Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 - Starting Fresh in the New Year!

I admit that I'm both excited & nervous for this upcoming year. It's always great to have a fresh start - I feel like I can accomplish just about anything! But at the same time, setting overzealous goals can cause me to fail before I've even begun. Plus the idea of keeping this blog up & the pressure to make it worth reading is a little daunting, especially since I'm so new to the book blogging world (just a few weeks)! 

So my plans for this year are to set some year-long reading goals (mainly with my challenges), but more importantly, to set smaller, attainable goals & change them each week/month as seems fit. Let's face it, who doesn't feel happy & encouraged when they meet goals, even the simple ones? And if I can meet those, who's to say I can't meet the more lofty ones as well?! It's just about taking it in stride & not getting overwhelmed & burnt out.

Enough of my rambling - here are my goals!

1. Blog at least 5 times a week.
2. Write reviews for more than 2/3 of the books I read.
3. Host giveaways (monthly or every other month?).
4. Complete reading challenges: BIO, Around the World, YA Debut Author.
5. Don't compare myself to other bloggers unless it's to learn from them & improve (& not to get discouraged by feeling inadequate to their stellar blogging skills & creativity ;).
6. Don't let blogging/reading take priority over my family & home b/c when it comes down to it, these two men are much more important.

Reading Plans for January:

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand
Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer
Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier
Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare
The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me, by Bruce Feiler
The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen
The Lying Game, by Sara Shepard
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling

What are YOUR New Year's goals?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Through the Pages (2) - Snow Flower & the Secret Fan

"Through the Pages" Thursday is something I hope to do on a weekly basis.  Its purpose is to go beyond reading a book just to check it off a list & build up your number of reads. There is so much to learn from books - background behind its creation, history involved within the story itself (whether true history or mythical), the thoughts & impressions a certain passage may leave us with if we take the time to ponder instead of rush through. The subject matter for "Through the Pages" can be expansive if you just stop to think & let your creativity flow.

(Anyone is welcome to join me with their own current read's "Through the Pages" - just leave a comment w/ a link to the specific post on your blog.) 

I am currently reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See, a book I've been meaning to read for a few years now. I considered posting about the foot binding traditions, but was so disturbed by it, I didn't think I could stomach looking at the pictures & describing how it's done (shudder). Instead, I decided to look into nu shu, or women's writing.

Women in China were not allowed to attend school or receive an education until the early 20th century. Because of this, many were illiterate. Although no one seems to know the origins of nu shu, it is said that a young girl from Southern China created it after being chosen as the emperor's concubine. It was her way of communicating with her mother & sisters back home. Nu shu is a phonetic written language used to write stories, poetry, & autobiographies. It was also a way to write letters & communicate between "sworn sisters" (or friends) & mothers. Unlike traditional Chinese characters which are boxy, nu shu was slanted, long & frail.

Nu shu was a secret language hidden from men & was often disguised to look like art. It was also embroidered onto everyday items & clothes.

 With the increase in literacy among women in the 20th century, nu shu began to fade away & was no longer needed. It is now considered an endangered language.

Information researched on Wikipedia & Lisa See's webpage.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review - The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Author: Ken Follett
Released: February 2002 (1st published in 1989)
Publisher:  NAL Trade
Pages: 976
Rating: 5/5

An enjoyable historic thriller, well told. A mystifying puzzle involving the execution of an innocent man, the erection of a magnificent cathedral, romance, rivalry, murder, arson, lust, and love. Set in 1135 England.

Tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known... of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state and brother against brother.

The Pillars of the Earth follows the lives of Tom Builder & his family, Lady Aliena, Prior Philip, Jack Jackson, William Hamleigh & many others in Medeival England. You witness Civil War, heartless Earls, corrupt bishops, famine, the building of a cathedral, endurance, renewed hope, & love.

Even though I'd heard how amazing this book was, I always pushed it aside for something else, partly because I wasn't sure I cared to read about the building of a cathedral, but even more so because of its near 1,000 pages (32 discs on audio!). This book was going to be a commitment! But man, am I glad I took the time for this big boy. This book pulled me in dramatically from the very start. Follett's ability to bring the characters to life was incredible! I came to a point in the book (a couple points, really) when I felt like I'd been punched in the gut & actually mourned for the characters. At other times, I laughed out loud & rejoiced with them. It shocked me to feel so involved in their fictional lives!

