Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Just Added (14)

I haven't had the chance to get a lot of reading done, but that doesn't mean my TBR isn't growing! Here's what I have added to my Goodreads TBR lately.

Just Added (13)
Just Added (12)

Zeno's Conscience by Italo Svevo 

Summary from Goodreads:

 Long hailed as a seminal work of modernism in the tradition of Joyce and Kafka, and now available in a supple new English translation, Italo Svevo’s charming and splendidly idiosyncratic novel conducts readers deep into one hilariously hyperactive and endlessly self-deluding mind. The mind in question belongs to Zeno Cosini, a neurotic Italian businessman who is writing his confessions at the behest of his psychiatrist. Here are Zeno’s interminable attempts to quit smoking, his courtship of the beautiful yet unresponsive Ada, his unexpected–and unexpectedly happy–marriage to Ada’s homely sister Augusta, and his affair with a shrill-voiced aspiring singer. Relating these misadventures with wry wit and a perspicacity at once unblinking and compassionate, Zeno’s Conscience is a miracle of psychological realism. 

Why I added it: I saw this translated work on a list of books that get inside your head, and the description caught my eye. It's been a while since I have read anything that deals with psychology and this one looks like the right mix of crazy, unreliable narrator and psychology. 

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her Daughter Mary Shelly by Charlotte Gordon  

Summary from Goodreads:

 Although mother and daughter, these two brilliant women never knew one another – Wollstonecraft died of an infection in 1797 at the age of thirty-eight, a week after giving birth. Nevertheless their lives were so closely intertwined, their choices, dreams and tragedies so eerily similar, it seems impossible to consider one without the other.

Both women became famous writers; fell in love with brilliant but impossible men; and were single mothers who had children out of wedlock; both lived in exile; fought for their position in society; and thought deeply about how we should live. And both women broke almost every rigid convention there was to break: Wollstonecraft chased pirates in Scandinavia. Shelley faced down bandits in Naples. Wollstonecraft sailed to Paris to witness the Revolution. Shelley eloped in a fishing boat with a married man. Wollstonecraft proclaimed that women’s liberty should matter to everyone.

Not only did Wollstonecraft declare the rights of women, her work ignited Romanticism. She inspired Coleridge, Wordsworth and a whole new generation of writers, including her own daughter, who – with her young lover Percy Shelley – read Wollstonecraft’s work aloud by her graveside. At just nineteen years old and a new mother herself, Mary Shelley composed Frankenstein whilst travelling around Italy with Percy and roguish Lord Byron (who promptly fathered a child by Mary’s stepsister). It is a seminal novel, exploring the limitations of human nature and the power of invention at a time of great religious and scientific upheaval. Moreover, Mary Shelley would become the editor of her husband’s poetry after his early death – a feat of scholarship that did nothing less than establish his literary reputation.

Romantic Outlaws brings together a pair of visionary women who should have shared a life, but who instead shared a powerful literary and feminist legacy. This is inventive, illuminating, involving biography at its best.

Why I added it: You guys may know, I just read and loved Frankenstein and I am eager to learn more about Shelley and the Romantic circle she was a part of. I'm super interested in the lives and works of both of these women so this should be an interesting read. 

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante 

Summary from Goodreads:

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.
Ferrante is the author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, andThe Lost Daughter. With this novel, the first in a trilogy, she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction. 

Why I added it: This series has been everywhere lately and I really want to jump on the band wagon! The only thing is these paperbacks are so expensive, I will try to pick them up from the library this summer I think. Let me know if you have read this series!  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Haul!-- Recent Purchases

Hey guys! I haven't been able to keep up with the weekly wrap-up posts lately which is where I usually show you what I have bought lately, so I thought I would do a little haul post. I have picked up various books from various places and I would love to hear your thoughts on them.

  I picked up A Walk in the Woods really cheap at my local Goodwill, and I was excited to see it there. Bill Bryson has been on my list for a long time, and this is the one of his I hear the most about. I'm not sure what to expect for it, but I have been loving nonfiction lately, so I'm excited to give this one a go.

Waters is another author I have been meaning to get to for ages, and I finally found one of her novels at my local used bookstore so I snatched it up! I don't know much about this plot, besides the fact that it is historical fiction with a lesbian couple, but I don't really want to know any more.

I have been waiting for this anthology to come out because it sounds absolutely perfect! It's a compilation of historical fiction short stories with kick-ass female leads. There are some authors I love in here, and some that are new to me but that I have heard lots of great things about; I will be getting to this one ASAP! 
This one I picked up as a birthday treat for myself, I love the Virago Modern Classic Editions but didn't own any. I think i will enjoy this novel, and I really want to get some more in these editions. I can see the beginning of a new obsession starting. 

