As I did last year, I’m signing up for a few seasonal reading events…which I highly recommend you join in!
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:
• World War Z by Max Brooks (Zombie Apocalypse Lit.)
• 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 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
• 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?
November wasn’t very productive for me, reading-wise, but I was a good girl and wrote quite a bit. Of course, if I hadn’t gone AWOL during Thanksgiving break, it would’ve been quite a bit more productive. Especially since I signed up for a read-a-thon that I didn’t end up participating in. Shameful!
However, there are a couple of things that I am especially proud of in relation to my blog that have just transpired. First, I hit my 75th post yesterday! I know it’s not that big of a number, but remember that I only just started blogging (I started in late August!). Plus, I have a tendency to start something, get obsessed with it, and then get over it and move on to a new hobby. So far, this is not the case with blogging. I am proud to say that I am writing several hundred words every day (almost) here on my blog, which has been a goal of mine for years! Finally, I am writing regularly! Huzzah!
Similarly, I have hit 25 followers on my blog this last month. Tiny number to many, but to me it is simply astounding. I can’t believe 25 of you are interested in reading my writing on a day-to-day basis! I am so very flattered and I appreciate your support and interest. Thank you to any and all who read my daily posts!
Finally, yesterday I made a monumental move and came out to my closest friends about what I am doing here. I have been keeping my blog address a secret, as I wanted it to be my own private place where I could write about whatever I wanted and not be influenced by the people in my day-to-day life. However, I now feel comfortable with what I am doing here, blogging is a very important part of my life, and so I revealed my blog site to my good friends Leigh and Jason. If you happened to read my very first post, you might remember that Jason is the man who came up with the moniker “Bork” for me, and thus is responsible for the title and theme of my blog. Leigh is my favorite bookish person in real life. It is she with whom I spend countless hours on the porch, drinking coffee and discussing our latest books. Without Leigh, I probably would have never had the guts to start this book blogging project. So thanks, Leigh and Jason for helping inspire this blog, and if you are now reading this, welcome!
So, since I’m all meta right now, discussing blogging and such, here is November’s blogging in review:
Number of Books Read in November: 4
Number of Reviews Written in November: 8
I also signed up for a couple of challenges in November to be completed in 2012. These are:
In addition, this month, I am taking part in some holiday events relating to book blogging, which I signed up for in November:
November was a good month, and I am looking forward to making December an even better one!
Oh, but it did, Don Draper. It did. And I was there. For an entire week, I was there, and I saw it all unfold. And, I CAN’T GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD!
Warning: this might be a long review as it concerns a love affair that lasted 52 hours.
• Mad Men (Television Series) (AMC)
• Four seasons (13 episodes each)
• Currently streaming on Netflix.com
• Returns to AMC in March(Season 5)
• Recommended For: Anyone. Period. Everyone should watch it. It is amazing.
The Show: Synopsis from IMDB.com:
A drama about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper.
Some of you might have noticed that I disappeared last week. About a week before Thanksgiving, I came down with a cold, and was all fired up about it because I had every excuse to read A LOT during my week-long Thanksgiving break. I signed up for the Thankfully Reading Challenge, had TBR books arranged on my coffee table, begging to be picked up, and I was ready to blog every day.
Then, on the eve of my vacation, I decided to take a night off before starting a new book. I turned on the PS3, loaded up the Netflix app, and scanned potential titles to put me down for the evening. Mad Men caught my eye–it was just added to the Netflix streaming library, and I have always been curious about the award-winning series. So, I loaded up “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, the first episode of the series.
I watched seven episodes that night.
I was a goner. I didn’t even consider reading as an option. I was a Maddict.
First, I fell in love with the title sequence. I’m still in love it- typically, I will fast-forward through the opening credits of a series after watching the first episode. Not so with Mad Men–I watch it every time. It is hypnotic and I can’t look away.
Once the story gets started, there is very little I don’t love.
I love the social history I learn from the show. I learn more about what it was like for men and women to work alongside each other in the corporate world. Also, every time Don Draper’s kids are featured in an episode, I can’t help but wonder how similar their childhood is to my mom’s, as she was about the same age as little Bobby Draper during this time period. Also, was life as a housewife as rough for my grandma as it is for Betty Draper?
