Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Master Post

I am reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I’ve read this play twice before, but never as an adult. I imagine my understanding of the play will be VERY different this time around. In addition to reading the play, I’m going to watch some movies, read critiques, and try out a couple of re-tellings. Not all of this will happen in only one month’s time, so I will be making several posts over the next year. I will keep updating this master post each time I do so that everyone can keep track of my posts. 🙂

Notes on Introduction by Harold Jenkins
Act I, Scene i
Act I, Scenes ii – v
Act II

Around the World in 80 Books

I’m joining in a five-year project to read “around the world” in 80 books. This blogging project is hosted by Have Books, Will Travel. You can sign up here. Here are my (somewhat modified rules):

My rules for this challenge are:
  • I have five years to complete my journey. My start date is November 2012 and I will complete my journey in October 2017.
  • I generally read a variety of books (I THINK!) so this is more of a how many countries can I hit in five years? challenge, rather than a challenge to read precisely 80 books. I will list the books off by country. It is the setting of the book that I’m counting (rather than the nationality of the author), and if the book takes place in more than one country, I will choose the country in which most of the book is set.
  • For books set in the US, I will try to read one from all 50 states in the next 5 years.

United States

The Americas (not US)

Polar Regions


Outer Space

visited 12 states (24%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

visited 11 states (4.88%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Sunday Salon – November 4, 2012

Well, another month has passed, and this one has been busy! I gave up on job prospects here in Ohio and decided to try the waters in Minnesota where my family (and many friends) live. I won’t move until December, but I’ve already made one trip to move my stuff up there. I can’t believe it costs less to make three trips in my car than it does to rent a truck!!! What’s with that?

I also got lots of books read and participated in a few blog events. 🙂

Weekly Update


  • The first three books that I reviewed were for the R.eaders I.mbibing in P.eril VII event hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. That was my first time participating in the RIP event, and I really enjoyed meeting all the new bloggers and seeing good spooky/scary books to read!
  • The last book reviewed was for the Harry Potter Read Along hosted by Lost Generation Reader. This event is still ongoing, but I’m beginning to fear that I won’t make it through all the Harry Potter books in time! Oh well, I can continue them on my own. 🙂
  • I participated in my second Feature and Follow Friday, a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. I found several new book blogging buddies there. I really like the you-follow-me I-follow-you rule. I think I’ll generally try to return the favor to book bloggers who follow me on GFC from now on. It broadens my horizons and increases my own following. 🙂
  • I joined Random Reads hosted by i’m loving books. I’ve been feeling trapped within a highly structured reading curriculum for a while now. This way, I can introduce one random book a month into my reading schedule. Yay for structured randomness! 😀 My random book for November is Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome.
  • I joined Project Fairytale hosted by The Cheap Reader.  This event will take place either in February or March of next year. Each person chooses a different fairy tale, reads the original, reads a few retellings, and does a comparison. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? 🙂 Sign-up ends on November 30th, so you can still join! (Vote for March! :p) My fairy tale is Donkey Skin. My introductory post is here

And now! Let me introduce the theme that I’m hosting in February 2012: Social Justice Theme Read

This is going to be an informal theme read where people can hop in at any time and   comment with a link to their blog posts about social justice (or social injustice). At the end, I’ll have a wrap-up post including everyone’s links. To see my potential reading list, you can read my introductory post. If you’d like to participate, you can sign up in advance at my intro post, or you can just jump in at any point as it suits you. If you sign up on my introductory post by February 7th, 2013 AND write one blog post / book review about social justice (or the lack thereof) you will be entered to win a $10 gift certificate from Amazon

Finally, my post popular blog post for this week was: Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff. I have no idea why this post is suddenly so popular. 🙂

October Wrap-up

Books Reviewed
  1. The Headless Cupid, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  2. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling
  4. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
  5. Surprised by Joy, by C. S. Lewis
  6. Devil’s Pass, by Sigmund Brouwer
  7. Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil
  8. Blood and Other Cravings, ed. Ellen Datlow
  9. Pride and Prejudice (A Norton Critical Edition), by Jane Austen
  10. The Poisoner’s Handbook, by Deborah Blum
  11. The Assassin’s Code, by Jonathan Maberry
Additionally, I led a discussion of The Embittered Ruby, by Nicole O’Dell for the ACFW bookclub

Plans for November

Our theme in the 75ers group on LibraryThing is “New Novels November,” so I will try to read a few books that were published in 2012. 🙂 I’m also participating in a Russian Reading month over at Tuesday in Silhouette. I’ll be reading Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov.

I’m participating in Let’s Read Plays! hosted by Fanda at Fanda Classiclit and Dessy at Ngidam Buku. This is a year-long event in which we will read classic plays. This month, I’m reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Dewey’s October 2012 24-Hour Read-a-thon

So it’s time for my first ever read-a-thon. In fact, it appears I’ll be late, because I need to start reading in 18 minutes and I haven’t even finished my morning blogging. :p I’m not as hardcore as some of the read-a-thoners out there…I am certain that I will eat, shower, and go to sleep tonight. However, I thought it would be fun to join anyway, since I will be spending much of today packing up my apartment while listening to an audiobook. That’s close enough to reading, right? 😉 I also want to get as far as possible in The Garden of the Evening Mists because it is one of the few Booker shortlisted novels that are available in the US, and the prize announcement is Tuesday!

