Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's On Your Nightstand?

Five Minutes for is running their monthly "What's On Your Nightstand?" meme, a recap of the previous month's reading.

Well, if you all want a recap of October, a recap is what you'll get, by golly.

What Did I Read in October? I feel like I read an insane amount of books this month, I got nine new reviews up (although, in honesty, two of those were primarily read in September and reviewed in October). Those reviews are, in alphabetical order: 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, An Abundance of Katherines, Atonement, Beloved, Blue Bloods, The Chocolate War, The Glass Castle, The Line of Beauty, Looking for Alaska, and The Sparrow.

What Did I Purchase/Procure in October? I think I took it relatively light on purchasing books in October, but I did a fair amount of checking out books at the library.

In October I purchased:
  • Aspects of the Novel (E.M. Forster) - Nonfiction - I put this on my wish list after reading about someone reading How Fiction Works on the "People Reading" blog... that book sounded interesting to me and, upon researching it at my library, found that Forster's book was similiar to How Fiction Works (and more readily available either at my library or local book stores). I picked this up in a paperback copy from Barnes & Noble (my preferred big-box retailer).
  • Atonement (Ian McEwan) - Literary Fiction - I selected to read this book for the "Modern Classics" challenge (so I could get around to seeing the movie) and checked it out from the library. I ended up loving the book to bits and wanted it in my library, so I picked up a copy at the 1/2-Price Book Store.
  • The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova) - Science Fiction - I read a review of this over at "The Reader's Quill" blog, and decided to add this to my wish list. When I was at B&N I saw it in the bargain bin and picked it up.
  • I Am the Messenger (Markus Zusak) - YA Fiction - I've been hearing a lot about Zusak and wanted to read something by him. While I was at B&N I saw that this book was an honor book for the Printz award (and was available in a cheap mass market paperback edition), so I picked it up.
  • Ice Queen (Alice Hoffman) - Science Fiction - I really liked the Alice Hoffman novels I have read thus far, so when I saw this book (hardback for $5) in the bargain bin at B&N, I decided to pick it up.
  • Looking for Alaska (John Green) - YA Fiction - I've been watching John Green's video blog series religiously, and decided to read his books. I originally checked this book out from the library and liked it so well that I wanted it in my library, so I picked up a copy at the 1/2-Price Book Store.
  • Perfect (Natasha Friend) - YA Fiction - I was browsing at B&N in the YA section and wanted to find something that looked "different" than the typical vapid series that are written for kids. I saw this book, was attracted by the cover, and read the summary about a girl with an eating disorder and decided to pick it up.

In October I checked these books out from the library:

