Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WWW Wednesdays (Mar. 28)

This is a weekly book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. 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 be reading next?




My answers:
1) What are you currently reading?
2) What did you finish reading?
Since I haven't done this for a month, I am going to be posting the reviews since the last one.
• Vera's Ghost (review)
• Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (review)
• The Great Gatsby (review)
• Madame Tussaud (review)
• Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (review)
• Sarah's Key (review)
• Macbeth (review)
• Death Comes to Pemberley (review)
• The Hunger Games (review)

3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
At this point no clue.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First Chapter - First Paragaph(s) - Tuesday Intros (Mar. 27)

This week's choice:
Originally published August, 2011

For eight year I dreamed of fire.  Trees ignited as I passed them; oceans burned.  The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as I rose.  Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake.  The sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as Carolina and Indian jasmine, separation and attachment. They could not be confused.

Would you continue reading?

Teaser Tuesdays (Mar. 27)

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!
For eight years I dreamed of fire.  Trees ignited as I passed them; oceans burned.  The sugary smoke settled in my hair as I slept, the scent like a clould left on my pillow as I rose.  Even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, I bolted awake.  The sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as Carolina and Indian jasmine, separation and attachment.  They could not be confused.


~ The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh









What's on Your Nightstand - March 27

The last two weeks have been somewhat busy with family and such and as a result I haven't been able to get much reading done (I have been also catching up with my TV shows from the last few weeks as well).  I think I am also getting bogged down with my readalongs and not reading much of the stuff that I do want to read.  I suppose it doesn't help that my primary e-reader is unavailable at the moment (I have two devices, one that I got from my parents and the other I purchased) and therefore I haven't been reading much.  But things can change and its quite possible that in the next few days I will be reading on a regular basis again.  But considering the lackluster month, I did get a number of books done and I am hoping that a number of books will be completed in the coming week.

Reviews:
1.  Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (review)
2. The Great Gatsby (review)
3. Madame Tussuad (review)
4. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (review)
5. Sarah's Key (review)
6. Macbeth (review)
7. Death Comes to Pemberley (review)
8. The Hunger Games (review)

And considering everything, it was a pretty good month and I hope that next month is just as productive.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 374
Published: 2010 (first published 2008)
Challenges: 2012 Book Blogger Recommendation, 2012 TBR Pile
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy fiction, Young Adult
Edition: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Description: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (via Goodreads.com)



Thoughts: Really quite enjoyed the book and exploring her thoughts as she competes.  Its almost like she can't exist without being in the woods with Gale, hunting for food and her family's survival.   And she also can't exist without being around her family, which consist of her mother and her younger sister, Prim; they are her world and the reason she participates in the Games and her thoughts are never far from them.


While the book didn't exactly paint how Katniss rebelled against the Capitol, the movie did a much better job in portraying it (well, at least I could visualize the rebellion).  Liked how Katniss played up the "romance" between her and Peeta, even though I think most readers know her heart lies with Gale.


Bottom line: I really liked it and would recommend to most readers as it introduces a lot of themes that I think that the series explores and has more mature theme than the Harry Potter books deal with, despite that they do deal with some pretty dark material.  I would recommend this book to those that liked the Harry Potter series and other fantasy books that are on the market that are marketed to young adults. 


Rating: 4.5/5


Pages for 2012: 8294

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mailbox Monday - March 26

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week.  Mailbox Monday, for March, is being hosted by Anna at Diary of an Eccentric.

This past week I bought a gift set of the first four books in the Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin.  And I have started the first book the series, A Game of Thrones.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sunday Salon - The Hunger Games & A Game of Thrones

I have finally succumbed to the power that is The Hunger Games and have been reading the book for the past couple of days.  I haven't gotten far, but the aim is to get it done by Monday afternoon so that I can go and watch the movie without the hordes of people, although I do expect that there will be quite a number of people in the audience.  At least that is the aim.

Anyways, I am really enjoying the book and even though I am getting close to the end of part one, I am looking forward to Catching Fire.  Yes, I know, I haven't even gotten to The Games yet and I am looking forward to the second book.  I realize why people love this series and why it is so addicting.

This week also saw me start A Game of Thrones and even though I only have barely started the book, I can see myself reading large portions of the book or it being something I read on my Easter break in a couple of weeks.   I am trying to read it before I get the DVD set from the library in a bit, but I may not get the book done, due to the fact that I am reading a lot of books that can be considered to be chunky (over 450 pages) and I just can't get myself to read them, even though they are my e-reader (I do have paper copies for many of the books and am using them to calculate how far I am into a book on Goodreads).

