March Reading

Back in 2009, the very first challenge I ever hosted was a celebration of Women’s History Month. For the month of March, a few bloggers and I only read books by women. I’d like to do the same thing this year, but with a twist: I’m going to read the entire Orange Prize longlist.

Two of the books are not available in the US and two others I have read, so this is the final list:

  • Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (Quercus) – Swedish; 1st Novel
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen (The Clerkenwell Press) – American; 4th Novel
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (Picador) – Irish; 7th Novel
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail) – Canadian; 2nd Novel
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (Quercus) – American; 4th Novel
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (Bloomsbury) – British; 3rd Novel
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Faber & Faber) – British; 2nd Novel
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) – British; 2nd Novel
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy (Jonathan Cape) – British; 6th Novel
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker) – American; 1st Novel
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) – American; 1st Novel
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (Atlantic Books) – American; 7th Novel
  • There but for the by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) – British; 5th Novel
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard (Alma Books) – British; 2nd Novel
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard (Chatto & Windus) – British; 1st Novel
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman (William Heinemann) – American; 1st Novel

That’s 16 books. I expect that this will take me at least through April, if not later, but it also depends on how soon my library holds come in. The Night Circus, for example, has an extensive hold list. I don’t expect to be getting that one for at least a couple months. I’m starting this adventure by reading Lord of Misrule and Foreign Bodies this weekend.

Related Links

Melissa @ The Feminist Texican Reads is spending March posting about women’s studies and women’s studies | KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month


Books I Need to Read in 2012

So, I’ve got this really philosophical post waiting in the wings about lots of things, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to post that just yet. Instead I’m going to announce the great TBR Challenge of 2012. You see, up until I moved away from my hometown, I was a library fiend. I read and checked out books like it was my job. In that time frame the amount of books I owned also grew. And grew. And grew. Yet, I still rarely read the books I own.

It’s a familiar story, yes? So familiar that there are TWO TBR Challenges going on right now. I haven’t participated in a challenge in a while, but this is one that I was planning on doing anyway, so why not participate in both? Is that allowed? I say it is. One is the 2012 To Be Read Pile Challenge over at Roof Beam Reader and the other is the TBR Double Dare over at Ready When You Are, CB. The rules are slightly different, so it’s safe to say I’ll have two different lists for each challenge. In the mean time, I’ll get all these books read and then cleaned off my shelves! Unless, of course, they’re too good and I have to keep the to myself.

I’ll be honest. I’m entirely freaked out by how many books are on this list. I decided to record all the books I have on my shelves right this moment. The rest are still packed away at my parents house from when I moved. This is not even a quarter of my books, not even close. How did I acquire so many?! It’s going to take me YEARS to read them all! Before book blogging I owned zero books that I hadn’t read, because I would go to the store, buy books, come home, read. Now look at me!

I’d like to read this entire list in 2012. That’s it. None of the books from home, just these. I’m sure I won’t get through all of them. I know me. I’d really like to try, though. Since I usually read around 100 books a year, give or take a few, that will still give me 35 books, give or take a few, to read outside of this list. I might get a head start on some of them, too.

I want to start 2012 out with a good one. Anything from this list that blew your mind?

Books for the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge

(Must be published before 2011, 12 books total)

1. Proust Was A Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
2. The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
3. Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
4. Tokyo Cancelled  by Rana Dasgupta
5. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
6. The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor
7. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
8. The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric
9. Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
10. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
11. Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson
12. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell


1. Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
2. Moby Dick by Herman Melvill

Books for the TBR Double Dare

(Only read books on already on your shelf before 1/1/12, except for exceptions. My exceptions: any book clubs, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, possibly all the books on this list.)

1.  What You See in the Dark by Manuel Muñoz
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
4. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
5. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
6. Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
7. The Pattern in the Carpet  by Margaret Drabble
8. Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst
9. Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
10. Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
11. The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré
12. Memorial by Bruce Wagner
13. A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias
14. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell
15. 13 edited by James Howe
16. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
17. I Thought You Were Dead by Pete Nelson
18. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
19. The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead
20. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs
21. Truth & Beauty by Anne Patchett
22. The Best of It by Kay Ryan
23. Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
24. The Beekeeper’s Lament by Hannah Nordhaus
25. So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
26. Emma by Jane Austen
27. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
28. Imaginary Homelands by Salman Rushdie
29. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
30. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
31.  Lions of the West by Robert Morgan
32. A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz
33. Escape on the Pearl by Mary Kay Ricks
34. Listening Is an Act of Love by Dave Isay & StoryCorps
35. Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose
36. An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy
37. The Best American Comics 2011 edited by Alison Bechdel
38. Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter
39. Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan
40. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
41. Matterhorn  by Karl Marlentes
42. A Death in the Family by James Agee
43. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
44. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
45. Possesion by AS Byatt
46. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
47. Exley by Brock Clarke
48. Vita Nova by Louise Glück
49. The Seven Ages by Louise Glück
50. Averno by Louise Glück
51. Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia by Blake Butler
52. The Wrong Blood by Manuel De Lope
53. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
54. On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad
55. Native Speaker by Chang Rae Lee

