Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Salon - Right Now 9.29.13

Listening to… Some really fascinating history podcasts; think my favourite one is The Historyof WWII by Ray Harris, but the British History Podcast by Jamie Jeffers comes in at a very close second.

Eating...  Ate some amazing brazed lamb shank last night; it was so good, but mind you, my friend Alison is a really good cook.

Watching... As I am writing this, I am watching the season 5 finale of Top Chef Masters, but am going to watch another show to clear off my PVR a little bit this morning.

Reading...  Today I am planning to read a bunch of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, read a couple chapters of Agnes Grey, and start The Book Thief.

Making... Other than some breakfast, probably not much

Planning... To do a little cleaning sometime this afternoon; floor needs to be vacuumed and some other things need to be done.

Feeling... A bit tired, but with some coffee and some food, I should wake up.

Loving... That the power hasn’t gone out

Wanting... To have a decent night’s sleep

Thinking...  How tired I feel at the moment

Looking forward to... Doing a bunch of reading today.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Into Reading 2013

This is my third year participating in this annual fall reading session and each year I enjoy it more and more.  I don't think I was thinking about this past August, but when Musings of a Book Addict put up a post that she would be hosting the event this year, I knew that it was coming up and started to think about the books that I would probably read this coming fall.

And when I did think about it earlier today, this years list is going to be a bit longer than last years.  Part of the reason is that the number of books that I am currently reading and am hoping to complete more than I did last year.  Maybe I should aim low like I did last year so as not to be disappointed when my list isn't complete when winter starts.

But in any case here is my list:

• The Thorn Birds
• Northanger Abbey
• War & Peace
• Agnes Grey
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• Vilette
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
• The Snow Child
• The Light Between Oceans

I will try to update my reading progress about every two weeks. Happy reading everybody.

Sunday Salon - Movie Tie In Covers

I spent yesterday afternoon catching up on podcasts that have gathering dust and one of them was movie-tie-in covers, where they mentioned an article on this topic in which they gave 8 hideous movie-tie-in covers (interestingly enough, they didn't give what movie-tie-in covers that they do like).

Personally, its a personal preference as to whether on purchases a movie-tie-in cover or not.  I know that most readers really don't care what sort of cover that they have, as long as they get their hand on the content that they want to read.  My personal preference is that there are some movie-tie-in's that I actually do like and there are times in which I do seek out the movie-tie-in (or tvshow-tie-in) cover.  And quite honestly there are times when one can only find the movie-tie-in copy of the book on sale.

And if a movie-tie-in gets a person to read something, the more power to them.  I understand that people may have a preference to not purchase a movie-tie-in cover and that there are people that seek the original cover out, as much as possible, but honestly sometimes that isn't possible and personally it borders on snobbery when readers look down on readers that obtain a movie-tie-in cover.  Did we not learn to not judge a book by its cover?

Hopefully talk to you next week.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (Sept. 7)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is 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 since the last post:
1) The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (review)
2) Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (review
3) The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (review)
4) The Life and Times of Call the Midwife by Heidi Thomas (review)
5) The Dinner by Herman Koch (review)
6) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (review)
7) Dearie by Bob Spitz (review
8) Emma by Jane Austen (review)
9) Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (review)
10) Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (review)
11) Moby Dick by Herman Melville (review

What I am planning on reading this week:
• Agnes Grey
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• The Light Between the Oceans
• The Thorn Birds
• Villette
• War and Peace

 What's up next:
Probably more of the same.

Happy reading. 

Book podcasts that I listen to

 One of the favourite things I have loved doing during the past few years is listening to podcasts on a wide variety of topics.  Most of the podcasts that I listen to are historical based, but I do listen to a number of book based podcasts.  I am not saying that you have to listen to these podcasts, but am only recommending them for those that may be looking for something to find book recommendations from.

New York Times Book Review - its the only podcast that I subscribe to that comes from a news entity.  There are a number of these types of book reviews, but thing that I like about this podcast is that there usually is an interview or two about a particular book with either the author or the person who wrote a book review for the New York Times.  They also have "Notes from the Field", which looks at the news from the book world and whatever gossip is floating around.  They also look at the NYT bestseller list and point out any new or notable books that are hitting the list or haven't hit the list.

