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June, 2009

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I’m back!!!

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Oh my goodness, what a trip! It was so lovely to see everyone, but so heartbreaking to have to return. I love San Francisco, I really do, and I’ve made some really amazing friends here. That doesn’t stop me from feeling like Portland is home, especially when I’m surrounded by people who clearly care about me and who make no secret of the fact that they’d love to have me around again.

So I’m back at work, trying to get back into the swing of things, trudging through e-mail, and dreading opening my Google Reader. I will truly read the blog of anyone who has commented here, and will likely skim the rest in an effort to control the amount of time spent on catching up.

In the meantime, I absolutely failed at reading on this trip, though I did start Philippa Gregory’s The Queen’s Fool and am really enjoying it so far. What author have you abandoned for a long stretch and realized, “Oh right, I really like his/her work,” when you got reacquainted?

On the go with books in tow

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

In 16 hours, I’ll be boarding a direct flight to Manchester, NH, for a long weekend with family and friends. On the agenda: Lots and lots of big gay fun during Portland, Maine’s Pride events, noodle kugel and coffee, white wine and olives, vodka and red bull, corsets and Fluevogs, games at my Mamau’s house and movies in my jammies. All in all, it’s certain to be a whirlwind of a trip, and all of five days’ reading will be condensed into the flights to and from.

Unlike so many people, I have the hardest time really getting into a book on planes. I think the biggest issue is that I have to read, or listen to music, or both, unless I sleep, which I also can’t usually do for any length of time in the air. So, I bring a huge selection of wildly different books, hoping that something will at least hold my attention enough to keep me from acting on my impulse somewhere around the three-and-a-half hour mark to start pounding on a window and begging to be let out.

Do reading and traveling go together like peanut butter and jelly for you, or more like oil and water? What sorts of books do you bring for long journeys?

Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

teasertuesdays31

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser for today:

“OreSeur stood, stretched, and placed his forepaws on the wall’s railing to raise himself and look north, like Vin.
Vin shook her head. ‘Sometimes I wish Elend weren’t so… well, noble. The city doesn’t need this confusion right now.'”

From page 344 of Brandon Sanderson’s The Well of Ascension, the second novel in the Mistborn trilogy. The first book was possibly the best fantasy novel I’ve yet read, and I’m just a couple of chapters into this one.

Care to share a teaser of your own?

Wishing for a re-write?

Monday, June 15th, 2009

the giver
I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book and wished the author would re-write it until I read Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not because it was poorly written, or because I think she made a mistake in the plot (how cheeky!). I just wish there had been more of it. More of it ALL. More depth, more description, more story, more intensity. There was all of this already; if there weren’t, it wouldn’t have received a five-star rating from me. I just found myself at the end of the book thinking, “This would make an amazing premise for a big fat fantasy novel.”

Illustrated Classics are derived from full-length “adult” novels; what about the reverse? Have you ever read a children’s or YA novel that you wish could be “adultified?”

Suing for the right to burn books

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

This came from my BookBlips daily radar; while it’s sometimes overwhelming in quantity, I’m grateful for the news and new blogs I find through the feed.

Christian group sues for the right to burn YA novel with homosexual protagonist

Clearly, this is more about raising a stink than actually seeking to censor the author; the only effect it has had on me is adding one more book to my wish list, and causing me to seethe with indignation at the gall of some individuals. Thankfully, the folks who support censorship never seem to learn that by deeming a book unfit for children (or adults, for that matter), they often only succeed in giving it huge media attention resulting in a sales spike for the offending work. Which is just fine by me.

Book in question: Francesca Lia Block’s Baby Be-Bop

BTT – Niche

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

btt button

There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)
But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.
What niche books do YOU read?

My niche doesn’t seem so unique in my social circle, but in the book blogging world, it doesn’t have much of a presence that I can see so far. I own, read, and constantly refer to books about gender, sexual orientation, alternative sexuality, and subcultures connected to all of these areas. Identifying as queer, Femme, and kinky, among other IDs, it only makes sense that books like Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold, The Leather Daddy and the Femme, and Stone Butch Blues are much loved selections from my library.

What’s your niche?

Today I am…

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Eloise.

eloise egg cup

Drawing by Hilary Knight

An egg cup makes a very good hat

What fictional character are you channeling today?

Intern at LibraryThing?!?!

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

*Flail*swoon*FAINT*

Seriously, are they trying to rip my heart out through my chest? Why is it that my favorite website, and thus my dream job, is based out of the city I left only two and a half short years ago?

LibraryThing is looking for an intern

Yes, I’ve already e-mailed Tim. Yes, I know I’m probably going to be disappointed. Yes, I’ll re-tweet and link and forward this far and wide to my peeps back home, so that even if I can’t benefit from the opening, maybe one of them can.

