Sunday, 27 November 2011

In My Mailbox (and Inbox) #1

Until recently, my book-buying habits have been fairly sporadic; I'd go weeks, sometimes months, without buying anything and would then binge terribly.  It was fairly simply achieved by ignoring Kobo/Waterstones/Amazon emails in my inbox and denying their shiny offers and by not going into bookshops.  It might seem like a fate worse than death to some of you but it was the only way I could keep myself on the straight and narrow!  

Since I discovered Google Reader on my iPhone, that's all changed.  I've been browsing all the fantastic blogs that I follow regularly and it's become almost impossible to ignore those books that get raved about all over other blogs, the glowing reviews of books I know that I would love and the all-round book-buying craving.  

The result?  A much more consistent pattern of book acquisition.  Consistent enough, even, that I can probably give IMM a fair attempt!  "Every cloud..." and all that.  

SO this week (or possibly a little bit of last week, because I get confused by time easily...), these little beauties lit up my doormat/inbox:

Amazon


As part of the 'Black Friday' fun and games, I bought my sister boxed sets of Maggie Stiefvater's The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.  I have managed to convince nobody that there isn't a smidgen of self-interest in that present, since I haven't read any of them. 


Since that concluded my Christmas shopping for the year, I treated myself to The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver.  Obviously I'm going through a ghost kick!


From Hanna @ Booking in Heels

Since I read Hanna's reviews, I've seen Divergent by Veronica Roth popping all over surrounded by heaps of praise.  I went on a quest to bag myself a copy after a tip off that they were being sold in The Works for £1.99.  That trip was woefully unsuccessful.  Off I toddled to Waterstones, only to find that it was £9.99 in there.  I knew that the book was lauded as one of the best releases of the year (according to GoodReads...) but £9.99 was a few pounds too far for me.  

Since then, I received a lovely shiny copy in the post from Hanna @ Booking in Heels!  I know, Christmas come early, right?!  She is a book angel and I am in her debt.  

(Also, I've already read it.  It was AMAZING! Enough said, for now)

NetGalley


Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett because it's nearly Christmas and a re-telling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is just the ticket and Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder because I read and really enjoyed her Study series and Glass series last year.  

General eBook purchases (i.e. I can't remember where from, exactly :-s)

These have all (pretty much) come about as a result of GoodReads' recommendations page.  It is my nemesis.  




 So that's a pretty heft In My Mailbox from me - what's been dropping onto your doormat this week?!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Short Story Review: 'The Canterville Ghost' by Oscar Wilde

When I first got my eReader, I also got a promotional set of 100 eBook Classics.  This was one that I hastily uploaded on my first afternoon of eBook fever.  It's languished in the 'Unread' collection ever since.  For some reason, I expected something of the same ilk as the darkly funny but intellectual The Picture of Dorian Gray.  While I did love that book when I read it earlier in the year, I've not quite felt the need to jump into what I thought might be something similar.  

The story focuses on the plight of Sir Simon de Canterville, a blood-curdlingly terrifying ghost that persists in haunting his family's manor, after a brash American family move in and disrupt his fierce solitude.  Try as he might, he finds himself unable to disturb them appropriately and finds himself shaken to his core and re-evaluating his malevolent existence.  

I should say, before anything else, that this story is genuinely funny.  The narration is generally quite dry and sarcastic (which suits me down to the ground) while managing to be light and charming at the same time.  

You won't have to look too far behind the humour to find something more, either. The story might seem farcical now in a modern world full of technology to facilitate global communication and cultural diversity but, when the story was first published in 1887, the international backdrop was obviously quite different.  It's a study in extremes, with the resident ghost clinging fastidiously to history and tradition and the Otises loudly exclaiming their successes, but it's a brief and interesting snapshot of the dominant stereotypes of the late 19th century.  There's also a lesson in forgiveness, if you really want to push it.  

At a mere 65 large print ePages, this story will probably take you less than an hour to enjoy in one sitting and is well worth it!  Even if you aren't in the mood for satire, there's plenty of slapstick humour to get you chuckling, from Mr Otis recommending tonics to a vicious ghost for his clanking chains to his infant twins spitting peas at the brow-beaten nobleman while he struggles to menacingly dance the halls in an old suit of armour.  

