Sunday, August 30, 2009

The R.I.P. Challenge IV


The R.I.P. Challenge IV (R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge) hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings is back.

It runs from September 1 - October 31, 2009

The idea is to read as many books from the following categories as you can between now and Halloween.

Dark Fantasy

Read details & rules on the website

I'm going to attempt - Peril the Second:
Read Two books of any length, from any subgenre of scary stories that you choose.

My reading list for this site is as follows:

1. Dracula - Bram Stoker
2. Insomnia - Stephen King

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

Everything I've read this year so far as been pretty heavy, so I had to go back to October 2008.

The Beach House by Jane Green


Jane Green is a British born chic-lit author. When I need fluff, I go to her. Light read, usually fun, not challenging. So now that I see it has been almost a year since I have read fluff, it is time to read another one.

Here is the Synopsis:

The New York Times bestseller and ultimate beach read from the author of Second ChanceNan Powell is a free-spirited, sixty-five-year-old widow who's not above skinny-dipping in her neighbors' pools when they're away and who dearly loves her Nantucket home. But when she discovers that the money she thought would last forever is dwindling, she realizes she must make drastic changes to save her beloved house. So Nan takes out an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach.Slowly people start moving in to the house, filling it with noise, laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family and friends expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside down. As she did so masterfully in her New York Times bestseller Second Chance, Jane Green once again proves herself one of the preeminent writers of contemporary
women's fiction.

I also wrote a review a few weeks ago HERE

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicky of Reading at the Beach
This Week's Letter is: C
My choice from my recently read list is
by Anne Rice

Having completed the two cycles of legend to which she has devoted her career so far, Anne Rice gives us now her most thoughtful and powerful book, a novel about the childhood of Christ the Lord based on the Gospels and on the most respected New Testament scholarship.

The book’s power derives from the passion its author brings to the writing, and the way in which she summons up the voice, the presence, the words of the young Jesus who tells the story.
My ThoughtsI read this book a couple of months ago. I was not a fan of Anne Rice, but I read her autobiography "Called Out Of Darkness", and became interested in her Christian books.

The childhood of Jesus is virtually unknown to us. We know of his birth, the time he was left in the temple at 12 and then we don't hear from him again until he is 33. But what happened in-between. Well Anne Rice puts her imagination to work. Piecing together some facts, she weaves an interesting story about a little boy who, although is not like the rest of us, is like the rest of us. She gives Jesus a face and a family full of dysfunction.

I think one would either like this book or hate it. But one must approach it as fiction.

Book Disappointment

I had ordered Stephen King's "The Stand" from my local Library. I waited six weeks for this book to become available. It finally did. I went to pick it up this morning and it was the HARDCOVER!! I had to decline it. I really want to read it, but I'm not going to throw my back out doing it. It weighs only 1.7 lbs, but standing or walking with that weight gets difficult after a while, and I would have to continuously be reading it, as I only have 3 weeks with the book, and can't renew it as there is a waiting list. The librarian re-ordered it for me and it will be luck of the draw if I get the paperback. I may have to buy it after all. And don't be fooled, the paperback weighs 1 lb, but at least it is compact.

I was a little bummed about it, because I am taking my son to college tomorrow night, and the bus ride is about 20 hours round trip. I thought this would be the perfect book, but alas it isn't meant to be.

So instead I'm going to read the other book that was there.


Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans.

From Publishers Weekly
Evans delivers an entertaining albeit syrupy picking-up-the-pieces romance. Heartbroken and bereft when her fiancé backs out a week before the wedding, Christine Hollister allows herself to be talked into a volunteer work trip to Peru by best friend Jessica so that the pair can work together in an orphanage called the Sunflower. There she meets Paul Cook, the handsome but damaged former ER doc who left the U.S. after being blamed for a series of tragic Christmas deaths on the ward. The budding romance between Paul and Christine is totally predictable (including the awkwardness of their initial meetings). Evans adds a nice dramatic touch when Jessica's newfound boyfriend is seriously hurt while guiding a group of orphanage workers through the mountains near Machu Picchu, and he has a nice feel for framing devices, dialogue and scene-pacing. Evans also puts the jungle setting to good use during the couple's "dates." Although the various references to Christmas feel gratuitous, and a sudden appearance by jilter Martin doesn't do much to make the ending harder to anticipate, the finish nonetheless remains satisfying.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Catholic Fiction

