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The Moth Eaten Shelf

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high! ...But you don't have to take my, or Lamar Burton's, word for it. Just take a look, it's in a book.

Currently reading

The Backstory of Wallpaper: Paper-Hangings 1650-1750
Robert M. Kelly
Progress: 5/183 pages
Death of a Gossip
M.C. Beaton
Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean (CD-ROM Included)
Henry J. Amen IV, Kyubyong Park
Visualize This: The Flowing Data Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics
Nathan Yau
Discovering Statistics Using R
Zoe Field, Andy Field, Jeremy Miles
Pushkin House (American Literature (Dalkey Archive))
Andrei Bitov, Susan Brownsberger
Beginner's Korean
Jeyseon Lee
La Nouvelle Héloïse: Julie, or the New Eloise
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Judith H. McDowell
Edith Wharton
Hermione Lee
Linear Models with R (Chapman & Hall/CRC Texts in Statistical Science)
Julian James Faraway

The Book on the Bookshelf

The Book on the Bookshelf - Henry Petroski If I hadn't worked in a university library for 4 years, I might have found the book a bit more enjoyable; as such, I would not recommend this book to biblioholics, as you probably well versed in bibliohistory already.

Titus Andronicus (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Titus Andronicus - William Shakespeare Never get involved in Roman politics.

The Crying of Lot 49

The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon After reading this, I can see why Helene Hanff could never feel passionate about people and places that never existed. ...Once you get into the rythm the reading is not so hard, but at a certain point, maybe half way through the good parts are gone and you wonder why you are still reading, other than to find out what happens. The good parts are on pages 10, 12 and 32(?) (whatever I wrote in the progress part), these little descriptions are gems that I wish had been fleshed out a bit more into a little vinegrette or prose. ...What the other commentators have written is true and the book does date itself; but I wonder about the style of writing, how it has changed since this was written and about people's choice of reading material, and the availability of books in remote small towns, where Walmart (if you are lucky) or the local library is the only place to pick up books immediately. Sign of the times...

The Princesse de Clèves: The Princesse de Montpensier, The Comtesse de Tende (Oxford World's Classics)

The Princesse de Clèves: The Princesse de Montpensier, the Comtesse de Tende - Madame de La Fayette, Terence Cave If all three stories had not been about "the most beautiful and witty women at court," it would have been easier to feel a connection to these women and the various states of love/infidelity they get into with, of course, the handsomest men at court. On the other hand, whether plain or fair looking, the heart of the stories still has relevance today, and can be seen in pop culture TV shows on every other channel.

We Are Iran: The Persian Blogs

We Are Iran: The Persian Blogs - Nasrin Alavi If this book has whetted your appetite to learn more about Iran, I recommend 'The Soul of Iran' which has a nice combination of history and contemporary culture without being as dry and fact ridden as histories of old.

Richard II (Oxford School Shakespeare)

Richard II - Roma Gill, William Shakespeare So far, the best of the first three histories (in chronological reign) that Shakespeare wrote, which is not saying much.

Favorite quote, referring to undeaf ears: "No; it is stopp'd with other flattering sounds,/ As praises of his state: then there are fond/Lascivous metres, to whose venom sound/The open ear of youth doth always listen" (Act II, scene I, line 17-20)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot Easy read (to the degree that one can read 50 pages within an hour or two) that doesn't weigh so heavily on biology that non-science people will be put off, while maintaining continuity of history and human interest. (Hum, that sounds pretty technical and something a machine could produce!) It could have been better if at the end it was stated whether any of the proceeds from the book's sales went to the family or not, and I don't recommend reading the acknowledgements late at night as they go on for 5 pages. Worth the read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows Where to start? All the reviews except for the last ~5 in my addition actually made me think this book was worth reading, as all the others were nondescript and could have been applied to any other book out there being read by book clubs/groups. The lady who sold me the book at Borders said that everyone who she recommended it to and bought it came back saying it was great, perfectly written, etc, which really made me wonder about the people who she sold it to and what their reading habits were like. I'm not sure I would call it perfect and it is a tiny bit obvious from reading the reviews that the main character is going to end up with someone, I just wished they had fleshed out more of the male characters, made them a bit more complex than they were, since I don't think people are that black and white in reality.

