Sunday, December 8, 2013

Getting Bi: my thoughts

I just finished the second edition of Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World edited by Robyn Ochs and Sarah E. Rowley. It took me a little while to work my way through it because of mixed feelings, but I must say that it's an excellent book.

It's exactly what the title sounds like. The editors looked around to find bisexuals -- and those who do not identify as bi, but who are not monosexual -- from around the world to write on various topics related to our sexual orientations. This book is mostly a compilation of what others have contributed, with some notes and comments provided by the editors.

The book is four years old, but it presents what I suspect is a good snap shot of what bisexuality looks like in the world. It shows what being bi means to us, what we do about our orientation, and how we interact with the world. Since we are such a diverse group there is of course a lot of variety. Some who have always known, others who took some time to figure it out. Monogamous bis, those who are polyamorous, and also those who do outright cheat. Some who call themselves bisexual, others who don't label themselves. Some who have friends and family that are accepting, some who aren't so lucky. And of course, the chapter where bisexuals are defining what the word means has differing opinions.

If nothing else, this book shows the variety in the bi world. And that it's pretty pointless to make assumptions and stereotype people, since yeah some will fall into those stereotypes, but many others don't.

On a more personal note, I had to step away from the book for a little while. It was painful for me to read about those who take a while to figure out they're bi because of initially believing that bisexuality doesn't exist. It happens, and is inevitably going to be part of any work like this, but I found it unpleasant to read about. Probably because I've been there myself. I suspect that any bisexual will find parts that make them uncomfortable, though this isn't meant as a warning to avoid it.

I have to say, it's a good book. I especially have to recommend a small section at the end titled If You Think Your Child May Be Bisexual by Robert L. Barton. It looks excellent for anyone who has just found out that a loved one is bi, but is written to provide recommendations for how to parent a bisexual child. Barton points out some issues that bis often face and which parents should be aware of, he clarifies a few common misconceptions, and encourages both learning about bisexuality and communication with the child.

Although I would not suggest Getting Bi as the only book for someone who is learning about bisexuality, it is certainly a good option. And it provides many other resources to look into, from fiction and non-fiction books to organizations and websites.

Book cover

Sunday, December 1, 2013

LHoD Notes: various chapters

The story of Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. le Guin is interrupted by old legends/myths, and a couple of random (ok, not so random) other chapters that are thrown into the midst. Two of them I think I have a grip on how they're relevant, others not so much. I wanted to use this post to try to keep (or get) things straight.

These are just notes jotted down, don't read this thinking you'll get college essay quality writing. And I don't recommend reading it unless you're familiar with the novel.

SPOILERS, duh.

Chapter 2: The Place Inside the Blizzard

Two brothers vow kemmering to each other (just like our Therem and his brother), but are ordered to separate when one becomes pregnant. The pregnant one, Hode, kills himself in despair, and the surviving one, Getheren, is exiled because he is seen as the cause of the suicide. 

(I had the impression that our Therem's brother, Arek, killed himself or died because of being ordered to separate after getting pregnant, and that Therem's exile -- self imposed? I don't know -- is because of this.) (Also, I had the impression that our Therem basically swore kemmering with Arek in some way, even though the words weren't actually spoken, despite that being completely forbidden between siblings.)

After realizing just how exiled he is, Getheren gives up his name and runs off into the blizzard, where he meets Hode and sees a tower. Hode can't say his name though, and Getheren's left hand had to be amputated due to frost bite.

(Therem has to take a false name, and goes onto the ice with Genly. When Genly mindspeaks with Therem, it's with Arek's voice. It's Therem who still can't say Genly's name correctly, though. Therem also see towers while inside the blizzard (265). Not sure how the left hand thing plays into it.)

Getheren escapes being inside the blizzard, is nursed back to health, and eventually takes back his name. Dies, and his land (which had been doing poorly after he cursed it) starts to prosper again.

(Therem had hid his name after returning to Karhide, then died a little after revealing himself to an old friend.)

It seems that Genly takes the place of Arek for Therem. I've been pondering that one for a few years, and I still don't know what to make of it.

And...just realized that I've written about this chapter before, here.

Chapter 4: The Nineteenth Day

A king demands to know when he'll die, is displeased with the answer. Let's just say that I'm still working out whether this relates to the plot and our characters, beyond showing us a little more of the Foretellers.

Chapter 7: The Question of Sex

Notes about sex and gender from those originally studying the people of Winter. Some insightful observations, some questions, and a couple assumptions I'd dispute.

Chapter 9: Estraven the Traiter

A dispute over land between Stok and Estre. Arek Estraven (his father: Sorve) gets into trouble on bad ice, and it's his blood enemy Therem Stokven who nurses him. They swear kemmering, but when Therem Stokven's friends come they kill Arek Estraven on sight.

Later Therem Stokven has a child who he names Therem, and takes the child to be raised in Estre. He doesn't identify himself, but does give the baby's name and says who fathered the child.

Young Therem is raised as heir, and when he's grown is half killed by some of his own people who don't like him very much. He seeks refuge in the place where his parents met, and meets Therem Stokven there. Stokven tends young Therem, and they swear peace between their lands.

After taking his grandfather's place, young Therem ends the feud by giving up part of the disputed land. "For this, and for the murder of his hearth-brothers, he was called Estraven the Traiter. Yet his name, Therem is still given to children of that domain" (129).

Now, to our Therem...

About the names. Of course, Our Therem and his kemmering's names were Therem and Arek, just like the two in this story. And our own Therem's son is named Sorve.

Not sure if our Therem and his Arek are supposed to be anything like the pair in the story, though their names do illustrate that those names have been kept in use in Estre. Our Therem certainly is like the younger Therem, though in, wanting to make peace over disputed land, even if it means giving up some of the disputed land. Also, both are called Estraven the Traiter. So, I guess our Therem is following in his ancestor's footsteps.

Chapter 12: On Time and Darkness

A chapter on Meshe. Relevant to religions in LHoD.

Chapter 17: An Orgota Creation Myth

Really have no idea what to make of this. The story is pre-Yomesh, and perhaps relevant to shifgrethor? In the final paragraph I have words relating to light and darkness underlined a lot.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

LGB Books

I've been reading a bit on LGBT lately (admittedly mostly about the LGB and less about the T), and wanted to share my thoughts on two of the books I've looked at recently. There's another one I'm almost through with that I'll probably write about on here soon.

