fiveforsilver: (Books [open book])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
Some stats regarding my reading habits over the past year:

Total books: 156 (last year: 151)
Total new books: 71 (last year: 72)
Total pages: 42398 (last year: 49196)
Total audio book time: 33h22m (last year: no clue, very little)
Total graphic novels: 1 (last year: probably none)

F/SF rereads: 65 (last year: 72)
F/SF new reads: 51 (last year: 67)
Fiction rereads: 4 (last year: 4)
Fiction new reads: 11 (last year: 5)
Nonfiction new reads: 7 (last year: 2)

Average pages per day: 116 (last year: 135)
Unique books: 135 (last year: 132)
Books read two times during 2008: 12 (last year: 17)

I have no idea if these numbers add up. They're in the ballpark, which is close enough for me. There are some iffy genre questions - is apocalyptic fiction SF if it's pretty much realistic (i.e. Alas, Babylon)? Can a book be SF even if most people don't consider it to be (i.e. The Time Traveler's Wife)? But I just put things into the category I felt they were in at the time.

And here is my 2008 book poll

150-156

Jan. 1st, 2009 06:37 am
fiveforsilver: (Cats [on the shelf])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
Final books of 2008:

150. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi (394)

One of the funniest books I have ever read. The book group I'm in is reading this for next month, so I reread it again.

151. *The Risen Empire by Scott Westerfeld (352)

I liked this book, though I'm not going to run out to grab the next in the series. As much as I love Westerfeld's writing, being manipulated irritates me and the end of this book is a cliffhanger that neglected to answer basic questions posed in the book, questions that I felt really should have been answered.

152. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun (192)
153. The Cat Who Turned On and Off by Lillian Jackson Braun (272)
154. The Cat Who Went Underground by Lillian Jackson Braun (288)

Whenever I'm in Ohio visiting my grandmother, I read a few of these Cat Who books. I love them, they're short, sweet, and light reading (for all they're murder mysteries).

155. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce (384)

Christmas gift from my sister, book one in the Immortals quartet. Daine takes a job as assistant to a horse buyer and ends up with new friends, a new home, and skills she never dreamed of.

156. The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman (122)

YA historical fiction about a homeless orphaned girl who is taken in by a local midwife as her apprentice. The girl learns, grows, and changes, eventually discovering that she has desires beyond her immediate needs. She is a complex and interesting character to read about and it is a thoroughly enjoyable book.

Abandonded books:
Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
I was reading this for the book group I joined recently and...well, I probably never would have picked it up if I'd known what it was about, book group or no. I read a lot of Holocaust/WWII fiction when I was younger, so I pretty much stay away from it now. An alternate history in which WWII ended the other way is not something I would have picked up by choice.

That said, I did get about halfway through it and of course the writing is very good, and I found the culture clashes interesting.



156 / 150 books. 104% done!


71 / 75 *new books. 95% done!


7 / 10 ^non-fiction. 70% done!


42398 / 40000 pages. 106% done!

145-149

Dec. 30th, 2008 07:08 am
fiveforsilver: (Bantock [shattered glass])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
145. Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey (176)

A gifted musician is forced to leave her home when her teacher dies and she's told that girls can't be Harpers. I don't much care for McCaffrey's Pern books, but the Harper Hall trilogy is the exception.

146. Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey (288)

Menolly moves to Harper Hall and has to learn to get along with new kinds of people and a new way of life.

147. Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey (223)

Menolly's friend Piemer grows up and gets into a new series of scrapes.

148. Catherine, Called Birdy by Monica Furlong (176)

Written as the journal of the daughter of a country knight. Catherine's brother Edward (a monk) taught her to write, and her mother wants to please him, so between them they convince Catherine to keep the journal. It is by far the most entertaining journal-book I've ever read and Catherine is a fabulous character.

149. *Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice (352)

I liked this book very much, up until the end. The last page or two annoyed me. The rest of the story, however, was intense and interesting and I enjoyed it.



149 / 150 books. 99% done!


70 / 75 *new books. 93% done!


7 / 10 ^non-fiction. 70% done!


40394 / 40000 pages. 101% done!

143-144

Dec. 19th, 2008 08:05 pm
fiveforsilver: (Blood Ties [Henry])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
143. Deerskin by Robin McKinley (320)

Deerskin is a powerful and dark fantasy book based on the fairy tale Donkeyskin. It is very hard to summarize or describe; I tried but ended up outlining the entire plot (too much for a review).

144. *Blood Bank by Tanya Huff (336)

Short stories about Henry and/or Vicki from Tanya Huff's Blood books. Fantastic, as much fun as the books themselves.



144 / 150 books. 96% done!


69 / 75 *new books. 92% done!


7 / 10 ^new books. 70% done!


39179 / 40000 pages. 98% done!

140-142

Dec. 18th, 2008 07:06 pm
fiveforsilver: (Pluto)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
140. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (384)

A British ship captures a damaged French vessel which is carrying a dragon's egg back to Napoleon.

I like this book very much. Temeraire, the dragon, is a fantastic character, Laurence is nearly as interesting, and as much as I am not a history buff, the setting is fascinating - the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons (the ariel corps).

141. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik (432)

Laurence and Temeraire travel to China to see Temeraire's homeland and meet his kin.

Temeraire is still a fantastic character in this book, but Laurence gets on my nerves some. I understand why he does and says many of the things he does and says, but it's very frustrating to me (and to Temeraire, although he is loyal to a fault).

142. *Black Powder War by Naomi Novik (400)

The way back from China is a frustrating and frequently dangerous journey.

I only made it halfway through this book the first time around, and I realized this time that it's because the middle section is all about war and battles. All these books are about war, of course, and there are battles in all of them, but His Majesty's Dragon is really about Temeraire's youth, Throne of Jade is about traveling to distant lands and seeing new and amazing sights. Black Powder War really is about war. I skimmed a lot of the middle so I could get past it and get on to the end. I really liked the end.



142 / 150 books. 95% done!


68 / 75 *new books. 91% done!


7 / 10 ^non-fiction. 70% done!


38523 / 40000 pages. 96% done!

139

Nov. 13th, 2008 06:58 am
fiveforsilver: (Silverware)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
139. ^*The Jewish Princess Cookbook by Georgie Tarn and Tracey Fine (220)

LibraryThing Early Reviewer book

The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was that physically this is a very solid book. It looks solid, it feels solid; it instantly reminded me of some of my parents' older cookbooks that have lasted intact over years or even decades of frequent use. The pages are heavy and the binding is actually sewn, not just glued. There's also plenty of margin space around the recipes for notes, even taking into account the little graphics that are scattered throughout the book. This is a well-designed and well-constructed book that I expect to last a long time.

The introduction (or, introductions - it's separated into four parts) were maybe a bit much, but they were entertaining and sometimes informative to read and obviously don't need to be reread every time you open the book. There are little snippets and jokes peppered throughout the cookbook that are entertaining as well. There are no photographs but there are illustrations similar to the front cover that are amusing and attractive.

Now, I can't say that I read every word on every page, but I did go through all the recipes and flag the ones that immediately look interesting to me. I'm a fairly picky eater, so as I expected I'm not interested in all of them, but that said all of the recipes looked fairly easy to make, with a limited number of ingredients - the introduction said they tried to keep it to ten or less per recipe, many with far fewer, and they are mostly everyday things. I haven't tried cooking them yet - I've only had the book for a day - but my guess is that they're going to be very good indeed. After all, as it says in part 2 of the introduction, "food and eating lie at the very center of Jewish culture." Oh, how very true.



139 / 150 books. 93% done!


67 / 75 *new books. 89% done!


7 / 10 ^non-fiction. 70% done!


37307 / 40000 pages. 93% done!

131-138

Nov. 12th, 2008 06:53 pm
fiveforsilver: (iFrazz)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
First books of November:

131. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (212)

Old favorite. Picked it up when I wasn't feeling well.

132. *Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (192)

Nick sees his ex walking toward him and asks the girl standing next to him if she'll be his girlfriend for five minutes. Norah sees someone she hates walking towards her and decides to take him up on it. Unfortunately, it turns out to be the same person...

My sister recommended this book to me and I really enjoyed it. It alternates chapters between Nick's perspective and Norah's perspective - and they aren't just one after the other, they overlap a little, or sometimes a lot, so you get to see what each person is thinking about the same situation. Which is really interesting when, for example, they're having a conversation and one of them thinks it's going really well and the other is wondering what the heck is going on. The voices of both characters felt very genuine, very real.

133. ^*Bogus to Bubbly by Scott Westerfeld (224)

I'm classifying this as non-fiction even though it's about half non-fiction and half fictional non-fiction. In Bogus to Bubbly, Westerfeld talks about how he came up with the idea for his Uglies series and for various things in the books, including the slang, the names, and the technologies. He also includes "instruction manuals" for some technologies, like the hoverboards, and "history" passages, such as how future generations would view what happened in the books. It was an interesting, if quick, read.

134. Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (242)

Another old favorite, sequel to Dealing with Dragons.

135. The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld (304)

Sequel to Peeps, or at least, a related book that happens at a later time. It's about different characters and a different aspect of the vampire parasite. I like it, but Peeps is far superior.

