Saturday, March 28, 2009

Herding Cats II and The Non-Fiction Five Reading Challenges

I decided to join two new challenges... I am trying not to overload, but I am mostly done what I am already signed up for and these are challenges that I wanted to join last year and didn't because I was hardly reading! So, the challenges are Herding Cats II and the Non-Fiction Five.

Here are the guidelines to Herding Cats II:

1. Make a list of five books you love. Directions:
  • Five. I'm as serious as a beached whale.
  • All titles must be books you've read in 2007, 2008 or 2009.
  • Please don't list a series; just the first book. If you really want to list a book in the middle of a series, you can, but it has to be that specific book.
  • Feel free to share why you're putting the book on your list, because I am nosy.

2. Post your list:
  • in your own journal, in the comments here, whatever is fine. Share the link to the list here.
  • Lists should be public (no locked entries, no logging in to view).

3. Browse the new book list. Stay a while. Read a few (eta: if you want; not even reading is required this time around if you don't have time to commit to a new challenge but still want to share your favorites).

4. If you review your books, you can share the reviews. You know, if you want. No pressure. Definitely not.

I am allowed to pick five books for the Herding Cats Challenge. Do you have ANY idea how hard five books are to choose? So, I decided to go with two from 2007, two from 2008, and then one from 2009. Considering I have almost read as many books in 2009 in three months as I read in the entire year of 2008, that might not be the fairest!

In 2007, I posted twenty books that were my favourite reads.

I am going to choose the following two:

28: Stories of AIDs in Africa by Stephanie Nolen - AIDs is a serious problem in the global community. People all over the world suffer from the disease. We may call it the 'gay man's disease' or the 'third-world country disesase', but what we actually have is a disease that can affect any race, gender, or financial bracket. It has affected millions of people and it continues to be a serious problem. I think in some ways it gets sweeped under the carpet because diseases like cancer have such a strong position in our society, but AIDs is not a problem that is going to easily go away. This book is a collection of stories from REAL people affected with a life-changing disease. Not all of them actually have the disease themselves, I might add, but they have all been touched by it. It's been two years since I read this book and I still have these people's stories running around in my head...

Wolf of the Plains by Conn Iggulden - Let me set the stage. This book is a chunkster. I bought it mostly on impulse. I didn't really even know what I was getting myself into, but I loved it! I read it in like a day or two. I know because I bought it on the third and my review is dated for the fifth... So, it was a very readable book! It is the story of Genghis Khan, who is a very famous conquerer from history. The novels may not be entirely accurate, but we have to remember that they are historical FICTION and not historical NON-FICTION. So, yes, he does take some liberties with the story. It is still excellent, though! I have also read the second book, but I haven't read the third yet... I hate to see trilogies end...

Moving on to 2008... I had a bad reading year and my Best of Post is a bit disorganized!

My two choices:

Ghost Rider by Neil Peart - It still surprises me when I think that the charming comedian is the reason I read this book! He loves the band Rush and he has me listening to them a lot more than I used to. When he mentioned Peart's books, though, and suggested I read them there was no contest! I read three of them in 2008 alone and absolutely loved them! I actually reviewed them, too, which is an accomplishment in itself! (I am ALWAYS behind on reviews!) Even if you are not a fan of the band, you can appreciate this book. It really is a book about healing and survival. For a bit of background for those not familiar, Peart lost both his daughter (car accident) and wife within about a ten month period of each other. His heart was breaking and he really didn't know how to cope, so he rode his motorcycle. This book was written afterwards about his struggles and coping with a situation that could easily break anyone. It is a very good book... And, well, not at the same time!

The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass - Okay, so I have to include fantasy. I haven't yet, which is baffling for me! Anyway, this is my pick because, well, it's Sara Douglass and I love this trilogy! And, Sara Douglass has cancer, so the third book in the trilogy has been put on hold while she heals... See, she needs support, so people should read her books! For those that read my blog regularly, here is my reasoning for this book: This year I am doing a lot better, but we know how I am notoriously bad at reading series right away or reading books by the same author one right after the other... Well, she was one of my exceptions from last year! The best thing about Douglass is she can also write a really good second book in her trilogies. And, well, Douglass is not an author that I see a lot around the blogosphere, which makes me sad!

And, now, for this year... One book out of 93. This is going to be interesting...

