What Are You Reading? – May 2014 Edition

What Are You Reading?
This month, Jorie’s Reads lists selections for the Freeman Mystery Book Club, Hofstetter Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club, and Great Books Discussion Group . Also, a couple of these books made the 2014 Lariat List put out by the Texas Library Association. A special thanks goes to reader Virginia S. for sharing one of her recent reads on the Jorie’s Reads by Starry Night Elf ‘s Facebook Fan Page.
If you’re interested in participating in future “What Are You Reading?” posts, please comment on this post.  To visit what readers have been reading in previous months, please visit “What Are You Reading?” You can visit Jorie’s Store on Amazon by clicking on the following book covers. Shopping at Jorie’s Store funds future giveaways!
Murder in Four Parts: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries)  The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories (Signet Classics)  Snuff (Discworld)
Alex: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy  And the Mountains Echoed  Salvage the Bones: A Novel
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel  Dust (Silo Saga)  The Fault in Our Stars
The Distressing Days of the Judges:  NLT Study Bible  Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
How Proust Can Change Your Life  Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story  Infographica: The World as You Have Never Seen it Before

April 2013 Reader of the Month – Jennifer D.

This is the sixteenth interview for Reader of the Month.

Jennifer D.

Jennifer D. and I started going to library school around the same time.  We were in the same lunch crowd during our face-to-face sessions. Thanks to the wonders of social media and Texas Library Association conferences, we’ve been able to keep up with each other. When I asked if she’d be one of my readers of the month, she responded in the affirmative within minutes!

1.         What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?

This is a hard one.  I have read so many things in the last year (over a 100 books) and many of them I loved, so it is hard to say.  But if I had to choose, I would say the A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin although this is not the first time reading them and North of Beautiful by Justina Chen.

2.      Do you have any quirks when it comes to reading?  

I am a big series reader.  I really enjoy stories that go over several volumes.  As long as the writing is good, I think the more volumes the better.  I have read several that are 10-20 books, David Eddings & Catherine Asaro come to mind for those.

I tend to have several books going at the same time, usually an audio book and 1 -2 “paper” books (sometimes this is an eReader version).

I am a re-reader.  If I love a book or a series of books, I will read them over and over.  I have probably read the Harry Potter series at least 15 times.

I never go anywhere without a book, a habit I picked up from my mom.  You never know when you’ll have 10-15 minutes to kill and reading is the best way to do that.

3.      What’s on your bookshelf or in your book bag?

The bookshelf is so full of things to read that it is liable to fall apart soon.  I can definitely call myself a book hoarder.  Currently, I am in the process of re-reading the A Song of Fire and Ice series (in audio format) by George R. R. Martin.  I haven’t read the newest book in the series yet because I needed to refresh myself of the material.  This is what happens when it is several years between books.  I also wanted to re-read before watching the HBO series.  Although, I have seen the first season & it was wonderful!

I am also in the middle of the new J.K. Rowling book.  I haven’t decided how I feel about it yet. My next reads will be the Ally Condie book Reached (last book in the Matched trilogy), Cory Doctorow’s Homeland (a sequel to Little Brother) and Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson, the third book in the Jena Fox series. (See what I mean about series reading?)

4.      Who supplies your reading material?

I get books from many places, but mostly from the library.  I check out paper books, audio books and eBooks regularly.  It is not unusual for me to have 4-5 items checked out and the maximum on hold. Since I am on a Texas Library Association-Young Adult Round Table reading committee (Spirit of Texas-High School) most of the books I own have come from publishers to review for the award, which is a great perk.  There is nothing like getting a box of books in the mail.  I also love NetGalley, a librarian’s best friend.  Being able to preview pre-published books is amazing & helpful to my job.

5.      What type of reading do you usually enjoy?

I am mostly a fantasy, science-fiction and dystopia reader, and a lot of that is teen and YA. But I must confess that my guilty pleasure is romance novels preferably historical (regency & middle ages-no westerns) and paranormal.

6.      Who are some authors that you read regardless of anything?

Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Justina Chen, Tolkien, David Eddings, Catherine Asaro, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Cory Doctorow, Jay Asher

7.      What’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

Oh my, this list is long! Here is a sample:

Every new book by Sherrilyn Kenyon-she has about 4 series going and I love all of them.

