Tag Archives: TBR-challenge

TBR Challenge: New to you author

The TBR challenge for last month was a new-to-you author. I finished reading this book on time, but I neglected to finish the blog about it.

I decided to read Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. I’ve never read anything by Gantos, but I’ve heard him interviewed on NPR and thought he was really funny. I also heard really great things about his Newbery Award acceptance speech last year. There are a couple of his books that I’ve been interested in reading, and I bought a copy of this one at the ALA conference last June in Anaheim.

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I have to say, that I was a little bit disappointed in this book. I really wanted to like it, but I just had a hard time getting into it. It was a little bit slow for me, and I didn’t find it as funny as I thought that I would.

Frankly, it’s taken me much longer than I planned to write this blog post, and I’m having trouble remembering exactly what I didn’t like about it. I’d like to be able to at least recommend it for boys in the target age range, but I’m not sure that I would do that either. Maybe if you know a 10-ish year old boy who also is really interested in history? For every book its reader, right? I’m just not sure that I’d recommend this broadly.

Anyway, I’m not letting this deter me from the other Jack Gantos books on my TBR shelf. I still hear great things about his memoir.

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TBR Challenge: Series Catch-Up

I’m still making my way through the TBR challenge, which has been a fun way to try to get some books off of my ever increasing to-be-read pile. The theme for this month was series catch-up, and I decided to read the last two volumes of Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. I got these last two volumes (one as a gift, one purchased) around Christmas 2011. This image is from the cover of Volume 9:

Transmetropolitan Cover

Two items of business before we move forward:

  • Disclaimer: it has been several years since I first started reading this series, so I am at the mercy of time and my deteriorating memory.
  • Official warning: reader discretion is advised before beginning this series. It is graphic and sometimes disturbing. Personally, I’m okay with it. It’s done to make a point, and it works. Other people might not be able to move past that.

Official business complete! On with the reviewing.

Transmetropolitan is a delightfully bizarre, often deeply disturbing series. The series main character, Spider Jerusalem is a journalist. He has “filthy assistants”. Together, they have adventures and report the news. At the beginning of the series, I enjoyed it but didn’t really see where it was going. A few volumes in, Spider begins to uncover a story that is bigger than he had originally anticipated. This plot line slowly increases in importance, becoming the central arc of the series.

Another interesting development as the series progressed was that I started to really care about the characters. Initially, I just sort of saw them as some sort of deeply disturbed part of Warren Ellis’s brain that had come loose. By the last volume, I was so invested that some sort of water came out of my eyes a little while I was reading. It was strange.

All in all, I strongly recommend this series for lovers of: Warren Ellis, strange cyberpunk dystopian comics, or weirdly profound commentary on new media/technology and its effects on journalism, politics, and society as a whole.

TBR Challenge: Recommended Read

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For this month’s entry into the TBR Challenge, I ran into a slight problem. I had planned to read a different book but did not have time to start and finish a new anything. However, I had gotten Cinder as a Christmas gift, started it back in December, and then set it aside. It also was recommended to me last fall by Jackie. Frankly, I was sold at “Cyborg Cinderella in New Beijing”. So, it seemed like a reasonable plan just to finish this instead of starting in on something new, even though it has not lived as long in my to-be-read pile as many others.

Cinder, our spunky protagonist, is a mechanic in New Beijing. She has the requisite wicked stepmother, plus two step sisters (one of the wicked variety and one not). Cinder is also a cyborg, much to her chagrin. Along the way, she becomes entangled with the handsome Prince Kai, a mysterious doctor, plague research, and an evil Queen from the Moon with mind control powers. Sounds great, right?

I definitely enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting, and the world is fairly complex. My only complaint is that I was left feeling like the book is mostly exposition for the rest of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series. Cinder is such a fun character that I want to spend more time with her, so I’m nervous but intrigued about the fact that the next book in the series (Scarlet) will feature a new protagonist. However, I’m certainly willing to stick with this series to find out what happens.

TBR Challenge 2013: Trickster

To kick off the TBR challenge this month, the theme was short stories. I decided to read Trickster, a book that I picked up at the American Library Association conference last summer after hearing the editor, Matt Dembicki, speak on a panel.

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Trickster is a graphic novel that collects Native American trickster stories. The stories are written by Native American storytellers, and each one uses a different illustrator. I think this is a really interesting concept. The stories are enjoyable and some of the art is really lovely. However, I actually didn’t like this book quite as much as I’d hoped that I would. It would probably help to say that I don’t generally enjoy short stories for some reason. I always want to, but I can just never get emotionally involved with them.

That being said, I think I would still recommend this book if you really like both graphic novels and short stories, especially if you also have a soft spot for mythology/folklore.

TBR Challenge 2013

A friend of mine sent me a link to this reading challenge for 2013. The goal is to get some books off of the ever-growing to-be-read pile that so many of us have. I think I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes. There are suggested themes for each month, but it isn’t necessarily required to stick to them. They were also originally set up by a fan of romance novels, which isn’t my favorite genre, so I’ll probably do some theme-tweaking as I go along.

The only real requirement is to post something about your chosen book on the third Wednesday of each month. Is anybody else up for reading along with me?

January 16 – We Love Short Shorts! (Short stories, Novellas, category romance)

February 20 – Recommended Read (something recommended by a fellow reader)

March 20 – Series Catch-Up (pick a book from a series you’re behind on)

April 17 – New-To-You Author

May 15 – More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile).

June 19 – Lovely RITA (RWA RITA nominees OR winners)

July 17 – The Classics (Something classic within the romance genre – an author, a specific book, a trope/theme – I’m open to wide interpretations here!)

August 21 – Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!)

September 18 – Western (Contemporary or historical)

October 16 – Paranormal or romantic suspense

November 20 – All About The Hype (a book that created such chatter that it was inescapable).

December 18 – Holiday themes (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, it’s all good!)