2013 book challenge finale!

Hey all, it’s no longer 2013!!

And I finished my 100 book challenge for 2013, ending up with a grand total of 101 books. (Way easier to explain than Dalmatians, for sure).

The first half of my 101 book list is here!

56. The Curse of the Thirteenth Fey by Jane Yolen
57. The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro (dnf)
58. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
59. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
60. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
61. Beyonders by Brandon Mull (dnf)
62. Johnny Wander Vol 1: Don’t Burn The House Down by Yuko Ota & Ananth Panagariya
62. Johnny Wander Vol 2: Escape to New York by Yuko Ota & Ananth Panagariya
63. Johnny Wander Vol 3: Ballad of Laundry Cat by Yuko Ota & Ananth Panagariya
64. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
65. Sweet Silver Blues by Glen Cook
66. Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
67. Pirate King by Laurie R. King
68. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (dnf)
69. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddigns
70. War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
71. The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
72. The Pirates! Versus the Scientists by Gideon Defoe
73. The Child Thief by Brom (dnf)
74. The Shattering by Karen Healey
75. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
76. Aegypt by John Crowley (dnf)
77. The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
78. The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
79. The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus (dnf)
80. The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones
81. Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory
82. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
83. Before They are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
84. Six-Gun Snow White by Cathrynne Valente
85. The Serialist by David Gordon
86. Winds of Fate by Mercedes Lackey
87. Eve by Anna Carey
88. Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King
89. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
90. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan
91. Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
92. House of Many Ways by Mercedes Lackey
93. The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
94. League of Somebodies by Samuel Sattin (dnf)
95. Steadfast by Mercedes Lackey
96. River Marked by Patricia Briggs
97. Winds of Change by Mercedes Lackey
98. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
99. Winds of Fury by Mercedes Lackey
100. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (dnf)
101. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

My Top Recommended for this year:

The Seance by John Harwood
Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory
Six-Gun Snow White by Cathrynne Valente

I’m actually kind of surprised I made it to 100 books! I barely made it. Once I moved and lost my daily 2 hour commute, my reading time has gone seriously downhill. Right now I am running through the entirety of the Harry Potter Series, I’m about to re-read book 3, and I’m loving this re-read.

For 2014 I’m setting a goal of 50 books, instead of 100. I’m curious as to how long it will take me to get to 50, as well as looking forward to accomplishing this goal relatively early on in the year.

I also intend to finish all of the series I have started:
The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
The Belgariad by David Eddings
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

And continuing to enjoy reading at a breakneck speed!

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What’s on my mind, September megapost

Yeahhhhh this type of post I usually do on Fridays, but the past three weeks have been so discombobulated, I’m tired of sitting on this as a draft. So, here we go! :

  • I LOVE the idea of this cake and this tutorial.

    But seriously, who is going to be patient enough to do this and not just eat the frosting?!

  • Such a great quote:

    “If you require any evidence that femininity can be more fierce and dangerous than masculinity, all you need to do is ask the average man to hold your handbag or a bouquet of flowers for a minute, and watch how far away he holds it from his body. Or tell him that you would like to put your lipstick on him and watch how fast he runs off in the other direction.”

    Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating of Femininity

    This quote really speaks to me. I sometimes struggle with being ashamed of how feminine I can be. It’s true though, femininity is incredibly powerful!

  • Look at the Blonds Spring 2014 collection:

    models

    SO FUTURISTIC! SO SPACEY! SO AWESOME!!
    I love all of it. They remind me of my favorite Barbie growing up, 80’s space Barbie. SO COOOOOLLLLLL. There are way more pics of this collection here. I love all of them. Okay, maybe not the Tweety dress.

  • I am currently reading through this post about Men’s Rights and it is very interesting and well-written. I plan on using it as a resource should I ever come across a MRA in the wild.
  • I really really really want to make myself a Bat Wing shrug:

    I mean really. ADORABLE.

  • This week I am reading Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. It is really dark, and reminds me a lot of Robin McKinley’s Deerskin. I wasn’t planning on finishing it… until Margo replied to me on twitter and now I feel kind of OBLIGATED. It IS super well-written and that part is enjoyable. We’ll see how I make it through.

    Next up for me is Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie and I am SO EXCITED to read it. Though, I need to study for the GRE first… I am going to try and put off starting this book until Sunday… but knowing me, I’ll crack it open tonight in lieu of reviewing multiple choice questions.

  • You guys realize that my goal is that my house looks somewhat like this, right?

  • Sometimes I wish I had infinite money because, oh man, you guys, the deer figurines I could buy. But I also would totally invest in this kickstarter, because it looks super cool and Victoria Gannan’s art is beautiful. I might need to find an extra $30 in my budget to get a copy of this beautiful deck!
  • My blog/image source of the week is The Vintage Cowboy over on tumblr.

