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Showing posts from September, 2010

Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick

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Title:Foreign Bodies
Author: Cynthia Ozick

Genre: Fiction (Literary/Historical)

Love/Hate?: Like? Not love, not hate.
Rating: 4/5
Did I finish?: Yes.
One-sentence summary: Bea Nightingale, school teacher, becomes embroiled in lives of her niece, nephew, and brother when she's asked to fetch said nephew from Paris.

Why did I get this book?: Pretty much if it involves Paris, I'm all over it.  When it involves expats in post war Paris, then there's no stopping me!
Source:NetGalley

Do you like the cover?: Yes, the cover is very pretty, but it feels all wrong for the book.

First line from book: Dear Marvin, Well, I'm back.

Did... I hate every character in this book and yet, still care about what happened?: YES.  It's a little freaky, actually, how Ozick did that.

Did... I read this book in about 1.5 days?: YES, both because the pacing is pretty snappy and because it's a brief 272 pages! 

Did... I want to move to Paris after reading this?: YES, although that's usuall…

Wandering Wednesday, September 29

An odd mix of articles for this week, a few quite old (sorry) and some just gleaned today! 

Literary mashups. Whether you like them or not, it seems they're spreading, and according to the Guardian, children's classics are next.Author Lauren Willig on editing her first novel for mass paperback -- and what she chose to change.The Paris Review blog on welcoming a new translation of Madame Bovary.Allegedly, people (always? often? usually?) read page 99 of a book to get a sense of whether they want to purchase it or not.  Now there's a test for authors to see if their book would pass. An appropriate article for Banned Books Week: what are books good for?

WWW Wednesday, September 29

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From Should Be Reading, WWW Wednesday!

* What are you currently reading?: I'm currently reading Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick. I'm enjoying it even though I loathe every single character!

* What did you recently finish reading?: I just finished Alice I Have Been, which was an accidental pick up from the local library -- but gosh, I'm glad fate put that book in my hands!

* What do you think you’ll read next?: I'm going to be reading Kiss Me Deadly for Read All Over: 31 Days of Halloween and Heidegger’s Glasses for TLC Book Tours.

Top 10 Tuesday, September 28

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.


This week's Top Ten Tuesday is all about our favorite couples in literature.

I don't gravitate toward romantic stories, although I do love passion and sex in my fiction.  I sometimes find romantic pairings, especially if a good deal of the plot is tied up in the eventual getting together of the couple, to be tiresome.  As I made this list, I realized that many of the couples I picked aren't necessarily romantic; most are certainly not role models for healthy relationships.  Still-- I love 'em!  (NB: I stopped at about eight because I was starting to get truly silly with my definition of 'couple'; I may tackle this one again in the future because it was far more challenging than I anticipated!)


Sebastien de Ulloa & Jack Priest from New Amsterdam.  Not a favorite book, I have to confess, despite the awesome potential.  Sebastien's primary squeeze is Abigail Iren…

Alice I Have Been - Melanie Benjamin

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Title:Alice I have Been
Author: Melanie Benjamin

Genre: Fiction (Literary/Historical)

Love/Hate?: Loooooooooooooooooove
Rating: 5/5
Did I finish?: In record time!
One-sentence summary: The fictionalized life of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, whose life was bigger than but constantly affected by her relationship with Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll.

Why did I get this book?: Accidental mix-up with the title!
Source: Library
Challenges:Support Your Local Library

Do you like the cover?: Yes, it's quite perfect for the story.

First line from book:But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland.

Did... I find Benjamin's handling of Alice and Dogdson's 'relationship' to be nuanced and deft?: YES. She articulates, without judgment (or permission), the possible reality of what occurred between them, allowing the reader to formulate their own opinion.

Did... I shed tears once I finished this book?: YES. Ohemgee, the entire book has this sort of bittersweet note to i…

Wildthorn - Jane Eagland

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Title:Wildthorn
Author: Jane Eagland

Genre: Fiction (Young Adult/Historical)

Love/Hate?: Quite enjoyed it!
Rating: 4/5
Did I finish?: Yes
One-sentence summary: Independent-minded young woman is punished for her aspirations and suffers cruelly at an asylum while she struggles to discover who committed her and why.

