Embarrassment of Riches TBR Challenge – October round-up

I haven’t posted my TBR Challenge round-up post for months… but I have been making progress with the TBR pile!

Here’s my TBR challenge round up for October.

TBR-vignette-300x261Quick reminder: the Embarrassment of Riches TBR Challenge is to try and whack the to-be-read pile back down to size a little. Any book read that I owned prior to Jan 1st 2013 counts for this challenge. I’m aiming for 50+ books.

I have four books to count for October for the TBR challenge.

    1. What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire
    2. Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara
    3. Le Misanthrope, Molière
    4. House of Cards by CE Murphy

From Jan-Sept, I read 30 books that count for this challenge, so…

That’s a total of 34/50… meaning I am quite far behind. Will I make 50 by the end of the year? Who knows, but the TBR pile is already starting to feel just a little more manageable.

WWW Wednesdays Oct 30

WWW Wednesday!

The meme comes from shouldbereading, and all you have to do is answer these questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? and What are you planning to read next?

currently reading

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  • Bridget Jones the Edge of Reason – cause I hadn’t, yet, and I finally heard one too many things about Mad About the Boy to not want to read it asap.
  • Hands of Flame by CE Murphy – so far, I love this series❤
  • Morality Play by Barry Unsworth – have not actually read much more of this… maybe this week.

recently finished

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  • House of Cards by CE Murphy – loved it! I will try and post about the series when I finish the 3rd book.
  • Le Misanthrope, Molière – I had forgotten I’d started this months ago, so didn’t take long to finish. Still not doing very well on my reading French books challenge… this puts me at 3/10 for the year.

plan to read next

I have a library hold on Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy, so if that comes in… If not, possibly an Ursula K LeGuin; I have a few that I haven’t read.

WWW Wednesdays Oct 23

WWW Wednesday!

The meme comes from shouldbereading, and all you have to do is answer these questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? and What are you planning to read next?

currently reading

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  • House of Cards by CE Murphy – I have been looking forward to reading the sequel to Heart of Stone!
  • Morality Play by Barry Unsworth – this book has a great first line: “It was a death that began it all and another death that led us on.” Not sure how I feel about the book past that first line yet; not far enough in to tell😛

recently finished

  • Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara – very much enjoyed; recommended – my sort-of-review here.

plan to read next

If the ending of House of Cards is anything like the ending of Heart of Stone was… then I’ll probably dive straight into the 3rd book, Hands of Flame. We’ll see!

Sort of a Book Review: Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara

Last night I finished Cast in Chaos, the sixth book in Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series. I enjoyed it very much, but apparently my brain is having trouble with full sentences and paragraphs today, so to point form we go!

Cast in Chaos (Chronicles of Elantra, #6)

  • it occurs to me, in all the discussion the past couple years of covers and female characters in particular on covers, that maybe this one deserves a shout-out. She is wearing practical, not secondary-sexual-characteristic-enhancing clothing; her face is towards the “camera” and not obscured; and perhaps most importantly, her position and posture gives her an active role in the cover. Compare that with all the passive, dead or drowning or headless girls on most book covers… Yes, I do think this cover needs a shout out. Good job, whoever designed it. Thank you.
  • just when I think this series is getting a bit too long for me and I might be falling out of it, it does something to suck me right back in. The last 150-ish pages of this book… damn. In the best way.
  • fans of the series will definitely enjoy this installment. I especially loved getting to know the Arkon quite a bit better. And the development with Nightshade towards the beginning, though he sort of falls out of the book after that (I am guessing that thread will be picked back up in Cast in Ruin, book 7, and the continuation of this book).
  • I am pretty sure this book (this series) would really reward a re-reading. There is a lot of chewy, gritty, figuring out who you are, and how you engage with your world in a compassionate and honest way, and how you heal from your past stuff in there, hidden (or not so hidden) among the dragons and the magical portals and the talking elemental Water. This is why I love fantasy.
  • so yeah. Chronicles of Elantra (starts with Cast in Shadows). Highly recommended; read it if you haven’t.

