Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #14 - All About Books and a Meme to Boot

I was tagged for yet another meme, so I've included it in this special ALL ABOUT BOOKS issue of my Thursday Thirteen.

This TT is a bit random, so I'm organizing it into two parts.

I - My "reading challenge" progress (or lack there of)
II - The Book Meme

I. Summer Reading / Book Challenge Report

1) Since July 26 (the EXACT date I wrote up my Reading Challenge List), all of Vancouver's municipal employees have been on strike. Not only has this meant no garbage pick-up, it's meant no librarians. All the libraries have been closed for almost 3 months. And, since Baby and I are on a No New Book Buying promise (due to lack of space and having to move again in the near future), I was hoping to take advantage of the library down the street. Instead, I have had to depend upon book loans from friends and what we currently have in our own library.

So what did I read over the summer?

2) The final Harry Potter. I sped through it as fast as I was able, only staying up past 3 am twice. The conclusion was fairly satisfying (except for that horribly cheesy ending) and I admire how she tied up the loose ends (especially dealing with Snape, which I predicted, although his demise was totally anti-climactic).

Honestly, I was just glad the whole thing was over so that I could move on to something else. I still have the same issues with HP as I always have, and that is he is too passive a hero and I get very tired of how quick to anger he is. I bore of his screaming... There was a ghost character, for instance, that he began to yell at for no good reason. I also think that he has very little character arc. He seems quite immature at times, and not much wiser than he was 6 years before. In addition, I wish someone would bully JK into editing down her text and removing all her superfluous adverbs. (BTW- my friend Tod and I discovered a gaping plot hole, but that didn't really bug me too much for some reason.)

It really is a fun story, such a great world, and it has many other satisfying characters. I absolutely adore Luna Lovegood. The final battle was quite amazing as well. All in all, I understand why people love the books, though there are others I treasure more.

3) The Alchemist, which WAS on my list. This is a fable rather than a novel. It's a quick read and a feel-good story about following your heart. It's packed with little jewels of wisdom such as: When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. Sayings that might come across as cheesy, but put in the context of the fable, they are sweet. I read it with a highlighter. I like the lessons and the manner in which the story plays out.

4) My fantasy adventure novel involves faeries, so I decided to borrow a friend's daughter's fairy books. The first one I read was for 2nd and 3rd graders. It was one of the Disney Fairy books called Rani in the Mermaid Lagoon. I can't believe this book got 4.5 stars on Amazon, because if I had a daughter, I would not buy this book for her. I found it condescending and shallow, as well as expository when it had the opportunity to use imagery. At one point, Rani goes through this fairly tragic event with a water snake, but then the mermaids do her hair up and paint her nails and make her look pretty again so gee, everything's all right! Yick!

NOTE: on Amazon it lists Rani for ages 9-12. They are on crack. There's no way with the sophistication of our readers these days that this book would titillate a 5th or 6th grader.

5) The second book I picked up was the first "Fairy Realm" book, The Charm Bracelet, but it didn't have any actual fairies in it. According to Amazon, it's for ages 9-12, but the book itself says 7-10. I can buy that. I liked it much better than the Disney book. The characters were far more interesting, that's for sure, but still not as clever as they could have been. It wasn't completely satisfying to me, but I wouldn't have an issue with my daughter reading it because the protagonist is independent minded and proactive. One pet peeve, though... I have this thing about overuse of exclamation points in literature! There were a lot in this book!

6) I next read the 2nd "Fairy Realm" book, The Flower Faeries, and enjoyed it more than the first. Perhaps the writer matured with the story. This one actually had fairies and they were way more fun than the Disney fairies. They were pesky in an amusing way. The story was a bit darker, more dangerous than the first. There was a lovely scene where the protagonist tries on a pair of wings. I think of the three fairy books this one had the strongest imagery.

7) I read The Phantom Tollbooth for the millionth time. I read it out loud to a student of mine on the set of Psych. As with all the kids I share it with, he loved it. The book fell apart halfway through, it's been loved so much.

8) Jeff Kitchen's book Writing a Great Movie. If you only read the part on dilemma you are doing yourself a HUGE favour. This is an excellent tool for screenwriters. I'm now using chapters in my classes at Vancouver Film School.

9) Do books on tape count? Baby and I listened to The Secret books on tape and both liked how it went more in depth than the film and also focused on more than just attracting personal financial abundance, but also larger issues that affect the world.


