Book 27: Dracula – Bram Stoker

Stoker, Bram - DraculaWelcome back Classic Club! I apparently needed a four, almost five, month break from the club. There wasn’t a specific reason other than perhaps the epic-ness of War and Peace, but I’m glad I took the break. I think this was an even better break because I came back with such a wonderful book! There were so many cool things that I learned that I didn’t know, or some how avoided knowing, came from Dracula!

I thought for sure I was familiar with the plot of Dracula, we all are aren’t we? But I was so wrong! I’ve never seen a film version of this and most of what I know is what pop culture has co-opted over the years. One of my favorite podcasts, Good Job Brain, even did an episode titled Very Superstitious which included a lot of fun trivia (some I think might’ve been wrong) about the myriad versions of Dracula. However, what I found out that most caught me off guard was that although the book was about Dracula he wasn’t the main character AND there was a bad ass female protagonist who rocked. There are spoilers, the book is over 120 years old so get over it! :-D

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Book 42: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Shaffer, Mary Ann and Annie Barrows - The Gurensey Literary and Potato Peel SocietyI didn’t want this book to end and that’s really all I want to write for this review, but I’ll harp on for a good while I’m sure. I’m sad that it’s over but happy that I read it. The ending made me both smile for the cuteness of it, but also made me sad it was finished! I wanted to know so much more about the characters and the stories and everything! There was just so much left unanswered, but not really because we’re left on the precipice of the amazing post-World War future. I bought a copy of this back in April of 2012, so it counts as a bonus book for my Mount TBR challenge.

Two things stood out for me in this book and those are the multitude of unique voices for the numerous characters and their point of views and the fact this was a World War II novel without the war taking the role of protagonist or overshadowing everything else.

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Book 11: Blessed Isle – Alex Beecroft

Beecroft, Alex - Blessed IsleWhile waiting on another book from the library I decided to request a copy of Blessed Isle from NetGalley. I had luck with the Tucker Springs series and wanted something light and fun to read and I wasn’t disappointed. This is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return.

This is how you write a romance novel! (To me at least.) There’s no rushing into things, there’s no the world is ours after 2-3 months (or shorter) and there’s plenty of conflict and potential heartbreak. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the Wham Bam style of romance novel, but they’re just not the type of love story I’m generally drawn to. In addition, there’s a subtlety about Beecroft’s writing and her efforts (and total success) at keeping the sex out of the book. In doing so she created a novel that was much less low-brow than you would assume and the focus was shifted to the love story and the time period, which really only adds to the story. And to top it off, Beercroft did a good job of building at least one sympathetic character,

“But one day, perhaps, when the world has grown kinder, this journal will be read by less jaundiced eyes. To them I will be able to say there was fidelity here, and love, and long-suffering sacrifice, and joy. To them I will be able to speak the truth.”

And then closing with,
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Book 79: The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Chbosky, Stephen - The Perks of Being a WallflowerI’m so disappointed I didn’t discover this book in High School, but at the same time I really doubt I would’ve appreciated it as much as I do now. Although I was an incredibly straight-laced kid in High School and couldn’t relate to some parts of the novel as a high school student (sex, drugs, partying, Rocky Horror?!?), I could definitely relate to many other parts.  I haven’t seen the film but will definitely see it soon. I’m still shaking my head wondering what took me so long to read this book!

The scene where Charlie gave out perfect Christmas presents to each of the people in his immediate circle of friends, just from having listened to them was great! I mean that is the same thing I do. I listen and suck in all the details about people and then awkwardly regurgitate facts to them later about what they’ve said at that party or at previous parties. It’s a great party trick, but at the same time it often makes me come across as anti-social or creepy (so I assume, no one has ever reinforced this thought).

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Book 25: The Color Purple – Alice Walker

I must preface this post with the caveat that prior to reading the novel I knew little about it. I vaguely knew that Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey were connected to the film, but that was it. And for future reference, this is how I approach most novels I read.

To be honest, it’s hard to know how to respond to a novel like this. When an author opens a novel with a scene as disturbing as that which opens The Color Purple,  how can you respond other than viscerally? How can you relate to something that is foreign to you as a reader?

Take a look at the opening line and you can only imagine where the story goes from there.

“You better not tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.”

And that doesn’t even cover the shock/horror I felt in the first few pages of the novel. It doesn’t reveal anything, really.  Clearly, however, Alice Walker wrote an amazing novel. Walker keeps the reader riveted, regardless of your relation of the experience, from the brutal opening scene to the emotionally exhausting closing scene.

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