Sunday, 6 September 2009

TSS - Currently Reading & an August Recap

Hello, Hello, everyone. Wow, what a week! What a month!

I can't believe it's September already. Summer is most definitely over for us here in South Wales. You know it's Autumn when you have to wear a jumper indoors, and your right hand is freezing after sitting at the computer for too long.

Christmas and Hanukkah will be here before we know it - the Christmas cards are already available in shops. And I saw the first Christmas decorations up in a house this week. No joke! All the multicoloured lights on the house and Santa and his sleigh on the roof. My dad nearly crashed the car because I exclaimed in such a loud voice, "Christmas decorations!!!" when I spotted them. People are insane.

Anyway, rewind back to September.

I want to start by talking about my reading challenges. Let me just say that, Boy, do I suck. I was always the 'fast reader' of my group of friends, ever since primary school. But you guys are whizz kids at it! Bravo.

I can't seem to get enough read and, if I'm honest, am probably going to end up failing my classics challenge by the end of October. Why did I opt for the six book level? Oh, well, I'll learn next time.

How do you guys manage to read so fast? Have you always been a fast reader? Or does it just come with the more you read? Teach me your secrets ;-) . Pweez.


I've discovered a bag full of authors this week thanks to my reading of The Eternal Kiss edited by Trisha Telep.

I had to take a break from Doctor Zhivago - it's a fabulous story, so well written, but I struggle every now and again with it because I get the feeling I'd appreciate it more if I'd studied philosophy or even knew anything about Russian history. I will finish it but I need a break for now.

The Eternal Kiss is what I received from The Book Bag on Wednesday. It's compiled of thirteen short stories about vampires, and I've nearly finished it.

I was excited to read this because it had a few authors in it that I'd never really dared to buy their books but was curious about their writing style. Needless to say, thanks to this book, I've added a heap of books to my Amazon wishlist.

My favourite so far has been Holly Black with her story, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I don't think it was the story as much as the style she wrote in. I like the idea of being inside the head of a girl who's going through the transformation of human to vampire, and using alcohol as a way to numb out any desire to drink blood. The ending of the story was superb too.

Kelley Armstrong didn't let me down with Kat either. I read her novel, Bitten, earlier this year and look forward to more from her Women of the Otherworld series.

Libba Bray has been fabulous - I adored her story, The Thirteenth Step, about a detox house with 'mystery' about how they get their addicts clean. (I don't want to give too much away.) And Sarah Rees Brennan and Maria V. Snyder are other authors I'm making sure to check out in the future.

Karen Mahoney is a new writer - her only publication to date is Falling to Ash in this collection. I'm really looking forward to seeing more from her and made sure to send her a message telling her that on her blog. She'll definitely be one to watch out for. :-D I can't wait.

The biggest surprise so far has been Cassandra Clare. Her short story, Other Boys, did not seem too original when I started reading it. In fact, with the way her female teen high school characters spoke, I almost had to stifle a roll of my eyes. However, talk about your twist!! The story was so unbelievably predictable until the last couple of pages when she gave us a completely unexpected twist and turned it on it's head. Well done, Cassandra. Your books are now on my wishlist. That was brilliant.

I've just got three more stories to get through by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié (co-writers of the fabulous Wicked series I read the other week), Lili St. Crow, and Dina James. Obviously not all of the stories I've read have been uber amazing - With all the teen vampire romance tales out there now I guess it's hard to think of something original.

Plus I'm not a teen anymore. And I've never really liked teen vampire tales too much - I'm more of an old school Anne Rice/Stephen King/Brian Lumley/Joseph Le Fanu/Stoker fan. :-)


Last but not least here's the books I read in August:

1) The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory
2) Witch by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié
3) Curse by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié

Lame. Yep. I think that pretty much sums up my reading for this month. Lame. Three books = very bad. I'm trying really hard to get a much bigger number for this month.

I suppose the upside is that I discovered a series I really enjoyed (the Wicked series) which outweighs the fact that I was disappointed with The Virgin's Lover (in spite of having enjoyed all of Gregory's other books).


The films, on the other hand, is a different story. Here's my count for 'Films watched' in August:

1) Shattered Glass (2003)

2) Sixteen Candles (1984)
3) The Sure Thing (1985)
4) Say Anything ... (1989)
5) The Omen (1976)
6) Orphan (2009)
7) It Runs in the Family (2003)
8) The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)
9) Chopper (2000)
10) Disturbia (2007)
11) Funny People (2009)
12) Love the Beast (2009)
13) Muriel's Wedding (1994)
14) Meet the Parents (2000)
15) Meet the Fockers (2004)
16) Black Hawk Down (2001)
17) Speak (2004)
18) The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
19) Practical Magic (1998)
20) The Craft (1996)
21) Babe (1995)

I love that I started the month out by watching a serious film about the true story of plagiarism at 'The New Republic' but ended my month by watching a childhood favourite. ^^

Anyone notice how Eric Bana mad I went after seeing The Time Traveler's Wife? Chopper; Funny People; Love the Beast; Black Hawk Down; The Other Boleyn Girl - those aren't accidents. ;-)

Oh, and I do urge anyone who is actually a fan of Bana to watch his documentary film - Love the Beast. Don't let the fact that it's about his car put you off. I know zip about cars. I couldn't tell you what the make of any car is - I distinguish them by colour (and license plate if I have my glasses on).

