Author: Rainbow Rowell
First Line: XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.
- Looking for Alaska - John Green
- Paper Towns - John Green
- Life in Outer Space - Melissa Keil
Over the last few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going - so far as I can tell - but it’s changing. (5)
The Shallows: How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember - Nicholas Carr
I will never, ever, get to the end of my tbr list, because by the time I have finished reading a book I have uncovered five more to add. You know how it is. Because of this, it is not unusual for a book I am very excited to read to be forgotten in the depths of the pile, only to by pulled out by the passing word of a fellow book lover. This happened to me this week when Kyla mentioned that she was thoroughly enjoying her current read, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.
“Hey! I wanted to read that. I have it around here somewhere!” I cried. And so I went digging and the pair of us settled down with our respective copies to enjoy and, when she’s done, discuss the book.
I had not read anything by Christopher Moore prior to Lamb, and, though intrigued by the concept of this book, knew little of it beyond its basic premise. And such, I was not prepared for just how humorous the novel would be – I believe that I alarmed more than a few people with my public outbursts of hilarity.
Lamb, as implied by the title, is narrated by the character Biff (or Levi, called Biff), the best friend of the young Christ. He is not, perhaps, the most obvious choose for the best friend of the messiah, being the self-acclaimed inventor of sarcasm and somewhat of a sex fiend, but his heart is good and his loyalty strong. It is through Bif’s eyes that we witness the youth and adolescence of Christ, from when the pair meet at the age of six, through their travels and learnings, the banding together of the apostles, right through to the crucifixion.
I think, perhaps, that I had just the right level of biblical knowledge to thoroughly enjoy this book – just enough to realise and understand all the references, but not enough to have grown up with a strong knowledge that would prevent me from picking up this somewhat cheeky tale in the first place. This is not, I would think, a book for everyone, and yet despite this, I would applaud Moore for walking that fine line between irreverence and respect – because for all the humour and sarcasm of the novel, I do consider it to be, at its core, respectful to the message of the bible.
I enjoyed Lamb immensely – for its humour, for its clever interweaving of stories, and for its respectful translation of the morals and lessons of the bible. As I said above, I’m sure this is not a book for everyone, and I would love to hear from those of you who have read this book and who may have a differing opinion. Come chat to me in the comments below.
I’m a big fan of giving books as gifts, though I don’t have many people for whom I would do this. I so enjoy the weeks of considering the perfect books, weighing up all my options. Even more than this, I enjoy receiving books as gift which, coming from a non-booky family, you can imagine that I don’t get very often. I am very fortunate, however, to have people like Wendy in my life, who recognises all too well how wonderful a gift a book can be and who gave me a beautiful book for my birthday this year.
She chose a copy of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Night Bookmobile – which as a book lover and fan of Niffenegger, I immediately fell in love with. After some debating with Wendy about its classification as either a ‘graphic novel’ or ‘adult picture book’, I have decided to go with the later, but with the caveat that it is indeed intended for adults – do not let its heavy use of illustration and picture book format sway you into thinking that it is intended for children.
Without giving you any spoilers (it’s only 40 pages – go, find yourself a copy), The Night Bookmobile tells the story of Alexandra, live long reader and booklover. One night, after a fight with her boyfriend, she heads out for a walk where she encounters a library mobile – one that operates only from dusk to dawn. Stepping aboard she peruses the shelves... only to come to the realisation that not only has she read all the books, these are all the books she’s ever read, right down to her childhood diary. The librarian explains that this is, in fact, HER library, that it is his job to shelve everything she ever reads. The following years for Alexandra revolve entirely around the bookmobile – the finding of it, and her, apparently fruitless, endeavour to gain the chance to work with it. Through doing so Alexandra is forced to evaluate her life, both as a reader and as a person.
Firstly, I cannot say how much I loved this book. It most certainly had its darker moments, but the core idea, that of the personal bookmobile really intrigued me. I starting thinking of all the books I had ever read in my lifetime, stacking up there on my bookmobile shelves. I started to think of all the books I started and never finished. And all the books I read in secret, too embarrassed to have their covers show – though I would never do it, I can’t help but imagine these poor books sitting there naked, their covers having been torn off. I started thinking about all the ebooks I’ve read, all the blogs and articles online – and I start to wonder if my bookmobile has a digital wing. The concept has crawled into my brain and it is not going anywhere.
Thought not as wordy as her novels, Niffenegger’s precise prose is again present here in The Night Bookmobile – but this time married with her simple but touching illustrations. It was a quick read (like I said, only 40 pages, and much of that illustration), but no less a moving one. In fact, I read it over several times in that first sitting, uncovering new details each time. If you’re a booklover, or a fan of unconventional stories, I recommend it heartily – and if you do read it, please come back and tell me, as I would love to discuss it with you in more detail.
You know that determined feeling you have when you park outside the library, the one where you're telling yourself that you're only going in for one book? What's more, you even know which book you're looking for, and exactly where it is shelved so you'll be in and out so speedy, nothing will be tripping you up today. You know that feeling?
I hate that feeling.
Because I know it's a lie.
I tell myself this all the time, and even trick myself into believing it, but even so, my inner self - the one nestled deep down in my brain, happily munching on popcorn and just waiting to revel in the fall out - knows that it is a complete and utter false belief.
All this is my way of saying that I've given up on the pretense. Having added the sixth book to the pile in the crook of my arm, I have secured myself a table and am sitting here telling the world of my inability to control my book gathering tendencies before I delve into my nice little pile.
Brian was moving from gargoyle to gargoyle with the ease of long practice when he heard the voices. He was so startled he almost lost his grip. (77)
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
Musing Mondays is hosting by MizB at Should Be Reading
What devices - if any - do you read books on? Do you find it enjoyable, or still somewhat bothersome? Or: If you only read the print books, why haven’t you chosen to read on any devices?
This is an interesting question for me as it is one that I still continue to think of often - mainly because while reading ebooks is a fairly new addition to my reading repertoire, reading online certainly isn’t and so I feel as though I’ve made the journey through reading devices.
I remember when we first got the internet on our home computer (and what an ordeal it was convincing my parents it was safe for me to use as I was still rather young at the time). I always enjoyed writing and had several friends who likewise wrote and so I spent a fair bit of time reading these on our family computer.
When I reached high school we upgraded our family computer and the old one took up a new residence - in my room. Oh how excited I was to have a computer of my own! Until I realised… computer yes, but internet no. How was I to continue my practice of online reading? (especially since now I was part of mailing lists and the like dedicated to the writing and reading of stories?) I quickly deviced a system however, involving a stack of about ten 3 1/2 floppy discs and many many txt files. I would fill them all up, read them on my own computer and then traipse back to the family computer to reload. Looking back now, I consider this my first experience of ‘reading on a device’ and it was one that I kept up for many years.
By the time I started university I had a laptop and the house had a networked internet connection so my floppy discs were retired. Uni however also came with an hour and a half bus trip to uni every day and it wasn’t unusual for me finish a book and not have packed a spare. Enter my ipod. Adapting my old system, I would save txt files and utilise the ipods note function, scrolling scrolling scrolling through many books (by this time I’d discovered Project Gutenberg). My highly portable ipod was my first ‘ebook reader’.
My poor ipod (which is still alive) gave way to my old Samsung phone - which with it’s in-build QWERTY I adored. I remember being very excited as I read and wrote on my phone, gleefully thinking it a Star Trek PADD (yes, nerd, I know). Sooner or later however, my jealousy over the iphone’s far larger screen gave way and I traded my phone in. It was here that my ebook reading took flight and I spent a lot of hours squinting at my iphone.
When people started noticing the squinting (oddly enough around the same time I got glasses), it was suggested that I get myself a dedicated ebook reader which would be easier on the eyes. Being the tech lover that I was, I sacrificed some lightness (and a fair stack of money) to purchase an ipad and I haven’t looked back since.
I will always prefer a book over my ipad, but I cannot forget the plain convenience of having my ipad with me in my bag. Many many books at hand, more than I could ever fit in my bag. In built dictionaries and non-permanent highlighting. Note taking functions. Being able to pause my reading and do a little related research with the mere flick of a finger.
And you know what? I find that I read more with my ipad than I would without it. There have been many occasions that I’ve gone to bed without picking up my book first. You know what it’s like once your head hits the pillow - the last thing you want to do is get back up and turn the light on to retrieve your book. Much easier just to grab the ipad off my bedstand!
One of the things I like best about being a teacher is that I share a staff room with a large amount of nerdy people. And being an English teacher means that book recommendations are easily come by. While visiting a friend from work, Denise, she retrieved a book from her shelves telling me how much she enjoyed it and that I must read it. Always happy for a book to read (and entering the holidays with lots of reading time making it all the better) I tucked it under my arm to take home.
However it seems that Denise is a little like me when it comes to book recommendations – like me she gets a little excited when people are happy to receive suggestions. I left her house with 13 graphic novels in my possession and the promise of more when I was done.
I’ve been a little busy this holidays after all and haven’t had the chance to sit down and truly enjoy them. But today is a cold rainy day and I’m thinking that I shall settle down for the afternoon with a cup of tea and a collection of comics. What do you think?
It was Old Bess, the Wise Woman of the village, who first suspected that the baby at her daughter's house was a changeling.Moql was one of the Folk, a young magical creature who spent her time learning the ways of her people and playing on the Moor. Except Moql isn't like the other young Folk. She isn't as skilled as they are - and that can get them all in trouble. Declared a danger to the band, half-Folk, half-Human Moql is banished, exchanged for one of the beautiful human children in the nearby village. She becomes a Changeling.
For a time she held her peace. Many babies were I'll-favored, she told herself. Many babies cried with what seemed like fury against the world - though this little Saaski had not done so as a newborn. It even seemed to Old Bess that the child had not looked quite like this for the first few months, but somehow she could never quite remember.
I've always maintained that, as a book nerd and maths class drop out, I naturally shy away from all things numbers - but the truth is that I love statistics and how they feed into my obsessive record keeping tendencies. I say this because this week I added the 750th book into my book archive... which sounds impressive, but is, in reality, simply an excel sheet which I use as a huge table (because I don't really know how to use excel) of all the books I've read.
I had always intended to do more with this file that I so carefully update with each and every book that I read - or remember reading from my younger days - but I never quite knew what it was that I wanted to do. I can tell you how many books I've read each year for the past four years, as well as the number of pages, but still, I went looking for more. I have spent the past week googling my heart out, looking for an interface that provided what I was searching for - I truly thought there would be the perfect app or website out there that would cater to my weird book nerd statistic kick. Sadly I found nothing.
Then I thought to myself, 'Self, remember when, once upon a time, you could just ask on your book blog and someone, somewhere, would have a suggestion, or at the very least would commiserate with you? Why did you let that go?'
Then I felt down in a nerdy blogger kind of way.
So I'm here, on bended knee (well, not really, cause I'm too comfortable to move, plus the cat would glare at me), asking for your insights. Anyone?
Total books read: 15
New Authors: 14
Short Stories: 0
Science Fiction: 3
YA Fiction: 7
Picture Books: 4
Graphic Novels: 4
Series [complete]: 1
Total # of pgs: 3034