Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bloglovin'

So, Google Reader is shutting down, which I think is prompting more people to follow my blog with bloglovin' - which is awesome!

However, you'll actually get new content if you follow my wordpress blog, since I've stopped posting new content on blogger. So, to make it easy, if you click on the button bellow it will sign you up to the new and improved Wandering in the Stacks.

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday, December 31, 2012

NYE Readathon

Picky Girl's NYE read-a-thon
Picky Girl's NYE Readathon
My lovely boss decided to close the office today,
and I tend to lay low on New Year's Eve, so I had planned to get some end of the year reading in today.

When I saw that Jenn over that The Picky Girl was hosting a NYE Readathon, and the relaxed rules meant I could join in at will, I figured, why not?

I've already finished one book today - Octavia Butler's Wild Seed. I had wanted to read some Butler this year. My first book by her was Kindred, back in October. Her books aren't what I'd usually read, but they are compelling in their own way. I'm sure I'll be reading more from her in the future.

I'll be updating this post throughout the day as I continue to read. And join in if you're so inclined!

1:13 Update: I've been trying to knock out a chunk of Midnight's Children. I took a break for lunch, and now to go to the grocery store.

2:36 Update: Back from the store, groceries put away, about to start reading again, this time on the porch (perks of living in Florida). Also. Jenn's got a mini questionnaire that fits right in with my update break:

1) Have you napped yet? Or are you still going strong? Well, I guess you could consider that I napped from midnight until 6:30ish, when my alarm went off this morning.

2) Do you have a favorite book if 2012? If so, what is it? Oh, dear. A favorite? Looking back at what I read, I'd probably have to call a tie between Edwidge Danticat's memoir Brother, I'm Dying and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

3) Any reading goals for 2013? More books in translation! I really slacked off this year.

4) Is anyone listening to any audiobooks? Maybe, but not me ;-)

5) What book are you most excited about in 2013? I haven't thought that far ahead yet!

Tuesday morning wrap up:

Well, I didn't read as much as I'd hoped, but I did finish one book, and I read 130 pages of Midnight's Children. I got up this morning and read some more of it, and the end is finally in sight. I have no idea what it was about this book that had me struggling so. I am going to make it the first book I finish in 2013! Happy reading, all!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Salon: Translation Challenge

In my monthly reading wrap up posts this year, I was disappointed to see I was reading far fewer books in translation than I'd like.

I've signed up for the 2013 Translation Challenge hosted over at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm.

From the challenge:

"For the purpose of the challenge the book must have been translated into English. Books can be any length (indeed, novellas seem to be much more popular in continental Europe) and any genre (including non-fiction). You can read anything from mainstream Scandinavian crime to classical literature, it really doesn't matter as long as it's been translated. You do not need to be a blogger; as long as you have somewhere to post your thoughts (Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing, Tumblr, ReadItSwapIt, etc.) you can join in."

You commit to reading at least one translated work every month. I want to use that as a bare minimum, and strive for more. I'm going to focus on books I'm reading for other challenges or projects, such as
The Iliad, The Odyssey, Candide, and The Master and Margarita. I always welcome your suggestions, of course. You can take a look at what I read last year and this year to get a sense of my tastes. 

I'm looking forward to the book, of course, but also to connecting with some new bloggers. There are so many book blogs out there that it can seem overwhelming at times. Of course, no one can read them all. At the same time, I find myself turning to the same few over and over, and miss out on what a lot of other smart  interesting people have to say. 

Are you joining any reading challenges for 2013? 



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten New to Me Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the lovely bloggers over at
The Broke and the Bookish
This week's theme is 
Favorite New-To-Me-Authors 2012

A lot of my top books this year were from authors I've read before, but there were still some new-to-me authors I'm looking forward to revisiting. Here are some of them:

Leslie Marmon Silko. I read Ceremony, which is a classic for a reason. Up next: maybe Garden in the Dunes. Sounds pretty interesting.

Afua Cooper. I read The Hanging of Angelique, which was excellent. Apparently she also writes poetry. I'd try Memories Have Tongues.

Erik Larson. I read The Devil in White City. My former book club recently read In the Garden of the Beasts, so I might try that one next.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I read  The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories. Next: His Religion and Hers: A Study of the Faith of Our Fathers and the Work of Our Mothers sounds like something I'd enjoy.

Jenny McPhee. I read No Ordinary Matter and was charmed. Up next: probably her first book, The Center of Things.

Sarah Waters. I read Tipping the Velvet, and while it wasn't a major work of literature, I did like it a lot. Lesbians! Yay! Next: her Booker-shortlisted Fingersmith.

Nuruddin Farah. I read  Maps, and since it's the first book in a trilogy, I'll probably read Gifts when I next pick up something by him.

