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Showing posts from December, 2007

139. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident

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Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Second Artemis Fowl book


Pages: 277
Finished: Dec. 30, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series. Series challenge
First Published: 2002
Genre: YA fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

By the age of thirteen, our subject, Artemis Fowl, was displaying signs of an intellect greater than any human since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Comments: A couple of years ago I read the first Artemis Fowl book and was not impressed at all. I've been told the books get better after the first so I thought I'd see for myself. I'm pleased to say that I did enjoy this book. Artemis is a much nicer person in this book who learns about friendship and respect. Artemis joins forces with the fairy people to first save them from a goblin takeover and second to try to rescue Artemis' father. I really enjoyed the world in which the fairies inhabit alongside the mundane world. This book read very much like a James Bond movie with non-stop spy adventures includin…

A-Zed Reading Challenge

Joy is hosting another fabulous challenge! Read 52 different books and have each title and author start with a different letter of the alphabet. This is going to be fun!


AUTHOR LIST

"A" ~ Atwater, Richard and Florence (Mr. Popper's Penguins)

"B" ~ Barrie, J.M. (Peter Pan)

"C" ~ Carey, Peter (True History of the Kelly Gang)

"D" ~ Dexter, Colin (Last Bus to Woodstock)

"E" ~ Erdrich, Louise (The Plague of Doves)

"F" ~ Fox, Paula (The Slave Dancer)

"G" ~ Gardner, Lyn (Into the Woods)

"H" ~ Hayder, Mo (Birdman)

"I" ~ Ingoglia, Gina (Johnny Appleseed and the Planting of the West)

"J" ~ James, Emmett (Admit One)

"K" ~ King, Stephen (Rage)

"L" ~ Lattimore, Eleanor Frances (Little Pear and Friends)

"M" ~ Martin, Steve (Born Standing Up)

"N" ~ Nix, Garth (Abhorsen)

"O" ~ Oppel, Kenneth (Sunwing)

"P" ~ Peet, Bill (Capyboppy)

"Q" ~

"R"…

Short Story Challenge

Ok, ok, I know. I just can't say no to challenges. But this challenge is something I was going to do anyway so it's perfect. Kate is running a short story challenge for 2008. I'm opting for option #5, which lets you do whatever you'd like. My short story reading for 2008 will include:

1) Finish The Best American Short Stories 2007. I'm already at the half-way point.

2) Finish High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories by Robertson Davies. I'm several stories into this one. It is a slim volume so won't take me much longer.

3) For my chronological reading of Stephen King, Night Shift is coming up soon. This is his first collection of short stories. I'll read this one possibly during the next R.I.P.

4) If I finish all of the above my next choice will be A Bird in the House by Margaret Laurence.

Books to Read in 2008

Dewey posted a fabulous list of all her challenge books for next year. I thought I'd do one too!

Man Booker Challenge ends Dec. (5 more to go)

The Gathering (Enright)
Life of Pi (Martel)
The God of Small Things (Roy)
The English Patient (Ondaatje)
Hotel Du Lac (Brookner)
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Cary


Christopher Moore Challenge (ends Apr. 1, 2009) (6 books)

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
Bloodsucking Fiends
You Suck (sequel to above)
Coyote Blue
Island of the Sequined Love Nun
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
and just in case it comes out early in the year his new forthcoming book is
Fool (expected to be published in 2009)

Book Awards II Challenge (4 more to go) (Aug1-June1, 2009)
1. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale Samuel Johnson Award for Nonfiction
2. The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting Newbery Medal
3. Postmortem by Patricia Cromwell Macavity Award, 1st novel
4. The Birchbark Tree by Louise Erdrich WILLA Award
5. Mudbound …

2007 Wrap Up & Top 10 Books of 2007

Wow! What a year of reading I've had! I read more this year than I have in quite a while and I credit it to blogging. I'm so glad I started blogging my books this year. Now for some ramblings on what I've accomplished with my reading this year.

1) I've started reading short stories regularly and I feel confident that it is something I will keep up with. I've read short stories in the past but never really felt comfortable with reading a collection from start to finish. I'm really enjoying taking them in short but frequent visits.

