Thursday, July 31, 2008

Other giveaways...

You can enter to win a copy of Faye Kellerman's new book, The Mercedes Coffin at The Optimistic Bookfool.

You can win a copy of Neil Gamian's The Graveyard Book with a little creative writing. Check it out here.

Devourer of Books is giving away a copy of Queen of the Road.

Bookfinds is giving a autographed copy of Sisters of Misery. I do love signed books.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I think I've been insulted

I was very disappointed not to get a copy of The Lace Reader as an ARC and I have been looking forward to its release. After reading the many good reviews among the blogoscenti, I took a look at the review in the New York Times by Janet Maslin and I was absolutely floored by this phrase:

Women write books that other women will want to sit around and discuss, preferably over tea and cucumber sandwiches.

I'm not sure if I'm more insulted by the implication that women readers sit around chatting about books and knitting tea cozies, or the insinuation that this is all that women writers aspire to. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked that such a misogynist statement comes from a female reviewer, but I am.

For the record, I knit and I drink tea. And while I read all sorts of novels - historical fiction, spy novels, horror novels, murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, fiction and nonfiction, biographies and memoirs - I have never discussed a book over a cucumber sandwich.

What do you think? Does this strike you as being pretty dismissive of women readers and writers?

Tuesday Thingers

Todays question from The Boston Bibliophile: What cataloging sources do you use most? Any particular reason? Any idiosyncratic choices, or foreign sources, or sources you like better than others? Are you able to find most things through LT's almost 700 sources?

Like most people, I use Amazon most often, simply because it comes up first and I'm not going to go out of my way to make adding books more difficult. However, it is far from perfect. What I find so tremendously irritating about Amazon is the way it seems to ignore what I have actually typed in and try to make other suggestions. Case in point: I recently received a copy of First Daughter for review. When I type "first daughter" into the Add Books search box, Amazon comes up with:

1. What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education (The Core Knowledge Series) by E.D. Jr Hirsch
2. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (P.S.) by Loung Ung
3. The English American: A Novel by Alison Larkin
4. Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker by Stacy A. Cordery

and finally

5. First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader

How on earth do you get "The English American" from "First Daughter"?? This is a pretty easy one - sometimes, I scroll for pages and pages to get the right book, especially if I have to search by the author's name. It gets very frustrating!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Giveaway!

I recently posted a rave review of Shining City. The publisher, Bloomsbury USA, was generous enough to send me a nice hardbound edition to give away and I am looking forward to sharing this very funny book with a lucky reader. Here's how to enter:

For one entry...leave a comment on this post.
For a second to this giveaway on your blog.
For a third to this giveaway and my review on your blog.

The contest runs through August 4th. Unfortunately, I can only open this to readers in the US and Canada.

One important note: this book contains some explicit sexual situations and language, so please don't enter if that sort of thing offends you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One More Year by Sana Krasikov

This is the second book of short stories I have reviewed recently, and certainly the one I enjoyed the most. This is Sana Krasikov's first effort, and while it has its problems, it is a very promising beginning.

Krasikov is a Russian writer and this collection of short stories is all about immigrants and their families and struggles. Some are set in the US, some in Russia, but it's all about parents and children, husbands and wives, the new country and the old country. It reminded me a lot of Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri - also stories about immigrants - but happier and more hopeful. Instead of seeming powerless against their misery, Krasikov's characters make choices, change directions, and make the best of bad situations.

One of my favorite stories in the collection is "Better Half": Anya marries Ryan too soon in their relationship, to get her green card more quickly, and when the marriage sours, she finds it hard to let go of him. I felt Krasikov did a great job of capturing all the conflicting feelings of the end of a relationship - the longing to stay together, the drive to be apart, the anger and the fondness and the familiarity. I also enjoyed "Debt", a story about a couple that has made a happy, prosperous life here in the US, but is struggling with their family ties. The way the couple values what they have together and makes a difficult choice, knowing the consequences, was really touching.

The only thing that keeps this from being a really stellar work is the focus on infidelity. It seems that the women in every story are either having affairs with married men, or their husbands are having affairs, or their husband has a second wife somewhere. The only saving grace is that in at least some cases, the women are able to break out of these bad relationships and change their course.

