Thursday, October 30, 2008

Golden Notebook Reading project

I got this in an email today:

On November 10th, The Institute for the Future of the Book kicks off an experiment in close reading. Seven women will read Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook and carry on a conversation in the margins. ..... Fundamentally this is an experiment in how the web might be used as a space for collaborative close-reading. We don't yet understand how to model a complex conversation in the web's two-dimensional environment and we're hoping this experiment will help us learn what's necessary to make this sort of collaboration work as well as possible. In addition to making comments in the margin, we expect that the readers will also record their reactions to the process in a group blog. In the public forum, everyone who is reading along and following the conversation can post their comments on the book and the process itself.

To get the full story, plus info on each of the seven women who will be participating in the project, go to their website for all the details. It looks like a great idea, I'll have to remind myself to check it out on Nov. 10.

Maybe this will be the inspiration to finally get me reading the copy I picked up at a used bookstore a few months ago. Has anyone read this already? And, remember, it's on the 1001 Books to Read list, for those of you following it. All good reasons to finally read it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bergen's Retreat

Toronto : McLelland & Stewart, 2008.

I am beginning to wonder what is wrong with me. Am I the only person out there who doesn't actually like David Bergen's work? His last book, The Time In Between, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, and was longlisted for the international IMPAC. Surely I am missing something, because I really, really did not like that book. It's one of the books I cite when I talk about how rare it is for me to really dislike a novel. But, this new one had a much more interesting (to me) storyline, so I thought that perhaps I'd try it, maybe my feelings for the other novel were a one off. Thank goodness I didn't hate this one! But, unfortunately, I didn't really love it either. Sigh. I think that David Bergen and I must have clashing imaginations.

The book is extremely well written; I recognize the artistry and the strength of the language and imagery. The setting is amazing. Kenora and environs are brought to full life; if you have never been there you will still be able to smell the forest and lake, to feel the cool night air and the mosquitoes, to hear the sounds in the long summer days. If I could have travelled through this book on a sightseeing tour I would have been delighted. It is set in 1974, the year that Anicinabe Park was occupied by the Ojibway, but that is incidental to the main plot. Bergen tells the story here of a family, the Byrds, uprooted from their Calgary home to spend the summer at The Retreat, a semi-religious, hippielike commune outside of Kenora. The four children are dragged along on the whim of their very selfish, whiny mother, who feels that the Doctor (who runs the Retreat) will be the answer to her amorphous longings for more in life. Of course it doesn't quite work out that way.

While stuck at the Retreat all summer long, in the company of self-absorbed adults, eldest daughter Lizzy falls into a relationship with local Ojibway boy Raymond Seymour. She meets him when he delivers food to the Retreat. We have met him previously, in the book's opening sequence, where his relationship with a white cop's niece during high school was nearly the death of him. The cop and the girl's father aren't very happy about his dating a white girl, and dump him off on an island with the racist comment, "Someone'll find you. If not, you're a fucking Indian. Do your thing." Miraculously, Raymond does survive, but is scarred by his experience and is terrified of the cop. When he and Lizzy begin a relationship you can just see where this is going.

The book mostly succeeds in its aims. The atmosphere of boredom, of menace, of loss and of lust in various forms carries through the story, and results are seen in every character's situation. However. My first real criticism, not just that I didn't connect to it personally, is about the structure of the book. It opens with Raymond; his story is astonishing, raw and powerful and bleak, and seems like it is a set-up for more about his experiences. The next section, introducing us to the Byrd family, is like the beginning of a new novel. Raymond falls into the background, into a role as Lizzy's love interest and a hook for the native part of the story to be hung on. The conclusion of the book was shocking although inevitable; it was inescapable, and that is one of the other things I didn't like, the sense of a destiny pulling the characters along with no chance of escape through any actions on their part. Besides, the only character I felt emotionally connected to was Raymond, due to the opening sequence. I wanted this to be his book, not the insipid and boring Lizzy's. I didn't like any of the characters very much and thought they were emotionally stunted, with no agency in their own lives. Only the bad guys really DO anything.

Nevertheless, every single other person I know who has read this has loved it. (Tina, Luanne, various newspaper reviews, regular live people, etc.) So don't take my word for it. I think most people will find this a challenging, worthwhile read. I am willing to keep trying and maybe someday my sensibilities will engage with one of his books.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rez Sisters

Fifth House, c1992.

