Monday, October 31, 2016

Thoughts on Book Adaptations

As a kid, I loved movies. Honestly though, what kid doesn't? As an adult, they have lost quite a bit of their appeal. It's rare that I will sit and watch a movie instead of reading a book and generally, I am not a big fan of movie adaptations of books. There are a few exceptions. I love Anne of Green Gables (the first two parts, not the third, bleh!). I think The Lord of the Rings trilogy was very well done. To Kill a Mockingbird is an excellent film (and Gregory Peck, yes please!). I also have to mention The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. So good, just so so good. But even these movies that I love, if given the choice between the movie or the book, I would still always pick the book. 

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the upcoming Netflix adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. This series has long been at the top of my list of books I would like to see made into a good film or television series (emphasis on the word good) and I am looking forward to seeing how well done it turns out to be (fingers crossed). 

So the question of the day is: What other books or book series would make good movies, mini series, or television shows?

The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde
A detective show with a twist. You have a female protagonist who is smart, witty, and fierce and a mix of literary characters from Hamlet to Jane Eyre to Mrs. Tiggywinkle. How could that not be entertaining? (Side note: I'm not going to mention anything else by Fforde but I just want to say that any of his books would make excellent shows.)

The Enola Holmes Series by Nancy Springer
This is a middle grade series about the little sister of Sherlock Holmes. I know there are a million Sherlock adaptations out there, some good, some less good, but I think this one has potential to reach a different audience. Enola is very much her own person. She is creative, thinks for herself and follows her own path. What young girl wouldn't love that in a show?

Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis
I'm thinking epic mini series for this one. Time travelers that get stuck in London during the blitz and are unable to get back home? Time travel, World War II, and London. That's a winning combination right there.

What books would you like to see adapted into film?

Friday, October 28, 2016

November 2016 TBR

Okay, disclaimer, I am really really bad at sticking to TBR piles. I am always distracted by all the other things I need/want to read and I freely admit that I am a mood reader. This month I am only putting a handful of books on my TBR knowing that there are other things I will pick up along the way. So without further ado, here are the books I am determined to get to this month:

The Secret Keepers 
by Trenton Lee Stewart

I know nothing about this book other than it
 is a new middle grade book by the author 
of the Mysterious Benedict Society series, 
which I loved! I have been hoping for a while 
that he would write more books so I looking 
forward to seeing what this new one is all 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

This is another book that I don't know much 
about. I know it has something to do with magic.
I also know that it has been sitting unread on my
shelves for several years now and that I should 
finally get around to reading it. Also, it is massive
 so hopefully it is worth my time.

A Confederacy of Dunces 
by John Kennedy Toole

This is the book that was chosen by one of you!
I am pretty sure this novel has been on my radar since long before I even joined goodreads
so I am excited to finally read it!

And that's it for this month! I know, only 3 books is kind of lame but I hope to read many many more. Only selecting 3 in advance gives me the ability to pick and choose the rest as the month progresses.

What are you most looking forward to reading in November?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday 10/26/16

And we're back with Top 5 Wednesday! (Insert spiel about T5W yada yada information more words etc...check out the goodreads group here

Today's topic is spooky settings. I don't actually read a lot of spooky books so I'm going to focus more on atmospheric settings or books where the environment or setting takes on a character of its own. So here we go, in no particular order:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
This is the ultimate atmospheric novel. Both the land and the weather seem to reflect the mood of the characters and if you haven't read it, it's MESSED UP! (But in a good way...kind of...)

The Moor by Laurie R. King
Mystery novel. What is it about Scotland and the moors that seem to say stormy and spooky? Seriously, can you think of a novel set on the moor that is happy and light?

Beauty by Robin McKinley
A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This one is not spooky at all but it has an amazing castle that takes on a life of it's own. The halls and passages seem to move and shift to lead characters in certain directions. 

For a very broad category I'm going to say anything Dystopian. I love reading dystopian novels but the thought of actually living in a world where they hold The Hunger Games or Big Brother watches you...chills...