Journey Out book cover

The Journey Out: A Guide for and about Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens
by Rachel Pollack and Cheryl Schwartz

This is actually what made me decide to write about these books. It's the book that was the nudge into getting me to accept that I'm bi in early 2012. But I couldn't remember its contents, let alone what about it finally made me come out to myself. So I finally decided to check it out from the library again. And now I'm writing about it for future reference!

First, and obviously, the book is written for teens and young adults. It's meant as an introduction to the topic, and I think it does a pretty good job.

They cover such issues as how it can be difficult to come out to yourself as LGB, how to come out to others, what makes a good relationship, what the signs are of a bad/abusive relationship, safer sex, health, how your orientation doesn't mean that you have to give up your spirituality, and a bit of LGB history...among other things.

I think my favorite thing about the book is that they got input from teens and young adults, and we see what these young people have to say throughout the book. Another good thing is that the authors are optimistic without being unrealistic. They encourage teens to seek help if they need it, but acknowledge that it can be difficult for some to find an adult who won't judge.

My two complaints would both be on how the book handles bisexuality. For one thing, the authors define it as "feeling attraction and affection towards both men and women" (3). On one hand, this is a common definition. But it's problematic in that it overlooks the fact that some people don't identify as either male or female, and/or who are physically in between. (Yes, I've been reading Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner. More on that in another post.) I'd be less bothered by this if the authors acknowledged that gender isn't as binary as is usually believed, and mentioned pansexuality as another possibility as a sexual orientation. Unfortunately, they didn't do this. My other complaint is that they don't address issues specific to bis, although they do mention us throughout the book. Which is not unappreciated, I will say.

Overall though, a good book. And one I would recommend to someone who's trying to figure things out.

I still don't know what it was about this book that nudged me out of the closet. I guess I was ready to step out of it anyways.

Bisexual Option book cover

The Bisexual Option
Second edition
by Fritz Klein, MD

Disclaimer: I only got partway through the second chapter before putting the book down. I'll explain that in a minute. First though, what I took away that's positive.

I already knew that the Kinsey Scale is flawed. (For what it is, click here. As for how it's flawed, that's a topic for another post, probably on my main blog. Or you can just ask Google.) I've heard this quite a few times before, but I've never known anyone to recommend a better system.

And now, I find the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid.

This grid takes into account differences between the past and present, as well as what you consider the ideal. (Why should there be an ideal?) It also differentiates between things such as sexual attraction and emotional attraction. I'd known that if you're putting numbers on these things they can come out a bit different, but I'd never seen anyone else acknowledge it before. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right places, or maybe I wasn't paying attention. Either way, it was nice to find this grid.

The grid isn't without its flaws, but it is more flexible than the Kinsey Scale.

Now, on to what sunk the book for me.

First, the name is problematic, though I was determined to overlook that. I mean, hey. Bisexuality isn't an option. There are people who wouldn't be bi if they had an option about it. I don't know if Klein actually meant to suggest that we have a choice, but the title is certainly misleading.

Second, Klein started discussing gender identity in the second chapter. Which is awesome, except for his ideas on it: "If an infant is brought up as one gender, he or she will develop that gender identity, even if it is opposite of the infant's true chromosomal, gonadal, or hormonal sex" (24). He goes on to say that our gender is programmed in the first 18 months of our lives, and that "Before that 18-month point of no return, any child can be programmed toward male or female self-identity, despite the child's true biological nature" (25). Um...I really don't think so. Just ask anyone who's transgender.

The book is dated. First release was in 1993, second edition being in 2012. I would have expected that bit of transphobia to be edited out by the 2012 edition.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gender and arches in LHoD...

...and LHoD means Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. le Guin.

This is a scifi with too many layers for me to adequately describe briefly. But let's start by saying that it takes place on an alien world full of individuals who are completely genderless, except for when they have sex. Then they adopt either the male or female gender temporarily...before reverting back to their regular genderless state.

Their lack of gender is a source of confusion to the man Genly (an alien to that world), who tries to force his own binary understanding of gender on these people when he speaks with or thinks about them. And he does this despite his best efforts not to. It's a pretty good example of how people can be so set in their ways of thinking about gender/sex/sexual orientation as black and white (that you're male or female, straight or gay) that it's so easy to pigeon hole others, even when making an effort not to do so. A really good example of this can be found in the following excerpt:

"Though I had been nearly two years on Winter I was still far from being able to see the people of the planet through their own eyes. I tried to, but my efforts took the form of self-consciously seeing a Gethenian first as a man, then as a woman, forcing him into those categories so irrelevant to his nature and so essential to my own" (12).

You can even see Genly pigeon holing people right here, when he says "forcing him into those categories so irrelevant to his nature"...emphasis mine. He does this even while he is stating that he is denying what they are when he tries to give them gender.


Stepping back from this amazing book for a moment...

On a personal note, I wonder if Genly's problem confronting a planet that doesn't fit into his binary understanding of gender/sex/sexual orientation is part of why I love this book so much. I'm bisexual, and what le Guin is doing in this novel is throwing the binary everything out the window. I also see the last bit in the above excerpt as something some monosexuals do to bisexuals which adds to bi-erasure: "forcing him into those categories so irrelevant to his nature and so essential to my own." I'm reasonably certain (though some might say overly hopeful) that most people can adapt more easily fitting their heads around bisexuality than Genly does to living in a world full of genderless individuals. Yet many monosexuals still try to force us into being monosexuals. Not even necessarily by telling us outright that we have to be gay or straight. Often it's as simple as assuming I'm straight because I'm a woman who's in a serious relationship with a man.

Now complete change of direction, and SPOILER ALERT.

I'm up past my bedtime, but I want to note this down (the writing bug has finally bitten me again, it seems), so I'll attempt to be quick and hope this makes sense to someone who's read the book. If you haven't, you might want to skip the next bit.

The novel starts with a completion of an arch that the king mortars (mortars? right word?) the keystone in place. The mortar used is not made with human blood and bones, but it's explained to Genly that at one time this was the norm because otherwise it was believed that the arch would not stand. Oh, and the arch was going to be the great thing of this particular king's rule.

