Ok. I can do this. 25 actual books, without "well, this one was basically two books, so there" coming into play.

Lightspeed Magazine, July 2014
I really really loved "The Panda Coin" and the Harry and Marlowe story. Some of the other stories, I absolutely hated. But that's the point of anthologies :-) And I always knew I was leaning more towards the F part of SF/F anyways. Now I know more SF authors that I will actually like.

English as a Second Fucking Language by Sterling Johnson
I think I was expecting more from this than what I got - I wanted it to be a true grammar and vocab book, not just a random listing of more or less useful swear words ("ass eyes," really?). Frankly, I learned more vocabulary from spending a night in an Irish pub during the World Cup and more grammar from watching Boondock Saints than I did from this book. Disappointing, and not even that funny.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase by Douglas Adams
I didn't realize this audio came with an extra documentary on the making of the series. It was a little freaky hearing Douglas Adams talk to me from beyond the grave, to be honest. But the production itself is fantastic. Funny as expected, with great voice actors, and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop at the top of their game.

The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell
Severed Streets
Any questions? And yes, that was indeed retweeted by Paul Cornell :-D

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
I really like the world of these books (this is part 2 of the Old Man's War series), in a twisted, not-quite-dystopian-but-almost kind of way. Knowing how the series continues (I asked for it, not like I can ask an author at a reading not to spoil books written years ago), this is a really nice set-up for what I know of future books, and on its own, it's just an intriguing story. Who are we? What makes us who we are? What happens when that self-image goes catastrophically haywire? So much thinking to do. As a sidenote, I do have some small issues with Scalzi's writing, but they're much less noticeable on paper than in audiobook form. Sorry Wil Wheaton.

Neverwhere: The Radio Play by Neil Gaiman
I've loved this book since I first read it, but the audioplay from BBC Radio 4 is a whole 'nother story. The casting is PERFECT. The story comes alive in an amazing way. And the whole thing is just so much fun.

W Is For Wasted by Sue Grafton
This book is 50% description of people making sandwiches and filing papers, 50% awesome crime story about medical malpractice and illegal experimentation. Too bad 40% of the sandwich-making happens in the beginning of the book, before you ever get to the actual crime story. The last third is great, and exciting, and fast-paced. The whole thing just really needed a stronger editor.

Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie
I just adore Christie novels. They're so calm, and quaint, and subtle, yet still so thrilling. I mean, they're full of the times, and prejudice, and irritating social norms, but I can deal with that. They're just such a fun vacation read.

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Wil Wheaton reading this audiobook made me cry. In a good way. Such a beautiful story, even if it's totally stereotypical. It was fun, and touching, and environmental commentary in the least annoyingly obvious way possible. Plus, Karl is fantastic, and I quite like the rest of the cast as well. Plus, snark. I love snarky books.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
I picked this up based on the "read fewer white male authors" challenge that went around social media earlier this year, and I did not regret it for one minute. The story is well written, the characters are interesting and diverse, the book's world would be gorgeous in a miniseries, and there's going to be a sequel. Approved at all levels.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Apparently this was the year of Ernest Cline or something (probably had something to do with the movie deal). I finally read this (Armada is sitting on my shelf as well, for later), and quite enjoyed it. It definitely is 80s fanboy fanfiction, and I have a feeling Armada will be too much of the same thing, but on the first time around, it's quite entertaining.

Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Oh Harry. Poor, no longer dead Harry. At least some of these stories were from before that time, so there was less... drama, in the "oh dramaz" kind of way. Some fun ideas, some definitely not fleshed out as much as they could have been, but overall a really good, easy read. Exactly what I wanted at the time.

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents: The Play by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs
I love this book. I love this audio play. The cast is amazing, and the whole thing is just so enjoyable. Love.

The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Have I mentioned I adore this universe? Yes, I think I have. So much fun. So much snark. I just really like the characters and how they interact. The plot becomes sort of secondary, although this is definitely a good one. And a fun little (big) twist at the end.

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
I read this right after The Last Colony and was a little worried about it being repetitive, but Scalzi does a good job of not repeating everything you just heard from the adults from the point of view of a teenager. And Zoe is the kind of teenager I love - smart, snarky (see a pattern?), but goodhearted and willing to do the right thing. This book was just fun.

