31 Dec 2008

Books in 2008

This is a sticky-post. Scroll down for the newest posts.

Below are the books I've committed to read for different challenges in 2008. Considering I usually read at least 100 books/year and typically more it should be very doable and even give me time to spare! Excellent :-)

Underlined means I'm currently reading it. * means it's a reread. I delete books from the list once they're read.


Completed Challenges 2008

These are only the ones I've blogged about here. In addition to these I've completed another 20 challenges either on other blogs or on the ANovelChallenge YahooGroup.

29 Dec 2008

Montgomery Mini-Challenge 2009

There are so many wonderful books by Lucy Maud Montgomery that get overlooked because most readers only know about the Anne-series, and aren't aware that she wrote more than 20 novels as well as several short-stories and poems. I think that's a shame, so therefore this challenge to introduce people to the rest of her work.

So, by November 30th, 2009 (her would-be 135th birthday) read books of LMM that aren't part of the Anne series.

How many books should you read? Well, up to you really, but I'd say at least four, in order to get a proper variety of her work. If you really want to be thorough, you can pick a novel, a short-story collection, a poetry collection and one of her journals! (I recommend the first as being the most interesting) but just reading four of her novels is fine as well :)

Audiobooks are allowed, and books can be used for other challenges as well.

Most of her books are available through Gutenberg or Librivox (so they can be used for e-book and audiobook challenges as well!) - I've found links to all her novels here. For a complete list of her works (including short-stories, poetry and non-fiction) go here.

Sign up by leaving a comment on this post linking to your challenge post. If you don't have a blog, just post the list in the comments :)

23 Dec 2008

Winter Reading Challenge 2009 - DONE

This will be my progress and wrap-up post for the Winter Reading Challenge. The challenge runs from December 21st - March 20th.

* The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
* The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
* The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
* Saving Faith - Patrick Garry
* The Time Paradox - Eoin Colfer
* Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
* In Search of the Castaways / The Children of Captain Grant - Jules Verne

22 Dec 2008

Chick-Lit Challenge 2009 - 9/10

This will be my progress and wrap-up post for the 2009 Chick Lit Challenge which runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2009.

1. Legs - Angela Lam Turpin
2. While My Sister Sleeps - Barbara Delinsky
3. The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever - Julia Quinn
4. Grand Avenue - Joy Fielding
5. And Then He Kissed Her - Laura Lee Guhrke
6. The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin
7. Border Wedding - Amanda Scott
8. By the Time You Read This - Lola Jaye
9. Goodnight, Beautiful - Dorothy Koomson
10. If You Could See Me Now - Cecelia Ahern

21 Dec 2008

2009 Audiobook Challenge - DONE

This will be my progress and wrap-up post for the 2009 Audiobook Challenge. The goal is to listen to 12 audiobooks in 2009. I have no list yet, but am counting on getting lots of inspiration from Librivox. The challenge runs for all of 2009.

1. In Search of the Castaways / The Children of Captain Grant - Jules Verne
2. Chronicles of Avonlea - LMM
3. Further Chronicles of Avonlea - L.M. Montgomery
4. A Mango-Shaped Space - Wendy Mass
5. Enchantment - Orson Scott Card
6. Run for Your Life - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
7. Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
8. The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis
9. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis
10. The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis
11. The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis
12. The Story of the Treasure Seekers - E. Nesbit

20 Dec 2008

Fall Into Reading 2008 - Wrap Up

The Fall Into Reading 2008 officially ends today, so it's time to do my wrap-up post. I only read half the books for the challenge that I did last year, but you have to remember that last year I wasn't quite as addicted yet, so there weren't as many different challenges to read books for ;)

Anyway, to remind you, the books I read were:

Out of those the best surprise was Last Chance Saloon. I expected a simple chick-lit and while it definitely belongs in that genre, Marian Keyes managed to add an extra something to it, making it a "deeper" book than I had expected.

My two favourites on the list were The Magician's Guild and Dragonfly - both of which blew me away though I hadn't expected them to.

The biggest disappointment was The Death Committee. I usually love Noah Gordon's books, but this one just wasn't up to snuff and I basically had to force myself to get through it.

My favourite thing about the Fall Into Reading challenge is the flexibility of it - I can make it as easy or as demanding as I'm motivated for. So I'll definitely be signing up for the Spring Reading Challenge once March rolls around! :-)

18 Dec 2008

999 Challenge - DONE

The 999 challenge is even more daunting than the 888 challenge seeing as there are now 9 categories with 9 books in each. But I assume that also means 9 overlaps allowed? The challenge runs from Jan 1st - Dec 31st, 2009. I haven't decided on the books yet, but here are the categories:

TBR Lite 2009 - DONE

It doesn't look like the "usual" TBR challenge is being repeated for 2009, but instead I found this TBR - Lite challenge. I'll be doing option A, meaning I have to read 6 of the following 12 books. Challenge runs from Jan 1st - Dec 31st, 2009.

