Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WWW Wednesdays (May 1)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B 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?


Answers:
1) What are you current reading?
• Moon over Manifest
• Outlander
• Rebecca
• The Whole Truth
• War & Peace

2) What did you recently finish reading?
I recently finished The Prince by Machiavelli (review forthcoming) and Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (review).

3) What do you think you'll be reading next?
Chains by Laurie Anderson

Monday, April 29, 2013

Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Title: Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Pages: 720
Published: 203 (first published 1866)
Genre: Classics
Challenges: Book Blogger Recommendations, Chunkster, Embarrassment of Riches, Off the Shelf, Tea & Books
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal

Description: 'Crime? What crime?...My killing a loathsome, harmful louse, a filthy old moneylender woman...and you call that a crime?'

Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption. (via Goodreads)


Thoughts: So glad that this book is done!!  I first started this book about a year and a half ago for a bookclub that I belong to and I wasn't able to finish the book, no matter how much I tried to get the book completed.  I don't know what it was, but it probably had to do with the fact that I was running out of time to complete the book at the time and I was at the point when Raskolnikov was at his lowest and the novel was at its darkest.  But when Wallace at Unputdownables put it up for a readalong, I knew I had to do it.  I always knew it was a matter of not if, but when I would complete the book. 

And quite honestly, I was glad I did read the book.  True a lot of the book is about Raskolnikov and his descent into madness, but it also about how those around Raskolnikov are affected by his descent and how his health deteriorates as a result of his descent.  And quite honestly it is a book that I can rest to bed and may pick up later, but I highly doubt it.

Bottom line: Its a long and dark book and if you aren't into that type of book, I would probably avoid it, but if you like books that are dark and deep, I would recommend this to you.  You may want to quit reading the book and feel like you are descending in the same way that Raskolnikov does and that is quite natural, but it is an interesting study on the human condition and how sometimes just the smallest thing can set a person off.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2013: 5814

#BoutofBooks 7.0

Bout of Books


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team

I love this readathon because you can read as much or as little as you wish to and you can also read around your schedule.  You can also just read or you can also participate in the other activities that are planned throughout the week.  I will put up a post with my official read-a-thon goals the day before it starts and I hope that you can join me.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Apr. 30)


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is hosted by Shelia at Book Journey, in which we share what we've read and reviewed and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

What I have reviewed:
Nothing this week, but I did finish two books this past week and I will review them this coming week.

Books I am planning on reading this week:
• Moon over Manifest
• Outlander
• The Help
• The Whole Truth
• War & Peace

What's up next:
I am probably going to read something light; too much of the stuff I have been reading has been feeling heavy or like its too much of a chore to read.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Salon - #Readathon End of Event Meme


I am happy to say that I survived the 24 Hour Read-a-thon, save for the 90 min that I went to sleep.  But nonetheless I managed to read for most of the 24 hours.  And if you have participated before, you know that there is an end of readathon meme.  Here are the questions and my answers:

1) What hour did you find the most daunting?  The hour around 2:00 pm Pacific (that was about the 9 hour mark).

2) Could you list a few high-interest books that you think that could keep a Reader engaged next year? I guess whatever interests the reader.

3) Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Nothing that I could think of.  Maybe contact people through their twitter handle if they have won a prize.

4) What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon?  The encouragement from the cheerleaders while tweeting

5) How many books did you read? Five

6) What were the names of the books you read? Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, HP and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, The Whole Truth by Kit Pearson, The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, and War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

7) Which book did you enjoy the most?  I would have to say War & Peace because I didn't really focus on the words, but just the story.

8) Which book did you enjoy the least? Probably HP and the Order of the Phoenix because I just couldn't focus on the book and was constantly re-reading passages.

9) How like are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  Very likely to participate next time.  And I would probably take a similar role as I took this time, but would consider doing some cheerleading for a couple of hours...