Instead of creating a new post for every update, I will simply update THIS POST whenever I need a break. I’m not sure how regular those intervals will be. We’ll see how intense I get. This is all new to me! 😉

Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil
Format: Audio (from Audible)
Reason for reading: Booker shortlisted
Start position:  6hr 33min of 8hr 54min
Current position: COMPLETE (6:12pm)

The Poisoner’s Handbook, by Deborah Blum
Format: audiobook (from library)
Reason for Reading: Halloween theme read at LibraryThing
Start PositionPart 2 of 11 (9hrs 27min total)
Current Position: Part 9 of 11 (9hrs and 27min total)

Blood and Other Cravings, ed. Ellen Datlow
Format: Hardback (from library)
Reason for Reading: Being considered for the World Fantasy Award 2012
Start Position: pg 195 of 317
Current Position: pg 282 of 317

7:56am (New York time–though, actually, I’m in Ohio). That means I have 4 minutes to prepare to read. 😀

8:13am Update: I’ve been catching up on blogs this morning, which I hope counts as reading. It seems like it should. Here’s the introductory questionnaire from the Read-a-thon blog

Introductory Questionnaire

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Ohio, USA

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I would really like to finish The Garden of the Evening Mists, but we’ll see if I have time…I will do a lot of audiobook listening. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I don’t really snack except on pickles and popcorn. So I guess that’s what I’m looking forward to. 😉

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I’m a biomedical scientist and I do a LOT of reading. I’m currently in the process of moving from OH to MN, so I’ll be packing up my apartment while listening to audiobooks for a good deal of the day.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is my first read-a-thon, and I’m most looking forward to finding out how much I can ACTUALLY read in 24 hours if I put my mind to it. I’m skeptical, yet optimistic. 😀

9:02am Update: I spent the first hour catching up on blog reading. I did my first Feature and Follow Friday yesterday and I had to check out all the other bloggers. I don’t know how they do that every week? I suppose they get lazy at it after a while? PHEW! Ok, I’m now moving on to Narcopolis for a while. 

10:45am Update: I’ve finished packing up my books and 7hrs 43min in Narcopolis (1 hour and 10 minutes completed so far today). I’m hungry, so I’m going to walk to the Subway to get a sandwich. 🙂 Unfortunately, the ipod that I have Narcopolis on is now very low on charge so I’ll have to charge it up while listening to The Poisoner’s Handbook

2:31pm Update: Ok, I wasn’t actually at lunch that entire time. I came back and have continued listening to The Poisoner’s Handbook while I did some monotonous work at my desk. But now my ears are buzzing and I’m going to take a “real” reading break. 😀 Currently, I’m on part 5 of 11 in The Poisoner’s Handbook. That means I finished approximately 3 hours of audiobook in 4 hours. Hmmm. Very wasteful.

3:30pm Update: During the past hour, I read 16 pages of Blood and Other Cravings. Wow. 16 pages an hour. That’s sad. The short story I read was called “Mrs. Jones.” It was about a couple of old maid sisters who hated each other. And then a little bat-like man with a huge erection enters the picture. Wow. Sounds pretty bad when I put it that way. 😀  

4:53pm Update: I’ve finished another two “parts” of The Poisoner’s Handbook, having now moved up to part 7 of 11. While listening to that, I started sifting through my clothes with thoughts of what to keep and what to give to Goodwill before I pack it all up. Ah! Memories! Now my ipod with The Poisoner’s Handbook needs to be charged, but my ipod with Narcopolis is ready to go. So I’m making the switch again! 

So far, I’ve listened to 5 hours of audiobook and read 16 pages. So what am I doing during all the rest of that time? To be honest, I don’t know. It probably has something to do with the internet, though. 

6:12pm Update: I have now completed Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil. The review will appear on my blog sometime next week. Hopefully before Tuesday (because that’s when the Booker Prize is announced).

7:35pm Update: Fantastic news! I just read another 16 pages of Blood and Other Cravings! I’m really zipping along now!

9:07pm Update: I took a bit of a break for a while. And then I read another short story in Blood and Other Cravings. I’m now on page 248 (so I’ve moved another 20 pages). 

10:31pm Update: After a bit more sorting/packing (and playing with my cats) while listening to audiobook, I am now at part 9 of 11 in The Poisoner’s Handbook. I’m going to do some “real” reading for a while, but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep my eyes focused.

