Lost in Translation Challenge

Okay, I promise this is the last challenge for 2009–I won’t even sign up for this one officially even. I do know that author diversity is an area I tend to struggle in. I managed three foreign books in 2007 but none this past year (not counting a Japanese American one).

Lost in Translation Challenge, hosted by Fran of Nonsuch Book

The challenge is simple – read six books in translation by the end of 2009. Comment with links to share or email me review URL to post. Check in periodically to see suggestions, reviews and what others are reading as well as articles and posts related to reading works in translation. Comment here with feedback and helpful suggestions? Would love to hear from you.

6a00e5535ff83b8833010535cc1adb970bMy List

1. The Elegance of the Hedgehog (This has been getting rave reviews, one of which called it a French equivalent of Alexander McCall Smith)

2. Chocolat—with the sequel out now, it makes sense to finally read it

3. Suite Française, by Irene Nemirovsky—another one that’s been on TBR list

4. The Club Dumas—the premise seems intriguing

5. Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino–I suppose I should read something else of his since I loved If on a winter’s night a traveler so much.

6. Wild Card–Theoretically I should read something Russian, but I’d rather wait to find something that strikes my fancy.

Published in: on December 23, 2008 at 1:04 pm  Comments (6)  

What’s In a Name 2 Challenge

Since I’m now doing challenges I figure I’ll splurge for this one as well, just because it looks so fun. I loved trying to match my TBR list with the categories!

what's+in+a+name+1What’s In a Name 2 Challenge, hosted by Annie
*Dates: January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009

*The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories.

1. A book with a “profession” in its title: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie King

2. A book with a “time of day” in its title: Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith

3. A book with a “relative” in its title: Dreams from my Father, by Barack Obama

4. A book with a “body part” in its title: Simon the Coldheart, by Georgette Heyer

5. A book with a “building” in its title: The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole

6. A book with a “medical condition” in its title: Dead on Demand, by Carolyn Hart (This one’s a little bit of a stretch, but death is certainly a condition!)

*You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don’t use the same book for more than one category.

I’m really looking forward to this one!

Published in: on December 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm  Comments (6)  

Further Purchases

One of my favorite parts about coming home is perusing the used book rack at the library with fresh eyes. They have a pretty decent turnover rate, but somehow it seems I have better odds for a good find when I haven’t seen it in a while. It makes up a little for missing the Friends sale, and for a grand total of eight dollars I can afford to indulge.

In addition to the Maeve Binchy book mentioned yesterday I found three of her other books (Quentins, Echoes, and Tara Road). I was hesitant at first but decided to splurge because they were is such great condition. I also picked up two Perry Masons, the Case of the Careless Kitten and the Case of the Crooked Candle.

I talked myself into a first edition of Martha Grimes’ The Dear Leap because we own the first three in the series (though Mom has been selling them off). Finally, I upgraded two of my Mary Higgins Clarks to hardcover, My Gal Sunday and Remember Me (which was my first way back in middle school). One of the things I’ve learned over my years of book collecting, which I wish I knew when I started, is to be patient and hold off if there’s a good chance something better will come along in the future. It’s so much easier for me to say no at the outset than to get rid of something once it’s on the shelf. For years I had three paperback copies of Our Town because I couldn’t decide which one to keep!

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Another Coincidence

 We were recently discussing books that had a strong emotional impact, and I brought up one I had read during our trip to Italy. On the outset I wouldn’t have thought it memorable, but I really made a connection with the main character and became deeply upset over the troubles that befell her, staying up to read while everyone else chatted or went to bed.

This was during the period when I wasn’t recording books, so all I could recall was that it was thick, Irish, and by an author with a B. Imagine my surprise when I stopped by the used book rack at the library and saw Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy; I knew immediately that this was the book. Of course I had to buy it, as well as another of hers that was there. I’m not sure I would want to reread it, for fear of ruining the memory of that summer, but something with such an impact at least seemed worth owning.

Published in: on December 20, 2008 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

9 For ’09 Challenge

I’m super excited about this challenge, because I could definitely use a push to read what’s already on my shelves instead of always looking for more. Some of these I picked up before I had even abandoned the children’s section at the library!


9 For ’09 Challenge

Hosted by Isabel


  • Open to anyone, whether you have a blog or not!
  • No need to register or to announce what you are going to read.
  • Start in any category that you wish.
  • 3 books from this reading challenge can be used in other reading challenges.
  • Just post in the comment section.
  • The genre of the books can be ANYTHING (fiction or non-fiction), but it must be decent (because you have to write reviews about the books).
  • Other reading materials (graphic novels, poetry, museum catalogs, art books, zines etc.) are OK.
  • The book must already be in your bookcase or storage area.
  • The Challenge starts 12/27/08 to 12/27/09. (I hate to begin anything on January 1st).
  • You can post starting on 12/27/08.
  • Format of work can be paper, audio, or electronic.

Here are my selections for the categories:

  1. Long: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling (no, I still haven’t read it…I think I’m in denial, and might end up changing this selection even!)
  2. Free: The Green Years, by A.J. Cronin (from a table)
  3. Dusty: Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith (probably been sitting around for about five years)
  4. Used: This will be my wild card, as most of my gothics and mysteries have been picked up used
  5. Letter: Summer of the Monkeys, by Wilson Rawls (my initials in reverse)
  6. Strange: Eight Plays, by Henrik Ibsen (outside my comfort zone)
  7. Distance: Death in Kenya, by M. M. Kaye (almost 7500 miles away)
  8. Alive or Not: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie King (alive author who won an Edgar for one of her contemporary mysteries)
  9. Cover: Murder on a Hot Tin Roof, by Amanda Matetsky (the covers for this 50’s-based series are just darling!)
Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 1:39 pm  Comments (10)  

Cornelia Funk Challenge

 I was browsing challenges and noticed that Zoe of Zoe’s Book Reviews is hosting a Cornelia Funke challenge–actually, this is the event that prompted me to blog. Ironically I just started reading Inkheart because Alex had left it lying around, and am really enjoying it. Marie and I were recently discussing fantasy, and I was trying to explain the type of fantasy I like (which my complicated by the fact that I’m not sure myself). I tend to prefer young adult fantasy rather than all-out fantasy , which I think is for a few reasons. First, it tends to more closely follow genre conventions, such as hero/heroine, comic figure(s), and a quest of some sort. In addition, it tends to be more closely based in reality, in that the author doesn’t feel a need to display and expound upon countless fictional facets of their created world.

Inkheart meets both these criteria (at least in the first hundred pages), but more importantly to me it centers around books and book lovers. I love when novels contain quotes at the beginning of chapters, and many of the ones chosen here are familiar to me, which is even more exciting. This may be a case of being the right book at the right time, but either way I’m already enjoying it immensely.

I’d like to finish Inkheart, and I believe we own Inkspell as well. Hopefully I can get my hands on a copy of the third book before going back to school, but if not I think I can borrow The Thief Lord from Alex. That way I can take it back with me, as I don’t like overloading on the same author all at once

Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

High Rising

 I saw a mention somewhere of Angela Thirkell’s novels, set in the same Barsetshire as Anthony Trollope’s chronicles which I do still plan to read someday…) I’m as fond of comfortable English country life as the next, so I figured I would give them a try. The fact that they had their own companion website created by fans was also a huge recommendation for me.

I was happy to find that O’Neill had a complete set of them and promptly checked out the first two. I read the first half of High Rising on the flight down to Tampa; happily the book was far less disappointing that the game. I hadn’t expected so modern a tone (at least, modern in the twentieth-century sense), and found all of the characters charming. Of course I especially liked Laura Morland, with her affection for everyone, her tendency to fiddle with her hair, and her self-professed love and talent for melodromatic books.

I’m still not sure whether or not I’m satisfied with the way she resolved things between characters. On the one hand, I do like having everyone paired up. On the other, I recognize that it is certainly more realistic for some people to have thwarted hopes, for some personalities to remain independent, for some close friendships to be better off staying platonic. It also leaves more room for potential development later on.

I did sneak the next volume home with me and am looking forward to reading it, though I’m not sure yet how much character continuity there actually is between books. Bringing it to Nashville would probably be too much of a jinx, though…

Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 7:14 pm  Comments (1)