Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Nov. 29, 2008

I am still reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I am really enjoying this book and when I take the time out to read it goes pretty fast. I was hoping to be done with it by Monday so that I can return it to the girl that lent it to me on Tuesday. But that does not look like it is going to happen.

I will say that Steinbeck is really good at the details. I can see everything that he is talking about. I don't like all the characters but they are very well thought out and portrayed in the story. It is good so far and even though I am not even halfway done it is a book that I would recommend. It is not one of those that I would call a page turner, but still good never the less.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Finds: (Nov. 28)

This Friday I decided to pick two books. Once a much anticipated almost sequel and an another a Christmas read. One to the books.

The first book is Midnight: A Gangster Love Story by Sister Soulja. For those of you not familiar with Sister Soulja, she is the author of The Coldest Winter Ever. A book that I personally thought was great and have heard nothing but good things about from others who have read it. Back to Midnight. I haven't heard anything good about this book, in fact all the reviews that I have read have been bad. But I am going to try my luck and see. Why, because I anticipated when I first heard that Sister Soulja was coming out with Midnight story that this book would not live up to The Coldest Winter Ever that this book would be a let down and I just want to prove myself right.

The next book, I found at From My Bookshelf and a couple of the other bookish blogs that I read. It is Santa Responds: He's Had Enough...and He's Writing Back! by Santa Claus. Every review that I have read about this book is positive. And since it is the holiday season, why not? I could use some humor especially from jolly old Saint Nick.

Until Next Time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mailbox Monday (11/24/2008)

This is my first Mailbox Monday. I do not order books that much. I normally get all my books from my local library.

But I do subscribe to I don't plan to keep this subscription for much longer that I now have moved to an area with a decent library.

Today in the mail I got two books in a series by Trisha R. Thomas. I have already read the first book Nappily Ever After: A Novel. Booksfree sent me the next two books in the set.

I really like Nappily Ever After so I am hoping these two are good. I am expecting about 9 books in the mail. Hopefully I will get them before Christmas break, since I am going home to California for about 4 weeks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Sunday Salon: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

This Sunday I set aside about an hour and a half to read some of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden. A classmate actually recommended this book to me, after she saw how much I read. She was even nice enough to lend me her couple.

I did not realize that it was such a long book (600 pages). But that is okay, I have read longer books. Even after reading for 90 minutes I have not even but a decent dent in this book, I am only on about page 55. I would like to read more today but I have a paper that is due Monday afternoon and a test on Tuesday. The life of a graduate student, so entertaining.

Sort of, off topic. Yesterday afternoon I went to see "Twilight" the movie. I read the book early this year (it was okay), and was not excited in seeing the movie but my roommate is a fan and was going and I haven't been to the movies in forever so I went. Luckily, I did not have high expectations so I was not disappointed. Personally, I thought the movie sucked (or should I say wasn't for me). It was long (2 hours) and slow (which made it seem longer). The dialogue was awkward and so were some of the scenes. It felt to me that the director was trying to feel time with long, weird camera angles that had nothing to do with the movie. But on a positive note the scenery of the little town was lovely.

That is it for now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Synopsis (Inside cover):

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals . . . a used hangman's noose . . . a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

I will "sell" my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder. . . .

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts—of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more?

But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.

And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door . . . seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang . . . standing outside his window . . . staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting—with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand. . .


I heard about "Heat-Shaped Box" when it first came out and really wanted to read it. But when I went to the library or the box store I could never remember either the name of the book or the author. So, while browsing the library for something to read I am happy that I saw this book and remembered that I been wanting to read it for a long time.

I was not disappointed. "Heart-Shaped Box" was an very entertaining story. It was not bloody, or as violent filled as it could have been. And for that I am happy. It is not that scary either, I had no problem going to sleep after I put it down at night. But it is an entertaining, thrilling story about a ghost out for revenge.

I didn't really care for the characters in the book all that much. But I think that has more to do with the type of story it is rather than the authors ability. I don't fill as connected to characters in ghost (or horror) stories as much as I do with more real life fiction.

