I know there are a several book blogging memes about acquiring books. In My Mailbox
, Showcase Sunday
, and Stacking the Shelves
are a few that readily come to mind. Here at The Readventurer, we are way, way too lazy to commit to a weekly post on anything. I do, however, want to post a few times a year about a few acquisitions I make to my ever expanding bookshelves so I am going to call the series…wait for it…My Ever Expanding Bookshelf. I know, original, right? Maybe I can harass the other two into doing the same, though my powers of persuasion seem to be minimal these days. Also, I am going to leave a lot of books I purchased for myself and many I received as advanced reader copies out of this post. Why? Because it’s my post and I can do whatever I want!
I am kind of addicted to entering giveaways. I usually go through phases where I will completely binge on giveaways and spend about a half hour per day entering things. Don’t worry too much about my sanity, it is usually while I am catching up on the DVR. I try to enter all the giveaways my friends are hosting, not only because I can be snarky (some might even say annoying) in the giveaway forms, (My name, you ask? ‘IT’S ME, YOUR FRIEND FLANN! PICK ME RAFFLECOPTER, PICK ME!’) but also because I like to support them in everything they do. And boy am I lucky. From blogger giveaways, I recently won All This Could End
by Steph Bowe, signed copies of Slammed
and Point of Retreat
by Colleen Hoover, The Kassa Gambit
by M.C. Planck, arcs of TransAtlantic
by Colum McCann and Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson, The House at the End of Hope Street
by Menna van Praag, a signed copy of The Evolution of Mara Dyer
, and Grave Mercy
and Dark Triumph
by R.L. LaFevers. From publisher giveaways I won School Spirits
by Rachel Hawkins, Crewel
by Gennifer Albin, and an arc of Our Song
by Jordana Friebourg.
Won from the Dark Triumph blog tour
Won from Maree's Musings
Won from Layers of Thought
Won from Kelly @ Effortlessly Reading
Won from publisher giveaways.
Won from Bonnie's Sweet Tidbits
Won from The Reader's Den
My coup de grace was when I happened to be on Twitter and saw people tweeting about Epic Reads’ Wednesday Tea Time, which I’d never heard of. I clicked over to watch it and they were having an “arc party” and one lucky winner would win every arc they were talking about. I think you see where this is going. Here are the ones I received in my box of awesome:
Won from @EpicReads' Wednesday Tea Time. (watch every Wed. afternoon at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/epic-reads)
I know, right? I am one lucky lady. I mailed three of the arcs off to blogger buddies of mine after I took the picture because I am not caught up on some series and they were very excited to read and review them. It would be jerky of me not to help my friends out! Because I sent a Twitter friend of mine the Kasie West arc, she kindly mailed me her arc of Raven Flight
by Juliet Marillier, which I have been looking forward to since I read Shadowfall
Here are ways I find giveaways, in case you are wondering:
1) On Twitter, I search “signed copy,” “win a copy,” “book giveaway,” “blog tour,” “blog hop” etc.
2) I read through all the post headings in my Google Reader/Bloglovin’ and find ones that might have a giveaway. (Listen, I also read regular posts, I'm not a jerk, but I'm specifically talking about how I find giveaways to enter. I don't unfollow people after giveaways are over, either, unless they clog up my Twitter feeds.)
3) I go through the giveaways lists on I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
and often make my way through the giveaway hop
lists. (this is huge time suck, though)
4) I sometimes google the Twitter search terms I mentioned and add a filter for the past few days
5) I ‘liked’ most of the publishers I read on Facebook and Twitter, as often they will run promotions through their websites and Facebooks and mention them on those platforms.
6) I subscribed to Shelf Awareness
(for Readers and Pro), Publishers Weekly
, and Tor.com
e-newsletters, which sometimes have giveaways in them.
7) I attend many, many book events and often, if there is a publishing rep there (and sometimes even where there isn’t!), there is a giveaway or a few, especially if it is a multi-author tour.
8) I regularly check publisher websites, which often run giveaways.
9) I can’t think of any more line items at this moment. 10) Which is a shame because everyone knows you need 10 line items to make a list.
Gifts (and one swap) from the last week.
Purchased in the last week.
The biggest time investment in obtaining books is making friends and maintaining friendships. Barf. Who needs friends, amiright? All those months (years!) of feigning interest netted me two books this week: Bronze Gods
by A.A. Aguirre (from Maja!) and Wildlife
by Fiona Wood (from Nomes, with candy!). Huzzah! And though I know most of you know I am kidding, just let it be known that I am joking about feigning interest. It is probably a little sick how interested I am in the lives of my friends. The only other books I want to mention are Blackout
by Mira Grant, which I found in perfect condition at Half Price Books
for $4 the other day, The Witness
by Nora Roberts, which I undercover bought at Costco when my mom asked me to go there to pick up some stuff for her (Muahahaha!), and a remaindered copy of Okay For Now
by Gary D. Schmidt that I found at Third Place Books
when I went to see R.L. LaFevers. That one made me insanely happy as I read an e-arc and did not have a hardcover copy.
So what about you? Do you enter giveaways? Have any tips or tricks for me? Have you acquired any great books lately?
