Posts Tagged ‘reading 2009’

Still on last year’s books…

Friday, 5 February 2010

Of course, by this date in 2008 I was nearly up to this number already, and here in February 2010 that’s the book number from 2009 I’m up to discussing. Just to confuse things nicely…

58. Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot by Mary Beth Temple

I’d wanted to get this book since Mary Beth started talking about it on Getting Loopy, and especially since I started hearing good things about it from other crocheters online. I didn’t see my way to getting it until mid-August however, when I came across it in a bookshop while on honeymoon. It was perfect for the short attention spans of honeymoon travelling, as the essays and anecdotes are short, funny, and very true (as a crocheter). It’s a nice quality paperback, too, of a good size for fitting in to hand luggage. Not that that’s among my usual book criteria, but it helped at the time! I read it cover to cover at the time, and likely will again, but it’s also fun to dip into.

59. Fuzzy Bones by William Tuning

This was an alternative end to the Fuzzies trilogy (which I read in total before this one), when it was still thought H. Beam Piper’s original third novel would never be found after his death. It takes quite a different tack from Piper’s, introducing several new characters with outside views of the Fuzzies and what should happen to them from Piper’s Zarathustra humans. Tuning admits far more of the seedier side of life (one of the new characters is introduced in the very first line as a “whore”, although while no-one denies what that means, it isn’t explicitly gone into either) than Piper does, as well as extending his one book over a year or more, where for Piper the whole trilogy takes place over 3-6 months. It definitely works, but I do prefer Piper’s own book.

Stories overlapping and intertwining

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

I’ve just started reading Trinity: a novel of Ireland by Leon Uris, as I finished The Professor and the Madman this morning, and this was one my DH expressed an interest in my opinion of. I’ve seen novels by Uris before, but not read any of them. At the moment this is sharing the opening set-piece of Dubliners: the wake of an old man, respected in the community (if not by all), as viewed by a young boy connected to his family. I haven’t got far enough in it to say more than that as yet. Already, though, it’s got my DH and I discussing Irish history again, which is never a bad thing.

Still, if I’m to get to even having read a quarter of last year’s total books (320), I do need to get a move on, as I’m at precisely a fifth (64) today. Not that anyone besides me does or should care about that…

37. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling

I believe I was given one copy of this and offered two or three more. Not sure if this says more about me or the book (I was being offered once read copies, where the purchaser thought it unlikely they’d reread the book). It is perhaps more of a book of children’s fairy tales than might be expected from Hermione’s fascination with it in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but for those who enjoyed the Harry Potter series in its totality it’s certainly worth reading once, and for more than the sake of completeness.

38. Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon

After 2008′s reading of the original American version, this was me going back through the series as I knew it originally. As I pointed out then, they are only fractionally different. I still love the story and the writing in this series, but on this reread I was getting disturbed by the huge amount of violence (sexual and non) within the books, so it may be awhile till I go back to them, presuming I do. I haven’t even got hold of or read An Echo in the Bone (the newest book, which came out this September just gone) because of this.

39. What Diantha Did by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I listened to this back to back with Mr Hogarth’s Will, as described two days ago, and since they have some overlapping themes I thought I was going to get them thoroughly mixed up, but I think I have them more distinct now than I did at the time!

Unlike Mr Hogarth’s nieces, who are educated to provide for themselves, and then turfed out to do so, Diantha has to do a lot of persuading of her family that she be allowed to try so to do (so far so like Agnes Grey), especially since she has a young man desperate to marry and look after her (so not like any book I’ve come across before the current generation). This is a clever, practical, principled young woman with her own plan of action, to benefit many women young and old, who will not be deterred from her path, especially by those she loves.

40. Posing for Portrait Photography: a head-to-toe guide by Jeff Smith

One of those random books I read for work, but I like to think it has and will help in my snapping, even though it’s decidedly written for those in or going into professional portrait photography. (I did some ‘proper photography’ courses in school, after learning a lot from my father, but these day I use an automatic digital camera mostly to record my crochet here and on Ravelry, and otherwise to snap pics of friends, family, and touristy stuff.)

Oh, and while I’m discussing improving photography skills, I just came across a really interesting photography blog. It is aimed towards proper photography, but those of us trying to get beyond ‘just snaps’ (again) can learn and be inspired too.

Between two lists

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Well, I’ve the first book of 2009 to report on, and I still haven’t finished the ones from 2008.

1. Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon

It’s a bit of a cheat, since the first of 2009 is actually a reread of one from 2008 (last March, so not that recent), which I can’t do better than explain as I did on the Outlander board over at Ravelry:

I just reread Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade (we were going to go to Coram’s Fields and the Foundling Museum, and I thought I’d share the bit about Dr Rigby’s Foundling Hospital – thankfully I skimmed it first and didn’t, as that is not a chapter to read out of context – suffice it (for those who’ve read the book) to say that that’s the chapter directly after the one entitled “Finally”, but anyhow I then reread the whole book) and noticed even more sly references to modern culture. There’s the obvious “She ain’t heavy, she’s his sister”, but has anyone else felt shades of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride from the last scene in the regimental offices?

Oh well, I definitely was going to reread stuff from last year (I’m just impressed at how this whole thing stopped me – mostly – from rereading stuff within 2008), so I might as well be upfront about it from the beginning.

And now to confuse you, let’s skip back and do some more of the last of 2008:

314. Transfused With Hope by B. Berger

This genre within Jewish non-fiction of inspirational biographies of families dealing with severe medical issues seems to be increasingly popular, but thankfully also increasingly well-written. It certainly inspired me to go back to my platelets donation (I’d only missed one month, but still!) even from the beginning (I finished the book during my session).

315. In the Dark by Deborah Guttentag

Another newly published book from the Orthodox Jewish publishers, but this is different from any I’ve read before, and very good. It kept me guessing right till near the end (some of my early guesses turned out to be right, but I couldn’t tell that for sure for a long time). The plot doesn’t always move along as fast as one might expect, but in many ways that adds to the realistic feeling.

316. Elephants on Acid by Alex Boese

I picked this up as a Chanuka present for my brother on the way to meet up with him, dipping into several chapters in the shop, and then sneakily going back to the beginning and reading it cover to cover very carefully indeed so I could still give it to him in pristine condition a few days later! It’s both amusing and thought-provoking (which I prefer to ‘educational’, as that could mean almost anything), and includes the classic horrific psychological experiments that went wrong, like the Stanford Prison experiment, as well as plenty of bizarre scientific experiments I never had. (All of the experiments included were written up as peer-reviewed studies.) People’s curiosity does lead them some strange places…

317. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I picked this one up at the same time as the Elephants above, after reading the comments of several school librarians on how popular they are with teenage girls, and discussions on the series’ actual merits. The nature of these discussions left me remarkably unspoilered, so I basically only knew it was a teen romance involving vampires, that apparently suggests sex should only take place within marriage.

Anyway, it was far better than I expected from that introduction, and I went straight out and got the other three in the series (so nice to come to a complete series, and not have to wait!). They’re not high literature, but I did find them thought provoking, and a step up in my reading mood from wallowing in classic children’s books I’ve read dozens of times before. You’ll see do I read them again anytime soon, however…

318. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Probably my least liked of the series, because depression is not a fun read, and it takes up a lot of the book.

319. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Hm, I liked New Moon least, but I can’t really remember what happened in Eclipse… (I lent the books on, so can’t remind myself.)

320. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

So no sex before marriage, then, but once marriage takes place, why think of anything else unless it’s life-threatening?


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