Books

Book 539: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide #1) – Mackenzie Lee

After seeing this over and over being the darling of the book blogosphere and reading the rave reviews of it I figured I should check it out. I read a lot of LGBT literature, a lot of young adult literature, and quite a bit of adventure literature so I thought why not. And although I wasn’t completely disappointed, I was genuinely underwhelmed and for once it wasn’t the mood I was in. I’ll start with the not-so-great and finish with what I enjoyed.

I’m a finicky reader at best and have curated a pretty good system of choosing the books I read, including taking into account books that fellow bloggers who have similar tastes to me read, but this one just didn’t click for me quite like others have. I kept to my usual style of not reading anything about the author or the book after I decided I want to read it. [Generally I get excited about a book/author and purchase/reserve something by them and then I let it sit for a while so that I can clear my palate.]

Continue reading “Book 539: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide #1) – Mackenzie Lee”

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Books

Book 471: Ray and Joan – Lisa Napoli

napoli-lisa-ray-joanWhat a fascinating story. I figured it would be, I mean it’s about the guy who made McDonald’s what it is today and his wife who gave away billions of dollars, but I was still surprised at just how fascinating it was.

When Dutton reached out to me about a copy of the book* I jumped at the chance because not only do I find philanthropy personally fascinating, but I also work in fundraising, so it was a win-win either way for me.

I mean the subtitle “The man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman who gave it all away,” caught my attention pretty quick because I knew nothing about the founding of McDonald’s or the people behind it. I had no idea about most of it.

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Books

Book 470: The Power of Kindness – Piero Ferrucci

ferrucci-piero-the-power-of-kindnessSimilar to Finding the Blue Sky, I’m not sure whether this one was great because of its own goodness or because of the three bad ones I read before by Miguel Ruiz.

The publisher, TarcherPerigee sent me an unsolicited copy of this book and I’m glad I read it.* They’ve really got either a good editorial team or a great lineage of what to print because they’ve been much more hit than miss, which I know I’ve mentioned previously.

It’s going to be hard not to compare this one to Finding the Blue Sky for two reasons: I read them back-to-back and they’re very similar. I almost wish the two authors worked together on the book because they both would’ve been strengthened by it.

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Books

Book 454: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) – Deborah Harkness

Harkness, Deborah - The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)Where do I begin with this?

It’s very rare that a series starts off and continues to pick up steam the entire way through. In my previous experience, there is usually a middle-book slump. In the case of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy the middle book of the trilogy, Shadow of NIght, was the stand out, followed closely by The Book of Life and in a distant third, the trilogy opener A Discovery of Witches.

This could be because the entire series takes place over about a year (give or take a few months because of time travel), but more than likely I think it has to do with the amount of action continuously increasing as the series moved forward. This wasn’t necessarily a good thing as I’ll talk about below, but that’s my conjecture. Continue reading “Book 454: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) – Deborah Harkness”

Books

Book 427: The Magician King (The Magicians #2) – Lev Grossman

Grossman, Lev - The Magician King (The Magicians #2)

I finally got this one from the library and I’m on hold for the final book, the bf bought it recently, so we all know I’ll steal his Kindle to blaze through it before I even get close to being off the hold list at the library. I would’ve read this one even faster, but (unfortunately) I had to be sociable this weekend and had to actually do work in my day-job, pesky things.

Picking up not too long after the last book, The Magician King takes place almost exclusively in Fillory, the imaginary world (a la Narnia) in which Quentin and friends now live. I don’t know how I missed it, but at the end of the first book there was a huge OMG moment that I really want to talk about, but won’t until after the jump. (The TV show gives it away in the first episode.) I guess I was so enthralled I did not make the connection to who the third person was who came to get Quentin!? I have no idea! So if you don’t want spoilers for The Magicians I probably wouldn’t read the rest of this response. (Or at least skip to the next bold line.)

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Books

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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Books

Book 370: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clark

Clarke, Susanna - Jonathan Strange & Mr. NorrellWhat a journey! I don’t know what I was thinking waiting this long to read this novel. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for almost 10 months and has been out for over a decade! In the last few months I finally heard enough about Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell to pick it up and read the tome that it is. (AKA the boyfriend wants to watch the new TV adaptation and I said I couldn’t until I read the book.)

I am most definitely beating myself up for not reading it sooner. Sure I was a bit scared of the length, hello doorstop clocking in at 846 pages, but I was even more concerned with the comparisons to Dickens! How wrong I was; how wrong I was. For some reason I let this one comparison (I still think Dickens needed an editor) blind me from the wondrousness that was this book.

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