Well, I’m done two books so far this year: When Elephants Weep by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, and The Party’s Over by Richard Heinberg.

When Elephants Weep was good in the way that I agreed with the thesis, it was fairly easy to read, and it had a lot of interesting anecdotes, but there wasn’t a whole lot of concrete facts or quality arguments presented. It was pretty neutral to me. Not enough to change your mind, if you’re dead-set against animals having emotion, but a nice enough read if you already believe it. 3/5

I enjoyed The Party’s Over a lot more. The numerous statistics, graphs, knowledgeable sources cited (like scientists who have spent 50 years working with oil) was enough to make me have little doubt of the coming oil peak, not to mention the news that keeps coming up about crude hitting $100 a barrel and gas prices expected to keep going up. What’s scary is the year that kept coming up: 2010. Yes, there were a lot of predictions, but the vast majority were at or near 2010. That is two years from now! Heinberg also details a terrifying picture of what peak oil could, and most likely will, bring: major wars over dwindling resources, even more catastrophic consequences for the environment when people switch to burning wood and coal for fuel, the failure of oil-based agriculture, etc. Definitely scary stuff, but strongly supported by evidence. I’d recommend this to anyone, whether they’re in doubt or are already preparing for the end of oil. Read this book! 5/5

I’m just finishing Forbidden Fruit, and after that I’ll probably be reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, then I’ll be getting into some fiction.

Right now I’m reading When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, but I’d better finish it soon. Over the break, my English class is supposed to read one of the 50 or so books the teacher and librarian picked out about “big ideas” and do a ten-minute presentation on the book when we get back. I picked out When Elephants Weep and Party’s Over by Richard Heinberg, but I want to actually do my presentation on Party’s Over, which I haven’t even started yet. Ack! I’m also supposed to, for my English class, listen to a 45-minute radio program (CBC Ideas) and take extensive notes, then fill out a sheet, then do an academic response to it. Which I haven’t done. But I think I saw in passing that Alberto Manguel was on the program once, so I’ll try to find that one to do, if I find the time to do my homework at all…

In other book news with me, I’ve joined BookMooch and have sent my first three books. I have also requested a few books, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll be getting them. I’m having fun so far!

Well, I have a simple resolution this year. I resolve to meticulously record every book I read this year and gather some data on it. I want to read more, but I first I have to know how much I read already. So.

1) I have to blog the title of every book I’ve read, noting the author and the month I read it in.
2) I have to record how much fiction I read every month, how much non-fiction, how much poetry, and what, if any, gender of author and genre I am reading more of.
3) Record every book I buy/receive, and how much of my own money I spend in a year on books.
4) Rate each book I read out of five, and do a short best-of list at the end of the year.
5) Gather all this info at the end of the year to figure out what a good goal is for next year.

That’s my resolution for the year! I gave up on those classic doomed New Years resolutions ages ago. Get healthier? Do better in school? Be nicer? Ha! No, thank you. We’ll see how this one goes.

Well, I finished reading The City of Words. I didn’t completely understand it, but I did like it. Alberto Manguel seems to humble me. Or at least, the two books I’ve read by him have. Good stuff.

I bought some books at Chapters with the gift cards I got for Christmas (Sigh. Why can’t people get them from Munro’s instead?). I got one for $50 from the uncle, with which I bought The Life of Pi illustrated edition (that was a couple weeks ago), because it’s gorgeous, but I can’t really afford it without my discount. Then a couple days ago I spend the rest of that card plus the $25 card from on of the my friends. (Prices are all including discount)

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Audio (Live) (CD) for $11.16
On Literature by Umberto Eco (Hardcover) for $6.99
Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman (Hardcover) for $4.19
Feeding the Future edited by Andrew Heintzman and Evan Solomon (Hardcover) for $4.89
and
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (Hardcover) for $4.89
for a total, with tax, of $34.83 leaving $6.78 on my card.

I got the Hodgman book recommended to me early the day I bought it, though I had been wanting to read it beforehand. “I just want to read it because he’s on The Daily Show,” I said to a customer buying the trade copy. He said, “In my opinion, his humour far surpasses The Daily Show.”, which impressed me.

Well, that’s it for this year!

