Finished! The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things audiobook cover
Goodreads

The Signature of All Things is a novel by Elizabeth Gilbert. It follows the life of Alma Whittaker from her birth to the later years of her life. It even goes into the details of her father, Henry Whittaker, leading up to her birth. The details of Henry’s life help to explain a lot about his intelligent daughter. Alma grows up to follow in her father’s footsteps as a botanist. In the book we follow her as she grows in knowledge, years, experience, and relationships.

This book takes you all over the world and back again. There were times I felt if I were reading it, I might have gotten a little bored. Just because of the lull in the action, so to speak. But being an audiobook, the narrator did an amazing job of reading, and it kept me engaged the entire time. This is one of the few times where I do not feel the need to read the book. Most of the time I enjoy the audiobook, but crave the immersion that reading a book gives me. Again, the narrator does such an amazing job, I felt completely immersed while I was listening. Well, as immersed as one can be while driving.

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Book hopping

Yesterday when I posted my plan to read The Dresden Files as completely as possible, I mentioned something about clearing up my reading list. I thought I’d share what that is right now. Or more accurately, what I’m reading right now.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Audiobook cover of The Signature of All Things
Image from Goodreads

This is what I’ve been listening to in the car for a little over a week now. I’m about 61% done and am really enjoying it. It’s a wonderful piece of historical fiction that looks at science and biology before the Civil War in the US. It will probably go through the Civil War, but I’m not up to that point.

I’m looking forward to having the time to sit down and read this later. I love audiobooks, but it is a different experience than sitting and reading the book. Which brings me to my next book.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Cover of Ready Player One
Image from Goodreads.

This past weekend at Marcon, I saw this on a dealer’s table and knew that I should just finally buy the thing. I love listening to Wil Wheaton read this book, but I’ve really been wanting to read, and own, this book. It’s become my “at home” book. I’ve got it with me all the time, but I’m feeling like the place to actually read it is at home. I started to pick up a different book, but found myself really wanting to read this instead. It’s been a while since I’ve had that desire. I missed it.

By reading it, it gives me the time to write down lines that really hit me. It also gives me the time to write down all the cultural references that aren’t explicitly pointed out. I want to see how many I can find myself. I’m hoping to be able to find them all, eventually.

Feed by Mira Grant

Cover for Feed.
Image from Goodreads.

Feed was that other book that I was starting to read when Ready Player One insisted I pick it up.

I’m honestly not sure how often I’ve read this book. Especially since I bought it for my Kindle. Granted, this time I’m a bit inspired by debuting my Becks costume at Marcon this weekend. But this book and the two that follow it are simply so good and well-written that they need no justification to reread multiple times.

I think part of why I enjoy this book so much is that while it’s about zombies, it doesn’t focus on them. It’s about how George and Shaun and Buffy are living in this world where threat of zombie attack is a real thing. Brilliant book.

The Abide Guide by Oliver Benjamin and Dwayne Eutsey

Cover of The Abide Guide.
Image from Goodreads.

After finishing The Dude and the Zen Master, the logical book to read next was The Abide Guide. All that talk about zen and the Dude inspired me to brush up on my Dudeist teachings.

This is a great book. If you enjoy The Big Lebowski and are open-minded when it comes to religion and philosophy and just different ways of living one’s life, then you should read this book. Personally, Dudeism is more of a way of living than a religion for me. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I consider myself a Catholic Dudeist. The two go together really well.

Really, Dudeism goes well with any religion or belief system. Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. But don’t think too much. If you find yourself tensing up, have a White Russian, relax and just abide.

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Cover of Skin Game.
Image from Goodreads.

Yes, Skin Game isn’t out yet. (May 27th!!!) But as usual, Jim is posting the first five chapters on his website. So I’m reading those as they get posted. Next week is when chapter five gets posted, but the week after that is when it arrives on my Kindle! Yes, I have pre-ordered the Kindle version of the book. I learned with Cold Days that if I want to read the book anytime soon after it comes out, just getting the Kindle version is the best way. Of course, I’ll also get the paperback when it comes out.

And I will definitely be reading it asap. I can’t continue on with my Dresden Files project until the newest one is read!

So that’s everything I’m reading right now. It might seem like chaos, but I’m loving it!

Read shelf: April

I was just a little busy this past month.

Akira Vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo
Maggie Without a Clue by Kasey Michaels
Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design by Christiane Lemieux
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Brain Droppings by George Carlin
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 10 by Akiki Higashimura
Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
More Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
The Red Tent by Anita Diamanat
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin

15 books! That’s one book every two days! I have not read that many books in one month since I started keeping track. Possibly ever. Well, at least since I started reading chapter books.

Busy Bookworm: Carlin Crazy

I have been just absorbed by books this week. Four books and two audiobooks in one week! Somehow my bookworm side was tired of being ignored and would no longer take it.

Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin More Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
Napalm and Silly Putty, More Napalm and Silly Putty by George Carlin
These two audiobooks are wonderful. They’re mostly bits of his from his shows and albums, but this time he reads them with a calmer voice and as more of the thinker that he is. I love them!

The Jungle Book by Rudyard KiplingThe Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
It was really nice to reread The Jungle Book after many, many years. I was first given the book at Christmas when I was in the 6th grade, and I loved it then. My favorite story of both books, not just this one, is “Rikki Tikki Tavi”. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but it was and remains my favorite story.