The next book in the Buffy graphic novel series

The next book in the Angel graphic novel series

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The next book in the Divergent series

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

8.      Can you recall a book that changed your life? How so?

The Hobbit by Tolkien.  I was an early and voracious reader and by about third grade was pretty much bored with kids’ books.  My mom gave me The Hobbit and told me that if I was able to read & understand it all the way through, I could move on to adult books (there really wasn’t teen fiction then-just R.L. Stine and Sweet Valley High).  It was amazing and probably shaped my love of all things fantasy.  I think it also saved reading for me, because I would have become a non-reader if I had to keep reading the boring kids’ books.

9.   What was something you enjoyed reading as a child?

I just enjoyed reading as a child, pretty much anything and everything.  My parents’ job required them to be on the road about 9 months out of the year & when I wasn’t in school, I was traveling with them.  This included long hours alone in an office while my parents worked 16 hour days and really no other kids were around.  This meant I watched a lot of TV and read a ton of books.  Every week, mom would take me to the library where we were and I would check out the maximum number of books allowed.  That rarely got me through the week and I would frequently re-read what I had.  This situation actually led me to read a book that has totally turned me off on one author forever-Stephen King.  By accident, someone left a copy of Salem’s Lot in the office & I, being bored, read it-at like 10.  Although my mom wasn’t thrilled, she wasn’t big on censoring my reading so since I had started it, she just let it be.  Scared the heck out of me, but I finished it anyway & can’t bear to read anything else by him, even the fantasy stuff.

10.  Where do you like to read?


11.  Other than reading, what do you like doing?

Dancing.  I was a club kid in my early 20s and now am big into swing and country dancing.

12.  Where can we find you online?

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6568368-jennifer

Twitter- @jenn5656

Instagram- jenn5656

13.  Would you like to make a shout out to any other avid readers that are online?

14.  What do you challenge people to read?

Step out of your comfort zone, read something that you wouldn’t normally.  For me this is realistic fiction, which is how I came across Justina Chen & Jay Asher, and now I love their stuff.  Just give something a chance.

However, I always follow Nancy Pearl’s Rule of 50 about giving up on something, which states “If you still don’t like a book after slogging through the first 50 pages, set it aside. If you’re more than 50 years old, subtract your age from 100 and only grant it that many pages.”

15.   How about sharing five random facts about you?

My parents are Carnies-my dad owns and operates several carnival rides and you can find him at the State Fair of Texas every year.

I originally thought that I was going to be a musician and spent my first years in college pursuing that goal, until I discovered how hard it was going to be to eat every day, how much I sucked at ear training, and that I had stage fright.

I recently took 3rd place in a dance contest.

I have two tattoos (one music themed & the other Texas themed) and am looking forward to getting my third.

I take a lot of random pictures and far too many of my “furry children”-my cats.

Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell | LibraryThing

Powell, J. (2005). Julie and Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 9780316109697

Reasons for Reading:  I’m no gourmet but I enjoyed watching cooking shows on PBS ever since I can remember. One of those heroic translators of French cuisine was the unforgettable Julia Child. She empowered people nationwide to  Since this book was about the experiences of a blogger working her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I decided I wanted to read Julie and Julia someday. A couple of years ago, I heard Julie Powell speak at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference. I found the book on the shelf at the HCPL where I work.

Summary: As secretarial government drone Julie Powell eyes her approaching thirtieth birthday, she yearns for something to do. While visiting her family in Austin, Texas, Julie eyes her mom’s copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This sighting inspires Julie to work her way through 524 recipes in a year and blog about her experiences. 

What I Liked : I enjoyed the mention of Samuel Pepys and the segments from Julia and Paul Child. I also liked reading about Austin, Texas, the capital of my home state. The following Julie’s blog built amazed me. It’s impressive how these kind souls even sent her foodstuffs when she remarked on wanting something.

What I Disliked : I didn’t care much for Julie. This fact alone really colored my opinion of the book. I wanted to know more the actual blogging and how it became so lucrative for her. I didn’t find much of that here. Unfortunately I saw the movie before I read the book and that disappointed me as well. Maybe my expectations are too high. 

Two Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪The French Chef Theme Song

Setting: New York City, Austin Texas, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Paris, Boston

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For more on Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia…, please check out the following links: