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!

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! Blackout

Blackout by Mira GrantSynopsis from Goodreads:

Rise up while you can. -Georgia Mason

The year was 2014. The year we cured cancer. The year we cured the common cold. And the year the dead started to walk. The year of the Rising.

The year was 2039. The world didn’t end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. The uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.

Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies-and if there’s one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it’s this:

Things can always get worse.

Blackout is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated Feed and the sequel, Deadline.

Review:
Wow. That was amazing! That woman is the master of twists. From the first sentence on, it’s a series of well-placed twists. I really can’t say much without really spoiling things. If you haven’t read the chapter that’s at the end of Deadline, you are in for some huge surprises.
I will say this, she does a wonderful job of wrapping everything up. Even down to a coda at the end reminiscent of Harry Potter. It’s a great ending to an amazing trilogy.

___________________________________________

Blackout by Mira Grant
Rating: 5 stars

Hope

I have hope that I can get the SBC finished!  I finished The Yiddish Policeman’s Union the other day.  I started The Hobbit Tuesday.  Yesterday Blackout came in at the library and I started that.  If I can finish it this weekend, and don’t take too long to finish The Hobbit, I might have enough time to get His Dark Materials finished before the end of the month!  Yay!

Finished! Deadline (again)

I read Deadline earlier this year. Feel free to read that post, nothing’s really changed since then.

But there is something I want to tell you all about. What if things had ended…differently? Mira Grant has released a PDF of an alternate ending to Feed called Fed. I read it Friday. It is good. Personally, I am glad she went with the ending she did. But it is very well written and is definitely worth the read for any fan. Enjoy!

Finished! Feed (again)

Seeing as I’ve read it before, I’ll skip the Goodreads synopsis and get right to it.

Review:
I love how realistic this book can be. For example, yes you no longer get cancer from smoking. But all the other health problems exist. The same can probably be said for alcohol. Another thing is how the bloggers rose up. If something like that were to happen, I’d be checking the BBC and blogs. When your priority is simply getting the truth out there, not caring about ratings, you know what’s really happening.

The names of the divisions are great. You know exactly what they do before she explains them: Newsies, Stewarts, Irwins, Aunties, Fictionals. I’d probably be a cross between a Stewart and an Auntie.

It’s amazing how you can reread a book and it’s a completely different book. It still feels like Tom Clancy could have written it. But I noticed something I didn’t before. Replace the zombies with terrorists and it could be set today! The right-wing conservatives going on and on about how the nation is losing its way and needs to get back to religion. Ugh. I think Senator Ryman said it best:

“I say when God comes down here and helps me clean my house, I’ll be more than happy to help Him with cleaning His. Until then, I’ll trouble myself with keeping people fed and breathing, and let Him tend to the parts I can’t do anything to help.” ~p.207

Gays, zombies, terrorists, abortions, and whatever else they are against isn’t going to go away by sticking religion into the government.

Spoiler Alert!

Spring Book Challenge 2012

The last of the 25 point challenges have been posted and I’m giving it a real try this time. I think I have a good chance at getting it finished this time! (+ indicates currently reading)

5 point tasks (done!)
*Peach Fuzz Vol. 2 by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges for a book with an animal on the cover
*The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for a book with 15,000+ ratings (not reviews) on GR
*In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan for a book from the Nestie created books you should read list
*Beloved by Toni Morrison for a book set in a place you’ve been
*Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol. 1 by Barbara Randall Kesel for a book GR recommends for you

10 point tasks (done!)
*Catch-22 by Joseph Heller for a book from the 1001 books list
*Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi for an Alex Award winner
*Feed by Mira Grant for an old NBC monthly pick
*The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein for a book most people read in high school but you haven’t read
*Wide Awake by David Levithan for a book with a LGBT main character or author

15 point tasks
*The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan for the April, May, or June NBC pick
*The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon for an Edgar Award winner or nominee
His Dark Materials by Phillip J. Pullman for a 700+ page book
*Barefoot Gen, Vol. 4: Out of the Ashes by Keiji Nakazawa for a non-fiction history book
*Ranma 1/2 Vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi for a book that fits at least two of the other categories

25 point tasks (done!)
*Deadline by Mira Grant for a book that was nominated for the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards
*Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for use Whichbook.net to choose a book
*And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer for a book about which you keep saying “I’ll read that later.”
*Blackout by Mira Grant for something first published in 2012
*Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes for a book about someone with a special need (F or NF)

Finished! Deadline

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you’ve lost as much as he has.