10) Total Number of Books I own: Sometimes, pictures speak louder than words. This is after getting rid of (sob) over 1/4 of our books when we moved and does not include the 40 books I also counted in our bedroom nor the 12 books in our bathroom (yes, we have a bookshelf in our bathroom).

Pic on left is in our living room
Pic on right is in our office.

11) Last Book Read: I am currently reading Skinny Legs and All (on my book challenge). Robbins had me at the opening sentence (which I will post on the next TT).

12) Last Book Bought: Rules for Renegades by Christine Comaford-Lynch (a self-made millionaire and self-proclaimed "renegade" entrepreneur). Yes, I said I was on a book buying hiatus, but she was having a pre-order special deal which gave loads of bonuses. Of course, due to the Canadian mail system, I have yet to receive the book. I heard Christine speak last spring in L.A. and she is AMAZING.

13) Five Meaningful Books:
I wasn't sure what meaningful meant... to me personally or to the world? Life changing? And meaning changes over time...

I decided to pick five books that impacted me when I was growing up and inspired me to become a writer:

All of the Oz books (because my Dad read them to me and they're fantastic)
Anything by Judy Blume and especially Are You There God It's Me Margaret (There's a new book called Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume which I think it just about right)
Beezus and Ramona (All the Ramona books are wonderful, but I was was especially fond of this one.)
I, Trissy (I read this in 6th grade and for some reason it completely resonated with me. I think it was the honesty and humour. I loved Trissy's very real struggles and the fact that her father got her a typewriter when he divorced her mother)
To Kill a Mockingbird (I cried every time I read it.)

Okay, Vicki? (oh, and i'm reading that harlequin romance you sent, too. my first harlequin romance ever, seriously)


Vicki said...

I loved the All about OZ books. :D I remember getting them when I was a kid and was so excited to read them.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my fav's as well.

Oh, and I have your book you won. CL Wilson's Lord of the Fading Lands. It's signed and ready to go in the mail tomorrow. :D

Remember you need to do a book review on it and one of the two winners will receive a surprise.

Julia said...

I totally agree about the HP-books! Just finished yesterday and thought:
Great work, but the end? tststs! And yes, I literally sat in the kitchen (this is where I read most of the time) and said to the book:
" Oh da** it Harry! Don't be so stubborn!Just for one time, shut up and listen!!!"
My next book will be "Angels&Demons" by Dan Brown!

Greets Julia

kwrenb said...

the books, the books, the books!
My job for "tackle it Tuesday" will be to organize my bookshelves (again). Maybe they'll end up looking something like yours???

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

If you need something to read and I've got anything that'd interest you, holler and I'll ship it out! I'd love to send some of these books on to an appreciative new home.

Clever way of handling a T13! I was going to say, "I approve" but who cares if I approve or not? I'm not the be-all, end-all. If I was, Trevor would have scarily little to do! *grin*

Norma said...

Yes, you do have a book storage problem. Librarians should never go on strike--people find out they don't really need them (I'm a retired librarian). A great and entertaining list.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Vicki - I always wonder why so few people read all the Oz books, it's like the Wizard of Oz is the only one people have heard of. I've known people who didn't even realize that there were more. Everyone - READ THE OZ BOOKS!

Julia - that's exactly it - shut up and listen. I kept thinking - Harry, have you learned NOTHING over the years?

Kwrenb - And those books on my shelves? They are organized by CATEGORY and then by author/editor. It's the first thing I organize when I move. I like being able to find a book when I want it.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Susan - haha, thanks. I think I'm good for now. I haven't even read everything I've got yet... Unless you've got any of the books listed on my challenge reading list. Then I'd happily take one.

Norma - Well, I think the opposite has happened here. There's a lot of grumbling about the libraries being closed. I, for one, will be more appreciative of my librarians!

spyscribbler said...

We have a bookshelf in our bathroom, too! Hah! I thought we were crazy. (It makes sense, though, as I do read in the tub!)

I completely forgot about Phantom Tollbooth. I'll have to revisit that book, soon. I had issues with Harry Potter, too. It sorta makes me wish I could go through and tweak here and there, re-write it a little.

Silly, LOL.

Wakela Runen said...

Great list. I always love to see what other people are reading.

Oh and a great way to get books is Basically you mail your book to others and you get books mailed to you. You can pick and choose which books you list to be mailed and which books you want to receive.

Nicholas said...

I've read the Potter books, and of course Mockingbird.

Madame Rubies said...

Amen to Baum's Oz books. I seldom meet other Oz-lovers. At least, not when it comes to the books. I love them.