Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was very different than my preconceived notion of it. I am not sure what my preconception was based on, but while it was a love story, of sorts, it is more like what I would imagine would come out if Stephen King decided to write a love story. Everyone in the story is miserable because they are in love with someone and not honest about it and have to watch life play out in a different direction. The story is much more twisted and dark than I had expected, and I liked it. It was like watching a train wreck. I had to keep reading to find out what horrid turn would occur next. I found it fascinating and imminently readable. For those who are intimidated by or enamored of the classics, I would recommend this one.

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Catching up - Count of Monte Cristo

I have been reading, just haven't been writing my reviews due to pregnancy and child birth. So, I will attempt to catch up in the coming days. Here is my review of The Count of Monte Cristo which I finished in October, 2013. The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. While it is definitely lengthy (I actually read it for a 1000+ page challenge), I love the study of the human mind and spirit and this has that in spades. What a human soul can endure and overcome is amazing. This story is a classic for a reason. It examines the complete spectrum of human emotion and I would highly recommend it to all.

The part that stuck with me, though, is the re-examination of the revenge plan when unintended consequences occur. Edmond is not so blinded by revenge that he is unable to question whether he is on the right path.

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Monday, June 17, 2013


So, I finally got Microsoft Office for my new computer and combined all of the lists into one spreadsheet. (I had the 2006 list in Excel, and the 2008, 2010, and 2012 updates in Word). So, after all is said and done, I am now up to 51 read on the combined list and am currently reading Count of Monte Cristo and Forsyte Saga (which are both 2006 list books). I feel very accomplished. Now, to do more reading!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Everything is Illuminated? I'm not so sure...

Everything is IlluminatedEverything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Certainly entertaining, but definitely hard to follow. I couldn't tell which parts were supposed to be real and with so many of the characters sharing the same name or being referred to by relationship, I found it very difficult to keep things straight.

I can't say that I'm sorry I read it, but I am still trying to figure out what the take away message is. Maybe that's the point.

Also, a little put off by the use of the "f" word in 1791. Maybe it is just in my head, but in my head people didn't talk like that back then.

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wise ChildrenWise Children by Angela Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The writing style of this book really through me off. Stream of consciousness combined with a slew of characters all who also have nicknames... it was hard to keep up. Separate from that, I did find that there were aspects of the book that I really liked. It makes an interesting commentary on the true meaning of family, and it is a fantastical view of a very interesting period of time from WWI through the 80's between London and Hollywood.

These are my two favorite quotes:
"I've done many a quick change, in the wings, in panto, in revue, but never one as quick as this. And so it came to pass that it was as Bottom the Weaver in plus-fours and an ass's head, that I went to my own wedding. I was beginning to see the funny side. It isn't every day you see yourself get married." - p. 157

""'D'you know, I sometimes wonder if we haven't been making him up all along,' she said. 'If he isn't just a collection of our hopes and dreams and wishful thinking in the afternoons. Something to set our lives by, like the old clock in the hall, which is real enough, in itself, but which we have to wind up to make it go.'" - p. 230

So, there were some enjoyable points. The bottom line is the story is a good one. I just found the chosen narrative style in combination with the wide variety of characters to be confusing and sometimes distracting. But, I did like the book.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan DenisovichOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can certainly understand why this book is on the 1001 Books list. It is hard to believe that what is described is truly one day in prison life. So much happens even though so little happens. The constant jockeying to survive. Getting an extra portion, begging a last drag, working in freezing temperatures. It is mesmerizing. I am going to have to track down a copy of The Oak and the Calf to learn more about Solzhenitsyn's life.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Casino Royale

I actually picked this book up at the library solely because Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler were good friends, and I had never read any of the Bond books. Imagine my surprise, when I found that it was also a 1001 Books list book! My French is a little rusty as I only took it in 7th and 8th grade, so I feel that I might have missed some details (important or not, I don't know), but I enjoyed the story and having seen the movie first (which I usually try not to do), the story was familiar, but the movie was remote enough in my mind that I don't really know how closely it compares. It is dark, but that is unsurprising, and the details of the drink and the car come through very well in the writing, so you do not miss out at all on the 007 experience. I would recommend it. 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I had a hard time getting into this book, but once I figured out the ties between everyone and could better track the myriad of characters, I did enjoy the appearances of various historical figures like Freud, Houdini, JP Morgan, and others as an interesting twist. I did not care for the ending, or I might have given it 5 stars. It just seemed abrupt and unsatisfying after following the lives of these characters with such intensity. However, the story was quite well done and I enjoyed it. Another one checked off from the 1001 books to read. I am glad that the group chose this one, as I don't know that I would have gravitated toward it on my own. I rated it 4 stars.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wise Blood

Wise BloodWise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn't get this one. Nothing particular that I didn't like about it, but I am pretty sure I missed the point. Comic Novel the author says? I definitely missed something. On to the next!

