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katelisim's Eleventy-Leven

The 11 in 11 Category Challenge

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Edited: Apr 13, 2011, 8:51pm Top

Don't know my categories yet, but I still got 4 months to take care of that. So, just setting up and place-holding for now.

In the group reads thread there was some interest in Master and Margarita, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and Wuthering Heights for January or summer reading. If you wanna join those pop into that thread or let me know :)

ETA: So I've decided to do a modified challenge. 11 categories but with 5 in each to start with. That's much more manageable. If I make it past the 55 (which I fully intend on doing) it will be open to any category. The restriction I'm putting on myself though is that I have to finish the 5 of each category before moving on, with the exception of the textbook category (that will fill up, just a matter of how much is required in each class/semester) and the comics category, since those are super quick and a majority of what I read during the school semesters.

There is a Master group read set-up for January. I'll come back with a link. If anyone wants to read Jonathan or Wuthering in the summer, or has a diff book they'd like to read with me that fits in my categories--let me know! Speaking of, here they are:

1. I'm a Smarty-Pants : Textbooks/Class Reading
2. I Got My Delorian to 88 : Stories Set in the Past
3. 73ch-H34d : Science Fiction
4. Timbuk3 Knew About the Future: The Apocalypse and Post-Apocalypse
5. "I heard it from Peter, who heard it from John, who heard it from someone I don't know at all" (DM) : Recommendations
6. How Many Licks to the Center?!? : 1001 List
7. Do I Get To Meet Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki? : Supernatural/Paranormal
8. Visual Stunna : Graphic Novels/Manga
9. . . . : Series Continuance
10. Kidlins : Children's & YA
11. Open-Season: Anything Else

Edited: Dec 27, 2011, 12:44am Top

1. I'm a Smarty-Pants
1. The Practice of Public Relations
2. Excerpts from Multiple Textbooks
3. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
4. The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad
5. Heart of Darkness (again) by Joseph Conrad
6. Youth by Joseph Conrad
7. Typhoon by Joseph Conrad
8. Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad
9. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
10. The Duel by Joseph Conrad
11. The Return by Joseph Conrad
12. The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction
13. Metro: Journey in Writing Creatively
14. An Outpost of Progress

Edited: Feb 28, 2011, 4:59pm Top

2. I Got My Delorian to 88
1. Master and Margarita by Michail Bulgakov

Edited: Jun 14, 2011, 10:37pm Top

3. 73ch-H34d
1. Infected by Scott Sigler

Edited: Aug 29, 2011, 4:55pm Top

4. Timbuk3 Knew About the Future
1. The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
2. 20 Years Later by E.J. Newman
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
5. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Edited: Jan 1, 2012, 2:07pm Top

5. "I heard it from Peter, who heard it from John, who heard it from someone I don't know at all" (DM)
1. Oscar Wilde miscellany
2. Sleeping With Nikki by Dessa
3. Half Prince Volume 1 by Yu Wo and Choi Hong Chong

Edited: Dec 28, 2010, 6:16pm Top

6. How Many Licks to the Center?!?

Edited: Jan 1, 2012, 2:08pm Top

7. Do I Get To Meet Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki?
1. WebMage by Kelly McCullough
2. Department 19 by Will Hill
3. Kage No Stigma 1 by Yamato Takahiro
4. Switched by Amanda Hocking

Edited: Jul 12, 2011, 4:19pm Top

8. Visual Stunna
1. Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
2. Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
3. The Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Whedon & Cassaday
4. The Astonishing X-Men: Torn by Whedon & Cassaday
5. The Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable by Whedon & Cassaday
6. The Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Box
7. Speed Racer vol. 1
8. Rombies #0

Edited: May 17, 2011, 6:07pm Top

9. . . .
1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
2. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Edited: Sep 5, 2011, 10:19pm Top

10. Kidlins
1. Night Runner by Max Turner
2. Ostrich Logic by Lou Ferreri

Edited: Jan 1, 2012, 2:08pm Top

11. Open-Season
1. Penguin Book of German Verse by Leonard Forster
2. Spiral Bound by Dessa
3. My Favorite Book Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek
4. Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
5. The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
6. Prose and Poems by William Control

Dec 28, 2010, 6:24pm Top

I've finally got my categories decided and starting to get everything organized (though I'm not done with my 2010 reading quite yet). For those of you who are interested, I'm heading up the group read of Master and Margarita in January. Here's the pre-reading thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/102174

And for those of you that are curious, my previous threads:
1010: http://www.librarything.com/topic/74530
Doubled up w/ the 75 challenge in 2010: http://www.librarything.com/topic/79801
2009's 75 challenge: http://www.librarything.com/topic/58385

Dec 30, 2010, 8:35am Top

Love the titles and the categories. Starring you!

Dec 30, 2010, 8:46am Top

Hello! :D

Dec 30, 2010, 5:00pm Top

Fun category titles. Always good to see a Graphic Novels one as they're something I'm starting to dip my toe into. I don't blame you for having a series continuation category either. I've got so many on the go it's hard to keep track of them all.

