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 440: Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

Faye, Lyndsay - Jane SteeleThis was incredibly entertaining and fascinatingly fun to read, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I think perhaps I’ve read too many Austen fan-fiction novels that fit into one of two molds: modern retelling or prequel/sequel. There are the occasional paranormal/sci-fi mash-ups but mostly they fit within those first two molds. This novel was completely different.

I knew it would be different because the Brontë’s are such different writers, but I wasn’t aware how different it would be in terms of fan-fiction. I’ve only read a few Brontë fan-fiction works, 50% or more of which made me want better stories or better writing. When I reached out to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for a review copy I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but I’m definitely glad I requested it!*

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Book 438: An Acceptable Time (Time Quintet #5) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - An Acceptable Time (Time Quintet #5)It’s like L’Engle knew exactly what I was struggling with when she wrote An Acceptable Time. I had been struggling with the mundanity of the O’Keefe Family series and I’d been complaining about the short rapid endings. I’m not sure if she answered all my questions, but she wrote this one well/differently enough that it felt like she answered all of my concerns about the series.

It was also, to me at least, great that this book was the eighth book written and the eighth in the series, the only other one to happen like this is the first. But I think that probably worked to L’Engle’s advantage in that the interconnectedness of the two series is apparent throughout. The mentions of characters and happenings is excellent, but I was a little confused about how open the Murray’s were about their children’s time travel and experiences, but a little less open in this book about their granddaughters’. Perhaps it has to do with getting old, or Polly not being their permanent responsibility, but it felt a bit odd considering the first four books in the series.

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Book 436: Dragons in the Waters (O’Keefe Family #2) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - Dragons in the Water (O'Keefe Family #2)I am slowly making my way through the final books in the Kairos portion of L’Engle’s oeuvre. This is the sixth book in chronological story order and the fourth book published in the Murray-O’Keefe books (AKA Kairos). It takes place about six months after the action of The Arm of the Starfish and a few years (I think) before A House Like a Lotus which my response should be published later this week.

I’m glad I’ve expanded my L’Engle reading if only to fully finish the Murray-O’Keefe story line, which the more I dig into the less I think I have actually read because all of her works are intertwined, but I think I will be giving her a rest after I finish this Super-Series. With only A House Like a Lotus and An Acceptable Time left to go I think that would be both a reasonable and acceptable dive into L’Engle’s works.

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Book 435: 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy – Luminita D. Saviuc

Saviuc, Luminita D. - 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be HappyAt some point over the past two years as I’ve read more and more mental/self health, professional/personal development books something must have struck a chord as I feel a lot calmer and more put-together than I have in a long time. I’ve noticed that a lot of these books suggest things I am already doing or have utilized in the past and it’s nice to receive the affirmation. It’s also nice to occasionally be reminded of the things that I need to continue working on in order to maintain the calmness.

When the publicist reached out to me with a copy* of this book I wasn’t sure I would have the time, or the desire to read it. However, I set the book on my to-be-read/determined shelf and it stayed there on top for a little over a month. And then when I was having a really rough week and didn’t want to start another book I picked it up to see what it had to offer.

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Book 430: The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev Grossman

Grossman, Lev - The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3)The bad news is that the trilogy is finally over. I read this book in less than 48 hours and even I’m impressed with that because I had to go to work AND I had trivia with my friends. (They have no idea how close I was to bailing.) The good news is that I’m exhausted because of how great it was and I can FINALLY watch the SyFy TV series without fear of spoilers!

This series was definitely one of those books/series where you feel as if you’ve lived multiple lives and then when it ends you just feel empty inside. I’ll probably take a day or two before I try to dive into anything else. The Magician’s Land was an excellent follow up to The Magician King and The Magicians. If you don’t want spoilers for the first two books I probably would just skip this post and come back when you’ve read them.

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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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