If you crossed Jane Austen/Elizabeth Aston ('Mr. Darcy's Daughters' series author) with the second cousin of '84 Charring Cross Road' and set in the post-WWII Channel Islands, you would get this sweet tale. Good reading for a lazy Sunday afternoon or when you want to stay in bed and be warm and fuzzy.

Nickel and Dimed : On (Not) Getting by in America

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America - Barbara Ehrenreich If you have ever worked in the food, retail or any other service requiring physical labor for low pay, had to live from paycheck to paycheck or worse, there is no reason to read this book. Having lived on that side most of my life, and still some what do, I found the book to be whinny, repetative and not too informative (the statistics were added as footnotes). I skimmed/skipped through the last chapter and hope to abandon the book on my next train ride or else donate it to the Goodwill, for irony's sake.

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-By-Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-By-Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful - Diana Laurence I am some what at a loss as to where to shelve this book at home. Having never met a "real" vampire and having seen the author's webpage/alternative life(s), I am inclined to add the work to the fiction section and think the author a very active imagination. If it were true...it leaves me disappointed, as it indicates that people and the 'undead' are as predictable as ever, much like their appearance as Ms Laurence describes them. (And why would you want to live forever if history is just going to repeat itself?)

Though it should be fun to watch whether people start wearing red ribbons on their wrists!

Troilus and Cressida (The New Folger Library Shakespeare)

Troilus and Cressida - William Shakespeare If this be a comedy, then my life is a laugh riot! I only laughed twice and the ending left me wanting to know what happened between Troilus and Cressida after the last battle, despite its length.

Worthwhile quotes, and the only parts I laughed at:

Alexander, servant to Cressida: "They say he [Ajax:] is a very man per se/And stands alone."
Cressida: "So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs."
(Act I, Scene II, lines 15-18)


Uncle and niece speaking about the difference between Troilus and Achilles.
Pandarus: "...Do you know what a man is? Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and so forth, the spice and salt that season a man?"
Cressida: "Ay, a minced man: and then to be baked with no date in the pie, for then the man's date's out."
(Act I, Scene II, lines 272-279)

The First Five Pages: A Writer'S Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile

The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile - Noah Lukeman While I don't consider myself a writer, I still found this book useful in helping me better understand why I like some books and hate others. Concise and direct read that allows you to get straight to the problem(s) and back to writing, quickly.

The Life And Death Of King John

The Life and Death of King John - William Shakespeare At least this history has a plot, even if it lacks the redeeming qualities/actions that the real King John had.

Nightlight: A Parody

Nightlight: A Parody - The Harvard Lampoon Not as funny as I thought it was going to be and the typos - I figured Harvard knew how to use spell-check! Makes me glad I went to a smaller university.

North and South (Norton Critical Editions)

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell, Alan Shelston Four stars for a work of fiction that is set in a world which can still resonate with the events in the world today, characters who have meaningful conversations/arguements and the lovers have a happy ending.
I might have given it five stars if the ending hadn't been so abrupt and there had been a better description of Mr. Thorton. (At least there's Richard Armitage to fanasize about!)

Course Of Irish History

The Course of Irish History - T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin As most histories go, the focus is on the political and economical developments over the years and this book does not disappoint; though it should be noted that this history is very readable and approachable to the lay person, as each chapter is written by a different, authoritative author (ie Irish history professors who need work). The only problem I had was feeling a little lost in the latter fourth of the book and not having it clarified in a simple statement until a couple of chapters later. Also, it would have been better if the editors had switched the position of chapters 20 & 21, as the way chapter 20 (Northern Ireland 1921-66) was written (and given my lack of understanding of what was going on in that area at that time), I wasn't sure where the 'bigger picture' allegiances were.

All in all, I would recommend the book for someone looking for a comprehensive and readable history of Ireland.