Vintage SciFi Month

January is considered Vintage SciFi Month (I found out this wonderful fact thanks to an awesome Twitter account). For the reading “non-challenge” (which is in no way competitive), a sci-fi book is considered vintage if it was published before you were born (in my case, I’ve got plenty of options–I was born in 1991).

There’s a little more information about the non-challenge on the creator’s blog here. For a more current post with a little more info, check out this post. Also, the creator and moderator of the Twitter account mentioned above are hosting a giveaway for The Book Of Frank Herbert, which is a collection of ten short stories by Frank Herbert that was published in 1973. Even though I really want to win, I’ll share the link, since I’m so nice! You just have to join the conversation about #VintageSciFiMonth on Twitter to enter the giveaway.

I’ve already finished one book (To Die in Italbar by Roger Zelazny), and I’m in the middle of The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells for my second. Shown below are two other books, both by Ray Bradbury, that I’m planning to read this month. As an ongoing personal challenge, I’ve also decided to finish Dune by Frank Herbert, which I’ve been reading on and off for a few months now!

vintage-books

So throughout January, I’ll be posting reviews of these vintage books (most likely the reviews with be shorter than normal… but we’ll see). If there are any sci-fi classics you’re reading, you especially love, or you’d like my opinion on, let me know! I’ll add them to my January to-read list.

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The Wolf & the Windlestraw from The Indianola Review

As the Associate Editor for The Indianola Review, I led a project to complete a collaborative serial novel during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2015. I’ve always wanted to edit a novel, and this seemed crazy enough to work.

Through Twitter, 30 authors from all across the United States signed on to write one chapter each (~2,000 words) on their respective day in November. The chapters were to follow the characters and plot set forth by Chelsea Eckert (our brave Day 1 author). Her characters were two courageous young sisters, Amadeus and Wolfgang, who were tasked with completing a quest using a windlestraw—an enchanted key—in a magical world set in the American Southwest. The first chapter blew me away. When Wolfgang pulled the windlestraw out of her pocket, the possibilities of magical realism–one of my favorite things to read–exploded into being.

I was always the first person to read each chapter of this wonderfully weird story, a privilege I enjoyed immensely. It’s fun and has some serious depth when it comes to the “magic system.” The Wolf & The Windlestraw is a 232-page magical realism novel that was written as a result of The Indianola Reviews  first collaborative NaNoWriMo. (We’ll be setting up the 2016 NaNoWriMo soon!) Here’s the blurb for the fantastic story:

Wolfgang has a sense of adventure unmatched by anyone, even her younger sister, Amadeus. But when Wolfgang is charged with completing three mysterious and possibly dangerous tasks, she drags Amadeus out of their hometown, Lotsett, to help her on her quest.

Their father Saul, desperate to find his missing daughters, seeks out the help of Brooks, a man who disappeared decades ago but has returned to Lotsett for his own dubious reasons.

With only a magical sword and the questionable guidance from local spirits, the sisters must complete the tasks together. Family and enemies alike put pressure on the sisters’ friendship. When pushed to their limit, will they make the right choice?

TITLE: The Wolf & The Windlestraw
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AUTHORS (In order of date of completion, November 1-30): Chelsea Eckert, Lane Kareska, Kevin C. Hunt, Robert Perret, Anne Weisgerber, Diane Rosier Miles, Michael P. Adams, Kayla Dean, Ellen Davis Sullivan, Jennifer Met, Jocelyn Paige Kelly, Carrie Cook, Sarah Vernetti, Iskandar Haggarty, Michael T. Fournier, G. E. Schwartz, Cinthia Ritchie, Tim Duffy, Joseph Walters, Vanessa Christie, Arika, Anthony Frame, Janell Zimmerer, Sara Adams, Forrest Dylan Bryant, Jae Singer, Lisa E. Balvanz, Tim W. Day, Jason Sears, Eldo St. David.
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COVER ART: Frances Mann
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PAGES: 232
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FIRST LINE: It was the day that wild dogs, a whole family of them, would try to devour Ama’s older sister alive.
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QUOTABLE: Ama relished the air hissing as the sword moved through the unseen medium, but her fantasy was short-lived. She turned around and halted in her steps, splashing into the creek that had been behind her moments ago. A small gray cat peered from behind a tree trunk, its big hazel eyes drawing Ama closer. She dropped the windlestraw and crept over to the cat, extending her arms out to pet its ruffled, damp fur.
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SORT OF LIKE:

The Graveyard Book Half-Moon Investigations

(I had trouble finding any books that were similarly written (one author per chapter), so I guess The Wolf & The Windlestraw is in a league of its own!)

