Sunday, April 14, 2013

Anna Karenina (2012) Film Version

This film review is Part 2 of a review done for the 2013 Reading Outside the Box Book Challenge, hosted by Musings of a Book Lover, that I am taking part in. Part 1 is a review of Anna Karenina, the novel. The first category in the challenge is entitled: To the Screen; I am sure I don't really need to explain.

The film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina hit big screens in 2012. The writer/director team of Tom Stoppard and Joe Writght created a highly artistic adaptation of the late 19th century Russian novel.

Much of the film's set is made to mimic a theatre stage with curtains closing and doors opening to transfer characters from one setting to another. Overall, the theatrical nature of the film turns a very serious and dramatic storyline into a film that is distractingly carnivalesque.

While all of the boring text that I mentioned in my review of Anna Karenina, the novel, was left not surprisingly left out of the film, so too were a lot of the vibrant scenes that, for me, made up the brilliance of Tolstoy's characters. In the novel, Anna Karenina herself is magnificent. A lover of strong female characters in classic literature, such as myself, cannot help but thrive on her strength. In the film, Anna Karenina's character is barely mediocre and it is her jealousy and borderline madness that is showcased rather than her beauty and resilience.

All of the major characters in the film are quite one-dimensional in relation to the characters in the novel. Obviously a 900+ page novel is going to have a lot more room for character development than a 2 hour film, but the lack of depth to the film's characters, especially in relation to Levin, Kitty, and Anna, is still quite disappointing.

One positive thing I will say for the film is that the casting of Keira Knightly as Anna Karenina was perfect. She has played a number of similar roles, namely Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Guinevere in King Arthur (2004), so being cast as Anna Karenina only makes sense.

I gave Tolstoy's novel a 3 Stars rating according to the scale provided by Musings of a Book Lover.

1 Star - I didn't like it
2 Stars - It was ok
3 Stars - I like it
4 Stars - I really liked it
5 Stars - I loved it
I give Wright's film a 1 Star rating. 

Just one more example of how much better the book is than the movie!

Anna Karenina (1878) Novel Version

I've always wanted to read Tolstoy, but my plan was actually to read War and Peace. A friend of mine, familiar with Tolstoy's work, recommended that I read Anna Karenina if I wanted to read a Tolstoy novel. He knew I'd appreciate the strong title female character. He was right.

Anna Karenina as a character is brilliant. Her beauty and passion captivate the reader in nearly every scene. Her major strength for me in particular, though, is her willingness to stand up when faced with adversity and metaphorically spit in the face of propriety. She is a late 19th century feminist and I adore Tolstoy for writing her that way.

Russian writer, Tolstoy published Anna Karenina in instalments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. I read the 2000 Modern Library Paperback Edition with Introduction by Mona Simpson and a collection of literary commentaries at the conclusion. In novel form, Anna Karenina is over 900 pages long with a number of sub plots and so many characters that it is sometimes difficult to keep them straight. Added to the confusion that comes with trying to keep the characters in check is the fact that throughout the novel the same character is referred to using a different name. At one point there is even a footnote in the text that alludes to this fact. If there is one more weakness attributed to the author that I could point out about the text it would be the dullness that arises in large portions of the text as certain characters contemplate philosophy, politics, agriculture, and religion, to name a few topics. Commentary provided at the end of the novel attributes these lengthy passages to the realism that Tolstoy was seeking to accomplish with his novel. When thought about in that manner, the boredom I felt while reading those particular passages is a somewhat more forgiveable.

Without creating any spoilers, Anna Karenina is a novel containing two parallel love stories. The two romances foil each other and Tolstoy even goes so far as to write comparative child birth scenes for the two women involved. While very much a novel about love, Anna Karenina also possesses a very dark motif. There is much talk of suicide from three of the major characters, one unsuccessful attempt by a character at taking his/her own life and one successful attempt that proves quite shocking. The narrative voice changes quite frequently throughout the novel moving from a third person omniscient narrator to a style of free indirect discourse told from the point of view of a number of characters. At one point, the narrative voice is even attributed to a dog. Despite the boring nature of some of the passages, Anna Karenina is a brilliant piece of literature.

