Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time to Relax read-a-thon

I hope you are eagerly anticipating my first readathon this weekend, I know I am.  For those that are attending, I want to let you know that I am hoping to use #timetorelaxreadathon instead of #timetorelax.  I realize that it is a longer hashtag, but I feel that it would be easier using the longer hashtag to see how everybody is doing rather than trying to muddle through other postings.

Can't wait to see you all there. Have a great evening and week and I look forward to see you Saturday and Sunday :)

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

It was only when I was so full I could hardly breathe that I stopped eating.  It was only then I realized the servants were gone, the music had stopped, and the candles were guttering.  And then it was too late, for suddenly he was near me.  Behind me.  So close, I could smell the lamb in his teeth.
 ~ pg. 231, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankfully Reading Weekend: Wrap Up Post

This weekend was a wash, as life seemed to creep in more than I wanted to.   As a result, I didn't get as much reading as I had hoped to, primarily due to the fact that a couple of things creeped into my schedule, namely a hockey game that I didn't plan on attending and an hour doing some clothes shopping that I didn't intend on doing.  I only managed to read for a couple of hours on Sunday and only got one book done.  Sunday was no better, as I had a bunch of things I wanted to get done, even though I could have probably and should have done them on Saturday.  I hope that I can get away more to host my own reading weekend next weekend, but I don't really see next weekend as busy as it was this past weekend.  If it is,  then I am going to scream!

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Title:  Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: 2010
Pages: 372
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High-from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death-and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Reason I read this book: For a reading challenge over on Goodreads, which I have subsequently gave up on.

Thoughts: It was definitely a book that needs to be read a chapter at a time, slowly going through the chapters, as the chapters each represent another time that Sam, as she is called by her friends and family, relives the day.

It does get a bit mind-numbing to relive the same day, but with the events happening differently than the next and by the end I couldn't even recall what actually had happened by the final chapter that it felt more like a dream than anything and that by the final pages of the book, I felt as though it was a surreal experience rather than what I would normally expect from a book.

Thoughts:  An interesting look at what it would be like to relive one day.  A really good read and one of the better YA books that I have read.

Thankfully Reading Weekend: Mini-Challenge #3

The third mini-challenge of the Thankfully Reading weekend asks what reading community we’re most thankful for.

The reading community that I am most thankful for is Books on the Nightstand community.  The reason being is that even though I wasn't reading a lot for the better part of the past year, it was able to keep me engaged in why I love reading.  I love listening to the podcasts and when my life was crazy as anything, I was able to make sure that I was still engaged with the process of reading, despite the fact that I wasn't reading much.   And when I was able to get myself out my reading funk, I had some amazing books to read.

Just a reminder that I am hosting the Time-to-Relax readathon next weekend (Dec. 4 & 5).  You can find out more information by clicking on the tag underneath my information.  Hope you can join us at #timetorelax next weekend.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop

This week's question is:

What makes a contemporary novel a classic? 
Discuss a book which you think fits the category of ‘modern classics’ and explain why. 

A very interesting question because it is very subjective question and is dependent on what readers view as being a modern classic. What one may think is a modern classic, another may think its not a modern classic. But what I think makes a contemporary novel a classic is that it is a work that has something of value to say that is able to draw attention to human problems and that condemn or applaud certain points of view. It also has effective language that is suitable to the message that the author is trying to convey and allows the reader to believe that what happened to the characters was inevitable and could not have been prevented. The story should also have a universal appeal; that is, the story should hold meaning or appeal to a wide variety of readers and have lasting interest to readers long beyond the initial appeal of the book.