Books on the Nightstand - probably my favourite podcast.  The hosts, Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness, both work in the publishing world and most weeks they talk about books that deal with a certain theme, talk about topical things that are going on in the book world, and give the listener two books they can't wait for you to read.  Some of the books that are suggested I have read because of this particular segment and some I have considered reading as well.  They also host a book festival of sorts called Booktopia in three locations in the States each year and its something I would really like to attend at some point.

Bookrageous - I have a love/hate relationship with this podcast, but I can honestly say that I love it more times than I don't like it.  The one thing that I don't like is the fact that the podcasts are frequently over an hour, but I do like hearing what the hosts are reading each time that they are reading and I do like the various topics that they talk about and that the show notes include most, if not all, of the books that are mentioned throughout the podcast.  Definitely the quirkiest podcast that I listen to.  The one thing that I kinda don't like about the book is that they emphasize buying rather than borrowing books and if you buy, you should try to purchase from independent book sellers instead of the big book sellers, but all in all, its pretty good and enjoy listening to them.  I heard about this podcast through Books on the Nightstand.

The Readers - This is a British-based podcast that I have enjoyed listening to over the years that I have also gotten recommendations from.  More often than not, the hosts talk with each other and have been doing it for a number of years. They have done a number of author interviews, but mostly they talk about the books they are reading or have read and authors that they enjoyed over the years and just general book stuff.  I heard about this podcast through Books on the Nightstand.

You Wrote the Book! - A fairly new podcast that has hit the ever clutter book podcast world and this one is author interviews.  The host was one of the original hosts of The Readers.  I can't really describe it because I haven't listened to enough of it, but I am hoping that it gains some steam and that it introduces me to authors that I would have otherwise not heard from.

Book Riot : The Podcast - Another new book podcast on the scene and this one is based on the popular book site, Book Riot.  I have listened to about 7 episodes and am starting to like this book.  There are some book recommendations in the podcast, but mostly the two hosts talk about things are of note, but mainly topics that have appeared on the site.  I would describe it as a podcast for those that are book lovers and love anything to do with books.  Like a New York Times and The Readers, large amounts of time are spent on news-worthy book stuff like the whole thing with Stephen King not releasing his latest book as an e-book.  If you read Book Riot, either through an RSS feed or on Facebook or through email subscriptions, you probably would enjoy this one.

I hope that you will at least give one of these book podcasts a chance.  I have linked to each show's main page and if you choose to subscribe, you can use the method you prefer.  Happy listening and hopefully happy reading.

Sunday Salon - Reading the week away

I love this time of year out here in the Lower Mainland.  Its weather that I usually look forward to because not only is the weather still nice, but its much cooler than it is during July and August.  But for some strange reason, there was some really stormy weather over a couple of evenings, that included a couple of lightning storms, which is unusual for this time of year, but the weather looks like its going to going to improve over the next few days and the next week or two looks like typical late summer weather, even though the leaves are clearly starting to turn.  Its also weather that I can still go outside and spend an afternoon in the sunshine working on my tan before the warmth of the sun fades into the fall and winter months before returning sometime late in spring, if it hasn't decided to rain for days on end (there is a reason that the corner of the world that I live in is called a temperate rainforest).

Due a number of factors, I basically ended up reading for most of the week.  And it was quite a productive week, in that I managed to finish not one, but two books and I started two books and worked on another.  In other words I read while I watched coverage of the US Open from Flushing Meadows and quite honestly I really liked it.  I read classics for the most part, as I wanted to get at least two of them (the one I had been reading off and on since May) and was quite please with my efforts and I managed to get both of those reviews up.

The books that I read this week but didn't complete were War & Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Agnes Grey and am enjoying my foray into the classics at this time and I suppose the reason is that I spent so much time in July and August reading fairly contemporary fiction and non-fiction, that I needed to read some classics and focus on that for a bit, even though I have a contemporary piece of fiction that needs to get read by the end of the month for my book club, which I plan on starting this coming week.

The books that I finished this week are Sense & Sensibility and Moby Dick and I can't tell you how happy I am to finish Moby Dick.  The only reason that I finished MD was because I wanted to say that I had read it and not let it be this book that was forever lingering on my TBR list.

