Happy 2nd Blogiversary to me and all my Bookbaggers! :D

Salutations one and all! Welcome to  a very special event: Book Polygamist’s 2nd Blogiversary!!

To celebrate I will be doing my first giveaway competition where one of you will get the book of their choice off my Top 10 Reads of 2012 list plus a bookmark, and two runner-ups will also get a bookmark!! YAY! Bookmarks are fun!!

According to The Wedding Anniversary site the traditional gift for a 2nd anniversary is cotton/straw and the modern one is china O.O hmmm seems like this competition would’ve been more suited to the 1st anniversary (since the traditional gift is paper) but oh well.

In case you haven’t read my Top 10 Reads of 2012 the choices are:

1. The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

2. American Gods by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

3. The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadderravens heart

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Leeto-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee

5. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbinsstill life with woodpecker

6. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjaliansecrets-of-eden

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collinshungergames

8. Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCover - Catching Fire

9. Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsMOCKINGJAY-jacket

10. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groffmonstersoftempleton

How to enter/how this will go down:

1. First off if you don’t already follow Book Polygamist please do so 🙂 If you’re a WordPresser then just click the “Follow” button at the top of the page. If not you can follow me on Networked Blogs (via Facebook) by clicking on the widget at the side of the page, or by email subscription (also at the side of the page). You’re also welcome (AKA encouraged; pressured; sad-pleading-puppy-dog-eyed) to Like me on my brand spanking new Facebook page, or subscribe to my RSS feed

2.  Like this post so I know exactly who has entered at a glance

3.  In the comments (or if you’d prefer email me at bookpolygamist(AT)gmail(DOT)com) tell me how you follow me (so you’re easy to find 🙂 ); the book off my Top 10 that you want; the reason you want to read/own that book; and a vague subject matter for the bookmark (i.e. I like fairies; something a bit badass; I hate those zodiac ones/I love those zodiac ones [I’m a Leo] etc. etc.). Please include your prefered email address with your comment as once I have announced the winners I will contact them via email to acquire delivery info

4.  Inspired by Natalie Dee of STUFF I PUT ON MYSELF: a make-up blog I will be assigning every entrant a number starting at 01, in the order of receiving/reading your comment or email. I’ll then put the numbers through a random number generator with the first generated number being the grand prize winner and the next two being the runner-ups. I thought this was a nice and fair system rather than just picking the ones I liked the most (pretty darn biased) or putting your names in a hat (pretty out-dated and easy to cheat). If the first winner is chosen again for one of the runner-ups I will generate a new number. Even if its random it’s not fair if one Bookbagger gets all the goods

5.  You have from the moment this post goes up until the end of the month to enter. On the 1st of April (according to the Perth, Western Australia timezone) I will not accept anymore entries. The numbers will then be crunched and I will announce the winners in a follow-up post as soon as possible

6.  The books will come from bookdepository.co.uk for a few reasons:
A. I love Book Depository
B. They’re cheap but of good quality
C. They deliver really quickly so I can receive your book and send it out to you nice and swift

7.  All books will be paperback and will have the cover shown above, except for Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian because I couldn’t find that cover on book depository. The cover I chose for Secrets of Eden is this. As you all know I am finickity when it comes to covers, and I totally understand if you are too, so If you desire a different cover from the one shown let me know in the comment/email (along with a picture of your desired cover) and I will endeavour to get that one instead

8.  Once I have announced the winners I will contact them via email and ask for their best delivery address to send the prize(s) to and they will be sent out ASAP. Estimated delivery times will be discussed, but keep in mind I’ve never done a competition before so I’m just kind of flailing around during this process

So there you go!

I hope that all of that made sense and I look forward to reading your entries 😀

If you have any questions/queries/concerns/grumbles/funny animal pictures feel free to send me an email at bookpolygamist(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Happy Competition Entering!!!

Advertisements

Top 10 Reads of 2012!

