Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Voting Wednesday, Dec 29

Voting Wednesday

We're hosting weekly thing (I hate the word meme) called "Voting Wednesday" where we make a voting ballot for each Wednesday and invite y'all to voice your opinion on whatever book related (or unrelated, we're not making any promises) issue we happen to pick.

So, here's the rules:

You form an opinion taking sides in the issue voted upon.

You voice that opinion on the comments, either as a short reply or by a link to your blog where you can make a stand.

Easy, eh?

So, the question of this week is:

How was the 2010 for you, reading-wise?

Happy New Year Everyone!! Welcome back in there next year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, Dec 28

Teaser Tuesdays are a weekly book-themed meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Be careful of spoilers! Don't ruin the book to others by revealing important plot developments. (So the last words of a dying central character are probably not okay...)
  • Share the title and the author of the book as well, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can look up the book and add it to their TBR list.
Here's our teaser for this week:
My hands were shaking, but my voice was steady. I thanked God that I had recently given up wearing a corset... and then smiled to think what an odd thing that was to thank God for!
Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman, p. 123

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Voting Wednesday, Dec 22

Voting Wednesday

We're hosting weekly thing (I hate the word meme) called "Voting Wednesday" where we make a voting ballot for each Wednesday and invite y'all to voice your opinion on whatever book related (or unrelated, we're not making any promises) issue we happen to pick.

So, here's the rules:

You form an opinion taking sides in the issue voted upon.

You voice that opinion on the comments, either as a short reply or by a link to your blog where you can make a stand.

Easy, eh?

So, the question of this week is:

Did you wish for books from Santa?

Did you make a Christmas wish list at Amazon.com, or leave a suggestion of titles and the map to the nearest Barnes & Noble on the refrigerator door? And what was on your list?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, Dec 21

Teaser Tuesdays are a weekly book-themed meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Be careful of spoilers! Don't ruin the book to others by revealing important plot developments. (So the last words of a dying central character are probably not okay...)
  • Share the title and the author of the book as well, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can look up the book and add it to their TBR list.
Here's our teaser for this week:
He missed Marijke terribly, but he did not miss her reproving glares, her loud sighing, the way she rolled her eyes when he asked her to leave a room and come in again because she'd entered with the wrong foot first. Marijke wasn't there to frown when he ordered five thousand pairs of latex surgical gloves from a dodgy outfit on the Internet.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, p. 58

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

M:

The book starts off by telling what will happen; all the Lisbon girls will end up taking their own lives. (The opening sentences of the book are shared as our last Teaser Tuesday.) I know some people who hate this type of story telling and refuse to read anything that "spoils" the suspense of not knowing right off the bat. I found this approach to work extremely well and couldn't imagine it any other way.

I loved the sad and ethereal atmosphere and how the girls struggled to live life, be normal and find some love in their lives. The book never spelled out why they thought suicide was the only way out and why their lives were so unbearable to begin with. I often get annoyed by not knowing the reasons behind the actions of the characters but in this case if the motives were explained it would've spoiled the tone of the book.

The only thing were I found a little bit left for criticism was the neighbourhood boys, the ones telling the story, doesn't their iterest in the girls seem just a tad bit unnatural?? It doesn't seem too healthy that they'd go around rummaging their trash and storing up their stuff for decades... Anyway, I loved the book, how about you ii?

ii:
Now this is how you do a painful, deeply disturbing and haunting book! Not with the pajamas. Seriously, I adored this! Yes, you knew all along where the book was going, and the only thing that happened was really just that, the girls killing themselves (and you even knew how from the very start) but the one thing you needed to find out, the one thing you yearned to figure out and having told... well, you weren't. There was no reason given. Or more to the point, there were speculations. But while the book was all. about. the. girls. it was never from their point of view.

So all you could do was fill in the blanks. Or try to do so.

