Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Location!

Blog has moved >>>

I wish I didn't have to move it but there is no way to change the blog name/domain, and 'pleut' just doesn't cut it. I'm still seeing if I like the WordPress format, but it did allow me to transfer everything (posts, tags, comments, everything) with the click of a button.

So, sorry for the inconvience, but all new posts can be found there at the new site.

Happy reading!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Battle of the Labyrinth

The Battle of the Labyrinth
by Rick Riordan

Awesome! More rip-roaring fun from author Rick Riordan in this 4th book of the series. Here's an author who really shines in the gradual culmination of a larger plot; his individual books shine on their own yet move smoothly toward the final goal. I love all the mythological facts and quirks he includes in the story, plus the trip through America's greatest places.

lol, found this snippet of conversation on Book Dweeb's blog:
kawzmikgirl Says:

Is this series REALLY worth my time? LOL No, but really. Is it good?

Team Edward!

Book Dweeb Says:

You HAVE to check out this series if:

a. you like mythology at all
b. you like funny things
c. you are breathing

So, yeah, it is REALLY worth your time.

Oh, and…Team Jacob!

That was back in May when the book came out. I think it's so funny how the Twilight series unites readers everywhere...
I love Book Dweeb's blog, his/her critiques are informative yet succinct, telling me what I want to know. For instance, the next book I check out will be "Dragon Slippers" by Jessica Day George, a recent post. :)

Summary of Battle of the Labyrinth: “Even Camp Half-Blood isn’t safe, as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth — a sprawling underground world with surprises and danger at every turn. Along the way Percy will confront powerful enemies, find out the truth about the lost god Pan, and face the Titan lord Kronos’s most terrible secret. The final war begins . . . with the Battle of the Labyrinth.”

Saturday, August 16, 2008

NEA's Big Read: Top 100

This was originally posted by Ginny over at She has a really cool blog, you should check it out.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has an initiative you may have heard of called the Big Read. According to the Web site, its purpose is to "restore reading to the center of American culture." They estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

For fun, let's see how many of the top 100 books we've actually read. My list is below. How well did you do? Have you read more than 6?

Here's what you do:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you own but haven't yet read.
3) Put a star by those you intend to read someday but don't own.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte*
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell*
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens*
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott*
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (now why is this one separate from the other Tolkien series?)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams*
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck*
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy*
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden*
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown*
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood worst. book. ever.
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan*
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley*
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon*
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck*
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White*
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom*
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle*
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So I've read 22. Need to get on that...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Book release party: Breaking Dawn

It's here! The fourth book in the series by Stephenie Meyer, completing the story of Bella and Edward.

I went to the Borders Release Party last night, it was very fun. Borders is always a rockin' place, but packed with 100 Twilight fans? Heck ya! There was a book discussion forum, a style show, and they showed previews of the upcoming Twilight movie. The costumes weren't nearly as showy as the Harry Potter crowd, but some of the t-shirts were top notch and one group dressed up as the Volturi (nice one).

It started at 9:30. At midnight came the actual book release. Everyone that pre-ordered got a wristband with a number, and people stood in line in groups of 50s. The Borders staff really handled it well and shockingly had the first 200 copies out in about 20 minutes!

So if you've never been to a release party before, grab some friends and go! They are a blast.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Mango-Shaped Space

A Mango-Shaped Space
by Wendy Mass

A children's book about the struggles of a girl with synesthesia. Here is an interesting conversation about the book and the condition in general (notice that the author Wendy Mass piped in to the discussion):

In any case, this book is a good read for an insider's view of synesthesia and what it would be like to have it. The author did extensive research to provide a good picture to the reader.

Wendy Mass' website on the book:

Crispin: At the Edge of the World

Crispin: At the Edge of the World
by Avi

Oh my goodness. Could this book be any more unfortunate? So depressing! How did the decision get made to kill off Bear, Crispin's one link to reality on earth? And this book felt like one giant segue; they talk about going to the 'edge of the world' and then in the very last few paragraphs, "Well, I guess we're going to the edge of the world." Like that wasn't already determined... can we get to some substance to match the title already?

What this book does have are good glimpses of life in the olden days of England. That part was very interesting, talking about the different regions, how people move around, the conflicts with France.

