Saturday, July 31, 2010

End of July Progress Report.

I can't believe July is over. I have been blogging for 3 months now and have completed 25 books on the list, thought I  started with 7 already read. So I've read 18 books from the list in the last 3 months.

I read 6 books in July
The Reader (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage International)The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
The Namesake: A NovelThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Cost: A NovelCost by Roxanna Robinson
Les Misérables (Signet Classics)Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Moby Dick (Oxford World's Classics)Moby Dick by Herman Melville
by A.S. Byatt The Children's Book [DECKLE EDGE] 1 editionThe Children's Book by A.S. Byatt

Like I said, this brings my grand total up to 25 and I've completed 2.49% of the list. It's slowly creeping up there.

Books I've started in July but will finish in August.

Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International)Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I am a little less than halfway through it. So far, it's interesting, not sure how I feel about it yet.I'm utterly bummed that it's already the end of July. This means summer is wrapping up now. My kids attend a year round school and so their new school year started up this week. Totally depressing.

Well in June I read 5 and in July I read 6, so I'm going for 7 in August. We'll see. Enjoy what's left of summer. Happy Reading.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Which Jane Austen Character Are You!

I stole this from Laura over at Book Snob because it was fun and cute. I am new to Austen, having just read 3 of her books last month, plus I'm a sucker for a quiz so I just had to do this one.

This result makes me laugh because as I read Sense and Sensibility I found a lot of parallels between myself and Marianne and my older sister and Elinor Dashwood. My sister is the responsible, steady one, while I am carefree and flighty and impulsive.

Give it a try. Are there any other "Mariannes" out there? Tell me which heroine you are?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

#25 The Children's Book

by A.S. Byatt The Children's Book [DECKLE EDGE] 1 editionWow, this one took me quite awhile to get through but not because it was boring or even hard to read. I read the hardcover copy which came in at a hefty 675 pages. However what slowed me down was the language of the book which was beautifully complex. This is not a book you can read quickly or else you are just cheating yourself.

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt begins as a story of two young boys who find another young boy in the basement of a museum. The younger of the two boys, Tom, takes him to his mother, Olive Wellwood, who takes an immediate interest in the care of this mystery boy, Philip. 

Olive is a children's book author and loves to think of stories for all the children in her life. Each of her children has their own story, written specifically for them, which are never ending. Olive is constantly revising and changing each story as the children grow and evolve. An idea that I loved, but it slowly becomes apparent that she is writing these more for herself than for her children.

Philip is brought to her house and thrown into their world filled with artists and free thinkers. In the first 100+ pages we are introduced to a small community of people who at first seem insignificant but who later are discovered to be integral.

The story spans 30 or so years around 'turn of the century' England, ending at the end of WWI. There is no direct plot, so to speak, the story just follows the members of this community as their lives are shaped and changed by the events of the day. The stories weave into each other, creating a sort of extended family.

In the beginning the Wellwood family, and the community as a whole, seem ideal. The longer the story goes on and the more we unearth about them, the darker and more deceptive things become. Adultery, promiscuity, unknown parentage and deception run rampant and often the children of the story appear to be more grown up than their adult counterparts. The book also touches on political issues of socialism, anarchy and the women's suffrage movement. For a book called The Children's Book is definitely delved into some very adult issues while interspersed with short bits of Olive Wellwood's fantasy stories. The writing flows gorgeously and you become invested in these peoples lives. My only complaint was that I felt it ended rather abruptly. It was as if I'd been invited to watch this group for a set number of years and then suddenly my time was up and I was left to my own imagination of where their lives went from there.

I would wholeheartedly recommend it, just be sure you have time to really soak up the story.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme that I really enjoy but rarely participate in anymore. It's hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading! I love it because it's so easy but lots of fun and gives you a taste of what others are reading. The rules are ridiculously simple. 
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from the page. PLEASE DON'T INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the author and title of the book so that others can add it to their TBR list if they want.
See? Totally easy. 
by A.S. Byatt The Children's Book [DECKLE EDGE] 1 editionMy teaser this week comes from page 23 of  The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt.  

"Violet said "You Mustn't mind my sister. She's a storyteller. She's making up stories for you. I don't mean lies, I mean stories. It's her way. She's fitting you in."
It was a little slow starting as you get introduced to an entire community of people. It's picking up quite a bit now as we begin to see the flaws and eccentricities of these people.

