Tag Archives: fiction

March, April, May, June…

24 Jun

… are all the months I haven’t written about books! How dreadful. I apologize for my disappearance. Life got in the way of things, as it does. So, here’s a catch up post on what I’ve been reading:

 

Rebecca Skloot – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Goodreads stars: five
I don’t typically read a lot of nonfiction, but this was a wonderful book. Skloot managed to worm her way into the lives of Henrietta Lacks’ family members and she became good friends with her daughter, all for the pursuit of information for this book. I thought the story was compelling and Skloot did a wonderful job of presenting scientific information in a way that anyone can understand and enjoy.

William Landay – Defending Jacob
Goodreads stars: four
Mystery and detective novels are other genres I also don’t delve into much, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. The ending was a little drastic but I think it fit well enough. The juxtaposition of narrative with court records worked very well.

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
Goodreads stars: five
I liked the other mystery novel so well that I read another one! This book was intriguing. I liked that it used more than one point of view. At the end of every chapter I just wanted to keep going.

Pittacus Lore – The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies, #3)
Goodreads stars: three
I think three stars is generous on this one. Here’s my review from Goodreads: “I’m not sure why I thought this series was a trilogy but it definitely impacted how I read it. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either. Keeping up with whose POV it is gets rather tiring and I hope they don’t do that in the next (and hopefully last) book.”

Rick Riordan – The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)
Goodreads stars: four
This wasn’t my favorite book in the series but it was a really great conclusion. On Goodreads I stated that I wished I could have given it a 4.5 but now I can’t recall why. This is what happens when I wait this long to do book reviews!

A. C. Gaughen – Scarlet
Goodreads stars: four
The premise of this book is about a girl and her merry band of thieves; it’s the story of Robin Hood told from a female’s perspective. It was a fun, YA adventure book and it was really interesting to read it from another POV. I’m on a fairy tale retelling kick right now and this was a great way to start it. It’s a bit gruesome though, which I enjoyed, but it might be too graphic for younger readers.

Suzanne Collins – Gregor the Overlander
Goodreads stars: five
This is Collins first novel, before she wrote The Hunger Games, which I absolutely love. And here’s my Goodreads review, “what a wonderful book! it reminded me a lot of the Percy Jackson books. it’s a great adventure and the characters are so likable, especially adorable Boots. I would recommend this to anyone of any age.”

David Benioff – City of Thieves
Goodreads stars: five
I had little interest in reading this book at first, as it was chosen for my book club, but two chapters in and I was hooked. The story is about a young Jewish man (Lev) in Leningrad who becomes unlikely friends with an aspiring writer (Kolya) while they go on a journey to find eggs for a high-ranking officer’s daughter’s wedding cake. I found myself picturing Benedict Cumberbatch as Kolya and I believe it’s because of his snark, wit and humor. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was amusing, graphic and sad all at the same time.

Rick Riordan – The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, #1)
Goodreads stars: three
I had high hopes for this book. It’s the continuation of Percy Jackson but the main characters are new campers. The multiple POVs were interesting but it made the story far longer than it had to be. I felt like 100 pages could have been cut and it would have been miles better. Sometimes it felt like a wild goose chase and some of the dialogue felt forced. I’d like to see how the story turns out but I won’t be buying this series like I did the last. Unfortunate.

And currently, I’m reading Beastly by Alex Flinn. This is another retelling of a classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast to be specific. It’s from the POV of Beast, specifically. I’m eight chapters in and so far it’s a quick read. It’s mildly enjoyable but I don’t have high hopes. I’m not in love with the writing style, to start with, so we’ll see how it goes.

 

What are you reading lately? Any great, quick summer reads that you’ve enjoyed?

February and March Book Reviews

3 Apr

Happy Wednesday everyone. The week is almost halfway over. Huzzah! And for that, I’m giving you the gift of book reviews. I haven’t posted any since January, so I’ve got a good chunk of literature to talk about.

