Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WWW Wednesdays (Oct. 31)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions:

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you'll be reading next?


Answers:
1) What are you currently reading?

• Anna Karenina
• Les Miserables
• Home
• All Things New
• Mansfield Park 
• The Taming of the Shrew


2) What did you recently finish reading?
• Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (review)
• Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (review)


3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
I will likely be starting The Hobbit this coming week.


First Chapter - First Paragaph(s) - Tuesday Intros (Oct. 30)

This week's choice:

Originally published May 2012

They rose up like men.  We saw them. Like men they stood.

We shouldn't have been anywhere near that place.  

Teaser Tuesdays (Oct. 30)

Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  Anybody 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!

There were very few passengers, yet Frank dutifully sat in the last seat, trying to shrink his six-foot-three-inch body and holding the sandwich bag close.  From the windows, through the fur of snow, the landscape became more melancholy when the sun successfully brightened the quiet trees, unable to speak without their leaves.

~ p. 19, Home by Toni Morrison

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Salon - Almost there...

As I write this, many of you will already be into Monday and in fact many of you will be into Monday when you read this, but its still Sunday for about another hour or so, so I figured I would quickly write something.

This past week saw me get a little bit closer to the end of Les Miserables and Anna Karenina.  This past Tuesday, saw me have a day off of work due to the fact that the photographer needed the library to do the retakes, even though I had to make up the day later on in the week (I only work 2 hours due to the fact that I am limited to the amount of income I can make additionally to the disability cheque I receive from the government).  Anyways, I was able to get large portions of Anna Karenina and Les Miserables completed to the point that I am expecting to finishing the books by the end of the year.  Its been a long slog and am quite pleased that I have gotten through some very dry parts in both books and the end is in sight and I believe I can get those two books done, along with the other books that I have on my TBR list at the moment and getting 60 books completed by the end of the year.

If I finish those two books before I take my Christmas break, I am going to go out for a really nice dinner.  I don't know where I will go to do the celebrating, but I know that I am going to get a nice meal as my reward.

Now if I could get some motivation for finishing the final 40% of those books....

Reviews:
1) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (review)
2) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (review)


Musing Mondays (Oct. 29)

This week's musing asks:

Do you have people online that you often discuss the books you read with? Not just book groups, but individual readers who share the same taste in books?  If so, what do you like best about this? If not, do you wish did?

Answer: No I don't have anybody that I discuss the books I am reading online and while I sometimes would like to have somebody to discuss the books that I am reading with online, I actually prefer talking about them to friends that I think might enjoy the particular books.  I find that sometimes online discussions can be a little short or take longer than if they were in person.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Oct. 29)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey, in which we share what we've read and reviewed and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

What I have reviewed this week:
1) Gone Girl (review)
2) Wuthering Heights (review)

What I am planning on reading this week:
• Anna Karenina
• Les Miserables
• Home
• All Things New
• Mansfield Park 
• The Taming of the Shrew

Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Brontë
Pages: 384
Published: 1985 (Originally published 1847; my actual copy is different then one pictured; am just using this photo because I have it in my album)
Genre: Classic, Historical fiction, Gothic
Challenges: The Classics Club, readalong through Unputdownables, Historical Challenge
Edition: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Description: It's the story of Heathcliff, an orphan who falls in love with a girl above his class, loses her, and devotes the rest of his life to wreaking revenge on her family. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: I first read this book when I was about 14 years old and at the time, I couldn't make sense of it and by the end of the book, I was wanting to throw the book across the room and probably because of the fact that I was unable to get myself to read the book again.  Of course I was able to understand it more after watching the BBC miniseries that came out a few years ago, I was able to make more sense of the story and the readalong that I participated through Unputdownables really helped me understand the story that much more.  And based on this last reading of the book, I was able to give the book a full appreciation of really how good the book was and it makes me wonder that if Emily had been able to live for a long time, how good her work could have become.  Maybe she would have become a one-hit wonder, or maybe she would have been a prolific writer, like her sister Charlotte, who wrote a number of well-known books through out her lifetime.

One thing that I liked about the book was that the book was basically told like a story that is being related to another individual.  I realize that this is stating the obvious, but understanding this fact, helps with the reading of the book, because you don't see Mr. Lockwood that much and hear mostly Nelly's retelling of the story between the two families that clearly dominate the area.  Another thing that I like about the book is that its a very complex novel, despite the fact that it really is a pretty simple story line. And that Emily Bronte is able to bring out complex emotions in not only her characters that are so vivid for a number of reasons, but also complex emotions in those that read the book.  Its almost a love-hate relationship with the book; there are characters that I absolutely adore and want more of (Cathy Linton [not her mom, who is also named Catherine]) and there are characters that I really do come to loathe (Heathcliff and Isabelle Linton-Heathcliff and possibly Edgar Linton).  

