Books

Works in Progress: 23 July 2014

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I finally organized my yarn and embroidery projects. Up until this weekend everything was stashed in a closet.

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Most of my bookshelves are organized and dusted. I certainly don’t have room for more books. You know what this means. Time to buy more shelves!

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I am working on an index card meal planning system that my mom has used for decades. I hope to be ready to put it in motion by August and will blog more then.

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Finally started the last color on Persy Jane’s blanket. Soon, my friends, soon.

List Love: The A-Z Bookish Survey

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Author You’ve Read The Most Books From:

Charles Dickens. I’ve read ten of his novels, story collections, and plays. I should mention this survey applies to my adult reading habits. I’m sure I read upwards of 50 Babysitter’s Club books in the fifth grade.

Best Sequel Ever:

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. I found the second book in the His Dark Materials series a bit better than the first book and certainly better than this last book. I’m drawn to Will Parry’s character.

Currently Reading:

Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope and A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin

Drink of Choice while Reading:

COFFEE!!!

E-Reader or Physical Book:

I love my physical books, but I will say that my e-reader is wonderful for lunch breaks, long trips, midnight nursing sessions, and when I have sick kids. It has enhanced my reading, but in no way replaced my love of “real” books.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated In High School:

Unfortunately I would have wanted to date Heathcliff. A terrible man, but in high school I thought he was hot.

Glad You Gave This Book a Chance:

The Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. It was almost so hyped I didn’t try it, but I’m glad I did.

Hidden Gem Book: 

The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen. I feel that Bowen’s short stories don’t get the credit they deserve. Each story it masterfully constructed. Everyone must read this collection NOW.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

This is a difficult question and I should probably write a separate post on influential moments in my life as a reader. I will go with my earliest reading memory of my mom reading the unabridged Alice in Wonderland to me when I was in 1st grade. I sat through an hour of her reading this to me each night and I begged for more.

Just Finished: 

Dear Life by Alice Munro

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: 

Erotica, Chick Lit, most Sci-Fi, vapid YA.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. That chunkster clocked in at over 1300+ pages.

Major Book Hangover Because Of:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling. I had a month long book hangover when that series wrapped.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Three full-sized in the study, one set of built-ins in the living room, and two small waist high shelves.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I read this book every other year and I think I’m up to about 12 reads.

Preferred Place To Read: 

In a cozy, snug chair at a coffee shop.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read. 

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
- Atticus Finch” from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

Reading Regret: 

Alias, Grace by Margaret Atwood

Series You Started and Need to Finish:

A Song of Fire and Ice by George R R Martin

Three of Your All Time Favourite Books: 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. By the way, I went with the first three that popped into my head and I’ve since thought of a dozen more.

Unapologetic Fangirl For: 

 Harry Potter, Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Bronte, Anthony Trollope, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens

Very Excited For This Release More Than Others:

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Dogearing the pages of my paperback books.

X Marks The Spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

I’m using my TBR list for this year as I’m not near my shelves. The winner is: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (a re-read)

Your Latest Book Purchase:

A lovely Vintage Classics copy of Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell for 50 cents at a thrift shop

ZZZ-Snatcher  book (last book that kept you up WAY Late)

The Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. I have a new rule that I am not allowed to read epic high fantasy novels before bed.

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Brought to you by The Perpetual Page Turner!

5 Things I Loved About This Week: 06/21/2014

Discover. Play. Build.
My sweet niece, Evie Rose

My sweet niece, Evie Rose

 

1) I finished The Game of Thrones this past week. It was so good!!! After I finished I vowed to take a break from epic fantasy for a few weeks. I picked up a classic, Charlotte Bronte’s The Professor, and I was worried I’d have issues getting into the book as there are no dragons, swords, or gnarly deaths. I shouldn’t have worried! I’m really enjoying The Professor and it is certainly making me long to re-read Villette and Jane Eyre.

2) Book Sale!  I picked up a lovely stack of books for less than $6. I brought home Barnaby Rudge and Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens, Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, The Claverings by Anthony Trollope, The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor, Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins, and The Son Advenger by Sigrid Undset. Score!

3) Chocolate eclairs. They were delicious.

4) Sam is done with classes… until Monday. It isn’t much of a break, but I”ll take that 48-hours of Sam free of study and homework. Right now he is taking the kids to the spray ground so I can have some time to read and blog. He’s a peach.

5) Yesterday I went to Mom’s house to spend time with my sister, Becky, and my adorable niece, Evie Rose. I haven’t seen Becky and Evie since December of 2012 (when I was pregnant with Persy). Evie and Atticus played well together and even took turns riding the big wheel with no tantrums. They are only 4 months apart and I’m so glad they play well together. Becky had a grand time with Persy, although Becky has raging baby fever now. It was a wonderful day. We’re hoping that Becky’s husband, Jon, will get a law enforcement job in the North GA area so they can relocate. Becky is too far away in South GA!!!

It was a good week.

Literary Love: Book Lists!

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In keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d list some books I love.

I’ve selected my top 10 classics (written prior to 1964) and my top 10 modern works (post 1964). I truly went with my initial books that popped into my head and tried very hard to sub other books in or over-analyze.

Here we go!

Top Ten Classics:

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1) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
4) Middlemarch by George Eliot
5) The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
6) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
7) Villette by Charlotte Bronte
8) The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
9) Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu
10) I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Top Ten Modern Works:

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1) The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
2) The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
3) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
4) Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
5) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
6) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
7) The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
8) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
9) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
10) Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

I think it is safe to say that I love fat books. I’m a chunky book chaser!

