Apologies for the long absence

At the beginning of July, I shipped off to Ethiopia with the U.S. Peace Corps. Internet is extremely limited, and when I do get online, my priorities are contacting my family and checking my email.

When possible, I will continue to update, though I can’t make promises about how frequently. Thanks for your continued reading!

Anne Rice announces new book featuring Lestat

This is insanely exciting news! Sunday night on an Internet radio program called “The Dinner Party Show,” Anne Rice announced that the title of her new book is Prince Lestat, and it’ll be released on October 28th, 2014.

Since I was 14 year old, Anne Rice has been my favorite writer and Lestat my favorite fictional character.  Adding to the excitement, there’s already plans for a sequel.

Of course I don’t expect these new books to measure up to her original Vampire Chronicles. I’m probably not alone in saying I was disappointed by the last couple books featuring Lestat, especially Blood Canticle. But I still have yet to find a separate series that comes anywhere close to engaging me as fully as what Anne Rice has done, and so I welcome some fresh Lestat.

Read more about this from Examiner. Then go add it to your Goodreads to-read list.

P.S. If you didn’t know, Target is selling signed copies of Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. So if you’re interested, go check if your local store still has it. I picked mine up a couple weeks ago!

Haruki Murakami really upset these townspeople

Murakami has an entire town (1,900 people) in an uproar, demanding an apology for a comment made about the town in his most recent story. The town is called Nakatonbetsu, and they are insistent that they are not litterbugs, as Murakami implies, and are in fact very dedicated to the cleanliness of their town.

The offending story, called Drive My Car – Men Without Women, was published in a Japanese magazine in December. In the story, the protagonist is driving in a car with a Nakatonbetsu native. When the native tosses a cigarette out the car window, the protagonist thinks, “Probably this is something everyone in Nakatonbetsu commonly does.”

And that, my friends, is apparently enough to cause holy hell to rain down on Murakami. No word yet if the town will receive their apology.

The entire story can be read on The Telegraph.

What’s your 2014 Challenge?

If you’re on Goodreads, you’ve probably used or at least seen the reading challenge tool, which allows you to choose how many books you want to read in a year. It shows you your progress by percentage, and you can also keep track of the genres you read most.

These are the results of my 2013 goal:

2013 challenge

I managed that 150% only because I got my hands on books in dead-tree form again once I got back from China, and I couldn’t stop myself from devouring book after book. My goal for 2014 is still 40, as halfway through the year I may suddenly not have access to books the way I do now. More on that at a later date.

Goodreads also allows you to view some collective challenge stats for all users. I was a little disheartened by my own reading habits upon seeing this:

challenge1

Really? 60 books per challenge on average? Granted, I know Goodreads is a community of readers…but the average American reads much less than that. I’m not sure of the exact number; it must be somewhere between seven and seventeen.

60 seems awfully high. I think that average must come because of a few outliers who set their goals at 300. However, I’m even more skeptical about the 55 people who already completed their challenge nine days into the new year. I guess not everyone aims high…

Do any of you have a 2014 reading goal, whether on Goodreads or otherwise?

Google Hands?

You may recall from either my  post last month or from reading the news that recently the lawsuit against Google was dismissed, meaning the company is allowed to continue scanning books for its Internet database, open to the public. Hurray! But I just came across something pretty strange. Apparently there are some significant glitches in the scanning process, and not all of them are machinery problems.

Photo courtesy of Google Hands.

                                                      Photo courtesy of Google Hands.

Note the irony of the book’s title.

It seems there is a plethora of Google employees’ hands on the interwebs, beautifully wrapped in tiny pink finger condoms, and some people are having fun searching for and posting these gems. I point you to the New Yorker article that I read for more information on the intrusive Google Hands and their consequences, and other ways Google has royally screwed up. Not that I’m complaining…I couldn’t live without them.

Do some good while you shop!

Hello dear readers!

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and didn’t get trampled today at the mall. If you’re like me, you’ll probably do the majority of your Christmas shopping online, whether it be to avoid the crowds or to find the best prices. If that’s the way you’re going, I recommend checking out iGive. It’s a browser extension that tracks your purchases at various websites and donates a percentage to the organization you choose! It’s really as simple as that. I’ve used it before, and it’s pretty awesome.

Organizations you can choose to donate to include local humane societies, the Red Cross, education services, and just about anything else you can think of. And participating websites include some big names, like Amazon, American Eagle, Eddie Bauer, and Bath & Body Works.

I know this post strays just a bit from my blog theme, but I wanted to share this since it’s such an easy way to do something good this holiday season! Besides, AbeBooks, Alibris, and BAM are participators!