Neil Gaiman. Okay, so I'd read a Gaiman short story, but that shouldn't count. At least, I'm not counting it. I read Neverwhere, and it was really fun. Next: you tell me - there are so many to choose from! Leave any suggestions in the comments.

Have you read any of these authors? 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence
Edith Wharton

Or, Newland Archer is a Douche.

Okay, I made that up, but it does pretty accurately reflect my thoughts for much of the time I was reading Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize winner. Not that it's not a good book. It is! Just probably not if you need to "like" the protagonist. It's worth reading even just for the descriptions of New York in the 1870s. It's a completely different world than Manhattan today.

I had heard that book referred to as "The House of Mirth-lite," but I have to disagree. True, there's much less focus on the dirty, gritty aspects of the dangers involved with falling to the underclass, but that really isn't the point in The Age of Innocence. There is still plenty of biting commentary on the hypocrisy of the aristocracy.

Newland Archer is the biggest hypocrite of them all. He is firmly planted in the upper-middle echelon of New York Society. He innately understands how to navigate all of the social minefields, and he has always managed to do so. He has decided that now the time has come to put away childish pursuits of unsuitable women and settle down with a proper wife.

Young, beautiful, sheltered May Welland is his intended bride. He looks forward to developing her mind and thoughts to coincide with his, away from her parents. That is, of course, until her slightly older cousin, Ellen Olenska, enters the scene from Europe, where she has left behind a bad marriage to a rich Polish Count.

So Newland wants this very respectable bride to be his very respectable wife in very respectable society. He wants to train her to think for herself, not be so naive, and leave to influence of her parents' house to be under his constant instruction. But. Whenever she thinks for herself he's annoyed. When she does what her society-obsessed parents want he's bored. When she puts off his physical advances (as she's expected to) he's enticed by the maybe-soon-to-be-divorced Countess. The Countess who is May's cousin, who has "experience", who goes to shocking parties, who hangs out with a married Jewish guy, who is inappropriately familiar with her maid. AND HE DOESN'T LIKE ANY OF THOSE THINGS.

Newland Archer is a douche.

I mean, I get it. He's a product of his society, blah, blah, blah. His society is constrictive and hypocritical and stifling. One one hand, he likes all the lovely parts, on the other, he longs for freedom. Before he can break away, and be the non-conformist he thinks he wants to be, he has to decide if that life of threadbare coats and small quarters in the unfashionable part of town, being talked about by his former friends as a disgrace to his mother, is what he really wants.

Enough about him. I want to talk about May. She is pretty badass. I mean, everyone kinda shuffles her aside and doesn't pay her much attention, but she is using her time off stage to pull some major strings. She knows the dangers to a young woman in her position - the scandal it would cause should she be jilted. The only way for her to keep her place in society is to marry well. She's not going down without a fight.

Here's to May Welland. This should be the cover of all the copies of this book:
Book cover showing May Welland with a bow and arrow at an archery contest

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Read YA

Divergent 
Veronica Roth

The first book in another planned YA trilogy (second book out already, final in 2013). Interesting premise about choosing your family group based on your dominant traits. Throw in some creepy mind reading/control, and you've got something pretty fun - even if it does get kinda campy towards the end.

The Scorpio Races
Maggie Stiefvater

Mystical, bloodthirsty horses rising from the sea? Poor orphan girl struggling to help her remaining family survive? Harsh, windswept setting? Yes, please!

This was a fun, quick read. Yes, there were parts that made me roll my eyes pretty hard. There's no excuse to forget the characters' names, as they are mentioned on nearly every frickin' page. The ending was a bit...conventional? Pat? Whatever. All the horses means overall I was happy. (I like horses.)

Matched
Ally Condie

Another YA trilogy, centered around a love triangle. Why is it that teenage girls can only see a problem with society when it's through the lens of a romantic dilemma? Oh, wait - that's just how it is in some books. Sorry, I'm having trouble containing the snarkiness about this book. I just wonder if the author recognizes the irony in writing about matches and planning and the pitfalls involved when her professed religion... ok, I'll stop before I get into trouble.

But seriously, I do wonder how LGBT teens and people of color would relate to this book. Heterosexual seems to be the only recognized sexuality. Condie describes her characters pretty well, and they seemed to all be white - or at least, arguabley white. I can't think of a single one that was definitely a person of color. (Of course, I could be mistaken. I know white readers often read characters as white even when they are intended to be otherwise.) Maybe these are more diverse characters in the second and third books. Maybe Condie puposedly left them out so we can see their exclusion is a problem that needs to be addressed. Maybe. Hopefully.

Have you read any of these? Share your thoughts!