Sunday, July 29, 2012

TSS: The Weekend That Wasn't

Oy! I need to go back to work to get some rest. It's been scorchingly hot in Texas (104-106), and that means if you go outside for anything, your life force is immediately sucked out through the skin. Despite the heat, I spent yesterday morning visiting one of my favorite places: Ham Orchards. I bought some yummies like buttermilk pie, peach salsa, fudge, and a container of their fantabulous chicken spaghetti. Note to mothers: hot weather and ice cream (even homemade peach and strawberry) along with a twisty car ride home WILL result in a sickly baby. Just sayin'.

So then, yesterday afternoon I was out and about with baby G. He was feeling much better, so we decided to pick up some basic groceries for the week. Low and behold my back tire went flat on Main Street. Thankfully, my mom and her special man friend came to our rescue. G stayed cool in the car while SMF changed the tire. Note: I am capable of changing a tire, but it's been, oh, about 15 years. In my defense I set a tire-changing record in driver's ed. My partner and I totally beat the boys.

So G and I proceeded to get the groceries, and when I got home I discovered that because of the wretched Texas heat, my house has shifted to the point that the front door won't lock. At all. I'll be watering my porch tonight in hopes that it settles back into working order. If you're a Texan, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Others, I'm sorry this makes absolutely no sense.

This morning was much more relaxing. G and I hung around the house in our jammies (instagram pics to prove it), and had a leisurely breakfast. We've done some additional running around (got two back tires on the car), and now he's hanging with his Daddy while I've graded papers at Starbucks. Will be headed home as soon as I type this.


Amidst all the madness, I have done some reading. I finished off The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I'm really looking forward to reviewing that one, and we had a fantastic time discussing it at Thursday night's Girls Night Out book club meeting. 




I also finished off a romance novel for the shiny and new Estella Society website. I'll be writing a column called the "Genre Cage Match." My first two novels pitted against one another in a battle to the death are romances. I won't reveal everything in my hand, but the first one is Highland Heat, by Mary Wine. *snort* Love that title, eh? Cover's not bad either. 

If you haven't yet checked out The Estella Society (or heard me Tweeting it up), go on over. The tagline is: A Reading Playground Built By Book Bloggers, For Book Bloggers. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere (username estellasociety on Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, etc.).

So that's my weekend. Or lack thereof. I'm exhausted and overdue for a nap. Too late today, so I'll have to turn in early. I hope you've all had a productive, joyful weekend!

TSS: The Weekend That Wasn't

Oy! I need to go back to work to get some rest. It's been scorchingly hot in Texas (104-106), and that means if you go outside for anything, your life force is immediately sucked out through the skin. Despite the heat, I spent yesterday morning visiting one of my favorite places: Ham Orchards. I bought some yummies like buttermilk pie, peach salsa, fudge, and a container of their fantabulous chicken spaghetti. Note to mothers: hot weather and ice cream (even homemade peach and strawberry) along with a twisty car ride home WILL result in a sickly baby. Just sayin'.

So then, yesterday afternoon I was out and about with baby G. He was feeling much better, so we decided to pick up some basic groceries for the week. Low and behold my back tire went flat on Main Street. Thankfully, my mom and her special man friend came to our rescue. G stayed cool in the car while SMF changed the tire. Note: I am capable of changing a tire, but it's been, oh, about 15 years. In my defense I set a tire-changing record in driver's ed. My partner and I totally beat the boys.

So G and I proceeded to get the groceries, and when I got home I discovered that because of the wretched Texas heat, my house has shifted to the point that the front door won't lock. At all. I'll be watering my porch tonight in hopes that it settles back into working order. If you're a Texan, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Others, I'm sorry this makes absolutely no sense.

This morning was much more relaxing. G and I hung around the house in our jammies (instagram pics to prove it), and had a leisurely breakfast. We've done some additional running around (got two back tires on the car), and now he's hanging with his Daddy while I've graded papers at Starbucks. Will be headed home as soon as I type this.


Amidst all the madness, I have done some reading. I finished off The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I'm really looking forward to reviewing that one, and we had a fantastic time discussing it at Thursday night's Girls Night Out book club meeting. 




I also finished off a romance novel for the shiny and new Estella Society website. I'll be writing a column called the "Genre Cage Match." My first two novels pitted against one another in a battle to the death are romances. I won't reveal everything in my hand, but the first one is Highland Heat, by Mary Wine. *snort* Love that title, eh? Cover's not bad either. 

If you haven't yet checked out The Estella Society (or heard me Tweeting it up), go on over. The tagline is: A Reading Playground Built By Book Bloggers, For Book Bloggers. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere (username estellasociety on Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, etc.).