And lastly, I am going to mention my ultimate spooky setting. Abandoned Hospitals (especially mental hospitals). I have no book to use as an example because WHY WOULD I READ SOMETHING SET IN AN ABANDONED HOSPITAL?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Nightmares for life...seriously...


I'm just going to leave you with that...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Readathon Wrap Up

We made it! We competed another 24 hour readathon. This was my third Deweys and I can't even begin to express how much I look forward to these events.(I am already planning ahead for the next one in April!) This year I managed to stay awake for 22 hours, I took a two hour nap at around hour 17. So I spent 21-22 hours reading. In that time I completed 3 books and started 3 others, and read a total of 1267 pages. 

I started the day with Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. I had purchased this book and set it aside specifically for this readathon and I was not disappointed. This book was fantastic! It is a middle grade fantasy that tells the tale of Alice, a colorless girl in a colorful world. The writing was poetic and the story creative. My only complaint was that it wrapped up a little too quickly in the end but I thought the book was great and would highly recommend it!

After that I decided to go with something completely different so I picked up The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. This is a thriller about a woman on a cruise who witnesses a murder...or does she? I liked this book, the story was fairly interesting and fast paced. But overall I thought the characters fell a little flat and the story was a little predictable. An engaging read but it's not something I would read again. 

I needed something light and easy after that so I chose First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. Originally published in 1946, this is the first book in a series set in a girls boarding school and tells the adventures of a small group of girls as they learn about friendship and making right choices. It was exactly what I expected and I enjoyed it. 

Those were the three books I read in their entirety during the readathon. I also started reading Second Form at Malory Towers (book #2 in the above mentioned series), I started a reread of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, and made it almost all the way through William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Shakespeare had written Star Wars? Well you should because someone mused on that idea once and created something brilliant and hilarious. 

That's all I have for you today. I hope you also had a great weekend and read a good book or two (or three or four get the point...). Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Readathon TBR - October 2016

Readathon begins in less than 24 hours and I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So the question remains, how do you select books for readathon? The key is variety. I like to have around 20 options that I can choose from the day of the readathon. I don't lay out a specific list of 3 or 4 books I have to read because it is supposed to be fun, but limited options are important because I don't want to waste time perusing my bookshelves when I could be reading. I know a lot of people recommend having short stories and graphic novels on hand. I'm not a huge fan of either of those things, so find what you like and again, variety is key. I also look for books with bigger print that will read fairly quickly. I want to feel like I am making progress. I tend to go for shorter books, often middle grade. I do like to throw in some non fiction, as well as something comical and something that is just out of the ordinary. During the readathon I usually read one or two books straight through in the early hours. As it gets later and I get tired I tend to shuffle between multiple books. Just remember, have fun and do what works for you. You determine what success is!

Here are the books I have selected as potential reads:

God Save the Queen by Dorothy Cannell - A fun cozy mystery, if I need something light and humorous.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware 
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - These two books I don't know a whole lot about. I received them both from Book of the Month Club and have heard good things about them. Seems like they will be fast paced, thriller type reads if I need something to pull me in quickly.
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi - Middle grade fantasy. This book has had so much buzz around it the last couple months so I decided it would be a good readathon selection. This will probably be what I start with tomorrow.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - Another book with a lot of buzz that has been sitting on my shelf for quite awhile now...I should really get to this one soon...
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett - I think this one has been on my readathon stack twice now. I think the third time may be the charm though.
William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher - Star Wars if Shakespeare had written it. I said pick something out of the ordinary...
A Little Princess and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - It is really sad that I have never read either of these books.
The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carmen - Another middle grade fantasy. This one has been on my radar for a long time. Hopefully I will finally get to it this weekend!
First Term at Mallory Towers, Second Form at Mallory Towers, and The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton - I have been wanting to read more of Blyton's books so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. 

