Monthly Archives: December, 2013

Where I Stand – Looking Back, Planning Ahead

The year is nearly over, and with it end a whole list of challenges and begin a whole bunch of other ones. This year, as always, I didn’t reach many of my goals. What usually happens is that I get off to a very good start, and then life gets in the way and by the time the year is over I’ve achieved so much, but not in the categories I planned on succeeding in. This year I read more than one book that was over 500 pages, but I also quit two midway. I planned on completing both 2012 and 2013 Eclectic Reader’s Challenges but finished only one. However, on the way I discovered a hidden love for memoirs, which is really the main idea behind those challenges. I also read two more books from the BBC 100 Book List. I barely passed the halfway mark on my goal of 50 books for the year, but on the other hand I read five books in one week and finally started using my Kindle, after owning one for at least a year and a half prior to use. I’m a to-do list kind of person, but I usually get sidetracked or discover new things and forget old plans, and I always end up somewhere far away from where I thought I’d be in the beginning. I make New Years resolutions, complete barely any, but do so many other things I never dreamed I’d do. All in all, I guess I make up for my failures with unplanned triumphs.

I’ve decided to lower my expectations for 2014. I am now in junior year, which is the hardest year of school, and along with Israel’s mandatory army service I’ve got a busy year of exams, hard work and planning for the future. Instead of taking on too much, I’ll plan for a bit and then see how I proceed.

As I did this year, I still want to retry the 2013 challenge, along with 2014. However, thanks to the Kindle and Goodreads I can now find books I want to read that fit the categories, and not force things in. My 50 books goal seemed achievable around June, but by the start of the school year I knew it was doomed. For 2014 I’ll set it to 35-40, and see how that works.  I also want to try and read more Hebrew. This year I read two books in Hebrew, after originally thinking I’d alternate every other book. That expectation was insane, it’s impossible to go from reading almost no Hebrew to something so intense such as that. Instead, I’ll try and read at least 5-10 this year, and see how that goes.

In terms of blogging, I’d consider this year a success. I started this reading blog without ever having written so much as a book review. I was scared it would fail, that no one would care. I turned out to be wrong. I wrote seven reviews this year, including one I used for a book report that got me a perfect 100. I even reviewed a Douglas Adams book, which I thought I would never be able to do proper justice to. I now have 112 followers (along with a writing blog that has nearly 40) and views from over twenty countries including Pakistan, Egypt, Bermuda, South Africa and more. I’ve had highs and lows this year, with a break during the fall, but my record breaking 29 views on April 16th. All in all, I think it’s gone well for my first year and I’m definitely sticking around. I’d like to do more reviews this year, maybe even come up with memes and post ideas of my own. Again, we’ll see what happens.

“That’s a wrap,” as they say. 2013 was an interesting year. I shared my poetry and short stories in front of a crowd for the first time, had my work showcased in two zines, had a writer write a poem about my work after hearing it and being inspired. I started two short story collection ideas.

My first book for the new year is going to be The Reader by Bernhard Shclink, except I’ll be reading it in Hebrew. In fact, most, if not all of the books I read for January and February will be in Hebrew.

I think I’ll finish this off with a marvelous quote by Zig Zigler that says ““it’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” I hope you’ve all had a great year, and that the coming one is even greater.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

The Joy of Success

It’s nearly eight pm, Monday, the 30th of December 2013 and I have finished my Silence of the Lambs Kindle Edition and with it the 2012 Ecelctic Reader’s Challenge. I was very worried I wouldn’t finish it in time, and the feeling of joy right now is undescribable. There’s not much to say – I just had to share with you all.

Tomorrow I’ll put up my last post for the year – a summary, and plans for the future. I’ve been waiting nearly a week to publish it, I can’t wait!

I just. I’m done. With 2012. I am so happy.