Our readers know how much we loves books, movies, and especially books that are made into movies. (see our Book vs. Movie
feature) We also love Tina Fey
, so when we were asked to promote Focus Features' March 22nd release, Admission
, we were on board. First off, Tina Fey is hilarious. I read her memoir Bossypants
a few months back (review
) and I will basically see anything she has a part in, whether she writes, produces, or acts in it. I was totally surprised to find out that the movie was based on a book, Admission
by Jean Hanff Korelitz. At the end of this post, you can enter for a chance to win not only the book the movie was based on, but also a copy of Bossypants
and a bunch of movie-related materials. (US only)ABOUT THE FILM:
Tina Fey (Date Night
, 30 Rock
) and Paul Rudd (I Love You Man
, Knocked Up
) star in Admission
, the new film directed by Academy Award nominee Paul Weitz (About a Boy
), about the surprising detours we encounter on the road to happiness. Straight-laced Princeton University admissions officer Portia Nathan (Fey) is caught off-guard when she makes a recruiting visit to an alternative high school overseen by her former college classmate, the free-wheeling John Pressman (Rudd). Pressman has surmised that Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), his gifted yet very unconventional student, might well be the son that Portia secretly gave up for adoption many years ago. Soon, Portia finds herself bending the rules for Jeremiah, putting at risk the life she thought she always wanted -- but in the process finding her way to a surprising and exhilarating life and romance she never dreamed of having.
The comedy also features some of my perennial favorites, including Michael Sheen
, Wallace Shawn
, and Lily Tomlin
. I have to admit, I feel like this movie will result in a flashback to senior year of high school when I was applying to colleges. Even though I had an absolutely wonderful college experience, I still have all my acceptance letters from other schools and I wonder what life might have been like had a made a different choice. I can only imagine how hard it must be to make admissions decisions at schools like Princeton, where Fey's character works in this movie. In the trailer, we are treated (or probably more properly described as appalled by) the lengths that some parents will go to to sway the admissions office into admitting their "talented" children. I predict there were will be a lot of cringeworthy scenes in that respect but I'm hoping for a solid comedic gem that I can see at the theatre and that watch over and over and over when it comes on television, like Fey's Mean Girls
and Baby Mama
and about ten movies Paul Rudd has been in, from Clueless
to Wet Hot American Summer
to Role Models
So what do you all reckon? Where do you think this movie will end up on the Tina Fey and/or Paul Rudd Pyramid of Awesome Movies? Do you still wonder what your life could've been like if you went to a different college? Are you currently going through the admissions process and dreading the decision?
Find out more about the movie and join the discussion:
Visit the official website
Like Admission on Facebook
Watch the trailer on YouTube
Tweet using #Admission
Enter to win...
One (1) winner will receive:An Admission prize pack including:
- Folder, Notepad, Pen, Drawstring Bag, Toothbrush
- Admission (movie tie-in book)
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
Prizing valued at $55
Prizing provided by Focus Features
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Every year, the Audio Publishers Association nominates outstanding audiobooks for The Audies
. Last year, Jennifer from The Literate Housewife
and Bob from The Guilded Earlobe
started the Armchair Audies
. (They are joined in this year's hosting by Tanya from Dog Eared Copy
) Participating blogs listen to the nominees
in one or more of the Audies categories, review them, and predict who they think will take the award in May. Last year, we listened to the Mystery category
and predicted a winner
. Well, we each predicted a winner and all three of us were wrong. This year, REDEMPTION YEAR, we have a different category and a new chance to make a prediction. For the 2013 Armchair Audies, we are listening to the Solo Narration by a Female category. Catie is excited because two of her favorite narrators, Katherine Kellgren and Cassandra Campbell, make appearances in three of the nominated productions. Here are the nominees for our category:
One of the issues we had last year was that several of the mystery nominees were later installments in series. This year, when looking at the categories, I tried to pick a category where that would be less of an issue because it can be hard to jump into a series later on. The only series book in this year's batch of nominees is The Unseen Guest
, which is the third installment in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
series. We are not so concerned about that specific one as it is middle grade and it should be an easy jump in and catch-up. Solo Narration is an interesting category because the nominees are all over the board; the only common thread is that the narration is "awesome," according to the APA. Of course, a narration is nothing unless the story is engaging.
So far, we've been able to collect most of the nominees from our libraries. The only one we will probably have to buy is the Audible version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
, as it is not readily available to us. We're excited to get started so look forward to a report back on our prediction and hopefully for reviews of each of them! Also, two of our blogging buddies are participating in the 2013 Armchair Audies: Heidi at Bunbury in the Stacks
is listening to the children's 8-12 category, and Lucy at The Reading Date
is listening to the Teens category. There are still a bunch of categories that have no one to listen to them yet, so go to the main site
if you'd like to participate. (I'm (Flann) thinking of listening to Humor as they are on the short side and I've already listened to one of the nominees--Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened
It's not often that we receive a request from a publisher that makes me downright giddy, but yesterday when Flannery forwarded me this message: "Frances Hardinge has been called one of the best kept secrets in childrens/YA literature but as a huge fan of hers (and also working on her books) I don’t want her to be a secret, I want to help as many people as I can discover her.
"I kind of got more than a bit excited. My response to this message went something like this:A) You had me at Frances Hardinge.B) WHERE DO I SIGN UP??Only...you know...I did try to at least appear slightly more professional than that. I've made no secret during my time here at The Readventurer that I am a huge Frances Hardinge fan. Remember when I:
That last one may or may not be a more recent occurrence that I've been keeping under my hat (tee hee) until now.So today I will quite happily participate in spreading the word about the excellent works of Frances Hardinge. Since you've already heard a lot about me and my opinions, I thought I'd share some thoughts from my favorite reviewers about this fantastic author:
"I hardly know where to start when it comes to Hardinge's spectacular novel. For one, let me assure you that it blew me away and, despite being a Middle Grade Fantasy novel, I found that it was every bit as thought-provoking and intelligent as YA and Adult reads, if not better because of its subtleties, cleverness, and surprising plot twists."