2) I managed to finish some trilogies and series. Namely, the Arthur trilogy by Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Giver books by Lois Lowry, the Tempe Brennan books by Kathy Reichs and the Harry Potter books

3) I've discovered some fabulous new-to-me authors whom I plan to read everything they've written: Lois Duncan, Colleen Gleason, Carson McCullers, Christopher Moore, Toni Morrison, Peter Robinson, Karin Slaughter and Sara Waters

4) I…

138. Gallows Hill

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Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan


Pages: 229
Finished: Dec. 28, 2007
Reason for Reading: I'm reading Lois Duncan's books.
First Published: 1997
Genre: YA, horror
Rating: 2.5/5

First Sentence:

The crystal paperweight should have been clear, but it was not.

Comments: Sarah can see things from the past and the future. Seeing the future is unnerving at best, but why are the events Sarah sees from the past all from the Salem witch trials. So far I have been very impressed with Duncan's earlier works. This is the first more recent novel I've read and I was not so impressed with it. The plot kept me reading but the ending was predictable, the characters were cliched and none of them were remotely likable. Not recommended.

8 Random Things Meme

Well, I have been tagged! Darla D has tagged me for the 8 random things. Let's see, I'm to link to the person who tagged me, list 8 random things about myself, then tag 8 more people.

1. I have moved 26 times in my life.

2. I bite my nails.

3. I quit smoking 7 months ago.

4. One of my most favourite songs ever is Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

5. It really, really, really bugs me when people say "zeeee", instead of "zed". This is Canada, folks!

6. My favourite colour is black.

7. I hate celery, even the smell of it makes me nauseous.

8. I love going for walks in the rain.

I tag the following people, if you've already been tagged or don't feel like doing this, that's ok.
Becky, Joy, stephanie, maggie, carrie k, john m, frogdancer, susan .

Decades Challenge

One more challenge for me in 2008! I've tried to resist joining in with this one but I can hold out no longer. Michelle over at 3M is hosting the decades challenge. The rules are simple: read 8 books published in consecutive years prior to the 2000s.

I'm adding a little twist to my list of books. These are books that I intend to read-aloud to my 7yo (turning 8yo) in 2008. So, without further ado, here is my list, which I reserve the right to change at any time ;-) I am still searching for a 1940s title suitable for a 7/8 yo. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.

1900s - Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (1902)
1910s - Peter Pan by JM Barrie (1911)
1920s - The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (1922)
1930s - Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (1938)
1940s - Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson (1946)
1950s - The Borrowers by Mary Norton (1952)
1960s - James and the Giant Peach by RoaldDahl (1968)
1970s - The Last of the Really Great W…

137. The Journey

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The Journey by Kathryn Lasky
Second book of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole


Pages: 242
Finished: Dec. 27, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series, Series challenge
First Published: 2003
Genre: children, animal fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

Soren felt the blind snake shift in the deep feathers between his shoulders as he and the three other owls flew through the buffeting winds.


Comments: Soren and his friends travel to the Great Ga'Hoole Tree and are taken into the fold where they are trained and chosen for chaws. Not a lot happens plot-wise in this second book. The characters journey, train and practice, with one incident left hanging in the first book resolved. The book also does not have a real ending, rather it ends in a conflict, setting up the plot for the next book. The characters are fleshed out in this book and we get to know them much better, many joined the story in the last pages of the first book. I really enjoy these owl characters and am looking forward to …

December - Books in the House

A new feature I'll do at the end of every month is a round-up of the books that arrived at my house during the month. This was a good month for new-to-me books. We start off with some free books.

I was the lucky winner of the scavenger hunt this month over at The Book Mine Set and received Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey directly from the publisher just a few days before Christmas. This sounds like it is going to be a really intense story. Can't wait to read it. Thanks John!

My other free books came from Bookmooch. Not really free when you think about it but they still feel free when they show up in your mailbox! A couple of Booker Prize winners that are on my list to read next year: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. I've also been dying to read John Irving lately so got The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany.