Getting Ready for NerdCon

In October, I’ll be attending NerdCon: Stories. Their aim is to celebrate all things nerdy, which I’m always up for. On the agenda is a host of fun story-telling-themed panels and events. While they’re still setting up the actual schedule, the one thing that’s caught my eye so far is “Life Online: From Meme to Memoir.”

In addition to exciting panels, NerdCon is playing host to a huge number of podcastors, novelists, cartoonists, musicians, poets, etc. Some people I’m excited for:

Patrick Rothfuss

John Scalzi

Lev Grossman

Holly Black

Rainbow Rowell

John Green More

Grand Returns

I realized the other day how long it had been since I’d written a review when I got turned down for an ARC of a book. On Netgalley, that has never been the case before and they suggested updating my blog.

After getting a new job, moving, and trying to settle in to a new routine, reading had been the last thing on my mind. But now that I’m settled… I’ve jumped into the “start a million new books” phase. I just started reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, Authority by Jeff VanderMeer, which is the excellent sequel to AnnihilationThe Way of Kings by a favorite of mine–Brandon Sanderson, and I’ve about finished Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds which rides on the blazing space cowboy trail left by Firefly. 

Devoting time to reading has been so refreshing… Damn, I just love a good book. Here’s to many more in both of our futures.

 

Another Year

I have been falling terribly behind in my reviews (from 2014)! But I am still reading diligently. I probably won’t be reviewing all the books I read this year, but I will go back and review a few of them. (The Martian by Andy Weir is coming up soon.)

In 2014, I surpassed my reading goal of 60 books by 26. That’s right, I read 86 books last year! Okay, a few of them were graphic novels–no regrets. I devoured the Sandman series–10 graphic novels written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by many fine artists. I loved the series and the Sandman himself. Gaiman blew my mind with a lot of the clever meta narrative and the entire Dream landscape was just fantastic.

I also read the Saga series (only four volumes out right now) by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. It’s a sort of Romeo and Juliet in space/the future. Very cool.

One quick series I read in 2014 was the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Set in the future, it’s about a society of people who have been turned “pretty” by the government. Their bodies are adjusted to be average and pretty when you turn 16, but it’s not just people’s bodies–it’s also their minds. This was a great social commentary on perceptions of beauty and worth. It’s a four book trilogy (strange, I know) and is a strong representation of excellent YA.

I attended a convention (my first) called CONvergence in the summer of 2014, and it was absolutely amazing. I got my book, The Lives of Taosigned by Wesley Chu and picked up its sequel, The Deaths of Tao. These books are about an alien species that crash land on Earth and inhabit human and animal bodies to fuel their epic war. It’s sort of like The Host with a martial aspect. I hope to read the sequel sometime this year.

In 2014, I also graduated from college and got a job. SO we shall see how much reading time in I have in 2015 once I start working 8-5 every day. My goal for this year is 72 books. I have a few books I’d like to read… but if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear what you’ll be reading or what I should be reading this year.

I am excited to read some new stuff and look forward to a year in reading!

 

Totally Unrelated: On Writing

I am currently taking a class called Theory and Practice of Writing. Our first assignment, besides reading, was to write a Literacy Autobiography. This is an approach to understand how we learned to write, why we write like we do, and really just learn about our writing. I took a few examples from learning various writing approaches and talked about my how my need for perfectionism in writing really stunted my desire, and therefore ability, to write. While this has almost nothing to do with book reviews, I wanted to share my story with you.

How did you learn to write? Do you remember? I had to ask my mom about it, because I have poor memory of my childhood. Ask your parents, or elementary teachers, because the response could be really interesting. Either let me know in the comments or keep the information to yourself. Anywho, here’s my paper. More

Summer Reading

This summer (starting early May), a few friends and I plan to devour a long list of books. While we all have a few we’re not going to read, a few extras we plan to read, and therefore have an individual list, we will mostly read the same books. We’ll be tweeting about the books (#BookedIt / #bookclub), possibly adding some Youtube videos to the Booktube section, etc.