1. The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

I absolutely adored this book (which is clearly apparent in my review ) and even though it was one of my first reads of the year (read from mid-January to mid-February) I knew even a few chapters in (heck, maybe even a few pages in!) that It would be in my Top 10 reads of the year. Since I read The Night Circus I have recommended it to friends and family, and the three that followed my recommendation loved it as well. My mind boggles every time I remember that this is Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel and I look forward to more delights from her in the future. According to her website’s not really a FAQ page, she is working on a book which is a “film noir-flavoured Alice in Wonderland” (squee!!) and she is also painting a black-and-white tarot deck inspired by her work (double squee!!) so I’m sure many delights with be had in the near future, and in the meantime I’m glad I own The Night Circus so I can read it again 🙂

2. American Gods by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

Another book I knew would be on the list early on (I started it at the same time as The Night Circus) because even after a few chapters it blew me away. You can see a succinct summary of what I thought of American Gods in my latest Micro Reviews post, but let me just say this – American Gods now one of my favourite books of all time as well as of 2012. Neil Gaiman is slowly becoming one of my favourite authors (I say slowly because I have only read a few of his books and I personally like to read all of an authors works before they are officially one of my favourites), and American Gods was a big part of this. Unlike The Night Circus I borrowed American Gods from the library, so this year I’ll have to find and purchase it so I can read it again and again!

3. The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadderravens heart

Another debut novel (in fact 4 of the books on this list are debut/only books of their authors and all but one – American Gods – are books by authors I hadn’t read before!) and one by an Australian author too, this book was a gem and the only true Historical novel I read in 2012. As I said in my Micro Review post, it is set in Scotland during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, which I found really interesting as I had never read a book exploring that particular period. I will certainly keep a keen eye out for any other novels by Jesse Blackadder!

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

Reading this classic was a big moment for me this year as I have been meaning to read it for many, many years (unlike many schools mine sadly didn’t designate it as required reading). As I said in my Micro Review (wow a lot of these are on the same Micro Review! O_o) because of the language and subject matter it is sometimes hard to stomach, but nevertheless I am glad I did. Now I just need to tackle the other 9 classics on my list !!

5. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbinsstill life with woodpecker

I have to say a big thank you to the person who gave this book to me and so introduced me to Tom Robbins – thank you Shayne if you happen to read this! 🙂 I am very glad that Still Life With Woodpecker is not a debut or single-child-novel because of all the “new” authors I have discovered this year, Tom Robbins is the one I most want to read again (ooo spoiler for the upcoming Book Polygamist Awards!). I haven’t yet written a review of this wonderfully quirky little book, because every time I try it’s so hard to fully capture and explain the bizarre story, hilarious characters and thought-provoking prose style. I promise I will get around to it at some point (and when I do it will definitely be a full-length one as a book this unique can’t be summed up in a Micro Review) and I hope to read more of Tom Robbins works this year.

6. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjaliansecrets-of-eden

This one was a surprise highlight of the year for me. The subject matter (domestic violence; murder/suicide) was quite heavy and the plot wasn’t particularly complicated, but it was the way it was arranged and written, and the distinctly different voices of the main protagonists/antagonists that made it memorable. Because the book was broken up into quarters narrated by four different main characters (the town priest who was close to the abused/murdered wife; the detective investigating the crime; a renowned author who had experienced  the  murder/suicide of her parents when she was a teen and took an interest in the couple’s daughter and the priest; and the dead couple’s teenage daughter) a simple and tragic event morphed into a complicated whodunnit, where I doubted the “facts” of the crime and changed my mind over what really happened at every turn.