So that's my weekend. Or lack thereof. I'm exhausted and overdue for a nap. Too late today, so I'll have to turn in early. I hope you've all had a productive, joyful weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

North and South Readalong "Home Base"

Hey everyone! I have some updated info on the North and South Read-a-long, so I wanted to fill you all in and make this our "home base" post. I've also added a Mr. Linky to the bottom of this post so you can officially sign up if you'd like. I urge you to do so because there are giveaways on the horizon!


We're still sticking to the original schedule, and many of you have begun to gather your books whether they be audio, e-book, or print.  A few random discussions have already broken out on Twitter, and we're even contemplating a group "watch party" of the mini-series. If you're a Netflix subscriber, it's available via Netflix streaming. 


Schedule
  • Discussion 1: August 6th - Chapters 1-14
  • Discussion 2: August 13th - Chapters 15-27
  • Discussion 3: August 20th - Chapters 28-39
  • Discussion 4: August 27th - Chapters 40-52
Also, as we begin reading, why not join in on some of the Twitter convo? We'll go with the #NSread hashtag! 

For each discussion date, I'll provide a post with a Mr. Linky where you can link up your thoughts. For each week's discussion we'll be giving away e-books from Girlebooks.com. They've been very kind and have agreed to provide some swag for us. We'll also have some nifty bookmarks, and at the end there will be a tons o'fun GRAND PRIZE, but you'll have to wait to see what that might be. 

For now, sign up below and get to reading when it suits you!


North and South Readalong "Home Base"

Hey everyone! I have some updated info on the North and South Read-a-long, so I wanted to fill you all in and make this our "home base" post. I've also added a Mr. Linky to the bottom of this post so you can officially sign up if you'd like. I urge you to do so because there are giveaways on the horizon!


We're still sticking to the original schedule, and many of you have begun to gather your books whether they be audio, e-book, or print.  A few random discussions have already broken out on Twitter, and we're even contemplating a group "watch party" of the mini-series. If you're a Netflix subscriber, it's available via Netflix streaming. 


Schedule
  • Discussion 1: August 6th - Chapters 1-14
  • Discussion 2: August 13th - Chapters 15-27
  • Discussion 3: August 20th - Chapters 28-39
  • Discussion 4: August 27th - Chapters 40-52
Also, as we begin reading, why not join in on some of the Twitter convo? We'll go with the #NSread hashtag! 

For each discussion date, I'll provide a post with a Mr. Linky where you can link up your thoughts. For each week's discussion we'll be giving away e-books from Girlebooks.com. They've been very kind and have agreed to provide some swag for us. We'll also have some nifty bookmarks, and at the end there will be a tons o'fun GRAND PRIZE, but you'll have to wait to see what that might be. 

For now, sign up below and get to reading when it suits you!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Shadow of Night. Yeah.

Well. You see. Hmmphf. 


Deborah Harkness's new book, Shadow of Night, has been all the talk 'round the blogs, and I am noooo different. I was itching to get my hands on it and dive right in. And then I did! And then I started reading! And then....NOTHING HAPPENED. For most of the book. 


Short blurb: Diana and Matthew are in the 1500s. Diana needs a witch coach to teach her to harness her witchy powers. There are lots of famous dead people: Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, Queen Elizabeth! And 87,000 others that I won't name here. So. Many. Historical. Figures. Because Matthew knows everybody. 


I read this book along with Heather, and she and I generally share a brain. This buddy reading arrangement made for a supremely enjoyable experience even though the book was not as supremely enjoyable as I'd expected. I didn't dislike it. I just rolled my eyes a lot. 


In my previous experience with Harkness's work, I found Diana and Matthew absolutely, mind blowingly annoying. That is, they are a very codependent lot. Matthew is bossy and uber-protective. Diana is kinda wishy-washy for a kickass scholar. And she naps a lot. In this book, I did find their relationship somewhat improved. That is, Diana has become a better "Matthew handler." He was still bossy, but she was a little more willing to blow his behavior off or defy him rather than bow down every time. 


My biggest quibbles with this installment are these:

  • Too many conflicts. Kitchen sink, y'all. I counted 8-10 MAJOR conflicts. 
  • Slow-moving. It took an annoyingly long time to get anything accomplished. Failed attempts to find a teacher of magic are fine but eventually I expect the story to deliver significantly before page 500. 
  • Character weirdness. Matthew put up with things in this book that seemed remarkably out of character for him. I'm looking at you, Kit Marlowe.
  • There's a big WTF twist at the end with NO EXPLANATION AT ALL. Annoyed. Seriously. Not a cliffhanger, just a plot development that seemed out of place or unnecessary at this juncture. 

So, in short, this novel suffers from a ripping case of "middlenovelitis." Lots of unnecessaries that seem to take up a book's worth of time. 


