Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mount TBR Challenge: Checkpoint No. 3

Well, even though I'm definitely not ready for the beginning of fall and the Holiday Season and all that, it looks like summer really is OVER.  How did that happen? Was I not paying attention, or what?

But I digress.  Already.

So, anyway -- it's time for another checkpoint in the Mount TBR Challenge, hosted by Bev @ My Reader's Block.  Number Three.  Don't think I actually posted anything for Numbers One and Two, even though I intended to.  Yeah, it's been that kinda year. 

But I'm happy (and somewhat amazed) to be able to say that I have now completed the Challenge! I originally signed up at the Pike's Peak Level, planning to read twelve books from my TBR pile; and I find that I've actually done that (see the list of books I've read, here on my Challenge Blog).

Of course, I have many more books (like, hundreds) left on my must-read-someday stack, so I'll continue to climb that mountain and see just how many miles I can knock off by year's end.

Bev included some intriguing questions in her post for Checkpoint No. 3. But I'm pretty satisfied with the challenge levels just the way they are, and I don't seem to be getting any inspiration for poetry from the titles of the books I've read this year.  So I'll just go with question no. 3: "Have any of the books you read surprised you--if so, in what way." Interesting question, because a couple of the books really did surprise me. After having enjoyed several other books by Garrison Keillor, I was expecting great things from Liberty, but it turned out to be sadly disappointing. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised by a new author I discovered this year (well, new to me, anyway) -- Alice Thomas Ellis. Her novel, The Other Side of the Fire, was a great read -- even better than I'd expected from reviews I'd read. Fortunately, most of the books I've read this year have been winners. Hope the streak continues.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: The House of Velvet and Glass

Hate to admit this, but I'm still reading the same couple of books I've been reading for several weeks now. For some reason, September has been a really slow reading month for me (even slower than usual!). So, in order to keep from repeating myself, this week I'm taking my teaser lines from one of the books I'm hoping to read in the near future -- The House of Velvet and Glass, by Katherine Howe. This snippet is from Chapter Ten, p.132:
Sibyl shuffled into the lavatory that she used to share with Eulah, bent over the claw-footed bathtub that Helen had chosen, and twisted the hot water tap. How had Helen been so certain that she would have daughters, who would need a claw-footed bathtub? It was as though their mother had willed Sibyl and Eulah into being, because the existence of such a fine lavatory required it.
Well, I'm not sure anybody really needs a claw-footed tub. But that's probably because I prefer showers and never take baths.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by mizB at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall Into Reading 2012

Yes, it's that time again! Hard to believe, but Autumn is right around the corner. And even though it's not my favorite season, it does bring along one of my favorite reading events of the year: Fall Into Reading. The annual reading challenge, hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days, runs from September 22 to December 21, and it always provides a wonderful bookish nudge just when I need it. And this year I need it more than ever, if I'm going to make my goal of fifty books for the year. (I know that sounds like a paltry number to a lot of you rapid readers, but fifty is definitely a stretch for me.)

I love Fall Into Reading because there aren't too many rules to follow.  The only real requirement is a list of books you think you might like to read this fall -- great, since I love making lists just about as much as I love reading the books!

So here goes. Some of these are ARCs I've been intending to read for months now.  Some are books from my long-time TBR pile.  And a couple are books I started earlier this year, but never got around to finishing. There's a heavy emphasis on mysteries, thrillers, and spooky stuff -- my favorite genres, at all times of year but especially in the fall.  The list:
  1. The Bartenders' Tale. Ivan Doig (This was an Early Reviewer book from Library Thing, so I really do need to get it read and reviewed.)
  2. Darwin's Ghosts. Rebecca Stott (Ditto. I'm way behind on my Early Reviewer obligations.)
  3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Stieg Larsson (One of the books I started a month or so ago and need to finish.)
  4. The House of Velvet and Glass. Katherine Howe (Received an ARC of this one earlier this year and still haven't gotten around to starting it. Looks interesting.)
  5. Istanbul Passage. Joseph Kanon (Another ARC -- I loved Kanon's Stardust, so I'm looking forward to this one.)
  6. The Little Stranger. Sarah Waters (My current read; a lovely, spooky page-turner, but looooong.)
  7. The Nursing Home Murder. Ngaio Marsh (I'm slowly working my way through all the Inspector Alleyn novels that I haven't read.)
  8. The Pale Horse. Agatha Christie (Same here -- trying to get through all of Christie's work and loving it.)
  9. The Secret Keeper. Kate Morton (Just received an ARC of this one. I think I've read all of Morton's other novels now and enjoyed all of them.)
  10. The Yard. Alex Grecian (One more ARC, and another book I'm really looking forward to reading.)
Of course, I'm expecting the list to change along the way, but that's allowed (another thing I love about this challenge).  And I'll be tracking my progress on my Challenge Blog, here. So I'm all set -- just need to wait for the sign-up linky thing to show up, and I'll be falling into reading again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: The Little Stranger