Plus, if you've never felt bad for a blood-thirsty murderer, you will do by the end of The Canterville Ghost!  That's got to be worth something...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

2011 Challenges: Some success and some idiocy

At the start of this year, I signed up for three challenges:  The 2011 TBR Challenge hosted at Roof Beam Reader; The 2011 eBook Challenge hosted at The Ladybug Reads...;and, The 2011 Outdo Yourself Challenge hosted at The Book Vixen. 

Of course, it isn't the end of 2011 yet so I can't definitively say how I've done but, seeing as the sign-ups for 2012 challenges are coming up thick and fast, it seemed about time to have a quick review of where I am!

The 2011 TBR Challenge

The twelve books I chose were:  

1.  Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
2.  The Night Watch by Sarah Walters
3.  Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
4.  The Girl at Lion D'Or by Sebastian Faulks  Finished 23 February
5.  Possession by A.S. Byatt
6.  Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Finished 12 September
7.  To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
8.  The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Finished 3 April
9.  A Changed Man by Francine Prose
10.Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann
11.Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier Finished 19 January
12.Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

As is pretty clear, I've done a woeful job of getting through these.  But every one of them that I have read has been brilliant, so I have high hopes for those that remain.  I may well get to a couple of them before the year is out but I'm thinking that the best case scenario for me will be half of them read.  Not great but could be worse, I think. 

The idiocy part:  I had actually convinced myself that Dracula by Bram Stoker and The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde were both on this list.  I'm a fool, that's all there is to it.  Both of those also turned out to be wonderful too so I don't begrudge them their spots on my Read List for 2011. I'm not proud of that...

Overall:  Not great...is it wrong that I might re-join this challenge for 2012 and re-use some of the books I didn't get to?  :-s


The 2011 eBook Challenge

When I joined this challenge, I was a fledgling eReader user.  I signed up, however, for the top level of reading 20 eBooks in the year.  

So far this year I've read 24 eBooks, including a recent run of 6 in a row (an all-time high, if you're interested).  

Overall:  Success!  Hurrah!!


The 2011 Outdo Yourself Challenge

The idea was simple:  read more in 2011 than you did in 2010.  Again, I can't quite say how I'm going to do on this as it's purely a numbers game.  

In 2010, I read 48 books.  I aimed to read at least 11 books more than that.  So far this year, I've read 43 books.  

That gives me 5-6 weeks (or something like that...) to read 16 books and hit my goal of 59 books.  

I wish I had a better excuse but, really, it's just come down to me being a heck of a lot busier in my professional life than ever before, my choosing some whopping books this year (e.g. the 1,000 + page Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) and moving house.  Although that was at the beginning of the year, the weekends of decorating and DIY took their toll early on.  

Overall:  Lets have a little positive thinking - it's not even December yet!  I can totally make the result a little less embarrassing in that time!  YEH!

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I hope you've all had fun with the challenges you chose and (maybe) did a little better than I did :)  But the fun's the main thing, everybody says, so I hope that mostly you had that!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Review: 'The Inquisitor's Apprentice' by Chris Moriarty

Date finished:  1 November 2011

Rating:  2.5 stars

Format:  eBook

Source:  NetGalley

Genre:  YA; Alternative History; Steampunk

Published:  by Harcourt Children's Books in October 2011



The Synopsis (taken from Goodreads.com)

Being an Inquisitor is no job for a nice Jewish boy. But when the police learn that Sacha Kessler can see witches, he’s apprenticed to the department’s star Inquisitor, Maximillian Wolf. Their mission is to stop magical crime. And New York at the beginning of the twentieth century is full of crime, with magical gangs ruling the streets from Hell’s Kitchen to Chinatown.

Soon Sacha has teamed up with fellow apprentice Lily Astral, daughter of one of the city’s richest Wall Street Wizards—and a spoiled snob, if you ask Sacha. Their first case is to find out who’s trying to kill Thomas Edison.

Edison has invented a mechanical witch detector that could unleash the worst witch-hunt in American history. Every magician in town has a motive to kill him. But as the investigation unfolds, all the clues lead back to the Lower East Side. And Sacha soon realizes that his own family could be accused of murder!