Why did I get this book?: Historical novel with a lovely cover. (Superficial, I know, but that's the truth.)
Source:NetGalley
Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do you like the cover?: Very -- the corset imagery perfectly captures the era of the book and the crushing, restrictive feel of Louisa's experiences at Wildthorn!

First line from book:The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes flooded by the heavy November rains.

Did... I feel like I might be going a bit mad, along with Louisa?: YES. Like Dracula in Love, I found the historically accurate description of Wildthorn to be chilling.

Did... I totally melt over the unexpectedly sweet romance?: YES. It felt a bit li…

Adam & Eve - Sena Jeter Naslund

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Title:Adam & Eve
Author: Sena Jeter Nasuland

Genre: Fiction (Literary? / Speculative)

Love/Hate?: Deep, deep loathing.
Rating: 2.5ish/5
Did I finish?: Yes, but only because I knew I had to review it.
One-sentence summary: Widow Lucy hides secret Biblical document from evil Abrahamic fundamentalists, meets mentally ill man, saves document, man, self. World?

Why did I get this book?: I'd heard lots of great things about Naslund after Ahab's Wife, which was on my TBR. (Until this book. Now no more Naslund, ever.)
Source: LibraryThing

Do you like the cover?: Eh, it's okay.

First line from book:A nude couple is standing in the shade of a small, leafy tree.

Did... this book remind me of Dan Brown, Kate Mosse, and Paulo Coelho?: Yes, in a bad way.

Did... I talk about this book non-stop for the last two days?: Yes, so I suppose in that sense, it was a good book. I just talked smack about it, though.

Did... I actually groan aloud?: Yes, once, near the end, when the improbability got a …

Teaser Tuesday, Sept 21

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week's quote is from the painfully bad Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund.

His eyes were like the eyes of a lazy African lion tracking a small female gazelle but waiting for the lioness to do the work. The lion's mane fluttered in a slight breeze. Again, I felt mesmerized -- and afraid. Strangely alive.

Hope you all are reading something a little better written!

Mailbox Monday, Sept 19

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Hosted this month by Bermudaonion! Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia of The Printed Page and is now on tour.

One book this week, but it looks very promising! Sadly, I can't put my hands on the digital camera for a picture (the dangers of moving -- did I pack it? Or just put it aside?) so here's one from the internet:



Thanks to Book Junkie for this one!

TWO BRILLIANT AGENTS

FBI Special Agent Monica Davenport has made a career out of profiling serial killers. But getting inside the twisted minds of the cruel and the sadistic has taken its toll: She’s walled herself off from the world. Yet Monica can’t ignore fellow agent Luke Dante, the only man who ever broke through her defenses.

ONE DREAM TEAM

Luke has the unique ability to put victims at ease…professionally, he and Monica made a perfect team. Now they’re reunited to catch a murderer who uses his victims’ deepest, darkest fears for sport - but their investigative skills aren’t enough. Luke and Monica will have to face the secr…

For You Alone - Susan Kaye

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Title:For You Alone (Frederick Wentworth, Captain: Book Two)
Author: Susan Kaye

Genre: Fiction (Historical; Jane Austen)

Love/Hate?: Love!
Rating: 5/5
Did I finish?: Yes, and this time, I raced through it because this was potato chip-level of delicious.

One-sentence summary: Jane Austen's Persuasion from Capt. Wentworth's point of view, continued from the events in Lyme.

Why did I get this book?: My Austen challenge plus I've a giant crush on Wentworth, and this is the sequel to None But You.
Source: Public library
Challenges:Historical Fiction, Jane Austen is my Homegirl, Support Your Local Library

Do you like the cover?: Yes, and while subtle like the first, I think this cover better represents the plot than the cover to None But You.

