June 30, 2012

Pajama Musings - This is the end!

Guess what today is?
The end.
Oh yes.
Not just the end of the month.
The end of my book buying ban.

I'm not sure what to say first ... WOOHOOO or ALLELUJA?
I guess I'll simply settle for both and repeat them as my new mantra over and over and over (and one more time) and over again.

So, let's look back on the past six months of no book shopping. In short, I didn't cave and go on some secret shopping spree. I honestly didn't. Now that's will power for ya! I even purged my wishlist as not to be totally overwhelmed when the time arrives in which I can once again splurge on those things with pages. Yet I've also come to realize that the ban would have been all in vain if I now got back to my old book buying habits, which means there are going to be rules, yes, rules on how many books I will allow myself to buy each month.

I decided that twelve is a good number, and first thing tomorrow morning, I shall head over to The Book Depository and buy those books I've been longing for pretty much since I went on the book buying ban. Now you may roll your eyes at the number twelve. Are you saying that twelve new books a month aren't good enough for you? Trust me, after my book buying fast twelve is basically borderline overdosing on the good stuff.

Besides, it's not as though my TBR piles have substantially shrunk in recent months. I mean, I did manage to make the number of unread books drop from slightly over 400 down to roughly 350, but compared to the 75 books I read this year, plus the 40 books I purged from my stacks as I didn't see myself reading them any time soon (or more like ever), this shrinkage is nothing to brag about. That's the downside to winning books or receiving them for review, I guess.

But on to what I'm going to put into my shopping basket! Anyone want to know? I figured you would. And here we are with the first few books I'm going to purchase ...


What's that you say? That ain't twelve books!? Of course not, silly! I need to spread those buying urges equally over the whole month and not just do it all in one day.

How about yourself? Are you abiding to rules on just how many books you allow yourself to buy each month? If so, what's your magic number? Please comment away!

June 28, 2012

Old Books in Need of a New Home Announcement

Do I really need to mention that I was a tad worried whether anyone would enter this giveaway? I mean, giving away German books on an English blog, that's not the best of prerequisite if you ask me. However, I did get two entries ... neither one in German as requested and one apparently not even from somewhere in Europe. Both have obviously not even read the *insert some choice swear words* blog post *grumbles*. Darn giveaway vultures!

I admit, I did end the giveaway a few days early, but by the looks of it there wasn't a chance that the minimum of two valid entries I set myself in this case, would ever be reached. I shall be looking at this as a learning experience, and trust me, I am not likely to try and give away German books again anytime soon, ha.

On a more positive note - the next Old Books in Need of a New Home post will be up at the end of August. This time it's going to a mixed box with crime, romance, and memoirs. The cherry on the cake will be that they are not only in like-new condition, but even more so four of those books are also signed!

Picture Garden - At The End Of The Day

AT THE END OF THE DAY

June 27, 2012

Beyond the Shelf - A new feature in town!

Oh nooo ... she can't seriously put a stop to the Beyond the Shelf feature!? Well, I hate to break the news to you, but this is exactly what I plan to do!

Before you break out in heaving sobs, I want to point out that I'm only sending the feature on a long vacation of which it will come back with tan lines and souvenirs this fall. And the summer replacement will not stray all that far from the grand theme either, merely putting a new spin to it. I will still take you into the world beyond the book shelves, but instead of websites and blogs that relate to books, I'm going to tempt you with features of various bookish Etsy shops.

Ahhh ... to shop!


Personally I'm a big fan of Etsy and all things handmade, and I often find myself browsing around on the site, which one fine day, not too long ago, gave me the idea to highlight shops that specialize in book inspired handmade goodies. So, basically, what I did was contact various shops that caught my attention and offered them a feature here at The Book Garden!

Needless to say, I received a whole lot of positive feedback regarding my idea. Now you might wonder, if this will be some kind of paid advertisement kind of thing. Good question! And the answer? I'm not getting paid to present the shops and all they've got to offer. Just thought I might add this, because I know many blogs will charge a fee for such features. Not to say I condemn that, it's fine if some bloggers look at this like a business, but I felt sharing the bookish love is reward enough for me.

Not gonna lie though, it might happen occasionally that a shop owner will offer a coupon code or maybe even sponsor a giveaway, but these things aren't mandatory to get a spot here on my blog.

So, I really hope you're as excited about this new Etsy feature as lil ol' me! See ya next week!

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop Winner

It's time to announce a winner! First though let's have a look at the answers to my question in the giveaway form. Are you taking books with you on vacation?

There were a total of 532 entries in the giveaway and 92% of you voted for taking a book with you. I'm not quite surprised about the high percentage, it somehow seems inevitable with us all loving to read. Yet I must confess that when I travel, I travel. I don't spend my time reading when on vacation abroad. Well, except for road signs so I don't get lost.

The lucky winner of the Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop is
#429 Janita
who has won a $15,00 Amazon GC or a book of choice from The Book Depository!!

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

June 26, 2012

Quote Garden - Let's get this party started

Me and a book is a party. Me and a book and a cup of coffee is an orgy.
Robert Fripp

Writers - we're much more comfortable at parties standing in the corner watching everybody else having a good time than we are mingling.
Neil Gaiman

Writing fiction is a solitary occupation but not really a lonely one. The writer's head is mobbed with characters, images and language, making the creative process something like eavesdropping at a party for which you've had the fun of drawing up the guest list. Loneliness usually doesn't set in until the work is finished, and all the partygoers and their imagined universe have disappeared.
Hilma Wolitzer

I prefer dead writers because you don't run into them at parties.
Fran Lebowitz

Who’s to say what a ‘literary life’ is? As long as you are writing often, and writing well, you don’t need to be hanging-out in libraries all the time. Nightclubs are great literary research centers. So is Ibiza!
Roman Payne

June 25, 2012

A Writer's Life - Will I make it to the big screen?

Probably not. My best chances for fame on the screen may be ending up in the short news during the evening newscast after flying into a homicidal rage because some other driver wrongly assumed he had priority in traffic. Anyway.

There are quite a number of movies about authors out there, actually. Some about real-life authors. Some about fictional authors. What's the first thing that comes to mind in the latter case? Why, Stephen King, of course. With movies such as Stand by Me, Misery and The Shining he sure left his mark not only in book form. Then there are movies about authors themselves, and I must admit I don't actually recall ever seeing one of those. In fact, I had to google this topic as to provide you with a couple movies that qualify ... such as Capote, The Hours or Becoming Jane.