The Review

Before I started this, I was looking forward to reading it for a whole host of reasons. The outlawing of magic and the clandestine practising of said magic is a well-travelled fantasy path for a reason. As a newly self-professed steampunk fan, I was excited about Thomas Edison being the author's quirky inventor of choice, who had been recruited by the biggest power in the town, J.P. Morgaunt, to design and build a witch hunter. Call me morbid, but I also find a good witch hunt great literary fare.

Perhaps my biggest problem with this book, then, was the gap between what I expected and what this book is. There is magic, just not a lot of it; the outlawing of it seems to have been extremely successful so the practice of magic only really features occasionally, even if its effects linger. Gangs may well rule certain parts of the town but I'm not really convinced that they are 'magical gangs', more just your average, run-of-the-mill gang ruling their territory using violence and fear.

On the plus side for the book were the dybbuk, a hideous demon parasite based on Jewish folklore that can be summoned to steal a person's soul and slip into their lives to act out their every malicious whim, Harry Houdini's cameo and Sacha's development from child to young adult. If more time had been spent developing these aspects alongside the plot and less time spent trying to cram in socio-economic/political history and background too, the story might have worked better. The plot and timing sometimes gets lost and the tone is occasionally a little off.

Another minor irritant for me was the smattering of Yiddish/Hebrew (although I'm afraid I am ignorant as to which was being used). In some novels, incorporating vocabulary from the language that we are led to believe they speak helps lend both them and their story some authenticity and can even help enhance the story's atmosphere. The best examples of this being used with great success that I can think of are Khaled Hosseini's The Kiterunner and A Thousand Splendid Suns (reviewed here). What Moriarty failed to do, however, was provide any translations or enough context for me to figure out what the word was supposed to mean. The effect was that, rather than feeling closer to the characters and more involved in their lives, I felt as though I was on the outside of something; as though they were on the inside of a joke that I just couldn't follow or appreciate.

On the whole, the characters are likeable and work well together. Although the whole poor boy meets rich girl thing has obviously been done before, there was a sweet naivety to both Sacha and Lily's characters that made their interaction quite heart-warming. No over-worked romance, just two immature and inexperienced young people getting to know each other, trying to figure out each other's worlds and learning about themselves in the process. I also liked the enigmatic and bizarre Maximilian Wolf. Unfortunately, as a result of the aforementioned drowning of the detail in the 'big picture' stuff, I didn't see nearly as much of him as I would of liked or feel as though the most was made out of his idiosyncracies.

Happily, the last 75-100 pages or so made up for the otherwise dawdling pace to enough of a degree that I wasn't left with an overwhelming sense that I'd wasted my time but not so much that I'll be wantonly recommending the book all about town.

Overall: There are some good sides to this book but they're a bit hard to pick out from all of the random historical and political distractions. Aside from the feeling that there are too many great ideas swimming around in the pages fighting for light, the pace is really quite slow until it reaches its frantic climax. Perhaps one to read if you read a lot and are happy to take just a couple of great things away from a book that otherwise under-delivers.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Review: 'And Then There Were None' by Agatha Christie

Date finished: 29 October 2011

Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: eBook

Source: Borrowed from local library's eBook site

Genre: Thriller; Mystery/Crime

(Originally) Published: by Collins Crime Club in November 1939

The Synopsis [taken from Waterstones.com]

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again! and again!

The Review

I haven't ever read anything by Agatha Christie before because I had always associated her books with Miss Marple.  I strongly disliked the TV adaptations of this interfering non-detective and, I'm sorry to say, tarred all of Christie's many books with the same brush.  I came across this when I was looking on my local library's eBook site for something quick and light to read on a blustery day.  What compelled me to actually download it was the haunting nursery rhyme from which the book used to take its name ("Ten Little N**gers/Indians", depending upon the decade):  

"Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight..."

And so on. I'm one of those people that finds kids (particularly those that hum creepy tunes) in scary films extremely creepy so this was a hook that worked for me...

So here we have ten people travel to an island expecting a whole host of different things only to realise that they are part of a mysterious stranger's scheme to expose an indiscretion from their past.  Soon, they realise that the stranger is looking for more than just an opportunity to watch them squirm and members of the group start dying in odd circumstances.

