Saturday, August 31, 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 to be similar to that of the town in Emma, but what's different is that Molly doesn't try to meddle in the lives of those around her, even though her step-mother tries to.

And with that in mind, I quite enjoyed it.  I realize that Gaskell had an agenda in this book by talking about provincial life before the Industrial Revolution was able to take over most individual's lives, both rich and poor, but nonetheless of her agenda, I quite enjoyed the book.  While there were characters in the book that I ended up not really liking, for the most part, I liked the characters and felt that they for the most part had a bit of backbone, especially when it came to Molly at several points throughout the book.  In other words, the characters in the book for the most part aren't exactly pushovers.  Highly recommended.

Bottom line: I would probably recommend it to readers who have read Gaskell's other works, but I would recommend it to those who are fans of Jane Austen, as it does seem to echo a lot of the themes that are included in her works.

Rating:  4/5

Pages for 2013:  13045

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 Janeites would profess it to be.  Nonetheless, its a pretty good piece of literature.  But the one thing I noticed with this reading is that I found much of the book to be rather dull and felt that the ending to be rather long winded.  I realize that there were a number of storylines to wrap up, but I just felt that rather than just wrapping it up after the Jane Fairfax/Frank Churchill had been resolved, which ended up being the main storyline for the second half of the book, that Austen continued on with the story much longer than I felt was necessary. But maybe it was because I was trying to quickly finish up the book rather than just soak in the book and absorb the novel as I am apt to do.

Bottom line: If you are thinking that Emma is going to be like Pride & Prejudice, you might want to read something else of Austen's other work before tackling Emma, but I would certainly recommend the book for those who are fans of Austen's work.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2013: 12641

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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 The Beatles, providing a clear-eyed portrait of one of the most fascinating and influential Americans of our time — a woman known to all, yet known by only a few.

At its heart, Dearie is a story about a woman’s search for her own unique expression.  Julia Child was a directionless, gawky young woman who ran off halfway around the world to join a spy agency during World War II.  She eventually settled in Paris, where she learned to cook and collaborated on the writing of what would become Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book that changed the food culture of America.   She was already fifty when The French Chef went on the air —  at a time in our history when women weren’t making those leaps.  Julia became the first educational TV star, virtually launching PBS as we know it today; her marriage to Paul Child formed a decades-long love story that was romantic, touching, and quite extraordinary.

A fearless, ambitious, supremely confident woman, Julia took on all the pretensions that embellished tony French cuisine and fricasseed them to a fare-thee-well, paving the way for everything that has happened since in American cooking, from TV dinners and Big Macs to sea urchin foam and the Food Channel.  Julia Child’s story, however, is more than the tale of a talented woman and her sumptuous craft.  It is also a saga of America’s coming of age and growing sophistication, from the Depression Era to the turbulent sixties and the excesses of the eighties to the greening of the American kitchen.  Julia had an effect on and was equally affected by the baby boom, the sexual revolution, and the start of the women’s liberation movement.

On the centenary of her birth, Julia finally gets the biography she richly deserves.  An in-depth, intimate narrative, full of fresh information and insights, Dearie is an entertaining, all-out adventure story of one of our most fascinating and beloved figures. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: This my second book about Julia Child that I have read (read My Life in France last year) and I really enjoyed with the book and was quite impressed not only with Julia's life, but also with the detail of that was put into the book.  It made me want to purchased a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1 and more impressed that got published when it did.  I won't say entirely how much I was impressed with the publication of the book, but I can tell you I didn't put the book down during that section and was totally enamoured with that.

If there was one thing that impressed me about Julia Child is that she was incredibly decisive about getting the book published.  She didn't let moving around due to Paul's job and a co-author not helping out impede her to making sure that this cookbook was published; it was almost like she was a woman with a mission to make sure that American cooks were able to make the same things that were made in France and to let them know that cooking something was something to be enjoyed and to be done with a sense of purpose.  I got the impression that she believed that a meal shouldn't come from a can or a box, but rather something that was to feed not only your body, but also your soul.

Also she didn't like the whole health food movement, but believed that food should be enjoyed in moderation, rather than in large amounts.  So yes, have those foods that are fatty and not exactly good for you, but have them in moderation and have them occasionally.

While for the most part the book was really good, it was a little slow at the beginning, but once it got into her adult years, it just seemed to really get going.

Bottom line: If you are fan of Julia Child and if you are a foodie fan, I would highly recommend this book.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2013: 12129

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 Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I started with this book back in March 2012, but gave up on it after about 200 pages as I was getting more and more confused. But after a bit, I decided to give it a try again.  And I am glad I did, as I found that I got into the world that exists in the book, I actually began to get really into it.  I felt as though I became a part of that world and as though it became a part of me.  There was also a moment about half-way through the book where I started see scenes from the TV series in the book and I could see why people have gotten into not only the TV show, but also the series.  I am just waiting for the boys on Big Bang Theory to talk about the series at length, if at all (they seem to be more Sci-Fi than Fantasy fans).

