Jan 9, 2010

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

I loooooooooooove my library. Over 80% of the books I read are from the library. The whole aspect of having a deadline is very helpful to get those books finished. Sometimes I even check out books I already own because I find they get shuffled to the bottom of the reading pile.

I go to the library about 3 days a week. Last year I was walking there everyday while listening to an audiobook. When winter gets a little more milder I am going to have to start doing that again. It helps that I don't have the internet at home so that is a big motivation to get TO the library. My kids and I love to come to story time and pick out books together too.

The Details:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

2. There are four levels:
--The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.
--Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.
--Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.
--Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is
checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not
purchased at a library sale.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go.
Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

Every year I keep saying I am going to read more of my 4,000 books and every year I read more library books instead. So in hopes of curbing that a little bit I am going to join the Just My Size level. That will be to check out and read 50 books.

1. Lost Bullet by Malcom Rose
2. a cool moonlight by Angela Johnson

YA Dystopian Challenges Wrap Up

Hello! 4 days and counting to the Delayed New Year. Are you getting excited yet?

Today I am dealing with more 2009 business (shocked, aren't you?).

As it turns out, with my mom in town I only read one more YA Dystopia instead of the four I had planned. And that one wasn't even on the original list. Buuuuuut, I did remember one book that I did read and fogot to list!

I really want to thank the people who hosted these challenges even though I wasn't able to fully complete them as required, I had a lot of fun pretending to participate. I will gather all my reviews together on this post so you can check them out as they are finished. All but one should be up in the next few days.

I will be reading A LOT more YA Dystopian fiction in 2010 so be sure to stay posted for all the great titles. What Dystopian novels are you planning on reading in 2010?

For Bart's Challenge I had to read between 1-4 books and I am picking the following titles to count for that.

1. First Light by Rebecca Stead
2. The Walls Have Eyes by Clare B. Dunkle (#2 in series)
3. Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey (audio)
4. House of Power by Patrick Carman (audio)

For Books on the Nightstand's Challenge I had to follow the rules, which I never actually did. But I am being all anarchist and listing to following title to count for that challenge.

1. The Roar by Emma Clayton
2. Stolen Voices by Ellen Dee Davidson
3. The Declaration by Gemma Malley (audio)
4. Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin
5. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
6. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (audio)
7. Skinned by Robin Wasserman (audio)

Skinned by Robin Wasserman

This book is the first in a series. I listened to it on audio and I am waiting for the library to get more of the series. Skinned is a great story about a girl who wakes up in a new body, a mechanized version of herself. Her brain and memories are what they were before, but her body and even voice are different. She needs to learn how to move and function in this new veriosn of herself.

In an interview with Tor.com author Robin Wasserman explained how a person is "skinned".

How does the process work—downloading the human consciousness into the computer mind?

The brain is frozen, cut into thin slices, scanned, and then mapped onto a computer. (As it turns out, there are scientists who speculate about the best ways to do this, so I cobbled together the procedure from their research.) Memories are periodically backed up, so that if necessary, the brain can always be downloaded into a new body. Externally, the body mimics human bodies—it’s anatomically correct and covered in a synthetic flesh that looks and feels nearly real.

Earlier in the year I read The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which tells a similar story in a completely different way. Pearson uses a more lyrical style to express Jenna's disconnect with her indenity. While Robin Wasserman's character remains a caustic teen. Lia has one advantage over Jenna Fox, she was able to keep her memories. Lia is able to move forward with the rememberance of who she once was. But maybe this is worse because she isn't the same person. Even though she feels like the same person on the inside, everyone else is struggling with who she is on the outside. It is easy for Lia to forget that she looks different. But the people looking at her have the constant reminder that she isn't who she used to be. That she is different, that she is artificial. Whether it is pity, fear, or anger, she is treated in a way she never was before. Lia used to be popular, she never knew the scorn of her classmates. Now the looks that used to be filled with envy are now filled with distane.

Both books deal with the moral and ethical issues surrounding these kind of procedures. I enjoyed the world of Skinned more than that of Jenna Fox. I liked the way the story unfolded in Skinned, but I did not particularly like the character of Lia. She was abrasive, self centered and annoying even when she was giong through her self awakening. Jenna had a nievity that was appropriate but kind of annoying as well, but between the two of them I like Jenna better. Both books deal with fascinating aspects of future technological and medical avancements and question what it is to be human. The authors both did an excellent job exploring these elements.

Also in her interview with Tor.com Wasserman shares her experience delving into a new genre.

This is my first real science fiction novel, and I was pretty intimidated by that at first. I’d decided to set it in the near future, without stopping to think what kind of challenge that would pose. When you set a book in the distant future, you can create whatever kind of world you like—but since this book is set within the twenty-first century, I felt bound to construct something that would seem somewhat realistic. I wanted this world to feel like a natural outgrowth of our own.
On the Simon and Shuster website, Robin shares:

My life in 8 words:
"Chaos punctuated by boredom (or sometimes vice versa)."

Look for the next book in the series, Crashed, out now.

Terry Pratchet Challenge

I have been putting off reading Terry Pratchett for a long time because I thought he was a fantasy writer. Last year I read Only You Can Save Mankind and I really enjoyed it. I decided I was going to start reading the Discworld series. When I found out about this challenge I figured it would be the perfect incentive. I may read other Pratchett books but for right now I am going to focus on the Discworld series. If you are interested in reading the series as well, check out this great graphic that visually shows the reading order. Pratchett also lists a book order on his website.