This book alternated between different narrators. In some books this is frustrating b/c certain characters' stories are never as interesting as others'. I didn't find that to be the case in Pillars.  I would get so involved with one narration, & then it would switch to another's perspective. I would hate seeing some narrations end, but would quickly get caught up in the new one. There was hardly an uninteresting moment throughout the book. The story completely captivated me!

I also appreciated the research Follett did in writing this, not only about that time in history, the culture, land, laws, . . . but also the actual construction of the cathedral. I found it fascinating!

This is one of the best written books I've read, & I consider it a new favorite. I highly recommend it!


"Having faith in God did not mean sitting back and doing nothing. It meant believing you would find success if you did your best honestly and energetically."
~ Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kindle vs NOOKcolor - Which one?

Which one to get? I would really appreciate any feedback!

My husband surprised me with the Kindle for Christmas, but because of some errors (on his side?), the order was canceled, & it didn't get here until after Chritmas. That gave me time to consider whether or not I should get a different e-reader - the NOOKcolor.

My main beef with Kindle is that you can't easily download books from libraries (you have to change the format to one compatible with the Kindle first - what a pain!). I also think the keyboard is a little awkward. Another downside is that it requires a light to read at night - not any different than an actual book, but I'm unsure if I'd rather have the back-lit screen or one like this.  I do, however, love the e-ink, the sleek look, the light weight, the non-glare screen, & the fact that it comes in white. The battery is also supposed to last for a really long time. 

As far as the NOOKcolor goes, I don't like that it doesn't offer 3G capabilities since I don't have Wi-Fi at my house (one more thing I'd have to get). It also has more glare when reading outside or in bright lights. It's quite a bit heavier than the Kindle & only comes in black (really not that big of a deal, but I do like the white better).  I worry that the backlit screen will hurt my eyes, especially since they're already horrible.  However, I love that it has color - it just brightens everything up! I also like that you can go to an actual Barnes & Noble to get help with it, read any book for free up to an hour each day (while in the store), & I like the touch screen since that's what I'm used to on my phone. Magazines also look great on it, as well as children's books.  It reads ePub files, so books can be downloaded from libraries as well. 

Please share your thoughts!!!

Top 10 Books I read in 2010

"Top 10" Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.
This week's list:

Top 10 Books I read in 2010
(in no particular order)

1. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck: I hadn't read anything by John Steinbeck since high school & was wary of reading this brick of a book. Once I slowed down with the reading instead of trying to fly through it, I was able to appreciate what a wonderful, beautifully written book this was. I found it to be very touching & loved seeing a glimpse of what many people struggled through during the Great Depression.

2. The Hunger Games series - Suzanne Collins: I avoided this series for a while because the idea of reading about teenagers fighting it out to the death sounded so gruesome! But I am really glad that I gave into the pressure to read it because it easily became one of my all-time favorite series!

3. Vampire Academy series - Richelle Mead: This was another surprise series for me. After reading Twilight & loving it, I didn't think I'd care to try out another vampire book/series.  I thought one was enough. Well I started reading the first book b/c my neice loved them so much, & I was hooked. I flew through this series & am anxious to read the final book: Last Sacrifice.

4. The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton: I loved, Loved, LOVED this book!!! I thought the language & descriptions in the book were so beautiful. It really captured me straight from the beginning. I also loved how Morton interlaced the different narratives through different time periods to slowly bring the mystery together.

5. The Mortal Instruments series - Cassandra Clare: This was a fast-paced series that I didn't want to end. I loved the characters & storyline (although it was a bit predictable). I definitely have a major crush on Jace - just call me a cougar :) I'm excited for the fourth book to come out later this year: City of Fallen Angels. I'm also anxious for the movie due out in 2012!

6. The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson: This was a very different book. It was quite disturbing & made me uncomfortable, but at the same time, the message was very powerful & stuck with me for a long time. Davidson is a very blunt writer - he didn't sugar-coat anything. I loved the stories written within the story that transported me to different times & places. I also loved the use of Dante's Inferno throughout the book.

7. The Maze Runner - James Dashner: I read this one before reading any of The Hunger Games series, so I wasn't tainted by any comparisons like others were (I personally didn't see that many similarities.). I loved this book & couldn't put it down. I was literally on the edge of my seat while reading this & after finishing, paced back & forth freaking out. I went out & bought it right after returning the copy I had read to the library b/c I wanted a copy for my personal collection.

8. The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett: This is another book I put off reading due to its massive size. I just finished it a couple days ago & loved it! I was sucked in from the very beginning, & the story never slowed down for me. Follett brought the characters to life, & I felt very deeply for them - I was surprised with how attached I felt.

