Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Brianna at The Book Vixen is hosting the Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge.  All you do is try to read more books in 2013 than you did in 2012.  This challenge runs from 1 January until 31 December, and you can sign up anytime between now and then.

Rereads are allowed, and books read for this challenge can count toward other challenges too.  I'm trying for  the level to "get my heart rate up," which means i'm going to try and read at least 1-5 more books in 2013 than I did in 2012.

Once I get close, I'll be tracking my progress here.


This Isn't Fiction Challenge 2013

Birgit over at The Book Garden is hosting This Isn't Fiction, a reading challenge for non-fiction books.  Any non-fiction book is allowed, as long as it's at least 100 pages, excluding any appendices and annotations.  Books cannot be picture-heavy (about a 75:25 text to picture ratio), and the books must be read completely, no partial reads.  Rereads and ARCs are allowed.

The challenge will run from 1 January until 31 December, and you can join anytime between now and early 2013.  

I've decided to go for the "Kindergarten" level, which is just 5 books.  As I read, I'll update my progress here, and if I make it to my goal before the end of the year, I'll upgrade to the next.

Mystery and Crime Challenge 2013

The Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge is hosted by Amy at The Crafty Book Nerd.  This challenge runs from 1 January until 31 December, and both novels and short stories count.  To count for the purposes of the challenge, though, 5 short stories will be equal to 1 book.  There will be a prize drawing each month from participants who linked up to Amy's main post.

I'm trying for the "Lieutenant" level, which is 15 books.  Throughout the year, as I read, I'll be updating my progress here:

50 States Challenge 2013

Tasha over at Book Obsessed is hosting the 50 States Challenge again this year, and I'm giving it another go.  I only made it to 14 in 2012, so I'm hoping to get at least halfway in 2013.

Basically, you just try to read one book set in each of the 50 states, in one year.  Rereads are okay, and books read for this challenge can apply to other challenges as well.

Throughout the year, as I read, I'll be updating my progress here:

Mount TBR Reading Challenge: 2013 Progress

Bev at My Reader's Block is hosting the Mount TBR Reading Challenge again for 2013, and even though I failed at it miserably in 2012, I'm trying again!  At a lower level this time, though. XD  I'm going for Mt Vancouver this year, which is 36 books.

This challenge runs from 1 January until 31 December, and you can sign up anytime between now and 30 November.  Only books that you owned prior to 1 January 2013 count - no ARCs, no library books, and no rereads.  Books read for this challenge can apply to other challenges as well.

As I read, I'll be tracking my progress on this page throughout the year.  Best of luck to everyone else participating in this one!

Wrapping up 2012, Welcoming 2013

Well, everyone, we survived another End of the World and another holiday season, and 2013 is now right around the corner!  As far as reading challenges go,  this year I participated in the Mt TBR Reading Challenge, The Narnia Reading Project, The 50 States Challenge, the Sci-Fi Reader Challenge, and the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge.  I also set a book counter on Goodreads.  And I failed at all of them!  I came closest to completing the sci-fi challenge, but I really underestimated how time-consuming and stressful my classes were going to be this semester.  I also kind of dropped off the face of the blogosphere for a little while, regrettably.

But!  In roughly four hours, we all get to start with blank slates, and I'm still going to participate in some reading challenges.  I'm just going to try not to bite off more than I can chew this time.  I don't anticipate my classes being any less time-consuming in the spring semester, so I'll be aiming low with the challenges this time around.

Anyway!  Here's what I managed for my failed attempt at 2012 challenges...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells, is a classic science fiction tale of Martian invasion.  The story is narrated by a philosopher who lives a quiet life in the English country with his wife.  When visiting an astronomer friend at his observatory one night, they witness what would seem to be shooting stars, but for the fact that they appeared to have been fired directly from Mars.  It is not too long before a large metallic cylinder comes crashing into the earth near their homes.  The news gets out of course, but no one is alarmed at first, since it takes a rather long time for the martians to emerge from their cylinder, and once they are out, they don't appear to be capable of leaving the crater their vessel made.  Their sluggishness and apparent immobility is attributed to their not being able to adjust to the additional gravitational force on this planet, and everyone feels quite safe because of it.

