Happy Halloween!

I wanted to take the time to wish everyone a very happy Halloween! Today is my favorite day of the year aside from Christmas (and the 24 hour read-a-thon now added to that list πŸ™‚ but unfortunately I have to work 😦 That’s ok though, I have plans to go out right after work. We were going to dress up for work tomorrow but figured that wouldn’t be such a good idea when you’re working with psychotic people :/ I hope everyone has tons of fun and stays safe!

I managed to get a really nasty cold too, so I’m just feeling like poo right now. Hopefully it goes away soon. Seems like everyone is sick right now! I guess I should take this time to wrap up the RIP III Challenge as well. RIP is one of my favorite challenges of the year and is one of only a handful that I plan on participating in again next year. I really have to tame down the challenges. Mega thanks to Carl once again for putting on such an amazing challenge. It was wonderful! Here’s what I read:

1. Skeletons by Ray Bradbury
2. Gossamer by Lois Lowry
3. Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
4. I’ll be Watching You by Charles de LInt
5. A Soul in a Bottle by Tim Powers
6. Mateki: The Magic Flute by Yoshitaka Amano
7. The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia
8. The Bat Poet by Randall Jarrell
9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
10. Veins by Lawrence C. Connolly
11. Madapple by Christina Meldrum
12. Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge
13. In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami
14. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Not too bad, eh? I’m pleased! Looking forward to next year’s already.

Books Books Books

Well I got some damn good news today! I was contacted by TOR to see if I was interested in an ARC of Orson Scott Card’s newest Ender book, Ender in Exile! Of course I am, lol. I have to send a HUGE thank you to Becky because I was told that they got my name from her. Thanks Becky!!! For those who don’t know, it looks like Ender in Exile will be coming out on November 11th now. It’s a direct sequel to Ender’s Game taking place between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead…two of my favorite books. Can’t wait to tell everyone all about it! If you have read this blog for longer than a week or so, you’ll know that Card is one of my very favorite authors πŸ˜‰

I also got my copy of Ray Bradbury’s Summer Morning, Summer Night in the mail today from Subterranean Press. It’s beautiful! I love Subterranean’s editions so much and this one is no exception. I think I’m going to make it my Halloween night read this year.

Final book that came in in the last couple of days is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. It sounds like an incredible book and I read about it on someone’s blog but I have no idea who’s now? Was it you? I dove right into the first chapter and it was tempting to keep going, but I can’t start another read right now.

I need to get to the bookstore soon! I’m really wanting Paper Towns by John Green, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski and Dream Homes: From Cairo to Katrina, an Exile’s Journey by Joyce Zonana. The last one was written by one of my former professors and to this day she remains my absolute favorite professor. When I saw that she published a book I got very excited about it! She taught me an Ancient Greek Lit. class during my freshman year of college and her passion shone through in her teaching.

What are your most recent finds?

A Great Weekend

Yes I realize that I’ve disappeared again :p Sorry for that. I think that I just needed a break after reading and blogging so much for the 24 hour read-a-thon, but I’m back now. It is FREEZING down here. Well, it’s in the 40’s and that’s cold in New Orleans. It feels more like Christmas than Halloween, but I’m still plenty in the Halloween mood. I can’t wait! But I have to work 😦 I get off at 11 though, so I’ll just go out after.

This past weekend was so much fun! Megan came in town πŸ™‚ So Friday night we went out to our favorite little restaurant in the quarter, Angeli and got their pasta salad which you have to get if you ever come to New Orleans. I know it’s not very “New Orleans-y” and it may sound like just pasta salad, but it’s amazing! After that we went out to Bourbon street and stayed out at clubs until 5:30 in the morning! I can’t tell you the last time I stayed out that late.

After a late start Saturday morning, we got up and went to Voodoo Fest! Voodoo is a big music and arts festival they have down here every year on the weekend before Halloween. It runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and as you can imagine, there’s great music, great food, lots of amazing art work, jewelry, sculptures, clothing, etc. and all sorts of people. We saw Lil’ Wayne, Mars Volta, Thievery Corporation, and Nine Inch Nails. All of the bands we saw were good, but Nine Inch Nails was just amazing. I’ve seen them 3 times before and I think that this is the best show I’ve seen yet by them. There stage show was incredible and Trent Reznor’s voice is just perfect live as is the rest of the music. I’ve been a fan of them since 1993 and have been known to obsess over them in the past so anytime I get to see them is a special day. It was made even better having Megan there πŸ™‚ If you have a chance to see NIN on this tour, you have to go!