One book that I think may qualify as a modern classic is Atonement by Ian McEwan. First of all, it draws attention to the issue of atonement and what is the nature of atonement. While the novel doesn't say how one should go about atoning for wrongly accusing somebody of something as serious as rape, it does look at how a person may carry around the guilt of accusing a person for such an act and how it can affect future behaviour. The language in the book allows one to engage with the book in the sense that you can feel the guilt that Briony feels for her actions towards Robbie Turner and how that then affects her future behaviour and you also get the sense that Briony's accusation would have happened and there would have been nothing to prevent it from happening.  McEwan's language is such that you feel the anguish that Briony feels for her accusation against Robbie, even though she knows the truth and refuses to acknowledge it.   I suppose that it doesn't hurt that the book takes place during war-time and the epic feel of Robbie's journey to the shores of Dunkirk make it a novel that will appeal to people in the future.

While I am trying to say what I think why the book could be considered to be a modern classic, it doesn't seem to want to get out and is basically just a pile of mush inside my head.  I hope I made at least some sense and that you know what I was aiming at.

Thankfully Reading Weekend: TBR

Here is a photo of my TBR for today and tomorrow:

Thankfully Reading Weekend: Mini-Challenge #2

The second challenge for Thankfully Reading Weekend is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. She asks us to:

“Share a photograph of your TBR pile or at least one bookshelf.”

This is one of the 4 bookshelves that are in my walk-in-closet.  This one is of my fiction books.  My dad took out the shelving that was intended for hanging clothes and put my books in here instead, since I had basically nowhere to put my books that I have purchased over the years.  There are three other bookshelves in the room that hold my DVD sets, my non-fiction books, my odds and ends books, and my books that are in a series.  I have books scattered about my room and apartment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankfully Reading Mini-Challenge #1: Thanks for this Book!

I haven't done much reading aside from blogs so far during this Thankfully Reading Weekend - tomorrow will be my big day for that - but I'm taking part in the first mini-challenge anyway. The assignment:
Write a post about the book you are most thankful for.  This could be a book released this year or twenty years ago.  Your post should include why you are thankful for that book.
 There are many books that  I am thankful for and probably would take me a long time to state them all and the reasons as to why.  But I suppose the book that I am the most thankful for is Jane Eyre.  While it may seem slightly cliched, it is probably one of the first books that I feel in love with as a young adult.  Okay, I was a young teenager at the time (about 13), but it was probably the first book that truly entranced me and made me really love reading.  There had been many times I had tried to read a classic, but when I started reading Jane Eyre, I really became enthralled with the story and finished it within a week of starting.  It is also one of the first books that I can truly say that it was a match made in heaven and was the first book that really stayed with me and has stayed with me for the last 17 years.

Blog Hop

Friday's question is....

Book Blogger Hop

What is your favourite book cover?
I don't think I really have a favourite book cover, as there are many covers that I have liked and can't really pick one of my collection at the moment.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday has posted an interesting question:

It’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S. of A. so …
What authors and books are you most thankful for?

The books and authors that I am thankful for are:
• Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte because it was the first adult classic novel that I read and fell in love with.  I have read the book at least 3 or 4 times
• Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because without her I wouldn't be able to enjoy seeing Colin Firth in a wet shirt
• East of Eden by John Steinbeck because it was a book that I was hesitant to read after reading The Grapes of Wrath and it was a book that when I have read it, I couldn't wait to get back to.
• The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood because without that book, I probably wouldn't have gotten through lunch time in Grade 10.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WWW… Wednesdays!

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

 To play along, just answer the following  (3) questions....

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

My answers:
• What are you currently reading?
Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans,  Alice I have been by Melanie Benjamin, and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

• What did you recently finish reading?
Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans and The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans

• What do you think you'll read next?
The Ghost Map:The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How it Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 An elderly black woman with silver hair stood on the sidewalk in front of the house. She was nearly as broad as she was high, and wore a bright red wool coat with faux fur collar and black buttons as big as sand dollars, and black rubber galoshes.  A sheer scar was knotted over her head, and a small plastic shopping bag was draped over her head, and a small plastic shopping bag was draped over the crook of one arm.  A silver-haired Yorkshire terrier pulled at the leash she held, sniffing around in the snow.
  ~ pg. 105, Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans

Monday, November 22, 2010

Musing Mondays

Hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading

This Week's Question:
This week’s musing is yet another read-and-respond! (are you getting tired of hearing me say that?) LOL… I was reading one of my favorite blogs, the other day, and came across a post that talked about truth vs. fact. Part of the post had this to say:
From my childhood on, I’d learned a lot of truth about the human condition from reading fiction. In many cases, I learned more from fiction than from observing my real world…
I think that people who discount fiction don’t really understand it–or haven’t read much of it. They don’t grasp the power of story to carry truth.
…Some truths are universal and timeless (like the lessons on friendship learned from Charlotte’s Web.)
My all-time favorite children’s book was Little Women. I learned a lot of important truths from the March family: how to love deeply, how to grieve a loss and go on, and how to feed the imagination…
At the end of the post, there is a question posed, and this is what I’m using for today’s MUSING MONDAYS: What truths do you remember learning in fiction?

I can't really recall what I have learned, except for learning how to behave around people.  I am a bit of a slow learner when it comes to social things and books were the one way that I could learn things of social importance.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

What are you reading? is hosted by Shelia over at Book Journey

I  am currently reading a few novels:

Finding Noel
Before I Fall
 Alice I Have Been

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Library Loot November 14 - November 20

I don't know what happened this week, but I went a little bonkers with the library.  On Sunday, I picked up a couple of books from my church library.  And then on my way home from work on Monday, I picked up a bunch of materials, including a DVD, from the public library and then on my way home from an event later that evening, I got a few more books. 

Yesterday, Saturday, I picked another handful of books from the public library, when I was just going to drop off a couple of books.  But I couldn't help myself.  And then when I was volunteering at my church library, I picked up Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers.

All told, I think I borrowed about 15 materials.  And while I would love to put down all the titles that I borrowed, it would just take too much time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop

This week's question is:
Is the such a thing as literary non-fiction? If so, how do you define it?
Yes there is such a thing as literary fiction.  While I don't read it a lot, I define it as a piece of prose in the non-fiction world.  Usually it takes the form of a what would be called the non-fiction novel, or a piece of travel writing.  It can also include biographies or memoirs or an essay.  It is generally thought to be a very broad and quite vague in the range of books that it includes.    To put it simply, it reports on actual people, places or events.  One thing it is not is poetry.  It is the latest memoir that has hit the bookseller list or the history book that looks at a particular person or a particular event or a particular person within the context of an event.

A good example of literary non-fiction would Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which he described as a non-fiction novel.  It has the elements of what people would consider to be a novel: prose and a good story to tell, but its based in reality and on true events.

But above all, the thing that separates it from most other non-fiction, is the quality of the writing.  It has a story that draws the reader in, much like a literary fiction book would have, and has a larger message to the book, rather than being a book simply of facts or a collection of literature.

The Christmas List - Richard Paul Evans

Title: The Christmas List
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Published: 2009
Pages: 350
Genre: Fiction, Christmas
Rating: 3/5

Dear Reader,
When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave our class the intriguing (if somewhat macabre) assignment of writing our own obituaries. Oddly, I don't remember much of what I wrote about my life, but I do remember how I died: in first place on the final lap of the Daytona 500. At the time, I hadn't considered writing as an occupation, a field with a remarkably low on-the-job casualty rate.

What intrigues me most about Mrs. Johnson's assignment is the opportunity she gave us to confront our own legacy. How do we want to be remembered? That question has motivated our species since the beginning of time: from building pyramids to putting our names on skyscrapers.
As I began to write this book, I had two objectives: First, I wanted to explore what could happen if someone read their obituary before they died and saw, firsthand, what the world really thought of them. Their legacy.

