Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Top List Stuff, of My Own This Time

Today is apparently a very good day to blog, because when I got on this morning (admittedly not until about noon) my LJ flist of friends & feeds was pretty full of people doing their bloggy thing. I love days like this.

This is also the day where I go back & talk about the books I read this year. In the past years I have put up monthly lists of what books I have read, when I read them, etc, but this year you may have noticed that I haven't done that here. Instead I favored for the master list of books I've read and movies I've watched in 2008. It was an idea that started out small (a meme I was tagged in by harvardbarbie that I kept up with. It doesn't have all the details of the original, but I was more likely to update it. I did leave out quite a few comic issues though, considering I read tonnes this year (what with getting a job at a comic shop & all).

Anyway, here's what I have to say about that list:
I have listed 198 books that I read this year, though I read more than that & forgot to write them down....

Children's Books
Best Children's Book I Read This Year: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (this would also go under Most Controversial, which I don't agree with)
Best Sequel: Small Steps by Louis Sachar, Sequel to Holes
Book I Most Often Recommend to Children/Parents: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Best Picture Book: Flotsam by David Weisner
Funniest: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules! by Jeff Kinney (not as good as the first, but still hilarious)
My Favorite Children's Book I Read in 2008: The Witches by Roald Dahl. (though Lucky was a very close second)

Young Adult & Adult Books
Best Book of the Year (Published in 08): Paper Towns by John Green
Book I Believe Every Teen Should Read: Looking for Alaska by John Green (I read it twice this year)
Most Overhyped Book: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Best Teen Series: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (I'm excited for her new series in 09!!)
Best Sequel: Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones (Sequel to Howl's Moving Castle)
Book That Was Far Better Than the Movie: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Most Controversial: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (because of this, I believe it was a great pick for the high school's book club)
Biggest Cliff Hanger: Superior Saturday by Garth Nix (do not read this until Lord Sunday comes out)
Best Collaborative Effort: Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle
Best Sci-Fi Book: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Best Superhero Story: Hero by Perry Moore

What about you folk? What were your favorite books that you read in 2008? Do you have any special categories? What book do you most recommend for me to read?

Top 10 Lists (as per Yahoo)

I got bored today and found a Top 10 list on Yahoo, then I began looking at the other lists they have posted for 2008 and there's a few interesting things here.

What I stared out with, before these Top 10 lists, was a list of the banned words for the coming years. These are words to be "banned" for overuse and pointlessness. Interesting to me, was that for the first time and emoticon was listed. It was <3, which I can understand with its overuse...but I still like it. One word I'm really glad to see on that list is "Maverick". A lot of the things Sarah Palin was going on about annoyed me, the first being "Joe the Plumber," the second being "Maverick." It ended up being far overused to the point of absurdity, imo. Odd ones I didn't expect were "staycation" (which is something I hadn't heard before, it apparently means not vacationing because of high gas prices) and "monkey" (this is just odd).

The Top 10 Searches on Yahoo in 2008, I find it kind of sad that "Britney Spears" is the number one searched phrase of the year, when Barack Obama is in the #3 spot. And why, may I ask, is the WWE in #2? This kind of makes me fear for the future, when our nation cares more about drama queens & wrestling than they do about politics and HISTORY. I can easily see why Miley & Naruto made it onto the list, with their fan followings being so huge, and with Cyrus's minor dramas throughout the year. I swear, people are looking for a scandal with that girl. The media apparently doesn't like a genuine good girl, they have to work so hard to find something wrong with her. What I don't understand about this list is how "RuneScape" made the #5 spot. I thought RuneScape was old and outdated by this point? Guess I was wrong. (I'm not a gamer at all, mind you)

The Top 10 News Stories. The thing that most bothers me about this list is that Patrick Swayze made it onto the list, but the Olympics didn't. Yes, China is on there, but that's not the same thing, now is it? Now, I can see why the hurricanes might come in first, but I do think that the election should hold the #2 spot. This goes back to my Top 10 searches, same argument there. I don't understand how Shelley Malil made it on the list at all.

