Friday, January 4, 2013

Yeah! 2013!

Happily, I finished Les Misérables way before Christmas.  I absolutely love this book!  It's so French!  It's so full of wonderful things.  Mostly I love the way it covers all different types of love.  It's so real life like and so inspiring!  I am looking forward to seeing the movie soon!

Well this blog has been dragging it's butt into the New Year!  I will be updating my goodreads goals.  I upped myself to 120 books!  I think that I won't be able to reach this because I did have a lot of extra time this year to read and it looks like the coming year will be more busy with more projects.  But I did read quite a few tomes so we'll see how it works out.

I'm currently reading, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading which I'm enjoying but sometimes it's a bit depressing.  It's a pretty deep book and with the contrast of the author writing about the death of her beloved sister, you get this racing commentary on some of the 365 books she read during a one year period.  I can't imagine reading that many books.  I couldn't remember anything if I did!  In the end you can't really be against a book about books.  They are usually good.

I am also rereading Pride and Prejudice.  Because I can.  I love this book even though it's not my favorite Austen.  I do love Mr. Darcy.

I am also working my way through another reread, Acts of Faith   I'm not sure why I picked this one up again but I wanted to read it again to see if I could get into it more than I could the first time.  I didn't dislike it.  In fact, it is an amazing book in many ways.  The whole picture he paints of NGO's and the issues of helping people in Africa is amazing and I think probably very spot on.  I think some of the characters end up a bit boring and some are unbelievable.   I keep thinking what an amazing story this would be for Charles Dickens to tackle!

I hate writing, "I'm not posting, sorry, blah blah blah" blog posts, but that's what this is.  I do still love the idea of a book blog but have little time to write these days.  Also I would like to contribute differently than other book blogs but have yet felt that I have a niche to do this.  I will keep trying and maybe find my voice.

I hope you all have a smashingly good 2012!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Les Miserables

The Hunger Games Trilogy did me in and I have decided to try reading something a big more inspiring.  What book could possibly be more inspiring than Les Misérables  by Victor Hugo? Have you read it?  It's a big, thick book to be sure but don't let that stop you.  It's also one of the most amazing books ever written.  I read it about twenty years ago and even though it's rough to get through because of it's length, there were parts that kept me from putting down the book.

Since there is going to be movie coming out on Christmas day based on the musical,   (Another amazing work of art that should not be missed.) I decided it was time for another read of this masterpiece.

My goal is to finish it by Christmas day.  I am going to take breaks if I want.  Do you think I can finish it by Christmas?

Here's an amazing trailer from the movie. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mockingjay By Suzanne Collins (Will Contain Spoilers)


 I just finished Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and so I'm in kind of a whirl of emotions as I write this post.  First of all, I honestly don't want to gratuitously pan this trilogy as so many people have been raving about it for eons. (I might be the last person to have finished reading it!) Because people are saying that they identify with it on such a personal level, I just want to make it clear, I am not dissing these people.  I believe them and respect their opinion.  And I honestly hope that some of them will post a comment explaining why they feel that way because I had a really hard time understanding the point of this series and the emotions that it's bringing up in young people.

I actually somewhat enjoyed the first book, The Hunger Games . It was different.  I love dystopian novels and so I worked my way through it connected heart and soul.  I found the world Suzanne created interesting and the whole children as gladiators theme really caught my attention and I felt that it could really make for an interesting series of books. 

I would have to say that while I found The Hunger Games gripping, I also found it pretty intense.  Especially the theme of children killing children.  Let's be honest, we live in a world where that goes on.  Whether you side for or against abortion, you have to admit, if abortion is not killing a child, it's ending the life of something that will someday turn into a child. We do that every day in the United States without blinking an eye.  It's legal to do.  Child soldiers abound in countries around the world.  Not only do armies use them, but those who claim to advocate against using them exploit them.  Street children run up and down the avenues in cities the world over.  Brazil rounds them up and kills them.  Children in the United States are routinely gunned down by their peers.  China has a one child policy that is simply Orwellian as goes against it's own culture and tradition of thousands of years which stipulates that parents need a male child to ensure they are cared for in their elderly years. Need I go on?  The book obviously resonates with cultures and people around the world. 

