Sunday, October 28, 2007

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

This book is the winner of the 2002 Booker prize, and I read it for two challenges. It is the first book in the Canadian authors challenge and my fifth book in the Reading Awards Challenge.

Briefly, Pi is Piscine Patel (nicknamed Pi) who, at the age of 16, is on a boat immigrating with his family from India to Canada when the boat unexpectedly sinks. The majority of the story is told from Pi's point of view as he becomes the lone survivor during months at sea in a rescue lifeboat.

STRENGTHS OF LIFE OF PI: This is not normally the type of book I'd choose to read. I am not into adventure/survival stories, but Martel's writing was able to hold my attention throughout the book. It is always hard, I think, for a writer to keep the reader's interest when there is only a single character involved in the action. I found Pi's story fascinating, and I was rooting for him throughout the story. Martel was also able to create wonderful word pictures so you'd truly see or feel what that boat was like for Pi. I truly felt how wet he was, and how hungry, at various times in the story.

WEAKNESSES OF LIFE OF PI: SPOILER ALERT - don't read this paragraph if you don't want to know how the book ends. With that said, I am not sure I liked the ending. I've read other blogs where people have referred to the book's ending, and I see what they meant. Was he really in the boat the whole time with the tiger or was most of the book his deluded thinking? Was the interview at the end the true story? I almost wish Martel had ended the book when Pi reached Mexico and Richard Parker, the tiger, ran off into the jungle. That was a very redemptive moment for me. The interview in the third section of the book that leads the reader to doubt Pi's entire story feels a bit like a slap in the face, almost like an elaborate joke on the reader. I don't like it when authors trick the reader. It feels like a violated trust. I really wanted to believe that he survived with the tiger, and not that there were others in the boat, at first, and that they resorted to cannibalism to survive. The symbolism of the animals, in retrospect, seems heavy-handed. SPOILER ALERT ENDED!

Overall, did I like the book? I'm ambivalent. I really enjoyed the writing, but I am having difficulty with the ending. Is it thought-provoking? Absolutely. Was it worth my reading time? I think so. I'd love to know what you thought, especially about the ending!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - Abandoned Books

Today’s suggestion is from Cereal Box Reader

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I actually don't abandon many books. I was an English major in college so I really couldn't abandon anything I read then, and I think the habit has stuck. However, two books stick out in my mind that I have abandoned recently.

1. Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland - I loved Microsurfs and couldn't get past the first 50 pages of this one. I think it put me in a coma.

2. Accordion Crimes by E. Annie Proulx - Again, I loved The Shipping News, but couldn't get past the first 20 pages of this one.

I'll be curious to read what other people have given up on.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Las Vegas :: Neon

  2. Linus :: Snoopy

  3. Struck :: By lightning (have no idea where that came from!)

  4. Movie :: Something I don't see many of unless they are G or ok for kids - sigh!

  5. Anxious :: Nervous

  6. Bandit :: Time (wasn't that a movie?)

  7. Picks :: Selects

  8. Lasso :: Cowboy

  9. Dinner :: Out (I had a nice time out with friends last night!)

  10. Bargain :: Basement

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday's Six - The Eyes Have It

This week's Saturday's Six is all about eyes. So take a look at my answers:)

1. When speaking to someone in person, how often do you look them directly in the eye?

I try to always look at people when I speak to them. I also try to look at them when I listen too. That just seems more polite and respectful to me.

2. How likely are you to notice another person’s eye color?

Not very likely unless it's a very bright green or blue. I tend to notice very brightly colored eyes, but I must admit that I try to figure out if they are real or contacts.

3. What color eyes does your closest friend have?

I think they are brown but I'm not really sure.

4. Take the quiz: What do your eyes reveal about you?

What do your eyes reveal about you?(PICS!)Updated
created with
You scored as Passion

You are very passionate whether that passion is good or evil has yet to be determined. You have great power over others and they seem to flock to your service. You are very competative almost to a fault. Perhaps you should let someone else win for a change?







Diamond Eyes


Eyes full of Pain


5. If you had the chance to permanently change the color of your eyes, and would never be able to change it back to your original color, would you change it? If so, from what color to what color?

No, I like my eye color. They are a bluish-green and change colors depending on what I'm wearing and what mood I'm in. It's actually pretty neat.

