Showing posts from August, 2013

Wives and Daughters - Elizabeth Gaskell

Title: Wives and Daughters
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Pages (File Size): 404 (1103 KB)
Published: 2012 (Originally published 1865)
Challenges: The Classics Club
Genre: Classics, Fiction, Literature
Edition: E-book
Source: Personal

Description: A classic 19th century romantic novel that addresses the constraints imposed by society between individuals of professional versus aristocratic social classes. (via

Thoughts: This was my second book that I have read that was authored by Mrs. Gaskell and was very different from that first one, Mary Barton, which was primarily a tale of life in Manchester during the height of the Industrial Revolution.  This book was very much like Jane Austen's books, in that it was situated in a middle-class, genteel provincial town about 20 years after the publication of Austen's books.  The book does feel like Emma in the sense that it deals with a young woman of marriageable age who would be considered to be genteel and the town seems t…

Emma - Jane Austen

Title: Emma
Author: Jane Austen
Pages: 512
Published: 2003 (originally 1815)
Challenges: Austen in August, Chunkster, Classics Club
Genre: Classics, Fiction, Literature
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description:I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.'

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work. (via Goodreads)
Thoughts: Emma is not my favourite Austen, nor do I think most…

Dearie - Bob Spitz

Title: Dearie: The remarkable life of Julia Child
Author: Bob Spitz
Pages (File Size): 576 (7530 KB)
Published: 2012
Challenges: E-Book, Foodies
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
Edition: E-Book
Source: Library

Description: It’s rare for someone to emerge in America who can change our attitudes, our beliefs, and our very culture. It’s even rarer when that someone is a middle-aged, six-foot three-inch woman whose first exposure to an unsuspecting public is cooking an omelet on a hot plate on a local TV station.  And yet, that’s exactly what Julia Child did.  The warble-voiced doyenne of television cookery became an iconic cult figure and joyous rule-breaker as she touched off the food revolution that has gripped America for more than fifty years.

Now, in Bob Spitz’s definitive, wonderfully affectionate biography, the Julia we know and love comes vividly — and surprisingly — to life.  In Dearie, Spitz employs the same skill he brought to his best-selling, critically acclaimed book…

A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

Title: A Game of Thrones (Song of Fire and Ice #1)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Pages: 837
Published: 2011 (originally published by 1996)
Challenges: Off the Shelf, Chunkster, Embarrassment of Riches, Tea &  Books, TBR Pile
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Sta…

The Dinner - Herman Koch

Title: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Pages (File Size): 304 (2376 KB)
Published: 2013 (first published 2009)
Challenges: E-Book
Genre: Fiction,  Mystery, Literary Fiction
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse -- the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility a…

The Life and Times of Call the Midwife - Heidi Thomas

Title: The Life and Times of Call the Midwife: the official companion to Season One and Two
Author: Heidi Thomas
Pages (File Size): 288 (125596)
Published: 2012
Challenges: E-Book
Genre: Non-Fiction, Movie Tie-In
Edition: E-Book
Source: Library

Description: The real stories, lives and dramas behind the smash hit BBC seriesCall the Midwifewhich premieres on PBS September 30, 2012.

The official companion to seasons one and two,The Life and Times of Call the Midwife, gives fans a deeper insight into the period, the stories and the characters, and howCall the Midwife,based on the bestselling memoirs by Jennifer Worth, was brought to the screen.

With never before seen photographs taken on set as well as unique sketches and exclusive interviews and anecdotes, this book truly takes you behind the scenes. Discover the hidden secrets of the nurses and nuns of Nonnatus House and delve deeper into the historical context of the series with chapters detailing birth, health, faith, fashion, beauty, s…

The Paris Wife - Paula McLain

Title: The Paris Wife
Author: Paula McLain
Pages (File Size): 368 (4043 KB)
Published: 2011
Challenges: E-Book, Historical Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction
Edition: E-Book
Source: Library

Description: No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view - that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her." (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I really quite liked this book and found it was something that I was unable to put down.  In additi…

What's On Your Nightstand? (August 27)

Its been two months since I last did this, but I have been reading quite a bit, even though I didn't get as much as I would have liked to get done during the summer months.