One thing that I noticed and was intrigued by was the presence of the colour lilac throughout the novel. I did a quick Google Scholar search and came up with a few theories mostly surrounding the contrast created between the title character, Anna Karenina (who would never wear lilac), and the other female characters. Perhaps, sometime I will spend a bit more time researching Tolstoy's use of lilac, but for now, I will simply continue to surmise my theories.

I wrote this review as part of the 2013 Reading Outside the Box Challenge hosted by Musings of a Book Lover. Anna Karenina fits into the first category of ROTB, To the Screen. Another reason I decided to tackle this 900+ page goliath of a novel is actually because I knew the film version was hitting the screens. My review of the film can be found here.

The wonderful bloggers at Musings of a Book Lover rate their reads using the following star system:
1 Star - I didn't like it
2 Stars - It was ok
3 Stars - I like it
4 Stars - I really liked it
5 Stars - I loved it

As a novel, I would give Anna Karenina a 3 Stars rating. 
As a character, Anna Karenina deserves 5 Stars, without a doubt!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

A few months back, I signed up to take part in The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013. My original list of Pride and Prejudice related works to look into and review are listed here. Thanks to Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog, who also happen to be hosting said P&P Challenge/Celebration, I was made privy to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: An Online Adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. With that said, I am adding this ingenious remake to my list of reviews.

If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice, even in the least little bit, you HAVE to watch this vlog and read some of the commentary. In short, it is brilliant. The series is the brain child of Hank Green and Bernie Su and brought to life by their amazing development team.

I started watching/reading The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on March 1, 2013. I've watched all of the videos, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, The Lydia Bennett, Maria of the Lu, and Domino. I've read all of the Twitter conversations (even the ones from Kitty Bennet who is a cat and not an actual person) and the Behind The Scenes commentary. I've looked at all of the Looks by Jane. I've absolutely loved it all.

There are three Bennet sisters instead of five, Jane, Elizabeth (Lizzie), and Lydia. Mary and Kitty come into the story as a cousin to the sisters (Mary) and, well, an actual kitten that belongs to Lydia (Kitty). There are Bingleys (Bing and Caroline Lee), Darcys (William and Gigi), a Mr. Collins (Ricky), a George Wickham, and a Charlotte Lucas (Charlotte Lu). There is even an elusive Lady Catherine de Bourgh (who we never actually meet, but is mentioned whenever Ricky appears). Mrs. Bennet is still hung up on getting her daughters married; Mr. Bennet is still utterly unconcerned. Basically, the plot follows the book perfectly with just a few modern-day changes. Lizzie turns down a business proposal which Charlotte later accepts rather than a marriage proposal from Mr. Collins. George Wickham threatens Lydia, who he has manipulated into falling in love with him, with the release of an internet sex video rather than there being a runaway marriage scandal (Darcy still saves the day, by the way). Netherfield is still where Bing Lee lives, but Pemberley is Darcy's company rather than his estate.

The character development is Austenesque in its brilliance. In some of the Behind The Scenes (BTS) commentary Green and Su discuss the fact that one of their major goals with the project was to take some of the more minor characters in Austen's epic novel and create bigger and better stories for them. This "fleshing out" so to speak is best seen in Lydia's character, but can also be seen with Charlotte, Wickham, Bing, Gigi, and Caroline. I especially enjoyed the development of Caroline Lee's character. I'll let you watch the videos to see for yourself, but at the very least, I'll direct you to BTS: Netherfield Questions for a little more insight. Every time a new character was introduced, I found myself grinning from ear to ear and thinking, "this character was cast magnificently."

