Archive | January, 2011

Goodreads, FTW!

31 Jan

For about a year I’ve seen references to the Goodreads website on a message board I peruse regularly.  I’ve contemplated setting up an account, but I never really understood what they were all about.  A few days ago, in a moment of boredom, I bit the bullet, signed up and immediately loved the whole experience.  I set a goal for myself to read 100 books in 2011.  In addition to helping maintain that goal, the site keeps track of books I have read, am currently reading, and would like to read – someday.  No more going to the bookstore, picking up a book, and musing to myself, “Hmmm, have I read this already?”  I still can’t figure out if I ever read The Devil Wears Prada.

Anyway, I found out yesterday about this feature where you can enter to win free books, several of which are Advanced Reader Copies.  The point is if you win a book you read it right away and write a review of it.  You’re not obligated to write a review, but it helps get the word out about the book and helps people who are considering reading it whether or not to do so.  There were several pages of books listed, so I spent some time going through and entering for the ones I thought I would like to read.  Most of them only have one to five copies available and over one thousand people wishing for it, so I really didn’t think I had a chance to win any of them.
But then, there it was in my e-mail this morning!  I’d won a book!  The book is not set to be released until tomorrow and by the time I get it (in four to six weeks according to the site) it will no longer be an advanced copy, but I’m still so excited!  I would love to do this on a regular basis – receive books before their release date and review them.  Wouldn’t that be the best job ever?  Well, for a reader like me it would be.  If I could get paid for this I could do what I love best and my husband would stop hounding me to get a job.
The novel I won is called A Billion Reasons Why, written by Kristin Billerbeck.  I found a few reviews already online of the book, some have loved it and one really, really hated it.  But I’m just going to have to wait four to six weeks to read and decide for myself.  I will definitely let you know what I think!

Also, please check out my new blog where I’ll be posting all my book reviews from now on.  I’ve been reading so much recently I decided I needed a different blog space for all posts reading related.

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WIJFR: nightlight: a parody

28 Jan

nightlight
The Harvard Lampoon
154 pages

I saw this at Barnes & Noble over the Christmas season and knew right away I had to read it, but I was a good girl and instead of shelling out the fourteen bucks for it, I waited for a copy to become available on PaperBackSwap.  It arrived a few days ago and I read it right away (how unusual for me!).

I started reading around 11pm and by page six I was laughing so hard I was crying.  Being that I had just eaten some Cheerios, thus milk, thus dairy, thus had an increase in phlegm, I was also coughing which led to some choking.  Whew.  Is there anything better than laughing so hard you might actually die?

Husband came to bed and I had to put the book aside, he was complaining my laughing was shaking the bed too much for him to sleep.  So I waited until yesterday to finish it.

What we’ve got here, obviously, is a spoof of Twilight.  But it doesn’t matter if you’re the most obsessed fan girl or you loathe the series.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you think Stephanie Meyer is a good writer or not.  It’s a spoof and it’s going to be funny no matter what your opinion is of the Twilight Saga.

It’s classic college humor – lots of randomness with some beloved cultural references thrown in.  You’ve got to like that kind of humor to like the book.  An example:

” ‘You’ve grown so big – I didn’t recognize you without your umbilical cord, I suppose.’  Had it really been that long?  Had I really not seen my dad since I was thirteen and going through my pet umbilical cord phase?  I realized we had a lot of catching up to do.” p.6

Basically, I laughed throughout the whole thing and I will not be reposting this to PBS.  Aside from the fact that it came unpostable, I like it so much that it’s staying right on my own shelf.

Standing Ovations: You’re Doing It Wrong

27 Jan

Last night my husband and I had the opportunity to take in a show, something we have not been able to do in a long time.  So we sat through West Side Story enjoying it for the most part, aside from the very talkative lady sitting next to us.  Two and a half hours later the show was over.  The curtain fell.  The cast assembled, the curtain was raised, the audience started clapping and… immediately half the audience was on their feet in a standing ovation.

Listen, everyone: You all use standing ovations far too frequently.  After every show I can recall attending in the recent past, whether it be a high school musical, a professional philharmonic performance, a college dance troupe, a comedy show, or a real professional musical like we saw last night, there has been a standing ovation.  People simply don’t understand anymore what the point of a standing ovation is.