I haven’t updated in a while, and I’m still not completely into writing an in-depth post, so I’ll just record the basics. I’ve read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, though that wasn’t a whole book. I wanted to do some xmas reading, so that was fine. I started reading Oliver Twist after, because I got hooked on Dickens’ style (I know, I know, it’s ridiculous I haven’t read any of his yet), but soon after The Daily Show and Philosophy by Jason Holt finally came in (I ordered it /ages/ ago), so I put Oliver Twist on hold and read that. After that, I had some library holds all come in, so I read I’d Rather be Single Than Settle by Emily Dubberley. That was sort of an impulse hold, and it was a lot more self-help than I was expecting. I don’t really read self-help. It was still okay, it made me really look forward to moving out on my own. And then I attempted reading the second hold, 4000 Years of Christmas, but it wasn’t what I was expecting, and I don’t think I’m in a nonf0ction mood, ’cause I couldn’t get into it. Ah well. Also, it was a little too “Look at the adorable/savage things people did before they realized what December is /really/ about: Jesus Christ the lord our savior.” for my tastes. Now I’m reading The City of Words by Alberto Manguel. I read his reading diary and liked it, so it should be pretty good. After that, I have two books to read for class, and I think I’ll be re-reading The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so I can read Salmon of Doubt and then lend to my uncle. Then I’ll pick up Oliver Twist again, hopefully.

I’ve finished it! What a great series. I read a little essay on how the His Dark Materials books can be taken as theist, and realized it actually makes sense. I need to stop making such snap judgments. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, though they toned down the atheism, which is ridiculous, since many devout Catholics are boycotting it anyways (it may lead their children to reading the books! Oh noez!). I’m thinking the religious undertones can be taken either way. They don’t endorse a corrupt religious system… So if you’re pro that, then I guess you should boycott it…? Even without the religion, I really liked these. Great plot and characters. I kept wanting to read more after I was done.

I think I’m going to take  Richard‘s advice and get an xkcd Actual Size! sticker to cover the stupid movie ad circle on the cover. Yay!

Eep, I’ve been lazy in updating. Ah well. I finished Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide, which I really liked, especially the accounts of zombie attacks. One thing really irritated me, though, and it was the five or six times in the book he used the word “ironically”, and as far as I could tell, not once was the  situation actually ironic. “Ironic” and “literal” are the two words I can not stand being used incorrectly. Despite that, I still really want to read World War Z by him, since that’ll be all zombie accounts.

I also re-read The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. I couldn’t remember if I actually finished these books when I was younger, I just remembered that they went over my head and that I never read The Amber Spyglass, in fact, I didn’t even own it. Re-reading them, though, I really enjoyed them! Exquisite writing, fascinating plot, and best of all, the ideas being presented! Fantastic. I hate how many books have been written about these books ‘really’ being Christian. No! Pullman said himself that he’s an atheist and his books are about killing God. Just because it has morals doesn’t mean it’s a Christian story! People do the same thing with Harry Potter, though Rowling is hoping that outing Dumbledore may counter that. Sigh. Can’t people enjoy books without conforming them to their religion?

Anyways, I’m still reading The Amber Spyglass (for the first time). After that, I think I’ll read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I regretted not doing any Halloween reading, so I’d like to do some Christmas reading. I haven’t forgotten about re-reading HGttG! I’m still looking forward to it.

Oh, and I bought The Amber Spyglass at Munro’s for $14.27 with tax (it was 25% off). I like the cover a lot (I’ll probably buy the matching Subtle Knife and Golden Compass  eventually), except that it has a stupid “A Major Motion Picture Holiday 2007) circle on it. Bah. Maybe I can find a sticker to cover it with.

This was definitely an interesting book. It’s anthology (which I didn’t know when I put it on hold), edited by Krista Jacob. It turned out to include an essay by Jennifer Baumgardner, the authour of Look Both Ways, which I only recently read. It’s about the movement inside the pro-choice (pro-reproductive rights/pro-reproductive justice/etc) movement to include all voices. There were stories ranging from women who had abortions and felt no guilt to those who suffered profound emotional pain. It also exposed pro-choice people who also believe life begins at conception, and the concerns that the pro-choice movement is far too middle-class/white -centric. But all of the contributors are still pro-choice, proving you don’t need to conform to a single set of beliefs and experiences to belong to the movement. Very thought-provoking. I think this is a really valuable book to anyone curious about reproductive rights.

So, I got a $10 gift card, along with every other Chapters/Coles/Indigo employee, for putting up with customer’s American/Canadian difference attacks. Honestly, I don’t care how pissed off you are about it, if you harass the bookstore employees about it YOU ARE AN ASS. The majority of customers mention it. /The majority/. I have heard this way too many times before. I don’t make the rules. If you want to pay the American price, we’re near the border, go ahead and buy your books there. I don’t get paid on commission. Sigh. Anyways, we also got an Employee Appreciation Day on Friday because of it, which meant we got an extra 10% off, 40% in all. So I used the gift card and discount to get BFG and Matilda by Roald Dahl. I love kids books, and Dahl is a genius. I read (re-read? I’m not sure if I read it before) Matilda yesterday and adored it, of course. Now I’m going to go watch the movie on Youtube.

