August Recap 2014

2014 08-31 Shakespeare & Co PresentsWhat an exhausting month! I’m still not sure where summer has gone and I’m seriously struggling to believe it’s September 1st! It probably doesn’t help that the weather here in Boston has been a bit of a shit-show recently: down in the 60s last week and in the 90s most of this week, no thank you. There were other crazy things going on that I’m not able to talk about now, but suffice to say it was a super busy month.

On top of the strangely mixed weather, I’ve done a lot of blogging and working to expand my bookish empire! Muwhaahaahaahaa! I released the mini episode of my podcast, Come Read With Me, to get it on iTunes and just yesterday released the first FULL length episode where I talked with my friend Caroline about From Russia with Love. On top of that I read The Grapes of Wrath as part of my 30 x 30 list and did a lot of cultural things too!

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Book 46: The Hangman’s Revolution (W.A.R.P. #2) – Eoin Colfer

Colfer, Eoin - W.A.R.P. #2 - The Hangman's RevolutionIf it weren’t for the strength of the last book and Colfer’s series in general, the opening line of this novel might’ve made me turn back! I originally requested a copy of this from the publisher and you can read about my issues here (last paragraph under Books and Bookish – yes I’m naming and shaming now).

However, given the opening lines “meh” and the fact this is a second book in a series (almost always “meh”) this book turned out to be almost as good as The Reluctant Assassin the first of the W.A.R.P. series.

Part of the struggle, for me, with this novel is that the first one came out early last year and I’ve read so many books since then! Add in that this book starts in an alternative present and it took a few chapters to really start remembering characters and what happened in the previous book. I’m not sure if every book will be like this and I’m pretty sure not with the way this ended but there was a Chekhov gun introduced that I’m assuming will span the series (or at least another book)!

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July Recap 2014

2014 07-06 Beach Reading!In case you missed it I’ve surpassed FOUR years of blogging this month! I’ll include links at the end of this post to all four posts, but whoa—four years is a LONG time! Personal and work life have been busy/great and straining, in that order, and I think that’s where I’ll leave it ;-) I’ve unfortunately not made any progress on my 30 x 30 list, but oh well I’ve been too busy doing other things! I’ll definitely have to make an effort in August. (But I did get another Beach day in!)

Books and the Bookish
The most exciting thing to note is on Friday of my celebration week I announced a new podcast! And miraculously I was able to get the teaser/intro episode recorded, edited and on the website so I could start the slow process of getting it on to iTunes! (It doesn’t take that long, but why waste a first episode getting it on there when I can delay and create MORE fan-fare for the first episode—to the mortification of my friend Caroline :-D)

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Book 43: The Bridge Over the River Kwai – Pierre Boulle

Boulle, Pierre, - The Bridge Over the River KwaiAnother great selection from my library’s Books into Movies book group. I’m not the biggest fan of war novels and I wasn’t convinced I would enjoy this one, but the writing was simple and easy to read and the juxtaposition/tension between the captured/surrendered British troops and the British commandos was enough to keep me flipping sides about the bridge throughout!

The book centers around the building of the Burma-Siam railway during World War II and specifically around the building of the bridge over the river Kwai, a fictional river in Thailand. I could not remember which modern country was Siam until this past weekend when we walked past a Thai restaurant called House of Siam! I should probably be embarrassed I couldn’t remember that, but let’s blame it on my American-ness and complete lack of knowledge around most Asiatic countries and cultures.

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Book 42: Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter #2) – Megan Shepherd

Shepherd, Megan - Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2)It is very rare that a second novel, let alone a middle novel in a trilogy, can surpass the first. In this case, not only has Shepherd done it, she’s surpassed an incredibly well written debut novel with an even more creative, intense and harrowing follow-up. It is NOT a place holder as many middle books are in trilogies and I was incredibly impressed.

Whereas H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau inspired The Madman’s Daughter, took her inspiration for this novel from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I CANNOT wait for the third novel, thankfully it give me time to read the book it’s based on, but I won’t tell you in case you want to read it as it’s revealed in the final pages of this novel.

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Book 39: Veronika Decides to Die (And On the Seventh Day #2) – Paulo Coelho

Coelho, Paulo - Veronika Decides to DieI had a copy of The Devil and Miss Prym and planned to read it, but when I pulled it off the shelf I found out it was the part of the And On the Seventh Day trilogy after By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, which I’d read already, and Veronika Decides to Die. This is hilarious, because I definitely wrote about the trilogy in December of 2012, but either way I picked this up from the library earlier this week.

As I said last time, and I will probably say again, it’s been far too long since I last read anything by Coelho. I somehow let myself forget how beautiful his writing is and I can’t help but wonder how beautiful it must be in the original Portuguese! These are the same thoughts I think whenever I read Murakami, just imagine how beautiful it must be in the original language and credit clearly is clearly due to the translators! I can’t remember what author said it, but someone said that a work of translation is a different work and is just as artistic and I truly believe it with these two authors.

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Book 21: Who Murdered Chaucer? – Jones, Yeager, Dolan, Fletcher & Dor

Jones, Terry - Who Murdered ChaucerI know I say this often, but what a fascinating read, but what’s most exciting is that this is a work of nonfiction. I don’t generally read a lot of nonfiction, but after reading about this on a site ages ago (at least a year ago) and having just finished A Burnable Book, I knew this was a great time to read it. Needless to say I absolutely plan on finding a full biography of Chaucer.

Who Murdered Chaucer? focuses on the last 20(ish) years of Chaucer’s life, but more so on the political climate, which is vital to interpreting Chaucer’s writings and why so few survived, I found. And come on, the man lived 150 years before and is considered the father of English poetry, why does Shakespeare get all the credit? I mean sure Shakespeare wrote A LOT, but just this next paragraph should make you want to learn more about Geoffrey Chaucer.

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