This is one of the books I've just read for Yann Martel's "What is Stephen Harper Reading?" campaign. Although I've been following along since the beginning, I've been falling behind a bit, so thanks to Dewey's challenge I had a bit of a kick in the butt to start reading from this list again. I started with this play; I find it a bit difficult reading plays, as it is not my usual habit. I have to slow myself down and really try to hear the voices of all the different characters, to try to picture the stage. I didn't find that very difficult with this play, however.

It is the story of seven women from "Wasy", a Northern Ontario reservation, who hear about The World's Biggest Bingo being held in Toronto and determine that they will all go. They have their own reasons for wanting to win: for example, to be able to buy a stove big enough to cook for all the children on the reserve, or to afford a fancy new bathroom (including shiny white toilet). Each woman is a separate individual with her own set of quirky habits and deeply hidden motivations. They are all very, very real, and anybody with a large group of loud, talkative female relatives or close friends will relate. This play sharply illuminates the conditions of native women in Canada, but I am nowhere near well informed enough to draw parallels with real situations or to point out subtleties that I am sure I am missing. There is also the magical presence of Nanabush appearing and disappearing throughout; he is the Trickster character in native culture and added a spiritual element which I found to be quite moving. This was written in the 80's and perhaps it is because of this that I find certain elements familiar. I was a teenager in the 80's and lived in a town set between a few reserves; I went to school with girls who were just as sharp tongued and powerful and funny, although as a naive teen I had no idea of most of the social issues they faced.

I found the story disturbing and yet moving, funny and melancholy, and not afraid of talking frankly of real life. While we don't see instances of these things, it includes references to violent rape, to spousal abuse, to awful heartbreak, and more simply, to characters using the toilet with the door open. (and actually we do see an instance of that last one!).

It is a play I wish I could see in performance. I always find many more layers when a talented director and cast interpret a script and help me out just a little!

Monday, October 27, 2008

DeAngelis' Mary Modern

Three Rivers Press, c2008.

I wasn't sure I could count this one toward my RIP Challenge total, but then I discovered that Carl himself had read it last year! Furthermore, Lesley has just read and reviewed it for this year's RIP -- and now so have I!

I agree with both of them; this was an unusual, suspenseful, intriguing read. I really enjoyed it, more than I'd first expected to. I picked it up as it came across my desk in this new paperback edition. The description on the back cover is this:

Lucy Morrigan, a young genetic researcher, lives with her boyfriend, Gray, and a strange collection of tenants in her crumbling family mansion. Surrounded by four generations of clothes, photographs, furniture, and other remnants of past lives, Lucy and Gray's home life is strangely out of touch with the modern world--except for Lucy's high-tech lab in the basement.

Frustrated by her unsuccessful attempts to attain motherhood or tenure, Lucy takes drastic measures to achieve both. Using a blood-stained scrap of an apron found in the attic, Lucy successfully clones her grandmother, Mary. But rather than conjuring a new baby, Lucy brings to life a twenty-two-year-old Mary, who is confused and disoriented when she finds herself trapped in the strangest sort of déjà-vu: alive in a home that is no longer her own, surrounded by reminders of a life she has already lived but doesn't remember.

The story is propelled by a creepy, foreboding atmosphere; you just know everything's going to go wrong, or at least not as expected by Lucy. Her family home, a huge crumbling mass which she lives in mostly alone, only with very odd boarders and then finally her boyfriend Gray, is the perfect Gothic setting. Its decrepitude reflects Lucy's own, as her obsession with both her family history and the idea of having her own child grows, resulting in increasingly antisocial and frankly strange behaviour. One of the strong points of the novel is the development of Lucy, Gray, and Mary's characters; the others, friends and boarders alike, are a little interchangeable at times.

An element I really liked was the twist at the end. Quite often, when a major piece of information is held back until the end, it doesn't really make a lot of sense when you look back at the whole novel. (ie: as in The Lace Reader). In this book, once you've read the final pages, you realize how everything had been leading up to this disclosure, and it actually explains and clarifies situations and characters, which to me signals a useful plot twist rather than one which is solely an authorial intervention, a way to tie up loose plot strands.