In the past few years I've been stretching myself to read more Christian Fiction. I noticed there was a gap in my reading in that particular genre. I went out and blindly looked through the Christian Fiction section and my local Barnes & Noble. I had no idea what I was looking for. The only author I had any idea about was Janette Oke and that was only because I had seen her movie adaptations. I wanted to try someone else, so I looked and looked, but could not decide on anything. Then I found With Endless Sight #3 in the series by Allison Pittman. I was not familiar with series #s. This is not to say I've never read a series, but for some reason I didn't think reading this particular book out of order would matter. The book was able to stand alone, but I wanted to go back and read #1 and #2. I did that and I enjoyed it very much. It was a mix of Historical and Christian Fiction, but I have yet to find anyone aside from these two women that captured my attention in this duo genre. The other Christian reads that I enjoyed were Believe by Dan Oran, Christ out of Egypt by Anne Rice and The Shack by William Young. And let's not forget the books of Richard Paul Evans!!

It dawned on me that there might be a sub-genre of Catholic Fiction. There are sub-genre's in movies so why not books. So I went on a search to see if there were actually any books I read or would want to read or at least heard of and didn't know they were considered 'Catholic Fiction'. My assumption is that most of these reads would revolve around Popes and Saints, so here is what I found:

- Everything Jane Austen is considered 'Catholic Fiction' - How did I miss this?
The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel by Georges Bernanos - Well of course by the title, you know it is a Catholic thing.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I did not know that.
- Every book written by Fyodor Dostoevsky including
Crime and Punishment.
- The works of Alexander Dumas
- Three of George Eliot's books:
Middlemarch currently reading, Silas Marner (which I read) and Daniel Deronda.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scotts Fitzgerald - I had no clue when I was reading it.
- Victor Hugo's
Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame - although when I think about it, I can see where it would be considered 'Catholic'.
- John Irving's
A Prayer for Owen Meany - which I couldn't get through, but the movie adaptation "Simon Birch" I loved, but am not sure if I recall a Catholic thread.
- Thomas Keneally's
Schindler's List (huh??) - Can you see it flying over my head?
- Stephen King's
The Stand - which I am about to read, and Yes I can see this, and The Dark Tower Series which I can also see it.
- George Orwell's books
Animal Farm and 1984

I will stop here because the list can get rather long. If you are interested in looking at the
Full List please feel free.

Thinking on these books and what I know of them, why are they considered 'Catholic Fiction'? Is it because it talks on Catholic values? Not that I'm aware. Is it because it has something Catholic in it (like the main character is Catholic or a Nun walks through the street while two characters are talking)? What makes these books fall under the sub-genre Catholic? Most of them aren't obvious like "The Excorsist" or "The Scarlet Letter", so what is it? Well I don't know. But then again, most of the movies that are labled as 'Catholic' aren't very Catholic to me.

Will I go out of my way to read a book that is labled 'Catholic Fiction'? Probably not, I'll read it because I want to. Will I go out of my way to read a book that is labled 'Christian Fiction'? Probably. I really enjoy Christian Fiction. It is uplifting and all Christian's can relate.

I still love being a Catholic, I just won't narrow my reading to that tiny scope.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mailbox Monday



Hosted by The Printed Page

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Only one physical book came into my hands this week.


Started reading it, so far I'm loving it. I've only read one book by by Dr. Stanley in the past. But didn't care one way or another if I read another, but this one was given to me by someone, so I took it. Glad I did.

These are some of what I downloaded to the Kindle last week, all free of course.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Samuel the Seeker by Upton Sinclair
The Metropolis by Upton Sinclair
The Moneychangers by Upton Sinclair
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson


For the past 3 years, I've attempted an A-Z challenge. I alternate between titles and authors. This year it is authors. I can't say I'm doing well, but then again, I never do. I've only picked one of the authors out of my list, as there are many B's, C's....etc.

