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books meme

Book Tag | Elements Book Covers

The Elemental Challenge: Should You Choose to Accept it:

Water:
1. Find a book with water on it.
2. Find a book with blue on it.

Fire:
1. Find a book with fire on it.
2. Find a book with red on it.

Earth:
1. Find a book with something related to earth on it.
2. Find a book with green on it.

Air:
1. Find a book with air on it.
2. Find a book with white on it.

Spirit Bonus:
Find a book with the colors blue, red, green, and white on it.

water
Water: 1. Find a book with water on it. 2. Find a book with blue on it.

I spotted The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion a mile away and knew I wanted it to represent blue / water right away both because of the gorgeous blue and the fact that I’m extremely anxious to read it having adored The Rosie Project. I’ve had Fluke by Christopher Moore on my shelves for years and still haven’t finished it. Unlike some of his other books (Lamb continues to be one of my all time favorites), this one didn’t grab me right away and I have a tendency to pick it up only to put it back down again. Someday…

fire
Fire: 1. Find a book with fire on it. 2. Find a book with red on it.

I don’t think I have any books that are more vibrantly red than Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which my book club discussed last month. I didn’t finish the book though I kinnnnda enjoyed it. Honestly, it just seemed to drag a bit too long and too often for me despite some really great writing and wonderful moments. Of course for an actual symbol of fire, I knew I was going to need something dystopian. Divergent by Veronica Roth definitely does the trick, visually, and is also a fantastic book to boot.

earth
Earth: 1. Find a book with something related to earth on it. 2. Find a book with green on it.

I probably have more green books than The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown but I loved the vines shooting out of the letters and thought it fit the concept of “earth” brilliantly. I haven’t read this one yet but I’m looking forward to it. Then of course there is the terribly literal interpretation of “earth” – A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is one of those books that I feel I must read at some point but keep putting off for unknown reasons (probably that aforementioned sense of self obligation – I don’t like it when I tell myself what to do).

air
Air: 1. Find a book with air on it. 2. Find a book with white on it.

This might have been the hardest one. I have books that are more literally white but they are kind of boring to photograph. And what is more iconically white than a wedding dress? Thus American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld wins for sure. I read Prep but haven’t read this one yet – time will tell if it’s equally brilliant.  And then there is the idea of “air” being present in a book. I mean technically any book with a picture on it also has air in the picture, right? I finally settled on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because of the clouds on the cover and further justified the choice because it’s such a fantastic book.

spirit
Spirit Bonus: Find a book with the colors blue, red, green, and white on it.

I actually found two and coincidentally they are both written by Jasper Fforde. Leave it to Fforde’s all encompassing all consuming imagination to produce covers that contain every possible color. I’m OBSESSED with the Thursday Next series and seriously adored One of Our Thursdays is Missing. I haven’t read Shades of Grey yet but I’m expecting great things.

What books would you have chosen?

If you are already thinking about your answer: YOU, my friend, are tagged.

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books twitterature

twitterature: mini book reviews for July 2014

twitterature

I’m linking up with Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy to share some mini twitter style reviews of the books I’ve been reading over the last month or so. She calls this fantastic idea Twitterature! If you want to play along just post book reviews that are roughly 140 characters or less – as if you were posting the review on twitter. I don’t think Anne actually counts them so don’t worry if you go over a little! The idea is just that they are quick and easy reviews for the busy reader (i.e. us).

I’m sharing four books today that I’ve read since my last Twitterature roundup. I’m cheating a bit because some of these books I read in late June and early July – you don’t mind, do you? I didn’t get to link up in July as we were on vacation and I didn’t want these terrific books to feel left out.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve read in the last month or two:

15844362The One by Kiera Cass

Momma’s Rating: 5 stars

This series turns me into a book junkie with a literary itch. Every. time. I read it obsessively in three sittings. There is a feeling of hope and optimism that radiates from this story, which is rare for a dystopian series but much appreciated.