1) Little Earthquakes - Jennifer Weiner
2) The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
3) The Eye of the World - Robert Jordan
4) Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb
5) If You Could See Me Now - Cecelia Ahern
6) And Then He Kissed Her - Laura Lee Guhrke
7) Monday's Child - Louise Bagshawe
8) The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin
9) Sabriel - Garth Nix
10) Farthing - Jo Walton
11) By the Time You Read This - Lola Jaye
12) Goodnight, Beautiful - Dorothy Koomson

2009 ARC Reading Challenge - DONE

This will be my progress and wrap-up post for the 2009 ARC Reading Challenge. I don't currently have 12 ARCs, but fully expect to receive that many (at least) in 2009. The challenge starts now and ends on December 31st, 2009. Some of these are older books, but as they're only now being translated into Danish, and I'm receiving them as Danish ARCs, I'm counting them anyway :-)

1. Saving Faith - Patrick Garry
2. Marcelo in the Real World - Fransisco X. Stork
3. Dog Whisperer - Nicholas Edwards
4. Run For Your Life - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
5. Legs - Angela Lam Turpin
6. The Allure of the Curse - Patrick Vaughn
7. The Fledging of Az Gabrielson - Jay Amory
8. Freedom to Love - Rhonda Kulczyk
9. The Conch Bearer - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
10. Storm Front - Jim Butcher
11. Priestess of the White - Trudi Canavan
12. The Girl She Used To Be - David Cristofano

9 For 09 - DONE

This will be my progress and wrap-up post for the 9 for 09 challenge that runs from Dec 27th, 2008 to Dec 27th, 2009 (the person hosting it hates starting anything on January 1st ;) ) For definitions of the different categories, see challenge website.

Long: The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett (more than 1000 pages)
Free: A Deadly Habit - Andrea Sisco (received for free as an ARC)
Dusty: Dune - Frank Herbert (has been standing on my shelves for AGES)
Used: Atonement - Ian McEwan (received via Bookmooch)
Letter: A Mango-Shaped Space - Wendy Mass (the letter 'M' is both in my real name, the title and the author's name).
Strange: Farthing - Jo Walton (alternative history - not something I typically read)
Distance: Everything in Fine - Anne Dee Ellis (Any book placed in the US would fit this description, as there are more than 6000km from Denmark to the US.)
Alive or Not: The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis (Died in 1963)

100+ Reading Challenge - DONE!

This will be my post for the 100+ Reading Challenge. January 1st, 2009 - December 31st, 2009

A progress report can be found here

8 Dec 2008

The Countdown Challenge - DONE

Read 9 books published in 2009, 8 in 2008, 7 in 2007 etc.

This challenge runs from 08-08-08 until 09-09-09

1. The Vampire's Revenge - Raven Hart
2. Marcelo in the Real World - Fransisco X. Stork
3. Dog Whisperer - Nicholas Edwards
4. Run for Your Life - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
5. Knife - R.J. Anderson
6. Freedom to Love - Rhonda Kulczyk
7. Dødens mange facetter - Dennis Jürgensen
8. The Coffee Mom's Devotional - Celeste Palermo
9. The Music Teacher - Barbara Hall
1. Hvor skyggen falder - Teddy Vork
2. Sagen om den brændende klovn - Dennis Jürgensen
3. Spiral Hunt - Margaret Ronald
4. Immortal Warrior - Lisa Hendrix
5. The Scarlet Spy - Andrea Pickens
6. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
7. Book of Lies - Brad Meltzer
8. Shadowmagic - John Lenahan
1. Extras - Scott Westerfeld
2. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
4. The Spy Wore Silk - Andrea Pickens
5. A Jolly Good Fellow - Stephen Masse
6. Demon - Tosca Lee
7. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out - Neta Jackson
1. Perfect Match - Jodi Picoult
2. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Caught - Neta Jackson
3. Peaches - Jodi Lynn Anderson
4. Does My Head Look Big In This? - Randa Abdel-Fattah
5. Farthing - Jo Walton
6. A Perfect Mess - Eric Abrahamsen
1. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real - Neta Jackson
2. The Jane Austen Book Club - Karen Joy Fowler
3. The Death Committee - Noah Gordon
4. Avalon High - Meg Cabot
5. Where Rainbows End - Cecelia Ahern
1. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down - Neta Jackson
2. The Novice - Trudi Canavan
3. Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
4. The High Lord - Trudi Canavan
1. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
2. A Breath of Snow and Ashes - Diana Gabaldon
3. The Conch Bearer - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
1. The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
2. Atonement - Ian McEwan
1. The Farseekers - Isobelle Carmody

21 Nov 2008

1% Well Read - DONE

The goal of this challenge is to read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. For you non-math people, 10 out of 1001 is approximately 1%, hence the title. The challenge will run from May 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009.

You may change your list at any time and cross-posting to other challenges is permitted. The only requirement is that your ten book choices must be on the ‘1001 List‘.
1) Life of Pi – Yann Martel
2) The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
3) A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
4) Wild Swans – Jung Chang
5) The Color Purple – Alice Walker
6) Animal Farm – George Orwell
7) Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
8) Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
9) Villette – Charlotte Brontë
10) The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

11 Nov 2008

Genre Challenge - DONE

This challenge runs from November 1 2008 - November 1 2009 and sounds like lots of fun.

The goal:
To read one book in at least 10 of the following genres: crime fiction, detective fiction, mystery fiction, horror fiction, thriller fiction, romance fiction, science fiction, action/adventure fiction, fantasy fiction, realistic fiction, historical fiction, and western fiction. Specific definitions of these genres can be found in this post.

The rules can be found at the sign-up post.

