Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Wrap Up

August saw a LOT of reading activity from me.  I read 51 books in August!  Woot woot!  Reading party!

To be fair, however, 44 of those were volumes of manga, which are easy to get through quickly.  I had a manga marathon this month, and I loved it.

I also did 2 read-a-thons this month, #AYearAThon and Bout of Books.  I love being able to set aside weeks at a time to devote to reading.  Even though it seems like those are often my busiest weeks, I feel so encouraged by everyone else reading that I end up staying up until the sun comes up with my nose in a book.

I started out my month with the middlegrade themed #AYearAThon.  I finished three books during that week: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, Coraline: A Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman with art by P. Craig Russell, Sabriel by Garth Nix, Boy by Roald Dahl, A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer and The Giver by Lois Lowry.  I've actually done a wrap-up post on those books, so you can check that out if you want to see my thoughts on them.

In between the two read-a-thons, I read Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, vol. 4-9, by CLAMP.

Going into Bout of Books, I decided my first order of business was to finish that manga series.  So, on Monday and Tuesday, I read Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, vol. 10-28. I wrote a review on the entire series, so be sure to check that out if you're interested in this manga.

After that, I started and completed the manhwa My Boyfriend is a Vampire, by Han Yu-Rang, reading all 14 volumes.  It was light and fun.  Definitely not something deep or thoughtful, but more like a snack.  I gave it 2.5 stars.

That was all I was able to finish during Bout of Books because I actually went away for a church conference toward the end of it.

On the way back to Guam, however, I read the entire xxxHolic series, by CLAMP.  This is a manga series that ties in to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, and reading both of them actually gives the whole story.  I really enjoyed this manga, not only because it's so closely related to Tsubasa, but also as a stand-alone.  The main character, Watanuki, is wonderfully written.  He starts out being foolish, but as the story progresses and he meets new people and forms solid relationships, he grows up and changes.

The only squabble I have with this manga is the ending.  I felt like his most important relationship didn't get the ending or prominence that it should have, even though it had been built up throughout the entire series.

I gave this series 3.5 stars.

So, that's all I read for the month of August.  A whole lot of manga.  Sometimes I just need to take a break from mentally heavy reads and read something easier.

What did you read this month?  Can you give me any manga recommendations because I'd love to discover new series?  Leave some in the comments below!

God bless!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE by CLAMP

Complete Series Review
Del Rey
Midtown Comics; Goodreads

Sakura and Syaoran return! But they're not the people you know. Sakura is the princess of Clow--and possessor of a mysterious, misunderstood power that promises to change the world. Syaoran is her childhood friend and leader of the archaeological dig that took his father's life. They reside in an alternate reality...where whatever you least expect can happen--and does. When Sakura ventures to the dig site to declare her love for Syaoran, a puzzling symbol is uncovered--which triggers a remarkable quest. Now Syaoran embarks upon a desperate journey through other worlds--all in the name of saving Sakura.

Bout of Books Midway Update

Are we seriously on day 4 of Bout of Books?!  That happened so quickly.

How is everyone's readathon going?  Are you on par for the goals you have set?  Have you read any books that you absolutely loved?

The most important thing to remember is that this is NOT a competition.  Don't look at other people's progress and feel like a failure.  If you are reading, you are winning.

We all have different lives, different demands on our days.  And we all have different attention spans.  Not everyone can do a 3-hour reading sprint.  And that's ok.

This week isn't about numbers.  It's just about enjoying your reading and connecting with other people around the world who love words just as much as you do.

So, with that being said, here is my progress so far:


Books Read: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, vol. 10-14 by C.L.A.M.P.
Pages Read: 759
Hours Spent Reading: 2
Challenges Completed: Playlist Challenge and Scavenger Hunt Challenge (on Twitter)


Books Read: Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronlices, vol. 15-28 by C.L.A.M.P.
Pages Read: 2,691
Hours Spent Reading: 6.45
Challenges Completed: Book Spine Poetry


Books Read: Siddartha by Herman Hesse; My Boyfriend is a Vampire, vol. 1-12 by Han Yu-Rang
Pages Read: 1,960
Hours Spent Reading: 4.5
Challenges Completed: None

Because I am busy preparing to leave Guam on Saturday, I don't have as much (or energy) to devote to reading as I normally do.  My solution to that has been to read a lot of manga and manhwa.  They are fast-paced, entertaining, and gorgeous to look at.