Bottom line: I really liked it, more than I feel I can express.  When I love a book, like this one, I just love it and there really isn't an explanation for it.  Mr. Martin hit upon a certain formula in such a way like J.K. Rowling did with the Harry Potter series that makes this series so enjoyable not only watch on my screen but also something that I enjoy reading.  While I really did enjoy the book, I would probably recommend this for readers who liked the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Harry Potter series

Rating: 5/5

Pages for 2013: 11553

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 and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I had a lot of expectations when coming into the book and by the time I completed the book, I felt disappointed and a bit let down by the book.  I felt that the story was a bit short and that the author spent too much time away from the dinner table, which I had been led to believe what it was about.  Of course most of it did take place during the course of the dinner, but it just felt like the author spent too much time away from the dinner.  And while I understand the point of "the dinner", I just felt that it spent too much time away from the actual dinner and spent more time dealing with their lives, which I had very little interest in.  It was almost I was waiting for them to discuss why they had come together for dinner and one point I wondered why couldn't they have this sort of dinner in private, where there wouldn't seem to be as many prying eyes/ears around.

The characters didn't really seem to be likeable and just seemed to be so self-absorbed with whatever issue they were having and not really in the moment and as though anything they ordered wasn't good enough for them.

Bottom line:  I really didn't like it and struggled to get through it at times.  While it was recommended for those who liked Gone Girl, which I did enjoy, even if I didn't like the main characters, I felt that it fell a bit short in that I felt that the characters were way too pretentious for my liking and I am glad that I read it as quickly as I did.  I really don't know who to recommend the book to due to the fact that I have mixed feelings about the book and that I had a difficult time reading the book.

Rating: 3.25/5

Pages for 2013: 10716

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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 series Call the Midwife which 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 how Call 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, street life and food. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I quite enjoyed the book and thought it was the perfect companion to the BBC series that has aired on PBS in the States and Canada.  It provided excellent insight to not only the various main characters that appear on the show, but it also looks at the description why certain costumes are used and how the show came to be.  The thing I found most interesting was that this district was kept clean, not only because the people in the area didn't have a lot to begin with, but also because of the pride that people had in their neighbourhood.

Bottom line: Highly recommended to those who are fans of the show and would like to know more about the behind the scenes stuff and just general information about the period the show is set it.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2013: 10412

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 addition to seeing to progress of Hadley's story, I also liked that there were links to the back of the book that explained a number of the things/people/places mentioned in the book that were of some significance to both Hadley and Ernest.  I think the most interesting thing was hearing of the books that Ernest was working on.  And quite honestly I couldn't help but read this book within a week.  Now I would really like to read A Moveable Feast and see how it measures up to this fictionalized account.

Bottom line: If you are a fan of Hemmingway's books, particularly A Moveable Feast, I would give is a try, as you see the other side of his time in Paris.  And I would also recommend it to people who want to read Hemmingway, but feel a bit intimidated by the books; its a gives one a good feel for the scene in Paris at that time.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.25/5

Pages for 2013: 10124

Monday, August 26, 2013

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 doesn't really seem to be healing up, I probably will make more time to read.

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 underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts:  I read this book while I was reading some fairly dense books and it was nice to read something that was lighter than my usual fair and I quite enjoyed it.  There was nothing really earth shattering about this book, as it seemed to be something that is not really meant for any sort of in-depth analysis of.  I certainly thought of the British TV series The Bletchley Circle while reading the book at times.

Bottom line:  I enjoyed the book and it only took me a few days to read and would recommend it to those that enjoy cozy mysteries or just need something to get off the reading schnid.

Rating: 3.8/5

Pages for 2013: 9756

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 Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost.Flash forward to the present, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents’ ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed the “Ottoman Annex,” Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura’s grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family’s history that reveals love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have attempted to read a couple other books by this particular author and for some reason this was my first.  I think I had great expectations of this book and for most of the book I was confused with the way that the author formatted the story.  It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the book, I did, I just felt that the author putting both view points in the same chapter did make it confusing for me as a reader and would have liked if he had done every other chapter so that I could have realized what the storyline was and what was going on.

Overall, I enjoyed the story itself, but just felt that it could been formatted a little differently.

Bottom Line:  I  would probably recommend this book to fans of Chris Bohjalian and those that enjoy reading historical fiction set in the 20th century.

Rating: 3.75/5

Pages for 2013: 9372 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

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

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 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.

Friday, August 23, 2013

#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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

#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. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#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 :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

#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.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

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

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 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, so I am looking forward to it) and very possibly The Kingmaker's Daughter, depending on how much I get done above).

Friday, August 16, 2013

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
17) Richard III
18) The Tempest
19) Jane Eyre
20) The Age of Innocence

#ddsummer and #boutofbooks goals

Bout of Books

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:

A Game of Thrones
Call the Midwife
• The Dinner

  • Emma
  • War & Peace
  • Moby Dick
  • Dearie
  • The Light Between Oceans
  • Wives & Daughters (this week's section from Unputdownables)
  • The Lady of the Rivers

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August Meme : Question # 13 #ccmeme

This month, The Classics Club asks:

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. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

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 about the play is that the pacing is fairly even and one can see the maturity of Shakespeare's writing and you can also see how his writing is slowly becoming a bit darker (most of his plays after this one are mainly tragedies and histories).  I also saw the play performed recently and the ambiguity that lies within the play speaks to what makes us who we are and makes us question if things like gender or class are set in stone. 

Bottom line: It is a play that while it is funny and full of humour, it is also a play that allows one to think about who we are and makes us wonder if we can change who we are.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages for 2013: 9068

Sunday, August 4, 2013

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.

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