31 August 2009

What I am reading: August 2009

  1. You're so Vein by Christine Warren: Another in her series of Other books. This time Ava finally meets her match. Fluffy airplane read.
  2. Storms Can't Hurt the Sky by Gabriel Cohen: I was reading this at the same time as The Lizard Cage and I found that to be a lucky chance. This book is sub-titled A Buddhist Path through Divorce and it has some relatively simplistic but readable descriptions and explanations of Buddhist thought. I ordered it not because I am contemplating divorce, but because the favorable reviews I read said that it was a very helpful guide to overcoming or dealing in a healthy way with, problems in relationships and I thought that would be a useful skill to start practicing. I found the book useful although shallow and it has definitely given me food for thought and the desire to continue reading, in a deeper way, on Buddhism.
  3. The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin: I really liked the first two, but I am finding what I consider to be anachronisms (using the term Miss) and modern attitudes and sentiments without an understanding of why they would exist in the magical, medieval milieu, too distracting.
  4. The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff: Anew, fantasy, series. The protagonist is a witch from a family of witches and clan associated with rituals reminiscent of Wicca. Enjoyable and sets Alysha Gale up to star, with a supporting cast, in future books. Set in Calgary and I enjoyed the magic.
  5. The Lizard Cage by Karen Connolly: A read for my book club, I just told a friend (and another blogger)that this is the best book that I have read so far this year. The context is mid-90's Burma, the protagonist is a political prisoner and the subject matter is dire, but the lyricism of the words lifted me through the narrative and allowed me to read without needing to stop and go away. The chapters were also very short: it seemed that when I reached a limit where I might otherwise have put the book down for a while, I reached a chapter ending that allowed me to take a deep breath and start again. I was reading it at the same time as the next book, and I think the understanding of Buddhism that I gained was helpful to me in understanding certain contexts within this book. I thought it was a very authentic and moving book.
  6. A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (2002): This was more what I had been looking for when I read reviews of Hoffman that compared her to Zenna Henderson, although more modern and less classic in writing. Also interesting in the difference between a people lost here on this Earth from another and a "native race" of magic holdiners. Loved it. It's exactly the type of thing that I enjoy and better than the above noted Huff.
  7. A Red Heart of Memories by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (1999): I had already read Past the Size of Dreaming (2001) (reviewed last month) and this is the book that led into that, where we meet Matt and Edmund (and they meet each other) for the first time. I like it and am rereading the sequel right now to settle the details that I missed (such as the "magic gold" and why it was gone) and am glad that I brought these all back from the US with me. Although I read the sequel without realizing that I needed to read the first book, I now know how important it was.

27 August 2009

Books people have read...

This is a Facebook meme that a high school friend put up: I think I saw this once described as books that people say that they have read versus those they actually have:). I think it's a bit more substantive than the last book list and I have read, I think, a smaller percentage of them. I am really enjoying my book clubs as opportunities to stretch my reading muscles (although Crime and Punishment has literally been sitting in the TBR pile for 9 months now...)

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read and a * after those you loved.

Tag other book nerds.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen -X*
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien -X*
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte- X*
4 Harry Potter series - JK RowlingX*
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee- x
6 The Bible- X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte- X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell- X*
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman-X
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens-X*


11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott-X*
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy-X
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller-
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare-MISSING A FEW
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du MaurierX
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien-X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger- X*
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot


21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell-X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald-
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens-X*
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy-
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams- X*
26 The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner-
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky-
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck-
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll- X*
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame-X*


31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy-
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens- X*
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis-X*
34 Emma - Jane Austen-X*
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen-X*
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis- (this is part of 33)X*
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini-
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden-X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne- X*


41 Animal Farm - George Orwell- X*
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown-X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez-
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins-X
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery-X*
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret AtwoodX*
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding- X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan-


51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel- (COULDN'T FINISH-YEGG)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert-X*
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons-
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen-X*
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth-
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens- X*
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley- X*
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon-
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez-


61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck- X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov-X
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt-X
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold-
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas-X*
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac-
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy-
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen FieldingX
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie-
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville- X*


71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens-X*
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker-X*
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett-X*
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson-X*
75 Ulysses - James Joyce-X
76 The Inferno – Dante-
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome-
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray-X
80 Possession - AS Byatt


81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens-X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker-
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro -
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert-
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry -
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White- X*
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton


91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad- X
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery-X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams- X*
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole -
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas-X*
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare- X*
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- X*
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo-


Total: 58 of 100

25 August 2009

100 most beloved books...

The BBC list of the most beloved books. Here's what I have read (those with an x), with notes:

x1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien (7-8 times, I think.)
x2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (5-6 times)
x3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (Only the first two 0f the trilogy: lost interest when I couldn't reread and remember the earlier books.)
x4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (all of them and the Infocom game as well.)
x5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling (All of them, obviously.)
x6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (Haven't all Americans?)
x7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne (Haven't all Westerners? All of them, and to my kids as well.)
x8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (Haven't all Anglophones?)
x9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis (All of them, of course, and without concern for the underlying Christian allegory.)
x10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (Yes.)
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
x12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë (Same year as all of Austen and 10.)
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
x14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier(ditto 12.)
x15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger (ditto 6.)
x16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (Wonderful book, although Waterbabies was better in this vein, I think.)
x17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens(Love Dickens!)
x18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (Reread recently while reading March)
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (I have problems getting into the Russians that I need to overcome...)
x21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
x22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
x23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
x24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
x25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien(goes with 1).
x26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy(And therefore no other Hardy. Should I give him another try?)
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck (really want to read this as we languish in our own small depression.)
x30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll(and through the looking glass.)
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
x33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett (for my book club this month-which I then missed- and realized that I had read it about 10 years ago.)
x34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
x35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl (I think I have read most Dahl in print.)
x36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson(early childhood influence, with The Black Arrow)
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
x38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
x39. Dune, Frank Herbert
x40. Emma, Jane Austen
x41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
x42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
x44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas(perhaps 6-7 times, and various movies.)
x45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
x46. Animal Farm, George Orwell(Some animals are more equal than others...)
x47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
x51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
x52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
x53. The Stand, Stephen King (Sometimes I think the 6 hour mini-series was better. I would have liked it more without the God-Devil thing.)
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
x56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
x58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer (Loaned to me by a friend here, on the shelf TBR.)
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
x62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
x63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
x64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
x65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
x68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
x69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
x70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
x73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
x74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
x75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
x76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
x77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
x78. Ulysses, James Joyce
x79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
x81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
x82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
x83. Holes, Louis Sachar
x84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
x87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
x89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
x92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
x93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
x96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
x99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

20 August 2009

Nintendo Wii help- Germany and US regional issues: Help!

So, we have a German Nintendo Wii and we have American games (because that's where we are from!) as well as German games (because that's where we are currently).

Can anyone help with how to resolve this issue that does not require throwing either one region (and the player) or the other region away? Because one day we expect to be back in the US and will have the issue there as well. At the moment, we have only a few games on each side and the Wii is still returnable (surprise gift from husband- much wanted, but leaving us with this quandary) so we need to decide quickly.

Please e-mail me if you have any possible solutions, thanks to anyone who can help us out.

(bigappletobigbear at googlemail.com) take out the spaces, of course.

Thanks to everyone... for the e-mails and after talking to Nintendo US, I sent back the German Wii and accessories and will bring over the US version. There was once a software solution to the problem, but Nintendo rendered it ineffective with their last firmware upgrade and I don't want to roll the firmware backwards and need to prevent automatic upgrades. I think it's terribly annoying and also amazing that Nintendo Germany and Nintendo UK don't respond to e-mail queries, but it is what it is.