Why 100?

Last year I set out to read 100 books, but I ran out of time and only read 75. So this year, I will read one hundred books. And you're my witness :) The only thing stopping me this year is 9 seasons' worth of Seinfeld episodes- wish me luck!

Friday, December 24, 2010

97. going greek??

Beginner's Greek by James Collins
There is something so intriguing about love stories that never really work out the way they planned, leaving both parties horribly depressed and alone throughout most of their lives until they realize that the only thing they ever wanted- for person A and themself to get together (finally!), is actually happening.  it sucks for all other parties involved- mother-in-law, dead husband/bff, torn lovers who are instrumental in small pieces lining up in order for fate to signal to the (finally!) happy couple that they are *sigh* meant to be.  i ate this up with a spoon, and then licked the bowl.  in this analogy, i liken Beginner's Greek to the best BEST bread pudding i have ever had, with just the right amount of rasins, and rum sauce, but not so that it becomes too sweet, just eggy and moist and nice and absolute perfection in my mouth for a few seconds as it slides down my throat easily and deliciously.  mmmmmm now i want bread pudding.  damn.  today is christmas eve day!  where is the hustle and bustle and warm comforts?  still asleep, i believe it's only 6:35 in the a.m.  too early to keep my eyes open much longer to also write about book 98. 31 Bond Street.  But i guess there really isn't that much to say about it, otherwise than what a good period writer, what a bad mystery writier.  nothing made sense in the way that mystery/action novels are supposed to all twist and tie together. perhaps i'll write more on 98 later.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

96. thinking on paper

Thinking on Paper by V.A. Howard, Ph.D., & J.H. Barton, M.A.
very technical.  very boring.  but useful.  i have no further comment. :p

Saturday, December 18, 2010

95. the other woman

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
Historical fiction is always sort of a middle ground for me- i love it, especially the weird details from that time period and how scandalous some things are in the past decades that people wouldn't even think twice of now.  historical fiction also borders on boring 95% of the time, and this was one that just fell right over that edge immediately and never came back.  i don't enjoy perspective writing- especially when it is really repetitive and doesn't add anything to the plot and intrigue.  mary, george, and bess are repetitive and besides telling the basic events that shape the stories, they talk about the same thing every single chapter.  because of that, this book was sort of frustrating to read.  i don't remember The Other Boleyn Girl being as boring (although it could've been much sexier, like The Tudors, the very sultry Showtime series.  mmmmmmm....  that's how i like my 16th century historical fiction- nice and sexy.  jonathan rhys myers.... yummmm)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

94. middle eastern conflicts

i've been working on this book for a while.  it read like a textbook, albeit a very interesting textbook, called The Modern Middle East by James L. Gelvin.  i finally learned the background of all the things that people talk about- *warning: i am about to show you just how ignorant i really am* i now know more than the location of the palestine/israel conflict and how yasser arafat ties into that.  i already knew a bit about the iranian revolution, but i got some background on that, too.  and i also learned what rentier states are and how some forms of defying westernization are actually just imitations of what western cultures do (just don't tell the head honchos that!).  i was really frustrated after i read this book.  they spoke about how globalization may either help lessen the tensions and open more of a pathway between middle eastern nations and the rest of the world, but it is also possible that access to all of this information can be what ultimately gives those in power more power because they control it (as seen in saudi arabia).  i was also really frustrated with how the west had meddled with that part of the world.  why do our cultures have to intervene into everyone elses?  yes, sometimes we actually help those parts.  but if you look at how westerners drew up the boundaries of iraq- with little regard for the sparring cultures that they trapped within those boundaries- it is little wonder why there are so many problems there.  and it is even more frustrating because they used to have a lot of the cultural freedoms that we have here today- like secular government (or no real established overall government) and nationalists, westerners and islamists saw that they were going too far and then established strict new rules that threw those nations into the religious state of affairs that people struggle with today.  i'm not really on anyone's "side" at this point, after getting some of the facts, because everyone has screwed up when it comes to what should be done in the middle east.  they really need to be left alone to develop their own culture and allowed to govern themselves, but it is too late for that because they already established corrupt governments to combat other nations meddling in their affairs.  so what to do?  i have no idea.

