Monday, May 31, 2010

Poem of the Month: May

Clever, beautiful, charming, funny, tragic.




Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave?

"Ah, are you digging on my grave,
            My loved one? — planting rue?"
— "No: yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
'It cannot hurt her now,' he said,
            'That I should not be true.'"

"Then who is digging on my grave,
            My nearest dearest kin?"
— "Ah, no: they sit and think, 'What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
            Her spirit from Death's gin.'"

"But someone digs upon my grave?
            My enemy? — prodding sly?"
— "Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
            And cares not where you lie.

"Then, who is digging on my grave?
            Say — since I have not guessed!"
— "O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog , who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
            Have not disturbed your rest?"

"Ah yes! You dig upon my grave…
            Why flashed it not to me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
            A dog's fidelity!"

"Mistress, I dug upon your grave
            To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
            It was your resting place."

- Thomas Hardy

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Henry James, You Can Take That Screw And...

Daisy Miller bored me no end. It was snobby and over done. Unfortunately, I had to make my way through it for a class I was doing. But I thought I'd give Henry James the benefit of the doubt with The Turn of the Screw. After all, lots of people have said it's exactly the kind of story I'd enjoy. That may be the case, but good Lord, that prose is dreadful.

The sentences were far too long, and the syntax was clumsy. The language itself wasn't pretty or interesting enough to warrant slowing down to figure out what he was actually trying to say. It was hard work, and it really wasn't worth it. 13 pages in and I wanted to throw the thing in the bin. I'm genuinely quite alarmed at how horrible it was to read. I couldn't care less anymore about what story I might be missing out on. There, that's now the second book I have had to put down without finishing. The man had a cheek to be remotely negative about Thomas Hardy. What an idiot.

I'm so angry about my disappointment that I'd happily be rid of the book. So if anyone out there is curious enough, or if anyone actually likes the book then you can have it. It's a 100% recycled Penguin classic edition, and it's yours. For the first follower to send me an email: bethany.anderson26@gmail.com

Swiftly moving onto more pleasant things in life; wine and the Eurovision song contest (yes, even that).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Free Books? Say Wha?

Just felt the need to share this little gem with you all. I like to go on everyday to see what is on offer. Yes, this website really does offer a free book every day; all you have to pay is the postage. It's a fair deal, I feel. Definitely a worthwhile venture: WOW A FREEBOOK

Hello to anyone that might be new, through the Friday book blog hop! I'm counting up to the 150 follower milestone now, and once I'm there my secret surprise will be revealed. Hoo-ha!

Today I pre-ordered the new Palahniuk and the new Bret Easton Ellis, so I will be filled with a girly glee for the next couple of months.


Also discovered several comments people have left were in a queue of 'spam' on my IntenseDebates profile. I have no idea how this has happened, but I've approved and responded to them all. I make it my business to respond to every comment left here, because I value everyone's opinions and readership. Really, I find it quite rude when I comment very insightful (or very fangirly) comments about a particular book or author, or what have you, and I get no response. Okay, so lots of bloggers have a much bigger readership than I do, but I still don't think it's an excuse. After all, interactive chat is best.

Too tired to make it to that party tonight, which is a shame, but there's no way I'd be any kind of company tonight. So instead I'll begin The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, and we'll be making our own pizzas! Nummy! Have a good weekend, all.
xo

For Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray ~ Oscar Wilde

Only an hour ago I put this book down, but only after reading the final paragraph several times and flicking through the pages and reading at random sentences. The Picture of Dorian Gray was a stunning, sublime, beautifully rich read. Whole paragraphs and characters are dedicated to decadence and splendour. Every sentence was an absolute thrill. Pick up the book, flick through the pages, stop at any line and it will wow. Wilde's genius is just incredible.

As a child I was read the stories of 'The Selfish Giant' and 'The Happy Prince.' I returned to them again and again (and let's be honest, I never fail to cry). Why it took me so long to get round to Dorian Gray, I don't know. The story of a beautiful man selling his soul for eternal youth is exciting enough as it is, but throw into that a grotesque portrait and a continuous discourse on aesthetics and I'm there! Really, I'm not sure where to begin. Everything about this novel is perfect; the delicious style, colourful characters, contrasting setting, elements of philosophy, the Gothic. To review this properly I would really need to take a deep breath and slow down, but I have a feeling I will be gushing about this novel for some time. A new and very firm favourite, and the kind of book I can see myself recommending forever and ever. It's the kind of book that I really want to get my teeth into, to just throw myself into all the words and bathe in them. Oh, Wilde, what have you done to me?

