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In My Mailbox #4 (February Round-off)

 Sunday, 28 February 2010

I am *the* world's worst book blogger sans doute. It's been weeks since I last did a post and since I started this I have only done one actual book review which is terribly deficient of me- I apologise heartily to my followers.

So I thought that I should do a uber IMM post and include my reading for this month since I am doubtful that even I could get another book finished before midnight.

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren

Right, well I bought a heck of a lot of books in February;

A Lost Lady- Willa Cather
The Mists of Avalon- Marion Zimmer Bradley
North and South- Elizabeth Gaskell (Read it 4 Stars)
The Professor's House- Willa Cather
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald (Read it 4 Stars)
Wives and Daughters- Elizabeth Gaskell
The Moonstone- Wilkie Collins
The Mill on the Floss- George Eliot
Silas Marner- George Eliot
Ruth- Elizabeth Gaskell
A Clash of Kings- George R.R. Martin
A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow- George R.R. Martin
Prey- Rachel Vincent
The Knife of Never Letting Go- Patrick Ness
Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye- Alison Goodman (Read it 4.5 Stars)
Revelation- C.J. Sansom
The Falcons of Montabard- Elizabeth Chadwick
Vanity Fair- William Makepeace Thakeray
The Laurentine Spy- Emily Gee (Read it 4 Stars)
Gone- Michael Grant
From Dead to Worse- Charlaine Harris (Read it 4 Stars)
All Together Dead- Charlaine Harris (Read it 4 Stars)
Definitely Dead- Charlaine Harris (Read it 4 Stars)
The Blind Assassin- Margaret Atwood
Cranford- Elizabeth Gaskell

Not all of those books were bought by me since my lovely boyfriend paid for several as part of his Valentine's Day present to me (which I thought was so sweet of him)

I also received my Librarything Early Reviewers book finally; All the Things We Didn't Say- Sara Shepard.

Now for this month's reading- It was not quite as successful as January but since classes have re-started I haven't had as much spare time on my hands so most of my reading had to be done late at night hence I got fewer books read.

24. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson 

25. World Without End by Ken Follett (7/2/2010 PM)
26. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (14/2/2010 PM)
27. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula le Guin (15/2/2010 AM)
28. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (16/2/2010 PM)
29. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (17/2/2010 AM)
30. Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye by Alison Goodman (18/2/2010 AM)
31. The Laurentine Spy by Emily Gee (19/2/2010 AM)
32. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (20/2/2010 AM)
33. All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris (24/2/2010 AM)
34. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (25/2/2010 AM)
35. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (25/2/2010 AM)
36. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (27/2/2010 AM)
37. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris (28/2/2010 AM)

General Overview
Books read - 14
Books Owned - 13
Fantasy - 6 (3 Vampire books)
Classics - 4
Historical Fiction - 1
General Fiction- 3
Books Acquired this month- 29 (2 were Spanish books for Uni)

Now to wrap up I want to show you the awesome bag that my boyfriend bought me as well for Valentine's Day. It sums me up perfectly and I know that many other people will feel the same. (apologies in advance for how tired I look- I woke at 2pm and my hair is a mess. Plus the weirdness of my eye is due to the light coming from my computer)

Isn't that the most perfect bag in the world for any self-respecting Book Addict???

And on that note I leave you. Happy Sunday folks!


Booking through Thursday - Encouragement

 Thursday, 11 February 2010

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books?

Since I've not done a post for several days (I'm really sorry about that I've got a lot of work from uni to do) I'll do this week's BTT. 

Although obviously I am not old enough to have non-reading offspring to worry about I have had to deal with my mostly non-reader sister. Until very recently we were completely opposite in that she preferred to watch TV and Dvds all the time and had to be forced to read anything that was larger than a magazine whereas I hardly watch TV anymore (although I do love watching films) and I have to be threatened to get me away from my books- the threats usually imply that some form of harm will befall my precious books should I not comply. Our parents have long accepted the fact that I was the bookworm and my sister the TV addict and didn't force her to read if she didn't want to.