At the end of the book Therem dies, and Genly thinks something about his (sorry, now I'm forcing Therem into the gender binary...AGH) death being the blood and bones in the mortar to the arch...I'll have to look up the exact quote later, I don't want to do that right now.

But basically, maybe the whole story is really the arch that will distinguish the king's reign in the history books, even though it isn't a physical arch. After all, it starts with an arch, and there's mention of the hero's (again with gender binary) blood being what made things happen.

Just an interesting thought that I don't feel like I'm explaining properly, but which isn't leaving me alone. Maybe I'll figure it out better as I go along. I'm only part way through rereading the book.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lines from Questionable Content

In the last couple months I discovered the online comic Questionable Content. I honestly don't know how to describe it, other than that it's about a bunch of friends who have interesting (though plausible...sometimes) adventures together in their daily lives. It's funny and serious, and just too much fun.

It has sassy coffee baristas, a guy with too many female friends, entertaining drama, and is even LGBT friendly. Also nerd friendly. :)

I'm rereading it, and just for the heck of it decided to put some of my favorite lines from the comic here. These may not be the best, but they're still good out of context.

"Remember the rules, Faye. No murdering customers in the store. The back alley exists for a reason."

"Dora, alcohol is not a good means of self-medication! Ignore the fact that I am a pot calling your kettle-butt black. I'm drunk and allowed to be a bit hypocritical."

"Why rule through fear when you can rule through boners?"

"Sex is for no. Too many fluids and germs and sweat and ew. Totally yuck. Ew."

"The most we have to argue about is where you 'accidentally' tried to stick Lil' Stevie the other night, but that's not a conversation for polite company."

"I prefer my beverages free of the excretions from the nipple of a large, stinky mammal."

"I dunno, I think the best kind of boyfriend is one who lives in your underwear drawer and takes AA batteries."

"This conversation proves that the only thing dumber than an argument on the Internet is the same argument in real life."

"Sven and I are acquaintances, who occasionally happen to bump into each other. Naked. With our crotches."

...and only now, as I write this post, do I realize that half of these are sexual in nature. I'm not sure if that says something about the comic or about my sense of humor. Or both.

Now, my absolute favorite:

"Marten, there's a satanic librarian at the door asking for you. Should I let her in or start shouting Hail Marys until she leaves?"

Sunday, June 9, 2013

T2 novelization quote

I found the following to be an interesting passage from Terminator: Judgment Day by Randall Frakes, and wanted to stick it here. The book has to be returned to the library tomorrow, unfortunately. I guess I'll have to buy it eventually...

"John had patiently told him machines were neither good nor bad. People were. Skynet had been built by men. Men who had been too terrified of each other to trust themselves with their own weapons. So they built a tool that simply carried out their paranoia to the nth degree" (20).

It was surprising to see the man who was responsible for defeating the machines saying that they weren't so bad after all. But, he has a point. And once I thought about it, I realize that he'd have to be smart enough to not label them all as evil, even though he does work to take them down.

Also interesting is the idea that the machines may simply demonstrating what seems to be some basic human nature: striking out at others out of fear. True, not all humans, do this, but too many do. And despite that, Skynet and the machines it creates aren't at all human like.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Machines vs. Humans

I seem to like stories about robots who threaten humanity's very existence. I fell in love with The Matrix a few years back (though I've only watched the first movie), am now fairly obsessed with the Terminator franchise, and when my boyfriend introduced me to the remake of Battlestar Galactica I took an immediate liking to it.

So I got to thinking...why do we like the stories about machines that threaten us? And what are those stories really about?

Maybe we're fascinated by the idea of being able to create our own destruction. Maybe it's taking the old story of the child who kills their parents one step further: from child to parent, to the new creation destroying the race who used generations worth of knowledge to create it.

After all, the story of Oedipus is still popular today. Or at least known. (Disclaimer: I haven't read it, but do know the basic plot.) Maybe machines are just a fun twist on the story.

Or maybe we like them because we're questioning if we're really the top predators. Or possibly because we're questioning if we should be the top predator, since it should be pretty obvious that we are.

What do you think? Is it one or both of the things I've mentioned? Or do you have another idea that hasn't occurred to me?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stuff from Cthulhu Con

There were quite a few short films shown at Cthulhu Con, and I wanted to note down those that caught my interest (and that I remember a week after the fact). There were also a few books/authors that I took an interest in, from what I saw of them at their readings.

BTW, my apologies in advance if my notes here are sort of sparce. It's mostly just something for me for future reference.

Also, I didn't get to see all of the short films. And I'm not even listing all those here that were interesting...just those that are standing out in my memory as I'm writing this post.

Short films

Nefarious
Director: Brian Guardiola
Cast: Mackenzie Weimer, Shannon Burton

This one simply caught my attention because it has a young woman who may be a little overly cautious about something like out of a horror movie happening. Then, of course, she turns out to be in a short horror film herself.

George Jones & the Giant Squid
Director: Vincenzo Perrella
Cast: Christopher Waldon, Zeke Avila

From its title it seems like it should be a spinoff from James and the Giant Peach, but I don't remember the novel very well so I can't really comment on that.

I can say, though, that it was very interesting commentary on blindly following religion. It may have been borderline anti-religion. Speculating on this may be why it caught my attention.

Grasshopper
Director: Michael Usry
Cast: Jason Thompson, Christine McCarthy

A child goes missing, and a crazy man claims that a giant grasshopper took her. Or...is he crazy?

Authors

Michael Griffin

He read a short story that I cannot possibly hope to describe without giving away spoilers. I will say though that he's an author I may want to watch. He has his own blog, and mentions his reading briefly in this post.

Jim Smiley

This author read a chapter from a novel that will be coming out in October, Girlfiends Past. Dark urban fantasy, and he knows how to tease readers with wanting to know what's coming next.

Amanda Downum

She read a bit from a bit of a novel that is looking for a home. (That is, a publisher who will publish it.) I don't have much more than vague impressions of it in my memory, but it was definitely interesting. (Sorry, I may have been having a tad bit of trouble understanding people over the mics...)

Andrew S. Fuller

This guy read his short story that is in the anthology Fish, which is a book that I now want to read. And...I am too tired to do much more than direct you to read about it here, if you so wish.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Using masks

When looking at an old notebook I found the following. It's dated 7/13/2012, and there are minor spoilers for the books mentioned.