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

Review:
This is all going to be spoilery. So if you haven’t read it, go read it!

OMG. I am so ready for some nice books that don’t make me feel like I’ve been living on a roller coaster. I was really expecting Shaun not to make it. Then she throws in the twist. And knowing her, he doesn’t have a reservoir condition and it’s unexplainable for a while.
I’m really hoping Rick and Ryman aren’t involved. I highly doubt Ryman. I want to think Rick’s not.
What the fuck is up with Georgia?! This was my reaction to those final sentences: “Those BASTARDS!!” I would so stay clear of Shaun when he finds out, whatever it is.

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Deadline by Mira Grant
Rating: 5 stars
WBC: Read a book about a disaster (natural or man-made).

A look back at September

September was a huge month. Not only did I do the best ever in any NBC challenge, but I got a lot read. Let me show you:

Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
Feed by Mira Grant
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Vol 6: Retreat by Jane Espenson
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Sketches by Eric Walters
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
Mistress by Leda Swann
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Vol 7: Twilight by Brad Meltzer
The Amazing Spider-Man: Crime and Punisher by Marc Guggenheim
The Amazing Spider-Man: Death and Dating by Mark Waid
The Amazing Spider-Man: Election Day by Marc Guggenheim
The Amazing Spider-Man: 24/7 by Fred Van Lente
The Amazing Spider-Man: American Son by Joe Kelley
Avengers: The Initiative, Vol. 3: Secret Invasion by Dan Slott
Avengers: The Initiative, Vol. 4: Disassembled by Dan Slott
Dark Avengers Vol. 1: Assemble by Brian Michael Bendis
Dark Reign: The Underside by Frank Tieri
Wolverine Origins: Dark Reign by Daniel Way
Batman: The Widening Gyre by Kevin Smith

19 books! 19 books in one month! And all those graphic novels were read in a week. What can I say, they’re good and quick reading.

I am actually taking the FBC off. I have a huge stack of graphic novels to work through and a few novels too. So there’s going to be a lot of graphic talk these next few months. And obviously I have a lot of posts to write. You won’t be short of reading material any time soon!

Finished! Feed

Feed by Mira GrantSynopsis from Goodreads:

(from miragrant.com) In 2014, two experimental viruses—a genetically engineered flu strain designed by Dr. Alexander Kellis, intended to act as a cure for the common cold, and a cancer-killing strain of Marburg, known as “Marburg Amberlee”—escaped the lab and combined to form a single airborne pathogen that swept around the world in a matter of days. It cured cancer. It stopped a thousand cold and flu viruses in their tracks.

It raised the dead.

Millions died in the chaos that followed. The summer of 2014 was dubbed “The Rising,” and only the lessons learned from a thousand zombie movies allowed mankind to survive. Even then, the world was changed forever. The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection. Danger, deceit, and betrayal lurk around every corner, as does the hardest question of them all:

When will you rise?

Review:

I really loved this book. I did not think that I would enjoy it this much. George and Shaun are great. She does a great job of setting things up while keeping it moving really well!
I love all the twists and turns the plot is taking. I think I’ve realized part of why I’m loving this book. In a way, it reminds me of Tom Clancy’s novels. Part of it is probably the politics involved. But it’s mostly due to the unexpected twists and turns. It’s awesome!

Spoilers past this point! They were written as I read the book. Highlight to read:
First they join the campaign. Then the attack in Oklahoma. Then, the tragedy at the farm. Now. Buffy. I can’t believe she did that. No wonder she wanted to leave. I’m starting to wonder if Tate is involved. It just seems too coincidental. But despite all of that, she didn’t deserve to die.

Wow. I was not expecting that final twist. I mean killing the narrator?! George really didn’t deserve to die like that. But I do like how Shaun got to take Tate out. Arrogant bastard. It was really hart to keep from crying during that last part of the book. I feel so badly for Shaun. I don’t blame him for leaving the field. It’s no surprise at all.

I am really looking forward to reading Deadline.
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Feed by Mira Grant
Rating: 5 stars
SuBC: Read July, Aug, or Sept NBC pick and participate in its discussion.