And of course, I’ll be reviewing a good majority of the books. So I thought I would throw out an invitation to join us. If you would like to join in the reading of the books, they will be updated regularly on my “Currently Contemplating” widgets and posts. I’ve already read some of these, but I’ll either be rereading them or just participating in discussion.

The list is made up of some YA, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. I’ll definitely be reading Republic of Thieves early on, because I’m going to CONvergence in MN in July, and Scott Lynch will be there! I also may reread something by Emma Newman, or continue her series, The Split Worlds, in hope that she’ll be there, too.  Here’s the list:

  1. Infinite Jest* by David Foster Wallace
  2. Exodus 2022 by Kenneth G. Bennett
  3. Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation by Adam Resnick
  4. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  5. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  6. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
  7. Between Two Thorns/Any Other Name by Emma Newman
  8. Nothing But Flowers: Tales of Post-Apocalyptic Love edited by Jodi Cleghorn, with a story by Emma Newman
  9. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  10. London Falling by Paul Cornell
  11. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (My goal is to finish the last 200 pages, which I got stuck on a year or two ago)
  12. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  13. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  14. Legend by Maria Lu
  15. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
  16. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  17. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  18. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  19. Among Others by Jo Walton
  20. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
  21. Wool by Hugh Howey
  22. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  23. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  24. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  25. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  26. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  27. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  28. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
  29. Light Boxes by Shane Jones
  30. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  31. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  32. The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  33. On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
  34. Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson
  35. Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra
  36. Green Rider by Kristen Britain

*To be read ~ 15-20 pages a day due to massive length and intellectual demands.

We are constantly updating the list, so this is just a temporary one. I will probably add a new post each month updating the order/number of books for the projected month. If you want to read any of these books to join in on the discussion, you are more than welcome!

Multi-blog

I’ve avoided talking about it yet, but I can’t help myself now that it’s at least a little relevant. I started working for Chegg recently, which is a college textbook rental and study help site. I’ve been doing some blog posts and whatnot for Chegg for the past couple months. My last post featured my favorite books that I read in school.

Check out the post and feel free to leave a comment there or here. It’s just a list with a little description of what books I’ve read in certain classes, what they were about, and why I loved them. If you’re not up to clicking the link, let me know in the comments here–what books did you read in class that you loved?

Bookmarks

Unfortunately, due to my finals homework load (Two comparison papers, one 12-source annotated bibliography with 3-5 pages of intro/conclusion, and an anthropology test), I don’t have time to finish my latest review for a post this week. So, in lieu of that, I took a minute to think about the various bookmarks I use in books.

WurdWurm BookmarkSometimes, I just grab whatever is closest–a pay stub, a sheet of notes from class, my work schedule, a grocery store receipt–basically anything that is flat and won’t bleed ink onto the pages. The reason I do this is because over the years, I’ve been a master of losing “real” bookmarks. Either I leave them in books or they just mysteriously disappear.

However, I do have one favorite bookmark that I take care to never lose. I actually bought a t-shirt with a similar design, and the bookmark came with it for free. Favorite shirt, favorite bookmark. Ignore the terrible quality of the picture–I only have a camera on my smartphone, and the cover got scratched up, so the only way I can take pictures is by using the “selfie” feature (ugh).

I was also curious, am I the only one that does that? Do you have a favorite bookmark? Do you dog-ear pages? Do you use random things to keep your place?

Oh, I also started doing something a while back that I intend to add to someday. I like to catalogue what random things I find in books, and I hope that one day after I’m gone, someone will find this in whatever book I left it in.

100 Posts

This is my 100th post! I’ve kept this blog for two years, which averages about one post a week. While it started out more like 2-3 a week, I’ve gotten through my backlog of reviews and have moved on to actively reviewing books as I read them. I have really enjoyed both writing about the books I love (or hate) and reviewing my own reviews. Looking back, it’s fun to remind myself of why I felt a certain way about a book. I read so many books that it is relatively easy to forget details from ones that didn’t make the five-star level. I use my own Shelves page as a collection of the books I thought worthy of review.

I do read quite a few more books than just the ones I review on here, so I still use Goodreads for that, but for in-depth memories of books, I love rereading my own old reviews. This also brings up some pretty interesting comparisons with how I used to write the reviews, how I write them now, and what I’ve seen and enjoyed in other reviewer’s writings. A lot has changed, but also, a lot has stayed the same–even with the way I write them. I usually write my opinions first–what I thought, things that bugged me, things that really worked–and then a summary of plot, setting, and characters to inform about the book.

