Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

Bookends and the Point of the Project

March 25, 2012 Uncategorized 1

Even ignoring all the awesome information I’m learning from reading so much non-fiction, I’ve been learning a lot from this project.  In particular, I’m learning to do things for the journey instead of the destination; to be patient with myself; to indulge my interests; and to see where life takes me.  I have zero self-control in the library, absolutely none.  Which is why I ended up with  All Creatures Great and Small, a book from a section I’d already read a book from!  I’m absolutely amazed at the number of books I can find to desperately want to read in even a small section of a small library in Ames, Iowa.  But I constantly remind myself that I’m not going to finish the project in a reasonable time frame anyway, and you know what?  It doesn’t matter. Because finishing is not the point.  The point is to read books I wouldn’t have read otherwise and become a more well-rounded person.  Plus to enjoy myself of course, which is usually enough all by itself to make me glad I picked a book up. Read more »

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Spring Reading Thing Challenge

March 24, 2012 Uncategorized 6

Since last fall when I missed Callapidder Days‘ Fall Into Reading Challenge, I’ve been looking forward to her Spring Reading Thing.  I’m actually narrowly avoiding missing it as well, as the deadline for posting a list of your reading goals for spring is tonight!  I think this challenge is just what I need right now to get me to do a little more planning of my reading.  When I first started my project, I almost always knew what I wanted to read next.  But lately, I’ve been having trouble deciding and I’ve been having trouble finishing library books before they are due, so I’ve resorted to a sort of triage system where I read books in the order they need to be returned.  While I’ll continue to try to pay more attention to due dates, I’d also like to have some idea of what order I really want to be reading books in.  So here is my list, organized incategories because I like our host’s list organization so much 🙂

For my Dewey Decimal Challenge 

  • Silent Spring
  • finish the 630’s – 630, 631, 632, and 633

Gardening – just in time for spring!

  • Worms Eat My Garbage
  • Guide to Iowa Vegetable Gardening

YA Fiction

  • Graceling – I’ve seen several good reviews of this one lately, so many I thought it must be new!
  • The Uglies series – I’ve been wanting to read this for ages

Group Reads

  • A Tree Grows in BrooklynErin Reads
  • “Never too old for YA books” April book (TBD)

For Variety

  • The Dark Queen – a historical romance I think, something I picked up for a change
  • I Never Fancied Him Anyway – ditto the above, but not historical
  • Stardust
  • books in at least 4 categories for my genre challenges

I’m sure this list will change over time (I want to plan, but all the way until June is such a long time!) and hopefully get more specific, but for now this is it 🙂

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A Hunger Games Movie Review

March 24, 2012 Uncategorized 11

The-Hunger-Games-PosterFirst, a promise:  I hear-by solemnly swear to keep this review brief and spoiler-less 🙂  Since I had a test Friday, I wasn’t able to make the opening showing of The Hunger Games and I’ve been very carefully screening the blog posts I read to avoid spoilers myself!  I managed that well enough that I had no idea how optimistic to be going into the movie, but let me tell you – this is actually one of the first book-to-movie adaptions I’ve ever left without being able to think of any major plot points they left out.  It was phenomenal.  I loved the casting; everyone was great, just as I pictured them!  Actually, that’s not quite true.  Haymitch and Cinna were even better that I imagined.  And as I said, they stayed very true to the plot.  They toned down the violence a lot, mostly by using close-up enough shots that everything happening just seemed chaotic, and this sometimes gave scenes a slightly different feel than in the book.  But honestly, I appreciated that.  Going in to the movie, I was actually worried that graphic violence might prevent me from enjoying, although obviously as a PG-13 movie it could only be so bad.  Anyway, that’s the only change I really noticed, so I would have to agree with Parajunkee’s earlier review – this is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.

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Cheese Club, Chestnuts and My Umbrella Adventure

March 22, 2012 Uncategorized 0

I recently lost the most awesome umbrella ever – short when folded up, but large and sturdy when open – so I currently only have this golf umbrella my dad lent me.  It’s a nice enough umbrella except for one thing: it really never stops being large and sturdy and even folded is approximately half my height.  So I spent all day Tuesday carrying this ridiculously large umbrella everywhere I went in anticipation of rain.  It didn’t rain.  And it didn’t rain.  And finally I got to my lab at the end of the day, completely exhausted, propped my umbrella against the wall and promptly left it there.  Of course, when I got downstairs it was raining.  I seriously considered going back for it, but I was just too ready to be home.  Luckily the rain wasn’t too bad, so I when I showed up at cheese club later that evening I at least didn’t look like a drowned rat on top of showing up by my self. Read more »

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YA Bookends

March 11, 2012 Uncategorized 12

As I mentioned in my last post, this week I’ve let myself relax a little by reading some YA fiction.  As part of a goodreads challenge, I read Cinder at the beginning of the week and I’m definitely glad I did!  I’ve also started The Vampire Diaries and am a little way into the fourth book of the original quartet.  I’m liking it enough that I’m worried the TV show will mess with the plot too much, but am not sure if I’ll read any of spin-off series or not.