In many ways it's a shame that this was Wilde's only novel, but in others it makes it so special, just a singular glimpse into the genius of his head. I'll be returning to this book soon, I know, and I can't wait to get my hands on the short stories again.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Alphabet Thursday: K

To say that Kevin Khatchadourian was a troubled teenager would be a stupid understatement. Most of what the reader knows and understands about Kevin comes from the perspective of his mother Eva. Through a series of letters, Eva tries to figure out and come to terms with the high school massacre committed by her son.

Kevin is dangerous, even as a child. From an early age he is cold, calculating and maniupulative. He fights a constant battle against his mother, while playing the part of the perfect son to his father. Memorably, Kevin ruins his mother's study; as a travel writer, Eva has her study in her new home and decorates it with personal and sentimental memorabilia. She's only too aware of how vindictive Kevin is towards her, so the room is fitted with a lock. Still, he makes his way in and throws ink all over the room, staining and ruining everything. He plays up to his dad with his 'little innocent and naive child just playing around' act, while Eva knows that Kevin is all too aware of the anguish he has caused.

Despite a comfortable upbringing, depsite two clever and responsible parents, despite a father who is willing to do anything for him, Kevin grows in his twisted and psychotic ways. It makes for a horrendously harrowing read, but it's utterly fascinating in all the questions that it tosses up. Nature and nuture, morals and motivations. All the same, Kevin is a human being who perhaps only needs comfort and love, shocking and awful as his actions might be.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 25 May

"A great poet, a really great poet, is the most unpoetical of all creatures. But inferior poets are absolutely fascinating. The worse their rhymes are, the more picturesque they look. The mere fact of having published a book of second-rate sonnets makes a man quite irresistible. He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realise." (50)

The Picture of Dorian Gray
~ Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 24, 2010

All Art is Quite Useless

This Q&A has been doing the rounds for a while now.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:

Depends on what I'm snacking on. I like to keep my books in pristine condition which usually means holding it with two hands, so I've nothing free to snack with. That, and I'm clumsy so my pages would end up stained with chocolate/crumbs.

What is your favourite drink while reading?

Tea. Always tea. 100% tea. Breakfast tea, Twinings tea. Everyday tea. Tea.
 
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

BLASPHEMY! I despise writing in books or creasing corners. It's just plain rude, and ugly. No writing, no highlighting, no nothing. If I find something I want to remember, I mark the page with some paper or a coloured sticky note. Eww: doing otherwise is just disgusting.
 
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Bookmarks. Again, I resent the concept of folding pages and creasing spines. Like I said, it's just rude and horrifically mean.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Fiction. At the moment I'm reading only fiction. I graduated with my undergraduate degree last summer, and since then have decided to put non-fiction on hold. I'll go back to philosophy text books eventually...
 
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I like closure when I can get it. If I'm on the bus I'll try to stop at the end of a paragraph or page at least, but I always try to get to the end of the chapter before I go to sleep, else I just return to it confused.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

This has happened to me only once, with a fictional book. It has happened countless times with my philosophy books, or with literary criticism. Numbers of feminist critics have been thrown in anger/disgust at my floor.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

Nopes. If I can't work it out, I'll make a note of it. If I can work it out, I'll make a note of it anyway. I have a notebook full of words that I haven't known. Wordsmith by trade, it's important to store them away.

What are you currently reading?

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I'm nearly half of the way through and I am insanely in love. My goodness, Wilde was an absolute genius. I want to make note of every single sentence - each alone would stand as a quote.

What is the last book you bought?

Boyracers by Alan Bissett, the final book for the Read Your Name challenge!

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

One at a time. Reading more than one at once is just silly, and it means scrambling ideas and characters. More than that, I believe that every book is owed my individual attention and thoughts. I think I'd be really missing out if I had to think about three different books at once.
 
Do you have a favourite time/place to read?

