Thursday, December 31, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Other 2010 Challenges

Just to be fair I am going to participate in two more book challenges this year. No point in hosting one and not participating in someone else's! But you should know in advance that I am HORRIBLE at challenges. I already have the Audio Book Challenge, which should be easy for me with all the driving I do. I have a second interview next week, and if I get that job I'll be driving less but still enough to be listening fairly often. (Keep your fingers crossed!)

The next I'm going to participate in is the Sci Fi Experience non-challenge hosted over at Stainless Steel Droppings. Very easy: read Science Fiction. I think I can handle that one!

The last is the 2010 YA Reading Challenge hosted at J. Kaye's Book Blog. This one will be my REAL challenge! We'll see if I can keep up with it. I'll be participating at the Mini Level, reading 12 YA novels.

And don't forget my own Short Story Challenge!

My Favorite Reads: The Langoliers

My Favorite Reads is hosted by Alyce on her blog At Home With Books. The idea is to take a book you read before you started blogging and tell your readers about it.

This week in honor of my Short Story Challenge, I'm going to discuss one of my all time favorite short stories: The Langoliers from Stephen King's Four Past Midnight.

This is the story of several passangers on a flight from LA to Boston. At some point along the way the past through a type of time warp unknowingly. When they land in Boston, they are the only people around. It appears as though the entire airport has packed up just a minute ago and disappeared. Where are they and how do they find everyone else?

I have always enjoyed Stephen King's books and style. Most people who complain about King, name his style as being a problem. "He's too wordy" or "He can't stay on subject" are common complaints. I actually enjoy his tangents and find they add to the story. However, there is less tangential thought in this story, which makes the thrill and horror almost constant as you follow the characters.

I am now going to shamelessly promote my new Short Story Challenge. It will be a monthly challenge throughout 2010. Please join me!

Short Story Challenge

Well, I figure since I have been doing this blog for about a year and a half, it is now time for me to host my own challenge. Or more like, I simply want to! My favorite genre of books is Fantasy/Sci-Fi. This genre prides itself on its wonderful short stories. Most of the well known authors who write Fantasy and Sci-Fi started out writing short stories. This is where my challenge gets it's inspiration. The challenge will take place from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. There will be 3 levels for everyone to choose from but they should all be fairly easy to accomplish.

Gold: Read one collection of short stories, published in 2010, every month. It must not be published before Jan 1, 2010 or after Dec 31, 2010. Some collection are published early but have a later date. For example, February 2010 edition of Realms of Fantasy is already available, this is acceptable based on the date. (Told you I'd be easy)

Silver: Read one collection of short stories, published at any time, every month.

Bronze: Read one collection of short stories every quarter (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sept, Oct-Dec)

UPDATE! Wimpy level:  Read any amount of short stories and participate at anytime during this challenge.

Here are the guidelines:

1. You can join at anytime as long as you don't start reading the collection before Jan 1, 2010

2. If you join after January and want to participate in the Gold or Silver levels, you may post about more than 1 collection per month in order to catch up.

3. You can choose short stories from any genre, but they MUST be short stories and not novels. Here are some definitions to help:
Short stories tend to be less complex than novels. Usually a short story focuses on only one incident, has a single plot, a single setting, a small number of characters, and covers a short period of time.
A classic definition of a short story is that one should be able to read it in one sitting. 
In contemporary usage, the term short story most often refers to a work of fiction no longer than 20,000 words and no shorter than 1,000 (although I don't care if it's a short short). 
Novellas are acceptable as long as you are reviewing a collection and not just one. 

4. Your "collection" may be any type of publication that has more than one short story. It could be a book of  several authors, a book of one author's short stories, a monthly magazine specializing in short stories, an e-magazine specializing in short stories, etc. If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

5. This challenge is for 2010 only. The last day to have all your stories read will be Dec 31, 2010. (There may be part 2 for 2011 if I get enough interest).

4. When you sign up in Mr.Linky use the DIRECT LINK to your post about the Short Story Challenge. If you just post the URL to your home page, it will be removed. No one wants to search an entire year's worth of post to find just one. If you don't have a blog, leave the URL blank and sign up in the comments section of this blog.

5. I will have a new Mr. Linky for each month end and for the year end wrap up. Please use January's for your January post, and February for February's post, etc.


Button, Logo, or Something Else?

I am wanting to make a challenge button as nice as some of the ones I see on other blogs and possibly (OH NO!) change my Friday 56 button but whenever I do search for "button maker" all I get are those little, oblong navigation buttons. Am I searching for the wrong thing? Should I be searching for something else? Is the correct term a logo? But that seems like something else entirely. If any of my blogging friends can point me in the right direction I'd be forever grateful, otherwise I'm going to have to figure out how to do something on my computer and I'm just not that talented!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009 0 comments By: Suzanne

My Song

Here's another video from the same night. This is one of my originals, titled "Sorry." (Creative titling, huh?)


The comment spammers are really getting into a groove. Anyone have any ideas on how we can stop this madness?


We got snow here on Thursday. A lot of snow. In Texas. I put it in perspective for myself today and took a good look at a world map. Texas is bisected by the 30th degree latitude line (I looked for the proper way to say that and couldn't find it quick so I hope I don't sound stupid saying it that way). This line also bisects Morroco, Egypt, and Iran among other places we generally think of as hot, hot, hot. It can still get pretty cold here in the winter as I'll bet it must in those places sometimes too but I never hear of them getting snow. And we don't normally get snow either. We do get a lot of ice in the winter, which sucks and makes all Texans fairly miserable people to be around. We got snow a few weeks ago, but it melted by the same afternoon. We got snow on Thursday. Real snow and lots of it (for us). These pictures were taken early in the day when it finally started to stick. We got about 2 inches in Ft Worth, though some places just a little bit west and north of us got close to 5.