I am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1), Pittacus Lore
Goodreads stars: four

This was a super fun read. I had some issues with it though: first, it was written by a collaboration that includes James Frey. I hate James Frey (in a literary capacity, of course). Secondly, there were quite a few noticeable inconsistencies that makes me wonder how well it was proofread. But, this book was exciting. It’s a great teen adventure read and I think it was adapted into a movie, which I haven’t seen. One of the major pieces of this book is a romance between the main character, John (or Number Four), and a girl he meets at school, Sarah Hart. The language and interactions between them are too contrived. Having already read the second book, I can see how Sarah is an integral part of the story, but I think it could have been written better. Having said all this, if you go into this knowing it’s just going to be a fun read, you’ll be fine. I wouldn’t use it to write your grad thesis or anything (unless you were writing your thesis on authors that like to sell “memoirs” that are 95% untrue and are really not that great at writing).

The Titan’s Curse and The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3 and #4), Rick Riordan
Goodreads stars: five and four, respectively

I’ve posted about these books here before. I love them. They are part of one of the most fun adventure series I’ve ever come across. Riordan’s humor is what really makes it, because there are multitudes of teen adventure books out there, but his wit really sets him apart. I think these books are great for any age. The Titan’s Curse is probably my favorite out of the first four, but they are all super exciting and hilarious and I can’t wait to finish the series!

The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy #2), Margaret Atwood
Goodreads stars: four

This is the second in a trilogy by Atwood, that began with Oryx and Crake, one of my all-time favorite dystopian novels. I discovered Atwood in undergrad and have mostly been a fan. The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic but The Tent left me wondering what the hell I just read. The Year of the Flood was a great sequel and I enjoyed learning about the parallel stories that match up with the plot lines in its predecessor. What I love most about Atwood is that she takes problems that we have today, say, medical corporations exploiting the sick, and she exacerbates the issues that they create, and bases a dystopian afterworld on it. She is very creative, and I’m already itching to read the third, even though it has yet to be written.

This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz
Goodreads stars: four

This book was chosen for the book club that I’m apart of, The Reading Rainbow Society (I know, we’re super cool, right?). The lot of us had some trouble reconciling who was who and who was telling what story and when, but for the most part we were able to come to a concession on what was going on. Diaz sets up this novel as a set of stories about immigrants, mostly based around love and relationships, between lovers, friends and family. There’s a good amount of Spanish slang in it, so if you don’t understand Spanish, you might miss some of the biting cuts, but you will still understand the book overall. Some parts are rather graphic but it was a great read. I would definitely read another book by Diaz.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
Goodreads stars: five

I’m going to go ahead and say it… this is my favorite book so far this year. The Goodreads summary starts as such: “Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.” Sounds super cool, right? It’s like the SIMS but there are entire universes you can explore. But when the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves Easter Eggs behind in the simulation for one lucky boy or girl to win his entire legacy. Wade is the one that plans to win it. Throughout the novel, Wade has to find ways to discover these eggs. The creator was an avid fan of the 1980s and Wade must wade (pun definitely intended) through hours upon hours of movies, music videos and other research from the 80s to get leverage against other players. I had so much fun reading this book, even though I’m not a big video game player. I highly recommend it!

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2), Deborah Harkness
Goodreads stars: three

Only three? Yeah, only three. I love Harkness’ writing style. She knows how to bring history to life. But this novel was just so long-winded. It took me awhile to get through it because I found myself not caring whether or not I picked it back up. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the story, because I did. It just felt like there were a lot of unnecessary detours. I still plan to read the third, whenever she writes it.

A Game of Thrones (Song of Fire and Ice #1), George R. R. Martin
Goodreads stars: five

I’ve heard all the hype. I’ve heard this series is amazing. And it is. It absolutely is. It starts out a little confusing, considering how many characters there are, and how many POVs Martin uses to tell the story. I printed out a character map that I actually kept notes on. But it is such a great story. Martin gets your hopes up, dashes them, and then breaks your heart; he stomps on your heart until you don’t think you can go on… and then you do, because you need to know how it continues. I can’t wait to continue reading the series, even though I know I’m going to keep getting my heart broken.

