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Friday, March 27, 2009

TBIF: Thank blog it's Friday! This week in memes and books

Mailbox Monday, hosted at The Printed Page

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Thanks to Jessica Lee at Penguin Group USA, I received a review copy of What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read With Your Child - and All The Best Times to Read Them by Pam Allyn. The book will be in stores in a couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to checking out this guide to family reading; I suspect that it could have a lot of appeal to the readers and parents who visit here.

As you know, I gave up buying books for Lent, but I took advantage of the "Sunday loophole" last weekend in order to snap up a book from my wishlist for only $5! Thanks to someone (sorry I can't remember who!) for Tweeting that publisher Leapfrog Press - which puts two featured titles on sale for $5 every month, plus reduced shipping - had Losing Kei by Suzanne Kamata as one of the March specials. I ordered it last Sunday morning, and it arrived in this Tuesday's mail.

And for the record, I went to Borders this past Saturday to look for a couple of books for birthday gifts for my dad - and I left with only birthday gifts for my dad! (Buying books for other people during Lent is another loophole, but it's a self-created one.)

What's new on your bookshelf?

Tuesday Thingers: questions for LibraryThing users, hosted at Wendi's Book Corner

Questions (yes - there are a bunch - answer one or two . . . or all of them!): What is your favorite book (yes - this may be a hard one!!)? Is your favorite book listed in your LT library? If it is listed, do you have anything special in the tags or comments section? Have you looked to see if you can add any information to the Common Knowledge? AND a little off topic, do you find that your 5-starred books are consistent with your favorites, and is your favorite a 5-star rated book in your library? How have others rated your favorite book? :)

My Answer(s):
"What is your favorite book?" is such a hard question I refuse to answer it outright - there will always be a qualifier. I could tell you my favorite book of this year so far (The Uncommon Reader), or last (The Year of Fog). I could tell you my favorite book when I was ten (Little Women), or in college (East of Eden), or during my early thirties (Brightness Falls, by Jay McInerney). I could tell you my favorite Harry Potter book (Order of the Phoenix). I could even tell you my favorite book by a particular favorite author. My point is that I can break down my favorite books in all sorts of ways, but I can't tell you my "favorite book."

Since I've tended to hang on to most of my favorite books during adulthood, I can't think of any that aren't listed on LibraryThing, but I don't have a special tag that identifies them. Chances are that they have a 4-star or better rating, though. I've given all of the following books at least 4.5 stars - let's see how that compares with their average LT ratings.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling: My rating - 5; LT average - 4.24
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck: My rating - 5; LT average - 4.45
Middlesex: A Novel, by Jeffrey Eugenides: My rating - 4.5; LT average - 4.16
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert: My rating - 4.5; LT average - 3.85
Intuition, by Allegra Goodman: My rating - 4.5; LT average - 3.54
Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand: My rating - 4.5; LT average - 4.22
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott: My rating - 4.5; LT average - 4.2
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling: My rating - 4.5; LT average - 4.34

The fourth book I've listed is known to be a "love it or hate it" read, and the fifth one isn't that well-known, period (popularity rank 6,410 and only 29 reviews); otherwise, it looks like my ratings aren't all that out of whack with the averages.

Answer if you dare - what's your favorite book?

Booking Through Thursday: Best "Bad" Book?

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Suggested by Janet:
The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

What comes to mind when I think of "good 'bad' books" are the guilty pleasures - books that you know have questionable literary merit, but have such gripping plots and/or high levels of drama that once you start reading them, you just can't stop. You may regret the time you spent with them once it's over, but while it lasted, it sure was fun.

I don't partake in too much guilty-pleasure reading any more, now that I think about it, except for the occasional foray into chick-lit territory, and even then I'm picky. I did go through a legal-thriller phase for a while when I religiously read everything John Grisham wrote, but then he started branching out into other styles and I drifted away. (As an aside, though, I thought A Painted House was very good.) I'm still fond of several of his books from that period, though, especially The Firm and The Rainmaker, because of their Memphis connections.

However, the first book I thought of in response to this question was one that I also used in last week's answer - The Da Vinci Code. My annoyance begins with the title; I may be old-fashioned on this score, but I was taught that "Da Vinci" was NOT the man's last name. Very few Italians in that time had last names. "Vinci" is where he was from - he was called "Leonardo." The writing was pedestrian at best, and then there were times when the narrative just stopped dead so that characters could explain things to each other. But despite all that, I could not put the damn book down!

When it comes to books, what's your favorite guilty pleasure?

Friday Fill-ins #117

This week, Janet took the first sentence in 6 of her favorite books...you fill them in...with the right words or even better, ones of your own.

1. "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit a wascally wabbit named Bugs."