A -

B - Anne Brontë (Agnes Gray)

C - Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)

D - William Dufty (Sugar Blues)

E - Hallie Ephron (1001 Books for Every Mood)

F - Edna Ferber (Showboat)

G - Diana Gabaldon (Outlander)

H - Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life)

I -

J - Gary Jansen (The Rosary)

K - Stephen King (UR)

L - Frances Ellen Lord (The Roman Pronounciation of Latin...)

M - Christopher Moore (Lamb)

N - Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)

O - Daniel Oran (Believe)

P - Randy Paucsh (The Last Lecture)

Q - Anna Quindlen (A Short Guide to a Happy Life)

R - Anne Rice (Called Out of Darkness)

S - Beatrice Sparks (Go Ask Alice)

T -

U -

V -

W - Edith Wharton (Glimpses of the Moon)

X -

Y -

Z -

What Are You Reading On Monday's?

A weekly event hosted by J. Kaye’s Book Blog to discuss your reading week ~ the books you've read and those you plan on reading in the coming week.


Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia & Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher
The Third Jesus by Deepak Chopra
The Last Lecture by Randy Paucsh

Last week was a total non-fiction week. I usually mix it up, with at least one fiction, but for some reason, it didn't happen. Reviews for the last two were written.


Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Finding Peace by Charles Stanley

Reading my first Ray Bradbury book. I'm not blown away by it, although a lot of people seemed to like this particular book, including Stephen King.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What a Mess!

No, I've not started on the bookshelf yet. Above it is filled with Art books mostly. The only way to get them all up there is to stack them in piles. I probably won't get to them until the 2nd week of September when I am on vacation, but it is going to be a challenge.

Art Books and such



Here are some of the other shelves, what a nightmare. I guess we'll have to take it one shelf at a time.



And then I'll have to work on the smaller book shelf.


And let's not forget the baker shelf full of books.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Challenge Addict

This years reading goal is 75 books. I am currently at 47 finished, 2 currently reading. By the end of August I will have hoped to reach 50. This would leave 25 books to read for the year which comes to 6.25 books for the remaining months.

In the past I've done 50 book challenges and topped off at around 57. Next year, I think that I will attempt 100. I was going to go for 80, but I thought, What the hell, go for the gold.

I am becoming a 'challenge' addict.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Weeks Enlightening Reads

The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore by Deepak Chopra

Photobucket I was never a fan of Deepak Chopra, sometimes I think he talks out of his ear, but I was intrigued by the title of this book, I skimmed through it in the library and it looked interesting enough for me to at least give it a shot. At first, I had a huge chip on my shoulder, I thought "This guy is a flake", "He doesn't know Jesus from Joe". But I kept reading, because the more I read the better the book seemed. I didn't agree with some stuff he said, but some of what he wrote was enlightening. And by the end of the book, though still not of fan of Chopra's, I had to appreciate the effort that went into this book. He does admit he is not a commited Christian, which is why I initially thought this book would be full of bull, but maybe it takes someone who approaches the religion from the outside to see how it works (or doesn't). The chip is no longer on my shoulder, and I am thinking a little differently about Jesus. I cannot say this is the best inspirational book I've ever read, but it was worth the read.

I wanted to post a synopsis from Amazon, but there isn't one. However, they have loads of editorials about the book, all positive in praise. So I'm thinking that is a little one sided. So I will have to try and give a brief synopsis for you.

Deepak talks about Jesus and religion today. How today's Christian doesn't know the real Jesus, how the church hides and misuses doctrine. He takes passages from the Bible and attempts to explain them for the average person to understand. This is where the chip on the shoulder comes in, how can someone who is not Christian explain the Bible to me? However, he does a pretty good job, I think he's explained it better than people who have been Christian all of their life.

4/5 stars for This one.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Photobucket I've been avoiding this book since it came out. I don't know why, the premise seemed so sad. But it was in the library and I thought, WHY NOT. It was a quick read. The first two-thirds of the book was OK, it started like any other memoir, talked about childhood, marriage, life in general, dying...etc. The last third of the book grabbed my attention. He starts doling out the advice, things he's learned over the years. Things I have learned, but forgot or chose not to follow. Some of the writing is sophmoric, but the good intention was apparent. For myself, this came at the appropriate time, things were going real bad and going down hill fast. This book didn't cure it, but it helped me think about things differently, which made my day better.

