Teaser Tuesday: June 30


It’s that time of week again for Should Be Reading’s fun post Teaser Tuesdays.

So how does this work:
• Grab your current book
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today’s teaser is from Lisa See’s latest novel Shanghai Girls.
Coming here is ugly and hardly auspicious, like stepping into the past, which is precisely what Baba wants us to do with these marriages. Still, May and I have come, obedient as dogs, stupid as water buffalo.” (pg. 27)

What’s your teaser for today? Share it, or a link to your teaser, in the comments section.


What Are You Reading Monday: Week of June 29


At the start of this new week it’s a good time to look over how I did reading-wise, and what I have staring at me from the shelves to read this week. Thanks to J. Kaye’s Book Blog for “What are you reading on Mondays” to help me get started on this task of evaluating how my reading week went, and will go.

If you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter (which I hope you do), for what seems like weeks I have been saying I need to finish Crime and Punishment, stating last week in no uncertain terms that I must finish it by last week’s end. Even in my “What I’m Reading” box here on this blog I stated I would not be allowed to read another book until I finished Crime and Punishment. Well, it came down to the wire, but I am happy to report that early last evening I did in fact finish it. I am not sure how I missed reading a piece of Russian literature in my honors and AP high school classes, and even in courses for my English minor – but at least I finally have. I also really enjoyed it, I was worried about how daunting it would be, but the story flowed for me and sometimes I was in a real groove with it and didn’t want to put the book down. It was dense, and certainly at times I had a few troubles keeping the names straight, but I see more Russian Lit in my future.

This week I will start working my way through a big batch of new books that just came in last week that I have been antsy to start.

Books I completed the week of June 22:
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Books to read the week of June 29:
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

What books did you finish last week? What is on your TBR pile for this week?

Happy Reading!

The Do-Over

Have you ever read a book that people say is so great, or meaningful, or whatever – and when you read it you just don’t get it? And I don’t mean don’t get the book. You understand the concept, it’s deeper meaning, whatever, it’s more that you just don’t know what all the buzz and excitement is about. I think I can hear you all out in the internet universe collectively saying, “of course.” And yes, I may be new to book blogging, but I am not naïve to reading, so I know that not everyone will agree all the time.

But what did you do about it?

I would not put myself in the re-reader camp. I love to read and like the idea of checking off books from my TBR list, so I really don’t want to waste reading time on books I have already read (whether I love them or not). But, when the topic of re-reading comes up, I can’t help but think of The Catcher in the Rye (and not just because it has been in the new so much recently with the court battle for the U.S. publication to the “sequel”, here is a recent New York Times article if you haven’t been following the issue).

So why am I bringing up these two random topics that could each be their own post?

Catcher in the RyeBack in high school Catcher was on my either Honors or AP reading list (I forget which because I can’t remember what year I read it). Both during class and even years after, when that book came up in conversation people would say how much they loved that book, how influential it was, etc., etc. But me … I HATED that book. And really, I am not someone who generally would say I hated a book, I can almost always find something in there, even if it’s not a book I enjoyed. But not in this case. I just wanted to smack Holden and tell him to get over himself. I just couldn’t understand why he made things so hard for himself and everyone around him. 

Years passed, and being a bookish person and having bookish friends – that book continued to come up. I really felt like maybe it was me, so I usually refrained from offering my thoughts about it.

Then, I’m not sure what happened, since I am not a re-reader, but I was in a bookstore, saw the book and by some inspiration decided I needed to give Holden another chance. Maybe it was the time that had passed, my realizing that not everyone loves high school, or fits in right, or just that I had a more worldly view, but on reading it the second time, I loved it – so much so that if I had to do a top ten classics list, you might find Holden holding court with the likes of Scout, Stella and Miss Scarlett.

I really don’t have much insight into why I had the change of heart, but for this case, I really was glad I went back to this book, and remember this lesson when I get to those “I don’t get it” books. Not that I think if you hated a book the first go around but everyone says it’s so wonderful, that on the second read you will think so too. But for me, it was a good lesson in my own reading practice. 

So, here’s a little challenge for me, and I welcome you to join me on this.

Is there a book that you hated the first time you read it, but decided to give it another go a few (or many) years later and discovered that you now really like the book?

Chose a book you read, or tried to read, and hated and give it another go. Maybe time has passed and you can relate better to the book, or maybe your dislike of the book or characters will grow worse. Post your personal challenge and thoughts on doing the re-read on your blog (if you have one) and include the link in the comments. Be sure to come back to this post and let me know how it goes the second time. I will post all responses in a future post, hopefully planned for September, so use the summer to get that book re-read

I am going to read The Hobbit before the end of the summer. For me, this was totally another, uggh book from HS, maybe I will find something more there the second time around.

Everything Austen Challenge – My List

Everything Austen

As if my TBR pile wasn’t big enough, I am starting the second half of 2009 off with a book challenge (I think this will be one of many, I’m sure). Stephanie over at The Written Word is hosting an “Everything Austen” mixed-media challenge. Over the next six months, myself along with all who sign up, are challenged to read, listen to and/or watch six Jane Austen-related things.