Dec 30, 2010, 7:33pm Top

Ha, yeah. Graphics are about all I can handle during school time other than reading for class. And I'm pretty sure at least 1/3 of what I read last year was continuing a series. . . and a fair chunk happened to be the beginning of a series. I swear every time I try to read a stand alone book, I get to the end and it tells me "find out what happens next in . . . " *le sigh

Jan 1, 2011, 1:21pm Top

Hello - Love your category titles. You better not meet Jensen Ackles because I would be way jealous!

Jan 1, 2011, 1:24pm Top

I wish! My friend moved out to Cali to do set designs and goes to cons all the time. . . she's met the whole cast. Waaaaaah! T_T

Jan 5, 2011, 10:57am Top

. . . . Continued Series #1
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 4.5 Stars
Tess arrives in London expecting to meet her brother, Nate, and to start her new life. What she gets, though, is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters. A pair of warlocks, the Sisters torture Tess until she unlocks a power hidden inside her--the power to shapeshift. Not liking this at all, Tess is eventually able to escape when the young Shadowhunter Will Herondale finds and helps her. With no where else to go, Tess takes refuge with the Shadowhunters. They promise to help her find Nate if she uses her shapeshifting to help them save the world.

Clockwork Angel is the first of the Infernal Devices trilogy, which is also the prequel to the Mortal Instruments trilogy. If you liked the MI, then you will like CA. The two are very similar in style and themes, CA is just in England and during the Victorian age. You also see some familiar family names and Magnus Bane is back! It's a fast, action-packed novel with a twist of a love triangle. I want the next one now! LOL Guess I'll console myself with MI 4 when it comes out in April. *flounces off to Amazon.com

Jan 5, 2011, 11:02am Top

What!? Meet Jensen Ackles? *reads above*
Okay, you had me there. This Dean-Girl will be watching your category!

Jan 5, 2011, 11:06am Top

LOL! By the end of this I'll have all the fan-girls here :P

Jan 5, 2011, 11:54am Top

I saw Jensen's wedding photos the other day on the web. It looked so wrong - 'cause Dean is rarely clean-shaven and wearing a tux (he did wear one in that ep with Bella, right?). Anyway, I think both the boys are married now, and I'm happy for them.

Do you ever read supernaturalwiki.com? I'm so addicted...

Jan 5, 2011, 12:01pm Top

meh, marriage doesn't take them of the ogling list. I just looked, and you're right, clean-shaven looks weird. But some of his old pics I'll presume from modeling are hilarious. I've never read the wiki. . . I'll save it for when school starts and actual-book motivation drops.

Jan 5, 2011, 12:07pm Top

Oh, I agree, ogle away!

Jan 12, 2011, 11:55am Top

11.1 Penguin Book of German Verse by Leonard Forster 3 Stars
This is a dual-language book of poetry. It gives the German (even some middle? German--using older letters anyway) and then the English translation under. I've been picking at this one for over a year. My German is not very good, but a few lines I could fully understand while reading seemed to be translated strangely. Then again, I understand funny syntax and don't realize it's odd unless I look at it carefully--so it might've been that. And since I can't understand all of the German, I can't attest to a majority of the translations. Which is why I decided to finish up--taking German again this semester. Figured I would get back in the habit of reading/mentally pronouncing it. Anywho, I enjoyed the poetry and was glad to read something by Goethe other than Faust (which I love btw). Loved one of the poet's work, can't think of his name at the moment (horrible, I know) and don't feel like getting it out of the book stack.

7.1 WebMage by Kelly McCullough 3.5 Stars
Ravirn is a descendant of Lachesis, the Fate who measures life strings. As such, he is a sorcerer. But modern sorcerers have upgraded with the times, using internet and coding their spells in beta and through technology. And Ravirn is one of the best at hacking and debugging. Shortly before his finals at the University of Minnesota, Atropos, the cutter of life strings, summons him to a meeting. She wants him to debug a spell that could strip people of free will. Ravirn declines and is smacked with the Cassandra curse--now no one will believe him if he talks about it. On the bad-side of Atropos, Ravirn and his webgoblin must survive against angry goddesses, bloodthirsty cousins, and the Furies.

While this wasn't anything extraordinary, it was enjoyable. I liked the concepts and the fact that some of it was in Minneapolis--so street names had a correspondence to the real world and made it that much easier to picture the scenes. Also quite action packed. Which definitely helped during the wee morning hours of the reading marathon I read this during. :)

Jan 24, 2011, 10:11pm Top

11.2 Spiral Bound by Dessa 4 Stars
A collection of poetry, prose, and short stories. Despite only being 66 pages, it cuts deep. Her writing has soul and melancholy but with a philosophical tendency. I've been meaning to get this for a while now. Dessa is part of Doomtree, a rap/hip hop collective from Minneapolis. She brings some R&B to the group. I highly recommend checking her/the group out. Her raps are still some of the best alliteration I have ever heard.

Feb 28, 2011, 5:00pm Top

2.1 Master and Margarita by Bulgakov 4 Stars
Basically, the Devil, aka Woland, goes to Moscow with his 'associates', masquerading as foreign hypnotists. Woland gets into a philosophical banter with poets about Jesus' existence, which brings in the story of Pontius Pilate. Some mischief happens and we meet a man that wrote a book on Pontius Pilate but was censored. All three story lines have some mischief and magic--that people keep taking as mass hypnosis, and eventually converge. Anyway, it's a funny and thought provoking Russian novel that kept me guessing. I highly recommend. And if I had time, I would try to explain it much better.

