I’ve Been MIA

Hey guys just wanted to drop in and say I’m sorry for being MIA for the past week or two. Holiday stuff got up on me and I just sort of became a bit lazy after the holidays. I’m going to make more of an effort with the New Year to be more regular with posting, all though I have to admit I’ve been a bit greedy with my reading time and have only wanted to read what I want, and it’s not necessarily the new releases. 

Anyway, how was everyone’s holiday season? Get any books? I only got one this year, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. I think I’m going to have to go back and read the last three books before I pick this one up though, it’s been so long since I even read the 3rd book, much less the first, and since this is the last book I want to make sure that the other stuff is fresh in my mind. 

My next post will hopefully be a review of my last year’s reading resolutions ( I made a goal of reading 58 books) along with some resolutions for next year. 

Happy Reading! 

Book Review: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

So remember how I was going to read The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier last week? That didn’t happen. I picked up this book on my e-reader for a few hours one day when I didn’t have The Illumination handy and I got completely sucked in and had to finish the book.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese is set mostly in Ethiopia in an underfunded, mostly charity hospital that everyone calls Missing. The book definitely tells the story of lives, how they intermingle, the effects of different people’s choices on the others, but I would have to say that the main characters are Marion and Shiva Stone.

Marion and Shiva Stone are identical twins born in Missing hospital, seemingly to Missing’s only surgeon, Thomas Stone and his surgical assistant Sister Mary Joseph Praise although no one is sure how this has came about. Sister Mary Joseph Praise has hidden her pregnancy from everyone and it isn’t until she is found sickly and pale in her room that her secret is discovered. She is rushed to the surgical theater where after complications, her twins Marion and Shiva are born and Sister Mary Joseph Praise passes away. This is the start of Marion and Shiva’s incredible lives.

The book follows Marion and Shiva, now basically orphans since their mother’s death and their father’s abandonment. But some of Missing’s other faithful employees take it upon themselves to raise Marion and Shiva as their own. We learn about Ethiopia, underfunded medical care, and the coups that occur in the boy’s life. We follow them on their adventures, learning the dangers of living in this area and we discover with them the marvels of medicine, and how it’s study can be a treatment itself.

A wonderful book, definitely a sweeping saga that takes many twists in its 600 pages (in ebook format). It does have some graphic scenes, such as the description of fistulas, a condition that occurs in females who are married off young, become pregnant and then have complications with pregnancy due to their body being too immature to complete the birthing process. Descriptions of other diseases and surgeries are also found through out.

I loved this book, I have a feeling its going to be one that I recommend to a lot of people and will talk about to everyone. I also think it is a great read for anyone in the medical or public health field or anyone interested in such topics.

If you’ve been on the fence or had it on your to read shelf forever pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.

Deciding What to Review

So I’m new to the whole book reviewing/requesting galleys on netgalley sort of thing. So I wanted to put a post out their for other bloggers and put a question out their for readers as well.

As bloggers how do you decide what you’re going to review? Do you look through the lists at netgalley and request titles that look interesting? Or do you only review books after they come out and you’ve picked them up then?

To those who are reading my blog: What kind of reviews are you interested in? Do you like blogs that specialize in a certain genre? i.e blogs only about young adult, horror, sci fi etc? Or do you like ones that cover everything so that you might read about a book you might not have other wise picked up?

I’m hoping to get one or two book reviews out to you guys this week, but we’ll have to see with the holiday madness. Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend and that the holidays don’t stress you out!

On Tap Tuesday 12-13-11/Mini Review

Hello everyone! How’s everyone doing with the holidays quickly approaching? I know that I totally over committed myself and still have presents to make. Wish me luck!

 

So on tap for this week:

I’m going to really dive into The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier. Read a few pages of this already and it looks to be interesting.

Going to hopefully finish up Packing for Mars by Mary Roach while I do some Christmas crafting.

 

Mini Review:

I finished Storm Front by Jim Butcher this morning. I’m definitely going to read more books in this series (most of which is conveniently sitting on my bookshelf thanks to the fiancee) .

This is Jim Butcher’s first book in his Harry Dresden series. Harry Dresden is a slightly down on his luck wizard who advertises his service in a private investigator manner. This is no way a lucrative business for him. He struggles to pay the bills and fields frequent prank calls and the occasional are you serious questions to his proclaimed wizardry. He supplements his income from a few consulting jobs from the police. Our story opens with him getting a call from a potential costumer setting up a meeting for later in the day and then immediately getting a call for a police consultation. Being hard up for money Dresden accepts both and is put on a time crunch to fulfill both obligations. He heads to the crime scene to do his police consultation and finds a gruesome murder scene. Obviously done with magic, but to figure out how, he will have to delve into some black magic that could get him in to more trouble than it’s worth. After a mishap on his rush back to his office to get to his second meeting on time ( I’ll let you find that out on your own) he meets with a wife who wants Dresden to find her missing husband. Not really Dresden’s thing, but she’s willing to pay money up front, she seems a bit cautious and knowledgeable about wizards, so maybe there is something there.

 

This is pretty much the opening to our story. It continues with everything that is possible to go wrong does. You kind of have to feel sorry for Dresden he can’t seem to catch a break. I really enjoyed seeing two of my favorite genres, who done it mystery and fantasy, mixed together. This isn’t your psychic medium finding clues to the murder. This is spells, fairies, trolls, etc. causing havoc in the normal world and Dresden is just trying to control it. A quick read and definitely worth a try if you are interested in crime and fantasy.

 

2012 TBR Pile Challenge

I’ve decided to sign up for the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roofbeam Reader.