To be honest, I don't think these movies would be something I'd enjoy. It hurts me to say this, but it'd probably be more fun to watch Vin Diesel demolish cars than exploring the minds of authors on the screen. I mean, I read a lot of great things about the above mentioned movies (not the Stephen King ones which are awesome, the other ones), but somehow they don't seem to be up my alley. Maybe I just picked the wrong examples for this post then, who knows. Or maybe fictitious authors simply have more appeal to me, because ... well, I dunno, they just do.

Either way, I'd love to hear from you and which movies about authors, real or not, you personally love and can wholeheartedly recommend to me! I'm willing to give them a try ... if they're on free TV some time, that is. Ready? Aaaaand Action!

Old Books in Need of a New Home (German Edition)

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO LACK OF VALID ENTRIES!
Apparently people just enter without having the decency of at least skimming the blog post *sigh*

Welcome everyone to the fifth edition of Old Books in Need of a New Home where I'll be giving away a nice sized box filled with books to one lucky person. I've been sorting through my stacks of unread books and after admitting to myself that while recommended by many I just don't see myself reading some of the historical literature that's been gathering dust in the past year or so. Before you all get overly excited, please note that these books are all in the German language!

How does it work?
First of all, this isn't a regular giveaway which means the receiving person will be handpicked by me and not random.com as I want to make sure the books find the best home. Now you may wonder what you have to do to convince me you're the best choice for the homeless books. Easy. Just comment and let me know why you want them. In case there are several highly convincing comments I'm going to do the good old drawing of a paper slip from a hat to determine the person who'll receive the box.

What's in the box?
I aim to have a themed box full of books from a certain genre, with certain authors, etc. and by full box I mean up to ten books. That'll also depend on their format/size. Titles and authors will be listed along with the condition the books are in. Most boxes will be filled with English books, though there might be the occasional box with German books only too.

What condition will the books be in?
Usually they are not going to be spanking new. These books have been read by me and can be in any condition ranging from almost new to having been pawed through several times before. I will always state the exact condition the books are in so you can decide whether you want to enter or not. I realize not everyone likes used books, especially when they look the part, but fear not, I will also be giving away books that have been very gently read by me only and those look almost like new from the store.

Who can participate?
You have to be a follower of my blog (any way you want to, I'm not picky - GFC, RSS feed, e-mail, Networked Blogs, Bloglovin', Linky Followers or Goodreads) and you have to live in Europe! I really hate to leave out my international readers, but it's just too darn expensive to send a box full of books overseas.

What's in the box?
Historical literature!

Der Medicus (Noah Gordon)
Die Truhen des Arcimboldo (Hanjo Lehmann)
Die Päpstin (Donna W. Cross)
Die Säulen der Erde (Ken Follett)
Die Nebel von Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

Condition?
All books are have been bought used and are in very good to good condition!

And now, comment away!
Tell me why you want to win these books.
Tell me which country you're from (to make sure you really are from somewhere in Europe).
Tell me how you follow (like I said, I'm not picky, so simply follow the way you like best).
Tell me how I can contact you in case you're being picked as the winner.

This giveaway will be open to all of Europe, but you have to prove you speak the language, so please, leave a comment in German - thanks!

This post will be open for a week, but time may be extended in case of low entries.

June 24, 2012

The Postman Files - When you least expect it ...

... all those previously requested review copies suddenly start rolling in. I already stocked up on eGalleys last week, with some stragglers following along now. Looks as though Ellie was right about one thing - publishers seem to have gotten in the mood to finally approve requests after returning from BEA. Or so it seems. And a few physical copies jumped at me from inside my mailbox as well. That much for always trying to keep my review pile under ten books. Oh alright, twelve books isn't all that bad, but still!

Won
I Am Legend (Richard Matheson)
For Review
How Much Is Enough (Robert and Edward Skidelsky)
from Penguin

Tubes (Andrew Blum)
from Penguin

For Review
An Economist Gets Lunch (Tyler Cowen)
from NetGalley

Heads In Beds (Jacob Tomsky)
from NetGalley

The Reading Files - Living in strange worlds

It's been a while since I read any fantasy novels, after all you have to be in the right mood for a genre, and by the looks of it the stars were in perfect alignment. In other words, one amazing storyteller has found her way onto my list of fav authors.

A Face Like Glass (Frances Hardinge)
hardcover
Source: from Pan MacMillan
Genre: YA Fantasy

In Caverna, lies are an art - and everyone's an artist ...
In the underground city of Caverna the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare - wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear - at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell's emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed ...

Title & Cover: Magical!
Story: Neverfell is different from all the others in Caverna and once she shows her real face not just the Facesmiths are out to get her in this enchanting, intricately composed tale!
Narrative: Imagine Terry Pratchett writing Alice in Wonderland and you get the idea.
Characters: Finely and delicately devised!
Thoughts: Such marvelous world building! The kind of book that you can literally sink into ... deeper and deeper. Best book I've read in a long time!
FULL REVIEW TO FOLLOW


Twilight Robbery (Frances Hardinge)
#2 Fly by Night
paperback
Source: from Pan MacMillan
Genre: YA Fantasy

Mosca Mye and Eponymous Clent are in trouble again. Escaping disaster by the skin of their teeth, they find refuge in Toll, the strange gateway town where visitors may neither enter nor leave without paying a price. By day, the city is well-mannered and orderly; by night, it's the haunt of rogues and villains. Wherever there's a plot, there's sure to be treachery, and wherever there's treachery, there's sure to be trouble - and where there's trouble, Clent, Mosca and the web-footed apocalypse Saracen can't be far behind. But as past deeds catch up with them and old enemies appear, it looks as if this time there's no way out ...

Title & Cover: You really need to soak in the detail on that one. I must say those covers for Hardinge's books are just splendid!
Story: Mosca and Mr. Clent find themselves in a town divided into day and night. Trouble ahead and trouble on their heels. Throw in a goose with an attitude.
Narrative: Think a fresh version of Terry Pratchett!
Characters: Wonderfully quirky!
Thoughts: I absolutely and totally love the Discworld-esque world Hardinge created here. What a marvelous wordsmith she is. Little did I know this is the second book in a series, so I definitely have to get my hands on the first book that started Mosca's adventures.
FULL REVIEW TO FOLLOW


Radiance (Alyson Noel)
paperback
Source: won
Genre: YA Paranormal

Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley ...