Another b-day treat; I couldn't resist this cute little penguin edition because I have had my eye on this novel for ages! This will be my first Muriel Sparks and I think I'm going to love her. 

Finally, we have The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West. I have heard some great things about this novella, so I picked it up when I came across it in the used section of my bookstore. 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What have you bought lately? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books From Before Blogging

I feel like I always talk about the same books here on the blog. I have my frequently mentioned favorites that I always put on lists and what-not, but I have a lot of really great favorites that don't get mentioned very often, if at all, from before I started my blog. This post will be tricky for me to put together since I am away from my bookshelf that holds most of my read books, but we will see how many old favorites I can remember. 

1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Bradshares
I LOVED this series when I was in early high school. I was so connected and involved with these characters and their journeys. This is an amazing series for young girls to read, and I would love to reread it someday and revisit these amazing characters. This series will always have a very special place in my heart. 

2. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
This and the book below, are my favorite Dessen books. I read a lot of contemporary when I was in high school so of course I read all of Dessen's novels. This one was seemed very unique from her other novels, and although it's hard for me to remember the details of the plot, I know I loved it.

3. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen 
This was my introduction to Dessen, which may be why it's one of my favorites. I loved the cast of characters and the male lead was so interesting and appealing to my high school self as he was different from the other male leads that I had read so far. 

4. The Oscar Wilde Murder Mystery Series by Brandon Gyles
Another one of my all-time favorite series that I don't talk about enough. In this series Wilde, and a host of other literary and historical figures, solve mysteries. I love how true to the real Wilde these novels are and how they have compelling mysteries and focus on Wilde's personal life as well. It's no secret that Wilde is #1 in my heart, so I really appreciate this tribute to his personality. 

5. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is a really great read about eating disorders, and I loved the narrative style. I've done a lot of thinking about this book since finishing it; it's really stuck with me. 

6. The Paris Wife by Paula McClain 
This is a really great novel about Hemingway's first wife Haldey. I love the 1920's Paris setting and the honest look at Hemingway's difficult personality, to put it nicely. 

7. Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
This sereis is another really great girl power series. If you like The Sisterhood of the Travleing Pants, you will enjoy this one. I love the strong friendship in this story. 

8. The Boyfriend List by e. Lockhart
This is a really funny contemporary. I really need to read more from Lockhart, as I love the girl power in this novel and the premises of her other novels.  

9. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
I read this one my first year of high school and I've been meaning to reread it ever since. This was the first book I really thought about critically, and it kick started my love of studying literature. This is a really great American classic that I think everyone would love, even if American classics aren't usually your thing.  

10. The Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
I read this book for my children's lit class a few years ago and absolutely loved it! It's so funny, it had me laughing out loud, but it also covers such a series topic (racial discrimination) in an amazing way. This book is a really great read for any age, but particularly for younger readers. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Recently Read: Illuminae

Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult- Science Fiction
Publication Date: 2015
Page Count: 599
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

You may also be interested in:
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner review
Theme Spotlight: Books with a Unique Form

Kady Grant's planet has just been invaded. Kady Grant has also just broken up with her boyfriend hours before her planet is invaded. Now Kady's whole life is turned upside down as she and other civilians must flee for their lives from their attackers and find out who their real enemies are. 

This is such a cool book. I'm sure you have seen pictures of the inside of the book and how it is told through a series of documents, instant messages, maps, surveillance video summaries, and more. The structural concept of this book is what really pulled me in, as this is not something I would have normally picked up as I don't read a lot of science fiction. I love books with unique formats because they create such a unique reading experience. This book really sucked me in and the multiple forms that the story was told through kept the pace super quick. I loved the art pieces in this novel and the poetry in the writing and physical layout of the words at times. I loved seeing the story from all angles because of the multiple points of view and organizing the information right alongside Kady.

This book actually reminded me quite a bit of The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I agree, their plots have nothing in common on the surface level, but thematic wise they certainly do. In both novels, the resilience and strength of humanity is examined and admired by a non-human entity.  I think this is a great way to examine this theme and I really like how both novels do it. If you liked Death's narration and wonder at humanity, you will enjoy ADIAN who is an artificial intelligence program. I enjoyed Kady as a character, she's a teenage, female computer hacking genius, and I'm happy that she will be returning for the sequel- which already has a name and gorgeous matching cover I suggest you check out.   