#Readathon - Update No. 9


As I write this, I am reading one of my final books for the readathon.  I don't know how many pages I have read up until this point, but safe to say it probably is around 300 pages.  I will have a final page count when I post my finale post sometime later today or tomorrow.

I really need some sleep, but with 2 hours left, I believe I can do it.  It really is hard to believe that almost 24 hours ago I started this amazing journey and as a result I have gotten a number of books on their way completed.  I have gotten a good portion of the first part of the second book for War & Peace as I write this and by the time that the readathon is completed, I should have it done.   I also finished The Prince by Machiavelli completed and have a number of other books I am reading on their way to being done and I hope that sometime this week I can have at least one of those books completed.

With that being said, I said good morning and hopefully those that are participating are able to get some sort of sleep.  I will give my final numbers later in the day.

#Readathon - Update No. 8


Finally finished a book.  True it was less than 200 pages, but I did finish it and now am onto reading War & Peace for the next few hours.  That book will take me until about 4 am, having only an hour left in the readathon when I finish that section of the book and am trying to figure out what to read after that.  I will likely choose a book that is fairly easy, as I can't see myself concentrating that much for that hour, or I will read a magazine for that remaining hour. I really don't know at this point, but I will find something for that final hour.

I am now up to 437 pages read

Saturday, April 27, 2013

#Readathon - Update No. 7


I now have 6 hours to go and I think I can make it, depending on what I read.  I am currently reading The Prince and quite honestly, it will take me some time to absorb what Machiavelli has to say.  Pretty certain I cam make it to 5 am.  See you in about 2 hours.

#Readathon - Update No. 6


As I write this, it is about 9 pm Pacific and I have been at this since about 5 am.  Like I was feeling this afternoon, I am starting to feel a little tired, but I think that with the end finally in sight  (its about 8 hours away), I think I can make it.  After I finish this post I am going to start a book and will actually finish it.  Granted the book is about 150 pages long and the podcast I downloaded is about 3 and a half hours long.  I do plan on making something to eat in a few hours, after I have finished that particular book (or even as I finish it).

My page count up until this point is 277 and no books finished, although I have gotten quite a bit done in each of the 3 books I have tackled throughout the day.

#Readathon - Update No. 5


Starting to feel a tad discouraged.  I am finding that I am reading similar passages and just can't seem to get through passages.  Its not that I don't want to continue, I do, but I am just feeling rather discouraged, being that I haven't completed a book and have only read about 200 pages since I started at 5 am (and yes I am including the 90 min cat nap I had).  True, I went to church to have some dinner and then went to the store to get some snack stuff, but I am just feeling like this read-a-thon is getting away for me.  Maybe a change of books will help...

Talk in a couple of hours.

#Readathon - Update No. 4


I realize that I said about 4 hours ago that I would update 2 hours ago, but I was really tired.  I was so tired that slept for 90 min.  Anyways it refreshed me and now I am ready to make a big push heading into the evening hours. I don't know when I will make another update, but I am anticipating making another one in few hours.

Restarted Order of the Phoenix since the last update.  Happy reading.

#Readathon - Update No. 3


Starting to feel it and now I just want to go to sleep for a few hours, but I am going to soldier on.  For the next while I am going to take a podcast break and just let my ipod recharge and read a book without having the earbuds in for a bit.  I have managed to move around and get ready for the day, other than eat breakfast.  I have completed about 15% of Outlander and going to move onto another book for the next couple of hours and see how that goes.   Talk to you in about 2 hours.

#Readathon - Update No. 2


Not much more to report, except that I have been reading for about the past 4 hours.  I am still working on my first book this day, but I am planning on reading something different in about an hour or so.  There has been progress in regards to the podcasts that are on my computer and I am hoping that I can get a bunch of them off before this readathon ends early tomorrow morning.  I have had some breakfast, which was oatmeal and coffee and had a banana for a snack.  See you in about another 2 hours.

