Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blogiversary and Giveaway

Blogiversary or blogoversary?  I've been doing this four four years now, and I still don't know.  Spell check doesn't like either one of them.  Oh, well, it's okay with the word GIVEAWAY, and hopefully some of you will be too.

I'm not only celebrating four years of Chainreading/Book Clutter.  I am also excited that I have applied and have been accepted at a local university and will finally be going back to school next fall.  I've been doing some independent study courses in the meantime, but I am looking forward to being in a classroom.  I'm trying my very hardest to become an intelligent person before fall comes so they don't kick me out.  I've just typed the word "fall" without capitalizing it twice, and I think maybe because it's a season it's supposed to be capitalized?  Is it?  I have so much to learn before Fall. 

I'll be majoring in History, and so this giveaway is offering books that I've tagged as Historical Fiction on Goodreads and have given a rating of 4 or 5 stars.  (Remember, my ratings are based on personal enjoyment, so some of these choice might be crap, but it's crap I enjoyed.)  Some of these may be loosely termed "historical fiction."  I don't want to start any discussions or debates here, because I will probably lose.  These are basically books that helped me to better understand a particular period of time in the past--a year ago, a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago, antiquity. 

Hmmm.  I notice that this list is seriously lacking in "bodice-rippers."  Sorry about that. 

Giveaway details:

1.  In a comment, tell me which book you would choose from the list on my right sidebar, or give me a recommendation for a work of historical fiction.
2.  Leave an email address so that I can contact you if you win.
3.  This giveaway is international if Book Depository ships for free to your country, and if they have the book you're interested in.
4.  The giveaway ends December 10, 2011, and I will notify the winner a day or two after that.

Good luck and thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two 2012 Classics Challenges

'Tis the season to join challenges!  I usually go easy on reading challenges these days, but here are a couple I don't want to miss out on. I love classics and I love lovers of classics, and the world needs a little more love, doesn't it?  I must do my part to make the world a better place.
I believe both hostesses are okay with the challenges overlapping, but I'm choosing not to, mostly out of pure foolishness.

A Classics Challenge hosted by Katherine of November's Autumn

It's a beautiful button, isn't it?  I have almost as much of a weakness for buttons as I do for book covers.  When it comes to people, I'm all about inner beauty, but when it comes to books and buttons, I do like a nice package!  

The goal for this challenge is to read seven classics during 2012, and on the fourth of each month, Katherine will pose a question to be answered about whichever classic you're reading at the time.  For more details, visit here.  Here are my picks:

1.  Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
2.  The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
3.  Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
4.  Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
5.  O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
6.  On the Road by Jack Kerouac
7.  Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Back to the Classics Challenge 2012 hosted by Sarah of Sarah Reads Too Much

This fabulous button just screams "Let's get this party started!!!"  Are you feelin' it?  'Cause I am.  This one has CATEGORIES.  I don't drink, but I think this would be the equivalent of margaritas for those so inclined.  More details that have nothing to do with partying or getting drunk can be found here
Here are the categories and my choices:

1.  19th Century classic:  The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
2.  20th Century classic: A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
3.  A reread:  Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4.  Classic play: A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
5.  Classic mystery/horror/crime fiction: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
6.  Classic romance:  The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
7.  A classic translated from the original language into my language: Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
8.  An award winner:  The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
9.  A classic set in a country that I will probably never visit in my lifetime: King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard

Any or all of these choices may change.  Foolish.  Fickle.  Name any flaw that starts with an "f" and I've probably got it.  But of course it will be . . .  Fun.  (I make these occasional clumsy attempts to be witty.  Is here an "f" word for that?)

Friday, November 4, 2011

R. I. P. VI Kicks the Bucket

Wow, what a speedy couple of months since Carl's Sixth R.I.P. challenge began!  I was blessed with about two whole days of truly autumn-like weather, and as I'm writing this, it's actually raining (or in other words, Drop-Everything-And-Read Weather).  But before I begin my own personal rainy-day reading party (which in reality consists of reading for about 20 minutes until I'm on the verge of falling asleep, and getting up to do some mundane energizing task or errand for a while and then picking up my book again), I should report on my spooking, chilling, thrilling book choices for the challenge:

1.  The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells.  Amazingly, I wrote a review for this one.

2.  Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  This was my second Agatha Christie book, and my first introduction to Hercule Poirot.  I'm not sure what else I want to say other than it's short but sweet.  And you need that every once in a while.

3.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.  Shockingly, I wrote a review for this one, also.

4.  The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Perfect balance of mystery, thrills, history, and pathos.  It has elements that reminded me of The Neverending Story and Inkheart, but then it evolves into its own unique story.  My favorite character was Fermin, who cracked me up.

5.  Perfume by Patrick Suskind.  Weird and creepy tale.  I've never read a book that started out so wonderful and then took such a dramatic nosedive.  I felt like it could have been a powerful short story but was ineffectively drawn out into novel length.   

6.  The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.  Holy cow, another actual review.  Although, the shortness of the review makes it not so surprising...

7.  Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I read this for a buddy read with Suey of It's All About Books, which is good, because I needed some moral support.  (Her summary and review can be found here.) This was pretty far out of my comfort zone on so many levels.  I don't even like vampires (Sorry Edward!  I loved you for the first couple of books...So sorry that Robert Pattinson played you in the movies because that didn't help...), and horror is not a genre I enjoy.  But it's good to escape my bubble every now and again.
There's a depth to the story that I'm sure I didn't quite fathom, but what kept me reading was Louis, the vampire being interviewed, and his quest for knowledge.  He asks all of the questions common to us mortals:  Where did I come from?  What is my purpose here?  Who am I really?  What moral code, if any, should I follow?  Is there a God?  What is love?  Etc., etc.  But what makes it more powerful is that he's asking all of these in a state of immortality, trying to apply them to vampirehood.  He's pretty much a "good-guy" but he makes some bad choices, usually when he thinks his actions will further his quest for the meaning of "life."  Does he find the answers he's looking for?  I'm not entirely sure--it's  a process or a journey, just like for us mortals.   I just know that the interviewer kinda misses the whole point of the interview...