From Publishers Weekly
Made famous by his Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon and the quick Internet proliferation of the video of the event, Pausch decided that maybe he just wasn't done lecturing. Despite being several months into the last stage of pancreatic cancer, he managed to put together this book. The crux of it is lessons and morals for his young and infant children to learn once he is gone. Despite his sometimes-contradictory life rules, it proves entertaining and at times inspirational.

4/5 Stars for This one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
(Tell me you didn’t see this one coming?)

WOW! NOT an easy question at all, because many of the books I've read this year have been wonderful.

Beasts of New York by Jon Evans (ebook)

As far as I know, this is still only in ebook/online format. He cannot find a publisher and it is beyond me why.

This is a fairy tale for grownups. If you google "Beasts of New York Jon Evans" you will find it.

Here is the link: BEASTS OF NEW YORK
Oh yeah! It is free, no cost to download. Can be downloaded to a Kindle.

It is about a squirrel who lives in Central Park (NY). It is about his adventures as he is carried away from home to Staten Island. He works his way back to Central Park only to find himself in the midsts of a civil war.

Yeah, I know, it sounds out there, but it was so good!! Real grown up, and even thought the protagonist is an animal, it was engaging and you really forget that these are furry creatures.

The Little Lame Prince

The Little Lame Prince by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
aka The Little Lame Prince and his Travelling Cloak


The book cover shown is that of the picture book version, however, there is a straight novel version by the same name.

From Wikipedia
First published in 1875. In the story, a young prince whose legs are paralysed [sic] due to a childhood trauma is given a magical travelling cloak by his fairy godmother; he uses this cloak to go on various adventures, and develops great wisdom and empathy in the process.

Yes OK, sometimes I need a good fairy tale to lighten the mood of all the serious stuff I read. Besides, it was free for Kindle.

A great story to read to your children (get the picture book) or to read on your own. Any age can take something away from this story...empathy being the moral of this story.

An exiled and paralyzed prince is granted a wish and is given a traveling cloak by his fairy godmother. With this cloak he travels outside of his prison walls. During his travels he discovers what he has missed and longs to be like a normal boy. He soon learns his tragic story and has the choice to rule like his predecessor, or forgive and become a great king.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rage To Survive: The Etta James Story

Rage To Survive: The Etta James Story by Etta James & David Ritz

Photobucket Etta James is one of those celebrities you hear about and wondered what happened to. Up until a few years ago, I thought she was deceased. You don’t hear much about or from here these days, but she is alive and kicking.

Jamesetta Hawkins was the product of a 14 year old African-American mother and a white father (who is rumored to be Minnesota Fats the pool shark). This book chronicles her tumultuous childhood complete with absent mother. It goes on to talk of her rise to stardom and her demise through various types of drugs. It also goes on to talk about her failed romantic relationships, criminal activity and stints in prison and rehab.

Pretty much your standard autobiography/memoir fare, however, Etta’s writing style makes the story more accessible. Not the queen of grammar, using double negatives all over the damn book, you still can read it with ease.

But Etta doesn’t feel sorry for herself; she falls down and stands up over and over again. Each chapter there is something awful happening in her life, and you would think this would make a depressing read, but it doesn’t.

This book was published in the early 1990s, and the story stops sometime after she was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll hall of fame. The last chapter of this book, she talks about how she is still overweight and working toward being leaner and healthier. I looked her up recently, and she has succeeded.

Photobucket She is now in her early 70s and looks like she weighs 120 lbs…a far cry from the 300+ lbs she weighed toward the end of her book.

This book was enlightening and I’m glad there are still some strong black women in this world. Etta James is a survivor.

Field Trip

This weekend I finally ventured to the Bronx Library Center. It is a newly built major library in The Bronx. It has been there for a few years now, but I haven't gone.