Crime Fiction: A Jolly Good Fellow - Stephen Masse
Detective Fiction: Farthing - Jo Walton
Mystery Fiction: Atonement - Ian McEwan
Horror Fiction: Pet Semetary - Stephen King
Thriller Fiction: My Swordhand is Singing - Marcus Sedgwick
Romance Fiction: Last Chance Saloon - Marian Keyes
Science Fiction: The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson
Action/Adventure Fiction: Enchantment - Orson Scott Card
Fantasy Fiction: The Novice - Trudi Canavan
Realistic Fiction: The Tea House on Mulberry Street - Sharon Owen
Historical Fiction: The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
Western Fiction: Freedom to Love - Rhonda Kulczyk

Fortunately I may change the list at any time :)

4 Nov 2008

Whitcoulls Challenge - Take 2 - DONE

I had so much fun last year, so of course I'll be doing the Whitcoulls challenge again :)

The rules this year are a bit different - you only have to read a minimum of 4 books, but they all have to be new reads (i.e. no rereads) and all from the same list!

I've chosen the following from the 2008 list.

1. The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
2. The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
3. Dune - Frank Herbert
4. Atonement - Ian McEwan

Extra credit / Alternatives:
5. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
6. Santaram - Gregory David Roberts

The challenge runs from November 15th, 2008 to November 15th, 2009

30 Oct 2008

The 2009 Pub Challenge - DONE

Of course I had to join this challenge! How could I not :-D

The Rules:
# Read 9 books published for the first time in 2009 in your own country (i.e. translations are okay - Hardcover to paperback is not).
# No children's/YA titles allowed, since we're at the 'pub.'
# At least 5 titles must be fiction.
# Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
# You can add your titles as you go, and they may be changed at any time.
# Books must be read between Jan 1st, 2009 and Dec 31st, 2009

I'm not going to make a list ahead of time, as I never knew which books my consultant and reviewing jobs will bring me next (the last one was a book due to be published in 2010!!!!), so I will just update this post as the books arrive.

1. Dødens mange facetter - Dennis Jürgensen
2. The Coffee Mom's Devotional - Celeste Palermo
3. Run for Your Life - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
4. Freedom to Love - Rhonda Kulczyk
5. The Music Teacher - Barbara Hall
6. A Deadly Habit - Andrea Sisco
7. The Girl She Used to Be - David Cristofano
8. Homegrown: The Terror Within - Cialan Haasnic
9. Good Things I Wish You - A. Manette Ansay

20 Oct 2008

The Whitcoulls Challenge - Take 2!

I had so much fun with the Whitcoulls challenge this year, that I decided to repeat it for next year! Whitcoulls was my favourite bookstore in NZ. Every now and again they made a survey asking all their customers for their 3 favourite books. The top 100 made it into this list. So it's not a list of what people ought to read, or topsellers, but what people actually did read and love.

Read Your Way Through The Whitcoulls Top 100 List.

* From November 15th, 2008 to November 15th, 2009.

The Rules:
* Pick one of the 4 "Top 100" lists linked below and decide how many books (at least 4) you want to read from that list.
* The initial 4 have to be 'new' reads (new to you, that is).
* Books beyond the initial 4 may be rereads.
* All books may be cross-overs for other challenges.
* Audio-books are A-OK :)
* You may change your list at any time.
* If you read enough books to actually complete one of the "Top 100" lists, I'll make a post in your honour!

The Lists:
1998, 2002, 2006, 2008

Leave a comment here with the link to your list :)

19 Sep 2008

Fall Into Reading 2008 - DONE

Fall Into Reading 2007 was the first official challenge I signed up for, so of course I have to do that again this year, now that Callapidder Days is hosting it again.

The rules are very simple: make a list of books you want to read between September 22nd and December 20th - there's no list too short and no list too long :)

As I really want to whittle down my TBR pile (I own FAR too many books I haven't read yet) I'm going to only take books from that pile, and as I'm likely to get a LOT of ARCs over the fall (I usually get one every second week or so), I'll limit myself to 7 books as to not overwhelm myself completely.

26 Aug 2008

Second Unread Author Challenge and Bang Bang Challenge - DONE

I'll more or less be reusing the same list for these two challenges, so it goes in the same post:

The Second Unread Authors Challenge

1. The challenge will run from August 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009. You may join at any time before or during those six months.
2. During those six months, read at least SIX books by an author whose work you have never read before.
3. You may choose six different "unread" authors to introduce yourself to, or you may choose just one or two and explore their work in greater depth.
4. Authors may be drawn from any genre of literature. The only requirement is that they be authors whose work you substantially regret not having read yet.
5. Your choices may overlap with other challenges you have underway.

My books:
1) Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
2) Atonement - Ian McEwan
3) The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillippa Gregory
4) Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
5) Kushiel's Dart - Jacqueline Carey
6) A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

All except #4 are reused for the BangBang Book Challenge for which the rules are to read 5 fiction books set during a war between September 1st and February 28th (the challenge said that wars are defined loosely, so I hope that means fictional wars count too ;) ).

2nds Challenge - 2008 - DONE!

Have you recently (or not so recently) read a book by a "new-to-you" author and can't wait to dive into another one of his/her books? If so, please join us in the second 2nds Challenge!

