Monday, December 29

BOOKS! BOOKS! AND BOOKS! OH MY!

I had x-mas money to burn. So I journeyed to my local book store. I had left over money from what I allocated for shopping, a good 75 bucks. So that went to books. Well most of it did anyways. I've bought six books, in two days. Two from yesterday was when I was at Costco with my mom. I was hunting for a digital camera...which I failed at miserably. Anyways I saw two books there that caught my eyes (only two, they don't have much of a selection) So I got,



A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini




Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (does anyone know if this is the sequel to the Labyrith by the same author?)





Today I went to chapters. And I was good. I passed by about fifteen books that BEGGED me to take them home (does anyone else have this problem? Books jumping out of the shelves at you into your hands and proclaiming you are now there owner?) And at one point I had five books in my hand, but I set to down, because, I knew I could get them at my trustee used book store for a better price.
So the books I got at Chapters are....





Middlemarch by George Eliot ( I got the Premier Classics Edition 800+ pages I think I may have to do some rearranging on my shelf.)






Bleak House by Charles Dickens (again, its a little thick, so when I get back to my place, my shelves will be in need of rearrangement)






The Birth House - Ami McKay








Also in Chapters, I got what is one of my favoruite purchases of the day (yes even more then the books, and I mean I LOVE books) It was this black cloth, reusable tote bag, with the words "I love to read" as well as J'adore lire (french) on one side, and on the other a picture of a bunch of open books stacked on top of eachother.... its soo cool! Not to mention, when I went accross the street to the mall afterwards, I had about three comments on it! I know have a new bag to take when I go book shopping I can book shop and save the environment (its a little bit of a oxymoron I know, but know more plastic bags while I shop for precious books!)

I wish I had a picture, but I don't have my camera and because shopping for one failed, I can't take a picture...but I will eventually.


Oh, and finally I got a book for Christmas

The Venetian Betryal by Steven Berry







Sunday, December 28

TSS - 2009 Challenges


Well, unfortunately, I signed up for all my 2008 challenges with little time to finish them. This year 2009, I've signed up for a lot of challenges, but I have the whole year to finish them, rather then 5 months. So It gives me a lot more time to finish. I hope. Anyways, at my other blog is the lists of all the challenges and the names of the books I'll be reading.... or hope to read for the year..... oh what Have I got my self into?

1 - 1st in a Series - 12 Books
2 - 18th and 19th Century Woman Writers - 8 Books
3 - 100+ Challenge - 100 Books
4 - The 999 Challenge - 81 Books
5 - 2009 Support Your Library Challenge - 25 Books
6 - A - Z Challenge - 52 Books
7 - Casual Classics Challenge - 4 Books
8 - Decades Challenge - 9 Books
9 - Dewey’s Book Reading Challenge - 6 Books
10 - New Author Challenge - 13 Books
11 - Numbers Challenge - 5 Books
12 - Read Your Own Books Challenge - 25 Books
13 - TBR Challenge - 12 Books
14 - Themed Challenge - 4 Books
15 - Victorian Challenge - 5 Books
16 - War Through the Generations - WWII Challenge - 5 Books
17 -What's in a Name? Challenge - 6 Books

So that's a total of.... 372 Books although if you take away 100 for the 100+ challenge (because of overlaps) and then its only 272 and if you take away the numerous other overlaps....there's not that much.... I'll be reading a lot this year! Set out the coffee!

Saturday, December 6

Ship Fever

Title: Ship Fever

Author: Andrea Barrett

Pages: 254
The elegant short fictions gathered here, often set against the backdrop of the nineteenths century, take their impulse from the world of science. Interweaving historical and fictional characters, they move between pas and present as they negotiate the complex territory of ambition, failure, achievement, and shattered dreams.

In “Ship Fever,” the title novella, a young Canadian doctor serves at a quarantine station for immigrants driven from Ireland by the Great Famine- and finds himself at the center of one of history’s most tragic epidemics. In “The English Pupil,” Linnaeus, ancient and vague, watches bewildered as the world he organized within his head slowly drifts beyond his reach. In “The Behavior of the Hawkweeds,” Gregor Mendel’s disappointed spirit haunts a mediocre contemporary geneticist. And in “The Littoral Zone,” two marine biologists look back at their life-altering affair – and wonder whether it was all worth it.

In tradition of Alice Munro, William Trevor, and the early writing of Mark Helprin, these exquisitely rendered fictions encompass whole lives in a brief space. As they move beyond interior and exterior journeys, they illuminate the secret passions of those driven by devotion to, and an intimate acquaintance with, the natural world.