  • 1602 (Neil Gaiman) - Graphic Novel - On a whim I decided to check out a couple of books about graphic novels, and they said that 1602 was a "life-changing" book, so I picked this up at the library.
  • 300 (Frank Miller) - Graphic Novel - I have seen the movie adaptation of this novel and thought this might be a good graphic novel for me to read as I'm working to understand the genre (seeing as how I already have a frame of reference for the plot, characters, setting, and theme).
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison) - Literary Fiction - A "Modern Classics" challenge selection that I picked because I've been feeling strongly that everybody who is any kind of a reader has to have read at least one Morrison novel. She is the ipitomy of symbolism and lyrical writing. Finished this last week, and it was a great read.
  • The Chocolate War (Robert Cormier) - YA Fiction - During Banned Books Week I started to learn a little bit about Cormier and his lifelong contribution to YA literature, so I decided to pick up one of his books. The book lived up to the hype--a great book.
  • The Corrections (Johnathan Franzen) - Literary Fiction - A "Modern Classics" challenge selection. I've loved Franzen ever since he eschewed Oprah's book club, and I tried to read this once before, but couldn't get all the way through. I'm coming back to it determined to see if his bite is as big as his bark.
  • Gatsby's Girl (Caroline Preston) - Historical Fiction (1920's/30's) - This book is my October book club selection, but I love F. Scott Fitzgerald's characters, so this should be interesting.
  • Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know (Paul Gravett) - Nonfiction - As mentioned above, I'm learning about graphic novels, and the title seemed to speak volumes to me. I scanned it in the library and thought it seemed pretty exhaustive.
  • The Making of a Graphic Novel (Prentis Rollins) - Nonfiction - I thought this book might help me to better understand the artistry behind the graphic novel genre. It's kind of a study in the evolution of the graphic novel and a compare/contrast of current stylings in this genre.
  • The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) - Literary Fiction - "Modern Classics" challenge selection; I picked this one because I remember my mom reading this and loving it--the book had been recommended by her older sister and it's kind of a legacy thing for me.
  • Pracitcal Magic (Alice Hoffman) - Science Fiction - Another "Modern Classics" challenge book that I picked because I love Alice Hoffman's stories; her characters and the intricacies of their relationships are phenomenal. Haven't started reading this yet, it'll come after A Thousand Acres.
  • Prep (Curtis Sittenfeld) - Literary Fiction - I'd seen this book around a lot and knew that Sittenfeld was getting big publicity for her new novel that was inspired by (a farcical representation, I think) of Laura Bush, so I decided to see what all the hype was about. I'm interested to see if Sittenfeld's writing as good as her sound bites.
  • A Thousand Acres (Jane Smiley) - Literary Fiction - I selected this book for the "Modern Classics" challenge because I loved 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel and knew she won a Pulitzer for this. I started reading this on Saturday and am absolutely loving every single second of the reading. So good.

What Recommendations Did I Heed in October? In October I added the following books to my wish list (I've linked to the source where I got the recommendation that most strongly influenced my decision to add the book to my wish list):

  • The English Major (Jim Harrison) - Literary Fiction - Blurb on the NY Times blog, Paper Cuts
  • The Lace Reader (Brunonia Barry) - Science Fiction - Recommended by Reading Group Choices; unfortunately, not selected by my book club for 2009, so I'll have to read it alone
  • The New Kings of Nonfiction (Ira Glass) - Nonfiction - The executive producer/host of NPR's This American Life edited this anthology of his favorite nonfiction; his endorsement is enough for me
  • Paper Towns (John Green) - YA Fiction - As above, I like John Green's books a lot and his third novel came out in October. I'm not quite ready to plunk down my hard-earned cash at the hardcover/new release price, so I'm waiting until this drops.
  • The Pigman (Paul Zindel) - YA Fiction - I was writing an article on teen book clubs for and saw that Robert Cormier (who I love) recommended this book in his introduction to The Chocolate War (which I loved). When doing research for the article I saw that this book got lots of rave reviews
  • Testimony (Anita Shreve) - Literary Fiction - Bookroom Review Blog was having a give-away and the summary of this book looked great

What Are My Plans for November? In the month of November I'm hoping to finish all of my currently-checked out library books for the "Modern Classics" challenge and the graphic novels (9 books in all) and start cracking on the other books for the "Modern Classics" challenge that I are already in my library (Into Thin Air, The Watchmen, Love in the Time of Cholera, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Kite Runner).

Wow, that was a long post.


Carrie said...

AWESOME list! I LOVE how much you read!

Ana T. said...

Hi Heather, you also have a great list of books! I really enjoyed reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

Sabrina said...

You are such a bibliophile.

Heather said...

Thanks for the compliment.

heather said...

I absolutely loved The Poisonwood Bible. That book would not get out of my head for ages and ages.

Emily said...

I am absolutely in love with Prep. I borrowed it from the library, fell in love with it, and bought myself a copy. Her other books were not nearly as good in my opinion, but this one was amazing. Enjoy!

myza said...

I just stumbled on your blog and was very interested in the books you have been reading. The Historian and The Posionwood Bible are 2 of my favorite books...though they are both very different. I am jealous of the books you purchased this month!!! I live abroad and have no room for anymore books!

Anonymous said...

Awesome lineup!

Anonymous said...

Oh, ditto about "The Poisonwood Bible."