Currently Reading

  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • Patience & Fortitude by Nicholas A Basbanes
  • Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman
  • a People's History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Arrivals!

I signed up for the Quality Paperback Book club a while ago, and my welcome package just arrived. I'm now the proud owner of copies of the following:

You: the Owner's Manual

A People's History of American Empire: a Graphic Adaptation by Howard Zinn

the Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Complete Translation

a Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

the Great Transformation: the Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong

the Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn & Hal Iggulden


Insomnia by Stephen King

I'm looking forward to reading all these, and you can expect reviews of them to appear here over the summer.

Tuesday Thinger

So the question this week is- how many books do you have cataloged in your LibraryThing account? How do you decide what to include- everything you have, everything you've read- and are there things you leave off?

I currently have 323 books in my catalog. My only real criterion is that I own the book. I've got books I've already read in there, books I plan to read. I've even got a couple I know I'm never actually going to crack open, like a copy of the DSM-IV I got from a book sale at my college library for free just so I could see the look on people's faces when they see it on my shelf.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Top 106 Books on LibraryThing

Thats right ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I'm bored and looking for excuses not to write my take home essays for finals, which means, ITS TIME FOR ANOTHER MEME! This one involves my absolute favorite book related website of all time, the one, the only LibraryThing. If you haven't already, you really should go check it out over at

Anyway, this particular meme is a list of the 106 books most commonly marked as "unread" on that most esteemed of websites. My only alteration to the rules as written, is that I have added comments to a handful of books, Nor have I underlined anything, as I am unable to do either in blogspot's text editor. I'd like to thank Christine over at for bringing this to my attention.

The rules: Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk* to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your tbr list.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion [so! boring!]
Life of Pi: a novel [on my tbr pile]
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick [on my tbr pile]
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies [However I do plan to go back and read this cover to cover, as well as its sequel at some later date]
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods [Didn't find it to be that amazing]
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas Shrugged [started one of Rand's books on a relative's recommendation but never finished. I think it was Atlas, not sure. Reminded me too much of a poorly written 1984.]
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales [I really don't like old english. Had to read this for school anyway.]
The Historian
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula [on my tbr pile]
A clockwork orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King [interesting, but slow. I do plan to revisit this and finish it at a later date.]
The Grapes of Wrath [boooring]
The Poisonwood Bible
1984 [freaky damn book.]

Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses [I want to read this, if for no other reason than it's a banned book by an author who was famous before it was banned.]
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest [the book is so much darker than the movie.]
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
Dune [booooooooring -- but I finished it]
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes [on my tbr pile]
The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present [on my tbr pile]
Cryptonomicon [loooooong. Didn't finish it, not sure if I'll go back and take another look.]
A confederacy of dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The unbearable lightness of being
The Scarlet Letter [holy cow, Hawthorne is prosy]
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed [on my tbr pile. I'm going wait to tackle this until I go back and finish GG&S.]
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye [hated it]
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics [on my tbr pile]
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers [on my tbr pile]

Sunday, May 25, 2008

[TSS] Finishing "Hearts of Horses" for School

I was supposed to have finished this days ago, and I've got until Tuesday to finish it, and write two papers on it, so I've been dipping into it off and on all day.

Normally, this isn't the sort of book I'd read. The main character is a female horse-whisperer working in the Northwest during WWI. The story deals with a year in her life where she does a circle ride, literally riding in a circle from one farm to the next, changing horses at every farm, and completing the circle every day. Its a method used to break a large number of horses to saddle at the same time.

In addition to the circle ride, there's the interaction between the horse-whisperer, Martha Lessen, and the family who is her main client and her lodgings. More central to the story, however, is her romance with Henry, a farmhand at one of the farms who is employing her services.

I'm finding myself conflicted. While I'm enjoying reading this, I find myself looking forward to finishing it, so I can go on to one of the other numerous books I have that I haven't read yet.

For more information about the Sunday Salon, check out:

Sunday Thinger

Normally this will get posted on Tuesdays, but its Sunday today, hence the modified title line. Anyway, this is a weekly meme created by one of the wonderful people over on LibraryThing.

This week's topic: Discussion groups. Do you belong to any (besides Early Reviewers)? Approximately how many? Are there any in particular that you participate in more avidly? How often do you check?

LibraryThing is part book cataloging site, and part massive world spanning discussion forum. Within this most wonderful of sites I'm a member of about 20 discussion groups. However, of those I only check about five at all regularly. Those include the Green Dragon, the most active group on LT, which focuses on Tolkein's work, as well as fantasy/mythology/wonderful randomness.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

the 19th Wife - David Ebershoff FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I've just set down David Ebershoff's "the 19th Wife" after blowing through the first 30 some odd pages, and I can already tell this is going to be a wild ride of a book! Its essentially two novels intertwined with each other. One set in modern day, about a murderous 19th wife in a polygamist cult. This bit is narrated by her gay 20 year old son, a lost boy thrown out at 14 for holding a girl's hand.

There hasn't been much of the other novel yet, but from the bits I've read, it sounds interesting. Set in 1875 Ann Eliza Young, 19th wife of Brigham Young, has filed suit against her husband so she can leave him.

It should be noted that, while Brigham Young was a real historical figure, and acted as the second leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this is a novel, and neither story is based in fact.

Book MeMe

Instructions: In the list of books below, bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of. In the comments, let me know if you're up for it. I left some books in just regular old font, these are the ones I am not sure I want to read or not. Feel free to tell me I am totally wrong and should read something on this list.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (JRR Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (JRR Tolkien)
The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (JRR Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. *Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. +
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
+Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. *A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
+Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. *Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
The Stand (Stephen King)
19. +
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. +
The Hobbit (Tolkien)
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. *The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. +
Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
+East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
1984 (George Orwell) - Didn't finish it, been meaning to go back and read it for a while.
The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) - Tried to read it, got fed up and put it aside. Recently saw the movie and want to give it another chance sometime.
The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. *The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. *I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
+The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. *Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
+The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
+the Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
+Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. *She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
+The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
+Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
+Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58.* The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
War and Peace (Tolstoy)
Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) -
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. *The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78.* The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. *The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. *Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. *Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. *Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. *Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. *The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. *The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98.* A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
+The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
Ulysses (James Joyce)

Friday, May 23, 2008

2012: Crossing the Bridge to the Future - Mark Borax

I got this as an ER book, and I was honestly psyched to read it. Borax had a similar experience to me in finding a spiritual guide that he was seemingl destined to work with. Unfortunately, what I at first thought would be a fascinating look at the life of a seeker with similar experiences to my own devolved into frequent drug trips to try to get past emotional and relationship blocks, and a school of astrology that sounds like a perverse cross-pollination between a Course in Miracles and theosophy. I actually kind of like the focus on his emotional experience, its a different way of writing, and it lets you get into his head more than a more traditional writing style. However, after 200 pages of this 230 page book, I was honestly feeling burnt out, and ended up setting it down to go on to other things.

a Little Background

I'm a 21 year old Religious Studies major. I read mostly metaphysical/religious/spiritual stuff, as well as a lot of general non-ficiton, and an occasional novel. Reading has been my life's passion ever since I learned how, and I was always at least a year ahead of my grade in reading level throughout school. I should also mentioned I'm an avowed bibliophile. I have a library of a couple hundred books, thats growing almost as fast or faster than I can read.

I never wrote any kind of a review for a book before I joined a website called Librarything. The site is a social networking site for avid readers. It lets you keep a record of your library, as well as talk to other people with similar interests (ie avid readers) all over the world. The site runs a program called early reviewer, where you can request ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) from publishers to read and review. Many but not all of the reviews posted here will be for books I've received through this program.

The ER program is actually part of why I started this book blog. I wanted to do more substantial reviews than just a one or two paragraph response, and I figure the best way to do that was to have my own blog. Depending on how things go, I will probably be giving away at least some of the ARCs I get, so check back often.

For my friends from LT, its Child_of_Light, thanks for visiting, and please don't hesitate to leave comments.