I liked Hill's writing style, the way that he was able to transition from the third person narrator to the character's (Judas) thoughts. I also like how Hill closed the story. There were no loose ends. It wrapped it all up and there was no guessing about what happened to all the various characters at the end.

E-books and iPod

What I really what for Christmas (or my birthday) is an e-book reader. Not just any e-book reader by the Amazon's Kindled. They are expansive but it is something that I have convinced myself that I really need. I can picture sitting on the bus, with a library of books at my finger tips. No more heavy hard backs from the library. And another plus is that a lot of the older books are offered for free on the internet.

Since I can't afford a Kindle, yet. I have to find another way to get books. That is where my favorite gadget of all times comes in, the iPod. I found a site online that has instructions on how to make pdf files readable on the iPod.

I have only tried this once and noticed so flaws (that maybe easy fixed). First, there is no pictures. So, if you are looking at a text with pictures you will not be able to see them. Secondly, there is no clear separation of paragraph. It sort of messes up normal writing structure. There is also no clear indication when you are have reached a new chapter. Also, because the screen on iPods are so small the text is small too.

But, I thought I would share this information anyways.

Free Book Site
Instruction on Converting PDF for iPod usage

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Finds: Conception by Kalisha Buckhanon

I am trying to control my TBR pile and not let it get over 200 books. Right now I am on 175, not counting the book below. Hopefully, with Friday Finds, I can limit adding books to my TBR pile to once a week, instead of every time I read a book review.

If you read one of my last post, in which I talked about the frustration that I feel when I can't find newer books by African-American authors that fit my taste (or standards) then you will be happy to note that I have found a book that looks promising.

Conception by Kalisha Buckhanon (link will take you to google books preview). Now I only read the first page and the description but it sounds really interesting. And the writing seems good based on the first page.

Joplin's Ghost by Tananarive Due

Title: Joplin's Ghost
Author: Tananarive Due
Pages: 477
Rating: 20% Rule
Spoilers: Yes, but not a lot

Synopsis (Part of Inside Cover):

When Phoenix Smalls was ten, she nearly died at her parent's jazz club when she was crushed by a turn-of-the-century piano. Now twenty-four, Phoenix is launching a career as and r&B singer. She's living the life young artist envy and seems destined for fame and fortune. But a chance visit to a historical site in St. Louis ignites a series of bizarre, erotic encounters with a spirit who may be the King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin

I formulated the 20% rule while trying to decided if I wanted to try and continue on reading this book. I think that Tananarive Due is a talent writer, but there is something about the way this story is written that just bugs me. It seems (a least to me) that Due has a problem with transitioning from one writing style to another. When the story opens up Scott Joplin is in a mental institution, at this point in the story the writing is sort of engaging and is very fluid. But after the background of the story is over things fall apart. Due has a problem with integrating urban culture and terms with her own writing style. It seems forced and unnecessary. I think that she could have over come this issue if she had separated the characters (mainly Phoenix) thoughts from the third person narrators. Sometimes the two seemed to overlap. I don't if I am making any sense. It is kind of hard to explain.

The other problem that I had was that in the 91 pages that I read I couldn't formulate a relationship with any of the characters. The only story that seemed interesting was Joplin's but by page 91 it was apparent the cause of his death, and therefore the downfall of his career. In 91 pages Due was not able to make me care what relationship Phoenix and Joplin would have and what mayhem the haunting could cause.

Overall, I found what portions I did read of the story rather dull.

If you want to read other reviews (more positive ones) I have a link to the reviews here: Joplin's Ghost

Thursday, November 20, 2008

20% Rule

While trying to complete the 50 book challenge and expand my reading taste, I have ran into books that I just could not get into. Books that halfway through I could not force myself to go any further.

In order to save myself trouble but still give each book I pick up a chance, I have implemented the 20% rule.

The 20% rule is really simple. Basically, I have to read 20% of a book before I throw in the towel and call it a lose.