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy (Skulduggery Series, Book 1) - I just recently read this book and I LOVED it! What a fun book! What fun characters! And, well, the rest of my choices are adult books, but this is a young adult read. So, anyway, read this book! You will NOT be disappointed! I haven't had a chance to review it yet, but believe me, it's great! It is the story of a young girl who finds herself caught up in very unusual circumstances. Skulduggery Pleasant (isn't that a great name?) circumstances. You see, Skulduggery is a walking and talking skeleton, and that is just the beginning of the great characters! It was just fun. I have the second book out from the library right now and the third book is either just recently out or coming out soon. I strongly recommend a read!

Okay, so coming up with five books was REALLY hard!

My List of Possible Reads:
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Want to wait for the R.I.P. Challenge, though)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (I REALLY need to get around to reading this book!)
The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling (I own it...)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Have out from the library)
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Own it)
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (Have on request from the library)
One Piece, Volume 1 by Eiichiro Oda (Requested from the library)
Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest (Requested from the library! Finally!)
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Own it)
Nation by Terry Pratchett (Out from the library)
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (On Request from the library.)
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (Out from the library)

Then, we have the Non-Fiction Five challenge.

The Rules (unchanged from previous years)

1. Read 5 non-fiction books during the months of May - September, 2009 (please link your reviews on Mister Linky each month; Mister Linky can be found each month on this blog)

2. Read at least one non-fiction book that is different from your other choices (i.e.: 4 memoirs and 1 self-help)

3. If interested, please sign up below with the link to your NFF Challenge post (all choices do not need to be posted and may change at any time)

I really have no idea what I want to read at the moment... I own a LOT of non-fiction books... I will have to think!


  1. What a great list of reads and recs! I definitely need to read some Sara Douglass...and I've heard good things about Skullduggery! Can't wait to check it out!

  2. Good rec on the 29 Stories. I read it last year and agree it is very impactful (if that is even a word!?)
    I also learned a lot more about African geography which I was sorely lacking in.

    Have fun with the challenges, it is fun having you back around.

  3. Chris: You do need to read Sara Douglass! I hope you get a chance to read Skullduggery, too, it was such a fun book!

    Raidergirl: 28 Stories was really good! It has sure stuck with me and I learned a lot!

  4. I'm currently not joining any more challenges, but these are two good ones. I am going to venture over and check out that list of people's favorite books. I'll probably be sorry but that won't stop me.

  5. Booklogged: haha, yeah... I was thinking about looking at last years, but I haven't yet... There are like 632 books! This years list will be bad enough, I am sure!

  6. I've been lurking and reading your posts for the past year, but I did want to come out of lurkdom to thank you for the Sarah Douglass rec, since I've been wanting an excuse to check her out.

    Also, I adore The Lies of Locke Lamora. Locke is my favorite kind of fantasy hero--fun and snarky and totally unapologetic. I just adore him. I hope you like the book, too.

  7. Shannon: Glad you delurked! I am glad you are going to check Sara Douglass out! She's a good author. :) I hope to atually read The Lies of Locke Lamora, not just plan to and it never happen!

  8. I haven't read a single one of your five! I should do something about that :P Sara Douglass in particular sounds like an author I'd love.

  9. Nymeth: That was actually the point. I chose books that I loved that were not super popular... I read lots of books that were good, but they have been read by many.

  10. Oh, I'm so happy you put 28 Stories on your list! I bought that not too long ago, and really, really want to read it!

  11. Debi: I was REALLY happy when I saw you had bought it!

  12. I can't resist and I'll be joining both of these too, and will post about them soon. lol.
    Wolf of the Plains sounds good. I've never read anything about Genghis Khan before.

  13. I am glad you are joining both, Nat! I think both sounds like fun. Wolf of the Plains (and the first sequel) are the only books I have read on Genghis Khan.

  14. I have a total crush on Skulduggery, so I'm glad you chose that book! I had been thinking of joining this challenge - it looks like fun. Your post, I think, has tipped me over the edge. I'm off to check it out...


  15. Darla: I LOVE Skulduggery! I can't wait to read book two! I am glad you are thinking about joining the challenge. It looks like it is going to be fun!

  16. thanks for signing up for the non-fiction five challenge! I look forward to seeing what you decide to read--making a list was really tough for me too (so many good books out there!).

  17. Thanks Trish! I will have to figure out my list before long. :)

  18. I joined NFF! Other, I don't think I will. Not this year!

    Here are my choices for NFF!


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