Second, I wanted to write a Christmas story of true redemption. One of my family's holiday traditions is to see a local production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I don't know how many times I've seen it (perhaps a dozen), but it still thrills me to see the change that comes over Ebenezer Scrooge as he transforms from a dull, tight-fisted miser into a penitent, "giddy-as-aschoolboy" man with love in his heart. I always leave the show with a smile on my face and a resolve to be a better person. That's what I wanted to share with you, my dear readers, this Christmas -- a holiday tale to warm your season, your homes, and your hearts.

Reason I read this book: Read this book for a Holiday Reading challenge.

Thoughts: Like the other Evans book I read a few days ago, a nice light, Christmas  read.  Especially helps when one is waiting for a Harry Potter film and when the power goes out.  While there is nothing revealing about the book other than a nice, light read, it is nice to read something like this when life gets a bit stressful and you feel like you are going crazy.

Bottom line: Just a nice read for when things are a little crazy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blog Hop

My answer to Follow Friday's question is.....
Not very long.  I did start back last October, but it has been so spotty I will say probably about a month and a half, at least of what I have done on a regular basis.
Book Blogger Hop

The question here is:
"Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!"

For me, Thanksgiving occurs in October, but one should be thankful everyday.  I am most thankful that I am fairly healthy and that I have a family that supports me.  My family traditions around Thanksgiving is that we go up to Sun Peaks (about 3 hours north of where I live) for the Thanksgiving weekend and for Christmas we usually spend Christmas Eve with my mom's parents and open presents on Christmas morning, with dinner in the late afternoon.


I was at a movie late last night and while I was waiting for the movie, I had to turn my book so that I could read the words on the page. It was really annoying.  And it got me thinking as to possibly getting an ebook.

The features that I want to have are:
• accesibility to downloadable ebooks from an electronic library.
• access to purchase books through ChaptersIndigo.ca (Canada's bookstore chain)
• some sort of backlight that I could turn on and off as I need it
• a reasonable cost for the device
• ability to puchase multiple ebooks at once

Is there anything out there that would allow me to have those sorts of features?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Promise Me - Richard Paul Evans

Title: Promise Me
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Published: 2010
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction, Christmas
Rating 3/5

Beth Cardall has a secret. For eighteen years, she has had no choice but to keep it to herself, but on Christmas Eve 2008, all that is about to change. For Beth, 1989 was a year marked by tragedy. Her life was falling apart: her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was suffering from an unidentifiable illness; her marriage transformed from a seemingly happy and loving relationship to one full of betrayal and pain; her job at the dry cleaners was increasingly at risk; and she had lost any ability to trust, to hope, or to believe in herself. Then, on Christmas Day, as she rushed through a blizzard to the nearest 7-Eleven, Beth encountered Matthew, a strikingly handsome, mysterious stranger, who would single-handedly change the course of her life. Who is this man, and how does he seem to know so much about her? He pursues her relentlessly, and only after she's fallen deeply in love with him does she learn his incredible secret, changing the world as she knows it, as well as her own destiny.

Reason I read this book:  I read this book for a Holiday Reading challenge.

Thoughts: I had read one of Evan's books a few years ago, so I knew what to expect: a light-hearted romance taking place during the Holiday season.  I honestly didn't have any sort of thoughts in regards to the book, except that it was nice to read something lighter than what I had been reading.

Bottom Line: It was nice light read after reading a couple of books that were weighing on me, both literally and figuratively.

WWW… Wednesdays!

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

 To play along, just answer the following  (3) questions....

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

My answers:

• What are you currently reading?
Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans, Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill,  The Complete Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi, and The Odyssey by Homer (1996 Robert Fagles translation)

• What did you recently finish reading?
At Home by Bill Bryson and Emma by Jane Austen

• What do you think you'll read next?
Probably something Christmasy.

What are your answers?

I want To Outdo Myself

The Book Vixen is hosting a reading challenge in 2011.
Here are the details

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

hosted by The Book Vixen


* Runs January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011 (books read prior to 1/1/11 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. You can sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.

