Thursday, February 23, 2012

Read, Remember, Recommend

My great-aunt Linda just gave me this amazing book, perfect for me, and I know I must share it with the rest of you!

This is an amazing reading journal that I am so happy to have been given! Now, for those of you who are not familiar with reading journals let me explain exactly what this is for:
Every time you pick up a book you are embarking on a journey, one you may want to remember for the rest of your life. However, for those of us that read avidly, this is sometimes a problem. I know I have read books that were so incredible at the time, and I wish I had baught a copy of them, but 10 years later I cannot remember the title or even author of the wonderful work. A few years ago I was part of a reading group that recommended their members write down each book they read so that at the end of the month we would have a list to look back at while talking about them. At the end of December I found the journal, BookLust, which had pages open for notes on each of the books I read. This book is what inspired me to begin this blog as a way of not only keeping up with the books I read, but also to share them with my friends.

Now, I have found this new journal, and let me tell you it is an amazing aid for anyone wanting to keep track of the books they have read, or want to read. Included in this book are lists of books that have won prizes (such as the Pulitzer) as well as ones from notable book clubs (such as The Oprah Winfrey Show: Oprah's Book Club). With these lists you can mark off which books you own, which ones you have read, which you want to read, and if you would recommend them to others.

Then of course it provides empty "To Read" lists for you to fill in yourself, followed by a section of journal pages for you to keep notes on the books as you read them.

This is followed by a "Recommendations" section for you to write down the book, author, and who you would recommend it to. Just in case you are like me and forget completely that you read this awesome book and wanted a friend to read it too.

Then, and this is one of my favorite sections, you have a "Loaner List" where you can write down all the books you have lent out and to whom, along with all the books you have borrowed from others! Perfect for someone like me who has large numbers of both floating around.

And finally you have your resources including websites for book awards, blogs, and book clubs. Along with a complete list of all the titles and authors mentioned in the book.

Already I have begun filling in some of the lists in this book. And I look forward to getting to utilize the resoucres and journal pages provided. I would highly recomend that everyone consider either purchasing this book, or any of the number like it available, or creating your own in a composition book. It is great for keeping track of all the endless wonders you find in the pages of books you have read.

Thank you Aunt Linda for giving this to me!!!

No Wednesday Giveaway

Sorry people, but there will be no giveaway this Wednesday. I am a little behind on my goal of books to read this year and so haven't been reading any that I would like to give away. However, I should have more starting next week.

Until then, I hope my reviews help you all to find an interesting new book or author!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Best Served Cold

"If there is one thing I have learned in all my many last stands, it is that death is never certain, only. . . extremely likely."  -Nicomo Cosca (p. 321)

I picked this book up thinking it was going to be a really awesome read, and was excited by the prospect since it is my first fiction pick of the year. Gary had read it before me and sung its praises, so I was ready to be astonished. . . And the result was very anti-climactic.

Best Served Cold is the story of Monzcarro Murcato, opening on her truimphant return from another campaign for the man she was loyally served for many years as a mercenary. But her employer has suspisions that she wants his position of power and so he decides to kill Monza and her brother Benna. Unfortunately for him, the death doesn't stick for Monza, and she comes back with a need so strong for revenge that she will hurtle great heaps of dead bodies to get to the 7 men responsible for her brother's death.

Don't get me wrong, this was a good book. I enjoyed the story greatly, even as characters did things I didn't want them to. I like the changes in many of the characters, even though it was not always for the best. And the twists that occured throughout kept me on my toes. Many times I found myself unable to put the book down, wanting to find out about the next murder, the next confrontation, the next city. As a work of fiction it was such an amazing story, I am glad I took the time to read it.

However, there were parts about it that made me think on many occasions that this was a book written by a man for men. Which confused me a lot since the main character was a woman, and she is very masterfully written. But it takes a strong stomach sometimes to get through scenes, including the few. . . physical scenes between men and women *hint, hint*. The language was often vulgar, which is to be expected when all the characters are killers, but I don't think it was often necessary in the naration of the story. There was also a point about the narration that drove me crazy: when the main focus was the character Caul Shivers the use of slang often occured at random. For a while this "device" distracted me from the story. I had to force myself to get used to it, and it was not an easy task.

I would recomend this book to the strong of constitution and those able to overlook flaws in writing. Otherwise you might find it difficult to get through the first few chapters of this otherwise very good read.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordstruck / Wednesday Giveaway

For today's giveaway I decided to go ahead and do a review of this last book I have finished and decided to give away. Two posts, one book! ^.~

"Who enthuses about English today? Who transmits enthusiasm? Obviously some professionals do: teachers, professors, critics, and writers. But what of the amateurs, those who love English words and phrases the way other people love porcelain or music?" -Robert MacNeil, Wordstruck (p216)

Don't let the fact that this book took me a while to read color your opinion of it already, I simply took my time with this one while I got busy in in my day to day activities. When I did have the chance to pick up this memoir I read huge chunks in short bits of time, interested in the story Robert MacNeil had to tell.

From a young age MacNeil found himself in love with words. As a child his mother read everything to him, not afraid to introduce her child to the harder poems and works of fiction, and incouraging her son to read anything and everything. This passion for language only grew as he did.

Like most people MacNeil found most interesting the stories that most related to his life at the time, and he devoured them like a starving man, reading through tons of literature. This passion for words is something he shared with his brothers, but not tot he extint that he has seemed to be affected.

This memoir follows the story of his life from the time he was that small boy, sometimes going back to speak of his parents from the beginning of their time together, until he became a first time dad himself and as he dealt with the loss of his father. While he has led a fairly simple life, not making much in the way of adventures, I still found this book very intriguing. As I read I managed to loose track of time as I delved into his story.

But this is not simply a retelling of events, either. At points MacNeil begins to analyze the works he has loved so much over the years, turning bits of the book into moments of literary critism. Being an avid reader, and former UIL participant in LC, I enjoyed these moments of detour. And I hope my unborn daughter did as well as I read the pieces of work outloud to her to hear and feel them better.

All in all I greatly enjoyed this book and wish to pass it on to someone. I hope that there is someone else out there as eager to learn, not only about another person's life with words but about their views on literature, as I was. Someone willing tot ake a chance and take in this book for a little cozy, light reading. Simply leave me a message with your email address if this person is you. I hope someone is willing to take a try on this man's story and will enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Follower Love Giveaway

This weeks book is part of a large blog hop with 300 other giveaways. So check out the list and enter in other contests!

In honor of Valentine's Day coming up I picked the first book in my bag about undying love. So, take a taste of this work about one of the most loved couples in literature, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

This book follows the newly wed couple on their honeymoon across the country as Elizabeth begins to discover the man she has just married. Dark secrets unfold as Lizzy digs deeper into her husband's life and past.

The title leaves little to the imagination, allowing the reader to know long before our heroine, Darcy's big secret, but then, the title is the reason most readers pick it up, now isn't it. While I enjoyed the chance to revisit one of my favorite literary couples, the theme seems to be a little overdone. That being said, I did still enjoy this book and had great fun in seeing the couple in a new light. It was a good book to keep my mind occupied for  short time, just long enough to get my Darcy fix.

I hope someone else would like the chance to enjoy this story. If that is you, simply enter your name and email in the comment box. Someone will be chosen at random and an email will be sent out to gather the shipping information. Hope this book gets to be someone's Valentine!

Follower Love Giceaway BlogHop!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Giveaway 4

It has been a while since I picked up this week's book, so bare with me on the short discription.

The book somehow found its own way to my shelves many years ago. I can honestly say I have no idea how is simply showed up one day. After reading the descriptions of the four parts into which the book is divided, I decided that it might be worth my while to read it. At the time, I was not much into non-fiction and that is primarily what the book is, so it was a difficult read for me. I must say it still sounds rather interesting to me, and I hope it catches the fancy of someone else that would like to give this unique book a good home.

Here is how each section is described:
Fire - The author tells about herself running through the Oakland-Berkeley hills, which are on fire. All her material goods, including her novel-in-progress, are burned. A true story.
Paper - The history of lost Books of Peace, and the quests for them.
Water - A re-creation of the burned book. A fiction set in Hawai'i, where Wittman Ah Sing and his family seek sanctuary during the War in Viet Nam.
Earth - A nonfiction during which the author and her husband live in temporary homes while their new house is being built. She sends out a call to war veterans to help write a literature of peace.

As you can see, this book is very unique. It is a blended work of fiction and nonfictions centering around the author, her life, and this story she has tried to write, bringing in bits of the lives of others as well.

The copy I have does not have a dust jacket, but that is the only thing wrong with it. Instead my hardback edition shows off the black cover and red spine with its silver lettering. I think I like it better. Simply leave me a comment if you want the book and I will get with you for shipping information.