Monday, December 27, 2010

Abducted by the Books of 2010 Survey

My friend Kate posted a survey on her blog about the books she read in 2010. The survey was originally created by Perpetual Page Turner. So here are my answers to the survey and here is the link if you'd like to do it too.


1. Best book of 2010? I don't know if it is only because I just finished it and so therefore it is weighing on my mind stronger then the other books I read this year but I really really loved One Day by David Nicholls.

2. Worst book of 2010? I would say the worst book I read in 2010 was with out a doubt Witch and Wizard by James Patterson. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. But whatever promise the book had was completely wiped away by the ending.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010? I was going to say Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict but now looking over my list of the books I read in 2010, I'm actually going to go with Go! Mutants by Larry Doyle. It's not that I didn't like this book, because I did. But I really wanted to LOVE this book, and that just didn't happen.

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? I really wasn't expecting much out of Dan Brown's Lost Symbol. I haven't read any of his other books because I just didn't think they were the type of books I would like. To be honest I think I was afraid that they would just go way over my head. But I read the Lost Symbol for my book club and I really enjoyed it.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? Well, if you are asking what book did I actually recommend to people in 2010 it would have to be Relentless by Dean Kootnz, but I read that one a couple of years ago. Now, if you are asking me out of the books I read in 2010 what I would recommend, that would again be One Day by David Nicholls

6. Best series you discovered in 2010? The only series of books that I actually read multiple entries for in 2010 were the Southern Vampire Mysteries and the Hunger Games. So between the two I would have to go with Hunger Games.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? John Green, although so far I've only read Abundance of Katherines, I really enjoy his vlogs and I am excited to read the rest of his books soon.

8. Most hilarious read of 2010? Scott Pilgrim by Bryan lee O'Malley. I only read the first one but that book is just dripping with excess sarcasm!

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010? The Lost Symbol was pretty unputdownable, mainly because each chapter would be like 3 pages long, if that, so I would be saying to myself "I'm just going to read one more chapter..."

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? Probably Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins. I had read Hunger Games when it first came out so each year I was looking forward to the next installment.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010? I'm going to go with Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, I liked my cover with it's devilish angel.

12. Most memorable character in 2010? I really can't think of anyone character that I liked or remembered more then the others. But if I had to choose I would say Flavia de Luce from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. She was just this little kid but she was so smart and so clever and written in such witty and believable way. I really liked her.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? I can honestly say that I don't think I've read a book this year that I would say was written "beautifully", but if I had to pick one I would say, yet again, One Day by David Nicholls. I was underlining lines in that book like crazy but also just the whole set up and how he wove the two points of view together was incredible.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? Without You By Anthony Rapp. I'm really can't begin to say how much this book meant to me but without a doubt it had the most impact on me this year. I did blog about it though so if you want to read my original thoughts about it click here

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read? I'm really sorry but I just don't have an answer for this one. I keep looking at my list of all the books I read this year (and I only read like 26 so it's not that long of a list) but not one book stands out as a book I always wanted to read and only just got around to this year. Also, not one stands out as a book I can't believe I only just found out about because for every book on my list I can totally see why I didn't discover them until this year so it makes sense to me.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Abducted by Christmas Movies

Really quickly I wanted to count down my top five Christmas movies!

Abducted by This Year Will Be Different

I want to begin my blog this week by saying Merry Christmas to all my followers!
I am sitting here in my apartment next to my beautiful Christmas tree, with my stockings hung by my bookshelves, drinking my warm East African coffee (it is a (RED) product featured at Starbucks that my big sister Stephanie got me for my birthday! Thanks sis!!!) out of my snowflake coffee mug (gift from Ame, Thanks Ame!!!) and watching the Christmas episode of Glee!

One of the other things I have done this week to prepare for Christmas was I reading Maeve Binchy’s collection of short stories all centered around the holiday titled This Year Will Be Different.

As I have said before (and will say again many many times) I love Maeve Binchy. So I was really excited to read this book for Christmas. And Even more excited when my younger sis, Lindsey got it for me, thanks sis!!!

