Category Archives: Picking Titles

2016 Reading Challenge

With about three weeks left in 2015, we’re unveiling the 2016 Reading Challenge!

We’ve had a lot of fun with the 2015 one. Both of us had a couple DNFs but overall it was a success. I definitely picked up books I wouldn’t have without our challenge.

So, with one successful year, we’re heading on into 2016 with a new set of 12 reading challenges. (Ok, a couple are duplicated from 2015….)

Check out the 2016 Word Nerds Reading Challenge!

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Re-reading Thoughts

Recently, I was stabbed in the side by someone stating that they never re-read a book (Gasp!).

After I adjusted my mental review if their status as a friend, I listened to their next words: There’s too many books I want to read to spend my reading time on re-reading.

Okay, they redeemed themselves. However, I am seriously dying to re-read some books in 2016. I’ve undergone some major life changes and the titles that come to mind are ones that are life changing to me. They provoke deep thoughts on Life. They have provided answers and guidance in my life. They are books on my shelf because they are worth my hard-earned dollars. I averaged about 101 books a year, but I’ve read as many as 168 in a single year. This year’s goal (stay with me, I have a point here) was to read about a book a week. I’m well beyond that.

What if next year’s goal is to re-read? And read as many books as I can? Could I make it a 200 book year?  It’s no secret to those that know me in real life know I spend a significant amount of time with a dreamy far off look and my nose stuck in a book. It’s a lesser known secret that I re-read at 1.5 to 2.0 times the speed of a first read.  Exceeding 200 books in a single year seems totally achievable in these circumstances.

I can think of 30 books I what to re-read, right now (15 of which are the Dresden files in prep for book #16’s release next year, assuming Butcher stays on track for the current release date.) Finding books to read becomes a non-issue.

I am going to have to give serious consideration to this. But now? I’m off to the November reading challenge and my non-fiction book. Cheers!

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Happy Banned Books Week!

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Reading things we shouldn’t have for more than 20 years.

Books for INTJs

I am an INTJ suffering more disappointment.

I saw this link to a Flavorwire story naming a classic novel that would suit  each Myers-Briggs personality type. Ah, I thought. I’ll get Machiavelli’s The Prince, feel bad about being a villain (again) and then write a blog post about it 

Only the results were worse (much worse) than I could have expected.

Flavorwire picked “Pride and Prejudice” as the INTJ book.

Sorry. Wait. What?

Flavorwire says:

The INTJ is fiercely independent, like a true Austen heroine, and skeptical like the novel’s creator.

I am not disputing these things. We are independent and skeptical. But  “Pride and Prejudice?”

No.

And here’s why. Pride and Prejudice is a social book. INTJs do not do social. Most of the time, we avoid social.

So, Flavorwire, the Word Nerds offer up alternative choices that “suit” INTJs.

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

INTJs are often described as being cold and aloof. We don’t necessarily get a lot of emotions and aren’t emotionally expressive. But, to function in society better, it does help when we understand them.

TFioS is a good pick because it’s sharp and insightful (the teenage characters are so grown-up) and the emotions are real and raw. It’s a book that makes you feel something. This kind of read is good for an INTJ because (unless you’re in the DSM IV), you’ll cry. It’s cathartic. Get all those feelings out. Acknowledge you have them. Then go back to your Pinky-and-the-Brain world domination plan plotting.

Daemon, Daniel Suarez

Sometimes, an INTJ just needs a good read that shows the mastermind winning. In this techno-thriller, a Steve Jobs-esque computer mogul programs the world’s technology to take over after he’s dead. If you want to see how the idea of self-driving cars could back-fire, this is the book for you.

The Son of Laughter, Frederick Buechner 

Sometimes, an INTJ needs to be reminded that all the scheming may not work out. Buechner is a Presbyterian minister but his fictional account of the Jacob is plenty salty. This version of Jacob is quite the schemer/mastermind but he has to come to grips with the fact that there is a power bigger than himself directing his life.

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

This is a book to remind an INTJ that they aren’t as much of an INTJ as they could be. What is masterminded in this plot is crazy and brilliant. And, it’s a good reality check that you aren’t that person, aren’t really a supervillain, even if you find yourself smilingly knowingly at how you see it all unfold. If you aren’t an INTJ, but are married to one/dating one, word to the wise: Don’t read this book or watch the movie. If you do, you may be freaked out by just what they could be planning.

Dear Daredevil

Dear Daredevil,

I would say it’s not you, it’s me, but really it’s you.daredevil

You and your excessive violence.

You have moments I really liked, such as in ep. 4 when Matt Murdock tricks all the Russians in the dark warehouse and takes them down one by one. Sneaky. Smart. Very little on screen violence.

And then, in that same episode. Well, you know. Wilson Fisk and the car door.

As a writer, I realized what you were doing in that episode. Through the first part, you were making me care about Wilson Fisk. Giving him a personality. Making him seem human. Likeable, even. I knew I knew that you couldn’t finish the episode without reminding us what an awful, awful person he was. But that? Too much, Daredevil. Too much.

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what happened in that scene because I closed my eyes.

I realize that such a statement would make it seem like it is my problem, that my tolerance for violence is too low. I’m too squeamish.

I disagree. I should never want to be OK with that.

Friends are telling me that the Fisk-car-door scene is the worst of it. That maybe I should keep watching.