#theendingfeltrushed #Iloveditanyway #TeamMaxon4sure #thedystopianroyalbachelor

18209454Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

Momma’s Rating: 4 stars

Read just like an extended episode of Veronica Mars, but it didn’t feel like you had to have seen the show to enjoy the book. A natural transition from the screen to the page and the story really pulled me in. I definitely plan to continue reading the series.

#butseriouslybringtheshowback #marsmallow4life #imisspiz #somuchsnark

13538873Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan

Momma’s Rating: 4 stars

Read like a Rainbow Rowell book from a male perspective with lots of computer programming / social media stuff – good character development. I thought the contrast of old technology and new was really interesting and the story itself was compelling. Parts of the story felt formulaic but not in a bad way.

#mybookclubwassplitonthisone #notsureifilikedtheendornot #longhashtagsarehardtoread

8131227One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

Momma’s Rating: 5 stars

6 books in and the author is still able to surprise and delight me – amazing. There are so many elements to this book (and this series) that it seems impossible to describe but I particularly loved the descriptions of Bookworld and also the description of experiencing the real world for the first time through a Bookworld character’s eyes.

#willtherealthursdaynextpleasestandup? #confusionabounds #clevercleverclever

Right now I’m reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, finally!! Why did nobody tell me to read this book yet? LOVE!

What have you been reading lately?

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books & reading memes & carnivals

Musings Monday: April 20

(Musing Mondays are hosted by Rebecca!)

This week’s question asks:

Coming towards the end of April, we’re a third of the way through the year. What’s the favourite book you’ve read so far in 2009? What about your least favourite?

I’ve read twelve books this year so far, and loved most of them. I’m having a very hard time narrowing it down to one – there are five which really stand out: Envy (book 3 in The Luxe series) by Anna Godbersen, Something Rotten (book 4 in Thursday Next series) by Jasper Fforde, Revenge of the Spellmans (book 3 in Spellmans series) by Lisa Lutz, The Perilous Journey (sequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society) by Trenton Lee Stewart and Waiting For Birdy by Catherine Newman. Considering the first four are installments in some of my favorite series, Waiting For Birdy would be my favorite new read. It’s also one of several memoirs that I’ve adored reading this year.

My least favorite book that I finished would probably be The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and that statement should tell you that I’ve had a very successful reading year so far. This was simply not a favorite, whereas other books in the Chronicles of Narnia have been excellent. I think I just prefer the ones whose movies I haven’t seen. Books I’ve abandoned this year are Operating Instructions by Ann Lamott and Audition by Barbara Walters. Despite my desire to, I just couldn’t get into either of them.

What are the best and worst books you’ve read so far this year?

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books & reading reviews

Book Review: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

Grade: A +

It’s no secret that I love me some Jasper Fforde. His Thursday Next series just blows my mind every time with brilliant awesomeness. From the first book, The Eyre Affair, I was absolutely hooked and I’ve been devouring them ever since, most recently with book four, Something Rotten. These books have a little bit of everything – the literary references are never ending and wonderful, the worlds he creates inside and outside of literature is fascinating, detailed and wonderful even when absurd. There is a science fiction angle involving things like time travel, cloning, eradications and being able to jump inside (and out of) books. There are wonderful commentaries on religion, politics, marketing, big business and more. There’s even a love story thrown in for good measure.

It’s hard to go into great detail as any number of details from this book would be a spoiler for books prior to it – and you really don’t want any mysteries spoiled going into this. I will say that the Thursday Next series, while wonderful, is not as easy a read as the other books I typically read. I can usually read any standard book (okay fine, young adult and chick lit) in under a week. Thursday Next books take me at least two (the first one took me even longer, as I had to acclimate myself with Fforde’s hugely detailed plot lines, not to mention the complex world he’s created). But I love every minute of it. My husband frequently gives me strange looks when I laugh out loud in the middle of the night (when I should be sleeping but instead am up reading justonemorechapter) and has enjoyed several passages that I’ve quoted for him out loud when I just couldn’t stand keeping the brilliance to myself.

So if you like science fiction, literature, love stories, satire, and funny, intelligent plots with a never ending twist, I highly recommend the Thursday Next series, including but not limited to Something Rotten, book four.

