Book 399: People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks

Brooks, Geraldine - People of the BookI’m finally starting to make a “dent” in my to-be-read shelves! YAY! On the downside, due to work events and the seasonal time change affecting me more than usual this book took two weeks to read, which is sad because it was so beautifully written.

I’m going to start by saying take my review with a grain of salt because this is a book about books and writing and conservation so of course I loved it. It also coincided with our visit to the 39th Annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (a blog post about it on The New Antiquarian as the BIABF’s website appears to be down), which was great because we saw many religious texts which reminded me that I needed to finish reading this wonderful book! I’ll talk more about the fair later in a special Culture Corner post, hopefully, or at the very least in my November recap in early December.

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Book 398: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes – Jules Moulin

Moulin, Jules - Ally Hughes Has Sex SometimesThis novel was such a fun quick read that I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the publisher when they reached out to me with a copy.* It didn’t hurt that they suggested I read this piece in the New York Times first and I laughed out loud multiple times (the animation is an added bonus!).

I had very little knowledge or expectations going into Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes other than thinking it was a quirky title and it was a debut novel. I didn’t even know it was set in Providence, Rhode Island until I started reading and did a double-take when they started naming locations around Brown University that I’ve been to. So obviously it got bonus points for that too! We all know I’m a sucker for books set in locations I have fond memories of.

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Book 397: The Beans of Egypt, Maine – Carolyn Chute

Chute, Carolyn - The Beans of Egypt, MaineMy friend Carlie (Hi Carlie!), recommended this book way back when I started this blog not long after she recommended The Hunger Games and I picked up a copy back in December 2012. I don’t know why it took so long for me to get around to it, but it did. I should’ve known better based on how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, another of her discoveries.

This book really should be mentioned in the same breath of books like The Color Purple and Bastard Out of Carolina. Maybe it is and I’m not aware of it, but if it isn’t I’m not sure why. It was published in 1985 right in between the Color and Carolina and it’s just as harrowing, real and disturbing as either of those. (It’s also compared to Faulkner, but I can’t speak to that as I’ve never read him.)

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Book 396: The Oxford Murders – Guillermo Martínez

Martínez, Guillermo - The Oxford MurdersAfter reading Tropic of Capricorn I needed a break from reading anything remotely difficult and this had been on my shelf for quite a while (June 2013) and I figured it was pretty short and murder mysteries are usually a quick read and thankfully it was both quick and interesting.

What really stood out to me was how excellently written and easily flowing the text was. Similar to Blindness and some of Paulo Coehlo’s works (Witch of Portobello Road and The Alchemist) I wonder if it is the translator, this is a different one, or if it is just the beauty of the Spanish/Portuguese language and the translation that results. I wish I would’ve read Martínez before going to Spain because I would’ve looked for one (or more) of his books in Spanish!

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Book 395: Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller

Miller, Henry - Tropic of CapricornI didn’t think it was possible, but I liked this one even less than Tropic of Cancer. Seriously, I was in no way a fan of this book. The amount of raunchy sleazy descriptions in Tropic of Capricorn, if possible out weight those in the first novel.

The only thing I can truly say I’m grateful for is that I got it off my shelf where it’s languished since the 2010 Boston Book Festival (it was the last one!). It also counts toward my Classics Club list so yay for that too!

I can’t even pretend it’s hard to say why I didn’t like this book, it really was just too much sex, misogyny, sexual assault and crass language. When you add in the stream-of-consciousness I’m surprised I even got through the book. It’s no wonder the book was banned in America (Wikipedia link) for 30 years. I don’t believe in book banning or censorship, but this really tested my limits.

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Book 394: Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) – Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Galbraith, Robert (J.K. Rowling) - Career of EvilI was so excited this book came in early at the library. The best part about living in a bigger city is that we have multiple library systems so I wasn’t sure which one was going to come in first, but I didn’t expect either of them this fast. There were almost 200 people on the list and I thought for sure I’d signed up a lot later, but apparently not!

This is just as much a page turner as The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm and provides even more character development for Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. It picks up not long after The Silkworm and Robin and Cormoran have seen a successful uptake in business, that is until they receive a woman’s severed leg in the mail. And then they’re off on the chase. What always surprises me about mystery novels is how little action there can be, but with a great writer it still feels action packed.

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Book 393: Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Sony Liew - Sense & SensibilityI have finally made up for lost time. The downside is I’ve read them all now :-( The upside is that I now want to turn around and re-read them, but I will wait a bit. It’s not like I don’t have a full shelf of Austen fan-fiction waiting on me, or that I still get to read Pride and Prejudice for Jane Austen Book Group this year.

With Marvel Illustrated’s Jane Austen books, this was the third and final illustration style. I’m not sure which is my favorite because they were all unique and each had their own drawbacks, so maybe I don’t need to pick one. I will say Marvel Illustrated and Butler got it right with all of the covers except Northanger Abbey. Which is even stranger because the cover I like the most, #4, from Sense & Sensibility doesn’t look like the illustration style inside!? It probably doesn’t hurt that the illustration cover for #4 makes me think of Wuthering Heights instead, or at least the idea of the Brontë sisters on the moors. The rest of the covers are more representative of Liew’s illustration style.

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