Tuesday, July 31, 2007

'Knots & Crosses'

by Ian Rankin

Fiction/Crime, first pub. 1987
Orion paperback, 222 p.
Inspector Rebus series - Book #1

(Book #31 for 2007, Summer Mystery Challenge - Book #2)
‘And in Edinburgh of all places. I mean, you never think of that sort of thing happening in Edinburgh, do you…?’
That sort of thing is the brutal abduction and murder of two young girls. And now a third is missing, presumably gone to the same sad end. Detective Sergeant John Rebus, smoking and drinking too much, his own young daughter spirited away south by his disenchanted wife, is one of many policemen hunting the killer. And then the messages begin to arrive: knotted string and matchstick crosses – taunting Rebus with pieces of a puzzle only he can solve.
Well, on the 20th Anniversary of the Rebus series, I’ve finally read the first one. As predicted, I quite enjoyed it and now I’ll have to continue with the other books in the series, all 15 or so of them! Just what I need- a reason excuse to buy more books! This was exactly why I’d been putting off reading this and other series for so long! You know I'm not really complaining though! Thanks to the Summer Mystery Challenge I’m finally getting to a few of them.
This was a fun, easy read that, while not perfect, left me wanting to read more. Luckily I do already have the 2nd one so I’ll probably read it sometime soon.
View of Edinburgh from the Castle
May 2003

Monday, July 30, 2007

'All She Was Worth'

by Miyuki Miyabe

Translated from the Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum

First published, 1992 as 'Kasha'; English translation, 1996
Kodansha International, 290 p.

(Book #30 for 2007, Book #1 for the Summer Mystery Challenge, Book #3 for the Japan Challenge)
As a lone detective, recovering from a gunshot wound, limps through the backstreets of Tokyo and further afield in search of a woman on the run, he discovers another world – the world of loan sharks and bankruptcy; of elaborate lies to conceal identity; of bad debts to “the good life” that can only be paid in blood.
It managed to mostly keep my interest but the ending was rather anti-climactic. It was more of a ‘whydunnit’ than a typical whodunnit and while the detective’s perseverance to discover the truth was enough to carry me along, it lacked suspense or drama. It also felt a little bit dated, perhaps not surprising since it originally came out in 1992. After having read Natsuo Kirino’s Out and Ryu Murakami’s In the Miso Soup, the ‘crime’ wasn’t terribly shocking or original and I think those books do a better job of commenting on the effects of rampant consumerism or urban isolation. They were definitely more shocking and gruesome though. I always have a fondness for Japanese settings but that wasn’t enough to make this more than just an ok read. If I try any more of her books, it’ll be from the library.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

a change for summer

As much as I loved the wisteria banner, the season for purple flowers is long over. It seemed to be time for a change. So I thought I'd keep to the Pillow Book theme, and according to the inimitable Sei Shonagan, "In summer, it is the night". (Full text HERE).

The original photo was taken at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, April, 2006.
And posted previously, from another angle HERE.

And speaking of summer, rainy season seems to be in its last throes, meaning that the heat will now really begin. We went out for a little while this evening and walking around in my clothes in sauna-like conditions is just not my idea of fun! Only 79 more days!!
Hope everyone else is having a good weekend.

What's your name?

Saw this at Donna's the other day and had to find out what mine would be. I could actually officially have a Japanese last name but I opted not to take my husband's name when we got married.
Who knows how they assign them but here's mine and I quite like it!

My Japanese name is

松尾 Matsuo (tail of a pine tree) 美晴 Miharu (beautiful clear sky).

Take your real japanese name generator! today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.


My very British name is Charlotte Walpole.

Take The Very British Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Blogging Tips Meme

Stephanie tagged me for this meme that's been making the rounds. I couldn't come up with anything terribly exciting to add as what I would've said has already been added. But anyway...

-Start Copy-

It’s very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)

Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.

After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!

Just think- if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!