And yes, I plan on spending the majority of my Sunday reading The Hunger Games...

Have a good Sunday.

11:49 PM PT: I have finished The Hunger Games.  And now I want to read the second book in the series, but first I need to see the movie for The Hunger Games and read something else to allow my brain to focus on the second book, when I get the audiobook from the library.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Saturday Snapshot (Mar.24)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ AT Home With Books.
Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.
 Today I chose a photo that my dad took on our only Christmas away from home when the four of us went to Mexico in 2004.  This photo was taken at a resort near Puerto Vallarta.  As you can see, I didn't go far without having a book in my hands.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Reading Thing 2012: Reading List

Its that time of year again and its Spring, well at least in the Northern Hemisphere.  I have been looking forward to this for a few weeks after it had been announced by Katrina by Callapidder Days.  Its pretty simple.  All you need to do is make a list of books that you want to read (or finish), make a blog post with that list, submit that post on the Mr. Linky on Katrina's site (Callapidder Days), and start reading.

The challenge runs from March 20th until June 19th.  Along with the Mr. Linky,  Katrina has more information on Spring Reading Thing on her site.

Here is my list:
• Les Miserables
• Anna Karenina
• Forever Amber
• Henry V
• Romeo & Juliet
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Hunger Games
• History of a Pleasure Seeker
• Waiting for Columbus
• Much Ado About Nothing
• Antony and Cleopatra
• Richard III
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
• Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
• The Poisonwood Bible

Monday, March 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - TBR for Spring

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish, where book bloggers share their Top Ten lists on everything bookish.   This week its the Top Ten on one's TBR List for Spring.

 

Here are mine:

 

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins -  I have heard and seen so much about the movie coming out this coming Thursday that I know I really do need to get this book read.  I already own the book and borrowed the audiobook from the library and will probably spend Wednesday reading the book.

 

 2) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - I started this book back in January with the hope that I would get the book done by late March/early April, but at the rate I am going it won't be sometime till May that I will get it done.

 

3) Bleak House by Charles Dickens - I am doing a read-a-long through Unputdownables and I believe it is sometime in May that the book will be completed.

 

4) Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle - I had hoped to finish the book last month but sadly I didn't and with only about 4 chapters left, I should be able to get it done.

 

5) 4 plays by William Shakespeare - There are a number of plays that I need to sit down and read over the course of the Spring months.

 

6) Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk - need to read this for a June book club meeting with friends and I am the one leading the discussion.

 

7) Books 4, 5, and 6 of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - Reading these for the 2012 Harry Potter Challenge

 

8) Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor - Reading this for the Forever Amber read-a-long.

 

9) History of Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason - I haven't been reading this as much as I should but I am hoping in the next few days I can get around to it.

 

10) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - I am in line for the first season set of the HBO series through my library and I need to start read it so that I have a better idea of what the show is about.

 

Honourable mentions:

 

1) Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larrson -  I have had these books sitting on my bookshelf for quite sometime and I haven't bothered to read them.

 

2) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - I really want to be able to see the movie by comparing the book to the movie when it comes out later this year.

 

Good thing that there are NHL playoffs and the MLB season starts because I will spending a lot of time reading as I watch sporting events over the course of the next few months.  Hope you all have a wonderful first day of Spring (at least if you live in the Northern Hemisphere).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Mar. 19)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey were we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

Books Completed last week:
• Macbeth by William Shakespeare (review)
• Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (review)

Currently reading:
 Books I am going to start this week:
• Forever Amber
• Henry V
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
• The Hunger Games
• The History of Reading

Monday Musings (Mar.19)

This week Miz B at Should Be Reading asks:

Would you choose to review a book if its description sounded interesting but the cover was terrible?

Depends on the book, but honestly I have read some books that have had awful covers, but were really good.  While I haven't reviewed a book before it was published, I would think that there would be time to change the cover.  I think most readers don't really care about the cover, but care more about the book itself.

March Prompt - A Classics Challenge

For the month of March, the prompt on November's Autumn is location.  We are to chose a setting within a novel that intrigues me the most.  The one that intrigues me the most is the bricklayer's house that is mentioned in Chapter 8.

I will do the Level two and three questions for this prompt.

1) How do you envision it?
 I envision it as a small, dark space.  I can imagine that the furniture is quite close together, with the beds and the kitchen table probably quite close together, with a chair or two near the fire.  There probably isn't a cooktop, but rather the cooking probably takes place in the hearth.  There are probably a couple of windows, but they are probably quite dirty.   The floor is probably dirt, but it could probably be boards as well.

