Quiet by Susan Cain

Oh my gosh, I loved this book so much, I didn’t want to quit reading it. I just had big pink and purple hearts floating around the whole time. Suddenly, so much about my life made sense! Like, why most of it has been so uncomfortable. It’s because I am an introvert in a world that encourages extroversion. Who knew!

By the end of this book, I felt okay with the fact that I hate going out to dinner on Mother’s Day (also known as amateur hour) because of the hordes of people all out doing the same thing. I’m okay with not ever wanting to host dinner parties, or any parties, really. Or actually, ever have anyone over to my house. It’s me, not you.

And boy howdy, do I feel lucky that Mr. Bookmark My Heart is also an introvert. If he wanted to go and do and have-people-over, I would crawl in a hole. I dated a guy like that once. He said I was boring.

So, Thank You Susan Cain, for helping me see that it is okay to be the one at the back of the room looking for the quick exit from the meet-and-greet social hour. And for helping me see the world from the eyes of my poor, lonely, extrovert daughter – the only one in the house.

The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse

A Novel Bookstore was so completely amazing and fantastic, I can’t even begin to describe… Okay I’ll try.

So at the beginning, it’s a little crazy because these 3 completely unrelated people have some weird stuff happen to them and I was all like WHUH? but then, it all started to come together and the whole thing just took off. The three people are actually all members of a secret committee. But no one knows how the attackers know that they are on this committee. So the people in charge of the committee go to the police and then the whole story comes out. And it’s a doozy.

These two dreamers decided to open their dream bookstore, with only their favorite kinds of books in it. Only novels. Only good novels. Now, let’s stop right there for a second. What would your dream bookstore have in it? Well, for one, mine would have more than just novels, because I like non-fiction, too, but hey. Whatevs. I thought about this while I was reading this book and I realized that any bookstore can be my dream bookstore. If it has books in it that I dislike, I ignore them. It’s like they aren’t there. I only pick up the ones I’m interested in. As far as I’m concerned the store only has “good books”. And if it doesn’t have what I’m looking for, I’m sure they will order it, just like the store in the book.

Anyway, back to the book. Luckily, one of the dreamers in the book comes equipped with a large inheritance she is willing to spend on opening the store. This being France, the store is a HYOOGE success. But within 6 months, someone is raining on their parade. Who? Why? What the Heck?

Being a French novel, it isn’t all sunshine and roses all the way through, but it is a fantastic book and I absolutely LURVED it!!

The end of my reading year.

So here it is. October 6. One year ago, I set a goal to read all the books on my Goodreads To Be Read list at that time. There were 89.

Now normally 89 books in a year would not be a hardship for me. However, other books kept getting in the way. So here I am, one year later, with one book left.

So I didn’t technically reach my goal. And to be really truthful, I didn’t actually read all the other books on the list, either. I read a lot of them. But some of them, I started to read and decided I didn’t really want to read after all. And I am a firm believer in not wasting time reading a book I don’t like. Also, I found there were a few of them I couldn’t get anymore. The library no longer had them, or they were out of print, or whatever. So, I happily crossed those off the list.

I could have cheated and deleted this last book from the list, but I would have felt guilty. And I really want to read it. So. I have to face it that I came really really close. And I’ll probably start it today. Close enough.

Oh! Did you want to know what that last book was? It’s Great House by Nicole Strauss.

Finally, a book I want to tell you about.

Just look at that cover. Don’t you just want to curl up in that chair? Okay okay, I know I’m a cover slut. But I read about this book in BookPage magazine and I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, my library was not ordering Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading. What?! This cannot be. A library without a book about the healing power of books and reading? What kind of library is that? So I pulled some strings and they ordered five copies.

They finally came in the other day and I started reading. I didn’t want to stop. I took the book to church with me on Sunday, even though I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to read it. I just didn’t want to leave it behind. I finished it yesterday and took it back to the library for someone else to enjoy, but I could only do that because I intend to buy a copy for myself.

I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson

I read about this book somewhere. Don’t remember where. But the hook got me. The dog talks. Only to her owner, but she’s really really smart. And funny.

When Paul (the owner) comes in after being gone a few hours, the dog says, “I thought you were dead,” because her memory is so short. Funny stuff.

The only problem: I forgot about Rule #1 concerning books with dogs on the cover. The dog ALWAYS dies. Always. Never fails. I hate that. I just bawled and bawled and bawled.

It’s beautifully written. The dog is, of course, the best character in the book. The dad is next. Loved him, too. Fabulous book.

Reading update.

I have a huge pile of library books waiting for me. My favorite part of my job at the library is going through all the new books and deciding which ones to put on the “New Books” shelves and which ones will find their way directly to the regular shelves. Today, I found a few that made their way to my shelves.

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James. She wrote The Secret Diaries of Jane Austen which I enjoyed a while back, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely. Okay. I’m only partially sure of what the connection is to Pride and Prejudice. From what I can gather from the jacket copy, a girl named Elizabeth is invited to her Aunt’s bed and breakfast in Cape Cod to one of those host-a-murder things. Hilarity ensues. I hope.

