Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spinning the Classics

Classics Club is having another spin. I love this part of the club, but as I have fewer than 20 books left to read on my list (after removing Swanns Way and The Decameron both of which I want to read but can't commit to without being able to clear more reading time than I have at the moment) I had to get creative about the list. Hence the introduction of "Free spaces." The number will be chosen on Friday, March 10 and the challenge is to finish the selected book by May 1.
Here is my list:
  1. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir [1949]
  2. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks [1977] 
  3. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino [1979] 
  4. Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1), Orson Scott Card [1985] 
  5. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky [1880]
  6. On Green Dolphin Street, Sebastian Faulks [2001] 
  7. The French Lieutenant's Woman, John Fowles [1969] 
  8.             FREE SPACE -read whichever you want
  9. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne [1850]
  10. Catch-22, Joseph Heller [1961]
  11. A Bell for Adano, John Hersey [1944]
  12. Dubliners, James Joyce [1914]
  13. Portrait of a Lady, Henry James 
  14. A Separate Peace, John Knowles [1959]
  15.               FREE SPACE -read whichever book T picks 
  16. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami [1994] 
  17. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys [1966]
  18. The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger [1951]
  19. Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey [1918]
  20. The Robber Bridegroom, Eudora Welty [1942]

Sunday, March 5, 2017

LOTR Readalong

During February I read The Hobbit and am now planning to embark on The Fellowship of The Ring during March and April for the #HLOTRreadalong2017 at Brona's Books.

Brona has asked participants to answer a few questions at this point in the readalong.
Q: Tell us your history with Tolkien and the LOTR.
A: I have seen all the Peter Jackson movies, but have not read the books before. 
Q: Why are you reading or rereading it now?

A: They have been on my TBR list for a long time and there is a set of paperback editions of the novels (they belong to my husband) that has been sitting on our shelves for years. I was inspired by the readalong to finally read them.
Q: Have you learnt Elvish? Or read any other Tolkien books?

A: Definitely no to the Elvish (I'm not great with languages) and I don't think I have read other Tolkien except for The Hobbit last month.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Six Degrees of Separation

The #6degrees meme is hosted at Books are my Favourite and Best.

I had fun with this meme last month, but have not read this month's starting book, Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (#1) so I didn't think I would play this month. Then I read the #6degrees post at annabookbel and I had my starting link! Anabel says: 
"Fever Pitch is about Arsenal, so I thought of a 'red shirt' link to Star Trek -- but couldn't make it work." 
So I am starting my chain with Redshirts by John Scalzi (#2). This is the story of one of those anonymous crewmen on the Star Trek ship Enterprise who wears a red shirt and is getting a bit anxious about how many of his fellow-red-shirters don't return from their missions. After reading and loving this book I went on to read another Scalzi novel, Lock in (#3). This is a thriller the plot of which revolves around a murder set in a world where 'Haden's syndrome,' a disease that affects millions of people who are "fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus,"  has changed the societal landscape. Another novel where a fast spreading disease has changed the society is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (#4). Many of the characters in Mandel's novel are Shakespearean actors, which connects to Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood (#5) which is about a Shakespearean actor/director who takes his work into a prison where he leads inmates in a literacy program through a production of The Tempest. There are several things that make the in-prison production unique including the use of several original rap songs to tell sections of the story. That made me think of another book that you wouldn't immediately see as lending itself to a rap-music interpretation but that did, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (#6), which was the basis for the smash-hit musical HamiltonSo I begin and end this chain with books I haven't read. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: Dear Fang, With Love

Dear Fang, With LoveDear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars Really 3.5 stars.

I liked the way the characters were drawn and the history of Lithuania was woven into the novel very well. I felt like it unravelled a bit about 3/4 of the way through though and things stared happening that weren't really supported by the earlier set up.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Hobbit

The HobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this for the #HLOTR read-along happening at Brona's Books.

I hadn't read this before, I knew the story from movies, but realized when I began that I hadn't actually read the book before. Overall I found it charming and a good adventure. It seemed very much in company with other children's classics like The Wizard of Oz, the Narnia books, A Wrinkle in Time, etc. I especially liked the little bits of wisdom sprinkled into the story.
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”  
“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” 
I felt like the section on Gollum was way to long and repetitive and detracted from the story. I realize it was needed to set up the books that came later, and other bloggers got a lot out of it. There were some excellent posts about the novel from other read-along participants who found significance in this section. The posts at One Catholic Life and Another Book Blog in particular were insightful. I did find the phrase "scrumptiously crunchable," which comes in that section, quite marvelous however. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Posting a Poem #1

"Modern Declaration" is a poem by Edna St Vincent Millay that I have always liked. It was the poem recently on The Writers Almanac which inspired me to go hunt it up again.
In the first of what I plan as an occasional series of posts linking to poems I come across in the wild I am sharing this one.  In the interest of proper copyright behavior I won't be posting the poems, just links to them in places that I have reason to think obtained the rights to post them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lisa's Review: Break No Bones

Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the ninth book in the Temperance Brennan series, but the first that I have read. As Tempe is wrapping up a stint teaching at an archaeology school in Charleston, a 'fresh' body is found among the skeletons at the ancient burial site. As Tempe begins to assist in the investigation, other bodies start to turn up.

I have been meaning to read a Kathy Reichs book for a long time, and have perused them many times at the library but had not had a chance to fit one into my reading schedule. Mary was just about finished with the audio book version of Break No Bones & lent it to me for an upcoming long drive. It definitely met my criteria for a good crime novel. I will look forward to reading some more from Reich - based on Mary's review, I'll be asking her what some of her favorites are.
This is my eighth book read for the 10th Annual Canadian Book Challenge.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Six Degrees of Separation

The #6degrees meme is hosted at Books are my Favourite and Best.

This month the chain begins with (#1) Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies. The structure of that novel reminded me of Into the Woods which was made into a very good movie in which Meryl Streep got most of the best songs. (I know, not a book.) Meryl Streep was also in the movie version of (#2) The Hours by Michael Cunningham. That novel was inspired by (#3) Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway which I loved so much I gave it a rare (for me) 5 star rating. I also gave 5 stars to (#4) Amor Towles Rules of Civility, which, like Mrs. Dalloway, focuses on the thoughts of one woman as she makes her way through the world. Also by Amor Towles I read the novel (#5) A Gentleman in Moscow which takes place almost entirely in a hotel. This leads me inexorably to one of my favorite picture books, (#6) Eloise by Kay Thompson, which is about a little girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Review: Break No Bones

Break No Bones (Temperance Brennan, #9)Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Tempe Brennnan story takes place in South Carolina (not her normal patch) and includes her Montreal homicide detective boyfriend in much of the story. This wasn't one of the better structured mysteries and there was a lot of emotional angst in the story which seemed to dominate the story. Canadian author Kathy Reichs can spin a taught tale of cat and mouse police work, this wasn't one of her best.

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