20% does not sound like a lot but for a 400 page book that is 80 pages. 20% should be enough time to catch my attention. If an author can't catch my attention in that amount of time, than why should I continue?

I think by reading 20% of a book, I am giving the book a fair chance.

Any thoughts?

Honesty: Booking Through Thursday

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is:

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

I, should point out the fact that I have never received a free book from an author for review
because I have just started blogging. Everything that I write on this subject is just be hypothetical.

That being said. I think that it is important for reviewers of books to be honest. But I also
think that if you receive the book for free you have a responsibility to the author to inform them that you are going to write a negative review and send them a copy before hand. It is a persons right to say I did not like this book and state why. Just because the book is free does not mean that you have to like it. State the truth and back it up.

Authors also have to realize that not everyone is going to like their book. It is the risk that
comes with putting something out for public consumption. I think that a author would be asking for too much if they give a book to someone and expect a good review. There will be positive and negative reviews. You have to take the good with the bad. It is part of the risk.

If (and most possibly when) I decided to put myself out their as a someone who is willing to
review books directly from the author (or publisher), I will be honest and state when I do not like a book. I will treat that book no different than any of the other books that I read.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random Book Thoughts

Sometimes I have a lot of time on my hands. I could pick up a book and read but sometimes I just want to zone out in front of the computer screen, today was one of those days. I decided to be kind of productive and look for some books to a to my TBR pile. I noticed that in my reading list for 2009 there was lack of books by African-American writers. I think that is because I have signed up for a lot of challenges that are very specific in their instructions. But anyways, a while ago I decided to read 60 books in 2009. So, why not fill up the empty spaces with books by black authors and make them recent works (in the last couple of years).

Here are the problems that I ran into:
1) The black fiction market is swamped with a lot of urban fiction books. I try not to be prejudice with my books selection but I am sort of a book snob. I have tried to read about two urban fiction novels and had to stop reading before the first 50 pages. The writing was sub-par and the editing horrible.

2) All the sites that have review of books by black authors are mostly filled with urban fiction novels. So, I couldn't find anything that sounded interesting. The synopsis of the all the books sound great. But I think that is just because someone other than the author wrote it, so it is cleaned up for the internet. The reviews all sound great, but should I give much credit to a site that mainly reviews urban fiction and gives all the books high reviews?

3) I looked on a couple of the new 2009 releases that are coming out and guess what? Most of them are urban lit or romance. I want something with a little more substance. I have no problem with hood dramas but they have to be well written and in my past experiences urban lit is not often times well written.

Any one have any suggestions on good books (fairly recent) books by African-American authors?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lion's Blood by Steven Barnes

Inside Cover: Here
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I don't know what to say about this book. There were just so many good things about it. I don't have one negative to say. I

The character were well done. I cared about what happened to all the main characters, even if I did not like their role in the story. I wanted to know what happened to them. The two main characters Aiden (the white slave) and Kai (the black master) were very believable for the time period that the story took place in. Barnes developed the characters (all of them) nicely and seemed to put a lot of thought in what role they played in the story.

I also like how Barnes included references to historical figures in the story (Shaka Zulu, Mozart, Da Vinic) and what their role would have been in his alternative history where Islam dominates.

Another plus is that Barnes did not sugar coat the possibility of Islamic slavery. He did not make it seem that slavery in an Islamic America would have been better and more humane. In fact Lion's Blood illustrates that it would have been the same but religious orientation different.

At the end I could not put this book down and basically read the last 200 or so pages in one sitting. I even shed a tear at the end. It's a great story of friendship and slavery. I am going to put the sequel on my wish list.

Awards Recieved For This Book:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Lion's Blood by Steven Barnes

Title: Lion's Blood: A Novel of Slavey and Freedom in an Alternate America

Author: Steven Barnes
Pages: 461

Inside Cover:

The year is 1279... or, to those who worhip the son of Mary, 1863. Bordered byu fierce Azteca to the south, the red men's nations of the far west, and the Viking empire in the north, Bilalistan is a vast, rich land adorned with inspiring mosques, Zulu kraals, and glorious Moorish castles. Its grand estates are worked by savage franks and Gauls captured from darkest Europe.