Monday, July 26, 2010

#24 Moby Dick

I did it! I finally finished this dang book! Near the end I was feeling a bit like Ahab, my white whale was the end of this book but unlike Ahab I managed to catch my prey.

As much as this book bored me silly, I am very proud that I stuck it out and now I can say that I conquered the whale. We had our moments, some much more interesting than others. I enjoyed the end more the middle. Ahab has always been a bit 'off' but in the last few chapters you see his quest for revenge take on a super special kind of madness, like he's completely unraveling at the thought of finding and killing the whale.

The ship also survives a major electrical storm which leads the crew to want to return home. Of course Ahab is not having any of that. They continue on and meet up with a ship that goes by the lovely name of the Rachel. The Rachel has seen the white whale and actually lost one of their whaling boats in the process. The boat contained the captains son and the request help in looking for the boat, which Ahab soldily refuses. Moby Dick is near and he'll lose no time in chasing him by helping someone else. Ahab finally spots the whale himself and they give chase for 3 days straight. On the third day Moby Dick reigns supreme and gets his own brand of revenge as the book transforms from an adventure into a tragedy. 

It may not be my favorite book but I'm glad I picked it up. Thanks to Book Snob for inspiring me to take this one on and giving me a deadline of sorts so I couldn't give up when the going got slow. Also to Book Snob Wannabe for joining us on this adventure on the sea.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's What's Not For Dinner!

Quality Spam Pictures, Images and Photos

So, last week I was without internet at home for a few days. Once a day I would run to Starbucks and check email and whatnot or at school when I had class. Though, I was still  much less connected than I prefer to be. (I'm an internet junkie, it's like crack to me) With me being unable to check often, I decided to turn off comment moderation so people could comment as they desired. I didn't have any issues so I left it off after regaining my home internet connection. 

Then, today, I got my very first spam comment! I may be delusional but it almost makes me feel special, that someone thinks I'm worth spamming. Of course, now that it's been taken down I'll be turning the moderation back on. Thanks for understanding!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

(Blog) Hop To It

Book Blogger Hop

I was having a few issues with internet this last week (ie: not having internet at home at all) and so wasn't able to hop last Friday. Thankfully the lovely internet man came and worked his magic and we're back online now.

If you don't know about it, the Friday Blog Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books. The hop helps book bloggers connect with other bloggers or discover great new blogs. It also helps bring new followers to your own blog. Win-win! Head over and sign up.

Each week there is a question that goes along with the hop that each blogger answers on their own blog.
This week's question is:


Moby Dick (Oxford World's Classics)This week is the last week of the Moby Dick challenge I've been taking part in. I only have 100 pages left to go and I couldn't be happier about it. The book started out good but went downhill quick. I'm just beyond ready to be done. No offense to those of you who are a fan, but I'm just finding it boring, boring, boring! I have learned a lot about whales, like everything humanly possible about whales. So, at least there's that. It hasn't been a total wash.

by A.S. Byatt The Children's Book [DECKLE EDGE] 1 editionThe other book I'm reading is The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. I just started two days ago and I'm only 150 pages in. So far it's been really interesting. It starts out with two boys looking around a museum when they find another young boy wandering around drawing. They follow him and find out he's been living there in the recesses of the museum. One of the boys introduces him to his mother who decides to take him home and let him stay with her family for awhile. The family seems really fun, loving and sweet but it seems that all is not as it appears. We'll see.

 Happy Hopping!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moby Dick Challenge, Week #5

I am finally nearing the end of Moby Dick now. Only a hundred plus pages to go now, so I should be done by the end of the week. I have to say that I will be happy as a clam to be done with it once and for all. I think I’ve had about as much whale and ship talk as I can take. Of course it’s to be expected when you pick up Moby Dick but I just can’t take anymore. I realize that some really love this book and some really hate it. I am falling into the latter column. It has it’s moments where I think the story is picking back up but then the next five chapters are full of whale bone measurements or even more whale biology. I am DONE with whale biology.