This review was cross-posted to my review blog, mommasreview.

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books & reading memes & carnivals

Teaser Tuesday: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

teasertuesdays3

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

My Teaser:

“I utterly refute,” began Kaine, “the implication that we aren’t doing things the right way. To demonstrate this I’d like to wander completely off the point and talk about the Health Service overhaul that we will launch next year. We want to replace the outdated ‘preventative’ style of health care this country has relentlessly pursued with a ‘wait until it gets really bad’ system, which will target those most in need of medical treatment – the sick.”

From page 51 of Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

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books & reading memes & carnivals

What's On My Nightstand

It’s time for the November addition of What’s On Your Nightstand, a fun book meme @ 5 Minutes For Books. All you have to do is write about what you are reading, what you plan to read, or what you just finished reading. You can take a picture of your actual nightstand or not – the details are up to you!

This month I’ll write about what I’m currently reading and what I’m claiming to be reading and the next book I’m planning to read (for my book club which we are finally starting back up again!). So here’s what’s on my “night stand” or you know scattered around my apartment willy nilly-like:

  1. Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult – I am about 2/3rds through this book about a girl whose mother abandoned the family when she was 5 years old and is now struggling to identify herself as a mother and doubting her own abilities, worried that history will inevitably repeat itself. I’m liking it a lot, but due to the heavy material of the book it’s taking me awhile to get through. I’m hoping to finish it by the 29th when the book is due back at the library.
  2. Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick – I’ve had this book for years and as much as it’s enjoyable and I want to read it, I don’t seem to be very good at sticking to non-fiction. This book is like a history book in that it’s chock full of facts and details but it’s written almost like a narrative, making it more interesting. Not interesting enough apparently as I’m still on page 24 out of 358. I never was good at actually reading multiple books at the same time though.
  3. The No-Cry Potty Training Solution by Elizabeth Pantley – I’m “reading” this in preparation for training my son, which could happen any day now or not for months at the rate we’re going. He’s not quite ready yet but could be soon, you know?
  4. Death: A Life by George Pendle – this is the book we’re reading for my book club. We’re planning to meet sometime  in December so I’ll be reading it as soon as I finish Harvesting the Heart. It’s a fictional humorous memoir of Death, which should be very interesting and for sure different from my normal reading selection.

Here are some books I’d love to read soon-ish but have no idea when I’ll actually get to:

So what’s on YOUR nightstand?

Categories
books & reading reviews

Lessons From ‘The Well of Lost Plots’ by Jasper Fforde

It took me a full month to finish reading The Well of Lost Plots, book three in a Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. Usually I fly through books, so the fact that this one took me so long might mean it wasn’t very good. Might. I assure you, this wasn’t the case. The truth is, reading The Well of Lost Plots was a lot like taking a crash course on Everything You Never Knew You Didn’t Know: Dramatized.

Fforde creates his own little universe inside this series and you have to know the language to understand it all. The language, for the most part, you can learn by being a well studied English Major, but that will only get you so far. Still, even the biggest of dolts can get through this book (I’m guessing) if you are up for the challenge. Here is a small sampling of the things I learned from reading The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde:

