Monday, January 31, 2011
And I know that if I shared the number, some readers would be like, "Pft, I wish I could get my Google Reader down to that many. Stop complaining."
And I'm definitely not complaining. It is awesome that everyone loves books, and that I've found so many great book blogs to follow. However, I'm just wondering how many posts is too many?
Life is busy. I used to have all the time in the world to read and review and that was awesome. However, school and work take up a lot of time, and so I have less time to focus on blogging and reading other's blogs. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a hard time balancing life and blogging.
That being said: I feel like bloggers post a lot. And I'm not sure if this a bad thing, because if a blogger has a review to post... they post it. And if they are completely devoted to their reading and blogging, there will be something new to post and it will be consistent.
The blogger part of me says: "Rock on! That's great that you're posting so much, I wish I had time to read and review a book a day! Plus have awesome interviews and contests and guest posts and just post general awesomeness!"
And the busy reader part of me says: "That is sooo cool that you have 3 posts a day, but unfortunately I have to skim past all those posts to go find this other post that is more interesting, oh wait that looks... oh nevermind it's too long... oh this is cool *insert quick lame comment here*... onto the next one... zooooooom phew done!"
And how do I judge which posts I read? By the pictures, duh. And is that the best way to pick? Nope. But when I'm busy, I have nothing better to go by, except maybe by a post's title. And there are some posts that I'm sure are fantabulous that I zooooom right by because they aren't visually appealing, or because I just simply miss it.
So I'm posing a question to other blog readers: am I alone in the world? Because to be quite honest, I'd rather read less posts and actually get the chance to read and comment on them thoughtfully, than skim-read through the constantly growing line of posts.
Does anybody else have the same problem? Or possibly a solution? I know the real solution would be to take time out of my day to read the posts, but that's easier said than done. And another solution would be to take some blogs out of my Google Reader, which is unfair to those bloggers I decide to cut out. They work hard to get followers, and they deserve my readership just as much as any other blog that I chose to follow. And so here is my sticky situation.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts or comments, because I'd love to hear them.
PS. I have a couple of things to say from a blogger's viewpoint:
Bloggers post as much as they are comfortable with. It's entirely up to them how often to post. And they do it for themselves as much as their readers- if not more.
However... a lot of bloggers post for readers and they do care what their audience thinks about their blog and posting habits.
But... a lot of readers have time to read multiple posts a day, while other readers may not have the time to be as on top of things. Which is unfortunate.
PPS. I apologize for how long this post is!
Sunday, January 30, 2011
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.Review:
Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.
I read this book in preparation of Elizabeth Eulberg's signing in Downer's Grove. Of course, I was going to read it eventually anyways, because it's gotten such great reviews. I just got a jump start because of the signing.
My first thoughts, upon reading the first couple sentences in the bookstore, went something like this: "Oh great, another preppy novel about rich snobby kids." I have read my fair share of preppy novels. Some I love (I happened to enjoy the A-List series, and also The Elite series by Jennifer Banash), and some I don't like as much (no names here).
This is a warning to LOOK PAST any initial misgivings you might have about the novel. It gets better.
Because I kept reading. And reading. And reading. I haven't had much ambition for reading fast lately, but this one was short enough and interesting enough that I finished it in one sitting, which for me was about two hours, give or take.
First of all, I especially loved this book because of the Pride and Prejudice reference. I LOVE how it was very much like Pride and Prejudice, and yet it also stands on its own. The relationships were very realistic, and the story was so cute and fun that I couldn't help but wonder what would happen. I loved Lizzie's character, and connected with her as well, because I also have a similar problem with judging people before I know them. I had a slight problem with the other characters, because I feel like they weren't expanded on as much as they could have been.
Overall, this story was a very fun and quick read. If you like Pride and Prejudice, I'd definitely recommend this book for an interesting retelling. Also, romance lovers will want to gobble this one up!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
This book was significantly better than it's predecessor for two very important reasons:
1. It didn't take too long to get into. The one thing that really irks me about some of the books that I read is drawn out and boring introductions. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had an introduction that for me was nothing but dull and lengthy. The Girl Who Played With Fire did not have that. The prologue set up the readers for an exciting and intriguing novel, and it did not disappoint.
