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Showing posts from January, 2012

Putting on the brakes

I have decided to cut down my blogging time considerably until spring, in order to be able to continue to read for fun alongside my studies. I will not be suspending this blog completely, but posting is going to be even more irregular than usual until I have turned in all of my academic assignments.

I am taking two university courses this semester, in Terminology and Literary Translation, both at the master's level, 15 ECTS-credits altogether. In addition, I am taking a course in French for international relations through my workplace. That course amounts to 10 ECTS-credits, meaning that I am doing an almost full academic schedule as well as working full time. Even though I am not studying for a degree, this still needs to be taken seriously and most of the time I have devoted to blogging is now going to be taken up by studying and assignment work.

I do have a couple of reviews I'm working on, as well as one essay, some photo posts, several lists, and a shorter-than-usual Annua…

Review: The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

Originally published in July 2005, on my original 52 Books blog. This is the final review repost.
In 1886, Edgar Drake, a specialist in tuning Erard pianos, is sent by the British War Office to the wilds of Burma to tune an Erard for Surgeon-Major Carroll, a man who has managed to become perhaps the most important British officer in the whole of Burma by making himself indispensable for the peace negotiations between the British and the Burmese. The piano plays some mysterious part in all this, but has unfortunately reacted badly to the extremes of the climate and is out of tune. Drake, shy, thoughtful and eccentric, finds in himself an unexpected adventurousness as he sets off from England to tune the piano. Once he gets to Carroll’s stronghold in Mae Lwin, he is enchanted by the place, charmed by Carroll, and seduced (not in the physical sense) by a mysterious local woman. All of these unite in holding him there, and he loses all sense of time and sinks into a kind of dream. When re…

Reading challenges to tempt you, part V: Geographical challenges

Travelogues are my very favourite genre, but I also like to read other genres, both fiction and non-fiction, that feature locations that are well described and important for the story. If I know the location I can picture it in my mind. If not, I can imagine it and dream of visiting it some day (or make plans to avoid it all cost).

Here are some challenges dedicated to countries, areas and continents around the world, starting small and ending big. I found so many challenges with this one theme that I decided to dedicate a special post to them.

As before, you can click on either the link or the badge to be taken to the sign-up page.


First up is the Ireland Reading Challenge, hosted by Carrie of Books and Movies.

This challenge runs from January 1 to November 30, 2012. I did not see a deadline for signing up.

There are 4 levels. Crossovers and re-reads are allowed.

The challenge is to read "Any book written by an Irish author, set in Ireland, or involving Irish history or Irish c…

Review: Dead Heat by Linda Barnes

Originally published in June 2005, on my original 52 Books blog.
Third of four books about former private eye, now actor, Michael Spraggue, scion of one of Boston’s moneyed families, who prefers to live on his own rather than at the family mansion and to earn his own living instead of spending the family riches. The city of Boston is just as much a characters in this book as the people are, which is cool, because so often places are just used as interchangeable backgrounds for stories that could happen anywhere.
This book was published in 1984 and appears to be out of print. Best place to find it would probably be a library or second-hand book store (or abebooks.com).
The story: Collatos, a former cop, now a bodyguard, and a friend of Spraggue’s, asks him to help him find the writer of anonymous threatening letters that his boss, a US senator, has been receiving. When the senator and bodyguard take part in the Boston marathon and are poisoned by a “woman” who gives them water laced with…

Books having fun

Enjoy!

Reading challenges to tempt you, part IV: Types of books

Next up in the challenges list is types of books. These are books defined by something other than their subject matter. I have found challenges for listening to audio books, reading free e-books, long books, library books, translations and books of short stories. I am not counting short stories as a genre because they can be about anything as long as they are collection of short stories.

This reminds me of a challenge I thought up and was going to host in 2012. I was going to call it The Long and the Short of it. It was meant to be a challenge to read books under 150 pages and over 450 pages long. Level 1 was to be 3 long and 6 short ones, level 2 was to be 6 long books and 12 short ones, and level 3 was to encompass 12 long books and 26 short ones. An extreme level was to be offered, with 12 long books and 52 short ones but as you'll know if you stop by here regularly, I got fed up with restrictive challenges and decided to take it easy in 2012. I am putting this idea out here i…

Review: The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods by Mark Larson & Barney Hoskyns.

