Halfway: A Reevaluation

For a challenge that started off strong, I have completely fallen apart. Part of this is due to the fact that I was supposed to have my Hawkeye Vol. 4 like two months ago and still don’t and it’s just gotten into my head as “I can’t start reading a new book until I’ve finished the last one.” Part of it is also due to the fact that I unexpectedly was unable to get one of the Ireland books I was going to read for an Irish sub-series (like the Russian one I did). So with two things to throw me off the stride . . . well, the real “death blow” came by means of some really good news . . .


Yes, that’s right, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks painting and moving into my new apartment, my own home, my 900 square foot palace. I’m not yet sleeping there, but, you know, I’ve paid my first month’s rent and I’m getting there. At least it’s there to be gotten to, right? Of course, that level of distraction has helped me not want to read anything at all. But I’m tired of not reading, so I think the only thing to do is reorganize my challenge.

PopSugar claims that their Reading Challenge 2015 is the “ultimate reading challenge” (here). Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. The gist is 52 books for 52 weeks.

2015 in Books

Continue reading

Eye of the cat


Another week, another book down! The 2015 Sugar Challenge continues. I made some more rearrangements, for various reasons, and now present

Week 13, A book from an author I love, but that I haven’t read yet.

And this was very exciting, because I chose Roger Zelazny, but thought I would be fairly limited in what I could choose. Most of his stuff is out of print, and the one I’d chosen to read — the sequel to a prequel I accidentally read last year — was going to be hard to find. And then at the end of February, I found an entire stack of Reader’s Club edition Zelazny books I’d never read before!

Continue reading


Russian Trio, the Third

Actually finished this book last weekend, not this past weekend, but I’m not going to hang myself up particularly on the minutiae of when exactly I finished a book. Interestingly, this was one of the first books I chose for the challenge, and it fits perfectly in the category because a huge part of why I wanted to read it at all was its being set in Moscow . . .

Week 12, A book set in a different country.

Also, as I mentioned not long ago in discussing Mowgli, I have a fascination with feral children. I came across this book while cataloging a few months ago, and while I wasn’t quite gripped enough (as with Room) to drop everything and read it, it did stay with me enough to be one of the books on this list I’ve really been looking forward to.

Continue reading


Russian Trio, the Second

I wonder what makes the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. I suppose an autobiography attempts to be more factual and/or exhaustive while a memoir selects various anecdotes from a particular time frame and strings them together into a series. The autobiography can give you the facts of a person’s entire life while a memoir gives you a personal recollection of a part of it. There is a difference, but interestingly, the fixed fields in cataloging don’t differentiate, using “a” to designate either autobio or memoir. I’m not big on the autobiography/memoir genre. But this is —

Week 11, A memoir.

Also, part of the three Russiany books I read at once. It might have been more fitting to do this one first and then Special Purpose, allowing the fictional book set in both the 80s and the 1900s to bridge for me, but, what I have written is what I have written.

Continue reading


Russian Trio, the First

I’m aware of the fact that this is March and the Irish have absolutely taken over and inundated March. And that my obsession with Ireland ought to lead me to go into Irish overdrive aroundabout now. I’m also aware that for the Russian object of my affection, March is a time of pain and tragedy. But I’m posting Russiany stuff now and you will live. I actually have a couple of weeks grouped into themes in the Sugar challenge, and the Irish quartet is at present some two months from now. Anyway, here is this week’s topic book, which is fitting for both Irish and Russian things —

Week 10, A book that made you cry.

Anyway, that the man who wrote this is Irish, so there you go. I moved it up from where it was because I just addressed it last week and wanted to do all these together. And this turned out to be oh, so fitting, because not only did I cry through the last few chapters the first time I read it, but this time, I almost cried through the whole thing. This book hurts so very good. (Oh, and this review is spoilery. For the spoiler-free version, try here.)

Continue reading

(An illustration of du Maurier's grandfather's, a parody of Camelot)

The Gift of Madness

Here I am with the next installment of the sugar challenge! I’d wanted to arrange things so that all my Russian reading would kind of coincide — because I will in fact be reviewing House of Special Purpose on the heels of my character discussion from Sunday — but I already had this book from the library and therefore things are going to be less thematic than I would like. However, I am proud to report that it’s finally not an abysmal disappointment and I have some nice things to say at last!

Week nine, A book by a female author.

I had initially considered this book for several different locations on the challenge — including thriller, classic romance, and short stories, as I found out more about it — but in all honesty I couldn’t be happier about keeping it where I initially put it in my first iteration of the challenge. Because with it being “book by a female author,” I really want to focus on the author. Without further ado, I give you . . . some of the most fundamentally brainscamming short stories I’ve ever read from a truly mad mind.

Continue reading


Day 14: Favorite Older Male Character

In no way did I plan this, but now I’m lamenting that I didn’t plan it a bit better. I’m wishing that this either went next Sunday, or that I could switch this week’s book with next week’s, so that this could all go together in a row — but since I didn’t even expect them to all appear within a week of each other, and am not willing to disarrange anything further, I’ll work with what I have.

This is a story about a boy. A little boy and his cebu. A little boy and his three cebu. No, I tell a lie, it’s not, but it’s a story that I tumbled upon quite by accident while I was living in Bloomingto. I haven’t craved the written word that way since spring 2012, and hadn’t craved it before then for many years. (For an explanation on this phenomena, see this post.) But during that book binge, I discovered a number of books that I know I will love forever — and among them is the scintillating The House of Special Purpose. My surprisingly non-verbose review is one of my most-liked review on Goodreads, with 18 likes and two comments; you can read it (here) — but more than that, wait a week and I’ll review it for the Pop Sugar 2015 reading challenge, because it’s “a book that made me cry”! For that very reason — two reviews of a book is quite enough — I’m going to completely focus on the character and not the book at all for this post.

Continue reading


Day 13: Favorite Male Book Character

Somehow, I’ve always avoided using Star Wars books when it comes to answering book questions. Perhaps because I’ve always kind of taken them as “not quite books,” because Star Wars is, to me, this overarching thing that transcends its medium. But with Zaphod Beeblebrox already covered, I turn without shame to a book character I have underrated up until last year. A character who, the more I read of him, is a character I would no longer hesitate to say is the one I’d have brought out of a book and into real life if that were an option.

But first, because you know me very well and I wouldn’t want to disappoint your prediction, a little prologuery.

Continue reading

Shrewsbury Station

Day 12: Favorite Male Character in a Movie

And continuing the trend of over-analyzing this . . . initially wasn’t going to go this direction because this character appears in a movie and a book, and I would’ve liked this to be more purely movie since it specifies movie; however, I’m not as keen on his character in the book. I almost skipped it again because I talked about Jurassic Park in the last iteration of this challenge — and I think I even could’ve justified him in the same slot as JP last time, because I actually like both* Jurassic Park movies equally, and no one else in the world seems to.

Of course, by now, you quite probably have guessed who I’m going to say. After all, is there more than one guy in both JP movies to like? No. There is not. But I’ll still do the reveal after the jump for the sake of tradition if not of suspense.

*Throughout this post, you will no doubt notice my dogged repetition of both when referring to the JP canon. That’s right; there are two. There are two books, there are two movies, and there are no further sequels. Period. End of the discussion.

Continue reading