    These illustrations are all so cool and awesome! I’d love to have a print of one of them. I miss old book illustrations.

That’s it for this week!

What’s on my mind, 3rd week of August

  • This week has alternated between very slow and very crazy. I’ve been distracted by re-reading comics and my favorite trashy fantasy series so I haven’t been incredibly interesting, or productive! Refocusing on things I know pretty well has been helping my stress levels a little bit, though, so that is nice.
  • SPEAKING OF SPACE! This is a super cute video of astronaut Tom Mashburn having a fight with Earth’s gravity:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVxaL8CAO4M
  • Fong Qi Wei’s photography series “The Passage of Time” is breathtaking and fantastic.

    I would love to buy a print of one of these photographs, which are layered time-lapse photography. Brilliant and beautiful.
  • Need an interesting read? Today I have been surfing through traditional Saints and terms associated with saints. I find the depictions and the symbolology of them very fascinating! Did you know that there is a patron saint of the Internet? He is often depicted as surrounded by a swarm of bees. That’s eerily accurate.
  • Ever have a song come on the radio and it is just perfect?
    Death Cab for Cutie’s “Bixby Canyon Bridge” is pretty much always perfect for me:

    I guess this is where I apologise that my taste in music is so mainstream, but man, this song is just so great.

  • I found Mikey Burton’s website last week and I am STILL ooh-ing and ahh-ing about the quality of his printing design and the style of his vector art. I think I love everything on hit site! I love looking at current newspaper and printed artist’s illustrations outside of the articles they are featured in.
  • I am a little skeptical of this infographic:

    I mean, seriously, that would make me a Serious Expert in Trashy Fantasy and Hercule Poirot novels. I don’t think that’s quite what they mean by “expert”. Besides that… I really hope it’s not accurate. Please, don’t be accurate, infographic. I like to think that more people take the time to read. Maybe not as much time as I do, but some time, at least!
  • This weekend I’m going to an amusement park, eating cotton candy, buying an accordion, and applying for a new apartment. Wish me luck!

What’s on my mind, July/August mishmash

  • It’s no secret: I am in love with this recent piece by Winona Dimeo-Ediger on The Frisky. “10 Things We Do Every Damn time We Visit Sephora”. Y’all, this is my life. Not only do I live vicariously through gif stories, but man. Sephora. EVERY TIME. It’s terrible. I’m currently trying to save up/ make some Big Girl Payments on things and putting off a trip that is totally going to end up costing me over $150. And I want to go there so bad, you guys.

  • I love this image. The little phones, the lettering (which, because I am a huge dork, I can tell is modified Neuland) the style of the kittens! So freakin’ cute. They would make a super awesome tattoo, in my opinion.
    Though, honestly, the style of tattoos I have picked out for myself is incredibly different than this style. Still… it would be awesome.
  • Do you guys know that chocolate chip cookies are my kryptonite? They are probably my top dessert. I am famous for loving all sweets, but chocolate chip cookies are way better than cake. (Though cake is pretty good, man.) Tessa over at Handle the Heat has posted an AMAZING guide for making good chocolate chip cookies, and how they look visually depending on what ingredients you excessively use or don’t use.
  • I love my local library. They allow me to keep up on my terrible reading habit of 2+ books a week. But the library is also a fantastic community resource, and MY library just posted an awesome list of 100 free things you can do at the library. And it’s perfect!
  • Advice panther says:

    Sometimes advice panther has good advice.
  • Say what you will about the cult of Honey Boo Boo, I can’t really weigh in on the topic since I don’t really watch television, but everything I see or hear about the show is awesome. It seems like portrayal of a real family that loves and values each other, and that makes me incredibly happy.
  • What you’ve been missing out on, on my twitter feed:
  • And finally, click here for some literary pick-up lines, because they are hilarious.

What’s on my mind- 4th week July

  • This article from Forbes discusses the meaning of work-life balance, and finding the right balance for your life with some really awesome life-evaluation questions. I really think that it’s good to take a moment, sometimes, and really think about this sort of thing. I know it helps me out, and I have a super crazy life.
  • I might need this as a tattoo:

    Pet all the Dogs by Nation of Amanda
  • Did I mention that I saw Pacific Rim? AND THAT IT WAS FANTASTIC?! Because it was. Fun, not convoluted, great special effects, good angles, decent acting. The point of the main relationship was to save the world, not to make out, and that was also awesome. Sure, it’s not going to win any Oscars for Best Drama, but you know what? I hate movies that win Oscars for Best Drama. So, uh, yeah, I mean, keep that in mind. However, it is incredibly fun and I suggest you give it a try. I really loved it.
  • Here is Pinky dancing the flamingo flamenco:

    You’re welcome.
  • This article is what the Perfect Women’s Magazine would look like. And you know what? I totally agree.
  • This week I read The Blade Itself and whooooa talk about amazing new fantasy series to read. So much action and intrigue! The fight scenes are written very well and Joe Abercrombie writes morally gray characters with style. I would definitely suggest it to anyone looking for a new fantasy series.
  • I took a photo of a flower basket that I thought was pretty and realized that I am turning into my mother. (which is ok! 🙂 )

See you next week, lovelies!

on-stories

Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by a flashlight beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They could take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read, David’s mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.