My copy was an Advanced Reader Copy; you can pre-order your copy here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy Hour is for Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World's Worst Profession by Philadelphia Lawyer

I try to find something good to say about every one of the books I review. There is usually a story, a turn of phrase, a plotline that intrigues me, so I can provide a little something positive. Not so here. The book should be titled Another Chapter, Another Hangover.

In the first 50 pages of the book, Lawyer managers to misplace a large amount of mescaline, get drunk with an old college buddy before vandalizing their former fraternity house, and describe multiple instances of crude and demeaning sex (in vivid and occasionally disgusting detail) with a variety of partners who are chosen strictly for their convenience. I worked my way through the early chapters telling myself he's in college - lots of people are like this in college; it will get better. It didn't. He went from being a drunken, irresponsible grad student to being a drunken, irresponsible attorney. There is no message here. There are no truths about the law, there's not even much humor, just the not-so-surprising revelation that working for a law firm is just like working for any other business. The stories about drunken parties aren't even fun or funny - he seems to be having a fairly miserable time of it.

I also have to say that this book, as a friend of mine would say, does not pass the smell test. He claims he blew off classes, didn't clerk or work any sort of legal job and "didn't bother to buy the books" for his last two years of law school, yet he managed to graduate, get a job in private practice and pass the bar? According to my friends who have Been There, Done That this scenario is highly unlikely. He claims to be billing 180+ hours a month at a law firm, but spends all his time surfing internet porn and emailing his buddies dirty jokes. Impossible, at least according to friends who have some experience of the legal billing treadmill. His descriptions of his friends all seem the same: linebacker huge, with access to massive amounts of drugs and alcohol, vicious and destructive when drunk/high/etc and liable to smash your furniture, wreck your car or break your arm while in a narcotic haze. Exaggeration, at the very least.

The Philadelphia Lawyer is one of the latest blog writers to become an author. It can be done well; I have been reading Belle de Jour for ages (which should tell you I am not being prudish about his x-rated stories), and that has spawned 2 books (which I own and enjoyed) and a series on Showtime. This guy should have stuck to blog posts and dirty emails. Give this one a pass.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's an honor to be nominated!

Special thanks to Traci for nominating me as a Brillante Weblog!

Once an award is received, the rules are as follows:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

That's a lot of blogs! I'm going to be adding them as I check around a little.

1. The Boston Bibliophile: this is one of the first book blogs I check and it's always a pleasure to read.
2. Blood of the Muse: Great reviews and a really terrific layout.
3. Baseball Diva's Dugout Diary: No one said these all had to be book blogs, did they? In summer, a girl's mind turns to baseball.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Win more books

Lisa at Books, Lists, Life is having a great giveaway with lots of chances to win. You can enter here!

The Boston Bibliophile is giving away a copy of The Lace Reader - I would love to win a copy of this one! You can enter here.

Tuesday Thingers

Today's question from The Boston Bibliophile: Today's topic: Recommendations. Do you use LT's recommendations feature? Have you found any good books by using it? Do you use the anti-recommendations, or the "special sauce" recommendations? How do you find out about books you want to read?

Honestly, I have not found the Recommendations feature to be much help. I have checked it a couple of times, but it seems primarily to give me a list of all the other books by authors in my library. It's really not much of a stretch to assume that if I own the first three books in Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, that I might be interested in the next three, is it? I had hoped it would show more unusual connections. I'm not sure I see the point of the Unsuggester, really. Why would I want a list of books I probably wouldn't like? (And the last time I checked, I found two books on my Unsuggester list that were actually in my library!)

As for the ways I find books, I read a lot of blogs, I read a couple of newsletters (like Shelf Awareness), I read book reviews in the New York Times and on the NPR website, and I make frequent trips to the bookstore and the local library. In addition, I have a host of other LibraryThingers who can and do make great suggestions. I doubt I will ever be at a loss for ideas!

Monday, July 21, 2008

And the winner is...