RIP & Autumn time

Friends! It is that time again:

What? Oh. Yeah. Carl announced this TWO WEEKS AGO. But time just got away from me and suddenly it’s almost October and while I’ve been reading plenty of RIP books, I haven’t been talking about them. I’m fashionably late, as they say. But I’ve also noticed that I’m having the hardest time coming up with good ideas for books to read now that I’ve almost finished The Monstrumology series by Rick Yancey (get thee to a bookstore and BUY THESE, or to a library and check them out, especially if you are RIPing at the moment). I asked for suggestions three years ago during RIP and got some amazing answers. In fact, one of them ended up being one of my favorite reads of the year: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I’ve also loved We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson andThe House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. So please… could you help me out again?

Tell me what I should read this year to get in the autumn spirit. Tell me what books will make it feel like fall, will make me excited for one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.

Thank you in advance. You are all fabulous, but you already knew that.

TSS – An Announcement

Good morning!  I hope you’re having a wonderfully lazy Sunday morning… or a productive one, if that’s how you roll.  That is definitely not  how I like to roll, but unfortunately that’s how it has to be this morning.  I’m heading back to school today, so I’m packing and getting ready for some long driving.  I’ve read a lot of great books this week, which will be reviewed… eventually.  I have been feeling very overwhelmed the past few days and I’m not sure why.  There’s nothing going on that’s particularly overwhelming, but I think it’s just the pre-school jitters.

Anyway!  I have some very exciting news.  After much planning and deliberating, Jason and I are finally ready to go public with our brand new challenge for 2010!  I know that you are already signed up for a billion challenges, but this one is really worth making it a billion and one.  A lot of bloggers have been talking about wanting to read more poetry and Jason and I decided that we should have a more inclusive challenge that incorporated more genres of poetry.  I started the VPR Poetry Challenge back in May, but it was only for  twentieth century poetry.  This challenge gives you a lot more room to explore different time periods and genres.   The challenge is called Clover, Bee & Reverie: A Poetry Challenge, after one of Emily Dickinson’s poems and I’m super excited about it!

Can I entice you with pretty buttons?

There might be some opportunities for mini-challenges and guest posts and who knows what other surprises along the way!  Head on over to the blog to sign up and we really can’t wait to see you there 😀



It’s time for RIP IV!  I’m so absurdly excited!  Every time I’ve read a scary book this year, someone has undoubtedly said “I’m saving that one for RIP.”  And I said: “I’m such a newb!  What’s that?!”  Of course, I didn’t have to wait long.  Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings announced the early arrival of RIP IV!  My book selection:

  • Ravens by George Dawns Green.  I’m not sure this one qualifies, but the book jacket describes the writing thusly: “Shaw’s plot depends on maintaining constant fear – merciless, unfaltering terror….”  Sounds good right?!
  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.  I didn’t think there were people out there who loved TTW as much as I did, but then I discovered book blogging and realized that there’s a whole army of us.  I will buy this book and I will love it.
  • The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  I’ve seen this on a couple other lists, and this is the perfect excuse.

But okay, kids, THAT’S NOT ENOUGH.  Please, recommend some that are going to terrify me.  Make me tremble!  Give me nightmares!

New Challenge


Subtitled: Lu needs to get a grip.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this challenge my whole life.  Rose City Reader is a blogger I have not read until now, but Lezlie over at Books & Border Collies is participating in this challenge and it looks like a blast.  I love the Battle of the Books that fellow bloggers are posting about and I am going to hold my own.  This is Battle of the Books Regular Rumination style, going back in time to see if the Pulitzer or the National Book Award* is the better judge.    I hope Rose City Reader doesn’t mind if I change things up a little.  I’m going to read the books she requests, one from each category:

Chose three books that you have not read before:

1) One that won both the Pulitzer and the National;
2) One that won the Pulitzer but not the National; and
3) One that won the National but not the Pulitzer

But I’m also going to pick a year from each decade that the Book Award has been around and I’m going to do a Battle of the Books.  Yessssss.  It will be amazing.

1) Double dipper: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Showdown!

Pulitzer: The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
National: Herzog by Saul Bellow

Pulitzer:The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
National: Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien

Pulitzer: Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
National: White Noise by Don Delillo

Pulitzer: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
National: Sabbath’s Diner by Philip Roth

Pulitzer: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay By Michael Chabon
National: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Be prepared my pretties, because I’m fixin here to get graduated and I’m going to have a whole world of free time to do silly things on my blog, I promise.

*I thought this meant the Man Booker Prize.  One day I will tell you about how much I hate the Man Booker Prize.  How about right now?  They picked The Sea, Life of Pi, and worst of allVernon God Little.