To Be Read, Take Two (2014 TBR Challenge)

Three days; three posts! What is this madness?

Anyway, I started this year with a bunch of more-or-less goals in mind. Since I was determined to not feel like a failure if I went through the year without accomplishing them, I specifically didn’t call them resolutions. This is handy because I definitely didn’t accomplish any of them, though, not for lack of desire or effort.

In any event, I definitely failed at reading books for the TBR Pile Challenge. And whittling down my to-reads in general. Of the twelve books on last year’s list (picked from some 300+ on my to-read shelf) I managed to finish a total of two. And, unfortunately, neither of those counted in the challenge since I never wrote a review for either. Oops!

This time, I plan to be less of a slacker and so without further ado I present a new, yet slightly recycled list for the 2014 TBR Challenge:

A sampling of my to-be-read shelf messily piled up1. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (2001)

2. Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen (1997)

3. Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton (2004)

4. Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire (2004)

5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2004)

6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)

7. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (1976)

8. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (2004)

9. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

10. Touch the Top of the World by Erik Weihemmayer (2001)

11. Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

12. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2003)

Alternates: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954) and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (2011)

2013 TBR Pile Challenge

EDIT: Please see the 2014 TBR Challenge post for further updates.

My to-be-read shelf is ridiculous. According to Goodreads it currently stands at 396 books. Which means even if I read only the books on that shelf at the same average speed I generally read it would take me more than two years to get through. And the last time I worked at whittling it down was in 2010 when I got it down into the double digits.

So, seems I came across the annual TBR Pile Challenge at the perfect time. Below is my list for the year. The rules specify only twelve books and two alternates and that they each must be published prior to 2012. My hope is to get through more than just those dozen books especially since I also have several books on my shelf that are outside of the scope of the challenge rules. We’ll see how this goes and I’ll update this post as I read through the books and link to the applicable reviews.

A sampling of my to-be-read shelf messily piled up1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (2009) — completed August 23, 2013

2. Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen (1997)

3. Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton (2004)

4. The Art of Racing the Rain by Garth Stein (2008) — completed August 9, 2013

5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2004)

6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (1996)

7. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (1976)

8. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (2004)

9. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

10. Touch the Top of the World by Erik Weihemmayer (2001)

11. Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

12. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2003)

Alternates: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (1954) and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (2011)

#Firefly10th – “Safe”

#Firefly10th - "Safe"This is a big week for Browncoats. First, of course, #Firefly10th continues with “Safe,” which has one of my favorite moments with Jayne being very Jayne:

Jayne: “Dear Diary: Today I was pompous and my sister was crazy . . . Today we were kidnapped by hill folk, never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.”

Then Sunday the Science Channel is airing a marathon of the entire series, followed by a tenth anniversary special that is sure to be quite the treat if this clip is anything to go by. There’s also this iPad clip, MTV’s clip, ET’s clip, and TV Guide’s clip. And if you want to see more fun videos tweet @ScienceChannel with #FireflyNov11. For every 5,000th tweet, they’re releasing another clip that will not be part of the special.

Oh, and seeing as I haven’t mentioned it before Titan has a new book out, which is a compilation of their three Firefly companions in a leatherette bound edition. There’s not any new material inside — save for an introduction letter and a quote at the back of the book from Joss about wanting to continue the series somehow. It’s a really beautiful book and even though I already had the original books I bought it simply for the fact that it isn’t paperback. Tucked in a folder pocket at the back of the book are cast photos and a replica banknote. If you haven’t checked out any of the companion books, I highly recommend this edition over the individual copies, but the books themselves are all very much worth it in my very humble and incredibly biased opinion. ;-)

EDIT: Have a few more related tidbits. An interview with Jewel. And an interview with Sean.

Monday Bullets

  • Still have a migraine. I can’t begin to express how unhappy I am about this. I do feel better than I did over the weekend, but every day that I wake up with a headache just irritates me. I’d like to not be sick over Thanksgiving, especially since I’ll be at Dad’s following and thus incapable of getting to my doctor if I need meds.
  • I have a dentist appointment coming up. It happens to be the same day as my neurologist appointment, so that should be a day devoid of fun.
  • Had Thanksgiving dinner with my mom and Paul last night. I think I’m still full. And even though I protested mightily about taking leftovers since I won’t really be home, my fridge is now stocked to overflowing with turkey and mashed potatoes and the like.
  • I discovered yesterday while making deviled eggs that Uschi loves eggs. I broke one while removing the shell and decided to let her have that as a quick treat. She spent a good twenty minutes savoring every last bite and then sat right beside me waiting expectantly for another. Guess I know what to add to her meals if she decides to go all Yara on me. This information could prove vital during my house/dog-sitting duties next week.
  • I have a literal pile of books at the library waiting to be picked up. I figure between that stack and my Kindle I’m good to go for next week. Yes, Dad has cable and Internet, but I don’t really watch TV much and my laptop is currently in Ohio in several pieces. Not sure what I’ll do if my head is still being an ass.
  • I had a dream last night about my childhood best friend. It was really odd and not just because she passed away five years ago, but because her mother was in the dream too and was weirdly very unpleasant.
  • I am almost done with my holiday cards. I took a break from writing them out because of this damn migraine, but I have about a dozen left. I am rather impressed with my lack of procrastination in this department.
  • That said, I haven’t yet begun to think about holiday shopping. I only just finished dealing with the handful of birthdays that are at this time of year. Aside from my family and some friends that I exchange gifts with, I have three Secret Santas to get.
  • I was strongly toying with the idea of setting up my holiday decorations today/tomorrow. Since I won’t be home next week, I was thinking it would be kind of nice to come home and have the house all decked out. This requires a ridiculous amount of energy that I don’t have right now, though. But maybe I’ll get to it. I have a timer for the lights, so they would actually go on even though I’m not home, which is probably a good thing while I’m away.

Lending Books is Bad?

I’ve looked a bit deeper into the Kindle Lending Library and I do have a few issues with it in its current format. For one the titles are currently very limited, which I’ll get into further below. But more annoying is that the only way to browse through the current listing is on a Kindle device and it loads every title eligible for lending without the ability to sort. Now, you can search for an individual title and if it’s available to borrow it will be noted as such. But right now it’s a very sloppy means to discover potential books.

The other issue I have is that the service is very limited. I’m not so much bothered by the one loan a month, but rather that you can only borrow a single book at a time. If the books that are currently eligible to be borrowed remain available for a significant amount of time I guess that’s fine, but there’s no guarantee that what you see right now will still be amongst the titles when you’re able to order it.

What I find interesting, though is that the publishing industry as a whole seem to be against this new service. I’m not entirely sure what the fuss is about. For one, they’re still getting their money so far as that article leads me to believe. As for the promotion angle, how exactly does this lending library differ from people going to an actual library and borrowing the book? I would think it’s more likely a purchase of a book — probably even the actual book being borrowed — is far more likely to happen on Amazon’s website than by standing in a library browsing the shelves. Seems to me the real issue is that Amazon went ahead with the service without the consent of the publishers, but even so the fact remains that the money is still changing hands as if the book wasn’t free to the customer . . . so I guess I’m failing to see how this is such a bad thing?

Oh, well. As far as I’m concerned I think it’s a keen idea, though the actual service itself has a ways to go before it’s robust enough to be truly worthwhile.