I had started Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles before Bout of Books started, and I finally finished it on Tuesday.  I can't even describe to you how I feel about this manga.  I understand why people say it's one of the most complicated mangas out there, but I still really enjoyed it.  I will write a full review of it as soon as I have my mind wrapped fully around everything that happened.

After finishing that series, I started Siddartha, one of my favorites, because I am leading a book club discussion on it in September.  It's been some years since I've read it, and I have so enjoyed rereading it.

However, with having to sort out all the details of my trip, as well as taking care of things here before I leave, my brain is exhausted.  So, I put Siddhartha down last night, but I still wanted to read.

I decided to try out My Boyfriend is a Vampire, a manhwa (Korean comic) that I've heard a lot about.  Fast forward to me three hours later, almost finishing the series.  It's not a deep comic at all, and it has all the predictable love triangles and complications that are popular in mangas and manhwas.  But the art is gorgeous, and the characters are entertaining so I just flew through it.

I have really been enjoying this Bout of Books.  I never devote so much time to reading comics, and I am loving pouring over the pictures and being able to just relax.

Also, a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in my One True Pairing giveaway!  Reading all of your entries made me so happy.  There were so many couples that I was unfamiliar with and many surprising entrants.  Like, did you know that Lupin and Hermione are a pairing?  I was not aware of this.

I've been able to connect with a lot of awesome people this week, as well, and that is really what Bout of Books is about for me.  I read all the time, but being able to read people's tweets and blog posts and even chat about our favorite books and characters is what makes this week so special.

So, I hope that you are having an awesome Bout of Books!  Don't be too hard on yourself if you're not reading as much as you'd like to.  Reading should never be a task or a burden (unless it's for university).

Please tell me all about what you've read this week and how you're feeling!  I truly want to know!  Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bout of Books Book Spine Poetry Challenge

Besides my OTP challenge, the other giveaway for day 2 of Bout of Books is to create some book spine poetry.  This challenge is being hosted by Alysia over at My Little Pocketbooks.

So, here is my book spine poetry!

When skeptics ask,
Man's search for meaning
is clouded with
fear and trembling.

Did you write some beautiful book spine poetry?  Link me up in the comments!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bout of Books One True Pairing Giveaway! - CLOSED

It is officially day 2 of Bout of Books!  How is everybody feeling?  Are you making good reading progress so far?

I'm having a great readathon, but I think it's time for a break, so why don't we do a bit of challenge?

Being a reader who gets very (maybe even overly) attached and invested in characters, one thing I love to discuss with other readers is their OTP, or one true pairing.

A person's OTP is the couple that they love the most and ship the hardest.  This is regardless of gender and whether or not the couple is actually canon.  In fact, some of the most popular pairings are those that aren't actually together in their story.  Which is beyond frustrating, am I right?  (Drarry!)

For this challenge, I want to hear all about your favorite literary OTP.  Tell me why you ship them.  Tell me how perfect they are for each other.  Vent about how frustrating it is that the author paired them with other people.  Give me proof about why they are actually canon, but nobody knows.  I want to hear it all.

Share your thoughts in a comment on this blog, a blog post, a tweet, on Facebook, etc, and then put the link into the Rafflecopter below.

Of course, you have to be participating in Bout of Books 11, so don't forget to give me your sign-up name and number from the original sign-up post.  You can also gain an extra entry for following me on Twitter.

Here is an example of what I look forward to seeing:

My OTP is Syaoron and Sakura from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, a manga by C.L.A.M.P.  I cannot contain my feels when it comes to them.  Their story is so sad, but that's what makes it beautiful to me.  

If you have never read this manga or watched the anime, it's about two teens, a princess and an archeologist in her kingdom, who were childhood friends and are in love with each other.  However, Sakura, the princess, loses all of her memories one night, and they are scattered to other dimensions.  Syaoron, the boy, decides to search them all out and return them, but in exchange for the power to travel to other dimensions, he must give up all the memories she ever had of him.  (This is a very simple synopsis.  It's actually a very complicated plot.)