Photobucket Photobucket

State of the art design, looks modern inside as well. A patio on the 3rd floor. Wi-Fi, elevators...the works. For those people who are familiar with the Mid-Manhattan branch library, this all is familar to you, but people who haven't been outside the borough, will find this all very fascinating. It is clean, well kept, they actually have books and DVDs people want to borrow. Bronx Libraries rarely have these things. They are mostly situated in very urban areas, and people walk out with the best stuff, leaving things no one wants to read or watch.

Between me and my daughter, we took home 6 DVDs that we wanted to see. I found 3 books on the shelves alone. I usually have to order what I want and wait for it to come from one of the 'better' libraries.

It was worth the short bus ride (even if I still had my car, I probably wouldn't travel down Fordham Road). And although this library is also in a very urban area, one of the most urban in The Bronx, it is guarded and well maintained and was not filled with wild teenagers as most of them are in my neighborhood. I hope it stays this way, our community needs something like this. With Fordham University a few blocks away, it is also nice for those students to have somewhere else to go other than their school Library, and somewhere so classy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Roasting in Hell's Kitchen


Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Puruit of Perfection by Gordon Ramsay

It took me a while to start reading this one. I bought it for my Kindle for a couple of bucks. I am a fan of Ramsay, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it. I always figure, if someone takes the time to write a memoir, they had it pretty bad or why bother, who would care?

Well Ramsay's life was pretty messed up, and this book shows why he is who he is. Growing up with an alcoholic father and a heroin addicted brother, the loss of his career as a footballer, not to mention having to make a go at it before he was of age, will either make you or break you. In his case, he made it. There is coarse language in the book, but I did expect that as he doesn't hold back on TV either. Pretty well written and informative.

Now I have a softer spot for him. I understand his need for perfection comes from, I understand what drives him, I understand why he expects so much from others.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

** The first is to read 12 books from your local library in 2009.
** The second is to read 25 books from your local library in 2009.
** The third is to read 50 books from your local library in 2009.

You decide which one of the three challenges is best for you.

So it is August, and I just found this challelnge, but no matter, as I read lots of library books. As of today, this year alone, I've read 22, so I will stick with the 25 books. That means only 3 more to read from the library this year. I think 50 is too much at this point, had I started earlier, I would have picked that one. Maybe next time.

Since I'm late to the game, I'll post a list of the library books that I have read, and any reviews.

1. Daisy Miller - Henry James
2. 1001 Books for Every Mood - Hallie Ephron
3. The Rosary - Gary Jansen
4. A Short Guide to a Happy Life - Anna Quindlen
5. The Beach House - Jane Green
6. The Prodigal God - Timothy Keller
7. Being Perfect - Anna Quindlen
8. Showboat - Edna Ferber
9. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden - Joanne Greenberg
10. How Starbucks Saved My Life - Michael Gates Gill
11. Outlander (Book 1) - Diana Gabaldon
12. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
13. Lamb - Christopher Moore
14. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous
15. Turbulent Souls - Stephen Dubner
16. Shade's Children - Garth Nix
17. A Capatalist Romance - Ruth Brandon
18. Shade's Children - Garth Nix
19. A Capatalist Romance - Ruth Brandon
20. A Tale of Two Cities (audiobook - CD) - Charles Dickens
21. Summer (audiobook download) - Edith Wharton
22. Silas Marner (audiobook - CD) - George Eliott
23. Rage to Survive: The Etta James Story - Etta James & David Ritz
24. Waisted: A Memoir of Anorexia & Bulimia - Marya Hornbacher
25. The Third Jesus - Deepak Chopra


26. The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
27. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
28. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
29. Duma Key - Stephen King
30. Dead Man's Cell Phone - Sarah Ruhl
31. When The Heart Cries - Cindy Woodsmall
32. The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks
33. Have A Little Faith - Mitch Albom
34. Night Flight - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
35. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - Jacqueline Kelly
36. The Christmas List: A Novel - Richard Paul Evans
37. Crossing Over - Ruth Irene Garrett

Booking Through Thursday

What’s the worst book you’ve read recently? (I figure it’s easier than asking your all-time worst, because, well, it’s recent!)

Villette by Charolette Bronte

Long, Boring and I just didn't care about the Main Character. This is the type of book that turns readers off to Classics. Many people already think they are irrelevant, then you get something that is a yawn, and it just solidifies their thoughts.

