All sorts of bookish adventures!

Category Archives: Reading Life

ImageI guess the title says it best–I’m late! I haven’t been feeling so hot, so I slept in. I am going to read as much as I can today, but my reading might be punctuated by naps and/or an early bedtime. Sorry! But, I’m reading while I’m awake!

What I’m Reading Right Now: The Watchmen

Upcoming Reads Today: Out of True by Amy Durant; Twentieth Century Ghosts by Joe Hill; Perfume by …I can’t remember…


As I did last year, I’m signing up for a few seasonal reading events…which I highly recommend you join in!

RIP Readers in Peril

First, let me announce that I am, once again, taking part in Stainless Steel Droppings’ Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) event.

For those of you who don’t know (and I’m guessing you all do, so this disclaimer is redundant), I’m a mood reader. And a seasonal reader. I seem to enjoy classics in the Winter, so if you were reading my blog in the months of January to April, you’d think I only read classics. But, if you read me in the Fall, you’ll find Adventures in Borkdom to be a straight-up horror blog. That’s because of the R.I.P. event.

The R.I.P. event is all about reading and viewing horror in the months of September and October. Last year, I took part and loved it. Just like last year, I’m going to commit to the highest of participation levels: Peril the First (read four or more books of the horror genre), Peril of the Short Story (read short stories of the horror genre), and Peril on the Screen (watch horror movies and television). I do all of these things in October anyways, so my participation shouldn’t be difficult at all. Here are my reading and viewing plans:

Perfume by Patrick SuskindTo Read in September and October:

World War Z by Max Brooks (Zombie Apocalypse Lit.)Hell House by Richard Matheson

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind (Serial Killer Lit.)

The Passage by Justin Cronin (Vampire Apocalypse Lit.)

Hell House by Richard Matheson (Haunted House Lit.)

Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite (Vampire Lit.)

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (Paranormal Lit./Short Stories)

The Living Dead Zombie Anthology Neil Gaiman George R.R. Martin Joe Hill The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum (True Crime Horror Lit.)

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates (Serial Killer Lit.)

The Living Dead (Zombie Apocalypse Lit./Short Stories)

For Peril on the Screen, here is a list of movies and television I’ll probably view in October:

American Horror Story on FX

Supernatural on CW

The Walking Dead on AMC

• Any and all new horror television premiering this FallTwo Thousand Maniacs Cult Horror movie

• Cult classic horror movies on TCM

• Another viewing of The Blair Witch Project (I know it’s not scary for some, but it gets me every time!)

• Maybe another viewing of Kubric’s The Shining or my all-time favorite The Omen

• Maybe a new horror movie in the theater, if any upcoming ones are supposed to be good (cross my fingers!)

Hopefully, I’ll be able to read and watch all of that horror! To help me meet my goals, I need to announce another sign-up that shouldn’t be surprising to anyone! It’s an easy guess. Just think of the one event I was all hyped up about twice last year, and pushed my friends to take part.

You should have guessed the Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon! Of course I’ve signed up again! It’s simply what I do.

So, I’m thinking that I’ll be reading a huge chunk of these books on Saturday, October 13. It doesn’t matter if I already had plans for that Saturday (I don’t think I did, but who knows!). Consider them cancelled. Because readathons are what I do! Don’t worry SJ and other friends, I’m not going to peer pressure you into this one. If you tried it, liked it, and would like to do it again, I know you’ll sign up. If not, at least you tried it. But, for those of you who haven’t participated in Dewey’s Readathon, I HIGHLY recommend it! So, it’s October 13. Mark it on your calendar!

I’m excited for all the horror (the horror! the horror!) coming up! Won’t you join me in the chills?

So, even though I said I wouldn’t post about any of my Stephen King reading this week, I can’t help it.

As the Tower-ite’s beloved Jake Chambers puts it: I’ve completely lost my shit and am going nineteen over Stephen King, The Dark Tower, and the whole friggin’ SK Universe. Derry, Castle Rock, Juniper Hill, Shawshank, Midworld, Endworld, ALL OF IT!

And that’s all I’m going to say about that! For now…

Life, the Universe, and Everything Hitchhiker's Guide Douglas AdamsWhat is the answer to life, the universe, and everything? More importantly, what is the actual question regarding life, the universe, and everything?

This issue may or may not have been resolved at the end of my reading of yesterday’s The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Today, I pick up where I left off with book 3 of The Hitchhiker’s Guide series, with the aptly-named Life, the Universe, and Everything.

The thing I love about these books is that Douglas Adams takes the deepest philosophical, existential questions of time out of mind, the “What’s the point of it all?”, the “What’s the meaning of life?”, the “What happens when we die?” questions…and laughs at them. The answers to these questions in Adams’ series are nearly all ridiculous and absurd, and probably correct. Adams was an amazing writer, and his books are truly essential classics.

