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Showing posts from 2010

Happy New Year! (and to new reading resolutions)

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First off, I want to wish everybody who is reading this a happy new year and that hopefully things will be better for you and yours for the coming year.  Of course nobody knows what the future holds, but I suppose one can hope that things will be better, if only slightly.

Onto my reading resolutions.  I make both general and reading resolutions each year and hopefully try to hold true to it.  And as usual, I fall short.  But I hope with this entry I can get my reading goals accomplished as much as possible.

My first one is to read 50 books for the year.  This has be a resolution that I have had for the past 4 years and have fallen short every year.   I managed to read at least 38 books this year, which for me is actually quite a good number, considering I had times where I wasn't reading much or didn't read much at all or didn't feel like reading.

Related to my first goal, my second goal this year to read 15,000 pages.  I believe I got close one year, but this year I reall…

The Gift - Richard Paul Evans

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Title: The Gift
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Pages: 335
Published: 2007
Genre: Christmas
Rating: 4/5

Nathan Hurst hated Christmas.  For the rest of the world it was a day of joy and celebration; for Nathan it was simply a reminder of the event that destroyed his childhood until a snowstorm, a cancelled flight, and an unexpected meeting with a young mother and her very special son would show him that Christmas is indeed the season of miracles.

Reason that I read this book: For the 2010 Holiday Reading Challenge and the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge


Thoughts: It was a nice diversion from the heavier material that I had been reading and took me a couple of days to finish.  I really enjoyed the book and was one of the better ones of his that I have read this Christmas season.  It was an interesting premise and I quite liked it.


Bottom line: Not disappointed by the book, in fact I was impressed more than I expected.  A lovely book.

A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth - Charles Dickens

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Title: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth
Author: Charles Dickens
Pages: 304 pages
Published: 2004
Genre: Classic, Christmas
Rating: 4/5

Generations of readers have been enchanted by Dickens’s A Christmas Carol—the most cheerful ghost story ever written, and the unforgettable tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s moral regeneration. Written in just a few weeks, A Christmas Carol famously recounts the plight of Bob Cratchit, whose family finds joy even in poverty, and the transformation of his miserly boss Scrooge as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

From Scrooge’s “Bah!” and “Humbug!” to Tiny Tim’s “God bless us every one!” A Christmas Carol shines with warmth, decency, kindness, humility, and the value of the holidays. But beneath its sentimental surface, A Christmas Carol offers another of Dickens’s sharply critical portraits of a brutal society, and an inspiring celebration of the possibility of spiritual, psychological, and …

The Kitchen House - Kathleen Grissom

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Title: The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Published: 2010
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.

Reason that I read this book:  I read it for a challenge on Goodreads.  I had intended to read it in November, but got around to it this past month.

Thoughts:  The sto…

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



I'm no sympathizer with theives, but sometimes I feel bad for them for succumbing to a momentary lapse of judgment or, at least, of conscience.  Oftentimes they have bigger problems, an addiction or a bad debt.  Most disturbing are the sociopaths, unencumbered by conscience or guilt, just taking what they feel entitled to.  These people feel no remorse -- only rage at me for getting in their way.  In fact, they usually blame me for their problems.  In their twisted se…

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Once I had learned o f Miss Martha's sorry circumstances, after I knew that she had asked for me, for Isabelle, I felt compelled to see her and to have her see me.  I grew convinced that if she saw me, she would become well again.
       ~p. 188, The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Maus 1 - Art Speigleman

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Title: Maus 1: A Survivor's Tale: My father bleeds history
Author: Art Spiegleman
Published 1986
Pages: 159
Genre: Memoir, Non-fiction, Graphic Novels
Rating: 4/5

Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiarity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive.

Reason I read this book: Read this book because I am doing it for a few challenges on Goodreads.


Thoughts: I really liked it.  I hadn't read the book in 9 years and forgot how powerful the book is.  While it is a lot like Holocaust survivor stories, it isn't a lot like them.  There is an uniqueness that the story is told and how it is expressed.  It is a brilliant book.  I probably sh…

Revolution - Jennifer Donnelly

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Title: Revolution Author: Jennifer Donnelly Published: 2010 Pages: 472 Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Rating: 4/5
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She's angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she's about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights' most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn't want-and couldn't escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine's diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There's comfort and distraction for Andi in the journa…

A-Z Wednesday

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A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Reading at the Beach.  To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in the comments.