Another favorite aspect of the show is the portrayal of the advertising business. Every time the men (and Peggy) from Sterling Cooper go into the conference room, I know something magical is going to happen. When the little junior execs file into Don’s office to spitball ideas with him, I get a secret rush at watching their minds work. I love work on this show! In fact, I am usually bummed when Don has to go home (or to the apartment of one of his many girlfriends) because Sterling Cooper is where all the magic happens!
Then, of course, there is the style of Mad Men. If there wasn’t such an amazing plot line to this show, I would probably enjoy watching the show just for the visuals of dresses like this:
or interior design like this:
or a handsome man like this:
But, there is an amazing plot line to this series, which is what compelled me to stay up until 3 in the morning to watch the next episode, only to wake up bright and early at 6 to continue where I left off. I had to watch what would happen next with Don, Peggy, Pete, and even (ugh, she annoys me) Betty.
Speaking of Betty and Pete, they are two of the people that I most love and hate. These kinds of characters might be the main reason I am obsessed with this show. Betty is such a childish woman, but she is surely a product of the times. I can’t stand how much of a brat she can be, and yet I completely sympathize with her because she was dealt a crappy hand. Pete is such a slimeball creep, yet I love him. I hated him in the first season, but then was rooting for him in the following seasons. If Pete’s a major focus in an episode, I know it will be one of my favorites. Plus, Pete always makes colorful exclamations that I get a kick out of, like “Christ on a Cracker!” or “Judas Priest!”.
Of course the epitome of a love/hate character is the Mad Man himself, Don Draper. I don’t understand how I can be so bothered by his extramarital affairs, and yet I love him and want him to be successful in hiding these affairs. I sympathize with him, although he can be such a major jerk. Perhaps, it is leveled out by how soulful he is. He is a very complicated man, and I love him immensely.
No, the main reason that I think I love Don Draper is because of his relationship with Peggy. He never looks at her like another woman he’d like to sleep with. He sees her as an intelligent woman, a woman to respect, and one of the only people he confides in. I love Peggy. She is my absolute favorite character. I want her to win so badly, at both work and in love. All of my favorite episodes of Mad Men involve a Peggy plot line–she fascinates me as a woman, and I almost think that I have learned a lot about what it means to be a woman at work through her plot line.
So, this is supposed to be a review of the show, though it truly just sounds like a fangirl’s online confessions. I do love this series, I could easily watch it all over again and not consider it a waste of time, and I can’t wait until it returns in its fifth season in January. I HIGHLY recommend it. If you have Netflix streaming, I urge you to check it out. You won’t regret it. And you don’t have to do it watch-a-thon style, like I did. Although, you might not be able to help yourself.
• Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
• Paperback: 270 pages
• Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2008
• ISBN: 0812971833
• Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
• Recommended For: Anyone who enjoys well written fiction; stories that reflect upon the different stages of life and the highs and lows associated with those stages.
Quick Review: Olive Kitteridge teaches us that we very much do make a difference in the life of every person we encounter in life. For this reason, Strout’s novel is important for any and all readers.
How I Got Here: Honestly, I probably would have never read this book as I am not a huge fan of adult contemporary fiction. However, I signed up for the Insatiable Booksluts‘ Award-Winning Challenge, and this novel won the Pullitzer Prize for 2009. I saw it at my local bookstore, thought “Hey, this will satisfy the Pullitzer Prize winner task!”, bought it, and read it.
The Book: Synopsis from Goodreads:
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.
My Analysis and Critique: As previously stated, I usually don’t go for adult contemporary fiction, so this book was a surprise read. Also, it has praise from Oprah’s magazine on the cover, which immediately turns me off. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I did enjoy reading this novel. In fact, for the three days that I read it after work, I couldn’t put it down!
Strout writes beautifully, painting soulful pictures of her characters which highlight both their good and bad sides- there is no classic hero in this novel! It was rough at times, but so very real. I learned a lot about humanity and life from reading this book. Patience, forgiveness, and the many kinds of love are illustrated in the 13 short stories that comprise this novel. The reader also witnesses adultery, suicide attempts, awkward and painful parent-child relationships, and abuse directed at the very people the characters love the most.
This novel is just so very painful and so very real. I can’t read books like this every day, but it behooves me to read them occasionally. Each story taught me to be brave as I encounter the many trials that I have left to endure in life. These stories also made me want to be kinder and more appreciative of my loved ones, as well as the people I encounter every day. Olive Kitteridge teaches us that we very much do make a difference in the life of every person we meet in life. For this reason, Strout’s novel is important for any and all readers.