Shana was good enough to blog about my contest and I'll be sending out her free book as soon as she sends me her mailing address. Thanks to everyone who entered, and I hope you come back and visit often.

Check back next week, because I have a copy of Tan Lines to give away!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors by Nicholas DiFonzo

The Watercooler Effect is a very timely piece of work. It is, after all, election season. My inbox has been overflowing with forwarded bits of political "information," most of it nonsense. I'd always believed this was primarily designed to sway my vote one way or another, but it turns out there may be other forces at work.

I was most interested in this book because of my interest in political rumors, and it is interesting to consider them in the light of some of the information presented here. For example, people spread political gossip not just to sway your vote, but also to reinforce their own status within the group; according to DiFonzo, "people are are not always primarily interested in the truth when they speak together, but rather to find ways to affiliate and bond with one another."

Another interesting issue is that of fact-checking. I have often wondered why people who forward those viral emails don't take a minute or two to check their facts. After all, who wants to look foolish, forwarding a hoax? Apparently, that is part of the answer: people don't check their facts because they don't want to embarass the person who sent them the rumor. (That has never stopped me, for the record. I am in favor of embarassing mass-forwarders whenever I can.) No excuse, in my opinion, for some of the dreck that gets passed around.

Generally speaking, this is an interesting and timely book, but you won't find any startling revelations here. There are some interesting anecdotes and a lot of common sense information, including some techniques for managing the rumor mill that might be useful for those readers forced to deal with office politics.

My copy of The Watercooler Effect was an Advanced Reader Copy. You can order your copy here.

Do you know where the term "scuttlebutt" comes from? Check the comments for the answer!

Friday, July 18, 2008

New to my library...

I got three new ARCs while I was out of town on business (Milwaukee this time, not Amsterdam):

- So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz. Once again, someone has got my name in the system twice, because I received 2 copies. You know what that means! Keep an eye out here for a giveaway.

- Happy Hour is for Amateurs: A Lost Decade in the World's Worst Profession by The Philadelphia Lawyer. This is for the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program and I have been waiting months for this book!

- months and seasons by Christopher Meeks. Mr. Meeks contacted me about reading and reviewing this and I am really looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shining City by Seth Greenland

Marcus Ripps is an ordinary guy - he manages a toy factory in Van Nuys, his wife, Jan, runs a small boutique, his son is getting ready for his bar mitzvah. Then the factory moves to China, Marcus loses his job and suddenly the family is struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Enter Marcus' estranged brother Julian - or rather exit, since Julian joins the story as he's dying of a heart attack. He leaves Marcus a dry cleaning business, which Marcus decides will be his family's salvation.

Turns out the dry cleaning business is a front for a high-class call girl ring. Marcus decides to run the business anyway, but he's the kind of guy who gets health insurance and 401(k)s for his escorts. When his wife finds out about the business (in dramatic fashion), she starts a book club for the girls.

The characters are fabulous: Julian, the career criminal; Plum, Jan's partner and art school friend; Kostya, part bodyguard, part criminal mentor; Lenore, Marcus' pot-smoking, pole-dancing mother-in-law. Everything is over-the-top - enough to be funny, but not enough to spoil the story. The ending is pure Hollywood and I caught myself casting the movie in my head as I was reading. I enjoyed this immensely and I highly recommend it.

My copy was an Advanced Reader edition; you can buy your copy here. For more information about Seth Greenland and his earlier works, check out his website.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Thingers...

From Boston Bibliophile: Today's topic: Book-swapping. Do you do it? What site(s) do you use? How did you find out about them? What do you think of them? Do you use LT's book-swapping column feature for information on what to swap? Do you participate in any of the LT communities that discuss bookswapping, like the Bookmooch group for example?

Right now, I don't do a lot of bookswapping. Most of my books are hardcover, and the swap sites seem more geared for paperbacks. Also, I'm kind of possessive about my books. Once I have them, I don't want to give them up - there is something wonderful about being surrounded by books. I do have an account on Bookmooch and I have plans to go through some of my shelves and decide what I would really like to get rid of, but I haven't been quite that ambitious yet.