There also something extremely dark that kept me wanting to find out what it was and it felt like you got absorbed into that world, just like Cathy [the daughter] did after coming to Wuthering Heights. I think what Bronte does effectively is create a world that is both foreboding, but also inviting, almost like she is seducing the reader to continue on with the book, as though there is something forbidden behind the front doors of Wuthering Heights.

Bottom line: If you enjoy books that have a gothic feel to them, you will enjoy this.  I would say that if you are new to the classics, you may want to hold off on the book for a bit, as it is a bit complex and maybe something lighter would be easier to digest.

Rating:  4/5

Pages for 2012: 19265

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall into Reading 2012 - Update #1

I can hardly believe that a month has gone by already.  Out where I am, we have only had our typical fall weather for about a couple of weeks and already I am disliking the cold and the rain; my body doesn't seem to want to get adjusted to it and nor does my apartment for that matter, as it feels cold all the time, but only seems to get warm in the hour or so before I wish to go to bed.  Its very frustrating, but then I think and realize that its less than 2 months until Christmas and I need to probably get cracking on getting my gifts purchased, as I am planning on getting my gifts online again this year, well at least most of them...

Anyways, the reading hasn't been going too great, although I have managed to get 60% of Les Miserables and Anna Karenina completed and its a real possibility to get them completed before the end of the calendar year.  I have finished a few of books since the start of the readathon (one I put the review of the book the day of the start of Fall into Reading), with only one of them being on my list (I have another book that I am a few chapters away from completing and I should have that done tomorrow).  I am hoping to have a few more books completed in the next month, but depending on how much I focus on Les Miserables and Anna Karenina, it may not be much.  Hope everybody is having a great time.

Reviews:
1) A Race to Splendor (review)
2) A Farewell to Arms (review)
3) Quiet (review)
4) Gone Girl (review)

Talk to you guys next month.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
File Size (Pages): 2113 KB (467)
Published: 2012
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Fiction
Challenges: Support Your Library
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts:  Wow; what an amazing book!  It took me awhile to get going with this book, but once I was able to get into the storyline the other day,  I was really hooked with the story.  I can't really say a lot about the story without giving too much away, but I can say that once you get your way through the first part of the book, you will be hooked and I can see why a lot of readers like this one.  It not only has the literary aspect that I really like, it also has an excellent mystery attached to it.  I will say this: one of the characters in the book must have been inspired by Nancy Grace and the other shows that have spawned off of hers. 

What I also liked about the book is that the book really did play with my emotions and threw me for an enjoyable loop. I don't know that if this book will turn me into a fan of the mystery/suspense/thriller novel, but it certainly has make me open to the book.

Bottom line: I think most readers would enjoy this book, as the author gives each of the main characters enough sympathy that you root for them...to a point.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pages for 2012:  18881


Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Oct. 22)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey, in which we share what we've read and reviewed and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

Its been sometime since I have posted something for this meme, but here I go...

What I reviewed this week (or the past month and a half):
1) A Race to Splendor (reveiw)
2) A Farewell to Arms (review)
3) Quiet (review)

What I am planning on reading this week:
• Gone Girl
• Wuthering Heights
• Bleak House
• Anna Karenina
• Les Miserables
• A Team of Rivals

Hope everybody has a great reading week!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Musing Mondays (Oct. 22)

This week's musing asks:

Do you ever get crushes on fictional characters?  Name one (or a few), and tell what you liked...

I can't recall of having crushes on fictional characters, at least those that are in books.  TV is another matter.

Sunday Salon - Just a little something

Just wanted to say hi.  I don't have a lot to say this week, except that I have some very weird obsessions.  Take yesterday morning for instance.  I don't know why, but I was up at around 5:38 am and it made me start thinking about some dried thyme that I had been hankering for.  No I didn't want to eat it straight out of the bottle, but I wanted to refill my bottle and on Friday, I was unable to find anything at the store.  True, I didn't know what it was called, but honestly, I couldn't find a bottle of it.  I was able to find the ground stuff, but I wanted the dried leaves.  I had about a tablespoon left in the bottle that came with the spice rack I had gotten a few years ago.

So when I woke up on Saturday morning, I searched the internet  to find what it was called, as I did not know what it was called.  I knew that I didn't want the ground stuff, of which I already have, but I honestly prefer having the dried stuff, as the stuff smells amazing when you bake it with something like Shepherd's Pie.  Anyways to make a long story short, I was able to find something and went to the store at about 6:30 am to purchase it, only to find it at the grocery store shelves that I regularly go to at about $2 less than what I paid for at the store that I purchased it at.

Reading wise, the week wasn't that great, although I got Doris Goodwin's amazing biography on Lincoln this past Tuesday and am looking forward to reading it.  I am hoping that this coming week is much better than last week.  And the blogging wasn't that great either...

