Friday, December 30, 2011

Abducted by 2012 Challenges

Well, it is time to start looking forward towards some new challenges for my reading in 2012.

My challenges proved to be somewhat unsuccessful in 2011, but with my New Year's resolution to quit procrastinating, I know that I will be able to get way more done in 2012. Way More. Easy!

So, I'm going to write a quick post for some of the challenges I plan on shooting for in 2012.

I'll be updating this post as I find new challenges to join but here are the ones I know I want to join now:

This challenge is hosted by Annette and, as you may have guessed, is about finding those amazing books you can read in just one day! Should be fun, and I have a lot of short books on my shelves just waiting to be read. I think for now I am going to go for Level 1, which is 15 books, but I'm hoping to get closer to Level 2, which is 25 books.

This challenge is all about tackling those towering TBR piles, with an awesome mountain theme! I'm going for Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the challenge to read 50 books that you've owned prior to January 1st 2012! I have tons of books I have already spent money on so this challenge is perfect for me!

I'll also be doing this challenge, which is geared towards reading a series! I'm going for Level 3, therefore I will be finishing 3 series!
I already have C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy and Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Christopher Pike's Final Friends series in my TBR pile! I have read none of the books in any of those series so I'll be starting from the beginning on all of them. But I'm also hoping to complete the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz and the Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison. So that is a lot of reading to do!

And don't forget about my challenge: 

Come on! It is only 15K pages! You know you can do it! Just sign up!!! It will be awesome!!! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Abducted by Tim Curry

***sign up for my 2012 challenge to read 15,000 pages HERE

Well, it is Christmas, and I hope it is proving to be a joyful one for all of you!

I have had my Christmas morning planned for weeks now, because I'm big on planning things!

When I was a kid, we spent our Christmas morning having my dad make pancakes. The entire house would smell like coffee and bacon, and then we would go ripping through presents.

This year, we had to have our present opening on Christmas Eve evening, so I decided to spend Christmas morning making pancakes myself and listening to the audio recording of Tim Curry reading A Christmas Carol!

It was perfect!

Can you think of anyone better suited to do an audio book! He gave the narration the perfect balance of apathy and empathy, and that creepy frightening quality this ghostly tale deserves. Even though I've heard this story what feels like hundreds of times, and feel as if I have seen just as many film adaptations, when Tim Curry read the part where Mr. Cratchit is mourning the passing of his son, Tiny Tim, I cried like a baby. And yet when Tim Curry read the part where Scrooge wakes up jovial on Christmas morning, I laughed out loud. Curry truly did an amazing job with this timeless classic.

A Christmas Carol is a story of redemption with a Christmas backdrop. It is a story that reminds us that having drive and ambition is good, but we shouldn't use it as an excuse to not show compassion and generosity to those around us. It is important to have balance in life and not be so consumed with thoughts of personal gain.

As I mentioned earlier, there are countless adaptations and reinventions of this seemingly simple tale, but my favorite is Scrooged with Bill Murray! I love the crazy ghosts and the funny moments with Bill Murray dressed up as a dog, the sweet moments between him and Karen Allen, and I especially love when the cast breaks out into the musical number at the end! It get's me all chocked up!

Bill Murray is hysterical as Frank Xavier Cross, the Scrooge inspired main character.  Christmas is the one time of the year that I love to watch all of the campy-corny-cheesy-made-for-tv type movies, but it is fun to mix it up with something a little darker and sarcastic, and Scrooged is perfect!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and read by Tim Curry gets an abduction rating of:

And again, I just want to say, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Don't for get to sign up for my 2012 challenge to read 15,000 pages!

I'm currently working on putting up a button on the top left hand side of my home page.

At the time when I am writing this, the picture image is all messed up, but hopefully by the time you are reading this it will be perfect! And I will have done it all by myself!!!

I know some challenges get hundreds of people to sign up but I'll be happy just by keeping it a small group of us. Especially since it is my first time doing a challenge and I want to be a good hostess.

So spread the word because I am hoping to get at least 4 more people to sign up. It is an easy challenge and there will be at least 2 prizes at the end of the year!

Here is the link for more information:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Abducted by Unbearable Lightness

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain is a book by Portia De Rossi that I finished a couple of weeks ago. I was listening to the audio version, which was amazing because it was read by Portia herself.

The story mainly centers around two great struggles in Portia's life. One being her own struggle to accept that she was gay and the role that would play in her life in Hollywood. The other being her growing eating disorders.

The story jumps around a lot, between her childhood, her relationships, and the time she spent acting on Ally McBeal. But even with all the jumping around, the story actually comes off seamless. Portia does a fantastic job of giving you the information that you need to know, when you need to know it, in order to best understand how her eating disorders came to be.

Which I did understand, fully! I don't think I've ever really put much thought into how someone grows into having an eating disorder. I guess in some naive way I just assumed that someone would wake up and just decide to stop eating. Okay, I realize how crazy and small minded that sounds, but like I said, I've just never really thought about it. But in listening to this autobiography, I really enjoyed hearing about how it started as something she did to prepare for photo shoots and other jobs, and then became an means to have more control in her life.