As usual, I've got several books going at the moment, and one of them is The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I put it aside to read other things for a couple of weeks, but now I've taken it up again. This teaser comes from page 90 of the e-book version (I'm reading it on my iPad):
The two men sprang forward, one of them catching his foot on a loose seam of carpet and almost falling. A glass was set hurriedly down on the mantelpiece and went crashing into the hearth. The little girl was hidden from me for a moment by a confusion of bodies: I looked and saw only her bare arm and hand, with blood running down it.
This bit is a little farther along than I've read, so I'm not sure what's going on. Or who the little girl is. Or where the blood came from. But I'm really enjoying this one so far.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by mizB at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

This week my teaser lines come from Stieg Larsson's international best-seller, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I started this one a few years ago when it first appeared in this country, and just couldn't get into it. But over the weekend, I watched a DVD of the film based on the novel (the US version) and actually enjoyed it. So I decided to give the book another chance, and this time I'm enjoying that as well. Go figure. Of course, it's a pretty long book and I'm only fifty pages into it, but I think I'll be sticking with it this time. Here's the tease (from page 37 of the e-book edition):
She came into his office as silently as a ghost, and he became aware that she was standing in the shadows inside the doorway, watching him. He had no idea how long she had been there.... Then she asked the question in a way that could neither be laughed off nor avoided.
"Dragan, are you attracted to me?"
I've always thought the covers of these Larsson books are really not very attractive:

So here's a shot of a Portuguese edition that's a little more interesting:

And (what the hell), a little eye candy from the movie:

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by mizB at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Sunday Salon: Hello Again!

It's been a really long time since I posted anything for Sunday Salon. A really long time. Possibly years. OK, maybe not years. But many months anyway. Haven't been getting as much reading done as I'd like, lately. That's not really new, of course; but more than usual this year, things just keep cropping up to take my attention away from the books. Bummer. Major.

But things seem to be settling down a bit now, and I've been able to get back to my bookish activities. After our recent move, M and I now have all our books in one place again -- although quite a few are still in boxes, waiting for shelf space (or waiting to find new homes). But most of the hardbacks, and reference books, and books we think we might read soon, and books we just can't do without are out where we can see them and get at them. And that's a very satisfying feeling. Now I'm on a great push to make sure all the books, both shelved and boxed, are listed in our Library Thing account, so we don't keep buying books we've already got. I'm embarrassed to admit how many times that's happened to me over the years.

So, as soon as this year's US Open is out of the way (Andy Roddick, yay!), I should be able to get back to reading on a more regular basis. I've signed up for this year's R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event (Number VII!), hosted by Carl V. of Stainless Steel Droppings, and I've been having a great time putting together a list of possible reads. The RIP event focuses on some of my favorite types of fiction and nonfiction (mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, supernatural), and it's something I look forward to every year. It makes fall (not my favorite season) much more bearable and exciting.

And today I'm doing a bit of RIP reading -- I've started The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Not too spooky yet, although I can see the ground being laid. It's my introduction to Waters, and so far I'm enjoying it a lot -- should be a fast read, in spite of those 400+ pages!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril / VII

Wow, September already! Was that summer that just whizzed right by? I guess it must have been. And now that fall is just around the corner, it's time for one of my favorite events of the season -- R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (RIP), hosted every autumn by Carl V. of Stainless Steel Droppings.

And notice the absence of the word "challenge" in the title this year. Carl says he wants to emphasize that the whole idea is "primarily about the great pleasure that can be found in embracing this type of fiction/non-fiction during this season of the year." And I'm in perfect agreement with that!

Of course, it's still bound to be a bit of a challenge for me, since I'm such a slow reader and fall is always such a busy season. So I'm playing it pretty safe, and just signing up for Peril the Second (read two books) and Peril on the Screen. But if things go well, I might try the Short Story Peril this year -- I've got several collections of spooky tales that I'd like to get into.

Oh, and also the two group reads -- The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman -- those are both books I've had on my TBR list for quite a while now, so Peril of the Group Read looks tempting, too.

Hmmmm. Did I say playing it safe? Oh well, time to get reading. The "event" runs during the months of September and October, and I'll be keeping track of my progress on my challenge blog. Not entirely sure what I'll be reading, but here are a few possibilities:
  • Angelica. Arthur Phillips
  • Duma Key. Stephen King
  • The Ghost Writer. John Harwood
  • Lost Boy Lost Girl. Peter Straub
  • The Seer of Shadows. Avi
  • The Small Hand. Susan Hill
  • A Stir of Echoes. Richard Matheson
  • Sumner Island. Michael Cormier
  • 77 Shadow Street. Dean Koontz