Cosied up on the sofa with a pot of tea, or stretched out on the grass on a warm day (which is rare).

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?

Series? What is that? I don't read series. The only one I follow is S Roit's Paris Immortal series; very enjoyable, delectable and real modern vampire tales. The only ones in existence that I enjoy. They're not for children.
Generally, series are written for genres I detest, ie romance, fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal and 'urban fantasy' whatever that's supposed to mean.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

Thomas Hardy, Chuck Palahniuk, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, Nabokov's Lolita, and Easton Ellis' American Psycho. Just do it.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author's last name, etc.)

They're bundled into groups, but not properly organised. Authors are grouped together, and then publishers with similar spines (Penguin classics, Oxford World classics).
 
                                                   -----------------------------------------
Who came up with this list originally? Why are some words in UK spelling and others in US? Who knows?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

For Review: Empire of the Sun ~ JG Ballard

When my friend left Edinburgh for Cardiff he had a stack of books that he didn't intend on taking with him. Dyslexic, he'd bought himself a lovely collection of books to get him motivated with reading. Unfortunately for him, he never quite got round to the challenge. Fortunately for me, I inherited a bunch of new books.

Empire of the Sun was the one I recognised the most by title, and of course I'd heard of JG Ballard. I had no idea what it was about, but following a conversation with my boyfriend the other day I was thrilled to realise that it concerns the events of Pearl Harbour. Maybe it was growing up in Scotland, or maybe it was because I didn't sit Higher history, but I had absolutely no knowledge of Peal Harbour. In this novel I learned so much, and likely it was a more coloured telling than I'd learn from Wikipedia.

The narration of Jim's story is frank and honest, and really captures his mentality. Of course, this is written as based on the events of Ballard's own experiences. At 11/12 years old, Jim is naive in his understanding of the war. As a Brit in Shanghai, he has a childlike admiration for the Japanese, specifically the pilots. As he becomes part of Lunghua camp he is forced to work things out for himself, lacking the parents he has lost and is trying to find. Jim gives everything to everyone, working hard for the benefit of others and yet receiving little for it. The horrors of war are so easily sentamentalised, and the terrible fates of his friends and camp neighbours could so easily be so harrowing to read. But it's all just matter of fact, just bold and blunt description. Shocking at times, but it's just there. It's just life as Jim has accepted it.

I'm not one for a happy ending, or for any kind of catharsis, and it was just so sad that Ballard had to throw in just one line that tied everything up and made everything better and gave affirmation to everything. I imagine that there are plenty of readers who would whoop for joy, but I just had to shake my head in disappointment. All the same, it wasn't enough to detract from such a rich and enjoyable read.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Alphabet Thursday - J

Jakob Beer, a Jewish seven year old in Poland, escapes from the Nazis following a raid on his home. If that's not a horronedous enough start to childhood, I'm not sure what is. But this isn't the crux of his story. Jakob is rescued by a Greek geologist, so his personality is formed from scrambled backgrounds. He speaks Polish, learns Greek and English. And yet, the more he gains from his new life, the more he forgets of his past.

When Jakob migrates to Toronto, he has even more to contend with; 'culture shock' is the phrase that comes to mind. Jakob has to constantly refresh his mind, body and soul with new people, new places, new ways of life.

Jakob Beer appears to be made up of pieces, like a collage or an inticrate patchwork quilt. Prior to the novel beginning the readers knows that the narrator is dead, so from the first page it's a game of putting together pieces that never fully complete. His soul is in fragments, because his memory is not static. It moves and grows and changes through all of his experiences.

There is something so fantastical and sublime about the sensual and philosophical beauty of Jakob, and of all the components of the novel. Through Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels proves herself a magnificent poet.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just Some Friday Thoughts

Friday again. How did that happen? Life seems to be made up of a series of 'TFIF's lately. (Please feel free to make the first F whatever you might like it to be).

I've had a bunch of emails recently about people having difficult with my commenting system. I love the thing, because I get email notifications and I can reply to each message individually, so I'd struggle to uninstall it. But I have discovered that if you're having difficulty finding how to comment, you can click on the title of the post. The comment box should then pop up! *fingers crossed*

This past week and a bit has been busy with UK election chat. It's the first time I've voted in the general election (the first time I've been old enough) but it's the only time I've ever actually half-cared about politics. What an interesting week it's been. I've come to the conclusion that 'democracy' doesn't really do what it says on the tin.