However in the last year a strange and miraculous change was wrought upon my sister thanks to me and although I'm not all too happy to admit it- Twilight. Yes that's right those beslubbering books which have been hyped up beyond all reason and which have ensnared the minds of an enormous portion of the female population, old and young, were the catalyst which got my sister reading. When I first read the Twilight books back around the time just when Breaking Dawn came out I'll readily confess that I was addicted. I raced through all four books and went back and re-read them several times for good measure. I even gave the first book as a christmas present to three of my best friends with the very stern order to "read it or else!" I even joined The Twilight Lexicon (one of the largest Twilight fansites) and was so hooked on it that I annoyed a heck of a lot of people for several months until I weaned myself off it. But out of that experience came something brilliant- as dodgy as this may sound- I met my best friend on the Lex. Although we've only known each other for a year and only met up twice in person I fell as though I've known her my whole life- we have so much in common it's scary and we actually got mistaken for being sisters on our first get-together (which was hilarious oh our faces were a picture!). Nowadays neither of us much like the Twilight books since the furor surrounding them has just got to the point of being ridiculous but I do have to give thanks to the books and the Lex for providing the spark for a friendship that I'm going to be glad of for the rest of my life.

Now before you cry "hold on, how off on a tangent are you going?" I do have a point and I'm getting to it, albeit by a very convoluted route. What I'm trying to say is that although I don't like the Twilight books anymore I have to acknowledge the fact that they have had quite a remarkable effect on my life and my reading habits. They are not great literature and they're not going to become classics by which 21st century fiction is defined, not in the slightest, they're books about sparkly freaking vampires for god's sake! But no one can deny the incredible effect these books have had on a whole generation of young people. Some kids who hated reading before they read Twilight now are almost as ravenous for books as kids who've been reading all their lives and are clamouring for more books "like Twilight" (how many times a day bookstore clerks hear those two words I can't possibly imagine). If you can get past the annoying whininess of Bella and the sheer craziness that is the sparkly vampire concept the Twilight books are, initially, thrillingly addictive and you almost can't help speeding through them. Even though on multiple readings they become less brilliant to even a minimally critical reader, they give such a rush to new readers that they can ignore the faults and devour them happily until someone gives them something new to read. 

At first my sister wouldn't read the Twilight saga, but when the film came out she became suddenly interested in the books and I lent my copies to her. Since she was not a usual reader it took her a long time to get through all four books but by the time she'd finished them all the Twilight fandom had it's newest recruit. Over the months that followed she re-read those books more times than I actually know, she had to buy replacement copies for two of them since she'd read them almost to the point of tattiness. I had been trying over that time to get her to read some other books so that she wasn't reading just the Twilight books for the rest of her life. She requested suggestions for books with romance in them which is not too difficult to find as most YA books these days have at least some romance in them. So I gave her my favourite Sarah Dessen books to read, Just Listen- unfortunately she didn't really get on with Dessen's brand of romance so I switched tack. Short of Mills and Boon drivel the most romantic books I could think of were Nicholas Sparks' novels - that man is a marvel to me. Almost every book of his that I've read has left me sobbing by the end so I thought they would fit the bill perfectly. And I struck gold- although it wasn't the book I suggested, my sister read his newest book "The Last Song" and within a day of her reading it I got numerous emails and texts in full caps complete with an army of exclamation marks to "READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW OR ELSE!!!!" I was completely shocked, where on earth had this monster come from? My sister the devout TV lover who had to be brow-beaten into reading was now demanding vehemently that *I* read something?? Just yesterday when I spoke to her on the phone she said that I would have to read a book that had just arrived at home straight away so that she could read it because it looked really good. I'm both immensely glad and amazed at the change in my sister because now we have something else which we can share and talk about together and that is fantastic after so many years of us being quite different from each other. 

So to sum up, although the Twilight saga is regarded by some as the stupidest piece of tosh to appear this century I have to say that it has been enormously helpful to get thousands of young people reading. If a non-reader gets hooked onto these books it's possible to get them to read other books which they may never have dreamt of reading before. Use Twilight as a launch-pad to wider reading, help someone to branch out into other genres depending on what aspect of the series interested the non-reader most, for my sister it was the romance aspect, for others it may be the paranormal creatures- give them a choice of similar books to choose from and see where they want to go from there. (if I'm sounding at all preachy I'm terribly sorry) Who knows, Twilight might get people reading the classics which are mentioned in the books! That'd be a thing to see indeed!