* The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2011 than you did in 2010. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge.

* Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).

* Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine.

* You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them. It is not required that you review the books you read for this challenge but feel free to do so.

* Post this reading challenge on your blog so you can keep a list of the books you’ve read for this challenge. Please include a link back to this post so readers can join the challenge too.

* You do not have to be a book blogger to participate. You can keep tabs on books you’ve read for this challenge on Goodreads or LibraryThing if you’d like (maybe make a shelf for “Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge”). If you are not on either of those sites then you can list the books you read for this challenge in the comments on my wrap-up post, which will be up at the end of 2011.


Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books

Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books

Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books

I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books

When I post this, I have read about 26 books, at least that I can account for at the present, which is a little over half way to my goal of 50 books.  Judging from the number of books that I have going at the moment, I probably will hit about 35 books.

I am going to shoot for Breaking a sweat, which would get me to the 50 book level for 2011.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

At Home - Bill Bryson

Title: At Home: a short history of private life
Author: Bill Bryson
Published: 2010
Pages: 448
Genre: Non-fiction, History, Humor
Rating: 4/5

Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as found in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to "write a history of the world without leaving home." The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has figured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

Reason I read this book:  I read this book due to the fact that I had heard a podcast announcing the book back in March or April.  When I heard the description of the book, I went to my library's online catalogue and requested it.  I think I was one of the first people to get the book in their hands in my library system.

Thoughts:  The book initially appealed to me due to the fact that I am a history major and most things that have a historical bent on them I am attracted to read them.   It took me a little longer than I had really want to read the book, but other books made this a read that took a little longer than it probably would have taken me.

I quite enjoyed this book and found it a fascinating read and something that when I did get into it, I didn't want to put down.  But I also found it difficult to read it just for the sake of reading, as the information was quite dense and did require quite a bit of focus to understand where Bryson was taking us.  It was really packed with information, more than I expected, but it was an enjoyable read.  One of the things that I found the most interesting was that the manual can opener has only been in existence for 85 years and that the larder was where one stored food and that a scullery was meant for the cleaning of dishes, pots, and pans with the kitchen being the area that was done only for the cooking, at least in larger homes

It was also fascinating to find out that architecture is considered to be a relative new field and that it was only formalized in the last 150 or so years.  And that what we call a comfortable home is a relative modern concept and one that has evolved over time, especially since nobody seems to know why humans decided to set down roots and build homes as they do.

I also found it interesting that the phrase "sleep tight" came from the fact that beds used to have slats that often would need tightening from time to time and were often not the most comfortable thing in the world.  

I really quite enjoyed the book, not only because of the fact that one learned as to why we have certain things in our homes versus other items, but because one learns of the greater historical value of how things have evolved and have become commonplace.

Bottom Line:  I would recommend this book who has read a Bill Bryson book and also somebody who is curious as to why certain things are in a home and some aren't.  While he doesn't get into great detail as to why there is cupboards in your kitchen, he does give you a fascinating look into how homes have become the comfort zones that they have become.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

When Mr. Dodgson called for me that evening, accompanied by his brother Edwin, who was visiting, I remembered that smile, that sinister gesture.  Despite my warm cloak, I couldn't help but shudder.
   - Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Monday, November 15, 2010

Musing Mondays

 Taken from MizB of Should be Reading:

I was reading Eleanor Roosevelt’s book, “You Learn By Living“, via Google Books the other day, and came across a quote that really struck a chord with me. The quote said this:
“What counts, in the long run, is not what you read; it is what you
sift through in your own mind; it is the ideas and impressions
that are aroused in you by your reading.”
(pg. 7-8, “You Learn By Living” by Eleanor Roosevelt)
What do you think about this quote? Do you believe this to be true? If so, why and how? And, if not, why not?
It does ring true.  A book can be interpreted a million different ways and how it impacts on the individual.  Of course if a book is meant to be fluff, most readers will pick up on it.  But if a book is written in certain way, one can definitely interpret a book differently than the next person who reads it.  I suppose that interpretation can also influence if one likes the book or not or if they just think its okay.