2) Do you feel the setting is right?
Yes I do.  Dickens makes you feel as though you are in home that doesn't have a lot of money, if any.

3) If this particular setting was changed how would it affect the course of the story?
How it would affect the course of the story is that it would not offer the contrast between the world of where Esther and Ada are living and the people that lived like the bricklayer and his family.  It also helps to give the story a bit of gloom to the tone of the story.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunday Salon - Don't what to feel at the moment

This week has been a bit of whirlwind and I am trying to get my bearings at the moment.  My week has been somewhat topsy turvey and I feel like I can't get my head on straight.  While I was hoping for a nice, relaxing week, I felt like it was anything but and the last few days have been feeling a little crazy at the moment.  Its not that life has gone bad for me, its just that its been a little busy and I can't seem to get my head on straight at the moment and it feels somewhat weird to be writing this.  While I got over my grogginess by having a good sleep Sunday night and having a few nights of just lying in bed and making myself falling asleep while reading my e-reader, which doesn't want to reset because it can't download the newest update for some strange reason, which I spent most of Friday trying to figure out and which I hope my dad can spend sometime seeing what can be done, hopefully.

Other than that my week was great.  My mom retired from working as an educator for the past 37 years and the school district that she was a senior administrator in put on a nice afternoon do in a local community centre.  They did a nice job and my sister came out for a couple of days and my dad came out earlier in the week. Other family members also came out for the event.

I suppose I am just wanting to be around my family and that's why I am feeling the way I am.  And I am feeling a tad toopsy-turvey and just need to be around my parents for a bit because there really isn't much time before my dad goes back to his post-retirement work.  And I suppose I know now that my mom really is going to leave me down here on my own and I suppose I lean on my mom for emotional support more than I have thought I have in the past.  I will get over this, but it will take some time to get over.

Book reviews:
1) Macbeth by William Shakespeare (review)
2) Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (review)

Death Comes to Pemberley - P.D. James

Title: Death Comes to Pemberley
Author: P.D. James
File Size (Pages): 2100 KB (219)
Published: 2011
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library, 2012 Historical Fiction
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Edtion: E-book
Source: Library download

Description: The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered. (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: As much as I really liked the premise of the book, there was just something about the book that made it something lesser than I had anticipated.  The description of the book intrigued me when I heard about it during the fall run of books that were coming out and because I have really enjoyed the Jane Austen books, I thought I might enjoy this book as well.  While the premise of the book is intriguing and interesting, I would say that the book falls flat.  It has the essence of Jane Austen in the book,  but that is about the only thing that is good about the book.


I really honestly thought it was a book that was really hyped up despite what it offered and didn't really enjoy it and when I was able to sit down and read it, I found it fairly easy to read and found the storyline to be predictable, at least by the end.  I found that the book was dull and there wasn't really any of the action that inhabits Pride & Prejudice nor any of the humour that Austen injects into P&P; this just felt flat throughout the book.  I can understand what Ms. James was trying to do with the book, but honestly it just felt a little too contrived and therefore just seemed it was taking up space that I didn't need taken up.


Bottom line:  Unless you really feel like you are bored or just need a fix of the characters from Pride & Prejudice, I would probably wait with this one and read it on vacation.  And even then I didn't really felt it was worthy to be published.


Rating: 2/5


Pages for 2012: 7920

If you have read this book, what did you think about it?



Friday, March 16, 2012

Saturday Snapshot (Mar. 17)

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce @ AT Home With Books.
Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don't post random photos that you find online.
 
 Took this at Bouyton Canyon near Sedona, Arizona.  Took this from the parking lot after my family and I took a hike up onto one of the rock areas where one could look into the canyon area.  Was taken about a month ago.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Classics Club



I saw this pop up on my reader and emails from a variety of places that I subscribe to and thought about whether I wanted to do this or not.  And the longer I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it, especially since I have been on a classics reading bing, even though I am still somehow managing to read more contemporary works as well.  I suppose it doesn't help that I have been on a classic reading kick lately and am quite enjoying them more than my contemporary reads (go figure...)

Basically its being hosted by a bunch of wonderful bloggers at The Classics Club.  Its quite simple in that you are setting the books and you set a time that you wish to complete the list of books that you will choose.  And its in a time frame that you feel you can handle, within a five year time frame. 

