Week of 1/13-19

I would categorize my reading for this year so far as starting a bunch of long books.

Bookish Fever

I have caught Game of Thrones fever from HBO reshowing the first and second season. I checked the first  book  out from the library last year and never finished it. It is one of those books that you need to take your time with.So I broke down and just bought the box set. I am reading the first book for the first time hopefully, all the way through.

  • It is amazing to see the story from a perspective of knowing what happens from way in the future that is  book three.
  • Little golden moments that are not in the show or I missed them

(Minor Rant on Spoilers: So I am reading someones posts on tor.com  about the book. The person posting it is reading the book for the first time she asked people to not spoil the story for her. Some people are spoiling the story which is annoying to me even though I read the third book and saw the first and second season. I thought I was immune then someone spoiled something for me. It just makes me so mad. Is it that hard not to spoil something seriously? It is simple anything beyond book 1 is a spoiler. This character developed into… or your right in your predictions for.. is a spoiler. General tip from a Game of Thrones fan to someone coming into the series do not under any circumstances read comments about this series. Spoilers are sneaky and will get you when you least expect it. )

Books Started/Continued
For those books that I read only a little bit of this week. I’m trying to find an audiobook to listen to while doing chores.

  • Martin Chuzzlewits– Started  it a while back to read classic book that I own instead of reading Anna Karenina. Decided to read it some more this week for the same reason. To make a long story short I came to same conclusion as last time just read Anna Karenina
  • Anna Karenina – still cool.
  • Count of Monte Cristo- okay so far. I think I need to read it in addition to listening to it. My eReader is acting like I stole the e-book that is free on the public domain. So hopefully I can stop it from doing that. Then read it.
  • Roots-still reading it. still awesome. Just behind on my reading plan because of The Thorn Birds. I decided to create a new one to put me back on track.

Finished This Week

The Thorn Birds – The beginning half was amazing. The latter half was unbearable and made the entire book feel like a waste.

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Group Reads – 1

January

I found a post I was supposed to post earlier. These are my goodreads group reads for January.

  • Food/Drink related theme (probably will read Wintergirls ) did not like this book and dropped it.
  • Anna Karenina ( Don’t own but got it on my ereader because of reading a little in the store. It is awesome) I’m not feeling it right now. Listening to it on audiobook now.
  • East of Eden (is huge, my edition is a bind up including Wayward Bus. The bind up  is five or six hundred pages. East of Eden takes up four or five hundred pages) Not going to probably read it until I finish either A Game of Thrones or Roots. Unless my mood says otherwise.
  • Count of Monte Cristo (mine is abrighed so need to read on my ereader.) I probably will not get to it because I’m read Roots which is a big book. I started Count of Monte Cristo with Les Miserables last year. It was good as far as I read.
  • ( I probably will go read backlog of books in my group especially on months that I do not own or want to read the books.)

342: The Thorn Birds

I had to put A Game of Thrones and Roots to the side to finish this book. Was it worth it?

wish my copy looked like this. I have the dull movie cover. Then again  this cover  would have been a total waste of makeup.

Synopsis
Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, THE THORN BIRDS is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story’s heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican…but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life.”

Review
The Good
At the beginning the story was incredible. The Thorn Birds had the beautiful setting of Australia. A setting that I have not come across in my reading before. In the beginning the story was about the Cleary family, their struggles. Their struggles as a family and dealing with the setting of Australia which is not kind.  It was also about a cast of characters who were not apart of the family but felt like they were. The good may seem short and vague. Honestly, it is hard to remember the good times and points because all of it went down bad.

The Bad
The beginning of the end of my enjoyment of this book came in the story reaching its latter half and focusing exclusively on Meggie. If Meggie was a better more interesting less irritating character it would have been okay. Most of my issues with Meggies character is  spoilers. Just know that everything that became of her was a waste. The only facet to Meggie’s life and character is her love with Ralph, seriously. Honestly, the love story was not a problem at first. Actually it was pretty enjoyable at first. Then the romance continued and not in a way that was satisfactory. So much going around in circles to reach no end. Where is the awesome family at the beginning of the story? Where is the  interesting setting of Australia? All of the good parts of the story took a backseat to the star-crossed love of Meggie and Ralph. Oh, wait taking a backseat means that they actually mention them. Some characters just disappeared to never be seen again. It seems like the author forgot that she built this ENTIRE family. To give them the off-hand treatment is a disservice to every thing developed in the earlier half of the book. It feels like the first half of the book was a complete waste. If you are not going to do anything else with them but vaguely mention them in the latter half of the book why make the reader invest so much in those characters in the first place? Anyway moving on to my next problem.  The religious aspect in this book was poorly done. It tried to make a certain character the ultimate saintly god loving person. I did not feel it, and it made me think of Les Miserables and Pillars of The Earth who handled it better.  The descriptions of anything became unbearably boring. Years went by in a sentence. People died in anticlimactic deaths. Not people we have known for five pages but characters who have been in the story since the very beginning. Are we really going to give this person a death like this? In a sentence really. Ask me how they died? I have no earthly idea. I actually had to take a double take to realize that character actually even died. I wanted to slap and shake so many of the characters in the latter half. The latter half was just a complete and awful waste of time to sum it all up. Makes me question the whole purpose of this story.

