these books? I would love to see some reviews.

 

Do you go to book fairs? What kinds of books do you generally by?

YA-D2 LV3

dystopiaIt is no secret that I like dystopian fiction. You know, like isn't even a good word. I adore it! I am researching dystopia  from two sides, fictionally and academically. Each informs the other in my quest to better understand what dystopia means and how to classify it. My interest in dystopia started later than most. I don’t ever remember being exposed to dystopian young adult or middle grade fiction in middle school. The closest example would probably be The Wave which I read in middle school.  The scariest thing about The Wave was that it was based on true events.  One of the interesting distinctions in some dystopian definitions is that the story must be imagined and not be based on actual events. Do you think this is always the case? (To find out more about The Wave please check out this review.)

 

The first dystopian book I read was in high school when I was 15. We read 1984 and I remember it forever changing the way I read and the way I saw the world.  Ever since I read this novel there has been a hunger inside of me to read more books like it.  Often it could be hard to track down books that were dystopian, especially before the prevalence of so many online lists.  When many online lists started emerging I would see the same titles over and over again. I wanted something new and fresh. I think that is part of why young adult dystopias are so intriguing for me.  For the most part, they have no other option but to set forth new and fresh ideas, not to mention that more and more of them are being published every year.  Somehow the strong young adult  dystopia tradition has passed under the radar until recently. But luckily all those books of the past are not gone and can still be devoured by our new interests.

 

And considering all this, it would seem that joining a dystopian fiction challenge would be a no brainer. The only problem is? The last dystopian challenge I joined, I failed. *gasp* I know, I know. I hope to do better this time, to learn from my mistakes. With about 60 young adult dystopian books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet I have plenty of books to choose from.  Collecting these books has become a passion of mine and I have recently been on a lucky streak finding the right prices.

 

I hope that the books I choose to read for this challenge will help me further explore issues that I considered in The Problem with Dystopia. I love how many different facets of dystopian fiction there is.  I am excited every time I pick up a book to see where this one will take me. And there is always the hope that a book will take me to place I have never been before. That happened with Unwind and The Hunger Games.

 

yad2_mediumI am excited to once again join Darren’s young adult dystopian challenge. He has made it super easy with different levels so you should head over there and join!  I have joined several dystopian challenges in the past, but honestly I am the most eager for this one. I have been in such a reading slump I am hoping to get pushed right on out of it.  There are so many great books piled up waiting for me to read, and so many more still to be purchased and published. The surge in dystopian young adult literature is fascinating to me and also very convenient, given my interest in it!

 

Although I have the fabulous Utopian and Dystopian Writing for Children and Young Adults, so much of the academic research of dystopia is centered around the adult sphere. I am hoping by exploring everything there is to explore I can get a better understanding of dystopia in general and then apply that to young adult novels.

 

Have you found there is a particular type of dystopian novel you enjoy? I really like the novels that feature a lot of technology. I think technology was part of what first drew me to dystopian literature, but I love how sometimes low tech books can take me by surprise with the depth of their world.

 

The challenge has 3 levels and despite my recent failure, I am not going to take it easy on myself. I will join at Level 3!

 

lv3

Level 3: Is for the dystopian die-hards! Minimum requirement for this level is five young adult dystopian novels, between the 1st October and 19th December. There is, however no maximum cap, you can keep reading for as many books as you like!

 

Listing your reading choices is not required, but I would like to suggest to myself some of the books I am thinking about reading. With so many books here it can often get hard to focus. The challenge spans a relatively short amount of time and finishing books has been my weakness. I hope with some dedication I can power through some of these books and really end my reading year with a bang.

 

Matched by Ally Condie
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Crashed by Robin Wasserman
Green Boy by Susan Cooper
Shift by by Charlotte Agel
The Clone Codes by the McKissacks
The Lost Art by Simon Morden
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonne

 

Are there any books you have found out about since you joined the challenge that you are now planning on reading? I would love to know the titles that look too good to pass up. 

Anna Scanlon

I love Anna Scanlon. She is a generous and amazing person. Do you want to know why I love her? Well, let me tell you. She may have not chosen me personally to receive an ARC of Matched but random.org did and Anna was the one who was generous enough to offer up my top wish list book item in a contest and now I am a proud owner. It showed up today and it is so shiny and I love the cover and it’s MINE MINE MINE!

Today Anna Scanlon is my hero. And she can be your hero too. I am not sure how exactly but maybe you will find a way unless she is your hero because of the pure joy I am feeling right now at owning this wonderful book by and author I hope to meet very soon.

 

I may seem a little excited but I am more than excited and I just wanted to let everyone know how wonderful Anna Scanlon is for being a part of this. And thank you random.org, you are my new best friend.

Sep 27, 2010

Reading Lists

I don’t know why I do it to myself. It is a strange form a torture, yet at the same time I am having the hardest time pushing from one book to the next right now, so maybe it is needed. It is inevitable.

 

There is something to be said about listing your intentions and then following through with them or not. Not too long ago I listed my tentative list of the next 10 books I would like to read. And I just wanted to check in to see what kind of progress I was making.

 

  1. Rae by Chelsea Swiggett (currently reading)
  2. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
  3. The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (started)
  4. Book I haven’t finished yet (Cherry Heaven, Never Let Me Go, The Iron Heel) FINISHED Never Let Me Go
  5. Grimspace by Ann Aguirre (need to track down)
  6. Perdido Street Station by China MiƩville (audio, saving for steampunk challenge starting Oct. 1)
  7. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (started)
  8. Epic by Conor Kostick
  9. Exile by R. A, Salvatore (audio)
  10. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (group read/steampunk, waiting until Oct. 1)

 

So, out of the ten books I decided I would read a few weeks ago I have finished…ONE. Though, I guess it could be worse…somehow.  Then for the Read-A-Thon I added a different list, some books stayed the same, and others didn’t.

 

Feed by Mira Grant (finished)
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (started, but not far in. May reserve for YA dystopian challenge)
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler (started, staying on list)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (currently reading)
Framed by Frank Cottrell-Boyce (currently reading)
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (thinking about saving for steampunk challenge)
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (haven’t started, staying on list)
Cherry Heaven by L. J. Adlington (desperately need to finish this)
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder (may save for dystopian challenge)

 

Despite these lack lust numbers, I will 1. finish Rae soon and 2. have had a fairly successful reading month compared to those of months past and I am happy with efforts that I have made and there are still many, MANY books that I want to read and so many of them are not even listed.

 

My life is about to get even more busy but I know that I will carve out some time for reading here and there. I am especially excited to read Hunger since it is my first Net Galley ebook. I also need to make up my lists for my challenge posts. I feel like all I have been doing lately is listing books and then I decided to do it again, for almost no purpose. But I wanted to push through this blogging block I felt settling around me. So what if I feel like listing books for a week?

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