Before you think I'm calling this one a lost cause, I did enjoy the historical romp in this book. I liked meeting the dead historicals (band name?) even though I thought there were far too many of them introduced here. I felt transported to the time period, but I was ready for more plot development and it felt like it stalled. 


I'm still looking forward to the final installment. I'm invested enough in these characters' lives to NEED that last book. I will definitely be reading with Heather again. Check out some of the greatest hits from our week-long conversation...


July 5th: 
AndiAre we ready? Are we???? lol 40 pages of The Secret Garden left for me which really adds up to about 20 pages on my Nook. Will finish at lunch today.


HeatherUm, yeah, about that. I *kinda* started it this morning. I was going to tell you, I swear! Woo hoo!


AndiLMAO! Well I secretly read 30 pages last weekend. So we're even. :D 


July 10th: 
Andi: WHEN WILL THE WITCH TRAINING START


HeatherAPPARENTLY WHEN ______ IS APPROXIMATELY 50 YEARS OLD. lol


July 13th: 
Andi: So how are you liking the book? Too annoyed to enjoy? 


HeatherOkay, that's spooky. I was just going ask you if you were as annoyed with this book as I was.


The end. Obviously, I cut out a lot of the spoilery stuff, because we typed TONS about this book. Even if we were both annoyed, it was highly discussable. 


So that's it. There is a lot of waiting to be done between now and the final installment of the All Souls trilogy. 


What did you think of Shadow of Night if you're already finished?


Rating: 
Snuggle -- Skewer
 OR Distracting one-armed hug and poke with a stick <--that's the one


Edition Pub. Date: July 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: E-book
ISBN-13: 9780670023486
Source: Gift from a blogging friend.


Review: Shadow of Night. Yeah.

Well. You see. Hmmphf. 


Deborah Harkness's new book, Shadow of Night, has been all the talk 'round the blogs, and I am noooo different. I was itching to get my hands on it and dive right in. And then I did! And then I started reading! And then....NOTHING HAPPENED. For most of the book. 


Short blurb: Diana and Matthew are in the 1500s. Diana needs a witch coach to teach her to harness her witchy powers. There are lots of famous dead people: Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, Queen Elizabeth! And 87,000 others that I won't name here. So. Many. Historical. Figures. Because Matthew knows everybody. 


I read this book along with Heather, and she and I generally share a brain. This buddy reading arrangement made for a supremely enjoyable experience even though the book was not as supremely enjoyable as I'd expected. I didn't dislike it. I just rolled my eyes a lot. 


In my previous experience with Harkness's work, I found Diana and Matthew absolutely, mind blowingly annoying. That is, they are a very codependent lot. Matthew is bossy and uber-protective. Diana is kinda wishy-washy for a kickass scholar. And she naps a lot. In this book, I did find their relationship somewhat improved. That is, Diana has become a better "Matthew handler." He was still bossy, but she was a little more willing to blow his behavior off or defy him rather than bow down every time. 


My biggest quibbles with this installment are these:

  • Too many conflicts. Kitchen sink, y'all. I counted 8-10 MAJOR conflicts. 
  • Slow-moving. It took an annoyingly long time to get anything accomplished. Failed attempts to find a teacher of magic are fine but eventually I expect the story to deliver significantly before page 500. 
  • Character weirdness. Matthew put up with things in this book that seemed remarkably out of character for him. I'm looking at you, Kit Marlowe.
  • There's a big WTF twist at the end with NO EXPLANATION AT ALL. Annoyed. Seriously. Not a cliffhanger, just a plot development that seemed out of place or unnecessary at this juncture. 

So, in short, this novel suffers from a ripping case of "middlenovelitis." Lots of unnecessaries that seem to take up a book's worth of time. 


Before you think I'm calling this one a lost cause, I did enjoy the historical romp in this book. I liked meeting the dead historicals (band name?) even though I thought there were far too many of them introduced here. I felt transported to the time period, but I was ready for more plot development and it felt like it stalled. 


I'm still looking forward to the final installment. I'm invested enough in these characters' lives to NEED that last book. I will definitely be reading with Heather again. Check out some of the greatest hits from our week-long conversation...


July 5th: 
AndiAre we ready? Are we???? lol 40 pages of The Secret Garden left for me which really adds up to about 20 pages on my Nook. Will finish at lunch today.


HeatherUm, yeah, about that. I *kinda* started it this morning. I was going to tell you, I swear! Woo hoo!


AndiLMAO! Well I secretly read 30 pages last weekend. So we're even. :D 


July 10th: 
Andi: WHEN WILL THE WITCH TRAINING START


HeatherAPPARENTLY WHEN ______ IS APPROXIMATELY 50 YEARS OLD. lol


July 13th: 
Andi: So how are you liking the book? Too annoyed to enjoy? 