The last 7 books are potential rereads:
The Bad Beginning and The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket - I need to reread these before the Netflix show comes out in January.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - Just finished rereading Jane Eyre so if seemed like the perfect time to reread this one.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Been wanting to reread this one all year.
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis - It has been years since I read this and it is definitely time for a reread. In case you don't know, Lewis (famous for his Chronicles of Narnia) also wrote a science fiction trilogy. This is the first one. Read it.
The Golden Key and The Wise Woman by George MacDonald - Fairytales

I will not be updating this blog during the readathon, but if you want updates throughout the day be sure to follow my facebook page, ElizabethAnne Reads. Best of luck to everyone participating in the readathon!!! Remember you determine what success is for you! Have fun and happy reading!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Readathon Prep

We are taking a break from Top 5 Wednesday today to discuss a very important topic: Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon !!!!! Readathon has become one of my favorite days of the year and I look forward to it with almost as much anticipation as I do Christmas. AND readathon happens twice a year so that's a plus! I know there are several different readathons out there but the only one I participate in is Dewey's. It happens twice year in April and October and this will be my third time participating. The goal of Dewey's is to read as much as you can in 24 hours. This is going to look different for everybody. For me, I am single and have no kids so I can commit my entire day to reading. If you have kids maybe it means spending more time than average reading to or with them. If you work weekends maybe it means committing a solid three or four hours to reading. Just read more than you normally would and have fun. It's also become a big online party for booklovers around the world who spend time not only reading, but cheering on others and in general, sharing the experience. Introvert party!!! Today I'm going to give you just a few tips for how to prepare for a readathon and things to think about in advance.

1) Book selection: Plan ahead! I come up with a stack of around 20 books to choose from. I know I will not read that many but I also know that I do not want to spend an hour staring at my shelves in the middle of the readathon so I give myself a limited number of choices. Planning ahead gives you time to get books from the library, download them to your Kindle, or even place an Amazon order or make a trip to the bookstore if needed. (We'll be talking more about the specifics of book selection on Friday.)

2) Do chores ahead of time! If I'm going to spend a Saturday reading I want to make sure my space is reasonably clean. I don't want to be distracted thinking about how I need to vacuum, the pile of paperwork sitting on my desk, or the laundry. Take a little extra time throughout the week before to accomplish those things that need to be done so you can have a guilt free weekend. (Or you can rent a hotel room somewhere and let someone else do the cleaning.)

3) Food! Food is a critical (and fun) part of readathon. Plan for at least one solid meal, don't just snack all day. The options here are as various as the books we will be reading. Make something the day before that you can reheat, put something in the crock pot in the morning, have materials on hand to make quick sandwiches or wraps or burritos. Have healthy snacking options, fruit and vegetables, cheese and crackers, trail mix of some sort. Have drink options as well. I like hot chocolate for mornings and evenings and peach ice tea during the day. Most definitely have some treats throughout the day. I recommend dark chocolate, it has the added side benefit of supposedly helping you stay awake. 

4) Be comfortable! I live in the northwest so for me it's all about cuddling up and (hopefully) watching it storm outside. Comfy clothes (aka pajamas), blankets, and candles all make the day more cozy. Have multiple reading locations as well: different chairs, couches, I even like to lay on my stomach in bed although I don't recommend that once you start to get tired. 

5) Lastly, don't feel guilty about giving in to tiredness. I have tried twice to make it through all 24 hours without sleeping. The first time I gave up at about hour 20. The second time I technically stayed awake for the full 24 hours but the last 4 I was in zombie mode and I'm pretty sure I just sat on the couch and didn't actually read anything. This time I am planning to sleep for four hours or so in the middle. My start time is 5am (which I love because I am a morning person), so the plan is to sleep from roughly 10-2. That way I'll still get to be here for the end of the readathon. 

That's all the advice I have for today. On Friday I'll talk more about selecting books as well as letting you know what I'll be reading. Next Monday will be a readathon wrap up post. I will not be blogging during the readathon but I will be updating my facebook page, ElizabethAnne Reads, so be sure to follow me there if you want to know what I'm reading/eating/etc. Have a great week and as always, Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Stormy Weather Reading

This past Saturday we were supposed to have a storm. I was in between books and even though I had a TBR stack that I was supposed to be reading, nothing was appealing to me. I decided to peruse my shelves for a reread, one of those comfort reads that I have probably read a dozen times. I ran my fingers over the Chronicles of Narnia, The Blue Castle, Anne of Green Gables, but nothing seemed quite right. I browsed some more while thinking deep thoughts, and then it struck me. Those are all books that I consider vacation reads. There is no logic to it but all of those books are ones I either tend to take camping or read over Christmas vacation and none of them seemed like stormy weather reads to me. So what makes a book a stormy weather read? For me it came down to atmosphere. I love storms and I wanted to read something that matched what was going on outside. So here are just a few of my suggested stormy weather reads.