The Details:
The challenge will start from 1 December 2009 and run through to 30 November 2010. There are several different levels of participation for you to choose from:

1-3 books - Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint
4-5 books - Guard of the City Watch
6-8 books - Academic at the Unseen University
9-10 books - Member of Granny Weatherwax's Coven
10-12 books - Death's Apprentice

I think I am going all in and trying for the Death's Apprentice level. I am not sure if I can really accomplish that with all the other books I am planning on reading but I am ready to try. I am going to list the first 10 Discoworld books here and mark them when they are read.
1. The Colour of Magic
2. The Light Fantastic
3. Equal Rites
4. Mort
5. Sourcery
6. Wyrd Sisters
7. Pyramids
8. Guards! Guards!
9. Eric
10. Moving Pictures
I am not sure about the order that I will read them in. I may look more to the graphic for that. I guess I will see once I start reading them the most relevant order to me.

Jan 8, 2010

42 Challenge

Your mission--if you choose to accept it--is to read, watch, listen, and
(possibly) review 42 sci-fi related items.

What counts? Short stories,
novellas, novels, radio show episodes, television show episodes, movies, graphic
novels, comic books, audio books, essays about science fiction, biographies
about sci-fi authors, etc. Adapted or abridged works are okay as well.

Keep an ongoing list of your 42.


Cybils Award Challenge

How Will It Work?
◦Challenge will run from December 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010
◦Anyone can join, you don’t have to blog to play along
◦Challengers can choose to participate in as many of the categories listed below as they want
◦Challengers may not mix books from across multiple categories
◦Challengers do not need to construct a reading list just decide as you go however the mood strikes you
◦Challengers may participate at any of the levels indicated below
◦All books used as part of the challenge must be from the 2009 reading lists
◦Books read can overlap with other challenges you are participating in
◦Challengers can read in any format (ie: audio, e-book, print)

Levels of Participation
◦Categorically Speaking – choose to read all books in a category
◦Halfway There – choose to read 50% of books in a category
◦Rule of Fours – choose to read 1/4 or 3/4 of books in a category
◦Pick A Number – choose to read a specific number of books in a category
◦Shorties Rule – choose to read books in a specific short list (finalists will be publicized Jan 1, 2010)

Fun Stuff
As part of the fun there will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways and a grand prize drawing for a $100 gift card to Borders Books. (please go to Challenge for more info.)

So, as of right now I am joining the Rule of Fours in two categories. Fantasy and Science Fiction for both young adult and middle grade. I am really looking forward to reading these. I wanted to do the Categorically Speaking but I am not sure I will be able to get all the books for a category easily and I can't decide between YA and MG. I think I am going to end up doing 3/4 in one category and 1/4 in the other depending on availability/time to read.

As readers will know, I am not a big fan of fantasy, so completing these two categories WILL be a challenge for me. I am definitely looking forward to the new reading experiences that will come from it!

Middle Grade
  1. Flight of the Phoenix
  2. The Hotel Under the Sand
Young Adult
  1. Hush, Hush
  2. The Demon's Lexicon
  3. Candor
  4. Blue Moon
  5. Fade

100+ Reading Challenge

Last year I joined this challenge and AMAZED myself by reading 186 book! I wasn't even sure if I could make it to 100. I didn't officially join this challange last year and I won't be doing it this year because I am counting books I finish regardless of when I start them. I encourage you to push your reading expectation and join the 100+ Reading Challenge. (That means you Chelsea!)

1. Nemi by Lise Myhre
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Countdown to Delayed New Years - Going Postal

So, I am really behind on all my blogging due to my mom's unexpected visit. Therefore, I am doing a Countdown to Delayed New Years! And this Postal Post is the first in my Countdown!

Titan Books approached me to review this comic book series. I jumped at the chance. Some of you may remember that I started getting more and more interested in graphic novels about a year and a half ago. But this is the first time I was ever asked to review them.

Aren't those covers amazing? I have them up as decorations until the holidays are over and I have time to get to them.

(Also sneaking in on the picture is a little figurine my 6yo gave me for Christmas. So cute!)

Nemi looks extremely excellent and I can't wait to delve into it!

Also from Titan Books and in perfect correlation with the NEW MOVIE. I got The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The War of the Worlds. I am waiting to see the movie until after I read this book because it would be totally unfair to the book to try and compare it to Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law!

This is going to be a perfect read for me considering how OBSESSED I am with science fiction lately. And look at that FANTASTIC cover!

Thanks to Titan for these generous acquisitions!

Jan 3, 2010

Library Loot - January Week 1

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr.Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

I have been wanting to start doing Library Loot for a long time. And while I had every intetion of doing it at the start of the year, that didn't exactly happen. But I am going to backlog the last few weeks from my paper records and memory!

Rivers of Fire by Patrick Carman
The City of Gold and Lead by John Christopher
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Lost Bullet by Malcom Rose
A Creed for the Third Millennium by Colleen McCullough

Gone by Michael Grant

With my mom in town I was not able to read most of the books I was planning for the end of the year. Nor was I able to finish Gone, which I had out on inter library loan.

No new books for me!
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