Here are the books that I completed and reviewed this past summer:
Where'd You Go Bernadette
The Chalice
The Baker's Daughter
The Buddha in the Attic
Twelfth Night
The Sandcastle Girls
Mr. Churchill's Secretary

Here are the books that I have completed, but need to review (hopefully in the next day or two):
• The Paris Wife
• The Life and Times of Call the Midwife
• The Dinner
• A Game of Thrones
• Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Here are the books that I am working on this coming month:
• Emma
• Sense and Sensibility
• The Thorn Birds
• War & Peace
• Moby Dick
• Villette
• The Lady of the Rivers

With summer winding down and work starting up again next week (I work in an elementary school), I don't know how much time I will get to read, but with a sore ankle that doe…

Mr. Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia MacNeal

Title: Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope #1)
Author: Susan Elia MacNeal
Pages (File size): 384 pages (2278KB)
Published: 2012
Challenges: E-Book, Historical Fiction
Genre: Mystery, Historical Ficiton
Edition: E-Book
Source: Library

Description:  London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes undergro…

The Sandcastle Girls - Chris Bohjalian

Title: The Sandcastle Girls
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Pages (File size): 304 (2430 KB)
Published: 2012
Challenges: E-Book, Historical Fiction
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Edition: E-Book
Source: Library

Description:This spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria, in 1915 and Bronxville, New York, in 2012—a sweeping historical love story steeped in the author’s Armenian heritage, making it his most personal novel to date.
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke College, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The First World War is spreading across Europe, and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There, Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo to join the British Army in Egypt, he begins to write…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (August 26)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is hosted byShelia 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:
I got Dearie by Bob Spitz and A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin completed, but alas with Bout of Books, I didn't get any of my reviews posted that have been piling up.  But the hope is that this final week of summer vacation I can finally get back into more of a routine and with me still recovering from a foot injury and not much travel time this coming week, I will likely get my reviews completed and more of a regular blog schedule again.

What I am planning on reading this week:
 • Emma

 • War & Peace  • Moby Dick • The Light Between Oceans
 • Wives & Daughters  • The Lady of the Rivers • Villette
What's up next:

I honestly don't know, but hopefully something.

#boutofbooks Day 6 update

Between seeing a friend and her new baby and seeing family and catching up on my recorded stuff on my PVR/DVR, I got maybe about 2 hours of reading completed.  And it was the few chapters I needed to read for my read-a-long for Wives and Daughters this week.  I suppose it didn't help that I was feeling rather tired this afternoon and by the time I got home from dinner this past evening, I really didn't feel like reading.  I am hoping to get a bit reading in tomorrow, but due to the fact that there are some things that I want to watch, I don't really know how much I will get read, since I am reading along this particular book with audio (maybe I'll save it for the week instead).  But there are other books I would like to read that don't have any sort of audio attached with the book.

#boutofbooks Day 5 update

Today was very productive, reading wise.  Even though I only read one book during the course of the day, I did manage to get Dearie completed.  I am thinking that either tomorrow (Saturday) or Sunday I will be writing book reviews, as Dearie needs to be returned because its a library e-book and I only have a little over a week with book on my device, but I do need to get the other books that I haven't reviewed yet reviewed.  But there are still books that I need to read, so my guess is that I am going to work on book reviews on Sunday evening or on Monday. We will see.

#boutofbooks Day 4 update

I had a great morning reading session, but the rest of the day didn't really turn out that great in terms of reading.  Tomorrow (Friday) should be better day of reading.  I got a good portion of the Julia Child biography and am really enjoying the book.  Till tomorrow.

#boutofbooks Day 3 update

Even though I didn't read on the way home this afternoon, I did manage to read quite a bit this evening and got about 100 pages done of Dearie by Bob Spitz and since I have other books that I need to read, I am contemplating just reading that instead of the other books that I have on my list for this read-a-thon.  It is very tempting to read the same book tomorrow, but it is also tempting to read something else instead. If nothing else, I have time tomorrow to make that decision.  Right now, I am looking forward to getting some shut eye.

#boutofbooks Day 2 update

So I spent the morning hours sleeping and a good portion of the afternoon canoeing and hanging out with my parents, but I did manage to get in some reading, in which I finished reading A Game of Thrones.  I am hoping that I will get more done as I go on a short road trip, but that is all dependent on how tired I am during the trip and how much I sleep.  I sometimes read barely anything while travelling, but sometimes I read quite a bit.  And it depends on what I want to read as well.  But in any case, I will probably do quite a bit of reading in the coming days, as I am still recovering from a nasty ankle sprain/strain and I will need to stay off of my foot as much as possible.

Hope you all have sweet dreams and I hopefully will update in about 24 hours :)

#boutofbooks Day 1 update

Slow start to the read-a-thon, but once dinner had taken place, I was ready to sit down and read.  While I didn't read a lot, I did manage to move a little further along in the reading of A Game of Thrones.  And it looks like I will get it done tomorrow, provided I can get myself to sit down and read it.  I am hoping that I can read more books off my list tomorrow, but first, I need to head to bed a little earlier than I did last night (or morning, depending on how you view it).

