7.31.2014

MONTHLY WRAP-UP | JULY 2014


Perhaps because of the uncharacteristically hot weather we've been having in Vancouver over the past month, I've actually gotten through a respectable 6 new (to me) books in the past month - even some that had been on my TBR for quite some time!

Though it's hard to pick favourites, I think Cold Comfort Farm and Q's Legacy are the two I can imagine staying with me and eventually getting a re-read. That said, Landline was definitely one I'm glad I got to before the reviews started pouring in and recommend for fans of character-driven, introspective novels. Aisha Tyler's autobiography was completely hilarious, so if you're ever in a funk and need some pants-wetting giggles, give her a go.




After reading Q's Legacy I idly picked up my copy of 84, Charing Cross Road and sort of kind of accidentally ended up re-reading it. The book, as I discovered, also contains The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street (an account of Helene's first trip to London years after 84) which is simply delightful and made me feel very wistful for London! (I may have started an epic re-watch of As Time Goes By, my fave BritCom upon completion... don't judge.)


Reviews published in July:

Other things you might have missed:

So that was my month - how about you guys? Which books did you read in the past month? Which was your favourite? Did you write any posts you're particularly proud of?

7.30.2014

STACKING THE SHELVES | #27-28


It's time for this week's WWW Wednesdays, hosted by Should Be Reading blog (head over and check them out!).

This link up asks three questions
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What do you think you'll be reading next? 
Here are my WWW answers!

What did I recently finish reading?




I missed last week, so here's the last two weeks in review! I finished We Were Liars in just a couple of days - it's a quick but darkly intense read that is best gone into with the minimum of information, so that's all I'll say on the subject. I subsequently zipped through Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff, the author of one of my favourite bookish books, 84, Charing Cross Road. Which, as you can see, I then re-read because I loved Q so much that I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to dear Helene. The edition I have also contains The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, which I went on to devour. If you are a fan of books about books and readers (such as The Uncommon Reader and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry), you really ought to acquaint yourself with Helene. She's a dear literary friend of mine in the sense that her books touched such a chord with me that I cannot ever tire of them. Reading them is much like spending the afternoon at your favourite bookstore with a dear, book-loving friend.

What am I reading now? 


The Goldfinch I'm still chipping away at - I'd put it down for awhile (after getting through the first 150 or so pages in one quick shot over Christmas holidays) and find that I can't take too much of it at once. Being as it's around 700 pages long, this might take a while. I'm also dipping in and out of All the Light We Cannot See, which I much enjoy, and The Mockingbird Next Door which I've only just begun but am finding quite intriguing. It's a biography of  Harper Lee, venerable author of that southern American classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. A famous borderline-recluse, Lee hasn't been given to public appearances, interviews or even further literary pursuits (at least, not published ones). The result being that we collectively know relatively little about the woman who brought us the cultural symbols known as Scout, Jem, Dill and Boo Radley (who was always my favourite, for obvious reasons). There is some debate as to Lee's level of comfort with (or even awareness of) this book, which has made me feel somewhat conflicted about reading it - but in the end I came down on the side of curiosity and am just hoping that she was, indeed, a willing participant. At any rate, so far it's a fascinating read.

What do I think I'll be reading next?


The eternal question, and one I rarely have a satisfactory answer to! You all know that whatever I pick here will most definitely not  be the one I read next, but for the sake of filling in all the blanks, here are a few possibilities! I'm particularly considering re-reading the Adrian Mole books. They've been on my mind since Sue Townsend passed away - I realized that not only has it been years since I've read them, but that there are at least two books in the series I haven't read!

What have you guys been reading?

7.29.2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY | AUTHORS I OWN THE MOST BOOKS BY


This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is: Ten Authors I Own the Most Books By. Which, to be totally honest? I can't really answer. Because my bookshelves are double stacked and architecturally delicate and I have further stacks of books all over the place, and they're not organized, so I can't even just count them. So this is total guess work. You ready?

Instead of including pics of all the books, because the whole point of this is that there are a lot of them, I'll include my favourite one or the one I'm most looking forward to reading by each. In no particular order....

1. Christopher Moore

I think I have most of his books - Fool, Lamb, Island of the Sequinned Love Nun, Bloodsucking Fiends, You Suck, Bite Me, A Dirty Job, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Sacre Bleu, Coyote Blue, Griff and, most recently, The Serpent of Venice which I got for my birthday.