136. *Star Wars: Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover (410)

This book was fast-moving and action-packed. It was dark and intense, with many deaths and frequently no clear right or wrong answers - even the questions were unclear, which is often true in moral dilemmas. The setup made sense, some of the characters had interesting stories and motivations, and the end worked and was satisfying, even if it wasn't exactly a happy ending.

It all seemed a bit heavy-handed, though. I can't really remember any happy or funny or even really very neutral scenes in the book - almost the whole thing is depressing, stressful, angry, horrifying, or some combination. Anything positive gets cut off pretty much before it starts. And it also seemed to happen rather fast, although granted there is a lot that happened prior to the beginning of the book - the setup I mentioned - that we only hear about.

137. Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (244)
138. Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (255)

Third and fourth books in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. The first two are definitely my favorites, but I like all four, and Morwen in particular (main character of Calling, along with her cats) is a wonderful character.



138 / 150 books. 92% done!


66 / 75 *new books. 88% done!


6 / 10 ^non-fiction. 60% done!


37287 / 40000 pages. 93% done!

127-130

Oct. 31st, 2008 08:34 am
fiveforsilver: (Books [pile])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
127. A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley (192)
128. Wise Child by Monica Furlong (228)
129. Juniper by Monica Furlong (198)
130. Survivor's Quest by Timothy Zahn (416)

I've been sick and loopy (due to prescription meds) all week, so the idea of reading new books is pretty much beyond me. These are all books I've read before - all except the Zahn are books I've read many, many times before.



130 / 150 books. 87% done!


63 / 75 *new books. 84% done!


5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!


35204 / 40000 pages. 88% done!

Abandonded books:

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

I tried. I really, really wanted to like this book. I think the characters and the story and the humor have a lot of potential, and I generally think Sanderson is a great writer, but something about this book just rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps it was the way that Alcatraz kept talking to the reader, which I tend to find uncomfortable. I think I would have liked it a lot better if it had just been a straight fantasy book rather than one of those books that insists that it's not actually a fantasy book, it's really actually true!

101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived by Dan Karlan, Allan Lazar, and Jeremy Salter

The idea of this book is fantastic. The excecution? Not so much. I was expecting a book by people who had researched how various characters had influenced Western society. With, you know, actual research and credentials and stuff. Not a couple guys sitting around trying to think up who they thought were the most influential fictional characters. I was extremely disappointed by this book.

125-126

Oct. 31st, 2008 08:28 am
fiveforsilver: (Blood Ties [Henry])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
125. ^*Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby? by Allyson Beatrice (233)

I put this on my tbr list on the strength of the title alone, I think. This book is a look at how fandom - specifically online Buffy/Angel fandom - changed one woman's life.

I haven't been deeply involved in a fandom since I was in high school, but I was deeply involved for several years and it has effected my life in some ways similarly to Allyson's - the threads of that involvement linger in old friendships and in-jokes and fond memories. It was fun to read about a fandom that was as close and intense as the one I was involved in, but because it was filled with adults rather than teens, the members could do things like travel across the country (or in some cases, across the globe) to gather and meet, contact the actors and other people involved in the shows and actually have them respond and occasionally get involved, and so on.

Overall it was a very enjoyable book, often laugh-out-loud funny and at times poignant (the story near the end about everyone donating money to bring their friend from Israel to the US for two weeks almost brought me to tears). It was a fairly easy read, too, especially for non-fiction, written in a conversational tone, perhaps similar to blog or forum posts.

126. *Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K Le Guin (184)

George Orr's dreams change reality. He is sent to a psychologist with a specialization in sleep and dream disorders and for the first time in his life, he has hope that he'll be able to stop his "effective dreaming", which is a responsibility he does not want. Instead, the doctor starts using his dreams to change the world. But dreams aren't as easy to control as the doctor would like to believe...

I was expecting another book as dense and difficult as The Left Hand of Darkness, but Lathe of Heaven was both shorter and much easier to read. That doesn't mean it was less powerful or fascinating, however.



126 / 150 books. 84% done!


63 / 75 *new books. 84% done!


5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!


34170 / 40000 pages. 85% done!

123-124

Oct. 31st, 2008 08:22 am
fiveforsilver: (Bantock [shattered glass])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
123. The Magician's Ward by Patricia C. Wrede (288)
124. Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede (280)

After reading a number of new books, I switch to some old favorites for a while. I actually read these in reverse order for some reason - Magician's Ward is the sequel, but I felt like reading it and then picked up Mairelon the Magician when I was finished. I enjoy Wrede's characters and her humor; these books never fail to make me smile.



124 / 150 books. 83% done!


61 / 75 *new books. 81% done!


4 / 10 ^non-fiction. 40% done!


33753 / 40000 words. 84% done!

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