So I stuck valiantly with the first book even though it made me feel down and stirred up a lot of negative emotions.  Sometimes books need to do that to make points.  They stir you up and resolve with the hero's point of view in a way that makes you see the world differently.  I can go with that.

So when I finished The Hunger Games, I was hooked and looked forward to the second and third book which I bought in a kindle set at a low price.  I dived into Catching Fire with high expectations knowing that it was going to continue with the violent themes of death and revolution.  I was hoping that Katniss and Gale would lead their families and others out of their District and into the forest where they could survive the Capitol's assault on them and eventually lead the whole country to a real revolution with Katniss and Gale leading the way as child soldiers. 

Where did Katniss go in the second book?  Back into the arena.  More bloodbath, more dead children, this time the plot exploded into such chaos in my mind that I honestly can't tell you what happened.  I lived through The Hunger Games with Katniss the first time.  She took me through it, we survived.  Going back in seemed a very weak writing choice.  I wanted badly to find out what happened and so I kept reading, but I started to disconnect. I just could not take the violence.

But yet there was one more book to go.  Certainly there is always a down element in the second installment of any trilogy.  It is usually the darker of the three installments of any trilogy.  Certainly things would resolve!  Certainly Katniss would emerge victorious!  This is marketed at a Young Adult series.  Certainly there would be some kind of positive ending.

I just finished Mockingjay this afternoon.  I was absolutely dumb founded by the end of the book.  They all went to war.  This time for real.  Things got a bit interesting.  Peeta was brainwashed and tried to kill Katniss.  Interesting plot twist.  But that was the only interesting twist.  Other than that, it was violence, violence, violence, bloodshed and so many people, excuse me, CHILDREN were killed, I can't even tell you who because by that time I was skimming to find out the very end and honestly was not connected to the characters to the point that I cared.  Katniss whines and moans through the whole book and finally implodes on herself.  Should I go into the themes here?  Katniss trying to rescue Peeta from his emotionally tortured mindset.  Gale finally understanding Katniss won't choose him and just fades away somewhere.  Gale, in my humble opinion, is the only MAN in the whole book.   Katniss ends up marrying, poor, broken Peeta who somehow, amid the war and bloodshed emotionally heals and this leads me to think this could be some great societal theme that woman have to deal with today.  We go for the weak man instead of the real man? We're broken down women, destined to implode on ourselves emotionally and chose the wrong man?  No matter the underlying themes that could probably be discussed for ages, the book does actually end:  Katniss and Peeta live on in the epilogue, not happy, but survivors bearing babies of their own.  

I won't even mention the grammar mistakes on the book.  Doesn't anyone edit books anymore?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Epic Read

There is nothing like a summer epic read.

You know the kind.  Novels that unroll themselves and take you down a pathway of adventure and enclose you in a world so tight that you forget the sun shining outside or the waves licking your toes while you lay on the beach.

The first adult epic novel I read as a junior higher was, The Thorn Birds Not only did it take me on an adventure to Australia and expose me to a continent I did not know anything about yet, but it also swept me into the adult world of complex relationships, forbidden love and the mysteries of the Catholic church.  I did not understand everything I that was going on but was still enthralled.

I decided to reread "The Thorn Birds" this summer after finding the book in a $1 used book store.  The book was like the paperback I read so long ago, over and over, until it fell apart.  I was immediately swept back to Australia in my mind and it was fun to reread parts that I didn't understand as a child and now could comprehend the characters problems with the clarity of adulthood.

As summer is winding down I am reading The Russian Concubine   I was not sure when I started if I would like this book or not but have been pleasantly surprised by it.  The story of a group of ex pats trying to survive in China at the turn of the century with the threats of the communists breathing hard on them has some pretty tight plot turns.  I have about fifty more pages to go and am rushing through this post because I want to get back to it and finish today.

