A look back at the year so far

I am so far behind in writing about everything I’ve read this year. Well, not everything, but a lot of it. I’ve been busy but… well, I’ll let the list speak for itself.

The Forgotten by Tony Lee
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
Grave Sight Vol. 1 by Charlaine Harris
Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Deadline by Mira Grant
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Brian Lee O’Malley
Geek Wisdom by Stephen H. Segal
The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman
The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman
Chobits Vol. 1 by CLAMP
Chobits Vol. 2 by CLAMP
Otaku-No-Yen Season 1: As Seen on the Intrawebs by Richard & Sharon Townsend
Chobits Vol. 3 by CLAMP
Chobits Vol. 4 by CLAMP
Chobits Vol. 5 by CLAMP
Chobits Vol. 6 by CLAMP
Chobits Vol. 7 by CLAMP
Chobits Vol. 8 by CLAMP
Chrono Crusade Vol. 1 by Daisuke Moriyama
Chrono Crusade Vol. 2 by Daisuke Moriyama
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 2 by Akiko Higashimura
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 3 by Akiko Higashimura
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 4 by Akiko Higashimura
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 5 by Akiko Higashimura
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Brian Lee O’Malley
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 6 by Akiko Higashimura
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 7 by Akiko Higashimura
Princess Jellyfish Vol. 8 by Akiko Higashimura
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima by Keiji Nakazawa
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 2: The Day After by Keiji Nakazawa
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 3: Life After the Bomb by Keiji Nakazawa
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness by Brian Lee O’Malley
Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Brian Lee O’Malley
Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe by Brian Lee O’Malley
The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffery (an omnibus of Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon)

As you can see, there are a few manga series in there that I need to post about. I’m almost done with the Scott Pilgrim series (one book left), so I’ll have that to write about too. I should probably just sit down with my laptop on Thursday and type my brains out. 🙂 Just because I’ve been reading madly, doesn’t mean I can’t share my thoughts on the books with all of you.

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Finished! Nerd Do Well

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The unique life story of one of the most talented and inventive comedians, star of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Star Trek.

Zombies in North London, death cults in the West Country, the engineering deck of the Enterprise: actor, comedian, writer and self-proclaimed supergeek Simon Pegg has been ploughing some bizarre furrows in recent times. Having landed on the U.S. movie scene in the surprise cult hit Shaun of the Dead, his enduring appeal and rise to movie star with a dedicated following has been mercurial, meteoric, megatronic, but mostly just plain great.

From his childhood (and subsequently adult) obsession with science fiction, his enduring friendship with Nick Frost, and his forays into stand-up comedy which began with his regular Monday morning slot in front of his twelve-year-old classmates, Simon has always had a severe and dangerous case of the funnies.

Whether recounting his experience working as a lifeguard at the city pool, going to Comic-Con for the first time and confessing to Carrie Fisher that he used to kiss her picture every night before he went to sleep, or meeting and working with heroes that include Peter Jackson, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino, Pegg offers a hilarious look at the journey to becoming an international superstar, dotted with a cast of memorable characters, and you’re rooting for him all the way.

Review:
I had just gotten my Kindle and wanted to get something from the library. I figure this was the perfect book to break it in. 😉

This is such a great book. Especially if you’re a geek. I was finding myself getting so excited while he was talking about how excited he was getting. He also sprinkles in a fun little fiction story without interrupting the flow. It’s an awesome read!

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Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
Rating: 5 stars
WBC: Read a book you saw on a blog.

Winter Book Challenge 2012

After taking the FBC off, I found myself missing checking in and challenging myself to read more books. Granted, that graphic novel and manga splurge was amazing! But it’s back to the challenges. I’m not trying to finish it, but I’m hoping to get quite a few done before it’s over.

I’m taking a much more relaxed approach to this challenge. Mainly just plugging in books I’ve been wanting to read.

5 points
*Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Brian Lee O’Malley for a romance for Valentines Day
Nothing for a book with a winter word in the title (ice, snow, winter, cold, etc)
*The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman for a Newbery winner
Nation by Terry Pratchett for a Printz winner or honor book
Nothing for a play
*Ghost Story by Jim Butcher to reread one of your favorite books
*Dragonquest by Anne McCaffery for a book by an author who has died
*Geek Wisdom by Stephen H. Segal for a book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter
*Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Brian Lee O’Malley for a book that fits any of the 10 or 15 pt categories
The White Dragon by Anne McCaffery for a book with an animal in the title (finished, but after the 301st)

10 points
*The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman for a collection of short stories
*The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman for a book with 4+ stars on GR
*Chobits Vol. 1 by CLAMP for a book published the year you graduated HS
*Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for listen to an audiobook
A World Without Islam by Graham Fuller for a book by an author whose last name begins with J, F, or M
The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac for a book not originally published in English
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery for go to literature-map.com, enter your favorite author, read a book by an author who pops up
Nothing for a book with an African American main character or author
*Grave Sight Vol. 1 by Charlaine Harris to give an author a second chance (you didn’t like a book by that author earlier)
*Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg for a book you saw on a blog

