Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: January 2012

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

First Chapter, First Paragraph #4

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
Nothing but stars, scattered across the blackness as though the Creator had smashed the windscreen of his car and hadn't bothered to stop to sweep up the pieces. 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Winter Respite Readathon Wrap-Up Post

In my final day I managed to get 1hr30 of reading done- not as good as I'd hoped but OK I guess.

What really surprised me about this readathon was how easy I found it to get engrossed in my books. I read fast, so fast in fact that (for once) my reviews have fallen slightly behind schedule. I also managed to find time to join in with some of the mini-challenges, which is unusual for me during a short event like this.

Next readathon I think I shall stick with just trying to read ans join in challenges as much as I can, rather than setting an actual time / number of books target. Having a variety of books to read also helped me. 

I hope that you enjoyed my posts and that they weren't too boring for non-readathon readers- I shall be returning to normal scheduling now for at least a little while. And of course, don't forget to check out the 2 giveaways currently running here (links on the right-hand sidebar).

Readathon Summary
Reading time: 12h30
Number of books finished: 4
Number of challenges participated in: 3
How I feel about this: :)

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

Witches are not by nature gregarious, and they certainly don't have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn't have. But even she found that meddling in royal politics was a lot more difficult than certain playwrights would have you believe....

My review:
A book full of Shakespeare inspired puns, this book is one of Pratchett's best. Its also a perfect start for any new Discworld readers of a literary persuasion, since it doesn't relie on knowledge of the previous books for its plot. What I particulary love about this story though, is how tackles ideas such as destiny and rule in a totally unserious way. Certainly a tale that can be taken on many levels and enjoyed starting from a range of viewpoints.
This book is part of my permenant collection.

Action Reader's Action: Contact your local MP (by letter, e-mail, or in person) to tell them your opinions on an issue that matters to you.

Discussion point: What do you think makes a good ruler?

Question for Discworld fans: Which Discworld book would you recommend someone new to the series to start with?

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Winter Respite Readathon Update #4

Yesterday (Saturday) I had a decent reading time. I really got into reading 'The Wyrd Sisters' by Terry Pratchett and finished it in 2hr30. Not a bad pace, I think. Review up later today.

Now I'm reading Just:Imagine by Danielle Strickland and Campbell Roberts. It'll be one of the few non-fiction books I read this year, and its really motivating me to try to do more for justice. Look out for my Action Reader Actions at the end of reviews, and on 'Blog for the Thought' (my sister-blog about faith and issues).

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Writing a Reply

This is my new feature where I reply to some of the questions made in my post comments. If you have any additional/general questions you'd like to ask me feel free to write them heree and I'll reply next time.

In response to me saying that I have 199 books on my TBR pile:
Giselle @ http://abigailannreadi... - Follow Friday #5 2 weeks ago · 0 replies · +1 points
Haha well 199, how many books do you read a year!? Haha isin't it stressful! Eeek

Xpresso Reads
Well, last year I read 78 according to goodreads, so there's a few years worth of books for me to read there.

Commenting on my post about Christmas Tree Festivals:

Susan @ http://abigailannreadi... - Virtual Advent Tour: D... 8 weeks ago · 0 replies · 0 points
Yes, this is a new tradition. Certainly in York 10 years ago, and in Essex three years ago, there were no tree festivals. Do you know what began them?
I liked your post, and it is interesting to see how trees are being used as a symbol of hope and reaching out and sharing. It's what I always think trees are - so long as we have trees, the earth will continue to thrive, somehow. Thank you for writing about your festival! Have a happy holiday :-) 
I'm afraid that I have no idea where Christmas Tree Festivals started. I tried searching on the internet for more information about them, but no history came up. If anyone else knows how they started (or even knows of one which took place earlier than the last 10 years or so) I'd love to know.

About 'The Children of the New Forest'

aloi @ http://abigailannreadi... - The Friday 56 #14 The ... 9 weeks ago · 0 replies · 0 points
that title is so intriguing - i agree wth freda -- what the heck does the cover look like!?

Thanks for all your comments and questions. You're the ones who make this blog what it is!