The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies #2), Pittacus Lore
Goodreads stars: four

Basically everything I said about the first book. This one was a little more action-packed though, and had less inconsistencies. I’m glad that there was less interaction with Sarah, but John’s sometimes near-constant droning on about her gets annoying. Learning more about the other Garde was interesting though. I’ve requested the third book in the trilogy from the library, and I expect that once I get it, I’ll finish it in a couple days like I did with the others, and then move on with my life, never looking back.

A Fixed Neklace

2 Apr

Hello, friends! Good news… the DIY fairy sent me all kinds of motivation this weekend. I not only did both of the projects I told you about, but a third one, too! Unfortunately, the spool is not quite finished yet, and the photo transfers that I did on the wood blocks are not hung.

But I know you all were waiting with bated breath for a post all about my weekend DIY adventures, so I’m going to share my other DIY ish with you! It’s a small one, but it still makes me happy.

There are three things you should know about me: 1. I like necklaces. I might not wear them very often, but I have a lot. 2. Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite poet. And 3. I like things in multiples of three. So now you know I’m weird.

But back to the necklaces. For my most recent birthday (yes, 7 months ago), a friend of mine, Kat, was super stealthy and deduced what my favorite Poe-m (ha, get it?) is. She then had a friend of hers make me a necklace of a miniature book with “The Raven” inscribed on the inside. The pendant, of sorts, also had a little tiny black bird dangling from beneath.

When she gave it to me she apologized and said she thought the chain was going to be longer, and for some reason, I waited until more than 6 months later to do something about it.

So, here’s what I started with:

the "ingredients"

the “ingredients”

– the original necklace
– a longer chain
– some pliers (not pictured)
– super glue (also not pictured, because I’m on top of things)

And here’s what I did:

 

handy dandy pliers

handy dandy pliers

 

It was a pretty simple process. I took the new chain and put it around my neck to figure out how long I wanted it to be. Then, I used the pliers to remove the book from the old chain, as well as the clasp. And then I put it all back together on the new chain! Also, not pictured, I had to glue the pages back into the book. They had somehow come unstuck so I … restuck them together, if you will.

And, voila! The finished (fixed) product:

a fixed necklace

a fixed necklace

Isn’t it pretty? I’m wearing it today with an adorable sleeveless shirt with lacy collars.

Sometime in the coming days, I’m going to hang up my new picture blocks, and Todd is going to add casters to my spool, and I’m going to bring it inside and add some books and funky knick-knacks to it. I can’t wait to show you all!

Catching Up and November & December Book Reviews

2 Jan

(FYI, this is going to be a rather long catch-up post. You’ve been warned!)

I have been such a bad blogger and I apologize for that. But the holidays are for spending time with family and friends and I was a busy little worker getting gifts ready and well… working. This week still feels like the holidays since a lot of people took the whole week off from work. So, I figured, it’s quiet and slow enough right now that I can start the year off with talking about something I love. Books, of course 🙂 Did you have any doubt?

I was fortunate enough to receive the new Nook HD for Christmas from my mom. I don’t work for Barnes & Noble (anymore) so I am certainly not a spokesperson but this is a wonderful device. I did work for B&N for a while and left last year around February. I worked specifically at the Nook desk for a solid 5 months so I gained a lot of knowledge on the product and found that, objectively, it is superior to the Kindle. I know people have Kindles and they love them and all that, but overall, the Nook just has more options. You can add an SD card for extra space and you can read ePub formats on it, as well as many other awesome things along those lines that the Kindle doesn’t support. Not to mention the fact that I had a Kindle a few years ago and found it to not be what I wanted it to be, if that makes sense.

Secondly, I’ve been using the Overdrive app. A friend turned me onto it and at first, I was a little confused, and therefore frustrated because it wouldn’t work the way I thought it should. But eventually I figured it out and couldn’t love it more. It allows you to borrow eBooks from your local library; you just need a library card and a PIN that you set up at your library or on their website. It works just like the library does but you do everything on your phone or tablet, including searching for a book, requesting it, downloading it, reading it and returning it. You can keep it for 21 days and then it gets returned and sent to the next person. I highly recommend the app for anyone that reads as much as I do and doesn’t have the money or space to support buying up to 5 new books a month.