So, for today’s reading, I’m going to share a clip from the BBC TV series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy from 1981. I really need to see if this series is available on Netflix, as it looks perfect! This scene depicts the receiving of the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Enjoy!

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyToday, in honor of my reading of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, I have posted my review of the first book in the series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I read the book in April, so I can’t believe that I never got around to posting a review. I absolutely loved it!

So, check out my review as I read the next book in the series!

(By the way, my full-time reading is going excellently! I finished Dragonfly in Amber yesterday and got a quarter of the way through the amazing Song of Susannah!)

This week is my last full week of freedom before school starts up again next week. Well, I have to return to the school next week for set-up (the students don’t return until after Labor Day).

What’s that? I forgot to tell you I got my job back? Woo-hoo! Yep, I got my job back as the school district did something completely unexpected and rescinded all of the lay-offs this summer. I officially got my job back at the very end of June, and this year I will be teaching an entirely new section of English–English Interventions. This means that I will be working with a smaller group of students who are struggling with their English studies, and will push them up to proficiency. I have a feeling that I will love this new focus, which isn’t really a new focus as that is one of the facets of teaching at an underperforming school that I love and do very well at. I love a challenge, and I love playing coach, so this should be the perfect job for me!

Anyways, since I only have a week left before I go into work mode, I have decided to put all of my focus into reading this week. In fact, I’ve decided that this week I will be self-employed as a Reader, and will put in 8 hours daily to my full-time job as Reader. This doesn’t leave me much time for anything else, so I won’t be publishing any reviews or Inspired Adventures posts this week. However, I will post daily something related to the day’s reading. Therefore, you’ll probably see me here more often than usual!

This week’s reading includes:

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander series)

Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower series)

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide series)

Life, the Universe, and Everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide series)

A River Runs through It

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables series)

Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables series)

Song of Susannah (Dark Tower series)

The Complete Stephen King Universe

Whoo, that’s a lot of reading. I’m guessing you see why I consider this to be a full-time job!

So, I’ll be publishing a post relating to that day’s reading (all non-Stephen King reading) each day this week, with the possible exception of Saturday. Why not Saturday?

Because that’s my Blogiversary!

Yes, one year ago this Saturday, I tentatively published a post here at Adventures in Borkdom. In honor of the Blogiversary, I will be announcing a few giveaways on Saturday. So, be sure to tune in on Saturday to check out what sorts of prizes I’ll be giving (hint: they’re not all books).

Alright, so now you know what’s happening here at the blog, all of my week’s reading, and about the upcoming Blogiversary! Now, it’s time to clock in and start today’s eight-hour shift of reading!


As you all probably don’t know, I am participating in SJ’s summer read-along of all books Tolkien. Well, all of the ring-related books (unless there’s more that I don’t know about). The read-along kicked off on the 23rd with the reading of the first five chapters of The Hobbit. The read-along will continue on through the end of August with the reading of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, following our reading of The Hobbit. For more info on SJ’s readalong, check out her announcement over at Snobbery.

the hobbit cartoonA little background on my prior knowledge of The Hobbit: my dad kept copies of Tolkien around the house growing up, but I don’t remember him ever really encouraging me to read them; my 7th grade teacher showed us the cartoon version of The Hobbit in class (he was a big fan of movies adapted from books–we never actually read any of the books); once the LOTR films were released, my dad got back into Tolkien, and I joined in and read the LOTR series; after I graduated college and moved back home, I finally read The Hobbit for the first time.

So, that’s my background with Tolkien, but I don’t think I was as good a reader in those days as I am now (surprising, actually, since I read them while and after majoring in English at SDSU). Thus, I’m expecting to get quite a bit more out of these books than I did the first time around. Plus, now I have buddies to discuss the books with, which always adds to one’s comprehension and analysis. I’m pretty excited to really soak up Middle-Earth!

SJ has posted her first discussion post over at Snobbery, so I’m going to reflect here in a sort of a reply to her post, with additional highlights for me and questions I have for SJ and any other readers who may be well-versed in Tolkien. I’m gonna split up my reflection by chapters. Here we go!

the hobbit

Chapter I: An Unexpected Party

Here we meet Bilbo, Gandalf, and the many dwarves. In reading the first chapter, I was struck by

  • the tone of The Hobbit vs the tone of the LOTR series. It feels like a wonderful children’s book. Was this Tolkien’s purpose? Was he setting out to write a children’s book with The Hobbit?
  • my love of the Took ancestry. Bilbo is related to the Tooks, who are known for their adventuring ways (which is very unconventional for hobbits). Bilbo struggles with a deep-rooted desire for adventure, which stems from his Took blood. It’s a completely different genre, but this reminded me of Mr. Prosser, the man heading the demolition of Arthur Dent’s house in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Prosser, a very mild-mannered simp of a man, had a deep-rooted desire for battle, due to his distant relation to Genghis Khan. Love these kinds of internal conflicts!
  • the humor of Bilbo’s extreme flusteredness (to use SJ’s coined term) at the unexpected arrival of a pack of strange dwarves. Bilbo is a creature of habit, enjoys MANY meals throughout the day, and these uninvited guests completely screwed up his routine. I’ve been there, Bilbo!

