Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly wrap-up : number three

The weekly wrap-up is my way of keeping my loyal readers informed of my bookish activities and holding myself to my bookish obligations. The questions may change slightly depending on the week.

Q: What are you reading right now?
A: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin


Q: Why are you reading it? Business? Pleasure? For review?
A: I got it through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, so I need to review it. I'm also reading it as part of the Okra Picks Challenge being hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog that I'm participating in.

Q: What was the last thing you read?
A: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


Q: What do you plan to read next?
A: The Privileges by Jonathan Dee


Q: Why do you want to read it?
A: I received this book from Random House, so I need to review it. It came out October 5, so it is next in line according to publication date.

Q: What books did you acquire?
A: Purchased: The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
From publisher: Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane, The Privileges by Jonathan Dee, The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard, Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas



Q: Since it's the end of the month, what books did you read in October?
A: I finished Désirée by Annemarie Selinko, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. (Links are to related posts.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week four


The Princess Bride readalong is hosted by Chrisbookarama. To read Chris' week four post, click here. The reading assignment for week four was Parts Seven and Eight. I think this story is well-known enough that spoilers aren't really an issue, but if you're worried, you might want to skip my posts on this readalong.

Parts Seven and Eight are where all the real action is.

In Part Seven, Fezzik and Inigo make it through the Zoo of Death thanks to their special skills, strength and steel, only to find the man in black dead. Luckily for them, there is still one miracle man left in Florin. After much wrangling, Miracle Max agrees to make them a resurrection pill. Fezzik and Inigo then set out for the castle with Westley's body in tow. Once there, they give him the pill, and it has an instant effect. Thanks to Fezzik's intimidating size and Westley's quick mind they gain access to the castle.

In Part Eight, Inigo finally gets his man and Westley gets his woman. Fezzik is temporarily lost, but comes through in the end leading four white horses to carry them off. The band of four escapes the castle grounds and rides toward Florin Channel.

Goldman reinserts himself in the final two pages to discuss the ending with us. His father ended it on a truly fairy tale note, which in all honesty I prefer to the uncertain ending of Morgenstern. (Okay, I'm writing this as if the whole premise of the story is real. I know it isn't, but I don't know how else to describe it without making it unnecessarily complicate. Uh oh, now I'm doing it too...) Despite the uncertain ending, I'm happy to say they must escape because my edition contains the sequel, Buttercup's Baby.

I have really enjoyed reading The Princess Bride. It is a delightful tale of adventure and true love. The creation of S. Morgenstern and Goldman's childhood love of the story is ingenious. It adds a layer of depth to the story and the opportunity to inject more humor into the telling. If you haven't read The Princess Bride, you really should--really, really should.

Time for me to go re-watch the movie!

Related Posts:
Readalong : The Princess Bride
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week one
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week two
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week three
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week five

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Upcoming Bookish Events

In case any of you are in the Indianapolis area, I want to share some upcoming bookish events. I'm planning to attend and hope you'll consider going too. If you aren't in the area, no worries. I'll post a recap following each bookish event.

Who: Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate at the Stairs
What: Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series
Where: Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University, Krannert Room
When: Monday, November 1 @ 7:30pm

Who: Allison Lynn, author of Now You See It
What: Rufus and Louise Reiberg Reading Series
Where: IUPUI Campus Center, Room 409
When: Thursday, November 11 @7:30pm

Who: Jonathan Lethem, author of Chronic City
What: Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series
Where: Butler University, Atherton Union, Reilly Room
When: Monday, November 15 @ 7:30pm

Who: Elmore Leonard, author of Djibouti
What: Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series
Where: **UPDATED** Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University **UPDATED**
When: Monday, December 6 @ 7:30pm


Related Posts:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review : Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

[Source: library]

I decided to read Never Let Me Go after seeing a trailer for the movie and hearing wonderful things about the book. I wanted to see the movie because I like Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley.

Never Let Me Go is the story of Kathy, Tommy and Ruth. Through the eyes of Kathy, the reader follows the trio from when they were children. Much of the book feels like a free association of memories. Kathy begins one story, which triggers a different, tangential memory. I would expect to find this annoying, but, in this case, I didn't. Perhaps that's because the progressions of Kathy's memories seem so logical and natural. I'm curious as to how this can be maintained in a film adaptation without becoming confusing or jarring.

