Saturday, August 1, 2009

north and south by elizabeth gaskell

i decided to read this book after a friend recommended i watch the movie.

i am forever in her debt.

i loved this book. it's nestled itself right at the top of my favorites list. and, to be honest, it's mostly because i fancy mr. thornton. I love his character. i love how stern and glowering he is, yet, he has such a tender spot for margaret that he never denies. i love how honest and straightforward he is. i love his composure and self-control. i love his pride in who he is and what he's accomplished, yet his determination to continue improving himself. *sigh* can i please have him? pleeeeeeese?

i also liked margaret. i really identified with her character in the way people always described her as proud or stuck-up because they misunderstood her quietness or reserve. i appreciated her strength and selflessness. i loved her flashes of temper.

such a great book. i will re-read this over and over and over. and over.

i will also watch the movie over and over and over. richard armitage was so perfect as mr. thornton. i don't know that i'll ever recover from my infatuation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

agnes grey by anne bronte

my love for jane eyre and wuthering heights prompted me to pick up a novel by the third bronte sister.

i liked it well enough. it read really quickly, but it wasn't as good as the others by a long shot.

the whole novel felt rushed, like the teller couldn't wait to get it over with. there were hardly any details. she talks about hardships and degradations, but you never really get a good idea of what they were.

the plot was predictable. i knew how it was going to end long before it happened.

i would be willing to give anne another shot. but i probably wouldn't read this book again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

pride and prejudice and zombies by jane austen and seth grahame-smith

i decided to read this after it showed up on several national book lists.

completely silly. perfect for summer brain candy reading. i giggled the entire time.

granted, you can't read it if you're going to be a jane austen snob. i think what amuses me most about this book is the idea of the guy who wrote it. i like to picture him as a boy who had a mom and several sisters who loved the original story, and subjected him to hours and hours of pride and prejudice (or other austen stories) throughout his life, and this is his way of fighting back.

and can i saw how wonderful it is for mr. collins to be disposed of (even though it is at the expense of charlotte) and for lydia and wickham to be humiliated in some fashion.

be sure to check out the discussion questions at the end of the book. my favorite: does mrs. bennett have any redeeming qualities?

very amusing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

jane eyre by charlotte bronte

oh how i love this book. i think this was my fourth time through and it was even better this time!

i think it's amazing how you can read a book over and over throughout your life, and depending on what is going on, or what you've experienced, the book is completely different.

jane eyre is a fantastic love story. it's a story about knowing your own self-worth. it's a story about living the life you choose and not letting others plan it for you. it's a story about following your heart.
definately one of my favorite books.

bbc has done a particularly fantastic movie production of this book. i could watch it over and over. they do such an amazing job at portraying the quiet strength in jane and the goodness in rochester.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the historian by elizabeth kostova

this is my second time reading the historian. it's a story about a vampire, so of course i love it. but there is also an amazing amount of history in it, which is fascinating.
the book tells the story of three generations of one family and their pursuit of the historical dracula. their journeys begin when they discover an ancient book, which is blank except for a woodcutting of a giant dragon in the center of the book, among their possessions.
i enjoyed this book even more the second time because i just finished writing a research paper on vlad iii dracula, so i understood so much more of the history they were referencing. i thought they were a little harsh on him, but what can i say? i'm a sucker for blood-thirsty tyrants ;)
i would recommend this book to most people. and i hear they're making it into a movie, which i'm excessively excited about, as long as they do it justice!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

stargirl by jerry spinelli

i can not express how much i love this book. it overwhelms me every time.

stargirl is a celebration of individuality. through the character of stargirl we experience the joy of being true to yourself. we learn how interesting and productive life can be when we focus on others. we learn how insecure and discontented we become when we are constantly trying to please others or keep up with the crowd.
after reading stargirl i always feel braver, kinder, more confident, inspired to build others up.
i think every young girl should read this book. probably more than once. but it doesn't have to be limited to girls! i gave my 22 year old brother this book and he loved it too. there's so much for us all to learn.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

dracula by bram stoker

i can't believe i haven't ever read "dracula" before with how much i love vampire stories. it was pretty good. i found dr. van helsing really distracting. i really dislike it when people attempt to write accents into novels. most of the time it makes it incomprehensible so i stop paying attention to that character. and i found a lot of his actions nonsensical. i felt like his actions weren't necessary for the plot or for the well-being of the characters, but just to create drama, which is obnoxious.

i also felt like the characters were overly naive.

but dracula was great. he was terrifying and the whole time i was anxious that they wouldn't be able to overcome him.

definately a must read for vampire fans.

