Thursday, May 30, 2013

Booking Through Thursday - Ideal


This week, Booking Through Thursday asks:


I want you to think about your ideal reading experience. Think about the location. (Your bed? Favorite chair? The beach? Indoors or outdoors?). Think about the sounds. (Is there music playing? Happy children playing in the background? Utter silence?) Is there a snack or beverage nearby? Are you alone or with friends/family (presumably being quiet enough for you to read in peace)? What kind of lighting is there? Are you dressed in something ultra-comfy? What’s your position? Curled up? Stretched out?
Now … describe it so that we can all feel exactly how perfect it is … and why.


This is a hard one to say because it would have to entirely depend on my mood, but if I had to choose my absolute ideal spot, it would have to be the beach; there is just something about sand underneath my feet as I read that is soothing.  I would probably be listening to some podcasts on my iPod with kids playing around me.  I would probably have a snack and I would be alone.  I would be in my bathing suit, just soaking in the sun and the warm weather

It would be perfect because it is a place that I am comfortable with and makes me feel comfortable.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

#ArmchairBEA 2013 - Genre: Genre Fiction


Today, Wednesday, is about genre fiction: What draws you to a specific genre?  Do vampires, zombies, or witches float your boat?  Or, do you prefer the heat of romance?

In addition to reading classics, I also enjoy reading historical and literary fiction.  I suppose my fascination with literary fiction comes off of my love of classics and the wanting to read new things.  My love of historical fiction comes off of my love of history and it also gives me a perspective of something that history books can't really expound on.

I also like reading YA fiction, as I find some of the YA fiction better than what I was able to read as a teen and sometimes even find it better than the adult stuff at times.

The House Girl - Tara Conklin

Title: The House Girl: a novel
Author: Tara Conklin
Pages: 370
Published: 2013
Genre: Historical fiction
Challenges: Historical Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Library

Description: Lynnhurst, Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run away from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell.

New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: finding the "perfect plaintiff" to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

Is it through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy rocking the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine's - if Lina can locate one - would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit. While following the runaway house girl's faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: how did Lina's mother die? And why will he never speak to her? (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: Despite some lukewarm reviews that I had seen for this book, I actually quite enjoyed this book.  I know some readers didn't like the jumping between the present day (2004) and the historic (1852), but I really liked the two different stories and liked how in a way they sort of mirrored each other and how the letters from Dorothea and Caleb helped to explain the story after Josephine's had sort of ended.  It was really a book that once I was entranced by the book I wasn't able to put down. I also liked the methodical nature of Lina's search for Josephine and an descendant also allowed for her find the answers she has been searching for most of her life.

Bottom line:  If you enjoy books that deal with the pre-Civil War South and books that go back and forth and even if you enjoy historical fiction, I would recommend this book.  Overall, its a pretty good read and would recommend it.

Rating: 4/5

Pages for 2013: 6344

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's On Your Nightstand (May 28)

I suppose being about a day late with this is better than not doing it. So here I go.

Since I last posted about 2 months ago, I have finished Crime & PunishmentThe Chaperone, and The Whole Truth, but have yet to write my review on The Whole Truth, in addition to one other book I finished recently.

I quit reading The Accursed because I just felt that it was getting too ridiculous and couldn't really make sense of what was going on.  Since I last posted for this meme, I finished some other books and actually really enjoyed them.

I am still reading War & Peace for a readalong and have started reading Villette and Moby Dick and am about to start Wives and Daughters.  I know that I am reading quite a bit of classic stuff, but am reading contemporary material as well and am hoping that the next few days that I will be able to get them started as well.

Till next month.