The Top 10 Celebrities. This is the list I got to when I decided I definitely wanted to blog this (because my Twitter followers would be annoyed at me, haha). So, the 2008 "Brat Pack" is as follows (in order): Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Chris Brown, Jonas Brothers, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Jamie Lynn Spears, Hayden Panettiere, Zac Efron, & Selena Gomez. First off, for the most part, I love them all. I have nothing serious against any of them (though I don't approve of JLS's pregnancy, I do approve of her keeping the child). A trend here? Most of them relate to Disney. Now, Rihanna and Chris Brown don't trace their roots back to Disney, but they have dealt with the company a few times, and Hayden was originally a Disney star. The rest are currently employed by the company in one way or another. I suppose they know how to pick their stars (and are also masters of PR). Another interesting point here is that none of them are over the age of 20 (though Rihanna will turn 21 in February). Something else is that they all make more money than you & I will ever make.
[interesting point: I am the same age as Chris Brown & Hayden Panettiere]

The Top 10 Olympians. Now here's a list that finally recognizes the Olympics! I like this list :) Coming in first, of course, is Michael Phelps. I love him, and the world loves him. And what he did was simply amazing. He really should have been on other lists, but I guess Yahoo users aren't all like me. I'm glad to see Shawn Johnson & Nastia Luikin on that list, as well as Misty May-Treanor. I'm disappointed that Keri Walsh didn't star on that list with her partner. They are a team after all.

The Top 10 Politicians. I'm glad, first of all, that Barack Obama is #1 on this list. Sarah Palin is second, which I still find ridiculous because she was a running mate, and she received more attention than McCain did. Alternately, I'm disappointed not to see Biden on this list, because if you're going to pay attention to Obama, you should look up his VP pick as well.

The Top 10 Women. I don't have much to say about this list, but I figured at this point I may as well include all the lists. For the most part, I really agree with this list, because I can see how all of these women have been influential throughout the last year. Whether I believe they should have been or not is a different matter. I'm kind of amused that Tina Fey is on that list, though.

The Top 10 Farewells. I would really question the sanity of these list makers if they hadn't put Heath Ledger on the top of that list. His death shook the internet and the fan base response was enormous. I saw the same happen with Bernie Mac & George Carlin. Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture (I had to look it up to remember), had a large influence with his death, so I agree with him being on the list. Others, I had to look up because I didn't know who they were, or even recognize their name in some cases. But I am sure that their deaths were a big thing to talk about in certain circles outside mine own.

Yeah, fine, I skipped the economic one. It was boring & I didn't have much to say about it other than our economy sucks right now. You can go see the list here if you really want to.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Book Review: Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle

Let it Snow, in a way, is not one book, but three novellas. Written by three different authors, the book is split into three different parts that make up one great book. Each part follows a different character (or group) on a different part of the story, and all include a different love story. All of the parts take place in the same time period in the same town and the characters give appearances in parts other than their own.

The first part, The Jubilee Express, is written by Maureen Johnson and follows Jubilee Dougan. Jubilee, aside from having the misfortune of being named Jubilee (she assures the reader she's not a stripper or anything like that), has hit some rough luck: her parents have been arrested in a Christmas sale riot and she now has to spend the holidays with her grandparents. It gets worse, because leaving means she can't be at her boyfriend's family's annual Christmas party. And even as her train speeds towards Florida, it gets stuck in a snow storm. The train is forced to stop practically in the middle of nowhere, across the empty interstate from a Waffle House. Jubilee leaves the train and heads for the Waffle House. Unfortunately, she is followed by a squad of cheerleaders who were also on the train. This is when Jubilee meets Stuart and her luck begins to change.

In the second part, The Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, written by John Green, Tobin, JP, and the Duke have just gotten great news: a train has crashed nearby and an entire squad of cheerleaders has just arrived at the Waffle House where their friend, Don-Keun works. Don-Keun has made a deal with his co-workers: the first group of friends to arrive (with Twister) will be allowed in, but the others will not. So it's a race for the guys to get there first. Except that the Duke is a girl, but she's been promised hash browns and adventure, so she's in. The race to be first to the Waffle House is alternately intense and hilarious. In the end Tobin realizes that maybe love isn't all about cheerleaders, and finds an unexpected love.

In the third and final part, The Patron Saint of Pigs, written by Lauren Myracle we meet Addie. It's now Christmas day and Addie is not feeling the cheer. She's really messed things up this time. First, she cheated on Jeb, her perfect boyfriend. And then she dyed her hair pink. The biggest snowstorm she can remember has hit her town and she hasn't heard from Jeb in days--not that she blames him. On top of all this, she still has to work at Starbucks, because they are open no matter what. In an attempt to prove to her friends, Dorrie and Tegan, that she is not selfish, Addie agrees to pick up Tegan's teacup pig (it actually fits in a teacup) from the pet store across the street on her break. Things don't go quite according to plan, and Addie has to go on a hunt to track down who the pig was sold to by mistake. Everything turns out in the end though, as Addie is granted her Christmas miracle and her love story.

It's set apart from other books in that instead of seeing only one part of a tale, you see many, and see more than one part of that world. Each writer has their own style, but they all blend together well and are equally great reads. Each love story is unique and interesting, but more importantly, realistic. Additionally, all of the characters are enjoyable and relatable.The best part about Let it Snow is seeing how all the pieces come together in the end. This is a great book to curl up with on snowy days!


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