Winter Respite Readathon Update #3

Having just finished my second book of the readathon, yesterday proved to be a fast reading day for me. I only managed to read for 3 hours, due to repeated headaches and tired eyes, but I've almost reached the end of my 3rd book now. Hoping tha I can get on just as well today.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Winter Respite Readthon Mini-Mini-Challenge

The True Book Addict has challenged readathon participants to come up with a paragraph made up from various book sentences.
Here's mine (original book text in bold):
It had happened that Vitoller's strolling players had been passing through at the time, and the dwarf had ventured one small copper coin on a performance of The Dragon of the Plains. Now he was bored and also angry. Mix them all together... and they seemed to cancel out, become a mere hundrum way of filling the stage for a couple of hours.                                         Taken from 'Wyrd Sisters' by Terry Pratchett

Winter Respite Readathon Mega-Challenge

The True Book Addict has set us a covet and cherish challenge.

Here what I covet:

And now to tell you about what I cherish:
I have four permanent collections of book: Terry Pratchett,Ursula le Guin, Christian Jacq and Jasper Fforde. These are housed ontop of my wardrobes, so that they are really easy to see. Amongst the bookends holding them up are two wooden owls. These are beautifully hand-carved and painted- I like to think of them as the guardians of my Ancient Egypt book collection.
The rest of my books are on one of three bookshelves that surround my room. There are over 200 books in total and they are roughly sorted by time period. I try to read a mix of time periods, writing styles and genres from these. On the bookshelf next to my bed I have a small collection of my immediate TBRs- basically what I'm intending to read over the next few weeks. 
I would hate to find myself ever without a book at hand, or to have a choice of what to read- this is why I really cherish all my books!

The Corridors of the Dead by Jonathan D. Allen (A Review)

In a time before humans walked the Earth, a mysterious being known only as The Lost Aetelia crafted an elaborate series of Watchtowers, along with their resident guardians, the Aetelia, to watch over the operations of the Universe. In time, a rebellious group of these Aetelia came to Earth in an attempt to challenge the established structure of the Universe. War ensued. These rebels, known as the Watchers, disappeared from human history.
The time of the Aetelia- now as angels- is come again. After a fateful night of violence, Matty DiCamillo finds herself drawn into this world by a mysterious savior, who becomes a driving force in Matty's new life. Both driven by and fighting the words of prophecy that lay out her destiny, Matty, her lover Kristy, and her best friend Daniel, follow this mysterious savior on a journey from Northern California to Las Vegas on a path that crosses the boundaries of time and space.
 As Matty struggles to understand her new destiny, she discovers that her mysterious savior may not be what she seems, and that even the denizens of the twilight world that she has entered have no idea what lurks behind the stage dressing of their reality. Matty finds herself racing to rescue the woman she loves, and learning that she herself could be the cause of the Universe's day of reckoning.

My review:
A unique and complex story-line structured around some very interesting characters. It took me a while to get into this book and, for some reason, I found it incredibly hard to imagine Matty as a woman rather than a man. However, I got more and more into the story as I read on until I really wanted to find out what would happen next. Disappointingly, it finished on rather an anti-climatic cliff-hanger. Worth a read if you want something totally different, but could be even better with some re-editing.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Action Reader's Action: Consider your future plans. How much are they shaped by you, and how much by the views of others. Make them all your own!

Discussion point: Do you believe in angels? If so, what do you think they are like?

Winter Respite Readathon Update #2

Wednesday's reading didn't really happen as I ran out of time due to various commitments- 30minutes reading achieved.
Yesterday was slightly less busy, but only slightly. In the end I managed to just about squeeze in 1hr 30mins worth of reading. I was quite pleased with this since it was a jam-packed day.
On other news, I won a prize for day 2- a lovely surprise!

The bad news is that I'm not  feeling very well today. The good news is that it means I have plenty of time to read as I don't feel up to much else (if I can keep awake that is).