Please forgive the bad writing. I think I was just jotting down ideas at the time, and would rather write it down word for word here than fix it up.

...........

I've noticed before how "masks" can be used in books to hide things, or help someone become something else. I put "masks" in quotation marks though because rarely (actually, never that I've seen) is a real mask used.

In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Guy Montag wears a mask to hide his unhappiness, and Clarisse makes him realize that: "He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back" (12).

In the Beka Cooper books by Tamora Pierce, Beka is shy in the extreme to begin with. But she finds that she can hide behind her law enforcement uniform as a trainee, and it allows  her to speak to people. (Dress and Dale, book #2.)

In Sevenwaters: Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier, Fianne is shy and I think awkward around people. But she finds that using the magical glamor to make herself more beautiful can give her confidence.

I first noticed this theme when reading a children's book in a waiting room at a doctor's office. I don't remember the title or author of the book, but in it there was a shy fairy of sorts who painted her face. The face paint gave her confidence to play with the other fairies. In the end the paint washed off, and after initially trying to hide she realized that the others accepted her for who she was and was no longer shy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gaming notes

While at Cthulhu Con I attended a panel that was titled "keeping fear alive in games." Because the games in question are role playing games that are based on stories (mainly H.P. Lovecraft's), I figured I'd stick my notes here.

Some of these are ideas that could be used in writing stories, all are excellent ways to torment either readers or players.
  • Bring in the unexpected.
  • Have players think they're trying to do one thing, then change (or redirect) goals -- bait and switch.
  • Distinguish between anticipation/suspense vs. fear?
  • Players burn down bad guys, then you throw regular authorities at the players.
  • The great Sandy Peteresen had a slip of the tongue in which he called the players "the failures."
  • Rush with snap decisions -- push them too fast to retreat.
  • Unknown is always scarier than the known -- uncertainty.
  • Dice -- introduce random (unknown)
  • Withhold info: give descriptions of injuries, but don't give exact XP (this can lead players to thinking their injures or worse or better than they really are).
  • Know the players: one doesn't like spiders, give them spiders. (This is terrible, mean, and awesome, IMO.)
  • When the players don't know what's going on, they can often come up with ideas that are worse than what's really going on...except for when their ideas fall short of just how bad things are.
  • Rules are there to help and govern the game, not hurt it. Change rules if necessary.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Terminator: notes

I was watching the original Terminator last evening while sewing. And I hadn't meant to take notes...but you know me, English major. And interested in Terminator. Therefore things just happened.

Here are a few things I noted down, some of which may be interesting to explore later.

SPOILERS
  • Every time I see Kyle die I'm like "Dangit, why does he have to keep dying..." But thinking about it, in some ways it may be like the typical story where the protector/teacher has to die for someone else to come into their own. (Think Star Wars, and Luke's teachers.) Kyle showed Sarah how to survive, then she had to go out and face the world alone. (Actually I'm not sure if this is a good/accurate comparison, but it's basically what came to mind last night and may deserve some thought.)
  • There's an interesting contrast between Sarah and Ginger -- Sarah is the innocent one, and Ginger is the outgoing world-wise one. This particularly struck me when the two finished getting ready for their dates, and Sarah was dressed rather conservatively while Ginger was outright sexy. More to it of course, especially in the novelization, but that can be explored another time.
  • "Machines need love too." This is what Ginger says in the voice recording. I wonder if this attitude is what got people into trouble with Skynet in the first place...?
  • At the police station when Sarah asks Dr. Silberman if Kyle is crazy, the good Dr. clicks his pen before answering. It sounded sort of like someone getting a gun ready to fire...so, he uses his pen to destroy someone, and in a possibly more frightening way than if he just shot them outright.
Sarah and Ginger, preparing for their dates

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ghost Story: observations

Book cover
I'm currently reading Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. Just wanted to make a couple of observations.

MINOR SPOILER

So, yeah, Harry's dead. (Sort of. Anyways, he's not properly alive.) That's why it's a ghost story.

First, I've noticed that the tone is different in this novel. It seems like Harry is spending a lot more time inside his own head in this one, which I guess is a reflection of his state of being...not exactly alive.

This change of tone reminds me of Proven Guilty when Harry wound up acquiring an apprentice. It's entirely different, but they remind me of each other because they're both a change of mindset. In this one Harry is basically existing as a set of memories (or anyways a ghost does, I'm guessing it's a similar thing since he's just his soul, according to Bob...?) whereas in Proven Guilty Harry is having to change his mode of thinking to accommodate an apprentice. Either way, a change in mindset.

The other thing I noticed, Harry hasn't once oggled an attractive woman in Ghost Story. Which is unusual, since he's a pretty horny man. But then again, it's not so surprising when you consider that he doesn't have his body in this one. Therefore, no pesky hormones to distract him from work. The really funny thing is that he hasn't noticed this detail for himself yet.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ages?

There seems to be some confusion over ages in the different Terminator movies/books...here I'm trying to keep track of which says what. Though I may have to edit it later with corrections.

John Connor

In T2 he's 10 years old, but in T3 when John is referring to the events of T2 I'm pretty sure that he says he was 13.

Kyle Reese

In the original Terminator he isn't quite a young man anymore -- the actor was 28 years old. But in the novelization by Randall Frakes and Bill Wisher (which is really good, by the way), his youth is greatly emphasized. He's made out to be much younger than he looks in the movie, and it gave me the impression that Kyle's younger than me (I'm 24).

Also, I had been thinking it was odd that we see Kyle as a young child in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which just seems off...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Prediction correct

Book cover
Last month I made a prediction about the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher: For the last book or so I've been speculating that part of Harry outdoing himself each time will probably include some personal growth in the magical abilities department.

By now I'm only part way through White Night, so obviously I can't exactly talk about what Harry's doing in the latest books. But this one is already proving me right. Though in a surprising way.

SPOILERS

Why oh why didn't I also guess that Harry would get an apprentice? Every great wizard needs an apprentice. And I've been told plenty of times before (including by my Ph.D. dad who used to be a professor) that there's no better way to learn than by teaching. So it would only make sense for Harry to grow in his own power by teaching someone else.

Duh.

And now, a relevant paragraph proving that Harry has grown:

"If there hadn't been a war on, and if I hadn't been spending so much time drilling Molly in the fundamentals -- and therefore getting in all kinds of extra practice myself -- I would never have considered attempting to create such a complex focus. It was far more complicated than almost anything I'd done before. Five years ago, it would have been beyond me completely. More to the point, five years ago, I wouldn't have been as experienced or as strongly motivated" (96).

