Monday, September 26, 2022

The Waves

The WavesThe Waves 
by Virginia Woolf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel is the interior lives of a group of six people who are bound together by the loss of a friend. It is beautifully written and strikingly insightful. Like the other novels I have read by Virginia Woolf I plan to read it again because there is so much happening here that I am sure I missed details that will come out upon rereading. 
"Always it begins again; always there is the enemy; eyes meeting ours; fingers twitching ours; the effort waiting. Call the waiter. Pay the bill. We must pull ourselves up out of our chairs. We must find our coats. We must go. Must, must, must--detestable word. Once more, I who had thought myself immune, who had said, 'Now I am rid of all that,' find that the wave has tumbled me over, head over heels, scattering my possessions, leaving me to collect, to assemble, to heap together, summon my forces, rise and confront the enemy." (p. 293)
This book is on my Classics Club list.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Books on My Fall 2022 TBR

The Top Ten Tuesday topic this week is "Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List." I recently reviewed where I am at with my various reading challenges/projects for 2022 and these are the books I plan to read in an effort to wrap those up by the end of the year. (In no particular order.)

  1. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (works for 3 challenges)
  2. Walden by Henry David Thoreau (works for 3 challenges)
  3. Biography: Fiction, Fact, and Form by Ira Nadel (works for 3 challenges)
  4. A Libertarian Walks into a Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling (NF challenge)
  5. Secret Life of Groceries by Benjamin Lorr (NF challenge)
  6. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett (Turtle Recall challenge)
  7. Halloween Party by Agatha Christie (Cozies challenge)
  8. Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs (works for 2 challenges)
  9. A Fine Balance by R. Mistry (works for 2 challenges)
  10. The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant (a Classics Club title)
Six of these are currently on my shelves which is great because I am trying to read more of the books I own. 


Monday, September 5, 2022

Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas Nickleby (A Pan Classic)Nicholas Nickleby 
This is early novel in Dickens' career and you can see that in the structure of the plot (or rather the lack of structure). It is full of  colorful and entertaining characters and like the other Dickens novels I have read (this is my 5th one) it was a compelling tale that I wanted to keep reading to discover how Nicholas would get out of the various scrapes he got into. 
It is also full of observations about the world:
“Most men unconsciously judge the world from themselves, and it will be very generally found that those who sneer habitually at human nature, and affect to despise it, are among its worst and least pleasant samples.”
This book is on my Classics Club list, it is on my TBR pile challenge list, and I am counting it as my "Wild Card" title for the Back to the Classics Challenge

Thursday, September 1, 2022

August Book Report

August 2022, Hampton Beach, NH

I finished 8 books last month.

A quote from this month's reading:

“We both know you can’t tell your own story without exposing someone else’s.”
― Nina de Gramont, The Christie Affair

Here is my progress toward various goals and challenges:

 Here are the books I finished in August 2022: 
  1. Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett (3-stars)
  2. Small Ceremonies by Carol Shields  (4-stars)
  3. The Lazy Genius Kitchen by Kendra Adachi (4-stars)
  4. The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont (5-stars)
  5. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett (3-stars)
  6. Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs (3-stars)
  7. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (5-stars)
  8. Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton (3-stars)
I completed my 20 Books of Summer reading list this month, though it ended up being quite different from the list I started with as 6 of the original books got crossed off in favor of other titles.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Another Collection of Cozies

These are all cozies that I have read this year but did not blog about. These all count toward the Cruisin' Through the Cozies Challenge and this list will help me keep track of my progress. I posted another cozy collection earlier this year. 

  • Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss (Cheese Shop Mystery #1) When the local food critic--who never gives a good review--is found dead with a knife from Willa's brand new Sonoma-county gourmet cheese shop she is determined to find the killer.
  • Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #13) The murder of the expedition leader on an Iraqi archaeological dig site compels Poirot to untangle the secrets of the woman's past. 
  • Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #2) Conflicts and secrets from high-school days long past surface as our fearless (foolish?) heroine pokes around in a small town murder. 
  • Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris (Dirty Business #1) A small Connecticut town is the setting for this mystery featuring a professional gardener starting her business with a big job for the local historical society which leads to her unearthing a dead body and long buried secrets.
  • Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Mystery #5) A tragic accident hits the Stoneham, NH Founders Day celebration, but it just doesn't seem like an accident to bookstore owner Tricia Miles who starts asking her own questions.
  • Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mystery #3) Charleston society is shocked by a horrible accident at an engagement party. But it may not have been an accident at all and there may be a cat-burgler at work in the Historic district. 
  • Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton (Merry Muffin Mystery #1) When she flees her NYC life for the castle she has inherited in a small town upstate Merry Wynter finds more intrigue than she expected from such a tiny town.
These bring me to my goal of reading 20 cozies this year. However, I have not read one for each of the identified categories so I still need to read two more: a paranormal one and a holiday one.


Monday, August 22, 2022

The Christie Affair

The Christie AffairThe Christie Affair 
by Nina de Gramont
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am familiar with the basic biography of Agatha Christie and have read/seen several works that purport to explain what happened during the days she was missing in the 1920s. This is the most impressive spin on that question that I have read. Instead of focusing on the Christie's exclusively this story delves deeply into the life of Archie Christie's mistress, Nan. There are quite a few very compelling and well developed characters in this novel and the twist that is put on the few known facts about Agatha's Christie's disappearance is absolutely brilliant. 

This book is one of my 20 Books of Summer and it counts towards the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall ApartThings Fall Apart 
Written in the late 1950s this book is the story of Okonkwo and his Ibo village in Nigeria at the turn of the 20th century. It is beautifully written and slowly draws the reader into the life and customs of this African community through stories that feel almost fable-like and become more narrative once the reader is firmly settled into the time and place. 

In his introduction to this novel Kwame Anthony Appiah describes perfectly the power of this book:
"Not only does Achebe draw a compelling picture of life in one part of Iboland before the arrival of Christianity and colonialism; he manages to convey to all of us, Ibo or not, both the tragedy and the loss of that world and the possibilities created by the new situation. Achebe's rigorous accounting includes columns both for profit and for loss." 
This is the first of Achebe's Africa trilogy which continues the story of Okonkwo's family in No Longer at Ease (1960) and Arrow of God (1964). I plan to continue reading the trilogy. 

This novel counts toward the Back to the Classics Challenge (as a classic by a BIPOC author) and towards the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Small Ceremonies

Small CeremoniesSmall Ceremonies 
by Carol Shields
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“It's the arrangement of events which makes the stories. It's throwing away, compressing, underlining. Hindsight can give structure to anything, but you have to be able to see it. Breathing, waking and sleeping: our lives are steamed and shaped into stories. Knowing that is what keeps me from going insane, and though I don't like to admit it, sometimes it's the only thing.”
The story of a year in the life of Judith Gill, a Canadian biographer. Through her relationship with the world around her, especially the people, it examines the question of how the story of our own lives is created.

This book is one of my 20 Books of Summer and it counts toward the Canadian Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Books Set in a Place I'd Love to Visit

The Top Ten Tuesday topic this week is "books set in a place I'd Love to Visit (real places or fictional)." I have read, though not necessarily blogged about, all of these books except the last two which are on my TBR.

  1. Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

  2. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

  3. Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen (Key West, Florida)

  4. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (Savannah, Georgia)

  5. Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet E. Cameron (Nova Scotia, Canada)

  6. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (Oxford, England)

  7. An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym (London, England)

  8. Aqua Alta by Donna Leon (Venice, Italy)

  9. The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte (Madrid, Spain)

  10. The Ambassadors by Henry James (Paris, France)

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