6. If you were a candidate for Lasik® eye surgery, do you think you’d have the guts to go through with eye surgery?

NEVER! I had a friend who had a horrendous experience with the surgery. Read about her experience here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - Punctuation

You may or may not have seen my post at Punctuality Rules Tuesday, about a book I recently bought that had the actual TITLE misspelled on the spine of the book. A glaring typographical error that really (really!) should have been caught. So, using that as a springboard, today’s question: What’s the worst typographical error you’ve ever found in (or on) a book?
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I'm coming up real blank on this one. I see so much misspelling at school that I may not even notice it in books I read. The only one I remember was a proof copy of a novel that I read at least ten years ago. It was full of typos, but it was a proof copy from a publisher. I really disliked the book, and I always thought it was because of all the errors because they got to be quite annoying.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fun Reading Quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Book Snob

Dedicated Reader

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

Fad Reader


What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

This answer actually makes sense. I was an English major in college so I have read some classics, but I love a good mystery or series novel. Let me know if you try it.

Thanks to Callista for posting this quiz.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

This is my first book in the 2nds Challenge. I have previously read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, and I really liked it. I actually selected this book because I liked the cover in the bookstore. I didn't really know anything about it. I have done this before to some success.

The story is essentially the personal journey of Sabine Parsifal, the assistant of the title, after the death of her husband, the magician of the title. It is actually more complicated than that because Parsifal, the magician, was gay and dies after his Vietnamese lover, who we assume dies of AIDS. Sabine is Parsifal's life-long friend and marries him at the end of his life.

Strengths of The Magician's Assistant: Patchett has written a quietly powerful book about grief and its impact on a variety of people. Sabine is a well-conceived and executed character. The first sentence of the book: "Parsifal is dead" puts her character squarely in the middle of all the action. We see her life with Parsifal in a series of dreams and conversations with others. Sabine's quest to resolve her grief and become more than "just" the assistant take her to Parsifal's long-lost and dysfunctional family in Nebraska where she learns much more about her husband than she ever knew. What I particularly liked were the "dream" sequences where Sabine was able to connect with Phan, Parsifal's dead lover, and, finally, Parsifal himself. Patchett infused a spiritual, and redemptive, aspects to these dreams which truly seemed to heal Sabine during the story. I was also interested in some of the insights into how magic is done. I wonder if I'll be able to see anything the next time I go to a magic show.

Weaknesses of The Magician's Assistant: I really like the book but it was very different from Bel Canto. I think readers who liked Bel Canto may find this one a bit too slow and contemplative. I also wondered why Patchett introduced a possible new love interest for Sabine. I liked the idea that she was coming into herself and did not need anyone else at this point in her life. It was a bit of a cop out by Patchett. I also think some people will be upset that the book ends in Nebraska, and that we don't see Sabine back in California living her own life. I liked the symbolism of ending the story with one final magic trick. For me, that solidified Sabine's spiritual recovery, and connection with Parsifal. I found it, oddly, quite romantic and touching.

Overall, I'd recommend this book if someone is in the mood for a more contemplative, quiet read. It is not a page-turner in the traditional sense, but is a book I think will be with me for a long time. If you've read it, I'd love to know what you thought.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Illicit :: Affair

  2. Go :: Come

  3. Jacket :: Dinner (we were just invited to two different formal events)

  4. Blow :: Wind (we lost a fence to a wind storm a few years ago. It was two days after the neighbor on that side moved in.)

  5. Coach :: Soccer (which got rained out yesterday!)

  6. Effort :: Hard (sometimes it's just hard to get things done)

  7. Leadership :: Abuse (it's very easy to use power as a leader in the wrong way)

  8. Snore :: Fake (it's a game my daughter plays)

  9. Fearless :: Leader

  10. Network :: Television

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday's Six - Halloween Spookyness

1. If you’re all alone on a dark and stormy night when a particularly scary movie comes on, will you watch it or change the channel?

Absolutely change the channel. I still remember one of my first baby-sitting jobs as a teenager. I made the mistake of watching a really cheesy horror movie and freaked myself out so much that I wouldn't open the door for the child's parents until they called me on the phone. Also, movies like The Sixth Sense give me nightmares for days. All someone has to do is go by me and whisper "I see dead people," and I'm doomed.

2. If you could remake any old horror movie, which one would you choose and why?

I don't like most horror movies, but I would like to see a modern remake of some of the Hitchcock classics like Rear Window or The Birds.

3. If you had the chance to spend the night in a room that you really believed was haunted by a malevolent ghost, would you?