First line from book:Louisa insisted on standing and even took the few steps to the window.

Do... I wish Kaye would write a book about Wentworth's siblings?: Yes! I've always been partial to Sophia Croft, especially Fiona Shaw Sophia, and Kaye…

Wandering Thursday, Sept 16

Another wandering Thursday since my Wednesday was full of...work. Hm, I'm not sure I approve of Working Wednesday!

The Millions always has really interesting posts that are sort of dreamy, sort of random, but always fascinating, kind of like my teenaged-idea of what hanging out at a coffee shop would be like. Today's article is about novellas being pushed as novels.
Beginning September 29th, an Elizabeth Gaskell blog tour! (I suppose I should wait until it gets closer, but I'm pretty excited about it!)
Having been assigned I, Rigoberta Menchú in college, I've been particularly interested in all the controversy that's subsequently followed her; a new article in the Nation summarizes the story of Ms Menchú and her memoir.
Author Karen Essex's blog post says it all: 'No Sex, Please, We're Literary'.
American Scholar has a piece on the Lady Chatterly ban in the UK, made a little more human by looking at those who were involved in the trial.
And finally, a …

Giveaways, September 15ish

Oofta, what a week! Real life has made things totally crazy and I've done next to no reading and very little playing online. LE SIGH.

However, here are some giveaways I'm pretty excited about!

From Page Turner's Blog, a fabulous prize-pack that I am drooling over: signed copy of Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan plus a handful of signed bookmarks!

Also from Page Turner's blog, a lovely giveaway for Banned Book Week!

From Enchanted by Josephine, a chance to win the much-blogged about The Countess and the King, a book I am particularly excited about!

From Confessions of a Bookaholic, the very delicious-sounding Twin's Daughter is up for grabs. I'm reminded of LM Alcott's pot boilers in the best way!

As an Eleanor fan, I'm thrilled to see a novel featuring her daughter! The Queen's Daughter is being given away by Rebecca's Book Blog; I highly recommend Rebecca's interview with Susan Coventry.

The best titled gi…

None But You - Susan Kaye

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Title:None But You (Frederick Wentworth, Captain: Book One)
Author: Susan Kaye

Genre: Fiction (Historical; Jane Austen)

Love/Hate?: Love!
Rating: 5/5
Did I finish?: Yes, although slowed by my constant pauses to savor and daydream over a scene!

One-sentence summary: Jane Austen's Persuasion from Capt. Wentworth's point of view.

Why did I get this book?: My Austen challenge plus I've a giant crush on Wentworth.
Source: Public library
Challenges:Historical Fiction, Jane Austen is my Homegirl, Support Your Local Library

Do you like the cover?: Yes, although it's quite understated.

First line from book:Captain Wentworth, thank you for inviting Anne and me.

Did... I learn interesting trivia about the British navy?: Yes, like the source of 'letting the cat out of the bag'!

Did... I envision Ciarán Hind the entire time I read this book?: Yes, and it only enhanced the experience.

Did... I take forever to finish this book because I kept pausing to daydream over scene after scene?: Uhm…

Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2009

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From the American Library Association, the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2009. A depressing mix of new releases and lovely classics. I'm just so baffled by those parents that would rather have a book removed entirely from a library rather than have a conversation with their children about the content. So barbaric!

I suppose the small silver lining is that the number of books challenged in 2009 was less than in 2008.

Cinders - Michelle Davidson Argyle

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Title:Cinders
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle

Genre: Fiction (Fantasy/Fairy Tale)

Love/Hate?: Love!
Rating: 4/5
Did I finish?: Uhm, yeah. Got the book in the mail, opened first page to peruse, next thing I know, it's hours later and I'm on the last page!

One-sentence summary: Cinderella's story, after 'and they lived happily ever after'.

Why did I get this book?: Won it!
Source: Contest by VVB32 Reads, sent and signed by the author!
Challenges: None.

Do you like the cover?: Yes -- and as it's author designed, it actually relates to what's in the book!