Now I've bored you for far too long so I'll finish here (I really must try and write to a word limit because posts like this are just mental). Thanks if you've read all the way down here and if you want to make a comment then feel free :)


In My Mailbox #3

 Sunday, 7 February 2010

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren

Good morning folks! (apologies in advance for any spelling mistakes- I am writing this at 1:35am and I've just got in from a night out so things may get a little squeewiff)

This week I've been quite a good girl and only bought two books. Both were from my beloved Oxfam bookshop and only set me back £4.50 which is much improved on last weeks bookapalooza.
I bought The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and A Lost Lady by Willa Cather. Both were pretty random purchases as I've never read anything by either author before, but I mooched another book by Willa Cather the other day which should hopefully arrive before the end of the month along with my other mooch - The White Horse by Jules Watson (I'm fairly sure that's the right name but my mind is very fuzzy at this time). So I thought that I should try another book by Cather before the mooch arrived to see if I liked her work.

I can safely say that while this week has been quite restrained- next week is going to be a mess. I'm going to visit my boyfriend in Oxford at the weekend and there are lots of second-hand bookstores close by which we *will* be making the rounds of, so I'm probably going to come back with about 10 books or something ridiculous like that. I'm going to try my best not to buy any full-price books and not to buy so much that I have to have an extra bag to carry them back on the train but knowing me and how my bf and I egg each other on to buy bargain books it's gonna turn into a buying frenzy (which I won't regret at all).

Well seeing as it's nearly 2am here in old Blighty I'm going to go to sleep now, or I may just carry on with the book I've been reading for a group read on LibraryThing which is the World Without End by Ken Follett. It's the last week and I want to get it finished this weekend.
Anyways c'est tout pour ce week-end
Bonne Nuit!


My First (two!) Awards!!

 Thursday, 4 February 2010

Wow I'm on a roll today! Two posts within an hour of each other is extraordinary! But it needed to be done since I just found out that I got awarded a *second* award by Sasha @The Sweet Bonjour (which is a fabulous name for a blog I have to say). So anyway on with the awards!!

The first award that I received was the Bliss (Happy 101) award which was passed on to me by Serpentine Librarian @The Serpentine Library

It definitely was a surprise when I got this since I've only been blogging for a very short while and I'm terribly inconsistent and don't do a good job at posting reviews. But I was very happy to receive it so thank you very much!

I now have to list ten things which make me happy:
1. My sister - clumsy crazy gal that she is
2. My boyfriend - for being so wonderful and understanding the importance of matching book covers!!
3. Books - yes they come third, I'm generally rather antisocial so books are my main refuge.
4. My best friends - especially my Twin of Oddness Jess, love ya girl!
5. Sleep - I know it sounds daft but I *love* sleep and just wish I didn't need so much cos then I'd have more reading time!
6. Chocolate - that's pretty self-explanatory really
7. Penguins - I'm addicted to these awesome creatures. Currently there are 10 penguin related items in my room, one of which is my coin purse- George :D
8. Being warm - I get cold fairly frequently so anywhere that's toasty warm is fantastic
9. Writing letters- frankly everyone should write letters more often cos it's such a fun way to talk to people and there's loads of funky paper you can get. I actually have purple ink and a quill!
10. Being totally nerdy - I am a nerd to the core and damn proud of it. I love getting the giggles when I randomly think of something that only a true dork would find funny. It's even more fun being odd with a fellow nerd :P

Now to pass it on to some more awesome people:
Sasha @The Sweet Bonjour
Sarah @Sarah's Random Musings
Briana @The Book Pixie
Erica @The Book Cellar

My second award was the Kreativ Blogger award from the aforementioned Sasha. Thanks!