Dog Days of Summer (#ddsummer) Wrap-Up!

Overall, it was a quite successful readathon, as I got two books completed during the course of the two days.  While they weren't big books, I did get them completed and that makes me happy more than anything, especially since the later of the two was a book that didn't really like reading (funny enough, I was looking forward to the book, but once I was able to start reading, my opinion of the book changed; reviews of the two books will forthcoming this week, at least that is the plan).    I was also able to work on a few other books during the past couple of days and I am hoping that I can get a few more completed during the Bout of Books readathon.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (August 19)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is hosted byShelia 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:
 Basically nothing, but I did review a book a few weeks ago (Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare), but nothing since then.   I have to do a number of reviews this coming week, possibly one a day until I am caught up (its only about 5, but I am planning on getting at least one more book completed during this week).

What I am planning on reading this week:
 • Emma
 • War & Peace  • Moby Dick  • Dearie  • The Light Between Oceans  • Wives & Daughters  • The Lady of the Rivers  • A Game of Thrones (have about 100 pages left) (I am doing the Bout of Books Readathon this coming week and it really shouldn't be hard to read most of these books)
What's up next: The Thorn Birds for my book club read (a couple have read it and have said its really good,…

Classics Spin #3 #ccspin

Ok, reset.  The last one I failed at, but I did get most of the book completed.  Sadly, I had to finish The Help for my bookclub and so that took up a lot of my time, in addition to the library books that I needed to finish and return.  Anyways, I am back at it and hopefully I will be a little more successful this time around, but depending on how long it takes me to read The Thorn Birds, I don't know how much I can get done.

So here is my list:

1) The Orestia
2) Little Women
3) Northanger Abbey
4) Sense & Sensibility
5) Agnes Grey
6) The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
7) The Canterbury Tales
8) The Woman in White
9) Little Dorrit
10) Middlemarch
11) Madame Bovary
12) Cranford
13) North and South
14) Tess of the d'Urbervilles
15) Antony and Cleopatra
16) As You Like It

#ddsummer and #boutofbooks goals

Since these two readathons piggy back on each other, I felt it best to put both of them up at this time, instead of doing two different posts.  I will hopefully daily update Bout of Books before I head off to bed.
Here are the books that I plan on working and finishing this coming week:
Finishing: A Game of Thrones Call the Midwife • The Dinner
Working:   • Emma   • War & Peace   • Moby Dick • Dearie   • The Light Between Oceans • Wives & Daughters (this week's section from Unputdownables)   • The Lady of the Rivers

August Meme : Question # 13 #ccmeme

This month,The Classics Clubasks:

Do you read forwards/notes that precede many classics? Does it help you or hurt you in your enjoyment/understanding of the work?

Generally I don't read the notes/forwards that precede many classics because the times that I have read the notes/forwards, they have given the story away at times and by the time I have finished the forwards/notes, I am not at all interested in reading the book and makes me want not to read the book.  I sometimes wish that publishers would get away from a lot of the forwards/notes that precede classics because for the most part readers skip over them and go right into the story.  It might be helpful to those taking literature courses, but for the average they either don't enhance the book or just turn them off from the book because the forward/notes are quite lengthy at times and usually have no bearing on the actual story itself.

Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare

Title: Twelfth Night
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 208
Published: 2010 (originally published 1601)
Challenges: The Classics Club
Genre: Drama
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description:A pair of twins are separated by a shipwreck, each believing the other has drowned. A lovesick duke woos a countess deep in mourning for her brother, while her rowdy household plots the downfall of her puritanical steward. Disguise, confusion, and mistaken identity follow in Shakespeare’s great comedy of love in all its manifestations.

Thoughts: Besides Romeo & Juliet, this has to be one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.  I think part of it has to do with the fact that it was one of the first plays that I did read and seeing it performed through a video in my English 12 class made the story come alive and made me realize how relatable his plays are.  I think it also speaks to how his plays have never really lost their popularity and why they are visited over and over again.  

One thing I liked…

Summer Read-a-thons

There are two upcoming readathons that I am planning on joining this coming month.

The first one is The Dog Days of Summer Read-a-Thon hosted by The Estella Society.   It takes place for 48 hours starting on Saturday August 17.

The next one that I am going to be participating in is the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon hosted by Amanda/On a Book Bender and Kelly/Reading the Paranormal.  It is a week long read-a-thon that begins Monday, August 19 and runs through Sunday, August 25. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.