The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Paperback; 352 pages
Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Language: English
ISBN - 10:0375714839
ISBN - 13:9780375714832

Blurb:
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.


My review can be found here.

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

It was during the First World War that a silent pilgrimage took its first steps with the borders of this country.  The fever rose without warning or notice or much in the way of understanding by those outside its reach.  It would not end until the 1970s and would set into motion changes in the North and South that no one, not even the people doing the leaving, could have imagined at the start of it or dreamed would take nearly a lifetime to play out.
            ~ p. 8&9, Th…

Literary Blog Hop

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What is one of your literary pet peeves? Is there something that writers do that really sets your teeth on edge?  Be specific, and give examples if you can.

One thing that really sets me off is if the writing is bad and predictable.  Nothing sets me off if the writing is bad and it seems as though there is no flow to the story.  It feels like the author is trying to hard to get a story across or that the author is either really too interested in the subject and clearly doesn't have a sense for what the reader may think.  There is nothing like reading a book, or a section in a book, that feels tedious and unejoyable.  Another thing I have a pet peeve with is when an author goes on and on and on, when the point has already made several pages ago.  It feels like the author is trying to get a point across too much and at times makes me feel like not reading them again, even if they are a good writer.  I want a book to envelope me and take me away to another place, not make me so dist…

Blog Hop

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This week's question is:
 Do you have an under notice author that you think we should all know about?

David Bergen. He's a Canadian author that has written several books, including The Time Inbetween.  From what I have heard, the book is really good.



"What is the thing you like most about reading book blogs? Is it the reviews, author guest notes, articles, giveaways, or something else entirely?"

What I like is the fact that the reviews are of books that I probably would have never read.  I get to discover new books, books that I wouldn't thought about trying.

The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

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Title: The Complete Persepolis
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Published: 2007
Pages: 352
Genre: Graphic novels, memoir
Rating: 3/5

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.


Reason that I read this book: I read this book because I had really enjoyed reading Blankets by Craig Thompson and also because I wanted to read another graphic novel (I am currently up to 4 with the completion of this …

Grace - Richard Paul Evans

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Title: Grace
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Published: 2008
Pages: 316
Genre: Christmas
Rating: 4/5

She was my first kiss. My first love. She was a little match girl who could see the future in the flame of a candle. She was a runaway who taught me more about life than anyone has before or since. And when she was gone my innocence left with her.

As I begin to write, a part of me feels as if I am awakening something best left dead and buried, or at least buried. We can bury the past, but it never really dies. The experience of that winter has grown on my soul like ivy climbing the outside of a home, growing until it begins to tear and tug at the brick and mortar.

I pray I can still get the story right. My memory, like my eyesight, has waned with age. Still, there are things that become clearer to me as I grow older. This much I know: too many things were kept secret in those days. Things that never should have been hidden. And things that should have.

Reason that I read this …

Booking Through Thursday

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Booking Through Thursday has posted an interesting question:
Do you ever crave reading crappy books?

Not really.

A-Z Wednesday

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Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!

A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Reading at the Beach.  To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in the comments.



The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans
Blurb:
Dear Reader,
When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave our class the intriguing (if somewhat macabre) assignment of writing our own obituaries. Oddly, I don''t remember much of what I wrote about my life, but I do remember how I died: in first place on the final lap of the Daytona 500. At the time, I hadn''t considered writing as an occupation, a field with a remarkably low on-the-job casualty rate.

What intrigues me most about Mrs. Johnson''s assignment is the opportunity she gave us to confront our own legacy. How do we want to be remembered? That question has motivated our species since the beginning of time: from building pyramids to putting our names on skyscrapers.
As I began to write this book, I had two objectives: First, …

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Phanton slowly, gravely, silently approached.  When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which the Spirit move it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.
~ pg. 67, A Christmas Carol, The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens

Alice I Have Been - Melanie Benjamin

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Title: Alice I Have Been
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Published: 2010
Pages: 345
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way …

Time to Relax read-a-thon

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I've been a bad host. I can't seem to read today; almost like I can't get myself into a book today, or do much at all.  I hope you understand and I am really sorry.

Time to Relax read-a-thon

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Good morning.  Hope you had a great sleep and are waiting to go.  I realize that this post is a little late.  I had a late night due to the fact that I watched TV a little too late last night.  Anyways, for those that have started, I hope you are snuggled with your favourite books somewhere in your home.   I am going to send some money to the local Christmas Bureau sometime this week and then the week before Christmas Bureau bring down something to their offices (probably a game of somesort).  Hope you are having fun.