There is something mysterious about Hailsham, where the trio grows up, and the fate that awaits them after they leave. The entirety of their fate is hidden from the reader in much the same way it is hidden from the Hailsham students. Details come out slowly, and it isn't until the very end that the complete truth is revealed. The murkiness of the story kept me reading. Despite this, I did have some problems with the book. I thought Ruth was an awful, manipulative person and wished Tommy and Kathy would desert her on several occasions. There were also moments when I felt like the donations (part of that murky future) were an artificial device to create obstacles. I may have had less trouble with the donations premise if Ishiguro hadn't put a date on his story (Kathy is narrating from the late 1990s.) or if my head had been ready for dystopia.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about Never Let Me Go. It is extremely well-written and kept me engaged. However, I felt a sort of detached curiosity while reading. I never really cared about the characters. Yet maybe this is intentional. Kathy, Tommy and Ruth always seem slightly detached from their lives and their emotions so maybe I just adopted the attitude I perceived in them. As I said, mixed feelings.

Will I see the movie now? I'm not sure. Do I think you should read the book? I think so. Despite my misgivings, I'll probably still be thinking about Never Let Me Go for days to come, which I think is an indication of a good book. Plus, like I said in the beginning, I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this book. I almost feel like a traitor, or maybe an imbecile, for not being completely enamored with it.

If you've already read Never Let Me Go, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bookish place : The Book Loft


Last Monday, I went to Brown County for my yearly pilgrimage to see the beautiful fall leaves and explore the quaint shops lining the streets of Nashville, Indiana. The Book Loft is a small bookstore specializing in Indiana-related books. The bulk of the store contains new titles about Indiana and fiction by Indiana authors. In addition to the wonderful Indiana non-fiction, fiction, and children's books, the store keeps a small selection of non-Indiana classics and popular literature. Point of interest: Most of the non-Indiana literature seemed to be by female authors...coincidence?

Shelf of non-Indiana titles

And for those lovers of used / collectible books, there are small sections of used paperbacks and hardbacks. The paperbacks didn't appear to have a theme, but a lot of the hardbacks were Indiana- or Midwest-related. I saw a great edition of Will Carleton's Farm Ballads that I've been kicking myself for not buying.


If you happen to be driving through beautiful Brown County, Indiana, and fancy learning a little more about the state, drop into The Book Loft. I'm sure you'll be able to find something of interest that will enhance your knowledge of the great state of Indiana.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekly wrap-up : number two

The weekly wrap-up is my way of keeping my loyal readers informed of my bookish activities holding myself to my bookish obligations. The questions may change slightly depending on the week.

Q: What are you reading right now?
A: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro


Q: Why are you reading it? Business? Pleasure? For review?
A: Strictly for pleasure, though I'll probably post a review. I'd like to see the movie, and I always try to read the book first.

Q: What was the last thing you read?
A: The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I'm participating in the readalong hosted by Chrisbookarama.


Q: What do you plan to read next?
A: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin


Q: Why do you want to read it?
A: It sounds like a good book. I requested it through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, so I need to review it. As an added bonus, it is part of the Okra Picks Challenge hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog that I'm participating in.

Q: What books did you acquire?
A: Purchased: A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore, Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. Both authors will be in town this fall, so I bought these books in preparation.
From Publisher: The Distant Hours by Kate Morton



Q: What bookish places did you go to?
A: I went to The Book Loft while in Nashville, Indiana, on Monday. Watch for a "bookish place" post about this store coming soon.

Q: What bookish events did you attend?
A: None, unfortunately.

Feel free to share your answers to the weekly wrap-up questions. I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week three


The Princess Bride readalong is hosted by Chrisbookarama. To see Chris' week three post, click here. Week three's reading assignment was Part Six. I think this story is well-known enough that spoilers aren't really an issue, but if you're worried, you might want to skip my posts on this readalong.

Count Rugen is a sadist. He has made a scientific study of pain. The Count's theory is that anticipation heightens pain, and Westley becomes his test subject.

Part Six is all about the pain of anticipation.

Westley is trapped in the Zoo of Death. Buttercup realizes the depth of her love and prays Westley will come back for her. Prince Humperdinck plots the war against Guilder he plans to launch after his wedding. Inigo seeks the man in black to help him succeed in his lifelong quest to avenge his father. The reader helplessly waits for good to triumph over evil.

Inigo is the only one to receive a glimmer of hope in Part Six. Fezzik and Inigo are reunited and track the man in black (They don't know he is Westley yet.) to the Zoo of Death. The tension mounts as you reach the end of the section and Fezzik and Inigo approach the entrance unaware that the man in black is already dead. Will they survive the Zoo of Death? What will happen when they find Westley's body? Will good really triumph over evil?