The first couple of chapters are full of snippets of information and background on each of the ten characters which I worried would detract from the development of the story but that settled down quickly and I didn't look back. 

One reason I guess this story is so unique is because there isn't a detective pointing out clues for you and musing on alternative theories.  All you have are snatches of random characters' thoughts and accounts of their occasional 'meetings' where they bandy about some ideas in an effort to stop themselves going bonkers.  Contrary to what you might expect, getting a glimpse into characters' heads from time to time is actually more confusing; sometimes I didn't know who was thinking a particularly incriminating thought or something ambiguous would come from someone that I'd started to think might be wrongly caught up in things and I'd be right back to square one.  It was brilliant.

Despite not spending much time on anything but the characters' backgrounds/thoughts and, obviously, the action, the story has a brilliant atmosphere in a classic trapped-in-a-huge-mansion-in-a-storm kind of way.  On top of that, as the characters become more suspicious of their remaining companions and more nervous (sleep deprivation and a sense of impending death is no good for a happy group dynamic), the tension becomes almost palpable and is hard to escape from.  I barely put the book down and pretty much read it in two sittings.  That is extremely rare for me and a testament to how completely sucked in to the story I was.

There isn't much more I can say without giving too much away.  At only 172 ePages/224 pages in paperback, this is an extremely quick read that is packed full on suspense, intrigue, murder and secrets.  If it's gloomy and you have a couple of hours to kill, read this - it's perfect autumn fodder!

Overall:  The beauty of this book lies in never knowing what is going to happen next or, more specifically, when something is going to happen.  It's a brilliant thriller with a twist every couple of chapters and an ending that I genuinely never saw coming which, I suppose, is all you can really ask for from a mystery!

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Having finished this, I decided I wanted to watch a film adaptation, just to see how it worked on screen but it turns out there are a lot of versions - has anybody seen one and/or have any particularly strong feelings on which I could be watching?

Monday, 14 November 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #3

So, it's Monday again already!  After a weekend away in Edinburgh, 6am seemed to come horrendously quickly this morning.  Sad though that may be, it being Monday does mean that I can share my past, current and future reads in Book Journey's 'It's Monday! What Are You Reading?' so it could be worse :)  It's been a couple of weeks so it'll be nice to check in on some new blogs and see what everyone's reading!

What have I read during the past week?  My nerdy book-tracking spreadsheet tells me that I've actually been reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini since 2 November - that's pretty much two weeks!  It felt like a long time but not quite that long.  As that suggests, I found the first half of the book quite hard going, which was a combination of being busy at work and characters doing too much travelling and hiding secrets and not enough action.

As I mentioned, though, I did go to Edinburgh over the weekend and spent a total of about six hours on trains and managed to break through the walking and talking part of the book into the action and talking part of the book and am enjoying it much more now.  I'm not about to run straight out and get the second in the series, Eldest, but I will probably get to it at some point.  

What am I reading at the moment?  I have about 50 pages or so left of Eragon so, unbelievably, I'm still reading that...




What am I planning on reading this week?  I have both Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi and Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks vying for my attention this week.  What I think it's ultimately going to come down to is what the weather and my temperament are like when I finally finish Eragon.  If it's gloomy and I'm tired, the assassins are going to win the day; if it's remotely bright and/or I'm feeling alert, it'll be hidden treasures and family mystery.  A slightly frivolous approach to choosing books maybe but there you have it :)


Upcoming Reviews:  Despite apparently not having done much reading for the past couple of weeks, I do still have these books to review over the next couple of weeks:  

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (which I loved)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (which I also enjoyed)
The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty (which I wasn't that keen on)
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (which was surprisingly funny)

So what have you been reading?  What treats will be gracing your bedside table this week?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Book Challenge 2012

Putting aside my general horror that it's already time for 2012 challenge posts for a moment, I wanted to post my sign-up to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Book Challenge 2012 hosted at Booking in Heels before it got to January and I realised that I'd forgotten...

I couldn't put it better than Hanna herself so, straight from the sign-up page, is a summary of the challenge:  


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Welcome to the first ever book challenge hosted by Booking In Heels!

This is a challenge I've not seen anywhere else and was something I was planning to do on my own next year anyway, so I figured the more the merrier!