Each story was on average around 10 pages long, and reading this book helped remind me what a great art being able to tell a good short story is. I mean when you think about it, being able to bring your audience into a world were they immediately feel invested in the characters and want to see them through their struggles in only a few paragraphs is really really difficult!

I was a little disappointed in the first few stories because they were just… blah. They weren’t emotional or sentimental or warm fuzzy feeling at all. Then right around the fourth story titled “The Hard Core” they started to get better.

But in typical Binchy fashion, she had me crying more then once.

One of the stories titled “Season of Fuss” was about a woman who always stressed out at Christmas to the point where it drives her kids (all of whom are grown and out of the house) crazy. But as the story unfolds you learn that at the age of 60 this woman has been a widow for 12 years and stressing out over all the little details at Christmas is what helps distract her from her grief.

A good friend of mine lost her husband in October, he had been sick for a while and fought his disease with strength that others will spend their entire lives praying for. I feel for my friend immensely and reading this story made me think of her. I was crying (rather noisily) at my office while reading the parts where the woman remembered her husband.

That is Binchy’s thing though you know!?! All her stories are just these simple tales about peoples every day lives and the reality of them can be as heartbreaking as they can be uplifting.

Another story was titled “Typical Irish Christmas” which made me tear up a bit, pretty much for the same reason as described above, but it also left me with this unshakable urge to move to Ireland more then anything else I have ever read. I don’t really know why because it isn’t about what you would think it is going to be about. But I can’t explain it, while reading it I was overcome with this urge to get to the airport and on a plain as soon as possible! First I’ll need to get some money saved up, but once I do, I am out of here.

I wonder if Bono would have a room he could let me rent out?

The other story that I really liked in this collection was one called “The Christmas Baramundi” which is about a girl and guy who meet at a fish market in Sydney on Christmas day when they ask for the same baramundi. They go for coffee and agree to meet for lunch three days later. The girl goes home to her friends and spends her three days filled with these fantasy about who this guy is. Because for some reason neither of them actually asked the other if they were married or had families or whatever. I could relate to the girl because I often project my own fantasies and impressions onto the guys I meet and develop crushes on.

Over all I would say that the Binchy’s collection of short stories started out blah, got better through the middle, and then ended with blah again. But I’m still glad I read it and will continue to read more Binchy through out the year. In fact I already have 4 books of hers on my To Be Read In 2011 list so you will for sure be hearing more about her work in the future from me.

By the way, Glee’s Christmas episode just ended, and again I’m crying! I really do cry way to easily.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Abducted By the promises of 2011

So I was browsing around this morning looking at all the blogs I needed to get caught up on and I came across one entry I was intrigued by.

I think Annette was the one I saw that posted about the books she was most excited to read in 2011!

If I remember correctly I think she had some cute little graphics and buttons or something when she posted it...

But alas I am at work yet again and don't have the time and access the add those to mine...

maybe when a certain friend of mine gets back from her mother's house this weekend she can get me hooked up....

So an
yway here are the...


1. Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
I was excited when I knew it was a John Green book but even more so when I realized the co-author also co-authored the book Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

2. Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy.
I am hoping to get caught up on a lot of my Maeve Binchy reading this year but the new one coming out in March? April? no March? features one of my favorite of all her characters so I am really excited for this one!

3. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz and the series of books that follows.
I listened to the audio version of this book about two years ago and loved it!!! But the ending scared me, in terms of what it meant for the future of Odd, so much so that I couldn't yet bare to continue reading the books. But 2011 is going to be the year Odd and I get reacquainted!

4. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
I first heard about this story when I was seeing stuff from behind the scenes of the movie. I don't really know why I am looking forward to this one so much. But I just think it looks like a story I can relate to and it looks like it will add some humor along the way

and last but not least...

5. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
I first read the summery of this book at my friends house and I did think it sounded really interesting. So I was genuienly excited when she chose it for our book club's selection for January. She keeps making comments about how even with all the other reading I have planned in December, I better still read hers. But I swear, I truly am really looking forward to this book as well!

I mean, Andrea look... it made my list of TOP FIVE for the entire year!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Abducted by the grumpies!