The pain of anticipation continues...

Related Posts:
Readalong : The Princess Bride
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week one
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week two
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week four
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week five

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday : Hell's Corner


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting. My pick this week is...


Hell's Corner by David Baldacci. Grand Central Publishing. To be released November 9, 2010.

There are two series that I am completely in love with right now...Cotton Malone by Steve Berry and The Camel Club by David Baldacci. Hell's Corner is the next installment in The Camel Club series. Baldacci's ragtag Camel Club is quirky, funny, and extremely likeable. I read the first four books in the series over the summer and can't wait until Hell's Corner comes out.

Here's the description from David Baldacci's website:

John Carr, aka Oliver Stone—once the most skilled assassin his country ever had—stands in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, perhaps for the last time. The President has personally requested that Stone serve his country again on a high-risk covert mission. Though he’s fought for decades to leave his past career behind, Stone has no choice but to say yes.

But Stone’s mission changes drastically before it even begins. It’s the night of a State Dinner honoring the British Prime Minister. As he watches the Prime Minister’s motorcade leave the White House that evening, a bomb is detonated in Lafayette Park, an apparent terrorist attack against both the President and the Prime Minister. It’s in this chaotic aftermath that Stone takes on a new, more urgent assignment: find those responsible for the bombing.

British MI-6 agent Mary Chapman becomes Stone’s partner in the search for the unknown attackers. But their shadowy opponents are elusive, capable, increasingly lethal, and worst of all, it seems that the park bombing may just have been the opening salvo to their plan. With nowhere else to turn, Stone enlists the help of the only people he knows he can trust: the Camel Club. But that may be a big mistake.

In the shadowy worlds of politics and intelligence, there is no one you can really trust. Nothing is what it seems to be. And Hell’s Corner truly lives up to its name. This may be Oliver Stone and the Camel Club’s last stand.

Are you biting your nails yet? Only 20 more days to wait!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

55 quirky questions for readers : part 5

Lydia at The Literary Lollipop created a questionnaire of 55 quirky questions for readers, and I thought it would be fun to share my answers here. Here is the final installment of 15 questions.


41. The longest I've gone without reading: I took a pretty lengthy hiatus last year. I wasn't reading much at all. Mostly because I was feeling guilty reading for pleasure when I had so much reading to do for work.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish: Descartes Bones by Russell Shorto. As I said in my "review," I failed miserably with this book. But it was me, not the book. I'm confident some would find it fascinating.


43. What distracts you easily when you are reading? Not much, but if there are really loud voices around, either live or on TV, I sometimes can't block them out.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel: The Hours by Michael Cunningham. I actually preferred the movie to the book, which is very rare for me.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation: I'm generally disappointed by film adaptations. It seems nearly impossible for a filmmaker to do a book justice.

46. Most money I've ever spent in a bookstore at one time: Ooh, that's a dangerous question. I've blocked out the real answer, but I'm sure I've spent upwards of $100 in one go before.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Never! I'm scared to ruin the actual reading.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? Huge plot flaws or poorly written characters. If the plot doesn't make sense or I don't care about the characters, I typically can't finish.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Yes, as much as possible. However, I'm in dire need of another bookshelf right now, so my organization is starting to falter.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they've been read? It depends on the book. If I really enjoy it, I keep it. Otherwise, I give it away or sell it at Half-Price Books.

51. Are there any books that you've been avoiding? Not consciously. There are several classics I feel like I should read, but just haven't gotten around to it. Books like...


52. Name a book that made you angry: I can't think of a book that made me really angry, though I'm sure one has. I was most recently annoyed by Jonathan Santlofer's Kate McKinnon series. It didn't live up to my expectations, and the main character was frustratingly slow at putting together the clues.

53. A book you didn't expect to like but did: I wasn't expecting to like Darling Jim, but loved it. I started it just after getting it from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers and couldn't get through the somewhat gruesome opening scene. When I finally tried it again a year later, I flew through it. It is a wonderful book. You can read my review here.


54. A book you did expect to like but didn't: I think I mentioned this book in an early question, but I have to say The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. This book sounded perfect for me, but I couldn't even get through it. Major disappointment.


55. Favorite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading: I used to feel guilty reading mass market series books, but I've found a couple that I really love, so now it's guilt free. If you are looking for a good series, try out The Camel Club or the Cotton Malone series.


Well, that's it! I'd love to hear some of your answers to the 55 Quirky Questions for Readers. Comment away!