9. The Kitchen House - Kathleen Grissom: I read this book for a book club & thought I was going to have an anxiety attack pretty much throughout the entire book. Even feeling this way, I loved it. It was a heartbreaking look at plantation life, & I really connected with the characters in this book. I thought it was very well written.

10. Peace Like a River - Leif Enger: I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. It was one I swiped from my mom's shelf, but then put aside for years before finally picking it up. It's not one to rush through. It was beautifully written! I loved the characters, the narrator, the story, the relationships, the life lessons, & the miracles throughout.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (2) - Christmas Edition

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren
Mailbox Monday
December hosted by: Let Them Read Books.

I received the following books for Christmas:

Nevermore - Kelly Creagh: I am really excited about this book. I'm a sucker for YA paranormal fiction, & the fact that Edgar Allan Poe's writing is inspiration for this just makes it that much better!

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look. Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares. His life depends on it.

Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir - Natalie Goldberg: I love learning about my family history & am always gripped by the need to record family stories - those of my ancestors as well as my own personal family's.

Millions of Americans want to write about their lives. With Old Friend as the road map for getting started and following through, writers and readers will gain a deeper understanding of their own minds, learn to connect with their senses in order to find the detail and truth that give their written words power and authenticity, and unfold the natural structure of the stories they carry within. An absolute joy to read, it is a profound affirmation of the capacity of the written word to remember the past, free us from it, and forever transform theway we think about ourselves and our lives.

Expressive Photography - Shutter Sisters: I've always really enjoyed photography, & this last year, I have gotten even more into it - I took classes & just a couple months ago, I bought my first DSLR. This book was written by a group of women who belong to the Shutter Sisters blog, & I just love all the wonderful pictures inside & can't wait to dive into the little bits of advice

When a photograph captivates you and stirs your soul, you know it instinctively. You not only see the image, you feel it. But how do you capture shots like that with your own camera? How do you make your photographs worth the proverbial thousand words? From portraits to landscapes, still-lifes to documentary shots, Expressive Photography will not only show you why certain images sing, but will also teach you how to create your own compelling photographic images-one click at a time.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption - Laura Hillenbrand:
I also bought this book for my husband & am anxious to read it myself. A true WWII account of survival after a plane crash in enemy territory.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Waiting On" Wednesday (2) - Unearthly

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts the weekly meme,
"Waiting On" Wednesday
It offers the opportunity to share the soon-to-be-released books that I am excited to get my hands on.

I am really anxious for Unearthly by Cynthia Hand to be released. I love paranormal fantasy & am especially excited since this one deals with angels, something I've only briefly enountered in The Mortal Instruments series. I think it will be a nice change from vampires, werewolves & shadowhunters (not that I'm opposed to any of these!).

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Release Date: 1.4.11

I'm taking a break from blogging until after Christmas - Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Time Out" from Reading (1) - Eclipse DVD-Release Party

The purpose of "Time Out" from Reading is to take a step back from actual reading & to do something (big or small) that is inspired by a book. (examples: watching a movie adaptation of a book, trying out a recipe (chocolate pie for The Help), adapting an activity, theme, or subject into your day: plant flowers for The Forgotten Garden, build a sand "cathedral" for The Pillars of the Earth, have a Family Fun Day for . . . a book about families) Be creative, make it a stretch if you need to!

I would love to see what other people come up with, so feel free to join along any time - just post a comment with a link back to your blog, so others can see what you did! :)

Earlier this month, my friend from Party Profiles & I hosted an Eclipse DVD-release party. We prepared everything in red, black & white (the decorations, food, drinks), printed up pictures with quotes from the book, & invited some special guests to come join us. It was so much fun to see the story played out on film & to laugh at ourselves for being such total dorks!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review - The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

I love the cover - it is so gorgeous!
Author: Andrew Davidson
Release: August 2008
Publisher:  Doubleday
Pages: 480
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon

An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.

A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. As she spins their tale in Scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in Japan, Iceland, Italy, and England, he finds himself drawn back to life—and, finally, in love. He is released into Marianne's care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. But all is not well. For one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. For another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete—and her time on earth will be finished.

Already an international literary sensation, The Gargoyle is an Inferno for our time. It will have you believing in the impossible.