Read 4 books by authors that you have only read one other between September 1st and December 31st, 2008

My list:
* The Scarlet Spy - Andrea Pickens
* Ashling - Isobelle Carmody
* The Novice - Trudi Canavan
* Avalon High - Meg Cabot

Lit Flick Challenge

1. Challenge runs from September 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009.
2. Read 5 books/pieces of literature that have been made into movies.
3. Then watch at least 2 of the movie adaptations of the works you read.
4. Your list may change at any time and may include overlaps with other challenges.

My list:
1) The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
2) Atonement - Ian McEwan
3) The Jane Austen Book Club - Karen Fowler (Saw the movie and thought the movie was loads better than the book - that's unusual!)
4) The Cider House Rules - John Irving
5) Kramer vs. Kramer - Avery Corman

I haven't yet decided which two to watch, but probably 1) and 3).

(These books will also double for the Book to movie challenge)

29 Jul 2008

Naming Conventions Challenge - Read books dictated by your name - DONE!

Graphic kindly provided by Jaime!

My aim with making this challenge is to have as random a challenge as possible but still having some sort of guideline to work from. Yes, I'm weird, I know.

Even the length of the challenge is random! Well, it starts on September 1st, but how long it lasts depends on how long your name is.

Confused yet? No reason to be, just hang on, and I'll explain it all.

1) Write down your first name (or whatever name you usually go by)
2) Do any or all of the following (i.e. do 2a and/or 2b and/or 2c):
2a) For each letter, pick an author whose last name starts with that letter.
2b) For each letter, pick an author whose first name starts with that letter.
2c) For each letter, pick a book that starts with that letter.
3) Books can be cross-overs from other challenges, but each book can only be used once in this challenge. Authors may be repeated though.
4) The challenge lasts one month per letter of your name
5) Sign up by commenting to this post.

The books can be read in any order and the list changed at any time during the challenge.

So for me, my name being Maria, the list could look something like this.

Meyer, Stephenie
Applegate, K.A.
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse
Irving, John
Armstrong, Kelley
Marian Keyes
Anne McCaffrey
R.J. Anderson
Ian McEwan
Angela Lam Turpin
Magicians' Guild
And Then He Kissed Her
I Do Again
Avalon High

All books
Stephenie Meyer: Eclipse
K.A. Applegate: Animorphs 35: The Proposal
Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life
John Irving: The Cider House Rules
Kelley Armstrong: Bitten

Marian Keyes: Last Chance Saloon
Anne McCaffrey: Dragonflight
R.J. Anderson: Knife
Ian McEwan: Atonement
Angela Lam Turpin: Legs

Trudi Canavan: Magicians' Guild, The
Laura Lee Guhrke: And Then He Kissed Her
Fred Uhlman: Reunion
Scruggs: I Do Again
Meg Cabot: Avalon High

Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi (for book 'R')
A Mango-Shaped Space - Wendy Mass (for book 'A')
Since my name is 5 letters, the challenge ends on February 1st, 2009.

Finished 2b and 2c

What An Animal - Wrap up

I finished "What An Animal" over the weekend. Even with 12 books instead of 6 it was a quick challenge as they were short books ;) I'll continue reading the series though, so who knows - I may make it through all 64 books before the challenge is out :D

So far my two favourites were #13 The Change and #19 The Departure as I found those the two most poignant and thought-provoking so far. Yes, I know they're children's books, and crappy ones at that, but still.

The Change showed the Hork Bajir(sp?) for what they are when not infested with Yeerks, and gave Tobias another chance.
The Departure finally touched upon the moral dilemma of the Animorphs and the fact that not all Yeerks are intently evil.

Good books both of them.

25 Jul 2008

YA Romance Challenge - DONE

* Read six YA romance novels between July 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009.
* Romance should be a strong element within the story. But it doesn't have to be the only element. Realistic fiction (contemporary). Historical. Fantasy. Science Fiction. Retold Fairy Tales. All genres are allowed.
* They can be part of a series, or stand-alones.
* They can be long or short.
* Happy books are NOT a requirement
* Audio books are allowed.
* Up to three movies can be substituted for books. So you could watch 3 movies, read 3 books if you prefer.

My books:
* Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
* Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
* Avalon High - Meg Cabot
* Checkmate - Malorie Blackman
* Haunted Sister - Lael Littke
* Tell Me How The Wind Sounds - Leslie Davis Guccione

Dragonfly - Julia Golding

14 Jul 2008

The ARC challenge - DONE

The challenge will run from June 21, 2008-September 21, 2008. It will be to help those of us with ARC's to get in gear and read and review them.

Here are the rules:

1. Make a list of all of the ARC's that you currently have and/or are on their way to you.

2. If you have:
1-3 ARC's then pick at least one to read and review for this challenge.
4-6 ARC's then pick at least two to read and review for this challenge.
7-9 ARC's then pick at least three to read and review for this challenge.
10 or more Arc's then pick at least 4 to read and review for this challenge.

I'm going to just stick with the ARCs I already have, as living in Denmark I can never be 100% sure that the books allegedly on their way here actually arrive (some publishers pull the book when realising the costs of shipping here.

So I'm going to read and review the following:
"The Millionaire's Proposal" by Trish Wylie
"The Hidden Man" by Anthony Flacco
"The Scrapbook" by Peggy B. Baker

...adding more to the list as they come.

