Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Back with The Thirteenth Tale!

What a crazy holiday weekend. I actually had to go back to work to get some rest. Thursday Chuck and I hosted a big holiday to-do for our family and some of our friends. The food was plentiful, the house was clean (just in the nick of time), and we had a nice time. I fell into a turkey coma immediately afterward and woke up in time for our brood to head off to my mom's house on Friday for another feast. Mom's feast was heavily attended, delicious, and a lot of fun too.

I thought that would be the end of it. I expected a relaxing Saturday and Sunday, but much to my surprise we were back on the run. Chuck needed to do a large journal assignment for his art history class (early art history), and there happened to be an Egyptian exhibit in LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS. Yes, you read that correctly. We hopped out of bed at 6am on Saturday and hit the road to Little Rock. We tooled around the museum, took copious notes for his project, and then we drove all the way home. I'm panting just thinking about it.

Finally, on Sunday, we loaded up the kids, checked out Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas (a potential wedding site), went to the Dallas Museum of Art to finish up his project, and got home in time for me to grade papers and go to bed.

In short, no rest was had for this pregnant goose. I did, however, have the afternoon off after a doc appointment yesterday. Woohoo! I got to finish up Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, but I'll get to that in just a minute. The family is currently biting our collective nails waiting for next Monday's ultrasound appointment. We'll finally be finding out if the Lil Bug is a boy or a girl.

But enough about holiday craziness. On to the books!

I think I could very well be the VERY LAST PERSON in the book blogosphere to read this book, and now I can't figure out why I waited so darn long. I've had it on my shelves for well over a year now after I found a clearance copy at Half-Price books for a whopping $3.00. I plunked it down on my RIP IV challenge pile, but I never got around to it.

I complained here recently that I've had a very ho-hum reading year so far. While there have been good books in the bunch, generally I haven't felt as fulfilled or wowed by my reading as I usually do. It was a desperate attempt to love a book that brought me to The Thirteenth Tale, and WHOA, did it deliver!

I won't waste your time with a blurb because I genuinely feel like almost everybody already knows what this book is about. If you don't, just read it blindly--you won't be sorry. I adored it for so many reasons, I hardly know where to start. I feel a bulleted listed coming on:
  • The characters were vivid and evolved nicely! Margaret Lee was mousy and unassuming at the beginning of the novel, but she grew to be a really interesting, multi-faceted character.
  • I loved to dislike Vida Winter. She was a perfectly written lovable/hateable character. I found her amusing, infuriating, and enigmatic throughout the book.
  • It was atmospheric! And I'm a real sucker for atmosphere. Any book that can make me feel as if I've been deposited on the moors is a winner.
  • Twisted! Need I say more?? I almost got whiplash from this story.
  • It's a novel for book lovers. All of Margaret's thoughts on reading in the early part of the book were delicious. I don't think I've written down that many quotable passages in years. And all of the references to Jane Eyre, The Woman in White, Wuthering Heights were excellent, too.

Gush much? Yep, and I don't even care. I LOVED IT! Heather, thank you for prodding me to read this one constantly. ;)

In the spirit of yummy gothic books perfectly suited for winter, I checked out The Woman in White from my library. Now I can't wait to figure out what all the hooplah is about! Bring it on, Wilkie!

12 comments:

  1. I think "a novel for booklovers" is a great way to describe this book! Very nice review.

    I read this book a few years ago, and barely remember anything about it except the one detail about the character who couldn't wait until 6 pm every evening because at that point she had several uninterrupted hours of reading to look forward to. That has stuck with me and really resonates as a detail only book lovers will understand.

    Glad I found your blog - I'm following now, and looking forward to what you have to say!

    Greg
    http://thenewdorkreviewofbooks.blogspot.com

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  2. You're not the last person on Earth to read it, as I have not had the pleasure yet. However... it's on my shelf at home. I will get around to it soon, I just have a few in the way first. Glad you liked it though! I hear crazy good things from everyone that's read it.
    Alayne
    TheCrowdedLeaf.wordpress.com

    P.S. Alias Grace is wonderful! You should give it another shot sometime. :)

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  3. I haven't read this one yet either, but now I really want to. All the bookish references to Victorian literature sound awesome!

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  4. Oh yay! I'm glad it was a WHOA book...I enjoyed it, but then I'm a sucker for bookish books.

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  5. A friend of mine lent me this book about 6 months ago and it's still sitting on my shelf. Shame on me!

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  6. Well, you just made my day. Not only did you FINALLY read and LOVE The Thirteenth Tale (You know I'm going to say it, right? I told you so!!!) but you checked out a book by my Wilkie???? My very favorite book by my Wilkie??? *squeal*

    Really though, I did tell you. I knew you would love that book. Isn't it wonderful? When you are ready for a reread, you should definitely try the audiobook version. It. Is. Amazing. One of the best audio productions I've heard yet.

    Yay!!! I'm so glad you loved it!!!

    Now I can't wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl!!! (I'm calling girl!)

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  7. I'm calling girl, too!

    Wish I could say I loved this book as much as you. I guess you and Heather are more reading twins than us, so it makes sense that you'd love it as much as she did.

    You've inspired me to get some of those books that "everyone's already read" off my shelf and get 'em read before the end of the year. Yep, I still haven't read Water For Elephants or Snowflower and the Secret Fan. There's another, but it's late, my cold is kicking my butt, and I need to fix a hot toddy.

    If you can, facebook your ultrasound results! I'm there more often than here. :)

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  8. Hi, Greg! Thanks for stopping by and for following as well. I went by your blog yesterday and I love it, so I'll be visiting again (and am now following). And the character (Margaret) who had a nightly schedule of reading will stay with me as well. I wish I had the time management to do that myself. Something to shoot for!

    Alayne! Yay, another person on the tail end of this craze. I hope you like it as much as I did, and I look forward to reading your review of it.

    Kim, it is an intertextual delight. Very very yummy.

    Softdrink, me too! Bookish books have a special place in my heart.

    Kathy, I think you'd adore this book, so bump it on up the pile. You haven't had your copy nearly as long as I've been staring at mine, though. Shameful, I am!

    LOL, Heather! Everyone is calling girl. That's the consensus so far, and I'm in love with the girl name Ella Eris, so I figure it'll be a boy just to throw off my plans. Will definitely check out the audio. This one would be a great listen.

    Les, I haven't read Snow Flower either!! Maybe that'll be the next book I pick up that everyone has loved. I need to keep this good reading rolling.

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  9. Ah, so jealous I am! I wish I hadn't read this book just so I could have the awesome pleasure of reading it again. And, it's funny because I read Woman in White just after reading this too. Suffice it to say, you are in some great reading. If The Thirteenth Tale brought you out of your funk, Wilkie will definitely keep you out of it!

    I need to find something to get me out of my funk too, because like you my reading this year has been kind of meh. Well, I still have a four more months. A girl can hope! :)

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  10. You're totally not the last person in the blogosphere to read this one -- I haven't even touched this one! And, quite honestly, have no clue what it's about... other than what you've divulged in your awesome review. :) I know people love it, though, so I'm thinking I better get with the program and grab it soon!

    And I love gushing reviews -- they're my favorites! Well, any review with strong emotions... that's why I love reading others' thoughts :) Yay!

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  11. I thought this was a really great read, as well. Yes, it is a novel for booklovers.

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  12. Believe it or not I haven't read The Thirteenth Tale yet either but I do have a copy of it waiting for me on my bookshelves! I'm excited for you to find out what you are having...Monday will be here before you know it! I still remember finding out I was having a boy and going to the store that night to buy him his first boy outfit! It was great fun and made the rest of my pregancy really exciting!

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