Title & Cover: Oh so lovely!
Story: The Afterlife isn't quite what Riley expected, most importantly who would have thought it comes along with a job?
Narrative: A light and fun read!
Characters: How could I not love Riley and Bodhi, the nerdy boy? Great duo.
Thoughts: Now there's a ghostly good story if I ever saw one (story, not ghost). While it's actually a book for young readers it was utterly enjoyable and I had to laugh out loud more than just once because of Riley's delightful POV.

Blog Survey Winner

First of all thanks everyone for filling out my Non Fiction Blog Survey. We made it to exactly 100 people sharing their thoughts, which means there's one winner to announce ... yeah, I know, only one person short of a second winner, life just ain't fair, but I did write "more than 100" and I'd throw in a second winner, didn't I? Oh and before I forget - the new feature This isn't Fiction will be starting on July 6th, so stay tuned!

The lucky winner of the Blog Survey Giveaway is
#68 Amy Green
who has won a $10,00 Amazon GC or a book of choice from The Book Depository!!

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

June 23, 2012

Pajama Musings - Would you like an opinion with that?

Some like them long, some like them short.
Some like them serious, some like them funny.
Some like them with spoilers. Others don't.

No matter if we write them or read them, tastes certainly differ when it comes to book reviews. Either way, at the core of it all is ... the book.

Granted, I'm all for short and snappy reviews. I like them this way both when I read and write them. If I see a review that's a mile long I don't even read the first line, but then, that's just me. Equally I don't take the content apart as if my life depended on it. I've seen that done especially with non fiction books and it makes me feel like sitting in a lecture at Uni. I hate to say this, but to me a review is something that should help me decide whether I want to pick up a certain book or not. I don't need an in-depth analysis of every single footnote.

Apart from different tastes when it comes to length and depth, there are those reviews that, in my humble opinion, aren't reviews at all. I'm thinking along the lines of, "I loved this book! It was a great start to a great series, one that I really enjoyed! It was really good, and I loved it, it was awesome! Loved the characters, and the plot! " or how about, "Can't say enough good things about this one. Fast paced. Lots of action and romance. Loved it!"

Errr ... and this is telling me what exactly?

Yep, those are full reviews I copied from people who shall remain unmentioned (despite the whole plagiarism craze, because let's face it, nothing unique about those vapid one and a half liners). Come to think of it, the second example gives you at least a very rough idea of what you'll encounter in the book. Anyway.

While some reviewers manage to put a whole lot of meaning into a two-lines-review, this is indeed a rare talent. Most people lack this kind of skill as is shockingly obvious when you risk another look at the above mentioned examples. To be fair though, even long reviews can sometimes be blah and not tell you much about the book, often being nothing more than a summary of the content instead of an opinion.

Things to ponder: Generally it's not helpful if you only share whether you liked a book or not. The emphasis should be on why you liked it or not! Throw in some thoughts about the plot idea, the writing style, and the characters, and we're finally getting somewhere. Don't take this personally, but if you can't put your appreciation (or aversion) for a book into a slightly more knowledgable form, you shouldn't write a review at all. Just sayin'.

Last but so not least I want to share two laugh out loud funny websites with you ...




And you thought those shorty-short reviews I quoted above would be bad, hahaha!!

Now, how about yourself? Do you prefer to read and/or write long or short reviews? What separates a great review from an eye-rolling experience for you? Please share.

June 20, 2012

Beyond the Shelf - Typing Tests

By now we've established that being a blogger inevitably means that you need to be comfy with letting your fingers dance across the keyboard. You may either use the Columbus method (you discover a key and land on it) or the trusty 10-finger-method. Me? Don't mean to brag, but I'm using three fingers to discover keys like an explorer with a premonition.

Typing Test

Let me tell you I have no idea whether this is a good result or not. I'm obviously a whole lot faster when just typing away my own random thoughts compared to the weird combination of words you need to type in this particular test.

So what's a curious mind to do? Find a site that offers a text that makes a wee bit more sense, of course! On Typing Test you can choose not only the language (I took English), the length of the test (I picked 1 minute), and different excerpts (I went for The Wizard of Oz). Now let's fess up and share what my result was here ...

Now that's not bad, isn't it? And as it turns out the results are pretty similar too.

How about yourself? Ready to test just how speedy your fingers fly over the keyboard? Please feel free to share your results.

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the
(June 20th - June 26th)
hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Uniquely Moi Books

What is a giveaway hop? That's simple. Each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers this means lots of chances to win free books and other goodies. For blogs hosting a giveaway it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win!

I'm giving away an Amazon Giftcard worth $ 15,00 (if you're from the US) or a book of choice worth up to $ 15,00 through The Book Depository (if you're international)
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

All you have to do is fill out the form!
This giveaway is now closed!

Rules 
Comments do not count as entries - you must fill out the form!
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
One entry per person.
Open worldwide.

Winner
One winner will be picked through random.org on June 27th and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.

And now, head on over to the rest of the blog hop participants!

June 19, 2012

Quote Garden - A kind of sleep

There is a kind of sleep that steals upon us sometimes, which, while it holds the body prisoner, does not free the mind from a sense of things about it, and enable it to ramble at its pleasure. So far as an overpowering heaviness, a prostration of strength, and an utter inability to control our thoughts or power of motion, can be called sleep, this is it; and yet we have a consciousness of all that is going on about us; and if we dream at such a time, words which are really spoken, or sounds which really exist at the moment, accommodate themselves with surprising readiness to our visions, until reality and imagination become so strangely blended that it is afterwards almost a matter of impassibility to separate the two. Nor is this, the most striking phenomenon, incidental to such a state. It is an undoubted fact, that although our senses of touch and sight be for the time dead, yet our sleeping thoughts, and the visionary scenes that pass before us, will be influenced, and materially influenced, by the mere silent presence of some external object: which may not have been near us when we closed our eyes: and of whose vicinity we have had no waking consciousness.

Oliver Twist (Charles Dickens)

June 18, 2012

A Writer's Life - My life as a genre

Do you sometimes feel as if your life were a mixture of the Shopaholic series and one of Stephen King's early novels? Or maybe it's more like a cozy mystery, hopefully minus the dead bodies turning up around every corner? Welcome to the world of genres coming to life in your own backyard!