A primtive child from Eire, little Aidan O'Dere knows nothing of the world on the day his village is raided. His father is murdered while Aiden, his mother, and his sister are chained in the dark, diseased hold of a slave ship bound for the New World of Bilalistan. There the boy is sold to Dar Kush, the estate of the Wakil Abu Ali.

The Wakil is a notorious for his lenient handling of his whites, even letting them keep their tribal names and pagan beliefs. And when Aidan becomes personal servant to the Wakil's mischievous yet brilliant younger son, Kai, friendship is allowed to blossom between the two youths-a bond that seems to exlipse thier status as master and slave. But the tranquillity of Dar Kush hides a would where slave families are torn apart to pay bets, whipping and rape are daily fare, and runaways are slaughtered by vicious animals. And behind thier happy comportment, the whites are seething with hatred.

When War suddenly sweeps over the entire continent, the Aztecs, Zulus, Arabs, and whites are engulfed in carnage. And in the Terrible darkness of the battlefield, Kai and Aidan will learn that blood is neither black nor white...

My Thoughts:
This is my first Sunday Salon and I am kind of excited. I don't know what to write.

I normally would not have picked up "Lion's Blood" for a read for myself. If I would have read the inside cover I would have put it back on the bookshelf. But my roommate had recommened this book to me and I am glad that I took her recommendation. This book had me hook within the first five pages. I am only on page 130 something but I would already recommend this book to people.

Steven Barnes is a very good writter. Before this book I had never read any on his books before. I have already put the sequel to this book on my tbr list. Hopefully I can made room for it next year (since it is only two books it can not be used for the series challenge).

Well, I don't know what else to say. Bye

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Series Challenge

I have started to read a couple of series and never finished them. One of the series (Twilight), I really did not like the first book all that much. The second series (The Vampire Huntress), I have not continues because I have been to busy reading other things. I also own two of the three books from Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series, I just haven't gotten around to read them. This challenge will help me complete both the Twilight series and the Xenogenesis series. Since there are so many books in The Vampire Huntress series I have only committed up reading five books.


It’s really simple! And for the purpose of this challenge a series is defined as at least 3 related books. I typically read romance but for this challenge any genre is welcome. So this can be done in conjunction with any other challenge. and are good resources for finding series!

1. Read books in series/trilogies/related by author. (Julie Garwood’s Lion’s Lady, Castles, The Gift are related.) For a series to count you must read each one during this calendar year. (Rereads and audio books welcome!) If you started a series previously only the titles read after 01/01/09 will count for this challenge. In a perfect world we would all start and finish each book series after 01/01/09.
2. The Challenge will begin January 1st and last until December 31st 2009.
3. Post your list on your blog and link it back to this post. ( comment to this post when your link is up. Your list is not something, you need to decide in advance. Please add as you go! Or post and update your list here. If you do it here, then please go to my blog and post a comment on the Serial Readers Challenge post reminding me that you are participating in this group discussion so that I'll check here when it comes time to award prizes!
4. Please rate and review each title on your blog or in this discussion. When you do so, please label it SRC or Serial Readers Challenge so we can all read your reviews and maybe be inspired to try a new series for ourselves.
5. There will be prizes! Woo Hoo! Some of the prizes may be simple online trophies, and some will be book give-aways. (Titles to be determined) Prizes will be given for most books read, most # series read, most pages read, and some maybe at random! (my favorite kind!! Yay!)
6. To wrap up the challenge next winter, comment to this post linking your wrap-up post by December 31! Prizes will be awarded January 2010!