The basics are this:

  • choose 50+ classics
  • list them at your blog
  • choose a reading completion goal date up to five years in the future and note that date on your classics list of 50+ titles
  • come back here and link your classics list to this blog according to these instructions
  • write about each title on your list as you finish reading it, and link it to your main list
If you wish to join, you just have to click the photo that is provided and start finding those classics that you either wish to re-read or just wish to conquer (like my need to get Les Miserables read).  You don't need to copy me or others; just pick at least 50 classic titles that you wish to read.

So with out adieu, here is my list that I wish to complete by March 12, 2017

Aeschylus
• The Orestia

Alcott, Lousia May
• Little Woman

Austen, Jane
Emma *
• Lady Susan
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Persuasion *
Pride & Prejudice *
Sense & Sensibility *

Bronte, Anne
Agnes Grey
• The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Bronte, Charlotte
• Jane Eyre *
• The Professor
• Shirely
Villette

Bronte, Emily
Wuthering Heights

Carroll, Lewis
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Cervantes
• Don Quixote

Chaucer, Geoffrey
• The Canterbury Tales

Collins, Wilkie
• The Woman in White *
• The Moonstone

Dickens, Charles
• Bleak House **
• David Copperfield
• Great Expectations
• Hard Times
• Little Dorrit
• The Mystery of Edwin Drood
• The Old Curiosity Shop
• Oliver Twist *
• Pickwick Papers

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
• The Brothers Karamazov
Crime and Punishment

Conan Doyle, Arthur
The Hound of the Baskervilles **

Dumas, Alexandre
• The Count of Monte Cristo
• The Man in the Iron Mask

Eliot, George
• Adam Bede
• Daniel Deronda
• Middlemarch *
• The Mill on the Floss
• Ramola
• Silas Marner

Flaubert, Gustave
• Madame Bovary

Gaskell, Elizabeth
• Cranford
• The Life of Charlotte Bronte
• Mary Barton *
• North and South
• Ruth
Wives and Daughters

Hardy, Thomas
• Tess of the d'Urbervilles *

Hemingway, Ernest
A Farewell to Arms

Hugo, Victor
Les Miserables **

Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

McCullough, Colleen
• The Thorn Birds

Melville, Herman
Moby Dick

Shakespeare, William
• Antony and Cleopatra
• As You Like It
• Cymbeline
Henry V **
• King Lear *
• Much Ado About Nothing
• Othello
• Perciles
• Richard III
Romeo and Juliet *
The Taming of the Shrew
• The Tempest
Twelfth Night *

Steinbeck, John
• East of Eden *

Tolkien, J.R.R.
The Hobbit

Tolstoy, Leo
Anna Karenina **
• War & Peace

Wharton, Edith
The Age of Innocence
• The House of Mirth

Code
* Re-read
** Started prior to Book Club Starting

Macbeth - William Shakespeare

Title: Macbeth
Author: William Shakespeare
Pages: 272
Published: 2011 (first published 1606)
Challenges: 2012 Reading Shakespeare: A Play a month
Genre: Drama, Classic
Edition: E-book
Source: Downloaded for free

Description: This drama is one of the great tragedy themed plays by William Shakespeare. The themes illustrated in the play include ambition, fate, deception and treachery. Three witches decide to confront the great Scottish general Macbeth on his victorious return from a war between Scotland and Norway. The Scottish king, Duncan, decides that he will confer the title of the traitorous Cawdor on the heroic Macbeth. Macbeth, and another General called Banquo, happen upon the three witches. The witches predict that he will one day become king. He decides that he will murder Duncan. Macbeth's wife agrees to his plan. He then murders Duncan assisted by his wife who smears the blood of Duncan on the daggers of the sleeping guards. A nobleman called Macduff discovers the body. Macbeth kills the guards insisting that their daggers smeared with Duncan's blood are proof that they committed the murder. The crown passes to Macbeth. More murders ensue and the bloodied ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth. Lady Macbeth's conscience now begins to torture her and she imagines that she can see her hands covered with blood. She commits suicide. Macduff kills Macbeth and becomes king. (via http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100906200721AAtWKz3)


Thoughts: I have seen Macbeth performed, but I had never read it and this was something that I did enjoy but was not necessarily something that I just wanted to pick up for the sake of reading and honestly felt it was hard to find the motivation to read it.  Overall, the play was really good, but it wasn't something that I liked.  It felt like it was dark and morbid and maybe Shakespeare was playing with those themes as he was about 10 years away from dying when he wrote this play.  I think the most enjoyable scene was the witches scene in which they go "Double Double toil and trouble.  Clearly this play has a threshold quality to it, as Shakespeare companies and schools put on this play time and time again and clearly attracts people to come and see, but not necessarily read it.  I don't think that reading something like this is exactly popular (but neither is Titus Andronicus, which I never want to ever read again; trust me, its horrible).