#ArmchairBEA 2013 - Genre: Classics


Classics have always appealed to me, no matter what sort of reading phase I am going through.  I suppose one reason that I have always been appealed to them is because no matter whether you do like the book or you don't like the book, you always do know that in general they are going to be pretty well written and that while there might be mistakes, they will usually be so minor that most readers won't notice them.  I also like classics because they are pretty readable.  They don't overuse language.  What I mean by that is that these authors always have some reason for what they are trying to say and that their message is pretty straightforward.  Okay some authors don't have a clear message, but as one thinks about what you have read, you can extract some sort of meaning from it. The final reason that I enjoy classics because the first novel that I fell in love with was a classic and no matter how many times I read Jane Eyre, I can always turn to it with fairly fresh eyes.

Kicking off #ArmchairBEA: Introductions First!


  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? 
  2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location. Feel free to share pictures. 
  3. Have you previously participated in Armchair BEA? What brought you back for another year? If you have not previously participated, what drew you to the event? 
  4. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013? 
  5. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you. 
  6. Name your favorite blog(s) and explain why they are your favorite(s). 
  7. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read? 
  8. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why? 
  9. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why? 
  10. What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? 
  11. Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?

1) My name is Melissa.  The name of my blog comes from my middle name.  I have been blogging since about 2005, when I first joined LiveJournal.  I intially got into blogging because some people I knew on a fan board for a TV show were blogging over there and I thought it was a great way of connecting with people that liked the show and it grew from there.  I have been blogging here for about 3 years.

2) I am blogging from the southwestern corner of BC in an area that is commonly referred to the Lower Mainland and more specifically from a region called the Fraser Valley.  The major centre near where I live is named after Captain George Vancouver and has one of the largest city parks in the world and is more than 10% larger than Central Park.

3) I participated last year and what brought me back this year was because I enjoy participating in it last year.

4) I am currently reading a number of books and am really enjoying the classics that I am reading at the moment.

5) I am a big Vancouver Canucks fan (NHL team from Vancouver) and like to read while watching various sporting events.

6) I have a number of favourite blogs, but I would say that its probably The True Book Addict and its my favourite because she has had a number of readathon events that I have attended.  I also like BookJourney because she not only shares her love for books but also the love that she has for her family and friends and Shelia seems like somebody I could have a cup of coffee with.

7) My favourite post would be the one I did on the fascination with the 1960s.

8) I would love to have dinner with Bridget Jones because she seems the sort of character that I could identify with and if I had to pick an author, I would probably choose Jane Austen as I would love to know what made her write the books she did and what were her influences.

9) The literary location that I would love to visit would probably be the house that was used for Pemberly in the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice.

10) My favourite thing about the book blogging community is the fact the friendships that are formed through various blogs and that our book blogs are really just an extension of our lives and that we feel each others pain and experience each others joys and sorrows and that really we are there for each other, despite the distances between us and the differences in genres that we read.  What connects us is our love for reading and bookish things.

11) I don't know what I would like to see change in the next five years.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Musing Mondays (May 13)

This week, Miz B at Should Be Reading asks:

Tell us what you are reading right now. What do you think of it so far? Why did you choose it and what are (or aren't) enjoying about it?

I am reading quite a bit at the moment, but I just started to read Moby Dick this past week and am quite surprised about how readable the book is. True, I have only gotten through about 11% of the book, but I am finding it something amazing and that I enjoy.  I suppose it has something to do with the fact that the book has really short chapters that makes it so readable, but I have only read 15 of the 130+ chapters.  I am really looking forward to seeing what happens.

I am also reading Villette by Charlotte Bronte and I am feeling the same way about this book that I am feeling about Moby Dick.  Maybe its the fact that its an author that I have read before or maybe its the fact that its something that I have wanted to read for some time, but I am finding it quite enjoyable as well.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 27)


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 this week:
Nothing; I totally forgot and I hope to have it up this coming week.  Life just kinda happened.

Books I am planning on reading this week:
• The Help
• War & Peace

• Moby Dick
• Rebecca
• Order of the Phoenix
• Mary Coin

• Villette

What's up next:
Really no clue

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Moby Dick Read-A-Long Introductory Post



As you can see, I have entered in on another read-a-long of a yet another long book.  But fortunately the chapters, while there are a lot of them, are fairly short.  I know its nuts of me to read another long book while I am still reading something like War & Peace, but considering that it is on my Classic Club list, I thought I would give it a go.  And hey, its half the size of War & Peace.  Reading in Bed has more information on her blog and you can by going to Reading in Bed to sign up.