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Winter Respite Readathon Update #1

First day started off quite promising. Despite having housework to do I nevertheless managed 3 hours worth of reading. I finished my first book (Sourcery by Terry Pratchett- click for review). I was pleased and certain that my part of this readathon would be a success.

Then yesterday I unexpectedly ended up being out all day. My Dad arrived back from a journey in the evening, and we all ended up watching TV together. The result- only 30minutes of reading done.

So, 3.5 hours so far. I wonder what surprises (and reading opportunities) today will hold.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we'd better not go into), he had seven sons. And then he had an eighth son... a wizard squared... a source of magic..... a Sourceror"
I absolutely love Terry Pratchett's style of writing, his humour and the fact that he has created such a imaginative world as discworld. However, this book felt a little bit like- "what can we do with Rincewind now?" at times. Several of the subplot ideas and puns seem to have already occured in earlier books as well. Taking individually this would no doubt be a wonderful book (all the stuff that's already happened is explained sufficiently), but as part of a series its just a little repetative. Having said that, I did still really enjoy this book. What I liked the most was how the characters of the luggage and the wizards as a whole were expanded on. There was also some great cultural / religious references that took it beyond a simple story; this makes it readable time and time again if taken on different levels. Worth reading if you're into Discworld.

Action Readers' Action: Help someone who is under the 'power' of others. Write a letter, through Amnesty International, to someone in prison.

Discussion Point: If you were a Sourceror how would you change the world?

Question for Discworld fans: Who is your favourite magical person (witch/wizard/sourcery) in the Discworld series?

Winter's Respite Readathon Starting Post

This week I'm participating in the 'Winter Respite Readathon'.

My aim is quite simple, to read as many books as I can during the week. To this end I'm going to be extra vigilant to always carry a book with me, substitute most of my TV watching for reading, and find any excuse possible to read during the rest of the time.

My TBR shelves are stacked high (199 at last count), so I'm going to continue working my way through them during the readathon. At the moment I'm reading 'Sourcery' by Terry Pratchett, then I plan to read 'The Corridors of Dead' by Jonathan D. Allen. Stay tuned for what I'll be reading after that as I've yet to decide.

I'm also hoping to enter at least one mini-challenge. I'm notoriously bad for picking and choosing on these, so I'm not 100% sure it will happen though.

As always I welcome any comments you might have. I will be visiting other bloggers doing the readathon, but may not have time to post so please don't think you've been neglected if you don't hear from me.
Good luck everyone with your reading!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Interview with James Fryer

I'm glad to be able to welcome James Fryer, author of 'Patrick Patterson and the World of Others' to 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' today. James kindly agreed to be interviewed for the blog, here is what he replied:

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I currently live in New York, with my wife and dog, who's really like a daughter to us.  We're a happy little family.  I'm originally from a small town in Texas, called Grapevine.  I've always been told to write what you know, so I decided to base the prominent locations in my book in areas I'm familiar with.  It was also gratifying to bring attention to my home state of Texas--in a very fun way, I think.

2. Describe 'Patrick Patterson and the World of Others' in 5 words 
That's tough.  Five words feels so limiting.  Okay, here it goes:  "A wild, fast-paced, adventure ride."  Does fast-paced count as one or two?  I think one.  But it's so much more than that, because that doesn't even get into the love story and the betrayal...five words just isn't enough!

3. Do you believe in aliens / 'others'? 
I'd like to.  I recall seeing this movie a while back that had a line (regarding if there actually weren't aliens out there) that said something like, "That would be an awful waste of space."

4. If you could transform into any living thing what, or who, would you choose? 
A monkey.  I don't know how to elaborate any further.  I've just always liked monkeys.

5. Which of your characters do you think you are most like, and why?
Patrick.  He's curious and brave, two character traits that I find most appealing in people.  I'd like to think that I exemplify both qualities.

6. Earth or Svarog?
Earth, absolutely.  There are so many places I haven't yet visited that Earth is almost like another planet in many ways.

7. What is the most boring place you have ever been to? 
Odessa, Texas.  Not too unlike Farwell, actually.  Small and dusty.  Odessa would be number one, followed closely by a visit to the DMV.

