Friday, October 22, 2010

Thirteenth Tale - A Fall Reading Challenge update

I finished my first book from my fall reading challenge over at A Southern Daydreamer Reads.  I hope I haven't set the bar too high based on my other books, since I very much liked this book.

 The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield was a marvelous journey on par with the best gothic tales. Not in anyway shape or form a scary book, the story winds forth at a deathbed-ish biographical confessional of reknowned and beloved author. Skeletal shawdows of tragic family secrets criss cross from both biographer and author.

Amazon's review called it a ghost story but I disagree. I thought it was more contemplative in nature than erie, and only could be a ghost story as these women confronted the ghosts of their pasts.

But I LOVED these women! Their strengths and their weaknesses. An author who's given 19 different versions of her life story to nosey reporters. Gotta love the spunk!

And I loved the way the story played out. And the setting had such a 'Wuthering Heights' melencholy to it!

I simply couldn't wait to get back to this book at night.

A couple small things kept me from giving this book 5 stars - at least for now...perhaps the pace was a little too languid as I found myself having to go back and look up who was who. It could be me of course, but names just weren't sticking which usually means I'm not quite connecting.

And although I loved 99% of how the end played out, there were 3 little loose ends that were tied up like a 6 year old's self tied shoes...too quick and not very neat.

I'll miss my trips to Angelfield but I'm so glad I went!

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield  4.5/5

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My First Top Ten Tuesday

I simply could not resist this question. Especially after seeing so many wonderful other Top Tens!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by our friend over at The Broke and The Bookish. And this will be my first time joining in.

This week's topic:

Top Ten Fictional Crushes

10) Enclyclopedia Brown - one of my first crushes...and the beginning of my appreciation of smart guys.

9) Theodore "Laurie" Laurence - Little Women. Although I do still see him with Jo in my head.

8) Inman -  Cold Mountain. Just because. Who else would trek like that for the hope of love!

7) Stuart Redmond - The Stand - Another smart guy but in a more 'common sense' smart way. With a good dose of rugged.

6) Heathcliff -Wuthering Heights - For sheer endurence. 

5) Aragorn - Lord of the Rings

4) Legolas - Lord of the Rings - only beat Aragorn because technically Aragorn HAS a girlfriend and Legolas seems available.

3) Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice (and yes the movie version with Kira Knightly perpetuates this...that was one HUNKIN Mr. Darcy...walking across....NO! STRIDING across that field... sighhhh)

2) James Herriot - All Creatures Great and Small. Ok he's real, but I think it counts! I fell in love with the UK, I fell in love with Veterinarians, and well... Him!

1) Roland Deschain - The Dark Tower series. The creme de la creme of leading men.

Probably lots of others too. This list did take me a bit to put together believe it or not. Turns out the bulk of my books are strong female leads. I, for one, found that surprising.

Well there we have it, my first TTT. How fun :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hello Iowa City!!

My daughter wanted to go visit her boyfriend. She's a junior in High School and he just started his first year at the University of Iowa.

We live about an hour and half away from there in a pretty tiny little town

and I've never really ever been there let alone driven there.

And may I add driving isn't one of my favorite things anyway...

But I felt bad for there's this kickin little Indie bookstore I've read about and really wanted to find as long as we were there. :)

I don't have a gps, but I do have google maps (yay for satellite view) and pretty good internal sense of direction.
I'm not a fan of interstate 80 so we took backroads getting there which was beautiful and didnt take too much longer, except it's harvest and we got slowed down a couple of times for farm stuff. But not bad.

Once we got in town... I drove right to his dorm. No problem. It was ridiculously easy...made even easier since Iowa played at Ann Arbor. I wouldn't go near there on a home game day. (that's a way lot of people!)

So I dropped her off, made her boyfriend pinky swear that he would take care of her and my younger daughter and I were off to find

Prairie lights... Took a tinie tiny bit of looking but found a parking place pretty close and really enjoyed looking around this amazing downtown area!! Even the sidewalks had points of interest... dumb me didn't take the camera, so I'm having to find pics on the interwebs, and not very well.

And then vioula ... Praire Lights...just on the other side of the most interesting sounding Dublin Undergroud. (may go back on girls night out and check that place out). And it was cool!! 3 1/2 floors of books, cool people that worked there, lots of patrons. I was IN MY ELEMENT!!! Part of me wondered what the job market in Iowa City was like for Animal Nutrition Tech Support.

I came out with a local Independent Press Publication by Timothy Fay, Anamosa, Iowa called The Wapsipinicon Almanac...full of short stories and essasy etc. Love this little magazine.

And a really inexpensive copy of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle...

Did you catch the part where I asked about Animal Nutrition... this book is fated for me, PLUS I just watched last Thursday the Temple Grandin Story... AH. MAY. ZING! So the Sinclair book was Supposed to be mine and at 3 bucks I would have no reason to say no.