Later, on pages 125-6, Harry tells the reader that teaching Molly is why he's gotten better. In teaching her meditation he's had to review the basics himself, and (perhaps because of his many years of experience) he understands them better now than when he was first taught them by his own teacher. "I'd been getting almost as much insight and new understanding of my knowledge from teaching Molly as she'd been learning from me" (126). He then finishes preparing himself for a spell in about 10 minutes, which in a previous book had taken about an hour (I think).

...

And now, even though it's totally not related but because I've got to stick this awesome quote somewhere, here is something from a previous Dresden Files book.

"Of all my foci, the staff was the most versatile. Meant simply to assist with the redirection of forces I could use to call wind, to bend steel bars, and to channel lightning. I had used my staff to erect barriers of force, disrupt hostile magics, and in a pinch to beat the bad guys about the head and shoulders."

The Dresden Files: Blood Rites

by Jim Butcher

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Terminator by Shaun Hutson: thoughts

Book cover
I managed to get hold of The Terminator by Shaun Hutson. I was going to write an actual review, but then decided to just write down my thoughts. Which will include my opinion of the book, but also discuss plot.

I will say here though that I don't think much of the novel. Sorry, but I'll be brutally honest here.

SPOILERS

Obviously, since I love the movie, I like the story. But I didn't enjoy the book because the writing style just didn't work for me. Some of it I'm not sure how to explain, but know I didn't like it when Vukovich was repeatedly called "the Pole" (since he's Polish) and Traxler was referred to more than once as "the black man." While I don't object to the characters being called these things occasionally, Hutson used the terms often enough that I started to think that his vocabulary needed to be expanded. Beyond that, I can't really put a finger on why I dislike the writing style. Ok, maybe I could name one or two little things, but I don't want to go there right now.

Also, what's up with Kyle acting a bit out of character in chapter 24? Sarah wants to destroy Cyberdyne Systems to prevent the war, and Kyle (very understandably) isn't enthusiastic about the idea. Sarah gets ticked off and runs off, Kyle catches up to her, and while they're struggling he pulls a gun on her without thinking.

Um...no. I'm pretty sure that drawing on her isn't in his character, especially since Kyle was sent back to protect Sarah.

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy finding out some back story that isn't in the movies. I'm curious to see how much the back story matches up with the other novels when I get hold of them.

This also makes me want to re-watch the movie. :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What I'm reading

I figure I may as well share what I'm reading now.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert M. Pirsig
Non fiction

I am insisting to myself that I have not abandoned this...even though it's been over a month since I touched it...I still need to finish this and my brother needs to finish the book I've picked out for him. As we agreed.


The Dresden Files: Proven Guilty
by Jim Butcher
Urban fantasy

Let's just say that I am having a lot of fun with this series. :)


The Terminator: 2029-1984
by Zack Whedon and Andy MacDonald
Science fiction, graphic novel

I actually read this last night, but I keep picking it back up again today. So I guess that qualifies as me still reading it.

And yeah, I'm pretty much in love with this book. I would have preferred that the art work be a little different (by which I mean I wish that Kyle looked more like Michael Biehn...), but it is definitely fun to see this side to the story.

...and I don't think that I can say any more without going all fan girl here and squealing in excitement over this book.

Terminator book cover

Monday, March 4, 2013

Thoughts on T4

Well, one thought in particular. Concerning the ending.

SPOILERS, of course, since this is about the end of the last Terminator movie.

Why is Marcus so quick to offer his own heart to keep John alive when it means his own death? That can't be an easy decision, but it's one he makes very quickly. So I have to wonder about that.

Could it be that Marcus is concerned about things that Skynet has programmed him to do? Sure, he removed some hardware out of himself (that sounds really weird) and then rescued John despite Skynet explaining to him that he had carried out his programming beautifully. But if I were Marcus, I'd still be wondering what else Skynet might have done to me, and if it might cause more problems down the road.

At this point I'm speculating that Marcus considered himself too dangerous to the Resistance to stick around, and that he considered giving John his heart to be some way of making his death useful.

Marcus also said something about a second chance...which could be just his explanation to the people around him, or maybe he considered this decision to be part of making the most of his second chance. I need to give that more thought.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A vampire's thoughts on sex and love

I thought a certain vampire's thoughts on sex and love were interesting enough for me to stick the quotes somewhere. This is from The Dresden Files: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher.

"Sex is more than just a sensation. It's a union of the energy of two lives. And it's explosive. It's the process of creating life. For creating a new soul. Think about that. Power doesn't get more dangerous and volatile than that."

"Love is another kind of power, which shouldn't surprise you. Magic comes from emotions, among other things. And when two people are together, in that intimacy, when they really, selflessly love each other it changes them both. It lingers on in the energy of their lives, even when they are apart."

" 'You can have everything in the world, but if you don't have love, none of it means crap,' he said promptly. 'Love is patient. Love is kind. Love always forgives, trusts, supports, and endures. Love never fails. When every star int he heavens grows cold, and when silence lies once more on the face of the deep, three things will endure: faith, hope, and love.' "

These on pages 160 and 161. He says a few other interesting things on those pages.

Monday, February 25, 2013

T2: notes

This evening I watched Terminator: Judgment Day with mom. During the movie I sort of geeked out and took notes, mostly in relation to character development of one of the Terminators. I'm going to stick the notes here, and of course they contain spoilers...for the third movie as well as this one.

I'll differentiate between the two Terminators by referring to their model numbers, T-800 and T-1000. And yeah, I found myself referring to them as "he" instead of perhaps the more proper "it."

