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Never let me near a used book store. Ever.

June 03, 2009 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Miscellaneous

Case in point.

Zephyr Books in Reno. They carry used, rare, and out-of-print books. One of the largest collections I’ve ever seen. A bibliophile’s heaven and an economic nightmare to said bibliophile’s bank account.

Well, not really, it is a used book store after all. But I dare any book lover to walk out of there without spending at least $20. Or in my case, $23.62. (Thank goodness I hadn’t emptied my coin purse as I usually do when it gets unwieldy.)

I had gone there in search of the book Father of Frankenstein written by Christopher Bram. Last night I had come across the movie “God and Monsters” and was so taken with it, I had to do some research. Happy was I to discover it was adapted from a book that received excellent reviews.

So off I went this morning to try and find said book. Was not happening.

When they told me they didn’t carry a copy, I should’ve left and gone to one of those big commercial stores. But no. I’d made the drive into town, so I thought I would at least browse around, plus I really wasn’t up for the B & N or Borders experience.

I only really hit one aisle. And that’s all it took:

The Last Town on Earth

 

The Last Town on Earth by Tomas Mullen
Historical Fiction, 416 pages
A Random House Trade Paperback

Similar to Geraldine Brook’s the Year of Wonders, this is a story inspired by a true event. Set during the 1918 epidemic, it tells of a town quarantining itself against a modern plague and the consequences of this decision.

 

Last Tales

 

Last Tales by Isak Dinesen
Short Story Collection, 352 pages
Vintage International
Vintage Books a division of Random House

This is a collection of twelve of the last tales that Isak Dinesen wrote before her death in 1962. They include seven tales from Albondocani a projected novel that was never completed.

 

 

 

The Sound and the Fury

 

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Fiction, 336 pages
Vintage International
Vintage Books a division of Random House

One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, this novel tells of the tragedy of the Compson family. This edition follows the text as it was corrected in 1984 and includes an editor’s note regarding those corrections.

 

 

Of Love and Other Demons

 

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez
Fiction, 160 pages
Penguin Books

In the slave market in a tropical Colombian seaport, the Marquis’s 12 year old daughter is bitten by a rabid dog. Marquez’s novel of doomed love tells of the girls incarceration in a convent where a young priest is sent to exorcize the demon of her sickness, but falls in love instead.

 

 

I walked out with only four books. But as the saying goes, quality is better than quantity.

And I couldn’t agree more.

Sunday Salon: Literary Genres

May 25, 2009 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Miscellaneous

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I’m constantly looking at ways to improve my blog. Which is a curse people – trust me. I’ve been doing this since November 2007 and have changed my template three times.

Not fun.

Yet again, I am thinking of changing it. I’m holding off until my senses come back to me. Please. Come back. Soon.

Until then, I’ve been rethinking those tabs you see above. Wondering if there is a better and/or more efficient way to navigate around my blog.

Several things, as well as Beth over at Beth Fish Reads, helped me make the decision that I need to offer more ways to look through my offerings besides what you see on the tabs above and on my sidebar.

Namely,  I need to add genres.

Sounded simple. At first. Then I did some research about literary genres.

That massive explosion was my head bursting from the confusion over what I discovered.

There are some that are seemingly set in stone. I can deal with that. However, someone’s Mystery is another’s Suspense, which ends up being a Thriller to yet another, and let’s not even discuss all those that fall in between.

Take for instance:

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife. Science Fiction or Romance?
  • The Odd Thomas Series. Horror? Thriller? Paranormal?
  • Frankenstein. Horror? Literary Fiction? Classic?
  • The Shadow of the Wind. Translation? Mystery? Thriller? Historical Fiction?
  • If a novel has won an award such as a Pulitzer or Man Booker Prize, is it automatically classified as Literary Fiction?
  • If an author is a Nobel Laureate, do all their works qualify as Literary Fiction?

Oh my aching brain cells.

For some of you, the above may be a no-brainer. However my analytical, anal retentive little mind is having kittens.

So for the sake of this blog, and my sanity, these are the categories I’m going with:

  • Contemporary Fiction
    Commercial fiction (see literary fiction below). This will include experimental fiction and speculative fiction as well.

  • Historical Fiction
    Is the setting primarily within a time frame of the past? Yep. Done.

  • YA Fiction
    This was one of them that nearly did me in. For this blog, YA Fiction will be books geared toward those between the ages of 12 and 18.

  • Non-Fiction
    Whew. An easy one! Just as it says. This will also include: memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies.

  • Literary Fiction
    I’m not the biggest fan of Wikipedia, however I liked what they had to say: “In broad terms, literary fiction focuses more on style, psychological depth, and character, whereas mainstream commercial fiction (the “page-turner”) focuses more on narrative and plot. Sounds good to me!

  • Mystery
    This genre has evolved somewhat, but to me, it remains a simple thing: a whodunit. Agatha Christie’s work immediately comes to mind as an example.

  • Suspense/Thriller
    This genre has, and can, cross-over into several others. But I think it can stand on its own. These novels are distinguished from Mysterys and crime novels due to the nature of their plot and how it’s fueled. If it has a cliffhanger, it goes here.

  • Romance
    Stories about the love and relationship of two people. I can’t recall ever reading one that falls completely under the definition I found online. Since I’m attempting to expand my reading repertoire this year, I’ve requested and been sent a review copy for a novel coming out in September. We’ll see if it can entrance me enough so that I consider reading more.