Readers. Don't we all love to read novels which feel like home? Books that make us wish we were part of them? Far away places becoming wonderfully familar and characters developing into our best friends? Depending on the kind of books you like to read, and especially if you're prone to delve into the realms of speculative fiction, these book worlds will usually not have all that much in common with your real life. Or maybe I just missed the news flash about a Zombie Apocalypse already taking place?

Writers. Don't we love to dip into various genres - to explore them, have fun with them, and make them come alive if only in our minds and on paper? We breath the breaths of our characters and yes, part of us is really living in the worlds we create. Does this mean we actually want to stay there long term? Buy a house and get cozy with the neighbors? Depending on the genre the answer could go either way. Which kinda brings me back to the Zombie Apocalypse and our neighbors lusting after our flesh, but not in a sexy way.

Imagine what it would be like to actually live in your preferred genre(s)! Sounds delightful? Or scary?

Copyright by jbug1106

As you know I love science fiction, so a nice alien setting, with a touch of Space Opera, and going where no (wo)man has gone before sounds really tempting. Yet with everything that can (and probably will) go wrong in Outer Space, maybe exploring a far away planet is more like it. To be on terra firma sounds more like it. But only if they have indoor plumbing. I'm not really an outdoorsy kind of gal, you know.

But seriously, what sounds good on paper doesn't have to feel great in real life. Just think historical romance! Sounds awfully sexy now doesn't it. Then you remember what life in Victorian times was actually like and the idea of having to go to a dentist back in the days makes you shudder (and rightly so). And that's not even factoring in that they weren't exactly advanced as far as women's rights are concerned either.

Decisions, decisions.

If you were to describe your life by a genre, which would it be? And to take this thought a step further - if you were to write the story of your next life which setting/genre would you pick? I'm awfully curious about your answers, so don't be shy and comment away.

June 17, 2012

The Postman Files - Nevermore

This past week I got a couple of books for review. By the looks of it someone at NetGalley woke up and finally approved a whole number of my requests, some of which I have waited for for months. Truth be told, all different publishers, so it must be a coincidence. Then again.

Anyone remember a recent post in which I marveled over having won a book from a particular website two months in a row? Make that three months in a row. Could I seriously be the only person entering these giveaways? Alright, let's give it yet another month before we reach a final verdict, shall we?

And guess what? I've also won something bookish, yet not book shaped, in an Etsy giveaway - an Edgar Allan Poe plate from More Than Porcelain! How neat is that?

Won
Öffentlicher Raum (Doris Lippitsch)

For Review
The Art Of Procrastination (John Perry)
from NetGalley

The American Dream (Lawrence Samuel)
from NetGalley

Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master In No Time (Mignon Fogarty)
from NetGalley

Consider The Fork (Bee Wilson)
from NetGalley

The Knockoff Economy (Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman)
from NetGalley

Jolt! (Phil Cooke)
from BookSneeze

The Reading Files - Oh my tome!

And one more for my Tea & Books Reading Challenge! If I continue this way I might not just joke about upgrading to the next level, I might actually do it. But, let's not get ahead of myself. First things first as they say.

I addition, and now you'll be just as impressed as I was, I managed to read two smaller novels. Impressed? Of course. The tome had almost 900 pages and at first I thought it might take me even more than a week to finish it, but then that magical thing happened ... in one word - unputdownable. And when I finished I still had two days for some more reading. Which I did. Obviously.

Eine Billion Dollar (Andreas Eschbach)
Translation: One Trillion Dollar
paperback
Source: bought new
Genre: Thriller

Ein hübsches Gedankenspiel: Hätte einer unserer Urahnen vor 500 Jahren ein paar Florin angelegt, könnten wir heute dank Zins und Zinseszins ein Vermögen einstreichen, das für mehr als ein sorgenfreies Leben ausreichen würde. Für John Fontanelli, den armen Schustersohn aus New York, wird dieser Traum Wirklichkeit: Am 23. April 1995 erfährt er, dass sein Vorfahre Giacomo Fontanelli ihm, dem derzeit jüngsten Fontanelli-Spross, über Eine Billion Dollar hinterlassen hat. Gestern fuhr John noch Pizza aus, heute ist er reicher als die zweihundert reichsten Menschen der Welt zusammen. Und trotzdem nicht glücklich.
Denn die Sache hat -- wie kann es anders sein -- einen Haken. In seinem Testament berichtet Giacomo Fontanelli von einer Vision. Sein Erbe soll dank des Vermögens den Menschen ihre verlorene Zukunft zurückgeben. Für John eine drückende Verantwortung : Er, ein Ex-Pizzalieferant, als Retter der Menschheit? Da meldet sich ein mysteriöser Fremder und behauptet zu wissen, wie die Prophezeiung erfüllt werden kann.

Title & Cover: Look. Closely. Like it!
Story: What if an ancestor left you money which has grown to a trillion Dollars in the past 500 years? What if the testament reveals that this money comes with the prophecy that the one who inherits it will give humanity their future back?
Narrative: Mainstream and/but engrossing.
Characters: Characters with dimension for the most part. Not counting the badly drawn female characters *shudders*.
Thoughts: Plot idea? How could I resist! Implementation? Realistic up to the end. If I have one complaint then it's how the author is bloody awful when it comes to tackling romantic scenes. Other than that - highly recommendable!


The Devouring(Simon Holt)
#1 The Devouring
paperback
Source: bought used
Genre: YA Horror

"When dark creeps in and eats the light,
Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours,
Comes the feasting of the Vours,
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul..."
When Reggie finds an old journal and reads about the Vours, supernatural creatures who feast on fear and attack on the eve of the winter solstice, she assumes they are just the musings of some lunatic author. But soon, they become a terrifying reality when she begins to suspect that her timid younger brother might be one of their victims.
Risking her life and her sanity, Reggie enters a living nightmare to save the people she loves. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her?
Bone-chilling, terrifying, thrilling ... what are you waiting for?


Title & Cover: Trust me to pick the book with the creepy cover, ha. Though, honestly, this series has pretty cover versions too, it's just that they weren't available when I bought it.
Story: On Sorry Night the Vours will feast on your fears and take your soul! Of course this is just a horror story to scare little kids, or is it?
Narrative: Delightfully spine-tingling.
Characters: Loved the siblings and Aaron, though I wish that Eben had been more fleshed out (but hey, it's only the first part of a trilogy).
Thoughts: What a lovely horror story! And, let's just say, if you can't handle the cover, you probably shouldn't read the book.