8. Do any particular books or films influence your writing?
Many things influence me.  In small ways, all books, films, and art influence me, even the ones that might not be to my overall liking.  To me, the art to living is to be observant.  To observe the small, ignored, everyday things that go overlooked.  All of those tiny aspects of life make their way into my writing.

9. If you had a Mechanical Mockingbird what message would you send, and why would you send it to? 
My wife is a flight attendant, so I would send surprise messages to her, wherever she might be staying on her trips.  As far as the actual message, that would be between her and me.  No offense ;)

10. Tell us a little about your next book. 
Well, it's going to be the next installment of Patrick Patterson.  It will pick up almost exactly where the first book leaves off.  I'd like to say more, but I don't want to ruin the first book for those that haven't read it yet!
Thanks James for those fascinating answers. I look forward with anticipation to the sequel.
If this interviews piqued your interest (and you live in the UK- sorry) then you can enter to win a copy of 'Patrick Paterson and the World of Others' on this blog until the end of the month.

Book Beginnings- 20th January 2012

Hosted by A Few More Pages

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
There was a man who had eight sons. Apart from that, he was nothing more than a comma on the page of History. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

International Giveaway: Strata by Terry Pratchett

To celebrate having over 10,000 blog views I'm giving away a book by one of my favourite authors- Terry Pratchett. Strata is one of Pratchett's earliest works and is completly stand-alone since it is not part of the Discworld saga. To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Strata simply fill in the rafflecopter form below.

This is what goodreads has to say about the book:
The Company builds planets.
Kin Arad is a high-ranking official of the Company. After twenty-one decades of living, and with the help of memory surgery, she is at the top of her profession. Discovering two of her employees have placed a fossilized plesiosaur in the wrong stratum, not to mention the fact it is holding a placard which reads 'End Nuclear Testing Now', doesn't dismay the woman who built a mountain range in the shape of her initials during her own high-spirited youth.
But then come a discovery of something which did intrigue Kin Arad. A flat earth was something new...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Mort by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romantic longings did not mix easily with the responsibilities of being Death's apprentice...

My review:
A comical look at what it means to be human, the role of death in the world and how a job can become someone's life. As usual this discworld novel is full of wit and fun, as well as parodies of our own world. Extremly enjoyable!

Action Readers' Action: Re-evaluate your own life and re-check your priorities.

Discussion point: What is the most important thing in your life?

Question for Terry Pratchett fans: What is your 'favourite' discworld death?

Monday, 16 January 2012

For those who wondered what on earth BookCrossing was

My regular readers may have noticed me ocassionally writing about BookCrossing. Now, I've tried to explain what this is on a special page of my blog, but I'm conscious that my explanations are not always what I hope them too be. A group of students from the Eindhoven University of Technology, however, have come to my rescue with a video that clearly explains the bookcrossing concept of wild releasng (my favourite part of bookcrossing). Take a look, see what you think and then feel free to ask any questions you think of, or just start joining in yourself:

Bout of Books Goal Review

My goals were:

  • To finish at least 3 DiscWorld books                           DONE
  • To write reviews of all my finished books                    ALL BUT ONE (finished at bedtime Day 7)
  • To enter at least 1 mini-challenge                                OOOPS
  • To read for a minimum of 20 hours                             NO

Could have been worse I guess. Turned out (as it often does) that I had less time for reading and challenges than I thought I'd have. I also forgot, when setting my goals, that I was away for the weekend (note to self: remember to check diary when making goals).