But it hurts. I know that probably sounds ridiculous and melodramatic, but it does. Like, a true, honest to goodness, shortness-of-breath-like-someone-stomped-on-my-lungs, ache.

Reading Roundup

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Another week, another list of books completed! A question for my readers (and anyone coming by for the first time, too – welcome, by the way!): Do you prefer reading a list of reviews in a chunk like this, or separate entries as the books are completed? For those of you who are into network and community building, do you find that individual reviews increase your traffic and comments? I personally am not crazy about review after review after review in a blog I’m reading, but maybe I’m unusual in that. Any feedback would be welcome!

Without further ado, here come the books…

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

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I would feel like a hypocrite rating this any lower, since I essentially devoured it in a single sitting. It’s a good book – a compelling book. Not poorly written, but simple. Not badly plotted, but predictable. I tried very hard not to compare my feelings while reading it to my experience reading Battle Royale, but I have to admit that the similarities are strong enough to force comparison, and weak enough to leave The Hunger Games off the list of all-time best novels while Battle Royale is still clearly parked in my top 5, if not top 3. I think a younger generation of readers, perhaps those not ready for the complexities of Takami’s work, will be perfectly suited for Collins, as they might not see through the setups as easily as someone who has read, seen, and lived through more.

The Giver, Lois Lowry

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This was recommended by DevourerofBooks, in response to last week’s Booking Through Thursday entry,  “15 sticky books in 15 minutes or less.”
I happened to hit the library that same night, and picked this book up and began reading it immediately. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of the shift from the familiar (to me) Lowry world of Anastasia to this utopia where rules have been determined for every aspect of life to eliminate conflict and suffering. The cost, however, is that without those, the people who live in the Community cannot experience love or joy, either.
I can’t think of anyone who shouldn’t read this book; its simple prose and intriguing story have the pages flying by from the first, and I was intensely sad to reach the end. I may or may not look into the rest of the series; I don’t want to be disappointed, and I’ve heard that they’re not as good as the first. Anyone want to chime in?

Anastasia’s Chosen Career, Lois Lowry

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This was my favorite of the Anastasia books when I was a kid; since I was picking up The Giver anyway, I grabbed this one at the same time. I remembered it fairly well, but this was a great example of how reading a book some 20 years later will give you an entirely different feeling. More than ever, I found myself identifying strongly with Anastasia – she truly is my alter ego in so many ways!

Dealing with Dragons, Patricia C. Wrede

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A cute fairy tale with a feminist bent; first in a series that I’ll probably check out from the library, but unless the later books are more involved, they’ll likely be a one-time read. Enjoyable characters, straightforward plot, and consistent style.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and six more, Roald Dahl

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I love Roald Dahl, and this was a fun set of shorts, plus a mini-bio about how he got into writing and a reprint of his first ever piece of writing sold to the Saturday Evening Post.

The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

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I’ve wanted to read this for some time; it’s the first Wilde I’ve read besides The Importance of Being Earnest (which is possibly my favorite play of all time). Being a novel as opposed to a play, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I definitely saw some of the Wilde philosophy I loved about Earnest, but this tended more towards lengthy monologues and, eventually, a darkness that surprised me.
Overall, I loved it. While it did tend towards a bit more lengthy non-dialogue character development than I generally enjoy, Wilde’s writing is engaging and for the most part, I didn’t feel compelled to skim like I normally do when there is no direct character interaction for pages. The ending was surprising and terribly, delightfully predictable at the same time, and its delivery was perfect.

As you may have guessed from my last post, I’m suffering a bit of book apathy right now. I’m in the middle (or, truth be told, nearer the beginning) of the following: Take your Shirt Off and Cry by Nancy Balbirer (ARC from the LibraryThing ER program), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Brandon Sanderson’s The Well of Ascension, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, and Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet (which I intended to read last week, but my e-book was incorrectly named so I ended up reading the Wilde instead). Oh! and I almost forgot – also working on Magic Kingdom for Sale – SOLD! for the group read over at Hogwarts Express on LibraryThing. We’re only in week two, so it’s not too late to join us!

OK, your turn – whatcha got???

Book ruts

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

We all hit ’em. What do you do to get out of ’em?

I try to pick up a new book I’ve got plenty of cause to believe I’m going to enjoy, usually a sequel to a fluff book I loved (just started The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey to fit that bill), or more often, I head straight for the reliable old favorites and snuggle up with a re-read. Since I started tracking my reading and blogging though, I feel guilty about re-reads! So that eliminates my go-to cure for the book blues.

Do you have a fail-safe plan for jump-starting your reading when nothing you’ve got going is turning you on?