Wake(Lisa McMann)
#1 Dreamcatcher
paperback
Source: bought used
Genre: YA Paranormal

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can't tell anybody about what she does they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can’t control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant.


Title & Cover: This cover qualifies as "strange". What can I say, theses things happen when you want to read the book and buy it used. You can't be picky.
Story: Janie gets sucked into other people's dreams. Desperate to try and control this, she realizes that she's got more power over this ability than she thought.
Narrative: Very simplistic. And seriously lacks emotion.
Characters: I honestly couldn't connect with any of them, which I blame mostly on the writing style.
Thoughts: This book is so, well, detached. The reader on the outside looking in. Bland. And thankfully, short.

Review - Rabid (Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy)

An engrossing and lively history of the fearsome and mythologized virus. In the tradition of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Great Influenza, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. In the absence of vaccination— as was true for thousands of years, until the late nineteenth century—the rabies virus caused brain infections with a nearly 100 percent fatality rate, both in animals and humans, and the suffering it inflicted became the stuff of legend.
The transmission of the virus—often from rabid dog to man—reawakened a primal fear of wild animals, and the illness’s violent symptoms spoke directly to mankind’s fear of the beast within. The cultural response was to create fictional embodiments of those anxieties—ravenous wolfmen, bloodsucking vampires, and armies of mindless zombies.
From the myth of Actaeon to Saint Hubert, from the laboratories of the heroic and pioneering Louis Pasteur to a journalistic investigation into the madness that has gripped modern Bali, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of the world’s most misunderstood viruses.

Review
Many a virus has left its fatal mark on us throughout history, but none is as deeply steeped in legend as the most fatal of them all, the rabies virus. In Rabid Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy present an all-encompassing survey on the topic - from the early days to mythology, from literature to the latest in medicine. 
At first glance you might get the impression that the focus in the book is heavily on the medical aspect, yet the authors offer a multifaceted depiction, delving into various areas on which rabies has left an impact throughout history. Filled with lots of facts it is mostly the intriguing background knowledge which made this book such an enjoyable read for me. Needless to say, my favorite part was the one dealing with how the disease found its way into literature, where aspects, or rather symptoms and beliefs about it, helped form creatures such as vampires, werewolves and even zombies. 
Admittedly this has been the only book I ever read on this subject, so I'm not sure whether those who are familiar with it would find it lacking in some regard. However, to me, it proved to be just the right amount of information about the virus which is, after so many centuries, still at large. ... as are the creatures it has inspired in many a horror movie.
In short: Everything you ever wanted to know about rabies packed into an entertaining and absorbing read!

4/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review - Wait (Frank Partnoy)

Warren Buffett compares stock trading to being at bat, except that you don’t have to swing until there’s a fat pitch. Great athletes agree, but with shorter time horizons. They excel, not because of fast neurological responses, but because of their ability to delay as long as possible before reacting, returning a serve or grabbing a rebound. Successful CEOs, fire fighters, and military officers all know how to manage delay. In this provocative, entertaining book, Frank Partnoy provides a necessary rebuttal to the gurus of “go with your gut.” He shows that decisions of all kinds, whether “snap” or long-term strategic, benefit from being made at the last possible moment. The art of knowing how long you can afford to delay before committing is at the heart of many a great decision—whether in a corporate takeover or a marriage proposal. Exploring decisions from those made in half a second to those that take months and years, Partnoy demonstrates that procrastination is often virtuous, that the ability to wait is the path to happiness, and that our gut instincts often betray us. We do not always make smart choices in the blink of an eye, as this eye-opening book reveals.


Review
Just like it's said that revenge is a dish best served cold, apparently waiting before striking, or just plain doing something, is often the better course of action. In Wait Frank Partnoy explores delay in both short and long term decisions and how understanding the former can help us better handle the latter.
Remember the marshmallow experiment and its discoveries concerning decision making and self-control? The kids who waited were rewarded with two instead of just one marshmallow, but does this scenario really work the same way in other aspects of our lives? From buying bonds to apologizing, from holding a speech to deciding whether a second date will be worth it, the author emphasizes how it's not necessarily the length of time you delay a decision, but basically to make such a decision in the last possibly moment for optimal results.
With such a fascinating topic and written in an engaging way, this book offers plenty of food for thought, though I must admit that I found the examples from the world of sports in the first chapters rather tiring. Additionally I'm not quite sure how the whole Post-it notes example fits in, but overall I found this to be a smart and insightful read.
Now, if only I knew how long the photographer waited before shooting the cover for this book? The answer must be - just long enough.
In short: To wait, to delay, to even procrastinate, is the way to go!


3/5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

June 16, 2012

Pajama Musings - Tales of a Re-Reader

With TBR piles towering, this might seem crazy to some, but I know a lot of folks who love to re-read perennial favorites despite having hundreds of unread books just waiting to be picked up. Me? Guilty as charged. Though admittedly I am not all that often re-reading books for the very reason that I own so many unread ones, but occasionally I feel in the mood for a re-read too.

Personally, I read books again simply because I love them so much. You probably know the feeling of dread when you turn the last page of an amazing book. You don't want it to be over. If it's not a series where you can wait and hope for the sequel, all that's left to do is start all over again. A bookish Groundhog Day, but in a good way.

This year I'm also re-reading several Dean Koontz novels in my respective reading challenge for a whole different reason. I read those books ages ago when I was still a teenager, and I finally wanted to read them in their original English version and not the German translation I read back in the days. This is kinda like meeting an old friend, with bits and pieces that I remembered, but at the same time so many new things to discover between the pages as well. Funny how you can always find little details you didn't quite notice the first time around and which lend a book even more depth. I guess that's the beauty of re-reading.

Another reason that comes to mind is re-reading a novel before getting started on more books of a series, especially when it's been a while since you read the first book. Admittedly I've never done this myself, but it does make sense to me. More often than not, if I really like a book in a series, I'll get my hands on the other books as fast as I can, so I'm unlikely to forget the gist.

Want to know my favorite re-read? The Complete Ivory by Doris Egan. It's a nice heavy tome with the whole trilogy. I'll typically read the book every other year, so technically speaking I'm going to do so again this year. Though to be honest, since I took up book blogging my TBR piles have grown into a rather daunting mountain range, so I'm a wee bit hesitant right now. Then again ... I love Theodora's adventures too much to wait another year.