When I think about Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle, the words that come to mind are grotesque, graphic, disturbing . . . magical, beautiful, unforgettable. After hearing so many wonderful things about this book, I was really excited to read it. But I have to admit it was difficult for me to get into, & I was kind of disappointed. Don't get me wrong - I think Davidson is an INCREDIBLY talented & creative writer, & I ended up changing my tune, but I struggled at first with the slower pace & quite depressing subject matter. I was shocked by the narrator's career as a porn star & didn't care for the explicit descriptions involved, (You've been warned!) but was glad I continued reading after some encouragement from my friends.

I found the description of the accident, burns, & medical procedures horribly disturbing & had to skim through parts. At the same time, Davidson's descriptions were so real, uncensored & blunt that I found them surprisingly beautiful!

I very much enjoyed the stories within the story as they transported me to the past & to different lands: Japan, Italy, Iceland, Germany, England; relating the difficult yet beautiful accounts of human love & devotion. It was a constant battle trying to distinguish between a storyteller's wild imagination & the possible reality of a love that had truly lasted through the ages.

The haunting imagery from Dante's Inferno ran throughout the book & was definitely the highlight for me. I also loved the way the character's mindset & horrific situation had me reflecting on my own attitude & appreciation for life, my feelings of self-doubt, the worth of a soul, & the redeeming power of love.

I highly recommend this book (if you can get past some of the difficult-to-read parts). It was one of my favorite reads of the year!


"None are here by accident. Hell is a choice because salvation is available to anyone who seeks it. The damned choose their fates, by deliberately hardening their hearts."
~ The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson

Friday, December 17, 2010

Let Me Introduce Myself

My name is Liz, & I am a 27-year-old wife & mother. I was married for six years in November, & my son just celebrated his second birthday a few months ago. Needless to say, he keeps me very busy, especially since he inherited his dad's neverending supply of energy! I graduated with my BA in English in 2006 & currently live on the beautiful West Coast.

I have been a member of the blogging world since 2007 & felt like it was time for me to branch out from my family blog. I considered starting a blog for quilting, cooking, or photography, but decided the best route for me was books! I love to read & always have. I owe my early love for books to my nanny who read to me constantly & taught me my ABCs at a very early age. I started reading when I was three & haven't stopped since!

I remember devouring The Boxcar Children & Nancy Drew when I was younger & then being blown away by my first adult-ish book, Ender's Game. Some of my more recent favorites are The Hunger Games trilogy, The Forgotten Garden, A Thousand Splendid SunsThe Grapes of Wrath, The Maze Runner, & the Harry Potter & Vampire Academy series. I like a decent variety of books, but my favorites tend to be dystopian, fantasy, paranormal, & historical fiction.

My aims for this blog are to post honest book reviews, participate in & create reading challenges, dive deeper into books with "Through the Pages" Thursday & apply books to everyday life with "Time Out" Tuesday, get involved with a couple memes each week to get to know more bloggers & find new books, have author interviews &/or guest posts, & have some of my own giveaways.

I look forward to getting to know more people through blogging! Feel free to leave a comment & introduce yourself!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Through the Pages Thursday (1) - The Pillars of the Earth

"Through the Pages" Thursday is something I hope to do on a weekly basis.  Its purpose is to go beyond reading a book just to check it off a list & build up your number of reads. There is so much to learn from books - background behind its creation, history involved within the story itself (whether true history or mythical), the thoughts & impressions a certain passage may leave us with if we take the time to ponder instead of rush through. The subject matter for "Through the Pages" can be expansive if you just stop to think & let your creativity flow.

(Anyone is welcome to join me with their own current read's "Through the Pages" - just leave a comment w/ a link to the specific post on your blog.) 

I am currently reading The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - a book I've meant to read for a few years now, but kept putting off because of its massive size! I finally added it as one of my books for a tbr (to be read) challenge this year. Of course, I put it off again & saved it for the last qualifying month of the challenge! Although the size intimidated me, & I was unsure if a book like this would hold my attention (do I really want to read about the building of a cathedral?), it pulled me right into the story from the outset & has not been a dissapointment in any way yet.

 Ken Follet wrote thriller novels before coming out with his first historical fiction, this one. When telling why he took on this project he said:

[I] read a couple of books on architecture and developed an interest in cathedrals. Before too long, it occurred to me to channel this enthusiasm into a novel. I knew it had to be a long book. It took at least thirty years to build a cathedral and most took longer because they would run out of money, or be attacked or invaded. So the story covers the entire lives of the main characters. My publishers were a little nervous about such a very unlikely subject but, paradoxically, it is my most popular book. It's also the book I'm most proud of. It recreates, quite vividly, the entire life of the village and the people who live there. You feel you know the place and the people as intimately as if you yourself were living there in the Middle Ages.