--Keertana at Ivy Book Bindings, writing about A Face Like Glass"I am overcome with Imperious Feelings demanding that I find the Right Words to write this review. Fly By Night is Absurdly Brilliant. This is not an overstatement.
"--Ana at The Book Smugglers, writing about Fly By Night."The Lost Conspiracy isn’t just a darn good story, it’s a story that can open your mind and change the way you approach life. It will ask you to question the meaning of stories, acknowledge the importance of understanding one another, understanding yourself, and knowing what you need from life. It is a story of stories in which we get to wonder how much of what is made up just might be true, and how much is really just conspiracy. The Lost Conspiracy exists so that when you pass the point where the stories end, you will know you can go on.
"--Heidi at Bunbury in the Stacks, writing about The Lost Conspiracy"A writer who asks a lot from the reader is a writer who believes the reader can deliver. That’s a writer with a lot of respect for her audience. It’s a risk for an author to demand so much, and I want Hardinge to be rewarded for it. That’s because it’s a risk for a reader, too. A reader has to have faith in an author to invest so much in a story, and I think Hardinge pays back on that investment, a hundred times over.
Reading The Lost Conspiracy is like climbing the mountain and turning around to see the world laid out at your feet. Only, in this case, the mountain is a volcano."--Megan Whalen Turner, writing about The Lost Conspiracy
Today marks the release date for the paperback edition of A Face Like Glass,
and the publisher has very kindly offered up a copy for us to give away. Open internationally!P.S. - I also happened to notice that the U.S. hardcover editions of The Lost Conspiracy and Well Witched are only $6.80 today over at Amazon!
About two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about all the long books that are sitting unread and collecting dust on my shelves
. I found some partners for future readalongs of books like Gone with the Wind
and War and Peace
when I eventually get to them, but I decided to start my quest to finish some of these literary doorstops by attacking one of the alleged hardest books to get through--Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace. After email pleas and Twitter inquiries, I started out last Sunday, February 10th, with ten other co-readers. The other valiant readers include Catie, my fellow Readventurer, Molly from Wrapped Up in Books
, Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks
, Jessie from Ageless Pages Reviews,
Maggie from YA Anonymous
, editor-in-training Maggie M., and my roommate from college, Maureen. (I'm leaving out the rest of our roster as some people found the book unsuitable for their current mood, which Heidi's boyfriend was jokingly (or not) placing bets on. (How many people would/will drop out of the readalong.)) Here's the schedule we are following on our, as Catie coined it, "infinite readalong.":
Week One: 2/10 - 2/17, start at beginning, end at “What the hail...Struck says something that’s lost in the roar of a high-pressure toilet.” (105)
Week Two: 2/17 - 2/24, start at “The feminized American stood at a slight...”, end at “some broad mock-supplicant’s gesture Schact’s just now made.” (219)
Week Three: 2/24 - 3/3, start at “You can be at certain parties and not really be there”, end at “who told the guy to go peddle his linen someplace else.” (317)
Week Four: 3/3 - 3/10, start at “The sky of the U.S.A.’s desert was clotted with blue stars”, end at “rocketing people’s waste into the forgiving chill of infinite space.” (418)
Week Five: 3/10 - 3/17, start at “Marathe did not quite sleep”, end at “Marathe think of many windblown sparks.” (508)
Week Six: 3/17 - 3/24, start at “The following things in the room were blue”, end at “in a fish-eye lens, lifting: ‘Ready?’” (619)
Week Seven: 3/24 - 3/31, start at “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: InterLace”, end at “both seeming to be shrieking for help.” (716)
Week Eight: 3/31 - 4/7, start at “A disadvantage of your nasally ingested cocaine...”, end at “and past Hal, his face unspeakable.” (808)
Week Nine: 4/7 - 4/14, start at “The ceiling was breathing.” End at “I was impossible to knock down.” (902)
Week Ten: 4/14 - 4/21, start at “Gately’s cognomen growing up...”, end at “and the tide was way out.” (981, END)
*page numbers correspond to the First Edition, 1996. ISBN: 9780316920049
Our teen weeks of reading broken up with bookmarks.
It breaks down to roughly 100-120 pages per week what with all the footnotes. During the first week, most of us found the format of the book unlike anything we have read in the past. Infinite Jest jumps from character to character with sometimes no introduction, and from year to year, with each sponsored by a corporate entity so they are no longer numbered but rather tagged with a sponsored product so we have to try to figure out if "The Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad" is before or after "The Year of the Whopper," "The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment," "The Year of Glad," or our particular fan favorite, "The Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar." If you are familiar with the book, if you would like to read along with us now, if you are reading IJ sometime in the future and feel lost/lonely in your quest, or if you do not care to be somewhat spoiled, here are short blurbs of the sections we digested in Week One:
EXTREMELY SHORT SUMMARIES OF THE WEEK ONE SECTIONS:
O, Year of Glad: Hal Incandenza, tennis player, at the college hearing with his uncle, C.T., where the panel is trying to determine if they should admit Hal. Hal is silent for the entirety until they prod him, after which he explains himself very eloquently, but as it turns out he was creating a raucous instead. He ends up being taken away by an ambulance.
O, Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: An addict is waiting for a woman to deliver drugs to his house. He has obsessively planned and cleaned to get ready for the stupor-filled days that will follow. Ends with the telephone ringing and the doorbell ringing simultaneously and the addict on the floor, unable to decide which to address first.
O, 1 April - Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad: Hal(10, 11,14) and the conversationalist/his father talk about Hal’s ability to memorize portions of the dictionary, his mother’s dealings with medical attaches and diplomats and whatnot, his father’s drunkenness, etc.