Do you ever re-read books? If so, what are your reasons for doing it? And which books have you re-read in the past, or plan to read again in the future? Or maybe you don't read books a second (or third) time? If so, what's the reason youre a one-time-only reader? Please share.

June 13, 2012

Beyond the Shelf - The BLOGBloke

Let me introduce you to another lovely site that makes the blogger's life a tad easier! The BLOGBloke  is a great resource for everything bloggy!

It all started with me accidentally stumbling upon the article Spring Cleaning Your Blog and while I don't exactly recall what on Earth I've been googling for to end up here, I certainly am glad I did. The BLOGBloke supplies bloggers with "authoritative tips and entertaining commentary on Blogging, Social Media and Technology (with just a little attitude)" and while this blog isn't aimed exclusively at book bloggers, you're sure to find plenty of infos, tips and tricks on anything related to blogging in general.

The BLOGBloke, which was launched in 2001, is actually an extension of another site, the TECHBloke where he shares his thoughts not only on blogging and technology, which includes online communications, social media, podcasting, business and marketing, and much more.

Something I really like about the page is how you can sort all articles by recent, favs, best, hot!, and topic (you find this in the right column). Hot! immediately caught my attention and guess what pops up as top article there? Migrating Blogger to Wordpress: The Complete Guide ... seeing how many bloggers are doing just that (not me, not yet, anyway) I guess this was pretty much a no brainer to make first place.

Here are some links that I found fun and/or interesting to read, and maybe you will too:
10 Reasons Why I Don't Like Your Blog
Why Blogging is Better than Social Networking - Or is it?
The Importance of Linking

Now that you've headed over and left me here all alone I shall make my rounds through the web for next weeks edition of Beyond the Shelf - see ya!

June 12, 2012

Quote Garden - Chocolate covered pages

My favorite books are the ones that make me smile for hours after reading them. I want that for my readers, for the sweetness to linger. Sort of like chocolate, but without the calories.
Sarah Addison Allen

I write for the same reason I eat chocolate - because it is, undeniably a compulsion.
Emma Shortt

When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.
Mem Fox

Blustery cold days should be spend propped up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a pile of comic books.
Bill Watterson

Reading is a staple of life, like bread or water. Or chocolate.
Rett MacPherson

June 11, 2012

A Writer's Life - Cry just a little bit

If you've never ended up breaking out in laughter or sobbing uncontrollably while writing a book ... well, then you're doing it wrong. Chances are the reader will not laugh either ... and neither will they spill a tear. Just like Robert Frost said, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." He didn't emphasis laughter, but trust me, it is of equal importance.

Copyright by Nosheen Abbas

Make them laugh, make them cry, make them feel. But first, you need to go through these emotions yourself. And this is exactly were things get a little weird sometimes.

While it is relatively safe to indulge in some method-writing techniques by getting all emotional working on your book at home (after all, your family should be used to those outbursts by now) it can be a bit awkward when you're plotting in your mind and suddenly burst out in hysteric chuckles during mass. God will understand. The rest of the congregation probably not.

Yes, I've been there myself. Not in mass though. Yet there were several occasions when I was out and about with my mind innocently plotting away until a lunatic grin formed on my face while sitting on the train. Luckily no one will approach you when you look like the Joker (minus the make-up, but still). Once I had an old lady ask me whether I'd be ok. Obviously I looked a bit suicidal as I was going through a rather dreadful and emotionally loaded scene. I was tempted to tell her that this was just my writer's face, but that probably sounds as if there really is something wrong with me, so I resorted to saying that everything was fine. Of course I could have channeled my Joker face at that exact moment, but being responsible for giving an old lady a heart attack? I don't think so.

So, next time you see someone let out an unexpected guffaw while waiting for the elevator, this person might not be crazy. This person might be a writer! Just sayin'.

All you writers out there. I want to hear about how you experience emotions while writing! And how about plotting when you're outside the safety of your home? Ever made bystanders cast you funny looks when you started to giggle for no apparent reason? Inquiring minds want to know!

2 by 2 Giveaway Winner

The lucky winner of the June 2 by 2 Giveaway is
Carol L
who picked The New Enlarged Anthology of Robert Frost's Poems!

E-mail is on the way and please get back to me within the next 48 hours!

June 10, 2012

The Reading Files - Waiting for the rabid dog!

Or maybe you better not wait and instead run as fast as you can now that a rabid dog is trying to get a nice chunky bite out of you. No don't worry, no grisly scenes ahead! Just your typical look back on a week in reading.

Wait (Frank Partnoy)
eBook
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Non Fiction / Psychology

Warren Buffett compares stock trading to being at bat, except that you don’t have to swing until there’s a fat pitch. Great athletes agree, but with shorter time horizons. They excel, not because of fast neurological responses, but because of their ability to delay as long as possible before reacting, returning a serve or grabbing a rebound. Successful CEOs, fire fighters, and military officers all know how to manage delay. In this provocative, entertaining book, Frank Partnoy provides a necessary rebuttal to the gurus of “go with your gut.” He shows that decisions of all kinds, whether “snap” or long-term strategic, benefit from being made at the last possible moment. The art of knowing how long you can afford to delay before committing is at the heart of many a great decision—whether in a corporate takeover or a marriage proposal. Exploring decisions from those made in half a second to those that take months and years, Partnoy demonstrates that procrastination is often virtuous, that the ability to wait is the path to happiness, and that our gut instincts often betray us. We do not always make smart choices in the blink of an eye, as this eye-opening book reveals.

Title & Cover: Photographer says, "Wait!" Dog thinks, "You wish!" Photographer was a tad faster, hahaha!
Story: There's a right time for everything, and often it's not the fast decision that makes the most impact - from buying bonds to apologizing, from holding a speech to deciding whether a second date will be worth it. Just. Wait.
Narrative: Quite engaging, yet the examples were often too long winded.
Characters: People making decisions, some slower than others.
Thoughts: Whether story-term or long-term decisions - to wait, to delay, to even procrastinate, is the way to go! While some chapters have been really interesting, all the examples from the world of sports made my thoughts drift. And I still have no idea what the whole Post-it invention chapter has got to do with waiting either!
FULL REVIEW TO FOLLOW


Rabid (Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy)
eBook
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Non Fiction / Science / History

An engrossing and lively history of the fearsome and mythologized virus. In the tradition of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Great Influenza, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. In the absence of vaccination— as was true for thousands of years, until the late nineteenth century—the rabies virus caused brain infections with a nearly 100 percent fatality rate, both in animals and humans, and the suffering it inflicted became the stuff of legend.
The transmission of the virus—often from rabid dog to man—reawakened a primal fear of wild animals, and the illness’s violent symptoms spoke directly to mankind’s fear of the beast within. The cultural response was to create fictional embodiments of those anxieties—ravenous wolfmen, bloodsucking vampires, and armies of mindless zombies.
From the myth of Actaeon to Saint Hubert, from the laboratories of the heroic and pioneering Louis Pasteur to a journalistic investigation into the madness that has gripped modern Bali, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of the world’s most misunderstood viruses.