• The Name of the Wind (Book 1 of the Kingkiller Chronicle series) by Patrick Rothfuss
• Hardcover: 662 pages
• Publisher: DAW Hardcover, 2007
• ISBN: 075640407X
• Genre: Fantasy
• Recommended For: fans of epic fantasy novels such as The Lord of the Rings and/or A Game of Thrones, yet this novel would appeal to non-fantasy fans as well.
Quick Review: Highly recommended as the first entry to what promises to be an amazing fantasy trilogy.
How I Got Here: After reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, I have been craving another epic fantasy fix. The Name of the Wind came highly recommended by other serious fans of the genre, so I put it at the top of my TBR list this summer and went out and bought a copy of my own in October.
The Book: Synopsis from Goodreads:
Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
Note on synopsis: Whaaat?! Spoiler alert: “his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king”–this never happened in the novel I read! I don’t remember reading this. Thanks a lot Goodreads for blowing a major plot point in the next book!
My Analysis and Critique: First, a concession: I don’t really like biographies/autobiographies. The Name of the Wind is essentially the autobiography of a fantastic character. So, if I don’t sound enthusiastic for this book, which I do highly recommend, it is due to this hang-up. Surely if I didn’t have such an aversion to autobiographical narratives, I would be raving about how awesome this book is (as most reviewers of The Name of the Wind do).
With that said, I really enjoyed this novel, though I found it slow and hard to get into when Kvothe first begins telling his life story. It was at this point (about three chapters in) that I was already getting into the story unfolding in the present time, when Kvothe stops it by telling about his earlier years. I reacted like an impatient listener- “Hey! Wait! I was getting into that other story!” I was bummed to find that the present day thread doesn’t get picked up again for a quite a few more chapters later, and it was only for a page and a half, and then Kvothe went back to telling his life story. I guess I’ll have to wait a while to see what is happening at the present day inn.
But, it will pay off in the long run. There will be two more books after this one (The Wise Man’s Fear has already been published as the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicle series), and I suspect I will be far more enthusiastic about those two (my reasoning will be explained in a bit). Rothfuss’s writing is very strong and I liked the familiar, easy voice used for narration throughout. My favorite parts of The Name of the Wind were: the mysterious, intriguing opening, when we first meet Kvothe the innkeeper, as well as all of the interludes in which he stopped telling his story and the reader returned to the present time; the mystery and unfolding mythology of the Chandrian, Kvothe’s Big Bad(s); the logic and magic of Sympathy and Naming, which is what Kvothe is learning at the University; and all of the characters and plot lines that begin and develop while Kvothe is at the University.
Overall, I know I will love this series. Sometimes, it’s hard to get through the set-up of an epic story, and The Name of the Wind is the set-up novel. Similarly, when I read Tolkien, I wasn’t enthusiastic about The Lord of the Rings, but once I got to the end of The Two Towers and had met Shelob, the huge spider, I was flying through the pages and at the end of The Return of the King, I had nothing but enthusiastic love for the entire series. I know this will be the case for Rothfuss’ series as well. I look forward to seeing Kvothe’s story being further revealed and I can’t wait until his life story catches up to the present!
Patrick Rothfuss website (includes his blog, which I now subscribe to and highly recommend to fans of all things bork- and geek-related)
I really enjoy ruminating over the first lines of books on Fridays because it begins the weekend with so much promise! Here I sit, holding two crisp, new novels. The bindings haven’t been broken in, there’s no tell-tale coffee stains or chocolate smudges. Just hope for an engaging read.
Fridays are also the perfect day to examine book beginnings as the weekend is when I usually finish up one novel and am ready to start anew on Saturday or Sunday. The whole weekend awaits my choice.
My choices this weekend are A Room with a View by E.M. Forster and Divergent by Veronica Roth. The former is one I know that I will love and will meet my craving for a classic. The latter is highly anticipated with good reviews from trusted bloggers and students. It also a choice for the Goodreads book club I belong to.
Let’s look at each novel’s first lines and see if that tips the scales, shall we?
“The Signora had no business to do it,” said Miss Bartlett, “no business at all. She promised us south rooms with a view close together, instead of which here are north rooms, looking into a courtyard, and a long way apart. Oh, Lucy!”
