Month: November 2007

By Vladmir Nabokov. 315p. I read this for the Second Chances challenge as I have already read Lolita. The books are different, this one being far more postmodernist than the latter. Though, Nabokov’s distinct style is present in both of these book. This work is very interesting, unique, and layered. I’m not going to say it was enjoyable at all times because I was confused at parts, amused at others, and bored intermittently. It has a lot of references and allusions, and there is more than one story to be read. It’s the type of book I would like to analyze in a classroom setting, but I’d probably be sick of it pretty quickly too as a result. It is funny in parts and full of twisted black humor and ironic, strange narration. The plot is told in a nonlinear way, and as a reader, it can be daunting going in to all this.  The characters (or character really) are hard to grasp because of the narrative style, and pathos is not the point. There are many interpretations of the book itself. The prose is quite good, and it is interesting albeit perplexing. It is clearly not a book for everyone, and in my humble opinion, I don’t think the book should be taken too seriously. The book was interesting enough for me to continue and look forward to reading more Nabokov.

What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?

I haven’t been to either in years. I’m not big on them. I’ve never been on a roller coaster either. I use to like the merry go round as a kid.

How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?

I usually try and excuse myself and run away to be alone or find a friend/ally.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?

It depends on with which people because “deep, philosphical topics” varies between people. In general, I’ll say an 8.5.

Main Course
Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?

No, I have not gotten a flu shot for a few years. I’ll get it if the opportunity to go to a flu clinic or whatever, but generally no.

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?

Since the WGA strike, I watch a couple hours less. At present, I will say about 5.

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors… – BTT

Well, I’ve done the whole reading a series thing, by the same author thing, but theme wise, I’m not too sure. I also read the same genre quite a bit as I go through stints where I’ll read a lot of food books, memoirs, or travel books in a small time period. I think I have read a couple books about Paris on a roll before. If I look really hard at my book lists in previous years, I could probably find some more themes. In general, I usually read books as they come to me on request from the library or lent by friends, etc.

Graphic Novels

Dewey is hosting her first challenge, and you know how addicted I am to challenges. I also really like the graphic novel genre so this should be fun. Six graphic novels between January to December 2008.

  1. Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
  2. Batman : the dark knight returns by Frank Miller
  3. David Boring by Daniel Clowes
  4. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  5. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
  6. Jimmy Corrigan : the smartest kid on earth by Chris Ware


Any TinTin books by Hergé
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Ghost World by David Clowes
Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes
From Hell by Alan Moore
Sin City by Frank Miller
Eternals by Neil Gaiman
The League of Extraordinary Gentleman by Alan Moore
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I recommend these graphic novels:

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman (includes Maus I and Maus II)
The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman and its companions including Sandman: Endless Nights, Death: The High Cost of Living, etc
The Watchmen by Alan Moore
Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman
The Three Incestuous Sissters by Audrey Niffenegger

Read four books about William Shakespeare, poetry/plays and books about him included. It runs between January 1, 2008 to June 30th, 2008.

  1. The Tempest
  2. Othello
  3. Sonnets
  4. Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson

Alternates: any other plays I have not read.

The sonnets will be the complete sonnets. I also just finished putting the Bill Bryson audiobook on my iTunes. It’s 6 hours from 5 discs, and I look forward to hearing all of it in the new year.

By L. M. Montgomery. I missed on reading this Canadian classic when I was kid. I really wish I had. I’ve been fairly busy these past weeks (a couple more weeks and I’m on free), so it took me much longer than usual to finish such a book. It was a bit slow at first, and I wasn’t sure I had warmed to Anne, but I think she won me early on. I liked all the characters in this book. The dialogue was clever and observant, and while loquacious at times, Anne is such a great character. I think she should be the type of character children should read about. I love her curiosity, kindness, ambition, and dreaminess because I can be quite similar, and her love of the outdoors and of Green Gables. From the get-go, I really loved the characters of Marilla and Matthew. The book is also very Canadian in my humble opinion. Montgomery seems to really know her characters and their quirks. It’s no wonder this book is a classic. I’ve been a bit maudlin lately, and this book did make me shed a couple of tears. It started off slow, but I enjoyed the simple life of Anne at Green Gables. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

What's in my school/gym bag

I haven’t posted a Worldess Wednesday in awhile because I am too busy to take some serious photos. I was going to wait until Wednesday to post this, but I decided just to do it now while I have now.

