Ending the Year at 50

Yes, you read that right – even with Harry trying to thwart me at 700+ pages, I was able to close out 2009 with 50 completed books on my shelf. No, #50 did not go to The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (I only got about 10 pages in, so I will start fresh for 2010 so I can count it towards J. Kaye’s 100+ Reading Challenge ), #50 goes to Sookie and Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris.

I want to thank you all for your comments of encouragement for this, and throughout the year as I started this blog – I truly appreciated them.

And I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I look forward to chatting with you all in 2010. All the best!

Tuesday Teaser, 29 December – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

It’s that time of week again for Should Be Reading’s fun meme 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!

This week I am teasing you with another Harry Potter, this time it’s from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling.

“Finally I wish to impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not to be entered into lightly. Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end.” Pg 256

QUESTION OF THE DAY
What’s your tease for this Tuesday?

What Are You Reading Monday, 28 December

Thanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

Wow – the last week of 2009. Where has the time gone?

Santa brought lots of new books under my tree that will keep me quite busy, but I think I will save them for next year. Of course in my quest to hit 50 before Friday, I finished up #48 – a nice swift reading Harry Potter, so I decided to keep the holiday fun going with HP #4 – but wow 700+ pages?! We’ll see how it goes since festivities will still be cutting in to my reading time.

I am not sure what will be on my list this week beyond Harry, and that’s cool with me.

How about you, what will you be reading this week? And is it one of your new holiday presents that you will be reading?

BOOK I COMPLETED
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

BOOKS TO READ
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
2. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James

Tuesday Teaser, 22 December – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

It’s that time of week again for Should Be Reading’s fun meme 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!

From my light and fun holiday reading, today I am teasing you with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the castle, the usual magnificent Christmas decorations had been put up, despite the fact that hardly any of the students remained to enjoy them. Thick streamers of holly and mistletoe were strung along the corridors, mysterious lights shone from inside every suit of armor, and the Great Hall was filled with its usual twelve Christmas trees, glittering with golden stars.” Pg 222

QUESTION OF THE DAY
What’s your tease for this Tuesday?

What Are You Reading Monday, 21 December

Thanks to J Kaye’s Book Blog for hosting this weekly meme.

Well last week I finished #47. I had a few books lined up so I could make a valiant attempt to complete the Everything Austen challenge (I have finished 3 of 6 books, and the challenge runs through Jan 1st), but with the approaching holidays I was in the mood for something fun and light. I settled on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (which I am reading for the Harry Potter reading challenge. I do also have a bookmark in the first few pages of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen so maybe by the end of the year I will add another one or two to the Austen “completed” list.

I’m not really sure what my reading plans will be for this week. Once I finish HP I might decide to keep going with the series or go with an Austen book, or a totally different way altogether. We’ll see where the mood takes me.

How about you, what will you be reading this week?

BOOK I COMPLETED
1. Fallen by Lauren Kate (sent from publisher)

BOOKS TO READ
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
2. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
3. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters (Contest win)

More 2010 Challenges

With less than two weeks left until we hit 2010, I am thinking about the challenges that will take me through my next reading year.

I made my first challenge declaration with J. Kaye’s 100+ Reading Challenge (completion of which will be nothing short of a miracle, or the work of reading lots of pamphlets). But thanks to these three other challenges, I will be that much closer to my 100 books goal.

The 2010 TBR Challenge. For this challenge, I need to pick 12 books from my TBR list that have been there for six months or longer. I am pulling books off of my shelves that have been sitting, patiently waiting to be read, but always put aside (some I have even started previously, but for whatever reason were never finished – re-reads are not allowed, BTW). What will be most challenging about this challenge is that once I have created my list, I can’t change it. Here is my list:

  1. The Age of Innocence
  2. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  3. Anna Karenina
  4. Atlas Shrugged
  5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  6. David Copperfield
  7. Empire Falls
  8. High Fidelity
  9. The Historian
  10. Jane Eyre
  11. The Pilot’s Wife
  12. The Poisonwood Bible

And because some of my TBRs are so big, I will also be joining the Chunkster Reading Challenge (I just love the title of this one since “The Goonies” is one of my all time favorite movies, although I was more of a Mouth fan, than Chunk). Given some of the books both in my TBR Challenge, and others waiting to be read (yes I’m looking at you Under the Dome and World Without End) I will be joining at the Mor-book-ly Obese level, which is six or more chunky books. FYI, if you’re interested in joining this one Chunksters for this challenge are books more than 450 pages, and it doesn’t begin until February 1st.

Finally (well probably not my final challenge I will sign-up for in 2010, but the final one that I will post about here), I am signing up for the South Asian Author Challenge. I plan to use this challenge to discover authors I have not previously read. I am going to join the challenge at the Five Book level.

So before the champagne cork is even popped, I have already signed up for four challenges in 2010 (and that doesn’t count the other two I am in for 09 that carry through to 2010). Wow!

How about you? What challenges are you going to participate in in 2010?

Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox

Where to begin with my thoughts on The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown?

It seems too easy to tell you that if you liked The Da Vinci Code (if you can remember back far enough to when you read it) then you will probably enjoy this book. So the short synopsis: Robert Langdon haplessly finds himself in a race against the clock to solve a mystery drawing upon his expertise as a symbologist. In this one he stays in only one well known tourist location, Washington D.C. This time the woman he teams up with is his friend’s sister, and the ancient order this book looks at is the Freemasons.

OK, I know I am being a little flip about this book, but as a blockbuster book there probably isn’t too much else to say that you haven’t already heard or read.

I don’t often read books like this anymore, but I do enjoy Langdon and his adventures because they are typically entertaining (although Robert did try my patience a few times in this book). Even when I am rolling my eyes about some serendipitous turn of events I still close up the book thinking, “that was fun.” And I can definitely say that about The Lost Symbol. I read it over the Thanksgiving holiday, which was the perfect time for me to read a book like this (Note to self – I need to figure out one for the Christmas holiday now).

Over the break (and beyond) I also read Decoding The Lost Symbol by Simon Cox, which was offered to me for review by FSB Associates. I had not previously read any of the “companion” books that were released following Brown’s other Langdon novels so I wanted to see if a book like this offers anything to the reading experience.

I find that when I read historical fiction or books like Brown’s which roll in historical information, I do want to know more about the subjects. Some authors do include a bibliography or an afterward noting where some of their research came from, and sources to get more information. Brown does not do this, so I found Cox’s book a nice resource to have after I read it (and you do need to read it after reading The Lost Symbol because spoilers abound).

The book alphabetically includes informational entries about locations, historical ideas, people, etc. from The Lost Symbol. It is written pretty conversationally, although at times I felt a little lost (not sure if it was me or the fact that some of the heavier topics needed to be distilled so much). And with each entry no more than a few pages, at the most, it offers a nice topline summary of information, as well as a bibliography at the back of the book should you want to delve deeper into a certain subject. So I did find it interesting to have a little more background on the topics Brown broached in his latest novel.

Thank you to FSB Associates for sending Decoding The Lost Symbol to me for review.

The Lost Symbol
Author: Dan Brown
ISBN: 978-0385504225
Published: September 15, 2009 (Hardcover First Edition)
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Pages: 528

Decoding The Lost Symbol
Author: Simon Cox
ISBN: 978-0743287272
Published: November 3, 2009 (Paperback)
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 256