While this is an excellent play, it didn't have the addictiveness that I have found with most of his plays that I have read beforehand (there are a number that I have read before that are good that aren't that addictive) and I also didn't feel that the themes were particularly strong in this play, especially when compared with Hamlet, which I find was a little more original and a little more addictive than Macbeth, but then that's me.


Bottom line: Overall it is pretty good and I was quite impressed with the play and the language and if you are a big fan of Shakespeare or of classic literature, I would highly recommend this play.


Rating: 4/5


Pages for 2012: 7701


If you have read this play, what did you think of it? Anything about this play that piqued your interest in maybe finally picking it up?



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Musing Mondays (Mar.12)

Miz B at Should Be Reading asks this week:

What book do you wish you were reading right now? Where would you take it to, if you could go anywhere in the world to read for a while?

I wish I was reading Anna Karenina.  I have fallen in love with this book during the course of the last few months of reading it and every time I am not reading it, I wish I was reading it.

I would like to take it to somewhere it was about 78° F and sunny and where I could get free mai tais.  I own a paperback copy of the book.

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Mar. 11)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

What I am planning on reading next:
What I have reviewed this week:
• Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran (review)
• Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (review)
• Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (review)

What is up next:
 • A History of Reading

Sunday Salon - Groggy week

I don't know why but the last few days I have been really groggy.  While I have slept well, I have always felt really tired, especially in the evening hours and this has been a bit stressful for me and has resulted in me not really getting a lot of books done.   The only thing that I can suppose it is that I hit a wall after coming home from my vacation.  And yes, I am planning on doing a bunch of reading today, but just don't know what I am going to read yet...

And this was likely the reason that I didn't post last week, but then again I didn't have much to say as a result.  But I do have a number of book reviews since my last Sunday Salon post two weeks ago and I hope that you will read them and give your opinion about them.

Book reviews:
• Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie (review)
• The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (review)
• Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran (review)
• Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (review)
• Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (review)

I have also changed the way people comment on here so that I can more easily reply to your comments.  Hope you have a relaxing Sunday and hope you can look around the blog and place comments as you feel led to.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay

Title: Sarah's Key
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Pages: 293
Published: 2008 (first published 2007)
Challenges: 2012 TBR Pile, 2012 Historical Fiction
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Purchase

Description: Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
 

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: Really enjoyed this read as it introduced something that I hadn't even heard about until I sat down and read this book.  Overall the book was good, but it wasn't really something that took me by storm in that when I finished, I felt that the plot was a little contrived, at least towards the end of the book. Its not that it was a bad book; its just that it seemed a little too formulaic by the end.  Basically to say that for the first 3/4 of the book, it was quite an intriguing read and made me want to read more on the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, of which I could basically find nothing on the subject between the two public libraries that I frequent.  While it wasn't a formulaic romance book, it kinda felt it was a bit formulaic in terms of what woman's fiction has become, in that the main character's life seems to fall apart as she starts to research Sarah and her family.


The writing was clear and the author's tone seemed to carry throughout seamlessly throughout and was consistent, even though it seemed to be a bit cliched, especially towards the end. The characters were well-developed and I started to care about them as the story moved on and felt like they were a part of me and wanted to believe that they were real people, even though I knew that weren't.  Another thing that I liked about the book is that it made me think and, like I said earlier, made me think about an event I hadn't even heard about previous to reading this book and also made me want to visit the various monuments that commemorate this "event" in the Paris.   Despite the fact that it was extremely readable, it wasn't something that was too hard to put down.  Maybe it was the subject matter of the book that made it a book that made it something that not that hard to put down and let the book just simmer.  And when I picked the book back up (about a week and a half later...), it wasn't too hard to get back into the book and its story.  In otherwords, it was something that didn't exactly require that much energy to read the book.


Bottom line: Overall, the book was very well developed, especially in regards to the 1942 storyline, which was the most intriguing of the two storylines in the book and quite honestly, I wished that the author would have continued the 1942 storyline for at least a little longer, but I suppose that with the story continuing on through the present day, it makes better sense.   I would recommend this book to those that enjoy reading fiction about World War II and also historical fiction and also somebody who would like a little something meatier to read while on a vacation.  I would also recommend this book to book clubs.


Rating: 3.5/5


Pages for 2012: 7429


If you have read this book, what did you think about this book?  Anything about this book that piqued your interest about the event discussed in this book?












I based this review and its subsequent rating on the book rubric provided by Mandy at Adventures in Borkdom
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