I have swapped a couple of books through the discussions on LT - mostly Early Reviewer books that I wasn't motivated to keep. I do like to give books away, especially if I know they're going to someone who will really enjoy them.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My First Giveaway!

I have received some duplicate ARCs lately, so it's time for a giveaway! First up...

Stealing Athena, by Karen Essex

This book has gotten great reviews on other blogs and I am really looking forward to reading it. Since I was fortunate enough to get 2 copies, I'd like to share one with a lucky reader (in the US or Canada only, please). To enter, please leave a comment here. For a second entry, post about the contest on your blog and leave me a link in a comment. I'll choose a winner on July 21st. Good luck!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Admit One: A Journey Into Film by Emmett James

This book starts with a fun premise: Emmett James' life has revolved around the movies, so he tells his stories in the context of the movies. From his first family outings to the cinema for Jungle Book to his appearance in a soft-core porn film, he manages to tie his significant life experiences to the movies. (Not surprising for an actor - you can check out his work at This idea works best when there is some tie-in to the actual film, whether it's one he watched or one he appeared in (talking about his junior high ezcema in the chapter on The Elephant Man was a bit of a stretch). James was quite the little juvenile delinquent and his family stories aren't always happy, but he isn't bitter or trolling for sympathy. Some of his stories about his early days in Hollywood - especially the stories about crashing Oscar-night parties - are hilarious. He has a very straightforward style, whether he's talking about wetting his pants (literally) watching The Wizard of Oz, the filthy streets of South London or using his tuxedo as a blanket during his leaner days living in an unfurnished Hollywood apartment. I found it refreshing. There's a bit of British slang; not enough to make it difficult, just a bit of flavor.

The book could have used a bit more editing. As a former proofreader, it pains me to read "doing the thing they new best", which is not the only grammatical error that's been overlooked. (This may have been addressed in the final version.) This review copy came to me autographed by the author, which is a very nice touch, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. You can order your copy here.

A giveaway!

There's a giveaway at She Is Too Fond of Books! You can enter to win a copy of The Genizah at the House of Shepher. I saw this book on LibraryThing but did not get a review copy, but all the reviews have been very good. Enter by July 31st for your chance to win.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why by Laurence Gonzales

I have written before about my love of travel and adventure books. Often, these are more accurately about misadventure - an expedition gone wrong, a plane crash, a shipwreck. Some people live, some die. Why did Robert Falcon Scott lose every member of his expedition, while Edmund Shackleton brought all of his crewmembers - including a stowaway - home safely? Why do experienced climbers die on "beginner" mountains while four-year-olds, lost in the woods, are found unharmed? Deep Survival attempts to answer some of those questions by looking at what goes into making someone a survivor.

Gonzales has lived a fascinating life and has ample experience to bring to this subject, but this isn't a book about survival techniques. You won't find tips on how to navigate by the stars, how to find water in the desert or keep warm in a blizzard. You will learn how we create emotional bookmarks, how we create mental maps that guide us, even when we don't realize it. You'll learn the importance of Positive Mental Attitude, even if the experts can't tell you exactly what comprises that attitude. These things are actually far more important, because they are lessons that you can apply to your everyday life.

The accident stories are enlightening - it's obvious that we don't always take "the wilderness" very seriously. He talks with John Gray, the only guide licensed to take backpackers into Glacier National Park:

People set off from their Winnebagos in the vast Logan Pass Visitor Center parking lot, a place where it can snow 12 inches in August. They walk with their kids and their cameras right out along the Continental Divide for the beautiful views. "They're just clueless when they start," he said to me. "They don't even realize that being in the mountains you have to be prepared. A ton of people take off up there without proper equipment and it rapidly becomes a life-threatening situation. This year at Granite Park Chalet we gave away every garbage bag we had to people who had come up without proper clothes and were hypothermic. We could warm them up, but the garbage bag was the only thing we could give them for the walk back down."