Veronica Roth – Divergent
Goodreads stars: four
Taken from my Goodreads review: “I really enjoyed this book. I was feeling like some teen fiction and this fit the bill. There’s action, love, friendship and it’s all set in a dystopian Chicago. I think a lot of people could relate to the characters Roth has created. I especially enjoyed the bonus material in the back. Including each faction’s manifesto made it all a little more cohesive.”
As I was reading, I felt like I was there with the characters. My heart leapt when Beatrice jumped off the roof into the net. I felt the wind rushing through my hair when they rode the trains. All in all, this was a great read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a little action, a little dystopia and some danger.

Chris Cleave – Little Bee
Goodreads stars: four
This book was heart-wrenching. The way Chris Cleave weaves words is marvelous. At times I had a hard time following the story, but overall, it was a great read. If you want to be really sad, read this book.

Tim Wise – Between Barack and a Hard Place
Goodreads stars: four
If you’re interested, this is some great non-fiction, racial theory. I read Wise’s White Like Me in grad school and he is a fantastic writer. He’s able to take an objective viewpoint about hotly debated topics and relate them to you in a way that anyone can understand. I heard him speak at California State University, Sacramento, where I went to grad school, and it was like his words were coming to life. This book is specifically about racism in the time of Barack Obama, the time of the first black president. He writes two essays that compose the short but difficult-to-get-through book and discusses what he calls two different kinds of racism: Racism 1.0 (or good ole fashion racism) and Racism 2.0 (or racism in that people think there is no racism anymore because whites elected a black president). I would recommend reading White Like Me first as it is a little easier to get through than the essays, but both are worth the time if you’re at all interested in how racism really affects everything.

 

Richard K. Massie – Catherine the Great
Goodreads stars: four
Wow, this book! I had started reading it when I worked at B&N but only got through about 80 pages and definitely wanted to pick it up again. This was the first book I read on the Overdrive app and it took me quite a long time. It is an absolutely wonderful read, though, even if it is incredibly long. Massie writes in so much detail that it feels like I could have been friends with Catherine myself. The only issue I had with it is that he writes chronologically but also, not. If a new character emerged in Catherine’s life, he would go back to the beginning of that character’s lifetime and discuss his or her background, which I sometimes found confusing. It makes sense though instead of introducing everyone at once, but I felt like he got sidetracked at times and told other plot lines in great detail that just included too much information that only informed a small piece of Catherine’s story.

Ally Condie – Matched
Goodreads stars: four
After a long-winded biography, a nice little YA fiction was exactly what I needed to cleanse my proverbial palette. I had seen this series at B&N and the cover turned me off, but I’m not sure why. After reading a brief description of it, it sounded like something I might like. Ally Condie seemed to take a few notes from Lowry’s The Giver and Levin’s This Perfect Day, both of which were great reads. It is set in a place called Society where everything is simplified. All wear the same clothes and get assigned jobs and are even “matched” with their perfect counterpart, based on science and biology to basically create the most perfect human race. Of course there are snags in their system which is what makes it a great read.

Rick Riordan – The Lightning Thief
Goodreads stars: five
I had requested all sorts of YA fiction from the library to read on my Overdrive app and the library sent me a few, rapid fire. I had no preconceptions about this novel going into it; I had only read a very brief synopsis of it. Long story short, I loved it. This is one of the greatest YA novels I’ve ever read. Not only was it an enjoyable read, but I learned so much about Greek mythology. The gist of the story is that Percy Jackson, 12 years old, finds out he’s a half-blood, meaning he’s half Greek god. And it turns out someone stole Zeus’ lightning bolt and made it look like someone else did it, and Percy has to restore everything to its normal order. I had so much fun reading this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. I think it’s a great read for anyone, any age.