There were a couple of odd inclusions to this novel, however. As Carl mentioned, included are excerpts of a book called Everyday Life in the Twenty-first Century. While I can see how this is a useful device to orient Mary to her new life, reducing the need for repeated stumblings over cultural changes, it doesn't really work. The tone of those excerpts clashes with the spell she's casting throughout the rest of the book. They rely heavily on social criticism of the Bush government, and are far too topical and pointed to really be helpful. While I don't disagree with much of what she says in those sections, they were jarring, and I think they will date the book quickly. They bring a reader's focus onto current news headlines, while the rest of the story does not quite feel like this morning's world. The character who is supposed to have written these is an intriguing creation, but again, I wasn't quite sure what part he was supposed to play. He is a bona fide time traveller, while Mary is only one by default, being a clone brought to life in the wrong decade.

However, this is not meant to explicate scientific principles of cloning or to delve too deeply into actual scientific possibilities. It is a meditation on what it means to be an individual, an original, and where such an individual fits in a family or in a wider society. You could also consider it an inquiry into the old question of "nature vs. nurture" -- will the cloned individual follow the same path as its source? Finally, you might also see it as an examination of the lengths that desire will force a person to, whether through religious, familial, sexual, or maternal desire. It's an atmospheric, thought-provoking read which I can recommend to fans of both speculative fiction and more relationship driven fiction.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Random Bookish Bits

Just a few notes about the bookish things I've been up to recently, the ones besides writing the reviews for the four books I've finished lately. I'll be posting some soon, but there are still a couple of other things to share:

I went to a book signing in town; Christopher Plummer is with the Stratford Festival this season, starring in Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra. His new biography In Spite of Myself was being featured at our local bookshop and I'd just received a copy from Random House (thanks, RH!). So I wandered down to have it signed by the great man himself, but forgot my camera. Sigh. At least I got a few kind words from him!

I went to the library booksale. Held myself back, as I really don't have room for any more books plus I have enough TBR at home to keep me reading for two years straight. But who can resist a book sale? Here's what I found, including a couple of ex-library copies I hadn't got around to reading:

top to bottom:

Beauty, incorporated / Reita Lambert (This is the tale of pretty Bernadine Lake, the successful owner of a cosmetics business who has turned her back on romance. I couldn't resist the subtitle of this book, which is "Can any woman really live alone and like it?" Considering that it was published in 1939 I think we can guess their answer to that...)

High Bright Buggy Wheels / Luella Creighton (a Canadian novel set in the early 1900's about a Mennonite girl in Ontario. I read it years ago and liked it then)

Just say the words / David Helwig (I've read 2 of his novels recently and loved them both)

My Brilliant Career / Miles Franklin (Virago. Need I say more?)

Physics and Beyond / Werner Heisenberg (I've read 2 books recently about the beginnings of quantum physics and atomic research. I'm interested in finding out what Heisenberg has to say about his career working for the Nazis, if anything.)

Japanese Vegetarian cookbook (because I can never have enough cookbooks)

Three Cities of Bells / Elizabeth Goudge ( I think I'm the only person who took this out for the past few years, now it is mine)

And then I was at a library workshop in Toronto. It was about Reader's Advisory, you know, the kind of thing we all do anyhow; recommending books based on someone's preferences and interests and past reading history. The difference as a librarian is that we have to be prepared to suggest things not based on our personal reading, and there are many tools to assist, although being a big reader and reading book blogs automatically puts you ahead of the game! It was fascinating, but even more thrilling for me was that the lunch speaker was Helen Humphreys. Wow. I love her writing, and recently received her latest novel Coventry (which she read from) from HarperCollins Canada (thanks, HC, especially Deanna!). I finished it on the train in the morning and had her sign it at noon. Pretty much a perfect reading experience, and I'll post a review shortly. (It is very worth reading, a wonderful book, but finishing it on public transportation was not my finest moment...good thing the train was pretty empty so nobody gawked at my sniffling.)

And not as immediately bookish but really great -- and based on a play -- we watched an old movie tonight, Born Yesterday (1950). Amazing. I'd never even heard of it before but the husband mentioned it so we watched it; it is about a corrupt millionaire who heads to Washington to set up a deal with his pet Congressman, and hires a tutor for his girlfriend Billie so she won't embarrass him in good society. It works only too well, as she realizes how corrupt he is and what kind of life she really wants. It is astonishingly relevant at this moment (60 years later, how sad) and has some great performances, especially Judy Holiday's lead role. There are some wonderful quotes, like "you know, it's interesting, how many interesting things a person could learn, if they read." (loose quote from Billie). Really, watch it, before Nov. 4 if you can.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vampiric Winner

Ok, so on the stroke of midnight, appropriately enough, I wrote everybody's names on a slip and tossed them all into a lovely brass bowl near the computer. I then enlisted my husband to toss them around a bit and pick one out, with the result that the winner of this vampire novel and vampire repelling tea is:


Thanks everyone for joining in, and remember, if this tea really intrigues you, you can pop over to Distinctly Tea's website to get some of your own. Just give them a call.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Davies' High Spirits

High Spirits / Robertson Davies
Toronto : Penguin, c1982.