2. Neil Gaiman

I'm not sure which books I still have (I broke rules and lent some of these), but at some point or another I have had: Good Omens; Coraline; The Graveyard Book; Fragile Things; Unnatural Creatures; Anansi Boys; American Gods; Neverwhere, Fortunately, the Milk; and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

3. Tom Robbins

I loved his books when I was in my late teens and early 20s. There are a lot of authors I own many books by, but few I've actually read all of. His, I read. I have: Jitterbug Perfume, Still Life with Woodpecker, Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Skinny Legs and All, Half Asleep in Frog Pyjamas, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, Villa Incognito and his most recent book, a memoir which I haven't yet read, called Tibetan Peach Pie. I'm saving it.

4. Charles Dickens

I haven't read much Dickens (yet). I read A Christmas Carol, half of Bleak House and started several others but didn't finish them. However, by dint of his being such a venerable and long-published author, I have ended up with many of his books because I like to collect beautiful books. I've got several of the tiny, leather bound Collins editions, and a few of the Penguin cloth bound ones. I think part of what's to blame for my woefully low completion rate is that I know so many of the stories already. And some of them are LONG. I enjoyed what I read of Bleak House, but I just couldn't get to the end.

I do plan to read them at some point though, and when I do I'll have beautiful editions of: A Christmas Carol, Bleak House, Hard Times, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Pickwick Papers, Dombey & Son, Little Dorrit and Nicholas Nickleby. Possibly one or two others that I can't find right now.

5. Armistead Maupin

While on a trip to San Francisco last year, I picked up Tales of the City, which seemed appropriate. I got through that, More Tales of the City and half of Further Tales of the city, but I've got the whole series except the most recent - The Days of Anna Madrigal

6. Hunter S. Thompson

I think I have all of his, though because they're largely collections of various articles, essays and other writings, I've tended to dip in and out rather than reading from cover to cover. I think The Rum Diary is still my favourite, though.

7. J.K. Rowling (aka Robert Galbraith)
http://kiddlesnbits.blogspot.ca/2011/03/harry-potter-madness.html

I couldn't pick just one Harry Potter book, so I had to include a pic of all of them. I also have The Casual Vacancy, The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm.

8. Bill Bryson

Bryson is largely responsible for my love of travel memoirs. I started with Notes from a Small Island and In A Sunburned Country and quickly cycled through A Walk in the Woods, I'm A Stranger Here Myself, Neither Here Nor There, The Lost Continent and Bill Bryson's Africa Diary. I also have but haven't finished: Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, A Short History of Nearly Everything and I can't remember if I have At Home in e-format.

9. John Irving

I read A Prayer for Owen Meany in high school which had a huge impact on me and was quickly followed by The World According to Garp (which, in retrospect, wasn't particularly appropriate), The Cider House Rules, A Son of the Circus, and The Fourth Hand. I've also got A Widow for One Year, Until I Find You, Last Night In Twisted River and In One Person - all of which I've started, none of which I've finished yet.

10. Sue Townsend

Oh, how I love Sue. The Adrian Mole Diaries were such a huge part of my childhood reading! I've got the whole Adrian Mole series (some of which are the original copies I was given as a child) as well as some of her stand-alone novels - Number Ten, Queen Camilla, The True Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman and possibly one or two more that I can't remember right now.

Phew, that felt like a very long post! Sorry guys! But now it's your turn to get back at me - which authors do you hoard? Share, share, share!

7.27.2014

THE SUNDAY REVIEW | FOREVER.... - JUDY BLUME

 
There's a first for everything.

When you build up something in your mind -- really imagine it, wish for it -- sometimes, when it actually happens, it doesn't live up to your expectations.

True love is nothing like that.

Especially not for Katherine and Michael, who can't get enough of each other. Their relationship is unique: sincere, intense, and fun all at the same time. Although they haven't been together all that long, they know it's serious. A whole world opens up as young passion and sexuality bloom.