It has been a few months since I've been book shopping at a thrift store so at the beginning of December I he…

Short Story Monday

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#3) The Great Queen is Amused - This was a really fun story! A woman doing research in the university library (which is known for its Canadian Lit. collection) comes across an occult book which tells how to call a spirit. Thinking she'd like to ask Sara Jeanette Duncan a few questions she follows the instructions but ends up with a room full of the spirit of every Canadian author whose book is in the library. Very funny!

#4) The Night of the Three Kings - Our narrator investigates noises and winds up in a filing room where he finds the spirit of King George V searching for a rare stamp he accidentally once put on an envelope. The story ends with a definite Canadian twist.

#5) The Charlottetown Banquet - The narrator spends the night having a Victorian dinner with Sir John A. MacDonald.

#6) When Satan Goes Home For Christmas - This time our narrator meets Satan who is upset because he is never invited home for Christmas.

Not much other reading going on around here. Getting busy, busy…

136. The Higher Power of Lucky

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The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
Illustrated by Matt Phelan


Pages: 134
Finished: Dec. 21, 2007
Reason for Reading: Newbery Project
First Published: 2006
Genre: children fiction
Awards: Newbery Award
Rating: 2.5/5

First Sentence:

Lucky Trimble crouched in a wedge of shade behind the Dumpster.
Comments: 10-year-old Lucky lives in a rural town with a population of 43. She is constantly worried that her Guardian will leave her and go back to live in France. This book left me greatly underwhelmed. I had no great liking for the characters and the plot was mostly uneventful. Disappointing for a Newbery winner.

135. Lirael

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Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr by Garth Nix
Second book of the Old Kingdom


Pages: 705
Finished: Dec. 21, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series, this was chosen for me for GRTB game on LibraryThing
First Published: 2001
Genre: YA fantasy
Awards: Ditmar Award
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:


It was a hot, steamy summer, and the mosquitoes swarmed everywhere, from their breeding grounds in the rotten, reedy shores of the Red Lake up to the foothills of Mount Abed.


Comments: This second book in the trilogy is not a continuation of the first but starts up a new story line. Lirael is a Daughter of the Clayr, yet she is different in many ways and feels apart from the others. She does not have the Sight yet she is strong in Charter Magic and while waiting for the Sight to come to her she works on her Magic skills. She eventually discovers her destiny is not as she thought and she finds herself on a journey to save the Kingdom. This is a wonderful book, one you settle into and become immersed i…

The 100 Most Influential Books by Women

I love book lists so I just had to lift this one from Danielle. I'm a little scared to start going through this one as I think I probably read more male authors when it comes to literature. Here goes! Bolding the ones I've read and * the ones I own but haven't read yet.

1. Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
2. Anne Rice, Interview With the Vampire
3. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
4. Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
5. Virginia Woolf, The Waves
6. Virginia Woolf, Orlando
7. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
8. Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
9. Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
10. Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
11. Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
12. Nadine Gordimer, Burger’s Daughter
13. Harriette Simpson Arnow, The Dollmaker
14. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
15. Willa Cather, My √Āntonia
16. Erica Jong, Fear of Flying
17. Erica Jong, Fanny
18. Joy Kogawa, Obasan *
19. Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
20. Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child
21. Doris Lessing, The Grass Is Singing
22. Harpe…

134. The Complete Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh

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The Complete Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard


Pages: 211
Finished: Dec. 21, 2007
Reason for Reading: read aloud to my 7yo. Every school day we read one new poem and then re-read a few of our favourites. We've been reading from this book for several months.
First Published: 1924
Genre: children, poetry
Rating: 5/5

Comments: This is a compilation of two books "When We Were Very Young" and "Now We Are Six". In this edition the original illustrations have been hand painted in gentle watercolours. These poems are a delight, a joy. They are very much written from a small child's point of view. The poems have rhythm and are very fun to read and easy for a child to remember after hearing repeatedly. Overall, the poems are happy, playful, funny and sometimes slightly cheeky. We have had a lot of fun reading these and I think it is time spent together that we will always remember. Highly recommended to read aloud.

133. Little Pear

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Little Pear: The Story of a Little Chinese Boy by Eleanor Frances Lattimore
First of the Little Pear books


Pages: 138
Finished: Dec. 18, 2007
Reason for Reading: read aloud to my 7yo
First Published: 1931
Genre: children fiction
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

There was once a Chinese boy called Little Pear.