Follett fashioned the cathedral in his book after Wells & Salisbury Cathdrals in England.
Painting of the Salisbury Cathedral
Commisioned in 1825 by John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury

The immense grandeur & size of cathedrals is meant to give glory to God & can be a reflection of the wealth of its patrons.

Cathedrals are traditionally built in the shape of a cross to symbolize the cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on. They also tend to be situated east to west to symbolize the Risen Christ & to allow for the sun to shine through the windows behind the altar during worship. 
aerial view of Salisbury Cathedral

The main body of the Cathedral is called the nave & is where worshipers congregate. "Nave" comes from the Latin word for ship, as to bear the congregation safely through the storms of life.
Nave of Salisbury Cathedral

The arms of the cross are called transepts & oftentimes contain many small chapels. 
Transepts in gray

I'm surprised at how much more depth researching cathedrals has added to my understanding of The Pillars of the Earth, especially since the construction of cathedrals plays such a major role. I love learning about the symbolism & seeing pictures & floorplans of the architecture - it really helps me visualize what I'm reading about. Now I just hope I can continue to make research a part of the other books I read!
Information researched on Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Books Read in 2010

All books are linked to Goodreads.

74. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - 4*
73. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - 4.5*
72. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - 5*
71. Crestmont by Holly Weiss - 3.5*
70. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - 3*
69. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - 4*
68. Graceling by Kristin Cashore - 4.5*
67. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - 3.5*
66. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy - 4.5*
65. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson - 4.5*
64. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead - 4.5*
63. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - 4.5*
62. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - 5*
61. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead - 5*
60. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead - 5*
59. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley - 4*
58. Frostbite by Richelle Mead - 4*
57. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly - 3.5*
56. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon - 4.5*
55. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - 4*
54. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - 4*
53. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - 5*
52. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell - 4*
51. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks - 4*
50. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger - 4.5*
49. The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball - 4*
48. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier - 4*
47. The Book by M. Clifford - 4*
46. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - 4.5*
45. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - 4*
44. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater - 3*
43. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - 3*
42. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen - 5*
41. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - 4*
40. Beastly by Alex Finn - 3*
39. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare - 5*
38. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - 5*
37. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - 5*
36. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater - 4*
35. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen - 3*
34. Alabama Moon by Watt Key - 2*
33. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare - 4*
32. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok - 3.5*
31. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - 4*
30. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - 5*
29. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - 5*
28. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer - 3*
27. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon - 4*
26. Little Bee by Chris Cleave - 1*
25. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - 4*
24. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - 4*
23. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - 5*
22. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - 4*
21. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon - 4*
20. The Maze Runner by James Dashner - 5*
19. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson - 3.5*
18. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by James Ford - 3.5*
17. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - 5*
16. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - 5*
15. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - 5*
14. Coraline by Neil Gaiman - 2.5*
13. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly - 3.5*
12. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - 5*
11. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - 2*
10. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick - 3*
9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - 5*
8. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray - 3*
7. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon - 3*
6. That Camden Summer by LaVyrle Spencer - 2*
5. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer - 4*
4. Years by LaVyrle Spencer - 5*
3. The Endearment by LaVyrle Spencer - 4*
2. Austenland by Shannon Hale - 3*
1. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan - 3*

Monday, December 13, 2010

ASIA - Reading Around the World


Countries read are in bold blue. Potential books to be read are listed below each country. Once I've read a book, I will strike through it. An asterisk (*) indicates books I own but have not read yet.