Mar 15, 2011, 11:35am Top

4.1 The Demon Trappers Daughter by Jana Oliver 4 Stars
Atlanta in 2018 is overrun with demons and falling apart from an economic crisis. While their attempts to fix the economy haven't had stellar results, the employment of demon trappers has kept society a bit safer. This story surrounds Riley, the daughter of master demon trapper Paul Blackthorne and the only licensed female trapper in the city. As an apprentice, she's only allowed to trap level ones. But as the demons become more brazen, the trapper's guild is hit with tragedy. And Riley finds herself as the attention of demons much stronger than the puny level ones.

I was really pulled into this novel. It's much different than the paranormal novels I've read recently. And definitely in a good way. Very refreshing. And it channels one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, to jibe our society's recent pop-culture explosion of paranormal entertainment.

Mar 16, 2011, 9:11pm Top

8.1 Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham 3 Stars
The characters of our most beloved childhood stories have been forced out of their far away lands into New York, where they have been living under the radar for over 200 years. Past wrongs have been wiped away and they now live in delicate truce. But it's threatened by the discovery of a violent scene at Rose Red's apartment. Now it's up to Bigby Wolf and Snow White to figure out which fable committed the crime.

Interesting to see Willingham's take on how time negatively affects the 'happily ever after'. The fables are given strong personalities that fit their original stories and what they could plausibly become. I enjoyed it, but was not completely pulled in. Probably because of the strong detective aspect, I'm not too big on that. The next one looks like it looses that aspect, so I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the world in a formatting/style that better suits my tastes.

Mar 21, 2011, 11:48am Top

8.2 Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham 3.25 Stars
Picks up right after the first, Legends in Exile. The found out perpetrators are given their punishments. One is to accompany Snow White to the Farm--a village in upstate New York where the non-human fables live--for her bi-annual visit. But when they get there, the two are met with dissent and a murder that is clearly meant to rattle them. Can Snow White escape with her life and return order? Or will civil war break out among the fables?

I liked this one slightly better than the first. Less detective work, still some. But there was more of a larger story line. We learn a bit more about why the fables are in our world and more of their politics. We get some more characters as well.

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 7:27pm Top

7.2 Department 19 by Will Hill 3.75 Stars

Jamie saw his dad die by a line of gunman in is front yard with suspicious shadows moving along the edges of the scene. Everyone told him that his father was a traitor and a homeland terrorist to England. The other kids were told the same and treated Jamie like he was the traitor. Not feeling up to the bullies one day, he skips school to laze about in a park. But he wakes up to a vampire sparing his life. He rushes home to find his house empty, his mother kidnapped and himself barely saved by a monster from an underground government organization. Jamie is forced to the department where he is the only one who wants to attempt the rescue of his mother. So he suits up, trains, and goes after those vampire scum.

That little synopsis doesn't do the story justice. There is so much going on. You can get the family, government and vampire aspect, and maybe a bit of the politics. But the monsters and many characters are taken and extrapolated on straight from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Hill knows that story backwards and forwards, and proves that. He even goes into Stoker's history. (Which I know, because of class last semester. . . and if you followed my thread last year, you may remember my dissatisfied attitude towards the book). Anyway, Hill's book spans the time right after Dracula's conclusion into the 21st century, so he's got a decent grasp on some historical bits. I enjoyed the extrapolation, though it was a bit iffy in places.

The best part was that there was actually violence and gore! So much of the recent paranormal YA is action or romantic--there may be danger and suspense, but those are pretty kid friendly. Department 19 has evil characters that not only want to kill you, but to tear you apart slowly, savor your blood, and make you watch it done to everyone else. Not only do the vampires want that, they actually deliver. Ah, no sparkles here :D

The only part that bothered me a bit was the romance between Jamie and vampire Larissa. I know--I said no sparkles, and there aren't any. She drinks blood and is violent. She attempts to indulge in revenge. And I really do like her character. But the beginning of their relationship just felt weird. Though, I didn't mind it at the end, once it was established.

This is the first of a trilogy that I think has great potential. I can't wait to see how the characters and the department handle what happens during the final battle and the implied situation to come.

Apr 10, 2011, 11:52pm Top

8.3 The Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Whedon & Cassaday 3.75 Stars
It's been a long time since I read any X-Men comics. I was a little confused that Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) was the writer of these newer ones and not a usual Marvel person. I was not disappointed. . . though, I have missed a bunch in between this and my previous X-Men reading. But thankfully, it wasn't too confusing. A few things I never would have guessed to happen, so I need to go back and figure out how they did. Otherwise, most was easy enough for me to pick up on.