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

A visit from the Goon Squad 2012 list addition

I actually read this in 2011 as the Goodreads community read. How interesting that it is now on the 1001 Books list! A Visit from the Goon SquadA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I am unsure whether I liked the style of the different narrators for each chapter, in my more optimistic moments, it was like a mini-mystery trying to figure out who was narrating and at what point in their life, and how they were connected to the other narrators. And, as a whole, I think it fits well with the chaotic world of punk music that is the underlying theme of the whole story. I did really care about the characters, and while I typically don't like flash backs and flash forwards in abundance, I did not find these distracting. I enjoyed being pleasantly surprised by this book that I probably wouldn't have picked up had it not been for the Goodreads challenge. Thank you, Goodreads!

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History of Love, 2012 list addition

I read this book in March 2011, on a recommendation from my mother-in-law. Turns out it was a pretty good book to get put on the list! Enjoy! The History of LoveThe History of Love by Nicole Krauss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book endearing with the added bonus of lingering questions when done reading. The characters draw you in, and the topic is timeless - love. I would recommend this book to all romantics.

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2012 List Additions

Well, I am ahead of the game! Of the 11 2012 additions, I have already read two! That brings my grand total up to 43! I will post my reviews of History of Love and A Visit from the Goon Squad. Here are the 2012 additions: The History of Love – Nicole Krauss A Gate at the Stairs – Lorrie Moore Nemesis – Philip Roth Freedom: A Novel – Jonathan Franzen Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes There but for the – Ali Smith A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan The Marriage Plot: A Novel – Jeffrey Euginides Cain – Jose Saramago 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach

I'm on a roll in 2013! Farewell, My Lovely

Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just started this one, but had to note this quote, "...the voice dragged itself out of her throat like a sick man getting out of bed." Who wouldn't enjoy reading a book with such specific and magnificent description! :) Had to note another doozie of a quote, "She's a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud and if she has washed her hair since Coolidge's second term, I'll eat my spare tire, rim and all."
More when I finish...

I love Philip Marlowe! He is just the right mix of hard-edge, softie and insane. Another great one by Raymond Chandler (see quotes above). I love the writing style, I love the description. The story was great with lots of twists and turns, some obligatory red herrings and just all around good fun for the mystery reader! Highly recommended!

View all my reviews I read The Big Sleep first as Farewell, My Lovely is the second Philip Marlowe book, and I am a little bit nutty about things like that. My local library(ies) seemed to be missing their individual copies of both books, so I have the pleasure of reading other short stories by Raymond Chandler and The Big Window from the omnibus that I was able to check out next! Then, onto Wise Blood as my next List conquest!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Murder Must AdvertiseMurder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This would have gotten a 5 star rating except for that the reveal chapter was written set at a cricket game, which I know nothing about. So, that was a bit frustrating. However, the rest of the story was quite enjoyable, and the premise was quite interesting. Lord Peter Wimsey is entertaining as always in this case working under cover at an advertising agency to sort out strange goings on. Lots of characters to keep track of, but that doesn't seem to be unusual for Dorothy Sayers. I look forward to reading her other book on the 1001 Books to Read list.

View all my reviews Next up, Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I finished this one over the holiday.  It took a while as I put it down in favor of a couple of other books. That is not to say I did not enjoy it, though.

FrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Shelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very much enjoyed this story. I found it to be very different than expected, and I very much enjoyed it. Certainly nothing like the popularized version we all think we know. Quick and enjoyable read.

View all my reviews And, bonus! I just figured out what I was doing wrong in copying my goodreads posts! Hooray! and Happy New Year! Hope to be more active this year. Last year was a tough reading year as I had a shoulder injury that ended up requiring surgery and that put a damper on my reading. However, I hope to do better this year. I have re-committed to 50 books, and I currently am reading one from the list and have another in the chute.