1. Look, read, and learn. **-http://www.neonscent.com/

2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. **-http://www.bushmackel.com/

3. Don’t let money change ya! *-http://www.therandomforest.info/

4. Always reply to your comments. *****-http://chattiekat.com/

5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. *-http://chipsquips.com/

6. Don’t give up - persistence is fertile. *-http://www.velcro-city.co.uk/

7. Give link credit where credit is due. ****-http://www.sfsignal.com/

8. Pictures say a thousand words and can usually add to any post.**-http://scifichick.com/

9. Visit all the bloggers that leave comments for you - it's nice to know who is reading! *-http://stephaniesbooks.blogspot.com/

10. Post regularly and be yourself! -http://tanabata.blogspot.com/

-End Copy-

Since most everyone has already been tagged for this one, if you haven't and feel the urge, please feel free to grab it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

M&N's Summer 7 Challenge: Completed

I'd been planning for awhile to reread the entire Harry Potter series leading up to the release of the last book. So when Nessie said I could read the 7 Harry Potter books for her Summer 7 Challenge, I knew this was one challenge I would definitely finish! I still feel I got off easy while others are reading Proust but it sure feels nice to successfully finish a challenge and ahead of time at that!

Click on the titles to read my reviews:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I'm really glad I did go back and start again from the beginning. I'd never reread any of them before and I'd forgotten so many details, so it was very fun to lose myself in Harry's world over the last few weeks. I enjoyed watching Harry, Ron and Hermione grow up while the books themselves got progressively darker. Of the series, I'd have to say that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is my least favourite while I think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may now be my favourite. The last one seems to be haunting me. It's still sitting here and for some reason I can't seem to bring myself to put it away yet. I like how Nymeth said it: "Leaving the world of Harry Potter has been hard indeed". Things are looking up though as I did manage to start a mystery today for the Summer Mystery Reading Challenge. Indeed, there's always another challenge and another book waiting to be read!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry-induced slump

Or as Heather calls it 'Post-Potter Syndrome'! I haven't read much of anything (only a few articles in magazines, and a chapter or so of my NF book) since finishing Harry Potter on Sunday afternoon! I've been so immersed in Harry's world over the last few weeks, I'm feeling a bit adrift! I hope to be able to move on to something new soon but in the meantime, for those who have finished, Dewey has started a blog to discuss Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Click on the image below to visit the blog, and BEWARE as spoilers are rampant.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'

by J.K. Rowling

Fiction/Fantasy, 2007
Bloomsbury Hardback (Adult Edition), 600 p.
Book #7 in the Harry Potter series

(Book #29 for 2007, Book #7 for M&N's Summer 7 Challenge)

*******NO SPOILERS*******

Whew! It arrived at about 11:30am on Saturday (thank you Amazon Japan!) and what an intensive 2 days of reading it's been!
I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t say much. Just that several things happened that I thought would, some that I didn’t expect but all in all I think she did a good job of wrapping up the series. I’ll miss the characters but at least we still have a couple of movies to look forward to.

My Rating: 4.5/5

If you have finished though, I'd love to chat with you about it.

Edited to Add...Questions for the Comments Section:

What surprised you?
What was as you expected?
Whose death affected you the most?
Any questions that you thought were left unanswered?

Also reviewed at:
A Fondness For Reading
Dog Ear Diary
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
things mean a lot
Books Love Me

Friday, July 20, 2007

Further adventures for Harry?

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be back once I'm done reading.

(click to enlarge)

Gryffindor's quest for the Quidditch Cup is derailed when Harry tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs

Harry and Ron must save Hermione after she unwittingly falls in with the wrong coven of Dementors

Having vanquished Voldemort and saved Hogwarts, Harry is confronted with a new kind of evil: Simon Cowell

Harry joins forces with Voldemort and the Death Eaters to pursue their real dream: Broadway!

Something is afoul at Hogwarts when the Ministry of Magic fines the school for excessive owl emissions

With his new bagless Dyson DC07, Harry has never flown faster, and Gryffindor has never been cleaner!

'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'

by J.K. Rowling

Fiction/Fantasy, 2005
Bloomsbury Hardback (Adult edition), 601 p.
Book #6 in the Harry Potter series

(Book #28 for 2007, Book #6 for M&N's Summer 7 Challenge)

Finished and just in time! I had forgotten so much that happens in this book! It was almost like reading it for the first time as I didn’t remember what would come next a lot of the time. That did make it fun to read but goes to show how much I missed racing through it 2 years ago to find out the ending. And what a sad ending it is! Knowing the outcome this time around, Snape’s Unbreakable Vow in Chapter Two had so much more meaning! All in all I'm so very glad I decided to reread all the previous books leading up to the release of Book #7 tomorrow. With everything fresh in my mind, it should be a thrilling read. There are a lot of things that need to be wrapped up in the next and final book and I’m very curious to see how Rowling has done this. So, fingers crossed that the book arrives promptly tomorrow morning. (OK. I've just checked the status on Amazon and it has been picked up by the couriers from the warehouse so it's looking good!)