How about you? What books do you love?

Readerly Rambles

I’ve finally accepted the fact that I was not meant to be a book blogger.  I keep trying to move towards more bookish blogging, but, frankly, it seems like such a chore.  I’m lucky if I get to read 5 book a month (I collect hobbies like I collect tattoos).  I’ve hated nearly every ARC sent to me.  I don’t give a damn about hosting book giveaways — especially book giveaways that are thinly masked marketing ploys —  and I am incapable of writing a well-thought out interesting review.  Books are my first passion.  Okay, my family is my first passion, but books are a close second.

I’m a nerd with a blog.  Not a book blogger.  Just a sorta blogger who loves books.  Given that I lack the ability/inclination/time to write stunning book reviews, I’m just going to pop-on and occasionally ramble about what I’ve read.  I might even have sentence fragments or lack transitions or *gasp* say nothing of value.  Whatever.  There are books to be read and no time to dither about structuring elegant prose.

What have I read?  Not much.  I’ve read about half the number of books I read by this time last year.  Hummmmm…. I wonder why… oh, yes…. Atticus.  Atticus is only my rolypoly baby boy for a tiny window of time and my books will always be there on the shelf.  I can read when he is older.  I will say that what I have read has been CRAZY good.  I don’t think I’ve read a single sucky book.  Yay!

Some of these books I’ve already discussed here, but for OCD’s sake, lets just run down the list starting with…

Silent Woman:  Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes by Janet Malcolm:  I thought about writing a long post on Malcolm’s book about attempting to write Plath’s biography and dealing with issues of literary estate, memory, and point-of-view, but…… I didn’t.   This book is interesting if you are a Plath-fiend, but this book is less about Plath and more about writing biography.  I would teach it in a creative non-fiction class and not in an American lit class.  A very interesting book that will have your brain mulling over interpretations of the past for weeks (months!) afterwards.

Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers:  meh.  This is the first Lord Peter Wimsey and I do plan on reading the others despite my lukewarm reaction to the book.  A murder mystery involving a body in a bathtub and a bevy of British characters (caricatures) this book was okay in the mystery department, but I was annoyed by the foppish behavior and speech.  I think I had high expectations for this book and was disappointed.

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens:  I’ve already blogged this book, but let me express, once more, that I freaking loved it!  Easily my second favorite Dickens’ novel.

Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation by Noel Riley Fitch This book took awhile to finish as it was so dense.  I really loved this book.  More than a biography of Sylvia Beach, this book has so much about Paris and the Lost Generation.  Fans of Joyce, Hemingway and other ex-pat writers will enjoy how Fitch immerses the reader into the streets, bookshops, and cafes of Paris.

The Queen’s Man by Sharon Kay Penman:  A historical mystery series in the time of Eleanor Aquitaine written by Penman.  Need I say more?  A definite win.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain:  This novel concerns Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Hemingway.  It took me a bit to get into the novel, but after about 50 pages I was hooked.  This story is heartbreaking and no, I still don’t feel sorry for Mr. Macho Hemingway.  Being a damned good writer is no reason to be a selfish prick (cough Ted Hughes cough).  I highly recommend this novel, but only if you are in the middle of a healthy marriage.  I imagine this book may be disheartening to single-folk and dismal for miserable married-folk.  Luckily, I read and thanked my lucky stars that Sam is hugely talented as an artist and devoted to me.

Not much reading, but it has all been pretty solid.  Right now I’m reading a book for work about Interlibrary Loan Best Practices (for work, duh) and I’m consumed by an Edna St. Vincent Millay biography.  Hopefully, I’ll ramble in a readerly-fashion at least a few times a month.

My Vacation Readathon

This upcoming week I work Monday, Tuesday, and a half-day on Wednesday and then I’m taking some days off until next Tuesday.  That gives me 5 1/2 days off in a row.  Ah, bliss.

Atticus will still be going to daycare for the week (although I’ll be picking him up early).  First off we paid for it and secondly I’m going to spend some time with Hope.  We have summer clothes shopping to do and a few awkward and necessary  discussions to have as she approaches middle school.  She is also having her future aunt spend the night (Hope is BFF with my brother’s fiancée’s younger sister) and that means hanging out with two very giggly little girls.  We’ve also decided to spend sometime having our own little readathon as part of our vacation.

My goal is to read 24 hours over the course of my vacation.  This means spending roughly 4-5 hours a day in readerly pursuits.  Of course, this has presented the perfect opportunity to grab a little notebook out of my stash for tracking this here readathon.  I’ll be noting the time I start and end, my location, what I’m reading, and how much reading I’ve completed.  No promises, but I’ll try to update my reading progress at least once a day.

This little challenge will help me in several ways:

  1. I hope to whittle down my towering TBR pile and finish several library books
  2. I hope to become more aware and appreciative of the time I have to read.  I do a lot of reading while nursing, waiting in line, cooking (much to the detriment of my cooking), and yes, even in the bathroom (mom’s will understand that sometimes the bathroom excuse is the only way to be left alone).  I’m always lamenting that I don’t get CHUNKS of reading time, if I was more aware that all of those little bits do add up, then I might feel a bit better about my reading.
  3. I’ll have an excuse to read!
I’ve assembled a little book pile to get me going:
Wish me luck!  Anyone else planning Memorial Day Weekend readathons?