The next day was meant to be a bum day. We were going to go to House of Shock which is a huge haunted house down here and has been rated the scariest in the nation by the Travel Channel among others. I’ve been before and it is well worth the $20 it costs to get in. It’s so much more than a haunted house. It’s interactive and extremely controversial. They can even touch you in this one and they do indeed. It comes complete with a morgue, a satanic church, a butcher shop, a swamp, and it ends with a chainsaw maze. So we tried to go twice this weekend and it was closed both nights 😦 So now we’ll have to wait til next year because Megan had to go back to Texas today…

So what did we do instead? We went and got Megan’s friend’s lip pierced at the tattoo shop! While there I started really thinking that I wanted a piercing and/or a tattoo, but I decided not to act on impulses :p After that we went out to my favorite bar and had a few drinks which was fun.

And now I’m fully recovered from the weekend and trying to get back on track with normal life. I’m still reading The Good Fairies of New York and am only about 1/5th of the way through it. I really haven’t done much reading at all lately. Gotta get back to that one because it’s really great. But there are so many great horror movies on TV that keep distracting me from reading! I’m a horror movie freak and AMC has been having their Fear Fest ’08 which is non-stop horror movies until Halloween. So I’m hooked.

And that’s my update πŸ™‚ I had to do the unthinkable and clear out my google reader marking all as “unread”. I apologize profusely and promise that I’ll get back to normal blog reading now!

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker and Other Stuff

I read The Thief of Always by Clive Barker for the read-a-thon and was super excited about reading it, mostly because I had read it as a young teen and fell in love with it. Now I go back to it as an adult and it’s lost some of it’s magic, but it’s still a fun read.Β  Funny how some books do that and sad at the same time that we lose some of that appreciation for certain books as we get older. I guess we just start to look for different things.

When I read this book as a young teen (I have even been 11 or 12), I remember thinking that it was the best book that was ever written. I also remember feeling accomplished at reading a “long book” though now it took me a total of 2 hours to read the whole thing :/ I remember being terrified by this story when I was a kid, but it’s not so terrifying now. I was kind of sad when I finished the book to be honest. It was still enjoyable, but it made me realize that we lose some of that sense of wonder as we grow older.

So let me tell you what the book’s about. It’s about a young boy named Harvey who is bored of his every day life and wants nothing more than to escape it. One night as he’s lying in bed, a creepy man by the name of Mr. Rictus comes to his window promising an adventure that will cure his boredom. He follows Mr. Rictus through a wall of mist and to a house that is seemingly every kid’s dream. There’s a lovely lady named Mrs. Griffin working in the kitchen to prepare everything that a little boy could want to eat. There are other children constantly having a good time. The four seasons pass through every day. You awake in Spring and go to sleep in the Winter. Halloween is every night, followed by a Thanksgiving dinner and then a Christmas morning where each child gets the exact gift that they want. Sounds perfect, right? Wrong. Harvey and his friend Wendell try to leave one day and find that they are turned around. The house will not let them leave. And for each day that they are at the house, a year is passing in their “real lives”. They begin to learn that they are being held captive by the mysterious Mr. Hood and their lives are literally being sucked away.

It really was a great book and I enjoyed reading it a second time. Just not as great as it was some 16 years ago :/ Has this happened with any of you? Have you read a book that you loved as a child and found that it didn’t hold the same magic the second time around? If you do have young kids, I would really recommend this one despite all of this. If your child was a fan of books like Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, I would think they’d like this one too.

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I wanted to thank Bookfool for also agreeing to match my donation to NaNoWriMo from the 24 hour read-a-thon! Between her, Softdrink, and me we reaised $300 for them! Awesome! Bookfool has always supported NaNoWriMo and I think that’s awesome!

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Y’all are going to think that I’m nuts, but has anyone else started thinking of Christmas yet? It just hit me today that it’s only about 2 months away! I need to start doing some shopping so I’m not stuck having to spend my whole paycheck on Christmas gifts the week before, lol. I’ve always loved buying Christmas gifts for people, it’s one of my favorite things….but it’s so hard to figure out the perfect gift for everyone! I think I’m going to do some Etsy shopping this year. Anyone have any favorite Etsy stores that they want to share??? I’d love to find some new ones! If you’re looking for Christmas cards this year, I highly highly suggest visiting Quixotic’s shop. She has some amazing cards that she handmakes and I’ll definitely be putting my order in soon.