Apr 13, 2011, 8:49pm Top

8.4 The Astonishing X-Men: Torn by Whedon & Cassaday 4 Stars

8.5 The Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable by Whedon & Cassaday 4.25 Stars

May 15, 2011, 5:36pm Top

8.6 The Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Box 3 Stars

8.7 Speed Racer Vol. 1 3 Stars

1.1 The Practice of Public Relations by Seitel 4 Stars

1.2 I read excerpts from 5 textbooks that's about the equivalent of a book.
Wie Geht's? 3.75 Stars, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft 3 Stars, Working Words: The Process of Creative Writing 3 Stars, Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: A Guide to Writing Poetry 3 Stars, and Fiction 100: An Anthology of Stories 3.5 Stars

May 17, 2011, 6:06pm Top

17. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare 4 Stars
This is book #4 of the Mortal Instruments series, the 1st of the 2nd trilogy. . . I know, that's a little confusing, but there will be a total of 6 books with 2 separate 'larger pictures'. I probably just lost everyone. . . so onto what the book was about! This starts 2 months after City of Glass. (Oh, if you haven't read the previous, there will prolly be spoilers in this next part, just fyi). Everyone is settling down after the war and the new Accords, figuring out their new places. And all of our main characters spend lots of time in this book figuring out their love lives. But when Shadowhunters start showing up dead in downworlder territories, the sleuthing and action kicks in. Big forces are at play, unexpected ones at that. It's so hard to say what happens in this book without giving away spoilers *le sigh.

Anywho, if you like the previous books in the series, you will like this one. The beginning is a little slower than the others, but it's a necessary buildup. Some interesting developments for the next books in this series and Infernal Devices (prequel series). . . may have to reevaluate my understanding of Will. Oh, and there's this whole cliffhanger thing that I was not wanting. Gah! The next one doesn't come out until May 2012 and the next of the Infernal Devices doesn't come out until this December. *over dramatic and unnecessary weep*

May 28, 2011, 12:39pm Top

4.2 20 Years Later by E.J. Newman 3.5 Stars
20 years ago It happened, killing millions of people. Established governments, electricity, transportation, and most modern conveniences are gone. London has been divided into rival gang territories that are fight-happy. But in this new chaotic world, Zane has grown up in relative safety and comfort thanks to his mother's strategic alliance with two nearby gangs in exchange for healing. But Zane's innocence often hinders his ability to accurately assess and judge people and situations he comes across. But his isolated, innocent life is pushed into the harsh world when he meets two new friends, Titus and Erin, and they realize that they have unique abilities. In their quest to save Titus' kidnapped sister, their abilities, friendship, and morals will be tested against greater forces than they have ever known.

I enjoyed this book. I haven't run across many post-apocalyptic novels that have characters with such convincing innocence, especially with a character at the age of 15. The world and characters had depth to them. However, I think there was a bit too much time focused on world building in the beginning and some of the action scenes could have been expanded--especially the end. The world building was very interesting though, not the slow trudgery of some books. Oh, and that cover makes it seem much grittier than it actually is. Yes, there is death and killing, but it doesn't over elaborate. And other things are only eluded to, such as rape--they never say the word or go further, but if you're not sheltered, it's pretty obvious. Not saying anything's wrong with that approach, especially for a YA book, but the cover just gave me the impression that it would be a bit darker and grittier is all.

This is a good start to a new series. It doesn't say if it's a trilogy or more, just that there will be 'sequels.' I will read the next ones when I come across them. I really want to see how their abilities develop and how the gangs deal with it.

Jun 14, 2011, 10:53pm Top

3.1 Infected by Scott Sigler 3.5 Stars
Something is turning normal people into raving, violent lunatics. On top of that, their bodies turn into oozing skeletons within hours of their deaths, so CDC investigator Margaret Montoya can't even properly analyze the remains to try and figure it out. The victims, who often turn into killers, have no discernible connections either. Until they start hearing of blue triangles and find one on a partially destroyed corpse. A lead that could possibly connect them to a living victim before they turn homicidal. But for Perry Dawsey, a former linebacker turned tech support, their discovery may be too late. As his itchy rash rapidly turns into something much more concerning, his tough attitude prevents him from seeking help and just dealing with it DIY style. And then the voices start. . .

This is not a book for the squeamish. Right away on page 12, readers are treated to a gore-filled CIA victim extraction that goes terribly wrong. After that, it drops in intensity til around the half-way mark where it all hits the fan.

We are treated to three main perspectives: Perry Dawsey, victim; Margaret Montoya, CDC investigator; and Dew, the Vietnam vet turned cop recruited by former war buddy who runs the CIA. These perspectives give us the full picture of the operations and the affect of the infection. We also get mini chapters from side character perspectives that really hammers home the change in Perry.

Overall, I liked this novel. There was a lull where I lost some interest when they were all scrambling around going "What is this? What is happening?" for a decent chunk of time. But it is worth it for the ending. Rather unexpected from where we started.

Jun 15, 2011, 7:44am Top

@38 I am enjoyed it to but I am not sure I am brave enough to try the second one, some parts were far too nasty for me!

Jun 15, 2011, 8:56am Top

If I come across it, I'll probably read it. Actually, I think there are free podcasts of his books, so maybe I'll try that route. I haven't really listened to books before, so that might be a good way to try it.

Jun 15, 2011, 11:07pm Top

Good review of 20 Years Later. I had much the same reaction to this book and I definitely will be continuing with the series.

Infected also sounds like a book that I should check out.

Jun 19, 2011, 4:38pm Top

Second on the thanks for the review of 20 years later, that is going on the wishlist if it is not there already. Infected sounds interesting but I am turned off a bit by excessive gore so I think it can wait for now.

Jun 19, 2011, 5:08pm Top

#41: Definitely!

#42: I don't think it was so much 'excessive', as described in detail. All the gore-ish bits fit with the story and help to continue it. I don't specifically remember any parts that were 'gore for gore's sake.'