2010 Virtual Advent Tour

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My blog post is going to about a Christmas tradition that most years my family does.

I don't know when it started, but it was when I was a kid that my dad recorded an airing of the black&white version of the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol.  It got to the point that the VHS tape that my dad had got a little warped and so he would try to tape it on Christmas Eve so that we could watch the movie on Christmas Day.  I don't know why it had to be the B&W version, but I guess one of the scenes was a little more creepier than in the colourized version and so it was the B&W version that we have watched.  My dad likes the scene with the third ghost so much that when he got a dark green housecoat one year, he mimicked the third ghost

One Christmas, about 5 or 6 years ago, I was in a local video/music store just looking around one afternoon and found a redone version of A Christmas Carol in B&W on DVD.  I let my dad record the B&W version that was playing o…

Literary Blog Hop

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This week's question is:
What is your favorite poem and why?

I don't know why, but I like the poem Remember by Christina Rossetti.

I suppose it had something to do with the fact that it talks about moving on and not to be sad about one's passing.  While the poem is morbid in nature, it does have a rather positive spin on death.  Maybe it was due to the fact that I was getting out of William Butler Yeats phase and needed something a little more positive spin on things.  It was also just a poem that appealed to me in general.

Another poem I particularly like is Dylan Thomas' poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.  I honestly don't know why I like, but probably because its one of the first pieces of poetry that I read that wasn't a typical romantic poem.  It sort of goes against of how poetry should be and expresses how many people really feel about death and that we try to fight death as much as possible and deny its existence for ourselves.

Blog Hop

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Friday's question is....
What do you do besides reading/reviewing as a hobby?

I follow sports, mainly the NFL and the NHL.  I honestly don't know why I became such a sports junkie, but I think it had something to do with the fact that I was exposed to sports on a regular basis when I was quite young.  In fact, when I was in elementary school, I came home one day and told my mom that we had sung the "hockey song" in school that day.  My mom apparently was confused and eventually figured out that the "hockey song" was in fact the Canadian national anthem (I had probably heard it on a broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday and just assumed it was the "hockey song").  My favourite teams?  From the NFL, I would have to say it is the Seattle Seahawks and from the NHL, it would be the Vancouver Canucks and the Montréal Canadiens.


"What very popular and hyped book in the blogosphere did you NOT enjoy and how did you feel about posting your r…

Booking Through Thursday

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Booking Through Thursday has posted an interesting question: How about First Editions? Are they something special? Or “just another book” to you?
 I personally don't really care whether a book is a first edition or not, but then again, it depends on the book.  The most important thing about the book is whether I enjoy the book or not.

A-Z Wednesday

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Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!
A-Z Wednesday is hosted by Vicki at Reading At The Beach. To join in, visit her blog for the guidelines and leave your link in a comment.

Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
Blurb: For eighteen years Fran Benedetto kept her secret, hid her bruises. She stayed with Bobby because she wanted her son to have a father, and because, in spite of everything, she loved him. Then one night, when she saw the look on her ten-year-old son's face, Fran finally made a choice-and ran for both their lives.
Now she is starting over in a city far from home, far from Bobby. In this place she uses a name that isn't hers, watches over her son, and tries to forget. For the woman who now calls herself Beth, every day is a chance to heal, to put together the pieces of her shattered self. And every day she waits for Bobby to catch up to her. Bobby always said he would never let her go, and despite the ingenuity of her escape, Fran Benedetto is certain of on…

Finding Noel - Richard Paul Evans

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Title: Finding Noel
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Published: 2006
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction, Christmas
Rating: 3/5

The Christmas season is supposed to be full of joy, but not for Mark Smart. Life had dealt him one blow after another until one snowy November night, when he finds a beautiful young woman who will change his life forever. Macy Wood has little memory of her birth parents, and memories she'd rather forget of her adopted home. A Christmas ornament inscribed with the word "Noel" is the only clue to the little sister she only vaguely remembers, a clue that will send her and Mark on a journey to reclaim her past, and her family.

Reason I read this book: For the 2010 Holiday Reading Challenge and the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge


Thoughts: I had read this book about 4 years ago and actually liked it.  Now, I don't know if I like it as much.  I still enjoyed the story and read things I hadn't realized had happened in the book.  Still was an e…

Time to Relax read-a-thon

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I hope you are eagerly anticipating my first readathon this weekend, I know I am.  For those that are attending, I want to let you know that I am hoping to use #timetorelaxreadathon instead of #timetorelax.  I realize that it is a longer hashtag, but I feel that it would be easier using the longer hashtag to see how everybody is doing rather than trying to muddle through other postings.