Now, here's a short story collection which does challenge ghost story tradition a bit. It's an 18 story collection, each written by Robertson Davies to be read yearly at his college's Gaudy Nights**. He began this habit in 1963 as Master of Massey College (Toronto) and maintained it for the 18 years he was there. The progression shows that each story was written according to yearly occurrences and social conditions.

In his intro he states:

Ghost stories tend to be very serious affairs. Who has ever heard of a ghost cracking a joke? I wanted my ghosts to be light-hearted, if not in themselves, at least as they appeared to my hearers. No new style would suit a ghost story, so it would be necessary to parody the usual style. And the parody would have to be affectionate, for cruel parody is distasteful in itself, and utterly outside the spirit of a party.

And the stories are mostly light and amusing, I would imagine especially so for those in the audiences for which they were written. If in that audience I am sure we would share in the references to mutual acquaintances, the habits of university life and the local settings within Massey College and Toronto. However, many of the stories still hold up for those of us reading them now, separate from all that. The collection is a bit uneven, however; a few are no longer successful, particularly to my mind the offering entitled The Ugly Spectre of Sexism. It was amazingly old-fashioned, sounding more 1920's than 70's. I guess we really do take for granted the attitude shift since the 70's; at least this is a reminder about that kind of thing.

I found that the first three stories were my favourites, lightly ironic about college life and featuring students, researchers and libraries. In the third story, The Great Queen is Amused, the narrator comes across a female researcher (clearly based on someone known to the audience) who has used an old book of Alistair Crowley's to call up the shade of an early Canadian writer in the dusty basement stacks of the college library, in order to clarify some research points with her. It has all gone horribly wrong:

"I suppose you called up a single spirit, and have received a wholesale delivery; Crowley is a most untrustworthy guide."
"But who are they?" said she.
"It is only too clear that they are the ghosts of the Canadian writers whose books are here," said I.
"Then why are they so noisy?" she asked. Every time I think of it, I realize what a wealth of national feeling was compressed into that one enquiry.
"They are clamouring to be reborn,"I explained... "Look, you see those who are floating in that strange, curled-up posture; they have placed themselves in the foetal position, so that, when a child is conceived, they are ready at once to take possession of it in the womb, and come to earth again."
"Whatever for?" said she.
"Perhaps they hope that this time they might be born American authors," said I.

This is an example of the light style he uses, and for the most part it is quite funny. Canadians will find certain jokes still relevant, but you don't have to be Canadian to enjoy this. Some of the stories are still quite entertaining, some are just ok. Still, overall it's a good set of academic-themed, humorous ghost stories, and if you already like Davies you will want to read it.

** An example of Davies existing in another time than we live in now, "Gaudy" derives from the Latin gaudium and Old French gaudie, meaning "merry-making" or "enjoyment". A college gaudy is a dinner; primarily this was an Oxford tradition. Also, when Davies began as first Master of Massey College, it was a male-only college, not admitting women until 1974.

(also reviewed by Nicola and by Raidergirl)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tea and RIP: a giveaway

Well, the day hasn't turned out too badly after all despite my electoral chagrin. Thanks to everybody for all the birthday greetings! I also received a new book in the mail today from Random House, one I have been anticipating greatly -- The Gift of Wings, Mary Rubio's new bio of L.M. Montgomery!! Yay! I can't think of anything that could be more suitable for me today. Along with a day off work and some really really sinful brownie cheesecake, it's been a pretty decent day. But with all the new books coming into the house today, I thought I had better clear out a few others. And what better way to celebrate a birthday than by giving something away?