Jun 19, 2011, 5:23pm Top

43: That is helpful to know, thank you :)

Jun 24, 2011, 1:33am Top

7.3 Kaze No Stigma #1 by Yamato Takahiro 3 Stars
After 4 years away, Kazuma returns to Japan to exorcise a youma with his fuujutsu (wind powers). But after his return, his estranged family members start being picked off one by one by a powerful fuujutsu practitioner. He could care less if his heartless family are killed, but he doesn't like that someone is using him as a scapegoat. Against his will, he is brought into a fight with a powerful enemy and must team up with a cousin that once humiliated him and was the direct cause of his exile.

So, I watched the anime first. It's only 20 some odd episodes long, not enough imho (but that's because the author died before he finished the series). I looked something up about it and learned it was based on a "light novel series"--which, from what I gather is novella length and very informal writing. Also that it was darker than the anime, which hooked me.

Now, you can't find an 'official' translation of it, so I resorted to an online project where fans did it for fun. Different people translated different chapters. Because of this there are a few inconsistencies that don't affect the story. I also questioned the overall style. Some parts had repetitive phrasing or felt awkward. If the fan that translated this chapter had only been learning Japanese for a few years, their abilities might only be the functional--not the nice 'literary' type deal. However, I've never read a light novel before, so that might just be the style. It is heavy on dialogue and 'telling' instead of showing you details of the surrounding/characters that convey an aspect. It feels more like someone telling you a story instead of reading a novel.

Despite these flaws, this is exactly what I wanted/needed right now. I enjoy the story very much, though I think seeing the anime first definitely helped with the reading in this certain style and translation. It also has enough differences from the anime to keep it interesting. I've been very unmotivated with reading lately and this helped to alleviate it. Chapters are about average length but are broken up into smaller section, so I could easily read snippets while going back and forth between other stuff--and basically letting myself work the current ADD out of my system.

I'm conflicted on whether or not I would recommend it though. I know many people that wouldn't make it past the first chapter due to translation/style. However, I think the overall story is interesting enough to merit investigation by those interested in the topics/themes. Maybe I'll just recommend the short anime series and if you like that, check out the light novels.

Jul 4, 2011, 11:12am Top

10.1 Night Runner by Max Turner 4 Stars
Zach lives in the Nicholls Ward of a mental institution, but he's not crazy. He's an orphan with severe allergies and the ward is the only nearby place that was willing to treat and raise him. Zach's been there for the last 7 years, but it isn't too bad. The staff is like his family, his best friend from childhood visits him on the weekends, and the ward has a gym and plasma tv. . . . that is, until a man crashes into it on a stolen motorbike and tells him to run. While much more dramatic, this is a mental hospital, so these things aren't unheard of, but Zach gets the sneaking suspicion that he should follow this man's advice. So Zach does what he does best, runs through the night while trying to piece together new and startling information about himself and his distantly remembered family.

I enjoyed this YA book. Characters and situations felt real, even though they were un-ordinary. Zach hasn't gone to school or outside much in his 7 years at Nicholls, so he is adorably unknowledgeable about many things we take for granted. Even so, he reads a lot and comes off as intelligent, if a bit naïve. It's kept pretty PG too, so some of the younger YAs can read it. The worst it gets is some broken bones, burned/charred skin, and two implied make-out sessions between side characters. The first two aren't done in detail and the last one is pretty glossed over.

There was only a small hiccup in my enjoyment of this novel, and really, it's mostly my own damn fault. I was looking forward to a stand-alone, realistic-ish novel based on the paragraph blurb on the back. Silly me didn't read the quotes as usual or a tiny blurb about the author that I missed under the quotes. Well, there are vampires. I started to suspect early on, but I was kind of hoping it was a misdirect. No, it wasn't. So when it was revealed, I examined the covers thinking, "this isn't what I signed up for." Lo and behold, the quotes reveal it. And the pretty cover has bats. And the author blurb reveals it as the beginning of a series. /facepalm. I powered through my momentary grumpiness at myself, and I'm glad that I did. It was a fun, light read with some interesting concepts. And I will read the sequels eventually.

Jul 12, 2011, 4:20pm Top

8.8 Rombies #0, by Tom Taylor & Skye Ogden, 2.5 Stars
It's an online comic. Rome + Zombies = Rombies. It doesn't get very far in issue #0 (don't know why it starts w/ zero and not 1), but it sets up an interesting concept. A father loses his daughter and defies God by doing a ritual to bring her back to life. Obviously, that doesn't end--or rather start--well for anybody. Art is decent, best when it is colored (only a few pages). Low rating because it's not the best beginning I've seen. Hopefully it gets better. It's being released here a couple of pages at a time. So I may not return to it until there's a decent chunk to read.

Jul 12, 2011, 4:44pm Top

oo thanks for the link! :)

Jul 12, 2011, 5:01pm Top

You're welcome :)

Jul 26, 2011, 8:01pm Top

5.1 Oscar Wilde miscellany
Okay, so I checked out this mega collection of Oscar Wilde from the library that was the size of 3 average size books. I read quite a bit of the poetry and a couple short stories, including The Canterville Ghost--which I loved. It was my favorite of what I read. The other short stories were okay--I can't think of their titles, shows how memorable they were, huh? Of the poetry, I really disliked when he got very Christian. I did, however, really enjoy much of his poetry. I especially liked the ones that related to Rome and the classic Greek/Roman gods. There were also a few tribute poems to other authors that were quite good. Overall, I must say that I like Oscar Wilde's stuff (I read Dorian Grey last year and looooved it), even if there are some duds. I will venture back to read some more eventually.