I can't wait to go back.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I wanna be the minority...books you loved and me? not so much

I am joining in on Follow Friday over at Parajunkee's View again and, for the first time, Blog Hop this week because I couldn't resist this question.

"When you read a book that you just can't get into, do you stick it out and keep reading or move to your next title?"
I probably have a few books I could put here that I moved on from... Atlas Shrugged made me furious and may I say no wonder we had a 'me' generation... House of Sand and Fog; I quit that one because I didn't believe a thing the characters did.

The worst book I stuck out... for the moment is:

The Host - Stephenie Meyer
I know a lot of you probably liked it... and some of you wouldn't pick up a Meyer book for love nor money. I have teen girls. So I had to see what was up with all this and my youngest angel liked this book but we were all pretty lukewarm on Twilight except for the cars. :)
I did not like it but finished it. While the premise was actually not bad and had promise the handling of it was so off the mark. Not for awful writing alone, but for the portrayal that 'strong women take abuse'! That sends me to the moon!(gentle review here)

Usually when I'm reading a 'meh' book, is when I find myself scrounging yard sales for books, rearranging my shelves, perusing my TBR pile. But I like finished books. I won't put a book in my book journal if I gave it up. And I like having books (although not nearly as many as most of you! Wow!) in my journal.

I happen to love the book I'm reading now and actually think about getting back to it the way night owls think about getting back to bed at 7:30 in the morning :) If that makes sense to anyone..

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall Reading! WOOT!

Ok so I actually love reading any time, but is there anything cozier than a crisp day with the leaves crunching and swirling blusterly about than to curl up with a good book? (except a gray snowy day- that's the BEST...anyway)

I'm finally picking my list for the Fall Reading Challenge over at A Southern Daydreamer Reads. With school, work, and my volunteer stuff, this is really an ambitious list for me.

 The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield
I've seen this reviewed on a couple blogs and my daughter had checked it out of the library once after hearing it was good. I read about 2 pages as a preview and wow! I can't wait :)

Animal Vegetable Miracle - by Barbara Kingsolver
After reading Walden and seeing other interesting selections for my Environmental Science class I happened upon this and thought it must have been fated, so of course I had to add it.

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
I started this as an audio. Turns out I don't really sit still as long as I thought I did and kept having to run it back. Finally opted for the 'hold me in your hands' print version. Of course I"ve seen this book around... best seller for how long? and on the blogs a lot too. Is it awful that I like the cover too! :)

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
What else is there!

 Dr. Zhivago - Boris Pasternik
In english. My first (I am chagrined to say) foray into the world of Russian Lit. Really looking forward to this one too!

Strange as this Weather Has Been - Ann Pancake
I bought this on eBay as a continuation of my West Virginia trip. I drew the line there at actually making a pot of brown beans and cornbread - unless my dad is coming to visit. This novel is set in West - by God- Virginia and addresses Appalachian issues common for generations.

Nights in Rodanthe - Nicholas Sparks
I've never read one of his books, only seen the tear-jerking movies.. Had to check out the source. Plus thought with some of the others on my list I may need something lighter. Not that the subject matter is lighter, just a lighter read.

So there we have it... An Autumn reading Extravaganza... ok so maybe not Extravagant, but sounds like fun to me none-the-less.

I'll look forward to keeping up with my fellow challenge readers and see how they like their selections too!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Walden - Life in the woods.

I finally finished Walden. It took me awhile. With the 19th century addiction to ginormous sentences and 2 page paragraphs, it wasn't a super easy read.  I was afraid I'd miss something if I read too fast.

Walden is essentially an essay on a social experiment. Thoreau, disenchanted with the materialism of the day, decided to remove himself from 'mainstream' society and live a simpler, more contemplative life in a handbuilt cabin in the woods by Walden Pond... and journal it. Those journals became the magnum opus for Thoreau - Walden.

Not a preachy book about overspending and shallow pursuits... wait.. yes, it sort of is! But so beautifully done that it doesn't feel like it... it feels less like you are being preached to than cheered on. Which makes it seem somewhat attainable even in this century to take some his lessons and advice to heart on simple living and make it work even today. 

But Thoreau was also a lay naturalist, geologist, zoologist, botanist and his quaint and appealing descriptions of the wood and the pond are what makes this an indelible classic!! Almost makes me want to go camping!

One thing I'm not sure I ever worked out was Thoreau's theology - or lack there of. While making plenty of references to God, I got the impression he wasn't over-enthused with Religion. 

There were so many quotes in this book that would make perfect wall stencils!! I have to write a paper on this work and there are so many wonderful concepts to touch on, I'll never figure out how to keep it at 3 pages!! :)

Combining this review with Follow Friday at Parajunkee's View :) Thanks for hosting!