Malevolent ghost - no way. I truly do believe that there are souls who have not crossed over, but I would be much more comfortable with a benevolent soul. I don't think that would flip me out at all.

4. Take the quiz: What is your Halloween personality?

What Your Halloween Habits Say About You

You're a friendly person, but not the life of the party. You like making someone else's day - and you'll dress up if you think of a really fun costume.

Sneaky and devious, people should really watch out for you. You are usually underestimated and forgotten.

Your inner child is stubborn and a bit bossy.

You fear people taking advantage for you. You are always worried about protecting your own interests.

You're prone to be quite emotional and over dramatic. Deep down, you enjoy being scared out of your mind... even if you don't admit it.

You are a traditionalist with most aspects of your life. You like your Halloween costume to be basic, well made, and conventional enough to wear another year.

5. Who is your favorite horror writer/novelist?

I don't really like horror novels. I get too scared, too easily. I recently read two of dean Koontz's Odd Thomas novels, which I did end up enjoying.

6. How many years has it been since you last went trick-or-treating?

Since I have an eight year old daughter, that would be last Halloween. Actually, we trick or treat in an area that gets an average of 700 - 900 (Yes, that's seven hundred to nine hundred) people at each door. It's quite a scene. We spend some time out amongst them, but have just as much fun helping to hand out candy. It takes three to four people to man the door at any one time all evening.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - Meet the Author

This week's BTT question is pretty simple for me. I don't have a very long or complicated answer so here it goes.

I said in August, when we talked about fan mail, that I planned on expanding that to live meetings when the time was right. Well, that time is now!

  • Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph?
  • How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to?
  • How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?
Yes, I met Ray Bradbury on a junior high school field trip. We went to see a play of the Martian Chronicles, and he was there. He signed all of our books and spent a great deal of time talking to us about the play and the book. It was a great experience. I know a number of authors so they've signed their books for me as well. My husband is actually a character in a short story one of our friends published.

I don't tend to ask for autographs so I don't have many signed books. The only exception is for my daughter. When she was little, I got a number of books signed for her when I went to teacher conferences.

I have stumbled into book readings and signings (especially at teacher reading conferences), and I do tend to buy the books. I especially loved hearing Eve Bunting talk and bought the whole Black Lagoon children's series after hearing its author speak. I don't tend to buy as many adult books that way, though.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Back from a long weekend of soccer, ice skating, and all things Disney. Thanks to CJ for this meme ... it's the most I can do right now.

SCATTERGORIES... it's harder than it looks!

*Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...
*They have to be real places, names, things, nothing made up!
*Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial.
*You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question

What is your name? Janis
4 letter word: Jars
Vehicle: Jeep
City: Jackson, Mississippi
Boy name: Jaxon
Girl Name: Jane
Alcoholic drink: Julip (the Mint kind)
Occupation: Janitor
Something you wear: Jumper
Celebrity: Jane Curtain
Food: Juicy Fruit Gum
Reason for Being Late: Jumping the car battery
Cartoon Character: Jealous Jerry

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Saturday's Six - Numbers

Today is Saturday so it's time for Saturday's Six. It's all about numbers today.

1. If you were to count to three on your fingers, would you hold up your thumb, index and middle finger, or your index, middle and ring finger?

I actually had to try it just now, and I definitely use my index, middle, and ring fingers. I tried it the other way, and it's very uncomfortable.

2. What was the last thing you remember counting in your home?

I think it was for one of my daughter's homework assignments last year. It seems like we had to count the number of windows and doors in our house.

3. When you are listening to someone who uses repetitious phrases when speaking, such as, “you know,” how many of them do you generally need to hear before you begin subconsciously counting the occurrences?

I'm sure I do subconsciously count because I get really annoyed by repetitive language. I also know I count Ums and Ahs in conversations as well. I'd say I probably start counting after the third or fourth time.

4. Take the quiz: What is your expression number?

Your Expression Number is 11

You tend to be associated with idealistic concepts and spiritual issues.
You have high potentials that are somewhat difficult to live up to.
You have very strong intuition and you can be a bit psychic at times.

Highly inspirational, you can lead merely by your own example.
You have an inborn inner strength and awareness that helps you advise others.
Although you have what it takes for a successful career, you belong outside the business world.

Overly sensitive and temperamental, you tend to have a lot of nervous tension.
You dream a lot, so much so that you may be more of a dreamer than a doer.
Fantasy and reality tend to get intermingled for you, and that leads to impracticality.