In the meantime I've been honoured with a couple more awards:

Aren't they lovely? I'm always flattered to get more awards - they're great to collect! I've still got to pass them on to fellow bloggers, but it's a case of finding time. That, and I feel like I've nearly exhausted my blog list with passing on previous awards.

And, as if you need reminding, be sure to browse the Friday Book Blog Hop over at Crazy-For-Books. It's done slightly differently now, so pay attention!







P.S Thank you to those who have submitted questions to my Ask Me Anything! Some great stuff there!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Alphabet Thursday: I

He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole  frame most loosely hung together.

Ichabod Crane is the hapless hero of 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'. In 1999 I was introduced to the story by none other than Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. I was keen to read the story itself, so my mum produced a copy of Washington Irving's Sketch-Book from the library. Burton's rendition was reasonably close to the text, but Ichabod is very much romantacised in Depp form.

In Irving's story, Ichabod Crane is only out to get what he wants; few morals, and lots of fine dining. However, he's also ridiculously superstituous so when the school teacher travels to Sleep Hollow, he's met with a series of frighening possibilities. Poor Ichabod believes every story and myth he hears to be truth, so when he hears the legend of the Headless Horseman, he's quite literally frightened to death.

It's a curious little story, and it progresses quite differently from Burton's wonderful but sensational telling. The Ichabods are quite worlds apart; Irving's proud Crane is a far cry from the bumbling (but so adorable) Depp.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 11 May