Comments: The simple, heartwarming, funny misadventures of a five-year-old Chinese boy in his village in China. There are no words to convey just how much I love this book. I remember reading all the Little Pear books and many other books by Eleanor Frances Lattimore when I was a child. I have very fond memories of reading them and taking them out over and over again, especially Little Pear and Peachblossom.

I read this to my older son when he was little and it was a favourite with him so, of course, I knew I would read it aloud to the 7yo. I think I love this book even more now than I did before. The 7yo was simply enthralled with it. He has decided that Dad is going to read it to him next for …

Four-Legged Friends Wrap Up

This week I finished another of my challenges: the Four-Legged Friends Challenge hosted by Kailana.

1. The Capture by Kathryn Lasky(Owls)
2. Into the Wild by Erin Hunter(Cats)
3. Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry(Burro)
4. Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel(Bats)
5. Swamp Cat by Jim Kjelgaard (Cat)

The books in my original list are the ones I read. I really enjoyed this challenge. Animal fantasy is one of my favourite genres but I did include a few real-life animal stories in my list too. #1 and #2 above are both series I had wanted to try for a while and I'm definitely in for the long haul with both of them. Even though I wasn't too fond of #2, I've since read the sequel and loved it. #3 was a re-read from my childhood. #4 is one I've wanted to read since it was published and finally can cross it off my list; I already have the sequel sitting on my bedside table. And finally #5, was a treasure I found at a book sale; I will always be a big fan of Kjelgaard.

Short Story Monday

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This week I've switched to another collection of short stories for a change of pace. High Spirits: A Collection of Ghost Stories by Robertson Davies.

How The High Spirits Came About - In the introduction, Davies explains how every Christmas for the 18 years he was the Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto he would tell a ghost story. This is a collection of these 18 tales. The stories are parodies of the classic ghost story.

#1) Revelation From a Smoky Fire - in this story the current and first Master of Massey College finds in his rooms a man who professes to be the ninth Master of Massey College one hundred years hence, and we soon find our narrator is not who he seems to be.

#2) The Ghost Who Vanished By Degrees - this was a fun story of a ghost, who killed himself because he failed his PhD thesis, who takes our narrator hostage one night and makes him listen to the many thesis he has prepared since his death as he shall never be at peace until he has it.

132. Swamp Cat

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Swamp Cat by Jim Kjelgaard
Illustrated by Edward Shenton


Pages: 175
Finished: Dec. 15, 2007
Reason for Reading: four-legged friends challenge
First Published: 1957
Genre: YA, outdoor adventure
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

The sound came to Frosty as a mere vibration that hummed about the fine hairs in his inner ears and set his whiskers to tingling.

Comments: Seventeen-year-old Andy Gates lives alone on his family's swamp property in the hill country. His family has lived here for generations and he is the last of his line. At 14, Andy takes himself to town and earns a 4 year high school education in 3 years then takes himself back to his land. No one has ever been able to make a living from the swamps but after much deliberating Andy decides to stock his swamps with muskrats as he has read the Louisiana swamps hold. Andy also comes to find a companion in a stray cat that has recently been dumped in the hill country by a mean-spirited hillman.

Jim Kjelgaard is, in my opinion, one of the great…

131. A Faint Cold Fear

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A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter
Third in the Grant County series


Pages: 346
Finished: Dec. 13, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series
First Published: 2003
Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

Sara Linton stared at the entrance to the Dairy Queen, watching her very pregnant sister walk out with a cup of chocolate-covered ice cream in each hand.


Comments: College students appear to be committing suicide at an alarming rate, and their deaths are not your ordinary suicides. In amongst the suicides a young woman is brutally attacked not far from the scene of a suicide. How are the two related? Grant County just keeps getting better and better! Lots and lots of unexpected events happen in the lives of our main characters. I'm really intrigued as to where they will go in the next book. The case was unusual with just the right amount of gruesomeness as I've come to expect from Slaughter. A thrilling, fast-paced read with intriguing characters. I'm looking forward …

130. Holes by Louis Sachar

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Holes by Louis Sachar


Pages: 233
Finished: Dec. 9, 2007
Reason for Reading: Newbery Project
First Published: 1998
Awards: Newbery Medal
Genre: children
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.

