Friday, January 23, 2015

Booknote: Wolverine Classic, Volume 2

Chris Claremont, Wolverine Classic, Volume 2. New York: Marvel, 2005. ISBN: 0785118772. 

This volume collects the five issue run written by Chris Claremont; it collects issues 6-10 of the run from the late 1980s. In this volume, the X-Men, including Wolverine, are presumed to be dead. I am not sure why; this is never made clear in the Wolverine comics, but I am guessing if you also read the X-Men comics of the time, you'd know the answer. That is not really a major issue for this volume where Claremont is setting up Wolverine's adventures in Madripoor. In Madripoor, Wolverine goes by the name of Patch (he is wearing an eye patch as part of hiding his identity). However, trouble has a way of finding Wolverine.

In this volume, Wolverine faces drug lord rivals, has a meeting with The Hulk (who amusingly enough is sort of a mob problem solver. Think Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction without being suave), and he recalls his first fight with his nemesis Sabretooth. This volume is a quick and easy read. It was pretty entertaining with colorful art in the somewhat gritty cartoon style of the 1980s. In the end, it was a volume that I liked.

I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

This is one I borrowed from my local public library.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yes, I am a Reading Challenge Addict in 2015

The Reading Challenge blog runs an annual challenge to see how many reading challenges folks can do and complete. Since I signed up for a few this year, I figured I would add this in for fun and as way to keep me on track for the challenges I did sign up for. I don't have to read anything extra here. All I have to do is keep track of the challenges I signed up for and reflect on what I complete or not.

If you want to declare your addition, you can go here to the Reading Challenge Addict 2015 page:

Reading Challenge Addict

Not sure how that happened, but I signed up for nine reading challenges. Some of them are challenges I did last year that I am doing again this year. Others are new challenges for 2015.
I signed up for the following reading challenges for 2015. For convenience, I will make a challenges for 2015 page that will go on the blog's right column to keep it all inone place. Plus I will update the challenge posts with links as I read

So, how addicted am I? I am committing for the following level:

On the Roof: 6 to 10 challenges (entered and completed)

List of reading challenges I am doing in 2015:

Doing the 2015 LGBT Reading Challenge

This is the next to reading challenge I am picking for 2015 (unless some miracle happens and something easy to add the flows with what I am reading already comes along).

There are some reasons I am going to try this LGBT challenge. One, I would like to diversify my reading a bit. I am anticipating that some of the titles will be nonfiction about the LGBTQIA community and culture. In addition, I do have some erotica and a graphic novel or two with LGBTQIA elements on my TBR pile that I can read and count for this challenge.  Three, the first book we are reading on campus as part of the Dean's Faculty Group deals with LGBTQIA issues, so I will have the first book for the challenge listed and read soon. That book choice did inspire me to try out this challenge this year.

So, here we go:

Some of the rules:

  • "The challenge runs from 1 January through 31 December 2015"
  • "Like last year, each month there will be a mini challenge/theme/list/thingy" (Not sure how this will work yet, but I am interested to see what little extra challenges they add along the way. I've never done a reading challenge that features additional mini-challenges). 
  • "This year, there is no form/genre restriction (you can read whatever you want – young adult, new adult, adult, erotica, nonfiction, manga – as long as its LGBT)" (Good. That they allow all genres will help me. I do have some erotica and manga I may want to count for this challenge.)

For this challenge, I am committing to the following level:

GENRE HOPPER: read 3-10 LGBT books from any genre

I have to hop genres. The other option is YA (young adult), and I am not much of a young adult reader. I prefer my books grown up, so to speak.  Given the low end is three books, I think I can do that just fine. I will aim to read as many as I can, and if I do more than ten, I will upgrade.

As I am doing in my other reading challenges, I will add books to my reading list as I read them. When I post the review on the blog, I will add the link here.

List of books read for this challenge:

Can I read some fur and fangs this year? A reading challenge for 2015

This challenge I am doing just for fun now. Fur and fangs means werewolves (though according to the rules, other shifters can count) and vampires. Since I have some vampire books in the TBR pile, maybe I can read enough to be successful in this challenge. Reading from the TBR pile will allow me to cross them with the Mount TBR Challenge I am doing this year. Often, a lot of books in the fur and fangs field fall under paranormal romances. Yes, paranormal readers do like their shifters and vampires. By the way, this would also include stuff like the Twilight series. I am not likely to read those but if something slips in, hey, I am all about trying things at least once (not Twilight, we do need to have some standards of quality here). On a serious note, we'll see how it goes. Odds are good I will count a graphic novel or two, maybe even a manga, if it fits in the genre.

So, this is the challenge:

Some of the basic rules (you can click the link above to see the full information and to sign up if so moved):

  1. "This challenge will run from January 1st, 2015, until December 31st, 2015."
  2. "Books must be started on or after January 1st, 2015 to count."
  3. "Books can be any publication date and any genre, as long as at least the subject or one of the main characters is a vampire or werewolf." (I am betting much of my genre options here will be graphic novels, but we'll see).
  4. "Any other shifter with fur can also count. (i.e. cats, tigers, bears)." (Not sure I will find something with other shifters, but I will be on the lookout for something, at least for the fun factor).