We tend to treat the great outdoors like an amusement park. There are national park horror stories about people want to have their kid's picture taken with a bear or on the back of a moose. Even Gonzales talks about leaving a ski lodge, planning on a short nature walk, and nearly getting caught in a 2-day ice storm because they didn't turn back when the weather got suddenly threatening. He relates a conversation with a lifeguard on a beach in Hawaii, where he was planning to dive right in and enjoy the surf: turns out, he was walking through a particularly dangerous area, and the lifeguard explained how he could have easily ended up shredded on the nearby lava rocks. Obviously, the first steps to surviving are knowing where you are and where you're going and paying attention to the world around you.

I've already recommended this book to colleagues at work. In fact, it immediately occurred to me that you could easily turn these ideas into useful suggestions at the office; the same ideas can also apply to your personal life. We create an emotional bookmark when something goes well - that feeling of elation and excitement when you close a big sale or kiss a new lover isn't all that different from the feeling of riding a monster wave or reaching the summit of mountain. But sometimes we try to recreate that feeling, we follow that mental map, even though our current terrain is very different. Instead of adjusting our map to reality, we push blindly forward, trying to make reality fit our map, with tragic consequences.

Even without the pop psychology slant on it, the book is full of interesting stories about how people manage to survive in the most difficult circumstances. It's the story behind the stories, and it's certain to inform my reading of other adventure literature. You can order Deep Survival on

Have you been lost in the wilderness or have a survival story of your own?

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Stories of Devil-Girl by Anya Achtenberg

Anya Achtenberg calls The Stories of Devil-Girl a novella, but it reads more like a poem - a wild, surreal poem that occasionally bursts out in pain, in suffering so clearly described that it's painful to read.

The stories are not straightforward, but it is easy to pick out the threads - abuse (both physical and sexual), poverty, rape, prostitution and the struggle to make something of her life. They are told bluntly, with language that is sometimes fanciful, sometimes blunt. It is beautiful in the way that sad, haunting music can be beautiful.

I received my copy through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program; you can order your copy here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More New Books!

The mail carrier showed up today with 5 new books for me! I am going to have to quit my job and devote my life to my reading pile!

The Stories of Devil-Girl by Anya Achtenberg (for Library Thing Early Reviewers)
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Tan Lines by J.J. Salem

and best of all...

Two copies of Stealing Athena by Karen Esssex. These are lovely, hardcover copies, and I'll be giving away my bonus copy. Stop back soon for more details!

Tuesday Thingers...delayed

From The Boston Bibliophile, here's Tuesday's question: Since we're past the Fourth of July and the summer season has officially started, what are your plans for the summer? Vacations, trips? Trips that involve reading? Reading plans? If you're going somewhere, do you do any reading to prepare? Do you read local literature as part of your trip? Have you thought about using the LT Local feature to help plan your book-buying?

This is a perfect question for me right now! You might notice this Tuesday Thingers post is a little late - I just returned from 10 days in Europe on business; yesterday was spent making the trip home to Ohio from Amsterdam and because of work obligations, network access and the time difference, I didn't get a chance to post in time on Tuesday. It looks like, over the next several months, I will be doing a lot more traveling for work, and I always find travel time to be a great time for reading.

When I am traveling, I always pack several books - very handy on this last trip when I had an 8 hour flight delay in the Newark Airport. Plus I always find the need for a little quiet time, whether it's a business or pleasure trip, and relaxing with a book is a good way to do that.

For big vacation trips, I generally do some reading to prepare, usually guidebooks and a lot of internet research. I've never been big on reading the local authors before I go, I guess there are usually too many other things to do in prep. But using the LT Local thing is a great idea! I don't know how helpful it would have been on this last trip (trying to find a nice English-language bookstore in Amsterdam), but it's a great thought for some of the other business travel I have coming up.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New to my library...

I have a lot of reading to do! I finished 5 books on my recent trip and I'm still not caught up - partly because three more ARCs came in while I was gone:

American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld
One More Year, by Sana Krasikov
Surviving Ben's Suicide, by C. Comfort Shields

Monday, July 7, 2008

The White Mary by Kira Salak

I have always been a fan of travel and adventure books, both fiction and non-fiction, which is what drew me to Kira Salak’s book, The White Mary. Although the book is a work of fiction, she drew on her long experience as a travel journalist to present a story full of detail and vibrant description. It is immediately apparent that the author hasn’t just watched a National Geographic Special on Papua New Guinea, she has actually been through that jungle. It adds tremendously to the story.