Philip Pullman – The Golden Compass
Goodreads stars: four
This was another great YA fiction novel. I had a slightly harder time following it because of the inventions that Pullman adds into the mix but it was still a fantastic read. The protagonist is a bit younger but I don’t think it is as youth-friendly a novel as The Lightning Thief. Some of the scientific concepts felt like they were almost over my head, but then again, I don’t have a head for science or math, so that shouldn’t be surprising. This book also felt a bit long for being a youth series. I still had a ton of fun reading it, but it might not be suitable for audiences that are around the age of the protagonist.

Emma Donoghue – Room
Goodreads stars: four
I started this novel on December 29th or 30th, I think, but I finished it yesterday, so I’m counting it towards my Goodreads goal of 50 new books for the year.
The story is told from the viewpoint of a 5 year old boy named Jack. He has lived his whole life in one room with his mother who was taken captive 2 years prior to his birth and locked in a shed in a man’s backyard to be kept as a sex slave. But because it is from Jack’s viewpoint, you see everything as he would, and you must infer what is actually happening. If any of you have read or heard anything about the Jaycee Lee Dugard story or any stories like it, you will have a pretty good idea of what is going on that Jack doesn’t totally understand. I read the Q&A provided at the end of the book and Donoghue took a few cues from stories such as this and stated that she did too much research. There are some things in her book that she did take from actual accounts and statistics. While it is a totally fictitious novel, she does a great job of sucking you in with the harrowing details.
Another interesting fact: I read a book in high school that I loved and lost a copy of, called Slammerkin, about a young girl in 18th century England that gets turned out of her house and becomes a prostitute; and it turns out Emma Donoghue wrote it. She is such a fantastic writer that she can cross genres and do it very well, which not a lot of authors do.

What are you reading right now? Do you have any great recommendations you’d love to share? I can’t wait to see what kind of great novels 2013 comes with!

Rory Gilmore’s Book List

12 Nov

Morning all.

 

First off, I want to take all of the veterans out there fighting to keep America free, especially my dad who is nothing short of my hero in every sense!

 

Secondly, today is a book heavy post! I found on pinterest a list of every book Rory Gilmore mentions in the entirety of Gilmore Girls (which I adore).  I’ve read a total of 67 on this list, but I did find some redundancy (like The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe as well as “The Raven” [also by Poe, in case you were unaware]).

 

I’ve bolded all of the books I’ve read, italicized the books I plan to read and underlined books I’ve started but never gotten through. Enjoy!

 

1984 by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Babe by Dick King-Smith
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney

The Bhagava Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Iliad by Homer
I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inferno by Dante
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence

The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Love Story by Erich Segal

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Manticore by Robertson Davies
Marathon Man by William Goldman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night by Elie Wiesel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old School by Tobias Wolff
On the Road by Jack Kerouac

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Othello by Shakespeare
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Property by Valerie Martin
Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Quattrocento by James Mckean
A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien
R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
Selected Hotels of Europe
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
Sexus by Henry Miller
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shane by Jack Shaefer
The Shining by Stephen King
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
Songbook by Nick Hornby
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
Stuart Little by E. B. White
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Unless by Carol Shields
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bront
e
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

 

Read: 67

September and October Book Reviews

8 Nov

It’s that time again! Time for me to tell you all about what I’ve been reading lately. I’ve got a good chunk of books to talk about today, so let’s dive right in.

 

Stephen King – It
Goodreads stars: four
What an absolutely fantastic read! It took me ages to get through (it is over 1000 pages after all) but I loved almost every moment of it. This man knows his way around some scary stuff! I was thrilled, terrified and humored often throughout this novel. King transports you to wherever the characters are, whether it’s sunny woods or a dank, foul sewer system. And because the novel is so long, by the end of it, you feel as if these people are your friends and confidantes. A truly fantastic, riveting read.

