2012 Dystopia Challenge – Book List

25 05 2012

I needed to keep track of the books I had read and plan what books I was still going to read for the 2012 Dystopia challenge, so here it all is in a nice concise list. This challenge is a good opporunity for me to finally read some Margaret Atwood. Yes I know, I’ve been slacking. 🙂 

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  4. Uglies by Scott Westerfield
  5. Pretties by Scott Westerfield
  6. Specials by Scott Westerfield
  7. Extras by Scott Westerfield
  8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  9. Matched by Ally Condie
  10. Crossed by Ally Condie
  11. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  12. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  13. Maze Runer by James Dashner
  14. Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood
  15. Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  16. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  17. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  18. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  19. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  20. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  21. Running Man by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
  22. Armageddon’s Children by Terry Brooks
  23. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
  24. The Children of Men by PD James
  25. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  26. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  27. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
  28. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  29. The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
  30. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

2012 Dystopia Challenge

7 03 2012

What It’s All About

The Dystopia challenge is for those who love it and for those who have never tried it. From negative utopia to plain ol’ totalitarian, there’s much to love about Dystopia and many ways it can be written.

The Deets

  • Running Dates: 1st of January – 31st of December 2012
  • When Can I Sign Up: All the way up to the last two weeks of December 2012!
  • Crossover Genres: Our Dystopia challenge also includes Post-Apocalypse and Ecotopia (environmentally dystopian).
  • Mr Linky: To use the Mr Linky you’ll need to click on the graphic then enter your link. These will be updated and posted into this page every couple of weeks or so.
  • Further Details: Crossover challenges are fine, you can change levels at any time, this is eBook, short story, and graphic novel friendly, and you don’t need a blog to join in (read further for details).

The How To

  1. Choose Your Level: These are listed further down and you can change levels at any time.
  2. Grab The Badge: Place it somewhere on your blog, profile, or in a signature where possible and link back (main page or this page, it’s up to you).
  3. Sign Up Post: Create a post on your blog, in a group, or on a forum (only if allowed) to let others see what you’re aiming for (a predefined list of books is optional).
  4. Link Up: Grab the direct URL to your sign up post, not your blog, click the Mr Linky graphic and enter your link!
  5. Blogless? Don’t worry, you can sign up with your social network profile (YouTube,Twitter, GoodReads, Shelfari included), just make sure you link to your review list, shelf, tweet, or category. If you don’t have any of those feel free to comment!


  1. Your Reviews: Reviewing is optional! But if you do review we’d love for you to share them by submitting them on the Review Page
  2. Finished: When you’re done it’s completion post time and you can share these on the Completion Post page.

Challenge Levels

  1. Asocial– Choose 5 books to read
  2. Contagion – Choose 15 books to read
  3. Soldier – Choose 30 books to read
  4. Drone – Choose 50 books to read
  5. Conditioned – Choose 75 books to read
  6. Brainwashed – Choose anywhere between 76-135 books to read
  7. Totalitarian – Choose anywhere between 136-200 books to read

Extra Challenges

If you feel like that extra kick to your reading challenges here’s several you can choose from.

  • World:Choose a country as your theme, reading only books from that country or where it’s the setting. For how high you go you can choose more than one country;
    • Level Asocial to Soldier: Choose one country
    • Level Soldier to Conditioned: Choose two countries
    • Level Conditioned to end of Brainwashed: Choose three countries
    • Level Totalitarian: Choose four countries.
  • Gender Battle: Read books only by female or male authors. Another alternative is to read equal amounts of both.

The level I am choosing is Soldier; so I will be reading 30 books.

And I’m going to refer to this site for some ideas: http://www.reflectionsofabookaholic.com/2011/11/lists-dystopian-novels.html

2012 Chunkster Book Challenge

7 03 2012

I am joining the 2012 Chunkster challenge…and even though I’m late to the party…I’m still joining it earlier than I did last year. Oh, and for the record, I failed last year. I joined in July and only managed to read 3 Chunksters out of 8. Fingers crossed that 2012 will be a better year!

I’m going to be doing the Mor-book-ly Obese challenge, so I have to read 8 Chunksters and 3 of them must be 750 pages or more. All books over 750 pages have a star next to them. 

