Friday 56, #10

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here’s my contribution:

From Goodreads:

This daring literary thriller, rich with eroticism and suspense, is one of John Fowles’s best-loved and bestselling novels and has contributed significantly to his international reputation as a writer of the first rank. At the center of The Magus is Nicholas Urfe, a young Englishman who accepts a teaching position on a remote Greek island, where he befriends a local millionaire. The friendship soon evolves into a deadly game in which reality and fantasy are deliberately manipulated, and Nicholas finds that he must fight not only for his sanity but for his very survival.

 

Page 56:

 

So what do you think? Have you read this novel and is it worth my time? What are your thoughts on the cover? Let me know in the comments below!

August 2016 Wrap Up

August was a much better month for me when it comes to reading and blogging. I made a bit of progress on the book challenges I’m participating in, but not as much as I would like. Here is my list for August.

Books I’ve read this Month:

My Favorite reads:

  • One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash is amazing. It’s beautifully written and the story is engaging. If you haven’t read it, do! As soon as possible!
  • Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith [AKA J.K. Rowling] is just a wonderfully plotted story. I started reading it as an eBook borrowed from the library, but became so engaged I also borrowed the audio book version to listen to while I worked in my garden and did housework.

Books I Acquired:

  • Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young (paperback)
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (audio book)
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (audio book)
  • One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash (paperback)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne (hardback)
  • The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev (eBook)

Books in Progress:

  • The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (eBook from the library)
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Farrante (paperback)
  • S. by J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst (hardback)

Books I DNF (did not finish):

  • In Bed With the Devil by Lorraine Heath (eBook from the library) This one didn’t catch my attention.

Reading in September:

Most of the books I’m planning to read are #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks and two are for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge. Now, I’ll probably won’t achieve this goal, but that’s okay.

  • The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev (eBook)
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  • I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert (2016 Read Harder Challenge)
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (2016 Read Harder Challenge)

Here is some of my favorite reads across the blogisphere and the web.

Bloggers:

Both of these posts have nothing to do with books or reading.

  • CoffeeandaBlankpage writes a letter to a man who approached her on the street.
  • TheThrifty Gourmond writes about buying less than pretty vegetables. I really like this since my garden produce is not as perfect as the stuff at the grocery store.

Links from Across the Web:

  • Jessica Gross’s Things We Like website. This is website is lists that Jessica Gross collects and presents on this page. It’s really fascinating, and I enjoy reading them.
  • Hiking stories can be found at this link. I love the idea of hiking different long trails, but i don’t think I ever will do it. So, I do the next best thing I watch videos on You Tube and read essays about hiking.

 

How was your August reading? Did you meet all your goals? What are your plans for September? Let me know what you think of my plans in the comments. Happy Reading!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #3

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday. It’s hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Do visit this fun blog and read all the other lists compiled. it’s a lot of fun and you’ll be sure to add books to your TBR pile. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is: Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related. I’ve decided to go with novels with academic or school settings and themes.

Harry Potter and the Chambe...

As always, Harry Potter series. Need I say more?

 

 

 

The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This one is set at an elite college in New England. It’s a creepy story about obsession, corruption, and evil. It’s been a while since I read it, so I may need to do so in the near future.

 

 

The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, #2)

The Likeness by Tana French.  I read this and The Secret History very close together, and I think both books are very similar. This is the second book of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series and the latest is coming out later this fall. I may need to do a re-read since it’s my favorite of the series so far.

 

PrPrepep by Curtis Sittenfeld. This is set at an elite boarding school in New England. It’s more a coming of age story of a “poor” girl thrown in with the rich kids at an elite school.

 

 

 

Possession

Possession by  A.S. Byatt. This is the story of two Academics searching for the mysterious muse of a famous Victorian poet. Literary mystery! The life and death struggle to publish or perish!  Forbidden love! The struggles of being in the literature department and finding something to write a thesis framed in a mystery. I’ve read and enjoyed it even though A.S. Byatt is a terrible literary snob.

 

Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel #1)

 

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. This is one of my favorite time travel novels. It’s the story of a historian at Oxford University who travels back in time to do research first hand.

 

 

The Historian

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. A historian researching the origins of her family in Romania and of Vlad the Impaler. The story travels around Europe to help the young female historian discover the answers to her questions. It’s a genuinely creepy read. I like to read it in October to help enhance the experience.

 

Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story

 

Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story by Rachel Kadish. Another academic trying to find answers in her research. But unlike the young female academic in The Historian, this one stays on campus.

 

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. An American professor at Oxford finds a magical book while doing research in the Bodleian library.

 

 

On Beauty

 

On Beauty by Zadie Smith. The only book on this list I haven’t read this yet. It’s currently floating near the top of my TBR pile, so I hope to get to it this fall. According to Goodreads this the story of an English academic teaching at a college in New England.

 

So what do you think of my list? Are there any books you would add to it? What would your own list contain? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Thumbnails of the covers are courtesy of Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

Friday 56, #9

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here’s my contribution:

I Am America (And So Can You!)

And I’ll give Mormonism this: They know which way the wind blows. When America decided polygamy wasn’t the way to go, the Mormons changed their ways and banned it. They had similar changes in policy when public opinion turned against the tradition of massacring pioneers and believing Black people are evil. Pretty much whenever the general populace decides the Mormons are a crazy, sinful cult, their leader receives a message straight from God that makes everything OK. This practice continues to this day; you can see it in the way Mitt Romney was pro-choice when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, but was divinely inspired to become pro-life when he was running for the Republican nomination for president.