Comments: Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake after being convicted of a crime he did not commit. At Green Lake, the inmates must dig a 5ft (in every direction) hole each and every day. It is here at this unlikely place that Stanley meets his destiny. This was such a wonderful story! I can't believe I waited so long to read it. All the characters (especially Stanley and the other boys) were so interesting and I loved the flashbacks that brought Stanley's heritage together with his present and ultimately his destiny. An unusual tale with a heartwarming ending. Highly recommended.

129. The Stupidest Angel

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The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore


Pages: 275
Finished: Dec. 8, 2007
Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of the author's and decided to read this for my Christmas book.
First Published: 2004
Awards: 2005 Quill Award (Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror)
Genre: Christmas, humour, horror
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing: dragging garland, ribbon, and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a cold sore under the mistletoe.

Comments: A Christmas angel has come to Pine Cove looking for a child, the only problem is that the residents think he is a pervert. Joshua Barker, 7-years-old, walking home one evening from a friend's house happens to see Santa murdered with a shovel. And thus begins this humourous Christmas frolic. The book is populated with characters from previous novels and is a lot of fun but not near so funny as his later work. The zombies were …

128. Do-it-yourself Magic

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Do-it-yourself Magic by Ruth Chew


Pages: 127
Finished: Dec. 8, 2007
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 7yo
First Published: 1987
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

"Wow! Rachel, look at that!" Scott Walker grabbed his sister's arm and dragged her over to the shop window of the big discount store on Church Avenue.

Comments: Rachel and Scott buy a "Build-Anything Kit" and soon discover it has magical properties. Adventure soon follows as they shrink themselves, drive a car they've made and then find themselves inside the castle they built and it's even populated with medieval people. Rachel and Scott learn about a minstrel's life and Rachel soon finds out life wasn't very fair for a girl in the middle ages. This is a cute story, a quick read and would be perfect for a child ready to read chapter books.

Short Story Monday

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#9. L. DeBard and Aliette: A Love Story by Lauren Groff - The title calls this a love story and it is that but it is also a tragedy of epic proportions. When I finished reading this my first thought was a stunned, "Wow." Set in 1918 this is the tragic love story of a former Olympic medalist swimmer and a young woman stricken with polio. The best story in this collection so far.

#10. Wake by Beverly Jensen - An interesting story of family dynamics. A brother and sister accompany their father's coffin as they bring him home for his funeral.

#11. Wait by Roy Kesey - Not impressed with this one at all. A bunch of people wait in an airport terminal as their flight is delayed over and over again.

Top 100 Books of the 20th Century

This is something I've decided I'm going to start working on in 2008. The Top 100 books of the 20th century as compiled by the folks at Random House's Modern Library. To start off with, I'm highlighting in RED the books I have already read. Some of these I do intend to re-read as it's been such a long time since I read a few of them.
My goal will not be that I must read every one of these books, but that I must at least try to read each book.

edited to add: I'm also putting in italics and ** the ones I haven't read but do own.

Modern Library Top 100 Books of the Century
ULYSSES by James Joyce
THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH…

Two Completed Challenges

When I finished The Bluest Eye this week, I also finished two challenges.

From the Stacks Challenge

1. Interworld by Neil Gaiman
2. Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson
3. Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
4. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
5. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

My completed list above is the same as my initial list. This was an easy challenge to complete as all these books had other challenges or reasons to be read for. I'm glad I added Salem's Lot to this challenge as it was part of a personal challenge and I have a feeling I probably would not have got to it so quickly otherwise.


Seconds Challenge
1. The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
2. Interworld by Neil Gaiman
3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I loved this challenge. It was a short one and that made it easy for me to complete. My completed list above is the same as my initial list. I'm glad I was able to read more of these authors and know that I will be reading more of t…

127. Poppy and Rye

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Poppy and Rye by Avi
Illustrated by Brian Floca
Second in the Tales of Dimwood Forest


Pages: 182
Finished: Dec. 5, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series. Series challenge. Read aloud to my 7yo
First Published: 1998
Genre: children, animal fantasy
Rating: 3/5

First Sentence:

"Clover! Clover, love. You need to wake up! Something awful is happening."

