Sunday, February 23, 2014

Recently Read: The Graveyard Book

I read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book for my Children's Literature course. We have to read two books from a selection in our text book for eight different genres. I read this for one of my fantasy books. I picked this one to read for my course because I already owned it and planned on reading it before I knew I could read it for my course.

This book is a loose retelling of The Jungle Book.Instead of being raised by animals in the jungle, Bod, the main character whose name is Nobody Owens, is raised in a graveyard by ghosts and a vampire just happens to be his guardian. The characters in this novel are very interesting and well developed. The story is laced with bits of humor and it is fun to try to connect events or characters to Kipling's original story.

This novel also features sporadically placed black and white illustrations which add to the eerie atmosphere of the story. I have recently been really enjoying young adult and middle grade books with illustrations in them. 

This was my first Neil Gaiman book. I own Stardust and Fragile Things, which is a short story collection, by him as well. After reading this I do plan to read more of Gaiman's young adult work and I am also curious about his adult work as well. One thing about Gaiman's work that I appreciate is that he always puts little clues in his introduction or acknowledgements that give insight into where this idea originated and who inspired him to keep going. I know the introduction to his short story collection I own contains a short paragraph for each short story that give similar information.   

Friday, February 21, 2014

Top Five Unread Authors

Here is a list of the top five authors I am anxious to read.

1. Margret Atwood
I am planning to start with The Handmaid's Tale

2. Kurt Vonnegut
I am planning to start with Slaughter House Five 

3. George Orwell
I am planning to start with 1984

4. Virginia Woolf
I am planning to start with A Room of One's Own

5. Jack Kerouac
I  am planning to start with On The Road 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Recently Read: The Virgin Suicides

I finished my first Jeffery Eugenides book the other day, The Virgin Suicides. I didn't really know what to expect going into this book, but I had heard a lot of good things about Eugenides and I was curious to read some of his work.

This book centers around the Lisbon family which consists of Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon and their five daughters, from ages thirteen to seventeen and the neighborhood boys who are very interested in the girls. The Lisbons are a very conservative family, and the neighborhood boys find themselves in love and obsessed with all of the girls, especially after all five girls commit suicide in the same year (don't worry that's not a spoiler, the back of the book tells you this).

What adds interest to this book on top of the unique plot line is the fact that the story of the Lisbon girls is told through an outside party. This adds mystery and intrigue to the Lisbon girls. As the reader, you are made into one of the neighborhood boys that are so curious about the girls because you only know as much about the Lisbon sisters as the boys do.

It's hard to form a lot concrete thoughts about this novel, since most of the thoughts I have related to it are about real life more so than the story. Does that make sense? It is one of those books that you have to read for yourself in order to understand it and its concepts and message. I just saw that there is a Sparksnotes page on this book, I would love to check out what they have to say about this book.

I would also love to see the film version of this story directed by Sophia Coppola.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Recently Purchased: February

From the bottom:
The Infernal Devices Trilogy, Cassandra Clare I spent some Christmas money on this book set, which is only thirty dollars on amazon if you are in the market for it. I need to read this trilogy before the last book in the Mortal Instruments comes out in April.
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood My first Atwood book, I have been really interested in this for a while and finally found a used copy to pick up.
Howards End, E.M. Forster This I picked up on a whim today as a used copy, but I have heard positive reviews on it and the premise is attention grabbing. 
Emma, Jane Austen In a beautiful vintage classics edition, I would love to buy every book they publish.
The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente This is book one in a middle grade series that I have been hearing a lot of good things about. I have been in the mood for middle grade lately.
1984, George Orwell I haven't read any Orwell, but I really want to, and I think this is the one I will start with. I have heard this book is extremely thought provoking so I am excited to read it. 
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier I have been looking for a cheap copy of this book for a while and I found this copy from 1938 for ninety-nine cents at my Goodwill so I picked it up.   

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Nook Book Haul

I thought I would compile a list of the books I have bought on my nook lately. Of course I have managed to compile a stack of unread books on there to add to my ever growing to be read pile.

Friday, February 7, 2014

February TBR...Sorta

I have had a really hard time making a list of things I want to read this month. I have a few things that I am leaning towards, but my mood seems to be constantly changing. For example, after watching the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics, I want to read books that take place in Russia. But who knows what I will feel like reading tomorrow.

So here's a sorta TBR for February

Currently Reading: I am about fifty pages into Revolution by Jenifer Donnelly on my nook.
 I got it from the library after reading the first couple sentences of the synopsis. All I know about the plot of this book so far is that it tells two stories that overlap, one of a girl in modern times and one of a girl during the French Revolution. I'm a big fan of historical fiction so I went for it, but it's too early to tell if I will like this one or not.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare are the only two books that I would really love to get to this month. Beyond that, I think I will just pick up whatever I am feeling in the mood for! I have a lot of books piled up on my nook and my shelves to get read, so I am not without options. I have also been picking up The World's Greatest Love Letters compiled by Michael Kelahan in the spirit of Valentine's Day. Old letters are so fascinating and beautiful to me.

What are you reading this month? Any classic romances you would like to recommend in the spirit of Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Wrap-Up

I had a great reading month in January, and I'm feeling very optimistic about this year. I read a lot of books this month, so I thought I would compile the reviews I did and give you some quick thoughts on the books I didn't have time to review.

I started the month with two novellas that coincide with The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. What Really Happened in Peru, and What to Buy the Shadow Hunter Who has Everything by Cassandra Clare are part of the Bane Chronicles that follow the adventures of Magnus Ban, warlock. These were short and enjoyable. Magnus is my favorite character from the series so I enjoyed reading more of him. I will say, I enjoyed the second one more because Alec was in it, and I like reading about their relationship. There will be a total of ten novellas, but I don't know if I will end up reading all of them. More than likely I will just read the ones with Alec in them! But I would recommend checking them out if you like Clare's works.

Then came The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- I read this in preparation for the third season of Sherlock and I won't say to much about it here, because I may do a separate Sherlock post, but of course I recommend and love anything Sherlock Holmes.

A Monster Calls  by Patrick Ness

Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler and Elanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell double review

The House of Hades  by Rick Riordan

Out of the Easy  by Ruta Sepetys

I am the Messenger  by Markus Zusak

and finally, Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. This is the first novel in a fantasy series. I really enjoyed this book, and plan on continuing with the series. Fantasy series are kind of tricky for me. They can be too complicated or too concerned with war, politics, and strategies which bores me. This book had those elements, but they were not too complicated and didn't take center stage in a way that was boring. If you are a big time fantasy lover, you may not be too taken with this book. It is nothing revolutionary or mind blowing, but for me it was enjoyable and fast paced. I enjoyed the main character and the basic story outline. If you are hesitate to read fantasy or new to the genre, this would be a good place to start. If you are hard core into the genre, you may not be impressed with this one, but do try it and let me know what you think!

What did you read last month?