Well, after finding this excerpt for the Friday 56, I’m pretty sure this book will count for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge task read a book about politics!

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 in the comments below (And Daniela, go ahead do your own Friday 56 in my comments!)

 

Quickie Review of The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry

For many reasons August has been just a hard month to read and write about books. I’m finally getting back into it this week , slowly. And I’m behind on so many things.  I’m behind on the 2016 Read Harder Book Challenge and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks, and I’ve only written two book reviews so far this month. So today I though I’d a a quickie review of a book that is a part of both of the challenges.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School in Paris

Kathleen Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder – until her boss eliminated her job. Instead of sulking, she took the opportunity to check out of the rat race for good – cashing in her savings, moving to Paris, and landing a spot at the venerable Le Cordon Blue cooking school.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the funny and inspiring account of her struggle in a stew of hot-tempered, chefs, competitive classmates, her own “wretchedly inadequate” French – and how she mastered the basics of French cuisine. Filled with rich, sensual details of her time in the kitchen – the ingredients, cooking techniques, wine, and more than two dozen recipes – and the vibrant sights and sounds of the markets, shops, and avenues of Paris, it is also a journey of self-discovery, transformation, and, ultimately, love.

I like this book, but I do not love this book. It’s one of those memoirs in which upper middle class woman looses job and goes to exotic location to find self (Think Eat, Pray, Love. Oh, and Elizabeth Gilbert has a blurb on the cover, so you know who the audience is for this book.) I don’t have a fight with this genre, but there is something so off-putting about this genre for me. I only got through the eating portion of Eat, Pray, Love because of the gorgeous descriptions of Italy and food. Which leads me to The Sharper the Knife. The recipes and descriptions of classes at the Cordon Bleu are what I like best about this book. The chef’s and students along with the rivalries are what kept me coming back to this book. And the recipes! The recipes seem like something I can follow successfully.

What I did not love about this book. The trials and tribulations of finding the perfect apartment in the center of Paris. The sadness of living out with the poor folk out on the eastern edge of Paris. The struggles of getting to school on the metro, and the uncomfortable feeling of struggling back to the apartment through the children of the neighborhood begging for money. And she did have a serious issue with her new husband towards the end of the book, but all the other tone deaf “trials”earlier in the book make it hard to feel too sorry or sympathetic for her.

Now, that being said, its not a bad story. I will recommend it to anyone who is interested in what it’s like to attend the Cordon Bleu in Paris. But if you are looking for inspiration…..No. Read something else. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

What do you think? Would you read this book? Do you like memoirs? Do you like novels that include recipes? If you do, let me know in the comments!

 

 

Quickie Review of One Foot in Eden

I read Ron Rash’s first novel One Foot in Eden with or my Skype book club a couple of weeks ago. As a group we loved it.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

One Foot in Eden

 

Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff’s deputy, One Foot in Eden signals the bellwether arrival of one the most mature and distinctive voices in southern literature.

The characters were fleshed out and even the villain of the piece, Holland, is drawn sympathetically. But, I think we all agree, it’s hard to tell who is the villain in this tale. All of the characters are drawn in shades of gray. They are all people who suffer tragedies in their lives and respond to those tragedies in ways that are real.

We all read the book just before our meeting and had not, really, had a chance to digest the story. We spent a lot of time working through our feelings about Holland and Amy. And how we felt about the actions of the Sheriff and of Billy. We spent less time talking about Amy and Billy’s son,Isaac, and I’m not sure why. He had to “clean up” Amy and Billy’s mess before he became an adult, and his heartbreak is compelling.

And we spent a lot of time discussing the effect of modernization had on Appalachia. The loss of culture in many ways outweighs the benefits. I spent a lot of time this week thinking about how those families were displaced, moved to small towns to work in textile mills, and now those mills are gone. It is heartbreaking.  In fact, I have been thinking about this book a lot over the last two weeks. It is haunting.

If you are a fan of Southern Gothic literature, be sure to put this one on your list. My Skype book club heartily recommends it.

Do you like Southern Gothic fiction? Would you read this novel? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday, August 9th. #2

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday. It’s hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Do visit this fun blog and read all the other lists.This week is Top Ten Tuesday REWIND — go back and do a topic you missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit. I’m revisiting a recent Top Ten Tuesday:  Ten Books Set Outside The US. My list is a bit Great Britain heavy. And I picked  books that I’ve read recently (Last 5 years-ish).

Top Ten Books Set Outside The US:

The Harry Potter Series (Great Britain) I just listed the series since alone it would take up the entire list.

3

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Great Britain)

In a Dark, Dark Wood

In the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator) (Spain)

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,  #1)

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht (The Balkans)

The Tiger's Wife

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte (Prague)

City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic, #1)

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim (Italy)

The Enchanted April

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (Great Britain)

Tipping the Velvet

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (France)

The Painted Girls

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Great Britain)

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)

Crazy Rich Asians & China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (China/Hong Kong) I listed both of these because both are crazy fun reads.

Crazy Rich Asians China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians #2)

 

What are some of your favorite books set outside of the USA? Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you do for Top Ten Tuesday this week? Let me know in the comments below!