My List:

Vampire Huntress Series by LA Banks

  1. The Awakening (Review)
  2. The Hunted(Review)
  3. The Bitten
  4. The Forbidden
  5. The Dawn
Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer: Series Completed July 1, 2009
  1. New Moon (Review)
  2. Eclipse (Review)
  3. Breaking Dawn (Review)
The Xenogenesis Series by Octavia Butler
  1. Dawn (Review)
  2. Adult Rites
  3. Imago

The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld: Series Completed June 6, 2009

  1. Uglies (Review)
  2. Prettes (Review)
  3. Specials (Review)
  4. Extras (Review)

TBR Challenge

I have way to many books on my TBR list (over 200). I need to cut it down some. So, combined with some of the other challenges this one is prefect, because all the books overlap. I have a total of 18 books lined up for this challenge. Hopefully, I won't add any more books to my TBR pile (which is highly unlikely). This challenge (for 2009 for now) is being host by one of the groups on Shelfari. I am sure that someone in the Book Blog world will host it also. But I wanted to plan all my challenge list early, so I would know what books I need to order from the library and which ones I would have to buy.


** Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2009 - that you've been wanting to read (that have been on your "To Be Read" list) for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to.
** OPTIONAL: Create a list of 12 "Alternates" (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn't grab you at the time)
** Then, starting January 1, 2009, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31, 2009. :o)

My First 12 Books:
The Awakening by LA Banks (Review)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Review)Beloved by Toni Morrison (Review)To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Review)Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston (Review)
When Chickhenheads Come Home to Roost by Joan Morgan (Review)
New Moon By Stephenie Meyer (Review)The Hunted by LA Banks (Review)
Dawn by Octavia Butler (Review)Adult Rites by Octavia ButlerChocolat by Joanne Harris (Review)
Thirteen Reason Why by Jay Asher (Review)

Alternate List (Incomplete):
The Witching Hour by Ann Rice
Carrie by Stephan King
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
White Teeth by Zadie Smith

1% Well Read Challenge

I have been trying to increase the numbers of books that I have read on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list and it is really daunting. I already have so many books on my TBR list over at Shelfari and I need to read at least a few of them before I can add others. Well, I decided to use the 1% Well Read Challenge to get through at least a few books on the 1001 list. The official and original Challenge started in May, 2008 and end February, 2009. I am starting my challenge Janurary 2009 and it will last to the end of Decemeber 2009.


The goal of this challenge is to read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. For you non-math people, 10 out of 1001 is approximately 1%, hence the title. The challenge will run from May 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009.

You may change your list at any time and cross-posting to other challenges is permitted. The only requirement is that your ten book choices must be on the ‘1001 List‘. Another helpful tool is an Excel spreadsheet by Arukiyomi that is found here.

My List:
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ( Review)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Review)
Beloved by Toni Morrison ( Review)
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier ( Review)
The Age of Innocence by Edith Whatron (Review)
Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence (Review)
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The Handmaiden's Tale by Margert Atwood

Alternative List:
Rebecca by Daphe Du Mauier (Review)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Decades '09

Decades ‘09 Rules (abridge edition follow link for full rules):

1. Read a minimum of 9 books in 9 consecutive decades in ‘08.

2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.

3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.

4. You may change your list at any time.

My List:
1913: Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence (Review)
1920: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (Review)
1937: Their Eyes Were Watch God by Zora Neal Hurston (Review)
1947: Anne Frank: Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank (Review)
1957: The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger (Review)
1960: To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee ( Review)
1974: Carrie by Stephan King
1989: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Review)
1996: Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence by Dorris Pinlkington

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquirel

Finished this on November 12, 2008. It took me only one day to get through it. This is book 36 (I think) in my 50 Book Challenge


I read this book for the first time while I was in middle school and remembered loving it. I even have called it one of my favorites. Since I have not read it in almost 15 years I decided to read it again. It did not leave the same impression on my that it left 15 years ago.

"Like Water for Chocolate" is a story that tells of the love between Tita and Pedro and the family tradition that keeps them apart. It is told almost like a fairy tale with dramatic and elaborate scenarios. The story is written in monthly format and at the beginning of the month there is a recipe. The directions to prepare the recipes are incorporated into the story.