As to what holds for my reading for today, I really don't know, but I hope to work on Villette and War & Peace and catch up on my Bible readings and possibly start my book club book and maybe something else.  Hope you all have a wonderful week :)

Book Reviews:
1) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (review)
2) Moby Dick by Herman Melville (review)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Moby Dick - Herman Melville

Title: Moby Dick, or The Whale
Author: Herman Melville
Pages: 640
Published: 1998 (originally published 1851)
Challenges: Back to the Classics, Chunkster, The Classics Club, Embarrassment of Riches, Off the Shelf
Genre: Adventure, Classics, Fiction, Literature
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: Over a century and a half after its publication, Moby-Dick still stands as an indisputable literary classic. It is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting, mesmerizing, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I first became intrigued with the book on TLC's Great Book series and after reading it, I have very mixed thoughts about this book.  While I enjoyed the narrative of the journey of the Pequod and the story of the men on the ship, the musings of Melville almost made me want to not finish the book.  I understand why Melville may have gone on and on about the physiology of the whale (which he does spend several chapters talking about the physiology of the sperm whale), but there really is no need to spend time philosophizing about things that have nothing to do with the story and the only reason that I finished the book was due to my interest in the narrative, which seems to be very little of the story.

Bottom line: If you have an interest classics and really like reading classics, I would probably put this on your TBR list.  Basically I wouldn't rush out to read it and it probably is a book that you can skip, if you have no interest in the book. And its probably something that I won't reread, but one never knows.  Sure its an interesting book in that you can see elements of the modern novel in this book, in fact its referred to as the first modern novel, even though its put in the classic category. Recommended.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2013: 14058

Sense and Sensiblity - Jane Austen

Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Pages: 409
Published: 2003 (originally published 1811)
Challenges: The Classics Club
Genre: Classics, Fiction, Literature
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal Copy

Description: Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts:  Definitely one of my favourite books and classics at the same time.  This was my second time reading the book (I realize that is hard to believe, but the first time I attempted the book,  I didn't understand what was going on and abandoned it) and I actually enjoyed it more this time.  The weird part was that I had the Emma Thompson film version of the book going on in my head as I read the book.  I saw Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon and Kate Winslet as Marianne and Emma Thompson as Elinor and Hugh Grant as Edward and Hugh Laurie as Mrs. Jenning's son-in-law (this is before House), etc (if you saw the cast list, you would probably recognize a number of the cast members including the actress who played Delores Umbridge in the Harry Potter series). But in any case, I had the film running throughout and while it could be construed to be somewhat annoying (for some reason I don't see anything of the P&P mini-series when I read Pride & Prejudice).

But in any case, next to Pride & Prejudice, this has to be my favourite Austen novel.  While the book is light-hearted for the most part, the characters for the most part are better developed and I feel that the main characters change their thinking about things or at least they become better adept at realizing their own sensibilities about their particular situations.  In otherwords, I really enjoyed the book and it will likely be a book that I would visit again.

Bottom line: While Pride & Prejudice is Austen's best known work, I would have to say that I probably enjoyed this book just as much as I have reading Pride & Prejudice.  I would probably recommend this for readers that have read Pride & Prejudice and would like something that is deeper.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2013: 13454

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Salon - Summer Review

Even though summer isn't really over for at least another few weeks in the northern hemisphere, one is starting to feel as though it is, especially with school starting for many students in North America on Tuesday morning and the leaves starting to turn and with theatres starting to advertise the movies that are scheduled to come out during October and November.   It also means that the NFL, NHL, and the NBA are going to start within the next couple of months, with College Football just having started with the boys of summer looking forward to the stretch drive and playoffs in October and for most people, it means evenings come sooner and are generally cooler and people start looking for the clothes that were long put away that will be needed once the cooler weather starts up again.  It also means that Christmas is closing in on us and people will start be making plans for that time period.

It also means that I get back into my blogging routine, which has basically been lacking since July started.  I somehow think that July and August means a break from the blog and don't update as often, even though I have pretty decent internet.  But in any case I tend to take a bit of a break from updating my blog and I am sure most of you don't mind. 

My summer was okay and I am looking forward to getting back to work this coming week and establishing more of a routine.  Spent a lot of time up at my parent's place in a mountain resort here in BC this summer, in addition to doing a lot of reading while I was there.  A lot of my reading was due to the fact that I was laid up due to a foot injury.

Here are the books that I reviewed since my last Salon:
1) Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare (review)
2) The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (review)
3) Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (review)
4) The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (review)
5) The Life and Times of Call the Midwife by Heidi Thomas (review)
6) The Dinner by Herman Koch (review)
7) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (review)
8) Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz (review)
9) Emma by Jane Austen (review)
10) Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (review)
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