Title & Cover: Rabid doggie, oh my!
Story: Everything you ever wanted to know about rabies - from the early days to mythology, from literature to the latest in medicine. In parts quite gross (just as a little warning).
Narrative: Entertaining and absorbing, just the way I like it.
Characters: Various, and what they all have in common is ... they're rabid!
Thoughts: Intriguing topic wrapped into a highly comprehensive overview. And for those who don't like non fiction ... there are vampires and werewolves to be found here too! Ah, I knew, that'd get your attention!
FULL REVIEW TO FOLLOW


A Million Suns (Beth Revis)
#2 Across the Universe
hardcover
Source: won
Genre: Science Fiction

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Title & Cover: Book one was beautiful but didn't tell you much about the plot. This one's both pretty and reflects the story - well done!
Story: Life has changed on board Godspeed and people are starting to revolt. Then an incredible discovery is being made and it's time to decide the fate of everyone on the ship. Who will stay and who's going to leave?
Narrative: Again, told through the POV of both Amy and Elder, which is really giving the story dimension.
Characters: Amy and Elder have definitely grown, including their flaws. But that's fine, characters don't have to be perfect.
Thoughts: And they say that the second book in a trilogy is often the weakest. Well, guess again, because this one I liked almost a tad more than the first book. Granted, the events were foreseeable, but I had really been hoping that things would progress exactly that way, so I've been a very happy reader indeed. Downside? Waiting for the third book makes me foam around the mouth! I don't do patience when it comes to books, ya know.

June 9, 2012

Pajama Musings - The vault of lost books

We've all been through the waiting game aka stalking the mailman when we wait for books to arrive in the mail. Yet, sometimes they don't.

Have you ever lost "the other sock" in your washing machine? I thought so. It's one of life's mysteries and while I personally have't given up just yet (I'm the proud owner of several single socks, one white, one blue, and one brown, so in case you should have seen three like colored socks on the lam, please notify me where and when so I can finally track them down) I know one thing - they must be somewhere. I mean, things don't just disappear. You might not find them, you might not receive them, but they don't evaporate into thin air either.

Copyright by Try Austria

Just like luggage occasionally taking a detour via Timbuktu, sometimes the mail can be missent too. If you live in a country which, to some, sounds like an abbreviation of another country, you're practically bound to receive stuff in the mail with a flashy *Missent to Australia* print on it. While your package has been living the good life Down Under, you've been anxiously waiting for it to finally arrive. Which, more often than not, it actually does (with an obvious delay, of course).

And when you think all is good, it happens. Things get lost. Completely. Forever. Never to be seen again. At least not by yourself.

Like I said, things don't just go POOF. Unless someone decides that the content of your package contains something dangerous and throws it in the next best incinerator or scrap press ... better safe than sorry, right? Of course no one will ever confirm these things actually happen, but you know ... it sounds more likely than the alternative of your package being stolen by evil aliens on a field trip to planet Earth.

But seriously, while postal services are pretty reliable here, I had stuff getting lost too. On the bright side, luckily this happens rarely. On the not so bright side, it annoys me every time it does happen. For example books from TBD never arrived (luckily replacement copies were sent) and books for review never made it to my doorstep either (once again, new copies were sent - one arrived within days, the other one ... wait for it ... also disappeared *argh* which puts me in a rather awkward position as I can't bring myself to request yet another replacement for the replacement, and will just buy my own copy instead).

Now, the interesting question would be - where do those lost books end up? Did they get destroyed in transit and were secretly deposed of in the great cemetery of books? Or, much more likely, did someone get sticky fingers, thinking that heavy package must contain something valuable (which obviously it does - books are precious after all) and then spits in disgust when they find food for thought instead of valuables that spell KA-CHING, consequently, to get at least some use out of their loot, using the pages of the books to line the garbage bin, or worse, assigning it to the toilet for ... well, if someone steals to get money out of it, they probably cannot afford toilet paper either *shudders*.

In the end, we'll never know. All we can hope for is that where ever our lost books are, that they found a good home after all and/or did not suffer too much when the pickaxe hit them.

What are your pet theories on the whereabouts of lost books? Let me know.

June 8, 2012

2 by 2 Giveaway

Welcome to the June edition of the 2 by 2 Giveaway on my blog!

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul! 

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
The New Enlarged Anthology of Robert Frost's Poems

Once this post goes live you have two days (48 hours) to enter by telling me which of the two books you'd like to win and don't forget to leave your e-mail address so I may contact you in case you're the winner.
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

Rules
Following my blog is no requirement, but greatly appreciated.
One entry per person.
Open worldwide.

Winner
One winner will be picked through random.org on June 11th and will then be contacted by e-mail as well as announced here on my blog. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and if he/she fails to do so I will draw a new winner.

June 6, 2012

Beyond the Shelf - DailyBlogTips

So we're bloggers. The longer we've been blogging the more knowledge we've gathered, but there's always something new to be learned or stuff to be looked up. What better place to get some useful information on anything blog related (not just for book blogs) than websites dedicated to helping us out!

Created by Daniel Scocco DailyBlogTips is a site which provides newbies as well as seasoned pro's all kinds of advice and tips regarding blogging. Guest authors from near and far add to the quantity, but but most of all, quality of the posts - from Blog Design to Writing Content, from Blogging Basics to Monetizing your blog, you can literally find tons of articles here. There will be new food for your blogger's thoughts posted on an almost daily basis too, so you're not in short supply of useful information.

