Book 460: Ulysses – James Joyce

joyce-james-ulyssesIt’s been three weeks since my last post, but obviously it was worth it. At the end of the month I’ll have a two month recap, but for now you just have to bask in the glory of knowing someone who has completed the infamous Ulysses!

It only took a little over four months, but if you remember I started way back in June with the Serial Reader (app website). Serial delivers 10-15 minute sections of the book daily to you and you make your way through the book. I had concerns about reading the book this way especially with remembering details from previous issues, but overall I had a pretty good experience. This one had 109 sections based on my preference and the first half was great to read by serial, but the last two sections weren’t quite as easily read.

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Book 429: The Arm of the Starfish (O’Keefe Family #1) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - The Arm of the Star Fish (O'Keefe Family #1)I decided to go down the full L’Engle Murray/O’Keefe rabbit hole. It may take a while to finish with other books burning holes in my kindle/on my shelf, but I will finish them!

I wasn’t as sold on this book as quickly as I was with A Wrinkle in Time, but it grew on me. The final quarter of the book was really strong! (And she didn’t rush the ending, or perhaps she did and I’m just used to it now.)

It’s a bit confusing, but I think I have it sorted out as The Arm of the Starfish is the second book written in the Kairos super-series, the first book of the second generation O’Keefe Family series, and the fourth book chronologically in plot line. Looking at the publication dates, it looks like L’Engle bounced back and forth between the two series (and another one) while she was writing in the ’60s and ’70s.

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Book 417: A Knight of the Word (Word & Void #2) – Terry Brooks

Brooks, Terry - A Knight of the Word (Word & Void #2)Picking up five years after the action in Running with the DemonA Knight of the Word takes off at a fast pace and keeps going. If you could skip the first book of the Word & Void trilogy I would recommend it. This one was a huge step forward and I think the 80 fewer pages in this book were all description from the first book, making this one better. I mean you should read both, but know if you make it through the first one, you’ve got this great one to look forward to!

I wasn’t sure how I would like this book with the five years between the two stories and taking the action away from Nest and putting it solely on John Ross. Brooks didn’t let me down though, the story moved quickly to include Nest. It was a bit sad hearing about everything that happened since the end of Running with the Demon, but it was great to be back in the world again so quickly.

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Book 407: Lost In A Good Book (Thursday Next #2) – Jasper Fforde

Fforde, Jasper - Lost In A Good Book (Thursday Next #2)This one, like The Eyre Affair, has been on my shelf for quite some time. I picked it up in July of last year, but I have no recollection of where, but that’s neither here, nor there. What really matters is that the series has DEFINITELY picked up and the only reason it took me a week to read it is because I flew 1,200+ miles (MA to NC to MA) and drove 900+ (All over NC).

I’m not sure if this will be my last read for 2015, but if it is I’m okay with that. I’m already planning to dive right into The Well of Lost Plots, but I’m not sure if I’ll want to go right into Something Rotten or if I should go ahead and read an advance copy of a book I have for January. I also really want to read a set of books I got for Christmas. I guess it’s a good thing I have too many choices right?

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Book 359: Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Part 2)

Cervantes, Miguel - Don QuixoteI did it! I finally finished! After almost exactly a month to the day that I started the infamous Don Quixote I finished it. I recapped Part 1 last week because I knew I would struggle to remember everything in it due to how long it took to just read that part but now I’m ready to recap Part 2!

I thoroughly enjoyed Part 2 of Don Quixote. I didn’t enjoy it for the same reasons as I enjoyed Part 1, but it was as great. I think the biggest difference is Cervantes, if possible, was even MORE aware of his works impact on culture and literature. He took the jibes and teasing in Part 1 and turned them into full-blown sarcasm and satire in Part 2. I think a lot of this is in direct response to the “fake Don Quixote,” published before he could release Part 2 and I talk about that in my Reading Spain, AKA an Homage to Miguel de Cervantes post (about half way through under the Biblioteca Nacional Museo section).

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Reading Spain, AKA an Homage to Miguel de Cervantes

2015 06-15 Barcelona Reading Statue 1In case you missed it, I went to Spain last month (scroll to the end for some GREAT panoramas). I was there for two weeks and it was wonderful. I’m still working on a “recap” post which will probably just be a link to my photos and a list of everything we did. The plus side is that you, my lovely book lover friends, get to have a special post made just for you!

To kick off, here’s a photo of the Monument al llibre statue by Joan Brossa (Wikipedia link) we stumbled across in Barcelona. Here’s a different angle. Overwhelmingly our bookish adventures were in Madrid. I’m sure this is because I planned Madrid and Tim planned Barcelona, but that’s just how it fell.

2015 06-16 Llibreria RodésIf you’ve followed this blog for a while you might be aware I can read Spanish, or at least eek my way through it. I’ve wanted to improve on my speaking and reading of Spanish ever since I realized I was starting to lose it, but haven’t had much opportunity (aka I’m lazy). What I didn’t know was how all-pervading Cervantes’ was to the city of Madrid and the country of Spain. Seriously, I mean sure I knew going to Madrid I wanted to visit the statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the Plaza de España, but I didn’t know I would see Cervantes or Don Quixote (Part 1 & Part 2) EVERYWHERE.

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Book 359: Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Part 1)

Cervantes, Miguel - Don QuixoteAfter slogging my way through the first half of this infamous book I decided to break my response into two parts. (Click here for Part 2.) This wasn’t planned, obviously, but coming in at 982 pages it may as well be two books, so I figured why not. (I’m still only going to count it as one book though.) I’ve split this for two reasons: I doubt I’ll remember the first half by time I finish the second and I have so much to talk about related to Miguel Cervantes and Spain, Madrid in particular, it just makes sense.

I first read portions of Don Quixote in my high school Spanish class. It was one of the only works that we read in English and in Spanish. I don’t remember the overwhelming majority of it. The only part I do remember is what has become so much a part of the modern psyche, “tilting at windmills” (Wikipedia link) that I can’t even say for sure it’s from reading the book or just from hearing it so often. It’s sad, but that’s all I remember. What’s interesting is how much more of an analytical reader I’ve become and how I took so much more appreciation from the novel’s absurdity and Cervantes’ critiques on novels and literature in general.

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