Cinder

First of all, I liked it!  It was exactly the sort of read I needed to get me through a busy, school-and-research-filled week.  The author gets major points for coming up with such an original take on the Cinderella story.  Although she has moved the story forward in time and made Cinder an android, that’s just the beginning.  She also added her own secondary plots, with the earth struggling to avoid a war with a country formed from human colonists living on the moon and  a dreadful plague sweeping the country where Cinder lives.  Re-reading the previous sentence, it almost sounds too bizarre to be believe, but the whole plot flows quite logically and plausibly from the author’s excellent world building narrative.  We never learn about the world in a way that feels disconnected from the plot; instead, we constantly learn new information while staying engaged with the current moment. Read more »

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Bookends – The Week With All the Cats

February 18, 2012 Uncategorized 2

Despite being in the lab so much this week, I did have some time to read, mostly while waiting on reactions to happen.  So I decided to finish the alarmingly large pile of cat books I picked up while reading in the 636’s and for bookends this week I’ll be giving a brief review of each of them.
Read more »

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The Cheese Experiment

February 2, 2012 Uncategorized 4

First, a few brief blog updates.  For subscribes who haven’t stopped by the blog in a while, there is now a description of my rating system and a blog roll available in the side bar.  I’ve also started using Twitter for the first time after reading a post by Kelly at Call Me Bookish about why she finds tweeting worthwhile, so you can now find me there as well.  And finally, I also received a Pintrest invite from Gretchen at The Happiness Project and I would be happy to pass on the favor, so if you’d like an invitation just e-mail me at kxw116 [at] gmail.com.  Alright now… on to the cheese! Read more »

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Fun Challenges

January 17, 2012 Uncategorized 8

As a new blogger, I unfortunately discovered the many fun reading challenges other book-bloggers are running shortly after the new year.  This meant most sign-ups were over.  In a way, this was a good thing, since it kept me from adding anything else to an already pretty ambitious project!  However, I think the community aspect of completing a challenge together could be fun.  Fortunately, I discovered Maphead’s Book Blog which led me to two Non-Fiction challenges with ongoing sign-ups 😀

I will now be participating in (appropriately) the Dewey Decimal Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader at the Master level (goal: 16-20 non-fiction books) as well as the Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Challenge hosted by My Book Retreat at the Master’s Degree level (goal: 25 non-fiction, non-memoir books).  Although I hope that won’t be a challenge, since that would mean my semester had suddenly gotten a lot busier, I’m really not signing up for the extra goal.  So far, the most rewarding part of blogging has been the interactions with other bloggers and readers, which I look forward to expanding through these challenges.  Happy reading!

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Of Cats and Cheese

January 16, 2012 Uncategorized 2

I have a confession.  In the two months since adopting my cat Maggie (shown “helping” me put away clothes on the right), I have in many ways become, if not a crazy cat lady, at least a little obsessed with my cat.  This includes things like talking to her when I get home and taking many pictures of her, although I do my best not to be the person who uses facebook solely to share pet or baby pictures 🙂  And this week, my library books reflect that too!  I was wandering through the rows of non-fiction, feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sudden explosion in choices for my next book.  It’s simply amazing how many books even a small library like mine has in some of the sections, like history and politics. I think at a bigger library trying to pick just one might actually be too overwhelming and less fun!

Fortunately, I spotted a book I’d read about and wanted to read, called Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World in section 636, pets.  Since I’ve decided to read books in clumps, I began exploring the surrounding books and before getting out of the 636’s I’d managed to pick up 5 or 6 books with titles like The Cat Whisperer: The Secret of How to Talk to Your Cat and Totally Fun Things to Do With Your Cat (complete with cartoon illustrations!).   I kid you not.  But they promise answers to questions like why my cat attacks my ankles and whether or not it’s really ok that she ate half my sugar cookie the other day, which is enough to draw me in.

I also explored the section before (gardening) and the section after where I discovered that the entire number 637 was devoted to cheese making.  Again, not kidding – you just can’t make this stuff up!  So, of course, I had to check one of these out and ended up taking home The Joy of Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Making and Eating Fine Cheese.  I’ll let you know if it turns me into a cheese connoisseur and/or causes me to spend exorbitant amounts of money on tasty cheese!

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Unexpected Changes

January 11, 2012 Uncategorized 2

At the library yesterday I discovered something awful!  Or at least, I thought it was awful at the time.  My library doesn’t actually own books for all of the number currently in use as part of the Dewey Decimal system!  I wasn’t sure how I wanted to deal with that.  Should I just skip the numbers they don’t have for now and continue as much in order as possible?  Or should I just read books in any order I wanted?

My last post actually led me to the answer.   As I concluded the, there is definitely some value to reading books on similar topics all together.  You begin to see connections between the books and learn what makes that sort of book interesting to you.  So while I will stop going precisely in order, I will try to read related books in clusters so I can still see those connections.  Hopefully this will help me follow the advice given by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and not become a reading robot.  It’s very important to me to continue enjoying reading.  No thinking “I have to finish this book so I can review it!”.  That’s a great way to lose the joy of reading and an attitude I’ve been doing my best to avoid.

Since I’ve started this project, walking up and down past the non-fiction section has been a lot of fun. I love looking at all the different exciting books and topics ahead!  I think now that I’m picking my own topics this project will become even more enjoyable 🙂  I’m also excited to take the rest of this week to do some off-project reading, at least until I get back to the library.  I think I’m finally going to read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (a book which I’ve wanted to read since it came out in 2005!) and hopefully do some more non-fiction reading as well.

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