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
I... may be growing tired of Neil Gaiman short stories. Which is SO SAD. But half of these were just odd, or I didn't get them, or something. The other half were beautiful and scary, and totally worth the cost of the book, but the rest were too... artsy? Literary? Something like that. I much prefer "true fiction" like Neverwhere and Stardust, apparently.

Lock In by John Scalzi
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, I know, Scalzi can be a bit sloppy about writing, but you know what? I'm ok with that. The plot is intriguing, the concept of Lock In and threeps intrigues me a lot, and I like crime stories that I don't immediately figure out in some way. Plus, Chris and Tony are hilarious, and I need more of those housemates in my life. And it says Lock In #1 on Goodreads, so I'll get more eventually :-)

Locke & Key Slipcase Set by Joe Hill
I'd never have read this, because for some reason I can't read comics, but this was good. Not awesome, but a captivating story, and the audiobook set I got for free somehow was quite well done.

The Martian by Andy Weir
In short: the movie was better. Seriously, this was terrible. The concept is so good, and it could have been such a fun book, and then it's ruined with boob jokes and half-pages entirely dedicated to setting up gay jokes, and... gah. Guess I really don't like books where the main character is kind of a dick.

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
I love new takes on fairytales (see also: my Pratchett obsession) and this one is SO CREEPY. Love it, especially as an audio story.

Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman
I never totally get this story... is the narrator an angel? Did he kill those people? Is he going to hell? I have no idea. But as usual, Lucifer is fascinating. That probably says terrible things about me, doesn't it...

Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who by L.M. Myles
These are the people who can't ever tell me too much about Doctor Who. They're just the best, in general and at pointing out interesting things about one of my favorite shows. Plus, short essays. So much easier to read in pieces than full-length academia-type books.

Final Result: 22. I totally cannot do this. Silly knitting keeping me from reading All The Books. Maybe next year I'll do a TV show challenge instead. I'm really good at those :-P
Another year, another attempt at 25 books. Also, another fail at 25 books. It would really help if two of these hadn't been 800 and 1200 pages each. Otherwise I would have actually been able to make it to 25.

Redshirts by John Scalzi
It's interesting... The first part was nice, but not OMG amazing. The second part? Hilarious. Could have something to do with Wil Wheaton reading the audiobook, especially that part, but generally, I like writing like that. Definitely enjoyed it overall, even if it was a little excessively meta in the beginning, but really, that's the point of the book, isn't it? And then the ending killed me. *sniffle*

Spillover by David Quammen
Bats are eventually going to kill us all, in really interesting ways.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Victor is an idiot. There, I said it. But in all seriousness, this is great as an audiobook, especially the Creature's parts. It's great writing, an interesting story that weirdly still resonates (hello, genetic engineering), and at least one character you really do end up caring about. So yeah, I liked it. However, dear Hollywood: THE CREATURE'S NAME IS NOT FRANKENSTEIN. Argh. (I admit, I used to do that. But that was when I was, like, twelve. People who write screenplays about this book should know better.)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
What. The actual. Fuck. This story is messed up, and I can't tell if I mean that in a good way. That ending is just so wrong. No, scratch that, the whole thing is just so wrong. Reading it is a little like watching a car wreck: you don't really want to, but you can't look away because you may miss something even more freakishly messed up. So. Weird.

London Falling by Paul Cornell
I loved it. Unabashedly, unreservedly, completely. I thought it was going to be Dresden Files set in London, but it's actually quite different while maintaining all the local-lore bits I love about Dresden Files. And one of the reveals literally had me whisper "holy shit" while on a plane (good thing my seat neighbor was wearing headphones). Plus, I got to tell Paul Cornell just how much I loved it at Gally - and got the ribbons to prove it :-)

Gallifrey One 2014

The Doctor Who Story Book 2007
It's only been ages since Claire gave this to me... but it's quite fun. Little stories, easy to read one by one before bed, but nicely illustrated and mostly well-written. Nothing amazing, but really enjoyable.

Bonk by Mary Roach
I enjoy her writing, and this was a fun read, but I agree with some other reviews that this could have used a better editor. Yes, some of the snarky asides are really funny, but others just seem out of place, and don't really add anything, or even detract from the actual good writing. It's almost like, while Roach makes a comment about sex research not being taken seriously and that being a bad thing, she wasn't quite able to get over that "prudish" need to make nervous jokes about it while writing the book. It's odd.

Logbuch Polarstern: Expedition Ins Antarktische Packeis by Ingo Arndt & Claus-Peter Lieckfeld
Good science writing, gorgeous photos.

A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin
You know what's a terrible idea? Including a 1200-page book in a reading challenge that is based on the number of books you read in a year :-)
Seriously though, I do love this series, despite all of the issues it can have. It's well-written, it's a huge world, and not all of my favorite characters are dead yet :-P This one also expands on the world more, since King's Landing is no longer the setting for every other chapter. In fact, most of the action is not in King's Landing. I kind of appreciated that, though I spent a long time wondering when we'd actually get to see some of the characters from previous books. I think the "problem" is that book 4 was all about some characters, and while book 5 covers some of the same timeline, it's all about some other characters, so it feels very... separate. But: see previous "huge world" comment. I just hope we get book 6 soon.

Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol Sulcoski
What? If I read all the introductory stuff and knit most of the patterns, it means I read the book :-)
I do like this, both as a general "this is how you work with crazy yarns" book, and as a pattern book. Although I would have liked to see more patterns for "wild multis" that did not involve colorwork. Like, I get that it's one way to deal with, say, something wildly flame-colored, but I rarely have solid yarn to pair with the crazy yarn I want to work with. And frankly, "mostly solid multis" is not a section that should be in this book. Kettle-dyed yarn in mostly one color is not the reason one buys this. But the patterns they do give you are mostly very nice, so take that as you would like.

The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes: Stories of Tidiness, Self-Esteem and Other Things I Gave Up On by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
I feel sad saying this, but I think I may be over her books. This one is cute, just like all the other ones, and it's not like I've read the stories on the blog before, mostly, and they're funny stories (because how could they not be), but I vaguely feel like, in buying the book, I pay for what I can get for free on the blog. Which is a terrible thing to say. So don't be me. Buy this book :-) (To be fair, I will continue to buy her books. And probably continue to feel this way. But that's ok. She's worth it.)

Horns by Joe Hill
I picked this up at the Book Loft because I had seen the author on Twitter, and because it was a cheap copy due to some minor spine damage. Meh. The concept is good, but this is such a... guy book. Swearing and sex and homophobic jokes (I know it's part of the story, but really), and trying to be gritty when it's really just annoying. I guess it was worth a try, but ugh. Maybe the movie will be better.

Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories
Predictably, my favorite stories coincided with my favorite Doctors, with Nine and Eleven having the best stories. Eleven was written by Neil Gaiman, so obviously that was delightfully nightmare-ish. And Charlie Higson, who wrote the Nine story, had a delightful style of only revealing the things that were the most important at the time of the plot. And then I kept thinking "whoa... that's where we're going?" Just awesome.

Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014
One of my rewards for backing Women Destroy Science Fiction on Kickstarter. Great varied anthology of sci-fi and fantasy, plus a long list of new authors to check out. I love it.

Lightspeed Magazine, May 2014
"Selfie" is the weirdest, most intriguing story I've read in a long time. Still thinking about it, obviously. And the rest is pretty awesome too... aside from the Joseph story. That was just weird. But hey, it happens with anthologies. The rest was really quite fun.

Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden's Syndrome by John Scalzi
I like it. Intriguing idea for an overall plot, good way of advertising the book without being too obvious about it, and a writing technique that's just different enough to be interesting without being gimmick-y. Works for me. I'm definitely going to pick up Lock In eventually.

Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris
Meh. This is brain candy, but nothing more, as shown by the fact that I'm reading another one of these in basically a day. Not much to the story, I admit some of the racism made me twitchy, and frankly, these are the most boring sex scenes ever.

Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris
I'm pretty sure I've read this before. Except I totally did not remember anything about it. I... guess that says something about the quality of this book. It's not bad, exactly, just nothing special. Fun brain candy, I guess. And yes, I did re-read 2 before 1. It was the order in which they were on my Kindle list.

Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland
This was fun... I mean, half of it is an instruction book on how to carve daleks out of the weirdest materials you can find in your kitchen (and bathroom), and there's just a little too much food coloring involved everywhere, but the actual recipes actually sound pretty good. And I do enjoy the writing - so many puns, so little time :-)

Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction!
Aside from Seanan McGuire's mermaid story (MOAR PLEASE), I think my favorite part were actually the flash fiction pieces, simply for the potential of each story being expanded later on. I do hope that happens at some point. I admit I bookmarked fewer authors here than I did in previous issues, but hey, it happens. There's still loads of good stuff in here, and someone who prefers more "hard" science fiction (as compared to me, who sways more towards the second F in SFF) would probably adore this entire collection.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Another "I couldn't read this, but it's a great audiobook" example. It was free on Audible, which means it probably still is, and it's really nice to finally hear the story every single other vampire story ever wants to be based on. Plus, Alan Cumming and Tim Curry reading parts of the book. What else would I ask for, really.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
I never realized how short this story is. But it's still lots of fun. I quite enjoyed the way the people in the story were described - obviously there was hyperbole involved, but it was just so enjoyable to imagine Ichabod based on the text. Plus, I got the audio version read by Tom Mison. So. Good.

Good Omens: The BBC Radio 4 dramatisation by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
So. Good. I mean, I love the book, but the audioplay is incredibly perfect.
In addition to Wool Gathering, my annual tour also includes Yellow Springs, where I wander around Dark Star Books for way too long, spend money on vintage paperbacks (Agatha Christie this year), and pet the cat. That cat has been around for just about forever... or possibly it's a succession of cats, all named the same. Either way, bookstore cat. In a box.

Dark Star Cat

And of course a trip to Witt. I'm kind of homesick now. But at least I get to see people in a few weeks :-)

At the Wall (2)

That top right corner area? Totally all mine. I lived in that alcove.

Science Bulding (5)

I also lived here. I miss it.

Woodlawn Hall
Goodreads has a Reading Challenge every year, asking people to state how many books they want to read that year. 25 sounded like a good number, and I almost made it.

Agatha H and the Airship City by Phil Foglio
This is based on the Girl Genius comics by the same writer, and while you could sort of tell that he (and his wife, who I think co-wrote) isn't used to writing longform, it's quite an entertaining book. And I love Agatha as a heroine. I want to be friends with Agatha.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
I picked this up for maybe $2 at Dark Star Books in Yellow Springs, because I was in a serious Warehouse 13 phase, so H.G. Wells. It was interesting, in the way that classic literature is interesting - kind of hard to read, but when you get into it, and you can imagine what's going on, it's actually pretty fun. And has nothing to do with that horrifying movie they made a few years ago.

Click-Clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman
This was a free Audible recording for Halloween, and boy is it creepy. I love it. (It's also one of my "cheat books" - a 12-minute audio short story.)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger
I picked this up based on recommendations, and I admit I wasn't disappointed. It's not a great start to the series, but it's entertaining, and amusing, and Alexia is pretty badass for someone forced to wear dresses that probably had bustles. I have the rest of the series on my Amazon wishlist, and will definitely keep reading.

Ghost Story (The Dresden Files, #13) by Jim Butcher
Oh Harry. Poor, dead Harry. I'd hug you if you weren't non-corporeal.

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku
This made my head hurt. But then it has physics in the title, so what did I expect. When I had the brainpower to pay attention, it actually sort of made sense though. In that "I get it until I walk away, and then I forget everything I just read" kind of way common to the combination of me and physics.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Wow. I am officially in love with Mary Roach as a writer. Funny, interesting, educational... and it starts off so disgusting that I couldn't read it before bed, where I do most of my reading. Everything good science writing should be :-)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Another cheat book - free audiobook from Audible, read by Kenneth Branagh. Exactly what I expected: "manly" literature. So tortured and boring.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I read this in one day, in Ann Arbor, before and after a Neil Gaiman reading. By the time I got to get into the signing line, I was done. It's a fantastic book. Dark and creepy and cozy and nostalgic all at the same time. I'll have to re-read it a few times - there's definitely subtleties I missed by the end, because I was exhausted.

The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by Wm. Paul Young
No pun intended, but good god. Whoever decided this needed to be published needs to be taken out back and shot. Flat characters, boring storyline, proselytizing writing... this book made me hate religion more than any crappy religious education class ever did in middle school. The author's conclusion: God is great, we just don't understand his purpose. My conclusion: God is a dick, and apparently we're supposed to be grateful for it.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
More Mary Roach, because yay! Of course, you'll never think about food or your body the same way again when you're done with the book...

Shoggoth's Old Peculiar by Neil Gaiman
Another cheat of an audio short story. But it's so cute :-) Cthulhu returning and all.

Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) by John Scalzi
My first Scalzi. I like it. It's a little meta (Ensign Gaiman, I'm looking at you), but really, who doesn't like a little fanfic in their writing. And the concept of the book is pretty awesome. I'm looking forward to the next one.

The Mirror Crack'd by Agatha Christie
I thought I should actually read some Miss Marple, since I love the old movies so much. And really, the books are just as good. And as usual, I have no clue who the killer is until five seconds before I'm told. Love it.

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1) by Cherie Priest
I'm conflicted about this one. I really liked it, and will read the other two books in the series, but thinking back, I'm not sure there was a lot of plot going on. It's odd. But it's a great steampunk-y horror world, so hey, I can at least give the next book a shot.

They Do It with Mirrors (Miss Marple, #6) by Agatha Christie
I really liked this one. Such a random motive for murder, but it works so well when you think about it. Agatha Christie is awesome yet again.

Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14) by Jim Butcher
I hate Harry Dresden. I feel terrible for Harry Dresden. But Harry Dresden is a jerk... argh! Thanks Jim. Way to play the fiddle on my heartstrings. Bravo.

Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, #4) by Naomi Novik
Temeraire :-) So adorable.

A Tale of Two Cities (Librivox Audiobook) by Charles Dickens
The only way I'll ever actually hear that story in any way :-) Another literature thing where the story is good, the characters are excellent, but the language takes too much focus. I like it in audio form though, especially with some really good readers in this edition.

The Rope by Nevada Barr
Holy crap. That was creepy. I actually had nightmares about this story, and that never happens. I love it.

Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who by Deborah Stanish
Half the fun of this book is thinking "hey, I've met that author!" for half of the chapters. The other half is learning about Who stories I haven't seen yet and looking forward to them, and to see different angles of Who stories I may or may not have liked before. It was a little weird to read because the stories don't go in chronological order, but reading a chapter a night was really helpful with that. And you can read them in order if you want to, they're marked with the season they're about.

Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5) by Naomi Novik
More Temeraire :-) With bonus all-out Napoleonic war. And more snarky dragons.

Tristan and Iseult by Joseph Bédier
Hooray for audiobooks. Also technically more of a short story. But still. I at least know the basics of Tristan and Ysolde now.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
I forgot how much I liked this story. Honor and love and duty and fighting and intrigue. And so much easier to get into when it's being read to you :-)

I would have finished 25 titles, at least with the cheating, but apparently I'm a book slut. Right now I'm listening to Frankenstein and Redshirts, and reading Spillover. I guess that counts as another book for this year :-) And this way I'll have a head start on 2014.


"But it's not Christmas yet!" I'm German. It's Christmas Eve. That means it's Christmas. You silly people and your Christmas mornings :-)
From [livejournal.com profile] knives42ljk  via Facebook:

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How many have you read?

How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and bold those you have read.

Tag other book nerds

1 Pride and Prejudice
2 The Lord of the Rings
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurie
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables — Victor Hugo

30 out of 100... clearly I need to read some Dickens :)

Videos of Neil Gaiman's reading tour for The Graveyard Book are available online at Mousecircus. You can have the entire book read to you, by the author, for free! I love the internet.

Free Stuff: read/download Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, for absolutely free, from this website. I own this book in three versions (paperback, audiobook, BBC miniseries), and absolutely completely love it. If you download the pdf file, it expires 30 days after the download date (just goes *poof* back into the ether), and the whole thing goes away September 23. Check it out, especially if you've never read Gaiman before... it's so worth it. Also, if you have issues with the file, here are a couple of instructions about the download... hopefully Harper Collins will fix that, but at least there's help with the download for now.

Cool Stuff: I've been reading about this computer game called Spore for a couple of days now (yes, I know I'm late to the game), and I totally want it :) You start with little single-celled organisms, and you can add bits and pieces by eating other organisms' DNA, and eventually you can decide to go from ocean to land. It's totally unrealistic, but sounds awesome! If anyone has it, let me know how you like it... I am tempted to find it on sale somewhere after Christmas at least.

Challenging Stuff:



I signed up for the Ravelympics (the knitting version of the Olympics) and actually got some of my projects done! I didn't overcommit myself, but had a couple of setbacks that kept me from finishing everything - mostly a lack of the right needles and a general dislike of the project I had picked as my third. I decided enjoying knitting was more important than finishing, so I got two projects done instead of three. But both fit, and look cute, and are wearable!

Ballet Camisole in Knitpicks Shine Sport in Aquamarine

       

It's a little wide, but I know how to fix it. I just want to run it through the washer and dryer first to see how it shrinks and reshapes. I already wore it to Sheanna's wedding shower and liked it, so I'm very happy with it! Aaaand I got a medal :)

Askew Top in Noro Silk Garden color 10 (I think)

       

This is more of a sweatervest, mostly because I don't want the yarn next to my skin. Pretty though, and it fits well :) It'll be nice in the fall and winter with a button front shirt or a long-sleeve t-shirt.

Blah

Aug. 18th, 2008 09:57 pm
Monday blahs... it's going to be another one of those weeks. Didn't sleep well at all last night, so now I'm exhausted and can't think, which becomes a problem when you have to write coherent sentences for a living. But it's not like it's the first time it's happened, so I'll get through it somehow. I'd just like to be able to sleep... just one night would be great.

I went to Sheanna's bridal shower in Charleston on Saturday - hour and a half drive, not two hours like Google pretended. I wonder if Google people got complaints about their time estimates and now add at least 10% to every set of directions? I had the same thing happen when I checked directions to the Columbus Zoo, and was there like 20 minutes early. I don't even speed, especially in West Virginia because for some reason I can only go 70 if the speed limit is 65; if the speed limit is 70, I can't go that fast :) The shower was nice, considering I had no idea who anyone was, and everyone else seemed to know each other either from college or work. Also, I always feel underdressed around Sheanna, even if she's in sweatpants and I'm wearing jeans, and her friends make me feel the same way. But while I was tempted to cancel, I didn't, and I'm pathetically proud of myself for that. I need to get out more anyways, and this was a good way to do it. Also, I had no idea that, at a wedding shower, the number of times you break the ribbon on your presents is the number of kids you're going to have - otherwise I would have reconsidered the 6 knots I tied to hold all of the baking stuff together :) Surprisingly, Sheanna made it through all of the knots without breaking the ribbon, so that was rather impressive.

Sunday was lazy and relaxing, I finished the first season of Forever Knight, which is a 90s TV show set in Toronto, about a vampire cop. I guess it's a remake of Nick Knight, a movie starring Rick Springfield (who must also have done the entire soundtrack), but I have to say I prefer the series. It's much more entertaining :) Also finished reading Smoke and Mirrors by Tanya Huff, which was just as good as her other books, and just started Smoke and Ashes, which is the third and last part of that series so far. I'm kind of afraid of any book that has the words "sex demon master" in the back cover copy, but so far Huff is showing her talent for writing stuff like that... meaning it's really well written and expertly walks the line between cheesy and funny while staying on the funny side 99% of the time.

Now I'm watching the Olympics and cussing at the commentators, who seem to use the same three sentences over and over and over again... "this jumpoff doesn't really count because it's just the prelims"... "if he goes clear, the US will win"... why can't you talk about anything else? Tell me about the course designer, tell me about the riders and what else they've done, tell me about that really awfully fast turn that horse just took, and no wonder he plowed through that oxer. No wonder people don't watch more obscure sports - they never have any idea what's going on because nobody is explaining it! Oh, and do not get me started on gymnastics... of course the judging makes no sense. It's gymnastics! Wasn't there a movie about that once?
Let's start with the "and such:" finished reading Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff this weekend, and really liked it. It's sort of a continuation of the Blood books, about private investigator Vicky Nelson and her vampire friend Henry. Eventually, for reasons that would be spoilers, Henry up and leaves Toronto for Vancouver, with supporting character Tony in tow. The Smoke books (probably not the official title, but it works) play in Vancouver around Tony, who gets a job in TV filming a cheesy vampire show called Darkest Night. Get it, vampire show? Because Tony used to live with Henry, who's a vampire... nevermind. Smoke and Shadows is the first book in that series, about evil shadows coming through a gate from another world and taking over the set. Because we all know that at least 50% of US TV is actually filmed in Vancouver. I'm not actually making any sense at the moment, but let's just say that Huff writes incredibly funny, incredibly creepy vampire/shadows/evil wizard stories, and you should all read them. Because they're good.

So yeah... movies. Saw Cloverfield when Sara was here, and now want 2 hours of my life back. Was it really better in the theater? Because on TV, it kind of... sucked. I know it's supposed to be all artsy and Blair-Witchy and all that, but I thought it was boring. The first 20 minutes are about people at a party, and nobody is introduced well enough for me to actually care about them, except one guy who unavoidably gets eaten eventually. Then they all hear a big explosion, with building shaking and everything, and instead of getting the hell out of the building, they all run up on the roof. Of a highrise. In Manhattan. Where they see explosions and rockets or something in, like, Upper Manhattan. Do they run? No, they don't, at least not until they almost get killed by a closer explosion. That leads into an hour of running with a shaky handheld video camera and discussing whether or not they should save this guy's girlfriend. Oh, and the Brooklyn Bridge collapses. And people get eaten. By a really random monster that apparently is plagued by evil flesh-eating lice. Which make you explode when they bite you. Yeah. Then we watched the behind-the-scenes stuff, because we had hopes that it would possibly explain the point of the movie. Which apparently was that the monster was a little baby that was confused, not out to destroy humanity. WHAT? WHERE WERE WE SUPPOSED TO GET THAT FROM?

Finished the first season of Rome, which was an award-winning, critically acclaimed HBO show in maybe 2006. Visually it was an incredible show, and the writing was excellent. However, a lot of the major characters looked the same. That may be ok when you're confusing Cesar's mistress with Cesar's ex-mistress, but when you're confusing Brutus and Marc Antony? Yeah, not good. It was interesting enough to want to watch the second season though, so that has to count for something.

Sara and I also watched Vantage Point to recover from the scary monster madness, and it was actually a pretty good movie, way better than I thought after the reviews. The retelling of the story from different viewpoints was really interesting because they peeled off layer after layer of the plot, and still managed to keep an interesting twist at the end. And I admit I like Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid, so that always helps a movie. Again, good rental :)

What else... got a hold of the John Barrowman episode of The Making of Me and was impressed with the first half of it. It's JB following a research trail into why people are gay or straight, and the first half actually made me laugh out loud a couple of times. There's the bit where they test his arousal response to nude images by putting this wire loop thing around his... you know what, and it is the most ridiculous thing I have seen on TV in a long time. Towards the end it got a bit desperate because they chose to put the stuff that didn't point towards a genetic reason for homosexuality at the end, but it was still interesting to see what people are looking at in that research area. However, I want to know who came up with this three-part series thing: one part is "why are people good athletes," one part is "why are people great musicians," and this part is "why are people gay." Who decided that made sense all put together? I think they just wanted to put JB on television again.

I think that's it... oh, saw De-Lovely because it has John Barrowman in it, and it was fun and entertaining, even without knowing anything about Cole Porter (it's a biography with music). Really wondering why they had to remake Life on Mars instead of showing the British version, but I'm afraid I will never find out. We shall see how it is, especially after reading some of the coverage from Comic Con... apparently the US pilot was pretty much a reshoot of the UK pilot. Needless to say the TV people said they were reshooting it when asked that question at the panel.

Got an invite to Sheanna's wedding shower, which is next weekend... so this weekend I have to go buy her a present! Parkersburg it is, I guess :P

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