janetlin: (Books)
A much belated report, but I finished this on the 28th or 29th of December, and it was my last book for the year. 5 more than 2007; not as many as I would have liked, but when I started 2008 I didn't know I would do NaNoWriMo and thus effectively remove an entire month from my calendar.

So anyway. I'd seen this series talked about, and finally my curiosity got to the point that I actually bought Outlander. And I love it. It's very... kind of grown-up fantasy, in contrast to the Pern books (which I do intend to continue with). Possibly because it's less fantastical fantasy and more like good old historical fiction. The protagonist just _happens_ to have traveled back in time. The first time I heard about these books, I admit I was skeptical. She falls through a standing stone and ends up in the past? And just happens to _have_ to get married to this handsome young highlander? Oh but she's already married in her own time, teh angst! It _sounded_ like bad fanfiction. But I"m so glad I gave it a chance because it's written just beautifully and manages to be completely believable. I think this is proof that even a somewhat cheesy premise, in the right hands, can turn into something amazing.

And I agree with [livejournal.com profile] crymeariver_ - Captain Randall is _totally_ Jason Isaacs.

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Pages: 627



29 / 36 books. 81% done!

Full stats report for the year when I get home.

EDIT:
Fantasy 62%
Sci Fi 3%
Horror 3%
Historical Fiction 24%
Romance 21%
Drama 45%
Classic 45%
Action 14%
Assigned 34%
Nonfiction 7%
Play 7%

Average pages 298

Pretty good spread. I owe a lot of my fantasy reading to my Fantasy and Romance class from the spring semester.
janetlin: (Books)
A much belated report, but I finished this on the 28th or 29th of December, and it was my last book for the year. 5 more than 2007; not as many as I would have liked, but when I started 2008 I didn't know I would do NaNoWriMo and thus effectively remove an entire month from my calendar.

So anyway. I'd seen this series talked about, and finally my curiosity got to the point that I actually bought Outlander. And I love it. It's very... kind of grown-up fantasy, in contrast to the Pern books (which I do intend to continue with). Possibly because it's less fantastical fantasy and more like good old historical fiction. The protagonist just _happens_ to have traveled back in time. The first time I heard about these books, I admit I was skeptical. She falls through a standing stone and ends up in the past? And just happens to _have_ to get married to this handsome young highlander? Oh but she's already married in her own time, teh angst! It _sounded_ like bad fanfiction. But I"m so glad I gave it a chance because it's written just beautifully and manages to be completely believable. I think this is proof that even a somewhat cheesy premise, in the right hands, can turn into something amazing.

And I agree with [livejournal.com profile] crymeariver_ - Captain Randall is _totally_ Jason Isaacs.

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Pages: 627



29 / 36 books. 81% done!

Full stats report for the year when I get home.

EDIT:
Fantasy 62%
Sci Fi 3%
Horror 3%
Historical Fiction 24%
Romance 21%
Drama 45%
Classic 45%
Action 14%
Assigned 34%
Nonfiction 7%
Play 7%

Average pages 298

Pretty good spread. I owe a lot of my fantasy reading to my Fantasy and Romance class from the spring semester.
janetlin: (Reading)
Now that NaNoWriMo is over I can actually get back to reading! Also now that I've taken my one final and the semester is therefore over. Wheee!

So the book was enjoyable, but I felt a little disappointed. I thought there would be more to it; either more details in the stories we already knew from DH, or more stories, perhaps ones that weren't already mentioned. I know, I'm horribly ungrateful. If I were Rowling and I gave this lovely little gift to my fandom, and they bitched about it not being enough, I'm not sure what I'd do. But the fact remains that I didn't find it quite up to expectations from all the hubbub about it - either in its original special edition, or after hearing reports that _preorders_ for the standard edition outsold Twilight.

"Dumbledore's" notes and commentary throughout were a nice little surprise, though they don't give much deeper insight to the wizarding world (which are the parts _I_ enjoy about the HP books. Aside from, y'know, the Malfoys).

Title: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Author: JK Rowling
Pages: 107



28 / 36 books. 78% done!
janetlin: (Reading)
Now that NaNoWriMo is over I can actually get back to reading! Also now that I've taken my one final and the semester is therefore over. Wheee!

So the book was enjoyable, but I felt a little disappointed. I thought there would be more to it; either more details in the stories we already knew from DH, or more stories, perhaps ones that weren't already mentioned. I know, I'm horribly ungrateful. If I were Rowling and I gave this lovely little gift to my fandom, and they bitched about it not being enough, I'm not sure what I'd do. But the fact remains that I didn't find it quite up to expectations from all the hubbub about it - either in its original special edition, or after hearing reports that _preorders_ for the standard edition outsold Twilight.

"Dumbledore's" notes and commentary throughout were a nice little surprise, though they don't give much deeper insight to the wizarding world (which are the parts _I_ enjoy about the HP books. Aside from, y'know, the Malfoys).