 "Jim disliked this regatta of corpses. In the rising sunlight the paper petals resembled the coils of viscera strewn around the terrorist bomb victims in the Nanking Road." (41)






~~~~
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two (or three or four, if you're me) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


+ This is my 50th post! Whoa! That's pretty crazy going.
+101 followers! I honestly never thought I would have so many people following my blog. I'm very grateful to everyone for following, reading and commenting. Thank you so much! :] Some exciting things to happen when I get to 150!
+ <3

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Ask Me Anything

Believe it or not, my life doesn't entirely consist of this small corner of the interwebz. In all reality, I'm a living breathing human being (honest). I think it could be nice to share some of that life with my blog readers, because it's always nice to know a little about your blogger. So here goes.



Yup, that's a formspring account. Just type in any question you like and I'll get round to answering. Check it out.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

For Review: Norwegian Wood ~ Haruki Murakami

There is something so deliciously cosy that draws me to Murakami's books. He details eating, sleeping, walking with simple language, and yet in a way that is just so warm. It's ordinary domesticity but it's by no means boring. And yet, Murakami's novels are simultaneously edgy and quietly disturbing. It's the juxtaposition of the known and the unknown that attracts me, but I think this might also be what puts people off. I can entirely understand why Murakami isn't everyone's cup of tea.

What I also adore about Murakami's novels are the really intense characters. Norwegian Wood is Watanabe's recollections of his student days after the suicide of his best friend. He recalls his relationship with his friend's girlfriend Naoko, the complications of their friendship and his changing feelings towards her. Yet he also considers new friend Midori - a bright, very forward and curious young woman who harbours odd fantasies and ambitions. Watanabe struggles to choose between the two women, ultimately finding himself caught between two ideals. Intense, but it has it's fun moments; trips to an adult cinema, amusing stories of his student friends, and an open 60s sexuality.


Norwegian Wood had me fascinated. I could never second guess any of the characters, and the book is full of feelings of excitement and foreboding - all at once. Such a touching portrayal of how deeply our relationships affect and change our lives.

Murakami fans - what should I read next?
(I've read After Dark, Sputnik Sweetheart, and Norwegian Wood)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Trailer Trash

Trailers for films make sense. Couple of minutes to get the general idea of the film, some snappy music and hot celebs and BAM! You can't wait to go and see that when it comes out at the cinema.

But a book trailer?? I've been seeing these round the interwebz in a bunch of places. So far the ones I've seen have been for Austen spin-offs or Meyer related nonsense. I don't actually understand. So I'm supposed to watch a minute of live action and think: whoa, time to read the book. What? That doesn't make sense.

1. There might be a bunch of hot men/women in the trailer, but maybe they look nothing like their written counterparts.
2. Trailers give absolutely no indication of how well-written or not the book is. Or is this the point? Just flashy images and ignore the fact that the writing is complete and utter drivel.
3. Waste of time and effort.

Apparently in this day and age videos are the way to get word round. It's been advised to make a video for YouTube when promoting your work to agents/publishers, but I always envisaged reading aloud some of the text, or at least featuring some of the words somewhere. Not just a sequence of silliness. Can anyone clue me into this bizarre new trend? 22 and I already feel behind the media times...

In other news:

I've added pages to my blog! This should make life so much easier. It includes a list of awards and a mile worth of to-be-reads.

It's Friday, it's the blog hop. Go find something great.













Time to go find the red wine. Enjoy your weekend! xo
The first step — especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money — the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.
         - Chuck Palahniuk

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rejected...Like a Cake Shop Without Any Cakes

From my university mailbox:

Three tips for coping with rejection:
  1. Laugh at your rejections.
  2. Learn from your rejections.
  3. Always have a new project underway, something that will give you hope no matter how many rejections come your way for the previous project.
You may take some consolation in knowing the rejection history of these writers and works:

Dune by Frank Herbert – 13 rejections
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 14 rejections
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis – 17 rejections
Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 18 rejections  
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – 29 rejections 
Carrie by Stephen King – over 30 rejections 
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 38 rejections
A Time to Kill by John Grisham – 45 rejections 
Louis L’Amour, author of over 100 western novels – over 300 rejections before publishing his first book
John Creasy, author of 564 mystery novels – 743 rejections before publishing his first book
Ray Bradbury, author of over 100 science fiction novels and stories – around 800 rejections before selling his first story
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – rejected so universally the author decided to self-publish the book

From rejection slip for George Orwell's Animal Farm:
“It is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.”

From rejection slip for Norman MacLean’s A River Runs Through It:
“These stories have trees in them.”

From rejection slip for article sent to the San Francisco Examiner to Rudyard Kipling:
“I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language."

From rejection slip for The Diary of Anne Frank:
“The girl doesn't, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level.”

Rejection slip for Dr. Seuss’s And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street:
“Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

Rejection from a Chinese economic journal:
 “We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity.”

Alphabet Thursday: H

Being a murderer with a sensational but incomplete and unorthodox memory, I cannot tell you, ladies and gentleman, the exact day when…

Humbert Humbert admits to his own immorality (at least of homicide, if not paedophilia) and, therefore, to his unreliability as a narrator. As a reader I am, however, completely engrossed in Humberts world and enveloped into his emotions and ideas. Humberts expert use of language draws us in to sympathise and, indeed, empathise with him. After all, he is a protagonist faced with an unattainable and unrequited love. Is Humbert the flawed tragic hero? Lear had his vanities; Humbert has his fantasies.
Humbert proves himself capable of drawing any audience through a use of free indirect discourse. He adapts his language to that of the women in the stores as he talks of Dream pink, frosted aqua, glans mauve… 

To use that old cliché, Humbert lulls the reader into a false sense of security and it is only in closing the book to take a brief pause that we realise that he has also lulled us into almost forgetting or reconsidering our morals.

In short, Nabokovs Lolita presents a moral monster who is simultaneously fictionally fascinating.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 04 May


"This meant I had to stay put until morning and go back to the dorm filled with self-loathing and disillusionment, sunlight stabbing my eyes, mouth coated with sand, head belonging to someone else." p43

Norwegian Wood ~ Haruki Mukami











~~~~
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two (or three or four, if you're me) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Risk It for a Biscuit

I've been really into taking a risk lately - sometimes it's worth throwing caution to the wind and just going for it! So far, the lottery and the Grand National have proved failures, but I'm sure this challenge will be far more lucrative! You can enter this challenge on one of three levels:

A Small Gamble: Complete any 3 of the 12 challenges described below.
A Moderate Gamble: Complete any 6 of the 12 challenges described below.
Gambling It All: Complete all 12 of the challenges described below.

