Thursday Tea (Sept. 29): The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography

The book: I’ve been distracted lately by reading stuff online (and playing video games), so much so that I haven’t really been reading any books for the past week and a half. I’m making my way through Agatha Christie’s autobiography, sure, but not with any sort of speed. I’m trying to be okay with not being in the mood for books right now, but it’s still a little worrying.

To cheer myself up, I’ve decided to read a book that won’t require me to spend a lot of time on it (leaving me more time to browse online, ha): The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography.

I think when October starts I’m going to take a small blogging break, for like a week or so. Hopefully after that I’ll be more in the mood for reading/reviewing/etc.

The tea: I found some chocolate mint oolong tea I forgot I had! It’s…interesting.

Do they go together? I suppose technically I should be drinking Darjeeling tea instead, since the Dalai Lama apparently likes it. Oh well.

Other tea drinkers

SweetSwan is reading The Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle and drinking chamomile tea!

JoAnne is reading Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray and drinking Okinawa milk tea!

Demijel is reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and drinking Orange Pekoe!

Angela Renee is reading The Goblin King by Shona Husk and drinking Asian Moonlight tea!

Iris is reading No Surrender by Constance Maud and drinking Paramaribo Peach tea!

(Leave a link to your TT post in the comments and I’ll add you to the tea drinkers list!)

REVIEW: Mister Creecher by Chris Priestly

REVIEW: Mister Creecher by Chris PriestlyMister Creecher by Chris Priestley
Published by Bloomsbury Children's (2011), ARC, 360pg
Filed under: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Sci-fi
Got my copy from: BEA 2011
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf

three-half-starsthree-half-starsthree-half-starsthree-half-stars

Billy is a street urchin, pickpocket and petty thief. Mister Creecher is a monstrous giant of a man who terrifies all he meets. Their relationship begins as pure convenience. But a bond swiftly develops between these two misfits as their bloody journey takes them ever northwards on the trail of their target . . . Victor Frankenstein.Friendship, trust and betrayal combine to form a dangerous liaison in this moving and frightening new book from Chris Priestley.

When I got this at BEA I’m pretty sure someone told me it was a retelling of Frankenstein for young adults. And it is, sort of, but only in the way that a “missing scene” novel is a retelling. Actually, Mister Creecher takes place during a point in Frankenstein where Dr Frank is trying to build his monster a mate1. Which is exciting, really! And then…

MINI-REVIEWS: The Warded Man, iDrakula, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains

Click on the book cover to go to its Amazon page.

Book cover of The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett92. The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
Publication: Del Rey (March 10, 2009), ebook, 432pp / ISBN 0345503805
Genre: Dystopian Fantasy

Read: August 1-2, 2011
Source: Bought

Mini-Review

I don’t think I’ve read a proper dystopian fantasy before, though I’ve read a few magical realism-type ones. This one was interesting because there were demons, there was magic, and while it was still obviously a dystopian society it was one that was on the verge of getting back on its feet, so to speak. The majority of the book was a really good read, with lots of action and some great characters, including female ones that weren’t, y’know, useless. The last third of the book, however, took a dive downward. And then…

The Sunday Salon (Sept. 25): Banned Books Week

The Sunday Salon.com First: Doctor Who! That was a good episode, wasn’t it? The only thing I’m confused about is the timeline, specifically about how Amy and Rory were where they are in the episode when I’m pretty sure that, according to the first episode of the season, they were supposed to be somewhere else. I’m sure it’ll be explained in the next episode, but trying to work it out now is making my head spin.

Second: happy Banned Books Week! I’m not planning on specifically reading a banned/challenged book this week, mostly because I’ve started to feel overwhelmed with the stuff I already “have” to do and I don’t want to add on another “have” on top of it all. But I thought I’d at least celebrate it in some way, and so here’s a list of some of my favorite banned books! You could think of it like a rec list, if you’d like.

And, as a bonus: challenged and/or banned books I haven’t read yet but really want to:

Are you planning on reading a banned book this week?

