January 27, 2011

The Atlantic by Simon Winchester

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

I just finished a non-fiction book called Atlantic by Simon Winchester.

It was a great book, very intereseting. It is all about the history of the Atlantic Ocean, or rather what has happened on, under and around the Atlantic Ocean from its birth. I learned alot about places around the ocean that I had never heard of or knew little about. He also went into the climatic and geologic changes going on and what is causing them, laying some myths to rest and supporting others. I have always enjoyed his books but this one was the best so far. I commented on his website and recieved an email from him. It was very personally written, though doubt it was actually him. But it was very nice regardless.

January 21, 2011

A New Year

This years blog is a little different than last years. I did not get a lot of opportunities to update the blog last year and am hoping this year to be better at it. I have over 200 books on my mountain of TBR. While i dont expect to read enough books to shrink it  completely, my goal is to cut it in half. We are hoping to move to Montana this summer and my husband has warned me he will not be moving all my books!!

I have a stack of classics I have wanted to read which are going to be my first focus. In addition to the classics, I will be reading non-fiction and mysteries. I am in the middle of 6 mystery/suspense series which have been ignored for 2 years due to other challenges I was involved with. My goal is to eliminate most if not all of those series.

While it will be hard, I hope to not gain very many books over the next year. However, weather that is a reality or not is very doubtful. Thankfully there are not a lot of used book stores in my area to tempt me!!

May 16, 2010

Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

For the category Sinners not Saints in the Mystery Challenge, I needed to chose a Mystery that does not feature a monk, or other religious figure. I chose The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte.

The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte is a very good book. It is about a man whose job is to search out rare books and obtain them by any means necessary. He is hired by different book collectors and dealers around Europe. In the beginning of the book he is asked to authenticate what appears to be a hand written chapter from the Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. In addition he is asked to find out if  book which is suppose to be one of a kind is in fact authentic, since two other copies have been found and claimed to also be authentic. As he travels around Spain, Portugal and France comparing books and speaking with experts, he is being followed by individuals who would easily fit into Dumas's novel. As the book continues on the connections between the manuscript and the rare book become clearer.

The book is filled with adventure, mystery and intrigue. A great book. I really enjoyed the details about books and could relate with those obsessed. I would recommend it for any obsessed reader, lol.

Unfortunately, I kinda ruined my copy by reading it on a windy beach. Valli warned me to bring unpostables, but I really don't have any unpostables on my challenge lists, well that is until now, lol.

April 30, 2010

Water For Elephants.

THis one was kind of a cheat. I read Water For Elephants by Sarah Gruen for two of my challenges. It counts for my Historical Fiction ABC challenge as letter W and also the regular HF Challenge as the Alternative Category. Since I couldnt find a book written in the year of my birth I got to choose my own category. So Water For Elephants falls under A Historical Fiction book with an Animal in the Title.

 I ABSOLUTELY loved this book. It was very touching, and the ending is the best. It follows a young man ready to sit for his Veterinarian exams at Cornell University when his parents are killed in a car accident in 1931. He desperately runs away and jumps a circus train. He soon becomes the house vet and finds himself caring for all sorts of exotic animals. The story opens with Jacob hearing the animals were lose and he runs to look for HER. He then watches in horror while SHE kills August, the menagerie director. Through out the whole book I was certain who SHE was. Boy was I wrong!! The story flips back and forth between Jacob in 1931 and 93 yr old Jacob living as a forgotten man in a nursing home.

The only down side to this book is the same issue I have with many books out today, the amount of sex. It had very graphic scenes, however was understandable on two points. One I grew up around Carnival people (had a brother who traveled with the Carnival) and the Circus characters were very true to form. The second point is that we were seeing this through Jacob's eyes. A privileged, 20 some year old virgin who had never experienced any of it before. So as you read, you felt as Jacob did. The astonishment and wonder at the sight of all of it.

I laughed, cried, and everything in between. It is a great book!!

April 17, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

For my Classics Challenge, I needed to read a book published prior to the 19th century. I chose
Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare.
This story circles around Hero and Claudio, Don Pedro and his brother John the Bastard, and Beatrice and Benedick. Hero and Beatrice are cousins who are at Hero's home when Don Pedro and his entourage return from war. Hero's father asks them to stay on for a month. Claudio declares his love for Hero to his friends. Beatrice and Benedick fight a lot and declare that they will never fall in love with anyone and their friends decide to play matchmaker with the two pessimists.  Through a bunch of misunderstandings caused mainly by the deception of John the Bastard, the play has many Shakespearean twists. If you enjoyed Taming of the Shrew, Tempest or Othello, you would more than likely also enjoy this play.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Under the Mystery challenge I need to read a book where the title contained one of the following words: Chicken, Chocolate, Chai or Cherry. I chose
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke.
It was a good cozy, though a little longer then most cozies. It is set in a rural town in Minnesota. The main character Hannah Swenson owns a cafe that serves Cookies and Coffee. She finds her milk man murdered in the alley behind her cafe. She voluneers to help her brother in law, the town detective solve the murder. The books contained recipes for the many cookies mentioned in the story.  I cant wait to try to bake some of the cookie recipes in it. THey sound really good.

My only complaints about the book were the out of nowhere ending and some slow spots. After reading over 300 pages of hannah eliminating ever person in Lake Eden, MN it seemed out of place for her to just stumble over the murderer completely unprepared. It dragged on in several parts but over all was a good story. I dont however think I will read any more in the series.

March 17, 2010

The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt By Day by Scott O'Dell

For my Historical Fiction ABC challenge for the letter H I re-read The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day by Scott O'Dell.
This book was my favorite book as a pre-teen. It is the story of William Tyndale the man who translated the New Testiment into English. Told through the perspective of a teenage sailor who smuggled Tyndale to Germany and later the bibles back to England. Written in O'Dell's wonderfully engulfing style, you find yourself transported to 16th century Europe where the church had most of the power and everyone feared the King's spy's.
I would recommend Scott O'Dell's historical Fiction novels to any teen or pre-teen who has a love of adventure and history.