Grade: A

  • Books are not written by authors, in the way that you would think. The ideas for a book are transmitted to the author from the Book World using an Imagino Transference Recording Device (ITRD). “The ITRD resembles a large horn (typically eight feet across and made of brass) attached to a polished mahogany mixing board a little like a church organ but with many more stops and levers. As the story is enacted in front of the collecting horn, the actions, dialouge, humor, pathos, etc., are collected, mixed and transmitted as raw data to Text Grand Central, where the wordsmiths hammer it into readable storycode. Once done, it is beamed direct to the author’s pen or typewriter, and from there through a live footnoterphone link back to the Well as plain text. the page is read, and if all is well, it is added to the manuscript and the characters move on. The beauty of the system is that authors never suspect a thing – they think they do all the work.” – chapter nine
  • Footnotes are both very useful and potentially very annoying, much like cell phones, they can be used to communicate important advice, send junk mail to the masses, or gossip with your gal pals about the Karenin’s scandalous affair.
  • Problems in grammar are often the fault of a grammasite, “a parasitic life form that feeds on grammar inside of books. Technically known as Gerunds or Ingers, they were an early attempt to transform nouns (which were plentiful) into verbs (which at the time were not) by simply attaching an ing. A dismal failure at verb resource management, they escaped from captivity and now roam freely…” Chapter 6
  • If you should happen to forget that you are pregnant and go on a drinking binge, when you remember that you are in fact pregnant, you will need a spoon.
  • Another example of a difference between our world and BookWorld is that in Book World, no two people ever speak at the same time, breakfast is almost never eaten, as it’s never mentioned in books and there are rarely two people in a given book with the same name. There are also often countless people in a book with no name or personality at all. It is sort of like walking through a movie set, with lots of Extras milling about.
  • Unlike our world, in Book World there is no TV. So when things like the Book Awards (or Bookies) come up, the main characters all go to the show, leaving behind Generics to keep the stories in order. The Generics are kept up-to-date of the Bookies via footnoterphone updates. With all the usual characters away at the Bookies, fiction isn’t quite so good, but usually nobody notices. This is often the reason people in our world argue over the quality of a recommended book. They had read it during the Bookies.

I’ll stop there. My point is, this book was brilliant. The amount of information Fforde gives, the details he thinks out, it just blows my mind. I don’t think I could hope to be doing it justice in this review except for having quoted it so much. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves literature and comedy and has the patience to sift through Fforde’s mind. The first book in this series is The Eyre Affair.

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books & reading memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: What Are You Reading?

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blogland anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So this week, I want to know…

What book are you reading right now? Is it GOOD?
If you aren’t reading anything, what would you like to be reading?

To answer my own question, right now I’m reading The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde. I’ve been reading it for two or three weeks right now. Fforde books always take me awhile because the plots are packed and intense and full of detail, but in an amazing way. The book, which is third in a series which begins with The Eyre Affair, takes place largely in a fictional world, that is, in a world inside of fiction. Where books are taken very seriously because they live inside of them. There is a whole government in this world responsible for the caring and maintaining of literature from the inside and it appears that books are written here, rather than by the author, as one might expect. So there are all these amazing little gems about the jurisfiction agents working to keep things running smoothly, and it’s absurd and brilliant and… well just wonderful.

Last night I read a paragraph that looked like this:

“Take the first had had and that that in the book by way of example,” explained Lady Cavendish, “You would have thought that that first had had had had good occasion to be seen as had, had you not? Had had had approval but had had had not; equally it is true to say that that that that had had approval but that that other that that had not.”

So I’m thinking you can understand why it’s taking me awhile to finish this, but still LOVING it. And I normally read before bed, when of course, I’m the most tired, so I rarely get more than a chapter in in one night. 🙂

Categories
reviews

Pride and Prejudice: A Review

A few days ago I finished reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – this month’s pick for the Classics Bookclub @ 5 Minutes for Books. It was my first time reading it, and one of the first classic novels I’ve attempted to read in a long time (I think Gone With the Wind was probably the last one, and that was a few years ago at least).

One of the reasons I’d avoided reading this book for so long, was because I’d already seen the movie with Kiera Knightly, which was enjoyable but confusing in my opinion. I’ve seen several movies based on Austen’s books and have previously had a very hard time reading a book when I’d already seen the movie. You could say I’d developed a prejudice towards the situation.

And of course, Austen’s books all seem a bit dry in many ways, with their antiquated language and tendency to blather on about what sometimes seems like nothing. Despite often enjoying them, I have not been good about reading all the classics and I think I may have been a bit scared that I wouldn’t understand it, after so many years away from a classroom – that I’d find it boring simply because I lacked the propensity to enjoy it. Oh yes, I was prejudiced.