As I usually do for challenges, I will list the books as I read them. When I post the review on the blog, I will add the link here as well. I am thinking this will be a challenge for me to have a little fun.

The goal is left open. The host say to "read as many werewolf and vampire books as you can." So, let's go low, and work our way up. I will commit to 5 to 10 books in this challenge. Naturally, we will upgrade if we do more. 

List of books read for this challenge:

  1. Scott Snyder, American Vampire, Volume 5
  2. Vic Malhotra, X-Files: Year Zero

Getting scary in 2015: a Horror Reading Challenge

I want to try this challenge because I do have some horror books on my shelf that are part of my TBR pile. Also, there are some things I already read that could fall under horror, so I can count those books as well for this challenge. I am not a huge horror reader, but I do enjoy the genre. I often read things that may not be formally classified as horror, but they have strong horror elements. At any rate, I think I can cross one or two items from other challenges to make this and add one or two more items to reach success and diversify my reading a bit this year.

So, without further ado:

Some of the basics:

  • "This challenge will run from January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015, and you can join at anytime."
  • "Audiobooks, re-reads, short stories, and crossovers are fine." (I need all the help I can get). 

I am going low on this one in terms of commitment. As always, like in other challenges, if I read more, I will upgrade accordingly. So, I am committing to this level:

1-5 horror books: Running Scared

Clearly, if I read one, I am good, but I will try to do a bit more than that at least.  I will post my reading list as I read the books. I will link to reviews posted to the blog as I get them done.

List of books read for this challenge:

  1. Scott Snyder, American Vampire, Volume 5

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Going to climb the mountain with the 2015 TBR Challenge.

I tried this challenge in 2013, and I failed. I took a break, and I tried others in 2014. My book addiction remains strong, and my shelves have a lot of books that are waiting to be read. In 2013, I read 9 books and reviewed 4 out of the 9. I am hoping I can do better this year and at least make it to the lowest level. What did me in back then was my way of serendipity when it comes to reading. However, much of what I have now in the TBR shelves in my work station at home are graphic novels and mangas. Since I am doing a graphic novels challenge this year, I hope I can do some crossing to help get me up the mountain. Yet I am also doing a library-related reading challenge this year, so hopefully I can maintain enough balance to borrow books and read my own as well.

So, here we go once more:

Some of the basics (you can click the link above for full details as well as to sign up if so moved):

  • "Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2015."
  • "Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2015. No ARCs (none), no library books." (What this means for me is that I cannot use stuff from Netgalley or Edelweiss, nor library books. Thus I have to get stuff from my shelves).
  • "You may count 'Did Not Finish' books provided they meet your own standard for such things, you do not plan to ever finish it, and you move it off your mountain [give it away, sell it, etc OR remove it from your e-resources]. For example, my personal rule (unless it's a very short book) is to give a book at least 100 pages. If I decide I just can't finish it and won't ever, then off the mountain it goes and I count it as a victory--the stack is smaller!" (This may or not help me. I rarely abandon books. What I may do is skim, especially for nonfiction. Overall, if I got to the end of a book, even if I had to drag myself there or skip, hop, and jump to do it, I count the book as read. For books that were less than good, to put it mildy, they often do get donated or sold off, so in essence, they are removed from the mountain. We'll see how this goes this year). 

To keep it safe, I am committing to the lowest level:

Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s

As I noted, I got close last time, so I think this can be done. It amounts to one book a month. Naturally, if I manage to read and review more, I will upgrade the challenge. As I usually do, I will be adding books to the list as I read them, and I will add the links to reviews as I post them on the blog. 

List of books I read for this challenge:


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Going to a long time ago in a galaxy far way with the 2015 Star Wars Reading Challenge

My four readers know that I am a Star Wars fan. If you must know, I am more of a fan of the original material than the hideous prequels (boy, were those painful to watch!). Thus when I found someone was doing a Star Wars reading challenge, I knew I had to add it in no matter how many other challenges I had running. This may be, however, the one challenge I have a hard time to complete. As much as I like Star Wars, I have read enough of its fiction to know that a lot of it is just not very good. Finding books for this challenge may not be easy, but I am trying anyways. Odds are good I may find more graphic novels than fiction works. The ones I have read have been from OK to very good. Let us hope The Force is with me on this one. So, without further ado:

The basics of the challenge seem pretty easy. Click on the link above for full details and to join in if you feel moved to do so.

  • "Challenge will run from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 and you can sign up at any time."
  • "All book formats count: ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, comics, graphic novels and all books can be used for other challenges."

Since I am not too optimistic about what I may find in terms of books I want to read for this challenge, I am starting low. Not too low though. I am basing myself on the fact I read 5 Star Wars books in 2014. So, I am committing to the following level, with the option to upgrade as I go:

Jedi Padawan (6-10 books)

Let's see if we can beat last year's number by at least one. As I usually do with other challenges, I will be adding books to the list as I find and read them. I will add the links to the reviews as I post them on the blog.