The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano. I’ve been wanting to read some of his work since 2666 came out, but I was too chicken to read anything that vast. This is a much slimmer novel. I think I can handle it.

I wish I didn’t have to shop for a new range this weekend so I would have more time to read. Such is life.

I’m so Depressed!!!

If you’re paying attention to that sort of thing, you will notice that tags for this post are “Books” and “Motley Crue”. Once again, two of my favorite things combine.

Or it was supposed to.

In April or May, I found out that Vince Neil (the lead singer of Motley Crue) was going to publish a book this summer called Crued and Tattoed. I was, of course, first in line at the library for it.

Then, last week, I got an email that plunged me into the depths of despair. The library was canceling my request because the book’s publication date had been postponed.

Postponed!!! What?! When?!

Yeah, til October 2012.

3 more years!!!! Whatever shall I do? I guess I’ll just have to read The Dirt again. le sigh

Beowulf on the Beach by Jack Murnighan

Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature\'s 50 Greatest Hits I feel like I have been reading this book forever. Perhaps it is just the snail’s pace that my life is moving at right now.

The subtitle is “What to love and what to skip in 50 of literature’s greatest hits”. That pretty much says it all. He takes 50 books that are considered “classic” literature, tells you basically what they’re about and tells you what parts you can skip and still feel like you’ve read the book.

Firstly, this whole thing goes against my personal OCD complex. Skip parts of a book?!! Unheard of.

Secondly, he doesn’t include Les Miserables on the list. There are some pretty obscure “classics” on the list, but not this one? Humph.

Thirdly, well, I forgot what I was thinking of putting for thirdly. I must still be pretty tired.

On the whole, it’s an interesting, funny book. And the chapters are pretty short, so I can concentrate on it in my stupor.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I’m re-reading this right now, and I find myself thinking, “How is it that I forgot how funny Edward and Bella are in the beginning of the book?” And not unintentionally funny, either. They are witty and sarcastic and make me wake up Mike by laughing out loud. How did I forget this?

Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar

Hopscotch (Pantheon Modern Writers Series) The big gimmick with this book is that you can read it two ways. You can read it the normal way, which would be start at chapter 1 and read straight through. Or, you can read the hopscotch way. At the front of the book is the list of chapters in a different order that supposedly make a different story. As it turns out, you read the first 56 chapters in their regular order with these other “bonus” chapters interspersed.

The writing is a lot like Hemingway. Since it was written in the 1950s, that makes some sense. Also, it has been translated from the Spanish. Half of it takes place in Paris and half in Buenos Aires. There are lots of bits still in French or Spanish and I am too lazy to plug them into Babelfish to figure out what they said.

Okay, so the plot… There’s this guy – Horacio Oliveira. He is living in Paris with a woman he calls La Maga. He is part of some intellectual club made up of various artists and writers and whatnot living poor in Paris. They get together and drink and philosophize and poor La Maga can’t keep up.

Oliveira is not really a likable guy. He’s self-obsessed and over-occupied with navel gazing.

In the second half, he is in Buenos Aires, but he’s basically the same guy.

I am pretty positive I didn’t get all the little things I was supposed to pick up on in this book. I might read it again one day to see if I catch anything I missed.

The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

The City of Dreaming BooksI don’t even know where to begin describing this book. The main character is like Indiana Jones only better read and a dinosaur. Yes, you read that right, ladies and gentlemen. A dinosaur. On his adventures he meets some really good people, and some really, really bad people.

One of the best parts of this book is the illustrations! The author has illustrated his book with pen and ink drawings of monsters and bookhunters and books. They are so much fun.

The Orm was definitely flowing when he wrote this.

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

The Patron Saint of Liars: A Novel (P.S.) I read this for the Summer Reading Challenge I wrote about yesterday. It’s part of the 3 centuries task. I read The Book Lover by Ali Smith for the 2000s. This one is from the 1900s. One more from the 1800s and I’ll be all set for that task.

In The Patron Saint of Liars, Rose is waiting for her sign from God about what she is supposed to do with her life. She meets Thomas who says all the right things and clearly loves her very much. After she marries him, she realizes she was wrong. When she finds herself pregnant, she leaves. Just takes the car and disappears. She ends up across the country at a home for unwed mothers.

Ann Patchett writes so beautifully that it’s so easy to just read and read. Everything flows so easily. I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for this book, but it just sucks you in.

I didn’t like Rose very much. She wasn’t very personable. But the other main characters, Son and Cecilia, are really sympathetic. Just trying to deal with Rose.

It wasn’t too “issue-oriented”. I hate that. Yes, it takes place in a home for unwed mothers, but it isn’t preachy or even really about the home too much.