BTW, this evening was the first time I saw the extended version. It does more for explaining character development of T-800 than what I'd seen before.
  • T-1000 seems to only show emotions during interaction with humans, and tones it down when he isn't looking for cooperation.
  • In the first chase scene, how did T-1000 catch up to John? It's funny how the truck just suddenly came over the side of the bridge.
  • T-800 figured out the real request behind John's question of if he had any quarters -- rather than saying "no" he figured out how to get some quarters for John.
  • T-800 showed no emotion on his face when imitating John on the phone.
  • T-800 may have shown his first signs of emotion in the form of irritation when John said he had to rescue Sarah. I was going to dismiss this as my imagination, but my mom also commented on it.
  • John insisted that T-800 swear he "won't" kill people, and T-800 turned into "will not"...not sure if this is significant, but it's interesting.
  • T-1000 apparently has to slow down some to recover from injuries.
  • T-800 thought that crying was something wrong with the eyes. Odd, considering the files he should have about human behavior.
  • After the switch was reset for T-800 his facial expression looked a little off after. I'd have to see the movie again though before commenting more on it.
  • "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves." Dangit, why does T-800 have to say something that seems so accurate about humans?
  • John stresses to T-800 that he needs to learn and understand about emotions. Maybe this shapes T-800's behavior?
  •  Why doesn't Sarah kill Tyson??
  •  "The history of things to come." Just a cool line from Sarah.
  • T-800 tells John that war could be prevented if Tyson's work is destroyed, but in T3 the T-850 model Terminator tells an older John that it could only have been delayed.
  • "We were in uncharted territory now, making up history as we went along." Just another cool line from Sarah.
  • We get shown how T-800 sees things often enough, but never how T-1000 sees things. For that matter, we don't see them through the T-X's eyes in T3 either. Why not?
  • Why did John need to get fancy with getting the key when they go to blow things up? Couldn't T-800 have just broken in and gotten what was needed? Or did it require more finesse than that?
  • T-800 refers to T-1000 as "him" rather than "it."
  • T-1000 shows some expression (horror?) at being frozen. We see more apparent emotion(s) at his final death/termination.
  • T-800 is able to reroute his power source, even after it was apparently shut down and no longer functioning. The T-850 does something similar in T3.
  • "I need a vacation." Said by T-800 after terminating the T-1000. I think humans may have been a bad influence on him. Bwahaha.
  • T-800 apologizes to John for the necessity of himself being destroyed. He also tells John that he understands why humans cry...this leads to TONS of questions.
  • T-800 goes through with allowing Sarah to terminate him despite John's orders not to do so. I thought T-800 had to follow John's orders? What's up with this?
  • Sarah says that T-800 learned the value of human life. But did he (it)?
I realize that other fans have probably nitpicked all of these things by now. Since I'm probably repeating things others have already said or exclaimed over I feel a little odd writing this, but oh well. This seems like the best place for my notes and questions.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Terminator

I have recently been introduced to the joys of the Terminator movies. I've watched the first three, and this is one of those cases where I'm demanding of the universe, "Why didn't I find these when I was younger???"

I'll admit that at first it was mostly the hot Kyle Reese that I was fascinated by (fortunately my boyfriend has been very understanding), but after watching the second one my attention has shifted (mostly) to the character development of the Terminators.

It feels odd to call it "character development" when they're cyborgs. But, what else would I call it?

There are lots of little details I could comment on, but instead I'm going to list some questions here. Not all of which relate directly to the cyborgs, although most of them do. And of course, these questions include some spoilers for the plot.

1) When Sarah goes to kill Miles Dyson, why doesn't she? Why can't she do it?

2) How is it that there seems to be a transfer of knowledge from the nice Terminator in Judgment Day and the nice one in Rise of the Machines? I'm basing this on the fact that young John Connor taught a Terminator where to find car keys, and then in the next movie the Terminator knew exactly where to go. How did this happen?

3) Not a question, but a comment: the Terminator does have a pretty good sense of style.

4) The nice Terminator in T2 seems to become more human, and in the end he says that he knows why humans cry. But...does he really? It's fascinating to watch him (it) act more human as the movie progresses, and it almost seems that he's becoming human. But is it just blending in, or is it something else?

This last question is the one that I'm most interested in.

If you want to share your thoughts on any of these questions, I'd be happy to hear. Just please, no spoilers on the fourth movie or anything else.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Harry Dresden: growth?

I finished the fifth Dresden Files book by Jim Butcher last night.

With each book I wonder how in the world Butcher is going to top what just happened to Harry. But Butcher is great at coming up with new ways to torment Harry, so amazingly he does keep outdoing himself.

For the last book or so I've been speculating that part of Harry outdoing himself each time will probably include some personal growth in the magical abilities department.

minor spoilers

In the first couple books Harry was able to handle anything that came his way. Sure, he almost got killed a few times, but in the end he was always clearly better than anything or anyone else that he faced.

Then we started to see others who are his equal, or perhaps betters that he defeated by luck/ingenuity...and in Summer Knight we found out that there are a bunch of wizards who are not only more powerful and more skilled than Harry, but who also speak Latin better. (And they're dressed better than him.) Then things gets worse in Death Masks when someone else has to come Harry's aid to save him from something that he was pretty helpless against.

Even though Harry emerges triumphant in the end of Death Masks, he's still weaker than some of those he's gone up against. Weak enough that he's had to stand aside and watch others rescue him at times. And although that's awesome (it wouldn't be good for Harry's ego to always be the best) I don't see someone always being there to rescue him when needed, especially since he keeps going up against worse and worse monsters.

Hence, my prediction that he's going to have to learn some more, become more skilled and perhaps more powerful as the books progress.

I realize there are currently 10 (11?) more of the Dresden Files books out. So no one tell me if I'm right. I'll find out by reading them, then probably revisit this post and see if I was right. :)

Death Masks book cover

By the way, I've already seen other forms of growth in the books. (And no I'm not talking about the sex scenes!) But that's a subject for another post.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vulcans and emotions

I was watching the 2009 reboot of Star Trek today, and I noticed something very early on when watching young Spock.

In this scene three other young Vulcans are attempting to get an emotional response from Spock. (I think to prove that he's not a real Vulcan.) They succeed, and Spock makes a very good attempt at beating one of them up. Interesting thing though, as young Spock is taking out his anger on one of the bullies, we can see the emotional responses from the other two. Fear, I think.

So, in attempting to show that Spock isn't a "real Vulcan" or whatever, they wind up showing the same qualities in themselves that they were trying to bring out in him.

Very interesting. Maybe humans and Vulcans aren't as different as we seem at first glance?

I can think of more that could be said on the matter, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Harry Dresden

Book cover
Last night I finished reading Dresden Files: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'll leave my discussion of the book(s) themselves to another time. Right now, I want to address something I read in a couple of reviews about the book. Actually, the only two reviews I read before I got tired and stopped reading them. Just my luck, the two reviews I read were bad.