HeatherOkay, that's spooky. I was just going ask you if you were as annoyed with this book as I was.


The end. Obviously, I cut out a lot of the spoilery stuff, because we typed TONS about this book. Even if we were both annoyed, it was highly discussable. 


So that's it. There is a lot of waiting to be done between now and the final installment of the All Souls trilogy. 


What did you think of Shadow of Night if you're already finished?


Rating: 
Snuggle -- Skewer
 OR Distracting one-armed hug and poke with a stick <--that's the one


Edition Pub. Date: July 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: E-book
ISBN-13: 9780670023486
Source: Gift from a blogging friend.


Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Monday! Reading, reading, reading...

It's Monnnnnday! What are you reading??? Hosted by Sheila over at BookJourney.


I finished up Shadow of Night last week. And boy, am I gonna have a review of that one coming up. Probably tomorrow, in fact. It wasn't all love, but it wasn't all blah either. 


I'm reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh now. I hadn't particularly expected to like this book, but so far I'm really enjoying it. The protagonist is an 18-year-old girl, Victoria, who's newly on her own in the world after being released from a group home when she timed out of the system. Now she has to figure out what to do with herself and that involves flowers. And someone she loved taught her the language of flowers. 


I don't like young, tortured protagonists, generally. I've read so many coming-of-age books and troubled teen books that I generally find them repetitive and formulaic. However, the addition of the "language of flower" helps add some interest to this one. I had never heard of the language of flowers. If you're as new to this as I am, check out a definition:
The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. 
Pretty cool! Now I'll be "eyeing" the flower arrangements in Victorian TV shows and novels. 


Click to embiggen.
I also usually don't like shifting narrative perspectives and time periods. This one jumps back and forth between Victoria's present and her past, helping to explain why she is the way she is. It's remarkably successful in this book. 


The good news is that this is my first read for a new-to-me book club. I will be joining Trish and the lovely ladies of Girls Night Out Book Club at a Real Bookstore on Thursday night to discuss this one. 


Finally, I'm already mentally gearing up for the upcoming North and South readalong!!!! Heather and I are already lining up some SWAG for participants to win over the course of the readalong. And I have to say, I think the grand prize is going to be pretty kickass. You should really join us if you're still waffling. 








It's Monday! Reading, reading, reading...

It's Monnnnnday! What are you reading??? Hosted by Sheila over at BookJourney.


I finished up Shadow of Night last week. And boy, am I gonna have a review of that one coming up. Probably tomorrow, in fact. It wasn't all love, but it wasn't all blah either. 


I'm reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh now. I hadn't particularly expected to like this book, but so far I'm really enjoying it. The protagonist is an 18-year-old girl, Victoria, who's newly on her own in the world after being released from a group home when she timed out of the system. Now she has to figure out what to do with herself and that involves flowers. And someone she loved taught her the language of flowers. 


I don't like young, tortured protagonists, generally. I've read so many coming-of-age books and troubled teen books that I generally find them repetitive and formulaic. However, the addition of the "language of flower" helps add some interest to this one. I had never heard of the language of flowers. If you're as new to this as I am, check out a definition:
The language of flowers, sometimes called floriography, was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken. 
Pretty cool! Now I'll be "eyeing" the flower arrangements in Victorian TV shows and novels. 


Click to embiggen.
I also usually don't like shifting narrative perspectives and time periods. This one jumps back and forth between Victoria's present and her past, helping to explain why she is the way she is. It's remarkably successful in this book. 


The good news is that this is my first read for a new-to-me book club. I will be joining Trish and the lovely ladies of Girls Night Out Book Club at a Real Bookstore on Thursday night to discuss this one. 


Finally, I'm already mentally gearing up for the upcoming North and South readalong!!!! Heather and I are already lining up some SWAG for participants to win over the course of the readalong. And I have to say, I think the grand prize is going to be pretty kickass. You should really join us if you're still waffling. 








Friday, July 20, 2012

Reviewers vs. Authors: You're An Adult, and This is a Cluster

The latest controversy in the reviewer vs. author world. Wow, what a cluster. The shortest recap ever...
A website was cooked up to "call out" snarky, supposedly vengeful and inappropriate reviewers on Goodreads. Someone thought said reviewers were ruining authors' lives and careers. There was haranguing and posting of reviewers' personal info on this website (which I will NOT link to) and threatening phone calls came of it (though many of these allegations have been denied). Today Huffington Post Books posted a blog post from said website creators defending their stance. Outcry from the community ensued with a reply.
Now, I hate to be the one to point this out, but we're all adults. Goodreads users/reviewers and authors. Typically adults. I would say 80% (very unscientific guess). As adults, you would think we might be able to keep ourselves from bullying and threatening others. You would think we could avoid building new websites tailor made for BULLYING AND THREATENING OTHERS when you're screaming at the top of your lungs that bullying on Goodreads is wrong. 