I think, if you’ll bear with me for a moment, that you could easily compare my experience reading this book to Elizabeth Bennet’s experience with Mr. Darcy. The first half of the book bordered on dreadfully boring in my not very humble opinion, the language seemed stale and unnecessarily verbose. I thought for quite some time I’d have to force myself to finish it. But then somewhere in the middle I fell in love – I realized the language wasn’t terribly stale at all, the story was easy to understand, and the level of “wordiness” was actually just right. Her writing style began to become marvelous to me and now even as I type this, I think I’ve perhaps been reading classic literature quite long enough because it is surely affecting my writing style.

By the time I realized I was loving the book, I was no longer certain why I hadn’t liked it originally. I’m not sure if my initial dislike of the book was the author’s fault or my own. Had I become lazy after so many years of reading only modern literature or did Austen’s writing style change over the course of the book – perhaps even on purpose? Was it her intention that I feel prejudiced towards the book intially, marking it off as unworthy of my time, only to wow me in the middle, win me over the by the end, and have me quite in love when all was said and done?

In short, at first the book seemed unnecessarily dry and proud and boring – but by the end it was surely the warmest, most involved book I’ve read in awhile. I’m quite fancying myself in love with it. I might marry it. My family will be quite shocked, I’m sure. Can you see the parallel yet or should I say the same thing in a different way again? No? You’re good? Alright then – here are some questions that the ladies at 5 Minutes for Books (you know the masterminds behind this whole Classics Bookclub) whipped up for our response:

For first time P&P readers:

Did you like the novel? Were there any surprises? Was it what you expected? I should think I’ve answered this sufficiently and won’t bore you again. If you skipped over the above paragraphs though, I’d advise you read them now, as they are the answer to this question.

For all readers:

Do you have any favorite lines of the novel? Oh there were quite a few lines that literally made me laugh out loud – let me see if I can’t find a good one… Okay, I think these are two of my favorites, spoken by two of my favorite characters:

“Oh! If that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all.” – Elizabeth Bennet, Chapter 27, page 113

and

“I shall offer to pay him tomorrow: he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter.” He then recollected her embarrassment a few days before, on his reading Mr. Collins’s letter; and after laughing at her some time, allowing her to at last go, saying, as she quitted the room, “If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure.” – Mr. Bennet, after seeing 3 of his daughters engaged or married in short succession. Chapter 59, Page 273

Why do you think the novel remains so popular 200 years after first publication? What makes it timeless? Well I think like most great works of literature, the timelessness is in the topic – feelings of pride and prejudice between the classes, between the sexes, and even between members of a family are something that have always been. The situations, locations, and manner of description may change, but the feelings don’t. And I think in general, people like to read something they can relate to – this is a book which will be forever relateable.

The novel’s original title was First Impressions. Did you have any first impressions of the novel that were refuted? Any that were supported? Are all the first impressions in the novel correct? Another question I answered quite a bit in my beginning paragraphs. I certainly had first impressions of this book – from the dingy  appearance of my library’s copy, to the aforementioned intially dry language, and my prior experience with reading a book whose movie I’d already seen – I certainly had every reason not to look this book if I’d wanted to, but luckily, like Elizabeth, I managed to turn myself around and admit when I was loving it.

Why do you think the novel is named Pride and Prejudice? How are each manifested in the story? I think the answer to this is pretty obvious – between characters who were overridden with pride or prejudice in any one regard, and the joining of a proud person and one of prejudice in the end – I can see First Impressions fitting well also, but perhaps that was too obvious and not quite catchy enough. And it wasn’t just about first impressions after all – it was about overcoming your own faults and accepting others – learning to love each other even when they drive you crazy or you don’t understand them – at attempting to know the people around you truly and not just making assumptions.

Did you read Pride and Prejudice for the Classics Bookclub? Be sure to put up your posts today if you haven’t already, then go and link up here! Next up for the book club is Jane Eyre, a novel I’ve been very much looking forward to reading, since I read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde a couple months ago. I’m rather liking this whole classics bookclub thing. It gives me an added excuse to catch up on my classics, something I clearly will benefit from greatly.

One last thing before I go:

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!