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August

The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente
When I Was King by Linda Ashman, ill. by David McPhail
Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle, ill. by Matt Phelan
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
To the Touch^ by Shannon Connor Winward
Blood on the Forehead: What I Know About Writing by M. E. Kerr
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
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Me? Busy?

June

Betsy Who Cried Wolf by Gail Carson Levine, ill. by Scott Nash
The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash, ill. by Lynn Munsinger
Madeleine L'Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life compiled by Carole F. Chase
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
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Very short....

May

The Drawing of the Three* by Stephen King
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Rapture of the Deep by L. A. Meyer
Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis



*I've read this before
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I was talking with one of my friends about reading, and how some books just suck you in and you can't stop reading. Or if you have to stop reading for a while, you resent the time away from the book and you're really still there with the characters and the story. So I went through my slowly compiling reading list (now 3 years and 4 months long) to pick out the books that I remember really drawing me in, that I couldn't put down, that cut way into my sleep schedule because going to bed didn't seem to matter at the time.

This isn't to say these are my favorite books (although many of them are) -- this isn't to say that there weren't other books I didn't enjoy just as much. These were just GRIPPING: the narrative moved along so well and so seamlessly that I didn't ever want to stop reading.

So here's the list I compiled of those books. They are all kinds and types. You may think a picture book can't count that way, but I counted a couple of them. So there.

Also, the only order they are in is the order I read them in, according to my records.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
American Shaolin by Matthew Polly
Tuesday by David Wiesner
Princess Acadamy by Shannon Hale
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue
What I was by Meg Rosoff
Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer
Bats in the Library by Brian Lies
Nation by Terry Pratchett
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
Bone (omnibus) by Jeff Smith
John Dies at the End by David Wong
Y: The Last Man (all 10 volumes) by Brian K. Vaughn
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami
The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Troll's Eye View ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling
Relentless by Dean Koontz
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


So there you have it. What makes a book zip along, impossible to put down? I dunno, but these are the ones that worked for me. How about you -- any that you just couldn't set aside?
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Books finished in April 2010:

Bone: Rose by Jeff Smith, ill. Charles Vess
School Days by Robert B. Parker
Maddigan's Fantasia by Margaret Mahy
Where's My Cow?* by Terry Pratchett
The Ticking by Renee French
Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White
The Gunslinger* by Stephen King
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Instructions by Neil Gaiman, ill. Charles Vess



I also would have finished Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink, but it was too boring, and I gave up on it and sent it back. So that doesn't count but I'm mentioning it anyway for some reason. (Possible discussion?)
richlayers: (Default)
Sheesh, that was terrible! I barely read at all! I did watch two seasons of How I Met Your Mother, though, that must be where all the time went....


Torchwood: Almost Perfect by James Goss
The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson
A Dissolving Ghost by Margaret Mahy
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
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Behind the Curtain by Peter Abrahams
The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Lucifer: Crux by Mike Carey
The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey
Lucifer: Morningstar by Mike Carey
Lucifer: Evensong by Mike Carey
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Fire by Kristin Cashore
The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
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One of the cool things that happened to me last year, which I've been meaning to write about this year, is that I got published a couple times, once at the beginning of the year at Forge Journal, in their second winter issue.

Then, right at the end of the year, in an anthology of twisted fairy tales, called, aptly enough, Twisted Fairy Tale Anthology. The anthology has been out since the end of the year, but now it's also available on amazon.com, so if you're more comfortable shopping there, you can easily pick it up! It's also available for kindle at a smaller price.

Very fun stories for anyone who likes twisted tales, and since I have this banner to share, I'll put it up, too!

Twisted Fairy Tales
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I will! I will!

In the meantime, though, while I'm pondering an actual update, here is a link to [livejournal.com profile] lilybook's book giveaway over at her blogspot book review blog:

http://lillybook.blogspot.com/2010/01/followerseries-giveaway.html

If you like the new wave of fantasy romance, or vampire books, or just like to read, check it out!
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119 books read - approximately 9.9/month

16 rereads - 13.4%
103 new books read - 86.6%
118 Fiction - 99.2%
1 Nonfiction - .8%
37 Graphic Novels - 31.1%
11 Children's (picture) books - 9.2%

Top Five Favorites*:

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier
Juliet Marillier, historical fantasist, tackles Beauty and the Beast with stunning prose and originality.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Young heroine Lucy must untangle a family curse that is tied into the folk song "Scarborough Fair," before she gives birth to her daughter and goes mad like her mother. Wonderful writing, complex characterizations, magical realism more than pure fantasy.

John Dies at the End by David Wong
A horror spoof and horror story bizarrely blended in one of the funniest and creepiest books I've ever read.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Harry Potter for grown-ups, dark fantasy with nods to the Chronicles of Narnia, The Phantom Tollbooth, The House With a Clock In Its Walls, definitely a fantasy novel for the literary snobs among us. Disturbing and excellent.

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard
A fascinating mystery about a long-unsolved murder shakes up a small town in Kansas. Compelling and intricate, with a tightly woven, incredibly satisfying plot.

*It's hard to compare a book I read early in the year with one I read within the last few months, so this is a pretty arbitrary list based on what I remember of them now. However, what makes them stand out is how much they kept me turning the pages and how likely I would be to recommend them to friends. The list of books I would not recommend is much shorter, and probably I could make a bottom five list much more easily, but that just wouldn't be polite....
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I finished 119 books in 2009!

That was my third year of keeping a list. I love looking back over what I've read. I recommend it to everyone! Share a link here if you've got a reading list. :)

2010:

January 17

Lucifer: The Divine Comedy by Mike Carey
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.
Lucifer: Inferno by Mike Carey
Lucifer: Mansions of the Silence by Mike Carey
Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
Small Vices by Robert B. Parker
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
Lucifer: Exodus by Mike Carey
Isis: A Tale of the Supernatural by Douglas Clegg
Lucifer: The Wolf Beneath the Tree by Mike Carey
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
Black Hole by Charles Burns
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz* by L. Frank Baum (annotated)

February 13

Behind the Curtain by Peter Abrahams
The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Lucifer: Crux by Mike Carey
The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey
Lucifer: Morningstar by Mike Carey
Lucifer: Evensong by Mike Carey
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Fire by Kristin Cashore
The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

March 4

Torchwood: Almost Perfect by James Goss
The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by D.C. Pierson
A Dissolving Ghost by Margaret Mahy
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

April 10

Bone: Rose by Jeff Smith, ill. Charles Vess
School Days by Robert B. Parker
Maddigan's Fantasia by Margaret Mahy
Where's My Cow?* by Terry Pratchett
The Ticking by Renee French
Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White
The Gunslinger* by Stephen King
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Instructions by Neil Gaiman, ill. Charles Vess

May 4

The Drawing of the Three* by Stephen King
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Rapture of the Deep by L. A. Meyer
Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

June 4

Betsy Who Cried Wolf by Gail Carson Levine, ill. by Scott Nash
The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash, ill. by Lynn Munsinger
Madeleine L'Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life compiled by Carole F. Chase
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

July 6

Favorite Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs
Preacher vol. 1: Gone to Texas* by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Mirror, Mirror by Gregory MaGuire
The Wastelands* by Stephen King
The Fire Stealers: A Hopi Story by Ekkehart Malotki, Michael Lomatuway'Ma, and Ken Gary

August 8

The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente
When I Was King by Linda Ashman, ill. by David McPhail
Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle, ill. by Matt Phelan
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
To the Touch^ by Shannon Connor Winward
Blood on the Forehead: What I Know About Writing by M. E. Kerr
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

September

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower, Skottie Young
The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey
Castle Waiting by Linda Medley




*I have read this before.
^Unpublished work.
richlayers: (Default)
I had to write to one of my favorite sci fi writers about an issue that was really bugging me. I didn't know if I would get an answer at all, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Dear Mr. Sawyer,

I greatly enjoyed your novel Flashforward, as well as all your other
books that I have read. So I anticipated the TV version of
Flashforward with excitement. However, I've noticed a paradox in the
TV version that wasn't present in the novel, and it, by itself, is
almost enough to make me stop watching the show, as much as I want to
enjoy a new good sci fi show.

In the novel, the characters eventually do determine that their
visions are not of the only possible future, and that they do have
free will to make and change decisions. Some visions come true, and
some do not. The visions are based on what people would have done
without the foreknowledge granted by the visions.

However, in the show, the main character has a vision of himself
trying to understand the cause of the Flashforward. Because of his
vision, he ends up working on the case of the cause of the
Flashforward. But if the Flashforward gives the viewer knowledge of
what they would have been doing in the future without the benefit of
the Flashforward, how could he have seen a vision of himself doing
something that was dependent on the Flashforward having happened? It
seems that either the TV show wants to set the premise that the future
is immutable (which seems contradictory to the main character burning
the bracelet he saw in the vision), or that it's just a giant paradox
that the TV writers missed.

I've been following your blog commentary as the show was developed and
I saw in the credits that you are listed as consultant. I'm not
looking for spoilers or a ... peek into the future of the show, but is
there any chance that you can reassure me about this paradox? Or
should I just... suspend my disbelief and pretend that I didn't notice
it?

In either case, I will continue to enjoy your excellent novels.
Sincerely,
Rachel



Well, in much shorter order than I would have expected, I got an answer (for what it was worth!) so I guess I'll just watch a little longer and hope...:

Thank you for your kind words, Rachel. You shouldn't read anything into the following except the face value of the statement: I am not at liberty to discuss what will or will not happen in future episodes.

All best wishes!

Rob Sawyer



Hmmm, and my conclusion? Writing a nice letter to an author and getting something back is a lot more gentle than writing to a publisher in hopes of publication....

Anyway, if you are a Sci Fi fan and you haven't read anything by Robert J. Sawyer, you are missing out on some brilliant and wonderful fiction!
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I decided to read Fahrenheit 451 this week. Not only is it a frequently banned or challenged book, but, well, if you've read it, you know what it's about. Book burning! Yeah!

And... I haven't read it before. That just seems kind of wrong for someone like me. So this week I am working to rectify the situation.

Meanwhile, some of my favorite authors are using their blogs to feature Banned Books week, with many helpful and informational links, and a lot of thoughts on the whole situation from author perspectives.

Jo Knowles, author of Jumping Off Swings and Lessons From a Dead Girl, is running a Haiku contest over at her blog, [livejournal.com profile] jbknowles, and giving away a signed first edition copy of one of her books to the winner.

Lisa Schroeder, author of Far From You and Chasing Brooklyn (Now available for pre-order) tells a wonderful anecdote about being a parent and author at her blog, [livejournal.com profile] lisa_schroeder.

Laurie Halse Anderson has a great entry full of resources and links.

Neil Gaiman's most recent entry has some good links and commentary about some of his experiences and thoughts on book banning and challenges. (And escaping from the attic, apparently.)

Happy reading!
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It's Banned Books Week! Be sure to read a banned book!

The Classics list:

http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedclassics/index.cfm

The Statistics (PIE CHARTS!):

http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengesbytype/index.cfm

In the meantime, a book that isn't challenged (yet, that I know of), but has an awesomely nifty book trailer:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4nR_TMgw54

Narrated by Gaiman, so listen and enjoy that yummy British accent. (Yeah that's right, I said yummy...)
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This video reminds me of a lot of my creative friends out there... and is also pretty inspirational! Also mom said she was getting the book for the library, so that's pretty neat, too.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP3r_CaoG_I
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Fitcher's Bird

More Pictures.... )
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I cannot say how much I'm looking forward to this:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYZb947FiXo

I will say that I fell completely into the camp of those who loved The Lovely Bones, although I know there were also many who hated it. I've never spoken with anyone who didn't either love it or hate it -- which I'd say is quite a recommendation if you haven't read it yet.
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I've gotten a few requests and questions about Mom's ever-growing Lord of the Rings collection, so I thought I'd take some pictures and meander on through the books, the other books, and the other things Tolkien-centric in our household.

This seems like a good place to start:

Many Pictures! )

Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] prettybooks, [livejournal.com profile] told_tales, and [livejournal.com profile] richlayers

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