Reading Goals: 2013
Well, I didn’t reach my goal of 40 books in 2012 (partially because I read some FAT books), so my goal for 2013 is again 40 books and/or 14,000 pages. Some books I’m hoping to get to include: Night Film by Marisha Pessl (Aug. 2013) The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (Apr. 2013) The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill (Apr. 2013) The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma (Mar....
Year in Review: 2012
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Jan. 1) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Jan. 22) Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Jan. 29) Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner (Feb. 26) Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot (Mar. 4) Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Mar. 17) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Mar. 20) The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (Mar. 26) Crooked Letter, Crooked...
Top Five New Releases of 2012
Like last year, I didn’t do very well at reading in 2012. There’s only so much time in the day, and most of that is spent at a desk! I only read seven new releases, so again I’m doing a top five list, instead of the usual top ten. There were several additional new releases I didn’t get to, so those are ranked, as well. Top Five Books I Read: The Twelve by Justin Cronin ...
My laptop died back in March, and while I wasn’t super committed to this blog before that happened, it is definitely part of the reason why I’ve been so radio silent this year. Why does the Tumblr iPad app suck so much for composing blog posts?! With that in mind, I’m not back entirely, but I do love reading statistics and figured I would continue to use this space as a place to...
Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner
Genre: Contemporary fiction Setting: Brooklyn, New York City Narrator: Third person, focusing mostly on Vaclav and Lena First line(s): “’Here, I practice, and you practice. Ahem. AH-em. I am Vaclav the Magnificent, with birthday on the sixth of May, the famous day for the generations to celebrate and rejoice, a day in the future years eclipsing Christmas and Hanukkah and Ramadan and all...
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Genre: Historical fiction Setting: New York City, 1938 Narrator: Katey Kontent, a 25-year-old Wall Street secretary First line: “On the night of October 4th, 1966, Val and I, both late middle age, attended the opening of Many Are Called at the Museum of Modern Art—the first exhibit of the portaits taken by Walker Evans in the late 1930s on the New York City subways with a hidden camera.” Quick...
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Genre: Classic, Gothic, Mystery Setting: Victorian England Narrator: Varies, but mainly first-person accounts from Walter Hartright and Marian Halcombe First line: “This is the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and of what a Man’s resolution can achieve.” Quick summary: Walter, a drawing-master from London, finds himself employed at Limmeridge House in the country,...
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Genre: Contemporary fiction Setting: Present day, Brazil’s Amazon rainforest Narrator: 3rd person, focusing on Dr. Marina Singh First line: “The news of Anders Eckman’s death came by way of Aerogram, a piece of bright blue airmail paper that served as both the stationary and, when folded over and sealed along the edges, the envelope.” Quick summary: After receiving the news of...
Reading Goals: 2012
Happy New Year! I was a terrible reader in 2011. Though I read more books than I did in 2009, I also read 19 fewer than in 2010. Perhaps I over-reached with the goal of reading 52 books and got discouraged early on when I fell off pace. This year, my goal will be 40 books, which would double the amount I read in 2011, but still be more than I’ve ever finished in a single year. Some books...
Year in Review: 2011
Bloodroot by Amy Green (Jan. 2) Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer (Jan. 12) A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami (Mar. 1) Running a Thousand Miles For Freedom by William and Ellen Craft (Mar. 5) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (Mar. 25) The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell (Mar. 27) The Living by Annie Dillard (Apr. 3) Bossypants by Tina Fey (Apr. 12) The Brothers...
Top Five New Releases of 2011
I will be the first to admit that I sucked at reading this year. I finished just 20 books (as compared to 39 in 2010), and only eight of those were released in 2011. So, instead of doing a top ten list like everyone else, I’m going to do a top five list. Of course, I didn’t read many of the books fellow bloggers are championing, so I’m also going to include the top five books I...
The Instructions by Adam Levin
Genre: Contemporary fiction, Jewish Setting: Chicago, Illinois. November 14 to 17, 2006 Narrator: Gurion ben-Judah Maccabee, a 10-year-old student at Aptakisic Junior High, who may or may not be the messiah. First line(s): “There is damage. There was always damage and there will be more damage, but not always.” Quick summary: Gurion is a brilliant and devout Israelite who has been...
Why I suck at writing about books
It’s no secret that I love reading, but I don’t exactly love trying to form complete sentences with coherent thoughts after I finish each book. Such is the reason that I posted a review today for a book that I read two MONTHS ago. I thought that creating this blog would be a good way to practice my writing, since I don’t get to exercise much creativity at work (aside from using...