2. Dragon Tattoo focused a lot on characters that are not the main characters. While Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander were quite obviously the main characters, much of the story focused on the Vanger family and their history. That bothered me with the first book, because I didn't get as much of a grasp on who the main characters were.
That being said, Dragon Tattoo was good. But The Girl Who Played With Fire completely blew me away. I wasn't even planning on reading it, until I was put into a situation where I didn't have a book to read and I was stuck at work for two hours with nothing to do. I bought this book on a whim: I figured, it's cheap and I don't have to try and get into a whole new story.
I am SO GLAD that I decided to read it. TGWPWF is such an improvement on Dragon Tattoo. With Dragon Tattoo I felt like it was far too out of my comfort zone to really enjoy. Fire just got me sucked into the story and I couldn't put it down. The story focused on Lisbeth Salander, rather than on an outsider, which I loved. I also loved how fast-paced everything was. While the beginning started out somewhat slow (although not as slow as Dragon Tattoo) once the conflict was introduced I found myself obsessed with finding out what was going to happen.
This book was a real thrill ride. The only downside is the abrupt ending. While some aspects of the story were concluded, the reader was left with a lot of unanswered questions, including the unanswered question that was brought up at the ending of the last book.
Despite the very few downsides, I would definitely recommend this sequel. I would especially recommend it to those who, like me, were a bit skeptical about the first book. This book didn't disappoint, and while it might take me awhile to get to the third and final installment, I will most definitely be reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?
1. Amazon pairs it up with Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers. I adore Courtney Summers.Jane
2. The summary... um, does that NOT sound amazing?
3. The cover. While the feet covers do get old after awhile, I am still hopelessly drawn to them. And this one has such beautiful soft colors. I adore it.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
If you read my review of Wither by Lauren DeStefano when it was posted yesterday, you will know that I absolutely ADORED this book.
That is why I've decided that instead of hoarding my ARC, I am going to give it away to one lucky winner who hopefully will enjoy it as much as I did!
Here are the rules:
.::Deadline is February 22::.
.::Must be a blog follower::.
.::Please spread the word! While it is not required, I'd like for as many people as possible to know about this wonderful book! You'll get extra entries if you share!::.
Note: please let me know if the form works. I have never used Google Docs before and so if there are any problems I need to know as soon as possible so I can fix them! Thank you!
Monday, January 24, 2011
by Lauren DeStefano
What if you knew exactly when you would die?Review:
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
First of all, I'd like to say that this cover is absolutely phenomenal. At first it looks busy and cluttered, but when I actually took the time to look at it I realized that it's the perfect cover for the book. I absolutely love it!
Now, onto the content of the book. I absolutely LOVED it. The story was one that I couldn't help but get sucked into, and the characters were so interesting that I wanted to know more about each and every one of them. Rhine's relationship with her brother, with Gabriel, with her sister-wives, with Linden... they are all so complex and while I disagreed with her actions sometimes, I could still see why she did the things she did.
The author also did a fantastic job with keeping things interesting. I couldn't put the book down, because there was always something new to discover.
I have two points that I would like to make, however, that are not necessarily criticism, but just thoughts I had while reading.
1. This reminded me of The Hunger Games. I realize that dystopian fiction is hot right now, but something just struck me as very Hunger Games-esque. However, I do feel that the story was different enough to hold it's own. I am just worried about the sequels and how the story will play out.
2. This book was very very introductory. There are many unanswered questions, and if I didn't know this was going to be a trilogy I would be very disappointed with the way this book ended. However, I am very much looking forward to two more books and I can't wait to see what happens.
Overall: read it. You won't be disappointed!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
1. I've added pages, and they are now listed on the top below the header. The pages are About Me, Review Policy, Review Archive, and Recommendations. Please feel free to check them out and give me suggestions on how to improve them!
2. I've now started adding labels to my posts. Those labels can be found at the very bottom of the blog, as I did not want to clutter up the sidebar.
Any suggestions on these changes/suggestions for more changes would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking at making this blog the best it can be, and the readers are the best ones to help me!