Monday, May 25, 2009

the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by mary ann shaffer and annie barrows

i adored this book! it takes place at the end of world war ii and is full of history and human experience. the story is told through correspondence primarily between juliet ashton and the inhabitants of the island guernsey. during wwii guernsey is occupied by the germans. a group of the islanders find themselves in a literary society in order to provide themselves with an alibi after an illegal pig roast. the correspondents tell their stories and how literature and friendship helped them find strength and solace in those uncertain times.

it tells the story of brave individuals to stood up to their enemies and held on to their compassion and humanity to the very end.

we also see how friendship and love help us to move forward and begin to live again after devastating experiences.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

cordelia underwood by van reid

this book was really enjoyable. there is a plot that is mildly introduced in the beginning and quickly tied up at the end, but most of the book is taken up with the random misadventures of the numerous characters. the characters are what make this book so amusing, particularly ephram, eagleton and thump. i found myself giggling constantly.

a good, lighthearted read.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

kilmeny of the orchard by l m montgomery

technically, i listened to this book, but whatever . . . this was definitely not as good as the blue castle, but i did enjoy it. it's a little too sweet/sappy for me at some points, and the plot is a little over simplistic, but sometimes that's just what a girl needs. there's a handsome boy and a beautiful girl and romance and beautiful settings in nature . . . i think i might have enjoyed the book more if i had read it instead of listened to it because i found the reader rather obnoxious, but what can you do?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the wonderful wizard of oz by l. frank baum

i read this for one of my book clubs. it was alright. i don't think i will ever read it again. i think the thing that bothered me the most was the overly simplistic writing style. i realize it is written for kids, but i've read several other books written for the same age group which don't have the same tone. and it bothered me how much happens, and how much symbolism there is in the book, but it's not developed enough to really make the impact it could. and then dorothy just ends up at home. her character doesn't learn anything, really, or grow . . . through the whole book you're just moved from one event to the next and then you're done.

about 2/3 of the way through i found myself hurrying to finish so i could move on to something else. i just wanted to be done.

Friday, February 20, 2009

the blue castle by l.m. montgomery

on wednesday night i got into bed and decided to read for a few minutes to wind down. i picked up "the blue castle" because it was the book assigned for february for one of my book clubs.

eight chapters later i forced myself to put the book away and go to sleep. but i probably could have read straight through the night and been content with the consequences.

i have never read anything by lm montgomery before, but i surely will be seeking out her other books! i loved this book. it was perfection. there's a sassy girl and humor and manly men and the great outdoors and romance and love and unabashed happy-ending-ness. delightful. that's what it was . . . delightful! i passed it off to my mom this morning, and if i know her taste at all, which i think i do, she'll have it finished by tomorrow night.

thanks be to becca for picking this book. it will be re-read several times in my life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

pride and prejudice by jane austen

i must start by publicly acknowledging my shame in not having read pride and prejudice before this, my thirtieth year. how did it happen? i have watched and adored the movie (either version) a million times! i have adored the other jane austen novels i read. why? why, did i procrastinate? there is no answer, my friends. i was just a slacker.


what can i say about pride and prejudice that has not already been said by a million readers before me. fantastic. joyous. witty. i wish elizabeth were my best friend. i wish mr. darcy (and his ten thousand per year) were mine all mine. however, i will say i could do with a scene in which wickham is humiliated and lydia is slapped silly! but what can you do?


how lovely it is to find an author that unabashedly give us happy endings. sometimes you just need one! jane is absolutely one of my go-to authors. i'm so glad i finally made pride and prejudice a priority. it will most definitely be re-read several times in my life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

1984 by george orwell

i have officially finished my first book of 2009. (to be perfectly honest, i started reading in in 2008, but really, who's paying that much attention) so what to say about 1984 . . . i decided to read this book because i wanted to read something that had a long history of being banned. at first i picked "the handmaid's tale" by margaret atwood, but i was going to be reading the book with someone else, and i was told that "the handmaid's tale" has a lot of swearing, so we decided to read 1984 instead. i read "animal farm" in high school and i vehemently hated it, so i was a little leery of reading anything else by george orwell, but i enjoyed the first half of the book. i thought it was engaging, and i had respect the main character. about 3/4 of the way through, it took quite a turn and mr. orwell lost me. the entire tone of the novel changed. instead of inspiring it became depressing. i don't know that it would be appropriate to say that i liked the book . . . or that i disliked it. i am very glad i read it. it did make me contemplate on some of the ideas he presented in the beginning . . . but i'm not entirely sure i would recommend it to anyone.