Luckily I'm not one of those people, but this one, I would not recommend.

The Stephen King/Richard Bachman Challenge @ Book Geek!

OOOOOHHHH! I've been doing this on my own, now someone started a challenge, so I won't be doing it alone. yay!

There is no time limit. Click the picture above and you will be taken to the link with the instructions.

I have to admit, as much as I love Stephen King (my fav author) I have not read many of his books. But to be fair, I just became enamored with his writings in 2006, so I've only been at it for 3 years.

20 of my 101 memoirs / autobio / biographies

It will take some doing to find 101 M/A/B that I want to read. So far, I've managed to find 20 very interesting ones. I tend to read themes so I've grouped them that way.

Color Key: Read

Race Relations:
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
I'm Down by Mishna Wolff
One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life by Bliss Broyard
The Color of Water by James McBride
Dreams From my Father by Barak Obama

Religion: 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese
Crazy For God by Frank Schaeffer
Save Me From Myself by Brian Welch
The Christmas Box Miracle by Richard Paul Evans
A Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

A Backward Glance: An Autobiography by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton: A Biography by R.W.B. Lewis
The Fairytale of my Life: An Autobiography by Hans Christian Andersen

Celebrities: Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball
The Music of Silence by Andrea Boccelli
Rage to Survive by Etta James

Uncatagorized: Singing my Him Song by Malachy McCourt
A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt
My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands by Chealsea Handler (Various)
Wasted : a memoir of anorexia and bulimia byMarya Hornbacher

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Banned Book Challenge

I've decided to join the Banned Book Challenge during the month of September.

Banned Book week is September 26, 2009 - October 3, 2009.

During the month of September read at least one banned book. You can read as many as you like, but read at least one.

Here are just a few of those books (and reasons for the banning), these are the ones I've read.

Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
Reasons: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit

Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit

Forever, by Judy Blume
Reasons: sexual content and offensive language

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicity, and unsuited to age group

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Blubber, by Judy Blume
Deenie, by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Carrie, by Stephen King

Banned/Challenged Classics I've read:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The World According to Garp by John Irving
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

These books don't include what I started and didn't finish, and what is sitting on my shelves. The list is amazingly long. I'm pretty sure I'm going to tackle at least what is in my TBR pile. It's a good a time as any.

More Star Trek Reads


Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton

Wil Wheaton is fun and sometimes deliciously humorous in this book. Although at times the book takes a serious turn, Wil never loses his optimism. He talks about his early acting years and his time on the set of Star Trek: TNG. I found that chapter to be highly entertaining, educational and enlightening. You never really know what goes on behind the set. Wil is one of those attainable celebrities (as attainable as they get in the age of the internet), and currently blogs, and has a flickr page as well where he shares pictures of the more interesting snippets of his life. In this book he talks about his geekness with a lightness of heart, although I don’t think he’s a geek at all. Wil is still a classy actor and a great author.

From Amazon:The stories in Just a Geek include:

- Wil's plunge from teen star to struggling actor
- Discovering the joys of HTML, blogging, Linux, and web design
- The struggle between Wesley Crusher, Starfleet ensign, and Wil Wheaton,

author and blogger
- Gut-wrenching reactions to the 9-11 disaster
- Moving tales of Wil's relationships with his wife, step-children, and

extended family
- The transition from a B-list actor to an A-list author

Wil Wheaton--celebrity, blogger, and geek--writes for the geek in all of us. Engaging, witty, and pleasantly self-deprecating, Just a Geek will surprise you and make you laugh. (Yes it will)

* * *

The Valiant by Michael Jan Friedman


Interesting read. I like Star Trek books if they are well written. I really like the ones that look at the crews past and how they got their start in starfleet. Good backstory on this strong captain, some books should be written, this was one of them.

From Amazon:

The Stargazer is sent on a mission to investigate the tales of a pair of visitors proclaiming to be descendants of survivors of the Valiant, presumed lost in an attempt to cross the Galactic Barrier more than three hundred years earlier. On the edge of the galaxy, the Stargazer is ambushed by Nuyyad warships, leaving her second officer, Lieutenant Commander Jean-Luc Picard, with his first command, as his captain and first officer were casualties of the unexpected melee.