9 Jul 2008

What An Animal - DONE

The rules are simple:
1. Read at least 6 books that have any of these requirements:
a. an animal in the title of the book
b. an animal on the cover of the book
c. an animal that plays a major role in the book
d. a main character that is or turns into an animal.

2. The animal can be any type of animal (real or fictitious)--dog, cat, monkey, wolf, snake, insect, hedgehog, aardvark...dragons, mermaids, centaurs, fairies, vampires...you get the idea...

3. Challenge runs from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009.

This is almost too easy as I want to read the Animorphs series. Every book in this series has an animal on the cover of the book and main characters turning into animals. So since the Animorph books are so short (only around 150 pages each) I'm going to extend the challenge and say I have to read 12 books.
* #7 - The Stranger
* #11 - The Forgotten
* #12 - The Reaction
* #13 - The Change
* #14 - The Unknown
* #15 - The Escape
* #16 - The Warning
* #17 - The Underground
* #18 - The Decision
* #19 - The Departure
* #20 - The Discovery
* #21 - The Threat

2 Jul 2008

July Book Blowout - DONE

This challenge is almost too easy. I don't even have to write a list, but just set myself a goal for how many books I want to read in July. The rules are as follows:
* Only books read between July 1 and July 31 count towards the challenge
* You can include re-reads - as long as they are read within the month of July
* Books you abandon will only count as half a book
* If you read to your children you can include all books which have more than 100 pages
* You can include up to two graphic novels
* You can include up to two audio books - (if you have a visual impairment that prevents you from reading then you can use just audio books for the challenge)
* Books you read for other challenges are eligible - use this as an opportunity to catch up!
* If you start a book before July 1 and then finish it during the month of July then you can count is as half a book

I have a lot of REALLY long books (3 book between 600-1400 pages) coming up, so I'm going to aim for 15 but of course hope I manage more than that :)

This makes me want to do a challenge where you aim for a number of pages rather than a number of books. Hmmm... watch this space :D

10 Jun 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini

I'm glad to say that A Thousand Splendid Suns is MILES better than The Kite Runner and has restored my faith in Khaled Hosseini's writing abilities. I highly recommend it - even if you didn't like KR.

9 Jun 2008

Knife Edge - Malorie Blackman

Unfortunately Knife Edge doesn't quite live up to the first book in the series. It's a lot darker, more slow-moving and ends with a bigger cliff-hanger. I'd already ordered the last book in the trilogy before reading this one, or I'm not sure I'd have bothered.

Wild Mountain Thyme - Rosamunde Pilcher

Wild Mountain Thyme isn't Rosamunde Pilcher's best, but it definitely isn't her worst either. A good read, if you've got nothing better to do.

8 Jun 2008

Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy

Whitethorn Woods is unfortunately not Maeve Binchy's finest work. Not that she could ever write something decidedly boring, but since it's constructed as a bunch of short stories with a common theme, I never got as interested in the characters as I would in one of her other novels. A shame, as I usually consider her among my favourite authors.

6 Jun 2008

Summer Reading Challenge - DONE

Since I just finished the Spring Reading Thing, I do of course have to join the Summer Reading Challenge. The challenge runs from June 1st (so I'm a bit late, but I'll manage) to August 31st. There's no specific number of books to be read, but the purpose is to encourage "intentional" reading - i.e. change the list as little as possible after the challenge has started!

I'm going to be quite busy the next wee while, so I won't stick to my usual 1 book per week, but give myself a bit of leeway and say 1 book per fortnight, so a total of 7 books (rounding up, of course ;) ) However, to add a bit of challenge to the ... ehh... challenge I'm going to set two other rules for myself: 1) the books cannot be used for any other existing challenge except my personal reading challenge (should I add other challenges later, I can use them). 2) the books must all come from my TBR pile (which is why I had to include the personal reading challenge, or I'd have no books at all to choose from! ;) )

On the other hand the rules for the Summer Reading Thing clearly states that the list may be identical to that of another challenge, so I'm killing two birds with one stone and doing that one as well here :-)

5 Jun 2008

The Hunted - Mike Dellosso

By finishing The Hunted I've completed the Pub 2008 challenge. The Hunted read a lot like The Oath by Frank Peretti, and I enjoyed it greatly.

1 Jun 2008

Spring Reading Thing - Wrap-up

I finished the Spring Reading Thing today and am actually very satisfied with the books I chose for it. It's a lot more varied than what I usually read, with a nice selection of new reads and rereads, non-fiction and fiction and books based in several different countries and eras.

The books were:

My favourite book was Water for Elephants, the best surprise was Wild Swans, the biggest disappointment a toss between The Poisonwood Bible and The Red Tent as I'd expected a lot from both, but just didn't think they could deliver. Unfortunately.

I don't think the challenge made me read more than I would've otherwise, but it definitely helped me get through some of those books I've wanted to read for awhile, but just never got around to. I'd definitely be interested in another "Fall Into Reading" challenge this fall.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith

After a slow start, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency turned out to be a very enjoyable read. Not great literature, but entertaining and with sympathetic characters.

Book Binge Challenge - Done!

book bingeHere’s how it goes: For the month of May, participants keep track of each and every book you read. At the end of the month, everyone will blog their list of books. Simple, no?