I don't know about you but stormy weather seems to scream MYSTERIES! Especially British mysteries for some reason...? But the first book that seemed to fit was The Moor by Laurie R. King, this is book number 4 in the Mary Russell series. Something about the wild atmosphere and the way the moor seems to take on a personality of its own made this book seem especially appropriate but of course, being a purist, I recommend starting at the beginning of the series with The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

Even though I passed over The Blue Castle and Anne of Green Gables, the Emily books by L.M. Montgomery seemed like stormy weather reads. I'm not sure I can defend my logic on this one but for some reason these books just seem to have a slightly darker and more melancholic feeling to them. Also, if you've never read them, what's wrong with you?

The last thing that seemed appealing was A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Talk about a dark and stormy read! I highly suggest that if you haven't read at least the first four books in this series that you get to them before Netflix releases Season 1 on January 13th. You can bet I will be rereading them in the next couple months. (SO EXCITED!!!)

And even though I didn't actually consider these on Saturday, I'm pretty sure that The Lord of the Rings is that magical series that manages to fall in the categories of both vacation reads AND stormy weather reads...only J.R.R. Tolkien...

What are your thoughts on mood reading? Do different books appeal to you when it is stormy out?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Classics Book Tag

It's time for another book tag and today we are doing Classics! The classics book tag was created by Vienna at It's a Books World and you can check out that blog here

1. An overhyped classic you really didn't like:
     I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan so I'm going to have to say Pride and Prejudice. I don't hate it, I just don't love it.

2. Favorite time period to read about:
     World War II. I love anything and everything related to WWII! 

3. Favorite fairy-tale:
     Beauty and the Beast

4. Classic you are most embarrassed about not having read:
     Probably Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, and I've never read any Shakespeare.

5. Top 5 classics you would like to read soon:
     The Secret Garden - Francis Hodgson Burnett
     The Little Princess - Francis Hodgson Burnett
     Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
     Villette - Charlotte Bronte
     Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

6. Favorite modern book/series based on a classic:
     I can't come up with anything that exactly fits this category but I do want to mention The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Though not based on Jane Eyre there are many ways in which this novel pays homage to Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte and I think if you love Jane Eyre you will really appreciate this book as well. 

7. Favorite movie/TV series based on a classic:
     I am not a big fan of movies, especially book to movie adaptations. That being said can we please have a snow day this year when we can just sit and absorb the wonderfulness that is Anne of Green Gables? If ever there was an actress worthy of bearing the name 'Anne' it was Megan Follows. (But let's just forget about that atrocious third movie, shall we?)

8. Worst classic to movie adaptation:
     The Count of Monte Cristo (the 2002 version with Jim Caviezel). I know several people that love this movie but I'm pretty sure none of them have read the book because the movie changed the entire plot line...and the

9. Favorite edition(s) you'd like to collect more classics from:
     I'm taking a little liberty because it say 'own more of' and I don't own any of these but I lust after them. We are, of course, talking about the Folio Society editions. Each hardcover book is illustrated by a different artist and comes in its own slipcase. They are just gorgeous! And expensive, which would be why I don't own any.

10. An underhyped classic you would recommend to everyone:
     This is a difficult question because classics, by nature, tend to be hyped. But I definitely think The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins deserves a wider readership. 

That's it for this tag. If you could recommend one classic that everyone should read, what would it be? As always, thanks for reading and have a lovely bookish weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday 10/12/16

Welcome to this week's T5W!!! If you want more info be sure to check out the goodreads group here.

Today's topic is Inaccurate Book Covers. A few examples of this would be covers that don't reflect the story inside, pictures that don't look like the character descriptions in the book, etc...