  • Science Fiction
    This is a genre that I used to read a lot of when I was younger. I have no idea why I stopped. When I think of science fiction, I recall the likes of Asimov, Bradbury, Burroughs, and Heinlein. This is another genre I intend to read more of this year. Books in this category will rely on plot and settings in the future and/or on another world.

  • Fantasy
    Stories featuring invented fantastical worlds, an alternate of our own, or are mythic and supernatural. Along with Sci-Fi, Fantasy has several sub-genres and/or may cross over into others such as Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, and Action-Adventure. However, for me, I will be applying this genre to stories with settings that are beyond what is possible or believable. Examples of books that would be included are the Harry Potter series and David Eddings Belgariad series.

    ADDENDUM: Wordlily’s comment below brought up a good point. Here is my answer regarding placing the Harry Potter series in Fantasy:

    I did decide (but failed to mention) that if this occurred, I would place the book into whichever genre the theme struck me as the most predominant.

    Even though considered YA Fiction, so many readers of any age loved this series. Thus it would be hard for me to classify it strictly as YA. In the beginning, the intent and style was YA, but as its popularity grew among all ages, I felt that it had grown beyond that.

  • Horror
    Creepy. Scary. Makes me read with the lights on and when I’m done, I am loathe to put them out. Ever.

  • Magical Realism
    I found this definition applied to an art movement, but it fits so well for this: “characterized by depictions of everyday reality, but with the element of fantasy or wonder greatly accentuated”. Authors who write in this genre are Isabel Allende, Gabriel García Márquez, Cristina García, Franz Kafka, Nikolai Gogol – just to name a few. 

  • Action-Adventure
    Mainly marketed toward male readers, it is pretty much what the title says. I doubt I will ever read a book from this genre, but I will leave the door open just a crack in case one comes along with an exciting enough premise that I may want to give it a read.

  • Western
    I really don’t think this one needs explanation. As I plan to read Lonesome Dove, this genre will become part of my list. Who knows, I may find I like it so much, I’ll read more of it.

So there. I hope. I have a feeling that this may be a work in progress. A continual one. We’ll see.

We have a Winner! (x 2)

May 20, 2009 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Miscellaneous

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First, I would like to thank Teddy Rose for those she sent over from her blog, and those who re-tweeted my announcements on Twitter. Muah! to you all. Second, I made a list of each person who entered and put them in order of when the comment was received. Each was given a number based on that placement:

  1. WordLily whose blog has the same name
  2. Moonrat from Editorial Ass
  3. Florinda from The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
  4. Amanda from Life and Times of a “New” New Yorker
  5. Eva from A Striped Armchair
  6. Joanna from It’s all about me (time)
  7. Natalie from Booklineandsinker
  8. Dawn M.
  9. Jessica Marie from Books Love Jessica Marie
  10. Carlene
  11. Auntrene from Aunt Rene
  12. Nightdweller from Bibliophiles ‘R’ Us
  13. Beth
  14. Chris
  15. Bridget from Readaholic
  16. Cheryl S.
  17. Annie
  18. Teabird from Read Along With Teabird
  19. Gaby from Starting Fresh
  20. Cookie from Great Giveaway Contest
  21. Rebecca from Lost in Books
  22. Shelburns from Write for a Reader

I then used random.org to pick two numbers:

13
5

CONGRATULATIONS to Beth and Eva!!

I will be emailing you shortly in order to get your mailing addresses.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. And if you have never read any of Lisa See’s book may I also recommend Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony In Love.

Jumping For Joy!

May 18, 2009 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Miscellaneous

Jump for Joywb I had to. After going through the spreadsheets I use to keep track of my reading, library, and challenges (doesn’t everyone?) I discovered an astonishing fact.

As of this month, I have read more books and stories than I did for all of last year!

Of course, when I look at how much of a dent I’ve made in my challenges for the year, well, let’s just focus on the positive side, okay? *sigh*

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Novels/Novellas/Anthologies

Notes From the Underground
Frankenstein
Sexing the Cherry
Like Water for Chocolate
March
Peony In Love
Year of Wonders
Later, at the Bar
The Uncommon Reader
House of the Spirits
Odd Thomas
Follow Me
Admission
A Lucky Child
Shanghai Girls
I Love, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
Do-Over!

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Short Stories

The Yellow Wallpaper
A Little Something for Us Tempunauts
The Rocking-Horse Winner
Judge Gladys Parks-Schultz
Lele
Judith Castle
Girl
A Good Man is Hard to Find
Good Country People

To read the reviews, please click on the appropriate tab above. Now. Off to the TBR pile. Let me see, which one should be next. Decisions, decisions!

Booking Through Thursday: Gluttony

May 15, 2009 By: J.C. Montgomery Category: Miscellaneous

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From this weeks BTT: Gluttony
(Mariel suggested this week’s question)

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly?

Pardon me? My apologies, it’s really difficult trying to hear others from behind this wall of books. Shelves? Full at the moment. I was looking into getting another bookcase, but decided on getting a consultation from a contractor regarding knocking out a wall in the bedroom and turning my walk-in closet into a library. My family on the other hand are consulting their own expert who apparently has a Ph.D. and asks a lot of silly questions about my childhood.

Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them?

It’s not a habit; it’s a lifestyle choice.

Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself?

Curb? As in cut myself off? As in I’d rather gouge out both eyes and cut off my right arm than ever entertain such a notion. Have never given it a thought. Ever.

Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

Please re-read the answers to the previous questions and then think hard about asking me that question again.

[sound of crickets lightly chirping]

Yes. I thought so.

What about you? Are your eyes bigger than your book belly?

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