A few highlights that I found especially note-worthy:
Episode 53: Mr. Collins' fiancee lives in Winnipeg, MB?! Ha! (I've lived in Manitoba my entire life and have family in Winnipeg). I'm not sure what the connection is to Winnipeg, but I laughed out loud when it came up in the videos. The series does take place in a number of major U.S. cities after all.
Lydia Bennet: Halloween, Holla!!: I love when Lydia says that Jane is "dressed as a fierce wanderer, adventuring through a foreign land." It made we want to come up with a costume description for my outfits everyday! So insightful!
Episode 60: DARCY! Well, holy hannah! Talk about intense! This episode is done so well. I am actually quite glad that I just stumbled upon this incredible project when it is nearing its completion. If I had to wait days in between these intense Darcy episodes, I think I'd burst!
Episode 69: Jane's impression of Lydia is so totes supes adorbs!
Lydia Bennet: Episode 24: "You were just there," to Wickham in reference to making out with him on New Year's Eve. Go girl!
Lydia Bennet: Episode 25: I was going to mention this earlier on in the vlog series, but I wasn't entirely sure that my connection was accurate until this episode. Lydia Bennet is my younger, crazier sister, not quite to the Ly-dee-yah extreme, but always head-over-heels for the wrong guy. Still love her to infinity though, always will <3.
Episode 80: Ok, I was uncomfortable watching this episode which only attests to how great it was...and...Darcy's suspenders are so perfect! He'd be so, let's just say, HOT, but the suspenders just crack me up and totally make his uptight character.
Episode 87: Yep, I cried.
Episode 88: Yep, me and my baby sis to a T.
Episode 98: The moment in Pride & Prejudice that EVERY fan waits for and then swoons over. I'd almost go so far as to say the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does it better than Austen did herself...almost!

In one of the very first BTS commentaries The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is described by its creators as "a show about people interacting with people;" when I read that, I thought to myself, "that's exactly what Austen's novel is." From 1813 to 2013, Pride and Prejudice remains a story about people interacting with people. We love the characters and we love their stories.

All of the episodes of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries can be watched on the website or on YouTube. It has also recently come to my attention that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon be available for purchase as a DVD collection, thanks to an extremely successful kickstarter initiative.

The bloggers on Austenprose use Regency Stars to give ratings to the works they review so to pay homage to them and all things Austen that they bring to my life I will give my reviews for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, Regency Star ratings as well.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: 5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Reading Challenges

In 2011, I started the POC Reading Challenge in July (6 months late). My goal was to reach Level 3: 7-9 books, but I only managed to read and review 6...not too bad, I guess. In 2012, I started The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge in August (7 months late). This challenge was based on number of pages read and while I did manage to read 4, or maybe it was 5, books, I only actually managed to post reviews for 2; I blame this on the fact that I was spending my time training for a half marathon and raising funds for charity. You can read all about that adventure on my other blog: 21K for Change (which I still need to update with a final Race Day post).

Now for 2013 - onward and upward! I am going to sign up for a few challenges this year in the hopes of actually participating for the entire year. I'm thinking signing up in January is a good first step!

Here are the four challenges that I am committing myself to:

What's in a Name 6 happening over at Beth Fish Reads
1. "Up" or "Down" (or equivalent) in the title. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; I'd say that qualifies as an equivalent of "up"...wouldn't you?!
2. Something you find in your kitchen in the title. While these may not be found in everyone's kitchen, I am going to go with Travelling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor (mother/daughter authors) for this one.
3. A party or celebration in the title. I've already read this once, but since  it's been quite a while and since I'm currently working on my Creative Writing Thesis which is based on my trip to Botswana and because of that I need all of the travel writing references I can possibly get, I'm going to do Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wisner here. 
4. "Fire" (or equivalent) in the title. PrairieFire is a Canadian journal of new writing that is published quarterly in Manitoba. I have the 2009 Writing Contest Winners volume because one of my friends is published in it. The journal is 107 pages long and includes work from 20 contributors. I have actually only read Kirsty's piece. I think it's high time I read the rest!
5. An emotion in the title. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. 650 pages. Let's do this!
6. "Lost" or "Found" (or equivalent) in the title. The first book that comes to mind here is She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I'm going to go with that for now.
Off the top of my head (I'm not sitting in front of my bookshelf right now) I can't think of suitable books for any of these, but I am excited to look!

