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!

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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.

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! And Another Thing…

Synopsis from Goodreads:

An Englishman’s continuing search through space and time for a decent cup of tea . . .

Arthur Dent’s accidental association with that wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, has not been entirely without incident.

Arthur has traveled the length, breadth, and depth of known, and unknown, space. He has stumbled forward and backward through time. He has been blown up, reassembled, cruelly imprisoned, horribly released, and colorfully insulted more than is strictly necessary. And of course Arthur Dent has comprehensively failed to grasp the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Arthur has finally made it home to Earth, but that does not mean he has escaped his fate.

Arthur’s chances of getting his hands on a decent cuppa have evaporated rapidly, along with all the world’s oceans. For no sooner has he touched down on the planet Earth than he finds out that it is about to be blown up . . . again.

And Another Thing … is the rather unexpected, but very welcome, sixth installment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. It features a pantheon of unemployed gods, everyone’s favorite renegade Galactic President, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer, and at least one very large slab of cheese.

Review:
The world could have lived without this book. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but Adams had it pretty well wrapped up. It would have been different if he had left notes for a book (like Robert Jordan). But he didn’t. There were times where it really worked. But overall it just didn’t. I can’t put my finger on exactly what, but it just didn’t. And that ending just sucked.

___________________________________________

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer
Rating: 2 stars

Finished! Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Read by Wil Wheaton

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

Review:
This book is awesome! All the hype is what kept me from it. But finding out Wil Wheaton reads the audiobook, wild horses couldn’t keep me away.

This book is an amazing geek-fest. References left and right. I don’t want to spoil anything, but after a list of directors, “And of course, Kevin Smith” was so awesome to hear.

Spoiler Alert!

Now I just want to read the book and write down every reference I can find in the book. Awesome!

___________________________________________

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Rating: 5 stars
SBC: Use Whichbook.net to choose a book.

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)

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