The last two books I reviewed have melded to form a new idea; a giveaway featuring RIP-ish tales and some very suitable tea! The tea is a new offering from my favourite local teashop, Distinctly Tea; despite sounding like a bit of a gimmick, the garlic vanilla tea is actually very tasty, a nice savoury tea to drink alongside a meal. It's been donated by Distinctly Tea for the purposes of this giveaway, and I've added a book about, of course, vampires -- Vamped by David Sosnowski.

So, to be entered into the draw, simply leave a comment on this post. I'll draw a name in a week, so you can enter until midnight (Eastern Time) of next Wednesday, Oct. 22.
Oh yes, and it is open to anyone, anywhere.
**oh, and you must pop over to Dewey's Hidden Side of a Leaf for a huge spooky Hachette draw!

Election returns and an endless Challenge

Warning: I don't follow politics much and don't like arguing about them, but this is a post with political content. Sorry.

I am feeling a little down today, even if it is my birthday. Thanks, Canada, for the great gift of another Conservative government and more of Stephen Harper. I suppose counting small mercies I can take some comfort in the fact that it's a minority government, and really, the other choices weren't so great either.
The only person more downcast today must be Yann Martel, that is if he intends to continue his project of sending Harper a book every 2 weeks. (bet he wishes he had decided on one a month, now). Martel seems stubborn enough to continue with this project, and if so, we will have a ready made reading challenge ahead for us for the next 4 years. (4 years because I'm sure now that Harper's got back in he won't bend the election laws again to hold another unnecessary election). Guess I'd better hurry up with that list o' books I haven't read yet. Last night while listening to election returns on CBC radio I began to read Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters, realizing that the list was only going to keep growing. I wonder if Martel is taking suggestions?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Man in the Picture

Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, c2008.

This is a tiny book, really a novella or perhaps a long short story! It's a delightful, old-fashioned British ghost story; very predictable but still full of mysterious menace and odd, apparently inexplicable occurrences. Oliver is our primary narrator, who is visiting one of his old university dons -- and is told a strange story, one featuring a painting bought at auction years before. It is a painting of a Venetian revel, but there are strange figures in it who seem to be gazing out at the room, appearing to plead for assistance or to glare out with malign intent. Before this tale can be concluded, a strange accident befalls the professor and Oliver inherits the picture as a wedding gift.

The final section of the story is told by Oliver's new wife, and her distance from the original tale-teller gives her words a shading of verisimilitude necessary for the conclusion. You may guess the conclusion early on -- as I said, this story does not set out to challenge the conventions of a ghost story. But it remains a good read, eerie rather than terrifying. Recommended for the Anglophile traditionalist! Take a look at the trailer for a good sense of the book's atmosphere:

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Ancient Tea Horse Road

The Ancient Tea Horse Road / Jeff Fuchs
Toronto : Viking Canada, c2008.

This is a book I received courtesy of the publisher, via Mini Book Expo. I requested it since I am a real tea fanatic and thought this might be something new for me. When I first began it I wondered if I'd be able to finish, however; this is the story of the author's trek along the 6000 kilometer ancient Tea Horse Road, and it began with prose just as pedestrian. But early on, Fuchs catches me when he states:

Tea's importance in the history of the route cannot be overstated, nor can its importance to me. Tea in its myriad forms and colours, its culture and its lore, had charmed, stimulated, and addicted me ever since I had lived in Asia, almost a decade ago. Its regenerative abilities had been one of the few constants in my life, and it would join me on this journey along a thirteen-hundred-year-old trade route that carried its name. Of all the items that I might part with, the dried, unattractive lump of fermented Puer tea was the one I was least likely to give up. I had imbibed tea, studied it, written about it, and spent entire days marvelling at the high it gave me. From Taiwan's oolongs to India's Assam, I was a humble admirer of tea in all its forms. I was eager to visit the tea sanctuaries in the jungled south of Yunnan Province, where my green friend grew rampantly. But first the mountains awaited my attention.

I am glad I kept on, because the story quickly became an absorbing and fascinating tale. I knew absolutely nothing about the existence of this ancient trade route previously but now feel fully versed in all its variety. Fuchs travels along the different branches of the Tea Horse Road, introducing us to the people he both travels with and comes across along the way. The first stretch takes us from Shangri-La to the holy city of Lhasa, a two month mountain trek full of danger but also lonely, windswept beauty. Through his writing I could almost feel the reach of space and the silences. The team flies back to Shangri-La at the end of the journey, and as one trekker states, it is "like pushing a button." Fuchs comments on the dislocations of modern air travel and how the nature of such travel is one of the reasons he prefers moving at the speed of a human being.