As I was reading this story I became destructed by the instructions for preparing the recipes. I started to skip them since they had nothing to do with the storyline as a whole. It would have been better if the Esquivel had someone incorporate the preparation of the recipes in with the characters actions. Instead she would devote a paragraph or two to the preparation of the meal. Sometimes right in the middle of a scene. Luckily, the instructions were in appropriate places (when the meal was being prepared) but it still messed up the flow of the story.

I did like most of the characters but some of the personalities were extreme, like in most fairy tales. I also felt that some of the descriptions of the scenes were a little overboard and took away from my enjoyment of the book sometimes.While I like the story as a whole and think that it was well written it is no longer a favorite. Interesting how taste change over time.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Pulitzer Project (2009)

I did a lot of web searching to see what reading challenges there were and which ones that I would like to join. The Pulitzer Project sounds really fun and will give me the ability to drag a little (when it comes up in normal conversation of course). The ultimate goal of the project is to read all 81 Pulitzer Prize winning books.

My personal goal for this year is to read at least 5 of the books. I only want to read 5 books because there are a couple of other challenges (besides Round the World Passage) that I want to do. I will post those challenges later in the week. Also by limiting myself to 5 books it will make it easier for me to overlap books with my other challenges.

Rule: To read all 81 Pulitzer Prize winning fiction books

My List:

The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Completed 04/02/2009, Review)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Completed 06/27/2009, Review)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (Completed 02/05/2009, Review)
The Age of Innocence by Edith Whatron (Completed 06/06/2009, Review)
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Completed 01/24/2009, Review)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Round The World Passage

This is a challenge that I found in the "I Love Reading Challenges" group on Shelfari. Below are the Rules.

This idea is a combination of the 7 continents / Olympic challenges and Round the World Tickets (real tickets you can purchase to travel round the world). It's really my first attempt at creating reading challenges so be kind to me :) Do ask if I need to clarify any other rules etc...
Read a book (or more if you’d like to) that is located in certain city / country or by an author of that city / country. You decide which city / country you’d like to ‘visit’ however the following conditions (similar to the RTW ticket’s) apply:

1. Maximum Mileage: 40,000 miles* (Unlimited stops – see how generous I am) with a minimum of 20,000 miles (5 stops)

2. The start and end of the journey have to be located in the same country

3. Choose a direction you’d like to take (East or West only) mainly when jumping continents, you can go north & south when you're within a continent

4. One crossing each of the Atlantic and Pacific must be included in the itinerary (but only one crossing allowed over each oceans)

5. Try not to backtrack within a continent - I know this was really hard

6. Minimum of 20,000 and or 5 stops

*To help you in calculating your mileage, the below site may be useful: Google Map Distance Calculator. I haven't set any dates because I think it should be flexible (at least for the first time around anyway, who knows if people enjoy it, I'll put it up again next year with a more strict time frame)

This challenge takes a little be a preparation to get started. But that is okay. At least I have a list of books that I know that I am going to have to read.

My destinations (books):

  1. Florida: "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neal Hurston (Review)
  2. New York: "The Catcher in The Rye" by J.D. Salinger (Review)
  3. Iceland: "The Journey Home:A Novel" (Review)
  4. Ireland: "Talking to the Dead" by Helen Dunmore (Review)
  5. England: "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Mauier (Review)
  6. The Netherlands: "Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank (Review)
  7. France: "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris (Review)
  8. Italy: "Don't Move" by Margaret Mazzantini
  9. Spain: "The Club Dumas " by Arthuro Perez-Reverte
  10. Sudan: "What is What" by Dave Eggers
  11. South Africa: "Mandela: The Authorized Biography" by Anthony Sampson
  12. Antarctica: "The Brief History of The Dead:A Novel" by Kevin Brockmeier
  13. Australia: "Rabbit Proof Fence" by Doris Pilkington
  14. Japan: "The Samurai's Garden" by Gail Tsukiyama
  15. Mexico: "Red Glass" by Laura Resau
  16. Louisiana: "The Witching Hour" by Ann Rice
  17. Alabama:
  18. Florida:

As you can see I have chosen a lot of stops. I wanted to cover a lot of different areas. I tried to find authors that we from each of the countries as well as stories that dealt with the location. I haven't decided what to read for Antarctica or the last Florida novel yet. But that is a long way away so I still have some time.

