reading

Readerly Rambles: 17 August 2015

readerly rambles

What I read: I got a wild hair and decided to pick up some YA reads. I grabbed the first two books from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones and City of Ashes.

Typically I’m super hesitant to review YA books. I know I’m not the intended audience and I feel like adults can be a bit harsh on YA books. Of course I’m tired of the “love triangle” element and I could use less whining, but I live with a teen and I know that is normal for that age. I usually leave YA books mildly annoyed by the characters and wishing the plot had more depth. I can honestly say that I enjoyed the characters in these books and the plot was intelligent and fast-paced. It was a great reading experience!

The plot concerns a teen girl, Clary, who comes home one day to find her mother is gone, her home is ransacked and then she is attacked by a giant demon. Talk about a bad day. This kicks into gear an intense story involving Shadowhunters (angelic demon hunters covered in tattooed runes), demons, vampires, werewolves, and fairies. The first book had me gripped, but the second was a bit slow towards the end. I think it is because I read them back to back and the teen angst/love got a bit tiring.

The writing is lovely, the characters fresh, and there are many discussions about the importance of coffee, which is a plus in my mind. This series reminded me of Harry Potter in some parts. Not in a “coat-tail riding way,” but more in the way the characters were cast as diverse and complete “people.” It is skilful how Clare conveys her characters’ histories even when we don’t see the characters for very long. It really kept my emotions tied to the story. I wanted to see how these characters triumphed or failed. If a writer has me caring for more than the protagonist then you can consider me hooked (and I’m hooked). I’m going to wait a bit to pick up the third book, but this is certainly a series I will revisit.

~~~ Stats ~~~

City of Bone

Started: 07/26/2015

Finished: 07/29/2015

Pages: 485

Challenges:

Owned/Borrowed/Library: Library

Stars: 5 Stars

City of Ashes

Started: 08/04/2015

Finished: 08/14/2015

Pages: 453

Challenges:

Owned/Borrowed/Library: Library

Stars: 3 Stars

~~~~~~~~~~~

What I’m reading: Yesterday I started John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and I can honestly say that I’m embarrassed I didn’t read him sooner. His writing reminds me of Thomas Hardy’s novelsit must be the unflinching look at humanity in really beautiful prose that reminds me of Hardy. I’m a little over 50 pages in, but I cannot wait to sink into this book.

What’s up next: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I swear. I will really read it this time. I know it isn’t The Little Stranger. I think I’ve accepted that enough to move on and actually read the dang book. 

Other Bookish News: I had planned on doing Bout of Books, but this is the first week of faculty being on campus and I am so slammed at work. I have a feeling I will want to spend my evenings watching TV and crocheting rather than reading. I would really encourage you to take a look at Bout of Books, though! Lots of participants and great Twitter convos all week.

Happy Reading!

War and Peace, Volume 1

I’m participating in A Literary Odyssey’s reading of War and Peace and today marks our first check in date.   We’re all supposed to have completed volume one, but I’m about 50 pages shy of completion.

I have a good excuse:

No, this isn’t Atticus!  Its…

Leo!  Coincidently, War and Peace can wear a size 3-6 month onesie.   My problem is that since this book is as large as my baby, I have a difficult time getting to read.  I read a bit at night when Atticus goes to bed, but I can’t take advantage of reading while nursing.  I’m afraid it is just too much!

When I do get a chance to read, I find myself truly immersed in the Napoleonic world of War and Peace.  I have a second confession to make, this will be my second reading of War and Peace.  I read the novel the summer of 2006; I liked it, but didn’t love it.  I thought it a bit wooden.  Then I learned that I picked a bum translation!  Ack!

Gratefully, a wonderful friend bought me a lovely hardback copy of the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation.  This reading is going much better.  The dialogue flows more smoothly and the personality of the characters really shine.

I am finding that I really wish I knew more about Russian history; especially about the Napoleonic wars.  I’m searching for a non-fiction book with a good overview and I’m open to recommendations.

How’s the read going for everyone else?

Snow Day 2011

I snapped a few pics of how our snow day went.  Sam was home from work and Hope was home from school.  Alas, Hope didn’t get to go out and play in the snow.  She woke up this morning with an upset tummy and seemed pale.  I’m of the old school mothering stock; if you are sick you must have blankets piled on you and eat soup.  End. of. story.  Despite our lack of snowmen and snowballs, today was a wonderful day with the family.

This is what 8am looked like:

I spent the early morning hours writing letters and drinking Earl Grey:

Then I went out in my teapot pajamas and bright blue boots to feed the birds:

I had some tummy time with Atticus the Drooler:

Meanwhile, Hope was camped out.  We rolled the tv stand into her room and she watched The Two Towers AND Return of the King:

Then I made a reading nest — tea, Tolstoy, and my favorite blanket:

Then I made a huge pot of soup:

Hope was going to spend her evening reading The Hobbit, but she conked out the minute her head hit the pillow:

I realize I didn’t take any pictures of what Sam was up to, but when he wasn’t holding the baby he was 1). watching anime on the laptop or 2). playing video games.  He is kinda sick of me hovering with the camera, so if he isn’t holding a kiddo I don’t take his picture.  Also, I didn’t photograph the laundry or the baby crapping up the back of his pajamas.  You can thank me later.

Tomorrow is another snow day:  no work and no school!