Anyone else do ERC this year? Or last? Or attempt both at once?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me (December 24th)

Hey everyone! It seems like everything on the Internet these days has to do with Christmas, including this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I do not celebrate Christmas, so I guess this is more of a

Books I Wouldn’t Mind People Bringing Me

  1. Maus, Art Spiegelman – this is one of the books I’m planning to read for the ERC challenges. Unfortunately, I highly doubt I’m going to aquire this in any way other than ordering it from Amazon and waiting for someone to bring it to me, or pay the crazy shipping rates. So yes, Santa would be nice. No international shipping fees, thank you very much.
  2. Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton – I really want to get this for my birthday. The photographs are beautiful, but it’s the captions that made me fall in love with the man and the concept. And the book looks amazing.
  3. The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to their Younger Selves – seems like an interesting choice for ERC 2013 LGBT category. I want to get into reading more non-fiction.
  4. The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks – a book I wanna hold in my hands, not read on a Kindle.
  5. Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories
  6. Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs from Writers Famous & Obscure
  7. I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets–Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure
  8. Tweeting the Universe: Tiny Explanations of Very Big Ideas
  9. Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir, Amanda Knox
  10. The Woman Who Can’t Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science – A Memoir, Jill Price

Wow, seems like I really do have a bunch of non-fiction books here, compared to my usual fiction to non-fiction reading ratio. I got into memoirs because of the ERC challenges, and then read maybe two or three last year and am planning to cover at least four or five this coming year. A bunch of these aren’t exactly “reading books,” such as Six-Word works, but they’re books I’d like to have available on my shelf for whenever I feel like browsing through some short pieces. The choices this week are actually a lot different from my usual choices during these Top Ten Tuesdays. Have to admit I’m pretty pleased.

Any of you share the same books as me? Different? Let us all know in the comments below!

EDIT: Yes, I’m the type of person who writes up a post four days in advance and then doesn’t post on time.

And now that I was getting an education I was starting to understand what it meant not to have one.

TJ Parsell, Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison

Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2013 – Part 3(/3)

This is the last post for my End of Year Survey series, the idea that originated from Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner. Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here. To avoid unneccessary repetition, I might not expand on each book because I tend to have similar answers for many questions. Also, removed questions about 2013 debuts because I HAVEN’T READ ANY. I really need to work on that for next year. And one question whose answer has appeared a million times and I keep using the same books for everything so, ya know, unneccesary question.

  • Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)?

World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo – best guy friendship I’ve ever read about. I tend to read more… books that include mainly female frienships. Not many people write GOOD “bromances” and this book does that so beautifully it makes your heart hurt.

  • Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Going Bovine, which I read last year, was great but this was a WHOLE other level.

  • Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?

World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo. Not going to elaborate, too much repetition. It’s brilliant.

  • Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

I think Young Adult. Makes sense.

  • Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Hm. Maybe Todd from Tom Perrotta’s Little Children. I really like young father characters, and his personality is really good. I like how he acts with Sarah, and the fact that he’s a stay at home dad is awesome.

  • Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Room by Emma Donoghue. Reading such an intense book over such a short period of time is insane. It’s one of the worst cases of returning-to-real-life that I’ve ever had. Not sure if it’s really vivid world, but it was definitely an extreme, very vivid mental state.

  • Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

This is too hard so instead of choosing a book I’ve already used in a million other questions I’ll go with Orange is the New Black: My Year In a Woman’s Prison by Piper Kerman because there was the extra joy that came with knowing that once I finish I can start watching the TV show. In fact, I was going to watch it, discovered there was a book, downloaded it and read it in three days, and then marathoned the entire show in less than 72 hours. I’m also kind of proud of the fact that I can say I read it BEFORE I watched it.

  • Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Room by Emma Donoghue. Read all of my other posts. I’ll save ya’ll the lovey dovey word vomit on this one.

  • Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out? 

Kind of hard to answer considering I am not aware of many books until I discover them msyelf. This question is kind of weird, don’tcha think?

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I think these three posts can be summed up as Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo, Room by Emma Donoghue. I guess when a book is relevant to so many “Best Book About _______” questions, it must really be incredible. The moral of the story, kids, is go read ’em!

Do the survey yourself! It’s fun to go over your reading for the year and remember so many great (or not so great) moments. Is there anything you plan on rereading? What was your favorite? Answer the survey and link below! I’d love to hear what you all loved, and get some new recommendations myself!

Top Ten Tuesday – New-To-Me Authors (w/ A Twist) I Read In 2013 (December 17)

Yay! Another Top Ten Tuesday! (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I’m changing this up a bit and including

  • New To Me Authors that I Plan On Looking For More of Their Books
  • Old to Me Authors that I Discovered Before 2013 and Read More of In 2013

 in order to make this more interesting. Furthermore, I won’t be writing too much about each book because due to December entailing an awful lot of “summary” and “yearly review” posts I end up repeating myself a whole lot more than I’d like to. Alright? Alright.