Monday, December 6, 2010

93. "God bless us, every one!"

i needed a little incentive to get into the holiday spirit.  i am having an especially difficult time this year for some reason- i've tried forcing myself to listen to christmas songs on the radio, i make myself go into the decorating section of target (where everything sparkles!), and i put in the extra mile when i was wrapping gifts for my loved ones.  but i'm still having a hard time.  first of all, it feels like january outside already.  snow, bitter cold winds, and icy sidewalks= january to me.  second, christmas this year means i'm not going to be with all my loved ones; my habibi's birthday is christmas day and he will either be in a town 6 hours away or on his way to the other side of the planet (literally).  i'm afraid christmas will just magnify the feelings of missing him.  thankfully all of my friends will be at home over this break, so i will have them to lean on. 
anyway, in the effort to get in the christmas spirit and cross another number off my list, i read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  I had never read it, only seen it (most recently in Muppet format :) yay) It was great.  I was surprised by how easy it was to read Dickens' writing.  I thought he would have written in ancient, crotchety Olde English, but that was not the case at all.  And *spoiler alert* Tiny Tim lives to see the Christmases Future, and Scrooge lives happily ever after.  what a lovely story.  *

Sunday, December 5, 2010

92. murderers and rapists oh my!

reading this book was a little like hearing the svu soundtrack through the bedroom wall..... people were being hacked up left and right and there was a rapist stalker on the loose.  spooky, but Micheal McGarrity's Hermit's Peak wasn't too scary and was pretty good.  i do like a little more mystery, though.  there really wasn't a whole lot of suspense and there was absolutely no "whodunit" element.... because the author tells you and makes the connections for you early on.  i prefer to guess until the end, and then have the connections spelled out.  because of this, i was not on the edge of my seat, reading in suspense.  i did get through it pretty quickly though because i wanted to know who was going to get cracked down next.  the love story was pointless and totally unrealistic.  that was unfortunate. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Notebook

91. tear jerkers

when i realized that i could read books for free on my droid phone, i was very excited.  this must have been why i opted to add Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook to my "Shelf."  i'm not saying i regret the decision to read this tear-jerker, but i will say that i didn't appreciate having to hold back the tears on the bus this afternoon.  someone gave me a funny look- i think he thought i was choking or something.  nevertheless, i liked it.  i recently watched the move from beginning to end for the first time (and sobbed like a baby.  then my roommate walked in at the end and had to leave the room to avoid sobbing like a baby)  but in a good way.  which makes me wonder: why do women enjoy making themselves cry?  i don't enjoy crying all the time, in fact it is usually unwelcome as it pops up in unfortunate times and places for very strange reasons- sadness, frustration, happiness, going too long without eating.... you girls know this list all too well, i'm sure.  but i will admit, as will most of the females that i have spoken to in my life, that i enjoy tear-jerker movies, books, tv shows, conversations, etc etc a little too much.  why do i want to make myself blotchy and sniffly?  it's kind of sick really.  although i once read an article that said studies have found that tears actually are one of nature's ways to rid your body of negative toxins.... i wish i had written down where i read that, but it was a legit source and there were many studies done on the positive effects that crying had on the body.  do girls have more toxins to shed or are we just more weepy because of the estrogen?  or maybe guys secretly cry just as much as girls do, they are just ashamed and hide it verrrry well.  anyway, the notebook caused me to choke up in a good way.  one of sparks' books that i give a thumbs up to.  A Walk to Remember is also a good one that causes readers to weep for pages.  in fact, that was one of the first books to make me legitimately cry.  bellissimo.  sometimes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

90. thurber carnivals

The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber
When I first saw this book, in my mom's costco shopping cart, i thought i recognized the name james thurber.  i thought that surely this was one of those books about an author's crazy tales or life from the perspective of another author with creative licenses..... but no, this is thurber's self-made little carnival.  before i picked it up i thought "that thurber guy must be pretty whimsical to name his collection of short stories after a carnival."  i was correct.  he is whimsical, indeed.  while i can't say i understood any of his little "comics," his short stories were great.  i especially enjoyed the one about their childhood dog that bit people because he was in a bad humor.  i love this author!  he writes about dogs as if they are humans and captures their personality quirks perfectly.  how can you not like someone that is able to do that?