My feelings on the author/blogger relationship are pretty cut and dry. I appreciate and admire a great many authors. I will not always like their books. I am snarky by nature. I rarely rip a book a "new one" per se (there was that time with Beatrice and Virgil), but I'm willing to spout off and justify my feelings about a book. I expect an author to be able to read my review (or one even snarkier) and live with it. You cannot tell me you expected every reader to like your book. If so, you live in fantasyland. The kind where every participant receives a ribbon. You are a bad loser in life.

One of the main reasons I've decided not to accept ARCs is because I give no author or publisher room to hold expectations over my head. I have opinions. They are my own. I shall write them if I please.

There is screwiness on both sides of this issue. If there really is a pack of rabid Goodreads reviewers trying to sink authors' books before they've even been published: shame on you! But the builders of this website are deplorable. Seriously cracked.

Reviewers and authors have to come to a point at which they just get along and get on with it. I know I personally have too much hanging over my head in a day to stalk, harass, or crucify anyone. Grow up and avoid clusters like this one, my friends. 


It's called maturity and apparently it's in increasingly short supply.




...

Reviewers vs. Authors: You're An Adult, and This is a Cluster

The latest controversy in the reviewer vs. author world. Wow, what a cluster. The shortest recap ever...
A website was cooked up to "call out" snarky, supposedly vengeful and inappropriate reviewers on Goodreads. Someone thought said reviewers were ruining authors' lives and careers. There was haranguing and posting of reviewers' personal info on this website (which I will NOT link to) and threatening phone calls came of it (though many of these allegations have been denied). Today Huffington Post Books posted a blog post from said website creators defending their stance. Outcry from the community ensued with a reply.
Now, I hate to be the one to point this out, but we're all adults. Goodreads users/reviewers and authors. Typically adults. I would say 80% (very unscientific guess). As adults, you would think we might be able to keep ourselves from bullying and threatening others. You would think we could avoid building new websites tailor made for BULLYING AND THREATENING OTHERS when you're screaming at the top of your lungs that bullying on Goodreads is wrong. 

My feelings on the author/blogger relationship are pretty cut and dry. I appreciate and admire a great many authors. I will not always like their books. I am snarky by nature. I rarely rip a book a "new one" per se (there was that time with Beatrice and Virgil), but I'm willing to spout off and justify my feelings about a book. I expect an author to be able to read my review (or one even snarkier) and live with it. You cannot tell me you expected every reader to like your book. If so, you live in fantasyland. The kind where every participant receives a ribbon. You are a bad loser in life.

One of the main reasons I've decided not to accept ARCs is because I give no author or publisher room to hold expectations over my head. I have opinions. They are my own. I shall write them if I please.

There is screwiness on both sides of this issue. If there really is a pack of rabid Goodreads reviewers trying to sink authors' books before they've even been published: shame on you! But the builders of this website are deplorable. Seriously cracked.

Reviewers and authors have to come to a point at which they just get along and get on with it. I know I personally have too much hanging over my head in a day to stalk, harass, or crucify anyone. Grow up and avoid clusters like this one, my friends. 


It's called maturity and apparently it's in increasingly short supply.




...

North and South Readalong!

All the best ideas are born in the comments OR on Twitter. 


Heather and I decided to read Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South after we did some cavorting over on Girlebooks.com (Note: We'll be reading the Girlebooks edition of the e-book for this readalong!). Neither of us have ever read Gaskell, and according to the Twitter recs, North and South is THE place to start!!!


And another fun thing: we have a third ghostly host. My friend Shannon from work is jonesing to read some Gaskell, so she'll be joining us. If I can talk her into it, I'll guest-host some of her commentary here. 


THEN Melissa from Avid Reader's Musings expressed interest. SO we have ourselves a readalong. Huzzah!


You'll have to excuse us, but we're all really excited, so we're not wasting much time. Find the schedule below. Dates represent the days we will post/discuss the indicated chapters. I'll provide a Mr. Linky here so anyone who wants to participate can share their posts. I'm too lazy to add a Mr. Linky right now, so just state your intent in the comments area. 

  • Discussion 1: August 6th - Chapters 1-14
  • Discussion 2: August 13th - Chapters 15-27
  • Discussion 3: August 20th - Chapters 28-39
  • Discussion 4: August 27th - Chapters 40-52
Come on over and join us! Grab a button while you're at it. 

North and South Readalong!

All the best ideas are born in the comments OR on Twitter. 


