Books and birthdays.

Friday, April 8, 2011 -- 11:41 pm

In all of the crazed wedding prep hubbub, I've sort of forgotten that my birthday is also coming up right away.  I had a lengthy debate with Mason a few nights back about how old I was turning this year; me insisting I was turning 27 and he quite confident that no, I would be turning 26.  As it turns out, apparently I don't even know my own age.  I am, in fact, only 25 -- not 26 as I've steadfastly believed all this time.  This realization is extremely discontenting.  I've been living a horrible filthy lie for the past year and I didn't even know it!  D:  *Awash in a traumatizing sea of sudden insecurity and double-guessing of oneself*

On the flip side, you know what the perfect present a man could get his soon-to-be 27 26 year-old confused wife?  That's right, a Miche bag! *Glee!*  I decided on the bigger "max" size bag, because I'm always cramming extra stuff in my purse, not to mention the occasional giant hardcover book.  Selecting my choice of two shells was hard, there's a lot of really nice ones, but I finally settled on the "Allison" and "Lauren" styles:

So pretty! Plus you can find pretty good deals on second-hand shells on eBay, so that'll be the next place I hit up next time I'd like to buy a new one.  Very excited for my shiny new bag(s) to arrive in approximately 5 - 10 business days~  :3

In book related news, here's the lowdown on my reads over the past couple of weeks:

  • Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
    A once-successful writer, Henry, living in a foreign city receives an envelope one day among his usual fan mail, containing a note asking for help and a single scene from a play featuring two characters named Beatrice and Virgil.  He decides to deliver his response to the letter in person and finds himself in a taxidermist's shop.  There he meets the eldery, mysterious owner who introduces him to the two characters from his play -- a stuffed donkey and howler monkey, and Henry's life changes forever.  *Du du DUUUUUUH*  (Can you tell I totally rip these summaries off from other sources at times?  I'm so lazy.)  I was really excited to hear that Yann Martel had written a new book, as his second novel, Life of Pi, is one of my all time faves.  For whatever reason this new book hasn't been very good reviews on Goodreads, but I liked it myself.  Not amazing, but enjoyable.  I think I actually appreciated it more than others because I'd accidentally spoiled the ending for myself beforehand so I was reading into all of the abstract stuff knowing what most of it meant before the realization is supposed to come at the end.  3/5

    BTW, looks like a movie adaptation of Life of Pi is finally in the works.  Like all great books I love that get turned into movies, I'm excited but apprehensive about this news.  Please do the book justice!
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
    The first novel in a trilogy, this steampunk-ish take on some of the events surrounding WWI splits its time between two main characters -- Aleksandar Ferdinand, fugitive prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; and Deryn Sharp, a daring British airwoman disguised as a boy.  The book pits the mechanical might of mecha-like "clankers" against fabricated splices of specially-engineered "beasties" in the place of the usual WWI war machines (hence the steampunk slant.)  The story was okay, slow to start off with (especially Alek's storyline, which I found dull compared to Deryn's) but it did pick up as the book went on.  To be honest I think the biggest turn off for me in this book was simply the steampunk theme itself, I'm just not a huge fan of the genre in general.  I also have some serious issues with the disturbing way the British forces apply the use of the spliced creatures they create...  Hurling bats into propeller blades as a weapon...?  Engineering giant flying whales with pipes and airship engines molded into it's gut...?  The creep factor is high here, folks.  I hope the WWI equivalent of PETA lays some much-needed smack down in the sequel.  3/5
  • Moxyland by Lauren Beukes
    I probably shouldn't even be talking about this one yet since it's our most recent book club assignment and we haven't had our meet up yet, but oh well; I'll just rant about it a second time in much greater detail at our next meeting.  If that wasn't a hint for you, no, I didn't enjoy this book very much at all.  It takes place in a high-tech futuristic version of Cape Town, South Africa, following around a couple different groups of all equally annoying, obnoxious, hipster-like central characters who I spent most of my time just wanting to smack across the face.  It's unfortunate that the characters were all so unlikable because the story concept itself could have been pretty interesting otherwise, if not for the constant feeling like it was being narrated by four punk teenagers from Nexopia.  *Rips at hair*  2/5

While I was by the library today I picked up a few new books, the first one of which I just started this afternoon and isn't actually that new for me at all.  Beauty is a YA retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast tale that I absolutely loved when I was in Junior High.  I think I checked it out from our school library three different times, and I just couldn't resist picking myself up a copy today and seeing if it was as good as I remember it being.  Turns out -- it is!  :D  I'm really enjoying reading through it again, and I think I may need to track myself down a copy of it to buy permanently for my own bookshelf~

Tawnie says:
April 9th, 2011 -- 8:45 am

I'm curious about Beauty. I haven't heard good things about it, but with your review, I will give it a try!

