Monday Musings

June 11, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: What is the longest book you have ever read? How long did it take you to read it?

As soon as I read this question, I knew the answer had to be one of the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan, which started out around 600 pages and crept up toward the 1000 page mark as the series progressed.  It turns out that the longest one so far and the longest book I’ve ever read is Lord of Chaos, the sixth book in the series, which weighs in at 1011 pages!  Back in the day, by which I mean during summers in high school, I could get through it in two or three days of solid reading.  Now, without such convenient breaks from life, it’s likely to take me 1-2 weeks.

What is your longest read so far and how long did it take you?

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Doing Dewey’s Best of Bradbury

June 9, 2012 Uncategorized 0

Today, to commemorate Ray Bradbury’s passing on June 5th, I’d like to share with you some short excerpts from what I think are his best short stories. These are stories and particular passages which stuck with me after I read them and really made me think.  I hope they do the same for you.

Read more »

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Photography Friday

June 8, 2012 Photography Friday 0

This week’s pictures are from my trip to Dallas for a conference. I chose to go to a conference that was a broad overview of the field of bioinformatics and as I, and the rest of the students who went, discovered what this really meant was two and a half days of talks most of which weren’t directly related to what we were doing.  That’s a lot of talks to sit through when they’re not topics relevant to you!  And while there are some legendary conferences where half the point is for professors to have fun traveling and get drunk after the conference, this was not one of those conferences. So these pictures are from what ended up being my favorite part of the trip – a visit to an art museum and a statuary garden with my roommate, who was wonderfully patient while I took forever taking pictures of ducks 🙂

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The Pluto Debate in Mini-Reviews

June 8, 2012 non-fiction, Science 0

First, a quick reminder: the Dead Beautiful giveaway is still going on, from now until Sunday night, so be sure to head over to my new giveaway blog to register!  And now, on to the reviews…

Title: The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference 
Author: Alan Boyle
Source: library
Fun Fact:  Pluto is so tilted on its’ axis that sometimes the sun would rise in the south and set in the north for someone standing on Pluto.
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: More in depth look at the history of Pluto than The Pluto Files, with more personal back stories and smoother plot flow, but still presented in a mostly dry and impersonal way.
Read more »

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Pluto in the 523’s

June 6, 2012 non-fiction, Science 0

Title: The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet
Author: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Source: library
Fun Fact:  Every 228 years, Pluto is closer to the sun the Neptune is.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Fun and approachable, but not much substance.

First, a quick reminder: the Dead Beautiful giveaway is still going on, from now until Sunday night, so be sure to head over to my new giveaway blog to register!  And now, on to the synopsis…

The Pluto Files chronicles the history of Pluto, from its’ discovery in 1930 to the more recent debate about its’ classification as a planet.  Tyson takes a mostly unbiased approach to this debate, with lots of quotes from other scientists giving an overview of the issue.  The book also includes lots funny cartoons about Pluto, which were by far my favorite part of the book! Read more »

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Dead Beautiful Giveaway – An Update

June 4, 2012 Uncategorized 2

Ok people, we’ve had a breakthrough 🙂  While exploring the other tour host’s blogs, I discovered that Carrie over at Sweet Southern Home had the brilliant idea of creating a separate blogspot blog just for hosting her giveaways.  Such a brilliant idea in fact, that I have shamelessly stolen it, which means you may now only enter the giveaway via the convenient rafflecopter widget available here.  So just click right through and register for Doing Dewey’s first ever giveaway!

A screenshot of my sexy new widget – with one entry, because I had to make sure it worked!

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Dead Beautiful – Review and Giveaway

June 4, 2012 Uncategorized 6

Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Melanie Dugan
Source: from publisher for a TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Fun, enjoyable re-telling of the Persephone myth.  Original enough to be interesting, true enough to the myth to have that extra level of awesome added by the parallels between the two stories.  Well written with each character having a unique voice.

For those of you who don’t know the Persephone myth, a quick recap: Persephone, daughter of the Greek goddess of of the harvest, is abducted by Hades, the Greek god of the dead.  Before she is rescued by her mother Demeter, she eats six pomegranate seeds.  As a result, she is required to spend six months of every year with Hades and her mother is so distraught during those times that she neglects her job as goddess of the harvest and we have fall and winter.  In Dead Beautiful, Melanie Dugan considers the possibility that Persephone wasn’t abducted after all but was just a rebellious teen who fell in love with Hades and didn’t have the courage to tell her mom. Read more »

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Bookends About Fire

June 2, 2012 Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 5

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Series: Graceling|Fire (you are here)|Bitterblue
Review Summary: A little too similar to Graceling and not quite as good, but still an enjoyable read.

Although written second, Fire is actually a prequel to Graceling with only one character in common between the two books.  Like GracelingFire is the story of a young woman coming to terms with her own power, in this case the power to control the minds of others.  Known as “monsters” people with such powers are feared more than respected and Fire (our protagonist) has to decide whether she is willing to use her powers to help prevent the overthrow of the king by rebel lords. Read more »

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Another Group Read – Hyperion

June 1, 2012 Fiction, Science Fiction 10

Title: Hyperion
Author: Dan Simmons
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Great, epic sci-fi tale with equally epic imagery.  Lots of world building, which I personally enjoyed, especially in the interesting format of short stories each told from a unique perspectives.

I read Hyperion for the Sword and Laser group on Goodreads and I will definitely be reading with them next month.  This was an awesome pick, some of the best sci-fi world building I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and the discussions were also some of the best I’ve seen.  The story centers on a group of six pilgrims, making the last trip ever to visit a mysterious and probably malevolent creature known as the Shrike.  They all have a past history with the Shrike and the world on which it lives – Hyperion.  In this book, each pilgrim shares their story, slowly building up a picture of the future they inhabit, from its’ politics to its’ technologies. Read more »

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A Group Read Review – Moments of Being

June 1, 2012 Uncategorized 0

Title: Moments of Being
Author: Virginia Woolf
Source: library
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Amazingly well written, but too much work to read it!

Moments of Being is a collection of five autobiographical essays by Virginia Woolf, not intended for publication.  Editorial decisions interpreting Woolf’s drafts are clearly marked and it appears that few changes were necessary to make the essays feel finished.  The editor’s comments were somewhat dry and literary enough that they required as much effort to read as the essays themselves, but I appreciated knowing the context in which the essays were written.  The editor chose to present the essays in chronological order of their contents, not in the order they were written – a decision which made it much easier to understand the essays. Read more »

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