This week’s section of reading has the crew of the Pequod doing what it always does, chasing whales and pulling along other ships to ask if they’ve seen the white whale. Some of these conversations are more interesting than others but they are few and far between. I’m hoping that the end of the book will be more entertaining. I figure we have to come across Moby Dick sometime, right?  Fingers crossed.
Check out my fellow Moby Dick challengers Book Snob and Book Snob Wannabe and see if they are enjoying the book more than I am.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

#23 Les Miserables

Les Miserables Volume Five: Jean ValjeanAlright, so I am totally done with Les Miserables now. I finished much faster than I anticipated but I just couldn’t put it down. The last book had a lot of action as the students of Paris built a barricade and revolted. Our boy, Marius, finds himself in the middle of the fray which is not going in their favor. Jean Valjean arrives and helps him out a bit and manages to help out a few other citizens while he’s there because, well, that’s just the way he rolls. While trying to help Marius, Jean Valjean has a long coming chit chat with the pesky Javert and attempt to work out some of their issues. All the while Cosette sits by and waits.

The book ends well for some and not so well for others which is about all I’m going to say. I loved it and will probably end up re-reading a few times. However I’ve been reading in e-book format on my laptop, which is less than pleasant and I won’t be doing that again. This is definitely a book I want to own so I’ll be going out and buying a REAL copy (I really dislike the term ‘dead tree book’ it’s so negative). I also think I’ll go for the abridged version and do without Hugo’s rambling.  I don’t need the history lesson on France every time I want to read it. I would suggest to anyone thinking about giving it a read to just go for it. The first few chapters seem a little slow but it’s totally worth it to stick it out. At least I thought so.

Les MiserablesI did finally watch the movie last night after I finished and it was pretty good. They took liberties, changed things and left stuff out but I guess that’s to be expected.  I hate when people say “I don’t need to read the book, I can just watch the movie”. Even the best movie adaptation is just a portion of the whole story. Sometimes it’s barely a glimpse of the goodness that lies within the book. I love movies as much as the next person but it’s good to go straight to the source. Movies are an enhancement, not a replacement for reading.

If you’ve missed them my thoughts on the first four sections of the book are here
Book One-Fantine
Book Two- Cosette
Book Three- Marius
Book Four- The Epic on the Rue Saint-Denis

Saturday, July 17, 2010

#22 Cost

Cost: A NovelCost by Roxana Robinson is a heartbreaking novel about a family coping with heroin abuse. Julia is a divorced college professor and artist trying to make it through the summer at her house in Maine with her elderly parents. Her mother, Katharine, is struggling with early signs of Alzheimer’s while Edward, her father, is often judgmental and condescending. Julia’s relationship with her parents is very strained. She’s sick of her father’s criticism and her mother is usually too confused to carry on a conversation with. When her oldest son, Steven, comes to visit he brings with him the news that he thinks his younger brother is doing heroin. and her mother is usually too confused to carry on a conversation with. When her oldest son comes to visit he brings with him the news that he thinks his younger brother is doing heroin.

Suddenly the family needs to come together to deal with this revelation. Julia calls on her ex-husband Wendell to bring their son up to Maine so they can confront him as a family. She also asks her estranged sister to come help as the family stages an intervention with the help of a professional who runs a rehab facility.
The book is narrated in multiple POV’s and we get a glimpse into each family member’s mind which really helps weave the story together. Julia is concerned and struggling to come to terms with the impact of her son Jack’s addiction. She tries so hard to will the problem away, to make it into anything but what it is. Then when she comes to terms with it, she’s haunted by the fact that there is very little she herself can do to help her son. As a mother myself I could feel her torment. My children are still little and I still have an element of control. I can make them go to school, clean their room, eat their veggies and I can help them correct their mistakes. I hate to think of the day when I become a bystander in their lives, unable to help them or make them choose the right path.

Watching her mother struggle with the loss of her memory is heartbreaking and I felt for the brother’s conflict, scared for his brother but feeling guilty for betraying his secret. The worst though was the look into Jack’s mind as he copes with heroin addiction and withdrawal. You could see the effect of the drug through his inner monologue as he wonders in a fit of withdrawal why everyone doesn’t keep a rock in their glove compartment to smash windows with. The way he’s able to justify all his actions through the drug is frightening, his mind was definitely not a pleasant place to be.

Roxana Robinson does a beautiful job in detailing the downward spiral of addiction and the way it affects the entire family. Julia’s family, once strained and distant, actually find itself stronger through working together to save Jack. It’s a good read but if you have any experience with addiction, some parts may hit very close to home. Proceed with tissues.
Related Posts with Thumbnails