The last part of this doesn't fit me at all ... at least I hope not!

5. You’re calling a friend on the telephone and he’s not home: assuming he didn’t have voicemail, do you actually count how many rings go by or do you just hang up after a time you feel is sufficient for him to answer?

It's so rare to get a phone that rings more than about three times that I do count. I know that I've let a phone ring twenty times in the past because I was so amazed that it would ring that many times. Normally, though, I'd give up after about five or six rings. But I guess I am counting rings no matter what.

6. You go out to eat and you order a plate of twelve chicken wings. Do you actually count them before eating?

It would never occur to me to count. I've probably been shortchanged on food all my life:)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Canadian Book Meme

John at The Book Mine Set is starting a challenge to read Canadian authors. My husband's family is from Canada, and we've been to many places in Canada. I'm always picking up books from Canada so this might be for me. In the meantime, here's a meme of Canadian books and authors.

Highlight in red those you've read, highlight in blue authors you've read just not that particular book, and leave the rest black.

Newfoundland and Labrador-
Cassie Brown- Death On The Ice (Non-fiction)
Lisa Moore- Open (Short Stories)
Lisa Moore- Alligator
Wayne Johnston- Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Al Pittman- Down By Jim Long’s Stage (Children’s poems)
Al Pittman- West Moon (play)
Harold Horwood- White Eskimo
Harold Horwood- Bartlett The Great Explorer (Non-fiction)
Michael Crummey- River Thieves
E. J. Pratt- Complete Poems (Poetry)
Mary Dalton- Merrybegot (Poetry)
Dillon Wallace- The Lure of The Labrador Wild
Kevin Major- Eh? To Zed (Children’s book)
Ted Russell- The Holdin’ Ground (play)
Percy Janes- House of Hate
Bud Davidge and Ian Wallace (Illustrator)- The Mummer’s Song (Children’s Book)
E. Annie Proulx- The Shipping News
Claire Mowat- Outport People (Non-fiction)
Donna Morrissey- Kit’s Law
Ken Babstock- Airstream Land Yacht (Poetry)
Bernice Morgan- Random Passage
Joan Clark- An Audience of Chairs
Earl B. Pilgrim- The Ghost of Ellen Dower
Dale Jarvis- Haunted Shores: True Ghost Stories of Newfoundland and Labrador
Paul Butler- Easton
Edward Riche- Rare Birds
Kenneth J. Harvey- The Town That Forgot How To Breathe

Prince Edward Island-
Lucy Maud Montgomery- Anne of Green Gables
Stompin’ Tom and Brenda Jones (Illustrator)- The Hockey Song (Children’s Book)
David Helwig- Saltsea
Michael Hennessey- The Betrayer
J. J. Steinfeld- Would You Hide Me? (Short Stories)
Anne Compton- Processional (Poetry)
Milton Acorn- I Shout Love and Other Poems (Poetry)

Nova Scotia-
Frank Parker Day- Rockbound
Alistair MacLeod- Island (Short Stories)
Alistair MacLeod- No Great Mischief
George Elliott Clarke- Whylah Falls (Poetry)
Anne Simpson- Loop (Poetry)
Alden Nolan- The Best Of (Poetry)
Hugh MacLennan- The Watch That Ends The Night
Thomas Chandler Haliburton- The Clockmaker
Ernest Buckler- The Mountain and the Valley
Ann-Marie MacDonald- Fall On Your Knees

New Brunswick-
David Adams Richards- Mercy Among The Children
Charles G. D. Roberts- The Collected Poems (Poetry)
T. G. Roberts- The Red Feathers
Donna Allard- Minago Streets (Poetry)
Linda Hall- Black Ice
Elisabeth Harvor- Fortress Of Chairs

Mordecai Richler- Barney’s Version
Gabrielle Roy- The Tin Flute
Roch Carrier- The Hockey Sweater (Children’s Book)
Markoosie- Harpoon of the Hunter
Michel Tremblay- The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant
Michel Tremblay- Forever Yours Marie-Lou (Play)
Saul Bellow- Humboldt’s Gift
Hubert Acquin- Next Episode
Heather O’Neill- Lullabies For Little Criminals
Gaetan Soucy- The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond Of Matches
Leonard Cohen- Beautiful Losers
Leonard Cohen- Let Us Compare Mythologies (Poetry)
Jacques Poulin- Volkswagen Blues
Yves Theriault- Agaguk
Mairuth Sarsfield- No Crystal Stair
Naomi Klein- No Logo (Non-fiction)
Irving Layton- Dance With Desire (Poems)
Stuart McLean- Stories From The Vinyl Café (Short Stories)
Yann Martel- Life of Pi (on my TBR list!)
Romeo Dallaire- Shake Hands With The Devil (Non-fiction)
Gordon Korman- Island: Shipwreck (Young Adult)