For those who don't know, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a film released in 2003 based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore (of Watchmen fame). The movie features various classic book characters who all form a League to stop various classic villians from taking over the world. 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read the original book featuring each of the main characters and post a review of each between 1st January 2012 and the 31st December. 

Every single one of these books is out of copyright (which is how they could be used in the first place) and so are free for download on most e-book readers. 

Even if you don't complete the challenge, it's great fun watching the film and knowing a little more about the characters! 

The main characters and their books are:

Allan Quatermain from King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Allan Quatermain actually features in a number of books by this author, but King Solomon's Mines is the first. It tells of a search of an unexplored region of Africa by a group of adventurers led by Allan Quatermain for the missing brother of one of the party.  

Quite obviously, he's played by Sean Connery in the film.

Mina Harker from Dracula by Bram Stoker

  Mrs. Harker is the only woman in the League. As the widow of Jonathon Harker, she is left with vampiric abilities that come in useful when dealing with nefarious plots to take over the world.

She's played by Peta Wilson.

Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne

Nemo is the enigmatic Captain of the Nautilus, the technologically advanced submarine that provides transport for the League.

I read this book earlier this year (looks like I'll be rereading it next year...) and loved it.
Tom Sawyer from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Sawyer is my least favourite member of the League and the last member to join. As a young American go-getter, is adopted as a kind of protege by Quatermain.

He's played by Shane West, I believe.
Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Excuse me while I run off to drool... If I could nuzzle and lick this man, trust me I would. Anyway, this is Dorian Gray and his Picture.

In the film, Mr. Gray is played by Stuart Townsend and is a snide, suave, sophisticated cad who is only roped into the League to get closer to Mina.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
This is probably the most famous book used in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it's an excellent one. Dr. Jekyll (right) is an innocuous, moral Doctor until he takes a formula of his own invention which transforms him into the violent, brutal Mr. Hyde (right).

His/their services are offered to the League in return for a pardon for their crimes committed in London.

Played by Jason Flemyng in the film.  

Rodney Skinner from The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (kind of)
 Skinner is the only member of the League not to be taken directly from the pages of a book. The Invisible Man is still copyrighted so the characters from that book couldn't be used directly. Instead, Skinner claims to have stolen the Invisibility Formula from the character in the book, which makes it all nice and legal.


The Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
And now we're onto the villains. Yay villains!

love how they've done the Phantom in the film - it's a step away from the traditional white mask and black cape combo. It just works so well.

James Moriarty from The Final Problem by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The ultimate baddie, the mastermind behind it all, the 'Napoleon of Crime!'

No photo for this one, but if you've seen the film, you'll know who I mean.



Right then. That's nine books to read in twelve months.



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I'm not the fastest, as you may have noticed, but there are more than a few books on this last that I really want to read so I figure it's well worth squeezing these 9 into 2012.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to dig out the film again!  Every time I've watched it in the past, I've annoyed my boyfriend by bleating/wondering about who is who and who wrote them and what book they were in. Now at least I won't be doing the wondering part!  

Even if you've never seen the film, the books that it draws from look awesome so go over and sign up!  :)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Review: ‘The Way of Shadows’ by Brent Weeks

Date finished: 22 October 2011

Rating:  4 stars

Format: eBook

Source: Bought

Genre: Fantasy


Published: by Orbit

The Synopsis [taken from Waterstones.com]

The perfect killer has no friends. Only targets.

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art. And he is the city's most accomplished artist, his talents required from alleyway to courtly boudoir.



For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned the hard way to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint. But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

The Review
One thing should already be clear to you from the synopsis of this book. It's about assassins; there will be death. Not all of it will be pretty. I won't insult your intelligence by warning you about violence, then.

Azoth grows up among thieves and pimps making a 'living' from what might best be described as petty crime. This is, however, life on the streets of the kind not typically seen in your average TV adaption of Oliver. It's harsh and it's barbaric. Despite having found myself flinching on the odd occasion, it seemed to me that the cruelty was necessary, particularly in developing Azoth. Had Azoth 'only' been homeless and hungry, the story wouldn't be half as strong as it is. Kylar is the product of a lifetime of physical abuse and sympathy is hard to avoid.