Can't wait to see you all there. Have a great evening and week and I look forward to see you Saturday and Sunday :)

Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

It was only when I was so full I could hardly breathe that I stopped eating.  It was only then I realized the servants were gone, the music had stopped, and the candles were guttering.  And then it was too late, for suddenly he was near me.  Behind me.  So close, I could smell the lamb in his teeth.
~ pg. 231, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Thankfully Reading Weekend: Wrap Up Post

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This weekend was a wash, as life seemed to creep in more than I wanted to.   As a result, I didn't get as much reading as I had hoped to, primarily due to the fact that a couple of things creeped into my schedule, namely a hockey game that I didn't plan on attending and an hour doing some clothes shopping that I didn't intend on doing.  I only managed to read for a couple of hours on Sunday and only got one book done.  Sunday was no better, as I had a bunch of things I wanted to get done, even though I could have probably and should have done them on Saturday.  I hope that I can get away more to host my own reading weekend next weekend, but I don't really see next weekend as busy as it was this past weekend.  If it is,  then I am going to scream!

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

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Title:  Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: 2010
Pages: 372
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High-from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death-and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Reason I read this book: For a reading challenge over on Goodreads, which I have subsequently gave up on.

Thoughts: It was definitely a book that needs to be read a chapter at a time, slowly going through the…

Thankfully Reading Weekend: Mini-Challenge #3

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The third mini-challenge of the Thankfully Reading weekend asks what reading community we’re most thankful for.

The reading community that I am most thankful for is Books on the Nightstand community.  The reason being is that even though I wasn't reading a lot for the better part of the past year, it was able to keep me engaged in why I love reading.  I love listening to the podcasts and when my life was crazy as anything, I was able to make sure that I was still engaged with the process of reading, despite the fact that I wasn't reading much.   And when I was able to get myself out my reading funk, I had some amazing books to read.

Just a reminder that I am hosting the Time-to-Relax readathon next weekend (Dec. 4 & 5).  You can find out more information by clicking on the tag underneath my information.  Hope you can join us at #timetorelax next weekend.

Literary Blog Hop

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This week's question is:

What makes a contemporary novel a classic? 
Discuss a book which you think fits the category of ‘modern classics’ and explain why. 


A very interesting question because it is very subjective question and is dependent on what readers view as being a modern classic. What one may think is a modern classic, another may think its not a modern classic. But what I think makes a contemporary novel a classic is that it is a work that has something of value to say that is able to draw attention to human problems and that condemn or applaud certain points of view. It also has effective language that is suitable to the message that the author is trying to convey and allows the reader to believe that what happened to the characters was inevitable and could not have been prevented. The story should also have a universal appeal; that is, the story should hold meaning or appeal to a wide variety of readers and have lasting interest to readers long beyond the initial app…

Thankfully Reading Weekend: TBR

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Here is a photo of my TBR for today and tomorrow:

Thankfully Reading Weekend: Mini-Challenge #2

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The second challenge for Thankfully Reading Weekend is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. She asks us to:

“Share a photograph of your TBR pile or at least one bookshelf.”
This is one of the 4 bookshelves that are in my walk-in-closet.  This one is of my fiction books.  My dad took out the shelving that was intended for hanging clothes and put my books in here instead, since I had basically nowhere to put my books that I have purchased over the years.  There are three other bookshelves in the room that hold my DVD sets, my non-fiction books, my odds and ends books, and my books that are in a series.  I have books scattered about my room and apartment.

Thankfully Reading Mini-Challenge #1: Thanks for this Book!

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I haven't done much reading aside from blogs so far during this Thankfully Reading Weekend - tomorrow will be my big day for that - but I'm taking part in the first mini-challenge anyway. The assignment: Write a post about the book you are most thankful for.  This could be a book released this year or twenty years ago.  Your post should include why you are thankful for that book.  There are many books that  I am thankful for and probably would take me a long time to state them all and the reasons as to why.  But I suppose the book that I am the most thankful for is Jane Eyre.  While it may seem slightly cliched, it is probably one of the first books that I feel in love with as a young adult.  Okay, I was a young teenager at the time (about 13), but it was probably the first book that truly entranced me and made me really love reading.  There had been many times I had tried to read a classic, but when I started reading Jane Eyre, I really became enthralled with the sto…