Heather and I decided to read Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South after we did some cavorting over on Girlebooks.com (Note: We'll be reading the Girlebooks edition of the e-book for this readalong!). Neither of us have ever read Gaskell, and according to the Twitter recs, North and South is THE place to start!!!


And another fun thing: we have a third ghostly host. My friend Shannon from work is jonesing to read some Gaskell, so she'll be joining us. If I can talk her into it, I'll guest-host some of her commentary here. 


THEN Melissa from Avid Reader's Musings expressed interest. SO we have ourselves a readalong. Huzzah!


You'll have to excuse us, but we're all really excited, so we're not wasting much time. Find the schedule below. Dates represent the days we will post/discuss the indicated chapters. I'll provide a Mr. Linky here so anyone who wants to participate can share their posts. I'm too lazy to add a Mr. Linky right now, so just state your intent in the comments area. 

  • Discussion 1: August 6th - Chapters 1-14
  • Discussion 2: August 13th - Chapters 15-27
  • Discussion 3: August 20th - Chapters 28-39
  • Discussion 4: August 27th - Chapters 40-52
Come on over and join us! Grab a button while you're at it. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Requesting Recommendations: Midwifery!

Last week I requested recommendations for books on polygamy, and I had such fun seeing and collecting all your recommendations that I decided to ask for more!!!

Many years ago I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I remember being very taken with the bits that had to do with birth and midwifery from this time period. More recently, I read Joanna Kavenna's wonderful, The Birth of Love, which dealt not only with modern day home birth, but also with historical birthing practices and early attempts to control the spread of disease.

I suppose recs don't have to be limited to midwifery, but historical birthing practices (and maybe modern too!) should play a part.




Can you help me out? My Goodreads wishlist NEEDS you!

Requesting Recommendations: Midwifery!

Last week I requested recommendations for books on polygamy, and I had such fun seeing and collecting all your recommendations that I decided to ask for more!!!

Many years ago I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I remember being very taken with the bits that had to do with birth and midwifery from this time period. More recently, I read Joanna Kavenna's wonderful, The Birth of Love, which dealt not only with modern day home birth, but also with historical birthing practices and early attempts to control the spread of disease.

I suppose recs don't have to be limited to midwifery, but historical birthing practices (and maybe modern too!) should play a part.




Can you help me out? My Goodreads wishlist NEEDS you!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Victorian Celebration and an E-Book Happy Dance

I'm so thankful to Allie over at A Literary Odyssey for hosting A Victorian Celebration over the course of June and July. I've been in a mode of reading contemporary fiction lately, and the push to read Victorian lit brought me to The Secret Garden.

Even though I had issues with the ending of that one, it was a great reading experience and I was reminded of what I love most about Victorian lit: the atmosphere!

While I don't think I'll get around to more Victorian novels before July is over, my appetite is officially whetted. Here are some of the books I'm keen to tackle throughout the rest of the year (and probably spilling over into next year).

North and South
A Tale of Two Cities
The Woman in White
Heather and I have decided we'll tackle Gaskell for our next classic buddy read. Neither of us have ever read Gaskell and a number of you on Twitter assure us that North and South is the place to start!

I read A Tale of Two Cities when I was 17, and it's high time for a re-read. As much as I loved it back then, I'm almost certain I'll appreciate it even more now.

The Woman in White has been sitting, unloved and unfinished, on my Nook for ages. Well, I do sort of love it already even though I never got around to finishing it. This is high priority, people!


Finally, Heather introduced me to Girlebooks.com ages ago. But I'm kind of a bonehead sometimes and I hadn't explored its full glory until recently. Now that I understand and appreciate it, I've downloaded QUITE a few e-books. Not all Victorian by any stretch, but awesome and written by some kickass women. Behold...

Daddy Long Legs by Jean WebsterThe Enchanted Castle by E. NesbitGirl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-PorterMemoirs of Court of Marie Antoinette by Madame CampanRoast Beef, Medium by Edna Ferber
And the best part is that many of these beauties are free! And they come in a variety of formats to suit your e-reader. I'm really excited and can't wait to download more! Note: I also got my copy of North and South from the site. Woohah!


Have you read any Victorian lit lately? How about great books by women writers?


A Victorian Celebration and an E-Book Happy Dance

I'm so thankful to Allie over at A Literary Odyssey for hosting A Victorian Celebration over the course of June and July. I've been in a mode of reading contemporary fiction lately, and the push to read Victorian lit brought me to The Secret Garden.

Even though I had issues with the ending of that one, it was a great reading experience and I was reminded of what I love most about Victorian lit: the atmosphere!

While I don't think I'll get around to more Victorian novels before July is over, my appetite is officially whetted. Here are some of the books I'm keen to tackle throughout the rest of the year (and probably spilling over into next year).