2. "You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' but that ain't no matter." (The name is Finn. Huck Finn.)

3. "After dark the rain began to fall again, and I was glad to stay inside by the fire, with the dog curled up at my feet."

4. "A hideous smell emanated from the hold of the Spanish galleon."

5. "There was a hand in the darkness and I couldn't see it - because of, you know, the darkness."

6. "Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, the careless, and the lazy."

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting the bags packed, tomorrow my plans include leaving early to start our weekend at Disneyland and Sunday, I want to celebrate my birthday with Tall Paul, Katie, Spencer, and Captain Jack Sparrow! (And I don't have to go back to work till Wednesday - now that's a gift right there!)

I have posts scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday, but Monday will probably be a day off around here. What do you have planned for the weekend?

17 comments:

  1. I love the Anne Lamott book you listed; it is my "bible."

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  2. Have a great birthday! Enjoy the weekend at Disney! Should be a nice little get away from work. :)

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  3. Oooh...I can't wait to hear what you think of Losing Kei!

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  4. Hope you have fun at Dland. Be prepared for lots of people. This weekend, I'm laying low to recover!

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  5. I love Bugs Bunny. He's an oldie but a goodie. Happy, happy bday! Enjoy your long weekend and have fun at Disneyland.

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  6. Thank you for stopping by the mailbox this week. 'Losing Kei' is on my wish list.

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  7. Have a great birthday! I knew there was a reason why we have similar tastes ... our birthdays are just a few days apart.

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  8. Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes!

    Kori - That book is an essential. I'll keep my copy forever - I love it too.

    Mike - And it's been quite a week at work, so I can really use the break :-)!

    Anna - You may be waiting a little while. It takes me a lot longer to get to my own books :-).

    April - I'm always prepared for crowds at Disneyland, but recovery is why I'm taking Tuesday off from work!

    Wrighty - Bugs Bunny is awesome and always will be.

    Marcia - I think you'll still be able to get it for $5 for the next few days.

    Betty & Boo's Mommy - Well, happy birthday to you too! Are you a few days before or a few days after?

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  9. Happy Birthday and have a great time at Disneyland!

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  10. You have darned good taste in books.

    The Uncommon Reader is a gem of gems.

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  11. Oh, I love those fill-ins. Wascally wabbit if my favorite. Happy birthday!

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  12. Losing Kei is one I hope to read too. I'm pretty sure I have a copy of it, but I can't remember off the top of my head and I'm too lazy to look. It's late, what can I say other than that I should be in bed.

    I like how you answered the Tuesday Thinger question this week. It's so hard to name just one favorite. I've been doing something similar in some of my online reading groups when the topic comes up.

    Ah, yes! Those guilty pleasure books. I am guilty of enjoying those a little too much now and then. :-) Your description of The Da Vinci Code--your feelings about the writing and how difficult it was to put down--reminds me exactly of how I felt while reading The Twilight books.

    I enjoyed reading your responses to the fill-ins this week. Very creative! My first thought for #1 was Bugs too. :-)

    I hope you are having a wonderful time at Disneyland! Happy birthday, Florinda!

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  13. It's a good thing you have your loophole for buying books! I'm not sure I would have been able to make it otherwise. Happy birthday, blogiversary and enjoy Disney Land.

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  14. Terri - Thanks!

    Beth K. - Thank you. And I haven't even gotten around to reading any of yours yet :-).

    Patois - I think that was my favorite answer too.

    Wendy (Literary Feline) - Disneyland was great :-). I'll post more about it in a few days.

    I chuckled over your comment about Losing Kei - I know that "I'm pretty sure I have a copy of that" reaction a bit too well myself. The curse of the giant TBR collection!

    The Twilight books will probably rank high on my guilty-pleasure scale once I finally get around to reading them.

    Nicole - That loophole helps a LOT, trust me :-)!

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  15. I wouldn't mind spending my birthday with Captain Jack Sparrow :) Instead, I'll be spending it with some Scottish folks!

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  16. Tuesday Thinger- I've wanted to read Eat, Pray, Love for quite some time - It is good to hear that it is one of your favorites. I find that I've got favorites for different genres and moods. :)

    Thanks for stopping by and participating in Thingers last week! I've got the post up for this week, what do you do for your least-favorite books? ~ Wendi

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  17. Janet - Since they've added him to Pirates of the Caribbean now, I saw him twice during my weekend at Disneyland - and I thought of you when I wrote that :-).

    Wendi - This week's Thinger is a little more challenging for me. Hmmm...

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Now it's YOUR turn - speak your piece, please! Or just let me know you were here; I always like that. But you'll have to leave a name - I've disallowed anonymous comments due to some recent spam problems. Thanks!