Aug 6, 2011, 10:33am Top

1.3 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 3 Stars
Marlow gets hired as a steamer captain in a Dutch trading company, where he must go to Africa to transport ivory. Thinking this is just another ship adventure, he is unprepared for journey ahead. He is faced with imperialism, skewed politics, 'savages,' and the questioning of his own nature, values, and morality as he makes his way into the depths of the African continent.

I'm in the middle on this one: not extraordinary, but not bad. I found the beginning a bit boring, but it picked up about halfway through. It's very short--only 96 pages. However, there were only 3 'chapters'. I wish it would've been broken up a bit more. And it was written in the late 1800s, so it has sentences that will last 7 lines and paragraphs that will span pages. Just minor annoyances, really.

Aug 14, 2011, 9:26pm Top

11.3 My Favorite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek 4.5 Stars
Idea Deity made up a band called Youforia and made a fake website for them. But, as is wont with the internet, it explodes with popularity with a cult following. He is also a runaway from overbearing type A parents--and the malevolent author that he believes pulls the strings of his life. A chance meeting with Eunice Truant, a girl with a tattooed face on the back of her head, starts his escape.

Reacher Mirage is the lead singer and creator of a secret band called Youforia. He is waiting for the magic feeling when he plays to know they are ready to go public. But someone created a website detailing their unreleased bios, song lyrics, tour updates, and even location to the online masses. They get so popular that and music magazine put a bounty on their heads for their first interview. He and his girlfriend, Eurydice--another girl with a tattooed face on the back of her head, must stay ahead of their pursuers.

Deity is out to find the band impersonating his creation and those cashing in on his work. Reacher is out to find the person leaking his band's secrets. Both find a journey that changes their lives and everything they ever believed.

Jeschonek weaves these two main story lines in with a third--a book that both characters are reading: Fireskull's Revenant. It features Fireskull, a tyrannical king with a head engulfed in flames and leathery wings, trying to overthrow his greatest enemy and rival king, Johnny Without--whose body cannot keep a single form for more than a few seconds. Throw in some epic battle scenes and prophecies, and it's a crazy medieval fantasy smack dab in the middle of this modern urban fantasy story. At some points the switch is a little jarring, but all story lines kept my attention very well. And the payoff is in how all three come together in the end.

Overall, I kind of loved it. Srsly. This book has some of the weird stuff my brain defaults into thinking about when doing mindless stuff at work: bands, teh silly internets, excessive fandom, duality, multiple universes, what happens when universes meet, being in books, original ideas not being original, AND (most importantly) PERCEPTION. Green is not green to everybody--ramifications from that are soul churning. The further I got in the book, the more my eyes and brain wanted to devour it. The ridiculous names (along with those already mentioned, include Loving and Vengeful Deity, Wicked Livenbladder, and Spill Ringamajig) gave this book a bit of a comical charm that in some other books has felt overly pushed and off-putting. Many of the difficult ideas have been simplified enough and put in such a way to reach the young adult readers, but not lose their integrity--even when a couple of parallelisms were stated, instead of trusting all the readers to get it themselves.

And, I just found out he has written some of the sanctioned Doctor Who books.

Aug 15, 2011, 6:06am Top

Goddam. That sounds very very nice indeed. Great review, thank you so much!

Aug 15, 2011, 10:47am Top

Yup, does sound good and a +1 for your review. Wishlisted.

Aug 15, 2011, 11:33am Top

Thanks guys!
I'm just glad I finally found a stunner this year that wasn't part of a series and already knew to be great. Hope you enjoy it too!

Aug 15, 2011, 4:06pm Top

Congratulations! Your review of My Favorite Band Does Not Exist made the Hot Reviews!

Aug 15, 2011, 4:45pm Top

Yay! That might be the first time that's happened :)

Aug 19, 2011, 11:39pm Top

1.4 The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad 3.5 Stars
A young captain takes over a ship and crew about to start a 3 month voyage. He is a stranger amongst this tightly knit crew. Their first night out, he takes watch, contemplating his situation. As he goes to roll in a ladder, he finds a man hanging on the bottom rung. He helps him on board and listens to his story, forming a connection to the man. But the discovery that he is a murderer makes his new captaincy even trickier.

I liked this one better than Heart of Darkness. I related with this character more. I also liked that it was shorter (only around 60ish pages). I don't really like most sailing/sea stories, so the fact that it was shorter and focused on the psychology really helped.

Aug 20, 2011, 1:08am Top

@ 58 -- Sounds intriguing! I just checked Heart of Darkness out of the library...not expecting to love it, but I consider it an obligation read. At least it's short!

Aug 25, 2011, 1:13am Top

4.3 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 5 Stars
Aren't there enough reviews of this book now? I can just give it the 5 stars and tell you it's not sugary coated like a lot of other YA books and call it a day? So I can go start the next one, yeah? Okay, my one-way conversation wins! Off to book #2, since I have tomorrow off and don't need to wake up in the morning :)

Aug 25, 2011, 9:24am Top

Hope you enjoy book 2!