Outside the Box Book Challenge hosted by Musings of a Book Lover
1. To the Screen - Read a book that was adapted to the screen.  Right now, I am reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It's quite fitting how the first book I chose to read in 2013 just happens to fit the 1st challenge category - neat! #nerdalert
2. Another Voice - If you typically read books that focus on a female character, try a male protagonist. If you typically read books from a male point of view, see what it’s like from a woman’s perspective. I don't really think I have a "typical read," but I'll do my best to come up with something for this one. I'm thinking maybe Dune by Frank Herbert which might be a stretch for this category, but I have NEVER read Science Fiction...EVER so if that isn't reading outside the box, I don't know what is!
3. Opposites Attract - If you always read young adult or historical fiction try something that would be opposite – a contemporary read for those stuck in the past, for instance. Most of the bookblogs I come across tend to showcase Young Adult Lit, but that genre is just not an area that I frequent with my book choices. I'm unsure on a specific title, but, perhaps YA will be the way to go for this one. TBA
4. 5 Star Day - Is there a book you’ve seen featured on another blog that everyone raves about? Even if it isn’t your cup of tea – give it a try to see what the hype is all about. I feel the need, here, to report that I bought and started reading Fifty Shades of Grey for this reason; EVERYONE was raving about it. I made it to Chapter 6 when the female protagonist's virgin status is revealed and it now sits in my "too be donated" box. I am actually embarrassed to be donating it anywhere because that means admitting that I actually bought it! Awful trash for the mind! I don't know what I am going to read for this category yet, but I hope it doesn't end up being as disappointing as Fifty Shades of Grey was. TBA 
5. XyZ pdQ - Grab a book that has either an X, Z or Q in the title or try the author’s name. Paddle to the Amazon by Don Starkell is my choice for this one. I've had the book since I was 10 years old and Dana Starkell (Don's son) came to my elementary school and wrote a song with our class. I bought a signed copy of this book in 1995 and have yet to read the entire thing. I think it's time...and it has a 'Z' in the title! Booyah!
6. It's my Birthday! - Read a book that was published in either your birth month or birth year. I was born on January 29, 1984. George Orwell wrote a book that you may have heard of called 1984. Now I don't know if he published it in January or not, but I do know it was published in 1949. Do you suppose I could make a good argument for reading 1984 for this category? I've always wanted to finish reading it (I started reading it,  but never actually finished it in high school...yep, a LONG time ago). 
7. From one place - Read a book that was first published outside of your country. Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea was originally released in Lebanon and was written in Arabic. This book has been very basically defined as 4 Muslim girls from Saudi Arabia meets Sex and the City. Can't wait!
8. It's All About ME! - Read a memoir of one kind or another. Chances are I'll have a number of selections for this section because I'll be reading A LOT of travel writing over the next four months to help with my Creative Writing Thesis. I just bought Without Reservation by Alice Steinbach, though so I'll jot that one down as my "official" choice for this category. 
9. Visit an Old Friend - Read one of your favorites again. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is my favorite book and has been for a very long time; I think I may revisit it. I am also thinking of my favorite book from my middle school days, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. I've been meaning to re-read this one for a really long time to revisit why it has had such a lasting effect on me. Maybe I'll do two books for this category...oh my!
10. Look at the pretty pictures! - Read a Graphic Novel. It just so happens that my boyfriend loves graphic novels. I'm thinking Beowulf for this one because I think a fantastic way to get young people, or any people really, to read classic a.k.a. "boring" literature is by turning it into a graphic novel. 
11. She made me do it! - Read a book raved about by another blogger. TBA
12. I couldn't help myself! - Read a book that you fall in Cover Love with; was it worth it? I actually just went out and bought the book for this category today. Every time I walk into a book store I notice Still Alice by Lisa Genova. The cover of that novel always jumps right out at me and I've resisted buying it so many times. Now I own it; let's see if it's worth it!
13. To be or Not to be... - Read a play or memorize a poem and analyse it since it’s rolling around in your head! For this one I'm thinking I should read Othello by William Shakespeare. When I took a course on Shakespeare about 5 years ago as part of my undergrad degree, Othello was the only play on the required reading list that I didn't actually read. On the other hand, The Tempest was recently turned into a film, which I have not seen, so perhaps that would be a good comparative choice. I am also toying with the idea of memorising "The Flea" by John Donne, the poem in my Introduction to English Literature course that made we swear off reading anything else that wasn't modern literature. As I work my way through the chaos that is applying to do my Master's in English, I have been reflecting on my journey as an English Literature major and realising how far I have come in terms of my appreciation and understanding of the breadth of incredible works from Old English to 21st Century. Memorising and reflecting on "The Flea" could be fun! #nerdalertx2
I'm chosing the level No Box can Contain Me! which means I am going to attempt to read and review a book in all 13 categories! 