What is your favorite epic summer read?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beach Reads

Summer is the time to head to the beach where long, sunny, lazy days means plenty of time to read.  I never head to the beach without at least one book in my beach bag. (Okay, I rarely even leave home without one or a kindle in my purse!)

I kind of go back and forth with what I like to read during the summer.  I used to commit to a classic tome during the summer months.  Books like Anna Karenina, War and Peace or Les Misérables .  I also remember one summer where I tackled a book on physics by an author who claimed that he could prove there is a God and we will live forever as a computer!  (Hmmmm, this was way before Facebook!)

I think that sometimes the perfect beach read is a mindless trashy novel or something from the latest pulp fiction bestseller list.

In July, I went through a few books, that I just couldn't get into and couldn't finish.  Restless, I took some inspiration from the beach reads that I had seen on the beach this summer.  I saw noses stuck in 11/22/63Being There and The House of Mirth .  But the most popular beach read that I have spotted is Fifty Shades Darker.   I've seen women of all ages enjoying the sun and fun of the beach while reading this bestseller.

Since I had already ground through Fifty Shades of Grey, I decided to try the second installation in this best selling trilogy.  Maybe it would prove to be better as a beach read.  Maybe I would finally "get" what everyone else is getting out of these books.

Yesterday, I took this book to the beach to finish it up.  (I admit there was a bit of speed reading going on as there were reams and reams of boring stuff in between the semi interesting parts that long hauled the plot two inches forward.

I liked this book even less than the first.  Honestly, I find it hard to believe on any level.  And if it was even a realistic type of story, why is it interesting for us to read about a bunch of people with relationship skills who have borderline if not seriously psychological issues.  I mean, Ana is going with a guy who's ex "sub" is stalking her because she looks just like her and she has had a psychotic break.  Hint to Ana, maybe it's not just Christian's ex who's a little mental here.

I could go on, but won't waste my blog on this stuff.  They are not well written books and other than the titillation, I'm not sure why people think this is such great material.

Today I spent my time on the beach with Salman Rushdie.  So far, much more interesting.

What are you reading on the beach?  Or what is your favorite summer read if you cannot get to an ocean?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Time To Face The Change

I've decided to change some things on this blog.  When I started this blog, I thought it would be great to comment on every book I read and have this huge book blog project going along with it.  I planned to write, write, write about books.

Because I read a lot, and I mean a lot of books, I did not take into account how much time I would need to actually blog intelligently about them.  I've been reading a lot of book blogs and seeing what's out there made me hungry to contribute to the book blog community, but I also wanted to do my own thing and not copy other people's ideas of book blogs.

Commenting about every book I read got tedious and I found I just didn't have time to keep up.  So that's why the blog has been lagging the last couple of months.

I decided to take some time and think about whether I wanted to keep this blog or not.

I want to keep this blog going but will be changing it up a bit.

I am not planning on blogging or listing every book I read.  You can go to my GoodReads page and friend me if you want to keep up with that information.

I am hoping to sit down and blog more in depth about books I particularly like or subjects on reading, books and blogging.

Change can be excellent!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What I've Read So Far This Summer


 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: Book 3 of the Millennium Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) :  I finally got to read the final in this trilogy.  I loved the first two books but this one seemed a bit slower to me.  Elisabeth spent most of the book in the hospital and since she's the most interesting character in the series, I have to say it was a bit more boring.  But I did enjoy the series very much.  I don't read a lot of mystery/thrillers so it was a nice change.

The Horse Whisperer :  This was a reread for me.  I forgot most of the story, so it was nice to revisit.

The Shell Seekers :  I love Rosamunde Pilcher.  This was a reread.  I love this book!

The Royals :  Ah, Kitty Kelly!  Ah, the British Royal Family.  Will the fascination with this family ever end?  Never!

Wings of a Dove (Love Spell) :  Ah, simple romance books!  A great beach read!

Middlesex: A Novel :  A pulitzer prize winner.  An amazing novel about a hermaphrodite who documents her family's journey from Greece to Detroit and her trials growing up as a girl and finally making the decision to be male.  The writing is amazing.

What are you reading this summer?