But Love the Beast actually made me tear up! It's a great love story about Bana's passion outside of acting - you can see how much racing and cars mean to him, and how tragic it is when ... well, you'll have to watch. Trust me - the way he shot it and put it together is beautiful (there's some fabulous shots of Australia) and really quite touching. He made cars - things that I've never held the slightest interest in - sound really quite exciting and I kind of wanted to know more. Think of how much books can mean to a bookworm? How passionate you are about talking about them and reading and how at home you feel in a library or a book shop? Well, that's your 'Beast.' His 'Beast' is his car. And racing.

I never thought I'd cry at a car-based documentary. :P Oh - and Jay Leno, Jeremy Clarkson, and Dr. Phil are in it for a few giggles. ;-)

Anyway, that's my Sunday Salon. Have a great week everyone. xx  


Sandy said...

Wow, look at those movies! I loved Sixteen Candles (I want to find a guy as good-looking as Jake Ryan!), Practical Magic and Speak.

Three books is not bad at all! Most people don't even read one book a month. Besides, it's hard to read more than two books since there's a little thing called LIFE that gets in the way, hah. But kudos to you for trying! I used to be able to zoom through ten books a week, but now that I review books, I take my time with them and absorb them... so I probably read maybe a book a week (I went down by A LOT).

Sarbear said...

Ceri, I replied to your comment on my last post -- you'll wanna read it : )

Sarbear said...

I heard the Virgin's Lover was disappointing but can't wait to read Wicked!

Amanda said...

As I type this, it's currently 89 degrees with a heat index of 92. It's only this cool because there's been cloud cover this morning. In fact, the whole last week, there's finally been some relief because it's only getting up to 96 or 97 instead of 105. Fall? It'll come in 3 months. Sigh. I hate texas.


The leaves are already turning here in Scotland! I have to wear a jumper or jacket every day now. It's so crazy!

I didn't read so much this month either. Sometimes life gets in the way. Also, I believe to keep enjoying reading sometimes we need a small break from it. Re-surface back into the world after being in some of these stories for so long. And that is ok. I'll NEVER stop loving reading even if I don't get to do it as much as I'd like.

serendipity_viv said...

The films may be the reason you are not reading as much. Though you have watched some fab ones there. Practical Magic and The Craft - fabulous.
I very rarely watch films these days as I read so much, perhaps I need to find a balance.
I like the sound of the short stories book, it has a lot of my favourite authors in.
You made me laugh about the Christmas decorations. I went to my scrap club on Saturday and half of my friends spent the day making Christmas Cards.

Ceri said...

Pirate - Wouldn't we all like a Jake Ryan? hehe. I watched it for the first time and just thought, 'This boy is *not* real.' How can a good-looking, popular boy also be nice and kind? ;-) hehe

Sar - Thank you so much for that award. You're awesome. And, yeah, some people liked The Virgin's Lover but I didn't think it was up to par with her other work. Wicked is amazing - read it! :-D

Amanda - Our summer hasn't even been that hot! I am jealous! ... In May we had a week of heat enough to let us catch the sun and get burned. But our Summer has been miserable and rain, rain, rain! Swap countries?

Mary - I totally agree :-) I guess it isn't important how much you read, as long as you enjoy it when you do it :-)

Vivienne - Yeah I was in a 'witchy' mood when I was reviewing the 'Wicked' series. :-D I've just finished 'The Eternal Kiss' - it's definitely worth reading. Christmas cards? Oh gosh, it really is that time of year again, isn't it?

Melody said...

You've watched some great movies there!! I need to catch up on my reading too!

Schatzi said...

Don't even worry about your challenges! Plenty of people are behind. *looks around guiltily*
It's sometimes just so easy to pick up something more ... fun. I was staring mournfully at my challenges today, in fact.

Andreea said...

Wow, you’ve watched a lot of movies! Don't feel bad about the reading, maybe September will be better:)

Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

Never heard of the Wicked series. And now I really would like to watch Say Anything again...

Not a huge fan of Eric Bana. I haven't been able to convince my husband to watch Time Traveller's Wife with me, so that's another one to watch on DVD. Sigh. Oh well.

I know some people who don't read any books most months (husband included) so at least you're making the attempt. It is difficult to balance life with reading/blogging.

Ceri said...

Mel - Thanks. I'm a film buff :)

Schatzi - Hehe. Yeah, I guess challenges aren't *that* important as long as you enjoy what you're reading.

Andreea - Yeah. Positive thinking towards this month :)

Michelle - Say Anything ... Ahhhh, in your eyes! Haha - I was so eager to see The Time Traveler's Wife I told my man I'd go without him if it came to it ;-)

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Don't talk about Christmas! You'll make it come faster, and I'm really not ready to write my term papers right now!
Gosh, times goes by to fast doesn't it!

Ceri said...

Kay - Haha! Sorry - It's usually me telling people to shutup about Christmas. I just couldn't believe I saw decorations!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I'm really late commenting (boy am *I* lame!!), but don't sweat the classics challenge. I've only read 3 so far and can maybe finish another by the end of the month and I signed up for 6, too. Does that make you feel better? :)