I woke up on Thursday morning early. I wake up most mornings early now since Loki seems to think he needs to potty at 5:30 and is not shy about waking me up. Sometimes I roll over and go back to bed but on this day I got up. I noticed the wind was blowing something fierce, it was raining, and it was much colder than the previous day's 70 degrees. Yes, that is right, not a typo. 70 degrees the day before. I decided to check the weather since I was driving to my mom's house an hour away later that day. SNOW IS COMING!! Yes, that's how newscaster tells us in Texas. TAKE COVER OR DIE!! is how they make it sound. I called my mom and said, I think we're going to get quite a bit of snow today. She said, "Get in the car and come now!!" It's 6 am. I have not had coffee, breakfast, or a shower. Not likely that I'm getting in the car. I look at the news again. Snow by 9 they're saying. Ok, dammit. I start packing the car. I am not happy. But I had a terrible accident about two years ago in a snow storm and am not about to repeat that moment.

I got on the road with all the animals. It so cold and it's still raining so I'm a little concerned but the roads were fine so far. As soon as I turned onto my mom's street the rain turned to ice. Just in time! As soon as I got every thing and every one inside I set up Lucina's cage. She has her old one at my mom's house so I don't have to pack that everytime. Her house is cold that I was little concerned about being able to keep Lucina warm enough. I put a quilt and flannel sheet over the top and sides of the cage but left the front open so she could participate in the family festivities as much as possible and it seemed fine. Unfortunately, my mom's dogs are not trustworthy with her so I couldn't let her out. At night we placed an electric blanket over the whole ensemble. I think she was warmer than anyone. In fact my mom was worried we might wake up to cooked cockatiel but I didn't turn it up too high. She was cozy and happy.

We started to get some snow but it took hours for it to start sticking. I was excited because I wanted some pictures of the dogs playing in the snow. I got something even better. I took some video and have compiled them into a fun little thing. Check it out!

Monday, December 28, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Playing at the Coffee Shop

Ok, so I wasn't going to share this but all I can say is WOW! This guy made me look good!

The song is Empire by Dar Williams. I know I have done better on this song but it doesn't sound too bad on here if you're not familiar with the original. Hopefully he'll get some of my originals up soon.

A Year of Blogging Recap

Last year I posted my recap on New Year's Day but since that's a Friday and I want to post my 56 separately, I'm posting this early. I think it's a nice way to celebrate the end of the year blog-style.

There are many, many more books to talk about this year, so hold on and enjoy the ride. I'm going to do a summary to begin with.

13 Books or audio books! Wow, that's good. That means I averaged one awesome book per month and had an extra for Yule! hehehe

28 Books or audio books! Woohoo glad to know I read more that I like than don't like!

5 Books or audio books. I don't really pick up something unless I think I'm going to love it so this is not surprising.

3 Books or audio books. To be fair, one of these I KNEW I wasn't going to like but I really didn't think I would hate it so much. The Dean Koontz book I was so disappointed in because I used to love Dean Koontz. And someone needs to let Steve Martin know not to narrate his own stories anymore.

13 Books or Audio Books. The choice of so-so really stems from many things. I like certain aspects of the book but not others. I enjoyed the plot but not the writing style (or vice versa). I was expecting one thing from the cover and got something inferior. And in a couple cases, I am familiar with the author's other works and don't feel this holds up to them.

Also before I get started I'm going to list my top 5 books in conjunction with Lorielle's Top 5.

What are the Top 5 Books that you read in 2009?
If you want to join in on the fun, copy the above image to your blog, and link it back to Just Bookin' Around.

I decided to exclude any that I had read before because the reason I re-read them was I knew I loved them.

1. The Angel's Game

2. The Mystery of Grace

3. The Thirteenth Tale

4. The Dispossessed

5. The Cabinet of Wonders

So here goes my year end list! Happy Reading!

Ines Of My Soul by Isabel Allende

The Virgin's Lover by Philipa Gregory

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Forever by Pete Hamill

Speaker for the Dead by Oscar Scott Card (re-read)

Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

Greenmantle by Charles de Lint

33 1/3: Elvis Costello's Armed Forces

Retribution by Jillian P. Hoffman

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Prince of Fire by Daniel Silva

Every Breath You Take by Anne Rule

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt

Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella

The Liar's Club by Mary Karr

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Duma Key by Stephen King

Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills

Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz

The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry

Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser

The Forgotten Man by Robert Cais

The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

Oh my god, I'm only in April.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

The Ruins by Scott Smith

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Paint it Black by Janet Finch

Baby Proof by Emily Griffin

Confessor by Terry Goodkind

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

Royal Blood by Rona Sharon


20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Good Grief by Lolly Winston

Musicophilia by Olver Sacks

Spiritwalk by Charles de Lint

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks (a re-read)

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella


The Golden City by John Twelve Hawks

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Just After Sunset by Stephen King

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

The Guy Not taken by Jennifer Weiner

(and both big toes up)
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Constant Princess by Philipa Gregory

The Wedding Date by Elizabeth Young

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (a re-read)

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

Shopgirl by Steve Martin

So there it is. If you actually read the whole thing, more power to ya! I really do this for myself and don't expect anyone else to be interested but if you are, THANKS!