My Rating: 4/5

Click HERE for some fun facts and speculation from The Harry Potter Lexicon.

Note on this edition: I'm usually one for consistency and of course I've stuck religiously to the British editions but you may or may not have noticed that this one is different from the rest of my set. I was a bit slow to get on the Harry wagon and the first 3 were already out in paperback when I started reading them. Then I waited for #4 in paperback. But from #5 I was fully caught up in it and bought the hardback on the day of release. I'm not sure when they introduced the dark adult covers but I stayed with the children's cover for #5 since it matched my other 4, just a bit bigger. But then for #6 I debated quite a long time before pre-ordering from Amazon but I just couldn't resist this cover, on the adult edition, completely breaking my earlier colourful line-up on the shelves! Believe me, it was quite a decision! But I still love this cover so I don't regret it. And this time I've again ordered the adult cover for Book #7 since the children's edition cover art is rather psychedelic. Anyway, mismatched or not, it's certainly been a fun series to read!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just Wild About Harry

1. Okay, love him or loathe him, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on Saturday… Are you going to read it?
Absolutely! My Harry Potter re-read-a-thon has been leading up to this event!

2. If so, right away? Or just, you know, eventually, when you get around to it? Are you attending any of the midnight parties?
Provided that Amazon Japan does not let me down, I plan to start reading it on Saturday.

3. If you’re not going to read it, why not?
N/A (insert puzzled look!)

4. And, for the record… what do you think? Will Harry survive the series? What are you most looking forward to?

I'm not entirely confident but my feeling is that Harry will survive. I just can't see having our hero, fighting the ultimate battle of good vs. evil, perish. If he dies, Voldemort wins. I know it's possible that he'll die killing Voldemort so that good would still win in the end, but I can't seem to envision that ending. But I guess we won't know what Rowling is capable of doing for a couple more days.
I'm most looking forward to finally finding out what happens and some of the answers to questions left dangling throughout the series.

*Image from film.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: The Movie

I rarely go out to see movies here, it's rather expensive, but I simply couldn't wait several months for it to be released on DVD. Plus it fit into my re-reading schedule perfectly, having finished Book 5 a couple of days earlier. See me justify it?

Well, I thought the film was really well done. There were a LOT of changes from the book, and of course so many things left out. Hardly surprising considering it's the longest book of the series! I thought they stayed true to the essence of the story though. That said, I can't imagine seeing it without knowing the story beforehand. It was certainly more enjoyable knowing the background of the characters and knowing the bits that had to be left out. I'm glad to hear that the Director, David Yates, is also doing the next one.
Verdict: Very fun! Worth the ticket price.

And did you know?*
  • Rupert Grint has purchased an ice cream van in case acting does not work out.
  • Radcliffe is featured on a paper doll site where you can dress him up online.
  • San Francisco Chronicle voted Lucius Malfoy one of the 12 sexiest men who were never alive.
  • Gary Oldman says he accepted the role of Sirius Black because he needed the work.
  • When Oldman joined the cast he bought Radcliffe a bass guitar. They are both bassists.
  • Radcliffe's makeup artist cried during filming of the kiss scene. It took 30 takes.
  • The series has spawned a band, Harry and the Potters. One of their songs is Save Ginny Weasley.
  • Regarding his role as Voldemort, Ralph Fiennes said "I have no doubt children will be afraid of me now if they weren't before."
  • Watson's figure was made curvier in posters for Harry Potter 5.
  • Alan Rickman was J.K. Rowling's top choice to play Severus Snape.
*From film.com

Just to prove how behind I usually am in watching movies, this weekend I also finally watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest!! It was fun but I definitely preferred the first one. The effects were a bit too slimy and icky in this one! (Cringe) I'll probably get around to watching the third one sometime next year!