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hungergames To me 2012 will be the year that I finally read The Hunger Games trilogy, and Suzanne Collins claimed another fan girl for her growing horde! 😀 I had an inkling that I would love this book/trilogy because as I’ve said before I have been meaning to read them for a while following some glowing recommendations from fellow book nerds, and I really enjoyed the film, but I didn’t suspect that I would love it as much as I did, especially considering the fact that I knew the progression of the plot beforehand! In fact I became so engrossed that when it came to key heart-breaking moments (which I won’t spoil here in case any of you are yet to read the book or see the movie) I actually became quite emotional, as if it was a surprise. Bravo Ms Collins, that is a fine feat 🙂

8. Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCover - Catching Fire

As sometimes happens with a trilogy (at least a good one) I loved this second installment more than the first and devoured it over three days. This may be in part due to the plot being completely unknown to me, as the second film has not been released yet and I managed to avoid the spoiler landmines littered around the Interwebs, or purely because the world and plot were more expanded in this book, and the final setting was amazing! Either way, despite the first and last books being equally amazing, I think this was my favourite of the trilogy, and I am positively bursting to see how they managed to convert it into a film 😀

9. Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsMOCKINGJAY-jacket

As I said above, this final installment was just as brilliant as its predecessors, and a fitting end as it was extremely intense and wrapped up all the loose ends that had developed over the series (whether they were wrapped up positively or negatively I won’t say :P). Of the three this one took the longest to read (in saying that it still was only a little over a week), mainly because of the intensity of most of the scenes, and I will be very interested in seeing how it is adapted for the screen, and more importantly what rating they’ll be able to give it!

10. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groffmonstersoftempleton

This was a last-minute gem as I only started it at the end of the year (November) and finished it a couple of days into January, even though it has been on and off my library To-Read pile for a really long time. Barely a page in I already knew I was going to love it because even the first line was alluring: “The day I returned to Templeton steeped in disgrace, the fifty-foot corpse of a monster surfaced in Lake Glimmerglass.” What followed was a beautifully written and ambitious novel (especially for a debut!) which gave me countless delicious lines, some of which I made into Notable Quotables, and a story which was an interesting blend of contemporary and historical novels, including old photographs, a map (you know I love maps!) and other tidbits to deepen the historical parts of the story.

So, there you have it: my Top 10 Reads of 2012! If you have read my recent update post you will know that these books will play a very important role in the 2nd Anniversary of Book Polygamist celebrations – one of my fantabulous Bookbaggers (that would be you guys!) will win the book off this list of their choice!! The competition will officially begin on the date of the anniversary (March 5th) so you have a couple of weeks to think about which book you would want the most, and why and I’m really excited to see all your choices 🙂 In the meantime I would love to know what your top reads for 2012 were – did we have any in common? Did you have a fantastic batch this year or a sort of crummy one? And what books are you looking forward to as 2013 trundles on? Feel free to sound of in the comments, and as always I wish you all:

Happy Reading!

Quote

Notable Quotable #22

I think we all thought he had broken her arm. He hadn’t, but despite the ice pack it would swell up like she was Popeye. She also had a bruise on her hip that was so black and blue it looked like a screen saver of outer space.

Quote

Notable Quotable #21

I know the difference between mourning and grief…Sometimes you just expect the waves and waves of sorrow to wash over you. Swamp you completely. That, in my mind, is real grief. And mourning? That’s when you’ve reached the stage where you can build a stout seawall against those colossal breakers and go about your life. You may be sprayed by the surf, but you are not incapacitated.

  • Catherine Benincasa, The Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian, pg. 193, 194

Even a Book Polygamist gets the Blues

For most of this past year my books and I have had polygamist marriage difficulties.

Perhaps its my fault – studying and working more and spending the rest of my spare time hanging out with my mates and playing video games (because don’t I deserve some down time?) that I barely have the time or energy to dote on one book let alone four or five.

But do they not have some part in the drifting apart also? Perhaps they’ve lost the spark that kept me interested – I don’t see them making an effort to pull us out of the rut!

However, despite the disconnect I still held hope. I continued to carry a book or two in my bag, hoping that I would reach for them rather than my iPod or Nintendo 3DS mistresses on my commute. I tidied the pile next to my bed so they would look more alluring, but alas, I was usually sleep-bound before I could even glance their way.

And then came the Blue Book Affair which shocked me out of my reading rut and got me on track. I returned once more to a book I had been neglecting and pussy footing around for months – Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – filled with a new determination to finish it and finally have room for a new read. After a few days of dedicated reading I got through the last few chapters and was left with a dilemma that I am rarely faced with when reaching the end of a novel – I didn’t like it.