Comments: Poppy decides to try and find Ragweed's parents to tell them the news and Ereth accompanies her. Once they arrive they find that beavers have built a dam and flooded Ragweed's family out of their home. More than anything this is a love story. Poppy meets her husband-to-be, Ereth also feels love for the first time and we see the love of parents for children. I'm not too surprised that my 7yo did not enjoy this book very much. He enjoyed the occasional chapters focused on Poppy and Ereth but the rest of the book did not hold his interest and he requested I stop reading it three-quarters of the way through. I did fini…

Booker Challenge

For some time now I've wanted to read the Booker winners. I'm making it official by joining both the Complete Booker project and the Man Booker Challenge.

I have read a grand total of 2 Booker winners:
2000 - The Blind Assassin (Atwood) (read Aug. 2007)
1973 - The Siege of Krishnapur (Farrell) (read June, 2007)

These are the 6 I intend to read for the Challenge which runs from Jan to Dec. 2008
2007 - The Gathering (Enright)
2002 - Life of Pi (Martel)
2001 - True History of the Kelly Gang (Carey)
1997 - The God of Small Things (Roy)
1992 - The English Patient (Ondaatje)
1984 - Hotel Du Lac (Brookner)

For my reference, these are the remaining Bookers:

2006 - The Inheritance of Loss (Desai)
2005 - The Sea (Banville)
2004 - The Line of Beauty (Hollinghurst)
2003 - Vernon God Little (Pierre)
1999 - Disgrace (Coetzee)
1998 - Amsterdam: A Novel (McEwan)
1996 - Last Orders (Swift)
1995 - The Ghost Road (Barker)
1994 - How Late It Was, How Late (Kelman)
1993 - Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Doyle)
1992 - Sacred Hun…

126. Dust

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Dust by Arthur Slade


Pages: 168
Finished: Dec. 4, 2007
Reason for Reading: Canadian Challenge. Book Awards Challenge. I saw this on display at the library and was very intrigued.
First Published: 2001
Genre: YA, science fiction
Awards: Governor General's Award, Saskatchewan Book Award, Mr. Christie's Book Award
Rating: 5/5

First Sentence:

Matthew Steelgate had five cents in his pocket and a yearning for chewing gum and licorice.

Comments: When Robert's 7-year old brother disappears from a 1930s Saskatchewan prairie town it is only the first of many strange things that happen. He starts to have strange dreams, his parents seem to forget his brother, the local reverend starts making animal noises and an ivory-skinned man has arrived in town promising to make a rain machine. The first chapter describes the disappearance of the little boy and is utterly chilling. I was hooked at that point and couldn't stop reading. It's a short book and I don't want to give anything…

125. Silverwing

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Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel
First in the Silverwing Trilogy


Pages: 274
Finished: Dec. 3, 2007
Reason for Reading: Four-Legged Friends Challenge, Book Awards Challenge, Canadian Challenge. I've wanted to read this book ever since it was published.
First Published: 1997
Genre: YA, animal fantasy
Awards: Mr. Christie's Book Award, CLA Children's Book of the Year, OLA Silver Birch Award
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

Skimming over the banks of the stream, Shade heard the beetle warming up its wings.

Comments: When Shade, a young Silverwing bat, is blown off course during his colony's migration south, he is determined to find his way back to them. An impending war between the bats and birds, and a hungry vampire bat recently escaped from an observatory make his journey even more challenging. I couldn't put this one down. An utterly compelling story with interesting characters. The book ends with a set-up for the next in the trilogy and I'm looking forward to reading it. Recommend…

Short Story Monday (on Tuesday)

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#7. Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You? by William Gay - I can't give a plot summary of this because I haven't a clue. I don't know what it was about or what it meant and what's with all the dialogue and no quotation marks? Ugh.