Monday, July 16, 2007

all is well

Thank you for your concern! We did feel the earthquake this morning (our apartment shook a few times), and the big aftershock this afternoon (was actually sitting in the movie theatre waiting for 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' to start when the theatre swayed slightly) but the epicentre was about 250 km northwest of Tokyo so it was far enough away that a little bit of shaking was all we got here.
Niigata, on the Japan Sea Coast, received the brunt of the 6.8 magnitude quake and watching the news this evening, there was quite a bit of damage and many people have evacuated. This same area had another 6.8 earthquake about 3 years ago as well, the deadliest since the 1995 one in Kobe that killed thousands.
Having never experienced a major quake, only minor tremors from time to time, you get kind of complacent. We do have an earthquake kit but we often don't think about it happening here. This is a reminder of just how fragile the land really is.

*Image from BBC News. Click on image for pictures of the earthquake from the BBC.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

by J.K. Rowling

Fiction/Fantasy, 2003
Bloomsbury Hardback, 760 p.
Book #5 in the Harry Potter series

(Book #27 for 2007, Book #5 for M&N's Summer 7 Challenge)
Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses.
‘It is time,’ he said, ‘for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.’
Harry is often grumpy and quick to anger in this one, but it didn’t annoy me as much this time around, neither did the length. Sure it’s long, but last time when I was racing through it to know the outcome, it seemed very long. This time, already knowing the general outline of the story, I enjoyed it much more, picking up details and events that I’d forgotten. Moving on to Book #6, it’s less than a week to go now!

My Rating: 4/5

Misc. tidbit:
In the UK edition (p. 571), Sirius says 'Petrificus Totalus!', but this was changed to "Locomotor mortis!" in the American version (p. 648). ???
For more unnecessary (in my opinion) Americanizations see the list HERE.

As for the movie, I'll be seeing it tomorrow.
Long version: I was planning to go today but the weather forecast a typhoon coming our way, that has caused flooding and landslides in other parts of the country, so we decided to camp out at home today. We ended up only on the edge of it, the typhoon that is, so we didn't get the expected rain and wind. So we went out to the nearby cinema but there were only seats left in the front row for the remaining two shows today. Cricked neck, no thank you. So....tomorrow it is! Got my ticket already!

Friday, July 13, 2007

one word

Stolen from Dolce Bellezza

1. Where is your mobile phone? Counter
2. Relationship? Comfortable
3. Your hair? Short
4. Work? Necessary
5. Your sister(s)? None
6. Your favorite thing? Books
7. Your dream last night? Forgot
8. Your favorite drink? Tea
9. Your dream car? Mini
10. The room you're in? Study
11. Your shoes? Off
12. Your fears? Regret
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Happy
14. Who didwill you hang out with this weekend? Hubby
15. What are you not good at? Science
16. Muffin? Banana-Oatmeal
17. Wish list item? Confidence
18. Where you grew up? Manitoba
19. The last thing you did? Dishes
20. What are you wearing? Shorts
21. What are you not wearing? Socks
22. Your pet(s)? Crazy
23. Your computer? Essential
24. Your life? Rut
25. Your mood? Tired
26. Missing? Rhubarb
27. What are you thinking about? Weekend
28. Your car? None
29. Your kitchen? Small
30. Your summer? Humid
31. Your favorite color? Burgundy
32. Last time you laughed? Yesterday
33. Last time you cried? Forgot
34. School? Finished
35. Love? Chocolate

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Book Awards Reading Challenge - Updated

After seeing what some of the other participants have chosen, I've swapped a few books out of my first tentative list and added in a couple of Nobel Prize and French Literary Award winners.

Yes, I know that the Challenge has only just started, that it lasts for a whole year, and that I can still change books as I go, but I think this list matches my reading mood a bit better now, and I fit in a few more books that I've been especially wanting to read.

So here's my updated list, plus the alternates, all of which are already jeering at me from the shelves.

1. The Love of a Good Woman – Alice Munro (Giller Prize 1998)
2. Mercy Among the Children – David Adams Richards (Giller Prize 2000)
3. My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk (IMPAC Dublin 2003, Nobel 2006)
4. No Great Mischief - Alistair MacLeod (IMPAC Dublin 2001)
5. The Road - Cormac McCarthy (Pulitzer 2007)
6. The Tenderness of Wolves - Stef Penney (Costa/Whitbread 2006)
7. Le soleil de Scorta (Scortas’ Sun) – Laurent Gaudé (Prix Goncourt 2004)
8. Suite française – Irène Némirovsky (Prix Renaudot 2004)
9. Them – Joyce Carol Oates (National Book Award 1970)
10. The Silent Cry - Kenzaburo Oe (Tanizaki Prize 1967, Nobel 1994)
11. Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata (Nobel 1968)
12. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II – John Dower (Pulitzer/Non-Fiction 2000, National Book Award/Non-Fiction 1999)