Bout of Books Days 5-7 Summary

Number of hours read on Day 5: 1.5
Number of hours read in total: 13
Number of books finished on Day 5: 0
Number of books finished in total: 2
Number of reviews posted on Day 5: 0
Number of reviews posted in total: 2
Number of challenges participated in: 0
Currently reading: Mort by Terry Pratchett

Number of hours read on Day 6: 1
Number of hours read in total: 14
Number of books finished on Day 6: 0
Number of books finished in total: 2
Number of reviews posted on Day 6: 0
Number of reviews posted in total: 2
Number of challenges participated in: 0
Currently reading: Mort by Terry Pratchett

Number of hours read on Day 7: 2
Number of hours read in total: 16
Number of books finished on Day 7: 1
Number of books finished in total: 3
Number of reviews posted on Day 7: 0
Number of reviews posted in total: 2
Number of challenges participated in: 0
Currently reading: Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Friday, 13 January 2012

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

"The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death lad a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth sn of an eighth son. Unfortunatly for his colleagues in the chauvinistic (not to say misogynistic) world of magic, he failed to check on the new-born baby's sex..."
My review:
In this tale of how tradition can be changed by the simplist accident, we begin to explore the relationships and differences between the types of magic on the discworld. Terry Pratchett's characters really come off the page and sometimes seem almost to take on a life of their own. The are different and yet somehow familiar, weird and wonderful, yet true to our own experiences. An essential read for anyone who loves comic fantasy.

Action Readers Action: Consider if you there are any unhelpful boundaries that you construct  for yourself in your life. Put a plan in action to overcome them.

Disussion point: Have you ever been told that you can''t do something because of race, colour, or gender?

Question for Discworld fans: If you found yourself on Discworld with magical powers, would you rather be a witch or a wizard?

Bout of Books Day 4 Summary

Number of hours read on Day 4: 1.5
Number of hours read in total: 11.5
Number of books finished on Day 4: 0
Number of books finished in total: 2
Number of reviews posted on Day 4: 0
Number of reviews posted in total: 2
Number of challenges participated in: 0
Currently reading: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bout of Books Day 3 Summary

Just time for a quick summary at the end of a busy day, before I head out for yet more activities

Number of hours read on Day 3: 4
Number of hours read in total: 10
Number of books finished on Day 3: 1
Number of books finished in total: 2
Number of reviews posted on Day 3: 1
Number of reviews posted in total: 2
Number of challenges participated in: 0
Currently reading: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collison with a malevolent red star, the Discworld has only one possible saviour. Unfortunatly, this happens to be the singularly inept and cowardly wizard called Rincewind, who was last seen falling off the edge of the earth.

My review:
A sequel, in the classic sense, to Colour of Magic, this book truly introduces us to Rincewind and the society of Ankh-Morpork as they appear in later Discworld stories. Full of wit and one-liners, its a fun and entertaining read for any fantasy fan.

This book was bought by me for my permanent collection

Action Readers Point: Consider ways in which you could save the world and then put them into action.

Discussion point: What things scare you and how do you overcome them?

Question for Discworld fans: What is your favourite Discworld spell?

Bout of Books Day 2 Summary

Quite a busy day yesterday, but I did manage to get a little bit of reading in. Hoping to get a lot more done today.

Number of hours read on Day 2: 2
Number of hours read in total: 6
Number of books finished on Day 2: 0
Number of books finished in total: 1
Number of reviews posted on Day 1: 0
Number of reviews posted in total: 1
Number of challenges participated in: 0
Currently reading: The Light Fantastic By Terry Pratchett

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Bout of Books Day 1 Summary

I really didn't want to stop reading to do this post, but I felt that I ought to give you at least some sort of  update.
I've not read as much as I've wanted so far, due to other commitments / parents wanting me to do things around the house / TV distractions, but I'm still quite happy with my achievements.

Number of hours read on Day 1: 4
Number of hours read in total: 4
Number of books finished on Day 1: 1
Number of books finished in total: 1
Number of reviews posted on Day 1: 1
Number of reviews posted in total: 1
Number of challenges participated in: 0
Currently reading: The Light Fantastic By Terry Pratchett

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive and wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet.....
My review:
Only Douglas Adams is as random as this! This book introduces DiscWorld, a fantastical disc floating through space under a rather unusual steam. There's plenty of comedy, whimsical characters and imaginative scenes, strung together using a whole string of plots and sub-plots which exercise the readers mind no end. In my opinion, this is not the best of Terry Pratchett's work, but it is none a very good read for anyone interested in fantasy, and/or comedic fiction.