Now trapped on the wrong side of the Barrier, beyond hope of any help from Starfleet and the commanding officers he once served, Picard finds himself isolated and under siege, the crew's trust his to win or lose. He is caught between the suspicions of his mysterious charges and his bond with the stunningly beautiful and psychically gifted woman, which could be a bridge between the Federation's past and his singular future. The fate of his own crew and possibly all of Starfleet weightily seated upon his inexperienced shoulders, Picard wrestles with his dilemma. Can he trust her? Can he trust himself? Within such unforgiving fires, a future commander is forged.

* * *

Boogeymen (Star Trek: The Next Generation, No. 17) by Mel Gilden


I tend to rate Star Trek books 4 stars or better, however, this one I cannot. I can only give it 2 out of 5 stars. I really didn't like it. There was an idea there and this is what intrigued me, but I found the story disjointed. I also found it didn't ring true. Picard even considering helping his friend at the expense of his crew is his nature. Picard would risk himself first. So yeah, not one of my favs.

From Amazon:
Eric Baldwin is the Federation's premier exologist, a specialist in all manner of alien life forms -- and one of Captain Picard's oldest, most trusted friends. But Baldwin's discoveries have made him enemies across the galaxy, and now he wants Picard to help him by erasing all traces of his existence.

But Picard soon finds himself with little time to worry about Baldwin's problems. For the U.S.S. Enterprise™. has suddenly become a strange and dangerous place -- a ship where assassins lurk in every corner, and even old trusted friends are not what they seem. Threats all masterminded by the strangest race of aliens Picard and his crew have yet encountered.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

101 books in 1,001 Days

I've done a 1,001 day challenge in the past, of course I failed. But I've never done a 101 books in 1,001 day challenge. Now of course reading 101 books in 1,001 days is too easy for me. So I have to find a way to make it harder. Now I picked that genre because I love them, so it will be enjoyable, and I'll probably read 101 in 18 months, but hey, it is a goal.

So I've decided to try to read 101 memoir/autobiographies/biographies in 1,001 days. That is approx 3 m/a/b a month, now that's a challenge!

I tallied up all my m/a/b reads in recent years. I got 45. I didn't count the ones I read in my 20s, I stuck with the 30s up. Since I started keeping track of exactly what I've been reading (2006) I have read 36 m/a/b. I guess if I work at it, I should be able to get to 101 in 2 years and 9 months.

Start date: August 11, 2009
End date: May 11, 2012

Currently reading
Nothing in this genre at the moment

1) Rage to Survive - Etta James
2) Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia & Bulimia - Mayra Hornbacher
3) The Last Lecture - Randy Paucsh
4) The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5) Einstein: His Life and Universe - Walter Isaacson
6) Have A Little Faith - Mitch Albom

Others that will be on the list include:
A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt
Singing my Him Song by Malachy McCourt
Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball

Non-Fiction Stephen King

This past year I've had the joy of reading two non-fiction books. One was writting by Stephen King, one was about his works.


The Complete Stephen King Universe: A Guide to the Worlds of Stephen King by Stanley Wiater

I read this book in October 2008, while on Jury Duty, great place to read something like this, I would have been bored out of my mind otherwise.

I learned a lot from this book. I learned the inside workings of his mind and why he writes what he does. This book allowed my interest in his other works to grow. I haven't read or seen many of his works, but after reading this guide, I wanted to read and see everything, mainly to see what they were talking about.

As far as I can tell, this guide lists most of his work up until publication, it included the "Dark Tower Series", so it was a revised edition.

One book that is now on my 'to read' list that wasn't on there before is "The Stand". I think this is a nice companion to people who want to get more into the world of Stephen King.


Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing by Stephen King

This one I just finished. I got it from an Amazon seller as you cannot buy it anywhere. It was a Book Club selection a few years back. I scored.