O, 9 May - Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: Hal wakes up extremely early for tennis drills while his brother Mario sleeps. As he is getting ready, Orin (O) calls on the telephone.
O, Year of the the Depend Adult Undergarment: The medical attache in Boston comes home on a Wednesday evening, the one night of the week his wife has plans and can’t attend to all his needs. He gripes on about having to figure out something to eat and sort the mail. While doing the latter task, he finds a weirdly marked entertainment cartridge which was postmarked from Arizona and had smiley faces and Happy Anniversary on it (it is not his/his wife’s anniversary.) He watches the beginning and the TP (teleputer) reads 1927h.
Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar: In dialect, Clenette talks about life in the Brighton projects. Wardine, her half-sister, was beaten with a hanger by her mother, who thinks Wardine is tempting her mother’s boyfriend Roy Tony with her youngness. Reginald, who has a crush on Wardine, and Clenette help clean Wardine’s back. In another section, Bruce Green is introduced, as well as Mildred Bonk, an unfortunately named but beautiful young woman. The two both grow into depressing versions of themselves, have a child together, and move into a trailer in Allston with a drug dealer called Tommy Doocey who keeps snakes.
O, Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: Hal and his brother Mario (called BooBoo here) are laying in bed at school and Mario keeps asking Hal about God. It is revealed that Himself (H & M’s father) has died and there is a discussion about whether the Moms (their mom) was suitably sad. A last and separate sentence is added to note that the medical attache of earlier is still watching the weird cartridge at 2010h.
October - Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: We meet Orin Incandenza, Hal’s older brother, who is a football player (punter) in Arizona. He hates mornings, lives in a yellow-tiled condo filled with roaches he can’t get rid of, and sleeps with a lot of women he calls Subjects, one of whom watches a documentary about schizophrenia in this portion and Orin is reminded a bit of Hal. (also, he is reminded to call Hal (Hallie) when the subject of PR interviewers delving into the unmined pasts of the players is discussed)
O, Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: Hal is 17 and at Enfield. He talks about getting high covertly and who does/does not know he does it. We find out the Moms’ name is Avril Incandenza and that C.T.’s actual name is Charles Tavis. At this point, Hal’s father has already passed away. Also, it is revealed that the Moms has three sons (so presumably Hal, Orin, and Mario are the only kids) and two of them are “high-functioning.” (Mario being the one not, I assume.) There’s a lot of description about the design of ETA, where Hal smokes, and how he gets away with it. (i.e. the failed pro alumni of the school don’t give a crap what students do.) The medical attache is still watching the cartridge, on repeat, at 0020h the next day (April 2) before his wife gets home. He has wet himself and the recliner he is sitting on.
Autumn - Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland: We meet Don Gately, a narcotics addict who burgles to feed his habit. His MO includes a straight shunt of the power lines, which is ultimately his downfall because he uses this method when robbing the ADA who prosecuted him as well as a rich man in Brookline who was meant to be away at the time of the burglary. The rich man turns out to home, ill, and a Quebecer very involved in the nonsense I am having a really hard time following (and also have no interest in following.) Gately and his friend proceed with the burglary but it turns into a robbery after they tie the man up. The man dies. This section ends with what is presumably the back blurb/details to the cartridge that was delivered to the medical attache.
3 November - Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: Jim Troeltsch, at ETA, roommates with Ted Schact and Michael Pemulis, who are both gone from the room. Troeltsch is sick, hopped up on different medicines, and having nightmares/daydreams. (DFW says Troeltsch is “awake and almost twelve” but not sure if this is part of the daydream or if actual age.)
O, As of Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: About H/O/M’s father James Incandenza and his father, also James Incandenza. The elder was an actor and the younger was a filmmaker, among other things. The world’s longest footnote is included in this section--a rundown of all of JO Incandenza’s films, which includes several different versions of Infinite Jest. It is revealed that JO Incandenza committed suicide at fifty four in the Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar.
Denver Co, 1 November, Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: A quick interlude with Orin, still a punter for the Cardinals, in Colorado. He is dressed as a bird, doing promotional vid work for the team, and he is miserable about it since he is afraid of heights.
O: I *think* this is Hal, going on about a big brother/little brother program at ETA and about how early kids get into drugs at the school. He then talks about a recurring dream he has about playing tennis on a gigantic court against an unknown opponent, with his mother as the one decipherable spectator.
O, Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: Kate Gompert is in a psych ward on suicide watch. She has attempted suicide several times in the past and has a long conversation with the resident on duty about her feelings of depression. She mentions that she smokes weed and buys from a dealer who calls it “Bob Hope,” which indicates that she is in the same dealing area as several other characters. She also mentions one dealer who keeps snakes in a tank--which would be Tommy Doocey, who lives in the trailer with Bruce Green & Mildred Bonk from earlier on. Kate repeatedly requests that they give her electro therapy to help get her out of the pain she’s in. (which may or may not be caused by giving up smoking--or rather, giving up smoking leaves her depression out in the open.) In a separate paragraph, the medical attache’s wife finally comes ohome at 0145h, 2 April YDAU and sees him in the recliner. He has no response but she looks to see what cartridge he is/was watching. Next, on to Gerhardt Schtitt, who works at ETA and spends a lot of time with Hal and Orin's brother, Mario. It is mentioned that Mario Incandenza is 18 years old here.
Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: We are introduced to Tiny Ewell, an alcoholic who has just finished detox and is now in a taxi on his way to Enfield VA to do rehab. While in detox, his roommate is a yellowed-from-hepatitis man who repeatedly turns the air conditioner on all different levels, chain smokes, and has long hair and glasses with one lense missing. (just in case we find out who this person might be later on...) It is mentioned that at detox they sometimes take your shoes away and give you foam rubber slippers embossed with smiley faces on top--smiley faces like those embossed on the cartridge the medical attache is still watching? At the end of this section, we revisit the medical attache, who is joined in watching the cartridge by his wife, the Saudi prince, the prince’s physician, and a few more people.
O, 30 April - The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: Marathe, a wheelchair assassin, meets with Steeply, another covert operative of some sort who is dressed as a woman, on a mountain in Arizona. The two talk about whether or not Marathe is a double agent and about the cartridge (“the Entertainment”) that the medical attache and about a dozen other people are now affected by. It sounds like the cartridges are multi-sensory experiences and perhaps some sort of chemical or bio-warfare. Also, they mention DuPlessis, who was associated with Marathe. DuPlessis is the sick man who died when Gately burgled his house earlier.
Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment: Hal and other upperclassmen are in the locker room at ETA. More talk about the buddy system, using lemon Pledge for sunscreen (does this really work?!), and Hal’s secret smoking. Confirmation that Mario is the middle child and Hal is the youngest. One brief paragraph about Marathe and Steeply still in Arizona. (We stopped in the middle of a section, so this section will begin next week's assigned reading.)
I can only imagine how confusing all of that must be for people not familiar with Infinite Jest
, as it is sometimes confusing for us, as people currently reading it. I thought the entire book was going to be about Hal Incandenza, though I knew it was going to be very mixed-up in terms of the timeline. Other readers were astute enough to set me straight early on about how sprawling the cast of characters is. I will try to update every week with summaries and some of the thoughts and discussions that are going on in our Google document.
Here's this week's thoughts and comments:
- Heartbreaking quote: “I’d tell you all you want and more, if the sounds I made could be what you hear.”
- Reader comment: "I kind of can’t stop reading the book, even though I have no idea what’s going on. My husband asked me what this book was about and I opened my mouth to talk but then just had to close it again and shake my head because there’s no way to describe what’s gone on so far without sounding like an insane person."
- We are torn about whether the ebook or the physical book is a better bet. Those with e-readers don't love that they can't see the visual evidence of progress and the footnotes are a bit harder but the paperback/hardcover readers are finding that the weight of the book is annoying (my word, not theirs).
- Quote: “The moment he recognized what exactly was on one cartridge he had a strong anxious feeling that there was something more entertaining on another cartridge and he was potentially missing it. He realized that he would have plenty of time to enjoy all the cartridges, and realized intellectually that the feeling of deprived panic over missing something made no sense.” (26) I sometimes feel this way about books.
- Several of us are finding DFW's technology inventions (Teleputers? Cartridges?) a bit clunky and we have to keep reminding ourselves that this was written in the mid-90s.
- The hardest parts to get through and fully understand seem to be those dealing with the political issues.
- Most of us agreed to NOT put off our weekly reading until the last few days of the week. This book is not a breezy read and it is legitimate work to try to read tens of pages in one go.
- At least three of us found Kate Gompert's chapter to be the most readable from the first week's sections. And we wish there were more female characters in this book.
- Some things keep recurring: worrying that if you speak, no one will understand you; pot addiction; Byzantine erotica; Toblerone; bugs; sweat stains on pillows/bedsheets; your worst nightmare becoming reality (noticed by Maggie M.).
- Several of us are wondering how JO Incandenza's movies, 5 of which were titled "Infinite Jest" are related to "the entertainment" and this book. There are several possibilities we are keeping in mind, including the idea that the book is a written version of one of the movies, that one of the movies IS "the entertainment," and whether the confusing nature of the movies is meant to be the same with the book, namely that readers are meant to be confounded whilst trying to figure out what the hell is going on and how everything relates to everything and everyone else.
So, we are 10% done with this book. On to 20%, eh? Feel free to discuss anything in the comments section. Spoilers for the first 10% are welcome, as that's where we all are but PLEASE DON'T INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR THE OVERALL BOOK IN THE COMMENTS.
If you'd like to join our readalong and think you can catch up, email me at (our blog name @ gmail) or tweet me @ our blog name. In nine weeks, we'll be done with this infinite readalong.
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This week I (Flannery) wrote this readalong recap, but Catie is participating, I blatantly took some of her comments and used them here, and she might be writing some of these in the future so you get to see her lovely face as well.
Ever After (The Hollows, #11)Author: Kim HarrisonPublication Date: 1/22/13Publisher: Harper Voyager[Goodreads|Amazon]Blurb(GR): The ever after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It's up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing... for the worse.
While saving the world is important, it isn't Rachel's only motivation. There's also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place, setting off a chain reaction of unfortunate events. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It's also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He's already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn't give herself up soon, they'll die.
But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn't going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She's also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she's going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones... and prevent an apocalypse before it's too late. Or, at least that's the plan...
The Hollows are back…and so am I! (I hope.) What better way to kick off my reviewing dust than to write about a series I’ve loved for almost a decade? Even though I was mostly disappointed last January by the slow-moving rehash of old events that was A Perfect Blood,
I knew that this author wouldn’t hold still for long. This series, which now encompasses eleven books and will end at book thirteen (Thanks Megan!) never ceases to be inventive and surprising.
This book sees Rachel & Co. moving forward once again. Trouble is afoot in the ever after as Ceri and baby Lucy are kidnapped in the opening chapters and Rachel’s ley line suddenly starts draining the ever after at an alarming rate. The demons find it more convenient to blame Rachel, even though they all know that lab-created demon monstrosity Ku’Sox (aka Cute Socks) is to blame. In an effort to save the day for everyone once again, Rachel finds herself working more closely with Trent and the elves than she ever has before.