To start off we have Stranger at Wildings by Madeleine Brent (now published under the title Kirkby's Changeling). Okay, first of all, this is just a horrible cover. Second of all, it's not really related to the story. Yes, the main character does run away from the circus at the beginning but then there's the whole rest of the book. Cam we please have a cover that does justice to this gothic romance???

Next we have Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb. And yes, I am using this book twice (I could have used it for the entire post but I refrained). Okay the title of this book is bad enough but who in their right mind would pick this up off the shelf? Sadly, so many people have missed out on a great, light, fun read by judging this book by it's cover. The picture on the right is the latest edition and thankfully the one I own. Pretty, right? is there a castle on the cover? It's a murder mystery set at a sci-fi convention?!?!?!


 Next we have another pretty cover, Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery, the 7th book in the Anne of Green Gables series. I honestly really like this cover but I can never quite figure out who the children are supposed to be. Anne and Gilbert had six kids but there were three boys and three girls. Who is the extra girl and which boy is missing? There are several friends that could be pictured but why just one and why is one of the Blythe children not pictured? I just don't understand...

Lastly, (and I have saved the best...or worst...) is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I can't even begin to describe how epicly wonderful this book is. Whoever created this cover art did a great disservice to Mr. Rothfuss and to anyone who has to defend his works to their skeptical friends. I have nothing more to's just too awful...

That's all for today! Feel free to share your least favorite covers in the comments!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Book Review: Crosstalk

  1. 1. a disturbance in a communication device's (radio, telephone, etc.) transmission caused by a second device's transmission, resulting in crossover, intermingling, and confusion; the presence of unwanted signals and/or interference due to accidental coupling

                 2. incidental, off-topic conversation during a meeting
                 3. witty, fast-paced repartee; banter

Briddey Flannigan works for Commspan, a communications company trying to come up with the latest and greatest smart phone, the next thing in instant communication. She is also dating Trent, the best looking guy in the company. She is thrilled when he suggests they get an EED, an implant that allows you to feel what your romantic partner feels. Saying 'I love you' can now be a thing of the past because you feel how much your partner loves you. But where is the line between good communication and too much communication? And will the  unexpected side effects be too much for humanity to handle?

Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors. Her novels are always creative and full of eccentric characters. Crosstalk falls more along the lines of romantic comedy, similar to Bellwether or To Say Nothing of the Dog, so even though the book clocks in at nearly 500 pages, it is a pretty quick read. 

Reading this book was a very different experience for me, my emotional reaction to it was unexpected to say the least. Basically this book stressed me out!!! I have never felt so much tension while reading a book which I think is exactly what Ms. Willis was going for. Let me explain. This book is all about the over abundance of communication and stimulation in our current culture and Willis captures it perfectly. As Briddey goes through her day she is constantly barraged by co-workers needing to talk to her, family members giving her advice, emails, texts, there is never a quiet moment. As a hardcore introvert, I often found that I couldn't read more than a chapter or two without needing to take a break, feeling that I, too, was anxious and overstimulated and needed a few minutes of quiet. I think it takes a brilliant author to create that sort of connection between her characters and her readers. The idea of the EED terrified me! I can't handle my own emotions why would I want to take on the emotions of someone else? 

I think Willis writes a brilliant commentary of our modern culture and our need to know what everyone else is doing and tell everyone what we're doing. When does communication become an invasion of privacy? When will we understand the dangers of knowing too much?

I highly recommend this book for it's quirkiness, great writing, and it's warning to our facebook and smart phone obsessed generation. 

Crosstalk by Connie Willis. Check it out!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Recommendations: Picture Books

Today I'm going to give you a few of my favorite picture books so if you're looking for a Christmas gift or just wanting to know what you might have missed, this is the post for you! I am not going to be mentioning classic picture books, not because they are not worth recommending, but I am going to assume my readers have a basic knowledge of Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, and Beatrix Potter. This post is going to focus on books that are either newer or more obscure.