Possible alternates:
The Polished Hoe - Austin Clarke (Giller Prize 2002)
This Blinding Absence of Light - Tahar Ben Jelloun (IMPAC Dublin 2004)
The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst (Booker Prize 2004)
True History of the Kelly Gang - Peter Carey (Booker 2001)
Schindler’s Ark - Thomas Keneally (Booker 1982)
The Sea, The Sea - Iris Murdoch (Booker 1978)
A Spell of Winter - Helen Dunmore (Orange Prize 1996)
Larry’s Party - Carol Shields (Orange Prize 1998)
A Crime in the Neighbourhood - Suzanne Berne (Orange Prize 1999)
Property - Valerie Martin (Orange Prize 2003)
An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro (Costa/Whitbread 1986)
English Passengers - Matthew Kneale (Costa/Whitbread 2000)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon (Pulitzer 2001)
A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley (Pulitzer 1992)
Beloved - Toni Morrison (Pulitzer 1988, Nobel 1993)
The Great Fire - Shirley Hazzard (National Book Award 2003/Miles Franklin 2004)
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen (National Book Award 2001)
Waiting - Ha Jin (National Book Award 1999)
Independent People - Halldor Laxness (Nobel 1955)
L’etranger – Albert Camus (Nobel 1957)
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis (Hugo Award 1993/Nebula Award 1992)

Monday, July 09, 2007

'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'

by J.K. Rowling

Fiction/Fantasy, published 2000
Bloomsbury UK, paperback, 630 p.
Book #4 in the Harry Potter series

(Book #26 for 2007, Book #4 for M&N's Summer 7 Challenge)

More fun, page-turning adventures for Harry as he competes in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. It’s surprising (or probably not actually given my terrible memory) just how many of the details I’d forgotten so this was an enjoyable read.
As I’ve done with the others, after finishing the book I watched the movie, and I have to say I thought the way they exaggerated the first task was unnecessary, and I didn’t really like Dumbledore in this movie. He was so gruff, and even a bit scary, not the usual twinkly-eyed, bemused Dumbledore I’ve come to expect from the previous books. It was still fun to watch though and I’m looking forward to the next one coming out soon. And the Harry Potter re-read-a-thon continues, I’m now about a third of the way through Book 5.

My Rating: 4/5

According to a Q&A with Rowling*:
Q: And how vital is Book Four in the 7 book series for Harry?
A: Crucial. Book Four's a very very VERY important book. Something very important happens in Book Four. But also, it's literally a central book. It's almost the heart of the series, and it's pivotal. It's very difficult to talk about all seven books. I can't wait until the day when someone's read all seven and I can talk completely freely about them, but it's a very important book.

*From The Harry Potter Lexicon , full of all sorts of fun facts, which I first heard about at Book Haven. Thanks Nyssaneala.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

and the winner is...

Sunday July 8th is almost over here, so it's time to give someone a free book. 4 people decided to throw their names in the draw, so I assigned you each a number according to the order in which you replied, then I asked H to give me a number between 1 and 4, and he said 2, so the winner is ....
Please email me your mailing address and I'll get it sent out to you this week.
For those of you that didn't win, or enter, this time, the next BAFAB Week will be the first week of October. Good luck next time.

Friday, July 06, 2007

celebrating seven

Not only is today the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year, it's also our 7th Wedding Anniversary*! We did choose the day on purpose back in 2000 when we got married, not simply because it's easy to remember but because in Japan it's the festival of Tanabata**.
The festival celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). Based on an old Chinese legend, the 2 stars fell in love but were separated by The Milky Way and they are allowed to meet only once a year. This special day is the seventh day of the seventh month. (click HERE for the full story)

*The picture was taken on May 5th, 2001. Confused? We were officially married in Japan 7 years ago today, then had a wedding in Canada the following May for friends and family there.
**The reason behind my choice of online name.


The pagoda at Sankeien, June 2007
(Official website, in Japanese, English pdf file available)

It was a pretty cloudy day, the day we went, but it was nice to escape from crowded Tokyo for a few hours.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

How to eat sushi

Here's a fun little video for Lotus after reading her most recent review on The Zen of Fish: The story of sushi from samurai to supermarket. Please note it's very tongue in cheek so don't believe everything you see!!