Now these three final novels are ones that I know most people have heard of, or even read, so they will contain no summary: only my own thoughts on reading them.
Part 3: The Popular Edition
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
You may recall a post last semester about my required reading. And guess what? Wuthering Heights was on it. This is lucky because not only do I look forward to reading Wuthering Heights again, but I also don't need to spend any more money on a different book.
[[Side note: the cover pictured is not the copy I own, but it's the newly re-released paperback cover. I love it!]]
2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
I read this book my freshman year of high school, and I don't remember much of it. We watched the movie for my English class last semester, so that helped refresh, but I am definitely looking forward to reading this again as an adult and understanding the deeper concepts.
3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
You could not imagine my excitement to see this book on the required reading list. I've owned this book for how many years, at least five, and I still haven't gotten around to reading it. I was so determined to get around to it when the movie came out, but I still never did. I'm excited to get started!
As you can probably tell, I am the most excited about these books, but I am also excited to get into some different novels/plays/poems that I may not have considered otherwise.
I hope that some of you will post about your required reading: I'd love to see what everyone else has/will read for class, whether you're in high school or college!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
This week's confession question:
Do you need silence to read?
My (simplified) answer: it depends what I'm reading.
Here are some different scenarios:
1. Required reading. If I am reading something for class, it needs to be silent. If the TV is on, I'll watch it (no matter what my roommate may be watching). If there's music playing, I will listen and not comprehend what I'm reading. It must. be. silent.
2. The beginning of a book. Once again, I need silence. If it's not silent I will not understand what's going on and it's impossible to enjoy a book that way.
3. I'm in the middle of a book I like. If I like a book, and am genuinely interested in what I am reading, I can handle music or TV. Because the book is usually the top priority, and I am able to tune out the rest of it. Unless of course you've got a super awesome TV show on, in which case I will simply press record and then go back to my reading :)
4. I'm in the middle of a book that I am not terribly fond of. This is the time where I will make any excuse to NOT keep reading. So it has to be silent or I will get completely distracted and then I'll never finish it.
So that's my very complicated answer. Overall: silence is best. However, if I am in any sort of Reading Zone I can handle noise or music, and in fact I sometimes prefer it over the quiet. As Owen from Just Listen says... Silence is so freaking loud.
Part 2: The Non-Novel Edition
1. Pierce-Arrow by Susan Howe
Pierce-Arrow, Susan Howe's newest book of poems, takes as its shooting off point the figure of Charles S. Peirce, the allusive late nineteenth-century philosopher-scientist and founder of pragmatism, a man always on the periphery of the academic and social establishments yet intimately conjoined with them by birth and upbringing. Through Peirce and his wife Juliette, a lady of shadowy antecedents, Howe creates an intriguing nexus that explores the darker, melancholy sides of the fin-de-sicle Anglo-American intellegentsia. Besides George Meredith and his wife Mary Ellen, Swinburne and his companion Theodore Watts-Dunton are among those who also find a place in the three poem-sequences that comprise the book: "Arisbe," "The Leisure of the Theory Class," and "Rckenfigur." Howe's historical linkings, resonant with the sorrows of love and loss and the tragedies of war, create a compelling canvas of associations. "It's the blanks and gaps," she says, "that to me actually represent what poetry is-the connections between seemingly unconnected things-as if there is a place and might be a map to thought, when we know there is not."2. The Book of Jon by Eleni Sikelianos
With a seamless weave of letters, reminiscences, poems and journal entries, Sikelianos creates a loving portrait—and an unblinking indictment—of her father. Jon, a multitalented, eccentric visionary, emerges as a brilliant, charming, irresponsible, frustrating, and ultimately tragic hero.3. Blue Heart by Cheryl Churchill
This is a saga of the rise and fall of family lines—a tale marked by bohemia, Greek poets, intellectuals, drugs and homelessness. It is the story of eccentrics and survivors, the strength of personal vision and the nature of addiction, and what it does to families. An exquisitely rendered exploration of the harrowing and motivating forces of family, history, and individual choices.