I read a lot of really good books this month :)

Alcott, Louisa May: Eight Cousins, 10/10
Alcott, Louisa May: Rose In Bloom, 9/10
Ali, Ayaan Hirsi: Infidel, 9/10

Chang, Jung: Wild Swans, 9/10
Chapman, Gary: The Five Love Languages, 10/10

Green, Melody: No Compromise, 8/10
Gruen, Sara: Water for Elephants, 9/10

Henderson, Dee: The Truth Seeker, 7/10

Kaye, M.M.: The Ordinary Princess, 9/10
Kingsolver, Barbara: The Poisonwood Bible, 7/10

Martel, Yann: Life of Pi, 10/10
Meyer, Stephenie: The Host, 10/10
Montgomery, Lucy Maud: Across the Miles, 9/10

Nesbit, Edith: Nine Unlikely Tales for Children, 9/10

Pierce, Tamora: Shatterglass (Circle Opens #4), 8/10

Stewart, Mariah: Mercy Street, 8/10

Winfield, Jess: My Name is Will, 8/10

My favourites were Life of Pi and The Host.

31 May 2008

Across the Miles - L.M. Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery is one of my favourite authors, and one of the only ones where I actually enjoy her short stories. Across the Miles is my very favourite short story collection, and I'm always glad for a chance to reread it.

28 May 2008

Classics Challenge - DONE

Classics: We love them, we hate them, now we are going to challenge ourselves to reading more of them. Because there are so many different types of classics, different genres are acceptable and encouraged--for example, novels, short story collections, non-fiction, poetry, essays--I'm open for other suggestions!

Read 5 classics between July 1st and January 1st
Read 1 book that may not considered classics but that people think should be or will be a classic one day - list of suggestions can be found at http://classics2008.blogspot.com/.

My list
5 old:
* The Rosary - Florence L. Barclay
* Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - T.S. Eliot
* The Alpine Path - L.M. Montgomery
* Just So Stories - Rudyard Kipling
* Little Women - L.M. Alcott
1 new:
* A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

Herding Cats - DONE

Recommendation lists are always great, but how often do we actually get to read any of the books on those lists? Renay wants to change that, so for this challenge, you post a list of 10 books you love (my list can be found here), and pick 3 books to read from the master list.

I've chosen the following three books (but may come back to add more):
A Wrinkle In Time - Madeleine L'Engle
Wild Swans - Jung Chang
Life of Pi - Yann Martel

22 May 2008

No Compromise - Keith Green

Keith Green was (I think) my introduction to Christian contemporary music, and still one of my favourite artist. His life as described in No Compromise is absolutely amazing - how incredible it must be to meet somebody THAT on fire for God. It makes me wonder what I'm missing out on.

16 May 2008

Wild Swans - Jung Chang

Wild Swans is a book that's far too often overlooked. While people study WW2 in order to prevent the atrocities to repeat themselves, few people are aware that Mao caused more deaths than Hitler and Stalin put together. Reading this book really opened my eyes.

Catch-up post - Challenges

Unfortunately I haven't been too good at listing new challenges here, and one part of that is my perfectionism as all posts have to be just so with links, pictures, lists etc. That's no good, as it keeps me from posting at all when I don't have the time to do it right and update my template as well, so this is a catch-up post with some of the challenges I haven't listed here yet. I'll list the finished ones in a different post to try not to make this FAR too long.

100+ Reading Challenge - DONE!
Read 100 books in 2008. I've currently read 78 so I'm well on my way here :-)
Read book #100 in June :)

I Heard it Through the Grapevine - DONE
Read 3 books recommended by others from May-Nov. So far I'm not doing too well with this one, because people aren't recommending me enough books! Get to it, people! ;) The list:
* Wild Swans - Jung Chang
* Me and Mr. Darcy - Alexandra Potter
* Obernewtyn - Isobelle Carmody

Jane Austen Mini-Challenge - DONE
Read or watch two books/movies related to Jane Austen in 2008.
Read: Mrs. Darcy's Dilemma - Diana Birchall
Read: Me and Mr. Darcy - Alexandra Potter

Short Story Challenge - DONE
Read 5 short story collections by 5 different authors.
* Down to a Sunless Sea - Mathias Freese
* Just So Stories - Rudyard Kipling
* Across the Miles - L.M. Mongtomery
* Nine Unlikely Tales for Children - E. Nesbit.
* Sorry, The Stork Takes No Returns - Claire Bowen

Nineteenth Century Women Writers - DONE!
Read 6 books in 2008 written by Nineteenth Century Woman Writers.
* Eight Cousins - L.M. Alcott
* Rose In Bloom - L.M. Alcott
* The Rosary - Florence L. Barclay
* Vilette - Charlotte Bronte
* Nine Unlikely Tales - E. Nesbit
* Heidi Johanna Spyri

Soups On!
I love cooking and though I seldom have time to experiment much, I always enjoy reading cookbooks and trying new recipes. I now have more than 11 months (until March 31st, 2009) to read through 6 cookbooks and make at least one recipe from each. The cookbooks can be old or new, official or homemade - the important thing is to try out some new recipes.
* Saving Dinner - Leanne Ely
* ??? - Jamie Oliver
* Smoothies - ???
* Asian Cookbook - ???
* Mum's Cookbook - my mum :)
* Frk. Jensens kogebog - Frk. Jensen

Wind-up challenge - DONE!
Read 1-3 books you've read more than 50 pages of before May 1st and then abandoned. Timeframe: May 1st-Nov 15th.
I'll pick between the following: Possession, Dune, Gone With the Wind, House of the Spirits, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Life of Pi, Couple's Comfort Book.