There's a book I loved reading when I was in Junior High, it was called The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman. It's a classic! I think I read it about five times, which is new for me because I usally don't read books more than once. The only other book I've read more than once was Rememberance by Theresa Breslin. It's a WWI book, if you're interested. I got it at the St. A library and I'm sure that it's still there.

Brenna says:
April 9th, 2011 -- 1:55 pm

You really should give it a go, if you like the classic Beauty and the Beast tale then you'd probably enjoy this one. Goodreads also gives it an average rating of 4.07 out of 5.

I've also added the Kate Bjorkman book you mention to my to-read list. I don't typically like reading romance novels, but from some of the reviews I glanced at it sounds like it's pretty funny~

Coleen says:
April 11th, 2011 -- 8:21 am

No you reading Flowers for Algernon? Don't I HATED that book, it made my physically angry and upset. I punch a pillow while reading it I was so mad.

Brenna says:
April 11th, 2011 -- 10:03 am

*Sweatdrop* If it makes you feel any better I finished it this morning, so I'm not reading it anymore! ^^; Parts of it made me angry, but mostly it just made me very sad.

Amanda says:
April 11th, 2011 -- 9:58 pm

Flowers for Algernon is a great book! And, yes, terribly sad.

Good call on reading Clan of the Cave Bear - I should read the rest of that series, but I was distracted by the Song of Ice and Fire series! This Sunday, Game of Thrones comes on HBO (the first book in the series) with SEAN FREAKING BEAN as Eddard Stark. It looks like the Return of Boromir (I have no problems with this!) - but yeah, those books are behemoths!

I just bought Deathless and The Name of the Wind...on top of ALL my other books :S Stupid e-book addict who buys faster than she can read... speaking of which...buying Beauty now.

Brenna says:
April 11th, 2011 -- 10:34 pm

Clan of the Cave Bear has been on my to-read list for a while so when I saw it at the library I made sure to scoop it up! I'm only 30 pages in or so but it seems interesting enough so far.

And yeah, I heard about the Game of Thrones HBO series -- I haven't read the books yet (they're on my list too) but I may watch the show for glorious Sean Bean smexiness~

For the e-book readers, do you buy all of your books or have you found that it's pretty easy to find and download free copies? I keep flipping back and forth on whether I want an e-reader or not, but I wouldn't if I knew I had to pay for all of my e-books. :P Between library books and free books from volunteering and cheap used books, I don't think I could ever go back to paying for all the books I want to read. ^^;

Brenna says:
April 11th, 2011 -- 10:36 pm

Also! Amanda, you need to update your Goodreads account more! How am I supposed to stalk you and what you're reading if you never update your online shelves?

Amanda says:
April 11th, 2011 -- 10:51 pm

Im sorry!! It became a lot of work. I think I forgot how to log in too - Ill go do that later.

You can get pretty much all of the classics for free. New books are cheaper, average about 7 bucks. I have...downloaded some PDFs and converted them myself (they don`t always turn out good) - For example, Beauty is not available on kindle so Im going to try and find alternate methods... All of that aside, I love the convenience - for example, while Im eating, I don`t have to flip pages or hold it open, its just the press of a button. Amazing for the treadmill as well! Ive decided that Im going to buy all new books on my kindle and buy used for my wizard-library.

My biggest complaint is that it freezes a lot but maybe its because I throw it in my purse willy nilly.

Brenna says:
April 11th, 2011 -- 11:08 pm

Do you have an iPhone? There's a Goodreads app that's really awesome -- that's how I usually update everything on my GR account. I also find it really convenient to have on my phone because if I'm at a bookstore or library I can whip it out and check my shelves to see if I've already read something or I can add something new that I see.

And yeah, the e-reader appeals to me for the convenience and portability factor -- it would be especially handy for on vacations so I'm not filling my suitcase full of reading material. =_=

Amanda says:
April 12th, 2011 -- 6:06 pm

I do have an iPhone! Ill pick that up toute suite!

I mean, if youre iffy about an ereader - you could just get a tablet (like the ipad) and get the kindle app for it. Or even a ereader that has more functions than just ebooks. I chose the kindle because I knew I could use it internationally and it had free built-in 3G (though the browser sucks! I just use it to buy books on the go). You might the Kobo or whatever its called, is more to your liking.

I wouldnt get anything backlit personally. The kindle puts no more strain on your eyes than a regualr book would do and the battery life is

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