I bought this book (a long time ago) and its now part of my perminant collection

Action Readers point: Visit a new and unusual tourist attraction and try to see it through Twoflower's positive eyes.

Discussion point: What's the most interesting place that you've ever been to?

Extra question for Pratchett enthusiasts (is this you?): What is your favourite DiscWorld book and why?

Bout of Books Goals

Hosted by Bout of Books

I'm a bit late setting my goals for this readathon, mainly because I'm never sure what I'm going to read until the last minute. I've decided now, though, that I'm going to make the most of this week to get ahead in the Terry Pratchett Reading Challenge.

So, my goals are as follows:
  • To finish at least 3 DiscWorld books
  • To write reviews of all my finished books
  • To enter at least 1 mini-challenge
  • To read for a minimum of 20 hours
I hope these are realistic, but all I can do it wait and see.

Are you taking part in Bout of Books? If so, what are your goals?

Friday, 6 January 2012

Book Tunes #3

Hosted by Down The Rabbit Hole

I'm currently reading 'The Colour of Magic' by Terry Pratchett. 

Follow Friday #5

Hosted by Parajunkee

Q: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

Ummm, can I just answer far too many?

No! OK- 199. 

Actually, that' not as bad as I thought it would be. 

Patrick Patterson and the World of Others by James Edward Fryer (A Review and Giveaway)

Giveaway at the bottom of this post (UK only please)

"A match was struck in the distance, bringing light to what was otherwise darkness." And so began the tale of Patrick Patterson. For almost thirteen years, he's lived a quiet, simple life in the tiny town on the edge of Texas, called Farwell, but he is suddenly whisked away by a rag tag group of warriors and others across the United States to ddiscover his true identity and a destiny clouded in mystery. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that he'd walk through an underground city filled with citizens from across the universe, contend with powerful enemies from the edge of the galaxy, or travel to the Arctic Circle on a high speed train. Now, he must decide what he truly desires and whether he even wants to take up the mantle of hero... or alien.
My review:
I really enjoyed this book! It began like a sci-fi classic, but soon developed into a world of its own which had me hooked right to the end. The characters were deep and complex. The plot was forever revealing new twists and turns. I also loved the way that little asides were made to reappear and take on new meanings just as you had forgotten them. The fact that this was all enclosed in a plain-looking cover and miniscual text makes the fact that I couldn't stop reading all the more remarkable. I can't wait for a sequel!

I was provided with this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Action Reader Point: Think about the different cultures that surround you. Find out more about one of them by talking to neighbours, or reading about them.

Discussion point: Are there any cultures/races/groups that you feel are discriminated against in your own society? What (if anything) is being done to promote integration?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

WWW Wednesdays #10

Hosted by Should Be Reading

• What are you currently reading?

Patrick Patterson and the World of Others by James Edward Fryer

"For almost thirteen years, he's lived a quiet, simple life in the tiny town at the edge of Texas, called Farwell, but he is suddenly whisked away by a rag tag group of warriors and others across the United States to discover his true identity and a destiny clouded in mystery. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that he'd walk through an underground city filled with citizens from across the universe, contend with powerful enemies from the edge of the galaxy, or travel to the Arctic Circle on a high speed train. Now, he must decide what he truly desires and whether he even wants to take up the mantle of hero...or alien." (Goodreads summary)
• What did you recently finish reading?

The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis (click for review)
• What do you think you’ll read next?
Unless any other ring, ray or review books turn up in the meantime, I'll be starting the Terry Prachett Challenge by reading 'The Colour of Magic'

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis (A Review)

The blurb:
There is a lion in our village and it is carryin away our children. Binti was the child star of a popular radio programme in Malawi. She believed she was special, but now she is nothing. Now she is just another AIDS orphan. But Binto Phiri is not about to give up. If she and her brother and sister are to be together, Binti will have to look outside herself and find a new way to be special.

My review:
A lovely charming books dealing sensitively with a difficult issue. I really felt connected with Binti and wanted to see how things would turn out for her and her family. The only thing that I think could have improved this book would have been if the negative conceptions had been challenged even more. I'd definatly recommend this book for teens and adults alike.