New To Me Authors that I Plan On Looking For More of Their Books

  1. Eshkol Nevo – I need to read more Hebrew, and since I loved World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) I’ll definitely be looking for more good books by this incredible man. (World Cup Wishes)
  2. Emma Donoghue – Discovered her through Room, which is now one of my favorite books. (Room, Landing)
  3. Tom Perrotta – great writing, very enjoyable reading. (Little Children)
  4. Mohsin Hamid – (The Reluctant Fundamentalist)

Old to Me Authors that I Discovered Before 2013 and Read More of In 2013

  1. George Orwell – loved Animal Farm last year, read 1984 this year. (Animal Farm, 1984)
  2. Libba Bray – genius. Just… genius. (Going Bovine, Beauty Queens)
  3. John Verdon – my friend recommended Think of a Number to me last year, we both loved it. When Shut Your Eyes Tight came out she spent ages trying to get me to read it till in January she got it for me for my brithday and said “that’s it. you have no excuses.” Took me eight months to get to it, three to actually read. (Think of a Number, Shut Your Eyes Tight)
  4. Douglas Adams – To save y’all the repetitiveness, this guy is my inspiration, love, lord and savior. Basically. (Hitchhiker’s Guide Series 1-5, Dirk Gentley’s Hollistic Detective Agency, *Douglas Adam’s Starship Titanic: A Novel By Terry Jones)
  5. David Levithan – inspired my writing this year. (Will Grayson Will Grayson, How They Met & Other Stories)

What new authors have you all discovered? Do you plan on reading more of their books? Are there authors you discovered before 2013 and read even more of this year?

 

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2013 – Part 2(/3)

Part two of my 3 part survey series! (sounds fancy when you put it that way). Credit, of course, to the wonderful lady at Perpetual Page Turner and her post, which can be found at – 4th Annual End of Year Book Survey.

You can find Part 1 here, where I answered questions 1-9.

  • Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
  1. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  3. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

        

  • Most memorable character in 2013?

Not too sure about this one. Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gentley is definitely a memorable guy, but I’m going to go with Ram Mohammad Thomas from Q & A by Vikas Swarup. It’s usually easier to connect to the character telling the story, and Ram’s is told beautifully – due to both content and writing.

  • Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Room by Emma Donoghue. The entire story is written from the point of view of a five year old boy. It’s a chilling, calmingly scary story and the POV makes it both creepier and more beautiful. The idea to tell a story through a character that doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time is absolutely brilliant, and the writing is fantastic. World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo is pretty close though, maybe even just as great.

  • Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Room by Emma Donoghue. The story was so intense it was hard to break out of the mood for a couple of days at least, if not more. I read the entire book in around twenty four hours and I was so into it that when I finished returning to the world felt like I’d fallen out of the sky and landed head first on the ground. Unfortunately, I also realized just how… how not-so-outta-this-world kidnapping is, which was not a very great conclusion to reach around the same time the news was filled with stories about the Castro kidnapper.

I feel like it’s also neccesary to mention David Levithan’s How We Met & Other Stories because one of the stories in it inspired my very first proper short story, that was followed by another four over the course of the year. It’s the short story I read at a talent show in New Hampshire this summer, that led to a fellow writer telling me I inspired her and writing a poem about me. It really affected me, and has immense impact on my writing and on my feelings about being a writer in general.

  • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

 I don’t think I have an answer for this one. I guess 1984 could qualify, but on the other hand I’m very glad I read it at this certain point in my life, so it doesn’t really answer the question.

  • Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
  1. “Yes, expenses were, well, expensive in the Bahamas, Mrs. Sauskind, it is in the nature of expenses to be so. Hence the name.” – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  2. The Electric Monk’s day was going tremendously well and he broke into an excited gallop. That is to say that, excitedly, he spurred his horse to a gallop and, unexcitedly, his horse broke into it. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  3. “Well, yes. But it takes a village to raise a child, as they say in Africa…””If you’ve got a village. But if you don’t, then maybe it just takes two people.” – Room, Emma Donoghue
  4. “You’re afraid of monsters, aren’t you?””It depends on the monster, if it’s a real one or not and if it’s where I am.”  – Room, Emma Donoghue
  5. “I don’t know,” says Ma. “How could he not? If he’s the least bit human…” I thought humans were or weren’t, I didn’t know someone could be a bit human. Then what are his other bits? – Room, Emma Donoghue
  6. Lucy had a good brain even though she had lived all her life in LA.Despite the continual exposure to carbon monoxide and people from the film industry, she had remained smart. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  • Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. So short yet so good. Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon. Took me three months (minus 3 days, longest time I’ve every spent on on book in all of my almost 17 years on this planet.