Edited to add: If you're familiar with the Apple ads ("Hello, I'm a Mac and I'm a PC"), the two main guys in the sushi video are the Mac and PC for the Japanese version of those Apple ads. Love those ads! And it's fascinating to see the cultural differences that show up when you compare the US, UK and Japan versions.

a book for a friend

It's BuyGive a Friend a Book Week and I wanted to join in the fun this time. I have an extra copy of About Grace by Anthony Doerr (UK paperback edition) that I'd love to pass on if anyone's interested in it. I read it last year and you can read my review by clicking on the title above, or click on the book cover to read about it at Amazon.

So if you'd like to give this book a new home, please leave a comment and I'll draw a name on Sunday, July 8th.

Edited to add: Forgot to say that I'll post the book anywhere so it doesn't matter where you live.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Grace of Sandier Pastures thinks I rock! How cool is that? There are days when I wonder if I'm talking to myself over here in my little corner of blogland, so I'm always thrilled if someone enjoys stopping by, and regularly at that. Thanks Grace! :)
I always have a hard time thinking who to mention for these things. Not that I can't think of anyone, but how to choose just a few? But ok, here are a handful, and feel free to browse my blogroll for many more Rockin' Bloggers.

Kookiejar at A Fraternity of Dreamers. I think she's already been tagged for this but she really does rock! Love her mix of books and non-book links and other fun stuff. Visiting her blog is always an adventure!

Nancy (aka Bookfool) at Bookfoolery and Babble because she's my photography hero, and her posts are always chatty and fun to read.

Iliana at bookgirl's nightstand for her regular book chat, that I try never to miss even when I'm terribly behind on my blog-reading. She also has a creative, crafty side and makes some truly lovely book art.

Andi at Tripping Toward Lucidity, Rockin' Girl and Editor Extraordinaire of the e-zine, Estella's Revenge. The July issue is now out and it looks like another great issue. Just click on the button to check it out (button is also in my sidebar).

Monday, July 02, 2007

Reading Update: June

Books Completed: (clicking on the title will take you to my review)
21. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
22. Tales from the Secret Annex - Anne Frank
23. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
24. Buddhism: Plain & Simple - Steve Hagen
25. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A bit of an eclectic mix this month, from Harry's adventures at Hogwarts, to hiding out from the Nazis in Amsterdam, to a (bad) introduction to Buddhism, to unrequited love in South America!

Favourite of the bunch?
I think I'd have to say Harry Potter and the Prisoner from Azkaban, call me what you will choosing children's fantasy over literary fiction or non-fiction!

Least favourite?

Definitely the book on Buddhism. I wanted a book that introduced me to the basic idea(s) behind Buddhism, but his writing style annoyed me so much it almost put me off the subject.

Reading Challenge Progress Report:
Both the Chunkster Challenge and the Banned Book Challenge finished at the end of June. (click on the links to see how I did)

Still in Progress: (click on the challenges for more info)
M&N's Summer 7 Challenge: 3 done, 4 to go (by Sept. 1st)
Non-Fiction Five Challenge: 2 done, 3 to go (by Sept. 30th)
Summer Mystery Challenge: 0 done, 6 to go (by Aug. 31st)
TBR Challenge: 5 done, 7 to go (by Dec. 31st)
Japan Challenge: 2 done, 10 to go (by Dec. 31st)
O'Canada Challenge: 1 done, 11 to go (by Dec. 31st)

Plus the Book Awards Challenge starts this month so for that I'll be reading 12 books by June 30th, 2008.

Reading plans/lofty goals for July:
-Finish reading the rest of the Harry Potter books, thereby completing M&N's Summer 7 Challenge
-Read a couple of mysteries for the Summer Mystery Challenge
-Read another NF book for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge
-Read an award winner for the Book Awards Challenge
-Read something Japanese for the Japan Challenge
-Reading something Canadian for the O'Canada Challenge

Something new?
I've been good so I've refrained from joining any new challenges since I already have my hands more than full with these 7! However, worth a note is Dewey's new, monthly Bookworms Carnival. I'm not sure yet whether I'll join in this time around but there's always next month. It looks like a lot of fun, check it out.
(click the button for more info)