If you are a reviewer, is there a certain way you write? If you are a reader, is there something you’re sick of reading about? Is there something you would like to see in my, or other, reviews?

I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy lately, with one sci-fi review coming up soon. However, I love literary fiction and do miss reading it. Are there any books that you’d recommend, or would like to see reviewed? My birthday is coming up, and I usually get myself books galore. Any suggestions for my Barnes and Noble trip?

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman

Back in November of 2011, I hosted a short story by Emma Newman, Knotty Secrets, which takes place in the Split Worlds. The Split Worlds started out as a project where Emma would write a short story every week for a year and a day, and various bloggers (like me!) hosted these stories. Each of the stories takes place in the Split Worlds, a fantasy world where magic exists in forms of magical beings and acts. Between Two Thorns is the first novel of the Split Worlds, which comes out in the UK on March 7th and the US on February 26th. If you think you’ll be behind because you haven’t read the stories, don’t fear! They are merely fun back story for the world. The novel will completely stand alone; it is in no way necessary to have the knowledge the stories give you. However, if you’re interested in checking out the stories, I would recommend a few of my favorites to start with.

Between Two Thorns is a 400 page urban fantasy. To give you an idea of the story, enjoy the novel’s blurb:

Between Two ThornsSomething is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city. The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer. There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs. But can she be trusted? And why does she want give up eternal youth and the
life of privilege she’s been born into?

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Pre-order a copy of Between Two Thorns for a chance to win a great prize!
 Pre-order a copy of Between Two Thorns and you’ll be entered into a prize draw. If you win, you’ll have a character named after you in “All Is Fair” – the third Split Worlds novel (released October 2013) – and a special mention at the end of the book.

How to Enter
Pre-order a copy of the book from your favourite retailer (if you pre-order from Forbidden Planet you’ll get a signed copy).

If you order from Forbidden Planet or robottradingcompany.com (for ebooks) you don’t need to do anything else – Angry Robot will take care of your entry for you. If you pre-order from anywhere else you’ll need to email a copy of your order confirmation to: thorns@angryrobotbooks.com and they’ll assign a number to you.

Where to Pre-order

  1. UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Between-Two-Thorns-Split-World/dp/0857663194/
  2. US http://www.amazon.com/Between-Two-Thorns-Emma-Newman/dp/0857663208/
  • The Book depository (Worldwide free postage)
  1. UK Edition http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Between-Two-Thorns-Emma-Newman/9780857663191
  2. US Edition (bigger) http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Between-Two-Thorns-Emma-Newman/9780857663207

There are two UK launches and an international one using the magic of telephone conferencing. All the details are here: http://www.enewman.co.uk/real-world-adventures/between-two-thorns-launches-prizes-and-parties

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Order your copy of Between Two Thorns today, and join the fun that is the Split Worlds!

31 Day Book List Roundup

I would like to finish off my list of favorites and whatnot that I started last year, because I got super busy with friends and family at the end of December and never had a chance to think about this or update my blog. Feel free to comment with your own favorites, or adapt the list for a month of your own favorites!

Day 15 – Favorite male character: Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicles (Patrick Rothfuss). He is a tragic, musically talented, mystical dude who rocks.

Day 16 – Favorite female character: Vin from the Mistborn series (Brandon Sanderson). She starts off with extreme issues of self-doubt and poverty and whatnot, and ends up a kickass character who I loved to read about.

Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book:
“Then I played the song that hides in the center of me. That wordless music that moves through the secret places in my heart. I played it carefully, strumming it slow and low into the dark stillness of the night. I would like to say it is a happy song, that it is sweet and bright, but it is not.” It is from The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss; the quote encapsulates everything I think Kvothe represents. I love it.

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. I really enjoyed every one of her books until I read that one. It disheartened me.

Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie: Probably Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s actually the reason I bought and read the novel. The movie was really moving, and Elijah Wood did a great job as JSF.

Day 20 – Favorite romance book: I don’t really read romance novels… I guess Memoirs of a Geisha was sort of a romance? That one was really good.

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood: Shel Silverstein’s poetry books. I have them all and love them dearly.

Day 22 – Favorite book you own: Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer), just for the fun cover and language.

Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people have read: Any books from the Abhorsen trilogy. I have found very few people who have read it. Which to me is odd, because it is one of my favorite series ever. I suppose if I had to pick one book from it, I would pick Sabriel, because that’s sort of the starting point in the series.

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most: Lirael (Lirael by Garth Nix). She was who I empathized with when I was younger. Quiet, self-reliant, felt like an outcast, felt unskilled where others excelled. She worked in the Library and her best friend was a talking dog. She was everything I needed in a fictional character for a long time.

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something: Hero of Ages (Brandon Sanderson). It gave me hope and made me stop being such a nihilist.

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending: Because I feel I shouldn’t go with Fight Club, I will pick The Lottery (Shirley Jackson). Admittedly, it is only a short story, but the ending was haunting when paired with the apparently serene small-town vibe the beginning of the story puts off.

Day 28 – Favorite title: The Perks of Being A Wallflower. It just appeals to me.

Day 29 – Favorite book cover: Doodling by Jonathon Gould. The cover is dark and bright at the same time, and it really drew me to the novella.

Day 30 – A book everyone hated but you liked: Perhaps Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. I read this for a women’s lit. class and really enjoyed it. I ended up doing my final project on it… and I don’t know how much my classmates enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn’t nearly as much as I did.

Day 31 – Your favorite book of all time: This is a really, really, really hard choice. It changes every time I read a new book. What I’m reading is usually my favorite. I can’t pick just one! I literally cannot pick a book. I might have to say The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett, because I just finished it and it was brilliant. If you want to learn about the book, check out the goodreads description, at least until I put my review up!

 

Happy Birthday to my Blog!

October marks the one year anniversary of what is now known as the Realm of Reviews. I recently have been slacking a bit on the review side of things. I have been stuck on the same books for so long that reading almost started losing its appeal. I have been trudging through Clash of Kings; I’ve also been trying to finish Mercury Rising on my Kindle, The Once and Future King, and have been reading aloud The Hobbit with a special someone. I also started Ten Big Ones (Janet Evanovich) but haven’t really got anywhere with it.

Instead of reading lately, I’ve been playing video games — a friend lent me Knights of Amalur: Reckoning, I bought Lord of the Rings: War in the North, I got Borderlands 2, and have still occasionally been playing Halo Reach. As for PC, I recently bought Knights of the Old Republic for $2, so I’ve been replaying that as well — and it is a LONG game! Along with gaming, I’ve been trying to catch up on some anime. I’ve been watching some Bleach — I am very early on in the series — and quite a bit of Naruto. As for other shows, I caught up on The Walking Dead to watch the season premiere, and my buddy lent me Game of Thrones season one so I will be watching that for a while, and perhaps reviewing the series when I finish it.

Aside from all these distractions, my roommate suggested a while back that I pick up a new book to help me get back into reading. I read Fight Club and was immediately reminded why I love reading. After Fight Club, I started Skyship Academy: Crimson Rising by Nick James, and it is fantastic. I hope to have the review up within the next week or two (once the book is finished). After that, Clash of Kings will be the next book to tackle. I only have about 200 pages left, so hopefully it won’t take too long. After that, along with slowly finishing the other already-started books, I think I will start my Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan) read-through. Since I am now in possession of the first six books, I think that is the best plan of action. Along with free reading, I will also be reading Meditations by Aurelius for a humanities course, A Raisin in the Sun for a theater course, and some assorted drama pieces for my critical reading/writing course.

Looking back at one year of writing reviews — about 54 of them — I realize how much my reviewing and understanding of writing has changed. I hope, by looking through my old reviews, anyone could agree. In the next year of reviews I plan to grow even more. Now, I am even writing some of my own stuff — short stories and the like. I hope to have another year of fun reading and writing ahead of me. I would recommend starting a blog (reading, writing, or otherwise) to everyone; it is incredibly satisfying. One of the most rewarding things about blogging about the books I have read is being able to look back on the impression each book left on me. Sometimes I find it hard to recall certain emotions or thoughts I had about a book, so it has been really nice to be able to reread my thoughts on them. This is especially true when I want to read a sequel to a book, but don’t want to reread the original book first (ex: Pearl Wars, and the sequel I’m reading now, Crimson Rising). It has been an excellent year blogging, and I truly hope to keep blogging for a good long while.

Read on, fellow readers!