Here is the schedule:

  • Start date and Introductory Post: Monday, May 20th, 2013. 
  • Etymology + Chapters 1-15: May 27th
  • Chapters 16-30: June 3
  • Chapters 31-45: June 10
  • Chapters 46-60: June 17
  • Chapters 61-75: June 24
  • Chapters 76-90: July 1
  • Chapters 91-105: July 8
  • Chapters 106-120: July 15
  • Chapters 121-136 + Epilogue : July 22


I hope you can join me as I read this.


Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 20)


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 this week:
I didn't review anything this past week, but I did complete two books.  I am hoping to have reviews available by next week.

Books I am planning on reading this week:
• The Help
• War & Peace

• Moby Dick
• Rebecca
• Order of the Phoenix
• Mary Coin


What's Up Next:
The Passing Bells

Sunday, May 19, 2013

#boutofbooks 7.0 Wrap-up

Bout of Books


What a week.  While I did get some of my goals completed, there were some that were left unfinished and that's fine.  I got what I wanted to get completed for Moby Dick, War & Peace, The House Girl and The Whole Truth, but not much else.

But I did manage to read around 570 pages over the course of the week.  Now off to write reviews of the two books that completed...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

#boutofbooks 7.0 Update No.4

Bout of Books


I don't know why, but I just couldn't get myself to do any sort of reading on Friday.  I think it was partly due to the fact that I had read a lot on Thursday and I was just tired.  But for whatever reason I was able to get a lot done today.  Managed to get the section for War & Peace completed that I wanted to get completed.

I honestly don't know how many pages I did get completed, as I don't know what page I started on in my paper copy of the book, but based on my last check in on Goodreads, I read about 71 pages today, which seems about accurate.  I don't know what I am going to read tomorrow, but I am probably am going to start Moby Dick.

Friday, May 17, 2013

#boutofbooks 7.0 Update No.3

Bout of Books


Did not read on Wednesday, hence the reason for no post.  But my reading yesterday evening and for the first half hour of Friday was great, as I was able to read 179 pages of the book and complete The House Girl.   I hope to have a review up later this weekend, probably sometime tomorrow.

Today I will likely concentrate on reading War & Peace, at least until start watching some movie by Ben Affleck that came out last fall (sorry I can't recall the name of the movie at the moment and just want to get to bed!) and get the sixth part completed by Saturday evening.  Hopefully.

Have a great reading day and I will talk to you hopefully by the end of Friday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

#boutofbooks 7.0 Update No.2

Bout of Books


Thought today would have been better, but with the things that I had to do today (include voting in the BC Provincial election), I thought that it would be a bit ambitious to get what I wanted to get done actually done.  But the most important thing I got away from today was that I got a bit of momentum going with The House Girl, despite only getting about 49 pages completed.  Here's hoping Wednesday is a bit better.

Monday, May 13, 2013

#boutofbooks 7.0 Update No.1

Bout of Books


Wow!  Day 1 is over; only 6 more to go.

I read only one book, The House Girl by Tara Conklin, and read about 45 pages.  I had other things I need to do and watching Big Bang Theory and reading don't exactly go together.  I didn't read a lot due to the fact that I was feeling rather antsy.  I am hoping that by this time tomorrow (10 pm PT) that I have read a bit more, as I am planning on reading a bit more before I go to bed and will incorporate that into tomorrow's update.