Short Stories include;
The Behavior of the Hawkweeds
The Littoral Zone
Rare Bird
Soroche
Birds with no Feet
The Marburg Sisters
Ship Fever (novella)

Summary:

My Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: There was something about Barrett’s writing style that drew me into the stories, which prevented me from putting the book down. I only stopped, because I was two tired to finish reading it. Barrett has a beautiful style of writing, that will pull the reader in, and it won’t release you until you stop. She has a great ability to etch the emotions of the characters into the pages of the books, to illustrate what they felt and went through at the time, without actually saying it. This is especially seen in “Ship Fever” and “The English Pupil”, which were my two favourite stories from the collection. Emotion from these two stories just pours out of the pages, and the characters seem to stay with you after you leave them. Barrett also has a great ability to describe the setting, making the reader feel as if they are an invisible body, watching the story play out, but she does with ease and very short descriptions, I’m not sure how to explain it. Her writing just has this effect on the reader and it pulls them into the stories, without the reader even realizing it.

One of the things I disliked was that there were one or two stories I didn’t really care much for particularly, “The Littoral Zone.” The writing was the same, but the plot of the story itself, just didn’t interest me or reach me in anyway.

Overall, this was a fantastic read, drawing the reader in to the stories, and the summary in the book can’t explain it better “these exquisitely rendered fictions encompass whole lives in a brief space.” Which of course is what I think draws the reading in so well, the author’s ability to create such realism and emption in the stories.


Would I recommend it to read:Oh yes, they may not be the most exciting books in the literary world, but this is one of those books any book lover should experience, because of the wonderful style of writing and experience it gives you, I guess you could say, the way the author is able to pull you into the books, is what makes it so well done

What to read next: The summary vaguely compares her to Alice Munro, and I have read a couple of her books, they do have the same level, in the way the express and grab you into other’s lives, so if you like short stories, she may be a good place to start. Also other novels, short stories or novella’s by Andrea Barrett would be a good idea as well.


Wednesday, December 3

Pillars of the Earth

Title: Pillars of the Earth

Author: Ken Follet

Pages: 983

Summary: As a new age dawns in England’s twelfth century, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral sets the stage for a story of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal. It is in this rich tapestry, where kings and queens are corrupt, that the common man shows eternal promise-and one majestic creation will bond them forever . . . .

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was just “okay”. And I am being nicer about it then I think I should. There are many issues I had with this book, least of all the inaccuracies of some things especially language (the term fuck in relation to intercourse for example). I understand that the language needed to be changed so readers today can understand it, because using terms that they used back in would be ridiculous and almost no one would understand it. But at least try to not use slang terminology that wasn’t used the way it is used today, in a way it was never used then.

Also, I found the characters to be very one dimensional, the good guys were always the good guys, they were also always down on their luck and struggled none stop, with hurdle after hurdle hitting them on their way. They did nothing bad. The bad guys won a lot, they had easy ways to winning because they were bad and evil. For the most part all the characters were the stereotypical cookie cutter evil bad guy or holy good guy. Few instances of anything different were evident.

One of the biggest issues I had with this book is and before I get into it, just remember, this is about a cathedral being built. The issue is the grotesque, multiple and un-need rape scenes or attempted rape scenes this book has combined to the harlequin romance scenes.
I understand the author was trying to portray the horrific things men did to woman them, and how society was like back them. But to do it in such grotesque detail is disgusting and disturbing. It ruined the entire book for me. If the book was about a rapist, I could see having multiple rape scenes and describing it. But, this wasn’t. It was distasteful and there was no need to go into every little detail. There are ways to set up the scene, informing the reading the horrific scene that is about to happen, then leave off for the reader to imagine. Not to mention, was it really necessary to have multiple rape scenes in this book. We get it! William is a rapist. I started thinking that the author is a disturbed, or b he isn’t creative enough to think of anything, so lets just through in a rape scene.
Going in the harlequin romance, it was a little much. Again, we get it! There were two many times, where random acts or attempted acts of sex in all the details, were in the novel. They’re walking down a street and a woman bared her breasts, character a grabbed and pinched breast of character b, lets describe how they look and feel. Come on enough! I was hoping for a story like the summary says, knowing that yes there will be some sexual scenes, violence and violence against woman, because it what happened then. But I found they took away from what the book was about, they scenes make you forget your reading about a story of a community coming together to build this cathedral.

There was some good about the book, because I did finish it. Describing the scene of these old cathedrals and villages was amazing. You could actually see then in your head as you read the book, which I enjoyed. Also, with the exception of what I said above, the story was interesting, I just found that there were a lot of things that ruined it. Even with the absence of those things. The book is still just a “good” book. I really don’t see anything AMAZING about it that everyone else says it to be. Am I missing something here? Because I honestly don’t see what the huge hype of the book is.
An “okay” book that could have been a “good” book, if certain scenes as I addressed above had been dealt with differently.


Would I recommend it to read: I’m really not sure. Everyone seems to love the book. And I just didn’t feel it. If you like historical fiction, then you may enjoy the book. But fair warning there are some explicit and grotesque scenes in the book.

What to read next: There is a sequel World Without an End that is out. That may be a starting point. But I’m not sure what to read next. I’m not a fan of Follett, so I don’t think I’d read anymore of his work, but I have limited experiences with Historical fiction. So, check out what LibraryThigns and Goodreads has to say.