Fair warning, I am writing this while I am at work on a late Friday afternoon. I can't say where exactly it is that I work but I can say that it is for a company that does pay day loans, cashes checks, handles western unions, and sells money orders.

So, this one goes out to all my customers...

Do you people seriously think that I just sit behind my counter and make all this s*#t up as I go along? DO YOU?
Because guess what I DON'T!!! In fact, I don't make any of this stuff up, any of it! I have absolutely no deciding factor when it comes to my companies decisions for how they want to run their business!
I know it can seem a little bit confusing because it your eyes I have all the power, because I am the one who takes all your money. But guess what, it is all an illusion. I HAVE NO POWER AT ALL!!! (So sobbing out your life story to me is not going to get you anywhere!)

So please, for the love of God and all that is holy and decent in this world QUIT YOUR BITCHING!!!

To the young man, we will call Devin, who was just in here, YES if you want to cash your pay check it will be 3%! It has always been 3%, it will probably always be 3%, and if you ever go to any other financial institution other than like freaking Walmart or your actual bank they will tell you the same exact thing! So don't come in here with your...

"Are you f-ing kidding me! That can't be f-ing right! Are you f-ing serious?"

YES I AM! Because like I said I don't make this s*#t up! Go get a freaking bank account if you don't like it and get the hell out of my store!

And you! Yes, you little miss cranky pants whom we will call Betty! Yeah that is right, I AM TALKING TO YOU!

NO, I did not just randomly decide to change the price of my money orders when I saw you pull up! In fact they have been the same price for a year and a half. So don't you come in here with your...

"Oh my God that is so expensive! Why are your money orders so expensive! I can get one for 2 sickles down at the 5 and Dime! I just can't believe they are they expensive!"

Lady, it is a freaking money order that because Western Union charges so much to allow us to sell them, my company hardly makes any money off of it in the first place. So hey you want to go down to the local 5 and dime, give me two seconds and I will draw you a freaking map! And then you can get the hell out of my store!

And to all of you out there that come in here and expect me to hold your hands through every single transaction and then get mad at me when you don't get your way....

I DON'T CARE!!! I am so far beyond the point of caring!!!

And do you want to know why, because it is your finances that we are dealing with here people!!! It is not my responsibility to keep track of how many loans you have had out and what your other payment options could possibly be. They are your finances people! And when you first step in to my store and get a loan through myself or my other employee I know that we give you all the information you could possibly need, and then some, so that you can conduct your business with us in a responsible manner. If you can't hold up your end of the deal...


But believe me when I say that I am not judging you for needing to have a pay day loan, that is not where all this is coming from. Because I have had to use a pay day loan company before and I have had my own fair share of debt in the past and the present. But I know what I am getting myself into and I don't go whining with my life story to some girl (who is just trying to do her job) when things don't go my way!!!

To all of you that actually read this entry...

Thank you for hanging in there through out all the venting! You are awesome! I promise it will never happen again. Well, at least not about my work :o)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Abducted by Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

I finally, just survived, my two month long abduction with

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
By: Laurie Viera Rigler

In all honesty this was no true abduction. It really only took me two months to read it because of my book club selection, the fact that NaNo was going on, and not to mention how boring the book ultimately was.

Now I should start off by informing all you book lovers out there that I am NOT a fan of Jane Austen’s books. I’m sorry, I’m just not. I’ve tried. I’ve read a few, but I’m just not a fan.

Having said that, I should say that I LOVE Jane Austen’s movies! Emma - adorable! Sense and Sensibility - LOVE IT!

Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice - I am pretty sure that after my friend Ame showed me this version, I went out, bought it, and then watched it ever day for like a month!

But her books - I’m just not feeling it!

I know what you are probably asking yourself right now;

If you are not a “Jane Austen addict” then why did you read a book about a “Jane Austen addict“?

Well, for one very simple reason.

The main character was named Courtney!

I know that sounds crazy but, my name is Courtney and you just don’t find too many Courtney’s out in literature so when I saw that the MC of the book was a fellow Courtney I couldn’t help myself! Plus, it helped that my local Hastings had the book in a pile for only $3!!!