Title: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Author: JK Rowling
Pages: 107



28 / 36 books. 78% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
Wow, this one took a long time to get started. I was seriously thinking about setting it aside and reading the third book in the Harper Hall trilogy first, since most of this book takes place after that one. But after page 100-something, it actually picked up and started showing some signs of a plot. Yay! Now I'm even more excited about reading Dragondrums to learn firsthand what happened and fill in the holes made by all the oblique references here. And to find out what the heck happened to one character in particular since the last time I read about him in Dragonsinger. He seems to have changed a _lot_ and it'll be interesting to watch it happen.

Eventually more headway is made into discovering the mysterious origins of Pern, and little details are starting to be familiar and fit into what I already know (but only dimly remember) from reading All the Weyrs of Pern years ago (before I was pregnant with Morgan).

Title: The White Dragon
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 445



27 / 36 books. 75% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
Wow, this one took a long time to get started. I was seriously thinking about setting it aside and reading the third book in the Harper Hall trilogy first, since most of this book takes place after that one. But after page 100-something, it actually picked up and started showing some signs of a plot. Yay! Now I'm even more excited about reading Dragondrums to learn firsthand what happened and fill in the holes made by all the oblique references here. And to find out what the heck happened to one character in particular since the last time I read about him in Dragonsinger. He seems to have changed a _lot_ and it'll be interesting to watch it happen.

Eventually more headway is made into discovering the mysterious origins of Pern, and little details are starting to be familiar and fit into what I already know (but only dimly remember) from reading All the Weyrs of Pern years ago (before I was pregnant with Morgan).

Title: The White Dragon
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 445



27 / 36 books. 75% done!
janetlin: (Shakespeare)
(Have also in the meantime read Henry IV part I and A Midsummer Night's Dream for my Shakespeare class, but since I read those last year I won't count them. Same will go for The Merchant of Venice, which is up next.)

It amazes me that I spent _months_ in rehearsals for this play back in high school and missed so much of what was going on. Don Pedro flirting with Beatrice?! How'd I miss that? And speaking of Beatrice, I can now say that I do indeed think Portia is cooler. Not by _too_ much, and actually the only difference is that Beatrice wails to Benedick to duel Claudio until he concedes, whereas Portia would have just rolled up in drag and done it herself. ;)

And alas, among all the greater insight I now have into this play, I still think Hero is a cardboard cutout: insert good-girl daughter of venerable old man and love interest for hot young soldier here. Really there's not much else to her character. I guess Shakespeare was either saving himself for writing such awesome females in The Merchant of Venice or had already shot his load doing so.

Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 197



26 / 36 books. 72% done!
janetlin: (Shakespeare)
(Have also in the meantime read Henry IV part I and A Midsummer Night's Dream for my Shakespeare class, but since I read those last year I won't count them. Same will go for The Merchant of Venice, which is up next.)

It amazes me that I spent _months_ in rehearsals for this play back in high school and missed so much of what was going on. Don Pedro flirting with Beatrice?! How'd I miss that? And speaking of Beatrice, I can now say that I do indeed think Portia is cooler. Not by _too_ much, and actually the only difference is that Beatrice wails to Benedick to duel Claudio until he concedes, whereas Portia would have just rolled up in drag and done it herself. ;)

And alas, among all the greater insight I now have into this play, I still think Hero is a cardboard cutout: insert good-girl daughter of venerable old man and love interest for hot young soldier here. Really there's not much else to her character. I guess Shakespeare was either saving himself for writing such awesome females in The Merchant of Venice or had already shot his load doing so.

Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 197



26 / 36 books. 72% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
'Nother one down. This picks up _right_ where Dragonsong left off and covers Menolly's first week at the Harper Hall. Only a week?! Well, this _is_ super-speshul Menolly we're talking about. I'm still in that odd ambivalent place where sometimes I want to roll my eyes at her Sue-ish tendencies, and others I genuinely like her. I'm more in love with Robinton with each book, though.

Title: Dragonsinger
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 277



25 / 36 books. 69% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
'Nother one down. This picks up _right_ where Dragonsong left off and covers Menolly's first week at the Harper Hall. Only a week?! Well, this _is_ super-speshul Menolly we're talking about. I'm still in that odd ambivalent place where sometimes I want to roll my eyes at her Sue-ish tendencies, and others I genuinely like her. I'm more in love with Robinton with each book, though.

Title: Dragonsinger
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 277



25 / 36 books. 69% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
I'm continuing my Anne McCaffrey experience with the first of the Harper Hall books. This one was a pretty fast read (or maybe my speed in general is picking up), in the same clear and easy style as the first two books of hers. I'm... sort of ambivalent about Menolly. I get happily caught up in her story and then every now and then it hits me that she's a _raging_ Sue. With the phenomenal talent (music) and the woe-is-me-nobody-understands-my-art and the running away from home and leet survival skills and Impressing _nine_ fire lizards... In my edition on a page right before the foreword is a list of their colors and names. So before I even started reading this story, my back was up.