One of the stories that she told that made the biggest impression on me was this one about her eating an entire pack of gum.

So, on this totally normal day, Portia goes to work on the set of Ally McBeal and then stops by a shopping center on her way home to pick up some clothes or something. After she is done shopping she heads to her car and when she gets in she has a piece of gum. She chews it briefly and then spits it out. She never allows herself to really eat a lot of gum because it is one of those little things that add to your calorie intake that she just can't tolerate. After spitting out the first piece of gum she decides to go ahead and have another, and then another, and then another. And before she knows it she has finished the entire pack of gum. Her anxiety gets the best of her and she ends up running laps in the parking garage, weaving through all the other cars.

But the part that really bothered her was not that she looked like a crazy person to all the other shoppers, no, it was that a perfectly normal, uneventful, carefree day could end with her losing control. If you know what events are going to trigger you to lose control, you can avoid them, but if you lose control over nothing, what is going to stop it from happening again. That was one of the biggest meltdowns in the book and I remember when she was reading that part, I stopped what I was doing and was just staring at my laptop. I just couldn't believe she was really going so nuts!

The hardest part about reading the book is that the entire novel is devoted to her struggle and the epilogue is the only part devoted to her recovery. I knew how long the audio book was, and as I was watching the time running down I was starting to plead with her to "JUST GET BETTER ALREADY!!!" Only because it was so heartbreaking to listen to, not because it was boring or anything like that, by any means. But I will say that the epilogue was entirely satisfying.

In the end, Portia was so honest and open about her life. It was a great novel and very captivating to listen to.

I would give it an abduction rating of:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Abducted by Glow

 Before we get started:

 Don't forget to sign up for my 2012 blog challenge by clicking on the pic

 And check out my new blog HERE

Quite a few months ago, my friend Andrea read an advanced readers copy of the book Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, and she LOVED it. Basically it was her favorite book she read all year and she can't say enough positive things about it.

So, she loaned it to our friend Tracy, who also loved it!

So, then, she loaned it to me. My reaction was more along the lines of: "Uh...okay"

It took me over a month to finish it, when Andrea and Tracy both read it in a matter of days, and after many weeks of processing the book, I still have no idea how to rate it.

Let's break it down shall we,

To start off, the story Glow is about two ships, the Empyrean and the New Horizon, they have left the Earth we know today behind so that they can travel through deep space (an 80 year journey) to arrive at New Earth. Along the course of the journey problems arise, one that leaves the people on New Horizon unable to conceive children. In order to quaruntee their own survival New Horizon commandeers the Empyrean, taking hostage all the young girls.

Was the book well written?

Yes, absolutely. That is to say at times I couldn't believe how intricately woven the story was. It was throughly detailed and extremely clever. But there were a few times where I felt the dialog was a little on the weaker side.

Was the story original and interesting?

With out a doubt, Yes! The basis of the story is heavily rooted in science fiction and yet I didn't feel that the entire book was a science fiction story. There are so many layers to the story that it is hard to say it fits into one genre. Plus, there are a ton of surprises and twists and turns along the way.

Did I like the characters?

This is the part that I really struggled with. I love books with great characters. Whether or not I love a novel is entirely dependent on there being at least one character that I can connect to. I don't have to love the main character but I need to at least like them, care about them, root for them. I do understand that this criteria isn't as important to other readers, but it is what I need to enjoy a book.
Now, Glow is told through the perspective of two teenagers. A girl named Waverly and a boy named Kieran. Waverly tells the story of what happens to the girls when they are taken aboard the New Horizon, and Kieran tells the story of what happens to those left behind on the Empyrean.
I really liked Waverly. When I was reading her parts of the story I couldn't get through it fast enough. Not just because I liked her, but also because the whole idea of being taken hostage only to be treated like a baby making machine is terrifing!!! Although, towards the end there were things that she did that left me scratching my head, and by the very end I found myself completely frustrated and irritated by her.
Kieran, on the other hand was like a teeter totter through out the whole book. I didn't like him from the beginning, then I felt sorry for him, then he started to get pretentious, but then he became a good leader. He also fought with this other guy, Seth, the whole book. Those scenes became a little too much like Lord of the Flies for my taste. I found it very easy to put the book down and walk away for a couple of days (weeks) when it came around to the boys' perspectives.
By the end of the book I did not like Seth, I wasn't too happy with Waverly, but I was rooting for Kieran.

Would I recommend the book? 

Yes, I would. I would tell someone that the book is clever, unique, intriguing, and surprising. And because I was so perplexed by the book I would want to encourage others to read it just to see if they had the same issues as I did or not. Plus, I do think it is the mark of a truly deserving book to leave me, as the reader, questioning so much. This isn't the kind of book that you are going to forget about as soon as you close it, it lingers with you.

And so, now, what do I rate it...

I'm torn between a 3 or a 4.
4 because I really want others to read it and I do think it was clever.
3 because I didn't love the characters and because it was sooo easy for me to walk away from it at times.

But based on my own definitions given for my rating system, I'm going to have to go with...
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