Both of the reviews accuse Harry Dresden of being a chauvinist pig, and claim that he doesn't trust women to be table to take care of themselves.

Before explaining why this is absolutely completely and totally wrong, I would first like to acknowledge that I get where they're coming from. When I read Butcher's graphic novel Welcome to the Jungle (basically an intro to the series) I got ticked off about a weak female character at first, until I realized that she wasn't so weak after all. I don't want to go into that now though, since I already wrote about that here.

So I do get where these two reviewers are coming from. But they aren't looking past their initial indignation to see the whole picture. Because while it is true that Harry doesn't treat women like they can handle what they're going up against, he doesn't treat any regular mortal like they can handle it, in the first two books.

I'm sure that if Harry met a woman who is his equal in magical skill and knowledge that he would stop trying to shield her. But so far there don't seem to be many characters (and none of them are main characters) who are anywhere near his equal in those areas.

This being the case, those who are screaming about Butcher's treatment of women can just hush up until they've read more of the series. I'm not sure what the other books contain, but I doubt there will be anything for me to complain about.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm Not Edward Collen

File this under music inspired by bad romance novels.

It's awesome. I think haters and Twihards alike can love it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Modern Witch

Book cover
I haven't really done this before, but I just want to write a post where I share some interesting (and insightful) quotes from an interesting book. The book? A Modern Witch by Debora Geary. Well, ok, and I also want to mention an interesting possibility for witchery that we see in this novel. But first the quotes.

"The power of coffee and bagels shouldn't be underestimated."

"Lesson one: no hot substances in the hands of trainee witches."

"You've always been a witch, sweetheart. You just didn't know it."

"Being Irish, Moira accepted that his fate had been set before he'd been born. She also knew it was his fate to choose, and being Irish, she understood that sometimes people made poor choices."

...try wrapping your head around that last one. It makes sense, but I've no clue why.

I finished this book last night, and very much enjoyed it. It's the second novel I've found where witches cast spells via programming codes (such as HTML), and I'm wondering if that will be more common in future witchy novels. For that matter, I wonder if it reflects what modern witches really do.

(By the way, Magaly, thank you for pointing me towards this book. :D)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Reading Challenges

Here are the reading challenges I participated in for 2012.

Goodreads challenge

For the Goodreads.com 2012 challenge I decided to read 66 books. Instead, I read 82.


I signed up to listen to 12 audio books. Instead, I listened to 36.

1) Abhorsen: Sabriel by Garth Nix, read by Tim Curry
2) Daughter of the Lioness: Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce, read by Trini Alvarado
3) Rocannon's World by Ursula K. le Guin, read by Stefan Rudnicki
4) Midnight Magic: Murder At Midnight by Avi, read by Jeff Woodman
5) Avalon High by Meg Cabot, read by Debra Wiseman
6) Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, read by Anthony Heald
7) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Lloyd James
8) The Princess Bride by William Goldman, read by Rob Reiner
9) Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, performed by various readers
10) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, read by Nadia May
11) Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Lloyd James
12) Beka Cooper: Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce, read by Susan Denaker

EXTRA!!!

13) Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Paul Michael Garcia
14) Inheritance: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, read by Gerard Doyle
15) Angelic by Kelly Armstrong, read by Laural Merlington
16) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
17) Cyprss Hollow Yarn: How to Knit a Love Song by Rachael Herron
18) Daughter of the Lioness: Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
19) Hexed by Ilona Andrews
20) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
21) Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
22) Podkayne of Mars by Robert A. Heinlein
23) Looking for Alaska by John Green
24) Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
25) Armor by John Steakley
36) Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce



For this challenge I decided to read 13 witchy books. Instead I read 42...I should have known myself better than to pick such a low number. :)

1) Bone: Rose by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess
2) Bone: Quest for the Spark by Thomas E. Sniegoski
3) Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
4) Beka Cooper: Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
5) Inheritance: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini 
6) The New Death and others by James Hutchings
7) Angelic by Kelly Armstrong
8) Discworld: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
9) Daughter of the Lioness: Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
10) Discworld: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
11) Hexed by Ilona Andrews
12) Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
13) Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith

EXTRA!!!

14) Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
15) Bone: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith
16) Bone: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith
17) Bone: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith
18) Bone: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith
19) Bone: Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith
20) Bone: Old Man's Cave by Jeff Smith
21) Bone: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith
22) AlmaMia Cienfuegos: a Story of Blood, Scars, and Nightmares by Magaly Guerrero
23) Twixt Firelight and Water: A Tale of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
24) Sevenwaters: Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
25) Songmaster by Orson Scott Card
26) Beka Cooper: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
27) Song of the Lioness: Alanna: The first Adventure by Tamora Pierce
28) Song of the Lioness: In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
29) Song of the Lioness: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
30) Song of the Lioness: Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
31) Immortals: Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
32) The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher
33) Immortals: Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
34) Immortals: Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
35) Immortals: The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
36) Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
37) Protector of the Small: First Test by Tamora Pierce
38) Protector of the Small: Page by Tamora Pierce
39) Protector of the Small: Squire by Tamora Pierce
40) Protector of the Small: Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
41) Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce
42) Discworld: Tiffany Aching: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett



For this one I signed up to read 50 fantasy books. I wound up reading 55.

1) Bone: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith
2) Bone: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith
3) Bone: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith
4) Abhorsen: Sabriel by Garth Nix
5) Daughter of the Lioness: Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
6) Girls' Night In by Jim Smiley
7) Bone: Rose by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess
8) Avalon High by Meg Cabot
9) Bone: Quest for the Spark by Thomas E. Sniegoski
10) The Princess Bride by William Goldman
11) A Questionable Hero by Kiki Howell
12) Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
13) Beka Cooper: Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
14) Inheritance: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
15) The New Death and others by James Hutchings
16) Angelic by Kelly Armstrong
17) Discworld: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
18) Daughter of the Lioness: Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
19) Discworld: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
20) Hexed by Ilona Andrews
21) Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
22) Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
23) Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith
24) Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
25) Bone: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith
26) Bone: Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith
27) Bone: Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith
28) Bone: Old Man's Cave by Jeff Smith
29) AlmaMia Cienfuegos: a Story of Blood, Scars, and Nightmares by Magaly Guerrero
30) Twixt Firelight and Water: A Tale of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
31) Sevenwaters: Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
32) Beka Cooper: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
33) Crimson City by Liz Maverick
34) Song of the Lioness: Alanna: The first Adventure by Tamora Pierce
35) Song of the Lioness: In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
36) Song of the Lioness: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
37) Song of the Lioness: Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
38) Immortals: Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
39) The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher
40) Immortals: Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
41) Immortals: Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
42) Immortals: The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
43) Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce
44) Protector of the Small: First Test by Tamora Pierce
45) Protector of the Small: Page by Tamora Pierce
46) Protector of the Small: Squire by Tamora Pierce
47) Both Alike in Dignity by Jim Smiley
48) Protector of the Small: Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
49) Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce
50) Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Extra...

51) Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
52) Discworld: Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
53) Discworld: Tiffany Aching: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
54) Sevenwaters: Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
55) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


 
This is the only challenge that I didn't exceed the goal I set for myself. I aimed for 15 scifi books, and I read 15 scifi books.

1) Rocannon's World by Ursula K. le Guin
2) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
3) Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
4) Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein
5) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6) Podkayne of Mars by Robert A. Heinlein
7) Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
8) Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
9) Armor by John Steakley
10) Songmaster by Orson Scott Card
11) Animorphs: The Visitor by K.A. Applegate
12) Fahrenheit 451: Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton
13) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
14) Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
15) The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. le Guin

Books read in 2012

Just because I am a nut, here is a list of all the books I have read in 2012. According to Goodreads.com, it's 82 books. Or actually it's 82 1/2, since I'm partway through Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig right now.

Abdel-Fattah, Randa -- Does My Head Look Big In This?
Andrews, Ilona -- Hexed
Applegate, Katherine -- Animorphs: The Visitor*
Armstrong, Kelley -- Angelic
Austen, Jane -- Persuasion
Austen, Jane -- Pride and Prejudice*
Austen, Jane -- Sense and Sensibility
Avi -- Midnight Magic: Murder at Midnight
Bradbury, Ray -- Fahrenheit 541*
Butcher, Jim -- The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle
Cabot, Meg -- Avalon High*
Card, Orson Scott -- Songmaster
Colfer, Eoin -- Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception*
Colfer, Eoin -- Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony*
Collins, Suzanne -- The Hunger Games
De Winter, Arius -- Kama Sutra
Goldman, William -- The Princess Bride
Green, John -- The Fault in our Stars
Green, John -- Looking for Alaska
Griffenhagen, Beth -- Haiku for the Single Girl
Guerrero, Magaly -- AlmaMia Cienfuegos: A Story of Blood, Scars and Nighmares
Hale, Shannon -- Princess Academy: Princess Academy
Hamilton, Tim -- Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation 
Harris, Dena -- Who Moved My Mouse?: A Self-Help Book for Cats
Heinlein, Robert A. -- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Heinlein, Robert A. -- Podkayne of Mars*
Heinlein, Robert A. -- Starman Jones*
Heinlein, Robert A. -- Starship Troopers*
Herron, Rachael -- Cypress Hollow Yarn: How to Knit a Love Song
Howell, Kiki -- A Questionable Hero
Hutchings, James -- The New Death and others
Ingerman, Sandra -- Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner's Guide*
Le Guin, Ursula K. -- The Left Hand of Darkness*
Le Guin, Ursula K. -- Rocannon's World*
Marillier, Juliette -- Sevenwaters: Son of the Shadows*
Marillier, Juliette -- Sevenwaters: Flame of Sevenwaters
Marillier, Juliette -- Twixt Firelight and Water: A Tale of Sevenwaters
Maverick, Liz -- Crimson City
Melville, Herman -- Moby-Dick
Nix, Garth -- Abhorsen: Sabriel*
Paolini, Christopher -- Inheritance: Inheritance*
Pierce, Tamora -- Beka Cooper: Terrier*
Pierce, Tamora -- Beka Cooper: Mastiff*
Pierce, Tamora -- Beka Cooper: Bloodhound**
Pierce, Tamora -- Daughter of the Lioness: Trickster's Choice*
Pierce, Tamora -- Daughter of the Lioness: Trickster's Queen*
Pierce, Tamora -- Immortals: Wild Magic*
Pierce, Tamora -- Immortals: Wolf Speaker*
Pierce, Tamora -- Immortals: Emperor Mage*
Pierce, Tamora -- Immortals: The Realms of the Gods*
Pierce, Tamora -- Protector of the Small: First Test*
Pierce, Tamora -- Protector of the Small: Page*
Pierce, Tamora -- Protector of the Small: Squire*
Pierce, Tamora -- Protector of the Small: Lady Knight*
Pierce, Tamora -- Song of the Lioness: Alanna: The First Adventure*
Pierce, Tamora -- Song of the Lioness: In the Hand of the Goddess*
Pierce, Tamora -- Song of the Lioness: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man*
Pierce, Tamora -- Song of the Lioness: Lioness Rampant*
Pierce, Tamora -- Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales
Pockell, Leslie -- The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time
Pollack, Rachel -- The Journey Out: A Guide for and About Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens
Pratchett, Terry -- Discworld: Men at Arms
Pratchett, Terry -- Discworld: The Wyrd Sisters
Pratchett, Terry -- Discworld: Tiffany Aching: The Wee Free Men
Pratchett, Terry -- Discworld: Tiffany Aching: I Shall Wear Midnight
Reeve, Jo -- Ashford Craft Series: The Ashford Book of Carding
Riordan, Rick -- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief*
Smiley, Jim -- Girls' Night In*
Smiley, Jim -- Both Alike in Dignity
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: Out From Boneville*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: The Great Cowrace*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: Eyes of the Storm*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: The Dragonslayer*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: Rock Jaw, Master of the Eastern Border*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: Old Man's Cave*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: Ghost Circles*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: Treasure Hunters*
Smith, Jeff -- Bone: Crown of Horns*
Sniegoski, Thomas E. -- Bone: A Quest for the Spark, Vol. 1
Sniegoski, Thomas E. -- Rose*
Steakley, John -- Armor
Tolkien, J.R.R. -- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
Tolkien, J.R.R. -- The Hobbit*

*books that I was rereading
**I read this when it came out in late 2011, and 2 1/2 times in 2012

Book, Textbook by George Hodan
 

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