Two books on my wishlist

Two books that are on my wishlist right now:

Delia’s Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer

Delia's Shadow

Why?

a) just look at that cover.

b) set in San Fransisco at the time of the Great Earthquake

c) it’s a ghost story and a love story and a fantasy, which pretty much sounds like a recipe for awesome to me.

Want!

A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda

A Turn of Light

This came out a few months ago, and I admit I wasn’t super intrigued at first… until I started hearing all the reactions and responses to it, almost all of which were very positive. Now I think it sounds like exactly my kind of book! Can’t wait to read it and find out if that’s true.

But first I should probably read the *cough cough mumble* 5 Julie Czerneda books I already have and still haven’t gotten to yet…

How about you? What’s topping your wishlists right now?

WWW Wednesdays Oct 9

WWW Wednesday… I haven’t played along with this meme in quite some time! But here I am again, because who doesn’t love talking about books?

The meme comes from shouldbereading, and all you have to do is answer these questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? and What are you planning to read next?

currently reading

Cast in Chaos (Chronicles of Elantra, #6)

Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara – the 6th book in the Chronicles of Elantra series, and so far a very good addition to the series.

recently finished

  • A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews – very good, and important. Recommended. (And yeah, I’m really behind the rest of the world on this one.)
  • The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares – posted my main reaction to this one already.
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, trans. Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen – enjoyed it right up until the ending. Argh! I won’t spoil it, though, even though it’s not a new release. Good book, I just didn’t agree with one of the choices. Still recommended. I loved the recipe structure to the book.
  • What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire – cute, though in places a little too didactic for my liking.

plan to read next

Top of the list is currently House of Cards by C.E. Murphy–I read Heart of Stone in August, and really wanted to dive straight into the sequel but couldn’t because I couldn’t remember which box I’d packed it in. The troubles of moving! But all is well, since now all my books are unpacked and I’ve found it again. I guess this is where ebooks come in handy, eh?

Intertextuality in some unlikely places

This summer I read almost exclusively speculative fiction. Partly that was because it’s my home genre, and so I have a lot more of it than I have anything else, and partly it was because I was in the middle of moving and most of my books were already packed. Anyway, although it was a lovely summer of reading, come September when I started unpacking books again, I was ready for a change from spec fic.

One of the first books I found while unpacking was The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I had never read it before, though I’m pretty sure I was right in the target demographic when it came out. I presume that’s how I own a copy now; I  was probably given it as a gift years ago, but never got around to it.

I thought, hey, perfect–a light read (I was sick, and moving, and limping from a shelf-dropped-on-toe incident) and it will bust me out of my spec fic rut/comfort zone. I started reading.

The opening epigraph:

“Not all who wander are lost. – J.R.R. Tolkien”

Haha, can’t escape it! But that quote actually primes you for a bit of intertextual reference that took me quite by surprise.

The opening paragraph:

“Once upon a time there were a pair of pants. They were an essential kind of pants–jeans, naturally, blue but not that stiff, new blue that you see so often on the first day of school. They were a soft, changeable blue with a little extra fading at the knees and the seat and white wavelets at the cuffs.”

Is it just me, or is that awfully reminiscent of…

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

“It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats–the hobbit was fond of visitors.”

I find that cleverly done–all the elements from the Hobbit’s opening are there, condensed; the precise description, the definition by negatives, the sense of comfort emphasized, the possibility for magic suggested. For those who’ve read the Hobbit, I think it brings an element of the Hobbit’s tone–the first big adventure, finding one’s self, having to leave or grow up from the comfort and safety of a sheltered world–to the very start of the Sisterhood. And after all, those are the big YA themes.

Okay, I guess I’m done geeking out over intertextuality for now. I hope I’m not the only one who loves intertextuality this much…