#Readathon - First Update


Its about 7 am locally and I am only 54 pages into Outlander.  Granted this is an 800 page book, but still I had kinda hoped that I would be closer to the 10% mark.   I have had a cup of coffee and am on my first fill-up and I am currently am eating my way through some oatmeal that I made within the last half hour.

I am feeling tired, but am hopefully I will get a spurt of energy sometime soon.  Talk to you in about 2 hours.

#Readathon Starting Line


Morning fellow readers!!

Dewey has created a short questionnaire.  Here are the questions/answers:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Abbotsford, BC
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  Getting a bit of War & Peace completed
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Probably the 10 pm pizza I am going to make...
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  Lived in Brazil when I was younger.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I am taking a dinner break about half-way through and I am going to have some caffeine at around 7 or 8 pm.  I am also not going to be posting every hour.


Off to do some reading!!  See you in about a couple of hours.

Friday, April 26, 2013

#readathon books


That time is on those of us who plan on doing this tomorrow.  I know some of you may think I am a bit insane, but I will try to do my best and maybe this time I will get to the 24 hour mark...

With the readathon starting in less than 18 hours from now, here is the list of books that I plan on tackling:

• War & Peace
• The Whole Truth
• Moon over Manifast
• Outlander
• The Prince
• The Help


If these aren't adequate for me, I have numerous books waiting for me.  And I plan on picking up a graphic novel from the library this afternoon so that if I am unable to concentrate on a book, I can still be able to read.  And yes, I will be taking a break at about the 12-hour mark and get out of the house for a bit.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Red Herring Without Mustard - Alan Bradley

Title: A Red Herring Without Mustard
Author: Alan Bradley
Pages: 416
Published: 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Challenges: Historical Fiction, Off the Shelf, TBR Pile, Embarrassment of Riches
Edition: Paperback
Source: Personal Collection

Description: You frighten me,” the old Gypsy woman says. “Never have I seen my crystal ball so filled with darkness.” So begins eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce’s third adventure through the charming but deceptively dark byways of the village of Bishop’s Lacey. The fortune teller also claims to see a woman who is lost and needs help to get home—and Flavia knows it must be her mother Harriet, who died when Flavia was less than a year old. The Gypsy’s vision opens up old wounds for our precocious yet haunted heroine, and sets her mind racing in search of what it could mean.
 
When Flavia later goes to visit the Gypsy at her encampment, she certainly doesn’t expect to find the poor old woman lying near death in her caravan, bludgeoned in the wee hours. Was it an act of retribution by those who thought that the woman had abducted a local child years before? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how can she prove this crime is connected to the missing baby? Did it have something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites?
 
While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon a corpse—that of a notorious layabout and bully she had only recently caught prowling about Buckshaw. The body hangs from a statue of Poseidon in Flavia’s very own backyard, and our unflappable sleuth knows it’s up to her to figure out the significance. Pedalling her faithful bicycle, Gladys, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers secrets both long-buried and freshly stowed—the dodgy dealings of a local ironworks, the truth behind the Hobblers’ secret meetings, her own ancestor’s ambitious plans—all the while exhausting the patience of Inspector Hewitt. But it’s not long before the evidence starts falling into place, and Flavia must take drastic action to prevent another violent attack.  (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: As one could well imagine, I also loved this one again.  While there is more of Flavia's chemistry wizardry in this book, it isn't as much as the first two books, but you do get is more of her curiosity about the world around her and how she will do anything to get at the truth, even if it does meaning having to lie from time to time in order to solve the crime.  Once again I could hardly get myself away from the book and finished the book in less than a week and somehow I am eagerly anticipating reading the next book, but I do have other books to read.

Bottom line: While it is a part of a series, you can read the book as a stand-alone and still enjoy it just much.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2013: 5094

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Salon - Currently (April. 14)

I am only doing the below because I just can't think of what to write today.