I am grateful that they aren't a case of insta-love but, rather, a deep friendship that turned into love.  They encourage, support, and protect each other.  Even though they are on a difficult and dangerous journey together, they are strong for the other person.

And Syaoron...oh Syaoron.  He gives up so much for Sakura, all while concealing the pain of her forgetting him.  I can't handle the tragedy of it all.

Your entry doesn't have to be as verbose as that, especially if you are entering on Twitter.  I just have a lot of feelings concerning this couple.  However, you can also say a lot more than that.  It's up to you.

This giveaway is open internationally, and the winner will receive $25 for The Book Depository!  

I can't wait to read all of your entries.

Happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bout of Books Playlist Challenge

I really love this challenge for day one of Bout of Books.

Lulo Fangirl asked participants to make a 5-song playlist for any of the books they will be reading during this Bout of Books.

Because I am doing a Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles marathon as I work to finish the series, I decided to make a playlist for this manga by C.L.A.M.P. This is actually a pretty depressing playlist since the manga is really tragic.


Track One - "Dressed in Black" by Sia

Track Two - "Window" by G Dragon

Track Three - "First Love" by Utada

Track Four - "Elephants" by Rachael Yamagata

Track Five - "Looking In" by Mariah Carey

What songs are on your book playlist? Tell me in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bout of Books 11 Goals and Progress Spreadsheet

Bout of Books 11 commences in 3 days!  I'm so excited for it!

When it comes to reading and read-a-thons, goal planning is difficult for me.  By that I mean that I find it a challenge to be realistic about what I will be able to achieve.  I often think that I have more time than I actually do and, therefore, fail to meet the quota I set for myself.

This upcoming week is going to be especially unpredictable because I am flying to Hawaii on the 23rd, so I'm not sure how much reading will get done the last few days of the read-a-thon.  I expect to get a good amount done on the plane, but after I land I may be insanely busy.

With that in mind, I am setting these goals without any sense of urgency.  I will not stress myself out while I am supposed to be on vacation/at a conference.  This will be a very laid back Bout of Books for this reader.

The TBR pile I've put together for myself is varied (to keep me from getting antsy) and is mostly composed of books I need to finish.

Books or series I would like to finish are:

Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles vol. 10-28 by C.L.A.M.P.
Old New York by Edith Wharton
These are the Generations by Eric Foley
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Books I'd like to start and finish include:

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (a reread)
Demian by Herman Hesse
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (also a reread)
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Of course, there is no way I'm going to finish all of these.  If you know anything about my TBR list policy, you know that I like to make a short list of books to choose from, but I'm not strict about it by any means.

In order to keep track of my reading progress, I have made a spreadsheet.  It's divided by days, and it tabulates pages read, books finished, and hours spent reading.  If you would like to use it, you can download it from my Dropbox.

If you are participating in this Bout of Books, please tell me what your goals are and what books you'll be reading in the comments below!

Have a great reading week!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Top 5 Wednesday: Love Triangles

Today's Top 5 Wednesday topic is love triangles!

Now, love triangles can either enhance or detract from a story.  Some add to character development and make sense as the plot goes on.  And some are just thrown in by the author to make his or her book more like a soap opera.  Like in Twilight.

I enjoy a good love triangle, so let's get into my top 5.

Number Five

Cassia/Xander/Ky from Matched by Ally Condie

Ok, I know that this is not the most popular trilogy, and I get that.  But I still like it.

I tend to like books and movies that explore the idea of soul mates or perfect matches.  Xander is Cassia's perfect match as proven by an algorithm.  But she loves Ky.  So who is right for her?  Dun dun dun!

Number Four

Yuki/Zero/Kaname from Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino

I am not (yet) widely read in manga.  However, I have already realized that love triangles are very popular in manga and anime.  One of my favorites thus far is between pureblood vampire Kaname, vampire hunter Zero, and the confused protagonist of the series, Yuki.

This is the only love triangle on this list that I felt conflicted about.  Who should Yuki be with?  It's difficult to know what is really going on with either of the guys, and for half of the manga the reader doesn't even know who Yuki is.  

I was invested in their story, so that's why they made this list.