TBR Pile Reading Challege with the fine folks at Bookish
I have so many books on my bookshelf that are "To Be Read" that I had to include this challenge. I am shooting for A Sweet Kiss which is 21-30 books which should put a small dent in my collection. In reality, I likely have over 100 books (that's about 1/3) in my collection that I haven't read...sigh. to name one, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett...fitting, no?!

and, finally because I am a Janeite...
The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge showcased on Austenprose: A Jane Austen Blog
This challenge is in celebration of 200 years of publication (originally published in 1813) for Pride and Prejudice and the goal is to re-read the classic, read spin-offs of the classic, and/or watch film versions of the classic.
I am going with Neophyte for this one which is 1-4 selections, but if I get accepted into Grad School for September of 2013, during which I plan to do my Master's Thesis on Austen's work, then I may decide to increase my goal.
Right now, I am going to commit to reading:
-The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath
-Charlotte Pride & Prejudice Continues by Karen Aminadra
-Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliott (is it just a coincidence here that the author's name is basically Anne Elliot...from Persuasion?!)
and watching (if I can find them)
-the 1940 film version of Pride & Prejudice
-the Off Broadway musical I Love You Because.
If I can find both of these and watch them that would bump me up into Disciple :)

Please join in my fun along with so many other book lovers! Here goes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blue Sky Days

Alrighty, here goes Book #2 for The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge that is being hosted by Insatiable Booksluts.

Marie Landry is not only the author of Blue Sky Days, she is also one of my best e-friends. She book blogs at Ramblings of a Daydreamer and even so kind as to blog about my fundraising efforts. You should visit her blog and read her book. Here's why:

Blue Sky Days (223 pages) is a lovely read. The story shapes itself around the female protagonist, Emma Ward, as she struggles to make sense of her life as an adult. After graduating high school, Emma moves from the bustling metropolis of Toronto to the quiet and serene town of Riverview to live with her eccentric Aunt Daisy. I think most young people can relate quite easily to Emma; I know I could. She's always done the right thing - gotten good grades, participated in the right events - and now she's having an identity crisis. Who hasn't been there, done that? I know I have.

Shortly after her arrival, Emma finds herself infatuated, for the first time in her life, with a young man - Nicholas. They fall fast and hard for each other and Landry's description of their first kiss is what I like to refer to as a knee-cap melting moment.
"When his body shifted to lean toward me, my knees began to shake and I worried that I would melt into a puddle and wash away with the rain." - see what I mean?! Every person in the every tiny corner of the whole wide world needs to experience a moment like this at least once in their lives. Landry captures the moment perfectly.

About half way through the novel and only a short time into the couple's whirlwind romance, readers and characters alike find out that Nicholas has Leukemia. The rest of the novel takes readers through the trials and tribulations of a family dealing with the life-threatening disease. I'm not going to tell you whether Nicholas dies or're just going to have to read the novel - which you can buy here, by the way.

While Nicholas fights his disease, he and Emma become ever-closer and at one point, Nicholas proposes to Emma; they plan to marry if he survives. This is the only part of the novel that I had trouble with and it's really only because I'm a cynic. First boy in her life, first kiss, first love isn't really a recipe for a successful marriage and I often found myself thinking; "This is pretty unrealistic." However, just because it doesn't work for most people doesn't mean first loves as lifelong loves won't work for some people - like Emma and Nicholas - and I should just bite my skeptic tongue and embrace the romance!