For me, I think I might just go the reading route so I can check off more in my vastly lacking 75 Books in 2009 challenge. But I will look to read three Austen books (one of which will be a re-read) and then three “inspired by” books. Here’s my list as I envision it right now (but willing to take recommended substitutions):

  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  3. Emma by Jane Austen
  4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  5. Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
  6. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

I am all set to begin with both P&P and P&P&Z sitting on my shelf, but I am still undecided on which to lead with. Some of my kind friends on Twitter suggest the original, and I tend to agree. But, it’s a reread while a brand new book, with “zombie mayhem,” is grumbling (or whatever zombies do) loudly.

I have one week to decide. Feel free to share your suggestions below in the comments and/or on Twitter. And if you’re on Twitter, you can follow along with our Austen challenge at #everythingausten. And if you are swept up in the Austen (or zombie) frenzy – there is still time to join the challenge too!

Teaser Tuesday for 23 June

teaser-tuesday It’s that time of week again for Should Be Reading’s fun post Teaser Tuesdays.

So how does this work:
• Grab your current book
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Again this week my teaser this is from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (Sorry, I just finished The Madonnas of Leningrad last night or I would have chose that one for you all).

They both fell silent. Razumikhin was more than delighted, and Raskolnikov realized this with loathing.” (pg. 246)

What’s your teaser for this Tuesday? Add to the comments and let me know what you think of that book so far, because I’m looking for some new books to sample!

Monday Reading Room – Week of 22 June

Welcome to a new week and another opportunity to finish up that long lingering book (I am pointing that finger directly at me) or start that one on the top, or bottom, of your TBR list.

Oh, and of course … Happy Summer!

There was a great discussion last Thursday on Twitter under #FollowReader on Summer Reading. I personally don’t change my reading habits just because it’s the summer. I know there are books/genres that tend to be labeled Summer Reads (like I talked about in last Sunday’s “Beach Reads” post) since people tend to read them while traveling and on vacation, mostly because they are lighter fare. But, my travel isn’t usually confined to just the summer, so I find myself reading lighter fare on trains, airplanes, when I just want to chill, any time of year.

But to the topic at hand – what am I reading this week. Well, I am sick of saying that I am reading Crime and Punishment (a note though that I am not sick of the book, just in me not finishing it yet), and I will not allow myself to be in this situation again next week. So that’s on my reading list. I would like to add a few more, like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which I couldn’t resist picking up on Saturday) but I might have to dedicate myself to good ol’ Dostoevsky, that is of course after I also finish reading The Madonnas of Leningrad – I only have about 90 pages to go, so I will finish that up this week.


What are you reading this week? Is there any book staring at you that you feel compelled to absolutely finish this week? And in follow-up to the Twitter #FollowReader discussion, do you have any specific summer reads that are on your Summer of 09 TBR list?

Hasta la Vista Bloggiesta


Here we are on Saturday night, and I think I will be hanging up my urban sombrero. I want to first start by thanking Natasha at Maw Books Blog again for coming up with this idea. I have only been at this a short time, and aside from getting some valuable advice and suggestions to help me build this blog, I think this Bloggiesta really connected a lot of people and sites together.

So, how did I do on my goals? Not bad. I really didn’t write as much as I had hoped, but I think through suggestions and mini-challenges I was able to do some important administrative and set-up work here. Some things I did complete:

  • Developed topics to write about in the future (currently have seven ideas that I will develop into posts)
  • Cleaned up Google reader so I can follow my fellow bloggers better
  • Added categories for my blog posts
  • Added new blogs to my Blog Roll (not on here, let me know and I will check out your site.)
  • Added a few more buttons to my blog (still challenged a bit and see a conversion to my own blog URL hosted by WordPress in my future to incorporate additional ideas I have)
  • Contacted some of the sites on my Blog Roll to note the link, and invited those to continue to check me out and if they like my content consider adding a reciprocal link
  • Developed three future challenges to post on the site
  • Drafted two future posts, and this one here

I want to send another round of thanks to all who hosted a mini-challenge. Even if I didn’t complete it during this challenge time, I learned so much from each of your posts and will be integrating these ideas in the future. Now, as far as the mini-challenges go, I:

  • Completed GalleySmith’s Anchors Aweigh challenge (as also seen here in anchoring to her challenge, rather than saying see the challenge “here.”
  • Completed Emily’s Reading Room Alerts challenge to add Google Alerts for my site.
  • Completed Hey Lady’s Favicons and Gravatars challenge and now have my little sock monkey for both.
  • Completed Bookish Ruth’s site grading challenge and see I still have more work to do for this new little blog.
  • Completed The Book Lady’s Blog reader cleaner challenge  to clean subscribe and clean-up reader
  • Completed Infant Bibliophile’s site register challenge and submitted blog to BBAW, Blog Catalog, Blogged, Book Blog Directory and updated information on Book Blogs Ning

I want to send a final thank you to all who posted comments of encouragement, welcoming, etc on my site. I truly appreciate all your feedback. I am so happy to meet you all and be introduced to your content. I now have so many more people in my Google Reader and on my Following list on Twitter. Hope you are enjoying this new little blog and will subscribe to me and follow me as well.