Action Readers' Point: Find out more about AIDS and how if affects your local community.

Discussion point: Have you ever found yourself in a tough situation? Can you share any advice for others who might be in a similar situation?

Silverbirch by Robkaay (A Review)

My name is Nudge. I am the only Human on Earth to be given a green light from a higher power to unconditionally rid the world of dickheads. How I came to be in this position, and why I was chosen, is about to be explained to you.

My review:
A unique and captivating plot, starting from the end of the story and then explaining how the main character got there. Told in plain language, which somehow hightened the tension and enhanced the action. The male characters had good backstories and behaved in a way consistent with their characters. Unfortunatly, this didn't seem to always be the case with the female characters. Overall, this book was interesting and showed good potential.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Action Readers' Point: Think about how you can make the world a better place

Discussion point: Do you believe murder can ever be justified?

First Chapter, First Paragraph #3

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

Patrick Patterson and the World of Others by James Edward Fryer
Farwell, Texas was a small town, and it hadn't changed a single bit in the almost thirteen years that Patrick Peterson haad lived in the same little farmhouse just down Route 348.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Reading Resolutions

Last year I decided to abandon reading challenges about half-way through the year- I was too busy and not really in the mood for them anymore. Plus, I felt that I needed some time to read what I really wanted to read, as well as establishing myself in the review request market.

This year, I've found it hard to resist taking on two new reading challenges:
  1. Operation Deepen Faith
I made a sort-of resolution the year beforelast to try and read my bible more often. Then, last year, I set up and soon gave up on a challenge to read and bookcross more Christian books. So, I thought maybe joining someone else's bible-based challenge this year might actually get me to keep up my good intentions.  
This challenge comes in several parts. I've signed up for:
  •   II. Going Deep; Goal: STUDY one book of the Bible throughout the year. Read it in at least four translations. Read the notes in a study Bible. Read a commentary book about it. Read or listen to sermons on it. Read it as often as possible--whether that is once a week or once a month or even once a day. Get to know that one book well. Let God speak to you through it. You might even choose to take notes or journal as you read. Whatever you want to do. 
  • III. Meditate. Choose about a verse a week--or a verse every other week--to reflect and meditate on. It might mean memorizing it. It might mean writing or journaling about it. (Or blogging about it if you like.) It might mean praying it. Or studying it. It's taking the reading of Scripture into something a little more--worship. These verses would not be chosen ahead of time. I'm not asking for a list. This is all about choosing-as-you-go, choosing as you read, let Scripture speak to you. 
  •  IV. Christian Nonfiction. Don't be afraid to give it a try. Read some theology. You choose the number of books to aim for. A beginner might not feel comfortable committing to more than two books. And that's fine. I want to challenge you to start somewhere. This challenge is for everyone. Not just for people who want to commit to reading twenty! It isn't about reading the most. It isn't about reading fast. My aim is to read 3 books.
 I'll be posting my challenge progress and Christian book reviews on this blog, but I'll also be writing about the bible passages / nonfiction discussions on my other blogs, as content appropriate.  
2. The Terry Pratchettt Reaing Challenge
 As soon as I saw this, I knew I just had to do this one. I'm a BIG Terry Pratchett fan and have been collecting his books for a while now. Plus, I've bee thinking about re-reading them. So, I've bought the few last books I didn't have and my aim is to read as far as possible through The Discworld series and its associatted books as I can. Wish me luck!

I'm also going to be trying to read 100 books to make my goodreads target. Last year I only managed 78, so I'l have to try a bit harder to make this year's goal.

