Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Hobbit

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

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

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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Posting a Poem #1

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lisa's Review: Break No Bones

Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Six Degrees of Separation

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

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Review: Break No Bones

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

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

Sense and Sensibilty

Sense and SensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought I had read this before, but I don't think I had. I did see the movie and had Emma Thompson in my head the whole time I was reading. 

This was a good novel, but I felt like it dragged in sections and I found Marianne less than sympathetic. Elena Ferrante had an interesting article about this book in The Guardian in 2015.

For the Back to the Classics Challenge this title could count as a 19th century classic (first published 1811), a classic by a woman author, or a romance classic (it is all about who will marry whom).

Sunday, January 15, 2017

HLOTR Readalong 2017

Brona's Books is hosting a Hobbit, Lord of the Rings Read Along this year and I am planning to join in the fun. Here is the reading plan:

  • The Hobbit in February 
  • The Fellowship of the Ring in March - April
  • The Two Towers in May - June
  • The Return of the King in July - August
Between my husband and I we have all of these books on our shelves and I haven't read them since I was a kid. I'm not sure I actually read all the LOTR books, I know the stories from the movies but can't remember if I read them. Looking forward to diving into these fantasy classics! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort FarmCold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This comic novel by Stella Gibbons was written in 1932 and takes place "in the near future." It seemed to me to be a bit of a spoof of the 19th century British novels of writers like Jane Austen and the Brontes. It even includes a very funny character with a weird theory about the novels of the Bronte sisters.
The main character, Flora Poste, is a practical young woman (in her own mind anyway) who sets about arranging things in a very Austen-like way and making observations on the world as she finds it.
“You have the most revolting Florence Nightingale complex,' said Mrs. Smiling.
It is not that at all, and well you know it. On the whole, I dislike my fellow beings; I find them so difficult to understand. But I have a tidy mind and untidy lives irritate me. Also, they are uncivilized.” 

This book could count toward several different categories for the Back to the Classics challenge: 20th century classic, by a woman author, a romance, or an award winning classic (it was the Winner of the 1933 Femina Vie Heureuse Prize).
This book also counts toward the What's in a Name challenge as an alliterative title.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bout of Books Wrap-up

Day 7 (Sunday)
I was able to read most of the afternoon and finished Cold Comfort Farm

I had a very productive Bout of Books this time. I read 7 books, began an 8th (an audiobook) and finished 6 of them. My favorite of the batch was Last Days of Night.

The next Bout will be May 8-14, 2016. Hopefully I will be able to participate in that one too. If you haven't jumped into an online readathon I urge you to put the May one in your calendar. It's fun to focus on your TBR pile for a week and get stuff read! 
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