First of all, I want to mention the Journey trilogy by Aaron Becker, comprised of JourneyQuest, and Return. These books have no words which is great for kids that are not yet reading. The wonderful illustrations allow you and your child to create your own dialogue as you follow the travels of the characters creating their own worlds and adventures with a magic crayon. Beautiful beautiful books!

Another beautiful book is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce. This is a picture book for booklovers! It is all about a man who finds purpose in caring for books but realizes the value is in the story, not the book itself. This book tells a charming tale and the illustrations are delightful. This is a book you need to have on your shelf whether you have kids or not.

Possibly my favorite picture book to be published in the last few years is A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead. Amos McGee is a zookeeper who does his job well and takes care of the animals and then one day, when he gets sick, the animals come and take care of him. This book does not have the full color illustrations of the other books I have mentioned. It has detailed and intricate pencil drawings that are gorgeous and the story just leaves you with a smile on your face. If your looking for something with a more old fashioned feel, this is the book for you!

The last book I want to mention is The Jolly Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. This is the tale of the postman who gets to deliver mail to all the fairy tale creatures: the three bears, the gingerbread man, the witch, and others. The great fun of this book is that each time he delivers a letter there is a page with a pocket in it that has the actual letter he delivers so it's very interactive and fun. You get to read the birthday card Goldilocks sends to the little bear, and the advertisement the witch receives for all her witch-y needs (broomsticks and black boots and of course a selection of toads) and many many other things. There is also The Jolly Christmas Postman if you're interested (which you should be).

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday 10/5/16

Today is my very first Top 5 Wednesday. Top 5 Wednesday (T5W) is a goodreads group of booktubers, bloggers, etc who all answer the same topic on a given Wednesday. If you want to know more, check out the group here

Today's Top 5 is:

Top 5 Books That Took You the Longest to Finish 

I am not a reader who generally lets books sit for a long time on my reading pile. I either commit to a book and read it through fairly quickly or if something isn't grabbing my attention I will stop and restart it again at some future date. I had to scour my goodreads for anything that took me longer than a month but I did manage to find 5. So without further ado:

#5 Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler
This book took me 44 days and what's really sad is that the book is only 263 pages long. This book tells the story of Josef Vadassy who is on vacation in the Riviera when the world is on the verge of WWII. He finds himself in the midst of a hotel housing a spy but who is the spy? A great spy/mystery novel. I don't know why it took me so long to read it.

#4 In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson
This book also took me 44 days. In fact it was the exact same 44 days as the last book which might explain why I got a little bogged down in WWII. (I was also probably reading at least two other books at the time.) A narrative Non-Fiction focusing on an American ambassador in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power.

#3 Under the Harrow by Mark Dunn
This book took me 56 days which isn't too bad considering that it clocks in at almost 600 pages. If you go to goodreads the first sentence in the description is, 'What if Charles Dickens had written  contemporary thriller?' I'll leave it at that and let you explore this book for yourself.

#2 S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
108 days. Of all the books on this list, this is the one I would recommend most highly. This book is amazing for its style alone. (Although I also thoroughly enjoyed the story!) This is a book within a book. You have two different readers who use the book as their way of communicating so beside the actual story in the book you have dialogue of two college students writing in the margins. The book is also stuffed full of extra bits and pieces: letters written to each other, postcards, maps drawn on napkins. If nothing else, you need to own this book just for the pure beauty of it and the interaction of the reading experience.

#1 The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer
This book took me a whopping 128 days. This book is so much fun because it talks about the ins and outs of everyday life: what people wore, what they ate, how they kept themselves clean (or didn't), what it was like to be rich or poor, what jobs people did, even vocabulary that was different. I think this book took me so long just because I would read a page here or there and not sit down and take in big chunks of it in one sitting. But this is a great book, would definitely recommend.

As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, October 3, 2016

September 2016 Wrap-Up

Time to talk about what I read in September. 
I read 10 books total. 3 nonfiction, 7 fiction. 4 and a third of them were rereads.