I think that I am going to try and read one book every two or three weeks. This should take a least a year (hopefully not longer).

About This Blog

Welcome to my little space on the internet. This blog is mainly about my reading experince. I will mainly be updating this blog with my reviews on books that I have read and challenges that I am particpating in.

I am currently in the 50 Book Challenge. Which is challenges its particapants to read 50 books in a year. I started this challenge on March 9, 2008 and it ends (for me) on March 8, 2009. I am currently reading book number 35 (Like Water for Chocolate)

I am also involved in the Lay It On Challenge hosted by a group on Shelfari. I think it last until the end of the month (or 8 weeks). There are a couple of challenges that I am looking into for the start of the new year. I will not officially be doing the 50 Book Challenge after March 8. I will try to focus on other challenges that have other rules, but still try to complete 50 books in 2009 (counting the one at the start of the year).

That's it for now.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Review Policy

Wordle: Untitled

The Little Reading Nook has the following Review Policies. Please review the policy below before contacting me about doing a book review. (Last update 1/1/2011)

General Review Policy:
  • I don't host book tours but would be willing to participate in one that is being hosted by someone else. I will be willing to do interviews with authors or let authors do guest post on this site.
  • Books will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. If publishers, authors, or publicist want a book reviewed by a certain time; arrangement will need to be made ahead of time. I will not hold off a review for a certain date. I post reviews as I finish books.
  • All books will be given an honest review. I will post both good and bad reviews. I also have a policy about abandoning books. I will give each book a try and will not abandon the book until I have at least read 20% of the book. I will post that I have abandoned a book and the reason why, almost like a full review.
  • Reviews will include the following: cover of book, book information (page length, publication year, genre, rating), a synopsis (usually taken from either back of book of Google), overall recommendation, and other sites that have reviewed the same book (if I can find them). Other information (book trailers, authors information, etc.) can be included but most be requested.
  • I accept paper based books, audiobooks and ebooks.
  • If you are submitting an ebook please be aware that I own a Nook.
  • Books reviewed will be given away at my discretion, usually in the form of a giveaway. By contacting me for review you understand and accept this fact.
Genre Preferences:
  1. Fiction: Multi-cultural, Women's, International, Young Adults, Historical Fiction, Thriller/Horror.
  2. Non-Fiction: Memoirs, Autobiographies
I don't normally read the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, romance, or religious based books. I will be willing to consider reviewing the above above genres on a case by case basis.

Contact Information:

If you are interested in having a book reviewed by me please contact me at

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Pulitzer Project

This is another sticky post to track my journey through the Pulitzer Prize winning ficition books.

Books that I have read and reviewed will be linked

List (Copied From The Pulitzer Project)