Pub 2008 - DONE!
This year, read 8 books published in 2008. The books cannot be childrens/YA as we're 'at the pub'.
* My Name Is Will - Jess Winfield
* Between the Sheets - Rebekka Wells
* Hollywood Crows - Joseph Wambaugh
* Seduced by a Spy - Andrea Pickens
* Mrs. Darcy's Dilemma - Diana Birchall
* Mercy Street - Mariah Stewart
* The Host - Stephenie Meyer
* The Hunted - Mike Delloroso

All enjoyable books, but my favourite was without a doubt The Host. It stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Chick-lit - DONE!
Read 3 chick-lit books between June 1st and September 1st.
* Where Rainbows End - Cecelia Ahern
* When She Was Bad - Louise Bagshawe
* The Rosary - Florence L. Barclay

15 May 2008

10 books that I love

Time for a new challenge! But first of all, a preparation for a challenge, as the challenge requires me to make a list of 10 books that I love to share with other participants of the challenge.

In no particular order, the books are:
  • Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
  • The Rosary - Florence L. Barclay
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
  • Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
  • Scarlet Feather - Maeve Binchy
  • Alanna - Tamora Pierce
  • Crystal Singer - Anne McCaffrey
  • Pope Joan - Donna W. Cross
  • The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery
  • Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

11 May 2008

The Ordinary Princess - M.M. Kaye

In honour of the gorgeous weather we're having this weekend, I wasted away half an hour on the lawn enjoying the sun reading The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. Very enjoyable reading :)

9 May 2008

The Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman

I read The Five Love Languages before I got married, and really liked it. Now that I've been married 5 years I decided to read it again, and appreciated it a LOT more. Being in love, you never think you'll feel in need of getting your 'love bucket' filled more than it already is, but once marriage becomes more 'routine', it's more obvious how important it is to speak each other's love language.

8 May 2008

Nine Unlikely Tales for Children - Edith Nesbit

I'm not usually one for short stories, but Nine Unlikely Tales for Children is a collection of extremely sweet fairy tales, that I couldn't help but be charmed by.

7 May 2008

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants is a gorgeous book which I'd recommend to anybody, but especially those who (like me) are fascinated by the circus life.

5 May 2008

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible is a very intriguing but slow read. I'm glad to have it crossed off my list finally :)

1 May 2008

First In A Series - DONE

This challenge started by January 1st, so I'll count books read since then, even if they weren't deliberately chosen for this challenge.
First in a Series challenge. Read 12 books in 2008 that are the first in a series. New authors are not required.

My list:

Alternatives or extra credit:
The Wheel of Time 1
Liveship Traders 1

29 Apr 2008

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is definitely one of Jules Verne's better books. I really enjoyed it.

26 Apr 2008

Seven for a Secret - Victoria Holt

Victoria Holt writes fluff and Seven for a Secret is no exception. However, for a lazy Saturday it was just the right read, and I was greatly entertained.

25 Apr 2008

24 Apr 2008

Villette - Charlotte Bronte

The ending of Villette could use a visit from Thursday Next (of "The Eyre Affair"), but other than that, I loved the book.

23 Apr 2008

Initials Reading Challenge - DONE

From April 1st to November 30th, read 5-8 books by authors who publish under their initials.

I've chosen the following 6:
* Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
* The Alpine Path by L.M. Montgomery
* Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling
* Nine Unlikely Tales for Children by E. Nesbit
* Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
* Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Alternative/Extra credit
Something by P.G. Woodhouse
"Eight Cousins" by L.M. Alcott
"The Ordinary Princess" by M.M. Kaye

14 Apr 2008

Celebration of Discipline - Richard Foster

While not as good as I remembered it, Celebration of Discipline is still very educational and well worth reading.

The Primrose Way - Jackie French Koller

I've been on the lookout for The Primrose Way ever since I was 13 or 14 (making it 14 or 15 years) and FINALLY found it. Fortunately it was well worth the wait :)

13 Apr 2008

Pope Joan - Donna W. Cross

Due to a really unfortunately timed 24-hour virus I finished Pope Joan much faster than I'd expected to. Not a problem, I'd forgotten how good it is :-)

6 Apr 2008

The Clan of the Cave Bears - Jean M. Auel

The Clan of the Cave Bears has always been one of my favourite books, and fortunately it hasn't lost any of its magic in the years since I read it last. I hope I'll have time to reread "The Valley of the Horses" soon too.

5 Apr 2008

Hollywood Crows - Joseph Wambaugh

Hollywood Crows is a mixture between a short story collection and a novel, but unlike "Evacuation Plan", here it actually works. It was disturbing, but interesting.

28 Mar 2008

Mrs. Darcy's Dilemma - Diana Birchall

Mrs. Darcy's Dilemma is the first Pride and Prejudice sequel I've read, and fortunately I wasn't disappointed, as Diana Birchall managed to copy Jane Austen's style better than I would have thought possible. A relief as P&P is one of my favourite books.

