Book 462: The Courtesan – Alexandra Curry

curry-alexandra-the-courtesanWhen Dutton reached out to me about a copy* of this book for its new paperback release I jumped at it because of my trip to China this summer! What I didn’t realize was that it was predominantly set in two of the cities I visited: Suzhou and Beijing! It was really neat to read through the fictionalized life of Sai Jinhua and actually feel like I know what and where she was talking about for the post part!

This is a debut novel that I probably would not have read just because I don’t read too many, but with my trip to China, the cover and having someone reach out to me about it, I figured I would give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Add in that the book also featured a subplot line about the one non-English classic from Asia I chose for my Classics Club list: Dream of the Red Chamber and it was well worth the read.

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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 437: A House Like A Lotus (O’Keefe Family #3) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - A House Like A Lotus (O'Keefe Family #3)As much as I enjoyed the other O’Keefe novels, this one just didn’t work for me. It’s still a great novel, but something about the lay out or Polly’s age, or the subject matter just didn’t work for me. It also didn’t help that I ended a job and started a new one all in the middle of reading this book, so the timing could definitely have been better.

A House Like A Lotus is the third of the O’Keefe Family Series, the sixth book published, but the seventh in chronological order in the Kairos (Murray-O’Keefe) series. It continues the themes of the O’Keefe books of humanity and what people can do to make the world a better place for everyone. Maybe that’s what I didn’t like about this one? Maybe it was too hippy-dippy for me? But considering some of the hippier-dippier books I’ve read recently I don’t think so.

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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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Book 412: Are You My Mother? – Alison Bechdel

Bechdel, Alison - Are You My MotherAfter re-reading Fun Home for book group I dove right into the follow-up Are You My Mother? As much as I enjoyed it and ultimately identified with it, it didn’t live up to the magical experience of Fun Home. It’s hard to say whether this lack of magic was a result of the intense navel gazing or the less compelling surface emotional story. To be honest it could be the daughter identifying with mother as this is an experience/story that I will never experience in the same way.

This being said, the story was still eloquently and humorously told! The graphics were just as poignant and detailed as those in the original. I enjoyed the complete color shift from the green-gray to the red, especially when Bechdel revisited scenes from her earlier work and the emphasis changed slightly. The book list in Are You My Mother? wasn’t quite as long as Fun Home but it was still pretty impressive at 38 separate works listed.

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Book 398: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes – Jules Moulin

Moulin, Jules - Ally Hughes Has Sex SometimesThis novel was such a fun quick read that I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the publisher when they reached out to me with a copy.* It didn’t hurt that they suggested I read this piece in the New York Times first and I laughed out loud multiple times (the animation is an added bonus!).

I had very little knowledge or expectations going into Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes other than thinking it was a quirky title and it was a debut novel. I didn’t even know it was set in Providence, Rhode Island until I started reading and did a double-take when they started naming locations around Brown University that I’ve been to. So obviously it got bonus points for that too! We all know I’m a sucker for books set in locations I have fond memories of.

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Book 397: The Beans of Egypt, Maine – Carolyn Chute

Chute, Carolyn - The Beans of Egypt, MaineMy friend Carlie (Hi Carlie!), recommended this book way back when I started this blog not long after she recommended The Hunger Games and I picked up a copy back in December 2012. I don’t know why it took so long for me to get around to it, but it did. I should’ve known better based on how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, another of her discoveries.

This book really should be mentioned in the same breath of books like The Color Purple and Bastard Out of Carolina. Maybe it is and I’m not aware of it, but if it isn’t I’m not sure why. It was published in 1985 right in between the Color and Carolina and it’s just as harrowing, real and disturbing as either of those. (It’s also compared to Faulkner, but I can’t speak to that as I’ve never read him.)

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