And how one interprets a book can determine how much a person gets out of the book and whether the book has an impact on a person or not.

So I suppose it would be important not just what we read, but also what it evokes in us and what we can learn from it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Library Loot November 7 - November 13

Got a number of books this week.  While I didn't obtain anything during the week, I did get quite a bit last Sunday due to a Christmas reading challenge.

I got The Gift, Promise Me, Christmas List, Grace, and Finding Hope, all of which are by Richard Paul Evens.  I also got The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Christmas Promise and Christmas Beginning, all of which were by Anne Perry.

Emma - Jane Austen

Title: Emma
Author: Jane Austen
Published: 1815
Pages: 512
Genre: Literature, Classic, English
Rating: 4/5

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. 

Reason I read this book:  I had initially read the book about 14 years ago when the Gwyneth Paltrow adaptation came out and really could not make sense of the book.  This time around I read it due to the fact that it was a selection that my book club had made for this latest reading.

Thoughts: The first time I had read the book, I read it when I was about 16 years old and for some reason I never really understood it.  Part of the fact was that I didn't really understand what was going on and that I didn't slow down enough to read the book with much purpose.  On this reading of Emma, I decided to take a bit more time and read and listen to a free download of the book, even though I had only a month to read the book (normally I would have at least 2 months to read the book for my bookclub).  It really helped to slow me down and actually understand what was going on in the book, especially when it came to events between characters and to understand their motivation later on.

I suppose it also helped that I had seen at least 3 different adaptations of the book, so I was able to a greater understanding of the action of the novel and also to have an understanding of what the rooms, homes, etc may look like visually as I read the book.  I sometimes find that having a visual cue for what characters, settings, etc may look like allow me to greater understand the text.  While some people can't stand watching an adaptation before reading the actual book as they sometimes feel that the way they imagined characters are ruined.  But I find an adaptation helps in understanding the book a little better, as I can better imagine what the character may sound and look like and what a particular setting may look like, especially if one can find a faithful adaptation of the novel.

While some may find Emma to be one of Austen's lesser works, due to the fact that there is not really any sort of conflict with the main female character that is found in most of Austen's other works, I found it to be one of Austen's more complicated works, as the main conflict in the novel is found in one of the background stories and could quite easily have been the basis for the novel.   Quite honestly, Emma Woodhouse is quite a dull character, as there is nothing really that complicates her life, other than trying to meddle in the lives of those around her.

At the same time, it is book that really doesn't have strong main characters, other than Mr. Knightly, who seems to be able to stand his ground more than Emma, who seems to be slightly bored and can only amuse herself by meddling in the lives of those around her.  It almost seems as though she doesn't want to put her mind to something productive and doesn't have the aptitude of having a conversation that has any sort of consequence.  Unlike Elizabeth Bennett and Elinor Dashwood, Emma Woodhouse is shallow and so is her father, whose chief concern seems to make sure that everybody lives their life like his and that there are no drafts of any sort. 

It is not only Emma that don't really have any sort of depth to their character wise, but rather a number of them, including Mrs. Elton, who seems more concerned about letting everybody know about the connections that she has in Bristol, who have a lack of depth of character, unlike some of Austen's books, where a number of characters seem to have a bit of depth to their characters.  What I would have more liked would have been the Jane Fairfax/Frank Churchill storyline and how did they meet.  I know that they met while they were at Weymouth, but the circumstances concerning their meeting is curious.

Bottom Line:   While I enjoyed Emma, it is a book that does need a second read, as there is much that can be missed, especially in regards to the storyline regarding Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax.  It is also a book that when reread, one can find different things that one missed the last time it was read.  And unlike Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, it isn't exactly a light read, as there is much important information that can be glossed over when read.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Readathon for Hunger

Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you view this) I will be participating in a readathon for hunger.  If you wish to join, you can sign up by leaving a comment.  They have more information on the site as to how it is set up.  