I did feel that this started to drag on a bit in the middle, which keeps me from giving it five stars, but the format made it easy for me to stay engaged and interested in the story. I highly recommend at least flipping through this book in the bookstore if you don't intend to read it, because it is such a cool format concept and something that really highlights the advantages of a physical book over other formats. 

 I'll be checking out the next two books in this trilogy as soon as they are released, and I will also be looking into more of Jay Kristoff's works, so let me know if you have recommendations for me. I'm also interested to hear your recommendations of books with a unique format. 

P.S. This is my 500th post on the blog! :) Thanks for reading guys

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on my Spring TBR

I have not had a lot of extra reading or blogging time this semester, so I have a huge pile of books I really want to get to. I know I probably won't get to all of these before the semester ends and my summer semester begins, but these are ten books that I'm really hoping to read this season. 


1. Blue Lilly, Lilly Blue by Maggie Stiefvater 
I have been trying to get to this one forever, but haven't found the time yet. Hopefully I can get to it before the fourth book is released!

2. These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker 
I just picked this one up the other day and I think it will be a really fun and fast read. It's advertised as a mix of x-men and Jane Austen, which I'm all about. 

3. A Tyranny of Petticoats Edited by Jessica Spotswood
I just picked this one up the other day as well. I have been waiting for this one to come out. It's a short story collection where all the stories involve women heroines in historical settings. There are some really great authors in here and I can't wait to pick this one up. 


4. The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
I treated myself to this one for my birthday and I'm excited to get to it. I think it's going to be a quick and entertaining read. 

5. The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen
This is one of my Women's Lit. Classic's Club picks. I think I am really going to enjoy Bowen's works once I get into them, and I want to start ASAP.

6. A Study in Charlotte by  
I have this one out from the library right now and I'm hoping I can get to it before it has to go back.


7. Silly Novels by Lady Novelists by George Elliot
This essay is also on my Women's Lit list. I'm interested to get into this one because I'm not sure what stance Elliot is going to take on the women novelist of her time. 

8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Of course I waiting right alongside the rest of the world for this one to come out. Love that cover! 

For School 

9. Bletchley Park Research
Still Reading and organizing research on my women codebreakers paper. I'm hoping to outline it today, right after this post which I'm using as a procrastination technique. 

10.  One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia
This is the last novel I will be reading this semester for school and it's a middle grade so I'm looking forward to it. I have never read it, but it has earned tons of awards and praise. 

What are you reading right now? What's on your TBR? I'm so out of the loop because of the small amount of blogging I've been doing; fill me in! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Recently Read: Gigi and The Cat

Author: Colette
Genre: Classic- Novellas
Publication Date: 1953
Page Count: 156
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

This is my first experience with Colette, who I have been wanting to read for quite some time. This edition contains two short novellas, both of which are translated from French. I have never seen the movie Gigi, so I was unfamiliar with the both stories in this edition.

I really enjoyed both of these stories, but I think I enjoyed The Cat a bit more. Both stories take an interesting look at women's rolse in love and marriage, and I really enjoyed the writing. I'm interested to see the movie Gigi now, and I'm definitely searching out more of Collette's works. I would also love to read more about her as a person, as what I know so far is pretty interesting. A lot of her works seem to deal with women, love, and sexuality in interesting ways. 

Gigi is the story of a young women being groomed to be a courtesan by her grandmother and mother. I found this story to be pretty enjoyable and I read it in one sitting. Of course, because it is only sixty pages I felt like it could have been more fleshed out and the characters more developed, but I really enjoyed it for what it was. I know the movie is pretty watered down and contains a lot of singing so I would love to compare the two.

The Cat is about a young and newly married man's love for his pet cat and his reluctance to give up the cat once he is married. This story was a bit odd, but really interesting. The young couple were both fully developed characters, as well as the cat. I thought the themes and ideas in this one were pretty interesting and the way it looked at marriage was interesting as well. I know Colette had a bad marriage in her lifetime, which could be why her ideas on love and sexuality are so interesting for her time. 

I think these two stories are a really good introduction to Colette and I'm really glad I put them on my Classics Club Women's Literature list
You can see all the posts I've done in the series so far here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Women Codebreakers at Bletchley Park: Recommended Books

In my post of Interesting Links about the Women of Bletchley Park Post I promised a post on books on the women of BP so here I am fulfilling that promise! Admittedly, I have not read these books all of the way through because I don't have time to read them all while writing the paper and reading for my other classes, but I have dipped in and out of them and plan to read some of them fully in the future. I have one memoir, which I will start with and one that is a collection of primary source articles, the rest are just general nonfiction.