21 Mar 2008

Matilda - Roald Dahl

Together with "The BFG" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", Matilda has always been one of my favourite Roald Dahl stories, and one that stands the test of time well :-)

20 Mar 2008

The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

The Red Tent claims to be based on the story of Dinah (Genesis 34), but it's a very loose connection at best, and the story would have benefited from either being closer to the original or not trying to follow it at all.

Winter Reading Challenge - A Wrap-up

The Winter Reading Challenge ended yesterday, so I think it's fitting with some concluding comments.

These were the books I chose for the challenge.
# Terrier (Beka Cooper #1) - Tamora Pierce
# The Last Jew - Noah Gordon*
# Looking Forward - Marcia Willett
# Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne*
# The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom*
# Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank*
# Wild Magic - Tamora Pierce*
# Wolf Speaker - Tamora Pierce*
# Emperor Mage - Tamora Pierce*
# The Realms of the Gods - Tamora Pierce*
# Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - Robert O'Brien
# The Stormcaller - Jacob L. Grant

At the start of the challenge, Inksplasher wrote:
'I would like to suggest that we stretch a little. If you normally read fiction, put at least one non-fiction on your list (and vice versa). Or try a genre you don't usually read. Or try a new author chosen totally at random. But most importantly, make your list FUN so you'll want to read!'

I certainly had lots of fun, but upon looking back at it, there was an incredible number of rereads on the list (all those marked with an asterix). Compared to how seldom I reread books these days, to have a list that's 67% rereads is very surprising, and probably went quite a lot against Inksplasher's suggestion. Can't say I stretched myself a lot in any way. I've been more conscious of this for the Sring Reading Thing, so hopefully that reading list will be more diverse.

Favorite book of the challenge: Terrier
Least favorite book of the challenge The Realms of the Gods
Any new authors read in this challenge: Marcia Willett, Robert O'Brien and Jacob L. Grant.
What I learned: Rereads are lots of fun too!

18 Mar 2008

Robin Hood - Howard Pyle

Robin Hood was unfortunately a huge disappointment. A childhood illusion burst.

17 Mar 2008

Orbis Terrarum Challenge - DONE

- The Orbis Terrarum Challenge begins April 1 2008
- For the challenge each reader is to choose 9 books (for the 9 months).
- Each book must be by an author from a different nation in our world.

1) Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy (Ireland)
2) Hollywood Crows - Joseph Wambaugh (USA)
3) The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas (France)
4) A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khalad Hosseini (Afghanistan)
5) Wild Mountain Thyme - Rosamunde Pilcher (Scotland)
6) Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela (South Africa)
7) The Alpine Path - Lucy Maud Montgomery (Canada)
8) The No 1. Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana)
9) A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth (India)

Wild Swans - Jung Chang

Non-fiction Five - DONE

1. Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2008

2. Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help)

My books:
* No Compromise - Melody Green (Biography)
* Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela (Autobiography)
* The Alpine Path - L.M. Montgomery (Biography)
* Wild Swans - Jung Chang (Memoir)
* The Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman (inspirational)

Another Blooming Challenge x2 - DONE?

More cool challenges are coming up, so here we go again :-)
Here's flower-themed challenge to get you in the spirit of the season.

1. The challenge will run from March 20, 2008 - June 20, 2008.
2. You can choose one of the four levels (or participate in several levels!)
3. You can cross-post with other challenges. You can even count the same book for different levels in this challenge!

You can see all the levels at the original challenge. I'm going for the bud-vase (DONE) and/or bouquet (DONE).

Biggest disappointment: The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
Favourite read: The Primrose Way - Jackie French Koller
Whitethorn Woods - Maeve Binchy
Wild Mountain Thyme - Rosamunde Pilcher

Extra credit:
Rose in Bloom - L. M. Alcott
Flowers in the Rain - Rosamunde Pilcher

(If I get the two 'extra credit' read I qualify for the Garden challenge as well.)

f2f - Phillip Finch

While waiting for the Spring Reading Challenge starts, I'm catching up on some of my rereads. Weirdly enough f2f wasn't nearly as good as I remembered it, but never mind. Still a quick read :-)

15 Mar 2008

Looking Forward - Marcia Willett

Marcia Willett reads a lot like Rosamunde Pilcher, so Looking Forward made for a very enjoyable and relaxing read.

12 Mar 2008

D.E.A.R. challenge - DONE

The D.E.A.R. challenge starts today for level 4 participants, so I figured it was time to post about it here :)

What is National D.E.A.R. Day? (which has just become International as D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read. National D.E.A.R. Day is a special reading celebration to remind and encourage families to make reading together on a daily basis a family priority.

Level One: Commit to reading 30 minutes on D.E.A.R. day, April 12, 2008. It's a Saturday in case you're wondering.
Level Two: Commit to reading 30 minutes per day for three days. April 11, 2008 - April 13, 2008.
Level Three: Commit to reading 30 minutes per day for an entire week. April 6, 2008 - April 12, 2008.
Level Four: Commit to reading 30 minutes per day for an entire month. March 12, 2008 - April 12, 2008.

It can come as no surprise to you, that I've signed up for level 4. For the next month I will try to remember to write down exactly how much time I've spent reading each day. I won't be posting daily updates here, but will probably make a post with the grand total.

Edit April 13th: Well, I forgot to keep track of how long I read each day after the initial half hour was passed, but I easily made 30 mins each day - most days lots more.