But it's senior year of high school, and there are big changes ahead. Michael and Katherine are destined for another big "first": a decision. Is this the love of a lifetime, or the very beginning of a lifetime of love?
- Goodreads


------

I am vaguely ashamed to admit that I didn't read Judy Blume growing up. I had heard of her books, of course, but I just never really felt the need to read them. But over the years as I've grown up and learned about such things as feminism and sexism and being a girl in a man's world etc. etc. I've learned to place value on women's voices that share true experiences with one another. And in particular those that do so in a way that encourages girls to make the decisions that are right for them (particularly when it comes to their own bodies).

According to the introduction of Forever..., Judy wrote this book for her daughter, who asked for a story where teenagers had sex and no one died or got punished. To which I say: Amen, sister.

Nearly 40 years have passed since this book was first published, and I am reviewing it in a world that, eerily, seems to have slid backwards when it comes to women's rights. Abstinence-only education is not yet a thing of the past, and women are still fighting for the right to control their own bodies without judgement or intervention - whether that means birth control or abortion.

So on the one hand, I loved this book. I loved that it allowed for two responsible teenagers to make decisions about where, how and with whom they wanted to have sex without vilifying them. But on the other hand, it also made me incredibly sad that for many teens (and adults, for that matter), this is not yet a reality.

And this is precisely why I consider this to be not only an important book for young girls to read - but one that has actually become even more relevant today than it was at the time of publication. It raises as many questions as it answers, but they are vital questions.

The story itself isn't difficult to follow, and I loved the authentic portrayal of what first love can be like. I loved that the characters are flawed and complex - neither perfect nor evil - and that there is so much to relate to.

This is a book I recommend teenaged girls read - particularly if they're struggling with tough decisions about when and how to become sexually active. It's one I'd give to my own teenaged daughter if I had one.

Though it's best read by young women, I did find some interesting social aspects reading it as a 30-something woman. There is a lot to discuss here, and the discussions it raises are, I believe, ones we need to be having - now more than ever.  I can definitely see why Blume is a teenage staple. She certainly deserves to be.

------

Book Title: Forever...
Author: Judy Blume
Series: No
Edition: Paperback
Published By: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Released: April 29, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Women's Issues
Pages: 240
Date Read: June 18-July 2, 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

7.26.2014

STACKING THE SHELVES | #31


Time to look at the books I added to my shelves this week with Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews! Not necessarily books I bought - also includes books I borrowed, was given or otherwise ended up with. Weeks where I don't buy books I'll scramble around my shelves and find some books I haven't shared in a StS post yet! 


Be Safe I Love You - Cara Hoffman
The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta


The Orenda - Joseph Boyden

That's my week - what about you guys?

7.22.2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY | CHARACTERS I'D WANT WITH ME ON A DESERT ISLAND


This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Characters I'd Want with Me On a Desert Island! Let's see if I make it to 10...

1. Hermione Granger, because of COURSE.

https://wereallmadherebookblog.wordpress.com/author/wereallmadherebookblog/

2. Dumbledore. What? There's nothing in the rules about one character per book.

http://zabinisfriend.tumblr.com/

3. Gandalf. You know, in case something happens to my other two magical folk.

http://gif-central.blogspot.ca/2012/12/you-shall-not-pass.html


4. Katniss Everdeen, because MAD SKILLS.

http://www.hungergamesmovieseries.com/2012/02/hunger-games-movie-animated-gif-katniss.html#.U87eHmOosm8

5. Loki, because at least then I'd never get bored.

http://godofmischief.org/article/trickster-fooled/

6. Sherlock Holmes, because who knows what important, life-saving information is in that head of his?

http://favim.com/image/367148/

7. Watson, because he's a doctor. Plus he (or she, depending on the version) can blog about the mysteries we solve while we're stranded. Like the case of the missing coconuts.

http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2557

8. Lassie, because even though I don't read books with animals, I'm pretty sure she's good at going for help or getting people out of wells or something. Plus puppy cuddles!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10194478/First-Batman-then-Superman-and-now-superhero-collie-Lassie-to-be-revived.html

9. Deuce (or Fade), just in case there are zombies on the island.

http://presentinglenore.blogspot.ca/2010/08/book-review-razorland-by-ann-aguirre.html

10. I can't think of any more, so I'm cheating a bit and making my tenth a character from a movie. Wilson, because he's a great conversationalist.

http://clockroom.blogspot.ca/2007_03_01_archive.html

What about you guys? Who would you want stranded with you on a desert island?

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