Here’s what Wikipedia says on the matter: “A standing ovation is a form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding. This is done on special occasions by an audience to show their approval and is done after extraordinary performances of particularly high acclaim.”

Note the words: particularly high acclaim.  Last night’s performance was good but I definitely wouldn’t call it one of “particularly high acclaim.”  The understudy for Tony was off key at least twice during his solos and some of the dancers weren’t in sync towards the end of the performance.  That deserves a standing ovation?  Not in my book.

Here’s the problem though (and the Wikipedia article also acknowledges this): when some of the audience stands up, you have to stand up too, otherwise you look like a douche-wazzle.  There we sat last night, politely clapping during the curtain calls, but everyone around us was standing up.  What choice did we have but to join them?

So, people of the United States: stop standing up after the show unless the performance really warrants it. Or is the problem that as a whole we’re so uncultured that we actually think every performance deserves it.  Oh, that’s a sad thought.

WIJFR: Size 12 Is Not Fat

26 Jan

Size 12 Is Not Fat
Meg Cabot
345 pages

So, I didn’t realize until I was almost done with this book that Meg Cabot is also the author who wrote The Princess Diaries.  I haven’t read those books, but I’ve seen the movies and loved them, so I’m not surprised that I liked this book.  Really liked it.

This was another book I ordered from PBS right after I joined.  I was just browsing through their listings, looking for anything interesting, and stumbled across it.  The description sounded awesome and I agreed with the title: Size 12 is not fact, actually.  I used to be a size 12 once (before I became a size 14) so I should know.  The sequel is called Size 14 Is Not Fat Either, so I just ordered that too, because, you know, size 14 isn’t fat either.

Anydovebar, this book was really good.  You’ve got yourself a washed up pop princess, Heather Wells, who isn’t full of herself, gets a down to earth job in a residence hall, and becomes something of an amateur sleuth when the girls in her residence hall start dying by elevator surfing.  Heather knows girls don’t elevator surf, though, so they must have been murdered.  But by who?  Exactly the kind of mystery I like.  It keeps to you guess, but isn’t too complicated to follow along.

The characters were lovable (except for the murderer, obviously), the setting was pretty awesome, and the plot thickened at just the right points.  The climax of the book was my favorite part.  Cabot didn’t just find a way to end her mystery novel like so many other chick-lit authors do.  There were twists and turns and spanned a few chapters, not a few pages.  It made finishing the book fast and enjoyable.

It’s a few years old, but if you haven’t gotten around to this book yet, I definitely suggest reading this one.

WIJFR: Pretty Little Liars

24 Jan

Pretty Little Liars
Sara Shepard
286 pages

My to-be-read pile has been growing, so I decided to tackle a book today.  I choose Pretty Little Liars because I thought it would be a fast read (it was, about four hours) and I thought I could get rid of it pretty quickly through PaperBackSwap (PBS) when I’d finished.  It’s posted now and waiting for someone to request it.

I hadn’t heard of this book until I’d seen the commercials for the ABCFamily show based on the novels.  The show didn’t look like anything I’d ever watch, and I still haven’t watched an episode all these months later, but the book description on the PBS website did sound pretty interesting, so I ordered it and it sat around for months until today.

I’m not going to waste much time on an analytical review because the book was pretty fluffy.  Five girls are best friends in seventh grade, they have secrets – some more dramatic than others, one of them “disappears” and three years later the four remaining girls are being harassed through text messages and e-mails by someone who knows all their seventh grade secrets.  The book ends on a cliffhanger because (SPOILER ALERT) even though the fifth friend ends up dead, the messages still keep coming and we don’t know who it is.

I think I would have loved this book back when I was in seventh grade, myself.  Today, however, the book was only okay.  Honestly, I could not get into the characters.  They’ll all rich, self-centered, bitchy, teenage girls who care more about themselves than anyone else.  I don’t really have compassion for characters who shoplift, drink copiously underage, and sleep with their teachers and older sister’s boyfriends.  They must have been so rich that they had no problems and decided to make up some for themselves.  Honestly.

What surprised me when I read the book flap about the author, is that she says she based it on her own upbringing.  I felt sad for her, then, that this was how she was brought up.  Her picture was kind of smirky, too.

I probably won’t read the next book.  I want to know who “A” is, but not enough to actually read the following seven books to find out.  I’ll try Google instead.