15 points
Nothing for a book with one of the 7 deadly sins in the title
Dracula by Brahm Stoker for a book written before 1900
*Deadline by Mira Grant for a book about a disaster (natural or man-made)
Nothing for a western
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink for a book from Oprah’s book club
*Chobits Vol. 3 by CLAMP for a book that fits an unfinished category from a previous challenge
The Tar-Aiym Krang by Alan Dean Foster for a science fiction book
Nothing for read and discuss the Jan, Feb, or March NBC book
Star Trek Movie Memories by William Shatner for a book by a celebrity or politician
Nothing for a biography of a woman for Women’s History Month

25 points
Nothing for a “non-fiction” book about a paranormal subject
Nothing for any book from any of the Best American series
Nothing for a book with a dessert in the title or about a baker/bakery and then bake something yummy and share with the board via picture
Nothing for a book about a medical mystery (fiction or non-fiction)
Nothing for two books in different genres by the same author. Post about which book/genre you liked better, why, and whether you would consider reading additional books by the same author in the other genre

Finished! When the Game was Ours

When the Game was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin Magic JohnsonThis book is amazing. I’m really looking forward to letting my mom borrow it and getting her thoughts afterward. She is the one who got me into basketball. 🙂
This is an amazing, beautifully woven story about two basketball greats. It goes all the way back to their humble beginnings in Indiana and Michigan respectively up to the present. I learned so much! I didn’t know anything about either of them pre-NBA aside from their home states. These two men are examples of what basketball players should be. Because of their presence and mentality, they always elevated their team, not themselves. Their skill and rivalry and knowledge helped the NBA become what it is today, along with commissioner David Stern.
I remember crying during Magic’s HIV prognosis. I was a huge Lakers fan and a huge Magic fan. I remember learning that he was retiring and why. And somehow I understood. I never knew the full effect it had on the NBA.
I loved both their perspectives on basketball today and agree with them. Talking with, listening to, and getting advice from the elder statesmen of the game is a lost practice that needs to be revived.
This book has totally revived my interest in basketball!
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When the Game was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson
Rating: 5 stars
WBC: Read a book about sports.

Finished! Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields
Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book. Don’t ask me why, but it is. So when I found out about this biography of Harper Lee, I leapt at the chance to read it. I don’t think I’ll ever read To Kill a Mockingbird the same way ever again.

Nelle Harper Lee is Scout Finch in so many ways. TKaM is almost a fictionalized autobiography. She drew a lot on her childhood experiences and upon her hometown on Monroeville, Alabama for the book. She was the youngest of four and quite the little tomboy. She loved reading and later writing stories with her neighbor Truman Capote. Her father, A.C. Lee, was a lawyer and a very respected part of the community.

When she went to college she had the intent of becoming a lawyer like her father and eldest sister. But one semester shy of her degree she decided to quit and move to New York City to be a writer. Her desire to be a lawyer came from pleasing her father and having a substantial job to be able to fall back on while she followed her real passion, writing. In New York she worked a couple of small jobs at airlines while trying to write. She had written a series of short stories that her agent liked, but it wouldn’t work as a novel. Some friends of hers gave her money and a note telling her to take the year off and simply write. The result, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Since then she has attempted to write two more books. But neither one was finished. She was involved in the movie and as a result became good friends with Gregory Peck. She wanted to make sure that the spirit of the book was accurately portrayed. As with all movies based on books, there were changes, but the spirit is definitely in tact.

This is a wonderful insight into the life of a very private woman who has written one of the most influential books in history. A very good read, especially for those who enjoy her book.

Rating:
4 stars

Summer Book Challenge: Read a Historical Non-Fiction book.

Mockingbird’s everywhere

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Right now I’m reading Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. It’s the only biography of the author of my favorite book. It’s really good and has me wanting to read To Kill a Mockingbird when I’m done.

Today I saw a link to the following article on The Nest Book Club board. 50 Years On, ‘Mockingbird’ Still Sings America’s Song is about how Mockingbird is still popular and relevant today. They go into some of the history of the book and of the author. It really makes me appreciate the book I’m currently reading. She’s a very private person, hence just the one biography.

Reading the article not only makes me want to read the book even more, but it reminds me of what I did my sophomore year of high school. In English class we did book reports. One of the rules was not to do a book that has a movie based on it, or vice versa. But I really, really wanted to do To Kill a Mockingbird, and as you probably know there’s a movie based on it. I went to my teacher and told her I wanted to read it. I told her that the movie is one of my Dad’s favorites and while he owns it I haven’t watched it and wouldn’t watch it until after I’d read the book and done the book report. Thankfully she believed me and let me do it. I’m sure it bored most of my class, but I was so happy to be able to do it. It’s one of my favorite memories from high school.