And here’s my tentative book list:

  1. Games of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (720 pages) review pending
  2. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (768 pages)* review pending
  3. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (973 pages) *review pending
  4. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (753 pages)* review pending
  5. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (1,040 pages)* started reading
  6. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (592 pages) review pending
  7. Outlander by Diana Gibaldon (850 pages)*
  8. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler (503 pages)
  9. The Pale King by David Foster Wallace (538 pages)
  10. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (985 pages)*
  11. The Stand by Stephen King (1000+ pages)* started reading

I’ve included 11 just in case I start reading one of them and realize that the chance of completing are slim to none.

Robin Becker’s Brains: a zombie memoir

1 11 2011

This was the most enjoyable zombie book I had ever read. Continuing with my talent of judging books by their covers, I spotted this book at my nearest Chapters location. It stood out to me as it had a picture of a brain on the cover and it clearly spelled out Brains at the top of the book. When things are so self-explanatory as that to me, I assume the book must be great. I don’t know – this isn’t some kind of rocket science. It’s just intuition. Add to the fact that I’ve noticed an influx of zombie-like things in pop culture recently (see Walking Dead, Resident Evil number I’ve-lost-count and World War Z starring Brad Pitt being turned into a movie) I figured a zombie memoir would be something new and refreshing.

I was right, it was really entertaining. The book follows a newly turned zombie who used to be a college professor and therefore still maintains his brain function to be able to write his thoughts down. His goal is to bring about a peaceful coexistence between humans and zombies. While most of the zombies around him are your usual run-of-the-mill zombies, he finds a few special ones and they form a rag-tag bunch and travel with a purpose – to meet their maker. What entails is a hilarious journey as you have to remember, they are still just zombies. They have limited movement, limited speech abilities, limited everything. It’s a very entertaining read.

5 out of 5 bookmarks

Stephen King’s Under the Dome

28 10 2011

Let me get one thing off my chest…I do not read Stephen King novels. I have read a couple in my time, but I’ve never become a fan that would then go on to read all his novels. That never happened. The books I had read were okay, but they never did hook me on him. And I’ve never read The Stand – just thought I’d add that as well. I don’t know how I even came upon Under the Dome or why I had decided to buy it, but the premise of the book sounded so odd that I couldn’t avoid giving it a try. Also, for some reason at that time, I really felt like being challenged by a 1000+ page book. All these factors came together at the same time and I decided to go for it and plunge into this Stephen King tome. By the way – this book is a heavyweight Chunkster. I had to read in awkward positions to make sure my wrists maintained the least amount of strain. But I also could not put the book down. It was an interesting balancing act and a good workout at the same time.

From the opening chapter, my attention was riveted by this book as King even included a beaver and what he was seeing and thinking before a giant clear dome came down on the town of Chester’s Mill and cut it off from the rest of the world…including cutting that beaver right in half. In those first chapters there is fatality upon fatality as people get used to their new restrictions – while the town’s second selectman, “Big Jim” Rennie, decides to turn the dome into an opportunity to gain control over the town for himself. I have to say…I’ve never disliked an antagonist as much as I disliked Rennie, and that speaks volumes for how well King wrote the character. He had qualities that we probably see in people in our everyday life and that made him all the more frightening and real. I could picture this kind of scenario happening in real life, despite how outlandish it was, and occurring in exactly the same way because King captured human nature so effortlessly.

This book was well-written, had excellent character development and was amazing for the fact that setting-wise everything could only take place in one small town under a dome. Despite the limitations, there was a whole town of characters to delve into and invest in. All in all, I really enjoyed this book.

4.5 out of 5 bookmarks

Justin Cronin’s The Passage

26 10 2011

Don’t let the size of The Passage turn you off from reading it. Justin Cronin’s dystopian epic is long but packed with lots of excitement. The Passage is by far, the best book I’ve read in 2011. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and at the same time, I never wanted it to end. In fact, once I got to the end and realized it was actually part of a trilogy, my lips upturned into a great big smile until I realized I would have to wait a year before the next book even came out. But at least I had something to look forward to! 

