Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Literary Souvenirs

I love to travel. As much as I'll whine about trains and planes and car rides it probably doesn't seem that way. This year in particular I found that I needed to be constantly on the mood. Well, i guess constantly isn't a great word. I needed to be on the move as often as my budget and my job would allow. I discovered that if I was home for more than four months at a time I got antsy.
This year I've been to Chicago, Toronto, DC, Baltimore, and Milwaukee.

Now I'm sure you're wondering how this has anything to do with this blog.

To keep my visits cheaper I gave myself one rule.

The only souvenirs I can buy are books.
Reminders of my trips to Toronto, DC, and Milwaukee. *

More specifically: Books by authors from the place I'm visiting.

Honestly I wish I'd come up with this sooner. Last year I was in Texas and all I have is a plastic cup to commemorate the trip. Even my trip to Toronto left me browsing the Canadian Literature section rather than going in with a plan. By the time I got to DC I was more prepared. I now have a Michael Chabon novel that I'd never heard of. I researched Wisconsin authors for days trying to find someone I'd heard of and didn't already own. Now I have a used copy of plays by Thornton Wilder.

What makes this better is I am now forced to find bookshops on my travels. When I was in Milwaukee my best friend and I found ourselves in this amazing used bookstore that was packed from ceiling to flour. It had rooms and rooms. There were cats that followed us everywhere. It is a great memory to add to a great trip.

What do you all do for souvenirs? Do you go the keychains and commemorative mugs route or do you look for something specific from each location?

*Baltimore was part of the same vacation as DC and I was frantic to come up with an author from Maryland that wasn't Poe. In the end I didn't find a list before I left the city but I did get to browse a really stellar bookshop.  Also, for those of you who don't know I used to live in Chicago so my visits there are no longer about tourism, instead I'm visiting with my best friend. However I do own a couple Hemingway books from my time spent in Illionis. Also a Joe Meno book I did buy on a trip there.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Readathon Wrap Up

 Well I didn't make it. I tried but in the end my cold won over and I fell asleep around one thirty. So I missed out on six and a half hours and probably finishing another few books. In my defense I did attempt to listen to Emma on audiobook when my eyes got tired but that just made me more sleepy. Anyway I  had fun, I read a couple of good books and I got a day to just relax and do what I love without having to worry about school or work or calories.

So here's a slightly late End of Event post. Thanks to everyone who stopped by or read these posts.

End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
    I fell asleep during hour seventeen so that should probably be my answer, right?
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
    This year I read The Anatomy of Dreams and it was really good and I was really compelled to find out what was going to happen next! Past years celebrity memoirs (like Bossypants) and old favorites (Harry Potter, that year I read most of Order and all of HBP) are really fun for events like this
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    Nope. You guys know what you're doing!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
    I liked all of the platforms that I could go to to post my readathon thoughts and progress. Here, tumblr, twitter, instagram, goodreads. I happen to have all of those accounts but that's not true of everyone and it makes this feel like a very inclusive event.
  5. How many books did you read?
    Just 2. Had I been able to fight through sleepy eyes I should have been able to fight through another.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?
    My True Love Gave to Me and The Anatomy of Dreams
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?
    They were very different but looking back The Anatomy of Dreams probably wins out.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?
    I mean I only read two and I still really liked My True Love Gave to Me...
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
    I was not. I should volunteer in April.
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
    It really all depends on my schedule. With that said I'd love to be a reader again.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Half Way There

Cue the Bon Jovi!
No wait, that's an awful idea. Don't do that at all. Unless you're at karaoke, then you'll be forced to listen to me wail along to Living on a Prayer. But I digress.
I'm halfway through the Dewey Readathon!
You know what that means?

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
I'm working on The Anatomy of Dreams. I've also read a few stories from The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.

2. How many books have you read so far?
Just one, My True Love Gave To Me, which is the short story collection Stephenie Perkins released with all of the the best YA authors to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I'm not sure. Maybe Just One Year? I realized The Kings Curse is too long for me to feasibly finish for the Readathon so I may have to adjust some expectations.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
A few. I have a dog who likes attention. And to play. And to go on walks. I also realized I needed to give my shower a quick clean before I used it (my brother's been ill. I don't want to get sick!) and I just got back form getting Mediterranean carry out. Oh, and my computer randomly forced me to install Windows 8.1, which caused some panic in the early hours of this morning.

I've been cold all day. Combating the chill with my favorite Out of Print fleece.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I'd originally thought it would be a really great idea to break up longer books by reading short stories when i needed a change of pace. This really ended up being too much of an excuse to get up, walk around, check the internet, really anything besides read. Plus now i'm sixty pages into a short story collection and about halfway done with a novel when I could be very close to finishing either. In hindsight I should have seen this coming.

Dewey 24 Hour Readathon Opening Meme

Opening Meme:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Southeast Michigan, where the sun isn't really up and it's very chilly

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
The Assasination of Margaret Thatcher by Hillary Mantel. I'm on a short story kick right now.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
There is pumpkin spice puppy chow in my fridge. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Oh I hate these! I'm 25 and recently went back to school to get my masters in Library and Information Science. 

This is me up way too early on a Saturday. Let the reading begin!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
This is my third time attempting a full readathon, though I've come in and out of others in the past. I guess this time I'm not putting as much pressure on myself. At the end of the day this is supposed to be enjoyable so there's no point stressing over if I can actually read every minute of the next twenty four hours.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Readathon Prep

In case you've missed it tomorrow is the biannual Dewey Readathon, or as I like to think of it, that thing I try to do at least once a year and somehow always manage to make plans/turn into a lazy sleep monster and never actually finish.