The first new Caryl Churchill work in more than two years consists of two short, interrelated plays. In "Heart's Desire", a couple wait at an airport for their daughter but the scene refuses to progress; in "Blue Kettle", the words "blue" and "kettle" are substituted for other words randomly, in a play about a man whose hobby is passing himself off as the long-lost son given up for adoption by different women.
These three are all intriguing for various reasons. Any thoughts?
Friday, January 21, 2011
This will be posted in three parts, simply because there are too many books to showcase in one post.
Part One: The Unknown Edition
[[so named because I'm not sure what to expect from these books based on summaries alone]]
1. Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls, A Novel by Lucy Corin
Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls examines what it means to grow up curious and irrepressible in a culture of girl-killers. The narrative interweaves history, myth, rumor, and news with the experiences of a young girl living in the flatness of south Florida. Like Grace Paley's narrators, she is pensive and eager, hungry for experience but restrained. Into the sphere of her regard come a Ted Bundy reject, the god Osiris, a Caribbean slave turned pirate, a circus performer, broken horses, a Seminole chief in a swamp, and a murderous babysitter. Everyday Psychokillers reaches to the edge of the psychoanalytical and jolts the reader back to daily life. The reader becomes the killer, the watcher, the person on the verge, hiding behind an everyday face2. Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson
A new entry in Soft Skull's ShortLit series, Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson's aunt Jane. Though officially unsolved, Jane's murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders near the University of Michigan in the late 1960s. Nelson was born a few years after Jane's death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her aunt’s murder cast over both the family and her psyche. Through a collage of poetry, prose, dream accounts, and documentary sources — including fragments from Jane's own diaries — the book explores the nature of this haunting incident and raises deeper questions about girlhood, empathy, identification, and the essentially unknowable aspects of another’s life and death. Part elegy, part memoir, part detective story, part meditation on violence, and part conversation between the living and the dead, Jane's powerful and disturbing subject matter, combined with its innovations in genre, expands the notion of what poetry can do, what kinds of stories it can tell, and how it can tell them.3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.
These are the first three on the list. What do you think?
Thursday, January 20, 2011
This is going to be a Mini Review, simply because with series novels like this I don't feel like there's a whole lot to say.
Unfortunately, I wasn't as entranced by this novel as I thought I'd be. The romance seemed to be lacking some sort of passion. I was actually more interested in seeing Sookie get with the bad guys than the good guy (which I actually hope happens in future novels.)
This felt like exactly what it was: an introduction. Now the question is, was it enough to get me to read more? Or should I just watch the TV show and let that satisfy my curiosity?
Let me know what you all think. I don't know if I have any True Blood watchers, or Sookie Stackhouse readers, but if I do please gimme a shout out and let me know what I should do!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Release Date: February 08, 2011
I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.
I loved Beastly, and I'm sure Cloaked is going to be another fantastic fairytale retelling... and a quick read, which is also a bonus!Jane
Sunday, January 16, 2011
I wanted first and foremost to bring attention to that post, simply because it is true. My case in point:
1. A very good friend of mine never read a book in her life. Until Twilight. Now, she's a bigger reader than I am.
2. Here is an anecdote from a discussion we had in my English 241 class. We all had to go around and introduce ourselves, and part of that introduction was saying our favorite books. A lot of the students named their favorite books and they weren't anything that I've heard of. And then I come along and despite being embarrassed, I had to give credit to my favorite YA author of all time, Sarah Dessen, and also The Hunger Games trilogy. Then, there was a girl a few seats away who said, "I know it sounds shallow, but I also love Twilight..."
Which just sort of reinforces what Alison said in her post, about people being ashamed of liking Twilight.
There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of!
Please read Alison's post if you agree with this. It really has a strong message that readers everywhere should be aware of.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
There are a number of thoughts I would like to share about this novel.
First, it was very good. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. The story was interesting, unusual, and quite addictive. I enjoyed the different points of view and the characters themselves were very likable.
However, there were a few things that I didn't like about this book.
It seemed soooo cheesy. For a book with such a unique subject, it seemed like things were almost too easily solved. It was too convenient, and I wish there had been some sort of twist to make things more complicated.