I love the premise for this award- Tell us 7 interesting things about yourself and then past it on to seven other creative bloggers (I'll probably only do 3 I'm afraid since my blog roll is not quite as large as other people's may be)

#1. I'm weirdly ambidextrous - I am left-handed for writing but I play sports right-handedly
#2. One of my front teeth isn't real - I broke it with a cricket ball when I was 8
#3. I'm appallingly bad at time management - I find it nearly impossible to keep to a schedule
#4. I'm currently studying for a degree in French & Spanish - me gustan las idiomas :D
#5. I'm a pretty poor cook - before I started at university I could just about manage to heat stuff up, I'm not much better now though
#6. I'm also working on a story at the moment but I shan't be saying any more on than for a *long* while
#7. I have a rubber ball from inside a computer mouse in a film canister which is a weird kinda stress toy.

Ok enough randomosity about me!
Other Kreativ Bloggers:
Sophie @So Many Books, So Little Time (yay for Brit Bloggers!)
Carla @The Crooked Shelf
Jenny @Wondrous Reads

Well that's all for now folks! But before you go heres a fun little pic of George and me :D
Isn't he the cutest little thing you ever saw? Gotta love the French (I bought him while I was over there on a French Exchange)



Really, Super-duper Late January Round-off!

Oh god I'm such a bad blogger!! I keep promising to do posts and then I don't! I won't try to make excuses for myself because it's mostly laziness which is stopping me- that and the fact that posts take me a heck of a long time to write and I really should use my free time for other stuff as well *grumble stupid work gripe*. Anyway I'm trying to rectify things by finally doing the January summary post that I'd said I would do on Monday (I've not realised how fast this week has vanished).

Ok, well January was a very productive month when it comes to book-buying and reading. I read 23 books during the month but unfortunately I bought 26 books so I'm not doing too great at reducing my TBR pile. Although it hasn't hit 100 books yet, it is hovering around the 90 book mark so I have to make sure I don't buy *anything* during February that's not needed for my studies (I did buy two books off amazon last night for Spanish so they don't count :P).

Since I'm probably not going to have time to do separate reviews for every book I read in January I'll just post the list of the books I read and leave a link at the bottom to my thread on LibraryThing where you can find my rather naff attempts at reviews.

1. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (2/1/2010 AM)
2. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris (3/1/2010 AM)
3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (5/1/2010 AM)
4. The Gift by Alison Croggon (6/1/2010 AM)
5. The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth by Brian Sibley (7/1/2010 AM)
6. Darke Academy: Secret Lives by Gabriella Poole (9/1/2010 AM)
7. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (9/1/2010 AM)
8. The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth Chadwick (11/1/2010 AM)
9. Dingo by Charles de Lint (11/1/2010 PM)
10. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (13/1/2010 AM)
11. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (16/1/2010 AM)
12. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (17/1/2010 AM)
13. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (20/1/2010 AM)
14. A Place beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (21/1/2010 AM)
15. Pagan's Vows by Catherine Jinks (22/1/2010 AM)
16. Alanna: L'Epreuve by Tamora Pierce (23/1/2010 PM)
17. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (27/1/2010 AM)
18. Fallen by Lauren Kate (28/1/2010 AM)
19. The Secret Circle vol. 1 by L.J. Smith (28/1/2010 PM)
20. The Secret Circle vol. 2 by L.J. Smith (29/1/2010 PM)
21. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (30/1/2010 AM)
22. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (31/1/2010 AM)
23. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (31/1/2010 PM)

The bolded books are my Five Star reads for this month. The books which are italicised are books which count towards my Books off the Shelf Challenge, the aim of which is to reduce the number of books on my long-standing TBR pile by 50. Any books which were in my library *before* the 1st December 2009 can count for this challenge- the rest will only count towards my 75 Book Challenge (link goes to my thread where the "reviews" are). 

Also on a blog-related note: I'm now up to 18 followers!! :D I'm honestly amazed I have any considering how inconsistent I am with posting (I still need to do an award post since Serpentine Librarian @The Serpentine Library passed on the Bliss (Happy 101) award to me which I totally wasn't expecting and I need to pass it on as well). But yea, so thank you to the people who are following me - I may do a rather crazy, happy post when I get to 25 followers.
Hope everyone's having a good Thursday


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