Sara Gruen – Water for Elephants
Goodreads stars: five
If you know me at all, you know I love animals, elephants especially. Gruen has a wonderful way with words and she captured the bond that can form between man and animal so wonderfully. I ached for the caged circus animals and could almost hear the circus music somewhere off in the near-distance. I sped through this book like the train on its way to a new city. One of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

Jean M. Auel – Clan of the Cave Bear
Goodreads stars: four
This book gave me a whole new look at the idea of historical literature. How much more historical can you get than cavemen? Auel is a bit long-winded at times, but she tells a wonderful story. It follows Ayla, an Other, and her life amongst Clan people who are different from her in every way. She adapts and becomes a successful hunter and medicine woman before she is banished, to leave behind her family and friends. This is just one of a series, and while the book was good, I don’t think I’ll be picking up the rest anytime soon.

Mary Roach – Stiff
Goodreads stars: four
Another great book! This is a non-fiction piece about the life (pun intended) of a cadaver. A friend recommended this one to me as a good Halloween-time read. It isn’t scary in any typical way but it does follow around a bunch of dead people. I’m not squeamish when it comes to that kind of thing so it didn’t bother me much. Roach takes a different approach in each chapter, varying from visiting mortuary schools to seeing what happens in crash-test centers. She even visits a university where bodies are laid out in the sun so that scientists can examine the decomposition so that forensic people can determine how long someone has been dead in the unfortunate case of murders and other suspicious deaths. I didn’t realize how curious I was about cadavers until I read this. And I can say now, I am truly proud to be a donor.

David Nicholls – One Day
Goodreads stars: two
I was rather underwhelmed by this book. The characters are monotonous and oftentimes loathsome. The only likable characters are killed off by Nicholls. The whole novel I felt like it was on a plateau and that something was going to happen but then … nothing happens, until the end, which I won’t ruin for you if you plan to read it. It was also very predicable. I guess I could just say that this felt very British, in the stereotypical sense that Americans tend to think of the Brits as dry. This book was dry. (And absolutely no offense to any Brits that might read this! Doesn’t matter where Nicholls is from, this book still would have been at the bottom of my list.)

Veronica Roth – Divergent
Goodreads stars: four
I went to Barnes & Noble last week with teen adventure fiction in my head. This was a perfect antidote to my literary needs. It felt Hunger Games-esque in that there’s teenaged love, perilous situations and murder all set in a dystopian future. The premise is that Chicago is divided up into five factions, each representing a different value. Our protagonist, Beatrice, leaves her faction because she feels she doesn’t fit in, but surprises everyone in choosing a faction that is almost the exact opposite of where she came from. What follows is her journey to self-enlightenment, love and hopefully, a brighter future. While the prose is somewhat simple (which is to be expected from teen fiction), I cannot wait to read the second in the series, Insurgent.

Lois Lowry – The Giver
Goodreads stars: three
I want to preface this by saying that I do not think this book is bad or mediocre by any means. But, I believe that reading a book such as this, with as much hype as there is, there is bound to be some let-down. Friends on twitter were appalled that I could have only given this book three stars. But reading it as an adult obviously has different implications than reading it as a youth. It’s like whenever someone tells me they read Catcher in the Rye and they only thought it was okay. What do you mean, OKAY!? This book shaped my youth! Well yes… that, exactly, is what I mean. It’s hard to shape someone’s youth with a book that isn’t read until you’re into your twenties. I realize that I’m getting a bit off-topic here, but having a lot of other dystopian literature in my repertoire, it’s hard to say that this book is wonderful or life-changing when my life was already changed by so many other books similar to this one. I will say that Lowry does a great job of creating the Community and the people within it. She included minute details that pull all of it together. It was a great one-day read, and I am glad I read it, but for me, it was not life-changing.
Now give me a book about a woman in her mid-twenties trying to make it through dystopian-corporate-America… that might be life-changing 🙂

A Slew of Book Reviews

21 Aug

Let’s see, I last left off with Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story back in early July. I’ve since read seven other books and am onto another. Here’s what I’ve been reading:
Stephen King – Misery
Goodreads stars: four

This is a horrifying read! King is a master of creating terrifying scenarious and bringing them to life within the pages. This novel is about an author who crashes his car and is taken in by none other than his most adoring fan. She is so obsessed with him and his Misery novels that she keeps him captive, forces him to become dependent on pain killers and makes him write another novel so that her favorite character does not die. It is so easy to get inside Paul Sheldon’s head as he’s being tortured and torn apart, mentally and physically. A great read if you’re in for a thriller.