I do find it amusing to read it and see how much Disney sugar-coated Mowgli’s story. I think this was the first time in my life I had that realization. Now I know, Disney makes a movie, know that it’s covered in layers of sugar.
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This book is sadly a case of watching the movie and noticing in the credits that it was based off the book. Yet again, I have to say that The Book Was Better. There are certain aspects of the book that I can understand being left out. But there was so much more that was conveyed better by the book than the film. It was an amazing film. It is one that I will still be able to fully enjoy after reading the book because it was adapted well, but I do wish I had read the book first. The ending of the book was much better than the movie, in my honest opinion. I’d say more, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Go and read it and watch the movie for yourself!
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Babe in Boyland by Jody GehrmanBabe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
“I need to come up with the most amazing article ever. I know! I’ll become a boy for a week and go to the local boys academy.” That is the premise for this whole book. And you know what, it’s great! This is a great book for all teenagers, boys and girls. Although I can see more girls reading this than guys. But it’s a great book that gives you a good perspective on the opposite gender, no matter what your gender is. I’m almost 30 and it reminded me to simply be myself and not let the expectations of my gender determine who I am. It is a wonderful read.
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The Red Tent by Anita DiamanatThe Red Tent by Anita Diamanat
I loved this book from the moment the audiobook began. This is my first time actually reading the book. It is just as wonderful. It gives you a whole new way of looking at the Old Testament and gives you a better context to put it in.

A look back at April, May, and June

Yeah. Somehow I forgot to post this for three months! I guess I was so focused on getting the SBC done that I totally forgot. Well, it’s done now and I’m not even trying with the SuBC. I’m personally going to keep track of what would fit where, but I doubt I’m going to bother with the challenges again. No matter how hard I try I just can’t get it finished. So I’m simply going to read for me and enjoy myself.

Anyway, here’s my book breakdown for the past three months:
April
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 4: Out of the Ashes by Keiji Nakazawa
The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
Ranma 1/2 Vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi
Peach Fuzz Vol. 2 by Cibos & Hodges
Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol. 1 by Barbara Randall Kesel
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Brian Lee O’Malley
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

May
Feed by Mira Grant
Wide Awake by David Levithan
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer
Deadline by Mira Grant

June
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
Blackout by Mira Grant
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 5: The Never-Ending War by Keiji Nakazawa
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 6: Writing the Truth by Keiji Nakazawa
Barefoot Gen, Vol. 7: Bones into Dust by Keiji Nakazawa

Now I get to sit back and read whatever I want at whatever speed I want. Yay!

Finished! Catch-22

Synopsis from Goodreads:

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

Review:
That is an interesting book. There’s only one way to truly describe it. It is a book about the insanity of war. It really reminding me of M*A*S*H. The ridiculous, the serious, the funny, the depressing. It’s all rolled together into one cohesive view of war.
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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Rating: 4 stars

Doubt

I’m really starting to doubt that I’m going to finish the SBC. That darned 700+ page book task is probably what’s going to kill it for me. I’m only a little over halfway through The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. Even if I can finish that and Blackout by next Saturday, it’ll leave me two weeks to read The Hobbit and His Dark Materials. I’m not giving up, but when I finish The Hobbit and there’s less than a week to go, I’m not even going to try for His Dark Materials. This is definitely the closest I’ve ever gotten though!

Worried

I am really worried I won’t finish the SBC right now. I have to finish a book a week to get it done. And that includes reading His Dark Materials. I just have to hope I can get The Yiddish Policeman’s Union done this week and blow through Blackout. If I can do that, I think I might be able to do it.

Progress

I am so glad I took a break on Catch-22. I’m really getting back into it and I might be able to get it done by Monday. That would be wonderful! It would leave me with just 4 books to read next month, and I know I’ll blow through Blackout. I just don’t know if I’ll be reading our copy or seeing if the library has it.

Finished! Flowers for Algernon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Following his doctor’s instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in semi-literate “progris riports.” He dimly wants to better himself, but with an IQ of 68 can’t even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving:

I dint feel bad because I watched Algernon and I lernd how to finish the amaze even if it takes me along time.

I dint know mice were so smart.

Algernon is extra-clever thanks to an experimental brain operation so far tried only on animals. Charlie eagerly volunteers as the first human subject. After frustrating delays and agonies of concentration, the effects begin to show and the reports steadily improve: “Punctuation, is? fun!” But getting smarter brings cruel shocks, as Charlie realizes that his merry “friends” at the bakery where he sweeps the floor have all along been laughing at him, never with him. The IQ rise continues, taking him steadily past the human average to genius level and beyond, until he’s as intellectually alone as the old, foolish Charlie ever was–and now painfully aware of it. Then, ominously, the smart mouse Algernon begins to deteriorate…

Review:
That was amazing. Where to start? Poor Charlie. He wanted so bad to be smart. And he was. It was just too much too fast. Then, being the one to figure out that you are going to regress and when and how fast just makes it worse.
One thing I found interesting was how he talked about ‘Charlie’ like he was another person. It made me wonder how he referred to himself.
In the end, I understand why he decided to go. He wanted to be somewhere he could feel safe and good about himself. At least he made the decision himself, and he’s hopefully reached the lowest point he’s going to reach.
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Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys
Rating: 5 stars