Originally published in July 2005, on my original 52 Books blog.
This is a humorous tribute to that much maligned hairstyle, the mullet (ape drape, mud-flap, neck warmer, etc.). For someone who remembers when it was actually cool to sport one (yep, I was a teenager in the 80’s - I even had a mini-mullet for a couple of weeks until I realised it wasn't a good look for me and had it chopped off), this was a great discovery. The book manages to be both affectionate and mocking, and I had a good laugh at all the pictures of famous people that I once thought were incredibly cool and cutting-edge but now, in retrospect, just had really bad hairstyles and a lousy dress sense.
Rating: A funny book for both admirers and enemies of the mullet. 4 stars.

Reading challenges to tempt you, part III: Theme challenges

Last time I covered genre challenges, and now it's time for some theme challenges.

As in the earlier posts, you can click either on the link or badge for each challenge to go to the sign-up page.

First one I am seriously considering joining:


The fifth What's in a Name challenge, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
I finished it last year and have a mind to join again this year.

It runs throughout 2012 and you must read six books, each of which has a particular type of thing in the title (see the host site for a list). You can join at any time.

Any one book can only be entered in one category. Overlapping with other challenges is permitted, you need not make a list beforehand and you need not read the books in the order the categories are given in.

This is a very popular challenge: When I wrote this, 179 people had already signed up.


The Library of Clean Reads is hosting a Time Travel Reading Challenge.

It's a year-long challenge and you can join at any time.

There are 4 levels and the…

Reading challenges to tempt you, part II: Genre challenges

I had originally written a considerably longer intro and worked on the list for a good half hour, but despite the periodic autosaving Blogger still managed to eat the original post. So here it is, with a much shorter intro, and as for you, Blogger: If this happens one more time I am taking all my blogs and migrating them somewhere else.

I own books on many diverse subjects, both fiction and non-fiction, and like to read in many genres. Apropos of this, here are some genre challenges being offered by and for book bloggers in 2012:

Clicking on the link or the badge will take you to the sign-up pages for the respective challenges.

Yvonne of Socrates' Book Review Blog is hosting the Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge.

 The challenge runs all year long, and no sign-up deadline is given. The challenge is to read cosy mysteries and there are three levels.

Books need not be chosen in advance, crossovers with other challenges are allowed and you don't need to have a blog, bu…

Reading challenges to tempt you, part I: TBR challenges, and one more

I said in an earlier post that I was only going to do one big reading challenge in 2012, the already ongoing  TBR (read or cull) challenge. I also said I might consider some smaller challenges that could be done alongside the big one. The thought was to maybe find a couple of challenges to help me choose books within the TBR challenge, rather than ones that would necessitate going outside it for reading material.

With that in mind I have been looking at what challenges the members of the book blogging community have come up with for 2012. However, I haven't just been looking at challenges that will suit my criteria, but also reading challenges in general, perhaps in the subconscious hope that I might find a really fantastic one to tempt me. I thought it appropriate to first take a look at bloggers who are inviting others to join their TBR challenges, because, as everyone knows, misery loves company ;-)

Click on the links provided or on the challenge badge - either will take you to…

Review: The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

Originally published in July 2005, on my original 52 Books blog.
When wealthy Lord Rule offers for the hand of the eldest Winwood sister, she knows she must accept, even if she loves another man. Her brother has sunk the family into debt and the only way of extricating them is for one of the sisters to marry a rich man, and Elizabeth is by far the prettiest. However, the youngest sister, 17 year old Horatia, is determined that her sister shall marry her beloved Edward, and so goes to Lord Rule to explain and offers herself in her sister’s place. To the family’s surprise, he accepts. It appears to Horatia that Rule does not love her (he has a mistress), and that bothers her, especially as she begins to fall in love with him. This leads to several misadventures, especially when Horatia becomes determined to conquer the heart of Lord Lethbridge, an old enemy of Rule’s, and thus make her husband jealous. The plan misfires and Horatia finds herself in deep trouble. Lord Rule, however, has …