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
This is a super (SUPER) belated review, but I actually wrote most of it right after I finished the book back in October. But work got busy at the beginning of November, and since then, I’ve just been…lazy. (The internet and my phone are huge distractions.) But here it is, finally: I know that zombies are pretty prevalent in American culture at the moment, but I’m kind of a...
Top Ten Books To Read During Halloween
I’ve always wanted to to one of these Top Ten Tuesday posts hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but ten picks always seems like so many! I haven’t actually read that many spooky books, so the second set of five are ones from my to-read list. Read and recommend: 1. Dracula by Bram Stoker An obvious choice, I know. I read this last Halloween and thought it was amazing. These typical...
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I’m going to preface this by saying I’m going to waste as little time and effort as possible thinking and writing about The Night Circus. If you are at all excited about this book, you probably shouldn’t read what I have to say about it. If you are hesitant about reading it, I hope you learn from my mistake. I was really excited about this book. I even referred it to friends...
…so much has been laid on the sunset—heavy-handed metaphors, sentimental...– Kirk Farber, Postcards from a Dead Girl
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
On the shore of Lake Michigan lies Westish College, a small liberal arts school whose biggest claim to fame is that Herman Melville once gave a lecture there. That discovery became such a big deal when it was revealed that the school’s identity was rebuilt around it. Their mascot changed from the Sugar Maples to the Harpooners (after Moby Dick), and a huge statue of Melville was erected...
We the Animals by Justin Torres
A lot of buzz has been surrounding Justin Torres’ super short novel (okay, novella) We the Animals, and looking at Goodreads, it seemed people either loved it or hated it. Because it weighs in at only 125 pages, I figured the risk of wasting my time on it was pretty low, but in the end I didn’t need to be worried. The book reads a lot like a series of short stories. The narrator and...
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
I’m fairly picky about the historical fiction I read, but as soon as I read the plot of The Kitchen House, I added it to my to-read list. The novel begins in 1793, when Lavinia is a seven-year-old Irish immigrant whose parents have just died on the passage to Virginia. Too sick to sell, Captain James Pyke had no other choice but to indenture her, and send her to live and work in the...
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I should probably preface this by saying I’m a bit of a nerd. I’ve been using some sort of the internet for nearly as long as I can remember and I learned HTML when I was 10 years old. I often prefer to spend my money on gadgets instead of clothes, and I have a fairly expansive TV on DVD collection, which is growing more and more obsolete. I’ve even played World of Warcraft....
The Great Big Nostalgia Post!
I have loved books for as long as I can remember. I’m sure that’s a common trait among book bloggers, so I’m not claiming to be unique in that sense, but I always felt some strange connection to books. There are pictures of me when I was small surrounded by them, and when I was seven or so I recorded myself on my little Fisher-Price tape deck literally just naming off every book...
Kapitoil by Teddy Wayne
The year is 1999, and Karim Issar has just arrived in New York City from his native Qatar. He’s a “cream of the cream” programmer contracted to work on Schrub Equities’ Y2K project through the end of the year. (Side note: My mom was on the Y2K team for Seafirst Bank. I regrettably dressed as a Y2K bug for Halloween that year. I was 14.) Pretty soon, he starts devising...
Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben...
UFOs and octopi and talking heads, oh my! The cover of Ben Loory’s Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day is what first drew me to the book, and after reading the review by Unabridged Chick, I knew I needed to download it right then. Inside are forty short (and I mean short) stories about everything from love to revenge and discovery to loss, usually using unexpected subjects. My...
The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
At beginning of The Fates Will Have Their Way, we learn about the disappearance of Nora Lindell, a 16-year-old who was last seen on Halloween. No one knows what happened to her, but speculation runs wild among a group of neighborhood boys. They continue to piece together subtle clues and rumors over several years, even as they grow up, get married, and have their own children. Was she abducted...
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe...
Charles Yu is a time machine repairman in Minor Universe 31 (MU-31), an unfinished universe where, “at the moment work was halted, physics was only 93 percent installed.” Along with his time machine’s operating system, TAMMY, and Ed, his dog that doesn’t exist, he travels through time helping to keep people from altering their own timelines. At one point, he comes to the...
How do you choose books?
I’m an indecisive reader, especially lately. When I’m well into a book, I’ll be inundated by books that I want to read instead, but once I’m unencumbered by the first, suddenly nothing seems appealing! I will click around for hours on Amazon looking for something intriguing, but I get put off by stupid book covers and sappy titles. So, then I turn to book review sites and...
Why, hello there!
Every time I finish a book, I write a short review of it over on my personal Tumblr (kmp), but I decided to transition some that blogging to this separate site. There’s a lot more I want to share, so I thought having a suitable place would be best. Not only will I share my post-reading write-ups, but I also want to talk about my favorite authors, what I look for (and don’t look for) in...