Books

Book 502: Jane Austen, the Secret Radical – Helena Kelly

Perhaps I’m too smart for my own good, but overall this book was a bit disappointing. With a title like Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, you’d expect there to be revelations of sorts and yet there weren’t. I mean that’s why I requested a copy from the publisher.* I was hoping as the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death rapidly approaches there’d be something completely new and innovative to talk about, but there wasn’t.

Sure Kelly highlighted a few things that I missed when reading Austen, but really she just expounded upon the things that those of us who don’t read Austen ONLY as a romance novelist, but as a social commentator hopefully picked up on. She provided more detail of course, especially when it came to names and places, but overall there just weren’t a lot of revelations.

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Books

Book 500: Love and Freindship and Other Youthful Writings – Jane Austen

You read that right, Book 500.

I purposefully held off reading this edition for over a year because I knew I wanted something special for my 500th book on The Oddness of Moving Things. Tim got me the whole boxed collection of Austen’s works in December of 2015. I didn’t think it would take quite this long to get to, but with my whirlwind year at my previous job I’m not really surprised at this point. I’m reading again and I’m glad I saved this one for my 500th book!

I know others in the book blogosphere have reviewed this collection of Austen’s juvenilia and they’ve probably done it better. I’m a bit blinded by Austen because I’m such a fan boy (read this or just click here if you don’t believe me – or if you haven’t been around a while). I’m going to talk a bit about this work and the collection and then I’m going to have a brief bitch session about the physical book itself so fair warning.

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Book 439: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight – Alexandra Fuller

Fuller, Alexandra - Don't Let's Go to the Dogs TonightI would never have selected this book to read for a few reasons: it’s nonfiction; it’s a memoir/autobiography; it’s set on the African continent; and it’s not by someone I know anything about. Now I have nothing against any of these things, they’re just not on my usual list of go-to’s for books to read and that’s why I’m glad book group chose auto/biographies and memoirs this year. We’ve already done Fun Home and Girl In A Band, and there are a few interesting ones left on the list, so we’ll see what’s next.

That being said, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. It did take a little longer to read than expected, but adjusting to a new job while trying to read a piece of nonfiction wasn’t exactly the brightest idea, but that’s book group for you. I think it also didn’t help that Fuller’s story telling style would I think be better in person or as a spoken story rather than a written narrative.

It was hard to know what I was expecting from this book. Going in I didn’t know if it would be about the revolutions/civil wars that took place or if it was going to be about post-colonialism. I also had no idea where in the hierarchy of white settlers Fuller’s story would fall. Thankfully, it sort of talks about all of this but through the eyes of a child. Continue reading “Book 439: Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight – Alexandra Fuller”

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Book 434: Eligible (The Austen Project #4) – Curtis Sittenfeld

Sittenfeld, Curtis - Eligible (The Austen Project #4)I really should’ve read Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility and McCall Smith’s Emma before I read this, but getting my hands on a galley/uncorrected proof copy from Random House* sort of made that a moot point. Perhaps I’ll read the other two soon as I loved this one so much. Needless to say, I’m proud I saved it for as long as I did. I always get a bit nervous when an uncorrected proof has in big bold letters “DO NOT PUBLISH YOUR RESPONSE BEFORE X DATE.”

I mean I get it, but it’s still like you want me to read this book and then keep mum on it. How is that possible!? It’s 1) Jane Austen, 2) ADORABLE and 3) hilariously modern in a way only Jane Austen can be made so. I’ll go ahead and warn you that this response isn’t all sunshine and roses though. I will say I was hesitant of the name-change from the original, but as I read it I was convinced with the okay-ness of it. There is a tangent later that is not a reflection of the book, but of some of the stupid comments I’ve seen recently of The Austen Project adaptations.

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Book 433: Fool Me Once – Harlan Coben

Coben, Harlan - Fool Me OnceThis is one of those books where you have to wonder where people get their ideas from. I’ve read far creepier books and far more suspenseful books, but Coben’s way with slowly building up to a crescendo and crashing denouement is superb! I know how cliche it is but when I hear someone say they want to read a page turner this is the type of book I think of. I started this at lunch on Wednesday and finished Thursday afternoon, working two full eight-hour days!

As I said in my response to The Stranger, after receiving an advance copy of this from Dutton*, AND hearing my friends Hayley and Kennedy liked Coben, I bumped these up my list and they were totally worth it. I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for any of his other ridiculous number of novels next time I’m at the used book store or local library sale 😀

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Book 431: A Gentleman’s Position (Society of Gentlemen #3) – K.J. Charles

Charles, K.J. - A Gentleman's Position (Society of Gentlemen #3)I would love to say that this is another one of those opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone, but we all know I’d be lying through my teeth 😀 After my last experience with a specific romance publisher, I’ve shied away from them unless they were Jane Austen related for quite some time. Thankfully this one is tangentially Jane Austen related in that it’s set during the Regency. Swoon.

I’m happy to say Loveswept* may have won me over with this one. After requesting a copy of A Gentleman’s Position (out April 5, 2016) and then devouring it, I think I have a new publisher to turn to when I want something a little more frilly to read! Seriously though, I need to get my hands on the first two-and-a-half books in this series! Now, I just need to keep myself away from their galley page because I want to read all the books by all the authors!

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Books

Book 414: Bel Ami – Guy de Maupassant

de Maupassant, Guy - Bel AmiAfter a two month hiatus I am back with the 45th book from my Classics Club list. That’s 45% of my list done and I’m only 32 books behind schedule 😉

Going into Bel Ami I thought I knew what the book was about, but I wasn’t aware it had a subtitle, The History of a Scoundrel, which would’ve told me I was in no way correct!

If I’m honest I chose Bel Ami because it was short and accessible on my phone. (Thank you Kindle iPhone app, this isn’t the first time you’ve saved me from boredom.) I forgot the next book I wanted to read and an hour is a long time for lunch so I started this and read it pretty quickly. You’d think I would use lunch and my commute to catch up on my 10+ hours of back logged podcasts to listen to, but no why would I do that when there are more books to read!?

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