First line from book:The twelfth week after the marriage Cinderella grew tired of the servants.

Did... I inhale this book in one sitting?: YES.

Did... I develop a tiny crush on Prince Charming: YES. What a goober.

Did... I get teary by the end: YES, in such a good way!

Review: This isn't a reboot or retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale; instead, it's a brief but engrossing take on what might have happened aft…

Mailbox Monday, Tuesday edition!

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Yesterday was a postal holiday so no mail -- which means today is my Mailbox Monday! And as I actually got goodies over the week, I couldn't resist posting!

The goodies are:

A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi, thanks to GoodReads Giveaway;

Cinders by, from a giveaway by VVB32 Reads (and signed by the author Michelle Davidson Argyle!);

John Belushi is Dead, from a giveaway by From the TBR Pile;

The Pindar Diamond from a GoodReads swap;

and finally, a Catherine de Medici pendant from C.W. Gortner, via Historical Novel Review. (I'm wearing it to work tomorrow!)

This almost makes up for the fact that the Post Office lost/destroyed a package of eight books that I had a sent for a GoodReads swap. I'm super steamed at the loss of the books and that I'm not getting credit for shipping them. Le sigh.

Wandering Thursday

Back to Thursday for my link post -- apparently the theme will wander the days of the week and the web!

'When book recommendations go wrong'. I just had a convo this month with a friend in which we agreed, it's horrifying when we get book recommendations from someone we like, and it's awful; and then we were shocked to discover her all-time-desert-island-pick was, like, my least favorite book in history. It was awkward for a moment.'Getting seasick with Somerset Maugham'. One, I've got a bit of a girlcrush on Jessa Crispin; two, I've got a bit of a mancrush on Somerset Maugham; and three, I love travel writing.Nicola Griffith considers offering 'The perfect writing class'. I'm kind of drooling over this. Author Nicola Griffith is feeling out interest in a writing class taught by her. Were I doing any serious writing I would consider it, but where I am now, I can only watch and drool.'Mr Rochester is a creep'. I loved this bec…

Zombies

I like zombies enough, (more than vampires, perhaps) but I'm particularly tickled by the zombie reading list created for September Zombies. Living in Boston, where right now everyone is moving back to the many local universities, I'm reminded a bit of a zombie infestation: you can always tell the freshmen by their rather dazed expressions!

Banned Book Month (!)

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I know that it's typically Banned Book Week (this year, Sept 25 - Oct 2), but inspired by Bites, I'm doing Banned Book Month, September 2 through October 2nd.



Having attended a high school that succumbed to book banning as well as currently living near a town where one family is working hard to ban books, I'm passionate about this topic. Not only do I oppose book banning on principle, but as a lesbian who hopes to have a family, I am particularly hurt by those who wish to make me and my loved ones invisible. The reasons books get banned are varied, but all wrong, and it's important to fight censorship in our communities. /soapbox

I'm still working on my content, but I hope to feature my favorite banned books and see what banned books all of you read. Any ideas? Let me know!

WWW Wednesday: September 1

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From Should Be Reading, WWW Wednesday!

I've had a breakneck week at work (moving offices!) and a myriad of personal life errands (dentist, passport, apartment hunting), so content has been thin the last few days and I've been very bad about visiting my usual blogs. Sorry!

* What are you currently reading?: None But You by Susan Kaye, which tells Persuasion from Capt. Wentworth's viewpoint. Wonderful so far, and only improved by my envisioning Ciarán Hinds as Wentworth.

* What did you recently finish reading?: Dracula In Love by Karen Essex, with mixed feelings. Ultimately, my enthusiasm for it still rages, but I was a mite disappointed at the end.

* What do you think you’ll read next?: Choices, choices! I forgot to do my Mailbox Monday, so I don't know if I should get my brag on about what arrived this week -- I might keep it a secret for next Monday's Mailbox. Needless to say, I'm swimming in so many options I don't know what to choose!

What are you all re…