Books

Book 557: The Brontë Plot – Katherine Reay

The Brontë Plot cover artThe downside with reading so many romance novels by the same author back-to-back is you quickly discover their strengths and weaknesses. As I read each of Reay’s works, they became less and less memorable even as I was reading them.

If I have to tie it down to the most basic its character development closely followed by pacing. I’m not one to need a “two months later” directional at every instance, but in Reay’s case it would’ve helped a lot. Toward the beginning of the novel the meet cute and the timing was so off I found myself having to re-read multiple sections to see if I’d missed the introduction or some major indicator of time having passed. (I hadn’t.)

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Books

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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Books, The Classics Club

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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Books

Book 453: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) – Deborah Harkness

Harkness, Deborah - Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)Picking up where A Discovery of Witches leaves off we are right back in the story of Diana and Matthew! It’s hard to hide spoilers, especially the one at the end of the first book because it sets up the entire second book, so if you plan on reading the series skip my response!

I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am, but I am a little surprised at how much I enjoyed book two of the All Souls Trilogy. For everything that was missing in book one, Harkness made a great effort to bring it back to this book. She reined in the over descriptions, she brought a little more sass to her characters, and she wrote 16th century Europe wonderfully. Continue reading “Book 453: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) – Deborah Harkness”

Books

Book 409: Something Rotten (Thursday Next #4) – Jasper Fforde

Fforde, Jasper - Something Rotten (Thursay Next #4)Just when you think it can’t get any stranger, Jasper Fforde makes sure to let you know it can and it will:

“The fate of all life on this beautiful planet decided on the swing of a croquet mallet.” (351)

I mean COME ON! Anyone who can turn croquet into a full-contact sport and make me want to watch it has to be a genius right?

I also can’t believe it took me until almost 12 hours later to finally connect the title to most of the story, as in hey this story has a lot about Hamlet in it and the quote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” even appears! Thanks Fforde for reminding me I’m just another cog in the human machine. Epic fail on my part.

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Books

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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Books, The Classics Club

Book 350: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

Angelou, Maya - I Know Why The Caged Bird SingsI picked up my copy of this book just 11 days before Maya Angelou died last spring. I’d always had this book on my list, but I’d never found a reason to pick it up and for some reason at the library book sale last year I finally added it to my pile. I knew I wanted to read it because it is one of those books that is mentioned by everyone and has such a place in American culture, but not as widely read as I probably assumed.

As I read the novel I was floored at the breadth of experience Angelou faced before she turned 17. At times the novel reminded me a lot of The Color Purple and Bastard Out of Carolina, but I have a feeling both Alice Walker and Dorothy Allison were inspired/influenced by this. That being said, of the three this is the most profound work. Perhaps because it is explicitly an autobiography (and Bastard is semi-autobiographical and Purple is a fictional novel).

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