This rare collection of Essays and Fiction by Stephen King is a must have for any King fan. The majority of this book consists of essays with some interviews and two fiction stories. If you enjoyed "On Writing", you will find King's wit and humor in this book just as appealing. Although King is primarily a horror writer, this book can be read by anyone interested in writing in any genre, the nucleus is there in all he says.

Out of the fiction in ths book, "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet", which is labeled as a novella was the fiction piece I enjoyed the most. The metaphor of the fexible bullet and the way the story was crafted was true 'King'.

* * *

One day in the near future, I will review the Stephen King novels I have read. I've only read a few at this point.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Believe by Dan Oran


I think I got wind of this book on my Facebook page. It kept creeping up in the sidebar, so I went to read about it and was interested. It was a Beta version for Kindle only, it wasn't much, I'm not sure what the price was but I think I paid $2.74. I had downloaded it and forgotten about it and then I remembered, so I started reading it. I was very pleased. Below is the synopsis:

Late December is a season of miracles, from the return of longer days to the commemoration of a long-ago birth that continues to inspire the faithful.
This short novel is set at that wondrous time of the year. On December 25, a man with amnesia -- and surprising talents -- appears at a Manhattan hospital. A struggling young doctor befriends the man, and together they search for the truth. It's a story about friendship and faith. And it's also a story about ripples: how the actions of one person can affect so many others.

So after reading that, I am sure you can imagine who the guy with amnesia is. After all, it is December 25th. But the story was not what I expected. Taking place in New York City made it especially enjoyable for me. I would think anyone reading this would have some thought of belief in Christ to take much away from it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Book Shelf From Hell

My books

Don't pass out.

Over the next few months I will TRY to organize this. This is the biggest shelf in my house. I have one small one and one bakers rack filled with books. Thought it doesn't look like there is a method to the madness, there is. However, there has to be a better way to organize don't you think?

Now this was taken a few years back, does it look any different? Yes, it looks worse.

I will be updating my progress, so stay tuned.

On a similar note, I cleaned up my LIBRARY THING.

The only books on there now are the one's I've read. Not ones I want to read or are just sitting on my shelves. All books read and rated (and tagged).

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Beach House by Jane Green

The Beach House by Jane Green


Sixty-five-year-old Nan Powell has lived comfortably and happily in Nantucket since the suicide of her husband, Everett, so she is thrown for a loop when she learns that she is in danger of losing her beloved house. After weighing her options, Nan decides to turn her home into a bed-and-breakfast. The guests she gets for the summer are all at a crossroads in their lives in one way or another. Daniel has just separated from his wife and is facing something he has denied for years; Daff is recovering from the heartbreak of a divorce and getting a much-needed break from her anger-filled 13-year-old daughter; and Nan’s son Michael is on the run from a disastrous affair. Nan finds herself opening up to her guests and enjoying their company, but she is shocked when she discovers a person close to one of them has a startling connection to her.

My Thoughts:
This is the third Jane Green book I've read. The first one Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans was outstanding. I read that in a few hours. I thought I found my new favorite author, so I read another book - Mr. Maybe and was less than impressed. A few years spanned between those books and The Beach House. Not one of my favorite books, but it was a worthy effort and an interesting story.

3 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Daisy Miller by Henry James

Daisy Miller by Henry James
80 Pages


Henry James's classic story of a young American woman who while traveling in Europe is courted by Frederick Winterbourne. Originally published in The Cornhill Magazine in 1878, "Daisy Miller" is a novel that plays upon the contrast between American and European society that is common to James's work. The title character's youthful innocence is sharply contrasted with the sophistication of European society in this fatefully tragic tale.

My Thoughts
Is Herny James capable of writing strong women characters? Yes he is, but Daisy Miller is not one of them. Written in 1878 Daisy Miller is potrayed as a silly American abroad. I was disappointed in this work, because I am familiar with his stronger works, such as Washington Square that was only written three years later. So I will chalk Daisy Miller up to a hiccup and a burp from the talented Mr. James.

2 out of 5 Stars


I read a lot of books a year. This year my goal is for 75 books. I'm at 41 books at the moment, A little over 4 months to go to get to 75.

Now I read a lot of non-fiction books that I'm sure many will not find terribly interesting, but I will put those I think others might like, as well as my fiction reads.