Aug 25, 2011, 8:44pm Top

Oh I did very much. Now I have to get my hands on the third book so I can start it soon :)

4.4 Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 4.75 Stars

Aug 25, 2011, 11:33pm Top

#60 That's right Katie. Keep it movin'. Keep on reading. You can make this challenge! :-)

Aug 29, 2011, 4:57pm Top

Thanks Caroline! I'll keep going. . . even if I don't think I'll make it. Maybe just add a bunch of comics and graphic novels ;)

4.5 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 4.5

Sep 5, 2011, 10:27pm Top

11.4 Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
Reread. Book 2 of the Harper Hall Trilogy that is part of the larger Pern series.

11.5 The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey
Reread. Book 3 of the Dragonrider's of Pern series that is also part of the larger Pern series.

I love the Pern books. . . or at least what I've read of them, around 15 I think. I haven't read any of the newer books that are written by her son though. I don't want Pern to lose any of its magic. I might eventually get to them. . . maybe. I should really just suck it up and read one.

10.2 Ostrich Logic by Lou Ferreri
A collection of cute and silly poems featuring animals. Each poem comes with a wonderful drawing of the animal as well. This one is written by my high school art teacher, Mr. Lou. He wrote the poems and did the drawings. I miss his classroom. There's no touchstone here for it, but if you're curious, there are sample pages on the website.

Nov 1, 2011, 9:21am Top

Thread, I've been neglectful. I apologize. Here's what I've completely read for class so far.

1.5 Heart of Darkness (again)
I did, however, like it slightly more this time. Señor Conrad has quite the odd and dry humor that didn't stick out to me much the first time through. And knowing some of the historical context helped me see that and some of the finer details. At least this class is actually teaching me something.

1.6 Youth Joseph Conrad
Another sea-faring tale. Bad things happen, then worse things. That poor ship. Kind of Candide-ish.

1.7 Typhoon by Joseph Conrad
A ship in a typhoon. Water splashes, wind blows. People go crazy. I suspect the captain has Asperger's.

1.8 Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad
A doctor fellow tells a tale. A man washes ashore. He doesn't speak English and is thought to be a raving lunatic beggar, gets hit in the head a few times by fearful citizens. Amy gives him bread. They fall in love. He dies (but don't worry, not a spoiler, you know that right away).

Nov 15, 2011, 10:40pm Top

1.9 The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
It induced sleepiness for the first 100 pages. Then it was tolerable. The last 60 pages actually felt interesting. My least favorite Conrad so far. Plot-wise, anything I say makes it sound like a great read--anarchists, a bombing, murder, class distinction that borders class warfare, spies. I don't know how it was so boring. And I guessed one of the big plot twists less than 100 pages in. . .

Nov 16, 2011, 2:23pm Top

I was going to read The Secret Agent after I saw a movie version with a young Christian Bale as the simple minded youngman who gets involved with the anarchists, but now I'm glad I didn't. I would like to read Conrad at some point. Will you be reading Lord Jim? I heard that was a good book.

Nov 17, 2011, 11:07am Top

Not this year; we don't have to read that for class. I know we have a copy of it in the house though, so maybe eventually. But I'll need a Conrad break for a long while after this. Upcoming Conrad: Under Western Eyes, The Duel, and The Return (which I don't see a touchstone for). We will be getting to our discussion of The Secret Sharer after UWE, so I may need to reread it. And if there is one I don't finish (as is sometimes wont to do in a busy class) it will be UWE--she basically told us we weren't going to do any assignments with it, so we'll see if I have time to finish it. If it's as boring as the last, I'm guessing not.

Nov 17, 2011, 9:55pm Top

You don't sound very thrilled with this class. By-the-way, I just read your description of Typhoon. The captain has Aspergers? You aren't convincing me to read Conrad. :-)

Edited: Nov 17, 2011, 11:09pm Top

It's just a lot of Conrad. The only time I chain-read an author is when I'm --loving-- a series. So it's testing my patience and attention span. And it's realistic fiction--seafaring and mystery, not my faves, as evidenced by my other reads. Usually I read 0-4 realistic fictions per year. . . up to 7 the last 3 months. Just really anticipating fun, light, my choice reading next month :)

ETA: Oh, and it doesn't say specifically if he has Asperger's. He just seems to have some of the symptoms. Really awkward socially, problems with empathy, fixated on facts. At the time of the novel's writing, it wasn't even recognized as a medical problem. I actually liked the captain in it.

Nov 25, 2011, 11:52pm Top

5.2 Sleeping With Nikki by Dessa 5 Stars
Short story, released as a promotional additive with the preorder of her newest cd. I didn't have the funds to preorder, sadly, but my friend did and he lent it to me :)

Alex meets Nikki over a dying baby bird that fell from a nest. They start a relationship that quickly leads to them cohabiting. She informs him that he's sleeping wrong--that he's an unknowing insomniac. Together, they try to fix it.

Sadly, this isn't available to buy right now. I'm hoping that Dessa is working on a new collection that this will be a part of. I read her other book, Spiral Bound at the beginning of the year and highly recommend both if you get the chance to read them.