Weekly Book Stats

Books read this week:
115. The Letter, the Witch and the Ring – John Bellairs five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars *

Books reviewed this week:
66. Steinbeck’s Ghost – Lewis Buzbee five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars
108. Down the Mysterly River – Bill Willingham five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars B
109. 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars e

Books acquired this week:

Currently reading:
I’m still (slowly) making my way through Agatha Christie’s autobiography. I’m trying not to panic over how long it’s taking me to read it, because a) it’s a chunkster and b) it’s totally fine if I don’t finish a book within two days. Also, it’s a good book! I don’t want to rush!

But at the same time I can’t help but feel that “gotta read more/faster/better/etc.” kind of thing that I think all book bloggers get every once in a while.

Commonplace Post (4)

Happy one month anniversary of the Commonplace Post! Or something.

As always, click on images to go to the site/post/etc.

Photo of extremely dusty Mickey Mouse and Porky Pig toys

I’m thinking of only going to the ALA conference next year because a) it’ll be right next to me once I actually move to California and b) it’ll be cheaper to go there instead of going to NYC for a week. If Ican swing both, though, I may do both! Anyway, since I haven’t heard of many book bloggers going to ALA, I’ve been Googling for info:
On the Topic of Bloggers at ALA @ Ten Cent Notes
ALA Survival Tips, New & Improved for #ALA11 @ Librarian By Day
Have you been to the ALA conference before? And/or are you going in 2012? Let me know!

Top Ten Fantasy Novels That Have Gay People In Them @ Autostraddle And then…

Out Soon (October 2011)

I, like many other people, have an intense need to know what’s being released soon in the book world. Otherwise I might miss something, and that would be disastrous! So here’s a list of some interesting-looking books that are coming out next month. I hope y’all find it useful! And if I’ve missed something? Let me know in the comments!

(Partially inspired by The Story Siren’s New Reads feature, except I’m not ambitious enough to do it weekly.)

October 2011

Book cover of The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Oct. 4th:

Book cover of Around the World by Matt Phelan Book cover of Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls by Wendelin van Draanan Book cover of Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George Book cover of The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf
Oct. 11th:

Book cover of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami Book cover of Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore Book cover of Master of the House of Darts: Obsidian and Blood Book 3 by Aliette de Bodard
Oct. 25th:

For a bigger list of books coming out in the following months, check out the Out Soon page!

REVIEW: Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham

108. Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham
Publication: Starscape (September 13, 2011), ARC Paperback, ?pp / ISBN 0765327929
Genre: MG Fantasy

Read: September 3-4, 2011
Source: BEA 2011

Summary from Amazon:

Max “the Wolf” is a top notch Boy Scout, an expert at orienteering and a master of being prepared. So it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself, with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a badger named Banderbrock, a black bear named Walden, and McTavish the Monster (who might also be an old barn cat)—all of whom talk—and who are as clueless as Max.

Before long, Max and his friends are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds. Armed with powerful blue swords and known as the Blue Cutters, these hunters capture and change the very essence of their prey. For what purpose, Max can’t guess. But unless he can solve the mystery of the strange forested world he’s landed in, Max may find himself and his friends changed beyond recognition, lost in a lost world…

Review

At this point, three-and-a-bit-more months after BEA, I’d pretty much forgotten what Down the Mysterly River was about. I knew it was an MG fantasy, and I knew what sort of fantasy things BW does with his Fables series1. For all that I’m familiar with the genre and with BW’s stuff, it’s a little bit silly how thrown I was by the first couple of chapters.

A boy detective with a cutsie nickname? A talking badger? A mad barn cat with a vaguely Scottish name? It was like a weird mix of Redwall and Encyclopedia Brown, and I wasn’t entirely sure I liked it.

Then the Cutters were introduced, and from then on I was hooked. I also started getting a little smarter re:what was actually being done, here: BW was writing metafiction about children’s fantasy stories! Awesome!

Also, everyone was totally dead, and that was both terrifying and thrilling. And then…