North and South
A Tale of Two Cities
The Woman in White
Heather and I have decided we'll tackle Gaskell for our next classic buddy read. Neither of us have ever read Gaskell and a number of you on Twitter assure us that North and South is the place to start!

I read A Tale of Two Cities when I was 17, and it's high time for a re-read. As much as I loved it back then, I'm almost certain I'll appreciate it even more now.

The Woman in White has been sitting, unloved and unfinished, on my Nook for ages. Well, I do sort of love it already even though I never got around to finishing it. This is high priority, people!


Finally, Heather introduced me to Girlebooks.com ages ago. But I'm kind of a bonehead sometimes and I hadn't explored its full glory until recently. Now that I understand and appreciate it, I've downloaded QUITE a few e-books. Not all Victorian by any stretch, but awesome and written by some kickass women. Behold...

Daddy Long Legs by Jean WebsterThe Enchanted Castle by E. NesbitGirl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-PorterMemoirs of Court of Marie Antoinette by Madame CampanRoast Beef, Medium by Edna Ferber
And the best part is that many of these beauties are free! And they come in a variety of formats to suit your e-reader. I'm really excited and can't wait to download more! Note: I also got my copy of North and South from the site. Woohah!


Have you read any Victorian lit lately? How about great books by women writers?


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Singing the Song of the Free Range Reader


I can't remember which of you loooovely bloggy peeps mentioned it, but someone referred to reading what you want, when you want without obligation as "free range" reading. I've been thinking about this particular term for a while now, and I've decided I love it. I thrive as a free range reader.

As I've been percolating on my reading, I've also begun to think a little about what draws me to different books. And I'm thinking very specifically. It sort of reminds me of my own proclivities in music. I'm a VERY eclectic listener. If you were to romp through my Spotify playlist you would see the following and MANY more: 30 Seconds to Mars, Bruce Springsteen, Marc Cohn, Eurythmics, Florence + the Machine, Jake Owen, Miranda Lambert, Aaron Copeland (classical), Samuel Barber (classical), Jay Z, John Legend, Lauryn Hill, Oasis, The Dixie Chicks.

I'm attracted to different types of musics for varied reasons, some of them being voice quality, instrumentation, lyrics, beat, a certain "mood" a song evokes. Likewise, I like books for a deluge of reasons that appeal directly to my mood. As I was looking at a list of books I've read over the last three years or so, I could make some direct comparisons in the qualities I like in music and the qualities that appeal to me in a gripping novel.


Miranda Lambert is one of the best lyricists in country music. Her music and lyrics are fresh and she has a decidedly quirky, lovely twang and vocal delivery. One of my favorite songs of hers is "The House That Built Me."
I thought if I could touch this place or feel itThis brokenness inside me might start healingOut here it's like I'm someone elseI thought that maybe I could find myselfIf I could just come in, I swear I'll leaveWon't take nothing but a memoryFrom the house that built me
In comparison to my reading, there's a wonderful connection with Alice Hoffman's book The Red Garden. There's the same sense of a warm, down home atmosphere and the creativity (in plot and analogy) that I adore in Hoffman's writing sync up nicely with what I admire in Miranda Lambert's lyrics.


There are other books that I get sucked into because they have a relentless pace to them. They're compelling from page one with a great story, good writing, and a level of interest that I may not at first be able to explain, but that becomes almost entrancing. A music/book pairing here would be Jay Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild" with Justin Cronin's The Passage. You may recognize this song from the new Great Gatsby trailer. Without a doubt, the most intense book I've read in the last few years is The Passage. It's a great book with a winning combination of good writing, a breakneck pace, and interesting characters. Likewise, I'm totally taken with "No Church in the Wild." It's a driving beat, I love Jay Z and Kanye's voices, and the lyrics are clever and edgy.

Drug dealer chic
I'm wondering if a thug's prayers reach
Is Pious pious cause God loves pious?
Socrates asked whose bias do yall seek
All for Plato, screech
I'm out here balling, I know yall hear my sneaks
Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy laid beats
Hova flowed the Holy Ghost
Get the hell up out your seats
Preach

Last, but certainly not lease -- I fell in love with Florence + the Machine's "Breath of Life." This song is included on the Snow White and the Huntsman soundtrack, but I think it also fits one of my favorite books of the year: Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I love the song because it's atmospheric and almost "heavy" in the way it can wrap me up (especially if I'm listening with headphones). Likewise, I was completely taken with Wicked because it's far darker, more political, and more intense than I'd ever expected. Elphaba is a troubled character with a troubled past and she fights through a great deal of political intrigue and hardship. The intensity, the beauty of the lyrics, and the dark atmosphere seem a good fit for this song. 

To get a dream of life again
A little vision of the start at the end
But all the choirs in my head sang,
No oh oh
But I needed one more touch
Another taste of heavenly rush
And I believe, I believe it
So oh oh oh
Who's side am I on?
Who's side am I?
Who's side am I on?
Who's side am I?