Dec 9, 2011, 7:36am Top

1.10 The Duel by Joseph Conrad
Liked this one. A misunderstanding spurs a 15 (or 16?) year long duel of honour during the time of Bonaparte. The movie was pretty good too--The Duellists, one of Ridley Scott's first films.

1.11 The Return by Joseph Conrad (can't find touchstone)
Sloooooow beginning. I liked the end though. A wife almost cheats/runs away on/from her husband. Set in what I believe is the 1800s, appearances are everything. But the husband starts to question that system and his life.

Dec 9, 2011, 4:02pm Top

I haven't read The Duel but I have seen the movie The Duellist. Ridley Scott is a great director and I like Keith Carradine best of all the Carradine's.

Looks like you are done with "I'm a Smarty Pants." Good job! Are you done with the class?

Dec 9, 2011, 7:17pm Top

Ha! Not done yet. One more week of classes and then finals. That category will have overflow for sure, but I'll prolly just throw them in "Open Season." I have one more book for that class to read before the final (since I didn't have time to read it when I was supposed to). And I have a staggering 46+ pages of writing due next week *shudder. At least I only have 1 final.

Edited: Dec 27, 2011, 12:46am Top

Some catching up. . .

1.12 The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction
Like the title pretty much says, nonfiction essays. Some I liked, some I didn't, most were in the middle. I'm not much of a nonfiction gal.

1.13 Metro: Journey in Writing Creatively (no touchstone)
Writing techniques, tips, and exercises. Most of the exercises we did were good, a couple were really annoying, i.e. rewrite this paragraph in 12 different ways. Useful, yes, but just downright annoying to do in one night.

I made it 3/4 of the way through Under Western Eyes before my final. So close. I plan on finishing it soon-ish, maybe. . .

Ooops! I just realized I missed one earlier in the semester.

1.14 An Outpost of Progress by Joseph Conrad
Two lazy guys go to run an outpost in the Congo. They are lazy and unfit for the job. They find this out the hard way when the different dangers of the Congo make themselves known.

Jan 1, 2012, 2:13pm Top

Here's the last of my 2011 reading! So now I'm all caught up :)
I don't think I'll be doing a category challenge this year. It's been fun and I'll probably see you all around the threads or back in the challenge in 2013.

5.3 Half Prince Volume 1 by Yu Wo and Choi Hong Chong 5 Stars
Feng Lan's brother dares her to play and do well in the game Second Life, which has 99.9% realistic. She must abandon using her womanly charms to obtain items and protection from the fawning fan boys and make her own way. To do this, she becomes the first girl to have a boy character, where all other characters are based on their player's actual looks and gender. But her character, Prince, ends up being a bishonen, or pretty boy, and all the girls are offering him things.

This is just a fun, silly manga so far that has been making me laugh. At times it reminded me of the show Slayers for the silliness and fighting attitude of Lena, and other times of the show .Hack//Sign for the gaming/rpg aspects (PS: I love the music in .Hack, this is my fave song, but they're all great and wonderful for doing homework.) Anywho, if you like comedic SF/Fantasy mangas, check this one out. Or if you want to try a volume, this would be an easy intro.

7.4 Switched by Amanda Hocking 3.5 Stars
For the first six years of Wendy's life, her mother told her she was a monster, not her child. And on her sixth birthday, she came at Wendy with a kitchen knife. Since then her brother Matt, who saved her, and aunt have been telling her otherwise. But a strange new student, Finn, tells her otherwise: She is a Trylle changling, or more commonly, a troll, switched at birth into a human family. Finn wants to bring her back to her birth family and the Trylle's land of Förening, but she is reluctant to leave her brother and aunt behind. An attack from a different troll tribe forces her to run there. But will she be safe there? Can she be happy without the family that raised her?

I found this to be a very enjoyable fluff novel. The storyline was unique and fun and the characters were memorable. However, there were some flaws. Many times I wanted more descriptions. I also wanted to feel it more. It seems she held back a bit and I kept wanting the author to push through that. But, I found the story entertaining enough to keep the 3.5 star rating. The fact that it was originally self-published (being re-released) also eased my concern about these flaws. Switched is the first in the Trylle trilogy and I look forward to seeing the author's style grow with the following books. (Oh! She is also from Minnesota. I love it when I find books set in my home state.)

11.6 Prose and Poems by William Control (aka WiL Francis) 3 Stars (No Touchstone)
A short collection of prose, poems and essays. Many deal with themes of doubt, lies, darkness, and internal monsters. Not everything is doom and gloom though. There are those about love piercing through them and a nice prose piece about his son's birth. I feel he really hits his mark with the essays and expressing his position on the controversial subjects of religion and gay rights.

This is his first foray into the realm of prose and poetry outside of the musical scene (he is the lead singer of the rock band Aiden and has an electronic project under William Control). As such, many of the poems still feel better suited for that medium. But it's a decent entrance into them. Just wish there had been more essays.

Jan 2, 2012, 11:45pm Top

I've enjoyed folowing your thread. I hope to see you around. Have a great New Year!

Jan 3, 2012, 1:26am Top

Aw, thanks :D

Even though I won't be on the category challenge group, I'll still be over in the gigantor 75 group. If you would like to see what I'm reading in 2012, here's my thread.

I hope to see you around too, Caroline. Here's to another bookish year of great reads :)

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