You have to pick 12 books from your TBR pile that have to have been published prior to January 1, 2011. You also pick two alternate books in case one of the books you picked you just can’t get through. You have to post your list ahead of time and link it to Roof Beam Reader’s post. You can get more information about the challenge by clicking the image above.

Here’s my list:

1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of The Pie by Alan Bradley

2. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

3. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin

5. The Housekeeper and The Professor by Yoko Ogwa

6. The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

7. Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

8. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

9. The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl

10. The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

11. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

12. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

Two Back Ups: The Eleventh Plague by John S. Marr, John Baldwin

Dark Angels by Karleen Koen

Looks to be a pretty decent list to me. Hopefully the challenges I have signed up for will keep me motivated through out the year and hopefully I’ll get some galleys to review in there as well! This is my first year that I’ve signed up for any challenges so I’m excited! What challenges are you signing up for next year?

On Tap Tuesday 12-6-11

So I had grand plans for today. I woke up to a rainy dreary day and I thought: Perfect day for reading and knitting! I really wanted to try to finish Storm Front by Jim Butcher before I wrote my post. I’m loving that book so much! I’m thrilled I have 5 or 6 more books from the series waiting for me on the shelf!

 

So did any of that get done? No. The dog escaped from the fenced in yard yet again, had to go find him and then spent the next hour or so moving is lead around trying to find the optimal place to place him in the fence and away from escape places. Then I found a job I wanted to apply for (I’m currently job searching) so I spent half an hour writing the cover letter and then an hour and a half fussing with the printer because it was printing all streaks. Lovely.

 

So what’s on tap for this week?

I would love to finish Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

I just started listening to Packing for Mars by Mary Roach Narrated by Sandra Burr.

If I finish Storm Front I will work on Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and then maybe pick The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier back up.

 

This doesn’t seem to be a good reading season for me so far, especially since I got the bright idea to knit presents for most of the people on my list. Please stop me next year if I decide to do that again, okay? Hope everyone else’s reading is going better than mine. Send me reading mojo!

Why Didn’t I Read This Sooner: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I’m going to use the category Why Didn’t I Read This Sooner for all the older books that I read that I feel like I should have read a long time ago. I mean really, these are great books, why didn’t I read them sooner.

First up for this category is: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Read by Kate Burton

First off, I have to say that I believe that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a must read for book lovers. The main character, Francie, finds escape and herself through reading and writing and this plays a key role in her life throughout the book.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the Nolan Family living in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. The book is divided into five parts, each depicting a slice of time in the family life. The family consists of mother Katie, father Johnny, little brother Neeley, and Francie. But honestly, I’m sure I’m the only one left who hasn’t read this book?! The quick and short version synopsis of this that that the Nolan family is a poor family living in Brookyn. The father is an alcoholic and the mother works really hard to try to keep the family above water. She really just wants a better life for her children. In order to do this she makes sure they can read and write, they read Shakespeare and the Bible every night, and she tries her best to keep them in school to get an education, something that she didn’t get to have.

The book is elegantly written, even in the dark and some what grittiness of the life that Francie is living. The narrator really brought the story to life though. She truly gave a different voice to each of the characters and even sang some of the bits of songs in the novel.

 

So if you haven’t picked up this book, do it. I highly recommend the audio book version with Kate Burton narrating!

I Want to Read Everything!!

I’ve noticed a possibly bad, possibly good thing happening with my reading habits lately. I want to read everything!! Now that’s not quite different from the norm, I always feel like there are a ton of books I want to read and that I don’t have enough time to read them all.

But lately, I just keep starting books. It all started with the Thankfully Reading Weekend, where I picked out three books so I would have some to rotate through in case I got bored with one since I was planning on reading so much that weekend. I actually ended up starting all three. This is a rare and new thing for me, because I’m usually a monogamous reader, I pick a book and read it til I’m finish with it, no other distractions. The rare break to this rule is if I get a book from the library that I’ve been on the wait list for, then I typically stop what I was reading and read the library book til I’m finished then switch back.

So yeah, three books, a totally new experience…but wait, I decided to start yet another book. I was browsing through ebooks on the library to see what was available on my to-read shelf so I could plan ahead and saw that Life After College by Jenny Blake (http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780762441273)  was available. I found the description interesting as  I graduated from graduate school last June and I’m still looking for a job. It was available so I put that on my Nook and started reading it.

Now the question will be if I actually finish any of these books. I’m hoping so, because so far I find them interesting. I own every book that I’m reading except for the Life After College book so I don’t have a library deadline hanging over my head, so we’ll see.

Do You Read for the Season?

Do you like to pick out books that make you think of whatever season you’re in? That ski mystery for the winter or that beach thriller during the summer? Or do you let your books choose you regardless of the season?

I kind of do a mix of both. I rarely seek out a book specifically for it fitting the season, but I’m always thrilled when I find one, like the previously mentioned Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I had no idea how much that book was going to have a fall feel for me when I read it in the fall, that might have influenced it some, but I had picked it up because of the concept of the book.

I also pick up books about other seasons, especially summer time books in the winter, to remind me of the fonder days. Similarly there’s books that I wish that I’d read earlier in the season in order to utilize them more fully. I felt this way about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. There’s so many interesting ideas and tips for gardening, but you really need to read it in December/January to get on top of things. I’m thinking of re-reading it this year, as it’s one of my favorite books and I want to be able to utilize some of the things in it more fully and to help me plan the garden better.

So what about you? Do you read for the season? Have any winter books that you think I shouldn’t miss?

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