I've opted for the moderate gamble because I'm coming into this a few months late (happy May, by the way) but if it goes well I'd like to gamble it all! All the details are over at Find Your Next Book Here, but these are the challenges:

The 12 Challenges

Challenge 1: Read Your Doppelganger (worth 1 entry)
Find an author who has either the same initials, the same first name, the same last name, or the exact same name as you. Read a book by this author and write a post about it. (If you try to keep your identity anonymous on your blog, you don't have to reveal what part of the author's name is the same as your name.) 

Challenge 2: Blogroll Roulette (worth 1 entry)
Find a blogroll at either your book blog or a book blog you like that has at least 15 book blogs on it. Go to Random.org and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1 for the min. and 15 for the max. and then hit generate. Then find the blog that is that number on the blogroll you selected. (For example, if you get 10 at Random.org, then count down the list of blogs until you get to the tenth one). Go to that blog and pick a book to read from the books that they have reviewed on their blog. Read it and write a post about it. Be sure to link to the blog post you picked the book from!

Challenge 3: 100 Best Book (worth 1 entry)
Choose one of the lists below and go to the link provided. Choose a book to read from the list that you haven't read before. Read the book and write about it.
Challenge 4: Prize Winner Book (worth 1 entry)
Pick one of the major literary awards from the list below. Click on the link for the award you picked. You will find a brief description of the award and links to past winners. Pick one of the past winners, read the book and write about it.
Challenge 5: Title Word Count (worth 1 entry)
Go to Random.org and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the numbers 1 for the min. and 5 for the max. and then hit generate. Find a book to read that has that number of words in the title. Read the book and write about it.

Challenge 6: Genre Switch-Up (worth 1 entry)
Go to this list of book genres and pick a genre that you have NEVER read before. Find a book from that genre, read it, and write about it. Note: If you seriously cannot find a genre that you have never read, then pick the genre that is as far away from what you normally read.

Challenge 7: Break A Prejudice (worth 1 entry)
We all have reading prejudices--authors we don't like, genres we don't like, or even publishers we don't like. For this challenge, think of a reading prejudice you have and then find a book that is an example of this type of book. Read the book and then write about the reading prejudice you had BEFORE you read the book and how reading the book either changed your prejudice or reinforced it.

Challenge 8: Real and Inspired (worth 2 entries)
Many authors or books inspire others to pay homage to them by writing another book inspired by the original work. For this challenge, read both an original work and a book inspired by that original work. Write about both books in one post. Note: This might require some research on your part and requires reading two books so it worth 2 entries.

Challenge 9: Same Word, Different Book (worth 2 entries)
Find two books that have the same word in the title. Read both books and write about them. (Worth 2 entries because you have to read two books).

Challenge 10: Become A Character (worth 2 entries)
For this challenge, you can read any book you want. However, you have to write about the book as one of the characters from the book. The character can comment on his/her treatment by the author, other characters, the "untold story," what happened next, and so forth. You could even have two characters interviewing each other! Your imagination is the only limit. Because of the difficulty level of this challenge, it is worth two entries.

Challenge 11: All in the Family (worth 2 entries)
The writing gene often runs in the family. For this challenge, you need to find two authors from the same family (either by blood or by marriage) and read a book by each of the authors and then write about both books. Because of the research involved and having to read two books, this challenge is worth two entries. 

Challenge 12: Author Anthology Pick (worth 2 entries)Find an anthology of your choice. Read at least 5 entries in the anthology. Of the 5 entries you've read, pick your favorite one and then find a book by that writer and read it. (If your first choice doesn't have a book, then pick your next favorite until you find a writer that has a book.) Write about the anthology, your favorite pick from the anthology, and the book you read by your favorite pick. Because of having to obtain and read two books, this challenge is worth two entries.

So what will I be reading?

Challenge 2: Blogroll Roulette
electic/eccentric:
Big Fish - Daniel Wallace

Challenge 3: 100 Best Book
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

Challenge 4: Prize Winner Book
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
(Pultizer Prize 1999)

Challenge 5 - Title Word Count
#5: The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Challenge 8 - Real and Inspired
Real: The Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
Inspired: The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Challenge 9: Same Word, Different Books
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Lunar Park - Bret Easton Ellis

I won't lie - it took me a looong time to come up with what I would read for these challenges. But I am so excited! Whee~