Number Three

James/Lily/Snape from The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Am I allowed to pick a love triangle that we don't really see play out?

Whatever.  I'm choosing them.

Snape's rivalry with James, friendship with Lily, and eventual fallout with her are some of the most important plot points in the entire series.  So many things take place in the lives of Harry, Snape, and other characters because of the interaction between these three characters years before.  Plus, Snape's love for Lily is, arguably, his one redeeming characteristic.

I will cry if J.K. Rowling ever writes a book about the Marauder's.  I'm just saying.

Number Two
If you haven't seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries...
...go watch them on YouTube RIGHT NOW.
Darcy/Elizabeth/Mr. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Even though this love triangle is short-lived, it's an excellent example of how one can serve to move the plot and character development along.

Even though George Wickham does a lot of damage in the lives of the Bennets, he is the catalyst for Lizzie to gain information about Darcy that begins to remove the blinders from her eyes.  Furthermore, his dastardly actions with Lydia served as an opportunity for Darcy to show just how amazing he is.  

Number One

Heathcliff/Catherine Earnshaw/Edgar from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

This choice is really a ploy to proclaim my love for Heathcliff.  Yes, he is a scoundrel.  But I love him.

The passion he feels for Catherine is what makes me love this book so much.  Likewise, her wild nature and decision to marry Edgar make me love and loathe her simultaneously.  

The entire plot wraps around Heathcliff's love for her and his vow to get revenge on Edgar.  Theirs is the most epic love triangle I've read thus far.

So that's it for my top 5 love triangles.  Which books have your favorite love triangles?  Tell me down below!

And don't forget to check out the other Top 5 Wednesday-ers to see what love triangles make the cut.

God bless!

Monday, August 11, 2014

#AYearAThon Middlegrade Wrap-Up

The #AYearAThon middlegrade readathon is officially done (for my time zone, at least), and I had a pretty good week.

On Monday, I read A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, Lemony Snicket's The Reptile Room, and Coraline: A Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman with art by P. Craig Russell.  I absolutely LOVED A Monster Calls, and I am going to write a full review of that in the very near future.

So on day one I finished 3 books and read 368 pages.

I decided to start Sabriel, which is part of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Trilogy, on Tuesday, and I didn't finish it until Wednesday, it being the only book I read either of those two days.  It was a reread for me, and I enjoyed it even more the second time than I did the first time.  It added 282 pages to my total.

The rest of the week was pretty busy for me, so I tried to read one book a day after that.

Since I love Roald Dahl, I picked up Boy on Thursday and read all 176 pages in one sitting.  If you enjoy Dahl's books, but you haven't read Boy or Flying Solo, I highly recommend them.  They are collections of stories about his life, and they are just as entertaining as his fiction.

On Friday I read A Child Called It, by Dave Pelzer, which was 174 pages .  I know that a lot of people really love this book, but I just didn't like it.  The writing was so bad, and the message didn't go beyond the abuse.  I know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the validity of the book, but without even considering that, I just found the book poorly written.  I think that there are a lot better books on child abuse that offer hope alongside truth.

The Giver movie is coming out this week, and I hadn't read the book in a few years, so I decided to reread it on Saturday.  I finished the 180-page tome in one sitting, and I was just reminded of how amazing it is.  Simultaneously, my expectations for the movie lowered as I can already tell from the trailer that they have greatly altered it.  We shall see!

On Sunday I didn't read a thing.  I know.  My nephew turned 9, so my husband and I had a sleepover with him, and we didn't go to sleep until 2 am, and then we had to wake up at 8:30 for church.  Needless to say, my brain was just not up to reading any words.

So, I was able to read 7 books and a total of 1180 pages.  I'm happy with that!

What did you read for this #AYearAThon?  And what middlegrade books am I missing out on?  Tell me in the comments.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Shelfies Pt. 1

One type of video that I always like on Booktube is a good bookshelf tour.  I like seeing how other people organize their shelves and what books they have added to their collection.  Plus, just seeing all those books is a beautiful thing.

Not everybody is into collecting books, and, for a long time, I wasn't.  I only kept a small amount, and the rest I would send to friends, donate, or take to a used book store for credit.

Now, however, I feel very passionately about building up a comprehensive library.  I want books that reflect who I am lining the walls of my house.