Summer Reading Challenge

I’m pretty sure I mentioned before that I am on Goodreads.com. My favorite part about the site is the group I joined called The Next Best Book Club. There are tons of threads on there about everything under the sun, book-related and otherwise. There are close to 4000 members, but everyone is really nice, and I’ve come out of my shell a little bit and left some comments.

Anyway, one of the things I’m participating in is the Summer 2009 Reading Challenge. This thing is amazing. Basically, there are a bunch of “tasks” to complete to earn points. They are divided into point categories from 5-50 points. The total points you can earn is 940!

Each task has a theme, mostly. The 25 and 30 point tasks are made up by the winners of last season’s challenge, but the rest of them are created by one woman, who also moderates the challenge and keeps up with everyone’s points. I think that would be a hard job, but so much fun!

Essentially, I looked at my “Mt. To-Be-Read” stack and tried to fit as many of them into the challenge as possible. There’s no way I could read 940 points worth of books, but I can knock out a few of my TBRs.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite challenges:

For 5 points: “Jerry Garcia – Born August 1, 1942 – Read a Fiction or Non-Fiction book about a musician or band.” I’ll be reading Crued and Tattooed by Vince Neil (big shocker, right?)

“This Day in History – July 27, 1858: First use of fingerprints as a means of identification – Read mystery of crime fiction book.” I’ll read The Black Tower by Louis Bayard.

For 15 points: “Casting Call – Read a book that hasn’t already been made into a movie and post a list of who you would cast if you were making the film.” I think I’m going to read The Reincarnationist by MJ Rose.

“What’s in a Name? – Read 2 books written by 2 different authors who share either a first or last name.” I’ll read A Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg and Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout.

For 30 points: “In celebration of young adult librarians everywhere – Read Three YA books.” I’m not sure about this one, yet, but I have plenty to choose from.

“Pick and read 2 books from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die List” Sweet! I can work on two challenges at once! I’ll read The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Midnight’s Children.

The Book Lover by Ali Smith

The Book Lover Basically, The Book Lover by Ali Smith is a collection of works and segments of works that Smith liked reading. It is really hard for me to read collections like this. I have to switch gears every few pages to start reading the next selection. It was distracting. There were a few I really liked, but I’m not about to run out and find other work by those authors. This was just too tiring. It took about 10 days to read its 450 pages.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The Elegance of the Hedgehog I would have blogged about this book before, but I was having trouble getting to my site.

Anyway, The Elegance of the Hedgehog takes place in a posh Parisian apartment building. One narrator is the middle-aged concierge who is not all she appears to be. The other narrator is a 12 year old resident of the building who is precocious, to say the least. The two strike up an unlikely friendship.

It is translated from the French by Alison Anderson, but I don’t think it loses in the translation. It is wonderful and funny and poetic.

1% Well-Read #4

Hey! I’m back. Between vacation and jury duty, I’ve been a bit distracted.

But on vacation I finished a Challenge book!

The Master The Master by Colm Toibin is a novel of Henry James. The main action takes place between 1895 and 1899. But there wasn’t much in the way of real action at that time. Mostly, it was action in the form of flashbacks so that the reader gets a picture of most of James’ life. The writing is beautiful so it isn’t too hard to keep going through the less interesting segments. James would have been the quintessential Englishman (you know, stiff upper lip old chap) if he had happened to have been English. He chose to live in England, but he was born and raised in Boston.

I do intend to read more of Toibin’s books based solely on the beauty of the language in this book.

Curiosities of Literature by John Sutherland

Curiosities of Literature Curiosities of Literature by John Sutherland

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a book of trivia about books and authors, basically. Normally, I’m a huge sucker for that kind of book. My problem with it was the vast quantity of typos! If you’re going to spend that much money to have a book produced in hardcover, wouldn’t you take the time to check that sort of thing? I’m just saying.

Also, there were some fact checking problems. For example, he mentions that the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice has made about $121M. Then he says something about women wanting to look at Colin Firth’s nipples through a wet shirt. Oops! Colin Firth was in the 1995 made for TV movie. Things like that made me not entirely trust his other assertions.

View all my reviews.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! I finished this on Saturday. Sigh. I laughed all the way through. I had to stop reading funny bits to Mike or he would never bother reading it for himself.

The chapters match up to the original chapters in Pride and Prejudice, so if you’ve never read P&P, you could read one chapter of it, then one chapter of zombies for a fun comparison.

If you are a die-hard Jane Austen purist, this book will only make you angry. If you are tired of reading crappy Austen take-offs, this might be just the book for you. It does get kind of bloody, but the “ultra-violence” in the title might be pushing it. Maybe. Maybe I’m just inured to that sort of thing from all the martial arts movies I’ve watched.

Emma Vol. 1

You’d think from the title that this book has something to do with Emma by Jane Austen, but you’d be wrong. This is a manga book about a Victorian ladies’ maid named Emma. I’d show you a picture of it, but Amazon doesn’t seem to know what I’m talking about. And I can’t remember the author’s name. It starts with an M. Anyway, it was a pretty cozy read even if there were elephants.