Life in literature

Though it’s only September, I’m already thinking about how I’ve spent 2012. Fall lends itself to those sorts of musings, I think — especially when I have a pumpkin spice latte in hand (will be getting one of those later today, have no fear). And since I’m never without a book, that introspection means I’m thinking about reading.

Everyone had fun with this bookish meme earlier in the summer but, as always, I’m behind the times! To complete the thoughts, I used only the books I’ve read in 2012 — and pulled the prompts from Wordsmithonia and Roof Beam Reader.

And yes, I’m totally Bossypants. Could be my middle name.

Describe myself:

How do I feel:
Beautiful Ruins

Describe where I currently live:
The World We Found

If I could go anywhere, where I would go:
Across The Universe

My favorite form of transportation:
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

My best friend(s) is/are:
Where We Belong

My friends and I are:

What’s the weather like:
We’ll Always Have Summer

Favorite time of day:
Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.

What is life to you:
An Object of Beauty

You fear:
Unfamiliar Fishes

What is the best advice you have to give:
How To Eat A Cupcake

Thought for the day:
Heaven Is Here

How I would like to die:
Birthday Pie

My soul’s present condition:
The Secret of Joy

More book fun

It’s quite the dreary, rainy day in Maryland . . . and I have a few cheery soundtracks on repeat to help me cut through the darkness! And, of course, lists always make me feel better. 🙂 Like lots of other bloggers, I’ve seen this meme making its rounds — and it looks fun. Here we go!

Hardback, trade paperback or mass market paperback?  Definitely trade paperback! I’m fine with mass markets, too, but definitely don’t like hardcovers. Not only do they cost more, thereby limiting my desire to get them when they’re first out, but they’re just . . . clunky. And awkward. Not easily transported.

bordersBarnes & Noble or Borders? Definitely Borders! Okay, as a contingent employee, I’m biased . . . but I genuinely prefer the laid-back vibe of Borders stores over B&N.

Bookmark or dog-ear?  Bookmark — I can’t stand to dog-ear books. Unless I’m out, need to highlight a passage for myself and don’t want to write in the book! I usually just go ahead and run a pen beneath the words anyway, but I try to behave and keep the pages clean.

Amazon or brick-and-mortar? Brick-and-mortar. I love doing online research for books but, if I figure the cost with shipping will be the same as just going over to get the book at Borders, I’ll drive over. I’m there all the time, anyway.

Alphabetize by author, or alphabetize by title, or random? My own shelves are organized by subject matter, more or less, but I would love to have everything alphabetical by author and subject, like we did at the store! Just not enough space for me to be that controlling.

Keep, throw away, or sell?  I keep the books I love, and then pass on the books I’m finished with and don’t have any strong feelings about. They go on BookMooch or are donated to friends or the library!

hp_chamberKeep dust jacket or toss it? I keep it, but I always take it off when I’m reading the book. Though the only hardcovers I’ve read in years were probably the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series!

Read with dust jacket or remove it?  Remove!

Short story or novel? Definitely novels! I do love Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories, though. But that’s a big exception to the rule.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Oh, Harry! I haven’t read any of the Lemony Snicket books.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? If I’m reading during the day, I wait to finish a chapter. But if I’m reading before bed, I literally read until my eyes shut and the book falls! It’s way more effective than a sleeping drug! 🙂

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?  “Once upon a time.” Can’t pass up a good fairytale-like story!

Continue reading

Library Journal’s Best Books of 2008

hakawatiThis is one of my favorite lists uncovered so far — Library Journal’s Best Books of 2008! It’s not separated into fiction or non-fiction categories, and there are several different titles chosen here than on any other academic-like lists I’ve seen lately! I don’t know who likes all of the obvious, pretentious selections. That being said, I’ve still not read any of these books . . . but I have a new starting point when figuring out what will be on my challenge list for 2009!


Library Journal’s Best Books of 2008

Say You’re One of Them. –Akpan, Uwem.

The Hakawati. –Alameddine, Rabih.

The Wasted Vigil. –Aslam, Nadeem.

The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight To Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird. –Barcott, Bruce.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. –Brown, Janelle.

The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life. His Own. –Carr, David.

Continue reading

Washington Post’s Best Books of 2008

christmas_bookAs we’re all busy getting ready for Christmas and talking about buying books for the holidays, I came across The Washington Post‘s Best Books of 2008 this past weekend. Well, my dad probably left it out in plain sight for me, to be honest. Like other year-end lists I’ve come across as of late, I haven’t read a single tome included in the guide — but I enjoyed checking out this year’s hits.

These books are complied from the Post‘s “most favorable reviews” of ’08. I’m including just the general fiction category, as this one is already long enough! As part of Book World’s holiday gift guide, though, tons of other genres are listed, too. Check out the original article for the complete list and snippets of staff reviews.

And here we go:

Alfred & Emily, by Doris Lessing

America America, by Ethan Canin

Beet, by Roger Rosenblatt

Beijing Coma, by Ma Jian, translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew

Breath by Tim Winton

A Case of Exploding Mangoes, by Mohammed Hanif

Continue reading

More bookshelf fun

The Bookshelf Meme — taken from A Striped Armchair:

The Rules
1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.

The book that’s been on your shelves the longest:

wheres_waldoThis honor would probably have to go the hardcover editions of Where’s Waldo? my sister and I received as children, many of them from our grandparents. I know we’ve had them since I was probably around eight years old and have read through them many, many times — especially when my cousin Ciara finally became old enough to read and enjoy them, too! I know I have several other children’s books and Bernstein Bears books that have been hanging around since before I was literate.

A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):

sight_houndWow! This could be a massive list stretching on forever. A few: I read Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones on summer vacation a few years ago, and every time I see the cover peeking out on my bookshelf I think about curling up at our beach house, listening to the rain pounding the roof as we all hunkered down from off the beach. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway takes me right back to my British literature class from my junior year of college, plunking me down in those hard-backed chairs in that cold classroom with an equally cold professor. I adored the book, though. I poured through Pam Houston’s Sight Hound the summer I interned for a daily newspaper in D.C., looking forward to climbing aboard the commuter bus so I could pick up where I left off. When I started crying toward the end of the novel, I was crying for a lot of reasons that summer — and not all of them had to do with the passing of a pet. Some of them did, though. Sight Hound is totally warped now — my sister accidentally dropped it in the Atlantic Ocean! It’s okay, though; I think it has more character this way. And I once dropped one of her books in the ocean, so that’s fair enough.

Continue reading

Booking Through Thursday: Beloved books

booking_through_thurs Yay, it’s Booking Through Thursday! Here’s this week’s meme, complete with my insightful, life-changing responses:

Q: What was the last book you bought?

The last book I bought would be Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. But the last book I received would be Thank You For All Things by Sandra Kring.

Q. Name a book you have read MORE than once:

The Great Gatsby, though that was mostly for school. A book I’ve read more than once by choice is Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever.

Q. Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life?
If yes, what was it?

Several books have taught me a lot about life, but I don’t know that any of them have fundamentally changed the way I see life as a whole. That’s probably bad. But books that really, really inspired me are Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Philip Roth’s American Pastoral; and Marisa de los Santos’ Belong To Me.

Q. How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews?

I usually look for recommendations from friends and co-workers first, come up with a list of their favorites and then look at them on LibraryThing or Amazon. If I’m at the bookstore, I definitely look at cover designs! And summary is important, too. But honestly, I probably do most of my book searching on the Internet.

Q. Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Definitely fiction, though I branch out every now and then.

Continue reading