2011 Blog Statistics

The Following Figures Are Accumulative since this blog began:

Most popular posts:
  1. 100 followers giveaway! (International)
  2. 'Our Tragic Universe'- A Review
  3. Calling all BookCrossing Supporters
  4. Armchair BEA Giveaway- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
  5. Readathon giveaway No1
  6. Who I Am  and How I Armchair
  7. Virtual Advent Tour: Day Two
  8. Ambasadora: Author interview and giveaway (international)
  9. On my Wishlist #4
  10. Ambasadora by Heidi Ruby Miller (A Review)

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    Festive Book Buys

    OK, so I went a little crazy on my Christmas book buys. But most of them were in the sale!
    Want to know what I got? You don't?! Well, I'm gonna tell you anyway (you can always skip this post if you're not really interested):

    'Pick Up Your Parrots and Monkeys' by William Pennington
    'The Flower Net' by Lisa See
    'The Time Traveller's Guide To Medieval England' by Ian Mortimer
    'Where's My Cow' by Terry Pratchett
    'The Last Continent' by Terry Pratchett
    'The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch' by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen
    'Barry Trotter and the Dead Horse' by Michael Gerber
    'The High Street' by Philip Wilkinson

    All in all a good set of purchases I think. I may also get some bible study guides to help me with one of this year's reading challenges (stay tuned for more information on that shortly).

    (Book) Marking Christmas

    I promised you all that I'd share with you the book-related activities I'd done over the Christmas period, so here we go:

    • My bookish Christmas started off with making a BookCrossing tree at my local Community Christmas Tree Festival. I loved doing this, especially unwrapping the decorations as they arrived from bookcrossers all around the world. Then there was the added joy of watching people's amazement as they realised they could take a book or a decoration home completly free- it brought home the true meaning of Christmas
    • Sending off cards to bloggers and a present to my bookcrossing secret santa. Left to the last minute this year I'm afraid, but enjoyable to do none the less. And getting cards back from others countries so great as well. Some interested messages, thoughtful cards and stamps for my stamp collection.
    • Watching the new Dicken's spoof on TV. Truly hilarious! I can't say I''ve particularly enjoyed reading Dickens, so this programme was a great alternative to re-reading 'A Christmas Carol'
    • BookCrossing Christmas books whilst on holiday in Yorkshire. A Donald Duck Christmas story went into a child's ride at a motorway services, whilst 'Wayne in A Manger' was left for someone to find in Bolton Abbey.
    • Seeing the Dr Who Christmas Special, loosly based on 'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe'. I love Dr Who and this was a brilliant episode in my opinion. Truly magical!
    • Of course, there was plenty of time for reading, including a little time for an end-of-year readathon. But what was best were the early mornings, knowing that there was plenty of time to read rather than having to rush out to do things. I allowed myself the pleasure of reading the books that I wanted to, rather than just those I had to for review/rings and rays. I also enjoyed some lighter books than my usual fair. 
    • Going to see Creation Theatre's production of 'A Christmas Carol'. A brilliant use of props, as always, and I liked the use they made of actual Christmas carols to explain the story. This group is realy talented, we go to see them at least once a year and they're always good- do go yourself if you get the chance.

    What did you do this Christmas?

    The Thankyou (letter) post

    I had intended to take a picture of all the lovely cards I got from the card exchange and all the lovely gifts I got from my bookcrossing secret santa, but I haven't got round to it I'm afraid. I know, useless excuse, but I thought rather than fiddling with new batteries for my camera and picking the cards back out of the card holder, it would be best to make a simple post now saying thankyou.

    So, thankyou to my card exchange buddies- for your lovely cards and thoughtful extras, including the sherbert that I'm waiting for a special ocassion to savour, and the lovely bookmark that I'm currently using to keep the pages of my read.

    And thankyou to me bookcrossing secret santa- for the gorgeous soap, the two christmas decorations and the copy of Geraldine Brooks 'People of the Book' (you got my taste so right, even without a wishlist to aid you).

    Also, a big thankyou to all of you for supporting my blog through the festive season, 2011 and before. I look forward to sharing with you more during 2012.

    Readathon Final Update

    Hosted by Squeaky Books

    • Total Books Read: 1
    • Total Pages Read: 477
    • Books Read Since Last Update: 0
    • Pages Read since last update: 147
    • Total time read: 4hr
    • What I'm currently reading: The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis
    • How I'm currently feeling: Tired. I went out to celebrate new year last night and didn't get as much reading done as I'd hoped- hence the very late final update. Oh well, never mind, there's always the next readathon!
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