Sunday, April 19, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Well it isn't really Monday yet, but I want to get a jump on things.  I am rereading Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.  This time I decided to read it section by section and then read the corresponding novel.  The first section discusses Lolita so that is what I will start tonight.  Nafisi's perspective is that Lolita is not simply about an older man who is obsessed with a young girl; but, it is about a man obsessed with stealing her life and creating a new existence for her.  That is creepy and sad in a vastly different way than just the story of a pervert!  I am anxious to form my own opinion.  I will definitely post more as I get into the story.

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Book Journey hosts this weekly event.  I'm glad to post once again.

I am rereading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  I just finished Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and want to keep it in the family.

I have read Wuthering Heights a few times because I taught it long ago.  It is nice to revisit a good book.  It is like running into an old friend - catching up.  Unfortunately, there is a big snow storm in the first chapter.  I almost put it down but I moved on braving the memories of our snow just last week.

When reading this novel, it is important to pay attention.  There are changes in narration from Lockwood to Nelly.  After a while, I noticed the style change and it became easier.  I am taking a little break as my Kindle recharges.  I am not good about remembering to charge at night.

Is It March Aready?

Where did the time go?  I have been caught up in all sorts of mishaps but through it all I am still reading.  In fact, I have had some wonderful times reading and I will post specific reviews later.  Now I just want to touch base and return to the land of the visible!  I had a horrible bout with the flu and then I generously passed it on to Jim.  My immune system must have been weak because I had a slight relapse.  Then came the frigid cold and snow.  If I never see another snow drift, it will be too soon.  I feel guilty complaining in light of what my friends in Massachusetts have endured but this winter hit me harder than most.  I look forward to my chair on the beach with my current book.

My February reads centered in Africa.  I rarely read thematically but the more I read, the more I wanted to know.  I enjoyed it immensely.

In March, I seem to be reading about strong women....well women who at times were strong.

I am keeping up with all my challenges, especially the Reading Assignment.  There has been no cheating and I have read the books listed in their proper time.

I will post more.  Just know that I am back.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Speculative fiction is a broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements.

Flanders by Patricia Anthony is labeled "speculative fiction."  It is the story of a young Texan who joins the British army during World War I.  Told through his letters home to his younger brother, Travis Lee Stanhope describes life in the trenches during his services as a sharpshooter. There are elements of supernatural.  Stanhope has visions of those who have died around him, those who are important to him.  But this is not a ghost story.  This in not a only a war story; it is a coming of age story. Travis Lee is an outsider.  The men around him accept him but only as a novelty "yank."  His one true friend is an outsider as well, an officer who is Jewish. 

Flanders gets a five star rating from me.  While I was reading, there was that tightness in the back of my throat that comes when sobs threaten. I would try to put it down so I could breathe but I soon picked it back up again.   More than any of the other World War I books that I have read this month, I saw just how cruel war can be.  The book doesn't have more gory scenes or more harsh battle descriptions, but the effects of battle on the soldiers is more evident.  It is felt more by the reader.  To say this is a beautiful story is misleading but nevertheless it touches the heart.

From Publishers Weekly

In Flanders Fields, where so many died so horribly during WWI, an American volunteer named Travis Lee Stanhope finds terror, death, forgiveness and, ultimately, an odd sort of salvation. Anthony (God's Fires), one of speculative fiction's brightest talents, has written a novel of the Great War that is worthy of comparison to Erich Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. Travis Lee is a wonderfully complex character, a wild boy from Texas who had the brains to win a scholarship to Harvard, a survivor of childhood abuse who hates his alcoholic father but fears he may be turning into him. Uncomfortable at home and at school, Travis, like many young Americans in 1916, enlists in the British army in search of adventure. What he finds instead is the monstrous human meatgrinder that is Flanders in northern France. Few writers have succeeded so well as Anthony in describing the horrors of trench warfare, the mud and disease, the rotting bodies and unending bombardment, the virtually universal madness that turns men into killers and rapists. Travis Lee is a talented sharpshooter, but as months of terror go by and the number of his kills grows, he beings to see things, at first in his dreams and later on the battlefield itself. Ghosts begin to haunt him, unwilling or unable to leave the shell craters and barbed wire where their lives ended. Told by a battlefield chaplain that he's gifted with the Second Sight, Travis Lee repeatedly finds himself wandering in an unearthly cemetery, a melancholy place that nonetheless hints at the possibility of eternal life. This is a harrowing and beautiful novel, demonstrating?again?that Anthony is one of our finest writers, in and out of the genre.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Cousin Rachel

Do you read books and then see the movie or do you see the movie and then check out the book?  I have done both but I prefer to read the book first.  In the case of Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier I saw the movie first and then had to read the book.  I fell in love with duMaurier.

My Cousin Rachel has been on my TBR stack for quite some time and finally I pulled it out.

"They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days.  Not anymore, though.  Now, when a murderer pays the penalty for his crime, he does so up at Bodmin, after fair trial at the Assizes.  That is, if the law convicts him, before his own conscience kills him.  It is better so.  Like a surgical operation.  And the body has decent burial, though a nameless grave.  When I was a child it was otherwise.  I can remember as a little lad seeing a fellow hang in chains where the four roads meet.  His face and body were blackened with tar for preservation.  He hung there for five weeks before they cut him down, and it was the fourth week that I saw him."

Granted this is no "Road to Manderley" but I would avoid walking down a road with a tar covered hanging corpse.

I'm giving this a thumbs up and off I wander.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays

It could be worse.  Some nearby areas have ice and sleet.  The shore is just getting rain.  At least I have a  good stash of books.

Hounds of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tops my list today.  Coffee and a book are a great way to take a break while cleaning the kitchen.  I love mysteries; it seems appropriate that I read one of the original detective series.  I am amazed at Holmes obvious deductions that are so easily overlooked by the average onlooker.  Sometimes I get so caught up in looking for the obvious that I miss the story and must go back and reread.

In addition to my "book" I am listening to The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper.  This is good company during the actual cleaning.  Both are classics that I have been meaning to tackle so life is good.

Now for another cup of coffee....

Thursday, January 8, 2015


This is what was awaiting me at South Coastal Library this morning.  I had two to return.  I love my library.  When I pulled on to the parking lot it was packed.  In the meeting room was a speaker on health foods.  From what I could see it was standing room only.  In the main part of the library, the computers were filled.  This little branch is always busy.  I didn't explore; I just picked up my holds and headed to the grocery store.  I have veggies simmering in chicken stock for soup.  Already it smells good.

In the background you might be able to see a corner craft cubby to sit on top of the craft table I got for Christmas.  I've moved it now and I am ready to stock it.  Boxes be gone!