Margaret Atwood- Handmaid’s Tale
Robertson Davies- Fifth Business
Stephen Leacock- Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (Short Stories)
Alice Munro- Who Do You Think You Are? (Short Stories)
Timothy Findley- The Wars
Jane Urquhart- The Stone Carvers
Barbara Gowdy- White Bone
Joan Barfoot- Luck
Dennis Lee- Alligator Pie (Children’s Poems)
Robert Munsch- The Paperbag Princess (Children’s Book)
Michael Ondaatje- In The Skin Of A Lion
Rohinton Mistry- A Fine Balance
Al Purdy- Beyond Remembering (Poetry)
Farley Mowat- Never Cry Wolf
Joseph Boyden- Three Day Road
Thomas King- Green Grass, Running Water
Austin Clarke- The Polished Hoe
Mary Lawson- Crow Lake
Matt Cohen- Elizabeth and After
Jon McCrae- In Flanders Fields (Poem)
Christian Bok- Eunoia (poetry)
Phoebe Gilman- Something From Nothing (Children’s Book)
Richard B. Wright- Clara Callan
M. G. Vassanji- The In-Between World of Vikram Lall
Vincent Lam- Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures (Short stories)
Barbara Reid- Two By Two (Children’s Book)
David Bezmozgis- Natasha and Other Stories (Short Stories)
Morley Callaghan- More Joy In Heaven
Helen Humphries- Afterimage
Gordon Downie- Coke Machine Glow (Poetry)
Anne Michaels- Fugitive Pieces

Margaret Laurence- A Bird In The House (Short Stories)
Margaret Laurence- A Jest of God
Carol Shields- The Stone Diaries (on my TBR list)
Bill Richardson- Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast
Miriam Toews- A Complicated Kindness
Tomson Highway- The Rez Sisters (Play)
David Bergen- The Time In Between

Tim Lilburn- Kill-Site (Poetry)
Guy Vanderhaeghe- The Last Crossing
Guy Gavriel Kay- The Summer Tree
Sinclair Ross- As For Me and My House
W. O. Mitchell- Who Has Seen The Wind
Rudy Wiebe- The Temptations of Big Bear
Dianne Warren- Serpent In The Night Sky (play)
Sharon Butala- Lilac Moon (Non-fiction)
Paul Hiebert- Sarah Binks

Will Ferguson- Why I Hate Canadians (Nonfiction)
Earle Birney- One Muddy Hand (Poetry)
Thomas Wharton- Salamander
W. P. Kinsella- Shoeless Joe
Robert Kroetsch- The Studhorse Man
Katherine Govier- Three Views of Crystal Water
Christopher Wiseman- In John Updike’s Room (Poetry)
Anita Rau Badami- Can You Hear The Nightbird Call?

British Columbia-
Douglas Coupland- Generation X
Timothy Taylor- Stanley Park
Kenneth Oppel- Silverwing (Young Adult)
bpNichol- The Martyrology (Poetry)
Susan Musgrave- What The Small Day Cannot Hold (Poetry)
Michael Turner- Hard Core Logo
Joy Kogawa- Obasan
P.K. Page- Planet Earth (Poetry)
Anosh Irani- The Song of Kahunsha
Wayson Choy- The Jade Peony
John Gould- Kilter (Short stories)
Sheila Watson- The Double Hook
Gayla Reid- To Be There With You (Short stories)
Audrey Thomas- Coming Down From Wa
Kevin Chong- Baroque-a-Nova

Robert Service- The Best Of (Poetry)
Pierre Berton- The National Dream (Non-fiction)
Al Pope- Bad Latitudes
Dick North- The Mad Trapper of Rat River (Non-fiction)
Ted Harrison- Children of the Yukon (Children’s Book)
Pj Johnson- Rhymes of the Raven Lady (Poetry)

Northwest Territories-
Mackay Jenkins- Bloody Falls of the Coppermine (nonfiction)
Richard Van Camp- Lesser Blessed
Robert Alexie- Pale Indian
Rene Fumoleau- Here I Sit (Poetry)
Steve Zipp- Yellowknife
Elizabeth Hay- Late Nights On Air

