Fall into Reading 2010: The End

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAccording to the calendar, today is the first day of winter, which means the Fall into Reading Challenge hosted by Kat @ Callapidder Days is officially over.

So how did you do? Did you read all the books you set out to read?

I picked out 7 titles to read at the beginning of the challenge and successfully read all of those books. There were a few other “maybes” that I mentioned I might read, and I did read two of those as well, but the original 7 were read so in my mind, I finished this challenge on November 18th when I finished The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. Since then I was also able to finish reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (my first Kindle read) which was a pretty big accomplishment in and of itself.

So in total I read 9 books this fall and started a 10th, First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, Book 5) by Jasper Fforde which I wasn’t able to finish before the end of the challenge (no big surprise there, Fforde’s books are fantastic but never a quick read for me).

Here are a few things of note about those nine books and the challenge in general (questions prompted by Kat):

FAVORITE BOOK READ THIS FALL: Definitely Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I read a lot of good books this month, but this was by far the best. (click here for my full review)

Runner up: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montogmery – this book just blew me away and I am anxious to read the rest of the series on my Kindle soon.

LEAST FAVORITE BOOK READ THIS FALL: This book wasn’t on my original challenge, and technically I abandoned it before the challenge began, but my book club discussed how terrible it was a few weeks after I abandoned it, so I feel compelled to state: That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo sucked so bad, so so horribly bad. Really, it was awful.

DISCOVERED AUTHOR OR GENRE: Brunonia Barry I think deserves a shout out here. It was mentioned at our book club meeting discussion of her book, The Lace Reader, that she actually self published this book originally because nobody would pick it up (I’m not certain this is true but it does seem plausible given the really complex plot). The story is a little out there, but really I thought it was just excellent, terrifically well written and it even had a plot twist (or several) that I didn’t see coming until the end, which is always a nice treat. I really recommend this book, it was enjoyed by the majority of my fellow book club members, too.

WHAT I LEARNED THIS FALL: I’m really tired of trying to force myself to read a book just because of some sense of obligation to finish it, or because it was a Best Seller or has a Good Message or whatever. I’ve read a lot of amazing books this year and some not so great, and unfortunately some terrible. Somewhere along the way, I stopped trying to force a book that wasn’t picking up for me and I have to say, it was a good change. There are so many amazing books out there, I don’t want to waste my time reading something that I’m not enjoying.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE FALL INTO READING CHALLENGE: I really like that this challenge helps me to organize my reading goals and get through the books on my nightstand and some high priority books that I’ve maybe been putting off up until the challenge starts. It’s a little extra kick to read more and stick to the stuff I’ve set out to read more.

How about you?

FIR '10: The Final Questions

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

This is our last Weekly Question before FIR ’10 ends! It seems like just yesterday we were just starting the challenge and now it is almost over, there is snow on the ground and winter is knocking at our door!

There are actually four question for this week:

  1. Do you write in your books?
  2. Can you read in the car?
  3. Does the rest of your family enjoy reading?
  4. What’s the longest you’ve gone without reading?

Here are my answers:

  1. No, I do not write in my books. I’ve occasionally thought that a good quote might merit it, particularly in college with textbooks, but it was just never a habit that sat well with me. I never felt my thought needed to be marring someone else’s book. I have made notes on a sticky note and put said note in the book – and have made a few highlight type note things on my Kindle but that’s as close as I go.
  2. I do not often read in the car, but I am capable of it. I know some people get motion sickness when they try, but I don’t think I’m afflicted with that particular travesty. That said, I’m rarely in a car long enough to read and when I am, I’d usually rather talk to my husband or listen to the radio (though I have been known to pull out a book if I’m sitting in the parking lot with a sleepy baby and was clever enough to anticipate that and bring along reading material.
  3. We are definitely a family of readers, although the youngest might be too young to say that with certainty. My husband doesn’t read with quite as much zest as I do, but that’s mostly just because he’s far pickier. My son loves to “read” books and be read to and I look forward to him learning to actually read and seek out books of his own choice.
  4. I don’t think I can even answer that question to be honest.

So, in one week the Fall Into Reading 2010 challenge will be over? How did you do? Have you met your goal yet?

I read all of the initial books from my FIR’ challenge list and 2 others. I’m now working on a 3rd book which was not on my initial list either, but no less exciting as it’s in a series that I love (the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde). What are you reading right now?

FIR' 10: Question #11: Skipping to the End

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

Here’s the question for this week:

Do you ever read the end of a book before you actually get there? Have you sneaked a peek at the last page or two to find out what happens? Or do you faithfully avoid the final pages until you’ve “earned” them by reading to that point?

This used to be a weakness of mine, as a teenager especially. Reading a great love story with lots of drama, I’d tell myself I just needed to know how it all worked out. If there was going to be a happy ending or not and with whom. Sometimes the book might accidentally open to pages ahead of where I was and I’d sneak a peek at a few passages.

Back then I was also kind of a fickle reader though, prone to skipping “boring” passages and skimming others. I read what I wanted and ignored the rest and one thing I learned looking back is that habits like that don’t lead to actually knowing a story. I missed a lot of details that I had no idea were there and might never know about if I never picked up the book again.

So I try to read a lot more faithfully now – not spoiling the end anymore because that never really brings any satisfaction in the long run to a story. It’s more like a cheap thrill that could even potentially ruin the story for you.  I’ve also had to work very hard to avoid that awful habit of skim reading and have fortunately gotten much better about both bad habits and I have to say, I’m enjoying the books I read more now, probably because of that.