11:17pm Update: Ok. I know this is really wimpy because it’s only 11:17pm, but I’m tired and I’m going to have to go to bed if I want to have a productive day tomorrow. Perhaps if I’m lucky I’ll get up in time to get another couple hours of reading one before the read-a-thon is over. (Might or might not happen. 😉 )

6:39am Update: Well, I’m awake again and I’ll try to get a few more pages read before the read-a-thon is over. 🙂

7:43am Update: Well, I guess this will be my final post, given that I don’t think I’ll get anything significant read in the next 17 minutes. This was a good first read-a-thon for me…it was fun knowing I was reading with people all around the world. I hadn’t really planned on participating in the read-a-thon, and didn’t plan ahead. Perhaps I’ll be more organized next time around. 😉 For instance, I’ll plan on having both ipods and my Nook charged (I didn’t get to read ANY of The Garden of the Evening Mists because my Nook was dead haha!). And, hopefully, the next time around I’ll also have more time to just sit and read instead of doing housework the entire day. I might also try adding in some graphic novels next time. I’m not highly experienced with graphic novels, but a read-a-thon seems like an ideal time to try them out (as well as some exciting suspense novels). Non-fiction and literary novels aren’t really meant for this type of intense reading, I think. 🙂 

Despite these issues, I finished around 8 hours of audiobook (thus finishing Narcopolis and getting a good way into The Poisoner’s Handbook) and read 87 pages Blood and Other Cravings. That’s good enough for a disorganized and distracted start at read-a-thoning. 😀

Sunday Salon: September Update

September was a good month for my blog. I finished up my Coursera MOOC in Fantasy and Science fiction…it was a wonderful experience, but it was exhausting! I posted reviews for many of the books required for this course: 

I was going to take the Greek / Mythology Coursera course,  but have decided that it covers the materials way too quickly…I don’t think I can do justice to so much amazing literature in just 10 weeks. Therefore, I’m going to return to my focused study of Paradise Lost. Expect more posts soon! 🙂

The last 11 days of September, I led an email discussion of Sandi Rog’s new book Walks Alone for the ACFW Bookclub. I have loved every Sandi Rog book I’ve ever read. Walks Alone is a christian fiction historical romance about a young woman in post-Civil War era who travels alone from New York to Denver and is kidnapped along the way by a band of Native Americans. Although she is filled with dread and fear, she soon discovers that they have a side to their story too…and she begins to fall in love with her kidnapper. I admit that when I read the description I thought it to be a bit trite, but I gave the book a try anyway because of my love for Sandi Rog’s books. I’m so glad I did. 🙂 It wasn’t trite at all. It was a really cute book.  My review of the book is here

On my blog, the last week of September was dedicated to Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe blog tour. She did an amazing job, and I really appreciate the effort she put in to the tour. For this tour, I reviewed:

And, of course, I reviewed books that fit into none of these categories:

Sadly, I only had time to post one opinion article–it was about the creationism / evolution debate

In an attempt to become more active in the blogosphere, I also joined a few other blog activities such as R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII, The Classics Club, The Orange Prize Project, and The Complete Booker.
I will be starting out October with posts for Banned Books Week. Book Journey has organized a blog tour in honor of the week. I will be blogging about 4 banned children’s/YA books during that week. From October 20 – 31, I’ll be leading an email book discussion of The Embittered Ruby, by Nicole O’Dell for the ACFW Bookclub. You’re all welcome to read the book and join in the discussion! This month is dedicated to Christian YA literature, and as you can see on the ACFW Bookclub website, we discuss two books a month, and you’re welcome to choose either one of them. Besides my hope of getting farther into my study of Paradise Lost, here’s a list of books I hope to read in October: 

Surprised by Joy, by C. S. Lewis (IN PROGRESS)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling 
Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor (IN PROGRESS)
The Magician’s Nephew, by C. S. Lewis
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice
The Poisoner’s Handbook, by Maxwell Hutchkinson
Pride and Prejudice: A Norton Critical Edition, by Jane Austen (IN PROGRESS)
Blood and Other Cravings, ed. Ellen Datlow 
A Book of Horrors, ed. Stephen Jones
House of Wisdom, by Jim Al-Khalili

The Complete Booker

I have joined The Complete Booker blog challenge so that I can keep track of and discuss books that have won or been nominated for the Man Booker Prize. 

Booker Prize
The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje (1992)
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (2002)

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (2009)

Booker Shortlist
A Bend in the River, by V.S. Naipaul (1979)
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)

In the Country of Men, by Hisham Matar (2006)
Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel (2012)

Booker Longlist
The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman (2001)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon (2003)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke (2004)

Skios, by Michael Frayn (2012)
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce (2012)

The Orange Prize Project

I’ve decided to join the The Orange Prize Project to help keep track of all the Orange Prize winners / nominees that I’ve read. Here’s my list so far:

Orange Prize Winners:
Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2007)
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller (2012)

Shortlisted books:
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (2010)

Longlisted books:
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold (2003)
The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (2004)
The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Safak (2008)

The Septembers of Shiraz, by Dalia Sofer (2008)
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (2010)
Translation of the Bones, by Francesca Kay (2012)