Incidentally, I have since looked around online to see if I could find other works of literature that have a character named Courtney and this is what I found;

A sci-fi series called Bobby Pendragon and a high school series called Montgomery Lake High - The Right Person; have one of the love interests in their books named Courtney.

Another series called Evernight has a nemesis named Courtney.

There is a girl named Stargirl in the Justice Society of America whose real name is Courtney Whitmore.

The one I'm really excited about is a series of comic books called Courtney Crumrin!

I’m definitely going to order some of those just for fun!

Anyway, back to Confessions…

A problem that I have encountered before (and will probably encounter again) is that I have a really hard time enjoying a book if I don’t like the MC. Sometimes I can think that make stupid decisions and I just want to slap them around but overall I HAVE to like them on some level or it is just not going to work out.

The whole story starts out with Courtney breaking up with her then fiancĂ©, Frank, and she goes home to comfort herself with wine, ice cream, and her favorite Jane Austen novel. That is when the “transformation” is supposed to happen. Through out the novel you are supposed to feel for her in the fact that she is grieving the loss of her relationship. But Rigler paints Frank as this egotistical, flirtatious, patronizing, asshole! And there is literally a scene where Courtney admits that she only like him because of how good is ass looked!!! I just couldn’t help but feel like she was shallow and her feelings for Frank were superficial. I couldn’t empathize with her AT ALL!

But the thing that really bothered me about Courtney was how shocked she seemed to be towards things through out the whole book!

I mean she is supposed to be this huge Jane Austen fan, right!?! She reads the books over and over again, has all the BBC movies, and even is signed up for all the conventions. But for some reason when she goes back in time she is continually shocked at the proper code of conduct between the men and women of that time.

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand her being a little off balance with it all in the beginning. I mean she’s traveled back in time by like 200 years so I can see where that would throw someone off. But she is supposed to be stuck in this time period for over a month and yet by the end of the book she is still shocked that she can’t go off with a guy un-chaperoned!!! The book is only 288 pages long and by page 268 she is still shocked to realize that in that time they didn’t have sex before marriage.

The last thing that I will say bothered me about the book was the epilogue because it is told through the perspective of the real Jane Mansfield.

Let me go back and explain. The concept of the book is that when Courtney travels back in time, it is kind of a weird Freaky Friday over the span of centuries type situation.. Courtney awakes with Jane Mansfield’s body and voice and family and life. We don’t meet Jane throughout the story. We are not allowed any scenes where we see what is going on with Jane’s mind. We assume that Jane’s mind is in Courtney’s body but we don’t know for sure. And when Courtney is in Jane’s life, she looks everywhere for letters or journals written by the real Jane but she can’t find anything.

But for some reason, Rigler chose to write the epilogue from Jane’s perspective instead of Courtney’s. Jane is not really a character in the book. So why, after reading the whole book, would I care about what happens to her years down the line from where our story concludes?

I mean, seriously, it would be like if the epilogue of Harry Potter was told through the perspective of Professor Grubbly-Plank!

Okay maybe that isn’t the best comparison because crazy HP fans will read ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that has to do with that world, but it is late so it was the best I could come up with.

On the bright side, I will say that I appreciated the friendship between Courtney (as Jane) and Mary Edgeworth.

Also, Rigler provided a lot of information about that time period. There are scenes where Courtney (as Jane) get’s her period, she tries to understand why wearing makeup is considered taboo, and she learns why people really went to bathe in the waters of Bath.

Rigler gives you the information without allowing it to feel that she is bashing you over the head with everything she has ever learned about that time. And in fact, those bits were probably the most interesting of the entire story.

In the end, all I can really say is that Confessions of a Jane Austen addict… well… I didn’t hate it… I didn’t love it… I wouldn’t recommend it… but, I have read worse!

OH WAIT HOLD ON!!!!!!!!!! Don’t go anywhere yet!!!

Let me share with you two fun facts I learned about the name Courtney while doing my research!

1. The name Courtney was given to LESS THAN 150 babies in 2005 AND 2006!

And 2. The name Courtney ranked 54th on the list of names used most in New Zealand in 2003!

Fascinating, right!

I know!
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