So, I read the Dirk Gently books. It’s definitely Douglas Adams style, but I liked the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy better. Still, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was excellent! I kept reading parts of it out loud to my mom or A., even though they didn’t seem quite as interested as me. It was delightfully absurd, and definitely compared to The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, even if I didn’t like it quite as much. One kinda troubling thing was the blatant spelling and grammatical errors it had. I’m not sure why that would be… I mean, at one point it had “tjat” instead of “that”. Weird. Other than that, I loved if, even if I didn’t quite follow the poem part of it.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul I didn’t like as much. Which is strange, since I’ve seen a few reviews now which swear it’s his best work. I mean, I’d say this one was fine… but not fantastic. I didn’t notice any grammatical errors in this one, but the story just didn’t grab me as much. Maybe it’s because I don’t know a whole lot about Norse mythology, I don’t know. Or maybe it just warrants a re-read, since I didn’t really follow all of it. I just didn’t find myself wanting to read out any of this book. Oh well, it was still interesting.

Now I’m reading The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. I’ve also got Abortion Under Attack (an impulse hold) waiting for me at the library. I’ll pick it up tomorrow. After those I’m back to Douglas Adams: re-reading the HHGttG trilogy of five, Salmon of Doubt and the original radio scripts of Life, the Universe, and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless.

What can I say about Susie Sexpert’s Lesbian Sex World by Susie Bright? It was excellent! Very informative, very funny, just what I was hoping for. What’s more, it was an easy and enjoyable read. I have to say, it was a relief to read a book without footnotes after Thirst and Big Box Swindle. It was fun. L from my work lent this to me, though why she has it (and apparently more in the same genre) is a bit of a mystery to me, since she’s a self-described straight. All the better for me, I suppose! Anyways, it was a relief to have an easy read. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, but this seems to have broken it. Also, I now know some orgy advice, should the mood ever strike.

I’ve also finished A Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs. It’s part funny, part enlightening, part ridiculous. Mostly thought-provoking, though. He’s an agnostic, so I could relate to him (even though I’m really more of a non-theist). He found a lot of things in the Bible that I thought were really good ideas. The Sabbath. Praying in thanks constantly. Tithing to the poor (not the church). Of course, he also found some pretty messed-up stuff. But overall it made me more understanding of religion, which is good, because I mostly communicate with quite anti-religious people, and I was one myself, but I didn’t want to be. And I think that’s starting to shift a little. Hopefully.

I’m going on a bit of a Douglas Adam binge next (I’m already almost halfway through Dirk Gentley’s Detective Agency) . Gotta love that guy.

I just saw this meme on Becky’s Book Blog and, being seventeen, felt highly qualified to answer it.

Ender’s Game/Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card. Who doesn’t love this book? I think I found Ender’s Shadow in a grocery store when I was about twelve or thirteen. I hadn’t heard of it or Ender’s Game before. So I actually read Ender’s Shadow before Ender’s Game, and I’m sort of glad I did, because that way I got to appreciate both books, instead of being disappointed by Ender’s Shadow. I re-read Ender’s Game again recently and still love it. Highly recommended. I haven’t read any of his other stuff yet, though. I tried when I was younger and couldn’t get through Speaker of the Dead, but I’m going to try it again soon.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Yes, I know this is a kid’s book, but I adore it. I re-read it a couple years ago and cried. I love fairy tales. The Two Princesses book I loved, too, and I have another one of hers on Mt TBR.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I was first in line at Bolen Books, in costume, to get the last book. Looking back, the writing isn’t perfect, and it isn’t always consistent in the facts, and sometimes there are convenient plot devices, but I still like the story, and I definitely loved it when I was younger. Besides, this series may not have introduced me to reading, but it was the first series I got into, and the longest book I read. So I’m no longer intimidated by series or lengthy books. At least, not as much. I’ll re-read the series again eventually. (I’ve only read the last book once).

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Pure fun. I plan to re-read it very soon. I watched the movie first, and loved it, so I needed to read the book. Then, of course, I read the books and realized the movie was crap in comparison. I’ve bought a few more Douglas Adams books and can’t wait to read them.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I barely remember this boo, except that I loved it. I plan to re-read eventually, and A Thousand Splendid Suns is still on Mt TBR.

And so many more! Holes by Louis Sachar (for kids, but still), The Giver by Lois Lowry (again, for kids), Feed by M.T. Anderson.

And let’s not forget the non-fiction! No Logo by Naomi Klein (I haven’t yet read The Shock Doctrine, but it’s on Mt TBR), Fat!So? by Marilyn Wann, and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser form my trifecta of books that have seriously impacted by beliefs.

And then then there’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss, the Postsecret books by Frank Warren, A Short History of Everything by Bill Bryson. (I feel obligated as an it-getter to add I Am America (And So Can You!), but to be honest, I wouldn’t otherwise.

And probably many more I don’t own and can’t remember. Aah, books. ❤ Oh, and yes, no classics make the list. I haven’t read many yet, and none so far have really spoken to me.