Flickr has a very popular group called What’s in my bag? which is essentially people sharing the contents of their bag. It’s quite the portrait of people’s lives and can be rather addictive to see glimpses into what we carry in our bags. I’ve wanted to do it for awhile, but finally managed to do it today. I’m a bagaholic so I tend to rotate my bags for different outings and occasions.

This week, I decided to start going to the gym at school which makes my bag a lot heavier, but less than when I use to carry my laptop to school once in awhile. Click on the photo to go to the flickr page and see the items in more detail and explanation. Not pictured things including: food container+fork (which I carry some days), reading material (novel, this week it was Anne of Green Gables), and sometimes I’ll take my a personal journal to school (with a fountain pen).

Now that I’ve started this, I think I’ll be doing this periodically. It’s rather fun and allows me to organise bags such as this. What’s in your bag?

A Create Your Own/Choose Your Own Jane Austen book by Emma Campbell Webster. I had a lot of fun in my first play/ “read” of this book. It really is like a game. You’re Elizabeth Bennet and your goal is to marry prudently and for love. As a game, you have the option of keeping score, but that gets old pretty quickly, and I just went along with the various possible outcomes. The author creates really outlandish scenarios if you choose “wrongly” or fail, but I quite like them. Her snark is great too; she makes you appreciate Austen’s heroines and their many, many failings. It’s very funny and made me laugh a few times. You can definitely tell the author knows her Austen and almost seamlessly connects many of the books together in the Austen universe. Her take on the various Austen men you can end up with is interesting as well. In my first completed mission, I was able to not only marry Mr. Darcy, but also go down separate routes of marrying Mr. Knightley and Capt. Wentworth (and a couple of the Austen scoundrels for curiosity’s sake). I have not been able to find the routes and choices for the other Austen men, but I will do that thenceforth. Webster also has quiz questions concerning the historical time period of the Regency, and quirky illustrations. I quite like the design of the book cover as a whole. All in all, a very fun book for Austen fans, but I do see that the book could lose interest after you’ve managed to marry all the heroes and the scoundrels, and failed in other ways. I think I’ve already covered most of the outcomes in my first reading, and now I’m starting over again to find possibilities for other futures. Still, enjoyable, quick, and funny.

how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist? – BTT

Preservationist. I don’t really like writing in books and leave them as they are. If I wanted to leave notes about them, I’d blog it or write in one of my notebooks or journals. I also can’t stand when people leave notes in library books. I once read a Bill Bryson book where someone had written in the margins complaining about the editing of the French words in the book.  Some people have too much time on their hands. I will say that I like when books are personalized. When I buy a used book or take out a book that used to be owned by someone, I actually like reading the first page, “To J from M, December 1965” or something to that effect. No one has ever done that for me, but I wouldn’t mind it if the book and person were close to my heart.

Nick Hornby is probably one of my favourite authors. I like his novels; they can make me laugh and smile. They make me appreciate life, quirky observations, and also, what it’s probably like being a guy. I love his essays; he writes like a friend I would hang out with often. He’s probably funny as well. Slam is his first Young Adult novel. I’ve read almost all of Hornby’s works, and I think the only one that left me disappointed was How to be Good. This book was better than that, and I didn’t really know the plot going in other than the fact I knew it was going to be a book for young adults. The story revolves around teen pregnancy. The characters, were true to Hornby form, sympathetic, honest, and painfully normal in the real life way. I don’t know if I like this as much as his other great novels (High Fidelity, A Long Way Gone, About a Boy), and nothing beats his essays really. Still, I laughed and smiled as I usually did in this book, and I wonder what I would have thought about this book if I was still the age of Sam, the protagonist. If I was 16 or 18 going through this. It would have freaked me out a bit; I was already scared by other things back then. I would have liked it for the writing of course. Even now I can’t imagine going through this. I’m not ready yet, but it’s interesting to see Hornby’s take on the journey.

Reading Meme found via Dewey’s.