Chapter II: Roast Mutton

And, they’re off on their journey! The big highlight of this chapter, for me, were the three trolls. I loved the scene with the three trolls, and so far they are my favorite characters. Lucky for Bilbo, they’re not too hungry when they catch him trying to burgle the troll William’s pocket. Bilbo gets all flustered (again) when they question him, and, surprisingly, William apparently has a sensitive heart and wants to let Bilbo go. I love the trolls’ exchange over Bilbo:

‘Poor little blighter,’ said William. He had already had as much supper as he could hold; also he had lots of beer. ‘Poor little blighter! Let him go!’

‘Not till he says what he means by lots and none at all,’ said Bert. ‘I don’t want to have me throat cut in my sleep! Hold his toes in the fire, till he talks!’

‘I won’t have it,’ said William. ‘I caught him anyway.’

‘You’re a fat fool, William,’ said Bert, ‘as I’ve said afore this evening.’

‘And you’re a lout!’

‘And I won’t take that from you, Bill Huggins,’ says Bert, and puts his fist in William’s eye.

Then there was a gorgeous row.

the hobbit trolls pewter

I would totally buy this! Love these guys!

Gandalf, of course, rescues Bilbo and the dwarves, and when splitting up the trolls’ booty, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin get some super-cool elven blades. They glow when goblins are near–how cool is that?!

Chapter III: A Short Rest

In this chapter, our adventurers take a break with Elrond and the elven gang at Rivendell. I had forgotten that Elrond was in this book, albeit for a short time. I wonder for how long Peter Jackson will extend his role in the upcoming film adaptation? Jackson loves those elves!

My favorite part about this chapter was the revelation of the moon-letters on the adventurers’ map, and the discussion of runes overall. I am a nerd who has a handy guide to runes in my library, so, at this chapter, I pulled it out and set about translating the runes on the map. I dig that stuff!

Chapter IV: Over Hill and Under Hill

Here the gang has a run-in with some goblins. It was fun to get more backstory on the goblins vs. dwarves conflict, but, for some reason, this chapter paled in comparison to the other four. But, that’s just me. : )

Chapter V: Riddles in the Dark

You are absolutely right, SJ. This is a very creepy chapter–it definitely came off as more creepy than the first time I read it. I wonder why. Mood always affects my reading, and I was reading this chapter when I was alone in the house, in the dark. Maybe that’s why? Or maybe it’s my extreme aversion to cannibalism (duh, Mandy, no one likes cannibalism. But, that’s in my top 3 scary elements! Some people hate clowns, I hate cannibals!). Gollum wants to eat Bilbo. That’s creepy. Plus, his little lake is super creepy, with him going around in his little boat. And his descriptions of hunting down goblins for dinner was creepy too. I dug this chapter–I love to be creeped out!

Now for SJ’s discussion topics:

1. Tolkien’s songs I read all of the songs, not skipping any. I don’t hear them or sing along with them, but I definitely read them. These serve as backstory and act in a way similar to the chorus in Greek tragedies. Therefore, it’s essential that the reader doesn’t skip them, as they are serving the plot.

2. Has my opinion changed about these chapters since my first reading of The Hobbit? Not necessarily my opinion–I knew what a masterpiece The Hobbit was when I read it the first time–but, I am a much more conscious and curious reader on this go-round. I have more questions than before, and I am noticing a lot more details than I did at 22.

3. Did Bilbo cheat in the riddling challenge? Nahhh. If this were a proper riddling contest, like, say, with a train named Blaine, it would definitely be cheating. But, Blaine wouldn’t put up with crap like that, so it would never be considered cheating. It would never get to that level because he would simply say “that is not a riddle, Roland, son of blah blah blah (oh crap, I’ve already forgotten his father’s name! It’s just like Derry…you step away from it, and details start to disappear!)” and that would be the end of it. Move on! But, that was a proper, structured riddling contest. Bilbo and Gollum really don’t have any official rules going on, and Gollum, unlike Blaine, actually fell for the “What’s in my pocket?” question. It wasn’t even intentional by Bilbo. I say that the moment Gollum went for it, it became an official entry. Besides, Gollum’s a big cheater too–he was going to eat Bilbo either way. So, no, it wasn’t cheating!

Alright, so this week is chapters 6-12 of The Hobbit, which I will get started on (and probably finish) tonight!

Anyone else reading The Hobbit?