Honestly, this was not a great reading month. The books that I loved the most were the ones I had read before. There was only one new book that I really enjoyed and the rest fell somewhere in the okay to blah categories. (Yes, blah is a category.) So let's start with the rereads:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I love this book, I have since the first time I read it. As a teenager this was the book that began my love affair with Gothic novels. However, it had been years since I read it. YEARS! Probably more than 15. I had forgotten how absolutely brutal and heart wrenching this book is. You'll be glad to know Jane stood the test of time well. If possible, I liked her even more than ever before. If you have not read this book put down whatever book you are reading, close your laptop (seriously, don't even finish reading this blog), and go read Jane Eyre. You'll thank me.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
This middle grade novel is the fourth in the Mysterious Benedict Society series although, technically, it is the prequel. This series follow the journey of four youngsters who save their community (and the world) using their wits and individual skills. This book gives us the back story of Mr. Benedict, the founder of the society. I have heard many people say they like this book less than the rest of the series. I understand where they are coming from and I love the rest of the series, but I actually think I like this book just a little better than the other three. Regardless of which you prefer, these books are great for kids and adults alike. They are full of friendship, loyalty, creativity, resourcefulness, bravery, and compassion. Fantastic reading!

The Peasant Girl's Dream by George MacDonald
MacDonald is an author I read a lot as a teen, it is where my fascination with Scotland started. For a long time I have been intending to go back and reread some of his stories and this is the one I randomly pulled off the shelf (random meaning that I was looking for something fairly short and this one fit the bill). While this is not one of my favorite MacDonald novels it is still a solid and enjoyable little love story.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
My third reread this month was one of my non-fiction titles. Tozer is one of my favorite theological authors and I have reread this book probably more than any other. I think this book does a great job of explaining what it means to be a follower of Christ. Not just going to church or knowing the Sunday school answers, this book is about pursuing God tirelessly and passionately. You should definitely give this one a read. 

Oz, The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by L. Frank Baum
This book is a collection of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and Ozma of Oz. The first third of this book was a reread for me, but I had never read beyond the original story. I really enjoyed these stories. As a child of the 80s I watched the movie Return to Oz several times and it was very enjoyable to read the stories behind that movie and get to know characters I vaguely remembered, Jack Pumpkinhead, Tik Tok, and Billina the chicken. I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series. (And thanks to the fabulous friend who gave me the box set for my birthday!)

Alright, moving on to books that I didn't like as much. Let's start with the other two non-fiction titles:

Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of the Single Life in the Twenty-First Century by Jennifer Marshall and Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
I'm grouping these two books together because I kind of feel the same way about them both. I think they are both good books. I think they both have valid things to say to women who struggle with their emotions (aka all of us). I don't think that I personally was in the right place in life to pick them up. They did not speak to me personally. They both speak to very important issues and if one of them sounds like it might encourage you, please read it! 

There were 3 more fiction books I read this month. Out of the three my favorite was:

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
This book fell very middle of the road for me. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it. It tells the story of Sarah, a 10 year old Jewish girl in Paris in 1942 during the German occupation. I love WWII stories and this was a bit of history I had never heard before. I had no idea that Jews were rounded up in Paris and shipped off to concentration camps. I loved the historical aspect of this book. What I didn't enjoy so much was the story of Julia, a journalist 60 years later. We follow Julia as she researches these horrific events, we follow her as she struggles with a failing marriage and trying to fit into French culture as a foreigner and honestly, I just didn't care. I wanted more history and less modern day drama. 

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
This is the first book in a young adult fantasy series. I generally don't like young adult fiction but every once in a while I see something that makes me try again. And honestly, this book started out strong. I was drawn in by the protagonist, Meghan, a half human, half fairy discovering who she is and entering the fairy realm to save her little brother who has been kidnapped. Unfortunately, the book lost interest for me very quickly. I know this series is reasonably popular but I got bored very quickly. I did force myself to finish the book but I have no intention of reading any further in the series. 

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Can we call these Just NO Stories? I did not like this book at all! I have no idea why this is still considered a classic and a must read for children. The stories are not charming and whimsical like I was expecting and there is so much racism it made me cringe. I just could not stand this book.

So there's my wrap up for the month. Here's hoping there are some better books in my future! I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these books that you have read.