The Meh
The Ending. I read the end of the story and have no feeling towards it. The new characters and  their relationship with anybody could careless. A moment came when I thought that it was all over my enjoyment was not there, then the author threw me a gift(at least it seemed like a gift at the time). I thought she knows that these characters are annoying and I want to give them a slap shake. But at last it did not go anywhere or change anything so it is meh to the tenth degree.

I decided to put A Game of Thrones and Roots two books that I enjoy down. I could not put this book down, I had a feeling that it would not be picked back up. So I pushed myself to finish this book in two days. My eye has hurts and I probably will not be able to read for the rest of this week for this. Well, I get to continue my tradition of my first book of the year being eh.

Books that in my opinion did it better
On the religious aspectLes Miserables by Victor Hugo
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Not abandoning the setting, characters, my interest~ Lonesome Dove by Larry Mcmurty

I know I keep mentioning these books but they are good books. Also they are the only big books that I have read.

My Reading Week 1/6/13-1/12/13

I am currently reading Roots by Alex Haley and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Prepare yourself there will a ton of gushing about Roots. No spoilers.

 Roots
I just like it so much. I believe it is the main reason why I have not finished any other book yet this year. I kept picking up books but could not continue them. I felt like Roots was on this level higher than any other book I was reading. I would finish a chapter and just be so happy in a good way. It dawned on me that last year the first book I read was The Hobbit, it was okay. The first book I read in 2011 was Meri something, it was forgettable as you can see. Roots is such a good book to start for this year and my challenge to read books with diversity.
Roots=historical fiction+ Africa +America+ Interesting characters=awesomeness

The Thorn Birds
At the beginning of the week I was so into this book. Then somethings happened that pushed my interest out of the story. It just feels like people are going around in circles. I do not know if it is because of Roots but it is eh right now. It is pretty sad because I have been reading this for months and liked it. I was going to just put this book down and just read Roots by itself. Then I found out the mini series is on demand and comes off of demand in February. I have to finish it in January. I actually do not have that much left 200 something pages and 6 chapters left. Hopefully, next week I will finish it. School starts the next week so we’ll see what happens.

Closing Remarks
I still had some residual feelings from last year about young adult literature and romance. I think that I need to stop trying to read these genres because they make me mad. I am not satisfied with them 100% of the time now. So I will not be buying anymore books in this genre. It is easier and less stressful to let go of these genres than to continue them. All I do is get mad at them. Then rant about them. It is a waste of my time. I will not get rid of the ya or romance books I have but will stop buying them. Maybe one of those books will change my mind. In better news I went to the thrift store. You are probably wondering then where is your bookhaul then? I did not get any books from the resale shop. Mind you it was a different one than the usual one I go to. But they had books that I wanted. I just said no to buying more books.

Wintergirls 19%

I reached 19% of a book! I thought this is an achievement at first. I kept picking up books this week and dropping them. This whole process started because  I need a book to read for when Roots gets depressing. Reading Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is not the best choice for this since it is about eating disorders.  I picked it mainly  for a goodreads group I’m a part of that is doing food related books for a theme  this month.

Wintergirls Impressions/Feelings So Far

  • It honestly right now seems like it will be  a two or three star book
  • It has a certain writing style that could be called lyrical but is confusing to me most of the time
  • It has moments that I feel for the character

Verdict: Drop. At first I thought it was okay to continue this book even though my feelings at 19% was mostly negative. I wrote most of this yesterday and was going to post it today. I woke up and had  an aversion to picking this book back up to read. It had the potential to be something awesome. One of the main problems is the promotion the book uses, it is a contest between girls to see who can be the skinniest. The problem is that made me expect a group of girls battling to be skinniest and showing their struggle with anorexia. Even if the story did not have a group of girls it barely had my sympathy for its one main character. It just needed to stop trying to be lyrical, and just have the reader emotionally invested instead.