I highly recommend this novel for anyone who wants a heart-warming read. You'll fall in love with Landry's characters and anticipate the ending as if you are part of the story yourself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women

I love reading. I love writing. (kind of - sort of). I recently decided to challenge myself to run a half marathon and raise money for my favourite not-for-profit at the same time. If you're interested, you can visit my other blog - 21K for Change - and read about my adventures in the running world. 

Now back to books. The first book that qualifies for The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge hosted by the Insatiable Booksluts is The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women: Get Off Your Butt And On With Your Training by Dawn Dias (226 pages).

This e-book was a great read and an equally great resource for me as a non-runner. Dawn's accounts of her reasoning, training, motivation, and race itself are witty and realistic. In fact, I am following the training schedule she provides in her book. 

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women is structured much like a journal and jumps around in Dias' thought processes quite frequently. In addition to her personal thoughts on her own venture, Dias provides tips for readers/runners that she gained from her experience. 

There are also a number of instances in the book where Dias encourages readers/runners to write down their own thoughts. It is these journalling suggestions that made me purchase a Smash Journal to recount my own adventure in the running world. I plan to fill it with photos, clippings from magazines, and my own thoughts that tend to be quite similar to Dias'. For instance, the fact that the best thing about running is that I can eat as many carbs as a I want and not gain any weight. Dias comes across this same realisation. She too, however, speaks of the fact that despite running endless miles, she does not lose any weight. I also seem to have that problem. We have both concluded that the two are very likely related. 

The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women has become my running buddy just as Dias hoped it would in her book's introduction. Being able to justify my feelings with someone who also has never run is simply priceless. Dias includes an internal body monologue told from the point of view of a number of her body parts that is exceptionally hilarious and equally relateable. She goes on to engage in a dialogue with these body parts which I too have found myself doing of late. "Dear Gastrocnemius and Soleues: Please just bear with one more 45-minute run today and then you will have a 2-day rest; I promise. Sincerely, Your insane brain that thinks it can run a half marathon." Throughout the book, Dias not only shares her fears and motivations, but also encourages readers/runners to do the same.

I took away one of the best pieces of advice for my run from Dias. During her run she took along quotes from friends, family, and other supporters that she pulled out when she hit a tough spot on her run. I am going to do the same and use the encouraging words of my friends to push me towards the finish line. 

I truly enjoyed The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide For Women: Get Off Your Butt And On With Your Training and would recommend it to anyone who is considering joining the running world. If I can do it; so can you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge

It has been over a year since I took part in a reading challenge. Last summer, while volunteering in Botswana, I started the POC Reading Challenge. It was fitting and I loved it. My goal was Level 3: 7-9 books, but I only ended up making it to 6 before I headed back to Canada, reverse culture shock, and my last year of my undergraduate degree (a.k.a. I just couldn't make the time to read for fun). I am currently thisclose to having my final academic paper handed in which means I can FINALLY read something that is not for research purposes. I spent a little time looking around on the www (world wide web) and came across The Insatiable Booksluts' 2012 End of the World Reading Challenge. The challenge started in January of 2012 which means I am extremely late coming to the table, but I don't really care. The winner is the person who reads the highest number of pages by December 31, 2012. We also have to post reviews of substantially more intellect than simply "I really like it." Needless to say, with only 4.5 months left of 2012, I don't stand a chance of reading the highest number of pages, but I love the name of the blog and I love the graphics so here goes!

Like I said, I haven't read anything other than research material since September of 2011. In the last month or so, however, I've managed to read a few. I have to credit that to a couple things: 1. I recently bought a Kindle; and 2. I recently moved to the country where I have no television and no internet access. The three books I've read are all ebooks. The challenge has special rules for ebooks; basically, you use the paper book version page count and if that doesn't exist, you use the page count that a website like Amazon gives for the book and if that doesn't exist, Booksluts gives you a converting tool to use.

Anyway I have to review:
The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training by Dawn Dais, 226 pages (says
Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry - You can visit her at Ramblings of a Daydreamer, 223 pages (
The Somali Doctrine by James Grenton, 346 pages (

By the time I get around to reviewing those, I'll likely be done reading On Making Off by Ryan Anderson, 306 pages (yep,

So that is a total of 1,101 pages! Not too bad! Reviews coming soon :)