February 2015

February was a real struggle for the Reading Challenge. I started many books, but between school getting into full-swing and catching up with work from missed snow days, I’ve felt rather scattered.  Every weekend has been rather social, despite the weekly snow storms. Also, things like laundry haven’t been as much of a priority due to general winter lethargy. Instead, I spent much time obtaining audiobook versions of the books I currently own, importing them to my computer, and transferring them over to my phone in preparation to listen. Of those, most of them are quite lengthy: 1Q84 (Murakami), The Night Angel Trilogy (Weeks), 11/22/63 (King), Revival (King), Incubus Dreams (Hamilton)…

So, although I wasn’t able to cross very many off the list this month, I should be able to make up for it soon. We’re also only 9 weeks into the year, meaning my average has been two books a week! Here we go — completed books in February:

discovery of witches deborah harkness
A book with magic: A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
the magician king, magicians, lev grossman
A book with nonhuman characters: The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
hatchet gary paulsen
A book written by an author with your same initials: Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
the hours michael cunningham
A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: The Hours, by Michael Cunningham

 

I quite liked each of these books, actually… each for different reasons. Though Hatchet wasn’t my favorite, I now understand why it’s so popular with schools. Though, Paulen has a habit of repeating the same thing three-times over throughout the book…

A Discovery of Witches made me think of a grown-up version of a lot of teen paranormal romance books.

The Hours was beautiful, as was the film. I’ve always loved Michael Cunningham’s writing.

The Magician King may have claimed the highest rank this month. I read through it pretty quickly compared to the others, and I think I enjoyed it more than the first. The Magician’s Land is another that I have queued up in my audiobooks, but I don’t think I’ll count that one. I’ve found so many trilogies that I wanted to count, however, I had read the first installment prior to this year, so I’ve ruled them out…. Which is a real shame. That said, I was able to get a hold of audios for The Night Angel Trilogy which I’ve had since high school, so I’m looking forward to finally knocking those out!

 

Other’s I’m currently reading for the challenge include:

  • Siege and Storm – Leigh Bardugo
  • The Way of the Shadows – Brent Weeks
  • The Kiss of Deception – Mary Pearson
  • Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen

 

BEA – Books Everywhere…Ahhh!

Where do I even begin?

The last few days have been incredible — and I know my tendency to blather on about things I find exciting, but I’ll try to keep my gushing to a minimum.

This year, I had the wondrous opportunity to attend BEA – Book Expo America – which, I’m convinced, is where all my dreams come from. My favorite wordsmith, Jane Yolen, along with her daughter, Heidi Stemple, ushered me to the convention as Morpheus and Hypnos would upon a dark steed (or in this case, their black Hyundai), through the perilous nightmares of New York City streets.

36 books, 21.5 miles, 3 car jump starts and 1 sippy cup later (and only one caffeinated beverage!), I’m back home, still reeling from how much was packed into the last three days.

My biggest take-aways from my first BEA:

The hype is real and it’s a lot of fun!  Now, here’s what I’m going to tell you… because somehow I missed this in all my preparations… What I failed to gather was an understanding as to just how much time I would spend standing in line.

My first stop was waiting in line for Neil Patrick Harris. Letdown #1: a billion other people thinking the exact same thing. Letdown #2: He might not get to sign for everyone. Letdown #3: Rather than a full galley copy, he was signing a sample.  Whoa, whoa… a sample? What is this?? I stood in line for 45 minutes for someone to hand me a 30 page pamphlet? Why would I want this signed? That’s when reality set in. I ditched the line.

Til I got sucked in again when I saw Anjelica Huston. (At least this time, it was a hardcover copy of the full book!) And again for Marie Lu. And Rainbow Rowell. And Lev Grossman. And Tim Federle. And Ally Condie… Though there were so many I missed! Garth Nix, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, David Levithan, R.L. Stein, Stan Lee, A.S. King, Alan Cumming, Jane Lynch, Gregory Maguire… and Grumpy Cat 😦

Luck was not on my side when it came to any author in the autographing area. Each attempt was thwarted by a early closed line, or a mile-long line of squatters. Squatters. You know, the folks that decide to sit down because they’ve been waiting in line since the night before the universe was created. That kind of patience extended ell beyond my threshold for this event. Whether I arrived an hour before a signing, or ten minutes before a signing, I never stood a chance. That’s another thing: expect your plans to be changed. All of the authors mentioned above were those I intended on meeting, but then again, I suppose meeting 1/3 of my list isn’t too bad.

Instead, I found my biggest rewards at book drops. That’s where a publisher births about 100 ARCs on a tabletop while people rush by and swoop them up. These lines, though also rather long, rush through rather quickly, usually yielding a satisfying three or four ARCs at a time.

What I missed out on the most were the author panels (many took place on Saturday, the day after I left when BEA became open to the public) but also on the conferences and talks. I inadvertently bypassed so many networking opportunities with other bloggers. Though, I should point out, the few that I met while waiting in lines were all lovely! Here’s to hoping I’ll get to attend next year!

In the meantime, I submit this list of acquisitions to my Sickness. These were not purchased! So based on my original rule set, they’re acceptable additions. With all of these new ARCs, I will need to revisit and reformat how to account for them… But until then…:

 

  1. Trial By Fire – Josephine Angelini
  2. Miles to Go – Connie Bailey
  3. Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas – Stephanie Barron
  4. Witch Island – David Bernstein
  5. The Iron Trail – Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
  6. Atlantia (sample) – Ally Condie
  7. The Emissary – Patricia Cori
  8. So We Read On – Maureen Corrigan
  9. Not My Father’s Son – Alan Cumming
  10. Hell to Pay – Garry Disher
  11. Endgame: The Calling – James Grey & Nils Johnson-Shelton
  12. The Magician’s Land – Lev Grossman
  13. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (sample) – Neil Patrick Harris
  14. Skink– No Surrender – Carl Hiaasen
  15. Bombay Blues – Tanuja Desai Hidier
  16. The Devil’s Intern – Donna Hosie
  17. Flying Shoes – Lisa Howorth
  18. A Story Lately Told – Angelica Huston
  19. Mastering Toby – Jan Irving
  20. Evil Librarian – Michelle Knudsen
  21. Amulet: Escape from Lucien – Kazu Kibuishi
  22. The Young Elites (sample) – Marie Lu
  23. On A Clear Day – Walter Dean Myers
  24. Last Winter We Parted – Fuminori Nakamuri
  25. Young Houdini: The Magician’s Fire – Simon Nicholson
  26. Clariel – Garth Nix
  27. King Dork Approximately – Frank Portman
  28. Mort(e) – Robert Repino
  29. Jackaby – William Ritter
  30. Landline – Rainbow Rowell
  31. Dataclysm – Christian Rudder
  32. I Became Shadow – Joe Shine
  33. Sway – Kat Spears
  34. A Sudden Light – Garth Stein
  35. Sisters – Raina Telgemeier
  36. The Black Butterfly – Shirley Reva Vernick