I remember having seen The Passage at Chapters for quite some time before I actually decided to commit and buy it. The original blue cover caught my eye – my book selection strategy is all about judging books by their covers; something I’ll have to delve into more detail with at a later time. But I walked into Chapters and saw the orange paperback cover and decided to pick the book up, and boy am I glad I did! 

I don’t want to actually spoil the novel for anyone, but basically it is about a virus that spreads throughout America. These carriers of the virus are vampiric-like in that they are sensitive to light and like to feed on blood. The actual virus was a government project meant to create a super soldier – it was tested on twelve death row inmates and a young girl named Amy NLN (No Last Name). The virus affects both parties differently, and as I’ve mentioned that the virus spreads, you can probably guess that The Twelve escape and help spread it. Amy, on the other hand, is saved by the FBI agent who had brought her to the project and they escape into the mountains to ride out the storm. I really don’t want to give away any more plot in this review, so I’ll just tell you if you like suspense and intrigue and if you like a story that doesn’t stagnate but constantly moves forward, then definitely give The Passage a chance. 

The novel is written in several parts and different time periods. It also has creative additions with certain parts showing written in email, newspaper columns and diary entries. Also, Cronin is in my opinion, very brave to suddenly introduce a whole slew of new characters in the middle of the book. I had just gotten used to the characters and had started enjoying certain ones over others when suddenly there was another 10+ to keep track of. At first, I really didn’t enjoy the change of pace, but soon, I was just as invested in this new cast as I had been with the other characters. Cronin does a good job at keeping things interesting but also providing enough detail and description for a reader to be able to picture exactly what he’s writing about.

 All in all, The Passage was a great read – I’m highly anticipating Cronin’s next installment in the trilogy and I’ve already passed The Passage on to several other readers. 

5 out of 5 bookmarks

November Resolutions

24 10 2011

I know its not technically November yet, but I need to make some resolutions and try to keep them. So far with my book challenges, I haven’t done too bad considering I work full-time and take 3 online university courses per semester as well. But I feel like I’m not doing well enough. I read during every lunch at work, but when I come home, there are several other responsibilities to take care of before I can get a book. And I’ve never been the type to read before bed because if the book is too good, I end up staying up way too late and not sleeping. And one thing you should know about me…I love to sleep. I love sleep a lot actually.

November Resolutions

  1. Blog more (try for twice a week)
  2. Speaking of blogging…write those book reviews for the challenges
  3. Spend more time with friends
  4. Date less
  5. Start working out again
  6. Sleep more!

Another thing I’ve been up to is online dating. If there’s another thing that definitely kills into reading time – it’s dating. Although, the whole experience has kind of got me to start blogging again. I think I may start blogging about some of the dates I’ve been on. Or at least the really bad ones. And there are definitely some that qualify.

On another note completely, I am obsessed with the new album of Epik High’s Tablo. It’s his first solo effort and I was not disappointed with it at all; despite all the people yelling sell out because of his signing to YG, I knew that his music would still stay his. Here is one of the single’s off his new album. It’s called Bad and I think the music video is really interesting – the song is called Bad and is about how certain relationships are not exactly good, but you can’t help loving the person anyway even though you’re hurting them at the same time. I think the video portrays this very literally but is still well done.

When I first started listening to korean pop, one of the groups that had the most profound effect on me was Epik High, who aren’t kpop at all. They are in fact a very legitimate hip-hop group. Tablo is the lead rapper and lyricist of the group and as the group is currently on hiatus he has decided now is the time to release a solo album. What’s even more impressive about this release is that its his first in two years, and in these past two years Tablo was ostracized by a group of Korean netizens (Internet citizens) who decided to question his Stanford degree. This may seem like a small problem but when Korean netizens decide to go after someone with a pitchfork, it usually leads to them targeting not just the object of their hatred but his family as well (and certain members of his family were fired from their jobs because netizens would constantly contact their employer until they got their way). An actual police investigation was launched in South Korea to prove whether Tablo actually did have a Stanford degree as he claimed and the police investigation showed the leader of the online witch hunt against Tablo was some 50 year old businessman living in Chicago.

It was hard reading about the tough stuff he went through as he really is an artist I admire and his music makes me wish that I understood Korean so that I could really grasp the full effect of his music. But I’ll settle for listening to it, not understanding it and loving it anyway.