Blog Hop

My answer to Follow Friday's question is.....
It really depends on the month. Some months I don't spend anything on books and then other months I tend to spend a lot. It primarily has to do with the fact that I try to get deals on shipping when ordering and because I am on a budget I tend to spend my book budget for a number of months at once. Also it also depends on how much I end up spending on library fines.

Book Blogger Hop

The question here is:
"If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?"

Yes, unless I have read that one can read the book without knowing what happened in the previous book. But for the most part I do try to find the first one in series. But it really does annoy me if I can't find the first book when I am at the library.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday has posted an interesting question:

It is November 11th, known here in the U.S. as Veteran’s Day, formerly Armistice Day to remember the end of WWI but expanded to honor all veterans who have fought for their country, so …

Do you read war stories? Fictional ones? Histories? 

Not really. While I am a history major, I get turned off by war. Part of its the fact that wars are usually started by such petty things, for example alliances (because I am alliance with said country and not in an alliance with that country, that makes it alright to go to war against that country) and partly its also due to the fact that I grew up in a culture that abhors war and its members to participate in it and also the fact that my ancestors did anything to avoid war (my maternal grandma's father's family left Kansas for N. Alberta due to the fact that the oldest son was being conscripted into the American Army during WWI). But I would say that a large part of it has to due with the fact that I have certain empathy for those that have been affected by war, whether they are civilians or the soldiers themselves.

While I understand the nature of war and why it is fought, there is a side to war that only aggravates issues between countries and the differences can only be further enhanced due to war.

So to answer your question, no, I don't read war stories, or at least tend to. While I think its important to learn about conflict and how it affects people, one doesn't need to learn about the effects of war through war stories. I also find them a little heavy at times.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't know what to do

This afternoon I came across something in the #readathon hashtag on Twitter this afternoon that caught my interest (and my ire also). Somebody is also hosting a readathon that weekend and I am really upset. I realize that others do this at different times and will also do it in their own way on those days and I understand that. But my problem was that it was so blatanly publicized when I have been trying to get more people interested in the readathon. So the individual tweeted me back and asked if I could combine it with her's and eventually I said yes.

But it has got me thinking as to whether or not I should cancel it. I realize that I shouldn't be upset that somebody else is doing a readathon the same weekend, but its disappointing. I am very close to canceling my readathon, as this individual has apparently already booked the readathon hashtag. I will let you know what I decide to do, as I have a day off to think about it (its Remembrance Day here in Canada) and hopefully I can get some answers as to whether I should go forward with either canceling it or combining it with the other readathon that weekend or just to go ahead as planned and create my own hashtag for the readathon. Don't forget about the hunger readathon happening this weekend.

If you have any ideas as to what I should do, please let me know and I will take it in consideration.

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

My answers:
What are you currently reading?
At Home by Bill Bryson, Emma by Jane Austen, Alice I have been by Melanie Benjamin, Before I fall by Laurel Oliver, The Odyssey by Home (1996 Robert Fagales edition), Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin.

What did you recently finish reading?
The Thorn by Beverly Lewis

What do you think you'll read next?
First I would want to finish my pile, but after that I will probably start reading Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans and The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

He did not doubt there being very there being very pleasant walks in every direction, but if left to him, he should always choose the same. Highbury, that airy, cheerful, happy-looking Highbury, would be his constant attraction. ~ pg. 184, Emma, Jane Austen.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Holiday Reading Challenge

All About {n}

I am a sucker for Christmas and love the holiday. Its a time for family, eating and reading. And when I saw this over at
All About {n}, I had to jump on board. I hope that you can as well.

Here are the books that I plan on reading:


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I would also like to remind you of the read-a-thon I am hosting in four weeks time and I hope to see you.
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