Marika is a travel journalist who has been to some of the most violent and dangerous places on the planet. She lost her father when she was very young; he was executed in Czechoslovakia as a spy. She lost her mother to mental illness – more gradual, but no less painful. She has risked her life countless times in her need to tell a story. That need and that lifestyle have kept her separated from other people. Separation is comfortable for her, since so many important people in her life have left her.

Her current project is the biography of one of her heroes, the man who inspired her to become a journalist, Robert Lewis. While reviewing some background materials, she finds a letter from a missionary who claims to have seen Lewis recently, in Papua New Guinea. Fleeing problems in her personal life, Marika heads for PNG, looking for her own Holy Grail.

There are a few things that bother me in this book. Marika is a bit of a superwoman – no matter what the jungle throws at her, she keeps on going. Seb, her boyfriend back in Boston, is too good to be true. He’s handsome, rich, single, understanding…absolutely perfect. Her native guide, Tobo, is also too good to be true, never deserting her, even when she’s obviously a little nuts.

Still, this is a great tale of adventure, a story about finding yourself, a story about the futility of running from your problems.

My copy of The White Mary was an Advance Reader Copy. You can preorder your copy here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Abbeville by Jack Fuller

How do you go on when you have lost everything?

That’s the question at the heart of Abbeville. George Bailey has lost everything in the dot-com bust. His office, which once bustled with activity and the smell of money, is now deserted. He may lose his home and he has to pull his son out of private school. How can he keep his family together in the face of such a change?

George goes back to his roots, back to his hometown of Abbeville. His grandfather, Karl, once owned the mill, the bank, and a lot of the land around it…and he lost it all in the Depression. Still, his grandfather held onto his wife, his daughter and his will to be happy. George goes looking for the source of Karl’s happiness and he finds strength to keep going. In the process, he gives his son something to hang on to, a foundation for an insecure boy facing a lot of changes. The material sounds sad, but the tone is very hopeful.

Abbeville was newly-released in June 2008. My copy was an uncorrected proof; order your copy here.

The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman

This is definitely a woman’s book. Although it is filled with danger and intrigue, men’s fantasies about harem girls are very different from the blushing virgins and vicious, back-stabbing women you’ll meet in The Aviary Gate – and it’s their loss if they don’t read it. It’s a fascinating glimpse of the inner workings of a harem and its denizens.

This is primarily the story of Celia Lamprey, a captain’s daughter who is shipwrecked on the eve of her wedding. She is eventually sold into the harem of Sultan Mehmet II in Constantinople, the same city where Paul Pindar, her former fiancĂ©, is stationed as the representative of a merchant company.

Entwined with Celia’s story is the story of Elizabeth, a modern-day Englishwoman, who comes across a fragment of a manuscript telling Celia’s tale while she is researching her thesis. Elizabeth is in the middle of a bad break-up, and flees to Istanbul to look for more of the manuscript – and to finally make a break from her fickle lover, Marius.

Celia’s story is by far the meatier of the two. It is full of remarkable detail, luscious descriptions and the deadly politics of women in seclusion, scrambling for whatever power they can get their hands on. Her story has romance, violence and intrigue. It would work well as a novel all on its own.

Elizabeth’s story is not quite as interesting, but it moves along and it ties in nicely with Celia’s. Hickman has tried to add a bit of supernatural interest: her landlady in Istanbul is a mysterious figure, her new love interest is coincidentally named Mehmet, just like Celia’s sultan. Elizabeth seems not so much to research history as to intuit it. She has visions while visiting the old harem grounds. She hears voices during a run-in with Marius. I didn’t find these particularly interesting, but they aren’t a distraction. This is an excellent story in both the past and the present.

My copy of The Aviary Gate is an advanced reader edition, but it is now available and can be ordered here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

From The Boston Bibliophile:

Here is the Top 100 Most Popular Books on LibraryThing. Bold what you own, italicize what you've read. Star what you liked. Star multiple times what you loved!

