Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This novel is classified as "Teen Historical Fiction." I came across it while doing some Christmas shopping at Barnes & Noble and thought it looked pretty good. My daughter insisted that she already had it and so loaned me her copy. Book #2 appeared in my Christmas stocking and is now next in line to read.
Now before you go getting all puffed up about being exposed to reading a teen novel, let me remind you that Stephenie Meyers' "Twilight" series are all teen novels. I guarantee you there are as many if not more "mamas" out there reading those than teen vampirettes. And of course there are the Harry Potter books that are found on the young reader shelves. There is a lot of good reading to be found in the youth section!
"Luxe" takes place in New York City in 1899. The characters are wealthy young socialites all very impressed with themselves. Elizabeth Holland is an attractive young lady who is known to be very virtuous. Through circumstances neither reveals to the other, she becomes engaged to society's playboy, Henry Schoonmaker, creating the event which the drama revolves around.
From the lowliest servant to the highest aristocrat, most of the characters were not very likable in this story, with the exception of Elizabeth herself. That is not to say that the book isn't full of characters you love to hate. And despite some early misgivings some of the characters do manage to redeem themselves.
My daughter hasn't finished book #2, "Rumors" yet, but I plan to steal it away from her and begin it tonight.
There are some that I am sure I will not be reading in their entirety. I see no reason to read something just so I can say I have read it if I am not enjoying it. There are already a couple on this list that fall into that category. I'll try to organize my list to show read, not read, or tried to read & gave up.
I haven't read these:
- Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
- Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
- Harry Potter series, JK Rowling (I've read several but not the complete series)
- The Bible (Again, I cannot claim I have read it completely)
- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
- His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (3 book series)
- Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
- Little Women, Louisa M. Alcott
- Complete Works of Shakespeare
- Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
- The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
- Birdsong, Sebastian Faulk
- Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
- Middlemarch, George Eliot
- Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Bleak House, Charles Dickens
- War & Peace, Leo Tolstoy
- Crime & Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
- David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
- Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis (7 books)
- Emma, Jane Austin
- Persuasion, Jane Austin
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis (1 of the 7 Narnia books)
- The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
- Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis De Bernieres
- Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
- 100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- A Prayer for Owen Meaney, John Irving
- The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
- Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
- Far from the Maddening Crowd, Thomas Hardy
- The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
- Life of Pi, Yann Martel
- Dune, Frank Herbert
- Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
- Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen
- A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
- The Shadow of the Wind, Carolos Ruiz Zafron
- A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
- Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
- Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
- Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
- The Secret History, Donna Tartt
- The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
- On the Road, Jack Kerouac
- Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
- Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
- Moby Dick, Herman Melville
- Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
- Dracula, Bram Stoker
- The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson
- Ulysses, James Joyce
- The Inferno, Dante
- Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome
- Germinal, Emile Zola
- Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thaceray
- Possession, AS Byatt
- Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
- The Color Purple, Alice Walker
- The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
- Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
- A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
- The Five People You Meet In Heaven, Mitch Albom
- Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Faraway Tree Collection, Enid Blyton
- Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
- The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
- The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
- A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
- A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
- The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
- Hamlet, William Shakespeare
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
- Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
I have read these:
- To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee
- 1984, George Orwell
- Catch 22, Joseph Heller
- The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
- Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
- The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
- Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne (I have my Mom's copy given to her in 1927!)
- Animal Farm, George Orwell
- The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
- Lord of the Flies, William Golding
- Atonement, Ian McEwan
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, Mark Haddon
- The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
- Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
- Charlotte's Web, EB White
- Watership Down, Richard Adams
These I couldn't/wouldn't finish:
- Tess of the D'Ubervilles, Thomas Hardy
I think I'd like to research a little more exactly where this list came from and if it's updated annually or what. If I do read some of these I I'll move them on this blog and date the entry for when I read it (or gave up), rather than repost the entire blog again. I think I have actually read more than I take credit for - I know some of these were read in my school years, but that is far too long ago to remember!
My intention is to start with the book I just finished and go forward from there. If anyone suggests a book I have already read and reviewed in another forum I may backtrack and post about it.
A little about my love of books... I've always enjoyed reading and probably stuck pretty much to fiction novels. In more recent years I worked for Barnes & Noble for about 18 months and found that was a great inspiration to broaden my interests as pertains to reading. I really enjoy a good biography. History has enticed me into it's arms. I love picture books aka coffee table books. Travel, geography, science, crafts... You can lead me almost anywhere to read as long as the book is well written and the subject appealing.
Thank you for checking my new blog out! Please come back for more!
p.s. I probably won't be talking too much about caffeine. It's just that good coffee and a good book really go together!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
This is a biographical story of Antonina Zabinski, a polish woman and the wife of a zookeeper in Warsaw, Poland. The story is told of their life and activities during WWII. The author tells the story through other biographies and journals kept by Antonina, and therein lies the 'problem' with this book.
For my tastes this is written much too much like a text book. Instead of creating the story around the events of their lives, the author is overly concerned with keeping to exact truth in her story and often uses quotes from the source or journal to be sure the reader knows how accurate it is. I found this disturbing and distracting from the tale.
The Zabinskis were active in helping many Polish Jews escape the Nazis by providing their villa and zoo as part of the underground resources. Mr. Zabinski battled and fought with the Polish Resistance and was, toward the end of the war, held prisoner. The story should be fascinating and exciting, but told in such a way that I never felt too concerned or frightened for those involved.
I can tolerate some author priviledge in embellishment as long as the basic facts of the story hold true. If the author would have chosen to expand on the horrors or emotions that were being experienced at that time, I would have forgiven her. But she tells only what she is absolutely sure of and I feel she missed making me feel all the empathy and passion I would otherwise have felt.
I give it a C. The content was excellent but the story telling lacked far too much.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
It took me a long time to get through this book but I really enjoyed it. The subject matter is tough; surviving the Columbine shootings, drug dependency, alcoholism, PTSD, dysfunctional families...and the list goes on. Lamb's ability to write a story involving so many painful subjects and still keep me enthralled and hopeful says a lot about his abilities as a writer. There is also a 'story within the story' as the past is uncovered and revealed through the diaries, letters and archives of the main character's ancestors.
It's not a book to expect a happy ending from, it was actually more heartbreaking than I had anticipated. But the ending is appropriate to the story and isn't actually on a down note. Okay, that may sound contradictory, but it's the way I see it. Maybe because the heartbreaking part is not quite at the end of the book, but darn close.
I have a friend who did find the book too depressing to finish, and I never did find out how far she read. I, however, do recommend this book. It's worth reading past the pain of actual real life events incorporated into the fictional story. Lamb does an amazing job of developing characters that are likeable despite their weaknesses.