I guess the whole point of this post is to express my joy at how popular and relevant my favorite book still is today. There should be a post soon about the biography. Probably not long after that will be a post about Mockingbird since it’s always been a book I’ve had trouble putting down. 🙂

Finished! Up Till Now

Up Till Now Audiobook
Up Till Now by William Shatner

This is a great book! If you’re a fan of any of Shatner’s work, you should read this. To give you an idea of how fun this book is, here’s the opening paragraph:

I was going to begin my autobiography this way:

Call me…Captain James T. Kirk or Sergeant T.J. Hooker or Denny Crane Denny Crane or Twilight Zone plane passenger Bob Wilson or the Big Giant Head or Henry V or the Priceline Negotiator or…

There is so much I didn’t know about the man before listening to this book. He goes through and tells about his life, but in a very relaxed and conversational way. He’ll go off on tangents related to what he was talking about for a while before getting back to the story. He throws in little commercials for his stuff at his website http://www.williamshatner.com. Shatner has done some amazing work early in his career that I want to find and watch. For example, he was in Judgement at Nuremburg.

He goes though his entire career and talks about everything from his stage work in Canada to Star Trek to Rescue 911 to Boston Legal. This book has me wanting to find The Transformed Man and listen to all of it. Once you understand the concept behind it, it doesn’t seem quite so stupid as only the songs are. Absolutely wonderful and hilarious book. I would definately recommend listening to the audiobook as it is narrated by William Shatner. So much fun!

Rating:
5 Stars

Spring Book Challenge: Read a book by a Canadian author other than Margaret Atwood or L.M. Montgomery.

Finished! Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness
Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness by Stephen Kuusisto
This is an amazing and beautiful book. The author has been blind since birth. He has retinitis pigmentosa which allows him to see colors in big fuzzy blobs. Eavesdropping is a collection of experiences he’s had told by ear. He starts with one of his earliest memories, living in Finland and listening by the sea with his father. He travels all over the world and sightsees by ear. He purposely gets lost in Venice just to be able to take in all the sounds that is Venice.

This book gives the sighted a whole new appreciation of the art of listening.

I may be a little biased in my appreciation of this book. In college I was lucky enough to have two classes that were taught by Mr. Kuusisto. The first was an Introduction to Disability Studies class. The first day of class he comes in after most of us were there, with sunglasses on and his guide dog, Vidal. My first thought was, “Awesome! A Disability Studies class taught by someone who is blind!” He is an amazing writer and poet. Both of which are evident in the book. Everyone should read this book!

Rating:

Spring Book Challenge: Read a non-fiction book.

Finished! Without You: A memoir of love, loss, and the musical Rent

As I mentioned before, I am a huge Rent fan. I’ve never seen the Broadway show, but I have the original Broadway soundtrack memorized and love the movie. So when I saw someone commenting on reading Without You I had to read it.

At first there’s mainly talk about Rent as Anthony’s one of the original cast members from the workshop production before it went on broadway. It was great to read about those early days of the show and how much changed. One of the roughest parts to get through was Jonathan Larson’s death. Jonathan Larson was the creative genius behind Rent. He died the night before their off-broadway opening night of an aortic aneurysm. He was young and talented and full of life. It was a very emotional section.

I hoped that it was the most emotional part of the book, I was wrong. Through most of the book Anthony’s mother fights a long, and, in the end, losing battle with cancer. In the early days of Rent she relapses from her remission and her deterioration is a major part of the book.
When the cancer won the battle, I was so glad I was at home. Up until then I was reading it in the car and at work, fighting back the tears. I could just let them fall as I read about how he got through it and dealt with the grief. If you read this book, have a box of tissues close at hand!

This is a great book for anyone to read. Although, if you don’t like Rent, I wouldn’t pick it up as it is a huge part of his life. He’s been a part of the show in every stage it’s been through. I don’t think I’ll ever listen to or watch it the same way again.

Winter Book Challenge: Read two books set on different sides of the country or the world (1st book)

Currently Reading: Without You

I picked this up from the library on Saturday and decided it would be the at-work book. I am a huge Rent fan despite never seeing on Broadway. I’m almost halfway through it and I’m to, what I hope is, the saddest part of the book. That first off-Broadway performance. The one the day after Jonathan’s death. Reading about his feelings and how they’re getting through it and all the grief and shock. I almost regret having it be the at-work book since I read it at lunch and then cover the front desk while the receptionist’s at lunch. Luckily I didn’t look like I had just been trying not to bawl while reading it. It is such a good book! Unless you don’t like Rent at all, go start reading it!!