1. Afghanistan
          Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson
          Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer
          War by Sebastian Junger
2. Azerbaijan
          Ali and Nino by Kurban Said
3. Bahrain
          The French Blue by Richard W. Wise
4. Bangladesh
5. Bhutan
          Beyond the Sky and the Earth by Jamie Zeppa
6. Brune
7. Burma/Myanmar
8. Cambodia
          The Disappeared by Kim Echlin
9. China
          *Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
          Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
          The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
          Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
          Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
          The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
          Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
10. Cyprus
11. East Timor
12. India
          The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
          The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
          Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
          Life of Pi by Yann Martel
          The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
          A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
          Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
          *The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan
          *Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
13. Indonesia
          Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
14. Iran
          Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir by Marina Nemat
          The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
          Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
15. Iraq
16. Israel
          Exodus by Leon Uris
          *Rebekah: Women of Genesis by Orson Scott Card
          To the End of the Land by David Grossman
17. Japan
          The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
          Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
          Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
          Shogun by James Clavell
          The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
          *The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
          The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
          Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
18. Jordan
19. Kazakstan
20. Korea, North
          Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
21. Korea, South
22. Kuwait
23. Kyrgyzstan
24. Laos
25. Lebanon
26. Malaysia
          Evening Is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan
          The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
          *The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka
27. Maldivs
28. Mongolia
          Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
29. Nepal
          Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
30. Oman
31. Pakistan
          *Kartography by Kamila Shamsie
32. Quatar
33. Saudi Arabia
34. Singapore
35. Sri Lanka
          Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
          Bone China by Roma Tearne
36. Syria
          The Dark Side of Love by Rafik Schami
37. Tajikistan
38. Tibet
          Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
39. Thailand
          The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
40. Turkey
          The Gendarme by Mark Mustian
41. Turkmenistan
42. United Arab Emirates
43. Uzbekistan
44. Vietnam
          Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien
          Matterhorn: a Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
          The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
45. Yeman

AUSTRALIA - OCEANIA - Reading Around the World

Countries read are in bold blue. Potential books to be read are listed below each country. Once I've read a book, I will strike throught it. An asterisk (*) indicates books I own but have not read yet.

1. Australia
          *The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
          A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
2. Fiji
          Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu by J. Maarten Troost
3. Kiribati
4. Marshall Islands
5. Micronesia
6. Nauru
7. New Zealand
          The Bone People by Keri Hulme
          The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield
8. Palau
9. Papua New Guinea
10. Samoa
11. Solomon Islands
12. Tonga
          The Other Side of Heaven by John H. Groberg
13. Tuvalu
14. Vanuatu

EUROPE - Reading Around the World


Countries read are in bold blue. Potential books to be read are listed below each country. Once I've read a book, I will strike through it. An asterisk (*) indicates books I own but have not read yet.

1. Albania
          The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare
          Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare
2. Andorra
3. Armenia
4. Austria
          Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
          The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
5. Belarus
6. Belgium
7. Bosnia and Herzegovina
          People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
8. Bulgaria
          *The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
9. Cape Verde
10. Croatia
11. Czech Republic
          The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
12. Denmark
          Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
          Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
13. England
          *The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
          *Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
          *Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
          *Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
          *Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
          *The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
          Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
          Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
          *The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
          *Stardust by Neil Gaiman
          *The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
          Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
          *Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
          Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
          *Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
          *Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie
          *The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
          *Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
          When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman
          *The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
          The Once and Future King by T.H. White
          *Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
          *A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith
14. Estonia
15. Finland
          The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
16. France
          *Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
          The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
          Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
          My Life in France by Julia Child
          The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
          Chocolat by Joanne Harris
          *A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
          *Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
          The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
          *The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
17. Georgia
18. Germany
          Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
          The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
          All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
          Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
          *Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
          Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
          Night by Elie Wiesel
19. Greece
          *The Iliad by Homer
          Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
          The Magus by John Fowles
          *The Island by Victoria Hislop
          The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
20. Hungary
21. Iceland
          Independent People by Halldor Laxness
          The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley
22. Ireland
          Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
          Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
          At Swim Two Birds by Flann O'Brien
          *Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
          The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey
          The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins
23. Italy
          Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
          The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
          *The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
          A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
          The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
          *Signora Da Vinci by Robin Maxwell
          *A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
24. Latvia
25. Liechtenstein
26. Lithuania
27. Luxembourg
28. Macedonia
29. Malta
30. Moldova
31. Monaco
32. Montenegro
33. Netherlands
          Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
34. Norway
          Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
          Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
35. Poland
          The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff
          A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka
          The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman
36. Portugal
          Blindness by Jose Saramago
37. Romania
          *Dracula by Bram Stoker
          Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
38. Russia
          *Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
          Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
          City of Thieves by David Benioff
          Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
          We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
          *The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
          Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
          *The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
39. San Marino
40. Serbia
          Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavic
41. Scotland
          *The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
42. Slovakia
43. Slovenia
          Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
44. Spain
          Don Quixote by Miguel de Vervantes Saavedra
          For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
          The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
          The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
45. Sweden
          The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
          The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg
46. Switzerland
          The Bells by Richard Harvell
47. Ukraine
          Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
48. Wales
          *Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
          The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan
          Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead