My Challenges (timed)

See my list here
Completed 8 of 9

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Completed 2 of 3

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Completed 2 of 4

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Completed 71 of 81

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Completed 9 of 10

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Completed 34 of 50

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Completed 1 of 2

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Completed 1 of 2

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Completed 1 of 5

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Completed 3 of 5

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Completed 5 of 100

My Challenges (perpetual)

See my list of stories read here

See my list of stories read here

See my list of books read here

See my list of books read here


See my list of books read here

See my list of books read here

See my list of books read here


New York Times Book Review: 6/40
New Yorker: 0/36
New York Review of Books: 0/20
Vogue: 1/16
Email: 841/1373

Sunday, November 23, 2008

civic literacy quiz

This isn't about books but is about what should be common knowledge for Americans, so I decided to post about it. I'm still shaking my head.

Press release states NEW STUDY FINDS AMERICANS, INCLUDING ELECTED OFFICIALS, EARN A FAILING GRADE WHEN TESTED ON AMERICAN HISTORY AND ECONOMICS -- More than 2,500 randomly selected Americans took [Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s] basic 33 question test on civic literacy and more than 1,700 people failed, with the average score 49 percent, or an “F.” Elected officials scored even lower than the general public with an average score of 44 percent and only 0.8 percent (or 21) of all surveyed earned an “A.”

If you'd like to read more about this, check out ISI's website. You can take the quiz here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Time's Arrow by Martin Amis

Title: Time's Arrow

Author: Martin Amis

First Published: 1991

No. of Pages: 176

Synopsis (from B&N): "Doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while Tod's life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense."

Fiction or Nonfiction: Fiction

Comments and Critique: This book is a real mindbender. I had not read the synopsis or anything on the dust jacket before starting, so I was completely lost for the first 50 pages or so. But once I figured out that time was going in reverse, it got a bit easier. The concept is technically ambitious and many writers would have made a mess of it. But Amis makes it work. He does so consistently and in such a manner that what could have been just a gimmick is instead a stroke of genius. The concept is also well-suited to the theme of the novel, in which we are reminded that the past is never really left behind.

Other online reviewers have commented that this book caused them to have to stop and think of which way that time was going in reality, and I also experienced this. The book takes such a hold of you that you have to stop yourself from doing things in reverse (which, incidentally, will get you some pretty funny looks when you start doing it in public before you catch yourself).

Would You Recommend This Book to Others: Yes.

Challenges: Booker Challenge; Complete Booker

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Six Quirky Things

Trish over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? tagged me for this meme like a month ago. Everybody has probably seen it somewhere, so I won't bother to list the rules. I had a time figuring out 6 quirky things about me that I'd want the world to know.

1. I probably have 3 or 4 dozen puzzles on the shelves of my closet. I rarely take one out and put it together, but I can't stop myself from buying them -- I don't know why.

2. I still know the lyrics to most of the heavy metal songs from the 80's and a number of the new wave songs as well.

3. Reading first thing in the morning makes me nauseous (and yes, I'm absolutely positive that this has nothing to do with morning sickness). I also can't read in a moving vehicle, which makes trips in the car or on a plane a real snooze.

4. I can't wear a watch for more than a month before it stops working. Doesn't matter how much the watch costs.

5. I will make a spreadsheet given any excuse whatsoever.

6. There have been occasions when I've spent my last dollar on a hamburger.

Since so many people have already done this meme, I won't tag anyone. If you haven't done it, go ahead and share your quirkiness with us!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Used book buys of the week

I say this every time, but it's worth saying again: I love shopping for books at Goodwill. The prices are so great, I can get a bagful of books for what I'd pay for one in a traditional bookstore. And I feel like I'm doing something for the environment, which is always good. Here's what I picked up today:

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

a compilation of mysteries by Agatha Christie, includes The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm by Jeanne Marie Laskas

and my pick for best title this year:

Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomanical, Self-Centered Smart-Ass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster

What new titles did you acquire recently?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Two more giveaways in the Carnival

Here's two (**EDIT: make that five) more giveaways that have been added that you might be interested in:

Nicole at Linus's Blanket (love that name!) is giving away Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Open internationally. Go here to enter.

Sheri at Bookopolis will be giving away up to 5 copies of Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. U.S. and Canada only. Enter here.

Shooting Stars Mag, Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit, and Carey at The Tome Traveller's Weblog are all giving away Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby. Go here, here, and here to enter.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Book Giveaway Carnival

Here's some of the book giveaways that caught my eye:

Reading with Monie is giving away 3 prizes to 3 winners -- Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy, a $10 B&N gift card and a Reading with Monie tote bag. Go here to enter.

S. Krishna's Books is giving away The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal. Open to U.S. and Canada only. Enter here.

Lisa at Books Lists Life is giving away a $15 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Go here to enter.

Jaime at Confessions of a Bibliophile is giving away 2 copies of The Heretic Queen and 1 copy of Nefertiti, both by Michelle Moran. Enter here.

Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit has 2 copies of Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe (1 copy for U.S./Canada and 1 for international). Go here to enter.

Dar at Peeking Between the Pages and Carey at The Tome Traveller's Weblog both have 5 copies of Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips to give away. U.S. and Canada only. Enter here and here.

Caite at A Lovely Shore Breeze is giving away A Thousand Veils by D.J. Murphy. U.S. and Canada only. Go here to enter.

It's time for the Book Giveaway Carnival!!

The Book Giveaway Carnival is happening this week, from November 3 - 9. A whole week of free books, woohoo!! Click on the picture or go here to see the Mr. Linky list of giveaways -- be sure to keep checking because more will be added throughout the week.