This year is different.

Okay, that's setting the bar pretty high. Let's try this. I'm going to attempt to make this year different. I'm not working. I have zero plans. I have informed my family and friends that I will be locked away with my books all day.
Now all I have to do is stay motivated. To help with that i've been cultivating my TBR pile for sevearl days.

My most successful readathons in the past were back when I was in college. Strange, right? Back then I'd mix up my reading. Screenplays, short story collections and all genres were within my grasp.

Tomorrow I'm taking a hint from past me.
I have two short story collections that I'm itching to get my hands on. I think they'll prove really helpful when I'm getting bogged down or bored by another book or just want a change of pace to maybe go with a change of location.

So wish me luck, and good luck to you if you're doing the readathon tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Attachments - Rainbow Rowell


Rainbow Rowell

Lincoln didn't mean to be living with his mother. He didn't intend to have to take a midnight IT job to get by and he certainly didn't picture still being single as the clock counted down to the new millennium. Unfortunately this is his life, and the only thing that could make it worse is that part of his job description is to read private emails sent over his works server. So what happens when I starts to fall in love with a girl he's never met, who frequently ignores work to chat with her friend and sends emails that end up in his flagged folder?

Attachments is very obviously a first novel. That isn't always a bad thing. There are millions of debut novels that stun. Only this one doesn't.  The story is interesting enough. Boy is heartbroken forever. Boy gets job invading peoples privacy. Boy then falls in love with one of the people who's privacy he has invaded.

The real problem is that Lincoln isn't as interesting as this premise would like. He struggles with the morality of what he's doing and feeling but that isn't enough to make him a good person. Being inside his head is like being forced to talk to go on a week long vacation with that friend you have that whines all the time.

The email conversations between Beth and Jennifer are the real highlight of Attachments. They're lively and funny and really show that Rowell will excel when embracing creative ways to tell a story. The seeing was also perfect. Like in Eleanor and Park Rowell was able to take a time frame that is both within recent memory yet completely different from today.

Overall if you're a fan of Rainbow Rowells other work than you should give Attachments a read. It's not her best work but it's far from the worst that's out there.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

Top Ten places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit
1. Prague
Admittedly I've wanted to go to Prauge since before I can remember. I did recently read the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series though and it reminded me how desperately I wanted to see this city for myself. Even the Prauge of Unbearable Lightness of Being  has me itching to by a plane ticket.

Where to start. It's Paris! Anna and the French Kiss, Paris, My Sweet, and Just One Day are only a few of the books I've read that have left me dying to return to the city of lights.

Another city you can thank the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series for. I think you could also probably include the events of Cress here. I'd always pictured their Northern Africa adventure happening in Morocco.

It's hard to pin London down to a book, or even several books. I feel like I've been reading about the city for my entire life. I've spent summers bent over books about Tudor England and long winter nights huddled up with mysteries set in London's modern streets.  It's a place that is always changing in my mind. I want to visit just so I can pin it down.

5. Hogwarts
Have you visited my blog before? Of course this is on my list. 

6.San Fransisco
Lola and the Boy Next Door reminded me that there were parts of California that weren't LA. I hadn't really thought about San Fransisco as a real place until then. Now I see SF everywhere. I want to see the bay and the streetcars. It's the only reason I want to go to the west coast.

7. New York
Like London it's near impossible for me to pick even a handful of books that have made me want to go there. It's nearly impossible to pick up a novel without New York being mentioned. So it doesn't matter to me if it's the hipsteresq vibe found in Friendship or the Love Affairs of Nathaniel P or if it's gritty like A Replacement Life New York will always be near the top of my Wanderlust list.

8.  Tokyo in 1Q84
Admittedly I've never been particularly interested in a long fight to Japan. However the way Tokyo was presented in 1Q84 piqued my interests. Okay, maybe I just want to know more about the Little People. Still, let's go to Tokyo!

9. Penumbra's Bookstore
I read Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore at a time when my life was a mess. It reminded me what I love about books, and more importantly, how much I love strange books. I'd love to visit this fictional bookstore if just for the opportunity to thank someone for setting me back on track.

10. Pemberley
A girl can dream, right?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September in Review

Hi! Remember me? I haven't been swallowed by a blogging blackhole, I swear. Setepember was just crazy busy for me.

As I mentioned in my August post I just went back to school, and things really did pick up come Labor Day. On top of that I somehow managed to do homework, go to Washington DC, Chicago and Milwaukee and also still do my day job. As you may expect that left little time for books or blogging.

My life is going to settle down soon, I swear.  Or at least I'm going to be staying in one place for the foreseeable future. With that I hope to get in some more reviews and bookish posts. I miss writing here and reading all of you guys lovely posts.

With all of that said my September in Review numbers shouldn't be a surprise.

Books Read:
41. The Vacationers - Straub

42.  Cress - Meyer

American Authors: 2
African: 0
South American: 0

Male:0  Female:2

New Releases:1

Like I said, given how busy my life was these numbers aren't exactly surprising. I'm happy I got to my goal of 35 books  for 2014 early in the year so I don't have to stress about slacking on personal goals as well as everything else.
I guess the only good thing is that It's barely the second week in October (PS: Sorry I'm posting this in the second week of October) and I've read just as many books as I had in all of September.


Alright, back to school and work and being way busier than I signed up for!