I also liked the boys, the "we" of the story. I liked it as a point of view, as a narrator, because we weren't restricted to a personal observation and opinion. And the boys started their fascination when they were little, when it was more normal to go exploring the way they did. Of course, once they were hooked... So were we. The setting of a typical suburb fed this thirst to understand by all means available the lives of the Lisbon girls who were so different from them and their lives. They just wanted to understand.

M:

I agree, the book wouldn't have been nearly as striking if the story was told from the Lisbon girls' point of view. Then we would've known why and the whole point of the book is that we never learn why. The way the boys collect bits and pieces and try to piece together what happened and more importantly why it happened is what all of us want to know. We want there to be a good reason, we want to know there really was no other way out. The sad part is, there never is a "good" explanation as to why a child or a teenager loses their life, no matter which way it happened.

I can't think of any adjectives that would describe well enough how much I loved this one, I'm sure it'll be one of those books I'll read time and again. Oh, and I demand we'll watch the movie version (with young Josh Hartnett as Trip) of this during our next movie night!

ii:

I don't know about the movie, to be honest. Maybe after I'm no longer quite this entralled by this...

Oh, there's so much still left to discuss about this book. And I'm sure we'll keep refering to this book over and over again, returning to the topics and themes. The reasons behind the we-narrator (I've blissfully forgotten all the fancy literary terms I learned in high school!), the significance of the party thrown by the girls, the importance and role of the elm trees, the mother... Oh, the mother! There could be papers written on the mother!

But the thing is, if we did go through all that, none of you'd be any smarter, and you'd be bored out of your twisted little minds. Because the thing about books such as The Virgin Suicides is that you have to read it yourself. And then you can beging to grasp just how much you don't understand.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Voting Wednesday, Dec 15

Voting Wednesday

We're hosting weekly thing (I hate the word meme) called "Voting Wednesday" where we make a voting ballot for each Wednesday and invite y'all to voice your opinion on whatever book related (or unrelated, we're not making any promises) issue we happen to pick.

So, here's the rules:

You form an opinion taking sides in the issue voted upon.

You voice that opinion on the comments, either as a short reply or by a link to your blog where you can make a stand.

Easy, eh?

So, the question of this week is:

Do you set reading targets?

Do you set targets for your reading, such as a given number of books or a list of titles you must complete in the next year or so? Do you even keep track of your progress, in terms of number of books read or titles off your TBR pile?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, Dec 14

Teaser Tuesdays are a weekly book-themed meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Be careful of spoilers! Don't ruin the book to others by revealing important plot developments. (So the last words of a dying central character are probably not okay...)
  • Share the title and the author of the book as well, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can look up the book and add it to their TBR list.
Here's our teaser for this week:
On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide - it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills, like Therese - the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope. They got out of the EMS truck, as usual moving much too slowly in our opinion, and the fat one said under his breath, "This ain't TV, folks, this is how fast we go."
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, p. 3

STCPC is up!

The Special Topics in Calamity Physics Challenge now has its own sign-up page explaining the rules of the Challenge, as well as an Update Page were the points will be gathered.

Any questions? No? Good! now go off and join our challenge. It's the first we've ever hosted and if no one joins we'll be very sad and might possibly cry a little. Not much, 'cause that would ruin our makeup and make us all puffy, but a little.

Oh, and if you want one of those fancy banners or whatever, ask Mads. I don't know how to do those. I had enough trouble with the linky-thingy for sign-up. ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

ii:

Ah, the mystery book. The book without a blurb (or really, a blurb that says "we can't give you a blurb because that would spoil the surprise". Well guess what? I guessed the surprise! Pretty darn early too!

The book tells the story of Bruno, a nine-year-old whose family moves from their home in Berlin to a new place, a place with no one to play with and only a fence. Behind the fence there are people, many people, all wearing striped pyjamas all day long. Bruno's dad is a soldier, a high-ranking officer, and in secret Bruno makes friends with a boy of his age wearing striped pyjamas.

Boyne takes us inside Bruno's thoughts as he struggles to make sense to it all. Doing so, he exposes the ridiculousness of it all, if only it weren't true.

I don't know... I didn't hate the book, but it wasn't such an experience people were making it sound like. It wasn't bad, but it really wasn't much to write home either. I liked how the point of view was that of a child, how we followed Bruno as he tried to make sense of the world around him but the story was, in effect, rather bland.

The only character I had any feeling towards was the mother, it was somehow really captivating to fill in the blanks in her life.

M:

I already knew the ending before I started, a friend of mine told me about the movie version a while ago. So there was no surprise in it for me either. I actually did like the book. I liked the naivite of the text and the fact that it was very different from your regular WW II novel since it was written from a child's point of view.

I read the book in a plane on my way to meet a friend. The trip didn't go exactly smoothly and I was really tired and stressed out once I finally made my last connection. So I sat down to my seat and read the book. The business man next to me was looking quite uncomfortable since even though I didn't burst in to tears I was looking like I might just do that any given moment. The look on his face was so hilarious though that it helped me get over it. ;)

I liked the fact that Bruno was not a hero of the story. He was just a child who lived during the war and who happened to have a dad very high up in the nazi command. The way he would try to take some food for Schmuel and got a little peckish on the way and ended up eating it himself was just a thing a child would do. From our point of view that know from history what it meant to be living at the camps of Auschwitz it's both funny and sad to read a text from a child's point of view who doesn't get it and is jealous because the other boy has so many friends and he has none.

ii:

Well, I just found it hard to believe that a) Bruno really wouldn't get it during the year they talked with Schmuel, and b) that his dad (and everyone else) didn't try to brainwash him into the Nazi way of thinking, especially after his sister got interested in the war.

It was a fairytale-like simplification of a story.

But forgetting the historical inaccuracies the story was still rather blah for me. I didn't connect to Bruno in any ways, I didn't find him endearing. Mostly just silly. But I guess most nine-year-olds seem silly to us, if we really think about it.

It was well written, I'll give Boyne that, but while all stories about WWII are depressing to read and you know the ending, I can't help but feel that this was more a book for kids than for adults. Why the hype?

M:

I think this is one of those books that we just get differently. I didn't find Bruno endearing, but I didn't feel like I had to either. I think I've been hanging around kids more than you lately and therefore get the child's way of thinking that I find was really well portrayed in this book. The whole exploring thing actually reminded me of my own childhood when me and my next door neighbour did the same thing.

The reason why I liked the book was exactly the same why you don't; the simplification, the naivite, the childishness. I just could picture it all, so to me it felt real.

So our dear readers, it looks like we do not agree on the book. What did you think?

Afterthought by ii:
Good discussion questions, background of the author and some not-so-loving reviews (which I agreed with!) at LitLovers.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Voting Wednesday, Dec 8

Voting Wednesday

We're hosting weekly thing (I hate the word meme) called "Voting Wednesday" where we make a voting ballot for each Wednesday and invite y'all to voice your opinion on whatever book related (or unrelated, we're not making any promises) issue we happen to pick.

So, here's the rules:

You form an opinion taking sides in the issue voted upon.

You voice that opinion on the comments, either as a short reply or by a link to your blog where you can make a stand.

Easy, eh?

So, the question of this week is:

Do you read seasonally?

Do you read books themed with the season; with Christmas books near the Holidays, books taking place in the summer during the summer months and so on and so forth? Or do you just... crab-'n'-go?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday, Dec 7

Teaser Tuesdays are a weekly book-themed meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Be careful of spoilers! Don't ruin the book to others by revealing important plot developments. (So the last words of a dying central character are probably not okay...)
  • Share the title and the author of the book as well, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can look up the book and add it to their TBR list.
Here's our teaser for this week:
He pushed his two feet together and shot his right arm into the air before clicking his two heels together and saying in as deep and clear a voice as possible - as much like Father's as he could manage - the words he said every time he left a soldier's presence.

'Heil Hitler,' he said, which, he presumed, was another way of saying, 'Well, goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon.'
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, p. 53-54