Summary of my 2008 Reading

I didn't make my goal(s) for the year in reading. I had hoped to reach 75 to 100 books read, and 25 audio-read. Instead, I reached a combined total of 84 books, 31 of which were audiobooks. That's a paltry 53 books read, which amounts to not quite 4.5 books per month. If I count the audiobooks back in, I reached a "princely" 7.0 books per month. *sigh*

Here's the list of the entire year:

January
  1. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
  2. The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
  3. Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
  4. For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison
  5. The Dead Girl's Dance by Rachel Caine
  6. Serenity: Those Left Behind
  7. Ashes to Ashes by Jennifer Armintrout
  8. Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur
  9. Scattered Suns by Kevin J. Anderson (Audio)
February
  1. Hunter's Moon by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  2. Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur
  3. Night Season by Eileen Wilks
  4. Joss Whedon's Fray
  5. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  6. Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
  7. Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas
  8. Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
  9. Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance
March
  1. The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison
  2. Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe
  3. No Rest for the Witches (anthology of short stories)
  4. Deep Storm by Lincoln Child (audio)
  5. The New Madrid Run (audio)
April
  1. White Knight by Jim Butcher (re-read)
  2. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
  3. Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (audio)
  4. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (audio)
  5. The Society of S by Susan Hubbard (audio)
  6. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx (audio)
May
  1. Small Favor by Jim Butcher
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling (finally!)
  3. Divergence by Charles Sheffield (audio)
June
  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (audio)
  2. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (audio)
  3. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (audio)
  4. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (audio)
July
  1. Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling (re-read)
  2. Crimson City by Liz Maverick
  3. Dangerous Games by Keri Arthur
  4. Embraced by Darkness by Keri Arthur
  5. The Darkest Kiss by Keri Arthur
  6. Of Fire and Night by Kevin J. Anderson (audio)
  7. Metal Swarm by Kevin J. Anderson (audio)
  8. Dauntless: The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (audio)
  9. Fearless: The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (audio)
  10. Courageous: The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (audio)
  11. Valiant: The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (audio)
August
  1. Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow
  2. Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow
  3. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
  4. The Devil Inside by Jenna Black (re-read)
  5. The Devil You Know by Jenna Black
  6. Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
  7. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  8. Another One Bites the Dust by Jennifer Rardin
  9. Biting the Bullet by Jennifer Rardin
  10. Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead
  11. Secret Vampire by L. J. Smith
  12. Daughters of Darkness by L. J. Smith
  13. Spellbinder by L. J. Smith
  14. Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
  15. Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon
  16. Gale Force by Rachel Caine
  17. Ashes of Worlds by Kevin J. Anderson (audio)
September
  1. Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon
  2. Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon
  3. Victory Conditions by Elizabeth Moon
  4. Axis by Robert Charles Wilson (audio)
  5. The Sunrise Lands by S. M. Stirling (audio)
  6. By Schism Rent Asunder by David Weber (audio)
October
  1. Coyote by Allen Steele (audio)
  2. In Enemy Hands by David Weber (re-read)
  3. Echoes of Honor by David Weber (re-read)
  4. Ashes of Victory by David Weber (re-read)
  5. War of Honor by David Weber (re-read)
  6. At All Costs by David Weber (re-read)
November
  1. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (audio)
  2. Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson (audio)
December
  1. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (audio, re-read)
  2. The Good, The Bad and the Undead by Kim Harrison (audio, re-read)
  3. Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison (audio, re-read)
  4. A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison (audio, re-read)
  5. For A Few Demons More by Kim Harrison (audio, re-read)
  6. The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison (audio, re-read)

I don't know if I'm going to bother with tracking my reading again this year. There are a lot of good books in my favorite series due out this year... I guess I'll wait and see.

Urban Fantasy Land Readers' Choice Awards

Do you like to read about werewolves, vampires, witches and fey? Does hearing the names Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong make you stop what you were doing in the hopes of another book coming? Do you try to point people to your favorite "urban fantasy" or "modern fantasy" when you're browsing at the bookstore?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, pop on over to Urban Fantasy Land for the Readers' Choice Awards.

I must admit, voting was like looking at my recent reading list! I'm not reading fast enough to take them all in though. In the next six to eight weeks another armload of books in the series I already read are coming out---including Kim Harrison's 7th book in her Hollows series, White Witch, Black Curse, which comes out two days before my birthday! Yay!

Go vote---and if you're so inclined, leave me a comment about your favorite authors/series. And tell me who you are on LibraryThing, so I can stalk your library! *grin*

Snails

Update: I've managed to get a number of pictures. I've selected a large number of them to highlight here. If you've got a slow connection, you might want to go get a drink or a snack...

I am hoping to add photos to this post later, but glass + flash = challenging....and we all know I am not a photographer in any real sense of the word!

Sunday I hosted a "Snail Painting Party". What fun! First, why did my snails need painting? And second, why did I ask my friends to help?