From The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Basically, if you recommend me a book about books or a book about stories, chances are I will love it and never shut up about it.

6 month book challenge check-in

berks

So, there was no “Initial” post on this, but Laura’s latest post over at RubyBastille reminded me that, oh yeah, I’m doing a 100 book challenge, myself. Not a literary, intellectually heavy 100 book challenge, just a challenge to see if I can read 100 books in a year naturally.

I’m just at halfway through. Here is my list so far:
(As a disclaimer, probably 1/3 of these are re-reads on my part, and also there are a few I did not finish.)

1. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott & Erik Singer
2. Melusine by Sarah Monette
3. The Virtu by Sarah Monette
4. The Mirador by Sarah Monette
5. Corambis by Sarah Monette
6. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
7. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
8. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
9. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
10. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
11. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
12. Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter
13. The Godmother by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
14. Spellwright by Blake Charlton
15. Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint
16. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
17. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
18. Incident at Badamaya by Dorothy Gilman
19. Caravan by Dorothy Gilman
20. Unleashed by Nancy Holder (dnf)
21. By The Sword by Mercedes Lackey
22. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
23. Dark Lover by JR Ward (dnf)
24. Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
25. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski (dnf)
26. Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
27. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
28. The Seance by John Harwood
29. Wolfbreed by S.A. Swann
30. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (dnf)
31. Magic’s Promise by Mercedes Lackey
32. Magic’s Price by Mercedes Lackey
33. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson (dnf)
34. Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin (dnf)
35. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
36. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
37. Cast In Shadow by Michelle Sagara
38. Lord of Light by Roger Zelzany (dnf)
39. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
40. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (dnf)
41. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
42. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
43. Cart & Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones
44. Foundation & Empire by Isaac Asimov
45. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (dnf)
46. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
47. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
48. Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov
49. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
50. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
51. The Death Cure by James Dashner
52. The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
53. Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey
54. Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery
55. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (dnf)

Now, I’m a pretty fast reader. I’m averaging about a book a week. But this 100 challenge is absolutely keeping me on my toes. It took me an extra long time to get through The Historian (even though it was AMAZING and I loved it) and that made me pretty nervous in terms of keeping on top of the challenge. The downside (or upside) of this challenge allows me to read a lot of quick, YA and pulpy novels that keep my numbers up. I’m having a lot of fun making myself read and read and read and read (I mean seriously, it IS one of my favorite things to do!) and actually getting through my 85-book-deep “to read” list on goodreads.

The best of the best so far:
The Seance by John Harwood – I actually started to read this book, gave up on it, and came back a month later. I’m so glad I did. It was creepy, scientific, strange and awesome.
The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner – AAAH THESE BOOKS I loved them and didn’t want them to end. Fun, easy, fast-paced and pretty scary reads.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides – a beautiful, heartbreaking, depressing classic. I can’t say it’s my new favorite book, but I’m super glad to have read it.

The worst:
Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara – NO PLOT OMG I’m so upset I stuck it through a plotless, descriptionless book. I wish I had quit reading halfway through. But it had so much potential!

But most likely any of the books I didn’t finish, I would put on the “worst” list.* All for different reasons. Some were too violently awful, some were just terribly boring, some just didn’t interest me after 2 weeks of sitting on my bookshelf. I try to give books second chances, but most of the time I’d just rather read something else instead of keep trying to pay attention.

*Minus “The Neverending Story”. It was SO GOOD, you guys. But it never ended. So I died.

I guess I have some more to go!

You can keep track of my progress, and start a challenge of your own, if you like, here!

clutter

Today I re-arranged my bookshelves, which turned into re-arranging the tops of my bookshelves, which turned into going through my papers and then consolidating my sketchbook and then organizing my financial records and then looking through pages of handwritten notes from high school and ended with my room covered in paper.

I’m still not done.

The thing I have realized, as I consolidated my bookshelves so that I can actually find my books, is that I have too many books. I think I own a pile of at least 10 books that I’d like to read or re-read, and then I have 2 bags of books lent to me, and then on top of that I have another 12 books out at the library.

On top of that, studying for the GRE. Huzzah! I guess I am not that bored with my life right now, as spirally and unproductive I feel, sometimes.