Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

little women
louisa may alcott
c. 1868
669 pages
completed 9/22/2008

*may contain spoilers*

This was read for several challenges: the Decades Challenge, the Classics Challenge, and the Book to Movie Challenge (see sidebar for all).

I can't believe I haven't read this book before now. I saw the movie (with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale) forever ago and even without having seen it I knew all the spoilers from Friends seeing as my favorite episode is "The One Where Monica and Richard Are Friends" (where Rachel and Joey trade books and then spoil the books for each other...and then in the end Joey has to put Little Women in the freezer since he's so upset about Beth). So this fitting into so many challenges seemed like a good time to finally read it.

I was a little worried I would find the book boring, especially since I already knew the story, but thankfully that turned out not to be the case. I was not expecting this book to be so focused on morals. The first half especially, it seemed like every chapter ended with one of the girls learning some kind of moral life lesson. And the lessons were sweet and you fell in love with the girls for learning them in their funny little ways, like Meg burning off her hair. I know Jo was supposed to be the heroine, but I think I liked Meg the best. She was sweet and she was funny and I enjoyed reading about the scrapes she got into the most. I couldn't stand Amy. Occasionally I felt sorry for her, like when she was embarrassed at school or when she had to man the flower booth instead of the art booth, but for the most part I just thought she was a brat. Yes, she grew up and learned what was really important in the end, but I had spent so much time not liking her that for me it was too late. She may have changed her ways, but by that time I didn't care. I skipped over the whole chapter that was just her letters home from her trip abroad. I just didn't care.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates

joyce carol oates
c. 2000
786 pages (481 read)
stopped reading 9/12/2008

*may contain spoilers*

I am so disappointed, but I just couldn't finish this book. I don't even really know what it was, but by the end it had just become such a chore. I was lugging it around in my purse everywhere and had to convince myself to start reading when I had time. The book just couldn't captivate me. It's an interesting subject, the life and inter workings of Marilyn Monroe's mind, but I didn't care too much about any of the characters, even Norma Jeane.

And I don't think I cared for the writing style: the nicknames for everyone (the Ex-Athlete, the Blond Actress, V, Z, Rumpelstiltskin, etc) and the confusing not quite consistent time line. And I know that the author made a big deal about how this is a "fictionalized" account of Marilyn Monroe, not a biography, and so she took creative liberties exploring just one foster home when in reality there were several, or exploring one abortion when there were reports of more, or whatever, but it was irritating for me to know what wasn't true. I don't know if I said that right, but like if you're writing historical fiction and we don't know exactly what happened and an author writes something to suggest what could have happened I think that is one thing. But when we do know what happened and an author writes that something different happened, well that irritates me. Not to say that it's bad writing and shouldn't be done, just that it is a personal pet peeve of mine and something I don't really enjoy. I don't like things to contradict.

And so, since I couldn't finish the book I have to give it a rating of 1/5.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall into reading...

Fall is almost here! I love Fall. Halloween and pumpkin and back to school supplies. And with Fall comes the Fall Into Reading Challenge!

September 22nd through December 20th, make a book list and read! I didn't do so well at the Summer Reading Challenge once I got stuck on Blonde, but this weekend I'm getting rid of it no matter what and it will be time for a fresh start. My booklist will be...

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The Pilgrim of Hate - Ellis Peters
Daisy Miller - Henry James
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
The Alienist - Caleb Carr
The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury
Adolphe - Benjamin Constant
The Picture of Dorien Gray - Oscar Wilde
Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas - Louise Rennison
The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton
American Gods - Neil Gaimon
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Scarlett Pimpernel - Baroness Emmuska Orczy
An Excellent Mystery - Ellis Peters

Mostly I will be trying to finish up a few challenges before the end of the year!

Making the ultimate decision...

So I'm still stuck reading Blonde. I don't know what the deal is. I wrote about my troubles three weeks ago and I'm still trying to plod along. I've made some decent headway, but this is getting ridiculous how long it's taking me to read this book. And so I've made a decision. I have my next book in line to be read on hold waiting for me at the library (I just got the notice). And so I'm planning a library trip for this weekend, probably Sunday. And when I go...that's it. Blonde is going back. Finished or unfinished, I don't care.

Heading off to the lab...

So Dar at Peeking Between the Pages is having a book giveaway. On September 20th there will be a drawing for ten copies of Broken by Daniel Clay. Read about the giveaway here! One way of entering in the giveaway is to tell a story about some weird neighbors (as I guess their are some weird neighbors in Broken.) Right now I live in an apartment complex and I'm not so sure about the guy who lives below me. A cranky old dude who has screamed "SHUT UP!" at me for laughing a little too loudly with Girlfriend and her sister (in his defense it was 11pm, in my defense we were being quiet and it's not our fault his screen door was open. We all know you can hear EVERYTHING in this complex). He never leaves his apartment, but he always has his sliding door open so you can kind of see into his place. He sleeps in his living room and has this big tarp like thing hung up to close off his kitchen which makes the place look a little creepy. I like to think he's got a meth lab back there.....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

To be read...

The new additions to the TBR list...

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
The Toss of a Lemon - Padma Viswanathan
Righting the Mother Tongue - David Wolman
The Milagro Beanfield War - John Nicols
The Gospel of Judas - Simon Mawer
The Queen's Lady - Barbara Kyle
Life Mask - Emma Donoghue
Geek Love - Katherine Dunn
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
A Venetian Affair - Andrea di Robilant
The Serpent in the Garden - Janet Gleeson
Chasing Darkness - Robert Crais
Miscarriage of Justice - Kip Gayden
Cold Sassy Tree - Olive Ann Burns
Girls in Trucks - Katie Crouch
Cotillion - Gerogette Hayer
Jimmy's Stars - Mary Ann Rodman
The Heretic Queen/Nefertiti - Michelle Moran (2 books)
The Concubine - Norah Lofts
The Best of Everything - Rona Jaffe
Suite Scarlett - Maureen Johnson
Casanova in Bolzano - Sandor Marai
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
and the Sue Grafton ABC mystery series...I've always wanted to read them!

Wow. My TBR list is getting out of control! 24 books, plus a new series. For real real. out of control.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Let's go to the movies...

Callista at SMS Book Reviews is hosting a Book to Movie Challenge! September 1 - December 1 read at least three books that have been made into movies.
My books will be...

1. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
2. The Pilgrim of Hate - Ellis Peters
3. The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury

And after I'm done I should go watch them all...