For the answer to the first question, the pH in the aquarium had dropped (I've been bad about testing!). I only noticed when I started seeing pitting on the snails' shells. In some cases, this has caused holes to open up where there shouldn't be any holes. Not good. The solution (after fixing the pH problem with measured additions of baking soda to bring the pH up) is to paint their shells with clear (or colored, but why???) nail polish. This strengthens their shells, since they can't re-grow new shell in the areas which have been damaged.

Still, why would I ask friends to come over and paint snails with me? Well, remember this post? I've got close to 100 of these guys in my aquarium! And that's not counting the two recently hatched clutches--each snail of which is barely the size of a lentil. Plus three more clutches to go---one just discovered today.

Adding in pictures of the babies!

Look how many there are! Every one of those pale "dots" is a baby snail! And this is only two of the five clutches already hatched! I'm going to be drowning (ahem, pardon the really bad...er, pun?) in snails!

What's the worst a friend could say? No? So, I asked. And I got four "yeses". The actual painting went faster than I expected it to. I had thought I might mark each snail with a unique letter/number, for identification purposes. Instead, we decided that those painting could add a dot of color (each painter picked a color). Frank picked one of my glow-in-the-dark Powder Puff Girls nail polishes. (Where did I get this? I'm sure it was only because of the glow-in-the-dark aspect!) And after the tank lights have been on for a long time, we can turn off all the tank and room lights around the tank and see the little dots! *grin*

Frank was bold and counted 90 snails collected from the aquarium. I'd guess between 10-20 couldn't be painted because of holes in their shells. I'll probably be plastering them this coming weekend. I really wish I'd been ready to do the plastering at the same time 'cause now I'll have to find all the ones who need it all over again!

In the meantime, I've got many many many more baby snails already growing and eating their way around the aquarium. It's too early to tell what the first two clutches that have hatched will be color-wise. I'm guessing blues: dark body in an ivory shell. Since snails can hold sperm for six months, I think there's a possiblity one of the females had a chance with the single striped snail I had for a brief time last fall---but I don't even know the sex of that one, so perhaps not.


This is one of the larger P. Bridgesii snails: ivory shell, dark body. This coloring is called a "blue". There's a 1 in 4 chance of a blue x blue mating resulting in an ivory snail (ivory shell, light body). So far, all the snails in my tank are blues. None of the ivories I've purchased from the store have survived. And with so many in the tank now, I don't know which one is the original blue I bought.


Clutch #3 of 5 (as of 20 January 2009)


This is one of my best aquarium photos ever!


And this one too. I'm tickled to have won the battle with my camera and managed to get it to focus on the snails! Could this group be ivory snails? They sure look light colored enough. I guess time will tell!

There's more images in my flickr aquaria set

Here's a big "thank you" going out to Frank and Lindsay and Patrick and Karen for all their help. And a special thanks to my chef/hubby who prepared two large platters of nachos and a veggie platter.

Now to see if I can actually photograph the new babies and the clutches well enough to post to flickr and add them to this post! I guess I did okay.

Abandoned....and a world away

I've been wanting to share a couple of links to a whole bunch of images for a week or so now. There's something about these images that touches a spot in my core and I'm still struggling to put it into words and onto "paper". I'll start with the links and images.

There's a set of images on flickr showing an abandoned resort in Taipei City. I don't know the full history, but it has something to do with the zoning for the beach near the resort changing during construction, rendering the resort's proximity to the beach pointless.

But look at these buildings:



(I've never been able to figure out how to put an actual Google map in a post, so I grabbed a desktop snapshot of it and uploaded it to my flickr. If you click it, it's supposed to take you to that map in Google maps.)

And there's some really amazing pictures of this abandoned resort here.

There's something about this resort that speaks to my soul. Maybe it's the odd buildings. Maybe it's the half-finished, left-for-dead look to the whole place.

Maybe it speaks to my desire to build my own community, my own village. One which cares for its own and works with its own and grows because of the caring and support within. I look at these buildings and I see a dream that withered on the vine and I want so badly to see them finished; to see people in them and around them.

It's too bad it's on the other side of the world from me.

Knitted Ferret

A long, long time ago (now I want to sing "American Pie"...) I wrote a post about my ferret stitch markers and Inga left a comment asking about a knitted ferret pattern. Since she didn't leave a link to contact her, I'm posting here in the hopes she still stops by on occasion.

I found one! Looky:


The Etsy seller is gReenJellY. And I've already got a copy!

Not 'cause I bought it, but becase a sweetie who goes by the Rav-name of Azlynn loved how excited I got (so excited, I posted about it in the wrong group on Ravelry! *grin*) and wanted to karma it to me. What a sweetheart!

I'm totally itching to find the right yarn and make me one or two or a dozen of these guys! I wonder if I can make them look like my crew?

This needs to be my next t-shirt...




Yep. I want this one as a t-shirt. 'Nuf said?

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