2009 - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
2008 - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
2007 - The Road (McCarthy)
2006 - March (Brooks)
2005 - Gilead (Robinson)
2004 - The Known World (Jones)
2003 - Middlesex (Eugenides)
2002 - Empire Falls (Russo)
2001 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Chabon)
2000 - Interpreter of Maladies (Lahiri)
1999 - The Hours (Cunningham)
1998 - American Pastoral (Roth)
1997 - Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (Millhauser)
1996 - Independence Day (Ford)
1995 - The Stone Diaries (Shields)
1994 - The Shipping News (Proulx)
1993 - A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (Butler)
1992 - A Thousand Acres (Smiley)
1991 - Rabbit at Rest (Updike)
1990 - The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (Hijuelos)
1989 - Breathing Lessons (Tyler)
1988 - Beloved (Morrison)
1987 - A Summons to Memphis (Taylor)
1986 - Lonesome Dove (McMurtry)
1985 - Foreign Affairs (Lurie)
1984 - Ironweed (Kennedy)
1983 - The Color Purple (Walker)
1982 - Rabbit is Rich (Updike)
1981 - A Confederacy of Dunces (Toole)
1980 - The Executioner’s Song (Mailer)
1979 - The Stories of John Cheever (Cheever)
1978 - Elbow Room (McPherson)
1977 - None given
1976 - Humboldt’s Gift (Bellow)
1975 - The Killer Angels (Shaara)
1974 - None given
1973 - The Optimist’s Daughter (Welty)
1972 - Angle of Repose (Stegner)
1971 - None given
1970 - Collected Stories by Jean Stafford (Stafford)
1969 - House Made of Dawn (Momaday)
1968 - The Confessions of Nat Turner (Styron)
1967 - The Fixer (Malamud)
1966 - Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter (Porter)
1965 - The Keepers Of the House (Grau)
1964 - None given
1963 - The Reivers (Faulkner)
1962 - The Edge of Sadness (Edwin O’Connor)
1961 - To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)
1960 - Advise and Consent (Drury)
1959 - The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (Taylor)
1958 - A Death in the Family (Agee)
1957 - None
1956 - Andersonville (Kantor)
1955 - A Fable (Faulkner)
1954 - None
1953 - The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)
1952 - The Caine Mutiny (Wouk)
1951 - The Town (Richter)
1950 - The Way West (Guthrie)
1949 - Guard of Honor (Cozzens)
1948 - Tales of the South Pacific (Michener)
1947 - All the King’s Men (Warren)
1946 - None
1945 - Bell for Adano (Hersey)
1944 - Journey in the Dark (Flavin)
1943 - Dragon’s Teeth I (Sinclair)
1942 - In This Our Life (Glasgow)
1941 - None
1940 - The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck)
1939 - The Yearling (Rawlings)
1938 - The Late George Apley (Marquand)
1937 - Gone with the Wind (Mitchell)
1936 - Honey in the Horn (Davis)
1935 - Now in November (Johnson)
1934 - Lamb in His Bosom (Miller)
1933 - The Store (Stribling)
1932 - The Good Earth (Buck)
1931 - Years of Grace (Barnes)
1930 - Laughing Boy (Lafarge)
1929 - Scarlet Sister Mary (Peterkin)
1928 - The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Wilder)
1927 - Early Autumn (Bromfield)
1926 - Arrowsmith (Lewis)
1925 - So Big (Ferber)
1924 - The Able McLauglins (Wilson)
1923 - One of Ours (Cather)
1922 - Alice Adams (Tarkington)
1921 - The Age of Innocence (Wharton)
1920 - None
1919 - The Magnificent Ambersons (Tarkington)
1918 - His Family (Poole)

1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

This is a sticky post to track my process in reading books from the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. I will just post the list of books that I have read, the number they are on the list, and links (if reviewed on this blog).

I am using the 2008 version of the list.


#43) Life of Pi by Yann Martle
#162) Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
#167) Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
#199) Beloved by Toni Morrison
#447) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
#454) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
#513) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
#537) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
#606) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#615) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
#622) Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
#733) The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
#781) The Call of the Wild by Jack London
#811) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
#829) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
#869) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
#903) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Books Reviewed By Author

Books Reviewed or Abandoned by Author
Based on last Name

Last Name: A Thur D

Alcott, Louisa May
Armstrong, Kelly

Banks, L.A.
Bannister, Nonna
Butler, Octavia E.

Cisneros, Sandra

Du Maurier, Daphne

Dunemore, Helen
Last Name: E Thur L

Esquirel, Laura
Frank, Anne
Hill, Joe
Hurston, Zora Neale
Last Name: M Thur S

McCarthy, Cormac
Meyer, Stephanie

Tan, Amy
Thomas, Trisha R.
Wharton, Edith