This is the installment that the Rachel/Trent fans have been waiting for. Harrison has been flirting with the idea of them as a couple for quite a while, and in this book I felt like she finally jumped off that cliff. I’m still not sure if I will be able to buy into their relationship as a long term thing. Harrison has certainly laid a lot of ground work over the past books, but a huge part of me will probably never be able to stop seeing Trent as the spoiled, arrogant rich pretty boy he was in the first book. (He also made a comment at the end of this book that really turned me off. It's pretty spoilery but I'll discuss in the comments if anyone's interested.)
However, it’s refreshing to look back and realize just how much he (and Al and Rachel and Ivy and well…everyone) has changed. This series never stagnates for me because Harrison lets her characters grow. After reading this book, I now feel like while A Perfect Blood
may have been slow and tedious to read; it was ultimately a necessary step in the series. Rachel is more at home with her demon identity than ever, and it’s exciting to see her finally accept and use her powers to their fullest extent, without endless angst about the consequences. Harrison grows her characters slowly but surely – in short, realistically. Perhaps that means that one or two of these books has been more like a “transition” book but I think the end result is a much more fulfilling, believable story. I have faith that she'll make me believe in Trent by book thirteen.
(As an aside – Harrison’s short story, Trouble on Reserve, available for free with download of the Sony Reader App
– went a long way toward convincing me of Trent’s worthiness and feelings for Rachel.)
As an extra today, I’d like to pay homage to one of my favorite posts of Flannery’s
by listing “50 things very nearly guaranteed to happen” in a Hollows book. Like Flannery, I write these very much in good humor as a super-fan of Kim Harrison and her Hollows books. Yes, there is a certain formula to these books but what impresses me the most is how much Harrison frequently tosses that formula out the window.
50 Things Very Nearly Guaranteed to Happen in a Hollows Book
- The remodeled kitchen is described in loving detail, including the spelling pots that hang from the ceiling.
- Homemade cookies are made. The pixies warm themselves in the kitchen.
- Rachel petulantly refuses to work for Trent, but then ends up doing it anyway.
- The pixie children get up to all kinds of shenanigans (extra annoyance if it’s winter time).
- Rachel worries about Jenks being too cold/freezing to death and then describes his inventive winter Pixie clothes.
- Rachel’s freckles are hidden magically (first by her ring and then later by successive demon curses).
- The bunny-eared “kiss kiss”
- “Crap on toast…"
- Jenks makes off-color remarks about Tinkerbell’s sex toys approximately 1.2 billion times.
- Rachel and Trent, despite being powerful adult leaders, bicker like children.
- Rachel saves Trent’s life. Trent saves Rachel's life.
- Ivy and Jenks tease Rachel about her love life (rightfully so).
- Ivy stresses out about someone disturbing her papers/maps/planning table and drinks OJ to stave off the blood cravings. (OJ? Really Ivy?)
- Some human gets squeamish about tomatoes and everyone has a good laugh at his expense.
- Rachel raises a “molecule thin sheet of ever after” to protect herself.
- At some point, Rachel screams, “Why does no one ever listen to ME?”
- Followed closely by, “Can’t I catch a turn-blasted BREAK?”
- Rachel angsts about doing “'black' magic”
- …and laments how dark her aura is getting (thankfully, less and less as the series goes on).
- Rachel emotions appear in interesting ways. My favorite from this installment: “A layer of guilt slathered itself over me…”
- Rachel will feel guilty for anything and everything even slightly related to her. She apologizes to anyone and everyone, and then feels guilty for apologizing too much.
- The splat gun’s red appearance, spelled balls, and the fact that Rachel doesn’t need a permit to use it are explained, along with a few safety tips for its use.
- “Crap for brains.”
- Nick DOESN’T die. AGAIN. FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST DIE NICK!! DIEE!!!!
- Ivy crushes on David, much to his discomfort.
- Rachel has a sneezing attack that turns into a conversation with Al.
- Al’s green crushed velvet suit, blocky teeth, goat-slitted eyes, and British accent are all described in detail.
- “Rachel Mariana Morgan…my Itchy Witch.”
- Rachel and/or Trent reminisce about being at camp.
- Rachel notices how attractive Trent is, what he’s wearing, how sexy his voice is, and how impressive he occasionally is (more frequently as the series has progressed) but then insists that there isn’t, and can never be, anything between them.
- And yet, Rachel becomes intoxicated by Trent’s “cinnamon and wine” smell whenever they meet.
- Trent’s hair floats magically and he tries to press it back down.
- Rachel hates the smell of hospitals and remembers being in the children’s wing for months when she was battling Rosewood syndrome.
- Rachel wears an outfit that she thinks is professional but really, it isn’t. She pairs it with big leather boots, and talks at length about why leather is a practical fashion choice for her.
- Vampire pheromones run amok.
- Rachel has a huge cache of magic at her disposal but instead of using it, fights back by punching/kicking someone in the face.
- Rachel feels uncomfortably attracted to Ivy and describes her perfect hair, Asian features, and elegant clothes at length.
- The appearance and reasoning behind Quen’s pock mark scars are discussed.
- Jenks’ curly blonde hair, dragonfly wings, and Peter Pan pose are described.
- Jenks dusts red from embarrassment.
- “Tink’s dildo, Rache.”
- Pizza is ordered from Piscary’s.
- The horrible “burnt amber” smell of the ever after gets into everyone’s hair and clothes and ruins all the food. I still wonder what that actually smells like.