Classics Spin #2 #ccspin


I missed the first one and really wanted to do it the last time around, so here I go.  Here is what the folks over at The Classics Club say about it:


  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday.
  • Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by July 1, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)
Here is my list:
  1. Middlemarch
  2. Little Women
  3. Jane Eyre
  4. Emma
  5. Northanger Abbey
  6. Villette
  7. North and South
  8. Agnes Grey
  9. Sense & Sensibility
  10. The Canterbury Tales
  11. Tess of the D'Urbervilles
  12. Antony and Cleopatra
  13. As You Like It
  14. Twelfth Night
  15. Madame Bovary
  16. Much Ado About Nothing
  17. Othello
  18. The Tempest
  19. Richard III
  20. David Copperfield
I honestly don't know which one that I am hoping for, but if I did have one that I would prefer it would probably be No. 7 or 10.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Musing Mondays (May 13)

This week, Miz B at Should Be Reading asks:

Tell us what you are reading right now. What do you think of it so far? Why did you choose it and what are (or aren't) enjoying about it?

I am currently reading The House Girl by Tara Conklin.  I picked it up because I had heard a lot of buzz about the book (good and bad) and based on the description of the book, I thought I would be interested in the book.  I think its okay; I find the parts with Josephine somewhat lacking and I really enjoy the sections with Lina a bit more at this point, but then my opinion may change as I read through the book.  

I am also reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and that is a book that I can't seem to get anything read out of.  The reason that I choose the book was because I have heard nothing but praise for the book from those that have read it and it seems to be a favourite of book bloggers/podcasters and honestly I don't see what all the fuss is all about.  Maybe its because I am only reading a few pages at a time and not sitting down and focusing on it.  Later.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 13)


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 this week:
Nothing

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

• The House Girl
• Moby Dick
• Rebecca
• Order of the Phoenix
• Chains

What's up next:
Not really sure. 

Sunday Salon - Currently (May 12)


Time //  12:48 pm
Place // On the couch
Eating //  Nothing at the moment
Drinking // Lukewarm coffee.
Reading // Read a bit of War & Peace this morning
Watching // Chopped All-Stars
Listening // I have been listening to a bunch of podcasts this week.
Blogging // A couple of meme posts
Promoting // Nothing
Writing // Just some blog posts.
Researching // Parents complaining about the lack of hight chairs in restaurants that aren't considered to be family-oriented.
Hating // The grey weather outside.
Avoiding // Getting ready for the day.
Anticipating // Dinner with my grandparents.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

#boutofbooks 7.0 (5/13-5/19)

Bout of Books


Wish that the weather was a bit better for me to be doing this, but oh well, I can always just curl up on the couch and read for this coming week and hopefully by the end of the week, I will be able to go outside and read.

Here are my goals for the week:

• finish "The Help"
• read "The House Girl" (needs to be back sometime next weekend)
• finish "The Whole Truth"
• complete Part 5 of "War & Peace"
• read Etymology and the first 3 chapters of "Moby Dick"
• complete half of "Rebecca"
• work on "Order of the Phoenix"
• read "Chains" for War Through the Generations

I want to get some momentum going with the last two books, as I seem to have stalled with both books.    I have a lot of time in the afternoons and evenings that I can spend read, in addition to the fact that next weekend is a long weekend for me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WWW Wednesdays (May 8)

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?

Nothing, but I did post my review for The Prince this past week.

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

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? (May 6)


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:
• Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (review)
• The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (review)

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


What's up next:
Chains by Laurie Anderson (author of Speak), The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin and Yes Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Sunday Salon - Currently (May 5)


Time //  10:36  a.m.
Place // On the couch
Eating //  Nothing at the moment
Drinking // Lukewarm coffee.
Reading // Nothing at the moment, but I am planning on reading The Help and The Whole Truth at some point today.
Watching // The second episode of Bletchley Circle (my recording of last week's episode is just finishing up)
Listening // I have been listening to a bunch of podcasts this week and to the audio of The Help.
Blogging // A couple of book reviews (Crime and Punishment and The Prince) and a couple of meme posts
Promoting // Nothing
Writing // Just some blog posts.
Researching // Nothing.
Hating // The cigarette smoke drifting into my apartment due to my windows.
Avoiding // Chores in general.
Anticipating // Coffee with a friend this evening.

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