Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish!

1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Made me want to read The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich.

2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Made me want to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was even better.

3. Don Quixote

Made me want to tilt at windmills =P...more seriously, made me want to travel around Spain.

4. Jane Austen books

Make me want to visit Bath.

5. Little House on the Prairie books

Made me want to pickle and can, make maple syrup candy by dripping hot syrup on snow, and grind wheat in a coffee mill.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Books Finished in June: Part II

33. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

I read Uglies a while ago, and ran across this at the library. I like the concept of the series--a world where everyone is cosmetically and neurally changed/enhanced--but I can't bring myself to care that much about the characters. I may or may not pick up the rest of the series at some point.

34. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights Salman Rushdie

My favorite Salman Rushdie so far. Also, totally contradicts the assertions of my fiction workshop leader that the intrusive nineteenth century style third-person narrator is dead. "They" are very much alive in Rushdie's book, written from the perspective of the future of tumultuous years in their past (and our future). There are jinn.

35. All the Queen's Players by Jane Feather

Found this in an antiques shop, and they gave it to me for free. It skews more toward romance than historical fiction, but actually an interesting perspective on the Babington plot.I enjoyed it for its view on a slightly less-fictionalized aspect of Elizabeth's reign. Recommended for fans of the Tudors who don't mind some romance.

36. The Silkworm (audiobook) by Robert Galbraith

More intricate plot than the first book, and we get to know Cormoran and Robin even better. I also can't help thinking J.K. Rowling is having her fun mocking old-school white male authors. Overall, showcases her strength of plot and character, though I wasn't as impressed with the language as in the first book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Books Set Outside the U.S.

This is perfect, since I'm about to be traveling out of the country!

1. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Set primarily in Milton, a fictional city in Derbyshire County in the north of England. Also some appearances in London and a small village in the south of England.

2. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

Set in late-nineteenth century imperial China, primarily in the Forbidden City.

3. The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Set in 1600s Italy; the protagonists travel to a variety of states and cities, though the story starts and centers on their small village.

4. The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner

Set primarily in contemporary South America, Kenya, India, and Australia/New Zealand.

5. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

Set (surprise!) in modern-day Paris. I've read it a few times, and it makes me laugh aloud every time.

6. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Set in a (barely) post-Franco Barcelona. I also highly recommend the prequel, The Angel's Game, and sequel, The Prisoner of Heaven.

7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Set in nineteenth-century Russia, primarily in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I also highly recommend Resurrection, a different story but same time and place.

8. House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

Set in an unnamed South American country. I also recommend Daughter of Fortune, set in Chile and then California.

9. The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen

Set in late-sixteenth-century Spain, primarily Madrid; also, a little bit of Italy, including Florence, in the same time period.

10. Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell

Set in eighteenth-century Vienna, and a few other locations in Austria and England.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Books Finished in June: Part I

28. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Enjoyed the fast-paced sequel to Cinder and looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I think it really helped that I'd read a short story on Wolf's origins, so I knew about the Lunar Queen's plans to take over the Earth with an army of genetically enhanced wolf-men. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's a great setup for a scifi version of Red Riding Hood. Scarlet is a much more impetuous, and therefore less relatable, heroine than Cinder (whose story is also continued here, yay!), but I thought Meyer did a good job creating a backstory for her that explains how her fate is entwined with Cinder's. Looking forward to Cress.

29. The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich

Inspiring, evocative poetry--I would recommend this to every woman, and any other gender as well.

30. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (audiobook)

Light and fluffy, like I like my audiobooks. Definitely a YA book, but it was entertaining and different to hear a story where you know the main characters will break up. I thought the voice was really well done, both in terms of the author's "voice," and the voice of the actor who did the reading. I have to admit though that sometimes you just want to slap the main character, and be like, go date your best friend already, it's obvious you're supposed to end up with him.

31. The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit

I'd heard of E. Nesbit, but never got around to reading her as a kid. When I saw this old Puffins classic edition at my local Little Free Library, it caught my eye immediately. Although it's a children's story, I really loved this semi-magical tale. It reminded me of Edward Eager's Half Magic. Highly recommended for children and a fun lazy day read for adults who like a touch of fantasy.

32. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Also found at the Little Free Library! I've wanted to read this for a while, since I'm a big fan of Tripmaster Monkey. Stories about growing up as the child of Chinese immigrants in California. Some of the stories were entertaining (and bittersweet), but didn't like it as much as I wanted to.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

1. I'm reading Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. It's like a less sparkling, way more political Pride and Prejudice. Gaskell isn't as witty as Austen, but she was way more willing to tackle the serious issues--and still write a rich work of fiction.

2. The weather is finally just the way I like it. Low 90s, medium humidity. Yes, I know, I'm the only one.

3. Turns out there are all kinds of Pokemon in my home. Who knew.