However, I'm not sure what it is about her that makes me still like Menolly, but I do, so I'll keep reading. Pern continues to be an interesting place, and in this book we learned a little more; Menolly is from a Sea Hold, so we find out about life outside the Weyr, and specifically about sailing and fishing. Also it's interesting to see weyr life from an outsider, get a different perspective on events from a previous book.

Title: Dragonsong
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 192



24 / 36 books. 67% done!

Ooh, also, lookie! New goal since I've now met my first one. Whee!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
I'm continuing my Anne McCaffrey experience with the first of the Harper Hall books. This one was a pretty fast read (or maybe my speed in general is picking up), in the same clear and easy style as the first two books of hers. I'm... sort of ambivalent about Menolly. I get happily caught up in her story and then every now and then it hits me that she's a _raging_ Sue. With the phenomenal talent (music) and the woe-is-me-nobody-understands-my-art and the running away from home and leet survival skills and Impressing _nine_ fire lizards... In my edition on a page right before the foreword is a list of their colors and names. So before I even started reading this story, my back was up.

However, I'm not sure what it is about her that makes me still like Menolly, but I do, so I'll keep reading. Pern continues to be an interesting place, and in this book we learned a little more; Menolly is from a Sea Hold, so we find out about life outside the Weyr, and specifically about sailing and fishing. Also it's interesting to see weyr life from an outsider, get a different perspective on events from a previous book.

Title: Dragonsong
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 192



24 / 36 books. 67% done!

Ooh, also, lookie! New goal since I've now met my first one. Whee!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
Since I had tons of free time last week while the internet was down, I was able to finish Dragonquest. It picks up seven years after the events of Dragonflight, and most of the characters are the same. The plot thickens in regards to ancient technology coming back into play and trying to figure out what happened so long ago and why. At least, that's the part that _I_ find interesting. Which I think is pretty cool, that there's so much going on that each person reading will pick up and focus on something, and it might not be the same from person to person. Very complex and layered. And of course, as with most fantasy, there is always the possibility of choosing _not_ to focus and think too hard about anything, and just sit back and enjoy the show.

Title: Dragonquest
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 333



22 / 24 books. 92% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
Since I had tons of free time last week while the internet was down, I was able to finish Dragonquest. It picks up seven years after the events of Dragonflight, and most of the characters are the same. The plot thickens in regards to ancient technology coming back into play and trying to figure out what happened so long ago and why. At least, that's the part that _I_ find interesting. Which I think is pretty cool, that there's so much going on that each person reading will pick up and focus on something, and it might not be the same from person to person. Very complex and layered. And of course, as with most fantasy, there is always the possibility of choosing _not_ to focus and think too hard about anything, and just sit back and enjoy the show.

Title: Dragonquest
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 333



22 / 24 books. 92% done!
janetlin: (Shakespeare)
This is the only play for my "Shakespeare's Early Plays" class which I haven't already read and/or performed. And I actually liked it quite a lot. Read it in one sitting, out of my stonking huge Complete Works of Shakespeare because the bookstore was out of the little paperbacks.

Richard himself... I'm kind of ambivalent. Sometimes he's obnoxiously selfish, others he's unbearably mopy "Let us sit upon the ground / and tell sad stories of the deaths of kings," and I only really sympathized with him toward the very end when he's saying farewell to his wife and they can't stop kissing each other (it's really adorable). But the more we talked about it in class, I started equating his bipolar antics with this notion of the king's two bodies. When he's up, he's the King-with-a-capital-K and life is good, and when he's down he's just poor (and mortal) Richard, king-with-a-lower-case-k. Also he might have secret wells of badassery because he singlehandedly killed two or three would-be murderers while he was imprisoned in the Tower.

And then sometimes I felt like I was reading the Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) show. Which is understandable since this is the prequel to that play, but it reminds me of how frustrated I was reading Henry IV, part 1 and feeling like I was watching the Prince Hal show. And oh, yes, that's the next play on our reading list. *facepalm* Maybe on second reading it won't be as much of a slog as it was last time.

Title: Richard II
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 352



21 / 24 books. 88% done!
janetlin: (Shakespeare)
This is the only play for my "Shakespeare's Early Plays" class which I haven't already read and/or performed. And I actually liked it quite a lot. Read it in one sitting, out of my stonking huge Complete Works of Shakespeare because the bookstore was out of the little paperbacks.