#8. Eleanor's Music by Mary Gordon - This was beautifully written and a haunting story. Eleanor is 51 and though she was married once she has lived with her parents for the last 18 years. They lead a lovely, simple old-fashioned life. Even their language to each other is quaint, as if from another generation. At first I felt nostalgic for their life and thought it was beautiful but slowly an uneasiness arises as we realize Eleanor's life is not what it seems on the surface. Then something drastic happens to her whole conception of her life and what she does and doesn't do after that event leaves this as a haunting tale.

November in Review

This month I read 17 books and I feel like I'm being consistent with my reading both in number of books and number of pages each month. This month saw me working mostly on challenge books and the introduction of short stories into my reading. I read several very good books this month and any could have been chosen as best of the month but the book I did choose stands out highly and may be in the running for best book of the year! Worst book of the month wasn't really bad, but it wasn't in the same league as the others.

Worst book for November: Secret Seven on the Trail by Enid Blyton

Best book for November: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

121. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
120. The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
119. The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
118. 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
117. Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
116. Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
115. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
114. The story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (RA)
113…

124. The Bluest Eye

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The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison


Pages: 216
Finished: Dec. 2, 2007
Reason for Reading: Seconds challenge, From the Stacks Challenge
First Published: 1970
Genre: fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941.


Comments: This is a brutal, sad story. On the surface it is the story of being black and poor in the forties. It is also a story of rape, incest, racism, and self-loathing. I found the writing beautiful and the style very intriguing. This book is written in several voices switching from the main narrator to different character points of view. The tale is also not told in a linear fashion but jumps back and forth from one incident to another and at times stopped to tell a character's life story from beginning to end. I really enjoyed this format which gave us insight into all the major players. There were a few parts that were extremely difficult to read including a few pages of a pedophile's point of view. These are graphic…

#123. Fire and Ice

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Fire and Ice by Erin Hunter
Second in the Warriors series


Pages: 317
Finished: Dec. 2, 2007
Reason for Reading: next in the series. The Series Challenge
First Published: 2003
Genre: animal fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First Sentence:

Orange flames lapped at the cold air, throwing sparks up into the night sky.

Comments: Gone is the awkwardness I found in the first book of this series. This second book was a fast-paced enjoyable read. The story starts the day after the previous events and we are greeted with many familiar characters. The rivalries between the Clans is increasing and war seems immanent. I read this pretty much straight through and really enjoyed it. I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

December Reading List

Last month I set up this little reading list to help me stay on track with my challenges reading. I refered to it all month and have decided to keep making a list like this every month. Here is my list of what I must read in December to keep up with my challenges


1) The Bluest Eye (Seconds, From the Stacks) review here
2) Silverwing (Four-Legged Friends, Book Awards, Canadian) review here
3) Yellowknife (Canadian) didn't get to. #2 above qualifies for Canadian
4) Holes (Newbery Project) review here
5) Lirael (GRTB, Series Challenge) review here

Here is where I stand with my challenges.

Seconds Challenge - 3 books by Dec. 31, 2007
2/3 - 1 month left
**read last book**

1) The Bluest Eye

From the Stacks Challenge - 5 books by Jan. 30, 2008
4/5 - 2 months
**read last book**

1) The Bluest Eye

Four-Legged Friends Challenge - 5 books by Feb. 26, 2008
3/5 - 3 months left
**read a book a month**
1) Silverwing
2) Swamp Cat

Series Challenge - work on reading series already started Dec. - May, 2008
no specific nu…

#122. Gallows View by Peter Robinson

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Gallows View by Peter Robinson
The First Inspector Banks Mystery


Pages: 225
Finished: Dec. 1, 2007
Reason for Reading: I read the most recent book in this series and loved it, so I decided to go back to the start.
First Published: 1987
Genre: mystery, British Police Procedural
Rating: 5

First Sentence:

The woman stepped into the circle of light and began to undress.

Comments: Banks has recently moved from the city to the town of Eastvale and he's found that town life is no less work for the police. Eastvale is having a rash of burglaries which are increasingly becoming more destructive. When an elderly woman is found murdered the police wonder whether the burglars have moved up to the next level. At the same time, Eastvale women are being plagued by a peeping tom and the police call in a psychologist to help them with a profile hoping the tom won't escalate into violence. This was a wonderful read. I really enjoyed it. There were so many levels and side stories fabulous interm…