I’ve written a lot here lately about judgement in reading. People judge others’ reading (and some people judge their own) choices based on genre, literary merit (or a perceived lack). I’ve never once felt any need to justify my eclectic musical choices, and I choose music based on a very basic need in the moment. Mood dictates all in my musical choices, and it's been great to let that same sort of basic need lead me in my reading. There's never been a time in my life that I agonized over the right music. Why agonize over book choices? Read what fits the need.

Singing the Song of the Free Range Reader


I can't remember which of you loooovely bloggy peeps mentioned it, but someone referred to reading what you want, when you want without obligation as "free range" reading. I've been thinking about this particular term for a while now, and I've decided I love it. I thrive as a free range reader.

As I've been percolating on my reading, I've also begun to think a little about what draws me to different books. And I'm thinking very specifically. It sort of reminds me of my own proclivities in music. I'm a VERY eclectic listener. If you were to romp through my Spotify playlist you would see the following and MANY more: 30 Seconds to Mars, Bruce Springsteen, Marc Cohn, Eurythmics, Florence + the Machine, Jake Owen, Miranda Lambert, Aaron Copeland (classical), Samuel Barber (classical), Jay Z, John Legend, Lauryn Hill, Oasis, The Dixie Chicks.

I'm attracted to different types of musics for varied reasons, some of them being voice quality, instrumentation, lyrics, beat, a certain "mood" a song evokes. Likewise, I like books for a deluge of reasons that appeal directly to my mood. As I was looking at a list of books I've read over the last three years or so, I could make some direct comparisons in the qualities I like in music and the qualities that appeal to me in a gripping novel.


Miranda Lambert is one of the best lyricists in country music. Her music and lyrics are fresh and she has a decidedly quirky, lovely twang and vocal delivery. One of my favorite songs of hers is "The House That Built Me."
I thought if I could touch this place or feel itThis brokenness inside me might start healingOut here it's like I'm someone elseI thought that maybe I could find myselfIf I could just come in, I swear I'll leaveWon't take nothing but a memoryFrom the house that built me
In comparison to my reading, there's a wonderful connection with Alice Hoffman's book The Red Garden. There's the same sense of a warm, down home atmosphere and the creativity (in plot and analogy) that I adore in Hoffman's writing sync up nicely with what I admire in Miranda Lambert's lyrics.


There are other books that I get sucked into because they have a relentless pace to them. They're compelling from page one with a great story, good writing, and a level of interest that I may not at first be able to explain, but that becomes almost entrancing. A music/book pairing here would be Jay Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild" with Justin Cronin's The Passage. You may recognize this song from the new Great Gatsby trailer. Without a doubt, the most intense book I've read in the last few years is The Passage. It's a great book with a winning combination of good writing, a breakneck pace, and interesting characters. Likewise, I'm totally taken with "No Church in the Wild." It's a driving beat, I love Jay Z and Kanye's voices, and the lyrics are clever and edgy.

Drug dealer chic
I'm wondering if a thug's prayers reach
Is Pious pious cause God loves pious?
Socrates asked whose bias do yall seek
All for Plato, screech
I'm out here balling, I know yall hear my sneaks
Jesus was a carpenter, Yeezy laid beats
Hova flowed the Holy Ghost
Get the hell up out your seats
Preach

Last, but certainly not lease -- I fell in love with Florence + the Machine's "Breath of Life." This song is included on the Snow White and the Huntsman soundtrack, but I think it also fits one of my favorite books of the year: Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I love the song because it's atmospheric and almost "heavy" in the way it can wrap me up (especially if I'm listening with headphones). Likewise, I was completely taken with Wicked because it's far darker, more political, and more intense than I'd ever expected. Elphaba is a troubled character with a troubled past and she fights through a great deal of political intrigue and hardship. The intensity, the beauty of the lyrics, and the dark atmosphere seem a good fit for this song. 

To get a dream of life again
A little vision of the start at the end
But all the choirs in my head sang,
No oh oh
But I needed one more touch
Another taste of heavenly rush
And I believe, I believe it
So oh oh oh
Who's side am I on?
Who's side am I?
Who's side am I on?
Who's side am I?

I’ve written a lot here lately about judgement in reading. People judge others’ reading (and some people judge their own) choices based on genre, literary merit (or a perceived lack). I’ve never once felt any need to justify my eclectic musical choices, and I choose music based on a very basic need in the moment. Mood dictates all in my musical choices, and it's been great to let that same sort of basic need lead me in my reading. There's never been a time in my life that I agonized over the right music. Why agonize over book choices? Read what fits the need.

 
Images by Freepik