Michael Kusugak- Hide and Sneak (Children’s book)
Michael Kusugak- Curse of the Shaman (Young Adult)
James Houston- The White Dawn
Kevin Patterson- Consumption
Tom Lowenstein (translator)/ Knud Rasmussen (compiled by)- Eskimo Poems (Poetry)
Pierre Berton- The Arctic Grail (nonfiction)
John Bennett and Susan Rowley (Editors and compilers) Uqalurait: An Oral History of Nunavut (Non-fiction)
Kenn Harper- Give Me My Father’s Body (Non-fiction)
Eric Wilson- The Inuk Mountie Adventure (Young Adult)

Wow ... I haven't even made a dent on this list. I just may have to do this challenge. If you play along, let me know so I can come visit.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - Decorum

This week's BTT question is quite interesting. I did start to think about explicit scenes and language while I was reading Middlesex. Here's the question and my answer follows:

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

This is a tough one for me. I'm not overly concerned about profanity in a book if the book is well-written. Sometimes profanity is necessary to create a mood or scene or to make a character realistic. I do have a problem with excessive swearing throughout a poorly written book. Sometimes, I think authors use profanity to cover up their lack of imagination. I tend to believe that a good writer does not need to rely on "potty" words to move the story along. So I guess for me, I can take it in stride if it's used appropriately. I can't remember putting a book down for too much swearing .... I'd more likely stop reading it because it was poorly written to start with.

I love how "romantic" is in quotes here. I love a good love story but can get very uncomfortable with excessive sexual details in stories. Again, if the scene is well-written and integral to the story or character development, then I don't have much problem with it. However, if it feels poorly written, or gratuitous, or overly violent, then I would stop reading the book. I probably have less tolerance for overly sexual books, especially if they are violent in nature. I don't need those images in my life or psyche.

Since I brought up the subject of violence, I do not tend to read very violent books either. Again, if the violence, or abuse, is well-written and integral to the story, then I'm fine with it. I don't like to read about violence for the sake of violence.

I do want to add that I'm glad there are books out there with all of these things in them. I feel it is important for everyone to make these reading choices for themselves.

106 "Unread Books"

This is a book meme going around right now. I got it from One More Chapter.

I've never really thought about all the books I've read, and I thought this would be a fun way to share. These are the top 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk* to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your tbr list.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina

Crime and Punishment
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel (tbr in ‘07)
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*

A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin (love Atwood, but didn’t care for this)
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran

Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A clockwork orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
A confederacy of dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The unbearable lightness of being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Can you tell I was a Literature major in college? Many of these books date from college courses. I was surprised by how few are on my TBR list at this point. Leave me a link if you do this meme. I'd be curious to know what other people have read.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker

This is my fourth book for the Reading Awards Challenge and the winner of the 2005 Edgar Award. The plot revolves around the gruesome murder of Janelle Vonn in the late 1960s in Orange County, California. It traces the murder investigation by a rookie detective who happens to know the victim, and the case's portrayal in the newspaper by the detective's reporter brother.

Strengths of California Girl: I really enjoyed this novel. The author did a great job capturing the setting and time. I felt transported to the late 1960s amid the drug and John Birch Society cultures. I also enjoyed the references to actual people and places from that time period. I especially like Nick's encounter with Timothy Leary and Andy's with Charlie Manson. Quite fun! The author also did a good job of creating a believable character in his victim, Janelle. She is seen mostly in flashback and through other people's eyes, but that seemed to give her depth and made her death somewhat tragic. The story was framed with a current day encounter between Nick and Andy which offered the ultimate resolution to the plot.

Weaknesses of California Girl: The ultimate resolution of the murder mystery was not a huge surprise to me. I pretty much had it figured out midway through the book. However, it didn't bother me too much because I was enjoying the story so much.

Overall, I'd highly recommend California Girl. It was a fun read. What did you think?

Monday, October 1, 2007

What a Coincidence!

OK ... I normally participate in the Saturday's Six meme at Patrick's Place. But this week, between soccer, ice skating, and a Girl Scout event, I didn't get to the computer much at all on Saturday, so I just passed on it this week.

Here's the irony. (Remember what events kept me away from this meme on Saturday?) I just took this week's Halloween costume quiz, and here's my answer:

Your Halloween Costume Should Be

A Girl Scout