1. Do you remember learning to read? How old were you? English is not my first language, and I had learned to read in that first language when I was really young, about four or five. I’m illiterate in that language now, but have plans to pick up again. As for English, I learned the alphabet when I was around five. I remember reading small kids books or being read to in grade 1/age six and seven.

2. What do you find most challenging to read? Like Dewey, I find French challenging to read mostly because I never liked French grammar, and I’ve lost all the diction I learned when I was in immersion.

3. What are your library habits? I love my public library even when they sometimes charge me wrongly. I go once a week, on the same day (it’ll rotate next December probably). I request stuff online, and sometimes I browse through Express Reads and new books. Mostly my TBR list is just too long for that.

4. Have your library habits changed since you were younger? I use to go to the library in the summers, and only occasionally during the school year, but starting in high school, I went at least once a week. Sometimes I went twice, just to browse, pick up requested books and dvds, but not to hang out or anything. The library helped get me through high school I think.

5. How has blogging changed your reading life? I’ve been blogging on and off for seven years. It use to be more important to me. This blog has been nice to get me back into reading and discovering some books, but not drastically. I still read a lot less than I did three-four years ago. The reading challenges are really good motivators. I like making lists like that. I also didn’t intend for this blog to be focussed so much on books or expect it would attract the book blog crowd, I’m quite pleased though. Everyone is smart, interesting, and I really don’t have many bibliophile friends. It’s nice knowing about other people who read books like I do.

6. What percentage of your books do you get from: New book stores, second hand book stores, the library, online exchange sites, online retailers, other?  On an average year, I’d say 1-5% is from a new book store because I can’t really afford new books. I don’t really go to second hand book stores, but I do buy bookfair used books. I don’t read them as much as the library books, but I’ll say 20%. I borrow books from friends so that’s another 5-10% sometimes, but it changes. The library has always been my main source of books so it encompasses the remaining 65-75%.

7. How often do you read a book and NOT review it in your blog? What are your reasons for not blogging about books? Sometimes. I just read Slam by Nick Hornby, and I’m not sure when I review it. I also didn’t review The Road last June. I think it comes down to my mood at present, sometimes my lackluster desire to talk about the book because I feel I’d be going in circles or not sure what to write about it.

8. What are your pet peeves about ways people abuse books? Dogearing pages? Reading in the bath? The copy of Rebecca I had from the library had page 311 partially ripped out. It was horrible. I also don’t like when people write notes in library books or do anything to library books. Eating with books is okay, but don’t eat with your mouth over it. Ugh.

9. Do you ever read for pleasure at work? Sometimes I read at school. I have no time to read at work. I use to in my previous jobs.

10. When you give people books as gifts, how do you decide what to give them? Well, I’d like to consider I give them books they would like. I don’t really buy many books fullstop, but I’ve given a bookstore gift certificate before too. There is no shame in a gift certificate in a book store if you know they buy books. Like knitting, I only give books if I know they’ll read, enjoy, and appreciate them or with highly likelihood they would.


Anthropologie Inspired Capelet (Cropped Cardigan), started October 21, 2007, finished November 2, 2007
Pattern: Antropologie Inspired Capelet from Peony Knits
Yarn: Naturally Yarns Naturelle 14ply (131 yds 100g 100% Pure New Zealand Wool) Shade 551 – less than 3 skeins
Needles: 7mm 100cm circs
Modifications: Lengthened body and sleeves, magic looped the sleeves
Lessons Learned: Well, this is my first sorta real garment, so I was able to see the raglan increases happening
Cost of Project: $15 for the yarn.
Would I knit it again? No, I don’t think so. It’s nice for a beginner, but I’d try to make a better capelet, cardigan or whatnot next time.

Anthropolgie Inspired Capelet (Cropped Cardigan) Hair Record

Pattern Notes and Comments: The yarn was on sale and originally intended for Ester. I decided to make this instead, and I’m not a big fan of the colour, but it’s warm. Since I made it longer, it has no shaping in the arm or the waist. My mother convinced me to lengthen the body so it’s now more of a cropped cardigan than a capelet (but it was also more of a shrug really). The yarn is not superwash so I don’t know how often I’ll wear it. Also, it’s only so so as a piece I’d actually wear, but it is my first real garment since I’ve only done accessories, socks or dishcloths up to this point.