Parting comments
When deciding to drop this book I realized something. I’m reading like it is 2012.
2012 Reading symptoms

  • Continuing a book even if I know it is going to be to me a 2 or 3 star, an okay book
  • Feeling like I have to finish a book in a week
  • Feeling like dumping a book for being okay is mean and not giving the book a chance

Dear self, it is 2013 not 2012. These short okay books are not going to cut it. You know that you can do better. You are doing better reading Roots which you like. So it is not a reading slump. Okay is not good enough this year, do not settle for it.
sincerely yourself
p.s. do not go overboard with starting books

Things You Have To Know About How I Read:19%

(I wanted to put an awesome picture but could not find one so yeah it is bare)
In the process of looking up people deciding not to finish a book a couple of years ago, I found something. I found an article on Nancy Pearl’s stance on when to decide to stop reading a book you do not like. She created the “rule of fifty” which is in her own words “… based on the shortness of time and the immensity of the world of books. If you’re fifty years of age or younger, give a book fifty pages before you decide to commit to reading it or give it up. If you’re over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100—the result is the number of pages you should read before making your decision to stay with it or quit. Since that number gets smaller and smaller as we get older and older, our big reward is that when we turn 100, we can judge a book by its cover!”
Somehow, I made my own rule about when to actively commit to reading a book. This is number when I add it to goodreads as currently reading. I somehow came up with using my age as a percentage which was 19. I was supposed to lower it one year the older I became but that did not happen. I still use this to this day. I multiply the number of pages by 19 and then divide it by 100. The result is the amount of pages I read before I stop reading a book I am not into. There is a exception though.
Exception
-I really do not like the book and can already tell it is going to be terrible

2012 Reading/2013 Goals

December was a special month my birthday month. I planned to read only authors that I have liked in the past but that did not happen. Like all my book planning, it does not happen because of my mood. I just finished in November my 100 book challenge. I am praying that I do not find myself somehow rationalizing doing the 100 book challenge again in 2013. I honestly do not do well with any plans I make for reading.
Reading big books
I read more big books than I believe I have read in my reading life and it was fun. It was enjoyable because the books were so awesome. It is awesome to not feel pressure to read quickly to read a bunch of books to reach a numerical goal. That is what bothered me about the 100 book challenge what it did to my reading. I found myself reading at the end of the year not satisfied with the books I read. The big books took most of the time, months to read. I read multiple books at a time so when I needed a break from the books I would just go to another book. I read/listened to the biggest book I have ever read Les Miserables which was really good. I will probably reread it again one day because I know that I missed so much from reading the audiobook and not really listening to the book.
What I love about big books is that they have the time to develop characters and the story. At the end of every big book I cared about the characters. Most of the really big books ( past the 700 or 800 mark) had something happening all the time.
The Really Big Books I Read This Year
Lonesome Dove
Pillars of the Earth
A Storm of Swords
Les Miserables
Some New Authors really Liked
Agatha Christie
Mark Twain
S.E. Hinton
George R.R. Martin
Larry Mcmurty
Victor Hugo
Stephen King
Elizabeth Loupas
Edgar Allen Poe
Dianna Wynne Jones
My Book Goals
-Read bigger books next year
-If I listen to an audiobook I need to half read/half listen to it
-Take at least half of the books on my TBR list off
-Get into more adult fantasy
-Read more mystery
-Read more authors liked in the past
-Read more books with different types of people
I saw blog posts that talk about ya book cover trends. Most of the covers and books have the same type of character story. That fact made me examine the books that I read in 2012. What I found bothered me. This topic about the absence and lack of diversity in literature comes up once in a while people are horrified by the results but that is it. Nothing changes after this realization. It is not just race that is in account characters who have disabilities and so on who just do not get enough attention in media period.
– My biggest goal is to not stress myself about reading
That means that I will probably not read 100 books. I will not super plan what I read. I may not read a book a week. I probably will not finish challenges I started. I want to enjoy reading more than any other goal.I do not want to feel like I have to do this and that. I do not want to suck the fun out of reading.
Closing Remarks
I really did not go indepth with my reading in 2012. It was not a bad year. I learned somethings and hope to be able to say at the end of 2013, the books I read were so awesome.