Just some interesting articles you might want to check out ...
33 Ways to Instant Blogging Failure
The Frustrations of a Guest Blogger
8 Amazing Blogging Lessons From Albert Einstein
How to Make Almost Every Article You Write Go Viral
It's a WordPress World

So yes, there is also a whole section dedicated to Wordpress and I kinda wish there was one for Blogger too. On the upside, apart from all the advice, there's also space for some fun. Like quotes? You might want to check out the Blogging Quotes then.

June 5, 2012

Quote Garden - Booze'n'Books

Writers block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.
Steve Martin

I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.
Gail Carriger

I wanted to write something that made no linear sense. None. Zero. Something that was 87% pure nonsense, 12% pure alcohol, and 3% orange juice, for a chaser. That formula is accurate, give or take 2% for the milk. In my experience, comedy is 2/3rds tragedy, and one third 33.3 percent. And tragedy started at birth, so humor involving babies is probably the funniest. But even though I didn’t write anything about babies, you might laugh so hard that you’ll regret not wearing a diaper while reading.
Jarod Kintz

It did occur to me that the effect of good literature may be as dizzying as that of alcohol.
Pamela Dean

I'm very happy by myself - I'm lucky in that way - if I've got enough to read and something to write about and a bit of alcohol for me to add an edge, not to dull it.
Christopher Hitchens

June 4, 2012

A Writer's Life - The Finger

It was one of those spur of the moment decisions which, in retrospective, makes you wonder what on Earth possessed you to do such a thing. Don't worry, it's nothing that could get you arrested, otherwise I wouldn't be able to sit here and write these lines.

Remember when I posted about my horrible scrawl earlier this year? Nope, I didn't take up Calligraphy. On second thought that might have been a better idea. What I did was this - instead of writing as usual aka keyboard style I set my mind on writing by hand. To add insult to injury, I tried to write pretty. Emphasis on trying. Though I have to say it's really an improvement to my usual undecipherable notes. At least if you don't read further than the first three pages *cough*.

Honestly, I couldn't even tell you what gave me the idea. It's not as though my computer died and I've been left with nothing more than the archaic instruments of pen and notepad. All I know is that roughly 35 pages later (admittedly over the course of four days) my hand felt like it would be falling off any minute. So I took off the fifth day.

Then I noticed it.

The painful numbness accompanied with a slight swelling.

Where?

The finger.

Please don't make me tell you which one I'm referring to. Though I'm willing to give you a hint - it's the one people usually do not take kindly to when confronted with it. Stop grinning now. This isn't funny. Well, it may be for everyone else, but not for me.

A week later things haven't exactlly improved much on the finger-front, but I am once again resorting to typing which, oddly enough, isn't painful. Holding a pen on the other hand (ha) is. So far the swelling didn't abate and frankly I'm starting to wonder if I'm simply confusing swelling with muscles building. Once again. Not funny.

I guess my point is ... alright, I don't think there is a point. I got nostalgic about writing by hand and it turned out I should have taken babysteps instead of trying myself on the writing equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. Lesson learned. Keyboard good. Pen bad.

Ultimately of course I think it's a real shame how we do most of our writing on the computer these days. I miss the feeling of pen and paper (obviously), but I obviously need to get accustomed to them again. And I bet if I had planned to take up riding a bike again, other parts of me would be in pain now too.

How about yourself? Still writing by hand or mostly on the computer?
Have you ever experienced any writing related injuries with either method? Sprained fingers? Good old writer's cramp (also known as tendinitis)? Broken nails? Type away(if you still can).

Old Books in Need of a New Home Winner

Admittedly I was a bit worried that no one would enter this giveaway due to being a rather specific genre. My last straw would have been donating the whole box along with several other boxes filled with books that are still crammed into the basement. Anyway, there were some entries after all, woohoo!

Some old books have found a new home!
But with whom and where?
With Faith Hope Cherrytea in the UK!

E-mail's on its way and soon the box of books will be too!

The next Old Books in Need of a New Home post will be up at the end of June. Once again it's going to be a rather specific giveaway, this time because I'll be filling up the box with some tomes in the German language. Genre? Historical literature. If this should interest you, mark your calendars!

June 3, 2012

Tea & Books Reading Challenge

Another month went by and another layer of dust has accumulated on top of all those chunksters we often ignore on our shelves. Or maybe not?

Me, as designated head tea brewer in this challenge have now read the third tome for this challenge. This time I went for a book in the German language. Don't be shocked now! German is my mother tongue, and I've been neglecting reading in favor of books in their original English version this past year. All despite the fact that I've got plenty of German novels in my TBR piles. Well, let's just say it comes in quite handy that I own several 700+ pages books from German authors, so obviously I couldn't even go for the English version if I wanted to.

That said, these are the books I read so far ...
The Passage (Justin Cronin)
Under The Dome (Stephen King)
Ausgebrannt (Andreas Eschbach)

This means I'm half way to my chosen Earl Grey Aficionado level. Next book I've got lined up is once again by German author Andreas Eschbach with the title Eine Billion Dollar. This one is actually the heavier one with almost 900 pages though the page count won't distract me while reading due to the fact that instead of page numbers there's sort of a money countdown up to those one billion dollars. I hope to get that one read in June. Never hurts to be a step ahead with those intimidatingly thick books, youldn't you agree?

Five months have passed and I know many of you've been doing plenty of reading for this challenge, while a selected few still need to get into second gear. Let's just say, if you haven't even got started now, it's time to get a move on. Seriously. Don't make me get all preachy now ... but I will if the carrot doesn't work!

Fess up, folks! How are you faring so far? Ready for an upgrade? Ready to give up? Let me know.

Dean Koontz Reading Challenge

And yet another month went by! Hopefully that month included lots of reading for you all ... and I trust that some Koontz made it onto your reading menu's as well. Right? Hello? Anyone!?

*distant sound of crickets*

Alright then, let me motivate you by my own accomplishments, and I really don't mean to brag, but I'm almost finished with my challenge (unless of course I should decide to upgrade to the next level).

Books I read so far are ...
Hideaway
The Vision
Cold Fire
The Mask
The Face Of Fear

This means, I've got only one more book to go to become Odd Thomas' Neighbor. Yay, me! And as I've previously mentioned, the last book for this challenge will be 77 Shadow Street. With my book buying ban still in action until the end of June, I won't get my hands on the book before July though, so my next update will be about just having ordered it, but not having actually read it *sigh*. Ah, the wait for a book by a fav author can really be a drag!

How about you? Got any reading done for the challenge? Let me know.