All that said, I eventually found myself a bit frustrated with Kylar. His background is incomprehensible to those of us tucked up writing on laptops and the seduction of the anonymity and control in becoming an assassin is understandable. When Kylar first starts to allow himself the luxury of musing on morality, his thoughts become a touch repetitive. Having written that, I realise how stupid it sounds and as though I prefer my assassins to be mindless (and as though I have a preference at all…). Given how he has come to the lifestyle, it's no surprise that he questions himself later but I was willing him to either reconcile himself with his role in the Cenarian underworld or find a way to live that he was happy with. I'm fairly sure that this won't be too long in the offing…

My only other problem with the cast of The Way of Shadows was just how charming Durzo Blint is. I know he kills people for a living but with all of the cloak swishing, sword play and mystery, I was helpless. So there's a tip: don't read this if you think you'll feel guilty about fancying an assassin!

There is a lot of character development in this book, both of Azoth/Kylar and Durzo and of those around them, and a lot of politics and history that I know will pay off in the future books. If you aren't used to reading longer fantasy trilogies/series (this one is by itself 672 pages in paperback) , trust me on that much and bear with it.

Some of the time, I found it a teensy bit hard to hold onto who was who and who's side they were on but I personally don't think that is uncommon in great fantasy series. I usually only worry about that if I've got to the end of the first book and still don't know. The advantage of the depth and gradual weaving together of the various groups/plots was that when the story picked up speed and the twists and turns came thick and fast, I was so mired in the Cenarian underworld that I struggled to come up for air.

Overall: A gritty start to what I know will be a trilogy that I can't wait to carry on with! There are a lot of characters I'm looking forward to seeing more of, magics and Talents that have only been touched on but that sound brilliant and, hopefully, a whole lot more cloak swishing, shadow skulking and sword clashing! I already have Shadow's Edge lined up on my eReader ready…

 
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As always, I owe a literary debt to the superb Hanna @ Booking in Heels – this series might have slipped through my reading net if she hadn't lavished it with praise. So thanks owed there! If you haven't checked out her blog at my insistence before, do it NOW!  

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

September and October in Books (or, an excuse for me to indulge in spreadsheet/list fun...)

I had meant to put up an 'It's Monday! What Are You Reading' post but it's somehow got to be Wednesday and, well, I didn't!  So, instead, I've been having a nosy at the terribly geeky spreadsheet I keep on the books I'm reading...

You may wonder why I haven't included August (or, I suppose, you may not!) but that's because August was largely taken up with reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke so that's that settled!  

September and October looked a little bit like this:  


Complete books read:  10

Pages read:  3,129


Made up of: 

September
Steam and Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Paper
The Small Hand by Susan Hill
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada






October
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty

 



eBooks v. 'Real' books:  Of the ten books I read over September and October, 6 were eBooks.  Even my mathematically challenged brain can work out that's 60%.  As the year goes by, this percentage is increasing.  I guess that sooner or later I should stop keeping track of this particular statistic.  I'm reading the paperbacks I own at a faster rate than I'm buying them while I'm acquiring eBooks at least as fast as I'm reading them.  That will most definitely carry on while we live in our current house (since we aren't planning on extending to include the library of my dreams) so eBooks it is!

Female v. Male authors:  Of the ten books I read over September and October, 6 were written by women.  60% again it is.  I'm going to need some new things to keep track of next year!  Earlier in the year, I thought that my gender ratio was all off.  It turns out that, although I still lean a little towards the ladies, it's clearly not as drastic as I thought!

Classic v. Contemporary:  Rather shamefully, I've only read one 'classic' over the past couple of months.  I did start and finish The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde last night but, seeing as that was technically November, I'm not counting it...as always, I know I should be reading more classics.  I always mean to but these modern books are just so shiny and in my face and I am just that shallow.  Sorry, classics... Q_Q

Currently Reading:  I started Eragon by Christopher Paolini last night and am about one chapter in so no strong opinions yet.  My best friend has raved about this series for years and finally wore me down!  I'm not really sure about the whole dragon thing but we usually have really similar taste in books so we'll see...fortunately, I managed to get the eBook from my library's eBook site so at least I can try out dragons without having to spend any money!

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Ahhh..that should curb my addiction to statistics until the end of the year :)  Hope you're all having great bookish Autumns!