- Rachel promises to save one of the Inderlander races, even though she has no idea how she’s going to do it (seriously…the only race on Earth she hasn’t promised to help is the humans).
- The demons put Rachel through the ringer, even though she’s their only hope.
- Rachel doesn’t kill the bad guy out of some weird sense of morality and he lives to kick her ass again in the next book.
- One of the main characters dies…or doesn’t. No one’s safe so hold onto your hats!
- Rachel risks everything to save the world and doesn’t get paid.
I have a confession to make: there are a bunch of books that have been collecting dust on my shelves for, in some cases, over a decade. Those same books have been collecting metaphorical dust on my Goodreads to-read shelf since I joined in 2007. They're all the really long ones; the ones that double as doorstops. I've read many long books but not in the past few years, other than continuations of series I am already invested in and perhaps one or two audiobooks that were serious time investments. I consider this a gaping hole in my journey to be a well-read person considering many of the books that people are always asking if I've read are serious time sucks: Infinite Jest
, The Stand
, War and Peace
, Gone with the Wind
, and that damn Game of Thrones
series that has replaced the Twilight
series as that book that all your relatives, coworkers, people on mass transit, your gynecologist, and your best friend's cousin's roommate ask if you've read.
I think what stops me is a lack of accomplishment. I can finish three or four books in the time it would take me to read some of these books. I can finish three or four wonderful books
in some cases, and it is so much easier for me to abandon a book I'm not enjoying if I haven't already invested a lot of time into it. (so it could (but won't) go without saying that I refuse to give up on really long books) I was emailing with Tatiana and Catie recently about my intent to start slowly reading Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace, which rings in at an impressive 1,079 pages. By some accounts it is a huge undertaking and one that takes a ton of commitment, but when I read some of the 5-star reviews on Goodreads, I am certain that I want to read it. (Bonus: It would up my street cred with Seattle hipsters) In 2009, many participants in Infinite Summer
read the entirety of it in small increments. (75 pages a week) Though I found out about the project only recently, I really like the idea of slowly reading long books with a community of readers. Last year I did many readalongs with friends of mine during the first half of the year but I let it fall by the wayside during the second half, despite the enjoyment it brings me.
In my dreams, I could find perhaps four or five people who all want to read one of these books with me. We could read 100 pages a week and take turns writing a blog post about what we thought of that section and how the readalong is going. But since I doubt that will come together easily, I am thinking that I can just pick a book to start with and just post every Sunday on my progress. Maybe I'll end up reading much more than 100 pages a week. Maybe I'll even finish say, five of these books this year. (cue the laugh track) For now I'll just set my goal at a whopping ONE dust collector off my to-read shelf.Here are my choices: The Stand
by Stephen King (1,153 pages)War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy (1,392 pages)Gone with the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell (1,024 pages)Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace (1,079 pages)Kristin Lavransdattar
by Sigrid Undset (1,168 pages)This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn
by Aidan Chambers (816 pages)The Way of Kings
by Brandon Sanderson (1,007 pages)The Magus
by John Fowles (656 pages)Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
by Eliezer Yudkowsky (1,425 pages but ongoing)The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss (672 pages)Doomsday Book
by Connie Willis (578 pages)A Game of Thrones
by George R.R. Martin (864 pages)Kushiel's Dart
by Jacqueline Carey (1, 015 pages)The Prince of Tides
by Pat Conroy (704 pages)
When I think about which book to start with, I am almost positive I have to start with Infinite Jest
. It's the one I'm most scared of so it makes the most sense to shoot for it while I'm gung-ho about finishing one of these books. What do you think? What imposing tomes do you have collecting dust on your shelves? Want to challenge yourself with me? (or even perhaps read Infinite Jest
with me? Would anyone actually read posts about my progress on long books? (I'm really skeptical that they would!)
Please, people of the internet, answer all my questions.
One of our favorite book blogs is The Book Smugglers
. Ana and Thea read a ton of science fiction, fantasy, and young adult and it's rare that a book is reviewed on their blog that at least one of us isn't interested in. They have some amazing features like On the Smugglers' Radar
, where they share exciting upcoming books, and Inspirations & Influences
, in which authors share what makes their writing what it is. For the holiday season, they have a mega-feature called Smugglivus
. (which is a play on the best holiday of all, Festivus
(for the rest of us!) from Seinfeld.) During Smugglivus, which lasts for several weeks in December and early January, they post up some combination of two guest author or blogger posts. We are very happy to be included this year, so hop on over there and see what some of our favorite things were of 2012--they're all over the place!
About a month ago, Flannery pointed out to Tatiana and I that we live a scant four hours apart and that if she were in our shoes, she would have just made the freaking drive already. She had a point. A really, really good point. Tatiana and I have been chatting on goodreads for probably over a year and a half and we email nearly every day about blog business and whatever else is going on in our lives. It did seem a little odd that it had apparently never occurred to either one of us (well, to me at least) to just get in the car and make the trip. After doing a little google-mapping and realizing how short the drive really was, I gladly offered to drive down and Tatiana agreed to let me enter her home and spend time around her family. (Yay! She doesn’t think I’m a crazy person even after all of those emails! Woo!)
After setting up the date, I emailed Flannery in secret. You see, Tatiana and her family are going to have a little change in January (which I’ll let her tell you all about below) and I wanted to give her a surprise party. Flannery immediately had the idea to ask Tatiana’s online friends if they wanted to participate. I thought that was a wonderful idea, but I wasn’t sure if Tatiana would like us to tell other people about her news. Luckily for The Readventurer team, Flannery is one of the wiliest people I’ve ever known. Within days she had somehow, someway, gotten Tatiana to say via email that she didn’t mind if people knew – all while maintaining the complete secrecy of our plans. I still have no idea how she did that.
