Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Tuesday, where are you?

Once again, totally stolen from 1morechapter...

London, England

There are so many colors in the rainbow...

Another new challenge: the 2009 Themed Reading Challenge...
There are a few different versions of this challenge, and I have chosen the first version. Between February 1 and July 31, read four books off my TBR pile that are connected through a common theme. My theme? Colors in the title...not too original, but I've got lots to choose from. My books will be...

1. The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber
2. Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
3. The Woman in Black - Susan Hill
4. Girl in a Blue Dress - Gaijnor Arnold

It's good to be trimming down my out of control TBR pile...

Read it yourself...

A new challenge: the Read Your Own Books Challenge...

From January 1 through December 31, challenge yourself to read your own books, however many you want. I currently own six books that I haven't read yet. So I'm just challenging myself to read those six. My books will be...
1. Possession - AS Bryatt
2. The Black Dahlia - James Ellroy
3. The Good German - Joseph Kanon
4. When Christ and His Saints Slept - Sharon Kay Penman
5. Royal Escape - Georgette Heyer
6. The Shape of Mercy - Susan Meissner

Four I have had for a long time, but two I received in book giveaways this past year. Looks good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adolph - Benjamin Constant

benjamin constant
c. 1816
123 pages completed 11/11/2008

*may contain spoilers*

I don't think I enjoyed this book. I was irritated the whole time. Irritated by both Adolphe and Ellenore. Both of them were ridiculous and I found pretty much nothing redeemable about either of them. No matter what they told themselves, neither of them were in love. Adolphe was bored and then weak. Ellenore was just clinging to someone who treated her with something more than grudging respect.

It seems to be a common theme with French writers from around this time that men did not fall in love before they began these affairs. Instead, they're bored and decide to embark on a contest with themselves. The affair has nothing to do with love, it's a challenge to see if they can get a woman to fall in love with them. And I can find nothing at all interesting about this kind of affair.


It's Tuesday, where are you?

This is absolutely, one hundred percent stolen off of 3M's blog, 1morechapter. And while, yes, I feel a little bad about stealing, I just think this is the coolest thing! And so I want to do it, too. So. I'm stealing. Hope that's okay with everyone...


Friday, November 7, 2008

Daisy Miller - Henry James

daisy miller
henry james
c. 1878
98 pages
completed 11/6/2008

*may contain spoilers*

This was much shorter and different than I expected. I don't know if the author meant it to be so, but to me it just seemed like a cautionary tale for young girls. Don't flirt, don't act improper, don't hang out with foreign men who are beneath your status, otherwise you will die of malaria. Or whatever Roman Fever is supposed to be.

I wasn't too impressed. It was not very engaging, and none of the characters were sympathetic, especially Daisy. No one was in any way likable. Though I did find it interesting that while Winterbourne grew increasingly more appalled by Daisy's behavior, so much so that he stopped seeing her altogether, I got the impression that had HE been the one that Daisy was spending so much time with he would not have disapproved of her behavior quite so much. Very hypocritical.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

the woman in white
wilkie collins
c. 1859
643 pages
completed 11/6/2008

*may contain spoilers*

I'm pretty sure this is my new favorite book. Even though my sister, the librarian, told me it was super boring. I'm not really sure how she thought it was boring. This was the first great suspense novel, and was written in a very interesting style. Instead of one narrator who knows the whole story telling it to the readers, it is written by many narrators in order to always have a first person account of the action.

There were a few things that I found very interesting about this book, things that really dated it. For one thing, I found the descriptions of Laura and Marian's physical features as a reflection of their characters. Laura was sweet and submissive and therefore she was beautiful. Marian, on the other hand, was strong and independent and therefore she was ugly. Not an ugly personality, in fact she was incredibly gracious and intelligent and loving, but she was physically ugly. It might not have been the author's intent for the physical descriptions to reflect their character, but that's what I took away from them.

What I felt really dated this novel was the Secret. Obviously, this was written in the 1800's and naturally it describes life at that time that is very different from life now, but in order to keep this secret Sir Percival was willing to completely destroy the lives of two different women, to shut them away in Asylums. This secret is kept hidden from the reader for so long and built up so much that when it was finally revealed I was kind of let down. And I was shocked when I learned that this "crime" was considered a hanging case when it was committed. It's interesting to know I'm not the only one who felt this secret did not match the build up it received. I looked into the musical adaptation of The Woman in White, and there the secret has been changed, probably in order to make it more sensational (albeit, A LOT of the story has been changed in the musical). In the musical, the secret involved rape and murder, whereas in the original novel the secret is nothing more than a forgery.

I am very interested in looking into more by Wilkie Collins. I'm glad we were finally introduced.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For those who like their food well seasoned...

Another challenge for 2009!
Melissa over at BookNut is hosting the Well Seasoned Reader Challenge. From January 1st through March 31st, read three books that will fit into any of the following categories:
1. food name in the title
2. about cooking and/or eating
3. place name in the title
4. about a person's travel experience
5. by an author who's ethnicity is not your own

Lot's of stuff to choose from! I went through my enormous TBR pile and chose three books from there that will fit into some of those categories. My books will be...

1. The Teahouse on Mulberry Street - Sharon Ownes (about eating)
2. The Girl in Saskatoon - Sharon Butala (place name)
3. The Toss of a Lemon - Padma Viswanathan (food name)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who's your god...

Dar over at Peeking Between the Pages is having another book giveaway! One November 9th, she'll choose 5 winners of Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. Head on over to her blog to check out the rules to enter.

Per the rules of this giveaway, I need to mention my latest favorite book. When I read the rules over the first time, I apparently misread what was written and thought we were asked to mention our LEAST favorite book. So this is the second time I'm posting this. Ha. Good thing I looked at other people's responses before I linked this post in Dar's comments. As for my latest favorite book...currently I'm reading the Women in White by Wilkie Collins and I LOVE IT. My sister, the Librarian, told me that it was boring, but I can't put it down.

To be read...

Hopefully I am not adding as many books to my TBR list as last month...

The Spiritualist - Megan Chance
The Shape of Mercy - Susan Meissner
The Blackstone Key - Rose Meli Kan
The Birth of Venus - Sarah Dunant
The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry
The Story of a Marraige - Andrew Sean Greer
The Triumph of Deborah - Eva Etzioni Halevy
Immortal - Traci L Slatton
Cathedral of the Sea - Ildefonso Falcones
The Last Queen - CW Gortner
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson
The Glass of Time/The Meaning of Night - Michael Cox (2 books)
Time and Chance/Devil's Brood - Sharon Kay Penman (2 books)
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
The Shack - William P Young
Nine Coaches Waiting - Mary Stewart
A Short Guide to a Happy Life - Anna Quinlend
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
Broad Street - Christine Weiser
A Tale Out of Luck - Willie Nelson
The Likeness - Tana French
The Safety of Secrets - DeLaune Michel
The Firemaster's Mistress - Christine Dickason
The Ice Queen - Alice Hoffman
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
Scratch Beginnings - Adam Shepard
Down River - John Hart
The Peculiar Crimes Unit Series - Christopher Fowler

29 books and one new series. Not too bad...