I’m still quitting. Is my one Netflix data record going to show that Hollywood machine that all the fake-awesome violence on TV is too much? Individually, no, probably not.

The question about how much violence is too much violence has been around for ever. I remember it 25 years ago when I was a kid and whining about what I could and could not watch.

I’m not blaming TV or video game violence for things like the Aurora CO movie theatre shooting, or other such incidents. Things like that have too many factors to place blame in any one specific place.

But. Overall, society is more combative. More us vs. them. We can’t agree to disagree, and therein, have no civil discourse about anything.

And that, I think, finds its roots in things like this. It’s not the violence itself, but the underlying message that confrontation is good, that revenge is acceptable and retaliation is a right. One doesn’t have to look farther than the riots in Ferguson or Baltimore to see that playing out. One doesn’t have to look nationally even. In summer 2014, Indianapolis was plagued with gun violence and it’s happening again this summer. A lot of it was drug or gang-related. You do this, we respond this way, because we deserve to retaliate.

So, dear Daredevil, I’m turning you off.

Sincerely,

Bethany

TBR Confessions

tbr confress

This is real, people.

ht to Del Rey Spectra on facebook for this post

June Reading Challenge help

June is a month away, I know.

But I’ve gotten myself stumped with the June Reading Challenge Book and I need time to think about it.

Our challenge is to “Read a book that’s been made into a TV show or a movie.”

There are easy picks to rule out: Harry Potter, Twilight and Game of Thrones leaping to mind right away. And yes, there are movie version of such classics like “Great Expectations” that I could slog through if I had to.

What I’m hoping for, personally, is more like David Benioff’s “25th Hour,” a great read that was made into really a pretty good movie.

I know what I don’t want, or what I think I don’t want. No Divergent, no other YA dystopian things. While I know they’ve turned Bosch into a TV show on amazon now, I’ve already read all of those, so that’s a no too.

What ideas do you have?

Top Ten Tuesday (or Thursday): Top 10 All-time Favorite Authors and a Revelation

Even though it’s not Tuesday, I’m doing the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday post today.

Their suggestion: April 21: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors (yeah, I’m mean like that! You could narrow it down to a genre if you it REALLY kills you…or just make your list a top 20 😛 )

At first, I thought no sweat.

And then I started compiling. Top 10? Of all time? ALL TIME? And authors, not books. That’s a strange distinction, because there are books I love (like Watership Down) but I’ve only read that one book by Richard Adams. Does that make him a favorite? Or does a favorite author mean I’ll always read something by them?

I thought and here’s my list, in no particular rank order.

10. Douglas Adams

9. J.R.R. Tolkein

8. Michael Connelly

7. J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith

6. Nick Sagan

5. Frederick Buechner

4. Neil Gaiman

3. Jim Butcher

2. Nick Bantock

1. C.S. Lewis

So. I compiled this list and then I was terribly struck by how only one of them was a woman and 100% of them where white. I don’t quite know what I think about that piece of information. We’ve had this conversation in book club, trying to pick authors who are “not dead, white men” to read. We don’t always succeed at that, but we’re paying attention. (Recently, we’ve read Barbara Kingsolver and Anne Lamott, ok, white, but a women and Kazuo Ishiguro and Salman Rushie is on deck for a future meeting, ok, still a man, but steeped in a different cultural background).

I watch the #weneeddiversebooks hashtag on Twitter a lot. I find it concerning that white men continue to dominate the best-seller lists.

I can’t redo my top ten authors list to include more women or more writers of color at this point because then I would be lying and that’s equally problematic. But, I can be aware of it. I can continue to push bookclub titles by non-white and/or non-Y-chromasomed writers. I can look at my Eight-Up list and see that yes, in fact, most of them are white men too and work to change the mix as I move forward.

If I stay mindful, someday, I am sure that I will redo this list and find a change.

Title

Titling your great American novel might be the hardest part. The good folks over at Electric Literature put together this handy-dandy chart. I hope someday you will all enjoy reading “To Kill a War of Madness” and Stacie’s forthcoming “Tropic of Wife or Ardor.” (What kind of book are you writing, Stacie?)

title info

from electricliterature.com

New readers

My best friend texted me the other day:

I couldn’t find I– this morning, he wasn’t eating breakfast with everyone. I figured he was sleeping in, cause he was really tired yesterday. But when I checked on him, he was in his bed reading “The Castle of Llyr.”
I perked up at this quite a bit.
prydainI– hasn’t been the most voracious reader yet so him choosing this is heartening. AND, he picked Lloyd Alexander’s great Prydain Chronicles.
For me, this series helped open up a whole world of reading. I bought the second book, The Black Cauldron, through one of those Scholastic book sale flier things the school would send home. I was in third-grade. I started reading it, realized I was lost and learned about series where the books are connected, not like Baby-Sitters Club where I could read out of order.
Lloyd Alexander’s books led me to lots of other things. It was a pretty short jump from there to Madeleine L’Engle. The Hobbit wasn’t far behind. I re-read the Prydain books multiple times. For some school project where we had to write a letter to an author, I sent one to Mr. Alexander. He sent back a helpful pronunciation guide to all the Welsh names.
My best friend had the similar thing happen for her with the Alexander books. We’re both pretty excited for I–, that this will help unlock a world of reading for him the way it did for us.
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