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*I’ve decided to cut this at seven questions because of length considerations, expect the remaining ten in the last part!

December Plans

I thought I’d write up a post letting you all know what I’ve got planned for the remainder of the month, seeing as I really like listing things and I tend to follow through with things once I’ve commited to them in front of a lot of people (reading challenges excluded).

So, I’ll be doing the remaining Top Ten Tuesday posts and I still have to post Part 2 and 3 of the Annual Book Survey. As for reviews, I’ll only be reviewing the horror book I choose to read because it’s a bit late with Shut Your Eyes Tight. I’ve been reading it for so long I feel like I can’t review it properly anymore. Also, I might join in on some of the posting ideas provided at BA’s 2013 End of Year Countdown.

Basically, it’s going to be mostly reflection and future planning ideas for what’s left of the year. I never put up my 100 FOLLOWERS post, so I might get around to that, or just wait till the next milestone. I actually reached 100 the day of my accounts’ one year anniversary, which is also the day I returned from my nearly two months break. Today I stand at nearly 110, if I’m not mistaken.

That’s the plan. Thank you all so much, and have a happy holiday!

Christmas Cracker Book Tag

Hey y’all. So I was catching up on posts from blogs I follow and I came across Pretty Books‘ post doing this tag, who found it  through Christmas Cracker Book Tag (video), created by Lucy @ The Bumbling Bibliophile and Queen of Contemporary. I went over the questions and decided to have a go at it myself, despite the fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas (and Hannukah is already over).

Pick a book with a wintry cover.

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. I read the book quite a while ago, but I’m pretty sure they end up in Alaska or something somewhere in it. Anyhow, it has a mittened and coated girl on a snowy background in the front so I think it covers the category pretty well.

Pick a book you’re likely buy as a present.

I feel like I’m repeating myself because I’ve mentioned these two in my Annual Book Survey Pt. 1 post, but these would have to be Beauty Queens by Libba Bray and World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo. 10000%.

Pick a festive themed book.

I’m really proud of my choice for this one – The Latke Who Couldn’t StopScreaming by Lemony Snicket. I think I read this in a book store and I literally remember almost nothing except the fact that it was, by far, the weirdest book I’d ever read. I think that’s really all that needs to be said.

Pick a book you can curl up with by the fireplace.

I’m never very good at answering these because I’ve never been the kind of person who chooses books based on where they are. I mean, of course I might choose a couple of light reading books after finishing an intense one, or a classic, but it rarely has to do with where I am. I also tend to read lots of… disturbing books, so not sure how good those are for a fireplace curl up. Maybe Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins? Not too short, not too long, great writing, great story. Lots of love, movies and French stuff.

Pick a book you want to read over the festive period.

Hannukah’s passed and I spent half of it with friends, discussing the tests the following week and the other half studying for said tests. Barely got to read at all. I really need to get a move on with my book. *quietly runs off before anyone notices I didn’t answer the question*

Pick a book that’s so good it gives you chills.

Room by Emma Donoghue. Just… yes. That’s all. One of my all-time favorites.

Pick a book going on your Christmas wishlist.

Again, no Christmas wishlist, friends. Instead I’m choosing a book I want to read and already know will be hard to find out here so many miles away from the United States. Maus by Art Spiegelman. Tara @ The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say “Shhh” mentioned it in a post during her Graphic Novel week posts and it seemed pretty awesome. It’s a book talking about a man’s Holocaust story in which the people are drawn as animals. Also, I’d like to try out a graphic novel, see if I like it.

Tis all for now. These tags are always fun to fill out, definitely thinking of writing up my own sometime. Kay, guys, your turn to fill it out. Link your answers or share them in a comment below! Happy Holidays!