Maybe the last book will wrap everything up and actually make sense.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

SAT Book List

SAT Book List

I'm a college-bound almost-senior, so my next and final SAT on October 4th is weighing heavily on my mind. For all you other 2400 hopefuls out there, here is a list of good books to read in preparation. Of course as I read them they will appear on this blog with a review and a yay/nay for enjoyment/helpfulness. In the meantime, enjoy.

A Brief History of Time -- Stephen Hawking
QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter -- Richard P. Feynman
The Mismeasure of Man -- Stephen Jay Gould
The Lives of a Cell -- Lewis Thomas
The Republic -- Plato
Democracy in America -- Alexis DeTocqueville
Civilization and Its Discontents -- Sigmond Freud
The Language Instinct -- Steven Pinker
How the Mind Works -- Steven Pinker
(Seen in a review from "If How the Mind Works were a rock show, tickets would be scalped for $100.")
A People's History of the US -- Howard Zinn
Freakonomics -- Stephen Levitt & Steven Dubner

Crime and Punishment -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Metamorphosis & Other Stories -- Franz Kafka
Narratives of the Life of Frederick Douglas
Life of Pi -- Yann Martel
The Color Purple -- Alice Walker
Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand
Frankenstein -- Mary Shelley
Pride and Prejudice -- Jane Austen
Baby, It's Cold Inside -- S. J. Perelman
Best American Short Stories of the Century -- John Updike
Growing Up -- Russell Baker
The Wall -- John Hersey
Candide -- Voltaire
Macbeth -- William Shakespeare
The Painted Bird -- Jerzy Kosinski
One Hundred Years of Solitude -- Gabriel García Márquez

The Chomsky Reader -- Chomsky
The World is Flat -- Friedman
Drift and Mastery -- Lippmann
The Best American Essays -- Atwan
Walden -- Thoreau
Lanterns & Lances -- Thurber
> plus other media:
The Op-Ed pages of the New York Times
The Nation
Scientific American
Essays in Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, and the New Yorker
Sunday Magazine

More ways to prepare:
Talk to smart adults and friends with good vocabularies
Read college-level books
Watch documentaries
Listen to National Public Radio
~ try out new words on your own
~ get a dictionary with pronunciation and etymology

And lastly, don't forget to practice writing essays. You only have 25 minutes to 'present and support a point of view on a specific issue' as well as you can.

Go to the College Board site for even more info:


Sabriel • Lirael
by Garth Nix

Wow, quite a series. I love this style so much better than Garth Nix's other series, Keys of the Kingdom.

One day I sat down at the library with his Across the Wall - a collection of short stories that he has jotted down over the years. It was a neat read, almost like meeting the author in person. The 'interactive narrative' was a blast, I was cracking up the whole way and it brought me back to Paris with scenes of the Seine and Three Musketeer-ness. One of my favorite stories was the one about the gardner and the king who kept taking his roses. Interesting how such a powerful feeling can be produced in such a short passage.

Can't wait to read the next one!

Gregor the Overlandor

Gregor the Overlander and Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane
by Suzanne Collins

Worth reading. It is for a little bit younger audience but I still enjoyed it very much. The author describes it as her New York version of Alice in Wonderland. She has created a fascinating world full of danger but also hope.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Host

The Host
by Stephenie Meyer

Eeep! Just finished it; the ending is like being hurled from a giant catapult, a crazily spinning carousel with the colors brightening each moment. Awesome.

My only, tiny, inconsequential, and petty qualms: First, I liked Melanie's body better. Sorry, I can't help it. I don't think Meyer was totally enthused about it either; she pointed out quite a bit of difficulties. But it wasn't what I imagined in my head for the wonderful Wanderer. Still, I find that character description intriguing. A small, very small 17 year old with a silverish palor to her skin, golden specks or freckles, and long golden hair? and I quote Meyer (should be doing this more often) page 603: "The skin on the face had the same silver undertone -- silver like moonlight -- as the hand did, with another handful of the golden freckles across the bridge of the nose. Wide gray eyes, the silver of the soul shimmering faintly behind the soft color, framed by tangled golden lashes. Pale behind them. A dimple in the chin. And everywhere, everywhere, golden, waving hair that stood away from my face in a bright halo and fell below where the mirror showed." also page 603, "this half-child with her moonlight face and sunlight hair."