Book Buying

Recently, I went to the Goodwill in Cedar Falls and had a shopping spree… in the book section. I was just glancing through titles when I came upon the third book in the Wheel of Time series (Robert Jordan) in a hardback. I was excited, but a little sad that they didn’t have the second book, as I already purchased the first from amazon. To my delight… I found the second, fourth, and fifth in paperback. Not far from there, I found a few others in the series as well! After I finish the few books I have going right now — Clash of Kings, The Once and Future King, A Raisin in the Sun, Meditations (Aurelius) — I plan to start reading the Wheel of Time series. I’ve only heard good things, and due to the new book is coming out soon, I have a few friends (and see other blogs) doing read-throughs or rereads of the series that I plan to join.

Along with the many Wheel of Time books I bought, I also bought a couple Dean Koontz books (The House of Thunder, Tick Tock), Michael Crichton books (Congo and Jurassic Park — I have Lost World, but not Jurassic Park?! No more!)  The Inferno, which I have read parts of but never in its entirety, and a couple books for my three-year-old niece (a Clifford book, a good beginner Star Wars book and The Last Airbender: Aang’s Destiny, again, a beginner book).

While looking through the books, I had a thought… It’s sad to see so many books being let go to a Goodwill, where they aren’t loved anymore. BUT then I think about how I got 14 books for under $4, and then I don’t feel so bad. Do you get books at stores like Goodwill? I also enjoy looking through garage sale books, though most of them in my town are religious books, and I really don’t care to read those.

One of my favorite things about buying books secondhand are the things people leave in the books as bookmarks or what have you. In one book, there was a little laminated card about a religious golf club thing called Ascend which was interesting; in one book, there was a graduation party invitation; who knows what else I will find when I read through the Wheel of Time books I bought!

Finals Week

Hello there loyal followers! I haven’t had a chance to do a post recently, for many reasons. Excuses include: reading three books at once, being busy with Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed, and lastly FINALS. I’ve had projects, papers, and ‘studying’ galore the past two weeks, and therefore haven’t had much time to read (it’s a lazy excuse, since I made time to play video games). Luckily, starting today, I’m on break until April 30th, when we start our May term class (a three week, three-hour-a-day class).

This week, I was expected to turn in a paper about feng shui for my Asian cultures class, turn in a screen adaptation of a story or book of my choice — I chose the prologue and first chapter of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss — for my film and literature class, and a creative project and researched rationale for said project for my British literature class. For that, we had to pick an author or story or something we focused on in class and do a project that had something to do with it. I chose to focus on “Love and Freindship” by Jane Austen. I wrote a series of letters to a male friend about interactions with two different female friends. It was a fun little study on how my attitude towards a friendship affects content of  interactions and conversations.

Along with all this, I was playing two games. I beat Mass Effect 3, and although the end was a little… brief… as you may have heard from the outcry from the online community, it was a good game. It was very fast paced and exciting. I still prefer Mass Effect 1, mostly because of the role-playing elements, but the gameplay in 3 was quite fun. I have also just started playing through the Assassin’s Creed games. I’m only a few hours into the first one, but it’s fun and I will probably end up spending a good amount of my break playing it. I will most likely also do another play through of Mass Effect 3, just for good measure.

Maus I: My Father Bleeds HistoryMaus II: And Here My Troubles Began

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, as a sort of replacement for a review this week, I decided to do a preview of upcoming reviews. I am taking a graphic novel course for May term, and will probably review each of them here. We are planning to read both Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman, which I actually read last year, but never thought about reviewing. We are also reading Watchmen, which I didn’t realize… When I read Ghost World and 28 Days Later: The Aftermath, I also checked out Watchmen, and am about halfway through it. The other graphic novel that we plan to read is Black Hole by Charles Burns. Along with standalone graphic novels, we are looking at an anthology called Best American Comics 2011 which is attributed to editors Alison Bechdel, Jessica Abel, and Matt Madden and a book titled Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud.

WatchmenBlack Hole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am, of course, still reading The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. I am about halfway through, and it’s quite enjoyable so far. I’m hoping to finish it and The Hero of Ages over break, and have the reviews up soon. On a bit of a side note, after my final final today, I plan to stop in at the North American Review at UNI to let them know I am interested in a job (writer, editor, whatever they have). The NAR is the first literary journal to be published in the US and has a great reputation. When I attend UNI next year, I’m really hoping to be able to work there. Wish me luck!

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