As someone who has read voraciously since childhood, a lot of memories are marked by what I was reading at that time.  My shelves are the equivalent of a picture album of my life thus far.  If someone asks about my original Harry Potters, I can tell them that my father preordered each one for me in the years after he left, even though I never saw him.  Siddhartha I read while I was trying to figure out what to do when I graduated from high school.  My illustrated copy of Life of Pi was given to me by a roommate who owned an 8-foot long albino python.  My books make up the timeline of my life.

 I also want to nurture a love of learning and reading in anyone who comes through my front door.  I don't intend on hoarding books that will never be read.  I long to share them with others, especially my children (when I have them).

Having said all this, I also understand people who choose not to collect books.  And this is not an attempt to brag or show-off.  I merely want to share what I love, much like I do in real life.

Having said all that, let us begin!

This was my main bookshelf for quite awhile, and you can see the stress it went through by its bowed shelves.

The top shelf has guitar music, some of my finished journals, a bunch of Bible studies, and some of my philosophy books from university.  There is also a set of Baoding balls.

The shelf below that is guarded by nerdy Domo, a gift from my god daughter.  That shelf is almost completely adult contemporary with a few memoirs on the left side.

Below that is nerdy Hello Kitty's shelf.  My high school yearbooks take up way too much space.  My Calvin and Hobbes books are next to that, and then a bunch of children's and middle-grade books with a few YA thrown in.

The fourth shelf is pretty random.  In addition to some Asian history and reference books, there is some sci-fi, more YA, mystery, and a few literary journals.

The bottommost shelf is filled with my husband's carpentry books and my Mandarin and Japanese language study books.  Boring, I know.

A few of my favorite books from the top shelf are Anthem, by Ayn Rand, The Question of God, by Armond Nicholi, and a textbook I have on Asian philosophy.

This second shelf is my favorite on this bookcase.  Jhumpa Lahiri's novels are some of my favorites, as well as Cormac McCarthy's The Road.  I also really like Margaret Atwood's writing, but the only book of hers that I currently own is The Blind Assassin.  As far as the memoirs go, I truly love Anais Nin's diaries.  Her writing is so beautiful and passionate.  I get lost in her life.

My Roald Dahl books are some of my favorite in my children's book collection.  I grew up reading all of his books, and I can't wait to read them all to my children.  I also really love E.B. White's books, and I remember reading all of them to my little sister growing up.

My Asian books are my love.  I have a passion for learning about the culture and the language.  This part of my collection is painfully small, though, so I intend on bulking it up very soon.  My collection of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker books is also a joy of mine.  I love his hilarious writing style.  And those literary magazines on the right will stay with me forever because they hold my first published works in them.

Right next to that bookshelf is a small one that holds all of my Great Books hardback collection.  This is an incredibly beautiful set that includes works from classic authors throughout time, from Homer to Aquinas to Dostoyevsky.  There are 60 volumes in this collection, and they make an amazing addition to my library.

On top of that shelf is a stack of recently acquired books that I want to read in the near future.

So, those are two of my bookcases.  I'm not very good at categorizing books, so they may seem kind of mixed, but it works for me.  My collection is added to constantly, so my organization is in constant fluctuation, as well.

I still have two more shelves, so watch out for those in a upcoming blog post.

How do you organize your collection?  Tell me down below, and post a shelfie!

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#AYearAThon Middlegrade TBR

Confession: I am awful at sticking to TBR lists.  I like to be fluid in my reading, not placing any rules or restrictions on myself and reading whatever I want to whenever the urge strikes.  That being said, I never make TBR lists for my regular reading.

However, when preparing for a read-a-thon, I find it helpful to have some sort of game plan.  The last time I tried to do one without any type of TBR, I wasted a lot of time perusing my shelves, trying to find a book.

In light of that, I have come to a compromise of sorts.  I don't make rigid plans, but I set aside a pile of books from which I can choose as I see fit.  Instead of going through all my books, I can sort through the books I've already set-aside, and it saves a lot of time.