Up until the martians finish constructing their deadly heat ray, that is, and begin burning to death everything within its range.

This unfortunate turn of events is...well...unfortunate.  But they still can't get out of the crater, right?  So as long as you're not in range of this heat ray, you're safe.

Except then it turns out the martians have also brought along things to put together humongous death machines to roam about the countryside in, burning up stuff with their heat rays and snatching up people to feed upon, and causing a widespread general panic.  The military of course was called in, but this is the late 19th century, so their weapons are obviously no match against the superior technology of the martians.  Humankind is pretty screwed, yeah?

Maybe, maybe not.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Glory Alley and the Star Riders

Glory Alley and the Star Riders, by C. Deanna Verhoff, is a young adult sci-fi/fantasy about fourteen-year-old Glory Alley, amateur spelunker and geologist.  She lives on Tullah, a planet very much like Earth.  Glory's life isn't what you'd call "ideal" - it's anything but.  Her mother died after giving birth to her youngest brother, and things have been going rapidly downhill since then.  Her father is a drunk, and alternates between being Mean Dad or Nice Dad, but with their family's financial situation being what it now is, coupled with her father's abusive behavior when drunk, the authorities have been a presence looming over the family.  Despite his drunken meanness, and the fact that the Alley family is pretty much the town joke, Glory would do or give anything to keep them all together.  

Little does she know that one solo trip into the caverns at Queen's Mesa will put into motion a chain of events that will change her and her world forever.  

Everyone has heard the stories about the Elboni, but to the people of Tullah, the stories are just myth.  Glory isn't sure what to believe anymore when she barely escapes from the Mesa with her life after picking up a beautiful stone, unlike anything she's seen before either in books or with her own eyes.  Could all the stories be true?  Everyone except her grandfather thinks she's gone crazy.  When three strange-looking men come looking for something, though, she realizes that the stories may indeed be true, the stone she found is much more than what it seems, and there is much more to the universe than the science of her world has been capable of uncovering so far.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is set in the near future, where everything is a private corporation, including the mafia, the jails, and the church.  Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza, but he is also one of the best hackers around, and the best swordsman in the world.  While "goggled in" to the Metaverse, one of Hiro's friends, a fellow hacker, falls victim to a new computer virus:  Snow Crash.  This particular virus affects only hackers, and in the wrong hands, will have devastating results.  Connected to the virus is a new religious cult, rising rapidly in popularity.  Hiro's ex-girlfriend, a neurolinguist, is investigating the cult, and finds it is associated with Sumerian myth and the Tower of Babel.  Hiro gets involved in the mission to put a stop to the cult's leaders, picking up along the way a cocky young Kourier, Y.T., as sort of a sidekick, and coming face to face with Raven, a psycho out for revenge.

After reading Neuromancer, I was a little bummed out on cyberpunk, but after Snow Crash, I totally get it.  We follow both Hiro and Y.T. throughout the book, and with both of them there is almost non-stop action, both in reality and in the Metaverse.  When we're not in the middle of guns blazing or swords swinging, then we're finding out something new about the virus or the cult, which only adds to the urgency of Hiro's task.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Hey, everyone!  It's been such a long time since I've posted anything, that I thought I ought to update you all.  This semester has been WAY more crazy for me than I anticipated; outside of school, I've been having weird problems with my car, and working on getting my worsening anxiety under control.  The semester is almost over, though...finals end next week, and I'll be able to get back to more regular posting. I'm going to be able to start catching up on reading now, too, thank goodness!

I think I won't be meeting my goals as far as reading challenges are concerned, haha, but I can try to get at least one of them completed before year's end, so fingers crossed for that! XD