How about you? Do you ever sneak a peek at the end of a book you are reading?

FIR' 10 : Questions # 9 & 10: on Multi-tasking and follow through

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAs part of the Fall Into Reading Challenge, Katrina @ Callapidder Days has decided to post a weekly question related to the challenge.

She writes, “I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.”

I was out of town last week and didn’t blog Question #9 and being the over-achiever that I pretend to be, I thought I’d just answer both today.

Here’s the question for last week:

Once you begin a book, do you feel compelled to finish it? Or have you been known to give up in the middle of a book, to walk away from a book that is just too annoying, boring, etc.?

It’s always my intention to finish a book once I’ve picked it up and for a long time I tried to struggle through to the end of a book whether I enjoyed it or not, but after awhile… there were simply too many books. My bookshelves were filling quickly than I could finish them (they still are) and I gradually came to realize that might never slow down.

Also? I read for myself, not for some lofty goal of being “well read” although that would be nice. And really who’s defining the words “well read”? I think if I’m enjoying the books I’m reading, then I’m well read. Torturing myself with books I don’t like just because someone else maybe thought I should read it? Not worth my time. So while I do try to attempt a book that’s recommended for being a classic or everyone loved it or whatever, if in the end I’m not feeling it, I’ll move onto something else.

My SIL gives every book 100 pages before bailing and I like that idea though I don’t think I’m disciplined enough to force myself to stick to one page number. Sometimes I put a book aside temporarily in favor of something else and hopefully pick it up again shortly after.

And here’s this week’s question:

Do you have multiple books going at once? Or do you prefer to stick to one book at a time?

Occasionally I’ll try to read multiple books at once, if say I’m reviewing one book but was in the middle of another, or if I just can’t seem to choose which book I want to read, sometimes I’ll read a couple pages of each for a few nights until one of the books comes to the forefront of the stack.

Also since getting the Kindle, there’s been that pull to read an e-book when I’m out and paper books when I’m home, but since I don’t get out much sometimes that might mean it could take me literally forever to finish something. I read Little Women sporadically for awhile after I first got it, but mostly read other things until we went on vacation last week when I was able to devote my time to it. Now I’m halfway through and determined to finish it so I’ve been ignoring the bookshelves in favor of my e-reading.

Basically, I have a pretty short attention span and not as much reading time as I’d like so as much as I wish I read multiple books at once, it usually doesn’t pan out for me long-term.

How about you? Can you multi-task your reading? Do you always finish the book you are reading?

mini-aside: How are your challenges going? Less than one month until the Fall season and the challenge are over and I’m pleased to report that I’ve now read all 7 of my initial picks and if I finish Little Women before winter arrives I’ll be able to add an additional 2 books to that list for a total of 9 books read this Fall and 31 books read so far this year. Not bad!

Classic Book Review : Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery I read a lot growing up but didn’t often manage to convince myself to read anything of great quality, preferring the easy and addictive Babysitters Club novels and similar fluff pieces of fiction. I’ve been trying to make amends lately, finally getting around to the classics which have up to now evaded me. Gone With the Wind, Pride and Prejudice and now Anne of Green Gables can be counted as all-time favorites.

I was immediately drawn to this cute, modern book cover in our local store and had to have it, over the more old fashioned classic covers. Even better? This was one less expensive and not abridged or anything silly like that. The font was nice and large, crisp and easy to read without being silly. I think this would be the perfect addition for any of today’s youth, too. I love the spunky look of Anne on this cover – despite the very current style, I think it perfectly portrays everything that Anne with an E is all about.

For anyone new to Green Gables, here’s a quick description from Goodreads.com:

When Anne Shirley arrives at Green Gables farm on Prince Edward Island, she surprises everyone: first of all, she is a girl. Marilla Cuthbert and her brother, Matthew, had specifically asked for an orphan boy. She has bright red hair that won’t manage and a mouth that won’t shut. Nothing will ever be the same at Green Gables!

A favorite story of generations of girls ever since it was first published in 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic story of one girl’s profound effect on a small Canadian community has stayed in print for nearly one hundred years and has been made into a popular TV series and even a musical.

I think it might go without saying that I adored this book, but I’ll say it anyway : I adored this book. Like big puffy heart love love loved it. At first the writing style took a little time to get into, like most classic literature. It is awfully verbose and descriptive enough to give me Nathanial Hawthorne-esque flashbacks – but the character of Anne was so … heartwarming … that I soldiered through the sometimes torturous descriptions of Prince Edward Island, through the eyes of young Anne.

And I was delighted to find that as the grew older, the book got better.  I thought it was a really interesting description of the coming of age – the book’s content grows with the girl and you really come to fall in love with the main character and her cast of adopted family and friends – and you will definitely want to move to Prince Edward Island by the time you’ve finished the book!

I was giddy to find out that all of the Anne books are available for free on my Kindle and quickly downloaded them all, including the first book just because well, it’s free! I don’t read quickly on my Kindle, having so many print books also vying for my attention, but once I finish my current e-read, Little Women, I plan to dive back into the world of Green Gables and I am really looking forward to it!

Did you read Anne of Green Gables growing up? Were you a fan or not? What is your favorite classic novel?