“And a Cockney, besides!” said Lucy, who had been further saddened by the Signora’s unexpected accent. “It might be London.”
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Ahh…turn-of-the-century travel woes. I love that I already have a feel for two of the characters from the get-go. I wonder what kind of guardian Miss Bartlett will be–probably the conservative, foolish kind. I am picturing Aunt Pitty-Pat from Gone with the Wind. Always wringing her hands, on the verge of fainting. Thumbs up for the classic!
I’m sure this will be a significant scene as it directly relates to the title. Perhaps Lucy’s character will dramatically change and she will look back on this scene as a stranger.
There is one mirror in my house. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Engaging beginning…I know from reviews that this novel is dystopian, so it sounds as if this society disapproves of vanity. It’s also a very structured society, as there is a set date for usage of the mirror, the same day as the narrator’s monthly haircut. Interesting. I do enjoy a good dystopian novel, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one! Plus, I’m still yearning for the feeling I got from The Hunger Games trilogy, so perhaps this will sate that desire.
So, tough choices here. I’m still undecided. I guess that when I finish Olive Kitteridge today or tomorrow, I’ll feel a sense of urgency to read one of the two. If not, there’s always the trusty coin toss! Check back this weekend to see my choice!
Buying Christmas cards. Making wish lists. Pyramids of condensed milk to avoid in the supermarket aisles. Johnny Mathis is walking in a winter wonderland.
I guess it’s that time again!
Well, I’m signing up for lots of holiday festivities here on the world-wide web! Here are links and descriptions of some of the blog festivities for this (“the most wonderful”) time of year.
There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for 2011. We thought it’d be fun if we cheered each other on a bit. If you think you can join in, grab the button and sign on to Mr. Linky. If you don’t have a blog, you can sign up the comments!
During the weekend, come back and link any Thankfully Reading Weekend posts to the Mr. Linky we’ll put up here on Friday, November 25. Feel free to link as many posts as you’d like. On Sunday will put up another Mr. Linky for your wrap-up post.
Next up, in early December, I will be mailing out Christmas cards to five other bloggers for the Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange 2011. It’s hosted by Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog, and here are the details:
1. Sign up for the exchange by November 30, 2011.
2. Partners go out December 3, 2011.
3. You have until December 13, 2011 to send your card(s).
4. Since it’s a book-lovers card exchange you have to include something book-related in your card. Some ideas:
a. Write about a book you’ve read recently.
b. Give a few book recommendations to your partner.
c. Tell a book-related story.
d. Something else book-related that you think up yourself.
5. Since this is a book blogger holiday card exchange, you need to be a blogger who blogs at least sometimes about books to participate.
6. The swap is open internationally. Since last year I got a big headache trying to pair up people who did/did not want to send internationally, this year everyone must be willing to send internationally. Okay? Okay.
7. You can exchange up to five cards. You won’t always get a card from the same people you send your cards to. It will nevertheless be an awesome thing.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, hurry up and sign up!
I will also be mailing out a book to another mystery blogger (secret santa style) for the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap. Unfortunately, it’s too late to sign up for this one, but I am excited to pick up a book for my secret blogger!
Finally, there is the 2011 Virtual Advent Tour going on all through December. This sounds like sort of a blog hop where participants learn a bit about each others’ holiday traditions via their blog posts. Here is the description from the site:
The Virtual Advent tour first started when we pondered why should the kids get all the fun of opening a box on the advent calendar and finding a treat in there, and how could we have some blogging fun with a similar concept? So the Virtual Advent tour was born.
Each day anyone who wants to participate takes turns sharing a treat with our friends here in blogland. For example it could be something about your family traditions, recipes, your country’s holiday traditions, or a favourite Christmas memory, movie, book, song…anything you like. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas we would like to hear about what your family does during the holiday season, whether it be celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever it is that you do during this time.
If you are interested in participating in this event, sign up before December 01!
So, along with all of the time-consuming annual tasks involved with the holidays, I will be participating in all of these bookish events as well! Hopefully, I haven’t bitten off more of the Yule log than I can chew! Yet, I have a funny feeling that these tasks will be the easiest and least complicated tasks of all that I have to do in the upcoming weeks. I hope some of you are participating in these as well! Happy Holidays!