May The Force Be With You.

List of books read for this challenge:

  1. Ian Doescher, William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return

Of course I am doing a library related book challenge

First, I am a librarian. Second, I am a librarian who reads. Third, a lot of the books I read come from libraries, either my workplace library or my local public library. So when I saw there was a library-related challenge happening, I had to take a look and try it out. Last year I read a bit over 50 books from libraries, so I think I can do OK on this. However, since I am balancing other reading challenges, I will play it safe. Anyhow, here we go.

The basics are as follows. Click on the link above for the full post and to sign up if so moved:

  • "Runs January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015. You can join any time."
  • "The goal is to read at least twelve (12) books from the library. Twelve should be easy, that’s one a month. While twelve is the minimum, there is no maximum limit. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you."
  • Also nice that you can cross books from other challenges, and any genre and format works. 

Based on what I know I can do, I think I can commit to the following level:

Overdrive Junkie: read 36 books

As I usually do, I will add books to the list as I read them. I will add the links to the reviews as I post the reviews on the blog.

List of books read for this challenge:

  1.  Diane Muldrow, Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book
  2. Jane and Michael Stern, Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Joining the 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

This is another reading challenge I did last year. I am always reading nonfiction because it is one of the ways I learn about the world. Sometimes I just get in the mood to read something that is, well, not fiction. So I am hopping on board to do this once more. Here we go:

Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography

Here are some of the basics. You can click on the link above to get the full information on the challenge. You can also use the link to sign up if you feel up to it.

  • "The Challenge:  Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult. That's it. You can choose anything. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge. "
  • This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2015. You can sign up anytime throughout the year.
  • Crossovers are acceptable. 

Last year I played it safe. Though I did very well, I think I am going to play it safe this year. One never knows, and last year I did have a couple of bumps on the road, so I am giving myself some leeway. Thus I am committing to the following challenge level:

 Seeker--Read 11-15

One of the things I like about this challenge is that the host keeps it simple. There is just one single page to link up reviews. It means I can link them up as I post them at my own pace not having to worry over monthly deadlines or such.  If I surpass the initial goal, I will go ahead and upgrade to the next level.

As I usually do, I will add books to the list as I read them. I will also add the links to the reviews I write as I post them on the blog.

List of books read for this challenge:

  1. Jane and Michael Stern, Two for the Road

So, let's do this and happy reading.

Joining the 8th Annual Graphic Novels and Manga Challenge for 2015

I am slowly but surely making the posts for the reading challenges I am undertaking for 2015. Graphic novels and manga are a big part of what I read, so doing this challenge makes sense for me and works with what I read already. I did it last year, and I was successful. Thus I figured I ought to do it again this year. Without further ado, here we have:

The rules are pretty much same as before. Here are the basics, and you can click on the link above the banner for further details and/or to sign up yourself if you are interested.

  • "What counts:  graphic novels, collected trade editions, manga, comic strip collections, comic books. In print or digital. Anything else you feel is suitable.  My criteria is if it has either frames OR speech bubbles it counts.  I'm not going to be the comic police but if you are unsure, ask me in the comments any given month."
  • It "runs from Jan.1 - Dec. 31, 2015."
  • There were no restrictions on crossing challenges, which I always find helpful. 
  • I am committing to the same challenge level as last year, which is Bronze Level (read and review 24 books during the year). I did more than that last year, but as my four readers know, my issue is not reading the books. The challenge is getting reviews up in a timely fashion. Let's see if we can do better in this year. As I did before, if I surpass this level, I will upgrade. 
I will be adding books to the list as I read them throughout the year. I will also add the links to the reviews here as I complete and post the reviews in the blog.

List of books read and reviewed for this challenge:

  1. Matt Smith and Carl Critchlow, Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi Division
  2. Chris Metzen, Transformers: Primacy
  3. Vic Malhotra, X-Files: Year Zero.

 Have a great year, and happy reading folks.

Booknote: Practice on Mountains

David Bartone, Practice on Mountains. Boise, ID: Ahsahta Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-934103-47-0.

This book did not impress me much. It is described as a book of self-searching that is not narcissistic. I actually found it to be the exact opposite as the author consistently refers to himself and his love pains. It is also described as having lyric discursiveness, but I found the free verse a bit mundane, going all over the place, and to be honest, it did get a bit boring after a while.

The book back cover tells us the book won the Sawtooth Poetry Award in 2013. I had to look that up because it did not ring any bells in terms of being a known award outside of fancy literary circles. Turns out it is a small award of $1500 given to a poetry book out of Ahsahta Press, based at Boise State University.

In the end, I found the book to be barely OK, which is why I gave it two stars, but I will say that I have read much better poetry by other writers. This book contains the kind of poetry your high end literary friends or your literature professors might pick to read. I do not see this as a book for most common readers. It's not hard to read or such. It's just not terribly interesting.

So, in the end, 2 out of 5 stars, but barely. I borrowed this one from my local public library.