Friday, July 3, 2009

Q's Legacy (76/81)

Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff
Category: Books about Books (Category Complete!)
For more about my categories and the 999 challenge, see this post

The third in a set of memoirs by Helene Hanff begins before the others, when she had to drop out of college during the Depression. Visiting the library, she found a set of books - the lectures of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch - to teach herself about writing and English literature. With the success of her memoirs, 84 Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, Helene had no idea how far-reaching indeed his influence would turn out to be.

I love these books for Helene's sense of humor and quick wit. She has excellent timing for both comedy and poignancy. Her delightful descriptions of Q's lectures made me want to read them, too. Though 84 Charing Cross Road is forever my favorite of her three memoirs, Q's Legacy is a lovely capstone of her memories of both books and her tribute to the man who taught her to write through his published lectures. 4.5 stars.

Cross-posted at the 999 Challenge.

Better Late than Never - May and June update

For my previous progress reports, check out April and everything before April. Perhaps having May and June together will be a happy medium:

Award winners/honors:
  1. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
  2. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
  3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  5. Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox
  6. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  7. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (05/10/09)
  8. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (05/16/09)
New to Me Authors
  1. The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman
  2. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  3. Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
  4. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  5. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
  6. Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear
  7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  8. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Books about Books, Reading, and Writing
  1. 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die edited by Peter Boxall
  2. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  3. The Pleasure of Reading edited by Antonia Fraser
  4. Housekeeping vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby
  5. Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby
  6. Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon
  7. Slow Reading by John Miedema (05/03/09)
  8. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff (06/14/09)
Nonfiction (COMPLETE)
  1. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  2. Things I've Been Silent About by Azar Nafisi
  3. Levels of the Game by John McPhee
  4. The Cross by Arthur Blessitt
  5. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
  6. Krakatoa by Simon Winchester
  7. Reimagining Shakespeare for Children and Young Adults edited by Naomi J. Miller
  8. As They See 'Em by Bruce Weber (05/20/09)
  9. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (06/30/09)
Audiobooks (COMPLETE)
  1. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
  2. Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson
  3. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
  4. Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman
  5. 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber
  6. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  7. My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  8. Monstrous Regiment by Terry Prachett
  9. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (05/24/09)
Graphic Novels (COMPLETE)
  1. Maus and Maus II by Art Spiegelman
  2. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  3. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
  4. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  5. Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim (05/13/09)
  6. Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi (05/14/09)
  7. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale (05/25/09)
  8. Three Shadows by Cecil Pedrosa (06/03/09)
  9. Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (06/17/09)
  1. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
  2. The Shack by W.P. Young
  3. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
  4. Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
  5. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (05/24/09)
  6. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (05/27/09)
  7. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (06/09/09)
YA/Children's (COMPLETE)
  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney
  2. The Last Knight by Hilari Bell
  3. Rogue's Home by Hilari Bell
  4. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
  5. Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
  6. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (05/05/09)
  7. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (05/13/09)
  8. The Magician by Michael Scott (05/26/09)
  9. Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud (06/09/09)
Lost Book Club
  1. Bad Twin by Gary Troup
  2. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  3. Walden Two by B.F. Skinner
  4. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  5. The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupery (05/26/09)
  6. Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor (06/02/09)
  7. The Pearl by John Steinbeck (06/16/09)
  8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

In Which I Attempt to Catch up on a Month of Reading

OK, not really. That would be tedious. I will merely say by way of update that on my original 999 challenge, I'm now up to 76 books out of 81 and have completed five categories. If you want my full reviews, check out the link above or the 999 challenge blog. I will shortly be updating reads for the months of May and June, and will link to those posts instead of repeating reviews here.

Starting the 999 x 2 (1-4/81)

I've decided to go for it in my 999 x 2 Challenge. I don't know if I'll really be able to finish it, but it will be fun to try. The new categories are as follows:

1. Everything Shakespeare
2. Author Revisits (Books I haven't read by authors I have)
3. From the library "new books" shelves
4. From my "tbr" shelves
5. Fantasy
6. YA/Children's
7. Nonfiction
8. Lost Book Club
9. Grab Bag

Here's how I'm doing so far -

1. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
Category: YA/Children's

The third book in the "Song of the Lioness" series is a fun, quick read. It was fast-paced and ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, so I finished it anxious for the next book. 4.5 stars.

2. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Category: Author Revisits

This read suffered by comparison because Shadow of the Wind was one of my absolute favorite reads last year. It has a Gothic feel, but I didn't find it as compelling or satisfying as the first. 3.5 stars.

3. Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
Category: Fantasy

I may have liked this book more if I had waited a bit longer between books 3 and 4. All the things that slightly annoyed me about the story so far annoyed me a lot more in this one (for example - Alanna has three lovers in as many books). 3.5 stars.

4. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Category: From the library "new books" shelves

The first half of the book was funny enough to make up for a somewhat tedious second half. A lot of the original book is retained, nearly word-for-word, and in the end I found I preferred those parts over the changes or additions. 4.5 stars.