So, here is my TBR for the middlegrade themed #AYearAThon, which starts on Monday:

The one book that I am certain I will be reading, and which I plan on kicking the week off with, is A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness.  I've never actually read anything by Ness, but I know that the Chaos Walking Trilogy is supposed to be amazing.  I want to read one of his stand-alones before I commit to a series, and this one really excited my interest.  This is the book I'm most anxious to start.

I just read the first book from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events last month, and I'm interested in continuing that series.  All of the books are on my Nook, so I will most likely make it through at least one more.

Another series that I started and want to continue is the Old World Trilogy, by Garth Nix.  I read Sabriel a few years ago, so I need to reread it before moving onto Lirael and Abhorsen.  I remember really enjoying the first book, so hopefully I'll be able to reread it this week and at least start the next one.

June's #AYearAThon was Rick Riordan themed, and I read the first three of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series during that week.  I'd like to finish it, eventually, so I put The Battle of the Labyrinth in my pile in case the fancy strikes me. 

Finally, the last book in my pile is one that I probably won't read.  I start teaching again in September, and the first book the kids I homeschool have to read is The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare.  I read this book over 15 years ago, so I obviously need a refresher before I try to teach it.  However, it has really failed to interest me at all in the months leading up to school.  At some point, I have to force myself to read it.  It may or may not be this next month.

So those are all the books that I am free to choose from.  Of course, I may end up being unsatisfied with this pile and grabbing something random off my shelves.  This is the loose plan, though.

If you are participating in the read-a-thon, what is on your TBR?  Tell me below!

If you don't know what #AYearAThon is, but you are interested in participating, check out the official Goodreads group for more information.  We do themed read-a-thons every month, and it's open to anyone and everyone.

Happy reading!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July Book Haul

Nerdy Hello Kitty is my favorite.
Finding books to buy on Guam is a really difficult venture.  There are only two bookstores on-island, and they are just two locations of the same chain.

Not only are they both woefully small, but they aren't sufficiently stocked for someone who reads as widely as I do.  It also takes month for them to bring in new releases.  This isn't the oversight of the book store so much as them accurately assessing the population's reading activity.

People on Guam just don't read.  It's one of the most depressing realizations I've had since moving here.  Children don't read.  Adults don't read.  The libraries are either closed down or in disrepair.

Needless to say, I have to do the majority of my book buying online.  So, most of these came from Book Outlet, my obsession.  And a few of them came from an amazing friend who brought them back from the States.  Bless her heart.

Now onto the books:

I went on a Rainbow Rowell binge this month, and got all of her books.  I freaked out when I found Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, and Attachments on Book Outlet and bought them immediately.  I was preparing to order Landline, but my aforementioned friend brought it back for me.  I have now read all of Rowell's books, so if you are interested in seeing my thoughts on them, I have an entire post dedicated to her.

My friend also brought me Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton and The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling).  I'm really glad to finally have Rowling's mystery book, and I will be reading that (and picking up Silkworm) in the near future.  I adore her as a writer, so I will buy anything she publishes.

Coraline is a really creepy and amazing children's book by Neil Gaiman.  I read it last year, but I needed to buy a copy.  However, I made a small mistake.  The version I bought is actually a graphic novel that has been adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell.  It's a cool concept, but I'm not crazy about the artistic style.  Even though I think it's an interesting addition to my shelves, I still need to pick up the original.

I've also previously read Wild Swans, by Jung Chang, and I loved it so much that I had to add it to my Chinese history collection.  If you are at all interested in Maoist China, the Cultural Revolution, or women in China, I recommend this to you.  It's an autobiography of three generations of Chinese women from pre-Communist China up to the 1980s.  Her account gets behind the State-sponsored propaganda and edited history books and lets the reader see the people behind every headline.  One of my favorite books!

The last book I bought is Demian, a Hermann Hesse novel.  This was a blind-buy.  I don't really know what it's about, and I haven't heard anything about it.  It just struck me as odd that I love his Siddhartha so violently yet have never read anything else by him.  I will mostly likely read this during Bout of Books 11 since it's short and will make for a good warm-up read.

Nine books in a month isn't bad.  It's better for my wallet, for sure.  I anticipate a larger haul for August, though.  Especially since I've already ordered nine books.  Oops.

What books have you added to your shelves this month?  I'd love to see what everyone else is buying.  Tell me in the comments below.