Time //  11:22  a.m.
Place // On the couch
Eating //  Nothing at the moment, although my stomach wishes it had more for breakfast.
Drinking // Lukewarm coffee.
Reading // Crime and Punishment and just started reading A Red Herring without Mustard.
Watching // A hockey game between the Blackhawks and the Blues on NBC, but am watching things on other channels as well.
Listening // Listened to a bunch of podcasts this past week, but I have been mainly catching up on my Prime Time Sports and a podcast from LibriVox for C&P (I tried reading it without this sort of podcast and I only got through half and now I am almost done). At the present I am listening to The History of English (language that is; very fascinating if you like history and if you have an interest in linguists)
Blogging // A couple of reviews for books that I had completed a couple of weeks ago went up (The Chaperone and The Accursed), other than that, its been pretty quiet on the blog; am planning on doing more blogging this coming week. 
Promoting // Nothing
Writing // Nothing, unless you count blog posts.
Researching // Nothing.
Hating // The dull grey weather, but its mid-April, and the fact that the songs from Les Mis are consistently playing in my head (even can hear "Javert's Suicide" as I listen to my podcast).
Avoiding // Grocery shopping and getting ready for the day and whatever else needs to be done around my place.
Anticipating // Watching episode 2 of Mad Men.
Hope you have a relaxing Sunday
Template taken from Sophisticated Dorkiness

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Chaperone - Laura Moriarty

Title: The Chaperone
Author: Laura Moriarty
Pages: 371
Published: 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Challenges: Historical Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.
 
For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive. (via Goodreads.com)


Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book and when I was reading it, I was able to feel as though I was peering on Cora's life and her perception of it.  While it was a very enjoyable read, I felt that maybe the author could have cut out some of the stuff at the end, as I felt it detracted from the main story of the book and felt that the author could have delved a little deeper into the emotions that Cora felt about her biological mother and maybe the immediate aftermath of her trip to New York when she returns to Wichita.  How did she adjust after such a life-changing trip?

Bottom line: I would probably would recommend it to readers who have an interest in historical fiction and in the 1920s. I would also recommend it to those that like to read literary fiction.

Rating: 3.6/5

Pages for 2013: 4678

The Accursed - Joyce Carole Oates

Title: The Accursed
Author: Joyce Carole Oates
Pages: 688
Published: 2013
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Challenges: Historical Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: This eerie tale of psychological horror sees the real inhabitants of turn-of-the-century Princeton fall under the influence of a supernatural power. New Jersey, 1905: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a nearby farm, Socialist author Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of his novel 'The Jungle', has taken up residence with his family. This is a quiet, bookish community - elite, intellectual and indisputably privileged. But when a savage lynching in a nearby town is hushed up, a horrifying chain of events is initiated - until it becomes apparent that the families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse. The Devil has come to this little town and not a soul will be spared. (via Goodreads.com)

Thoughts: I gave this book about 180 pages and just couldn't get into the book.  I know that some of you would ask why would you post a book you didn't finish.  Simple answer: I want to you to know why I quit reading the book.  I picked up the book because I had seen the cover on facebook feed that I subscribe to and thought it would be an interesting book to read and I really liked the cover.  Right off the bat I was confused and once I figured out who the narrator of the book was, I was already struggling with the book.  It felt disjointed and it never really made sense to me.  It owuld have made more sense for the story to be told a little more like a traditional novel rather than a series of fragmented stories that didn't really seem to be connected, even though it was basically a traditional novel.  As a result I was unable to finish the book.

Bottom line:  I have read many mixed reviews of the book that I really don't know who to recommend it to; it seems to be a book that makes the mark or misses it completely.

Rating:  0/5

Pages for 2013: 4307

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Apr. 1)


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme that is hosted by Shelia at Book Journey, in which we share what we've read and reviewed and what we plan on reading in the coming week.

What I have reviewed:
Nothing

What I am planning on reading this week:
• Crime and Punishment
• War and Peace

• The Accursed
• The Chaperone


What's up next:
Not really sure as I am sort of going all over the place with my reading at the present time.
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