After this first and longest section of the road, Fuchs heads out more on his own along some of the shorter arms of the route. When he heads into Yunnan, to the source of the tea being traded along the route, he really gets passionate. If you are in any way a tea junkie, as I am, this will be of great interest. He visits tea houses, plantations, warehouses, and tiny shops; he discusses drinking habits, sources of various teas, preferences in flavour and type, and makes us jealous of the enormous tea stash he ends up with. His insistence on Pu-erh as the tea he favours, and his belief that it would convince anyone who has tasted it, inspired me to head down to my local tea shop and take a look. Newly arrived was a cake of Pu-erh -- it's a compressed and naturally fermented tea, bought in a solid chunk. So I bought one, to be tried out soon.

Also included in the book is a nice collection of colour photos, understandable as he is a professional photojournalist. His travels were intriguing and original, and he weaves in lots of historical bits that I appreciated learning about. The only flaw in my reading was that the focus was perhaps a little too heavily on himself -- his reasons for tackling this project, his own fascination with tea. There is one point on his journey where his guide is not even mentioned by name. It is clear that his interests lie mainly in the landscape itself and its history, rather than the current social milieu, full of its human foibles. And there is nothing wrong with that, but I believe the book would only benefit from more commentary about the people around him. Nonetheless it does give us a very good idea of what it would be like to travel this ancient route and it has certainly made me desirous of tracking down more information about this part of the world. Well worth reading!

(see an interview with the author on CTV)
(Q & A with author in the National Post)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Coming soon...

It's a busy week for me, but I have been reading! I've finished up a couple of books, non-fiction for a change, and am working up some reviews. A few short stories nearly done that I want to talk about, perhaps even a novel in there. And I'm thinking maybe another giveaway...the last one was so much fun!

How is it that working in a library and reading in every spare moment leaves no time to do other bookish things like blogging about it all? Soon, I promise. Really! At least while I'm doing all this reading I have a husband who keeps me fuelled with chocolate chip cookies, mmm. On that topic, check this neat idea out:

These old, "classic books" are actually giant chocolate chip cookie bars decorated with fondant, and then "aged" and detailed by hand. The best part is that hidden in one of these books is a small plastic box containing a gift card to a book store!

(Photo and caption courtesy of Margaret's Workshop )

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

We have a winner!

Well, it's time to draw a winner for my latest giveaway. Pressed into service was my trusty musical ice bucket:

All the names were tossed inside and shaken up, and then with Für Elise playing merrily I picked out a name:

The name was:


So, this copy will be jetted off to Nymeth very shortly. Thanks everyone for entering, and don't forget you can always pick up a copy for yourself at or Creative Book Publishing!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Weekly Geeks 19: Best Books of 2008..... so far

This week, the WG theme is to list your top books published in 2008. I've been thinking about it all week, but have just squeaked in before the end of the week with my list. Here were the rules:

1. Compile your list of favorites. Please be sure that books you choose actually were published in 2008, or at the very earliest in the winter holiday season of 2007. Sometimes books that come out then are left out.

2. Come back and sign Mr Linky with the url to your top books of
2008 post.

3. If you happen to see any non-WG bloggers making similar lists, please grab the url and come put it in Mr Linky for them. Let them know you’re doing that, please, in case they have some sort of objection; if they do, they can ask me to remove their link. I’ve already seen a couple favorites of 2008 posts, which is another reason I wanted to get started early.

4. Feel free to make changes to your list if you read something new
in the next few weeks.

This year I've been reading far more new books than ever before, mostly thanks to all the ARCs and the suggestions from other bloggers that I then pick up at the library. I usually read a lot of classics/1920's-40's kind of books but this year it's been a lot of NEW, like so new they haven't been published by the time I've finished them New. So without further ado, here's my list of the favourite 10 I've read just so far this year.

Blackouts / Craig Boyko

Atmospheric Disturbances / Rivka Gal-Chen

The Laughter of Dead Kings / Elizabeth Peters

First among Sequels / Jasper Fforde

Odd Hours / Dean Koontz

Three Bags Full / Léonie Swann

Blasted / Kate Story

The Lace Reader / Brunonia Barry

A Version of the Truth / Jennifer Kaufman & Karen Mack (released Dec. 26, 2007)

The Loser's guide to Life & love / A.E. Cannon (YA)