Tag Archives: Random News

Best of 2010 in Books

End of the Year survey I saw this excellent survey on Persnickety Snark and loved it so that I decided to give it a go myself. The survey was made by The Perpetual Page-Turner – thanks, Jamie! – so go over there to see other awesome Best of 2010 in Books (I think I added about 20 books to my TBR pile).

Obviously, the year is not yet over, so this is what I’ve read as over 12/11/2010 at 4:13 pm.

1. Best Book of 2010: Although this choice might be partially made because I read it so recently, I have to say Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I can’t recall any other book this year that I immediately went back and reread my favorite parts. A close second would probably be The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood.

2. Worst Book of 2010: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I couldn’t finish it. In its defense, I was also in my last quarter of grad school and burnt out. The financial and business discussions at the beginnings just killed me.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. Not that it was bad, it was just so hyped by my friend that the actual read paled by comparison.

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) of 2010: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – I had no idea what to expect from this book and it completely surprised me with its loveliness.

5. Book you recommended the most in 2010: Hands down, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010: The Doctor Who series (written by a variety of authors). And, yes. I know this makes me a nerd, but I am way okay with that. I also read quite a few first books for series that were good, but until I’ve read more than one I don’t want to commit to liking the entire series, you know?

7. Favorite new author you discovered in 2010: Sarah Beth Durst (Into the Wild and Out of the Wild) was awesome. I also have a feeling that I will love reading the rest of Siobhan Vivian’s novels (Not That Kind of Girl). My favorite debut author has to be Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss). Has to be.

8. Most hilarious read of 2010: Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson. Belly laughs. A lot of them. (I also must mention Live for You Listening Pleasure by David Sedaris. Not a fiction book, but hysterical none-the-less.)

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2010: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

10. Book you most anticipated of 2010: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010: Pegasus by Robin McKinley.

12. Most memorable character in 2010: Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. (Katniss is awesome, but she was my 2009 character.)

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010: With all the Printz reading, this is a hard choice, but I think I’m going with When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. So graceful.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010: Stolen by Lucy Christopher.

15. Book you can’t believe you UNTIL 2010 to read: Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. I’ve owned this book for years. Sigh.

Book Blogging:

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010: The Story Siren. I’ve heard about (and had seen links to) this fabulous blog for awhile, but I finally got the RSS feed this year. Heart!

2. Favorite review you wrote in 2010: Couldn’t even tell you because I’m not a rereader of my reviews after they are posted.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog in 2010: Well, John Barnes commented on my Tales of a Madman Underground post. That was awesome. The Magician‘s post and Jane of Lantern Hill posts not only have the most comments, they also are the most viewed for the year, I believe.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on someone else’s blog: There has been A TON this year. A TON. Not sure I could even pick one out.

5. Best event you participated in: Scott Westerfeld’s book signing was pretty awesome.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010: When The Re-Shelf doubled its views from last year :). Also, anytime an author, fellow blogger, random awesome person links or tweets me is just a rush of joy and happiness. Such a nerd.

7. Best bookish discovery made in 2010: Half-Price Books. This was also the worst bookish discovery for my shelves.

One teeny, tiny addition: Best reread of 2010: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Oh, Anne.

Re-Shelf Resolutions

So, faithful readers, I have some exciting (to me) news. The stats of The Re-Shelf for 2010 are thisclose to being double that of the 2009 numbers! This information is awesome in and of itself, but it also means I have to put forth a promise I made to myself last year.

The Re-Shelf, to digress a bit, started to fill two needs: 1. I missed reviewing books for people when I stopped working at the bookstore and 2. I had started a similar review-type blog for myself when I was taking a Young Adult Literature course in grad school to help me keep track of the titles I was reading and what I thought of them. The Re-Shelf was the merging of these two needs.

Up until May of 2010, most of my time was devoted to my graduate program or work, so The Re-Shelf was just something I would putter around with – hence all the late night, rambling and terrible grammar posts you have been witness to if you have been around for awhile. It used to drive me nuts that I couldn’t devote the time and effort needed to make it the blog I have in my head – but that was life.

So, I made myself a promise at the end of last year: if my numbers doubled in 2010, I would attempt to spruce things up a bit.

And here we are.

As I’ve watched the numbers edge closer to that point, I’ve been thinking about things I would like to change. What surprised me was how many things I wanted to think about thoroughly and experiment with before making a decision. From this I decided to start the blog Re-shelf Resolutions where I will be chronicling my sprucing-up attempts and think out some of my ideas for future change in The Re-Shelf.