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (32,484)***
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling (29,939)
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling (28,728)
4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) by J.K. Rowling (27,926)
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling (27,643)
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling (27,641)
7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (23,266)
8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (21,325) ***
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling (20,485)
10. 1984 by George Orwell (19,735)
11. Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics) by Jane Austen (19,583)
12. The catcher in the rye by J.D. Salinger (19,082)
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (17,586) *
14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (16,210)
15. The lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (15,483)***
16. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (14,566)
17. Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) by Charlotte Bronte (14,449)
18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (13,946)
19. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (13,272) ***
20. Animal Farm by George Orwell (13,091)
21. Angels & demons by Dan Brown (13,089)
22. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (13,005)
23. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (12,777)
24. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (12,634)
25. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien (12,276) ***
26. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (12,147) *
27. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (11,976) ***
28. The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, Part 2) by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,512) ***
29. The Odyssey by Homer (11,483)
30. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (11,392)
31. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (11,360)
32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11,257)
33. The return of the king : being the third part of The lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,082) ***
34. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (10,979) ***
35. American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman (10,823)
36. The chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (10,603) **
37. The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams (10,537)***
38. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (10,435) *
39. The lovely bones : a novel by Alice Sebold (10,125)
40. Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card (10,092)
41. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman (9,827)
42. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman (9,745)
43. Dune by Frank Herbert (9,671)
44. Emma by Jane Austen (9,610)
45. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (9,598) ***
46. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Bantam Classics) by Mark Twain (9,593)
47. Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club) by Leo Tolstoy (9,433) (different version)
48. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (9,413)
49. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (9,343) ***
50. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (9,336)
51. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (9,274) ***
52. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (9,246) *
53. The Iliad by Homer (9,153)
54. The Stranger by Albert Camus (9,084)
55. Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (9,080)
56. Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (9,027)
57. The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (8,960) 58. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (8,904)
59. Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (8,813)
60. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery - (8,764)
61. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (8,421) *****
62. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (8,417) ***
63. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (8,368)
64. The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition) by John Steinbeck (8,255)
65. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (8,214)
66. The Name of the Rose: including Postscript to the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (8,191) ***
67. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (8,169)
68. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (8,129)
69. The complete works by William Shakespeare (8,096)
70. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (7,843)
71. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (7,834)
72. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (Perennial Classics) by Barbara Kingsolver (7,829) ***
73. Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library) by William Shakespeare (7,808) *
74. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) by John Steinbeck (7,807)***
75. A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (7,793)
76. The Alchemist (Plus) by Paulo Coelho (7,710)
77. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (7,648)
78. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Oscar Wilde (7,598)
79. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk (7,569)
80. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (7,557)
81. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) by Philip Pullman (7,534)
82. Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan (7,530)
83. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (7,512)
84. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (7,436) **
85. Dracula by Bram Stoker (7,238) **
86. Heart of Darkness (Dover Thrift Editions) by Joseph Conrad (7,153)
87. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (7,055)
88. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (7,052)
89. The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman (7,043)
90. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics) by James Joyce (6,933)
91. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel (Perennial Classics) by Milan Kundera (6,901)
92. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (6,899)
93. Neuromancer by William Gibson (6,890)
94. The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Classics) by Geoffrey Chaucer (6,868)
95. Persuasion (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (6,862)
96. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (6,841)
97. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (6,794) **
98. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (6,715)
99. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (6,708)
100. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (6,697)

That's actually a nice mix of current and classic books, I think. There are several here that I want to read, and several that I would give negative stars to, if I could.

My question would be: do you find lists like this of any help? Do you read books based on their appearance on a list like this?

Books and travels...

I will be posting from Amsterdam for the next 2 weeks while I am away on business. My internet access will be limited, but I hope to post some reviews very soon.

I finished The Aviary Gate on Saturday, before leaving on my trip. Due to a long lay-over and an 8 hour flight delay, I finished two books on Sunday/Monday: Abbeville and The White Mary. I loved them both and I am looking forward to telling you all about them!