Richard himself... I'm kind of ambivalent. Sometimes he's obnoxiously selfish, others he's unbearably mopy "Let us sit upon the ground / and tell sad stories of the deaths of kings," and I only really sympathized with him toward the very end when he's saying farewell to his wife and they can't stop kissing each other (it's really adorable). But the more we talked about it in class, I started equating his bipolar antics with this notion of the king's two bodies. When he's up, he's the King-with-a-capital-K and life is good, and when he's down he's just poor (and mortal) Richard, king-with-a-lower-case-k. Also he might have secret wells of badassery because he singlehandedly killed two or three would-be murderers while he was imprisoned in the Tower.

And then sometimes I felt like I was reading the Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) show. Which is understandable since this is the prequel to that play, but it reminds me of how frustrated I was reading Henry IV, part 1 and feeling like I was watching the Prince Hal show. And oh, yes, that's the next play on our reading list. *facepalm* Maybe on second reading it won't be as much of a slog as it was last time.

Title: Richard II
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 352



21 / 24 books. 88% done!
janetlin: (Reading)
The main reason for the huge gap since my last update is that I was struggling through this book here. Yep, a month plus. Bleh. For as much as I liked The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife just really didn't do it for me. I never really did get drawn into the story, and I only finished it because I was determined to do so. Now I feel the same sense of obligation to read the final book, but I'm not sure that's really a very good motivation to read anything. Folks who have read it, is it worth it? I know it's hardly fair to judge a trilogy by its second installment, so I'm at least willing to give it a try if I don't hear nothing but negative reviews.

Title: The Subtle Knife
Author: Philip Pullman
Pages: 326



20 / 24 books. 83% done!
janetlin: (Reading)
The main reason for the huge gap since my last update is that I was struggling through this book here. Yep, a month plus. Bleh. For as much as I liked The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife just really didn't do it for me. I never really did get drawn into the story, and I only finished it because I was determined to do so. Now I feel the same sense of obligation to read the final book, but I'm not sure that's really a very good motivation to read anything. Folks who have read it, is it worth it? I know it's hardly fair to judge a trilogy by its second installment, so I'm at least willing to give it a try if I don't hear nothing but negative reviews.

Title: The Subtle Knife
Author: Philip Pullman
Pages: 326



20 / 24 books. 83% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
(probably the most appropriate use of this icon to date)

Wow, not so good about keeping up with my book reporting, am I? While I was in New Zealand, I bought and read Dragonflight, the first of Anne McCaffrey's Pern books. Deja vu seems to be a common theme in my reading these days, because despite that I'm _certain_ I've never read this one, bits and pieces kept feeling familiar. Little snippets of dialogue, situations and references. Weird. ETA: Aha, upon deeper exploration in Google and Wiki I see that this book contains two short stories which I might have read elsewhere. That would do it.

I enjoyed this, and think I will pick up the rest of the series, too, and probably read them in publication order instead of chronological order. It's fun to read the beginnings of a familiar situation after the fact, and have those moments of "Ah, _that's_ why x is so!" I've re-ordered my boxed Narnia set, and First King of Shannara should be read _after_ The Sword of Shannara. Ignore what the numbers on the covers say and the order in which bookstore employees may have put them on the shelf. {/soapbox}

Anyhow, yes, Dragonflight was good fantasy fun, and I was wishing I'd been able to find the sequel Dragonquest so I could read it, too. Then I came home and discovered that Dragonquest was already sitting on my shelf, loaned to me _years_ ago by my uncle. Funny how things work out, eh?

Title: Dragonflight (This cover is much prettier than the one on my 1970 edition)
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 253



19 / 24 books. 79% done!
janetlin: (Booky dragon)
(probably the most appropriate use of this icon to date)

Wow, not so good about keeping up with my book reporting, am I? While I was in New Zealand, I bought and read Dragonflight, the first of Anne McCaffrey's Pern books. Deja vu seems to be a common theme in my reading these days, because despite that I'm _certain_ I've never read this one, bits and pieces kept feeling familiar. Little snippets of dialogue, situations and references. Weird. ETA: Aha, upon deeper exploration in Google and Wiki I see that this book contains two short stories which I might have read elsewhere. That would do it.

I enjoyed this, and think I will pick up the rest of the series, too, and probably read them in publication order instead of chronological order. It's fun to read the beginnings of a familiar situation after the fact, and have those moments of "Ah, _that's_ why x is so!" I've re-ordered my boxed Narnia set, and First King of Shannara should be read _after_ The Sword of Shannara. Ignore what the numbers on the covers say and the order in which bookstore employees may have put them on the shelf. {/soapbox}

Anyhow, yes, Dragonflight was good fantasy fun, and I was wishing I'd been able to find the sequel Dragonquest so I could read it, too. Then I came home and discovered that Dragonquest was already sitting on my shelf, loaned to me _years_ ago by my uncle. Funny how things work out, eh?

Title: Dragonflight (This cover is much prettier than the one on my 1970 edition)
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Pages: 253



19 / 24 books. 79% done!

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