So we sent out the call to Tatiana’s closest friends – and we got a ton of responses. You guys were amazing. We got cards and gifts and mostly books galore (what do you expect when a bunch of book nerds throw a baby shower?) from all over the country and beyond. On the day of our meeting, I loaded up the car with all of your thoughtful gifts and made the very easy drive down to Tatiana’s house.
And we had a great time! I won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say that baked brie, an Indian buffet, Tatiana’s hilarious family (including her dog who I would have probably spent all day petting if I weren’t trying to be a good guest), and pasty/glittery vampires with tiny noses were all involved. Thanks so much to all of you for being so amazing and making this happen!
In case you were wondering how Catie's and my meeting went
, let me tell you, it was fabulous. Catie drove all the way from Virginia to visit me for a chat-and-lunch date, to patiently endure watching Breaking Dawn 2
with me (which had about 10 minutes of fun in it) and to allow my dog to slobber and shed hair all over her. (what I thought was going to happen) She also, imagine this, brought a baby shower with her! (Yes, there is a reason why I haven't been reading and blogging properly most of this year, or this is my excuse and I am sticking to it.)
This is how great my co-bloggers are - both Flannery and Catie got together with our multiple blogging and reading friends (you, ladies) and organized this event, and in absolute secrecy. I won't lie, this was a complete surprise and an icing on the "meeting-Catie" cake. I was already ecstatic to just meet her in person, after months, if not years, of virtual chatting, but everything turned out to be even better. The girls know that I am a pretty private person and, as a proper introvert, am not keen on being a center of attention, so they put this shower together quietly and by proxy. And I enjoyed it immensely!
Catie, me and a little Readventurer in the making
Books! Books! And more books! (Naturally)
If you were ever curious about how a baby shower would look like if thrown by your book friends, besides baby clothes and toys, expect a library for your baby be put together by them. My little boy is definitely all set for the future full of reading.
Baby shower, book lovers style
I can't quite express how thankful we, my husband and I, are to all of you who made this surprise happen. We were surprised and touched by your thoughtful attention. And of course, our special thanks go to Catie and Flannery who are even more awesome than I thought them to be (I didn't know if that was even possible.) I hope to meet Flannery one day yet, but Catie is even softer and nicer in person than she is in her writing.
Although we don’t restrict ourselves to a certain genre here at The Readventurer, we read a lot of YA. Maybe we don’t make it through every single new YA release, but between the three of us, we get through quite a few. So when we read something like this
:“But as we debate ad nauseam whether, for example, Bella Swan is a dangerous role model for young women, we’ve neglected to ask the corresponding question: what does it tell young men when Edward Cullen and Jacob Black are the role models available to them? Are these barely-contained monsters really the best we can imagine?”
"Why is it that in YA literature — a genre generated entirely to describe the transition to adulthood — there is so much fear and ambivalence surrounding manhood? When I read contemporary young adult novels, I see them asking over and over again a fascinating question, a question both for boys and for the stories describing them: are there any good men? And how can a boy become a good man, if he doesn’t know what that would mean?”
we are tempted to scream: WHAT?!! Are we even living on the same planet? First of all, we would deny categorically that there are no male role models in the land of YA. That is just patently untrue. And secondly, as Malinda Lo so eloquently pointed out
– manhood is not a strictly defined characteristic. There are countless ways to be a “good man” just as there are countless ways to be a good person. This particular panicked assertion
is just the latest in a string that consists of various THINK OF TEH TEEN BOYS! outcries. If it's not about lack of teen books for boys, then it's about boys being intimidated by public libraries that are apparently too girly- and girl book-saturated, or male authors writing for teen boys being outnumbered by female writers, or the shortage of male protagonists in teen fiction, etc., etc. While we think that there may be a lot to examine about the reading culture at large and about how different genders participate (or not) in this culture and why (Book View Cafe might be onto something here, in the article Girls and reading, the social act
), we strongly disagree that teen boys are overlooked, underrepresented and discriminated in the world of YA. Rather, in our opinion, more often than not the alarmists who raise all these questions/issues are not familiar with the variety YA fiction has to offer. The balance might not be optimal but there is certainly a large amount to choose from.
So today, we’d like to present this wall of over 140 books that we think will speak to the boys of YA. They’re full of adventure, magic, real-world issues, and romance. Some of them are even written by - *gasp* - women.
They give us all kinds of male figures: strong, brave, struggling, emotional, confused, and yes - even a few great role models. Most of all, they give us great stories for any reader -- almost all of these books appeal to us as adult women even though we are probably not the target audience from a marketing perspective. That being said, while we do think that there will always be outlier readers who feel comfortable reading anything and everything (and we love them for it), we also realize that it might be a struggle to hand-sell a book with a girl in a dress on the cover or a romance-driven plot to the "average" boy. We'd love to think of this list as a tool for educators, librarians, parents, and teens to find a great read for the boys in their lives, but anyone who enjoys a great story will find something in this wall of books.
Tomorrow, we'll be back with a post filled with the recommendations of several authors represented here
. You'll find out what they liked to read as teenage guys, what they read and enjoyed recently, and what they recommend to other readers. Some of their picks are included in the wall but many of them are not, so be sure to check back tomorrow! (Edit: Here's the link!
Also, check out the many, many more recommendations in the comments section of this post.)
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by Mira Grant, 571pp, post-apocalyptic sci-fi
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by Ilsa J. Bick, 465pp, post-apocalyptic, horror
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