I would be delighted if you wanted to join me and make any opinions known! And, hopefully, it goes without saying that you should be seeing some changes here soon! (Although, being a night-owl, I cannot promise that there won’t still be some random terrible-grammar posts. I’m hoping it will be nostalgic?)

Either way, thank you to everyone who has had a glance at one of my reviews in the last two years. I hope you found them amusing and a bit helpful. (Although all those people who search google and come to my site hoping for homework answers – yes, you can tell – I’m sorry this site probably hasn’t yielded the information you are searching for.)

I hope everyone has very happy holidays and stays warm!

~Kell

Lovely New FTC Regulation

This regulation doesn’t really affect this blog much (mostly because any free books I’ve received came from conferences, and I’ve noted that, so I only have to go back and add “free” to a few of them. And I’ve already stated my reasons for reviewing, which did not include [nor will ever] writing reviews to make publishers happy.)(I really need to start using footnotes instead of parenthesis.) But still. A tad bit ridiculous if you ask me….but, please, read and make your own decisions! (And read the comments, and further commentary about this, because I am barely qualified to generate any smart comments myself.)

So quick poll: If you read a book review are you worried about where the book came from? In a blog? In a magazine? Is there a difference?

Also, do you think it should be transparent where books (or other items reviewed in blogs) come from? Or should the author make their reviewing “guidelines” known? Both? Neither?

Just curious!

Happy reading all!

~Kell

Cybils!

Cybils Icon

I just wanted to note that the Cybils 2009 is gearing up to start. The time and effort the people at Cybils put in is amazing and they always return with an intriguing and unique list of books for every category. (And every year they remind me how much I haven’t read.) When this blog grows up, I totally want to try and sit on one of the committees!

So go ch-ch-check it out. And I dare someone to try and read all the shortlisted titles for the YA category (when they are posted.) I dare you!

~Kell

Just Had to Note…

Harry Potter theme park news came out today.

If I was beside myself to see the props tour in Chicago, you can guess how excited I am for an entire THEME park.

WB be warned: If you don’t let me buy the wand that “chooses” me, i will be very upset. I’ll be even more upset if you charge ridiculous prices for said wand. I cannot begin to explain how terrible it would be to be a child, go to Ollivander’s, find your very own wand, and then realize you can’t have it cause it’s crazy expensive. Now if you want to make the display cases crazy expensive, I’d think that’s fair.

Okay. Now off to bed. Night all!

~Kell

Rumpelstiltskin

So, quickly, I wanted to note that because I was already reading the Grimm Bros, I decided to take a look at the Rumpelstiltskin tale and give it a quick comparison to A Curse Dark as Gold.

I’m not sure, after rereading it, what used to terrify me most about this story as a child because I don’t think I would understand the thing that I find terrifying about it now.

For the most part, the story is pretty ridiculous. A farmer basically sends his daughter to certain death claiming to the king that she can spin gold from straw. The king (who is RIDICULOUSLY greedy in my opinion), is all for this and locks the girl in the room with straw and says if its not gold by morning = certain death. You know the rest. Little man, three times, what’s his name?

Ridiculous, right? I mean what farmer is like “Hey, I can make life better by knowingly LYING to the King about my daughter’s abilities, probably getting her AND myself killed.” And why does the King never make the daughter (who, now, is his wife, naturally, even though he, you know, condemned her to death three times) spin more gold? Three rooms is just enough for him forever? Doubtful.

Even so, the fact you can be put into such a dire situation that you would feel forced to give up such precious items (ranging from mementos to babies) is terrifying. Seriously. And maybe I was terrified of being forced to marry that horrific king.

Either way, unlike Tender Morsels, I found A Curse Dark as Gold to be more influenced by the story, rather than a retelling. Sure the basics of the plot are there. Dire situations. Little Man. Straw to Gold. Husband. But other than that, the two are pretty dissimilar (and, let’s be honest here, A Curse Dark as Gold is much more believable in its predicaments.).

As I’ve noted before, I love retellings of myths, folklore and fairy-tales, whether it’s a via influence or direct connections. Both are awesome. There will be more to come, I’m sure, so tune in.

Have a good one

~Kell

Quick Note

So, if you’re into reading book review blogs, you may have noticed a new trend of people posting how they got ahold of the book they are reviewing. This is because bloggers don’t want their readers to think they’re just acting as a P.R. machine for the company that gave them a free copy to review. It makes everything more transparent if you will.

Due to this, I’m going to do my best to list where I picked everything up, but I can’t promise I know on all of the books I have (I get my books from ALL OVER). (And I can assure you. All the Harry Potter books are owned by moi! 🙂 )

That’s all. Back to our regularly scheduled program!