The ending: also cheesy. The book had great potential, but at the end it read more like a life lesson than the ending of a novel. I do realize that any great novel needs to have some sort of lesson built in, but this one just seemed way too blatant.
Based on these thoughts, I can't say that this book was one of my favorites. It was definitely a page turner, but the idea could have been carried out in a much more interesting and less preachy way. Overall, it was worth the read but I do advise to approach with caution.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I was nominated by Sara at Just Another Story and Liz at That's What Liz Read. Thanks to both of you for this honor!
Here are the rules:
2. Tell us 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know that they have won.
Well I hate to say, but I'm skipping the last two steps. I feel that if anybody is here reading this, then they are either a very very stylish blogger, or they are an awesomely supportive person altogether. So if you are reading this consider yourself awarded!
However, I'm definitely willing to share 7 things about myself:
2. I work at McDonald's... and I'm lovin' it! :)
3. I am also hopelessly addicted to reruns of The Nanny.
4. I hate the winter and the cold, and I plan somewhere warm after I graduate.
5. I'm a little bit impatient to find my soulmate.
6. I am extremely clumsy, and can't go a day without slipping or dropping everything on the floor.
7. My friends are my life! :)
And once again, thanks to Liz and Sara! And to all readers!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Elizabeth Scott has proved herself with this novel. While she has mastered the art of the cutesy romance YA novels, she has also ventured out and shown to the world that she is not just another romance writer.
Grace was a powerful novel, packed into very few pages. That's because she didn't waste time; Scott jumped right into an emotional story and made readers think of a life outside of our own. The world she created, while vague, still seemed very real and very possible. The characters were believable, and readers could sympathize.
This novel was very short, easily read in one sitting. But the emotion and power brought with it will last for awhile after finishing. I do enjoy Elizabeth Scott's work, and I was skeptical about reading this simply because it was so different. However, it was not disappointing in the slightest.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I'd say that at that time, my all-time literary idols would be the following:
1. Sarah Dessen. When I first picked up This Lullaby, it was so different from anything I'd ever read. I sped through her books and to this day remain a devoted fan.
2. Jean Craighead George. My biggest passion: the Julie Trilogy (Julie of the Wolves, Julie, and Julie's Wolf Pack) To this day, I still look back on that series with fond memories, and I would recommend to all young readers. I read a few of her other novels, but these were the ones that really stood out.
3. Natalie Babbitt. Tuck Everlasting... wow. I still revisit this book from time to time. It's absolutely mind blowing. It would be incredible if I had writing and creative talents equal to Babbitt's with this novel.
4. Sharon Creech. To me, she was the Sarah Dessen of middle grade writers. I loved the combination of family and romance and adventure that Creech included in all of her novels.
If my writing abilities were even half of what these authors have, I would be set for life. And that's not me bashing my own talents. I know that I am a good writer, and with enough ambition I might even be able to get somewhere.
But lately I've been thinking outside the box. Is there a way to work with writing, and books, and feel completely satisfied? And at this moment I feel like I have found the solution.
There IS a way to work with writing and books and everything I'm passionate about. And by pursuing a career in publishing I may not accomplish my goal of publishing my own book, but I have the opportunity to help others accomplish their goals. It's a completely win-win situation.
I wanted to share this just because my readers are obviously book lovers, and perhaps there are some authors, or bloggers interested in getting published. Maybe there are others who are in the same boat as I am?
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
And now that 2011 is here, I'd also like to make a list of blogging resolutions. Actually, I think that this list will be more than resolutions. They'll be rules to live by.
2011 Jane's Story Blogging Rules to Live By
1. Do not feel pressured to read a book you don't want to read.
2. Post at least once a week. Preferably a meaningful post, in addition to a meme.
3. Go through Google Reader at least once a week. Skim read absolutely everything, and comment on posts you enjoy.
4. Read at least one book a week. And since this probably won't happen, try for 3-4 books a month. Not a lot by most blogging standards, but life is busy and reading 24/7 is not an option.
5. Find a way to connect with readers/other bloggers in a more personal way.
Soooo that's my list of things I'm going to do this year. :) I know I will fall behind and not follow my rules perfectly, but it's a good starting point and I hope that my blog becomes bigger and better!