Kurt Vonnegut – Breakfast of Champions
Goodreads stars: three

I wasn’t as impressed with this book as apparently everyone else is. A good friend said she laughed through the whole thing. Either I was having a rough week or I just didn’t see the appeal. I think it was mostly grade school humor with some wit thrown in. I was amused by some of it. There were parts I enjoyed, but overall it felt smashed together and unamusing. If this had been my first Vonnegut book, I probably wouldn’t read another (thankfully it was not).

Jaycee Dugard – A Stolen Life
Goodreads stars: four

It’s difficult to put a rating and a review online of a book like this. Under the circumstances, I think Jaycee Dugard came out a lot better and a lot more normal than most of us expected her to. I was working at a bookstore when this piece first debuted so I was very interested in reading it but had not gotten the chance until recently. The fact that everything in the book as true, as her memory serves her, is gut-wrenching. If you have any humanity and you’re not a cold dead fish, this book will move you.

Ira Levin – This Perfect Day
Goodreads stars: four

I’m doling out a lot of fours aren’t I?
I would say this book is one of my favorites that I’ve read recently, though. I’m not sure why I didn’t give it a five, but it might need a reassessing. This 1970 novel was ahead of its time, for sure. The characters, or members, go through life getting injections to make them calm, passive, agreeable human beings. They have sex once a week, on Saturdays. They eat the same cakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are all the same, seemingly. But a group of activists knows that there’s a way out and a better way of living. This book had me gripped from the start. I could not put it down and loved every second of it.

Haven Kimmel – A Girl Named Zippy
Goodreads stars: three

Another autobiography. Very amusing, for the most part, but lacking something cohesive. The reason Kimmel wrote this book was to prove to her family that someone could write a book about the small town that she grew up in, and that people would be interested in it. It was written about her childhood, mostly, in Mooreland, Indiana. It is well written and you can feel the wit and sarcasm often dripping from her voice. She describes how she was the awkward, gangly and not very attractive youngest sibling. Her relationship with her father was one of the best parts of the book. This book was lacking anything to hold it together though… something overarching. I felt it was lacking any kind of main point, but it was a fun read.

Lauren Willig – The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Goodreads stars: four

This was another really fun read. It’s full of spies, ladies, fashion and Napolean Bonaparte! I realized halfway through the book that this is just the first in a long series. The main character is a young woman who left Paris at a young age and lives her childhood out training to become part of the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel. When she gets to Paris she unknowingly falls in love with the exact man she wants to go into league with to save the British that are imprisoned in Paris. What ensues is a tale of a lady being daftly confused as we, the reader, know everything that’s going on.

Nicole Krauss – The History of Love
Goodreads stars: four

This novel is not as drippingly sappy as its namesake might lead you to believe. It contains many points of view that converge at the end, including that of a child nicknamed Bird, his sister Alma and an elderly Polish man named Leo Gursky, who wrote the novel, The History of Love, that Alma was named after. It is a moving story about literature, love and the effect that words can have on people.
To be honest though, I was not as impressed by it as I was led to believe I would be. It was a really great novel but at the end, when I put the finished book down, I felt like I was missing something important. I think if I read it again I would get more out of it, but for now I’ll take it as it is.

Along with these seven, I also re-read Tina Fey’s Bossypants for my book club. She is hilarious. And witty. And intelligent. And beautiful. I can go on. I am in love with Fey and also want to be her. She’s awkward and sometimes says weird things and I feel we have a kinship in that.

I’m also currently reading Stephen King’s It. So far… It‘s terrifying. I was 30 pages in and already shaking in my booties! I have a feeling that I won’t finish this one in a week like the rest.

This also puts me at 26 books towards my 50-book goal by the end of the year. I know I can do it!

What have you been reading?