The Day After

So I survived the first 24 hour Read-a-Thon for me and I have to say that I had so much fun doing it. A huge, huge thanks to Dewey and all of her helpers for putting this together. And another big thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog during the read-a-thon to cheer me on. You guys are awesome! I didn’t quite make it the whole 24 hours :/ I gave up out of sheer exhaustion at 5 in the morning which is 22 hours in. But I did accomplish my goal of reading 1000 pages! In fact, I read 1003 πŸ˜‰ So I’ll be donating $100 to NaNoWriMo and a mega thanks and a big hug to Softdrink who also agreed to match me up to $100! That’s incredible πŸ˜€

So what did I do yesterday? I woke up at 5:30 in the morning by accident, I posted my 500th post to Stuff as Dreams are Made on, I read for a good portion of the day in my favorite reading spot, I took a short nap and then hit up Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, I made a top 10 list and assumed that some people are indeed not offended by murder :p (and had the best laugh from Debi in the comments), I sang some Tori Amos, and then I went to bed. Oh yeah…and I read 4 (almost 5, ten pages left of The Thief of Always) books and a total of 1003 pages…the most I’ve EVER read in a day. Days don’t happen like that too often and I had so much fun!

Now for the closing survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Definitely hours 20-22…I had to just pass out after hour 21 :/

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami for sure! That one just flew by and it was such a thrilling read. Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge was really great too! I also loved Nation, but it’s a bit long for this.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not a one! I really can’t imagine it being any better.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The sense of community throughout the blogosphere, All of the great updates and mini-challenges on Dewey’s site. The whole thing was just a blast.

5. How many books did you read? Completed 4 and almost finished a fifth (all but 10 pages)

6. What were the names of the books you read? Nation by Terry Pratchett, In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge, and The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Ooooh, I really can’t pick, honestly. It’s a tie between Nation, In the Miso Soup, and Dark Harvest.

8. Which did you enjoy least? I loved The Little Prince, but for some reason it just wasn’t right for the read-a-thon…it just doesn’t stand out. Don’t be mad at me Dewey!

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Wasn’t a cheerleader but you guys were AMAZING!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I’m definitely in next time and I’ll be a reader again πŸ™‚

Read-a-Thon Update #13

Currently Reading: Almost done The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Total pages read:109

Total pages read cumulative:1003

Total books read:4 -Nation by Terry Pratchett, In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Time spent reading:77 minutes

Total Time Spent Reading: 15 hours 9 minutes

Caffeinated drinks consumed:6

Money going to NaNoWriMo from me:$100.30

I did it! I made my goal and now I’m sad to say that I’m retiring early…I just can’t stay awake anymore! But first let me tell you a little about Dark Harvest! I heard about this one from Carl and I’m so glad that I picked it to read for the readathon. It reminded me of an old school horror movie. Just perfect for Halloween. It’s basically about a small town where The October Boy comes to life each year on Halloween and all of the young boys of the neighborhood try to kill it before it either kills them or makes it to the towns church where it will be safe. What is the October Boy you ask? It’s a being made of vines and a Jack-o-lantern head that weilds a butchers knife and is stuffed with candy to tempt the boys. I forgot to mention that the boys of the town are starved for 5 days before going on the hunt. The October Boy is much more than what I described it as, but I can’t go into much more detail as to what it is. But Dark Harvest is a fantastic halloween read!

And now my friends, I bid you good night (morning?). I’ve had such a blast doing this read-a-thon and can’t wait to do it next time. Only I hope I get more sleep next time. Thank you all so much for stopping by throughout the last 22 hours and cheering me on with your wonderful comments. It meant a lot! Goodnight and to those who are seeing it out to the end, happy reading!

Read-a-Thon Update #12

Currently Reading: Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Total pages read:72

Total pages read cumulative:894

Total books read:3- Nation by Terry Pratchett, In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Time spent reading: 1 hour 2 minutes

Total time spent readin: 13 hours 52 minutes

Caffeinated drinks consumed:6

Money going to NaNoWriMo from me:$89.40

I’m so tired right now! I think I’m just going to make it to my 1000 page goal and then call it a night…