Despite having a wide range of interests when it comes to what i read, I pick my books carefully and usually will only start something if I’m fairly certain that I’ll enjoy it (whats the point otherwise?), so a book that fails to engage me is a surprising and distressing experience. I was especially surprised when it came to Freedom. Objectively it looked like it would be a quality read – a family epic spanning decades, which I usually love; it has won, and been nominated for several awards; the author has been highly praised; when the book came out in 2010 it was a hit; and it was even on Oprah’s book club (hmmmm maybe that should’ve been a warning – me and the Ms O don’t always agree) – but as much as I tried to like it I ended the experience with a feeling of relief rather than the usual mix of satisfaction and sadness I get when reaching the end of a good book.

I will elaborate in a future review (which will be one of the only negative ones I have written since the inception of Book Polygamist) but in short while Franzen is obviously a talented writer, and several plot points and subject matters had me interested , I just did not engage or empathize with the primary (or secondary) characters in any way. If I had identified with or even just liked even one or two of the half-a-dozen or more central characters (or even felt a satisfying loathing), this book could’ve been a winner, and as with the general book-reader marital problems my isolation from the characters could’ve been my own fault – perhaps I was not the target audience, perhaps if I lived in America I would’ve connected with their political beliefs etc etc – but whatever the problem was i just wasn’t feeling the love.

Since I finished Freedom I have read quite a few reviews online and have found amongst the waves of praise many people who were left with a similar disappointment, so at least I don’t feel like I’m being unfair but I still wanted to shake it off, so to speak and jump right back on the horse (ah! mixed metaphors! they’re like a squeaky wheel that kills two birds in a bush…that are catching worms early…or something).

I did this by first picking a book from my small Library-Books-To-Read pile (using my usual process) which was The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (which I was excited about because I have borrowed it a few times in the past but had to return it and I also like the coincidence of reading another book with Templeton in the title so soon after The Templeton Twins: have an Idea)

And then I amped up the Cleansing-Bad-Book-Experience-With-Better-Books by starting The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 😀

and putting another one of my reads – The Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian in my bag to read on the bus (a strategy that actually worked this time as I had finished the remaining 3/4 of the book over three days of commuting).

By the end of last week I had finished The Secrets of Eden and The Hunger Games, plus I have gotten more into The Monsters of Templeton and two of my other current reads: Pyramids by Terry Pratchett and the Neo-Noir anthology, Blood, Guts & Whiskey which I have been meandering through since May, so perhaps in the world of book polygamy, a few short affairs can salvage a rocky relationship 🙂

I hope all my Bookbaggers have enjoyable reads on the go, and as always I bid you:

Happy Reading!

The ending of an ending and now Dead again with some Secrets?

I finished the award winning novella, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes a little over a week ago, but really since it was only 150 pages long I finished it over 4-5 sittings and if I wasn’t so busy could easily have devoured it over a lazy afternoon.

Despite its size The Sense of an Ending was quite intricate and thought provoking (as evidenced in recent Notable Quotables) and since I have now dropped down to only 4.5 working hours a week (the ups and downs of being a casual employee :S) I should have ample time to write a appropriately intricate and thought provoking review as well as one for Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins which I finished recently and absolutely adored!

Upon finishing The Sense of an Ending (which happened to be in the middle of the night – luckily on a night when I didn’t have work the next morning) I immediately lay out all the books on my Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile and started my regular (and at the number of books I have amassed, increasingly long) process, which with the sheer number of books now on the pile I had to do almost three times just to get down to one or two books!

Because of this when I did reach the point of having only two contenders I simply decided I would start both Gosh Darnit!

The two books I started are:

Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries/TrueBlood etc etc Book 9) by Charlaine Harris

and, Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been hanging out to read the next Sookie Stackhouse book for a while and I have had Secrets of Eden on my To-Read pile for years now so i’ll be happy to enjoy them both during my lazy, less-work period 🙂