Reviews:
1) Quiet by Susan Cain (review)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quiet - Susan Cain

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
File Size (Pages): 2099 KB (352)
Published: 2012
Genre: Non-fiction, Pop Psychology
Challenges: Support Your Local Library
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: I quite liked the book and felt that the most important part of the book was the last half of the book.  There were things in the first couple of chapters that didn't sit well with me and I disagreed with, but as I went through the book, there were more and more things that I could easily identify with.  I suppose as a bookworm I should have expected that, but I didn't realize how much I was able to identify with what the author was writing about.  Since I was reading this in e-book format through my phone and through my Kobo Vox, I was unable to write the amount of notes that would have wanted to as a result, but I did like the fact that Ms. Cain used a number of examples of different types of introversion and how people who are introverts are able to exist in a extrovert world.

Bottom line:  I would recommend this book probably for most people, because whether we know it or not we interact with introverts, whether through our families or our work places or just about going about our daily lives.

Rating:  4/5

Pages for 2012: 18414


Sunday Salon - 24 #readathon post-mortem


Due to circumstances that were beyond my control,  I was unable to conduct Dewy's 24 readathon in what I consider a proper reading area.  So I spent most of the readathon while traveling, which actually was great because I was able to get a lot of reading done due to the lack of distractions available to me; basically no TV or videos were available for me to use during the day nor did I have other things I would do while at home.

Anyways,  I read three books during the readathon.  I read the section of Wuthering Heights for the Unputdownables readalong, about 6.5 hours worth of Les Miserables (which got Vol. 3 of the book completed for me), and a little over half-way through Book 4 of Anna Karenina completed.  Overall, I am pretty pleased with what I was able to complete during the course of the readathon and am looking forward to April, when I hope that I will be able to finally do the 24 hours...

Got only one review done this past week, but not the book I completed on Friday evening.

Reviews:
1) A Farewell to Arms (review)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

24 Hour #Readathon reading list

In about 5 hours, Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon will kick off for its October edition.  I am not going to make it to the kick-off, as I need to get as much sleep as I can, as I am spending most of the day in a car traveling.  But I will be doing at least 9 hours of the read-a-thon (its a 9 hour trip from where I am to where I am going) as I travel.  Most of the read-a-thon will be done on my e-readers and through the downloaded podcasts I have gotten through LibriVox, but I will be reading some more contemporary pieces as well.

I don't plan on updating my blog throughout the read-a-thon, as I will be in transit for most of the day.  So I will be updating through my main twitter handle @melissawiebe.  If you want to see my updates, you can find it there.  And because of the fact that I won't have access to some of my books, I will be updating my goodreads account occasionally.  I hope to have a conclusion post up either late Tuesday evening or sometime Wednesday.  I know its late, but with the lack of books that I have on hand for page counts, I will have to rely on updating my twitter account as I feel needed and there will be a lot of finished how ever many chapters I completed during the hour of reading.

Here are the books that I plan on reading during the Read-a-thon later today:
• Call the Midwife
• Gone Girl
• Les Miserables
• Wuthering Heights
• Anna Karenina
• Bleak House

Happy Reading!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

#bookbloggerhop (Oct.12-18)

This week, the Book Blogger Hop is going off to Soon Remembered Tales and the question for this week is:
 With Autumn upon us and Halloween drawing near, what books remind you of fall? What ones do you enjoy reading that are about autumn?
I don't really have one book that I read that reminds me of fall, but I tend to read books that are darker or set in areas that are cooler.  I basically read a lot of classics during this time period.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - Burn

Booking Through Thursday asks this week:

If your house was burning down and you could save just one book from your collection … what would it be?
This is a difficult question to answer, but if I had to answer truthfully, I would have to say it would be the leather-bound copy of The Secret Garden that has colour plates in the book.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway

Title: A Farewell to Arms
Author: Ernest Hemingway
File Size (Pages): 568 KB (332)
Published: 2012 (First published 1929)
Genre: Classics, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Challenges: The Classics Club
Edition: E-book
Source: Purchased

Description: Set in the waning days of the First World War, A Farewell to Arms (1929) is the epic love story of American ambulance driver Frederic Henry and British V.A. D. Catherine Barkley, drawn together yet torn apart by the tides of war. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: It was okay.  While I liked the overall story of the book, I just felt that Hemingway's use of voice wasn't my style and felt that the interaction between Frederic and Catherine was basically surface level type of conversation and that they really had no depth to their relationship.  And if it weren't for my book club group reading the book, I probably wouldn't have read it.  Its not that its a bad book, its just that I felt that there wasn't really anything deep between them and felt that Frederic's relationship with the men that he interacted with on a regular basis was more realistic than what he had with Catherine.  Then again, Hemingway is hard to understand and that it was my first venture into anything he had written and hopefully I will read another book of his.

Bottom line: I would recommend this book to those that are fans of writers of the 1920s and 1930s, basically if you are a fan of Hemingway's contemporaries.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2012: 18062



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Classics Club - Reading the Classics

For October, The Classics Club has asked:

Why are you reading the classics?

Honestly, I don't really know why.  I think part of the reason is that I want to give myself a bit of a challenge, but also because I enjoy reading and I have always enjoyed reading the classics and several of the books that I wish to read at some point are classics.
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